[Phase-1] HIP-69 The Proof of Humanity Constitution

HIP: 69
title: The Proof of Humanity Constitution
authors: @shotaro, @greenlucid
status: Phase 1
created: 2022-09-19
conflicts with: None
languages: EN

Simple Summary

Establish the Proof of Humanity Constitution.

Abstract

Proof of Humanity was born as a 1p1v DAO without any guiding principles or common framework. Proof of Humanity governance is maturing and we recognize that we need a guiding constitution. The Proof of Humanity Constitution is intended to establish a minimal functioning set of rules and principles,

  1. Principle of Non-Discrimination
  2. Principle of 1p1v
  3. Principle of Wide Pluralistic Consensus
  4. Principle of Sybil Resistance

Motivation

Proof of Humanity survived many governance struggles this year, including proposals which would ineffect break the sybil resistance of the protocol. These governance struggles are not a recent problem either.

I highly recommend you watch Jimmy Ragosa’s talk motivating a need for a constitution for Proof of Humanity. If you do not click now, please come back to the link after reading the proposal.

Observe that many of the protocol orientied HIPs (below) historically pass with a large consensus.

  • HIP28: Update submissionBaseDeposit 99%
  • HIP45: Markdown policy, 100%
  • HIP36: Registration Validitity extension 99%
  • HIP37: EPNS delegate 99%
  • HIP30: PoH Governor Deposit Update 100%

While lots of the politically motivated HIPs were passed or failed with a slim margin.

  • HIP50: Official Social Media Groups 60%
  • HIP-49: Change of Arbitrator 48%
  • HIP 48 - Removal of Clement Lesaege 39%

Proof of Humanity like other DAOs suffers low participation rates. Typical voter turnout with delegations on is in the ~800 range, with only around ~100 users signing messages out of a total of 16,000+ registered humans.

Last year when POH launched I proposed quorums as a minimum voter participation rate to pass HIPs. I am now convinced one year later that quorums are not a good solution since this would result in deadlock.

Instead, in the interests of promoting a wide consensus amongst a wide plurality of voices, a higher voting threshold is proposed which will require a wide consensus amongst a plurality of different PoH members.

Specification

Specify the Proof of Humanity Constitution as governance rules by amending the Proof of Humanity Governor Primary Policy and specifying the amended document with the function,

function changeMetaEvidence(string _metaEvidence) public onlyByGovernor

on the POH Governor contract 0x327a29fcE0a6490E4236240Be176dAA282EcCfdF

Rationale

  1. Principle of Non-Discrimination

As discussed in HIP-11 and HIP-19 about guiding principles and guidelines, Proof of Humanity commits to the principle of non-discrimination. Proof of Humanity is an open, permissionless protocol for all humans making no distinction of gender, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, religion, or age.

  1. Principle of 1p1v

Accordingly, with the principle of equality above, Proof of Humanity also commits to the principle of 1 human 1 vote either voting directly or by delegation.

  1. Principle of Wide Pluralistic Consensus

A minimum threshold of 3/4 is required to pass proposals.

This ensures that a vocal minority (1/4) can essentially veto HIPs while ensuring that a consensus amongst a wide plurality of POH members must be reached inorder to pass HIPs. Ideally we can avoid a polarity in governance where sides are split 60/40, but where we need to cooperate and achieve a large consensus to improve POH.

  1. Principle of Sybil Resistance

In light of HIP-49 which nearly broke the sybil resistance of the protocol by changing the arbitrator to a non-functional arbitrator, we require that all HIPs which clearly and demonstrably break the sybil resistance of the protocol be forbidden.

7 Likes

I hope we can all agree that whatever has this requisite, should be approved with such score in the first place as well.

Here comes a discussion what is the proper value? We might consider different values for different voting phases. As the discussion goes deeper and deeper during the voting the passing level should be adjusted accordingly.

Y’all realize that QV does not violate 1h1v principle, right?

On another instance, this is a dumb question but: when You Say a HIP should be accepted by 75%, You mean of the voters, not of the registry, right?

I think it’s fantastic to set up common ground…it’s mature.

Also, establishing a constitution takes time. I would use countries as an example but i won’t.

Great to debate this

This proposal is anything but a constitution, which is a pretty bold use of the word taking into consideration it was drafted by only two people.

It is a proposal to make passing proposals require 75% of vote approval. :man_facepalming:

The most absurd attempt against democratic voting I’ve read in a long time.

The fact technical proposals often have broad consensus while political ones seem more divided, aims to suppress and censor any attempt at discussing things in our DAO that are non-engineering, non-technical.

