BlockchainGov Observations on PoH DAO Governance// Observaciones de BlockchainGov sobre la gobernanza De La PoH DAO

(Spanish below)

Hello everyone!

Who are we? We are the BlockchainGov project, a 5-year-long transdisciplinary research effort to restore trust in institutions at the community and global level by promoting better on-chain and off-chain distributed governance practices. Our Director, Dr. Primavera De Filippi, is a renowned legal scholar, internet activist, and artist whose work focuses on blockchain technology and law. Dr. De Filippi is also the Director of Research at the National Center of Scientific Research in Paris and a Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. The BlockchainGov team members include academics and researchers from universities such as Harvard, MIT, Science Po, and Université Paris II, as well as Ph.D. candidates such as Jamilya Kamalova, Sofia Cossar, Tara Merk, who have been working on this report. This statement results from research we performed in 2022 to understand the challenges of community governance in the Proof of Humanity (PoH) DAO.

What do we do? Our study focuses on understanding blockchain technology applied to governance, including institutional governance, global governance, and distributed governance—or governance in the hands of blockchain communities. To this end, we conduct empirical analyses of blockchain communities’ current on-chain and off-chain governance practices. We reconceptualize theoretical postulates from legal theory, philosophy, and social and political science to articulate principles that promote greater transparency, accountability, representativity, and inclusion into distributed governance models. Finally, we work with blockchain communities to support and guide them through implementing their governance mechanisms.

Why the PoH DAO? The reasons for choosing Proof of Humanity as one of our case studies are multifold. Firstly, the nature, size, and popularity of the PoH registry and the level of engagement of the PoH DAO community make it one of the most exciting and complex examples of distributed governance in the blockchain ecosystem to date. It is, after all, the first decentralized 1-person-1-vote liquid democracy experiment on Ethereum. The PoH DAO case fits perfectly into the BlockchainGov research agenda, allowing us to extract crucial insights on distributed governance challenges and best practices that can be extrapolated to other DAOs in the space. Secondly, some team members have been involved with the PoH project in various capacities and wish to support the PoH DAO community in navigating the growing governance challenges through sound and rigorous research. In particular, two persons have been or are affiliated with PoH stakeholders besides being Ph.D. candidates: Sofia Cossar, a former research collaborator at the Democracy Earth Foundation, who ran for the Project Manager position with Paula Berman in April 2021, and Jamilya Kamalova, a member of the Kleros research team. Dr. Primavera De Filippi and Tara Merk don’t have prior affiliations with either Kleros or DEF but are acquainted with the PoH project.

How have we conducted our research? Our research aimed at understanding the governance challenges of the PoH DAO as they unfolded up to the end of November 2022. To this end, we implemented an ethnographic research method, a type of qualitative research that allows you to immerse yourself and understand a community, culture, or organization from “within.” We relied on participant observation, desk review, and semi-structured interviews for data collection. The goal of such “data triangulation” is to minimize the effect of our personal biases and preferences in the findings and ensure neutrality and rigor. To achieve this goal, we have also drawn support from our external network, including RMIT researchers Dr. Ellie Rennie and Kelsie Nabben.

You will find our findings on the factors contributing to the governance crisis in the PoH DAO here. Hopefully, our observations will help the community gain additional clarity on which governance practices may have exacerbated the polarization and divide within the PoH, culminating with adopting the HIP 74 on a “Peaceful Fork.”

We thank all of you who have voluntarily shared your insights and contributed to this research effort. We also invite you to share your feedback on these findings, including questions and comments, the Google form provided below.


Hola a toda la comunidad!

¿Quienes somos? Somos el proyecto BlockchainGov, un esfuerzo de investigación transdisciplinario de 5 años de duración destinado a restaurar la confianza en las instituciones a nivel comunitario y global mediante la promoción de mejores prácticas de gobernanza distribuida en base a la tecnología blockchain, tanto on-chain como off-chain. Nuestra directora, la Dra. Primavera De Filippi, es una renombrada académica jurídica, activista de Internet y artista cuyo trabajo se centra en la tecnología blockchain y el derecho. La Dra. De Filippi también es Directora de Investigación en el Centro Nacional de Investigación Científica (CNRS, por sus siglas en francés) en París y Profesora Asociada en el Centro Berkman Klein para Internet y Sociedad en la Universidad de Harvard. Los miembros del equipo de BlockchainGov incluyen personas académicas e investigadoras de universidades como Harvard, MIT, Science Po y Université Paris II, así como las candidatas a doctorado Jamilya Kamalova, Sofia Cossar, Tara Merk quienes han estado trabajando en este informe. Este reporte es el resultado de una investigación que realizamos en 2022 para comprender los desafíos de la gobernanza comunitaria en la Proof of Humanity (PoH) DAO.

