MGRC COI, COC and COE

Hi @MGRC

Congratulations! well done to all.

Before the elections a big deal was made out of COI. I really dont know why because the ZIP takes care of that.

But nothing on Code of Conduct or Ethics.

I would like to see the MGRC adopt a robust system of written professional ethics, similar or to or based off the MITRE code of conduct and ethics.

MITRE’s code of conduct and ethics is is second to none.

Here is the full code

Would you as MGRC members be willing to sign a similar code of conduct and ethics statement?

If not, why not?
What parts of the above statements would you want to change and why? (aside from the obvious bits to make it more relevant to zcash)

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Yes, absolutely. Thank you for finding this example.

I had been planning this week is to dig up as many COI and COE examples as I can find and present them to the MGRC so we can begin hashing on them. We are still trying to figure out the best way to do this so the community can weigh in on a final document version, we have a couple ideas like Git and Docs but nothing for sure yet.

In the meantime I will piggy back onto this thread and link/post to these kinds of documents, and if anyone has good examples please feel free to share.

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As I stated in the original Code of Ethics thread:

Would you as MGRC members be willing to sign a similar code of conduct and ethics statement?

Personally, I see several issues with the MITRE code of ethics, namely that is makes several bold statements and then provides absolutely no mechanisms for ensuring those standards come to fruition and those statements would universally be better served by individual policies governing the subject matter. For example:

  • Avoid any actual or perceived conflict of interest in personal and business relationships;
  • Refrain from misuse of our professional positions for personal gain;
  • Adhere to our government sponsors’ rules concerning source selection, procurement integrity, and avoidance of organizational conflict of interest;

This was the main point I made in the previous thread, statements like this are effectively meaningless without an explicit CoI policy, and if you have an explicit and robust COI policy then these statements are redundant.

  • Perform to the best of our abilities in an honest, cooperative, and fair manner;
  • Accurately and conscientiously record all time charges, costs, and other business records;

Statements that reduce to “Do your job well, according to the policies” are meaningless without defining what those policies and procedures that govern that work are and, again, if you have an explicit and robust set of policies then these statements are redundant.

Also, the MITRE CoE binds ethical matters to government policy and in some cases creates an explicit expectation to protect those policies:

Comply with laws and regulations that affect our work.
Protect MITRE and government resources from theft, damage, or misuse;

Whose laws? Which government? Creating an explicit expectation of protection (distinct from refraining from harm) opens up an entire can of worms (which I won’t get into but the implications should be obvious).

At at risk of repeating itself, binding ethics to any specific set of governments and/or jurisdictions (given the nature of governments) is simply and utterly abhorrent.

Would you as MGRC members be willing to sign a similar code of conduct and ethics statement?

I will sign onto as many specific, robust policies as the MGRC wants to consider, in addition to the pre-standing Zcash Contributors Code of Conduct - but as I stated numerous times over the course of the campaign I think most “ethical” codes are weak stand-ins for robust governance policies and I would rather focus on the design and implementation of those policies rather than nice-sounding but ultimately insufficient (or even actively harmful) codes of ethics.

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I get that. but the zip specifically binds you to the ZFND’s COI. I would like to see something more compressive, I think others would too.

Which is why it is going to have to be in a Code of Conduct or Ethics statement.

Obviously any government would be the community or maybe the zfnd. It will have to be adjusted for zcash. I expect the mgrc to protect the zcash resources allocated to you by the community from theft, damage or misuse.

So what’s the harm in putting that in writing? - it is semi redundant, sure, but I feel the extra peace of mind and the intent of the action would help the community feel more comfortable with the MGRC. Especially as this MGRC is setting a precedent for future MGRC’s

I certainly do not feel the statements are meaningless.

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I have said on numerous occasions, including in the post you replied to, that the MGRC CoI should be more restrictive than ZFNDs, I have even provided examples of such policies in the thread I linked above.

