Block-Change You Can Believe In!

2년 전


"What’s wrong with Steem/Steemit?"

This is a question that I’ve seen asked many times over the past two years, but it has essentially been the topic du jour in recent weeks. This question comes from new and old users, large and small stakeholders alike. It’s becoming increasingly undeniable that there are real, observable problems with the entire social media aspect of the Steem ecosystem.

Something is broken. People have noticed. It can’t simply be wished away.

Many users have offered their opinions about what exactly is wrong and how the many issues can potentially be fixed. I know of several people who tried to get out in front of all of this and have been critical of the decisions that have led to the current mess, who offered alternative solutions to some of the perceived problems that many felt needed to be resolved, and who warned about removing/changing protocols that had a specific and coherent rationale behind them. These people have been vilified for consistently identifying the root causes of the degradation of the social element of this platform and the allocation of the shared reward pool. These people have been vilified for trying to hold others accountable for their poor decisions that have affected every user of this platform. These people have been vilified for daring to speak out against the failed leadership.

Yet here we are today, witnessing the very same criticisms that these people had made a year ago and since then...but this time, those criticisms are coming from other people – some of the same people who were contributing to the prior vilification – and now they are being handsomely rewarded for it in many cases.

Ignoring the hypocrisy and general douchebaggery of many of these now-critical users, let us look once again at the problems most of us are seeing and let me offer my opinions about the causes, then get into how we can potentially resolve them. I expect that this will likely be ignored again and that any solutions will likely never happen, but at least nobody can say that I “never offer solutions” (which is ridiculously ignorant in the first place).

"Why does Steemit suck?"

I’m sure we’ve all seen this question asked – or a question similar to it that tries desperately not to offend the sensibilities of the resident fluffers and cheerleaders – but what exactly does it mean? Are users not happy with the rewards? Not happy with their audience? Not happy with the design and function of the website? Not happy with visibility?

The truth of the matter is – all of the above are a problem. The flagship website (whether we want to be the flagship or not, it is) is horrid for a social media site in 2018. This directly impacts visibility and engagement. It directly impacts the user experience. It turns people off as soon as they arrive, without even getting into the economics of the platform and the relatively high cognitive load of the system in general.

But the website isn’t the main problem with why things generally suck. We know STINC (Steemit, Inc. – yes, it’s a play on “stink,” and no...I didn’t come up with it originally) isn’t interested in delivering a usable social media product. Expecting them to actually improve the website and bring it into the 21st century is absurd. You’re only going to be disappointed. And the website isn’t the root of the problems around here. It’s merely a consequence of one of the many bad decisions made during the life of the Steem blockchain.

The initial distribution – what is referred to as the “ninja-mine” – cannot be undone. The only potential remedy to this would involve burning a large amount of the accumulated supply by the ninja-miners, which we all know isn’t going to happen. But there are still other solutions – other protocol changes that can be made that would directly impact blockchain investment and social media behavior.

(For the record, when I use the word “investment,” I am referring only to speculative investment of STEEM and other crypto tokens.)

So, if Steemit sucks, then what are the causes of it? Initial distribution can’t/won’t be resolved. The flagship social media product won’t be improved. What’s left?

Bots? Account creation exploits? Vote buying and selling? Spamming? Various other forms of vote scheming and scamming?

Again, all of the above are potential issues that we see on a daily basis. Over the past year, we have seen a massive increase in pretty much all of them. And for the past year, the sources for this influx of blockchain and social media refuse have been pointed out. Very few have cared enough to pay attention. Many have actually defended the decay of the social aspects of Steem and Steemit.

Now that it’s the cool thing to do, let us examine the causes and see if we can’t find solutions. And no, I’m not going to sugarcoat anything.

How do blockchain protocols affect user behavior?

Economic incentives are what drive economic behavior. Steem is an economic platform above all else. It’s known as the social media blockchain, but the underlying mechanics are token creation and reward allocation based on how much one is invested into the platform. The incentives offered to us in the form of STEEM and Steem Dollars are what drive us to participate in the ecosystem. If our desire is a vibrant social media atmosphere, then the incentives must be aligned properly with that goal in mind. If our desire is to bleed the rewards dry with mundane, plagiarized, or spammed content, then the incentives must be aligned properly with that goal in mind as well.

The first question is, what do we want?

The way things look today, it would appear that the blockchain protocols have been aligned with the latter goals. There are no economic incentives to be responsible, accountable, or engaging. There’s no economic incentive for having integrity or for creating engaging or entertaining content. Users can spam and plagiarize, upvote their own spam and plagiarism, and then collect rewards without ever receiving a corroborating vote from another user. It’s practically consensus-free rewards allocation from the shared pool and it can be done without even investing a single penny, thanks to delegation and the account creation process currently managed by STINC, which has been exploited time and again.

Even without the account exploits, this is a problem for a consensus-based blockchain and a social media platform. Popularity – whether deserved or not – is the foundation of social media. The entire concept of “viral” and “trending” content is rooted in it.

Reward allocation is supposed to be at least partially based on what is popular on Steem/Steemit. How can something that nobody sees be popular? Why are rewards allocated to it when only the user publishing the content has ever voted on it? Where is the corroboration from the other stakeholders? Why should a single user be able to allocate an essentially guaranteed sum of rewards to themselves or another user with a single vote? What does that have to do with social media and popularity?

Prior to hard fork 19 last year, this type of reward allocation was somewhat mitigated by a superlinear algorithm for post rewards. The general idea behind the superlinear curve was that it would have to take a larger number of and/or more invested stakeholders to corroborate rewards allocation on a specific post, which would then increase the rewards more rapidly as more users upvoted the content, making it “popular” and sending it to the trending page. The larger the stakeholders voting on the post, the easier it was to trend – large stakeholders being the ones with the most to gain or lose by pushing good or horrible content onto the trending page.

Yes, the trending page has pretty much always been “broken.” And yes, the superlinear curve was too “super.” There had been many discussions about the reward curve. Many nights were spent in chats where some of us discussed for hours at a time possible solutions that were less than superlinear but could help achieve the same goals of popularity and still mitigate exploits. In none of these discussions did we ever think that a completely linear “curve” was the solution.

Weeks later, this became the recommendation from a small handful of users and then made its way into the proposed hard fork from STINC. And sure enough, this protocol change was rubberstamped by the top witnesses at the time.

The rest, as they say, is history.

No coherent rationale was offered as a replacement for the previous rationale of the superlinear reward algorithm and the abuse mitigation that it provided. It was as if abuse mitigation wasn’t even an afterthought. Protocol coherence went right out the window with linear rewards and many other changes made over a series of hard forks.

It’s no surprise that shortly after implementation, user behavior changed drastically.

Economic incentives were now aligned with less voting and, in particular, voting mostly for yourself. Linear reward allocation and the 10-vote daily target (making a 100% vote worth 4x as much as prior to hard fork 19) were the culprits for that incentive. This was predicted.

With the implementation of hard fork 18, delegation was possible. And when hard fork 19 came along shortly thereafter, delegation was further and massively incentivized via vote-selling bots and Steem Power leasing schemes. This was about the same time that accountability and engagement took a swan dive into the spam and shitpost abyss. Large stakeholders were able to disengage, lease their SP to anyone willing to pay, and then collect liquid payments for the lease. Those leasing the SP had little incentive to be good stewards of the power they rented, since they weren’t actually invested in the system.

It’s no surprise then that the number of vote-selling bots exploded, being operated by scammers, by sock puppet circles, and by those generally uninterested in the actual quality of the content or the effects of their vote-selling schemes on the system in general. Remove the purpose of stakeholding/vesting in the Steem blockchain and what you get is a system of irresponsible and unaccountable users – the exact opposite of what DPoS is supposed to guard against, in theory.

Delegation provides the means to easily circumvent such accountability and impacts the integrity of the system. Linear rewards make it more lucrative for those participating in the circumvention, thus greatly incentivizing those who can best exploit it. This leaves no other option but to merely hope that the lessors and lessees will behave according to our desired goals, despite no economic incentive for them to do so. And if anyone else refuses to participate in these new schemes, they will likely be left behind as the exploiters take advantage of the misaligned incentives and increase their collective influence.

It mostly becomes a race to the bottom.

I could be wrong.

But am I? I’m simply providing my opinion here on what I’ve seen over the past year and how things have changed from the year prior. These aren’t my complete thoughts, but they generally describe what has happened since hard forks 18 and 19. I’m sure some people will disagree with the causes of the issues here. Others will even pretend that there’s nothing at all wrong and will continue to shill and cheerlead and call people names for having the nerve to be critical about anything at all, ever.

