Aragon Network Vote #4 Megathread

Aragon Network Vote #4 is now live!

All ANT holders as of 16:10 UTC today now have until November 2nd at 16:00 UTC to cast your votes in Aragon Network Vote #4.

If you already know what to do, head on over to the Aragon Governance organization and cast your votes.

If you need more information, you can find the full and final details for the vote, including which proposals are on the ballot and how to vote with your ANT, in the final details post on the Aragon project blog:
https://blog.aragon.org/final-details-for-aragon-network-vote-4/


First some housekeeping: as you may have noticed, a new AGPs category has been created. This was done as part of our efforts to make it easier to find information about AGPs, and also in recognition that AGPs are both an important category of discussion all their own and that they were taking up significant space in the Community category. Please create any discussions about AGPs for this and future votes in the new AGPs category. I have gone ahead and moved all previous discussions about AGPs to this new category; if you feel your thread has been moved in error, you are welcome to re-categorize the thread, and I apologize for the inconvenience. Please direct any comments or questions you have about the new category to this “About” thread.

With that housekeeping out of the way, we can now use this thread to discuss and ask any questions about the upcoming vote :slight_smile:

In addition to using this thread for discussions, we will also use the Aragon Governance page on the Wiki as the “single source of truth” for all important Aragon Governance Proposal (AGP) information and voting announcements. Any important updates will be linked there as soon as they’re announced through other official channels. So when in doubt, you can always check that page and have the most up-to-date info about the vote. The AGPs repo will still be used for submitting AGPs and used as a historical archive of AGPs and Aragon Association review votes, but the wiki will be the main place to look if there is any doubt about what the most up-to-date information is about an upcoming vote.

Important dates for the next Aragon Network Vote

These dates may change if an emergency delay is approved by the Aragon Association Board of Directors. Check the Aragon Governance page on the Wiki to confirm if you have any doubts.

Aragon Network Vote #4

  • Draft proposals for this vote are due, mandatory community review period begins: 2019-10-03 at 16:00 UTC
  • Final draft proposals for this vote are due, Aragon Association review begins: 2019-10-17 at 16:00 UTC
  • Aragon Association review ends, final community review begins: 2019-10-24 at 16:00 UTC
  • Aragon Network Vote #4 begins: 2019-10-31 at 16:00 UTC
  • Aragon Network Vote #4 ends, final results announced: 2019-11-02 at 16:00 UTC

Here are some important links to be aware of pertaining to the AGP process:

Any questions?

Leave a comment below and let’s discuss!

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Discussion threads for the AGPs under consideration for Aragon Network Vote #4:

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Friendly reminder that there is now one week left to submit AGPs for the new mandatory community review period. The AGPs do not have to be finalized, they just have to be submitted to the AGPs repo on GitHub, otherwise they will not be considered for ANV-4.

You can reply here if you have any questions or comments about the AGP process or the upcoming vote. Please direct any discussions about specific proposals to their respective forum threads / pull requests / issues.

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The Stage IV: Community Review Period of Aragon Network Vote #4 has begun.

You can find all of the proposals now under review with the “Stage IV” tag here in the AGPs repo:

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Important update:

The first post on this thread has been updated to reflect these changes.

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The extended Community Review Period of Aragon Network Vote #4 is now over.

All finalized proposals have been forwarded to the Aragon Association for review. They will decide within one week which proposals will make it onto the final ballot for Aragon Network Vote #4.

You can find all of the proposals that are now under review here:
https://github.com/aragon/AGPs/pulls?utf8=✓&q=is:pr+label:“Stage+V:+Association+Review”+

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The first post on this thread has been updated with this announcement.

My ANV-4 Positions

AGP-81: Common court with Kleros

I will be voting No.

I think the Kleros project is really interesting and their work has heavily inspired the direction that has been taken by Aragon One in the development of the Aragon Court. I think that the proposal to link ANT to PNK as a way to align incentives between the two projects over the long term and make room for meaningful collaboration is smart. I think it might be a smart move for Kleros to make that link regardless of the outcome of their proposal, but I don’t think that it makes sense to stop the work on the initial version of Aragon Court and it doesn’t make sense to fund both Aragon One and Kleros to work on a court integration with Aragon at the same time.

