Responding to Christopher Conforti (Re: DAO organization on Discourse, BBS, and related posts)

I created this topic to respond to a collection of posts by @ccc. Since they share a common element, I have provided links to each of the separate threads and will do my best to address the major points as I see them. The major posts are:

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  • I can only maintain one draft at a time. This may work for some people, but I’ll likely be working on multiple posts at once (I try to think out the longer ones, before making a fool of myself anyway :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:) and being forced to finish one before I even start another is not great .

It sounds like you are drafting everything directly into Discourse. As a discussion board, there should be little reason to want to maintain multiple drafts for things that you have yet to post - that level of organization should happen elsewhere (e.g. Microsoft Teams, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc). If you are wanting to maintain multiple posts at once, in various stages of drafting, I recommend writing shorter posts with links to a Google Doc and inviting comments directly onto that document. In general, you should view Discourse as a stage for completed work and communication between community members, rather than a drafting suite.

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  • Markdown is okay . I use it because it’s quick and for the most part it does what I need to it do. I wish there were more options in the editor, and I wish there was a “default-HTML” mode so I wouldn’t have to type out HTML tags when I do need them; I hand-write my website’s HTML (check the page’s source), I don’t want to do this while debating.

I’m not certain why writing text messages in HTML is easier than markdown, but to each their own. When these situations arise, you can complete your work in HTML as desired, and use HTML <> markdown converters (such as this one) to transform your document prior to posting it in Discourse.

I am interested, though. Can you walk me through an example of when the lack of support for HTML has been a significant bottleneck to using Discourse for you?

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  • This one, I know is local to ours. We don’t have a dark mode for the forum, which causes me (and others, for sure) some eyestrain, especially late at night.

I suggesting using a darkmode extension for whatever browser you are using. I use Dark Reader on chrome.

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I don’t know if these issues can be addressed with Discourse, but in lieu of that, I do know of one project that may function as a more-than-suitable addition (following an extensive review, of course):

BBS, brought to us by our very own @Eyal.

If you think about it, it would seem to be nearly perfect for our needs. It provides a familiar forum-like interface for posters to work with, and it also rolls in the needs identified in the SourceCred discussion without us having to scotch-tape two pieces of software together like we would with SourceCred. Sure there are questions, like how the service itself is hosted (I really wanna know that; can I host a node myself?), but overall the project seems very promising, and it would clearly be in our interest to explore it.

Let’s discuss this, I’d like to hear other people’s thoughts on it.

There is nothing stopping you from trying to create revenue streams from your governance contributions, but I don’t think this is something Bancor necessarily should create for you. Starting a new bulletin board on BBS is akin to creating a YouTube channel, or your own Bancor Governance website, and monetizing your activity via the advertising revenue it generates. Not a bad idea! But again, should not be the default platform.

Marrying governance with the monetization of content can create a conflict of interest between doing what is right for the project, and what gets the most clicks. I am not against community members attempting to earn money this way. However, we will always need an impartial, ad-free discussion board where ideas and discussion are judged for their own merits, rather than the amount of traffic they generate for advertisers.

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EDIT: The original notion of this post was to suggest BBS as a replacement for Discourse; it turns out that Discourse provides some organizational infrastructure that would be lost, and that would be bad. I still think that BBS would be a valuable addition, and maybe it would be an alternative to SourceCred that still fills the same niche.

There are a lot of good arguments for the fact the Discourse is an imperfect solution for the needs of a governance message board. It is important to remember that while Discourse is our default record, governance itself is really handled via a combination of Twitter, Telegram, community calls, and Discord. Posts on Discourse simply formalise and organize the feedback from these other channels.

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EDIT 2:
Case in point: This post . That one has been slowly refining away in my brain for weeks , but I couldn’t store it anywhere on the forum because the software forces me to finish one post before I can store another. I am certain that the quality of that post was significantly reduced because of that. Infinitely infuriating. I could have stored it offline, sure, but then if I want to work on it from multiple devices it introduces a whole hell of a lot of overhead, and I shouldn’t have to do it to begin with .

