Open letter to Brantly Millegan, in reference to EP6.1

There is a process that must be followed.

As an aside, I am against gun violence but for the right to self-defense.

This is one point that will be brought up next. There should be a cap on votes delegated to anyone. 50,000-100,000 seems like a reasonable cap. A number of people are already thinking on these lines among other things beyond EP6 and its outcome.

I would disagree with both of you on free-speech and right-to-associate grounds. The community can read the discussions and decide for themselves to redelegate.

I disagree with your disagreement since free-speech is not absolute and right-to-associate doesn’t preclude, say, right to associate with ISIS. Plus, the community did not read since they did not get the message. Nick, Lefteris and Cory posted their sub-votes on twitter for their delegators and managed 3%, 3% and get this - 0.2% quorum, respectively. Your point about “community can read the discussion and decide for themselves” stands no ground. The community isn’t even here.
Absolutist ideas like free-speech and right-to-associate (general absolutism) are arcane; web3 is code and code works on thresholds and optimisations - both of which are fluid. Code will define the law that governs it based on optimisation of its performance. Right-to-X is web2.

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You have a right to disagree with me. While one has the right to free speech; it does not absolve them from the objective consequences thereto. For example, yelling “Fire” in a crowded theatre that results in injury to others. You do have a right to associate, what becomes unlawful are the overt acts that might derive therefrom. We can post anything but can’t force members to read or react, but that doesn’t mean the posting is invalid or inadequate. Lastly, the DAO can determine for itself the rules that will govern it.

You do realize that Brantly votes with delegated votes/rights and not his own? It was quite easy to re-delegate, especially when we consider web3 community is tech-savvy. My point is that the community obviously still feels comfortable with Brantly representing their vote. For whatever reason. Brantly is much more than just this one thing you’re trying to make him. And you would have known that if you were a part of the community for a bit longer.
As to what ENS should be, the beauty in all of this is that the DAO, the community will decide what ENS will be, and not what a few loud voices are trying to make it now. There is a process and let’s let it play out.
In general, I hear things about safe spaces, being hurt, feeling offended, and that is your absolute right, but in all honesty, if you want to be offended, you can be offended by anything today. I am an atheist, pro-choice, come from a third-world country that has been under someone’s boot just until recently. I can login to twitter every day and just find offensive and hurtful things, but I rather choose to select the good and positive energy, feel blessed that I live in a country today that celebrates a right to free speech, inclusivity of opinions, a right to practice religions, no matter how much I disagreed with them. Can we focus on that part of the discussion instead of canceling people that were the founders of ENS? And can we stop monopolizing the conversation and steering it in one direction only? Inclusivity also means the diversity of opinions and beliefs.The most progressive communities are ones where one challenges each other, where we evolve, we learn, and grow.


@HealingVisions I really appreciate you speaking out on this; you raise many good points. This is how I view the situation:

Before recently, Brantly held power over 3 axes:

  1. Director of Operations, TNL
  2. Large ENS delegation
  3. Director of ENS Foundation

His role as TNL Director is what historically gave him most of his power, and it’s the avenue by which he gained a large ENS delegation and became ENSF director. After the recent events, he was swiftly terminated from the TNL Director position, losing any influence/power/responsibility/privilege which came with it (and an unknown, although probably large, amount of money).

While he does maintain a large ENS delegation, and this delegation does grant him substantial power during DAO voting, there are many other similarly influential delegates to balance his power. It shouldn’t be surprising that some large delegates may hold views which you consider abhorrent. That’s generally how democracies work, and the existence of opposing views should inspire confidence that the DAO community is both large and diverse.

I think the “Director of ENS Foundation” role is confusingly named, because the title sounds more powerful than it actually is. In practice, the ENSF Director takes no salary, oversees no budget, and is not give discretion to make any decision of import. The position is designed such that even a moderately-well-behaved toddler could competently fulfill the required duties.

Even if he wins this particular vote, Brantly has already paid a very steep price for his beliefs/actions, and holds no power other than that which has democratically, and fairly, been conferred through the $ENS delegation system. Real influence of the DAO comes from the Stewards, TNL, and its community of contributors; none of which Brantley currently participates.

While one can argue that the existing delegate distribution is too “centralized”, it should be noted that it was the “centralized” TNL organization which took the most decisive action against Brantly. If you have any ideas on how the $ENS token system can be improved, I think this community would wholeheartedly welcome your opinion.