In addition, I think the discourse around this proposal has been pretty bad, and doesn’t lead me to believe that closer collaboration would be particularly productive.

AGP-84: Adding Flock track to AGP-1

I will be voting No.

I think that the Flock program should be treated a separate signaling initiative and not be codified as a specialized version of the Finance track process. My position is that Finance Track proposals should be used for all proposals which move funds, and that programs like Nest, Flock and any number of other initiatives can be funded through that process. As it stands Flock should be treated as signaling from the association to ANT holders of which proposals have gone through their vetting process, but there is no need to create a separate track for this. Somewhat related to this position is my proposal AGP-105 which clarifies the association review policy related to Finance Track proposals which are proposed outside of the Flock or Nest programs.

AGP-87: AraCon 2020

I will be voting No.

I felt like the first AraCon was a great event, but I still question the need to have a large community conference at this stage. I don’t think the budget is crazy for the type of event proposed, but not sure that having an annual event like AraCon makes sense for the community right now. I would like to see this deferred, at-least for now. Perhaps exploring some other alternatives like sponsoring and helping to coordinate many smaller meetups in many cities rather than one large event.

That being said, I have less conviction on this particular proposal than others. So take that for what it’s worth.

AGP-88: Community Rewards DAO

I will be voting Yes.

I think it’s really important for us to dogfood Aragon within our community, and support community initiatives which leverage the tools we are building to improve our own community and governance.

There seems to still be some details to work out because the proposal is somewhat dependent on the mainnet launch of the Open Enterprise apps, but I expect that that should happen in the next few weeks. So this should still be able to launch shortly after the ANV passes.

At 12k ANT it seems like a low risk experiment that will give many more people an opportunity to engage in an Aragon DAO on a regular basis.

AGP-89: Modify Aragon Network Fiscal Year

I will be voting Yes.

The reasoning for this change makes sense, the AGP process ends up being a significant effort for everyone involved and ensuring that the bulk of that review/due diligence process not coinciding with the end of year and block of holidays seems like it will be very helpful.

As a side effect it seems that this will also result in a relatively short cycle between ANV-4 and ANV-5, and a total of 5 ANVs this year.

AGP-90: 1Hive DAO Sponsorship Proposal

I will be voting Yes. (/disclaimer, I’m a co-author of this proposal and actively involved in the 1Hive DAO)/

I’ve been working to help nurture and grow the 1Hive DAO the past few months and have been extremely impressed by the output and engagement of the people who have been attracted to and contributed to the various projects and initiatives started from within that organization.

So far 1Hive projects have relied on Aragon Nest grants (Dandelion), and CFDAO proposals (Apiary and Conviction Voting), but we have found that neither of these work sufficiently well to support some of the core support and coordination efforts that have resulted in 1Hive and its many initiatives being as impactful as they have. This grant will allow 1Hive to continue to incubate small projects, ensure they have the right people involved to support and validate them before they either become self-sustainable, or seek additional funding from Nest, AGPs, or Aragon Fundraising. It will also alleviate the strain 1Hive has created by heavily utilizing the AGP10 DAO.

AGP-92: Flock Funding for Frame

I will be voting Yes.

I’m not sure if it will make sense to continue to be the only financial supporter of Frame longer term, but for now it seems like the right call.

The proposed deliverables seem valuable to Aragon, and perhaps more importantly the continued maintenance of the only signing provider that enables Aragon users to perform actions with the Agent using a browser/extension is really high leverage.

Additionally, it seems to be becoming increasingly important for application layer developers to take further control of the entire user experience, including the signing provider/wallet experience. We cannot necessarily depend on the ecosystem getting to the point where every user will already have crypto and a web3 wallet installed and ready to go.

AGP-103: Aragon Network Budget

I will be voting Yes. (/disclaimer, I’m a co-author of this proposal)/

I see this as the most important proposal presented during this AGP cycle.

This proposal established a fairly conservative budget for AGP process that ensures that there is always approximately 5 Years of runway (spending no more than 5% of the treasury per quarter). This budget ensures capital outflows are relatively consistent and predictable over time.

