Code of Conduct Council - Retrospective Season 5

Retrospective - Season 5

First of all, thank you for allowing the members of this Council for Season 5 to be part of the Collective. We have learned a lot and worked in favor of the participants of the Collective. We have conducted this Retrospective internally and want to share some important points with all of you.

Please note that in some responses, there are various conclusions. We believe that seeing the different perspectives of the members is more important than reaching a consensus when submitting a Retrospective.

1. What is your assessment of any benchmark milestones and/or impact KPIs that were set in your Budget Proposal or Charter at the start of the Season? Have you made progress towards, or achieved, these milestones or KPIs?

  • We believe we have achieved progress based on our mandate, there has been less governance overhead in the management of conflicts by the Foundation, and less voting around the Code of Conduct sanctions, contributing to these Goals, by replacing the Foundation in the processing of reported Code of Conduct Violations and eliminating enforcement responsibilities for Token House delegates by entrusting the Code of Conduct Council to process disputes. To create accountability for the Code of Conduct Council, the Token House may veto enforcement actions at any time

  • Generally, the introduction of Optimistic Enforcement of actions alone has already led to fewer votes needed from the Token House on these matters, we think we were effective at these goals.

  • While the CoCC wasn’t perfect, we successfully achieved these goals by soaking up governance overhead that would have otherwise fallen on the token. Our small group size (as opposed to the large Token House) meant we could dedicate more time and attention to each case than the Token House could, which would have ideally led to more optimal outcomes for the cases. Finally, the fact the CoCC Members were drawn from rank-and-file members of the Optimism Community, increased the decentralization of Optimism Governance and minimized the need of the Foundation to remain in control.

2. Impact assessment - how well did your team’s outputs support the Intent they were authorized under?

  • All reports were discussed, with different perspectives being given for each case from members. The biggest output I am impressed with the Council has been the communications on the thread, with many members being able to handle publicly very sensitive threads.

  • We managed cases that were a load on the Foundation and the community, taking off weight to specific areas and taking care of the public image of the collective. Managing conflict is one of those areas whose impact is invisible, and trying to measure it is paradoxical. It’s hard to reach a consensus in dicotomic situations and there will be a certain amount of descent to decisions we make. If we want to have conflict, to prove our capacity to manage it, we are incentivizing the first unwanted premise. If there are a few conflicts, we may think the group is not needed. It’s good that the conflict management offices are prepared for any emergency, and also that there are moments without conflict that prevention.

  • I think it’s less important to discuss the team’s outputs, and more important to focus on the indirect benefit to the Optimism Collective that the CoCC provided. Our inner workings and outputs ultimately minimized governance overhead for the Token House, increased decentralization of the Collective, and led to better outcomes among disputes. Our group activities and communication across Optimism’s online platform and community events appeared to reduce the frequency of disputes, reduce incivility on the online platforms, and provide a support mechanism to community members who felt they had been wronged or generally unsafe in the community; i.e. We were always there if people needed us, and it appeared as if many in the community knew this.

3. What changes would you make to the Internal Operating Procedures (IOP’s)?

  • Incentivizing people in the community to be closer to the COCC. We should be able to know about conflicts when they are small. If we are not seen close to the community, it will be harder to access cases and we’ll only perceive them when they are big.

  • I think an important goal is to keep the IOPs simple, clear, and easy to understand and adhere to. With this as a goal, I am pleased that the CoCC did indeed dedicate significant time and energy to creating and/or refining the IOPs, while always seeking feedback from the community and the Foundation.

4. Suggested adjustments to the Charter.

  • Open the forms to not only strong Code of Conduct violations but also tearings of the social fabric, allowing feedback loops and notification of issues when they are small as fast as possible. Leading to not only Yes or No decisions, but to transforming polarities into informed dialogue spaces.

  • A change that I’ve previously discussed, is that Reports should be received, processed, and reported on with 2 consecutive Voting Cycles, and not only one (i.e. the same) Voting Cycle. I believe this change would improve decision-making by the CoCC reduce pressures on CoCC Members and minimize conflicts among CoCC Members.

  • Giving more space for innovation within the CoCC to innovations, for example, for this initial Season we started exploring within the Council the option to use Attestations within our decisions and roles, this was something that wasn´t part of the Charter, but I believe adding within the Charter a research or investigative area that includes an open mandate to innovate as Council would be seen by the members as an open playground. I also believe that working more closely with other members of the community generates a broader impact, for example, in future mandates, the CoCC can work more closely in experimenting under Missions or similar. Cross-collaboration is key, for the Attestations a member of the community, @LauNaMu, helped us understand more about Attestations and how these could be implemented within the Council in favor of the Collective. Something that also was in our conversations, was to see how could the CoCC could work together with other Protocols, such as Arbitrum, for issues that expand our borders, and are out of our scope, but still relevant to the Collective.

5. What improvements to the team’s mandate would you suggest for next Season? If you don’t believe the team’s operations should continue next Season, please explain why here.

  • I feel that ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) and report voting could be parallelized. The Council’s role in voting on behalf of the Token House cannot be assumed by any other entity, however, with additional resources we could expand and potentially onboard a more comprehensive method for resolutions beyond the council members themselves.

