Brain Dump #2 - Framework for Balance of Power

Framework for Balance of Power

Introduction

About a week in, we’re seeing hierarchies form. @Silver4k wrote a wonderful post about the internal social layer that’s forming, critiquing the centralization of rapid decision-making. Silver was polite in his phrasing, but his critique is an existential one - There is a gap in soft power forming between. He says,

A meritocratic contribution-based distribution of power is happening on the social layer and is being coordinated by founders and a core group, with status and positions being granted to those who show initiative or produce results that are noticed through a nomination process.

In theory, this sounds like a good method. Nominations? Meritocratic? Initiative? All great things, but there is still centralization around BanklessHQ, but also with those that have Level 2 Contributor status in the Discord.

On the social layer, those in the inner circles at the highest levels will eventually be disincentivized to make nominations and dilute their status. - Silver

What follows is a general framework on how we can keep these natural hierarchies and how to buffet them with mechanisms that balance the scales of power :balance_scale: I am grateful to everyone that helped me solidify and workshop this framework. Thank you. As always, dissent and criticism are welcome.

The Hierarchy

New channels will unlock for you as you participate in the DAO. Initially, there are three levels of discord channel access.

  • Level 1: Member (35,000 BANK)
  • Level 2: Contributor (35,000 BANK + Invitation by Genesis Team)
  • Level 3: Whale (150,000 BANK)

This clear segmentation was the beginning of our hierarchy. I think, for the most part, we can work with it. Now that we’ve had time to simmer for a week, I think we can iterate:

Standing Status
Level 0 Participant
Level 1 Member
Level 2 Contributor
Level 3 Core
Whales
Genesis

Here we have the addition of a Level 0 and Level 3 and the separation of Whales/Gensis from any standing.

  • (L0) Participant: Those who do not have the minimum required $BANK to join, but still participate in the community. They can be in #Courtyard, forums. Some have small amounts of BANK and can vote.
  • (L1) Member: Passive player. Votes regularly. Some degree of forum posts and Discord activity. Members have the minimum $BANK required to formally enter. Can earn $BANK through community work and seasons.
  • (L2) Contributors: Small group of active player and community leader. Coordinates seasons and has clear responsibilities. Are relied on by others to execute. Task oriented. Receiving $BANK through some variable compensation model.
  • (L3) Core: Smaller group of core players. Minimum expectation of full-time commitment, often much more. Formal snapshot vote. Compensation is fixed and directly from the Treasury.
  • Whales: Can be L1+
  • Genesis: Can be any level, though current status is L1

These levels relate to the previous brain dump post. Particularly in the context of the diagram below. Mapping these roles, here’s what we will typically find that L0s and L1s dominate the resource and governance layer, while L2s and L3s are orchestrators. (Read here about soft and hard consensus.)

Power Dynamics

We can see power centralizing around the L2 and L3 members that make up the small Orchestration Layer. And that brings us back here.

On the social layer, those in the inner circles at the highest levels will eventually be disincentivized to make nominations and dilute their status. - Silver

Here are some rules that help provide some balance. Note these %s are not set in stone:

  1. Before the beginning of each season, L2s and L3s submit formal proposals for snapshot voting. Anyone with BANK is able to vote. L3s submit their proposals individually, each requiring >50% from BANK holders. L2s submit their proposals as part of an Initiative (defined below).

  2. During each season, L2 and L3 members can nominate any other L1 or L0 member to L2 status and make an argument for their inclusion. (This is how things have been going so far if you look through #ops-general.) L2 and L3 members vote and require >50% majority and are given a “free-trial” period during the season before having to go through the formal verification process via vote. In the future, I can see this workflow going:

  • L2s and L3s submit proposal before season n
  • Those who are accepted nominate their sponsee for the upcoming season
  • Before the beginning of season n+1, nominated L2s must not go through the same voting process as their sponsor.
  1. L2 members can remove other L2s from Contributor status with a >50% majority

  2. L1 members can appeal any accepted nomination to L2 with a >25% vote. (We can worry about dispute resolution when we get there.)