Assuming a budget period (quarter) has more spending approved than the budget allows, the proposal has a process for prioritizing which proposals to actually execute. This policy has quite a few subtle properties that I think will improve how projects engage with the AGP process, encouraging teams to unbundle large monolithic proposals into smaller and shorter proposals.

AGP-104: Aragon App Mining

I will be voting Yes. (/disclaimer, this is my proposal and If approved I will be managing the execution of this proposal)/.

This proposal approves 50K in DAI to develop and launch an “App Mining” program that would reward Aragon App developers based on shipping apps that Aragon users actually use. It also approves a recurring 100K ANT per quarter starting after the next ANV to be distributed to Aragon App developers based on a performance score.

There are many details, including the KPIs and weightings used to determine the Aragon App Score. The proposal is structured such that the implementation team can work with the community to finalize these important details before the program is scheduled to launch (after the next ANV, allowing the launch to be deferred if there is not consensus on the implementation details). I expect that in order to finalize these details it will be important to coordinating with relevant stakeholders, and validate options are both technically sound and feasible to implement. Therefore I decided to get approval for that work rather than propose a specific solution in the AGP.

AGP-105: Allow finance proposals that could otherwise fit in Nest or Flock

I will be voting Yes. (/disclaimer, I wrote this proposal)/.

I think that the precedent that has been set by previous Association Reviews limits the flexibility of the Finance track and unnecessarily limits the authority of ANT holders. This proposal would either have ANT holders confirm the current policy of the Association Board, or ask the Association Board to change their policy moving forward.

AGP-106: Develop Aragon Chain

I will be voting Yes.

My view on this is fairly well articulated in Aragon One’s announcement post. In addition to what is described there I want to emphasize a few ideas about how Aragon benefits from supporting deployments not just on Ethereum Mainnet but on many compatible and interoperable chains.

I think that it is reasonably likely that proof of stake and cross-chain interoperability tech like Cosmos SDK/Substrate and IBC will result in a blockchain landscape characterized by many important chains (as opposed to a winner-take-all outcome).

I think that, particularly for a DAO platform like Aragon its valuable to be able to enable users to choose which platform to deploy and operate on so long as supporting multiple compatible chains doesn’t put undue burden on maintainers. Aragon will benefit from and needs to focus on adoption of Aragon, it does not necessarily need to directly depend on or focus on the adoption of any one specific blockchain.

I ultimately would like to see Aragon on other EVM compatible chains, on Aragon Chain definitely, but also on Ethereum Classic, or Flora. If a chain supports deployment of Aragon and it offers a unique value prop or has a community of users that would benefit from Aragon then I would like to see that chain supported.

AGP-112: Oppose any change to Ethereum’s mining algorithm before Ethereum 2.0

I will be voting Yes.

I’m opposed to ProgPOW and may as well express my sentiment in this proclamation AGP.

AGP-116: Comprehensive Aragon Bug Bounty Program

I will be voting No.

I think this is a reasonable extension to the existing program that should not meaningfully increase the scope of responsibility for the AA. However, I haven’t seen much discussion yet on this proposed change and it doesn’t seem particularly urgent.

I haven’t even had the time to really dive in or ask people who I think would have valuable insight what they think… Are the amounts correct? Is the blanket scope appropriate? Should the tiers be based on some KPI? How does the budget limit work? What has been the success of the previous bug bounties? Would it be reasonable to ramp up the amounts over a period of time from when code is published?

In short, I think this should be rejected and revisited in a future ANV.

AGP-117: Comprehensive Aragon Security Review Program

I will be voting No.

Not every application poses the same risks to users, or will have enough traction to warrant spending funds on an audit. Having a policy which treats all applications the same doesn’t make sense.

It seems reasonable to potentially extend the security review program, or create supplemental programs associated with an application being included in specific APM registries. However, this particular proposal doesn’t seem like the right approach, and also doesn’t seem like given the many proposals in this batch of AGPs that there has been adequate review and discussion. I would like to see this rejected, and potentially different options explored to improve the underlying pain point identified in future ANVs.

AGP-118: Aragon Comprehensive Legal Review Program

I will be voting No.

This doesn’t seem very practical, it is unclear how much it would actually cost to implement and maintain and it significantly increases the scope of the AA.