I don’t understand why storing it on the forum is important, or why a lack of support to storing it in Discourse affected its final quality. A reasonable solution is to draft these posts somewhere else first, then put them on Discourse when you feel they are ready. If you use Google docs, for example, there is no overhead to working from multiple devices that I am aware of. There are multiple options to working entirely out of the cloud, many of which are included with other services you likely already own.

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SourceCred Discussion

The community feedback within this thread captures my journey through the SourceCred idea almost perfectly. From the outset it sounds like a really terrific idea - reward community members who are openly active in the governance forums with financial incentives for their work.

Then, looking further into it, these incentives really just attract impassioned and well-meaning spam. In general, and this is true of all projects, brainstorming ideas is pretty easy. These message boards are brimming with stuff that could be worth exploring in future iterations of Bancor. The bottleneck lies after the crowd-sourcing of ideas: finding people with the skills and resources to translate these ideas into reality. Thankfully, Bancor already has a grant system to address this bottleneck, and so it remains to be shown if there is in fact a problem that SourceCred claims to alleviate.

In short, I think the community already does a terrific job of using Discourse to flesh out its concerns and voice new ideas, and something like SourceCred may just be adding additional overhead without making a significant impact on the ecosystem. This seems to be the conclusion at Maker.

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There are many ways to view and represent the same thing. Let’s have an example:

The Ethereum Network, a smart contract platform. At a cost of Ether, the network’s native token, you can deploy smart contracts, which are programs that define business logic and handle value in the form of tokens via transactions, and which can be interacted with by users of the network, or even by other contracts.

Versus: The Ethereum, an arcane aura that exists all around us. Using Ether, which is the substance underlying the fabric of the Ethereum, you can cast enchantments that manipulate the Ethereum to produce specific effects, and which can be used by casters and non-casters alike, or even other enchantments.

It is important to remember that our industry is still one that belongs to the greater collection of financial services and products, and is intended to interface with banks and funds. The vocabulary used to describe what happens is not arbitrary, and we should remind ourselves that words have meaning for a reason. The efficiency of communication is almost completely destroyed by adopting a non-standard vernacular.

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  • Rewarding voters via reward “streams”; basically, a vote is placed, and the voter receives a month-duration stream rewarding them for their participation. This encourages consistent participation, as more votes = more streams = more income, but if the voter abstains for too long all of their streams will run out, tapering off their income until it eventually ceases.

I want to point out that such rewards streams are inherently insecure, as the participation reward is independent of the consequences. Under such a system users are incentivised to create as many proposals as possible and vote on as much stuff as they can, even if it is completely irrelevant. For example, imagine that I want to maintain my revenue stream for as long as possible. Every week, I might post a new proposal to change the swap fee on the ETH pool by a small amount, and then change it back with the next proposal. It is very easy to disguise ultimately meaningless proposals as well-intentioned, or even important, and will congest the governance process.

Almost all governance incentives, both for proposal creation and voter participation, end in superfluous activity. We see this in the real world, too. If you have ever wondered why middle management is bloated, or why so much red tape exists between any two points, it’s because someone is trying to justify their salary by introducing policy even where there is no need for it.

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  • Conviction voting, and voter decay. The former is a mechanism by which the voter expresses their preference, and the longer they keep that preference the more weight it holds; changing your preference takes the weight out and you start from 1x again. The latter is a mechanism by which the voter is encouraged to vote consistently, else the weight of their vote is reduced (until after they vote again); our interest in this concept was to use it in our quorum, such that “decayed” voters would count less towards quorum requirements.

This is likely to be a highly fruitful area for continued discussion, and will likely result in an actionable proposal. I am very interested to grow the discussion on voting weight mechanics, and their effect on quorum and supermajority. The ideas expressed here are pretty sound, and I fully expect some version of these proposed changes to become part of our DAO process in the near future.

In the interest of progressing these ideas closer to fruition, I think we need to start building a spec document and simulating it.

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  • Augmenting rewards with NFTs that amplify earnings (it’s towards the bottom of the OP). The idea is that (in the case of the linked proposal) voters, no matter which way they vote so long as they do so, are rewarded with an NFT that, when staked, amplifies LP rewards on Bancor.

