Loosening the purse strings

in steem •  21 days ago 

While not everyone is likely impressed, I think that the change in the Steemit Trending tab has demonstrated the effectiveness of the downvoting mechanisms against reward pool abuse as it was the most obvious and visible place to start where outcomes could be quickly evaluated.

In the last few days, the largest bot buyers have largely stopped buying and the bidbot operators are making up the shortfall by using their spare voting power more organically, which will still attract a 50% curation return. What this means is that while the delegators will earn less than they were, they will still earn a bit more than curation alone, but the spread of accounts voted on is widening - At least for the moment.

As you might have seen in my post yesterday, the abuse doesn't stop at the trending page and likely Trending is more the "tip of the iceberg" in many respects. That means finding targets for Steem redirection gets harder the further we move away from visibility, but they are out there with some large circles like the one I mentioned that provide no value for Steem and are literally just extracting all they can.

@aggroed posted not too many minutes ago about some things to consider in relation to downvoting bidbotted posts by first considering whether the post adds some value to the ecosystem. Yes, "value" is subjective in many respects but it is also relatively easy to recognize if something should have 5 cents, 5 dollars, 50 dollars or 150 dollars on it. The frequency of the high-value posts also need to be considered.

For example, while someone might not think an art post should have 50 dollars on it, that post might have been curated by @ocd and received @blocktrades support, but the artist is not going to have every post supported similarly. What the curation teams are doing is bringing back the lottery effect and the surprise of getting a lot of support unexpectedly and I know there are few and hopefully more initiatives on the way. When I started on Steem it was @curie who I would see sweep in and support a post here or there and the thrill people would get from having their content unearthed was pretty amazing.

Over the last 2 years, the lottery effect has diminished as the stability of certainty crept in with the bidbots as the same people would use them, earning the same amount and autovoters would come in on other posts to boost them all to about the same level each time. This stagnated the flow of the pool as the distribution became quite steady.

You know what gave me a bit of a thrill the other day? @therealwolf. I know, I know...seriously... @therealwolf. I got a vote from @smartsteem with a bit of their unused voting power, but it wasn't the vote value that gave the thrill. If anyone knows our history, it had a pretty rocky start as we argued over bidbots (@therealwolf) and no bidbots (me).

At SteemFest3 we talked face to face and realized, we are both right. Yes, bidbots suck. And yes, there is a place for them in the ecosystem. The problem is that due to the misaligned incentives due to the economics of old Steem, the balance was far too heavily in favor of the bots which created much of the loss of the lottery effect as stake was locked-in and used relatively narrowly.

Now, the bidbots actually have some incentive with the 50/50 to add to the lottery effect and randomization of Steem without losing too much of their income for delegators. This means that rather than pure maximization, they have the opportunity to reward the content that has value and perhaps encourage users to build their Time on Site and interest in various ways. This has ecosystem and community value.

But, due to the nature of the model that aims to maximize, it is up to us as the consuming, staked and interested community to "keep them honest" and not return to having them over-reward shit. We have to stay vigilant - not vigilante.

When it comes to the continued use of downvotes to clean the system, it is obvious that most people do not know where to find, let alone what they should or shouldn't be using their stake on for redirection. I think in the coming weeks, more and more trails and services will be set up to address this issue where people can follow someone they trust. Again though, stay vigilant, not passive - keep an eye on what is happening.

What has happened so far is largely as I have predicted for the last few months and I think the next step is to find a balance for bot usage which will take time, and spread the downvote mass toward the larger known circles on the platform. This randomization brought by downvotes is imperfect curation which means, it is harder to predict what will have value and how to maximize and therefore results in leakage where trickles of value find new homes.

While the EIP and SteemDAO reduced Steem author rewards, opportunity is growing and what we are doing now is preparing for the next phase in the evolution of #newsteem. The next planned shift is the next hardfork which introduces, communities, SMTs, Resource Credit delegation pools and Lite accounts. In combination, these are a powerhouse of building blocks that will provide a growing toolkit for the participation of creatives of all kinds.

I have always been optimistic on the future of Steem, but in the last few months this has been growing and as many believed the purse strings were tightening, the stages of development are leading in the exact opposite direction. With a stable, fast and secure chain that empowers owned and tokenized communities to form and expand exponentially, the value of Steem can really be seen.

What makes Steem so amazing is that it derives its value from the community it supports, but that community is not only decentralized in Steem holdings laterally, but also vertically through the layers of applications and tokens. Hundreds and thousands of SMTs could eventually spiral out and up while being anchored to the foundation in a complex matrix of interaction, transaction and ownership.

While it is hard to picture for many people, I at least think I have a pretty clear view of what it could be if the parts come together and align at the right time. There are so many things happening in this world currently that indicate that not only is change coming, but that change is going to raise question against the past and use the technology available to build something different into the future.

We are on that technology now - we are building the infrastructure and training the first adopters on how to use and give them the opportunity to innovate, create and own the direction it takes. As said, the strength of Steem is undirected decentralization which means, innovation is unbounded and imagination can run free and, anyone can build.

