As most of you are aware by now, with the new hardfork a lot of changes to curation were introduced, the two major changes were:
Curation rewards during the penalty time go back to the rewards pool instead of going to the author as author rewards.
Penalty timer down to 15 minutes from 30 minutes.
You might think that these two changes alone could not have changed curation a lot, but I feel like this is being underestimated by many.
First off, before the hardfork authors would automatically self-vote a post to receive max author rewards, now the same authors that are looking to get max returns from their votes will have to wait til the 15 minute mark to eliminate any of the rewards going back to the rewards pool. Knowing this a lot of curators will be front-running authors not just because they believe they will receive a lot of author rewards thus increasing their curation return, but a higher return from their self-votes alone is almost guaranteed. I say almost cause some authors might vote a few minutes earlier if they expect others to front-run them, do it too early though and you'll end up with a lot of curation going back to the pool and it can backfire because curators may not vote if they see you already having self-voted it.
I made a post about 6-8 months ago (couldn't find it, tried to search for a bit) stating that I will be self-voting my posts later on, sacrificing the author rewards to reward curators more. This was at the time when bid bots were becoming popular and I felt like rewarding curators to continue curating instead of giving in to bid bot ROI. I believe that with the new changes it becomes even more important to reward your curators by placing your self-votes as late as possible. Curators chasing max curation rewards will notice you doing this when they are browsing their feeds daily and notice your posts at the 1 or 2h mark without a self-vote yet. Self-votes in my opinion are a quite overrated as most of us are not going to make it into the hot or trending list to get those easy followers who most of the time may not even have much stake anyway. Most Steemians know by now that the stake of your followers and how often they curate you are way more important than making it to trending.
Even though I decided to take advantage of the self-voting early for some of my posts before the hardfork as it was nearing the last few times I could, I still felt that more users should've encouraged manual curators and rewarded them more by placing their own vote later instead a long time ago. This is something we've been doing with @ocd for the longest time, we even had an extra incentivize cause the daily unique authors we curated didn't have autovoters that were "stealing" most of the curation rewards. We were encouraging manual curators to browse through our nominations and cast their votes on the authors they liked before we curated them with the bigger accounts later. It is understandable though that not many did this because curation in general being at only 25% (even lower when instant votes didn't go back to the pool pre-HF) and many prefered delegating to bid bots instead.
I recently wrote a post announcing the new "distribution" bid bot that we have been working on lately and even though I failed to mention it there, I bet many of you were aware that through the website where you can see the queue of authors that have bought votes for their post - this will work in similar ways as to how @ocd operated encouraging manual curators as well. Now you will be able to front-run already curated and trusted quality authors with your votes before the @ocdb vote lands on them, if that's something that doesn't interest you much then you can just browse it looking for new authors you might enjoy reading their content knowing @ocd has at one point in time curated them.
The halving of the penalty was also a great addition, even though it still gradually grows from 0% curation at 0 minutes to 100% possible curation rewards at 15 minutes, 30 minutes were way too long unless it was posts that were filled with 2000+ words.
All in all I think these are great changes and we can already see them doing wonders on the platform. The selfish instant self-votes that wrecked the curation percentage are now gone, autovoters will have to adjust their vote timer on authors and hopefully at the same time reconsider voting for others who may not have gotten as lazy with their content and dare I say some people may even consider undelegating from bid bots to give curation another try? Okay maybe we aren't quite there yet but the future is bright and I hope with the addition of @ocdb raising the bar of how bid bots should operate and not reward the owners as much as they have in the past cause the delegators don't care enough as long as they get a much better income than from autovoting/curating. The advantages of opensource code and tech is that we can improve and test out this experiment over time until we find something that works in favor for most of the users and investors and I feel the recent changes, even though small had a great effect on the platform already.
Authors, please consider rewarding your curators as much as possible by voting your own posts as late as possible, it may even encourage curators and you'd end up with more post rewards this way than if you had voted as early as possible.
What do my readers/curators think about that? :)