Agoric Community Fund Policy

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For Discussion: A Proposed Agoric Community Fund Policy
On-chain proposal #14: Agoric Community Fund Policy (Passed)

In order to position the Agoric Community Fund (aka community pool) as a valuable resource to Agoric’s development, some degree of policy would be useful for guiding the funding process and helping to maintain alignment with Agoric’s mission. This document is a proposed policy for governing that fund and is being shared with the community for the purpose of opening discussion and inviting dialogue. Once consensus is reached, the terms will be finalized to form the initial Agoric Community Fund Policy.
The Community Fund Policy should make our expectations clear to enable contributors to count on the support that they will need to advance the Agoric mission. Such a policy cannot be enforced by any individual or entity – our aim, rather, is to unite Agoric stakers around a common understanding that we will veto proposals that fail to adequately follow our community policy. The policy will be a living document that can (and should) be amended over time to better serve Agoric’s mission.
A proposer submitting a community pool proposal should, in good faith, follow the Agoric Community Fund Policy to the best of their ability in order for their proposal to be considered by the BLD voting community, and the proposer should be aware that a vetoed proposal’s deposit is irrecoverably burned. We are proposing a policy with a two step process for funding proposals: A discussion/deliberation period, followed by a voting period.

Step 1: Discussion/Deliberation
The Agoric BLD voting community expects that the idea for the funding proposal will be published first on the Agoric Commonwealth forum for discussion and deliberation:

  1. Proposal idea is published as a topic in the ‘Community Fund’ category of the Agoric Commonwealth forum, detailing:
    A clear description of the community tool, good, service, or effort (“Community Good”).
    The amount being requested and how the BLD will be used to create the Community Good.
    How the Community Good benefits the Agoric community.Which parts of the Community Good will be open-source, owned by the Agoric community, and/or any terms of service
    Proposed criteria for assessing success of the tool, good, service, or effort. (i.e., a benchmark for evaluating the outcome)
    Risk factors that are likely to impact the project, or are likely to flow from the absence of the proposed community good
  2. The person/organization posting the idea will be known as “the Proposal Champion” and will be expected to shepherd the proposal through this process.
  3. The Proposal Champion should directly engage key members of the community for feedback. These could be large contributors, those likely to be most impacted by the proposal, and entities with high stake-backing (eg. core contributors; high-ranked validators; large stakers; prominent builders in the Agoric ecosystem).
  4. The Proposal Champion should engage the entire community by alerting them to the existence of the idea on Commonwealth, and encouraging them to participate in the Commonwealth Discussion/Deliberation.

We expect the Discussion/Deliberation period to remain open for at least 5 days before moving on to the Voting Period.

Step 2: Voting Period
Once the requirements of the Discussion/Deliberation Period (see above), have been satisfied, a majority of the voting community should probably be aware of the proposal and have considered it before the proposal goes live on-chain. If you’re taking a conservative approach, you should have reasonable confidence that your proposal will reach quorum and will pass before risking deposit contributions, since the deposits of vetoed proposals are burned.
The Proposal Champion should now create the formal proposal. Proposals, or links to an external source document containing the proposal, should be posted in Commonwealth, along with a synopsis and a call to action for the community.
The Proposal Champion is charged with crafting a well-drafted proposal that anticipates community questions and concerns, as well as considers possible edge cases that might result in foreseeable misuse of the mechanisms created by the Proposal. Remember: Once your proposal is on-chain, you will not be able to change it.
The deposit required for submitting a Proposal to a vote is determined by chain governance, and is currently 500 BLD. The deposit period currently lasts 14 days. If you submitted your transaction with the minimum deposit, your proposal will immediately enter the voting period. If you didn’t submit the minimum deposit amount, then this may be an opportunity for others to show their support by contributing (and risking) their BLD as a bond for your proposal. You can request contributions openly and also contact stakeholders directly (particularly stakeholders who are enthusiastic about your proposal); remember that each contributor is risking their funds. Once a total of 500 BLD is received, the voting period will commence.
The voting period is currently 3 days.
The quorum necessary for the vote to be valid is 33.4% (Ping Dashboard - Cosmos Blockchain Explorer And Web Wallet). Proposals pass with a simple majority (50% (Ping Dashboard - Cosmos Blockchain Explorer And Web Wallet). If quorum is met, the deposit will be returned in its entirety (regardless of the outcome of the vote). If the quorum is not met, the deposit is lost and the Proposal Champion must begin this process again (i.e., starting with a Discussion/Deliberation Period, see above).

During the Voting Period, the Proposal Champion wants to track which validators have voted. Remember that any voter may change their vote at any time before the voting period ends. The biggest risk is that stakeholders won’t vote at all (for a number of reasons), which may result in failure to attain a quorum and the loss of the Proposal Deposit (see above). Validator operators tend to need multiple reminders to vote. How you choose to contact validator operators, how often, and what you say is up to you–remember that no validator is obligated to vote, and that operators are likely occupied by competing demands for their attention.

A Note on Voting

There are four different possible votes that may be cast:
Abstain: indicates that the voter is impartial to the outcome of the proposal.
Yes: indicates approval of the proposal in its current form.
No: indicates disapproval of the proposal in its current form.
NoWithVeto: indicates stronger opposition to the proposal than simply voting ‘No’. If the number of ‘NoWithVeto’ votes is greater than a third of total votes excluding ‘Abstain’ votes, the proposal is rejected and the deposits are burned.

Please note that this proposed process does not mean people should vote NoWithVeto merely because of failure to follow the process to the letter; procedural issues alone should not merit a NoWithVeto vote, rather, that special power should only be used if the proposal at issue would harm the chain.