Let's Talk About Witness Vote Buying and Selling

in steem •  3 months ago

Why not it's the latest drama and my position is still forming...

The drama happened like this. @fyrstikken is talking about selling witness votes, and it has some witnesses upset.  

As soon as I heard the idea one part of me rubbed my hands together in anticipation thinking, "Ooohhh, this will be an interesting shit storm".  Another part of me thought.  Hmm, is this a good idea or not?

Let's talk about it

I can't prove that anyone is buying or selling Witness Votes behind the scenes already, but if  you look at the tangled web that is Witness Voting one has to see there are games already being played.  Vote trading seems likely, and collusion for sure.  Many of the Witnesses run voting bots, which means they are asking you to pay for their Vote, while asking you to upvote them for free.

I don't give out my witness votes easily, I only vote for about 16 of them.  I ask myself pretty often, do I know what this person or group ads to the community?  If I can't answer it easily I don't vote for them.  Witnesses run the code and move the blocks forward every 3 seconds.  Some with help from @someguy123 don't even touch the code at all.  They just pay the fees for setup and let it roll.

@timcliff is the only Witness I've seen actually drop code and ask for it to be merged into a hardfork.  

I have mixed feelings on witness vote buying and selling, but I can't find a valid reason to be too upset about it.  Bring the vote selling into a transparent position that would be fun!   An account who's owner is ambiguous already picks a lot of the winners and losers.

I am kind of hoping the whole thing turns into a shit storm and they all narc on each other for all the voting trades, sells, etc that are already happening that would be good drama.

We have around 120ish Witnesses that are capable of moving the blockchain forward every 3 seconds.  We have 65kish active users, somehow  we rarely talk about how they can serve the community or improve the blockchain, we always end up figuring out how to make things better for them.  Bunch of Prima Donnas. 

Regarding Fyrstikken, he is adult who holds stake, he is talking about offering a transparent service that can be used or not, by other adults.  I can't say I take issue with that.

What about you?  Be honest if not with me, with yourself..  If they were going to pay for your vote would you take it?  

Why or Why Not?

@whatsup


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I am split on this really. One of the drawbacks I see to democracy is when those who want the fruits of others labor can outnumber them with votes to steal from them. I believe this was why the US was founded as a partial democracy tied to property ownership. Of course, at that time it was easier to gain property than it is today if one was willing to work their ass off.

Those with no skin in the game, or very little stake are more likely not to care about the long term viability of a system. While it is no guarantee that those with more skin in the game will care, it is more likely as they have more to lose.

Of course, the flip to this is when those who have more use that power to steal more from the masses.

Either way someone is getting screwed, lol. But here the nice thing is if they do this to such an extent as you see in countries, unlike in countries people will move on and those with large stakes will be left holding worthless stake. There is competition waiting to embrace those who are unhappy.

On a side note, thank you for resteeming my Steemit story and picking me to win your prize. That was really awesome, and I just did finish upvoting all the comments. It took me two days worth of voting power to wade through them all. :)

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Great response. This is part is why I like the DPOS. We don't want brand new accounts that don't even understand Steem yet or the economy, making protocol changes.

In theory anyone who could buy a top 20 Witness Place, would have to have a huge amount of money invested. Which I hope would cause them to make good decisions. Although I am starting to question that with the Steem StakeHolders. :)

I think one of the witnesses I vote for does give me upvotes. I wish they all did. lol

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I'm thinking I am going to stop giving bidbot owners free witness votes! Unless there is something in it for me. :)

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I think the witnesses should be giving out some votes at least on their blogs. Some barely even blog though.
I might try and become a witness someday but it won't be for a while.

I am not sure that I know enough about this process to offer an intelligent opinion, but I see that it didn't stop others from doing so.

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Haha! Hi... :) I lol'd... I'm still giggling.

What about you? Be honest if not with me, with yourself.. If they were going to pay for your vote would you take it?

Well, like everything else, it depends on the price, which we can sort of spitball out. A top-20 witness at the moment makes about 275 SP/day, knock off 25 of that for server costs just as a guess, makes 250 that could be used to pay for votes in an optimally-efficient selling system.

Meanwhile a top-20 position takes about 52000 MVests, so that's about 0.0048 SP/day/MVest, or 0.144 Steem/month.

