Decentralized Voices Program – ChaosDAO

Hello everyone,

I would like to start by saying that I am posting as a representative of the ChaosDAO collective, and not as an individual. I am simply the meat vessel that is tasked with relaying communications between ChaosDAO and others in this thread.

As required by Web3 Foundation as part of their Decentralized Voices Program we would like to attempt to share some information about ChaosDAO and our political philosophy.

First, it’s important to understand that ChaosDAO votes represent the will of our voting members. ChaosDAO is not a monolith but a truly decentralized, democratic voting bloc. This means that it does not (and cannot) have a political platform like “we support more marketing” or “we oppose [proponent X]”, since our voting members have diverse interests, specialties, and preferences.

Nevertheless, we do have an emergent three-fold political philosophy:

  1. We want to make the best decisions for the good of the Polkadot and Kusama ecosystems. Often this means that we support referenda
  • that solve a clear pain point for Polkadot users, builders, and/or partners.
  • that accrue value to DOT holders
  • that present a justifiable cost-to-value proposition
  • whose proponents have solid track records. While we do not summarily oppose first-time proponents, we are likely to hold them to a higher standard and/or prefer that they establish credibility and competence with smaller proposals to start with.
  1. We believe that we maximize the likelihood of doing so by anonymous, decentralized, democratic (one person = one vote) internal referenda, coupled with open, frank discussion among our members.
  2. Our opinions are not set in stone; we’re willing to reconsider our votes when presented with new information or context.

How ChaosDAO Arrives At Consensus

When a new referendum is posted, our voting bot creates a channel in our server, and voting members are alerted. The bot presents the referendum with all relevant information and links. Once it is posted, our members can vote aye, nay, or recuse (never mandatory, but typically reserved for explicit conflicts of interest). ChaosDAO determines our OpenGov votes via this anonymous, democratic (1 person = 1 vote) system. If the internal vote for a referendum is two-thirds in either direction, then we vote in that direction. If a two-thirds majority is not achieved, then we abstain.

You can see a schematic diagram of our voting process here: https://twitter.com/LeemoXD/status/1606276562453528576

You can see a video that was submitted as an update to Kusama ref 243 which will show you how the voting process works internally here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pmw6N-JG_8A

Because our membership is by invitation only, we have recognized, established personhood and our members possess their own social capital. When our members discuss a referendum, those with significant expertise and insight often provide analysis that is likely to be held in high regard by the rest of us.

If anyone has any additional questions as to how we arrive at a consensus, then please reply in this thread and also ping Leemo on Twitter, Telegram, Matrix, or Discord to expedite a response.

More About ChaosDAO

For anyone who has been paying attention to OpenGov since its inception on Kusama, ChaosDAO has voted in OpenGov since the very beginning (Referendum 0). That referendum for those curious was proposed on 21-Nov-2022.

ChaosDAO is currently made up of ~340 members, all of whom are Polkadot and Kusama enthusiasts. Our community includes many parachain and infrastructure team members, events organizers, and even Web3 Foundation and Parity Technologies team members.

It is the members of ChaosDAO that make it unique; each member has an area of expertise that helps the rest of us arrive at the best decisions.

We are not a group of developers who don’t understand marketing, for example, or a group of business development people who don’t care about the tech, or a group of investors who don’t care about decentralization.

Our members have political backgrounds, technical backgrounds, media backgrounds, finance backgrounds, security backgrounds, and even education backgrounds. We represent a cross-section of the most committed Polkadot and Kusama enthusiasts in the world.

Our members have posted numerous educational videos and threads, assisted countless community members, and participated in Governance discussions on AAG since December 2022 (the first OpenGov referendum on Kusama was at the tail end of November).

If anyone would like more information about our track record, feel free to reply in this thread.

Next up is the matter of providing feedback on how we vote on specific referenda. This was something that we were carrying out voluntarily until the end of December 2023. The sheer volume of referenda, coupled with the vast amount of internal discussion for each referendum, made the task of summarizing this feedback and coordinating any replies with proposers (most of which took place in DMs) a much more demanding undertaking than we had anticipated. This workload, along with the fact that it was the holiday period, the fact that everyone in ChaosDAO is a volunteer, and the fact that our vote is not the deciding factor in the vast majority of referenda, caused the process to fall by the wayside in favor of more pressing tasks our volunteers needed to carry out. Be assured, however, that if this program requires that we provide feedback, we are ready, willing, and able to restart the process.

Additionally, while ChaosDAO is an invitation-only community and our internal discussions are not public, we are always happy to share details about how we operate. Our Discord voting bot is open source and free to use, and we frequently share details about how our on-chain accounts are set up. We were awarded a small sum of 84.21 KSM ($2,000) from the Kusama treasury to develop this voting bot (which we supplemented with $1,500 of our own funds). You can find that ref here: OpenGov Community Voting Discord Bot

Closing

ChaosDAO has been a voting bloc since 2022. We have been paving the way for other similar groups to exist and actively seek to help similar organizations emerge and thrive. No other voting bloc in the ecosystem can match our number of delegations or level of decentralization and democracy. Not even close.

