The most important votes we make on Steem are for witnesses because every witness vote lasts indefinitely and witnesses are essentially the trusted servants and leaders of our community! The best solution I know of for witness voting is to find one user we trust to make all our votes for us and then set that user as a proxy at https://steemit.com/~witnesses. Our alternative is participation in a challenging witness voting process involving making up to 30 individual votes which most of us are understandably refusing to participate in!
Does Witness Voting Really Matter? Having a say in who the top witnesses are is the #1 factor we control in building and guiding our future together here on Steem! Let me explain ...
- Each witness in the top 20 earns 250 Steem Power a day equal to 90,000+ Steem Power a year which is worth about $110,000 today. Witnesses ranked 21 to 50 earn from about 10 to 50 Steem Power a day equal to $5,000 to $20,000 a year in earnings. Our votes when placed on some witnesses can produce and maintain full time equivalent employees for us that serve here every day and do a lot to build our community while on others they will result in little or no return.
- While authors can be downvoted on individual posts and even effectively silenced with earnings dropped to $0 by making an enemy with the wrong whale or community, witness rewards cannot be downvoted or reduced from disagreement.
- Steemit Inc often collaborates directly with witnesses for feedback and for help with ongoing projects.
- In each new hardfork, witnesses in the top 20 decide whether to accept or reject the update meaning witnesses have veto power on any update released either through refusing to update or neglecting to make an update in a timely fashion.
- Witnesses maintain the servers that literally are producing our blockchain in real time meaning that witnesses not closely monitoring servers and fixing errors can lead to a significantly reduced user experience from missed blocks. This reduced user experience can come in laggy upvotes at a minimum or at worst allow for a hacker to bring our blockchain production to a halt.
Witness Voting Basics and Challenges!
- Every Steem account has the ability to vote for up to 30 witnesses at https://steemit.com/~witnesses.
- Each Steem account also can set a proxy to allow another user to make all witness votes on their behalf at https://steemit.com/~witnesses.
- According to witness @lukestoke's most recent report, current participation in witness voting is very low with only about 15,000 accounts out of over 387,000 making even one vote equal to about 3.6% participation. By comparison, participation in the US presidential race is about 10 times as high.
- Witness votes are weighted meaning the more Steem Power we have, the more our vote counts. Having 10 times as much Steem Power as another user means a 10 times stronger vote.
- Out of the few hundred accounts with over $50,000 in Steem Power, only about 22% are making any votes for witness meaning the majority of Steem Power is not participating AT ALL in the witness voting process.
- Out of the top 25 accounts worth at least $700,000, most including the founder and CEO of Steemit Inc @ned, are not making any votes for witness while only @roadscape, @freedom via @pumpkin proxy and @thejohalfiles are actually using all 30 votes.
- The majority of active witness voters are not using all 30 witness voting spots meaning that if participation by amount of votes is multiplied by amount of users voting, our total witness voting participation by amount of votes and users voting is near 0% when not accounting for Steem Power. When we consider Steem Power, no witness has more than 18% approval today which most of that being from a few large votes.
- Maintaining witness votes is difficult because new witnesses come online every week and every month existing witnesses go offline. The first month on Steemit, I ignored almost anything involving the word witness and figured it was too technical for me to get involved with. I made no witness votes my first month or so.
- Becoming a new witness is challenging because getting enough votes to participate is nearly impossible when combining everything we talked about on this page.
- After making the effort to vote, many users never want to go through the hassle again and often fail to update votes for months.
- Fortunately many of those with the largest votes such as @freedom and @clayop and @roadscape are consistently updating witness votes giving newer witnesses posting updates a chance to rise up significantly in the rankings with just one of their votes!
A Simple Solution: Set a Proxy!
- For 99% of users on Steem, the witness voting process is way too much and we see clear proof of this by the current levels of participation. With most not even choosing one witness and almost none choosing all 30, fortunately we have an alternative to DIY.
- Setting a proxy at https://steemit.com/~witnesses is absolutely the best option to fully participate in voting for witnesses with the least amount of effort.
- Using the set proxy option at https://steemit.com/~witnesses allows another account to make all the witness votes on behalf of the user choosing the proxy.
- For example, if you set jerrybanfield as a proxy, you will continuously vote for all the witnesses I do. @craig-grant set me as a proxy yesterday which got me incredibly hyped to write more about this and to take a deeper look at who I am voting for!
- Setting a proxy is a lot of trust because the user we proxy has a responsibility to make our votes count and represent our interests as the Steem world turns.
- The proxy can be changed at any time for any reason including being removed to allow for individual voting or changed to another user making flexibility instant.
Who to Choose as a Proxy?
First, it will help to define what an ideal proxy might look like to help us choose a user we trust to make all our votes or to replace the user we are using now as a proxy to find a better one!
An ideal proxy does all of the following:
- Checks witness votes at a minimum of once a week and preferably daily to see if witnesses are online, how many blocks missed, new updates, etc.
- Places votes where THEY DO THE MOST GOOD FOR STEEM including voting for active witnesses contributing the most and helping new witnesses get started.
- Was, is, or is considering becoming an active witness OR has a way of keeping closely in touch with the witness community including discord, steemit.chat, witness posts, etc.
- Has a significant investment in Steem Power, curation, app development, and/or posting.
- Publicly shares votes on a regular basis including which witnesses are voting for and what systems are responsible for these votes. I do this in my witness updates each week.
How I Choose Witness Votes?
The primary factor driving my witness votes is asking
Where will my vote for a witness do the most good?
Asking this today just led me to change up several of my votes because I can see they were not doing as much good before. Here are a few ways I see what good my votes are doing.
- Am I receiving a vote back? A symbiotic relationship tends to reflect the greatest impact we are having in life. Most of our lives are set up to enable ongoing relationships with give and take from our families to our jobs and service. When a witness I am voting for is also voting for me, the odds are that both of our votes are greatly appreciated and doing a lot of good.
- How much of a difference does my vote make? When I vote for a top 20 witness that has a secure position to the point where my vote becomes irrelevant, how much good is that doing compared to giving that vote to a witness further down that might be highly motivated by my vote to keep serving as a witness? I just recently removed votes for a few top 10 witnesses to place these votes on witnesses that are getting started and working to move up because none of my votes in the top 10 are having an impact on how many blocks those witnesses get while my votes towards the bottom make a huge difference.
- What number of contributions has the witness made recently? Our votes when placed on those we see giving the most can help us get back the highest return on our investment here.
- Which technical details are in line with a "good witness" such as current version, missed blocks, server specs, etc. We need backup witnesses that are prepared in case of an emergency to keep our network up and running through unexpected good, bad, and ugly. I am not doing any favors voting for a backup witnesses renting ultra cheap servers that would be unable to handle a top 20 block production load at a moment's notice. If a witness is consistently not upgrading within a few weeks or a month of a new release, my votes move to witnesses running the newest version.
I am transparent about my votes because this to me is one of the most critical conditions to set a proxy. In setting a proxy, I would want to know what is driving the voting decisions that I am looking at being a part of.
Ready to Set a Proxy?
Would you please consider setting setting me as a proxy because you will enjoy not worrying about witness votes any more and you can count on me to continue doing all of what I just listed above?
If you would rather use another person as a proxy, my choice would be @roadscape or @clayop or @pumpkin because each is keeping witness votes updated and making all 30 votes. If you would like to do the work to be a proxy for Steem and offer voters more choices, would you post in the comments here because then I will include you as alternate choices for proxy when I mention setting a proxy?