Based on the outcome of the election it appears there is strong mandate for such a restriction. I believe that this is also something that @holmesworcester wants to delve deeper on too - and I look forward to discussing it with the rest of the MGRC once we get up and running.

As stated above specific polices > broad general codes or statements. If there are specific principles that should be codified, let’s actually, properly codify them e.g.

I expect the mgrc to protect the zcash resources allocated to you by the community from theft, damage or misuse.

It seems like a combination of 1014 (dictating the allowed uses of the funds), and a robust CoI policy like I linked above (preventing abuse of power) covers the exact definitions of “theft” and “misuse”.

“damage” is more nebulous concept, especially when combined with an obligation to “protect” those resources. What does it mean to “damage” MGRC resources? What does it mean to “protect” MGRC resources from “damage”?

I think there is probably interesting answers there and that exploring it will result in robust polic(y|ies) that will better serve the goals of the original statement.

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I am glad we are on the same page.

I see the process as broad sweeping statements + something like an employee handbook. (yes I know, no need to point it out.)

This is standard business practice - I see no reason to diverge from this. MITRE even give you a help line to call in case you are unsure. I dont think I can post their handbook, but its pretty good.

A in lieu of that, specific example for me would be MITRE’s ethics code + cert.org’s vuln disclosure policies. Where the cert.org stuff is the specifics of the “what is a coi, what is professional, what is misuse, etc”

The extra restrictions should not replace existing ones tho. I look forward to reading all the suggestions.

I agree that these polices are super important and look forward to working on them with everyone!

Maybe a good way to approach this conversation is to start by listing some specific worries that people have about how the MGRC or its members could behave unethically or in self dealing ways?

Some of this will be covered by a basic CoI policy but I agree with everything that’s been said so far about how our policies should go beyond the standard policies that a typical board would have; our constituency and our audience and our role is really different from a typical board, so we can and should be a lot more strict and clear!

So, what are the nightmare scenarios people would like to avoid?

Some I’ve seen raised so far are:

  • Funding one’s own projects or organizations or appearing to prefer them.

  • Reciprocally funding the organizations of other MGRC members.

  • Playing favorites and directing funds to projects that are personal favorites without those projects having merit or usefulness to the Zcash community.

  • Paying ourselves too much.

  • Secretly being a proxy for other organizations in the space, especially ECC or its leadership.

Let’s have at it! What concerns (even the most conspiracy-esque) have people raised? Let’s discuss them and make sure we address each of them adequately!

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Can I drag up this post again now please.

Please can you change

to - Paying yourselves at all.

This is explicitly handled by the zfnd in the zip. The ZIP would have to be amended to change that, so that discussion would probably be better in its own thread rather than this one.

I will go through some old posts about this stuff from back in nov - march time to see if I can find any ideas in there that have been forgotten about.

Love the attitude. nice one.

Consequences - there should be some, otherwise what’s the point?

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I will go through some old posts about this stuff from back in nov - march time to see if I can find any ideas in there that have been forgotten about.

Thanks! That’d be super helpful.

to - Paying yourselves at all.

Oops, yes! I remembered that this was discussed and forgot it had already been settled.

Love the attitude.

Thanks! I’ll try to be like this as much as possible! :slight_smile:

Consequences - there should be some, otherwise what’s the point?

I think the way to approach this question is similar to the other one. Let’s list things we need, e.g.:

  • We don’t want someone who is subverting the system to be able to continue to do so.
  • We want people to take their responsibilities to disclose potential conflicts seriously.
  • We want CAP voters to be fully informed about any potential conflicts or mistakes, so that this can inform their decision in the next election.

I’m sure we’ll start with some standard policy but we can add provisions to cover cases we identify.

(I’m also assuming a lawyer will review this and make sure that the final language matches our intentions.)

Links to the Zcash Foundations existing documentation and policies:

Zcash Foundation Certificate and Accepted Articles

Zcash Foundation Bylaws

Bylaws Amendment 1

Bylaws Amendment 2

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