VDP-51 Stewardship election [counter proposal]

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 VitaCORE members, token holders (with min 10,000 $VITA), or contributors(paid contributors) and voted in by VitaCORE.

Token holders can vote to offboard an existing steward.

Motivation

Why should stewards be voted by VitaCORE and not by working group members?

We need our strategy and stewards set by experience, experts and those with actual skin in the game.

We have tons of amazing working group members, but overall, as a group, they seem to be the least involved, equipped, and incentivized to choose the right stewards across working groups.

Many of them are students/fresh out of uni or people who have just recently entered the Web3/DAO space.

And the ones who are here with tons of experience and a go-getter attitude, we should then invite into Vita-Core. Which is exactly what we did with @schmackofant @catthu and @Max_Unfried - and that has worked out great

Working group members do not have much stake in the DAO yet, earn governance tokens by completing bounties or receiving regular allocations based on working group participation

Many working group members are only aware of the details within their own working group

Many only spend a few hours at VitaDAO

Heavy knowledge skewing

Most working group members are clustered around longevity / scientific research - which is great and the most important part of VitaDAO.

However, this leaves a lot fewer working group members who understand tokenomics, fundraising strategy, web3 strategy, treasury management, etc.

This would force people to judge stewarding ability of core members

○ Whose expertise they are not familiar with

○ Whose activities/decisions they might barely know

Keeping the working group access open

If we need to apply the same scrutiny in terms of mission alignment to the WG members as we do with Vita Core, then we’d slow down new entrants and essentially limit access

It would also require making them accountable to the token holders, which again, would put them under a lot more scrutiny

Specification

I propose the following processes.

Onboarding as a new Steward

A new steward is onboarded through the following process:

  1. Any VitaCORE member, token holder (with min 10,000 $VITA) or contributor 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 a majority of votes is in agreement, the nominated steward is offered the position unless a VitaCORE member vetos the nomination.
  4. If a nominated steward is vetoed, there will be a public vote on Snapshot. If a majority of votes is in agreement on Snapshot, 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 - regular re-confirmation vote

  1. In a vote necessarily recurring every six months, members of VitaCORE vote on whether the steward should remain in place.
  2. If a majority of members do not confirm the steward, the steward is offboarded.

Option B - action vote

In a vote which can optionally be initiated at any time, VitaCORE can vote on whether the steward should remain in place.

  1. A VitaCORE member nominates the steward for offboarding.
  2. If a majority of VitaCORE members do not confirm the steward, the steward is offboarded.

Option C - token holder vote

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

Option D - WG members “vote of no confidence”

  1. Working- group members can call a “vote of no confidence” for their own steward(s) and initiate a vote to offboard the steward in a phase 3 vote (Discourse + Snapshot).

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.
    • Understand business execution logic (for their part of the DAO) aka “how to get things done”
    • Understand group dynamics
    • “Be an adult” during disagreements and conflicts
  • 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 three months 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 (presence during appropriate meetings, replying to DMs).
  • An offboarded steward should remain available as a point of contact for at least two months, except if personal circumstances do not permit this.
  • Agree
  • Agree with revisions
  • Disagree

0 voters

I understand this argument, but the same can be said for the members of VitaCORE. They too are from very different areas of expertise.

What makes a VitaCORE member with longevity experience more capable of choosing or voting for e.g. a comms or tech steward than a regular working group contributor who is working in exactly the comms or tech working group?

5 Likes

It doesn’t specify how the vote works, the step before only mentions the nomination/challenge. I’m guessing this is talking about a VitaCORE Discord vote that is done after the nomination? Can we make this a bit clearer?

1 Like

Since we decided under VDP-52 stewards election proposal options that we’ll strive to reach a consensus on the election process, I’m posting my comments here to initiate a discussion. I basically have the following problems with the proposal:

  1. The overall idea of the VDP is to reserve the steward election rights to VitaCore, which is inconsiderate towards the rest of the VitaDAO community. I suggest we roll with the process outlined in VDP-36 Stewardship Process Amendment #1 or come up with something else.
  2. Under this VDP, the nomination of a steward is done either by VitaCore or by a loosely defined category of people, i.e. contributors and token holders. a) What is an exact definition of a contributor? b) 10,000 VITA (to be categorized as a holder) seems to be an arbitrary number. Is there a justification for this cut-off?
2 Likes

Thanks @schmackofant and @rpill for your comments here. While we’ve been discussing this proposal in the other thread (VDP-52 stewards election proposal options), we need to finalise that discussion here and come to a conclusion.

From a pure governance point of view, one could argue that this proposal VDP-51 could go on Snapshot any time. It is true that there is wide-ranging criticism (which, BTW, include me in a personal capacity besides my role as gov wg steward). Technically though, the proposal has sufficient “agree” votes to be moved to phase 3, which is really up to the proposal authors @TheoWal and @alexdobrin. Along these lines we also discussed this proposal in our last working group call.

That said, I would appreciate if the proposal authors would still respond to the criticism here and in Discord (gov wg channel and cross wg channel, especially) and rephrase the proposal accordingly.