Let them blow smoke and give their handies to anyone in their echo chambers and bubbles. I’m not interested in that. I like to see improvement and progress, not staleness, repeated failures, and empty promises.

Regardless of what you may think about me or my opinions of what and where we went wrong, I know that my critiques are well-intentioned, even if they are blunt or harsh. If you have alternative opinions about the root of the problems here, feel free to share them. But just know that you’re probably wrong. (Calm down. That was a joke. Mostly.)

What are my solutions?

Last year, I discussed many of the problems we were seeing back then and offered solutions for some of the issues – solutions that didn’t involve making huge changes like delegation and linear rewards. Some of these proposals were quite popular among many witnesses and large stakeholders at the time, but ultimately fell on the deaf ears of STINC and any other coders out there.

At this point, there are so many problems with the blockchain protocols that it would be a miracle to unravel the mess and fix the code to realign incentives that would encourage both investment into the blockchain and revitalize the social element of its interfaces. Nevertheless, I’m willing to offer my ideas, fully understanding that they will most likely never happen because there’s a seemingly vast amount of ignorance around here when it comes to economics/investment and what exactly social media is.

And then there’s the fact that those in “leadership” positions have no real incentive to put in any effort whatsoever into actually creating a functional system and/or interface.

Also – these may not be popular suggestions due to the fact that there are so many lucrative exploits/schemes these days that reward doing almost nothing at all, or worse, doing things that are observably detrimental to the ecosystem.

So, with that in mind...

Change the reward curve from linear to literally anything other than linear.

Linear rewards are a mistake. There was explicit rationale behind not having linear rewards in the original white paper. That rationale has not yet been refuted, as far as I have seen. In fact, the readily available data and observable behavior of users demonstrates that it is a failure in practice for the existing blockchain and social media platform. It wasn’t just theoretical. Despite what a “certain asset” has claimed, superlinear was not actually “evil.” It was a somewhat necessary mitigation protocol against exploits and behavior that are now commonplace.

The n2 reward curve was too much. I think almost everyone who was a user for the period of time that it was in place agrees that it needed to be changed. But just as n2 was considered too steep for rewards allocation, completely linear (n) is absolutely not enough to mitigate any exploits. There is a middle ground that can be found and at least tried. Whether that middle ground is n(log n), a sigmoid curve, or nany number between 1.1 and 1.9 isn’t that important, so long as the curve is properly coded and works without compromising the integrity of the Steem blockchain.

More testing should be in order here.

When we see that something isn’t working as intended, it’s incumbent upon us to at least attempt to fix the problem, not ignore it and plow ahead with even more protocol changes. Linearity is contributing to a massive disparity between popularity/“consensus” and reward allocation and it’s making exploits and unpopular behavior more lucrative. It’s about time we recognize this point of failure and actually attempt to correct it.

Remove delegation.

As stated previously, delegation provides the means for disengagement and unaccountability. It’s completely contradictory to the concept of DPoS and its theoretical ability to mitigate abuse.

I know that this proposition will be unpopular. Lots of people are making lots of effortless money from it and some people are actually putting it to good use. But blockchain protocols probably shouldn’t be devised based on the idea that people will just need to act in good faith and police each other in order to prevent exploitation. It’s not a rational or scalable solution.

If there’s a way to skirt responsibility and accountability in favor of financial gain, then that’s what will ultimately happen. The idea is to not provide that mechanism. The protocols should be written in a way that makes this as hard as possible. Absolute prevention is not reasonable, but we shouldn’t create the vectors for abuse or exploitation. We shouldn’t encourage the degradation of integrity by making it easier to achieve and making it more lucrative.

We have repeatedly witnessed delegatees acting completely irresponsible with their voting power, whether it has been used to simply upvote themselves or their friends, to turn around and sell votes with that delegation to spammers, plagiarists, and what is considered to be “shitposting,” or to blatantly scam other users by promising a variety of undelivered “services.” And no matter how many times it’s discovered and publicly identified, it still continues – even from the same delegators and the same delegatees.

This will only get worse as the platform scales, if it’s not adequately addressed. The best way to address this type of issue is to make the appropriate changes to the blockchain protocols, not by asking nicely for the exploiters to please stop exploiting or by asking spammers and "shitposters" to please stop renting delegation to reward themselves from the shared pool for unseen/unpopular content.

And let’s not forget the elephant in the room, which is the sign-up process from STINC.

Due to the delegation hard fork, STINC has been able to switch from actually paying for account creation from their pool of ninja-mined stake to simply delegating and undelegating stake as needed in order to create accounts indefinitely.

The results have been abysmal. Sign-ups still take weeks and some potential users are never approved (for a variety of reasons). Massive bot-nets (including one that was over 20,000 accounts) have been created and approved by STINC’s so-called “manual approval” process. Accounts that exploit/spam the network are able to do so for prolonged periods of time before delegation is finally removed...if ever.

Accountability is often non-existent.

The question we ought to ask here is, if that ninja-mined stake is not to be used/redistributed via responsible account creation, then why did STINC ninja-mine it and why do they continue to hold onto it? The original distribution of tokens has been a huge vector for attacking and ridiculing the blockchain and its so-called leadership. The excuse for this ninja-mine has always been that the stake was needed for account creation and/or other development and marketing of the blockchain. If account creation no longer represents a considerable cost (and may become even less so as a result of proposed hard forks coming soon), then that stake is no longer necessary for it.

The responsible thing to do in this case, in terms of the overall network, would be to burn it. A considerable amount of tokens that are no longer necessary for normal operations would be eliminated and one of the largest concerns of investors, users, and critics could be alleviated. It’s a win for everyone. But as I stated already – I know this won’t happen. It should and it would if we had better leadership, but we are not fortunate enough to have that here.

There should be no more added benefit for an entity such as STINC to change protocols that improve their potential profits at the expense of the integrity of the network. Delegation has done exactly that. For that reason and the other reasons stated above, it ought to be rolled back.

Change the posting rewards split to at least 50/50 for authors and curators.

The investment token on the Steem blockchain is STEEM. If we want to encourage investment (which increases the value for all of us), we need to encourage the buying and holding of STEEM, which means that we need better incentives for Steem Power and stakeholders. Without the speculative investments, STEEM loses value as a traded token and that consequently reduces the rewarded value of content on the Steem blockchain.

Why do we see so many people leasing out their SP for quick liquid payouts or not powering up their STEEM? Because there’s not enough incentive to care about voting on content for curation rewards. When the maximum amount of rewards you can earn is 25% of an entire post payout (it’s actually much less – closer to half of that, around 12%), divided amongst all curators, it’s no surprise that people move to automation and generally don’t care about engaging.

If we want more and better curation, we need to incentivize it. If we want more investment, we need to incentivize it. And if we truly understand that social media is not comprised of 100% bloggers and commenters – that the simple act of voting on content is actually the largest chunk of interaction – then we need to make it more lucrative for content consumers to easily invest and earn for the quality work that they contribute.

Curation rewards are that mechanism for bringing in more investors, for likely keeping them more engaged, and for bringing in a wider base of users that are not solely here to create low-quality content and not promote it, then hope for big rewards...and then ultimately become disappointed for not earning from their lack of quality, effort, and experience with social media and networking.

Change the daily voting target to at least 20 or more daily votes.

Prior to hard fork 19, the daily voting target was 40 – which meant that a user could cast a 100% vote on 40 posts per day and still completely recharge their voting power after 24 hours of not voting.

With the acceptance of hard fork 19, the voting target was changed to 10 votes per day, giving users the ability to cast a vote with four times as much power. If your 100% vote was worth $1.00 prior to hard fork 19, it would have become $4.00 after acceptance, but you could only cast 10 votes per day, ultimately representing no change in reward allocation if your voting habits had not changed (and assuming that the rewards algorithm wasn’t changed, which it was).

In theory, this would be a boon to those who actually engaged less on the platform. It was advertised as a way for these less/minimally active users to “compete with bots.”

In reality, it simply further reduces the incentive to be more active on the platform and, in turn, reduces the incentive to find more/better content to upvote while also increasing the incentive to self-vote. The effect on bot influence seems to be quite minimal at best (no thanks to other protocol changes already discussed). So, it did in fact represent a windfall to less active users while having essentially no impact on bot influence. One could argue that bots/automation are even worse today.

A lower vote target also increases cognitive load by requiring increased fractionalizing of voting power for users who wish to be more engaged, regardless of account size or experience with Steem and its interfaces.

