Community-driven DAOs: Next Steps

Totally Agree.

Agree.

Right

Strongly agree! PUBLIC DISCUSSION ON THE FORUM.

++

Absolutely :wave:

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I propose this version.

If a Council member refuses to do required duties :

  1. Develop guidelines for proposal submission
  2. Develop guidelines for reporting
  3. Timely (one week since a proposal posted) public review and decision on proposals on the Forum.
  4. Encourage the Community to submit high-quality proposals
  5. Participation in public discussions on the Forum; DAO votes

or

found guilty of violating the Community Guidelines, the Community may, by way of proposing* it to the DAO Council, vote to remove the individual Council member.

*proposal should be posted on Community DAO (AstroDAO) , over 50% of members should vote Yes.

2 Every councils should report on public (this forum) about any relationships with grantees , before make own decision on proposal.

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very well stated, you are moving in the right direction. like :+1:

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tldr;

  • Trust the Swiss Legal System, minimise NF micro-management

Thanks for the work you’ve put into this proposal Chronear, I know you and the team have the best intentions and that everything is a work in progress.

I do have a few questions, concerns, and reservations.

I am concerned that mere weeks after we created a payout procedure that is utterly unworkable, and a major turnoff for most community members, we have now managed to come up with a procedure that is also very cumbersome and a potential major turnoff for current and future council members.

As payout process is being amended now (as anyone familiar with it would expect to, most of us have actually waited before proceeding to make payout requests), so it is with much cynicism that I ask *how seriously should we take the current proposal given it is likely to (fail) and be changed sooner than it takes to actually digest all the changes. Worse, this is creating a self-fulfilling prophecy - new policies and procedures are more likely to fail because community members simply stop taking the NF seriously.

The decline in trust and legitimacy of the NF can be attributed to many things, senseless and ever-changing policies being just the public manifestation of greater issues, the core of which (to me) is:

Lack of transparency and consultation. I am a geriatric, active community member AND sitting Council Member, the fact that this monolithic treaties are being drafted behind closed doors and handed down without any type of consultation or input is disturbing.

First, let’s start by acknowledging the good - Swiss Foundation is the way to go. Holding Council Members to a higher standard of performance and accountability should always be a priority and some of these measures represent good progress.

Now some of my questions, concerns and suggestions (in no particular order of importance):

  1. The post fails to mention the most important thing: how do Swiss Foundations work, what are the legal implications for Council Members, and how do the current structure affect funding levels.
  • My understanding is that Foundations have very clear guidelines on what the money that they hold can be used for. These are very strict mandates: if funds are disbursed in any way that is not compliant with them then Council Members are personally liable (return funds out of your own pocket or face potential prison time for fraud). This is obviously a strong safeguard and a major point of consideration both in accepting the role and fair remuneration.

  • ** SWISS FOUNDATIONS ARE MEANT TO BE INDEPENDENT** I am almost certain that the epic legal battle between the Tezos Foundation in Switzerland and the founding team in US came down to them appointing puppeteer Councillors, meant to act on behalf of an external party. Councillors refused to take certain direction from Americans and litigation ensued. Swiss foundation independence won. I am sure that this is something that the Legal Team has thought of, and I’d like to see their legal reasoning behind having 5 NF members essentially control the separate entity.

  • Funding. Given the very strong safeguards natural of a Swiss Foundation, can we expect these DAOs to be given proper funding or are we just setting up very expensive entities and exposing Counsillors to significant paperwork and liability while being limited to asking a child’s allowance worth of funding each quarter?

Proposal 1: minimise, and ultimately eliminate, NF members from DAO Foundations. Explain and embrace the safeguards provided by the new Legal Structure.

  1. Quorum: seven out of nine votes is extreme. The only reasonable way in which this would be justified is if there is a legitimate risk that 51% of Councillors could be corrupted in some way - this both negates all the previous measures such as stringent selection criteria, KYC, and the Swiss Foundation liability (it is illegal in Switzerland to steal money)

There are also some very real practical issues with a 7 out of 9 vote:

  • It will quash dissent. We want to encourage open conversations were many different points of views are expressed. It should be acceptable to oppose proposals, and it is extremely important to leave some leeway for Council members being sick (or otherwise temporarily unavailable), enable them to abstain due to a potential conflict of interest, etc.

  • These level of extremely onerous consent is only ever seen on for critical decisions that are designed to fail by default - only things that are truly outstanding should pass rarely. We are talking about Constitutional amendments level of votes required.

  • I’ll say it again for sake of clarity - no proposals will pass, either by natural and healthy opposition or by omission.

Proposal 2: maintain the standard 51% voting requirement.

