How are NNS proposals executed?

Let’s say I get a proposal adopted because I want to change how the IC functions.

Who carries out the proposal? Is it Dfinity? What’s to stop Dfinity from looking at the proposal and saying “nah lol”?

Not speaking on behalf of Dfinity

There’s also the question of what happens if a vote passes that isn’t actionable. What happens if someone puts up a proposal that ICP should become the official digital currency of the United States?

Personally, I think that we should think of governance proposals as more of resolutions. We can express priorities and goals as a community, and there should probably be some place where passed governance proposals are listed, and people can vote, discuss, and help prioritize what is important.

I’m critical of any proposal that amounts to “someone else has to do labor for me for free”

At the end of the day though, I’m critical of any proposal that amounts to “someone else has to do labor for me for free”, even when the someone is the Dfinity Foundation. People already have a ton of work on their plate, and have their own priorities to try and get through. In any organization, it’s best when the workers are empowered to use their own judgment to prioritize work. A situation where anyone with an ICP to burn can get to play CEO would be really detrimental to overall productivity, even when the proposer is well-meaning


First off, I can totally sympathize with the craziness around NNS proposal forum discussions and “rogue” proposals.

I personally think that any vote that is not actionable should not pass. I take the proposals originally initiated by @wpb as a one-time, educational movement type of situation to get people voting, but this past week we have a situation where the NNS is being spammed with proposals in an attempt to inflate voting rewards. This is up to the community, but I think we should finalize a set of soft guidelines (not enforceable) for what makes an minimum viable NNS proposal.

If a vote passes by an overwhelming majority, it’s probably something that should also be prioritized by a similar weight, whereas more contentious (close) votes could be inserted farther back in the engineering backlog. There’s probably a good algorithm for ensuring some balance such that proposals that pass by a large margin can “cut the line” to a degree, but not to a point that the more contentious proposals never get completed.

At the same time, it’s important that all of us realize when engineers are used to work on a proposal, that means other work is being pushed back. I have a lot of things that I’d like to see added as features to the IC, but I don’t place their importance over Bitcoin Integration, canister HTTP(S) requests, or Inter-Canister Query calls. As a member of the community from the outside looking in, I don’t know what the right cadence or balance is for submitting proposals, and if there is a soft limit in terms of engineers that DFINITY can allocate towards community driven proposals per quarter - it would be great if there were guidelines around such a system!

I 100% agree here, it’s a dangerous situation when people with “I want integration with X blockchain”, and “Expand canister size to be 4TB” proposals can ask for things that sound nice and might get high voter turnout, but aren’t immediately important, or aren’t at all feasible. I remember when we passed a huge prop in California for high speed rail between the SF Bay and LA - today we’re 10+ years later and billions of dollars over budget and the rail won’t even make it from LA to Bakersfield. Some of these NNS proposals, if passed only serve to distract the DFINITY team that’s already got their hands full with a 10+ year roadmap.

This is probably something that DFINITY might want to get a head start on the PR/communications side of things, reaching out to the current default follow neuron orgs to establish a community supported soft standard for NNS proposals. This would help guard against any backlash if and when a frivolous proposal passes and DFINITY has to obstain from acting on it (hopefully this never happens :crossed_fingers:)


@kpeacock I just created a discussion with a few rough ideas here that might indirectly help with this problem, especially the 3rd idea which includes incubation periods for NNS proposals - would love to get your input, as well as input from anyone on the NNS team at DFINITY.

Community Discussion: Revise Governance Voting Rewards to Fix Proposal Spamming Rewards Exploit

Just to be clear, we’re talking about motion proposals, which don’t get automatically executed and exist merely to express the community’s sentiment on a particular topic.

I think one day we in the community should be able to implement our own motion proposals instead of relying on DFINITY to do it for us. As was pointed out, it’s definitely not scalable.

The remaining blocker to that is letting external parties make open-source contributions to IC repos. (Actually, what matters is the implementation proposal, which may not require a PR to the github repo? Not quite sure…)

For those who don’t know how to code, then things get more challenging… I can’t see into the future, but perhaps one day people with proposal ideas will hire programmers to implement their ideas, kind of like how non-lawyers hire lawyers to write their legal contracts. (And maybe some generous programmers will do “pro bono” work to help draft proposals they care about…)

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