How to use your witness votes the most effectively (and why you have been doing it wrong)

in #hive2 years ago (edited)

Voting for witnesses is a quite complex issue. Witnesses are rewarded for their contribution to keep the network secure. There are 20 top witnesses, and many more so-called backup witnesses.
While the former receive a fixed amount every 21 blocks, the latter get paid depending on the votes they received.


Now what's the best strategy to cast your own votes?
Of course it's important that you have a certain amount of trust in the person you vote for. No one witness can harm the chain by himself, but collusion might be possible.
Sometimes it might be interesting to check if they have a stake in the platform or keep their HP to a minimum. Someone who doesn't have anything to lose if things to sideways might be willing to give up on certain principles for gain.
And it's probably worth something to encourage people who provide dev work, infrastructure, support and so on.

But in my opinon, those should all be secondary thoughts.
It's a bit counterintuitive, but as soon as I'm finished explaining you will understand.

When voting for witnesses, scroll all the way down and start at the bottom of the list

This way you help with decentralization, support witnesses who might run at a loss at the moment, encourage further engagement for the good of the whole chain, and your vote has the most impact.

All top 20 witnesses are greatful for your vote as a sign of appreciation. Some even seem to live off that clout as they just can't stop asking around to get higher up the list. But the simple truth is, once someone is in the top 20 it doesn't matter any more. Their earnings are the same. While in the bottom ranks people lose money because dead witnesses have more votes than them.

There are two exceptions to this:
To support someone in the lower area of the top 20 if you think they should stay there (hint, I'm right there at 20 right now), and when a governance attack occurs. In that case it makes sense to bundle votes on the top, so the attacker needs more funds to override that. But there are no signs for that threat to occur in the near future.

It doesn't hurt to leave some votes on the upper ranks when you don't have the will or time to investigate all the available witnesses and still think it's somehow necessary, but it's better for everyone involved when the tail gets more support!

If you agree with that point of view but are really lazy, you can set me as a voting proxy. All my votes go to backup witnesses (except for one to keep myself up right now).

What do you think about that point of view? How have you been deciding on who to vote before, and will you overthink that approach now? I'm curious to hear from you in the comments!


Hi @pharesim I am reaching out to you to ask for a witness vote. you make a solid argument to send vote outside of the top 20. I am a new witness, I own my hardware and host it in the city that I live in. Thank you for your consideration.

Hi Pharesim, don't you think that the delegation of the vote regarding the witness vote is a means that conflicts with the term decentralization?
As far as starting from the bottom is not a bad idea!
Also I noticed that there are witnesses who are really inactive for a long time, but despite this they occupy a very good position on the list, what do you think about this?

Delegations should be done with care, and align with your own ideas. As long as you watch what happens with your delegation, I don't think it hurts decentralization.

Witnesses don't have to be active on the platform necessarily, their job is keeping the chain secure. It's hard to judge someone who doesn't show a presence though. If you know someone who runs a witness node because he likes the tech or the idea of decentralization but doesn't blog, you should definitely vote for him!

let's say that I meant their presence on the blockchain more than on the blog side, as for having as many witnesses as possible, we certainly support and hope that the number of witnesses will grow more and more on Hive, but what I want is that at least the first 100 are very active.
anyway thanks for your answer!

They have a presence by running a witness node. Voters have to make sure to support those who bring the most benefit.

yes but at least to update the feed, even for those who come as a new investor or as a new witness is not really beautiful to see... I don't know if I can explain myself

The feed is not important for backup witnesses. The blockchain uses the median value of each round, and as some lower ranks don't even produce a single block in a day, that's no a good measurement for activity. Only optics.

Although your state is correct (the feed of the backup witnesses is not taken into account), it remains a good evaluation indicator. It's not hard to keep your feed up to date and it shows the witness' involvement and desire to act as a reliable actor.

I'll take this approach from now onward

By the way, I'm curious if Casting a Vote by newbie will make any difference in the witnesses position - what do you say on this?

Would love to hear so i can choose wisely -!

The impact depends on your hive power (HP), not on how long you are around. You need a bunch to make a noticeable difference, but the fewer votes someone already has the more difference it makes for them!

Oh - just like more hp you've the more voting power for proposal to everything - Governance, thanks for making it clear!

but the fewer votes someone already has the more difference it makes for them!

That's nice! Thanks for the info.