  1. Makeup of the Council

Would like to know where the magic number 9 comes from? This number seems high, to start with, and opens up a few questions and issues:

  • Is this a legal requirement set out in the constitutional documents of the Swiss Foundation or another arbitrary requirement by the Foundation? This is yet another instance of major divergence between Swiss Law, NF bureaucracy, and the reality of operating a functional DAO.

  • What happens if a DAO falls below this threshold? Do DAOs cease to function the moment a Council member steps down, and until a new one is recruited? It would no doubt be easy to recruit someone to fill NF seats (anyone to fill the seat, vote in accordance to the rest of them without any idea of what is going on…). This is a compounding issue as there can be difficulties in recruiting from the community given the eligibility requirements, DAOs could be paralysed indefinitely.

  • Budget. The ability to recruit and retain Council members is obviously tied to pay. Considering there have been concerted efforts to publicly attack anyone earning a decent amount, is the NF going to impose any limits on Council members’ remuneration? Honestly, current remuneration is not nearly enough - this could easily amount to a signifiant amount of hours worked, specially considering that 5 of the 9 Council members already have full time jobs within the foundation (emphasis on this req. being a nominal Seat to hold real Councillors back, serious questions on time availability and commitment)

Considering the above, I am wondering about the profile of the NEAR Foundation employees that will be joining the DAOs:

  • I don’t think I need to reiterate that most Foundation employees already have a full time workload, and the experience up until now is that unless the NF employee is actually required as part of his/her duties to be active on the DAO, involvement is minimal and scattered… We’ve struggled in the past to pass proposals with a simple 51% quorum, can’t imagine how the situation could be any different under the current proposal.

  • The only way I see this would make sense is if the Foundation hires new teams to dedicate primarily to being DAO members. While I would strongly encourage them to do so, and I would even consider putting my hand up - the benefits of privacy when it comes to your remuneration combined with the stability in terms of how long and on what terms you will be performing work, as well as achieving the clear desired outcome of the NF controlling funds and decisions, are unparalleled. Naturally, spending more money than the DAO is going to be allocating to set up a separate entity staffed by a new team of NEAR employees has to be one of the best schemes that I’ve seen by lawyers to extract the maximum mount of money while providing the least amount of value.

I said it before and I’ll say it again - we should consider scrapping the ‘DAOs - Decentralise Autonomous Organisation’ altogether and simply running a Grants program directly through the foundation: simple, efficient, honest.

Proposal: create a proper internal team to handle all community grants (put existing community members on Payroll) OR trust the Swiss Legal System and desist from micro-managing the artificially separate entities.

Final thought is on the Council Rotation scheme. Once again from my personal experience:

  • It can take weeks to properly onboard a new Council member, rotating them every three months means we will be missing out on Councillors that should be hitting peak performance as they’ve had the chance to acquaint themselves with the processes, teams, etc.

  • It is unreasonable to have 1 week processing time of applications when Council members will be constantly in and out. We should not underestimate the value of accumulated knowledge and experience.

  • I am unsure what the desired goal of having very short term is. However, I can make a strong argument for the value of consistency and continuity. Most of the applications that we asses are decided based on the accumulated body of work of the applicant and in the on-going working relationship established between applicants and Council (we meet, coach, assist, and assess performance reports and subsequent applications). Longer terms means that the process is smoother, and more robust. The opposite is also true, having a Foundation endowed with large amounts of money and a revolving door or Councillors creates the perfect scenario where no one actually knows what was approved or why six months ago, where applicants have to engage with new people (that actually know less about the workings of the DAO than they do…), etc.

  • The scope of work of Council members has been increasing steadily, and the Swiss Foundation structure represents a major increase in admin work and liability. This is not quite something that (9) people can be expected to do - given the performance requirements set above - at the drop of a hat, while maintaining existing professional and personal commitments. This means that the pool of Councillors is limited - while we strive for diversity we are making it so that only (young and single? older and retired?) people who are willing to work nights and weekends will step forward. The time commitment and remuneration need to be sufficient for a wider range of Council Members to consider making considerable changes to their life arrangements to join.

** Proposal: extending the tenure of Council roles to six months, with the option to renew. Maximum two terms.**

Anything that I haven’t addressed above directly I agree with.

As you may be able to infer from detailed post above: I am relentlessly committed to seeing the NEAR ecosystem succeed, I have always put my own money where my conviction is, and I am currently the most active that I have ever been, working in various capacities across several teams and communities in attempts to create the most amount of value, the fastest (this includes sitting on Marketing DAO).

I really do hope I do not come across as antagonistic, I am just increasingly frustrated that everything the community is achieving through BUILDING the NF continues to undermine through bureaucracy.

