On Curation Rewards and Their Necessity

in steemit •  2 years ago

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Curation rewards are the talk of the town this week. Should they stay or should they go?

The purpose of STEEM/Steemit was to provide a means for bootstrapping and onboarding users of a cryptocurrency by creating a popular and scalable format for doing so: a social media website. Steemit is not the end game. It is merely the first building block.

In order to help bootstrap the STEEM blockchain/currency, new users are given a small amount of the currency to be used for their activities on the platform. They can build on this initial amount by interacting through content creation, commenting, and voting on other posts. There is also an option to increase their stake by purchasing more STEEM and using the added influence to potentially increase their rewards accumulation over time.

Curation rewards are the incentive for discovering and evaluating content. It is this reward that many users don’t quite seem to fully grasp, even though it’s likely the most important aspect of the platform.

How do we measure the value of STEEM/Steemit?

Where is the value derived? Why are we incentivized to perform specific work on the platform? This may be one of the answers:

Value is in the Links

The Internet would lose the vast majority of its value if all links among content were removed. It is the relationship among web pages that allows Google to identify the best apple pie recipe among the 16 million results. Without the links the only information Google would have is word frequency.

Links can take many forms and have adapted over time. Every time a user votes on content in a social network they add a link between themselves and the content. This in turn links the consumer to the producer through the content. The more links a network has the more valuable the information becomes. It is the relative and intentional connectedness of information that gives it value.

A social network can maximize the value extracted from a set of content by maximizing the quantity and quality of links. Curating content is expensive and time consuming while being near impossible for computers to perform in the absence of links. Steem rewards users who are among the first to find and link to new content.

By incentivising curation the Steem network is able to use automated algorithms to extract the most valuable information from a massive amount of content.

From the STEEM Whitepaper

What is meant by “value is in the links?” At first, I read this as an argument or example about search engine optimization (SEO). Upon further thought, I think it has more to do with filtering content by users so that the content can be categorized and presented in useful ways to users of the platform. Let me try to explain – and I welcome anyone who can clarify what this means...perhaps @dantheman and/or @ned can help with that.

Every time we post on our blog, leave a comment, or vote on content, it creates a link between our account and the posts. These various links between our account pages and other accounts on the platform help with parsing and indexing content, even if it’s just internal. Curating the content with our upvotes or downvotes makes pages like trending or active possible and helps rank content on those pages or in various tags. It provides a basis for searches to rank “good” content from “not so good” or even “bad” content.

This is valuable work for any given platform and, as such, the work is incentivized with possible rewards for completing the task. Incentivizing curation work is no different than paying the content creators for the work in the first place. Both actions of creation and curation are needed. One would not be useful without the other. It’s a symbiotic relationship.

In terms of value for STEEM/Steemit, it is the links between all of the different pages and accounts that gives value to the platform. There is no specific content – other than what can be wildly popular and trending outside of the platform – that can “raise the value” of STEEM/Steemit, and that is mostly dependent on the content attracting new users who will then add to the overall work on the site. How we subjectively value content from day to day is largely irrelevant.

Post rewards and the effects of curation

The fact that posts are rewarded with the STEEM currencies is a direct result of curation and the curating incentives. It doesn’t matter what the post payouts actually are. What matters is whether or not the links are being drawn between the various pages and accounts. It is only assumed that the (subjectively) “better” content will be the recipient of more votes. There is some reasoning behind what may be considered generally more valuable or popular, but there isn’t much of an objective standard for content.

In any case, post payouts are not the goal of curation or the purpose for incentivizing it. Post payouts are the byproduct of curation.

Curators look for content that they believe (subjectively) will become the most liked – or the most popular. The reward for finding the best or most popular content is a percentage of the final payout of the post. The better you are at discovering subjectively good content, the more you can earn through curation. A curator that votes on content that is unpopular will likely see a lower return for their efforts than one that consistently votes for content that goes on to become popular. Whether we disagree on what constitutes “good” or whether we disagree on if it should be popular is, again, irrelevant.

The incentive for curating is only meant to entice people to cast more of their votes for content evaluation, which is then used for internal metrics and rankings of that content. Without the incentive to curate, there would likely be less overall curation.

But what about all of the bots?

They don’t really matter when it comes to work performed.

A curating bot or a curating human serves the same purpose and essentially does the same work for the platform. There is actually more value for the platform from a bot that curates 100 posts per day than from a human that curates 10 per day – if the value is indeed in the links. If 100 bots each curate 100 links every day and 100 humans are only curating 20 links each day, then there’s a disparity of 8,000 links each day between the two groups. The bots are actually performing more overall work for the platform.

Whether the work of the bots accurately depicts the subjective preferences of humans is debatable, but it’s up to the human evaluators to either agree or disagree and to curate accordingly. However, bots can also be programmed to find content that human curators have discovered and vote on them accordingly. Bot voting isn’t limited to one specific task or metric. As stated, the relationship is symbiotic.

