Some thoughts on curation
I've been reading the responses to the HF21 proposals, and there seems to be a few themes emerging.
Some people are obsessed with the change in full curation timing from 15 minutes to 1 minute, fretting about how the bots will beat them. Others are muttering darkly about how the changes will force people to upvote the big accounts.
Both these anxieties betray a lack of understanding of curation strategies. There also appears to be an obsession with trying to hit home runs, when successful curation is really about a stream of small but solid steady returns.
I'm just a redfish, and I like to vote at 100% voting power. It takes about two-and-a-half hours for voting power to charge from 98% to 100%. That means I rarely vote get the chance to vote at the 15 minute mark - by the time I'm charged and arrive on a post/comment, five hours may have passed since it was published, sometimes a day. But I still do OK on @abh12345's curation league.
That's because it's not about the timing, it's all about the rshares.
To illustrate what I mean I'm going to post screenshots from steemd of two posts I upvoted. Both had total overall payouts of $11 cents each. These are not "home run" big payout posts. There are the norm on steemit. But on one post I made 0.013SP and on the other 0.008SP. (I can see people's lips curling at the pathetic payouts from here! But bear with me).
This is the post I where I made a curation award of 0.013SP
Total rshares was 207,678,724,249. I was the second to vote, after the person who had voted 1,557,116,277 rshares.
This is the post where I made a curation award of 0.008SP.
Total rshares was 214,872,352,698. I was the third to vote, after the person who had voted 1,756,074,808 rshares and 1,595,422,206.
Post B had higher total rshares (though the same total payout of $0.11). But the important bit was the total rshares of the people who had voted before me: 3,351,497,014 rshares. About double what it had been on Post A, and my curation award ended up being 40% less.
So the first takeaway is a) only vote on posts where the existing total rshares are lower than the rshares you can deliver with your vote. And b) the lower the total of the rshares of the people who have voted before you the better.
Be aware of the rshares you are able to deliver. And check the post on steemd before you vote, and walk away if existing votes total up to a greater amount of rshares than you can deliver.
It follows from the above that curation trails are worse than useless. Because you are likely voting after a lot of people who are delivering more rshares than you.
It also follows that miniscule votes are useless too. When you vote you need to deliver the biggest dollop of rshares you can. Being a redfish I can't deliver much, but I make up for it with 100% votes at 100% voting power. Sometimes I vote more frequently (I'll sometimes dash off a bunch of votes before I go to bed and then let it recharge while asleep). But in general, the bigger the vote you can deliver, the better. Giving people dust or near dust doesn't help the author or the curator.
The other fallacy is looking for posts with the biggest potential total payout. No, no, no!
What you are looking for as a curator is posts with the fewest number of voters that still makes a payout. From the point of view of the curator, it's better to be one of just three voters on a post of $0.11, than 55 votes on a post delivering a total of $2.50.
If you are lucky enough to have enough steempower to deliver a payout by yourself, then concentrate on posts where no-one has voted at all, and then give them a nice full upvote. If it's too hard to find these types of orphan posts worthy of your vote, fine, just give the full upvote to comments on your articles instead. If you are the only voter, you'll get a good payout.