A closer look at the idea for increasing curation from KevinWong and Traf // my thoughts

in steem •  4 months ago

I was thinking a bit about this topic for the last two days on how to analyze it more clearly. What i basically came up with didnt really differ much from my initial thoughts but it led me to a bit of a different approach to all this.

Since this change implies that this would "change incentives". What i think we should do is take each current basic behavior and respective group that exists on STEEM and analyze the effect this change would make to each one of those groups behaviors.

So what kinds of groups and behaviors do we have here?

  1. Passive income stake holders that delegate to bots and/or sell upvotes.
  2. Curators. Individual curators and curation projects.
  3. Creators
  4. Dapps.

Sure, there are a few more groups but i dont find them as important in this case.

1. Passive income stake holders that delegate to bots and/or sell upvotes.

Now the plan of 50/50 was to fix a few things. Fix the content placement issue and the trending page and incite the first group of people, as well as everyone else, that are currently passive and uninterested in anything else but profit maximization, to start curating,
So the question is: "Does this change lead to passive income investors to stop the current behavior of bot delegation?"..
Answer is... Yes, yes it does..
For a day or two.
Bots as bots would take a hit and the first thing i think would happen are reduced payments, then probably some kind of attempt at paying out curation by powering down to offset those reduced payments, but they would probably all shut down eventually.
So content won. Right?
Not really.
Its safe to assume that those large stake holders that exhibit the profit maximization behavior, that arent interested in curation or content creation will try to continue that same behavior.
So what do they do?

They make Buildteam and Therealwolf rich.

Those passive stake holders already shown that they have no intention to be active creators, partake in "circle jerks", nor do they intention on curating. They want to automate their income.
So they start selling their votes on smartmarket and MB.
That is the profit maximizing option for them..
Id assume it wouldnt take Smartsteem and Buildteam a lot of time to adjust to the new 50/50 split and continue selling votes at different rates.
So the passive stake holder takes advantage of

  1. increase in curation % and 2. liquid payments.

That is still a better deal for those that dont want to do the work of curating, then curation itself.
Im not sure what the profit difference is between bots and vote selling atm, but even if the switch from bots to upvote services did hurt their ROI it still makes it a much superior deal then "curation".

Essentially, if MB and Smartmarket can make upvote selling profitable for the buyer and seller, and i think they can, there will be almost no change to the look of the trending page and content placement.

2. Individual curators and curation projects.

Everyone thats active on this platform is essentially a curator. Minnows, dolphins, whales, etc..
Would this change the behavior of minnows? No, not really. Curation for most part doesnt earn them anything, and a increase like this wont change that. So they will just continue to act the same way.

Dolphins? At this level you start getting those that maximize profit, delegate to bots or sell upvotes and those that curate. The first group will continue to act the same way (as shown in #1.).
Those dolphins, orcas, whales that create and curate, will continue creating and curating. Those that only curate will continue curating.

Million dollar question.... Will they increase their efforts?

Im firmly at a no. I dont see how a increase in curation would in any way de-incentivize them from supporting their friends like they are now, or increase their efforts to find new creators. How does this in any way incentivize those that currently arent interested in maximizing their curation income, many of who are incredibly ineffective at token distribution, to maximize it after the change?

Time is a limited commodity so allocating more of it towards curation would mean less time for other things. If they werent interested in maximizing curation earnings right now, why would you think they would be after this change?
What this proposal woudl essentially tell them is: You are free to continue curating with the same effort, but here is more money for you.
Do those that made this proposal really think that someone would pick up the Curie tools and start searching the "new pages" reading through thousands of shitposts?
That is huge work and not many are willing to do it.

If your employer told you: "Ill give you a raise." You would probably work harder because just like the raise was given, it can be taken away...

But what if you got a raise and you didnt have to work harder? Steem is that kind of system. There are no punitive measures on STEEM for punishing those that dont want to put in more effort..
Sure... There will be people like Kevin who made this proposal that will stop with their shitposting and do more curation.... But how many people like him are out there?
Him shitposting (as he calls it) and selfvoting on his other blog in a profit maximizing world would still be the more sensible thing to do then curate, if this proposal passes.. STEEM has a circle jerk system at high stake levels so would it really make sense from a financial point of view for him to stop posting 1 sentence posts, self voting and getting upvotes from his friends?

Absolutely not. He will stop doing it ofc, since he will be glad that the proposal passes and he cares about curation. But people at his stake level that dont care in the slightest about curation will not stop. 50/50 makes no difference to them.

If you punish them with flags, you waste your VP and curation suffers anyways... Nothing changes. Well it does.. Those that want the proposal to pass, that care about curation will curate more for a while. But how many people like that are there and does that justify the +25% cut in potential earning for creators?

