Is Aragon falling into a Centralized Culture Framework?

The cryptospace is being shaped by a new kind of tribalism culture. Crypto organizations are being born and evolving by systems coerced by a common ideology, mindsets, and/or believing systems instead of territory and/or violence. Bitcoin and their forks, Ethereum and other communities are autonomously self-organizing themself (more or less) to build the code that answer back to such ideologies, and Aragon is not only a perfect example of this, but a very clear one, as we have a pretty well stated Manifiesto.

In my personal perception, the above is just nature! The good one! An space full of diversity that will probably end up into a Darwinian process that would allow, not the strongest, neither the longer chain to survive, but that one that will adapt better to the market, industries and overall culture conditions.

At a meta level, referring to the crypto space, there are clear signs of cultural decentralization that makes me assure we are going through the right path, but I’m not sure if inside Aragon we are experiencing the same thing, as I have personally been seeing signs and patterns that makes me thing that we want to centralize the culture around one (ore few) person’s mindset.

From one side, of course we need a manifiesto, a centralized ethical code to serve us as a north star to keep the Aragon Project bonded enough. The cultural perspective that I want to challenge now is not that one, but the individual agent one. Is it ok that people that work for Aragon Project (aka Flock teams) should centralize their individual efforts onto a single project?

A couple of weeks ago I read in thread among @clesaege and @luis about Kleros Proposal to have a common court with Aragon the following:

even calling Kleros to focus 100% on DAOs giving up his own identity for receiving a Flock grant…

Bus as the same Luis said in this other thread:

so I’m taking the chance to make this open critic, also because this is not the first time something like this happens.

In January this year, @GriffGreen submitted the AragonDAC Flock proposal after months of working together with Aragon thanks to the Nest Grant they had. This AGP was rejected by the AA board before submitting it to ANT holders vote, because the team did not commit 100% of their time because they were already working (and planning to continuosly doing it) on the Giveth project. Giveth soul was not committed, so the AA rejected the AGP.

My personal believe is that we should embrace decentralization in all themes, at all levels, even if we have to go fractal with that. Decentralization brings diversity, and diversity can bring wealthiness and evolution if we know how to embrace it and take advantage of it. I think that if we allow other teams, with their own identity to be part of the Aragon project, we should actually study if the entity that these teams also represent could bring value to our network as Kleros and Giveth want/wanted to do instead of demanding all of their attention for ourself.

I totally understand and support that the professional live of Luis and other fellows shall be centered around Aragon Project with 100% of their soul committed to that, but I don’t really think this should be the case for every single soul receiving a Flock grant… We could be taking advantage about different perspectives, knowledge and experiences from another organizations instead of demanding Aragon to be the center of their world.


There are other ways of being part of the community and working for the project that aren’t Flock: Nest and the CFDAO for remunerated work and a ton of incredible value that has been contributed by purely voluntary community members.

Flock was designed to fund multiple developer teams, core developer teams. That’s not for everyone and that’s fine.

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Totally! Aragon is super open regarding its community members!! More every day specially with proposals as the CFDAO and the (hopefully) up to come CRDAO

Flock is not for everyone, that is clear and more than acceptable! It has to be for highly skilled individuals that demonstrate to have the skills and availability to be part of the core development of Aragon.

My concern is that I think Aragon Network could benefit even more if part of those core developers can also work on other projects, yesterday it was Giveth, to day it is Kleros, but tomorrow could be (IDK, let’s say) Polkadot. My believe is that there is lot of value on those networks that the Aragon Network could gather if we allow (some of) them to be part of our core development, even if they won’t be 100% with us.

I know more than a handful of people that tried to collaborate with Aragon in different ways. Everyone ended up burned or extremely disappointed with the culture and how things “worked out”.
And even after the last few weeks of washing dirty in forum you still don’t see any problem?


Can you provide any examples? Everyone I talk to (or at least everyone that talks in public) has had exactly the opposite experience

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I don’t want to derail the topic.

Am here just supporting the idea that it might be important to bring different perspectives in how some things are being done, and that shouldn’t be addressed as a fork or shutdown issue.

Better feedback mechanisms and acceptance of the need of criticism to improve situations where it might could have worked better is key for both innovation and welcoming new users.

If you dream about conspiracy theories about those decisions, I doubt you should be here in the first place. Maybe look for a community in which they welcome and reward conspiracy theorists.

You can also read more about why the AA is still required for legal reasons until we can use the Aragon Court for our own governance (we mention that in posts + a bunch of interviews) before going and conspiring.


