Community Protocol Governance Proposal

Let me start by emphasising this is only a proposed draft solution, all points are up for debate and any feedback is more than welcome. Final solution can look nothing like this, but we can use this as a good starting point for discussing how to get us there.

Key points this proposal tries to solve by being:

  • Inclusive; everyone is guaranteed to be heard and can, through collaboration, be part of the whole process (from inception to vote).
  • Transparent; everything is publicly recorded and can/should be scrutinised at any later stage.
  • Anti-collusion; hard to raise your own Action Points, design their solution and guarantee its approval.
  • Anonymous; participants are welcome to maintain their right to privacy, in case they ever deem their opinion to be unpopular or against their groups interest.
  • Sortition; fair and transparent way of role distribution.
  • Contemporary; capacity to grow and change with time by tackling new challenges.

Governing Bodies

Agenda Council
Biggest body in the proposal is composed of volunteers that collect and consolidate all preliminary community input in to Action Points. Their sole purpose is to investigate “symptoms” further and logically group them. They are not allowed to discuss solutions but only to map and categorise community input.
We can simply think of them as bug trackers. They are free to split a single topic in to multiple (technical and non-technical) Action Points. Example would be a technical implementation of change in number of validator seats and separately their overall non-technical ecosystem impact. Reimbursement for their work can be made with a small symbolic payment in Near tokens.
Members are required to put themselves forward and are drawn by lot.

Interest Panels
Interest Panels are formed for every Action Point and are split in to unlimited number of groups, with each group having maximum 12 participants. Everyone is invited to participate by anonymously putting themselves forward for one, multiple or all panels. Once allocated to a panel, participants are free to stay anonymous (behind a single purpose address) or reveal their Near address. Near address in this case can represent an individual, validator(s) member(s), hedge fund or interest group formed specifically for this Action Point through token delegation.
Those 12 participants can easily be part of the same lobby or case specific interest group, but can also be fully random set of individuals. Anyone can propose a whole (or part of a) solution and it’s on them to argue it with the rest of the group.
Group can choose to meet in a 1h conference call or have a 1 day private Discourse thread, with option to extend the discussion for further 2x1h or 2x1 day. Transcripts/recordings of these discourse threads/calls are hidden until all Action Point specific Interest Panels have concluded.
Everyone is guaranteed a seat, as long as they put themselves forward in a timely manner.

Review Panels
Review Panels take inputs from all Interest Panels and draw up concrete resolutions/policies. Easiest way would be to think of them as case specific formed committees we see in various democracies. They are not allowed to choose a panel, raise APs themselves or vote on them, they are merely there to do all the hard work in between. Review Panels are free to organise hearings with previous (even anonymous) participants or invite external experts, anything that helps them develop the best set of proposed solutions.
They put themselves forward and are drawn by lot.

Specific AP Review Panel is composed of:

  • 1/3 Token Holders
    - represent interests of all token holders and on platform developers

  • 1/3 Validators
    - represent validator interests

  • 1/3 Near Foundation
    - gatekeepers of the ecosystem spirit
    - free to stay impartial, otherwise present to break stalemate caused by validators and token holders
    - controls the funding faucet, in case certain RPs require more manpower/funding
    - free to choose their participants or run their own internal elections

  • Near Inc developers
    - impartial panel members used only in their consultancy capacity
    - present to provide feasibility feedback for a given solution and to make sure proposed solution doesn’t break the protocol or collide with other key points from their own development roadmap
    - free to choose their participants

Panel concludes their findings by presenting several feasible solutions for a specific AP. These findings can be reviewed by a neutral party, to confirm no side/interests are mis/under-represented.
Review Panel work carries great responsibility and is closest to be considered as a full-time position, because of that they are rewarded with the most in Near tokens.

Policy Jury
This body encompasses all token holders. They listen to all (for/against) arguments presented by Review Panels solution and vote on them with 1 Near = 1 vote by a secret ballot.
Since this represents the choice of all participants, its result should be considered as final and “rule of law”.

Meta-political Bodies

Rules Council
Rules Council is a dedicated body for further development of rules/procedures and to safeguard the rules of the game. To become a member, one has to put themselves forward and be chosen by lot. They should have previously participated in at least 2-3 other bodies, insuring they understand the ins and outs of the system.
Rules they decide on take effect only after a complete turnover in RC membership. This protects RC from giving themselves more power and gives enough time to new RC members to raise their complaints.
Primary goal of RC is to continuously work on improving the overall system and implement changes as the system matures. Members reimbursed as part-time participants in Near tokens.

Oversight Council
Smallest body in the whole system is composed of previous participants, which put themselves forward and are chosen by lot. Their only purpose is to deal with all raised complaints. Members reimbursed as part-time participants in Near tokens.

Additional points to consider:

  1. 1/3 membership rotation
    AC, RP, RC & OC should rotate 1/3 of their members with every cycle (1/3 term). Example would be if RC membership term is set to 3 months, every month we would have 1/3 of its longest charing members be replaced with 1/3 of new ones. This stops members colluding, gives them the ability to call out imposters and if 2/3 do happen to belong to the same lobby/interest group, they will be able to collude only for a single cycle (1/3 term).

  2. 2/3 vote required for approval
    Approval of new policies should be voted in by majority and 50/50 & 51/49 scenarios should mean further discussion/deliberation is required. This can be extended even for rules/policies that are already implemented.
    Example, 1/n through policy term there is an additional vote (2/3 required again) to confirm the policy had the desired effect/impact. If its approval is below 2/3, usually means the policy did not satisfy in its current form and should be improved upon.

  3. 1/3 complaints
    When at least 1/3 of feedback/vote given for a specific rule/policy is negative, it should be enough to have it brought up for further discussion. This should protect the system from any “tyranny of the majority” scenarios.