Decentralized Futures: OpenGov Community

OpenGov Community

1. General Project Information

Short description: Implementing a decentralized community management system to support the Polkadot ecosystem governance and treasury spends through expert auditing, marketing, and community engagement.

2. Context

The Polkadot OpenGov has witnessed significant growth, leading to an increase in the number and diversity of treasury proposals. While this growth is a positive indicator of community engagement, it has also highlighted the need for a more structured approach to proposal evaluation and support. The current system lacks a dedicated team to interact with proposers during the discussion phase, guide them using established best practices, and ensure the clarity and transparency of project descriptions. There is also a need for a systematic way to compare new proposals with similar past projects and to effectively communicate and promote these initiatives within the community.

There is a crucial requirement to effectively track the progress of projects after they receive funding. This involves monitoring the projects to ensure they are progressing as planned and verifying that the promised work is being delivered. Effective tracking not only ensures accountability but also provides valuable insights into the project’s development, challenges faced, and the overall impact. This process is essential for maintaining transparency, building trust within the community, and ensuring the efficient use of treasury funds.

3. Proposal

Drawing inspiration from the W3F Grant Program, OpenCommunity Governance and recent decentralization of the Parity team, this decentralized program aims to empower community members to contribute their insights, feedback, and expertise to the treasury projects from their approval to the delivery.

The OpenGov Community aims to establish a dedicated team to audit, guide, and promote treasury proposals within the Polkadot ecosystem. This team will ensure that proposals are well-structured, transparent, and aligned with community expectations. All reports and updates will be shared on various platforms to ensure wide reach and engagement.

4. Scope of work

The project involves the following key activities:

4.1 Internal Auditing

In our OpenGov Community System, internal auditing represents the crucial first step. This process is where proposals are initially entered into the system, reviewed, and then categorized. Each proposal undergoes a detailed audit, examining the proposal’s structure, content, milestone, timeline, deliverables, budget, team and ecosystem fit ensuring it aligns with the Polkadot ecosystem standards and objectives.

The audit process for treasury proposals follows the Treasury Proposal template that I previously created. This template, accessible on Polkadot site, provides clear guidelines and outlines the important elements that a comprehensive proposal should include.

A key learning from our experience on Kusama is the potential burden placed on proposers when their submissions are graded with public audit reports. To address this, while we will maintain the audit documentation process, these audits will now be transformed into internal documents. This shift is aimed at reducing the pressure on proposers while still preserving the integrity and thoroughness of the review process. This approach ensures that the auditing process is both effective and respectful of the proposers’ efforts, contributing to a more collaborative and productive treasury proposal practice.

For reference, the previous audit reports from the OpenCommunity initiative, which serve as a benchmark for our auditing process, can be accessed here. These reports display the depth and detail we aim to maintain in our internal audits i.e:

Kusama Referenda #167 Audit Report

Audit Template ensures that our audits are comprehensive and consistent across different proposals.

4.2 Categorization and Comparison

In the evolution of the Polkadot and Kusama OpenGov, the need for a more refined categorization system for treasury proposals became evident. After extensive conversations with various entities within the ecosystem and the integration of feedback received over time., we have developed a comprehensive document that will serve as the foundational framework for categorizing projects funded by the treasury.

OpenGov Categorization framework marks a significant step towards a more organized and effective treasury proposal system. It is a living document, open to revisions and updates, ensuring it remains relevant and responsive to the progress of the Polkadot and Kusama ecosystems.

A detailed list of the defined categories, accompanied by their respective subcategories and explanations to provide clarity on each classification:

