Mandate: Interim Governance Facilitators
The Maker Foundation is proposing a new role, the Interim Governance Facilitator, which is responsible for maintaining the ecosystem supporting the governance process. This role will follow the same ‘interim’ model shared by other foundation teams and is designed to, eventually, be entirely community-driven.
“Interim Governance Facilitators (IGFs) are tasked with ensuring the smooth operation of the governance process. This involves a wide range of activities, anything from general administration to signals gathering to governance scheduling.”
Their key function, though, is encapsulated in the name of the role, facilitation. The primary duty of the Facilitators is to ensure the smooth and efficient running of the distributed and open source governance process at Maker.
As this document represents a formalization of the role he already occupies on behalf of the community, the Foundation is proposing that Richard Brown, Head of Community Development, be the first Interim Governance Facilitator.
After a period of two weeks (set aside for debate and iteration on this framework), the community will have the opportunity to formally choose to accept or reject the proposal in a governance poll.
Acceptance of the proposal will signal the ratification of the new role, the person chosen to exercise its mandate, the associated processes and procedures, and calendar outlined in this document.
Why Do We Need Facilitation?
Because governance is built on ever-shifting sands, the community needs to maintain as much agility as it can without sacrificing velocity. As the decisions that happen in Maker governance can have wide-ranging effects on the entire DeFi ecosystem, we need to keep vigilant against attack (from within and without) and to ensure the process runs smoothly, with as much integrity as possible.
Defining the Role
Like the other major governance-related roles, such as the Interim Risk Team and the Oracle team, the Facilitators are empowered by the community to perform tasks on behalf of the community.
The Foundation is proposing this first iteration of a role that we hope will evolve through guidance provided by the community. After sufficient baseline processes have been established for the Interim Governance Facilitator, and proven successful, additional Governance Facilitators should begin to be onboarded. Working in concert across all major time zones, they will coordinate to ensure global access to the inner workings of Maker governance.
The Interim Facilitator is responsible for gradually bootstrapping the governance processes and procedures necessary to create a more robust governance framework. This will be achieved through a rigorous cycle of policy proposal, feedback gathering, and through regular coordination with other governance stakeholders.
As the following roles, responsibilities, and mandates of the Interim Facilitator become more clearly defined, we look forward to tasks being taken on by additional, community-sourced, Facilitators.
Ownership and Management of the Official Communications Channels
Governance Facilitators are responsible for ensuring the health and integrity of official communication channels like forums and chat rooms. These tasks include moderation duties, establishing processes and social norms, broadcasting relevant information to the wider world, as well as defending the channels from trolling and Sybil attack.
Defining the Governance ‘Problem Space’
Because Facilitators are empowered by the community as a whole, they cannot be seen to be partisan. They are not empowered to make ‘governance’ decisions, cannot campaign for any specific governance issue, nor should they express opinions about the merits of one polling or voting option over another. They must remain neutral and objective and focus wholly on policy, procedure, and facilitation.
For example: a Facilitator should not suggest to the community that the Stability Fee should be raised or lowered, put forward an alteration to monetary or risk policy, or express an opinion about the desirability of one asset type over another.
The role is one of collating and framing meaningful discussions and soliciting the community for appropriate solutions to issues as they arise. Once those solutions have been debated, the Facilitator is responsible for enacting processes that allow for various levels of consensus to be established and actions to be taken by Maker Token Holders.
For example: a Facilitator would work with the members of the forum to establish rules around the creation of forum polls, appropriate phrasing, poll duration, etc. Once a poll has successfully concluded, the Governance Facilitator would be responsible for communicating that consensus to the wider community and, if required, ensuring that the poll is added to the governance portal for official ratification.
Governance Facilitators are responsible for raising community governance issues back to the Foundation or the third-party ecosystem and ensuring appropriate follow up for the community.
A governance model that is capable of managing a rapidly developing ecosystem as ours needs to be capable of iterating just as quickly. Governance Facilitators are tasked with nurturing the processes and procedures that will allow the community to rapidly develop in concert with the requirements of governance.
“The users of governance have to shape governance.”
Governance is a hard problem and will continue to be so as the needs of the community grow, and the requirements of the system become increasingly sophisticated. Governance Facilitators will be responsible for preparing the community to iterate rapidly and effectively as we move along the long path to eventual decentralization.
