CIP 1 Governance Proposal: Tech Agnostic

Purpose: Charter Improvement Proposals - CIP 1
Status: VOTING Aragon Voice
Voting: July 22 - Aug 5
Authors: @lee0007 @Tayy
Reviewers: @Anthony.Leuts

Proposals

dGov proposes that we transition the Charter to support a full tech agnostic DAO. We propose to strike from the Charter any and all references that currently specify the technology that must be used.

This would enable Aragon and AN DAO to transitions towards a tech agnostic DAO(s). We propose that ANT holders vote simply Yes or No to the following two (2) charter updates

  1. Y/N Tech agnostic governing technology must be
  • sybil-resistant
  • trustless
  • open-source
  • approved via governance proposal & vote
  1. Y/ N Update the Aragon Network DAO Charter v1.0.0 (or v1.1.0 if approved here) to remove references that limit the DAO’s choice of technology.

Rationale

In multiple places, the Charter currently stipulates the use of Aragon Voice, Govern, or Court which limits our ability to govern effectively.

The dGov team propose to entirely remove (where possible) or edit all references that specify the use of Aragon Govern, Voice, or Court.

This would not exclude the use of Aragon tech but would enable the use of other efficient and effective tech, resulting in improved transparency and collective governance of the AN DAO.

Formal Proposal ENDS

Discussion

Governance Process **Public Notification & Feedback**: As per [**Charter: The Aragon Network DAO Agreement**](https://ipfs.io/ipfs/bafybeiepss4ju5fa44zpjfnn2zlpglwjqf5fsiiccxi27dysnar3ncdbt4/?filename=Aragon_Network_DAO_Charter_v1.0.0.pdf) this proposal requires 30 days public notification. Followed by a 14-day voting window. We welcome all feedback to help clarify and improve this proposal and will aim to address all comments within 48 hours.
Formatting Final Proposal
  • Option A: Boilerplate text to indicate edits

Boilerplate language at the outset indicates that the Aragon DAO intends to transition to a full tech agnostic DAO and move to strike any and all references and - in some instances– supplant references to new technology notwithstanding Aragon technology.

This language will serve as a default for any language, terminology, or other, which is deemed inconsistent or otherwise ambiguous with references to technology contained hereinabove and the specific redraft of the Charter paragraph references contained hereunder.

Benefits: This option will effectively override any contradictory paragraphs without requiring the team to restructure the document. Easier to read and understand
Challenges: Feedback

  • Option B: Edited version of relevant sections
    Edit to the Charter would see all references that specify the use of Aragon products included in the proposal. During the discussion stage, we provide the current text here for discussion. The edited text could be provided for the final proposal in this case at least 7 days in advance of voting which would be 7 July 2022

    Benefits: Specifies all edits for full transparency
    Challenges: more difficult to read through

  • Option C: Both A & B

  • Option D: Other

References to Aragon Court
  • Q: Do we want to strike any paragraph that mentions Court, given we don’t currently have an alternative for disputes?
  • Q: Should reference to Court be retained for now being they would no longer impact the use of alternative tech?
  • Q: Any dispute alternative?
  • Q: What methods can we use to supplant the language pertaining to Court governed disputes?
  • Q: Use of tech agnostic “mechanisms” is there a better word besides mechanism?
Limits of this Proposal

We recognise the language applied here needs to be easy to read and understand. We propose tech agnostic as a priority to allow us to use different tech that will help us reach legitimate, collective consensus on subjective topics like our shared purpose, visions and mission, values and language.

Others steps to address the language of our Charter are on the agenda and will progress more easily if the requirements to edit the Charter are reduced as proposed here

References to Aragon Tech are cited below and contained in pages 14-20 of the Charter, however, this is not easily referenced. For improved transparency can we link directly to clauses in the GitHub Version of the Charter? @mheuer

Q: How useful is it to have the current text versus the proposed version

List of Charter Sections/Clause Subject to Edit

Edit to the Charter would see all references that specify the use of Aragon products changed by one of five proposed methods, multiple approaches applied to retain context and clarity

  1. Aragon Product Reference [remove]
  2. Word [specified edit]
  3. Aragon Product Reference [tech agnostic]
  4. [-] remove preceding word or specified clause
  5. [+] add a specified word

Below are the relevant sections and clauses within the current charter with indications of how these could be edited. This level of information is only relevant to the proposal if ANT holders want to include the edited text within the proposal. See Formatting Final Proposal: Option B

