EP4 Amendments: Working Group Rules

In my experience, these kinds of provisions do nothing :man_shrugging: I would vote against it.

I think pressuring stewards to communicate more is fine. I think establishing a more regular community call that is a formal place to give those updates with Q&A is better, and the Community WG is already starting that up.

Didn’t work.

Calls didn’t work well for some WGs.

I understand the objection to this proposal, it reminds me of micromanagement (which I despise) and gives stewards some extra work to do for a position that is already not as rewarding as it is.

But it’s important to remember that this proposal didn’t came out of nowhere. It followed @inplco effort to wake up the meta-governance WG. So your proposals should also consider this incident, and I don’t see how it would have affected it.

3 Likes

That’s a neat idea @itsdanwu. Something like a role description right? I think @Coltron.eth’s been the exemplar of Steward Leadership this term. I’m actively profiling his contributions on the Contributor Spotlight series to be featured on the newsletter. His experience is a good paradigm from which to outline Steward Leadership.

Count me in.

3 Likes

Also a neat idea. Perhaps newly elected stewards can hold a POAP that symbolizes their Stewardship. This can serve as a symbolic (social) agreement re: accountability.

2 Likes

While I mostly support @daylon.eth “200 words” proposal, I also understand the objections to it.

Rules are normally meant to be abstract, such that they could be applied in a wide range of situations. The “200 words” rules may work in most situations, but what happens with a steward who has difficulties with English? Who has physical limitations in typings?

Hence I like to propose a generalized alternative:

  1. When stewards submit WG budget, it also specifies monthly conditions for the stewards to get their compensations. It can be the “200 words” rules, attendance of more than 50% of the calls, voting on more than 80% of the decisions, or something else.

In a month where a steward does not meet the conditions they set, s/he/they don’t get compensation for this month.

This forces the stewards for some form of accountability while keeping the conditions general so that they could be implemented appropriately in each WG.

I’d like also to make a second proposal, decision-making process in a WG. In this term, it was not only unclear how decisions are made within a WG, but it was also unclear what constitutes a decision.

To improve this I offer:

2. Decisions in a WG would be made in a 2-of-3 of stewards. Next to each decision it will be published how each steward voted.

I would also like to remind another proposal I made, to change the public goods WG description:

3. Public Goods: funding public goods within web3 but outside the ENS ecosystem.

2 Likes

I’ve been following the replies, and I am generally for having some kind of language in the amendments to make sure DAO Stewards at least keep the community informed with a regular status update or something.

I agree with @itsdanwu that we shouldn’t prescribe specific word counts or anything though. Rather prescribe the outcome we want – for DAO community members to know what’s going on, what progress is being made, and importantly what blockers there are. Perhaps a community member will see that and think “Hey I have a contact at xxx, maybe I can help with that blocker!”, you never know.

The “regular status update” outcome seems like it’s at the WG level, not individual Steward level. So I don’t think it matters which steward gives the update, just as long as someone does. Of course, it would be nice if we heard from all stewards now and then.

I didn’t know about that, that’s not good. I mean it sounds like the DAO newsletter could be the perfect place to include those status updates from each WG. But if a WG contributor like you cannot even contact the stewards at all, there’s definitely something wrong, that shouldn’t be the case. The stewards should be managing the operations of the working groups, and that should include having open communications with the contributors of said working groups.

I also agree with @neiman in that this shouldn’t be micromanagement, and to @carlosdp’s point we don’t need to encode anything specific into the Constitution. In my view these are just some extra lines in the Steward Responsibilities list outlined in EP4:

4. Working Group Stewards

  1. Stewards are responsible for managing the operations of each working group.
  2. The responsibilities of Stewards include, but are not limited to:

    7. Maintaining open communications with other stewards and contributors
    8. Keeping the DAO up-to-date on working group progress, achievements, and blockers with regular status updates

Does that seem fair and general enough? No specific prescriptions, nothing micromanage-y, and they can decide how regular “regular” should be. And the voters can decide if Stewards fulfilled their responsibilities during the next election.

