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?
- Passive income stake holders that delegate to bots and/or sell upvotes.
- Curators. Individual curators and curation projects.
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?
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
- 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..
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.
- You quit, since the time spent on content creation, filming, editing just isnt worth the rewards you are getting.
- You increase post rate to offset the loss in potential earnings.
- 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.
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.