Proposal To Improve Governance Discussion and voting processes

Overview or Introduction

This proposal aims to outline a plan to improve Aave’s current community governance discussion and voting processes. Adopting Commonwealth as the governance forum for Aave will increase governance discussion, engagement and transparency.

Commonwealth consolidates multiple community tools into one place by offering a fully crypto-native forum and voting interfaces (polls, Snapshot, and on-chain governance) all in one platform. Commonwealth is completely free to use and will soon be fully-decentralized.

We respectfully submit this proposal for your consideration, and we are looking forward to your questions and feedback.

Proposal

Migrate the current Aave Governance Forum from Discourse to Commonwealth.

Current ETH Governance Problem

Participating and running DAOs is currently highly difficult due to the fragmentation of tooling. Aave uses an assortment of community governance tooling (Discourse, Snapshot, native voting) in addition to their base stack of operational tooling ( e.g Discord, Twitter, Grants Management etc.)

Fragmented tooling causes community member fatigue from having to track N platforms * X communities. Additionally it removes transparency and increases the chances of social engineering attacks, since on-chain identity cannot be verified. Furthermore, separate discourse governance forums utilize separate email login instances, creating another barrier for forum and governance participation. Commonwealth helps solve these issues.

We have seen that Discourse forums have about 3-5% of total token holders, while Commonwealth forums get about 7-10%+ of token holders. Commonwealth’s easy to use web3 UI makes it twice as likely for your token holders to participate in governance!

About Commonwealth

Commonwealth consolidates forum discussions, snapshot voting and on-chain voting into an all-in-one platform for decentralized communities to run themselves.

We power over 900 DAOs including dYdX, Stargate, Osmosis, Element Finance, Axie Infinity, and Redacted Cartel. Commonwealth has raised $20M+ from Dragonfly, Parafi, Polychain, Framework, Hashed, Nascent, Spark, Balaji, Stani, and others.

Aave Commonwealth 2 min Feature Walk Thru

Commonwealth Key Benefits & Solution

  1. Hosting all community discussions, snapshot votes and on-chain governance on one platform improves access to information and reduced tooling friction
  2. Linking previous forum discussions to their respective proposals improves voter education and transparency, enabling members to make informed decisions, thus increasing voter turnout
  3. Enabling users to access all of their communities via a single interface and the consolidated user dashboard increases participation and allows users to easily stay up to date with current community governance initiatives
  4. Ability to own your community platform for free and stop paying rent to web2 platforms
  5. Robust token gating + wallet login helps prevent spam and social engineering attacks
  6. High-touch customer service to quickly resolve any issues and implement new features, check out our roadmap at the bottom to see what we’re actively pushing
  7. Ability to create separate, but linked subDAOs for more complex org structures

Commonwealth Transition Process

Migrating to Commonwealth takes a few minutes:

  1. Download a back data dump of the Aave Discourse Forum
  2. Commonwealth imports the Aave forum to Commonwealth (maintains all content, profiles and past activity)
  3. Commonwealth integrates the AaveGovernance V2 contracts and Snapshot (creates bidirectional governance interfaces)
  4. Community owned and run forum

For users, using Commonwealth is simple:

  1. Link your wallet via Metamask or Wallet Connect
  2. Join the Aave Commonwealth forum
  3. Link the same email you used for Discourse to claim your old account
  4. Begin discussions

Voting Options

In favor:

Migrate the existing Aave governance forum to Commonwealth

Against:

Do nothing

Commonwealth Roadmap

Commonwealth is a Web3 platform working to empower Web3 projects.

We’re continuously building key features and workflows based partner feedback to improve DAO engagement, empower DAO growth and increase DAO success.

Upcoming Commonwealth Product Initiatives

  • Notifications
    • We are building out more robust in-app, email, and push notifications. EPNS has already begun deploying governance notifications for Commonwealth activity.
  • Moderation
    • We are enabling more complex community moderation functionality. This includes time-bans, rule logic for community roles, and spam prevention methods.
  • Common API
    • Our soon to be launched API enables other tools and projects to tap into the social data from the Commonwealth platform.
  • Common App Store
    • Roll out an app store offering full composability of DAO tools within a single interface. This will enable DAOs to process payroll, manage their treasury, create POAPs, etc. without needing to flip applications.

