Improving the Economics of Steem: A Community Proposal

in #steem5 years ago (edited)

improving economcs.jpg

Hello Steemians, today we would like to disclose our public support for a proposal that we believe would improve the economic incentives built into Steem. The Steemit team recently met to discuss this issue. We agreed on the nature of the problem, and more or less agreed with the proposal presented by the Steem user @trafalgar which we will refer to as the “Economic Improvement Proposal” or “EIP.”

Improving Content Discovery

The problems that we believe should be solved are that of self-voting, passive delegation to bidbots (instead of participation in content discovery), spam (especially microspam), and abuse. These problems undermine one of the core unique value propositions of the platform; proof-of-brain. People generally gravitate towards what is the most profitable thing for them to do when there is monetary incentive.

The goal of these economic changes would be to move Steem closer to delivering on the promises stated in the whitepaper of unearthing high quality content by making it more profitable for people to actively curate, and less profitable to self-vote and delegate one’s Steem Power to bid bots.

Our Focus

Right now our focus remains 100% on improving, Communities, MIRA, finalizing the Steem Proposal System Hardfork (HF21 or the “SteemDAO”), and preparing to switch to SMTs. We do not have any plans to begin working on any code relating to these economic changes. But we do believe that this is a conversation worth having and one that we would be happy to participate in. Ultimately, the decision of when to begin work on these improvements, and in which hardfork to include them, will be up to the Steem community and the Witnesses they elect to approve Hardforks.

The EIP has 3 components all of which we believe must be implemented in tandem in order to deliver the desired effect. If you’re interested in learning more about the rewards curve and the options for improving it, @vandeberg (Senior Blockchain Engineer at Steemit) has published a more technical exploration of the subject.

  1. Moving from a linear rewards curve to a convergent linear rewards curve. A convergent linear rewards curve would start out superlinear, providing minimal gains at first, and smoothly become linear as more votes are made. Users that are interested only in maximizing the return on their Steem Power, instead of benefitting the platform through thoughtful curation, often engage in practices such as self voting or delegation to bid bots. The proposed curve incentivises concentration of votes on to fewer pieces of content, which increases the visibility of such counterproductive behavior. Alternatively, users could choose to act more subtly by spreading stake across more, but smaller, votes at the cost of a suboptimal return. We cannot eliminate such behavior entirely, but we can make it less economically viable.
  2. Increasing the percentage of rewards that are distributed to curators. One of the problems with Steem as it stands is that there is a strong incentive to self-vote. The more rewards are distributed to curators the less incentive there is to self-vote. At the same time, if curation is improved, then those content creators who are currently submitting great content which isn’t getting seen, should stand to benefit as that content will be more likely to get unearthed.
  3. Create a separate “downvote pool.” Downvotes are a critical component for regulating Steem, but there is no incentive to render them because they are not rewarded. In fact, they cost voting mana which disincentivizes the use of the downvote. This creates more opportunities for self-voting abuse as it reduces the likelihood that this behavior will be countered. By adding a small pool for downvotes that is consumed prior to consuming voting mana, users are more free to downvote content as a curation mechanism without losing out on potential rewards themselves.


Discussions like this have been extensive in the past and we want to share our opinion and continue the conversation started by community member @trafalgar. Our plans have not changed. We are working to finish auditing the SPS Hardfork, release a testnet, and make a public announcement which gives everyone (including exchanges) 30 days to review that code.

Our hope with the EIP is just to highlight the conversation so that the Steem community has time to come to a consensus about whether they want these changes, and what they feel is the best timing as far as including the changes in a future hardfork.

Let us know your thoughts on the Economic Improvement Proposal in the comments section below.

The Steemit Team

There are 2 pages

Question To Steemit Inc

  1. When can investors expect the fundamentally flawed linear reward to be changed?
  2. How many hours does it take to code a new curve?
  3. Should current investors solely vote for themselves to avoid scammers to receive "free money for nothing" aka free Steem?
  4. What are the benefits, if any, for investors to not solely vote for themselves?
  5. The rational investors are increasing their piece of the pie with negligible work. Are there any estimates?
  6. Who are the biggest rational investors what is their ROI?
  7. Why did Steemit Inc implement the flawed linear reward curve?
  8. Where did Steemit explain why linear rewards weren't flawed anymore before implementing them?
  9. Why mention @trafalgar as the initiator of this discussion while knowing this is incorrect? - Many people pointed out linear rewards were flawed, way before @trafalgar did, among them, none other than @dantheman in the original whitepaper, @steemitblog, @felixxx, @ats-david, me, among many others.

In February 2017 Steemit Inc re-highlighted why linear rewards are fundamentally flawed, yet they never retracted their statement before pushing for linear rewards to be implemented.

In a world with honest people who don't vote on themselves to get "free money for nothing", a simple linear curve, aka n would produce a 1 share 1 vote proportional payout. This is the blue line and shows the ideal situation.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where people will attempt to game the system by voting for themselves. If everyone voted for themselves then the result would be simple interest payments and have no economic impact.

More here.

No need to ask Steemit, stop worshiping them.

  1. Linear curve is not flawed
  2. Very fast but what curve you want?
  3. You'll get to downvote for free very soon, so if you upvote yourself in excess on stupid content you'l most likely get downvoted.
  4. Can shower yourself in virtue signaling.
  5. Estimates on what? Your bogus claim?
  6. Calculate that yourself if you think it's relevant.
  7. It's not flawed and it was approved by witness voted by all stakeholders.
  8. "Where did explain why it weren't flawed anymore before" WTF?
  9. Because it's his only contribution to Steem this last year beside self-voting with his huge stake.

Read the downvote section again. I like to think it's mostly my suggestion and I'm not bragging about it because it's so obviously the solution to people buying votes on half baked comments like this one.

  1. Think that is a bad thing. Using your stake to upvote your own comments on your own posts allows you to be an ass without disrupting the content economy, but doing so will get you flagged. Running a bid bot that upvotes crap posts will allow you to be an even worse ass because for you it is just like self voting as effectively all the money flows back to you with current ROI at about 100% for bot users, but while doing so, you will be disrupting both the trending pages and the reputation system. Measures that drive stake holders from being an ass in their own little content bubble towards being an ass in a way that disrupts core features of the platform isn't improvement IMHO.

Have a look at this poll, seems by the votes to far, I think all these options need to truly be carefully considered before implementing measures that make passive stake holders move to even more disruptive use of their stake.

What are you alluding to? My comment is super critical of Steemit.

No need to ask Steemit, stop worshiping them.

  1. How fast? Where did you get that information?
  2. That's like poetry but I don't get what you mean.
  3. Estimate on the piece of the pie control by those who upvote themselves the most and at which rate this is increasing?
  4. I've made estimate in the past. My question was mostly rhetorical.
  5. We do agree that it was voted by at least 15 witnesses.
  6. Where did Steemit explain why linear rewards weren't flawed anymore, before implementing them?
    Steemit Inc said linear rewards were flawed. They then supported linear rewards while never explaining why they weren't flawed, "anymore".

What's your goal to shame steemit retroactively?

I've been talking against linear reward since at least november 2017. I want a change as soon as possible to something nit fundamentally flawed.

You heard the man @teamsteem. Good old transistoRadio wants you to stop asking questions that make sense because it is "embarrassing" for him. Thank you for not saying the truth out loud in advance. Transisto Radio appreciates your silence. XD

@teamsteem purchased a 29.66% vote from @promobot on this post.

*If you disagree with the reward or content of this post you can purchase a reversal of this vote by using our curation interface

This post has received a 40.29 % upvote from @boomerang.

Linear is flawed, sure, the proposed curve type though even more so. It sends a signal to new users: "please piss off, you are too late, we are full!"

I'dd propose just adding a simple and modest fish-size bonus. Irrelevant for new users, but sufficient an incentive for big fish not to break up their stake into hundreds of puppet accounts.

The blue line instead of the red line

Can someone help? i started several accounts a few years back. I have been able to access them all recently but one...I am using the same master key and I am not able to get in....all of my other accounts are fine. I copy and paste the master keys no problem...I have never changed or attempted to change any passwords. My husband and daughter have both tried to no avail. the account I can not access is @jadabug...could it have been compromised. no steem is missing ...i just can not get in is strange ..I set up the accounts and would like to give it to my daughter to run and i can not get in .augh! I have all of the keys they just do not work!!!! Thank you for your time.

I'm guessing: you are using Master Password to access site, but it's no longer possible after wallet/social features split. For social part you should use your Posting Key. If you haven't written down separate keys go to site log in with your Master Password and get your Posting Key to be used on

sadly none of them work. Thank you for responding. Just know that @ jadabug is stolen and running a bot scam of voting every few seconds...Happy day! Melissa

We cannot eliminate such behavior entirely, but we can make it less economically viable.

100% this. We have to take steps to shape the system in a way where even the greediest of people will have to act in ways that benefit the whole ecosystem rather than slowly milking it to its death and forcing everyone else to either follow suit or feel like they're being left behind and wasting time when others are just aiming to maximize their own short term profits with minimal effort(read: zero)! I'd guess it doesn't take long for people to change camps, I know I'm selling almost 100% of my votes now after vocally being against bidbots since the day they appeared. I've read from all over the place here on Steem, how active members are sad that they aren't actively curating anymore. I know how that feels, I'm a bit gutted as well, this isn't the Steem we were promised at all. And if you're asking why these people don't just curate, what's stopping them, you might want to spend some time pondering how this current situation affects individuals over a long period of time. I've been active Steem member for around 2 years now and I've regularly browsed the trending, it's never been stellar but back then it was other members voting for people rather than literally anyone being able to buy the top spots (these days this is required actually) without any community support or content discovery happening. We're being shoved bad content down our throats... As you can imagine, I'm not checking Trending daily anymore.

