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Gulcan Yayla
Gulcan Yayla

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DAO engagement levels with numbers

This tweet made my engineer brain wonder about the engagement numbers in DAOs:

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Then, a book I’m currently reading increased my wonder. The book is “Working in Public: The Making and Maintenance of Open Source Software” by Nadia Eghbal. She writes:

“One study found that, in a sample of 275 popular GitHub projects across various programming languages, nearly half of all contributors only contributed once. These contributors accounted for less than 2% of total commits. [Another study found that in more than 85% of the open source projects on GitHub, less than 5% of developers were responsible for over 95% of code and social interactions.] The regular presence of hundreds or thousands of contributors making few substantial contributions, rather than a smaller group of developers making meaningful contributions, throws the idea of ‘contributor communities’ into question.”

Then I started to research and found this article. The writers dig into the numbers behind Aragon, DAOstack and DAOhaus – three of the most popular DAO platforms facilitating the creation of DAOs. I loved how they had both growth and activity numbers – exactly what I’ve been looking for. Below is a summary table based on their data sources: (Aragon was omitted due to the lack of a user creation timestamp in the Aragon API)

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Note1: “Activity” means whether a DAO or a user was active in a given month if at least they performed an action in that month. The available actions to be performed depend on the platform, but generally take the form of creating a proposal, voting a proposal, or staking in a proposal. 

Note2: There is more fluctuation in DAOhaus activity (for instance, % active went up to 75% in October 2021; but in the overall picture, the rates are similar to this table.

So, here we are: There seems to be still a long way to go for DAOs to realize their promise. I am far from an expert on DAOs, but I believe they hold a potential to motivate their members to be active contributing ones if structured well. On the other hand, I am hesitant. At the end of the day, “people” like you and me form these organizations. 

I am wondering what you think, especially if you’re involved in DAOs. Please let me know!

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