Reset Followees for the "All Topics Except Governance" Category

1. Objective

This forum topic and associated proposal is intended to start a conversation. It is presented as a formal proposal topic in order to stimulate thought about specific actions that can be taken to improve decentralization and increase voter participation in governance. All details of this proposal will be subject to community and Dfinity feedback during deliberation.

Proposal: Reset Followees for the All Topics Except Governance “catch all” category for all neurons.

Explanation: This action will ensure that all governance participants have made intentional decisions about their Followees. All neurons were configured by default to follow ICA (neuron 28) for All Topics when the neuron was created. In many cases, this was not a conscious choice by the neuron owners. It has resulted in many neurons that are not casting votes on Governance motion proposals. Those neurons are being rewarded for a default passive participation strategy even though the tokenomics design is intended to incentivize active participation. Removing the Followee designations for All Topics Except Governance for all neurons will cause the neurons to stop voting until they are reconfigured. Neurons do not earn voting rewards unless they vote.

2. Background

A series of daily governance proposals was submitted to the NNS in February 2022 with the objective of educating the IC community regarding NNS voting and motivating users to increase total vote participation on governance proposals. The campaign took advantage of the proposal weight changes described in proposal 34485 that were implemented in mid February. Generally speaking, these proposals were not actionable even though they had a clear objective that improved decentralized governance of the NNS. The final proposal that was submitted was a request to stop the daily governance proposal campaign. That final proposal passed with an overwhelming majority and serves as a signal that the IC community no longer feels it was necessary to run a daily governance proposal campaign.

However, a new series of daily governance proposals has been started by @ysyms. His stated objectives are to increase participation in motion proposals and to increase daily returns of neurons participating in motion proposals. His campaign is expected to last 7 days and 2 motion proposals will be submitted each day. None of the proposals are being deliberated on the forum and they are difficult to justify as actionable motion proposals. The primary objective seems to be to submit something for the purpose of increasing voting rewards for people who are voting on governance topics.

It is likely that this pattern will continue by @ysyms or by someone else. People who vote earn higher than normal voting rewards when governance proposals are submitted because governance proposals have a high weight factor (20) and exchange rate proposals have a low weight factor (0.01) and because Governance topics are no longer linked to the catch all Followee selection of All Topics. There is a large fraction of neurons that are staked in the NNS that do not vote on governance proposals because they have not configured their neurons to follow someone on the Governance topic. Hence, these daily proposals targeted at increasing voting rewards for neurons that vote will achieve those increases because others neurons have a decrease in voting rewards when they don’t vote. This only happens on days where governance proposals are executed, which is why it is attractive to frequently submit proposals that are low effort and not deliberated by the community. This activity will likely continue unless something changes so this it is no longer desirable.

Two ideas emerge immediately that could easily be considered as a solution, but both have significant drawbacks:

  1. Increase the cost of submitting a proposal to the NNS

    1. Pros: This would make it more expensive to submit a proposal, so most people will be more judicious about what types of proposals they submit. The implementation of this idea is very easy.
    2. Cons: This action is not a deterrent to the whales who have the most to gain from governance proposals. Putting up this kind of barrier to smaller investors is a move away from decentralization. It will also discourage people from taking a chance on a proposal that they are not confident will pass. It is easy for a vocal minority on the forum to have significant influence before a proposal is submitted, but many proposals may need to be submitted in order to learn the opinion of the voting majority. A high proposal price may discourage someone from submitting the proposal based on feedback from the vocal minority.
  2. Weight all proposals equally

    1. Pros: This would be a reversal of the new proposal weights policy back to the old policy. The implementation may be relatively easy.
    2. Cons: There are 144 Exchange Rate proposals every day. Hence, with equal proposal weights, nobody will be incentivized to participate in governance topics. It is possible to miss voting on all governance proposals and not notice any difference in voting rewards. This leads to completely passive investing. It also removes all incentives that improve decentralization by following neurons other than Dfinity or ICA.

As a community, we can do better than these options. This proposal needs to be scoped to move toward decentralization and continue to incentivize governance participation. Removing all default following eliminates all desire to submit low effort governance proposals because there would be no default rewards for passive participants. All voting rewards would go to people who vote manually or who intentionally configure their neurons with Followees. This action is also likely to increase overall voting participation on Governance proposal topics because people who start seeing zero voting rewards will be inclined to educate themselves and configure their neuron with Followees. ICP is a governance token and the tokenomics are designed to incentivize participation. Staking is not intended to be just a source of yield farming. We should expect that anyone who stakes must remain sufficiently active to know how to participate in governance.

3. Pros

Reduce the probability that someone will produce low effort proposals.

Increase decentralization by increasing total percentage of votes that are cast on governance proposals.

Increase active participation in governance

4. Cons

This proposal would take time for Dfinity to place on their roadmap and implement, but it does provide time to communicate the change effectively to the IC community.

Over half of the voting power in the NNS is not currently voting on governance proposals, which implies there are likely a lot of neuron owners who will stop receiving voting rewards. There could be a lot of people who get upset with this change. The community response to this concern can be provided in simple terms: 1) staking entitles neuron owners to vote, 2) voting entitles neuron owners to voting rewards, 3) voting can occur manually or by liquid democracy through Followee designation, 4) all neuron owners are personally responsible for making sure their neuron is voting if they want voting rewards. Basically, all neuron owners are empowered to configure their neurons so they can earn voting rewards.

5. Alternatives Considered

Several other ideas have surfaced that may be reasonable to consider. Perhaps they should be implemented in addition to the idea presented in the objective section of this proposal.

  1. Nullify any proposal that doesn’t meet a 3% “yes” vote threshold.

    1. Clarification: This means treat the proposal as if it did not exist. The results don’t count and the proposal does not count toward any voting awards. The proposal cost would not be refunded.
    2. The effectiveness of this idea may depend on the threshold that is required. The most logical threshold is 3% since that is the threshold defined for Simple Majority.
    3. A counterpoint to this idea is that people who only care about voting rewards may tend to vote yes to ensure the threshold is met.
  2. Add an Ignore button to the voting options

    1. Clarification: This button could be called Ignore, Spam, Not Relevant, etc. The purpose of the button would be to enable people to indicate that the proposal is not suitable for NNS governance. If a certain threshold of voting power votes to Ignore the proposal, then the proposal is nullified and it does not count toward voting rewards. The proposal cost would not be refunded.
    2. The effectiveness of this idea depends on the threshold, which is most likely to be a low percentage, but perhaps it could be a high percentage.
    3. The counterpoint to this idea is that a small number of neurons that carry a lot of voting power could nullify a proposal if it is not trending in their favor. Another counterpoint if the threshold percentage is high is that people would not be inclined to select this option since it will result in lower voting rewards.

These ideas are interesting, but not perfect. They are presented to stimulate thought in case someone can identify a tweak that makes them more suitable.

6. Key milestones

This proposal will be deliberated for at least 1 week. When the comments on this topic become quiet, a revised proposal will be developed. The revised proposal may be submitted in this topic if the topic is not too long and complicated. Otherwise, a new proposal topic will be created on the forum. That revised proposal is expected to be deliberated for 1 week before submitting to the NNS for voting.

7. Discussion leads

Wenzel Bartlett (@wpb), Kyle Langham (@Kyle_Langham), and other voting members of the ICP Maximalist Network neuron will lead the discussion, revise the proposal according to community feedback, and submit the proposal to the NNS.

8. Security concerns

No security concerns have been identified at this time.

9. What we are asking the community

  • Review comments, ask questions, provide actionable feedback

  • Vote accept or reject on NNS Motion


Thank you for your incredible methodology Wenzel, I hope everybody will praise such a rigor now we have seen another proposer’s manner of proposing.


Why are we so comfortable with the idea of manipulating other people’s neurons? I can’t believe that the preferred approach is to repeat the same approach as last time.

It seems like what you’re suggesting is that instead of increasing the cost to submit a proposal, or decreasing the weighting. You want to artificially level the playing field by undoing everyone’s follower setting on all topics. Knowing full well that most VP will be left unconfigured.

I will not vote in favor of manipulating other people’s assets again.

Edit: oddly enough, the one thing this proposal will ensure is that all these “active voters” will get even more rewards. Very convenient.


Only my opinion, not a suggestion.

As Wenzel say, this is a governance token, not a passive staking token. Then…

1 vote per principal ID to remove the whale and Dfinity control
No following possible on governance
Check Box at each proposal: I have read and understand the proposal

What is the use for hundreds of millions of voting power if they only follow and have no clue of what is going on. Even worst with the new automatic compounding to come soon. This is not governance… this is passive staking.
And this is something I will do, soon as the new update comes live.
Adios everyone, read all proposals, vote for me and get me rich please… I trust you will do a great job.

Sorry for the tone.


Fast forward to 2024 the ETH Zurich has started it’s first doctoral program on “how to maximize voting rewards on the IC”, people that joined the “8 year gang” with the promise of “passive income” now have to spend 2 hours a day reading through proposals to make an “informed decision”. better don’t go on holidays because could be you come back and find out all rules have been changed retrospectively and your staking returns have vanished.
Why not just overcomplicate everything to the point only full-time IC governance experts get any rewards at all? I have been watching this whole changing of rules the last few months and really wonder how all of this is supposed to make people stake their ICP at all. If you constantly keep changing the reward mechanism the last thing you’ll earn is trust. just my 2c


To re-iterate the first line: “This forum topic and associated proposal is intended to start a conversation”. The intent is to start a discussion, which is usually easier if there is a concrete idea to discuss.
Your comments and feedback are valuable and I appreciate your point of view. I’d be interested to hear if you have a preferred solution to the problem at hand, or if you believe there is even a problem to solve.


Would it be accurate to say that your preference would be no changes to the current model?

Sure thing. My suggestion is to use adjust the system’s configuration by either increasing the cost to submit proposals or reduce the governance weighting back to where it was originally.

For concrete numbers I recommend increasing proposal cost to 5 ICP, monitor the outcome and adjust further as needed

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It’s probably useful to have a thread within this thread that discusses the problem we are trying to solve. This would invite commentary on (a) whether others agree there is a problem to address and (b) the nuance of that problem.

From my point of view, the problems we should aim to solve are below. We should aim to solve these problems with a long term solution, regardless of the current 7-day proposal. I’m ordering these problems from non-controversial to controversial.
Problem 1: The NNS and proposal system should not be used for defaming or insulting people or organizations, including DFINITY employees.
Problem 2: The NNS and proposal system should not be used for personnel gain, including requesting donations.
Problem 3: The NNS design and function encourage (or require) a medium or high level of thought and consideration by its voting members on governance topics. As such, the NNS should not have an abundance of governance proposals, which dilutes its participants’ ability to understand and evaluate them.

Those are the problems as I see it, however I’d love it for other forum members to give their feedback on whether they believe there is a problem to address and, if so, what those problems are.


I think we need to consider both short term and long term.

Short term:

While I fully agree that increasing the reject fee does not fully solve the problem, I think it is a pragmatic approach that we can take literally today (it is a “NetworkEconomics” parameter in the governance canister, so we can have one proposal that just changes this parameter, I think we don’t even need an upgrade). Even if this doesn’t 100% solve this problem forever, it will reduce the problem now. And i think 1 ICP is just too cheap to force so many people to look at your spam. As a concrete example I would suggest increasing the reject fee to 5 ICP very soon, like in the next days. I think we should do this asap irrespective of which except “long term” solutions we take.

