This report presents the key steps and learning from the first part of the pilot of the Cosmos Citizens’ Assembly. We welcome comments and feedback. To see the outcome of the first session of the Assembly, please see the following post on the forum: [DISCUSSION] Onboarding, managing, offboarding the AEZ. A set of draft propositions
Here are links to the reference and background documents:
- Detailed program of Session 1: Rollout of Session 1
- Recordings of the public parts of the meetings (recordings are password protected to provide some level of privacy for the participants. You can contact the team to get access):
- Recording plenary session 1: Video Conferencing, Web Conferencing, Webinars, Screen Sharing - Zoom
- Recording of working group A: Video Conferencing, Web Conferencing, Webinars, Screen Sharing - Zoom
- Recording of Working group B: Video Conferencing, Web Conferencing, Webinars, Screen Sharing - Zoom
- Recording of plenary 2: Video Conferencing, Web Conferencing, Webinars, Screen Sharing - Zoom
- Recording of working group C: Video Conferencing, Web Conferencing, Webinars, Screen Sharing - Zoom
- Recording of working group D: Video Conferencing, Web Conferencing, Webinars, Screen Sharing - Zoom
- Plenary 3 and the additional text drafting session from November 6th were not recorded as they were deliberations.
The recruitment campaign was launched at the end of October based on the strategy laid out previously (see here). As a reminder, the approach was to activate the following 3 channels for the recruitment in order to get 24 participants in the room during session 1:
- Open application: Diffusion of an open call to apply for the assembly through social media and usual communications channels of the Cosmos Hub: Twitter, Discord, Telegram, and major decentralized social media (Farcaster, Lens, Desofy, etc.)
- Onsite recruitment during Cosmoverse 2023 in Istanbul: Approaching participants and inviting them to apply.
- Onchain selection of a set of Cosmos Wallets to be invited to join. This third channel is the most exploratory and novel.
Due to time constraints and the moratorium put on the grant by AADAO (see below) we were able to only focus on channel 2 with some lower-level recruitment through channel 1. We gathered a total of 207 applications until the deadline. From these applications, we had to exclude 127 which were all from emails accounts at dakkkim.edu.ua. An early email to the first 15 of those addresses received no response, so we felt comfortable excluding them as spam. We contacted the remaining 80 applicants with more information on the program and process and a demand to confirm their interest. This second step resulted in 26 persons being interested.
Given the pilot nature and the sample of convenience from the self-selection in the channels, we knew we were not able to achieve pure randomized recruiting. Accepting that limitation, we still wanted to see if a diverse but not necessarily statistically representative group of participants would create a good balance of viewpoints within the Assembly. We scanned the diversity of that group along a variety of criteria (role in Cosmos, knowledge of AEZ, voting activity) and saw that the final set was diverse enough and not in a situation of blatant conflict of interest.
|How knowledgeable are you about AEZ?||Simple||Validator||Chain dev||Infra||Dapp Dev||Grand Total|
|How often do you vote on Cosmos Proposals?||Simple||Validator||Chain dev||Infra||Dapp Dev||Grand Total|
We considered selecting 20 of the 26, but decided that introducing our own bias would outweigh any theoretical randomization benefit. In the end, we had participation from 20 people, and the pattern did not differ significantly from the original set.
Active participation in the workshops varied from workshop to workshop, depending on the timing for the individual participants. Generally, the attendance reduced over the week, from about 18 in the first sessions to 10 active in the last (extra session added by the group). Communications still went out to the full group of participants, and the final document was open for comments. Comments were made by almost all 18 participants.
All in all, we consider the recruitment to be a success given the constraints of time, financing, and the pilot nature of the process. In the final report, we will lay out options for improving recruitment.
As a preparation for participants, the team produced an information kit to present the remit of the Assembly as well as the key information around AEZ. The kit can be found here. The kit was discussed with the community and improved after comments.
We consider the information kit to be a good basis for the work, but it may require a doubling with a more interactive format of “first contact” information like a panel, or a podcast episode.
