Modify abstain so that it does not count toward quorum

Currently, the cosmos hub has an abstain vote option, and currently it has three use cases:

  • virtue signaling participation
  • avoidance of conflicts of interest
    • Due to the functionality of abstain as a soft yes, it doesn’t really help with the avoidance of conflicts of interest.
  • boosting quorum

The way that abstain counts toward quorum is harmful.

Vote options

Vote YES to stop counting abstain votes when tallying quorum
Vote NO to take no action
Vote ABSTAIN to express no opinion
Vote NOWITHVETO to to contribute to a veto tally. If the veto tally reaches one third, then the proposal will fail and the deposit on the proposal will be burned.

I think removing the “Abstain”, option is a terrible idea.

1 Like


1 Like

Sure it seems to me that your sentence is missing a second clause, or are you simply trying to say that it’s a terrible idea but you don’t care to say why it’s a terrible idea and you think that’s sufficient?


He represents a validation organization ought to help make it serious if that’s his point of view I can only write for my own point of view.

I don’t think that removing the abstain option would make it better concerning ‘non-participatory validators’.

If the Abstain option is removed they will blindly choose another option that might not express their behaviour which in my opinion is more harmful than allowing for an Abstain.

Indeed, using Abstain constantly isn’t the best use of participation within governance, however, I would prefer it rather than a validator who might not care to be voting randomly with yes/no.


There’s honest reasons to vote abstain (potential legal ramifications)

But yes, most of the time abstain is just abused.

This is all just governance circle jerk theater though. Ill probably abstain this for the thrill.


I figured that some people would, and I take no issue with your stance good sir.

It is my belief that because yes and no have consequences, there will be some thought behind the votes. If a validator is voting capriciously and not explaining those votes, then I believe that finally, redelegations will occur.

I agree with this.

Also with this.

Yes and No do indeed have consequences. If an honest validator has no opinion to express on the matter and the abstain vote is removed, (be it for legal or conflict of interest etc.) should they not participate in that governance matter?

I believe that if there is some way to show delegators that even if a validator has a high ‘participation’ rate, there should be a measure of meaningful participation (i.e % of abstain possibly?) - I think that would be better and that would also lead to redelegations if a validator is essentially free-riding governance.


Yep. If that’s how they vibe on it.

I still haven’t seen a time when abstain did good things. Can think of many times it did bad things.

So I guess what I’m claiming is that it’s better to just remove abstain. I understand that we could have new visualizations and stuff but I think that it has led to a number of perverse outcomes.

1 Like

@jacobgadikian to me, your prop sounds kinda incomplete like that;
it’s a good intention, though; we all know here that governance requires some re-thinking and updating, and the more we will bring that to the discussion - the more chance to figure out something better;
also, it looks like the division only to black\white, which isn’t correct according to society’s nature

  1. yep, a high volume of abstaining currently sometimes turns into rofl and abuse
  2. no, with those jerking on participation metrics, it’s not very fair to just remove abstain option (e.g., prop 818 for citizen and pumpos, or comm spend prop for those who request)
  3. yes, sometimes, as a validator, we are willing to show that we simply don’t care about some specific shit
  4. yes, legal matters sometimes matter (when you are afraid to support some comm. spend fearing some governmental persuasion)

so, maybe we should re-think how abstain affects voting through adjustments in quorum % and % of yes\no for the prop to become a decision? or even add one more “fuck you” option, which, vice versa, will be deducted from the quorum?


I would say that it’s pretty frequent.

I thought about these angles too and check it out, I think that removing amstein actually reduces the conflict of interest. I’ll give you some examples:

  • notional would have voted yes on 104. That was our actual position, anyhow.
  • @pupmos and @serejandmyself would have voted no on 818 and that was their actual position anyhow.

Then don’t vote.

Once again, don’t vote.

So the issue with abstain is that it really does have an effect on outcomes. Therefore in my opinion it’s better to simply not have it.

Plz god no

and both of you would have been dishonest doing so.

i agree modifications have to be found.

just “remove” is a rushed solution.


  1. abstain vote should be renamed blank vote
  2. abstaining is when you’re not voting
  3. blank vote should have different consequences when they come from validators and from delegators
  4. some amount of blank vote should reboot the discussion/proposal and eventually disqualify the initial proposer
1 Like

I do think the abstain vote is helpful in case people have a conflict of interest. My concern with the abstain vote is that it could technically mean that any proposal with a 90% Abstain, 6% Yes and 4% No, would pass.

Something about that seems wrong to me.

Imo, either we stop counting abstain to quorum, or we setup something where if abstain votes > quorum threshold (40%), the proposal fails.

