Financial Proposal: A Path to Decentralised Governance (dGov)

Vote Results @ Aragon Voice

The Decentralised Governance (dGov) team request the Main DAO to fund $72,000 for 1 May through 31 August 2022 to support governance-related cross DAO, Aragon Association and ecosystem collaboration. Our work is intended to help the Aragon Network DAO (AN DAO) develop

  • decentralised governance in favour of the equitable, collective-consensus
  • embed a community-wide understanding of the importance of DAO governance
  • Develop routine governance practices and processes to aid transparency and understanding
  • increase awareness and engagement with governance discussions, forums and voting
  • develop opportunities for community participation in DAO governance
  • establish responsibility and accountability for building unassailable, collective, governance legitimacy

By developing the type of optimal and battle-hardened governance systems that will allow ANT holders to collectively decided upon governance and funding opportunities, reduce the need for centralised decision-making and help re-focus the remit of the ESD - we believe this work will ultimately help AN DAO to grow the number of active Aragon DAO and support the overall purpose of the DAO defined in the Aragon Network Charter

1. Rationale

Although becoming more active, AN DAO governance is primarily undertaken subsequent to funding proposals to the Main DAO or via the ESD funding process. We need to raise the importance of Governance as a community-led function because it directly relates to the products Aragon exists to create, grow and maintain.

The DAO has a recognised need for a cross-discipline, highly coordinated and accountable team tasked with navigating from the current state to optimal and battle-hardened governance. A team that can work to secure the type of unassailable governance legitimacy (summit) that will one day enable a fully decentralised Aragon.

A Quick Analogy

Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell made the first free ascent of the Dawn Wall from December 27, 2014 to January 14, 2015, over a 19-day final push, and seven years of searching for the line and working the route’s 32 pitches.

Akin to the route up the Dawn Wall - there is no easy path or shortcut to unassailable, collective governance legitimacy. There is no single solution just a series of “pitches” with their own “problems” and “cruxes” that the community can only work to overcome as we face them, so as Caldwell and Jorgeson said of the Dawn Wall “we’ve got to pace ourselves”.

S1 dGov Objectives

Support existing SubDAO Governance work as outlined in ESD Strategic & Governance proposal:

  1. Drive or Support the step-change process to update the Aragon Network Charter; a series of updates intended to better serve the needs of AN DAO and our growing community as we decentralise.
  2. Support efforts to supplement the Charter with operational standards that clarify governance contributor remit and responsibility, establish accountability and aid transparency
  3. Fund a governance secretary role to support the ESD, Tech and Compliance committees to increase transparency and aid accountability

Decentralise governance through community:

  1. inform our collective understanding of how governance supports progressive decentralisation
  2. develop ways to increase community engagement and participation in governance, whether surfacing actions, developing proposals, contributing to forum discussions or voting
  3. investigate, document and offer recommendations to the community to vote on around Governance tooling designed to increase engagement and participation in the journey to decentralisation

dGov Deliverables

Impact Deliverables

  1. Decentralise: Support work to document Charter adaptations and publish a governance timeline/calendar (30 June) to promote and raise community awareness and forum engagement and voting participation
  2. Decentralise: Investigate, compare and propose governance tooling and community mechanisms that support decentralised governance with at least one supported proposal (31 July)
  3. Understanding: Plan and propose in collab with the community (30 June) the delivery of a series of governance workshops to help our community define the AN DAO Mission, Vision and Values that inform individual positions on Governance proposals and voting.
  4. Engagement: Provide a community touchpoint for proposal authors to seek guidance on proposals, seek feedback if requested and clarify questions as to the governance process

Operational Deliverables

  1. Participation: Surface and define S1 Governance roles/functions to be shared between members of the dGov Coordinape circle (30 May)
  2. Engagement: % Increase from baseline of participation in discord and forum based on the preceeding three months (Feb-Apr) (May-July)
  3. Responsibility: Provide easy access to documentation of dGov team member responsibilities, aligned objectives and metrics (30 May)
  4. Accountability: Ensure routine and operational governance tasks have performance metrics applied for tracking and reporting (30 May)
  5. Understanding: Governance community survey to inform accountability, workshops and governance discussion (30 May) (31 July)
  6. Understanding: Document frequently asked questions to build shared understanding for inclusion in Community handbook v 2.0

