[RFC - Governance Update] Committee Formation Criteria

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Title: Committee Formation Criteria

Author(s): Britt - Across Community Manager

Status: RFC

Related Discussions: This proposal would result in an update to the operating manual, found here, and is inspired by the conversation started by this post.

Submission Date: 01/16/2023

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Summary:
This proposal introduces a recommended set of criteria for creating a new committee. This is a concept that was introduced in the Across Governance Operating Manual but needs to be expanded upon before it can be implemented in a meaningful way.

Motivation:
In our current Governance Operating Manual, you can see that we introduce a proposal type called “Committee implementation or replacement (future)” but did not provide any further details. It was decided that the criteria of this proposal type should be voted on by the DAO. We define committees as “Subject matter experts that consider and pursue goals specific to their domain, acting in the best interests of the Across DAO.” Whenever we’re granting a group or person permission to do things on behalf of Across, we should seek to be aligned in the conditions in which this persists. This proposal recommends a starting set of criteria for committee creation. Presently, the Risk Labs foundation is set as the “universal admin for the protocol.” The introduction of committees would allow some of those responsibilities to be divided up accordingly, which is a step in the direction of decentralization.

Specification & Implementation:

The following is what I’ll recommend as an amendment to the current Governance Operating Manual under the “Proposal Types” section. If adopted, the changes should be reflected on the forum and the docs site (if applicable).

Type Description Submission Requirements Vote Duration Quorum Threshold
Committee implementation, removal, or replacement A vote to introduce a new committee or replace an existing committee Forum + Snapshot 7 days + time required for steps 1 and 2 in voting cycle 20M 51%

Composing Committee Proposals:

This proposal type should include the following components in addition to those required in the current proposal template:

  • Purpose of the committee. What is the value added for Across?
  • Scope of the committee. What work will they be responsible for?
  • Reporting requirements and frequency. How can tokenholders assess the quality of work done by the committee? What time interval is appropriate for their job?
  • Intended lifespan of the committee. Is this a special purpose committee, or will it fulfill a role that the protocol needs continuous support on?
  • Composition of the committee. Include a link to bio of each member and outline their participation in Across up until now. Share any relevant experiences or qualifications they have.
  • Starting monthly budget breakdown. Committees may manage a small amount of capital to meet the needs of their operational purpose. If applicable, include information about the address that is intended to be used for operational funds. This budget does not include committee compensation. Committees will receive their budgeted funds at the start of each month from the Across DAO Treasury. Whenever possible, this amount should be limited to 1 month of operating expenses at a time.
  • Brief overview of committee operations (general workflow, communication channels, expected outputs, etc.)
  • If the proposal is to remove or replace a committee, it should still address the above components.

Committee - tokenholder relationship:

By voting to form a committee, tokenholders are voting to entrust and delegate a specific set of decision-making responsibilities to the committee. It is, therefore, ACX tokenholders that each committee is accountable to. If a committee fails to perform, it is the duty of ACX tokenholders to replace or remove the committee from service in a reasonable amount of time.

Committee Membership:

Committees should include no more than 5 and no fewer than 3 members, each of which should have relevant experience and/or qualifications to support their presence in the committee. It is recommended to designate a committee lead, who would be held responsible for the coordination and reporting on behalf of the committee.

All committees are compensated by the Across DAO Treasury in the same way. Upon approval, a committee will receive a base level of rewards in the amount of $5k equivalent in $ACX + between $5k-$10k equivalent in ACX Success tokens (each token is valued between 1-2 ACX). This amount is meant to last for a 3-month period. It is up to each committee to determine the distribution of these tokens, the details of which must be included in the snapshot vote. This should include wallet addresses and amounts for each committee member.

At the end of each quarter of service, a committee will be given an additional $10k equivalent in $ACX, except in the case of a committee being removed from service by tokenholders during that quarter, in which case there will be no additional rewards. The distribution of these funds will be determined by the committee members by way of a peer review score. This is to be paid out by the Across DAO Treasury.

Committees that are composed of Risk Labs representatives will not receive compensation from the DAO.

Note: the peer review process will be found in more detail in a new “committee” section of the forum after this proposal is passed. The template for peer review (TBD) should be evaluated regularly and updated as needed to meet the needs of committee participants. Because this process only effects the distribution of funds amongst committee members and does not change the amount of funds designated to a committee, this template can be updated whenever there is a soft consensus that it’s necessary (no formal vote required).

Committee Tools:

  • Discord - to be used for general communication between committees and tokenholders.
  • Forum - to be used for more formal committee reporting, and committee peer reviews.
  • ??? - to be used for payroll (as needed)

Rationale:
The decision to use a committee format was chosen because DAOs tend to suffer from over-centralization or over-decentralization. Not every decision should require a tokenholder vote, and systems that follow this path tend to be prevented from making timely progress. For example, most people do not need to care how the community is moderated - only that it is done well. On the other side of things, It makes sense from a collaborative standpoint to have a committee of individuals involved in community oversight that report directly to ACX tokenholders (rather than having the entirety of this responsibility fall on Risk Labs).

