Reflections on L2 vibes check (Dec 2)

Situation: We have a general sense that governance problem(s) exist and need to be addressed. There’s a desire to have a dedicated core team make this their primary focus. Most L2 contributors have their plates full with project and/or guild work so the challenge is carving out time.

Problems that have been identified (some of which working groups have been formed to address):

  1. Accessibility to newcomers
  2. Onboarding newcomers
  3. Compensation
  4. Participation in Governance
  5. Strategic Prioritization

Complication: It is possible, perhaps likely, that “governance” is a repository for several underlying issues.

A “governance problem” could be symptomatic of:

  • An organization structure that’s need re-design.
  • An undefined or lack of strategy problem.
  • A lack of systems (policies & procedures) problem.
  • A lack ot task clarity problem.
  • Lack of management practices.
  • A need for new incentives.
  • And so on…


I have this fantasy that if we throw enough people at the problem, compensate them, the problems will slowly dissolve. For issues dealing with governance, people and culture - I worry we may find ourselves rehashing the same conversation at some point in the future.

Another fantasy I have is that we can form a task force and just engineer a solution. This may be true for well-defined technical problems, but organization and governance issues may be trickier.

What makes these issues complicated?

I think we intuitively know these issues are complicated when we (rightfully) say

Governance is everyone’s responsibility.

In that statement is the recognition that we can’t “assign” governance to a group of people and expect issues to go away.

Second, we may not have a clear idea of the problem space and rushing to solutions before identifying the problems may stall our development.

Finally, we intuitively know by being proponents of decentralization that community involvement and participation in identifying the problem and creating solutions is key. Having a group lock themselves away, only to emerge months later with a solution may not be ideal.

One path forward

One way is go through a systematic data collection process.

@frogmonkee had alluded to getting the sentiment of the community. In a previous post, I noted the work being done at Indexcoop using Jamboards to get input from the community.

Other tools at our disposal are interviews and surveys.

How to avoid analysis paralysis?

It is true a comprehensive diagnostic survey (to help us diagnose the various problems) would take some time to design, administer and analyze.

But we could break it up in phases.

Phase one could be interviews of L2 contributors (currently there are roughly 81 L2 contributors) to elucidate the perceived problems. Then a write-up to have the community read to see if any issues are still unidentified. (Note: even within a limited sample of 81 people, we might still collect data in batches)

If we wanted to eventually go for comprehensiveness, we could widen the scope of data collection to other members L1, Guest Pass holders etc, using surveys but we don’t have to commit to that if we feel the first round of data gathering was sufficient.

Hopefully this helps us consider a path forward. Either way, I take it as a positive sign that we’re having these conversations and am confident we at BanklessDAO will find a way :slight_smile:

cc some folks in conversation: @hashedMae @Behold @JENetics @Icedcool @AboveAverageJoe @0x_Lucas @jameswmontgomery.eth @Grendel

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Thanks for the post and for outlining the existing issues.

The possible ways to solve them are different, I list the 3 most probable:

  1. a large constituent assembly
  2. Proceed with batches of interviews to outline problems and then solutions
  3. Proceed with teams of people who have the reputation and the right skills to do this job, electing these people

I personally see the following consequences:

  1. The constituent assembly would end up creating divisions and “parties” within the DAO, it would create more problems than anything else
  2. It takes time to define the questions, time to create the team to ask the questions, carry out the interviews, analyze them, decide that the L2s are not enough, interview the L1s, with new L1s arriving every day indicating that they have been excluded. In the end, finally, A TEAM should decide how to proceed based on what has been indicated in the interviews with obvious consequences of subjectivation. We would have obtained an exceptional statistical work, equal to that of the nationwide censuses, photographing a situation that has perhaps already evolved in another way.
  3. Proceed with a temporary centralization step to define recipes which in any case would be voted on by the DAO before being implemented

Personally I am for 3. I believe that efficiency and speed are essential to proceed.

The revision of the incentive system, the need to find a balance between expenses and revenues, is essential for the survival of the DAO itself.
Clarify to everyone what strategies, institutions, rules and roles are, these are necessities that cannot be postponed in my opinion


the only governance problem i see is that folks keeps wanting to create governors and propose work for other people to do instead of proposing work that folks are committing to do themselves.

I feel if there was basic governance education and Systems Theory, than more folks would understand how to Self Organize and participate in Governance.

There is also a certain level of privilege that some folks have and the disconnect that I see is that folks that are privileged to have good internet and desktops and laptops just aren’t aware of the struggles of the unbanked and the mobile phone user. This leads to many “governors” taking up space with their privilege and ignoring the needs and difficulties that less privileged folks have.

Feel free to express your interest in learning or mentoring Systems Theory here

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I agree here; a good use of progressive decentralization. Perhaps the team can have a lifespan of 2 seasons and be dissolved / renewed to give a soft exit.

It’s my opinion that “governance is everyone’s job” (in voting), but governance solutioneering is not and it requires specialists with accountability and intentional responsibility.

in my experience, I think many of us can identify lots of areas we’d like to work on - but can’t physically do because we’re spread thing. Identifying issues isn’t a bad thing, unless you actually aren’t spread thin.

Maybe; I’m slightly pessimistic of the idea that people will become more interested in solving governance issues, at least in large volumes. Happy to be proven wrong and definitely support the education effort! I just picked up “Thinking in Systems” and it’s immediately appealing to me - assuming it’s the same System’s Theory, I’d be interested in learning more.


+1 JWM. We are in complete agreement.

With regards to governance, unfortunately some form of “centralisation” will always be there.

It takes a certain skill and wisdom and experience to be able to craft a good governance document that can be voted and implemented and have a positive impact.

And rightly so, I think so of these leaders should be rewarded for the thought leadership. The big difference between this and a tardfi organisation is that we shouldn’t officiate these positions.

Blockquote You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain

In the BanklessDAO, it’s good that we just leave it to “random” people writing on the internet. This system where there are many leaders, who are versed in “governance” on the internet is infinitely more scalable and more resilient.

However, what we can definitely do is, some type of “BanklessDAO Governance Academy”.
We can have specific study groups and workshops to discuss this (Very much like executive MBA in the real world).

This will help us train more leaders and mould this industry. However attending one does not guarantee you a “position” whatsoever. You still cannot be a douchebag and expect to earn respect. :slight_smile:

I’m for # 3 and think the long term goal for them to make themselves irrelevant.

I think an educational initiative should cover both basic governance participation as well as be a scouting pool for potential future leaders.

Slightly separately I’m for collective consensus but direct democracy isn’t always the best way of achieving that and I think other systems need to be explored.