Looking forward to having more open communications with NF teams working on this proposals, to receiving more information on the next steps for setting up the Swiss entity (and reviewing current legal advice), and contributing towards the next evolution of DAOs.

Finally, to clear up any perceived conflicts of interests, I am ready and willing to step down as Marketing DAO Council Member if required. While my current experience informs my views above, I stand by those views whether I continue to sit on the Council or not.

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Interesting Read on Swiss Foundations:

NEAR Foundation would be Founder?

Foundation

A foundation is an autonomous legal entity consisting of a pool of assets irrevocably committed to one or more defined purpose(s) ( Article 80, CC ). As an autonomous and separate legal entity, it benefits from full legal personality.

The founders’ control over a foundation is essentially exercised at the time of the constitution of the foundation (for example, the founders typically select and appoint the members of the initial board of the foundation). Once constituted and enrolled in the Register of commerce, the foundation becomes an autonomous legal entity thus falling outside of the direct control of the founder.

Well defined, strict mandates on how money can be used:

The first step in the constitution of a foundation is the drafting of its statutes: the foundation’s purpose and its resources, its general organisation, bodies and their respective powers are set out in the foundation’s statutes.

Fascinating. Can’t wait to see the legal engineering being crafted for a DAO Foundation. Makes me think that NF can actually maintain safeguards without having NF employees sitting on the actual Council voting on proposals.

The board is the supreme governing body of the foundation and is vested with management duties. The governance structure of a foundation is very flexible. Therefore, the statutes of a foundation can provide for an unlimited number of other corporate bodies. For instance, the statutes can provide for an executive committee and/or a managing director to whom powers can be delegated by the foundation board, a secretariat, permanent or ad hoc committees or other bodies such as advisory boards.

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The founder, technically, would be the Swiss individual who sits on the Council, since there needs to be a Swiss resident to facilitate it.

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Ok! Agree ! fraDAO is ready for this. We are open to this experience! Welcome !!

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Who will vote (councils or Community)?
If community - 50% will not work. I think many members will skip voting. I recommend decreasing to 25% or 20%

Hello all!

I will restrain from commenting on the implications of the new proposed system, since other community members, such as @satojandro, seem to be much more aware of the ins and outs of setting up such legal structures.

I am here just to point out that the previous Creatives DAO Council decided, weeks ago, to move to an entirely new system, one which we are comfortable with, from a ‘personal’ point of view (i.e. we are not aware of the further implications of this move in regards to NF).

The new system we applied is a quite simple one:

  • The Council of the Creatives DAO is made of DAOs;

  • Helping the community move forward with the necessary processes, we established the position of ‘Community Moderator’.

About the first point:

– our requisite was only that DAOs willing to participate as council had sufficient engagement with the community in the past, e.g. at least 1 approved monthly proposal with the subsequent report; the threshold can be adjusted if need be;

– The vote on proposals is dependent on the engagement of the DAOs itself;

– We envision a community in which DAOs collaborate with each other, engage with each other and are able to guide each other into a ‘future ecosystem’;

– This still produces a) an approved Forum post, approved in the sense that it follows guidelines (by the moderators), and b) an approved (or not approved) astrodao poll, that NF can use as proof that the community engaged with the monthly proposals and gave them its blessing.

About the second point:

– NF, if worried about the nature of the projects being supported, can engage with the Community Moderator role, holding control on a number of different things while still leaving the actual vote to the community.

– The actual guidelines, which impact the nature of proposals, timing, payout processes, etc, continue to be an important matter in which NF can provide help and clarity.

– Current moderators are a mix of old council members (about to leave at the end of February) and new moderators. They are all independent from NF, as of right now, but I don’t think a version of this in which NF has more control on whoever is chosen is ‘less decentralized’, the same way the Forum already has moderators.

– As long as the vote continues to be a prerogative of the community itself, I think both interests can coexist.

Thank you all :robot:

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Appreciate you sharing your feedback! Happy to address it.

I am not sure what is the reasoning behind these premature assumptions. You are well aware that the NEAR Foundation is not an overarching governing body. That being said, no one process is perfect and governance is a continuous experiment. Please note that this document is a set of recommendations not mandates. We cannot forecast the outcomes of our Governance Pilot without starting it and we are confident that the community will welcome and actively participate in such community-driven experiments that aim to establish better governance models.

I will respectfully voice my opposition against this accusatory statement and would like to point you towards the original post by @grace where we called for suggestions. The post ended with a CTA. Sufficient time was allowed and all community members were invited to share their feedback. We received invaluable suggestions from our community members which formed the basis for this document.