We look forward to feedback from the Web3 Foundation about the Decentralized Voices Program and are fully open to having either calls or async conversations to discuss any issues that you may have.

Cheers,

ChaosDAO

36 Likes

Hello ChaosDAO, by way of Leemo (who is a representative but not posting as an individual here) -

I don’t mean to ask an unfair question here, so forgive me in advance for asking a probing question, but given the internal discussion is private, and the votes are anonymous, and coupled with the fact that you have a cross section of the ecosystem, then how will you ensure that you comply with the “conflict of interest” requirement? For instance, will the public or someone from the DV program be able to verify that someone with a conflicted position was not influencing the others in the discussion, or casting the vote that moves the needle past 2/3?

“Participants are barred from voting Aye or Nay for Treasury Proposals for themselves or for which they have a conflict of interest (e.g. voting against a competitor). In such cases, they may vote Abstain or not vote at all.”

  • William
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Aye ! :slight_smile:

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That seems hard to achieve since there is no requirement to dox, people are invited on the merit of their ideas and any affiliation is only possible to know about through their pseudonyms affiliation and on chain activity.

Members are always introducing themselves and if anyone would be doing that kind of thing I don’t think they would last very long. The reputational or social proof of reputation would be something most people wouldn’t care to throw away for something like that in general.

Now to make SURE that isn’t the case would involve a lot of oversight and access to their personal data.

I haven’t been in any blockchain DAO the requires that of me honestly and I don’t think I would care to be.

Same as with polkadot in general.

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Amen to ChaosDao :metal:t3:

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Hi William, thanks for reading and inquiring!

The response below is from ChaosDAO, not me as an individual, and has been discussed and formulated internally.

It is impossible for any interested party to verify that any Decentralized Voices applicant (including you!) complies with the conflict of interest requirement.

Proposing a referendum does not include a KYC requirement, after all, so even if the delegate, “Alice,” is fully doxxed, there’s no way to know when or if Alice is voting on referenda in which she has an interest.

To know that would require that every party involved be fully doxxed—and not merely every member of every team proposing referenda, but every one of those teams’ investors, vendors, business partners, etc., as well as every one of Alice’s delegators.

Furthermore, the more voters there are, the harder it is for any individual to influence a voting outcome. This means ChaosDAO is much less vulnerable to conflict of interest manipulation than are individuals or groups with smaller voting bodies.

We also have a Recuse option in our voting system (which is open source and available to all!), and members with conflicts of interest typically make use of it.

If you have further questions or would like more clarity, don’t hesitate to ask here or reach out to us in private.

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I’m not going to talk too much about how Chaos Dao deserves this, or how reputable Leemo is. As almost everyone in the ecosystem knows that Leemo is honest, respectable and a great thought leader in the ecosystem.

All I will say is,

The people of Chaos Dao have treated me extremely well, I have found friendship, joy and learned many things from being in the community. They have welcomed me with open arms during tough times and if this isn’t the mark of a successful DAO. Then I don’t know what is.

Chaos Dao should be supported in the ecosystem as we are by far the most active DAO on Polkadot.

Regards,

TheOyster

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Participating in OpenGov is time consuming and stressful. There is an ever increasing volume of referenda. It is not possible for any individual to make informed decisions on all of the referenda, especially on matters that the individual has no previous knowledge. As a result of these confounding factors, some referenda may receive little scrutiny.

ChaosDAO is an asset because dozens of people from diverse backgrounds review and discuss every referendum, summarize their reasoning, and vote. This exercise serves the purpose of detecting and alerting us to bad ideas and frauds that may go unnoticed otherwise. It is important for the group to have a decent amount of delegation so that the members feel that they have a sense of agency which incentivizes participation. This is why I delegate to ChaosDAO and why they should be considered for the decentralized voices program.

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Why wouldn’t it be possible for any interested party to verify that any Decentralized Voices applicant complies with the conflict of interest requirement by requesting that they:

  • Review a Conflict of Interest document that’s pinned at an IPFS address
  • Sign a message using the IPFS Content Identifier (CID) hash of data associated with that Conflict of Interest document using their on-chain identity that has been judged as having a reasonable identity level by a registrar
  • Record in a new document their on-chain identity, the IPFS CID of the relevant Conflict of Interest document along with the current timestamp and their signature that they generated by signing a message that contained that IPFS CID, and store that new document pinned at another IPFS address.
  • Share that IPFS CID to allow any interested party to access that document and verify for themselves that the address associated with their on-chain identity signed a message containing the IPFS CID of that Conflict of Interest document and that don’t so generated the IPFS signature provided in that document.
  • Optional: Try to set the “legal” on-chain identity field or a custom field with the value of that IPFS CID. However at the moment raw data values are limited to a maximum length of 32 bytes.

