[DRAFT] Stewards v2

Authors: Erik_Knobl, Kempsterrr


This is an alternative take for Stewards, a role tasked with ratifying the medium-term goals for the DAO, and empowered to do that via authority over budgets and Operators. This version of Stewards would become the new “core” team, an energetic, elected group of people who would push the DAO forward.

Scope of Work

This proposal will formalize a council of Stewards, with the following definitions:

  1. Role Description. Definition of the scope of the role.
  2. Membership and Composition. Defining who can have the role and how.
  3. Obligations and Accountability. Defining how the DAO has oversight on their activities.
  4. Temporality and Rewards.

1. Role Description

Stewards are elected members of Developer DAO with proven experience as contributors in the DAO. It’s an ongoing role which requires active participation. The main task of the Stewards is defining the strategic goals of Developer DAO in the medium-term, and ensuring its alignment with the Mission. In order to achieve that, they have the following duties:

1.1 DAO Strategy

The main task for Stewards is planning and defining medium-term strategic goals for the DAO, ensuring they are aligned with the core Mission and Values. These goals include:

  • Treasury strategy for the DAO, both $CODE and other assets with a focus on long-term growth and sustainability.
  • Seasonal focus for the DAO, based on open retro and planning sessions for all members to participate in.
  • Any legal issues needed for the DAO to deliver its desired goals.

1.2 Review Budgets Proposals

(This description replaces the acts described in P-17: Reward Contributions in $CODE and P-15: DAO Operators for Budget Stewards).

Stewards must review proposed budgets, and express their opinion regarding them, with the purpose of ensuring fairness for contributors, taking into account the overall financial health of the DAO. Stewards must ensure that budget proposals contain clear expected outcomes. In many cases these expected outcomes will be quantitative. In all cases, the expected outcomes can be used to frame a conversation with those receiving funding about progress and whether the project should pivot or persevere.

The following are the actions they can perform while reviewing budgets:

  • ENDORSEMENT. This action certifies the budget, allowing it to continue with the process. At least 3 different endorsements are required for each budget.
  • CHALLENGE. This action asks for clarification on specific points, up to the whole budget, or asks for correction of any items. The team proposing the budget (the Team) is required to respond to this action. Failure to respond to any Challenges will render any budget void for the season.
    If the Team and the challenging Steward can’t reach an agreement, any side can ask for a vote of the whole Counsel of Stewards by tagging all Stewards in the Stewards channel in Discord, and giving opportunity for both sides to express their opinion. The vote will last for 72 hours after being triggered, and will be solved by basic majority vote of the acting Stewards. If the vote ends in a tie or in favor of the Team, the budget will be able to continue the process. Any budget can have any number of votes called on different items, but only one for each specific item.
    In the case of DAO Operators as Guild Leaders, this includes basic oversight in the process to elect them, ensuring elections are done in an open and transparent process.

1.3 Revoke Budget

(This description replaces the acts described in P-17: Reward Contributions in $CODE for Budget Stewards).

If any Guild or Project with an active budget fails to deliver Status Reports, or any Steward has any reason to suspect bad behavior in an individual and/or Team, any Steward can trigger a vote to revoke the allocation of the budget in any given month and/or permanently, by stating the case in the Stewards channel, tagging all Stewards, and giving opportunity for both sides to express their opinion and debate prior to the vote.

The vote will last for 72 hours after being triggered, and will be solved by basic majority vote of the acting Stewards. If the vote ends in a tie or in favor of the Team, the budget will be able to continue the process.

1.4 Hire DAO Operators

(This description replaces the acts described in P-15: DAO Operators for Budget Stewards).
At the insistence of any member of the DAO, (NEW) or any Guild including a new Operator in their Budget, any Steward can trigger the process to discuss a new Operator role by stating the case and propose a basic definition of the role in the Stewards channel, tagging all Stewards.

All the council must have at least 7 days to express their opinions for the role, and after that, an open, recorded meeting must be set for a majority of the Stewards to attend, ending with a simple majority vote.

If the vote is affirmative, the role will start the second phase of the DDIP process, while each Steward will have 7 days to nominate individuals and/or teams of up to three persons to perform the role. Once the DDIP process has been completed, the nominations will be elevated to a Snapshot directly.

