On the risk of ‘hell yes’ voting

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Recently, a discussion has arisen within the Nouns DAO community regarding "hell yes" voting. The concept comes from Derek Sivers' book 'Hell Yeah or No', which encourages readers to say yes only to opportunities that excite them while saying no to everything else, and was introduced into Nouns by an anonymous member who quoted Derek's philosophy in reference to voting only for the very best proposals.

While this philosophy may sound empowering, it doesn’t translate particularly well to decentralized ecosystems. Requiring everything to be a ‘hell yes’ may serve to preserve the treasury, but it comes at a significant cost.

As I wrote in my on-chain vote against raising the quorum to favor “hell yes” voting, while I understand the importance of creating a quorum function that represents the DAO's interests as a whole, I believe that its true best interests lie in being open to anyone interested in building. A DAO that becomes too focused on "hell yes" votes is a DAO that receives less attention and less energy. Some of the best innovations have been born out of skepticism and doubt.

If the goal of the DAO is to proliferate the meme that is Nouns, its number one priority should be encouraging people to build. A high quorum that votes more conservatively will only serve to dissuade people from making proposals in the first place, which will almost certainly be detrimental to growth.

4156 seems to agree with this, saying that Nouns faces “a ‘cold start’ problem” and needs “to be extra permissive to advertise that we exist so the ‘hell yes’ proposals can find us”. Jacob chimed in with something I find particularly resonant, saying that taken to the extreme, Nouns “should be funding anything that isn’t a hell no.” At it’s best, focusing on “hell yes” is an effort to reward the best minds in Nouns and remove the cruft. But at its worst, it acts as a knee-jerk reaction to protect the DAO’s treasury without regard to how that impacts the bigger picture.

The impulse to shield the treasury is understandable, but it’s too early to do so! Nouns hasn’t made it yet! The meme has not yet been proliferated! And because of that, the DAO has to be open to new perspectives, new ideas, and new initiatives of all types.

To once again quote Jacob, the superpower of Nouns is “being able to do many things at once with near-0 coordination cost to everyone working on their own proposals and projects.”

This isn’t the “hell yes or no” phase of Nouns.

It’s the “yes because maybe this will work or no” phase.

Does that roll off the tongue quite as well? Definitely not.

Does it allow Nouns to effectively grow in ways that it never could with a centralized team or single north star? Absolutely.