Defining Governance: The Elephant in the Room

We are at a small but significant inflection point for Orca Protocol.

Orca Core has sought out and brought @Chase Chapman into our organization with her incredible experience and expertise in creating more decentralized organizations that work, and helping others to do so. However, the whole process of her being invited to make such a great contribution speaks to a issue that needs to be made transparent for a meaningful and accurate governance charter to be created by Orcanauts.

There is a clear divide between Orca Core and the rest of the Orcanauts in access to information, and power. I think we have all been happy to ignore that, because what I will call the experiment in community building by Sonar Labs has been such an amazing success in terms of gathering and extraordinary group of people who have worked with them to create an extraordinary community culture.

I personally find it hard to think deeply about an Orcanaut Governance Charter because there has not been any clear separation made between Sonar Labs / Orca Core and the Orcanauts. Even if one person is a part of both groups, I think to move forward successfully with the projects that X1 is initiating that this distinction needs to be clearly made. Separation of roles, duties, and authority is a part of how sociocratic organization succeeds, and those distinctions are very muddy right now in the Orca Protocol Community.

Sonar Labs / Orca Core has enough authority over the community right now, that I don’t think there is any way to move forward without acknowledging that, making it explicit, and then being given some guidelines from Orca Core about what it is really hoping/trying to create in its community creating experiment.

If that seems like a heavy handed depiction of reality by the members of Orca Core, I suggest that it may be due to a level of self censorship amongst Orcanauts because so much of what has been created is so good, and no one wants to risk losing it. At the same time, as relative newbie who has worked hard to understand what is here, what is trying to be created, and who is behind the choices being made, I know that it is a generally accurate assessment from conversations had with Orcanauts along the way.

From a pure Orcanaut perspective, I don’t see how we can meaningfully create a separate meaningful governance charter without knowing where Orca Core is willing to explicitly relinquish power, and where it is not, and ultimately what it truly wanted from the experiment. Although it is great to have someone else covering some of the costs of building a community, it has also been clear that this community did not get creative as it would have needed to earlier to find or create financing to cover costs. Even for things as simple as managing the Discord server and hosting a Discourse forum.

All these seemingly little things are dealt with differently if they are really on the shoulders of a commuinty vs the community as an adjunct of a business. And, that is what I am trying to call out, and create conversation about. I don’t have a preference for which path is chosen, or who decides, but I know that decision needs to made, and made explicit if any accurate and meaningful governance charter decisions are to be thoughtfully made. Each type of community is different enough that it affects how one thinks about organizing it.

A simple example is that without hoping/asking for funding from the business that we are an adjunct of, seeking grants, or creating explicit value for others to be drawn to would surely have happened sooner, because if would have needed to. I am not saying that is good, I am just stating that community pressure would almost surly have led to it.

I do think the decision can reasonably go either way, and in both cases it will be a good thing, but it must be made explicit. I think the roles, relations, responsibilities, and authority will fall naturally out of that, even if some people need be both Orcanaut and Orca Core, it will be easier to understand what role is being played and why. Right now it is hard to understand and align incentives because too much is opaque.


Thank you for bringing up the need for clarification on this, aia. I guess this process with Chase will bring this and other issues up for us to settle and codify. Look forward to the discussion.


Thank you for calling this out ‒ you make really important points here.

I think clarity is incredibly important and I totally agree ‒ things being made explicit is vital for a healthy community. As I mentioned in the Governance Charter call, I think the best place to address roles, authority, and responsibilities is the X1 Pod Discussion workshop.

In the meantime, I’m working to merge the edits from yesterday’s conversation into the Governance Charter. Planning to post that later today or tomorrow. The idea I’d like to put forward in that post is that we use consent-based voting for the Governance Charter, including both Orcanauts and Orca Core as the relevant groups for consent.

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