Growing Unhappiness with Upvote Bots on Steemit

in steemit •  5 months ago

Growing-Unhappines-Steemit-Header.jpg

Of late, there has been growing unhappiness within the Steemit community in regards to Upvote Services on Steemit.

@Acidyo posted in his post : [Pre-ANN] OCD-Bot his dissatisfaction with Upvote services.

In a post from @fknmayhem : Rethinking The Position of Upvote Bots in the Steem Ecosystem

I loathe upvoting bots though, by which I mean most definitely the paid services which have come to prominence in recent times and have Facebookified the hot and trending sections.

I think they're evil, I think they're the biggest threat the Steem ecosystem faces and if not dealt with soon, they can be absolutely detrimental to the platform and our community.

as upvote bots will continue to take ever larger shares of the reward pool, and be among the strongest economic forces of Steem, the platform will end up with a one-sided economy which isn't that different from Facebook. A one-sided pay-to-win market.

@SteemitAdventure chimed into the post:

In my ideal version of Steemit there would be no bots and no selling votes

This post will identifying the problem with Upvote Bots and their effect on Steemit, alongside a second article posted on utopian.io as a proposal to the issue you can find here :

In general, since I have arrived, I have heard a lot of hate for Upvoting Services for a variety of reasons.


So what really makes upvote bots so bad?


These are the few main issues I have gathered that Steemians have in regards to upvote services.

It is taking a large portion of the rewards pool from publishers

Upvote services allow whales, by providing no value to the eco-system, to constantly take a big portion of the rewards pool earnings by simply selling their votes and turning a profit leaving less for actual creators.

In so doing, it is killing the spirit of Steemit as, in essence, Steemit is supposed to be about being rewarded for the value you bring, instead, with upvote bots, it is much more about how much capital you have. By virtue of having a lot of Steem Power, you make the majority of the rewards without providing any value to the community.


Upvote Services creates a Pay-to-Win system drowning out smaller creators

Users with more capital to spend, utilize multiple Upvote Services which pushes their content higher than the rest of the content creators. This creates an ‘Arms Race’ of who has more money to throw to get seen, instead on the focus being creating high quality content.

In so doing, it also creates the issue of smaller creators who may be new to the platform, do not have the know-how of utilizing the Upvote Services, or simply not having capital to use upvote services, doom to have high quality content to never get seen and never rewarded.


Upvote Services creates an uneven playing field

By virtue of the fact that so many people utilize Upvote Services, it is impossible for anybody who doesn’t use them to have their post be seen, as regardless of the content of anyone’s post, you have to boost your own post to have it seen at all. This creates an uneven playing field for users who do not use Upvote Services as their posts will never get seen.


Upvote Services enables abuse of the rewards pool

By making it profitable for anyone to pay to get upvoted and turn a profit, it allows schemes from smaller users to abuse the rewards pool by creating often garbage or even outright plagiarized content and upvote themselves for profit, without bringing any value to Steemit.

This situation really only applies to @minnowbooster as it is the only upvote service that guarantees a profitable upvote every time.

@Minnowbooster themselves have admitted that this is a problem and they are trying to counter such actions. Some action has already been taken by lowering the rewards.

Initially, per $1 you pay to Minnowbooster, will get you a return of $3 at full voting power. However, for the most part you will never get voted at full voting power and the rate is actually more like $1 : $2. It has since been lowered again to the likes of $1 : $1.50 cost to upvote ratio which definitely will limit the amount of abuse as you don’t get back the same amount of SBD you put in, however it is still profitable to randomly boost your content for profit and for higher visibility.


Upvote Services take a portion of the curation pool rewards

The issue people have with this is the fact that curation rewards are awarded to Upvote Services even though they aren’t curating anything. As long as an account upvotes on demand, and not on the basis of the post being good content, it isn’t curating anything, and as such, should not have a share of the curation rewards.


My Own Experience


It has been 1 month since I took a Leap of Faith with Steemit, and began and actively contributing on a full-time basis on Steemit. My initial thought being that, as long as I focus on creating high-quality content which brings value to others, it would get rewarded.

I’d very quickly learn that this simply not the case.

Post after post, it became extremely clear that good content was absolutely not enough, especially when you do not have a following. I can account for numerous days of work ending up with sub-dollar earnings.

Then came the point where I realized that if I wanted my content to ever see the light of day, I’d have to utilize an Upvote Service or simply pack it up and spend my time elsewhere.

