Community Driven Governance Messaging - Project Plan (placeholder name)

The critical questions for anyone reading this: is this sort of project worth funding? Should the foundation or governance fund it?

Brief Project Description

This document will outline the scope, deliverables, timeline, and people involved with bringing messaging-frameworks to the forums. A community driven plan attempting to answer: ‘How do we make statements on behalf of the DAO, (if we even should) problem’? Especially when a DAO is a collection of individuals with automation at the center. There is a clear need to create an improved system of communication between the DAO, the Maker ecosystem, and the greater DeFi community. Ideally, this would entail an independent team who can communicate objective (governance votes/polls, state of monetary policy), subjective (quotes from community members) and historical information to the public. A potential secondary goal can be to distill public sentiment and relay this to the DAO. The messaging team serves broadly as a relayer.

Working Docs & Relevant Posts

Project Goal & Scope

Why are we working on this?

  • Long Term (Mission Orientated): The DAO needs a credible, independent system of communication to better interface with both stakeholders and the public.
  • Short Term (Action Orientated): Set the scope, find a rhythm, determine communication mediums, leads, and draft deliverables for communicating for the broader community.

To address the complexity of the system, the team’s deliverable will be :

  • A bi-weekly report, written for broad groups of stakeholders & soliciting interest in the DAO, with an aim to address the technical, economic, political, and human-centric aspects of the protocol. This will be facilitated by a weekly/bi-weekly comms team call.
  • A bi-weekly report, written for the DAO, with a synthesis of sentiment from the greater Defi community (as pulled from reddit/twitter) as well as from a DeFi consortium headed by Rich CL.
  • Ongoing research on academic (and Maker domain-specific) resources for learning how to rigorously describe and understand Makers dynamics.
  • Regular activities may include:
    • A Daily ‘touch-base’ with the reddit/twitter/blogosphere?
    • Media-kit for crypto news sites.
    • Semi-private communication system to avoid mis-quotes or inflammatory journalism. TBD.

Clarified Short term major steps

  • Introduce formally in the forum
  • Seek Proposal approval
  • Bi weekly report on Maker for public consumption
    • first report roughly two weeks from the approval of this CDIP
  • Stagger Bi weekly report on the public for Maker, so due one week after the first report on Maker
  • Prototyping methods for engaging with the press

Expanded Scope Description for more context (from Adrian):

“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”― Mark Twain

DAO Communication / PR Mission and Scope

  • Provide guidance and best known methods for the community to follow around clear and appropriate communication with regard to the following types of information:
    • Controversial information - USDC regulated collateral, black swan events, etc.
    • Contradictory information - Rumors, misunderstood positions, journalistic errors.
    • Confusing information - Making technical information salient and understandable.
    • Evolving information - Little is known but there are a lot of questions.
    • Lack of information - Documentation, resources, training, ease of understanding.
    • High stakes information - Everyone’s freaking out, the world is ending, damage control, blow back, privacy, libel/slander, need to know basis.
    • Subjective vs objective information - smart contract interactions, verifiable numbers vs what they mean in context
  • Ensure that DAO communications are inclusive and represent all stakeholders to the best of our knowledge(Dai holders, vault owners, keepers etc).
  • Clearly define the mechanism / go-to, for up to the minute DAO communication.
  • Aggregate and make accessible ecosystem information and news relevant to MakerDAO PR to the DAO.
  • Create a channel or procedure for press requests.
  • Manage and establish social media avenues that allow one or two way information flow (as appropriate).

Deadlines or Timelines (subject to change)

04/2/2020 - First Draft of proposal published on forums for additional feedback

04/4/2020 - Finished proposal submitted to CDIP team.

tbd - If approved, first official messaging team meeting.

~04/18/2020 - If approved, first “report” on Maker .

~04/25/2020 first “report” to Maker

Project Success Measurements

What does it mean for this project to be successful/finished for this term?

  • Setting leads who commit to some amount of management of DAO-messaging
  • Reporting on the protocol and governance
  • Reporting on public perceptions
  • Something akin to signalling but specifically ‘participatory messaging’ where statements are, eventually, strengthened by consensus.
  • A way to capture threads of ideas, threats, concepts, or recent news as an aggregate and issue “no-consensus statements”
  • Transparent sourcing of information

Project Owners

Will re-evaluate in June. Message one of us or comment if you want to be involved.