The work of the Cosmos Citizens’ Assembly was divided into a series of online meetings as per the following logic:
Distribution Plenary 1 Working groups A1 and A2
“East Easier” Working group B1 and B2
“West Easier” Plenary 2 Working groups C1 and C2
“Europe and Asia” Working group D1 and D2
“Americas and Africa” Plenary 3 Extra text drafting session
Main topic Introduction and principles Onboarding Management Governance Economics Conflict resolution Synthesis Finalize Text
Biggest “time burden” Middle East
China Less relevant as we distribute participants in subgroups connected to timezones Americas Less relevant as we distribute participants in subgroups connected to timezones Europe
Time Monday, October 23rd, 20:00 UTC to 23:00 UTC Tuesday, October 24th, 07:00 UTC to 09:00 UTC Tuesday, October 24th, 18:00 UTC to 20:00 UTC Wednesday, October 25th, 11:00 UTC to 13:00 UTC Thursday, October 26th, 08:00 UTC to 10:00 UTC Thursday, October 26th, 15:00 UTC to 17:00 UTC Monday, October 30th, 15:00 UTC to 17:00 UTC Monday, November 6th, 15:00 UTC to 17:00 UTC
Our assembly participants were impressed and pleased with the process and results.
But at least half also had frustrations and challenges in participating in the first Session.
The handling of the timezone was the most challenging part of the process, as we had to ensure both the feasibility of the timing for all participants and the capacity of the group to find agreement in plenary sessions. The alternation between plenaries and working groups functioned well, but only because just one participant was based in an Asian timezone. Because most of the burden was on this participant, this highlights a barrier to isolated participants.
The total demanded time from participants amounted to about 14 hours: 13 hours of online sync meeting and 1 hour of async text revision. This amount seems to be the maximum possible given the amount of the ATOM incentive (10 ATOMs for this first session).
During the sessions, participants had the chance to exchange with stakeholders and experts presenting different views and opinions on the AEZ, governance, conflict management, etc. These exchanges were particularly well received by participants and by speakers as a constructive and very informative moment.
All in all, we consider the structure and work program to have worked, although many tweaks and improvements can be done by alternating sync/async, written/spoken, plenary/breakout. We will present some avenues in the final report.
The first part of the Cosmos Citizens’ Assembly has been supported by a grant from AADAO. This grant was suspended right before the launch of the recruitment process (see announcement). Despite this very hard situation, the team decided to pursue the process because of the conviction we have that this approach is key to unlocking the full potential of Cosmos and its ecosystem.
Nevertheless, this financial uncertainty obliged us to focus the pilot on its core and we had to:
- Reduce the scope of the recruitment campaign and focus on social media and recruitment at Cosmoverse. We were not able to pilot the onchain recruitment. This can be done in a future iteration. We have started to imagine collaborations with other projects and teams to realize this. This limitation has impacted our capacity to have a large sample of candidates for the first session.
- Reduce the number of facilitators during the sessions: We had to reduce facilitation to the core team (Antoine Vergne and Andrea Gallagher). As the group of participants was around 20, this principle worked. But further iterations with more participants definitively demand more investment there.
In terms of expenses, we spent a total of 145 ATOMs from the first part of the grant to pay the per diem of the participants. We also spent 100 stars to buy the cosmozen.stars name. Part of the funds have been staked and part of the grant has been swapped to StATOM. Details can be seen onchain: cosmos1cfrlf272wqltegy4dfz38tz7xkc2t3pmatq37y
All in all, we regret the decision of AADAO which put a strain on the project. But we do not regret having continued, as the first session was a great moment and showed what can be achieved by a small group of diverse participants working in a deliberative setting.
The goal for the rest of the month of November is to gather feedback on the first set of draft recommendations within the community. This will help the group to improve their recommendations. We plan the following channels for feedback:
- Cosmos forum: responding to comments and remarks
- Social media: organizing 4 Twitter spaces
- Collabs: Working with members of the community to get direct feedback to the text.
Session 2 was originally planned to take place in the week of November 13th. The group decided to postpone this second session until the end of November. Exact dates are being coordinated with participants.