Community Oversight Member Elections: Meet the Candidates

Hello all, I’m chiming in here to ratify and reiterate some concerns that we have seen in these discussions.

To begin we would like to remind everyone what the voting options are:

  • YES - This person is your preferred candidate for AADAO’s Oversight Committee.

  • ABSTAIN - This person is not your preferred candidate (please remember to vote Yes on your preferred candidate’s proposal), or you wish to contribute to the quorum but you formally decline to vote either for or against the proposal.

  • NO - No votes on this proposal will not have any impact on the election.

  • NO WITH VETO - A ‘NoWithVeto’ vote indicates a proposal either (1) is deemed to be spam, i.e., irrelevant to Cosmos Hub, (2) disproportionately infringes on minority interests, or (3) violates or encourages violation of the rules of engagement as currently set out by Cosmos Hub governance. If the number of ‘NoWithVeto’ votes is greater than a third of the total votes, the proposal is rejected and the deposits are burned.

We asked for those wishing to participate in the elections to:

“Please vote YES only on one proposal—for the candidate you support.”

We have noticed some concerns about the lack of ‘following’ the voting rules we set forth, while this is not ideal (or sub-optimal), this was expected due to Hub’s gov not being the ideal tool for an election. We have outlined our criteria for how the winner will be selected - the highest number of YES votes by ATOM - and so, “No” votes have no impact on winner selection. With this, the election is going forward as we intended and no deviation from our initially outlined voting style will affect the final results.

You can view a live dashboard of the YES votes on all three proposals here: https://elections.atomaccelerator.com/

On the note of validators playing a large part in the elections, this is normal from our perspective and in line with the Hub’s governance traditions Validators play a large role in governance. Delegators (community members) chose a validator that aligns with their interests and goals. A validator has to vote on governance to represent their community. Every delegator is allowed to override the vote of a validator if they disagree with the choices of that validator. It would not be the most democratic and decentralized election if we omit a large chunk of the community who rely on their validators to act on their behalf. This is the same stance we had before the election going onchain and will continue for the rest of this voting period.

On the note of potential conflicts of interest from validators, we advise validator teams to use their own discretion, as is normal in governance. Unlike prop #95 and #865, the current proposals are not related to funding the AADAO, and as such, we did not exclude the validators “linked” to us from voting. Specifically, the only validator whose team overlaps with ours right now is Citadel One - via Reena being a member of AADAO and Citadel. However, Reena recused herself from the discussion at Citadel about this vote - the vote was decided upon by the other members of Citadel’s leadership.This is the same stance we had before the election going onchain and will continue for the rest of this voting period.

On the note of setting a common end time for the election (because each of the onchain props end a few minutes apart), we have already stated this in the proposal: “Results will be deemed final for this election cycle, at the end of the voting period of all three proposals.”

We would like to remind every candidate to maintain decorum regarding their conduct. We understand the need for candidates to distinguish themselves from the others, to campaign and lobby to secure votes, but decorum must be maintained. Governance discussions for the Hub should always be respectful and in good faith. Attempting to vilify AADAO, its members or this election process - in order to score points for one’s own campaign - is not behavior we would like to see in an Oversight Committee member, or in general, on any governance discussions.

The rules for this election have been discussed before going onchain and stated clearly in the proposal. We will not be amending the rules of the election while it is in the voting period.

This being said, we are actively trying to reach out to validators who voted Yes in multiple proposals or voted No on a proposal, to “correct” their vote - i.e. vote Yes on one proposal, Abstain on the other two. This outreach however has no bearing on how the winner of the election will be decided (stated above).

In closing, I want to say that this election is being conducted in the best available method to the Hub right now. Future elections could use the updated x/gov module (that allows for multiple choice questions) or using DAO DAO - when these options are available on the Hub, available to all ATOM stakers.

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Hi all,

Thanks for the questions and remarks.

Firstly, I strongly encourage members of the community to always think through governance decisions for themselves and to vote from their personal perspective. Ideally, community members of the Hub would be so engaged with governance that the positions of specific validators would have less sway. This is the kind of climate in Cosmos I’d like to work toward at AADAO.

That being said, I also encourage all validators to vote on all proposals. It’s very much by design that users entrust their voting power to the validators they stake with. A validator’s voting power is ultimately composed of community members that have deliberately delegated this power on the basis of their alignment.

I largely agree with @Matt_Brown’s thoughtful analysis over the nature of this prop and whatever recusal standards would be appropriate. I also share Matt’s belief that AADAO has made this election as fair as possible. That being said there are certainly multiple learning points we can take from this election to improve similar Hub Governance going forward.

