[Incubation] Amendment to the Conflicting Votes section of the FOX Governance Process

Summary

An issue was recently identified with the ‘Conflicting Votes’ process defined in the FOX Governance Process. If passed, this proposal will address the issue by updating the ‘Conflicting Votes’ instructions.

Abstract

The FOX Governance process currently includes the following instructions for how to handle Conflicting Votes:

“From time to time there may be conflicting proposals. To avoid issues, the Ideation phase can also serve as time for anyone to list their preferred alternative option on the forum. Each proposal on an associate topic will have a [TOPIC] block placed in its title.

After that time, a formal proposal will be put forward including all options available to move forward with that received majority support in Ideation.

This will ensure that everyone has the ability to surface their preferences while keeping decision timelines reasonably short.”

Fun fact: this language was forked from Gitcoin DAO’s Governance Process :green_heart:

However, ShapeShift’s governance process differs from Gitcoin’s in that there is a mandatory 3-day phase prior to the Ideation phase known as Incubation.

Recently, while SCP-131 was in Ideation, a counter proposal, SCP-128, was submitted to the Incubation stage. By the time SCP-131 had passed Ideation, SCP-128 had not yet been submitted to Ideation. This begged the question as to whether SCP-131 could proceed to the official voting phase or needed to wait to see if SCP-128 entered and passed Ideation so the Conflicting Proposals process could be applied. In this case, the proposer of SCP-131 kindly agreed to wait for SCP-128 to go through Ideation, but noted that the Conflicting Votes process should be amended to prevent indefinite delays in the future.

Motivation

This proposal updates the language of the Conflicting Votes section of the FOX Governance Process to prevent indefinite delays in the Governance Process and to provide clear guidance to the community for when a counter proposal must be submitted in order for the Conflicting Votes process to apply.

Specification

If this proposal is passed, the Conflicting Votes section of the FOX Governance Process will be updated to the following:

Conflicting Proposals

Conflicting proposals are proposals that are active at the same time and address the same issue or are mutually exclusive.

In the case of a conflicting proposal, the Ideation phase can also serve as time for anyone to list their preferred alternative option on the forum. For the Conflicting Proposals process to apply, counter proposals must be complete the Ideation stage no less than 5 days after the original proposal. Because the governance process for the original proposal is already in progress, counter proposals may skip the Incubation stage go straight into Ideation.

Each proposal on an associated topic will have a [TOPIC] block placed in its title.

After that time, a formal proposal will be put forward including all options that received majority support in Ideation. This ensures that everyone has the ability to surface their preferences while keeping decision timelines reasonably short.

Benefits

The proposed improvements to the Conflicting Votes section provide necessary clarity and time constraints.

Drawbacks

If the proposed amendment to the Conflicting Votes process is implemented, any valid counter proposals will be able to delay any proposal that passes Ideation for up to 10 days. The reasoning behind this is to provide a reasonable time frame for counter proposals to be submitted and move through the minimum 8-days for Incubation and Ideation without delaying proposals indefinitely.

It’s important to note that the current process lacks any clear time requirements for when a counter proposal must be submitted nor conclude Ideation.

Vote

For: Amend the Conflicting Votes process

Against - Do not amend the Conflicting Votes process

Thanks @willy! It’s a much needed clarification.

The worst case scenario time-wise would be someone posting a counter proposal Incubation message on the last day of the Ideation of the original proposal (which already took minimum 8 days). Then it needs to complete Incubation (minimum 3 days) and Ideation (minimum 8 days with a vote). Your proposal seems give it two more 2 more days but set it as a maximum, ensuring it should be done within 10 days maximum for it to qualify as a counter proposal. During this time the final vote of the original proposal is delayed.

It seems relatively long, so I’m wondering if we could instead skip the Incubation phase (3 days) for the Counter Proposals. From what I’ve seen in previous cases, usually alternative ideas have been floated around for a few days during the (minimum!) 8 days process of original proposal discussions (Incubation and Ideation). This would shorten the process a bit, and make it possible to add options to the final votes in maximum 7 days (2 days buffer + 5 days of Ideation), provided the ideas in the counter proposals pass their Ideation vote.

On a side note, this being the Incubation phase of your proposal, isn’t this vote just indicative in this case? The actual 3 options vote should happen at the Ideation phase as far as I understand.

Thanks @willy! It’s a much needed clarification.

The worst case scenario time-wise would be someone posting a counter proposal Incubation message on the last day of the Ideation of the original proposal (which already took minimum 8 days). Then it needs to complete Incubation (minimum 3 days) and Ideation (minimum 8 days with a vote). Your proposal seems give it 2 more days but set it as a maximum, ensuring it should be done within 10 days maximum for it to qualify as a counter proposal. During this time the final vote of the original proposal is delayed.

It seems relatively long, so I’m wondering if we could instead skip the Incubation phase (3 days) for the Counter Proposals. From what I’ve seen in previous cases, usually alternative ideas have been floated around for a few days during the (minimum!) 8 days process of original proposal discussions (Incubation and Ideation). This would shorten the process a bit, and make it possible to add options to the final votes in maximum 7 days (2 days buffer + 5 days of Ideation), provided the ideas in the counter proposals pass their Ideation vote.

On a side note, this being the Incubation phase of your proposal, isn’t this vote just indicative in this case? The actual 3 options vote should happen at the Ideation phase as far as I understand.

gm @Fireb0mb1, really appreciate the feedback.