It is just that simple, I do not believe, with the current state of Steemit, that it would be rightfully possible, especially without a following, to create high quality content without also utilizing Upvote Services.

I’d say my experience is echoed by basically every minnow out there who is putting an effort to grow on Steemit.


I Don’t Hate Upvote Services


I obviously don’t, I use them myself, and will do so with this post as well, unless I want to see my time and effort never seeing the light of day.

Upvote Services were created because there is a demand for them. I am part of the community that creates a demand for it. Because there is no other avenue for me to go, to ensure that my hard work and effort ever gets seen.

I do not believe that the owners of Upvote Services have any malicious intent whatsoever, they are simply acting upon a demand in a free market, capitalizing upon and profiting from it. The way entrepreneurs do.


Upvote Services have an Overall Negative Impact on Steemit


As much I believe Upvote Services are not at fault, I do believe their existence on the platform is negatively affecting the Steemit ecosystem as a whole, and upsetting the core function of Steemit.

It is affecting the “Defining Factor” of ‘Value’ of posts

The amount of money that a post makes is the defining factor of whether or not a post is of value here on Steemit. That is the core metric, both algorithmically and sensibly.

Algorithmically, the more value a post receives the more exposure it gets. The dollar metric, in my experience and in studying the Steemit sorting algorithm, is the absolute defining factor to the value of a post, outweighing number of upvotes and engagements on the post significantly.

Sensibly, the amount of payout a post has, plays a huge factor in determining which piece of content that any consumer choose to invest time in consuming. The likelihood of me, or anyone for that matter, presuming that there will be good content behind a post, made 24 hours ago with $2 earnings is extremely low.

Yet, due to Upvoting Services, the actuality of the matter is that, what sits behind that post may very well be of equivalent and even possibly, a higher quality piece of content then a post I may find on Trending, posted 2 hours ago with $150+ earnings.

It is creating an uneven playing field

Any author who spends time and effort to craft a quality post with high value, will absolutely desire for enough eyes to fall upon their work and stand the chance of earning a deserving payout, relevant to the time, effort and quality of their work.

In the current state of affairs, that is utterly impossible given the fact that unless I use an Upvote Service, the sheer odds of my content ever getting enough views and earning a deserving payout is almost impossible.

The sentiment is echoed by almost every minnow author on Steemit. As such, the only way to ensure that work gets seen, everybody has to use Upvote Services.

The end result is a ton of authors having to use Upvote Service just to climb up to the even playing field which would be the case if Upvote Service weren’t used by anyone in the first place all while having the entirety of this situation be a massive tax on the rewards pool.


Paying for more views is not a bad thing

The issue of having to pay to have my work seen more often stands as a non-issue to me. That is the nature of being a new publisher on any given platform, nobody knows you, nobody knows that what you have created is of value, and thus your content is going to be shown less. I have no issue paying to be seen more.

It is also an important factor in defining that I have put enough time and effort in creating a genuinely valuable piece of content if I were willing to spend money to promote it. The issue is where the money I spend is going, and how it affects the ecosystem as a whole.


Upvote Services are messing with how posts are sorted and valued

The serious issue, stems from the fact that Upvote Services upends the entire sorting algorithm. The sorting algorithm in place, does not account for it’s most discernable means of a valuable post to be completely skewed by anyone who throws money at a Upvote Service and have their, otherwise garbage content, to be perceived as tier 1 content, both by the sorting algorithm, and by unlearned users who do not have a complete understanding that the majority of the earnings that are on some posts were not rewarded based on the quality of the post at all!

For content publishers, this means that even if you take the time to craft a really quality piece of work, and use an Upvote Service to let it be seen more often, your quality post will still be swimming alongside posts which are not really quality at all, rather, was simply upvoted for a similar amount as you did.

For the content consumers, it is to have the entire curation process be upended and still having to wade through garbage posts on Trending and Hot. Worse, it is the thought, “If this piece of shit is considered Tier 1 content, there really isn’t much good quality content on here”.

Sensibly, for both consumer or creator, who sees a shitty piece of content with a high payout, who does not understand that a big portion of that payout is actually self actualized cost, will perceive Steemit as a platform which rewards lousy content.

It creates a situation, where new and talented publishers who are trying Steemit out end up thinking, “This piece of shit is rewarded $100+ yet, when it looks like the author didn’t spend a solid hour on it. Yet my work, which is of way higher value, gets paid $0.50” and is completely demoralized and stops posting altogether.

