Official guide is misleading

There is an official guide being mass distributed on reddit and other forums that is promoting an unhealthy network, misleading delegates, and is generally unethical. The guide was written by a few SPO’s who’s staking advice ironically funnels delegates to their pools.

I am willing to rewrite this guide using delegates’ best interest, not the interest of a few SPOs.

Are you talking about this link here? Cardano Community Support FAQ

  • As may be deduced from the “Community” in the title, that guide is not really “official”. It is, however, true that it is widely used as a reference by the moderators, when people ask about selecting a stake pool. There simply seems to be no other good guide.
  • Could you be more specific in what you find misleading? Especially, if you choose to go so far as to call it “unethical”. I don’t see anything wildly wrong in there.
  • Is it your personal preference – already expressed in other threads – for pools with very high pledge, correspondingly low leverage?
  • You could try a pull request on the repository linked above. Or you could try first discussing it here and gaining support for your changes.
  • Less allegations and more concrete change requests would be nice, though.
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The main sway of this guide is to have stake delegated to people not pools, based on merit. This is a proof of stake network, not proof of merit, not proof of identity, not proof of anything but stake. The network relies on stake. The document should instead guide delegates into behavior that is best for the network, best for them.

When staking with a pool, the first and foremost think you’d want to know about is the pool operator and his/her presence in the community. When things go south, you should be able to get in touch with the owners/operators of the pool.

This a sign of an insecure pool. A lot of people know the owner of DIGI or BCSH. It’s super easy to find then go burn down their house where the pool lives and/or harm them to destroy the pool. This is just an example and by no means my intention nor should it be anybody else’s. A wise operator and/or somebody with a ton of pledge is doing their pool a favor by being anonymous. The guide’s recommendation here has nothing to do with the pool at all, it is a social preference.

The entire ‘Number of pools run by operator’ section is unethical. The guide literally tells people to avoid certain pools by name, despite these pools having good performance among other favorable traits. Avoiding pools with a 1,2,3, ticker is an incomplete method of avoiding multi pools and leaves the actually threatening sybille attacker alone - the one secretly running a thousand pools. The only sure way to thwart multi-pool behavior is to maximize your rewards. Back to knowing your operator, it’s super easy and free to create many social account to give the impression of many identities. Pledge costs money.

The ability to contact the operator. Again, this has nothing to do with the pool or the network. This is a social preference.

While in theory, rewards against a pool are optimal at saturation point

Not a theory…

you would ideally want to be stake with a pool whose Live Stake is somewhere between 5% to 70% of saturation point

No, ideally you would delegate to 100% or even 90% would be a better suggestion. 5%? come on…

Pool Pledge
note that at the current protocol parameters, the overall difference for rewards is not hugely affected

This is basically telling people to ignore pledge.

Pool Margin

This is basically telling people to ignore margin.

It is strongly recommended to *NOT* run towards a 0% pool

An outright bad suggestion.

I agree. I’m in the process of writing a completely new guide that focuses on network health using IOHK’s design as a model. I do not believe this current guide is salvageable.


This one

Whats wrong with giving credit to the people who are writing and updating this community website?

I mean it has nothing to do with an “offical guide” but it seems that this guide is currently the best we have and thats why we are sharing it.

This guide does more harm to the network than it does good, IMO

i strongly disagree with that statement.

Im fully aware that this guide doesnt comply with the IOG design specs but imo its important that we have multiple good SPO’s and we dont achieve that if small pools doesnt get a chance to grow. Because if we dont, we will have a very centralized network with a few SPO running +20 pools.

This phrasing is toxic and promotes sybille behavior. What is preventing a single person from running a thousand ‘small’ pools? Pledge… Just because a pool is small does not mean it is entitled to stake.

If we ignore pledge, as this and many other guides recommend, we will end up with a few SPOs running thousands of pools, not 20+ as we currently do.

So you would prefer an unhealthy dying network over one that can be relied on for immutability? You can’t will the network to be strong while ignoring its design. Ambassador’s words carry extra weight. You should be careful suggesting that people ignore the design that makes the network secure.

The a0 effect is close to zero and thats why it doesnt really matter if there is alot of pledge or not. The theory behind this is theory but the reality is something different at the moment. Its not about how much you are able to pledge, its only about your reach. Look at all those pools from 1PCT or any other pools with close to 0 pledge.

This has nothing to do with me being an ambassador. I dont have to agree with everything IOG or the CF does just because im an ambassador. Id even say this is one of the reason to become an ambassador. Always think for yourself and criticize when appropriate.


This is provably untrue. Guides and ambassadors are telling people pledge doesn’t matter. That is why multi-pools thrive. The general population has been made to believe a lie. Pledge only works if people believe it does.

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a protocol has nothing to do with “if people believe”. There is simply not enough incentive that people would care about pledge.

For example :

30k Pledge

300k Pledge

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I strongly agree with the problem identified by @Tom_Stafford here:

The guide says:

When staking with a pool, the first and foremost think you’d want to know about is the pool operator and his/her presence in the community. When things go south, you should be able to get in touch with the owners/operators of the pool.

