Evaluating the AGP-1 voting results makes me think we need an Aragon Community Token (ACT)

ant
voting

#10

Super interesting thread!

I don’t think we should look at voter turnout and make the assumption that because people didn’t vote they don’t care how decisions are made. Particularly, because the primary utility for ANT has always been communicated as governance authority.

As pointed out elsewhere in the thread, there are many other factors including education, ease of use, and whether the vote was controversial that could have a huge impact in whether people choose to participate.

I do think that its absolutely the case that many ANT holders would prefer to delegate their voting authority rather than actively participate, and perhaps many would want to delegate their authority to an organization that is run as a cooperative of active community members–but I think its important that that decision is explicitly made by ANT holders.

I think exploring a model like this is a great idea! I think ensuring that active contributors have a strong influence in the direction of the project is healthy for the ecosystem, and encourages more people to get involved more actively.

I would be very much opposed to shifting root-level authority from ANT holders to ACT holders, but I could see the ACT organization having significant influence in the community, and if delegative voting is introduced I could see a large portion of ANT holders delegating their authority to such an organization.

I also think the idea of replacing some of the associations responsibilities in the current process with such an organization could be a reasonable short term improvement and further decentralize the projects governance, as jorge suggested.

We have the tools to create the ACT (Aragon Cooperative) organization today–though they may not be ideal. Creating the organization does not require any approval from anyone. Once it is established it can be used for signaling within the community, and can have an internal governance process that is completely independent from AGPs (so votes can happen much more frequently if necessary). If this experiment goes well, then a proposal can be made via the AGP process to expand the role of the cooperatives role in governance – eg by replacing the association multi-sig in the process, or by requesting funding for an independent cooperative budget, or by updating the AGP voting app to allow for delegation, etc.


#11

@lkngtn your response totally aligns! But would ANT approval be needed to grant the usage of the “Aragon” trademark to the cooperative? I guess I can see the trademark standing in the way of approval (“Creating the organization does not require any approval from anyone”), unless another name was chosen.


#12

There is an AGP1 track for proposals related to association owned assets including trademarks. The example being to make trademarks public domain… but currently since the association holds the trademark it would be at their discretion whether to pursue any enforcement.

So while I’m not an authority on the matter, I suspect that this is a situation where proceeding with creating the organization under the assumption that is an acceptable use would be okay, and the worst case scenario would be that the association disagrees, and the cooperative would need to stop using the trademark (and potentially respond by preparing an AGP proposal to request permission to use the trademark for that purpose).

You could certainly make the case that the appropriate course of action is to not use the trademark for the cooperative until there has been explicit permission granted from the Association, or through the AGP process. I would expect the Association would be accommodating given the situation.

In either case I think the use of the trademark for such a purposes is unlikely to be a significant blocker to this initiative!


#13

After the rather dismal results we saw from the AGP-1 vote, I think that if we ever try to implement a quorum requirement, this will be the only way to do it. Quorum requirements are important for allowing emergency decisions to happen without anyone being left out of the decision, but a 2% quorum requirement isn’t going to do anything.

What I would like to see eventually would to be able to grow from our current flow:

association finance meta proclamations
1/2 quarterly x x x
2/3 quarterly x

To a flow capable of making decisions at a much more rapid clip:

association finance meta proclamations nest flock
1/2 ANT quarterly x x x x
2/3 ANT quarterly x x
1/2 ANT&ACT, 1/2 ACT quorum x x
2/3 ANT&ACT, 2/3 ACT quorum x x x x
0 dissent, 2/3 ACT quorum x x x x x x
1/2 ANT+Quadratic x

If we aren’t willing to give them a say in what they are working on, why would we be giving them any funding at all? Scaling decisionmaking requires the ability to make more than 4 decisions per year, and there needs to be some sort of quorum requirement for that to happen.

