Help Me Fix Steem's Economy!
While most people would agree that something is wrong on this platform, many can't quite pinpoint exactly what the problem is. This is known as the Steve Buscemi's face effect.
Me starting off with that joke basically means we're stuck with this as the thumbnail
Lately, I keep hearing a lot of complaints like:
- People are far too greedy on Steemit
- We have a problem of bad culture and need to educate people to behave better
- Keep your hands to yourself you creep or I'll call the police
- How the fuck can people just get away with self voting 10 times a day?
These are all misdiagnoses of the underlying economic problem which I've written directly below in bold so lazy shits can just read that and go straight to the comments.
Problem: Under our current economy of linear and 25% curation, it is roughly 4x more financially rewarding to participate in content indifferent voting behavior (eg. self voting, vote selling) than content reflective voting behavior (eg. curation). This has lead to a complete failure in our ability to function as a content discovery and rewards platform.
Now because it takes painstaking hard work and extraordinary talent to create high quality content such as this piece you're reading, many large stakeholders have opted to sell their votes to garbage ads or self vote their own rubbish. Supporting actual good content will, on average, cost you 75% of your returns in lost opportunity, and fighting against the rubbish on here will only set you back a mere 100% of returns. Thus, it becomes too expensive for many of us to not take part in the very activity that, collectively, is destroying this platform.
Imagine you had a community that introduced a new law which rewarded a person $1000 every time they take a shit in public. Would it be surprising to discover, after a while, that the streets were flowing in diarrhea? Would you try to rectify this situation by asking people to be less greedy? Or perhaps try to educate people to shift from a culture of shitting on the streets to one of, well, not shitting on the streets? Would there be a point in asking how the fuck do you even manage to shit 10 times a day?
Of course not. You'd change the law that rewarded shitting in public so highly. Similarly, don't be surprised if people engage in the exact activity we've decided to reward the most: vote farming (be it vote selling or self voting). Now, our approach to rectify this should be clear:
Mission: We need to devise and implement a new economic system that rewards the behavior we want with the most competitive returns while sacrificing the least in terms of trade offs.
You get the behavior you reward the most on here. The idea is to close the gap between content indifferent and content reflective rewards by incentivizing the former less and the latter more in terms of returns. @kevinwong and I prefer using a combination of measures (slight superlineararity, higher curation 50% and 10% separate downvotes) modestly, which together, should be strong enough to give good curation a competitive edge over mindless vote selling and self voting. Of course other measures are perhaps available, and they all have their trade offs. Some are really fucking bad ideas, and I might write about them another day.
It is quite frustrating to see the overall lack of clarity and urgency in terms of efforts being directed to fixing this problem that's completely undermining our platform over the past year. Focusing on UI or communities as a solution is like getting diagnosed with testicular cancer and deciding that the best way to treat it is by getting a nose job and your anus bleached.
The good news is that the failure of this system is entirely fixable; it isn't at all something inherent to decentralization or stake based voting, nor is it some moral or cultural problem. We can change the economics here to incentivize the behavior we want instead of swimming through our diarrhea filled streets.
If you believe something should be done to better align rewards with desirable behavior, please let witnesses and Steemit Inc know about it. Do it in person if you're attending Steemfest 3. Kevin will be there and he'll give you a private lap dance if you help us fix the economy.