[PROPOSAL #63][ACCEPTED] Activate governance discussions on the Discourse forum using community pool funds

Change log

  • 2022-03-15 Put proposal on-chain with link to IPFS pin of all forum discussion up to this point.
  • 2022-03-15 Trimmed down text to fit within on-chain proposal character count limit (max 5000).
  • 2022-03-11 Reformatted for on-chain, added what voting options mean, and set last call to 2022-03-15
  • 2022-02-24 Moving back to [DRAFT], added details to deliverables and next steps. See 2022-02-23 comment by maisutton for details.
  • 2022-02-15 Last call set for 2022-02-17
  • 2022-02-10 Initial proposal for comment, based on feedback on last proposal

Summary

Proposal to request for 1000 ATOM from the community spending pool to be sent to a multisig who will put funds towards stewardship of the Discourse forum to make it an authoritative record of governance decisions as well as a vibrant space to draft and discuss proposals.

Details

We are requesting 1000 ATOM from the community spending pool to activate and steward the Cosmos Hub (Discourse) forum for the next six months.

Off-chain governance conversations are currently highly fragmented, with no shared public venue for discussing proposals as they proceed through the process of being drafted and voted on. It means there is no record of discussion that voters can confidently point to for context, potentially leading to governance decisions becoming delegitimized by stakeholders.

The requested amount will be sent to a multisig comprising individuals (members listed below) who can ensure that the tokens are spent judiciously. We believe stewardship of the forum requires:

  • Moderation: Format, edit, and categorize posts; Standardize titles and tags; Monitor and approve new posts; Archive posts.
  • Facilitation: Ask clarifying questions in post threads; Summarize discussions; Provide historical precedence to discussions.
  • Engagement: Circulate important posts on other social channels to increase community participation; Solicit input from key stakeholders.
  • Guidance: Orient and assist newcomers; Guide proposers through governance process; Answer questions regarding the forum or Cosmos ecosystem.

The work to steward the forum will be carried out by members of Hypha Worker Co-op and individuals selected from the community to carry out scoped tasks in exchange for ATOM from this budget.

Multisig Members

  • Hypha: Mai Ishikawa Sutton (Hypha Co-op)
  • Validator: Daniel Hwang (Stakefish)
  • Cosmos Hub developer: Lauren Gallinaro (Interchain Berlin)

We feel the membership of the multisig should be rotated following the six-month pilot period to preserve insight from the distinct specializations (i.e., Cosmos Hub validators and developers).

Timeline and Deliverables

We estimate the total work to take 250-300 hours over six months where we hope to produce:

  • Moving summaries: Provide succinct summaries of the proposals and include all publicly stated reasons why various entities are choosing to vote for/against a given proposal. These summaries will be written objectively, not siding with any one entity.
  • Validator platforms: Create a section of the Forum where we collate all validators’ visions for Cosmos Hub governance to allow them to state their positions publicly. We will work with the smaller validators to ensure they are equally represented.
  • Regular check-ins with the Cosmonaut DAO: Collaborate with the future Cosmonaut DAO to ensure maximal accessibility and engagement. Community management is a critical, complementary aspect of increasing participation in governance.
  • Announcement channel: Create a read-only announcement channel in the Cosmos Community Discord, so that new proposals and major discussions can be easily followed.
  • Tooling friendly posts: Tag and categorize posts so that they can be easily ingested into existing tooling that validators have setup.
  • Neutral moderation framework: Document and follow transparent standards for how the forum is moderated.

At the end of the period, we will produce a report reflecting on our successes and failures, and recommendations for how the work of maintaining a governance venue can be continuously sustained (e.g., through a DAO). We see this initiative as a process of discovery, where we are learning by doing.

For more context, you can read through the discussions on this proposal on the Discourse forum.

Governance Votes

The following items summarize the voting options and what it means for this proposal:

YES - You approve this community spend proposal to deposit 1000 ATOM to a multisig that will spend them to improve governance discussions in the Discourse forum.
NO - You disapprove of this community spend proposal in its current form (please indicate why in the Cosmos Forum)
NO WITH VETO - You are strongly opposed to this change and will exit the network if passed.
ABSTAIN - You are impartial to the outcome of the proposal.

Recipient

cosmos1xf2qwf6g6xvuttpf37xwrgp08qq984244952ze

Amount

1000 ATOM

Disclosure: Hypha has an existing contract with the Interchain Foundation focused on the testnet program and improving documentation. This work is beyond the scope of that contract and is focused on engaging the community in governance.