The suggested compensation model is inspired by the one used in Optimism (see here). The success token component helps to ensure that committee members are long-term aligned with Across, while the flexibility within a committee to determine distribution allows members with different needs to be taken into consideration by their peers. Critically, this setup requires committee members to come to an agreement on compensation. If they fail to do so, it will be visible to all tokenholders, and the likelihood of that committee remaining in service at such a time is not high.

Some of the required components above were included so that when optimistic governance is implemented, funding steps can be executed in a way that can function within that system. For example, including committee compensation details in a proposal would allow anyone to cross-check that an optimistic funding transaction from the DAO is legitimate and has passed governance.

Downside (Cons):
One possible failure mode here would be that we vote in a committee that is unable to perform. In such a case, the DAO would have sacrificed about $15k in ACX. Fortunately, in that case, there are learnings that could be harnessed to improve upon the requirements for starting a new committee.

Open Questions:

  1. What’s the right expiration timeline and strike price for the success tokens?
  • 1 year, $0.20?
  • Same terms as investor success token?
  1. For committees that manage funds, what are fund management requirements?

Voting:
A “yes” vote will result in an amendment to the Across Governance Operating Manual that details the process by which a committee is formed.

A “no” vote will result in no amendment to the Across Governance Operating Manual.

Link to snapshot vote: TBD

7 Likes

As a person that thrives towards efficiency I would say that having the payments at the end of the month will make the committee memebers be more goal focused. This way may also help to maintain the standards in the last month of the quarter.

Thank you @Britt for this well thought and put together forum proposal, this covers pretty much everything for the creation of a committe.

  1. i think 1 year, $0.2 would keep the committee members motivated and also ensure they get paid for their work ensuring they stay aligned with Across longterm goals.

2.regarding how the committe would manage funds, I think the committee can draft up an itemised expenses that the committe will look after eg; paying roles, subscription for certain tools like @tumilet wanted to do for Across like analysing the bridging data and push out a report on a monthly basis. I think the committee should be given a total amount for that specific quarter to ensure that there is no misuse of a large sum and should be done on a 3/5 multisig.

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Very well thought out @Britt . On the peer review note funny enough I think we would need a committee delegated to just checking in on how the other committees are doing. This committee or group/person would be responsible for the project management side of things and holding tasks accountable similar to https://www.ethereumcatherders.com/ what are your thoughts on this.

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there would be only one committee for now, consisting of 5 members whcih would create roles dor dev support and mods, could you please elaborate why we would need another committee to check on this?

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@Britt it’s a good initiative to form the committee. We should start at the earliest so that things get rolling. I am sure RL / ACX token holders will have a eagle eye view on the things the committee is taking up and show the improvements in implementing the things required for the Across protocol to run smoothly.
We can use REP3 to assign tasks for integration, education activities, marketing tie ups with different protocols & giving bounty program to the interested members .

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Hey nithin this would kick in after the other committees are set up we would need someone or a committee to make sure everyone is on track I’ve seen in the past when committees self review many things slip past them without any outside oversight

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@Justin_J I tried to consider this dilemma a bit when putting this together. If we fall into the trap of having a committee to oversee committees, then who oversees that committee? At some point the buck has to stop at tokenholders. So I tried to introduce some components that would empower tokenholders to hold committees accountable.

  • Requiring the committee to include reporting requirements and frequency in their formation proposal is a way of asking them to tell us how to hold them accountable.
  • By asking them to detail the way in which they intend to operate, we’re asking them to tell us how to check in on them and keep up with the work they’re doing.

In my mind, the peer review component isn’t really a way for tokenholders to approve of the work a committee does. That’s something that should be happening at all times, which I tried to capture by articulating the duty that tokenholders have to hold committees accountable for the work they’ve agreed to do. It’s actually just meant to be a way for the committee to determine how their rewards are distributed after the work is done.

In terms of administering the peer review process, this could be something that’s posted by each participant on forum. I might imagine having a template that each committee member uses to evaluate their own work and the work of others during the last 3 months. And then the reward is distributed according to their combined scores.

I’d be curious what others think of that approach.

2 Likes

Very Good points

In terms of administering the peer review process, this could be something that’s posted by each participant on forum. I might imagine having a template that each committee member uses to evaluate their own work and the work of others during the last 3 months. And then the reward is distributed according to their combined scores.

I like this idea a lot by posting to the forum you give transparency and accountability in a single action.

1 Like

I also agree that posting on the forum could be a great way for committee self-attest to their progress and follow a template as you suggest. As the community continues to grow we can refine this process but I think this would be a great way for us to get started.

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@Britt I think this proposal is very necessary, specifying the criteria will be more conducive to recommending the next step of community work, thank you for your work

With regards to success token I think a 1yr maturity makes sense. I’m not sure a 0.20 strike makes sense - it currently seems far from market. Would we want to incentivize people more by having it a little closer and with a higher probability of reaching. (I’m bullish on ACX, but just want to point that out.)
How often do the committee members change? Would it make sense for new success tokens to be minted and that would require a different maturity and strike price each time. Maybe even a formula of some sort.

I have a question. Does the committee have executive authority, in that it acts in the interest of the DAO within the bounds of its allotted ACX amount? Or does it act to recommend to the DAO to act. I personally think the latter is better than the former but they both have benefits.
There may need to be different types of committees so we know the structures and the powers of that committee.