I control approximately 15 MVests worth of votes, so I can expect to earn about 2.16 SP/month/vote from selling my vote.

If I can somehow sell all 30 of them at that price despite the fact that there are only 20 top witness spots, that makes 64.9 SP/month, which is beginning to be not too bad.

I don't think we'd end up with a system that efficient, though. Still, 40/month would be a 0.5% monthly return, which isn't bad.

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Awesome explanation. However, would you take it? :)

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I don't know. I really don't have a sense of how much I value my witness vote even in the current environment, and it would obviously change a lot if everyone were selling votes.

I think in the most likely scenario I'd sell some of them and give some of them away. But like you I don't use all of mine now, so the question between getting something concrete for them or just the satisfaction of not voting for some people would probably tilt toward the money.

I would like to pay for the opportunity for a witness to read one of my posts, and to upvote it if he or she likes it and considers it good content. For me the ethical problem involves paying for a vote when the post is crap. But if one pays just for the post visibility and the oportunity to be read I think isn't that bad.

It's pretty basic politics to know that if votes are public, then those who are getting voted on can see who voted on them, they can then do kickbacks to those who are involved in selling their votes. This is a little harder with anonymous voting, but trusted relationships can still manage to buy and sell votes, and it's pretty obvious to know who votes for who in a system like this where the total stake voting for someone and the stake someone has are both public knowledge.

It means that if I have a group of friends (16), each one of us creates a witness, we pay for the votes and we become the 16 main witnesses ... no matter what we do, good or bad, we have paid for the votes and we can decide the future of the network as we want because we have control ... is that what they are proposing? Because it is what will happen at some point if this becomes reality ... and it would mean the total death of Steem for me.

At least I could never trust the security of the network again knowing that those who control it are there because they bought the votes and not because they deserve it

To be honest I only see greed with this kind of nonsense propositions.

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No it doesn't mean that at all. You and your 16 friends would have to have a huge amount of money to buy the stake. You would have to find people with enough stake to upvote you...

I do think your points are valid on the security, but who is picking the witnesses now? On what merit?

Just like with the voting bots, if you and your friends were bad actors, I guess they could remove their votes. :)

Interesting points and thanks for contributing.

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You and your 16 friends would have to have a huge amount of money to buy the stake.

You make a good point but it is not impossible.

If someone think it is good this so I imagine that it would be good also for this person to have a government which is elected by vote buying? Because it would be basically the same, in the end, the witnesses are like the government in the Steem network. Would you be comfortable knowing that these people are there because they buy the votes? It is the question I think ... I would not ;)

I do think your points are valid on the security, but who is picking the witnesses now? On what merit?

I do believe that there are still enough witnesses within that 120 that you mention doing things for the network and / or the Steem community ... I do not know if 50 but surely more than 21. People who mantain projects, apps, etc. I can not speak for others but I do look.

Just like with the voting bots, if you and your friends were bad actors, I guess they could remove their votes. :)

This does not make it good, it just tells me that the one who does it (vote selling) can also take advantage. Still think the idea come from pure greed.

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Yeah, you make some excellent points. I guess, I don't feel like many would buy the votes or be able to buy the votes. That is probably why I feel a great big shrug over the whole thing.

Another thing... It could leave us in an interesting position for a hostile take over. lol, not that I think that is likely.

Again, thanks for the thoughtful discussion as I am still sorting out how I feel about the whole thing. I don't think many are going to jump on the bandwagon anyway, and the other witnesses do protest. It's an interesting, thought-proving topic though.

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The American revolution was technically a hostile take over.....turned out pretty good for the 'Mericans. 😁😁😁😁 Not so good for the Brits.

Good shit - as usual were on the same page with a lot of this stuff.

I am kind of hoping the whole thing turns into a shit storm and they all narc on each other for all the voting trades, sells, etc that are already happening that would be good drama.

^ This

Regarding Fyrstikken, he is adult who holds stake, he is talking about offering a transparent service that can be used or not, by other adults. I can't say I take issue with that.

^ this x2 - which is what it all comes down to.

I'm still so new here - but I love it - and seeing someone like you be so invested in how this place operates gives me hope because I know there are more ppl like you here.