Long term:

I really like the idea of “Nullify any proposal that doesn’t meet a 3% “yes” vote threshold.” We can consider more variations of this. We could for example disable following for these “pre-proposals” that are collecting support to become a full proposal (and then likely lower the 3% barrier). That way, you need active support from active community members to create a proposal. The active voters are less likely to vote in favor of spam proposals because they are the ones that suffer from having to deal with this spam.

I acknowledge that this again does not remove the incentive for spam governance proposals, while the proposal of removing all default following likely does achieve that goal (since all proposals would then likely get equal voter participation). I am hesitant about this approach for two reasons:

  • i think it’s not nice to change the following rules again and surprise neuron holders
  • this may make it hard for all the other proposals to pass quickly. Right now all non-governance proposals pass quickly because essentially everybody follows the foundation. If we change this and every subnet upgrade proposal takes 4 days to take effect, things will be much slower.

I think starting to mess around with the rewards was a slippery slope from the beginning… If I lock thousands of dollars worth of tokens into a neuron under certain terms I’d actually expect the terms to stay the same. In the real world changing things like this would be challenged on legal grounds.

My main point is that confidence will be destroyed and by overly complicating things newcomers just wouldn’t want the hassle to join at all. People will just end up staking elsewhere e.g. Binance.

On the topic of governance token is not a passive income token, I think it’s unrealistic to expect every staker to always being willing and/or able to make an informed decision. That’s why there are Daos that we are able to follow if we trust them and are able to change if we feel like they don’t represent us in the way we would like to.

Imagine every citizen had to vote on every single bill put up for vote in congress/parliament. Not really feasible, is it? That’s why people came up with representative democracies in the first place…

edit: to come back on topic, increasing the cost on proposals should be a pretty straight forward approach to minimize the amount of spamming imo.


I don’t think this proposal is asking people to make informed decisions on every single proposal. It’s just asking people to make a bare minimum informed decision. Neurons that are configured by default are not making any informed decisions.

Good point about the voting period. Is there a reason why non governance proposals need a 4 day voting period? Should non governance proposals revert back to 24 hr voting period?

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I really like the idea of “pre-proposals”. They would be similar to popular initiatives in Switzerland (and likely other countries): anyone can propose an amendment to the constitution, but they will need some number of signatures in order for it to be put up for vote.

Initially I was thinking more along the lines of penalizing spam (by slashing some significant stake if the community decides a proposal is spammy), but this seems more constructive. And leads nicely into something like weekly voting for initiatives that collect the required number of signatures.


That is a good point, i guess the voting period could be set appropriately for each category.


I actually made the decision to follow dfinity on all topics, and was shocked to see that they stopped voting on governance, this together with changing rewards structure I was forced to follow another neuron of a group I had to research first. If I would have just left the neuron alone (like indended) I would have missed out considerably. Everyone I convinced to lock their neuron and just leave it for a few years will come back to me in anger. I personally can’t advice anybody to stake in the NNS as long the rewards system keeps getting changed.


Perhaps it’s just me. But this post identifies itself as a “Proposal” with a title of ‘Reset Followees for the “All Topics Except Governance” Category’.

My initial response was made under the impression that we had one week to deliberate on this specific proposal and that’s why I wanted to get my point across.

If this post is intended to be treated more like a topic for community consideration, that would eventually lead to a proposal, then might I suggest adjusting the title and getting rid of the 1 week deliberation period?

Maybe others don’t share this opinion but I tend to approach things differently depending on how they’re presented.


You can’t change the terms of the contract after you signed it.

The solution is to create a requirement for sponsorship of governance motion by democratically elected representative. This has been solved in real life.

The proposal as currently presented is a starting point. Deliberation will be open at least 1 week, but will be extended if the conversation is still active. A revised proposal will be submitted for further deliberation. I think that is how the proposal is presented already.

The things are simple and clear. Democracy is not anarchy. Democract needs leadership and mentors.

The vision belongs to Dfinity.

Proposals are meant to been constructive improvements of the current situation.

Anything else is considered to be rebellion or sabotage and must be ignored.

Only verified proposers should be allowed to set proposals.