Is there a whale voter cult on Steemit? Yes, and it's killing Steemit!

in #steemit3 years ago (edited)

Believe it or not, Steemit is not doing very well right now and we will not pretend that everything is alright nor will we be quiet about it.

Someone had to say something, so here is our take; forgive us if we were too nosy.

According to popular opinion, no one has the right to tell other what to do, but they do have the right to speak their minds.

@BlockRush will speak our minds; it may sound like we are telling others how to do what they do.

We said it in an earlier post but did learn then that Steemians do not read - they only upvote or chat. We had to repeat the issue again and here we are.

This report is a critical review of upvoting culture of Steemians -  enjoy if you can.

Steemit is hurting

You may not have noticed but these days getting traffic is becoming difficult. Formerly, top posts gathered thousands plus. However these days top post only make a less than $400 and it applies to almost everyone else too.

These changes are NOT due to the recent hardfork or the fact that new users are joining Steemit. They are simple due to a bad culture that is developing on Steemit.

  • Steemians are becoming selfish in upvoting the content of others.
  • Whales only upvote their own posts or that of post they know
  • Bots are just "stealing" Steem power for "interesting" project
  • Steemians are no more on Steemit or - they are now on Discord

The net result is that we are all struggling. The whales are not make any huge earning anymore and minnows are simply turning into spammers due to frustration.

@fyrstikken recently made a post which explained how soon we will have more people on Steem than there amount of Steem there would be.

This should make us wonder - if now that we still have lots of Steem and an abundance of Steem, we are struggling like this, then what will happen when we have 1 billion people on Steem - and yet less than 1 billion Steem tokens?

If at less than 200,000 members, the top post make less than $400, then at 1 billion members the top posts will make nothing more than $0.0001.

The voter cult

Visit the trending tab and see all the trending posts for yourself. You will notice a few peculiar things;

  • all top posts are by users with high reputation
  • most posts have more upvotes than actual views
  • most trending posts are not even interesting
  • most of the top upvoters are the same

These stats suggest one thing; there is a voter ring/cult among the whales on Steemit. Yes. Hardly does any minnow make a good post and get it trending.

Upon a close examination of posts, one would realize that minnows who produce quality content about a subject get little upvotes while whales who write three sentences on the same subject get hundreds of upvotes.

Catch a Whale

Formerly allowed whales discover new new content and upvote it. However, after it has been down for almost forever due to maintenance, it seem that whales have turned upvoting content by themselves and those they know alone.

This selfish culture is killing Steemit. What is the use if whales only upvote their own content or content of only whales?

Steem Voter

This is another tool which is not helping at all. Instead of allowing users to manually browser Steemit, discover and appreciate good content, they simply automate the process based on merits.

Steem Voter is a system is used to upvote content which has that potential to go viral so curators could earn curation rewards.

Steem voter is largely responsible for posts that get lots of upvotes despite having very little actually views.


Then there is @BlockTrades, you never know what criteria they use to pick which posts to upvote, but their trails are not impressive.

They have lots of Steem Power and yet actually never upvote any new Steem project, quality content by a minnow or support any contest.

Instead you always find them upvoting the weirdest of posts. Whatever.

Minnow support

@MinnowSupport the only genuinely collective effort to support minnows, however its automated nature means that it is becoming more of an upvote spamming bot.

@BlockRush does call on the magic of @MinnowSupport sometimes , but we only do so when our post get lots of views and an embarrassing low number of upvotes; typically 100+ views, >20 upvotes and less than 0.50 SBD.

Sure; Steemit is barely a year old and weird things are already happening. Nothing surprises us anymore.


We said it before and will say it again, this project is just a waste of everyone's time and resources. Let scrap @SpotLight and invest those Steem Powers it promises into something more valuable;

We explained into detail this argument in an earlier post.


Perhaps this is the BEST support program for Steemit. @RandoWhale is the only true account on Steemit which rewards all users irrespective of their status or content.

