SIP-2012: Establish a Configurable Value for Spartan Councillors Required to Pass Meta-Governance Votes

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Simple Summary

This SIP proposes an amendment to the existing requirement that meta-governance SIPs and SCCPs require a unanimous passing vote by the members of the Spartan Council, instead switching to an adjustable setting of n-2, where n represents the council's current seat count.


Since their ideation, the intention of meta-governance proposals has been their use in amending the design of the Synthetix governance system. Given the power this grants them in altering protocol design, they have so-far relied on the unanimous agreement of the Spartan Council, demonstrated through all members passing such proposals in a Snapshot vote. Due to the nature of tokenized governance, however, this has left open a possibility that the Synthetix governance system can be hampered by a single, sufficiently well-funded actor seeking to perpetually elect themself to the Spartan Council and then block all meta-governance proposals. Under these circumstances the requirement for unanimity effectively “bricks” the ability of Synthetix governance to adapt to the threat by passing meta-governance SIPs and SCCPs to address it. Ideally, were it actionable, switching meta-governance vote passage to positive votes issued by a set portion of the Spartan Council, rather than all members, would assist in resolving such a situation. This SIP, therefore, proposes switching to an adjustable setting of n-2 for meta-governance vote passage, where n represents the council's seat count at the beginning of the epoch in which the meta-governance vote falls.


While this SIP makes a significant change to the voting process used to adjust protocol governance, the proposal is considered necessary by its author due to the negative impact brought about by governance ossification. What is more, a governance system that is subject to an arbitrarily applied inability to change brought on by a single actor is compromised in its decentralization and unable to adapt and meet the needs of the protocol and its users. Combined, these issues create a need to act to ensure the continued ability to enact positive meta-governance changes that supersedes the negative implications of removing the current need for unanimity.


As stated previously, under normal circumstances making this change would be prevented by the requirement that all Spartan Councillors agree to it, which would not be the case if the “bricking” of meta-governance had been realized. However, this SIP is viable and required now both due to the aforementioned threat of meta-governance “bricking” having materialized and processes enabled by two existing meta-governance SIPs created with such circumstances in mind. These are:

This SIP created an inactivity threshold for the maximum number of protocol-issued votes that can be sequentially missed by a Spartan Councillor before a dismissal procedure is automatically begun and then put to the council owner (currently the pDAO).

This dismissal process was begun for Spartan Council NFT-holding account 0x6a6d127afF67436D08fe4a295e7ac4D20508b26A on 20/04/2023 and the vote rationalizing and confirming it passed here.

This SIP clarified that affirmative votes from dismissed members of the council are unnecessary to achieve a unanimous result due to these dismissed members no longer being considered active Spartan Councillor.

Given that we have an instance in which a Spartan Councillor has been dismissed, this proposal is now able to be passed, with the agreement of all remaining council members, until the conclusion of the epoch ending 23:59:59 UTC on April 30th, 2023.

Assuming this SIP is implemented, it would create an n-2 figure for the number Spartan Councillors required to pass a meta-governance vote. Here, n is the number of Spartan Councillors elected at the beginning of the epoch in which the meta-governance vote is falls.

The setting would be configurable by meta-governance SCCP, with n-0 reverting to a need for unanimity, restoring the state prior to this SIP’s passage.

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