Purpose of the Aragon Project - Discussion

Over the previous weeks, there have been many discussion on purpose and edits to the purpose statements in the DAO, and I know the AN DAO community have just begun these discussions and thought we would bring out some improvements so far to carry on the conversation in the forum.

We are proposing a community vote to align on the purpose of the AN DAO. This will play an essential role in facilitating the transfer of funds from AA to AN DAO (as proposed here).

The Aragon manifesto is loved by many and is a core reason some members chose to contribute to the Aragon community. For others, it’s too long, too vague and needs to be reduced in scope. With this in mind, some core team members from AA and AL have proposed the following purpose of the AN DAO to be referenced in the new AN DAO Charter:

Aragon empowers positive social change by advancing decentralized censorship-resistant technology that gives people equal opportunity to easily, transparently and securely organize their communities.”

What do you think Aragon’s purpose should be? Comment below if you like the new suggested purpose, or if you have alternatives to share, drop them below. Can we link the miro board you started here @Shawncubbedge from the community?

Propose we host several sessions such as the 20th of May for further discussion.

I look forward to everyone’s thoughts on this.

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Here is the link to the Miro that we did yesterday in the All-Hands. This is a view-only link however if you would like edit privileges reach out on discord shawnzywonzie#4546

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I think this is a step in the right direction. Although I’m not sure if the Aragon product actually helps people organize their communities. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems as though Aragon has been more focused on helping them organize the back-end of their organization.

When I think of helping people organize their communities I think of something like Messari Governor. This seems to have been purposely built to help them organize their community, specifically around the proposal process.

I’m not saying Aragon should take this route because it’s already been done. I think Aragon is on the right path, helping people create their organization and having that process be as fluid and flexible as possible by providing tools that make it easy to interact with the smart contracts that make all of this possible. While also facilitating services that make it easy to understand everything that goes into actually running these organizations.

From what I’ve seen in the discord and other platforms, this is what people are looking for when coming to Aragon. I see much more questions about “how to use the product” or “how to think about their legal wrappers or taxes” than I do “how should I go about building my community”

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A couple of important notes:

  1. Don’t confuse Purpose with Strategy. Future sessions can be held after on strategy definition after purpose has been ratified by the ANT community.

  2. Legal limitations: Given that the AA would be the entity transferring the funds to AN DAO, the AA cannot spend funds in a way that materially goes against the purpose defined in the AA articles.

The current listed purpose of the AA in it’s articles is: “Develop the Aragon project, which aims to disintermediate the creation and maintenance of organizational structures using blockchain technology to build the necessary software and tools. These tools and infrastructure empower developers to build functionality and applications for the next generation of decentralized organizations and give people across the world the opportunity to easily, transparently and securely manage their organizations, enabling a borderless, permissionless and more efficient creation of value.” (see discussion here). This said, there is some leeway to alter the purpose as long as it stays within the broader spirit of the Aragon Manifesto.

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Also, I will be traveling back from Permissionless on the 20th so I may not be able to make this call.

Drawing from a draft communication two key messages that imo provide a clear, concise vision and description of the technology

We envision the Aragon Protocol as a common good for decentralized governance: accessible to all, interoperable and modular

simple, modular, and adaptable governance toolkit for web3.

I’d suggest we reference governance, possibly Decentralized Autonomous Organisations [DAO]. Quick suggestion

Aragon empowers positive social change by advancing accessible, interoperable and censorship-resistant [DAO] technologies that enable simple, secure and transparent, collective governance.

Wherein “collective governance” is an attempt to refine the sentiment "gives people equal opportunity to… organize their communities.”

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CCing a few to make sure they know the conversation is happening here @mlphresearch @mheuer @Ricktik6 @fartunov @nivida @luis @jorge @GriffGreen @ronald_k @eaglelex @joeycharlesworth @Joan_Arus @b3n @stefanobernardi @alex-kampa

Please tag anyone else you think would be interested in participating.

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This is a super important thread, that requires a lot of participation from more people… Hopefully, we can raise more awareness for it.

I personally think that would be good if the purpose is not attached to specific technologies or strategies at all (as @AlexClay already pointed out).

The current purpose of the charter uses the word “organize” which I think feels weaker then “coordinate” (but maybe this is just men). If we go in the direction of providing tech and tools allowing communities to coordinate themselves openly, safely, freely, and censorship-free, would be a good direction.

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Personally, I too prefer the word “coordinate” to “organize”.

English is not my first language, so I may be off here, but wouldn’t it be more appropriate to say “enables positive social change” than “empowers positive social change”?

I’m actually torn on the phrase “positive social change” because it’s such a contested/loaded concept. If I take the proposed sentence as a starting point, I’d be just as pleased with “Aragon advances censorship-resistant technology that allows everyone to easily, transparently and securely coordinate their communities.” (The logic being that “decentralized” is not a goal in itself but merely a means to an end which is giving people the ability to coordinate in a way that’s censorship-resistant, and “allowing everyone” is equivalent to “giving people equal opportunity”).

