Eagle Transparency: Notion & Documentation Analysis and Revamp

Hey Folks, I hope all of you are doing well. As you all might be aware, I am working with @anukriti10 to set up the basic operations infrastructure for AN DAO. I am also working on knowledge management and transparency solutions for the AN DAO (Notion & Discord).

In the last few months, we have seen a lot of progress regarding Aragon’s transition into a full-fledged DAO. While governance is at the forefront of transformation. We must also build infrastructure that can handle the influx of core contributors and general community members alike.

Most DAOs use notion for documentation and as a workspace to ensure transparency. In a decentralised setup, the strength of an organisation is dependent on its information flow. In this spirit, we did an elaborate analysis of our DAO’s Notion to understand the current status, do an immediate revamp and frame guidelines for guilds/squads and working groups to operate further.

Please note that the following analysis is only to provide recommendations. Teams should feel free to incorporate these changes and use the analysis at their discretion.

Based on our retrospective, we wanted solve the following problems:

  1. Whether notion should be used a workspace or for information dissemination?
  2. Whether there should be standardised page structures and best practices in place for the contributors to navigate all group workspaces alike?
  3. Whether information sharing should be more interactive in nature rather than through an open workspace type notion?
  4. Whether we can clean up the current wiki and make it easy to navigate?

In order to solve this problem, we identified our notion design principles:

  • Transparency
  • Scalability
  • Record of Progress
  • Accountability
  • New Contributor Centric Structures

To know more about these, click here.

Hence, based on these principles and with the goal of solving these problems, we essentially built a notion analysis tool. Based on the same, node-level notion analysis was done.

How was the analysis done?

I did this analysis using a bespoke analysis tool specifically designed for AN DAO’s needs. I essentially did a node-level analysis for 318 pages/sections on the notion and I tested it against 7 parameters and provided 3 types of recommendations. Some nodes/sections were also accompanied by specific comments for each group (guild/squad/working group).

Fig 1. Notion Analysis Tool (Mind Map Link)

1. Node Level: I analysed up to three node levels. Each page was categorised into three nodes.

Node Description Significance
Level 1 (L1) Pages are visible on the wiki’s homepage. (Under Sections) These are the first pages visible to a new contributor. Hence, they should be less in number and should also apply to most new contributors.
Level 2 (L2) Subpages or subsections on under Level 1 nodes. These pages are shared between contributors and lurkers. Hence, L2 nodes should ideally be more information-centric and less of a workspace. Each L2 should should enable discoverability for new contributors/lurkers so that there is transparency.
Level 3 (L3) Subpages under Level 2 nodes These should ideally be more workspace centric for contributors. However, they should be constructed in a way that new contributors feel ease in navigation.
Level 4 (L4) Subpages under Level 3 nodes This node consist all subsequent pages under Level 3. Hence, they should only be treated as workspace for contributors.

2. Use: This is a fundamental parameter to determine whether a page should exist or not. The parameter had the following options:

Options Description
Frequent These pages are ideal candidates for L1 and L2.
Rare These should only exist as L3s unless they provide critical information.
None These pages should either be deleted or archived.

3. Relevance in Subsequent Seasons: In case its hard to determine a page’s usability, one should look at from the point of view of future usability. There are three answers to this question?

Options Description
Yes These pages should always exist within our L1,L2 and L3 Nodes
Maybe These pages were relevant in the past and are required for inspiration in the future. These pages should not be L1 and preferably not L2. These pages can be archived as well.
No These pages should either be deleted or archived.

4. Users: It is also important to understand who the end user of a page. In case the user is a small team or a specific person then its not wise to have that page as an L1 node.

Options Description
Anyone They can be used by Lurkers, New Contributors and Core Contributors. These pages are ideally to provide information and comfortably exist as L1s and L2s.
Team These pages are relevant to a specific team in the DAO. A team should ideally only have one L1 and the rest of the docs should be L2 sub-nodes.
Specific User These pages/sections are used by a specific person as one’s workspace or as a place to share drafts. Not ideal as L1 or L2 pages.

5. Page Type: As identified earlier, notion can often be confusing as some pages/sections exist to provide information and some pages exist purely as a workspace for teams.

Options Description
Information These pages should ideally exist within our L1 and L2 Nodes. These play an important role in order to educate and inform contributors.
Workspace Teams often set their personal goals and tasks on notion to keep track of the work. Notion is used for documentation as well. These should ideally exist as L3s and L4.
Both There are pages which exist for the use of core-contributors and lurkers alike. For example, the meeting notes section is can be for maintaining transparency as well as tracking tasks. Hence, the person responsible for Notion arrangement should think long and hard before categorising these pages.

