Through my (admittedly nascent) experience in the forum, I have a noticed a growing trend of what appears to be community and DAO misalignment, concern, and/or confusion (see here, here, here). I think part of this misalignment is caused by a legitimate concern of the DAOs finances, runway, and deliverables, and for those with limited context, a perception that the DAO internally is not doing too much to alleviate this concern.
By better serving this context to its community, as well as by clarifying the nature of the relationship between DAO and community, I believe GitcoinDAO can form a healthier DAO-community relationship, and benefit better from the community’s collective intelligence and support.
Below I synthesize all known sources of information (to my knowledge), what type of context they provide, and how easy it is to find. I also provide information on all of the different roles within the DAO community (both implicit and explicit, to the best of my knowledge), as well as the access given to these roles, and how likely they are to be able to find it. Finally, I provide suggestions on how context might be provided in better ways and how communication may be improved. Please feel free to suggest any edits or thoughts!
Sources of Information
The discord is open to anyone, with even more permissions granted to those given the DAOCitizen role, which is pretty easy to earn (a short introduction of yourself will do it). I would consider this the most basic entrance into the community, along with the forum.
- Able to generally discuss the DAO and plans of the DAO
- Overall though, the discord chat is relatively inactive, with many questions going unanswered, and real discussion being infrequent
- Weekly DAOVibes call, although the topic of the call is predetermined. No general community townhall or anything of the sort
- There is also no channel or official avenue to ask questions/offer suggestions to internal DAO contributors as a community member
- There are, however, channels open to community members for each specific workstream, however, the activeness of these channels just depends
- Overall, I’d consider the discord a pretty low-context source of information. Not too much engagement there, with the exception of the DAO Vibes call which occurs regularly and has 10+ people show up and engage every week
The forum is also open to anyone. It’s also pretty easy to find as a community member.
- Less conversational than discord
- Where official proposals and Gitcoin documents are presented to the community
- Difficult to navigate. Since anyone can post, it’s hard to figure out what’s an important, ratified document, and what’s just a discussion/suggestion/opinion
The Gitcoin Digest is a weekly summary of everything happening in the Gitcoin DAO
- It’ll note forum posts with a lot of attention
- It’ll highlight open proposals or recently finished proposals and their results
- It will highlight external DAO announcements, like the announcement of a milestone in one of the products
- A pretty good community resource that provides quick and solid context, but not really sufficient for a community member looking to dive deeper into the operations and performance of the DAO internally
- This resource is well advertised
A monthly summary of the decisions and discussions of the primary internal governing body of Gitcoin
- This digest is new (started within the last couple of months) and gives deeper context on the inner operations and work of the DAO
- Provides link to CSDO calls and meeting notes
The notion has a treasure trove of information on the DAO and its internal operations and direction: it’s where all of the workstreams do their project management and note-taking (to my understanding), but figuring out how to get to all of this information is a bit…difficult.
Provides summary of the DAO. History, purpose, essential intents, and links to workstreams as well as the Steward Council.
- A bit confusing, since at the top the purported mission is different than the purpose stated later on (I believe this is due to the fact that the TL;DR post that is featured at the top was written before the new purpose of the DAO was created)
- Although links to workstreams are provided, there is no quick explanation on what workstreams actually are, nor is there a direct link explaining what workstreams are, and what role they serve in the DAO
- Furthermore, there is no direct link on the homepage to the CSDO, which is an important governing body in the DAO (more on that later)
Explains what the CSDO is, why it was formed, and how it operates
- Contains list of past meeting notes (which also contain links to meeting recordings)
- Contains link to database of CSDO decisions, but not super obvious to get there unless you already have context
A database of all proposals made through CSDO, as well as which ones have failed/passed
- Just a database, no explanation or link to an explanation to how these proposals are brought up and passed
No explanation or link to an explanation on what the Steward Council is, or even what a Steward is
- Meeting notes on previous calls are available from this page, but it’s not obvious what they are
- It feels like a page built for internals, or people with high context already, as opposed to a page supposed to be giving context in a transparent manner
A database of all important forum posts for getting context on GitcoinDAO
- The closest thing we have to a wiki
- Not super readable
Weekly call open to all community members.
- Limited in topic and scope. Rarely touches on internal DAO operations, mostly a call for getting feedback from the community or informing the community about a specific topic
- Call is recorded (audio only for right now)
A monthly call for all of the stewards.
- Workstreams DO give operational updates here, so is a pretty good place for gaining context on the DAOs progress
- Call is not recorded (or at least the recording isn’t shared openly) (EDIT: Calls are now recorded)
- Meeting notes are available
A monthly call for the stewards on the stewards council (see below for more info)
- Provides even more context and allows high influence stewards (as elected by the community) to ask questions and offer suggestions to DAO Contributors
- Meeting notes are available
- First call has not happened yet, so it might be recorded (EDIT: Calls are recorded)
Weekly call for CSDO body (more info on them below)
- Calls are recorded
- Thorough meeting notes are taken and posted in Notion
- Best way to gain in depth context on DAO Internals, though is time-intensive
Within the DAO, there are various roles, some both explicit and implicit, with varying levels of access and levels of context. Below is a summary of these different roles, ranked from least context to most context
Community Members (DAOCitizen)
- Have access to weekly DAOVibes call
- Have access to a privileged DAOCitizen channel in discord as well as workstream specific channels (many of which aren’t too active)
- Have access to forum (can post and read)
- Have access to public CSDO calls
- Can vote/delegate
- Otherwise have the same context as non-token holders
- I think a lot of the frustration and confusion comes from this category, because they have token, and thus feel invested in the DAO’s direction, but typically don’t have as much context as the below groups, and that context is actually pretty hard to get
Stewards - Link
- Stewards initially was set up for cGrants round management (see below), but now that cGrants is being deprecated, it’s unclear what the role of stewards are (at least through the forum post as shown below)
What are stewards?
- Setting grants round categories and sizes (how much funding should go to a matching pool for core infrastructure as compared to community or media?)
- Determining what kinds of public goods we care about (e.g. is an open source project with VC funding still a public good?)
- Defining what kind of behavior counts as a sybil-attack or collusion (when is collusion just squads vibing)
- Finding credibly neutral ways to display grantees so that everyone has an equal shot at being funded
- Have access to a monthly stewards call (see above “Sources of Info”)
- Have access to a good amount of context, and actually have an explicit onboarding process to get this context
- Even still, as a new steward myself, it took some time to get situated with how GitcoinDAO works (particularly the internal dynamics, like CSDO and what they do)
Stewards Council - Link
- Elected from a workstream defined list of stewards
- Meets twice a month with workstream representatives and thus should have pretty high context considering they should get updated by workstreams bi-monthly
- These are members of workstreams
- There is also some different categories within this role, but they aren’t super clear (trusted vs full-time vs part-time?)
- They have a lot of context: internal DAO communication channels on discord plus all of the above
CSDO - Link
- Each workstream gets two members
- Is the governing body of cross-stream operations within the DAO
- They have the most context
Unclear where their power stops and community power begins
- Except for budgets. Budgets and treasury are very clearly community decisions
Overall, GitcoinDAO does a fairly good job of working in public. A LOT of information is available not just to token holders or community members, but to the public at large. The problem comes in trying to find all of this information and parse through it. I’m sure many community members don’t even know all of this information is available to them.
Right now, the best avenue to get context in the DAO is to become a Steward. But Stewardship suffers from the following problems:
- Isn’t advertised widely
- Implies some form of responsibility (what if I’m just looking for context but don’t yet feel comfortable voting?)
Here are some suggestions for making it easier to obtain context within GitcoinDAO, and thus hopefully improve understanding and communication between GitcoinDAO and its community
- Add some more context to the GitcoinDAO homepage: What are workstreams? What is CSDO? What is a steward? What is the role of a GitcoinDAO community member?
- Some of this information is on linked forum posts, but I feel like this basic info should be right on the homepage
- Form a Community Member Onboarding Checklist (similar to the Steward Onboarding Checklist)
- Advertise the CSDO digest in the Gitcoin digest
- Whenever a forum post is discussed in CSDO, comment a link to the CSDO meeting notes on that forum post
- Create a very readable Gitcoin wiki (EDIT: MMM has a working draft) to host all relevant information, as opposed to having it scattered among forum posts
- Clarify the relationship and decision-making dynamic between the core DAO and the community
- Create some sort of formatted town-hall call with the community, where the community can pose questions to the stewards and/or core DAO
Let me know your thoughts and if I missed anything.