  3. L1 members can remove any L2 or L3 member with a >50% majority

I know, it’s a lot. Maybe one of these day’s I’ll make a visual. But this framework does two important things: (1) It recognizes the different levels of commitment DAO members can make, from 6 hours a week to 60. (2) It creates a chain of accountability that always goes back to $BANK holders.

Working Groups, Initiatives, and Mandates - Oh My!

The next topic I want to cover are these “Proposals.” Yesterday, a few of us spontaneously hopped on a call (it was super cool, people just kept coming. We even missed ETH hitting $4K) and were chatting. Expanding on the idea of Guilds, we came up with additional mental models. Namely those of Working Groups, Initiatives, and Mandates.

Initiatives are a special kind of proposals. Informed by community discussion, they perform in broad strokes, handling challenging problems that require careful coordination. Initiatives usually require a budget to be approved. L2s introduce Initiatives for snapshot voting. Initiatives are promises to the community. If accepted, they turn into Mandates by the community. Initiatives are valid if they are authored by at least one L2 or co-sponsored by at least two L2s. Each initiative has its own Working Group. These are typically the authors/sponsors of the Initiatives. These working groups can be a combination of L1s, L2, and L3s.

Example: Moving to Layer 2 Tech

At some point, we will need to move to Layer 2 to reduce fees and support faster transactions. Conversations are already being had on the topic. In this case, a few things can happen:

  • Community sentiment builds enough for an L2/L3 member to take action and start drafting an Initiative with vocal community members as co-sponsors.
  • L1 community members make a formal request for an Initiative that L2/L3 are obligated to consider and delegate when possible
  • L1 community members author the proposal and find two L2/L3 sponsors

Depending on the scope of the project, the Initiative may be proposed for the next season, or the current one for emergencies/smaller projects, but typically Initiative are written in preparation for the next season. Very roughly, these Initiative proposals must contain:

  • Description/Problem/Solution
  • Budget
  • Timeline
  • OKRs that are measured against KPIs.

L2 and L3 performance is judged based on their ability to deliver on their Promise and meet the DAO’s Mandate, giving BANK holders to validate movement between levels. Every L2/L3 member that is part of a Working Group is responsible for the Initiatives they have chose to author or co-sponsor.

Conclusion

I think I’m going to wrap it up here.

  • Create Levels 0-3 of membership. Members of higher levels are community members trusted by BANK holders
  • Through a submission and review process, all L2/L3 members are ultimately approved by BANK holders. This creates a balance of power between centralized decision making around L2/L3 and the true authority of L0s/L1s
  • L2 has variable compensation. L3 has fixed compensation. (Perhaps another post about this later.)

:yawning_face:

3 Likes

I like this.
I’d like some clarity on this part though:

Those who are accepted nominate their sponsee for the upcoming season
Before the beginning of season n+1 , nominated L2s must not go through the same voting process as their sponsor.

for some reason my brain falls apart computing that line

All good. I didn’t edit this before posting.

At the beginning of each season (in this case, seaon n), L2s and L3s are formally approved by BANK voters. During a season in which L2/L3 has been elected, they can nominate any L0 or L1 member to L2 status with a >50% vote between L2 and L3 members.
If passed, the newly elevated L2 enter a trial period for season n. Once season n started to wind down and we get ready for season n+1, the elevated L2 members must apply formally via snapshot vote to legitimize their status.

3 Likes

Have we found any clarity on how long a “season” is expected to last?

^would this be of total DAO population or of participating voters on any given snapshot?^

Also, with regard to the seasonality of appointed L2&L3 members I’m having trouble understanding if an appointee would be “taking over” for their apoint-er or if they would now serve in tandem and the L2 and L3 ranks would grow continuously unless a member were voted out. Seems like a recipe for some bureaucratic bloat and centralization.

All that said, I think you’ve got some great thoughts here and I love how it creates accountability, incentives and real-world metrics for participation.

I don’t like this at all.

My approach would be everyone has visibility to all chats channels in Discord. Creating different layers, creates division. The DAO has only one vision. There is no division. The path of the DAO is chosen by it’s members equally. The model you are exposing is the same old hierarchical model that we all know. Nothing new here. Nor decentralised.

