AGP analysis and suggestions for improvement

voting
treasury-management
agp
#1

I’ve been following Aragon on and off for a while now and I’m really impressed. The dedication to the project’s mission, execution, and community is inspiring. You guys talk the talk and walk the walk. It’s amazing to see you guys push the frontier of community organization and engagement. Honestly one of my favorite projects in the blockchain space!

That being said, I haven’t seen a lot of data. There’s great discussions on the forum exploring DAOs, on-chain governance, and the Aragon product/community, but they often seem centered around people’s opinions. There’s occasionally links to things to provide context and support, but overall it’s not a data driven process. (I might be missing something here, so please correct me if I’m wrong!). This means that when things like AGPs come up, things get confusing. Lots of people have lots to say, and most of it sounds good. How do I know what’s what? I can’t verify what people are saying without spending my nights and weekends becoming a part-time researcher.

This is odd because:

A) One of the main selling points of Ethereum is that data is immutable and verifiable. Crypto and miners/stakers take care of the immutability. To verify things though, you need access to the data. Making data easily available seems like it should be one of the top priorities of the Ethereum community, but it’s actually really hard to find and verify stuff. Technically it’s possible to run your own node, use decentralized crypto protocols for messaging, and research everything else that’s in meat-space. Most people don’t. We just stick to Reddit and Twitter while using centralized 3rd party block explorers to occasionally check Ethereum stats. This is far from ideal, and not the vision of the future I want to see perpetuated. It’s essential that we have the data and resources we need to thrive as a community and make the best decisions possible.

B) One of the selling points of Aragon is governance via the ANT token. This includes voting on how to allocate treasury funds. The community has control, but a strong community requires people to be engaged and informed. The idea (I think) is that people will choose the proposals that support the community and create value for the platform while rejecting proposals that don’t make sense. This assumes that the community is actively participating in governance, understands Aragon’s various products, and see how they fit into the overall blockchain/tech market to solve problems and create value. It also assumes that the community can accurately price the proposals being offered and as to not overpay and get swindled or underpay and cause developers to inevitably fail. It also assumes that there are incentives for dev teams to deliver on proposals to the best of their ability. Traditionally in the startup world you go big or you go home, but there’s no in between. In the grant space though, esp in the blockchain space, it often feels like people are content just doing enough to scrape by because they know that the real payouts come from the irrationality of Mr. Market, not any specific product being built.

With that in mind, for the upcoming AGP’s I don’t feel comfortable pricing the requests for cash or evaluating the teams ability and desire to deliver. I also don’t understanding all the potential risks/rewards with proposed governance changes. The only real metrics I have available are my emotions, people’s arguments on the forum, and my personally limited knowledge of the space in relation to product/market fit as well as where we are in the public markets cycles. The larger We don’t have access to any of the data points or best practices that professional investors (VCs and traders) use to analyze opportunities and make decisions. As far as I know no one is even asking for them (which is even scarier). To compound that, any decision being made is going to be heavily colored by the events and conversations in the week or so leading up to the vote, rather than a rational long term perspective informed over several weeks or months. There is a deficit of concrete facts to support decision making! In the worst case creates a vulnerability that can be exploited via marketing campaigns and psy-ops (recent political events highlight this), but more realistically… I just won’t make the best decisions I can. This is a problem.

I have a few suggestions:

Community Resources

Things that support us making the best decisions possible.

  • :x: Aragon Full Node: A full Ethereum archive node available for Aragon projects to interact with. Apparently this is way more complicated than I thought. Also, most of the metrics that could affect the Aragon voting is market based rather than on-chain. I love the idea of a block explorer focused solely on Aragon, but atm we really need to improve load time and ux for the Aragon voting app. Maybe a full node will help with that, but probably not.
  • ANT Token Dashboard: a simple, easy to read, easy to verify dashboard displaying all metrics related to the ANT token, esp metrics that could affect on-chain voting (liquidity, price, etc…)
  • Aragon OWL: resources aggregating Aragon blog posts on governance/community stuff, potential attack vectors for on-chain voting/governance, and best practices for governance and community development from outside the Aragon or blockchain space.
  • Aragon Forum: literally just the forum that already exists lol. It’s awesome though, and essential to the overall community, so I’m listing it here to give a shout-out to everyone on the forum :slight_smile:

Requests For Cash

This would apply to grants, proposals, and anything else asking for money.

