🎨 Seeking advice: New Dreams & Big Art System Proposal

AK Alex Kaos Public Seen by 78

TL:DR - Dreams can be simpler, which comes at the cost of precision, but saves everyone a lot of time.

I would like to pre-propose some changes to the Dreams platform to address a few issues of the past:

  • It's hard for us to fund big art

  • Uncertainty for Dreamers in how much funding they're getting

  • Overload of work for Dream Guides

  • Lack of engagement from ticket holders

  • Overwhelming and confusing voting process

Note: Constructive advice on how to improve this process is warmly welcome.

Who am I?

I was finance lead for the last 2 Kiez Burns. I have been intimately involved in the Dreams process since its inception. I am also a freelance artist and a co-founder of the Dream World immersive art project.

The New Dreams and Big Art Process

Firstly, let's assume that the Art Grants budget for KB22 will be in the region of 25k€. This is realistic with a ticket price of 95€ and 1100 participants.

We will also continue to use the Dreams Platform as before.

  1. There will be 2 categories, and 2 budgets. Dreams and Big Art.

    1. Dreams takes i.e. 40% - 10,000€

      1. Dreams can be made by anyone at any value and go anywhere towards anything.

      2. They must make a planned budget of expenses for transparency

        1. Alcohol & other substances are excluded - they are impossible to refund

        2. Max funding of 700€

        3. Otherwise anything goes.(?) But it must be stated clearly and transparently.

    2. Big Art takes i.e. 60% - 15,000€

      1. Big Art has a minimum value of 500€

      2. It must go on the Plateau, or somewhere specifically not within the bounds of a camp area (which is most of the gelände)

      3. The Temple and the Effigy can go in this category. There could be multiple Temples and Effigies, but only 1 Effigy will have the chance to be burned (the one with the most votes)

  2. Dreamers make and upload their Dream. There is 2-4 weeks time period to do so

  3. We scrap the stretch goal element of the Dreams platform

    1. Dreamers input the figure that they need in order to bring the project they want to bring. They plan for that figure and that project, simple clarity.

    2. Whilst the stretch goal is a fun feature, it adds an incredible layer of complexity and stress to the entire process. I would love to see us experiment a year without it.

  4. The voting period is 2-4 weeks and is simply a Yes/No feature (think Tinder, swipe left/right. Idea courtesy of @Caro T )

    1. Ticket holders are simply asked to question "Do I want my ticket money to go towards this project? Does it align with my values and what I want to see at KB? Do I believe it adheres to the Dream Guidelines?" for each Dream. That way they don't have to remember any of the previous Dreams, and go back and forth allocating their votes. They simply Yes/No (Swipe left-right) for each Dream independently of the others.

    2. They do this for each category, Dreams and then Big Art. This doesn't necessarily have to be separated at this stage, but it needs to be clear which category the project belongs to as they're voting.

  5. At the end of the voting period, we remove the projects with the highest ratio of "No-Yes" votes until the applied Dreams budgets matches the available Dreams budget. The remaining dreams are considered funded.

    1. This is an anti-plurality voting mechanism more in line with decentralized consensual do-ocracy. Remove that which has the least collective consent.

    2. i.e.

      1. Dream 1 has: 18 yes and 2 no = 1 in 9 said no (1/5)

      2. Dream 2 has: 15 yes and 5 no = 1 in 3 said no (1/3)

      3. Dream 2 would be removed before Dream 1.

Solutions and Problems

  • Consent vs Controversy - This system could prove problematic for controversial projects. The 'no' votes will likely be much stronger than the yes votes. This system does however comply with our principle of consent, which in it's nature challenges controversy .

  • Simplicity vs Precision - It is a much simpler process for the Dreamer, and the voter, but it misses the nuance of grant allocation. I would much prefer to introduce a quadratic voting system, as that is most fair, but it places a huge burden on the voter to attain that precision.

  • Big Art vs Dreams - Big art could not really compete with the traditional dreams process. By separating it out we hope to entice artist and groups to bring their big projects and fill out plateau with even more impressive pieces.

