High STEEM DOLLAR Dampens Curation Incentive

in #curation4 years ago (edited)

Good Curation is an essential part of the STEEM economy because it encourages people to write good content and they are rewarded for it. There is an incentive built into the design of the STEEM rewards that also rewards people for good Curation. If you Upvote a post that is subsequently Upvoted by a lot of others, you are rewarded with STEEM POWER when that post is paid out.


When I first joined STEEM I could see that Curation was a very important part of the long term success of the platform and so I spent a bit of time figuring out how it worked and set myself to the task of being an effective Curator. Not only would I try and upvote good content (by my own judgement) but I would also try to anticipate and upvote popular content (by others judgement). I actually got reasonably good at it and for a while there I was regularly appearing in the Top 3 of the @abh12345 “Curation League” every week (to the point where I am sure he got sick of seeing my name up there). You can see his latest post about it HERE where you will see I have now dropped down to 8th.


What changed? Well Curation was a lot of work and with the STEEM DOLLAR pumping as it is I thought I would change my focus a bit. The Curation League is benchmarked against the “Amount of SP earned per 1000 Steem Power Owned” so I decided to delegate 1000 SP to one of the vote bid bots. Now before you start boo-ing and hissing at me for being a sell-out let’s not be naïve, this is happening ALL OVER the platform.


In the 3 weeks of the Curation League where I was focusing on it, I was averaging about 4.138 SP per 1000 STEEM POWER (Reference 1 2 3). At todays prices of STEEM at $5.28 that’s about $21.85 USD worth of reward per week (yes, I could price this in Bitcoin but I’m estimating that more people reading this would be more familiar with USD). At the time I was reasonably proud of the fact I was performing well as a Curator and certainly much higher than the average Curator was performing!


Now I have a look at what my earnings are from having 1000 SP delegated to a voting bot. It varies but I might be getting an average of about 1.8 SBD per day. 7 days in a week multiplied by the current price of $6.98 is about $87.95 USD worth per week. This is over 4 times the ROI I was getting from being a top tier Curator….and as opposed to my old Curation workload, delegating to a bot takes ZERO effort.


So is it any real wonder that there has been an explosion in the number and strength of the voting bots? Is this a trend away from effective curation and toward vote-selling that will ultimately hurt the platform and discourage new users from bothering to produce good content? Well maybe, but don’t shoot the messenger!


At the end of the day, people like me are pragmatic and many are happy to work within the spirit of the platform as long as it is not a personal detriment to do so. I am not claiming to be any kind of saint or pariah, but I personally try and find a balance between doing what’s best for the platform and the community, and making sure I am getting some kind of reward for it too.


I know that many people are happy with the high STEEM DOLLAR price and I’ll say it again, as an Author I am very happy to see an increase in my rewards. But if we pretend that this phenomenon has no adverse side-effects then we are kidding ourselves. I have already written about how Speculation killed the STEEM DOLLAR Utility and you can add Curation Incentive to the casualty list.


The solution here may be as simple as rewarding Curators with 50% SBD but I acknowledge that this would require a significant code change and may have other repercussions. My point here is that we should be discussing these knock-on effects of a high STEEM DOLLAR and not just making out like pigs at the trough. If we keep pretending that a high STEEM DOLLAR is all good and everything is working perfectly as designed then we are deluding ourselves.


How about you? Do you feel like spending hours this week on Curation?


Images and Credits


I don't see how steem dollar could sustain this price level. I think steem will continue to rise and sbd will fall. Why are people buying sbd when you can buy steem power and have a more valuable vote.

Yea, this I don't understand. My vote power has grown from .02 at 100% to around .15. Not only does this help me and the poster, it increases the odds of the person your curating to take a look at your stuff. So for someone like me who is only releasing one or two detailed posts a week, it really helps grow my following and keep them on the lookout for my next post.

I would say its at least partially due to upvote bots. If you are only interested in making money, as opposed to producing quality content then, you can buy SBD to upvote your own post, regardless of the quality of the post. The profit in this is limited only to your ability to afford SBD. So this drives the price up!

Even so, you would still think that more people would try to trade SBD for Steem just to make a profit on the price difference. This would suggest that at least the two things will equal out. And, I suppose, in the last two days that has happened, as the two prices approach being equal.

Awesome Work Buddy !

Thanks. Don't forget to upvote!

@buggedout thank you for what you shared I like learning more about STEEMIT. I learn new things all the time.

I don't think the problem is the price of SBD. The problem is that the price of SBD is pegged at $1 USD for the purposes of calculating the SP portion of the post and curation reward. That's what is making it more lucrative to delegate to the voting bots, because you get paid in SBD and not the platform's $-pegged SP calculation.

