Open Call for Proposals to Resolve Non-Actionable Proposals

Dfinity community,

The discussion for resolving non-actionable/non-deliberated (also known as spam) proposals has been encouraging and has produced a lot of good ideas. It appears the ideation/brainstorming phase of this issue is slowing down and it may be time to move into a process of narrowing down the ideas to one or a few solutions for implementation. Wenzel Bartlett (@wpb) and I would like to recommend the following timeline and process for narrowing down the ideas into actionable resolution, utilizing the NNS for voting between multiple options. The goal of this process is to provide NNS voters a complete list of all solutions that will be brought forward in the short term, so that voters have the ability to deliberate each proposal on its own merits as well as relative to other proposals.

Now through 18APR: Proposal leaders step forward to announce that they plan to bring a specific, actionable proposal to the NNS. The proposal leader provides the draft text they plan to include in the proposal in a new forum topic, as well as leads the discussion (via the forum or other communication means) on their proposal.

18APR: Wenzel will make an informational proposal announcing the list of proposals that will be brought to the NNS over the following one week. This proposal will provide links to the forum (or other social media) where NNS voters can learn more about each upcoming proposal.

18APR - 25APR: Proposal leaders submit their proposals for voting on the NNS. NNS voters will have the option to vote in favor of one or multiple proposals. Each proposal will be open for the standard proposal timeframe (meaning it is possible that some proposals close prior to other proposals opening).

Post 25APR: DFINITY provides feedback to the community on the technical feasibility of the approved proposal(s), including technical trade-offs and opportunity costs. If needed, another proposal can be made by the community to refine the approved proposal(s) based on DFINITY’s feedback.

Our Ask To The Community
Wenzel and I do not intend to submit proposals for every idea discussed in the last week. Instead, we would like to ask for leaders to represent the various ideas, both in terms of soliciting community feedback and for writing the proposal copy. At a minimum, Wenzel and I plan to bring our proposal “Reset Followees for All Topics Except Governance” for NNS vote during the one week period. It is our hope that every idea discussed over the past week will be submitted as a proposal during the one week time including the following ideas:

Please use this forum thread to identify any proposals you plan to submit. This forum will be used to ensure that the NNS proposal announcing the one week period includes information about every proposal that will be submitted during that week.

This forum can also be used by community members to signal that they disagree with the idea of bringing all ideas to a vote on NNS over a one week period.


  1. Consider if you would like to be a proposal leader on one or multiple ideas mentioned over the past week. If so, please make your intention known as a reply to this forum and begin socializing your proposal draft in the medium of your choice. At a minimum, please post your proposal draft to a new forum topic.
  2. Community members - Join the deliberation on each proposal
  3. NNS voters - Vote on your preferred solution(s) between 18APR and 25APR

Background on the issue we aim to resolve
The intent of the one week period is for the NNS community to vote on every idea that has been discussed for resolving non-actionable proposals. Non-actionable proposals are submitted to the NNS for two reasons:

  1. To increase the number of governance proposals and therefore the rewards paid to NNS members who vote on governance proposals.
  2. To advertise or market to the NNS community.

Q + A (Will update as discussion occurs below)

  1. What is DFINITY’s role? While I welcome DFINITY to provide its feedback on any and all proposals prior to the vote, it seems unrealistic to expect DFINITY to evaluate each proposal. Instead, it seems more efficient to allow the NNS community to narrow down the ideas into one or a few solutions and then invite DFINITY’s feedback. If DFINITY’s feedback requires additional changes to the accepted proposal(s), either due to technical or security concerns, then the accepted proposal(s) could be modified and taken to the NNS for another vote.
  2. What will happen if multiple proposals pass? The intent is for the NNS community to evaluate each idea on its own AND in connection with the other ideas presented. It’s possible that multiple proposals pass. In those cases, I suggest that any passing proposals are implemented, providing the NNS community a way to combine ideas into a solution.
  3. Why one week of proposals? I believe it is unlikely that we can coordinate the submission of all proposals at the same time, so one week is intended to allow for flexibility in the submission of each proposal. However, it is intended that all proposals will be known prior to the beginning of the week, so that NNS participants can evaluate each one prior to voting on the first proposal.
  4. Why aren’t you submitting all the proposals? We would like other leaders to submit their ideas to discussion and as proposals in order to ensure the proposal matches its intent and to provide an opportunity for a diversity in voices. It’s possible that Wenzel and I will submit another proposal (in addition to the proposal identified above) if no leader steps up to represent an idea we feel strongly in favor of.
  5. What if I don’t know how to submit a proposal? Wenzel has offered to submit a proposal on behalf of any proposal leader, if needed. However, it is the responsibility of the proposal leader to provide the title and copy of the proposal.
  6. What happens if a new proposal emerges during the week voting period? There’s nothing stopping anyone from submitting proposals before, during or after the week voting period. Our objective of this process is to provide advanced knowledge of every proposal to NNS voters so that they can be judged relative to each other. If additional proposals are made outside of this process then it is up to each NNS voter to determine how he/she wants to evaluate them.

