Re-evaluation of the RadicleDAO Stack

As outlined in The Next Phase of the RadicleDAO, the goal of this workstream is to do an “audit” of our governance tooling stack, processes, and parameters to ensure a well-functioning and accessible DAO as we approach transitioning fully by February 2023. The current deliverables of this workstream are:

  • Provide a landscape review of DAO tooling providers (e.g. Tally, Wonderverse, Otterverse etc…)
    1. Guiding Question: What new DAO tools can be used to improve Radicle governance processes?
  • Set of design criteria for well-functioning and accessible governance (e.g. reimbursed voting fees, discourse/discord integrations etc…)
    1. Guiding Questions: What pain points do governance participants have? How should we re-evaluate our governance parameters (e.g. proposal & quorum thresholds 2)?

We have already started inviting DAO tooling projects to demo their tools to the Radicle community via Discord. The goal is to get a landscape review of who’s building what, and start evaluating these tools with Radicle’s needs in mind. We’ve already hosted Otterspace, Parcel, Guild, and Boardroom - just to name a few - and have been capturing our notes in the Governance Tooling Archive. The next steps are to start evaluating each tool and consolidate a set of recommendations for what tools address existing issues or could offer improvements to Radicle’s governance process moving forward. If you’d like to propose a project that you’d like to see a demo of, please feel free to respond to this post or reach out on Discord!

We also wanted to quickly note that this temperature check is heavily intertwined with the Org Design temperature check and as the thinking around that evolves, it will act as a guide for what tooling and best process practices for this workstream.

Workstream Contributor(s): @shelb_ee

:dizzy: Further Guiding Questions

To help us consider what governance tools would be most beneficial for the Radicle community, it might be helpful to consider the following questions.

  • What are our governance “must-haves”? What elements does a “dream governance process” have?
  • What do we want to get rid of/what do we definitely need to change about the current governance process and stack?
  • What other issues/pain-points with the current governance process/stack?
  • What are some potential future governance pain-points after fully transitioning to the DAO?

:classical_building: Current Governance Process & Stack

Radicle’s current governance process is a 4-step process outlined in detail in this README. The following are the current tools and platforms used to facilitate and communicate governance at Radicle.

  • Voting:
    • Snapshot: off-chain consensus for Formal Review (third stage)
    • Sybil: on-chain voting for Governance Proposals (final stage)
  • Communication/Resources:
    • Discord: Governance section & governance-updates channel for proposal notifications
    • Discourse: proposal discussion & debate (first and second stage)
    • Governance Hub (Notion)
      • Active Delegate Platform (Notion)
  • Notifications:
    • Radicle Governance Twitter
    • Discord Governance Updates channel
    • Radicle Governance Updates newsletter (bi-weekly)

:writing_hand: Evaluation of the Current Governance Process/Tools

To help understand what tools might be most useful for our community, it is helpful to understand a few existing issues with the current process. Earlier this year, the governance core team conducted a series of interviews with Radicle contributors and investors to see what issue they ran into while trying to participate in the governance process or barriers that were keeping them from participating in the first place. The following is a collection of some of the issues discussed in these calls and from the governance core team. This is by no means a complete list.

  • Findability of governance resources and documentation. Current governance documentation lives on various public Notion pages and that are updated and maintained by the governance core team and across Discourse. These links are not listed on the Radicle website, sending folks to sift through Discord, Discourse and Twitter to find the information they are looking for. This also makes uniform on-boarding of new members difficult.
  • Lack of version controlled governance docs. As the DAO matures, it will be important for organization and transparency reasons to have more official version-controlled documentation.
  • Automation of certain tasks to ensure up-to-date information and resources. There is also a lot of manual work for the governance core team, including transferring all data to Active Delegate Platform when new delegates announce themselves, updating proposal tracker in Governance Hub. These processes could potentially be automated on version controlled pages to make sure the community always has the most recent information.
  • Staying up to date with information and governance announcements. Are we using too many platforms/mediums of communication for governance? Could they be better organized? Should communication expectation standards be set for each? How do we control that?
  • Sybil’s infrastructure issues. What other platforms exist that solves these problems? What would the transition process from Sybil to another platform look like/what challenges could come up?
    • Sybil provides two links for the Radicle profile - Sybil vs One lets you vote and the other doesn’t. This has been a point of confusion in the past that seems unnecessary.
    • Privacy issues. The only way to verify an address on Sybil is via Twitter. This is problematic for two reasons: 1) not everyone uses Twitter and 2) some voters prefer to remain anonymous when participating in governance for various reasons.
    • Sybil is no longer being maintained, meaning we cannot expect any solutions to the issues mentioned above or major support in the future. This makes is less of an ideal platform for Radicle’s governance needs going forward.
  • Poor distribution of voting power amongst core contributors. There have been attempts to help remedy this with re-distribution/delegation campaigns but still is unbalanced and not a long-term solution. Are there DAO tools/different voting mechanisms that could help here?