  • Big Dreams vs Little Dreams - It could be the case that one large Dream (i.e a 700€ camp-based Dream) could get confirmed which would make 5-20 smaller dreams unrealizable. It would be nice to minimize the workload on Dream Guides to regulate these projects, so communicating the expected criteria of dreams to the voter beforehand and asking the community to downvote projects that are out of line with those guidelines could leave the responsibility with the community as a whole.

    • One solution is to give a Dream-Guide-Art-Budget, i..e 500-1000€. After the voting is finalized and the projects selected, the Dream Guides can allocate this smaller amount to the Dreams they believe should have made the cut (or choose to forward it to the onus Re-Fund pool, see below). This gives the smaller dreams with poor proposal skills the opportunity to bring their idea to the burn, if they get cut out by a larger-cost Dream.

  • Dream Guides - This system should lower the burden on Dream Guides to make projects fit the Dreams criteria (they only need to focus on the Big Art projects, which should be much more fun and rewarding).

  • Not enough Dreams - It is entirely possible that with the new ticket price we could have less request for funding than we have funding available. In this case, at the time of voting starts, we may be able to skip the voting process and simply fund everything. Wouldn't that be nice.....

Refunds and Bonus Re-Funds Process

  • This year we will not require physical hand-in of receipts (FUCK YES!!!). A properly made digital equivalent will suffice. This should simplify things for everyone.

  • After the hand-in of digital receipts (which should be completed by the end of August or September), there is often some funds left from unclaimed dreams. It would be possible to organize a second round of refunding to projects that went over budget.

    • Dreams & Big Art projects can apply, with a detailed breakdown of how they went over budget, and copies of the receipts. This can be done in parallel to their confirmed refund hand-in (but separated in documentation)

    • If the remaining unused Arts Grant budget is large enough, we simply refund all who apply that fulfill the criteria (detailed breakdown of expenses and providing the valid receipts)

    • If the budget doesn't stretch to all the projects, then the Dream Guides decide which projects don't get the money by internal vote after a review meeting.

      • By September the community is doing other things, and there is no point to try and drag everyone back to make a communal vote. Plus the DG have had the most exposure to the outcome of the projects and likely the best insight to the requests.

Who will implement this proposal?

I can happily assist in setting it up, and creating the structure for it. I can coordinate with the finance lead on the refund execution and support the Dreams Platform ministry specialist to realize the technical side of things. I can also advise the Dreams team at all stages of the process.

I would love some input and advice from:

Last Years Dreams Team & Advisors: @Diarmaid @Saskia @Cairn (Clément) @Professor Kaos

The finance lead and their guide: @kathleen & @Professor Kaos

@Caro T who actually came up with the idea. And any boardies interested in chiming in their wise two cents: @Mareike @Cris @Jan-Christian Kaspareit @Veroca R. Sala

I will also need some specific advice from @Diarmaid concerning the technical implementation on the Dreams Platform:

Will it be possible to assign all ticket holders with unlimited Yes Tokens AND unlimited No tokens. But only allow them to vote once per Dream? (That's the simplest solution I can think of right now)

Anyone who wants to improve the idea or guide this discussion to a healthier outcome. If you are bitchy and self-righteous I will totally ignore your comments, my apologies in advance.


Alex Kaos Tue 1 Mar 2022 10:15AM

Yes his system has it's own complications.

Then perhaps a gradient-voting system would help to separate the preference for dreams. If we are thinking of the end-game, being a highly engaged, authentic and honest community of burners, we could imagine 5 options:

  1. I love it, Please Bring This Dream!

  2. It's cool! Bring it!

  3. I do not really care if this Dream is there or not

  4. I don't think this adheres to the guidelines

  5. I disagree with this Dream on an ethical, moral, ecological, or ideological standpoint.

(Being +2, +1, 0, -1, -2. Just like a standard survey point system)

That adds a small degree of complexity, in exchange for nuance. I will think about how to make the system trustless (so that we do not need to 'trust' in the authenticity of others). This is a huge part of cryptos success and I think is a helpful framework for such systems.