Facilitators will work closely with community members to identify and refine emergent process and workflows that can allow such a large and distributed ‘remote team’ of stakeholders to work together.
Some questions Facilitators will collaborate with the community to answer:
- How do we create canonical reference materials?
- Where do they live?
- How do we effectively broadcast governance issues to the wider community?
- How do we increase engagement?
Polls, Votes, and Signals
- What are the best practices we should adopt when collecting, filtering, and identifying useful signals?
- Where does it live? How do we set the tone?
- When does a debate end?
- Where does ‘work’ happen?
- What pipelines and workflows do we need to formalize?
Framing the Debate
As Facilitators are charged with maintaining and encouraging debate, they need to be vigilant in ensuring that the community adheres to the guidelines outlined in the Scientific Governance and Risk Framework and the Core Foundation Principals.
For example, as a community, we debate the merits of the data being input into the system and the models themselves; opinions or debates about outputs are to be avoided. Unsubstantiated opinions are to be avoided in general.
Problems are more readily solved by reminding the community that they are ultimately in charge of the outputs of the governance process.
- De-emphasize “Why don’t you…?” questions.
- Emphasize “How can we…?” questions.
Maintaining a healthy debate is critical to the success of any community. It will be one of the most important duties of the Facilitators to ensure that the caliber of discussion remain high, that new members of the community understand the general level of decorum and civility expected by the group, that they have the resources they need to get onboarded quickly, and that the community doesn’t suffer attrition from toxicity, trolling, or apathy.
Once debate has ended, it’s time to identify and encourage consensus-seeking behaviours. This is a pivotal and complicated task.
Some questions the Facilitators will help the community to align on:
- What does consensus mean?
- Where do we find it?
- How much consensus is enough?
- How do we maximize alignment between the Foundation, the voters, and various unaligned stakeholders?
- How do we promote consensus-seeking behaviours?
- How do we deal with contrarians and those unwilling to compromise?
- What does the ‘least bad option’ look like?
- Do we seek assent or assume it by looking for dissent instead?
Once the community has established the answers to these questions, the Facilitators are responsible for ensuring they are codified and adhered to. Finally, the Facilitators ensure they are communicated effectively to the wider ecosystem.
Communicating and Scheduling the Roadmap
Among many other things, governance is also a scheduling problem. The actions that Maker Token Holders need to take are dependent on a host of factors. The activities of partners, regulators, market forces, emerging verticals, etc., combine to create a high number of dependencies. Ensuring that there is a reasonably accurate short-term roadmap is the responsibility of the facilitators.
They will achieve this by maintaining public documentation and roadmaps that will provide engaged stakeholders with the information they need to participate with the system and anticipate next steps. Through this constant iteration with the Foundation and the governance ecosystem, they will help the community to shape the future of the DAO.
Coordinating with other Ratified Teams
Governance Facilitators are a ‘meta team’ tasked with facilitating and supporting the actions of the rest of the mandated actors in the governance ecosystem.
It will be key that public and transparent communication channels are set up, which allow the Risk, Oracle, and Governance teams to coordinate.
There will likely be situations where the governance community must respond quickly to new information. It will be the job of the Facilitators to work with the community to establish an emergency voting process to defend the system against unplanned events.
Managing the Governance Facilitators
Although the role has been architected in such a way as to minimise any potential decision-making power, there may come a time when a Facilitator needs to be removed from the role.
Whether for reasons of overstepping of mandates, an inability or unwillingness to enact community-supported initiatives, or a general lack of competence, there must be a system for alerting facilitators to a need for improvement or for replacing them altogether.
Some topics for the community to explore in the coming weeks and months:
- How does the community formally disagree with a Facilitator?
- How do we attract and train new Facilitators?
- Should Governance Facilitators have a term limit?
- How are they compensated?
- How do they coordinate with each other?
- How do we measure Facilitator success?
- How do we get rid of a bad Facilitator?
A possible solution to consider in the future:
Should we have an ongoing ‘confidence’ poll for each Governance Facilitator? What happens in the event of an attack? What if a whale seeks to replace a person with a more amenable version?
If the ‘abuse of power’ poll ever disappears, then perhaps an ‘Emergency Governance Cycle’ could start. What that looks like is still to be determined.
Collateral Onboarding Priority Poll Process
Facilitators are responsible for ensuring that new collateral types are added to the system by providing a clear path to doing so and effectively communicating the requirements and resources provided by the Risk Teams.
