[Formal Review 🌿] - Radicle Grants Program [v2]

Thanks for the sharp feedback!

@yorgos wrote a great reply, but figured I’d give my 2 cents on some of your points as well

They’re organizied in descending order of agreement (i.e. I agree more at top, less so at the bottom).

Agree

i understand we have left a lot of variables open and appreciate the extra effort in trying to structure this, but the anchoring bias of these sets of assumptions i view as dangerous

I think the most dangerous point is that we the committee will also be the ones voting on our own compensation. There is a clear conflict of interest.

In the short-term, 2 things I think will help control for this:

  1. Everyone is getting paid in RAD (not USDC), so the hope is that we will keep each other honest for the benefit of the equity we are being paid (i.e. we have skin in the game)
  2. Committee members will need to open a PR that logs their time worked. This entire process will be 100% public.

In the long-term, I’ve posted a few times that ideally we move compensation to an entirely separate governing body; something like a “Compensation Committee” that thinks deeply about how best to manage compensation.

In leu of that Compensation Committee, the overall structure outlined above is the best possible option, in my opinion. If you have better (and specific) ideas, I’m all ears :slight_smile:

Disagree

I’ll start with the equation above:

committee_members = 6
monthly_hours = 50
grants_program_lengths_in_months = 6

hourly_compensation_usd = 150
  • We have 6 voting seats. No debate there.
  • 50 monthly hours. There is debate here.
  • We have a 6 month program. No debate here.
  • $150 per hour. There is debate here.

50 hours

as previously mentioned assumptions around 50 hours month for grant committee work sounds absurd.

Main theme here is:

Preparing for the maximum

This number is the absolute maximum that I am expecting some people to work. This number was not pulled out of thin air. It came from talking with people who have worked in grants programs and said that they have sometimes worked between 10-15 hours per week reviewing work.

I am not trying to fund this program with the “lowest common denominator” in mind. I am trying to fund it in a way that allow people to work more and trust that they can be paid for doing more work. This is sort of the point @yorgos made about the grants program possibly going viral.

At my current job, I am on a team of about 6 people. When we are hiring, we rely on an HR department to do all the initial screening of candidates. This is probably 30-45 minutes of work per candidate (reading through their application, GitHub account, past projects, etc.). Once a candidate makes it past there, we might collectively spend 10 hours per candidate to put them through interviews, review candidate work, and collect feedback notes. Again, to @yorgos’ point: reviewing work should not be a rubber stamp. It’s intellectual work that takes time.

At the end of the day, any unused funds will be returned to the Treasury. We will come away with learnings (e.g. perhaps we really only work 3-5 hours a week as you mentioned), but we will have managed downside risks at the same time.

$150 per hour

i believe the rate of $150 per hour is too high and has not been appropriately explained. based on the requirements articulated there is no clear reason why an undergraduate comp sci major would be unwilling to effectively serve on the committee for a fraction of that rate

@yorgos hit the nail on the head.

But I will follow up by saying: we are not trying to hire the type of people who are ok with $50 per hour. There might very well be a new graduate who is a serial entrepreneur and who could handle the complexity of a product like Radicle. But such a person - new graduate or not - is worth more than $50 per hour. They can go work at a FAANG company for at least $100 per hour, when you consider base salary, equity, benefits.

Personally, I have another job as a data scientist and my time is worth a lot more than $100 per hour. I can’t speak for the other committee members, but if you click on the links provided for each committee member, I would argue that their time is worth even more than mine is.

We want to attract committee members who can provide value that goes beyond being an operational rubber stamp for grants. Please see the examples I mentioned, which many of our committee members are experts on.

Also, everything @yorgos said about this being “consulting” work is very salient.

$511K worth of RAD

we are putting aside $511K worth of RAD for the management of $1M of grant capital for 6 months does not pass a common sense smell test.

I will start with this equation:

RAD to Transfer = $270,000 / (AVG Price over 6 months - STD of price)
RAD to Transfer = $270,000 / ($10.80 - $4.68)
RAD to Transfer = $270,000 / $6.12
RAD to Transfer = 44,108
  • $270,000 for total compensation. If you agree with the points above, there is no debate on this number.
  • $10.80 average RAD:USD price over last 6 months. No debate here. It is a mathematical fact.
  • $4.68 standard deviation of RAD:USD price over last 6 months. No debate here. It is a mathematical fact.

