[Amendment] Add "Article 0" preamble/context to the constitution

Summary

This is the draft proposal for the “Article 0” idea that emerged in the ENS community prior to the airdrop and associated constitution voting.

Abstract

To record the context within which the constitution was proposed, and remind everyone of the less enforceable/mechanical values of the ENS community which precede and transcend any formal process, an Article 0 preamble/context section is proposed to be added to the constitution, with phrasing based on feedback and endorsements from the broader community here in the forums, on Twitter, and on Discord.

Specification

Even before voting on the proposed constitution began, many ENS community members noticed that the text of the constitution does not describe the broader context of the ENS community, which existed before the ENS token and associated DAO, processes, etc. were introduced. However, this context/framing is considered to be very important in interpreting what the constitution document is or can/should be. So the idea emerged to add an “Article 0” (both in reference to the zeroth law from Asimov’s robotics series and in reference to general computer science numbering conventions) which would both serve as a preamble/introduction and try to express the pre-existing and mostly not-mechanically-enforceable values of the ENS community within which the constitution was being proposed. With input and feedback from many community members, the text was mostly written by @Jeff.eth with some edits and feedback from @nick.eth as well as multiple rounds of review on Twitter and Discord from many others.

Although Article 0 emerged before the token airdrop and associated voting processes, it was not included in the initial voting interface for $ENS airdrop recipients and has instead proceeded through the phases of the governance process, with the “temperature check” phase adding many positive/supportive comments and a few slight suggested edits. Now it is time to make a formal “Draft” proposal with the exact diff of proposed changes (linked below in the Pull Request).

Because the original constitution document did not have an Article 0 I have made some minimal changes to the wording at the top for flow, before adding in the proposed Article 0 at the head of the numerical list. There is a slight tweak to the final paragraph of Article 0, based on feedback from the “temperature check” thread. Further feedback or changes can be discussed here, while keeping in mind that there is now quite a lot of positive feedback accumulated for the phrasing so smaller changes/edits are preferred unless large issues are identified. But all feedback (in all venues) is welcome, since the specific goal of Article 0 is to capture surrounding context which might otherwise be missed by the mechanics of the new ENS DAO processes themselves!

Once a final version of the proposed changes stabilises we will request that this be turned into an official proposal and brought before the delegates for voting! So please share this thread far and wide so that anyone who wants to offer feedback and changes has a chance to do so before we take that final step. Thanks!

Edited to add: for those less familiar with github the page with the exact text/changes being proposed can be found here.

Pull Request

4 Likes

What is the best way to suggest a minor change in language?

Right here! What language do you think is worth changing?

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Suggest replacing “should” with “shall” in line 9 of the commit, expressing future tense.

Could you elaborate a little bit more? Right now the word “should” is there to capture the fact that the ENS community has normative values about the future direction of the project, not all of which can be concretely encoded or enforced. Both “should” and “shall” are future tense, though.

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Got it. That makes sense. I “should” have researched more before commenting! Thanks for your work on this proposal.

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Glad I was able to clarify! It does definitely lean a little wordy overall, partly because there are so many fuzzy concepts the text is trying to touch on or gesture towards. But either way the more people we have read through it the better, so thanks for taking the time!

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I agree with this except for the line “even as eventually amended”. I don’t like that it sounds to me like it’s trying to make itself unamendable (even if actually a future proposal could remove it and make unamending inception). To me, everything is on the table for amendment and change always.

This is something several people have mentioned now, which does suggest the wording can be improved. First, for those just joining in this thread I’ll copy over the reasoning behind the phrase’s inclusion from the previous one for reference:

In short, it’s definitely not an attempt to make “Article 0” unamendable. It’s more just supposed to be an acknowledgement that while we do expect the constitution to be improved over time it still won’t ever have everything in it. Does anyone have a suggestion for a better phrasing? What about “even as they gradually capture more detail over time” or something like that?

Hi @Jeff.eth … First, thank you sooo much for getting this started, for taking feedback, and for drafting this up. It is actually a pretty difficult exercise to something like this into words … so cheers to you my friend :slight_smile:

Below is my suggested re-wording.

I used phrases from the existing draft, but also drew from comments you provided to others in previous posts. (I read your replies and background to make sure I understood the spirit).

I tried to capture (using slightly more ‘affirmative’ and direct language) three things: 1) The broader values of the ENS community, 2) the value we put in the community as a way to re-enforce the long-term health of ENS, 3) that token voting in-and-of-itself is not a limiting factor on what the values are.

Feel free to disagree with any or all of my suggestions! :slight_smile:

P.S. I agree with the underlying motivation behind ‘The token is not the community’ … but the phrase itself I think has the potential of devaluing the fact that voting via token is still extremely important, it’s just not the end-all-be-all


Article 0: Preamble to the ENS Constitution

The values to be preserved by the ENS community at-large:

It is the responsibility of every ENS community member, and especially those granted signing or voting authority, to protect:

  • The predictability and legitimacy of the consensus around how ENS names work;
  • The credible neutrality of the ENS system for as many users and stakeholders as possible;
  • The positive social trust and goodwill which exists among the present and future set of ENS stakeholders

Enforcing these values and preserving the long-term health of the ENS ecosystem:

The mechanism by which the ENS community expresses its consensus (i.e token voting) is not to be construed as a limiting definition on what that consensus can look like or how it can be achieved.

The ENS community believes that careful and active collaboration of the entire ENS community - including means that are non-formalized and unforeseeable - are critical to improve and grow the ENS system, to help it continually reach its fullest potential, and to uphold the values noted above.

Hi @Verne !

Juggling a couple things and although I have read your response I’m still working on a good reply. Thanks for the work you put in here though, and I just wanted to let you know you’re not being ignored! Hope to have a reply within a couple of days for sure. Apreciate the engagement and the obvious thought you’ve invested.