Introducing the Steward Council

Abstract

When GTC launched in May, governance over the Gitcoin platform was handed over to the community via a group of individuals known as Stewards. Stewards are trusted community leaders with delegated voting power to make decisions on behalf of the community.

This post looks at the potential creation of a steward council as a move towards a more active and engaged participation mechanic in governance. This council will consists of the most engaged stewards as exemplified by the engagement scorecards with a rating above 8/10. An open application process will also be in place for community members to join the forum provided their engagement score is 8/10. (*details on engagement scores below)

Note that GTC allocations will be distributed to the forum via a number of mechanisms which will evolve over time.

This proposal is split into the following sections:

  • Motivation: Why setup a steward council
  • Specification: A roadmap for implementing mechanics
  • Distribution: allocations for stewards work based on engagement (measured via the engagement cards)

The various sections of this proposal will be divided into separate Snapshot polls so any section that may require further discussion does not block other moving parts.

Motivation

Over the past six months, the Gitcoin community and Stewards have been working tirelessly to build the first pillars of Gitcoin governance. There has been a lot of engagement on the Gitcoin forum and Discord, as well as wider discussions but the need for a sustainable engagement model is clear. Not just for Gitcoin DAO but DAOs in general.

The reality is there is just so much happening in crypto and the DAO space so there needs to be a way to not only keep track of it all but enable engagement through simple, non overly taxing yet highly valuable engagement flows. This is a first step towards that.

While we’re grateful for the hard work and time that has been committed thus far, we are swiftly realizing all of the Stewards have jobs, projects and commitments outside of Gitcoin which demand their attention. We have found that it is important to more actively involve not just those Stewards who are participating in Gitcoin day to day, but also those who can offer more of an outsiders’ perspective.

For this reason, we believe that it is both necessary and justified to begin rewarding Stewards for their time and energy in the form of additional governance rights.

The principle is simple: those who have participated in such a nascent system and are shaping its core functions would be some of the best people to guide it to a stage where broader contributions are possible.

It’s worth noting that these rewards are intentionally distributed in the form of governance weight with no economic value.

Specification

Stewards Council Overview

The first Stewards Council will be active from the time the proposal passes for a period of 120 days, with an evaluation in view of potential extension at the 90 day mark. The 120 day cadence matches the quarterly events in the Gitcoin DAO calendar such as grants rounds and offers a great opportunity to reflect, expand and amplify the mission of GD.

A formal structure to future forums will be presented at the end of the 120 day mark, assuming the model is deemed valuable by the community and any essential and valuable learnings are incorporated in the model.

Steward council responsibilities:

  • Keeping a ‘docket’ of ongoing proposals / their current status

  • Ensuring proposals follow template(s) / creating any necessary adjustments to template(s) (a proposal geared towards proposal simplification and standardisation will be posed shortly)

  • Coming to an initial y/n answer on the proposal itself

  • Bi-weekly sync calls for better alignment & broader DAO strategy discussion

This splits the responsibilities of the stewards as follows and ensures a more manageable curated governance flow:

Steward forum: governance contribution / decision making

Steward top 5: governance ratification / execution (putting proposals up on Tally for now)

Steward Selection

The selection will also take into account information from the steward engagement cards - in time, this will need to include better/finer metrics:

  • Evaluate how often the steward votes with the majority in Snapshot votes
  • Track not only the number of forum posts, but the steward’s reputation on the forum based on likes and replies
  • Better curation of voting engagement needs - notifications when a new prop is up and then measure the voting speed

Community members who sit outside of this threshold are welcome to submit a proposal to join, with incoming applications reviewed by the existing Stewards group (or a committee dedicated to onboarding).

Engagement Cards

This is the current format of the steward engagement cards - https://stewards.eth.limo/

The aim is to diversify and expand measured engagement angles and even have the stewards update their cards with relevant information in the context of the council mandate and their tenure in the council. As a first step towards this, we will look at a baseline engagement score of 8 out of a possible 10 for participation in the forum.

First Forum Distribution

The proposal is that a pool of GTC is allocated across the Stewards council for the term. This is to cover gas costs incurred in voting and offer fair allocation for the group as long as they fulfil their functions outlined above.

Separate Snapshot proposals will be made outlining further detail around these allocations, their timelines and their distribution.

To begin with, we can look at three options in terms of compensation:

A. 5,000 GTC
B. 10,000 GTC
C. 15,000 GTC

The options are there for the community to assess what a fair level of compensation might be in the context of the steward forum and its mandate. Please include thoughts on these levels in comments.

TL;DR

This proposal looks to start a conversation around a Steward Council that would use representation and incentives as a main driver for sustained and increased engagement in the governance process.

It is designed to be a first attempt at a more engaged governance dynamic and by no means the only step forward. I would like to see a discussion around this followed by experimentation with a first forum. Lessons learnt will not only serve GD but the DAO space at large in terms of evolving DAO tooling and progressing our ecosystem.