And Tom says:

I agree.

I am very concerned about “doxing” myself and having this linked to my pool’s pledge. I therefore have no social media contacts listed for my pool. Consequently, my pool ranking is very handicapped by sites like adapools despite my greater than 100% luck and very high pledge. Furthermore, all these help guides informing that people should get to know their pool operator are exacerbating the problem.

This all has led to unfair ranking systems which are not based on performance.

Advertising pledge is like walking around saying you are a billiionaire. It is just asking for someone to hit you over the head.

I do understand what you are saying here but you can also have a connection to your delegators while you are anonymous. For example via Telegram or a twitter account. You dont really have to expose yourself.

But as i already said, this guide is not an offical guide. If you arent happy with it, feel free to write a new/better guide.

Also those rankings arent from an “offical” side. If you are unhappy with them, feel free to reach out to the devs from adapools.

Come on! Let’s be serious.

A pool ranking system should not depend on whether I can appeal to the adapools website owner for him to think that I am a good guy so that he can modify his opaque ranking system behaviour.

I actually don’t care what adapools says. The problem is that the community has been conditioned to believe it matters. Which brings us back to Tom’s point about the guides.

Not sure what you mean to be fair.

Adapools is using their own ranking algo. Or what ranking are you talking about?

I dont really think that this guide has such an impact ^^ As i already stated above, the pledge effect is like negligible and thats why people dont care about it.

This guide is spammed on reddit. People going to reddit for their education aren’t exactly the brightest and are likely not to do further research.

Please stop saying this. It is subjective at best, but provably inaccurate. Yes, pledge has little effect within the range of sybille attackers, but when pools consolidate their pledge it has a significant impact. If BLOOM were to run one high pledged pool instead of a bunch of moderately pledged poos they would show noticeably higher rewards.

If 1PCT were to consolidate into 1 pool they would also show noticeably higher rewards.

Your comments are really inaccurate and people like you are directly and impactfully contributing the the multi-pool state of the network.

Pledge ranges from 0 (bad) to saturation ~69million (great). Your examples are super close to bad range. You also used a reward calculator this is providing inaccurate values for pledge benefit, as I showed in a different thread.

300k isn’t very high pledge and I believe falls outside of k desirable pools.

Of course, it is proof of stake. The success of a pool depends for the main part on the stake delegated to them. But that does not tell us, how to choose a pool to delegate to.

Cardano was deliberately designed, so that users choose a specific pool by identity. That brings the people into it. That allows to delegate to mission-driven pools, to pools run by people doing great work for the community, to pools based on perks like ISPOs or NFTs, … and it also makes it at least sensible to consider communication channels with the pool operator to get informed of changes, because you actively have to change delegation, e.g., if a pool gets shutdown.

And this does not seem to be against the idea that at least Kiayias of IOHK has about staking:

You don’t have to like this “personalised” form of staking, but it is so deeply built into how staking works, that another PoS chain may be better suited.

Anonymity is also a social preference. Given that the protocol is built in a way that I can choose, I want to know, where the profits that I help generate with my stake go. But, okay, a guide could/should maybe be neutral with respect to this question.

I tend to agree that multi-pools that are very far from 51% are probably not a threat to the network and something totally different than the exchanges and funds controlling huge percentages and those are still something different than sybil attacks done in secret.

It’s not soo super easy to really convincingly emulate an active single pool operator across several social media, contributing to the community, … Making pledge more important would restrict pool operation to really wealthy operators. Do we want that?

“In theory” does not mean that it’s just a theory. And the point that close to 100% there is a risk of oversaturation is real.

5% is too low. True. With the current parameters, the part of the curve, where it doesn’t make that much of a difference starts at, I’d say, 20%.

It is somehow true, nevertheless.

There is a proposal that wants to change that and it contains some calculations on the current situation:

Yes, you are right that pledge could make a difference. If there were lots of public pools that were pledged in the range of 50% of saturation, tens of millions of ADA, that I could choose to delegate to. Are there? Haven’t seen them. With the pledges that are usual at the moment, they hardly make a difference.

I am not sure if enforcing pledges in this range really helps decentralisation as you claim it. It would restrict the possibility to run profitable pools to a very small group.

I think these arguments massively overstate any need to communicate with the pool operator. The truth of the matter is that you really don’t need to communicate with the pool operator at all.

It will be a rare event that the pool operator shuts down his pool or changes the percent fees. Furthermore, in such circumstances it would be better to have your wallet recognise the change from the blockchain rather than relying on social media notifications.

It is also quite possible to provide information, resources or help to the community in ways that does not require disclosing your personal identity via social media. The pool operator can even provide proof of donations or proof of support for whatever particular cause etc.

The problem is that the community education, reinforced by pool metrics on sites like adapools, significantly penalises pools that don’t publicly disclose their identity. Unfortunately the pledge mechanism thereby puts these pool operators at risk.