As such, the entirety of the Steemit eco-system is a mess.

If things are left the way they are, I do not think Steemit will be able to cultivate the platform and community is aspires to grow. This situation will drive out both quality content publishers and consumers alike.


I’d like to reiterate the point that this isn’t the fault of Upvoting Service they are simply fulfilling a gap in the market where there is a massive demand, the negative impact it has on the Steemit ecosystem is an after-effect that they did not presume or intend.

As @SteemitAdventure voices his concern :

The problem I see is how does anyone actually stop the vote buying ? if you don't stop it then it's going to be used.

The thing is that I don’t believe anyone really likes using Upvote Services. The reason for the mass use of Upvote Services is users clearly defining a major gap of utility on Steemit, which Upvoting Services are poorly providing, having to play within their capabilities of the platform.

Users are clearly defining that they are willing to spend money to have their work seen more often. That they are discontent with just posting and “Letting Jesus Take The Wheel” with whether or not their content gets picked up is simply not acceptable to most users.


So what exactly is the issue?


The real problem users are facing is how poorly implemented the ‘Promoted’ function is.

I believe most users agree that they would much rather the additional SBD they spend to be burnt to negate some inflation to be a better solution than the SBD they spend promoting their post to be taken out of the rewards pool.

Unfortunately, the ‘Promoted’ function is simply too ineffective to getting a larger viewership, and too poor at providing a cost-efficient means of advertising their content.

I believe that a new and improved ‘Promoted’ function would be the solution to the inherent issue facing the Steemit ecosystem in regards to the use Upvote Services.

Not only can it solve the issue, I believe it will massively benefit the Steemit ecosystem. A new ‘Promotion’ platform is not hard to design either, it can be modelled after social media platforms who have more or less perfected their promotional platform and adapt that to Steemit.

If content creators have access to a better means of paying to have their posts to be seen by the right users, all while lowering the rate of inflation, they would very much rather use that than Upvoting Services.

As such, I have created a proposal for just that. It is a system which I believe, if implemented, will greatly alleviate the issue currently facing the Steemit ecosystem.

I have posted the proposal on Utopian.io and you can find it here :


In Closing


I took a Leap of Faith with Steemit. I believed that if I were to focus on bringing value to Steemit, I would be rewarded. That didn't turn out as I had hoped. Not that I have not earned anything so far, rather that it is far cry from being rewarded according to how much value you bring.

Had I known earlier about the situation about how Upvote Services worked and how to fully utilize them for getting seen more often, maybe things would have been different.

However, just as hordes of talented and unknowing authors land here with the exact misconception how Steemit is supposed to work as opposed to how it actually works, they may leave before understanding.

I still believe very much in what Steemit is created for and I believe that vision can still be achieved. This issue has to be resolved for Steemit to make it however, and I do believe I have came out with a proposal that will very well solve that problem.

God Speed Brethren.

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Hey you have some great ideas here @bitopia :) I'm not going to lie and say I don't use the bots but I definitely wouldn't if there were other options. The main reason I justify it to myself is because I can literally spend days creating a post, sometimes I spend a whole day simply adding the images. I can certainly understand the justifiable anger relating to the abuse and how people are using them to upvote really shoddy work that has taken no time. @raised2b also had some great ideas that could potentially add to the platform whilst rewarding content, so his thoughts are also really worth looking into.

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Hi again @perceptualflaws!

I'm not going to lie and say I don't use the bots but I definitely wouldn't if there were other options.

Absolutely I believe that most honest authors hate the fact that they have to use Upvote Services, yet it is absolutely impossible to do without. If you and I were to not use Upvote Services, we might as well not post anything as it will never get seen!

I can certainly understand the justifiable anger relating to the abuse and how people are using them to upvote really shoddy work that has taken no time.

Indeed, there will always be individuals who will make use of a system which is ripe for abuse. As such, there needs to be a better system. I cannot state how important it is that change is made in this regard if we were to see any significant progress of the platform.

As of right now, my proposal hasn't gained enough traction, and I definitely intend to put more time into making sure that it gets the light of day it requires for action to be taken.

I'll definitely check out what @raised2b has written

Thank you for dropping by, leaving your insightful comment and reading my content! It means a lot!

The reason for the mass use of Upvote Services is users clearly defining a major gap of utility on Steemit, which Upvoting Services are poorly providing, having to play within their capabilities of the platform.

You summed up the situation perfectly.