I don’t agree that there is any Conflict of Interest at play here. Our common interest is that we all want AADAO - and with it, the Hub - to succeed. Members of the community have different views on what that looks like. Our collective interests are intertwined and clash in various ways, but ultimately we can always bypass our validators’ votes. If I were to be elected I would absolutely encourage max governance participation to achieve this: everyone votes, always.

I’ll also clarify that I did not have any decision making power over SG-1’s governance positions. However, once it was brought to my attention, I did in fact request SG-1 to change the “No” vote on @cosmos_nanny’s prop to “Abstain” to adhere more closely to the elections guidelines, which they’ve since done. I can definitely understand Grace’s concern over optics. I also want as fair of an election as possible.

I truly want to see AADAO and the entire Hub succeed. I believe in the power of community participation to accomplish this exactly. I’m very curious to gauge the community’s sentiment on my stances here.

Please ask away here if you have any further questions.

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Do you feel it is ethical to seek a role conceived out of widespread concern over a lack transparency of accountability, when your entire view on the matter is quite clearly that the community is wrong and there are no concerns over either of those things?

How do you feel about applying for a role that was brought to existence by community feedback (source: AADAO channel on tg) with 17mil atoms behind your back because you are employed by Sg1? You think people delegated to sg1 and therefore automatically agree with your individual thoughts about the whole election, even tho the very same sg1 screwed the rules of fair play when they voted no on 920? Was this also something all your delegators wanted?

Do you think when Jae bribed on 69 and 82, it was the just the community voting on these proposals? Do you really think that all a validator is doing is letting the community speak? Like, all the people that delegate to Game are also following governance and agree with all the game votings and therefore never vote themselves?

Would Jae’s beat friend who ran for the election be a community guy who represents the community even tho he got all the millions of atoms by AiB for the election?

@Youssef since you liked Clyde’s response I want to direct the question to you too.

Thank you for your clarifications above.

Regarding your comment about “decorum,” it seems you are insinuating that I may have deviated from respectful conduct. Asking challenging questions is part of what I do. Whenever I have presented a relatively complex topic, I have expressed my ideas and opinions respectfully.

I concede that my language in this post is direct. It is possible to be direct and non-violent. Healthy skepticism is categorically and experientially distinct from lacking decorum.

If the manner of my direct communication made certain persons feel uncomfortable, please remember that speaking directly is not wrong. It is efficient. And it is efficiency that can make persons feel uncomfortable.

The essence of non-violent communication is it’s unapologetically direct.
Please don’t make this into a false issue of tone, phrasing or diction.

Have you observed such behavior from a candidate?
Is this messaging merely preemptive, or is it an observation you are making?

If you are referring to my inquiries (over socials) about AADAO’s oversight of the election, it was and still is a genuine question. And my observation regarding your specific lack of responsiveness and availability is an issue that precedes the proposals hitting the chain last Friday. While you may feel vilified, it’s not “vilification.” I’m certainly not trying to “score points” for my “campaign.” There are legitimate questions regarding the minimal supervision that’s expected in election procedures.

Elections require oversight, ser. Even elections for the Oversight Committee, ironically –
Even in an imperfectly officiated game, one must still try to enforce the rules.

Hey Matt, obviously vals will not be revoting with their publicly doxxed validator or operator wallets.
That’s not the concern.
I’m not going to expound on the genre of exploits that can be had.
But anyone familiar with dpos governance and network security can easily game the final five minutes of 922. And it does not always end with 922 winning. Which is why, in the interest of all candidates, and cleanest election possible, voting on all proposals must end at the same time.

We can agree to disagree on this point.
I have provided reasons here, here and here as to why I believe Citadel’s participation in this election (with an expressed preference) demonstrates insufficient caution.

In contrast, you believe that an abundance of caution has been sufficiently demonstrated.

The failure of many DAOs often arises from neglecting to adopt a broader and necessary view of conflicts of interest, which includes considering undue influence.

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I disagree with your comprehension of the role. As per Transparency Report #5, the elected member to Oversight will have ability to exercise veto "anything that they deem worthy as they are now part of the process flow.”

I asked for clarification on “process flow” 16 days ago in this forum thread. Have prompted several times subsequently, and specifically during “Meet the Candidates” Twitter Spaces that we need more details on how veto power will be distributed within Oversight, and specifics for what exactly a “veto” can accomplish. We have yet to receive extra color or details, and awaiting response @Syed @Damien

That said, it has been communicated from AADAO that the general idea of exercising veto will at minimum, work to suspend funding for a grant recipient. Therefore, I cannot agree with your given statement above. Having and exercising veto power over grants is quite a material/non material decision with clear financial implications.

I will also add here that while it is out of scope for elected Oversight Member to have any involvement with the hiring/staffing of contributors to AADAO, Damien confirmed it is entirely within scope of elected member to report valid and substantiated concerns the community may have about its personnel.

