Steem 0.17 Change Proposal Introduction

in #steem3 years ago

Today we would like to present our proposed upgrades to the blockchain protocol for the next hard fork release, 0.17.

KISS, short for Keep It Simple, Stupid, is the guiding principle behind most of the proposals. Simplicity is important for any system looking to gain widespread support and consensus via user adoption. By making the system simpler we minimize the potential for failure, maximize the potential for optimization, build a stronger case for fairness, and can more effectively communicate the system’s value to new participants. With that said, if the system can work without a feature then we propose to remove it.

Encapsulation / Isolation of Key Consensus Components

A second theme in the proposed changes is encapsulation / isolation of functionality by minimizing informational and/or ordering dependencies between different components of the system. In principle all posting and voting is fully independent of the currency with the single exception of the final payout. Also, voting on one post is almost fully independent of voting on every other post. By making some subtle changes to how transactions are processed we can enable major performance optimizations and massive parallel execution in the future. We will not be implementing the high performance / parallel version until necessary, but we want to ensure that the blockchain logic makes upgrading to higher performance code possible without another hardfork.

Separation of Blockchain Logic from Interface Requirements

A major source of complexity on the blockchain is the implementation of consensus features designed specifically for We feel the blockchain should be a neutral protocol that is as independent as possible from a web interface. This will ensure that the blockchain is a fair, equal opportunity platform that can support many different kinds of interfaces.

There are many examples of consensus logic being dictated by an interface concern. These include: comment depth, payout period, and edit limitations. Many of the things we will be rolling back were originally introduced in Hard Fork 0.12 and were never part of the original Steem design.


Removing Over Posting Reward Penalties

During the July rush we experienced a massive influx of people posting as much as they could to get as many rewards as they could. In an effort to curb this “abuse” we implemented a limit on the maximum reward a post could receive if the post made more than 4 posts in the same day. In hindsight this change was reactionary and ultimately unnecessary. It has the psychological impact of discouraging engagement and adds unnecessary complexity to a system. In the spirit of KISS we feel this should be removed.

Single Payout Period

Steem currently supports two payout periods: 24 hour and 30 day. The 24 hour payout period is weighted by the time votes were cast and could be up to 48 or more hours in some cases. The 30 day payout period was designed to catch votes/readers who were not around in the first 24 hours.

Based upon voting statistics, the vast majority of the 30 day payout comes from votes cast in the first week. We also know that there is little difference between weekly active users and monthly active users, especially among those with meaningful voting influence. It is our belief that authors (and curators) will earn more by a single 7 day (fixed) payout period than the combination of 24 (variable) and 30 day (fixed). A single vote on day 3 is worth much more to the author under this system than a dozen votes on day 3 under the old system due to the N^2 weighting algorithm.

The original 24 hour rule was an example of allowing the interface requirement for “fresh/trending” content dictate the blockchain logic. Interfaces, such as or, can use any algorithm they want to select articles to display.

Some may ask why we don’t recommend making the voting period infinite and/or allow multiple payouts. The answer is two fold:

  1. Limited voter/community attention
  2. Scalability considerations

Users will be able to cast votes past 7 days, but those votes will not impact payouts. There are many other technical benefits from this change that enable parallel scalability, but that is a topic for github discussion.

One final benefit of a 7 day payout period is a reduction in variance. Under the current model, those who post the same day as an extremely popular post get much less. By spreading it out over 7 days, the extremely popular posts have less impact on other authors posting the same day.

Comment Payout independent of Discussion

At one point we had considered dividing the top post rewards among the comments. In a past hard fork we modified the payout algorithm to pay all comments at the same time as the parent post. This creates a tight coupling and minimizes the opportunity for a comment to get rewarded, especially if the comment was posted shortly before the post was paid.

Under the proposed changes, all comments and posts would be paid exactly 7 days after they were posted. This means comments have more time to gather votes and late commenters have a better chance. This change also facilitates massively parallel computation by eliminating sequential dependencies among posts and comments.

Removing the Comment Nesting Limit

Many people have requested the ability to reply with unlimited depth. The current comment depth limit was driven by the consensus calculations involving parent posts. With the proposed change to make all comment and post payouts fully independent of each other, we can remove the nesting limit. At the very least, it will be up to interface designers to determine the limit rather than the blockchain.

Allow Editing of any Past Post or Comment

We propose removing the restriction on editing of past posts. It is a user-interface responsibility to show revision history and enable restoration of unintentional changes made by compromised accounts.

Normalize Payout Rates

Under the existing rules, paying one post changes the potential payout of the next post. This introduces an undesirable sequential dependency among posts that prevents parallel execution of payouts. The proposed change would ensure that all posts paid out at the same time will receive the amount of STEEM per vote.

Removing Proof of Work

In our last update we attempted to move to Equihash as our proof of work algorithm, only to be bitten by a bug in the library we adopted. For most of the last month proof of work has not be a factor on the blockchain. Now that STEEM has been launched and distributed, there is no security benefit being provided by miners.

The proof of work difficulty has never been a factor in determining the best blockchain for consensus purposes and has solely been used as a means of distributing the currency in a manner that complies with U.S. regulations . Now that the currency is distributed there is no longer a need to perform this function.

Our long term roadmap includes multi-chain designs that will further render proof of work pointless and unnecessary baggage. Removing it will allow us to focus our development efforts on features that actually do matter.

Remove Bandwidth Rate limiting from Consensus

In an effort to simplify the core consensus algorithm, we will remove all code relating to bandwidth restrictions from the consensus code. Instead, the same algorithms will be implemented as a “soft” consensus by the witnesses. This means that any witness can include any transaction they like and it will no longer be considered invalid by the consensus rate limiting rules.