  • TL:DR Page: a high level summary of the proposal (who, what, where, when, why).
  • Product/Market Fit: a detailed report showing why this is awesome, how ANT holders benefit directly, and why this supports the long term goals of the Aragon community.
  • Burn Rate: a break down of what funds are being requested, what they’re going to be used for, and why that’s a reasonable valuation in the context of today’s market.
  • Team: a detailed report including links to past work, social media profiles (Reddit, GitHub, Twitter, etc…).
  • Community Engagement: an extended AMA (1 week) for the community to ask questions and weigh in on things.

^^ all of this presented at least a month before the actual vote so the community can debate and make informed decisions.


Requests For Governance Changes

This would apply to things that change the way the Aragon community operates.

  • TL;DR Page: a high level summary of the proposal (who, what, where, when, why).
  • Product/Community Fit: a detailed report showing why this is awesome, how ANT holders would benefit directly, and why this supports the long term goals of the Aragon community.
  • Security Analysis: a tribute to fund analysis on potential attack vectors the proposal might create in the community/protocol (psy-ops, market incentives, community sentiment, etc…).
  • Community Engagement: an extended AMA (1 week) where people can ask questions and critique the proposal.

^^ all of this presented at least a month before the actual vote so the community can debate and make informed decisions


Aragon Voting Gauntlet

  • > 1month: Anyone can create proposals. It’s encouraged, but not required, to get feedback from the community before doing so, as AGP-1 Step 2 suggests. At this time the signalling app could also be used to gather community sentiment. This would provide another data point for the AGP editors

  • 1 month: A month before the upcoming vote, submissions are closed. The AGP editors curate the proposals (removing those that don’t meet the submission guidelines) and present the best ones to the community for review.

  • 3 weeks: Every proposal has an AMA where the community can ask questions, critique proposals, and have open conversations. This allows for flaws to be discovered and/or proposals to brought into line with reality. Think of it as a time to review the rough drafts before final edits.

  • 2 weeks: After the AMA, there’s a week where proposals can be modified based on community feedback (final draft).

  • 1 week: Proposals are locked and the community has one more week to review and debate them before voting.

  • Voting: It happens.

  • 2 week review period: Tokens are locked and the vote is analyzed to ensure no capture or manipulation (dark DAO, etc…). I think there’s already provisions in place for this, but it’s worth mentioning again as part of the overall process.

  • New cycle where anyone can submit proposals.


I’m literally just brainstorming out loud here. There are many problems with these ideas, mainly that they add more work for voters even though there’s already limited engagement from the community. That being said, I think it’s important to think about this stuff. Reflecting seriously about the upcoming AGP vote, I don’t feel like I have the data I need to make the best decisions I can. This bothers me a lot. I hope that we can come up with much better solutions than what I proposed here. That way we can have better data to make better decisions for the next AGP vote! :slight_smile:


Edit: I’m slowly breaking these ideas into more manageable chunks and spinning them out into their own threads or proposals. I’ll update this main post with links as I do. Sorry for any potential confusions!

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#2

Dang there’s a ton of info and potential avenues for development in here. Lots of it good.

1st (emotion led response:)
I think there’s a general agreement that access to more ‘hard’ data would be useful. There’s an equal and important acknowledgment regarding how to make such info available whilst not impacting on concepts of freedom, decentralisation and anonymity (from my perception of the Aragon community anyhow).

Several of your above points are currently hazy milestones on our (slowly gaining clarity and focus) Aragon coop DAO roadmap. Perhaps once this vote is out the way and we can all think a little more clearly on longer term goals, you may be interested in joining our emergent coop community? This then could provide a clear practical methodology to put some of the above thoughts into practice. Equally, things like to Community Fund DAO would be useful process to gather forces and break possible tasks down into firm project proposals.

If I may add too –
Often I think you can possess all the data and game analysis that could possibly be gathered on any potential issue or project – and you still end up going with your ‘gut’ (“1st thought best thought”, etc.). Certainly from a couple of the funders and vc people I’ve spoken with, it often seems to come down to this for them also. Ditto from my own experience, e.g. putting records out and who to work with in the production/ distribution chain – you should already have some understanding of scope in the field, so will have narrowed it down to a couple of possible choices. At that point we’re into those lovely qualitative terms such as, who do I: get a good vibe from; seem kinda cool; would like to hang out with; know some more about; see get on in the world.
And much of that is also ok too IMO.

While I’d say that several of your requests for firmer processes are actually happening organically anyway, I can absolutely appreciate that if we wish to DAO such work these currently scattergun and impulsive approaches wont automate or scale.

Certainly though from my perspective, this is all an ongoing work of governance in practical progress – it’s also of much importance too. What I particularly like is the rapid process of iteration and deployment around here, as well as the sense of commitment encountered across the board (from what I’ve experienced anyhow). It’s also a (comparatively:) surprisingly coherent community. I’d put a lot of that down to the project governance structures and radical transparency already in place (w. much props to the founders and projects’ implementers [if that’s even a word]). My perception as a community member says there’s certainly useful scope for action for all the above, hope you stick around.

3 Likes
#3

I think there’s a general agreement that access to more ‘hard’ data would be useful. There’s an equal and important acknowledgment regarding how to make such info available whilst not impacting on concepts of freedom, decentralisation and anonymity (from my perception of the Aragon community anyhow).

Right. The idea is just to give people tools to make better decisions, not to sway their decisions in any particular direction. As is, it seems like there’s lots of room for people opinions and perceptions to be swayed if they don’t have a prior foundation of knowledge in the space (the blockchain space, investment models and best practices, Aragon products, etc…). I think more data would help compliment the already awesome systems in place :slight_smile:

Several of your above points are currently hazy milestones on our (slowly gaining clarity and focus) Aragon coop DAO roadmap. Perhaps once this vote is out the way and we can all think a little more clearly on longer term goals, you may be interested in joining our emergent coop community? This then could provide a clear practical methodology to put some of the above thoughts into practice. Equally, things like to Community Fund DAO would be useful process to gather forces and break possible tasks down into firm project proposals.

Cool! I’m not an expert on everything going on in the Aragon community so I’m really glad that these things are already being discussed. Are there any specific threads, posts, or resources you’d recommend to learn more about the Community Funding DAO? (I’ve read through a few related posts here and there on the forum, but it sounds like it’s worth doing a deep dive)

Often I think you can possess all the data and game analysis that could possibly be gathered on any potential issue or project – and you still end up going with your ‘gut’ (“1st thought best thought”, etc.).

100%. Most everyone just gathers data to support their original bias rather than the other way around. That being said, it’s hard to “go with your gut” in an async decentralized digital community. Maybe a few people in the ecosystem have built prior relationships and have the privilege to go to conferences and talk face to face, but the majority of the people are limited to what’s online. More data makes it easier for more people to make better decisions at scale.

Edit: also, while I might generally feel like a proposal is a good idea, I have no idea if the amount of funds requested or timeline is appropriate. “Going off my gut” I’ll just say yes, but then that makes the AGP process a lucrative venture for lazy devs to put together a flashy proposal, make the community feel good about it, and then half deliver. I’m not saying projects are currently doing this, but it’s the blockchain space and if it can happen it will happen (can’t > won’t). If people are asking for money or changes to the Aragon gov process, it’s reasonable to ask them to provide more data on exactly what they’re doing, why it benefits the ANT community, and why their ask (time and money) is reasonable and aligned with current the market value for such.

While I’d say that several of your requests for firmer processes are actually happening organically anyway, I can absolutely appreciate that if we wish to DAO such work these currently scattergun and impulsive approaches wont automate or scale.

I’m not requesting any specific process, but merely floating ideas out there to start a conversation. I’m aware that I don’t know what I don’t know, but I’m hoping to learn more through these conversations and contribute to creating things that help myself the community make better informed decisions.