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I like @lkngtn’s post declaring his positions on the ANV-4 proposals and will do the same. Thank you Luke for the inspiration.

My ANV-4 Positions

AGP-81: Common court with Kleros

I will be voting No.

I am a fan of the open source ethos, of working together on common software and standards rather than duplicating efforts. But I also have seen a lot of good come from forks or alternative implementations on similar ideas, leading to experimentation and competition that ends up being better for users (more options, more incentive to improve and be better than competitors).

Because of the way that the discussion around this proposal has been carried out, I perceive incompatibilities between the different court teams at a personal level. And I also believe the incentives are not well aligned to collaborate rather than compete. For these reasons, and the reasons mentioned above about the good that can come from working on competing implementations rather than collaborating, I believe it will be best for Aragon Court users and ANT holders if Kleros and Aragon Court continue as separate development efforts.

AGP-84: Adding Flock track to AGP-1

I will not be voting on this proposal.

I do not have any experience interacting with the Flock program or enough knowledge to know whether this proposal will hurt or help the program or the AGP process.

AGP-87: AraCon 2020

I will be voting No.

I was not at AraCon but I have watched the videos and perused the Twitter hashtag to try and get a feel for what it was like there. People seem to have enjoyed themselves. But was it worth it, especially when compared to other things the money could have been spent on? If the price of the first AraCon was similar to what is being asked for in this proposal I would argue “no” (not having been an attendee but judging from the outside).

The AraCon videos on YouTube have about a few thousand views all put together. And I have not heard any stories of significant breakthroughs or connections made at the event that justify the expense, or that could not have happened at a smaller event with a more modest budget.

That is not to say AraCon was not well organized, or that people did not have a good time; it appears both of these are true. But I do believe it was not the most cost effective use of the project’s funding. As an outsider looking in, there does not feel like there has been enough ROI from the first AraCon to justify spending that much again.

I echo Luke’s opinion that having smaller events, ideally geographically distributed to minimize travel costs and increase inclusiveness and accessibility, could be a more cost effective way to bring the community together. And if we want to unite the global community at one event, maybe an online event would be the most cost effective option, or a smaller event that only brings the most active community members together (ideally with the costs better distributed among event participants, as it seems like currently the AA/ ANT holders are footing the bulk of the bill).

AGP-88: Community Rewards DAO

I will be voting Yes.

The DAO created in this proposal seems like a nice compliment to the CFDAO. The amount requested is a reasonably low enough amount to experiment with this rewards model. I look forward to seeing how this experiment turns out and may even participate myself.

AGP-89: Modify Aragon Network Fiscal Year

I will be voting Yes.

I like the new vote schedule proposed in this AGP.

AGP-90: 1Hive DAO Sponsorship Proposal

I will be voting Yes

The 1Hive DAO seems like it has been a relatively cost effective contributor to the community. I am a fan of the Aragon-related projects they have worked on so far. I am hesitant about committing another 300,000 DAI plus 100,000 ANT per year in expenses, but will give this proposal a shot to see if they can prove their worth.

AGP-92: Flock Funding for Frame

I will be voting Yes.

I have used Frame more and more and like the direction the product is going in. There are still some features missing that prevent it from being my main Ethereum interface (such as the ability to set custom gas parameters) but overall I have been impressed with this tool. I want to see its development continue. Therefore I will vote yes on this proposal.

That said, this will likely be the last time I vote to support funding Frame, at least at this amount. I am hesitant to commit to 568,000 DAI plus 50,000 ANT per year in additional expenses for the foreseeable future. I would like to see the cost of Frame development spread out over the Ethereum ecosystem (rather than the AA / ANT holders bearing the entirety of Frame development costs) and / or Frame figure out a monetization model that can make development self-sustainable.

Side note: I would also like to see Frame mentioned more outside of the Aragon ecosystem. Frame is Ethereum infrastructure: it should be no less popular than MetaMask, Status, WalletConnect, and other prominent infrastructure projects in the Ethereum ecosystem. I hope some of the funds from this proposal will be spent on “marketing” / “business development” types of activities that will raise awareness about Frame and get it in front of more users of dapps other than Aragon. This could lead to what I mentioned above, which is the possibility for acquiring funding from sources other than the AA treasury.

