Document Discussion Doc 006 rework with new committee + council framework

This is just a discussion thread for me to share the framework I've been working on. You'll see a lot of open comments in the document. Most of them explain the design decisions, whereas other comments raise questions that need answers from a bigger group.

A vote for this document (not now) would be part of a Batched Amendment covering three documents, which would effectively cement the new committee system.
  1. Doc 001 - to include the Steering Council as a Standing Party (and clean up the rest of the document the best we can)
  2. Doc 002 - I already updated this document to remove existing conflicts and did a lot of additional polishing.
  3. This Doc 006


Based on the GWG proposal, Doc 006 has been changed to include the new committee system. It also includes a Steering Council (SC), formerly known as the Executive Committee (EC). The name change is there because it fits better, and it avoids confusion inside the document. A council isn't a committee.

This took a while, but a lot had to happen in advance.
  1. The formation of a new governance group, including members with serious concerns.
  2. Public discussion on the SC concept, which can be found here.
  3. All of the points listed in the opening post of that topic, which I recommend you read carefully, have been integrated, such as:
    1. The new Doc 002, which sets an increased vote quota from 51% to 60, adds a quorum and removes the impact of absent parties.
    2. A public vote record for internal SC votes.
    3. A removal scheme for SC representatives by other Standing Parties. In fact, even their appointment is now through Standing Party election.
    4. Any standing votes are only cast if there is an 'objective' checklist/scoring grid that has Standing Party approval.

Here's the ELI5 of the document:
  • Three Standing Committees
  • A Standing Commitee's charter is either active or inactive.
  • An active charter triggers eligibility for Council representation and/or other perks defined elsewhere (if any).
  • Eligible Standing Commitees nominate their candidates and Standing Parties confirm them.
  • Appointed candidates are known as Representatives, and serve a fixed term.
  • The Council casts votes in all governance processes and 'steers'.
  • This document adds little to no explicit workload present in the GWG proposal, e.g. grant management, reporting requirements, standing requirements. It simply links to process docs.
  • Standing Committees can have their active charter revoked. Either by dropping below minimum membership or by Standing Parties. The Representative then enters a grace period (1 month) where the charter is either restored or the period lapses and the Representative is removed.
  • Representative can also be removed outright with a removal procedure, with no grace period.
  • Standing Committees have two main controls over their rep.
    • They may render their charter inactive (by resigning below minimum membership) and sit through the grace period.
    • They control payment. Standing Committee proposes a grant and reimburses to its Representative.
  • Working Groups have been removed and replaced with "ad hoc committees". Working Groups can obviously still form, but they were never a formal part of Factom governance, so dedicating an entire section to them felt out of place. Ad hoc committees largely take their place, formally, and to boot it's been framed in a way that allows currently existing committees to continue. This allows a transitionary period, e.g. Website Committee merging with Outreach over time. Ad hoc committees do not have Council rep.

Here are some interesting examples of Councils/Steering Groups in technology environments.

 
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Thanks for all this hard work Vidale. Structure and leadership is desperately needed.

I hope given our current membership that ppl can join multiple committees and represent them if it came to it
Yes and no. I'm starting out by not allowing it, because it has some centralization concerns if we have the same few people in every committee and influencing the council vote.

Current membership isn't an excuse. Committees are open to anyone, so I'm expecting easier recruitment that's no longer limited to ANOs only. That should lead to more diverse committee membership and representation across all stakeholders.

The document currently says this:

"Persons cannot be part of more than one Standing Committee simultaneously. Exceptions may be granted through a minor discussion Motion."

So, this allows two things in its current wording. A motion could be started to seek an exception for everyone altogether, or for individual members. That's entirely up to the Standing Parties.
 
Could we get some input from the anos that voted no on the proposal? It seems to many within the community that this should be passed or at the least discussed. I didn’t see anything wrong with the proposal but I’m not an ano but would still like to help further this conversation.
 
I agree with Matt045. Lets find some middle ground. We need to take action to rescue this token.

What about splitting up the proposal in multiple segments and vote for each of them? For example the tokenomics in a seperate proposol.
 
Very glad to see more non-ANO engagement here. This shows the importance of what we're doing.

So the different proposals we have ready for implementation are kind of linked together. We have a beautiful tokenomics proposal here and we have a beautiful management proposal in this topic. Both exist to power a roadmap. New tokenomics to fund it. And new committees/council to manage it.

Where people seem to protest is the committee proposal. It's understandable, because it directly touches the heart of protocol decision-making. I've heard several criticisms related to bureaucracy and the need for even further centralized control; but none of them stand up to any closer scrutiny. In many ways, they're representative of the status quo, which we can't afford.

