On 50/50 for Steem, You'll never believe what the real problem is!!!



Did you fall for my clickbait title?

Lately I've been super excited about PAL and most of my posts have been focused around that, but I finally want to say something about Steem and the proposed EIP.

Until now I hadn't really said much about it because I was on the fence about how I felt about it. I've pretty much sorted my thoughts enough to share them.

I think there is a fundamental misdiagnosis of what the problem on Steem actually is.

Let's start from the end result from the user perspective and work our way backward. The lifeblood determining whether Steem will live or die is users. The user is the key resource. Without users we have nothing. We can have the best tech, we can have 10,000 apps, we can have SMT's, the perfect balance of economics, none of it will matter if we don't have users.

So what is the overwhelming user experience on Steem?(simplified)

  • Extremely hard to setup
  • Hard to learn the basics of whats going on
  • Hard to discover relevant content(Hard to engage)
  • Hard to have your content discovered(Hard to receive engagement)
  • Hard to earn from your content

I doubt I'd get much pushback that these things are problems on Steem. Where I feel like the misdiagnosis is coming in is WHY these things are problems.

I'm just going to quote @clayboyn here because his is the most recent post I've read about this, but this perspective is pretty common.

The current problem with curation and vote selling on steemit stems from two core problems. One is that self voting is the most profitable thing to do and getting rid of it won't solve the problem as people can just make multiple accounts to vote themselves. The second major problem is that curation is basically asking someone to give away 75% of their potential earnings because someone did something and if we can accept that value is subjective, then it's only logical that the thing the person did doesn't provide enough value to the other person to make them voluntarily give up resources that they could give themselves.

Don't get me wrong. What's stated here ARE problems. But these problems only arguably affect the last two problems I listed for a typical end user.

  • Hard to have your content discovered(Hard to receive engagement)
  • Hard to earn from your content

But in my opinion, for the vast majority of users it doesn't even cause these two.

I don't think it makes sense that less than 100 accounts(large stakeholders) will be able to support healthy curation for this entire community, especially if the userbase grows. We can't have a system dependent on whales. For strong sustainable growth we need a strong "Middle Class". We need 100k engaged minnows. One million votes worth one cent. If we had that, it really wouldn't matter what the whales are doing.

So how do we get more users?

We start by looking at the user experience and solving those problems.

  • Extremely Hard to Setup
    Truth be told, I think @steem.ninja is as easy as this can get right now. I think the best every app can do is put this in new users face as the preferred method of account creation.

  • Hard to learn the basics of whats going on
    Invest in tutorial videos and make them accessible ON THE FRONTENDS. They are almost completely useless on a separate website without any reference to them on the actual sites that users will land on. As you involved peeps probably know, there is http://steemonboarding.com/ Oh, you're reading this post and didn't know this existed? Yea, that's the problem. The quick bandaid is to just link to this site on the frontends, in users faces. If you've read my previous posts, you know I think you shouldn't have to go to a different site to learn about a product, but this is better than the current status for sure.

  • Hard to discover relevant content(Hard to engage)
    This is where it gets hard, and where I might get a lot of pushback...

Proof of brain doesn't work as a means of curating content. Period.

It was an interesting idea, but the proof is in the pudding. The financial incentive destroys the typical psychological relationship that a user would have when upvoting and downvoting content. This is a quote from @nealmcspadden on @clayboyn's post that I referenced earlier.

I have to admit that I have found myself doing more upvoting on pal than I have on steem, and it’s explicitly because of the 50/50 reward structure.

In the past on steem I had this mental calculation going involving my voting power, how much the post has already gained, how rich the author account was, and what other uses I had for my steem power.

Now on Palnet, I’m just like fuck it, have an upvote. I get half of it back anyways.

I think what this user is describing is fairly typical, and the point here is that a typical user on Steem is thinking about a lot more than, do I like this content? How much do I like this content? Upvote or Downvote. They're thinking about a whole host of different variables that a user on Youtube, Reddit, or any other upvoting and downvoting platform never have to consider, and for a lot of people, I think it has very little to do with content quality.

