Nothing wrong with this very broad definition, but I’d suggest using one that is more consistent with our concerns and goals at DGOV, namely distributed governance, and the crypto-space in general (see this for instance).
In a nutshell, something like “Commons are natural or cultural resources shared and managed by a community, according to a set of explicit rules defined by the community”.
Rather than wikipedia, I’d pick the definition offered by the Michel Bauwens: “A commons is a 1) shared resources (i.e. there is something objective about it) 2) maintained or co-produced by a community or group of stakeholders (hence: a subjective activity and choice, ‘there is no commons without commoning’) and 3) it is managed according to te rules and values of that community (‘autonormativity’), which makes it also into an alternative governance and property regime”. (source)
In the same page, there are a lot of useful definitions. Another that I like is:
The main variables of a commons are:
- a resource (replenishable or depletable)
- the people who share this commons (users, managers, producers and providers)
- the rules governing people’s access to — and benefit from — these common resources
- the value created through the preservation or production of these common goods
I never understood the definition of Gavin Wood. It’s not clearer here, and it’s the first one offered to the reader. If it’s only me, fine (please guys help me to get it). If you think as well that—at least in this form–it is very obscure, then maybe we could remove it.
I like Vlad’s reference to legitimacy because it shifts the definition beyond the limited scope of “decision-making” mechanisms. According to Wikipedia, Lijun and Wei state that governance refers “to the actions and processes by which stable practices and organizations arise and persist”. In this sense, and in the context of decentralized organizations, legitimacy seems to be an essential factor of persistance indeed.
I like the reference to etymology in Wikipedia: “Like government , the word governance derives, ultimately, from the Greek verb kubernaein [ kubernáo ], meaning to steer”. In French, it’s the same root as “gouvernail”, which means the “helm”, the “steering wheel”. I think that this element is crucial, as it makes the difference between governance and management, strategy and tactic, goals and execution. Governance is about agreeing on the goals and defining the meta-rules, whereas operational decisions are made within an existing frame. For instance, corporate governance has been seen as a way to align the interests of the executives with those of the shareholders, in order to maximize the value for the shareholders (which becomes the major goal of the organization).
I understand that this is just my opinion and more work is needed here, but I precisely wanted to make a point that it’s badly needed on a “DGOV” reference page . Moreover, I disagree with Hudson’s definition (at least with the idea that we should put it here at the forefront). Governance is not “who makes the decisions and how to make them”. All decisions are not a matter of governance.
Probably too many definitions here, although it reflects the current lack of consensus on what it is. I’d get rid of the Investopedia definition, since it alludes specifically to “The DAO” and not DAOs in general.
I would add the definition put forward by COALA: “A DAO means a smart-contract based heterarchical, distributed and trustless network that operates according to transparent and stakeholder-governed rules on a permissionless blockchain”.
I’d argue that this definition captures most of what is included in alternatives by Matan, Blockchain Hub, Tim, Steven. I disagree with Yalda’s definition, but it’s different. I agree with Richard Burton’s (is it his real name?) one, but again it’s different. So it would be a big simplification to use COALA’s instead of the others. Just my 2 cents.