An overview of the Flashbots forum

:wave: This document is intended to give a high level overview of our forum, how it can evolve over time and a couple of proposed changes.

The document is divided in 7 parts:

  1. Overview
  2. Categories and tags
  3. Content
  4. Users & permissions
  5. Plugins
  6. Design
  7. Guidelines & moderation

1. Overview

The Flashbots forum has been public for roughly two months and is quickly maturing into becoming the central platform for our community to communicate. As our impact continues to grow it’s essential that we:

  1. Maintain open and efficient spaces for our community to communicate and coordinate.
  2. Double down on our commitment to be transparent, encourage participation and invite the broader community to hold us accountable on our actions and promises.
  3. Provide straightforward access to research, announcements, data and other information with the ability to comment and discuss.

I believe that one of the most important puzzle pieces towards this vision is our forum.

Building out our forum is a continuous process however and should be performed in a collaborative way based on community feedback and needs. My ambition with this document is therefore not to give definite detailed answers, but rather for it to serve as a transparent foundation to collectively build upon.

xkcd 1691

Feel free to suggest changes to any part of the forum in this thread or under Site feedback!

Before we dive in, I want to give a huge shout out to @guayabyte for the incredible work you’ve done on the forum – so much care and thoughtfulness has been put into the platform to get us to where we are today! :pray::pray:

2. Categories and tags

Activity on Discourse can be divided into categories, subcategories, and tags. Used right, these provide an excellent way for users to navigate and find information even in the most active of forums. Categories and tags should be able to evolve over time though based on the content and conversation taking place (instead of the other way around where categories and tags define the type of activity that’s allowed).


The structure of our categories have already been through a couple of iterations based on usage and feedback. Our current categories, and their relative position, are structured based on audience with the following logic:

  1. The Flashbots Ship for general discussions
  2. SUAVE - discussion related to SUAVE
  3. Research - publications and discussions
  4. FRPs - Flashbots Research Proposals - Category specifically for FRPs
  5. Data - Data related to MEV, PBS etc
  6. Searchers, Block Builders, Relays. Separate categories for each actor in MEV-Boost.
  7. Site Feedback -
  8. Mates only for internal Flashbots coordination

Each category should have a pinned post with a cleardescription. This pinned message should also include links to relevant documentation, articles, dashboards and similar resources.
Furthermore, these pinned threads currently have an expiration and gets unpinned after 1-2 months. I propose we remove this expiration and have these threads always be pinned at the top of each category.


Tags are an excellent way to highlight the type of content in a thread or call out certain audiences the author wants to attract. In contrast to categories, each thread can have multiple tags. Any users above trust level 1 have the ability to add new tags. As an author of a new thread, you should make sure to always add relevant tags to help your audience find the conversation. The tags-dropdown menu on the landing page is sorted by activity, this list should be cleaned up every now and then to make sure it doesn’t get too inflated.

:eyes: Pro tip: By adding a tag or category to your Watchlist you will get notified whenever a new thread or post is published!


Shortcuts have been added to the top navigation bar to increase awareness towards important tags. These are visible on all pages of our forum. The current list of shortcuts are:


Topics assigned the featured tag will be presented on the landing page of our forum. A maximum of 3 topics can be displayed on the landing page in the featured section at once.

3. Content

The forum increases transparency and makes it easier to discover content, read up on conversations and participate in discussions. With an agile forum structure that is able to respond to changes based on usage and feedback I believe we can, and should encourage a wide spectrum of activity. In this early stage of the forum we should let our community assist with carving out a structure that fulfills their needs. Beside these conversations that will naturally emerge, here’s a non-exhaustive list of additional content that will from now on be posted on the forum and available for anyone to engage with:

  • Research publications and discussions
  • Product progress, metrics, roadmaps, discussions
  • Announcements, updates, releases, events
  • Transparency reports and other summaries, explainers
  • memes

The Merge ⁽ᵒᶠ ᵂʳᶦᵗᶦⁿᵍˢ ᵃⁿᵈ ᵒᵘʳ ᶠᵒʳᵘᵐ⁾

To help enshrine the forum as a central piece in terms of content; publications that would previously be posted on Writings will now be posted on the forum.

This change will make it easier to participate in discussions and retrieve information on processes and decisions at a later stage. Discussions that would otherwise occur elsewhere are now captured here and can be revisited as new ideas and perspectives get introduced.

Not only will new publications be posted on the forum but the current content catalog on Writings will be also ported over!
In order to make this seamless I propose we do the following (Updated 2022-11-08):

  1. Repost all content from the system user as a new thread.
  2. Add the same, and preferably additional tags.
  3. At the top of each thread include:
    a. “This post was originally posted on 202Y-MM-DD”
    b. “Author: @name
  4. Edit the timestamp of the thread to the original post date. This will help with searching & sorting.
  5. On Writings; Add a link to the corresponding forum thread for each post.

4. Users & permissions

Our forum is currently using the following user trust levels:

Level 0 - New account
  • Create new topics
  • Post replies
  • Edit posts
  • Post links
  • Embed media
Level 1 - Basic
  • Requirements:
    • Entering at least 5 topics
    • Reading at least 30 posts
    • Spend a total of 10 minutes reading posts
  • Benefits:
    • Send PMs
    • Flag posts
    • Mute & ignore users
Level 2 - Member
  • Requirements:
    • Visiting at least 15 days, not sequentially
    • Casting at least 1 like
    • Receiving at least 1 like
    • Replying to at least 3 different topics
    • Entering at least 20 topics
    • Reading at least 100 posts
    • Spend a total of 60 minutes reading posts
  • Benefits:
    • Create new tags
    • Create wiki posts
    • Use the “Invite others to this topic” button for one-click onboarding of new users to participate in topics
    • Invite outside users to PMs making a group PM
    • Daily like, edit, and flag limits increased by 1.5×
    • Edit their own posts for up to 30 days after posting
Level 3 - Regular
  • Requirements: (in the last 100days):
    • Must have visited at least 50% of days
    • Must have replied to at least 10 different non-PM topics
    • Of topics created in the last 100 days, must have viewed 25% (capped at 500)
    • Of posts created in the last 100 days, must have read 25% (capped at 20k)
    • Must have received 20 likes, and given 30 likes.*
    • Must not have received more than 5 spam or offensive flags (with unique posts and unique users for each, confirmed by a moderator)
    • Must not have been suspended or silenced in the last 6 months
  • Benefits:
    • Edit other users wiki posts
    • Recategorize and rename topics
    • Post anonymous
    • L3 spam flags cast on L0 user posts immediately hide the post
    • Daily like, edit, and flag limits increased by 2×
Level 4 - Moderator
  • Requirements:
    • Promoted by Admin
  • Benefits:
    • Edit all posts
    • Pin/unpin topic
    • Close topics
    • Archive topics
    • Split and merge topics

(All Flashbots mates are assigned TL4 when joining)

To signal association with an organization, or a role, please set your Custom Status.

5. Plugins

The following Discourse plugins are currently active on this forum:

  • Discourse Math: Display mathematical notation in posts, use it by wrapping text with the $-symbol.
  • Discourse Reaction: Enables additional post reactions to be selected.
  • Solved: Allows users to accept solutions to their topics and mark them as solved.
  • Checklist: Enables interactive checkboxes to be added to posts
  • Discourse Graphviz: Create graphs in posts.
  • Spoiler alert: Provides the ability to hide content marked with a [spoiler] tag in posts.
  • Follow: Allows users to follow other users and receive notifications of their activity.

Additional plugins to be added:

6. Design

In order to make our forum more beautiful, @deadpine has developed a Discourse theme which we hope will improve discoverability and make the overall user experience a bit more pleasant. Our thoughts behind the design choices, and how to activate it, can be found in this thread. Feedback is very welcome! :art:

7. Guidelines & moderation

The forum, just like any other communication channels, deserves clear guidelines and moderation in order to limit noise and create the atmosphere we seek to achieve.