Even with the same voting power, new members will not have the same decision making power as established members. Your recommendations and the recommendations of other established members will always carry far more weight than that of new members. Also, new members will have no say over norms and procedures established before they started - your decision making power will depend on the amount of time you have worked on Aragon even with this.

Worker control of the means of production is not plutocracy, and relying on people not being able to work multiple jobs full time does not rely on a centralized identity oracle.


#14

Okay I have a little bit more of time to reply now…

You make good arguments here. Additionally, I had also not considered the option of ANT holders actually delegating to such a body like ACT. When those features are released, it will be interesting to see how the ecosystem evolves, as this is such an interesting idea!

Whenever I first made this thread, I was under the impression that of course any changes to the voting would have to go through an AGP process, and I also wasn’t expecting ACT voting to just take over right away.

As a community member, product developer, and future power user of Aragon, the decisions that I’d be most concerned with are those pertaining to the roadmap. But I guess this would be more of an AIP decision as opposed to AGP.

But additionally, I think it would also be interesting to have a better signal from other people helping build Aragon outside of the “Flock” to see what the general “community pulse” was on decision-making processes and structures. One future enhancement I can see to the Voting app to make this process smoother, is removing the need to recreate the same vote on multiple apps, but for a vote to be more global, open to multiple token holders, but the binding nature of it is mapped to a specific token. This removes administrative burden and makes it easier to gather multiple signals into a single platform (such as having a combination of an ANT + ACT signal).

Lastly, I hope that these ideas presented in this thread do not come off as contentious (in a negative way), but instead part of governance discourse and brainstorming, as that is the purpose of building such a forum, tool, AGP processes and the like!

As mentioned in my previous post, I really like the ideas put forth by @lkngtn regarding the cooperative. I guess if there are two others (active contributors) that feel aligned with creating such an organization today, let me know and let’s figure it out! (the only part I’m not sure Aragon supports yet is the burning?)


#15

I think that something like this would be beneficial, or even better, limiting super important votes for ANT stakers – you know, the people who are really in this for the long run and are willing to “lock” that in.


#16

:100::100::100:

It is fantastic to see this sort of discussion starting within the community, and I feel like the AGP1 vote is already a huge success because it has provided a framework to have these discussions productively.

I wouldn’t say the result was dismal, it was only slightly lower than I had expected (4-5%). Its difficult to estimate how active holders will be particularly since there really is no baseline but I feel reasonably happy with the result and expect that to improve over time.

However, the point you raise about quorum and responsiveness to emergencies is important to consider. The reason to have only a few and periodic votes is so that they participants have lots of time to become aware of the next vote, the issues which are being discussed, and generally have plenty of time to prepare. In the event of an emergency you do not have those advantages, and you run the risk of a decision being seen as illegitimate because it was “slipped through” without adequate time for discussion or preparation. A sufficiently large quorum can help, but as you point out it seems unrealistic for a large scale vote.

I think improved delegation helps with that a lot, as voters are able to pre-select a delegate to represent their interests, and that delegate can be more engaged and responsive than individual voters. There is some discussion on possible short-term approaches to improving delegation here: Exploring alternatives to Liquid Democracy – and the council voting approach in particular would I think be similar to what you are proposing.

I’m a bit unsure about using an unelected cooperative in place of an elected council, but ultimately if that were to be approved through the AGP process then it would certainly be worth trying.

The other important discussion here is what we consider emergencies–because depending on the situation the response could be very different. EG if a critical bug is found in the kernel, or in the network, what needs to happen? If a team that has been funded through flock/nest runs out of funds between one of the quarterly updates and waiting to the next AGP vote would be problematic does that fall into the emergency process?

Depending on the the specific issues the response could be quite different. For example, it might be a good idea to allocate a budget from the association via AGP to a pool of funds which can be governed by something like the ACT, that teams could request funding from more frequently and through a different process then the AGP process. In effect, this would allow the slow process of AGP funding to delegate the decision to provide short-fall funding to a different organization, and that organization would be able to be much more agile with its processes.