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I wasn’t on the Twitter spaces, so apologies if this was answered there.

Why is this proposal 6 months? I’ve seen similar proposals in various communities last 3 months.

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Hi @ebeth – great question!

So we considered having the proposal cover only 3 months, but ultimately felt that we needed 6 months to both create the processes for enabling substantive discussion to happen on this forum, as well implement them to see if our approach is working. We foresee this taking a bit of time since we’re basically starting from scratch. It’s going to require a bit of cat herding while developing norms around the forum so it’s both easy to navigate and encompasses the range of discussions people would like to have here.

We’ve also heard from others about their concerns about continuity – that this work would be abandoned after this iteration. To address that, we wanted to make sure that whoever shapes the next Hub proposal to continue this work has enough time to learn from what’s been effective or not. It’s important that we don’t have a lull period when we’re out of resources to support and compensate the people who will be stewarding this space.

There haven’t been many community spend proposals in the past on the Cosmos Hub. When community pool spending is slightly more mature (e.g., through community engagement in governance through the forum), it’d be great if we could move to quarterly cycles.

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I attach great importance to the wholistic aspect of The Cosmos Network. This means for the community as a whole to be (persuaded to be) actively involved in all layers of the network starting with governance. As it occurs to me this Forum is best lead by The Cosmonaut Community itself to achieve this very goal.

There are several reasons to assume why this would be the best idea:

  1. The Cosmonaut community already harbours a lot of moderators who have a vast experience with this kind of stewardship.

  2. This would be an excellent testing ground for a possible continuation for them or other Cosmonauts within a DAO.

  3. There would be laid a healthy basis of neutral agency without any (in)direct involvement of any ICF-related parties, nor any other big Cosmos stakeholder or even validator in the form of taking in a formal position at these aforementioned parties.

I’d therefore suggest instead to create a proposal that involves the installation of a team of 3 reputable Cosmos moderators who have ample community moderating experience, who’d be able to staff this forum for 300 hours and within a budget of 600 ATOM for 3 months.

Hi @CosMod, appreciate your thoughtful comment and for taking interest in our proposal. It’s encouraging to hear that you believe that activating this Forum is worthwhile.

We couldn’t agree more that governance requires broad representation. Cosmos Hub comprises a diverse range of stakeholders and each have distinct relationships with governance: ATOM holders who hold a direct stake in the project, validators who are responsible for voting in governance on behalf of their delegators and ensuring the security of the network, and developers who take their mandate from governance decisions. The multisig we propose is an attempt to capture this diversity. Without all these parties represented, we can’t improve soft governance.

We also believe that this work needs collaboration. As noted in the proposal, the ATOM requested from the community pool are to be spent on anyone doing the work: this could be members of the multisig, but we would love participation from other community members. If individuals would like to step forward, DM us and let us know how you’d like to collaborate. Ultimately the multisig committee is being formed to steward this work and be accountable to all stakeholders.

We also agree that longer term this work can be done by a DAO, but we think it’ll take time to get there. DAOs are not panacea. They require an engaged membership and a clear mission to be functional. That’s what this six month pilot is for.

1 Like

We’ve been having fruitful conversations about this proposal with community members. These are helping us prioritize our work once this proposal has passed. Some ideas here include:

  • Moving summaries: Proposal discussions are fast moving and protocol specialists from validator teams have trouble following the reasons for voting for/against a proposal. We’d provide succinct summaries of the proposals and include all the publicly stated reasons why various entities are choosing to vote for or against a given proposal. These summaries will be written in an objective manner, not siding with one entity or another.
  • Validator platforms: Smaller validators have limited marketing budgets and time to socialize their governance motives. So we had the idea of having a section of the Forum where we collate all the validators’ vision for Cosmos Hub governance. This will allow all validators to state their positions publicly. We’ll work with the smaller validators to ensure they are equally represented here.
  • Cross-team collaboration with the upcoming Cosmonaut DAO: We believe that community management is a critical, complementary facet to the work of increasing participation in governance discussions. We look forward to collaborating with the future Cosmonaut DAO to ensure we can maximize accessibility and engagement.
  • Announcement channel: We would create a read-only announcement channel in the Cosmos Community Discord, so that any new proposals and major discussions can be easily followed.
  • Tagged posts: We’d like to tag/categorize posts so that they can be easily ingested into existing tooling that validators have setup.
  • Rotating multisig community: As mentioned in the proposal, the members of the multisig will rotate. However, we think we should retain the roles (Validator, Developer), while swapping out specific individuals, so we can continue to gain from their specializations and diverse perspectives on this work.

