AIP-55: Starting the Development of an Improved Community Space - Ecosystem Fund Allocation

Proposal Name: Starting the Development of an Improved Community Space

Proposal Category: Ecosystem Fund Allocation

Abstract

This document proposes starting the development process of a new community space to potentially accommodate future communication around AIPs and ApeCoin-related discussions, and to also incorporate verified NFT profile pictures, $APE tips to fellow community members, token-gated livestreams / video calls, and other exciting new social and collaborative primitives.

Motivation

Currently, the ApeCoin forum is built with Discourse, and while this is a fairly good choice as it allows for a great level of customization / restructuring (as shown by the recent proposed changes in AIP-7), Discourse’s overall design and structure is nonetheless inadequate to provide a vibrant place for community members to gather.

A new community space, tailored around the needs of ApeCoin DAO, should be developed with the guiding values of APE Foundation in mind, and as such will have to address the following points:

Crypto-native: What is a governance forum that stands for NFTs more than any other without verified NFT profile pictures? And why isn’t it possible to tip $APE to fellow community members?

Inclusive: To become a vibrant place for community members to gather, it is essential that everyone feels accommodated - including those who don’t feel comfortable participating in the governance process, but instead want to share memes, jokes and other more shallow content, which is crucial in building a sense of belonging and creating a fun environment. To accomplish this, a new community space will have to incorporate chat rooms, while also still providing the typical forum structure found here in Discourse for the governance process.

Rationale

The initiators behind this proposal are two core team members of Decentra, a project which aims to offer stream-gating of community spaces by utilizing a new primitive called streaming subscriptions, building on top of Superfluid’s real-time finance protocol. We’re also experimenting with enabling decentralized organizational structures for communities, where not a single individual controls the community space/server but instead the entirety of community members through the use of tokens.

While our core products, that are currently in development, are probably not of interest for ApeCoin DAO, we believe that by working together with ApeCoin we’ll be able to make a tailor-made solution leveraging our existing community software, which will fit the needs of this DAO and not only strengthen the sense of belonging among community members, but also manifest ApeCoin’s position as a organization at the forefront of web3.

And yes, this is a bold initiative - something weird, something hard, something new. But not shying away from this, not going down the easy path, is what made ApeCoin and the ecosystem Yuga Labs built, so successful. We could keep using Discourse, and accept the trade-offs this brings with it. No verified NFT profile pictures, no integrated token-weighted polls for temperature checks, no chat rooms, no built-in livestream functionality. But preserving the status quo is not what ApeCoin is standing for.

Accepting this proposal does not constitute approval to abandon Discourse, but instead starts the development of a tailor-made community solution for ApeCoin DAO, the migration to which will be subject of another vote once it is ready in Q3/Q4 2022.

Specifications

See below a semi-functional mock-up of how ApeCoin’s new community space looks like leveraging our work over the past months:

FOR DEMONSTRATION PURPOSES ONLY, WORK IN PROGRESS

On top of the existing software developed by us and the custom features we plan to develop tailored around the needs of this DAO, we’ll also integrate all functionality required by ApeCoin DAO to fulfill its mission and be compliant with the governance process as outlined in AIP-1.

  • Verified NFT profile pictures and showcase of NFT collection in the user profile
    • Our implementation of verified NFT profile pictures will provide the DAO with the option to choose whether or not they want to restrict verification of NFT profile pictures to pre-approved NFT collections, perhaps only Yuga Labs-affiliated NFTs
      • This will prevent malicious actors from impersonating legitimate holders and endangering other community members
    • Users will be able to opt in to showcase their NFT collection in their user profile
  • Creating a more accommodating space through adding chat rooms
    • By combining real-time chat messaging with a forum, we’ll have the best of both worlds - and accommodate all community members, even those who don’t feel comfortable participating in the governance process, but nonetheless are an integral part of this community by creating memes, jokes, and/or other content.
  • Implementing $APE tips to fellow community members
    • DAO members should be able to show their gratitude to someone participating in the governance process by directly tipping some $APE with only a few clicks necessary, either by visiting the respective user profile or hovering over a post by the user and opening a module
  • Built-in livestream functionality powered by live video/audio SDKs
    • Not using Zoom and having an in-house solution ensures that, if opted in, only $APE-holders have access to this livestreams / video calls, providing another utility to $APE holders (just think about an exclusive AMA session with Jimmy Kimmel or perhaps a concert)
  • Marketplace functionality
    • We’ll also provide the infrastructure so that all kinds of products, perhaps even NFTs, can be sold priced in $APE. We won’t administrate this marketplace, and whether this feature we provide will be used is not subject of this vote.
  • In order for ApeCoin DAO to continue adhering to the proper governance procedure as outlined in AIP-1, we’ll recreate all features from Discourse that are utilized in this forum and not yet part of our existing software solution:
    • A reputation system that doesn’t shy direct comparison with the trust levels found here on Discourse
    • Custom token gating of the community, read-only access for non-$APE holders
    • Subcategories to rebuild the same nested structure of this forum (e.g. Final AIPs → Implemented AIPs, Accepted AIPs, Rejected AIPs)
    • Required approval by moderators to have a post published in certain channels and restricting the editing of proposals in AIP Draft and wherever else required
    • Simple polls, but we’re also looking at developing a token-weighted polling solution serving as a temperature check that is directly integrated in the forum