Maybe there could also be some fine tuning done in the algorithm of which posts are showing on 'trendind' and 'hot', like taking into an account the amount of upvoters so that a single upvote from a whale/minnowbooster/other bot wouldn't hold as much value with a big $ value as it currently has. Though that would increase the value of minnowsupport, I don't know it it's good or but.

Though fixing the algorithm wouldn't solve the underlying issue and should be tinkered only when the promotion is well functioning.

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You summed up the situation perfectly.

Thank you!

Maybe there could also be some fine tuning done in the algorithm of which posts are showing on 'trendind' and 'hot', like taking into an account the amount of upvoters so that a single upvote from a whale/minnowbooster/other bot wouldn't hold as much value with a big $ value as it currently has. Though that would increase the value of minnowsupport, I don't know it it's good or but.

I believe the algorithm needs to be fine-tuned as an on-going process, much like how google's search algorithm is forever going through an on-going refinement process as well.

I agree with your point that it would help if the value of Upvote Services upvotes to have a lessened effect on the search algorithm would be beneficial to how the content is sorted in feeds.

My proposal, in theory, would lessen the use of Upvote Services as long as it serves the actual utility that many sincere authors are actually looking to pay for. The tipping point is quite good from Upvote Services to Promotion platform as a secondary fact would be where the funds people spend on promoting their content goes.

If you use Upvote Services, it comes out of the rewards pool. If you use the promotion platform, it helps Steemit as whole.

Do keep your suggestions coming if you have any as I will definitely be writing a 1.1 of the proposal and will add in suggestions of which I will credit you with as well!

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Cool! I'll keep you updated if I come up with further ideas.

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Great! Thank you very much! I really appreciate you engaging with my content so often!

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No problem. I also took a look on you're older posts, like those on "Human Optimization", you have written some good stuff!

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Thank you very much! I'm very glad that someone is still reading some of my older stuff! My one pet peeve about Steemit is how easily quality content gets lost after it's initial exposure.. I've been on a crazy ride in life, and what makes it worth writing about is bouncing back from being a complete degenerate and how I managed to do so.

This is very much informative analysis from @bitopia thank you for your nice post and i also think so.

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Thank you! I have been following your progress too! I really see how much effort you are putting in. Keep it up! I will always drop you upvotes ;)

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Thank You for Being So Kind!

The Free upvote services, I find, are fine, because they do not ask for anything, they willingly upvote and resteem content they read and found valuable. The problem upvote bots have is that they will upvote content that is not valuable sometimes, while good content gets buried below in the deep depths of the Steemit ocean.

I agree with everything you mention, pretty much. I look forward in learning about your solution.

Followed and resteemed.

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Absolutely! I have no issue with free upvote services as well. I believe paid services are a whole different monster though..

The problem upvote bots have is that they will upvote content that is not valuable sometimes, while good content gets buried below in the deep depths of the Steemit ocean.

Exactly, this is a major issue affecting almost everyone on Steemit.

Good content creators are being drowned out as their content sits next to shitty content who gets paid to be there, new creators who don't know how the system works will leave before they find out and content consumers have to wade through garbage content

Thank you for your follow and resteem!

Your philosophy is very similar to my own, but I had not thought about improving the Promotion features. I worry that with flagging wars happening, somebody will start targeting minnows that use bidding bots...

I keep a close eye on my daily votes and bidding returns so that I can shut down my normal promotion strategy if I need to.

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The poor implementation of the 'Promoted' platform directly correlates to the use of Upvote Services in my opinion, I for one, if given a 'Promotion' platform the likes of the one I decscribed would definitely not partake in Upvote Services..

I feel a little bit like a shill for writing a post as such all while using Upvote Services at the same time, however there isn't much choice in the matter is there? Would I rather my content die in New?

@berniesanders specifically said that he doesn't have an issue with Upvote Services, rather the blatant over use of it, so no real fears in that regard.

Thank you very much for dropping by and reading my content! Do you think the proposed solution would help?

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I agree that an improved promotion solution would decrease the demand for upvote services. I don't know that it would completely get rid of it - that depends on the relative profitability between using the new Promotion tools and the existing upvote bots.
But it only has to diminish the demand for delegation to start falling away from bidding bots and being directed to other purposes. That would go a long way toward rebalancing rewards to actual curated (and promoted) content.

I commented on your proposal. I think it's a fantastic idea, but largely for reasons other than the impact on the upvote services.
I spend a ridiculous amount of time managing my promotion strategy to get 10-15% return over promotion cost (profit) per post... and it doesn't scale. With things as they are, how could any advertiser see Steemit as a viable platform for advertising?

