Self Voting... now a problem due to linear rewardssteemCreated with Sketch.

in #steem5 years ago (edited)

This is just a quick comment. I just had a comment just a few minutes ago posted on one of my posts, and the poster voted themselves to the tune of ~$1.1, and I had sorta been thinking that this might be a problem (it will flatten out the beneficial effect of crowd-defined distribution of payouts) and now it seems pretty obvious to me this should not be happening.

After that thought, the next thing was, that the purpose of the compounded vote rewards was to stop voting. Now I see this being done by minnows and dolphins, I would pose the question, "So what is so special about whales that they wouldn't have been doing this, even if via proxy alts?" lightbulb moment

That is exactly what they were doing, and only the mature and honorable whale-witnesses who inflicted "The Experiment" on the whale population showed pretty good that whales have no special properties of emotional maturity, or good manners. Especially a certain very notorious whale.

I want to propose that someone who also sees an issue here, do some analytics on the chain to discover how much of the reward pool is paying out to self-voters. I bet it's at least 20%, if not more.

Now, this leads me to my second thought. In every other area, the steem architecture uses various mechanisms to stop abusive behaviour, from the single transaction per block rule, to the 'this witness makes block now, then that witness makes block now', which solve the problems from Proof of Work chains, which is a mechanism that is supposed to provide security as well as antispam benefits.

Could it not be very simply added, just one little if/then, that a user cannot vote on themselves?

Sure, this will then lead to people hiding it in alt proxies, but at least it won't be open as an option to newbies, until they learn more, and most will be too lazy to bother registering a second account, especially these days with how it can take a while to actually get one of the free accounts that are on offer.

It would be nice if there was some simple automatic way to determine that the same human is behind two avatars... There isn't, and in fact, this is why I'm starting to come to a place of thinking that it is not possible to completely eliminate sybil attackers, and even in centralised forums it can be hard for the humans to be 100% sure they are seeing one hand behind two masks. A subject that I am sure I will continue to devote thought to, but basically, the solution I have in mind involves artificial intelligence, text fingerprinting, association analysis, but ultimately in the end, a smart sybil can just send the coins out into some zcash or even just bitcoin, and then tumble it, and send it back to power up the alt, and there is no discoverable trace.

So, banning self voting is not a very strong measure, but it would work well enough for new users who don't understand the platform well, and and most people are lazy, so taking away easy routes of abuse usually mitigates a big percentage of a problem like this.

I do still think, though, that if the network-distance modulation algorithm that I have talked about before in my own system architecture designs, could mitigate this a lot. The more money flows between two accounts, the less the votes award. There is, as I described, work-arounds for this, but it further tightens the requirements of technical skill for an abusive actor in the system.


If someone spends $10,000 on a POW mining rig and receives a proportional amount of the block rewards for that coin, no one complains.

If someone spends $10,000 on Steem Power and receives a proportional amount of the block rewards from Steem via self-voting, is that something we should complain about?

It's an interesting question. I asked someone about their thoughts on self-voting after I saw them doing a bit of it, and I really liked their reply.

I also liked Sean's thoughts on the topic.

There is nothing immoral about it, just a bit of a social stigma. I'm not concerned about that.

The goal of Steem is to reward quality content. You don't need to get votes from other people for some fairly fixed proportion of your SP to be paid on top in rewards.

If this wasn't the goal of steem, it would not have voting, or a forum, right?

ohhhhh. now that's a new way of thinking about this. seeing sean thoughts...

I think self voting leads to speculative bubbles and creates a ponzi ecosystem and will ultimately kill this community.

I am completely with @l0k1 when he writes "Could it not be very simply added, just one little if/then, that a user cannot vote on themselves?". I think this should be taken up immediately and voted on.

As @l0k1 pointed out correctly, this will affect the newcomers the most. I am new to Steemit, have zero fake accounts and don't have the energy to open one or bigger, maintain two accounts, and I am still on board this from the go. I think self voting is stupidity. Just ask a simple question, would anyone self vote if it was not incentive-ized.

We have created an incentive structure to prop up an inherently wasteful social activity and there lies the crux of my argument. Self voting harms the community and our relationship within it. This is about the larger picture and not any one personally.


If this is your quick comment then I fret to see the slow one 😊

To the topic. Self-voting is the easiest way to earn rewards. Major powerholders are doing it from day one onwards.

You do like your posts and comments, don't you? So why won't you vote them up? It's only natural to do so.

Yes, self-voting can be disabled with a few lines of code. But there are many ways around this ban.

Personaly, I don't see a problem here. It is a question of my steem and voting power. Both are earned and consumed by me as I see fit.

ps: I will upvote this comment 😊

There is nothing wrong with self-upvoting. In fact, Steemit sets it up such that the default option when you publish a blog post is to upvote it. Knowing that you can earn a Dollar a day (or whatever amount it is) simply by upvoting a bit of your own content is a great motivator for investing in Steem Power, and lots of people investing in Steem Power is good for everyone involved.