Despite many well-reasoned objections to this protocol change last year, the rationale was apparently ultimately accepted and the protocol was rubberstamped for approval. It was never explained why less active users ought to have more influence than the most active and engaged users on the platform. The argument that self-voting (made more lucrative by this and other protocol changes) would become more lucrative and prevalent was ignored.

Just as the voting algorithm’s superlinear curve was too much and the completely linear “curve” is too low, the daily voting target of 40 may have been too high (I don’t believe it was) but a target of 10 votes per day is certainly too low. In my opinion, the minimum target shouldn’t be lower than 20 and I think that number should at least be tested.

These proposed changes aren’t THE answers.

There is no simple fix to the current mess. There never is. But the ideas proposed here have a better chance of aligning incentives with users and investors than the protocols currently in place. I also want to stress one thing that I’ve stated many times over the past year or more, and that has to do with content creation vs. content consumption.

The vast majority of social media users are not content creators. However, here on Steem/Steemit, there’s an emphasis on creators – how much they can earn, how their content is “permanently” stored, and/or how their voice matters. Most of the arguments about hard fork changes have been focused on making money for content creators and how creators will benefit from this or that protocol tweak or overhaul.

This is completely backwards.

Active users on Steem have been recently calculated at around 60,000. This includes every account making a blockchain transaction, which – most likely – is comprised of mostly bots, trail voting, and a variety of spam. Daily unique visitors to alone have reportedly been around 250,000 – which represents only a 55% market share of the Steem blockchain.

Even if we were to assume that all users and visitors were unique humans and all users were in fact content creators on, we can see that content creators would still be less than 25% of the total. And this is the best-case scenario for them.

The larger market of users who are incentivized to invest in and engage on the platform is clearly the content consumer. But there’s an even bigger point to make here that we simply can’t dismiss:

Those content consumers represent a potentially and drastically larger amount of investment value than content creators.

If Steem/Steemit was marketed as a place for content consumers to make money for content discovery and that they could get started with their crypto earning from a minimal allocation/investment of Steem Power, would we get more or less consumption/curation and investment? If that curation/investment was better rewarded via a posting/curation rewards split closer to 50/50 (or even more in favor of curation rewards), would we get more or less users willing to sign up, invest, curate content, and actually hold SP long-term? If we had more people purchasing STEEM, powering it up, and curating content with better curation incentives, would we get a better or worse pool of content? Would we get higher or lower payouts for that quality content?

In the effort to cater to content creators the opportunity to reach a vastly larger number of social media users is continually missed. In the effort to cater to those who use the Steem currencies to simply cash out and “earn a living as a blogger,” we add to the downward price pressures of the very currency that they need to earn that living. If we simply offered more incentive to the other 75%+ of potential users that could earn their STEEM by being invested and curating good content, rather than being a creator and relying on post rewards, there’s a good chance that we could see more investment, higher prices, better rewards all around, and – most importantly – a better pool of content creators.

The current marketing and incentives cater to people who mostly have no idea how to create good content, don’t know how to network and market themselves, show up expecting to earn a lot of money, don’t invest anything to help with the money-making aspect of the system, then become disillusioned with the entire platform.

This should probably change.

Please consider this when thinking about some of my proposals above. There is a lot of potential value in bringing over successful social media personalities – primarily for their followings. Incentivize those millions and millions of followers to show up and vote/comment – not to create more bad content – and that could be the key to greater growth, investment, and innovation.

Figure out a way to monetize those eyeballs and the additional traffic from better content creators, then distribute some of those profits to users, and there’s your ticket to a true crypto and social media revolution.

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I agree with several things brought up here, but not everything:

Design and content discovery is the flagship site but it is still very poor in terms of content discovery and categorization. It was built as a Reddit-alike posting and linking thing, and then one developer probably in June 2016 decided it shouldn't be like Reddit and allow direct linking. And so it's been ever since. But its overall form didn't change much after that.

Blockchain and culture

Blockchain protocols can help but the culture is part of it too. Protocols can shape culture and culture can shape protocols. Delegation and the bidbots it facilitated incentivized larger stakeholders to rent out their stake and spend less time on curation. This has probably contributed to the Trending page/list being full of what is essentially self-promotion, something the Promoted page was instead meant to do.

Reward curve

The linear reward [non]curve has some advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are mostly obvious. It gives stakeholders a more fair shake at influencing the reward pool, and curation rewards. Between someone who has 100 SP and someone who has 10,000, the influence is fairly distributed. But as you say it comes with problems at the low end of things. It can be difficult to identify and remove rewards from barnacle users seeking to profit from self voting thousands of comments. I call them barnacle users because they are offloading a large amount of drag to the Steem network as a whole for small personal profits, like barnacles on a ship. This was anticipated in the white paper and why the original design included squared rewards instead of linear. And you're correct, the issue was never addressed and it has been up to spam fighters such as @patrice to try to find and scrape off the barnacles.

Mildly nonlinear reward schemes were discussed and developed at length before linear was settled on, and a large issue was that it was not easy if not impossible to use one that didn't have a high performance impact on Steem nodes. The math has to be done, hundreds of thousands of times over. That adds up. For a simpler replacement with addressing the 'barnacle' issue in mind, other witnesses have proposed just raising the minimum threshold at which a post or comment will pay out. Barnacles would then have to get above that threshold on each of their spam posts or comments. I can see plusses and minuses to this approach as well. It disenfranchises legitimate users who might be quite happy to earn 5 cents on a comment of theirs. A minimum threshold would need to be low enough not to disenfranchise too many, but also be high enough that barnacling would be discouraged. I think the two opposing ends of the equation have no reasonable middle ground, as at current prices some of these barnacle types often can manage $0.50+ on a single junk comment.

Votes per day

It was once proposed to lower the vote target to 5/day which I was very vocally opposed to. The change to 10/day I was also opposed to but willing to see how it went. At this point I'd like to see a maximum of 1% VP used per vote, or 20/day vote target. Reducing from 40 to 10 disincentivized curation and further incentivized self-voting. 20 seems to me like a good balance. People more interested in curating will have more influence. 1 vote = 1% voting power is also simple and elegant. Further, 20 votes was the original design, though voting power worked in a different way. Cognitive load is another important point, and it should be minimized.


I do not agree with removing delegation. I believe it does have economic function as a positive price pressure for STEEM. It's also a network rule that many stakeholders profit from and that would be a hard sell to take back. It's DPoS, and up to the stakeholders to decide. It has invited some problems but they can be solved culturally. For instance, just a bit of stake downvoting bidbotted posts to a point of unprofitability will reduce the users of them to mostly people looking for exposure more than profit.

Edit: And it's helped to enfranchise (both in vote power and bandwidth) newer accounts to be able to use the blockchain, without exposing the account creator to too much financial risk in the form of tokens. Yes Steemit Inc mined a lot, and their stake is an issue. But over the long term when we see millions of users, it's true that handing out that much STEEM is unsustainable. We're at a point of growth where we need to set up Steem to work not only now but for the very long term.

Author and curator rewards

Restoring the 50/50 author/curator rewards is something I support because it will have a positive effect on STEEM's price, and thus everyone's rewards. If you make STEEM worth more, its price will reflect that, and as STEEM price goes up, so do posting rewards. I say restoring because it was changed from the original design of 50/50 to 75/25 a while back, as a result of a worse idea being shot down: giving 25% of a post's rewards (taken out of the curator's share) as basically a handout to its comments. I have to reiterate that even though it may seem like a reduction in post rewards, the increase of the value in owning STEEM Power will drive its market price higher. Because post rewards (SBD paid) are dependent on STEEM's market price, this will increase post rewards!


For a simpler replacement with addressing the 'barnacle' issue in mind, other witnesses have proposed just raising the minimum threshold at which a post or comment will pay out.

Yes, I saw these proposals, but I'm not for them. I don't think raising payout thresholds is the answer, particularly since pandering and catering to smaller accounts had been the focus for last year's changes, like linearity. This just adds to the same protocol incoherence and poor reasoning altogether for changes.

It also fails to recognize that small, incremental accumulation of rewards/stake is indeed a perfectly rational and viable strategy for users. I don't think we need to punish all users for problems that can be addressed in other ways - and, in fact, had been addressed previously via protocol.

For instance, just a bit of stake downvoting bidbotted posts to a point of unprofitability will reduce the users of them to mostly people looking for exposure more than profit.

But this hardly happens at all, one reason being that many of the stakeholders have disengaged because of the ability to these bid bots. Downvoting the bid botters in order to make the bots less desirable to use will only harm their new hands-off cash cow.