  • I think we should continue next season, and be given support to pivot cases to facilitation of ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution). I think this experiment was fun and beneficial to the community and the participants of the COCC (Code of Conduct Council). In my opinion, for next season we can continue polishing and iterating based on what was built to support the community and the foundation in the better identification and processing of code of conduct violations and overall management of conflicts in the Optimism ecosystem.

  • I think there can be two parallel streams to handle Reports. While the CoCC should remain the first ‘port-of-call’ or ‘first responder’ for all Reports, the CoCC should have the option to off-ramp selected cases to an external ADR body or process. The external ADR provider could provide increased expertise and dedicated time and staff for the longer term (supported or created by adequate funding) that could better handle these embedded, but recoverable disputes, in comparison to the direct CoCC. Cases that are not off-ramped to ADR would remain the responsibility of the CoCC, and the CoCC could increase the specialization, efficiency, and effectiveness in investigating, processing, adjudicating, and reporting on cases that lean more to obvious abuse, infractions, or breaches, as opposed to the human, personality or political disputes that are more likely breakdowns in the social fabric of the community but can still be recovered (i.e. these cases are handled by the ADR body).

  • The mandate of the CoCC is of high importance to the Collective because due process is required when members of the Token House are subject to any kind of sanction, especially when this sanction involves not only deleting a post but also imposing higher sanctions such as limiting their ability to participate in the Forum.

Potentially, this could be the last post from the members who are part of this initial experiment. We have forged bonds that we know will always be there among us. We thank you immensely once again for this opportunity.

Regards :heart_decoration:,
@gene @Axel_T @Juanbug_PGov @Oxytocin @juankbell @teresacd

11 Likes

First of all, thank you for the thorough Retrospective!

Some comments:

  • It’s pretty fitting that this retrospective shared the several perspectives held by its Council members and that have embodied this Council’s operations since inception, this was very informing. It might still be good to have a TLDR for a quick takeaway while preserving the nuance this subject requires in the long form.

  • I agree that the number of conflicts being resolved isn’t a good metric as outlined by the members given that if this were the goal, the CoCC would actually be incentivized to generate more conflict (to mitigate it) and this is something to keep in mind when seeking third parties outside of the ecosystem to solve for this intent. It would still be useful to share links to the information on the main successes of the CoCC and it’s indirect impact, in addition to the descriptions shared, in case people want to read more on each.

  • Does the CoCC have examples of which other past CoC violations that were not strong would have benefited from being handled by the CoCC? For example where do you feel like tearing of the social fabric could have been handled better if handled by the CoCC? This to understand if opening up the form would be the best path to informed dialogues.

  • Strongly agree that allowing for some dedicated time for the Council to innovate can lead to good efficiency outcomes and increased adoption of tooling that improves the long term memory of the Collective and connects and nurtures other Identity initiatives being led in the Foundation/Collective.

I would personally be interested in seeing the efforts of the Code of Council continue as described above as first responders with the ability to off-ramp certain conflicts to a specialized authority, while maintaining the right to solve for conflicts that are unique to the Collective’s social fabric. The later could be later evaluated for off-ramping if the former is successfully off-ramped and we can evaluate that no negative incentives are generated by a third party provider to increase conflict.

Thank you for all your hard work!

6 Likes

Hello @LauNaMu Thanks for your reply! I will share some ideas on these very interesting topics.

  • I think having a public registry of cases makes a lot of sense :slight_smile: this is a template we could get inspired by for the future. The confidentiality managed in the council has to be backed by accountability and transparency for the community. For the same reason, in our proposal for season 6 we are suggesting having a group of supportNERDs that would connect the council with those who are actively monitoring the platforms. They would be capable of raising information about cases and providing accountability for the work of the council, its processes, and its members. We proposed a mid and end-of-season report from these supportNERDs about the council.

  • The design of the intake process right now makes cases only visible to the council when they are big and hard to manage, meaning when someone sees a severe violation of the code of conduct that they think would merit a sanction (reduced to temp or permanent ban from platforms). The idea behind opening up the forms is to be able to detect cases and feedback from the community when they are small and with more management margin, so that we can be faster and more effective on our support to the involved parties -and the collective- dealing with the situation before it becomes a public standoff (like we’ve seen). Conflict is something that evolves over time, and “A Stitch in time saves nine”. The tearing of the social fabric does not happen only in huge rips, it can also start with small breaches of trust. I think being able to see these issues with time helps prevent uncontrolled situations and allows the council to do better in their intention of dealing with cases. On the proposal for season 6, I’m suggesting delivering mid and end-of-season summaries about conflicting patterns identified by the council.

  • Several good practices can be continuously implemented over time. The seasonal evolution of Optimism makes a lot of room for fast improvements over each cycle. Let’s not forget this council has been a recent experiment, and that from the initial practice, we have learned a lot.
    The idea behind the possibility of having a third-party mediation provider is that the Alternative Dispute Resolution steps require a lot of dedicated time per case (private meetings, screening of the situation, negotiation back and forth), and being able to pivot cases to a trusted third party for that specific type of work can avoid compromising the availability of the council members from other reports.

I think this experiment is super cool, and there is a lot to improve, but it makes sense to continue being prepared to manage coordination risks and to separate Optimism’s collective goodwill from the inevitable conflicts that may arise in such a huge and complex socio-economic system.

Note for delegates: If you think continuing to develop conflict management practices through the code of conduct council is worth it, please express your approval in this post for the budget of season 6 to reach token voting instances. :heart:

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