Imagine pitching Steem to any marketing firm:

Look at all these active, dedicated users!

Q: How wonderful, how do we target advertising to them?

A: Well... you create posts, then you pay for promotion to get a higher spot on the promotion page for 0 guaranteed views because nobody looks at that page. Also, you need someone working full-time to appraise and track the upvote bot ecosystem, all so that you can spend a MAXIMUM of $500 to get full votes from every major bidding bot, per post... with zero ability to target which users or demographics will actually see your advertising.
Oh, and make sure you stay under the radar of the flagging bots that downvote external links, advertising, etc as spam or 'low-quality' content- although you could mostly avoid them by declining payout on advertising posts.

What The Actual F***? This is an advertising nightmare.

For Steemit to be competitive and reach anything near the valuation of competing social media platforms, it needs to be very easy for advertisers get involved and to target selected demographics.

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I agree that an improved promotion solution would decrease the demand for upvote services. I don't know that it would completely get rid of it - that depends on the relative profitability between using the new Promotion tools and the existing upvote bots.
But it only has to diminish the demand for delegation to start falling away from bidding bots and being directed to other purposes. That would go a long way toward rebalancing rewards to actual curated (and promoted) content.

Exactly my sentiment, Steemit has always been considered a free market. In a free market, you do not push out businesses you don't like, you create a solution better than the exisiting one.

The point is not to render upvote bots obsolete, rather to negate their effectiveness to a large extent such that they either evolve or die out. Upvote Services have no real need to change as long as the situation doesn't.

I commented on your proposal. I think it's a fantastic idea, but largely for reasons other than the impact on the upvote services.
I spend a ridiculous amount of time managing my promotion strategy to get 10-15% return over promotion cost (profit) per post... and it doesn't scale. With things as they are, how could any advertiser see Steemit as a viable platform for advertising?

I think about this all the fucking time. The amount of time and effort spent upon optimizing bot use is absolutely a tremendous waste. It is like trying to hammer a nail in with a fucking rubber duckie. GIVE ME A HAMMER GODDAMNIT

For Steemit to be competitive and reach anything near the valuation of competing social media platforms, it needs to be very easy for advertisers get involved and to target selected demographics.

I thought after releasing this proposal and seeing that it currently has a grand total of 29 views as of my writing, for me to feasibly believe it will be taken seriously is pretty naive. As such, I think I will have to continuously improve upon the idea and create proposal 1.1 on top of continuously bringing awareness to it.

The irony that if I have the system I am recommending in place, I'd just spend 100 SBD, set up my targeting properly wash my hands and have the majority of the Steemit community know about it.

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The irony that if I have the system I am recommending in place, I'd just spend 100 SBD, set up my targeting properly wash my hands and have the majority of the Steemit community know about it.

Dead right on that one! Have a full upvote, sir!

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Thank you good sir! Have my full upvote as well!

Are in charge of sneaky ninja by any chance? :)

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If you mean @sneakyninja, where The Daily Sneak is published, then yes. And it's a huge time consuming project I wish I had never started!!
Okay, not really. It's helped me to learn a lot, and to find quality content like yours. But it has been time-consuming.

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Yes I can imagine it is very time consuming indeed! Where do you see it going? Do you intend to work on it being profitable?

You nailed it! I started out thinking 'bots never' and had to double back quickly on my initial, unlearned principled objection. Bots are better than burning money and discovering you had to burn 20 times more money to even break even. After becoming more aware of other scams here on steemit, i realise that bots are indeed an integral part of the scams. But blaming them would be a bit like blaming Bitcoin for the proliferation of drugs - the real issue that threatens us lies buried underneath a carpet of pretense - I refer to the noble societies and groups. Inside those dens one gets the impression there's a lot worse than the bots. A lot of echo chambers filled with much self-stroking, self aggrandizing, boosting. one almost wants to call it conspiracy.

[Disclaimer: I write only fiction and satire - never quote me or ask me for names because no one has a name here]

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Congratulations! This excellent post was resteemed and selected for inclusion in today's edition of TheDaily Sneak.

Thank you for all your hard work to create quality content.

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Thank you very much! It is very much appreciated!

Calling @originalworks :)
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Nice, you got a 92.0% @davidding upgoat, thanks to @bitopia
It consists of $6.53 vote and $1.8 curation
Want a boost? Minnowbooster's got your back!

