Curation Rewards and Voting Incentive

9 months ago
73 in steem


To continue with my discussion on voting I would like to review the incentive structure created by curation rewards. This topic is highly controversial. Everything I say in this post is just my personal opinion and does not represent the opinion of Steemit, Inc. First lets review the game as it exists today.

Rewarding Voting

Voting is something you can do almost as often as you like. Once you reach a certain level of Steem Power, almost every vote puts money in your pocket. When I up vote something, I give the author $150 and I get to pocket $50. That is a huge incentive for me to up vote everything I see.

It gets even more interesting if I up vote something that becomes extremely popular. Suppose the post I up voted went on to earn $10,000, then my initial curation payout of $25 would grow to something like $1500. The difference between a $25 payout and a $1500 payout is what motivates me to pick good content rather than bad content. After all I have a limited number of high powered votes that I can cast.

Lets suppose that each week I pick 1000 posts to vote on within the first 30 minutes. Assuming none of the posts get down votes I would pocket about $25,000. For every post that goes on to earn $1000 or more, I can have 10 posts that get zeroed out. Bottom line is that I could be pocketing $25,000 or more per week (paid out over 2 years) with an unsophisticated bot.

It Pays to be First

Suppose that another whale of my stature were to vote just seconds before me. My curation rewards would be dramatically reduced. Instead of getting $1500 on a popular post, I would be lucky to get $200. As a whale I lose significant money any time another whale beets me to a popular post.

Even though it pays to vote before other whales, it certainly doesn’t pay to vote too quickly. If I voted on a popular article 15 minutes after it was posted and before any whales, then my reward might be $750 instead of $1500. Every minute I wait to vote (up to 30 minutes) earns me $50, but if I wait too long some other whale will vote and I will lose money.

Whales are in Competition

The whales are in competition to up vote quality content first. Each minute they must choose whether to vote on a post or wait. Any whale who chooses not to play this game gets diluted by whales who do play (when Steem Power is more than 90% of supply).

Strategy

Each whale has to develop a strategy and the strategy will ultimately depend upon a statistical analysis of what posts tend to do well. The simplest strategies include measuring the median time until a whale up votes a post by each author. This statistic will tell a whale who to vote on and when.

If all whales played by this strategy then certain authors would end up getting guaranteed votes as early as 10 minutes after they post. Smart whale bots would avoid voting after other whales and instead look for other content to up vote first.

In the hunt for better content whale bots can gather statistics on which minnows (or combinations of minnows) are the best early-predictors of popular content. Once these statistics are gathered the whale bot would vote on everything that shows that indicator.

Emergent Behavior

If we assume all whales are actively working on algorithms to ferret out the best content early, then quality authors will develop guaranteed patrons. Each whale has to make a decision on whether it is more profitable to be a patron to a particular author or to move on in search of another author.

There is little financial incentive to “pile on” after other whales. Doing so will increase rewards to the author and to the other whales. It makes little financial sense to dog-pile unless there is a very high probability that many more whales will follow. With each additional dog that piles on the incentives fall dramatically. The first whale generally gets 80% of the curation rewards.

There is a complex incentive curve. If I vote on 1000 things each day without much thought I can have an almost unchallengeable return on my steem power. If I work slightly smarter I can increase my return. The bigger a whale is, the larger this base rate of return becomes.

Think of this as a mining war where whales are incentivized to implement advanced AI curators that are able to quickly identify gems that have not yet been identified by other whales. Any whale that does not vote to the maximum extent possible is wasting potential income opportunities.

Smoothing the Reward Curve

Assuming more whale bots start operating then chances are that more people will get up voted by at least one whale. Because everyone is sharing a single reward pool, this means the overall payout curve will get flatter.

As the overall payout curve changes the expected value of an individual whales vote falls dramatically. My up votes that are worth $250 when I vote a couple dozen times per day could fall to $100 if other whales started voting 1000 times per day.

Curation Rewards Require Whales to use Bot Algorithms

A so-called “evil-whale” is really nothing more than a curator “miner” making easy profits due to lack of competition. If all whales were competing as actively as the “evil whale” then things would get far more challenging. Market competition would force the return earned by whales toward some kind of natural equilibrium.

Voting bots would become as prevalent as trading bots on the exchanges. Each whale would attempt to customize / tweak their bot to earn the greatest income by curating the most popular content. Their bot will need to be unique and unpredictable or others will “front run” them and take all of their rewards.

No whale that remains passive will be able to maintain the same stake in the system. No selfish whale would ever want to use a down vote because it has a real cost to them and a socialized benefit to everyone else.

Role of Dolphins and Minnows

Bots need data, minnows generate data. When bots are attempting to identify content to up vote they will take clues from minnows. Good dolphins can even start to earn curation rewards when whale-bots pick up on their usefulness as an early indicator.

It may appear that minnows have no influence, but they become the butterfly in Africa that triggers a category 5 hurricane. Minnows that consistently pick out winners before they are winners will eventually attract a multitude of whale and dolphin bots who follow their every vote.

While a minnow vote may not appear to give authors much directly, they can have a massive impact indirectly.

Risk of Self Fulfilling Prophesy?

Most existing robots (except cheetah) do not look at the content, but instead attempt to guess on what other robots and voters will do. There is some risk that the game could evolve in such a way that content is ignored completely as bots up vote based upon what other bots do.

I think this undesirable outcome is unlikely because a large number of normal users and altruistic whales will bias the final result based upon the quality of the content. If the whale bots win the curation game but lose the quality content game, then all the Steem Power earned from curation will become worthless.

Everyone loses if quality content doesn’t rise to the top. This means that whale bots will develop a minimum quality threshold.

Over time there is financial incentive to write bots that parse content looking for signs of quality including:

  • images
  • outbound links to reputable domains
  • headers
  • length
  • reading level

People will deploy “reverse spam filters” that learn to identify quality content just like email spam filters learn to identify spam. It won’t take long for bots that look at content to become more profitable than bots that ignore it.

Monstro the Evil Whale


Whales earning curation rewards are not a problem if all whales participate in a healthy manner to curate. The influence of any individual whale is minimized when dozens of whales and dolphins are actively competing for curation rewards.

An evil whale is one who is actively looking to harm the platform. They would start down voting quality content, burning the reputation of users, and up voting garbage content. The good whales would have to act selflessly to counteract the behavior of an Evil whale.

Whales that make money from legitimately voting as best they can (even using simplistic bots) are not any more evil than authors that take advantage of human nature to score votes.

Conclusion

The existing curation rewards algorithm, once properly understood, will spawn an arms race to build better bots. This means Steem will motivate the development of the decentralized autonomous curator. It will spawn research into advanced artificial intelligence algorithms that are able to predict viral content early.

Curation is a game for whales and dolphins. Minnows are unlikely to earn any significant return on their votes. Minnows should stick to posting and commenting.

People will buy Steem Power just for the opportunity to apply their own curation reward algorithm in an attempt to out-earn other Steem Power holders. Algorithm development will advance like ASIC development.

That’s the theory. What do you think?

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Sort Order:  trending
70
  ·  9 months ago

What a great article. As a minnow It certainly motivates me to produce good quality content with images and links to external reputable sources. I am determined to get better and better. Thanks for your insight!

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59
  ·  9 months ago

The fact that this comment got the most upvotes totally highlights @dantheman 's point.

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59
  ·  9 months ago

Please don't upvote this post!

Anyway, what is done is done...
Because my post doesn't deserve the cash, I will give the SBD earned from it to @katyakov for her charity as I already did before.
We all should give undeserved money.

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63
  ·  9 months ago

I think I have the right to upvote it :)

Thanks again for believing in our project!

You will see in the end of the month in my Charity post how your transfers reach the goal!

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59
  ·  9 months ago

Happy to help honest and generous people.
I know it is NOT a lot. But I hope I'll be able to give more later. I need to build a bit of steem power first.
Count on me on the long run.

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63
  ·  9 months ago

Well it is obvious that while this platform is a potentially revolutionary social media platform as well as an economic one it is also a "game". This is not bad or good just the way it is. Ultimately when dealing with humans there is no way to have any "fair" system because humans try and manipulate it in the many ways they do and this influences everyone else. SO all we can really do is the best we can do. If playing the game to make as much money is possible is your purpose then go for it. Or like my self I can curate the most valuable content I can and hope I get compensated. If not I am fine with it because I am living the truth of my ideals~
I wish everyone here the best as this truly is an awesome platform to be playing on!

54
  ·  9 months ago

A part of me (the human part) is saddened that bots are taking over the functions that used to be performed by old-fashioned work. But the part of me that writes little programs to make everyday tasks easier, and uses spreadsheets to win at fantasy sports, sees endless possibilities with bot algorithms. This is a cat and mouse game that will never end, no one will be able to rest easy and say "I've created a perfect bot". Bots will have to be constantly perfected and tweaked to achieve maximum results, so the very act of tweaking the bots keeps the human factor in play and makes the whales work for their status.