Witnesses can then adopt a more flexible policy toward rate limiting without requiring hard forks. In particular, we will utilize custom (non consensus) operations to inform witnesses of revocable bandwidth delegation. This will allow large account holders to sponsor smaller accounts without having to fund the smaller accounts with Steem Power.

Bandwidth rate limiting is a short-term consideration and ultimately irrelevant to the long term consensus. All that matters long-term is whether or not a transaction was included and that gets decided by the witnesses. Collectively the witnesses have the power to rate limit accounts to prevent abuse and they will apply the same algorithm they are applying with release 0.16.1.

After the above simplifications have been made, there are a few new features that we feel will help the ecosystem flourish.

Multiple Arbitrary Beneficiaries to Reward Payouts

For any given post there can be a half-dozen different people who have a financial interest in the reward. The include: voters, author, referrers, hosting providers, blogs that embedded blockchain comments, and tool developers. Whatever website or tool that is used to construct a post or comment will have the power to set how rewards from that comment are divided among various parties.

This means that if you post via that your post will share some of its rewards with Busy. If you post through the various phone and/or desktop apps then the app developer will be able to claim some of the rewards.

Independent Comment Reward Pool

Comments have a very different level of visibility and therefore get considerably fewer votes. In the past month only 1% of rewards were paid to commenters. Due to the nature of the N^2 reward curve it means comments are not competing against other comments, but against the top bloggers.

We feel that engaging more people in discussion and encouraging higher quality comments will make the platform more desirable. While relatively few people want to blog, many more are interested in commenting.

If all comments only have to compete against other comments, then more users can participate and comments can collectively garner a larger percentage of the reward pool. We are proposing that comments be allocated 38% (golden ratio) of the current reward pool and that comments be rewarded on a N log (N) curve with some to-be-determined modifications. This should work to allocate more rewards to those who contribute to discussions and drive community engagement.

Separate Market and Rewards Balance from Checking and Savings

Currently rewards are paid as micro-payments into the "checking" balances. These micro-payments suffer from rounding errors and add tight dependency on the order of operations between rewards payment, market operations, and transfer operations. In order to support the goal of encapsulation we want to treat rewards and market operations as-if they were independent “side chains”. User rewards would accumulate in a fund which could periodically be claimed.

This change would have the impact of users seeing their rewards every time they choose to claim them while at the same time allowing exchanges to replay the blockchain without validating all of the voting operations. Advanced implementations could process the votes in parallel to transfers and/or market operations.

By separating market balances from checking balances we can accelerate the market evaluations and allow the market to be processed independently from transfers. Like voting, the idea is to view the SBD / STEEM market as a virtual “side-chain” that can be processed in parallel as the system scales.


We feel that these proposed changes will set the stage for a more flexible, modular, and simplified protocol upon which many different participants can build. Like always, the community will have the final say on what changes are adopted and which ones are rejected. Please provide your feedback below.

Note: this is not the 2017 Roadmap that we have been working on. That document is far broader and more comprehensive than this 0.17 “next step” plan. The full roadmap will include plans for and other user-facing features.


We propose removing the restriction on editing of past posts. It is a user-interface responsibility to show revision history and enable restoration of unintentional changes made by compromised accounts.

This comes with the risk of vandalizing an account's entire history if the low-security posting authority or key is compromised. A popular service with posting key access getting compromised could do a fair amount of damage. It's true that currently the risk exists, but it only goes back for 30 days. Thinking long term, it's entirely likely that a service compromise could end up with vandalizing the entire posting history of many accounts going back years.

For this reason, I'd like to suggest allowing edits going back to the beginning of an account's history BUT any edit made before 30 days would have to be made after an account "switch" is thrown with the active key. Such a switch could allow edits going back past 30 days (with posting auth), but could then be turned off at any time. Having an automatic expiration of say 24 hours on the switch may also be prudent, because many might leave it on.

Seems like a reasonable idea. Alternatively, a UI can allow a user to restore all of their old posts&comments.

I tend to disagree. Technically this will add much complexity and then likely harm system scalability. As mentioned in OP, make it as simple as possible. When active key is required for posting-related stuff, risk of being compromised will increase.

I think reverting recent edits can be done just as well with the posting key. The use case here is a compromised account that is then recovered by the owner (or possibly other use cases such as an author who just messed up editing the post and wants to "Undo"). After recovering the hacked account the posting key would have been changed, and then the reverts can be done using the new posting key.

The active key would be for a switch only. Not for making the edits themselves. On the web, the switch can be on a more secure page where there isn't any user-modifiable content.

It would probably be simpler to just be required to use your active key to edit posts that have passed their payout.

It would be simpler but the idea of a switch comes from the idea of segregating the active key from any place where user-editable content is located.

I'd like to echo and second this request, if I understand it rightly...

One of the highest perceived values to me personally of posting on Steemit is the promise / hope of blockchain immutability. I view the value of at least some of what I write to be durable and long-term, and I would like to think of Steemit as a place where I will be able to maintain a "legacy of thought" for anyone interested to continue to come and read into the future.

As I was reading this 0.17 change proposal, I had thought to suggest a "lockdown" switch allowing any author to permanently lock any particular post. Reading @pfunk's proposal here, I like it much better - assuming the security of my keys - because it behaves a lot like the current system (i.e. "automatic lock-down" after 30) while still allowing for intentional, key-access editing of earlier posts.

One of my uses for this "long-term" editability of a post is maintaining (on my own, using the current UI) of a Table of Contents that resides on the blockchain itself. My current workaround/hack has been to simply re-issue the TOC at 30 day intervals; with editability, I will be able to simply update the existing TOC.