I would be using this approach in my “Decentralized Voices Luke Schoen” proposal Decentralized Voices Program - Luke Schoen - #6 by ltfschoen

(Posting solely on my own behalf now :saluting_face: )
This is an intricate and thoughtful schema, and I applaud your efforts try to verify COI, but it remains attestation, not verification–it still redounds to trust.

The only way to truly verify that there is no COI would be full doxxing of the delegate, every multisig signatory, every delegator, every referendum proponent, and anyone else with whom any of those parties have personal and/or business relationships.

Like you, I take conflicts of interest very seriously and I’m glad COI is a point of emphasis in the DVP, but the reality is that an ecosystem featuring anonymity and pseudonymity precludes verifiable COI and must, in the end, rely on some flavor of trust, regardless of how large an edifice one erects to obscure it.

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This is DrCAO, founder of AIWeb3 community, I would like to share my support for ChaosDAO and also Leemo, they have been active in the governance and also play an important role in the opengov

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Let hope the mistake of delegating ChaosDAO does not happen again @mister_cole

We have witnessed so many issues with ChaosDAO. After discussions with multiple vote participants and 13 proposers of proposals, it was brought up a wide range of issues regarding ChaosDAO which I have collected the majority of issues and listed below:

  1. Many discussed the issue that ChaosDAO has DAO in its name but its not even DAO as its really a centralized organization, there is nothing decentralized about it and they operate exactly as any centralized organization does.

  2. Votes in conflict of interest (many have noticed that ChaosDAO always vote NAY on proposals that are competitors to certain members instead of abstaining as per the rules of this Voices Program);

  3. Picks and chooses when to provide feedback, doesn’t provide feedback on all proposals and if you ask for feedback you get stonewalled;

  4. Many have tried to engage with ChaosDAO and either get banned from their Telegram group, they issue a warning or they simply ignore them. There is zero interest from ChaosDAO in engaging with proposals and instead they push proposers away with their terrible attitude;

  5. When they decide to provide feedback it is provided weeks after voting, leaving many proposals with no time to reply to misunderstandings on their part. In-addition, some proposals may fix based on ChaosDAO feedback to then get ignored after fixing the feedback leaving the questions of does the feedback even have any meaning to it!

ChaosDAO is not a healthy participant for the Voices Program or governance in general and should not be supported by the foundation.

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Oh fun, I get to answer Polkaman again, what a treat.

For those of you who don’t frequent Polkadot Direction: Polkaman is someone who feels the need to pipe up every now and again purely to state his incorrect dribble about ChaosDAO, likely as a result of being NAYed.

Nonetheless, while I sit here and sip my coffee I will answer this obvious alt-account’s points

  1. Regarding the name ChaosDAO - there are ~340 members in ChaosDAO and ~80 of those people actively vote. I wonder if you know that you can be a Decentralized Autonomous Organization without inviting everyone and their alt account into the organization? The term DAO is used in different ways by different people, but regardless of your definition, ChaosDAO is the most decentralized DV (and most DVs are individuals, as centralized as it gets).

  2. ChaosDAO is a ~340 person group consisting of parachain, infrastructure, community, Parity Technologies, and W3F folks. Who exactly are you referring to when you say “ChaosDAO’s competition”? We take Conflict of Interest very seriously, and as a large voting bloc with a diverse community with different (and often conflicting!) interests, we are vastly more resistant to Conflict of Interest and other forms of corruption than any other DV, full stop. Furthermore, individual ChaosDAO voting members who do have a CoI with a referendum consistently recuse themselves.

  3. Surprisingly it is quite difficult to summarise feedback in a manner that is as instantaneous as you would like. Summarizing our internal discussions that are hundreds - sometimes thousands - of messages long is a very daunting task for a group of unpaid volunteers. After 700+ votes, having only 13 parties mad at us is a pretty good track record!

  4. The telegram group has a single, very specific purpose, and it has rules to that effect. If you break the rules such as random unrelated chatter or in some cases literally calling people Nazis or other insults you will be banned. The channel’s rules are explicit and visible in the channel’s only pinned post.

  5. We are one voter out of seven DVs, despite representing 30 to 340 times the number of actual community members of any other DV, and our vote is just a drop in the ocean, overall. ChaosDAO can be easily outvoted if we are voting against the best interests of the Ecosystem. Furthermore, since CD is so large and diverse, anyone dismayed by a Nay vote on their referendum is likely to have much better luck lobbying other, more centralized, DVs

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I fully support you guys. You have shown magnificent commitment.

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ChaoDaos are voting actively on governance, often sharing detailed reasoning behind their votes. So “Aye” for me DVs