Small a code of conduct for Genesis DAO, and the path to decentralized moderation

This post has two parts: it discusses the adoption of a code of conduct for DAOstack-run communication channels (1), and future steps for creating decentralized moderation for the Genesis DAO as a whole (2).

Part 1. Code of conduct for DAOstack-run channels

Over the past few weeks, the ecosystem, comms and whole DAOstack team have been thinking about the topic of code of conduct for the Genesis DAO. We have had a lot of back and forth around different options, including a rich conversation with @dmitry and @stratis in a recent community call about the pros and cons have having a universal code of conduct for the Genesis DAO as whole vs. having channel specific code of conducts.

To stay pragmatic and address the urgent need to have any code of conduct (which a community of our maturity should have by now), the DAOstack team has decided that for now, a code of conduct will be put forward by them which is valid for all DAOstack-run communication channels.

This code of conduct can be seen here on the second part of the page.

It is important to note that this conduct is still based on the “traditional” concept of having moderators for channels, in this case paid by DAOstack, whose role it is to remove people from those channels if they are in breach of it (after receiving a warning).

This code of conduct does not apply to activity on Alchemy, reputation, or communications in any groups and channels that are started by people other than DAOstack.

In a future step, it would be great to adopt a code of conduct for Genesis as a whole that builds on this proposal about mutual respect and responsibility that was passed by Dmitry last year, which would thus be valid for all Genesis DAO comms channels. But this would need to be voted on as a proposal on Alchemy.

Part 2. What does effective moderation & code of conduct enforcement look like in a DAO?

In looking to this next step, we would like to kick-off a conversation here about what this could look like. From the last conversations we had with some Genesis DAO members, the current version of the code of conduct is not yet ready to become a proposal on Genesis, because it does not propose a scalable solution to decentralized enforcement of the code of conduct if there is a breach. Lots of good ideas were shared on how we could achieve this, so we would like to open the floor for discussing it here and hopefully adopt a global code of conduct for Genesis soon (which may also lead to an update to the DAOstack channel code of conduct mentioned above).

Here are some of the key questions that have come up:

  • What does “decentralized moderation” look like? Are fixed moderators needed, or can this be a dynamic role? Can “the crowd” be trusted to moderate and play the jury, if there is the right incentive to do this?
  • Can moderators take action immediately or does every action need to be approved by proposal? Will that ensure a quick enough reaction time, if harm is being done?
  • Is the only way to remove somebody by passing a proposal? What is a respectful and psychologically safe way to remove people (the idea of having a public proposal for someone’s removal is a little daunting to me)? Is it necessary to protect the identity of the person flagging someone’s behavior?
  • What can we learn from other mainly online-based communities about how to scale moderation and ensure we maintain a safe environment?