:mag_right: Looking Forward - Future Challenges to Address

Potential issues after transition to the DAO:

  • Payroll, invoicing and contracts. How will contributors get access to important documents needed to do their taxes, show proof of employment, get a visa, etc.? DAOs will still have to service these needs of core contributors going forward.
  • SubDAO on-boarding and coordination. How can we support and nurture the formation of subDAOs within the Radicle network? What is needed for the smoothest on-boarding, resource sharing and support?
  • Others?

:hammer_and_wrench: Available Tools & Initial Ideas for Solutions

The following proposed solutions to some of the issues discussed above are based on the conversations with contributors and community members. The tools listed below each point are from the Governance Tooling Archive. Please see this link for the most updated details and demo notes from each DAO tool.

:point_right: Make governance resources easier to find to help with on-boarding and general consensus on the governance process. This also aids in discoverability of RadicleDAO.

Potential Tools:
Radicle adding version controlled docs to the website
DAO Central

:point_right: Consolidate voting platforms - either through a new tool that handles both off- and on-chain voting or a platform that can display our off- and on-chain voting tools (currently Snapshot and Sybil) in one place (potentially through our own portal?). What would be better (why/why not?) and what options are currently out there?

Potential Tools:
Snapshot X

:point_right: Rethinking incentives. Understanding the complications that can come from incentives for voting, explore ways to incentivize governance participation through: gas refunding, NFTs, etc. What tools could be useful here?

Potential Tools:
Tally - gas reimbursement for governance participation

:point_right: Admin/payroll support

Potential Tools:

:point_right: Sub-DAO support

Potential Tools:

:point_right: Better distribution of influence. Introducing a non-financialized layer of governance could support better balance of decision-making power among the core contributors. What could this look like and how could this help give more voting power to dedicated contributors to the project? (see Org Design Workstream post)

Potential Tools:

Reminder: You can find these tools and more on the Governance Tooling Archive. As I mentioned above, we recommend you reference this page as it will be updated and curated as our research into DAO tooling continues.

:heart_on_fire: Open discussion

Now is the time to let it all out and voice problems, concerns and visions for Radicle’s governance process and tools going forward! I look forward to your feedback, comments and questions!


We discussed this post in the last governance call (link to call recording here!)

One thing we discussed that I wanted to highlight is the opportunity to dogfood Radicle Drips and Workstreams to meet some of the tooling needs for the DAO. For example the possibility to use Drips for payroll for DAO contributors. It would be great explore these possibilities with both the Drips and Workstreams teams!

FYI I will be posting an update with some more detailed mapping of our different tooling needs as well as next steps sometime this week! :dizzy:

Thanks for taking on this initiative @shelb_ee !

After joining a few calls, I had some thoughts on criteria for assessing these tools. These are more general around tools (not governance specific) and in no particular order:

  1. Maintenance: Who will be responsible for managing the business relationship / maintenance of the tool? How difficult is it to maintain? What needs to be maintained by Radicle vs their team? How hands on or hands off is the team in managing ongoing features or development?
  2. Product: If they are working with other teams, other than the number of DAOs they’re working with, do they have other metrics for how their product improves xyz? For example: What is the retention of DAO teams using their product? How long does it take for orgs to set up and get it running? What are some other features have been requested? What other features are in the pipeline? Is there a timeline for that?
  3. Product Usefulness: Do we need any special features or requests? How long will that take to build? Will it cost us extra?
  4. Costs: How much does it cost to use their tools / product? How does that scale (ie. if it’s charged per user)? What kind of changes will Radicle need to do to adopt to the tooling? Is it possible to plug into an existing flow (ie. content is coming from git based repo)?
  5. Values Aligned: Can this be open sourced? In case the company fails, does the interface and/or data live with Radicle?
  6. Startup Company Risk: How new is their product, have they found PMF, how likely is it that their company/project will survive? If they pivot their product, how will it affect Radicle?
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Thanks for the comment @louiegrey!! These are all aspects I am keeping in mind while assessing tools. I try to ask some of these questions during the demos we have been hosting on Discord, but not all get answered for each tool.

I have started working on a matrix to make key comparison details easier to see and review for folks. I will try to have this done by next week and will share here and other relavant places!