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If you read the post and everything you got is “Conspiracy theory” that explain why people create posts like those or the other seem at the forum before talking to you :slight_smile:


The Aragon Coop was a naive governance experiment @calcadarafael and I don think it is fair to bring that here… there were done many mistakes by many of us, starting by a very poor and on-boarding mechanism, following by a poor/badly considered funding request, ending by burned Aragon core members rushed to close that chapter with the minimal impact to the Aragon network. Yes, some things were shady, and yes one A1 individual was in the middle of it, but after all we lived there, there is no blame at all to spread to anyone.

For the rest, I have no comments to share as I have no deeper information. I’d say only one thing about this:

The Aragon Court and the NestDAO are clear examples about reducing power in the AA, so I don think that’s a fair comment either.

Brief Disclaimer: I started this thread as a beliver of the following:
“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” W. Churchil
But one thing is to critic with the intention of getting things better, and a very different one is to do it for offloading our discontent from our biased perspective.

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:astonished:. Honestly you sound like you have some axe to grind. I can only speak about what I know and the coop fiasco had nothing to do with Aragon, its culture, or any flock members. There were issues with onboarding (very frustrating to me too) and a rushed AGP but fundamentally what happened was two people had a very public falling out and created a extremely bad atmosphere. This lead to ~90% of the participants disengaging all together and effectively bricking the governance process

I personally put a whole lot of work and effort into making it work even after it had already been effectively dead. I distinctly remember you doing a lot of talking/complaining without doing anything practical even though you was given plenty of opportunities.

Regardless, one of the best thing about DAOs and open communities is they are completely opt in. If you don’t like it you can always opt out!


You cannot say this:

And when promted for examples/evidence, say this:

As a recent receiver of a CoC violation report (which, for the record, I still disagree with), I think this is against it. @light please advise

“Hey John, can you please advice us on using the rule I didint liked being used on me against this guy who is telling us some truth so we can label him a conspiracy theorist? Thank you.”


Wow, whatever might you take with your coffee in the morning is not doing you any good. Still waiting for examples :upside_down_face:

And btw, that’s John

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hi Jorge, reasons were provided by Rafa, but then he edited the post stating he preferred not to “derail the topic”. based on that pre-edited post Luis, Aaron and myself replied back.

From what I could read, he just had bad personal experience with a Nest request, Coop participation and some other thing I just don’t remember.

Anyhow… Don’t think that was relevant enough to have you worrying about this, and I would respect Rafa’s right about reserving his comments, despite the clear and unnecessary tension that was created in the thread.

Peace 4 all! :v::v:

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I just read the edited post (great Discourse feature btw) and I don’t think it was edited not to derail the topic but because there were blatant lies that are too easy to dismiss.

I invite everyone to read that and come to your own conclusions.

In any case, I think this thread should be closed by a moderator since the level of this conversation is not what I expect from this forum (myself included)

“Blatant lies” “close it” :joy::joy::joy:

I’m sure the problems will magically go away without me involved. You can always rename the next DAO :slight_smile:

Anyway, might be useful to go back to the subject of the topic as I’m not here to derail anymore :slight_smile:

“Not my circus, not my monkeys“

I don think this should be the case… We shall not forget that organizations are formed by people, winch means that these inherits its own intrinsic emotional, and bias vulnerabilities, and this include everyone, from the founders till the last user.

Disagreeing and-or disliking other peoples comments and-or actions will always happen in all kind of environments, organizations or communities. Maybe this conversation is not representative of the whole Aragon ecosystem and its not relevant enough to make a case and start fixing things that are not working (I’m sure there are tons of other huge priorities), although it is still happening, it is present and real, even if we are talking about a single individual complaining about stuff.

Let’s keep this post as a reminder that inter-relational situation can go wrong due to individual expectations about thyself, that we all can make mistakes, but most important that we all can fix them when the time comes.

Having said some, I’d really love this blaming loop to be closed, and if the thread continues, let it only be with new, relevant, and constructive information.


The problem with this is that the Aragon Association should not be paying people to be half-in. It’s too easy to end up funnelling funds into an altogether unrelated project, because said person / team was allowed to “be decentralized” in their efforts. A lot of the problems with the Ethereum ecosystem and it’s tendency to not Get Shit Done (or continue improving past PoC) I attribute to this mis-management of effort.

I think this is a great ideal, but the number of people who can pull this off successfully are a ridiculously low percentage point of the world. The end result of this lack of focus for most people is usually “I worked on X, Y, Z, but actually I did pretty much nothing in all of them; I just collected badges”.


As a Kleros team member, I can confirm @sepu85 analysis.

We first contacted the Aragon team more than 2 years ago (In February 2017, so before Aragon token sale) to propose them to work on decentralized courts together.

We had a few talks at events in the meantime, always being open to work with Aragon.

