EDITED TO INCLUDE A LINK: For quick readers, here is an easy-to-read version with some grafics.
Overview/ Executive Summary
Communities make Steem attractive and unique in the blockchain world. Thus, the purpose of DeCentraSteem is to strengthen communities on Steem blockchain.This proposal is based on the firm belief, that a decentralised structure of the proposed foundation is best suited to do so.
We suggest to set up a network of independent working circles, connected by the purpose of DeCentraSteem and self-regulated within a set of interaction rules. Further rules ensure accountability and transparency towards the community. Mediation will help in case of disagreements. No central body is foreseen. Research shows, this is an realiable way to set up decentralised structures with high gains in effectivity compared to centralised approaches.
Any group of Steemians may propose a working circle. After approval by existing working circles such a working circle becomes part of the foundation and gets access to funds, if required. Working circles may cope with any task in favour of strengthening communities. These tasks may be strategic as well as operational issues, software development or marketing, distribution or allocation of funds. They may be of legal or economic nature.
The proposed foundation is no legal entity but is consistently relying on peer-to-peer relationships within the network of working-circles or between working-circles and funding partners outside the foundation.
Purpose - What is the primary purpose of your structure?
Purpose of the foundation is to strengthen communities. A focus should be on combining economic incentives with “normal” community management. This purpose captures the specific character of Steem blockchain as well as the importance, communities have for Steem ecosystem.
Primary Benefit(s) (of this structure)
A decentralised setting strengthens the community instead of delegating responsibility to a central body. This leads to the following benefits of DeCentraSteem:
It is highly flexible and can adjust to new challenges very fast. Since crypto space is moving at extremely high speed, such kind of flexibility is of vital interest
It is mainly based on trust and it is purpose-driven, both of which makes people engage much more than working within structures putting a lot of effort in centralised management and controlling.
It is transparent.
It gives everybody the power to initiate changes.
It leaves responsibility to the community and thus, prevents people from leaning back too soon.
In case something doesn’t work, there are rules, which give every member of Steem-community the possibility to step up and stop things going the wrong direction, providing he or she has good arguments derived from purpose and mission.
Mission - What are the goals in this proposed foundation and how will they be achieved?
Purpose of the foundation is to stengthen communities on Steem. As research shows, strong communities are characterised by
engaged community members
noticeable outcomes for members
good visibility of community action
a large number of community members
resilient community structures
a culture of innovation and curiosity.
Goal of the foundation is the development of these features. This goal may be achieved by a diverse set of actions developed and performed by communities’ working circles. Actions may be:
generating membership fees or collecting donations
doing business with a part of the profits being returned to the foundations
campaigns like the 10k minnow project from @steemvc
contests, like those of @surfermarly, focussing on marketing (strategies)
development of software tools, like Stratos from @shredz7, strengthening communities on Steem
pilot projects on incentive mechanisms and token economics within communities
onboarding projects like @steemonboarding
social media campaigns on Twitter or within specific communities outside of Steem village
No finite list of actions can be given here, because the creativity of Steem community is assumed to be infinite.
Organizational Structure - What will the actual structure of the foundation look like?
DeCentraSteem will be a network of self-organised and self-determined working circles within Steem community, interacting with each other. There is no central decision or coordination body. Only central structures are 2-3 paid-for facilitators, helping to set up the foundation according to its purpose and rules.
Who may form a working-circle?
Every group of at least five Steemians with all together at least 2000 SP, willing to fulfill a task in favor of DeCentraSteems’ purpose, may form a working circle to do so. Such a working circle becomes and stays part of the foundation and thus may access its resources if it follows
- the rule for the set-up of a new working circles (no 1)
- the rules for existing working circles
We propose to start with a basic structure of working circles:
a circle for strategic budget planning in favour of the fore-mentioned goals
a “trustee” circle of administrators, distributing budget according to the approved needs of the working circles (this circle is purely administrative, for approval of budget plans see rule no 1). Since the trustees hold the keys for the wallets holding the foundations’ funds, they should identify themselves.
a circle for funding through sponsorship and sharing profits with businesses directly profiting from circles’ work
a circle for further development of rules for the foundation.
