Gardens is a platform, created by 1Hive, that allows DAO members to submit, support or challenge proposals.
To participate, DAO members must sign a Community Covenant, a document that states the rules, mission and vision of the DAO. Signing it signals that a member agrees with the values of the DAO and unlocks access to the governance features.
Gardens uses ‘Conviction Voting’, a novel governance method that is based on the length of time that voters indicate their preference for a particular action, rather than requiring a yes/no vote.
Proposals can be challenged and escalated to a dispute management system called ‘Celeste’, made up of a decentralized, randomly selected group of independent arbiters.
DAO governance tokens can be generated using Gardens or imported.
Conviction Voting is ‘a novel decision making process that funds proposals based on the aggregated preference of community members, expressed continuously’, rather than asking DAO members to commit to a yes/no vote in a set time frame. This approach favors long term participants with consistent preferences over newer members trying to influence a vote for short-term gain. It also reduces the success of Sybil attacks (the creation of fake identities to influence a vote) and other issues that arise from proposals that include a set time period for voting.
Celeste, Gardens’ dispute management system, ensures that proposals are in line with DAOs’ mission and values, and prevents disputed proposals from sitting in perpetual stalemate.
Users can join their DAO on Gardens, or use the platform to find a new DAO. After signing a DAO’s Community Covenant, a member may submit, support or challenge a proposal. Unlike other platforms, Conviction Voting means that voters indicate their preference over time, rather than giving a definitive yes/no. A member can change their preference, but the longer they keep their preference for the same proposal, the more weighting it receives.
DAO token holders can challenge proposals if they feel they run counter to the values stated in the DAO’s Community Covenant. The first step of the dispute process gives the proposer the opportunity to amend or remove the proposal. If unsuccessful, the proposal will then be referred to Celeste, a decentralized and randomly selected group of BrightId members called ‘Keepers’, who will decide whether the proposal is in line with the Community Covenant. Successful disputes will result in the blocking and removal of that proposal.
Conviction voting means that majority consensus isn’t needed to pass a proposal, because there is no way to vote down a proposal, only to dispute whether it runs counter to the DAOs values. That means DAO members can propose and support motions without worrying that members with large stakes can vote down their proposals. Proposals pass if they get enough support, and the fewer funds they require, the less support is needed.
The mechanism that powers Celeste is that Keepers, the independent arbiters of proposal disputes, make money when their decision is the same as the majority of other Keepers but lose money when their decision is different. Each Keeper is anonymous and is unaware of other Keepers’ decisions. In theory, this should lead to them reaching a verdict they believe to be in agreement with the established values and norms outlined in the Community Covenant.
Because the dispute mechanism relies so heavily on the Community Covenant, DAOs need to define their values carefully. This can be challenging in a DAO in which each member may have a different opinion.
Gardens doesn’t currently have a chat or comments feature, so all proposals will need to link to an external forum or document for discussion before it’s submitted.
Those that are new to Conviction Voting may need to research it in more depth before they feel comfortable using it. Jeff Emmett’s article is a great place to start.