In the case of an emergency bug, it may make sense to delegate some specific privileges to an elected council or community multi-sig – as response time in some cases is so important that any sort of vote would be potentially damaging. Again that is something that can happen through the framework of AGP1 without needing new tracks per se.

I don’t think the issue is with giving nest teams/flock teams/contributors a say in the direction, or even a greater say then they have currently with ANT holdings, but rather that with AGP 1 ANT holders get final authority, but they can approve additional more agile processes that grant substantial authority to other groups. It does not have to be all or nothing (All decisions are made by ANT holders or all decisions are made by ACT holders). Saying it is a layer 2 system that is non-binding is I think not quite accurate, I think its more accurate to say that such a system probably doesn’t make sense to supersede the base layer governance (AGP1) at this point, but could certainly be used for signaling about layer 1 decisions, and making binding decisions for any authority which has been granted to it (whether that is specific contract based permissions, or decisions based on a budget that gets allocated to that organization).

As a side note, Its really frustrating when people equate token voting with plutocracy. Communities governed by tokens do not restrict participation (coming or going) like a government does, and systems which on the surface seem less “plutocratic” are often just as influenced by the wealthy – traditional one-person-one-vote democracies are still highly plutocratic…


#17

I honestly think the results were great – 2.63% tokens voted, which is not that bad. It means someone cared! I think we could have made much better communication around this too – almost no one outside the Aragon ecosystem noticed.

Apart from that, I think having something like a community coop that people can delegate their ANT to, would be great. I wouldn’t make it official at all, so there are multiple ones with different structures that can emerge.

I think this first voting was a landmark event, not because of its results, but because it’s making us dream about Aragon’s governance. We wouldn’t be having this conversation without it, and I’m very happy about this thread and the different ideas being thought of here :eagle:


#18

I think the problem regarding communication is that social media and blogs won’t be enough, so it’s going to take another layer of integrations and the like to make it easier for holders to remember or to know about it in general…

Here are some ideas on how to make the January vote popping! Although many will probably be difficult to accomplish in such a short time.

Encourage media outlets to create a voting bulletin
Perhaps Coindesk, Bitcoin Magazine, Cointelegraph, etc can do DAOs a service and help broadcast votes? Considering how important governance is for the blockchain ecosystem, and the emergence of DAOs, I can eventually see voting bulletins posted on these sites.

Web/browser notifications
Another idea is to enable people to subscribe to push notifications after visiting https://aragon.org/ – and that the only notifications that you will intrude folks with is about votes (like one notification 2 weeks before the polls open, then one right when the poll opens, and a final one one hour before it closes, or you can customize to your preference)

Another interesting feature can be from Metamask - you get a notification in your Metamask-enabled browser when one of the tokens you hold is having a vote. Or you can potentially “subscribe” to different tokens within Metamask, and get a notification from the tokens you specify.

Wallet Integrations
Approach mobile wallet providers like Status or Coinbase Wallet to add this “voting notification” support (then making Aragon web app mobile-friendly should then also become a priority).

Portfolio or coin metric website partnerships / integrations
I think identifying the market leaders for coin portfolio apps, and working with them to create a voting bulletin / notification feed would be cool.

There’s Blockfolio’s Signal too, where you can communicate with token holders, but I haven’t tried that.

Aragon Mobile App
Probable the longer term strategy that will increase turn out is the Aragon Mobile app. It’s all about those notifications and making sure people know its time to vote, and making it easy to do so on any kind of device…


The general theme for most of the above ideas has to do with notifications and an integration into a “voting feed” of sorts.

:raised_hands: :raised_hands:


#19

Just chiming in to say that it was put into writing:

https://wiki.aragon.org/documentation/association_ant/

You’re right @stellarmagnet it was an oversight on my part that this wasn’t either put into AGP-1 or at least mentioned in the AGP-1 vote blog post.


#20

Thanks for starting this thread @stellarmagnet and thanks everyone else for great contributions so far.