Members of these first working-circles will be voted on, using the mechanism developed by the existing working group for voting on the foundation proposal. This is to ensure a good start. Normally, new circles don’t need to be voted on by the community (see rule no 1).
Rules for working-circles
Rule no 1 Setup of a new working-circle / allocation of funds
When a group makes a proposal for a new working-circle, it has to get the approval of at least two other already existing working circles. To achieve this, the group has to explain how the new circle serves the purpose of the foundation, especially what benefit it adds, taking into account existing circles and projects on the worker-proposal system. Furthermore, the proposal has to be made accessible to the public. This gives everybody the possibility to step up and make suggestions or oppose, always relating to purpose and goals of the foundation. Suggestions on the proposal don’t have to be taken into account but if they are turned down, an explanation has to be given. On approval of its proposal the working-circle becomes a part of the foundation. If part of the proposal is usage of foundations’ resources these are assigned with the approval and the “trustees” circle has to distribute them according to the proposal.
Rule no 2 Shutting down a working-circle
Any working-circle may decide to dissolve after giving notice to the community at least two months in advance.
Rule no 3 Distribution of funds
Funds are allocated with the approval of a working circle and its budget plans (rule no 1). The merely administrative body to distribute funds is the “trustees” working circle.
Technically the process of fund distribution would work like this.
Funds allocated by someone for the purpose of the foundation would be transferred to a specific account. In case of big allocations, keys to this account would be held by the funder and at least two members of the trustee working circle. In other cases - such as membership fees or revenue flow from a working circle being active as business entity - at least two members of the trustee working circle hold the keys to the account (there will be several accounts). Refund of funds is not foreseen, since they are dedicated to the foundations’ activities.
At this state of the process, funds are solely dedicated but not yet legally transferred. They still belong to the giving party in classical legal terms.
As soon as a working circle asks for money according to its approved plan, the parties holding the keys perform the transfer of the money together using multisig. Legally this is a direct transfer from giving party to receiving party without the foundation holding the funds at any time.
Establishing this process of distributing money, leads to peer2peer transfer of funds, without a necessity for the foundation to be any kind of legal entity, since it doesn't join in any contracts or liabilities.
Rule no 4 Reporting
Every working-circle has to make a post on its work, output and/or impact and used resources at least every two weeks. Resource distribution will be stopped, if this transparency rule is violated. Post rewards will be distributed amongst the members of the working circle in equal parts.
Rule no 5 Voting
Whenever voting is required amongst the members of the working circles it is done i the following manner: because of the limited number of circle members voting is based on head count. To ensure accountability only those envealing their identity may vote.
Rule no 6 Accountability to and intervention by the community
If Steemians think, a working-circle doesn’t act in favour of the purpose anymore, they may step up and ask the circle to do a correction or in the worst case stop the work completely. Any group of at least two Steemians may ask for a correction. Asking to stop a working circle requires five Steemians with at least 2000 SP. In case of arguments a mediation process is initiated, which in the worst case leads to a voting process amongst the members of all active working circles whether to stop this working-circle or not. The same procedure will be applied if anybody thinks, approval of a new working circle isn’t done according to the fore-mentioned rule.
Rule no 7 Profit-sharing
Working circles which perform tasks generating profit, have to share at least 10% of this profit with the foundation.
Rule no 8 Conflict resolution
If a working-circle repeatedly doesn't act in favor of the purpose any five Steemians with 2000 SP may step up and ask the working circle to stop work completely.
If the working-circle refuses to do so because its members think, they have done a good job and two rounds of mediation between the parties don't lead to a result, members of all working circles vote on the future of this particular working-circle.
If the result leads to dissolving the working-circle (in this case the trustees), any five Steemians with 2000 SP may set up a new working-circle with the same topic.
Rule no 9 New rules
If the working circles for the development of rules comes up with new rules these will be voted on by members of all working circles. A simple majority is needed to approve a new rule.
Rules may not affect the purpose of the foundation. To change the characteristics (=goals of the foundation) of strong communities a ⅔ majority is needed.
Foundation Members - How will the members of the foundation and their roles be decided?
Members of the initial working circles will be voted on, using the same voting mechanism as the one for selecting a foundation proposal.