AGP-103: Aragon Network Budget

I will be voting Yes.
(disclaimer, I’m a co-author of this proposal)

I believe I made a thorough enough case for this proposal in the original thread introducing the idea.

I have also created a spreadsheet (which I have linked in the discussion thread for this proposal too) showing that, if our treasury were held in 100% DAI, this budget would extend the Aragon Network runway 60 quarters (or 15 years) into the future. This should be plenty of time to find out if the market wants what we are selling or not (also time to develop the market if it is not yet big enough). By contrast, at current spending levels, the Aragon Network has at most four-to-five years of runway. Still a decent amount of time, but not enough for a project like this (building a new jurisdiction) in my humble opinion.

AGP-104: Aragon App Mining

I will be voting Yes.

400,000 ANT per year (or ~1% of the ANT supply per year) is a relatively large amount to spend. So whatever it is spent on better be worth it. I believe giving Aragon app developers a boost of confidence and early investment in Aragon as a platform could produce ROI that justifies this significant expense. Much of the benefit of Aragon comes from it being an app platform and I would like to see both more apps and developers of those apps rewarded for their efforts. This proposal could help achieve both.

I would ask App Mining program managers and ANT holders to seek answers to these questions as this program’s effectiveness is evaluated:

  • Are the stated KPIs too easily gamed? Org treasury values are quite low, and so a resourceful app development team would not have to work too hard to create a bunch of “fake” orgs and activity and pump up their treasury values enough to qualify for rewards.

  • Are app development teams developing independent business models or is this program simply creating more dependents? We want to ensure that apps will continue to be developed and improved over time, without becoming a burden on our treasury, otherwise this program will quickly become unsustainable.

  • Does this program align app developer incentives long term? As far as I can tell, ANT earned in this program is not vested. Since developers are likely to want to use their rewards to pay their bills, they might cash out their ANT right away, putting sell pressure on the market and also not making them as invested in the long-term success of their app and the Aragon Network.

AGP-105: Allow finance proposals that could otherwise fit in Nest or Flock

I will be voting Yes.

Before this proposal was published, I was not aware of the AA policy that this proposal seeks to change. But now that I am aware, I believe this policy should change. It seems like an unnecessary, artificial limitation that is against the spirit of AGP-1 and the Aragon Network as a DAO governed by ANT holders.

AGP-106: Develop Aragon Chain

I will be voting No.

There is a saying in the software development world that “premature optimization is the root of all evil”. I believe that building an Aragon Chain is a premature optimization at this point:

  • From what I understand, the problem caused by EIP-1884 has been mitigated already, so there is no emergency here that warrants building a new chain. Aragon developers can now take the lessons learned from this experience and make better decisions about how to work with Ethereum protocol developers to ensure smooth operation of their contracts going forward. Likewise, I hope Ethereum protocol developers have learned to be more conservative and communicative about the changes they make that could / will impact downstream contract developers.

  • If Aragon developers believe that the cost of the mainchain is holding back a significant number of users from adopting Aragon, this hypothesis could be tested without developing a new chain, for example by deploying Aragon on an existing cheap-to-use Ethereum sidechain such as xDAI. If we can show that usage begins to take off due to the decreased costs of using the sidechain then that may provide the evidence needed to justify an investment in building an Aragon-focused chain.

Building a new blockchain is no small feat. This will be a significant undertaking that I predict will cost upwards of 1 million DAI per year, including full node development plus validator rewards plus infrastructure development and maintenance. I do not think such an expense is justifiable at this time.

AGP-112: Oppose any change to Ethereum’s mining algorithm before Ethereum 2.0

I will be voting Yes.
(disclaimer, I am the author of this proposal)

I believe the proposal text speaks for itself.

AGP-116: Comprehensive Aragon Bug Bounty Program

I will not be voting on this proposal.

I do not have any experience interacting with the existing bug bounty program nor do I have enough knowledge to know whether this proposal will hurt or help the program.

AGP-117: Comprehensive Aragon Security Review Program

I will be voting No.

I believe the reasons Luke laid out for voting no on this proposal are reasonable enough to vote no with him.

AGP-118: Aragon Comprehensive Legal Review Program

I will not be voting on this proposal.

I do not have strong feelings about this proposal one way or the other.

