[DISCUSSION] Potential Changes in Atom Governance

I believe that this is the right time to talk about some potential issues with governance Proposal 848.
Please note I am not claiming that these issues DID happen during this proposal, but due to the intensity, there is a probability that they may have happened or will happen in the future.

There are 2 main problems that I personally see in current governance:

  1. Ability to change vote at will
  2. Transparent public voting

First of all, the ability to change a vote at will, in definition, appears to be a net positive. Voters who have access to new information might change their opinion on a certain proposal and choose to change their vote. But, there is also drawbacks on that front. Since voting is transparent, some validators and voters may be coerced to vote a certain way or another and change their vote which can undermine the fairness of the whole process. Also, changing votes can be used to manipulate the audience towards a certain direction (thinking a vote is going to pass for example and stop some people for voting), and then changing the vote at the last minute for a different outcome. I believe that a vote could be changed in certain circumstances but at least a limit or timeframe should be set for vote changes during the voting period.

Second, although I believe that validator votes should be public as it is part of the decision making process for users to decide where to stake their tokens, I believe that individual wallet votes should be private as it allows each voter to express their opinion more freely. I heard a lot of testimonials during 848 that voters with their wallets attached to their name were afraid of voting because they were afraid of being fired from their role, or even lose friends in the space. This is a phenomenon that actually happens and harassment not only in on-chain governance but all sorts of voting is existent and this is why secret voting is in place nearly everywhere. We are lucky to have code that verifies votes and ensure no exploits are possible from a certain party to change votes to a certain way.

This is only for discussion and to hear the thoughts of the community as I believe this change would hold a good amount of work on the Cosmos SDK level.

Cosmos-SDK · GitHub :eyes: :slight_smile:

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I’m not sure that private voting without validators would make any difference, since IIRC, the overwhelming majority of votes are coming from validators. (IMO there’s nothing wrong with this, it’s just representative democracy. I myself rely on my validator to vote the way that I would).

Private validator voting might be interesting to explore, but obviously it’s a tough balance to strike since they are accountable to delegators.

One idea is to have a specific private vote type that would just be a signaling proposal with private voting for validators and delegators (but the same delegator override logic as normal voting).

This could allow people to see “what everyone is thinking but is too afraid to say” on contentious issues, without the risk of it actually changing settings. With this revealed preference, a public vote on the actual parameter or upgrade could be held, and people might have the confidence to vote their convictions.

I think this could leverage social dynamics to allow impactful private voting without accountability risks.

Fully agree with this. Why there is always all that twitter harassment about governance proposals? Because votes are public, even the weighted votes, and validators can change their votes multiple times. This has major impacts. Even if votes were public like now, if it wasn’t possible to change a vote after it is submitted, then all this twitter harassment would be stopped instantly, because no matter how much harassment they do, validators cannot change their vote. Even if votes are private, people could see when the Yes or No vote increase and estimate then which validator voted, so not really possible to make votes private. I think the key focus should be on not allowing changing the vote after it is done, I don’t think this should be too difficult to implement? @jtremback And I mean, even in a country like Switzerland where citizens vote about so many issues and in the oldest and most advanced direct democracy, people cannot vote and then change their minds and say a week later now they want to change their vote, and then again the next week that they want to change the vote again. In the recent proposal about the max inflation change, we saw many validators changing votes from no to abstain or to yes/weighted following the pressure on twitter. If changing votes hadn’t been possible that proposal wouldn’t have passed

Can you get any more bitter about $9 ATOM? Would you much rather ATOM be at $6.5 which is where it was before this Prop 848 was put up for discussion. I mean really? And whether bonding ratio is 64.2% or 65% makes hardly any difference for the security of the Hub.

And to correct the accounting, in the last day, large stakers changed their delegations to validators who had voted YES. Tell me exactly which validators changed their votes in the last day? There aren’t any.

BTW, Jae Kwon pulled the same campaign during voting last year as well and sunk ATOM 2.0 proposal which would have passed if voting modifications weren’t allowed. I personally had voted YES on ATOM 2.0 and then changed it near the end after some informative posts. Jae tried to do it again and this time failed. It happens. You have a very short memory. ATOM tokenomics today would be much different and going towards fixed emission had voting changes not been allowed last year and ATOM 2.0 proposal passed.

There is a 2 week period to vote. After that period passes, votes can’t be changed. Not sure what the problem is. Why do you seek to limit people’s ability to understand an issue better and cast a more informed vote after a more vigorous debate?

This is off-topic, but maybe the price increase was related to BTC going from below $30k to almost $40k and generally improvement of markets/sentiment, rather that a governance proposal? You should be proud that the proposal passed, now you receive less staking rewards, bonded ratio going down as people unstake looking for higher yield, and price going down if people unstaking sell the ATOM. Not to mention lower security of the Cosmos hub with a lower bonded ratio

Ok, here are some validators who changed votes from no/abstain to yes/weighted yes in last days following pressure on twitter: gata dao, bro & bro, crosnet, kintsugi, whispernode, stakin, notional, lavender five, and also several large validators who voted no/wanted to vote no like everstake, SG1, simply staking and others voted abstain finally because of this twitter harassment

People can choose to wait until the end to gather all information before voting and then the vote is final. Have you seen any country where you can vote for something, and then go and ask them multiple times that you want to change your vote? This just allows the harassment we saw, since changing votes is possible, people use it to pressure validators to vote as they want them to vote

  1. If the Cosmos Hub is insecure, break it. You make billions.

  2. Bitcoin went from $15,000 to $30,000 from January to October while ATOM went from $15 to $6. The crypto market is much more discerning and there has been a large dispersion of results this year with ATOM being a rather unique loser. ATOM has been underperforming BTC all year. ATOM’s underperformance this year is why we are having this discussion. Only now that Prop 848 became an item, ATOM improved vs BTC.

  3. I am not sure what Twitter “harassment” you are talking about. If a staker doesn’t agree with his validator vote, it is their right to change the validator. Informing people on Twitter that they can change their validator is not harassment. Also you as a validator don’t get to harass people and dictate to them who they should select as validator. If a validator loses stakers because of their vote, it is their right to pivot and change their vote to retain their business. By prohibiting their right to change their vote, you are impairing their businesses because they can’t keep the stakers. Obviously, you don’t care at all how other validators do business and really you should stop talking as if you represent other validators, because you don’t.

  4. Cosmos Hub is not a country and people don’t physically go to polling stations. It costs a lot of money to organize an election and cast a vote multiple times in the physical real world. But since you bring it up, for example Bulgaria held 5 elections in 18 months last year. So yes even in the real world, people get to revote multiple times if an election doesn’t produce a result (a cabinet). After 5 elections, the parliament was dramatically different than the onset as many people changed their vote once they got new information. That changing of the vote got them to a situation where a cabinet could finally be made. So I don’t think people should be prohibited from changing their vote. If they have new information, they should be able to change their mind and their vote.

1 - To change the past vote we should increase gradually the gas fees to reduce manipulation.

2 - Agree with the need of a privacy for the vote. But not for the validators, because lobbies are strong and they can hide many things to the community.

I don’t think that the gas fee is going to make much of a difference in that case (even 200-500x), a possible fee can be imposed which can be noticeable for vote changes.

Yes so what you are stating here is actually a new election (or proposal) is done since quorum or a decisive vote was not reached on one, which I believe should happen. But I do not think it should be able to cast a new vote at will for the SAME proposal.

Voting in Bulgaria was sub 40% on the last 2 or 3 elections. During the last election, I think it was 29%. By Cosmos rules, quorum would not have been reached :slight_smile:

If people can’t change their vote, they will all just vote at the very end which would just stress the system and maybe cause loss of votes. I don’t think this change will affect voting all that much. Please keep in mind that contentious proposals like Prop 848 are quite rare. 95% of the props get passed or rejected in pretty definitive fashion.