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.
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:
Increase the cost of submitting a proposal to the NNS
- 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.
- 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.
Weight all proposals equally
- Pros: This would be a reversal of the new proposal weights policy back to the old policy. The implementation may be relatively easy.
- 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.
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
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.
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.
Nullify any proposal that doesn’t meet a 3% “yes” vote threshold.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Add an Ignore button to the voting options
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
No security concerns have been identified at this time.
Review comments, ask questions, provide actionable feedback
Vote accept or reject on NNS Motion