We can’t address your opinions on “Swiss Foundations” since it is firstly outside the scope of this thread and are again, assumptions. Would however be happy to assist you with resources that help define different types of Associations.

The 7/9 threshold to pass a proposal is a recommendation if the community opts to go by the originally proposed (1:3) Council structure. Please refer to the discussion below the draft proposal post for context. We’ve also suggested an alternate Council composition keeping in mind the best interests of all our stakeholders.

This is contradictory to our collective mission as an ecosystem. We are in the process of removing NEAR Foundation members from DAO Councils and this suggestion goes completely against our decentralization efforts.

We believe that DAOs play a pivotal role in building the decentralised future we collectively aim for. DAOs are powerful vehicles of social change and we remain committed to building support for their adoption in a legally compliant way.

Thank you for sharing your experience as a DAO Council member, these discussions are extremely valuable and bolster our faith in supporting a diverse range of opinions.

I am unsure of what “maximum two terms” means in this context. Are you suggesting an individual serve only a maximum of two tenures in the entire life-cycle of their contribution to the NEAR ecosystem? We understand your thoughts about a 3-month tenure but that is recommended keeping in mind our values of providing equal participation opportunities to everyone.

I would like to assure you that no one considers this antagonistic. We are grateful to you for sharing your opinions quite vocally. I would like to reiterate that NEAR Foundation is not an administrative body and we will never advocate for bureaucracy to impede the growth of our truly diverse, passionate and inclusive ecosystem.

We look forward to hearing from you as we announce Open Calls next week!

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We have extended the offer of assistance to the Creatives DAO @frnvpr and it is up to the respective Council to avail such assistance or opt for a solution that better caters to their needs. The Creatives DAO has been a trailblazer in our ecosystem in many remarkable ways and we admire the proactive efforts towards decentralization by the erstwhile Council. We are committed to supporting all creative pursuits by this wonderful DAO and will facilitate any processes needed to amplify them! Appreciate you sharing the structure, I am confident that everyone who reads it will gain significant insights!

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Reading all of this with interest and appreciate seeing the input from everyone on the thread.

A quick thought about the Council term time limit, which stood out to me. Granted, I have only been helping in an advisory capacity to the MarketingDAO for a short time, but there is so much to learn and understand about not only the community itself but the proposals and the proposers, their participation in the community and the history and outcomes of their accepted proposals.

At first read of this, three months seems problematic to me – unless you are frequently recycling Council members over the years – because of the time it takes to come on board and understand the current status quo, proposals, processes etc, which would all change over time.

I like @satojandro idea for six months…

In any case, I have greatly enjoyed being a part of the MarketingDAO’s advisory so far and look forward to how this all unfolds for the betterment Near and its growth…

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From an outside perspective, I think that 3 months is a very short period, since some procedures may be delayed. As a result, it turns out that the person did not really have time to start working, and he already needs to be changed. A new person comes and he may not understand what was done before him. Thus, some good ideas may not be implemented. Since I consider NEAR a long-term project and I am interested in its development, I propose to make a period of 6 months and even after the expiration of this period, do not change members, but after looking at their work results, vote for replacement or extension of terms of office.

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Just wondering why @chronear didn’t mentioned proposals from me.

Dear @grace @chronear can we include these :

@chronear ‘s proposal

My proposal

If a Council member refuses to do required duties :

  1. Develop guidelines for proposal submission
  2. Develop guidelines for reporting
  3. Timely public on the forum review and decision on proposals on the Forum.
  4. Encourage the Community to submit high-quality proposals
  5. Participation in public discussions on the Forum; DAO votes

or

found guilty of violating the Community Guidelines, the Community may, by way of proposing* it to the DAO Council, vote to remove the individual Council member.

Add this statement:

  1. Every councils should report on public (this forum) about any relationships with grantees , before make own decision on proposal.

I also propose create audit team (3 people - marketing, creativities, ecosystem development) who will monitor councils activities, their required performance,

  1. Develop guidelines for proposal submission
  2. Develop guidelines for reporting
  3. Timely public on the forum review and decision on proposals on the Forum.
  4. Encourage the Community to submit high-quality proposals
  5. Participation in public discussions on the Forum; DAO votes

report about relationships between grantees and councils, and maintain diversity (as example prevent cases when one person (friends, family, partners) have sits in many DAO’s and other major NF projects like OWS or concierge service). Did you remember “pok’s” diversity in degens team , as well?

Could you please describe your vision ? What does it mean “the Community” : any community member or group? I can show you many examples when NF councils and current NF core members violated Community guidelines (in part of transparency or reports).

