My use of automation tools to distribute the reward pool

in newsteem •  17 days ago 
While I wrote a rant a while ago about automated voting on selected authors, that doesn't mean I despise all forms of automation. Actually, a huge part of why I became interested in software development was the ability to automate tedious repetitive tasks. The first script I wrote around the age of 10 was to create characters and npcs for a D&D like pen and paper RPG. Unfortunately that didn't last long, as my friend's dad on whose PC we developed that formatted his disk a few days later, so it was back to rolling dice. But I was hooked on the idea to work once and have the computer do the rest in the future!


Source: https://www.needpix.com

Fast-forward a quarter century, and here I am on Steem. Blockchains are a natural habitat of developers. Not only do we automate, we even try to get rid of the human factor as much as possible by creating ways to find consensus without having to hold meetings all the time. Smart contracts are written once, and can theoretically run whole businesses until the end of time without any human interaction. Steem is a bit in the middle though. The social part of it, the reward pool, explicitly asks for humans to interact (there's no Proof of Brain without actual brains). And in my view, for the system to work perfectly no votes should be cast without a human having had a look at the individual case and evaluating if it is deserving of an up- or a downvote. This is the strength and at the same time the weakness of this platform. If enough people participate to at least outnumber the fully automated votes, we can create a platform which constantly outputs high quality content and adequately rewards their creators. On the other hand, if automation takes over, inflation will always be moved towards the same people, and everyone else loses out while the growth of the platform declines and goes negative.

Automation can be helpful too though!
Someone like me, who holds a significant portion of stake, and is too lazy and uninterested to dig for content all day, basically needs to take advantage of it to help shaping the platform. As I'm not primarily interested in rewards, I could of course just sit back and watch the minnows do the job. But unfortunately there are big stakes which are interested in gaining, and leaving the playing grounds to them would mean they dominate even more and keep distributing the inflation between themselves only. So I feel it to be my moral obligation to participate.

Out of this necessity, @curangel was born. It's a hybrid, using manual curators to decide where to distribute my (and others) up- and downvotes. It's fully optimized to distribute as much of the pool to creators as possible. We don't try to vote faster than others to maximize curation rewards, but instead only vote when the VP is at 100% to maximize the influence on the reward pool. More than half of my stake is delegated to this, and it's doing an awesome job.

But I realized that in the current situation, where even the smallest minnows are targets of retaliation, I can't just delegate everything there and lay back. So I powered up another few hundred thousand Steem, and use these differently.

1 - Countering (retaliation) downvotes
@howo created the wonderful Downvote control tool. While it has some more functionalities, I use it specifically for the task of countering retaliation downvotes by certain actors who don't care about content at all, but only about their relation to the posting account. I just set that up, and to use it more I will need the option to exclude certain accounts from receiving countering upvotes, but @howo promised he'll add that these days. By using a factor of their_SP / my_SP and rounding up, I make sure that every downvote they give actually results in the post being valued a little higher :>

2 - Using the rest of my upvotes
I read a lot, but not that much on Steem. I've never been interested in social media. Usually I don't care about food, except when I'm hungry and looking for a recipe. I do my own traveling, and the same way I don't share my experiences of that with the world I don't give a damn about others experiences. The list goes on, let's say I'm just not the target audience for this kind of site. Once in a while I stumble over something and leave an upvote to appreciate the work the author put in, but most of the times even that doesn't mean that I was really interested in the content.
The downvote countering isn't enough (yet?) to use up all my VP either, so I set my account up to follow the steemauto @curangel trail. With a threshold of 99% VP, and a scaled follow of 100% I make sure my VP is never running over, but never too low to use it myself when I want to. As soon as it reaches 99% it votes for the selections of @curangel curators, when I push it below it pauses. Perfect!

3 - Downvoting
I'm still calibrating this. For a while I followed the steemauto @curangel downvote trail too, and this is generally recommendable for everyone who doesn't want to manage their downvotes themselves. Set the threshold there at 80%, because it casts several votes in a row, but also follow with a scaled 100%. That way we can calculate the approximate power of the followership and avoid overdownvoting - we don't want to grey the posts out by bringing them < 0, but provide a haircut to as many as possible.
For now I stopped following, because some of the abusers learned to delay their votes until after @curangel hit. So I keep my remaining stake as a backup, to push them down again after that. It's not too difficult to manage the downvotes manually, as they don't need to be spent daily anyway - their value depends on the upvote mana, so that 5 days of downvotes (13) can be spent in one session without lowering their impact.

That's it. Automation is good, even on Steem - as long as there is human oversight on every action. This concept keeps Proof of Brain functioning, while I'm still able to use all of the influence my stake gives me. I hope by showing how easy it is to achieve this I can motivate more bigger (and smaller) stakeholders to make use of their SP in a way that helps the whole platform!