The curation projects on the other hand are more effective by a huge factor then individual, non automated curators. They will do better. Curie curators will get payed more and curation project stake will increase at a higher rate. Thats actually a positive change. But id assume that if the idea behind curation projects was to reward quality content, shouldnt they want to reward the authors with more, rather then less?
In the short and mid term it will be quite less, but after time the payouts from projects like curie would increase if they dont decide to increase their curator STEEM payments by a high degree.
The question is if community curators are willing to risk short and mid term retention until the quality creator payouts balance themselves out to the current levels.

Because Curie (and curation projects like it) are highly effective at curation this is the only positive change i find this proposal bringing..

3. Creators


From all the things i listed its pretty obvious what happens to creators. Theyre essentially screwed. The content placement problem with this proposal wont be fixed. Those that do not care about curation will continue not caring and the short-midterm income creators have now from curators and curation projects will be cut drastically. This could severely affect retention in the short-mid term.
There are of course many types of creators. You have those that are content with not earning anything now, that just post for fun, and then there are those that are considered quality creators, that have support from large curators and dapps.
For the first group a loss of a few cents wont hurt them too much, but when youre talking video creators and high quality writers looking to make an income on STEEM this will be devastating for them.

So how will they act?

Consider you are a musician and a video creator on Dtube and are currently working at max capacity. Allocating as much time as you can trying to keep a consistent level of quality. If this proposal passes you are faced with 3 options.

  1. You quit, since the time spent on content creation, filming, editing just isnt worth the rewards you are getting.
  2. You increase post rate to offset the loss in potential earnings.
  3. You do nothing and accept getting less rewards because anything is better then nothing.

Since time is a limited commodity, if they decide not to quit and want to keep the same income level, then this will eventually lead to increased number of low effort posts and lowering of quality since, quality just cannot be maintained.
Putting more effort in content because of lowered income, of course, isnt incentivized due to #1 and #2.

4. Dapps.

Not really much to talk about here. User retention will be at risk with this change but there are ways for dapps to try and work around this with proto-SMT tokens and various other ways to motivate users. The curation aspect i covered above.. Since i assume dapps are interested in increasing user and creator numbers i see no way how this proposal would actually benefit them unless the goal is to earn as much as they can from Steemit.inc delegation.
@dtube a few weeks ago moved away from 25% beneficiaries that were redistributed to curators and i cant say that those extra curation payments made a much of a difference to passive large stake holders.
I didnt see Freedom come down and start curating dtube videos.



To sum it all up, from what i found, i have to say that probably nothing on the STEEM blockchain would actually change for the better.
Content placement wont be fixed, curation efforts will not increase or will not increase significantly enough, those that cared about curation will continue to curate, those that didnt will continue maximizing profit, upvote automation will probably remain at the same levels. Trending page will probably look the same way it does now. Vote selling will still be a thing.

The only thing that changes is that the earning potential from creators, across the board, that dont buy votes, shifts towards curation projects and a few curator whales.

Is that worth it?

Only if you think risking user retention; drastically hurting quality; non-upvote buying creator short-mid term growth; transferring earning potential from "have nots to haves"; widening the gap between the "wealthy" and the "poor" accounts, reducing organic token distribution..... is a good idea.

Also, if MB and Smartmarket can adjust to these changes, then because there is a reduction in organic payout for creators, this could actually increase the amount of vote buying, creating a completely opposite effect then intended.

Of course, these are just my opinions so you should probably weigh the merit of the arguments on your own.I made a few assumptions here so they need to be checked especially under #1.

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Oh, Jesus, I hadn't thought about the move to vote-selling being so much more worthwhile than delegation. You're completely right about that.


Thx. I just fear that this could actually increase demand for votes in the vote selling market due to reduced organic payouts especially from creators that are somewhat established already and liquidity is a click away.


Who would purchase the vote and for what purpose? Today they'll spend $100 and receive $115 potential reward for their post. Usually not much more than that, not much less. Factor in 50/50. Now they've spent $100 and will receive $57.5. They'll need to earn $42.5 in organic votes just to break even.

The vote seller would have to sell the vote for far less than they do today in order to make their product appealing to the consumer, would they not? How low can they really go? Will the vote buyer spend $50 and receive $100? Factor in 50/50. Spend $50 to earn $50? What's the point?

Your thoughts?


I don't know much about vote selling economics, but if the vote sellers earned 2x curation on those votes, maybe the price would go down.
Also author rewards would be cut by 1/3, not by 1/2. (From 75% to 50%).
So IF the price was 50% less and the return only reduced by 34%, that sounds like a better margin than before.