Members of approved working circles automatically are members of the foundation.
A member of a circle may step back at any time. The other members will then appoint a new member.
Leadership - What levels of leadership, if any, will be involved?
Community Involvement/Communication - What role does the community play in your structure? How will they be represented? How will communication be kept open?
The structure itself follows the purpose of strengthening the community. The more Steemians engage, the stronger the foundation will be. Through the reporting rule (no 4), all activities are transparent within the Steem community. Community members may intervene at any time.
Accountability - How will this foundation (under your structure) hold themselves accountable to the community? How, if any, will the community be able to remove members if they fail to hold true to the principles and mission put forth by the approved structure?'
See rule no 6
Fiat Legal Structure - What type of entity is it?
Every working circle chooses the legal structure best suited for its own tasks.The foundation itself is a network of (legal) entities and no legal entity itself. Thus, a working circle could even be a for-profit in a tax haven or a non-profit US-foundation.
Foundation Funding - How will your structure be funded? Will it depend on fundraising, profit based ideas, donations, etc?
Details of funding will be worked out within the corresponding working circle. It is open for profit-based funding and sponsorship as well as membership fees and donations. Maybe it would be appropriate to charge a small fee to establish a working circle. Profitable businesses built on Steem will support the foundation (rule no 7)
Project Funding - How will future projects be funded? What process will be included? What role, if any, does the community play in this?
Rule no 1 in combination with strategic resource allocation leads to resource allocation for projects. Anybody within the community may get involved.
Collaboration/Interaction - How do you see your foundation design interacting with projects like the coming Steem Worker Proposal (Steem DAO) by Blocktrades?
We leave this to the community. It will prevent overlaps applying rule no1. The Steem Business Alliance could be a working circle within this foundation, if it decides so.
This proposal is based on ideas and contributions of:
@traveller7761 / @impactn: - expert and consultant in decentralised management of stakeholder networks LinkedIn
@shredz7 - experienced developer on Steem: Stratos
@sorin.cristescu - Lead @ Blockchain Competence Center, European Commission.
@upheaver - venture capitalist and blockchain nerd
@ura-soul - Steem Witness. Creator of SteemOcean.com & Ureka.org - A community for Healing, Balancing & Evolving. Software & Multimedia Creator
Building the foundation is mainly responsibility of the community in this proposal. First steps to facilitate takeover of this responsibility are:
Define a coordinating group for setting up the structure
Create and distribute marketing and explanatory material, so that people understand the opportunities they have with DeCentraSteem
Set-up of the voting process for the initial working circles
Define a profile for facilitators needed to support the first one or two years of setting up the foundation and choose them
Depending on financial and personal resources available for the setup of the foundation first working circles could start their work within 6 to 8 weeks
How could this work in practice?
This is a completely fictitious scenario, using existing structures and ideas to make things more transparent.
Assume the Dolphin Council is already a working circle. It gives its monthly donation (pooled from members and outside donors) to other working circles. Another working circle in this scenario was created by @traveller7761 [impactn] and has 6 other members which are all focused on using Steem to complete the Global Goals.
@upheaver has a great idea on how to integrate Steem with the Global Goals so he makes a proposal to the Global Goals Circle about how to complete it (he could also create his own circle for this idea if he deemed it appropriate). The Global Goals Circle collaborates with @upheaver and they work out a plan for the idea. The circle then realizes it needs more funding than it has currently to be able to execute their plan, so they need to receive some from an outside source.
The Global Goals Circle creates a proposal to the Dolphin Council Circle stating their idea and plan and asking for 2000 STEEM to execute the plan. The Dolphin Council Circle, after some deliberation, decides to fund the proposal and grant the Global Goals Circle 1500 STEEM to start to execute the idea. Alternatively, the Dolphin Council may also just donate to the Global Goals Circle without any specific proposal in mind.
If you are interested in the underlying culture model of organisations, please have a look at this video . What we propose is a so-called teal-organisation, adopted to the necessities of Steem community.
Such teal organisations give people purpose, trust, some rules and clearly defined processes of interactions. As a result, decision power is completely decentralised. In comparison: most organisations we know nowadays are based on distrust, control and concentrate decision power at the top of hierarchies.