I just started running a witness about a couple of weeks ago, I’m all the way at the bottom. I haven’t produced a block yet and it’s far from paying for itself. But Hive pays me back in many other ways, and I like the idea of strengthening the network and help decentralization.

I have not always been sure of how to spread my witness votes. From now on I will put this your method into consideration.

great suggestions, as I've been away for a long time, I think it's time for me to review which witnesses I voted for and maybe make some changes! Thanks for the post!

It has been a while since I have done much to mine. Good as a reminder as any :)

Does it make a significant difference to the amount of blocks they receive when out of the T20? Would it be more beneficial for example to spread a few more of the blocks to the T20-40, while still keeping the consensus T20?

I didn't do the maths, but 40 is very probable to still be able to run with a profit if nothing else is financed with it, witness nodes are relatively cheap. The difference from 20 to 21 is 80% though.

I'm always open to spreading the inflation wider, but I'm not sure creating a third "class" would be the answer.

The difference from 20 to 21 is 80% though.

Just wondering if it would encouragement more solid node operators.

The higher in the ranking, the more often a witness will be scheduled for block production. Therefore your idea for T20-40 to produce more blocks is already implemented.

should some more of the witness distribution from the T20 go toward the next 20 you think?

Yes, I'm in favor of lowering the gap between T20 and T21+

That's a great approach @pharesim. Just voted your witness. :)

Personally, I upvote the witness I have talked to at least once and I fully understand what they do. Some witnesses in the top 20 are not as active as others so they don't get my vote because I am unaware of what they do.

I mostly support near the bottom of T20. However, I have my bias :)

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Very good advice, I'm slightly bias in that I'm one of those in the lower ranks running at a loss. I run my hive witness from my house so it's about as decentralized as you can get.

I have casted my witness votes (even if not all of them up to 30) to those accounts that really bring value to this ecosystem and provide tools or have initiative for expanding the userbase. As well I need to filter out some witnesses which have stopped operating for a few months and removed them from the list. I guess one needs to review its witness list periodically in case he wants to keep a healthy and meaningful supporting list.

I don't feel comfortable voting for complete strangers. So I have used not all my votes after a year on Hive. At the same time, my HP isn't that large so I don't think witnesses dream about my support.

When voting for witnesses, scroll all the way down and start at the bottom of the list

This is new to me. Probably, I should find witnesses from the bottom of the list.

There's alot to be said about a witness engaging in posts. If a witness actively engages with my posts I will vote them for them as witness. Kind of like the way I vote for the local politician if he gets rid of the pothole near my house or he puts a rush on a passport for the child. I will vote for them. I use the same logic with Hive. The local politician may be shite and bad at national level but I will always be loyal if there is engagement there.

I would like you to please read my new post.

Dear, @pharesim

May we ask you to review and support our @cryptobrewmaster GameFi proposal on DHF? It can be found here

If you havent tried playing CryptoBrewMaster you can give it a shot. Our @hivefest presentation available here on the YouTube with a pitchdeck of what we building in general

Vote with,, Hivesigner

Thank you!

If you have a vote left, pls consider voting for me as witness. Since >5 years I have not powered down a single Hive and I am here to stay, produce content and curate.

@pharesim We have seen that you have previously supported proposals for the improvement of Hive.

We would love to have your support in our proposal that seeks to add a new tool to the Hive environment that will help ensure that your content continues to prioritize quality and above all originality.

You can vote here:

We would appreciate your support, criticism, and collaboration. Thank you for considering this proposal.

Obwohl ich mit meinem Hauptaccount schon einige Witness Votes verteilt hatte, hat mir dieser Artikel gezeigt, dass die von dir beschriebene Methode der effektivsten Witness Votes, sehr sinnig ist. Weil ich bei vielen der unteren Witnessränge keine Einordnung vornehmen kann, da ich viele nicht kenne, habe ich dich als Proxy gesetzt für diesen und drei andere Accounts.

When voting for witnesses, scroll all the way down and start at the bottom of the list

Yeah right... like you have ever done that.

Did you drop out of the t20 or how come?

I see you're not familiar with my voting. It's easily verifiable though.
I wanted to write this since a while but actually waited to get back into the top 20 to do so, because I saw that nonsense accusation coming.

I'll go through the effort and will check on your past votes.


How many times did you approve your own witness in 2016?
pharesim: yes!

I am honestly confused what that was about...

I'll need to let that run overnights, to get any meaningful results.

Let me see if I can find my diary, it should be right next to what I had for lunch that day (and why).

gotcha anyways 🙃