Some Thoughts Post HF21/22—Even If It Is Too Early To Tell

in community •  2 months ago 

The STEEM Catch-22

I've been reading some posts and comments by those who were in favor of, if not largely responsible for, the implementation of Hardfork 21, principally the Economic Improvement Proposal (EIP), noting that there is a lack of 'quality' content to upvote.

While there's an issue with the definition of 'quality' that apparently still needs to be addressed, may I point out, at the risk of stating the obvious, that the whole presumption of the EIP is, you need to incentivize more curators to curate first, so that they can search and find those 'quality' posts that were sinking below the waterline because there weren't enough curators out there looking.


Turns out, I guess, that there's just more non-quality posts below the waterline, too.

Kind of like an iceberg.

Or something like that.

Let's Get This Out Of The Way

Let's just call it what it is, shall we?

Instead of quality content, can we call it something that means "stuff I like," because that's more of what we're talking about. There are no true measures of quality on STEEM anyway. Don't spam, don't plagiarize, and maybe something to do with some amount of words to go with the image posted. That's about as barebones as it gets, but those are essentially the unwritten rules governing quality on STEEM.

Unless you get into tribes and curation trails. Then there are more rules, and more subjectiveness as to what constitutes quality, or acceptable material.

But that's what it is. Subjective.

What moves me, or what I find significant, doesn't do it for you, and vice versa. We're not really talking quality, however that's even objectively measured. It's always been and always will be a preference deal, unless we actually get down to it and define, once and for all, what quality means, and then somehow make everyone adhere to it on both ends, creation and curation.

Not going to happen. Nor should it.

To those who aren't finding enough 'quality' content to curate, it's out there. The truth is, there's plenty of stuff that someone will read, even if I have to wade through a lot of it myself to find something I want to read. Does that mean the stuff I don't read isn't quality. Heck, no, though some of it probably isn't. It mainly means I'm not interested in it.

Another Thing

Then, there's the tendency of people to upvote people, not posts. I've been told by others that's what they do. Personally, I try to avoid it because that's not how you get 'quality' content in my personal opinion, but whatever. Just don't call it quality and we're good.

Back To The STEEM Catch-22

If we want stuff we want to read, how do we make that happen? Around here, we say, you need to incentivize the behaviors you want, and there are those who will even go as far to say, you need to punish or de-incentivize the behavior you don't want.

Okay. So we have the EIP. What's it supposed to incentivize? Curation, downvoting, and I would say, concentrating more upvotes on a smaller number of posts, because that's what I understand the convergent linear curve does. That's supposed to cause the 'stuff we like' to emerge to the top.

Great. So, by many accounts, the curators have been coming out of the woodwork to upvote, so much so, they can't find stuff they want to upvote. The downvotes have been raining down so much that it's already putting a dent into the bottom line of bidbots and some of the big name producers of perceived non-quality content (stuff we don't like). I also believe that the rewards have been concentrating on fewer posts. It has to be, if folks aren't finding enough stuff they like.

So Now What?

Well, if you were to take a poll of the content creators still around, how many of them do you think would say they felt their posts were overvalued before HF21 took effect? How many of them would feel like they were getting too much in post rewards? How many would say, "I don't deserve all of this engagement."

My guess is, not that many, relatively speaking. I certainly wouldn't, and in reality, I'm probably in the upper 50% of rewards on STEEM, and maybe even into the upper 25% (mainly because it's a steep climb after that). And that's with most of my posts getting less than $1, with a few hitting somewhere between $1 and $5, and one or two a month going over that. That's pre-HF21. Now, all are under $10, so far, but fewer have been under $1. Hard to tell what the net is, but if you were to ask me, I still think I should be earning more.

And that's just it. Very few of us content creators who think we're worth anything, who take the time to do this, don't think we should be earning less. For some of us, maybe there's a reality check needed, and now we're getting it. For others, maybe we do merit our expectation, and more.

