Proposals to Increase Voting Participation on Governance Topics

Introduction

The average number of votes cast on governance proposals is 21M, which represents approx 5% of total voting power today. This is a surprisingly low voter turnout. ICP is a governance token. It does not exist for passive investment. Fortunately, the ICP tokenomics are designed to incentivize participation in governance. If you vote, then you get voting rewards. If you do not vote, then you do not get voting rewards. Voting rewards are distributed proportional to the voting power of all the neurons that cast votes. The key to success in maximizing voting rewards is to vote on all proposals.

A proposal (34485) was passed on December 14, 2021 as a motion proposal that suggested two fundamental changes: a) disable default following for proposals on the governance topic and b) weigh the voting rewards based on the topic (Exchange Rate: 0.01; Governance: 20; Other: 1). When this proposal finally gets implemented, there will be a meaningful difference in voting rewards between neurons that vote on governance topics and neurons that do not vote on governance topics. Every neuron owner that wants to maximize voting rewards will want to actively participate in governance. Higher participation rates on Governance topics should help ensure decentralized decisions that are in the long term best interest of the internet computer.

There are two ways to ensure that your neuron is maximizing voting rewards: 1) manually vote on each proposal or 2) manually configure your neuron with a Followee for the Governance topic that you trust to always vote according to your best interests. Make sure you follow a neuron you trust to vote and make sure you configure your neuron correctly.

Proposal Strategy

A series of Governance proposals that are intended to advertise all the community neurons, educate the IC governing body on the power of liquid democracy, and educate the IC governing body on how to configure Followees will be submitted to the NNS daily for approximately 30 days. These proposals are intended to use the voting reward system to motivate and increase governance participation. A consequence of this campaign will be a meaningful increase in voting rewards to neuron owners that manually vote or actively follow other neurons that vote and a meaningful decrease in voting rewards to neuron owners that do not vote or follow neurons that abstain.

Implementation of proposal 34485 as well as this proposal campaign should stir up discussion about how ICP tokenomics are designed to incentivize active governance participation and how the tokenomics can and should evolve to meet the needs of the IC ecosystem. It should not take long before people start noticing that their voting rewards have changed significantly each day and they will start asking questions on social media and the forum. Active IC community members will be aware of what is going on and can point them to the NNS dApp to learn more about each topic, configure their Followees, and vote manually. Ideally this program will result in a lot more people configuring Followees for the Governance topic. Hopefully, it also inspires more organizations to set up their own neurons and offer them as reliable Followees to the IC community.

The goal is for these proposals to result in significant changes in participation rates in NNS voting, but they are not proposals for changes to the IC code. It makes no difference if the proposals pass or fail (although I do hope they pass) because those results will not change the objective of the campaign and anyone is free to submit any proposal any time. It is possible that all 30 proposals will result in loss of 1 ICP each if the proposals do not pass, but it is also possible that they start passing as more people configure their neurons to follow community neurons that vote. A measure of success for this program is to see an increase in total votes cast for each proposal as each is executed over time. A stretch goal is to see over 50% voter participation in each proposal by the end of the campaign.

Three of these daily proposals are live at the time of this writing. All known community neurons have already voted, so you will need to vote manually if you don’t have a Followee configured for the Governance topic.

The Plan

The plan is to submit 1 governance proposal per day, but only if there were no other governance proposals already submitted that day. Hence, these proposals will not be submitted until approx 11:00 PM UTC most days. Potential topics that will be covered in this campaign are listed below. The Summary of the proposal would be a simple 1 - 3 paragraph explanation of each topic and would include links to additional educational material regarding each topic.

Proposal Topic Examples (these topics are subject to change)

  1. The strategy and purpose of this new education program regarding governance participation
  2. The new weighting system for proposal topics
  3. Governance resources: IC Wiki, The Forum, Dashboard, ICP Maximalist Network, Internet Computer Weekly
  4. Current known community neurons and an invitation to become a community neuron
  5. Why it makes sense for Dfinity and ICA to abstain from Governance proposals
  6. How liquid democracy works
  7. How to set Followees for the Governance topic
  8. The first results of voting participation in this education program
  9. Do the whales really control NNS decisions or is it liquid democracy?
  10. What proposal topics and types can push code?
  11. How the NNS decides how a neuron votes if 1 Followee is configured; All Topics and Governance Topics
  12. The purpose of voting rewards…to incentivize governance participation
  13. Update on known community neurons
  14. How the NNS decides how a neuron votes if 2 Followees are configured
  15. Why it makes sense for Dfinity and ICA to vote on Governance proposals
  16. How a neuron becomes a named Followee in the NNS dApp
  17. How the NNS decides how a neuron votes if 15 Followees are configured
  18. Why it’s important for organizations to create neurons that can become named Followees in the NNS dApp
  19. Midway results of voting participation in this education program
  20. Another update on known community neurons
  21. Current voting power of DF and ICA
  22. Suggestions for best practices for how organizations can configure their Followee neuron
  23. Current options for how a named Followee neuron can be created and managed
  24. How the NNS decides how a neuron votes if 3 Followees are configured
  25. How the NNS decides how a neuron votes if 4 Followees are configured
  26. Current histogram of voting power by dissolve delay
  27. How the NNS decides how a neuron votes if 10 Followees are configured
  28. Best practices for submitting and advocating NNS proposals by the IC community
  29. How the NNS decides how a neuron votes if 5 Followees are configured
  30. Final update on known community neurons
  31. Final results of voting participation in this education program…did it work