You’re certainly free to disagree, but I personally don’t see any egregious miscarriage of justice on either side of this. Whether you stand with Brantly or against him, everyone has lost in this (Brantly most of all) and ENS has undoubtedly suffered from the whole ordeal. Here’s hoping the community can get past this, and I really hope you can stay along for the ride. Again, thanks for writing; I really appreciated hearing your thoughts on this.


Paging one moderately-well-behaved-toddler.eth for nomination for Directorship. Jokes apart, I resonate with much what you said. The EP6 result shall be respected, irrespective of its outcome. Then continue to build.


Hey I already applied. Sorry I had to. Carry on.


I appreciate your thoughts. I think the DAO needs to be reworked. I do appreciate what TNL did. I do think Brantely lost, but I don’t think he lost the most. I think those that are routinely discriminated against and have awful things said about them consistently have the least and lose the most. Brantely will be just fine. He has lots of money and power and he can still be in the DAO, but shouldnt be in any position for the ver least because of his insensitivity to others when this was brought up.

I think ENS has suffered for him and will continue to even more than Brantely. It is unearving to me how this vote has gone. I am in a few DAOs and I have found as ENS is set up today it doesnt align with my personal values about decentralization and the member group is far too accepting of someone who uses bigoted speech and doubles down on that.

Most are too focused on supporting Brantely rather than supporting the people that continously are harmed.

This is not directed at you specifically, but a general statement regarding the DAO and its members today based on conversations I’ve had and the current results of the vote.

This is impractical without a strong identity system (which brings its own centralisation issues); any kind of per-account cap is trivially evaded by having multiple accounts.

Can you elaborate in concrete terms how the ENS DAO is failing in this regard?

Because individuals can have so many delegates they can swing the votes wildly. Case in point Brantely has the most. I know the max I have been told one can hold for and org to be considered sufficiently decentralized is 20%, but I think that is still way too high. I’m part if CityDAO (I consult with them on realestate) which is 1 person 1 vote and UltraDAO (core team that made WoodiesNFT) which is 500 shares cap as a point of reference.

I know this DAO is new, but the primary issue I have is that one person has enough power to keep themselves in power.

The pain point in DAOs us apathy of members leaving the busines to a highly engaged few. Which I know is something I was told people are tackling.

I would argue people blindly delegated to Brantley as the face of ENS intially because that made sense at the time.

There were people that redelegated to others after the fallout and then he is left with some that are actively delegated to him and an absent majority of delegates who are not at all in touch. Which in a sense SHOULD be ok because the reason to delegate is so that you don’t have to pay attention. But, when Brantely ises power granted by the apathetic to keep himself in power and his power is large, intrinsically doesn’t that feel off?

My core concern at this point is its too centralized as is. The right thing for him to do was abstain, but I have only known Brantley to not do the right thing since this started. I have know you try to do your best in this situation tonmake everyone happy which is why I still respect you even though I have an issue with Brantely as a director and subsequently the DAO structure.

I appreciate your time in reviewing these thoughts and I am open to feedback.

ENS never had to be decentralized, but you all intentionally chose that and I applaud you for that. It is not the easiest road as we have seen. But, if ENS is going to do it there needs to be better protections in place against rouge members in the future (by that I am not referring to Brantley).

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Yes, I am aware of this. However, I make the following arguments that could tackle the Sybil-agnostic nature of delegation process:

a. Having a cap on an address, even if you cannot enforce Sybil-resistance, signals DAO’s moral compass pointing in the right direction i.e. pointing toward decentralisation. There are many instances where legal frameworks exist without the ability to enforce them, yet these frameworks are meaningful to the extent that they can be, e.g. International Criminal Court, International Court of Justice, European Court of Justice. There are also instances of acts being informally accepted before being formally passed into law, e.g. increasing decriminalisation of uncontrolled drugs in European states which has eventually led to controlled drugs distribution and fall in addiction rates (Netherlands, Portugal, Denmark, France & Germany on the way).

b. If Chain Analytics can untumble the tumbled BTC from the DAO hack, we surely can track/untumble the behaviour of ~ 1,300 delegates. For example, I just saw this yesterday while simply scrolling:

I suspected some of these were from the same person so I went ahead and checked by hand. Took me five minutes to trace at least 6 of them to kingrf.eth. Imagine what a CPU can do. There is no problem unsolvable.

c. Fees are already high and it is not easy to maintain multiple voting accounts unless you really have a lot of ETH to burn and lots of vendetta against a DAO or someone within a DAO. Secondly, any suspicious voting patterns among a delegate population of as little as few thousand can be flagged with generic kindergarten-level AI/ML/DL tools running on my phone, and routed to the tracking/untumbler system implementable in point b. above. One still cannot stop the ‘vote hijackers’ in principle but they can be flagged as ‘bad players’.