To what extent the infrastructure we develop will then be used by ApeCoin is not the subject of this proposal but should be dealt with later. This proposal is only about the question whether the development process of a tailor-made (community) solution for ApeCoin DAO should be started or not.

Steps to Implement

  • Leverage our existing software solution and build custom features for ApeCoin’s use case as specified in Specifications, including but not limited to:
    • Verified NFT profile pictures
    • Showcase of NFT collection in the user profile
    • Implementation of $APE tips
    • Built-in livestream functionality
    • Chat rooms
    • Forum structure as found here on Discourse
    • Reputation system
    • Token-gating of the community
    • Subcategories
    • Token-weighted polling solution

To accomplish this in a reasonable time frame, we’re expecting that our two core team members will spend most of their working time on development work associated with these tasks for a minimum of 3 months. One or two other developers will also assist in the development process, but only to a limited extent.

Timeline

We have already started creating various mock-ups as well as reviewing the feasibility of realizing this project and we expect to be ready with all the features mentioned in Specifications no later than Q4 2022, but we will likely have a functional product to which ApeCoin DAO could migrate as early as Q3, granted that this is approved in a future vote.

Overall Cost

$15K worth of $APE per month, paid over a 6-month term

While this monthly stipend is inadequate to cover all the expenses accrued by us over the development phase, we’re considering it nonetheless fair as in some sense we’re also paid through the exposure and prestige that comes along with working together with ApeCoin.

We see this payment as a kind of proof of commitment on the part of this DAO - after all, thousands of work hours will go into this, and even though we might be able to use some of the developed features elsewhere, we reserve the right to do so, a lot of it will only be relevant for ApeCoin.

The monthly payout is subject to us updating the ApeCoin DAO on the progress of the development through a forum post at least once a month.

4 Likes

I personally like the idea of moving off of the discourse platform for communications. I also like the mock up of the site that you’re proposing. I do have to questions about this however.

  1. Instead of creating a whole new platform just for the DAO, I think it would be best to perform our due diligence and assess all platforms currently available to fill this role.
  2. Does the DAOs business plan allow for us to create your platform as a service that can be utilized for other DAOs? The strength of ApeCoin is its active trading volume. This platform could be beneficial for the long term growth and health of the DAO if you and the DAO allow it.
2 Likes

Hi @stance,

thank you for this valuable input, let me try to answer your two questions:

In my opinion, Discourse is actually one of the best choices in terms of what is currently available on the market - at least if the focus is to have a governance forum.

The lack of better alternatives is actually also the reason why we want to develop a new community space tailored around the needs of this DAO from scratch, or almost from scratch as we’re leveraging what we’ve built internally at Decentra over the last couple months.

Attached is a competitive landscape of the alternatives we are looking at in the communication ecosystem:

This is worth considering, even though it would have some further implications, as we would need a closer contractual relationship - and I am not sure how this relates to the overall mission of ApeCoin and whether the responsibility of maintaining a community platform is not a burden on the DAO.

However, we are open to include $APE in everything we’re doing at Decentra as one of the default currencies; that’s actually something we intend to do independent of the outcome of the Snapshot vote regarding this governance proposal.

2 Likes

I like the features proposed, I’m just not sure they are worth $90k. Naively, the needs of this DAO seem pretty modest right now, and with ape so depressed at the moment my inclination is to hold the ape. I’m a soft NO at the moment, but might abstain from voting.