We've all heard the saying one bad apple spoils the whole barrel, and we're seeing that in full action here on Steem. Majority of stake is selling their votes passively, content discovery is minimal and manual curation just isn't happening because it isn't worth it. Just look at our "trending", is it something to be proud of or does it show that proof-of-brain exists on this platform, like at all, and that should be our main attraction! (See reddit as an example here).

I'm not sure about anyone else here, but I'd like to one day use Trending to actually see the best content submitted to our blockchain, that's actually worth reading and sharing to others (read: interesting, quality content rather than just another ad or an attempt by the author to benefit from their readers in some way).

If we can't accomplish a trending that's actually attractive to outside visitors, this place is doomed in the end. I could go on and on why this is so important but system that's fair will attract people over something that is not. Steem has always had a hard time representing itself as a fair system, fixing these issues would help us immensely in building our reputation back up again (It's never been high, let's fix that).

Seeing all the changes Eli has done and her leadership makes me hopeful, this post is showing that you guys are ready to truly lead this ship and I really like that. We've needed a captain since Dan left!

This isn't the first lengthy post from me on this issue, and probably won't be last either as long as I own some Steem and care about the future of this decentralized social media platform.

Let's make Steem great again!

Thank you for this!

If you read the whole thing, thank you!


Absolutely agree with your description and analysis of our problem

Good economic systems force bad people to do good things in order to be profitable, bad economic systems force good people to behave badly to profit.

We currently have a huge problem of misaligned incentives: we're rewarding people the most to do something we don't want them to do: content indifferent voting. Whether it's self voting or vote selling, it undermines the content discovery and reward value proposition of the system yet we're paying all the stakeholders 4x as much to do this than to curate honestly. Insanity

This is very fixable and I'm glad Steemit Inc are now looking into this, it really is the #1 priority, well above SMTs, communities etc. And it is also relatively easy compared to the other projects.

I agree with you that we have misaligned incentive system, and think your suggestion would create better economic mechanism. However, it won't be the perfect system. There are still, while fewer, people to self vote in order to take all author and curation rewards.

Then, what do we answer to the new guys who seek maximum profit from the broken system saying they won't stop until the system fixes the hole? There will always be these sort of people.

The crux of problem is a mixture of rewards; investors want to maximize profits using contents rewards, and contents creators are competing with investors on the same resource.

I think we'd rather have to focus on SMT and separating the heterogeneous incentive system, and do experiments using different parameters with each SMT.

I think Clayop is correct and that's my general conclusion as well. SMTs will give the opportunity to experiment. I happen to believe that stake-based voting has been proven a failure when it comes to content discovery. Trafalgar's well-intentioned proposal will make Steem/it a bit better, but in the end it will simply last slightly longer than what we have now. People want money more than they want to vote for good content. Eventually, downvoting will be abused also and all of those mechanisms the proposal creates will still end with the same outcome. Therefore, let STEEM be the investors' reward layer and create some SMTs that try to do a better job of creating a reward system.

Totally areed.

First of all, Steem's inflation should be removed for rewarding the content creators and rewarding should be delegated to front-end DApps. DApps can launch their own TOKEN and reward algorithm to discover contents. Current inflation is not keeping up with low demand. If Steem did not have relative high inflation, it would easily sit at top 30 in CMC.

Steem's Inflation should go to protocol developments, witness compensation and PoS interest (2-3% vs current 8.5%). Rewarding content creators should be done with SMTs. STINC can launch their own SMT and share profit from ads with celebrity creators by SMTs.

Steem Investors can earn TOKENs through RC/SP delegations. @steemhunt is already showing a good example. Creators and DApps will figure out optimum synergy with a token.

Bidbots are not evils. They have their own business model. They can host in a front-end DApp where they can succeed or thrive. Competition within front-ends with SMTs will spur innovations.

All the front-end DApps can try their own SMTs with different distribution technique. Finding a sweet algorithms to rewarding the best content is more than rocket science. A former founder, @dan is bragging that he can fix it, I totally disagree. It needs lots of trials and errors and should be the realm of DApps.

DApps with SMTs can try different algos. @steemhunt, @actifit, @dlike and others are already experimenting. Steem's inflation and broken rewarding is helping its price.

here here!

The entire idea here is to align making more money with content discovery and making it more expensive to behave in a way that contradicts that (eg self voting or vote selling)

It's not inconceivable that with the right economic incentives, we'll reach a equilibrium of relatively good behavior that'll continue to serve the entire platform well over time. Behavior that deteriorates over time isn't necessarily an inevitable product of stake based voting. It all depends on how well we align individual profit maximization behavior with honest curation.

It's hard to abuse a modest level of free downvotes in the sense of profiting from them. They can be abused in the general sense to bully and harass people, sure, it's one of the downsides. The idea is to limit them as much as possible while still have a sufficient amount of them to turn this place around.

Just came across this reply and I fully agree with it. I can't believe just how disillusioned large holders including witnesses have become. We have been struggling to onboard people now, expect that to be 10 times harder when minnows see half their post rewards vanish. Reverse robinhoood.

Exactly this.

Investors maximising profits is not compatible with content creators seeking an audience. Throughout history, plutocracies have always ended in catastrophe. In the early days of Steem, I was optimistic because this is a new system, but the inherent greed of homo sapiens always wins, and giving them a platform that they are encouraged to dictate with their wealth was always going to end poorly.

For 3 years, we have made incremental improvements over a fundamentally flawed platform. It is about time for an overhaul. I'd vote for cancelling the common reward pool (over time) and focusing on SMTs. Who knows, maybe some SMT will come up with a new paradigm which makes this whole thing sustainable.

PS: That said, till SMTs are ready, I'd support the above proposal as an interim "lipstick-on-a-pig" solution. If it is proven that these can be implemented with relative ease. I believe it's going to make things slightly better. Maybe a 1.5/10 from a 1/10, and is thus worth the effort. I'm open to changing my mind if I see better data, evidence and simulations suggesting a better result.

Throughout history

This tells a lot. Because it is about humane nature.

Yes, and Steem is no different.

"...investors want to maximize profits..."

Indeed. Water flows downhill. This is not a problem, but the key to the solution. We need to provide a mechanism that promotes development of Steem and capital gains that is separate from the rewards intended to curate content and market Steem to new users and potential investors. We need to take advantage of gravity, not try to force water uphill.

Thank you. I've been thinking along those lines since this post came out. We need something that investors can actually do, especially if they're not inclined to curate or post and comment. Could it be RC delegation? I mean, I've never really understood what's in it for the strictly investor here other than the market, especially if they're not really aiming to participate in the social side of this platform because of less than desired returns.

I flag trash. You have received a flag.

The crux of problem is a mixture of rewards; investors want to maximize profits using contents rewards, and contents creators are competing with investors on the same resource.
I think we'd rather have to focus on SMT and separating the heterogeneous incentive system

Thanks to the investors the price goes up. By contrary, the inflation and rewards makes the price go down... I think is impossible to separate investors from content rewards without letting the steem price go down.

For this reason I think we have to deal with this "mixture of rewards" forever, and try to find a better distribution, like this proposal.

Yes, the original post concedes there's probably no such thing as a perfect system. But what we can do it make it less profitable to engage in behavior we don't want (eg self voting, vote selling) and more profitable to engage in behavior we do want (eg honest curation.

The right incentives are probably more powerful and effective than you have you mind. If curation pays a lot more and a moderate amount of free downvotes are available, the threat to any obvious abuse is very real. If we get the numbers right, it should be sufficient to deter most misbehavior to the point where we have enough free downvotes to take care of the actual misbehavior that were not deterred.

Also, while I personally believe a functional base economy is more important and essential for SMTs to really take off, I don't really think SMTs vs Economic Improvement is a dichotomy. Realistically, even if it took priority, it doesn't require a lot of work from a coding standpoint. It's only a small exaggeration to say that @vandeberg could knock it out in an afternoon (well maybe like a week :p). Think about how easy these changes are to implement and how important they are compared to the complexity and uncertainty of an undertaking like SMTs built on a broken economy system. If we're half right about these economic changes, then it'll represent the greatest value for cost and time investment than any other undertaking.

While I agree that the current system is flawed, I think it needs to be "fixed" at the SMT and community level. A separate downvote pool likely will end up doing more harm than good in my opinion as it will most certainly be abused and overall end up driving more people away than any perceived good it might do.

Yes, it's been painful being an active Steem user ever since bidbots came around.

I'd also welcome people to think how much more valuable and in demand would Steem Power be, if people could really affect what content gets the spotlight with it. These days it's all about bidbots when it comes to top 20 spots in trending.

Please consider my reply to the OP below, as I completely agree that we need to create appropriate incentives to promote beneficial behaviour, and reckon I've come up with a nominal solution that doesn't just tweak the rate at which ROI is extracted from rewards.