Curation rewards mostly do not benefit new users and other small stakeholders.

This is true. Rewards are not as large for new users and other small stakeholders and they may receive nothing at all for curating many posts. This is one of the consequences of a stake-weighted system. Those users with a larger stake will inevitably receive a larger share of rewards for the work performed on the platform.

Is there something particularly wrong with this? Should the larger stakeholders not be allowed to earn a larger percentage of the value being created by the work being done?

Regardless of your opinion on that, curation rewards for a post are divided based on the voting weight of each of the curators. A user with 10 STEEM Power shouldn’t expect to earn a lot of rewards. A user with 1000 STEEM Power shouldn’t expect to earn as much curation rewards as one with 25,000 or one million. Each user has to either earn their rewards through posting or good curating, or they can purchase more STEEM Power to increase their stake on the platform.

There is an often repeated notion that new users cannot earn anything “adequate” or “significant,” or that they can’t earn a “decent percentage” of rewards. But what does this mean? What is an “adequate” amount of curation rewards for voting on content? Why are there continued complaints about how much a single curator can earn from a given post? To what are we comparing these assessments? How much should any given curator receive from upvoting content on a social media platform?

After these arbitrary assessments are made, the usual conclusion is that “curation rewards are bad” or that “they just aren’t necessary.” I see people argue that “you don’t need to pay people to vote on content because they’ll do it anyway.” This may be true, but we also don’t need to pay people for creating content because many people will do it anyway – and they do.

So, the argument can be used both ways, but this platform is not meant to pay one user instead of another – it’s meant to pay all users for their work performed.

So what are the solutions?

That depends on what the problems actually are. The mere existence of curation rewards isn’t the problem. What users are seeing as a “problem with curation” is mostly a problem with the distribution of stake, the voting algorithms, and the tiny user base. The only thing that can be realistically addressed right now is the voting algorithm, so here’s a solution that has been proposed.

There has been much conversation in the past and especially over the last few days or weeks about the n^2 voting algorithm. Without getting too technical for the average reader (and due to not even fully understanding all of the mathematical implications myself), this algorithm results in a relatively sharp curve for post rewards as more voting shares are added to a post via curation. As more users upvote a post, their respective contribution to the payout becomes exponentially larger than it would if there were no other votes.

One of the proposed and debated solutions by users like @clayop and @smooth is to change the algorithm to n log(n). The net result would be to flatten the rewards curve, which would better distribute the overall rewards pool among blog posts and also give smaller stakeholders a larger percentage of curation rewards than is currently received on a given post.

Image via @timcliff

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If a better distribution of curation rewards is the answer, then this change could effectively address that. It would also help mitigate or even possibly prevent “piling on.”

Once better distribution can be achieved, the next focus would be on better incentives for curating. This can be realized by increasing the percentage of curation rewards back to the original 50/50 split with author rewards. As pointed out by many others, due to the reverse auction (the curation rewards “penalty” for voting on content inside of 30 minutes), the actual split isn’t really 75/25 or 50/50. Curation rewards are always less than the starting percentage. So, a return to 50/50 will incentivize curating, but it still won’t be a true 50/50 split – although it will certainly be better than the far less than 25% split right now.

And what would be the results of these changes?

With better distribution and less incentive for piling on, and an increase in overall curation rewards, a focus on quality curating should result in better returns for human curators. The incentives for holding SP would therefore be greater and may even increase demand.

The overall net result could be better distribution of post rewards, better distribution of curation rewards, higher demand for SP, a consequent higher STEEM price, and possibly even an increase in overall morale/enthusiasm for both content creators and consumers.

Yes, the overall stake on the platform will still be disproportionate between the early miners and the rest of the user base, but the changes would mitigate some of those issues and restore at least a perceptible amount of balance.

It is my contention that the platform functions better if both creators and curators can be rewarded for their work. It also appeals to a much wider market, since regular/routine or professional bloggers are a relatively small one. The purpose of STEEM/Steemit is to onboard as many people as possible into the cryptocurrency space and to create a sustainable marketplace for them. Excluding content consumers from being rewarded for work done is simply not an option.


[EDIT]

I wanted to add this comment from @nonameslefttouse to this post, because I believe there is a valuable lesson to be learned from this. It is one of many reasons why curation rewards offer a significant advantage to Steemit and its users over other sites and their users. And I hope that the STEEM/Steemit marketing team (if it exists yet) takes notice:

So I was on Youtube today enjoying the work of a particular vlogger I enjoy. He rides around on a dirtbike while saying words I find entertaining and/or interesting. One might say to themselves, "How does that bring value to the platform?"

This guy is almost at the 200000 subscriber mark. The video I watched had 69389 views. Yes, I realize youtube has millions upon millions of users who frequent the site. I noticed something peculiar though. Out of all those views and subscribers, the thumbs up button was hit 2822 times. I'm sure far more than 2822 people liked that video. Only 66 pressed downvote, and those were probably jealous trolls.

