Abstain 101 & its many misconceptions

Proposal Name



Hide the ABSTAIN results from displaying prominently on snapshot user interface (UI),

Author Description

Concerned DAO member FURIOUS ANGER.


The abstain results are prominently displayed on snapshot’s UI; I believe they influence the way votes are being cast. This is unfair as abstaining voters may be encouraging an outcome unknowingly.



Since special council decided to ABSTAIN from voting I noticed this added a large amount to the abstain field, which is a very impactful visual at multiple millions, especially due to the order it will show now (heaviest vote count gets top spot). This information was/is certainly not public knowledge, and I believe without this context community members are being unduly influenced by this ever burgeoning ABSTAIN count displayed.


Steps to Implement

Few clicks of the mouse, possibly 10-15 minutes, maybe DAR would post a reply if this were incorrect.


24-36 hours after vote conclusion.

Overall Cost

Costs ZERO dollars (because we have people employed who are paid to complete these tasks).

Proposals submitted to the AIP Ideas category can be vague, incomplete ideas. Topics submitted here are not required to be submitted as a formal AIP Draft Template, however, you may still use the template if you wish.


Hey @furiousanger ,

I understand your concern about the high number of abstains in proposals, but I don’t agree that removing the abstain option from the UI is the solution. Abstaining is an important right for voters who may not have enough information or knowledge to make an informed decision, and it should not be taken away from them.

Instead, we should focus on educating and informing ourselves about the proposals so that fewer people feel the need to abstain. It is not healthy to have proposals with a majority of abstains, but we should address the root cause of the issue instead of taking away an important option for voters.

-Mr. Hype :fire:


Looks correct to me. Here is what I see with “Hide Abstain” turned on and someone votes to abstain (on testnet):

To clarify, here is the same proposal with two voters, one For and one Abstain:


One more point to clarify - for “hide abstain” to work, the admin must select “Basic Voting” for the Voting System.

Right now on snapshot, the voting system is being selected as “Single choice voting” and the admin is typing in three choices.

Using “single choice voting” does not appear to work with the “hide abstain” setting.


I don’t think we should hide it, we can learn from it to improve it to the long run


It’s funny how few months back it was put up as AIP to include " Abstain " and now this lol


And it’s just the beginning… we will see this and others topics like that will show up

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It will be a child’s game by that point.
"Hey I don’t like this remove this, but I like this "


I think the ‘Abstain’ button serves an important purpose for voters. It allows them to express their choice to abstain from voting without being forced to vote for or against a proposal. Without the ‘Abstain’ button voters may feel pressured to choose a side even if they don’t fully support the proposal. We can’t overlook the fact that it’s important for the DAO to hear a range of perspectives on proposals, and the ‘Abstain’ option provides a way for voters to express their neutrality or uncertainty. Keeping the ‘Abstain’ button in the snapshot UI will ensure a fair and transparent voting process

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Aww you used my AIP as an example! I hope it broke Abstain vote records just so I can feel something.

I totally see your intent with this; however, seeing Abstain votes allowed me to reach out to some voters to ask for their feedback. It was cool. Abstain is an option in regular politics and those are hundreds-year-old systems so while politics itself can be oh-so-dumb, the voting and other basic governing mechanisms exist often for a good reason after going through many iterations.

The real problem (imho) is that DAO reps have to vote Abstain. But there isn’t a fix for that - “whitelisting” certain wallets to not appear in Abstain count (but still appear if they vote For or Against) is a software change on Snapshot side, most likely, plus gotta remember to remove them later, etc.

The solution that I think works is this:

  • allow Abstain vote, but
  • remove Abstain from public view, and
  • let AIP authors see Abstain votes

This, again, is a software change probably on Snapshot side.

Thus, just removing Abstain altogether, as proposed here, does as much harm as good. If not more as it will force people to either not participate at all, or rush to vote without doing full research/reading.

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This was my belief when I advocated and voted to add the button, @br00no tried to educate me, and make me understand that the button wasn’t what I initially though, which is same as you - a tool to be used when a lack of understanding or time is a factor - I now know what the solution to that issue is, it’s simply not to vote.

Br00no makes a much better argument than me on this topic, one of his points to me originally was that the button encourages and enables people to be lazy, not make a choice, and this is not what we should be wanting to see. If you are too busy or lazy to read it all, or have a lack of in-depth knowledge to understand the nuances, then simple answer is not to vote.

I hope Br00no adds in to the thread, however there are other threads live re the same issues, I just wanted to compile it all into one as i think they are fragmented now.

Tl;dr - I once thought like you, but now after seeing it in action, how could I have been so stupid.

Tysm, Perfect as always. :handshake:

I have a lot of respect for @furiousanger and I am supportive of challenging the need for the abstain option . However I still believe that having the abstain button is overall a good thing. Just not voting is very hard/impossible to differentiate from not engaged.

