Steem Voter Review: bringing bot power to the masses

10 months ago

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Yes, I'm going to go there. Let's address the elephant in the room straight up: I use a voting bot, and I'm proud of it.

What is a voting bot: any piece of computer software that votes automatically on posts without human intervention, following pre-programmed rules to decide what to vote on and when.

Steem Voter is an excellent free service created by @marcgodard specifically to put the power of a voting bot in the hands of ordinary Steemians who lack the technical expertise to code or set one up by themselves. Power to the people, oh yeah! Now anyone can enjoy curating like a pro, unlocking a fun dimension of Steemit that was previously only accessible to a select few.

Isn't it cheating to use a bot?

Not at all. Some people seem to have a negative impression of bots, and that puzzles me. It still takes quite a degree of skill and constant tweaking to use a bot effectively, so those who argue that bots take the human element out of voting don't have it quite right. It is true that bots don't read and appreciate your posts. But crap posts that don't deserve to be voted on anyway are certainly not going to attract bots in the first place. After all, bots can't vote on everything or their voting power would rapidly drain away; at some point, in some way, a human has to set filter criteria that determine what the bot votes on. Therein lies the art of the whole thing, and what makes it such fun.

Hmm, but if I knew a bot was always voting for me, couldn't I just spam low-quality posts and reap the rewards?

You could, for a while, but this would backfire after some time. Eventually, wise bot operators will always catch on and dump you from their voting lists, or you'll no longer satisfy whatever automatic rules are setup to judge post quality. And good luck repairing your reputation & standing in the community after pulling a stunt like that.

I like to check my Steem Voter settings once a week to make adjustments, dropping authors who aren't up to my quality standards and adding new ones who are.

How about your voting power? Do you have any left over for manual voting?

Of course. I carefully balance my settings so that my voting power stays between 80-90%. Part of the joy of Steemit is reading and manually curating great content. But my time is limited; I can only read & comment on maybe 3-4 substantial posts per day.

I know there's a lot of good stuff out there in my feed that I'm missing out on. And here is the great benefit of Steem Voter: by putting the bot to work for me, I can always vote on the people I follow, giving them more support than I otherwise could. It's a win-win situation. I get more curation rewards from spreading my votes around, and my favorite authors get rewarded more in turn for all their hard work.

Okay, I'm convinced. So how exactly does Steem Voter work?

I'm glad you asked! Steem Voter lives at https://steemvoter.com . The main page is pretty minimal and uncluttered, definitely a strength in my view. You will have to create an account (which is free) and then use it to log onto the site. The account creation process is about what you'd expect:

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Note that the account you create here will only be used for Steem Voter, it's completely separate from your Steemit account! Here's what I see after I log on:

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Yikes, my voting power is higher than I'd like. The authors I follow must not be too active this weekend.

Here you can add a series of Steemit accounts (I only have one) and configure voting rules for each one. In order to vote on your behalf, you need to provide your Steemit account's posting key. This allows Steem Voter to basically act as your surrogate. When the bot votes following my rules, for all intents & purposes it is as if I voted myself using my @cryptomancer account.

Important note: you DO NOT need to give your active or owner key! Only your posting key is required! This means that Steem Voter will only be able to vote for you. It can't run amok, buying & selling Steem or performing any other actions that only you should be able to.

Once you've added your Steemit account & posting key, it's time to click that big old "Rules" button. Here's what my voting rules look like:

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Herein lies the power of Steem Voter. The rules are elegantly simple. Anyone can understand how this works and set it up. But simplicity is deceptive. To make the most of the system, you'll want to experiment with changing timings, voting on different people, and observing what kind of effect it has on your curation rewards (which should go up quite a lot if you do it right).

The rules allow you to control 3 things:

  1. Who to vote on - once you add a Steemit user to your voting list, the bot will vote on every single post that this person makes from that point forward. You should stop manually voting for anyone on your list, as that will cause the bot to fail and possibly flag your rules for deactivation.

  2. How much voting power to use - as with manual votes, you can control what percentage of voting power to allocate for your bot votes. I always leave this at 100 - I'm still a minnow so see no point in diluting what small voting power I have. If I were a dolphin or a whale, this setting would be more important.