There are non-actionable governance proposals that have significant value to the community. For example, the fact that one can warn about the implications of tax treatment (& risks) associated with the new way of compounding maturity. Why should such governance proposals cost more?

Ultimately the purpose of increasing the weightage of governance proposals was to increase community participation. If everyone votes in governance proposals, then i suppose we would not be having this discussion. Why then are we trying to solve for an issue for disinterested parties? If they don’t vote on governance proposals, well we cannot make them vote. Why make everyone suffer for inaction of disinterested parties?


Thank you for putting this together @wpb @Kyle_Langham.

I’d like to propose an option not mentioned above. In short I propose adding the option to manually abstain from governance proposals, proposals resulting in a manual abstain would have significantly reduced rewards (equal to that of non-governance proposals). This would allow non-actionable proposals to maintain a place in the governance system and increase the difficulty to abuse the system for monetary gain.

There is a lot to unpack with this option, I will draft up a proposal and share under a new forum topic asap.

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@justmythoughts @ysyms @superduper @LightningLad91

I think each of you may have identified potential proposal topics that could be included in this effort. Do any of you want to shape them into an actionable proposal that can be deliberated by the community and submitted to the NNS?

If nobody else picks it up, then I will be submitting a proposal for increasing the proposal rejection cost.

@wpb @Kyle_Langham

Thanks for accelerating and pushing forward the discussion on reforming NNS proposals (to combat spam/improve the quality of NNS proposals).

Regarding the last two items of the proposed timeline:

It might make if these are flipped. Ideally, the community shouldn’t be voting on proposals that DFINITY themselves have declared infeasible, or have raised major red flags about. I would give at the very minimum a 2-week period for the foundation to comment back-and-forth with the proposal discussion leads, and the community in each of the proposed solutions. As you said, we don’t want to rush into a vote without understanding all of the tradeoffs, and potential unintended consequences.

Also, if we have 3-5 proposals all being discussed, this 2-week period might be a bit too quick to get the entire community involved and fully digest all of the proposals, especially for a such an important change to the NNS that will hopefully last years. Why the rush, and why not extend the deliberation/feedback period to 1-2 months?


The foundation has been surprisingly quiet on the forums regarding these proposals and discussions. Between both proposals mentioned in the original post by Kyle (with links) and over 100 responses, only 2 of these responses have been from foundation members thus far.

I don’t know if this is by design (to obstain from influencing the discussion and get the community involved first), but I for one would like to hear more feedback from the foundation regarding the current discussions/proposals, as well as what some of the ideas inside the foundation are for improving the NNS proposals system, as well as how the Q2 spam control roadmap item will play out.

Not sure if this is too much to ask, but it would be very helpful if someone from the foundation could look into designating a few DFINITY/NNS team members to put aside a small, but certain portion of their time during this period of potential changes to the NNS proposal system, in order to ensure that both the perspective of the foundation and the NNS team is heard with respect to each of the proposals that are introduced.

This input from the foundation is extremely important to me, and I don’t want to be voting on or putting forth a proposal to change the NNS without having that proposal be vetted by as many eyes as possible.


@wpb i would be happy to submit the proposal if you can provide me with a link to the document explaining how to do so.

One question; is the expectation that our proposals will be deliberated through the 18th or are you proposing we actually submitted them ASAP and have folks vote through the 18th?

Different topic:

Are you and @Kyle_Langham planning to submit your original proposal as-is or do you expect to make any adjustments based on the open discussion from your forum topic?

Thanks for all the effort.

The best resource for learning how to submit a proposal is this IC wiki:

You also need to see this DFX release note:

The wiki contains some suggestions on best practices for what to include in your proposal.