And I don't think we can assume that people are using these bid bots for "exposure," since the exposure is pretty much limited to Steemit, as far as anyone can tell. This exposure is only desired because of the potential rewards earned via Steem/Steemit. Based on my own observations, these bots are used for profit - to the delegators, to the bot managers, and to the authors. Everyone else is left watching in confused wonder at how post after post of absolute bullshit or even outright scams and the people who contribute to this god-awful "content discovery" and "popularity" can so easily draw a large portion of the shared reward pool.

But over the long term when we see millions of users, it's true that handing out that much STEEM is unsustainable.

Can't that be addressed by creation fees and won't the resulting rise in STEEM prices lower the cost per STEEM? If STEEM is $10 and the account creation fee is set at $2.50, you can create four accounts with one STEEM. If STINC is sitting on 40 million STEEM, they could potentially create 160 million accounts alone. And they would just be providing one service.

I debated on mentioning bandwidth in the post because I saw some discussions on Github where changing the allocation was deemed "too difficult" to calculate and the thread was ultimately closed. But I also think that bandwidth allocation is too generous for new users. I'd like to see it reduced to a level where new users simply can't transact 20-30 times in an hour with something like 5-10 SP.

Network resources probably shouldn't be so easily thrown around, especially to new accounts with no investment. They can interact minimally with the blockchain, but if they wish to engage more heavily, they ought to be willing to invest in order to gain access to the shared resources, which will then potentially add value to the shared rewards.


Appreciate to hear your take on things, @pfunk. One point that may find equal ground is that if Delegation only works party to party and not then on to a third party. May likely have more proof of brain that way.


Could you expand a little on what you mean? SP delegation can't be forwarded to someone else.


My bad. Thought there are brokers that 'rent' delegated SPs. Perhaps they arrange direct swaps?


Yeah, brokers like Minnowbooster arrange the swap and it's up to the delegator to delegate to the delegatee.


Linear reward [non]curve is fundamentally flawed. For the reasons @pfunk pointed out about mildly superlinear I advise for n2.

I don't agree with most of your other points @ats-david but at least we agree that linear is fundamentally flawed.

Mildly nonlinear reward schemes were discussed and developed at length before linear was settled on, and a large issue was that it was not easy if not impossible to use one that didn't have a high performance impact on Steem nodes. The math has to be done, hundreds of thousands of times over.

While reading this I was reminded why I've always liked you. There is no sugar coating, just the "World According to ATS" direct and clearly stated.

Regarding the outrageous lack of diversity in the initial mining, I fully agree that nearly any problem I attempt to analyze ends up being the lack of distribution. - As you stated there isn't a fix to that. (delegation mitigates it in my opinion and could do so even more if it was the desire of those who hold stake)

After that though I just don't have your faith in protocols. The values of the handful of stakeholders are already reflected in the economy and I maybe I am being a pessimist when I say it is my opinion you could allocate rewards in any manner you want and we will end up funneling all the money back into the same hands.

If the large stakeholders were motivated and interested in building a social media site we would have one. Many of them hold plenty of stake to make that happen or at least to drop a few improvements to the Github and ask them to be included in a drop. Doesn't happen. Witnesses who swear they have "Coding Companies" haven't improved a thing. They just run around and complain as if they are powerless minnows. So Stakeholders have failed, the community has failed and developers have failed to bring anything new to the platform.

I think most agree it isn't working great right now, and my point of view is we are churning along waiting for something to change. Most likely outcome SMTs and Communities. Based on SteemIt, Inc's stake and desires I see that as another way for this to work out well. Let developers and community leaders create and develop/fund/enforce their own protocols.

In the meantime, delegation has brought about the most surprising positive change I've seen since the beginning of the project. The Bid Bots. Finally we have a system in place that allows serious content creators to promote their own work without needing the support of the tiny group of people who own stake. Bidbots are risky, and require investment and cause people to pay attention to the type of content that is being promoted. Try to step back from how they were delivered and look at the life they have given to diversify the site. While I admit it isn't always in deserving hands, but it wasn't before either. It seems to me to be improving. While many don't want to spend thousands of dollars to improve their stake a little and still be "Outweighed" by the large holders, many will spend hundreds to get some attention and visibility. It is a model that current, serious conrent creators understand and are not triggered by.

The bots are the greatest equalizer I have seen since the project began. The content issues are starting to work out, because for the first time, non-miners have some say in how the rewards are allocated. I'm sorry this makes some mad, and I am not saying it is ideal. I am just saying it is working.

I am not arguing with what you see as the solutions, but as you stated I think it is highly unlikely any of the suggested changes will take place.

With that being said, I am okay with where we are right now, and I think the community is starting to do a better job of handling content with the bidbots in place.

As someone I respect who is running for a witness position, my questions to you are:

What will you do to try to implement the changes you have suggested?

If you fail, will you adapt to what the current situation is and try to help others learn to cope in the environment we currently have?


How are bidbots risky?


I meant the "Content Creator" will take a risk. Most will not take investment risks on shitty content if they have a reasonable chance to be flagged down.

I love that it is expensive to exploit them continuously, and those who are using them have to face the rest of the community in order for their investment to count. Yes, a few users are taking some undeserved rewards, but for the sake of distribution, I've decided not to be troubled by that.


Don’t they make the money back, though? Doesn’t sound too risky to me.

And getting flagged isn’t a big threat since no one even looks at the trending page, let alone moderates it.

I can’t comment on the quality of the posts - whatever that is - since there’s never anything I’d click on.

Others might. Or otters.

I do think we need more otters.


The bidbot owners in many cases are not the stakeholders. They are merchants, and if you glance through all the different bots, they are varied in who owns them and what they currently own. (new hands)
So, we are basically creating a merchant class. Some might call it a middle class. If your goal is to stop a specific group of people from earning... I just don't have anything to say about that. My goal is to see as many people as possible generate as much money as possible whether I like them or not.

Due to those "middle (wo)men" new people are being rewarded. They are not being rewarded because Ned likes them. They are being rewarded because they were willing to back up their content with stake and put it out there for the community to judge.

Those who are paying attention to trending see what we have a much better selection of content. Much of it doesn't interest me either, but I don't think I am the target audience.

The owners are stepping up the criteria for who can use the bots and who is abusing the bots. The community is flagging more and in some cases have talked the bot owners into removing their votes. It is slow and painful, but I think we are making progress. As ATS states it is a mess and it isn't going to be unraveled quickly.

Otters... You are correct, we are lacking Otters. :)


The disconnect between you and I on this subject is that I never saw a ”need” for a ”fair playground” for everyone. As in I never saw a need for minnows to have that shot to get their stuff to trending right away.

The way I saw it was you were supposed to work hard on your content and network.

Trending was a lot of the same people every day, but legit stuff rose to the top every now and again, still.

Now no one curates and everything is next to pointless.

Unless you’re a stupid bitch who takes her clothes off on a platform full of crypto nerds who like to masturbate to you, that is.

It just comes down to personal preference. I understand that you like the current, sort of more business-oriented direction better - I originally joined for the social media direction.

When it comes down to preference, neither is right or wrong.

But the fact of the matter is that Steemit no longer represents what the original idea was.

Edit: I also think it’s possible that our views are affected by the fact that I was doing well in the old model, while you weren’t.

That makes us prefer one model over the other.


I agree with some of what you said, because the content side will take care of it's self. I am not worried about it... Yet.

I do want to be clear on one point. I also don't care about fair. I don't care about a minnow getting to trending. I care about a content creator getting to trending. Professional, mature content creators are used to this model.

Also, I don't mind if a minnow gets to the top if they can handle the scrutiny.

You are correct, I care about the business model first, because the content can be corrected at any point. If we don't have an audience, content creators will not stay.


I agree that delegation can provide a lot of good. It allows the creation of things like which is one of the most interesting thing steem has going for it in my opinion.

Why don't we just hard fork.

Cut out the whales and stinc, and create a new social network with the changes you suggest?

We could use the coins held by stinc and whales to distribute to new users.

Stinc are now more interested in SMTs and many witnesses in the top 20 are just not engaged and probably working on becoming block producers on EOS.

Maybe it's time to give power to the people

Why don't we just hard fork Ned out?

I love it! Great idea mate!


Looks like you guys came up with an alternative solution. I think it's worth a try.


Honestly that is probably the only way to do it is to hardfork before SMTs come out.

Think about how bad SMTs are going to consolidate wealth once they come out.

I wrote a post about it recently if you wanted to read it.