  3. When to vote - this is the most important setting, which indicates how long to wait before the bot will vote on new posts. If I set this to 20 for a particular person, then the bot will always vote on that person's posts approximately 20 minutes after the post is published. By now most people are aware that if you vote at 0 minutes, your percentage of the curation rewards go to the author, whereas if you vote at 30 minutes all the curation rewards go to you. And anything in between splits the percentage on a sliding linear scale.

SteemImg Suggestions for improvement

  • Sadly there is no way to update settings for many people at once. Instead you have to individually edit settings for each person on your list, press save, then go to the next person... bulk updates would save a lot of mouse clicks when you want to experiment with changing all your timings or voting power allocation.

  • I'd like to see a way of displaying your whole voting list at once in alphabetical order, instead of having to hit the next button to page through until you find the person you want to edit.

  • When you edit a setting for someone on your list and press save, you are taken all the way back to the first page of your list. For convenience the list should stay on the page you were just viewing.

  • Better input validation needs to be built into the user interface. It should not be possible to add a user to your list twice, or add a user who doesn't actually exist.

Have your curation rewards improved noticeably using Steem Voter?

Absolutely! Steem Voter has allowed me to become a much more effective curator over time. Here are some before & after pics of my curation stats:

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This graph, taken more than a month ago from Steem Whales, shows how dramatically my curation rewards improved once I started using Steem Voter and spent some time optimizing my voting rules:

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Today, I am ranked #529 among all accounts on Steemit for curation rewards. Pretty impressive considering I'm still just a small fish in the vast Steemit ocean. You can see that my curating is holding its own even against accounts that have much higher Steem Power than I do. And it's all thanks to Steem Voter:

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How can I maximize my curation rewards?

Here are the techniques that work best for me. Some of these can probably be optimized further, and I'm sure others have different strategies with varying degrees of effectiveness. If you are a fellow Steem Voter user and feel like sharing, I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

Tip #1 - don't add people who post too frequently to your Steem Voter list. This will drain your voting power too fast and limit the number of people you can have on your list. As a general rule, I don't add anyone who posts more than once per day.

Tip #2 - monitor your voting power closely (this goes hand-in-hand with the first tip). It's easy to go overboard adding too many people at once. Add a few people to your list at a time, see how it goes, then add more. I will start removing people if my average voting power dips below 80%.

Tip #3 - if you know a particular person on your list is really popular, make the voting time less for that person. The rationale being that lots of voting bots may already follow that person, so if you can beat the other bots to the vote, you might end up getting more curation rewards. Of course, the earlier you vote the more of your rewards go to the post author, so it's a trade off. As a rule of thumb, I use 30 minutes for ordinary mortals, 20 minutes for well known members of the community, and 15 minutes or less for those exceptional few that get huge payouts on every post.

Tip #4 - monitor your curation rewards per post over time. Someone with a reasonable amount of Steem Power (say 1000 to 5000 SP) should be getting anywhere from 0.02 - 0.1 SP per vote consistently, and sometimes a lot more. If you're only getting 0.001 or 0.002, then you are not utilizing your bot votes effectively. For those posts, either the author is super popular and you need to adjust your time setting, or else the author's posts are not getting much traction so you may want to consider dropping them from your Steem Voter list.

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This screenshot is a perfect illustration of tip #4. The curation rewards from posts by @kyriacos and @klye are abnormally low, so I should look into making some adjustments to settings for those users.

Tip #5 - don't make it all about the money. You have plenty of votes per day, so in additional to making an effort to maximize curation, be sure to use your Steem Voter list to help out those who need it! I have several users on my list who I want to encourage to be active on Steemit, or who run projects I like to support, even though I don't get many curation rewards from them. Make an effort to support the community, and the community will support you!

The final verdict

There's really not much reason to dislike Steem Voter. It's super easy to use, a voting bot for the everyday average Steemian. If you configure your rules correctly, it's possible to punch above your weight and curate competitively even against those techies who spend dozens of hours making their own custom bots. The web site's user interface for managing voting rules needs some slight usability improvements, but that's a small quibble with this otherwise excellent service.

If you're not already using Steem Voter, then what are you waiting for? Sign up and give it a try today!