We’ll continue adding to this thread. If you have ideas you’d like to discuss with us, please DM us!

2 Likes

First, I would like to thank the Hypha team for opening this discussion and for their willingness to improve the governance of the cosmos Hub.
It is a fact that since Stargate and the advent of the Interchain era stakers and validators, who were already struggling to keep up with all the active proposals and discussions taking place to improve our Port City, now find themselves overwhelmed by the amount of information coming from all the chains in which they are involved.
Although such a reality is what we have always hoped for, a living, vibrant ecosystem which brings us closer block by block to fully realizing the vision of the Internet of Blockchains, on the other hand, Cosmos Hub governance has definitely suffered a backlash.
At the dawn of the launch of game-changer features such as Interchain Security, I find it necessary to “awaken” the governance from its torpor, investing time in the involvement of delegators in the various conversations, shaping governance that doesn’t focus on the chain itself but on the delegators themselves, creating an environment that is as inclusive and efficient as possible, with a team of curators able to provide effective tools to not miss any development.
The fact that an experienced team like Hypha is volunteering to help with this journey of awareness and change makes me very optimistic about it.
Personally, I would like to see the deliverables added later in the comments, which I think are very clever and on point, as an integral part of the text of the on-chain proposal.
I would also like to understand specifically how some of the points mentioned above will be executed, what specific communication channels will be used [ie where will live contents as “Moving summaries”?], and whether the support of other Core Teams/third parties will be needed for their execution.

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excited to see your comments here @catdotfish!

I think that these questions you asked deserve to be answered and clarified as well:

Personally, I would like to see the deliverables added later in the comments, which I think are very clever and on point, as an integral part of the text of the on-chain proposal.
I would also like to understand specifically how some of the points mentioned above will be executed, what specific communication channels will be used [ie where will live contents as “Moving summaries”?], and whether the support of other Core Teams/third parties will be needed for their execution.

@uditvira @maisutton would it be possible to go into more detail here?

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As a big follower of many projects and also a new validator within the Cosmos ecosystem I was a bit frustrated with how “all over the place” governance is. So I am very thankful that someone is stepping up and addressing this issue.

  • Announcement channel: We would create a read-only announcement channel in the Cosmos Community Discord, so that any new proposals and major discussions can be easily followed.

I started to work on my own solution for the announcement channel proposed by @maisutton. So I created a Telegram bot that allows users to follow new proposals in a very easy way. You can just select the chains that you want to follow and whenever there is a new proposal you get a notification.
You can check it out here → Cosmos Gov Bot
It would be very easy to create an integration for Discord (or any other platform). Right now it supports 18 chains but my plan is to cover every IBC enabled Cosmos project.

I would love to contribute and possibly work together with Hypha. If this is something that the community thinks is useful I would be more than happy to get funded so that I can focus on improving the current solution.

Feel free to DM me or contact me via Telegram: Telegram: Contact @rapha_decrypto

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First of all, I truly appreciate everyone’s thoughtful responses! It really helps us refine our thinking and strategy around this proposal. We’re here to do what’s best for this community as a whole, and that means the work we’re proposing here will not succeed without the support and engagement of key stakeholders like you.

Personally, I would like to see the deliverables added later in the comments, which I think are very clever and on point, as an integral part of the text of the on-chain proposal.
I would also like to understand specifically how some of the points mentioned above will be executed, what specific communication channels will be used [ie where will live contents as “Moving summaries”?], and whether the support of other Core Teams/third parties will be needed for their execution.

@catdotfish + @dan – Yes we will for sure add the deliverables noted above in my previous comment into the proposal itself, including the following details.

Regarding the specific communication channels we’d use for ‘Moving Summaries’ – we realized we have two ideas contained in that:

1. Bi-monthly digests – Overviews of current and upcoming proposals, proposals which have passed or failed, and perspectives from validators on why they voted a particular way. These digests would be posted to the forum itself, and circulated on other platforms such as Discord and Twitter.

