A big problem in DAOs is meeting overload and chat overload, but a few have found their way around this.
MakerDAO has a “forum first” communication culture:
For decentralized organizations that are community-governed, such as MakerDAO, a primary hub exists for the most important discussions concerning the organization, especially conversations around governance. For MakerDAO, that hub is the Maker Forum.
While most DAOs use forums mainly for soft votes and treasury applications, Maker uses it to discuss much more: risks get surfaced, integrations discussed, and Core Unit’s communicate there.
The conversations sparked and the info shared in every platform category help newcomers learn all about DAO, further educate existing members, and aid journalists in sourcing accurate information about Maker.
Long-form writing leads to a big reduction in meetings. It gives the important discussions enough time to unfold, and build towards common understanding.
When we’re about three years old, we go through a development step where we realise that other people might not know things we know. It’s called “Theory Of Mind.” This is how we learn when we need to explain things to other people, like telling your older sister that mum hid the cookies in that top cupboard we can’t reach.
We need to understand who knows what in order to collaborate. But when we use chat as the main form of group communication, that becomes impossible. We send one-liners into a big chat room, not knowing who understands what context. We lose track of who said what, when and where. We lose track of who knows what.
Speaking only helps who’s in the room, writing helps everyone. This includes people who couldn’t make it, or future employees who join years from now.
And once people are used to it, communication actually happens more quickly:
Communication shouldn’t require schedule synchronization. Calendars have nothing to do with communication. Writing, rather than speaking or meeting, is independent of schedule and far more direct.
When Uniswap first started decentralisation, they assumed that their Discord chat community would be where decentralisation happened. But the people making the effective governance decisions ended up on their forum only. Discord ended up being an isolated community, used mainly for support, with increasingly frustrated people wondering why their voice wasn’t being heard.
Source Institute’s Speedboat Armada emerged to solve similar problems. Like MakerDAO, they ended up using their forum as the single source of truth.
Whereas on chat, discussions are pretty much over when they scroll off the page. Without that context, restarting a discussion that took place a few days ago is difficult. Chat content basically dissolves. Plus the busier chat gets, the more people feel pressure to live in chat, so everyone ends up hating it.
On forums, it is easy to continue discussions over any period of time. New members can even pick up on a conversation and figure out what’s going on. Discussions evolve and build up towards common understanding.
Chat’s for the vibes. If it matters for work, it goes on the forum.
Since people don’t have to to track all the chat groups and go to meetings, they have way more time for “actual work” – while still getting group input openly.
The easiest thing to do is share some of your plans, progress or problems as a forum post. You can do this personally to help find your places in the DAO, or on behalf of your project to self-coordinate, and get help and support.
A lot of people are unsure if they should respond in open communication like forums. So ask questions, and point out where you’d like feedback.
At first, it’s worth sharing the link to that post in specific chat rooms to bring the right people’s attention to it.