Paul aka Khromo Tue 1 Mar 2022 6:14PM

Totally against the "no" tokens or negative points. If you don't like a project - fine, don't vote for it - but it sounds here like you're giving people the option to block something or even get it "banned" simply because it's controversial.

Controversial can be a good thing - and we all need to have our ideals and ethics challenged at some point - and saying "no" to an art project simply because you don't agree with it is probably the most close-minded un-burnerlike response I can think of.

(That's not to say it should be a free-for-all: is something is blatantly racist or in violation of the principles, then I'm assuming it would never have gotten as far as the voting stage in the first place)


Universe Sat 19 Mar 2022 5:25PM

why 12k? 15k as proposed sounds good to be able to fund a few bigger/art-installation-only projects. let's not start giving up on that budget just yet :)


Paul aka Khromo Sat 26 Feb 2022 8:25PM

Agree with the no-democracy: one of the biggest things blocking art at kiezburn is people voting for their friends and not the actual art.
Also, move it away from the camps - I sometimes sense (perhaps unfairly) that there's some unhealthy competition between camps that absorbs funding.


Kris Sat 26 Feb 2022 8:27PM

Yeah, camps can fundraise 500 eur for their lube wrestling tub. It's fun, but probably not art.


Alex Kaos Sun 27 Feb 2022 9:02AM

Indeed, it seems there is strong agreement that big art is usually funded by art committees.

My intention with splitting the fund is that it separates the competition. You can only apply with Big Art, and the Dream guides can focus their energy on facilitating that process, as opposed to filtering all dreams.

12k€ for big art is very good, that can be anything from 3-15 impressive pieces, brought by individuals or small teams, with concise plans and vision. I predict we will have less applications than Big Art grant funding, and so all we do is encourage a little ambition in our community.

By ensuring that it has to go on the Plateau, it eliminates the camp-dream-fund fund-fare, and ensures only emboldened visionaries would even try.

I do however like that KB can fund little things, workshops, activates, performances and some camp offerings through the Dreams platform as it has been traditionally used.


Alex Kaos Wed 2 Mar 2022 9:46AM

We need a more refined way of scoring in order to differentiate the preference of the community.

We have a community preference already, and the purpose of this proposal is to simplify the Dreams process for the dream guides, the ticket holders and the dreamers.

I initially thought of the No votes to highlight exactly the list of controversial topics you stated above "Racism (and most of negative -isms), immoral, in violation of the principles".

And then the "If you don't want your money to go to this dream" was added. Because it is an equal representation of NOT voting for something in the original model (with limited tokens), it just doesn't sound so harsh. (seeing as the two outcomes are "Dream is funded or not")

Addressing how we can accept controversial topics whilst holding a principle (consent) that eats away on the edges of controversy is going to be an ongoing topic, but you are not the first to raise it. And the decentralization of art selection may challenge this. We don't know yet because we haven't run the experiment fully.

Then if we go back to my initial thought - That a No vote = Flag this Dream, then people don't vote no on their preference but instead 'flag' a dream that they believe is not in line with the principles, is immoral or unethical, or doesn't adhere to the Dreams or Art guidelines. It's distributing the policing of our art to the community, as opposed to the Dream Guides (who get put under immense pressure every year).

(as food for thought, I believe an end-game for many areas of KB is true decentralization. If everyone has had Ranger training and takes responsibility whenever they can, then we no longer need ranger shifts, as the role will be being filled in a distributed and organic fashion. The same would be true for Welfare, LNT, (basic) first aid, sound team, and theoretically, even Site Leads. I believe in decentralization, and am exploring how we can better facilitate great Art (and Dreams) without reverting by default to the default world's 'Art Committee' model)


Alex Kaos Wed 2 Mar 2022 9:54AM


"and saying "no" to an art project simply because you don't agree with it is probably the most close-minded un-burnerlike response I can think of."