So what is the solution?

I think there is a short term and a long term solution to this. The short term solutions are Communities(or Tribes) ie content filtering. On PAL, which is shaping up to be the first Steem based community success story, it's still content agnostic, it's everything, but most of these communities that pop up will be more niche, this is a HUGE step forward in solving this problem, but there will need to be MANY more of them.

Which means another aspect of the solution for this is just more users that are engaged at the level to start their own communities. I think the wheels on this could be greased by having a nicely designed GUI for SCOT, Scotbot and Nitrous setup as well as tutorial videos that take you through the entire process. Ultimately it would be great if starting a new community was as easy as creating a sub reddit.

Long term solutions would be machine learning and AI. Google, Facebook, and Twitter are collecting huge datasets to best serve you relevant ads, but also to serve you relevant content. I think it would be a good project to start developing an open source content curation algorithm on Steem. I think this could be one of the single most valuable additions to the toolsets here. I know Steeve was trying to do something along these lines, not sure where that went.

The value proposition that these huge tech giants offer are extremely well designed easy to use tools. Gmail, Google Drive, Google Maps, Instagram, Whatsapp, etc. and a HUGE userbase, so everyone and their content are already there. Engagement is incredibly high. We have to ask, how do we convert them? What value do we offer? What useful tools? What entertainment? The crypto rewards are not enough.

  • Hard to have your content discovered(Hard to receive engagement)
    This is really the same fix as the previous.

  • Hard to earn from your content
    People online are used to not being paid for sharing their content, but they're also used to extremely high engagement, and idiot proof user experience design. Currently I don't think we can just jump straight to products that compete with centralized conterparts. They have endless supplies of money and we...well don't. We should be aiming for BETTER, not perfect. Every new user that's on the blockchain is another opportunity for you to earn their attention.

This is why I'm excited about Steem Engine, Pal, Nitrous etc. But I'm also excited about 3Speak and what they're doing over there. It's BETTER, these projects are all making moves in the positive direction. We WILL move slower than centralized more money than God corporations, but as long as we're moving forward, thats what counts.

NOW! I said all that, but I haven't mentioned the EIP or 50/50 curation yet(on purpose so you got to the bottom, unless you cheated, you cheater)

I don't think the EIP will fix all our problems, not even remotely. I don't think the worst abusers are going to suddenly turn into manual curators, and I don't think everyone is going to necessarily earn more, but...I do think it will be better than what we currently have.


The good thing about so much stake being in so few accounts, is that if just a few change their behavior, it can have a dramatic impact, and I do think some will, and if just some do it will be better, it could potentially be a lot better.

What about the small accounts that can't earn anything from curating?

Here is the harsh reality. Nobody owes you their attention, you have to earn it. People like to talk about shitposts and good/bad content, but good content is content that someone else values, period. It doesn't matter if it's a 200 word essay, or a meme, if someone learned something, felt entertained, laughed, cried, or you just managed to hold their attention for a few minutes, before they moved along, it's good. People who read my content know I diverge from the crowd when it comes to downvotes, which I think should only be used on abuse(which probably makes more sense now that I've come out of the closet on having no faith in PoB). We need users, and downvotes on posts that are NOT abuse, just make for a worse user experience. You can try to whitewash it all you want, but all you're going to do is run away our most valuable resource.


  • The problems that you think are the problems are not really the main problems.
  • The EIP won't be a cure all, but I think it will put us in a better place than we are now.
  • PoB failed, let it die with dignity and lets find something that gets results.
  • Downvotes used for anything but fighting abuse are counterproductive to the growth of Steem.

Whew, that was long. If you actually read all that, congrats, you're a trooper, for extra credit leave a comment and tell me what you think.

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I think when it comes to the content production/consumption portion of this massive blockchain, which is only a fraction of what's happening here, we need to focus less on guiding content producers and more on guiding and gathering content consumers.

Every producer here is dying for more consumers. I saved my SP because I thought this would be a vibrant community by now and I'd be using that SP to reward consumers. Instead, I'm playing both roles, like so many others here.