Similar to the points I raised above, I think it is essential that the governance process is completely disconnected from the finances of staking BNT or any token on the network. Receiving an NFT that bolsters rewards is the same as just paying rewards to users for voting and/or creating proposals.

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@ccc may I ask you to put together some numbers for this? Am I correct in assuming that the flow model you are proposing is seeking to essentially tax the APY of non-voters and distribute their earnings to voters?

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Don’t mean to interrupt the discussion but just wanted to add that discourse does have a dark mode feature, for both desktop and mobile version. Under Preferences → interface → Dark mode.

Also, there is a drafts section that lets you keep one reply draft and one topic draft.

Final tip: If you’re on Brave on Android, you can open gov.bancor.network, click on the “…”, then “Install App” and you’ll get an app version of the Bancor discourse (really just a browser but neater).

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I am absolutely floored. Thank you! It may not be in order, but I’ll try to respond succinctly–I’m aware I am sometimes long-winded, apologies! Although, if I’m being truthful, I’m a little concerned I’ve annoyed you. :sweat_smile:

You are correct. I have spent some time distancing myself from mainstream services, and especially The Cloud; having put so much effort into purging them from my life, I often forget that they even exist. My journey through computing has been i̴̞̜̰͉̩̒̏̎̓͘̚͜n̷̥̘͇̯̘͚̊̅̒̍t̸̟͙͕̀͘ẽ̴͇̕r̶̗͗̒ḛ̴͈̣͖̉̎̽s̶̫̦̣̓̐͒ţ̶͇͉͊́̽̌͌͝͠͝ḭ̸̠̆̄̍̕̚͠ņ̸̩̖̟̫̰̲̃͆ͅģ̵̡̨͉̹̆̃͋. I will explore this avenue of research and find a suitable solution. There are certain things that I simply cannot do, however.

As for why it reduced the quality, I kept it in my head; so in truth I suppose it’s quite unfair to say that Discourse caused the problem, rather it was my spaced out brain. :slightly_smiling_face: I apologize, and will happily remove the statement if deemed necessary.

Again, you are right, and it was my always intention to build this thing myself, or at least help in some way–I am not one to just sit idly by and suggest things, I want to get involved in a meaningful way and build something! (Assuming there’s interest; I don’t want to waste my time). But in order for me to do so in good conscience, I have to do so by the principles I have laid our for myself, which means I must do things a certain way; I imagine few people are willing to work with me because my way is strange, so I anything I wanted built or set up here, I had planned to do myself. I was mainly probing for interest, and to see if I’d get the blessing of the forum gods. :wink:

Indeed! One of my aims in governance is to preclude the possibility of ultimately meaningless votes by innovatively automating away all of the tedious crap that we have to do, and that could be (as mentioned elsewhere) used to play the system for extra income. A grant system is good, but ideally we’d want some way to automate judging and rewarding any volume of meaningful contributions, both to remove human prejudice and also to reduce overhead.

When I want to want to superscript/subscript things (I rarely use these, to be truthful, but I’m not aware of markdown supporting these–if I’m wrong, apologies!), or even do special formatting that typically isn’t distinguished like the difference between italics and emphatic text, or bold and strong. These things don’t typically look different, but in some cases they may be rendered differently from each other, and so even when I write my website code, I aim for code correctness and with future uses in mind. Those things are different, they represent different concepts, even if they appear the same on the surface. I should use HTML tags more often, given this–most of the time markdown serves well enough, and it seems I can blend the two without disruption, anyway. It’s one of those things that would be nice to have, is all.

Are we going to vote a project that proposes to do exactly that, then? Or are we treating it differently because they’re making the offer, not us? (I’m not trying to be in any way malicious, I’m genuinely curious; I’m fine with doing it that way if that’s how it is)

Of course! I will begin work immediately.