To be clear the blockchain immutability is still there regardless of edits. When posts are edited, each old version remains on the blockchain. It is up to the UI to decide what if anything to show about that history, for example an option to revert recent edits.

Thank you, @smooth, for clarifying that for me. I suspected as much.
So, checking my understanding:

  • Everything ever "Posted" goes on the blockchain.
  • Every subsequent edit goes on the blockchain.
  • The entire history of a post is accessible to an appropriately crafted UI.
  • The "final presented state" of a post depends on the UI interpreting the blockchain history.

Does that sound about right? Thanks for helping me understand. ;)

The one change that stands out to me as a potentially bad idea is removing the four post limit/penalty. With auto-voting what it is today - and many of those auto-votes coming from large stakeholders - I think this would be a terrible incentive for anyone receiving auto-votes to post as much as they possibly can. This may sound like a good idea ("Alright! More content!"), but more isn't always better.

It could also reinvigorate the role of sock-puppets on the platform. This is something that hasn't been much of a problem lately, but could quickly and easily be renewed.

Just something to consider.

The market can adjust though. IMO, the limit is too arbitrary. And some folks are capable of putting out more excellent content.

When the authors that got votes from bots started abusing the power, the rest of community will likely stand out and start flagging, and it will ruin the author's rep. Given that we'll have 7 days to review, it's easier for the "good people" to react. I don't think a wise author will do so, unless she/he need quick money, or the account is compromised.

By the way, it's up to the bots to implement better voting algorithms. Most bots are voting for money, they have incentives to not vote for contents that will be mass-flagged.

With the cultural stigma of the downvote this kind of abuse hasn't been discouraged even with efforts from a minority. Your votes and Dans were the only ones that mattered and they were countered by other whales to keep the rewards high despite the abuse. I'm not sure those same whales will turn a new leaf if somebody like @ozchartart went from posting 4 times daily to 10+ times daily.

That you and others disagree and your point of view doesn't happen to prevail in one instance doesn't mean the system doesn't work. It works when stakeholders actually agree on what constitutes abuse. There is no objective definition.

That said, it also works to an extent even when there is disagreement, in the sense that incentives favor choosing content to upvote that won't be downvoted at all, whether or not the downvoters succeed in driving the post value all the way down to zero.

Most bots are voting for money, they have incentives to not vote for contents that will be mass-flagged.

I will agree with you there. The risk of wasting voting power wouldn't be worth it when seeking ROI, particularly from curation, which is already not that high for most users.'s easier for the "good people" to react.

The question is - what can be done when the abusers are actually the larger stakeholders, as was the case a few months back? The other large stakeholders mostly took no action. So, if there is no reaction and other stakeholders don't have enough power to make a difference, the abuse goes on unabated. I don't know what the solution would be, but having the post reward limits/penalties would at least be able to curb that.

What other back-end options do you think there could be that could address abuse vs. unwillingness/ineffectiveness to mitigate it on the front-end?

I would say the same stake-holders are still "pod voting" The accounts change, but the behavior doesn't. No changes to the system will stop a few accounts that vote for a handful of accounts each day.

Maybe the builders of the bots can build a feature where they can vote on some of their fav. accounts on odd days, and different accounts on even days.

The question is - what can be done when the abusers are actually the larger stakeholders

Downvote, and it is still effective in shifting the incentives even if you aren't a larger stakeholder.

Consider a whale who has a choice of where to deploy one of his or her valuable and scarce 40 (full) votes per day. Choice A will get downvoted and Choice B will not. The incentives then favor B.

Unfortunately this isn't an instant gratification solution, but because it takes time for incentives like this to work, but they do work.

Is that whining I hear? Jk ;)

I have the same concern. We may need to allow more active downvotes on these types of contents.

Or, we could just avoid the problem as much as possible by not willingly opening things up for abuse. If users want to post more than four times, they can do that. They just won't earn as much. And chances are, if they're posting more than four times per day, the quality of their posts probably won't be that great anyway and probably won't be deserving of large payouts.

The four post limit/penalty doesn't seem to be a big deal in need of a "fix."

It has the psychological impact of discouraging engagement and adds unnecessary complexity to a system.

I don't think it discourages engagement. It discourages abuse - in the form of sock puppets and spamming. This is anecdotal, but I haven't seen many complaints from users who think that this needs to be removed. The limit doesn't mean that a user cannot earn - it only limits how much can be earned after a certain number of posts. With a stake-weighted system that can be and has been abused, I don't believe the limit is an actual problem.

if they spam post the bots will run out of steempower eventually or garner flags from pitchfork wielders

You're right. We may ask this first; how many articles/posts does a professional writers create per day?

Not all posts are going to be (nor should be) professional writers. Approaching it from that angle impairs the growth potential of the system to reach a much larger audience from the start. There are many different use cases for this blockchain, professional writers being only one of them.

Multiple Arbitrary Beneficiaries to Reward Payouts

Am I the only one that almost peed when reading this?

All in all, thank you for your hard work and most of all, thank you for being transparent and bringing this out to the community as a proposal and open discussion.

I am personally good with most of them and a bit so an so (might need more time to think on) about:
Switch to 7 day payout instead of 24h
The simplest and most logical way to reward everyone imho would be indefinite, with a 24h payout cycle.

Removing the 4 posts limit, comment nesting limits and separation of posts and comments rewards plus multiple beneficiaries etc.
I think this adds a lot of complexity to the operations and might turn out to be very heavy computationally wise especially as we scale. Also opens the door to spamming by overflowing the blockchain with data.

