Poll and Discussion: Proposal to Simplify Gridcoin.us Crunching Guides

Poll and Discussion: Proposal to Simplify Gridcoin.us Crunching Guides

You can vote on this poll in your Gridcoin wallet.

One of the most common hurdles for getting new crunchers involved in Gridcoin is the complexity required to setup crunching. The recent addition of MRC to the wallet has reduced the cost (a significant hurdle) to nearly zero, which is a major step in the right direction. The current documentation on gridcoin.us, while comprehensive and well put together, is nonetheless confusing to new users and I would argue needlessly complex even for technically savvy users. I would like to make some significant changes to this documentation and volunteer to make these changes. Many of you are already familiar with my reddit guides and have hopefully seen that I am capable of writing easy to use documentation.

I have submitted some proposed changes to the Gridcoin.us site, but it became clear that some of the changes I proposed would mark a departure from the existing way of doing things, and that soliciting community feedback to would be a good step to take figure out what the network as a whole actually wants.

Github issue here.

Specific changes I propose are:

  • Only mention pool crunching as an option, in passing, in Gridcoin.us documentation
  • Remove the "pool vs solo" decision matrix presented on the main page (replace w cruncher vs non-cruncher)
  • Assume solo is the default method suggested for new users, providing jumping off links for users to explore pool more if they want
  • Add nvidia and amd badges to the whitelist page to show which GPUs are supported by which projects
  • Generally make other smaller changes following the design principles outlined later in this proposal
  • Important to note that I am not proposing eliminating any options, but simply streamlining the way they are presented, removing the "you must decide a vs b right here right now even if you don't understand the implications of that choice", and providing jumping off points for users who want to explore more non-default options.

Arguments for prioritizing solo over pool:

  • It eliminates a choice many users find confusing
  • Pools do not work with [email protected] nor any future non-BOINC projects we choose to whitelist
  • Solo crunching's barrier to entry has been reduced to less than 3 GRC which can be obtained from faucets/discord/etc
  • Solo crunching means users will use MRC. MRC fees directly support development and encourage staking
  • Solo crunching incentivizes users to keep their wallets online and staking, which increases network security and decentralization
  • More users will be able to participate in polls, increasing overall engagement between users and the project selection process. This also means they will feel they have a bigger stake in the Gridcoin network and may become more active as a result.
  • Solo crunching encourages (but does not require) users to buy more coins sufficient to stake more often
  • Supporting pools in our official documentation means writing slightly different documentation for each pool, or referencing the pool's official documentation which is sometimes outdated and confusing to users.
  • Solo crunching is arguably simpler from the user's perspective

Arguments I anticipate against this proposal:

  • We should give users the maximum amount of choice possible and present them with all options.
  • Pools are arguably simpler to use than MRC, there's no need to manually sign up at different projects and deal with GDPR export or worry about MRC fees
  • Pools automatically crunch under the Gridcoin team, more users switching to solo may mean Gridcoin's BOINC teams drop in ranking
  • Pools are an important part of the Gridcoin ecosystem and de-prioritizing them in documentation will mean less users will choose them which means less incentive to run pools, eventually pools may die out as a result
  • Reducing the barrier to entry or making documentation simpler will result in more people coming into the community who aren't technically adept. It is an asset of Gridcoin that we have a large, technically savvy userbase.

The design principles for these changes:

  • We should design the documentation and crunching process as much as possible to be accessible to the average computer user. This may not be possible, but we should have it as a goal to work towards. When you think "average computer user" think somebody who could be confused by terms like CPU vs GPU or who doesn't know whether or not they need the "command-line version" or the 64-bit or 32-bit version of the wallet.
  • We should reduce the amount of choices the user must make in order to get started to as few as possible. The more choices, the more likely they are to get confused, decide not to start crunching, or do something incorrect along the way which requires accessing a support channel and taking up time of volunteers/devs to fix.
  • There should be one clear primary path which suits 80% of users, with options to "branch off" onto more complex paths for users who need it (20%). For example, documentation should focus primarily on the GUI wallet and only mention the CLI wallet in passing with a link to further documentation if users need it. We can assume the 20% of power users will follow these paths and/or do additional research to suit their use cases.

I believe this poll falls under an "Outreach Poll" which requires 20% AVW to pass, per recent changes to AVW requirements.