Also in regards to your previous post about the "new rules" - do people really hope for dolphin / whale votes ? Like obviously that would be nice but are people really crying about it ? Maybe I don't see the whining because I don't follow ppl like that. Anywho - keep doing you. All the best. E.

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It will be interesting to see it all play out. :) I do have to say, even though I can't really voice what about it bothers me. It doesn't settle extremely well. I suspect it comes down to my training in Democracy, which doesn't apply here.

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Democracy doesn't apply in many places my friend. I'm also against 'the man' getting everything because he's got the money to get it, but in truth, that man is more trustworthy than the one who does one thing while saying another to get a small vote of public opinion. The real votes are bought, by hard crypto or favours.. and the little voters seldom know what that is all about.

I should probably check my witness votes...

I've been aware that witness politics are probably the reason why vote buying/selling is an issue that has gone nowhere. And... yea, there's probably a few witnesses up there who probably don't deserve the spot..

But what the hell can I do, I'm just a minnow.

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^ I feel this. I'm a dolphin and my witness votes still don't matter! :)

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For what it's worth, talking to new witnesses I've come to understand that our votes can really matter for people way down the list, because that 1/21 of the time that a block goes outside the top 20, how often it goes to them is determined by how many MVest votes they have.

That can make a lot of difference to a witness just starting out and investing in equipment and learning, that they're getting at least a little of it back. And hopefully eventually get more committed witnesses in the long run.

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Kinda suck to know that you as a rep 70 feels the same as me. makes one really feel pessimistic about the platform sometimes. But then again everyone is self-serving to a degree, we can't expect people to automatically turn into idealistic philatropists just because they somehow got more money than us.

Perhaps it's as you said, we do need this issue to turn into a full blown shitstorm before it's really addressed. Put on our radiation suit, sit back, relax, and wait for the fireworks i guess....

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I say often:

Lack of distribution is the biggest problem we have. It gets really frustrating. It creates nearly all the other issues that get talked about. Including voting bots, retention etc.

I still believe though.

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But is there really a way to make steem distribution equal? because then how equal is equal? It frustrates me too.

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I don't think it will ever be equal, nor do I think that would be desirable. But a better spread would be great. We are slowly, ever so slowly moving in that direction.

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That is apparent. And encouraging..

All hail our true lord and savior, crapitalism!
Every knee shall bow before the almighty dollar!

Isnt there more to life than this?
Eat, work, sleep.

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do an ico ;)

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I will if the vaporware called smt's ever materializes.
That should keep me busy.

I vote for witnesses I see doing something positive here. In some cases that's developing apps. I've used all my votes, but I'll check now and then to see if any are inactive

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There are so many inactives now, still getting votes.

What is witness vote ?

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Better question: why its important the witness vote FOR a witness?

A couple of weeks back, @steevc published a list of witnesses, and gave reasons why to vote for them.

I voted for a bunch of them. But I didn't vote for isnochys, as the only reason recommended to vote that way was regular kickbacks.

I've got no problem with kickbacks from a witness, who is objectively good anyway, but where no reason is cited to vote for a person except kickbacks, that is just another road to hell for Steem.

For it is easy to imagine that the best witnesses need the money to eat, and if kickbacks rule, there won't be enough left for the best witnesses to eat. Then the race to the bottom will determine that only cost cutting witnesses who funnel the most kickbacks out will become witnesses.

So the concept of a quality witness or a visionary witness will be over, exchanged for the cheapest low quality witnesses who stage the biggest giveaways.

It's just bidbots part 2, only worse. So, for now, I didn't vote for isnochys.

What I do love about this though, is your hand rubbing glee over a shitstorm. That I can appreciate and enjoy lol! ;)

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I see he has just announced he will not be rewarding voters any more after being bullied into this change. He should be able to do what he likes if it's not harming Steemit. He's opted to not take all the witness reward he could. It's not like he was ever near the top of the list. I didn't regard it as a serious part of my income and I may continue to support him as we need a spread of witnesses.

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Noone should be bullied, least of all in the wild west of Steemit, where noone really knows anything. Hope he's ok. I wasn't criticising him, just saying that I lack enough info to make my own judgement. :)

I am kind of hoping the whole thing turns into a shit storm and they all narc on each other…

It would be the best season of Survivor ever!

No problem here...

