[Discussion] Affirming our Code of Conduct and Guiding Principles

The goal of this document is to outline and discuss the fundamental principles that guide our interactions at Index Coop. The time has come to revisit, update, and re-affirm our Code of Conduct and guiding principles.

Situation

Our protocol is currently engaged in several challenging conversations that require us to grow and evolve. Every single topic is difficult, multi-faceted, and highly complex.

As we face those challenges and debate the resolution, it becomes easy to grow frustrated and demoralized. Occasionally antagonism and negative behaviors enter some of our forums and chats. When you read through contentious forum posts, you can almost feel the frustration. All share this feeling of frustration. We must not let our frustrations turn negative or degrade our conversations.

If our goal is to grow as a community, we need to establish mutually agreed-upon principles and core values to guide these discussions. We need to have an honest and open conversation across our community around what values and norms we need to uphold while interacting with each other.

Guiding Principles

A good starting point for this discussion is for us to revisit and flesh out our guiding principles. We re-iterate each of these principles before every call. The principles serve as the basis for our interactions.

Here are our guiding principles and some thoughts on each. These Principles are the foundation of our community.

We interact with empathy

We are a digital organization, but we must not lose sight of each other’s humanity. We are a community of human beings and can not lose empathy for each other. Only through true friendship, kindness, and mutual support can we thrive as both community members and individuals.

We work together towards shared goals

We operate in an intellectually challenging and intense environment that requires sophisticated teamwork to navigate. Across the DAO, there are many complex problems. We need community members who are committed to working together to find solutions. Solving these problems is hard work, and ultimately this is the work our protocol pays us to do.

We’re on a never-ending journey of growth & improvement

Our community is filled with brilliant people. Every proposal or forum post I read blows me away. We keep getting better and better. Each of us continues to learn and improve while on the job. We are all in this together, and will only reach our full potential by working together. We are here to help each other grow, not to drag each other down.

We foster a sense of belonging

in any truly complex or difficult human endeavor that requires teamwork, individual skills are far less important than the ability to work on a team. We are building a great team, and we can only make this team from a strong foundation. We build this team on a shared sense of belonging. Everyone is in this together, everyone is equal.

We foster a sense of safety

If people get anxiety from checking our forums or are worried about personal attacks, they will leave our community. We cannot grow and evolve if some of our most dedicated and passionate members are afraid to voice their opinions or put themselves under the spotlight. Safety is closely tied to a sense of belonging.

Code of Conduct

Index Coop has a Code of Conduct laid out by Dylan and Dark Forest Capital from October of last year. We need to update this code of conduct to more closely reflect the current realities of our protocol.

Listed below are some potential additions.

Interacting with External Parties

  • Commit to upholding the highest standard of professional conduct
  • Ensure that conversations are shared and community members feel welcome to join them
  • Commit to acting in good faith and the betterment of the protocol
  • Not act to extract value from the protocol
  • Not acting with external parties to create disruption and chaos in the community
  • Disclosing conflicts of interest when applicable (great example)

For External Parties

  • Commit to working with the Coop to find win-win solutions
  • Commit to engaging with the community as a whole and not rely on single individuals
  • Embrace discussion and consensus building
  • Ensure that communications happen in public or semi-public channels when possible
  • Add value to the Coop and not act in an extractive manner

Positive Internal behavior

  • Committing to take ownership and move conversations forward in a meaningful way
  • Help solve problems, don’t just point out issues
  • Put the protocol and community first. We are building something that is bigger than any one individual
  • Come together instead of forming alliances. All large organizations have some element of politics, whenever possible we must strive to prevent this dynamic from evolving
  • Strive to understand the others’ position better than they do themselves when receiving opposing feedback

Specifically prohibited behavior

Note: Being listed here is not meant to signal that specific behavior is currently occurring

  • Personal or public attacks against other community members
  • Degrading the work or contribution of another community member
  • Screenshotting and sharing private chats or conversations. If there is a presumption of privacy in communication we must respect that
  • Making threats against the protocol or degrading any of our partners in the ecosystem
  • Actively trying to drive someone from our community

Suggested approach for engaging with and correcting unwanted behavior.

If a person or group within Index Coop or outside our organization violates one of these principles, we encourage community members to correct them gently. Disagreements are best solved through 1-1 conversation prior to addressing concerns in a public forum. We do not want to form an authoritarian top-down approach to rule enforcement, instead, we want to encourage community-wide policing and gentle corrections when needed.

