NounsDAO is one of the most oft-cited example of a DAO that works. However, there is opportunity to improve its governance. These governance improvements could be exported to the broader web3 ecosystem, aiding in the DAO's mission of proliferating Nouns.

Below are a list of categories (in alphabetical order) for governance experiments that I am interested in seeing. These categories are inspired by the discussions with the community and the recently conducted governance survey.

Better ROI

Given the early stage of the project, we have focused mostly on attracting talent to the DAO so we can fund them. As we mature, it will be important that we are allocating those funds intelligently.

Themes in this category include

  • Retrospective analysis of funded proposals
  • Mechanisms to enforce accountability
  • Establishing best practices
  • Improving the diligence process
  • Rewarding outsized contributions

Lower governance overhead

Participating in NounsDAO governance is time consuming. Without improvements to the efficiency of the governance process, it will only take more time as DAO membership and proposal volume increases. Experiments that reduce the cost to make each decision will allow the DAO to scale.

Themes in this category include

  • Delegating categories of decisions to core units
  • Establishing institutional knowledge and best practices
  • Automating funding decisions with governance utilities (like Prop House)

More and better proposals

NounsDAO has funded nearly 100 proposals in less than a year, but there remains high friction to attract and onboard proposers. There are ample opportunities to make the proposal process easier to use and provide resources to increase the likelihood that proposals pass.

Themes in this category include

  • Proposal templates and best practices
  • Video proposals and live pitches
  • Requests for proposals
  • Incentivized lead generation

More vote turnout

At around 13% voter turnout, the DAO has a lot of room to increase voter participation either directly or through delegation.

Themes in this category include

  • More delegation
  • More communication to voters and delegates
  • Compensation for voting and delegation

On-chain sentiment

While on-chain proposals that transfer funds are at the core of NounsDAO governance, the majority of the DAO's time is spent in off-chain alignment. However, we lack ways to establish institutional knowledge that is viewed as credible by the community. Establishing on-chain sentiment would solve this problem if sufficiently adopted.

Themes in this category include:

  • Token weighted sentiment polling
  • Publish perspectives signed by DAO votes

Voter education

NounsDAO decision making is at its worst when there's a knowledge gap. That gap can be either lack of awareness or lack of expertise. Improving knowledge will lead to more engagement and better decision making.

Themes in this category include

  • Reliable and comprehensive news media
  • A comprehensive voter dashboard
  • Open channels of communication to voters and delegates

The inaugural Nouns Governance Survey reveals a strong belief in the legitimacy of the DAO and its on-chain governance. But ample opportunities exist for the DAO to increase participation, improve knowledge, and reduce overhead.


We conducted a survey of Nouns governance participants. The goal of the survey was to capture the beliefs of the community and identify opportunities to improve governance with future research and experimentation.

Twenty-one people completed the survey with a roughly equal split of Nouners and Nounsfolk (Nouncillors, Builders, and Delegates).

This year's survey revealed strong alignment on the mission of the DAO to proliferate Nouns and high confidence in the legitimacy of the on-chain governance system. It also exposed many opportunities to increase participation and improve the off-chain governance process, particularly around knowledge and alignment processes.

These 5 exhibits tell the story behind these findings.

1. The role of Nouns governance is clear: proliferate Nouns

Nouns exists to proliferate Nouns. That much is clear from these results. Those that did not explicitly call out propagating the meme mentioned stewarding the DAO's resources, ensuring that there's responsible management of funds to accomplish the goal of proliferating Nouns.

2. Nouns governance is viewed as highly legitimate and easy to understand, but there are opportunities to improve participation rates, voter knowledge, and process efficiency

Respondents were asked a series of Agree Disagree questions with the format “Nouns governance is ___.” They had six options with 6 being strongest agree. This chart shows the percentage of responses that were either a strong agree (5) or strongest agree (6).

On participation, respondents mentioned:

  • Engagement is high but voter turnout is still relatively low
  • We should force less abstentions
  • We should encourage more delegation

On efficiency, respondents mentioned:

  • High cost of getting new members up to speed
  • Discourse lacking engagement
  • Discussions leading up to on-chain votes are time consuming
  • The DAO doesn't establish formal institutional knowledge

On awareness and expertise

  • Noun holders by and large are smart and competent people
  • Hard to keep track of all the proposals and most Nouners don't stay up to date
  • Information is really fragmented
  • Often don't have the expertise to evaluate ROI
  • Lacking heuristics to short cut discussions and decisions
  • Budwiser...

#3. Nouns governance is at its worst when there's a knowledge gap

The most common reasons for a Nouns governance failure had to do with knowledge: insufficient expertise to assess ROI, dropping the ball on off-chain alignment, lack of awareness about proposals, or making decisions without realizing that it sets a problematic precedent.

This tends to happen when proposals are controversial or poorly defined.

#4. In contrast, Nouns governance is at its best when proposals are straight forward and fit cleanly into the on-chain governance process or are handled by an alternative funding path

When proposals are well defined and supported by the majority of the DAO, people think the process works very well. They also see a lot of value in funding activities that go through governance utilities like small grants, retroactive grants and prop house.

#5. Funding people and projects that make boring stuff happen was the main thing respondents wanted changed

Respondents realize that there are cases that don't fit cleanly into the on-chain governance process and are motivated to fund experiments that help manage those cases whether those experiments are projects or people.

Some examples of the boring stuff included security, treasury management, meta governance, and proposal development support.

Respondents also called out participation and inclusion, with a heavy focus on driving more delegations—ideally encouraging delegates with diverse backgrounds and viewpoints.


This years Nouns governance survey highlights a strong foundation: alignment in the mission to proliferate Nouns and a fundamental belief in the on-chain governance system. This sets the stage to continuously improve the DAO's ability to achieve its mission by increasing participation, improving knowledge, and investing in tools that aid in making non-consensus or boring decisions.

We will explore some ideas inspired by this survey in a follow-up post.

If you have any questions, direct them at @nounsintern on twitter or discord.