Multi-stage Governance Proposals, Starting w/ Stage 0 and Stage 1

I am submitting this idea to the community as a solution to the recent spam issues, and as a strong foundation for a more robust governance proposal process moving forward.

The Idea

I propose we create a multi-stage governance proposal process, initially starting with two stages (stage 0 and stage 1).

All governance proposals must start as stage 0 proposals.

Stage 0 proposals are “hidden” in the NNS UI, accessed explicitly by the user in a special location. Stage 0 proposals have a rejection cost of 1 ICP (debatable), a threshold to pass of 1% (debatable), a lifetime of 2 weeks (debatable) before which they cannot pass and after which they are automatically rejected, and do not affect voting rewards whatsoever (there is no ICP reward for the voter after adopting or rejecting the proposal).

If a stage 0 proposal passes (adopt votes greater than threshold and more adopt votes than reject votes), then a stage 1 proposal is created with the exact same information (title, body, etc). Stage 1 proposals behave identically to the current governance proposals.

This multi-stage process addresses the spam issue by 1) creating a special location hidden from the regular view of users for possibly low-quality proposals and 2) removing the ICP incentive for creating low-quality proposals. This holding area is low-stakes, thus we do not discourage proposal creation, but the bar for being promoted to stage 1 and thus the full high-stakes view of NNS users can be appropriately set.

This also lays a solid and configurable foundation for more stages in the future (stage 2, 3, 4, 5 etc), where at each stage we can have different UI behavior and criteria for progressing to the next stage.

Technical Details

I propose we retire the TOPIC_GOVERNANCE topic and replace it with two new topics, TOPIC_GOVERNANCE_STAGE_0 and TOPIC_GOVERNANCE_STAGE_1.

TOPIC_GOVERNANCE_STAGE_1 would behave exactly as TOPIC_GOVERNANCE behaves now, no change in threshold, weighting, voting period, etc.

TOPIC_GOVERNANCE_STAGE_0 would be a new topic that behaves as follows:

  • Rejection cost of 1 ICP
  • Threshold to pass of 1%
  • Mandatory 2 week lifetime (the proposal cannot be be passed or rejected before the lifetime is up, automatically rejected at the end of the lifetime if threshold is not met)
  • No effect on voting rewards

Prior Art


I second


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This sounds reasonable. I’m not sure I understand how the stage 0 proposal is supposed to be voted on though. Is it a private link that the proposer needs to advertise and use during their campaign; almost like a petition?

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I don’t know what the UI will look like, maybe the UI doesn’t even have to change actually. You would just select to view all Stage 0 proposals.

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Okay, I think i understand. These proposals would be hidden behind an extra tab, or something like that.

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Yep, we can deliberate on how exactly it will work, but that’s the concept.


Who will watch the Phase 0 proposal

  1. If only a small percentage of people go to the polls for phase 0, then the voting in phase 0 is inaccurate.
  2. If most people will watch the stage 0 vote, then the purpose of the spam proposal has been achieved, and this proposal has no effect at all.
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Who watches the watcher :rofl:

Let’s not pretend that more than a handful of individuals discussed and proposed the motion proposals.

What do you propose

It turns out that everyone thinks that the most advanced DAO in the world needs to rely on forum to run?

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The most advanced DAO in the world definitely needs a forum to run well. Well-run, systematic debate and delegation is how most standards bodies work. How else to get everyone the info they need to make informed decisions?


Apparently, its the status quo, like many other web2 elements associated with it. We need an active place to discuss and pile our ideas. I assume that the point you are making is with respect to decentralized platforms/services

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Sure…we should certainly move the forum onto the IC when one is ready that fits the bill.


This is assuming all stakers will come to a developer forum to talk

When you say 1% threshold to pass, what do you mean? I’m assuming the exact number is negotiable, but I’m still trying to understand how you are defining threshold and pass. These definitions would probably be important.

Also, what is the starting point of this proposal? Does it start from having already removed the incentive to spam for the purpose of financial gain after implementation of a proposal like 55651? Or are you wanting this to be implemented while there is still a financial incentive to spam? If it’s the later, then I’m concerned there will still be financial incentive to spam AND to artificially vote yes on these stage 0 proposals just to move it to stage 1.

I can agree with this kind of approach for proposals that are submitted for the purpose of advertising and announcement, but I think it only works if you first remove incentives to spam for financial gain.

The same definitions that we are currently using with governance proposals.

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I don’t think it matters, I am proposing this be implemented no matter the state of those proposals.

This proposal reduces the incentive to spam by making it much harder to get to stage 1 where voting rewards kick in. We can configure the threshold, rejection cost, and lifetime of stage 0 proposals to fight low-quality proposals that get through to stage 1.

I was looking through a few of the spammy proposals from the last week or so, and most had far less than 1% voting power adopting the proposals. I can go look and gather some actual empirical evidence, my guess is that a 1% adopt threshold would filter out most of the spam we have seen.


Ok that’s what I suspected. A 1% threshold is actually pretty easy to hit these days. In fact, I think a 10% threshold is pretty easy to hit today from neurons that are not accountable to anyone because they are not public. I think this would still result in a lot of spam even if the threshold was closer to 10%. I encourage you to think about how to separate the financial decision from the spam decision. I don’t have a good answer yet except to remove the root cause of the voting imbalance, which is default following for All Topics. I think/hope we are heading toward now since 55651 passed. This kind of spam filter approach is fine after the financial incentive for spam is removed.

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@wpb what do you think of this quote (I keep editing my comment)? Do you think > 1% of voting power would vote yes on stage 0 proposals, even though we haven’t seen that kind of voting power adopting the spammy proposals we’ve seen so far (my assumption based on looking at a few of the spammy proposals)?

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Trust me, don’t try to use the 1% threshold to prevent whales from doubling their rewards