A first thought about improving curation

in steem •  6 months ago

So, this is really early, as in I was just out on my walk and thinking about the curation algorithm being broken, and had an idea, and I want to write it down and get some feedback on it. I totally have not thought this through to proposal status yet, but I think it might be a way toward solving a few of the problems with curation rewards.

Curation was set up to encourage discovering and rewarding undervalued content, but I think by now we're all pretty clear that's not what it does. One of the reasons for this is that the goal is a pretty hard one to accomplish, and this thought isn't going to get us all the way there, but I think it might take a step in that direction.

What if the curation exponent varied with the poster's lifetime rewards?

Right now the curation algorithm runs the same no matter what post it's on, and there are some square roots in it to make it very strongly favor being one of the first people to vote on a post. You can see why the designers did things that way, because the idea that being the first one to find content should be rewarded more is central to the idea of discovery that they wanted.

But in practice, posters tend to put out pretty consistent levels of content, so it became pretty easy to predict which posters were going to get high rewards, vote on them quickly, and get a higher curation reward. People automating that is what got us the awful-and-about-to-get-worse workaround of the early voting penalty.

So as I've been thinking about that I've been thinking about how to reduce the reward for being first to a post that everyone knows will be popular, and increase the reward for being first to a post that will surprisingly become popular, to support the original goal. And most of my first ideas sucked, and I just rejected them out of hand, because this is legitimately a hard problem. And this one might suck, too, but at least it's going to take some thought to be sure of it, which is a step in the right direction.

What I want to do is make the curation reward more linear the more established the author is. Essentially, once someone has been here for a while, and established themselves as a consistently-rewarded poster, the reward for being first to them should decrease. The total curation reward for the post would stay the same, but it would be distributed with less focus on the time of the vote the more established in the community the poster became.

The posts of consistently top-rewarded posters would have a curation algorithm that was linear, essentially as DTube does theirs now; you'd get 25% back for voting on them, period. Meanwhile we'd keep the n2 algorithm for new posters and posters who haven't seen very many rewards, so being early to an unexpected quality post would still offer a substantial benefit. In between them the exponent would scale, so there would continue to be incentive to vote on someone early as they grew, but the more established and connected they became, the more regular votes they earned, the less that incentive would be.

Advantages as I see them:

  1. This would make the curation system more effective at discovering new content.
  2. This solves many of the problems the early voting penalty was meant to address, so maybe we could scrap it and all its nasty side effects.
  3. If it works it might be a way to compromise between the two sides on increasing curation rewards percentage overall. I know I'd be more willing to see that happen with a curation system that worked better.
  4. It makes bidbots and vote-buyers a little less disproportionately powerful. The bots mostly wouldn't take more than their share of curation rewards anymore.

Potential flaws I've noticed:

  1. It doesn't solve all the problems the early voting penalty was meant to address, especially a potential workaround by starting a new account and immediately botting it up a lot.
  2. It might reward periodically starting new accounts in general. I think regular voting support would be worth more than a favorable curation algorithm for the vast majority of posters, but there might be a population I haven't thought about.

There are probably more flaws I haven't noticed, so tell me about them in the comments.


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Hmm, I think your idea makes sense. Reward out-of-the-ordinary content more heavily. You could put a filter of some sort on it until an account has enough history to make a valid calculation.

Another potential workaround would be to intermittently bid-bot your post to get some posts way above average.

So the idea is to reward the discoverers of content.

I think another important factor will be the vote weight. If you are just spreading 1% votes everywhere, then you don't believe in any one piece of content very strongly and just trying to game the system. But if you spend 100% votes, then this piece of content is in your top-10 for the day.

I'm sure there are more factors to consider.


I feel like it's sort of baby steps in thinking about this, and eventually I'll think of something better. But it would probably be an improvement over what we have now.

@dtube's curation incentive is actually really good.


I don't know, once you go full linear it's just a kickback for voting, it doesn't matter on what, and what is that accomplishing? I guess in DTube's case they hope it gets more people to vote for DTube content than other dApps, and maybe that's working a little bit, for instance @fulltimegeek favoring them.


If I know that I'll get back part of my vote-value even after curation, that makes it a lot easier to vote rather than vote-selling/self-voting for profit.