The vote seller could earn, but why does one want to buy the vote? I'm still seeing far too much of a loss for the vote buyer, so I can't see why one would purchase the vote at that rate. If purchasing the vote loses it's appeal, the vote seller cannot make money.


Upvote selling services can easily adjust to increased curation. Point is that profit maximization seekers will always go for the profit maximizing option and vote buyers under the pressure of reduced payouts will increase vote buying.
The profit maximizing option is to accept selling votes for less liquid assets but the increase in curation offsets their loss in liquid assets.
You achieved a new balance in vote selling. It remains as profitable for vote buyers as it is now and now the "less liquid assets+increased curation" is still the profit maximizing option for vote sellers and superior to curation in that regard..


Throw some numbers at me. I'm still stuck on how the vote buyer is to make up the $42.5 loss I pointed out above. What I'm seeing there is a huge risk, meaning vote buying loses its appeal and that translates into vote sellers not being able to make money at all.


Because vote selling services will adjust the rates. The current system for sure has more appeal to passive investors then the one that would come if the proposal is accepted. But the profit maximization behavior points away from curation which means nothing really will change.

Now they've spent $100 and will receive $57.5.

This will not be the case. What will happen is that you wont be spending 100$ to get 115$ on the post prior to payout (if thats what youre referring to). You will spend 100$ to get 115$ after payout happens and curation is calculated in since the rates will be adjusted. The vote selling will be adjusted for the 50% curation.
The liquid assets that passive investors would get will be reduced, but that loss will be exchanged for more curation % from vote selling.

The passive investors will not like this change, because getting more liquid SBD/STEEM rather then less, is superior to increased SP gain, but if they decide not to pack their bags, they will still not curate because selling their votes for "less liquid assets + increased curation" from vote selling is still by far the better choice for them. Its the profit maximizing choice combined with 0 effort.
The gap between vote seller earnings and curator earnings will remain. They will lose on liquid token accumulation but wont lose anything in overall token accumulation.
So who is the loser? The non boting/upvote buying creators.


In order to get $115 after payout, under a 50/50 model, the post would require $230 before payout. Where does that extra $115 come from if the vote seller only spent $100? There's no way vote selling can be profitable if spending $100 directed $230 worth of rewards to a post. I doubt they have the SP or Voting Mana to meet that demand, meaning they'd be limited to selling fewer votes.


Exactly. You wont be spending a 100$, you would be spending less because you will be getting less. Thats the adjustment.
The vote sellers get less liquid assets.

Say a vote seller has a 50$ vote.. To get that vote right now you pay around 37 SBD or around 35$.
If the proposal changes curation %... Then you wont pay 37SBD. Paying something around 23SBD will probably make it as profitable as it is now for the vote buyer. Not taking into account what might happen under the hood.

So yes, you are right, at first glance vote selling is less profitable. Its less profitable in liquid assets. He still gets more curation and still gets some liquid assets. You didnt really do much to encourage him to curate.

This is actually good for the vote buyers in the short term. Now they pay less for larger votes. It takes them now around 400$ to get top trending, with the proposal change it will probably be down to 250$ or something in that vicinity.

Im telling you this will make things even worse. Screw things up even more.
We need a UI change and bot upvote filtering.


The math seems wonky and as someone who could purchase the vote, it doesn't sound appealing. That's me though, I'm tight with my money.

The lowered amount to trend sounds appealing to someone like me who will not purchase the vote. With less rewards being pulled from the pool, more rewards will be applied to our posts. The way it works: if we had enough SP to downvote every post that used bots, all other posts would increase in value as they sit in our blogs. I could be wrong, but that's how the reward pool worked last time I checked, awhile ago. If I'm wrong, then the lowered cost to trend wouldn't boost the value of our posts naturally therefore losing it's appeal.

Ups and downs, pros and cons to everything, right?

I agree with the UI change. I've written about that many times, dating all the way back to December of last year. If that only sweeps problems under the rug though, and hides cases of abuse, it's not good. Some plagiarists have boosted posts to trending in the past. It's comical. Much like walking into a store, introducing yourself to everyone by name, and kindly announcing the fact you're about to steal as much as you can carry out the door.

Anyway. Good talk. Thanks for taking the time.

P.S. If I did piss you off or insult you before, that wasn't my intention, but I do apologize. The downvote wasn't personal. Those never are when I use them.


edited post above..

A lot of post about this, nearly all the post are ignoring the other wishlist aspects, like a separate pool for downvotes. I am glad that there are more and more blockchain developers out there and people, (Content Creators) will not have a difficult time finding somewhere else to post. Already there have been a lot of people preparing their just incase locations such as weku, whaleshares and and other places such as trybe.

