Proposal 101 and the Importance of Process


Recently, in the wake of the tragic and deeply troubling situation in Turkey and Syria, proposal 101 was put on-chain. The humanitarian benefits of the proposal are clear, and there is no doubt about the urgency of the situation.

However, the lack of discussion period is problematic and leaves key questions unaddressed. When making decisions on behalf of all stakeholders, more feedback is better than less feedback. We need to learn from our governance decisions, and the “passed” or “rejected” message that is broadcasted by the chain is insufficient.

This thread attempts to demonstrate why not following process should be a basis for voting “no”, record some prominent community feedback about the proposal, and provide guidance for proposers in the future.

Deciding is the tip of the iceberg

Governance consists of more than voting. Important and often understated aspects of governance include all that occurs before a proposal goes on-chain, as well as what what happens after a decision is made. The formulation of the proposal itself is an important step in the process.

(from Anticapture)

This is the reason that discussion periods are generally considered best-practice. Deciding is only one part of a multi-step process, and decision-making requires context.

Records and precedent are important for learning

Decision-makers must learn in order to adapt to the ever-changing needs of a complex system. Part of adaptation involves making use of feedback from past-decisions to more effectively make future decisions. This process is recursive and can be easily improved using already available tooling.

In the context of this proposal, the lack a discussion period on the forum damages future decision-making capacity.

Allocating community resources is anything but simple. Discussion periods serve as an opportunity to distill feedback into a single thread that can be easily referenced in the future. By foregoing the discussion period, a proposal is settling for a decision on behalf of the collective that includes less (rather than more) feedback about risks and possible outcomes (including precedent). Less feedback is likely to lead to worse outcomes than more feedback would.

Most discussion about this proposal is taking place on twitter. Because of this transient method of communicating, it will be difficult to excavate relevant feedback about this decision in the future. Thus we have a larger than necessary energy & time drain on governance participants than would otherwise be needed. Additionally, unanswerable questions set unclear precedent.

Relevant Questions

The following is a consolidated list of some questions from community members specifically in response to proposal 101 (those without quotes are paraphrased):

Because proposal 101 lacks a discussion period, these important questions and their answers may go unheeded. If voters vote without being informed of these key questions (or their answers), we’ll probably reach a worse outcome than we otherwise would.

If a discussion period was started, feedback that the proposers could quickly organize a crowd-funding effort on behalf of the Cosmos ecosystem would have been raised. Following this feedback could avert the most contentious points of the proposal (raised above), and lead to better all around outcomes:

  • Money can be donated at the soonest availability
  • The opportunity to donate to Syria as well as Turkey becomes possible
  • Uncertain precedent is avoided
  • Arbitrary funding amounts are avoided and funding that is highly correlated to stakeholder concern is achieved

Future proposals

All future proposals should consider discussion periods mandatory. If proposals do not include discussion periods, they should be immediately rejected on principle.

Breaking complex proposals down into atomic units can further increase the efficacy of feedback by providing a smaller governance surface and increase the likelihood that those with useful ideas or expertise will leave relevant feedback.


There are open, and potentially unanswerable questions about Proposal 101 (see @Polkachu 's vote rationale). There are other methods of humanitarian coordination that may be faster and more effective than community pool spend proposals. Lack of process in a proposal should be sufficient reason for voting no because it is highly likely that a proposal that doesn’t follow process will lead to worse outcomes than if it did follow process.

Open Questions

  • What exceptions are there to mandatory discussion periods? Should there be exceptions?
  • Discussion periods on the forum are still imperfect and inefficient. How can we get relevant information to more governance participants? (cc: @thelastjosh)
  • Should community pool spend proposals dealing with charitable efforts always fall outside of the scope of Cosmos Hub governance and thus be rejected on that principle?


Thank you to both and @StakeandRelax for their efforts to coordinating funding to alleviate the tragic situation in Turkey, and for those who are raising awareness about the importance of supporting Syrian relief efforts as well.