Distribution and Curation: Ending the Infinite Circle Jerk in the Trending Section and Lifting the 99.99%

in circlejerk •  2 years ago  (edited)

The Number one challenge on Steemit

93.33% of the steem rests in the hands of the 1% of steem owners. That's not even including the STEEMIT INC account. My number one frustration on the platform is the distribution, and I spend a lot of my new commute time trying to figure out what we can do about it.

The good news to many is that the price of steem is going up, but the bad news is that this will hurt distribution. While the actual percentages won’t change with a price increase the amount of fiat required to purchase their share goes up. So, judging by the cost in fiat dollars it gets harder and harder to solve the distribution crisis as Steem mainstreams and price goes up.

It leads to problems on the server. You probably have heard the term circle-jerk in regards to the trending section. It’s the reality that many weak posts by well known authors are able to catch huge rewards. A single image or a single video may catch $500 or more. It’s so frustrating to see as a minnow or dolphin pouring your life into a 2 hour post that gets 8 views and 3 cents.

As my wife put it-

My $0.02 cents are only worth 1 cent.

The reason behind supported shit posts are several. The rewards are high so there's lots of incentive as an author. The consequences are low unless the Uber whales collectively decide to punish people. There are social reasons... "You scratch my shitpost and I'll scratch yours," or "what's the big deal that author's my friend." But the biggest reason is that curation favors it.

If I'm a whale I can make $1k/week upvoting comments. I make more when I upvote successful posts early. The already well known authors with high reps, big followings, and proven success getting big rewards is my highest chance for a fat payday on my upvote. You can't blame them. If I could make $1k a week just by upvoting my buddies who were doing the same to me I'd be hard pressed to do anything different. So, curation starts looking like kids playing soccer where everyone is grouping up around the same ball.

What are some potential solutions?

So, short of a cultural revolution we gotta figure something out to help change the distribution over time. My first suggestion is to alter the reward curve for whale curation so that it’s at least partially dependent on the delta between their own steem power and the steem power of the post they are voting on.

For example; I'd like the future to look more like this- Whales get higher percentage rewards for finding a good minnow post, up voting it, resteeming, and possibly seeing the same circle jerk effect, but at least it's on minnow posts. They can still be rewarded for posting on their friends posts but the percentage or cap is less attractive. That's one approach.

Another alternative is to reduce the voting power used when it's spent on a weaker account. In this case the whale could presumably have more votes that pay somewhat less individually (because there's less of a chance of a pile onto the post) but with the right curve or power that could still be better than just the ganging up on another whales post because they can only vote on fewer of them.

It's possible these comments are moot after HF 19 and linear rewards, but I'm pretty nervous that it'll go on. They'll just have fewer more powerful votes to send their buddies to the moon!

If we can incentivize the whales to look for minnow posts, up vote them, and resteem them we have a better shot of helping minnows and dolphins grow their accounts. I think this will also clean up the trending section so that higher quality posts we can all be proud of end up there.

Potential pitfalls

Now, this might be dangerous because it could incentivize whales to make alts, shitpost and re steem on the alt. This already goes on though to some extent. We may just need the "police" to be diligent about that too. More on that tomorrow...

Anyway, drop your thoughts

These ideas are 1-day old after a some deep thoughts with @trafalgar. I'm still philosoficating about it.

Do you like it?

How could it be implemented mathematically?

Do you think this could help distribution over time?

If you wanted to incentivize whales to vote for minnow content how would you do it?

Circlejerk is so hawt right now


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You can find me hanging out on steemspeak, a discord channel that many steemers use to text and talk to each other- https://discord.gg/qjpRj7w

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In every free market economy, it always look like the wealth distribution is not fair, but the trouth is that any attempt to intervene will only make things worse.

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Except in this case, we aren't in a free market. We are all bound by the unique rules of the STEEMIT platform. Like it or not, we are heading to a new hardfork that will change the rules.

So the question becomes, "Is the STEEMIT platform stronger with the built in incentive for whales to upvote whales, or is STEEMIT stronger with built in incentives for whales to upvote superior content?"

Remember, the incentives we have now were not market chosen either...

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Agreed

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No, there is a system design in place now and it aggregates wealth. We have the power to make changes and run experiments. If we do nothing we're stuck with 93% in the 1%. It's worth exploring.

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Aggroed, I agree. It is worth exploring, and supporting.

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Absoluteky. This is a safe place to test new models without causing famine and poverty to an entire population for generations, as might occur IRL social experiments...

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It's not a free market, it's a highly regulated system with specific rules chosen to produce specific results. It's like a car engine. The better you design it, the faster it will go.

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What is regulated are the contracts that the virtual coins represent. But this is not why you have a wealth pyramid.

Don't get me wrong. I am all in for changes and fixes in the way Steemit works (altough IMO the more important ones are related the the Steemit social network's user experience), but none of these will make the wealth distribution more fair.

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When you assign a reward for choosing a post that others will like, you are regulating behavior. That is a regulation and the site is full of them. And yes, there are ways to make the wealth distribution more fair. Changing the way rewards are dolled out is one of them.

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I have to laugh at your vote bots though. 3 minutes and 18 votes? I don't know what to think of that stuff.

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That is backwards thinking. Old think. We have a chance to build a new model. Not make this place the same old garbage most of us want to escape.

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This was said many times in history and the result was only lots of destruction and suffering, just to end up in the same place.

I plan to write a post about that soon, but in a nutshell, every time you reshuffle the deck, you create lots of value by doing so but only for a very short time. Those who have the brains or the guts or even the luck to grab it, will become the whales of the shuffled ecosystem. Now, if you want to change the rules so that you will have a chance at that big bang moment, that is another thing, but don't expect it to make the system more fair.

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I feel bad if you really view life with so much surrender. You should turn off your vote bots, you might give people the impression that others actually agree with what you're saying. ;)

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I don't have a vote bot for my replies, so apparently some people agree with me

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False. This is the two party propaganda that they feed to the Red team. If anyone tries to even the playing field, that is insipid communism. Poor people who work 18 hours a day to pay their rent should not be getting Christian charity, because you are encouraging laziness (they actually said this in 18th century London). If someone has a Trillion dollars and owns all the land, you just have to do what he says, because we don't do any redistribution. No, free markets have to be protected with laws. The basic truth that the bad guys teach the Red team to reject is that there is never a need to level the playing field. The other thing they sell the red team on is giving public utilities to private companies (because lazy governments are not as efficient).

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this statement has some truth in it but is worded too strongly
you can have market inefficiencies, externalities, asymetrical information, public good, monopolies, irrational behavior, misaligned game theoretical outcomes etc that could benefit from intervention
but generally a free market is very productive and intervention should be seldom exercised

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More minnows would stay if they actually saw rewards. As it stands now, the dead followers list will continue to grow. Just my opinion.

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