What I didn't see mentioned in the proposal. maybe it will be in the roadmap

  • the faith of SBD (will it stay, will it be removed as it's outdated etc.)
  • more blockchain based operations/more development on blockchain based operations (like surveys.polls for ex.)

Reading through all the items mentioned, i think that a more streamlined (TL'DR-ish), layman description of the suggestions would be welcomed by the less tech savvy.

Also opens the door to spamming by overflowing the blockchain with data.

This is a common misconception. The 4 post limit is per account. However, nothing prevents people from creating an arbitrary number of additional accounts (potentially thousands, and there are already people with thousands of accounts) to spam. Spam control is already handled by other mechanisms which are more effective than this one.

Also, even the 4 post limit doesn't prevent spamming with a single account, it just reduces rewards. Someone who wants to be malicious or annoying can still spam.

Also, even the 4 post limit doesn't prevent spamming with a single account, it just reduces rewards. Someone who wants to be malicious or annoying can still spam.


This post was about blockchain features, not website features.

true and thank you for pointing it out. I removed the Adds part which was exclusively website related. Other than that I consider all other items blockchain related.

  • Escrow is fully functional at a blockchain level.
  • SBD can also be heavily managed at the website level by controlling which payout options we expose.

duly noted.

I like it how you are making a distinct and clean space between blockchain (database / protocol) possibilities and presentation / UI features. This way you are making it possible for multiple interfaces to coexist over the same blockchain. Or even over the separate / side blockchains....

It shows vision :)

I'm excited about the independent comment reward pool. It will increase engagement tremendously and I believe it will do a lot to help grow the platform.

At the same time, however, we should expect to see many more low-quality and bot comments. The community will need to find a way to combat these spammy replies.

Downvotes. Downvotes for everyone!

Yes! I want to downvote those crappy comments. :-)

Excellent update, thank you. There's a lot here and clearly the team has been working hard. We all really appreciate the updates and the discussion. I like that we're trying things out, testing what works and what doesn't, and we're willing to remove something we previously tried if it doesn't work out as expected or doesn't benefit us all as imagined. Being willing to be "wrong" is such an important aspect of gaining new knowledge on what ends up being "right."

Curious: any talk of changing the voting power? Initially Dan proposed a pretty serious change there and it was ultimately rejected by the community. Is that topic still active or is the future approach going to be voting guilds where many things get voted up automatically not by individuals but more so by bots?

I also would love to see changing the voting power revisited at some point.

I'm not sure this will please the main stake holders. It would be like taking their power away which was not in plan when they put their stake in.

What they are referring to isn't to take power away from large stake holders , but rather bots. Bots can vote all day every day and with a 40 vote soft limit it is impossible for any human with a job and/or life to compete with that. If we were to lower that limit then every human could use their full voting power and have a better chance at reaches the same amount of votes as the bots. I hope Dan and Ned will consider revisiting this idea as nobody is exchanging curation rewards for their authentic attention with the current system and that is a real fail for the attention economy. Those who pay more attention should be making better curation rewards than those (with the same amount of SP) who are offline.

Don't personify the bots - those are indeed humans with jobs and/or lives who are competing—by operating those bots.

Paying attention isn't what's being rewarded—it's surfacing good content. It doesn't matter if you washed your clothes by hand or used a machine.

Why should those with lives and families and a bot curator be paid more for surfacing content than people who actually read the content and also have lives and families but choose to be more attentive to the job? There's a reason people pay a dry cleaners instead of using the washing machine. But if we only care about cheap clothes (content) and would rather be lazy about the quality then use the machine.

Isn't the change @lukestokes is talking about the one where you could if you wanted to, vote 8x more with 1 vote and it would drain your voting power by 8x?

there was a confusion about that as it doesn't allow you to actually vote 8x stronger. There was a post about it specifically but i can't remember which one.

Ah, right.

Did andu sell his account btw? :P

replying here due to comments nesting limit
yup, andu sold me the account. My previous one is @anduweb. Some KISS-ing right here, cutting off a couple letters.

:D alright thanks for the info! I knew andu from some time ago, was wondering where he went haha.

replying here due to comments nesting limit

what a relevant issue ;D

Why not to make some steem weighted poll about each proposed changes with 3 options to answer: 1) agree, 2) disagree, 3) don't know?

Thanks to @xtar in Golos we have special poll site for that.

Even though I don't understand a word on that website, I would fully support a blockchain based poll feature.

Words don't matter). Number before brakets means number of voters, and number inside brakets is a summ of their Golos Power.

This would be a great thing to implement on Steem using Steemconnect.

Independent Comment Reward Pool

Great idea that's been a long time coming.

We are proposing that comments be allocated 38% (golden ratio) of the current reward pool

That is way too much though. It's true that comments add value (more value than they are rewarded with now) and the very good comments should definitely be rewarded highly. But 38% of the entire pool is unrealistically high. A separate comment pool will increase comment quality but the posts that drive the discussion are worth far more than 62%.

Edit: I forgot. A separate comment pool will behave differently if there's a separate comment vote power per account or not. The comment pool idea works best with a separated comment vote power in my opinion. In this way, people with a lot of stake won't see voting on comments as an opportunity cost.

Also, there will probably be a lot more comments than posts. So comment rewards will end up much smaller and probably need a high percentage of the reward to be divided between so many comments.

Agreed, and comments don't benefit as much from bot voting. So when they are upvoted, it is a more accurate representation of their value.

