How to write an AIP for ApeCoin DAO
0xFF6D
March 30th, 2022

I am putting this together because the process currently to submit an AIP seems long and complex for the community. There are good reasons for the way it is set up but I feel it is very important for the community to have control & set up to meet the needs of the DAO long term and I hope this post can be a resource many community members can use long term to create AIPs.

Anything written in italics is directly quoted from the ApeCoin website, things written in normal text are my opinions or more information on the process as I see it.

The steps to write and get an AIP approved are as follows:

PHASE 1: AIP IDEA

An AIP Idea is submitted as a post in Discourse and must receive moderator confirmation that it complies with DAO-approved guidelines before it appears to the community. The person or people submitting the AIP Idea will be referred to as the author or authors (please note that multiple members can work together on an AIP idea, but it should be submitted only once). The AIP idea informally gathers comments via Discourse for seven days. The author cannot edit the original post — if the author wants to propose changes to the original idea, they must do this via the comments.

There does not seem to be a category for submitting AIP ideas on the www.forum.apecoin.com website but I can tell you which category not to use: General, as per this tweet if you do it will be rejected:

For my staking proposal I will be using the process category when it becomes available. Also, one last very important point here, DONT edit your AIP Idea post once submitted, if you want to change the idea you need to leave a comment, per the process.

PHASE 2: AIP DRAFT

Once the seven-day feedback window has passed and a moderator closes the Discourse topic, a moderator will send the author the proposal template and next steps for submission and voting. They may also suggest a proposal category, if not already specified in Discourse.

The author will fill out the template, incorporating any Discourse feedback that helps the idea better serve the DAO. The author can add additional fields to the template if necessary to fully communicate the intentions, specifics, and implications of the AIP Draft. The moderator may also inform the author of incorrect or missing information that needs to be changed or clarifications that need to be made. If the author does not respond to those moderator requests within 30 days, the AIP Draft will be automatically rejected.

When the moderator confirms an AIP Draft complies with DAO-approved guidelines, they assign a number to the AIP for identification purposes throughout the rest of the process. From this point on, the AIP is referred to as “AIP-#: (Name) - (Category)”. For example the first AIP is “AIP-1: Proposing the DAO - Process”.

It’s all pretty straightforward here, just note if you don’t submit the draft in 30 days the idea dies and you have to go back to step 1.

PHASE 3: AIP ANALYSIS REPORT

The AIP Draft is reviewed by a project management team engaged by APE Foundation who will provide an AIP Analysis Report to ensure costs, steps to implement, legal considerations, third-party review requirements, potential conflicts of interests, and any further implications have been identified. Given that AIP authors may be submitting drafts with little to no resources, this service for the DAO community ensures that DAO members have enough information about proposals to make informed decisions when voting.

I like this aspect of managing things, it gives us some good support as a DAO community. I assume this will currently be the Cartan Group: www.cartan.group

PHASE 4: AIP MODERATION

The AIP Draft + Analysis Report (DAR) Package is reviewed by a team of moderators and either approved or not approved based on whether it adheres to the DAO-approved guidelines. If approved, it becomes a Pending AIP and moves to Phase 5. If not approved, it is eligible for resubmission, except in cases of violation of the law or reasonable suspicion of fraud or other misleading information.

I would like some clarity on how long this part takes, but overall understandable that it is needed.

PHASE 5: POST-MODERATION TAGGING

Pending AIPs that have passed AIP Moderation are tagged as “Straight to Vote” or “Needs Administrative Review.”

The “Straight to Vote” tag is given to a pending AIP whose costs, content, and implications are considered straightforward and of no risk to the well-being of the DAO. Any Pending AIP that is tagged as “Straight to Vote” will skip to Phase 7.

The “Needs Administrative Review” tag is given to a pending AIP whose costs, content, or implications are considered complicated or a potential risk to the well-being of the DAO. Any Pending AIP that is tagged as “Needs Administrative Review” must go through Phase 6.

Very clear and makes sense. TLDR: if the AIP is ready to go then jump to step 7, if not go through an administrative review, again clarity would be helpful here on time frames, but I assume the turn arounds are reasonable.

PHASE 6: ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW

For Pending AIPs that have been tagged with “Needs Administrative Review,” the Board, serving in an administrative capacity, will determine whether clarification or action is required before moving a Pending AIP to Phase 7. If clarification or action is not needed, the Pending AIP is tagged as “Approved for Voting” and proceeds to Phase 7. If the Board decides to return a Pending AIP for further clarification or action, they must provide a clear explanation of why and tag it as either “Return for Clarification” or “Return for Reconstruction.”

Reasons to tag as “Return for Clarification” may include but are not limited to:

  • Cost to implement unclear/not able to be calculated
  • Would use more than 5% of the DAO treasury
  • Conflicts with another proposal

Reasons to tag as “Return for Reconstruction” may include but are not limited to:

  • Proposal is at odds with the mission/values of the DAO
  • Proposal is at odds with the well-being of the DAO
  • Violations of law, or against advice of counsel for APE Foundation
  • Reasonable suspicion of fraud or other misleading information

Overall good, just again would say time frame clarity but I understand not holding yourself to one, who knows how many AIPs will be active at one time, we have a big community and anyone holding $ape can make an AIP so it could be a lot.

PHASE 7: LIVE AIP

Drafts that have passed their respective approval processes will become Live AIPs on Snapshot during the next Weekly AIP Release, which is when new AIPs are released in batches Thursdays at 9PM ET. Once live on Snapshot, Live AIPs are open to voting until Weekly Voting Close, which is at 9PM ET on the Wednesday following their release. Moderators are the only ones that can post AIPs to Snapshot because they must confirm that each one has gone through the correct approvals process.

This is where the magic happens.

PHASE 8: FINAL AIP

If a Live AIP has not gotten any votes or is tied by the Vote Close Time, it will be tagged as “Stalled” and be eligible for Resubmission. In all other cases, Live AIPs are moved to one of two Final AIP categories. Rejected Final AIPs can be resubmitted via the appropriate Resubmission Template if the author contacts a moderator. Accepted Final AIPs move into Implementation.

Either passed or failed by this point.

PHASE 9: IMPLEMENTATION

For Accepted Final AIPs, implementation will begin based on the steps outlined in the AIP template. The project management team engaged by the APE Foundation is responsible for making sure this happens, but is not responsible for doing it themselves.

Now we wait till the AIP is live. Some clarity around the fact that it appears the ApeCoin DAO Council does the bidding out of the work & finds a company to help complete it would be nice here, but that appears to be the process.

PROPOSAL CONFLICTS

If a suggested proposal directly conflicts with a proposal that is currently up for vote, the second proposal should not go for a vote until a decision is made on the first proposal to avoid approval of opposing requirements.

A suggested proposal that directly conflicts with another approved proposal cannot go to vote for three months after the original proposal has been implemented to avoid wasting community assets.

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