Contributor Survey Summary: 2023 Governance Feedback


This survey was created by the Governance Committee and sent to core contributors from all four of Radworks’ Orgs. We decided to target core contributors as they have been the most active participants on the forum and in the governance process over the past year.

The feedback was collected throughout December 2023. For additional context, this survey was sent right after completing the 2024 Org proposal cycle and 9 months after implementing monthly proposal cycles.

All 14 participants in this survey were contributors working full or part time for one of Radworks’ four Ogs. There was also one active community contributor/grantee who participated.

Of the 14 participants, there were:

  • 4 Drips contributors
  • 5 Radicle Contributors
  • 2 Foundation Contributors
  • 1 Grants Org Contributor
  • 1 Grantee

Participant types:

  • 7 governance participants (voted on at least 1 proposal this past year)
  • 3 proposal authors/Org leads (all proposal authors also participated in voting on various proposals)

Note: Thank you to everyone who participated!!! The responses presented in this summary have been shortened and organized for relevance and clarity. The quotes chosen do not represent all feedback shared, but all feedback has been reviewed by the Governance Committee and will be taken into account while planning for improvements!

:sparkles::sparkles::sparkles::sparkles: TL;DR: :sparkles::sparkles::sparkles::sparkles:

What went well (for the most part):

  • Introduction of Proposal Cycles
  • Improved Governance Resources & Documentation
  • Governance Announcements & Notifications

What could be improved:

  • Increase in Governance Participation
  • Org Proposal Process
  • Further Distribution of Power & Influence within the New DAO Structure

Objectives for 2024:

  • Clarify DAO Structure & Governance Process
  • Further Distribute Power & Influence
  • Improve the Org Proposal Process
  • Increase Accountability & Transparency
  • Enhance Cohesion & Craft a Collective Strategy
  • Specify Sustainability


What went well? :+1:

:arrows_counterclockwise: Introduction of Proposal Cycles

Participants were asked to provide feedback on the “proposal cycles” that were introduced in early 2023 with the passing of the Governance Improvements Proposal.

Generally, there was really positive feedback on the new monthly proposal cycles!

  • “The monthly governance cycles work great in my opinion!”
  • “I am a big fan of rhythms”
  • “Yes I think the cycle made it nicer to know where a proposal stands, and what is required from me as a participant.”

However, some participants felt that the discussion around proposals was still hard to follow, and that there was not enough time to respond and incorporate feedback during certain phases of the proposal process.

  • “An area where I think we can improve the cycles is the time we allow for incorporating feedback.”

  • “Receiving last minute feedback is very challenging to adapt to, so perhaps we need some window there … ?”

  • “Feels harder to follow due to conversations moving around to different threads”

  • “There are too many steps, too many things to do, to remember”

:books:Improved Governance Resources & Documentation

When asked about governance resources, responses indicate that the manual, docs pages and proposal templates are the three most useful resources used by contributors. The purpose statement has also been useful for folks to reference as contributors assess governance decisions, aligning with the intended use for the shared purpose.

Forms response chart. Question title: Please indicate which, if any, of the following governance resources you have used and found helpful to better understand or interact with the Radworks governance process.. Number of responses: 9 responses.

:speaking_head:Governance Announcements/Notifications

The majority of people are getting their governance announcements and updates from either the #governance-updates channel on the Radworks Discord or from me copy/pasting the same notifications into the separate Radicle/Drips channels. This validates that sharing notifications across all of the various community servers is valuable to contributors, although we are exploring ways to automate notification sharing across the various platforms to streamline information sharing.

A few participants had requests on additional places to share notifications:

  • “I’m definitely more Telegram and email based. So would appreciate joining a TG group where notifications are pushed from Discord (for ease on the facilitator)”

It is also positive to see that no one indicated that they do not receive any governance notifications at all!

What could be improved? :mag_right:

:ballot_box:Governance Participation

Participants were asked how they participated in governance over the past year.

Forms response chart. Question title: How did you participate in governance this year?. Number of responses: 14 responses.

