DAO Grievances: Building the Process

DAO Grievances: Building the Process

Admittedly, I'm loud as fuck.

And like someone else said, one does need to be strategic about these things.

While also, like they say, a squeaky-wheel gets the grease ... so

Again, admittedly the example below is illustrative and somewhat exceptional; though barely a week after this, other comments arose when an individual sought to make spaces or protocols that served a particular set of religious values. We're better prepared than not, in my view.

Button Pusher

The underlying issue being that the mere exist of colonial states is a constant button that is pushed by colonial entities and their agents. I'm talking about down to laws that forbade indigenous people from dancing, singing and praying ...

Laws that disallow people from being ... and the subtle ways that society re-enforces these "norms".

It would be slightly accurate to suggest that I am what happens when one of us decides to push buttons back ... there was a funny post on Twitter about 93% of PFPs being scams, or something to that effect ... which I quote tweeted to say, "98% of white people are scammers."

Many buttons like this get pushed on my TL ... for reasons I won't get into presently, save to say that a new follower, who happened to be in the same DAO as me, took offense to my comment.

Though rather than attempting to interact with me, this individual sought someone else to take action on their behalf ... and it was this person, who by authority ordained to them by the DAO implicitly, decided to confront me.

Two things come to mind first ... how far does the code of conduct from the DAO/Discord reach ?

Was the path from complaint to confrontation really only two nodes deep with ZERO consultation with, or oversight from, anyone else ?!?

Typical Situation

Tragically I can say that I have experienced this situation before, as well as many like it ... because organizations are notoriously unprepared to deal with difficult discussions. That's why some people love web2 ... one person is the boss, everyone else follows; with a few minor exceptions, it's easy and it works. Almost no thought needed whatsoever!

Decentralized and autonomous necessitate the exact opposite.

It is reasonable that we are scared, it is also reasonable that the majority of us are grossly unprepared because contemporary education materials focus on teaching one how to accumulate resources. We are not taught how to see others, much less make space for anyone, or anything, beyond our immediate perceived needs and relations, and any perceived threats to either.

Though rather than dwell upon this negativity, let's talk about how we can start to build organizational components and systems to help us navigate this terrain.

Building a Grievance Committee

The first step to solving a problem is to admit you have one; the existence of a grievance committee is the cornerstone of such a sanctuary. Who was it that said love is justice, and justice is love ?!

This is a place where people come with their pain, their fear, and yes at times, their anger as well; and they come bearing these burdens asking for help to be relieved and cleansed of them. This is sacred work, and requisite to any organization that hopes to survive it's own success.

While attendant to this work is that the leaders be known; and be diverse themselves ... truly representative of the community they serve. This is explicitly so that each member of the community has options as to whom they might feel comfortable first bringing their story. And so that when that story is present, other perspectives in the story might be represented within preliminary discussions.

Restorative Stories

The following process is derived from restorative justice conferences that I used to facilitate on behalf of the Seward-Longfellow Restorative Justice Project in Minneapolis Minnesota.

As mentioned, the initial story (allegation) is to be brought to the committee by way of a single, or more, members; at which time the narrative is discussed among the committee as a whole, and privately.

After this, the alleged individual needs to be approached by two individuals; this provides the alleged an option regarding whom they'd like to communicate with and they are not made to feel alone!

Pay careful attention as to who these two individuals are ... diversity is not about not seeing people's identities, but rather by explicitly acknowledging individual identities, as well as their fusion and possibility.

Provide suitable options for who they might feel comfortable communicating with ... As it is important we not allow individuals to be isolated throughout these processes; this will only make more volatile, an already contentious circumstance.


Either at this initial conversation, or at a later time, the alleged needs to be given time and space to tell their narrative alone. If need be, this should be scheduled at another time, and any other single individual the alleged might like have attend this conversation; the alleged should be encouraged to bring someone they know to be in their corner.

Now we have each party on equal footing. The narrative was presented to a committee, processed by the committee, relayed to other involved parties, and these individuals have been given time and space to relay their narrative in isolation  as well.

Council of Five Plus One

In our thought experiment we have two immediate individuals involved ...

the one alleging

the one  being alleged

We will start by bringing in three other individuals. One chosen by the alleged, one chosen by the individual alleging, and a third member randomly selected from the community. Together these three individuals are to represent the community; and with our aforementioned two individuals, create a council of five.

The council's job is not to find a resolution, but rather to help process the competing narratives between the contending individuals. And this may very well take multiple sessions; ergo this takes not just collective, but individual commitment by all involved.

Processing these narratives is difficult work, and so an outside individual, a facilitator is best suited to helping the council navigate this work. A facilitator wears many hats in these conversations, at times stimulating conversation and in others able to assert that a break in conversation might be most productive in a given moment.

The Best Resolution

The best resolution is the one that uplifts the divinity of all involved; and I do not simply say humanity because we are not on the top of a food chain, but rather part of a precariously balanced and interconnected ecosystem.

"And if any of you would punish in the name of righteousness and lay the ax unto the evil tree, let him see to its roots; And verily he will find the roots of the good and the bad, the fruitful and the fruitless, all entwined together in the silent heart of the earth." ~ Almustafa

And so it is requisite that while we are all subject harms done by one, we can also be complicit in their growth and consequential blessings. And in all times, in all actions, we are given these opportunities.

While we will continue to have to act within the colonized walls, that while cracked have yet to fall; the least we can do is begin to recognize each other's individuality. Build refuge where it can be found and maintained; and nurture the seeds for better where water, food  and song can be gathered.

The best resolution is that the experience enables us to better see both ourselves, and all the divine that surrounds us, with greater compassion and connection to all.

What this means for you and your community, that's not for me, or anyone, except for you and your community to determine.

And so, my recommendations conclude.

Thank you for reading, and I hope this small outline of ideas can be of service to you.

If you'd like to have further conversation, or your organization would like help navigating a difficult conversation, I'm happily available via Twitter as @CultureClap; and if you'd like more comprehensive personal or organizational support, check out manifestingempathy.com.