Heyanoun - pseudonymous messages about props (DRAFT)


A way for snapshotted nouners at a given proposal to pseudonymously submit messages about the proposal.


We believe that Nouns DAO is where the most interesting public DAO conversation is happening today.

Sometimes, not every opinion held is voiced though. In the past month of participating more in the DAO (noun 416), we’ve observed situations where privately held opinions don’t make it to the public discourse because they’re somewhat controversial. We believe that this is dangerous for governance. Unspoken and unresolved opinions can fester into resentment and political turmoil over time.

With this in mind, we’re building heyanoun, a way for nouners snapshotted by a proposal to comment on that proposal pseudonymously.

Nouners post a message on the heyanoun site, along with a zero-knowledge proof showing that they are in the snapshot to the relevant prop:

(excuse the rough wireframe, higher fidelity designs coming)

Messages will then be passed on to a designated channel (initially could just be the funded prop’s channel) in the nouns discord server:

Untitled 1

All proofs will be hosted on IPFS and messages will have a link from which a user on discord can verify the proof’s veracity themselves.

We believe that this product, while simple, can surface unspoken opinions to the nouns public square and could be a huge boon to governance.

about us

Personae Labs is a new R&D lab out of 0xPARC investigating how new cryptography like ZK-SNARKs changes the way we communicate online.

Read our manifesto here or watch this recent announcement talk from one of our founders here.

We’ve built (to our knowledge) the earliest Eth-based pseudonymous social apps like https://www.heyanon.xyz/ and https://www.cabal.xyz/ and are committed to furthering the technical and product frontiers here.

Find us at


We foresee this project taking ~1mo. of dedicated effort by a team of:

  • 2 engineers
  • 1 designer
  • 1 PM

Components to be delivered:

  1. website for submitting message + ZKPs for all proposals
  2. discord bot for posting messages
  3. website for verifying proofs of messages (from bot)

Given a rate of 8 ETH/mo for each contributor, we’re requesting 32 ETH total for delivery of this first app.

future work

We hope this app is the first of many experiments around pseudonymity within Nouns DAO.

If this first iteration sees traction, we see a number of further extensions:

  • extend the number of places that messages are published, i.e. to a dedicated twitter account as well as discord
  • plugins/react components to integrate pseudonymous badges/proving into other governance clients (i.e. agora, discourse killer)
  • additional pseudonymous nouner groups, i.e. groups based on voting history (I voted in 10 of last 15 proposals)

This is a really interesting topic to me. I remember reading some of the initial conversations in nouner general about this topic. I’ve thought about it a couple times since then. I still struggle with a couple things about it.

As I think about how it will affect the community when anon comments come in, I don’t think it ends with governance decisions being better. I do hope it will add to the conversation, but I think our human nature will spend more time wondering who the anon is rather than allowing the comments to sink in and be utilized to their full effect.

Then, instead of animosity with a known person that can be worked out in public conversation or private messages, there is animosity that hangs in the air for much longer because it can’t be resolved unless the anon makes themselves know.

Then, if the vote does end up going forward, the votes will still be public which causes another round of internet detectives trying to figure out which down votes were the anon. Those guesses, whether correct or incorrect build more unresolved tension, and the cycle goes on.

I’d love to hear a counter argument of how you see this playing out in a positive way, especially if you have any examples of how this has already happened in the past and how your build would have helped if it existed at the time. I’m having trouble seeing how it will do anything but prevent short term pain and in turn create more long term pain.

Ultimately, I don’t think there’s any better solution than simply bravely holding your opinion, voicing your side of the argument to try and find compromise and understanding, and being gracious to each other when the dust settles.


Thanks for the proposal!

I am a big fan of the idea and am in full support of the proposal. Several other nouners who I have spoken to feel the same way.

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Would you be willing to share how and why you think it would be helpful? Any examples from the past for context?

Appreciate the thoughtful perspective.

It’s hard to predict the outcomes here without experimentation and I’d be lying if I claimed it’s obvious what happens if such a product/technology were available.

However, we have heard in private conversations (realize that this is completely and unavoidably anecdotal) that opinions about proposals are sometimes not voiced because of the ‘governance fatigue’ with figuring out how to word things while maintaining relevant reputation. The notion that opinions aren’t voiced seems problematic. It suggests that even if it were optimal for everyone to be ‘brave enough’ to voice every important opinion, it may be an unrealistic expectation to have, especially as the DAO grows.

In some sense, the right question may be about which long-term pain is worse:

  1. resentment about unexpressed opinions
  2. resentment/guessing about expressed pseudonymous opinions

I think that this is a Great idea! I know for me personally as a professional creator that even anonymous honest feedback wether positive or negative would be a lot more useful and productive than no feedback at all, and definitly better than guessing what client (in this case the Dao) wants to do. I totally respect anonymity and I know that everyone here is working to create something positive and long lasting so I do now expect that there would be trolling like there may be on other social media. This would also open up opportunity for a robust discussion that would only improve on how we all work together in the future

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pretty cool. support it, even though i’d never use it :innocent:

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Generally very excited to see this built – and happy to integrate into Agora where relevant, or support by connecting you with Vector designers.


Great proposal. Yes please!

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