"The Intersection of Governance Legos and How to Disagree: Building Consensus in the Digital Age"

Alessio Frateily

Alessio Frateily

Aug 26, 20234 min read


"The Intersection of Governance Legos and How to Disagree: Building Consensus in the Digital Age"


In the ever-evolving world of blockchain technology and online discourse, two seemingly unrelated concepts have emerged as pivotal components: "Governance Legos" and "How to Disagree." While one pertains to the mechanisms of decentralized decision-making, the other focuses on the art of constructive disagreement. Surprisingly, these two ideas share common ground and can offer valuable insights into building consensus in the digital age.

Governance Legos: Exploring the Building Blocks of Decentralized Decision-Making

The concept of "Governance Legos" refers to the modular components that form the foundation of decentralized governance systems. One integral element is signal voting, where token holders sign their votes with a public-private key pair. This off-chain voting process allows anyone with a list of signed votes to verify and tally the results. Signal voting is cost-effective and relies on tools like Snapshot or libp2p to broadcast votes.

Another critical building block is on-chain voting, which involves token holders creating and voting on proposals tied to their token balance. These votes are recorded on the blockchain, enabling a governance smart contract to determine the outcome. Despite the gas fees associated with on-chain voting, it enhances security and decentralization by eliminating the need for third-party vote broadcasting.

Additionally, admin multisig plays a vital role in governance legos. It involves a fixed number of addresses sharing administrative power, with a subset of them having the authority to execute commands. The Gnosis team's Safe contract exemplifies the implementation of arbitrary size multisigs on Ethereum, often used for protocol administration and on-chain treasuries.

The synergy between signal voting, on-chain voting, and admin multisig creates various governance models, such as the idea-to-proposal lifecycle and delegating authority to a committee. Projects like Compound and Uniswap have embraced these models to enhance their governance frameworks.

How to Disagree: Nurturing Constructive Dialogue in the Digital Sphere

In the realm of online discourse, knowing how to disagree effectively is crucial for meaningful conversations. Merely attacking the author or focusing on the tone of their argument falls short of constructive engagement. It is more important to assess the validity of the author's claims than to critique their tone.

Disagreements often stem from a desire to challenge ideas rather than merely affirm them. When one agrees with a viewpoint, there is less to discuss, but disagreement opens up unexplored territory. However, it is essential to differentiate between constructive forms of disagreement and unproductive discourse.

To classify the stages of disagreement, we can use a framework ranging from name-calling to refuting the central point:

  • 1. DH0: Name-calling is the weakest form of disagreement. It adds no substance to the conversation and relies on derogatory language rather than logical reasoning.
  • 2. DH1: Ad Hominem attacks target the author rather than the argument itself. While it may carry some weight, it is crucial to focus on the accuracy of the claims made, regardless of the author's background or authority.
  • 3. DH2: Responding to the tone of the argument is a step above ad hominem attacks but still lacks substance. Criticizing the tone without addressing the core points does little to advance the conversation.
  • 4. DH3: Contradiction enters the realm of addressing the argument itself. However, it often lacks evidence and reasoning, relying solely on stating the opposing case without supporting it adequately.
  • 5. DH4: Counterargument is a more convincing form of disagreement as it combines contradiction with reasoning and evidence. It directly challenges the original argument and can sway opinions when well-reasoned.
  • 6. DH5: Refutation goes beyond counterargument and effectively dismantles the central point of the argument. It requires a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter and a logical deconstruction of the opposing viewpoint.
  • 7. DH6: Refuting the central point represents the pinnacle of constructive disagreement. By effectively debunking the core argument, one can offer a compelling case against the original claims.

Finding Synergy: Applying Governance Legos to Disagreement

Surprisingly, the principles of Governance Legos and How to Disagree share common ground. Both emphasize the importance of logical reasoning, evidence-based arguments, and a focus on the core issues at hand.

In the context of governance, incorporating the principles of constructive disagreement can enhance decision-making processes. By encouraging diverse perspectives and rigorous debate, blockchain projects can benefit from a collective intelligence that goes beyond mere voting.

Actionable Advice:

1. Foster an environment of respectful and constructive disagreement within governance communities. Encourage participants to challenge ideas rather than attack individuals, focusing on the validity of arguments rather than the tone.

2. Emphasize the importance of well-reasoned counterarguments and refutations. Encourage participants to provide supporting evidence and logical reasoning to strengthen their positions.

3. Consider implementing mechanisms within governance frameworks that allow for open dialogue and deliberation. Encourage participants to engage in thoughtful debates, leveraging the principles of Governance Legos to reach consensus.


The intersection of Governance Legos and How to Disagree reveals valuable insights into building consensus in the digital age. By understanding the modular components of decentralized governance and promoting constructive disagreement, blockchain projects can harness the power of collective intelligence and foster robust decision-making processes. Embracing the principles of Governance Legos and How to Disagree can pave the way for more inclusive and effective governance frameworks in the future.

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