Isn't that kind of the fundamental point of your entire argument? That you're saying no to this proposal because you don't agree with the new process here? Please correct me if I am wrong.


Paul aka Khromo Wed 2 Mar 2022 10:16AM

Ah, come on - saying no to a proposal is not the same as saying as saying no to a piece of art when you can simply not vote for said piece of art!

Also - as I said previously - if a piece of art or a project is obviously or ...phobic, or clearly goes against the principles I'm assuming it'll not be presented for inclusion. But this choice should be made by a dreams committee in consutation with the artist and not one person.

I think you're trying to complicate things here a bit: a simple "interested/not interested" option rather than "yes/no" might be a better way forward, and I agree with your "flag this dream" idea - I just don't think flagged/controversial dreams should be discriminated against and discussions should be more private between the burner, the organisation and the artist (again, assuming the flagged dream is not blatantly against the princples or it would never have been passed in the first place).


Alex Kaos Wed 2 Mar 2022 2:24PM

I see. You are operating under the assumption that the Dream Guides pre-filter all the dreams before they go online. That could be the case. But half the purpose of my proposal was to lessen that very time-consuming and emotionally exhausting process.

We will of course still require DG to go through all the dreams on 2 occasions. Once before the Voting period begins to reallocate Art projects that are really Dreams, and once at the end to address the 'tied' projects after the voting window has closed.

By having this system in place, we can give a stronger framework for the DG to make decisions based of, so that there is less emotional weight in the process.

We still need to create a ranking system in order to select with projects receive funding. A simple +1 or 0 (I like it / Don't care) is probably not fine-grained enough to differentiate most projects. We could make it +2 / +1 / 0 (I really like it / I like it / I don't care for it) + a flag system to highlight problems the DG might have missed (i.e. subtle racism etc, purchase of alcohol, camp costs subsidizing techniques, a violation of principles etc).
(Or even a scale of 0-5)

Maybe the flag only comes into consideration in the event of a tie after voting is closed. If a Dream was flagged, and that concern is valid, then it loses a 'point'.

If of course during the second run of the dreams from the DGs there is a project that is tied but they collectively think is awesome then they can choose to select that project over its contenders.

The DG can invest as much time and energy as they wish into the process. But as volunteers the minimum viable work should be easy and fun, and if they want to play Art Committee then they do so as they wish. They should decide for themselves.

That of course mathematically is indifferent to a +1, 0, -1 system that I initially proposed. But it would feel better, and less feelings would get hurt I guess. No harm in re-framing it like that!


Paul aka Khromo Wed 2 Mar 2022 7:20PM

Yeah, I can agree with most of this. I just don't think people should have the option to pull projects they don't personally agree with. What one person sees as subtle racism, another will not see anything wrong with. At that point, flag it and discuss it - don't negatively incentivise it.

Negative marks gives the impression that people may think it's crap art as much as it is unsuitable, but again - I don't like the idea of censorship at a burn and that sounds like the direction we're going in here.

2, 1, 0 with options to flag sounds like the best solution here and on that basis I would totally support the idea :)


Saskia Fri 18 Mar 2022 12:04AM

The dream process came to life because 2017 and 2018 the curation processes created a lot of interpersonal conflicts and left people drained. Funding allocation HAS left all teams somewhat drained every year, tho. I am at this point indifferent, I just wish to point out that whoever is in the committee should allocated a sufficient amount of time for communication with artists AND selfcare skills to boot.


Diarmaid Fri 18 Mar 2022 7:09PM

I'm working on a website to help with the receipts stuff - you can follow along if you want to.


Alex Kaos Mon 28 Feb 2022 5:18PM

What does a No Mean?

Concerning the "What does a 'no' mean?" and "Better guidelines for Dreams" points, perhaps we can fuse the answer:

  • Guidelines are defined by the Dreams Team before the applications begin

  • The 'No' function is how the community decides whether an applied project actually adheres to the dreams rules (or the participants interpretation of those rules)

    • There are at least a handful of active community members that have expressed dissatisfaction with what has been classified as Dreams in the past. This way we give them the power to influence what is a dream.