Regarding timeline…
Try to submit your proposal for deliberation on the forum between now and Apr 18. The goal is to submit the group proposals to the NNS on April 18 through Apr 25. The dates may change. The idea is to coordinate efforts within reason.

Kyle and I will make a few changes to our proposal and will post the revision early this week.

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Thanks Wenzel. I’ll try to get to work on it tomorrow.

Thanks for the topic, @wpb @Kyle_Langham.

I would like to put forward an idea. In the theme of biomimetics, I propose a type of spam detector that works by inhibiting governance proposals when certain conditions are met. I am still drafting it, but my thinking is something like this:

  1. Spam proposals should not be considered a normal part of any governance system.
  2. Reviewing all proposals burdens the network and can facilitate bias or surveillance.
  3. Biological neural networks do not monitor themselves, but instead rely on homeostasis to adapt to changing conditions or events, often using inhibitory processes [1].
  4. There should be a separate, parallel system that inhibits governance proposals, activated by reports of spam, that works to channel proposals away from public view and/or into a review process.
  5. This system of governance inhibition requires no changes to the existing governance system, is responsive down to a single neuron, and can be later adapted to defend against other types of attack.

I will make a new topic for this once it is ready and can do this by the 18th. I agree with @justmythoughts about a longer deliberation period and doing a sanity check with DFINTY before submitting the proposals. This is particularly true of this idea, as one clear disadvantage is the initial effort needed to get it running and it would be nice to know if this is a showstopper ahead of time.

[1] Balancing Act in the Brain: Excitatory and Inhibitory Activity – Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience


Awesome, thanks for your leadership Steve!

Thanks for your feedback!

Regarding timeline, I would be open to extending the 18APR-25APR proposal deliberation timeline if it will either (a) provide needed time for deliberation on new ideas or (b) if DFINITY expresses a desire to comment on some or all of the ideas prior to the voting period and has requested time to do so.

The one week deliberation time was chosen with the assumption that most ideas have already been deliberated the prior week, however there’s certainly no rush and I would hate to limit the deliberation of any idea that needs more time. I don’t want to extend it by months (unless there is a good reason to do so like point b above) because I don’t think that timeline will produce more value-add deliberation and I don’t want this topic to get stale. Certainly extending by a week or two is feasible.

I agree that it would be advantageous for DFINITY to comment prior to the voting period. I don’t want to force DFINITY to comment, particularly if they don’t want to sway the community’s deliberation or don’t want to invest the human resources on feasibility studies. I think it’s wise to move forward with the assumption that DFINITY won’t comment prior to the voting period, but also be flexible with our process in the event that DFINITY does comment.


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Simple anti-spam proposal:

  1. Allow NNS neurons to be configured with a ‘whitelist’ of neuron IDs that they will consider proposals from.
    a) The user should be able to turn on the option to automatically reject all proposals from non whitelisted neurons.
    b) This list should have sensible defaults. e.g. Dfinity foundation, Internet computer association, all named follow neurons in the app, neurons corresponding to working groups.
    c) The user should be able to edit the list to add new neurons to the list or delete spammy neurons from the list.
    d) The user should be able to edit the list for all the neurons they control in a single operation.
    e) Where the neuron follows another neuron for a given topic these liquid democracy based follow relationships should override any auto-rejection. That is if you follow cycleDAO and cycleDAO votes approve on a proposal from a non whitelisted node your neurons still vote approve even though you have selected automatically reject.

Possible objection 1: Excluding proposals from unknown parties could increase governance centralisation.

In most circumstances proposers of credible proposals are likely to be known or able to convince some known party to submit a proposal on their behalf, even where it is important for a proposer to be anonymous they will still be able to advertise the neuron offline and ask to be added to the whitelist.

It is true that a new proposer without any reputation will have to run two campaigns (1) to be added to whitelists (2) for the proposal to be approved. This will therefore encourage the formation of secondary chambers and working groups.

That is instead of a new person just submitting a proposal directly to the NNS they will be more likely to be successful if they ask some well known organisation or DAO to submit on their behalf. We can therefore expect community organisations to develop some kind of process for vetting proposals prior to submitting them. This IMHO would be a good thing that actually encourages the development of multiple deliberative governance processes similar to having multiple EIP type channels.

Possible objection 2: Makes it too easy to auto reject everything.

It would remain easier to just follow another neuron delegating decision making to them so this is unlikely to be a problem in practice. Besides the choice of auto rejecting everything is still a legitimate one, and one that cannot be prevented.