I agree with giving consumers more in the form of curation rewards, if that leads to thousands of smaller votes on my content. I'll be able to boost their rewards when they comment, with my votes. The most successful content producer on this platform should be able to offer the most incentives. I've been ridiculed in the past for upvoting commentators to give them a boost in the curation reward department. Someone actually said I pay people to laugh at my stupid jokes and that's the only reason they show up. If someone walked into my shop and I offered them a free coffee, I suppose I should be ridiculed again and be told they only show up for the coffee. That makes no sense. Consumers enjoy incentives. Buy a coffee, get a muffin for 39 cents.

Focus on consumers, guide them, reward them.

An actual content producer already knows it will be a challenge. I don't understand why so many show up and expect a handout for nothing more than Facebook like status messages. You'd need a massive following for that approach to pay off, but they do it right out of the gates. The easiest way to blend into the crowd is to avoid doing anything special. You don't want to blend in as a content producer. Does my blog look like I'm blending in? There's a big blue picture that says 'vagina' on it. Anyone brave enough to click got entertained. I earned a little bit.

Millions of youtubers have yet to earn a dime after working for over five years. I don't know why people expect to get paid here. It's supposed to be hard, and making it hard adds value to the token. If they were just handing them out, they'd have no value(that's why paid votes with ROI are a bad idea). It's money, one most actually do something to earn it.

Content discovery is another thing that bugs people. I don't know why they're looking for content though when they should be looking for personalities they enjoy. If you write about trees, fine, but nobody follows a tree. Add your own personalty to your tree posts, and people become interested, because they are now following someone, instead of a tree. I enjoy motovlogs on Youtube. Not all of them though. Only the ones with interesting people doing the vlogging, and I hope to see some nice scenery as well while they yap away about whatever they think will entertain their viewership. The boring guys don't make any money. The interesting personalities make bank. The main reason why people grumble about content discovery is because they're looking for specific content rather than personalities.

When it comes to adding value, again, I believe we should be focusing on gathering consumers and offering incentives.

I wrote these two recently:


And I found myself critiquing and rambling under a post where I said:

Say a content producer churns out 260 pieces in a year, working Monday to Friday.

Content producers ask for donations these days.

Someone sends them $100. Okay, fine, but now that money is gone.

If someone were to come here TODAY and spend approx. $100 on STEEM, allowing the content consumer to give the content producer a vote worth a penny each day(approx. 250 STEEM), the content producer earns $2.60 per year before deductions, from each consumer who spends $100.

If the content producer had 10000 followers willing to "donate" $100, that's a million, down the drain.

The content consumer will be asked to donate again, and might spend another $100. A few years later, another $100.

If the content producer had 10000 followers willing to buy enough STEEM for a vote worth a penny, that amounts to $26000 annually before deductions to the content producer. The content consumer does not need to spend another $100 to support that creator the next year. The 10000 followers willing to spend $100 can also support nine other content producers with that same initial investment of $100. 10 content producers, 10000 followers spending $100 each, that's $260000 annually.

Spend $100 to be able to donate $26 annually, for life. That is a great deal if supporting content producers is something you do with your money. The consumer also gets a return on that $100! The deal of the century, if supporting content producers is something you do with your money.

Nowhere in the post above do I see 10000 people purchasing 2.5 million STEEM. Do I need to explain what happens to the numbers when one creates high demand for STEEM? Things like the fact, as the value of STEEM rises, that vote that was once worth a penny also rises, without the need to spend or "donate" more money.

In the post above, I see a bloody handout and infrastructure that COSTS money. That's all. It's not even written by someone who realizes they're currently working in the entertainment industry.

The post above part has nothing to do with your post. I'm too lazy to reword that comment to make it fit better here, but I feel those words are important.

I mean, that's what a measly ten content producers would be able to pull off.

One of the main issues with Steemit is the fact people weren't able to see how a content producer can bring in money. I've been adamantly pointing out how now for quite some time and like most of my views, and though I hate to sound smug, it takes the community quite awhile to catch up.