For example, Marketing DAO still waiting for reports from one one NF core member

Briefly Proposal Created Approved Target wallet Amount N Report
Telegram [APPROVED] Telegram Community Monthly Rewards 9/29/2021 Yes nearlove.near 100 No
Near Punks [APPROVED] NEAR Punks as Vietnamese Community Event Rewards 10/16/2021 Yes nearlove.near 225 No
Telegram AMA Ecosystem [APPROVED] Telegram AMA with Ecosystem Projects 11/17/2021 Yes nearlove.near 75 No
Telegram Quiz [APPROVED] Telegram NEAR Quiz +Treasure Hunt 12/15/2021 Yes nearlove.near 495 No

I agree with Community guidelines. , but the rules should be approved by the Community. I propose voting on Astro DAO

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As a council member of the Marketing DAO I would also like to address aspects of this proposal:

Just for clarity, I assume you are proposing to create two separate Swiss Association legal entities? Who can be a member of the Association? Who will decide who will be accepted as a member?

IMO the requirement to have a council size of 9 members creates major problems. At present the Marketing DAO council has 6 members - shortly to be reduced to 5 as @grace has submitted a Remove from Council poll.
If we follow these guidelines, two other experienced council members @David_NEAR and @jcatnear will be removed by the end of March this year.

This will leave just the three existing community council members. As @so608 mentioned, it takes time to onboard new members and finding people with the required experience will not be easy.

I would therefore propose that the council size needs to be decided by each DAO and not an arbitrary number imposed by NF.

More clarity required… what does this mean?

Again I would make issue with the amount of time set at 3 months. The Marketing DAO has recently onboarded two Advisors @so608 and @Klint as the result of an effort to bring more professional marketing experience into the community. Do we have to wait for three months before they can be considered to be added to the DAO council?

It takes time and dedication to learn the ropes before a new council member can fully participate in the operation of a DAO.

We should be encouraging council members to continue to contribute their time and experience to ensure the smooth functioning of each DAO, for as long as they and the community feels appropriate.

Whos doing the vetting? Again, this doesn’t sound like something that adds to the goals of transparency and decentralization to me.

I understand that these changes are aimed to improve the function of these key DAOs and I hope that we can continue to work together to find the best way forward.

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@satojandro Reading your response is so interesting. The points you raised too are quite sound. Thank you for taking your time to provide this elaborate response. I agree with some of the points you raised, especially about how hard actualising a 3 month regime will be.

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Yes 3 months is hardly enough time to familiarise oneself with the processes & procedures and best practice. 6 months sounds more appropriate

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@chronear is this thread still active? I posted earlier with some comments and questions and maybe you didn’t see it as I forgot to tag you :slightly_smiling_face:

What is the timescale for putting the new structure in place?

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The thread is very much active, we are however taking time to address all the compliance and communication aspects as we move ahead. @cryptocredit heard and points noted. Here are some things I would like to clarify and reiterate:

  • This post is not a mandate but a set of recommendations, that being said, each DAO Council will be free to determine their composition as the community deems fit. Please read my response to one of your fellow Marketing DAO Council Members above. Nothing stated herein has been imposed
  • To avoid any knee-jerk reaction to a significant shift in community-driven governance, we have recommended what is in the best interest of every stakeholder.

  • Anyone who wishes to join the Council can put forth his candidature and become one after passing the KYC requirements and agreeing to the terms. Every legal entity has its own governing structure and similarly in this case, that will be something that the council agrees upon along with compliance consultants, keeping in mind the best interest of our community. Please keep in mind that as mentioned above, we are yet to publish further details about such.

  • Diversity is an inalienable component of our community ethos. Together, we are making NEAR a place for anyone, regardless of their background, ethnicity, gender, areas of interest, etc to collaborate, work, play and build on. We boast of having a diverse and inclusive community of contributors and are committed to upholding it

  • The Marketing DAO Council is free to onboard their advisors as Council members even right now. Whatever the DAO Council deems fit as an appropriate “fail-safe” measure, can and should be taken. Marketing DAO works with two very talented advisors who are actively engaged in reviewing proposals and guiding community members for quite some time now. Even though they may not have spent the recommended 3 months in the community, they are experts and are more than vetted to assume membership of the Council to facilitate the Foundation Members’ stepping down from the DAO

  • Hope I was able to provide some clarity. Sincerest apologies for the delay but please bear with us as we navigate through these processes together. Marketing DAO is an important pillar in our community governance and we are committed to offering all support needed for smooth functioning of the DAO as a vehicle of community empowerment.

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Well put! Agreed! I think 3 months is entirely too short for a council member to become fully embeded in the processes and complexities.

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