1 Like

Hello again,

Thanks for the well thought out response. I do want to push back just a little. If discourse is one of the best, why propose a new, less mature, and unproven way? Again, I’m not fan of discourse, but if your reasoning is sound, there’s less of a reason to move away from it. I also feel your assessment of the competition is a bit myopic. There are dedicated DAO specific products that are available to assess. In fact, the 2 off the top of my head (commonwealth and Colony) have years of development and have large names in web3 using them.

2 Likes

I actually think hidden in here is the argument for why we should do this. Neither of us are big fans of Discourse, which is admittedly justified due to the general 2000s vibe it gives off, and yet it’s arguably one of the best platforms for DAO governance currently available - that shouldn’t be true, it needs to be changed.

But you can’t just passively wait for someone to do it - you have to tackle it yourself, and we have a unique opportunity here to do it together.

And yes, what we propose is in fact a new, less mature, and unproven way, as it’s intended to be tailor-made around the needs of this DAO. But isn’t walking down untraveled roads exactly what ApeCoin is all about?

Boldness: We don’t shy away from the weird, the hard, or the new.

This is one of the guiding values of the ApeCoin DAO, and while I understand your reasoning very well and also think that it is indeed valuable for us, we should still not forget the place we are discussing this.

There is a reason why this is one of the guiding values, so explicitly mentionend, even before all other guiding values - because not shying away from the weird, the hard, or the new, not going down the easy path, is what made ApeCoin and the ecosystem Yuga Labs built, so successful.


Regarding the competitive landscape to be a bit myopic, I agree, that’s true because that wasn’t originally intended for a sophisticated audience, and was just re-utilized by us here.

Nonetheless, it still makes the case very well that there is a lack of solutions tailored around the needs of DAOs like ApeCoin, where collaboration matters, not just recreational activities.

Let me go into more detail when it comes to the two projects mentionend by you:

Colony is a framework to build and organize DAOs - in some sense, and I haven’t put too much thought into this analysis, they’re more of an operating system for DAOs.

That’s distincly different from what we’re trying to do for ApeCoin - in fact, what they are offering is in no way an alternative to either Discourse or our proposed solution.

And they’re currently only on Gnosis Chain, and would require you to use the xDai bridged version of the $APE contract - so I don’t think that will get widespread support from the community, not even speaking of the fact that their overall framework is not compliant with the governance procedure outlined in AIP -1.

Thanks for mentioning Commonwealth, as this is a solution that is actually quite competitive to Discourse.

I took a moment to do a direct comparison between Commonwealth, the proposed tailor-made solution by us, and the existing ApeCoin forum on Discourse:

Commonwealth Tailor-made solution for ApeCoin (powered by Decentra) Discourse
Built-in livestream functionality X
Verified NFT profile pictures X
Showcase of NFT collection in the user profile X
Implementation of $APE tips X
Chat rooms (X) X
Forum structure as found here on Discourse X X X
Reputation system X X
Token-gating of the community X X
Subcategories X X X
Native token-weighted polling solution X X
Heavy customization needed to be compliant with AIP-1 X X
Already live X X

After doing this comparison, I don’t think there’s a compelling enough argument for migrating to Commonwealth, primarily because you’d again need custom-built functionality to token-gate the community, and to have everything be compliant with the governance procedure outlined in AIP-1.

And even then, we’re not quite at the level of functionality we hope to provide to ApeCoin. But in the end, of course, that’s a decision that the community members here have to make.

2 Likes

You raise some good points with that reply, but I’m not trying to select a technology at the moment. What I’m advocating is the exploration of all technologies for us to then decide on. I gave those 2 examples just because those are the only ones that came to mind.

Some of your assessments of those 2 products are a bit askew as well.

Colony

  • You can use your already created ERC20 token on their platform.
  • Admittedly, I will have to refresh my memory with AIP-1

Commonwealth

  • This one is a slippery slope and I really don’t want to ruffle any feathers here. We’re all on the same side. With that said, it’s easy to cherry pick features that don’t exist or not planned. The custom solution cannot lose with a matrix like this.

Again, all I am saying is we should do some research before settling on a solution.

2 Likes

I know, direct comparisons are inherently skewed towards what you want to make others belief - that’s also why I dislike doing those comparison tables normally, but in the end it was too tempting.

Attached is a meme I like to share with people about just that:

I know, but see this excerpt from their documentation:

If you’re using an existing ERC20 token as your native token, please use the xDai bridged version of the contract.

Hi @Decentra,

Your topic will be automatically closing in less than 24 hours. Are you content with the feedback received, or do you wish to extend community discussion for a further 7 days?

We look forward to hearing from you.