1 Like

How about if voting abstain doesn’t have an effect on anything? For now, abstain was used to fulfill the quorum number.

I am against just simply removing abstain because it most likely lowers participation and increases the challenge around hitting quorum.

There are definite issues about governance but I suspect this just moves how the problem presents itself rather than solving anything.


I’d support that.

Like most here I believe the governance process should be revamped, but simply removing that option does not sound like a solution.

1 Like

Abstain is generally counted to quorum because historically chains have a hard time reaching quorum in their early stages. But considering the Cosmos Hub has such an active governance, I think we’re well positioned to simply stop counting abstain to quorum, but keeping the option there so validators can signal a conflict of interest.

Especially if we ever more to a governator system (can we please :pray:) where validators who don’t care about governance can opt out and any address can become a governator, this should likely play out well.

We could also consider reducing quorum to ~35% if we’re concerned about reaching the threshold without abstain.


FYI, not counting abstain to quorum, does fix the problems with abstain.

I would still view it as kind of a this schedule organ, but I would also say that probably it makes sense to break off into a little informal working group and have a chat and maybe see if we can set alarm one option or the other.


@jacobgadikian my reading of James’ comment is some on chain analytics would help frame and quantify the problem of Abstain.
For instance, how often has it helped unpopular proposals pass by helping the vote reach quorum, e.g., Prop #89 Ecosystem Vids by Cosmic validator (Y 27%, No 26%, Abstain 47%,)

If you recall, in Prop #82, because abstain is neither in numerator or denominator, “No” votes were working as “Yes” votes. Because voting No just reduced the NWV percentage. Voting No on 82 made it more difficult to reject the proposal w NWV.

I don’t think we can have a simple proposal to remove Abstain. We need to investigate impact to quorum, and consider whether threshold for quorum must be lowered.

We also need to consider whether a change from simple majority to simple majority to win is also needed eg 2/3, 3/5.

Thank you for this comprehensive discussion on the matter of the abstain vote within our governance framework. Recognizing the valid concerns raised by some members regarding the potential misuse and adverse effects of this option, I would like to offer some alternative perspectives in favor of retaining, rather than entirely removing, this feature. After careful consideration, I present the following reasons why the abstain option is valuable to our community:

  1. Contribution to Quorum Requirements: Abstaining from a vote is more than an expression of indifference; it’s a conscious choice with essential implications for our decision-making. By aiding in reaching a quorum, it enables a broader evaluation of proposals, fostering a more robust and inclusive process.

  2. Facilitating Participation for Non-Technical Voters: The Abstain option serves as a vital tool for community members who may not possess the specialized knowledge to grasp intricate technical matters fully. For example, I sometimes use the Abstain vote on technical proposals or technical changes since I don’t know if adding or removing certain technical functionality is good or bad. By choosing to abstain, non-technical voters can consciously acknowledge their limitations, rely on the expertise of those more knowledgeable, and still actively participate in the process without feeling pressured to make a potentially uninformed decision. This ensures that the voting process remains inclusive and respectful of diverse levels of understanding, encouraging all community members to engage in governance according to their comfort and expertise.

  3. Expressing Neutral Stance and Potential Conflict of Interest: The abstain vote may be an essential tool for transparency, allowing participants to articulate their neutrality or potential conflicts openly. This nuanced option helps us avoid misrepresentation in voting outcomes.

Potential Solution: Prohibiting Validators from using the Abstain option

Restricting Validators While Allowing Community Members to Abstain:

  • Middle Ground: Regular community members may use the abstain option, valuing its roles while preventing Validators from abstaining.
  • Strengthening the Process: Ensuring Validators make clear decisions minimizes potential manipulation and aligns with their key responsibilities.
  • Balances Rights and Responsibilities: This approach fosters flexibility for community members while upholding Validators’ responsibilities.
  • Potential Challenges and Critical Analysis: Implementation must carefully define roles and communicate differing rules to maintain fairness and effectiveness.

By prohibiting Validators from using the abstain option, the system can minimize potential misuse and manipulation by key decision-makers. Validators are generally expected to have a more comprehensive understanding of the topics. They are therefore expected to take a firm stance of either “Yes” or “No”.

Balances Rights and Responsibilities: It strikes a balance between allowing community members the flexibility to abstain while holding Validators to a higher standard of decision-making.

I acknowledge the potential pitfalls and challenges of the abstain option, yet I firmly believe that outright removal might overlook underlying complexities. I propose a collaboration to reevaluate the abstain vote’s structure and impact. We can utilize its benefits by crafting clear guidelines and adjustments while minimizing drawbacks.