Links for more info

Steem Voter web site: https://steemvoter.com/

Latest post in the Steem Voter blog: https://steemit.com/steemvoter/@steemvoter/steemvoter-com-stats-november-11th

There is also a Steem Voter channel in Steemit Chat where you can go to discuss the service with other users: https://steemit.chat/channel/steemvoter.com

Steem Voter may soon be under new management. The creator of the site, @marcgodard , has put it up for sale as he lacks the necessary time to continue running it. In response @thecryptodrive started a public funding campaign to raise money for taking over ownership of the site. Here's his latest blog post on the subject: https://steemit.com/steemit/@thecryptodrive/steemvoter-rescue-steem-will-rise-again-today-we-stand-united-300-steem

@marcgodard and @thecryptodrive are the ones to contact for general queries about Steem Voter.

For more posts about cryptocurrency, finance, travels in Japan, and my journey to escape corporate slavery, please follow me: @cryptomancer


Image credits: The title image is the logo from https://steemvoter.com/ combined with a "thumbs up" graphic from Pixabay used under Creative Commons CC0 . The light bulb icon is also from Pixabay. All other images are screenshots taken from my desktop PC.

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Thank you for the informative article. It was good to understand the reasons for the curation utility, and how it all works.

If people just want to blog and read blogs there are many social platforms for them to do so. Steemit is a monetized blogging community.

Steem Voter assists all members of Steemit platform with their monetary objectives, and it doesn't prevent anybody from reading as many posts as they would like. They can spend their whole life here if they choose.

I have more important objectives than reading and making money all day. All of my investments are automated.

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That's the beauty of Steemit; with all the tools such as Steemvoter that are built on top of it, the platform is very flexible and everyone is free to choose the strategy that works best for them. I hope Steemvoter helps bring you closer to your goals!

@cryptomancer. I am a minnow, just 10-12 days old, went to Craig-grant's latest blog on curation, reached steemvoter.com, from the FAQ list, picked your name, went to steemit, followed you, checked the list of your blogs and here I am. Phew!!! In less than 30 minutes, I got to understand a whole lot on curation and your bot.

Please tell me, my upvote gives about 0.008 or something at 100%. and now it is about 65% as I upvoted some really good blogs along the way.

when will my voting power be 100% again and also will the steemvoter be of any use to a newbie like me who has no influence or voting power whatsoever? I dont know how to set the rules and I need to increase my SP in the first place.

what would your advise to me? will steemvote be of any help to me?

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Welcome to Steemit! Sounds like you've been learning a lot so far, hope you've been having fun along the way.

Your voting power recharges slowly over time, at a rate of 20% per day assuming you don't do any voting that day. Each full power 100% vote reduces your remaining voting power by 2%, so you can use about 10 full power votes per day and expect your voting power to be fully replenished by the next day.

When you're just getting started, you won't see much of a return from Steemvoter. You'll be lucky if you get 0.001 Steem Power in curation rewards from each vote. But over time, as you gain Steem Power, curation rewards will steadily increase. It's kind of a snowball effect. It takes a lot of effort to start rolling that snowball downhill, but once you do it begins to pick up momentum and roll faster & faster. Stick with it and your dedication will pay off eventually!

Hope this helps.

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@crytomancer thank you for putting so much time, effort and detail into this post for all of us newbies. I just opened my account 3 days ago, yesterday felt like I was drowning and today am feeling the liferafts of the community gently pulling me along in the right direction ;) This post was really helpful and written in a way that someone like me (who has no experience with this whatsoever) can follow. Thanks again :)

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You're very welcome! If you got something useful out of this then I accomplished what I set out to do. I remember how overwhelmed I felt when I first joined. There's so much to learn about and experience, but going through that journey of discovery is half the fun! Hope you enjoy your time here.

