P-13: Developer DAO Improvement Proposal Formalization

Developer DAO Improvement Proposal Formalization

Authors: tonyolendo, willblackburn.eth
See the DRAFT Proposal discussion here.
The only material change from feedback adds a third vote option in the Forum stage for showing support while wanting amendments before elevation to Snapshot.
See the initial DDIP discussion here and here.


The below proposal serves as a meta-proposal to define the Governance process after the deployment of our $CODE governance token. The proposal rules & guidelines defined will go in to affect at the launch of the $CODE token.

What is a DDIP?

A Developer DAO Improvement Proposal (DDIP) is a proposal that seeks to enact a change or changes regarding how the DAO is governed. DDIPs should be limited to the following areas:

  • Any decision that impacts the Treasury balance or allocation.
  • Founding Team and Guild Leader appointments, removals, remuneration, and process changes.
  • Advisor relationships and compensation.
  • True Partnerships with other DAO, Protocols, Investors, etc. Sponsorships do not require a DDIP and are handled by the Marketing Guild.
  • Anything that impacts “The Foundation” - referring to the foundation being setup to help the DAO operate.
  • Any other item that affects DAO governance in a material way such as Season specifications, operational working groups outside of the Guild structure defined, etc.

For example, a DDIP is not required for:

  • Guild-related proposals that do not meet the above criteria.
  • Cross-guild decisions that do not impact the treasury.

Who can create a DDIP?

While anyone can complete the first steps below to begin a discussion around a proposal, there are requirements for the Forum and Snapshot vote phases. Our explicit intention is to continue to remove controls around the proposal process. Proposal procedures are at risk for various governance attacks. As we mature our governance mechanisms, we can continue removing controls and decentralizing further.

For a proposal to move to the Forum and Snapshot vote phases, it must be championed by a DAO member with a minimum of 50,000 $CODE who has been allow-listed for Governance procedures. The passing of this process allow-lists the Founding Team members for the Governance process. The governance approved allow-list will be actively maintained and visible on our Wiki.

We hope that by the end of Season 1, we can reduce the controls on this process as we get accurate information about items such as active governing power (percentage of $CODE that is voting in proposals), $CODE liquidity, supermajority refinement, and more. A DAO member who accumulates 50,000 $CODE can trigger a governance allow-list vote without the need for a champion.

What is the DDIP process?

DDIPs must follow the process and format specified below to qualify for our governance process.

Phase 1: Conversations

The starting point of any proposal is a conversation. Discussion of a DDIP should take place on Discord, where members can provide opinions on the impact of the DDIP. There should be clear, observable agreement on an item before entering the next phase. Phase 1 can be further broken down into the following stages.

  • Post in Discord. Start the conversation in the relevant channel. This can be a guild channel where the proposal most closely aligns, the #general channel, or any place where people can discuss and share their thoughts on the idea. Work with guild leaders and moderators to ensure the discoverability of the topic and discussion.
  • Generate Consensus: At least 5 other members should come alongside the proposer to show their support for the proposal. The duration for this is open-ended. The specific means of showing support need not be too prescriptive; the conversation flow should simply show that there are other people who think this is a good idea.
  • Support and Champion: Once a proposal has been sufficiently discussed and there is clear, demonstrable support for the DDIP and the DDIP has received the nod of at least 5 backers and an allow-listed governance Champion, it can enter Phase 2.
  • If needed, Champions can be found by notifying the Moderator role in Discord.

Phase 2: Brainstorming and DDIP Development

Once an idea has received support, it must be documented in DRAFT form using the template here.

A Discord Forum post should be created under the Proposals category. The Governance Guild should be notified to create a new thread in Discord to facilitate community-wide participation and discussion. The goal is to receive even wider community discussion, review, and comments.

The Forum post template will show that the title should include [DRAFT], and the post should be tagged with draft-proposal. This will allow forum members to see that this is a work-in-progress proposal.

Phase 3: Forum Vote

A DDIP enters Phase 3 after it has received observable support in the discussion on the forum. Specifics on the timing of the next stage, the Snapshot vote, should be made clear in the post if required.

The Forum post will end with a clear vote. There should only be one affirmative vote that will move the DDIP to Snapshot voting. There should be two No votes. One to show support with amendments that can be left in the comments, and another to indicate no support for the porosal

Quorum Requirement: A minimum of 100 forum votes cast will constitute a quorum.

Time Requirement: A minimum of 72-hours must pass before a voting decision is determined.

Supermajority Requirement: A vote will be considered passed if it receives at least 66% affirmative votes.

Phase 4: Snapshot Vote and Execution

The DDIP will then be staged for elevation to Snapshot.

The Snapshot proposal will end with a clear vote. There is no quorum requirement at this time on Snapshot votes. However, voting must run for a minimum of 72-hours before the proposal voting period ends. Ideally, the Snapshot voting period runs for one week.