A large majority of participants (64%) indicated that they read and responded to governance proposals. Around 50% of participants indicated that they voted on at least one governance proposal, with around 35% indicating they had delegated their voting power to another delegate.

While these metrics are encouraging to see from this sample of core contributors, our aim for 2024 is to increase participation levels in all areas by addressing the identified reasons for individuals’ disengagement in governance, as listed below.

Reasons for participating in governance included:

  • “I care about the project”
  • “My work depends on funding from Radworks.”

Reasons for not participating primarily focused on these four reasons:

  • “Don’t hold enough RAD”
  • “I am concerned about regulatory risk”
  • “I don’t have enough knowledge/motivation about proposals”
  • “I was confused about the process”

:writing_hand:Org Proposal Process (November Proposal Cycles)

There was a lot of great feedback shared about our annual Org proposal process! Rest assured that the 2025 Org Proposal process is already being reassessed by the Governance Committee to determine what efforts the Ops and Governance Committee can make to improve the process for authors and participants this year.

When asked for feedback on the 2024 Org proposal process that took place in November 2023, participants responded:

Re: General Participation: While many mentioned they were excited to see vibrant discussion around the Org proposals, some still feel that the same handful of folks are actively participating.

  • “I thought that all of the proposals received quite a bit of honest, direct feedback from the community.”

  • “I felt that the feedback helped to improve the proposals.”

  • “A lot of conversation happened on the forum and not behind closed walls.”

  • “Unfortunately it still feels that there are only a handful of people that have opinions on strategic topics."

  • “I don’t think people showed enough interest in providing feedback”

Re: Time to Review Proposals: The November cycle was demanding due to the extensive information in each proposal plus supplementary documentation (such as Retrospectives & MoUs) accompanying each Org proposal. Although some felt there was sufficient time to review proposals, the majority felt that feedback came too late on the proposals and there was too little time to incorporate all of the feedback within the November cycle.

Both governance participants and proposal authors voiced a preference for initiating the creation and review of Org proposals before the start of the November cycle, as was done in the previous year. Having a longer review period could help reduce the risk of proposals not passing in the November cycle.

  • “…it’s a lot of information all at once.”
  • “It probably would be good to start the process of structuring and assembling the proposals further ahead of the November cycle…”
  • “…we didn’t get some key stakeholders involved earlier enough.”
  • “…the [last minute] feedback threw us for a loop and was stressful and depressing.”
  • “I would plan on creating space for a proposal discussion with key stakeholders in early October to ensure some better alignment (on fundamental direction/beliefs) beforehand as well as create a “safe” space for debate.”
  • “Overall, if a proposal “failed”, there was not enough buffer in time to get it redrafted.”

Re: Resources: Many praised the addition of new documentation and templates to accompany the proposal process, yet others called for clearer and more accessible governance documentation.

  • “I liked the addition of the Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) as part of the process. I think this paves the way for how we can address some legal issues we will also face soon.”
  • “The [proposal and budget] templates created a streamlined/standardized process.”
  • “Would be cool to have a quick overview of how to get involved in governance linked from The Overview in the docs is kinda helpful, but it links to this thing on GitHub which becomes extremely verbose and seems complicated There must be some way to explain this in a simpler way.”

:construction: DAO Restructuring

The DAO went through some major structural reorganization early 2023 which intended to shift development oversight away from the Foundation and distribute it throughout the ecosystem. With the establishment of the current Org structure, this transferred the responsibility to fund development of Radicle and Drips from the Foundation to the DAO, and placed the responsibility of team coordination and strategy planning on the [Radicle and Drips] Orgs themselves.

When asked about the DAO restructuring and creation of the four Orgs that took place in early 2023, respondents shared:

The following positive feedback:

  • Re: General Structure:
    • “…the new structure is great.”
    • “It was super complicated before and doesn’t feel so much now.”
    • “I think it’s great, it sounds much more close to the vision of what Radicle was before the reorg.”
  • Re: Autonomy of Orgs:
    • “In general, I like that the planning for the products has been separated out into its own organizations”
    • “…we have the very clear autonomy to fully focus on Drips within our team, and decision making in regards to strategy is now very inside-out, which is a lot better IMO.”
    • “I think the uncoupling of any inter-responsibility between projects has been successful.”
    • “The power has genuinely shifted away from the Foundation, which no longer develops technology and therefore is conducting work in support of maturing Radworks (which some stakeholders view as secondary to Drips and Radicle).”