¿Qué hacemos? Nuestro estudio se centra en comprender la tecnología blockchain aplicada a la gobernanza, incluida la gobernanza institucional, la gobernanza global y la gobernanza distribuida, o la gobernanza en manos de las comunidades blockchain. Con este fin, llevamos a cabo análisis empíricos de las prácticas actuales de gobernanza on-chain y off-chain en las comunidades de blockchain. Reconceptualizamos postulados teóricos de la teoría legal, la filosofía y las ciencias sociales y la ciencia política para articular principios que promuevan una mayor transparencia, rendición de cuentas, representatividad e inclusión en modelos de gobernanza distribuida. Finalmente, trabajamos con comunidades de blockchain para apoyarlas y guiarlas a través de la implementación de sus mecanismos de gobernanza.

¿Por qué PoH DAO? Las razones para elegir PoH como uno de nuestros casos de estudio son múltiples. En primer lugar, la naturaleza, el tamaño y la popularidad del registro PoH y el nivel de participación de la comunidad de la PoH DAO lo convierten en uno de los ejemplos más interesantes y complejos de gobernanza distribuida en el ecosistema blockchain hasta la fecha. Después de todo, es el primer experimento de democracia líquida descentralizado de 1 persona-1 voto en Ethereum. El caso de la PoH DAO encaja perfectamente en la agenda de investigación de BlockchainGov, lo que nos permite extraer información crucial sobre los desafíos y las mejores prácticas de la gobernanza distribuida que, con suerte, se podrán extrapolar a otras DAOs en el espacio. En segundo lugar, algunas personas que integran equipo han estado involucradas en el proyecto de PoH en diversas capacidades y desean ayudar a la comunidad de la PoH DAO a navegar los crecientes desafíos de gobernanza a través de una investigación sólida y rigurosa. En particular, dos personas han estado o están afiliadas a las partes interesadas de PoH además de ser candidatas a doctorado: Sofia Cossar, previa colaboradora de investigación en Democracy Earth Foundation, quien se postuló para el puesto de “project manager”con Paula Berman en abril de 2021, y Jamilya Kamalova, miembro del equipo de investigación de Kleros. La Dra. Primavera De Filippi y Tara Merk no tienen afiliaciones anteriores ni con Kleros ni con DEF, pero están familiarizadas con el proyecto de PoH.

¿Cómo hemos llevado a cabo nuestra investigación? Nuestra investigación tuvo como objetivo comprender los desafíos de gobernanza de la PoH DAO a medida que se desarrollaron hasta fines de noviembre de 2022. Con este fin, implementamos un método de investigación etnográfica, un tipo de investigación cualitativa que permite sumergirse y comprender una comunidad, cultura u organización desde “adentro”. Nos basamos en la observación participante, la revisión documental y una serie de entrevistas semiestructuradas para la recopilación de datos. El objetivo de tal triangulación de datos es minimizar el efecto de nuestros sesgos y preferencias personales en los hallazgos y garantizar la neutralidad y el rigor. Para lograr este objetivo, también hemos obtenido el apoyo de nuestra red externa, incluyendo a las investigadoras de RMIT, la Dra. Ellie Rennie y Kelsie Nabben.

En este enlace encontrarán nuestros hallazgos sobre los factores que contribuyeron a la crisis de gobernanza de la PoH DAO. Esperamos que nuestras observaciones ayuden a la comunidad a obtener mayor claridad sobre qué prácticas de gobierno pueden haber exacerbado la polarización y la división dentro de PoH, culminando con la adopción del HIP 74 en una “bifurcación (fork) pacífica”.

Agradecemos a todos los que han compartido voluntariamente sus ideas y han contribuido a este esfuerzo de investigación. También lo invitamos sinceramente a compartir sus comentarios sobre estos hallazgos, incluidas preguntas y comentarios, en este formulario de Google que figura a continuación.

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ENG: This is a feedback form for the PoH DAO findings document produced by researchers of the BlockchainGov project.

ESP: Este es un formulario de opinión para el documento de hallazgos de la PoH DAO elaborado por investigadores del proyecto BlockchainGov.

English Page 21 has a sentence in Spanish (August 2022)

Yooo this paper is super interesting, congratulations. I never thought I would be interested in DAO Ethnography. I had already thought that someone should make a movie or document PoH’s dynamics somewhere, but this is great. I can’t wait to have some time to read through it.

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Thank you so much! We made corrections,
Please check the files here :
ENG : English_Full Document.pdf - Google Drive
ESP : Spanish_Full Document.pdf - Google Drive

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This was an excellent read! I was wondering if the interviews were going to synthesize into a paper and here it is! Much, MUCH more comprehensive than I expected, so major props to the research team :pray:

Structure is clear, citations for claims are there whenever needed (from my initial read), and I very much appreciate the endeavour to write with an unbiased perspective.

I need to re-read the document to ensure I fully understand everything, but I very much agree with some key takeaways.

  1. That governance structure is insufficient to the point of amplifying divison since the initial stages

  2. That the early stages lacked sufficient clarity of vision between DEF and Kleros, seeding division from the start

  3. Lack of a neutral arbitrator for governance disputes that involve PoH vs Kleros. (I have been vocal about that conflict of interest in the past)

  4. Lack of snapshot anonimity resulting in lack of desire to go against one’s supposed ‘faction’ (it somewhat reminds me of The Whip system in UK politics which I am highly critical of (https://www.parliament.uk/about/mps-and-lords/principal/whips/) . If individuals in the DAO don’t feel they can offer their individual voice out of fear of going against their presumed factionalized viewpoint, then that is a problem.