2. Moving summary memos – Brief memos summarizing key changes or additional context on specific proposals. These would be posted likely on Twitter with linkbacks to the proposal itself on the forum. We envision posting updates as a growing tweet thread over the life cycle of a proposal, adding new information as it becomes relevant.

We connected with Gavin Birch, currently at Figment, who originated the Cosmos governance working group in 2019. He has been managing the @CosmosGov Twitter account and said he’d be happy to transfer the management over to Hypha while we are doing this work. That would seem like a great place to post these moving summary memos, as well as circulate the digests.

We want the forum to be the home of Cosmos Hub governance discussions but we also intend to meet people where they are. Think of these Twitter memos like invitations to come chat about governance or to learn more about a particular proposal.

With respect to Core Teams and third parties, Hypha is already working with Cosmos Core Teams and we have direct connections with many validators through our work on the testnet program. We’re excited that our work will be complementing the efforts of the upcoming Cosmonaut DAO.

These relationships are critical to the success of this proposal. Some of our ideas rely upon coordination with the Cosmos Hub Discord, having conversations with both new and established validators, and working with other parties in the ecosystem such as block explorers and other integrators. We will need their continued support to make sure Hub governance is as accessible and efficient as possible. We love to hear from them (and you – reader of this post :slight_smile: ) on ideas and suggestions.

@rapha – Amazing!! We’re so thrilled that this discussion is already inspiring people to create the kind of tooling we’ll need to improve governance on the Hub. I’ll be reaching out to you shortly – thanks for the contact info!

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That is really amazing. Love the proposal, that’s a much needed but very demainding work.

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looking forward to your support on this vasily!

Thanks so much for the support @vshvsh ! :sun_with_face:

Wanted to give a quick update on some outreach we’ve been done recently :point_down:

The governance work being done over at Secret Network caught our attention, as they seem to have pretty high engagement from their stakeholders. So we reached out to Muecke, who is leading this work at Secret as the chair of their Governance Committee and had a great chat with him!

Here are some of our key takeaways from that conversation:

  • The Governance Committee sends surveys to validators to solicit more detailed feedback than in a signalling proposal. Big surveys covering major topics every 2-3 months with smaller, single-topic surveys as needed.
  • They have a Network Charter for governance with the community responsible for self-enforcing it through how they vote on-chain.
    • For example, Secret proposals are expected to spend 7 days in discussion on their own Discourse forum before moving on-chain. A proposal that moves on chain with no discussion might still pass if the community thinks that the content is important enough, but following the process shows good faith.
    • Developing best practices around each type of proposal – E.g., amounts for community spend proposals are expressed in USD + 10% volatility buffer and converted into equivalent token amounts on the day of the proposal submission.
    • After this, there’s a follow up proposal in case the token value changes substantially.
  • They have a community curated bounty list, using a Google form, for potential projects related to governance processes. Projects are curated for feasibility and then discussed in a weekly governance call with anyone who wants to contribute.

These are all possible practices we could adopt for the Cosmos Hub. Interested to hear what people think of these ideas!

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Team, thank you for the initiative and the proposal. Me on behalf of MultiChain Ventures validator support it.

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Hi all, thanks for the initiative on this - Chorus One supports this work and would vote in favor of this proposal. We are hopeful this work will help improve communication flows in the decentralized Cosmos community!

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Truly appreciate the support @chervol @FelixLts ! :blossom:

Just a quick note that we trimmed down the text of the proposal slightly to fit it within the on-chain character count limit. We removed a few small phrases and shortened the problem description under the Details section. We also removed a redundant sentence about how as we have members rotate, we would swap out individuals and retain the seats for specializations (validator, developer, organizer).

None of our plans are changing, we just needed to shorten the text as we prepare to put it on chain. :slightly_smiling_face:

Hi all, our team is tackling a similar initiative and is currently building an open-source tool for the Cosmos ecosystem. Especially where we will bring in the decentralized publishing initiative. It will be a governance tool focused on building communities, governance, proposals, and voting preferences.

Product design is ready and open for comments before we move to production: https://www.figma.com/proto/SMaKDFUALEopfVeDHcBemr/DAO-likecoin?node-id=390%3A8519&scaling=scale-down&page-id=390%3A5014

Features include:

  • easier to raise and view proposals,
  • proposal content and metadata will be properly stored and published on chain
  • view validators’ past participation and voting preferences etc

Already reached up to Udi via email, but other comments are welcome.
Discord: LikeCoin
Email: phoebe@like.co

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