Let me quickly point out a few things:

Bureaucracy
1. Bureaucracy seems to be a term that's thrown around wildly, without anyone being sensitive to what it actually means. It's NOT a negative term by definition. It covers rules and processes associated with larger groups when it comes to resource management and organization. You add rules where it makes sense, and you allow freedom where it makes sense. That's a constant balance to be monitoring.
2. We've standardized a lot of important processes this year. Inactive parties no longer count in votes. Oddly enough, the parties complaining the most about bureaucracy voted against it.
3. The committee system allows for strong mandates. It always has, but no one ever used it properly. That clears up as much red tape as anyone would like. With the issuance authorities laid out in the tokenomics proposal; committees are even more authorative.

More centralized control
1. The call for an alternate management system (hiring a CEO) doesn't hold up to scrutiny. In the first place, it doesn't solve the pseudo-closed peer system ANOs are operating in. ANOs would just be hiring a puppet to dance for them.
2. Secondly, any competent CEO recognizes that he doesn't know everything. He or she needs advice from experts/departments. That's the beautiful thing about our committee relationship with the council. Keep in mind, nothing bars committees from sourcing real expertise or even a budget to find a suitable, CMO/CTO level council representative.
3. An often missed point is that we're not a company, but a decentralized group of companies. The only alternatives are to start a new company that controls the protocol, or fork. That's months away, and probably not very desirable.

The risk with this post is that I'm going in circles. I've said all of this many times. I guess I would prefer to hear from the people that haven't commented yet, and I'll tag them here. I'd be very interested, considering some actually voted in favor of the original GWG proposal, which was much stricter and much less refined.

@Anton Ilzheev
@Paul B.
@twellener
@Alex
@Nolan Bauer
 
We've had many private discussions about the committee structure. As I am sure you will attest, I have been vacillating over whether to support it for a long time. I'm not entirely against it and I'm sure I could be persuaded under the right conditions. My primary concern is efficacy. That can be broken down into two parts:

1. Is a committee structure capable of delivering change? Our current experience of committees suggest they have limited value.
2. If we're planning to centralise power, are we giving that power to the right people? So far, we have had very few people willing to step up. In particular, we are missing people with the right experience. A call was put out for volunteers very early on in the ratification thread and I think there were 1 or 2 responses in total.

If we can't show that the committees will be staffed by motivated, engaged and experienced people, then I will have a hard time supporting the committee framework. There is an intense focus on process and a complete lack of focus on execution. Both are important.
 
1. Is a committee structure capable of delivering change? Our current experience of committees suggest they have limited value.
They have limited value because there is no tie between tokenomics (resources) and a roadmap (activities). Not to mention the extreme focus on staying within the ANO system that I've outlined more times than I care to repeat.

2. If we're planning to centralise power, are we giving that power to the right people? So far, we have had very few people willing to step up. In particular, we are missing people with the right experience. A call was put out for volunteers very early on in the ratification thread and I think there were 1 or 2 responses in total.
Would you have considered that 'call for volunteers' a very inviting recruitment strategy? I remember a similar call during the Guide removal vote. I just don't understand this obsession with "okay, I need to see the exact people that will be running this".

You don't wait for 'do-ers' to just show up (especially not in response to calls by people who combat the very thing you'd be volunteering for). You attract them with a healthy cohesive atmosphere, resources and the ability for them to participate meaningfully. I'm willing to work with that and I've laid out in my grant proposal how I'd seek to recruit talent into a governance committee. Those who aren't willing, and instead want to wait for a miracle, should re-consider their commitment to this protocol and their status as an ANO.
 
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We've had many private discussions about the committee structure. As I am sure you will attest, I have been vacillating over whether to support it for a long time. I'm not entirely against it and I'm sure I could be persuaded under the right conditions. My primary concern is efficacy. That can be broken down into two parts:

1. Is a committee structure capable of delivering change? Our current experience of committees suggest they have limited value.
2. If we're planning to centralise power, are we giving that power to the right people? So far, we have had very few people willing to step up. In particular, we are missing people with the right experience. A call was put out for volunteers very early on in the ratification thread and I think there were 1 or 2 responses in total.

If we can't show that the committees will be staffed by motivated, engaged and experienced people, then I will have a hard time supporting the committee framework. There is an intense focus on process and a complete lack of focus on execution. Both are important.
Hi Alex, You make a really good point about the key to progress being people who will actually put their shoulder to the wheel.

This is a bit of a chicken and egg question - what comes first the doers or the framework? We have opted to create a framework, effectively a strategy for doing this before moving on to recruit the committee members.

You would be right to question the effectiveness of committees in the past. Part is due to organization and not holding them to account and part is due to the capability and energy of the incumbents. We need both.

So in answer to your question I can only quote Sun Tzu: "Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat."

Lets quickly agree the framework and then do as @Vidale has suggested and attract the right volunteers by having a healthy cohesive atmosphere, resources and the ability for them to participate meaningfully.
 
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Committees, departments, boards, directorates, bureaus, panels, etc. ... no matter what term you prefer, the goals is to organize to contribute collectively to the efficient operation of a greater organization. A committee assist in the decision-making process by providing needed information and completing needed work via diverse or expert bodies. In our proposal, the decision making element is the Steering Committee which is charged with ensure the achievement of project outcomes.

All proposals (road map execution, new token model, new grant system, governance, new community standing system, etc.) are centrally grounded to the existence of functional, informed, and empowered committees (or some organize unit of community talent) - committees are the community's critical framework to organize, make informed decisions, and methodically and collectively conduct & complete work.

If we can't organize ... we will never collectively accomplish larger things, and all accomplishments will be weaker and slower to fruition.
If we can't make organized decisions ... we will fail to timely seize opportunity, and we will fail to act decisively.
If we can't methodically do work ... nothing collectively will ever actually get done ... the we won't collectively change ... we won't succeed ... and we likely won't survive.

We can, should, and need to come together and use the collective talents we have to ensure this project achieves its potential.
 
My opinion is clearly communicated by Alex post. This ecosystem has regressed to a low level, with low resources and low involvement, so all those new added processes, with titles and remunerations for the bureaucrats, did not seem in line with the reality.
When I read your answers above, when you say you will find the right talents, I really want to believe, but again that's doesn't seem to match the reality I am seeing. I agree the status quo here is a death sentence, and I also hesitated a lot before voting against this proposal. So I guess for me I'd need some details how you think you will find the right talents you're mentioning.
 
My opinion is clearly communicated by Alex post. This ecosystem has regressed to a low level, with low resources and low involvement, so all those new added processes, with titles and remunerations for the bureaucrats, did not seem in line with the reality.
Yes, the current reality is pretty damning. What Mike said, this is a chicken and egg situation. We know from experience that active participants don't show up at our doorstep, so we must be doing something wrong. This proposal adds the general ingredients for more activity, and it's up to individuals to carve a specific path for more activity.

General
If people don't show up by themselves, that means we're not sufficiently attracting them. As stated, we need resources, more cohesion and meaningful participation. I think we can all agree that these three are essential. This isn't inventing anything new, it's all part of social science.

Resources: We have the tokenomics proposal. It has all the room we need to work on a roadmap and attract work for a period of several years.

Cohesion: Failed expectations decrease trust. Lower trust increases conflict. Higher conflict decreases activity. Factom is a textbook example. To make it even worse, it was designed to fail in exactly this way by being a closed system.

We NEED some processes to increase trust. In this context, processes are good. Not bad. Grant monitoring, ANO reporting, etc. Your reporting alongside @Who is a great example. Tell me that it doesn't build trust. We need this across the board. Furthermore, we reduce competition in decision-making by having a single representative vote.

Meaningful participation: This is basically what's known as stakeholder engagement. Be more inclusive by reducing barriers for entry. Open up the system away from technical and availability requirements. That's what the committees do. That's what the Secretary helps do. Having a good roadmap system further creates meaningful participation because desired activities and their execution is now explicit.

Specific
With this general approach backing us, we can also work to recruit people more specifically. If we have resources, we can decide to hire a CTO/CMO level candidate for every standing committee. Either as an advisory role for whoever ends up in the Steering Council, or by being in the Steering Council themselves. After all, we're agreeing on a 3-4 year runway with the tokenomics proposal. It assumes risk, but let's give it our best shot.

Let me tell you what I think a governance committee will look like. There'll be some ANOs and non-ANOs. There'll be representation from W&M (Troy is interested). I will be engaging contacts at a Dutch law faculty for much needed legal representation. These aren't things that happen overnight, but this is what I'm personally confident in. I also see strong mandates for a governance committee to handle mundane governance processes without needing to start votes. The SC could have a gatekeeper role. This is another example of the much dreaded processes we're so afraid of, but they clear up work and create an effective, conditional division of labor.

Now imagine the same drive for Outreach. And the same drive for Tech.
 
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