[Post updated with the italics content below]

The problem here is that people are feeling like their good posts will never get any upvotes so they do not even bother to invest time to write a good post instead they simple post anything and use @randowhale - knowing their are guaranteed an upvote which will put their post in the "trending" category and attract upvotes for others seeking upvotes. So while @randowhale may not be helpful in the long run, it has become the easiest way for posts - both good/bad/ugly to get a whale upvote. Perhaps if we had more reputable curators(like @ScreenName) whose trails where being upvoted by whales, them people will know that if they created good content it will be curated and upvoted by whales - them they will turn less to @randowhale and focus more on creating good content to get curation. @randowhale may not be ideal - but for now it seem like a necessary evil 

Steem followers

Steem follower is a good application for Steemit. It does not automate the process of upvoting but allows you to see a variety of posts to upvote.

This is actually the best upvoting system for Steemit. They even have a Discord channel which upotes posts posted there - just like Minnow Support.


This is another great apps which has been a great distraction for Steemians. Those little buttons, fancy features and customization of Discord has turned it into one dream land for Steemians, particularly the whales.

You hardly find anyone on and when you do, then its only for a minute when they are promoting content. The rest of the time, its all playing, chatting and spamming on Discord. and have been so deserted for Discord something we just want to screen if anyone is home at all. Getting readers on Steemit is becoming harder and chatting in comments is also becoming harder as everyone is busy on Discord.

The habit of Steemians is now to posts on Steemit then turn to Discord to chat and promote it. If you do not manually drive in traffic from Discord dreamland to your post, it gets eaten.


@Good-Karma upvotes the posts(and comments) made by users of the ESteem app. We do not know what to think about this, excerpt to wonder why @Steemit and @Busy won't also upvote the posts made with their clients.

@Steemit has

  • 70,999,481.316 Steem Power,
  • 16,372,915.751 Steem in saving,
  • lots of Steem Dollars
  • and is worth $110,185,158.78.($110 million!)

Think of all the Steem Power being wasted. Just one upvote will lift some Steemians out of poverty.

We have said it and will say it again. If you are not here to...; then you might as well.... No; on second thoughts don't even thing of...

Lots of love from @BlockRush... still waiting for that $1,000 debt to be settled

There is a comment system below, we can begin settling the scores there.


What you're complaining about is a systematic problem with Steem and how the platform is designed. You can't fix this by saying, "Whales, do better!" As you put it, if we had a couple more million users than we have now and were much bigger, how do you expect whales to properly upvote everything and read content?

It would become a full time job, but without considerable amounts of funds invested, it will not pay as a full time job to curate. After hard fork 19, in my view, the "selfish whale culture" improved because the rewards were more widely distributed among the community. Yet even with more whales and linear rewards, it does not make the work any simpler.

It's not the case whales have the time to constantly curate content to distribute rewards.

If you want Steem to go somewhere, we need to recognize that most social media does not favor a traditional blogging platform. Facebook is not a blog. Twitter is a micro blog. Old-school blogging just isn't hip and this is what Steemit is.

If you really wanted Steem to go somewhere, we would put 100% of the community effort toward the DTube project, and get advertiser integration into that platform to boost monetization and we would attempt to compete with YouTube directly.

Steemit will never be facebook because Facebook is not a blog. Steemit will never be twitter, because on Steemit, micro-blogging is considered an abuse and could get you flagged if the rewards were too high for posting 140 characters.

What you're complaining about here is just something you need to wake up to... "Steemit is the way it is, by design. It is unlikely we are radically going to alter that design away from whales upvoting." If this is the nature of the system you are dealt, this is what you got. Improvements can be made, but without scratching the model and redesigning it, you are never going to get away from "Whales upvote to determine rewards. There are a limited number of whales, who are limited in the amount of material they can cover to upvote."

The Solution - The solution to this issue is a better designed system launched by another project team in the future. Steemit is great and I do not see anything being better than it any time soon. That said, something better can be made, so eventually, it will be made. Sadly, the way to do the better Steemit is to have a corporation do it. A corporation is going to be driven harder and faster to succeed, and this hard fast drive, I have seen to be missing from the Steem and Steemit development communities. One reason is this is the nature of open source projects. Open source is great at producing solid, bug free code, over long periods, enabling people to freely use the code base. Open source is terrible at competing against other corporations.