Hi @cryptomancer - I have read this article about 4 times now and while it is very informative and I've gained a lot of knowledge from it, I am still slightly confused and am hoping that you can put an end to my struggle :) So, I got myself a steemvote account (thank you for the detail showing me how) but now I am trying to figure out the process of curating. I know you've talked about it here- trust me I am trying to wrap my head around all this new content but this is a whole new world to me and it's just not crystal clear yet ;) I noticed that my voting power went down to 40% (how did that even happen so fast?) I have used your rules here and tried to follow them in order to fix this problem but I am wondering if the issue lies with me manually upvoting and commenting (a lot)? I really enjoy engaging on here personally and have set aside a reasonable amount of time to do so, so in that case is it even viable to have a bot set up to do it for me? I would really appreciate your input as you seem to have it all figured out! Looking forward to hearing back from you! Thank you for this article :)

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There was a recent upgrade to the Steem network that increases the strength of your votes but causes your voting power to drain quite quickly. You lose 2% of your remaining voting power for every vote at 100% strength. It is possible to mix both a manual and auto curation strategy (that's what I do myself). But if you do a lot of manual curation, you will want to turn the voting power of each individual Steemvoter rule way down so it doesn't drain you too quickly.

I suggest pausing your Steemvoter account for a couple days to let your voting power recharge, then re-enable it and tweak the rules until you find some good equilibrium point. It takes a bit of trial and error; getting things set just right is more of an art than a science.

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OK- thank you so much for your response! That makes sense, I definitely overdid it manually while the bot was going on in the background. So, I've gone ahead and paused it for now and will remain strong and not press the upvote button for a couple of days to recharge... might need to hide my computer- the content on this platform is just out of this world ;)
Thanks again for your time helping me better understand this!

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You're welcome. Haha, good luck resisting the temptation to hit that upvote button! Once you've gained a certain amount of Steem Power, you get access to a vote power slider that lets you set the strength of each vote just like you can do with Steemvoter rules. That makes it much easier to go on big voting sprees. For instance, I've been upvoting most of the comments in this thread at 15% strength, which allows me to vote a lot and still give a decent chunk of change without having much of an effect on my account's overall voting power.

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Thanks for the support :) ... It's quite the battle not clicking that magical little bubble today. I keep refreshing the link, willing the VP to increase faster... sadly it is not working. On a positive note, it gave me the opportunity to explore and create my own content today and it's been fun interacting on the other side of this. I ended up writing a very basic 'how to' to help other people who were lost and confused like me and it seems to be helping people understand which makes me really happy! It's refreshing to know I wasn't alone in not having a clue haha Thanks again for your help, I mentioned you in my post as someone who supported me and helped me understand what seemed impossible. I'm looking forward to learning more and steeming on in this lovely community! :)

Thank you very much for this enlightening and in-depth post.

I am new to Steemit and I will have my own documentary series running here in a few weeks. That's all I wanted at first. A space where I can display my films while retaining all the rights and royalties over it, and without compromising with broadcasters, formats, and all the restrictions you have both on other online platform and in TV. This is a place where I can interact with my audience, too. In an unprecedented manner.

Although, while looking at other contents of incredibly talented people, I realise how much I wanted to reward them just as much I am rewarded for my films. I was searching for a way to maximise the value of their work, while maximising the value of mine.

I don't see any discrepancy with the principles of this community.

Bless and keep up the good work!

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Thanks, and good luck on your own Steemit journey! One thing I've noticed in the year I've been here is that success on Steemit really is a team effort. Help out the community, and the community will help you out. I have a lot of fun spreading my votes around to people who write content I enjoy, and Steemvoter helps me do that more efficiently than I could otherwise.

Well Elaborated, really wish I already have the knowledge of all this... I wish I'm a guru. Thanks for the information. @cryptomancer

Thanks for the information @cryptomancer, I signed up steemvoter a month ago, but I left it, because I do not understand how to use it.

After reading this post, it looks like I have to go back there.

Thank you

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You're welcome. Sorry you felt confused the first time around, but I hope this post was able to clear up some of the misunderstandings. We also have a support chat where you can get help & ask any questions you may have. Here's a sign up link for it: https://discord.gg/SmWHArQ

Hi cryptomancer,
Just reading you old post, great read thanks - could you tell me how one would leave steem voter - or turn it off so steem voter did not take the vote per day as it does with for free accounts. I assume pausing it does not stop the vote being taken?

thanks for all your great work :D

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Pausing it does stop the vote from being taken, so that's all you need to do. You only "pay" for the service with your votes when you are actually using it.