Routine Deliverables

  1. Transparency: Monthly performance analysis & reporting
  2. Transparency: Monthly community call
  3. Transparency: Weekly activity documentation
  4. Accountability: Weekly teams meetings and goal setting & performance tracking
  5. Engagement: Weekly governance topic/reading/discussions

Proposed Team

  • S1 dGov Author: lee0007#8152 (40-45 hrs) Aragon Ambassador intake 1, undertook the DAO proposal bounty season 1 and active ESD member. Will work S1 to develop practices and processes to aid community engagement and participation, coordinate deliverables and draft proposals to help decentralise governance.
  • Community Coordinape: targeting 10+ flexible contributors by the 31 July across impact, operational and routine deliverables as well as roles yet to be defined to allow the community to surface and participate in dGov
  • Bounties are clearly defined roles and responsibilities tied to objectives and metrics.

3. Strategic Alignment

  • Governance legitimacy within the DAO is integral to modelling the type of governance our products are designed for. We expect a report by the end of May from Hoola Hoop that will share insight on Aragon’s path to decentralisation, which will undoubtedly inform this team.
  • We seek to evolve the Manifesto and support the Aragon Association pledge specific to experimenting with new governance models and building a community that defends the Manifesto’s values and work to engage the community to help evolve the Manifesto towards a definitive statement of our shared Mission, Vision, and Values.
  • This initiative is aligned with the strategic priorities of the Executive Sub DAO based on the funded S1 ESD Strategic Governance Funding proposal to develop, support and facilitate Charter changes, documentation, and strategic governance
  • Governance fundamentally requires community engagement - surveys, workshops, and community calls will be used to develop understanding and surface our shared governance goals. We intend to work closely with all DAO teams to create and respond to proposals that will help us decentralise.
  • We intend to investigate, recommend and propose Governance tooling that can support the journey to decentralisation. In S1 we will focus discussions around Tao voting, the Common Configuration tools and Arbor Vote while continuing to seek other options that serve the needs of the decentralised governance.

4. Limitations & Risks

  • Current ambiguity around the charter effectively undermines governance legitimacy; unchanged, we will remain in a position of uncertainty and stagnate.
  • We can not say whether our efforts will be successful or whether we will be deemed adequate/successful (yet) by the community, but this is a risk we are willing to undertake to move forward.
  • Governance is not exactly a fascinating topic. It could be hard to engage the community that we rely upon to truly decentralise.
  • We are limited by the availability and resourcing of those with the highest context and expertise needed to make change.
  • Ultimately, governance requires voter participation to reach quorum and pass proposals, while we will work to build this we can not foresee whether or not voters will rally to support the journey to decentralisation.

5. Funding Information

We request the funding for $72,000 for Governance from 1 May through 31 August to be paid as per the prevailing finance guidance. This amount is equivalent to funding for 2-3 full-time equivalent roles, however in order to decentralise and engage contributor participation more than fifteen governance focused functions have been identified, but not yet fully defined to allow community input. This is not intended to be a definitive list of opportunities but it is the basis that informs the requested budget. Many functions naturally align with work undertaken by existing teams but as these teams are already funded additional funding via coordinape is requested.

  • Core: First Points of Contact within the team with responsibility and accountability for deliverables rewarded via Coordinape.
  • Flexible: contributions that help the team achieve our stated deliverables rewarded via Coordinape.
  • Advisory: Applied to collaboration with AN DAO contributors, teams, the Aragon Association and ecosystem collaborators rewarded via Coordinape.
  • Community: Open learning and experimentation opportunities rewarded via Coordinape.
Purpose May June July August Totals
Bounties / Coordinape 15,000 17,500 20,000 20,000 72,500
USDC Equivalent 15,000 17,500 20,000 20,000 72,500

We request the use of a multisig in favour of default escrow as we believe this is necessary to effectively function and meet our commitments to contributors in a timely manner.