  1. Igor - Writer
  2. Mitote - Lead
  3. LFW - Governance Liaison
  4. Tim (Adviser)
  5. Adrian (adrianhacker-pdx) for MKR Holder DAI-gest repurpose
Potential Framework for data capture
Type Medium and/or Source etc.) Messaging Guidance
[Thread, Statement, Vote, Signed transactions] (E.g. Forums, Reddi, Twitter, etc.) (Link to doc, comments, or rocketchat working group) [Controversial information,Contradictory information, Confusing information, Evolving information, Lack of information, High stakes information, Subjective vs objective information, Foundation Specific]

Open Questions

Some previous discussion of these questions are added as a comment

Questions pulled from notes that we should address throughout the project, especially when we are stuck. Reference at the beginning and at the end of the project. Did we answer these?

How does scientific governance communicate? Or how can we be scientific in communicating?
Framework for communication, without a bias towards english speakers?
How to be thorough/comprehensive understandings of events/procedures/news?
How to condense public sentiment? How to condense forum sentiment?
Do we run this like a Town Hall?
How does this engage with the DeFi consortium?
How does this intersect with the current communications strategy & mediums that exist?
How to move towards independence from the foundation.
Should we have transparency in funding?


Historical Comment thread on the “Open questions” section of the google doc:

David U:

My open questions:

  1. Is this meant to turn into an elected domain team by the DAO?
  2. Am I right in understanding that this is an attempt to better document and standardize the communications around MakerDAO, and putting those responsibilities in the hands of community members who will eventually be paid by the DAO to do this?
  3. Should a team like this be paid for by comm-dev in the interim?
  4. Does this go through a CDIP process, or should this perhaps go through the forum signaling process (using the CDIP as a template)
  5. Does approval of this initiative lie on comm-dev or on MakerDAO(MKR voters)?
  6. Is the communications system independent if it gets paid by comm-dev (ie: the foundation)?
  7. How does this intersect with the current communications strategy&mediums that exist?

Leo (mitote):

Thoughts on some of your questions

2: I think so basically, just in the ethos of scientific governance (I have my thoughts on what that means, but obviously its a continuous debate). Not sure about the DAO part though. Personally I think it makes more sense for the DAO to start paying devs/risk before this sort of thing.
3: That’s how I was guessing this was gonna play out.
4: I think that’s a good idea, signaling with the CDIP as template.
6: is a great question that I have been wondering about. Like the group of us that did the collateral on-boarding thing were paid by the foundation, but people described it as a “community led” initiative which made me feel a little weird.

David Utrobin:

(relating to question 6) I think one piece that needs to be figured out is how the protocol can provide funding instead of the Foundation.

continues on tangential discussion about DAO funding

Looking at Davids questions again I realized these still need to be answered so I would now add:

1: Not necessarily, hard to predict how governance will form. Other revenue streams are possible as well.
5: Comms-Dev for now unless MKR holders would want otherwise
7: Remains to be seen, the potential difference I see is that this imitative is more journalistic by nature and the comms-devs exists for the foundation to develop the community.

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I have something like this as follows (based on how companies deal with PR).

There are the things a PR department in whatever form has to deal with off the top of my head and not exhaustive - would like to have a list on this From Foundation Perspective.

  1. IR (investor relations)
  2. Collecting and colleating published articles that reference Maker (in effect watching what and how information is being spread publically about the company)
  3. Official Public Release(PR) messages to manage 2 in particular.
  4. General Information Requests from public whether formal press or not for MakerDAO
  5. Official people contacts/positions for above in the MakerDAO

I see a distinct difference between GF Domain functions (governance) and PR Domain functions and we would probably want some clear delination. Though honestly these two domains have ‘some’ natural overlap. Personally I think PR functions are a natural extention of GF functions since the space of operation of GF is pretty broad and itself will include PR functions by natural extension. Functionally I think it makes sense for PR Domain to kind of be managed directly by GF domain since the community speaks authoritatively through governance actions. At least that is my thinking on this atm. The OP initial post makes a great stab at some important community communication functions that will need to be taken on sooner rather than later. There are some points off the top of my head.

Will revisit as more is added here later.

Well done @Mitote

One thing I left out of this but it is communication related is Business Relations. Paying for access to pricing Oracle price feeds, selling our own, and just carrying out general business type operations from a who do I talk to about Business stuff at Maker that can speak officially sign deals etc. This involves domain name, website registration/management, legal, licensing etc.

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Since Rich is the Head of Community development, which would be funding this, it is technically manged by him for now.

The natural overlap I see is that both PR and Governance have interdisciplinary focuses relating to the protocol.

The delineation I would draw is that PR would not involve itself in governance process directly, nor would governance attempt dictate how PR presents information (mhm need a better name).