So 38% is definitely not too much, it is just fine.
For the same reason I think curation rewards should get more than 25%

I played around with an idea that would increase %of curation rewards for certain authors Personally I think content is King and should be rewarded significantly more than curators. But we could increase incentive for finding the underdogs (new up and coming authors) by giving 50% curation rewards for upvoting someone with 0 followers and scale it to something limited like 1000 followers where the curation rewards are 20%. This would encourage competition between the advantaged (already known authors with a following) and the underdogs (new users who need visibility)

That is way too much though.

Agreed. I'm not even sure why there needs to be any specific allocation for comments. If you're commenting just for the sake of comment rewards, you're doing it wrong. That's not really "engagement." We already have a bunch of users who comment-spam on the platform. I would expect to see a lot more of that if there was a rewards pool just for commenting.

We also have a bunch of users who comment despite not having a separate pool for it. People who want to engage will engage anyway. I don't see much of a benefit taking away from posting rewards. Could it encourage more post engagement? Possibly. But I would lean towards more of a spam/bot issue and more tension from a lack of overall blog post rewards.

[EDIT] - As we can see on this post, commenting and comment rewards actually do work right now. I think this is evidence enough that we don't need separate pools and voting power for it. If posts are lacking engagement, it likely has to do with visibility and interest, not a lack of dedicated funds for comments. This seems like a "fix" to a non-existent problem.

Sometimes comments are more valuable then the original post ;)

Sure. But those comments are usually rewarded. Why do we need a separate pool?

A 38 percent comment pool will drastically increase active users. It might Ben too high buyback it's worth starting too high than lowering . Look Arvind reddit all the value is commenters. It will also change the popular posts to be more conducive to comments

I agree that it's mostly a UI issue.

I think you drove over someone at 0:20

also what a classic "reply to top comment for visibility" move.

If the STEEM price hits $100, that's when @ats-david is "peacing out."

such a outstanding relaxed blogger–style… I have to vote up!

Agree. That number is way too high.

In the past month only 1% of rewards were paid to commenters

I've always been happy with payouts on comments as it is (at 1% apparently), even at the current price of STEEM. I remember receiving nearly $1,000 on some comments prior to 7/4. Were comments also receiving 1% prior to 7/4 and if so, won't we have that too look forward to as/if the price of STEEM climbs?

Maybe I'm misunderstanding something, which is likely, but I agree with pfunk that 38% is way too high.

Would a change to 38% mean that his current $4.28 earnings (on the comment above) on 9 upvotes be around $163 under the proposed change? That seems exorbitant for an opinion, not that I wouldn't mind those kind of payouts on comments again. ;)

But, what happens when the price of STEEM increases? Will comments be receiving $10,000?

Why would anyone blog?

I would setup a comment factory (some would argue I'm already running one). ;)

But, what happens when the price of STEEM increases? Will comments be receiving $10,000?

I believe we'll need a solution for scaling reward levels with price increases

We have one. It attracts more users to compete for those rewards.

Even with more users competing (I suppose you mean more posts or comments?) we will go back to over the top rewards. The outsized lottery effect going into $10,000 a post is arguably a good or bad thing - I'd personally advocate to not see it again. Consider all the adjustable variables - for instance, target votes per day - that can be adjusted to expand or shrink distribution.

Would it make sense to cap the rewards and distribute the excess yearly for example? So making good posts consistently in the low tide would be encouraged as well.

At 38%, even at current rewards, abusive comment spam would increase dramatically. It also creates an avenue of pool rewards abuse. Something like 5 to 10% at the most would be way more reasonable.

That would be way too low in my opinion. There could be 100x as many comments as posts and even if only 10% of them are worth rewarding that's still 10 times as many comments than posts with a much smaller reward pool.

Some posts are long enough already. Not everyone will want to read 100s of comments to curate them. Furthermore, unless it gets an upgrade, the Steemit UI isn't very efficient when it comes to posts with a lot of comments. I know my browser locks up if I view some previous @steemitblog posts, because of the many comments.

That's true. But isn't that a different issue? The site loads incredibly slow anyway and that's not because there's money to be made...

Besides you don't need to read the comments to curate. I would hope there would be no curation reward for upvoting comments.

Without a separate pool, there is already spam. Whether we want to call it "abuse" or not, plenty of users already upvote their own comments with trails, and larger stakeholders have often voted themselves - or every comment on a post. This new comment rewards pool would simply create another way for different types of abusers to abuse.

Something like 0% would be reasonable. There's really no reason for a separate pool. As I pointed out already - this very post demonstrates that engagement and comment payouts is just fine. If we want more engagement on regular posts, maybe we should work on attracting and retaining more users? That's the real issue here, not the lack of a comment rewards pool.

I can't speak for the voters putting comments over $1 but I am upvoting more comments in this post because they are important to reward for expressing their opinions about the future of Steem. I regularly upvote good comments elsewhere but not nearly as much as posts. And I often treat comment voting as a ranking mechanism rather than a reward one.

Yeah, same here.

What I'm really trying to figure out is why so many people believe that comment rewards are necessary for engagement. Go to every major social media platform and you'll find thousands, or millions of users commenting and upvoting other comments all the time...for no rewards. So, what is it that's creating the engagement on those platforms that we are allegedly "missing" here on Steemit (which I don't even believe is true)?

The answer: Users.

What is the purpose for creating a separate rewards pool for comments?

If the purpose is to increase engagement, it won't work. You need active users to do that. Without active users willing to engage, you're likely just going to be encouraging and rewarding spam, or otherwise meaningless engagement.

If the purpose is to just have a separate rewards pool, then what functional purpose does that serve? Why is it a necessary change for the blockchain?

What is the actual problem that would be fixed by this hard fork? The post says this:

We feel that engaging more people in discussion and encouraging higher quality comments will make the platform more desirable.