It is obvious I like spending my time here so perhaps I may not be completely impartial. But I do not think there is any industry as wide open as the potential directions the blockchain and tokenization can go and, it can go in all directions at once without spreading itself thin, for it is the community itself that carries and adds value to it and, it will go as far as we take it.

For me, continually opting-in and being a part of the process might be one of my marks on the world, not just the Steem blockchain.

[ a Steem original ]

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I think this is a reasoned view to take towards Bid Bots. Assigning strong feelings sometimes makes it difficult to listen and weigh opposing view points. I am glad you were able to meet and discus this issue. I really believe @dan made a comment once which went something like this: You can make the world a better place by aligning economic incentives with “so called” good behavior, whatever that truly means, and reward the behavior you wish to see and you’ll see more of it. I think we shouldn’t demonize bidbot owners but instead see the reality that they are fulfilling a need in the ecosystem and the ecosystem rewards them.
I think when we lose the labels good and bad we are bettter able to analyze things and people are more open to discussion.
Thanks for taking the risk to discus this as emotions run high in this issue. You have an audience and I think this message needs to be heard.

I am hoping that eventually the bots are earning very well, but the users are not expecting any profit whatsoever other than what they can gain by getting their content in the eyes of an audience, like actual advertising. If we can create a place where people are willing to advertise because of the market potential, we are doing okay.

Talking face to face is always better than keyboard to keyboard. Generally when people talk directly, it is more tempered and human.

I think it’s a good idea for it to be advertising. And I think it’s a common desire to get some eyes on your work. To many feel they have no audience without bots. I agree that technology separates us in ways which make uncivil behavior easier. I hope it eventually evolves into the opposite, that people overcompensate for the cold impersonality of the key board with warm and caring words.

I hope it eventually evolves into the opposite, that people overcompensate for the cold impersonality of the key board with warm and caring words.

Me too. I watched a family at a cafe today sit on their phones and barely talk to each other, while my wife, daughter and I laughed away together at the table next to them. Disconnection from people leads to depression, and we are separating ourselves from the people we are closest to.

That’s both funny and sad. My wife and I have a rule, when we take people out to dinner cellphones are not to be used except when you go to the bathroom or when we leave. Whoever we take to dinner commands our full attention. The funny thing is the young people have started looking forward to their dinners with us because it’s peaceful and of course all about them. LOL I think they truly grave real human connection.

The funny thing is the young people have started looking forward to their dinners with us because it’s peaceful and of course all about them.

It is the irony of technology and social networks - designed to connect for personalized attention, drives people apart toward loneliness.

I rarely head over to the trending page usually stick to the people I follow occationally picking up a new person based on a comment they made on another post and down the rabbit hole I go.

I did venue out this morning though and for the first time used my down votes. I felt guilty at first. who am I to judge? but I also realized that if they have the right to post shit and an ad then I have the same right to say.... really?

I have to admit that in my first few months on steemit, under my own name, I have tested the waters of the bid bots mainly because a guy I followed used them and I saw $$$$$. I thought "hey, this guy knows what he is doing" but after doing my own research I didn't want to "win" that way.

I think we will only get better from here. I am exited for the next Hard fork that is when this community with really start to hone in with communities, and I hope that by the time that comes around much of the spam and shit posts will be taken care of.

I think once newer users and thoses with low SP realize the potential of Steem out weights the smaller payout we will really see something magical.

I rarely head over to the trending page usually stick to the people I follow occationally picking up a new person based on a comment they made on another post and down the rabbit hole I go.

I have been checking it daily since the hardfork and now find things to actually upvote there :D There are projects and the unearthed art as well as people who were always too far down the list behind the too-highly botted posts.

I think once newer users and thoses with low SP realize the potential of Steem out weights the smaller payout we will really see something magical.

At some point, newer users will see the potential of the tokenized communities and want to be a part of a community theme they love.

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First time in more than 6 months am checking the trending page. Let's see how it pans out going forward though, still feel bot owners will probably find a Way to round-trip the system and maximize their returns

The bot owners need delegators and the gap is slowly closing in what maximizes return. Hopefully it can close enough that some will say "screw it" and vote manually. Lot's of paths to take at the moment, but at least there is movement along a few of them.

I wouldn't ally too quickly with bid bot owners


Things are going to be different. The upcoming days will decide whether we end up reaching an equilibrium where honest voting behavior largely rules the platform, or whether we recede back to where vote selling and self voting is the norm in a broken system.

We finally got the economic tools we needed with the last HF after considerable and persistent effort. Now we have the right tools to fight for a fair and functional platform. It's up to everyone to fight for it

It is a long game and I have been at it since the first days Rando was introduced. The economic tools are here finally and if they continue being used, should result in a diminishing of the "need" for bots to a high degree. Rushing it too much will cause more resistance and a pullback in the same way that not enough force will lead to a return to the mean. Makes things interesting :)

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