15 Likes

Wonderful Proposal @lee0007

I think this is coming at a great time, with all of the talks about transferring the Funds from the Association to the Main DAO. I feel it’s important we take steps within the DAO to increase participation and awareness around the governance process and ensure people understand this fully.

Yes! Looking forward to creating a shared North Star with everyone!

Really keen on getting this going. Please let me know how Community Experience and myself can help.

One thing I think is important with this initiative is staying in alignment with the Association as we go through this journey. This shouldn’t be hard considering we have a few Aragon Core Team on the dGov team as well. The more we can create these open lines of communication on how things are being done the more we help pave that road to decentralization as well.

3 Likes

Hey @lee0007 , thanks for putting together this proposal.

I wanted to better understand how you see this tying in with the Placeholder proposal to transfer AA funds to the AN DAO: Proposal: Transfer the Aragon Project Funds to an Aragon DAO Governed by (Delegated) ANT - #96 by mlphresearch. I understand from @mlphresearch this proposal is going to go live for ANT holders to vote on at the start of June. Given a dependency for this mass fund transfer is a revised charter, combined with the need to have a much simpler charter that clearly articulates Aragon’s purpose, it’s desirable that the AN DAO’s “purpose” exercise should be addressed before then.

What are your thoughts on kickstarting a separate forum post for “AN DAO purpose” to invite the wider community to submit purpose variations to that? The shortlist of purpose options could then be added to Placeholder’s Voice vote.

AA and AL core teams have been working with Hoola Hoop over the past week to revisit Aragon’s purpose. Happy to share the insights here once available and perhaps that can be used as the basis to kickstart a wider community discussion around AN DAO’s purpose.

Either way, just thought I’d flag it as this is a critical dependency and the dates aren’t coinciding atm.

1 Like

I think this is a great idea. This topic deserves its own post in my opinion. Currently, I’m trying to bring the AN DAO Contributors together to spark this conversation. I think some of the newer contributors may be a bit intimidated by the Forum and the depth of the topics being discussed here. This is why I’ve opted to do this during our Monthly All-Hands. It will be a forum of peers which I think will make everyone more comfortable participating in the discussion.

I do want to make it clear that I am not trying to create a situation in which the AN DAO alone is creating the purpose. I am only attempting to facilitate a team-building situation where we can come together to create an outline. Then we can use this to help inform any future decisions.

Just spoke with Hoola Hoop this morning. I think it went really well, looking forward to the results. :slight_smile:

4 Likes

Dear @lee0007, I love your intention and this is a step in the right direction. However, it is hard for AN DAO contributors to give an honest feedback to the proposal as you are a member of the ESD. There is a conflict of interest as you vote on the proposals of the people who will comment on your proposal and this might have financial implications. I believe the governance process should be fixed in this regard.

Also, it would be in the interest of the reviewer if you could disclose exactly how much funding will be transferred to you personally (as compensation from the 72,000 USDC). Additionally, other substantial contributors should also be named in the proposal to understand who all will be receiving the major chunk of the funds. This is not needed for smaller bounties.

3 Likes

I can not provide this information dGov contributor funding is proposed to be decided via a coordinape circle each month. To establish the requested budget I developed indicative funding allocations based on my own 1) perceived level of expertise and 2) estimates of time per month to undertake various dGov functions outlined here. Ultimately the coordinape circle is used to determine compensation and roles are yet to be allocated, based on availability of funding.

Creating proposals is a requirement of the ESD role so your observation here would apply to every proposal any ESD member creates, correct? And although a number of S1 funded contributors have provided feedback on this proposal you have highlighted an issue I had not picked up on. However, in terms of conflict of interest, I am not sure that we are on the same page yet as to what determines a real vs percieved conflict of interest so personally I would value further discussion on this here. You’ve also identified that trust is mission-critical in the DAO and something I am proposing we actively discuss .