They need to drop the peg and put in a SBD price feed.

I'm not sure that will fix the issue completely. It seems the bots are coded well enough that they can automatically find the most profitable posts to vote on, more than the difference in payouts that you mention. The problem seems to be that algorithms that detect profit potential in a post are more effective than humans parsing through the content so much so that even careful curating yields far less than the arbitrage difference, and that will, as he mentioned, drag on the ecosystem as less people want to create or seek quality, and instead merely seek profits with bots.

We're already entering a phase where bot-created content can help ensure an audience is found (like Netflix already does in analyzing viewing habits before creating their shows to make sure they're going to be popular among the target demographics because they can view all viewing patterns on a granular level, which Hollywood didn't have access to) so it's going to be an interesting mix when that starts hitting more of the social media platforms.

It may not fix the issue completely, but it will be a good start. We are talking about delegating to a bid-bot which upvotes every 2.4 hours to the highest bidder. It doesn't do any fancy calculations to detect maximum profit potential, it just splits its 10% upvote between the bidders.

Bot-generated content is a whole different story on its own. I don't like the idea of bots being able to post automatically. Comments are not so much a problem, but not whole articles.

Okay, that clarification just made this funnier. So it's as simple as money in money out huh. I can't see how stuff like this won't absolutely cripple the site in the long run, from the stats it seems most newer users here become inactive shortly after they realize their created content will never get seen by the light of day because they don't have the cash to play.

NOt really. The bid-bots are just in the business of auctioning off their votes, and paying their investors. You can bid any amount and get your share of the vote, but be careful that the bids don't total more than about 70% of the vote value or you will lose.

I think those that come here and leave early are the ones who came in for a "get-rich-quick" solution, which this isn't. You have to build a following, and engage in comments, just like you're doing now. Once you build your following, and post good content, you will be seen, and rewarded accordingly.

It takes time and hard work, or $100000 investment. You can succeed if you work at it.

This is a really good discussion here. The way I see it bots are profitable now so they are booming at the expense of curation. New users are making a common mistake and thinking this site is purely about producing content, but its more than that. You need a network too. If newbies come here and post good content, then get ignored (because people are delegating to bots rather than curating) they are unlikely to stick around long enough to learn this early lesson about building a network and they will write the platform off. NEVER TO RETURN.

This is worse than not attracting them to the platform in the first place and is the main detriment I see with the high SBD right now.

Unless the payout structure changes I could easily see this site become fractured into one where only wealthy posters have any long-form content, and new and low power accounts use it more of a platform like twitter, with extremely short posts and quips.

This needed to be said.

One of the things that attracted me to Steemit was the curating. I thought it would be fun finding people who make content I like and upvoting them. I especially like to upvote posters who don't have a following/SP but I can see they are putting an effort into their posts. This of course is terrible financially. There's better ways to make money on Steemit.

Right now It seems to me the best way to profit is to make numerous low quality posts per day and get bots to upvote them. What's the point of that?

I have kinda become disillusioned with Steemit and just use it as a fun thing to play around with rather than a serious investment of my time/money.

I hope things change.

Thanks. I felt similarly. It was a bit like amateur hour at the talent show where it was a challenge to unearth the undiscovered writer out there. But I agree now it is just a bit of fun and I am not making any serious investment of money into STEEM. I am only investing time and that is more about sharing knowledge, learning and making connections than it is about profit.

Some of these platform issues and the culture of the users needs to improve before I'll make any more financial investment in it.

It may be better to just get rid of the Steem Dollar at this point. Steem is large enough, volatility is less now.

Enjoy the vote and reward!

Well you do have to ask the question - What purpose does the SBD serve? Stable currency - NOPE. Conversion to $1 worth of STEEM - NOPE. It actually has no real use now and is really just another speculative coin.

I will only been here a few days but I’m surprised by the number of bots I’ve seen. Having read about it a little bit here on your post and from a couple of others I understand why they’re being used though. It’s a little disappointing to see them have such a powerful impact on a platform that initially seemed to be a little more human than some other social networks.

Yes, you do have to dig a little bit under the covers and build up your network. There are some really good people on the platform but you have to FIND them. Look for the people who are giving more than they are getting. These are the good eggs.

Stay a bit longer and see for yourself @mammasitta just wrote about it as well


I am pretty new to steemit.. still trying to figure out the platform.. can somebody please explain to me how curation works?! Do you have to be the first upvoter? Thanks to anyone who would shed a light on this..

