Whales Having Power is Good: Power is an Incentive to Buy and Hold on to STEEM Power + What Incentives Would YOU Like to See - An Open Discussion

in steem •  2 years ago

freewilly

I would now openly vote beg, since this is a decline payout post. This is meant for discussion and making arguments. I'd like for this to be as visible as possible so that people would join the discussion. Thank you.

The toxic atmosphere on Steemit over the last couple of weeks and months has gotten bad, in my opinion.

In a platform like Steemit, where there is money involved and where certain users have more power than others, disagreements and arguments are a given. However, I'd like to see some sort of a community effort to move things to a better direction.

So, instead of waiting for someone else to do it, I decided to completely slack off at work and post on Steemit instead. Someone has to sacrifice himself for the better good, right.

First off, I'd like to present my argument as to why the whales having power is not a bad thing, quite the contrary.

One of the key elements of Steemit is that the more SP you have, the more power you have over payouts, the more say you have. The more your voice has value.

These are all incentives to being a whale; to buy and hold onto one's STEEM Power. The power that whales showcase is what makes it desirable to be one.

And even though not everyone can be a whale, it does encourage users to acquire STEEM Power in order to move closer to having that sort of power.

If surveillance and punitive measures were to be put in place, it would become less desirable to become a whale, and acquire STEEM Power at all. Obviously, we need users to have an incentive to investing in the platform. It would go against the very idea if users were more free in dolphin territory, but as soon as they entered whale status, they would be subject to petty control mechanisms and would have to answer for their voting behavior and whatnot more than the people below him. No one would want to be or stay a whale, and we'd see more power downs.

However, maybe I'm off base here. Maybe you have a differing opinion. This is why I made this post.

I would also like to hear opinions on what sort of incentives should be in place for acquiring and holding on to STEEM Power.

What would YOU like to see? If you feel that the current system and the way the whales have power is harmful to the overall experience and potential growth, make a suggestion as to how people should be encouraged to grow their accounts and not power down.

Again, I'd like for people to upvote this, even if they don't agree with my initial statement about the whales, since it brings visibility for the arguments that you may make in the comments below.

I hope to get some discussion going. No flamewars, no flamebaiting or trolling in the comments. If that's what you're into, this is not the post for you. Everybody else, feel free.

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This whale argument has been doing the rounds ever since the first payout. Whales were founders/early adopters. People should have NO control of the behaviour of others. I get small payouts which is better than the no payouts I got when I started. Is it fair, is it unfair?

Who cares. If I don't like it I'll leave. At the moment I DO like it (a lot) so I stay. Whales may vote for whoever whenever they please. Whiners, stop whining and just stay or go.

My candid answer: hire me as the official writer for Steemit's Medium account. That's my world. I think I would be doing a kickass job as Steemit's official Twitter social media guru, too. Those are two worlds that I definitely understand. If you agree, send ned an email. I've already done this. What better way to have Steemit appeal to the mainstream than by having someone from the mainstream handle the social media accounts?

Well. . .
A month or so ago they fixed the economy so that the price of steem would go up. It hasn't.
At the same time, they caused my curation income to go from 300 steem power per day, to 18 per day (six dollars).

I powered down - it's not worth holding fifteen thousand dollars on steemit and sifting through posts all day, non-stop anymore.

Powering down 100% of my steem power and selling out is what I am doing.

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What would make you keep your SP powered up? What would you like to be able to do with it? Any suggestions?

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Not inflation. They used to pay a heavy interest per day. Either way, I was paying all my rent and bills with what I gained in SP during November, and now I don't even cover my internet access.

And the Steem price has not gotten better.

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Not inflation. They used to pay a heavy interest per day.

That was from the inflation. And I don't believe anybody said the price would rise when the economics were changed. The idea was to cut back the inflation because it wasn't really necessary. The price isn't going to rise until there is a lot more interest in the blockchain, the platforms using it, and the currency needed for transacting with them.

This is not a get-rich-quick scheme.

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they caused my curation income to go from 300 steem power per day, to 18 per day (six dollars).

I think you mean the inflation. Curation didn't change much.

I'm not opposed to the general idea of "whales" having power. However, for purposes of curating power, I would like to see earned steem power count for more than purchased steem power somehow. How much money you put in has no bearing on the quality of your curation.

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I agree. Curation should be for those who are paying attention to the content. Of course the whales do do that. But they also run bots 24/7 that make it impossible for anybody who spends more attention and time than them to compete for curation rewards.

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I have seen no reasonable argument in favor of bots. If Steemit is to be a money making scheme then bots are great. If it to be a content creation site with accurately curated content, they are terrible.

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I'm currently writing a 3 part series on that issue and a possible solution that most people won't like lol. I hope you'll check it out :)

I would say the problem isn't that whales are too big, it is that minnows are too small.

With a cumulative system as is here, you will eventually get very big accounts and tiny accounts. So, this disparity is inevitable and has to be dealt with.

Whales need to feel that they are big, that they are getting something from their investment.
Minnows need to feel that their vote counts. They need to see some feedback sometimes.

What we have now is neither of those things.
The problem is that we have two power curves being multiplied to eachother. The payout is a power curve, and the distribution of SP is a power curve. Multiply those together and whale are way too big, and the minnows are way to small.

At 10 SP my vote literally meant nothing. I had to be very lucky, and know which posts to vote on in order to get 0.001 curation per week. Imagine the typical new user, who didn't go read about how, when and who to vote for to get a curation reward. They would wonder if this thing was working. They would wonder if they are doing things correctly. AND they would barely get off the ground. Their SP increases by tiny drips.

A whale on the other hand, votes and gets curation. They move the table every time they take a step. Their SP increase by buckets.

When I can get 100 minnow votes on a post and barely get a payout, then the system is broken. When I get 1 whale vote on a post and get a good payout, then the system is broken.

I suggest adding a logarithmic (opposite of power) function to the SP when voting. Figure out the absolute disparity between whales and minnows that you want, and adjust. I would suggest a maximum disparity of about 100 to 1.

Another alternative is to, instead of dropping all payouts lower than 0.001, any newbies who make 0.0001 get bumped up to 0.001, and then distribute the rest as usual.

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SP does not increase by "buckets", even for whales. Do the math.

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I did the math, thank you very much.
You are probably thinking buckets means a lot, but I was using bucket as a comparison to drop.

An active new account gets 0.001-0.007 SP per week. At 100 SP you can get easily about 0.050 - 0.100 per week. Continue on...

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You need to look at the rate of return, not the total number. Of course someone with a larger investment will earn more money, but the percentages are what matters.

Lately, I have been able to get a return on my SP of 0.06% - 0.1% daily from curation. Most of the whales that I've looked at are earning far less than 0.03% - most of them are around 0.01, or lower.

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I disagree. At the bottom end, we need to look at the total number.
How long would you vote if you don't get any feedback on your voting?
When you are constantly below the threshold of 0.001.
Either the threshold needs to be reworked, or some other scheme to keep newbies in the game.

Right now, the long tail, talked of in the steem white paper is not really in existence.
Because of the compounding of power curves, the actual curve is much steeper than anticipated, and the long tail is truncated.

If you wish to talk about ROI about steem, start a whole knew post.
My contention is if you want more, than work on getting a larger user base.

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You're talking about returns on SP through curation as if SP is an investment for those purposes, but you want to disregard actual ROI? If you can earn 25-30% annualized as a minnow and a whale is earning less than 10% annualized, how exactly do those returns favor the whale?

As an investor, you look at ROI. If you're not getting enough SP tokens because your SP is too low, there are ways to increase your investment in order to earn more rewards. That's how investment works. Nobody is stuck with only being able to increase SP through curating.

Your argument seems to be: If you make no investment into the platform, you don't get much ROI. Therefore, we need to make it possible to get larger returns without investing into the platform because having no investment is unfair.

It makes no sense.

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I'm with @ats-david on this one, I'm not really understanding your point.

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Out of order comment, because ... out of depth for reply.

It appears that you do not know what a power curve is, and so missed what I was talking about. A power curve is that swooping up thing. That graph in the white paper that shows the distribution of payouts. It is like y = x^2 from math class.

When a whale votes, they are not just adding their SP, they are making a guaranteed move to the top of the graph.

Basically, what we think of as a whale as having 1000x more voting power than a minnow, really equates to a whale having 1000 x 1000 (1,000,000x) more voting power.
Or 1000 minnows all getting together do not have the same voting power.

And, if the minnows don't feel they have any impact, they will just leave.
Which is the death of the steem.

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But that has nothing to do with ROI or any potential investment and curation earnings for "minnows." That's just a problem of perception and expectations.

And, if the minnows don't feel they have any impact, they will just leave.

This is a problem with not understanding how the platform works. The users that sign up, see that their vote "doesn't do anything," then leave in frustration says nothing about the actual mechanics of the system. It's all about expectations, which need to be better managed.

Any "minnow" can make a small investment into their account and take advantage of curating. They can earn a good ROI if they learn the platform and put their capital to good use - just like any other investment. As I previously stated - I get three to four times (at least) the return that nearly every whale gets.

You wrote this above, which is what I initially responded to:

An active new account gets 0.001-0.007 SP per week. At 100 SP you can get easily about 0.050 - 0.100 per week. Continue on...

You're talking about potential ROI. With a larger investment in SP, you can get larger returns in SP. But the percentage that you get depends on how well you manage your investment. I'm able to get a current 25 - 30% annualized. I've currently been receiving 10 - 20 SP daily. Only the most active/influential "whales" might see returns of 200 - 400 SP daily, but their annualized return is typically lower than 10%. So, I'm actually gaining on them every day, all else being equal.

If new users took the time to learn the system and learn about these types of returns, they wouldn't be leaving in frustration. They would likely be trying to earn that relatively large ROI, compared to most other investments.

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An active new account gets 0.001-0.007 SP per week.

You're talking about potential ROI.

I feel you are missing what is being said here. I am not speaking of ROI.
I am speaking about feedback.

A minnow votes 40 x 7 times a week and gets paid out once or twice.

If you had a slot machine that paid out once every 280 pulls, you probably wouldn't play it very long, even if it was free.

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I feel you are missing what is being said here. I am not speaking of ROI.

Yes, you are speaking of ROI.

A minnow votes 40 x 7 times a week and gets paid out once or twice.

Because they have not made any investment - therefore, they don't get much of a return. If they want to see bigger numbers, they need to put in more money or more time to earn that money.

If you had a slot machine that paid out once every 280 pulls, you probably wouldn't play it very long, even if it was free.

If my odds of winning increased every time I pulled the lever, I would probably keep pulling that lever. Or, if I could invest a few pennies into the slot machine so that every time someone else pulled that lever, I had a chance to earn, I would probably invest some pennies - especially if I could see a 25 - 30% annualized return on that investment.

It's all about knowing the product. The new people coming here and getting frustrated have not taken the time to learn the product and learn how to capitalize on their investment. And if they're looking at their returns in the same way that you keep explaining them here, I can understand their frustration.

We need to stop perpetuating false expectations and showing people how not to read their returns on their non-investments or their tiny investments. If you want to see how ROI works on this platform and how a "minnow" can increase their returns, take a look at my own numbers. I started with nothing and made no cash investment into this platform:

https://steemdb.com/@ats-david/curation
http://steemwhales.com/ats-david?weekly

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Minnows are not supposed to be seeking curation rewards. You either seek author rewards or power up to gain SP.

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This is the first time I have heard this statement.
If it is true, I should have read about it in the white paper, or in one of the beginner helper blogs.

However, I don't believe the statement should be correct. The white paper specifically talks about the long tail and curation rewards. It doesn't say, and oh by the way, 0.001 is way out of reach for you newbies, so don't bother trying.

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you haven't done too badly on your articles. Rather than worry about curation, why don't you focus on doing more posts and building up your SP? I found that once I got over 1000SP then I was getting some curation reward. Until then, I was upvoting and commenting to support others more than worrying about a return.

It might be helpful if there was more guidance for new users to give them an idea of what to expect in regards to what level to shoot for to start seeing some curation return ...that sort of thing. Then they don't read the whitepaper and expect that it applies across the system the same.

As @onetree said, if you do not like it, you can leave. Out of 120,000, at least 110,000 have left because the power structure is a self-serving system whereby the power intensifies.
Every whale/dolphin knows this.
80% of SP is owned by less than 100 names, 90% in the hands of less than 400. This system has the value of precisely zero.
There has to be a realignment of leverage distribution - for the sake of the whales/dolphins more than anyone else.
In the meantime, I choose to stay as a supporter of a great idea.
Yes, the structure is dire and the use/abuse of the structure is cynical.
I choose to stay because, as rare as common sense appears to be, it will prevail.
And much as I repeat, a 'killer whale' is actually a whale killer, proper name: 'orca' and is a dolphin!

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Your analysis is bogus, many of those accounts were Sybil attempts and name squatting.

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So, the SP is more tightly held? What is my analysis? You have not seen it!

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This system can not have "the value of precisely zero", since you're still here. Clearly it holds value.

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Of course, it is not zero - slightly fatuous remark on my part, I admit. Current steem value is a little under $40m - the value can only be based upon expectation of value of steemit community and the possibility of alternative distribution models as has happened with Bitcoin.
A currency and a social media platform are clearly poles apart in function but here the two are virtually 100% interdependent.
A currency which is held to the tune of 90% by under 400 names with no application outside its only source and situation of influence has small value unless the situation of influence produces some externally valued produce. Steemit does not.
This is why I have been suggesting that Github produces actual online games for competition with non-steemians and yesterday I wrote a post about music and the blockchain - because the social side of steemit is pretty anti-social in its architecture it produces anti-social behaviour.
Decentralisation is the key word - both of iniquitous leverage and of ownership

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A lot of the things you're seeking are under development. People are working on apps that use the blockchain for music, videos, gaming, and business. There is also @busy.org that is developing an interface that directly incorporates or can incorporate some of these things. It's going to take some time, but there are planned projects. Don't judge the entire blockchain based on what you see here on Steemit.

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Yes. This should be pointed out more: Steemit.com is not the entire STEEM blockchain.

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Thank you for your reply - it is, though, one of the consequences of the architecture of steemit that it is, in essence, anti-social. There is an opportunity to interact with posts, not people.
One's greatest interaction is with one's own status and rewards.
There is nowhere to seek a repository of information without trawling through and filleting endless posts.
Hence, you have had to kindly write this to me, though I am aware that it is with a bit of a sigh of resignation.
I am a great fan of the blockchain capability. I am equally a great fan of steemit - you would only have to read what i write to gather that.
I am not a fan of anything which calls itself social and has the gall to value a person hundreds of thousands of times more than another. No amount of early adoption or early movers risk can justify that after about 6 months. We all know it is iniquitous and steemit has to address that.
The snail and the tortoise suddenly come to mind!

Upvoted for visibility. I am unsure though that the complaints you're referring to are actually about whales having too much power. I more often see, and would be guilty of compaining about what they do with that power. Obviously it is their power to do what they want with. That's what being a whale is. That doesn't mean that nobody should be complaining or whining as many here like to call it. The fact is when your answer to a complaint is to stop complaining what you are saying is they have a choice.

Either

  • Stop complaining and power up
    or
  • Stop complaining and power down

Now those whales with power who choose how to use their power can take some of these complaints as constructive criticism and realise that as more and more orcas and dolphins power down their investment becomes worth less. Or they can pretend that they aren't at least a little bit responsible for users being dissatisfied and leaving them in the dark with a coin that is hoarded by the few and therefore not worth very much.

If you consider those 2 choices - power up or down - and how much a user would be required to power up if they wanted to make a positive influence (in opposition to the negative) well taking your money while it's still worth something makes a lot of sense. In the end it's those who refuse to listen to the whining who are shooting themselves and their investment in the foot.

If you think the complaints are only coming from a few you should take note of how many users didn't bother complaining and just left instead by checking the stats on alexa.com.


Whiners like myself have legitimate concerns. When power is being abused we lose confidence. It's up to the power holders whether they care or not.

Edit : I realise abuse is a strong word. What I mean is to use it in ways that will continue to disatisfy so many people that steem and steemit are stunted from growth.

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Well, I don't remember ever personally attacking you. I disagree with a lot of what you say, but correct me if I'm wrong in saying that I haven't insulted you, etc.

So, I'll say this in the nicest way possible: a lot of people probably have a problem with the same thing I'm kinda having a problem right now, which is the "victim" tone of your posts. That could be the reason why people call it "whining". It's the tone of you carrying around the weight of the world on your shoulders. Just relax a little. It's okay.

That said, this is an open forum.

A lot of users have left Steemit, this is something that has been acknowledged. And it could be true that the reasons you outlined are the reasons for these people leaving.

However, we can't really know that without interviewing the people who have left the platform. We can only assume and speculate.

Since we don't know the exact reason for the user retention, everybody can fill the void with whatever they want; if someone doesn't like bots, it's easy for that person to say that bots are the reason people left.

Who's to say that it wasn't a GUI issue? Perhaps there wasn't enough good content for the user, or perhaps the user just couldn't find any due to the noise to signal ratio?

All speculation.

Also, it should be said that Steemit will never be for everyone. Even if it hits mainstream, it will never be for everyone. With or without the bots it will take work to find success in Steemit as a new user. I think we should work on making Steemit a good, nice community for people even without the monetary incentives, but that's another story. I'm all for it, though. That's why I created this post/discussion.

Do you have something that shows that these users left because of the bots, by the way?

Also, I'm currently not getting notifications for replies for some reason.

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Well, I don't remember ever personally attacking you.

I don't either and never said anything in my comment to entice that statement.

"victim" tone of your posts

I'm not playing the victim here. I'm quite satisfied with the rewards I get for my posts. My concerns are with onboarding and user retention because if those issues are being overlooked then they will only escalate and I would have wasted my time here because my concerns are not about my rewards for my posts. My concerns are about the future of this blockchain, steem as a currency and the social media aspect for onboarding the masses. If I'm losing confidence frankly I think it's better for me to say so rather than leave without filling out the survey you're currently asking for. This is that interview.

Just relax a little. It's okay. That said, this is an open forum.

Please don't read this in the whiney tone from your imagination. I'm stating facts now. You complain that I compain. Then you say it's an open forum, meaning I should complain if I want to. Do you see your contradiction?

it could be true that the reasons you outlined are the reasons for these people leaving.

You have a tendency to read things that are not written. I said that the power holders should probably take a little bit of responsibility for the satisfaction of the users. I did not outline multiple reasons users are leaving, though I do know there are lots of reasons. I never claimed any one reason to be the reason.

Do you have something that shows that these users left because of the bots, by the way?

Again, I never said "users are leaving because of the bots". Please read posts and comments twice before replying.

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A wonderful display of WYSIWYG - thank you @beanz for the rational and straight forward logic you present - the people who point out flaws are not necessarily whiners - it seems that any hint of non-conformity to the 'I love steemit' mantra is met with passive aggression. I can see that you love steemit, as do I; though it is in beta, it could be better, as I have said a few times now.

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hint of non-conformity to the 'I love steemit' mantra is met with passive aggression

hint of non-conformity to the 'I love steemit' mantra is met with passive aggression

hint of non-conformity to the 'I love steemit' mantra is met with passive aggression

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Are you suggesting a diminishing return? Or may I feel that you have some empathy with my expression? The latter I hope - it would be nice to feel one can have a voice in "social" media

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I have been critical of Steemit in the past, even made an entire review post, and only received positive feedback.

But it's obviously important that voicing critical opinions of Steemit won't be shunned by the community.

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You complain that I compain. Then you say it's an open forum, meaning I should complain if I want to. Do you see your contradiction?

Sorry, I was unclear. First, I talked about the stuff I've read from you in general. Then I said this is an open forum, so you're allowed to say whatever you want. That was my point. It was actually designed as the opposite of an attack.

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What is it that you would like to see? Right now. Can you give a concise "beanz's roadmap"?

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Sure :)

But obviously the road map would have nothing to do with the whales and how they use their power. - as said I have no control of that and would only hope they take user retention more seriously.

Beanz over enthusiastic roadmap lol

  • incentives for rewarding new users with less followers (encouraging competition)
  • bringing the flag back down to a downvote and introducing smart votes
  • Maybe bring the vote soft limit from 40 down to 10 or 15 (5 was too far to jump)
  • Separate pool of rewards for comments (without curation rewards)
  • Proxy voting (lending some SP for another user to curate with)
  • PERKS or gamification levels to incentivise small users to power up a little
  • a bio linked to your profile where you can link your best posts or your #introduceyourself post and whatever posts you would prefer readers who come to your blog to read first
  • a checkbox for resteems
  • FILTERS (although I hear there are other apps doing this)
  • a communications plan for better communication between the developers and the larger community.

...I won't be too disappointed if most of this is not on the map though lol.

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Some sort of "gamification" of new user rewarding could be a good thing. Any ideas? Maybe there could be an additional reward for upvoting a new low rep user, whose post becomes successful. But it should be designed in such a way that it wouldn't be abused.

If all new users just get upvoted, it again goes against the idea of what a lot of people view Steemit as.

But I do agree that some sort of encouragement for new users could be a good thing. It just can't bee "free rewards just because you're new".

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I've interviewed 4 of my friends who joined then left Steemit for good. Here were their reasons:

  1. Unfair reward system
  2. Got a high-paying job, so no time.
  3. The posts were all sports, and other crap
  4. Dollar Vigilante, a known scam artist is making bank on Steemit....Steemit feels scammy for this reason.
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The answer to 1, 3, and 4 is don't play the comparison game. The trending list is usually a good way to find new accounts to follow. With enough good posters you can then look at the personal feed more and more.

This is a problem that can be somewhat addressed in user interface but it's also going to be a perpetual filter on types of people that play the comparison game and get overly upset at the perception of unfairness.

I feel like Steemit's biggest problem is the current distribution of steem. Right now there are less than 80 names that dictate who and what gets rewarded. We need to go from 80 whales to 800+ whales... but I am not sure exactly what is the best way to go about doing that. I feel like if we distribute the steem more, a lot of our current problems take care of themselves. So that begs the question... how do we get to 800+ whales, i.e. multiply our whale base by 10x?

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People need to buy lots of STEEM! :D

Well, actually, if how things currently are will fail, then the price of STEEM will crash and it will then allow people to make themselves whales and perhaps begin the platform anew.

Personally, I think that the whales got where they are because of either their early involvement or they invested -- or both. They earned what they have and over time, I'll earn what I have.

Believe it or not -- not everyone gets to the top. Especially while they hold an expectation that the process must be made easier to accommodate them.

Life has a pecking order and we can either climb up or or let it swamp us. That is the way it is.

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Should it not be possible to earn your way to the top? This thing is 6-8 months old - it should be possible to get to the same level of SP, starting today, as they are at now. The exponential curve needs to be explained in full.

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it's not too difficult to figure out. Post consistently with posts that people appreciate and will vote for. Power up what you earn and you will grow. I am growing slowly, others grow faster. That's the way it is.

Spend time reading, voting and commenting with meaningful comments on other's posts and you'll build a following.

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Missing the point!

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of course.. you're often pointless

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If you were any more stupid you would photosynthesise in sunlight

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If you were any more stupid you would photosynthesise in sunlight

Oh dear, my poor wounded soul! How can I ever survive being called stupid by an intellectual peanut!