The Aragon Network DAO Agreement

Pg. 14, § 2 (b)i. Disputes over any proposal relying on this Agreement must be resolved by Aragon Court [tech agnostic] [+mechanisms]
Pg. 14, § 2(f)i3. Voting must be organised in [using] Aragon Voice [tech agnostic] [+mechanisms]

Aragon Governance Proposal Process

Pg. 14,§1b. Main DAO: an [a] Aragon Govern DAO that uses Aragon Voice voting to validate the community’s sentiment and then scheduling for on-chain execution on Govern [tech agnostic [mechanisms], enabling ANT Holders to both exercise direct democracy (directly propose and approve proposals of any kind) and elect members to existing or new Sub-DAOs.

Pg.14,§1.(c)i. Executive Sub-DAO: an [-] Aragon Govern [remove] DAO, with permission for treasury management of the Operations Vault.

Pg.14,§1.(c)ii. Compliance Sub-DAO: an [-] Aragon Govern[remove] DAO, with permission to veto proposals and actions in the Main DAO and Sub-DAOs that represent a breach of this Charter and/or directly harm the Aragon Network.

Pg.14 §1.(c)iii1. The Tech Committee decides on the need (or lack thereof) for audits on proposals using Aragon Voice [tech agnostic] [+mechanisms] and a majority vote.
Pg. 14,§1.d. Aragon Court: Used to challenge the actions scheduled on both the Main DAO and any SubDAO, and directly from the Voice UI / or the custom UI for AN DAO. [ S 1(d) removed]
Pg.15 §5.(d)ii. Voting period: the vote on [-] Aragon Voice [remove] must be at least 7 days.

Pg.15 §S 5. (d) iv. Collateral: the proposer must put 50 ANT as collateral during the voting period. This collateral might be slashed if the proposal is challenged in Aragon Court and ruled to violate any provision of this Charter. [ S 1(d) iv removed]

Pg.16 §5.(fii. Voting: the proposal (or a revised version of the proposal incorporating the community’s feedback) is posted for a vote on Aragon Voice [tech agnostic] [+mechanisms]

Pg.16 §5. (g) iii. Voting: top 10 candidates with the highest number of upvotes in the Aragon Forum will be put forward to a vote using [-] Aragon Voice[remove].

Pg.17 §6.a. Disputes between members that can not be addressed through facilitation or mediation, and disputes related to proposals shall be resolved using Aragon Court.[tech agnostic] [+mechanisms]

Pg.17 §6.b. The losing party shall reimburse the winning party for any Aragon Court [remove] fees incurred by the winning party. Failing that, the Executive DAO shall reimburse said fees.

Sub DAO Agreements

Pg.18 §1. (c) i. If a member commits a serious breach (as determined by the Main DAO) of the Charter, the Main DAO may at any time remove said member of a Sub-DAO. The member may appeal the decision using [-] Aragon Court. [remove]

Pg.18 §1. (c) ii. All proposals for termination will be carried out by an[-] Aragon Voice[remove] vote.
Pg.18 §1. (c) iii. Any appeals shall be carried out using Aragon Court.[tech agnostic] [+mechanisms]

Pg.18 §2. (b) i 2. If another member disagrees or wishes to discuss said action, provided that said action has not been backed by a majority vote of the Executive DAO members in[-] Aragon Voice[remove], they can:

Pg.19. §2. (b) 3. If the discussion between members doesn’t lead to an agreement or can not be scheduled soon enough (as determined subjectively by each member), each member of the executive DAO can trigger a vote of the Executive DAO members using[-] Aragon Voice[remove] to resolve the dispute through a simple majority. The vote must be open for a minimum of 4 days and no longer than 14 days.

Pg.19. §3. (b) i. The Tech Committee decides on a simple majority basis through an[-] Aragon Voice[remove] vote of the Tech Committee members.

Pg.20. §4(c)i 2. If the other members disagree with the decision, they can call a vote of the Committee using[-] Aragon Voice[remove] and get the decision overturned through a simple majority vote. The losing party may choose to ragequit (leave the Sub-DAO) before the decision is enacted.

.
6 Likes

Thank you for this proposal. To answer the question that you have asked:

For improved transparency can we link directly to clauses in the GitHub Version of the Charter?