Agreed! I’ve been so impressed with Aragon from the manifesto to the rapid evolution of the community to the actually shipment of real products that real people can use to solve real problems. That’s why I’m here taking the time to share ideas. I think you guys are doing something really awesome :slight_smile:

2 Likes
#4

Hey Burrrata,

Nice post…

Re CFDAO: I guess the main ones for me, which you may have already read, are1, 2 & 3.

They at least provide some outline of current community scope, thoughts and outcomes re the DAO. I think a couple of projects have already finalised so it’s definitely ‘live’ too:).

1 Like
#5

I think this is a real challenge that we are facing head on. Participating as an ANT holder in the governance process is challenging, not just because it takes time to review proposals and to actually vote, but because the analysis, information gathering, and ultimately expertise required to make a good decisions is high. I think the suggestions you make are good, and would be happy to see them formalized into one or more meta track AGPs that help refine the processes and encourage earlier proposal submission and establish greater expectations on the information included in various proposal tracks.

However, I also think that even with all that additional information the decision for the average ANT holder is still going to be difficult, and there will be noise and information that is available that isn’t necessarily validated all that well. I think introducing delegation/proxy voting can help, I also think we could use the futarchy app for signaling purposes on AGPs to help minimize information asymmetry.

Are you interested in forming a small working group to draft some of these suggestions into meta track AGPs?

1 Like
#6

That all sounds great. It’s important to be realistic that the goal of a fully enlightened society/community is just that, a goal. It’s also a direction to move towards and there’s a lot we can do to improve the current process for all parties involved. Happy to help however I can :slight_smile:

Edits:

  • Is this the futarchy app you’re referring to?
  • Also, it seems like there’s lots of cool stuff going that, and even though I’ve spent a good amount of time researching the project and reading through the forum, I still feel relatively clueless lol. Is there a shared roadmap/dashboard that people regularly update to see the status of Aragon’s flock team goals, status of current projects moving towards those goals, as well as supplementary developments from Nest grants that also move in those directions? Seems like something like that would be great for new people to quickly and clearly see where things are at and where they’re going. It also might be a good check-in exercise for teams to regularly review, update, and reflect on their projects too. Does something like that exist?
#7

Yes thats the one!

There is the official project roadmap where the milestones that were proposed by flock teams and approved in the AGP process are listed. Most teams use the forum as sort of a main hub for updated and larger discussions.

I agree that it’s getting difficult to keep track of everything that is going on, I think part of that comes from a bit of information overload when everything is public and transparent and there are updates coming from various individual community members and teams. I think figuring out a good, consistent way to distill things down to the most important bits for new users is something we can definitely work on.

2 Likes
#8

Ok cool. The roadmap has a great UI and is clearly organized. It’s missing a lot of the cool stuff I’ve seen discussed on the forum though. It would be awesome if there was a way to also view current Nest projects (maybe as an option the user could select if they wanted). It would also be great if when you click on each item, it would take you to a summary of the project that also displays links to the team, project repo, official AGP/grant page, and any relevant forum posts. Then each project manager (whoever’s responsible for that project) could submit a weekly PR with updates to be merged in by the website admin. That would really help me understand the platform from a high level and connect the dots.

2 Likes
#9

@burrrata

You may find the data provided by scout interesting:

#10

Scout is cool, but it’s not open source :confused:

It’s also not being built specifically for Aragon, and as such the Aragon community cannot create changes or add features as needs grow. I think it makes more sense to have a community full archive node and a ANT dashboard (aragon.com/dashboard or something) where ANT holders can go to see all relevant ANT token information and metrics (and eventually metrics on DAOs too, maybe integrating with daolist)

#11

@burrrata not sure why you linked to the EIP0 post, but if you are referring to Aragon’s commitment to help fund a open source tool for data based signaling for Ethereum that project is https://tennagraph.com which was initially funded through our Nest grants program. Its awesome, but not really designed for general dapp data analytics.

#12

Wait… where? I don’t think I linked to the EIP0 post…

Edit: just saw that and fixed it! My bad.