If that is the case (maybe I'm all wet), then taking what people thought was more or less a pittance before (I mainly post because I like to create—it's certainly not because of the awesome rewards), then taking from that pittance to give to curators who weren't incentivized enough already to look for stuff they like is not the same as incentivizing content creators to create stuff people like.

Therein lies, in my mind, the great STEEM disconnect.

How To Incentivize

Good question. I don't know if I have the answer. There always seems to be as many if not more counter arguments for every point for. This I do know. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. In this case, if you continually do things to de-incentivize stuff you want to read by those who would create it, guess what, no matter how good your intentions, you end up with less of the stuff you want to read.

This EIP was rammed through at the last minute, as hardforks generally go, because it was urgent that we get STEEM back on the right track, no matter the cost, because doing nothing was worse than the status quo. That despite the fact that it delayed the STEEM Proposal System, which was more widely accepted than the EIP, in my estimation, and for all intents and purposes, delayed SMTs further, which most of us have been waiting on since we got here. That along with Communities.

Some have even gone as far to say that SMTs will do what the EIP is intended to do, and that Communities will further tighten things up. If that is actually the case, then we could have actually been looking at SMTs right about now, since the SPS was ready to go much earlier in the year, and was well into testing before the EIP became a foregone conclusion. Instead, SMTs are, at soonest, March or April, 2020.

And don't forget, because of HF21, HF22 was required. So, the idea of not messing up the exchanges with regular hardforks went straight out the window because, delegations (dang it!).

Some More Thoughts

Those of us who have been around since before HF20 should remember life without RCs, and the effects they had on most everyone immediately after and which I believe still linger for many. Because of the RCs, what seems to get lost in that hardfork, or forgotten, is that it was dubbed Velocity. Why? For onboarding new users more quickly than ever before possible.

What's happened? More or less the same trickle as before. Why? Someone knows, but I'm not clear on it myself, and I don't know that it really matters if I understand it or not. The main thing is, velocity is not happening, and apparently there's something else that needs to happen to make it a reality.

Regardless, I think we've whittled away quite a bit at the active users with all the different things that have happened with the last three hardforks, not to mention the cratering of STEEM values relative to what they were when the majority of us signed up. So, here we are, with the curators now more incentivized, right, but we have a lack of stuff we want to read, and we can't bring on more people who might create the stuff we want to read, and we can't seem to retain enough of the folks that were here that were creating the stuff we want to read.

I don't know. It seems to me like we're kind of treading water. Those who were getting decent rewards before the hardfork, by and large, are still, and maybe they're doing a little better, while those who weren't, are, by and large, doing the same or a little worse. There are surely exceptions, but I don't see it as a wholesale flip flopping of fortunes.

Why? Because it's not about quality. It's about stuff we like. And we all like different stuff, and so we all should be curating different stuff, but there's not enough different stuff to go around, so we're concentrating on a lot of the same stuff, and oh, by the way, the curation system is kind of designed that way so as to maximize curation rewards.

Oh, But, Don't Expect Whales To Upvote!

Go out and network. Except, the whole idea of the EIP was to roust the upper SP to curate instead of delegating or whatever else they do for ROI. So, yeah, we kind of depend on whales now more than ever, be they individuals, part of a curation trail, or a bidbot turned curation hunter.

I've been feeling a lot like the world is upside down here on STEEM since HF21, that we're trying to create another reality with #newsteem, but at this point, it just feels like the same old reality, with maybe a shift in alignment as to who benefits, but with the rank and file yet to get in on the action.

But it's still too early to tell.

Maybe we all just need to declare what we like to read, so we can try some content targeting.

Sounds like another post. Hopefully there's someone out there who might see it who will like to read it.

Image source—Pixabay

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I was on Facebook in the UK in the very earliest of days and there was also a dearth of material. I was first amongst my social and work circles to be on there but I was already by then active in the blog scenes.

What I'm hoping we start to see with Tribes or whatever coalesces around Steem SMTs is the kind of message board or comment section communities that I remember from the earliest days of the web: the ones that largely displaced Usenet.