Yes, this is possible. The source files, from which the .pdf is generated, are the .tex files.
On GitHub, you can select multiple lines and reference them, as shown in the following screenshot and link:

The resulting link also embeds the selected lines in the forum posts.

For correct referencing, make sure that the release branch is selected (GitHub - aragon/network-dao-charter at release), as this is the version currently in force (as opposed to the master branch or feature branches, where changes are under development):

I am offering to give an introduction to GitHub / TeX and support to the team that will make the changes to the charter.

2 Likes

Really excited to see this change. As everyone who has been involved with Charter-conversations is aware, I have been in fervent support of keeping the charter tech agnostic since before the current version was voted in.

I believe a boilerplate statement is the best way to go mainly because a lot of the current texts will likely be obsolete once we transition away from optimistic governance. Furthermore, as the Charter is transformed/rewritten into a document that makes sense and works, other parts will be cut out. Investing valuable stakeholder attention and discourse in micro-optimizing sentences that will disappear within the next 6 months feels like a distraction.

2 Likes

Thanks for kicking this of @lee0007. I am all for the Boilerplate language, easier to understand for people and with the number of changes optimal as well for the next few months.

I like that it will override the contradictory language that exists now as well.

On Aragon court it needs to stay for the moment as we don’t have a solution to replace it in govern currently. When we move to “XXX” Platform it can be removed.

2 Likes

We should always use our own products when and if we can, however, not at the cost of not being able to function at 100% capacity as an organisation and not at the expense of the DAOs members. I believe this charter edit is necessary. That being said, I wholeheartedly believe we should dogfood when possible, test through the DAO when applicable, and build the best DAO whilst building the best tools. This edit allows for the flexibility we need to succeed, especially at the speed and pressure we are under.

1 Like

i’m going to be @mheuer’s understudy on this process, and would like to encourage anyone interested in seeing some new changes to please ping me on discord or in here and i’ll try to follow up with some tests on my forked copy

rock on!

2 Likes

I agree with Anthony and Ivan a, use 6th grade-level English so people will READ and secondly refer and understand our charter b, Know where to find clause in case of conflict or support and suggest improvement if there is a gap.

Charter is the skeleton of governance the “meat” is in policies and ethics. If the skeleton is sturdy which ANY member of Aragon can refer then the charter has done its job and we can fill in the gaps.

I would prefer to keep Charter tech agnostic but include it in our policies as we gotta use and promote our own products.

Updating via Google Docs or Github can be best option. I think Charter needs to seperate a few things and add some more sections. Will expand in other forum

2 Likes

I reviewed the proposed charter changes listed here:

Here my main criticism of the tech agnostic changes

In my opinion, words that specify a concrete tool such as ‘Aragon Voice’ or ‘Aragon Court’ can’t simply be replaced by the phrase ‘tech agnostic mechanism’.
‘Tech agnostic mechanism’ specifies nothing (except that there is some form of mechanism) so that people can theoretically flip a coin instead of using Aragon Voice or Aragon Court.
More generally, I also don’t understand how a DAO living on a blockchain and using web3 technology can have a tech agnostic charter. Do we mean vendor-agnostic?
Instead of naming a specific tool/vendor such as Aragon Voice, we can generalize this by naming the characteristics and requirements (e.g., ‘a percentage-based decision-making tool with properties X, Y, and Z’).
The proposers / people motivating this charter change should be precise what the characteristics and requirements are.

Example: ‘a trustless, sybil-resistant, percentage-based decision-making tool for signalling purposes with the possibility for on-chain execution’.

The same line of argument holds for Aragon Court, which cannot simply be replaced by ‘tech agnostic mechanism’.
Aragon Court as well as Kleros Court and Celeste are decentralized arbitration services. If we don’t want to have arbitration processes in the charter, we have to specify concrete alternative processes that replace them.

For the full review, see CIP-1 - Tech agnostic mechanism language by alibama · Pull Request #9 · aragon/network-dao-charter · GitHub .

1 Like

Does this not suffice?. If the DAO majority vote coin toss, then thats on us not the Charter…

How prescriptive do we want to be while aspiring also to a user friendly doc?

2 Likes

In a governance system, the checks and balances can only be meaningful if there is certainty about the jurisdictions and mechanisms of the institutions involved. Having placeholder language in constitutional texts can create problems down the lane, because each of these tools/institutions scope and limitations affects the other in ways that are difficult to predict in advance.

