Proposal for a (lightly) structured approach to governance comms

I’ve really appreciated all the effort and thought that has gone into conversations over the last few weeks. I’ve noticed, however, that sometimes the conversation jumps - in the same thread - from “have you considered this particular RNG implementation?” to “every POOL holder should get a pony!” This… breadth… of conversation makes it difficult to come to conclusions and identify meaningful next steps.

The value of having a little structure is that it can keep us from having circular conversations, make it easier to engage at the level of our expertise, and let us plan for the future without delaying what needs to happen today.

I propose a general outline that looks something like this:

  • Why: Vision - used to define and scope Objectives (based on the Constitution)
  • What: Objectives - set goals associated with Major protocol versions (v5, v6)
  • How: Actions - define tasks tied to Minor versions (v5.1, v5.2)
  • When: Priorities - determines sequencing of Actions in Minor versions
  • Who: Proposals & Reporting - used to request funds & report results (PTBRs, etc.)

Vision (Why)

This is the “big why” providing high-order alignment for the community. Vision should be clear enough to differentiate us as a community, but broad enough so that it doesn’t need to change often - and it shouldn’t encroach on the lower-level items that must regularly change (the WHAT, HOW, WHEN, and WHO).

It is impossible to have a coherent conversation about which implementation approach makes sense if we don’t have consensus on the vision. For my part, I’m here because I’m aligned with the Pooltogether Constitution, and largely agree with @Brendan about the decentralized future described in A Sustainable PoolTogether.

I’m aligned with the core values and positive-sum approach of PT, and believe the community and the protocol can succeed with our values intact.

Next Steps - Vision:

  1. The community should reaffirm the Pooltogether Constitution. If there are items about the vision and values that the community believes need to change, let’s address them at this level.

Critical addendum on Vision: if you have your own funds, you can have your own vision, and allocate your funds to support your vision however you like. The long-term for PT may indeed include a variety of funding sources supporting adjacent communities with diverse visions. That’s fine - but while the PT treasury remains as a single fund, we should keep consensus around a single vision.

Objectives (What)

These are the goals we’ve agreed to pursue, goals that move us toward the vision.

Let’s start pragmatically here: v5 is already built based on an existing set of objectives, and much time and effort has gone into realizing those objectives. v5 has challenges, but mid-flight is NOT the right time to decide on new wing geometry (unless you’re in an F-14, in which case, rock on).

The lowest risk course of action for PT right now is to finish what was started and see v5 through to a sustainable place. Every minute spent rehashing the design objectives - and the resulting implementation - is a minute lost making v5 the most sustainable version of itself.

Going forward, the time to decide on objectives is before we fund related activities. There have been multiple conversations about returning to v3 approaches, adding protocol-level fees, changing the core prize token, etc. These are all valid conversations, but they constitute new objectives - and so should be part of a “v6” set of discussions. Otherwise, v5 will become a scope-creep Frankenstein of incompatible ideas that - no matter how good any one idea is - the implementation itself MUST fail.

Next Steps - Objectives:

  1. A common language for Objectives: If we’re willing to abuse SEMVER a bit, I propose aligning Objectives to major versions (v5, v6, v7), and using minor version numbers for quarter-over-quarter actions & priorities that implement those objectives.
  2. Clarify in one place the existing Objectives for v5: @Brendan, you’ve communicated the objectives of v5 in writing and in calls at various times, but it would be useful to have them captured in a single place, along with an outline for why G9 set the objectives they did (i.e., why vault-level fees and not protocol-level fees, why POOL as the utility token, etc.).
  3. Move new or altered Objectives discussions to v6: I believe now is NOT the time to rehash the decisions that have already been made for v5 (the time and money has already been spent implementing against them) - instead, major objective discussions should be linked to a v6 discussion.

Actions (How) & Priorities (When)

This is about HOW we achieve the Objectives, and WHEN they will be achieved. This is where implementation discussions (like how to handle RNG) belong, as well as where prioritization and opportunity cost discussions fit.

While the community is essential for establishing Vision and Objectives, Actions & Priorities require expertise: we’re not all Solidity programmers, or security engineers, or social media managers. Discussions at this level should defer to the experts, while allowing the community to engage primarily on Priority - determining what order makes the most sense to achieve the Objective.

Next Steps - Actions & Priorities:

  1. For v5, request that G9 create a v5.1 (Q1) discussion thread that outlines what actions are planned and the prioritization. This thread can serve as the canonical source for what G9 is expected to do, and can branch out to other posts for discussions about specific implementation choices or prioritization order.

Proposals & Reporting (Who)

The PTBR already provides this functionality - if we connect it to a structure (what I have proposed here is one possible way, but there are definitely others!), I believe it can function as it already has, but in a way that is inherently more transparent and anchored to the community’s expectations.