Gaming The System

in #steem5 years ago (edited)

No system is perfect. It is human nature to try and work any system for personal advantage so until we as a species can evolve past the point of selfishness then it is a fact that needs to be accepted. Whether it is a software or blockchain system or even a financial or political system, it doesn’t really matter. There will be flaws and loopholes that will be exploited by those who are clever and/or lacking morals so there isn’t a lot of point complaining about it, let’s at least understand it.


Systems are designed from the outset to serve a particular purpose. The designer(s) are trying to solve a problem and/or achieve some sort of desired behaviour or result when they architect a new system. Perhaps the system works brilliantly at the start. Perhaps participants use the system in the spirit of its intended design. Systems are not bad by their nature it all just comes down to how they are used and maintained, however people will adapt to a new system and they will find those loopholes in time. Let me give you some examples.

The Westminster System


This is a parliamentary system of government for running a country democratically via a legislature. Back in the 1840s when it was first implemented it was a revolutionary and empowering system for the people who were mostly accustomed to rule by an elite (often royal) class. It was intended to be a form of “Representative Democracy” where elected MPs would represent their constituents, but it wasn’t long before Political Parties emerged – the first major groups to Game The System. They turned the Westminster System into a 2-Party system and now it has come to the point where MPs don’t really represent their constituents, they represent their parties and they toe the party line. The Westminster system no longer functions according to its intended “Representative Democracy” design.

The Modern Financial System


A complicated topic and we have had a number of changes to the Modern Financial System, but we saw in the GFC of 2008 that the Financial System is now being Gamed so hard that it is also failing. We have the Financial elite controlling massive wealth with high leverage and taking investment risks with peoples life savings. With the full knowledge that if things go bad, they will be classified as “Too Big To Fail” and be bailed out by the taxpayer. Their mantra is to “Privatise Profits and Socialise Losses” and they are making Trillions of dollars by Gaming our Financial System. As a result this system is becoming more unstable and unbalanced every year.

STEEM Blockchain


Everyone here should be familiar with the STEEM Blockchain. It is no different to the other systems I have already mentioned. Some users have figured out they can self-vote, create circle jerks, sell their votes and extract value from the STEEM Platform without providing any value themselves. The design of this system is quite brilliant, but it is not without its flaws. We can argue day and night about Linear Rewards or whatever Hard Fork feature we like, but the fact is that “Where there is a will, there is a way” and there will always be users who will exploit the System design and Game it for their own advantage.

So what can be done? I am not for one moment suggesting we throw in the towel. The answer to me lies in EVOLVING our systems and eternal vigilance is required. Just like with a software program, if a bug is found, you patch it. The people who are responsible for maintaining and upgrading these systems have to stay ahead of the Game. It is a constant struggle, but a struggle that is definitely worth having. To stay still is to die. Systems need to keep moving, to keep evolving or they become irrelevant as they are exploited to the point where they fail to fulfil their intended design and they break down.


The biggest problem comes about with systems where the ones who are trusted to maintain and evolve the system become the same ones who are Gaming it for personal benefit. If this happens it no longer is in the interests of caretakers to keep evolving the system to prevent exploitation, they become more interested in keeping the Game going so that they can extract as much value from it as they can. When problems arise they seek to “Kick the can down the road” for as long as they can until the system eventually breaks or dies. Often that is when a new system will then emerge to take its place and provide the evolution that is missing.



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Steemit may never be absolutely perfect. I could be considered as gaming the system but hopefully I can help this system live up to its true potential.

There's really no such perfect system yet in this world. I wonder if it will exist in the future.

Good post, thanks. You have said what I did in several posts and comments, only you said it in much more detail and with much better context.
As a relatively new Minnow, it is so frustrating to spend hours researching, writing and formatting a post, only to see it disappear into the stream, with virtually no views, no votes, no resteems. Then I go on one of the feeds, see posts that look like they were wrtitten and posted in 5 minutes, with dozens / hundreds and upvotes, comments and $ made. I realize these people are essentially gamers, have bought into the game with $$$, and use bots and syndicates to make good money. In your opinion, is that the only realistic way to go? Will Steemit end up just being a Casino? Or is it already? Anyway, good post thanks.

A common misunderstanding new minnows have is to think this platform is just about producing good content. It is ALSO about building a social network so you need to make friends and connections where mutual support for your content can be fostered.

It is possible to be successful here by having a strong social network but with weak content. That is not neccessarily gaming the system (though more often than not it is). I personally try and work within the spirit of the intended design while being aware of the gaming aspect so I make sure I am not disadvantaged by those who are gaming it. It is a pragmatic approach that is kind of working OK. I'm still here after all :)

The best advice I could give you is to find or forge a community based on your interests and build some mutually supportive relationships. I am heavily involved in a couple of communities and it's where a lot of my support comes from. Going it alone here is very, VERY hard.

PS - I am not sure what the future for STEEM is. I don't think it will ever be a casino, but it might fail if it does not evolve. That is why I focus on authoring and community building - because they provide me with value now and that value can also potentially transcend this particular system and move on to the next one if it ever comes to it.

@buggedout - thank you for taking the time to make a thoughtful reply, appreciated. Will take your advice and try to join some communities with common interests and goals. Cheers!

Yes, the platform is flawed, which can be expected for such a new and incredible venture, however, I like your diplomatic wording..."potentially transcend and ...move on." Hope it does not come to that but it may. Hope we begin to see a more responsive team at the top. Blessings.

I'd just add to @buggedout's comments that all of us who are relatively new need to make some determinations with regards to effort vs. rewards. Towards the beginning of our time here might not be when we expend a lot of time and energy in posts, but rather, sufficient and adequate time. I'm not suggesting a lack of quality. I am saying that if you can create a quality post in an hour or so, as opposed to four, five or more, then those types of posts in the beginning may be more appropriate.

The problem is, and perhaps always will be, visibility. Those who have been around, have networked, have become part of a community, made friends, etc., will probably be the ones with the higher rewards regardless of what they actually contribute because they're solving the visibility problem at least in part by these associations they've created. I wish they would maintain quality, but other than choosing not to vote on their posts, or taking the extra step of flagging, there isn't a whole lot that can be done to change the behavior. In my mind, I can either choose to concentrate on what others are accomplishing and let it affect what I do, or I can concentrate on what I'm doing and how I can help others make it a better place.

May I suggest, among any other groups or communities you may decide to get involved with, that you check out the newbie resteem initiatives, ASAPers and @abh12345 curation and engagement leagues.

And if it's any consolation, the first couple months here, for me at least, were the hardest. Hopefully, you'll see some improvement, too.

@glenalbrethsen - Thank you for the comment, a lot to take in. As always, I will take good advice and focus on your suggestions. One of the things that is confusing me greatly is the multitude of support groups etc. Anyway seems I just need to be focused on what I am doing and try to contribute to communities. Thank you for taking the time to comment. Cheers!

There are definitely plenty of support groups. I haven't interacted with many of them myself, so don't know how to advise you there. Some are obviously going to be better fits than others. But discovering how you fit in here is part of the process that needs to occur, anyway, so I wish you well with that. :)

Unfortunately, life is a game. We've built our entire lives around that concept, whether in our religion (following the laws of a god), our politics and government (following the laws of man), or our economics (following the laws of money and banks). We many not like to face that reality, but that's the thing about truth: it doesn't give a rat's ass what we believe, as our beliefs have no effect on Truth. Truth will be true no matter what.

Our choice is to decide how we will play the game, whether "by the rules" or "outside the rules". Either way, don't depend on justice to reward the good and faithful and punish the offenders. Justice is like the rain: it falls on all of us at some point, just not according to our plans.

Very insightful comment. I think for the most part people are playing "by the rules" it's just that the rules have some loopholes and flaws. A bit like how Justice is not the same thing as Law. The Law attempts to ensure Justice but it doesn't always work.

Be it a game, or a full fledged social experiment, Steemit and the rest of the STEEM ecosystem is definitely more than just a blogging/social media platform and it is intended to be so much more.

Right now, however, Steemit is treated more as an investment site than it is a place for creators, commenters and curators to earn rewards. Instead of upvoting things solely based on quality, it is a place where upvotes are more calculated.

What we understand to be the original intent of the platform, and what many are doing appear to be at cross purposes. I'm not totally convinced that they need to be. Finding the way where those who are mostly interested in earnings can do it, while those who want some rewards from their efforts, yes, but also want eyeballs and an engaged following, is the way forward.

We are limited and also empowered by the code. As long as the code exists as is, it will be used in whatever fashion people deem appropriate. And their explanations for it, for the most part, will be just as good as the reasons why people will abstain. The question becomes then, how do we manage to coexist with so many differing and seemingly juxtaposed wants/need/desires potentially causing problems?

From what I've read over the last nearly four months, the answer is somewhere in moderation. Convincing those who do one thing or another to a perceived extreme to moderate their use. For the good of the platform has not been the best of arguments, and ultimatums only work in some cases, so their needs to be something else, something that offers the right incentives.

Enough people, with the same mindset and basic goals can produce change. It takes time, but it can and does happen. Those of us who have the concerns need to continue to work within our own parameters and continue to figure out the best way forward for all.

That is true, STEEM is more than just a social media site. It is potentially a platform for mainstream crypto-commerce and marketing and a whole bunch more.

I agree with you about the code, though the code was designed and written for a particular purpose and I don't think the incentives to use it in moderation are really there. Most would agree that if everyone just self-voted 100% this would be nothing more than a ponzi scheme and destined to fail.

Yeah. If everyone did, I'm sure this place wouldn't amount to much. And yet, it probably wouldn't need everyone, either. The higher SP folks, who are the by far the minority on this platform, probably half would do us in. Or less. It's proven resilient this far, I guess, despite everything. And while it's not very desirable, having all the dead fish and the SP locked up or delegated is probably helping. Or not. I guess it depends on who you talk to. :)

Well written and intended mate. Maybe if we can get systems to become automated from the beginning we can minimise human meddling we may be able to minimise gaming. Maybe.

Thanks mate. An interesting idea there - A system which is capable of evolving and maintaining itself? Sounds like AI could do that job. An AI system that is smarter than its users. Most definitely possible in the future....

Thanks for sharing your thoughts friend! You've done so in a manner that concisely articulates your points without getting too specific. That is not always easy to do and requires a certain kind of thinker. Well done! I'd like to add that much like the systems you describe, one has the choice to opt out completely, fight the system and attempt to usurp it, or instead seek to understand it thoroughly. I tend to prefer the last option as it allows one to gain strength from the flawed system. If/when the time comes to employ the other options, you will find yourself in a more advantageous position. ...something all should consider, here and elsewhere, in my mostly-humble opinion.

Sounds very similar to my own pragmatic approach. Some systems can't really be opted out though when it comes to government enforcement.

@buggedout very well done post. I especially like that it attracted a nice UP Vote from @fuzzyvest . He knows, I know and You know that certain ACTORS currently on STEEMIT are Financially Raping the System......... Eventually Dark is Exposed to Light.

Haha. There is certainly some irony there. I am happy for the exposure to try and get this in front of a few extra eyeballs. Have a read of my response to mmo-mmo for my take on such pragmatism ;)

So much needs to be done. upvote bots are the real reason it will fail. i use them who wouldnt its free money and they only way to actually get noticed, but at the same time its destroying steemit making it like a ponzi scheme . They need to stop them or its doomed. also adding more ways so spend steem on the platform would help alot to

Yes, if we had SBD as a Stable Coin, the way it was intended to be then we would have an excellent platform for mainstream commerce. Sadly it's just another thing that's broken.

yeah its sad. should just be using steem dont see the point in sbd like most tokens out there, it would be soo much better if dapps use the native coin they are built on ethereum would be worth so much and the dapps would be used more.

And this is why we can't have nice things. It is a very interesting and sad trait of humans to try and game, maybe it is the educational system that tries to make us competitive and not a social animal caring for the good of all. I do believe people are good but certain rules need to be laid down to protect us from ourselves.
I do hope that steem can evolve and stay alive but with many of gatekeepers profiting from the current system why would they reach consensus to make the changes needed.
We are at a fork in the road and as a community we need to choose a direction. Be the change we want to see. The history of the blockchain will record our actions for all to see and learn from.

Very true. History will be the final judge of us all. I disagree that we need to be protected from ourselves though. We just need to wise up a bit and realise that selfish actions are counterproductive in the long run.

104 week powerdowns would fix a lot.

it would

He did not play a very nice game or I said very good to me. I will also try to write articles with you.

Thank you for your continued support of SteemSilverGold

In order for things to change we need an accurate metric which would show how much certain action performed or content created benefits for a community as a whole.

Great post and well articulated.

Thank's A pastime that carries meaning, in global competition whether it is business or work competition it becomes a comparison how the readiness and logical concept that can make a better thing
as well as other things, I strongly agree with what you say but we need to realize this is a real life in business competition that does not look at who we are, the system continues to be created to facilitate the world community to adapt real with all the world community. this global competition of international marketing vying to bring the insvestor to be able to participate in a project created
so even in the political competition with the current various ways justified to be occupied a place that is highly appreciated, maybe sangt different from 1840, now Cryptoccurency becomes a thing of great interest to all the people of the world but if we just wait then akn left behind because of it.
in this case it becomes very important we know for us to be a part in today's global competition.
STEEM Blockchain
I can imagine steem being a wheel for Cryptoccurency in the global competition later on and we will be the winner later. With a concert that tells for the bidsa with him

We win together

Steemit is finally showing some improvement in price. Hope it will touch $100 soon

Legit writeup..... It's a thumbs up from me

Wow AMAZING article! Really enjoyed it :)

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