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64
  ·  9 months ago

How can you have a bot predict content? By using post details to determine popularity? This sound very stupid, if you want people to keep motivated to write good content you need to hide these details , many will become lazy and post less and less quality content because they know they will get upvoted by whales, this is already happening if you look at people's reward they are extremely regular for each post which means it's roughly the same people voting for them regardless of what they post, this is sucking all the rewards away from newbies who have a very hard time getting their content out because the site works like an echochamber where if you are not popular you get ignored, no wonder why the attrition rate is so high. Again author should not be displayed, there is no need for that what matters is actual content. Also it's silly to think that whales are gonna be the only one voting because their power is decreasing every day and if the site gets mainstream they would represent a very small portion of all voting power

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71
  ·  9 months ago

I am fine that the site wants to support and even encourage bots as a form of content curation. I do see the value that it adds, especially as the site continues to grow, and there is more and more content to sift through.

While we should design the curation algorithm with bots in mind, do we want to design it specifically for the bots - or do we want to try and think how to design it for good human curators too?

I think the formula for curation needs to be discussed further. What are we trying to encourage?

Right now it encourages curators to vote on what they think will become popular; not what they think is good content. While there is a relationship between the two, they are not one and the same.

Finding a way to tweak it so that more good/undiscovered content bubbles up is not being considered as much as it should be.

I think the general sentiment from a lot of the minnows right now is that the current system is hopeless.

If we want the site to grow in popularity and turn into a 'mainstream' social media site, new users need to feel like they can join up, post good content, and get rewarded for it based on the quality of what they produce.

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64
  ·  9 months ago

If we want the site to grow in popularity and turn into a 'mainstream' social media site, new users need to feel like they can join up, post good content, and get rewarded for it based on the quality of what they produce.

Which is why post details needs to be removed especially author as they negatively influence curators.
If you look at reddit, the voting mechanism works well, the content that gets on top is the content that gets the more upvote. Why does it work well? Because redditors speak with their heart not with their pocket, steemit should hide the money aspect as much as possible from the site if they want people to behave naturally.
I don't know why people are upvoting the already trending threads so much, as dan said there is no incentives to do so, its the sheep effect i guess. If you remove post informations ( amount vote and author) then people will only have content to decide whether they want to upvote or not which is exactly how it is supposed to be.

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71
  ·  9 months ago

I don't know if I 100% agree with the idea to remove that information. Authors that are building a following will want people to know it is them who are posting. Some people do use other people's ratings to help figure out what they want to spend time reading. Also, that information is still available on the blockchain, so removing it from the site would not prevent bots from using it.

The fact that people are voting on what the think will be popular vs. what they think is good is one of the main problems.

That, and there is not much incentive to search out 'undiscovered' content that won't be getting upvoted by a bunch of whales.

74
  ·  9 months ago

I agree with everything except this one: "Minnows should stick to posting and commenting." If the minnows followed your line of thinking, then the Secret Writer project would die. It is almost entirely supported by minnows and dolpins currently. Also, when minnows work together to curate content that helps THEM, they are choosing content that rises, that can help other minnows with things like navigating better in Steemit and with ideas that can help them in all kinds of ways. You are completely missing the important role that minnows play in deciding what content gains visibility. And you are only thinking of curating in terms of rewards alone. There are other rewards contained within curating, and that is social and informational value that has a separate meaning from money. I realize you are only speaking about the curation rewards, but by separating it from the other social rewards, this causes a lapse of understanding of the big picture.

By focusing exclusively on the monetary rewards, you leave out an important part of upvoting: raising the reputation of others through insightful and helpful comments. This builds a true community. I have recently begun focusing my efforts on minnows and helping them increase their reputations when their comments go beyond the scope of "good post." It is engagement, afterall that creates meaningful social media. The substance that binds people together into cohesive groups is not money actually. Money is a side-effect of highly valued engagement. The two are inextricably entwined. Without high value engagement, this place would wither away.

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61
  ·  9 months ago

@stellabelle I agree. The real power of a social network is about the tons and tons of totally regular people that come in. If we treat these users are "less than" just by virtue of being new, I think it will be a huge turnoff.

And the simple fact of the matter is: numbers matter. 1000people, even minnows, liking something is really better for the network than one powerful person liking it.

It's a huge flaw.

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66
  ·  9 months ago

Thanks for saying this, stellabelle. While I understand the focus on building financial rewards, it's myopic in one sense. The quality of the content is more important. Ideally, the two meld as quality is rewarded accordingly. Of course, we see popularity getting massive rewards too, but who can fault someone for taking advantage when there are huge profits to be made? Hopefully the community will mature and focus on quality as a result.

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72
  ·  9 months ago

Yeah, it seems odd to me that @dantheman would be telling "minnows" to not worry about upvoting posts - to let whales and their bots do that. To me, that's the entire problem with the platform. Whales have far too much influence on both payouts and creating trending posts and topics.

The other thing that I always find interesting is what is meant by "quality content." To Dan and other site creators, developers, and operators, "quality content" essentially refers to SEO. To original content creators and writers, "quality" has an entirely different meaning. If the purpose of this site and the whales/whale bots is to seek out and curate the former, then this site is apparently not for the latter. It's strange to me that seeking photos and "link spam" is somehow seen as adding value to the platform. If that's what will ultimately attract whales and their bots, then it will be a race to the bottom when most users finally figure out the process. I've seen this exact type of algorithm play out on two similar sites that I was a part of in the past. Neither exist today. I'd rather not see it happen a third time because whales want bigger curating rewards.

Although, I suppose I could then write a post titled, "How to Moby Dick the SteemIt Ship," plaster it with photos and links, snag a bunch of whale bots, make a quick $20,000 and cash out.

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63
  ·  9 months ago

Another "Champion of the Minnows!" #COTM

Here, here!

Otherwise, what hope does a minnow have of growing up to be a whale one day?

None.

"minnows generate data"

Do what you are told data-slaves!

We are useful idiots.

"minnows (or combinations of minnows) are the best early-predictors of popular content."

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68
  ·  9 months ago

I could be wrong but if you read the entire post including the section "Role of Dolphins and Minnows" to me it appears that he is not discouraging minnows from voting at all, only discouraging them from attempting to make a significant profit specifically from curation rewards. Instead it makes more sense for minnows to vote based on preferences and earn from posts and comments.

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42
  ·  9 months ago

Nails it with this response! Although there are important members of Steemit like @Stellabelle who attempt to find the good minnows, the platform should also work towards this important goal. I would like to see Steemit have mass adoption like Facebook or other social media. But will it be mostly a site for these whale bots?

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63
  ·  9 months ago

I really like your take on the role minnows play here stellabelle, I concur completely. This is a perfect example of how hiding information (I'm confident Dan had no agenda other than to focus on curation rewards using a quantifiable reward metric) can really skew the big picture. The intangible values you describe are indeed very important aspects of curation.

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64
  ·  9 months ago

@stellabelle,

Thank you for your interest in minnows and thank you everyone who wants to see the quality of the content remain high. Through efforts like these (i.e. patronage and encouraging minnows to organize curation to their advantage). The more we can leverage content over a more broad spectrum the more the value of the whole market will rise. The more we can help content providers to make money and become empowered the better.

69
  ·  9 months ago

Hi @dantheman,

Glad to see you’re keeping a close eye on the curation rewards and your analysis is a very fair reflection of the current landscape.

I agree with your assessment that curating for profit isn't the province of 'minnows' and is really only viable for whales and dolphins. Those with low SP should post and comment for profit and vote for pleasure. However even as a dolphin, it is difficult for real life human curators to compete with bots and make the enterprise profitable. I've spent the last two weeks curating incessantly and experimenting with ways that human curators can earn decent rewards. I may post on it at a later date.

All I will say for now is, it isvery hard work and takes a certain mindset to be able to consume content (early and fast) and execute a strategy to stay one step ahead of the bots. I was "winning" (if that's the correct way of looking at it) up until a few days again, however some of the bots have revised their strategy are putting on 'the squeeze' (you may notice some bots voting earlier on content today than they did say last week).

As a human curator, I have human commitments and limitations that make it hard to compete with a well created bot. I'm resisting the temptation to go down the route of 'coded curation' (even though I'm confident I could define and refine rules to maximise rewards programmatic-ally). To my mind that would defeat the purpose.

I'm still clinging to the ideal that humans can use their own senses to curate content and profit from it. However I fear you may correct and this may become the province of bots and algorithms. If true, the issue I have with this, is that algorithmic curating could lead to algorithmic content creating, with people tailoring their creativity to feed the bots. We could then get into some weird AI loop of manufactured content creation and curation that is divorced from the artist/ emotional/ intellectual expression and enjoyment that makes us human. This would be undesirable in my view.

