Nouns Governance Survey 2022: A Strong Foundation for Proliferating Nouns
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
#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.