P-20: DAO Stewards

Authors: Erik_Knobl, Kempsterrr, Chuck

First draft
Second draft

Summary

This is a proposal to define Stewards, a role tasked with ratifying the medium-term goals for the DAO, and empowered to do that via authority over budgets and Operators. 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 defining and executing 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 endorsements from 3 different Stewards 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 specific 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.

1.3 Revoke Budget

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

If any Guild, Project or Initiative 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. Each Steward can only trigger this vote once on a specific Team.

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, 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 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.
In the case of DAO Operators as Guild Leaders, this actions includes basic oversight in the process to elect them, ensuring elections are done in an open and transparent process.

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

The Council of Stewards is composed of:

  • All current DAO Operators.
  • All current Guild Leads.
  • 1-3 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. At least 2 nominees must be declared for the election.

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 for those roles 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 by the Council of Stewards:

ENCOURAGEMENT: All members 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 previously 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).

  • The Council of Stewards is appointed to be able to make decisions on 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.

  • Yes - Move Proposal to Snapshot
  • Not yet - The proposal still needs changes.
  • No - Do not move proposal to Snapshot

0 voters

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I like it very much, it is great.

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RE: Section 2.2: Core Team member definition for a guild or project is ambiguous. Who determines the Core Team and how is it known who these members are? This needs to be clarified.

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Thanks for the correction. It’s generally considered a core team member of a project/guild those persons with the ability to sign transactions in the multisig of the initiative.
Will add a clarification at the bottom of the proposal.

That’s ok, but be aware that newer, significant contributors are excluded with that criterion.

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Newer, significant contributors unknown to any of the current leaders, yes. We have a path to integrate those candidates by being sponsored by at least three current Stewards. If a highly qualified candidate arrives, eager to contribute, I would expect Stewards to talk to the person, and be open to sponsor him/her into a role.
This path would also allow the DAO to “recruit” individuals directly into leadership positions. And in any case, the community will have to vote them into the role.

Please lets not add another layer of ambiguity on to this. There are significant contributors that are not only known by project/initiative leaders, but also D_D DAO leaders. Let’s give everyone a voice and not dance around it, which has been my experience for 3 1/2 months.

Why should another layer of “recruitment” or “acceptance” be added to this?

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Yes. The main focus is to have stable contributors as candidates. Interested to hear about your experience, and how we can improve in that area.

Forgive the rant. The experience has been wonderful between the friends made and skills learned. The main concern with the proposal is that it does not explicitly describe a path toward the stewardship role for newer DAO members (actively participating for 4 months or less). @Erik_Knobl, I do see what you are referring to in bullet point #5 of section 2.2 Elections regarding sponsorship by 3 current Stewards as the path for a newer DAO member, but it is not clear that this is the path available for the newer member. It might have a more inclusive feel, if this point could be clarified.

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Gotcha. Good point. Will elaborate more. Thanks.

Competently inline with previously set direction. (still disagree)
Instantiates yet another middle management layer. (as expected)
Good, resource-intensive work. (kudos)
This stuff should happen organically soon. * huffs hopium *

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I have not been following this as it developed, so some of my questions may have been covered internally but I don’t see them in this final doc…

I could use an org chart to make the relationship of the different named roles more clear. I see Stewards, Guild Operators, non-Guild Operators, and Guild Leads referred to (and sometimes modified from previously established powers). Seems like an awful bureaucratic thing to have to make and maintain, but waves at the burgeoning bureaucracy.

It seems unclear if/what the Stewards can do unilaterally, given that they have the ability to hire new operators, but the graphic shows operators sitting on the “Council of Stewards” - so operators have the same voice as the stewards from what I can see here.

It’s unclear if those tasks given to “stewards” are also given to “the council of stewards” or if it must be executed by the 3 explicit stewards.

I believe “Any Steward can resign at any time from the role” would be correct, vice “…at any time to the role”.

Yeah. Was thinking we may need to add a tag to the 3 elected stewards. “Elected”, perhaps?

How does it work fairly with the power to Remove DAO Operators or any other responsibilities if the majority of the Stewards are Operators?