  1. Core Infrastructure
  • Indexers: Enhance efficiency in blockchain data retrieval.
  • RPC Services: Enable external communication with the blockchain.
  • Development: Focus on new clients and core infrastructure products.
  • Other: Miscellaneous core infrastructure projects.
  1. Non-Core Infrastructure
  • Blockchain Explorers: Tools for exploring on-chain data.
  • Governance Solutions: Simplify interaction with on-chain governance.
  • Data & Research: Provide insights and research on blockchain data.
  • Other: Miscellaneous non-core infrastructure projects.
  1. Chain Configuration
  • Runtime Upgrades: Propose modifications to the Relay Chain core code.
  • Parachain Parameters: Deal with operations and parameters of parachains.
  • System Changes: Suggest modifications to Relay Chain system parameters.
  • Other: Miscellaneous Relay Chain referenda.
  1. Development
  • Core Features: Improve network functionalities and security.
  • Tools & Utilities: Supportive tools, libraries, and documentation.
  • NFT: Development related to NFT platforms and tools.
  • User Experience: Enhance software design and user interface.
  • Wallets: Develop and maintain wallet applications.
  • Multisig: Focus on multisig solution development.
  • Other: Miscellaneous development projects.
  1. Ecosystem
  • Parachain Operations: Develop functionalities for ecosystem growth.
  • Collaborations: Partnerships with other blockchain projects.
  • Liquidity Provisions: Initiatives to provide market liquidity.
  • Other: Miscellaneous ecosystem projects.
  1. Marketing
  • Content: Creation and distribution of textual content.
  • Video: Production and distribution of video content.
  • Multilingual: Translation of materials into various languages.
  • Other: Miscellaneous marketing projects.
  1. Community
  • Events and Conferences: Organize and participate in community events.
  • Hackathons: Organize and sponsor hackathons.
  • Education and Training: Provide educational resources and training.
  • Support and Help: Offer assistance and moderation to the community.
  • Other: Miscellaneous community projects.
  1. Other
  • General: Projects that don’t fit into predefined categories.
  1. Invalid
  • Timeout due to Missing Preimage
  • Canceled by Other Referenda
  • Failed: Referenda that failed due to execution issues.
  • Early Recognition of Faulty Submission: Identified early in the process as having errors or issues.

It will enable the team and the community to understand how new proposals fit within the broader ecosystem context and their relative strengths and weaknesses. With categorization, we can assess the proposal in the context of similar projects, drawing insights from past experiences and outcomes. This comparative analysis is vital in understanding the proposal’s uniqueness, strengths, and areas that might require further development or clarification.

4.3 Initiating Dialogue with Proposers

Following the internal audit and categorization, the next step is to engage with the proposer directly. This engagement is a critical phase where we initiate a conversation about the proposal’s details, based on the findings from our audit and comparative analysis. The dialogue aims to provide constructive feedback to the proposer, highlighting areas of strength and aspects that could be improved.

Additionally, while the auditor roles are primarily responsible for leading interactions on platforms like Polkassembly and Subsquare, we recognize the importance of broader media engagement. Therefore, a dedicated marketing role is responsible for handling interactions on more expansive media formats, such as AAG shows or similar types.

4.4 Referenda Summary and Promotion

After the conclusion of the on-chain voting process, our team will undertake a comprehensive analysis of the referenda data. This analysis will culminate in the production of an infographic that succinctly summarizes the key aspects of the on-chain referenda. The infographic will include vital information such as voting outcomes, community engagement metrics, and highlights of the proposal’s objectives and potential impact.

The primary purpose of this infographic is twofold:

  1. Informative Summary: It serves as an informative summary for the community, providing a clear and concise overview of the referenda outcomes. This visual representation makes it easier for community members to understand the results and implications of the voting process.

  2. Promotional Tool: Alongside its informative role, the infographic will be used as a promotional tool on various social media platforms. It will be paired with similar projects within the same category to showcase the diversity and richness of the projects funded by the treasury.

By sharing these infographics on social media allows us to reach a broader audience, including those who may not be actively involved in the day-to-day activities of the ecosystem but are interested in its developments. It also serves as an educational tool for potential proposers, offering insights into successful proposals and encouraging them to participate in future referenda.

4.5 Project Tracking and Reporting

A primary function of the audit team is to closely monitor project updates and mark the completion of deliverables as communicated by the project team. This involves a detailed review of the progress reports submitted by the project team, verifying the achievement of stated milestones, and ensuring that the deliverables align with what was outlined in the original proposal. This process is critical in assessing the project’s adherence to its planned objectives and timelines.

The audit team will proactively approach the project team to check on progress (monthly, quarterly updates) to build a culture of accountability and progress, essential for the thriving of the Polkadot OpenGov.

4.6 Outcome Analysis and Reporting

Upon project completion, an outcome analysis is conducted. A comprehensive report is prepared, highlighting the project’s achievements, impact, and any learnings for future proposals. This report is shared with the community, completing the workflow cycle.

This workflow represents a structured and community-centric approach to managing treasury proposals, ensuring each project is thoroughly vetted, guided, and monitored for the benefit of the Polkadot or Kusama ecosystems.

Each of these milestones is designed to build upon the learnings from previous outputs, ensuring that the team not only effectively manages and supports treasury proposals but also contributes to the growth and development of the Polkadot ecosystem.