I hope I'm wrong. Wherever you have human activity it seems it can be invariably done more efficiently by robots. Maybe we are dawning the new age of 'bot art' that actually enriches our human existence, who knows. Or maybe more simply, bot creation and curation can co-exist with its human counterpart with both sides being able to prosper and grow. I'm hoping the latter.

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47
  ·  9 months ago

Excellent comment. This idea of algorithmic content creating is a potentially huge problem, surely. It's possibly analagous to the high frequency trading on the exchanges, which has fundamentally altered the nature of the markets. To everyone's detriment. Whenever you remove the human emotion from something, and replace it with automated efficiency, you lose something important. You lose the soul of that thing. An automated bot creation/curating system would get boring very quickly, and that would be the end of that. Except for the bot owners.

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65
  ·  9 months ago

Whenever you remove the human emotion from something, and replace it with automated efficiency, you lose something important. You lose the soul of that thing

I'm going to follow you, and I hope you consider writing a story based on this single quote to elaborate. It's a lot of food for thought that can guide us out of this smoke.

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47
  ·  9 months ago

Thanks. Hmm... maybe I will see if I can pull something together. The problem I see here is the conventional 'logical' brain ruling over the 'heart' of a subject. We are in an epoch where logic triumphs, but the price we pay for this efficiency is brutal. Not always, but often. The pendulum will swing back. Eventually. :)

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61
  ·  9 months ago

The other issue is that bots can't give FEEDBACK. WHY is a post not good? That information is invaluable.

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63
  ·  9 months ago

Well it is obvious that while this platform is a potentially revolutionary social media platform as well as an economic one it is also a "game". This is not bad or good just the way it is. Ultimately when dealing with humans there is no way to have any "fair" system because humans try and manipulate it in the many ways they do and this influences everyone else. SO all we can really do is the best we can do. If playing the game to make as much money is possible is your purpose then go for it. Or like my self I can curate the most valuable content I can and hope I get compensated. If not I am fine with it because I am living the truth of my ideals~
I wish everyone here the best as this truly is an awesome platform to be playing on!

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72
  ·  9 months ago

"If true, the issue I have with this, is that algorithmic curating could lead to algorithmic content creating, with people tailoring their creativity to feed the bots."

Exactly right. I've seen this happen twice before on other sites that I wrote for, several years ago, that no longer exist today because once everyone learned the process, the sites became nothing but link spam. I think its important for Dan and the other whales to make sure that this does not happen.

Creating bots for curation rewards seems to me to be the exact opposite of seeking value-generating, "quality content." We're already seeing how whale votes and bots are creating and skewing "trending" content. I'd really hate to see what happens when most users start posting simply to attract bots for rewards because their original - actual quality - content has been consistently ignored or buried by actual low quality content. Assuming that such users even stick around for that kind of potential atrocity.

69
  ·  9 months ago

Dan you are sure good at confusing the hell out of me, no offence intended. One day bots are evil, one day bots are good. I spent weeks making an author list to support and update on constant basis, then came the evil bots posts and I turned it off, then bots are ok, back on, then off, now "on" I guess ?
Also the initial auto vote for self, that turned into an option, and now people think if you vote for yourself it's a bad thing. I know the game is changing but can we have a constant set of rules that do not get us flagged at least. Another issue is the tags, I tried to help on the tag spam yesterday, the 5 tag limit is a mess, instead of having 5 tags that fall into 5 major categories, why not create sub categories, like this post would fall into steem as parent category and steem/curation steem/voting as sub categories that way we prevent spam into other main categories, so first tag would specify the main category and the rest of the tags will be sub category, that will create more depth and and clean up cross category spam. It will also make spam detection much easier.

74
  ·  9 months ago

All this talk of bots and whales does not feel good to me, I prefer the idea of people reading blogs and voting, and I mean hundreds of regular people instead of 1 whale with a bot. That's what I think.

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66
  ·  9 months ago

There's the sybil-attack problem. In other words, people creating hundreds if not thousands of fake IDs to manipulate the voting and claim the voting rewards for bogus articles. Invested vote solves this but, with the reward structure as it is, it creates the problems discussed.

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64
  ·  9 months ago

Totally agree craig ...votes of 'regular folk' just have to carry more UMPF! .. if we can get to a time when every modestly well received post ..every deserving post, could earn someone $10, with as few as 20-40 or so upvotes, then the future is assured.

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63
  ·  9 months ago

I think your ideals are fine but Dan is discussing the very nature of a decentralized system, it will get gamed by machine learning sooner or later. This is how Target knew some guy's daughter was pregnant before he did. Everyone is exploiting machine learning to find and recognize patterns that would otherwise be EXTREMELY hard to identify. There is no getting around this, I believe he is predicting the future very well here.

So where does that leave us and how do we move forward? Listen to him carefully, you will still have a roll here...

Curation is a game for whales and dolphins. Minnows are unlikely to earn any significant return on their votes. Minnows should stick to posting and commenting.
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53
  ·  9 months ago

Yeah but the role left to us is feeding whales and hoping they pat us on the head now and then? "Bots need data, minnows generate data".

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49
  ·  9 months ago

If you have money to invest in such a scale, you should be able to generate a profit. One way or another. I rather get rewarded for being useful for whale bots, and therefore steemit and myself, instead of an investor spending his money elsewhere.

On a really decentralized bots will emerge in a sophisticated manner soon. I totally see being a good minnow getting rewarded.

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47
  ·  9 months ago

Ah... but @jsteck, I think you're missing the real point here. What he's saying is if you're a 'good' minnow, i.e. you can spot winners first and vote early, then the clever bots will follow you, and that means your rewards are increased significantly. However if you're not good enough to spot content that is going to go viral, then stick to commenting and posting. Makes a kind of interesting concept.

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53
  ·  9 months ago

I am going to keep on re-reading the original post until I see a better point of view. Not seeing it yet but not done trying.

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53
  ·  9 months ago

I've thought it over and I am back to where I was a month ago. I'll vote for things I like. I'll comment when I can add to a conversation. And I'll post when I have value to share.

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54
  ·  9 months ago

Everybody on Steemit has to take any human personality into consideration - including the 5-10% psychopaths (depending which statistic you prefer).
It would be naive to assume that any alphabet soup group or hacker group of any large GDP country would not at one point try to game the system in their favor. Who knows who really controls the biggest stakes right now behind the anonymous bitcoin wall. We don't even know who Satoshi is - Dan might have a better idea about Satoshi than anyone in here as I am pretty sure NONE of us has interacted as much with Satoshi or the Satoshi group as he did.

From what I have seen so far or researched about Dan he is more altruistic than many on here that complain - mostly for egotistical reasons - being it from a narcisstic angle or just pure profit motive.

It does not matter - the platform will survive and thrive from very sophisticated foresight - coupled with integrating the best feedback from the free market. I feel at this point that the core group around Dan does an excellent job at that.

Who can know that much less altruistic forces are already prepping a not so benign Steemit alternative? Who will stick here if Zucky uses some of his billions to build a Steemit clone with more fiat incentives? Hard questions to answer as nothing conceivable is impossible in principle ;-)

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64
  ·  9 months ago

Yes I agree @craig-grant. I touched on this below, but wanted to respond to you as well

Maybe a bot could give a feed of suggestions and the decision to vote could be left up to a real human. A blending of an algorithm that takes into account your values - discussion, creative comments etc. and interests and then places it into a feed next to the one for those you follow could be an interesting idea.

But I think we should not try to get into "bot wars" where someone will try to tweak a bot to vote .00001 seconds faster than person b's bot, when the content may just be an average post by a highly valued user. No one person deserves every post to do well.

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56
  ·  9 months ago

So would everyone, now what are you proposing?

48
  ·  9 months ago

I'm somebody that wants to 'be a part of something' and 'earn my keep'. That's why I think my best value come as responses to other people's posts. I earn much more from those overall than I do from my own posts, which is interesting enough.

I don't worry about curation rewards at all, and I always leave my 'auto-upvote' box unchecked, so somebody that enjoys those things can get a shot.

Also, I don't know if this is on purpose, but the post is showing 35 comments, but none are visible - is it possible to hide all comments now or 'privatize' the comments?

Thanks for everything you do Dan, and ROCK ON!!

-bigedude

67
  ·  9 months ago

@dantheman in case you didn't noticed...
After brainstorming with @smooth we concluded that a good idea about curation rewards is to ...

NOT REMOVE Curation Rewards! Just stop them when the post reach the trending page !!!

we have already lot's of positive feedback!
for more read here...
https://steemit.com/steemit-ideas/@liondani/don-t-remove-curation-rewards-just-stop-them-when-the-post-reach-the-trending-page?sort=created#comments

65
  ·  9 months ago

It is interesting how much you can earn as a whale off curation and what I have been trying to figure out is if that even entices most of the whales to interact with the platform as much as the minnows are. The biggest problem with Steemit right now is that the Whales aren't actually voting and engaging on a large scale like us minnows who are pushing hard. If you look on CatchAWhale.com the entire first page of whales have voting power of usually 99% or 100%. I'm constantly engaging and voting and my voting power is usually between 60% and 80%. I'm not saying the curation reward should be increased but I have a feeling the whales are too busy or uninterested in spending the time engaging with the community like those who are new to the platform. This will cause the attrition level of good new content creators to be pretty extreme. Good content goes unnoticed by the whales and then users just leave.

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67
  ·  9 months ago

The steems that go out to rewards are the same each day! So even if all whales would not participate on curation that would just mean that the decision for who gets paid comes from dolphins and minnows !!!
Maybe it would be a nice experiment whales don't participate at all !!! Maybe we would have much better curation results !!!! (more high quality content on the trending page)

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59
  ·  9 months ago

I agree we should try this for one week and see what he valuable post are when only Dolphins and minnows are curating. It would also speed redistribution.

53
  ·  9 months ago

telling minnows ( still 90+% of steemit's userbase) that their votes don't count and they shouldn't even bother voting I don't think is a good idea.
I'm still on the fence on whether curation bots are good for steemit or should be banned.
in any case steemit needs to create a system where great content can be found easier, for example introducing retweets like on twitter, and other user experience improvements that will help content which is really popular get more exposure. then instead of the "follow the whale" effect we might even see the opposite: some whale bots upvoting posts as soon as they start getting massively retweeted, therefore following "wisdom of the crowds".
then minnows voting/retweets might still be financially insignificant but at least have some importance in determining what is popular content.

61
  ·  9 months ago

This just sounds like a soulless hell. It might be interesting to some, but this completely defeats the SOCIAL aspect of the network. People come to social networks to connect with, talk, and be inspired by PEOPLE. Having your fate/success determined by completely opaque bots is disheartening.

I'd rather we handle some of the voting problems in a more human centric way:
https://steemit.com/steemit/@rampant/how-to-fix-downvoting-a-set-of-proposals-for-a-solution

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53
  ·  9 months ago

I agree with you. This sounds like some sort of joke.

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47
  ·  9 months ago

You hit the nail on the head. It lacks soul. It's what happens when technologists put their logical brain to work creating something. They forget emotional intelligence and simply hunt for 'efficiency'. It's this kind of attitude that is slowly but surely 'efficiently' disrupting communities, industries and everything else that can be 'disintermediated', as they so artfully call it. The trouble with any universe dominated by AI, is it lacks soul, and that's a BIG problem.

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65
  ·  9 months ago

Unfortunately, but the fact of life, is that technologists generally are the only ones technogically capable of creating these things. But all they do is create the framework. It is up to the rest of us to "bend" the framework, and the technologists will tweak the system to meet user demand and the greater good accordingly.

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47
  ·  9 months ago

I think the root problem is we need to have some way of forcing (enouraging?) technologists to subordinate the tech to a higher good. And I'm not convinced that's in their DNA. For them, the 'idea' is the thing, and creating that idea - rather like creating the first A Bomb - takes precedence over any ethical or moral imperative. They talk a lot about changing the world - cf Bill Gates, Steve Jobs et al - but in the end what they really mean is 'making cool stuff that gets me admired'. It's not a sustainable means of evolving the species because it comes with no responsibility baked in. Unfortunately.

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58
  ·  9 months ago

Forcing anyone is wrong
It makes one slave to the throng
Everyone should have a choice to express their will
If something FEELS good doesn't mean it will work still
Computer programs follow logic not feeling
Which is what "technologists" are dealing

53
  ·  9 months ago

I think this goes a long way toward explaining why one whale would question a long and interesting post earning 2k while voting for a four ingredient smoothie making 1k. It's a game.

Back to the old 'if you are not paying for the product you ARE the product' for us minnows.

I'm not going to change my behavior anyway. I like when people vote for me whether it makes me money or not. I'll keep voting for content I like. This place is too much fun to stop.

68
  ·  9 months ago

I'm a teeny tiny minnow and haven't been here long. What you wrote makes sense, but I would hope that the social aspect of the site would prevent it from becoming a farce. If poor quality was constantly trending, Steemit might not be worth my free time, as I look for content.

I've already noticed some of the more popular bloggers posting questionable content regularly, but always earning relatively large sums. I've also noticed amazing, well thought out articles, that never get any votes.

Obviously I would be happy to make money, but I primarily use my internet time to learn or be entertained. Or as a platform to share my thoughts.

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72
  ·  9 months ago

As a fellow minnow, I understand exactly what you're saying. I've been posting, voting, and commenting for a week straight. I've spent several hours each day engaging on this site - and I have very little to show for it.

But I don't even worry so much about the rewards. I would just like my posts to be seen. I don't like that they get buried so quickly and ignored (even by my nearly 60 followers) simply because it appears that they won't get a good payout...because whales and their bots don't recognize the content as "quality." However, photos of coffee from the commons is apparently extremely valuable. How is an original creator supposed to earn here - and why would they remain as a creator if they can't, because of the bot-curation system?

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60
  ·  9 months ago

As someone who like exposure for their content in a regimen to get better at wirting & what have you, I can second your notion. What we need more is feedback. Like those times seen as on facebook & youtube. That at least alleviates the problem that not everyone who reads your stuff leaves a comment.
Of course on way to increase the comments is to write more engaging posts, but currently it is hard to see, if your post isn't that cool, or that noone saw it for whatever reason.

One thing that steemit does for me, is making getting better at what I do into a game. Which is exactly what I needed for ages now. So thank you for providing it!

40
  ·  9 months ago

As a newcomer to Steem, I think I get what you're saying. The only thing that doesn't feel good to me about this scenario is that instead of posting content on my passions and interests, it causes me to focus more on trying to write something that I think the whales might be interested in... and that's not why I create content.

I came to Steemit to post quality content about topics that I'm passionate about: nerd-culture, filmmaking, and small business. If it all becomes a soulless bot game, I guess I'll just lose. I've gotta be true to myself.

(I'm aware that I may be so new that I didn't really grasp the reality of the theories you were posing, so if I am mistaken/confused, I welcome being told so.)

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68
  ·  9 months ago

In his model the whales don't really care what they vote on, they're just trying to maximize their rewards. The money at stake is large enough that personal preferences of whales fall by the wayside and instead they will be forced to serve the market by the need to stay competitive in return-on-investment. (In fact some whales may -- even today, but certainly in the future -- be businesses or collaborations that don't even have individual personal preferences.)If the minnows and dolphins vote on what they they like, the whales will follow.

69
  ·  9 months ago

That said, it's stupid to upvote this article because the whale author has upvoted instantly before anyone else has a chance to vote. Or people aren't all encouraged by money (maximum curation reward) only.

59
  ·  9 months ago

It is really up to you guys what the whales should be doing, but it seems like bots to game the system aren't really in the interest of the core vision of the company, right?

Whales are so invested in the platform already. If the platform doesn't succeed, then they lose significant amounts of money. It is in their best interests to curate for free just to keep the quality of the content high, this is the power of the platform! This product will only succeed if the content is well maintained and looked after, the whales will understand this. So why is voting rewarded at all? The reputation tool will keep people in check well enough. It seems unnecessary to incentivise upvotes and it sounds like it is causing you guys a headache.

49
  ·  9 months ago

Wow excellent breakdown on the Voting system. I think you are helping to ease so of the anger of those who feel the whales only vote because they are helping eachother. This article proves again there are more mathematical ways of looking at the voting aystem and most bigger accounts take this math into consideration when voting on posts. Great explaination

65
  ·  9 months ago

image

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60
  ·  9 months ago

Yes why not take it like a man?
He seems a little run up in one corner.
He can at least answer you instead and take a downvote.

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71
  ·  9 months ago

But but, he didn't get a bigger reward than he should've!! Better make it personal!

lol...

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65
  ·  9 months ago

@berniesanders, Sorry to approach you this way - but I'm trying to launch a new content aggregation service called the Lost Content Digest. I'm finding articles by new authors who missed their first payout, but deserve something more. I'm going to be writing articles that feature several of these missed articles, and then I'll send the SBD proceeds of my article to the authors of the lost articles, hopefully generating them some income and followers.

Is this something you'd be interested in supporting?

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57
  ·  9 months ago

a vote for bernie is a vote for freeing marijuana. VOTE @BERNIESANDERS !!

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61
  ·  9 months ago

Bernie Sanders check out my plan that involves you! https://steemit.com/steemit/@acassity/my-idea-for-berniesanders

57
  ·  9 months ago

I'm not sure, but I think that if we allow all work is done by bots, we missed the whole point of social platform. People write poems and novels, not bots. But what do I know. I'm just a poor guy and I don't have a clue about algorithms, ASIC -setc. Probably I'm to naive.

65
  ·  9 months ago

I've thought that curation felt quite similar to trading. I can see the bots developing, it's a trading market thats evolving quickly.

Wang for example has shifted down to 10 minutes rather than 14, the triple whale bot has become less predictable to front run.

Neural networks? Artificial intelligence curation? Yes, I could definitely see the trend developing there, relatively quickly too.

Some interesting insights, thanks :)

69
  ·  9 months ago

This was a really helpful look at how it all works. Now, where can I find a post that describes the best and most efficient way to move from minnow to dolphin. I'd love to devote my time to promoting the platform, but I'm having a tough time figuring that out. Shared posts from here to other platforms don't work the same as say a blogger post shared to Twitter. So, I'm trying to determine how I can contribute, coming in with no cash investment. I do have writing skills, that's how I earn my living outside of here, but the combination of author rewards, investment income and residual income through cyclical payouts is enticing. Any advice on what posts I should be reading to make my way up the ladder?

64
  ·  9 months ago

I don't like the fact that a whale may not vote on an article that they may like simply because it is not as lucrative as another. Great content is great content and should be treated as such whether it only has a penny or ten thousand dollars.

It is a flawed system if the goal is to create an algorithm to pick out content in my opinion. Bots will not be able to judge content as well as people and while they can make some good decisions, they will make far more upvotes of less wothy posts than their human counterparts.

tornado-butterfly9469d.png

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61
  ·  9 months ago

I don't think this is true. Humans make tons of crap choices. But really bots won't pick better, they will just predict human predictions. A great bot would help humans find choices they normally WOULDN'T find.

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64
  ·  9 months ago

Maybe a bot could give a feed of suggestions and the decision to vote could be left up to a real human. You are right though. Humans do make many crap choices whether or not they intend to. A blending of an algorithm that takes into account your values - discussion, creative comments etc. and places it into a feed next to the one for those you follow could be an interesting idea.

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47
  ·  9 months ago

That's a really interesting idea. A kind of 'Recommended' stream, rather like recommened music or recommended posts on a blog? The good thing about bots is they can scan LOTS of stuff really quickly, and if they're any good, they should be able to pick out a good range of stuff for a human curator to choose from. Interesting.

63
  ·  9 months ago

@dantheman the more you write about Voting/Curation Rewards the more certain I become the system is flawed and you are trying to convince the masses it is not.

I guess it is going to take someone using a Sybil Attack with 10,000 accounts that floods the frontpage of /trending with garbage for you to realize that.

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51
  ·  9 months ago

How can you reach the trending page with 10k accounts?

60
  ·  9 months ago

I don't think most whale bots work the way you describe. They don't look at which minnow or dolphin has voted. They simply have a fixed portfolio of authors they upvote all the time, and from time to time they change the list of authors.

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73
  ·  9 months ago

Yes, today's bots are not very sophisticated. Good authors will start a bidding war. I am thinking of starting a bot that upvotes good authors at a price so low no other bots would follow. Ultimately this will result in good authors getting higher salary and unknown authors working on speculation.

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54
  ·  9 months ago

Awesomeness - I hope you can convert many whales into altruists - even if you have to incentivize altruism ;-) I'm glad to see that you are always a few dolphin lenghts in front of the heaviest whales - as long as you don't get into fights with Ned over this we should be in safe waters ;-)

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68
  ·  9 months ago

This is not a good idea. Bot earnings are what drive investment in making the bots smarter. The investment in turn raise the level of competition and drive the earnings down (and indeed are already doing so) but by imposing a price control you will discourage the investment. At a cost to yourself of course, but I'm arguing the cost is not a useful expenditure.

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67
  ·  9 months ago

Exactly ! It seems to be just like
That . One of my friends was on the list and made thousands and it was quite obvious when they took him off . I wonder how many whales actually take their time to really look at content? I hope people will start working on building their own fans = followers and stop thinking of whales too much .

65
  ·  9 months ago

I still think I don't really know what a dolphin is.. sometimes I think I am, but when my posts go nowhere, I'm convinced I'm still very much a minnow.

I also recommend you reverse your stance on dogpiling. That's what some of us minnows need to turn into dolphins. That hope and dream that a really good quality post that best shows the kind of content we want... gets dogpiled on and upvoted well.

I don't mind sitting here making under $1.00 for 3 hours of work crafting a quality post, as long as one of mine gets dogpiled on once in a blue moon.

Considering dogpiling a selfless act that should happen rarely, but it should also happen periodically nonetheless.

64
  ·  9 months ago

Thanks for the thorough explanation. As you pointed out, advanced whale voting strategies need input from smaller fish with strong curation skills. For this reason, I'd like to put forward one idea: what if on a weekly basis some "promising small curators" (to be defined) were selected to get their Steem power multiplied by 10 for one week ? This would enable whales and the community at large to identify new talents both on the authoring and on the curation side...

53
  ·  9 months ago

Buying SP used to appeal to me. Now it sounds like buying a ticket to a party I wasn't invited to.

57
  ·  9 months ago

Seriously, anyone voting with their bots should just quit this platform. I'm sick of bots up voting always the same authors just because the bot owner is greedy to make a buck.

59
  ·  9 months ago

Great article. Even if the figures you mention are STRATOSPHERIC regarding curation revenues (minnow perspective), I love the idea of the theory

Curation is a game for whales and dolphins. Minnows should stick to posting and commenting

But does it say that Whales should post less ?

The current situation is that whales DO curate, but mostly DO post.
Simply because the self-upvote and their followers guarantee them a significant ROI.
We therefore see what I would call "bad" behaviors:

  • the new whale trying to milk it until the last drop posting stories on how he or she got rich in 2 days and how she now is a Steemit evangelist
  • Whales-authors, writing for minniow and giving back some revenues... but never steem power

It gives literally no chance for minnows to earn dignifican amounts on a good story.

Should steemit refrain such behaviors, allowing more "power" for minnows to post ?

I agree on the comments being a great way for minnows to build power. But in the end, the ecosystem should not discourage minnows from posting quality content.
For the record: yesterday, my "sleeping beauty" picture (cool pic, a bit on story on the place where it was shot etc...) struggled to make $4.... while a comment where I gave all my SBD to a charity brought me $8.
At this stage, I will consider that $4 is great, and I will write more about my trips because people seem to like it.

My 50cents.
@sebastien

58
  ·  9 months ago

After read your posting. I agree that curation is a game for whales and dolphin. as a minnow I really sad that I can not have role even small role in curation. Why, It is take time to read it (My English ability is limited) and review a good article, but anyway I will keep in steemit to support this community. I believe this community will grow well and on of the core purpose to build steemit is democracy in economic and free to write , explore and expose opinion and feeling. :)

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55
  ·  9 months ago

You can comment and vote and, like dan mentioned, your votes shape the behavior of others in the chain. Comments can both add value and stuffing to your Steemit bankroll, letting you break into other ranks of sea creature if you keep at it.

73
  ·  9 months ago

What's the defining line between a dolphin and a minnow?

73
  ·  9 months ago

Also, this seems like pretty good content to vote on based on other votes I've seen:

https://steemit.com/anarchy/@jrcornel/anarchy-what-the-world-would-look-like-without-government-eutopia-or-hell

67
  ·  9 months ago

As I'm minnow or even less I don't have a target to get any profit from my vote, and try to upvote only for post what I really like.
And I don't care about timings if post really good by my opinion.
One thing is disappoint me, what my voice not have an power at all, even swarm of voices of minnow don't get any power.
I was see lot of post what get 50+ voices in first 15mins and some more late, but all this post was flush from view, even don't appear on top list.
Need to make some correlation between amount upvotes and whales vote power. In other way it's looks like dictatorship what to must be interesting or popular on steemit by whales word.

69
  ·  9 months ago

This system goes better and better! Whales do what they must in benefit of us all and their own. So, I'll just stick to posting and commenting and my day will come... eventually!

60
  ·  9 months ago

So, in the long run if you are without an algorithm and/or a lot of money to sink into Steem Power it isn't as useful for you the Minnow?

Isn't it more effective to spread the rewards a little, so the curation is less than a game and could work without automation?

While I understand the logic behind this, that is if you are not with capital to invest & programming chops to build good AI you better produce quality post and thoughtful discussion in comments (hello, Slashdot +5 insightful and the like!) some people aren't as good as others at writing. The only suggestion to them is to get better, is that right? :-) Seems like a good thing too, I guess.

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69
  ·  9 months ago

@xanoxt Check out my STEEMBOTS post. You're welcome to join us. But curation is definitely a botting activity.

50
  ·  9 months ago

I think the system is working well now as everyone seems to make a good amount of money relatively to their size, content production and effort. I am concerned with robots. I wonder how many whale robots are ther now. I have been on steemit for a few days now and I found out already that voting for someone with a small reputation or wallet has no huge impact, or voting late for a popular post is a waste of time. I shiver at the idea that within 2 or 3 months the editorial effort made by human whales could already be replaced by robots with a self profit maximising strategy. I think that whales and their bots should stick to the founding principles of steemit and perhaps declare how much they are planning to cash out.

70
  ·  9 months ago

"Curation is a game for whales and dolphins. Minnows are unlikely to earn any significant return on their votes. Minnows should stick to posting and commenting."
So no more curating for minnows, and let the Battlefield: Steem continue with whale bots. Interesting system.

55
  ·  9 months ago

I am going to upvote this, even though I know I am too early. But I enjoyed the content and will put the strategy to good use later. :-)

41
  ·  9 months ago

As the system is growing very fast the chance your content to be seen as a new user without reputation and followers is decreasing dramatically. Actually minnows don’t read minnows on my observation. The chain is broken at the first level. They spent their time in hot and trending articles to create more detailed picture of the system. https://steemit.com/steemit/@denha/nobody-won-t-read-your-content-still-you-re-new-user-not-famous-person-nor-from-bitcoin-society-catch-22

59
  ·  9 months ago

That is a huge incentive for me to up vote everything I see.

Sorry, dont believe in it. I think there is a whole list of reasons for which you vote for good posts. And the money is likely at the end of the list. Special thanks to that this time was explained by simple examples!

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73
  ·  9 months ago

Clearly I don't upvote everything I see. I also have a huge incentive to see the system grow in value.

67
  ·  9 months ago

THANK YOU

for clarifying this!

I think your consistent engagement with the community @dantheman is important in these early days of steemit because there is too much confusion within the community.

This really helps clear that up, and I wonder if for that reason you could consider adding the #steem-help tag to this post. These are the things that newbies need to understand, because if they don't hear it from you, they will hear it from another blogger who encourages playing this whales game without explaining first that the article is addressing whales and dolphins, not minnows.

Also,
you say minnows should focus on posting and commenting, but surely you need minnows to do at least some curating.

69
  ·  9 months ago

This is all fascinating stuff. It would be great if people could vote based on what they find interesting rather than by what will earn them the most. I can see that you are trying to encourage good content, but I'll be interested to see how it develops.

54
  ·  9 months ago

This post has been linked to from another place on Steem.

About linkback bot

59
  ·  9 months ago

I think your a fantastic author! And the best algorithm starts with the human brain.

54
  ·  9 months ago

The concept of “reverse spam filters” is very intriguing, especially if you're interested in AI and machine learning. An incentive to build bots that can identify good content has utilitaristic value, not only for winning the Steemit race.

58
  ·  9 months ago

Your conclusion is most illuminating. This is the first time I had heard from a whale that curating is a waste of time for minnows. But as your entire post describes the curation process as a game for whales it make sense. Now I understand why I never seemed to get much of a payout from curating.

63
  ·  9 months ago

It will be interesting to see how curation evolves. IMO, quality content is required to reach mainstream. I find it hard to believe that bots will be able to identify quality and if curation is a game dominated by bots, I struggle to see how Steemit penetrates mainstream.

59
  ·  9 months ago

test

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54
  ·  9 months ago

what are you testing? ;-)

61
  ·  9 months ago

Interesting stats and a frank view of the curation system. I am curious to see if bots really will start doing most of the heavy lifting. Obviously human curation will remain superior, but maybe bots can improve significantly with constantly developed algorthims. Bots will probably will always continue rely on minnow / dolphin indicators.

62
  ·  9 months ago

@dantheman I have a question.
You state, "Minnows that consistently pick out winners before they are winners will eventually attract a multitude of whale and dolphin bots who follow their every vote." Then further along you state, "Curation is a game for whales and dolphins. Minnows are unlikely to earn any significant return on their votes. Minnows should stick to posting and commenting."
If you recommend minnows stick to commenting and posting, since there is no real incentive for them to vote, then how are they going to lead whales and dolphins to content?
Your musings here are currently leaving me feeling very unclear. If you get a chance please clarify. Thank you very much. Have a nice day.

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47
  ·  9 months ago

Good question. I was wondering the same myself.

56
  ·  9 months ago

I think this undesirable outcome is unlikely because a large number of normal users and altruistic whales will bias the final result based upon the quality of the content. If the whale bots win the curation game but lose the quality content game, then all the Steem Power earned from curation will become worthless.

I don't. The "large number of normal users and altruistic whales" won't be able to compete with those bots because of lack of content visibility. To beat whale bots to the trending page, multiple altruistic whales will have to upvote the same content. The odds of multiple altruistic whales stumbling on the same content is already too small and will become lower over time as more users join. The noise level will be too high and the only way to be on the trending page will be to be on an authors' list, even if it's highly competitive.

37
  ·  9 months ago

Auto-curation by machine learning algorithms
that use training examples based on auto-curation
is optimization on a reward function quite different from that of
a reward function for good content

51
  ·  9 months ago

I have a question. I've been saying for a while is a top post that leads to a discussion of fifty responses will be worth ten thousand dollars, for example, while the combined value of all the replies is two dollars. Are there voting insentives or disinsentives for upvoting replies to posts? I think good discussion is something to encourage, and upvotes would be a spur to that discussion

51
  ·  9 months ago

Why not make the [Steem Power] / [amounts of votes in 24H] = [effect on current voted posts payout]. That would stop individuals from upvoting everything. First vote 100% weight next 50% next 33.33% etc. That would stop misbehaving everything.... You could make it default 10% weight regardless of amount of votes and their after 10 votes start reducing weight further...

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51
  ·  9 months ago

The weight of your vote already decreases the more you vote on a I think daily basis. It's hardly enough to stop botting.

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68
  ·  9 months ago

Yes, it does. Every single vote reduces your vote weight, which slowly recharges in between votes.

63
  ·  9 months ago

Hey thanks for this post. It's now 2 weeks old, and I'm wondering if this comment will be added or I'll get an error as I have noticed before when I try to comment on old posts.

OK, it took, which spawns the question: When are comments no longer allowed?

As for what I think concerning the an "AI" (Algorithm Intelligence) will ensue like ASIC development did due to Bitcoin mining - well, I think much more growth needs to take place here on Steemit before there's any chance of that. It also leads me to ponder how may Steem whales have the ability or desire to write graphene bots? What percentage of Steem whales are coders? How man of those whales can characterize their pre-cog curators well enough for a coder to implement?

AI bots - interesting concept. It will indeed be cule to see how Steem continues to evelove!

62
  ·  9 months ago

Apparently many whales do not agree with you...

59
  ·  9 months ago

Yes except I think the minnow votes are a nice data set. It would be a shame if they quit voting.

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73
  ·  9 months ago

Minnows would keep voting for the same reasons people do on reddit. The more they vote, the more they train the system. Minnows that upvote popular content reward both the author and the curator bots that brought the content to their attention. Everyone wins.

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59
  ·  9 months ago

+I suspect people vote more often here than on Reddit. Its nice to see the post move up the queue due to voting, so that adds some gamification.

With Reddit I vote while I read. Here I open it up to see if there is something worth voting on.

I don't want to miss catching a good post early. I love when I find something and it later does well and look forward to seeing how much reward I made. That's a completely different behavior. More like a game than discussion.

Fortunately I have enough Steem that I usually get some Steem power for my votes although it's clearly not worth the time I spend.{nice casino effect} It would nice to extend this to more minnows to get the active user count over 10percent.

Maybe a power vote when you are at 100 percent?

55
  ·  9 months ago

Doesn't this mean that the ever increasingly complex voting bot algorithm could be reverse engineered when itbwas accurate enough? Bots could then be designed to create content that met the AI curating criteria to the letter? These decentralized autonomous creators would negate the need for original, human interaction with the platform all together?

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73
  ·  9 months ago

It depends. The whales will manually judge the output of the curation and if they see garbage they will downvote it. This will train the AI.

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54
  ·  9 months ago

Do you have a set of resources which we smaller fish could evaluate on various skill levels that you are using partly to determine your development philosophy? Anything aside from results or conclusions you arrive at from brainstorming with other developers or friendly whales that is of course ;-)

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55
  ·  9 months ago

Right. My point is, with a sophisticated AI using a "formula for success" to curate content, the formula could be derived and catered to by the creator. That's fine and dandy when it results in quality content, but wouldnt the formula to cater to result in a pigeon hole for what is created for Steemit? On Top of this, if there is a formula to cater to, couldn't bots that create content to meet the formula criteria be built for profit. Worse yet, those with the curation bots could build creation bots to generate Steem independent from any one else's contribution.

55
  ·  9 months ago

So next thing to expect is the market for curation algorithms/bots.
and quite logical to trade them for STEEM/SBD :-)

74
  ·  9 months ago

Thanks. This is a well thought out and informative post.

There is some risk that the game could evolve in such a way that content is ignored completely as bots up vote based upon what other bots do.

To some degree it may already be happening due to the prominence that whale votes give a post and the likelihood that most bots are employed by whales.

The existing curation rewards algorithm, once properly understood, will spawn an arms race to build better bots. This means Steem will motivate the development of the decentralized autonomous curator.

I think it is interesting way to look at bots for sure. The problem is that where they stand right now the bots are not very intelligent. If they ever reach the point of being as good at curating as human beings then I would not be so opposed to them. Right now the idea seems to me at least to be contrary to good curation.

People will buy Steem Power just for the opportunity to apply their own curation reward algorithm in an attempt to out-earn other Steem Power holders. Algorithm development will advance like ASIC development.

Perhaps but I'm not sure that people would happy to have their content used as a means for others to develop curation ASICs. I think they would rather have real humans curating their content. That's just my opinion though.

I would also question why people would want to do this by buying SP and using Steemit when they can do it for free on other parts of the internet.

Also you don't need to actually even by SP to train your bot. You could simply do the data analysis and collect information. If your bot is really successful it will make the SP for you.

66
  ·  9 months ago

Commenting is something I can do off the top of my head, and I'm currently trying to discover on my own, the best content that both interests me as well as might possibly be rewarding to engage with.

Posting is a more more serious endeavor that I'm holding off on until I gain more reputation and steem power. I don't want to work hard on something valuable and have it ignored based on my lack of popularity . I'll keep my powder dry for later on.

I mine both cloud and hardware and building as much STEEM as I can in anticipation of powering up into a better situation and will release my content and comics then.

63
  ·  9 months ago

In your conclusion you suggest that minnows should stick to posting and commenting. But then we would lose the early indicator -- that "butterfly in Africa" you referred to earlier in the post. If minnows don't earn anything significant (relative to their stake) by curating, then maybe the algorithm needs to be adjusted so they do.

But beyond the direct curation awards, isn't it possible that minnows who prove to be good early predictors of quality content could be hired by whales to do curation on their behalf? And on a similar note, what about the delegated curation idea you brought up recently?

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63
  ·  9 months ago

This platform nor the results of it are perfect (obviously). Nor are all the people interfacing with it (obviously). Yet this whole platform is very new and so far is truly awesome!
Every system has rules. No matter the rules there will always be people who "work the system". Many of the people that are a part of early Steemit are such people. This is not right or wrong it just is what it is.
Simultaneously systems/rules change, then the game changes and therefor those that are "working the system" change their tactics. This is just a part of life.
Also that which is popular also changes especially as the crowd/group of people changes. So what is popular now and what is popular later may not be the same. Even with Whales. What Whales choose to support and not support now may also change over time.
Ultimately everyone has their perspective, their preferences and right now, based on that and the "rules" of this platform, are dictating the results of it. Its very interesting to see and it will be very interesting to observe as this community evolves!

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68
  ·  9 months ago

I think that suggestion was poorly written and unclear. A better suggestion (and probably closer to what he meant) would be for minnows to stick to posting and commenting as a way to earn. There is no reason for minnows not to vote to express their opinion and indeed since they have no real financial goals in voting, this is one way that sincere human preferences can enter the system.

69
  ·  9 months ago

Why can't see any reply? People have no interest? Flagged.

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53
  ·  9 months ago

i couldn't see anything either -- thought I was posting the first comment.

This whole post seems fishy to me.

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65
  ·  9 months ago

Flagged for not having enough comments??

We really need to have the downvote option and the spam/abuse flag separated because it's becoming very damaging.

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68
  ·  9 months ago

Damaging how? Downvoting in response to too many upvotes does not cause net damage to reputation. At worst it causes reputation to return to where it was before and in this case there is a one-way reputation pump effect since almost anyone can increase his reputation but hardly anyone can decrease it.

(FWIW, I think they should be separated, but I don't see much damage.)

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65
  ·  9 months ago

The damaging aspect for me is that currently the flag has an ambiguous meaning.

You see a post heavily flagged (or you're an author of a heavily flagged post) and what can you conclude? Is there something wrong with the post? Or the opposite is true: nothing is wrong, actually it was so successful that some people thought it's been overpaid.

Seriously, this very confusing (especially for newcomers) and as a result doing a big damage to this platform at this crucial stage. We should have the downvote button ASAP, so that the flag is no longer abused.

Actually, the fact that main shareholders do not see it as urgent worries me even more. A lot in Steem hinges on creating a good and friendly community and this flag/downvote issue is doing a lot to sabotage this process.

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68
  ·  9 months ago

Good points.

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65
  ·  9 months ago

I'd say the problem is really urgent. Look what is happening - this comment by @bullionstackers is a prime example. People are clearly confused and they attack each other. If you have access to @ned or @dan - please let them know.

60
  ·  9 months ago

Hi, @dantheman, I have an idea about Steem Power (or Voting Power) rental market. Please comment on my idea when you have a chance.

https://steemit.com/steemit/@atomrigs/proposal-steem-power-rental-market

59
  ·  9 months ago
Everyone loses if quality content doesn’t rise to the top. This means that whale bots will develop a minimum quality threshold.

This is a real important point, and I think it is what is holding steemit back. I have seen multiple posters with "quality" content come and make a few posts that were good, but got no attention. Checking on some of the accounts now, most have not been back. Quality content is the most important thing period.

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72
  ·  9 months ago

Quality content is extremely important. But there's a difference between what is "quality" according to site developers and administrators (content that helps SEO) and "quality" according to real humans that consume creative original works (content that is useful/informative/artistic). Dan talks about the former while non-whales and non-bot creators are interested in the latter.

By the way - if I have to spend hours on end every day again this week just trying to get my posts seen by a handful of people, I may not return next week. Rewards aren't as important as knowing that the content is actually being read and appreciated. I can spend half as much time and simply freelance some work in local newspapers or magazines - and actually know that people will at least see it and I can make a few bucks in the process.

48
  ·  9 months ago

I think its stupid to see someone always waits till @dantheman post and will put a stupid meme and make more money than any of my bud reveiws or pictures. Have in the last week.

54
  ·  9 months ago

I'm agree with you @dantheman
Whales can increase quality of content. But many good authors not visible for it.

72
  ·  9 months ago

I see there are supposedly 70 comments to this thread as I write this, yet I cannot see them on Chrome or Firefox. (off to restart computer to see if that helps)

62
  ·  9 months ago

Curation is a game for whales and dolphins. Minnows are unlikely to earn any significant return on their votes. Minnows should stick to posting and commenting/

Except for minnows who aim to be dolphins?

65
  ·  9 months ago

hey Dan. I still can't read any of the comments here ¯_(ツ)_/¯

65
  ·  9 months ago

since I am able to comment, I would really like to see the algo that detects good quality content. As much as I appreciate the writers with established reputation, I would prefer upvoting new users.

68
  ·  9 months ago

@dantheman I am glad you addressed what I have been thinking about, 'Why more people don't vote or comment?' I guess I am a quick learner because that js what I have been doing this past month. I am also glad you mentioned what I call 'wasted votes' and maybe penalizing for not voting or participating, but I think you cleared that up for me by stating that if whales don't vote they start getting left befind or diluted. Most excllent post.

38
  ·  9 months ago

voting robots should be forbidden with something like captcha. They distort the whole steemit process. How can they know something is good, intersting or innovative ? They don't. they just amplify some trend, harming the new people or the unknow ones. if you're so smart, you should build a software recognizing the robots in order we can downvote everything false desrved.

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73
  ·  9 months ago

This is not technically possible in a decentralized system.

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58
  ·  9 months ago

Qualifier of YET
Possible I bet
There may be a way
Yet not on this day

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54
  ·  9 months ago

I have already worked several years ago with a software that was able to break captchas. To assume that a hacker-friendly technology is possible is ignoring that technological breakthroughs are in principle not foreseeable. Not sure if this is even possible to answer on a math-level problem. Probably not - maybe an excellent mathematician might be able to answer that or at least speculate ;-)

43
  ·  9 months ago

That was helpful information and thank you.
dubloon135

64
  ·  9 months ago

Amazing how deep the thinking must be to maintain and develop this awesome design! Not sure how comfortable I will be thinking of my curation activity as data fodder for whale bots .. but it is nice to know it is good for something, because money it doth not make, not at my close to average level of SP.

So there are Good Whales & Evil Whales, what bout Lazy Whales, who do not actively do anything? Perhaps there is something that can be done to stimulate their involvement .. ie: if you do not use your STEEM Power, it will be lost over time- like a deflating balloon - their wealth re-distributed ... to the bottom-most SP holders first perhaps. The balloon must 'actively' have 'air' put in for it to be maintained (this is curation, commenting, posting) - this will help with those Whales who walk away confident that they will continue to earn large amounts of power on top of their large amount of power - you know, disappearance or death contingency kinda thang?

Mnmmm ..guess that would havr had to be in at the git go ..lol.
Anyway .. awesome! :)

58
  ·  9 months ago

Another very well thought out post, though every time you use the phrase "whale bots" this image pops into my head. Damn you futurama...

58
  ·  9 months ago

Why are people flagging this post??? I think explained this bot situation/prediction perfectly.. The whales are in competition to up vote quality content, and because this effects the curation rewards they will create more sophisticated bots, or develop other strategies that help them get to the quality posts first.
In my opinion anything that gets the quality posts being put out by minnows to be noticed is a good thing for steemit. Most new users will start out as minnows, and we want an environment that encourages them to participate. Since their minnow status gives them little reward for upvoting, they need to focus on posting good content. However if no whales ever notice their posts, this lead to quickly being discouraged, and losing interest.. I'm a perfect example. My latest post today included 14 original images, and a well written story of my tragic accident... Do you think any whales will notice my minnow post?!? Nope.. Not likely.. Why can I say that? Because I am a minnow! I post many times a week, I put in hours of work on each post and I only get upvoted by many other minnows.
Please don't regard this comment as a beg for your upvote because you are a whale. I'll I'm saying is anything that get's whales to notice quality minnow posts will only help our community to grow.

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47
  ·  9 months ago

But I think you're missing the point. He's saying that whales are only interested in content that will go viral, and therefore be more financially rewarding if they play their curation right. It has almost nothing to do with quality of content, and everything with 'gaming' the system for posts which may go viral. We all know that many posts which are not quality can and do go viral.

42
  ·  9 months ago

@pierce-the-veil: Speaking only for myself, this post is most welcome and your detailed analysis, even if only opinion; evokes a certain sense of reassurance or relief.

Thank you very much for addressing this with detail and clarity, although as you state it is "just your opinion"; I believe you would agree that it carries a certain amount of "weight", no?

For these reasons i offer to you my "measely minnow upvote" as a token of appreciation.

Best Regards and everyone have a great week on STEEMIT!

48
  ·  9 months ago

I enjoy reading your thoughts on the rewards. It helps me understand them better. Curation stumped me for a while until I realized it was based on my power and you confirmed that for me. Look forward to your future posts.

50
  ·  9 months ago

beets

should be beats.

65
  ·  9 months ago

i get all the time 0,02$

27
  ·  9 months ago

excellent! but it is the downvote system that bother ! this can take a lot of censorship as many already censored by the power of the few. It is sad to see the platform become the new north korea .

48
  ·  9 months ago

It's so awesome to have hope that bots may not ruin the quality of steem. Thank you for the informative post. I would love input from you on how to promote my posts.

49
  ·  9 months ago

Could you explain what defines a :
1- Whale
2- Dolphin
3- Minnow
?
Thanks

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36
  ·  9 months ago

whale - richman
dolphin - medium class
minnow - lamb to shearing

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49
  ·  9 months ago

I was thinking more quantitative.
eg. Whale: qty of steem, steem $, or steem power it holds

Where are the qty limits to name somebody a whale, dolphin or minnow

61
  ·  9 months ago

Now I can offer that. Remove button voting from feed of posts. And leave it just inside the post. Thus, it is to somehow cause the user to read the post. Because a lot of excellent and quality posts just go unnoticed, and it is very frustrating.

44
  ·  9 months ago

I think the lack of competition now makes it worthwhile for bots like @wang to make a decent return on his Steems. I believe it is of the order of 50% annual return or more in terms of Steem. But with more competition, the return becomes even out and it becomes less attractive to hold Steem.

58
  ·  9 months ago

Hey, I just noticed you upvoted my latest blog post. Can i just say thank you for your support. This is the second time you have upvoted my work and I appreciate it. I am really working hard to add to our community and grow it. Thank you very much for taking time to read and vote on my behalf.

62
  ·  9 months ago

@dantheman best thing you addressed

Whales earning curation rewards are not a problem if all whales participate in a healthy manner to curate.

I have not discovered anything solid about the way whales are voting. Bring up one whale who gives thinks about the stage other than yourself? I think you mind fairly simply because you are posting and investing significant energy in helping other learn about voting.

58
  ·  9 months ago

curation reward is dog-nail in current realization

58
  ·  9 months ago

50
  ·  9 months ago

The price of Steem fell so sharp because few people got a lot of steem dollars for they posts and after that they cashed out .There should be limit for cash out as well!

68
  ·  9 months ago

I don't like the statement "Bots need data, minnows generate data."

So that is all us minnows are good for in the curation process?!?
Puts a somewhat ugly spin on things. Not sure that would look as good on the Steemit promotion advertising. "...Join Steemit and vote on good content so Whale Bots can use you as a data point to make them money"

There must be a better way.

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68
  ·  9 months ago

It isn't even clear that once the market is competitive whale bots will make a lot of money. You can think of whale bots, in a decentralized system, as simply being an algorithm that picks out content that is becoming popular and suddenly launches it to greater visibility (and likely earnings). On a centralized system such as Twitter, there is an algorithm that picks out trending tags. As soon as such a tag appears in the list, it will certainly be searched and used a lot more, launching its popularity beyond where it was when the algorithm first picked it up. Whale bots are doing the exact same thing, just decentralized.

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68
  ·  9 months ago

My point is that the whales are doing this important task using the effort of minnows, who are not being rewarded. Think of it this way: minnow are the unpaid slaves working to help the whales pick out good content and earn rewards. Sure the whales provide a service, but where is the fairness if minnows get nothing? Ultimately, the minnows will stop. That would be the downfall of Steemit.

The system must be adjusted to provide minnows rewards for their good deeds and dedicated efforts in supporting the overall ecosystem.

56
  ·  9 months ago

Makes sense to me..... Try it out see what happens, the site is still evolving.

53
  ·  9 months ago

Im the first @dantheman
#bolt
it pays to be first- the whale olympics

lol

66
  ·  9 months ago

I'm glad you wrote this. The whole curation thing is confusing to me. I want to provide good content anyway, so that part is intuitive. But voting and commenting benefits are tough to fathom.
I'll keep doing what I'm doing anyway. I vote for content that I think is valuable and comment in ways that I think are helpful to the discussion, or at least encourage the author (especially other minnows who don't get enough hugs).

57
  ·  9 months ago

This explains a lot. It is a little sad really. The same shit as in many coins in the past. It is not all that different. Money makes money. Not a new world that is clear.

68
  ·  9 months ago

Why can't whales be viewed as patron's of the arts, like rich people were the 17th, 18th, and 19th century?

Then those that earn money from whales can pass their money onto others?

56
  ·  9 months ago

Who would argue, you designed the algorithm. You lost me after the first paragraph. Now I understand why I should have studied harder at school. I'll just carry on curating and, hopefully, get my 0.5 SP a day, assuming you don't change the algo too much :)

49
  ·  9 months ago

There's some obvious polarization when it comes to whether bots should be part of curation or not. I'm strictly on the side of bots because bots are just an extension of ourselves. They are programmed to do what we want them to do. They are neither good nor evil.

If we embrace bots to the extreme end of the spectrum, then imagine if everyone interacts with the Steem blockchain through, essentially, bots?

What is the difference between a bot and any front end that surfaces content in a certain way, (i.e. by displaying trending content, it automatically influences the vote on Steemit.com), that has an impact on the overall vote?

If the purpose of a curator bot is really to serve the users well, then the bot should really be custom for each user. If you can't get that fine-grained, then it should be custom for the category of content. A curator bot may be used to autovote, but it may also be used to just act as a filter and presenter of content, and leave the voting up to the end user.

58
  ·  9 months ago

I'm not sure I'm entirely pro-bot voting, but you make a compelling argument with the minnow vote butterfly effect. I'm very curious as to how this will play out. And I'm sure that if it takes a wrong turn, positive changes will be made to the system. I don't like upvoting whales that much, but this post deserves it.

42
  ·  9 months ago

i think your right and i think A.I will end up writing the content we desire. This is exactly the beginning of all that.

50
  ·  9 months ago

Nice. Haven't thought about it that way. Another spark that keeps me motivated. Thanks, man!

57
  ·  9 months ago

Sorry I can't see the other comments. It appears I'm blocked from seeing them. Hope my comments on your post yesterday did not offend. This post explains how the Steemit system works and that's a good thing. Basically laborers (minnows) work hard to produce quality content. Scouts (dolphin) go out to predict or find that content. The wealthy whales then benefit even more by upvoting the quality content. That action rewards them with even more money. It's a stratified society model. The one benefit to the minnows is that the upvotes by whales provide them with money too.