10 Likes

Hi @Pop!

The Stewards of GitcoinDAO play a decisive and significant role over the governance and it’s imperative that we can get a great percentage of implication, post ratifications weekly or bi-weekly, emphasis on every proposal that has been posted and follow-up from prior inquiries.

Your idea is just to create a new thread in this forum or build an on-side website to host this steward forum?

Right now there is these 2 website for the steward report cards:
Steward Report Cards (eth.limo)
Steward Report Cards (daostewards.xyz)

The stats might need to be refreshed.

Voting on Tally is around 70$-100$ to cast a vote (it might be reduced with lower gas fees)
Voting on snapshot is free witch is pretty great

I would personally like to see more engagements with the ramifications from past proposals, posts, and +1 to the weekly bi-weekly stewards call.

I will be definitely voting yes to this if we can define and lay down a few details and debate over the proposed idea. Thank you @Pop for bringing this up!

3 Likes

Hi @Pop
thanks a lot for your introduction, I like this idea.
For steward, we (GitcoinDAO) should have some ways to incentive or ignite them. we need to involve them in the DAO constructions.

For the top 10 delegated addresses, from what I observed, some of them are not active. not sure if we could add some more steward here. For example from different perspectives, regions, etc.

(As steward and active DAO contributor, I would like to join the steward forum)

3 Likes

Happy New Year! Having spoken with quite a few of you in the community over the past two weeks (thank you for all your inputs and DMs), it’s clear the selection of stewards for the forum needs to be more refined and include better weighting towards the steward card engagement scores vs top delegated to addresses. I will say that I have seen a shift in the top delegated addresses lately though so I am encouraged by a potential natural reshuffle based on engagement.

I encourage the community to make suggestions regarding a formula, dynamic or mechanics of how the forum selection might be more inclusive so that we can move this forward asap. :point_down:

4 Likes

Thanks for putting this together. I’m supportive of these efforts to increase engagement and reward those that contribute. I’m especially supportive of covering gas costs incurred in voting and submitting proposals on Tally for stewards as costs can be prohibitive or discourage some from participating.

I had a similar question to @Sirlupinwatson, where do you see Steward Forum discussions happening in practice beyond the bi-weekly sync calls? Is it located in this existing forum/Discord, in a separate location, or just on the calls?

Also wanted to understand some of the recommended steward selection metrics. Is the steward frequently voting with the majority in Snapshot votes a positive or negative signal for steward forum selection? Also, I’m not sure if voting speed is a useful signal as long as someone voted in the period since some people may need more time to evaluate or aren’t available in that moment.

4 Likes

Hi @Pop

I like this proposal, really
because there are many talent people in the GitcoinDAO Steward, but they are not active.
(maybe there are different reasons)

So if I could make the selection, I would consider following factors:

  1. voting power (definitely)
  2. activity (health, we need active people to take actions)
  3. availability (if he/she is available for this)
  4. passion (maybe, guess all the stewards are passionate about the Gitcoin mission)
5 Likes

Thank you for your thoughts - I 100% agree some of the engagement metrics needs refining and even redesigning to better illustrate meaningful participation and generally encourage the community to get more involved.

The stewards monthly call can remain as is with the forum members potentially having a separate, much more strategy based bi-quartely synch (start and end of the quarter). I see this as less of a proposals that need discussion/voting on and more of a strategic look at that GD can focus on and achieve on a medium/long term trajectory. For forum members, this would be part of their mandate and a key engagement piece looking at strategic long term impact vs short term decisions.

2 Likes

Thanks for organizing this initiative.

I’m in favor of rewarding top stewards, but to ensure an informed vote, can you expand on how these initial estimates were developed? Is there something we can compare to? How would we know if we need more or less?

Thank you!

2 Likes

I’m happy to see some refinement of the criteria. I think there’s been good progress toward that. I’ll throw out a few thoughts.

  1. I think we should be wary of weighing voting power too highly. That seems to me to skew the incentives a bit. Voting power, in and of itself, carries a lot of weight. Part of the purpose of this group may be to serve as a foil for some of the voting power. Sort of like a separation of powers kind of thing.

  2. Taking an idea from the real world, groups like these sometimes have ‘ad-hoc’ members who are perhaps voted in by the others already in the group as someone who should be in the group but isn’t because they don’t strictly meet whatever criteria there are.

  3. As someone notes below, passion for the mission should somehow be recognized. Not sure how to do this. Showing up at the monthly meeting? Voting on proposals? Formum posts? Maybe that’s health on the cards, so maybe that’s enough.

Generally, my thought is less weight to voting power and more to engagement, passion, alignment with mission.

Also, we might consider having some sort of rotating seat where people come on and off. This might incentivize people to participate with particular expertise as an example.

Overall, I think it’s a great effort. Thanks for your hard work Simona and team.