And due to this bit remaining in scope, my reasoning as to why it is paramount for contributor related/affiliated validators to be sufficiently removed from the election selection process.

Limiting the definition of qualifying conflicts to how Citadel or Reena might financially benefit from selecting a member to Oversight is somewhere naive.

Oversight exists as a check/balance to the strategy committee. Transparency and accountability measures are enforced through oversight. This means oversight (under supervision of coordinator) has the ability to determine when a member has breached policies or is our of compliance w code of conduct etc.

As long as oversight has a role in evaluating individual contributors’ performance, or the dao’s collective management of community given resources, the contributors themselves and their associated validators must be sufficiently removed from any action/s that can be perceived as influencing the composition of the committee created for accountability.

An example to illustrate my logic – the reliability and credibility of internal audits are meaningfully different from independent assessors.

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Damien, would appreciate an update to this as it was promised over two weeks ago.
Also, friendly reminder we’d appreciate clarification on how veto will be distributed, and how it can be exercised – and under what auspices. Thanks.

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It would make the most sense that any validator that has direct connections to AADAO members should be abstaining here or any vote in regards to AADAO. Just like validators who are part of AADAO now abstain on funding AADAO. I think @Youssef should step in here to state the policy of AADAO in situations like these and if he believes the current votes are in line with those policies. That will settle the voting here, and allow for conversations about change if needed going forward. Coming from other members of AADAO in all honesty will not have the same weight and anyone who disagrees will still be seeking affirmation from the leader.

At this point, I can understand the arguments from all sides, so it comes down to what the policies of AADAO are now and will be going forward. Until that is clear, I don’t think SG-1/@clydedev or C1/@neshtedle can be accused of violating any official rules, moreso just norms or unofficial expectations.

I’m sure all 3 candidates are great and could do the job, but I really appreciate seeing @Cosmos_Nanny demonstrating how she would take on the new oversight role. I have to admit I was skeptical at first, but Grace is effectively playing that role now before she even knows if she will be the one elected.

Keep the productive & respectful conversations going :saluting_face:

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Hey @Tricky!
Damien (Oversight Coordinator) is overseeing the elections. He clarified the position here: Community Oversight Member Elections: Meet the Candidates - #102 by Damien

But here are the two most relevant paras for your query:

On the note of validators playing a large part in the elections, this is normal from our perspective and in line with the Hub’s governance traditions Validators play a large role in governance. Delegators (community members) chose a validator that aligns with their interests and goals. A validator has to vote on governance to represent their community. Every delegator is allowed to override the vote of a validator if they disagree with the choices of that validator. It would not be the most democratic and decentralized election if we omit a large chunk of the community who rely on their validators to act on their behalf. This is the same stance we had before the election going onchain and will continue for the rest of this voting period.

On the note of potential conflicts of interest from validators, we advise validator teams to use their own discretion, as is normal in governance. Unlike prop #95 and #865, the current proposals are not related to funding the AADAO, and as such, we did not exclude the validators “linked” to us from voting. Specifically, the only validator whose team overlaps with ours right now is Citadel One - via Reena being a member of AADAO and Citadel. However, Reena recused herself from the discussion at Citadel about this vote - the vote was decided upon by the other members of Citadel’s leadership.This is the same stance we had before the election going onchain and will continue for the rest of this voting period.

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Thanks @Syed!

@Damien may be in charge of elections, but in times like this people are going to look to the leaders of organizations for clarity and that is @Youssef. This is more of an org topic rather than just an election topic. Youssef did just let me know that the oversight committee decides the internal policies, not sure if others were fully aware of that. I’m glad it’s set up that way. Is there any place to read more info on the policies in general?

It looks like all validators are in the right with how they are voting now, but this does seem like something that should be revisited and discussed. I totally agree on validators being the representatives of their community, but most votes don’t have the same level of COI when it comes to voting on AADAO props. I can’t recall for sure off of the top of my head, but I think Imperator & maybe others abstained on AADAO funding, I wonder why it would be different here? That’s just curiosity though, they are all following internal policies at the moment even if it goes go against the norm or what some community members expected. I don’t think the community should micromanage your internal policies, but they should be available so people can reference them when they have questions.

Btw- AADAO leveled up by bringing you onboard Syed!

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I don’t think any validator affiliated with any contributor should be voting with an expressed preference for a candidate.

In this election, Imperator voting is arguably permissible bc Dilan is no longer a reviewer on the grants SubDao.

During prop 95, Imperator, Cosmostation, Citadel1, Binary Holdings and Chorus abstained bc of their members’ involvement with the Dao.

It was the same for prop 865, but Cosmostation voted Yes, bc Mikey had already stepped down as a reviewer of the grants SubDao prior to the proposal going on chain.

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First, thank you to everyone who has participated in this important conversation.