Anyway, I could keep rambling, which is truly what I'm doing now, but I think we're even because yeah, that was a long post.

I agree, we've got bigger fish to fry than just the rewards issue. I think waiting on steemit inc to fix condenser is a lost cause personally, tinkering and manipulating our own version of it can get interesting though. I already see things I want to change and we're all constantly bouncing ideas off each other to improve. The future of STEEM is going to get interesting, but I don't think it's going to have much to do with steemit.

  ·  작년

I agree with what you said, but there is this small delusional part of me that just hopes against hope that Steemit will just GET THEIR SHIT TOGETHER, PLEEEEEASE. It would be SO much easier if they just stopped sucking so much.

I read through the entirety of it, and I think you are right, as always :) Surprise! .... Maybe not so surprising? :thinking emoji:

Steemit is VERY difficult to parse for the average new user. I have had to hand hold a few new comers through DM sessions over discord to make sure that the platform retain these new talents. But I dont think this is doable over larger numbers of new joiners. Even mentoring a few takes a lot of my time as they don't understand anything about the gamification aspects of the platform. Some of them come from the rewards aspect, but not all, interestingly.

Some come for the appeal of joining a smaller platform in where they can still get noticed. And yet, Steemit has the habit of confusing the bejeezus out of new people. Why one post gets upvoted and the next post which is even better does not? What is Steem Power? What is Resource Credits? The recent ads-heavy interface of the main Steemit page does not help the average user experience, either, I think.

Anyway, your solutions sound like they would address the problems as you have identified, so I'm hopeful the movers and shakers should read this and take notes :D

As for me, I have to say that engagement IS super difficult on Steemit, and oddly I've been having better engagement at the bigger and more established social media places. Which is counterintuitive to having a smaller platform's appeal of being able to get noticed easier....

PS. Thanks again for all your help and posts about PALNET, @midlet :D I've staked my PALcoins and I'm going to continue to use palnet.io and support it \o/ It's one good thing that is happening on the platform at the moment and I'm happy about it :D :D :D

Right on, There needs to be an easier way to get people involved and they need to see the rewards of their involvement early plus structured.

  1. If they come in here and spam crap they should be flagged and shown better.

  2. For those who come in here with a great first post they should be rewarded for it. - Perhaps an early tip that shows them how to stake it and why they should stake it. (This would be the key users you want to have stick around)

  3. Steem itself is rather centralized and the market cap on steem is actually low which can subject it to wild swings in prices like we saw in 2017-2018.

The biggest issue on steem, the rich just keep getting richer no matter how hard you try. I think I have a lot at 35k steem but it is nothing compared to the few larger accounts with millions and hundreds of thousands of steem that do nothing with it besides continue to grow their pile.

  ·  작년

Well what I'm hoping for is that Steemit can learn from Palnet and first off release SMT's, then let an SMT handle distribution on Steemit and use the inflation of Steem to fund other needed areas like Marketing. They could also do a claimdrop of that SMT and not invite the worst abusers to the party.

Yes, that was long, and yes I read it.

And yes, I'd say you're principally right about the problems we have... but I think we have a much larger overriding problem which is that 90% of the people are are engaged on this platform from a business perspective, rather than a content creation perspective.

Consider these two answers to the question: "Why are you on Steemit?"

  1. "To make money. Which I HAPPEN TO do through creating content."

  2. "To create social content. Which I HAPPEN TO get a reward for."

Although the net result might ultimately sound about the same, the approaches are vastly different... and I have my doubts we can solve any of our woes till to start downplaying the whole to make money angle as the driving motivator for the entire community.

  ·  작년

First off, thanks for reading all that. After writing it I looked at it and even I was intimidated.

Anyway, I agree with you on the fact that what you mentioned is a problem. I don't think the solution though is downplaying the earning aspect. I think it's identifying that there will more than likely always be two "classes" here.

The "working" class ie people who primarily earn through authoring posts, and the "investor" class, ie people that earn primarily through curation or delegation.