Important Disclaimer

Please note that I advocate for having many options for Followees in the IC community. This campaign will have a strong tone of encouraging new organizations to create Followee neurons. Personally, I think it would be a bad situation to see the named Followee list in the NNS dApp have only a couple of options that gain a lot of voting power. I want to inspire much more decentralized governance participation. Hence, this education campaign is not an advertisement for people to follow any specific neuron.

In my opinion, community neurons should also offer transparency regarding who is voting, how they vote, how their neuron is managed, and how much voting power they have through liquid democracy. None of this is required, but these are the things I would be looking for as a community member who is trying to decide who to follow.

For anyone who wants their community neuron to be included in this proposals campaign, please send me a DM here on the forum, on Twitter @BartlettWenzel, or on DSCVR, Distrikt, or OpenChat @wpb. Also feel free to simply post your information in a comment here on this forum topic.

IC Governance Website

I also believe there is a need to develop a website that is focused on IC governance in a way that makes it easy for the community to participate in governance as well as monitor governance participation rates and tokenomic incentive effectiveness. I see it as critical infrastructure for the IC. Please reach out to me if you are interested in assisting with this project. There will be an advisory board to ensure that the website is built with features that the community believes are important, but it will start as an MVP. It will also be necessary to find UI/UX, Front End, and Back End developers to build this website.

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To be clear, proposal 34485 has not been implemented yet. Meaningful changes in voting rewards will not occur until that proposal is implemented.

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What I’m about to say is not intended to characterize what you’re doing as spam. You seem to acknowledge in one of the proposals that they may be perceived as such, and to some extent I agree, but I’m not trying to make that argument here. The system allows you to do this.

I think this is probably at least worth a conversation (if not a full analysis) of how the penalty for submitting a spam proposal is far outweighed by the ICP minted in voting rewards.

I believe this could create incentives for spam proposals to be submitted as they would always result in a net positive for voters.

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Somewhat unrelated, but I think a great way to increase voting participation is simply sending an email to the neuron holder whenever a governance proposal is submitted. That would put proposals directly on people’s radar without having to remember to check the forum, the NNS dapp, Twitter, etc.

It should be opt-in.

The main blocker for this right now (I think) is the inability for a canister to make outgoing requests, like sending an email…

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Agreed. That is a feature that I really want to build into the website that I mentioned at the end of the OP above. It would be nice to have opt-in push notification options via email, text, and/or various other forms of social media.

The two options that I’m aware of right now are:

  1. NNS Proposals bot that Christian Miller has developed for Telegram
    a) DM to @NNSProposalsBot and then send message “/governance_only”
  2. NNS Proposals bot that Jordon Last developed for OpenChat
    a) https://twitter.com/lastmjs/status/1487126882017497090?s=20&t=D6AkDEu8X1scEhlwBwQW7A

Both bots push notifications to whoever sets them up.

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There is something I would like to know about voting and having multiple following neurons. According to @jwiegley and if I understood right, if the I follow 3 neurons like Dfinity, Foundation and ICPmax, and Dfinity + Foundation do not vote, I will not cast any vote even if ICPmax vote because more then 50% of my following are not voting. Is this correct?

Does ICPmax vote on everything or only on governance?

Haven’t found any clear explanations yet.
I am waiting for these clarification to reconfigure my neurons accordingly.

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I plan to offer this clarification in some upcoming proposals. Since you asked, I will also clarify here in advance.

When you set Followees in any category, your neuron votes according to the rules of Absolute Majority. This means your neuron will vote Yes on a proposal when greater than 50% of your Followees vote Yes and it will vote No when greater than or equal to 50% of your Followees vote No. This is really important to understand. If neither condition is met, then your neuron will Abstain. The example below is intended to highlight the point.

For 4 Followees:
If 3 or 4 Followees vote Yes then your neuron will vote Yes
If 2, 3, or 4 Followees vote No then your neuron will vote No
If 2 Followees vote Yes and 1 Followee votes No, then your neuron will Abstain

The All Topics category is a catch all that will cover any category where you have not specified a Followee. If you have specified Followees for a given topic such as Governance, then they will decide your neurons vote for that category and the Followee designation you have for All Topics is not relevant to that topic.

It is important to note that Dfinity Foundation and Internet Computer Association have made the commitment to Abstain from voting on Governance motion proposals. Their record has reflected that policy since Nov 8, 2021 when Simple Majority was implemented. In fact, this policy has really been in place since genesis. Prior to Nov 8, they only voted because it was required to achieve Absolute Majority, which was the only voting mechanism in place at the time. Their policy was to let the community vote and then they would cast their vote with the majority in the final hour so that Absolute Majority could be realized. Long story short, DF and ICA will not be a reliable Followee for the Governance topic.