This is an incredibly grotesque thing to read. Please don’t use big words like “Constitution” to mask an attempt to change the very basics of how democracy works. This kind of hypocrisy is incredibly insulting to the community and shows little understanding of basic political science. The fact it talks about non-discrimination while at the same time discriminates our users is bizarre af.

1 Like

Maybe 3/4 is excessive, how about 2/3?

Letting know, the main reason the threshold is higher is that, generally, protocol oriented HIPs (the ones we want more of) are mainly neutral improvements, so they garner big support and pass. Political HIPs are much more contentious, and it gets to the point in which a huge minority are outright unhappy about them, which is contributing to creating all current schisms in the community.

The divide between “political” and “technical” hips is really a superficial way to portray there’s a divide between engineers and users. This proposal looks neo-reactionary and anti-democratic, willing to suppress the requests of users to the DAO.

A couple of clear examples can be found omitted from the over-simplification of this proposal’s introduction. For instance, proposals like HIP 41 that allow verbal confirmation for users got approved below proposed threshold. Or HIP 27 which allows for 1 character mistakes wouldn’t have moved forward. Same goes with the HIP to accept videos of smaller resolution

I think that a more relevant framework of analysis regarding the nature of decisions being made can be found on Vitalik’s recent post when he talks about Concave and Convex decisions.

Technology choices are more often than not convex and thus offer less controversy on what path to follow, usually leading to higher consensus. There’s no need to change something that we have already demonstrated that we are capable of making decisions with our existing mechanism. :clap: No technological improvement to the protocol has been stalled by our DAO. :clap: If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.

Concave decision making require legitimacy and decentralization. It is precisely there where we want to put our democracy in action. This proposal wants to censor and put any attempt at debating concave decision making under the rug, turning this DAO into something analogue of a corporation where governance, speech, user’s rights and other sovereign features we enjoy cannot be voted :ballot_box: on. It’s really a shame to see people thinking in this direction.

Last but not least, other than the call to the Kleros community to have a deep look inside about its past actions, I stand with Vitalik when he says we have much to learn from democracy and political science:

We are the one DAO that is really pushing the limits of being democratic and we cannot ruin the very thing that has made our DAO one of the most avant-garde ones in all of Ethereum.

1 Like

This proposal looks neo-reactionary and anti-democratic, willing to suppress the requests of users to the DAO

Are you saying that democracy is restricted to 51% based voting? Democracy is about 1p1v. All this Constitution is doing in that regard is increasing the threshold for passing proposals. 66% threshold, or 75% threshold, prevent huge schisms from being created. The point here is to have all proposals that pass have good representation, not allowing to slip proposals taking advantage of low participation rates.

It’s also disingenuous to not see the issue of, PoH not really being governed by humanity right now. PoH is governed by the 16k humans that are currently registered, with some sectors being extremely over-represented. With 51% threshold, all sorts of proposals antithetical to the project or DAO.

There also the issue of how much time we’re wasting on this whole PoH governance thing. Some of us are busy with other things, like development, and can’t afford to do campaigning all day. But if you don’t try campaigning, the threshold is so slim that the status quo can be broken at any time. See HIP-63 that is deliberately breaking democracy (we know, you can use however many euphemisms you want), all it takes is >50% to, boom, shift the project in a completely different direction.

With a higher threshold for accepting proposals, we all don’t have to waste time here all day. One-sided proposals won’t pass. Every proposal that passes will provide benefits and, will either be a neutral improvement, or will have made compromises to satisfy most sides.

1 Like

Democracy is not about voting alone, that is an incredible reductionism to what we mean when we talk about democracy. Decision making requires being properly informed about what is being decided, thus democracy is also about speech. Decision making requires protecting minorities from the abuses of a majority, thus democracy is also about user rights.

An increase to the voting threshold for approvals, censors and suppresses the ability of this community to decide over its governance, over its speech, over the needs of users, de facto turning a democracy into a corporation. Again: Read Vitalik’s post on DAOs and the need to protect the sovereign decisions of DAOs so these don’t become like corporations.

This shows the true intentions behind this proposal: an action willing to suppress and censor the community from being able to make sovereign decisions about speech, governance rules or rights. This proposal shows that people are not invited to debate these things and that only technical issues can be opened up to the community. It’s really a disgrace to everything we stand for.

Given that HIP-5 specifying governance procedures laysout Phase-3 as the consensus phase, that’s a good point, this higher threshold should apply to Phase-3, this looks like the right approach.