Without that drive to succeed, Steemit will not beat out any social media giant. It can't happen. To be a social media power house, you have to think ahead, and be constantly driving and scaling, and doing investor capital rounds to fund growth faster than revenue. For a while, (maybe still happens) it would take multiple days to sign up for a Steemit account.

Do you know how many serious corporations would permit this? If I owned a social media corp and my development team told me it took multiple days to get a user into the system, I would fire their butts for incompetency. Steemit corp then is incompetent, and I cannot tell you exactly why that is. Maybe it is because they try to be profitable for the size Steemit is at so it limits their ability to grow and change. I'm sure there is an honest reason for it, but incompetent results is what we have received from them.

A real social media platform on blockchain is going to launch with the goal of user adoption, first and foremost. On the backend, they are going to monetize with ad revenue. Ad revenue only arrives if there is a decent user base in the millions. Really, it needs hundreds of millions.

This gimmicky thing we do on Steemit where people are paid by inflation... it's gimmicky. A platform that just had tons of users and monetized ad revenue, but paid people in crypto would be better. This way, people are paid by views, and there is an economic value attributed by advertisers to content creators for the views they can generate. It's a free market system, rather than a gimmicky system.

you have said everything, @crypto-investor. now I rest my case

I've posted similar before. The site needs to find a way to attract advertising dollars if the mythical STEEM at $10 goal is going to be achieved.

Without a solid plan and implementation team to get advertising dollars involved, STEEM will be a cool experiment, but unlikely ever a major crypto.

The steemy circle jerk... was around in the beginning and doesnt accept new members.

After 1 year, nothing has changed, its the same ol same free money fountain...
If you have auto-whale votes, congrats - all your content is now "quality"
If your without autowhale votes - all your posts are worthless...

Its a game.... nothing more. Once you accept that, everything really starts making sense

Kill all the bots. It's the only answer. We must heed Elon's warnings. I found myself enjoying @discordia more than @randowhale and @booster, I also haven't used any of these things in a while, and last time I was using them I was doing it heavily majority other people posts I follow not my own.

Seriously though Steemit would be a bomb ass site if all bots and other entities were shut off and manual curation by ones self was the only thing going on and the site was just organize in a different or better way so people wouldn't feel they need to rely on so many outside tools.

Imagine if someone just took Medium, tumblr, or even reddit, and just slapped on the voting abilities we have on Steemit. As much as there is a bad or "cheating" user that gets away with views or traffic or whatever there goal is on those sites, we still have those issues too PLUS we have bot b.s. to deal with as well. I rather just deal with the shitty users without the bots than the shitty users with the bots, because we just now have smarter shittier users that are gaming not only us users, but gaming bots as well.

Anyways, great post and lots of aspects of Steemit I am sure I wasn't thinking about before this post.

Technically feasible to shut off the bots? How? Are you sure? Are you sure I'm not a bot?

Yes. Honor system. Yes. Loaded question, I never made that claimed one way or another!

This is very well said, the success of steemit still depends largely on the activity of people inside it and their real interactions. If we all only see bots trying to outwit the system or even other platforms trying to hog all the benefits, then the community will be going down.
Steemit should encourage live interactions between members inside and that's the bottom line of what good social media platforms are all about. Upvoted and resteemed! More people should see this post.

This needs to reach more steemians. Resteemed.
On topic, I did a post about the corrupt the pay-for-votes bots.

I have to disagree with on your statement about @randowhale
It just makes the rich richer and the poor poorer, not to mention they spam you when you pay them. More shitposts gets rewarded and it's a really bad investement in the long run. People use it out of desperation.

yes, you are right on the fact that @randowhale is just an upvote for hire system which is being for all posts. the problem here is that people are feeling like their good posts will never get any upvotes so they do not even bother to invest time to write a good post

instead they simple post anything and use @randowhale - knowing their are guaranteed an upvote which will put their post in the "trending" category and attract upvotes for others seeking upvotes.

so while @randowhale may not be helpful in the long run, it has become the easiest way for posts - both good/bad/ugly to get a whale upvote.

