MIP13c3-SP7: Governance Communications (Declaration of Intent)

MIP13c3-SP7: Governance Communications

Preamble

MIP13c3-SP#: 7
Author(s): @twblack88 @DavidUtro
Contributors: @JerryAG, @scottrepreneur, @anna, @seth
Status: Request for Comments (RFC)
Date Proposed: 2020-11-6
Date Ratified: <N/A>
Declaration Statement: Maker Governance intends to form a Governance Communications domain with the mandate described in this declaration.
Declaration to Replace: n/a

Specification

Context and Motivation

MakerDAO needs a system for communication between the DAO, DeFi community, and the public.

Domain teams only have so much time in a day to moderate discussions and keep the project cycle(s) on track. In addition, new users constantly get lost in the deluge of information generated by the community. It’s also clear that as the DAO is moving to formalize operations, and since it will need to communicate with stakeholders and the public, a communications domain team is a possible next step.

Around March 13 2020, a team of contributors came together to start experimenting and explore the contours of this problem space. Thanks to the generosity of community development grants, and project planning, the group produces the Maker Relay, governance call snippets, a governance focused twitter, and coordinates with the governance call summary team. Our intent is to formally confirm that this Domain should exist, outline the mandate of said team, and explore speaking on Governance’s behalf.

Declaration Detail

Maker Governance declares its intention to form a Governance Communications Domain with the following mandate.

The Governance communications mandate encompasses the facilitation of products, services, and updates that increase the participation and efficiency of MakerDAO’s Governance. This team should condense activity and surface signal for everyone’s benefit.

To facilitate this the Governance Communications Domain will attempt to resolve significant questions/challenges in such a way that provides value to Maker Governance and the other domain teams.

The working group has identified three directions of communication, each of which would be the responsibility of the Governance Communications Domain.

  • Communicating information between members of the DAO.
  • Communicating from the DAO to the public.
  • Communicating from the public to the DAO.

The Governance Communications Domain would operate under the principles of objectivity, simplicity, integrity and brevity.


Existing Initiatives

We believe that these existing initiatives would fall under the Governance Communications Domain’s responsibilities.

  • Maker Relay
    • A weekly update of governance-related events, including current votes, prior week vote results, proposals, forum deep dive, as well as links to community calls/sync’s, discussions, and useful/relevant information.
  • Governance Call Snippets
    • An overview of Governance and Risk call, published the same day, ahead of the high-fidelity summary release. It aims to provide domain team updates, important discussions, and links from the chat for anyone unable to make the call or looking for a brief summary.
  • Governance Call Summary Team
    • An in-depth, high-fidelity summary of the governance call for the more in-depth user that also serves an archival function.
  • MKRGov twitter
    • A way to update a larger community on governance updates and encourage new users to become active in governance.
  • Voices of MakerDAO
    • A proposal for creating a podcast/audio version of governance updates.

Extra Materials

Domain questions and challenges

  • How can a DAO manage Public Relations?
    • In what circumstances should we make statements on behalf of the DAO?
    • When do we communicate sentiments from the public, from the forums, etc.?
    • How can a DAO respond to journalists in a timely and objective manner?
    • How can we provide thorough coverage of relevant events/procedures/news?
  • How should teams and individuals go about making statements on behalf of the DAO?
    • How do we communicate sentiments from the public, from the forums, etc.?
    • How can we be as close to objective and unbiased in our communications?
  • Can this Domain assist in clarity of working groups and Maker Governance’s actions/intentions?
  • How can the DAO become more welcoming to a global audience?

Next steps

  • Create a Domain definition according to the MIP23 template
  • Continue producing Maker relay while experimenting with different distribution models and platforms.
  • Explore different team structures to share/rotate responsibilities.
  • Create a formal framework for the specific tasks and responsibilities team(s) would like to handle.
    • Furthermore, surface new useful tasks and responsibilities for Governance and the Community as a whole.
  • Validate team utility with data
    • Analytics will be collected (depending on where they’re being sourced) and aggregated into specific updates. These will be outlined in one of the frameworks, referred to above.
    • Data will assist in quantifying the need for a domain team and responsibilities therein.
  • Create documentation, and find a canonical place for it to live.
    • This would be written by the Gov-Comms team, and proposed to the general community for comments/questions/clarification.
    • Documentation would cover expectations around cadence, execution, role types, products, etc. This may be expanded on later.
Relevant Links:
9 Likes

I think given the DAO could change its mind at any time on almost any subject anyone making statements for the DAO is fraught with hazard and ANY statement from this group for the DAO generally will need to be caveated in some way or formalized with a governance vote. Even then a subsequent vote could change this unless there is some mechanism to lock DAO statements/decisions against future changes for some time. A really bad outcome here is a comm group saying something that the DAO later votes against.

A prime example of this is with the Black Thursday Compensation. I warned people repeatedly governance could change its mind on this as the process unfolded and the plan was presented. That a governance vote to act did not mean governance would act to compensate. This will also be true with Declarations of Intent generally. Intent to act does not necessairly mean Intended action will occur. This happens all the time even in personal lives.