1 Like

This proposal is a response to the transfer of funds discussion and pending vote by @mlphresearch.

While I am strongly in favour of simplifying the Charter and believe we are all on the same page about the need to align and evolve the Charter (including mission, vision and values) - this proposal is my attempt to establish resources and a realistic timeframe around the development of decentralised, collective governance. In requesting funding for May 1 to 31 August I am asking also for time so that we can actively

  1. increase community awareness, engagement and governance participation and
  2. develop the type of shared understanding needed to reach alignment on the founding documents that underpin progressive decentralised governance.

As per the Dawn Wall analogy (avid climber here) I’m in favour of the ground-up approach and tackling progressive decentralisation through a series of clear, concise proposals with increased community participation. .

This proposal is intended to support decentralisation in its many and varied means, this includes the proposal to transfer funds and by extension, all the action items community have (and will) raise in response to future proposals - including Charter changes, MVV and governance models and possible alternatives to the proposed delegate voting model. “Purpose” adds another necessary conversation to the list.

Vision is the one thing imo we have already captured in the form of our Manifesto. And yet at the other end of the scale I’m also aware that we have no shared understanding yet of commonly used terms such as “decentralised” “governance” .

As a response to the need to develop shared understanding I am proposing a four week series of conversations and facilitated workshops on the topics of “decentralised” “governance” “participation” “voting” in an effort to engage with anyone interested to surface-applied principles and values in hopes that shared understanding will help align us all around yet to be defined "purpose’, “mission”.

My approach is to get us to speak the same language before having the important conversations and it is a process that requires time, realistically at least the 21 June before we start talking purpose, without speaking at cross-purposes on prevailing terms.

4 Likes

This is taking a great step at a perfect time in the right direction as this will foster knowledge growth and participation. On several occasions during the new joiners call (EU) which I moderate, the question of what exactly are the efforts put in motion in improving contribution and participation towards governance is often asked. This proposal will go a long way in answering that question effectively and setting things in motion for greater awareness within the DAO. Great job @lee0007

3 Likes

Hi Renee, thanks for the proposal.

Some feedback:

  1. I personally find it very important for the ANDAO to build governance strength and understanding. The purpose is not to become the next Fire-Eyes, but I suspect if the entire organization has a deeper understanding and experience relating to the subject of DAO governance, I suspect this trickle effect will be beneficial across the entire organization.

  2. I personally don’t see a large conflict of interest, but Ethan’s point is valid and maybe a mechanism to solve this would be beneficial in your work or should be added as a deliverable? i.e. How can contributors give honest feedback and criticism to ESD members creating proposals or any leaders for that matter. GL!

  3. Should this not start June 1? This would also allow an easier pivot matching the large proposal as mentioned by Joe.

  4. Transparency: How will this impact your work in the ESD as this is 40-45 hours / week? Will you be paid for both even though they overlap? etc.

  5. I very much like the deliverables.

Thanks again! Looking forward to hearing back.
-Anthony

3 Likes

Good call, will add this as a conversation point for the proposed workshops (deliverables) in hopes that the contributors can identify solutions

Keen to start the community engagement and development of shared understanding in advance of these large proposals. Some personal feedback I’ve received is that some contributors find the forum intimidating and my hope is that it might be less intimidating for people to express ideas that they are aware are supported by others in the community. Also looking to drive more discussion in the forum as a public accessible artifact of the conversations that are important to our community to maybe lower the perceived barrier to governance participation.

Ideally, I’m looking at doing on average three days per week across ESD (1) & dGov (2) so that I have the bandwidth during the ESD high season which is typically only 1/4 months per season. Specifically looking to delineate the centralised ESD remit from what I see as the need for collective, decentralised governance. Based on my experience to date, I have outlined the operational role requirements of the ESD here which shows that outside of the high season - around new season funding - I have time to contribute to the dGov circle.