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It's not too difficult to manage the downvotes manually, as they don't need to be spent daily anyway

Yeah, that's how I see it.


Sorry for Offtopic but I just saw you voted for the Return Propostal which is too high from my point of view.

Steemchiller has dropped out of the promotion, that's not good. Guess also like Chiller, 10k would be completely sufficient for the purpose.

My request: have a look at it and if you come to the same conclusion (you voted for Chiller's Propostal but at the same time prevent it from being funded) - then maybe remove your vote for the Return Propostal.

I suppose it all has it's place on a decentralised platform. I can't deny I use an automated upvote trail to upvote friends I've made here on steemit. I do think there posts are usually "99%" of the time good quality, it's just with time zones I can't get to read them when they get posted. It's nice to read how others look at, and act on downvote trails. I'm still "afraid" to use mine for fear of retaliation.

Keep on keeping on.

There's more and more people countering the retaliation, which is absolutely necessary to take this fear away. Some people came out with a net-positive in the past, and by the looks of it this may become the norm soon - I won't tell too much, but it's a topic intensely discussed in some groups, and very important to quite a few big accounts.

If you follow the curangel trail, join our discord to point us to received retaliation downvotes and we'll take care of it.

Manually upvoted ;-)

With 138 upvotes (at time of writing) it's nice to see 2 of us commented and clearly curated manually

Balance is key. Not everyone has the time to go all manual, but they can still be helping good content producers with automation. However, you're right, we still need the manual side. If everyone set up the voting to be automated, then no newcomer would even get noticed and we've completely failed in our goal to grow the platform.

This is the first I've heard of @howo's downvote control tool. That's a great idea to combat that sort of abuse. With all these great minds, who needs centralisation and government control! 😉

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Very nice write up. Yes, we need the human touch.

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Thank's for not leaving the pool to the Haejins of this biotope. Curangel is a great initiative, the automated down-voting much appreciated, and "healing" against retaliations is the next good news.

You are very right, automation is not bad, I understand that in steemit it is condemned by people who misuse it but I still consider it leaves positive things.

  ·  17 days ago (edited)

Manually read. Automatically upvoted :)

I can’t code. But just by association I am friends with a lot of coders. I have a lot of respect for coders. I my mind coding is graceful.

I am skeptical about social network but I see the potential. You know how impulsive I can be. So my involvement with this platform being skeptical is this much. So imagine if I am full throttle how much involved I can be!

Without being too social, I have made many good friends here, read some wonderful stories, played some good games, helped some wonderful people, got help from some wonderful people. So all in all I feel content.

If we work together; got some kind of governance going I think we can be successful. We have potential!

I follow curangel’s upvote trail. Which is one of the best decisions I have made on steemit. Only today I found downvote control tool, which I used to completely counter the retaliatory downvote! Thanks to you for showing and @howo for creating. Looking forward to how the tool works. Cheers!

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Hi !
What about a trail curation on @cleanplanet account too ?
I am bot a bot, I do all manually.
I upvote those who pick-up trash all around the world and I think that this is a real important thing for our avenir.
Fight against modern ENVIRONMENTAL pollution is really honourable and could be rewarded.
Well, just a few word to Awareness about me and @cleanplanet 😃
Thanks and see you maybe one day !
@yann0975
@cleanplanet creator

Saving this epic post to read later 😁 !steem2email

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Emailed 👌


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It's an intimate article. I'm hoping Steemit will go back to his old days. This request will hopefully take place in a short time. @pharesim

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Manually upvoted, after I read it, of course ;)
I will never get tired of telling you that you should post more! :P

What is difference between downvote and vote.
Do you know it? I was out of steemit for a while.
I am looking good platform options.

The rewards come from a pool, which is shared between all users.
An upvote assigns a portion of that pool to one post and all the others get a little bit less.
A downvote assigns a portion of the pool to everyone else and the downvoted post gets less.

  ·  4 days ago Reveal Comment

Please we need to talk on a particular issue boss. Don't be offended sir. I'm on Twitter with this username as well. Thanks

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The first script I wrote around the age of 10 was to create characters and npcs for a D&D like pen and paper RPG. Unfortunately that didn't last long, as my friend's dad on whose PC we developed that formatted his disk a few days later, so it was back to rolling dice.

Ha ha, this made laugh as one of my favourite parts of a good game of dnd was making my player character/s. I do remember how much time it took as a DM though to make a lot of NPC's who were going to potentially have combat roles. I could have done with your script!

I'm unsure about how I feel around the automation on steem. Ambivalent would probably be the right term. I use automation tools, and follow OCDB downvote trail currently, but I do think if automated voting tools didn't exist on steem we would have a much more functional POB.

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