All community members should feel welcome and comfortable participating in discussions and individuals who violate our rules should be addressed right away. If you see bad behavior please flag it! More information regarding guidelines and moderation policy can be found here.


I have been heavily pruning the tags:

I think that during the first months we should have maybe 20-30 tags, so I’m using the ones users suggest just as a mental guide for when I choose the tags dictatorially :crown: For example, I would remove design, guidelines, plugins, and categories-tags from your post.

@Fred Do you have any alternative preference for how to handle tags? Or would you like me to stop re-tagging and own it? I’m having fun, but I have no strong preference if you own it.

Yeah, I was experimenting a bit with the tags just before posting this. I couldn’t find any previously created tags that would fit and it felt a bit contradictory to leave the tags-field blank :sweat_smile:

It would be neat if we could restrict tags to specific to certain categories.
I agree that design, guidelines, plugins, and categories-tags are a bit unecessary, they would make sense if they would only exist within Site Feedback and not clutter the forum-wide tags list.

I’ll remove these and add brainstorming.

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I approve on brainstorming. I’m proud of that one :slight_smile:

I’ve been thinking some more on how we should duplicate content from Writings → Forum in a seamless and intuitive way. The new set up I propose is:

  1. Repost all content from the system user as a new thread (if it does not already have a corresponding thread)
  2. Add the same, and preferably additional tags.
  3. At the top of each thread include:
    a. “This post was originally posted on 202Y-MM-DD”
    b. “Author: @name
  4. Edit the timestamp of the thread to the original post date. This will help with searching & sorting.
  5. On Writings; Add a link to the corresponding forum thread for each post.

I’ve tested out math equations and tables and it translates beautifully. We will need to add a plugin for footnotes though. Syntax highlighting for code snippets should also be added.

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Footnotes plugin installed. :heavy_check_mark:

About adding solidity, I’m not sure how to do it. I’ve asked here: Configure which programming languages are available for syntax highlighting - #2 by elopio - admins - Discourse Meta

Thanks for taking care of this @Fred. I approve whatever way you want to try. This one seems good to me.


A couple of updates:

  1. The Categories-tab, which is also the forum’s landing page, has been updated. The update removes the “Latest”-threads on the right side and presents the different categories as cards.

    Very curious what people think. I think it creates a bit of a calmer experience without the mail-inbox-looking list of new activity grabbing users attention. It helps to direct users to the separate categories instead of mixing it all together. The Latest-tab still exists just like normal, I’ve just removed it from also showing up under Categories.

    I think this change will be even more important with higher forum activity as the list of Latest and Top will constantly update and mix all kinds of content across all categories on the forum.

    We are looking into ways to highlight certain tags on the landing page, for example #announcement and #article.

  2. The MEV-Boost category has been deprecated and topics that previously lived there have been moved to the #Flashbots Ship-category. A new #mev-boost-tag has been added to relevant topics.

    All topics are now categorized based on user group/audience, or in the general #Flashbots ship which spans across all groups.

    In order to make it straight forward to navigate to the discussions related to MEV-Boost a link has been added to the navigation bar to the new #mev-boost -tag.


  3. Improvements continue to be made to our discourse theme which we are looking to roll out as default this week. An update will be posted in the thread as we go live. Let us know what you think, and how we can improve further!

    EDIT: The new theme is now set as the forum default!
    (Standard theme can still be used from settings)

  4. A couple of links have been added to the hamburger menu to easier access our Website, Docs, Github and Calendar:

  5. The content duplication from Writings to the forum is postponed a couple of weeks.
    The event will cause a bit of noise on the forum as the 30+ posts will be published as new threads. Want to make sure we time this right and cause the least amount of disturbance.