  5. Telegram being massively insufficient for discussions that result in tangible conclusions or consensus, and increasingly fragmenting discussions. As stated in the paper, even just using Discord would be a marked improvement. Spreading debate across multiple telegram chats, governance forums, and Discord not only makes it drastically difficult to source information and conduct coherent discussion, but also makes it daunting to onboard new users interested in deeper DAO participation.

  6. DAO disputes being resolved internally, in a centralized manner - For example the consitution (I am happy it is here, thank you for the efforts to those involved :slightly_smiling_face:). Access to help develop that consitution was privately gated and it was suggested I try and come up with ideas on my own. How can I make contributions to something I am not allowed to see…?

  7. Delegation abudance (as the paper described it). Do we really want the vast majority of voters to be uninformed about the topics they are voting on? Isn’t that kind of political apathy partially what is causing the bi-partisan echochamber of current world politics that thrive on misinformation and lack of knowledge?

Overall I am tremendously happy to see this paper. It deeply investigates many perspectives on PoH governance with cited PoH events and credible political history outside of DAOs. It also echoes many of my own observations and critiques the past year that I have been vocal about on the forum, telegram, and Discord.

I hope it elevates the interest and activity in governance, policy making, and structuring going forward and gives a certain neutral ground on which to base productive debates post-fork :clap:

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This is from the interview You Made me jamilya?

Hello ArkaYana! Much appreciated, thank you for your comment & observations!

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Hello Nachobr!
Could you please clarify your query? Jamilya is part of our research team that worked on this report, that is correct. Our researchers did not disclose the names of the interviewees. However, rest assured our researchers are complying with ethics rules and professional standards set by the University. As it says on page 3 (eng. version) - “Ethnographic research was conducted via online participant observation, interviews, events, and institutional mapping exercises. After signing the appropriate community consent forms under BlockchainGov’s research ethics approval (administered by EUI/ CERSA), all interviewees consented to the collection, utilization, and publication of data shared about the PoH DAO community for the purposes of this research project.” If you have any remaining questions, please feel free to reach out to us via comms@blockchaingov.eu .

Hello, Green ! Glad we sparked some interest in digital ethnography! Hope you enjoy the read.

Hello! We are so grateful for the feedback we are receiving on the PoH DAO Ethnography Research Findings. We want to organise two community calls where our researchers, Sofia, Tara, and Jamilya, will provide information on the highlights of our research, listen to your feedback, and answer your questions.

Some important information:

:round_pushpin:The calls will be open to anyone who would like to join.
:round_pushpin:Both calls will take place on February 9th, 2023.
:round_pushpin:Call for ENG speakers: 2 PM UTC/3 PM CET
:round_pushpin:Call for ESP speakers: 10 PM UTC/11 PM CET
:round_pushpin: We will provide the link to the Zoom call on the PoH forum later.

:fire:Please put “ENG +” or “ESP +” (or both) if you plan to join the calls, so we have an estimation of the number of participants.:fire:

Please feel free to share your feedback via the form: https://forms.gle/o87vLCfKTkXVabHh9

ESP POST:

¡Hola! Estamos muy agradecidos por los comentarios que estamos recibiendo sobre los resultados de la investigación etnográfica de la PoH DAO. Queremos organizar dos llamadas comunitarias donde nuestras investigadoras, Sofia, Tara y Jamilya, brindarán información sobre los aspectos más destacados de nuestra investigación, escucharán sus comentarios y responderán sus preguntas.

Algunos datos importantes:

:round_pushpin:Las llamadas estarán abiertas a todo aquel que quiera sumarse.
:round_pushpin:Ambas llamadas se realizarán el 9 de febrero de 2023.
:round_pushpin:Llamada para hablantes en ENG: 14:00 UTC/15:00 CET
:round_pushpin:Llamada para hablantes en ESP: 22:00 UTC/23:00 CET
:round_pushpin: Proporcionaremos el enlace a la llamada de Zoom en el foro de PoH más adelante.

:fire:Ingrese “ENG +” o “ESP +” (o ambos) si planea unirse a las llamadas, para que tengamos una estimación del número de participantes.:fire:

No dude en compartir sus comentarios a través del formulario: https://forms.gle/o87vLCfKTkXVabHh9

Finally found time to read the report in it’s entirety and I would like to thank you all for putting in the effort to document, recount and analyse this lengthy series of incidents and disputes between DEF and Kleros. I think all parties in the dispute should feel honoured by the level of attention and detail that went into this report.

I do have one question tho: towards the second half of 2022, the role of vote amassing and delegation had a big role to play in the further polarisation of the situation, but the conclusion of the article stopped short of directly saying whether that (and also forms of representative democracy) is something that furthers or hinders cohesion in the community. Could you all comment on that?

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