Being a nominator is not a passive "set it and forget it" role as you may be used to from other networks, where you stake your tokens once and then receive ongoing staking rewards.

As a Nominated Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism, nominators play an important role in the security of the network. They are rewarded for their efforts, but they can also be penalized.

What should I keep in mind as a nominator?

As a nominator on Polkadot, you have actual skin in the game and you carry part of the responsibility for the good behavior of the validators you choose. 

For example, should your active validator get slashed for bad behavior, your stake will get slashed, too. Therefore it is important to carefully select your validators from the start. You are actively contributing to the security of the Polkadot Relay Chain with your choice.

  • To educate yourself on how to select the best validators, check this article
  • To understand what slashing is, check this article

Another reason why you should stay actively involved is to secure the continuity of your staking rewards.

So, to maximize your rewards, it is advised to keep track of your payouts as well as of the validators you picked regularly, to see if you have to make a new validator selection.

  • To learn how to check your incoming staking rewards, check this article.

There are some factors that might result in not getting staking rewards, the most common being that you may nominating with less than the minimum amount of DOT required. Please check this article for a detailed list of things to check if you are not receiving rewards.

In summary, you have two main responsibilities as a nominator on Polkadot:

1. To pick trustworthy validators for the benefit of the network

2. To optimize the staking rewards payouts for your own benefit 

To begin your staking journey, we recommend checking the articles here that will guide you on how to use the new Staking Dashboard.