My etiquette rules for voting at Steem

in #steem4 years ago (edited)

I started writing a series of posts on steemiquette rules before the summer vacation - two articles so far:

The work got a bit stalled as I started writing vacation blogs instead, but it's time to steem on ... in this post I will try to cover upvoting - as in upvoting others. I'll cover self-voting and flagging later.

This post has also been procrastinated because I found it very hard to write a set of guidelines that I would try to adhere to. Looking back on my voting pattern, I must say ... I'm probably not a very ethical voter. I can probably do better though. And if it's that hard writing a set of guidelines for myself, then it's even harder writing guidelines that I would hope others would adhere to.

Basically, one has a set of coins that one should give away every day ... that's one aspect of voting in steem ...

Image source: Wikimedia Commons / Michael Sander, CC BY-SA 4.0,

First of all, I would like to try to list up the different reasons to vote for others:

  • One may vote on posts coming from author B, in hope that author B will reprociate and vote back, or maybe follow back.
  • One may vote on posts coming from author B, because one thinks B is a nice person and deserves upvotes
  • One may vote on a post because one believes it's a good article that ought to hit the trending pages
  • One may vote on a post because one believes the author deserves some compensation for the work he put in while creating the article
  • One may vote on a post to earn curator rewards

Ultimately, if we want "trending" and "hot" to be nice, then there is only one of the reasons above that is truly legitimate - the middle one. Do I follow only the middle one? No. But still, here is my rule:

  • Consider giving good upvotes to good content

Scratching backs

The derogatory word "circle-jerking" has been used now and then on the act of voting exclusively on a "circle" of "friends", hoping to get upvotes back again - and the "follow"-button makes it easy to distribute the very most of the voting power over a limited set of people. It's also a part of human nature to favor friends and acquaintances over random people. It's also a natural instinct to "scratch back" when we see that someone gives us a lot of upvotes. Yes, I do it too. It is bad, as it makes it very hard for newcomers to gain an audience and get any upvotes, as well as reputation and "user-authority". Voting for someone for no other reason than a hope that he will return the favor is not so much better than self-voting. At the other hand, it would be silly to suppress human nature too much. Many people find value in being part of a smaller group of people on Steem. However, I do have a simple rule here that I do try to follow, and that I believe everyone ought to try to follow:

  • Give some of your votes to people outside your follower-list

Every now and then, I'm looking beyond my feed, sometimes just on all the new posts, sometimes I filter by a list of tags that I'm trying to follow. I'm using for this purpose.

Here is another rule that I'm trying to adhere to:

  • Read through an article before upvoting it

That's not something I adhere strongly to, and I do enjoy getting votes from people who have set up auto-voting-bots, and sometimes I'm just skimming quickly through an article before I decide it's worthy an upvote or not.

Votes as donations

In many cases one is encouraged to vote to support good purposes, one example is the weekly support posts from @steemchiller, which is needed to cover hosting expenses for his project - other times there are useful services (say, @steemcleaner) posting daily stat reports, and hoping for enough economic support to continue running the service.

I see one problem with this - the purpose is efficiently to vote for something else than the post itself, but in the end the result is that those posts may get a prominent position on the trending page. To be honest, those posts usually aren't awesome enough to deserve a place on the trending.

It's possible to deliver votes in a bit "stealthy" way, by upvoting "deep" comments rather than posts. Hence, my rule:

  • If upvoting for other reasons than "awesome content", consider "stealth voting".

Voting for awesome content

I've already covered it, you should consider giving upvotes to awesome content. That's pretty obvious. The devil is in the details.

To be able to upvote awesome content, one needs to find the content. Even when it's in my feed, I don't always have enough time to look through all of it - and as said above, it's really important that one looks a bit beyond the feed.

Then, when finding something I believe deserves an upvote, I sometimes ask myself, "is this really awesome? Does it really deserve a 100% upvote?" - most often, when thinking like this, I end up with "no", and give a slightly less upvote. Then the next day my voting power is at 100%, and I'm kind of in despair finding enough content to vote for, and I'm back to voting 100% on content that is not awesome at all. I wish I could have been more consequent on my voting pattern.

Whenever I see some content I do consider what value I think the post ought to have, and I look at what value it already got. If the post already got more than what I think it deserves I will hold back a bit, either skipping voting or giving only a small vote. Does this make sense? I do think so, so I will promote it as a rule:

  • If a post already got a higher vote amount than what you think it deserves, don't give yet another 100% upvote

There is another issue I'd like to raise as well - there is a general trend in social media that we upvote the things we agree with, and eventually downvote the things we don't agree with. That's quite bad - we should actually upvote things that are well-written and with good arguments even if we don't agree with it. If we disagree, we should upvote and comment on why we disagree. So, yet another rule:

  • Consider that an article can be "awesome" even if you don't agree with it!