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Aragon Network Vote #4 is now live! The first post on this thread has been updated to reflect this. Go vote! :smiley: :ballot_box:

Thank you @lkngtn & @anteater for sharing the details of your vote choices, it helps a lot with voting confidently. Some AGPs are certainly harder to vote on than others.

Looking forward to being able to delegate to a trusted community member with a reasoning most aligned to mine!

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AGP 119: Authorship Rewards Program was merged, but not listed on the ballot. Why?

Early announcement of final results from ANV-4:

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AGP-119 was rejected during the AA review:

https://mainnet.aragon.org/#/associationboard/0xc9cae3ba406c96f4a6e92aea68b8589781222cbe

It was merged due to a misunderstanding, but its status will be updated when this PR is merged:

https://github.com/aragon/AGPs/pull/125

The final results of Aragon Network Vote #4 have now been officially announced on the Aragon project blog:

https://blog.aragon.org/final-results-from-aragon-network-vote-4/

In the spirit of data-informed improvement, we invite all members of the Aragon community, voters and non-voters alike, to fill out a brief, seven-question survey and give us feedback that will help us improve future Aragon Network votes. Anonymous results from the survey will be made public for the benefit of everyone interested.

Survey link: https://forms.gle/Z1VYhEsmdJC9nCsc6

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Aragon Network Vote #4 review

On November 2, 2019 Aragon Network Vote #4 (ANV-4) concluded. This post is going to review what different commentators and stakeholders have said about the vote, and also share some of my own thoughts about what we can learn from the process, the results, and how to continue improving Aragon’s governance processes going forward.

If you are unfamiliar with how Aragon governance works, we have a page on the main Aragon project website that can help get you up to speed.

Before continuing, on behalf of the whole community, I want to thank everyone who participated in ANV-4 and shared their feedback via the many different channels through which we received it: the Aragon Forum, Aragon Chat, Twitter, Reddit, personal blogs, and others, including the “official” survey we shared for input with the final results of the vote. We have published the anonymized responses to that survey publicly here if you are interested in digging into the responses yourself.

What went well

From a voter’s perspective, I think this ANV was great. The infrastructure was online the whole time, and all of the tooling worked smoothly. The Aragon Governance organization loads quicker than ever, which makes voting a faster process as well. And the organization was upgraded right before the vote to support creating proposals directly from the Association Board organization using the Agent app - a neat example of “organization-to-organization” interaction that is now possible. Big kudos to the infrastructure and product team members who contributed to these important improvements and a great voting experience!

On the proposals side, this ANV saw the most proposals ever on the ballot. We also have some new people joining the ranks of approved AGP authors: congratulations and welcome to burrrata, Luke Duncan, Aidan Hyman, Gregory Markou, and Jordan Muir!

Also, my AGP-89 was approved by ANT holders (yay!) so we have a new vote schedule. The amount of time between ANV-4 and ANV-5 is much shorter than usual, so if you’re reading this shortly after publication, be sure to check out the Governance page in the Aragon Wiki (our “source of truth” for all things Aragon Network governance) to find the new schedule for ANV-5.

Speaking of ANV-5, I encourage you to check out and participate in the Futarchy DAO for ANV-5… this is a really cool experiment by the Level K team that I’m looking forward to seeing the results of.

What could be improved

There were two stand-out moments in this ANV that sparked discussions about how the AGP process could be improved: a breakdown of the process (and tooling) for moving proposals from Stage IV to Stage V, and one of the founders of Aragon announcing his intention to participate in the vote with his full allocation of ANT.

A governance breakdown

In the first case, all but four proposals were considered “withdrawn” after the transition from Stage IV to Stage V because the other authors did not indicate that their proposals were finalized and ready to move to Stage V, a requirement specified in AGP-1 to prevent unfinished proposals from being reviewed by the Aragon Association. Feedback mostly came from affected authors, and it was decided to change the process slightly to assume that any AGP submitted as a pull request to the AGPs repo is ready to be reviewed unless explicitly marked as a draft.

In addition to the process breakdown, there was also a tooling breakdown as well. Two authors experienced a strange issue with GitHub where their proposals appeared to originate from an “unknown repository”, making it impossible to further edit the proposals. This made collaborating on the proposals impossible, and caused much frustration for the proposal authors and editors.

