Increasing Voter Participation

Hey everyone. Our last on chain vote did not pass. It will be resubmitted, but this is worrying because the DAO needs to be able to pass these votes to function. These votes are in many ways just a perfunctory thing since all the real decision making happens on snapshot, but they are the events that actually make those snapshot votes a reality. Only 5 people voted, even though gas was cheap this weekend.

Because these on chain votes are omnibus votes (they contain many different actions), not passing them means that YAM holders, Yam Employees, and also our product users are going to be inconvenienced. Employees don’t get parts of their paychecks. UMA rewards don’t get paid out to Degen/Yam Synths users. New initiatives like Cometh liquidity gets delayed. These are all bad outcomes.

There are a few solutions that I can think of (but I am open to hearing others!):

  • Reduce quorum requirements. This could be part of the solution, but it won’t get more people voting. It also reduces treasury security and potentially increases the power of the core contributors.
  • Do more whale and community outreach to get people to vote. This is probably something that we as YAM core contributors should do more of no matter what. It would entail describing what is in a vote and why it is important that it gets passed. There was little fanfare around the last vote and I assume many people didn’t even know it was happening. If this just becomes “whale outreach” then we are perpetrating an existing power structure that implicitly benefits the core team. While I believe that the core team has the best interests of YAM at heart, we should be striving to democratize and decentralize our governance process and not rely on benevolent whales and contributors.
  • We can do more to improve and incentivize vote delegation. While delegation may lead to some amount of vote centralization, it is still a better outcome than votes failing, or relying on whales to get votes passed.
    • Vote delegation is very convenient. I have delegated my YAM to Nate, and because of that I have “voted” in every proposal. Of course, I need to trust Nate to vote in the best interests of YAM.
    • Now, if we all delgated to Nate then that would be a problem. But if we can build a network of community delegates who are interested in understanding the votes and will vote with what they believe to be the best interests of YAM, then this could be a good stopgap.
    • Numerous other projects has robust delegation models:
      • Gitcoin, Uniswap, Synthetix, and more.
    • If done correctly, I hope that this may form an additional layer of governance and participation in the DAO beyond the core team.
    • With the upcoming tip bot implementation we can create an easy way for delegates to be reimbursed for gas costs to vote.
    • If people like this idea then we can create an easier interface to select delegates when registering to vote and add channels to discord to make communication better.
  • Look at ways to make voting less expensive. Even though voting on this last proposal happened during a period of low gas fees, the cost of on-chain voting over the last few months has been significant enough that people who would have voted did not, and the habit of voting has not been maintained. Beyond gas-fee reimbursement for delegates, we can explore other ways to make voting less expensive, including looking at Gnosis Safe-snap, or eventual L2 migrations. These are not short term solutions though and should not be relied upon. They also have big trade-off and may not be the best use of scarce resources.

In order for YAM to be successful we will need a robust community of contributors and the infrastructure that lets them contribute and succeed. Voting is the linchpin in our governance system and we need to do as much as we can to make sure it proceeds smoothly and furthers our goals of fairness, decentralization, and pushing the boundaries of Defi.

I am interested in hearing the opinions of those of you who may or may have not voted recently about what kind of things would be helpful for you to vote more and which, if any, of the solutions above sounds like things we should work on.
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Addendum
If anyone would like to read more about how governance in YAM works, I have written a comprehensive post here: YAM Governance Process Analysis and Questions and another with proposed changes (some of which have been enacted and other not) here: Proposed Updated Governance process (v0.1)

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I think i would like to see delegation as well. It’s something they implemented over at Indexed which is a smaller project like yam. I think the core community members that would likely be receiving delegations would do well because of the commitment many of them have. I for one missed the vote this weekend as well as i was in miami for cringefest 2021 and did not even really get back online until today. Not a great excuse which is why i would love to be able to delegate my vote

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There have been a number of times I click into to vote only to hit reject after seeing the gas fees. There have been times I’ve just said fuck it and voted anyway, even though my stack isn’t large enough to move the needle much. Perhaps there is a way to reduce friction to delegating? I’m happy to delegate, but short of DMing for an address, I’m not sure how to. Is there a place to see a list of folks that we could delegate to?

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Thanks for the responses @poopster and @mrmiah. I agree that gas costs can be a real deterrent to voting, especially for smaller holders.

I see delegation as the “easiest” fix for this problem right now, but the current interface to delegate is not very user friendly. You need to know someone’s address to delegate to them. This is something that I would like to see incorporated into our upcoming website refresh: a smooth interface to delegate like the one that gitcoin just put out.