War On Curation

in #busy2 years ago


There's been a lot of talk about doubling down on curation and changing the distribution to 50/50 from 75/25. I just wanted to reiterate my view on the matter.

Forced curation makes no sense.

In this post I spell it out pretty clearly. In theory, curation pays upvoters for making content more visible. However, the entity actually responsible for disseminating the content out to consumers is the corresponding front-end being used.

For example, if one is using Steemit.com, 100% of the curation being done occurs in the 'hot' and 'trending' tabs. The hot and trending tab are 100% controlled by Steemit Incorporated. They can change the rules for how posts are ordered in any way they see fit.

When Steem was created they wrongfully assumed that the highest paid content would be the best content available on the platform. Curation was embedded into the consensus layer when it should have been an optional feature of Steemit.com.

curation ignored.png

In fact, when you check the documentation of Steem full nodes, curation is an optional feature, but this choice has been disabled by some such Hard Fork (no idea which one).

Future frontends

As time goes on and more frontends for Steem are made available, this broken mechanic will become even more obviously nonsensical. Frontends that curate content in more innovative ways will make it painfully obvious that the system in place now is already an outdated relic.

How to avoid curation

Imagine a frontend that orders posts, not by how much they've been upvoted, but by how much they've been tipped in liquid Steem. Imagine such a frontend encourages users to upvote themselves or to sell their vote to create the liquid Steem. That liquid Steem is then placed in a virtual tip jar. The money from that tip jar is what would change post order on this particular platform.

The point I'm trying to make here is that we can already get around curation within the bounds of the current ruleset. All you have to do is upvote an account under your control that hasn't been upvoted yet and you'll scoop 100% of the inflation created.


Failed Lottery

Curation is like a lottery whose outcome is already known. No one trying to make a profit from curation rewards would ever upvote a post that was paying out even $10 or more. In fact, I curated a post that got bid-botted up to a $1000 payout and my curation rewards were only marginally higher than if I had just upvoted myself. Curation is an impossible-to-win gamble from a purely monetary perspective.


The entire tipping model of Steem is based around the idea that some people are going to give money away to decentralize and bring value to the platform. If curation went away, curators could just as easily continue upvoting at 75% strength and self-upvoting with the remaining 25%. The outcome is the same.

Solution (avoid force)

When a cryptocurrency forces the community to distribute inflation in a certain way there needs to be a damn good reason. The main reason to force allocation of inflation elsewhere is to make sure the platform is secure. Bitcoin does this with miners; Steem does it with witnesses. From this perspective, it is perfectly acceptable for 10% of all inflation to go to the witnesses.

Curation is another matter entirely. It can't be justified.

All curation should be optional. If I want to get the attention of big stake holders I should have the option of increasing curation rewards for my individual post to 100% if I want to. This would mean that I wouldn't get any reward. It would all go to the accounts that upvoted me; a tactic used to gain the ultimate exposure to the platform.

On the same note, if I already have a healthy follower base that's going to upvote me no matter what, I should get to choose to disable curation entirely if I want to, just like is shown in the comment_with_options documentation.

This creates a superior opt-in system where everyone is happy. Curators will be able to scan the blockchain looking for content creators willing to share their rewards. The content pool for curation will filter itself, making it easier for curators to find quality content in the first place.



Content creators should be given more ownership over their property. It doesn't make sense that comments are curated the same way as original posts. It doesn't make sense that there is no curation mechanic for resteems when resteems are literally the definition of curation. It doesn't make sense to force a specific curation percentage for everyone on the platform when that money isn't even necessarily doing the job that it's supposed to be.


Imagine if resteems could have curation attached to them optionally. Take this post for example. I could give it a 50% curation rate to anyone who resteems. When someone clicks the post through a resteem a referral code is added to the resteemer's account. Now if the post gets upvoted through the referral code they'll make 50% of the profit. This is much more effective curation than what we have, and it's totally optional, to be determined by the content creators.

The War Begins

I'm honestly looking forward to 50/50 curation if it actually comes around.
It will be so easy to exploit.

