An optimist's take on Flock

I’m a natural optimist. If it wasn’t for the fact that I’m surrounded by skeptics, I doubt things would work, and instead everything would live in the realm of idealism. So I’m an optimist, and this is gonna be an optimist’s take.

Now, if you are in the Flock, or want to be: Pour yourself a drink and find a comfortable spot to sit. I should probably do the same, except I cannot during this week. It’s probably the busiest 10 days of my personal life, doing things I have literally postponed for 7 years of my life because I’m very busy, I’ll do it next year. I’m upset, angry, stressed out and sad that I have to pick up my keyboard the night before my birthday and write this.

But I got so much pressure to position myself and clarify what’s going on, and writing it was better than living with that anxiety inside. I blame no one other than entropy and randomness for choosing this week for things to unfold. Here are my thoughts.

I love Flock

I came up with Flock. So hell yeah I love it. You can read the series of blog posts I wrote on the matter of decentralizing Aragon’s governance development. My opinions are still the same.

Luke had some interesting ideas about switching to a project-based funding mechanism instead of lump-sum. This is so DAO-alike structures can apply for funding or even Flock. I told Luke it’d be ironic for a DAO not to be able to work for the Network or become a Flock team. And I still think we need to figure that out. But I will position myself: I love the current Flock lump-sum funding. It allows teams to provide some financial stability and that allows things such as hiring top-notch talent.

My personal take: I still stand by Flock and I wouldn’t want to come back to a one dev team approach. If ANT holders just want one dev team, sure, but I would oppose passing any AGPs that kill Flock or any other legitimate process for new development teams to get funded and work on the project. For me, that’d be like instituting a state of national emergency, which is what all future dictators do before becoming actual dictators.

It’s been chaotic

I already told AA members that I’m not happy with the lack of oversight and more formalized processes. This was maybe due to the size of the AA team and other factors, and I believe they have taken the feedback and will take measures.

On the other hand, some interactions between Flock teams have been very smooth (e.g. working on Aragon Fundraising development AFAIK), while others haven’t (e.g. getting some of Open Enterprise PRs merged into upstream aragonJS and the Aragon client).

However, I think chaos is not an excuse. Let me use some relationships wisdom here: couples don’t usually break up because they face an issue. They do break up because they don’t communicate well.

Teams work the same way. A team made of members who deeply understand and know how to communicate with each other will overcome all challenges to climb the highest mountain.

Said otherwise, chaos can be counterbalanced with communication, and communication is all about both culture and attitude.

And let me set the record straight: Some members from my team, including me, haven’t been happy with our communication with Autark. Now that’s not an excuse either; we owe more feedback to Yalda and her team, and feedback will be sent her way. We are all here to improve, and I’d expect the same from any other Flock member if there is any feedback you have for A1. If there is one point from Luke’s post that I’d highlight, is that we need to be more direct in communicating. I recognize that as a natural optimist I haven’t been good at this, and neither have been some A1 members.
My personal take: After months of extremely hard work, everyone is stressed out as fuck. Now it’s the perfect time for the purge: the one occasion when we are all entitled to give direct feedback to each other and let go of tension. These things hurt in the short term but are great in the long-term. Bad outcomes filter who stays and who leaves, good outcomes create unbreakable bonds. I hope we will have time to hug each other in Osaka.

Lack of information can destroy the project

Not even full-time members of the ecosystem (me included, to my own surprise) know well very basic stuff like the approved compensation package for Flock teams. That’s just outrageous.

Now imagine ANT holders… I don’t think we can continue like this. I just saw an anon user submitted an AGP for an annual project expenditure. I was going to ask for this in the forum, but was very happy to see someone was on it already.

When I came up with Flock, I think I estimated there would be 5 Flock teams by 2022 or so.

It’s 2019 and we are 3 already. That’s not a problem per se, but it can become unmanageable if ANT holders just vote everyone in.

My personal take: There should be more tools to inform ANT holders. The transparency portal is a shame now, doesn’t even tell the project’s burn rate. Without mechanisms like this, it’s just impossible for holders to make informed decisions. I’d either support a yearly budget for all expenditures, or concentrating all recurrent Finance AGPs into one ballot.

Next steps

This is what I’d like to see:

  • Keep Flock; don’t introduce a state of emergency and re-centralize to A1
  • More AA oversight over Flock teams
  • More direct feedback and public information about Flock teams and their relationships. Otherwise holders cannot make informed decisions
  • More information around treasury expenditure

Final words

I think we are all extremely tired and need a break. Let’s re-asses whether Flock is serving Aragon, and not Aragon serving Flock, and fix the parts that need to be fixed.

But remember this is the first time a project is decentralizing its own development this way.

We cannot expect to get it right the first time. Or even the second. But with strength, understanding and commitment, we will get through and build stronger bonds.

To our fight for freedom,

Luis

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:confetti_ball::confetti_ball::confetti_ball: Happy birthday! :tada::tada::tada:

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Thanks!! :pray::pray:

I have edited my original post to remove my opinion regarding the perceived commitment from Autark, since that should be backed up with facts.
I apologize to the entire Autark team for publicly voicing that without also attaching factual information. I intend to keep this constructive, so I retracted that.

I have also reworded a couple sentences to make sure my post doesn’t push community members to act harsh with each other. Civil discourse is really important to me, and we should always respect the ara-way.

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