5. Milestones

5.1 Team Assembly and Training

  • Tasks:
    • Recruitment: Assemble a skilled team proficient in Polkadot governance and auditing.
    • Training Program: Develop a comprehensive training program on Polkadot governance and proposal auditing.
    • Continuous Learning: Implement ongoing learning opportunities for the latest ecosystem developments and best practices.
  • Deliverables:
    • Recruitment Plan: Document outlining recruitment strategy and team roles.
    • Team Composition Report: Detailing team’s skills and expertise.
    • Performance Metrics: Clear metrics and criteria for team evaluation.

5.2 Development of Audit, Categorization, Tracking, Analysis, and Reporting Frameworks

  • Tasks:
    • Audit Framework: Establish criteria and procedures, integrating best practices from previous audits.
    • Categorization Framework: Define categories and subcategories for proposals.
    • Tracking Framework: Monitor the progress of approved projects.
    • Analysis Framework: Develop criteria for evaluating project impact and success.
    • Reporting Framework: Design comprehensive report formats and establish a regular reporting schedule.
  • Deliverables:
    • Framework Documents: Detailed guidelines and manuals for each framework.
    • Digital Tools: For categorization and tracking.
    • Report Templates: Standardized for various project stages.

5.3. Implementation of Proposal Guidance and Review Process

  • Tasks:
    • Lead discussions on platforms like Polkassembly and Subsquare.
    • Provide constructive feedback to proposers.
    • Facilitate a feedback loop in community discussions.
  • Deliverables:
    • Feedback Integration Reports: Summarizing key points and community input.

5.4. Referenda Summary and Promotion

  • Tasks:
    • Analyze referenda outcomes and create infographics.
    • Share content on social media and promote projects.
  • Deliverables:
    • Referenda Infographic Report Detailed analysis of voting data and project impact.
    • Social Media Content: For promotion and engagement.

5.5 Project Tracking and Reporting System

  • Tasks:
    • Design a project tracking system.
    • Regularly monitor project progress and report on status.
  • Deliverables:
    • Project Tracking System: For effective monitoring.
    • Progress Reports: Regular updates on project status.

5.6. Outcome Analysis and Reporting

  • Tasks:
    * Conduct thorough analysis of completed projects.
    * Compile findings into a comprehensive report.
  • Deliverables:
    • Outcome Analysis Report: Detailed project evaluation.
    • Community Feedback Summary: Compilation of community responses.

Our aim is to create a robust system that not only improves the proposal process but also builds trust in treasury management. We’re committed to managing every aspect of a proposal’s journey transparently and efficiently.

6. Team Responsibilities and Duties

Project Lead (1 FTE x 12 months)

  • Documentation and Reporting: Manage all project-related documentation, including plans and reports.
  • Quality Assurance and Control: Oversee QA/QC processes to maintain project standards.
  • Feedback Integration and Development: Actively integrate feedback for project evolution.
  • Strategic Direction: Regularly evaluate and adjust the project’s strategic alignment with the ecosystem.
  • Team Leadership: Provide consistent guidance and coordination for the team.
  • All-around Involvement: Ready to assist across all project areas as needed.

Senior Auditor (0.5 FTE x 12 months)

  • Collaboration with Project Lead: Work closely with the Project Lead for strategic insights.
  • Leadership Responsibilities: Prepare to assume some Project Lead duties.
  • Audit and Categorization Oversight: Ensure alignment of audit frameworks with project goals.
  • Review and Feedback: Provide feedback for continuous improvement.
  • Quality Control Oversight: Maintain quality standards across project entries and outputs.

Project Auditors (2 positions at 0.5 FTE x 11 months)

  • Proposal Audits: Conduct detailed audits of current and past proposals.
  • Report Writing: Compile audit findings into detailed reports.
  • Collaboration: Work closely with the Senior Auditor and Project Lead.
  • Historical Proposal Review: Analyze past proposals for trends and improvements.
  • Quality Assurance: Adhere to QA/QC standards and refine auditing techniques.

Social Media and Marketing Role (0.5 FTE x 11 months)

  • Social Media Management: Oversee all related social media accounts.
  • Content Creation: Develop engaging content for social media posts.
  • Community Engagement: Foster a positive community environment on social platforms.
  • Promotion of Polkadot OpenGov: Implement campaigns to highlight project successes.
  • Investment Cycle Display: Showcase the Polkadot Treasury’s investment cycles.
  • Outreach Beyond Ecosystem: Extend promotional efforts beyond the current ecosystem.

7. Relevant documentation

The list of previous work relevant to the project:

Treasury Proposal template

OpenCommunity Governance

Github

Audit Template

OpenGov Categorization

Treasury Management v0.1

Reports and Analysis

8. Examples and Mockups

Kusama Referenda #167 Audit Report

Thank you all in the Polkadot community for your support and engagement.