Compensating for the work put down in the article

As a general thumb of rule, I believe it's the result that should be awarded, not the process of getting there. At the other hand, I think it would be nice if people could post the results of hard work at Steem (say, original research, a film which is more advanced than simply filming yourself while you're talking nonsense, some music production, etc) and actually earn on it. However, I think it's wrong to reward people for the work they have put down if the results aren't impressive. I'm not going to postulate any rules here. Personally I do sometimes consider the amount of work put down prior to a posting. However, if I don't like the results, I probably won't give it any upvotes anyway.

Earning curator rewards

Unfortunately, voting for awesome content is not ultimately the way to maximize your curation rewards. In the best case, it's like a Keynesian beuty contest - to maximize curation rewards one should vote for content that one believe others will vote for - and one need to hit that vote-button before too many others do it. If an article already is several hours old, the window for earning curation rewards is probably closed. If the purpose is to earn curator rewards, unfortunately one may do better by letting a bot distribute votes than actually doing any curation - it's just to throw votes to the authors that usually get a lot of upvotes, one just has to make sure to do it early, and skip it if the post already got a lot of upvotes. Obviously it would be very bad for the Steem ecosystem if everyone would be employing bots trying to gain the maximum curation rewards without considering the quality of the posts upvoted. I even think that's worse than if everyone would be self-voting exclusively. Hence, I consider this to be a strong etiquette-rule:

  • Don't throw votes only for the purpose of gaining curating awards

As said above, I consider it a good thing to have a look at the amounts of votes a post has gotten before giving yet another vote. This is also usually good on the egoistic level; the potential for earning curator awards is rather low on articles that already got lots of votes.

Sometimes one sees a seriously undervalued post even days after it was posted. Perhaps the poster is new and have few or no followers. The probability that someone else would see the post and vote for it is probably low, hence from a selfish point of view one should not give it a vote (or, perhaps you may profit if you first give it a vote and then resteem it). From an altruistic point of view it's important to give a vote and encourage the poster to continue steeming.

Another observation, we cannot all be earning curation rewards - someone has to be the last voter and earn no curation rewards.

So, another rule:

  • Every now and then, give a vote without any expectation of earning curation rewards on it

What do you think? Does those rules make sense? Are you observing them already? Do you plan to?


I think they are good rules,especially hunting outside of the feed to share the votes to people you didnt see before. As to voting on content that already has a value seemed good for it,then I would also not vote it much.
Its quite hard to be fair with spreading out voting power, if your not someone with a couple of hours a day to be steemsurfing. I find this the hard part!
As for curation, I havent been interested in looking for rewards, but im hapoy to get micro payments back daily for curation if people on autovote and the quality posts that I come across and will upvote, and especially I upvote if I see the amount of effort added to the post,and resteem it!
This is another thing with helping eachother, the restewm is heavily underused.. I have the principle if i give it a high upvote then it should be also resteemed. will be an interesting experiment 😂 I loved that toilet post of yours, that was excrement! *typo , exellent!

Nice list. I must confess I cast a vote somewhat similar to a FB-like these days. I do not really think about curation rewards anymore. I only vote on content I like or persons I like/ follow.

I think this is a good way to think about voting and rewarding others. Although I have not been on the platform for very long I am proud to say that I do not use any bot services personally. I follow one bot, which I used to find this post here as a matter of fact, @trufflepig because I find the bot promotes valuable content occasionally.
I find myself adhering to these rough guidelines most of the time but one thing I can't quite figure out still is this 100% upvote business. I am not displayed any options to change my voting percentage and am curious how to do so. I am still fairly new to the platform; I don't know a lot of the extensions and plugins associated with Steemit besides ones such as dTube, dLive and some others. I also just use a regular browser. I'm sure there are advantages to using one such as eSteem and others but I haven't spent time figuring out which one to use.

Anyway, thanks for the post. I gave it it an upvote at the end because I enjoy these types of posts; anything to help little minnows like myself learn more about the new social media platform we can call home!

I also think it's great that you recognize that although one may not agree with a post, giving it an upvote is important. We need to branch out of our comfort zones to excel.

but one thing I can't quite figure out still is this 100% upvote business. I am not displayed any options to change my voting percentage and am curious how to do so.

Oh, sorry for that one, I didn't think of it: the possibility to give fractions of votes is a privilege for those having significant amounts of steem power. Actually the whole article is quite much dedicated to people having some steem power ... it doesn't really matter that much how you vote when having really insignificant steem power.

Ah interesting, so I can vote on everything and all of them are considered 100% upvotes? And my voting power doesn't go down with each vote? Thanks for any info!