@ned has another project as he mentioned in a post, and that "Destiny is, and will be, a team effort." his new project it does have a name. which everyone will be invited to join.

So yes there is a retention issue, and I doubt that even with all the steemitblogs about SMT's that that will be out on time or in any working order, and if it is will it be applied to steemit, or to Destiny?

The elephant in the room is the 50/50 distraction.


I consider this change a huge waste of time honestly from a "change" point of view, but for discussion i think its important. Curators and curator whales rarely, if ever, hear the creator point of view so they assume that they will not be challenged by those who "depend on them".. They forget that its a mutual dependency when they start chasing higher ROI for themselves.

Without curators there would be content, but without creators, the curators have no ROI.
Writing and making videos for free is nothing new. (this ofc is an oversimplification of the issue which is why the long post.)


I'm wondering if it was for the drama effect, or a let me throw these against a wall and see what sticks. People seem to be concentrating on the 50/50 part, very little talk of the downvote reward pool and separating it out of vote power. The whole post seemed like everything in it was to get people to stop posting. When you look at it as a whole.

It seems a bleak path, in many ways, either way.
The thing is, most people in this world are consumers rather than creators. If curation could be made profitable enough to entice more consumers in, then authors would benefit from that too with more support and interaction, as hopefully earnings would go up anyway, to counteract the lower cut they get. Unfortunately, I fear you're correct as don't see how having 50/50 could make things any more lucrative to newcomers without them investing.


Yeah, in a perfect world... hehe. Problem is that a consumer is someone with 0$ to their name as well as someone with 100k and unfortunately there are more of those with the 0$. Since i find the markets to be incredibly stupid i dont see this change attracting anyone really.

But lets say you convince a 100k investor to come to STEEM. He would still make more by selling his vote and doing nothing.
what we have now in general is....

bot delegators/vote sellers make most.
followed by creators and vote buyers
Last place curators

If proposal passes....

There will be no bot delegation but more vote selling so passive investors still earn the most
Curators and vote buyers take the second spot now
And now the non-vote buying creators are in last spot.

But i think there are other things that can be done.


The question is if community curators are willing to risk short and mid term retention until the quality creator payouts balance themselves out to the current levels.


Read this. @kevinwong doesn't know what he's talking about and neither do you.


Nah. I actually do. I use "quality" in the loosest way possible. Im using "quality" as what Curie, OCD and other curation communities consider it to be, because that part quoted refers to their perception of quality.
I mostly agree with the post you linked.
"Mostly" being the word of importance.

Yes! This is was I've been thinking but unable to articulate. People's behavior isn't really driven by curation rewards now, and this is not likely to change any motivations except the motivation to create.
Seems like a marginal win for non-creators and a moderate loss for creators, especially smaller ones.

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Content, curators, passive investors/vote sellers. What is the ONE thing they all depend on to earn money? Without that one thing; content, curators and passive investors can't make money. What is it? Can you answer that?


Nonames... If you didnt reach for personal attacks, insults and bandwagon flagging id answer. Since you decided to go in that direction im not really interested in discussion.


You're making that up. I explained that flag to @phoenif. You don't need to be accusing me of witch hunting. I rarely flag. There were no personal attacks, you simply took it personally. I said I had reason to believe. I didn't say anything was fact. You were insinuating those folks have an ulterior motive, so I simply pointed out how I think you may have one. Even after reading this post, I think your opinion is bias. That's not an insult either whether you agree with the words or not, that's simply what I see. You took things out of context and now you're deflecting that on me. I also shared a link to back up my claims as to why I feel that way. If you're embarrassed about that previous encounter, that is no fault of mine. Also, I've seen you take shots at me. Saying things like I'm more fun to mess around with, treating our encounter like a game and being disrespectful. Also when I was attempting to break down the math for you, you were throwing in insults directed at me while talking to others. I don't care. I'm not fazed by that. Also, this is a blockchain. I don't bullshit. I can go back and pull everything up to prove my points, even if you edited it, I can still find the original. Don't patronize me. I came here to talk. Questions are not insults. I already pointed out to you yesterday how you take things out of context. Take some responsibility for your actions.

And by the way, the answer to that question is CONTENT. All of those three things depend on CONTENT to be successful in order to earn money. That comes first. If content producers cannot earn money here for their content, organically, like anywhere else on the internet, this place and all the investors and curators fall with it. Whatever though. If you can't talk, I won't talk.

The problem is that we are new members that do not receive encouragement in our subjects and are not actually read by whales