1.5 Remove DAO Operators

(This description replaces the acts described in P-15: DAO Operators for Budget Stewards).
At the insistence of any member of the DAO, any Steward can trigger the process to remove an Operator by stating the case in the Stewards channel, tagging all Stewards, and giving opportunity for both sides to express their opinion. All Stewards must have at least 7 days to express their opinions in the case, investigate allegations, and after that, an open, recorded meeting must be set for a majority of the Stewards to attend, ending with a simple majority vote. If the vote is affirmative, the removal will be effective immediately.

2. Membership and Composition

2.1 Basic Definitions

NEW: The Council of Stewards is composed of all current Operators and Guild Leads, and 3 more elected members. The appointment of Operators is covered in the P15: DAO Operators, and each Guild is free to define the rules for elections of its own Guild Lead.

2.2 Elections

The following are the rules for the election of the 3 elected members of the Council of Stewards:
They must have one or more of the following requisites, in addition to being members of Developer DAO:

  • The candidate has performed as a core team member of a guild or project.
  • The candidate is involved in the management of the multisig safe of a guild or project.
  • The candidate has performed one of the following roles: Initiative Lead, Advisor.
  • The candidate has been a Steward previously.
  • The candidate is being sponsored by at least three current Stewards.

Failure to comply with any of the previous requisites will make the nomination void.
Elections of the 3 members will be done during the offseason, when their term is completed. The elections will be managed by a Coordination Operator. The process must have the following phases:

ANNOUNCEMENT: At least 3 days and no more than 7 days must be given for the community to learn about the process, where and how it will happen, and the rules for it.

NOMINATIONS: At least 3 days and no more than 7 days must be given for potential candidates to nominate themselves, by writing a post in the designed channel explaining the reasons, motivations and profile of the nominee.

CONVERSATIONS: At least one open meeting must take place with the nominees, for the community to be able to have a conversation with them. Considerations about time zones must be taken always.

VOTE: A special Snapshot vote must be done with all nominees listed in alphabetical order, with voting open for at least 3 days and no more than 7 days. The top 3 will be elected as Stewards. If there is a tie in the 3rd place, all tied members will become Stewards. If the nominees are 3 or less than 3, the last place in the voting will not be appointed Steward.

TRAINING: All newly appointed Stewards must complete a common training so that they are all aware of the same mission, expectations for the role, and systems and processes that they need to work within.

2.3 Resignation

Any Steward can resign at any time to the role, just by making the announcement in the Stewards channel. By doing so, he/she would lose the right to any payments for performing the role for that month and afterwards. If the person resigning also would leave an Operator or Guild Lead role, the replacement would take over the role as a Steward as well when appointed. If the person resigning is only a Steward, the role would remain unoccupied for the rest of the season, and an election would take place in the next offseason to fill the empty seat.

2.4 Diversity

In an effort to encourage a more diverse leadership in the DAO, the following action should be taken:

ENCOURAGEMENT: All members of the DAO should reach out to minority members who comply with the requisites to invite them to post their nominations as Stewards.

3. Obligations and Accountability

3.1 Monthly Council

The main action point for Stewards is the assistance to the Council of Stewards, where status of the different initiatives should be shared. Each Steward is expected to attend more than half of these meetings during the season, and vote on the proposals. Before the end of each “Seasonal Month” (i.e. before the DAO moves into the next month of a Season rather than calendar month), a council must be held to make decisions ahead of the next month’s budget allocations.

  • Before the council

    • Guild Leads, Operators and Project Champions must provide their monthly update at least X days before the meeting as per P17: Rewarding Contributions in $CODE.
    • Coordination Operation to share Financial Accounts including:
      • P&L
      • Balance Sheet
      • Cash Flow Forecast
  • Coordination Operator collects requests, creates and shares a clear agenda for Stewards at least 72 hours before the meeting.