The unique selling point of Steem, which so few seem to understand yet, is the ownership, without the hassle of having to deal with the servers or software. Once set up and working, there really is no way to stop a community built here. Having seen a few communities I have worked on destroyed by outside interference, this is just one area where we could see explosive growth.

Hey, @brianoflondon.

There truly is a lot of potential. That's in part what keeps me here. The fact that, under the hood, STEEM has a lot going for it. And, too, I feel there's good on top. But then there's everything I listed and more going on, too. I have much of the same hopes you do, and at whatever point the ownership part becomes more important to folks than getting likes and followers, maybe that growth can take place. If we can accommodate them by then.

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Definitely a good read.

Hey, @oldtimer.

Well, I appreciate that. It took a little while to get the direction and tone right, but I'm glad it's finally out there. I've been kind of brewing and stewing with it for the last three weeks, and now I hope I can move on to some other subject matter. :)

I have seen a lot of post talking about the lack of content also. Pharasim, I think it was his/her post talked a lot about it also, about the bots vs the curation stuff now, and trail votes and how there was basically no real change.

I suggested that he make a trail that follows some of the people in Ashers league. Build a bot around what people comment on, and vote on. Not just a bot that follows the blind voters, but also follows the comments. There is no lack of content to find on Steem Block Chain, yes there are times I have a difficult time finding some stuff that appeals to me, but the high SP holders are like you said stuck on the word Quality. Quality does not always make for popular.

I can't think of the names of any Oscar Winning Movies, but I can think of and name a lot of non-Oscar winning movies. Quality is to subjective, like you there is a lot of stuff I like on Steem, some of it I consider to be quality, but the vast majority is just stuff I like.

I do blind votes on names of people I recognize, not to often, but sometimes, generally with the intent of going back and reading it later in the day, sometimes I do sometimes I don't, but my reality is I can find stuff to vote on and stuff to look at and stuff to read that I like.

I think anyone that says they can not find content they like or think of as quality enough is someone that is living in lala land or have never driven or ridden in a Ford Pinto hatchback.

Hey, @bashadow.


You're not going to find me voting up memes or cat images regularly, but you're not going to find me upvoting a lot of attempts at technical writing that take the subject matter way into the weeds, either.

I'm afraid that the quality seekers we speak of have a limited scope of what interests them, and when the scope is limited, you're at the mercy of those who are interested in producing that kind of content.

So, if ferret wrangling is all you like to read, good luck.

You know, I don't even know if I've seen an Oscar nominated movie in years, let alone the one that won. I like blockbuster action films, and for the time being, that's mostly means Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, with some DC and non MCU mixed in. Quality in that case doesn't mean box office, though it does happen from time to time.

Avatar, the highest grossing moving before Avengers: Endgame beat it out, grossed over 2.7 Billion worldwide, and won three Oscars, while being nominated for nine, including best picture and best director, which it didn't get.

So, it's possible, but like you say, most Oscar winning movies aren't what people see. At least not in theaters.

Here's hoping this post gets the attention it deserves!

I fear that HF21/22 is the end for me. My author earnings are down and, for the first time, since I joined Steemit nearly 2 years ago, I haven't posted in a week. And that, despite having been to a really fun meet-up at the weekend.

I just can't seem to get past the feeling of writing into a void. It's not just this latest HF of couse. Engagement has been reducing for some time now and the majority of the people I used to engage with are no longer here.

As for curation. That is down as well and the people I see most saying how great the changes are are the ones with the high SP who were already earning well.

There are so many options now with the tokens and the non linear curve and the time change I just don't know where to start to make the most of my SP. It's ironic really, I have the highest SP I've ever had but don't know how to make the best of it. I keep thinking I should actually focus on it for a few days/weeks but I've lost the will.

I've not even bothered to power up my latest purchases.

I think it will take something completely different to get me interested again.

Hey, @gillianpearce.