This delineation helps to hold governance accountable as well as communicate Makers processes. Holding governance accountable and bringing up older threads may help balance the apathy urgency problems @rich.brown reminds us of. I think the angle Maker needs is highly public, transparent and rigorous. The foundation is not exactly known for transparency and more people are questioning rigor than ever before.

Supporting somewhat independent, yet intimate observation of Maker could promote confidence, while maintaining legitimacy, by not being the mouth piece of MKR holders.

Thanks for the feedback :slight_smile:

Not sure I understand what this means. Can you think of a more transparent org in the space? Do you have suggestions about what areas should be more transparent? And the utility that additional transparency would add?

As far as PR from an GF perspective, one of the interesting things about the mandates for these roles is that they are living documents. The one I proposed for my role might not fit the world we live in now or the needs of the new facilitators as they got onboarded.

From my perspective a GF role, particularly one occupied by a Foundation employee, needs to be as agnostic as humanly possible to attempt to accurately reflect the will of the community. I’m not convinced there is room for the kind of work traditionally associated with PR teams.

Probably most importantly, the foundation could disclose financials so we could have better insight what sort of revenue the DAO would need to sustain some minimal set of experts and how the foundation spends in general, the utility is obvious. As a non profit I believe that information is suppose to be disclosed publicly anyways. Form 990 right? Many non profits have that on their website, I couldn’t find it.

The rest are basically historical, so dont really matter anymore but anyways:

Past internal conflict is another. I understand there are things you guys just cannot talk about legally, but from this end we have no way of knowing exactly what you cant talk about vs wont talk about. Understanding conflict helps the community understand what direction the foundation wanted to take the protocol and what alternatives directions were potent enough to cause internal division.

VC sales also strongly affect the makeup of MKR distribution, which is obviously critical to how governance functions. The community has no say in that process (except that first sale to polychain? Which I’ve heard was negotiated publicly on reddit?). Sure, there are probably a valid hundred reasons why VCs would not want to negotiate publicly, but you cant call that process transparent. Targeting the top brass like A16Z is a strategic decision, and certain restrictions come from that choice. Certainly that is not the only way to sell MKR to fund the boot strapping process.

The structure of governance is another one, I don’t see many good reasons for the development of the MIP framework to have primarily occurred behind closed doors when its such a critical piece of the Maker puzzle. A seriously aggressive timeline for debate is underway now. We could of been working on it this whole time together even back when we were waiting for MCD.

Rune spoke about the work being done to present financials in the last Governance call.

It is an enormously time and labour intensive operation. The last few months haven’t provided us with the time to prioritise it.

The Foundation is not a non-profit.

I’m willing to go out on a limb and state that every single business in the history of the world has had internal strife and/or strong differences in opinion that has led to people leaving. The difference between ours and the general models out there is that we exist in a largely public forum. Take a few minutes and imagine that all the drama from every job you’ve ever had was blogged about…

The Foundation as a whole, since it’s very inception, has remained responsive to the needs to the space as it evolves. It has changed in fundamental ways numerous times since I’ve been here and it will continue to change even more rapidly in the future. I’m having trouble understanding why one theoretical course not taken among thousands of others has any bearing on where we are now.

Either way, what the Foundation wants is daily being replaced by what the community wants. I see no utility in resurrecting any one particular ancient strife, beyond all the previously explained legal and ethical reasons.

I didn’t call it transparent and I wouldn’t because it is not and shouldn’t be. The Foundation exists to create and pay for the protocol, tooling, ecosystem support, integrations, UIs, etc, etc, so we can continue to hand it off to the ecosystem. In order to do that as quickly and efficiently as we can, we operate as a business. A businesses can’t make deals in public committees, especially when they are related to maintaining its own runway. There are many examples of other foundation operations that are necessarily internal and will continue to be until they are spun out to EPCs or domain teams.

You’ve been part of those discussions for for awhile now. If you have specific concerns you should continue to express them with the MIPs team.

Ultimately this whole conversation comes back to the same issues I’ve tried to address in the chats with very limited success. Transparency is an extremely loaded word. I know because I’ve led many transparency initiatives in many organisations. And like decentralisation, trustlessness, communication, and a host of other very simple words that contain complicated ideas, the first step in addressing the issue is to have a clear understanding of what we think transparency means.

Here’s mine: transparency is providing actionable, relevant and accurate information that people need in order to fulfil a specific task or mission. But it also requires doing it in a way that does not increase operational risk to the org or it’s employees or partners, reveal personal information, or is designed to simply surface information to satisfy personal curiosity.

It may surprise you that I’m a huge proponent of using sunlight as a disinfectant but I’ve also seen how badly it can go wrong so you’ll have to forgive my abundance of caution.