Image: modified screenshot from steemit.com
Self-voting and "vote farming" is a hot topic here on Steem. It is no secret, that a couple of accounts get along quite well from self-votes, wealthy friends, or well-staked alt accounts. Some make no secret about it, others try to hide it. There are controversial discussions on how to tackle this and whether it is a problem or not. After all, it is (at least in most cases) the authors very own stake and there are no technical measures in place to avoid rewarding no one but yourself. On the other hand, how should a system like Steem work if we'd all switch to PoW...
I have looked into self voting and low-diversity voting (e.g. voting for only the same small number of authors) a bit more than a year ago here:
The main take-away from April 2018 was:
- By total vote value, self-votes make up around 6% of all votes.
- Low-diversity voters (accounts giving 80% or more of their vote value to up to 6 authors) make up 12.8% of all votes by value. Excluding bid-bots, cleaners and dapps, this even makes up a fifth of all remaining vote values!
(How) Has the situation changed since then?
Context: Voters, authors and total vote rshares
The graph shows the number of distinct voters and authors per day since the beginning of 2018. As a rough trend, both numbers have mostly decreased throughout 2018 and are currently at around 40k distinct voters per day and around 7k authors per day (incl. root posts and comments).
What may be surprising is that the number of rshares used to vote increases steadily:
Included here is also the share of the total rshares coming from bid-bots and dapps. The big dip mid Sept. 2018 was the introduction of HF20 where the chain was unusable for a couple of days.
Self-votes and low-diversity votes
"Finding" self votes in the blockchain data is easy, since it's just checking if the voter is also the author. However, putting the wealthy-friend or alt-accounts into numbers requires a bit more complex analysis. I have selected the following metrics:
- total value of all self-votes
- total value of all votes where the voter spends 80% or more of their votes by value to up to 3 accounts
- total value of all votes where the voter spends 80% or more of their votes by value to up to 5 accounts
- total value of all votes where the voter spends 80% or more of their votes by value to up to 10 accounts
All 4 metrics are calculated based on the blockchain data from all 1-week periods since January 2018 until July 20th 2019. I have compared the resulting rshares numbers with the total number of rshares of the corresponding week. Here are the results, first in absolute scale:
And the same in a relative scale, compared to the total number of weekly rshares:
The results from April 2018 with around 6% self votes are consistent with the numbers here. What's remarkable is, that the total value of self-votes (and therefore the SP/Vests used to self-vote) has hardly changed throughout 2018! With the overall increasing number of vote rshares per week, their relative share even decreased to around 4% of all votes by value. There's a slight increase since the start of 2019, but I wouldn't have been surprised if the rates increased much more...
Around 7-8% of all votes by value are currently coming from voters that spend 80% or more of their vote value to 3 or fewer authors, 10-12% to 5 or fewer authors. We can take this a step further and compare the self-vote and low-diversity vote values to the total vote value excluding those from dapps and bid-bots to put that more into relation of the "active-user" SP:
This lifts the self-vote rate to around 7-8% of all votes by value and the 3-author voters to 12-13%. The 3, 5, and 10-author voters roughly kept their relative share despite the increase in the number of voting rshares.
- The absolute value of self-votes (and therefore the SP used to self-vote) remained mostly constant throughout 2018 and is only slightly increasing in 2019
- An increasing number of total vote rshares made the relative self-vote rate even decrease to currently 4% by value.
- With the current rshares-to-sbd value, self-votes make up roughly 500 SBD per day
- The value of votes from voters voting only for the same small number of authors follows the same trend, but is significantly higher with 7-8% for 3-author voters and 10-12% of 5-author-voters.
- Overall, I would have expected a much higher percentage of self votes and low-diversity votes. Nevertheless, a couple of well-known expected and not-so-expected voters with a low diversity pop up with these metrics.
Are you interested in your own vote distribution? Check
with your username.
Tools and Scripts
All data for the analysis has been queried from @arcange's SteemSQL database and fetched, processed and plotted with python and matplotlib. The scripts to reproduce the results and figures are in my GitHub.