Risk Management

We have to control for RAD:USDC price volatility. Fingers crossed that it doesn’t happen, but how would you pay committee members if the price of RAD dropped 80%? In the last 6 months, this has happened. It went from around $25 to $5. This is a very real risk, which must be controlled for until the price is more stable.

Your assessment that we are allocating $511K for compensation is missing the point. We are estimating $270,000, but also have to manage the risk of a downturn in the price of RAD.

This sort of equity compensation + risk management is something that would ideally be handled by a Compensation Committee.

I understand this is perhaps the “dangerous” part you are referring to. There is a danger that RAD’s price remains stable and we collectively find a way to raid the coffers to take all $511K that is there. Again, please see my notes above on short-term controls against this.

But I’d also add, I have voted “yes” on this proposal. I am bordumb.eth there. You can see how much RAD I already have and I am also staking my reputation on this risk management. I am expecting that I’d be ousted if these funds are mismanaged.

Main Takeaways

I think there is a lot less room for debate on the risk management side (my last point just above).

I also don’t see much room for debate on the hourly rate.

But perhaps there is room for debate around monthly hours.

@niloconthecob keeping in mind all the points on risk management, do you think we should also risk not being able to pay committee members what they are worth?

For example, imagine the following scenario.

Starting assumptions:

  • We allocate $100,000 of RAD at today’s price ~$12, so ~8,300 RAD, for committee compensation
  • Committee members are paid $150 USD:RAD
  • Committee members work 2 hours per week, or 8 monthly. This is using your assumption of less hours.
  • RAD:USD price drops back to $4, so we must pay 37.5 RAD per hour ($150 hourly rate / $4 RAD:USD)

How it plays out:

  • This amounts to 288 total hours worked over 6 months (6 voting seats * 6 months * 8 hours per month)
  • We would need 10,800 RAD (288 hours * 37.5 RAD per hour). We would be unable to pay committee members by over 2,000 RAD! :confused:

The risk of volatility in price is very real and cannot be understated. If we were the Ethereum Foundation paying out in ETH (which has a much more stable price), I might put less weight on controlling for volatility.

I hope that thought experiment helps you piece together some of the thinking here. But let me know if you still find disagreement with it and maybe some ideas on how you might better control for these variables :slight_smile:

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A bit late to the party, but I have a few questions.

Some of the committee members are already working for the Foundation, is the compensation stated here on top of any existing compensation they’re already given? And how should we expect the hours they work on the RGP to affect the hours they currently work?

On a similar note, am I understanding correctly that there’s essentially $1,000,000 - $270,000 left for grant projects?

There was a lot of text, so I might try to rephrase some of the above to see if I’m understanding the process correctly. There’s a committee that is the first bastion for taking applications from outside contributors to obtain a grant. These contributors will be rewarded grants by putting forward appropriate RFPs that are accepted by the committee (and core team members). They must then implement these RFPs, submit patches, and are rewarded further upon completion of this work. Is this a correct summary?

If so, I don’t see the hours spent by a core team reviewing the RFPs being accounted for as well :slight_smile: I’m also curious as to how the committee might have the expertise to gate RFPs for core projects? In particular, I’m thinking about radicle-link of course :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

On another point, are the committee members logging their hour-by-hour work? And who reviews this? Who Watched The Watchmen, so to speak :male_detective:

And finally, I may have missed it, but how are we accounting for grantees work? Will there be some kind of log of their efforts too?

Sorry if some of this is covered in the above, I was trying to piece it all together as best I could :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

:v:

Hi @fintohaps !

Great questions.

On a similar note, am I understanding correctly that there’s essentially $1,000,000 - $270,000 left for grant projects?

No.

It would be $1,000,000 USDC for grant work. This would be used to pay anyone who is working on an approved grant project.

@cloudhead raised the issue of controlling for volatility in RAD:USD(C) prices. So rather than lump the grant + compensation funds together as USDC, I am keeping them separate.

So in addition to the $1,000,000 USDC for grants funding, an additional ~44,000 RAD to cover compensation in RAD to committee members.

Please reference the discussion just above on how this ~44,000 RAD was determined.