  1. Get big stake holders to upvote your post.
  2. Buy votes for less than they are worth.
  3. Scoop the majority of curation from the votes you bought.
  4. Share the profits with the big stake holders.

People are already doing this now, but if 50/50 curation comes around it will make it so easy.

The first step is to create an open source free market where anyone can buy and sell votes. Said service would then be used to capitalize on impatience and buy votes that pay out in a week in exchange for immediate liquid Steem. (Much like it already exists now if you were in control of a vote selling service.)


Curation kind of made sense before bid-bots existed and when Steemit was the only frontend. The cat is out of the bag, the toothpaste is out of the tube, and it's not going back in.

If I can't convince this platform that forced curation is a bad idea with my words,
then I will do it with my actions.


Great article, @edicted.

I believe most of Steem's algorithms are totally screwed up and generally, they don't make much sense.

I get most of my votes and value between the minutes 11 and 15, where I get around 100 votes. After that, I spend 7 days waiting... to receive only 4 or 5 upvotes more.

So, the lifespan of mosts posts here is no longer than 15 minutes. It's kind of boring to work in a post, knowing that it will be so short lived.

If you ask me, I would cancel curation altogether. People should be voting for the stuff they like, regardless of how long ago the post has been published.


You could not be more correct. While I advocate for simply eliminating curation rewards altogether, I actually see benefit to creators being able to set a curation reward as they see fit not only to them, by drawing audience, but to the community. Simply, every empowerment of individuals that does not take from others is a good that benefits the community/society.

As you point out, extant curation is a forced tax on creation, and this is why I have advocated for it's elimination.


Yea you really like abusing systems 😁

Posted using Partiko Android

Love the idea of content creators having sliders... it's such a simple solution that puts an end to the constant conversation about it all.

buy votes that pay out in a week in exchange for immediate liquid Steem

Meaning, paying with steem for upvotes like is already done. Whats the difference here?

the buyers and sellers create a free market where they create liquidity by setting their own price. it punishes all the centralized services while allowing users to create whitelists and blacklists for vote selling. it can also provide the foundations for a superior reputation system where more trusted individuals can buy your vote for a discount.

Kind of agree with basically everything. And definitely don't think it's fair a content creator to lose 25% more of their work's payout to curation. On top, given that the curation gains are more or less irrelevant unless you already have a decent amount of SP, it seems a great way to drive new content creators away from steem.

Posted using Partiko Android

You missed the point. The point of the 50/50 split is for distribution not for visibility of content.

Posted using Partiko Android

The problem is that curation rewards don't distribute the pool, and instead further concentrate it in the hands of them as already have it. Such curation rewards as do inure to redfish and minnows are so inconsequential as to simply be ignored. I doubt yours are substantial enough to drive your voting choices. What I've seen of your votes seem to be completely intended to curate good content - which curation rewards directly create incentive to not do, and instead for those with stake nominal to produce consequential rewards from curation, promote rent seeking - which further concentrates rather than distributes Steem.

It is a big drama in action and in 1 week this story will be far away in the backyard!

Thanks, it's relieving to read that there's people expressing it so clearly.

Curation per se isn't bad. But all frontends following the logic of just bluntly displaying the trending feed is dumb. To even have a trending feed created by the blockchain feels kinda skewed, as this should be part of the clients' logic to decide, it's representation. Just give them the raw data.

Also, curation markets and TCRs have this centralization tendency built in that I haven't seen a solution for, yet. Large stakes are likely to "win" the poll for a curation decision, ergo they get rewarded with an overproportional amount of tokens so they're even more likely to win next time again.

This will only get worse with 50/50.

Posted using Partiko Android

To listen to the audio version of this article click on the play image.

Brought to you by @tts. If you find it useful please consider upvoting this reply.

hey man i dont understand these things well but totally understood this for the most part until i read practical thought and baahs comment now im sort of all mixed up again lol
good post man have a good night bud

Coin Marketplace

STEEM 0.18
TRX 0.03
JST 0.031
SBD 1.28