You're going to get different advice from different people. The curation algorithm is pretty complicated so I don't truly understand it. But I'll tell you what I do. If I see a recent post by a person that usually gets a lot of upvotes, then I will do my best to be one of the first upvoters on that post. But if I see a recent post by someone that doesn't usually get a lot of upvotes, I will upvote between 20-30 minutes from when the content was originally posted. Another thing to point out is that you shouldn't upvote like crazy. That will just deplete your voting power and you're going to have to wait a few days for it to recharge.

So, you mean, you have to upvote within 30 minutes of the author publishing the content?

You don't have to, but I try to. I've read that this gets the curator the most amount of rewards.

It's complicated. You don't have to be first, you just have to be before the bulk of the votes come in. So for popular authors you might need to jump in at 10 mins. For relative unknowns you could leave it to 25-30 mins.

You raise some important issues. I'm new here and prefer to think I'm sharing my creative content with people, not bots. Post and look for good content and the rewards will take care of themselves.

It's a good philosophy and I use it all the time. Focus on the process and trust the results will take care of themselves.

Spend hours every week curating, yup!

I am new to Steemit still so maybe that new car feeling hasn't worn off yet.

But i spend a good amount of each day perusing the feeds of my choice, finding quality material to upvote and comment on with relevant bits.

Being as invested as you are I can understand your rife. And you seem to know what your talking about in your posts so I am just going to sit back and follow closely.

Cheers and thanks for the info as always.

Thanks. The new car feeling took a few months to wear off for me. Now it is like the old car with a few weird noises and quirks, but I know its idiosyncrasies and I'm kind of attached to it now :)

don't like the idea of bots at all. ruins the experience in my opinion.

Steemit is "Bots upvote bot's posts")))

i'm doing some additional digging to better understand, but from my naive perspective, i feel like automatic voting is an inorganic as it gets. don't really like that.

I use an auto-voter myself. I look for authors who post consistent quality and frequency. It is a way of effectively "subscribing" to their content and encouraging them to keep posting. If I am busy or away on holidays they still have my support. If they start posting garbage then I remove them. It's a trust thing and part of the relationships I'm building.

that's a nice way of putting it actually. but i fear most aren't that responsible about it. we all love that steem generates money for our time and effort spent on social media, but without the actual time and effort spent it eventually becomes hollow and useless.

automatic voting is

Well-researched and quality post, as usual. I'm not at Steemit that often but I do look around when I can. I've observed that you are progressing well and getting the reward you deserve. It serves as encouragement to me, and I believe to others too - it is indeed possible to create a resonable income stream from this platform. But we have to learn, and then put in the effort. Persistently.

Anyway, as per your post here - I'll have to admit that I'm not really clear about curation. I do know there are rewards but had not taken the trouble to find out how they work. It's comforting to know there are people like you who have done a lot of deep research into the system, and educating the rest of us about this.

Thanks. It does feel like I've gone to the next level now that I am pushing myself to post more frequently. I'm finding that the best way to over-come writers block is to maintain some momentum and flow.

Thoroughly researched article. I also agree that high SBD is suited for short term gains and is only suited to consolidate your holdings in other crypto coins but in the long run, it should be the STEEM that should trade high.

Secondly, in the long term everyone should be rooting for STEEM and not SBD because by spending time here on Steemit, we are actually (subconsciously or consciously) making this platform strong, which will work if only people invest in more Steem Power.

Even if someone doesn't cash out on high SBD for a month and rather invests in SP, his/her earnings can be regained in a month because the number of people signing up on Steemit is actually growing exponentially.

About time to invest in Steem and reap rewards later when Steemit becomes a mainstream thing, which I believe, is going to be the story of 2018.

Steem On!!!

P.S. I liked the way you've referenced every image back to its original source :)

Thanks. I agree, investing in STEEM is the long term benefit of the platform. SBD is great for post rewards in the short term and maybe some of these people can make a few bucks pumping the SBD but I don't think it benefits the long term so much.

Hi @buggedout

Firstly, thanks for the mention! I'm glad you have some data at hand to bolster this discussion.

The high SBD price has been great for content creators, but the numbers you are presenting re Curation show that not all aspects of the economy are thriving.

Thanks for the comparison on curating/bid bot delegation. I have a couple of small delegations to these but do like to keep my SP to give votes of value to as many users as possible.



Thanks Ash. I am still interested in your Curation League and I think it is great that you are taking the time to look into some of the BI stuff. It will be interesting to see if anything changes now that the SBD is coming back down.

Hi @buggedout

Great post. I have thought about this a lot and this is one of the better pieces I have seen written on the topic.

