In February 2022 we at Hypha Worker Co-operative put forward Proposal #63 to the Cosmos Hub community: Activate governance discussions on the Discourse forum using community pool funds. We are a worker co-operative based in Toronto, Canada, and a core team on the Cosmos Hub working on testnets and governance.
Our proposal passed and a multisig was given 1000 ATOM for a 6 month pilot period to show what we can do with dedicated effort on improving governance. This took place April - September 2022.
We committed to stewarding this forum in four ways:
- 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.
We suggested several deliverables that we would report on at the end of our pilot:
- 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 set up.
- Neutral moderation framework: Document and follow transparent standards for how the forum is moderated.
Six months later, we are happy to report on the work we have done and to share our thoughts on continuing to foster a healthy governance experience on the Cosmos Hub!
In the last half of our pilot, so much happened in Cosmos Hub governance that we wrote monthly digests to capture all the information. These digests give an overview of proposals as well as commentary on governance meta, such as new tooling and major conversation topics. Our digests for April, May, June-July, and August are available on the forum.
The moving summaries took the form of Sacha Saint-Leger’s Swiss booklets and FAQ. They provide answers to every question that a Cosmonaut might have regarding a proposal, regardless of their level of prior knowledge.
We’ve established a category on the forum for validators to introduce themselves and show off what sets them apart. Within a week of this category going live there were five validators who published their profiles. We’ve also included brief educational content for delegators about validators and why it’s important to know who your validators are. We look forward to seeing this forum category grow.
Discourse’s native tagging system is now used on Hub proposal posts, making it easier to automate notifications as they pass through governance stages (e.g., last-call). The tagging is used to support tools like the Cosmos Gov Bot for Telegram (developed by Rapha) and code for a Twitter bot (developed by Reece).
One of the first things we posted on the forum was a lightweight moderation framework to empower moderators to edit and tag posts as necessary. Our framework includes a reference to the Code of Conduct that is in use in the Gaia repo. It was beyond the scope of this proposal to create a new CoC.
In the last six months the forum has received a full makeover: A new colour palette, new category architecture, and naming conventions that made the site more human-readable. We also scoped down forum topics to limit discussions to longform conversation about governance, proposals, and ideas relating strictly to the Cosmos Hub. Ecosystem news, development questions, and technical support have shifted to Discord and Github.
The @CosmosGov Twitter account was created by Gavin Birch in 2019 as part of the Cosmos Governance Working Group funded by Proposal 23. After our proposal passed, Gavin transferred this account to Hypha. Since then we have used the platform to post thought-provoking questions about proposals and encourage ATOM holders to participate on the forum.
We launched What’s at Stake, a show about decentralized governance and the Cosmos Hub in June 2022. The goal of this show is to raise literacy about crypto-politics and equip the next generation of protocol politicians to guide and steward the Hub. Our first episode was with Billy Rennekamp, where we discussed the Rho upgrade and public goods funding on the Hub. The second episode featured Joshua Tan of Metagovernance Project about organizing the first crypto-political party, Validator Commons, and the politics of Proof-of-Stake networks. Our next episode will be released October 2022.
150 ATOM - Rapha for Cosmos Gov Telegram bot
100 ATOM - Reece for Twitter notification bot
50 ATOM - Sacha for Swiss booklet on Proposal #69
700 ATOM - Hypha Worker Co-operative for governance stewardship
We have made great progress in improving governance discussions on the Hub, but this proposal was only for a 6 month pilot and a major deliverable that we have not mentioned here is our recommendations for how this work might be continued into the future. We feel that this topic warrants its own thread, so we have posted a second report containing our observations and recommendations for further work.