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+1 here. I think “the positive social change” is opening the door to too many discussions that are can be very opiniated.

Also strong +1 to what @AlexClay and @ramon both pointed out - the purpose should not be tied to a specific strategy

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Agree - this revised language is in a good place!

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This is what I think of when I think of Aragon and why I participate in the project.

I would not feel proud contributing to a project that claims to “empower positive social change” without having the courage to specify what they consider positive.

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I feel the recent comments are on a good path to distilling the essence of the Aragon Manifesto and providing a simple description of the Aragon Project’s purpose.

What is missing for me is the specific purpose of the AN DAO. I think we have an opportunity to create a nested purpose where the relationship between the Aragon project and the AN DAO is clearly aligned.

Example:

Aragon Project purpose: Pursues the Aragon Manifesto by advancing censorship-resistant technology that allows anybody to easily, transparently and securely coordinate their communities.

AN DAO purpose: Stewards community ownership and continuous decentralisation of the Aragon project or something similar.

Aragon aspires, through ANT holders and now also through the AN DAO, to be a community project. Defining the AN DAO as the long-term steward of the project should be a defining part of this AN DAO purpose.

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In my own initial suggestion, I took it for granted that “Aragon” stands for the AN DAO which, by definition, both includes and stewards the project. I suppose one can make an argument that automation (which is one of the meanings of the word “autonomous” in D-A-O) allows for a project to “pursue” and “advance” (which suggests agency) but even then, whatever agency it may have comes from the people who created and maintain it. I guess the question I’m raising is whether it is possible to phrase the Aragon mission in a way that doesn’t require making a distinction between “project” and “DAO” but is still unambiguously clear? Of course, that wouldn’t exclude clarifying the specific functions of the DAO elsewhere, both in terms of its various components and as a whole.

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I agree with this I would like there to be no distinction between the two. If the overarching purpose can guide the project and the DAO, that would be the ideal scenario. The mission that B3n shared on the purpose I think could be the short term purpose but over the medium term the Project should be decentralised and taking on the Aragon Mission.

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This is an important layer to think through - good flag Ben. I agree there should be an umbrella purpose that unifies the Aragon Project as a whole (would there be something to add to the current working purpose re community ownership?), then sub-purposes that map back to the main purpose. All in all, +1 to the idea of clearly including community ownership and progressive decentralization.

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Really interesting discussion.

Totally agree with not attaching the purpose to specific technologies or strategies at all. That would be a mistake.

I see the term “coordinate” instead of “organize” as much more appropriate within the context.

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I am for whatever brings most clarity. My sense is that we have residual ambiguity regarding the relationship between the AA Committee, ANT holders and the AN DAO, and how each contributes to a shared purpose. This should be resolved once and for all.

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This is something for ANT holders to take into account in the upcoming vote and, whatever the outcome, subsequent steps should definitely include resolving this ambiguity. In terms of the mission statement, I think it should be phrased in a way that it can be very easily internalized by all existing and future stakeholders of the AN DAO and thus guide the project as a whole. To echo @jessicasmith, each stakeholder can (and probably should!) still define their own, more narrowly defined purpose, while making sure it is aligned with the overarching mission and doesn’t work against others.

Do you feel the version below somehow impedes resolving the ambiguity you’re referring to? If so, I would encourage people to continue offering alternatives.

Aragon advances censorship-resistant technology that allows everyone to easily, transparently and securely coordinate their communities.

I’m seeing growing consensus around “censorship-resistant technology” and while I feel like this is close

Aragon advances censorship-resistant technology that allows everyone to easily, transparently and securely coordinate their communities.*

I find the combination of the split infinitive and modified verbs & adjectives awkward. A more succinct way to say “allows everyone to …coordinate their communities” is “allows communities to coordinate” But given the reference to “permissionless” in the current purpose let’s avoid allow /disallow

Suggestion 1: Aragon advances censorship-resistant technology to enable communities to coordinate
OR
Suggestion 1: Aragon advances secure,transparent, censorship-resistant technology to enable communities to coordinate

That said unless there is some intention to forego the governance and voting infrastructure that underpins the network I feel we should back ourselves in the governance space.

Suggestion 2a: Aragon advances censorship-resistant technology that enables community governance.
or
Suggestion 2b: Aragon advances secure, transparent, censorship-resistant technology that enables community governance.

Keen to hear from @Joan_Arus @p4u @Anthony.Leuts on whether governance is integral to our shared purpose or is it to narrow?

And to return to our reference position

Develop the Aragon project, which aims to disintermediate the creation and maintenance of organizational structures using blockchain technology to build the necessary software and tools. These tools and infrastructure empower developers to build functionality and applications for the next generation of decentralized organizations and give people across the world the opportunity to easily, transparently and securely manage their organizations, enabling a borderless, permissionless and more efficient creation of value

Suggestion 3a: Aragon advances censorship-resistant technology to enable communities to coordinate and create value
Or
Suggestion 3b: Aragon advances secure, transparent, censorship-resistant technology to enable communities to coordinate and create value

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