What could possibly be the reason why the upvote button on Youtube is neglected? No incentive, perhaps?

At the start of the video, the video blogger starts talking about how much he loves his supporters and begins thanking them. He said, "If only there was something I could do for you guys."

If he was on Steemit, he could have said, "Don't forget to upvote! Enjoy your piece of the pie! Thanks for the support, as per usual!"

I'm certain there's a lesson to be learned somewhere in what I just said.


Please take a moment to read this post by @sigmajin for further commentary on the voting algorithm: An Opponent of the Exponent: Making the Case for Vshare Linearity

I welcome any comments or critiques. And I really would like @dantheman to clarify the “value is in the links” portion of the whitepaper, if he has a moment to do so.


Follow me: @ats-david

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Before I begin, @ats-david, I am aware that you are a powerful figure within the steemit set-up and I am aware that I risk further ostracisation through voicing the opinions shared by many. I am just prepared to speak up. Should you wish to join the throngs who have seen what I say and ostracise me too, fire away! I am already riddled with bullets and have suffered as a result. I am just a bit more determined to see steemit succeed than that. I have studied the £$%& out of this thing and I am a fan of a magnificent idea with a crap leverage system which has been abused to hell, resulting in steem price today. Steem is not based upon anything but steemit to all intents and purposes. You might well guffaw at that - it just happens to be inviolably true.

"Curation rewards are the incentive for discovering and evaluating content. It is this reward that many users don’t quite seem to fully grasp, even though it’s likely the most important aspect of the platform."
Curation seems to ignore content and vote for reward, blindly.
"This may be true, but we also don’t need to pay people for creating content because many people will do it anyway – and they do."
Is that a justification for profiting off people who create content? This is the Google, Facebook argument which is incessantly decried by the same voices. The blockchain is supposed to even out the playing field, not make the curve steeper!
"This is true. Rewards are not as large for new users and other small stakeholders and they may receive nothing at all for curating many posts."
Let's be real: the ratio of earning is stacked well over 100,000 times less for a new user. The slave trade treated people better.

I have no ill-will against anyone personally. I do have ill-will against the sense of self-righteous entitlement to perpetrate a system of secrecy and unjustifiable leverage which drives the value of the enterprise into the dirt. The truth is that steem is actually violently over-valued, by about four fold because of the intransigent behaviours of the "justified".

I shall repeat. There is no personal ill-will within my words. There is a desire to see the success of steemit which is stronger than most and backed by some fairly hefty experience in business. Would you really expect a currency of which 80% is held by less than 100 people to have a value when its prospects have a history of retention akin to a greasy pole? Not in a cat's chance in hell.

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As for justification at Google or Facebook not paying for content. They can, they created the environment,,, the 'playground' where people can play.

Then they created revenue by selling adverts. Before talking about fairness and equality... We should talk about revenue. Where is the revenue for Steemit coming from? It's not adverts.

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Many thanks @wingz for your comments. The interaction and discussion is the stuff of solution and that is the goal for all with a care for this wonderful idea! Respect to you.
I am not quite clear as to your comment about Facebook or Google - I have heard it said many times that steemit seeks not to follow the trend of these two giants who profit off their subscribers, yet that is exactly what the power holders of steemit are doing.
The revenue is derived as I understand it via the blockchain and distributed to the holders of the SP, hence the numbers and the value. The distribution is stacked at leverage ratios of enormous proportion. I get leverage and I get investment - even mining but the initial rewards seem to have caused an imbalance which by its very nature is self-defeating. Hence, steem value today!

I hope that these words clarify your remarks to me, and the one question. If not, I am at your disposal to discuss further. Namaste!

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If initial investors are paid off with the investments of further investors then the scheme is a Ponzi scheme.

Facebook etc, gave everything away for free, gained a network effect and then monetised with ads.

Technically the steem 'token' is derived from the blockchain. It's printed from nothing but the value does not come from nothing. It comes from investors betting on the network effect of Steem.

...And hoping on some kind of revenue in the future..

So basically, Steemit needs to find revenue other than new investors otherwise it's a Ponzi.

Sorry...I'll also add

Also you're right about the initial distribution. Far too top heavy and biased to large stakeholders that issues of 'fairness' are rightfully amplified to the extreme.

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I could not agree more ... the value of steem, as it stands can only be based upon a valuation of steemit and a 'discounted for time' potential. The performance of steemit is therefore behind the valuation of steem and the responsibility of that performance is currently held to the tune of 80% by less than 100 people and 90% by less than 400 people.
The negation of this is to call black white!!
Curation, downvoting, UI - it does not terribly matter. What does matter is recognition of this simple truth, admission and a redirection based upon fairness. Otherwise, it will be a sad tale of Greed thwarting a wonderful concept.
Much as I think that @timcliff is doing an admirable job, I don't believe that it will be sufficiently radical to repair the holes in the hull.
The slowness to action displays a thorough misunderstanding of the status quo. Steem, right now should be trading at 4 cents, based upon what you and I have agreed.