Experience in real life shows us that constitutional documents benefit from clarity/sharpness/focus, rather than inclusion/breadth/optionality, to the extend possible and as needed by the specific document.

In my humble opinion, especially in a situation where we do not have clear-cut, well defined alternatives to the tools in place right now, it is better to leave the Charter as is, despite the shortcomings of the current toolset.

As stated in the discussions, if there is a better tool out there, industry tested and with clearly better use-case than the current tools, then the community can discuss the pros/cons, analyze its potential effects across governance and checks and balances, and if the community signals the benefits to be greater, then these can simply be added to the text with a vote. Otherwise, I see boilerplate texts or agnostic-definitions as inviting more trouble than it is worth.

2 Likes

Ok I’m no dev but this seems a bit brilliant.

&

So building then on what @mheuer and @sertac advise would it be enough to propose that:

As Aragon transitions to a DAO we propose that:

  1. Governing technology must be
  • sybil-resistant
  • trustless
  • approved by vote
  1. Update the Charter to remove references that limit the DAO’s choice of technology.

Grade 6

EDITS: the opening proposal has been edited to simplify language and to introduce a definition of “tech agnostic”

We seek your feedback on a definition of “tech agnostic” that will best serve the Aragon Network long-term

Thanks for the change here Renee, this is certainly a difficult one to get right but as soon as we do hopefully everything else will get easier.

On the definition of Tech Agnostic, I think this is perfect with one further point:

  • Open source tools - we have seen the risks of closed source tech recently
1 Like

The issue I’m not seeing addressed is what makes the use of tool X legitimate instead of tool Y. Could someone decide to use a mechanism that fit the criteria but no one else in Aragon has used before? And what if said mechanism gives them advantages?

The tools/mechanisms need to be specified somewhere. Where will that be and how will that be governed?

Removing it from the charter is just outsourcing the problem but where to?

2 Likes

The way I am envisioning it would be these tools would be separate votes, eg the charter states that we should use a decentralised voting tool.

This would be voted on eg Snapshot vs Voice and then the tool that has been agreed will be used.

2 Likes

Updated to include open source. @daniel-ospina is this better?

approved via governance proposal & vote

As a process outside of the charter we can maintain a whitelist of approved tools here on the forum, as the tech committee does for security audits.

I don’t think that solves it.

The charter serves as “single source of truth”. And if this proposal passes, we now need a separate document that defines what’s the actual tool(s) used. That creates a usability challenge of how to make the new document visible/accesible (adding an extra entry in every web property to then add this extra document? that adds noise) and als that leaves the question open of how does one change this new document.

If the answer to the question is the MetaGov process, then why not leave the tool specification in the charter as it’s the same process and hence same requirements (quorum, etc) to change it.
If the answer is a new process, then that needs designing, adding complexity.

So instead of making a change in the charter to reduce specification, this proposal could become a change in the charter towards the actual tool that we want to use: just propose the tool and then replace (e.g. a proposal to replace all mentions of Aragon Voice with Spanshot)

The official whitelist can be linked in the Charter. And shared in places such as the Governance transparency efforts as a standard/process

I imagine the document is simply updated each time a tech tool is approved by the proposal + vote mechanism. Otherwise we end up editing the Charter, for every new tool. We still have to propose and vote on tool AND then propose and vote on charter edits

Apologies for cross-posting, but before writing a new Charter/Constitution, I recommend reading this: https://constitutions.metagov.org/

3 Likes

Thank you for the link @mlphresearch. For the optimistic governance setup that the AN DAO currently uses, the charter needs to be more specific and detailed because it constitutes the rules (“the law”) under which the DAO should operate. If it is too unspecific, it would be difficult for jurors to decide if a scheduled execution violates the charter or not.
When we switch from optimistic to direct voting mechanisms, the governance setup is clearly specified and enforced through the smart contracts and their configuration (“code is law”).
I am only facilitating and versioning the charter changes, but I imagine that the reworked charter will be much simpler and similar to the ones discussed by MetaGov.

While on the topic, let me say that I think that the sweet spot of DAO governance is having the possibility to do both, direct and optimistic execution, but in different scenarios, which will be easily possible with Aragon App.
Small proposals (e.g. people requesting a small bounty <$500) are not worth having a vote by the entire DAO (voter fatigue) and can be scheduled optimistically. A single watcher can then raise a dispute on a violating scheduled execution. An alternative to optimistic execution are committees with executive powers, to which such requests can be made.

4 Likes