    • It removes the stress from a complex and tiresome to-and-fro between Dreamers and Dream Team, and leaves it for the active community to decide

This way it is more clear what a participant is saying 'no' to -> "No, I personally do not believe this dream adheres to the guidelines set in place, and I would prefer that my ticket contribution does not go to this project"

(also important to notice, is that the 'no' votes will be much 'stronger' than the 'yes' votes, as I agree that most people will vote 'yes' to most things)

The Dreams with the most relative No votes

We only need to filter out enough dreams to fit in the Dreams budget. In the past, this has only been about 10-15% of the # of applied dreams. It's very hard at this stage to estimate what that figure would look like if we removed the stretch goal.

We had 45 Dreams in KB21, 42 of which were funded, 37 of which completed their hand in and received a refund. I think the remainder were actually free anyways.

In KB19, I believe only 3-5 dreams didn't get funding.

In the event of a significant tie of the highest ratio dreams that gridlocks the finalization of funding, we could potentially:

  1. have the Dreams Team select from the ties who is cut out - (manual and biased, but harder to game and more human)

  2. From the tied dreams, remove the 'biggest (most funding request) first, working down, until the remaining dreams can be funded - (This allows the most # of Dreams (and therefor likely the most # of Dreamers/Participants to be realized and contribute)

  3. Remove from the lowest fund request first until the remaining Dreams can be funded - (which prioritizes 'bigger dreams', which under the above framework would most likely be camp-based projects, at the cost of lots of smaller workshops and projects)

  • Please let me know if any of you have a preference for any of these 3 methods

Quorum (will everyone vote)

As for having all the active voters vote on all the dreams, the Tinder (yes/no) system is meant to increase the probability that they go through all the dreams, as they only need to go through once and read things to their own satisfaction, it may take less than an hour, but significantly less than the previous system.


CJ Yetman Mon 28 Feb 2022 10:40PM

Thanks for the further specification of "no". It strikes me that, at least in my mind, the ideal situation would be that dreamers follow the rules on their own and there's no need for anyone to police them, which would mean if we reached the ideal situation, no one would legitimately receive a "no", and only maybe dreams that had someone actively trying to sabotage them. So then I would expect the ratios to be even closer clustered towards 100% "yes", and the dreams voting process becomes a crowd sourced compliance verification. I understand this is a hypothetical, "ideal" situation, but I'm trying to understand the direction/bias of things.

I don't have a strong opinion about the options for dealing with ties, but I suspect some others will. That reminds me of the spreadsheet bake-off that we had a few years ago that caused a lot of debate. It just comes down to which metric you want to optimize. (number of dreams, size of dreams, etc.)


Alex Kaos Tue 1 Mar 2022 10:03AM

Will it be possible to assign all ticket holders with unlimited (or a lot of) YES Tokens AND unlimited (or just a lot of) NO tokens. But only allow them to vote once per Dream? (That's the simplest solution I can think of right now using the framework of the Dreams Platform as it is....)

Or could we use the 'feedback monsters' feature that I don't think was so heavily used in the past.

Or the 'flagging system' that was used to highlight certain things, perhaps that can be adapted for this use?

We only need 2 buttons, or 2 options of voting. The rest can be processed on excel.

(Although actually in my later post with CJ it might be nice to have 3-5 voting options)


Saskia Fri 18 Mar 2022 12:09AM

Hei there, just snowing in to say that I really like to see the discussion going on here.

I am super excited to see the new dreams process at work and see if it makes things better. It sounds extremely well on paper so far! I like the fact that it aims to simplify. I understand what @Professor Kaos means with automation (although the term makes me cringe somehow, IDK why... ?) and I highly support the sentiment to make life easier for the volunteers as well as the artist.

Especially as certain things (i.e. receipe handling, tax stuff, financial stuff) need to stay complicated, because we're in germany. Let's make it easier for everybody where we can!