I'd appreciate being set straight if I'm wrong, and your thoughts on improving my raw proposal if you agree with the principles I set out there.


I flag trash. You have received a flag.

You guys, are like the cabana boys on the titanic moving around deck chairs instead of bailing out water.

The problem is not the economics, it is simply the barriers to use, the inability to classify and search, the lack of good graphics and standard simple wiziwig interfaces. No tutorials, long onboarding, and simple ability to dress up a post like every other blog site in the world for the last 20 years. The constant talk about rewards is not what brings people to youtube, facebook, instagram, or any other site.... It's the content and the ease of use. Simply put the UI and UX. The User Interface and the User Experience..... I joined 2 years ago and have had more people attack the group I've built up and more than 2/3rds of the people I onboarded left and will never come back because of a myriad of reasons.....NONE OF WHICH WAS THE CURATION AND AUTHOR REWARDS..... In fact, the fact that whales have been scared off the platforms for purity reasons by the pack mentality here has been easily the biggest impediment to growth, of a blockchain that has great bones.

It's fast, has a built in payment system, is easily programmable and actually serves a purpose of storing content. I suggest everyone stop focusing on the reward system and work on how to make an UI that truly classifies content (not with 5 worthless tags) is searchable and create an enhanced editor and display front end for it. That's what needed. People need to deal with feeds more effectively and have bookmarking through a outliner built into the system. Which can then be used to classify content. Kinda the way that google uses vectors in the back end of it's seach to find related content. But you guys are simple blockchain geeks and not systems architects of systems used by real people.

That's my 2 cents.....


I'm surprised there isn't more people discussing this here. While I think having some form of incentive for users is good, the rewards alone aren't enough to really spark the growth.

Mass adoption comes with ease of use and a solid user experience, and STEEM does not offer that at the moment. The barrier of entry is severely impacting the rate at which new users are on-boarded. The economy wont go anywhere good if less and less people participate in it every day.

Thanks for sharing your 2 cents.

Relatively easy to get horribly wrong as well I'm afraid. I agree fixing the problem should have higher priority than SMT (and slightly lower priority from getting rid of TTPs. I'm afraid thoug that this particular solution might actually end up doing more harm than good.

The curve, while not a specifically bad idea creates the appearance of increased social injustice. The higher curation revenues work against attracting top content providers to the platform and are likely to drive more content providers away from the platform. Not much sense curating without content. The downvote pool is a futile measure when the main problem with non-functioning self correction lies in the retaliation culture and the failing reputation system that allows crap content creators to bid not themselves bulletproof.

Yes, these issues need to be addressed, but no, not with this proposal.

I think though that it is great this proposal is here now to spark public debate. Next step I hope is to ask the community for alternate proposals.

I tried for one here, and I think it would be great of others would do the same. Get them grey cells working and keep the debate going untill we find a set of measures that have the highest probability to actually work.

I did look through your suggestions and some of your other replies

The primary economic problem we have is that 70% (rough guess) and ever increasing amount of active SP are just clawing back their own voting rewards in content indifferent voting schemes (self voting or vote selling).

We're stuck here not because stakeholders are mostly bad or stupid but because it pays us 4x to engage in these activities that negatively impact the platform than to curate honestly. That has lead to the failure of us as a content discovery platform, as one glance at trending would show.

So right now, not much of that 75% author rewards is getting into the pockets of actual non staking content creators.

All the suggestions within the EIP are designed to either directly make it more profitable to vote honestly (increased curation) or directly make it less profitable to act otherwise (separate downvotes).

Every measure within our EIP admittedly has downsides that increase as you tune up the dial. We want to leave as much possible on the table to encourage content creators to participate while sufficiently compelling most of the active SP to take part in voting that honestly reflects their appraisal of content appeal.

I can't see this being done without costs. If anyone has a realistic way of giving authors 100% of the post rewards, have no downvotes at all, no level of inequality while still somehow keeping the stakeholders honest, I'm all ears. Obviously I'm open to ideas with less costs that are effective to this cause.

The major shortcoming I see in your proposal is that I think they're either irrelevant or grossly insufficient in compelling stakeholders to vote honestly, which I view as the predominant economic problem right now. Maybe they're sound in fixing other problems, but they still mean stakers are only going to be paid 4x as much undermining the system so that's what will continue to happen.

For example I'm not sure 2. (reputation) is on the blockchain lvl or UI, and 3. (ad splitting) is certainly not a blockchain issue. Reputation is pretty useless right now, it can definitely improve or we can get rid of it until we come up with a better version. Splitting ad revenue of the front end is a business decision that's entirely up to Steemit Inc, not really a blockchain issue. It might not be a bad business decision, but from their last video, they're getting maybe $3k a month and have financial problems of their own. Dividing it up really won't do much for now, maybe in the future they can play with ideas of ad revenue splitting among posts that can have their individual ads etc.

Again, I don't think your ideas are bad, they're just not addressing the core issue of content indifferent voting being paid 4x more than honest content reflective voting that has lead to the dump of a front page and a failure as a content discovery platform. The vast majority of active SP is contributing to this due to a poor economic system and that's what I intend to fix. I'm aware of the trade offs and intend to minimize them while still having a realistic chance of turning overall voting behavior around.

I think you are absolutely right that "content indifferent voting being paid 4x more than honest content reflective voting" isn't really addressed by my proposal. But that is because I don't view that part as being most directly causal to problems with the current economic model. STEEM is two economies folded into one, and that creates a number of challenges where these two economies touch.

One aspect of the economy is made up of content providers whose contribution is increasing the intrinsic value of the platform with top content. An other aspect of the economy is made up of big investors whose primary contributions are not selling off their stake and, optionally, create incentive for top content providers to choose the platform.

A healthy economy would

  1. draw in top content providers
  2. allow investors who care about the intrinsic value of their investments to further incentivy top content.
  3. allow investors who only care about short term returns to do so without disrupting the content platform.

From where I am standing, my proposal would improve all three of these things where yours addresses some of these aspects while frustrating other.

To illustrate, lets consider two scenarios:

  1. Stakeholder out to make a quick profit runs a powerful bid bot that never posts anything (nothing to flag). Crap content provider uses the bidbot to post crap content. He ends up with a massive reputation (bullet proof from flags) and huts the content economy.
  2. The stakeholder makes one root post. Then ten times a day he comments on his own post with a 100% upvote of his own comment.

I want to argue that:

  • Scenario 2 is the most desirable behavior as it does in no way disrupt the content economy.
  • Your proposal favors scenario 1
  • My proposal favors scenario 2.

With respect to Steemit Inc only making about $3k a month, that only underlines the need to draw in top content providers with advertising revenues. Advertising should be a blockchain wide economy capable of drawing in top content providers who would miss out on hundreds, and for some thousands, of euros per month if they switched to STEEM today. Given that an advertising economy would be a huge new user boost for the STEEM economy, implement it would balance against your reward curve or my fish-size bonus. Something I feel is very important from a social equality point of view.

Hope I am making sense with all of this.

I think you are absolutely right that "content indifferent voting being paid 4x more than honest content reflective voting" isn't really addressed by my proposal.

We strongly disagree here. I view this as of paramount importance and absence this, we have a completely dysfunctional social media platform due to its inability to discover and reward content. (and it's a complete failure right now). I strongly believe that a working platform with respect to the above vision would in turn greatly attract users, interest, businesses and ultimately investors would benefit far more than being forced to mindlessly defecate in public to obtain their staking returns.

There's no real distinction between an economy that favors vote selling (bid botting) and self voting. You're describing the current one, they're both content indifferent behavior. If your proposal favors 10x self voting, that would eventually be nearly the total equilibrium of staking behavior (it's already like 70%), which means you can't possibly 'draw in content creators' as soon there will be literally no rewards for them left on the table.

My proposal does not favor bid botting over self voting. It's an attempt to overturn the norm of content indifferent voting which they both are. A combination of higher curation and a certain amount of free downvotes is likely enough to actually turn the dominant form of profitable voting behavior here to become a content reflective voting behavior, either directly or through use of a curation bot. Because curation is a zero sum game and there's a 15 minute tax timer, it pretty much forces fair play as long as the other incentives compel us to play at all. The hard part is optimizing the numbers around curation and amount of free downvotes to maximize effectiveness over costs.

Intentionally designing a platform that encourages stakers to vote 10x on their own posts a day and to view voting rewards as staking rewards is a bad idea. It's exactly what we have today (albeit unintentionally), it's a flaw, not a feature. The current price is indicative of investor interest in a broken platform that encourages this behavior. This is the most obvious redundant use of inflation. Why have an inflation if it's just to make investors spam on a garbage platform just to get their staking returns? Why not just remove the inflation and internalize that value into the currency itself? The only justification for having an inflation is if that inflation is distributed in a way that brings in more value than having the inflation itself, for example, steadily passing currency from the stakers to the talented content creators to incentivize them and expand into a robust social media discovery and rewards ecosystem.

I feel you really underestimate the importance of social pressure and of the potential of an advertising economy. The important distinction is that providing a functioning advertising system and removing the reputation benefits from bot up votes together removes the incentive to use bid bots and shifts the most viable business model for bid bot owners to either the 10x up vote of their own posts, or the I believe preferable 10x up vote of their own comments (as this won't affect trending and won't undermine the content part of the platform).

Your proposals taken together, especially the down vote pool make the opposite move more likely to occur. Remember, bid bots don't need to post and down voting bid bot users just for being bid bot users misses the actual abusers. So by implementing features likely to hit the own-comment up voters that leave bid bot owners bullet proof in all ways that count do in the end promote bid bots over comment up votes.

From a short term money flow perspective both may be equivalent, comment up votes don't disrupt trending and don't disrupt the reputation system and are thus by far preferable. And if you end up discouraging both, in the end this would likely lead to the big players without an intent to curate powering down and selling their stake, driving down prices.

I feel we want to keep as many big players on board for market risk sake, but in the meantime add an advertising economy that makes us less dependent on inflation all together and that can help us make abusing the voting system something that people do become socially accountable for.

I know I'm selling almost 100% of my votes now after vocally being against bidbots since the day they appeared

I've gone back and forth on this issue, and I have both bought and sold votes, and I've frowned on it in the's hard not to get into this game when you see rather banal posts making hundreds and all the top votes are bidbots.


The value of STEEM is based on whether people want to buy it or not. Holders of the coin (and of SBD and of SP) are only going to value that stake if it is profitable.

So from the beginning, the central argument is that holders of SP get to decide how they use their own SP

Obviously there is going to abuse of that power; humans gotta human, after all.

I don't think that system changes are going to change the problems here; my guess is that we need more whales to diversify the vote power...true decentralization.

A second problem is that content value is subjective. I see posts I wouldn't spend a cent on make good return from people that value that content. Remember the old NSFW content argument?

I'm not a popular writer (not claiming that I should be either); most people don't find value in my work, and I don't think there should be any mechanic that forces others to vote for it (or conversely, to prevent others from voting for it, if I was a popular writer)

right so advertising would put money in the pools attract many more users and actually generate more content. Because natural following would bring advertisers to specific authors. If a I user wants to opt out of the advertising they need to pay a small amount of dust each day. Essentially you need some small locked up steem.

I'm not saying fill the page with ads but a smaller header, and footer and a simple sponsor's ad on the right hand under a outliner plug-in.

In addition there should be plug-ins addable to the interface which are sponsored.

It would alleviate the costs, and incentivize new content producers to join the platform.

"...holders of SP get to decide how they use their own SP."

There are ways to create incentive with code, and this OP is an attempt to tweak that behaviour with code changes. This does not tell people how to deploy SP, but simply changes the environment in which they deploy it. Tweaks are insufficient IMHO, and we need to eliminate incentive to degrade curation for financial return completely. We don't need to force water uphill harder. We need to use gravity to our advantage.

As to subjective interpretation, I think we agree that is what makes society valuable. Our interests are improved and extended by those our our fellows, and few would want everyone to simply agree with them all the time. Hell, I'd kill myself if I didn't have problems, challenges to surmount, or were denied that social benefit I desire most: criticism that enables me to stop being wrong and change my mind.


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we need to eliminate incentive to degrade curation for financial return completely.

I'm slow today ;>

Are you suggesting we remove curation rewards, or to stop messing about with the system?

I don't think there should be any mechanic that forces others to vote for it (or conversely, to prevent others from voting for it, if I was a popular writer)

Where have you seen people discussing about mechanics that would force people to vote certain content or not?

What people have been asking for is more rewards for curation, a seperate downvote pool and other ways to actually make it worthwhile for humans to interact in Steem ecosystem rather than just sell votes passively and get their rewards for doing so.

So from the beginning, the central argument is that holders of SP get to decide how they use their own SP

This doesn't mean we shouldn't tweak the system rules so this place actually becomes an attractive for normal users and we can actually start competing with major social media platforms...

other ways to actually make it worthwhile for humans to interact in Steem ecosystem rather than just sell votes passively

it could be just the semantics of how I understand this, but that sounds exactly like saying "vote for content the way the community wants you to vote for content"

One of the reasons STEEM has additional value for investors is the possibility of passive income PLUS the potential likelihood of market value increase.

you either have to remove curation rewards for curating, or face the likelihood that some people will game the system for their own best ROI. when you remove curation rewards, whether passive or active, you remove the value for some investors.

The best way for any creator to make SP is to network AND to create quality stuff. I'm not good at networking, but I realize it's still the best way.

Yes, reading your comment made me remember one proposition I really liked actually!

Separate passive investors to their own reward pool so they don't diminish the efforts of active curators! If there are people who only want to maximize their profits from investment, let them, but we shouldn't let that behavior effect everyone else negatively and forcing them to join since there's no other good option. If we do this, there will be more curators, since they can actually affect what the trending looks like. And as our content discovery actually starts working, we'll start getting more members. And as Steem Power will actually have effect after this change, there'll be more demand as well, both for passive investors and active users which will drive the price up. So in my mind this is a win win for everyone, other than those who want to see Steem not succeed in a major way.


Separate passive investors to their own reward pool so they don't diminish the efforts of active curators!

Sounds like an SMT backed with an Oracle could be the solution here? That way the post rewards as viewed by the SMT may choose not to include bot votes and self-votes.

Yes, SMT's could try a lot of different schemes, and I'm also interested in making one that focuses solely non promoted ecosystem.

"We cannot eliminate such behavior entirely, but we can make it less economically viable."

I think that we can indeed almost completely eliminate such behaviour, with appropriate incentives, and do far more than merely reduce it's impact. While some folks will do irrational things (as do I, by not delegating to bidbots) few rational people intent on prudent finance will act contrary to their financial interests. I hope I'm not irrational, but merely more highly value other metrics than financial.

Tweaking the rate at which profiteering extracts rewards intended to promote curation can tweak that behaviour at best. We can eliminate incentive to do so altogether, and we should.


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Well said and I agree to the part that we should try our best to atleast try and incentivize the behavior we want to see to the fullest rather than just watch by as people create services like bidbots which totally alter the ecosystem in, what I'd say, a destructive way.

Nice rant, but honestly your just saying the most obvious that everybody already knows and is experiencing here on Steem.
The question of this post, from our lovely Steemit Team, was how to fix the problem?
I don't read any solution from your comment and still its trending on top of all others.
Its not only the reward mechanism that makes Proof of Brain sometimes odd, its also the narrative of people that they like rants more than solutions.
I would like to see a comment on top that provides are real alternative to the current reward system and not just the overall repeated mantra of problems that we are already aware of.

Oh, sorry. This topic has been discussed over and over again by several members of the community for a long time now, so you tend to forget not all are educated on this topic. The current issue is that passive vote selling is the most profitable thing to do here, so we need to increase in any possible way an active involvement. Increasing curation rewards and adding a seperate downvote pool has been suggested for year or two now by the community, I think those are first good steps towards better situation. With these additions we'll see more curators and they'll be pushing good content up and bringing bad content to where they belong, making buying content to top not so profitable. I've probably seen and forgotten many other good solutions also... It's been a long time. Finally it's nice to see that the Steemit Inc is ready to acknowledge the problem, or to say it out loud rather.

I do not support all three of these things together. While I might be able to support higher curation rewards, I do not see this as the most important element to work on at this time and I do not want to see SteemIt, Inc's dev team pulled off of SMTs and other work that ads appeal to those outside of our community.

Curation is a large account game, it means very little to most of our users.

We had everything in this mix before and it didn't matter. minus a downvote pool. The big accounts just followed Authors they thought would be successful and upvoted them for rewards. There wasn't any curation in it the first go around either.

I think fixing the economics has priority over SMTs at this point. If the economics don't work then who is going to be using Steem for the SMTs to matter?

The issue is that unless we have communities to test these economic theories, no one really knows if what they are doing to 'fix' the economics is going to work.

We've had a community to test this for over a year now (steem has existed longer but I'm talking of current situation with bidbots), and as you can see, there's really not one to speak of.

Community. We need that ies or it doesn't count. When we have hundreds of communities (or fine maybe just dozens) each one can do something different and PROVE their theories. Stabbing in the dark is how we got here, and some people think we are worse off than 2017 in this very comment chain.

Should we go linear? How about super linear? Parabolic? I don't know, but I know that if there are all three at the same time we can test them

We've already tested the current rules and they clearly don't work as well as we need. So we're not stabbing at the dark here at all. But it all depends on how long the SMT's take time to get out, we can't really wait for year or two when we have competitor coming out that's backed by big money in few months only, that's specifically learned from the issues Steem is facing...

"...some people think we are worse off than 2017 in this very comment chain."

We have dropped 30 places on Coinmarketcap in the last two years. We are worse off now than then.

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Not only would that require for us to wait for Smts and communities, it'll also require some SMTs to reach a level of recognition, legitimacy and market confidence that would dwarf the underlying Steem token for voting behavior surround that SMT to be indicative of its viability in terms of economic incentives.

This is basically impossible in any reasonable span of time.

Just because we have to speculate over the the economic equilibrium of a change doesn't mean we don't have any intelligent things to say about it.

100% hyperinflation is a bad idea, because in 30 years, the currency increases by 1,000,000 times
n^2 is a bad idea, because someone's who has 1000x your stake will have a vote 1,000,000 your weight
linear and low curation is a bad idea because it leads to content indifferent profit maximization voting behavior (ie self voting and vote selling)

I don't need to test these to tell you they're completely off. I can also give you numbers around around curation rewards, rewards curve, separate downvote pool size, curation curve that are at least not completely off and likely conducive to getting the behavior we want at an acceptable cost.