Regarding the value of 3/4 threshold vs 2/3, this threshold is based on the historical voter participation in this DAO, acknowledging that protocol level HIPs achieved a wide consensus which would satisfy the 3/4 threshold

HIP-28: Update submissionBaseDeposit 99%
HIP-45: Markdown policy, 100%
HIP-36: Registration Validitity extension 99%
HIP-37: EPNS delegate 99%
HIP-30: PoH Governor Deposit Update 100%

While lots of the politically motivated HIPs were passed or failed with a slim margin which did not signal to me and many POH participants a wide consensus amongst a diversity of pluralistic groups in POH.

HIP-50: Official Social Media Groups 60%
HIP-49: Change of Arbitrator 48%
HIP 48 - Removal of Clement Lesaege 39%

Moreover, the US constitution and other constitutions adopt the 3/4 threshold for UIPs (USA Improvement Proposals). Note amendments to the constitution will also require 3/4 consensus.

I strong believe with conviction that establishing a threshold of 3/4 consensus with encourage more cooperation between parties in the current polarized political environment in POH.

Moreover, I think a constitution encouraging broad and diverse consensus is the only way to avoid a fork.

I do believe that we are stronger together if we cooperate and work together.

See my reply to @Laurence above, I believe we can do this at Phase-3, given that the specification will be updated in the Phase-2.

I want the Proof of Humanity constitution to have broad support and consensus.

1 Like

Yes agreed.

And yes 75% of active voters. This threshold is set such that a vocal minority of (1/4) can veto HIPs, while only a broad consensus will be able to achieve the 75% required to pass proposals.

2 Likes

That isn’t this at, the goal is for the DAO to only implement stuff which are consensual.
Doing so would lead to a way more welcoming environment for DAO participants.

1 Like

Regarding 3/4 vs 2/3.

I believe 1/3 consensus to veto is too large to protect the interests of minority voting pluralities. I think 1/4 is more appropriate so vocal minorities can gather support to prevent proposals which disproportionately affect them.

There are many fancy voting techniques that have been studied and experimented with.

Thresholds for voting have been used for many centuries in functioning democracies, no fancy algorithms, just sealed ballot voting. The constitutional proposal of 3/4 threshold is pragmatic, and straightforward to implement with the governor and existing DAO election tools (snapshot).

The guiding principle of this HIP is KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid. A straightforward, guiding document to encourage consensus amongst a diverse group of voters.

Moreover, as was discussed on Telegram, I agree with re-ordering the Articles so that Sybil Resistance comes first. It is mentioned in the preamble first, but yes, in Proof of Humanity, Sybil Resistance comes first.

1 Like

The fact that we are discussing forking is showing it’s broken.

It’s weird that you put this part of Vitalik article as it’s actually supporting the point of the proposal. If we are in a concave system, it’s better to only make consensual decisions (center of the policy chosen).
Having votes pass by a small margin lead to left and right part of the diagram.

So if we are in a concave system, a high threshold is better, if we are in a convex system, a 50% threshold is better.

We both agree that we are in a convex system, to consensual decisions are better.

That’s where we disagree, we made the DAO to be a steward of the protocol, not to move fast and break things. As if things are likely to be broken, other protocols cannot rely and thus cannot use POH.

2 Likes

The divide between “political” and “technical” hips is really a superficial way to portray there’s a divide between engineers and users.

The fact technical proposals often have broad consensus while political ones seem more divided, aims to suppress and censor any attempt at discussing things in our DAO that are non-engineering, non-technical.

I would like to reiterate that although the HIPs I specified with overwhelming consensus were about the protocol, some HIPs with broad consensus passed about the social or political engagement of POH.

For example, there is HIP-19 which established a code of conduct for telegram and discord platforms. I applaud Paula Berman for her work authoring the HIP and establishing a broad consensus. Both yourself @santisiri and @clesaege voted for the HIP and it passed unanimously with 178 votes.

Such a HIP would still pass with the 3/4 threshold, and in fact I sincerely hope that future HIPs will garner similar broad consensus and that a 3/4 threshold would in no way prevent social / political HIPs. The idea is that 3/4 threshold can protect minority interests while encouraging broad consensus building. Its just so far we have achieved more consensus on more technical topics, but I do not mean to create a false dichotomy of technical vs non-technical users / hips.

I don’t seek polarization. It’s not us versus them. It’s just us.

I think that a more relevant framework of analysis regarding the nature of decisions being made can be found on Vitalik’s recent post when he talks about Concave and Convex decisions

Regarding concave decentralized democratic dao governance, I think the observation is accurate, Proof of Humanity is a concave system. This means consent of the governed is critical and I strongly believe a 3/4 voting threshold will encourage broad consensus building to reach closer to the maximum point of the concave worldview analogy. This allows a vocal minority to gather the 1/4 voting support to veto any unilateral or polarizing topic. The 3/4 threshold avoids bipolarizing HIPs which could have radical consequences for half of users and critically hurt the legitimacy of Proof of Humanity.

