Increase Proposal Rejection Cost

1. Objective

This is a governance motion proposal to increase the rejection cost of NNS proposals from the current 1 ICP to 10 ICP.

2. Background

The NNS is the brain of the Internet Computer, and it relies on the neuron holders to carefully consider each proposal and cast an informed vote. Neuron holders are also financially incentivized to vote on all proposals, as not voting leads to reduced neuron rewards, meaning a neuron holder cannot simply ignore proposals. It is important that there are not too many proposals, as casting an informed vote is time consuming and the load on neuron holders must be manageable. To discourage “bad” proposals, there is a rejection cost: the neuron that creates a proposal will pay this fee if the proposal gets rejected. The rejection cost is currently set to 1 ICP. There is no fee for proposals that are accepted.

This proposal makes a failed proposal more expensive, which is expected to encourage people to first communicate with the community and gather support before actually submitting a proposal. Hopefully this leads to higher quality proposals and fewer proposals that end up getting rejected.

Why change this now? The rejection cost of 1 ICP is very low, but only recently has it become apparent that it is important enough to bring to a motion. Recently there have been many rejected NNS proposals, which caused us to submit this proposal now.

In the future, this rejection cost can be adjusted further in the upward or downward direction depending on what makes sense to the community.

3. Key Milestones

This proposal will be deliberated until the comments go quiet and will then be submitted to the NNS as a governance motion proposal. If it passes, then I will work with Dfinity to learn how to submit this proposal as a NetworkEconomics proposal or to ask Dfinity to submit it themselves.

4. Discussion leads

@LightningLad91 will lead discussion on this proposal and submit the NNS proposal.

5. Security concerns

No security concerns have been identified at this time.

6. What we are asking the community

  • Review comments, ask questions, provide actionable feedback
  • Vote accept or reject on NNS Motion.

I would have said no a week ago but I’m ready for the the situation to end because of the methodology of the proposing party and contents of the proposals, so I 100% agree with this proposal as a band-aid solution.

Was there a discussion on what the spam prevention mechanism (on Dfinity’s roadmap) will entail? I missed that discussion if info was given.

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@ysyms said (and I believe) that a whale can easily obtain 100 ICP rewards per new governance proposal. So how would 10 ICP stop a whale from proposing?
Also, it is not because a proposal is voted No that it was a bad, or scam, proposal. That would only make people being scared to submit a proposal.
I do not think a different amount of ICP would resolve anything, short term or long term.
And I think IC cannot do new changes on a “Try and Fail” system, where you do the programming, implement, and then it fail. It has to be totally proof to resolve the issue.


My first rejected proposal was when ICP was at $80. Whoops. It was an accident from messing with Axon. $80 was bad, $800 would have gotten me kicked out of the bedroom for week. :joy:

I’m not opposed to this, but I also don’t think that getting a named neuron should be more expensive than a domain name. That is about 1 ICP right now. We want more named neurons.

I think I’d like to leave it the same and find a better solution.


I agree it probably would discourage some people from making an attempt, but I’m not sure if the proposal cost would deter any quality named neurons from being formed, I think conversely it might encourage more carefully constructed ideas around named neurons and people would be more likely to gauge community opinion before trying, decreasing the likelihood of a proposal rejection.

Reposted because I thought I didn’t respond as a reply… oops.

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I hope this is temporary measure, because it makes it harder for someone to become a named neuron.

But actually, I don’t see any reason to go through NNS proposal to change the named neuron list. We just need some curated list (or lists) that is vetted by the community, e.g. a github repo where PRs are regularly reviewed. No need for proposals.


What if rejection cost was in cycles or was pegged to a fixed value in XDR/USD? ICP price is volatile, if it increases or decreases too much in a short amount of time, we’d have to constantly keep changing the rejection cost, it would be better to design a proposal to fix the issue for once.


I support this proposal. There are many other ways to deal with spam proposals, which will all take a significant of time to realize. This is the only proposal that can take effect immediately.

@skilesare, I understand your concern that making it more expensive if your proposal is rejected might discourage people from submitting a proposal, but I still believe increasing the cost is the right way to go for two reasons:

  1. the cost can be decreased again if there is a better way to ensure proposals are of high quality, so this may just be temporary.
  2. Governance proposals typically get 40% or so participation rate, and other proposals even more. That means that at least 20% of the voting power = 80M VP is required for a proposal to pass. That’s at least 40 million ICP that needs to vote in favor of a proposal for it to pass. I find it hard to imagine that neuron holders collectively holding 40 million ICP that all support a proposal cannot risk a potential 10 ICP reject fee for the proposal itself.

I don’t disagree with this idea, but I do consider it to be out of scope for the purpose of this proposal. There is an existing mechanic designed into the code that enables a relatively simple change to proposal rejection cost and it is priced in ICP. This proposal is focused solely on whether that proposal rejection cost in ICP denomination should be changed.

I encourage someone to make a separate proposal to change the denomination of proposal rejection cost so it could be fixed to fiat price in some way, but at this time I don’t consider it to be my torch to carry. I’d like to see others step up as leaders to make such a proposal. I’d be happy to advise if needed.


