How to increase voter turnout

A lively discussion took place on Telegram regarding voter turnout because a number of pending proposals, particularly whitelisting, are well below quorum at this time. I lurked in several community telegrams that are up for approval and learned that they worry whether we’ll reach quorum for their proposal. If we consistently fail to meet quorum, not only do we limit potential revenue opportunities, but also we may cause reputational damage that could be difficult to repair.

Therefore, increasing voter turnout would be in the protocol’s best interest.

Several ideas were tossed around on telegram, and a final thought I had was to create a Voter incentive program similar to the Trader incentives discussion. In short, the idea would be to reward vBNT holders that participate by staking AND voting on proposals.

Therefore, I propose that we gamify voting through the creation of a Bancor Voting Competition (or Governance Race, etc.) and:

  1. create egalitarian scoring system where one (1) point would be awarded to each wallet for each vote cast, regardless of the amount of vBNT voted, which would motivate wallets of any size to vote on all proposals;
  2. display a scoreboard of wallets that have earned the most points month to date, quarter to date, year to date, etc., which would create a competitive environment for voting;
  3. authorize a certain amount of $BNT as a voting reward to be distributed evenly to the wallet(s) with the highest score(s) for each chosen time interval (e.g. monthly, quarterly, etc.) whereby the winner(s) of the longest time frame would receive a greater allocation of $BNT than the winner(s) of shorter time frames, in essence we reward voting consistency and a commitment to the future of the protocol.

The goal is not to incentivize Yea or Nay votes, but to encourage people to vote, period.

The gamification of voting may spur interest from traders who decide to buy up BNT, to stake and receive vBNT in order to participate in the voting competition. Given that we want to attract new traders, this would be an unintended bonus. If traders do become vBNT holders it may open up the protocol to entirely new trader-centric proposals for its future development and further decentralize our governance.

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Thank you, sir.

There are some excellent ideas in here. As I am typing, I can see the conversation continuing on the Telegram group; clearly, voter responsibility is a topic worthy of further attention. I am interested to see how this thread develops. If we can keep it organized, I am certain that a fair and reasonable proposal can be constructed.

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A voting competition is very good idea, but I’m not sure that alone would attract voting.

However, a voting competition paired with a booting system would work for me, as it would incentivise voting while kicking out non-voters as they are damaging to the protocol, even if unwillingly.

As for the cleansing system, LPs that haven’t voted for longer than 1/2 months should have their vBNT removed from governance in my opinion.

Finally, a system to redelegate vBNT has been discussed by others over telegram and I’m very much in favour for it.

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As discussed on TG a booting system is necessary at least short term since we know that quorum is based only on vBNT staked in governance, not total vBNT. We can get voting to function better without even engaging new voters just through booting the inactive. And if someone is staked in governance and isn’t voting, a program that incentivizes voting (and new voters) should work to re-engage them.

If the re-engagement doesn’t work, 1 month of inactivity → boot from governance, without any data yet, feels about right to me. Ideally we want every voter to be active or to be out of governance.

The “voting scoreboard” idea suffers from the same problem as the lottery in the sense that someone could make multiple wallets just to vote and hopefully get a prize. I’m not sure this is a reason not to do it, just worth noticing. I like this idea without seeing other proposals.

Someone also mentioned making it easier to vote for many proposals at once via a “ballot” would increase engagement. The risk there is people just vote randomly or straight Yes down ballot just to be part of the contest but this risk is quite low compared to the return of making voting easier. I would want this.

Lastly, I would oppose delegating votes. It seems like Snapshot allows delegating votes but how easy is it to get your vBNT back in that case? vBNT itself has value and is crucially a key for your stake, so convincing someone to give it away seems too hard, not to mention we will also run incentives which the delegator now loses out on. If you can convince someone to put another barrier between them and recovering their stake, you might as well just convince them to vote.

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Voting is a right that all vBNT holders have, including the right not to vote. However, rather than boot someone for not voting, what if we somehow timelocked their vBNT for failure to vote over the past x period of time. The non-voter’s wallet’s vBNT would become inert for y period of time as a reminder that democracy requires active participation. For example, failure to vote for one (1) month results in a one (1) month voting time out during which their vBNT would be subtracted from the total staked vBNT for quorum purposes? This could repeat to be a constant reminder that folks will learn to use it or lose it (temporarily).

I think the gas fees and effort would deter many from unstaking their vBNT, creating numerous wallets and transferring their vBNT into various wallets and restaking their vBNT in smaller lots. Of course, I could be wrong because undoubtedly people will try to cheat.

I agree that the creation of a snapshot ballot, which links to each proposals full summary page, would be a much more pleasant UX for voting.

I also agree with whoever suggested that we could also add an “Abstain” option if someone felt uniformed or indifferent for any given proposal, but wanted to signal their acknowledgement of the proposal and their acceptance to go whichever way the community votes. In this scenario, the vBNT that abstained would still count towards quorum.

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I would be interested to know the percentage of VBNT staked that has not voted ever on any proposal.

It seems like it has been pretty consistent of late that Monday is vote posting day. That in itself is good because I have now gotten in the habit of looking first thing Monday morning at the open proposals and then voting right then.