Basically here is the problem with SMTs.

On Ethereum something like 80% of all ICOs released are scams, they employ astroturfing via "bounty campaigns" and "social media campaigns". Lots of people go around making positive posts about whatever the coin is and invite others to join in. This is akin to the dotcom bubble where tons of investors lost everything due to not understanding that most companies fail while only a few percent continue on.

Since 80% of ICOs are scams(also add in 10% to 15% outright fail and lose 100% of investors money) we can link it with SMTs. SMTs SHOULD roughly be the same percentage. Many ICOs on Ethereum have raised 10s of millions and 100s of millions of USD and are scams or projects that never do anything and just fizzle out.

If we are going to have a hardfork I would imagine that it needs to happen before SMTs come out, or if we hardfork after SMTs come out the HF would have to remove SMTs.

Would love to talk more with you about it sometime if you were interested in doing a podcast or something. I am very much involved in the Ethereum world and see the impending disaster that SMTs will cause.


On Ethereum something like 80% of all ICOs released are scams, they employ astroturfing via "bounty campaigns" and "social media campaigns".

Yes, and here on the Steem blockchain, all of these inevitable scamcoins will be AstroTurfed on Steemit, where the scammers will be able to essentially double-dip on post rewards and the scamcoins. In addition to that, they'll likely be spamming wallet transfers that "advertise" their scamcoins, further adding to the worthless blockchain bloating that we'll see from the creation and exchanging of hundreds or thousands of shittokens. The nodes we have already can't handle larger transaction loads and queries. A single spammer can essentially break the network or at least slow things down to a crawl.

We have people sitting on many millions of dollars who aren't willing to improve the basic infrastructure, but want to significantly add to the current transaction load. And we have witnesses making thousands of dollars a month, but aren't willing to even turn on one full node themselves.

The need for SMTs is questionable, at best. The likelihood that they'll even be delivered or that they'll do half of what the promoters are claiming they can do is pretty slim, given the track record of the promoters. And the people pushing it and supporting the push - the same people sitting on or collecting tons of money to be in "leadership" roles - appear to be completely unwilling to upgrade the underlying infrastructure that will be needed to handle the transaction load.

Lucky us.


Ouch, I didn't realize that one spammer could grind the network to a halt.

That makes me even more worried because these spammers are all over social media with their bots advertising for ETH and spend tens of thousands of USD to do it. Facebook and other places started banning crytpo ads because so much of it is a scam and tricks the low information crowd into "moon money"... Doing a simple wallet transfer for 0.001 SBD is a pretty inexpensive way to spam the network, it would take less than 2,500 USD worth of SBD to send one wallet transaction to 1 million people. Yikes...

And those same people raising all the money for SMTs will have the funds to do a lot more than that.

The more I learn about how bad this is all going to be the more it makes me want to fire up a node to help in the capacity I am able to.

Everything I am reading about the Steem blockchain is proving more and more this is unsustainable for every metric. I am here for the uncensorable aspect of blog posting and it would really suck to see this go away.

I am gonna reach out to krnel and ask him about getting a node up and running as I talk to him sometimes, though I likely don't have the funds to run a full node if it is too expensive.

Voted you for witness.


I agree with almost everything you have written. As I mostly do because you are a very reasonable chap.

The one thing I don't, is with curation rewards. I think something else is needed. Something different. If the curation rewards are upped to 50% I don't see a lot of behaviour changing. Just people piling on to the most popular posts with the desperate idea that it will guarantee them more curation. Which because of the solid numbers piling on to the same posts it most definitely wont.

I wish I had the answer, which I don't. I have toyed with the idea of how scrapping curation rewards altogether would work. Simply because they are not curation rewards.

People believe that if they were scrapped then there would be no reason to vote for people. But they are thinking in-the-box when they think like this. Most decent users I know do not think of curation rewards in the slightest when voting. Someone once chinned me on chat about helping me to maximise my curation rewards because they were sh*te. Obviously I told them to beat it.

What would that mean for the non content producing investors who want to maximise their investment? I wonder if there is some other algorithm that can be calculated. Other than straight up cut of the post rewards relative to stake.

Anyway, look what you have made me do. Write a big long comment like it was 2017. For shame ;O)


I think you underestimate the returns that can be made from voting, especially if curation rewards were bumped to 50% or more. I think we would see a lot less shitposting from invested users and a lot more curation. Generally speaking, creating a post takes a lot more time than scrolling through your feed and voting on the content from your favorite authors.

Just as an example, with very minimal effort, I can earn about 25-30 SP each week just from voting on a handful of posts per day from my feed. If I put in a little more time and slightly tweaked my strategy, I could probably get that to 40 SP or more. Now this is with curation rewards at less than 25% - probably closer to half of that. If we were to double that reward (even assuming that you're now only getting 25% instead of 50% of the post rewards, due to the reverse auction), then I could potentially earn 80 SP per week.

80 x $2.40 (current STEEM price) = $192/week

And the SP is continuously compounded. Even if it wasn't compounded, I could make 4160 SP per year just from voting on content. At a $5 STEEM price, that's $400 per week or $20,800 per year. If this could be done without ever having to write a single word on a post, I think a lot of people would be interested. If that profit could be further increased by guaranteeing a 50% split - which would represent another potential doubling of rewards to curators - we would have a huge incentive to not only curate, but to curate better.

We would also have a lot more people curating content, which would help with wider allocation/distribution and likely better discovery overall. Of course, this would also require some other changes, such as the ones I've proposed in my post. Changing curation rewards alone won't help us achieve any kind of "ideal" voting behaviors.

I have toyed with the idea of how scrapping curation rewards altogether would work.

I can save you the trouble: It wouldn't work.

If there were no curation rewards at all, then there would be no economic incentive to hold Steem Power except to upvote yourself. And if we were all incentivized to simply upvote ourselves, there would be nothing at all "social" about this platform. I would argue that we're already trending in that direction with the current protocols, partly because curation rewards are already closer to zero than they ought to be.

Anyway, look what you have made me do. Write a big long comment like it was 2017. For shame ;O)

Dammit. You tricked me into doing the same thing! How does that make you feel???


I feel awful... lol!

You are right I did underestimate the returns that could be made. I hope that they do something then. Whats the chat in the witness channel, are you really a lone voice shouting into the wind?


I feel like I am most of the time. Based on what I've seen, most of the top witnesses don't think that there are many issues to be resolved. They seem to be really excited about SMTs and communities and lots of other things that we may never actually get from STINC.

You'd be surprised at how little critical thought there appears to be about the actual economics of the platform and the effects on social media behavior. They mostly talk about superficial crap, like their voting schemes and "supporting" minnows or what kind of new app they've created for witnesses to stare at their witness stats.

Besides...half of them run bid bots or delegate to them, so you won't get many honest critiques about their effects or about delegation. Or anything else, really. Most of them don't really understand economics. Some of them still don't understand how the Steem currencies work. Don't comprehend what social media is.

Surprised to see that this place is even functional at all, honestly. But what can you do? They're entrenched at this point.


I suspected something similar with the constant focus on cummunities and SMT's. I for one am not that fussed about communities. There should maybe be better organisation of tags or something similar so its maybe easier to find things but the communities thing to me smacks of trying to copy reddit. Which isnt a social media platform and this is touted as one. Someties some of the stuff I read suggests that some have that reddit mentality. I remember in my first few months here I suggested mass adoption wouldnt really happen until there was a slick mobile app and I was rubbished for it.

And the bid-bots. A part of me hopes that more chancers like monatomic gold man happen along and make e everything look really bad. Maybe it would galvanise somethnig although I doubt it.


Bloody fucking hell, any of them bar him. I must read this one


It's funny how on Steemit this is considered long. This is a small exchange of ideas in the everyday Facebook debates I take part in.

Steemit is a social media for those with severe ADD.


Your facebook debates sound awesome! ;O)

You should see how this looks on my screen, it's like, infinity or something.


Yeah, to be fair, I have a giant-sized screen, so it may skew things on my end.


I'm in Scotland, everything is much smaller here. Even the people, we are tiny


Hah. I actually know that for a fact. A short male friend of mine ended up moving to Scotland because he couldn't get a girlfriend in Finland. In Scotland, he had a shot.


Hahahaha, yeah that would be right. He would have been quite the exotic long limbed giant here.


