On July 27, 2019 Aragon Network Vote #3 (ANV-3) concluded. This post is going to review what different commentators and stakeholders have said about the vote, and also share some of my own thoughts about what we can learn from the process, the results, and how to continue improving Aragon’s governance processes going forward.
If you are unfamiliar with how Aragon governance works, we have a page on the main Aragon project website that can help get you up to speed.
Before continuing, on behalf of the whole community, I want to thank everyone who participated in ANV-3 and shared their feedback via the many different channels through which we received it: the Aragon Forum, Aragon Chat, Twitter, Reddit, personal blogs, and others, including the “official” survey we shared for input with the final results of the vote. We have published the anonymized responses to that survey publicly here if you are interested in digging into the responses yourself.
What went well
To me, the best thing about this vote is that it was relatively uneventful. Our infrastructure held up well the entire time, with no outages. Most of the proposals received adequate discussion beforehand, which resulted in almost unanimous approval for proposals on the ballot. There were a few exceptions, which I’ll touch on later in this post.
The Voting app we used also showed signs of marked improvement, along with general improvements to the client itself, resulting in both faster initial loads and faster subsequent loads. While the user experience is not as instantaneous as a traditional web app yet, we are getting closer and trying to balance this goal with the requirement that the security and integrity of the voting process is preserved.
What could be improved
This time around, one of my proposals was rejected - not by ANT holders, but by the Aragon Association. I pointed out in a forum post that my proposal was the first that had been submitted in draft form for this vote; if there was a problem with the proposal that would cause the Association to reject it, why didn’t they flag the issue sooner? Association ED Stefano Bernardi responded saying that there wasn’t a formal “pre-review” instituted but he would “try to coordinate the board earlier in the AGP process”. Given the Association’s power and importance as a proposal reviewer and curator, more input from them during the drafting stage is certainly welcome!
Among the comments submitted in the feedback survey, the standout issue remains the loading time of the app. The good news is that, as mentioned above, this is a known issue that we have already made improvements on thanks to client-side app caching. Community members are exploring other caching solutions as well, which you can read about on the Aragon Forum.
Another theme of the feedback received about the vote is that information about the proposals could be easier to consume. This is something I’ve been thinking about since the first vote. One thing I would like to see in the ecosystem (and this includes smart organizations broadly speaking, not just the Aragon Network) is a media outlet focused on “vote coverage”. I’ve heard from journalists in traditional media that election time is one of the busiest times because of all the action and drama that happens around elections. Perhaps now that we have public political processes for smart organizations, some media outlets will begin devoting coverage to this area as well. Let’s just hope if that happens, the incentives are set right so that it doesn’t turn into the commercialized game show spectacle that media has turned traditional politics into...
Taking a step back, another solution to the problem of information and understanding could be vote delegation, where people can delegate their vote to someone who they think is better informed to vote on a proposal. This would, of course, require people to identify the addresses they vote with, which those with the most knowledge (and skin in the game) might not be willing to do. Said another way, there has been a lot of demand from voters who want to delegate their vote to other people, but we haven’t yet heard from any people who have said they’re willing to be delegates. With vote delegation not far from final implementation, it’s time to start thinking about how we will use this new mechanism and whether it will really be as helpful as we hope it will be.
All that said, we will continue experimenting with different mediums, such as interviews with proposal authors and written summaries of the different perspectives for and against a proposal, to deliver information to voters in a way that’s easy to understand, while preserving the integrity of the process and recognizing that sometimes we are dealing with complex issues that can’t be reduced to a soundbite, that require specialized knowledge to fully understand and grapple with. Your thoughts on this are welcome and appreciated!
I’m going to continue thinking about ways to improve communication around Aragon Network votes and make sure ANT holders are aware and educated about the process. I will also continue thinking about how to improve the process itself. Since my proposal to adjust the Aragon Network scheduling was rejected during this last Aragon Association review, I will be re-submitting it for the next vote.
I invite anyone else who has an interest in Aragon governance, and has ideas about how the process could evolve to improve decision-making by ANT holders, to share their ideas by creating an issue in the AGPs repo, starting a thread in the Aragon Forum, or dropping by the #governance channel in Aragon Chat to discuss.