Mika, Zcash governance doesn’t rely on the community advisory panel and Helios being perfect. It relies on the Zcash Foundation and the Electric Coin Company to either both agree on a legitimate way forward, or in case they disagree, on one of them having evidence of support from the community. (That’s why there was that unfortunate delay with the trademark agreement, was we had to get a provision in there that protected the community in case one of the two organizations went rogue.)
It’s part of Zcash’s checks and balances that ECC serves as an independent agent of the community, not just as a rubber stamp on whatever the Foundation decides.
You’re right that there are substantial risks and limitations of the current polling process, that could be attacked and that mean it will need to be strengthened and improved a lot in coming years if we’re going to continue using it. The thing that bothers me the most is that it excludes a lot of critical stakeholders whose continued support Zcash needs.
But, I have seen no evidence of attack, no evidence of malfeasance or irresponsibility on the part of the Foundation in the way they’ve organised it, and I know a lot of the names on the Community Advisory Panel, and all of them are excellent members of the cybercoins industry — thoughtful, well-informed, values-driven people. It’s an amazingly high-quality group.
So even though it is imperfect — as everything is — I currently feel like it is a very high-quality and legitimate group and process.