Not exactly what I had in mind, although I suppose it might work out that way. Essentially, (assuming we reward voters), we’re using an APY on two non-monetary values (calculated from voting weight)–one reflecting activity, the other, inactivity–and comparing the voter’s total balance accrued from both. Simultaneously, the difference between the two rates (which grow as proposals are placed and the voter takes action–or not) is used to calculated another APY that does have a monetary value, which is the rewards. The larger the difference (i.e., the more active the voter), the larger the reward APY, thereby rewarding active voters more. So goes the theory. I’ve yet to make a model, but as I said, I’ll begin work on one.

You are quite correct; one cannot expect everyone to act altruistically all the time. One solution is to automate away all the necessary-but-trivial stuff (like setting fees) until all that is ever left to vote on is the important stuff, and one could argue that we could adjust our governance cycle to fit the frequency of those issues–I maintain that we (and DeFi in general) should slow the hecc down, weekly votes are overkill. The governance system should, by design, eliminate bad actors, so by the time we reach the governance cycle the voting set is in good faith.

In an ideal world, we would hardly ever have to vote (because automation is the future), and cash flow would be plentiful enough that rewarding them for quite some time for taking the time to keep the protocol running smoothly wouldn’t really be an issue. We should aim for that, and we may get close, but of course things will never be ideal.

Of course. I’m suggesting that’s how we present ourselves to people who are outside of banks and funds. Part of the problem with CeFi is that it’s scary to people, because finance people–people like a lot of us–use a lot of big scary “standard” vernacular that is for the most part totally alien to anything the Average Joe encounters in daily life. I see a lot of DeFi repeating that mistake, and even doubling down on it–one of my friends is actually scared of DeFi (and crypto as well as finance in general) because of this.

In order to make DeFi less scary, we need to simplify its presentation, and that means abstracting, which means developing a vocabulary of metaphor and symbology that can be used to explain the system to anyone in a way that is intuitive. Simpler is better; this is the key to getting DeFi adopted beyond people who are already on the cutting edge of finance.

I’ve tried to use these feature, it doesn’t appear to work on our instance. Maybe it’s just me?

Google Docs is the overhead. Every additional piece of software that I have to use simultaneously to complete a task takes more computing resources, and therefore more energy, as well as potentially causing more mental overhead, and taking more time. I hate wastage, and I love efficiency, so doing things that way would make me itch.

It’s also important to remember that I don’t own anything that Google lets me use for free; this has vast implications for the concept of ownership. I like owning my data, and I think that the DAO should own its data too. And frankly it would be a waste of my time to understand whatever legalese (or otherwise) through which Google expresses that relationship, because it almost certainly means that I own nothing.

This isn’t even considering the issues I have with Google and their friends on principle.

I hope I touched on everything!

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Quite the opposite - I am deeply appreciative of your input. I just wanted to bring everything together for the sake of organization; there were several threads running with a common theme, and it seemed pertinent to regroup a little, rather than scatter the feedback over the existing threads.

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No need to censor yourself! It could be the case that integrating with a more feature-rich resource for composing and drafting documents is something we should remain mindful of.

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The markdown syntax is pretty small, and I am not sure if it is part of the standard library but superscripts work with HTML tags, as you seem to have discovered:

This is some <sup>superscript</sup> text.

This is some superscript text.

This is some <i> italics </i> text.

This is some italics text.

This is some <b> bold </b> text.

This is some bold text.

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Yeah, it’s an important distinction.

Outside projects can offer whatever incentives they think are necessary to draw attention to their proposal. I hope I speak for everyone when I say that this is only acceptable if the voting incentives are symmetric across both FOR and AGAINST voters. In any case, the overheads are small for the 3rd party, as they only pay the incentive effectively once. If ourproject supported this sort of thing natively, the overheads are prohibitively high.

At the moment, governance is an opt-in process, and the protocol’s function for stakers is not intriniscally connected to their dedication to DAO operations. To connect the two is essentially the same as making DAO participation mandatory, which has some pretty severe trade-offs. This is probably a subject better suited to its own thread.

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Happy to consider this after the model is created. Just for clarity, the rewards you are referring to, are inflationary (like LM), or derived from swaps, or other sources of revenue?

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