perhaps if we had more reputable curators(like @ScreenName) whose trails where being upvoted by whales, them people will know that if they created good content it will be curated and upvoted by whales - them they will turn less to @randowhale and focus more on creating good content to get curation

so yes, @randowhale may not be ideal - but for now it seem like a necessary evil

People just want to cheat the system. I never used these services and I'm doing very well in my opinion. Maybe it's a good alternative for a while but I don't see how getting 2 dollars back is a better investement when one can make really GOOD posts and attract loyal followers who will upvote them in the long term.
Once you stop paying these services you would need to put an extra effort to compensate the lack of real followers. And really this is not how Steemit is supposed to work. First you find your pack of trusted followers and then the money comes.
Yes many authors don't get what they deserve, but with enough dedication at one point things change.

sure, you are right

I guess you are right, but it's hard to avoid name voting in any context, there was a nice post by smooth explaining popularity vs quality,mass voting is about popularity, and the roi based on self upvote and curation reward can also increase this trend.

Its all up to posters to figure out if they are in the make money, and then they more have interest to participate in various scheme of promotion and marketting to get name voting or in the scope of automated vote, or if they post for quality and sharing, or truth, and they will most likely not make that much reward.

Its common problem with mass voting, plato already wrote about this about how democracy always lead to favorise dishonest politician lieing to make rethoric effect and gain popularity instead of favorizing deep truth tellers or philosopher.

Truth telling and deep topics are never getting advantage in mass popularity contest.

Depend if you are in for politics , and popularity contest, and then always need to play dirty tricks to win, or in for genuine informations sharing.

Can't put it on the whales to correct this problem in human nature, and people being selfish and voting for their own perceived short term interest, instead of voting for deeper thinking and more honnest players.

fantastic philosophy @h0bby1

For me the only way to get voting in fair manner is to have qualified jury like in sport competition that follow open criteria with objective voting on the perfomance based on criteria.

With open voting its always going to be a bit whatever, and following selfish interest, which rarely coincide with more prediticible outcome following intelligible criterias of selection.

Its the difference between republic and democracy, with republic criteria to decide law and social status must be intelligible and more rational, with democracy, it always appeal to ego and materialism which are much less objective and rational, and more chaotic in nature.

Can't expect much rationality and predictibility of outcome in open mass voting system, due to things like pyramid of needs etc, materialism and ego always going to win by the numbers, compared to rational selection and things that are more realistic or intellectual.

People spend more time watching tv show and playing video game, and engaging in fictions, than studying reality rationally. Can't expect open decentralized system to behave otherwise. Its the people more skilled in social manipulation who get the advantage.

I'd bet you are a professor!

I have zero degree and never put a foot in a university lol

Finally somebody is saying the truth about steemit, everything writen in this post is true, I post everyday for three months and I did a lot of things to grow on steemit and invited a lot of people but I still earn cents.

The only thing that I see is that we need new whales and we dont have to count about old ones, lets coopirate and became whales, if we take it by numbers we will much syronger thatln whales. Upvoted and resteemed.

good to hear from you again @clixmoney, you were one of the generous Steemians who even gave away Steem Dollars!

I'm still giving away, now 0.04 to people and promoting them and upvoting and resteeming, but it doesn't help me to grow, I earned from the good project that I make 0.06 after promoting a user and sending him 0.04, nobody care, I called the project Promote and Earn, I feel that I am just wasting my time here, it's too late to earn goid money from steemit, I am waiting for better social networks, peerity and sphere, I hope they will be better.

@clixmoney, we could wait for Steem as well. the developers and community behind Steem are good and smart people who will not let it die.

we can only hope the the worst days are behind us and the best is yet to come. for all your service you will surely find your place among the Steemit community, even if not from the whales

best of luck and lots of love!

Thanks for the good words but it's not enough, we have really to coopirate, you can contact me in our chat that I've created with a friend: Connecting Steemians Chat

I have some idea to do. Let's build something interesting.