4 months ago (even before submitting the AGP on Github), I reached to @jorge (I generally don’t give names to keep the discussion on ideas and not on persons, but here Jorge asked for specific examples and evidence, so I assume he is fine with it) and asked if he could review the proposed AGP. We had some talks but then he just ghosted me. He did not come to scheduled meetings, stopped answering, I only managed to get an answer because we were both at an event in Berlin. The answer was “we’ll just do our own court” (which is basically a re-implementation of Kleros). And that’s it. Note that the AGP was not the only way we could have worked together and I asked about other potential ways to collaborate but never got a counter proposal. So it was not that not that no deal were found, it was a plain refusal to work together.

So in this case it ended even worse. Not only they did not want to work with us. They planed to make a Kleros copy (with minor modifications, none of which seems to be highly controversial) to put an ANT derivative.

I understand that Aragon needs to give its ANT some value. And that’s why we proposed a model with an ANT bonded curve.

I did not even propose to become a flock team, I just proposed to combine forces on a particular project which is of interest to both Kleros and Aragon (and the Aragon interest is demonstrated by the plan to make a court similar to Kleros) in a mutually beneficial relationship.

Calling Kleros to focus 100% on DAOs is a big no. Kleros is a DAO (well currently not a pure one, but once the governor is up, it will be a pure DAO), so Kleros is definitely a DAO project. In the thread, Luis was publicly asking for Kleros to only work on DAOs usecases. This makes little sense to me, as there is some economy of scale in supporting similar usecases (making an escrow for users or for a DAO is not fundamentally different, same list curation: curating a list of tokens and a list of proposals conform to the constitution of a DAO is quite similar).

I then ask Aragon founders to clarify their position by publicly stating that their court was just aimed at DAOs, thus they were not placing themselves as a competitor to Kleros, they refused…
I still think they do not intend to build a general arbitration system, but suggesting it can bring some sort of hype, so they let people think that.

To the best of my knowledge, Kleros is the only project (beside Aragon itself) using Aragon as a DAO governance (there is MelonPort, but they use an Aragon multisig, not a DAO). In most project teams, no one would dare to suggest to fork/copy the only user of your main product, who proposed to work with you, to put your own token instead… Or if one did, that would probably be seen as a joke. But that is exactly what Aragon founders ended up doing.

If I had known how Aragon founders would behave, I would never had contacted them or built on Aragon in the first place.

I don’t think Aragon is falling into a centralized culture framework, I think it never left it despite what all the communication is claiming and how things should work in theory. I’ve seen people at Aragon referring to founders as “my boss”. I’ve seen people disagreeing with founders, but not saying much because “they are funding X”.
Even if in theory Aragon is a decentralized project, in practice the founders play a large role in determining who and what get funded. Thus people will tend to do everything to please them in a way reminiscent of royal courts. This is also evidenced by the fact that people in Aragon which were keen to work with us in private stayed really shy about what they said in public. My best guess is that people are being careful about not saying anything which would displease the founders if they know they can read them.
Strong founder influence is not necessarily a problem, it is sometimes better to have leaders to make everyone work on a coherent system.
However, it becomes one when the centralized founder behaviour extend to other projects and if it leads to maximalism (“what other projects do is shit, we can do it better”) mostly incarnated by Jorge and imperialism (“what other projects do is nice, but they should submit and be 100% controlled by us or they are are enemies”) mostly incarnated by Luis, this causes issues. The main one being to prevent interoperability from a cultural (discourage projects to seek integration due to absence of cooperative behavior and to the risk of being copied/forked by Aragon to put another token) and technical standpoint (hard to verify the codebase and integrate).

I see all those issues not only about the way Kleros was treated. It is also evidenced by what happened with DAC/Giveth. Or even the recent announcement of Aragon making its own chain (criticizing Ethereum and acting against interoperability). Or the lack of Aragon users (even compared to project with muss less funding like Moloch and DAOstack).

I don’t think the Aragon founders to be bad guys, I actually think they are really purpose driven and motivated by what they want to accomplish. But they got fame and money too fast while doing too little and it went up to their head.

I realize that this post may upset some people. I’m also aware that people tends to attribute structural problems to people as it is easier to blame people than systems (I thought a lot about it to make sure that it was not what I was doing). But sometimes, a few people have a heavy influence on systems and decide outcomes way better than the system made in place. So I really thought thoroughly before coming to this conclusion and I don’t have meaningful alternative hypothesis.

That does not necessarily mean that Aragon should get rid of its founders. But at least that there needs to be a wake up call (that this thread seems to be), other people sharing leadership in decision making and founder themselves readjusting their behavior and strategy (Luis seems to have started this process and seems ready to rethink about flock teams).