  6. We are looking into ways to customize the forum to better filter and signal topics that are published on the behalf of the Flashbots collective, i.e posts that would have been previously published on Writings.

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With the publication of SUAVE, OSS Builder and cost of resilience Writings and christmas just around the corner I think it’s time to kickstart the big migration (duplication) of content from Writings.

In order to make this as seamless and intuitive as possible I propose we do the following:

  1. Repost all Writings content that does not already have a corresponding thread from the system user.
  2. Add the same, and preferably additional tags (can be done after the following steps).
  3. At the top of each new thread add:
    a. “This post was originally posted on 202Y-MM-DD”
    b. “Author: Name nameson, @name
  4. Edit the timestamp of the thread to the original post date. This will help with searching & sorting. This might also help removing the topics from drawing out the “Latest”-page.
  5. On Writings: Add a link to the corresponding forum thread at the top of each post.

@guayabyte can you help me with step 1 and 4? :pray:

1 Like

Yes! On it…

Edit: @Fred I’m done :slight_smile: Please review, because this was a hand-crafted job and it will have a few mistakes.

  • I did 1, 3, and 4.
  • I’ve tagged all the posts as “writings”: Topics tagged writings
  • The <!--truncate--> tag doesn’t work. I’ve left it there anyway, maybe in the future there will be a discourse plugin that can parse it.
  • It’s not clear if the research posts have to be in the research category. For now I’ve moved all of them to The Flashbots Ship - The Flashbots Collective
  • I’m not sure what to do with The Cost of Resilience and The Future of MEV is SUAVE. For now, I didn’t touch them.
  • Every time you edit the post you will have to change the timestamp, so it doesn’t go to the top.
  • I will insist, let’s just get rid of the writings website :wink:

Let me know if I can help with something else.

Amazing, thank you so much @guayabyte :dizzy:

Great, I’ve added a direct link in the navigation bar to increase discoverability:

Imo the posts should be categorized as if they were posted today on the forum. So research-related content under research. The writings -tag will act as an aggregated view of all posts.

Let’s keep these as is! Just need a way to direct the reader from Writings to the corresponding forum-thread.

Will sync with @deadpine and explore solutions that are a bit more elegant than shoehorning in a hyperlink at the top of each post.

  • Every time you edit the post you will have to change the timestamp, so it doesn’t go to the top.

Good to know! I will wait with adding tags and moving research to Research until later this month, so we can coordinate :pray:

Here’s a quick summary of some of the updates made to the forum since my last post. Along with various smaller adjustments, these are the larger changes:

  • Our custom theme has been set to default!
    The theme is available in both light- and darkmode, with the standard Discourse theme available under user preferences.

  • The content catalog from Writings has been ported over to the forum, with correct tags and categories as described above.

  • The pinned posts in each category has been updated with brief description and relevant resources. These topics are now pinned indefinitely, instead of for a set duration.

  • A couple of plugins and components have been installed:

    • Discourse Graphviz: To enable users to create graphs in posts.
    • Spoiler alert: Provides the ability to hide content marked with a [spoiler] tag in posts.
    • Follow: Allows users to follow other users and receive notifications of their activity.
    • Auto abbreviations: Automatically adds a tooltip for a list of pre-defined acronyms & abbreviations.

What’s next:

  • We are experimenting with adding a “featured”-section on the landing page to direct attention to important or time-sensitive topics.

  • We are working on ways to more seamlessly connect posts on Writings with their corresponding forum thread.

  • Perhaps move the #site-feedback -category to be a subcategory under #ship .

Feedback, thoughts, ideas, and inspiration on how to improve further

With the forum being live for 6 months, our new theme being default, and the overall structure and feature-set settling in, I think it’s a great time to collectively think about how we can improve things further.

I find to be the best way to gather feedback and identify areas to focus on for broad topics like this. I’ve therefore initiated this: :point_right: Flashbots Forum polis :point_left: for us to collectively brainstorm on how we can improve the forum experience further.