Having said that, there is already a vague unwritten rule that too much self upvoting is tacky and people do notice and so I think that can work against you.

The other consideration is that self-upvoting at the expense of upvoting others is short term thinking. Most everybody who has prospered on Steemit has done so by networking with other people and being generous with their upvotes on other people's content.

Although the system itself is engineered to allow for self-upvoting, the social component to Steemit does a very good job of limiting it.

I'll upvote my own comments if I want to and you can feel free to not upvote them if you don't want to.

I think new accounts sort of have an advantage of self voting to help increase value on their own as they connect with others and get recognized. Also it is a way to self invest which one has the right to do. Open to weigh the overall pros and cons of course and can understand it maybe looked at different when used by someone possibly with numerous accounts.

I couldn't be certain, but it used to be the case that you couldn't assign any reward at all (minimum is 1 cent) until you had built up about 300+ SP, so, no, it's not likely any kind of serious road to minnowhood or dolphinhood... However, for the higher levels, yes, it will build SP faster. But the cost is going to be a lot of people who realise they can just post rubbish, vote for themselves, and not actually read, evaluate, or give any genuine opinion about any other posts, nor will they feel so motivated to win votes by producing desirable quality.

This will bring new users, but they will add nothing of value to the network.

Self value voting is worth much less than getting more varied votes from many users of increased value and diversity which will win out.

It is, but winning those votes usually takes some reasonable amount of effort and talent.

I guess a justification for leaving it as it is, and not preventing it in the consensus code, is that it gives the talentless, lazy people an opportunity. I just don't think this is sending the right message to the world-full-of-scammers-and-lazyasses to get off their asses and do some real work (not 'get a real jerb', as BS likes to hurl at everyone when he gets hoity toity).

Well, I guess we'll see what happens. I think that the longer people are in here, the more they respect the common etiquette of the culture, but as the rewards draw new users, I think we can expect to start to see a spam problem. And then probably someone like @smooth or @abit will start using whale power to precisely neutralise them. And then we will have HF20.

I will post a bet on this if anyone wants to keep a book!

Understood and no being able to vote for yourself would force you to vote for others. So we shall explore this idea more as a community and see what we all think of it.

That is precisely what I am putting this out there for, to get a discussion going to untangle all the threads and see what we really have.

That's a good point as well as a self-voting can be considered a promotion to make it out of the blogs outta there. How many users here on steemit? 500k?

I saw a self-vote on a post that weighed in at more than $25, and it was the only vote on the post at the time. That's a bit disconcerting to me. I wanted to say something, but it's actually someone whose posts I tend to enjoy and didn't think it was appropriate to start a finger-pointing session. Plus I tend to avoid confrontation here anyway since it can carry some pretty drastic results.

It is possible to point something like this out to someone with a gently sarcastic comment like the one I made when I saw it the first time just before. "Well, now I don't have to waste my vote on a comment that I considered insightful". But what's the point in castigating someone when they are just doing what the system facilitates? That's where I am coming from with this. The system facilitates this, and it will increase the entropy of the forum. Self votes mean nothing about quality. Everyone's shit is solid gold.

I have been earning the SP that make my votes larger. I have paid for or earned everything in my account. Why would I hold on to my Steem Power if it wasn't in part to benefit from it? I don't self-vote as often as I can, but I certainly will do it. (just providing another point of view)
Thanks for the conversation starter.

Indeed, I am not sure it is really a problem either, BUT, I would suggest that it also should mean the price of an account should be raised, because this ability enables directly earning interest, in effect, without any part being played by the crowd choosing where the rewards should go. It goes against the central principles, in my view. Though a minnow would have to necessarily pile in maybe 50-100 bux worth of Steem Power before they would assign rewards to themselves at all.

And this is where the problem I see coming in. No posting limits, only a voting limit - these self voting people will just vote up all their own stuff and contribute no information to the network about what is collectively regarded as quality content. They will just post and post and comment and comment and vote every post and every comment will be self voted. So there is a spam potential in this, because this is how you would exploit it, if you were this much of a knucklehead.

Oh, there was one thing though. I don't like it. And from now on, when I read comments that I see a vote on, I'm not voting in acknowledgement of their contribution, because they already did that for themselves.

Saves my voting power for better things.

It goes against the central principles, in my view.

Self votes use the same amount of voting power as voting for someone else. part of the benefit of investing into SP. If the post is crap, they won't earn anything more than their singular upvote. create quality, earn more upvotes.

Ok, you are missing the point, and in the OP I maybe am not so clear on this.

The purpose of Steem's voting system is to filter content by a crowd-determined metric. To select for what is regarded by the community as good quality.

The old rewards system was specifically designed, as stated in the WP, to stop self-voting.