Assuming that we use 100% of grants funding and RAD price remains completely stable, I estimate we will end up using $1,270,000 worth of assets in the first 6 months to pay for grant work + compensate committee members. Any remaining funds that go unused will be returned to the Treasury.

They must then implement these RFPs, submit patches, and are rewarded further upon completion of this work. Is this a correct summary?

Yes. That’s a very good summary of the process.

If so, I don’t see the hours spent by a core team reviewing the RFPs being accounted for as well :slight_smile: I’m also curious as to how the committee might have the expertise to gate RFPs for core projects?

I may not have enough date points on this topic, so I’m glad you’re raising it.

I asked several core developers whether they’d like to be on the committee, but the general consensus was that they were too busy to take on committee obligations (initial screenings, interviews, voting, meetings, etc.).

So the thinking here is that grant work - especially if it’s technical in nature - is no different than the responsibilities of core development work.

Please let me know if you have any input on this point and specifically how you might like it improved. I only spoke to about 1 person per product group (as it’s divided on Discord), so more data points may help :slight_smile:

On another point, are the committee members logging their hour-by-hour work? And who reviews this?

Yes, I will provide a template for people to fill out that will require logging of each hour worked.

All of this will be as a PR/patch, which makes it 100% public.

The community will be watching the watchmen.

I think this is less than ideal, but I also don’t see it lasting more than this first 6 months (please CTRL+F for “compensation committee” which is mentioned a few times above).

And finally, I may have missed it, but how are we accounting for grantees work? Will there be some kind of log of their efforts too?

This will all be project based payments.

For example, we might post a project like this:

  • Create video outlining onboarding to Radicle
  • Budget: $2,000

We won’t mind if it takes the person 10 hours to do the work or 100 hours. We might negotiate on the budget, but it will not be paid out on an hourly basis. It will be for work completed on a project basis.

Thanks again!

On a slightly different note, was there discussion during the design phase about grantees receiving some of their funding in RAD instead of USDC? This came to my mind as I was reading comments on “skin in the game” and “incentive alignment”. I know that other crypto projects do distribute their native token through grants but it sounds like the program discussed here will distribute only USDC. Is that correct? Definitely not saying that it should be reconsidered, esp. as grantees have the option to convert some of the USDC received into RAD. Just curious whether this came up or not.

hi all, i thank @yorgos and @bordumb for their clear responses. if the community feels we need to pay grant committee members $150 per hour then that is what the community wants. i personally would be very happy paying $50 per hour. what are getting for that extra $100 per hour?

if the current committee feels they require $150 per hour to do the work then based on this framework we don’t have much choice: $150 per hour it is.

if everyone agrees we should have a compensation committee decide grant committee compensation then we should have the compensation committee decide grant committee compensation. we should approve the rest of the governance proposal and wait to finalize the compensation question until such committee (or really any third party that is not inherently conflicted) can appropriately review and decide what the grant committee should be compensated.

my point is a macro one: the assumptions have been geared to set aside the biggest possible funding for compensation (maximum potential hours per month, very lower $ per RAD). i understand extra will be returned to treasury but i find the anchoring bias wrong.

i just ask this group to step back and look at the big picture. in this proposal we are currently considering setting aside 44,108 RAD (current market value of $882K, yes volatility can go both ways) to compensate 6 people for 6 months work of giving $1M of grant money. talk to someone at a coffee shop about that. talk to your mom about that. ask yourself if that makes sense. ask yourself if that puts a positive reflection on this project.

@bordumb my concrete proposal would be to cap the grant committee’s compensation to a reasonable fraction of the overall funds being distributed (15-20%). arguably that number should be lower (see here for an example of the UK’s science and technology’s grant funding compensation structure. UKRI distributes £7.6B in grants annually. the report shows that they are paying board members £37K per year, total remuneration of full-time senior staff is £1.8M, total remuneration for all staff is £400M. that means they are paying £0.05 for every £1 in grant money.) more examples would be great.

with that fixed budget of $150-200K we could then see what kind of caliber talent we can attract to distribute the grant money. this is a test after all…

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Hi All!

Thanks everyone for the continued discussion here. Seems like @bordumb has a couple more messages to reply to, but in the meantime I wanted to give an update from the Radicle Governance Working group on our proposed next steps after last week’s Snapshot poll.

Feel free to continue discussion here regarding improvements to the proposal, but please review the proposal from the working group. We will be discussing the proposal in next week’s monthly meeting.

Thanks!
Abbey

@niloconthecob thanks for finding and contributing extra data points. Even if we disagree on a couple of points, personally, I find this discussion a very valuable and worthwhile one, so thanks for that too! :slight_smile:

i just ask this group to step back and look at the big picture. in this proposal we are currently considering setting aside 44,108 RAD (current market value of $882K, yes volatility can go both ways) to compensate 6 people for 6 months work of giving $1M of grant money. talk to someone at a coffee shop about that. talk to your mom about that. ask yourself if that makes sense. ask yourself if that puts a positive reflection on this project.

I’m afraid this has nothing to do with radicle or this community. The high salaries that many people in IT are making these days is something that both someone and a coffee shop and my mom would find unreasonable (though I imagine my mom would probably find it less so :sweat_smile: ).

It is what it is however… As much as anyone may think it is unreasonable / a bubble waiting to burst, (or not!), there are several data points that can confirm that “salaries are high” (e.g. glassdoor.com, job ads that have salary ranges published, etc.)

Add to that reality the facts that:

  • this fee is in RAD, not EUR/USD (so, this bears similarities to startups offering equity)
  • this is “consulting” type of work (as per my previous post)

…and this brings me to the conclusion that the “150 usd / hour” isn’t all that unreasonable after all. I can’t say I speak for anyone other than myself in reaching this conclusion though.

arguably that number should be lower (see here for an example of the UK’s science and technology’s grant funding compensation structure. UKRI distributes £7.6B in grants annually. the report shows that they are paying board members £37K per year, total remuneration of full-time senior staff is £1.8M, total remuneration for all staff is £400M. that means they are paying £0.05 for every £1 in grant money.) more examples would be great.

It’s great to have extra data points like this. I am not sure whether it is 100% applicable (industry vs. academic research), but it certainly helps to have such data points. If anyone has more data points to contribute, I would love to hear about them.

with that fixed budget of $150-200K we could then see what kind of caliber talent we can attract to distribute the grant money. this is a test after all…

I would like to point out that the “150-200K” is only one outcome of applying the 15-20% cap of overall funds being distributed.

Another outcome would be to take the committee compensation as a constant and treat the total funds available to the grants program as the variable. :wink:

This was also my understanding, yes.

Side note: Assuming grants will be offered in RAD, I think it would help if we switched all discussions to use RAD rather than USD.

I am not sure that was covered, to be honest. My current understanding of the proposal is that any hours spent by the core team reviewing RFPs or patches is outside the scope of this proposal. Probably best if @bordumb offers the clarification here though… :wink:

On another point, are the committee members logging their hour-by-hour work? And who reviews this? Who Watched The Watchmen, so to speak :male_detective:

I see 2 options:

  • peer review, within committee members
  • someone from radicle foundation

And finally, I may have missed it, but how are we accounting for grantees work? Will there be some kind of log of their efforts too?

Does that really need to be logged? Grantees apply for funding and as long as the work they submit is approved / accepted, they should receive that funding. Does the Radicle Grants Program really need to know how much they worked to make that happen?

@bordumb has clarified that this isn’t actually the case :slight_smile:

My understanding from reading the proposal is that the grant allocation will be in USDC.

It doesn’t need to be as stringent, but we’re always talking about working in the open so yes, I think an open look at how grantees are progressing is important. There is the mention of milestones and of course, there will be commits, so perhaps this is enough. And on a further note, it would be important to set the grantees up for success to make this a successful endeavour. Being able to see how they progress and checking in with them would help make this successful.

I’m looking back over the proposal, my questions, and your answer @bordumb. I think some further clarifications might help me refine my thinking about this a bit better :slight_smile:

Can we clarify what these roles actually mean:

  • Radicle Community
  • Core Team
  • Ecosystem

I only have a vague idea what they mean, so some clarification would be helpful.

Going through the proposal again, at least to me, there seems to be more prose telling us how the committee members will get paid compared to what they will actually do. The most prose provided is regarding the grants lead. Admittedly, there are some sentences here and there about the committee members performing interviews or reviews, but I think a dedicated section the responsibilities would make this clearer – and might help understand the level of compensation.