I agree with Luke here, although as noted elsewhere calling it “Aragon Cooperative” would itself fall under the Aragon Trademark Policy:

https://wiki.aragon.org/documentation/legal/Trademark_policy/

No permission is required to self-organize with other Nest teams and contributors to start this cooperative, but permission would be required to use Aragon in the name (if we don’t want to draw the ire of the Association). There is a path to becoming a trademark licensee, if Aragon Cooperative is a desirable name. (And maybe in the future, via Association track AGP this trademark use could be made more permissive.)

It does! See “Remove token” here (before tokens can be burned, the permission to do so must be initialized via Token Manager in the Permissions app).

Regarding communication, this was one of the top issues I was thinking about leading up to the vote and since it ended. For this vote I mainly prioritized communicating via our own channels - multiple tweet reminders, @-all announcements in Aragon Chat, a video Q&A, the thread on this forum, threads on r/AragonProject, two emails to our mailing list, etc etc. And I made sure the vote was after Prague Blockchain Week so that it would reduce the odds of scheduling conflict. I’d like to think that everyone who wanted to participate should have heard about it.

That said… of all those channels, only Twitter includes more “followers” than we have token holders. The next largest channel (either our email list or Aragon Chat) has less than half the number of addresses there are that hold ANT. (Disclaimer: addresses do not correlate to unique individuals.)

So all that said, the communication situation could improve and I’ve been thinking a lot about how to do it. The ideas you mention are good ideas. In the short term I would like to focus specifically on improving direct lines of communication between DAOs and their token holders. Having third parties like Blockfolio Signal or CoinDesk alert people about DAO votes is a nice to have, but giving people the ability to receive alerts directly from a DAO (or its designated agent) about important announcements such as upcoming votes is a must.

The best resources our project has right now for important notifications are Aragon Chat and our newsletter. So I will take the opportunity to plug both and say to readers if you are not yet signed up for Aragon Chat with email notifications turned on for mentions and/or subscribed to the Aragon project newsletter, now’s a good time to do that :wink:

I / we will continue working on this and while I can’t promise anything by the next vote, we can certainly expect communication around votes to improve over time.


#21

@light I certainly wasn’t trying to imply that you all didn’t try hard enough – and indeed the ideas I mention are ones that require more hurdles as external parties are a bit out of owns control!

In thinking about ACT more, the initial proposal had to do with getting a signal from the entire development ecosystem: Flock, Nest, part-time recurring bounty hunters, open source contributors etc. The signal is more valuable if people from all parties buy into it. If the attitude is “go ahead and organize” but don’t count me in, then it does turn into an entirely different dynamic.

So yeah I understand the “no need to ask for permission” stance, but it wasn’t about permission in the first place and it wasn’t about trying to create this body for the purpose of it developing it’s own team, agenda, proposals – I do see the value for both types of bodies now though!

But my point is - “aragon builder community” signal is a bit different than a group of non-flock folks. And hence there does need to be some buy in from the rest of the community to actually try the originally proposed proposal (since an ethereum address is needed from everyone, if you actually want to measure the percentage of people participating). I’m not demanding this at all, but just clarifying the distinction and difference in signalling or voting between the two.

Perhaps it can be the non-flock that is the SRO on the burning situation though, to remove that administrative burden for others to participate that don’t want the bother with the meta governance, but are open minded to try the signalling mechanisms, where all it takes is one extra second to perform the vote on the additional application. I’m actually curious about the reasons why one would want to opt out of receiving the voting token - if all of the votes are just exact copies of any AGP or AIP :slight_smile:


#22

Hmmm, I’m not sure of any other way to do it other than to say we are creating this organization and this is the process for being involved, and this is the purpose, do you want to participate?

It probably would not be a very valuable signal if only a small handful of active contributors decide to participate, but it certainly does not require 100% participation to be valuable.