If we know that all new proposals for the week are going to be up on Monday I think it is reasonable to say that everyone is informed and there is not a good reason at this point in time to miss a vote. This gives prudence to booting inactive members in the voting pool.

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Something else I’m noticing is that larger wallets not voting on something knowing that them voting will push the total over 40% but them voting no will not change the outcome and it would pass. It’s like them having a trump card to ensure something doesn’t pass just by not participating.

If you look at the votes right now FYI and RSR are above 40% but the votes on LPL and WOO are not there because the two larger wallets haven’t voted.

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we should remove wallets that have never voted from the quorum calculaion imo. I also brought this issue of not voting to vote a while back, I think we could reduce quorum for whitelisting to 30%-35%

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By staking your vBNT … you already voted essentially.

If you want better active casting, incentivise it. If you want to remove all wallets that have never voted from calculation, might as well just remove the quorum requirement all together.

Only 22% of vBNT are staked. Only 40% of this 22% are needed to whitelist. That is less than 9% of circulating vBNT needed.

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If you want to remove all wallets that have never voted from calculation, might as well just remove the quorum requirement all together.

This doesn’t make any sense. Every governing body that uses a quorum system also has rules that enforce activity, otherwise it is too easy to grind that body to a halt (which is what we’re trying to solve for now). Quorum rules are necessary since we are an opt-in system. They prevent a small amount of bad actors from passing a harmful proposal under the radar.

I don’t see removing inactive wallets from governance as even remotely a big deal. That said, you’re right we should incentivize voting which is the point of this whole discussion.

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maybe we could incentivize continuous voting, that is to say give a small % of inflationary rewards to people that voted on every issue every month on a month by month basis starting next month. the rewards wouldn’t have to be that big to have the desired effect, could call it vote mining. The rewards for a months worth of voting could be vested over the following month to not cause a supply shock while at the same time incentivizing people to lock up their vbnt/bnt for longer periods.

delegation would also be a good way to help fix quorum issues.

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I do like the idea of incentivizing vote participation.

I am curious if would be possible to have a BNT token that can only be only used for voting and would be minted after any VBNT swap. They would be worth half the voting power of 1 VBNT but would hold no intrinsic value outside voting. I would love to participate in voting even if my current bags wouldn’t make much of a difference.

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Great ideas and discussion!

I think a small inflationary rewards incentive, awarded monthly based on the previous month’s voting activity, like what you propose, could work.

There are concerns of centralization through delegation, but I think we could test it out.

I feel the same way, but because I believe in Bancor and its future I’ll vote as often as possible. In time, I plan to grow my economic interest as well hence my desire to participate from day one.

So far, to summarize the emerging consensus seems to be potentially:

  1. Incentivize voting through some sort of small scale rewards
  2. Introduce a ballot UI on snapshot to reduce the number of clicks required thus making it easier to vote on various proposals during one visit
  3. Suspend, temporarily or permanently, vBNT wallets that fail to vote for some period of time from voting. My view is that a temporary suspension makes more sense, and it a wallet could be suspended repeatedly for failure to vote.

Did I miss anything?

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There is a lot of good ideas here on how to increase voter turnout. I would like to also bring to the table the Nexus Mutual governance system(contracts on implementation are on github) which I have participated in the past and also find highly effective. A quick primer on how this functions is below:

All proposals put to a member vote are firstly put to the Advisory Board (described below), who will white-list the proposal and make a recommendation on the outcome. Members are then given a specified time-frame to vote on the proposal. If a specified quorum is met then the majority outcome prevails, otherwise the vote proceeds as per the Advisory Board recommendation.

As a reward for participating in the governance process all voting members will be awarded a share of additional NXM tokens that are generated for each proposal (chosen by the Advisory Board within limits). Additionally, any member may delegate their vote to any other member, allowing them to rely on a fellow member they believe has more expertise than themselves. In this case, the delegating member continues to earn all the voting rewards.

This model ensures that proposals which are important to the platform are actually passed even if voter turnout (quorum is not met) is abysmal. It is very rare for proposals to be decided by the advisory board since most people do end up voting as they get rewarded for participating. For those that don’t have time to vote or are not keeping up with proposals, they end up delegating (this does not mean that you are giving your tokens away) their voting power to someone else but also reap the benefits of earning voting rewards as long as the person that they delegate to also ends up voting.

The propose option to boot inactive voters would help us significantly in getting proposals passed as those folks would no longer count towards the quorum numbers. With that said, I am afraid that any option that would require us to redesign governance (delegating, expunging inactive voters, etc…) would also require modifying the governance contracts and that means time spent by developers that could be spent elsewhere (e.g. improving Bancor).

Ultimately, I think that the path of least resistance is probably to incentivize voting (and is what we should focus on). Implementation wise, this probably would require the least amount of work from developers and would allow us to gauge how effective it is in a quick manner (we can easily stop the campaign if it is not helping). If we do find that this is highly effective, then everything else might be moot.

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Now we are talking on a semi-same page. People are just lazy ass in nature, they aren’t going to do anything unless it benefit their wallet in some form or other.

