Recently, I was introduced to a tool called "SteemFollower", and I must admit, I'm really liking it. It's got a generic name and an interface only a Geocities mother could love, but it's built on a surprisingly good idea that's got legs. It's also brand new and developing at a breakneck pace. Don't judge it on first glance, or you might simply think it is some sort of vote-4-vote or follow-4-follow exchange, rather than an elegant positive-sum solution to the game-theoretical incentive to self-/circle-vote.
On top of that, the developer is very attentive. Despite never speaking to me before, upcoming witness @mahdiyari has rapidly implemented suggestions I've passed along through moderators in the Steemfollower Discord. The result is a service that is becoming better on an almost daily basis, with signups increasing rapidly.
Let's take a look at the basic idea at the heart of SteemFollower, the "upvote exchange", before we look at the feed display.
Steemfollower is very simple in concept, but the UI and documentation are still in the very early stages. All you have to do to use the voting service is vote (through Steemfollower) at least 5 times per day. That will make your posts visible in the feeds of other users who are voting.
When you vote for a user through Steemfollower, you get an amount of points roughly equal to the value of your vote. At the moment, that is roughly 10,000 points per SBD you vote in rewards. Authors are ranked in descending order in the feed by the amount of points they have, so the more you vote, the higher up in the feed you are. When other users vote for your articles, you lose an amount of points equal to the value of the vote.
In other words, the more generous you are with voting on other articles through SteemFollower, the more you will receive free post promotion in the form of appearing higher in the feed of "Top Users". The further up you are in this feed, the more eyeballs get to your articles, which increases the likelihood you will receive more votes. That naturally moves you down the list, and the cycle repeats.
Overall, it's a very elegant solution, perhaps better than a similar idea I had that called for cutting vote weights by 50%, but making all votes also pay the voter equally. I never posted about this change because I hadn't finished determining how to change curation for the new hypothetical paradigm. This removes that problem by simply redirecting rewards, rather than changing their payouts, with passive promotion.
The site is in the early stages of development, but there are some nice features. NSFW filters are implemented, as you can see below. There is a promote option, where you can drain your "upvote points" more quickly to be placed higher in the post list. Minnows get a slight boost to their vote coefficient, so they get a little more upvotes in return than they give out. Reputation filters are coming. There is a referral system which gives you a small bump to your earned points. My link is found below if you wish to use it.
There is also a "follower exchange", where you can sort through users and add them up to a total cap of 30 per day. For each follower you add, your profile will be placed into the follower feeds of others until someone else decides to follow you. In other words, you can earn 30 follower points per day which, if your blog avatar and tagline are interesting or your rep is high, will translate to a roughly equal amount of followers.
You could argue that this is follow for follow, but it's explicitly not, as the target of your follow is not notified via the interface or asked to follow you back. They will only see you if you come up in their random sweep of users. You might argue that you are making low quality follows, but I guess that is a matter of perspective. I choose to be rather selective with who I follow, at least, as much as possible.
I understand the point, as I used to try to preserve my feed, but I am willing to give users with an intereting tagline and avatar a chance. Further, @mahdiyari was agreeable to my suggestion to add reputation filtering (both a minimum platform-wide and adjustable), so once implemented this should be a more useful tool for finding established authors. Certainly better than trolling /New on Steemit.
As a result, though I have used it only a short time, I'm giving SteemFollower my provisional stamp of approval. If you are serious about your blog, you should at least give it a look. It finally resolves some huge game theory issues around voting (making it actually more beneficial to vote for others than to abuse!)
Note: I have no affiliation with Steemfollower, other than liking it!
Here's my referral link if you want to use it (you won't see any notification, just sign-up after using the link): https://steemfollower.com/?r=5490
If you have any additions or errata for this post, please let me know! I will see that they are voted to the top of the comments, and will make the appropriate edits (if possible).
We also have a Radio Station! (click me)
...and a 5000+ active user Discord Chat Server! (click me)