The set of methods I mentioned above are obviously not tamperproof theoretically; yet practically you might find them to be 99% effective. I will urge you to reconsider your stance since you’ll be favouring keeping a very flawed system in place simply because you find 99% to be impractical (I’ll take any improvement personally, as little as 10%). I know from a coder’s perspective 1% is a massive margin of error but for governance 99% is already utopia. Caps are just one of the many measures. You could also have a rolling delegation window in addition. More on that later

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I just want to mention to all members that I crunched the numbers as of a few hours ago and this vote would be turning out much differently if there were caps in place. It is the heavy hitters that are too close to Brantley to think more objectively who have voted to keep him. If you tabulate the voters with sub 100k power Brantley would be removed. This is a snap of a quick data chart and pivot table I made to highlight in numbers what I have been trying to say.

This vote is not indicative of the ENS ecosystem wishes and will harm the future of ENS.

@inplco well written! Thank you!

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I would back @inplco for Director. He is reasonable, open-minded, kind, inclusive, supportive, works hard in the DAO, and smart.

ENS could use more people like him. I hope you all listen to what he has to say.

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Brantly’s share of delegated votes is much smaller than 20%. Even looking at numbers of active voters, the smallest set we could use, it’s around 10%. And of course that’s not his personal voting power, it’s power delegated to him by thousands of smaller accounts, who can withdraw their consent at any time.

As I’ve mentioned before, absent Sybil control, per-person or capped voting is impractical - and identity verification systems are themselves huge centralisation vectors.

That’s not the case. If only Brantly had voted against, the vote would still pass. And as it stands, even if he had abstained, it would still fail.

I understand your concerns, and I agree that the amount of voter participation is not what I would like to see. But I struggle to see how any of this amounts to centralisation.

I am strongly against building systems to include “symbolic” measures that are easily evaded and hence have no practical effect. All they do is make it harder to measure the problem; they don’t actually do anything to solve it.

And then what? Do we have a team of people doing this, who then have the power to disenfranchise voters?

Most voting happens on snapshot. By the time it goes to the chain they may not even have to vote to get it passed - assuming they want something passed; if they want it to fail no onchain voting is required at all.

You seem to be assuming that anyone disenfranchised by this would simply not vote. Why wouldn’t they delegate to a different person who votes the same way?


Symbolism is only a part of equation.

Get a team that presents the DAO with reports on regular basis of similar threats. The DAO can then enact proposals as they like, e.g. acting hard by blacklisting addresses with a vote (I don’t support this), or by simply publishing a list of ‘bad players’ (to the largest extent possible) or by simply releasing the votes delegated to the delegate (will need contract upgrade). For instance, Cory.eth probably has two accounts, one of which has 144K ENS delegated to himself; hard to hide that many ENS. It will be very hard to be a bad player with a massive vote count. Only smaller delegates with little to no effect can evade the watchers and they will anyway not bother with it. Consider these methods to be more like sanctions than punishments. If you can get behind funding Nomic with $4m, you can surely spare some change for a small team that does tangible governance audits :wink:

I read the way some of the major delegates asked their delegated voters their opinion and the way they were asking was inherently biased with their own opinion thus swaying the vote in the way they wanted it to be if they weren’t paying attention to other discussions and thoughts in opposition.

We will never know what it would have shaken out to had there been more decentralization. I wasn’t saying capped votes more about capping how many delegates one person can take on. Limiting that?

There has to be an answer somewhere, but that will be for you and the others that remain to work through that if you are interested.

Which is sounds like most aren’t that are part of the DAO core group of active contributors which I am assuming is not very diverse as a base from a gender and LGBTIQA perspective.

Nick’s vote got 3% quorum. Lefteris vote got 3% but his proposal was filled with strawmen such as ‘I didn’t see him do it so he probably didn’t do it’ (referring to your point of bias in proposals). Cory got 1 voter, with 144,000 ENS, likely himself. The absolute state of things. I think ENS is still pretty decentralised and things are overall nice but two one out of two/three delegates with 200,000 ENS acted on quorums of less than 5% and they called it better judgement.