On the note of compensation, I don’t think I’m seeing any explanation of why the committee members are compensated in RAD in the first place. If volatility and prices are a concern, why not just say $270,000 in USDC is the compensation, and whatever amount of RAD that is upon snapshot completion is what gets transferred?

It was also mentioned that RFPs can be written by core members, could you clarify:

  • If core members can apply for grants? – asking for a friend :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
  • Or if the idea is for grantees to pick up the (non-)technical work of those RFPs?

On a final note, patches are mentioned to be received by Radicle or GitHub – radicle-link accepts patches via our mailing list :wink:

< Sidenote > (also thinking over the proposal as a whole):

I was thinking that this is starting to have all the signs of those MONSTER PRs that get very hard to review / get merged, simply because they are bringing about too much change, all at once.

I am not familiar with how similar subjects have been addressed in the past in this community, but… would it help reach consensus if we broke this down into many sub-proposals, each addressing the various points of contention?

</ Sidenote >

This relates to my question above. @bordumb I’m sure this info has already been communicated somewhere but will grants be paid out in RAD or USDC?

I mentioned this in another thread but the 5-member ZOMG committee (Zcash) launched with $500 per month for an estimated time commitment of 5 hours per month per member (i.e. $100 USD / hour). However, this turned out to be inadequate because the actual time commitment required was higher. For the second term of the committee, compensation has been increased to $1,500 USD for an estimated 15 hours per month per member (i.e. the rate stayed at $100 / hour), and the Zcash Foundation has committed to providing additional administrative support to ensure that committee members can focus primarily on assessing grant applications (comparable to the RGP lead role). In terms of what’s expected from committee members, I think the ZOMG is a good enough reference point for the RGP.

EDIT: There has been some discussion in paying ZOMG committee members in ZEC but, as things stand, members receive USD which they can convert to ZEC independently should they so choose.

EDIT2: This post is not arguing for a specific compensation package. It is simply presenting a data point from a similar context, as requested.

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Thanks for reading and the added feedback. Answers in-line below.

Can we clarify what these roles actually mean:

  • Radicle Community
  • Core Team
  • Ecosystem

Sure.

  • Radicle Community: catch all for people who have been involved with Radicle’s forums, Discord, but who are not on the Core Team
  • Core Team: any developers who paid by the Radicle Foundation (as opposed to anyone who might be funded by some other means, such as the Radicle Grants Program)
  • Ecosystem:

In leu of going into much more detail, I recommend looking at the current members of the committee. For example, for Radicle Community Reverie (Derek + Larry) have been heavily involved with governance discussions in community forums. Then for Ecosystem there are others like Kei (from Gnosis) and Nader (TheGraph, Developer DAO) who have not been actively participating in forums/discord, but who have some domain expertise in the larger web3 ecosystem.

We do not currently have any Core Developers on the Committee. I made an effort to ask around, but it seemed the general consensus was people were already knees deep with core development work. I would love it if anyone from the Core Developer team wants to be on the committee as their insight on things like RFP reviews would be invaluable. Please let me know if you’re interested and I’ll 100% keep it in mind for the 2nd round of grants!

Going through the proposal again, at least to me, there seems to be more prose telling us how the committee members will get paid compared to what they will actually do.

I think this is largely a function of compensation being the most debated point thus far.

I will add a section outlining the points below on responsibilities.

Basic Committee duties:

  • Reviewing applications
  • Interviewing applicants (when applicable)
  • Voting for initial funding a grant (i.e. approving an application)
  • Voting for final funding of a grant (i.e. approving the work as “completed”)

This list is non-exhaustive, however. I am open to Committee members going beyond these basic responsibilities – in any way they see fit – and being autonomous in their effort to ideate, recruit talent, automate processes, or anything else that helps improve the process and output of the grants program. Again, any work committee members log will be 100% public and must be logged as PRs at the end of each month.

On the note of compensation, I don’t think I’m seeing any explanation of why the committee members are compensated in RAD in the first place.

The aim is to have committee members who have skin in the game and are invested in the long-term interest of Radicle. There is no guarantee that committee members already own RAD (personally, I do), so the best thing to do is compensate in RAD.