Oh, it's getting about what I thought it would. And that's fine. I do better among the rank and file than I do with those running the show. I tend to be more of a pest to them, though hopefully not an ignorant, arrogant pest. That's not what I'm going for. I do like to offer a different point of view than the celebratory "We won!" type of posts.

I'm sorry to hear that this has affected you, too. I managed one post the first week, and maybe two or three the second. I've picked up a little so far this week in anticipation of SNAX coming back on line (still hasn't happened), but I don't have anything, and am not likely at this point, for tonight. Maybe tomorrow I'll get home at a decent time to right something.

I've been feeling like I've been largely shouting to the void since I got here. There are a few of you who show up with comments, and sometimes more, but after nearly 21 months, I would think more people would take note. The problem is, people come and go in waves, and it's hard to get traction that way. It's not like people are still here but no longer like the posts. It's more like they've stopped, or gone to something like Splinterlands.

I've never been able to figure out, outside of when I was on Musing, on how to maximize my curation rewards. Now, it's even harder to do, and requires not only a reliance on automation, but an ongoing analysis of what's going to get the big upvotes, and when. Unfortunately, that's not how I choose what I curate, so I get what I get with that.

Truth to tell, I've been converting some of my STEEM alt tokens on STEEM-Engine into STEEMP so I can by SNAXP. I decided if I couldn't earn SNAXP thanks to the hardfork debacle with API and nodes screwing up the SNAX reward rounds for more than three weeks, I'd just start buying them up. I did go ahead and buy some STEEM, though, to get me over 5,000 SP invested, and over 8,000 total, but I'm not nearly as interested in loading up on SP as I've been.

I keep feeling like there's someone out there that just doesn't want me to get traction, doesn't want me earning, and so they keep making changes to make it harder. I don't think most posts are worth more than $25 to $50 STU at best, but when I'm still getting less than $1 on posts after nearing two years of work, something's not clicking. And I don't think it's as much visibility anymore, since there's not a whole lot of us around as there once was, but because people just haven't grown that much, and the coming and going so I'm constantly starting over.

I don't know what that new and completely different thing will be, but SMTs are closer than ever, and Communities can show up at any time now, so maybe that will be it? The number one thing that needs to happen to this place is improved visibility. If either SMTs or Communities can deliver on that alone, things will take off.

I'm curious as to why you're so keen on SNAXP, especially as it doesn't seem to have been working for you for a while now.

I know you wrote a post covering it some time back and I think I tried to sign up to something. Can't remember if I was successful or not. But I haven' noticed anything coming my way as a result anyway. 😁

I seem to be signed up to the SNAX discord so I must have taken some action. 😂

As I recall, you did get signed up. I believe you should have a SNAX icon at the top of your browser that you click so you can go to your SNAX wallet. That will take you to, but then you have to click on the icon again to put in your SNAX password.

Looks like the site is up and running again, just not actively in a scoring around yet. They've gone to every other day instead of daily so we could be in between rounds or there could be more waiting. At any rate, you should be able to see what you've earned in SNAX and the list of when the amounts were credited.

If you don't have the SNAX icon up at the top of your browser, then there may be some more steps to take, the instructions for which should be available on their discord server. Or it could be when you go to and click sign in, it give you a window to put your password. I just now how it's working on mine. :) The SNAX icon looks like a yellow curlycue, the same for the SNAX discord server, only probably smaller and up in the righthand corner. I'm using chrome, so things might be different if you're using another browser.

re: keen on SNAX

I don't think there's any special reason. I can't say I'm all that keen on STEEM alt coins (PAL, CCC, LEO, etc.), so when SNAX paired up with STEEM on STEEM-Engine, I decided I'd start converting as many that were worth something. That got me enough STEEM to start buying significant amounts of SNAX because of the low prices.