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I by no means think we should agree on all aspects to the same degree, nor would I try to persuade you.

I mean, the issue with Steemit is that it, in hindsight could be seen as a flop or as an incredible evolution of value that was bootstrapped from nothing. If development stopped here it would be the former. If we can take a few steps to Dan's vision... a few months back... of Steemit as the tip of the iceberg... Then we have the latter.

It's a juggling act. Why re arrange the deckchairs? When you can build the boat?

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Dan and Ned have the vision but the majority of the whales seem to be in that desperately long river in Africa.

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Creating revenue through selling advertisements is reasonably on the horizon for the STEEM platform, and the various UIs that interface with it. It has been brought up before though that we need a fully functioning platform and a healthy (large and engaged) user base in order for the idea of advertisements to appeal to any of the large advertising stakeholders. I believe that is where we are heading.

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They've certainly left the door open to this but I think there's a bit of conflict in that. They say they're not interested but might do it.

From the Steem whitepaper pg 43, "Replacing Advertising with Blockchain-Based Content Rewards":

Advertising represents a double-edged sword: With ads, a creator can make money most easily. Without ads, monetization is difficult but the content is richer.

And this is from an article where @ned is quoted (though it may be from an out of date press release?) published on 31st Jan this year, only a few weeks ago:

Steemit users are rewarded by the Steem Blockchain itself, as it tallies posts by their votes and then rewards the best poster and voters accordingly. As a result, Steemit can be an ad-free, decentralized social media platform where anyone can get rewarded by posting or finding good content.

However in the privacy policy they make clear they can do all sorts:

We may partner with third-party advertisers, ad networks, and analytics providers to deliver advertising and content targeted to your interests [emphasis mine] and to better understand your use of the Services. These third parties may collect information sent by your computer, browser, or mobile device in response to a request for content, such as unique identifiers, your IP address, or other information about your computer or device.

I know it's off topic for this article but I want to state that I strongly believe this should be resisted. If that's where we're heading I'll be sorely disappointed.

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The whitepaper is a bit out of date. I'm not sure if that is still the platform's position.

You are against adds that would pay all SP holders? What other revenue model would be able to support billions of dollars worth of new capital flowing into the platform?

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I'm against invasions of privacy, harvesting personally identifiable information and tracking. This puts me in the position of opposing internet advertising as it currently stands because the ad networks employ some of the most advanced and invasive tracking methodologies yet invented.

The lack of it is the only reason I gave Steemit a chance to begin with. While the uncompromisingness of my position is not all that common, most people are against tracking, but choose to ignore it in order to access services.

I don't see how it would be practically possible for Steemit.com to incorporate advertising without involving these ad network but if they found a way I wouldn't oppose that. However it's clear that they would go with tracking. That's what "content targeted to your interests" is a euphemism for.


Edit: I forgot to ask, then is ned's quote out of date too?

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(Nesting)

I forgot to ask, then is ned's quote out of date too?

I don't know.

Anything along those lines is in the distant future at this point, so I'd say it is up in the air.

I know the Steemit devs and community are very concerned about privacy, so I wouldn't expect anything invasive that wasn't voluntary.

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I hope so. I'd love to see them abandon CDNs (they are tracking proxies) and the use of Google analytics and custom search, but that's another story for another day!

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How did you get that & in your comment? A literal & in a comment will display an ampersand, as will a single unadorned one like &. To get an & you need to write & in a steemit.com comment box.

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Hi there @sneak, I think I swanned past this message with your question about an ampersand, not thinking that it could have been for me! Firstly, many apologies for my oversight! I should know better.
The ampersand - & - shift and a 7 is all it took!
The devs must have been working overtime if that is not supposed to be a possibility!!
There again, I could be a complete effing genius and know how to programme the programme but that is as likely as pig aerobatics.
I know I have learned a lot today. Maybe I have managed to pass a gem to you. Namaste!

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Weird. It showed up as a & before. Now it's just showing as a normal ampersand (&). Odd bug!

"have studied the £$%& out of this thing"

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Mystery - maybe the combination, % before it could be a formatting tool, or maybe it just knew I meant 'fuck'! I shall follow your exploits to see how your fathom it out!

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Thank you so very much for this huge piece of information about a very hot topic.

I have a very hard time believing that "A curating bot or a curating human serves the same purpose and essentially does the same work for the platform. " I have seen so many posts with low to mediocre quality getting upvoted by tons of bots bringing down the quality of the platform to the eyes of the people coming through this platform. Though, there is an obvious incentive in voting, the quality of the vote itself brings about questioning in relation to the inherent quality of a post.