:D Funny how I got amused through a dry but very interesting post and the comments, for me as a new user. Honestly, I got to know steem/it very late (probably because I kicked all other social media 4 year before), and after some posts I've seen, I worried almost steemit is about to die. For me it is still like Alice in wonderland, where it looks that rabbitholes never end.
So much input, it's for me like 1995, when suddenly there was every day more input like I digested in one year before. But after all your conversation I'm feel very positive and relaxed now.
Thanks for the nice read on something I was thinking never to read :)
PS: Also I famous for my "long testaments" and ever busy to short them down, and more down, but now it looks to me that this is not a problem at all :) thx again, and have a nice time


Man, Steemit used to be the home for "long-form" shit, too, in a way.


I remember when the culture was such that shitposts were frowned upon.

Now shitposting is all everyone does.

I don't have much of an opinion on linear vs. superlinear or removing delgations. I think the curation percentage is a big-ticket item, though.

I have long advocated for authors to be able to set their own author/voter ratio on a per-post basis. I think it's very unlikely that there's any one-size-fits-all number that's right for all authors and voters. And it seems that since that can't be done, maybe the bid-bots are mostly just a high-friction way to find that equilibrium by shifting steem from the authors' hands to the voters' hands.

I agree about rewarding content consumers, too, but I have no idea how that would be accomplished. It might be interesting to know how the Vice Industry Token is planning to reward people for watching their videos.


I have long advocated for authors to be able to set their own author/voter ratio on a per-post basis.

I've seen you advocate this. I think it could be a great idea to try, since we're apparently trying anything that STINC wants on a whim. :)

However, I do think that curation rewards should at least be set at a fixed minimum. And that minimum, in my opinion, should be 50% of the allocated rewards.

I agree about rewarding content consumers, too, but I have no idea how that would be accomplished.

Nothing tricky. I'm just referring to those who read and upvote content. They would receive the rewards via curation - at the much higher reward percentage.


However, I do think that curation rewards should at least be set a a fixed minimum. And that minimum, in my opinion, should be 50% of the allocated rewards.

l do agree that if the percentage is to remain fixed (as it likely will), 50% would be far better than what we have now. I should have mentioned that in my earlier reply. The current incentives definitely favor the authors, and disadvantage voters, which discourages people from powering up their rewards (especially w/ the SBD peg broken).

Even just redirecting the early-voting penalty back to the rewards pool as was promised for HF20 would probably help a little, but I don't think it's anywhere near enough.


Even just redirecting the early-voting penalty back to the rewards pool as was promised for HF20 would probably help a little, but I don't think it's anywhere near enough.

It's a pittance. The ~12% of rewards are also just going back into the general pool, I believe. So it's not all going back to curators.

I guess if we did the math, based on the numbers I've been using, it would be around 12% of the remaining 13%, which would be 1.56% of the original split. So, we might see a bump to 13.56% of the total payout of posts. Authors would still be receiving 86.44% of the rewards. (Crude math, but math nonetheless.)

In other words - it's an insignificant amount. It would have practically no effect on anything.

I do think a change in making the curation worth significantly more would be a great thing for this platform. There is so little (monetary) incentive now for most to engage on conversation and the authors have such few votes they can give out that they may be reluctant to reward comments from those who are genuinely trying to interact on the platform.

I think Steem Power holders should definitely be rewarded more than they are for holding the SP, which sort of reminds me of how SmartCash has SmartRewards for holding the token and not selling (or powering down or maybe even delegating). I am not sure what the ideal solution is, but I think what you have proposed with increasing the number of daily votes and increasing the curation reward are both solutions!


I think Steem Power holders should definitely be rewarded more than they are for holding the SP...

Absolutely. Not only that, but we might also need more practical uses for SP.

In the past, stakeholders were rewarded with "interest" on their Steem Power via massive inflation for holding those tokens. This was an absurd concept, in my opinion, since inflation simply puts downward pressure on prices, which can ultimately make the accumulated SP worth much less in the long-run. I was glad to see that abandoned but we never really saw any added incentive for holding SP. Curation rewards dropped from 50/50 to 75/25 in favor of authors (and in reality, it was 88/12), then the hyperinflation was ended.

There is little wonder why few people seem to care about curation rewards. Sharing 12% of a post payout between hundreds of users while the author alone receives 88% of the post value is a bit absurd - and it offers practically no incentive to actually search for and discover good content.

What's the result? Poor content discovery. An awful trending page. Bid bots that people delegate to in order to receive more rewards than they'd otherwise get finding that content and rewarding it themselves and at no cost at all to the authors that are now paying for that "discovery."


What are your thoughts for some practical uses for SP?

Hopefully they will increase the curation rewards sooner rather than later. I feel like Steemit, inc removed the page views partly because there were more upvotes on a post than page views, which should not make sense. With the curation trails and bid bots though this has come about.

I have not looked through the trending page in ages because it seems like it is the same authors or whoever bids the most with a bid bot.

In all honesty and compete “Rawness”, I think you’re barking up the wrong tree with any hope that Steemit becomes a great platform in and of itself. You have said previously how great the Steem Blockchain is. . .
The blockchain is the future potential of everyone’s STEEM/SP etc. Harnessing the potential of the blockchain is what is going to make the value of Steem increase, not any changes to an already mediocre social media platform. Who will harness this? I don’t know.. but as long as crypto continues to evolve and stay relevant then through a search for value from outside developers/ investors/ entrepreneurs we just may see some great things happen. Doubt it will be with the Steemit interface. Most likely it will be incorporating the blockchain in some way.Does it really matter anyhow what drives price, whether it be Steemit or something else?


I think you’re barking up the wrong tree with any hope that Steemit becomes a great platform in and of itself.

I've been around long enough to know that it likely won't. I've made that argument in the post. They don't care to make it usable as an actual social media platform. That's why I essentially skipped over any suggestions for interface improvements.

Harnessing the potential of the blockchain is what is going to make the value of Steem increase, not any changes to an already mediocre social media platform.

This is correct and this is my position. The blockchain has great features. The Steemit website and most of the other interfaces need a ton of work to make them relevant in the current social media scene. But that also doesn't change the fact that this blockchain is designed as a social media blockchain. The protocols are there for rewarding social media users. My focus is on those protocols, not the interfaces that build on top of them.

Whatever the interfaces may be in the future, the Steem blockchain's token creation and reward allocation still exists and this is where we find the sources of any problems. So we can have that creation and distribution go to absolute shit and shitty people and to incentivize anti-social behavior, or we can direct it towards investors, useful development, network support, and things like entertaining/informative/popular content.

Does it really matter anyhow what drives price, whether it be Steemit or something else?

Your opinion on prices, what drives them, and whether or not the reasons matter depends on your outlook. If it's purely based on speculation and making money in the short-term, then none of this may matter to you. If it's based on building useful apps/interfaces for people to use into the distant future, then you may have some stronger opinions/motives. Likewise, if you're investing for future social media platforms or the introduction of actual commerce/advertising, then again - your opinions will be different.

It's the current perception of Steem/Steemit/STINC that can and has had a huge impact. In my opinion - and others have shared this as well - the perception of what this blockchain, its interfaces, its "leadership," and its user base is has likely held back any real acceptance of it in the larger crypto community. And we haven't exactly improved that perception over the past year. It appears to have gotten worse, despite price pumps by Korean speculators.

The fact that this post is only getting $31 as of now, and there are so many others which are getting way more from self votes is a tragedy.

If curation split goes up surely those same people who delegate now will just use vote bots or voting services?


The fact that this post is only getting $31 as of now, and there are so many others which are getting way more from self votes is a tragedy.

I don't fit the right mold. I'm not a perma-cheerleader and blower of smoke up asses. I'm also not a hypocritical douchebag who thinks it's OK to bitch and moan about someone else's criticisms for a year and a half, then start parroting those same criticisms myself and upvoting myself and my friends - who start doing the same - to hundreds of dollars per post.

Hell...I'm still waiting for those jackasses to apologize to me, since I've obviously been right with my criticisms - seeing as how they're now admitting it by basically repeating what I said a year ago.

If curation split goes up surely those same people who delegate now will just use vote bots or voting services?

Possibly. But I'm sure a lot of those people who are now delegating might reconsider. A lot of people have only chosen to automate and delegate because the rewards aren't worth the time for manual curation. I know I've considered it myself. Hell, if things don't change and instead keep trending in the same direction as they are now, I may be left with no choice.

There's no point in trying to keep my integrity/dignity in a community that has mostly chosen to abandon it. It doesn't pay to be responsible and hold yourself accountable or to a higher standard. If you're not doing what the exploiters, the automaters, the vote-buyers/sellers, and the shitposters are doing to funnel rewards to themselves for minimal effort and/or low-quality contributions, then you're just falling behind. Why should your relative stake decrease for having higher standards for the network, especially when very few people actually care and show it by their own actions?


