[Temp-Check] - Give Incentives to Solve Voters Apathy

I noticed around 300 wallets voting with 1 OP token , they may be airdrop hunters


To be clear - Token House is not democratic, it’s strictly plutocratic - the amount of tokens you delegate, and the amount of rewards you get, are purely based on how much OP you hold. So, it’s not sybil-attackable for the airdrop. Even after Citizen House with one-person, one-vote is launched, Token House will remain part of governance.

Regarding redistributing inactive delegate; I definitely think it makes sense for inactive delegates to lose their votes. However, I think a better outcome is simply if the OP holders were incentivized to delegate to active delegates - which will carry their opinion on who to redistribute to. Yes, there’ll always be some who are apathetic anyway, but I think 99% OP holders will start paying attention if they are actually paid to delegate to active delegates.

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While I love the idea for delegators getting paid for delegating. I don’t see a non gamable way to automate this process.

And the prize culture follows. Do we want people trying to game this to be involved or do we want committed by ideals people?

At the same time do voters apathy refers to delegates inactivity or delegators inactivity? Maybe we should focus on those things separately and try two different automations.


Example made things clear, I did misunderstood your last comment. But even in this example, total number of token delegated remains same at 1K even after shuffling which could lead us to same situation we are now, users might use to token for different usage and overall delegated token will slowly come down to 900, 800 and so on…As seen in the chart above, we drop down from 35M to 22M.

To me, voter apathy means lack of interest from their side. Either they believe that their vote could not make a difference or they dont feel motivated to participate.

Yes, its gameable just like normal airdrop but we can minimize it by doing it retroactively. We also dont need to announce how big or small it will be in term of multiplier, all we need is a commitment that gov participation would increase their chances.

How can it be gamed? This is the same process as proof-of-stake networks.

@OPUser and @polynya Could both of you make an example of what you guys are thinking? I want to agree with you but I can’t make a codable/math example. Sorry, I’m not the smartest at the table.

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Think of how proof-of-stake networks work (or how LSDs like Lido or Rocket Pool work, in Ethereum’s case).

Token holders delegate their stake to validators; the token holder & validators both get rewarded.

Likewise, here, OP holders delegate their stake to delegates; the OP holders & active delegates get rewarded.

Needless to say, OP holders’ reward is proportional to the stake delegated - which is why it’s not sybil attackable or gameable.

But of course, this is the long term solution; in the here and now going the airdrop approach makes sense; it can also be proportional to OP stake so it’s sybil-resistant.

PS: As for what an “active delegate” is - it can be simply voting on >X% (e.g. >80% of all proposals) to begin with. In the long term we’ll need to give that more thought, but I don’t think it’ll be a big issue - the OP token holder can always redelegate their stake.

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Crystal clear

Staking today means you can not use your ETH on POS and in the future maybe withdrawing has some delay/parking. Do I have to assume the same for this example or staking means only delegating?

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There’s a withdrawal queue for Ethereum PoS, but I don’t think that’s required here. Maybe someone can do a deeper analysis, but for the purposes of Optimism governance it seems OK to be able to redelegate their stake immediately, assuming Snapshot/contracts recognize the change in delegation.

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Thank you @Gonna.eth for your input. To add from my side, a user can re-delegate as they like and to anyone they find more aligned to their vision of gov.

But, as of now, there is no added benefit or motivation for user to re/delegate their token which is causing the drop in total OP delegated. With this proposal the idea is give reward retroactively to user for delegating their token, either self or to a delegate. This reward could be in form of airdrop, a multiplier may be like we have seen in airdrop 1. Key-word to focus on being active in gov, either by self-delegation or delegating to an active delegate as the reward will be proportional to your activity in the gov.

Now the criteria of active could be wide and we can discuss this later or let foundation decide that.

An example, as a user If i choose you as my delegate then the reward in form of airdrop will depend on how active your were in the past with OP Gov. So as a user I will be motivated to look for active delegate because of reward, this is one of my motivation.

Two side benefit, less active delegate will see decrease in their voting power and total delegated token count will see a boost.

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I would love to add up some sort of benefit for smaller delegates to balance the power.

Some examples of this:

100.000 delegate has a 1% monthly distribution for their delegators (1000 OP distributed between the people delegating)
1.000.000 delegate has a 0.09% monthly distribution for their delegators (900 OP distributed between the people delegating)

We could also add “amount of addresses delegating” to the formula

(Delegate power / %) * amount of addresses = OP distributed to those delegates.

Please check the math I wrote this from my phone and haven’t given that much though I would love for someone to pick the math and make it better.

yuh, maybe not correct math lol. lets see here…

using the percentage, wouldnt it be (delegate power*%)*addresses ?

100,000*0.01 = 1000 op tokens

i think your numbers there are going to for sure push for massive decentralization cause the APR for the stakers would be insanely higher with the small delegator, nearly 10x higher. thats almost an adjustable rate of 0.1% per 100k op tokens delegated. that may be too steep of a sliding scale.

not sure how to factor wallets in, not sure if also delegates could try to game that by spinning up thousands of wallets. but if that was to be done, maybe it could be done with an aggregated points system that represents a percentage of the whole weekly/monthly allotment for rewards.

using similar scale as you presented, starting with 10 points, and scaling down 1 point per 100k tokens delegated. then multiply that sum by the number of wallets.

A)1-99.99k = 10 points per token.
B)100.01k-199.99k = 9 points
C)200.01k-299.99k = 8 points
and so forth with a cap at 1 million+ receiving 1 point per staked token.
i still think this is too dramatic and the scale should maybe be like 0.2 points at each tier.

but using those numbers, delegate A with has 55k tokens which is 550k points. those tokens are delegated across 100 wallets, they have 55m total points.

now everyone adds up their points. the grand total of points is 7 billion. the total allotment for that week’s incentives is 10k op tokens.

Delegate A has 0.7857142857142858% of the total points. which means they get 78.57 op tokens for themselves and to distribute to stakers.

now lets assume delegate A takes nothing and distributes all of that to their stakers. thats a 7.4% apr to the stakers of delegate A. it could be dramatically less for stakers with larger delegates if using the 1 point step down per 100k tokens delegated scale.

thats just an example of the math breakdown. i like where you are going with the ideas. im personally not sure on the numbers though regarding what the budget for this could be as my example here requires 520,000 OP tokens per year assuming something like 6-60 million staked op tokens varying wildly in total tokens staked to total points earned because of the sliding scale and wallet number factors.

This method, especially in light of how polynya akins it to pos, sounds reasonable and possible imo. would just need to iron out the numbers and come up with some models.

Thank you! Yes the numbers where just an example. But we can first stablish how many OP tokens we want to spend on delegator incentives and reverse your math basically.

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There is an old saying by Mark Twain: “If voting made any difference, they wouldn’t let us do it.”, and I think this holds true to most of our western “democracies” on a grand scheme of things. Not in like the little regional votings in small towns or villages, but on a national level. I’ve checked different elections in the past in “western countries” and in many of these 40% percent or even more of the voting-age population didn’t vote at all. Why is that? The answer is simple, each new election Politicians promise changes that will benefit the people but in the end they are just lying to them in order to get the most votes. Once elected they usually don’t follow through on their claims and most people by now have figured this out and have resigned because they learned that in the end voting doesn’t change a thing. The remaining 60% of the voting-age population or at least a big chunk of them are hopeless romantics who probably think that, “this time it will be different”. This time they will follow through on their promises.

There are certainly more factors to it but this is I think the biggest issue of all.

Now since only 8 to 12% of the “voting-age population” is voting at the moment one could argue that the described issue at top can be translated into our current “voter apathy” issue on the Optimism Collective. Now how do we change that?
The only option that comes to my mind is to eradicate this presumption by showing that their vote can actually make a difference and actually change something. But in order to do so we first need an incentive for people to vote. The different options coming to my mind can be found here.

The second sentence doesn’t follow from the first. Incentives aren’t going to make votes meaningful to the point where stakeholders see it as being in their benefit to participate in governance, whether by voting, delegating actively, or engaging in discussions.

I do agree we should at minimum consider short-term solutions to juice productive participation, but the more I think about it the more it seems clear to me that we simply need to foster an environment where voting matters, and that’s more of a long game. In the meantime, as much as I hate to say this, it could be acceptable to have less participation and more concentration with an eye toward making votes count, the same way the network itself isn’t sufficiently decentralized though we have the intention of making it so. The most important thing is laying down the infrastructure so we can grow and build for success.

The conditions I’m imagining as prerequisites for the kind of participation we want:

  1. broad participation in the network itself (in terms of users and projects) as a share of all crypto
  2. both token house and citizen house in a semi-mature state of operation
  3. at least one round of RFPG in the books
  4. successful round of governance grants; i.e., grants with results exceeding expectations
    These ensure there’s a sufficient participation base and a demonstration of the promise and intent of distributing grants as a governance

These are off the top of my head so might be incomplete, but this is all to say that we should be looking forward to what the world needs to look like for voting to matter, rather than reacting to the state of things with band-aid solutions.


Do you know how many videos there are on Youtube and how many airdroppers on Twitter and Discord telling people "keep a token op you vote and that will win the airdrop? So they are people who don’t care about the government, they are just hoping make money!! That’s why I say that hopefully and the fact of voting they place it as a criterion.

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@goluis , I didn’t know about the videos, but finally I checked one random proposal votes and
25% of voting wallets did it with less than 1.1 OP
50% of wallets less than 3.3 OP
75% of wallets less than 15 OP
Ok great, they learning how to vote. But not out of loving for governance :sweat_smile:


The further I keep digging into that topic the less I agree with you even though I see where you are coming from. Incentives do make votes meaningful.

Here are the 5 most common incentives to pick from:

  1. GOALS. Some people are motivated by the pursuit of a particular achievement, and the knowledge that they’re the person who made something happen. For example, the billionaire space race between Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, and Elon Musk.
  2. GLORY. Others seek the public recognition they get from achieving something. For them, an achievement would feel much less rewarding if no one knew about it. This incentive is common in areas like academia and sport.
  3. GUTS. For some, it’s more about the arduous journey. For example, many marathon runners are spurred on by the gruelling hours of training and the mental resilience required to succeed at long-distance running.
  4. GOLD. Putting aside the goal, the recognition, and the challenges along the way, some people are simply motivated by money, prizes, or some other kind of tangible reward.
  5. GREATER GOOD. In the cases of climate change, persistent inequality, and other major societal challenges, many people are called to innovate by an inner sense of justice or altruism, care for others, and a desire for a better future.

Translated to our “voter apathy” cause I would formulate it as follow:

  1. The people who are already motivated by the pursuit of a particular achievement, by that I mean seeing OP win are already participating and are already actively voting and delegating. They don’t need another incentive. (But I guess these are the least of all people)
  2. People seeking the incentive of GLORY could be incentivized by some sort of badge of honor similar to getting a NFT by finishing a certain quest. Make a quest for participating in the delegation and voting process.
  3. Nothing comes to my mind that would be comparable to this type of incentive to be honest. (probably need to think about it a little longer).
  4. That’s the incentive I’ve already pointed out and which is the most obvious thus I won’t go into further detail. (For reference see my earlier post here)
  5. This is what we are already doing here by discussing the topic and trying to find a solution to it. We are doing it for the greater good.

In summary these are the types of the most common incentives we could use to fix the apathy of voters.

Furthermore if I look at the most common reasons for not voting include (source):

  1. People don’t think it makes a difference
  2. A complex voter registration process
  3. They don’t like the candidate or campaign issues
  4. They are to busy of having conflicting schedules

Regarding Number 1 I’ve already taken my stance on this one in my inicial post, which can in my opinion only be fixed by showing them that their vote can make a difference. But to make it thus far we first need to get them to vote at all. Since there is no complex voter registration process we can discard this one as well as not liking the candidate or campaign issue since I guess we all more or less like OP and want it to succeed. Number 4. however could be tackled by giving people a monetary incentive because nobody is too busy or has no time - it’s just not their priority. By giving an incentive whether it is by completing a quest and earning a NFT or getting rewards in form of OP tokens or even being eligible for future airdrops will definitely solve this one. So 33% of the issues we face today could be fixed by giving people an incentive. Thus I have to come to the conclusion that I have to disagree with your overall stance on “Incentives aren’t going to make votes meaningful to the point where stakeholders see it as being in their benefit to participate in governance, whether by voting, delegating actively, or engaging in discussions.”!

Nice graph.
Good job.

Incentivized participation on the part of those that do not see it as their part to contribute is of no value. This forum is already plagued with 1-line reply Andyies and the most popular topics seem to be a triplicate “make OP gas token”.

This, as well as the wider DAO space holds the default that the cost of participation (particularly in this primitive forum-proposal format) is not two, but one sided. It is not only that the participant, the voter, the poster that incurs a cost; but also the wider body. All well-intended participants incur an additional such cost with each additional input. There’s a cost to you reading this. Thank you for paying it.

Higher engagement is useful only insofar the aim is to enact decentralization theater or pump KPIs for a VC round. I do hope that that is not the aim here. Governance that requires bribes or punishments is likely broken and plagued by agents that are not genuinely invested in its outcomes.