I would really appreciate it if you could interact with it by voting on the existing statements and adding new ones. It is anonymous and it only takes a couple of minutes.

The polis will run until the end of February, make sure to check in every now and then to vote on new statements being added.
Thank you!:pray:

1 Like

Thank you to everyone participating in the February Forum! :tada:

Some quick metrics before we dive into the results:

:raising_hand_woman: 31 individuals participated
:memo: 24 statements were submitted
:ballot_box: 455 total votes were cast

One of the many things I love about is that the statements are formulated by the participants themselves and evolve over the course of the event. The person initiating the, have a limited role in influencing, or restricting, the way the conversation takes shape. This does however mean that the effort and time required from the participants increases.

With that in mind, I’m happy with the participation and I believe we got some valuable results that may guide us as we work to improve our community platforms further and foster a culture of knowledge sharing and collaboration.


:handshake: Statements with high consensus from participants:

:green_circle: “Share more links in the forum to open to the community the things that are relevant for our research.”

:green_circle: “Get Flashbots mates to share more drafts, rough ideas, counter arguments, and shower thoughts, to open up our processes to the community.”

:green_circle: “Provide technical support in discourse to start a collective and emergent knowledge base.”

:green_circle: “The research lit talks should be open.”

:red_circle: “The Flashbots notion should be open.”

:green_circle: “Find a way to turn the competitive OFA landscape into a collaborative ofa landscape, everybody evaluating and prototyping ideas in the forum”

:open_hands: Statements with diverse answers from participants, >30% of participants who saw these statements ‘passed’:

:white_circle: “Move the site feedback category into the flashbots ship category.”

:white_circle: “Enable and encourage the chat functionality on Discourse as an alternative to Discord”

:white_circle: “Restructure the categories on the forum to be product- & research-based instead of audience-based”

:white_circle: “Use discourse as the single place to interact with our community and collaborators. Migrate away from discord, twitter, and slack.”

:white_circle: “Use the globally pinned topics to highlight the most relevant topics instead of having a separate writings website.”


In general we see that the statements with high consensus were related to how participants want the forum to be used. These statements were related to transparency, collaboration, and accessibility in the research and development processes.

We see a strong consensus on the importance of sharing more links and research ideas, providing technical support, and opening up research talks to the broader community. There’s also a call for Flashbots mates to share more knowledge and have more conversations in the open.

The statements that did not reach consensus and had diverse answers are in general more related to how the forum should be structured, e.g how categories should be set up and which features to add. So while there is broader agreement on the goals and usecases of the forum, there are differing opinions on how to achieve them.

The full report, with a lot more detail can be found here:

If you have any questions or would like to share additional insights from the report, please feel free to do so below! :sun_with_face:

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As a way to increase discoverability and highlight the Flashbots Research Proposals further we’ve moved the category from a subcategory under #research to a new top-category: #frp.

Over the next weeks we’ll improve this new category more and make it easier to dive into the various FRPs

Here’s a bit of a delayed update on two noteworthy changes we recently made to enchance our forum even more:

1. We’ve added a “Featured section” on the landing page of our forum. The goal of this is to help bring attention to important or urgent topics. A hand-picked list of topics that’s relevant for our community to easier join these conversations.

Two topics being featured and displayed on the landing page

2. To improve the user flow from Writings to our forum, and encourage discussion, we’ve added a “Leave a reply”-button linking to each corresponding forum post.

“Leave a reply”-feature on a Writings-post.

  • Data , previously a subcategory under Research , has been moved to an independent top category!

  • By popular demand, a shortcut to the-mev-letter has been added in the navigation bar at the top. We will look into what’s possible with regard to adding a custom link at the top of the page to subscribe. (Users can already subscribe with the :bellhop_bell:icon (try it out if you haven’t!) but it’s worth exploring if we can improve the UX/intuitiveness.

  • We are looking into the possibility of adding a footer similar to what exists on our Website with handy links to Github, Documentation, Status etc.

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