I think it is important to frame it as an organization that is capturing sentiment from active contributors following a specific process of inclusion criteria. So long as the inclusion criteria doesn’t produce a bias relative to the group that the signal is meant to represent, then it would provide insight that might otherwise be difficult to gather even if not everyone in that group chooses to participate.

Judging from the comments in the thread it seems like the response has been very much positive with regard to using the organization/ACT for signaling–I’m not sure where the impression of “go ahead and organize but don’t count me in came from”, it seems more like “go ahead and organize and lets see what happens”. I can’t speak for anyone else but I’d be happy to participate. :+1:


#23

My language choice with that analysis may have been too extreme – I think I was trying to further make the case that there are two ways one can think about the group. If you read the thread there are a few different interpretations with what the group may do, or who may participate in it. Maybe I was trying to reach consensus on the general idea and have the birth of it be more cooperative or more of a collective effort :slight_smile:


#24

But yeah I think in general this is all a pretty great exercise. Because it is a brainstorming session, with no rights or wrongs, and with many of us considering and thinking through new governance models and signals! It’s a lot of interesting ideas to marinate on and I’m just trying to sort it all out. I’m very excited about the aragon future :slight_smile:


#25

One aspect of ACT that just came to mind is that the votes would be pretty obviously tied to identity, which can have social and political ramifications on an individual voter, whereas ANT votes are pseudonymous and thus relatively privacy preserving. So the dynamic of the votes would be different for that reason alone.


#26

Super interesting thread :vulcan_salute::brain:

an insight form the Web3 Design System research that we are doing, where we interviewed people from other companies who have governance votes like MakerDao:
- voting with cold wallets, especially if multiple parties need to be involved, is still hard and they saw a low participation due to this fact.
they hint at it also in their Foundation proposal approved

My interpretations & theory

  • by now the flippening is over, people who hold ANT, or large quantities of ANT have a long term vision in the project
  • seen as a long term hodling effort, people probably hold the tokens in cold storage or harder to access hardware wallets.
  • Governance tokens are usually bought in large quantities (or will be so) by institutional investors (this is a hunch based on the latest move of a16zCrypto buying Maker’s governance tokens)
  • voting from hardware wallets or cold storage has usability challenges, especially if multiple parties need to be involved (solvable, more on that later)
    therefore the motivation to vote needs to be greater than the UX friction and risk of using the cold storage
  • AGP-1 was very likely perceived as a low risk vote, and one where everyone could know in advance the positive outcome ;), therefore there was no real motivation to go through the UX friction and risk of using the wallets to actually vote.
  • probably in this vote there is also a component of too little communication

Possible solutions

  • technical solutions: create a self-liquid-democracy-delegation: whereas owners of ANT, who probably want to keep them safe in cold storage can authorise another hot wallet they own, or a simpler multiSig, to vote on their behalf (that would be the only function available, whereas the Transfer might be disabled and accessible only to the cold-storage) … I think a #777 Token could already have this function built in.

  • design solution This solution also requires a new interface, an extension to the permissions app, where ANT token holders can assign those delegates for certain functions of the Token contract (some people authorised to vote, others to transfer and sell),

  • design solutions: our Design research found that also other contexts (ie staking) need to fluidly move from one platform/wallet to another, eg from Desktop to mobile, but also from cold wallet to hot wallet like we said.
    Universal Logins or other patterns where your “wallet” is a smart contract, that can have other accounts authorized to operate on its behalf are better suited for this purpose

  • communication solutions: yes to more time for the vote. But I also would like to see a page connected to the proposal where the community discusses it, and where key ANT holders can, optionally, signal their position (although I’m aware this could generate herding)

all this hints that we probably need a “Governance wallet” :wink: that has built-in all these features

which is a multiSig that can assign different “owners” to the different functions (ie voting owners, transfer owners, investing/staking owners)

and we probably need a voting standard that different dApps can apply?


#27

Didn’t have time to read all the thread, thus apologize in advance if this has already been mentioned.

