TLDR: Developer DAO is hard at work refining its governance structures, which includes simplifying its process known as DDIP to increase participation and engagement.
Suffering from highly-motivated membership leads early-stage DAOs to develop transparent and effective processes that permit ideas and changes to occur more fluidly. Keeping this process up to date based on the growing needs of the organization makes them nimble and productive regardless of externalities. At Developer DAO, the social DAO that serves to “accelerate the education and impact of a new wave of web3 builders”, they set off to establish their own robust decision-making process.
Developer DAO first introduced the idea for a Developer DAO Improvement Proposal process (DDIP) in November of 2021 to refine its governance process ahead of the launch of CODE, its governance token. In July of last year, a proposal to formally introduce DDIP as the governance process unanimously passed a vote. A month later CODE launched. With a fresh governance token to work with and the DDIP ratified, the DDAO community, at last, had an effective governing mechanism that permits changes and upgrades to the way they operate.
Improvement Proposals processes are prevalent across DAOs. They take inspiration from the Ethereum Improvement Proposals system and are often seen as more “mature” or “official” changes to how an organization works. Developer DAO uses a custom interpretation of this process to make treasury changes, leadership changes, partnership proposals, Foundation-related changes, and any other changes that affect the governance process itself.
The months that followed proved to be fruitful. With the DDIP now up and running, DDAO drew lessons on what this structure afforded them. Now, the DAO is hard at work developing and refining all aspects of its governance structures to better serve it, starting with an updated DDIP process.
On December 12th, Will Kempster, Ops Lead at Developer DAO, introduced a proposal on the forums to simplify the existing DDIP process. The proposal aims to speed up the overall governance process, improve documentation to increase engagement and participation, and provide a clear path for community members to join the allowlist by lowering the token threshold amount.
The proposal, formally known as P-21, makes five structural changes to the DDIP process. The first change removes the forum vote stage and introduces a new qualification for how proposals get elevated to Snapshot. For a forum post to move on in the process at least half of the allowlist members must comment on the post. This allowlist is a special designation given to DDAO members who hold a significant amount of CODE tokens. The second change removes the “Conversation” stage, the first stage that requires members to hold public conversations about their idea before moving them to the forum. The third and fourth changes center around the allowlist. Members who hold 25K (50K previously) or more CODE can now apply to join this special group that can elevate proposals to Snapshot. At the time of publication, this group comprises six qualified wallet addresses that are DDAO core team members.
Proposal P-21 also addresses edge cases such as conflicts of interest by requiring members to abstain from votes that they may stand to personally benefit from as well as a process for how to deal with conflicting proposals.
This meta-governance proposal refines the DDIP process at Developer DAO, a mechanism introduced to address and facilitate large DAO-wide changes. The proposal process at DDAO starts with a discussion phase, in which a forum post is created, followed by a proposal phase that includes templates and minimum engagement requirements. After 120 hours, a member of the allowlist can elevate the proposal to a Snapshot vote. Vote parameter requirements for Snapshot votes include a simple majority, a minimum quorum of 2% of the total circulating supply of CODE (200k), and a minimum five-day voting window.
Voting on P-21 concludes on January 19th and is currently poised to pass.
Some argue that it’s too early for best practices to exist within DAOs. However, over the past few years, we have seen protocols adopt existing governance frameworks from their predecessors. They adopt, refine, and restructure these same models to fit the unique needs of their organization. Governance, and the broader decision-making stack, permeates because, at least for the moment, it’s moldable and highly adaptive. Rippling through each protocol are the lessons drawn from the mistakes of others. Building one on top of another. With a better outcome in mind.
Goverance design, especially in this DAO context, is hard but rewarding and those brave enough to experiment lead the way. Developer DAO’s DDIP process is one part of its larger governance picture. The DAO is working on related structural improvements, from top to bottom. As Will Kempster states, “We shouldn’t be afraid of rethinking and redesigning elements of the game we’re playing. In fact, we should always be actively working to improve it.” DAOs never stop improving.