6. Responsible Person Located: It is important that contributors are able to locate and contact the person responsible for creating/maintaining a page. This is important if someone has more questions or the page required regular updates. This helps with accountability as well.

Options Description
Yes This signifies that a new user can easily locate the person responsible for the page.
No Its hard to ascertain the responsible person for the page.

7. Confidential: Certain pages might contain personal information of contributors or information not meant for lurkers. For example, the Ambassadors Directory exists as an L1 page and the same consists email IDs, city or LinkedIn page links of contributors. Such information also might dox them. Hence, unless verifiable consent has been recorded, such information should be gated.

Options Description
Yes A page contains private or sensitive information which shall be gated or GDPR compliant.
No The page can be viewed by anyone.

8. Recommended Level: Based on the 7 parameters, the perfect node Level has been recommended.

9. Future: This recommendation is basically about the next steps related to L1, L2 or L3 Page/Section.

Options Description
Delete The page is not useful and the same should be deleted or archived.
Relocate The page should be relocated and re-arranged as per the recommended Node level.
Complete Upon analysis it was found that the page is useful but the contents are incomplete. Hence, the person responsible should complete the same.
Stay The page is at the right node level, it should be either left as it is or rearranged within the same level.

10. Comments: Based on the parameters, some nodes also receive bespoke comments for the core contributors to analyse, review and implement.

Analysis & Recommendations

The notion analysis of 318 pages based on this tool can be found here.

Based on the season 1 developments and the notion analysis. The following Notiion Flow is recommended for Season 2. A section overview of the Notion Wiki is as follows:

  • Start-Here
  • Who What Where When
  • Work Teams and Contributions
  • Governance
  • Initiatives and Projects
  • Miscellaneous
  • Social Links

    Fig 2. Recommended Structure (Mind Map Link)

While doing the in-depth analysis, many larger DAO-centric observations were also made. While specific observations/recommendations can be found in my detailed analysis, high-level recommendations are:

  • Some groups are maintaining separate meeting pages within the same group. Each guild/WG/project/squad shall only have one team-wide meeting database which can be linked to our centralised database.
  • An L1 should only exist on the Wiki homepage if it has 2 or more subsequent sub-nodes. Information pages are an exception to the same.
  • Some Level 2 pages require completion or should be adequately updated. Each project coordinator should ensure that L2/L3 pages stay updated or have a work-in-progress label.
  • If a parent Node has only one or 2 sub-Nodes, then those sub-nodes should be merged with its parent node. For example, if a section is labelled as ‘meetings’ and only one meeting page exists within that section, then that section should be deleted and the meetings page should exist independently.
  • Core contributors should also maintain individual L3/L4 workspaces to document their work.
  • It is hard to identify a significant difference between ESD and dGov workstream. This also signifies that moving forward consolidation regarding governance is required. Based on the available notion pages, it was visible that the contributors involved with governance are governing the AN DAO and working on transforming governance to facilitate Aragon’s transition into the DAO. These two aspects should be separately documented. A contributor should be able to choose if they want to be involved in both or just one.
  • Many groups use different labels for the same aspects. In some instances, meetings pages were labelled as ‘alignment pages’. Such discrepancies lead to confusion in the mind of new contributors.
  • Notion is also being used to store a lot of data and it might be wise to invest in an enterprise version of this application so that additional features can be accessed.
  • Each page should have the discord handle of the person responsible for the page on the top.
  • Each workgroup (Guild, Squad, Project, Working Group, Initiative) should bifurcate all the pages into three sections:
    • Information Pages (L1 and L2 Nodes)
    • Workspace Pages (Few L2s and most work should exist as L3 and L4)
    • Combined (These pages should ideally be L2s to promote easy discoverability)

To solve the four problems we have already taken the following steps:

1. Centralised Meeting Database: Anyone in the DAO or a lurker can visit a single database and find all the relevant meetings (dgov, ESD, ops, dTech, community, growth, social media and Umbrella initiative). @ifun will continue to connect databases to this in the future.

2. Rearrangement and archiving of L1 pages: Most L2 pages and their subsequent nodes are controlled by specific contributors. Hence, I rearranged the wiki L1 pages for better discoverability and a better flow of transparency for new contributors. The flow now follows my recommended structure and based on my recommendation, all the pages that were previously L1 and not relevant anymore have now been archived. Please note that a preliminary rearrangement also took place in April (Phase 1 Revamp).