Agree 10 days seems rather long. I really like your suggestion of enabling counter proposals to skip the Incubation stage to shorten the maximum potential delay. In fact, we could even eliminate that 2 day buffer because the initial reasoning for the buffer was that it takes time to move from Incubation to Ideation.

Based on your suggestion, I am going to update the proposed language to enable counter proposals to skip the Incubation stage, and require that they complete Ideation no later than 5 days after the original proposal.

Thanks for the great suggestion!

Thanks for posting this @willy !

I just want to make sure I understand this part here

For the Conflicting Proposals process to apply, counter proposals must be complete the Ideation stage no less than 5 days after the original proposal. Because the governance process for the original proposal is already in progress, counter proposals may skip the Incubation stage go straight into Ideation.

So if Proposal A is being voted on during ideation and at the last minute Proposal B is raised, Proposal A has to wait (potentially) up to 5 days before proceeding?

If I understand correctly, I think this is still too long and a way to delay the process to the detriment of the entire DAO, especially if we are also skipping Incubation. Anyone, regardless of community sentiment, can now delay any proposal by 5 days.

I am much more in favor of shortening this up significantly, the community is ultimately still in control and can always vote Proposal A down knowing a perhaps better Proposal B is in the works. Slowing down governance further to me seems like the wrong step.

the community is ultimately still in control and can always vote Proposal A down knowing a perhaps better Proposal B is in the works.

They would need to be aware of “Proposal B” before they cast their vote on “Proposal A” for the process to be equivalent. Otherwise you clearly give a big advantage to “Proposal A” just for the sake of it being first.

The desire to see the first proposal end its Ideation process quickly shouldn’t trump probing what the community really wants when the proposals are about the same issue in my opinion.

If the additional time of 5 days is unbearable for the DAO, maybe the solution is to add any formal Counter Proposal (that meet the standard and format of the Ideation phase, without requiring the vote) as an option to the final vote of “Proposal A” in your example. Then the community could really “always” vote for the ideas they prefer.

In that case if “Proposal A” fails Ideation and there’s no final vote, nothing prevents the Counter Proposal B to become its own Proposal and start the process at the Ideation stage.

especially if we are also skipping Incubation. Anyone, regardless of community sentiment, can now delay any proposal by 5 days.

How does skipping Incubation for a Counter Proposal in this case (people already debating the issue), which doesn’t require a vote to proceed to Ideation, change anything beside shortening the time needed for the whole process? The goal of Incubation (3 days) is only to give an idea to the Proposer if they really want to go through with formalizing an Ideation document and ask for a vote or if their idea isn’t worth it based on the eventual feedback they receive. It doesn’t even require to follow a specific format, unlike Ideation.

Apologies, with ETH Denver I haven’t been paying as close attention to governance, but appreciate this clarification Willy. and Thanks 0xean for suggesting it!

I hear you both @0xean and @Fireb0mb1, the potential of delay is a significant drawback, but I’m also interested in ways to shorten it that still provide reasonable opportunity for counter proposals to emerge.

I’ll be offline for the rest of the week for dao camp, but will use the opportunity to think about and get feedback on this challenge, and will plan on moving this forward to ideation next week with a proposed solution.

Sounds good! I’m still trying to find if there would be issues with allowing any Counter Proposal that follows the format of an Ideation proposal to show up as an option in the final vote of a Proposal… and I can’t come up with any yet. Any input is welcome about this.

This would mean the Ideation phase (minimum 5 days) of the original Proposal becomes also the period during which all the alternatives the community can come up with can be formalized. Since they would have to follow the format requirements of Ideation (without the delay), the voters would then be able to judge them on the same ground as the original Proposal, but during the final vote.

If the voters don’t give the original Proposal a chance and it fails Ideation then there’s no point voting for the alternatives (if the Counter Proposer think they do, they can start the Ideation process on their own again, most of the work would be done for it already).

Voters might have to vote in favor of the original Proposal during Ideation in order to be able to vote for one of the alternatives in the final vote, I don’t see this as an issue as to me Ideation votes were always a way to say “Yes, this idea is worth a Final Vote” (or the opposite) and not “I fully agree/disagree with this”, as discussion don’t instantly stop once the Final Vote starts, people can still change their mind… especially if they are offered more vote options.

I like this option @Fireb0mb1. The only downside I can think of is that ideas that wouldn’t pass Ideation on their own can still make it up for final vote. While not ideal, I think that’s an acceptable tradeoff and less problematic than the original solution proposed which makes it possible to delay any proposal for up to 5 days.

Will move forward to Ideation with your proposed solution. Thank you for the suggestion!

Ideation commenced: https://forum.shapeshift.com/thread/scp-132-ideation-amendment-to-the-conflicting-votes-section-of-the-fox-governance-process-43006

Update: Deleted and recreated the initial ideation attempt with the correct poll options https://forum.shapeshift.com/thread/scp-132-ideation-amendment-to-the-conflicting-votes-section-of-the-fox-governance-process-43030

No problem, I think that since it relates only to Proposals that counter something currently in Ideation or is mutually exclusive with the original Proposal, it shouldn’t be an issue.

If someone attempts to falsely claim their Proposal is a Counter Proposal to skip the Ideation phase, I’m not sure how they expect to get legit support for it in the Final Vote. If it is a form of attack, e.g. to execute an automated transaction on the DAO’s treasury, maybe, but if somehow they manage to manipulate the vote in order to get their false Counter Proposal to pass the Final Vote, I’m not sure what would have prevented them from passing their own Ideation and Final Vote in the same fashion… a much better protection against this kind of attack would be the current UMA oSnap proposal :smiley:

sound good!

Very impressive

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