The secret sauce will be FIRST creating value through the applications here that is useful and valuable without the earning variable, THEN balance these two roles so that both can benefit. That's where the economic changes come in. There may be visual changes that can help with this also. One idea I heard recently was on post rewards for authors, only showing what you will actually get paid vs the author and curator payout that then will get cut once the week is over. Not sure if that would help, but it might.

all of that are problems, you are apsolutly right.
but why we need to change things is, some of the big acc are like:

  ·  작년

lol, very true.

I like the idea of having tutorials on the home page.

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Hi @midlet!

Your post was upvoted by @steem-ua, new Steem dApp, using UserAuthority for algorithmic post curation!
Your UA account score is currently 4.208 which ranks you at #2784 across all Steem accounts.
Your rank has improved 2 places in the last three days (old rank 2786).

In our last Algorithmic Curation Round, consisting of 146 contributions, your post is ranked at #18.

Evaluation of your UA score:
  • Some people are already following you, keep going!
  • The readers appreciate your great work!
  • Great user engagement! You rock!

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  ·  작년

Yeah downvotes are the worst, wonder why that doesn't stop anyone anywhere else.. Reddit users downvote by many, many magnitudes more than here, same for YouTube. Saying that "upvotes are subjective" but "downvoting is'only for fighting abuse'" (but not abusive payouts, raping the rewards for everyone for shit content, which though, does not exist because as long as it has value to someone, it's not shit content) is no different than saying that "you can express your encouragement for something with an upvote, no matter how subjective that is, but trying to express the opposite, or your disapproval, is not OK because it needs to be objective (fighting abuse). Sorry bub but that's not running away consumer's at all. What the fuck does a consumer care about downvotes, they absolutely do not give a flying fuck and for good reason, it doesn't affect them what so fucking ever, but I know who's affected deeply, some insecure morons that "it's hard enough to earn on here already please stop stealing my rewards".

"I don't think it makes sense that less than 100 accounts(large stakeholders) will be able to support healthy curation for this entire community..."

This is the factual situation. Simply comparing the media post payout and average post payout reveals this. The median payout last I checked (@arcange publishes these stats daily) was .01 SBD. The average payout was ~15 times that. What this reveals is that whales extract ~15 times the rewards of creators. This is not curation at all, but profiteering. Profiteers extract the value the users provide the Steem community and deliver that value to their wallets, increasing their stake. This prevents the business of Steem from delivering that value to the investment vehicle, Steem, in the form of increased Steem price. This prevents capital gains.

Since prehistory, investors have been able to increase their capital by increasing the value of investment vehicles. Since the advent of stocks, stock prices have provided investors capital gains when stocks have increased in value. Since Steem is the investment vehicle, rising Steem price is the mechanism that would enable investors to attain capital gains. Profiteering directly prevents Steem price from rising, and experienced investors are discouraged from buying Steem because the best mechanism of increasing their capital is not possible. Substantial stakeholders of non-Steem assets are experienced at investing for capital gains, and there is no good reason for them to be interested in becoming serial self-voters or bidbot funders to profiteer from Steem rewards, as is the essential mechanism producing ROI on Steem due to the extant code encouraging profiteering from rewards. Steem wasn't coded by experienced investors, but by clever devs, and that inexperience has induced the discouragement of capital gains.

Profiteering is not a new development. In stock corporations, hostile takeovers of corporations has long been undertaken by profiteers that then profit from the sale of the assets of the corporations. Such tactics can be profitable, but do not create rising prices of the underlying investment vehicles, stocks. In fact, profiteering eliminates the value of the underlying investment vehicle and that value is extracted into the wallets of the stockholders - just as Steem encourages. In fact, it is surprising to me that Steem has not been completely stripped of value already.

Steem is one of the best tokens and blockchains in existence today, and social media has proven over the last decade to be the most profitable business model in the world, as the FAANGs demonstrate. I think that, coupled with the difference between extracting the value from producing content (which does not depend on presses, forges, or other machinery that can be sold, but is created by individuals that cannot be sold for profit) and selling company assets, is why Steem still has any value today. Steem whales lose the ability to manipulate rewards if they sell their entire stake, and thus retain nominal stake to enable their profiteering. Regardless of the persistence of Steem due to these details, the profiteering mechanism excludes capital gains as a mechanism of rewarding investment, and this excludes experienced investors that are uninterested in becoming serial self-voters.