7 Likes

Hey @Pop thanks for this proposal.

In general as we also discussed in our call I have changed my mind and think that stewards should be somehow incentivized for their work. So am happy to see this proposal but also have some feedback.

  1. I agree with @tjayrush voting power is not a good metric. It’s really more like a popularity thing than anything else. I got a lot of voting power cause … well no idea really. I should not be incentivized financially more just because of that.
  2. What are the other criteria for incentivization. Is it the cards seen here: https://www.daostewards.xyz/ ?

For me the incentivization should be quite simple but also be broken down to simple things.

  1. Gas rebates. Paid in ETH. I would simply like, as an active stewards, to fill in a spreadsheet with links to all my transactions for the DAO and get the same ETH + a percentage for tax since it counts as income unfortunately in most jurisdictions. I have spent a lot of ETH for voting, making proposals and multisig votes.
  2. Activity/engagement. That’s hard to measure. The steward cards are a good step towards it but there is so many things that stewards do that is not measurable. I mean damn … just reading these forums and discord is almost a full time job.
6 Likes

The estimated tiers were based on the forum as a whole, for the whole term. So that number, eg. 5,000 GTC, would be for all 10 members for the 3 month term which would average at aprox. 167 GTC per steward/month. The thinking was cover gas and any other expenditures incurred by gov process as well as rewarding stewards for their participation with more governance tokens.

2 Likes

Incredibly valid points and I wholeheartedly agree - I am therefore evolving to a dynamic of 5 & 5 forum make up wise: the current top five are actually pretty engaged also so this may work out well for the first forum. The engagement based five can be identified from the following lineup looking at the stewards who have a score over 8 in terms of engagement and not already in the top 5 delegation power wise.

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:+1: :+1: Sounds good! Sounds good! :+1::+1:

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Quick update here - found a bug on Tally that’s messing up proposal engagement numbers for the stewards. I was going to move this to Snapshot on Friday but I am hoping this will get sorted today so I can queue it up for voting.

ALSO - thinking of changing steward forum to steward assembly or council. What would be preferred?

2 Likes

Thanks for this detailed proposal!

Some comments below:

I would emphasize that I hope you pick a clearer name. This is our governance forum, where stewards give feedback. When we internally refer to the forum, this is it - gov.gitcoin.co.
I would propose a Steward Council, a Steward Committee, Steward Alliance, Agora… something like this? Let’s avoid unnecessary naming confusion at all cost. (edit - see also your own comment now here) :slight_smile:

It would be good to share the exact calculation of that top 10. In the steward engagement cards I see the health is defined by as Forum posts * Voting participation + Weight. How will this top 10 be defined for the council? Wouldn’t it be ideal if the top 10 follows the exact same logic as the report cards? Then we have one consistent system.

Edit: wrote this (on purpose) before reading other comments, I agree with what @tjayrush’s & @lefterisjp’s sentiments on this.

(By the way I still see a little bug here @Fred: if you open the website, wouldn’t it make sense that the default order is health? Which it says is the case if you look at the filters, however I’m currently on n°1 but if you hit the ascending/descending button I’m at n°10, which seems more correct)

Also, I assume that some selected stewards will not have the time to commit, for those I guess we move to the next one in line?

I would definitely vote for the lowest amount here. This covers gas + a nice compensation for a few meetings + activity on this forum.

Also: wouldn’t it make sense that we always reimburse voting costs for any stewards? Whether they are on this council or not?

Overall in total support of this proposal.

5 Likes

I would love to participate what sort of time requirement is it do you think?

I agree wholeheartedly… It would be really easy to track the on-chain gas costs and reimburse at regular intervals… It would prob make sense to put a minimum GTC to vote with so that its worth the gas… but still great idea

2 Likes

Thank you ALL for the thoughtful conversation around this - both here on the forum and in DMs/calls.

It has taken longer than expected to put this together since I wanted it to be a thoughtful, representative and meaningful selection process done with the GD community, for the GD community not just for the short term but for the medium and long term considerations for the DAO governance ecosystem as a whole.

I will create a V2 of this proposal with the lineup for the first council determined by the engagement scores mentioned and explain the background and the mandate more.

3 Likes

I’m a little late to the game here, but wanted to add my two cents. Fundamentally, I have serious concerns about the council’s accessibility. The structure essentially favours people with ample time and money.

I think the scorecards are not the best/only way to track engagement. As was said, many people have full time jobs doing other things, and keeping up with the volume and modality of the communications in the early stages was like having a part time job. I also echo the comments that not everyone has $100 per vote to boost their score. Selecting on these metrics automatically disqualifies people who are less wealthy.

I would look at elimintating the score for the first round and laying out the expectation for the role moving forward. Everyone can run, and we can select accordingly. If the winner’s scores don’t hit a certain target by the end of their tenure, then they can’t run again until the score is improved.

2 Likes