[...] or else the author's posts are not getting much traction so you may want to consider dropping them from your Steem Voter list.

From the point of view of making money you might do that, but I hope people will vote (or have their bot vote) for who they think are good authors.

Just vote for authors you think are good and deserve your vote. You might even be ahead of the crowd, having discovered a good author before everyone else could even turn out to be profitable the day he or she is discovered.

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This is a good point. If you follow your gut, sniff out quality content, and take chances on new authors, you'll expand your horizons and have a positive impact on the community. This is why I included my tip #5 (don't make it all about the money). You've got plenty of votes per day to spread around!

Regarding authors who aren't doing so well, I usually give them a few weeks to improve before considering dropping them. That's not a decision I make lightly, but I will do it if someone is not showing any improvement over time or something about their posting rubs me the wrong way.

I get what you are saying and why it works for you but doesn't this undermine the whole social / human point of steemit? The bot can't read a post that someone has put their time and effort into....I don't know. It's entirely subjective - what you might want from this experience.

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You're right, some people feel that bots are dehumanizing voting because they can't read and appreciate all the hard work someone has put into writing a post. Which is why the comment by @thecryptofiend is important to keep in mind: voting bots should be used to supplement, not replace, human curation. I still curate manually as much as possible, but I can't possibly read & vote enough to make the most of my allocated votes per day (which is about 40 votes before your voting power begins to drop substantially). Steem Voter is a good way to pick up the slack and use those votes that would otherwise be lost. It allows me to support my favorite authors to the maximum extent possible!

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I get what you're saying. Good luck with it....if I see your bot around, I'll say hello :)

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You mean if you see me around. :-) As Steem Voter votes with my name, you would just see a vote from @cryptomancer and have no way of knowing if it's a manual vote or one from the bot. Although when I do vote manually, I typically leave a comment as well.

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ah...okay then. I hope to "see" you around then.

Excellent post. I too was once really against bots as I felt they served no purpose and they were just there to manipulate the system. I have changed my mind. I am using the excellent Steemvoter service and I use it in a different way. Bloggers I really enjoy their content ... I vote 10 minutes .. as I believe they should be rewarded, especially those like @curie...the vote must reward them as that gets distributed.. and the feeds on one's blogs flow past so fast that one misses a lot and by the time I see them, and read them... my vote to them means nothing.

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That's a great philosophy to have, and a natural use case for Steem Voter. I also have @curie on my list; projects like that help out the community and so deserve our full support. And I totally agree that it's hard to keep up with your feed, especially if you follow dozens of people. When I first signed up for Steem Voter, I simply added everyone from my feed to my voting list, because that hand-picked selection of authors are the ones I really enjoy reading and typically would vote for anyway if I wasn't using Steem Voter.

Good job @cryptomancer , this post is really well put together and informative, thanks for the mention on the campaign, I should be putting out another one soon. Steem On!

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Thanks, looking forward to your next post!

"I'd like to see a way of displaying your whole voting list at once in alphabetical order, instead of having to hit the next button to page through until you find the person you want to edit."

You can click on the heading and order it by any header!

Great post. I will give it the steemvoter mob!

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Doh! I can't believe I never thought to try clicking on the header. Still, it would be great to see the whole list at once instead of split across multiple pages. Maybe an option to control how many users get shown per page?

Thanks for the dose of mob power, that really packs a hefty punch! Much appreciated.

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One of the discussed future change is you get a number of authors based on your SP. This will limit many people's lists.

Glad you enjoyed the help.

This post has been ranked within the top 10 most undervalued posts in the second half of Nov 13. We estimate that this post is undervalued by $35.34 as compared to a scenario in which every voter had an equal say.

See the full rankings and details in The Daily Tribune: Nov 13 - Part II. You can also read about some of our methodology, data analysis and technical details in our initial post.

If you are the author and would prefer not to receive these comments, simply reply "Stop" to this comment.

I'm using Steemvoter and making a little extra from it. It also allows me to support certain people here with my votes, although that's not worth very much. We should do our best to support Marc and Steemvoter so that he can keep it going. I know he's been looking to sell it.

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I agree! Steem Voter is an excellent service with a lot of potential. I hope this review will help raise awareness of it and encourage people to give it a try.