There is a simple mechanism that can end the profiteering and enable capital gains, and that is to limit the rewards that can be extracted from content. If a whale can cast an upvote that earns 100 Steem that return is able to provide nominal incentive for the work required to self-vote, or delegate to a bidbot for a substantial percentage of that reward (in exchange for not having to do any more work to gain that return, similar to how the owner of a rental property will pay a property management firm a percentage of the rental receipts in exchange for managing the property). If the maximum rewards potential from a post is limited to a fraction of that, there is no longer nominal financial reward from self-voting or bidbots. If dozens of self-votes or bidbot vote sales are necessary to attain 100 Steem, the return is no longer worth the time to gain it.

Limiting rewards to some reasonable multiple of the median payout (I have used Huey Long's 3% to 300%, but any algorithm that reduces payouts to an amount that is not economically viable for profiteers will suffice) will eliminate profiteering, and leave capital gains as the means of profiting from HODLing Steem.

While payouts will be limited in Steem rewards to creators, as the price of Steem rises due the value of content being delivered to the investment vehicle, the actual financial rewards content creators receive will increase as the price of Steem rises.

Investors seeking capital gains will then be able to seek them by purchasing Steem, confident that profiteers will not extract that capital, and will have incentive to seek to increase the value of Steem, to produce increased capital gains.

EIP increases the financial return able to be extracted by profiteers, and will make this problem worse. It is likely to be adopted, as the vast majority of stakeholders of Steem today are profiteers. If I am right, the price of Steem will fall after EIP. If it rises and remains higher, I will be proven wrong.

The proof is in the pudding.


It has been determined that you are trash, therefore, you have received a negative vote.

PLEASE NOTE: If you engage with the trash above you also risk receiving a negative vote on your comment.


I am glad you have the inability to grasp the consequences of blatantly extorting Steemers by threatening to flag them if they deploy their stake and comments freely. The malignant impact you have on Steem is clearly and obviously apparent, as making such threats on a platform whose primary justification is free speech and censorship resistance shows.

Thanks for proving my abhorrence for you and your actions appropriate and necessary.


It has been determined that you are trash, therefore, you have received a negative vote.

PLEASE NOTE: If you engage with the trash above you also risk receiving a negative vote on your comment.


I learned a lot reading this. I cannot believe they had to downvote it , that took a lot if work! This is the solution right here, limiting the upvote like you said. There is no reason for them to be flagging you! I hope someone listens!


It has been determined that you are trash, therefore, you have received a negative vote.

PLEASE NOTE: If you engage with the trash above you also risk receiving a negative vote on your comment.


Any who see this are able to consider the implications of this threat of censorship to themselves and the platform. If you have self-respect and the courage to effectively counter the self votes of this censor profiteering from censoring on Steem, I encourage you to do what is necessary to prevent censorship being profitable on Steem.

Flagging this profiteering from censorship is necessary to end the threat to the platform it is.

Please take action to eliminate the rewards self-voted by the above censor.



It has been determined that you are trash, therefore, you have received a negative vote.

PLEASE NOTE: If you engage with the trash above you also risk receiving a negative vote on your comment.


As you see from the threat of downvoting any that speak freely on this platform - and that it has been carried out, and the self-voting that has enabled the censor to profit from doing so, the extant code poorly functions to oppose censorship and profiteering. EIP will make that much worse, and even avail this censor of free flags to make censorship more profitable.

Thank you for having the courage to speak freely despite being directly threatened in writing with being downvoted in reprisal for speaking your mind. Please take direct action to reduce the profit being taken by the censor by downvoting the comments they have self-voted with their horde of bots to the maximal degree possible.


It has been determined that you are trash, therefore, you have received a negative vote.

PLEASE NOTE: If you engage with the trash above you also risk receiving a negative vote on your comment.