How should spend proposals be approached?

Recently there has been a lot of discussion related to spend proposals now that there are more going to the chain. So I wanted to start a discussion about how this should work going forward.

How was this previously done?
Previously prospective builders and contributors would go to the forums for a week and sometimes telegram rooms to gauge community interest then decide if they would go to the chain.

My thoughts

To share some of my thoughts, I think proposals should go straight to the chain after being posted on the forms.

My reason for this is very simple, if you look at the citadel and sg1 proposals, there was a lot of negative feedback on the forums, but if you look at the votes they passed. So it seems to me the only real way to understand consensus is to actually be on chain and just accept it if a proposal fails as the will of the chain.

This also means some decisions can be made in 1 week instead of a week forum discussion then also 1-2 weeks on chain. If a proposal fails, the proposer can either give up or try again after adjusting for feedback given via the forums during voting. It’s honestly not a big deal to try again and we should not view this as failure, we should view this as using the system as it was designed to be used. The previous way of approaching this results in what is sometimes less than 10 humans saying they don’t like something and being able to successfully stop things from moving to a vote.

Why do I think this is better than how things were done?

The loudest voices are often the most critical, admittedly at times that’s me but we have found when it’s not me others fill the void and do it. This is one of the most uninviting aspect of the Secret Network. People who are willing to dedicate dev/man hours to pushing things forward often walk away thinking it’s a terrible experience to get public funding and that’s a dangerous culture to continue contributing to while other sources of funding have their own issues/take longer. It also results in only older contributors being given chances on opportunities. We already have a mechanism for deciding if something passes or fails and seeing that from actual votes is, in my opinion, the only way we will know if something should happen. At the end of the day people need a place to voice their feedback, not a rout for who has the loudest voice being able to lobby people out of seeing what DPOS wants (on chain votes includes delegator voice via votes anyways).

Open questions

  1. How do you think spend proposals should be approached and what is your reasoning?

  2. What is wrong with a proposal going to the chain while feedback is given and allowing a prop to fail if the will of the chain votes it down?

Thanks in advance

I think the forum is the best tool for visibility we have at the moment. The feedback loop at times has been negative, but this has been reflected in the proposals as well - SG1 passed with 75.15%. Citadel with 59.28%. So I wouldn’t say it wasn’t representative of sentiment. Also, at times the same negativity has been useful to fend off proposals that wanted significant resources from the pool.

At the end of the day people can do whatever they want, they can go straight to chain if they want to (it is a permissionless ecosystem) or even discuss privately with whatever validators they want to convince. Personally, it’s not like I won’t support something just because it doesn’t go on the forum, but at the same time there’s much smaller chance to change your mind once you are not convinced by a proposal description.

At the same time, as long as discourse is civil and respectful, I fail to see how this guilt burden/feeling when someone doesn’t feel like doing a proposal falls on the community. When you make a proposal you are basically request for free money, thus the proposer should be ready to defend their figures and qualifications for the proposed job. Otherwise it just feels like it is expected that the community behaves like a major cheerleader and backs every proposal with “why not give it a try?”. It’s an equally dangerous slippery slope as being stagnant and shooting everything down due to being overconservative. At the same time, the proposer should be aware that if their proposal only gathers 3 comments and all 3 are negative from random community members, it doesn’t mean this would necessarily fail as ultimately on-chain is the actual representation of the vote.

I say this as someone who has supported the vast majority of proposals, so I don’t feel as if this is directed to me anyway.

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Why do you think the forum gives more awareness than on chain? People always check the explorer, wallets, and citadel dashboard to check on their money. It seems that has far more visibility (especially if you look at the traffic of those combined vs forums)

You can lay out your thoughts extensively in the forum, but you can only vote yes/no/abstain/veto on chain.

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You can do exactly what you just said, on the forums, while a proposal is in voting period.

My bad, I had misread and thought the argument was against the expectation of a forum discussion having to exist at all rather than running both concurrently.

With that said, yeah, sure, you can run both at the same time but I doubt discussing a proposal before it goes to a vote feels like what is holding anything back at the moment. If I understand correctly, you believe it’s more the critical members of the community who deter other from presenting a proposal, but this would still happen if you discussed on the forum during the voting period.

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Yeah my only point is that we can do both of these things at the same time, that gives people a place where they can write out their thoughts and feedback, as well as people being able to vote. I see no reason for needing to do these things separately. We need to start being OK with proposals failing, and people coming back after adjusting if it fails. I just think allowing a super small handful of loud voices to effectively lobby something out of existence before even asking the chain is dangerous. I fully want the discussions to happen in tandem.

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Ironically enough with my first comment lol, I don’t see why not try this format and see how it goes.

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Since we are DPOS I can’t imagine anything going terribly wrong with this. Again, if it goes to the forums first without being on chain in tandem, then a super small group of people that are not representative of anywhere near the majority of voting power have the ability to lobby something out of existence.

If it goes to the chain and there are too many questions or too many concerns from weight based stakeholders, then the proposal will fail and they can give up or try again. That seems like the worst/best case scenario here. Unless i’m missing something?

If people are uncomfortable with DPOS then they can either
a) propose to change it and convince the VP to accept or
b) participate in a non dpos based network.

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