My question is this? Are we in a catch 22 situation. Bid bots are profitable and people need SBD to use them. If you dont have SBD from author rewards (most minnows are in this situation), then you have to purchase SBD from an exchange and this inflates the price. Which makes the upvote bots more profitable. So is the success of the bots at least partially responsible for the rally in the SBD price?

It is analogous to the chicken or the egg question in my mind?

To me this is a question of cash flow. Once you have post rewards coming in you can recycle them through the bid bots if you so choose. So I don't think there is any real demand for SBD on the exchanges coming from bid bot users.

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You are very true friends, everywhere I hear people cheered cheerfully because the price is high sbd. the author attempted to increase the volume of his writing and upvotter also count upvotenya. Then what happens, I think it's all messed up when people no longer hold on to writing and all because of money. Even more sad is the comments have not received a decent award, because people commented at random without want to read the article. this is a negative phenomenon of money. Is rising prices for a mistake ...? I think not, as long as we write but still put quality first and keep learning to improve it.
I'm a writer who forgot the time, and forgot the minimum standard word set, because I am a writer who put interest in the satisfaction of readers. Not because of science level discussion but an information that is easily understood to be applied by people in need. Today, only a few idealists still appreciate writing and commenting. a penny is a huge value to say "I appreciate you" even though it's a long and strategic comment.
I see this situation has changed, am I disappointed with this all? No, because writing is art for me. The sad thing is the new writers who have not had time to teach the value of ideals on this platform, then they are broken in the middle of the road.
Prior to Steemit, almost all of my social media existed and after I joined, I said "this is where I am" because I love to write and gladly read other artists and appreciate them with proportional comments.
I do not mind this phenomenon, regardless of the price of sbd and steem, let's go back to appreciate each other do not empty someone's comments even if you put a penny alone.

Thank you, amazingly, your article has raised me to talk about a smallest value but begins to be forgotten.

For me, I'd rather see steady organic growth and maturity of the platform than a boom-bust because of a speculative bubble in the SBD. But that is how the market works - doesn't mean we shouldn't call it out.

Great post and thanks for being so truthful ,it is important that everyone is aware of the adverse effects of a high SBD. Thanks for sharing.

You're welcome. Thanks for not shooting the messenger :)

Resteemed (yes I know the irony)! Great analysis, and I hope everyone takes it ito account! Keep up the great work!

I try to curate 10 posts a day, I'm not going to spend hours doing that. Most of my rewards come from comments and discussion. If you are just here for the money, good for you, but eventually the community will see you for what you are.

A balance is required like you said. Best way I see to fix this issue is not curate the money-first posters. Only thing someone with under 500 SP can really do to make a difference.

Getting the balance right is key. I was more idealistic in my youth until I found out that nice guys nearly always come last. It is important not to be naive otherwise it can be very demoralising always doing the right thing and getting screwed for it. After the demoralisation comes cynicism and that helps no-one.

At first I confused where you were going with this and I think it finally clicked half way through.


I think for me- a minnow with 45 Steem power (plus some delegates) it seems like I could curate at the first time, on the perfect post and not be rewarded. This could be seen as bad or good... personally I think it makes me think before actually upvoting a post- instead of upvoting because I think the author will end up earning a ton of rewards on the post.

To explain further: I think it’s important as a minnow, to learn how to identify good content so we are learning by example. This also gives us a meaningful way of interacting with the community.

Solid information here!

This is an eyeopener I think the bot activities should be watched. How to regulate their activities is what I don't know

I'm not sure that regulation is the answer. I tend to think it is the culture of the communities and social networks that we are building which is the ultimate determinant.

Feel free to follow my posts on success and happiness, I would really like to help you as a person and I am not trying to be annoying in anyway!

pls check this out https://steemit.com/cryptocurrency/@chidoziemike/pm7-pm-ico-6d77b486 and upvote me for a follow and i will upvote all your posts

where can I get that bot?

I really like your point of view about the benefits of curation

I have little SP, so I can vote how I want)

Interesting post. I had not considered the impact of a high STEEM DOLLAR. Thanks for posting!

Very informative. I’m wondering why sometimes my upvote is worth 1$+ and sometimes 0.01$.

Very strange. Double check it because it should not fluctuate like that.

that's a very good analysis about crypto.

pls check this out https://steemit.com/cryptocurrency/@chidoziemike/pm7-pm-ico-6d77b486 and upvote me for a follow and i will upvote all your posts


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I'm still struggling with upvoting and resteeming worthwhile posts without the use of paid bots :(

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