If further communication does not succeed, I recommend that we form ad-hoc panels composed of four community members chosen at random from active contributors to adjudicate and help correct behavior.

Individuals who have repeatedly broken our code of conduct will be banned from participating in all Index Coop channels for a set period. This includes the removal of active governance posts or proposals.

Potential Next Steps

As we engage in increasingly complex discussions both internally and externally, we need to lay the foundation for successful conversations. Creating this code of conduct will take active work and discussion by our entire community. This discussion will give us a document everyone can be proud of that will set the standard for the broader ecosystem of DAOs.

  1. Community discussion, iteration, and improvement of our Code of Conduct
  2. Ratify this Code of Conduct through community, investors, and methodologist signature
  3. Final IIP to establish this Code of Conduct as the final reference point for guiding our most difficult conversations

Request for Comment

If our Principals and Code Of Conduct resonated with you please comment to affirm your commitment to these values and offer any ways we can improve:rocket::rocket::rocket:

35 Likes

I would like to reaffirm my commitment to the Guiding Principles and its Code of Conduct.

Also if I would like to add, I can’t stress enough as we grow bigger as a DAO. We really do need to practice the concept of Servant Leadership while incorporating the guiding principles into our daily communications.

Personally for me, even though the pace in the space is like almost lighting speed… A week here seems like a month has pass by… lol. We tend to forget that nothing is permanent. So the legacy we leave behind would be for the next generation of Owls.

We are but a custodian of this DAO.

So yeah… that’s my little idea on this. Cheers~

20 Likes

@0xModene rules for life:

  • Don’t be a dick
  • Always learn
  • Onward
27 Likes

Re-affirming my commitment to these Guiding Principles and Code of Conduct!

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Re-affirming my commitment to these Guiding Principles and Code of Conduct :owl:

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From this day forth known as the Modene Amendment.

And re-affirming my commitment to the principles above.

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Thanks for writing this post. I think it is important that we regularly reflect on our values and behavior, particularly as discussions on these forums become controversial. There is still work to be done here, particularly with how we deal with violations of our code of conduct in a respectful manner, but I am confident we can find solutions.

Re-affirming my commitment to these principles!

16 Likes

Chiming in here as I believe this is an incredibly important conversation.

One of the benefits of the DAO model is the low barrier to contribution entry and vetting process. This also comes with significant challenges, namely building a positive culture.

Someone with no previous experience of the Coop can enter a complex forum governance discussion or Discord Channel, read comments and will ultimately form an opinion of Coop culture.

We have rebuilt and are about to launch a new onboarding process for New Joiners, and I see a big need to revamp the guiding principles and more clearly articulate the code of conduct.

I would propose we make an understanding of the guiding principles and code of conduct a more stringent condition to contribution and different channels. Additionally, I believe it’s important existing members familiarise with a shared (and evolving) set of guiding principles and COC which should be reviewed regularly.

Happy to connect and update a Bronze Owl Quest step to elevate.

15 Likes

Re-affirming my commitment to these principles.

Thanks for sharing @BigSky7.

The Modene Amendment indeed @DarkForestCapital.

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This is a challenging time for us all, and I fear that my recent response has been to narrow my focus on specific areas and let others take on the role of advancing the progress of the structure of the coop.

I am re-affirming my commitment to these principles!

14 Likes

The guiding principles differentiate us and make it a fun place to be. Re-affirming my commitment to these Guiding Principles and Code of Conduct!

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Re-affirming my commitment to these principles.

I also hereby solemnly declare to not be a dick so help me @0xModene :laughing:

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I don’t think I ever affirmed my commitment to these guiding principles so I’m doing it now.

I want to add some thoughts and feedback to this discussion.

The Guiding Principles and Code of Conduct are essential, but they also feel like table stakes. As a community, I think we can strive for more than individual community members telling individuals to “not be jerks” (though I do think this is necessary, important, and valuable).

In my view, Index Coop is missing two key organizational pillars for success.