Then everyone can be aligned to a guild or guilds of their choice. But not everyone in that guild will do all tasks. Task will be allocated randomly to the members of the guild. If a member doesn’t want to carry out that task then another member is selected randomly. Tasks can be or not be compensated by BANK if that is in the proposal. If a member fails to accomplish the task in a determined time then another member of the guild is allocated to it randomly. This way we solve lots of conflicts.

No one should have more power than others. But we should have some people representing the DAO. This is also elected. We can continue with the same people representing it as we do now as they have reputations. I’m not arguing with this. But anyone could make a proposal and present themselves for the role.

1 Like

@ToteHoser

Not yet.

Also, with regard to the seasonality of appointed L2&L3 members I’m having trouble understanding if an appointee would be “taking over” for their apoint-er or if they would now serve in tandem and the L2 and L3 ranks would grow continuously unless a member were voted out.

Grow until members are voted out/not elected/opt not to participate during a season.

@Kouros

My approach would be everyone has visibility to all chats channels in Discord

I don’t disagree here. IIRC, your approach is each Level gets read access to the level above it? I like that, but right now we have personal information floating around. We need to lock that up and set rules before opening to broader public.

The model you are exposing is the same old hierarchical model that we all know. Nothing new here. Nor decentralised.

Respectfully, I disagree here. To me, this is like saying that monarchy and presidencies are the same because there’s only one person at the top. It ignores balance of powers. Perhaps there’s something more extreme to be said about power structure as a whole, but that’s a different convo, IMO.

I’m also somewhat opposed to the random selection of work to Guilds. In the future, I suspect that people that place bounties will want only a select few members to complete their bounty. Ie, someone they’ve worked with in the past or has a track record of having written similar material.

However, I like the idea of a randomly selecting protocol. One thing I didn’t mention in the original post was another form of balance with “Review Committees” that are charged with evaluating the performance of L2/L3s and perhaps dealing with conflict-resolution. I think these committees should be only L1 members, selected randomly from a pool of volunteers.

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I believe that selecting members of the guilds randomly to perform tasks is a good idea since you avoid always the same members performing tasks. It is unfair. And some members could loose interest and it will avoid members fighting with each other for a task.

Again I believe there should be only the following membership levels:

  • Level 0. Non members. Though showing capabilities or engagement they can be nominated or even given the necessary BANK to be a member. I believe everyone regardless of background should be able to join Bankless DAO.

**** from this point all members have the same voting power *****

  • Level 1 member.

  • Core member. Member elected on seasonal or periodical basis. These members do present themselves as candidates and the DAO should elect them.

*DAOs representatives. These are the public figures representing the DAO. Any one can make a proposal to be a representative and the DAO should vote.

***********************************^

What benefit is there in having level 1, level 2, level 3 when all members have the same voting power? If this is not the case and members don’t have the same voting power then it is quite disappointing that the DAO is going towards this unfair model where the richest members rule. Nothing new under the sun.

We have the opportunity to not fall into these cliches and create a community that works toward a common goal and not for individuals to work towards power grabbing.


The randomly selected committees look good to me. But what they actually review? That tasks are being performed properly and projects are being carried out?

Also, there should be a BANK pricing guide for tasks as a reference. This guide can be reviewed periodically.

In this guide tasks will be listed and their equivalent in BANK.

In addition to this, how do we measure tasks? By BANK/unit of time
By complexity? By level of expertise required?

Perhaps my proposed selecting members of the guilds randomly is not perfect. Since there are more experienced members than others. But how do you solve the problem of some members missing out?

Experience levels will stratify participants. You can’t get around that, particularly when it comes to knowing specific concepts and taxonomies that allow some members to quickly and efficiently provide value to the DAO.

We aren’t really all equal because we are not starting from the same baseline. I have no clue what some of you are talking about in several of the Discord channels. It’s a hoot to read, but damn. I’ve got a long way to go.

L3 folks guiding from their experience makes sense.
L1 folks are either new to the DAO or DAO Zombies (members but not active) :woman_zombie: Makes sense.