Due to these breakdowns, in particular the tooling issue that was not the fault of any participant in the governance process, an emergency delay of the vote was announced by the Aragon Association to give the affected proposal authors extra time to re-submit and/or finalize their proposals and move them to Stage V. In the end, everyone who wanted their proposals reviewed by the Aragon Association had them reviewed.

The participation dilemma

In the second case, one of the founders of the Aragon project (and new CEO of Aragon One), Jorge Izquierdo, generated some controversy when he publicly declared his intention to vote with his entire founders’ allocation of ANT for AGP-106 and against AGP-81, while also leaving the possibility of voting on more proposals in ANV-4, depending on how the vote went.

The ensuing discussion (threads and subthreads here, here, and here… please do share others as a reply on this thread if you’re aware of any) centered on a question of whether or not it is in the best interest of the Aragon Network at this time for the founders to vote with their entire ANT holdings. Some commentators were glad to see the founders vote, and expressed the desire to see them vote and make their positions known more often. Others argued that these votes, with their high level of decisiveness (meaning they could very likely [and in this case actually did] single-handedly swing a vote whichever way they wanted), created a “chilling effect” and rendered the ANT of other voters essentially worthless for the purpose of governance.

I think there are valid arguments on both sides. On the “pro-founders voting” side I can see valid arguments that the founders have a high degree of skin in the game, expert knowledge about what’s going on and what the best decisions might be, and the right afforded to them by owning ANT to participate in the vote just as every other ANT holder can. On the “anti-founders voting (at this time, in this way)” side, there are valid arguments that these votes, wielded the way they have been and in the context they have been, could be considered a kind of “51% attack” on the voting system, which is discouraging to both political opponents and smaller ANT holders in general who might see their votes as being worth less than they would be in a situation where decisiveness is more evenly distributed among the voter population.

This raises an important governance question that only two people (the founders, Luis and Jorge) can definitively answer right now: until some higher percentage of the non-founder ANT holdings is participating in ANVs, will the founders voluntarily withold their votes from future ANVs, or at least refrain from voting with a high level of decisiveness? Or will they continue to vote as they have, with full power and conviction? This is an important governance question at this stage, since with turnout as low as it’s been the founders easily have full sway over the outcomes. (But then, by choosing not to vote, non-voting ANT holders also voluntarily give the founders [and other large ANT holders] that power, which is no one’s fault but the non-voters… thus the dilemma.)

There’s another important and related governance question that is raised, which is: how do we increase voter turnout, rendering the question about whether or not founders should vote moot? This has been an ongoing discussion since the very first vote, and is an open discussion in other DAO communities as well. There have been several proposals in the Aragon community that attempt to answer the turnout question, the two leading proposals in terms of community support (based on my own subjective sentiment measurement) being to implement delegated voting and to implement voting rewards i.e. pay ANT holders to vote.

I don’t think there will be a silver bullet. I think it makes sense to try multiple strategies in tandem: offering incentives (financial or otherwise), enabling delegation, making it easier to learn about the proposals and participate in the process, doing even more “get out the vote” type of communications, etc. And of course, building something worth governing. While I personally think all of the proposals we have voted on have been super interesting and valuable, the truth is that Aragon is still relatively nascent, and a lot of people have better things to do than participate in governance, even if that’s what they bought ANT to do. But as the Aragon Network becomes more valuable, and governance decisions more consequential for people, there will be more intrinsic motivation to participate.

Next steps

Going forward I’m going to be spending even more time than I already do on Aragon Network governance. I’ll publish more about this soon. But briefly here, I intend on participating more fully in the discussions mentioned in this post, doing more research into on-chain and off-chain governance mechanisms and processes that can benefit Aragon Network governance, and working with the community to make sure that we are doing everything we can to make it as easy as possible to participate. I’m very excited about what the next year has in store for the Aragon Network.

I invite everyone who has an interest in Aragon Network governance, and has ideas about how the process could evolve to improve decision-making by ANT holders, to share their ideas by creating an issue in the AGPs repo, starting a thread in the Aragon Forum, or dropping by the #governance channel in Aragon Chat to discuss.

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