4 Likes

Agree

Agree

4 Likes

Yea that’s a good compromise and easier to encode. I would actually recommend just simply requiring a “State of the DAO” at some regular cadence (monthly seems to be the consensus at the moment from the WGs from what I’ve seen), where at least 1 steward reports. That seems pretty reasonable, as long as the format is loose since this DAO is pretty global so synchronous stuff is tough with timezones the larger the group gets.

3 Likes

I also support this.

3 Likes

This is a very insightful.

As a preliminary matter I think removing the mandatory TNL Stewards is both symbolic and a major milestone, like taking off the training wheels. Hopefully it is a signal of TNL’s confidence in the DAO and a step further in the direction of decentralized control/governance of the the ENS Protocol itself.

Under EP4, Rule 4.4 the Stewards are responsible for day to day management of the DAO. Effectively TNL is a 3rd party developer, and the individual TNL team members have separate roles (Directors, stewards, and delegates) within the DAO in their individual capacities. All that said we don’t want TNL or any contractor unavailable to our Stewards, nor do we want Directors/Fellow Stewards/Delegates to generally be unavailable to our Stewards.

To echo the concerns you raised, I think there should be formal communication procedures between the Stewards and all subgroups/3rd party contractors/directors of the ENS Foundation and potentially even legal counsel.

I’m not sure if all the potential communication procedures fit within EP4, and some of that might be properly covered in the proposed by-laws which are currently tabled, and as I have previously recommended some of those matters should be supplemented and governed by separate IRL written legal agreements (“contracts”) such as Directors Agreements, Service Agreements, Licensing Agreements (in the case of the Swag store for example).

One of the benefits the Foundation is intended to provide is limited liability protections to the DAO and the DAO members. However, the DAO must actually use the Foundation as the legal vehicle that enters into contracts IRL to perfect the intended mitigation of legal risks and potential liabilities for any given transaction and/or 3rd party contractual relationship. Legally, I don’t think TNL or even the ENS Foundation Directors has any duty to protect the DAO, and that legal duty would appear to rest solely with the Stewards in control of the day to day management of the DAO under EP4.

For that reason I think EP4, Rule 4.5 should maybe be amended to specifically memorialize it is a responsibility/duty/power of the Stewards to authorize the Directors to enter into legal agreements in furtherance of DAO activities, as may be required from time to time either as voted by the DAO, in the discretion of the Stewards and/or at the advice of counsel.

One specific example I’ll offer for illustrative purposes is with respect to the pending ENS Swag Store RFP. Effectively the grants/awards under the Swag Store RFP are akin to a Limited License Agreement for manufacturing/distribution and this would be an example of a transaction where there is sufficient real world activity and potential legal risk that the DAO/Stewards should really be authorizing the Directors to enter into written contracts IRL between the Foundation and Swag Store contractor(s) for a variety of reasons, including, protecting ENS IP, indemnification, limiting the liability of both the DAO and Foundation from 3rd party acts, and more generally governing law/venue/jurisdiction selection.

4 Likes

Thanks everyone for providing feedback.

I will include as many suggestions as I can in the draft proposal. It might take me a few days, so if I miss anything please let me know.

I will try to work through the other points and concerns below.

I can definitely appreciate this and it was something I was conscious of when considering these proposed amendments.

As @carlosdp pointed out, being a Steward isn’t the only role within WGs and I don’t want people to think that they have to be a Steward to participate. I think we can do a better job next Term of making that clear when on-boarding new participants into the DAO.

I don’t think quantifiable expectations need to be included in these rules, but I am certainly in favor of including something similar to what was drafted here by @serenae:

(I will probably just replace “blockers” with “challenges”, but I will take a look at the wording tomorrow.)

What did you have in mind to improve the lines of communication?

To address some of the concerns raised by @Cthulu.eth, @inplco, and @daylon.eth, I think we can encourage WGs next term to adopt internal rules and procedures so there is more clarity around the internal expectations of stewards within each WG. I expect that these will be different for each working group and may include time and commitment expectations.

I would like to leave most of the internal decisions up to the Stewards themselves. The Stewards are elected by $ENS tokenholders and are ultimately responsible for managing each respective WG. The community is responsible for holding Stewards to account.