There are no full-time roles in dGov, although the funding is based on the equivalent of ~2.5 -3 FTE contributors I went to the effort to break down the dGov functions (and align proposed deliverables w.success metric) into multiple (12) roles in an effort to decentralise, build governance participation and set the foundations for a flexible contributor base. While there are a number of people interested in contributing to dGov roles are dependent on funding.

4 Likes

I will keep it short: I think this initiative is very much needed, as we need to form a collective vision of how our governance works.
IMO, we have to nurture a talent pool of people interested and educated on the subject of governance and, as always, we have excellent candidates present in our DAO and coming to us every day. Moreover, we can also leverage connections to other DAOs and research groups within.

Amazing things can emerge from giving people a clear objective and the necessary resources (fair compensation, access to experts and moderators, etc.). France’s citizen climate assembly is a prime example of this approach.

IMO, this could also take longer than the timeline proposed and be a decision on which the community members can vote in whatever our next governance structure looks like.

6 Likes

Thank you @lee0007 for this proposal! I agree it’s much-needed work. The TLDR as I understand it:

Currently, AN DAO governance is one of the more poorly designed ones in the industry. With potentially substantial capital to flow into the DAO, it’s high time to change that. Let’s provide funding for a working group to shape around the idea of creating better governance processes. I am fully on board with that!

My two points of practical feedback are:

  • Please aim for simple designs that work - as an organization we have the tendency to overcomplicate things (look no further than the Charter). The scrutiny of working in public can push people even further toward trying to design something novel and complex that sounds smart and sophisticated. Putting in place 4 processes described with 300 words each to deliver impact will be a success. The same impact delivered through 8 processes of 1000 words each will be a failure. Good governance doesn’t mean everyone participates, it means everyone has the opportunity to participate. Complex processes and fancy terminology rob people who are not time-wealthy of this opportunity.
  • As you are a force of nature in the Aragon Network this one will be difficult, but I think it would be great if you can take a step back in this process - more facilitate and enable, than drive (inadvertently doing it this way it could take more time)…again the aim is lower the barriers for participation so the process can be more inclusive. You have already set up an elaborate notion Notion space for this initiative, someone just joining will have to spend hours catching up on context, which means the same 10 people will participate. If we want to let others in we have to slow down a bit so they can catch-up

I agree with @Ethan and @Anthony.Leuts that there is some overlap with the ESD role and it could be somewhat strange. At the same time, there are not many people with the experience and the drive to spearhead this and I would rather get results than pretend we are more decentralized than we actually are (the Charter tried to pretend this and then we ran a rigged election).

Specifically, to @Ethan’s concern - if you criticize an ESD member and then a proposal you have put forward is unfairly treated, would you be interested to contribute to such a community anyways? Don’t get me wrong - there are petty people. We have contributors who have been offboarded and have become critics of some power imbalance only after they lost the ability to take advantage of it, but that’s the exception rather than the rule.

6 Likes

Fair call Ivan and so I’ll be clear right now that I will not sideline myself. Governance is why I came to web3 and Aragon. I am here seeking ways to enable the tangatawhenua and indigenous communities to more effectively govern ourselves and our wealth of human, natural and intellectual resources. Yet there is so much to learn and what better path to learn and share this knowledge than to actively participate?

I’ve spent many years in startups resourcing and building teams to function without me but to be clear I intend to actively participate in a dGov team. The development of +15 dGov functions indicates my intent to enable and empower others while providing room for people to develop opportunities to participate. Feel free to call me out if you see I am domineering and controlling as opposed to empowering others.

If I was here to just GSD myself, I would have proposed two core roles plus bounties, it’s the easier option except it fails wholly on the objective to decentralise. While I have defined functions to ensure we deliver on this proposal, I hope collectively we can go above and beyond. I’m not asking for the security of a fixed reward or 40 hours a week, just the resources and time to embed governance as a routine function of a community and as the shared responsibility of many participants working to achieve a shared purpose and live shared values. .

IMO ten people involved is a step in the right direction. By comparison, there are three ESD members which felt more like two during the S1 proposal process so I’m excited to 5x governance input/output.