It's hard to do worse than what we have so what do we have to lose? The status quo doesn't merit caution. Why fear changing it?

"linear and low curation is a bad idea because it leads to content indifferent profit maximization voting behavior (ie self voting and vote selling)."

That's not factually correct. Curation rewards fundamentally encourage content agnosticism and financial manipulation of voting to maximize rewards extraction IN ADDITION to self voting and vote selling. You can verify this by considering whether any minnow ever gamed curation for rewards, without doing either of the others. Someone might have, but it's so small a financial return for small stakeholders they didn't do it for long.

Curation rewards are only significant incentive to game for financial rewards. They do not encourage anyone to curate content qualitatively, and since author rewards are highly gamable, are essentially merely additional incentive to game author rewards. They don't even matter to folks without substantial stake, and no one with substantial stake is able to curate both for content quality (actual curation) and maximize financial extraction. Folks intent on ROI ignore quality for gamability.

All curation rewards are counterproductive to curative purposes. Even if 99% of rewards were curation rewards, this would not change. Conflating curation with extractive mechanisms replaces content quality with financial return as incentive to vote, no matter what the curation rewards rate.

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Boy I guess this is the part I am very unsure of:

It's hard to do worse than what we have.

I actually think it would be very easy to do worse. That doesnt meanim against everything, actually I am testing 60/40 curation on right now; its an incentivized test net.

The problem with testing our economic equilibrium accurately is that it requires people to actually care about the currency. That means the stake has to command a certain level of real world legitimacy and confidence for the voting behavior to be indicative of anything.

This is why I'm against testing it out with SMTs and other currencies that have yet to be really established.

the stake has to command a certain level of real world legitimacy and confidence for the voting behavior to be indicative of anything.

Smart traders paper trade their systems first, and then find that reality behaves differently. This is why large quant funds do back-testing first and then forward-testing with small allocations before scaling to meaningful size.

I go back and forth on this a lot. I think test nets are important, and SMTs will give an opportunity to test a lot of things. On the other hand, the most important impacts will only occur if the change happens universally across Steem instead of being opt-in.

Long-term, I don't think it all matters that much. SP holding will be about RC's instead of vote value, and most of the value distribution will be SMT's within communities. We do have to actually survive to the long-term.

While I responded negatively to your other comment about the tax, I think you are correct about the overall impact (and need) for these economic changes.

Curation is a large account game, it means very little to most of our users.

Curation is one reason that should incentivize people to have a stake in this system. And I hope you do realize, that large stakeholders, who are not selling, are allowing small accounts to benefit from the system.

We had everything in this mix before and it didn't matter. minus a downvote pool.

That's why we need all 3 combined.

As you'll soon note from my votes on this comment, that downvote pool will just be gamed. You're a gamer, and probably looking for ways to profit from said downvote pool.

The fact is that most people cannot pile stake into Steem, because they don't have it. Your stake immunizes you and enables you to profitably ignore this reality. You do so to the detriment of society, for your own profit.

I consider your facility with financial manipulation potentially beneficial to the community with the right incentives in place to encourage your profiteering to promote improvement of the investment vehicle that creates capital gains. This is why I propose replacing your current business model with dividends from funding development. You're agile. You'll quickly maximize your returns from new incentives that don't degrade curation and the market for Steem. The only reason you do that now is that the incentives make that the most profitable business model today.

We need to change the incentives that drive you to benefit the community, rather than continuing to degrade our market as you do today.

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Yes, if you don't give me a reason to vote for content I consider good rather than my own, I'll just vote my own

Now you can't give me 100% curation or there's no reason for anyone to create good content. So that's why we need the other measures. I need not just more incentive to vote others, but a deterrence to vote myself (or sell my votes). That's where some free downvotes come in.

A little bit of converging linear curve brings all profitable spam into the light to get downvoted.

Every measure helps but have diminishing returns and increasing costs. That's why a combination of measures is best, it provides the maximum utility, assuming we get the numbers in the right ballpark

I can no long bother to explain to you the incentive to downvote is the value of your stake.

If no one has put that together yet watching the price and current activity. Nothing is going to teach them.

Yes, by the way, I fully understand that the stakeholder's INVEST in the end users to make the whole thing work.

I can no long bother to explain to you the incentive to downvote is the value of your stake.

So what's your reasoning for not using your downvotes?

I use around 10 percent of my stake for downvotes normally recently less, because I have massive burn out and am considering get out entirely. What is your reasoning?

He's entirely focused on financial maximization, and the present downvote mechanism reduces his profit. When some mechanism makes returns from downvotes profitable, he'll become the most egregious downvoter on the platform.

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yes they are leaving something to the small people to hope for and by doing so keep this place with at least some number of users. so they are thinking abut the greater good or thinking that they will benefit in the long run. one that are not doing that are thinking just about themselves, they never build their sp to reward others, and are here for here and now.

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What would appeal the most to investors is a functioning content discovery and rewards social media platform where there's actually an incentive for people to take part and engage in rather than one that forces stakeholders to defecate all over the front page if they wish to retain their stake.

Imagine how good SMTs or Communites would have to be in order to turn this place around if our economic incentives continue to force people to spam, self vote and sell votes. Realistically, what are the chances of Steem based SMTs taking off to the point where they're not just successful themselves but can carry the failure of the entire ecosystem when Steem is spirally down in CMC charts and Steemit is dropping Alexa ranks because there truly isn't any reason to be on a platform whose front page is a dumpster. SMTs and Communities would need to be impossibly, unfathomably good.

Now imagine how good a more reasonable economic system would only need to be to fix this. It just has to make an intelligent attempt at aligning better rewards with behavior we want, such as people to actually vote based on their subject opinion of a contents appeal. The answer is economic reform just has to be sensible. This is by far the most important and most cost effective change we can make.

It'll only be a small exaggeration to say that @Vandeberg could probably bash out a pretty sound economic system in an afternoon (maybe a week). Yet this would be the one change that would totally turn this place around. Not only that, a functioning content discovery and rewards system would greatly magnify the value of all the other initiatives. SMTs, Communities, Marketing. They won't get us far if our core value proposition is the one thing we're failing the hardest at.

For the record, no engineering efforts are being diverted. This is just the start of an important discussion

"Imagine how good SMTs or Communites would have to be in order to turn this place around if our economic incentives continue to force people to spam, self vote and sell votes. Realistically, what are the chances of Steem based SMTs taking off to the point where they're not just successful themselves but can carry the failure of the entire ecosystem when Steem is spirally down in CMC charts and Steemit is dropping Alexa ranks because there truly isn't any reason to be on a platform whose front page is a dumpster. SMTs and Communities would need to be impossibly, unfathomably good."

Those words are gold. I actually starting to question whether Steem has to compete with other social networks. They do know blockchain exist and will do their best to stay in the trend. The worst part is that people don't really like being on all of those platforms. They fight for those that deliver the best features and unite people together to share unique and amazing content. Steemit was those things in the beginning, then it faded somehow but why? I'm still trying to figure it out. It seems like the level of hype is correlated with the number of quality posts which is weird and shouldn't be like that.

I believe Steemit as a website and company is missing very critical point and that is strategic marketing. I've never seen Steemit doing that and that could be a problem. People outside of crypto are not aware it exists unfortunately and that's not cool.

Those things are pretty obvious but were not addressed yet so decided to share. Thanks for starting this conversation. I know you create lots of cool posts so I know how you feel to produce great content and simply having 0 feedback because people are not on this platform. There are lots of people playing games built on Steem and that is an advantage. So maybe that what Steem in particular has to be focusing on? Your thoughts?

"It seems like the level of hype is correlated with the number of quality posts which is weird and shouldn't be like that."

"I believe Steemit as a website and company is missing very critical point and that is strategic marketing."

In fact it is quality posts that market Steem. Good content attracts eyeballs, and that attracts those eyeballs to the platform, where those that like it can invest in Steem. Curation and the rewards it delivers is intended to encourage creating good content, and is thus the strategic marketing mechanism for Steem.

More mechanisms besides blog posts are being created to market Steem, but like DLive and now Drugwars, they aren't loyal to the platform. Few mechanisms have proved to be as powerful at creating value as social media, and all that is necessary to grasp that fact is a look at the growth of the FAANGS in the last decade.

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Thank you @trafalgar. Im a steem newbie of just 16 months and I have earned every steem I have, rather than buying in. I curate manually for both @ecotrain & @freedomtribe. This EIP excites & encourages me - thank you! Im a single mom living in Chiang Mai, Thailand & MAKING SURE to get a flight to BKK for SF4. Hope to thank you in person for all you do.

"What would appeal the most to investors..."

Is reasonable development that imbues the investment vehicle with increased value, producing capital gains.

Content isn't their focus. ROI is. Presently ROI is able to be extracted immediately from rewards, and cash is king. That needs to end, and ROI enabled from funding development that improves and imbues value in the investment vehicle, Steem, needs to replace it.

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Anyone that weighs in on this post without actually digesting @vandeberg's latest post might be making a huge mistake.

We cannot eliminate such behavior entirely, but we can make it less economically viable.

This is the whole argument. I'm curious to what you really think of it. And no, not if Traf and his likes will profit or not.