For the working group structure to work, power must be delegated to Stewards. While I understand that there is frustration this Term over what some feel is a lack of progress within the DAO, I see it differently:

  • Since the launch of the DAO, we have passed the Working Group Rules and used those rules to hold elections and elected 12 individuals from the community to act as Stewards in four working groups.
  • Those working groups have submitted budgets and set up infrastructure to distribute funds, started setting up subgroups, and created processes that will persist beyond the First Term.
  • A number of community members who were around pre-DAO have stepped up to meaningfully engage with the ENS DAO.
  • By the end of the First Term, several community members, who have become valuable contributors to ENS, will be funded by the DAO, in large part due to the subgroups structure.
  • The informal appointment of a Lead Steward in three of the four Working Groups at the start of the First Term has been successful to the point of being formalized in an amendment to the Working Group Rules.

Given the extraordinary circumstances of the First Term of 2022, I appreciate that the DAO is off to a slower start than some may have expected pre-launch. If anyone feels that the DAO is not moving fast enough, I encourage them to take a step back and zoom out. The goal is to create a DAO that lasts. In my opinion, this can be achieved through the sustainable management of DAO funds and by iterating on working structures that stand the test of time.

The working group model was not and is not a given. The pain people may feel is part of participating in a DAO — especially in the first year of operation. If the working group model does not work, it is likely that the ENS DAO will become more like a grants DAO. This is something I was hoping to avoid when I originally drafted the Working Group Rules because it limits opportunities for community participation.

If passed, I am interested in evaluating the impact of these amendments at the end of the Second Term of 2022. At that point, I encourage the DAO to evaluate the success or failure of Working Groups. For now, after a single Term, I look forward to carrying the current momentum of the WGs into the Second Term.

9 Likes

Nothing complicated. A doc showing that Core Team Member can be contacted for questions related to “x” and their preferred communication method is “y” would be sufficient.

Mostly to route any questions efficiently, rather than pinging the wrong person and having to be redirected. I’ve pinged Nick and Tate on some things and I want to be sure I’m doing so in a way that works for them.

3 Likes

ditto

we could just implement a sticky thread in each WG forum only given permissions to each steward to log activity in one dedicated place.

1 Like

While I agree with the practical steps you have outlined and also the general sense of positivity going forward, I do not agree with the overt sense of achievement (in your bullet points) in the slow/non functioning of the DAO. ‘Non-work’ and ‘slow work’ are two very different things. Even when I zoom out, I largely see web3 oligarchy and populist Twitter personalities (not)running the WGs. There is nothing to be proud of at the moment, and in fact the DAO should be pleased that nothing unsavoury happened. I would like to see the DAO correct its course sooner rather than later. I am all for slow brewing, but not for no brewing or bad coffee. Current ENS success is rooted in the past work by TNL (Nick, Brantly and the team) and not the DAO. If TNL is removed from the picture, DAO will crash and burn in matter of months. We should all be thankful to TNL, @AvsA, @slobo.eth, @Coltron.eth and few other people countable on one hand. Not to mention that I haven’t even brought up EP6. It is important not to normalise non-work and to admit that first term was shambolic at best.

Side-note: I went up to @James at ETHAmsterdam and asked him his response to not working. He laughed at me and said he can’t be bothered. I asked him to resign and he laughed again in my face repeating that he cannot be bothered and added that he should be removed by the DAO. Next day, @James was on stage at Schelling Point with Simona larping about DAOs and giving advice to people on how-to-DAO. That was the peakest irony I have seen in recent times and truly toxic to behold. Yeah, no, there is nothing to be proud of because these people were defended by the standing active members of the DAO.

I know this has nothing to do with EP4 amendments but I wanted to make sure that everyone understands and knows that there are no positives to take yet by zooming out.

tl;dr Just a morning rant

Stewards who aren’t active after being elected won’t care about that, if they even see it.
The issue isn’t clarity, but as other people have pointed out: the emergence of “Web3 politicians” who aren’t interested beyond getting elected/paid/seen.

We have a handful of stewards who, like workers, have stepped up and filled a larger role in place of the absent stewards (thank you @Coltron.eth @AvsA and @slobo.eth)

But take a look at the experiences users are sharing:

These are the types of experiences users in the DAO have shared with me in private over the past few months, which caused me to want to work towards solving them.