4 Likes

Auditing proposals and providing more support to the OpenGov community will go a long way in improving the quality of spends and expanding the OpenGov culture. Coinstudio’s expertise makes him the perfect person to lead this initiative.

2 Likes

Hey CoinStudio,

Want to begin by introducing myself: I’m Erik, part of the governance efforts of Simply Staking, a validator and blockchain infra provider, among other things.

On the whole, I think this is a really interesting proposal you’re putting forward as i see it aimed to address the key issue of decision-making quality in decentralised governance. I have a few questions that arose from reading this:

Recruitment: Assemble a skilled team proficient in Polkadot governance and auditing.

  • How will the members of this dedicated team be chosen? Will there be a community voting process or some other selection criteria?

  • How will potential conflicts of interest be identified and managed within this team?

  • Would the team members remain stable or how do you see the possibility for rotational membership?

Altogether I think you outline a very comprehensive plan, which brings me to my next questions:

  • How much do you estimate the cost for this initiative to roughly be, and how will resources be allocated amongst the various activities?

  • What metrics or criteria are you considering to evaluate the effectiveness of this community management system?

  • How does the proposal plan to scale and adapt this system as the Polkadot ecosystem grows and evolves?

  • What are the long-term goals of this initiative, and how does it align with the broader vision of the Polkadot network?

Quite a few questions for you to tackle, my apologies if I still managed to miss any obvious answers within the text.

Thanks again for your thorough contriubtion and looking forward to hear your thoughts on the questions above.

1 Like

Hey @justErik,

Thank you for raising these insightful questions. I will try to provide answers to them.

The selection process for this team will primarily involve recruiting existing community members who are actively contributing to governance. Our goal is to retain these individuals within the ecosystem and offer them structured compensation, enabling them to continue and further develop their contributions. The initial team will be chosen based on proof of work, and in future iterations of the program, we may expand the selection to include a broader range of candidates. Candidates will have the opportunity to either self-apply or be recommended by team or community members.

To address several key areas including the ones you pointed out, we have structured the majority of our team positions as half-time roles at 0.5 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE).

Having more individuals involved in the team, due to the 0.5 FTE structure, naturally increases overlaps in responsibilities and expertise. This overlap is crucial in scenarios where a conflict of interest might arise with a team member’s assignment. In such cases, the member in question will abstain from the assignment, and other overlapping team members will seamlessly take over their duties. This system ensures that our operations remain unbiased and effective.

Regarding rotational membership, the 0.5 FTE model also provides flexibility for rotation and continuity. It allows for the team to adapt and rotate members when necessary, without disrupting ongoing operations. This flexibility is essential for maintaining a dynamic and responsive team, capable of adapting to changing needs and circumstances within the ecosystem.

The estimated cost for 5 team members at an average rate of $60/h for 12 months is around $350,000. The allocation of resources will be prioritized based on the immediate needs of the project, ensuring that all outputs are delivered on time and with the highest quality.

Since our project is centered around the community, their involvement and responses will be our primary indicators of success. We aim to ensure that our initiatives resonate well with the community and actively involve them in the governance process. Alongside internal quality checks, measuring the level of community interaction, participation, and the feedback we receive will be key indicators of our success and areas for improvement. This approach will help us to continuously refine our strategies and operations in alignment with the community’s needs and expectations.

Our plan for the initial 12-month period is focused on creating a secure work environment and a phase for learning and gathering feedback. As the Polkadot ecosystem evolves, these learnings will guide us in scaling and adapting our strategies to meet ecosystem changing needs.

One of the most interesting possibilities aligned with Polkadot vision is the prospect of moving everything on-chain. This could take various forms, such as a bounty system, a collective, or a society. Each of these options offers a unique way to integrate more deeply with the network, promoting transparency, decentralization, and community involvement.

Thank you again for your insightful questions. I hope my responses have provided clarity and addressed your questions.

1 Like

Thank you @CoinStudio for taking the time to address each question - how do you see the roadmap for this proposal atm, what’s the next step so to speak? I see the proposal as quite significant but would require more of a community discussion to really get going

1 Like

Hey @justErik,

Thank you for your feedback and for recognizing the importance of this proposal and the need for it within the ecosystem. Regarding the roadmap and the next step for this proposal, we applied to the W3F Decentralized Futures (DF) program on the 11th of December, so we are currently awaiting the committee’s decision.

The proposal is open and available for everyone in the community to comment on and provide feedback. I will address any questions or concerns that are raised and will do my best to respond to all feedback.

2 Likes