Not manning this vote, offers a huge space for bots to bring forth in the rankings much lower quality at a much higher rate than any humans could do. Therefore, the general resulting effects of the bots activities on the platform must greatly vary depending on the quality of the bots themselves. Nevertheless, I still have a tough time believing that a bot could attribute due quality to poetic writings and literary styles making use of parables, myths, poetry itself.

From here, it is obvious for me that curation guilds are a paramount essential in our virtual ecosystem platform here and if we are to rise in sustainability, we'll need to allow for the curation teams to focus on this matter. The crews working on curations for the moment are highly pleasing and bring about fantastic results for us all, I can't stress that point enough. They equally double up as watchdogs for our platform as well as they have learned by now to read between the lines as well. I am so glad to read "What users are seeing as a “problem with curation” is mostly a problem with the distribution of stake, the voting algorithms, and the tiny user base." I see this daily and can only agree with you. If more knowledge, a clarity of understanding how the platform works was palpably there in the user, new comers would have much less worries about the matter of justice relating to the distribution of stake. This fear in us humans comes way before we actually became humans and it is still persisting within us all. Justice on this matter needs to be openly exposed and, in our situation here, more crystal clear explanation, schematics, educational cartoons and rudiments of that fashion would go a long way into introducing these concepts to our new users.

I can only support the switch over to "the algorithm to n log(n)" as a very beneficial change for us all, and especially the people found within the system that have much less power. Yet, this new way of doing business also allows for the higher stake holders to still have a decent amount of leverage over the curation as well, which I found in itself very healthy as it tends to naturally promote quality and sustainability of the platform as well.

What a powerful paragraph: "With better distribution and less incentive for piling on, and an increase in overall curation rewards, a focus on quality curating should result in better returns for human curators. The incentives for holding SP would therefore be greater and may even increase demand."

Thanks again for a fantastic write up, dedication to quality, sustainability and a very healthy virtual platform. All for one and one for all! Namaste :)

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I have seen so many posts with low to mediocre quality getting upvoted by tons of bots bringing down the quality of the platform to the eyes of the people coming through this platform.

To be fair, I have seen many (subjectively) low-quality posts being voted by human curators to the top of the trending page. So it's not exclusively a bot problem.

Nevertheless, I still have a tough time believing that a bot could attribute due quality to poetic writings and literary styles making use of parables, myths, poetry itself.

Of course not. The current curation bots can't judge the value of content in any humanly subjective way. But that's not their purpose. Their purpose is likely one of two objectives: to predict where the most value can be gained among existing posts and to vote on those, or to simply vote for specific authors and/or to vote at a specific time on a given post. Either one consists of a human element in programming them and they both perform work for the platform. So in that sense, the curation is being done and is helping to achieve the goal of linking content/pages.

In my opinion, the far bigger issue is the human voting with larger stake - and attempts to distribute for the sake of distribution or to hand out rewards based on "consistent effort" rather than actual evaluation on post quality or potential popularity. In that regard, I would disagree with you on the necessity of guilds. If you missed my post last Friday (don't remember if you commented or not), it was about this very topic.

Yet, this new way of doing business also allows for the higher stake holders to still have a decent amount of leverage over the curation as well, which I found in itself very healthy as it tends to naturally promote quality and sustainability of the platform as well.

I pretty much agree, although I'd actually prefer to see less involvement from so many whales trying to "distribute" rewards. There's an argument to be made that the less the whales get involved with voting, the more influence all other users will have. The trending pages would likely be vastly different from day to day if the voting was done entirely by the smaller stakeholders. It may even allow for actual and organic popularity to emerge among the user base. I realize that this will likely never happen - and I don't have any particular reason why it should happen - but it would certainly be an interesting experiment to say the least.

Thanks again for a fantastic write up, dedication to quality, sustainability and a very healthy virtual platform.

Well, thank you very much!

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I have seen so many posts with low to mediocre quality getting upvoted by tons of bots bringing down the quality of the platform to the eyes of the people coming through this platform. Though, there is an obvious incentive in voting, the quality of the vote itself brings about questioning in relation to the inherent quality of a post.

In almost every case, those bots were front running shitty human whale curators who upvote the same author 100% of the time (for reasons of their own, which i won't touch on).

There are maybe 10 honest to goodness people that have a measurable effect on reward distribution. and afaik, all of them are people, not bots.

Enjoyed reading yet another good perspective on this current hot topic!

From my perspective, which is that of
a) a newcomer
b) not a developer
c) only a cryptocurrency enthusiast in the most peripheral of ways
d) a 20-year+ content creator including some "peer curated" sites

I'd like to really bring to the forefront the importance of curation as a tool for encouraging active participation as well as account retention. In a sense, curation can be the "secret sauce" in answering the broader user question (and I am talking about core stakeholders, here) "why should I care to put any time and effort into this site?"

It may not matter so much right now, but let's look at a roadmap plan perhaps called "siphoning off Facebook's most alternative thinking 1%" (+/- 18 million users), they may come for the rewards or incentives, but "fair treatment" is going to be what makes them want to stay and be active community members. And not that many of them are going to be techies or developers.

