[Discussion] Research on DAO Governance Process pt2

I’m conducting research on the different governance process. Here is a list along with a brief description of how these projects governed themselves at the time of research. Note that their governance system and structure can change at any time.

Find Research on DAO Governance Process pt1 here.

First lets discuss some of the similarities between the projects. There are several similarities between the projects:

Most crypto projects follow a modified version of this:
https://github.com/rust-lang/rfcs

Which produces a workflow similar to these stages:

  1. Ideas & Informal Discussion
  2. Informal Proposal
  3. Formal Proposal

Usually Projects will go back and forth between these stages until ideas are polished enough for DAO vote.

  • The first stage: Ideation is an obvious stage but some projects go at different lengths to promote ideas and proposal discussions. The difference lies in how the project engages in community discussion through the various channels like Discord, Telegram, Discourse, Twitter, etc.

In this post when talking about these projects assume they also use this first stage of informal discussion and leveraging social tools to enhance the discussion while talking about their governance process.

  • All of the projects have a minimum time of discussion before each proposal is submitted for an official vote.
  • Each proposal is made to be a firm suggestion of information to include.
  • There are a couple of types of votes: on-chain, off-chain, social media and forum polls. Projects leverage all social channels to gather polling data, discussion and ideas. Official votes are usually conducted on platforms like Snapshot & Tally, but there are other options that I will mention along the way.
  • The first few proposals that projects vote on have to do with governance itself and how the entity will be governed. This includes how proposals are going to be rejected or accepted and what platforms they will use in order to gather the votes and what tools will be official and not official. There are many subtle differences hopefully this post helps you navigate through them.


MakerDAO

Governance | MakerDAO Community Portal
https://mips.makerdao.com/mips/details/MIP0#mip0c3-the-mip-lifecycle
https://forum.makerdao.com/
https://vote.makerdao.com/
Maker Chat

The overall lifecycle of propositions are:

  1. Conception: A MIP author posts on the discourse Maker Forum under the proposal category.

  2. MIP Editing: A MIP editor verifies the proposal and makes sure that it follows the appropriate format, its an original idea or a replacement of a MIP, and has been submitted into the MIP Github repository with a Pull Request by the author or editor. Once verification is successful the MIP is assigned a formal numbers and it is merged into the PR.

  3. Request for Comments: this defines a period of review by the community. Redrafting of ideas is possible and the minimum duration period is determined by two variables: feedback period (1 month) and frozen period (1 week).

  4. Fulfilled Feedback Period Requirements: after the MIP has completed the RFC period it is ready for a Formal Submission.

  5. Formal Submission (FS): The MIP author submits their MIP into the Governance Cycle by moving it into the Formal Submission forum category within the formal submission window of a governance cycle .

  6. Approval by the Governance Facilitators: The Governance Facilitators evaluate the MIP and either accept it or its reconsidered to enter the governance cycle at a later time.

  7. Monthly Governance Cycle: After approval the MIP enters the Monthly Governance Cycle.

  8. Acceptance or Rejection: The MIP is voted on officially and given a status of either Rejected or Accepted.

In some cases the MIP can be resubmitted. Also another status can accompany the MIP like: withdrawn (when an author withdraws their proposal), deferred (when the proposal is not ready or a priority), or obsolete (when the MIP has been deferred too much, when an author has abandoned a proposal or when it has been superseded or deprecated).

MakerDAO has a governance portal in which has two categories: Polling votes and Executive Votes. The polling votes serve to measure the sentiment of the voters while Executive votes serve to pass and enact MIPs. More information on the differences here.

MakerDAO besides having a discourse forum instance, has a Rocket chat instance. Rocket Chat is a like a Slack/Discord alternative.
MakerDAO has a comprehensive Risk Framework that establish the process for protecting the stability and integrity of the overall system.

MIPs

Maker Improvement Proposal 0 (MIP0) defines the MIPs framework that all MIPs use. The MIPs serve to empower off-chain and on-chain governance participation by having a standardize form of interacting with the wider DAO and defining its future shape. MIPs can be added, amended, replaced and removed. There are various core principles that a MIP MUST follow: Specificity, Completeness, Avoid Overlap, Clarity, and Brevity.

A MIP has various components and different parts which I will define below:

  • “MIP sets” are groups of interdependent MIPs that work together as a whole. For example, MIP0 has a couple of components defined as MIP0c1 (MIP 0 component 1).

  • “MIP types” refer to the fact that MIPs can be either General or Technical: General MIP Template & Technical MIP Template.

  • Subproposals (SPs): Instances of Process MIP Components (See more on MIP0c4??).

  • Minimum Feedback Period: The minimum amount of time the community has to give feedback before a proposed MIP can advance to a Formal Submission.

  • Minimum Frozen Period: the minimum amount of time a MIP must remain unchanged before advancing to a Formal Submission.

  • Governance Facilitator: Individuals tasked with ensuring a smooth operation of the whole governance process.

  • MIP editors: enforce the administrative and editorial aspects of the process and program.