1 Like

Personally, I am against VDP-51 and would vote against it on Snapshot.

I’m fundamentally against the underlying idea of VDP-51 that Vitacore should have the ultimate authority over who becomes a steward (and thereby also joins Vitacore as defined in VDP-34 Defining VitaCore). I do think, VDP-51 contains other details that we should consider implementing - but this underlying principle of giving even more power to Vitacore and taking it away from working group membrs (as defined in VDP-19 Stewardship Process) is a no-go for me. Only if that definition is changed, I would consider voting for VDP-51.

Practically speaking, I would rather use the existing proposal VDP-36 Stewardship Process Amendment #1 to improve VDP-19. Mainly, because VDP-36 does not intend to change the fundamental logic of VDP-19 of moving power from working group members to Vitacore, like VDP-51 does. Personally, I’m certainly open to changing and amending VDP-36 significantly and we should discuss that in the VDP-36 thread. For instance, VDP-36 refers to VDP-44 Dispute Resolution Process which got stuck in phase 2 and should be removed from VDP-36, since VDP-44 has failed as it is.

Moreover, and as @schmackofant has rightfully pointed out before, VDP-51 could be misleading with its title containing “counter proposal”. In VDP-52, it is argued that VDP-51 is a counter proposal to VDP-36. That, however, is not true. VDP-51 is a proposal that intends to change VDP-19, which has passed governance over half a year ago. VDP-36 is merely an amendment to VDP-19, but VDP-19 is already in effect. Therefore, VDP-51 should not be compared to VDP-36, but to VDP-19. VDP-51 is not a “counter proposal”, but a new proposal intending to change VDP-19 that is already in effect.

3 Likes

I’m curious to hear from the proposal authors how they would like to proceed since, as said, it is really up to them if they want to continue with Snapshot right away (the conditions are met) or whether they want to aim for consensus, as we often do.

I see these options:

  1. Continue the discourse here until we find consensus on how VDP-51
  2. Move VDP-51 to Snapshot now and let the onchain vote decide. If it fails, VDP-19 is not changed and we can continue the discussion how to improve VDP-19 in VDP-36. If it succeeds, VDP-51 will be in effect and community members could start from scratch with yet another proposal to hopefully find a middle ground.

I had the impression that once VDP-52 passes, all prior votes pertaining to VDP-36 and -51 are nullified and we start discussions around the proposals trying to find a solution.

1 Like

I see. To be honest, this has not been defined. Our governance framework does not contain the option of a proposal like VDP-52 that would be superior to two other VDPs. Technically, VDP-52, VDP-51 and VDP-36 are all separate VDPs on equal footing, so each of these VDPs can and should be voted on separately. VPD-52 implies otherwise which is a problem, as you rightfully describe.

Next time, I’d rather have us define the governance process before we publish a proposal that is not in line with our governance framework. There are two Google Doc working documents (so phase proposals 1, if you will) which I’m happy to share with anyone interested to contribute. Please DM me on Discord at theobtl#5976 for access. You may also wait a bit until they appear here on Discourse for phase 2.

I do like certain steps in the proposal. However I feel that WG members should have a stronger say in the Steward Onboarding and Off-boarding. It should not only be up to VitaCore.

For Option A - reconfirmation by VitaCore and the respective WG of the steward would be good - afterall the WG and VitaCore has to work with the person and both have the best insights on how well this steward performs.
For Option D - the vote of no confidence should be WG specific e.g Only Governance WG members should be able to cast a vote of no confidence on the Governance WG Steward(Respectively for Longevity, Ops,…WGs). This might need a specific category of voting to make sure non-WG members do not influence it - maybe only with the respective WG label on discord.

In general we should aim at strengthening the WG and Community, so that they can hold VitaCore and Stewards accountable, and not monopolizing powers in VitaCore.

Re Heavy knowledge skewing:
With this argument we should be against token votes and fundamentals of DAOs.

5 Likes

It seems like all the options are different paths to decisions being made by Core (as the Snapshot vote is owned by Core). I think giving more power to WG members will not only help decentralize and make the community feel valued but also incentivize the stewards to do their best to support their WG, since their position depends on them. Of course, I’m not saying that VitaCore would take advantage of this and act against the interest of the DAO and that stewards and not doing their best now, but governance is in place to protect the DAO in a worst case scenario and provide the right incentives, right?

Regarding knowledge skewing, I would assume it’s best that the WG members of longevity would vote for longevity steward, and same for tokenomics, governance, etc. and not across WGs.

3 Likes

In fact, VDPs-19, 36 obviate the Snapshot vote for steward election (except for option C under VDP-19 where VITA token holders can vote to offboard the steward in a phase 3 vote (Discourse + Snapshot)). In addition, VDP-36 introduces a clause where a nomination, if challenged by VitaCore, has to be seen into in accordance with the Dispute resolution process. So more decision power to the community, less power to VitaCore.

Technical question for Option A, but will the 3-month probationary period be taken into account for the 6-month vote? Or are they mutually exclusive timelines?

