Curation Rewards and Voting Incentive

in #steem4 years ago

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).


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.


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?


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!

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

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.

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!

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.

back when you were a minnow @kus-knee haha , teach me the ways!

Haha wow! Thanks for the find! Actually here's on of the keys. Do lots of commenting!

will do! i have lots to say ;)

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!

I think @dantheman was demonstrating that living the truth of your ideas and earning money in this context through understanding the system is not necessarily tautological. It's the beauty of steemit that we will have great bots sifting posts for us. Some people get richer than others, but they are the ones that understand the way to do so or the bright sparks [they have appeal in some way that others have less of] ... and if the system of the platform benefits, I'm ok with that.

I've just seen someone arrive and post about things I wouldn't usually read and yet I found her writing captivating and her first posts [within 2 days of joining] were receiving payouts in the $100 region and she already had a rep score in the 50s. I'm fascinated by what it is that she has about her that is causing this when most within 2 days are getting 27c payout on posts with a rep score still of 25.

I find the whole platform and how it works fascinating.

Yeah, the links thing is news to me. I'm glad there's a movement to promote original and properly licensed content. (I keep seeing posts about getting people to only use images they're legally allowed to use. I applaud that.)

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. :)

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

"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.

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!

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.

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.

I agree, we shouldn't design for whales, but with regular users in mind.

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.

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.

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.

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".

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 ;-)

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.

So would everyone, now what are you proposing?

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!!


@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...

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 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.

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)

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.

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.

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:

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.)

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.

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.

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?

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!

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.

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.

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

This quote bothers me enormously:

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

This implies several things: that we're all in it for the money, and worse, that it's considered normal that regular or new users have no say in things.

It's not that simple. If any new user vote had "power" to shape who gets the rewards, someone would create thousands of IDs to start gaming the rewards. At that point people would be saying that this is bullshit and that the system is broken because fake IDs dominate the voting. Invested vote solves this issue (but creates other issues).

Yup... disappointing to say the least.

Its just an optimal move with respect to game theory.

Exactly. Many people misunderstand posts like these. They're meant to look at the optimal strategy for everyone on the platform. This is how you can make it resistant to exploits.

They'll attempt to claim the moral high ground by placing themselves above monetary rewards. The truth is that everything behind the platform is based on incentives, and that if those aren't properly aligned, everyone will suffer (through content quality, ranking system, wealth distribution, etc.).

This post just focuses on the economics. There are surely more sustainable ways to earn money than posting on steemit and the opportunity costs are high, since it is very time consuming.

Therefore it is a must for a "good" minnow to be passionate about steemit and act properly. Doing that could soon get rewarded automatically. That´s a good thing.

Steemit is not yet really used as a social media platform where people share content with mainly their friends.
I could see this happen soon with some polishing on the layout.
Even if your content only earn cents, the excitement is always there when posting in hope of a big whale to bite.
And if that does not happen, your friends can still show their appreciation and comment, just as on FB for example.

You say a "good" minnow acts out of passion, but according to the OP curating should obviously not be a passion then.

I think @dantheman was speaking strictly from a mathematical, and logical, version of things, as if he was in the middle of programming a new subroutine.

Naturally regular or new users do have a say in things. I purposely seek good content even if it comes from someone I never heard of before. I did that just this morning. A new post, from a new user only 1 day old had an impressive post. I upvoted, commented, and even said "It looks like this is a second account from an established user". She admitted, "yes, it's because I lost my password to my main account". Check it out: @cutie

So regardless of what you thought @dantheman said, I think his heart is still in the right place. Don't be disappointed.

He didn't say that regular users (minnows, etc.) have no say, in fact he said the opposite. Read the section "Role of Dolphins and Minnows" especially the last sentence.

Also it does seem like they would want to vote on hints that increase value of Steem power not just eaten a days worth of Steem.

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.

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 :)

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?

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.


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.

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.

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.

@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.

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

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.

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.

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 ;-)

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.

let's create the situation wherein the whales being too big, yet too few is no longer a problem; we need more dolphins, thousands of them!

right now there are way too many posts with sometimes more than a 100 votes, yet not even $1 reward ... good posts that are just going wasted... it's a flaw, the only way to fix that is by creating more dolphins by giving more steem away, but not to authors, but to good curators!

if you were to ask your fellow whales to make a collective effort, not to build a bot, but to use the existing data to compile a list; pull all the minnows, run a little program to collect their data and find a good way to select people that are above all else good curators, not because they got lucky once voting for the same post a whale did, but because they never seem to vote for crap ... you tweak it until you can select the top 10.000 CURATORS and you give them some upvotes ...

10.000 minnows that's about 25% to 35% of the active minnows, you run a little program to see which of their own posts got the most votes and you upvote that post ... with a bot this time

10.000 people that's a lot, while if they were to get 50-100 steem ... that's not even that much in fact, but it's needed right now to feed the bottom ... urgently!

think about it; 10.000 minnows all of a sudden getting a bit more power, so less good posts are going to waste ... it would be a big improvement for the vast majority of the users, as many of them are getting disappointed

that's just 1 idea, there are plenty of other options, but something needs to be done

forget what it may or may not do to your own steem; it's for the health of steemit as a whole ... you have a % of the total; instead of trying to make your already significant % bigger, you should focus on making the value of the total bigger!

it's an eco-system and right now there's a massive starvation going on down at the bottom of the steemit ocean

does it matter to your actual $ worth whether you reach the 1.000.000 in 6 months or 2 years? yes, it does!

take some type of an action to create artificially more dolphins, because you artificially created whales that are way too big! right now the results are skewed, you need to rectified that

you're welcome ;-)

(don't forget to upvote my comment, thanks)

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 .

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.

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...

While the explanation presented sounds logical, as always, I fear that the processes you describe this time will take too much time (years). I'd at least consider some short term solutions to counter the perceived errors in the system, to be implemented in the mean time. Which could in turn result in altering the expected processes, I realise.

It's also completely dehumanizing. It's a SOCIAL network. This sounds like a bot network.

Social dynamics and artificial networks overlap pretty greatly. That's how big data and the sale of it became a thing in the first place. I don't see this as any more or less dehumanizing than Facebook or Google, with an added benefit of the blockchain being more 'human' in many aspects.

I would beg to disagree. People don't log into to Facebook to enjoy an artificial network. They log in to share stuff with their friends and family, and see kittens. Facebook may manipulate the algorithm to sort the content, but the minute the system starts to break that 'human' trust factor, the platform is dead to most people.

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

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.

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.

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.

I find my precious time being spent in looking for interesting, new articles and perspectives that don't really follow a formula to "make money" but rather new ideas and concepts for better personal #living.
My #precious time is very limited, and I can only do so much reading and vicariously help the collective effort in #steemit discovery.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

@dantheman I think you just reiterated the purpose behind STEEMBOTS which I was also trying to drive home in my response to your anti-bot post.

Glad you're coming around to our side on this. Give the botbuilders something better to do and they'll build better bots, this is the best platform ever constructed for training AI (also AI does not mean chatterbots).

Anyways if it turned out that these were good ideas after all, I would love an upvote or two, on any of my recent blog entries pretty please? Been a long time since any whales have stopped by to say hello. Kind of hard to stay motivated to develop these things for folks when no one is stopping by that has enough weight to do anything even if I rolled something out tomorrow.

So basically for a minnow to grow with curation reward is basically impossible. Minnow to attract bots of whales? lol how many minnows are there comapred to the whales? This is pretty much condemning the majority.

Apparently many whales do not agree with you...

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.

Money is the root of all evil. :(

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.

This is not technically possible in a decentralized system.

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

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 ;-)

lol "beets"

Typo under "It pays to be First"

lol i was wondering if anyone else catch that!

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 :)

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
Anyway .. awesome! :)

Very very very helpful information. Thank you :)

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.

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.

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.

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?

Great article. The system as it is now cannot be very successful. Hopefully these problems can be fixed.

Upvote this comment is you are sexy and you know it! also if you are a anarchist. ;) if you are not then sorry, i don't want your upvote ;) my vote is worth about 1 cent i think :D MONEY.

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.

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.

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


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

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.

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.

I am so glad that I finally start understanding even though confused about a few points . Your extremely important series of articles really help me to question to be involved any further I never give too much attention nor thoughts how to earn $$$ , just enjoy good or even bad content . I will continue upvoting , commenting If I find posts valuable for me and at the same time I earn a little more in my wallet . All good ! I like surprises :) Some of you are way too serious . Just enjoy the "anti - social platform" and learn how to be nice to each other and be truly social for the right reason .
The $ signs are written in most of your faces . I find you if you are a real person and not some alien like bot and I upvote my own comment right now because I have the right to do so .

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

If content becomes completely ignored, Steemit collapses. Sure, the bots could take over and potentially generate cryptocurrency until the end of time and in that way live on forever, but the inspiring and revolutionary possibility that's igniting so many--the possibility for an entirely new paradigm, a cutting edge social media platform, and A NEW ECONOMY BASED ON VALUES will be swallowed once again by greed. We hope you're right that this undesirable outcome is unlikely! "Everyone loses if quality content doesn’t rise to the top", and not just within Steemit. This community has priceless potential to unite key WORLD players--the intellects and motivators who are BEING change--and we don't want to see it go down at the hands of a selfish few unwilling to see the bigger picture and the greater good. This game is EPIC and its implications are profound. Thanks for the article, @dantheman--definitely provokes thought!

i get all the time 0,02$

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.

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!


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.

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

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.

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

@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.

Good question. I was wondering the same myself.

@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!