Soft (Off-chain) and Hard (On-Chain) Governance

In principle, as many decisions as possible should be made using a soft governance mechanism via Discord. As a general rule, on-chain votes are required for high-stakes decisions that

(a) revolve around the treasury and a certain level of expenses


(b) revolve around the rules or the rules to change the rules [the constitutional process]


(c) revolve around membership and enforcement of norms [punitive measures].

Other decisions should be taken through soft governance.

Governance Design in BioDAOs

Proposal Process Overview

  1. Phase I: Informal - Discourse

  2. Community Support Indicated by Discourse Vote

  3. Phase II: Formal - Community Support Indicated by Discourse Vote

  4. Phase III: Token-based vote

Phase 1: Ideation

This phase facilitates an initial, informal discussion consisting of DAO members on Discourse regarding potential proposals to DAO. Members can initiate a proposal in Phase 1 by posting their idea in Discourse. This phase allows proposals to gather community insight for refinement before opening a formal poll. Project proposals submitted by externals are automatically generated and posted in the proposal channel.

Phase I Duration: Open-ended

Phase I Passing Requirement

For proposals to successfully pass from Phase 1 to Phase 2, at least 10 members must signal positive support. If a Phase 1 proposal discussion fails to garner momentum from the community, it is unlikely to become a successful proposal. If there are less than 5 votes within three days of posting, the proposal is voided.

Phase 2: Specification

Proposals that receive more than 10 votes are moved to Phase 2. This phase requires proposals to be posted on Discourse using the DAO Governance Proposal template. Beside proper naming, the template requires all proposals to include fields including but not limited to a Simple Summary, Abstract, Motivation, Specification, and Implementation.

In addition to these fields, Phase 2 proposals must include a single-choice poll on the proposal outcome giving the options “Agree”, “Agree with revisions” (requiring a comment), and “Disagree”. Participation should be restricted to trust level 1 and above and will be increased to trust level 2 at some point (see Discourse Trust Levels 7). The poll should result in a pie chart with results visible, as per this template:

The proposal author is responsible to incorporate comments from “Agree with revisions” votes. If their comment is fully resolved, commenting authors are supposed to change their vote from "Agree with revisions” to “Agree”.

Phase 2 Duration: 7 days

Passing Requirement

For proposals to successfully pass from Phase 2 to Phase 3, there must be one outcome with a relative majority of votes on a Discourse poll. Proposals in Phase 2 require support from two working group leads, and at least 10 members to vote. If the relative majority of votes on the forum poll indicates the result “Agree” (including any resolved “Agree with revisions” votes), the proposal will pass to Phase 3.

Phase 3: Consensus

Phase 2 proposals are moved to Phase 3 by editing the VGP post from the previous phase to reflect the forum poll result that received a relative majority of votes, and by updating the proposal’s tag to phase-3. Proposals that pass the Phase 2 forum poll must be locked in this forum and referenced on DIscourse to become an on-chain Phase 3 vote.

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