VDP-19 Stewardship Process

Summary

The role of a working group steward is crucial to the success of a working group and VitaDAO as a whole. To introduce more transparency and accountability, I am proposing a process for onboarding and offboarding stewards. A new steward should be nominated by another steward and voted in by working group members. Token holders can vote to offboard an existing steward.

Motivation

Working groups are the backbone of VitaDAO. They are coordinating expert contributions and refining proposals on behalf of VITA holders. Each working group is led by one or two stewards who usually grow into that position by contributing work of great quality to their working group for a longer period of time. This process, however, has not yet been defined and formalised. We need a formalised process of onboarding as well as offboarding working group stewards that is easy to understand and transparent.

Specification

I propose the following processes.

Onboarding as a new Steward

A new steward is onboarded through the following process:

Option A

  1. Any steward can nominate anyone as a new steward.
  2. Once a new steward is nominated, any Vitacore member can challenge the nomination within a week.
  3. If the nomination isn’t challenged, members of all working groups vote on the nomination in the Discord channel #cross-wg-chat.
  4. If a majority of votes is in agreement, the nominated steward is offered the position.
  5. If the nominated steward accepts, they are officially onboarded as a steward.

Offboarding as an existing Steward

An existing steward is offboarded through one of the following processes:

Option A

  1. In a vote necessarily recurring every six months, members of all working groups vote on whether the steward should remain in place in an anonymous poll on Discord or Discourse.
  2. If a majority of members of all working groups do not confirm the steward, the steward is offboarded.

OR

Option B

  1. In a vote optionally occurring at any time, members of all working groups vote on whether the steward should remain in place in an anonymous poll on Discord or Discourse.
  2. If a majority of members of all working groups do not confirm the steward, the steward is offboarded.

OR

Option C

  1. VITA token holders vote to offboard the steward in a phase 3 vote (Discourse + Snapshot).
  2. If the Snapshot vote passes, the steward is offboarded.

OR

Option D

  1. Another steward nominates the steward for offboarding.
  2. If a member of Vitacore does not challenge the nomination within a week, the steward is offboarded.

OR

Option E

  1. The steward chooses to offboard themselves and gives notice at least two weeks in advance.
  2. After the end of the notice period, the steward is offboarded.

Notes and soft requirements

  • A prospective steward should be mission aligned, have proven their domain expertise in the corresponding working group and bring leadership qualities.
  • A prospective steward should have the support from their working group as well as a good working relationship with the other stewards.
  • A new steward should see the first month as a trial period.
  • A steward is accountable to the VitaDAO community and should act accordingly.
  • A steward must adhere to the code of conduct.
  • A steward must not be absent for a longer period of time without giving a reasonable explanation.
  • An offboarded steward should remain available as a point of contact for at least two months, except if personal circumstances do not permit this.

This process is adapted from the Token Engineering Commons (TEC)’s Community Stewards WG Manifesto.

Implementation

This proposal will be updated in response to comments and discussions in this thread. Once the finalised proposal has passed on Snapshot, the ‘Specification’ section above will serve as a template for onboarding and offboarding stewards with immediate effect.

  • Agree
  • Agree with revisions (please comment)
  • Disagree

0 voters

2 Likes

A note to explain parts of the proposal:

I would argue for a process that empowers working group members and Vitacore to appoint a new steward, rather than token holders directly. The latter would be a plutocratic decision and could introduce attack vectors when major VITA holders appoint stewards they expect to act in their financial interest.

Nevertheless, I would propose to allow token holders to vote on offboarding an existing steward through a phase 3 vote, leaving at least two weeks at a time to resolve the issue within the DAO.

2 Likes

Hey @theobtl, great post. Some definitions are needed.

  • Steward - A person who leads a VitaDAO working group (WG). A Steward should have both domain expertise on the topic of the WG and managerial experience leading others. A WG can have one or more Stewards, but I’d argue we shouldn’t have more than 3 Stewards per WG. I’d be more inclined to say 1 Steward per WG will lead to most efficient decision making. A key responsibility of the Steward is managing their individual WG’s budget, which was outlined in VDP-3. VitaDAO acts in a decentralized manner by each Steward having the autonomy to spend money without other Stewards’ approval.

  • Service Provider (SP) - A person or organization who provides a service to VitaDAO. This entity is paid by a WG’s individual budget and serves at the discretion of the WG. Meaning, it’s each Steward’s job to decide how much the SP gets paid and to continually monitor the WG-SP relationship to determine whether the SP is providing a productive service for the DAO. Example #1: Molecule is a service provider for the tech WG for providing IP-NFT infrastructure. Example #2: Decentralized Matter is a service provider for the Awareness WG for managing VitaDAO’s Discord.

  • Vitacore - is a combination of Stewards + key Service Provider personnel, such as @tylergolato and @PaulHaas of Molecule and @TheoWal of Decentralized Matter. To be a member of Vitacore, one must be an active member of the VitaDAO community.