If volatility and prices are a concern, why not just say $270,000 in USDC is the compensation, and whatever amount of RAD that is upon snapshot completion is what gets transferred?

This was brought up on Discord, so dropping a point @cloudhead made there in Governance#discussion on November 23:
"
…it doesn’t make sense to me to send USDC to the wallet and then convert to RAD to pay the grant committee, when we have $600M worth of RAD in the treasury, so it’s a matter of deciding the amount while provisioning for volatility
"

It comes down to not having to deal with the conversion (overhead) and any unused funds being sent back at the end of the 6 months.

Again, a big goal of mine for the 2nd round of grants is to not even have committee compensation handled by the grants program. We should have a separate DAO (e.g. Compensation Committee) that more objectively handles wages.

It was also mentioned that RFPs can be written by core members, could you clarify:

  • If core members can apply for grants? – asking for a friend :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I don’t see why not.

If there is something on the backlog that the Core Dev team cannot collectively put effort behind, but you find perhaps 20% more time to work on it, I’d be happy to see a grant application.

I cannot tell the future, but the way I envision this playing out is that we will be living in a world where labor (and I mean anyone doing work) might be part of multiple DAOs; could be 2, 3, or 10 for all I care.

My job as the grants lead will be to make sure we have high quality grants work completed. I will not make a point to care about an individual’s other obligations. If they can commit to doing 2 jobs at once, I will be happy to accept their work.

I see a future where we have separate, but cooperative DAOs competing for, but also sharing labor amongst themselves. I do not want to fight against that vision of the future. I would like to experiment towards it.

Just as a thought experiment, I see a spectrum of possibilities:

  • I can see a Core Developer wanting to exclusively work with the Radicle Foundation
  • I could see someone who has extra time on their hand - and so wants to work extra hours to apply for and do grant work
  • I could also see someone who would actually prefer not to work with the Foundation at all. They could quit and exclusively work on grant work across several DAOs at once to make ends meet.

I see all of those possibilities as an individual choice. And I don’t want to be in a place to say what anyone can or should do with their relationship with work. My M.O. will be to find good contributions to my DAO (the grants program) from anyone willing and able.

I hope that gives you some idea of where my head is at.

  • Or if the idea is for grantees to pick up the (non-)technical work of those RFPs?

This is not the idea.

I am up for technical or non-technical work being done by grantees.

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You left this blank, but I think I get the idea from the paragraph below :slight_smile:

Ya, I think I’d be interested in this in the future. It might be a way to guide people to contributing to radicle-link more.

Thanks, that helps! I think it’s very useful information to be outlined in the proposal. Compensation goes hand-in-hand with roles & responsibilities :grin:

Yes, of course :blush: I just wanted a basic idea of what was envisioned.

That’s a good point, and I do think you mention it somewhere in the proposal. Perhaps it would make sense to make this point very clear due to the confusion of around compensation and what currency it’s made in.

Right, so I see this as missing context in the proposal. This is where having discussions on forums that have permanence are useful. Even if discussions are had on Discord, I think it’s best to record them on radicle.community after, or even inlining the decision and its reasoning in the proposal.

In the future, collaborative objects will be our answer :wink:

The rest of everything you said makes sense, and thank you for taking the time to respond! I think, in general, the proposal makes sense and it’ll be interesting to see what comes of it. I do think some points can be bolstered with more descriptions and reasoning to make air tight :grin:

This is the only thing I’m sceptical of. Very few people outside of the Link team have commented on or made RFCs to radicle-link, but I guess we’ll see what happens and I hope to see some good quality proposals coming our way :heart: :seedling:

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Alternatively, the core team can designate a point person that the committee can consult, if needed. Ideally, though, there should be enough expertise within the committee to ensure that such consultation has more to do with strategy and less with filling in gaps in technical know-how.

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FYI

Going forward, the official documentation of the grant program’s structure will be in the repository below:

hi all, just to understand for future on chain votes – where do we get notified that a vote is underway? ashamed to say i missed it as i thought the vote announcement would be on this thread. forgive the ignorance…

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Hey @niloconthecob we post all announcements and reminders for voting in the #announcements channel on Discord as well on the Radicle Governance Twitter page (@rad_gov)!

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I feel like it would be a good idea to also announce it on the proposal itself :slight_smile:

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