Suggestions on what could still be improved:

Despite the positive feedback above, there still seems to be some concerns and doubts regarding the impact of the DAO transition on the distribution of power, cohesion and accountability. Some also voiced concerns around the lack of a clear collective strategy for Radworks.

  • Expanding the Distribution of Power

    • “I would argue that though power has moved away from the Foundation Council, the power hasn’t truly been “distributed” within the DAO. There are still mission-critical-whales - who even if they didn’t want to vote, need to vote for the governance thresholds to be met.”
    • “I really haven’t noticed change at all as far as council power/distribution…”
    • “[It] still seems like the council is deciding things with no involvement from us. […] But as far as deciding council-level things, there’s still no transparency or even insight into what’s going on there, right?”
    • “I would ideally like to see more of that with different folks in these positions [of significant power/influence] (when folks are both in the foundation council and major stakeholders in DAO governance, there isn’t much point in making the separation in the first place)”
  • Lack of Cohesion & Accountability

    • “What I think I’m missing is the cohesion that we had before we were all on the same platform exchanging messages, and now everyone has their own and I think I never went on the drips discord and seldomly on the radworks discord.”
    • “…I am becoming concerned that certain orgs are really disconnected from Radworks, as we only see their leaders active and noone else.”
    • “[the splitting of the product teams into their own Orgs] does make “accountability” harder and less clear.
    • From a Drips contributor: “I feel though that we lost a bit of “connection” with the radicle folks, and it’d be cool if maybe there was some mechanism facilitating things like knowledge sharing and also just personal connections within the broader Radworks community. I fear this disappearing even further next year as we plan to have separate off-sites.
  • Lack of Clear DAO Strategy

    • “At the moment the DAO feels like a middle man that distributes funds – which is very useful in itself – but I find it hard to tell what the plan is for it, in general.”
    • “…while our strategy has moved to the DAO, we haven’t articulated that strategy as a DAO. This somehow got lost between foundation and DAO transition, but we need a group of people on the DAO to publish a one-pager that outlines the DAO’s strategy for 2024. […]
    • “There are very few individuals (imo less than 7-8) that actively contribute in these conversations and all of them have conflicting interests.
    • “One thing that I know the Gov Team is considering and discussing, but which I have not heard any public discussion of yet is… the question of what is the long-term vision for sustainability or non-sustainability of the treasury funds.”

Objectives for 2024 :dart:

Pertaining specifically to the concerns and challenges raised in the feedback discussed above, below are some relevant objectives that the Governance and Strategy Committees (with support of the Operations Committee) are already working on to address these issues. You can find a full list of objectives from each Committee in the 2024 Foundation Org proposal.

Clarify DAO Structure & Governance Process:

The Governance Committee is continuously updating governance documentation to expand clarity around the Radworks governance process and how to participate in it.

A few actions we have already taken:

  • Added additional instructions in the Governance Manual for proposal authors for each phase of the governance process
  • Created additional templates to help proposal authors prepare their proposals for each phase of the process
  • Drafted edits and improvements to to be implemented by end of Q1

A few objectives we have scoped for early 2024:

  • Restructure deadlines within the monthly proposal cycles to allow for proposal authors and governance participants to have enough time to review and incorporate feedback. This will be discussed in the upcoming “Governance Improvements Proposal 2.0” early Q2.
  • Publish a new “contributor onboarding handbook” that includes a list of important links, a detailed FAQ, and resources from the Ops Committee by the end of Q1
  • Research new tooling for communication and collaboration to make the flow and facilitation of governance smoother (on-going)
  • Facilitate a discussion on how to define the concept of Orgs and outline the procedure for development teams and ideas to evolve within the Radworks ecosystem by end of Q1

Further Distribute Power & Influence:

The Strategy Committee is currently identifying decentralization targets to guide Governance and Strategy Committee work throughout 2024. These decentralization targets will tackle the centralization of governance power that respondents mentioned in their responses. These include initiatives such as:

  • Continue to clarify to the community that the Foundation and its Council have no decision making authority in regards to Radworks, its treasury or its Orgs (ongoing)
  • Facilitate the distribution of power away from larger holders (e.g. via delegation) before Q4 2024
  • Activating and empowering core contributors to be more active participants in the governance process before Q4
  • Onboard and activate a new set of motivated governance delegates before Q4

The Strategy Committee’s refined, more granular objectives will be published by March 1, which will further delineate the original Strategy Committee objectives, passed as part of the Foundation Org proposal in November 2023.

Improve the Org Proposal Process

As mentioned above, the 2025 Org proposal process is already being reassessed within the Governance Committee, with support from the Ops Committee, to address the pain points from the last cycle. A few ways we are tackling this include:

  • Evaluate and republish the annual Org cycle timeline (e.g. proposal deadlines, retrospective deadlines, financial reporting due dates, etc.) by the end of Q1 to make it easier for Org leads and the community to plan and prepare
  • Update the Org proposal, Org budget and retrospective templates for the 2025 Org proposal cycle by Q3
  • Establish concrete initiatives to create a healthier and more collaborative space for providing feedback on Org proposals (e.g. coordinate with large stakeholders to ensure they provide feedback on proposal drafts before the November cycle starts, plan to provide enhanced support to proposal authors at each phase of the proposal process, create space for a debrief/feedback session after the November cycle is over) by Q3

Increase Accountability & Transparency:

The feedback highlighted the need for further accountability mechanisms to ensure Orgs fulfill the strategy and deliverables detailed in their annual proposals. To address this, discussions are underway within the Governance and Operations Committees to devise a more effective payout mechanism that enhances accountability and minimizes the risk of misusing treasury funds. We want to start working on this objective in Q2 with a kickoff discussion with Drips, to understand whether it would be practical to drip annual budgets to Orgs based on the success of their quarterly reporting to the community.

There was a demand for increased transparency regarding internal decisions within both Orgs and the Foundation. While the quarterly community calls offer a platform for Orgs to provide updates and share progress, there’s a clear desire for deeper transparency. We will discuss potential strategies for encouraging greater transparency and open publication directly with Org leads.

Enhance Cohesion & Craft a Collective Strategy:

The feedback shared above calls out the lack of cohesion within the DAO and the missing collective strategy for Radworks. The creation of the Strategy Committee, whose purpose is to achieve self-sustainability and steward mission-aligned governance, is meant to help alleviate this pain point.

Deliverables they scoped for 2024 that are targeted towards improving cohesion and strategy development include:

  • Identify and validate potential sustainability models for Radworks
  • Develop & publish content expanding on the Radworks purpose & vision alongside of marketing contributors
  • Orient and activate Radworks’ treasury management goals & strategies

They will publish an overview of these objectives to the forum by March 1st.

Efforts have been initiated to restructure the Radworks Discord to foster a more inclusive environment for all community members, and Shelby has been working to clean up the forum and improve documentation.

To enhance the connection between product Orgs, the Grants lead has restructured the Radworks Grants program for 2024 to encourage greater involvement from product Orgs (EDIT: add link to Grants documentation) in identifying peripheral needs, selecting Grants categories and providing input on grant applications.

Specify Sustainability:

The long-term sustainability of the Radworks treasury remains undetermined. Prior to delving into discussions about sustainability options, the community must first gain consensus on the long-term vision for Radworks. As outlined in the 2024 Foundation Org proposal, the Strategy Committee is kicking off the sustainability modeling in Q2 and will plan on sharing more explicit updates and timelines directly to the community via the forum. The objective of this work is to provide context to the community so they are able to discuss and eventually find community consensus (likely via Social Proposal) on what long-term sustainability means for Radworks. The outcome of this collective decision will inform the necessary strategic measures to fulfill the community’s aspirations.