  • Council format (Chaired by Coordination Operator)

    • Accept/reject allocation of pre-authorised Seasonal Budgets to Guilds and Projects.
    • Review request for budget amends from Guilds and Projects.
    • Review request for operational expenses (SaaS licenses, legal costs).
  • Decision making:

  • Any proposals related to the scope of the Stewards can be voted on this meeting, as long as the following requisites have been completed:

    • The proposal should have been posted in the forum for at least 72 hours, given ample time for members and other Stewards to read it.
    • No Steward has expressed opposition to the proposal.
  • If no-one contests, decisions are made during meeting and documented

  • If someone contests, decision goes to a poll vote open to the whole DAO with 3 options:

    • Yes
    • No
    • Needs info or amend (pushes decision to next Council meeting)

3.2 Transparency

The council formation, deliberation and decision process needs to be fully transparent. This means that, from the very beginning, they need to ensure that members of the DAO can follow along or catch up easily to past or active proposals. The following are the basic communication channels Stewards must maintain:

  • Regular, recorded meetings.
  • A public Discord channel where all Stewards’ async deliberation takes place. No DMs for Stewards business should take place.
  • Section in Probably Nothing devoted to Stewards deliberation and decisions.

Stewards can rotate responsibility for sharing their reasoning for budget decisions with the DAO publicly. Both assenting and dissenting views should be published.

4. Temporality and Rewards

4.1 Temporality

The role of Stewards will be held differently: Operators and Guild Leads will be Stewards for as long as they hold their other role. The elected Stewards will hold the role for two seasons, with the option of continual reelection. The goal is to provide enough time for a Steward to be able to implement their strategic medium-term goals.

4.2 Rewards

Each Steward will be rewarded with 1,000 $CODE monthly for their service to the DAO.


I like this proposal.

My only concern is the way that the Diversity section is being addressed.

Two thoughts:

  1. Create an internal program amongst the moderators to actively recruit and onboard more members from under represented communities to insure that Developer DAO is proactive and not reactive in its diversity initiatives. A lot of people who would be great for Developer DAO have never heard of it. So recruiting leaders in these communities to join as members would be a great first step.

  2. We allow for local/national (geographically based) guilds (or sub DAOs) to be created within Developer DAO that can help address some of the diversity challenges in web3.

1 Like

Thanks for pushing forward with this proposal @Erik_Knobl :handshake:

I think the membership composition is currently fundamentally flawed. IMO, if we’re delegating decision-making authority to Stewards this means it should be intentionally stacked with people who have the context and/or skill sets to make those decisions, with other additional members who can bring other perspectives/expertise/viewpoints.

We already have a process for electing leaders/operators in such verticals. IMO it would make much more sense for performing a Steward role to be a requirement of being a Guild Leads/Operator given these people should unquestionably have the context and they have already been publicly elected by the DAO and can be publicly removed.

I think a better approach would be to have the Stewards comprised of:

  • Guild Leads/Operators
  • 1-2 community member
  • 1-2 expert advisors

We have chosen to have a legal entity and with that comes financial and legal responsibility. I believe it would be incredibly naive at this stage to risk what sounds like the most powerful group in the DAO being comprised of people who do not have the context to make decisions with this level of impact.

On that note, believe it is important a Foundation director is on this team, which is awkward for me to say as the only community director given fiduciary responsibility it should be a requirement imho.

I can’t support the proposal in it’s current form without clarifications on these risks/points.

Would add that weekly participation is too much and it would be better to have a more structured monthly or, a most,t a bi-weekly session where decisions are made. Would also suggest there is ONE person each month or Season who is responsible for Coordinating the Stewards, including:

  • Make sure meeting agenda with all discussion/decision items and link reference material required
  • Ensure Steward shares an updated view of their area (assuming guild leads/operators) at least X time in advance so others can digest async
  • Minutes of the meetings are saved in public (there may be certain things that are redacted for legal reasons)

Would like to hear others’ thoughts on where these meetings should happen. Some of the decisions made will be controversial but if the team is going to make them they need to be empowered to make them, with other processes to remove them if the DAO is not happy. With that in mind, IMHO this meeting shouldn’t happen in the server.

Not fully understand the flaw you mention: Nothing stops those individuals from stepping in, and ask to be elected in that role, if they want to. Stewards is a difficult task, and any person should freely accept the responsibility.

The point I’m making is the majority of people on the stewards might not have the context required and therefore are completely unqualified to make those decisions. this is an existential risk to the DAO IMO and we’d be naive to think otherwise.

I believe it is totally fair to attach this responsibility to leadership roles in the DAO as you would a CFO, CMO, CTO, etc. in a traditional org structure. Risking decisions with financial and legal implications for example being made by people with no context of the financial and legal responsibilities is extremely dangerous and we shouldn’t have a system this early on that makes that a possibility.