I have been here on and off for a while, in that time I have seen you speak up about the issues you saw.

You always seemed to be fighting for the good of the system (STEEM, not Steemit), so to read that you are thinking of throwing in the towel and going with the flow makes me sad. I hope you keep fighting because from what I read the whole ecosystem needs more dissonance.

Which reminds me, I need to review my witness votes.


You always seemed to be fighting for the good of the system (STEEM, not Steemit), so to read that you are thinking of throwing in the towel and going with the flow makes me sad.

I've been saying this for many months now, but I just can't bring myself to actually do it. It sucks having integrity and a sense of self-worth. If I had no conscience, I'd probably be a whale a few times over. And that's a sad thing to say about this platform. There's so much potential, but it's being stifled by absolute pieces of shit and complete indifference from many large stakeholders.

But what else is new? This has been the case since day one.

Amen and amen! This is why you have my vote. At least you are willing to take a hard stand for what you believe. I am happy to see you not only criticize, but also offer solutions. Totally agree that hiding under the covers and hoping the boogie man just goes away is never a good response. Things are so broken at this point, we need to try something, even if it turns out to be less than optimal. After all can it get way worse?


After all can it get way worse?

Yes, it actually can. And it likely will. Do you notice that there are very few people who are even willing to address many of the things talked about here? Do you see the lack of witness discussion?

All most of them want to talk about is SMTs and communities (if you can even find them talking about anything at all). The two things that we likely won't even see by year-end. And I'm certainly not even convinced that either one will be useful as they're allegedly designed today. To me, they both seem to be an even larger mess waiting to happen.

But what do I know, right? I'm only basing that on STINC's phenomenal track record. Nah...I'm sure they'll be the greatest thing ever and then we'll be on to the next fuck up amazing project.



Exactly it took a year of begging and bitching to start to get a few sparse updates from STINC.

I feel STINC has sacrificed the good of the site on the alter of SMTs. You are fully aware of all the issues on the site without me typing the laundry list of them! It does leave the users that have stuck around feeling a bit jaded.

I think this was the longest article I ever read!
Maybe we need to take an action and not wait for STINC


Maybe we need to take an action and not wait for STINC

I would say that coders should start coding their own hard fork proposals, but it won't matter. From what I've seen and heard from many people, it appears that STINC won't even put something up for a vote unless it aligns with what they want to do with the blockchain.

So, you can spend a lot of time coding something and submitting it to the repository, but it seems that it still has to go through the STINC gatekeepers in order to be proposed as a hard fork candidate. And it appears that Ned and STINC have a very specific idea for the blockchain, even though they claim not to "own" it - and that Steemit is not Steem.

But I would love nothing more than to have people who are not STINC start working on hard fork proposals of their own. I'm just afraid that it'll be a waste of time unless something changes with the behavior and attitude of our dear "leaders."

after reading your comment critique off Jerry's post, it led me here and after a read, made me vote you as witness for the future sake of this site (if there is any hopes of salvaging it)
Please vote for @ats-witness!  - i back this users understanding of economics, that principally, good quality content above all else! To have it return to function for the social aspects of it!  Back the call,  my fellow beings of this blockspace!

As stated previously, delegation provides the means for disengagement and unaccountability. It’s completely contradictory to the concept of DPoS and its theoretical ability to mitigate abuse.

Interesting. Hadn't really thought about delegation from this angle until now.


I started seeing it from that angle when I realized just how many bid bots had sprung up from users with no stake and then saw how many large stakeholders were delegating to them.

Or when I saw how much delegation was coming from STINC/Ned to projects that had yet to prove that they could do anything other than put out a very basic interface and then go months without the slightest improvements...or when the managers of those projects abused their delegation.

Or when I saw 20,000-account bot-nets being created by STINC's "manual" sign up process.

Or when I saw delegation lessees using their delegation to upvote their spam and plagiarism and the delegators never bothering with the slightest bit of verification that those users weren't just spammers, sock puppets, and plagiarists.

Or when my own delegation was pulled from me so that the delegator could simply charge more rent for it, despite the fact that I was using it quite responsibly compared to most others.

This entire "economy" that has been created around vote-scheming and delegation renting has done nothing to actually improve content discovery or any sense of social media integrity when it comes to popular and "quality" content. If it needs to be done in order to improve ROI for stakeholders, then perhaps we need to revisit the existing rewards mechanisms/algorithms/percentages, because stakeholders are obviously not satisfied with giving away 85%+ of content rewards to any single shitposter while the voters are only able to claim less than 15% as a group on any given post.

The delegation market is telling us something:

As a whole, content creators are being over-rewarded compared to those allocating the rewards and the actual investors who give the tokens their value.


I’ve definitely seen delegators not checking on their delegations. And the delegations being used for all kinds of shit detrimental to the platform.

I agree that no one is listening (yet), but if we don't have people like you that have much more credibility than us, then we have no chance. Even with you, we might have no chance. But I don't have to tell you that you are dead on in analyzing the decay and the issues that have caused the platform that we all want to see survive fail. It is not working.

We have become a joke to many of my friends. We stick around to see what happens, but have no illusion that things are getting better any time soon. We don't want that to happen. We want to roll up our sleeves and work with people like you and the witnesses that are willing to make a difference (even if that means crossing swords with the top 20).

Thanks for the reference to your post... I will support you and do what I can to call attention to your post. Unfortunately my reach is to the people that "really don't matter", the little guys... The only thing we have is our voice, but we will do what we can to help you fight the trajectory that this path is taking us!

Thanks for your efforts and if I can help, please let me know!


...but if we don't have people like you that have much more credibility than us...

I don't believe that's the case. I would argue that most of the people who can make a difference around here actually believe that I'm a "toxic troll." They would rather try to denigrate me than read what I've written and see how it compares to reality on this platform and the perception of it from users and observers alike. They live in their bubbles and collect their tokens...and pretend that the outer world doesn't exist. That everything being said about Steem within the larger crypto world isn't similar to what non-crypto users think about it.

We have become a joke to many of my friends.

Exactly. This has been an ongoing issue that most people here conveniently ignore. You have to ask yourself why they would ignore that. The conclusions you reach may not be surprising at all.

Unfortunately my reach is to the people that "really don't matter", the little guys.

Everyone matters. You may not have the largest wallets, but your voice, your opinions, your all helps. Sometimes, the upper echelons of this community forget that money in your Steem wallet isn't actually everything. People with smaller Steem wallets can also have valuable input. And they may even have large wallets in real life that can help with development, marketing, commerce, and actual real-world influence.

The elitist attitude from what appears to me to be first-time money-makers is sickening, to say the least. It's like a bunch of teenagers who happened to stumble into a few dollars and now they think they're the smartest technological and social media gurus on the planet. Yet we see them doing practically nothing at all in terms of development and outreach. They can't have it both ways. Intelligent, tech- or social media-savvy people would know how to leverage their new-found money into something bigger and better.

We don't see that here. So the attitude of most of these people at the top is befuddling to me. They reek of absolute incompetence and unjustified arrogance. It's unfortunate that they've been able to scheme their way into having as much influence as they do over this blockchain and within the "community."

So much potential. So little vision, integrity, competence, and work ethic.


Thank you for the great reply @ats-david

First, I love the way you stress the attitudes. I too have noticed the same thing.

The elitist attitude from what appears to me to be first-time money-makers is sickening, to say the least. It's like a bunch of teenagers who happened to stumble into a few dollars and now they think they're the smartest technological and social media gurus on the planet.

Elitist is exactly the way it feels. I think they feel superior simply because they were here earlier somehow that means they're smarter and they've earned the right to not listen to those that are smaller than them. I'm sure I've put in as many hours as some people that have far more SP than me, but I was unfortunate to arrive in December 2017 and have seen nothing but a ride down in prices (which basically means I have accumulated at the worst SP accumulation rates due to the higher prices).

Not everyone is like this though, so that's what gives me some hope. I have good dealings with witnesses of @abh12345 @danielsaori @jackmiller @sircork @comedyopenmic group @yabapmatt and all of these witnesses are supporting a change of focus to the "community" and "engagement" so that we can increase retention. Without paying enough attention to the newbies and minnows, it is worse than the hamster wheel that goes nowhere.

But one thing I've found is that hardly anyone works very closely together even when they share the same understanding of the issues. I think that is because some think it is hopeless and won't change (I've heard that a bit in your voice and a few others too), and also because maybe it has just gotten worse lately. Whatever the reason it would be nice if there was a way to get you guys to start talking (I'm talking about the non-Top 20 witnesses that recognize the problems) and maybe at least come up with an understanding that you all are on the same team trying to get some attention.