Bit one question, are votes weighted with steempower?

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Yes they are.

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So upon further thought then, vote selling opens the door to government censorship.

Government accounts (or any other group with deep pockets) can buy up the witness spots through vote buying, and then censor accounts...

Or am I missing something?

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Interesting thought. I guess it is possible. :)

This kind of "pay for witness votes" marketplace was suggested through a Utopian.io post a few months ago. Here is the link: https://steemit.com/utopian-io/@ebargains/proposal-to-increase-witness-voting-participation-on-steem

Hmmmmm...

The politics on this platform is becoming more intense.
Gradually turning the system from a decentralization stuff to a PLUTARCHY stuff.

To listen to the audio version of this article click on the play image.

Brought to you by @tts. If you find it useful please consider upvoting this reply.

Yeah I don't like this, it's the same problem as with vote bots where content that doesn't deserve the votes are getting them because they paid. It will also create a bigger gap in SP between whales and minnows/redfish which is already a problem.

I too have voted limited witnesses, and its because of some reason. I don't think, witness votes should be traded. This place is already full of bots and a trading place for content. Doing the same who are the backbones, would make it worst.

Although it comes in different forms, vote-buying in the Philippines has been rather consistent in terms of methods. Here are some observable patterns:

It is systematic. The candidates themselves do not do the actual vote buying. Instead they have coordinators working in the barangay and purok levels who do the dirty work for them.
No amount is ever too small or too big. In a documented case in Cagayan de Oro, vote-buying goes for as low as P1,000 per head. Meanwhile, in Samar, one of the country’s poorest provinces, rates could go as high as P5,000 to P7,000.
It happened even after poll automation. One might think that the country's transition to an automated election would eliminate vote-buying. The truth, however, is far from that. Since the 2010 poll automation, incidences of vote buying have actually increased, the Comelec observed.

What about you? Be honest if not with me, with yourself.. If they were going to pay for your vote would you take it?

Why or Why Not?

I will take it. I believe witnesses have to pay something for the community . Some witness like @aggroed, @someguy123 give a lots of support to community. Witness like @curie give what kind of support to the community. He is working on his own curation team. Minnowsupport project is for everyone except for the steemians who is in blacklist. For me I will support the witness something relating to me or their work is usable for me. Currently I am not giving my vote to any witness becasue my sp is very low. It would be nothing different.

Buying wintness vote means he/she is giving something to you. It is direct method but every witness is using direct method or indirect method to get upvote from steemians. I think it is the same only the different is the method they use. Witness vote buying does not violate steemit rules.

Hmm... It's interesting question!

  1. Of course The buying and selling may seem like an attractive market
  2. This can cause unhealthy excitement и and speculation
  3. I think many would like to get easy money on a fast
  4. Earlier I did not think about selling votes, but I think if you gave your vote, it would be fair if witness shared his income, even a tenth of the income with those who voted for him.
  5. And if we talk about me, I never once had to sell my votes for witness in this way and I gave my votes for those witnesses whose work and benefit I see
    Thank you for raising such an interesting topic!

I can't see what the issue could be with buying anything at all, from votes on posts to votes for witnesses. Society accepts this principle that if a product, service, or project has enough financial backing and no laws are being broken, it is probably something worthwhile. If it isn't, so be it. We don't gripe and moan when those behind the project plough their own money into it or seek investors to assist them to back it financially.

There is far more opaqueness in secret handshakes, nods, winks and kowtowing than in being transparent by backing a project with paid support. I pay for all of my highest votes on content because it's in sync with my personal goals, foolish or otherwise.

I'm rubbing my own hands together to see what happens next in this drama - flag wars incoming ? It's dog-eat dog, and the biggest dog wins. Let's hope it's also a nice dog.

good work..dear this is other side of story...!

From what I've been told witnesses don't advocate for non witnesses on the platform, so in that respect I would guess there couldn't be any influence buying going on. On the other hand selling out votes to the highest bidder could be putting the platform at risk of getting people who can't adequately do the job.

@ whatsup I too have mixed feelings on witness vote buying and selling,thats why i upvote the post that i like.and do not urge others to vote for me.I simply focus on my work and good content.

https://steemit.com/@whatsup # Congratulation your post is very nicebutterflies-3524415__340.jpg