Procedural ("Soft") Governance
What is "Soft" Governance?:
Soft governance refers to processes, procedures, standards of conduct, and rituals of governance systems that are extrinsic to their on chain code deployment.
Many protocols have improvement proposal (IP) frameworks for ideating, discussing, and enacting key changes. While ecosystem actors will typically hew to these agreed norms to retain support of the wider community, the relevant updates can generally be made with a simple on chain vote even if the proposer didn't follow proper etiquette.
Protocols Using Soft Governance:
- Weekly vote bundles
- Maker Improvement Proposals (MIPs)
- Suggested proposal process
MakerDAO has highly developed soft governance frameworks for curating weekly vote bundles and facilitating Maker Improvement Proposals. Elected facilitators play a key role in judging proposal coherence and validity via an off chain submission process, while series of non-binding poll votes determine whether specific initiatives can advance to a full on chain vote. These procedural norms have strong backing from the Maker community, but the core system will recognize MKR vote results regardless of adherence to these rules.
Uniswap published a suggested process for making governance proposals, from initial conception through to implementation. While any user with greater than 10 million UNI voting power is able to submit a proposal, Uniswap's soft governance procedure involves several preliminary polling and discussion steps to build concensus before calling an on chain vote.
- MakerDAO MIP Process Overview: https://forum.makerdao.com/t/mip0-the-maker-improvement-proposal-framework/1902
- MakerDAO Weekly Governance Cycle: https://forum.makerdao.com/t/mip16-the-weekly-governance-cycle/3008
- Uniswap Suggested Governance Process: https://gov.uniswap.org/t/governance-process/7732