The best and sometimes hardest part about working in a DAO is you are living inside and actively participating in an ever-evolving Masterclass.
You never know what module will present itself at what time, and you need to buckle up for the ride and start learning that skill.
This week was no different, and the session was PM Guild Active Member Governance.
Let’s start with the end and work backward. The whole week led to this post in our PM Guild Governance channel.
Early in the week, a signer on our MultiSig noticed our active membership accounting was inaccurate.
This is extremely important, especially regarding the accuracy of the Discord role tag, as it’s what we use to gate our voting. We were in an active voting period for our new active member calculation governance proposal. So you can see the issue here.
We potentially had members who did not qualify as active members but still had the tag and, therefore, could still influence the vote.
The governance poll was ended and deemed invalid.
This is a new muscle and skill I’m building as a Guild Coordinator.
In my fiat job, I actively practice servant leadership, and it is a natural reaction for me to ask, “what do you think?”, “tell me more about that,” “what do you want to do?” and my personal favorite, “If you had a magic wand, what would you do?”. This is a fantastic method for working with team members to build their strategic thinking and decision-making muscles.
More often than not, they already had the right next step inside them and just needed some coaching, confidence, and a little Socratic method to bring it to life.
Socratic refers to the method of questioning and learning developed by the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates. It is a method of teaching where the instructor guides a discussion by asking thoughtful questions so that students can reach logical conclusions.
However, if overused, it can lead to a stall in decision-making, and you may end up delegating decisions that your team is looking for you to or needs you to make. It can have the unintended consequence of creating a lack of trust and confidence in a leader’s ability to lead.
In a DAO, you need to practice making decisions and communicating them with transparency and clarity. You need to be willing to reach out and ask for advice from mentors and advisors that have been through this kind of decision-making experience.
It’s important to remain humble, stay curious, and seek input that will lead you to the correct actions.
Sometimes guilds need direction, and that’s okay.
It doesn’t mean you are not decentralized and not a servant leader. It means that you are practicing situational leadership and identifying when top-down decision-making is needed to give guidance and advice to safeguard the environment enabling bottom-up contribution.
A guiding principle is that we decentralize decision-making and enable decisions to be made closest to where the work is being done and where the individuals will be impacted.
I lacked confidence and experience in my role as Guild Coordinator. I had a mentor remind me that while we want the DAO and guild to be as engaged in the decision-making process as possible:
Everyone cannot vote on every decision.
Decentralization does not mean decentralizing every decision. Decentralization is delegating authority to the places that have the best information to make the decisions.
In this case, where we had a corrupted Active Member count and a key decision to calculate active membership, we turned to the MultiSig holders.
The signers of the MultiSig must be trusted members of the guild who are the stewards of our governance. Especially in times like this.
MultiSig signers may have to make unpopular decisions to safeguard our governance.
In this case, we had the signers make the call to align our active member criteria to encourage active members that are aligned with the mission and values of the PM Guild and are accountable for delivering value back to the guild.
I assume everyone has that one person that is sensei, master monk, teacher, guru, and Yoda of Web3.
Mine comes in the name of Bpetes.
I wouldn’t be where I am in Web3 or DAOs without him.
We met by happy accident in ReputableDAO and quickly bonded over a passion for the future of work. He invited me into the Sobol Contributor team and gave me a place to learn and document my journey. It all culminated in a deep dive into BanklessDAO for the Diagramming DAOs series.
Now here I am in the deep end of the DAO as a guild coordinator.
Bpetes had caught wind of our governance issue, and I was looking to Sobol as a bandaid to help me with role tag reconciliation.
Being ever curious, he reached out to me to learn about the situation and see what was going on. I described everything you just read above about how we got to where we were, what we did, and our plan going forward.
He nodded gently with approval and listened along, and then hit me with:
“Yeah, like you’re almost there.”
I couldn’t open up my ears big enough for the knowledge session I knew I was about to be in for.
He acknowledged that everyone loves the concept of hard numbers and could see how we ended up there and that it theoretically incentivizes the right behaviors.
He then said something I was already feeling:
“If you don’t have automation in the system or ways to protect against task inflation, then you haven’t solved your problem, and the system is easily gamed.”
His recommendation is to create a system for our guild where a qualitative human-based assessment, nomination, and voting confirms the ultimate decision to add someone as an active member. Essentially, follow the framework for the L2 process in BanklessDAO within your guild.
The votes must be done transparently, and use appropriate discord role gating for the voting poll for that role.
Voting options would be “Yes,” “Abstain,” and “Block.”
Block is the only one that matters.
It’s important that, as a guild, we create a space for active members to join discourse and dialogue on the block and try to come to a resolution safely and constructively.
If the discourse cannot resolve and/or there is a bad actor, or someone is blocking in bad faith. bDAO already has a dispute resolution mechanism in Ombuds.
The Ombuds office is an informal, impartial, neutral and confidential place for community members to address concerns that may arise while participating in the DAO.
He went on to explain that sunsetting membership is something that DAOs have forgotten, and he’s witnessed it in decentralized communities since 2016
“We are great at starting in a decentralized way. We are terrible at calling the herd a decentralized way.”
Using this guidance, it is good stewardship to nominate somebody who is no longer an active member.
It should be no hard feelings. People become active and inactive, and we expect that to be a normal part of life. We must call attention to the reality that an active member’s activity level has subsided below what we consider active participation.
“They are now like alums to the guild.”
This process should run the same as the Active Guild membership nominations, and you would nominate a member for depreciation with some context around why.
If somebody wants to defend it, they have the opportunity to, which is why it should not be a vote in the sense of “Yes” or “No.” It's more of a consent vote.
There should be an opportunity for an active member to block the petition and share context they may have the rest of the guild does not. For example, maybe they were working back and forth in DMs, and there was a lot of research work going on behind the scenes.
This also reinforces good DAO practices of working out in the open.
“Hats protocol controlled by a Gnosis safe”
This rolls off his tongue as if I had asked him what the weather was like.
He explained to me that you end up having to build a governance contract that has a consent vote essentially and is ideally controlled by like something like a discord bot.
Then imagine a discord bot that knows both your wallet and the wallet you use for your hat protocol roles and your discord identity and could act as an off-chain vote.
I think my brain melted from admiration, awe, and knowledge overload simultaneously.
If you are curious about the future of governance according to Bpetes I highly recommend this thread.
Okay, that was heavy and deep so let’s talk about some wins!
It feels like we turned the corner in the PM Guild and this active member governance hurdle was an important one for us to clear.
This week we completed our voting on a new logo and got to show it off on our first Community Call of the season!
It may seem small, but it felt like a huge accomplishment for us to be a part of the main stage.
Speaking of the Community Call, I think this was my favorite POAP to collect (and yes, partly because I was in it).
Going back to my conversation with Bpetes, when I think about where I started, I could not have imagined a day I (well, my Chippi - Wage) was represented in a bDAO Community Call POAP.
It’s an incredible piece of memorabilia for the journey I have been on.
Speaking of PAOPs….
I jumped on the Black Friday sale and became a full-fledged Bankless member and got the POAP to prove it!
This led me to have the opportunity to mint my first and FAVORITE Bankless Podcast episode.
I love my time in DAOs and Web3. I hope this week’s reflection helps you in your journey!