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Thank you! Good to hear. This is not about finger-pointing, it is about realisation of the status quo, the consequences of doing nothing and the responsibility of the 67-400 people who are overseeing the reality of day-to-day steemit.

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In a sense, curation can be the "secret sauce" in answering the broader user question (and I am talking about core stakeholders, here) "why should I care to put any time and effort into this site?"

Exactly right. While some people see curation rewards as unfair or unnecessary, others see it as a way to engage users and actually earn stake without having to be a content creator. And this is the most vital role that it can play - a means for onboarding readers and voters who have no desire to create content, but still want to actively participate on the platform and earn STEEM. It's also one of very few reasons for holding SP and may be the only reason for holding it right now.

No matter what we think about fairness, curation rewards have more than one valuable purpose for the platform overall.

Good post.
From my perspective, the motivation of curation reward is to cope with bot problem. The bot problem is located at the interaction among 1) superlinear reward calculation system, 2) gamified curation (30min window, front-running), and 3) financial incentives to upvotes.

As told in sigmajin's post, if n system replaces superlinear systems I think removing curation reward is much less needed (or not needed). But if we keep any superlinear system, there will be bots that seek higher rewards.

I like @smooth's idea about n with dynamic threshold to discourage self-voting. It seems simpler, efficient, and fair.

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With all due respect, @clayop, I respect your position in this community and I thoroughly respect your infinitely superior knowledge of IT at large. I have no axe to grind on any personal level, though I have been treated like a pariah ever since `I raised the issue months ago.
Self-voting is about number n squared on the agenda.
Algorithmic curation systems are a blight.
People who 'Game' are causing structural damage to the platform.
My 4 cent valuation will go to 0.4.
[There goes any decent vote I had left!]
Businesses have metrics of determination - this one is choosing all the wrong numbers, words and so forth.
Blockchain is almost synonymous with distribution.
Distribution is not happening, is not allowed to happen, is prevented from happening.
If we could regress to July, what you have advocated? The same strategy or something different?

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If we reverse the clock to July, I will still strongly argue for replacing n^2 with a linear distribution system, which has long been complained by Korean community members. I am not sure I will be against curation reward because we don't have serious bot problem in July, but basically my thought is that the current curation reward system doesn't help the growth of Steem so at least it should be modified.

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Thank you @clayop, I very much respect the sentiment of your reply. I hope now that you can see that I am not the moaner but the person who has a positive vision.
To be perfectly frank, n^2 was not something I learned for my 1981 A Level in statistics and it remains a mystery. I shall go and learn up upon my gaps in knowledge.
Thank you also for your seeing that the current system is not productive. What matters is the resolution of risk/reward and fairness such that steemit can set itself on a course with a fair wind.
Namaste!

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I like @smooth's idea about n with dynamic threshold to discourage self-voting. It seems simpler, efficient, and fair.

Yes, he was talking about that last night and it seems like either the "n log(n)" or the dynamic threshold would be a better algorithm than the current one. I think either one of those, in conjunction with a larger share of curation for payouts, would correct a lot of the payout disparities for both posting and curating.

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Very clearly put, thank you 🙂

Please keep curation rewards!

I think we're shuffling deckchairs. Little micro problems. The real macro problem is finding a revenue source that isnt new investors and that's sustainable and can grow.

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Micro though it may be, if the suggested changes are seen as "fairer" by the majority of the user-base, then it's likely to lead to more engagement with the platform and better user-retention, which can't be a bad thing.

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Why retain x% of the current 2k+ users when you can usher in 200k more?

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because you can then retain x% of 200k more, as opposed to the much worse y% that we're currently at.

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You're right given that the first 2k users are a representative sample of the next 200k. But that's a very low probability 'given' in my eyes.

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Maybe, but I don't see how upping the average Steem distribution to the lower 95% (SP holders) can be viewed as a bad thing. If the people already using the system think that it's broken, who's going to sell it to the fence-sitters and those currently unaware of Steemit?

Make it right before you go alpha.

By all means, take everything you said in your first post into account as well, but we can't forget about the importance of calibrating the math side of the system to ensure the highest possible growth/ retention, either.

It can be bad to focus too much on the big picture (future), as well, particularly when something can clearly be improved in the short-term that will help calm the turbulence within the current community.

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Nesting reply.

I can't argue with what you say, it makes sense.

Let me throw out a hypothetical. Let's say you own 50% of Facebook , you believe it's going to be successful in the long run. But you're confronted with an incredibly vocal first 2k users, influenced by unsustainable rewards. With opinions shooting out of them, non sensical bullshit you disagree with.

In that situation, if I had the belief that the platform would exponentially grow. Then I wouldn't really care too much about those users... They're early adopters, they're not the average user.