Governance Roles

MIP Editors

  • Enforce the administrative and editorial processes of the overall program.
  • They are admins on the MIPs Githhub
  • They are moderators in the MIPs forum category
  • They are responsible for updating the status of MIPs during the overall lifecycle.
  • Maintain the MIP Portal
  • Provide feedback in the forum
  • Manage and organize MIP and Subproposal Preambles
  • Enforce the proper processes including: assigning formal numbers and labels to MIPs, make sure the MIPs follow the template, communicate with the MIP authors, review MIPs, and more!

Governance Facilitators:

  • Operate voting frontends
  • Run Governance meetings
  • Accept MIPs into the Governance cycle to be voted on.
  • Have all the editorial powers that MIP editors have.
  • Responsible for ensuring the health and integrity of the communication channels
  • They schedule, run and moderate weekly governance and risk meetings from a position of neutrality
  • Require to create on-chain polls
  • They aim to create and maintain a culture of openness, receptiveness, and reasoned discussion.
  • Must be at least 3 individuals and there is a priority of candidates that come from unrepresented geographical regions.
  • Should educate and facilitate information to the community before any vote.
  • Should help streamline the governance process.
  • Should encourage the consensus of ideas based on objectivity while maintaining engagement within the governance community.
  • More information on Governance Facilitators Framework

Here is an overview of the process: (Taken from here)



Synthetix

Governance - Synthetix System Documentation

The Synthetix protocol has several governing bodies that co-exist to enable the decentralized protocol.

There are several DAOs that operate within the Synthetix protocol: Spartan Council, Protocol DAO, Synthetix DAO, Ambassadors DAO and the Grants DAO.

There are also Artifacts that are Synthetix Improvement Proposals (SIPs) and Synthetix Configuration Change Proposals (SCCPs). Let’s talk about these first…

Artifacts

SIPs

SIPs are artifacts that describe proposed changes to the Synthetix Protocol, which can be authored by anyone and describe the motivation, specifications and rationale behind the proposed changes and ideas.

The SIPs are adapted from the EIP (Etherum Improvement Proposals).
SIPs are used by the Spartan Council who is responsible for conducting interviews with the SIP authors and debating the impications with the SIP council chamber and protocol DAO.

You can find more about SIP here. SIPs have statuses like Drafts, Feasibility (that is being assessed), SC Review Pending (awaiting a Spartan Council Review), Vote Pending, Approved, Rejected, and Implemented. These status are passed like stages starting at Draft and Ending on Approved or Rejected. You can find the SIP templates here which includes: Author, Status, Type, Implementer, Release, Proposal, Discussions-To and Created. A successful template also includes a preamble, simple summary, abstract, motivation, specification, rationale, test cases and a copyright waiver.

SIPs are encouraged to be discussed in the official Discord.

SCCPs

SCCPs stand for Synthetix Configuration Change Proposal and make the case to modify one of the system configuration variables. This document includes a detailed history behind each configuration change and the rationale behind it. The authors of these documents are expected to build consensus with the community.
The SCCPs follow the same authoring and review principles as do the SIPs. The difference is in their content.

DAOs

Spartan Council

This a governing DAO composed of 8 members who are elected for an epoch by the community. This council was superseded in SIP-93 . This council is responsible for conducting SIP/SCCP interviews, conducting debates, coordinating with the protocol DAO and hosting periodical meetings. These members are paid a stipend by the Synthetix DAO and use Snapshot’s signature to vote on the Synthetix governance site.

Protocol DAO

This DAO operates from a Gnosis Multi-signature wallet. This wallet is the owner of the Synthetix protocol core contracts thus is responsible for upgrading and releasing new contracts on behalf of the Spartan Council. More information on the criteria of the members of this DAO can be found here.

Synthetix DAO

This DAO is responsible for managing the treasury and to incentivize the governing bodies to support the ecosystem’s upkeep and development.

Ambassador DAO

This DAO is composed of nominated community members who are appointed as signers of a Gnosis multisig and their role is to gather support from community members who will delegate their tokens to this multi-sig to effectively empower the Ambassadors to participate the external protocol governance systems that have a positive impact in the Synthetix ecosystem. The ambassador members are re-elected every epoch and the members are paid a stipend by the sDAO during their tenure.

Grants DAO

This DAO is responsible for vetting, issuing and accepting proposals to be funded. The proposals consists of public goods that community members want to build in order to benefit the ecosystem. This DAO also funds public hackatons and external developments which are out of scope for the other DAOs. They also operate out of a multi-sig and are paid by the sDAO.

Core Contributors

A cluster of Autonomous teams that are paid by the sDAP to support the ecosystem.

Ceremonies

  • In this area we have Elections, Community Governance Calls and SIP/SCCP interviews.
  • To prevent stagnation the different DAOs have specific epochs in which the members operate within. The elections are conducted via Snapshot specified in SIP-90.
  • The Community Governance calll is a community call on discord in which the DAOs give a overview of their work and stimulate discussion. They are recorded and hosted on youtube/spotify.
  • The interviews are conducted with SIP/SCCP authors and the Spartan Council in order to discuss the proposals and its implications. These are public and allow transparency.