With the current model, the Stewards could in theory be entirely comprised of people without this context making such decisions and that feels incredibly short-sighted IMHO. Decentralisation is great, and I support it, but not over the long-term security and stability of a public good. And definitely not in the short term when we’re figuring a lot of this out as we go.

The risk I see is trusting these responsibilities to persons that don’t want it, as we already see it happen: Persons with the full context just didn’t get involved. If a Guild Lead doesn’t care about Stewards, it won’t matter if he/she has the context, the person won’t do the tasks.
What’s the end result we want? (worst case scenarios)
High context persons with low involvement, or Medium context persons with high involvement?

My belief is, that as the role was not well-defined nor the process for performing the role, folks didn’t know how to participate. If we were to make it a requirement of being an operator/guild lead then by design then would need to participate or risk losing that role.

With clearly defined expectations and a process that amounts to a monthly meeting with pre-determined agenda and very clear decision making process I think this would be OK.

The alternative is all the people playing the guild lead/operator roles are going to have to invest even more time trying to educate the people making decisions about their area of expertise than they would be playing the stewards role themselves. I can’t see a way effective decisions can be made like this… picture a meeting of the stewards where a question comes up and no one with the context needed is present to answer.

How do you propose we solve for this if folks with this context are not part of the Stewards?

What’s the end result we want? (worst-case scenarios)

A team of engaged, informed, context-aware and elected valued aligned people making the most important decisions. Anything short of this is bad news. We get all of this for free with guild leads/operators being involved imho.

High context persons with low involvement, or Medium context persons with high involvement?

I believe if we were to have a monthly steward meeting with a very clear format we’d be fine for involvement. The lack of a process around this, extremely timeframe and ad-hoc nature of how this worked during S1 budget applications is where I believe the falt lied. With the current @stewards with a monthly meet and a very clearly defined process for making decisions, I think we would have been OK.


The main example for me to consider here is how the DAO Operators proposal came to life, really great intentions but it did not consider the financial reality and folks have had to be let down and the Foundation is incurring 6 figures worth of debt. Decisions like this moving forward should be based on the realities of the situation at the time if we hope to have long-term success.

If the people with the context are not involved in these decisions, they’re just being given even more work to educate the folks who are, and IF this is possible (very challenging IMHO), and then there are any debates or questions in the Stewards meeting and those folks are not there to fill in the blanks, decision making becomes extremely inefficient at best and existentiallly risky at worst.

1 Like

The challenges section almost forces all stewards to have notifications on for most channels by current design. May be worth having a specific channel or bot that is tagged instead

1 Like

@kempsterrrr @Erik_Knobl

Sorry to get to this this late. Before starting Operator role I was on holidays and this passed me by.

The simple solution to the dispute is to give Operators/Leads a choice if they want to be a part of the Stewards Team. If any of them would feel like that is too big of a responsibility for them they should be able to abstain from the role. If such situation arises they might nominate Guild/Initiative members in their place for the Steward role. Only if they don’t have any candidates in mind the spot will be empty.

I am up for allowing people outside of these leadership roles to have an ability to join the Steward Team, as the nomination process is transparent and they can prove themselves for the role. And @kempsterrrr proposition also gives them a chance to do that with 1-2 extra members.

Going for advisors is also a good proposition, though we need to know who they are and what can they bring to the table.

So by going with this middle approach we don’t force anyone into the role (so he becomes low motivated), but we also don’t restrict people outside of the Leadership positions from participating.

Thank you @Erik_Knobl for drafting this. I believe what you described is mostly correct and I agree with the proposition. But adding safety measures proposed by @kempsterrrr is also vital, especially since the crypto space in right now in a turmoil after the Tornado Cash situation. We will soon see legal restrictions being put on our activities and it is vital for every Steward to be aware of them.

I also agree with @ntindle that creating a space where all those things are gathered in one place would be helpful and this seems like a thing that a person responsible for good documentation and goals for Stewards’ meeting mentioned by @kempsterrrr could be in charge of.

I think bi-weekly meetings would be best. Monthly will make us all unattached from the matters of the DAO. Weekly might be to often.

@kempsterrrr @luan @wolovim
Updated with the latest changes: Instead of being a separated body, now Operators/Guild Leads are merged with Stewards.
Definitions of the monthly council have been added, thanks to Kemp for the definition.