I haven't written one of these posts in a while as I honestly got tired of being ignored for over a year, but we've finally reached that inevitable point where rewards are changing, because as many of us saw early on, there's really no choice if we want the platform to survive. Today I'll share my thoughts (again) on the problem with steemit's rewards breakdown and why PALnet is doing something different, regardless of what happens in the next hardfork.
We need to first establish some baseline concepts that some people seem to struggle with. First is that value is entirely subjective. Equality of opportunity does not equal equality of outcome. In general, human beings act in their own self interest and while some of us find moments to rise above this "human condition," the overall trend remains the same and currently dictates the norm.
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.
If we're going to ever have a content driven economy with real world value attached to it, via advertisement or other means such as a rewards pool, then we have to realize that consumers are just as important as the content creators. Sure, the consumers don't come without the content, but the content has no value without the consumers so we end up with a bit of a chicken and the egg scenario when it comes to creating the value. Steemit's problem is that most people are trying to be a content creator and the platform has little to no actual consumption of the content.
The consensus reached with the PALnet team was to go with 50/50 rewards for authors and curators. This is a more balanced approach than steemit is currently using, but there is some thought out there among my fellow deep thinkers that to make a content driven economy we'd actually have to push things further. I'm not saying we will or plan to with PALnet, but I want anyone that reads this to honestly consider what could happen if the split was more like 20/80 in favor of curation.
The general theory is that while self voting would still remain the most profitable, the twenty percent sacrifice to upvote the best content would be a worthwhile investment to anyone holding tokens and curating as a source of income. Driving new traffic and users to the site while also focusing the vast majority of the rewards on the top quality content would increase the value of the platform as a whole. There is also the likelihood that people wouldn't post unless they felt they were delivering the absolute best quality content possible, as they would need to gain the support of lots of stake holders to make their efforts worthwhile.
In the previous example, sure the author may only get 20% of the rewards, but if a post is naturally valued in the hundreds or thousands of dollars versus the current dynamic where a natural $10 post is far from the norm and the author only gets 75% of that, then we can deduce the author would be earning significantly more even with the smaller percent of the rewards. The curators also wouldn't feel like they were just giving money away and wasting their time curating. It's a win-win-win as everyone's getting paid and the platform features and supports the best content to bring in new users.
The point of all of this is to hopefully grant some perspective as to why rewards have to change. We've tried the current method for far too long and it's resulted in less engagement and the poorest content quality I've seen on the blockchain since this all started. Most professional content creators left, most curators don't bother anymore, and no one but bag-holders are making any money and the value continues to decline as they pay themselves for the privilege of holding tokens. We didn't get stagnate, we started deteriorating.
If we can look at the simple facts stated at the start of this quite verbose post and understand that people generally do what is in their best, short-term interest, then we have to align the rewards model in a way that makes them doing so also be in the best interest of the platform. People need incentive to hold tokens, which is where an increase in curation rewards comes in, and we need to get rid of the garbage spam, which is where less author rewards come in. We have to find the right balance and that will take some experimentation.
It's not about paying quality content creators less, it's about getting people to actually use their stake in a positive manner that benefits the whole ecosystem and removing the incentive to spam by making it much less profitable as it does nothing but devalue the whole platform. Of course this all just my perspective and I already know not everyone agrees, but hopefully it provides some food for thought. Much love.