Delegate Discovery Initiatives

Delegate Discovery Initiatives

Over the past few months, we’ve heard feedback from delegates that discoverability could be improved for smaller or less visible delegates. Below we outline a few lightweight ideas that could drive increased visibility to smaller delegates ahead of Season 4. Please provide feedback and/or additional suggestions ahead of next week’s community call (on 05/09). We’ll discuss which initiatives to put energy behind following the community call.

  • Host an open design workshop with Agora to brainstorm delegate sorting mechanisms that provide viable alternatives to the current sorting mechanism, which is based on voting power or number of delegators :white_check_mark:
  • Run a twitter campaign on @OptimismGov, where everyone can tag the delegates they believe deserve more delegation. This would create a public list delegators can refer to when delegating
  • Ask delegates with <0.5% voting power to recommend delegates with >0.25% voting power. This would also create a public list on the forum that delegators may refer to when delegating. :white_check_mark:
  • We could experiment with “an elected delegation contract” that enables tokens to be delegated to a contract which would then pass that delegation through to a set of delegates determined via Token House election (eligibility may be subject to reqiurements such as KYC, etc.) If there is sufficient interest in setting up such a process, the Foundation could create or incorporate this into an RFP.
  • Delegates may register to participate in Tally’s upcoming delegate week (May 22-26) :white_check_mark:
  • [Your suggestions here]

Suggestions from community call on 5.23.23

  • Add a page to the Optimism Governance Portal that walks newcomers through why they should delegate and provides a step-by-step guide to doing so
  • Experiment with ways to incentivize re-evaluation of delegates to make sure delegates are active and/or aligned
    – gasless re-delegation [Handful of protocols doing this during Delegation Week]
    – directly incentivizing people (with tokens) to re-affirm or re-evaluate their delegate [Hop is experimenting with this]
    – automatic expiration of delegation on periodic basis [Maker does this, with mixed results]
  • Propose a Mission that is focused on bringing in x # of new delegates per Season
  • Allow the locked OP allocated to Builders Grants to be delegated (various implementation options)
  • Allow Citizens’ to endorse Token House badgeholders and create a corresponding sorting view on the delegate UI

This seems like an interesting approach toward discoverability:

In line with the third bullet, interesting experimentation with new contracts exists. Using Season 4 as a model - alliances could be adopted between delegates big and small.

A new contract could be created for a single season, delegating to a group of two or three delegates.

At the end of the season, the amount delegated to that contract is split equally by each delegate.

May be difficult on the admin side - but would be great to create deeper relationships among delegates and let folks align based on values, skillsets, or visions for OP.


Low-hanging fruit for sorting mechanism: sort by a combination of activity and voting power. E.g. voting on >90% proposals actively will rank a delegate with 0.1M OP higher than one voting <70% but with 2M OP

A more abstract but long-term idea: delegate discovery rewards. I.e. if you are early to delegate to someone with 0.1M OP delegated, promote them, and they make it to 1M or 2M OP or whatever, you get a reward. The earlier you find them, and the bigger they get, the more your reward. It could potentially be gamed if one has access to millions of OP, but governance could subjectively disqualify as those with millions of OP are few and very visible. This can be combined with delegation rewards (which is much more important right now, given the very low participation of stake even for well known delegates) we had discussed earlier to further decrease the possibility of gaming it.


That second one is interesting, but i’m not really sure what that’s solving for, as what you end up seeing (even absent gaming) is scattershot delegation, and the thing being optimized is likelihood of more delegation, which isn’t really equivalent to quality of delegate activity.

I think to design a proper initiative we have to take a second to ask ourselves what exactly we want to see. I think it’s that we ought to see the most discovery go to those parties who are going to vote correctly and conscientiously for the benefit of the Collective. That’s what gets us the best outcomes, right?

One possible approach is to design to advance delegates the most active in governance as measured not by forum posts but by value added. This could be through service (i.e., putting in work directly and exclusively for the Collective), through suggestions, or through outside activity that benefits the ecosystem (captured in part by the Protocol Delegation Program). I like @fig 's flag because it supposes that those supposedly the likeliest to know would be asked to make their own assessments. Delegates receiving RPGF are a decent (if imperfect) proxy as well.

The comments asking for the outcome as described here appear to be overwhelmingly from delegates who want themselves to be more discoverable. That’s fine, and in fact I was an early critic of the v1 delegation tool, as it disproportionately elevated by chance a few delegates – but it’s probably incomplete to design strictly for this.


I love this topic, and think all of the proposed ideas are worth considering.

A few specific thoughts:

  • Uniswap’s Franchiser is worth considering as a tool for implementing an elected delegation contract. It’s audited and being deployed in other large DAOs. Tally would be happy to help with the architecture and implementation of this initiative.
  • I’m putting together a delegate participation guide for Delegation Week that includes a sample tweet for delegates to announce their participation and a step-by-step guide to creating a delegate profile on Tally’s new delegation UI. I will share this information in an Optimism Collective forum post this week.


It would be great to have a program where delegates with higher voting power mentor delegates with lower voting power and less experience, who are interested in learning best practices and recommendations to become a great delegate. This could empower both parties and create a positive network among governance players. Perhaps there could be an attestation for mentors who have mentored a certain number of mentees.


All suggestions look interesting

About that I think it could work, but that said, a lot depends on just the community built on Twitter
But I think it can definitely be used as an additional tool, in conjunction with others

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Good stuff. We are growing together

These are very good suggestions.

It’s great to see initiatives that promote voting power diversity, and these should help drive this!

Is there a way that delegates with >0.5% could refer smaller delegates (maybe >0.25%?) to a shortlist of candidates to receive delegation from the A16Z Delegations &/or future Investor Delegations?


We are running into this “delegate discovery” problem across the governance ecosystem. A few delegate sorting (ish) ideas we’ve been thinking about at Tally:

  • Filter for delegates that are “actively seeking delegations”. This could be something the Collective requires active delegates to select, or it could be pulled from activity on recent votes (similar to @polynya’s idea of mixing delegate activity into the sorting mechanism).
  • Create an “Emerging delegates” view. Prioritize delegates outside of the current top 50 by voting power (for example) who have recently received delegation. Another way this could be done is to prioritize delegates who have recently received new delegation by the percentage of their current total voting power that the new delegation represents. This would favor delegates who currently have lower voting power but are actively receiving delegation.
  • Run a delegate competition specifically for smaller delegates. The Collective would select from a new potential crop of aspiring larger delegates based on an application process, narrowing down to perhaps ten. Then, those ten delegates would campaign for 1-2 weeks in the Collective trying to attract re-delegated votes, followed by a 1 week re-delegation period.

I think it would be interesting to run a test of one or more of these ideas, analyze the results, and share with the Collective. We would love to have the opportunity to run such a test on Tally, but are happy to support regardless.

One side note: I think it’s important to retain the delegate view that sorts by voting power as an option for users to select, even if it is not the default. I think there will always be a desire to know who the biggest delegates are and how much voting power they have.

Excited to contribute to this discussion!


As a first step, we’ve created this delegate spotlight thread for delegates with >0.5% votable supply to highlight delegates with <0.5% votable supply.

We’ll discuss additional ways to drive delegation to smaller delegates over the next few weeks and Seasons in the next community call on 5/23. (and Agora will join this call to discuss delegate sorting mechanism specifically)


Thanks for this post. I want to ask whether someone like me who is just a self-delegated Token house can participate or not. Thanks.

Updated post to reflect the suggestions discussed on yesterday’s community call / workshop with Agora


Thanks so much! :pray: and thank you to @Michael for hosting.

We’re keeping a running list of ideas here in this Google Doc. If anyone has thoughts and feedback, please feel free to add them in.

We’re gonna start chipping away at this list – and if you are open to being a beta tester and having us run some design mocks by you, would love nothing more than that :slight_smile: please just comment or leave a note in the doc.


After reading up on the issues, listening to the community call, and reviewing the notes on the document from the workshop, I’ve personally separated the current delegation issues into 2 categories.

  1. Delegation Discoverability
  2. Active Assessment of Delegation

Delegation Discoverability refers to how easy it is for new delegates or delegates with less than 0.5% voting power to be seen. They might be very proactive and add a ton of value, but their lack of reach holds them back in terms of having the voting power to reflect their influence on the development of governance. It’s a reality that those who already have strong voting power tend to accumulate more due to groupthink. If I see a delegate with huge voting power, I’m more prone to also delegate to them thinking that they must be good since they’re so popular.

While that can often be the case, it doesn’t leave much room for new delegates to be discovered. And since people who delegate their tokens don’t revisit their choice frequently (as illustrated by the graph below), it creates a second problem: that of active assessment of delegation.


Active Assessment of Delegation is about how often people come back to update their delegation to assess whether their delegate of choice is active, supports their interests, and is the best delegate of choice according to their standards. We must ensure the incentives of people who delegate are aligned with their delegate, which in turn aligns with the incentives of the broader community.

We should also mitigate the risks of:

  • Whales delegating their tokens and then losing access to their wallet, locking voting power to a delegate as a result.
  • Delegates becoming inactive and people who delegated not coming back to redelegate.

Overall, I believe that some of the suggestions mentioned above as well as in the Delegates Discovery Intiative doc are great and worth considering, perhaps with a few tweaks.

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+1 on this initiative. Gas costs, even on layer2s, are a psychological barrier to governance participation. Token holders will be more likely to delegate and re-delegate their tokens during specific campaign if they don’t have to pay gas to do so. Setting up the right restrictions is necessary to prevent spam. Effective ways can be a combination of the follwing:

  • One delegation per account
  • Holding a specific amount of OP
  • Holding prior to a specific date

One other suggestion I have is working directly with wallets providers to offer users a clear understanding of the purpose and benefits of holding governance tokens, thereby incentivizing them to actively participate, or delegate in governance activities. The displayed information could include explanations of voting rights, redirection to tally or vote.optimism, and the impact of governance decisions on the overall ecosystem. With this approach, users would feel more informed.


Before highlighting new delegates, I would like to request @zcf to fix the participation statistics to accurately reflect participation. Although our delegate team @CyberDyn0x has voted on ALL proposals, since the creation of our delegate profile with voting power, our participation record today shows 58%, due to voting that occurred before our time.

Participation is a key consideration when selecting delegates and the leading statistic on the Agora profile. Currently, this statistic misrepresents our participation and has repercussions for us seeking delegation. For example, during the recent Delegate Week, when viewing our profile, the system highlighted this as poor participation and advised that people should consider changing their delegation.

This impacts not only us; showing participation as a percentage of all on-chain votes since inception will increasingly disadvantage any new delegates.

I have added this feedback to the Google Doc as a comment


Interesting approach to discoverability.

Wanted to give a quick update! We just launched a new sorting feature: “Weighted Random”

One of the items to tackle was more sorting options, so we decided to start with a random sort to start (also inspired by RetroPGF)

Weighted Random: Instead of pure random, it’s a random sort where your probability of appearing is proportionally higher based on your voting power. Argument for this is that this ordering is provably fair, because if token holders always delegate to the first person on the delegate list this ordering mechanism results in the replication of the existing distribution. (Credits to @Jonas and Vitalik for the sort logic, thank you! :pray:)

This is just the start, but figured we start tackling some items from the feedback list.

We got lots more to do of course, we’re also seeing and getting feedback and paying attention to the “Season 4 feedback” thread. Excited to keep improving on this – lots more to build :heart: :mechanical_arm:

And please, if you have any feedback for this or ideas, don’t hestiate to drop them here, in the doc, or DM me anytime!