Just add incentive & competition style in voting.
Example: Important issue=1000BNT vote reward, Medium=200BNT, other=100BNT
Only the “winning” side get rewarded. That is,

  • If you vote FOR a proposal and that proposal pass, you get a share of the 1000BNT reware pool. On the other hand if you vote FOR and that proposal fail (because of voting … not because of quorum), you get nothing.
  • Likewise, if you vote AGAINST a proposal, that ended passing, you get nothing. There might be some gaming here, like last second voting … but those issue can be resolve later.

The reward are distributed based on your portion of the vote. Let say your vote account for 5%, you get 5% of the vote-reward. This amount should be cap, let say maximum 5% per wallet, so a whale with 50% of the vote won’t en up taking 50% of the total reward pool. Just an example on cap so the little guy can get something that is worth pushing the vote button.

I’ve suggested this before else where; the problem is that then you have people voting on what they think will win, not necessarily what’s good for the protocol. We should incentivize participation, regardless of how it goes.

I’m really not one for “participation trophies”; I believe that the rewards should go to the victor. This topic is an exception, however, and this is actually the perfect use case for them and making the system competitive how you’re suggesting I think would do more harm than good.

I am not remotely worried about this because I believe that improving DAO governance is itself a hugely beneficial feature. We want to make the process to get whitelisted/gain LM rewards as streamlined as possible. On Uniswap, you can copy paste a token and have it in a new pool inside 20 minutes. There is no friction there. In contrast, I saw a token like RLC fail its whitelist vote because it couldn’t reach quorum. Projects like RLC should be absolute dunks for whitelist. DAO inefficiency means friction between our target LPs and our best features (single-side exposure, IL insurance). Non-whitelisted pools might as well not be on Bancor at all.

We should acknowledge and embrace that this discussion, and hopefully the proposal(s) that come from it, are every bit as important as Origin Pools or some other highly anticipated feature. This shit is important.

And this is also why I would support a big BNT investment into voting rewards. We stand to gain so much more from efficient governance than we do from co-investing LM rewards on a random mid-cap coin. If paying people to vote is what that takes then I am for it.

Agree with ccc here. You want people to vote for the correct thing, not for the thing they think will get passed.

Really like this. Neatly sidesteps the “make a ton of wallets” issue as well.

edit: And neither here nor there, but maybe there is an extra BNT bonus that goes to the voters of the proposal with the highest quorum % that week. Can’t tell if this is a dumb idea or not but it would make sure everyone votes on every proposal regardless of how little the reward might be.

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@bias and I will start to work on a draft of what I assume would be a BIP while I hope the discussion and ideation continues in this thread.

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I brought this specific question up in response to the Vortex feature, as many would possibly rather stake/trade vBNT for monetary gains than lose out for voting. Take this also with the fact that BNT has very large holder accounts that make many votes seem meaningless. I have what most would consider a significant stack, but last time I voted, the affect on quorum was nill.

I think the answer is lower quorum, and/or some means of making votes not so weighted on vBNT holdings. I believe the most engaged in the platform, may not be the folks with the most holdings, and as price goes up…it will become even less meaningful for newbies to vote. Plus, I disagree with the concept of 1-1 voting weight per vBNT as it can lead to a form of digital mob rule.

The idea for helping this would be X number of votes per Y amount of vBNT. Maybe 1 vote for 1000 and less, 1 vote for every 1000 after that. This would still give more votes you those who hold more, but then quorum is reduced in proportion of tokens and more weight goes to every voter to get us to quorum. Plus people would feel like their vote had more weight, whether they have 100 vbnt or 500k.

I think the answer is multi faceted no master which way you go, no silver bullet here with vbnt being monetized…which I love BTW. I will admit that after my last vote not meaning much, moving my vBNT to monetary position was the choice I made…I am sure there are many others like me whether they will admit it or not.

I believe vBNT that isn’t staked in the governance contract does not count for quorum so people using it for monetary gains are not weighing down the quorum. Though I do share your view of the vortex, which is why we have only opened up limited space in the pool. The problem is people who have willingly staked their vBNT into governance and are not voting willfully or simply forgot they are staked. This in itself created the problem of whales being able to veto a proposal through unfulfilled quorum rather than voting against it.

“The idea for helping this would be X number of votes per Y amount of vBNT. Maybe 1 vote for 1000 and less, 1 vote for every 1000 after that. This would still give more votes you those who hold more, but then quorum is reduced in proportion of tokens and more weight goes to every voter to get us to quorum. Plus people would feel like their vote had more weight, whether they have 100 vbnt or 500k.”

I think this is an interesting proposition but is ultimately exploitable, a whale could split up his vBNT into many wallets of 1000vBNT each and abuse this rule to pass any vote it saw fit. with some whales holding well over 1M vBNT a single entity could completely control the vote assuming other whales don’t also split up their voting power into different wallets, which if they do defeats the purpose of the idea.

We could fix this by one of two manner in my opinions. incentivize voting through small amounts of inflation or we could remove wallets that haven’t submitted a vote since 30 days prior to a proposal or some other time constraint. We could also do both.

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