The Council of Stewards is composed of:

  • All current DAO Operators.
  • All current Guild Leads.
  • 1-3 elected members.

Yes. It’s a motion to remove one specific person from the role. It’s expected that the others on the room will have the context to be able to make the decision.

Hey @Erik_Knobl, just for some context from my own perspective in relation to @john-mac.eth 's points and a personal and depressing experience to highlight that. Some possible solutions. And also some ideas… once again… on sociocratic selection of candidates.

John has been doing a hell of a lot of work on the Academy Education Platform. e.g. I’ve done dozens of hours pairing with him on ideation for the project, and also on a tonne of content over the last number of months. I’ve tried to have him brought into a lot of ‘Academy so-called core team’ discussions that were happening in a private group that we had set up as a social space, but it ended up also being a work space, so I had to double communicate a lot of that back in and out to him. And then that core team got even smaller, to which I felt I was no longer really a part. So in my mind, there has been a barrier, which I was unable to break down, for him to be able to contribute much, much more than he has already done. A lot of this is reflected in the long overdue two retros we did for the Academy. So I would say this has kept John’s profile much, much lower than it deserves. (And I’ll finish my piece with some comments about roles)

But what I’m more and more sad and concerned about, is that - contributions aside - his actual potential value to the projects he’s passionate about is gone unnoticed. And that is a mega loss for the DAO. And I wonder how many folks could actually say what this guy has on his resume/CV.

On a personal note. I just got confirmation today, and what I had feared for months now, that my skill set to D_D Academy is perceived as being my command of the English language. And apparently I have proven that by either writing content, or reviewing others’. And why is that? Because I’m an English language teacher by trade. So after working in education for 12 years, all I’ve apparently achieved is to become a proficient student of the primary subject that I teach! And that is the extent of the value I bring to our beloved Academy. Apparently. But actually knowing how education works, is not even under the radar. You can’t believe how saddened, and quite frankly, insulted, I was to actually hear this as confirmation to what I had feared. The reason for this paragraph is in empathy towards John, a fellow educator, and someone sickeningly undervalued. And a pretty good dev too, I hear.

When I see descriptions of the DAO in our publications, I hear about builders, writers, designers founders, community builders, etc. But there is one group that I don’t see in there, nor celebrated. I watch them come, I welcome them, hope they stay, but then they go. So I wonder, for a DAO that has education as its main mission, aren’t we missing some vital credentials for forming these councils that drive the direction and mission of the DAO? This is becoming more and more apparent to me, as I continue to push back on my motivation that just wants to wane and finally extinguish itself.

Just so I’m not ending on a completely depressing note. Something about roles and choosing people for them in a balanced and mindful way, as opposed to a lot of the knee-jerk stuff hiring and firing we’ve seen in the past. or just jumping on the ‘vote’ button cos we’re in crypto.

I’ve mentioned in discussions before about choosing people in a sociocratic manner. It’s not rocket science at all and it doesn’t take long - unlike maybe defining a policy for an organisation, which does have the potential to take a long time.

It is a good way for identifying a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses and being mindful of that for giving them, or the organisation support.

An example can be if someone is good at A, B and C, and that is identified to the org as ‘good to go’. But they need a bit of help with X and Y, so the org is made aware of that and can give extra support. But the candidate has proven to be particularly bad with Z - which becomes a point of concern e.g. they have been anti-social, discriminatory in the past, or just not delivered work as they had promised.

So the candidate has to promise to be open and honest about how they move forward in the community with this Z issue.

Giving this guarantee, it means that people always have a chance to redeem themselves openly, and in turn, mend relationships with people or tasks they have had trouble with. This fosters good relationships in the community, cuts out discrimination, meaning that people on the so-called fringes of the community have a chance to participate meaningfully, and the more centre ground people get to see the value in all of us.

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I wanted to add here some WIP documents related to the Stewards.

Stewards Meeting Format - Notion – The all-in-one workspace for your notes, tasks, wikis, and databases.

Stewards meeting template - Notion – The all-in-one workspace for your notes, tasks, wikis, and databases.