  1. Objective Criteria for evaluating the performance of individuals and teams (Example: Amazon Leadership Principles)

  2. Mechanisms for Performance Feedback & Accountability (Example: Bridgewater Dot Collector, Bridgewater Radical Transparency)

When I worked at Amazon back in 2013-5, the Leadership Principles were truly used to evaluate and measure the performance of teams and individuals within the company. In my opinion, they are a key reason for Amazon’s continued success. Amazon is often called the “world’s biggest startup”. I think Index Cooperative would benefit greatly from something like a set of Leadership or Operating Principles although I will admit I have no idea how to implement something like this in the context of a DAO.

In addition, I often feel that Index Cooperative culture is missing a critical principle I live by in both my personal and professional life by, Honesty. It was also one of the four principles at my last company.

I think the community would benefit greatly from finding answers to questions like the following:

  • How to do we give constructive feedback to each other without threatening an individual’s sense of belonging or safety?

  • How do we hold each other to the highest standards of performance?

  • How do we disagree and commit? How does the Index Coop community make decisions with a bias for action?

cc: @Pepperoni_Joe @catjam @oneski22 @setoshi @DarkForestCapital @Matthew_Graham

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affirming my commitment to these guiding principles & code of conduct. thanks for the @BigSky7 energy & leadership sir

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Re-affirming my commitment to these principles.

@Thomas_Hepner raises great points. On constructive feedback, I would point to @fallow8, @Metfanmike and @Thomas_Hepner as examples of how to do it. In my opinion, feedback should be objective, factual, and addressing the merits of whatever is being discussed. It should never target the person. For example, does it really matter what someone’s motivation is if what they are proposing is beneficial to the Coop? And if it’s not beneficial, shouldn’t it be easy to defend on merit without resorting to personal attacks?

At the same time, I do think that it’s fair for us to question the intention of others. However, this should be done without assuming guilt and by giving people the benefit of the doubt. I think most of these situations come down to conflicts of interest so disclosure of those conflicts could go a long way here.

Further, we need a structure or a process for dealing with violations of this code and holding community members accountable for their actions. I, personally, have no idea how this could be structured or what the process might look like.

On this, I would say that it’s unreasonable for us to expect that we will agree on everything. Our community is diverse, it has people from all backgrounds and people who hold different values and ideological beliefs. Disagreeing with someone’s opinion on its merits should be the right of each and every community member.

However, we don’t have the luxury to debate things forever. We work in a fast-paced environment. We have to make decisions and take action to keep up. We have to find a way to disagree and commit. The way I think about it is that the community knows what is best for Index Coop. So if there’s community consensus on an issue, it really doesn’t matter what my personal opinion is. I trust that we, as a community, are making the right decisions and, by extension, implicitly trust everyone who’s making up that community consensus.

The questions that come up for me on this are “what is consensus and how do we define/measure it?” and “who is the community? who should be included/excluded from the definition?”

17 Likes

I reaffirm my commitment to the Guiding Principles and its Code of Conduct.

11 Likes

I am affirming my commitment to these values.

I think it is also important for Index Coop to empower more women by breaking down the barriers of entry to be an effective contributor. Personally, I find the 2 biggest barriers are context and confidence gap.

I don’t want to jump the gun here, but I know the Women in IC group is putting together a proposal to foster more diversity! Look out for us. :dancer:

22 Likes

Reaffirming my commitment to these Guiding Principles and its Code of Conduct :muscle:

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While @Thomas_Hepner makes some great points here - as he tends to - I’d be more interested in the Amazon best practice reference points than Bridgewater. I know a few people who have worked at Bridgewater, some of whom have founded after, and non of them base the core of their business practices around Bridgewater’s - which they generally felt to be simply too inhuman and, frankly, a bit weird. The rest of Thomas’ points re measurement are important though.

One other thing I’d suggest we add to our culture and practices is, where possible, do video calls not DMs and forum comments. A tonne of context and information gets missed with the digital, written word, compared to video calls where you can see the person’s face and look into their eyes. It’s much harder to be nasty to someone like that, easier to be human and empathetic, and generally can build relationships too. A video call is also far superior to a voice call. Some great examples of people using calls this way (I think - assuming video was used) are @jdcook and @fallow8 re the Protocol Ownership Group. I think the default mode and expectation should be video calls, before DMs and comments. I understand a public comment is required in certain situations - I’m making one now.

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Reaffirming my commitment to our Guiding Principles and Code of Conduct.

Strongly strongly in favor of all decisions makers, WG Leads, and FT, completing a public disclosure:

Example: Conflict of Interest disclosure - OverAnalyser

10 Likes