The only news I regularly get is from dragosroua (he's a SNAX block producer as well as a STEEM witness) and his short updates. I guess the SNAX team and the block producers are talking about their next steps. That could be good or not-so-good. I know their listing on Chainrift was shortlived (which is fine, Oregon where I live didn't allow for purchasing SNAX apparently), and they haven't gotten much past STEEM and Twitter as far as I know on their way to conquering the social media sphere. So, really, there's no good reason that I know of buying SNAX other than it's cheap, it's not STEEM based, and I'm hoping a little diversification will mean one or the other can take off at some point.

SNAX is based on the EOS blockchain (though it's own separate blockchain), so if EOS moves, SNAX could, too, I guess, even though SNAX and EOS are like cousins four times removed. :)

Thanks for the info and why you're investing. 😊

As always seems to be the case with crypto stuff I can't log in.

I located the icon in my browser and I found a password in my notes but it doesn't work. When I click on the icon and then on login it gives me a popup with an arrow pointing to the icon in the browser. The one that I've already clicked on.

Why oh why does this stuff never work.

I gave up on Obyte because I kept going round and round in circles. I might ask in Discord at some point. But I really can't be bothered right now.

It's going to be a long, long time before this stuff can be adopted by the masses when it's always such hard work. Especially if you don't log into something for a while. 😢

P.S. I just checked my steem-engine wallet and there are no SNAX there. Does that mean I didn't get any or do we have to do something for them to appear in the wallet?

So, the funny thing about it is, you use the icon to get to, and then you use the icon again to put in your password (if you're not already signed in—basically it each day you need to re-sign in). When you're at's homepage, if the icon is clicked on again, it provides you a place to put your password. Why they did it that way, I don't know, but I guess everything must be stored in that icon browser add-on. :)

Yep. Thanks. That's exactly what happened but the password didn't work. 😢

Your take on quality is spot on. I totally agree with you. I go for posts that interests me, that I enjoy reading, and maybe learn something new in the process. The bests are posts which connect me to a/the like-minded author.

Who can write quality post day after day anyway. Even those supposedly quality posts, if you read them every day, you will find that they are rehashing the same topic day in and day out.

Most importantly, this is touted as a social media. Isn't the whole idea of that was to connect, make friends and have a good time while you are here? So, I think people should just chill. Of course, there are rules you need to follow, and one has to be mature, and be socially responsible. But otherwise, we should be allowed to do as we see fit - within the rules and boundaries, of course. And should our behaviour be not acceptable, we will find out soon enough from the downvotes, and from the response to our posts.

I do not know nor quite understand the stuff behind the scenes. So, I will leave them to the experts, and trust that they know what they are doing. I will continue to play my part - doing what I can with what I know.

Hey, Vincent.

Yeah. I know quality is still being used, but that's so not what people are voting on. Especially when it comes to technical discussions about crypto, STEEM, code, or some other related topic. There are so many different interests beyond crypto and STEEM talk. We need more of it.

It would be nice if people would express themselves with decorum. I appreciate that. There doesn't need to be name calling or unverifiable accusations or conspiracy level escalation. And there doesn't need to be greying out posts and comments because you don't like someone's opinion, or just because you can. As you said, being mature.

I don't know if I can go as far as to trust that people know what they're doing. I wonder about that a lot. The problem is, I know I couldn't do much better, at least when it come to coding in all the possible variables. I guess I wish there were a little more concern demonstrated about how things are going to affect users, rather than being told that this is what's best for us. Too many times, that doesn't end well, when a few people tell the rest what's good or bad.

This is supposed to be social media, it's not all long form, and while I do believe there is a value ratio involved when it comes to what might receive more upvotes and attention, if someone wants to put a fraction of a cent on a meme someone found out on the internet and slapped onto STEEM, well, okay. I would hope that they would feel the need to get a little more creative, or find another way to earn their STEEM, such as curation, now that it's the new thing to do. :)

Damn, I have a collection of memes line up for posting. I had thought it would be great to share a laugh. Guess I better ditch that thought.