If you have a key feature you’d like to see on the Aave Forum, we’d love to chat and build out the functionality to empower Aave.

Further Resources

Why Commonwealth

Website

Docs

Twitter

Leadership Team

Dillon Chen - Founder - prev. VC at Dorm Room Fund, web3 wifi founder

George Beall - Head of Business - prev. web3 Social Founder, growth at Fortune 10 company

Jake Naviasky - Head of Engineering - prev. Bloomberg, Carnegie Mellon

Zak Hap - Head of Product - prev. DeFi founder, Columbia

Aden Bailey - Head of Design - prev. Product Design Professor

3 Likes

Wow this looks really cool, didn’t know about commonwealth.
I saw i can cannot via Metamask to it, right? That way votings could be done directly in commonwealth or is snapshot still needed or can be somehow connected? The less barrier are there, the more people will use it and be active i guess.

Also would it be possible to implement lens logins? This could be connected with the possibility to post on the commonwealth forum and maybe also directly on lenster for example and gather attention from lenster user.
Because i think there is a big problem with the participation in these forums. Like you said only 3-5% of the holder active. This is not good at all if you ask me.

Will take a deeper look into commonwealth and its features, but i am curious.

2 Likes

Yeah exactly - you can connect via your wallet which enables you to vote directly on Commonwealth. The forum would integrate your snapshot and Aavegovernance v2 contracts, so you can vote natively on commonwealth, as you said, ultimately reducing barriers. dYdX has both on-chain governance and snapshot integrated if you’d like an example of what it looks like.

Supporting lens logins is something that could be built out forsure - if the Aave community has a key feature they’d like to see, we’d love to chat and build out the functionality to further empower the Aave community.

Definitely agree that the lack of participation is a problem with forums, which is something we’re looking to help solve.

If you have any other questions let us know!

1 Like

Wow, this is a super interesting proposal - move to a competing product, while discussing the viability of this proposal on the competitor’s product.

It feels a bit unfair to be candid as Discourse is not making these proposals on Commonwealth - but I commend your proactiveness, bravo.

I have used both as part of our Governance team and can say I prefer the UX on Discourse (the current site)

IMO, better discussion and voting participation do not come via new tools - but instead with stronger incentive alignment.

2 Likes

Hey EzR3aL,

Dillon, founder of Commonwealth here, thanks for the support! And please do let us know what you think!

  1. You should be able to link Metamask (or anything via Wallet Connect to the UI),
  2. Double confirming potential support for lens login. This is something that we could 100% support. We’re familiar with the protocol, but haven’t looked at the SDK /Dev Docs in depth so this could be easy / hard. We are always looking for ways to support crypto-native protocols. We are working on improving our “API” experience to support the flow that you mentioned, of viewing + posting directly on lenster. This is all not even to talk about potentially doing the full implementation of Lens Protocol i.e NFT gating content, following etc. Of course that’s a different lift, but also not out of the question!
1 Like

Would definitely be curious to hear what parts of the UX of Discourse you prefer, we’re always trying to improve the experience, especially as we’re trying to keep the platform to be purpose-built for crypto.

On your last comment, on incentive alignment, we don’t disagree. However the aim of incentivization is to overcome friction, i.e. it needs to be “worth a user’s time” to participate. but if there’s less friction overall, then that also incentivizes participation. We do think that at least some portion is the friction brought up by bouncing around between several products for discussions, voting, delegation, off-chain polling etc.

This of course might not be enough to overcome the friction. That’s why we want to continue working with DAOs, like AAVE, to figure out what incentive alignment might mean, especially as DAOs move beyond purely financial incentives. Whether this is integrating with Coordinape, Token Gating Site interactions for forum activity, or allocating community incentives in the form of NFTs, SBTs, all of the potential products need buy-in, ease of use, and grokking from the community.

2 Likes

To provide some more color to this conversation, BlockchainAtColumbia is an active governance participant in a variety of DAO’s including dYdX, Maker, Uni, Optimism, Hop, and Compound. Anyone who has been active in governance knows that Discourse has been the default industry standard. The difficulty with defaults is it stymies innovation and open the doors to competitors. While we don’t think Discourse is bad, and we agree with the points @fig made stronger incentive alignment will help future DAO governance, we think Commonwealth is better.