This post has been linked to from another place on Steem.

Learn more about and upvote to support linkback bot v0.5. Flag this comment if you don't want the bot to continue posting linkbacks for your posts.

Built by @ontofractal

I'm not opposed to voting bots as long as they're not running amok and checked on once in a while. I've tried signing up for SteemVoter but even with a password reset, it doesn't seem to like me - which is disappointing, but fine. I do a lot of manual curation anyway.

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Sorry to hear you've been having problems. Have you tried asking about it on the Steem Voter chat channel? I'm sure there must be some solution.

It is true that bots don't read and appreciate your posts
Exactly
'bot's don't curate...they process.
I think voting should require Captcha.

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I respect your opinion, but as I've explained I think bots are a healthy part of the Steemit ecosystem and if used responsibly can be a win-win for both the bot operators and content creators. In this case Steem Voter levels the playing field and allows anyone to be a competitive part of the voting bot landscape.

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Even if I not agree with you opinion I must say that this is a great post. I'd learn a lot, but I have a feeling that with maintaining good and efficient settings you spend same amount of time like with manual curation. So what is the point?

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It actually doesn't take that much time to maintain. I spend about 30 minutes to an hour a week checking my settings and making small adjustments here & there. Whereas I spend the same amount of time per day reading & manually curating 3 or 4 posts. If I didn't use Steem Voter, I simply would not have enough time to curate effectively.

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Good point, thanks.

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This is my first vote here. You deserve it for that replay. I will never invest in Steemit if I knew that bots are so dominant here.

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I wouldn't say they are dominant. Simply that they play a part, and like any good tool you can learn how to use them for your benefit... or not. You don't need to use them to enjoy Steemit, and you certainly shouldn't write your posts with bots in mind. Traditional human curation is alive and well, and projects like @curie exist to help authors get noticed.

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while i'm not a fan of the bot culture here capture isn't the answer I'd leave pretty quickly if i had to deal with that for every vote. but if someone only has time to read a few posts a day then surely it's better for them to use their votes with a bot than waste them.

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I am strongly in the anti-bot camp. The concept of a bot evaluating submissions is reprehensible and skewing the whole platform. I suspect if a poll were taken on those who take time and effort to submit posts the overwhelming majority would be anti-bot.

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I think bots have their places.
voting is not one of them

I used to be against voting bots but I have changed my opinion over time. They are a useful tool. I don't use one myself yet but I can envisage a time where I might need one due to lack of time. They are not a substitute for manual curation but a means of adding to it.

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This is an important point you bring up. Indeed a service like Steem Voter is a great supplement to manual curation, but definitely should not be thought of as a complete replacement for it. I still try to manually curate as much as possible, because that's how you stay engaged with the community and find great new authors to follow. Steemit is, first and foremost, a social platform so let's not ever forget that. Bots are merely one in a vast array of services for getting the most out of the platform.

Do you happen to know if steemvoter has a way to follow a voter? So if someone really likes what @curie does, could they sign up to vote for whatever @curie votes for?

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It can't do that yet, but I think there's been some discussion about implementing vote following as a premium service in the future.

Also check https://steemstreet.com/en/ https://steemit.com/robots/@laonie/introducing-my-new-voting-robot-better

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Thanks for sharing this, Project Better looks like another fun voting project to get involved with.

Excellent post. Amazing. Well done. Up I believe we will enjoy and have amazing time here to collaborate and learn for other members through writing. I will be looking up to you sharing words of knowledge and wisdom. Please stay tuned for my write-ups and please follow me @yash0108

Very nice share.. always wanted one bot just never knew about going about creating one, I may consider this...cheers!

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Glad you found this useful. That's the magic of Steem Voter: anyone can use it, you don't have to be a technical wizard and know how to program your own bot from scratch.

Here is a no bot post for you! That was some good info thanks!

please add me on steem voter i add you @farhannaqvi7

very useful article! upvoted and resteemed :)

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Thanks, glad you liked it and the resteem is much appreciated!

Well done, sir!

This project is more than deserving of a good review and you're the perfect person to provide it!

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Thanks, I hope you found it helpful and informative!