For example, a facilitator would be responsible for shepherding a process like the following, by working closely with the risk teams:
Submission: Partners submit their collateral onboarding proposals in the Governance category in the forums. Once the proper due diligence has been completed, and the forum polls have finished with a supportive vote, the collateral type will be added to the next asset priority list poll.
Presentation: Through a governance call, an asset will be presented for review before the portal poll. This is not a decision making step; this is part of the Communicating and Scheduling section outlined above.
Prioritization: Once an asset has been added to the long term wishlist, it will be sorted through a priority poll. As other top picks are onboarded and removed from the long term wishlist, it should eventually reach the top of the list for inclusion.
Pre-Evaluation: All of the mandated and ratified teams then perform their risk evaluation on the assets at the top of the list. After the evaluation processes are complete, the team in question will mark the collateral with a) passed, b) passed but will take longer to finish, or c) rejected.
Evaluation: After a collateral asset has been accepted as being viable from all the relevant teams, they can then begin to do the full review and development of the risk construct and onboarding. Once a team has finished doing what they need to do for a given collateral type, they will mark it as “ready to go.”
Short Term Wishlist: Once a collateral asset has received the ready-to-go mark from all the relevant teams, it is removed from the long term wishlist and added to the short term wishlist.
Queued for Next Governance Cycle: Once a collateral asset is on the short term wishlist, it can be added to General Risk Teams’ Risk constructs and get passed in the following governance cycle.
The Framework, the Calendar, and Next Steps
The process of ratifying a Governance Facilitator, much like a Risk Team, is one of signaling support for a package of roles, responsibilities, principles, and processes. Polling in a new facilitator represents the community’s acceptance of the whole package and includes an associated roadmap and calendar. It is that calendar that allows the community to move ahead with governance.
This will involve a Bootstrapping phase where the community debates and ratifies the roles and processes required to begin the second Governance Cycle phase.
Please note: This roadmap is dependent on a collaborative effort spread amongst the Foundation, our partners, and the governance community. We cannot predict when dependencies may mis-align. It may be periodically updated, items may be added or removed, and the dates may change at any time.
Week of August 12
- Proposal: Interim Governance Facilitator Mandate
- Poll: Collateral Asset Priority List
Week of August 19
- Proposal: Interim Risk Team Mandate
Week of August 26
- Proposal - DSR Initial Values
- Poll - Ratify the Governance Facilitator and Interim Risk Team
Week of September 9
- Proposals - Oracle Team Mandate
- Proposals - New Oracle Providers
- Proposals - Oracle Incentive Restructuring
Week of September 16
- Proposal - MCD Whitepaper
- Poll - Ratify Oracle Team
Week of September 23
- Poll - Long-term Collateral Asset Priority List
- Proposal - The General Risk Model
- Documentation - MCD Executive Vote Changelog
- Poll - Initial Oracle Values
- Poll - Initial DSR Values
- Executive - Initializing the MCD system prior to launch
Governance cycles, DAO team onboarding, and other proposals
After the Bootstrapping phase of the governance schedule has ended, we will switch to a regular cadence of discussion, debate, signal gathering, review, before the onchain polling and executive process begins.
That onchain process could take many forms, from a simple cycle of proposal, review, voting to a more sophisticated process such as the following:
Week 1: Request for Proposals - The Risk Teams will present the assets they have analysed to the forums for review. In the Governance call, the community will debate the risk construct and surface any contention. The Risk Teams have this week to accept final feedback from the community and to iterate.
This week may also include the introduction of general administrative proposals not related directly to collateral onboarding.
This week could also include an executive vote ratifying the previous month’s governance cycle.
Week 2: Request for Comments - We continue to evaluate the Risk Constructs and General Proposals of the previous week and review updates and merge in changes.
Week 3: Collateral Inclusion Polls - We start the week with an Inclusion Poll which allows for the individual approval of the prior two weeks’ General Proposals and Risk Constructs.
Week 4: Final Collateral Wrap-up Poll - We begin a governance poll which is a rollup of the previous weeks’ Inclusion Polls.
If this mandate is accepted by the community, it will signal its support for the new Governance Facilitator Role, Richard Brown as the first Interim Governance Facilitator, and signals support for the general scope of the initiatives outlined in this mandate.
This mandate should be considered a living document and will be updated based on community feedback.