While a post mortem will be coming out from @Protocol-Engineering, I wanted to take a moment to highlight what happened this weekend from the Governance perspective with putting up an urgent executive - FLAP Auction Adjustment and RWA-02 (NS-DROP) Debt Ceiling Increase - July 17, 2021 to replace the regular July 16th Executive Proposal.
I hope that this post will highlight what happened, the Governance response to it, and some areas for improvement should a similar situation occur in the future.
- An error was discovered in the July 16th Executive Proposal and reported to the community on the morning of July 17th.
- Through internal coordination and limited public updates, a new spell was posted by Saturday evening UTC, providing the possible execution of the original spell’s intent.
- As the first person to notice this report from GovAlpha, I took point and made unilateral decisions on behalf of the Governance Facilitators.
- The process was lacking some transparency, specifically around the clarification of the July 17th Executive Proposal being a replacement for the July 16th Exec.
At approximately 9:18 am UTC on Saturday, July 17th @spin made a post in the #governance-and-risk chat citing some concerns with the Executive proposal that went live for voting about 15 hours earlier. Namely, that there was an element missing in the code necessary for MIP21 to allow the Asset Originator (in this case New Silver) to utilize the increased Debt Ceiling.
Within a few hours, this omission in the executive spell was confirmed as well as the ability to fix the error. At approximately 13:20 UTC @brianmcmichael posted publicly in the #governance-and-risk chat that the team was aware of this problem and working on a fix, with details forthcoming.
At approximately 14:43 UTC, I gave an update in the chat channel that the July 16th Executive had been pushed down from the “active proposals” section of the Voting Portal, to prevent people who wanted to see the listed changes take effect from voting for the changes when they would not fully enact.
By 19:16 UTC the new Executive Proposal was available on the Voting Portal and I posted a link to the chat to let people know they could now vote on the spell that would enable New Silver to utilize the higher DC, should it pass.
This week, I was in charge of the Executive Proposal process for the @GovAlpha-Core-Unit. Additionally, I was the first of the team to notice the issue Lucas posted about when I woke up early Saturday morning (local time). I acted in full capacity as a responding Governance Facilitator and did not wait for confirmation from @LongForWisdom to take action. This is one of the stated benefits of having multiple Governance Facilitators, though it also left room for improvement which will be explored in the next headline section.
When I saw Lucas’ post on the morning of the 17th, I brought it to the attention of the mandated actors. From there a coordination effort took place primarily between myself and the @Protocol-Engineering team, where we ran a compressed version of our regular weekly coordination process after putting up a new spell was proposed. After confirming the contents of the spell (namely that the conditional July Budgets would not be included as the July 2nd Executive had already passed), I edited the executive copy and submitted it to the PE team to have its contents hashed for the new spell.
At the time, I believed that I should change as little as possible within the copy, as this did not represent a new executive spell as much as a second attempt to put forth what we had already stated to the community. So in that spirit, I only changed the dates and removed the references to the July Distributions.
After the PE team had crafted the spell and ran all their tests, I completed the rest of my checklist for the Governance Facilitator, adding the new spell address to the Github File, validating the copy for the Voting Portal Front end, and finally adding the proposal to the “active proposals” list so it would be shown at the top of the Voting Portal.
I then posted in the G&R chat channel with the new link and thanked Lucas for pointing out the error. This effectively put up a new proposal with the same aims as the previous one a little over 24 hours later and within 10 hours of the problem being identified in chat.
While several successes could be highlighted from this experience, reflecting on what could be improved is of far more value. This section might be added to as we have time to do an internal GovAlpha review, but I wanted to make a post with my reflections ASAP to keep the community as informed as possible.
@equivrel posted some feedback about how the copy of the proposal should have indicated that it was a replacement proposal and that the older proposal should still appear with an erratum message. While the old proposal is still visible on the voting portal, after clicking “view more proposals”, Lev is correct that not enough transparency was given to this switch.
If I had it all to do over, “Replacement” would have been inserted into the new proposal title, and I would have started a forum thread right away to keep people updated who may not be plugged into Rocket Chat. These measures would have made it more clear to the community that the switch has occurred.
As mentioned above, I made a very conscious effort to change as little as possible in the executive copy. This was done both to get the new copy over to PE as quickly as possible and because it was my belief at the time that the replacement would be more legitimate if it was altered as little as possible. In retrospect, the addition of “Replacement Proposal” or some other clear indicator that this copy spell was meant to replace the previous day’s errant one would not have represented a material change to the proposal. Since I was already changing the copy, I should have taken the time to be as transparent as possible with it.
I believe this omission on the Governance side was due almost entirely to my lack of experience as a Governance Facilitator, and hope the community trusts that it was by no means intended to cover up the fact that this proposal was a replacement one. As highlighted earlier, I leaned into my role as Governance Facilitator and took action without waiting for validation from @LongForWisdom. While I think our ability as Governance Facilitators to take full reigns in a situation is a strength to our decentralized organization, it is all but certain that consulting with Long would have yielded more clear communication to the DAO.
We will review my actions as a Core Unit and provide the community with any process changes, decisions, or further areas of improvement that arise from that conversation.
Currently, one voter with less than 2 MKR remains on the old proposal. While limited, this does imply that not everyone has been informed of the replacement. Whether or not a label and forum post would have resulted in all voters changing over to the replacement by now is not strictly relevant, as the transparency to what is happening in Governance is the true measure of a successful DAO. I hope that this post closes the gap in that lack of transparency.