@nick.eth likes to say that we should avoid incentivizing pathological behaviour, yet we’ve ended up doing exactly that, and worse: with zero methods for accountability, performance metrics or even the slightest data necessary in order for a voter to inform themselves for a functioning election. For example:

That’s a really good question, that remains unanswered.

We elect people to positions with zero accountability while actively resisting methods for voters to inform themselves. I can’t think of any election I’d like to use as a model that works like that.

One of the massive upsides of DAO’s is that it’s possible to produce quantifiable performance metrics through objective analysis that helps make sure that we don’t fall prey to the perceptual distortion of the human mind. I always thought we’d climb over one another to use that in excitement.

I never thought I’d see hardcore computer users say “Nah, I don’t like data, we’ll just have a popularity contest instead.”


That’s what we’ve done up until now, and that’s resulted in these issues.

…to pay themselves, after which most stewards apparently left judging by daylon’s earlier experience?

Some of which now wants to quit, others like me who are raising these concerns (both in public and in private)

Which has resulted in the clamour of some of the most active workers in those groups about the issues they’re experiencing trying to work.


I think that we should maintain a positive attitude, I love ENS and I want to see the DAO function, but I agree that this feels like a broken system at all levels of zoom and that viewing things with rose-coloured glasses isn’t going to solve anything.

I’m positive that the DAO can function if we work together to solve the issues experienced in a way that’s agreeable to both voters, workers and stewards, but if we disproportionately prioritize the well-being of one over the other using excuses, it’s not going to work.

Like all other systems, the DAO needs to reach a dynamic equilibrium: a balance that works for all.

4 Likes

I agree with the sentiment, but the problem is the actually good metrics aren’t easy to quantify. Using things like “a 200 word post”, or forum activity at all, is an illusion of being a good steward rather than an actual metric of it.

I push back a lot on the ideas in this forum around making analytics like this authoritative because they always seem to geared such that if you ran the numbers, the “best” members of the DAO would be the group of ~5 people who post like crazy on this forum, but I would not consider to be “the best” for the DAO.

On the contrary, the most impactful members are likely to be the busiest and the least able to fulfill vanity metrics that are easily quantified. Maybe one day we will be able to encode what makes a good elected official into numbers, but that’s not today.

@alisha.eth makes a good point that at least we established a little bit of a base, and she alluded to what I agree is the core reason this term was borked: the EP6 controversy. That whole event just left an icky feeling which detracted a lot of good operators that have their pick of DAOs to work with, so they just concentrated on those other DAOs instead.

Our task in this next term is to reboot and show people this DAO is alive and ready to execute. We do that, with being tied to a respected protocol and a massive treasury size, we can get things moving again! It’s all about the talent, gotta get people back onboard.

2 Likes

I agree with this. In next term, Research & Analytics subWG will work extensively on metrics derived from weighted community surveys and pulse checks instead of like and activity count. Like and activity can be gamed easily, but anonymous controlled surveys will eradicate this issue to a very large extent.

It took about a month to get over EP6 but I do not think it contributed to the overall performance of the DAO.

2 Likes

I like @alisha.eth’s proposals:)

That’s a good point. But if stewards are elected to lead, maybe the least we can ask for is transparency (instead of analytics)? As in, who votes in favor or against every decision?

This gives DAO members a tool to assess stewards.

That’s probably true, but it also probably means that some stewards were not up for the job, to begin with. It’s a position where you’re judged on how you function on hard (or “icky”:)) times. Anyone can be a good steward when things are great.

2 Likes

Perhaps the DAO needs to pay for a virtual assistant for each WG - someone who is paid a salary to schedule meetings, take and post notes, etc. As a purely administrative role, this person wouldn’t have to be drawn from the community - we could hire externally.

One of the biggest issues I’ve seen with WGs and with the DAO in general is ‘diffuse responsibility’ - nobody is quite sure whose job it is to do something. This is something that I hope changes like appointing a lead steward, and the RFP process will help address; having an external agent making sure each WG fulfils the requirement to have regular meetings, take notes, etc, could relieve that burden from stewards and provide more structure for them to work within.

5 Likes

Great idea. If someone from the community is in need of a job it would even be nicer.

1 Like