Once completed and if passed, execution will begin. The Governance Guild is responsible for working with the required guilds/teams/projects/leads to successfully implement the proposal. The Governance Guild will also prepare a DDIP report for the Season’s retrospective.

Quorum Requirement: A minimum of 2% total circulating $CODE will constitute a quorum.

Time Requirement: A minimum of 120 hours (5 days) must pass before a voting decision is determined.

Supermajority Requirement: A vote will be considered passed if it receives at least 66% affirmative votes.


Please vote Yes to move the proposal to Snapshot or No to not move the proposal to Snapshot.

  • Yes - Move proposal to Snapshot
  • No - I support the proposal, but with amendments.
  • No - I do not support the proposal

0 voters


I voted no because getting DDIP right is so critical for our DAO that I want to return this proposal to discussion for amendment. (It’s scary to oppose things publicly! I hope no one sees this as personal in any way.) I hold the timelines are too short to be safe in all cases. 50,000 $CODE is also too simple here, in the case we’re vesting from 20,000 (which I support, see [DRAFT] Ratify the Early Contributor Allocations of $CODE https://forum.developerdao.com/t/draft-ratify-the-early-contributor-allocations-of-code/ )
Looking forward to working together to make this even better, to lay a strong foundation for our governance processes for years to come.

This proposal is fundamentally good and has my support in essence, however I believe it is not ready for ratification.

(This is now effectively a governance experiment to see if we can work with amendments through the forum. I personally urge that we vote no and amend.)


Thanks for sharing your opinion! The worst thing we can have is a DAO that governs with blind acceptance of things.

Do you have specific timelines or other ideas to suggest at this point?

love this proposal, the only thing I’d ask for clarity on re sybil resistance

A DAO member who accumulates 50,000 $CODE can trigger a governance allow-list vote without the need for a champion.

without a champion from the existing pool, in theory could that make it easier for being added to the allow list by easier to for a bad actor? i.e. bad actor buys up lots of tokens across multiple wallets, one of those is put forward as a steward and the others vote on this?

may also be worth adding the fact that they must abstain from the vote if it’s about them.


one other thoughts on sybil resistance @willblackburn . given the forum is open, maybe it makes sense to look into solutions for taking this ASAP. I know @daeshawn.eth and others have recommend commonwealth.im a few times which i believe has the ability to token gat their forum and you can do a mass import of posts from discourse onto their platform.

could be something for @isiah to dig into as well :slight_smile:

or alternatively a way to token gate discourse


I don’t have the bandwidth to make a full set of improvements written up, so I’ll suggest a SUNSET PROVISION for this, and everything passed with this process, of 7 months, so we can pass this now and fix it later.

“This proposal, and proposals passed through its process, shall be in force for 7 months from their date of ratification on Snapshot and then automatically expire and have a vote for renewal.”

Let’s try a poll - Support SUNSET PROVISION amendment?

  • Yes, support SUNSET PROVISION amendment
  • No, do not support SUNSET PROVISION amendment

0 voters

I like the way this has been structured. I would only add something that relates to multiple DDIPs that are about the same subject, or fall under the same budget.

I think as far as time requirements, we should also add something as far as reach of audience. Like DDIPs have to be at least brought up in all weekly guild meetings, and spotlighted in the newsletter before their vote can end, or they can be enforced. I like to think of time requirements as more than just time, but rather giviing people “time” to read a discuss them. So making sure people know about them is just as important as giving them enough “time”


Token voting has the added attack surface of malicious whales potentially influencing the DAO. What stopgap measures are in place to prevent this?

One reason I pushed for progressive decentralization in the past was so that leaders would always need to be nominated pass snapshot votes. This ensures the guild has certain defenses against governance-by-wealth and potential treasury heists.

I don’t believe any of us think money is a proxy for wisdom. That said, I like everything else.


With the sunset poll in the thread, it’s not clear what would be committed to by supporting the proposal with a Yes vote. I think it should be clarified (and I’m in support of the time cap on this proposal as @RyanCoordinator put forward, so my inclination is that would be included in the revised document).


Do we have an evaluation of such risk? This seems to be our entire governance doctrine at the moment. Can we have more than a slogan please?

Tags and roles that do not exist appeared on the governance forum overnight.
Coupled with a proposal to consolidate power in the name of defending against imaginary enemies.
Feels like a governance attack to me. What next, the goverance stewards coming after this comment?

Dno mate, kindof sounds like fucking for virginity.

And totally contrary to what I think should be the default underlying set of assumptions.

That’s a very small minority.

I have questions:

  1. ~0.1% of membership? ( 50k $CODE ) Can we have a list of who those 5-6 people are?

  2. Does that mean that posting on the forum will not be permissionless anymore?

  3. Does this abolish RFCs?

I think this derails governance from the intention and need of it being a process to individual centered since a handful of people will as a result of it be able to derail and deny any proposed governance direction or activity with no recourse.