I understand that the current AADAO position encourages validators to vote for who they believe is the best candidate for the oversight role.

@Damien stated:

On the note of validators playing a large part in the elections, this is normal from our perspective and in line with the Hub’s governance traditions Validators play a large role in governance. Delegators (community members) chose a validator that aligns with their interests and goals. A validator has to vote on governance to represent their community.

Let’s explore this concept further:

  1. Aligning with Tradition: It’s true that validator voting aligns with the Hub’s governance history. However, it’s important to consider if this aligns with the community’s best interests moving forward.
  2. Beyond Consensus Voting Power: The current Cosmos SDK voting system reflects consensus power, but doesn’t necessarily reflect informed governance participation. Did you know that a jailed validator’s votes don’t count (together with all their stakers votes)? This highlights some limitations in the current model that only inherits from the original SDK design.
  3. Staking Motivations: While some stakers choose validators based on governance alignment, many prioritize:
  • Security: Staking with larger validators for perceived security benefits.
  • Reward Optimization: Choosing validators based on commission rates or additional rewards.
  • Brand Recognition: Staking with familiar names like exchanges, influencers, wallets, etc.

These motivations highlight that the majority of stakers might not actively participate in governance.

Aligning Incentives for a Stronger Cosmos Hub:

Our shared goal is the success of ATOM and AADAO, ultimately leading to a thriving Cosmos Hub. To achieve this, we need an oversight member who truly represents the community.

While validators play a crucial role, they are primarily businesses with their own priorities, which may not always align with the community’s.

Introducing a New Perspective:

I previously proposed exploring alternative voting methods where only individual delegator votes are counted. This focuses on active community participation.

I have been told it would be difficult for people to understand, but I’ve taken the chance and developed a simple tool that demonstrates this concept, counting individual delegator votes and validators’ self-stake, whether the validator is jailed or not. This offers a more community-centric view of voting results.

I agree that we should not change the tallying formula now, but I’ll still conclude with a summary of the voting results extracted from my tool, 45 minutes ago. Units are staked ATOM (Voting Power).
gov-votes

Note: I apologize for any confusion caused by the formatting. My spreadsheet uses a European number format, where spaces separate thousands and commas separate decimals.

Thank you.

Kind regards,
arlai

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During a discussion with @BendyOne, a critical issue emerged regarding vote instructions and their potential for unintended consequences.

The current guidance encourages voters to select “Yes” for their preferred candidate and “Abstain” for the remaining options. However, a crucial detail appears to be missing – the impact of not voting on the remaining candidates.

While the instructions might imply that not voting is equivalent to abstaining, there’s a significant difference when validators are involved. By not voting, we effectively cede our voting power to the validator we stake with.

This ambiguity has the potential to affect the outcome of the vote. Even I, initially under the impression that not voting mirrored abstaining, failed to engage fully with the process.

To ensure a fair and transparent voting process, I strongly urge you to revise the instructions and explicitly state that all voters must choose an option for every candidate, be it “Yes,” “Abstain,” (or even “No/NWV”, although I still stand that validators should refrain from voting “No/NWV”)
This will empower voters to exercise their full influence and prevent unintentional consequences.

I appreciate your prompt attention to this matter.

Thank you.

Regards,
arlai

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@Syed @Damien Just following up here re AADAO’s request to vals re: revising No votes to Abstain – in particular, have you received a response from Informal?

Hi @Damien, @Youssef,

May I check that you’ve seen my above message.

We noticed the issue while checking the Osmosis proposals for choosing the Canonical Ethereum Bridge Provider, which had similar wording:

Only YES votes will be counted. Voting NO, NO WITH VETO, or ABSTAIN will have no effect on which bridge is adopted.

However, it also noted that voting “NO” could remove your voting weight from your validator’s potential “YES” vote on proposals you don’t support.

(However, one reason to vote NO might be to remove your voting weight from your validator’s potential YES vote on any of these proposals that you do not support.)

You can see it on Osmosis Proposal #206.

This crucial detail seems absent in the current proposals (920-922), which simply say to vote “YES” for one preferred candidate.

Please vote YES only on one proposal—for the candidate you support.

Could you please advise on how you plan to address this issue and inform the community that “NO” or “ABSTAIN” options exist to remove their voting weight from validator’s potential “YES” votes on proposals they oppose?

Thank you.

Regards,
arlai


@Damien @Syed @neshtedle
Please see proposal above.
Validators can revote their vote. I suggest Citadel1 change Yes 922 to Abstain in the interim, and once they feel their voting has cleared their internal conflicts checks, they can revote Abstain to Yes 922.
I think this is fair.

How long until Citadel collected enough feedback and where can I see the feedback to be sure it’s not made up?

Like, guys, do you and your football club vote on the referee who’s gonna lead the game and act like that’s a normal process?