Hey @hex6c, thank you so much for sharing this detailed feedback. I am in the process of researching and drafting a proposal for Quadratic Voting now. That said, I really appreciate you raising other issues such as curation, conflicts of interest, and transparency as not all of them have been part of the public discussion so far.
I will address the issues out of order, as I believe Issue #5 and Issue #1 have some downstream effects on the others.
Regarding Issue #5:
I believe this is of critical importance and is a very high priority for me personally. We are now digging into the election results to model how the standings would have been different with quadratic voting. This information will be released along with a Request for Comment and eventual SIP to implement Quadratic Voting for Space Race 5. If you would like to perform independent analysis of the vote results, let me know and we can share the .csv.
While quadratic voting does open the possibility for sybil attacks, which could magnify rather than diminish the voting power of whales, I believe it is worth the risk. There are additional statistical tools, such as pairwise decorrelation (implemented in this repo published by gitcoin, and described in this eth research post by Vitalik) to increase sybil defense, however the ultimate solution would be some sort of proof of humanity or scalar on voting power based on reputation. In future races, I think we (or a grantee!) could develop something similar to the gitcoin passport which magnifies voting power based on marketplace participation, DAO contribution, and proof of humanity / social logins. BrightId is a very promising tool being developed in this arena, but I do not believe we as a DAO are ready to implement it, and it may not be ready for us.
That is far beyond the scope of what we can accomplish before the next race, baring additional contributions from the community, and as such I anticipate recommending a basic implementation of quadratic voting, or one with pairwise decorrelation, for SR 5. Of course, with this going through the SIP process, it will be open to community input and approval before being implemented.
Regarding Issue #1:
We performed an initial screening of applications, removing only those which were artists trying to get on the platform or those which were clearly scammy/spammy/bot submissions. We did not see any submissions in that later group, but did have 10 applications which were labeled as artist self-promotion by a team of four SuperRare Labs employees in charge of administering the Space Race more broadly.
In the future, I would love to see this administration be absorbed back under the DAO in the form of a Space Race working group of some kind. The process for application review, approval, and rejection, could be a streamlined version of what I propose in the grants program RFC ([Request for Comment] Introducing SuperRare Grants Round 1). This would open opportunities for community participation in future races, ensure that a level of transparency is enforced, and that those reviewing the applications are doing so with authority directly delegated to them by the DAO council, rather than only through their position at SuperRare Labs.
I think what I describe above, or something similar to it, is required if we were to perform more restrictive curation. I wouldn’t feel comfortable with SRL making unilateral decisions about whether a space race application is verbose enough, and as such bringing that decision making directly under the authority of the DAO could be a good option to maintain a higher level of curation while keeping things capture resistant (reference: Anticapture — spengrah).
Regarding Issue #2:
I think that resolving Issue #1 and Issue #5 go a long way towards addressing this issue. One of the issues I felt during this race was that DAO insiders were involved, both in application and in voting, and yet that was not clear. If there is a more robust review process for applications prior to race start, there would be an opportunity (and expectation) for high level contributors, SRL employees, and SRL investors to divulge conflicts of interest.
I genuinely do not know whether we should restrict the ability of such insiders from participating in the space race, though I do believe their participation (or the participation of people close to them, such as spouses or close associates) should be transparent and that they should be given no special advantage.
That issue of being given “no special advantage” raises some important questions around the DAO’s current power dynamics. The initial token distribution heavily favored marketplace participants, investors, and employees as of August 2021. As you noted, there has not been additional faucets or airdrops since then. As such, anyone who was involved in SuperRare prior to August 2021 has a special advantage when it comes to matters of token governance. This is a very difficult issue to resolve, but, I hope, a fairly easy one to mitigate.
This is where quadratic voting really comes into play, and can help mitigate the negative effects of the current power structure while we develop new models for DAO participation and token distribution, such as the grants program and NTT implementation.
Regarding Issue #4:
Your assessment here is correct. While the grants program does open a new pathway for $RARE distribution, I believe that any governance system which relies solely on a transferable token will trend towards plutocracy. I have been doing deep research on NTT implementations for DAO credentialing, primarily for access control but also for reputation, primarily via Hats Protocol and Otterspace. The most immediate use case, in my mind, is for token-gated access to multi-sigs, communications, and documentation for members of the DAO Council and Grants Committee. However, I see the opportunity for a broad implementation of these technologies (especially Hats Protocol) across the SuperRare platform so that marketplace participation, SRL employment, DAO Council involvement, sitting on a committee, and even regularly attending discord events could all be credentialed under the same standard. This opens the door for a SuperRare specific “karma” system, as you described it, or more specifically, an engagement based system for proof of humanity and on-chain reputation.
While these systems are unlikely to replace $RARE, they could be used to heavily scale voting power and provide sybil resistance (similar to gitcoin’s passport) - creating a less plutocratic voting environment.
That said, if we start scaling voting power by engagement with the SuperRare platform and contribution to the SuperRare DAO, I feel we reintroduce the issue of conflicts of interest. The people who arguably should have the most “karma” within the DAO are also the ones who would have the most potential for conflict of interest, as they are more likely to be intimately involved in the DAO’s operations.
If you are interested in participating in the planning and implementation of these structures for NTT badging and DAO administration, please do not hesitate to reach out as I am currently trying to identify members of the committee most interested and able to contribute to DAO meta-governance and ultimately form a working group around those problems.
Regarding Issue 3:
I agree with the need for increasing transparency in voting generally, however, I have concerns that being able to prove who voted for what opens the door for vote purchasing and other forms of incentivized or coercive collusion. If I have no way of verifying who you voted for, I have no incentive to bribe you to vote for me, because you could just vote for anyone. This is why voter confidentiality is such a critical component in most democracies.
That said, in the absence of integrity and equity in the voting system broadly, the benefits of voter transparency may outweigh the risks. I just think that we should carefully consider the downsides here and look if there are any ZK solutions or hints from existing democratic systems which could help us find the nuance needed to navigate this issue effectively.
This level of conversation is exactly what is needed for SuperRare to continue to grow and flourish. I want you to know that as DAO Program Manager, I take this input very seriously and am grateful for your contribution. My door and DMs are always open, and I try to make it a habit to check the forum daily. If you are able to attend, I would love to discuss these ideas further in tomorrow’s (November 29th) Meta-Governance call in the discord at 12pm Eastern Time.