You can't engage more people in discussion if you're lacking the "more people" part of the equation. Step one would be: Get more people interested in Steemit. If, after more people are here and active, the engagement is too low (which, again, I don't believe is true), then try to find ways to increase/improve it.

Would a change to 38% mean that his current $4.28 earnings (on the comment above) on 9 upvotes be around $163 under the proposed change?

No it doesn't mean that, because voting behavior will change. Most likely there will be a lot more voting on comments and more comments being rewarded so the $163 would be split up a lot more ways. Also probably more comments (both good and bad).

You can not evaluate actions taken under one set of rules as if they would occur unchanged under a different set of rules.

Very True, I tend to only vote on the comments made to my posts, in hopes to gain readers, if there was no limit or a different limit to voting on comments I would vote on many more comments, being some of them to me add value to the original post.

I THInk there will be so many comments payouts will drop. On top comments but rise on mediocre comments

38% is high if only 1-2 comments are made but low if 100 comments are made!
So the solution to this would be its a variable number that get increased (max 38%) when the commenter’s are more, and to avoid spam comments it should be weighted/related more to the HIGH SP commenter’s (so it increases if total SP from accounts that participate are increasing)

I can't tell whether 38% is too high or not. However, I'm confident that it should not be implemented as a step-change. Phase it in over the course of a couple months. Better yet, develop a dynamic mechanic of some sort that allows the comment reward fraction to vary over time.

I agree that a dynamic function would be best but I don't agree that a phase in a good idea, in that it will be difficult to tell whether it actually has any effects (good or bad) while the usage of the site and other things are changing over a period of months. Better to try something more visible and it if it causes obvious problems it can be revised.

I see your point, and I guess a step-change wouldn't be a huge catastrophe. Here's a nice blend of the two: ensure that the hard fork and payout rules affect only comments posted after the hard fork. Then we get a nice 7-day period for the changes to implicitly phase in.

A separate comment pool will behave differently if there's a separate comment vote power per account or not. The comment pool idea works best with a separated comment vote power in my opinion. In this way, people with a lot of stake won't see voting on comments as an opportunity cost.

Absolutely. This is more critical to supporting comments than a separate reward pool for comments (although I support that too). There can be different parameters for each vote power tracker too (the parameters determine how many votes to cast per day to not waste your full voting potential).

I also think the number is quite high and I'm worrying about new types of abuse using comments. But this can boost new contents market, e.g. SteemOverflow, where comments/replies are more valuable than posts.

There's an argument to be made that, in addition to the other benefits of raising the comment reward pool to that level, there is value to be gained from the act of exposing the types of abuse that will emerge at 38%, as well as seeing if it is in fact true that abuse will emerge. It isn't until they see the abuse that they can develop systems to counter it. One simple solution to a torrent of comment abuse would be simply lowering the percentage. But again, this assumes that the abuse will come, which is not 100%. Of course, no matter what percentage is suggested there will be some people who think it is too high and some who think it is too low. I think we will only find out by experimentation. I highly doubt 38% is the magic number, but it might be better than what we have now. It is definitely true that experimenting with the number is better than not.

I agree, the number may be to high, but if the votes on comments no longer took away from my main voting power I would vote on more comments. Making more reason for a considerable payout. I think the lack of comments on some posts like mine is simply due to lack of a possible reward. I have been told I make great points, but to few want to spend time commenting since to some people there is no value to comment unless there are votes on the main post that will make the comments count for something.

This! Rewards would stimulate discussion. It would change the rhythm of interacting in a good way. Some of my posts were helped a lot by discussions.

Probably a better solution to excessive abuse would not be changing the number, but changing the structure (of something, possibly UI) to address the abuse. That is not to say I think 38% is the "right" number because I don't, but it's a reasonable experiment.

We can cross that bridge when we get there. Steem isn't there yet.

Flagging for being a repetitive bot. =b

Does not compute

This is a similar circular argument to the one I called out Dan about (and you upvoted my comment there). Steem gets to where it isn't now in part by broadening the rule set to be less narrowly focused on a particular type of post-centric content (and long-form post-centric at that). That will open up the incentives for other types of content and engagement to (potentially) flourish. I was personally involved with an effort to try to spark interest in comment-centric engagement which didn't go anywhere for a variety of reasons but lack of rewards and voting power for comments was one of them. I'd prefer to see a mechanism where rewards flow to wherever there is perceived value and engagement, whether that happens to be posts or comments without any specific quota on each but given that isn't happening now this seems like a reasonable experiment.

I see your point there. I said what I said above because I haven't seen any development towards a comment plugin for Steem yet and haven't perceived much demand for such a thing yet. I think that kind of thing will be viable with much less than 38% of the rewards.

Separate comment vote power is an interesting idea and is something to ponder.

I think 38% would be too high at the current level of engagement. However, with the separating of the reward pool, it's reasonable to believe that we will see significantly more high-quality comments. Steemit badly needs more readers and commenters, and I think 38% is a good place to start.

Although I agree with the proposal, the funny thing is I get way more engagement on Steemit than I do on other platforms despite lower views. I get comments on pretty much all my posts, even shitty low effort ones. The median for comments per post is on any given day usually 2 (sometimes 1, sometimes 3), the mean hovers around 5. Source:

Occasionally a post is trending and stands out for lack of engagement, but generally there are loads of comments on the top posts as well, given that we have merely 1500 active users per day and that probably includes vote bots.

In comparison the vast majority of my tweets go unresponded to despite having been on the platform for years. When I make a reddit post, I'll be lucky if I get any replies.