Handing all the power to a handful under state of emergency assumptions doesn’t historically pan out too well for decentralization. For that reason, I will vote against this proposal.

This forum is or can be token gated as it has [native of implemented?] sign-in with ethereum capabilities.
EDIT: I am hereby offering to customize the implementation if needed.

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You are a core, compensated member of the community. Imagine how others feel.

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If we can do that imho then we should definitely explore. Probably worth chatting with @isiah / @willblackburn in the next Governance call about the best solution - what you’re suggesting vs migrating to Commonwealth.

Do we have an evaluation of such risk? This seems to be our entire governance doctrine at the moment. Can we have more than a slogan please ?

Here is an example example of how other DAOs have been victims of Governance attacks. At the moment our Governance is on an ERC-721 token with 1 vote per wallet holding any number of NFTs, this provides some built-in Sybil resistance as it would be pretty annoying and expensive to perform an attack.

When $CODE is launched people will be able to freely purchase it on the open market thus opening up the potential of a bad actor purchasing all the available supply and putting a harmful proposal through Governance. Whilst still expensive, it’s MUCH easier and if say our treasury had $500k USD and it was only going to cost them $400K USD to purchase enough tokens to empty the treasury, what would stop them from doing that?

Would you want a proposal that empties the treasury into an attacker’s wallet to go through?

I assume not. So in order to stop that we need measures in place that resist that being a possibility. If we don’t have transparent measures in place that are part of our Governance procedures the only way to stop that would be whoever has the keys to the treasury refusing to make the transfer which feels much less democratic/decentralised to me, no?

That’s a very small minority.

Correct. The general approach we’re taking is progressive decentralisation i.e. moving slowly to ensure we don’t put the DAO at risk. What would you prefer to see?

  1. ~0.1% of membership? ( 50k $CODE ) Can we have a list of who those 5-6 people are?

At $CODE launch this the original Core Team, so me, @willblackburn , @wolovim @with-heart @dabit3 and @Erik_Knobl . The intention is to review this during Season 1 with the community to find the right balance.

  1. Does that mean that posting on the forum will not be permissionless anymore?

Anyone can post to the forum, only people that are allow-listed to elevate proposals can add a forum vote or move a vote to snapshot.

  1. Does this abolish RFCs?

RFCs were never a formal process, they were something created by the Development Guild to help members think about, share and get feedback on ideas.

I think this derails governance from the intention and need of it being a process to individual centred since a handful of people will as a result of it be able to derail and deny any proposed governance direction or activity with no recourse.

We’re all operating under a social contract. If this small group act in bad faith then I suspect the DAO will cease to exist as people will not put up with it. If it were safe to decentralise everything right away then we would do that however we don’t believe that is the case. FYI this DDIP process wasn’t created solely by the group that currently “holds the power”. Others in the community we’re involved in drafting this proposal, specifically @tonyolendo.eth made the first draft, but I believe many from the Governance Guild weighed in.

The questions you’re asking are really important and hopefully, the thoughts above shed some light on the thinking behind the approach (although not speaking for @willblackburn or others) these are my personal views. Really interested to hear your thoughts!

Side note, everyone is trying to move this forward in good faith for the best interests of the DAO, no one is trying to centralise power for their own gain or anything of the sort.

The attack that you are describing as well as linked is not possible because:

  • not enough freely circulating supply for an economic attack
  • an attack would always cost more than the value of the treasury
  • the community (what gives the token value) can fork away
  • all token based attacks can be prevented with token swaps, locking $CODE for access, charging services in $CODE or a DIP empowering the treasury to monitor and sell $CODE if the theoretical value of the circulating supply is bigger that 2/3 of the treasury’s value. (problem solved) God knows what solution can emerge if we ask or if it would be easy to propose them for wide consideration.

The chances of a successful economic attack are ~0 :pray:. Would be a cool way to 5x budgets tho.

  • The social contract which we all signed has in the title “Decentralized” and “Autonomous”.
  • Proposals that centralize power and institutionalize gatekeepers are in breach of it.
  • There’s no instance where centralizing power as part of decentralization has ever worked out.

It’s my responsibility to that social contract, and to myself to say something. Personally, I cannot think of a lower effort, bottom shelf governance solution than this. It doesn’t even pass the very low bar of rugpull prevention. Not only that, but restricts participation. Progressive decentralization, if that’s what we’re doing, implies progress towards decentralization. I fail to see how this moves us in that direction.

It is everyone’s fault. Mine as well. But now a bit less so. :sweat_smile:

I think would be easier. Dno what commonwealth is, I’m sure Elizabeth will love it though.

I’m fine with it as long as I get a “governance OG guru for real” badge for the hours I have so far put in on this forum. But I mean, it’s fine. What’s another rugpull between friends?

Great Stuff, thanks for sharing the information