1 Like

@alexdobrin will need to confirm what he’s suggesting as proposal author, though I’d say they would be in the same timeline. So no matter when a new steward is onboarded, they would be subject for reelection on the next date of the recurring vote. I’m saying that because I don’t see a strong argument against that from a strategic point of view, but from a process point of view this would be much easier to implement and for everyone to understand. That is, because we’ll then have recurring votes on every Steward position every Feb 1 + Aug 1, no exceptions. Optimising for simplicity here.

On a related note: VDP-36 Stewardship Process Amendment #1 proposes to introduce an additional period after it is decided that a Steward is offboarded. We could keep this period shorter or longer within reason to have an offboarding Steward contributing and reasonably incentivised/compensated to make sure we loose as little tacit knowledge as possible and make sure that the successor is well prepared to take over.

Couldn’t agree more

Good point, but also because token-weighted voting is quite a suboptimal process that is not meritocratic at all by default.

That makes a lot of sense to me. I believe we should include this here or, if this proposal does not pass, consider this detail for VDP-36 or a future governance amendment. There are several practical issues to resolve, though:

If only the members of a specific working group are allowed to vote, how should we deal with smaller working groups (such as tokenomics or governance) where there are only 1-2 people who’s main affilliation is that working group and a handful more people who’s secondary affiliation is that working group?

One way could be to play with voting weights, e.g.

  • any working group member who’s main affilliation is with that working group has a 5x voting weight
  • any working group member who’s secondary affilliation is with that working group has a 1x voting weight
  • any working group member who’s main and other affilliations are not in that working group, does not have a voting weight but has the right to raise criticism and receive a public response

What do you think about that definition?

True, that’s what the proposal says, however it currently does not look like the VDP-44 Dispute Resolution Process proposal itself passes phase 2, unfortunately. There are a lot of downvotes but few specific requests for changes and improvements. Unless they make their preferences heard, we might have to start working on a similar but new proposal from scratch.

Until then, any references to VDP-44 Dispute Resolution Process will lead to a void. What we currently have is just the existing Code of Conduct here and a slightly revised version thereof if VDP-37 passes in two days, which seems likely.

Is anyone particularly interested in the idea behind VDP-44 Dispute Resolution Process and would step up to lead a new implementation of a proposal? Please make yourself heard in that thread and in our legal wg channel on Discord. :slight_smile: :pray:

1 Like

Weights implemented in this way are almost always extremely hard if not impossible to justify. This is usually because of the introduction of discrete quantities (1x and 5x in this case) in largely non-discrete/continuous human experience. A possible weight-oriented solution could involve voting with VITA earned strictly through WG-specific work. If I earn 1000 Ops VITA and 500 Gov VITA, then these numbers can roughly be used as a proxy for the magnitude of my understanding of, involvement in, and familiarity with the Ops and Gov environments respectively. This system assumes

  1. all WG-specific work is paid

  2. all WG-specific work is being captured and accounted for appropriately and in a timely fashion

  3. there is a robust and fair compensation process in place

  4. all compensation-related decisions are tracked

  5. there is no understanding, involvement, and familiarity gained about the WG in question outside of the paid WG-specific work engagement (this is probably untrue, but this system might still be worth looking into even with this assumption in place)

I agree with bullet#3 in your definition

1 Like

Some potential issues:

Any VitaCORE member, token holder (with min 10,000 $VITA) or contributor can nominate anyone as a new steward.

  • Our onboarding process is brand new and we haven’t had enough time to evaluate its efficacy. This means we do not yet know if the process is foolproof or not. If it can be gamed, then there is a potential of getting inundated with contributors, which can lead to more steward nominations than we can handle. It is true that VitaCORE members can challenge all those nominations but that takes precious time away from them that they could have spent more productively elsewhere

Potential solution: define the word ‘contributor’ so as to minimize the possibility of ‘steward nomination attacks’

  • There is nothing in the proposal language that prevents an eligible member from abusing the system by either nominating one person over and over again or by nominating different people in rapid succession leading to another version of the attack described above. A number of similar scenarios can be imagined that point to the highlighted set of problems in the proposed system

Potential solution: Consider cooldown period for members who are nominating stewards or apply other limiting measures to make nominations ‘costly’ and, hence, valuable

These scenarios may not occur frequently but have the potential to undermine the integrity of the system

1 Like

Great points! I agree that these discrete thresholds are not very realistic and oversimplified. Your idea of using compensation metrics to quantify votes sounds great and would even provide us with a reputation score that we’ve talked about several times already. It just seems quite complex to oversee and implement.

We could agree to implement this system, but this would capture quite a few resources from ops+gov and impose restrictions how we work across the DAO (e.g., how people are payed and which wg their work is attributed for).

Open question: is this benefit worth the cost?

Yeah I was thinking about the complexity issue while writing the comment. I was under the impression that WG attribution was already in place but looks like this is not the case. I’d rather go for a simpler system now and work on standardizing compensation in the background

1 Like