  • Mission aligned - Almost anyone can be interested in the mission of longevity, so I would say mission aligned more means someone who consistently devotes significant amounts of their time to VitaDAO while producing output that others in the community recognizes as valuable.

Lastly, it would be good to clarify that for Steward Onboarding and Offboarding only require one not several of the indicated steps.

6 Likes

Thanks a lot for the amendments, @timrpeterson, agree with both of your points. I’ve rephrased the Specification section and linked to definitions in our FAQ for WG stewards and Vitacore (which has a link to the definition of service providers in it).

You’re also making good points on the responsibilities and rights of working group stewards to manage budgets and authorise expenses. If we need new or more detailed definitions on that, we should probably revise VDP-6 or amend VDP-9 which is still in phase 2 on Discourse. As it stands, VDP-6 defines the role of stewards as follows:

Within a certain threshold (I propose 2’500 USD), the two working group stewards (two) will approve the Project Proposal.

2 Likes

We might not need VDP-9 as we now feel we Stewards have the autonomy to implement USD payments.

Also, VDP-6 seems like it could be incorporated here into VDP-19 to indicate the funding thresholds needing Steward vs. on-chain vote.

Therefore, I propose we abandon VDP-6 and VDP-9 and incorporate any salvageable relevant language into VDP-19.

2 Likes

Following conversations on Discord with @timrpeterson and @Taliskermalt, I’d suggest to keep this proposal focussed on on- and offboarding stewards, while we’ll separately work on VDP-9 as well as an updated VDP-6. That would also allow us to move forward quickly and get this proposal up on Snapshot this week, assuming it passes 10 ‘Agree’ votes.

2 Likes

One thing is the asymmetry of difficulty between onboarding and off-boarding of the steward. It is currently much harder for the community/WGs to offboard a steward due to c.) the phase 3 vote (Discourse + Snapshot), whereas onboarding only needs WG acceptance and no Discourse + Snapshot.

I would argue that it should be at least equally difficult to on board off-board. A bias towards easier off-board than onboard would be acceptable, but harder off-boarding than onboarding should be a no go - as it can benefit oligarchic structures and checks and balances are off.

So I’d suggest that off-boarding does not a VITA token holders vote, but instead say a 60% majority of WG members voting.

I would also suggest that we have every 6-9 month a WG confirmation vote, where the respective WGs vote on keeping or off boarding the stewards.

Hope that doesn’t sound too harsh, and I don’t want to step on anyones toes - I just believe that such things would fit well into a DAO where democracy, transparency and accountability are valued.

7 Likes

After a few recent conversations, I clarified two parts of the proposal as follows:

  1. To make it abundantly clear that the onboarding process currently involves a single path/option that necessarily involves five steps but the offboarding process can take any out of three paths/options, I added “Option X” and “OR” elements.

  2. In Option A of the onboarding process, I changed Vitacore to any Vitacore member.

3 Likes

I’d agree that this really should not the case. I assume you’re aware that, as proposed, the offboarding process can take any of three paths. It is still true that working group members have little say on offboarding a steward.

This is a good point, too.

I’m adding a poll below for both of your points to get a temperature check from a wider group of people and ideally everyone who has already voted above.

I’d suggest that we include options b) or c) to the proposal if either has >=5 votes combined our of b)/c) and d), unless a) has more votes than b) and d) or c) and d). [Apologies, this ended up to sound a bit complicated.]

Everybody, please respond to the following sub-poll.

  • a) Keep the proposal as is.

  • b) Change the proposal to include “A majority of members of all working groups vote on offboard the steward in the Discord channel #cross-wg-chat.” as an additional option to offboard a steward.

  • c) Change the proposal to include “In a vote recurring every six months, a majority of members of all working groups do not confirm the steward in the Discord channel #cross-wg-chat.” as an additional option to offboard a steward.

  • d) Change the proposal to include options b) and c).

0 voters

3 Likes

Another small change I’m suggesting: wherever the proposal and the amendment above say in the Discord channel #cross-wg-chat, we might want to say in a Discourse poll among working group members instead.

Contrary to polls through emoji-reactions on Discord, polls on Discourse are anonymous which may be an important criteria for this kind of vote. Otherwise votes could be corrupted more easily.

To realise this, we can create a new group on Discourse that we mirror with our AirTable or Discord tag for working group members.

3 Likes

Agree with anonymous… I was wondering about that too.

Is the mirror using badges difficult to implement? Would investing in development of anonymous discord polls be easier and a good investment for taking a pulse on minor issues as well?

Potentially yes, might be worth using a bot that supports anonymous polls instead of Dyno bot. For the purpose of this proposal, we might not need to define that so I’m suggesting avoid specifying how we ensure anonymity, but just define the requirement. I changed the proposal to say in an anonymous poll on Discord or Discourse.

2 Likes

The sub-vote clearly suggests that we should include both b) and c). I’ve closed the poll and updated the proposal in the first post accordingly.

Since this isn’t a minor change, we should probably give the proposal more time to be legitimised. I’ve added a new poll which will close in seven days from now. Everyone who had already voted will have to vote again, please.

3 Likes