- river

Hi @river,

I think we had quite a good community discussion, thanks again to @stance and @GuruOfTroyHill for the comments - as well as the people who reached out to me directly.

If not requested by someone else, we don’t need to extend the 7 days any further.

This topic was automatically closed after 7 days. New replies are no longer allowed.

Thank you @Decentra for your ideas and the ApeCoin DAO community for the thoughtful discussions. A moderator will get in touch with the author to draft the AIP in the appropriate template. Once the AIP is drafted and meets all the DAO-approved guidelines, the proposal will be posted on Snapshot for live official voting at: Snapshot

Follow this Topic as further updates will be posted here in the comments. @Decentra please see your messages for the next steps.

-moonkt

Hi ApeCoin DAO Community,

@Decentra has completed editing their AIP Idea to be their AIP Draft.

Follow this Topic as further updates will be posted here in the comments.

Kind Regards,

-moonkt

1 Like

I love the idea of creting a new community space, but I will not support the proposal how it looks like at the moment because your motivation is not so strong.

As a compensation you only ask for a $15K per month, paid over a 6-month term, and there will be only 2 team members who will work under the app. What is it mean? It means that this will be a low effort project that will help Decentra with PR, but will never work good.

What I would suggest instead? To go much deeper. To create not just a community space for Apes, but a WEB3 discord killer for any community. To request not just $15k per month, but at least $150k per month for at least a year, not just 2 community members that will work 6 months, but a solid, full-time team. And to commit all your time to manage the thing and make it a real deal. The application should be your first and one target, not a PR for Decentra.

Do you have enough boldness and expirience to do so? Then I will support the proposal with all my efforts.

3 Likes

Hi @culturecodes.art,

Thank you very much for your thoughtful input. Here’s our response:

First of all, it’s two team members working on this full-time, with another Solidity expert helping out to the extent that is needed. That might be full-time, however more likely part-time as the workload seems to be bearable.

And then you should not forget that we already have a lot of things in place, because the core of what we’re doing at Decentra is experimenting with novel approaches to governance in communities, and the monetization of these spaces through token- and stream-gating.

To accomplish that, we obviously can’t just work on a governance framework, but instead also have to make an actual community space. What we propose is building on top of what we’ve already built, which allows us to radically speed up the progress since we don’t have to build everything from ground up.

See here the semi mock-up, semi because practically everything you can see is already there. What’s missing is what we outlined in the initial proposal, and only for the features that are tailor-made around the needs of this DAO, we request this grant:

And then, come on, it only is a good PR effort if we actually deliver something. Otherwise, oh, Decentra partnered up with ApeCoin but they’ve massively disappointed them. That’s not a compelling PR effort, at least not my understanding of a genuine approach to this.

I like that, and we discussed that internally. But then again, we’re not here to have ApeCoin bankroll the development of everything we’re doing. But instead want to make this in partnership with you, and create a cool space for all of us here at ApeCoin.

But I understand from where you come from, and would like your opinion on a revisited plan:

While we’ll leave this proposal untouched, we’ll do a couple things: This current proposal will be explicitly structured as some sort of grant, meaning that it is not an equity investment. It’s not a lot, it’s a total of $90K over 6 months. But through the monthly updates we commit to make here in the forum, we’ll hopefully impress you in the way that you have no doubt in our abilities to execute this and also give you comfort when it comes to making a bigger investment.

However, this “bigger investment”, structured as an equity investment at very favorable terms, should be subject of another proposal, and only after we’ve had the first public tests for members of the community.

It’s just that we don’t want ApeCoin to bankroll all our development efforts and you not getting anything in return other than a community space. That’s not what we understand under a mutually beneficial partnership, we’d only want to request funds in the magnitude you’ve proposed if we can align our interests, the best way for doing so is arguably an equity investment. But I propose only discussing this once we’ve demonstrated our ability to actually deliver something.

1 Like

Still not sure if we even need a separated space, because it will be hard to onboard new uesres, but as a try sounds reasonable for me.

Hi ApeCoin DAO Community,

Our team has reviewed and discussed @Decentra’s AIP Draft and have sent a list of initial questions. We await answers. Follow this Topic as further updates will be posted here in the comments.

Kind Regards,
-Pearson

I am in opposition to this proposal. I do not want to bank role the experiment, and I do not want to go somewhere else to get information about what is the brass tacks of goings on. Just my position, I like the way it works pretty well now. Yes improvements can be made, and some already have been.

1 Like

You have sold it for me :sweat_smile: