Seems that the words “inactive” validators really confuse people. Currently all of the interchain refers to validators out of the active set as “inactive” - explorers, dashboards, etc.
After having multiple discussions with users, we can defo say (we have inactive validators, or rather validators that are out of the active set) that people think that this means the validator is kaput. Seems ironic tbh. We are constantly making the fight for stake diversification and network decentralization as the number one “fight” or topic, yet the slang that we use repels users from delegating to validators out of the active set.
For anyone arguing that those rewards do not receive rewards. Well, how do you propose to decentralize the stake to smaller validators? Not every user can delegate 1 million. This is literally killing the idea at its essence imo. For anyone arguing that inactive validators might not be ok… well, there is a huge downtime window, simply by using UI (the discussion if for the sake of everyday users), you cannot 100% tell whether an active validator is feeling “ok”. So this goes for both, active and inactive validators when it comes to UI.
BTW. I am not referring to jailed validators. All good here. But this seems to be confusing. I dont have a proposition, cause in the Citizen Cosmos philosophy to demand a change in existing semantics seems like a stupid idea. So we are proposing to start a discussion. Yet one that seems to make some sense.
P.S. i cannot personally vouch for this, but even further, currently it seems that a regular user (this is what we are aiming for - adoption, right?) is NOT going to be able to delegate to a validator outside of the active set. On the desktop version, you need to notice the button that says “inactive” when you search for a validator, otherwise you are just shown the active set. On the mobile version there seems to be no obvious UI option to even see validators out of the active set. (im not naming wallets here on purpose, this is not a wallet issue).
This is fully against the whole idea of “lets diversify stake to smaller validators” - how can we expect that, if all of the UI aimed for the mass adoption complelty discourages you from doing that (in some cases wont let you)?
So what’s the probable solution here?
Maybe showing all validators on same section will work but we have to distinguish between active and those not in active set. A notification showing that val is not in active set before delegation is also a probable solution.
I don’t want to steer this discussion in another direction but some people think that increasing the val set is not much beneficial but I want to remind everyone that along with good tech we are building communities.
Still whatever the val set we need simple UI which is easier to navigate through.
In my opinion users are mostly staking to get rewards, how are they incentivized to put money they are investing with a validator that does not generate rewards? Would expanding the number of active validators not be the solution? Again, I do not know the math behind how they calculate how many validators would be best, so that may not work
Its about giving them a chance, currently they have 0. The community is hiding them so well, that even if i had the money to delegate to them, i would have hard time doing so if i was using the UI (if at all possible in some cases)
Honestly I do not believe that someone (unless they are in direct contact with this validator, or it’s a delegation program, or it’s a validator themselves) would purposefully delegate to a validator which is inactive to put them into the active set. Most of the delegators are there to earn rewards and obviously they do not want to stake in a way they won’t get any rewards. So it’s kinda weird to expect from a regular delegators to stake with inactive validators. Moreover, it only will help a validator if a delegator doing that would have a substantial amount of tokens to stake (at least on Cosmos Hub), to be enough to put them into the active set, and also even if a delegator would make the validator join the active set by delegating and put them at the bottom of the active set, they are likely risking getting kicked out by other validators, who wouldn’t want to lose their golden spot (exactly what was happening within last 2 months on Cosmos Hub).
So I think active set expansion can be the right solution for that, but there should be a balance between having too high barrier (so it’s impossible to join for new validators unless having a fortune), and too low barrier (if a validator has really small amount of tokens, like 100 ATOM, they do not have that much of a skin in the game, and while they basically cannot influence the chain that much, it won’t feel like they are putting enough at risk so even if they get slashed, they do not risk losing a lot of tokens).
That being said, it’s indeed a fact that it’s difficult for a user to figure out how to stake to a validator that is now inactive, and there’s something that might be changed, but I am yet not sure what measures the community and the tools maintainers/developers can do to prevent it, and I am still not sure a lot of people would actually use it (see my reasoning above).
One idea on how to get more people to stake to validators who actually contribute and deserve their place in the active set would be to have some kind of overview of how a validator contributes and how they behave (like governance participation, running public nodes/relayers, providing infrastructure, maintaining communities, helping other members or validators etc. Some of this may be measured (one nice example I have is a tool to calculate each validator’s rating, basing it not only on the voting power GitHub - bro-n-bro/bro_rating: Bro rating by @Bro_n_Bro) while other things cannot be measured technically, so one thing we can do about that is educating people about public goods the validators are making, so they would have a better overview about the ecosystem and the validators list (even inactive ones). Not sure if that can actually be coded into a service like explorer or something like that, but having something like this would be nice. Or we can just have a webpage listing all validators’ contributions, so delegators can make a more fair choice.
I find it hard to understand the sentence “would purposefully delegate to a validator which is inactive to put them into the active set.” It makes little sense, unless the goal is NOT to diversify / decentralize stake. That is (should be) the goal of a (open and verifiable) network -diversify stake to smaller validators. I think it’s kinda weird to have different goals rather than that for a network (in terms of security and decentralization). Unless it wants to remain centralized, of course - which is also a choice.
Expanding the active set does not solve this for various reasons, both technical and security reasons included (removing competitions isn’t good for a network).
The solution is simple, inactive validators renamed, so as not to confuse people + explorers / wallets, etc - make it easy to search for inactive validators. Whenever a user wants to delegate, a warning window can pop out, explaining the dangers.
I don’t think the Bro’n’Bro rating shows decentralization (or any other rating). I am well aware of it. It shows metrics that lead to semi-biased opinions, just like any rating in the world. This is not to say the rating is wrong or bad, the effect of it - is though. Ratings do not solve problems. They are social content. They help us to draw biased or semi biased pictures. Furthermore, they do not solve problems. In fact, one could argue that it is the fault of explorers and wallets for initially rating validators by stake that led to centralization.
It is the user (and them only) that should decide what to do with the stake. IMO, not a rating, nor a wallet, not an explorer and nor anyone else.