Does this mean a lot? I don’t think so. Can you do something that more meaningful? or you can have a try, I would say no.

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Sorry I don’t understand. 10 ICP is nothing compared to the gains that a group of stakers would gain from spamming proposals. Even 100 ICP.

There is no amount that’s going to both stem the tide of crappy proposals and also have a low enough bar for anybody to participate.

I’d vote against this because it really doesn’t accomplish anything positive, it’s not even a band-aid on the problem. I think we need some sort of two step submission process with a spam report button.


I agree that other changes are necessary, but those are just in the brainstorming phase. So the community first has to agree on an approach, and then code has to be written and rolled out, which means it will take quite a while before we can have any advantage of those mechanisms. Increasing the reject fee can take effect right now, it does not require any code to be written.

While agree that this doesn’t fully remove the incentive to submit governance proposals, saying it doesn’t accomplish anything is in my view not a fair assessment either. Imagine that one individual submits bad proposals using ICP donations to pay for the reject cost. If the person gets 50 ICP donations, that would mean 50 bad proposals today and with this change it would only pay for 5 bad proposals. I think that’s an improvement.


I agree, and understand how complex rolling out new tested code for the governance canister is.

Probably worth a try increasing the fee, but definitely full steam ahead on brainstorming a longer-term solution.


I intend to write a longer post explaining my position on this. In short, I share many of the same views as @manu. This is something we can do today while a better long-term solution is developed.

@wpb if you are looking for someone to take the lead on this deliberation and submit the proposal I would be happy to do so.


This sounds perfect @LightningLad91. I will be happy to step aside and let you lead the effort on this proposal. I will edit the original post indicating your role. Do you want to start a new forum Governance topic or continue this forum Governance topic? Thank you for taking a leadership role in this proposal. My apologies for not recognizing that you intended to lead this proposal yourself.


On another thread, I proposed a participation threshold. Let say as an example, 5 millions votes. IF the participation does not reach the threshold, the proposal is abandonned and ignored.
Then, only need to ignore these proposals. Simple and keep proposals accessible for everyone. Propably 1 line of code to add.
We can higher the threshold if needed.

Why would there not be 5 million votes when we are incentivized to vote with voting rewards? Why would anyone choose not to vote if voting enables them to earn voting rewards? ICP tokenomics are incentives to participate in governance. The system is built on the principle that people will make decisions based on their individual self interest, which collectively results in the best interest of the IC. We can’t depend on people to “do the right thing” because that means something different to everyone. I think all ideas should be geared toward rewarding an increase in governance participation, not expecting people to abstain.

Abstain on spam proposal only. Not on everything else. I am quiet confident the vast majority of voters would abstain if they see a spam proposal, including Dfinity and ICPMN. That would leave the proposal with a very low participation, then being ignored by the system. I have not made the calculation needed for the minimum, can be 10 millions minimum… Just as an example.

There is currently about 60M votes being cast on governance proposals that are not cast when Dfinity and ICPMN casts their votes.

Dfinity owns their votes and have full control of them.

ICPMN owns 20 votes. All other votes come from followers who choose to follow ICPMN. That means they are also free to follow anyone else including a new group that pops up to vote on all proposals including spam.

People will always pursue the highest voting rewards. I still think we need the system to continue incentivizing participation.

Edit: others should check my math, but I think it’s finally correct.

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@wpb @Kyle_Langham I’d like to add one more idea - new Spam Filter proposal type for rejected Governance proposals, which would be automatically created by NNS for every rejected Governance proposal - and would decide, if those 1 (or 10, or 100) ICP will be burned or not.

  • anyone could create governance proposal same as now
  • could be with higher rejection cost, 10 or even 100 ICP
  • if proposal is Accepted, all is same as now, it was not a spam
  • if proposal is Rejected it would NOT automatically mean that the (1, 10, 100) ICP is burned, but NNS will generate a new Spam Filter proposal
    • if Spam Filter proposal is Accepted by community, the (1, 10, 100) ICP would NOT be burned
    • if Spam Filter proposal is Rejected by community, the (1, 10, 100) ICP would be burned

I believe that this would:

  1. discourage any spammer as per high rejection cost, this would be very effective
  2. minimise governance administration as the Spam Filter proposal would be created only for Rejected Governance proposals
  3. allow easy extension of the process also for other proposal types, in case that would start to be used for NNS spamming
  4. give more confidence to anyone who would like to propose something relevant (would discuss it on forum etc), even with higher rejection cost - as the Spam Filter proposal voting would NOT be about the proposed change, but only if it is a Spam or not - and if the proposal is relevant the funds would not be burned
  5. Rejection Cost could be renamed to Spam Rejection Cost

Or indeed every proposal could come with a check box Is Spam - if is rejected and is not a spam nothing is burned, if is spam (>50% votes) ICP (1, 10, 100…) is burned (I think I saw similar already suggested by @Kyle_Langham)

What do you think?