Fig 3. Notion Before and After the Phase 2 Revamp

3. Notion Analytics: @fabs used the Notion Analytics tool on the Wiki Home Page to gain valuable insights. For example, 133 people accessed the Notion Home Page or the dGov home page in the last 30 days (From June 27th to July 26th). Of these 133 users, 128 accessed the Home Page and 22 accessed the dGov page. These users viewed the Home Page 787 times and the dGov page 135 times. Such insights will make our structuring process more robust as we implement the same tool on more pages.
4. Best Practices: The Ops guild maintains a best practices page which consists of guidelines regarding DAO standards, scheduling meetings, DeWork etc.
5. Scalable Guild/Squad Page: For a scalable and transparent DAO, certain standards must be met within each guild/squad so that the new contributors can easily navigate the workspace. All the information/elements should not be dumped on a single page. A sample has also been designed. These elements are:

  • Mission & Values and Description of guild governance
  • Video Explaining Guild/working group/Squad (Optional)
  • Composition (Who’s who?), How to get in touch? & Procedure to join/take part
  • Ongoing Projects/Proposals
  • Bounties & Treasury Accounting
  • Meeting Notes Page (Database)
  • Deliverables/Tasks
  • Responsibilities & Reporting
  • Archive

6. Analysis Recommendations: The Notion analysis of 318 pages (here) has led to various L2 and L3 node recommendations being mentioned in the file. Project stewards should find relevant rows and implement the recommendations. Guidelines and recommendations in this post shall also be noted.
7. Who’s Who Database (Sobol): @elaheh is working within the Ops guild to implement a who’s who database that can help new contributors navigate the DAO and get to know the individuals accountable for various initiatives/groups within the DAO.
8. Leveraging AN DAO Handbook: After an analysis, it was found that the handbook is a valuable source for the DAO and new contributors. Hence, the relevant pages are now part of the Start-Here section itself.
9. Explainer Session: An explainer and feedback session was also conducted on 29.07.2022. The recording for the same can be found here.

Future & Next Steps

  1. Ops guild will always be available to facilitate the implementation of any L2 & L3 recommendations if the Guild/Squad (any group) steward requires help.
  2. Further, any person adding or managing a page in the Notion Wiki should carefully read the recommendations and parameter description given in this post while adding or redesigning pages.
  3. Ops guild will continue to hold monthly/bi-monthly sessions on Notion to receive feedback, explain recommendations and work with stewards for best transparency measures.
  4. The AN DAO should buy the enterprise version of the Notion application to access premium features such as edit history. This is important to increase accountability.
  5. Another transparency analysis shall be required when the AA contributors merge with the DAO as documentation will increase considerably and there might be structural changes within AN DAO governance as well.

The Notion analysis tool, parameters, and recommendations can also be applied to analyse other transparency-based applications such as discord. Similarly, the same parameters can be used by any other DAOs to analyse their notion as well. Hence, as our practices become more contributor centric, we can set industry-level examples of tools which can be used to improve DAO operations and governance throughout the ecosystem.


Awesome work Lion! This is Gold

So much information here thank you for your dedication and work to highlight the ongoing need. Your S1 report signifies the extent of work still required. The ESD have indicated the need for overarching information architecture. It is a very big undertaking to link the excellent work you’ve undertaken for Notion with the bigger picture.

I feel we need a dedicated, specialist resourced project to achieve this type of outcome cc @daniel-ospina @Synoptic and with Lion moving to apply his legal expertise within Ops S2 onwards I do not see/am not aware yet that the DAO currently has the specialist skillset and resources required to achieve a cohesive information architecture.

There is so much opportunity to respond here I will highlight what imo may be one of the most important - interactive communication.

Interactive communication is especially highlighted as a need for governance and if we can solve for something currently as overly complex as governance, we may as a result have a solution that works for DAO in general cc @alibama. This is just copy-pasted from this morning’s dGov call

How can we do a better job to communicate, implement and re-implement structure more easily?
how inclusive all-encompassing is communication how is the flow of communication effective,
how can we make governance fairer
Connectivity for governance to improve learning and collaboration (metaverse) = Interactivity within governance

More questions than answers here…

The only solution I can offer is that the ESD could release funding based on an RFP process for a project dedicated to -map, consolidate and version control of the AN DAO information architecture. Which I would hope could result in something like Handbook | GitLab cc @SpectraCryptoVerse


Having Contributor Centric perspective is essential, thanks!
Surprisingly often it is missing…