Having an abstain button allows an judgement to be made on who is engaged even if they don’t choose to vote positive or negative on a particular option. The alterative is forcing someone who wishes to be engaged to get off the fence.

Is that a good thing? That is a deep topic that has been discussed in the original decision to add the abstain button.

I would suggest we could answer that question after a period of time by looking at the data and making some assessments from it. Community engagement rates, qualitative assessment of the AIPs passed under the two regimes etc.

In summary great question, imo we should delay answering it until we have the data to compare the results from when we didn’t have an abstain option to when we do, over a 6 month or year period.

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Hi Dar,

Thanks, this is another great option you raise - there’s also an alternative choice - we could hide the abstain button from the UI by default, but still let it be an option in voting - instead of simply removing the vote choice altogether - as the thread progresses I hope to get a feeling of which the community will prefer and maybe adjust the proposal and then leave open for a further 7 days after the change. Again, tysm

Hi Evil,

100% - “I was blind but now I see.”

Let’s get this fixed!



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100% agree we will see more like this to correct or adjust our failures and/or improve on them.

Thanks MH

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Hi Apboatt,

I can relate to how you feel regarding the use cases but if that’s the only reason (lack of time and/or understanding of proposal up for vote) then why not simply abstain from voting altogether? Why does one feel the need to register a vote on something, when he or she does not understand or has not got the time to understand it, unless simply for the desire to farm rewards and/or seem active.

Issue we have right now is that multi millions of abstain votes are made by the special council and/or stewards (not too sure even today if stewards have a united position like SC do, maybe @Amplify could speak a little to this). This imho strengthens the case further to remove the ABSTAIN option - for people who know we don’t need to keep being told and for those who don’t know they can see it as a ‘slight’ towards the AIP, or perceive there to be a possible issue, many therefore follow SC) lead and abstain too - this is not what we want. I submit that the information on why SC abstain is not ‘common knowledge’, voters are confused as to why they are doing it, new entrants even more so, and if you don’t understand something or have the time to read and understand what is being proposed, then simply walk away - maybe we can add a small tick box on thankape and farmers still get rewarded?

You say:

“Keeping the ‘Abstain’ button in the snapshot UI will ensure a fair and transparent voting process.”

What would be ‘unfair’ and ‘untransparent’ in removing the abstain button?

Remember we had almost a year without the option - so by your own statement that would make all votes prior to the abstain addition unfair?

I look forward to your reply as I wish to convert you as @br00no converted me.


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Hi Sasha,

I always feel that our goals are in alignment always, and I totally agree with the above statement. I did in fact use this exact same line to advocate and argue for button.

I don’t really know how to reconcile this part, except by saying, that you do know multiple millions of the votes are those controlled by special council, so most will be made up by that number, actually that is a good point - @Vulkan - do you think you could give us some data on the number of abstain votes on last two votes that were SC and Stewards and break them down for us, who owns which etc? Is that possible please - I’m happy to do any leg work needed - these figures would help me also understand further, as after speaking with @BoredApeG the other day I learned his votes are labelled as his DAO - if I didn’t know this then a vast number of community members will also be unaware I believe. (Tl;dr - breakdown and identify which votes are sc and stewards in the abstain field from last two votes please.) This will give us data to work with - LFG

So how do we overcome the loss of this important tool? If anyone has any suggestions, or if any previous AIP authors can chime in, on the a) amount this has been utilised in the past and b) other ways we could obtain said data, if at all possible.

I think it is a choice, and as a choice it means it can go the other way if wanted. It also therefore highlights it’s unimportance - why do we keep needing to see this reinforced every vote - they abstained again, but we know that, they abstained again, but we know that etc etc. I suggest that it may seem repetitive to me, but for new entrants that is not how it is perceived. And even if this information was made public, how would we disseminate it, with our great communications channels, lol. I hope I made a point there that is understandable.

Tl;dr - agree we will lose a tool, how valuable that tool ever was/will be is questionable I now feel, hopefully Vulkan will compile some accurate data we can use to assess this soon.

Thanks Sasha :handshake: :handshake:

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I like these solutions so wanted to highlight them in a separate reply - happy to see what the community consensus is and adjust AIP as we move forward if needed.

:handshake: :handshake:


Hi Hangout,

Back at ya - lots of respect for you as you know - I think the line above states perfectly my position.

I think data will help, maybe hiding the option for now is the solution, or maybe there is an expert in the wings who could comment on the psychological effects visuals have on voting outcomes, maybe there have been studies or tests? I definitely agree this is a much larger topic, maybe research can help us understand the implications, if any, until then maybe hiding it is the best option? I’m open to this certainly and will see if there are any materials online we can use.

Thanks HO, pleasure as always :handshake: :handshake: