Bot War: Keeping Peace With A Reverse Fractional Formula

in steem •  2 years ago

Don't hurt me @steemed! I've always liked you!

It almost feels like blasphemy but I have to say it. Steemit is being controlled by bots. No matter how you slice it we can't seem to get around the fact that bots are controlling author rewards and inhibiting human curator growth. Even as I write this I feel an almost fear of backlash. Almost as though @steemed is going to grab me by my neck and punish me with a down vote. The truth is bots are an intricate part of the Steemit ecosystem. We need them and they represent the early possibilities of technology services that can be offered.

My favorite bot was @wang. As much as he got a bad wrap from his early days @wang listened to his audience and provided the very first "Steemit Welcome" with some very helpful tips. I really thought @wang would be around but to his dismay his reputation preceded him. RIP my friend.

I like the @robinhoodwhale bot. It takes into account investors who supported the project and also uses a list of authors to up vote in a controlled way. Sorta like a lotto but with a guaranteed win... eventually.

At a certain point bots tipped the beneficial scale in their favor and convinced everyone that they are the solution to steady growth here on Steemit. I was convinced at one point. As an early adopter and a JavaScript Engineer I was highly tempted to created my own minion of bots but I had another idea.

How much STEEM POWER could you earn if you only read and vote every day?

As it stands, today is my 106th day of curating in a row. I have earned 3,800 STEEM POWER most of which came from the compound interest from holding it. My voting impact is roughly $0.02 for an article with $0.00 rewards and about $1 per $100 on any other article I upvote. I haven't found much of any article that deserved a down vote although the article blasting @heiditravels in a very ugly and disgusting way and had me really really close to down voting it. I haven't authored much and my first article earned me about $500 which I reinvested in STEEM POWER. I've also invested some of my own Ethereum and Bitcoins into STEEM POWER.

So, how do I feel about bots today?

Things have changed a lot. As of this moment I think bots are detrimentally impacting growth and in fact controlling it for their own benefit. I feel those who own and earn from bots today enjoy the benefits of rising to the occasion and now their lives have changed for the better because of Steemit. Now it's time to change. These bots and whales need to be in favor of human curators.

Now, I'd like to say first and foremost this is not an attack on the owners of bots or the authors who contribute hours upon hours of hard work. Developers have worked hard to setup servers and write algorithms that take time and energy along with personal investment to run. With all of this being considered we need a consensus to change and it need to be for the right reasons.

The Bot Solution: Use a Reverse Fractional Formula

The trend seems to be going away from rewarding curators due to bots which seemingly cannot be managed. Curator votes should not be reduced from 40 to 5. Human curators are going to suffer from this change and so will overall growth. Our votes are not being utilized because it is impossible to compete with a machine... especially while reading.

By using a reverse fractional formula based on STEEM POWER that decreases your total votes as you grow in size, the momentum will be in favor of minnows promoting steady growth. As their account grows into whale status their votes will be reduced and help regulate the healthy life cycle of user accounts.

The Curator Solution: Pour STEEM POWER into Reliable Human Curators Accounts

Curator accounts hold the key to the future of Steemit. Right now the system is backwards. Bots and whales are rewarding authors in an unbalanced manner with rewards in the $100-1000 range. It's creating an unstable environment. Rewards should come from reputable and reliable curator accounts in the amounts from $1-$5.00.

As asinine as it may sound we need STEEM POWER transferred/donated to dedicated human curator accounts. This can be from whales, huge bots, or even the STEEMIT account itself. Curator accounts can be vetted based on account age, bandwidth, reputation, and activity. Out of the 87,469 accounts human curators have a solid base. We just need to identify them. An application process could be an option and I'd be happy to take on this role and follow through with this process of identifying key members.

Curators with at least $1-5 per vote would offer the greatest benefit. With 75% of the reward given to curators the tokens will always go straight into STEEM POWER. The greatest benefit of this is that the leaky holes in the STEEM DOLLAR cash out system will be plugged as I feel a lot of the growth potential is being squandered on cash outs from authors who are just earning by being on "the list". Although this might pose as healthy distribution I feel it's flowing in the wrong direction.

Authors need curators and curators need authors.

This is our reality. We've all agreed that bots have an important role in Steemit but in all actuality it's beginning to fail us. The human factor is necessary for Steemit to grow quickly and steadily. The STEEM POWERED accounts are the base of this and accounts need to grow outside of the silos that bots have been perpetrating with authors.

Reverse the Payout: 75% curators and 25% authors

This sounds completely backwards but it's absolutely correct. As a human curators I am forced into a position to investing. Although the word "forced" is a bit strong it's true and it's design was meant to preserve the value and control the profits earned by curators to prevent a mass exit. However, right now we have authors earning the most rewards because of their contributions but most of these earnings are coming from whales and huge bot accounts. The growth is selective rather than distributed evenly and for some irresponsible authors they are cashing out some if not all of their STEEM DOLLARS rather and having the system manage the required payout in STEEM POWER to ensure investment.

Will Our Best Authors Leave?

Some will. It's inevitable. I enjoy so many of our top authors and it would suck if my favorites left but I don't think they will. And if they do there are thousands of great authors on Steemit right now begging to get noticed. I've voted for them and unfortunately I have little to no impact. That could be different with the model I am suggesting. If our best authors have been investing in STEEM POWER they have nothing to worry about. For those who have been cashing out this change may be the number one reason they choose to leave.

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You made some very good points. For the first I experience the bot and human rivalary something we can expact to happen in the future more often. Personally I am looking for an and as well solution and not for an either or.

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Yes! This is on point with my proposal. Great read! I'm following you now.

Do you think an army of human readers could outperform Google's page rank algorithm? In aggregate, bots are basically just creating a decentralized version of page rank, aren't they? Yes, it's all new so there will be problems along the way, but I think they'll eventually prove to be indispensable to steemit's growth. I think the goal should be to find incentives that make the human/bot relationship symbiotic.

(At least) Three incentives drive human curators and bot-curators:
i. Short term revenue in the form of curation rewards.
ii. Long term value in the form of post-quality to attract readers.
iii. Long term value in the form of author reward distribution to attract writers.

Of those, for the long term value goals, I think humans are crucial for the second goal, but bots will outperform humans for the third.

I think I might agree with your suggestion to reverse the 75/25 split. I'll have to give that some thought. It might even turn out to benefit the authors, too. For example, 25% of 1,000 is better than 75% of 100. If increasing curation reward percentages increases post reward totals, the authors might ultimately wind up receiving higher average payouts.

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Thinking about this some more. The more I think about rebalancing the author/curator split, the more I like it. First, maybe reversing it to 25/75 isn't the exact right split either, but experimenting with the distribution seems likely to be useful. It's a near certainty that they didn't happen to get the exact optimal solution on the first try. Second, I wonder if it could be set up so that authors could set their own split on each post (along with a suggested value)?

For example, if I'm a new author, maybe I want to give 95% to curators to get my name on the board. After all, 5% of something is better than 100% of 0. But if I'm already established, I might want to keep more like 75% for myself.

I've had similar ideas like you a while ago, like the one to empower good curators with more Steem Power, I have posted about it though it did not catch much attention. Since then I have been thinking of what I can do to help instead of relying on somebody else to help for the solution, one of the reasons that I actually started writing my own bot to help curation.

My curator bot is trying to encourage new authors making good content instead of favoring authors with already established reputation like some of the Whale bots apparently do. Before starting to work on a curation bot I was curating very actively every day, pretty much going through most of the new posts every day... unfortunately one cannot do that every day or a very long period of time... that is unless it is all you do. Going through a lot of posts every day does take a lot of time , though you also find some good things and learn a lot in the process.

The problem can only be solved by having a lot of active curators with sufficient voting power, so that the normal users that post interesting stuff will not have to rely on Whale votes at all. Unfortunately there is no way that this can happen overnight it will take a lot of time for things to reach some equilibrium, unless there is some significant change helped by those with a lot of power on Steemit (that is probably not going to happen).

The good news is that there are more and more initiatives forming with the idea to help and support normal users that contribute good and useful content to the platform...