The L2 members are the most interesting, and challenging group. One approach may be to set that Level as a place where massive amounts of work get done through bounty-fueled commitments of mentors and mentees. This is more of an apprenticeship approach to building the DAO and it strengthens the community much faster than just a works-recognition model. We would be pulling the interested L1 people up :wave: and then pulling the L2 up to the L3 to provide leadership in the future.

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I like this as a first draft, although have some thinking to do on it.

As I read, some concerns that come up are on the dev side of this, specifically around time applied to a project and experience. I don’t think we would want devs getting cycled on and off projects unless it was smaller adhoc work.

@Silver4k I’d love to hear your take on this.

@Kouros

I believe that selecting members of the guilds randomly to perform tasks is a good idea since you avoid always the same members performing tasks. It is unfair.

Is it? If I need a newsletter written or a whitepaper edited, I only want a few people to have that task. It’s very specialized, not something I want randomly assigned.

If this is not the case and members don’t have the same voting power then it is quite disappointing that the DAO is going towards this unfair model where the richest members rule.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quadratic_voting

The randomly selected committees look good to me. But what they actually review? That tasks are being performed properly and projects are being carried out?

Yeah. If working groups have KPIs and things like that, the review process could be standardized.

@birchbranch

One approach may be to set that Level as a place where massive amounts of work get done through bounty-fueled commitments of mentors and mentees

Can you explain how the mentor/mentee thing plays out?

although have some thinking to do on it.

I eagerly await your response. Also dig the megaman :slight_smile:

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Who has decided on the quadratic voting system? Have members had a saying?
This will be a power grabbing DAO.

Well obviously we would vote on it. It’s just a common voting method that is popular for token-based voters. We can have other voting methods based on the scenario, but soft consensus from me telling others about quadratic voting is that people like it.

@Kouros @Icedcool @birchbranch @ToteHoser @AboveAverageJoe

Possible modification: we eliminate the concept of Levels altogether and replace them with roles. Each role is like a method that inherit each before it (terms used in the context of programming). Participant → Member, → Contributor → Core. Core inherits contributor inherits member inherits participant. As you move to core, you take on the attributes of the preceding roles.

Basic ground rules: chats are not hidden from anyone. But role groupings do have locked chats that only they can write to. There will be channels for lesser roles to have discussions about conversations in locked channels.

I agree on some points. Yeah I think levels should be scrapped all together.
In my opinion there should be only two distinctions:

Members and non members

Within the members you can have a role if you wish and contribute.

Now we need to establish what are the functions of core members. Also, in my opinion core members should be elected periodically. Or are they gonna be core members forever? How many core members could be? Is there a cap? I believe Core members should be elected and members should present themselves as candidates. Many members would not want to be core members so lets the ones who want to be at least have the possibility. But the DAO should elect them.

In another post another member raised the point that some roles could pay a price in BANK for the time being in that position. This is an interest concept but not sure it is viable.

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In my opinion there should be only two distinctions:
Members and non members
Within the members you can have a role if you wish and contribute.

Fine with this

Now we need to establish what are the functions of core members. Also, in my opinion core members should be elected periodically. Or are they gonna be core members forever? How many core members could be? Is there a cap?

Reread this. Haven’t considered cap. Maybe each season we vote on the cap and adjust depending on how ambitious a season is.

In another post another member raised the point that some roles could pay a price in BANK for the time being in that position. This is an interest concept but not sure it is viable.

Possibly they stake a large amount of BANK?

Maybe each season we vote on the cap and adjust depending on how ambitious a season is.

This is good because it creates competition between Core applications. @Kouros

yeah, also not everyone wants to be a core member. So it is fair to the core members as well. But I think the best way is by electing them.

So a core member shall present himself as candidate each time if he/she wishes so. So a core member can be a core member as long as he presents his candidacy each time and gets elected.

Also this way you ensure that core members are interested and engaged at a given time. Since a core member today might not be interested or have other priorities in his/her life in another point in time.

Then, we need to establish the functions of core members too.

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Already on it. I’ll thought-dump when we get to it

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