I agree with this comment! Read Vanderburg's post also

That quote is factually incorrect. Code is infinitely mutable, and all financial incentive to corrupt curation can be eliminated. While some people will continue to act irrationally against their financial interests, currently it's irrational to not degrade curation for financial gain. Eliminating, rather than merely tweaking that incentive, can be done, and I propose it below in reply to the OP.

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Traf doesn't want the vast majority of active stake taking part in mindless self voting or vote selling just to get staking returns, because that's seen as the norm now.

Traf can't afford/is unwilling to not do this to defend his own stake, but would much prefer a system where everyone is incentivized to act honestly with respect to voting behavior.

That's what these suggestions are designed to do

These proposals do not eliminate incentive to extract rewards from corrupting curation at all. They only tweak the returns a little.

Those incentives can - and should be - eliminated altogether.

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I honestly think the only way to fix it at this point is to make actual curation more profitable than self voting, which requires a return to exponential curation curve and around a 50/50 split. I honestly don't know if anything will fix this shit at this point because like you said voting collusion trumps content quality for passive investment, but the fact that we literally have to build a second layer protocol to disregard the distribution of the first layer protocol because it is so fucked is simply hilarious to me. We've gone full circle to the point where we have no value proposition over someone creating their dapp and community on tron, eos, neo, or countless other blockchains. Three years of running a company like a personal piggy bank and then lobbing a hail mary by allowing people to circumvent the distribution is a joke at best.

"...exponential curation curve and around a 50/50 split."

This does not even impact curation for content quality at all. It merely changes the financial equations governing how profitable corrupting curation is.

We can eliminate financial incentive to corrupt curation altogether. We should.

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Omg, this hurt to read due to the truth in building a second layer protocol to fix the first layer. I had never thought of it that clearly...

It's painful

This is a good idea in theory but in reality whales eventualy just vote for the same people because they think other whales will as well, in an attempt to maximize profits from curation. This ends up a few lucky authors getting most of the rewards as everyone piles in to get curation. We saw this happen when this platform first launched. In my opinion they are trying to solve a problem that may not be fundamentally solvable. I don't think stake based voting can work. Sounded good, but when money became involved, it changed everything.

Plus the post literally says...

We cannot eliminate such behavior entirely, but we can make it less economically viable.

Are people deliberately skipping this part?

I'd say most of us that have been around since the beginning realize that it's a bit "too little too late" considering the middle class on STEEM has basically been taken out to pasture and there's not much left besides mega-whales and plankton. If they made these changes years ago when plenty of us were asking for them and telling them explicitly that this (the situation we now find ourselves in) is where it leads, the warnings were not headed. You can't wait for a house to burn down and then realize you need to call the fire department if you want a chance to save anything of value inside.

Saying that the house has burned down is an exaggeration. I'm not arguing that these changes should have come much earlier, but better late than never. I can't tell you if they will have the dramatic effect we want them to have, but there are 2 decisions: giving up or fixing the system.

Right, but by ignoring these suggestions for years they exponentially compounded the problem and now only want to consider fixing it because the majority of users are gone. There's no illusion in my mind that this is anything other than a ploy to lure people back.

The question is what is it in it for anyone to come here now that all of the easy stake has been hoarded by whales and we've gone from begging for scraps to praying a crumb falls. I get that there's a disconnect between the haves and the have-nots on this platform, but it's a little late for singing kumbaya and ignoring years of intentional abuse by the power players that created this situation.

Choosing to ignore this problem and run a vote selling service gives what you're saying here zero credibility from my perspective because you are in fact one of the people that chose to enable the shit that led to this situation for your own profit. Stop pissing in the wind and own it. I'm not going to sell anyone lies to help you guys keep getting rich off them.

Steem has been a platform where whales thrive since its inception - it was even designed for that purpose. People should be incentivized to buy into Steem, so they have power in the system. This was the case even more so in the past than today since the stake is far more distributed.

And vote-selling is simply one way for people to cope with the way content-discovery on Steemit (and most other frontends) has been designed. In the past, people were much more reliant on whales upvoting their content, thus gaining visibility; than they are today. Thanks to vote-selling.

Now, should everyone be able to reach trending with their potential shitty content? No. But putting the blame on me, for giving people what they want - I think you're making it a bit too easy for yourself throwing blame around. Especially, since I've still powered up nearly everything (~99%) I made on Steem. You're welcome.

We actually proposed something very similar 2 years ago as well:

I hear you, I spent way too much time and energy trying to preach to people that their greed was destroying a potentially world changing technology, but none of them gave a shit as long as they could get theirs. There's no doubt why people left and it's not just the price. Whale games are whale games and if you didn't get in first or fuck people over for stake you ain't getting shit out of this place. Unless you live in Nigeria, Venezuela, or the Philippines (or somewhere equally impoverished) this technology isn't changing your life and empowering content creators. The greatest lie ever told on this platform was "bid-bots are for promotion." Why the hell would anyone come here and promote to a community of a couple thousand people that are pretty much smart enough to avoid the trending page unless they had no following to begin with. I literally don't even care to rant about it anymore, but I'm right there with you, we tried to stop this shit and the people that had the power to change it did what was in their best interest, just like they always do, and got rich off the illusion we (the community) were pedaling for them.

I hear you, I spent way too much time and energy trying to preach to people that their greed was destroying a potentially world changing technology .. and the people that had the power to change it did what was in their best interest, just like they always do.

Are you really surprised that people did what's in their best interest? Humans always do what's best for them. Greed is pretty much a natural incentive. Similar to the need for power. From my perspective, what you're doing is shouting at the water for being wet, not seeing that it could be poured into a glass and shaped. Or in relation to Steem: you want people to behave in Steem's best interest? Then align the incentives that Steem's best interest equals the individuals best interest.

I hear you, but the problem isn't precisely greed, it's designing an economic system that's more resistant to game theoretical pitfalls like the prisoners dilemma or tragedy of the commons.

It's not that I don't understand if we all stopped and voted honestly, we're all better off, but individually I know that if i did that, everyone else would still just keep milking. So the options to me are join the milking or abstain and lose your share but not make any material difference to the failure of the platform overall. I bet many other stakeholders are in the same boat.

Good news is different economic incentives vary in how resilient they are against these game theoretical pitfalls. This is fixable :) I finally got Inc to listen to me, so that's a great start

I'm supporting a 50/50 split

Exponential curve is likely too strong because n^2 means someone who has 100 times more SP than you has a vote that carries 10,000 more weight than you. Now that people are more sophisticated, this perhaps would open up to even more abuse than the current system

But indeed some level of superliniearity is necessary. I like the convergent linear curve proposed by vandeberg as far back as 3 years ago. It has a superlinear head that forces all profitable spam into the light, and a linear tail so no collusive piling on between whales/bid bots

I also think a moderate amount of free downvotes are necessary. Basically every measure helps, but every measure has their own downsides if you tune them up too much. This is mostly an optimization problem.

I broadly agree with your points and think it's better late than never. I share your frustration as I've been proposing this for over a year, and I'm grateful that recently @justinw, @andrarchy @vandeberg and other inc members became receptive to these ideas

Sincerely, I hope it's not too late, but after years of being ignored and no delivery of promised updates it's hard to be enthusiastic about anything at this point. I guess time will tell. I agree we never need to revisit the old exponential curve, my thoughts were more slightly exponential, but I think the vandeberg model is fairly close to what I was thinking.

Yes, yourself, van and me are no foreigners to feeling that we have an answer but being told to go beat it for long periods of time

But now that we have Steemit Incs attention, it remains our best play. Incentivize the behavior we want. Each measure that does this (curation, free downvotes, superlinear) have their own drawbacks as you increase their intensity. So it's an opitmization problem of maximizing benefits - costs.

I believe this is a broadly fixable problem and yes, i feel it's overdue by a couple of years, but it might not be too late to turn this ship around

"Incentivize the behavior we want."

Isn't that behaviour development that imbues the underlying investment vehicle with greater value, creating capital gains? Let's do that instead of corrupting curation with ANY financial incentive through which funds intended to market Steem are instead gamed for profit.

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Also - more curation rewards means delegation to curation pools (of which bit bots are one type) would become more profitable, not less. It is not immediately clear to me that the raising curation reward amount would have the desired effect, in fact the opposite seems very possible.

Precisely! It's very simple mathematics.

I shall digest everything later, as need to go to work. To look closely at the whole economic system is something I have said for over a year, but the 3 proposals are, yet again, tinkering with the most obvious parameters and ignoring some of the deeper problems within the core code. Returning to super-linear is a whale-feast, for example - what's the point in that? What are the newbies going to think? Gotta dash.... more later.... probably much more :-)

I agree with this.

And to add: I think the real issue with our economy is one specific company dumping thousands of Steem and essentially strangling potential success by doing so, scaring away potential investors.

I think Steemit Inc needs to focus on other methods of generating revenue that doesn't just involve dumping Steem or ads. Also don't want to see SMTs get yet another delay.

Once those two things are properly addressed, we should talk about how the community itself is using Steem and what could be changed.

And you are right it wasn't perfect earlier on but it was certainly better back in 2017 than it is now in 2019.

I disagree outside of having more attention it didn't work any better except for a handful. A very small handful.

However, I do appreciate the opinion though.