As for budget going where and whether sound and music is art and what is BIG ART and what is deserving to be art: I am over this discussion :) I don't understand art. I just like to play with things and look at nice things. :)


Universe Fri 11 Mar 2022 11:26PM

Hello awesome dreamers! My two cents: curation is okay. Curation can be good. Given that Kiez Burn has not has much big art in the past, it could be awesome to experiment with explicit curation and see what happens if we guide this a bit more and put emphasis on bigger art. I mean, this is the stuff that delights, that we remember, that we talk about, right? What if we were to earmark a 'big art budget' as per original P.Chaos suggestion of 15K - and make that explicitly available as 'big art grant' to the community. Then get some applications in, and make a curating decision on what we do fund. Maybe a huge and awesome for 10k plus some smaller ones, or any variation on that, depending on what comes in? Looking forward to populating that art playa with you all, let's do it :)


Diarmaid Mon 28 Feb 2022 10:11PM

I also really like this proposal. I think it gives a good balance of funding both small art projects, and large art projects.

I like removing the stretch goals, they were a bit of a disaster last year. Finding ways to simplify the budgets is good, that was a significant source of stress and work last year.

In terms of actually implementing the voting system, we are currently hosted on the borderlands servers. I would like to keep things there so that there is a history of the different dreams and projects that KiezBurn has supported (also, much less work for me). So we would have to either get them to implement a new voting system, implement a new voting system ourselves and get it merged in, or do some kind of hack to try to get the voting to work, which I would like to avoid.


Jaina Hirai Mon 28 Feb 2022 5:55PM

I love this proposal. I have been a dreamer and a dream guide and the system absolutely needs to be simplified. Let’s do it!


CJ Yetman Sun 27 Feb 2022 11:10AM

I like the vast majority of these ideas... especially the simplification stuff, e.g. no stretch goals, simple yes-no.

Using the ratio of votes makes me think there will be a very strong effect by whatever sorting or algorithm is used to present the dreams... those that show up more often will be voted on more, unless there is some mechanism to force or strongly encourage voters to vote on all dreams.

Unless there's a lot of participation, I think it will be very likely that there will be many ties, and there will need to be an additional mechanism to decide between them. I imagine not many dreams will get a lot of no's, unless people are being really hostile, so most dreams will end up in the 90+% range. Maybe that's optimistic, but "no" seems like a weird choice to me... personally I wouldn't really say no to a dream unless it was an egregious violation of the rules.

Speaking of which, an addition to your proposal that I would love to see is a very serious commitment to abiding by the rules initially presented before the application process begins. In past years those rules have been twisted in knots and eventually the dream team decides to allow things blatantly restricted, presumably to avoid a nasty argument over it or something. I for one will strongly support the dream team in following the rules and disallowing dreams that don't follow them.


Alex Kaos Sun 27 Feb 2022 9:40AM

Updated ideas from my genius Art partner:

  • Make Big Art Grant - > Art Grants by lowering the minimum budget to 150€

  • Workshops, workshop spaces, dancefloors, camp decoration, crafts, and gifts can only apply as Dreams

  • If a project wants to apply as an art piece, then they need to explain in their application 'why' this is an art piece. (whether installation, sculpture, performance etc). There is a big grey area that should be acknowledged.

  • The Dream Guides then filter through these applications (after application deadline, but before voting starts), and decide whether a project crosses the line of art or dream.

    • They base this from a review of what could be classified as art from previous KB Dreams.

    • There is a subjective element to this, but so would there be for an art committee, and art itself is inherently subjective.

I'm trying to establish clean-cut methods of simplifying everyone's life. Kiez Burn needs to be as automated as possible, and getting it exactly 'right' takes a time-commitment we should not be asking of volunteers.


Kris Sat 26 Feb 2022 8:20PM

I'm for it, it's a lot better than today. I'd encourage you to go further:

  • Projects under 500 eur can much more easily self-fund and fund-raise, change the split and give 60% or more to big projects.

  • Democracy is famously not a good way to decide what's art. Set an art committee, if you want to feel democratic have an election for it. I want more bold art.