I know you said you are "toxic troll" to those that matter, but if enough of you can at least gather loosely under a "working group" of some kind, then maybe strategies can be formed to have some influence. I know it isn't going to come from my "class" of barely a minnow, so our only hope is that the mid-tier witnesses and long time users somehow find each other and come up with a voice that can be just a little louder.

You don't have to spearhead, but I'd be interested to know if you would want to join the others if they started to try to make a difference... If you do, you have my tiny vote for witness (but my big mouth comes with it too) ;) ... That means I will try to increase the size of each member and hopefully help the message get heard by more people.


Some good ideas. What options would help increase incentives for users to engage with the platform outside of content creation?

Improving curation makes sense. But, I'd push for more unique ideas than just increasing the curation award. Communities will likely help break up the problem into smaller problems, but I'd also suggest we bring curation-trails into the platform by letting some users become taste makers - either through saved posts, saved and shareable "Favorite" pages, or other items.

Overall, I think it just speaks to opening up methods of engagement on the platform.
One can engage by:

  1. Creating content
  2. Commenting on content
  3. Curating content & comments
  4. Delegating to causes (both good and bot)
  5. Building new skins and Steem-ecosystem tools,
  6. ?

Maybe there are some ideas we can steal from some of the secondary channels that support Steemit like all the Discord servers out there. Some method of strengthening and rewarding engagement as opposed to disengagement.

  ·  2년 전

While I disagree with some solutions (impact on the platform might be different than expected by OP), I'm upvoting for visibility.

I don't really know if the effects of your suggestions will improve Steemit platform or not, but what I am sure of, something must really be done inside Steemit platform to keep it moving to the right direction NOW or we will just watch for its demise.

Screen Shot 2018-06-07 at 3.03.13 PM.png

You needed to add more pictures to your post. I felt like I was reading the white papers or something.

Although, in all honesty, the post was not fully read by me @ats-witness; it seemed that you were preaching to the choir in my case. Even when agreeing to every point of a frustrated user, my reply is normally to bring to their attention three point.

  1. We are in Beta
  2. All of the software is open source.
  3. A fork, in the real sense of the word, has already had one failed attempt. It is still always the nuclear melt down option. Users will follow where they get the best reward.

You may be interested to become allies with a new Community Witness, @devcoin.

#DevSteem On! ;)

This is a great post and I agree with many things you said.

However, there is one fundamental thing you need to understand. Our brains as humans is too small to understand how economies work. We cannot compute all the cause effect relationships that will come from higher curation rewards. I am sure that this will be an improvement, but in reality we have to try out to know for sure.

What Ned has been proposing (and what you don't seem to get) is the following: Let us stop wasting time on tweeking the game theory of steem. It will never be perfect. There will always be problems. You will never choose the right rules for the system, no matter how much you think.
Let us instead create SMTs, there will be thousands of coins competing against each other. Each of them will have different rules, some will have delegating allowed, some will have it banned, etc...

This is the key idea: The optimal coins from a game theory perspective are the ones that will survive.

If a coin has bad rules, like steem right now, then people will stop using it and move to another SMT, maybe created by yourself, which has better rules. If something better comes up later, then with enough time it will overtake your coin. This will go on forever, with improvements always made, and users always slowly navigating towards the best SMT.


What Ned has been proposing (and what you don't seem to get)...

Don’t be a condescending twat. I get what Ned proposes - I just think his proposals are shit and that they’ll never be delivered anyway.

Adjusting curation rewards is an easy fix and has a lot of support from actual know, the people who actually purchase STEEM and give it the monetary value so that other users can “get paid” for their shitposts.

SMTs are a pipe dream and a relic of the 2016-2017 ICO craze. They’ll create vastly more network and potential legal problems than any perceived issues that they’ll solve...if ever even delivered. Are you aware of STINC’s track record? Are you actually a new user, or a sock puppet? If you’re the former, then I would suggest reading some of the actual history of Steem and its “development.”


I am a new user, joined in about june of 2017, left after a few days, and came back in 2018. I didn't mean to be condescending, just really thought you didn't get this.

I agree that stinc's track record is shit but isn't this our only hope? I would love if you could show me where to find more on the history of steem's development. With Jesta gone I don't know how anything will be developped without stinc.

I consider myself to be a die-hard optimist, but I hate to say that I have all but given up on STINC ever doing anything about the issues plaguing the Steem blockchain and subsequent platform. I have barely been a member for five months, but I learned very quickly how broken this platform is.

When you signup you're told to work hard and eventually you will be rewarded. Admittedly, I have been more fortunate with success than many, but by any measurable means, I am not making a sustainable or boastable sized income on this site.

Occasionally a post I publish might be picked up by a curation trail such as @curie and it'll net me a few SBD. Or if I want to put the effort in, @utopian-io pays out nice rewards for development related posts and contributions such as tutorials and improvements to open source projects.

But as a whole, you have the whales at the top with troves of wealth, reputation and voting power who can make a comfortable living upvoting their own posts either directly or using their network of bot/voting accounts to do so all without engaging with the Steem community.

The problem is Steem doesn't reward participation. What does a whale get for upvoting and commenting on other peoples posts? Maybe a few SBD in curation rewards (if they time it right) or they can make hundreds just upvoting their own content.

One of the most glaringly obvious solutions is to halve the rewards someone gets for upvoting their own content (once they eclipse a certain voting power threshold). And then incentivise high Steem Power/reputation users with better rewards (without rules and timing restrictions) so whales have no choice than to engage or lose 50% of their profits.

I think there is nothing wrong with using bots, particularly those that are operating sensibly and people using them sensibly. But, I think there needs to be some guidelines in place how often a user can use bots to upvote their content. And while it is impossible to stop bots entirely or regulate their use, these bots have public names and maintaining a database wouldn't be that hard to regulate the largest ones.

I have really been looking into Social Media Tokens (SMT's) whenever those end up releasing and I think they're going to have a revolutionary impact on the Steem platform. Essentially an SMT will allow users who want to bring about change to start their own content platforms based on Steem.

This post is really informative. Nice post.

It really has been some time since I spent time reading a post from beginning to end. You made some valid points. I’m running errands, but for what little it matters, you’ll have my small vote for witness when I’m back home.

  ·  작년

I know you don't need my reason on why I removed my small SP witness support. Since I made a comment on this post showing my support, I felt it only fair to give my reason why I removed my vote.

You are very knowledgeable about this platform. You are blunt about the ecosystem here and I did admire your points outlined on this post. The reality is, there are not many witnesses on here (that I've seen) that show community support to others. The fact that you recently delegated 98% of your SP to a bot is fair from an investment standpoint. From a witness standpoint, you seem to have thrown in the white flag and lost the drive to show community support. If a witness does not support the community, then who else will?

Those are my reasons for what little it matters @ats-witness / @ats-david.

yep, yep and more yeps

with over 90% of users not retained (could be wrong, this is what I've read and seen repeatedly so if I'm wrong feel free to correct_...... the good people tend to attempt to group together on what boils down to life rafts in a sea of known scammers and lunatics who not only get away with being scumbags but rewarded

There are a handful of witnesses who have actual cajones and moral compasses that are strong enough to stand up to the sludge. You are one of them.
Want Change? Want un-sugarcoated facts and not a ton of bullshit, then vote ats-witness

I don't agree with everything you put forward, as you maybe know, but I don't find that relevant or worth discussing anymore. I will gladly accept everything you propose just to see if things get better; I don't think there is much time left to act.

I also think the powers that be will prevent all action along these lines. I'm as close to giving up as I ever was.

Resteemed for maybe a few extra eyes on this.

Lots of great points here and food for thought. Specifically, I think this one:

Change the daily voting target to at least 20 or more daily votes.

Restricting the full power votes (from 40 down to 10) really hurts interaction. Thanks for all that you are doing!


Totally agree. 10 votes per day is not enough.

Also, this:

It’s about time we recognize this point of failure and actually attempt to correct it.

This is what I want to see. Reading this post is depressing on one hand, definitely informative, and somewhat hopeful because you're still here. What I don't get is why the investors with the most stake aren't motivated to make improvements... That's concerning. I would think they'd want to make the investment viable and attractive, so their own investment would grow.

I like your critical openness. I'm new here in the steemit-bots-jungle and your post has given me a lot of insight. Many thanks for that. :)

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Fantastic post friend