Hmm.. I don't remember the part about preventing self-voting. I could see the potential for abuse if a number of whales started an upvoting circle of garbage posts, so its a question whether or not the rewards can outpace the rate of vote power.

As long as that doesn't happen, I'm not sure how you could prevent it other than simply removing the ability for posters to vote on their own content.

HOWEVER... there is a benefit to upvoting your posts or content in that it attracts more attention and/or moves it higher in the comment thread. Pay for your visibility...

ok, i'll get it for you:

from page 16

In order to give everyone an equal opportunity to get involved and earn the currency people must be given an opportunity to work. The challenge is how to judge the relative quality and quantity of work that individuals provide and to do so in a way that efficiently allocates rewards to millions of users. This requires the introduction of a scalable voting process. In particular it requires that authority to allocate funds must be as distributed and decentralized as possible.

I don't think the purely mechanical work of posting something, anything, just so you can vote it, is going be the kind of work we want people doing. It's too much like paying people to dig holes and fill them back in.

page 20:

Payout Distribution One of the primary goals of Steem’s reward system is to produce the best discussions on the internet. Each and every year 10% of the market capitalization of Steem is distributed to users submitting, voting on, and discussing content. At the size of Bitcoin this could be as much as $1.75 million doll...


I believe you can find somewhere in @dantheman's posts at least one that discusses the issue of self-voting, also.

I don't think the ability to 'curate' your own comment feeds ... well... I don't think this really has a value to everyone else, and really, it should not be you 'shaping' it, because you make the original, and you respond to comments. What value is there in you commenting on the original, for example? Shouldn't that be a post-script?

Here's what I'm reading in this --

  • give everyone an equal opportunity
  • requires that authority to allocate funds must be as distributed and decentralized as possible
  • produce the best discussions on the internet

I see nothing in there arguing against someone using their upvote strength to vote for themselves. I consider it advocating for the value of your own voice. If I'm going to take the time to write something, I want it to be at least worth one of my upvotes.

Do you have to impress anyone else to get a vote from yourself?

That is all very well and good, but your opinion about your own work means nothing in the context of 'quality' because quality requires other people, lots of other people, to make the same judgement. That's how Steem works, except in this respect.

so we should have a limit on self-voting?

I think an outright ban. The primary target is the hordes of new users who will see this as a get rich quick opportunity, and flood the chain with spam. I don't even care about the rewards, that's not the point.

Upvoting your own post and comments should be automatic in my opinion, because the reason we upvote means you are agreeing (like it) to what is posted and commented.

The fact that it's implied means it should not be counted, in my view. The fact you posted means you thought it was worth posting. To win something on that just by ticking a box is not the central goal of this platform, it's about the winning stuff being seen and rewarded. The two things are concreted.

I would say about 90% of the comments I come across on my posts or others are self-voted up. I've never seen a problem with this. To me, it's just people who believe their comments are valuable, and maybe want to get the ball rolling to attract other upvoters. I will admit, though, I don't understand the mathematical algorithms of upvoting, curating, or anything like that at all. I just upvote what I think is good content, or content written by people I want to support, and enjoy a few curation rewards as a result.

Well, I will say that it is wrong to ask someone how awesome is their stinky turd, because they will always tell you it's solid gold if you are going to pay them for it.

And when people start to realise they can just earn some reasonable baseline from posting nothing of consequence and then voting on it, the kind of people this appeals to will become a major demographic migrating in.

I agree we don't want that.

My voting power is close to 0.
if you see this comment making money it's not me !!


haha. 2 cents? at 100%

I just want to say, that I don't think there is going to be any effect from anyone promoting the idea that it is socially unacceptable. I am instead going for the jugular: this is going to lead to a reduction in quality. Quality cannot be judged by the creators of a piece of work. True artists are the opposite. They usually know their stuff so well that all they see is the mistakes.

I can't agree more :D

The only reason I see people self vote is because of the incentive structure. Yeah every one does it now - yes because Steem is paying everyone to do it. It is not that hard to connect those dots.

Now to my point on self voting comments, we simply need to ask ourselves if we would be doing it without the incentive structure. I would hope I would speak for the majority of us, when I answer no to the simple question.

So basically we have created an incentive structure to prop up an inherently wasteful social activity. What is the benefit of it to the community or the platform.

To end with a proverb, with a touch of cinema, "Spread the wealth Steemians and everyone will have more as a result".

P.S. To be clear I will like to draw a distinction with self voting your post and self voting your comment. I have no issues with the former but the later i think must go.

Interesting discussion! Upvoted and followed. I've been here a week and am still learning my way around. That the checkbox is checked by default I think is an important aspect. Perhaps rather than adding an if/then for self-voting, the default could just be adjusted to be "not checked"? I think that might go a long way towards eliminating the perceived negative behavior. Cheers!

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