That's not too much IMO. Remember that the 62% goes to the very few bloggers while that 38% is split up amongst many many commenters.
Also, think of the value for social networks. Ever been in a Facebook debate? I have seen many rebuttals that deserve to win a Nobel prize compared to the crappy original status update!

Maybe it's also forward thinking to increase engagement when comments only are added on standard websites/blogs that exist outside of the blockchain. A larger pool would make them more attractive than FB or Disqus comments plugins. just my 2 cents.

We can cross that bridge when we get there. Steem isn't there yet.

In this way, people with a lot of stake won't see voting on comments as an opportunity cost.

I don't know this is a problem. If there isn't enough voting on comments, then the value of a vote on a comment will be higher than the value of a vote on a post. This should reach an equilibrium even with shared voting power. I haven't thought a lot about the behavior with combined or separate vote powers. There are probably indeed some important differences, but I don't think separating vote power is clearly necessary.

I'm not so sure about the 38% reward being too high, it would greatly increase the social aspect of the site. Currently we have lot's of autovotes, it's not unusual to see posts with hundreds of votes but under 30 views, rather common actually. Commenters actually read the posts and engage with the user, without any user interaction can we call this a social platform? So in my opinion we should try 38% first.

I fully agree with this! I was actually about to say the same thing.

I also agree that 38% is way too high. Try 10% first.

I agree a separate voting power for comment would make more sense.

Also what about trying the separate pool feature with 2% and not 38%. This would already double what the rearws are right now.

Let's not forgot reddit commenters are super happy with 0 reward and it's in the top 10 websites with crazy engagement.

Yeah - I see posts on Facebook with 50 or 100+ comments all the time. None of them are receiving comment rewards.

The problem is that we have a very tiny amount of users. Of course we're not going to have much engagement when there are only a few hundred actual people engaging on the platform every day. They're trying to fix a problem with the wrong solution.

I get your point and I agree.

Maybe at this point in time the increase is needed, this could be reduced at the proper time?

I don't believe so. We need more active users, not more rewards schemes for the tiny amount of users that are currently here.

Overall....OUTSTANDING direction, simplifications, and some improved frameworks.


  1. Really like ALL the KISS clean-up and simplification. Old unused features will become caustic over time. They are a liability, so it is good to get rid of them.
  2. I like the 7day, versus 24hr rewards.
  3. BUT... why can't there be a rolling-30 day payout for upvotes after? This would promote quality posts which are relevant over longer periods of time. Exactly what we want! Just because the metrics show most payouts occur in 7 days, does not mean it is strategically optimal for the platform or usages. For example, what if an author wants to write a novel. Each post is a chapter in the story. Why shouldn't a year from now, when a new fan starts reading the book, a payout can be earned from chapter #1 and so on?
  4. I like the independent comment reward pool and the effort to encourage more interaction by members (I think that is the strongest aspect of Steemit, an active community with a LOT of interaction).
  5. But, 38% of the rewards seems WAY high... Until we get more people eased out of being shy, it might promote lower-quality/higher-quantity comments. Perhaps start lower and ramp up from there? Just an idea.
  6. I don't understand the "Separate Market and Rewards Balance from Checking and Savings". Seems like an overly complex system to be added without a clear benefit. Does this basically add another 'account' for users to view/manage and understand? We already have Steem, Steem Power, Steem Dollars, and Steem Savings... This would add a Steem side-account? Whoa there cowboys/cowgirls. Let's refer back to your KISS principles.

And as always, thanks again for your continued work to make the platform better. I appreciate everything you guys/gals are doing and the fact you engage the community on future change proposals!

why can't there be a rolling-30 day payout for upvotes after?

Because our usage statistics indicate that this would account for 0.85% or less of all rewards. Also see my recent blog post "Building Lon Term Value from your Blog" for the real answer to long-term rewards.

Yes, but you are conforming to the current metrics and not the desired end-state.
I have a more detailed post on this concept: Advocating for Long Term Steemit Payouts

The comment reward will bring massive engagement. I believe this along with the arbitrary beneficiaries rewards will be a game changer.

You're right. But your posts have a lot of engagement already, ha ha.

We are proposing that comments be allocated 38% (golden ratio) of the current reward pool and that comments be rewarded on a N log (N) curve with some to-be-determined modifications. This should work to allocate more rewards to those who contribute to discussions and drive community engagement.

Finally. Thanks steemit team! I think this change will be one of the best ones on our road to mainstreem attention!

Great updates/upgrade suggestions!

More rewards for commenters, I've been thinking this for a long time. Not everyone can put together an article, even subjects they know about, and/or some don't want too. Everyone can comment. This will be big.

Yes, that's exactly how I feel, I am not a good writer, but somehow I think I do make good comments, even though I do think 38% is too high.

It probably is high..., but with the low Steem price, and trying to get the masses in, I can see how they want it high right now.
I am more of a commenter myself.

This means that if you post via that your post will share some of its rewards with Busy

This feature looks interesting but how does it works? Who gets to select beneficiary, busy or authors?

Ya, this is awesome to here. As a developer of autosteem, this means that in the future there could be more pro features that have an associated cost, and a reason to keep development going beyond the free use for steemit. more integration and services could rely on steem as its transaction base. Awesome news!

the software that constructs the transaction. In this case's JavaScript code.

That's great. Does it mean platforms like medium could have an instant revenue model by just integrating steem? If so, this is huge!

Removing Over Posting Reward Penalties

During the July rush we experienced a massive influx of people posting as much as they could to get as many rewards as they could. In an effort to curb this “abuse” we implemented a limit on the maximum reward a post could receive if the post made more than 4 posts in the same day. In hindsight this change was reactionary and ultimately unnecessary. It has the psychological impact of discouraging engagement and adds unnecessary complexity to a system. In the spirit of KISS we feel this should be removed.