And while it may seem elaborate there’s only one Master database containing all the info on dGov roles, objectives deliverables, and metrics. It is simply filtered in different ways to address different questions - who what how why. The additional goal setting and STAR reporting elements are suggested mechanisms only, current is in place to track my own work to date and may well change based on who takes on the operational functions. Until a decision on funding is voted on the make up of the team remains unknown.

To this pupose I have attempted to clarify the ESD role for now while dGov develop ways for the vast majority of funding decision to transition to a community of active governance participants.

To clarify, I don’t mean less involved…I mean different type of involvement. My point was focusing on getting different people involved. Yes 10 people is great, but let’s get diverse representation (by diverse, I mean not in terms of background, but in terms of relationship to the network).
@Sertac raised the point of different stakeholders. Let’s get a couple of researchers from the Aragon innovation hub involved, a couple of early years investors, a developer from a massive DAO built on Aragon etc. so it doesn’t end up being the ESD and the members of other existing guilds crafting the process in vacuum. Hope that clarification makes sense

3 Likes

Thank you this does clarify and what you outline is ideal. It would be great to have this type of governance participation by the end of S1 as a result of proposed efforts to build awareness, engagement and community participation S1.

In the proposal planning Stakeholder identification is proposed along with Research and Applied Practice as an advisory function of the dGov circle - accounted for in the requested budget - to enable funding for diversity of governance perspectives cc @alex-kampa @mheuer @Sertac @GriffGreen

VOTING:Aragon Voice

At least for me, some of the details of this proposal are difficult to assess prior to the vote planned in early June that will go a long way in setting the high-level objectives/priorities when it comes to governance. Similar to others who have commented in this thread, I do like how you’ve broken down the deliverables, but I think their final form and prioritization will be materially impacted by the early June vote. What I’m a bit worried about is “analysis paralysis” and trying to do everything at once, instead of starting with a small set of core objectives/activities that are easy to communicate, understand, and iterate upon. Choosing between the on-chain DAO vs. legal wrapper route and revising the Charter are good examples of this, and both are essential for devising the action plan for the rest of the year. Anyway, my two cents. Regardless of the outcome of the June vote, I think the work described in this proposal has the potential to do a lot of good for the DAO.

4 Likes

It took so much time for me to develop a response to this proposal that it passed in the vote. I will therefore drastically reduce my input. 1. This proposal is necessary for the development of Aragon, there is no doubt that governance processes need to be improved and strengthened, especially considering the transition that is taking place. 2. I think a lot of weight has been put on strengthening individuals but less on changing structure. I think the barrier to participation is still too high. Some ideas for lowering it:

  1. Pay attention to the language used in the proposals (easier to access and less technical)
  2. Leave room for expression by formulating open questions at the end of each proposal.
  3. Create a safe space (psycological safety) for debate with facilitators to ensure this space.

As Umbrella team we will also try to implement trust as much as possible to enhance participation in the governance. Looking forward to collaborate.

4 Likes

Thanks for your feedback! The beauty of decentralised governance (and climbing) is this openess to and learning from a diversity of approaches.

dGov like all plans its only a starting point, as per the Dawn Wall analogy my approach is to tackle one pitch ‘problem’ and ‘crux’ at at a time…and the problem with Charter (to date) has been lack of incentives to coordinate and resource the time and talent to drive the process forward. My aproach to this problem is to seek funding to resource a more decentralised (vs centralised ESD) and flexible governance contributor base.

Certainly, interested so see which route we take on the legal vs onchain approach to this first crux - and although I have preferneces Im more interested in reaching the top of the wall than the specific route selected - Im not here to drive the decision in either direction but to build awareness understanding and participation from as broad a community of ANT holder as we can gather.

I see dGov as the community support system of ropes, belays, quickdraws and bolts that stop us plummeting to the bottom of the cliff when we make attempts that fail, because we won’t get it right everytime. The right support systems will help ensure we can continue to face and surmount the challenges that progressive decentrlised governance is bound to present.

And at this point in the proposal process, Im just keen to starting working on these problems with other people…

1 Like