As an ICO investor, I do care for the direction this project is moving. I see the great potential in AN that is in turn strengthened by apps and projects that rely on Aragon infrastructure. Therefore, I am directly interested in exercising my right to vote if this vote can influence the future of the project.

Your proposal to distribute voting rights only among developers is at least unfair, as both developers and investors are the ones that make Aragon a reality. Secondly, there always is a conflict of interests in these two groups - less spending more work vs. less work more spending. To even it out you have to give equal rights to every participant. I’m not even talking about a democratic and decentralized approach here.

The concern that you expressed regarding the abuse of the mechanism is only valid when there is a low turnout. This is the key factor that has to be addressed. I also have my share of fault here as I didn’t participate in this vote and there are a few reasons for that - 48 hours to vote is not really enough at this early stage, as holder awareness is too low yet and not everyone is familiar with the mechanics of the process. I agree to someone, who mentioned here, that quarterly votes do not line up with 48 hr duration very well.

In my opinion, there are two key aspects to pay attention: communication and clarity, and ease of use and security. Former is to clearly and timely notify holders of the upcoming vote - for example, the proposal is published on GitHub which is a great platform for developers and collective work but isn’t very user-friendly. It might sound retarded, but it took me a while to find the final document. Actually, I’ve only managed to download it after having read the instructions in the blog. The latter applies to the process of voting - it might be easy for some but I didn’t have enough time to understand the process and assure myself of the safety of these manipulations, the reliance on Metamask also sows doubt in this process. This becomes even funnier because I consider myself to be an “advanced PC user”.

One idea that I can think of right now that might improve voter awareness and reduce abuse, would be creating a whitelist of addresses eligible to vote. Everyone should be allowed to submit the address to the list and only whitelisted addresses should be able to cast the vote and be accounted. The balance on the address could be locked prior to voting for the duration of the vote and whitelisting could be made impossible after the first draft of the proposal has been published to avoid manipulation and abuse. The process of whitelisting may require submitting an e-mail address to receive communication regarding the upcoming votes.

In the longer term, the process of voting should be completely integrated into Aragon dapp, including the support of HW wallets.


#28

Thanks for your feedback! Will address some of the points in your post:

This is certainly open to changing, there is a mechanism in AGP-1 to regularly poll ANT holders about the frequency of votes, we can also add a poll about the duration to the next vote as well.

The proposal was linked directly multiple times in multiple places (e.g. this thread), and in the “Final details” blog post there is a line that clearly says:

Read the full AGP-1 proposal here.

That said, if there’s a concrete suggestion you have about how to make the proposal easier to find and read in the future, I am certainly open to suggestions!

There were also details in the “Final details” blog post about voting from a cold storage wallet or normal private key using MyCrypto / MEW, so the process wasn’t completely reliant on using MetaMask.

But the point about confidence is important and we will be sure to put in more work in the future to try to make voters as confident as they can be in the process.

I don’t like the idea of a whitelist but having some communication channel dedicated to alerts about upcoming votes does seem useful.

I don’t want to speak for the dev team but imo it is unlikely that Aragon would take on the burden of being a direct interface for wallets when there is already so much good work being done in this area. For example, we have funded a native Ethereum provider (or “signing interface” - the terminology is still getting worked out) called Frame that will make it easy to sign transactions even using the native Aragon desktop app. I think this is a better approach than every dapp developer reinventing the wheel to add a signing interface to their dapp.


#29

Well, I would say that this is more of a software limitation, and this secret voting proposal should remedy it in the future, right? https://github.com/aragon/nest/issues/12

:slight_smile:

So indeed perhaps it may be too early to implement such a collective if this is a concern for participation.

I think for a lot of use cases, for organizations, public voting is probably okay (like for Roadmaps etc). Right now the Giveth team uses Loomio for voting/signaling, and most of the votes have been public. I’ve just seen a handful where Anonymous was selected as the option.