I like this as a potential fix to the early voting bots...but there is potentially an issue. It would mean that big voters get a bigger reward for voting on huge payouts from authors that regularly get huge payouts, even if they aren't first. So, in essence, they might get a higher reward for just voting on crap from the people that are regularly in trending, over trying to go out there and find good posts, because their vote is so huge, and finding good posts is such a gamble.


It would mean that big voters get a bigger reward for voting on huge payouts from authors that regularly get huge payouts

They'd never get a bigger reward than par that way. Maybe they'd get less than par if they were voting on other things but always late, I guess. But big voters get a big boost from the n2 system as well as early voters, and they might still be better off voting late on an n2 post than on a linear post, I'd have to look at the math.


I hope you're right.

I'd have to look at the math.

Yeah, that was the essence of what I was thinking before I started writing my post. In your system, they probably won't earn as much as previously from just auto-voting, but it might be possible to vote late, and earn more just due to the size of their vote, versus possible being the largest vote on a post, period. It might be a good idea to just do as much as you can to encourage voting though.

It kind of really is an interesting idea for sure. We have established steemians that produce good content continuously and they are rewarded for that but they end up taking most of the curiation pool while unnoticed steemians that produced good content too get almost nothing...
@tcpolymath your idea is cool and if you can do something with this, it will be appreciated.


this idea a make a lot of sense and is worth further delving. there is a race to use auto voting on accounts you know will always do well, I'm sure with a lot of thought I could find flaws, but none stand out right now.

Also, nice one for putting something forward. A lot of people complain but only a few try to solve the problem, kudos :-)


There are some people who come and talk to me on these posts who know way more about the underpinnings of payouts, and I was kind of hoping one of them would come and tell me whether it was dumb on a computational level. Now I may have to actually look into it.

It still feels more like a first step to me than a solution.


i think you should look into it, but I do also agree, it might be a first step. From experience, what seems simple at first is often more complex in the end. I would love to see you look into this further and will support in it any way i can

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You got a 41.17% upvote from @ocdb courtesy of @tcpolymath!

Still buying accounts? If so, let me know, I have several old and some new ones.

¿Avoid trying to game the system? LoL

Well, for me that would be very simple.

As for genuinely improving 'curation' rewards. What I would really like to know is to see what would happen if:

  • 1.- There was no way to upvote a post unless you click on the title and open it fully on your browser.

  • 2.- There was no way to upvote a post with less than 100% of your VP. (Death to the slider)

  • 3.- There was no way to upvote a post from outside the platform in which it was originally created. PERIOD!!

As for the point 3. I mean: Posts created on steemit.com can only be upvoted within steemit.com platform. Busy within Busy. dTube within dTube, dLive within dLive, etc. And so all the rest: Steempeak, Steemitstage, Steepshot, Utopian.io, Steemhunt, KnackSteem, Partiko, DSound, dMania, Zappl and whatevah content CREATION platform exist out there. ¿Capisci?

¿Are we here on a Social Network or not?

So, I suppose that in order to be called CURATORS we would need to be READERS in first place. ¡AUTHENTIC READERS! Entities that can read and know how to read. ¿WTF? Therefore it should be eliminated, excommunicated and execrated the ability to vote to any automatism, AI, Bot or code crap unable to read, digest, evaluate and assess written content.


So basically you want something that is nothing at all like Steem. Perhaps you would find a group more conducive to your preferences at your local library.


If we are talking regards thinking about that the curation algorithm is being now broken. And truly encourage the discovering and rewarding of undervalued content as real curators.

Those are and certainly has been my own peculiar ideas for long time in relation to how recover the original, primal and primitive philosophy of how a HUMAN Social Network where content is rewarded monetarily among its members should work to fullfill the steem blockchain goals as it should. From the beginning and forever. };)

So, in the same way that you shyly propose continue crunching numbers, developing ineffective formulas and foster halfass algorithms that they won't contribute in anything to correct the problem from the root once and for all. Mine at least, looks a bit more definitive, striking, cogent and emphatic to experiment with and achieve the goal. Like within the steem blockchain as in any other digital place. Except my local library. Of course.