Hey. You never know. You might just change my mind. :)

I have shelved it for today. I will quietly slipped the post in when you are not looking. 😊

Great thoughts! I think the fact is that many still do not even understand the changes that went through and data is still too unreliable to draw conclusions; I know I am there. I think more clarity will soon appear and will be interesting to see how the herd adjusts as more understand. However, I feel that the search for value is becoming more important than the search for optimization which could be a better way towards true Proof of Brain over the longer term.

Posted using Partiko iOS

Hey, @newageinv.

I'm afraid that like in life as a whole, these changes are going to be more or less lost on the most of us, we won't know what do to about them anyway, and either we'll gut it out until the next change, or we won't.

Those who control the code, for better or worse, control the platform, and that bears out every time we have a hardfork. I don't feel like I can honestly say I'm the smartest person here, or know all the consequences. I generally do try to keep up on things and observe the results. I rarely find them to be so outstanding that I get giddy. Most of the times they're an incremental improvement, or mostly move sideways, with a certain amount of pain involved in the process.

That might just be the moving of the herd you describe, as behaviors change. I'm really interested to see what people will come up with for workarounds, though, since that seems to be the way to go. Some kind of automation. If it's just autovoting or following curation trails, I'm going to be disappointed. We need new workarounds to go with newsteem. :)

Without going into anything else, I just want to say that I totally agree I hate the word quality, it sucks, it means nothing. There is not a shortage of quality.

Personally I think networking and people are important.

If you post a picture of your kid and I know you that could be interesting. Oh, I might wonder to myself, what does his kid look like.

But if you are a stranger to me, I really don't care. Because just looking at pictures of cute kids for no reason is creepy!

Anyway, you said a lot and I know we are all having different experiences. I do vote for posts I like and I read everyone I vote, but...

I don't look at everyone's post. First I have to know you a bit and feel like I care what you have to say. Are you interesting, do you cover a topic I like... etc.

The more I know someone the more interesting I find their posts.

Networking, is a big part of this and yeah, lose the word quality. It's dumb

I like to say, Interesting.

Hey, @whatsup.

Interesting works. :)

Networking is important, which for me basically means I try to get out to as many posts as I can and comment something of value, as well as answer all the comments that I have on my own posts. I know networking means doing more than that to some (Discord being the biggest gathering place). Really, doing the commenting serves multiple purposes, any of which are bound to bring some folks around to posts.

It's impossible to look at everyone's posts. I have a hard enough time getting to the posts of you all I follow, and I don't follow more than 30-ish people.

I did say a lot, and covered quite a bit a ground. There's three works of thoughts there, and I probably could go on. I had to get at least that out, so I can hopefully move on. When a topic grips me it doesn't want to let me go, and that doesn't make it easy to come up with and write other stuff. :)

Howdy sir Glen! I like memes. lol. But I know what you mean. It's back to wait and see how this all shapes up doesn't it? This is a great post though, lots of excellent points.

Hey, @janton.

Well, I appreciate that. I think we have quite a few bubbles around STEEM, lust like life, and people get stuck in them. They keep asking where the plankton or minnows are that having such a hard time, and it's like, well, I don't think you necessarily have to be one of them, or even be around them all the time to know that there a) there, and b) until they get to a certain RC level, they're not going to be that productive, so that you'd know, unless you spent your time on Discord in the complaint section (I don't know if there is such a thing, I'm just imaging there would be one, and if not, maybe there should be).

Strange thing about it is, it's not like I'm all in for all the 'little guys.' I do think they need to put in the work, and not necessarily get any special treatment. But at the same time, it only seems appropriate they have the ability to post, comment, upvote, etc., more than once or twice a day.

You're the second person to catch onto the meme thing. My sons both love them. I pretty much sit there and go, "I guess the meme makers have nothing better to do with their lives." :)

Howdy again sir Glen! I don't know if there is a complaint section on discord either but I agree there probably needs to be! Although it might be overwhelmed because people complain even in the best of circumstances.

I also agree that people need to work to get ahead but there needs to be a way to help them comment more at first.

The memes...I don't know who makes them but I appreciate the humor and cleverness of them, some of the creators are so gifted!