Also, Tennagraph looks awesome, but last I heard they’re looking for more funding and right now just self reporting people’s sentiments on social media. I wish more people would use signalling mechanisms though. I started aggregating a list of them here, but they have much adoption. I think the Aragon signalling app could be really useful though because there’s an active community here that already uses and understands Aragon, so using an Aragon signalling app isn’t as big of a jump as Reddit/Twitter => dApps.

#13

Maybe it was by mistake… :upside_down_face:

#14

No no no it was mine! Thanks for catching that :slight_smile:

#15

I’m very much supportive of expanding the scope of DAOlist if @onbjerg is up for it.

I could also see operating an archive node for the community as something that the Aragon Cooperative might be interested in taking on.

I generally have a preference for open source solutions… but I won’t hesitate to use existing proprietary solutions if they provide value and are not trying to be exploitative. Working with the Scout team has been a great experience and I’ve got that metrics dashboard book marked.

1 Like
#16

We’ve been using the Aragon Coop org for 1 person 1 vote signaling on AGPs, and plan to use the survey app for ANT signaling between AGP cycles, the main bottleneck is that the current version of the survey app doesn’t have a graphical interface for creating new surveys so we have been waiting on that to switch over from the normal binary choice voting app in the cooperative org.

I think @sohkai is trying to push a small update to it that provides an interface for creating surveys in the client. So hopefully we can incorporate that soon!

1 Like
#17

I’m very much supportive of expanding the scope of DAOlist if @onbjerg is up for it.

From a convenience perspective it would be cool if you could just go to aragon.org/ANT to get token related data and aragon.org/DAOs to get all data related to DAOs.

1 Like
#18

I’d love for Daolist to be a customizable Aragon “dashboard”/search engine. That’s totally the long-term idea - things such as customizing the “profile page” of your DAO, or customizing how your app looks on Daolist is something I’ve thought a lot about.

If this is something the Coop is serious about, then I’d be very interested in being pinged when/if that happens, for Daolist :slight_smile:

2 Likes
#19

@burrrata , I am the cofounder of Scout. I have to apologize that we are doing a terrible job in terms of communicating to people what we do and how we do it. We’re a small team and has been laser point focusing on the most critical features that our customers want. That means we have been brutally prioritizing MUST HAVE features and de-prioritizing NICE TO HAVE or DON’T NEED NOW features.

We have been in contact with Jorge, Luis, Luke, Brett, Patricia and Light. So most of the data analysis are based their request. Our product is quite flexible and we can support different dashboards (width different data charts) for different stakeholders in the community.

It’s expensive and time consuming to develop, maintain and scale a data analytics product especially when it is not the core of Aragon’s business. Obviously, you can say I am biased. But that’s the pattern I have seen during the era of Web and mobile. And I believe it will repeat in the blockchain era as well.

Having an aragon url for aragon data dashboard is pretty simple to achieve technically. And we do plan in the future to let people customize their dashboard with their own branding.

#20

Scout displays a lot of the data I’d like to see, but I have no way to check where that data comes from or how it’s being measured. All the things you mentioned are great, but I want something that is open source and end-to-end verifiable. I get that that’s not your core business and you’re doing your thing. That’s totally fine.

Having data be immutable and verifiable is kind of the foundation of blockchains and Ethereum. For people to trust and understand Aragon, DAOs, and on-chain voting it will help to be able to “see” and access data on demand whenever however people want. I think it makes sense to have something similar to Scout, but that is directly part of the Aragon community and focused on the Aragon community. This will allow for greater transparency for ANT votes and metrics, as well as greater transparency into DAO activity. It just seems like of essential.

If I’m going to create a DAO I want an easy way to query and measure all the relevant metrics to that DAO. If I’m going to vote with ANT I was to understand the voter turnout and see how the vote was affected by multiple accounts vs whales, if the liquidity changed significantly before/after the vote, and/or the health of the network at all times. Rght now, demand for this is low because demand for any dApps are low. As Aragon scales and more and more people use the network to govern things they care about, these metrics are going to be very very important. As you said, rolling a data analytics product is hard. It’s best we start now so that we’re ready when the time comes rather than scrambling after something controversial happens where people get upset, but then have no way to easily verify things, so drama ensues.

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