In fact (to be crass) I'd take my big wad of 'fuck you SP' ... and continue with my original vision.

We're so early stage, people seem to think they're more important than they are.

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Well, I can't help but notice that neither Dan nor Ned are participating in any of this debate, so perhaps the:

take my big wad of 'fuck you SP' ... and continue with my original vision.

is precisely what's happening...and maybe that's what's best for the platform, as I don't necessarily disagree with your last statement, either:

We're so early stage, people seem to think they're more important than they are.

...but, of course, that's not to say that we should bite our tongues when we feel strongly opinionated about something that directly effects our investments.

Lately, there's a lot of $0.02 going around on this curation topic and I don't think it's so bad to consider starting to listen if one of the sides adds up to something like, say, $100 when the other is still sitting under $1.

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Let's say you own 50% of Facebook , you believe it's going to be successful in the long run... Then I wouldn't really care too much about those users...

Perfectly reasonable position. Provided your crystal ball is working properly.

If, like the rest of us, you can only speculate about the future by observing the present and recollecting the past.. perhaps less so.

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Yeah I agree with you. We certainly my need to hash out any issues at this stage.

It's the people that think they're too important that are stifling this at times.

We're the pioneers of this big social and capitalist experiment. Let's break a few eggs! At this stage the more mistakes the better :)

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if youre filling up a bucket with a hole in it, you plug the hole first, then you fill the bucket.

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Or you fill it up faster, then fill the gap.

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clearly you know nothing about bucket filling ;-)

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These proposals are attempting to get at the core of several user retention issues. User retention is not a micro problem. It is something that we do need to address if we are going to build a user base that could sustain a profitable revenue model such as advertisements.

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These proposals are attempting to get at the core of several user retention issues. User retention is not a micro problem.

Its not a micro-problem. But the solution you provide is a micro solution. If the curation rewards fairy (should be a real thing) appeared tomorrow, waved her magic curation rewards fairy voting wand, and made curation rewards completely disappear, it wouldn't have much of an impact on anyone at all, and the average user probably wouldn't even know it had happened.

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I disagree :)

If there was such thing as a curation fairy, and said fairy could magically make the curation rewards formula incentivize voting on the content that the voter believed adds the most value to the platform - I would be in support of that.

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If that happened, it would literally make no difference at all. thats what you don't get... all these bots chasing curation rewards -- they don't have a meaningful effect on reward distribution. If they just stopped voting (or if they changed their behavior to vote for other things) it would change nothing. the real effect of what youre talking about, even if it does everything you believe it will, is shuffling around a bunch of nickles and dimes.

At worst they're exacerbating the problem a little (by piling on whale list posts). I won't say the effect they have this way is insignificant, but its relatively small. "mini" if not "micro". (though the only reason its that is that there's one or two bots that are whales, like wang)

And no. I don't think the whales the bots are following are motivated primarily by curation rewards. I think most of them have their own agendas (good, bad or indifferent) about who and what they want to promote and reward.

thanks for the link.

I don't know as im necessarily in favor of going back to 50/50. I can certainly see the argument for it.

IMO, a compromise solution might be to distribute the proceeds from the reverse auction to post 30 min voters (as opposed to authors).

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IMO, a compromise solution might be to distribute the proceeds from the reverse auction to post 30 min voters (as opposed to authors).

That's actually not a bad idea, if it can be relatively easy to implement. There were three attempts and three failures on incorporating an editor on Steemit. :)

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IMO, the steem team is very good at making changes to the blockchain (where this would happen). Just not great getting things done on the UI.

Good post. It's true that rewards don't benefit small stakeholders and newbies so much...But, on the other hand, it beats blogging on Blogspot or Fakebook for free!

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These rewards do benefit the small stakeholders and noobs though. Those rewards were an incentive for others to vote for someone like me, many months ago, as well as quite a few others, when we had nothing. Now, we're building up our wallets, slowly, but surely and in time, myself and others will have an incentive to build up other wallets.

You said facebook. I used that damn thing for nine years! Just imagine if you were paid for each like given and received over a span of that many years.

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You said facebook. I used that damn thing for nine years! Just imagine if you were paid for each like given and received over a span of that many years.

Yes! This is the point of the rewards structure. There's no guarantee that you'll make tons of money or become a popular blogger. But if you spend as much time creating, interacting, or upvoting content like you do on other platforms, over time, you'll at least earn some money for doing it.

After nine years on Steemit...who knows where you'll be? Who knows where the platform will be? All of the current active users could be millionaires by then.

Or, we could all be earning nothing again like the Facebook users. Not knowing is half the fun!

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There aren't any guarantees on Youtube either. Plenty of accounts going nowhere on that platform. Probably more dead channels than live. That's life in the entertainment game.

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Can't argue with that! I'd rather get paid for posting and voting than not get paid. Even if it's only a small amount.

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Welcome to my world lol!

When I see good content I vote for it immediately! I do not care about how big reward I will get for voting for that.