Why do we think Commonwealth is better?

  1. One reason detailed by @dillchen is the fact that Commonwealth minimizes friction. When a user is required to input an email or password it minimize that feeling “ahh this is Web3.” Commonwealth does offer this onboarding option but they also allow for simple web3 wallet options that including MetaMask, Phantom, Kepler, and Wallet Connect. What makes this amazing is it implies a multi-chain world of governance with the most popular wallet providers for Solana, EVM chains, and Cosmos-IBC chains. In our personal experience all our other active DAOs listed above are representative of the EVM world. While we believe EVM compatibility is here to stay, we’re more excited about a world where governance is multi-chain and multi-ecosystem, which it seems Commonwealth is working toward.
  2. While we love that Discourse is free and open source software, it’s inherently a web2 company. While being a web2 company isn’t an issue, we think Commonwealth’s crypto native team is more aligned with the ethos of Web-3, and will be more focused on tailoring its platform to fit web3 natives.
  3. Lastly, we think being able to vote inside Commonwealth’s forums will see an uptake in governance participation compared with switching between services.

In closing, we don’t think Discourse is bad, quite the contrary. But we think Commonwealth is a better more crypto native alternative, and we are supportive of the Aave DAO making the switch.

Special thanks to @cryptolafayette our governance lead and @emanight our Aave protocol lead.

4 Likes

Thanks for the thoughts team - and welcome to the community.

Hoping to see a delegate platform soon :eyes:

Discourse also allows this same functionality you mention in #1, it is just toggled by different owners.

This proposal feels like Apple v. Android: everyone has a personal preference.

While they both achieve the same function (phone, messaging, camera) some features are better than others. Why make a DAO choose - or engage in a similar debate?

Three questions I have:

  1. Would Snapshot become obsolete if Commonwealth is adopted? Or is this data or functionality to plug in voting only for on-chain votes?

  2. What happens to permissions and trust levels earned in Discourse? How is the space administrated?

  3. Did you chat with anyone in the community or with the service organizations (Aave Co., BGD, Certora, Gauntlet) about their need before posting?

4 Likes

We’ve chatted and used Commonwealth. It’s a nice improvement that should streamline accountability and process.

While voting is sybil resistant, governance processes are not. Consolidating tooling is a much needed step to help filter the signal from the noise.

2 Likes

First, want to thank you for your active comments here, we only get better by hearing feedback from the community.

Before answering your questions, wanted to address “Discourse also allows this same functionality you mention in #1, it is just toggled by different owners.” Assuming you’re referencing our #1 Key Benefit, we have specifically built a full bi-directional integration with Snapshot which allows creating and voting on Snapshot proposals via both our interface and theirs. Discourse does not offer this.

In response to the Apple v. Android debate, which is well founded. Just drawing an analogy here, the two core markets are non-web3 (Apple) and web3 (Android), since that is how Discourse and Commonwealth currently approach product, or at least our read.

Why bring the debate up with the DAO? We are a community-oriented governance platform purpose-built for web3. We will continue to actively build for this market and value DAO feedback, such as your incentive alignment point and the request for a Lens integration are great examples of how public forum discussion makes us a better platform for DAOs. Honestly, on your point for incentive alignment, we’ve love to hear if you have any ideas on this, we’d be happy to at least wireframe a POC + write some code to show our willingness here.

Going into your questions:

  1. You won’t have to give up Snapshot. We have a full integration and very strong partnership with Snapshot. They actually love that we are building strong frontends for their software, so they can focus on the voting infrastructure. We do also enable governance interfaces for a wide range of governance smart contracts. This is a great example of us building web3 frontends interoperable with a variety of other web3 solutions; something Discourse does not do. Currently pinging the team there to comment, although it’s getting to be weekend hours :)
  2. Permissions can easily be maintained and all Discourse history is transferred to Commonwealth (along with existing post + user attribution I might add). We can walk through a full “Discourse Import” on a staging network with mirroed Discourse Post history as part of this process, but will have to work with forum + community leaders on this. Furthermore, the permissions functionality can be extended with Token Gated Rules / Roles, which will incorporate similar functionality to Discourse trust levels. It sounds like this would be a priority for you, so we will expedite it on our product roadmap. The space will be governed by admins and moderators determined by the DAO.
  3. Alignment with AAVE contributors. YWe have chatted with a number of members of the grants committee, leaders from both Aave Co. and Lens, as well as Gauntlet. All of these parties are very aligned with our vision. Small aside, Stani is actually one of our investors, of course, a DAO is more than it’s initial contributors. As Gauntlet has just commented, using Discourse causes a lot of friction for them participating in so many communities and prevents any decentralized reputation standard. We’ll continue to try and get others to chime in.
4 Likes

I must say I am skeptical at first but I think we should definitely give Commonwealth a try at least. I think having a comprehensive platform for things is an important step. We need more experimentation in governance.

One thing I look forward to in Commonwealth is a cross-protocol identity. Currently, in Discourse, identity is too isolated. PS: Please make usernames in each post readable, the light grey color for usernames is quite hard to read.

On implementation: I am curious how are you guys thinking about outside transferring the tech stack, esp around communication to the general community. It would be great to see Llama and BGD commenting on this as well.

In the end, while I am not supportive of the proposal in its current form, I look forward to a future proposal where the migration plan could be specified. Thank you, Commonwealth!

We’ve talked with the team at Commonwealth and are still in constant communication. For further insight, we’ve hopped on calls and gave pretty in-depth run throughs about our opinions on the product as a whole. Currently, we are still fans of Discourse but are open to changes and much of the general preference for discourse may be attributed to the incumbent advantage.

Overall, want to mirror some of @kydo’s points around implementation.

The team (George) has reached out to us on several occasions regarding showcasing our support for their various proposals to move to Commonwealth (compound prior) and our response was very much, we’d like to see how the community opines and will then vote in accordance with that general sentiment as this is a proposal that we think any community member should have the same impact on the final decision on as a large delegate persay.

In short, in its current form and the general uneasy sentiment, we are voting to do nothing now. If “hoards” of supporters come in and some questions are clarified, would 100% be open to changing our vote and testing new waters.

1 Like

With respect to Llama’s opinions, team overwhelmingly voted Do Nothing on IndexCoop’s Metagovernance vote here: Snapshot

1 Like

We view Aave’s migration from Discourse to Commonwealth as a meaningful improvement in how community members will approach the governance life cycle and participation. Our belief is that DAO members should be able to easily leverage community tooling to engage in thoughtful discussion and find deep alignment on critical operational decisions. In Aave’s case and to Commonwealth’s point, community tooling is largely fragmented today. Members are required to shuffle between several platforms such as Discourse, Snapshot and on native chain voting in order to stay up to date with governance initiatives. We view this as a considerable friction, ultimately detracting from the user experience or, in more severe cases, preventing community members from participating on-chain in the first place. Other issues associated with Aave’s current governance arrangement (e.g., lack of transparency and ongoing expenses) are also highly relevant and require addressing.

As a multipurpose yet still all-in-one venue for (i) public forums, (ii) access to voting, and (iii) governance management, we expect Commonwealth to address the setbacks mentioned above and enhance Aave token holders’ on-chain interactions. One observation worth noting is when Injective migrated from Discourse to Commonwealth, the platform experienced an uptick in governance discussion engagement and on-chain participation from its token holders. To this end, we agree with the “Commonwealth Key Benefits & Solution” section and have high conviction that Commonwealth has the right leadership to serve Aave’s long-term interests vis-à-vis new product extensions and key upgrades as discussed in the “Upcoming Commonwealth Product Initiatives” section.

We encourage additional feedback and are excited to support a potential collaboration between Aave and Commonwealth.

Disclosure: This post is authored by ParaFi Capital LP (together with its affiliates, “ParaFi Capital”). ParaFi Capital is an investor in the AAVE token. This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation. All information contained herein is obtained from sources believed to be accurate and reliable, however ParaFi makes no representation, express or implied, as to the accuracy of any such information. All expressions of opinion are subject to change without notice, and the ParaFi does not undertake to update or supplement this post or any of the information contained herein.