Lastly,

The most absurd attempt against democratic voting I’ve read in a long time.

This is an incredibly grotesque thing to read. Please don’t use big words like “Constitution” to mask an attempt to change the very basics of how democracy works. This kind of hypocrisy is incredibly insulting to the community and shows little understanding of basic political science. The fact it talks about non-discrimination while at the same time discriminates our users is bizarre af.

Santi, respectfully, this is not the way to build consensus. The goal of the constitution is to decrease the polarization, and hopefully encourage more education to achieve broad consensus. Less condescension, and insults.

I think we can all do well to review the FAQ of the governance forum, excerpt below

This is a Civilized Place for Public Discussion

Please treat this discussion forum with the same respect you would a public park. We, too, are a shared community resource — a place to share skills, knowledge and interests through ongoing conversation.

2 Likes

I approve of the move towards a constitution, although considering the importance of such a document, we should take time for careful consideration from a plethora of perspectives before implementation. Additional Principles can also be added over time.

I approve of placing sybil resistance as the first principle - At the end of the day an insecure registry of humans isn’t a registry of humans, is it?

The exact number of a pluralistic minimum threshhold can be debated, but it is a good idea in principle. Avoiding “Brexit-esque 49/51” results is ideal in my opinion. Perhaps anything that doesn’t meet the threshhold should have a moderated telegram discussion alotted to it in order to better understand the opposing view/s or reasons for rejection?

Non-Discrimination is completely essential, as described.

Concerns aside, overall I think this is a good move in a collaborative direction.

Ok, I took a long walk to reflect about things and I’m back @shotaro.eth… This proposal clearly seems like a concave decision itself (thanks Vitalik for teaching us the lingo). So if you want this to pass, there needs to be concessions from all sides of the aisle.

I think 3/4 is pretty stiff. The only decisions that require that kind of supermajority in real world constitutions are constitutional reforms themselves… and even then, these still require in most of the world, including the USA a total of 2/3 from Congress, not 3/4. Rarely is ever seen in poltical science a requirement of 3/4… 25% of people vetoing cannot be more powerful than 66% of people wanting something.

And let’s look at precedents:

  • HIP 27 passed with 66% on Phase 3: Snapshot

  • HIP 8 passed with 66% but on Phase 2 (much wider support on Phase 3): Snapshot

I could consider if we agreed on the following:

  • Phase 2: classc majority, 50% + 1
  • Phase 3: Super majority, 66%

This seems opportunistic taking into consideration that we are voting Quadratic Delegations. Constitutions do not legislate over the details of governance but rather impose certain principles. For instance, the USA is a liberal democracy… yet the constitution does not inform about the fact that they have an Electoral College; or Argentina for instance also states it’s a democracy but then it has it’s own laws to legislate about how elections get carried out.

I consider this if we rephrase it to:

Accordingly, with the principle of equality above, Proof of Humanity will always guarantee the right of 1 human 1 vote via the direct vote to all its members.

Cutting our legs and not allowing us to improve our governance with better ideas in the future whether it’s with delegations or something else does not seem proper for a constitution.


This is post is myself allowing for concessions on this debate and finding common ground. Thanks @shotaro.eth and @green for taking the time to draft this proposal.

This HIP as is achieves little to nothing. Some thoughts:

  1. I’m against article 3. It won’t stop polarization. Political factions and farmers will still fight for the 75% or for the 2/3 consensus, and what better way to do that than honestly or dishonestly onboarding users to POH’s governance and polarizing every discussion.
  2. I’m against article 2. It’s cool that right now the biggest use case of POH is its own governance. It’s engaging and fun, but the goal should be article 1 and 4. If 1 and 4 are better secured with another voting system, then it should be adopted.
  3. What’s the point of having a constitution if it can be easily modified or removed? Let’s add an article stating that the constitution’s articles can’t be modified, removed or overwritten by new articles. It still will be possible if the arbitrator allows it, but it will be harder.
  4. Add an article protecting the DAO’s assets. For example: “The DAO’s assets must be used in a way that is aligned with the articles 1 & 4 of this constitution”.

Even with these changes I don’t think a constitution solves anything, it just extends the agony a bit longer before things break or before a fork happens. Same with quadratic delegations, quorum/consensus thresholds, qualified vote and other mental gymnastic attempts to “fix” democracy.

4 Likes

To address Santi’s concerns, and maintain respect of ongoing HIPs and voting, can we suspend inclusion of the 1p1v Principle until the debate and vote concerning Quadratic Delegation is concluded?

It would be improper to pass one HIP that then leads to a direct conflict in the next.

I don’t believe this is an unfair assessment, for the time being.

1 Like