To your second question…the ICP Maximalist Network neuron is configured with Dfinity Foundation for All Topics and is configured with 14 Followees for the Governance Topic. Here is a list of the Followees that were elected to vote on the Governance topic for the ICP Maximalist Network neuron. All voting members have made the commitment that the ICP Maximalist Network neuron will always cast a vote to Adopt or Reject every proposal with zero Abstain results. The NNS dApp is used to cast individual votes by the voting members

cycledao.xyx and ICDevs.org have made similar commitments. I’m sure that @Arthur and @skilesare would be willing to provide further clarification.

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I was already following ICP maximalist network on all topics. So basically I can remove all others and I will vote on 100% of the proposal, right?

@wpb Thanks for all your hard work and commitment. Very impressive by the way.

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Thank you.

Yes, I do think that the ICP Maximalist Network neuron has you covered simply because the ICPMN neuron is configured to follow Dfinity Foundation for All Topics. I don’t want to go so far as to advise people to follow ICPMN for All Topics, but if you do it should still guarantee that you vote according the the DF vote. The only exception will be if the ICPMN voting members feel it is important to vote manually on a non-Governance topic. That will happen some day as the IC evolves toward further decentralization, but I don’t see that happening in the near future.

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The only thing to note about your scenario is that it matters whether you follow all three specifically for that topic, or only ICPmax for only the governance topic.

  • If you follow the Foundation and ICA for “All Topics”, and ICPmax for just “Governance”, then you will vote for everything, since only ICPmax will be considered for votes on Governance.

  • If you follow all three under the “Governance” topic, then yes, at least 2 have to vote yes or no for you to vote.

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Thank you John. This is such an important clarification. I had no clue that if you choose one for Governance, it would ignore all neurons configured in ALL TOPICS as far as governance proposals. This is a huge difference. Not I get it clear

I know it is done in Quill but may I ask if the MERGE NEURON button soon to appear in the NSS front end?

Thanks again.

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ICDevs is currently a bit ad-hoc but we will be moving to a DAO-based voting system for casting our vote on governance topics. Our intent is to vote on items that have some effect on developers and the developer ecosystem. When not voting we currently follow Cycle_dao and ICPMN so we should still vote for all items. Members of our developer advisory committee will eventually be able to add new follow neurons to this as well. I’m working on a page on at icdevs.org to lay this information out more clearly.

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I really like this. It’s a great catalyst for the conversation about the importance of voting and following.

Regarding the commitment to always vote. Yes. We will never abstain.

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Based on these changes, the UI of the NNS should definitely be updated.

For reference - current state of the NNS follow UI. This UI misrepresents what is required of a more passive voter, or one that has not kept up with the latest voting changes on this forum/twitter as it implies that choosing any of the default follower options on All Topics (i.e. Internet Computer Association) will apply to governance proposals.



Below is my opinion of some minimal improvements that would help to fix this issue, leading new users to choose governance followees (and non miss out on voting/rewards out of confusion).

Changes:

  • Under each of the topics, the voting reward weight for being a participant should be listed (so the user can see that governance voting rewards > exchange rate, etc.)

  • "All Topics"All Non-Governance Topics". Update the description accordingly

  • There should be a toggle dropdown next to the “All Non-Governance Topics” option that upon clicked expand to each of the topics within it that can be configured individually

  • "Governance" should be then listed at the same top level from *All Non-Governance Topics" (2 top level topics, with the “All Non-Governance Topics” having a “>” for dropdown into the second level of topics).

As an add on to this, I would recommend having links to official voting documentation that is up to date and has guides on setting up, policies, etc. - vs. having to search elsewhere.

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recently I try to read those proposals and click on the hyperlinks of them, none of them are working.
A link is a link it shouldn’t need a marking for it to work, otherwise how could it be voted on? although I couldn’t understand most of them, but at least I try to study it.

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You are right that links are not working for the proposal in the NNS dApp. It would be helpful if they would work.

In the meantime, here is a link to the dashboard where the links do work. This link is configured to filter all proposals by Governance so you will always see the latest Governance proposals.

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If we are requesting UI changes, I’d love it if the Neuron Management topic could be added back with a proper description of what it does.

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I think your suggestions would make a good governance proposal. Do you want to create a new forum topic under the Governance category in order to start deliberation? I would be happy to submit it as an NNS proposal for you if needed after you feel it is ready, but you can also submit it yourself.

I agree with bullet 1. I think bullet 2 has already been implemented. It seems bullet 3 and 4 are part of the same change, which I agree with as well. Regarding the last paragraph…I don’t understand. It might need further clarification.

Let me know how I can help you your proposal.

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Does anyone know how I can vote differently than how my followee neuron voted on a particular proposal?

I just see a thumbs-up next to my following neurons but no option to override or manually cast my own vote.

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It is not currently possible to change your vote after your Followee has voted, but proposal 38985, which passed in mid January, aimed to address this issue. Dfinity Foundation (@lara) has indicated that the feature may be available some time in 2Q 2022. If you want to vote manually today, you must do it before your Followee(s) votes.

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