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The @OriginalWorks bot has determined this post by @bitopia to be original material and upvoted(1.5%) it!

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A formidable force is working on injustice here at steemit regardinnng raping thee rewad pool and berniesnaders is doing something about it by flagging accounts that sucks the reward pool dry without bringing much content, abuse, etc. yougotflagged account is doing some work with it along with its army of flag bots.

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Indeed, I have been following the whole @berniesanders saga since the very beginning when he waed war with @minnowbooster. It was in part of that whole situation which spurred me to create the proposal as I learned more about the situation.

As much as I agree with what he is doing, he is but 1 account, it will never be able to solve this huge problem.

Thank you for your comment and reading the long article! What do you think of the proposal? :)

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He's actually is tons of accounts and ran randowhale. He also randomly destroys accounts and is an extremely negative and an unstable person.

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I find him to be a extremely interesting character to say the least. Though his actions seem dubious at times, it does seem like his intentions is for the best of the platform no?

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Maybe you should research him more and his multitude of monikers. I wish he'd be a bit more stable and less trigger happy with the flagging. I've seen him relentlessly flag people for a simple disagreemeby claiming "you will never make another penny on this platform again." He has quite a few unhealthy behaviors.

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Indeed I will. Also to see how this whole thing transpires. @yougotflagged also gives some insight into what he deems to be abuse, though I think, for an individual who has that much SP there can be a lot more achieved with it than flagging people, but it is his perogative how he'd like to spend both his time and SP.

Nonetheless, thank you for the generous upvote!

I was just wondering how to have the amount of an upvote displayed alongside the name of the upvoter I have seen in screenshots of others, I have a feeling you might have an idea. xD

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I really have no idea what to say since people just circumvent the system here at steemit. I am just wishing that "whales" help the "minnows" so that they would be encouraged to make a better content. It is just one factor that I wanted.
As for the system here, @beanz I think has some sensible proposals.

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I believe to expect a society to "do the right thing" is flawed in nature, as there will always be bad actors in any community who will find a way to circumvent the system.

It is important ot make sure that a system is put in place to minimize such problems.

There are definitely some whales that do help minnows, but to think that all whales will rally together to lift up the community is not going to happen in my opinion. Much rather we have a system where people have a level playing field wherein there is opportunity for anyone to go out there and get what they want!

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Its quite a chaos here at steemit actually.
It is like a sword or a knife, some use it to stab and hurt people. Some use it to cut and prepare food.

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Indeed! Such is the nature of any good thing. However, given that it is a place that is precious, there will be those who will be here to protect it.

I definitely strongly believe in what Steemit is about and see a possibly great future for it going forward.

What I hope is that those who want to protect the platform will be successful, for there will always be those who will focus on abusing a good thing.

This post has received a 6.10 % upvote from @buildawhale thanks to: @bitopia. Send at least 1 SBD to @buildawhale with a post link in the memo field for a portion of the next vote.

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Great post! I can see what you meant on the comment on my post. We are on the same wavelength. I am having the same issue getting started here, I wish it was easier to find the best content, even from new authors.

Great Channel Followed !!!

Here's another idea:

I remembered, there is a Steemifilter (it's occasionally down, but should be working) done by @vitkolesnik which uses an algorithm to show new content that exceeds the criteria to be accepted as 'quality' content. (long enough, not plagiarized, etc.) He explains it in his post.

So, I was thinking maybe a similar filter could be implemented to Steemit as well, in a form of adding a new tab called 'recent articles' or 'curatable' to the side of already existing 'trending', 'hot' and 'new'. This means voting bots would have no effect on the visibility under the tab! It would be the place where the quality stuff from still unknown people could be discovered.

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Sounds cool! Will definitely check it out and get back to you on that!

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Well, I have to completely agree. I feel I have been extremely naive, but understandably so, as, like you, I was under the impression that good solid content would be the way to go. In fact I posted to that effect.
I guess I still want to keep-the-faith and suggest we do what we love, and love what we do and hopefully trust to that being enough reward. But it is, as you rightly say, deeply disheartening to find our cherished content consigned to the steemit desert.
Human nature, being what it is, makes me somewhat doubtful that a truly altruistic solution is possible (or even a less self-oriented solution).
But I am eager to go read your solution and report.
This is a truly content-rich post, informative and deeply considered. This is one thing that will always engage and will undoubtedly (and rightly) get voted and resteemed.
Late coming to this post, but thankful to find it.
Many thanks