I just want to support great author who just teach me something, made me laugh or maybe inspired me. The reward for me comes directly from good content. For example good tutorial can save me hours which I can spent working for my employer and earn hundreds of dollars.

Right now this post has 67 views, 310 votes and only 8 comments. Personally I as an author I would prefer to get much less votes, but actually see more comments with feedback, which could actually improve my skills.

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Right now this post has 67 views, 310 votes and only 8 comments. Personally I as an author I would prefer to get much less votes, but actually see more comments with feedback, which could actually improve my skills.

At the time, the post was only about an hour old, so I'm not sure what the point of your comment was. However, I do agree that more engagement is preferable, especially if an author is seeking feedback. The problem is that we don't have a lot of people here. And the user base is also split between users who speak many different languages, so a language barrier plays a large role in engagement as well. When there aren't enough users reading posts - or if they can't read the posts - then it won't be easy to actually have them engage.

But the larger issue is just the complete lack of any meaningful, active user base. We need more people to use the site. It's that simple. If we had 10,000 actual human users who were active every day, we would see a lot more engagement on posts. It also wouldn't hurt to have better filters for finding posts, such as categories > sub-categories > tags (or sub-steems, as many have suggested)...and maybe a better way to actually search for content.

When I see good content I vote for it immediately! I do not care about how big reward I will get for voting for that.

You aren't alone. A lot of people do that. But there's also nothing wrong with voting for potential rewards. Both curating habits are valid and they both serve a purpose.

Thanks @ats-david for another enlightening post. As a newbie, I appreciate the comments as well. Learning as I go, trying to absorb all the info that I can.

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No problem. An informed user is a good user! And it's beneficial for you, too!

Interesting read. Thank you for this.

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You're welcome. Thanks for giving it the time.

So that's all I had to do to make the trending page?

I'll just add, I feel comparing Steemit to Youtube and that business model rather than Facebook's mess leads to far more answers about where this place could be headed. Steemit and Youtube share the same dependencies required to be successful. Creators, consumers and distribution is nearly identical.

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So that's all I had to do to make the trending page?

Yes. So now you know the formula. Gather up all of your ideas that you've made in comments in various places, iron them out, piece them together, clean them up, and present them in a post. Then, wait 24 hours...and go buy yourself a Lambo.

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I'll start with a Lambo keychain and work my way up to a seat cover, then go from there.

What is meant by “value is in the links?” At first,

This is my understanding of that part.

Lets say i read your post. And i like and upvote it. I basically give it the @sigmajin stamp of approval.

Now, other readers have information that they would not have had about your post. They know this is a post that sigmajin likes. Which they probably don't care if they don't know me. But if they do it might mean something to them about whether its worth reading.

It goes both ways too. The fact that i like the post doesnt just say something about the post, it says something about me too.

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Now, other readers have information that they would not have had about your post. They know this is a post that sigmajin likes. Which they probably don't care if they don't know me. But if they do it might mean something to them about whether its worth reading.

In the aggregate it could mean a lot. Wisdom of the crowd and all. Maybe they don't know or care who sigmajin is or about your stamp of approval but if something has many votes then, in theory, later readers might find that very useful information.

In the same way downvotes could be useful information too, in a different design that didn't discourage them. Someone seeing a post with few upvotes now has no idea whether it wasn't liked or wasn't considered. A downvote conveys that it was considered and judged to be poor.

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Rewards are not as large for new users

This needs to be changed to:

Rewards are non-existant for new users (for the most part)

Steem needs to seriously throw new users a bone. The .001 minimum needs to be lowered, or an algorithm needs to be designed to round up for newbies.

As a newbie with 10 SP, I very rarely got a curation reward of .001
When I got to 100 SP, I could see why. Most of my curation rewards were in the range of 0.001 to 0.009 So, at 10 SP I was barely missing out on curation most of the time.

If you want newbies to vote and read, and you promised them money on the signup page, well then make sure they get something sometime.

I would gladly take 0.008 instead of 0.009, if it keeps some newbies in the game.


Hi @ats-david, I just stopped back to let you know your post was one of my favourite reads yesterday and I included it in my Steemit Ramble. You can read what I wrote about your post here.

This was a a very good read. It helped clear up some misconceptions for me regarding the functionality of the website overall. Very thorough and presented.
Thank you for your post!

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I appreciate that. Thanks for taking the time to read it.

I know this is a somewhat old post but the poster has a very good track record of predicting what people will vote for and beats most to the punch. The purpose of curation rewards, and I just want to emphasise this:

Steem's Curation System is the First Prediction Market.

Everyone cries about how steem seems to be going down in price, and nobody is trumpeting the fact that this deceleration is very gentle. The combination of the voting system and forum, the dollar peg, and the steem power, have created an unusually stable and nonvolatile crypto-currency. Really, it has stayed very steady against bitcoin, something you cannot say about any other crypto.