I support the changes in this post, but I would also not agree necessarily that it was "better" in 2017. It was certainly "different" but there were other problems which were still very serious.

Since there is no suggestion to go back to the previous rules, I don't think it actualy matters. You have to evaluate this new proposed set of rules on its own merits, as they are significantly different from both the current rules and the 2017 rules.

At least in 2017 there was the incentive to create good content. Sure not all good content was being discovered but at least some was. Now there is no incentive. So yes in 2017 at least some content discovery and incentive existed even if flawed.

Now it's just bots and basically pay for popularity. This is also called pay to win.

And yes the current rules differ from 2017, but anything is better than to do nothing with the current proven broken economics.

Much of the problems I feel could be addressed by a better "pay for popularity" system that is part of the actual platform. The promoted tab failed in this and bidbots took its place. If we were to give some real thought into building an advertising economy into the platform, we could pull in top bloggers and vloggers and provide facilities to pay for popularity without diverting the whole reward pool through the bidbot economy.

If I had to score them out of 10

Hyperinflation - 1/10
n^2 - 2.5/10 (this appeared to have worked better because people weren't as sophisticated back then and abit and smooth were incurring some of the costs of making it work better than it otherwise would have)
our current system - 1.5/10

I think we can do maybe a 5.5-6/10 on our next attempt if we frame the problem correctly and identify both the benefits and costs of each of those measures to reach sensible numbers.

abit and smooth were incurring some of the costs of making it work better than it otherwise would have

That was only for a relatively short time in order to demonstrate some of the negative effects of unrestrained n^2.

For most of the time it didn't really work at all, and people claiming that it did either weren't around at the time or were out of the loop and didn't know what was actually going on.

Check this idea out. Limit a person to 1 vote for 72 hours for each particular account.

This will make more people curate others as they can’t keep upvoting the same person all the time.

This will also tame bidbots, selfvoting and whale circle jerkin’ Action 😂

it's easy to circumvent by creating multiple accounts etc.

what if i told you you already have an incentive to downvote.jpg

By the way, the whole point of communities (backed by SMTs) was to avoid the need for STEEM itself to implement "what if" scenarios.

Yes, bring in the SMTs and Communities 100% x infinity before going ahead with these changes. Do that, then see how better or worse things get. Priorities. SMT. Communities.


What if I told you ...

Then you would mostly be wrong. There is an extremely weak indirect incentive, but there is also an extremely strong direct disincentive. You can't properly understand the system without considering both, and in doing so it is clear that the latter mostly overwhelms the former, both in theory and in practice.

This coming from someone who has probably downvoted close to the most of anyone in Steem's history.

I 100% agree with you as said in my comment. Also I think there are some more merits focusing on SMT instead of many "what if"s

While I like those technical approach, I don't think changing the current reward dynamics on STEEM is a good idea. Because there are diverse opinions on this issue, as we can see many people's comments here, moving towards in favor of one side of them would make the other sides dissatisfied.

Rather, I argue for removing contents rewards, i.e. author rewards and curation rewards, from STEEM and shifting the role to sub-community tokens, a.k.a. SMTs. Steemit also can issue STEEMIT SMT that has similar or suggested (by @vanderberg) PoB economics to the current STEEM. Others like @trafalgar can issue alternative SMT that meets his EIP. This approach has several merits.

  1. Given the approach, we can focus on SMT development and don't need waste time for debates and following code changes about the economic model.

  2. Market models will work. Various approaches can be experimented and be proven their values in the market as a token price. This survival of the fittness environment will strengthen Steem's ecosystem.

  3. By removing PoB rewards from STEEM, its inflation can be dramatically reduced, hence investors can be more attracted to the base currency STEEM. Also, investors don't need to compete with contents creators by self-vote, etc. to ensure higher ROI.

  4. Given decreased inflation, we have more room for ecosystem-level experiments like Steem Proposal System by @blocktrades.

This change make STEEM as a base currency and investor-friendly token; they can earn identical ROI without doing 10 self-votes per day. For comparison, in the current system investors who don't self vote have much less ROI than those do 10 times per day. It will also reduce meaningless votes from investors' purposes.

Some SMTs can be built on the investors return. Good-will (or smart) investors, or Steemit inc. may launch SMTs which value and inflation speed are pegged to STEEM. I am sure there will be much more creative ideas for Steem's growth.

I wish the dev team solely focus on SMT and redeveloment the whole thing with the new paradigm, rather than band-aiding the current things.

The short answer to this is I don't think we'll survive long enough for any SMT to come into being on their own given where steem is right now.

I don't believe we can compete if we completely convert to a bandwidth token as our system doesn't support turing complete smart contracts, nor is it as robust and fast as many of the DPOS competition.

If we pivot to a general purpose bandwidth token and rely on the abilities to make Steem alts to carry us through this while our base token is cmc rank 60 and dropping, we'll be competing directly with better tech and bigger wallets and we'll lose. We'll be behind in everything and have nothing to compensate for that.

Our competitive edge is that our core token focused around a social media platform, and I believe we'll see immense growth with a fixed economy if we do so quickly. We have maybe 10k-50k active users, and more would return if we fix the economy based around steem. Our alexa rank is fallen but it was as high as 800 at one point. Focus on our initial mission, that's our strength. I'm confident we can fix the economy and turn this shit show around and light a fire to bring real users and engagement back on here. That's where the real value is, we do this correctly and it'll magnify the value of SMTs and Communities and marketing efforts. Fail at this and everything else is futile.

On my scenario, STEEM isn't only bandwidth token but also reserve token for many SMTs. Also there can exist other methods in favor of investors, such as LPoS scheme.
I agree fixing economy is desperate. But we already have a wide spectrum of economies from curation guilds to voting bots. Changes of parameters can fix some of them but not for some others. And these groups will continue their own economies with a new broken economy. I think we need to find more prudent and wise approach, and thanks for initiating this topic :)

Whatever economic remedies we have at the moment are completely impotent against a system that actively rewards content indifferent voting behavior the most. It further just shows how useless it is to try to organize around dysfunctional economic incentives rather than fixing the incentives directly.

I think @clayboyn had another strong point wrt SMTs over our broken base platform: choosing to build a second layer which will attempt to do what the first layer failed to do and hoping it'll somehow take off and succeed to the point where the first layer can replicate its success is a fool's errand.

For the record, I agree that if things continue as they are, then any use of the inflation other than to pay witnesses is a waste. But I much prefer trying to fix the economics to align with the original vision than pivoting. At least let's make one serious attempt at this, we deserve one serious attempt.

So far our attempts have been:

100% hyperinfaltion - total currency increases 1,000,000 times in 30 years
n^2 - someone with 1000x your stake has a vote that's worth 1,000,000 times your weight
current - voting rewards are now seen as staking returns in a way that forces everyone to litter all over the platform just to claim back redundant inflation while we bleed value overall.

Maybe the current problem was a little bit more subtle but these were all bad. Ironically, most of those who came up with the first 2 problems actually foresaw the current one.

Let's give it one serious attempt before giving up and pivoting. Please. I really think we can stick the landing if we're smart. Or at least not super stupid. This really is the best play, we can't compete otherwise. We have still a pretty big community and as long as we can get the basic economy to function relatively well, I think our popularity will explode.

Made this facet contract sugestion a while back as partial solution for the TTP problem. Might be part of a bigger picture as well if STINC were to give it serious consideration instead of looking to take yet an other potentially disruptive gamble by cutting author revenues by one third or adding a likely futile flag pool without addressing the false reputation problem first.

I would support this approach as well. But as you say there are diverse opinions on things and I'm not sure there is clear consensus to separate the curation and rewarding function from the base token.

this is what i think as well, remove it entirely from steem, less inflation and no need for bidbots. the steemit_smt can then do whatever it wants...

I fully support all 3 components of this proposal, and I think it should be implemented ASAP.

I would rather see SMTs launched and then communities able to implement their own economics within their own communities.

I don't think changing things on does much good at this point. I would rather just wait for SMTs and communities and let them set their own economics, maybe even eventually exploring an SMT for itself at some point.

1.: I would clearly support a convergent linear reward curve!

2.: I could live with higher curation rewards, even if I don't support it:
It's hard enough for new users anyway: to create an account, have enough RC for upvoting and answering comments, earning any small amount with their posts. It would get even worse! And if then for example I would be one of the few upvoters of such a small new account I would get a big part of the reward myself (as curation) instead to be able to give it to the author ...

I really like to curate already NOW with only 25 % curation reward if I find good stuff (I don't care when I vote and who else did vote). I curate because I like what I see. I think the voting behavior of people who are curating this way wouldn't change much with higher curation reward. I guess only people who curate just for earning money, most of the time in an automated way (without reading what they curate) would be affected by this change. And they still wouldn't support new users anyway. Thus they still wouldn't support the growth of the platform.
To my mind, this kind of voting behaviour, which is geared towards short-term profit, only apparently leads to a higher return on investment: although more STEEM is acquired, the STEEM price is reduced by lowering the attractiveness of the network for the majority of users and thus also potential investors. I would like to forego earning even one more STEEM if I knew that this would raise the STEEM price to 20 euros in the long run ... :-)

3.: As I have already stated in My STEEM Vision. (I would appreaciate you to read the full post), in my opinion the suggestion to provide each user with a certain number of 'free downvotes' (by adding a "downvote pool") so that spam (or overvalued posts) would be flagged more frequently in the future, wouldn't really make a big difference under the current conditions. I assume that only whales flagged more often than before, while smaller accounts would still not dare to do so for fear of retaliation.
As I have described in my post, I think flaggs (downvotes) are an important part of the STEEM ecosystem, but at the same time users should be protected against 'despotic' flagging.