Anyone thinks that the "Mute" button will be used more often, at least on Steemit? Posting often and with stuff that's not so relevant would cause perception of "time-wasting" to rise and regulate itself through more mindful following / muting.

The down vote should be used to discourage behaviours you consider bad for the platform.

Yep, but I think the market would account for it. If folks abuse the privilege, then they get muted and their payouts decrease. If they provide 6 great articles a day, then more power to them. Not many are capable of that though.

It depends on the type of post. Long form blogging, yes, few will be capable. Other types of contributions, it may be easier. People can and will decide who to follow and what types of content they want to see. That doesn't mean all of it will necessarily get high rewards, but the rewards shouldn't be arbitrarily decreased based on a fixed quota.

Another way to look at lower rewards for people who post more is higher rewards for people who post less (since the system, at some level, is zero sum). Why give extra rewards for posting less? I agree with removing this rule and letting followers/unfollowers/muters/voters/downvoters decide what is best.

Agree. That is a better solution to spamshitposting than an arbitrary fixed limit. Along with downvoting as @beanz replied.

"Multiple Arbitrary Beneficiaries to Reward Payouts".

If this features can support third parties revenu model, it could be huge. If the financial interest can be a apply on projects like SteemQ or Thirsty Media or any Steem Projects targeting video or music producers, COuld we include song writers, performers, artists directly in the payout video or music discover payout model?
I support this proposals.

I though it was going to come to this :) , keep up the good work @dantheman and @ned you have your first startups formed :) I saw Thirsty's page the moment it got started @senseiteekay UPS, lol big ups , @pnc I'm following you :) so no worries there. I've been missing my updates on how the Thirsty is going.

The comment section of sites like Reddit and YouTube has always been my favorite section; that's where you find everything you were thinking while reading the original post or when watching the YouTube video. You almost always know that what you just thought of is going to show up as a top-rated comment there, so yes, increasing the incentive to make the comment section on Steemit more attractive and great - that I am all for. :)

and I thought that the white paper was a fun and entertaining read.
KISS...I got that part...
yup...good plane.

I'm new here so forgive me If my question is silly but how does steem prevent spam when it is totally free to transact?

Welcome, then!
Bandwidth usage is limited by how much Steem Power is in the account that is attempting to transact. If the bandwidth limit is hit, then the transaction will not be processed.

More specifically, we can treat bandwidth like BTC transaction fees. There is nothing in the Bitcoin protocol that necessitates transaction fees, but all miners require them. Similarly, we can have the witnesses track bandwidth for individual accounts and rate limit them without needing the bandwidth information to be a part of the consensus state or the Steem protocol.

I'm not a huge fan of this. It further concentrates power among witnesses (and by extension the largest SP holders) by giving them discretion to decide who and what transactions to allow and when to allow them.

If bandwidth allocation is defined by the protocol as a function of SP then witnesses who refuse to allow transactions within an account's defined bandwidth allowance are clearly engaged in censorship and abusing their position, but leaving it discretionary, all bets are off. Witness could create all sorts of arbitrary rules, including demanding fees as abit mentioned and without a well-defined protocol rule there is no standard to evaluate this against.

This is effectively taking a property right (fair share of system bandwidth) away from SP holders, especially the smaller ones.

Witnesses already have the power to censor like this. Consensus limits are only for overages - there is nothing stopping witnesses right now from censoring e.g. every post from @ned if they were to all collude - this is nothing to do with bandwidth rules.

However, as long as some honest witnesses remain, voting out the misbehaving ones is a straightforward matter.

Witnesses already have the power to censor like this.

Yes I understand the technical side of it. However, the political side of is far more complex.

You are introducing a rule that says that certain forms of censorship are okay. That is a very gray area and can easily be subject to great political conflicts and sliding interpretation.

However, as long as some honest witnesses remain, voting out the misbehaving ones is a straightforward matter.

The issue I'm raising specifically with regard to the property rights of all SP holders and their access to a fair share of bandwidth (which arguably provides the foundation for the entire value of STEEM) is that: a) large holders can have different interests from small holders, and b) what is "misbehaving" becomes vague and subject to a morass of political reinterpretation and influence games under this proposed system.

If large holders, and the witnesses they elect, decide for example that only people with more than 100 MV are allowed to make more than two transfers per week then small holders have no recourse. Or that only people with more than 100 MV can transact without fees. Etc. This can obviously be done in less blatant ways by witnesses and their large stakeholder supporters making smaller and more subtle changes over time with little scrutiny.

The simple and clear rule that blocking transactions that conform to the protocol rules is censorship and always considered unacceptable (except possibly pragmatically for a short time as a temporary bug fix pending a hard fork) is a clear line that possibly can be maintained as a core value by the community and stakeholders. I'm far less comfortable with a rule that says that blocking valid transactions according to witness discretion is okay under some circumstances but not others, especially when it implicates the core value proposition and property rights of SP holders.

Exactly. Perhaps we can also introduce a fee, then we witnesses will be rich!

Haha! I do enjoy a good sense of humor, you get my witness vote :)

Offer people a stick of gum today or a pack at the end of the week and most people choose the stick of gum now. People want instant gratification. 7 days is too long to keep "average" people interested. If one payout period is desired, I'd be a happy with just the 24 hour payout period.

Love the comment reward pool and a lot of the other stuff seems great!

I agree, I think it could be bad for user retention as people want to test the site and turn their rewards into usd asap to see if its legit.