I’m not the most knowledgeable member here on this matter, so I would like to ask:

If the weighting of governance proposals are decreased, would that have any affect of distributed rewards, or will it be leveled based on other proposal topics?

@willguest @Hashimoto

You may want to start another forum Governance topic focused on your individual proposal. That would make it easier to keep conversations about your proposal focused instead of getting lost in comments about other proposals in this thread.


I just posted my concept for a Proposal reviews system. I can post the whole thing here but I also posted a thread in the forum for discussion.

Let me know what you think.


Why is it wise to move forward to vote on a proposal without any feedback or comment from DFINITY? I’m not saying that no votes should ever happen without DFINITY, but I’d definitely prefer to at least have the foundation give a once over of each of these proposals before they hit the NNS.

Unless DFINITY comes out and explicitly says they won’t be commenting for reason x, I think we should be cautious about any proposal that hits the NNS after ~1 week of visibility without DFINITY’s feedback.

For example, your Neuron Indexing proposal got feedback from several DFINITY employees (both positive & negative criticism), but the proposal itself went through the ringer and we can assume that most of the important arguments were laid out in the topic for everyone to see - that’s why I personally felt confident in voting for it.

Hi @justmythoughts,

Sorry, I should have chosen my words more carefully. I don’t think it’s wise to move forward without any feedback from DFINITY, but I do think its wise to plan to move forward regardless of whether DFINITY provides feedback. Basically, I don’t want to get into a situation where (a) the NNS is held up waiting on feedback that never comes or (b) forcing DFINITY to put resources into providing feedback on a topic that they may not want to. To sum it up - I would much prefer DFINITY provide feedback (as you do) but I also want to be prepared for a situation where they don’t provide feedback prior to NNS voting.

Regarding the 1 week timeframe, keep in mind that many of the topics have been discussed for the previous week and a half. For topics that are still being discussed, I’d be happy to extend the timeline to ensure that all topics are well deliberated and the NNS community feels they have enough information to make an informed choice.

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As of this time (15APR22, 0833 EST), here are the proposal that have been made and deliberated. Please let me know if I have left any actionable proposals off this list.

Double Blind Proposal Review System led by @MrPink13

Increase Proposal Rejection Cost led by @LightningLad91

Countering proposal spam by allowing auto-filtering proposals by neuron ID led by @Hashimoto

Periodic Confirmation of Neuron Followees led by @wpb and @Kyle_Langham

A governance inhibition system for dealing with spam proposals led by @willguest

Again, please let me know if I’ve left off any actionable proposals. I’ll continue to edit this post to ensure this list is accurate.

Proposal Leaders - please let me know if you think your topic needs more deliberation than the 18APR timeline. I want to ensure we have full dialogue before taking all of these proposals to the NNS for vote.


The proposal made by @MrPink13 needs more deliberation. No one considered my answer, except @MrPink13 himself… The problems that I underlined are still unsolved. If there is not such problems, thank to people to enlighten me by explaining it to me the solution, because I did not find the solution yet, and I did not see any answer either about this there.

In its current state, I don’t see why the randomly assigned neurons to filter N-A proposals, with a lot of ICP, would filter these proposals. For them, let pass a spam would be more rewarding than filtering it. Why would we assume that the filterer would not have a similar spirit to the spammer’s. It is a problem of regressus ad infinitum here.

So, incentivize the filterers neurons to act genuinely stays an entire problem for the moment. We can’t delay the same problem to an upper layer. So let us find the missing point : incentivize a genuine behavior of the upper layer. Plus, a spammer could become the filterer of another proposal eventually, so the problem can’t be avoided.

I have a solution by the way @MrPink13, but I would love hear others’ firstly. See you there : Using Randomly Assigned Neurons to Filter for Non-Actionable Proposals

How to resolve non-actionable/non-deliberated (also known as spam) proposals? I have a simple idea: 1. The voting rewards of governance proposals should not be different from other types of proposals; 2. If your proposal is adopted, then you should be rewarded with 1 ICP; 3. If your proposal is rejected, then, in addition to the loss of 1 ICP (or more?), then you should be forbidden from submitting a new proposal for a month, and if too many proposals (maybe 3?) are rejected continuously, then perhaps you should be forbidden from submitting any new proposals for a year (or forever?); 4. (Optional) Only 8 year gang can submit a proposal? (Note: No one can give a precise definition of spam, and the IC community should support free speech absolutely.)