Thanks for taking the time to explain this. I'm not sure that I fully understand how Steemit works. I have been upvoted on some posts by some whales... but I have no idea how they saw my post unless they managed to see it when it was at the top of the scroll, OR they were interested in some obscure catagory/topic I posted in and went to look in the archives. Personally 95% of what I see when I look at "new" posts or just created are spam or junk. I'm always looking for interesting new information just because I love learning about the world and I'm endlessly curious about the people in it. I've invested over $100 in Steemit, and I've made maybe $5.00 in total (if that) by posting 4-10 articles a day and commenting intelligently and thoughtfullly on topics and posts that are of genuine interest to me. But I have to confess... It feels like I am spinning my wheels here. On Facebook I have 1800 + friends from a variety of circles and backgrounds, political leanings etc.. I use facebook to curate my news by crowdsourcing. It's effective even if only 1-2% of my friends see my posts. When I post something worthwhile that is touching or moving or particularly well written, I will get 20 + likes and sometimes that many comments... So for me to make a good comparison between the two platforms I will need to have 1800 followers and see if I'm getting anywhere near the kind of response I get on facebook. I used to be a journalist and I still am an amateur writer. I like story telling and I love journalism.. I have an idea about how Investigative journalism could be crowd-sourced here on Steemit via micropayments... but I've not yet met any fellow journalists to share the idea with. It would be like a SNOPES.... but asking people to pay for the cost to research and wiki the topics in advance to cover the costs of research and debunking.... Anyways... I really enjoyed this post... hope to hear from you. Cheers

fully agree with your post

thank you! we all need to be more personal with Steemit so it can become better place.

yep) you are totally right, man

It halfway to dolphin and I give away lots of rewards! I hope more whales reach down and help us give more back.

hope is not a strategy

Youre so right @blockrush, we newbies are the ones who really suffer this. we have almost no way to properly showcase our content and get adequate exposure. the ig guys are running the show and theres not much we can do about it.

exactly, that is the problem I am trying to highlight in this post!

Hey, where do you get all these views from? Want to swap some for an upvote? :)

Piccata? Titicaca! I am Cornholio! I need piccata for my bunghole!

steemcleaners is sh*t too, there's your next target

Not really sure how I feel about the economics of some rich asshole telling people what valuable content is and what to upvote. That's exactly how the mainstream media works and look at how that is working. The more I stick around Steemit the less I wish I knew it really isn't doing anything different in fact if you become successful on other social medias (instagram, twitter, facebook) You can make millions of dollars.

I do not know if this is all right..
steemit is a very young platform, give it a little more time to develop further

@levmue, we are not pessimistic about Steemit, we are here because we believe in Steem and want to be a part of the success story of Steem. we only raised these concerns as a concerned Steemian

yeah under these circumstances you are right,
but I believe there is a complex reward process behind it... who also has weaknesses ofc

The steemy circle jerk... was around in the beginning and doesnt new members.

For me the main problem is lack of qualified curators, and limit of total value that can be allocated via reward pool.

When you look at it, and try to qualify what votes actually worth, beyond the reward, but in term of what intention it reflects from the voters, it's hard to really estimate what the vote actually mean in relation to content quality.

When you have real content publisher or editors, or company really oriented on monetizing content, you can always know a bit what is the editorial line, and knowing if the editor head put the book or article in 1rst page or in forefront, it mean it fit into a certain line that is known to public.

Or you can say the popularity among a community mean something in itself, because you know what kind of content the community will make popular, so if you look at popular post on a cooking forum, you know that because you know the community there is a certain quality to popular post that give the value to the rating system and to the platform as content publisher.

With steem i would believe its still mostly coming from crypto investor, who are not especially content editor or publishers, and are used to fast roi with crypto hype, based on blockchain trading or so, and making money with marketting of content and author is not at the core of the buisness.

At best whales can allocate the fixed amount of reward generated by the system, and with in mind to allocate significant part of it to themselves as roi, rather than really marketting content to make income via content marketting and selling, because no money can be injected in the system from the exterior to really "buy" content or reward author, only whales allocating the reward pool, and the goal is not primarily to sell content, but revolve around crypto trading and technology hype around blockchain, rather than being qualified content editors wanting to promote author to a large audience in order for them to make predictible profits out of a certain quality of content.

this would probably make more sense to me if i knew what a whales was and why they do what they do. As a newbie the thing i see as off putting is the resteeming, as it seems to be more profitable to just Resteem rather that create high quality original posts.

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