Discussion: Request for Nounish Governance Experiments

I’ve published a list of governance experiment categories I’d like to see here: Request for Nounish Governance Experiments — nounsintern

This is largely inspired by the governance survey we conducted a month ago and subsequent conservations with the community. Would love to hear from you if you’re working on anything related.

Am cross-posting it here for easier reading:

Request for Nounish Governance Experiments

NounsDAO is one of the most oft-cited example of a DAO that works. However, there is opportunity to improve its governance. These governance improvements could be exported to the broader web3 ecosystem, aiding in the DAO’s mission of proliferating Nouns.

Below are a list of categories (in alphabetical order) for governance experiments that I am interested in seeing. These categories are inspired by the discussions with the community and the recently conducted governance survey.

Better ROI

Given the early stage of the project, we have focused mostly on attracting talent to the DAO so we can fund them. As we mature, it will be important that we are allocating those funds intelligently.

Themes in this category include

  • Retrospective analysis of funded proposals
  • Mechanisms to enforce accountability
  • Establishing best practices
  • Improving the diligence process
  • Rewarding outsized contributions

Lower governance overhead

Participating in NounsDAO governance is time consuming. Without improvements to the efficiency of the governance process, it will only take more time as DAO membership and proposal volume increases. Experiments that reduce the cost to make each decision will allow the DAO to scale.

Themes in this category include

  • Delegating categories of decisions to core units
  • Establishing institutional knowledge and best practices
  • Automating funding decisions with governance utilities (like Prop House)

More and better proposals

NounsDAO has funded nearly 100 proposals in less than a year, but there remains high friction to attract and onboard proposers. There are ample opportunities to make the proposal process easier to use and provide resources to increase the likelihood that proposals pass.

Themes in this category include

  • Proposal templates and best practices
  • Video proposals and live pitches
  • Requests for proposals
  • Incentivized lead generation

More vote turnout

At around 13% voter turnout, the DAO has a lot of room to increase voter participation either directly or through delegation.

Themes in this category include

  • More delegation
  • More communication to voters and delegates
  • Compensation for voting and delegation

On-chain sentiment

While on-chain proposals that transfer funds are at the core of NounsDAO governance, the majority of the DAO’s time is spent in off-chain alignment. However, we lack ways to establish institutional knowledge that is viewed as credible by the community. Establishing on-chain sentiment would solve this problem if sufficiently adopted.

Themes in this category include:

  • Token weighted sentiment polling
  • Publish perspectives signed by DAO votes

Voter education

NounsDAO decision making is at its worst when there’s a knowledge gap. That gap can be either lack of awareness or lack of expertise. Improving knowledge will lead to more engagement and better decision making.

Themes in this category include

  • Reliable and comprehensive news media
  • A comprehensive voter dashboard
  • Open channels of communication to voters and delegates

Quick question as I’m processing your notes: why focus on voter turnout? why not focus on “vote turnout”?
In a reality where we employ “delegation to core units” as you mention, we might have very high vote turnout, with even lower voter turnout, and I believe you’d consider that successful?

Thanks for all the work you’re investing in this!!

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You’re right - I meant vote turnout. Higher % of Nouns NFTS represented in votes is the goal in my opinion. Okay for addresses to be passive as long as they’re delegated.

Need to ask hilldobby whether the 13% is vote or voter turnout and will update that too if needed.

Edited the post. Thanks!

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@nounsintern - a comprehensive voting Dashboard was built by lil Nouns’ Datapod for NounsDAO. On the main dashboard you can get detailed governance information for every proposal.

Lil Nouns are also funding a research report into voter engagement and delegation that will be completed EOW. Maybe there is room for collaboration. NounsDAO was included in the report as a data point, the results should be relevant to this conversation.


This is great! Showing that total vote turnout is hovering between 25% and 30%. Love the reusability across nouns forks.

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@nounsintern - We love the reusability as well. I affectionally coined the term “Nounish Equivalence” as a tribute to L2 EVM Equivalence. There’s a thread about it here that was created for a lil grant funded following consideration from @noun22 (thank you again!):

@nounsintern, glad the data points were helpful. We have additional data points and research internally. Please do reach out to lil Nouns Datapod via discord if you need implementation assistance or have general curiosity surrounding a governance data point. We’re collecting data on Nouns, lil Nouns, and DAOs more broadly for better decision making at scale.

Loved your survey results btw, we might replicate that internally, it’s been added to the backlog :wink:


Heyoo, Im a bit new to the Nouns community. I really appreciate this thread and also feel excited about the way Nouns leads such a automated system to conduct decentralized governance… Im a product developer/manager in the space and am thinking about applying to develop some of these governance improvement ideas. Just have a few questions:

  1. I like the idea of Proposal templates. We developed this concept of “standard proposals” at SZNS to give people human readable access to complex actions. For the templates at Nouns DAO, what actions should be highest prioritized? Are there actions that occur at a more frequent basis than other actions?

  2. Agree that education is HUGE. Specifically, giving people the opportunity to gather context quickly and efficiently feels like something lost in most DAO systems today. Maybe this means standard proposal formats with specific and limited information which explains the intended outcome, or it could mean you have a lightweight news channel that gives these video reviews of proposals as suggested. Either way this is an important and fun problem space. Two questions here:

2.1 What does the voter dashboard need to include to be useful? What currently feels confusing about the process and how can the dashboard surface information to give concise context?

2.2 Are Nouns folks anonymity driven? Would an email notification system assist in the voting participation and information dispersion process?

Thanks for your attention and interest!!

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