Moving from a linear rewards curve to a convergent linear rewards curve.

Wha tis the threshold, Is there an example of how this would work? It's pretty vague.

This essentially empowers the popular accounts to get more rewards because they get more votes, while those who are less popular will get less rewards than they do now since only hiugh SP superlinear voting can give them significant rewards at a lower vote count.

Coupled with changes to curation which is to motivate people to curate through financial incentives, the way curation is done is already highly geared towards financial incentives, i.e. people are motivated/incentivized to vote in order to get curation rewards by voting for posts that get higher rewards.

When you reduce the curation rewards that will be obtained by voting for content that is not highly rewarded, this motivates more people to the incentive to vote for the popular highly rewarded accounts (more so than now). If they vote as they do now on less popular content, they will get less curation rewards. They will thus be more inventivized to go vote for more popular content in order to match the the relative curation rewards they used to get. Unless the curation reward increase is enough to offset this, those who vote on less popular posts will see less curation rewards due to the superlinear rewards allocation. But even then, the more popular posts will generate even more curaiton rewards compared to less popular posts.

The more powerful accounts will have more influence over who is rewarded through superlinear voting. Finding or rewarding "quality content" will be determined by the "whale" class once again. Or by the new "whales", the vote selling bots and their vote buyers. You won't need quantity of upvotes when you can just buy a vote. Won't this increase more authors to buy votes since they will be getting less rewards with the curation reward increase and the superlinear reward change?

Curation rewards are nill to most users until they have enough SP. That's the majority of users. Those who beenfit the most from higher curation are the higher SP accounts.

Didn't Ned speak in favor of vote selling in the past? If this is a problem as mentioned above about passive delegation to bidbots, why isn't that being targeted directly?

Vote selling and buying will still be around with all these changes, and those who buy votes buy the packing on of votes (quantity), which this quoted change will simply increase their rewards. Meanwhile, the people who aren't buying votes will have less rewards go to them through reward pool allocation.

If implemented, will any of these changes possibly be reversed? If so, what will determine if they are to be reversed? What will determine if it is a success and should stay?

Create a separate “downvote pool.”

I don't agree. Some don't have any issue flagging people because they don't like the author or their posts. Rewarding this behavior simply incentivizes more malicious behavior, as they will be rewarded for doing it.

All these changes will likely be implemented anyways, despite objections about the negatives they can (or will) bring. I hope changing things back can be done quicker if the negatives happen. Though changing things back hasn't been something done quickly on Steem before, so I doubt that will be the case. Has anything ever been changed back before?...

100% agree. Such fundamental changes should be automatically rolled back after a predefined time period, UNLESS the community votes to keep it.

I also think trafs logic is not correct. In my opinion, it only benefits the whales, everyone else loses influence, income, and incentives to post because the curators get a bigger share. 50/50 is nuts...

Whales can only benefit from curation if they own enough Steempower. Which is what this platform needs - more reasons for stakeholders to buy STEEM & power-it up, instead of selling since it's not really needed anyway (due to the implementation of delegations & co.)

Delegation is like 30% ROI. Good curation is 100+% ROI which is a HUGE difference.

There is proof regarding your assertions, and it demonstrably contradicts them. Today CMC reports we are at 63, and have slid ~30 positions since I got here. Due to your exact recommendations. Your disingenuity regarding what is good for Steem is inexorable and provable, as your personal extraction of the wealth of the community has done the opposite.

I recommend to the community that whatever you propose, we do the opposite. Every tap of your keyboard is intended to increase your extraction of the wealth of the community. That is contrary to the interests of the community.

We need to create incentives that will financially encourage you to invest in Steem for dividends (since you'll never await capital gains) that increase the value of Steem and produce capital gains, or watch you extract that last bit of wealth that's worth your time, and witness the death of our community.

Please let me know when you abandon Steem, so I can turn the lights off when it dies.

Think this may be a little harsh but I understand.

The TRW has helped somewhat in helping us fighting abuse but services like his have contributed to many a bad actor getting influence and/or cashing out our tokens at a lower and lower price

I am glad to coordinate with them to remove rewards from abuse but it is incredibly rare we get unvotes on abuse which frustrates the hell out of me.

The one thing I am looking forward to is MIRA. We can then run witnesses on consumer hardware (not sure of the impact on full rpc nodes) and hit the reset button on distribution. (We can out a fork in it.)

Too much influence is in the wrong hands to be honest. Folks, willing to sacrifice good for gain by serving the lazy and vain.

Btw what's you do to piss off ngc? Looks like you are on auto flag. That's a case against free downvotes if I ever saw it.

I also greatly anticipate MIRA because I am a huge advocate of decentralization, and reducing the cost of plying nodes promises to advance that cause on behalf of Steem.

I've tried to advance a basic concept of investment: capital gains is the reward for increasing the value of the investment vehicle. Extracting rewards does the opposite and is contrary to basic investment principles and the vision of a social network that enables people to be rewarded rather than parasitized for their engagement. The slide in market cap is clear evidence of the consequences of not building proper incentives for investment in building value into Steem, and reveals the opposite impact of profiteering that extracts value from the vehicle instead.

This could be easily remedied were the devs able to grasp and effect necessary changes. Code is law. They're smart people, but likely to have little experience in investing. I prefer to account for the extant code as a result of that, rather than the other possible reason.

As to Bernie, I appreciate his attention. He may not realize how his autocomments will financially reward me should I adopt Snax. Our current relationship is proof that one should not approach vipers with the same innocent regard one does bunnies. What is in a person is what comes out of them, and given the history Bernie reveals across the blockchain, I should have known engaging him with any purpose other than pandering would produce venomous attacks, rather than cuddly snuggles.

I also agree that free downvotes would but spread the cancer of Bernie further and deepen it's harmful impact.


I flag trash. You have received a flag.

My very rough guess is that right now, around 70% of active steem power is redirecting rewards back into their own pockets through either self voting, voting selling to bid bots, spamming micro votes or some other means

This is because the current economic system pays stakers 4x as much to undermine by platform via the above means than to take part in honest curation. We've long passed the point where big stakers can keep each other in check with downvotes because we understand we understand that if any individual staker chose to use their voting power to downvote someone else, not only would it deprive themselves of the opportunity of claiming that reward for themselves, most of the rewards rescued will just be redistributed to others engaging in the exact same actions.

75% of author rewards might sound like a lot, but in reality stakers are claiming both the author and curation rewards of their own votes leaving pitifully little for actual content creators, irrespective of how good their content is. The paper value of the split doesn't matter if none of it goes in the right direction: that is gradually from the stakeholders to the talented content creators via inflation like it is intended. This isn't happening at the moment because our economic system isn't sufficiently incentivizing the stakers to vote honestly, thus the plead for EIP.

I actually want the maximum amount of rewards going from stakers to authors in an honest way at a steady rate. Because the part that goes back into the stakers pockets is redundant; making a inflationary coin just for everyone to reclaim is silly unless it serves a purpose: if it sufficient motivates stakers enough to actually find and reward good content.

Raising curation from 25% to 50% will mean authors will suffer a 33% on paper decrease in rewards. But 50% of an system where votes are mostly honest is vastly more than 75% of next to noting because the money just gets shoved back into stakers own pocket. So in practice, the idea is to get much more money into the hands of authors.

Economic system is not about the naive direct effects of a change, it's about the result at equilibrium. We can make author rewards 100% but if all the large voters just get that money back for themselves, authors see none of it and the system fails. The entire idea behind EIP is to make it more profitable for voting honestly (higher curation) and less profitable to do otherwise (threats of some free downvotes)

Of course if curation was 90%, most of us stakers would vote pretty honestly, but they'll be too little rewards motivating good authors to create content. So you see, it's an optimization problem of finding the right amount to mostly maximize author rewards in practice.

I understand that it is an optimization problem, but I don't understand why you are so fixated on 50/50.

Usually, when you are trying to optimize something you slowly turn it up until you reach a point where you see the change going into the wrong direction again. Then you start testing the range of the breaking point.
Lets say you find the breaking point is 45% curation. Then you try to find the best split in the 38-44% range.

I understand that testing would take months or years, but nobody seems to even consider testing this. Stinc could run a live copy of the steem chain an see how it would affect the distribution if you change the numbers.
But just picking a random number like 50/50 and hoping that it's the best split possible for reaching your proclaimed goals is delusional in my opinion. It might be better than it is now, but is likely not the best split possible.


Wha tis the threshold, Is there an example of how this would work? It's pretty vague.

@vandeberg's deep dive on the topic should help explain this better:

The idea is to gain the benefit of having a curve without moving far away from linear that we currently have. It's being described as convergent linear because you quickly converge into mostly linear, it could also be described as minimally superlinear. This is drastically different than the n^3 or n^2 that we had prior to linear.

No solution will ever be exactly perfect, but we may be able to attain something much better than we have and promote the type of behavior that most user's would like to see (by making it more economically advantageous to do so).