100% does not mean "100% voting power", but 100% of your available voting power. The available voting power is reduced with 2% for every vote cast, if I remember right (and that's 2% of the available voting power - so if the available voting power is 50%, it will go down to 49%, not 48%).

Ah ok thanks. Makes sense in this money based platform.

II don't really think I ever vote in the expectation of earning curation awards! But I'm probably still on newbie mode, maybe I'll always be ;)

As curation awards is proportional to the amount of vote given, one should have relatively much steem power before it's wort the effort to think about curation awards.

I failed to think straight when writing the article. With great steem power comes great responsibility, it's important to vote "correctly". With low steem power it doesn't matter that much how one votes, just hit the button :-)

hehe yeah okay, it takes ages to get there....! But hopefully one day I'll be there ;D

great article by the way, I am not so into writing myself - so mostly I share average posts. Of course, some better than others - and when I upvote others I do it mostly from the middle section you wrote about and with 100% power. I havent understood everything clearly yet it seems. We will see, I like Steemit somehow - and who knows what the future brings. It is a nice platform, and for those who are into blogging it is better than the ones which is filled with commercials on how to increase your lips and boobs :o))

I like the point about giving upvotes even if we don't agree with the idea it tells about.
It's really wise. Many men - many minds, but if it's well-done, or the idea is rather interesting, we should support it even if we don't agree with it.

Personally I upvote your posts because I really think they're useful and deep, no other reasons;)
and thank you so much for your replies to comments (because many authors just ignore them)

and the main principle for Steemit (as far as I've noticed) is upvotes for friendship or profit (give me, and I'll give it back, and 80% of posts aren't even read I suppose;). You're very responsible with your upvotes and voting power, but the majority are not. And it's not considered to be a problem here, right?
To receive an upvote from an unknown person is almost impossible.
I was lucky to get it from a whale when I was about to leave Steemit and didn't believe I would be able to find my place here. Just one upvote and one reply to my comment really can motivate and give power to go on. I was lucky, but many newbies are just invisible because many whales vote only for their own friends and partners, so newbies leave losing any hope..

By the way, the same principle reigns in Golos (Russian clon of Steemit).

and sorry for this question, but I've noticed your posts get not so big awards though you're a veteran of Steemit, you've great Voting Power, and your posts are really worth of attention. Why is it so?
For example, your posts about birth got great award, though it was long ago when you weren't so powerful like now.

I like the point about giving upvotes even if we don't agree with the idea it tells about.
It's really wise. Many men - many minds, but if it's well-done, or the idea is rather interesting, we should support it even if we don't agree with it.

The echo-chamber effect is a very big problem in many social media sites today, the technology that is supposed to bring us closer is sometimes doing the opposite - bringing us apart, because we only get to see the like-minded.

I'm quite concerned about Steem, at one hand everyone wants to be friends here, I think people are a bit more polite than on other social medias. That's a good thing - too much time and energy is consumed on flame-wars in social media, it's a good thing if people will think twice before posting, trying to be polite and friendly even when disagreeing.

At the other hand, I believe quite much disagreement here on Steem is simply swept under the carpet, because that's easier than to attack ideas one doesn't subscribe to. It's usually easier to skip reading an article than to write counter-arguments - especially as one risks losing upvotes from that whale by flagging that one disagrees with him.

I think it's important to write back and comment when disagreeing, albeit in a polite and humble manner.

That's a good thing - too much time and energy is consumed on flame-wars in social media, it's a good thing if people will think twice before posting, trying to be polite and friendly even when disagreeing

hehe, flame wars - nice definition :o)) I have stopped using social media, too much crap going on there - better with steemit in this way.

Steem is social media. :-)

somehow, it is :o)

And it's not considered to be a problem here, right?

Depends on whom you ask. I think it's a problem that too much steem power is concentrated on some few hands; theoretically those people should (out of self-interest) do what they can to promote Steem and make it the best place for newcomers, but in practice they seem to be a bit short-sighted, boosting their steem power by self-voting or running bidbot services.

I've noticed your posts get not so big awards though you're a veteran of Steemit, you've great Voting Power, and your posts are really worth of attention. Why is it so?

I guess there are too few "whales" following me, simply. I haven't done much work on promoting myself or befriending people, I've never used any out-of-band communication (typically chat), etc, and I've never tried to actively search out the bigger fish.

For example, your posts about birth got great award, though it was long ago when you weren't so powerful like now.

That was really the hey-days of steem - there were not so many articles written, and there were quite some amounts of money entering the ecosystem, I also believe there were a serious backlog on approving new accounts for a while, that was keeping the post volume artificially low. Hence, it was easy to get seen and voted for.

Another thing in those heydays, the vote weight algorithm was non-linear, voting power was the square of the steem power. That's pretty insane, it means that the bigger whales could give away hundreds of dollars worth by a simple upvote, while the dolphins could only give upvotes worth some few cents.

Some other things that have changed:

  • there were no vote weight, every vote was 100%
  • There were much less voting power for each vote. Today one has to yield at least 12 votes a day not to waste any voting power, I believe back then the figure was hundreds of votes or something like that.

Thanks for the post tobixen, for me I really vote for anyone who has worked at writing a post. So my upvote goes to effort as much as to the quality of the content. I see some posts that a lot of effort has gone into and even though it may not necessarily have quality writing skills and style, and is not getting any or very few upvotes I will upvote. And yes I think it is good to upvote someone who upvotes mine, but also randomly upvote posts that I come across and like. Sorry this is wordy!

Appreciate for the effort you did. Definitely the rules sounds good. If we could follow these rules, steemit could be better where it is now! For maximum cases what I observed, people upvotes those persons who follow them and have good amount of steem power. And also upvote outside of follower list when he tends to make his loyal follower to get upvote from him later on. Very few people scroll outside of his own feed to upvote for good contents either for less interest or insufficient time. If we could do that what you try to do as mentioned, steemit could grow more and good content creators with less steem power will feel more interest.

I try to vote by hart, and offcourse I vore for friends its a two way street. And My 8y old Son @colpowercoll he needs upvotes and resteems aswell But you can only do so much. But do you ever vote or curate bad content because you think the newbie just doesnt know yet? To help I mean?
And does resteeming earn money? And than for the author or the resteemer?

No, generally I would not vote for bad content.

If I see bad content and feel like helping, I would write a comment with suggestions for improvements. It has happened some few times, but it's not really my cup of tea. Some very few times I've flagged articles and come back with a comment. I believe once it was an article bashing the Bitcoin Cash project, my problem with the article was that it was only rants, ad-hominems and ad-verecundiam. If he would be "fixing the issues" by removing all the logical fallacies and personal attacks, there wouldn't be any post left! I was flagging the article and very politely commenting on my issues with the article as well as promising to remove the flag if the issues were fixed. It actually worked - the article got edited and I had to change the flag to an upvote!

Except for that, I do have a tendency to give an upvote whenever I'm commenting, so it may be that I will upvote with some some few percent even if I don't like the article.

And resteeming does it earn money and if YES for the author or the resteemer

Resteeming gives no direct rewards for anyone, but it may give an article more exposure.

Say that person A wrote an awesome article, but he has no followers, so almost nobody reads the article and almost nobody votes for it.

Then comes B, which has a lot of followers, he gives a vote to the article and resteems it, and as a result the post will get lots of upvotes.

Both A and B will win on this, A will get author rewards from all the upvotes given by the followers of B, and B will gain curation rewards.

Got it 😉👍

100% UV based on quality of the content.. I observe some of those rules. I am likely to go upvote a new person who comments on my posts..

As far as curation goes I'm still learning what's that's even about lol..

As far as curation goes I'm still learning what's that's even about lol..

I don't know the details myself, even - but the gist of it is that the first ones to vote for a post gets some of the rewards given by later voters. This should give people an incentive to search for and upvote awesome content, but in reality it's giving people an incentive to upvote the more popular posters.

I just read that article you did on witness votes.. thanks I had been wondering about that myself. In fact I removed all my votes until i could figure it out..

That looks to be a pretty good list of voting reasons to be follow by good steemians.
I think that the most important one is to upvote depending on what the value of the post or result of the content can provide for you...
Sometimes a good pic well taken deserves more votes than a long but empty content article.
Steem on

I never bothered to put in the brainpower to figure out how to maximize curation and my votes were never worth enough to use it as a back scratch/circle jerk, so I just vote based on content.

The voting game is sort of easier when not having too much steem power; it doesn't really matter that much when each vote is a penny or less. As I wrote in another comment elsewhere, with great steem power comes great responsibility :-)

Wonderful post and the rules.

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Your UA account score is currently 3.828 which ranks you at #4332 across all Steem accounts.
Your rank has improved 3 places in the last three days (old rank 4335).

In our last Algorithmic Curation Round, consisting of 266 contributions, your post is ranked at #60.

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Congratulations! Your post has been selected as a daily Steemit truffle! It is listed on rank 3 of all contributions awarded today. You can find the TOP DAILY TRUFFLE PICKS HERE.

I upvoted your contribution because to my mind your post is at least 13 SBD worth and should receive 269 votes. It's now up to the lovely Steemit community to make this come true.

I am TrufflePig, an Artificial Intelligence Bot that helps minnows and content curators using Machine Learning. If you are curious how I select content, you can find an explanation here!

Have a nice day and sincerely yours,

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