This has implications for long term contracts and communications generally. I would suggest to be able to communicate on anything, the DAO needs to formally have a mechanism to back up Intent with timelines for action for the DAO to formally make longer term agreements/commitments. There needs to be some way to formalize either within the smart contracts or within a kind of “DAO covenants” document longer term MakerDAO commitments and statements.

and

Not at all sure how this is possible given that the DAO is ever-changing and by nature is slow to act. Even if a single point of contact (POC) could be elected, this POC simply can’t ever assure the DAO would back what is communicated (in a timely fashion) by an affirmative governance vote, or that the DAO would change its mind later. If the POC waits for governance to vote, the communication, or action, may not be timely Further, I can’t even imagine how impossible it would be from a governance perspective to vote on DAO statements generally.

This really begs a more general question: How is a DAO able to enter into long term contracts, much less make statements, that will be backed up by actions to the public?

I think a communcation group could focus on highlighting and improving consistency in information and communications generally and from this perspective be useful. I also think having a team that monitors news and media generally (from a report and analytics perspective) to be of use as well.

6 Likes

I expect this would be become natural when we have vote delegation (assuming it starts to be used significantly).

If a certain organisation holds, e.g., 25% of all MKR (delegated) it can express a strong option to the press, just like a 25% political party could do in ordinary politics. We’ll see…

4 Likes

You make some great points that we should revise into the intent.

Formalizing comms with a governance vote every time is not feasible in our view. The team’s mandate would be to aggregate and simplify views and information at MakerDAO. We would be reaching out to individuals(especially mandated actors, MIP authors, Delegates), gathering summaries of sentiment based on forum threads, and generally avoiding putting the team’s own personal opinions out there.

Putting in a “caveat statement” before anything is the most likely way forward, saying it’s not a definitive statement or could be voted on and rejected by the community seem right to us. A general disclaimer will be added that says something along the lines of, “The team does its best to relay the sentiments and opinions of the community. The community, which includes stakeholders, Mandated Actors, and MKR voters reserves the right to change their stances as new information comes to light.”

:nods:

Love this addition, will figure out the best revision to include timelines as often as possible.

Also a fair point, though it’s essentially the purpose of establishing this domain, to communicate what the changing views are, despite being slow to act. Communication is needed and some role should fulfill this responsibility.

5 Likes

That’s our assumption as well.

2 Likes

This feedback will possibly sound a tad pre-coffee…

I get the basic premis, but the deliverables are just too vague. It is in the spirit of “trust me, pay me - and I will do useful work”. I know this is how the Foundation has been operating for years, but since we are transitioning to the Community I feel this could need a bit more transparency before you get started.

What are you actually proposing to do? Not intending to do. What problem or issues do you take responsibility for? What will you deliver?

What does this mean? You going to keep tabs on what everybody is doing?

OK. You write press releases. But boss level communication has changed - just check Elon Musk on Twitter.

This is useful if you take the responsibility on being the best informed source anywhere on the legal development of crypto and the legal framework of stablecoins in particular. That has real value, also for groups outside of Maker. Forwarding links with “FYI” label - not so much.

Possibly it would be an idea to ask the community what communication problems need solving - and rank them - before you build this up to a MIP.

4 Likes

the deliverables are just too vague

At the moment the deliverables are loosely captured in the Existing Initiatives section and will expand based on community feedback and needs. The fuller extent of the deliverables will be presented transparently in the eventual MIP that will be created as a result of this DOI, formally proposing this as a domain team.

What are you actually proposing to do? Not intending to do. What problem or issues do you take responsibility for? What will you deliver?

Proposing to continue:

  • Maker Relay
  • Call Snippets
  • Gov Call Summaries
  • MKRGov Twitter for governance updates
  • Exploring the idea of a MakerDAO podcast
  • Exploring the idea and process around Media Relations (Though I see this is not present in the DOI, this is something we’re in the discussion phase about)
  • Exploring the idea and process around communication for emergency events.(This is also not present in the DOI, and is something we’re in the discussion phase about)

What does this mean? You going to keep tabs on what everybody is doing?

It’s more like making it easier for people to find the essential information about various things. Maker Relay is an example of this, and so is Governance at a Glance.

OK. You write press releases. But boss level communication has changed - just check Elon Musk on Twitter.

In a decentralized org there are lots of bosses, this team will aggregate boss/team/stakeholder comms around various topics :wink:

Possibly it would be an idea to ask the community what communication problems need solving - and rank them - before you build this up to a MIP.

That would be a good exercise.

Thanks for the valuable feedback PlanetX, the vision is still being crafted for this thing so this is all super helpful :))

2 Likes

We are proposing this domain first and then if approved will build the domain team around current initiatives we’ve been doing. It’s a little confusing but we want to be sure MKR holders want to see communications as a domain before just going all the way in, as a team. This type of feedback is critical in shaping that intent.

The problem and issue is the communicating and aggregating available information (including the caveats that HAVE to come with us being a DAO) that tends to get lost somewhere between the team members, and the people who don’t specialize in a given field.

This team is already delivering things like Snippets, Summaries, the Relay, and are part of the team helping shape the Community Portal, which can serve Governance and many other constituent communities. We will continue to develop these things into more resources, which are essentially ideas sourced from the community to fill the different needs we have seen and communicated about with, from various parts of the community.

2 Likes