How Do You Explain Upvote Bots to Potential New Members?

in steemit •  4 months ago

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Whenever I'm trying to explain Steemit to my friends, there's one topic I'm having much difficulty with. I'm talking about upvote bots of course, as the title of this article suggests.

As much as we'd like to portray Steemit as this awesome platform, on which you can easily make money by writing articles or sharing your own pictures. We have to admit that this isn't exactly the case.

The first thing that new users notice, is that the Trending page is littered with posts that have gotten hundreds of dollars in rewards. This is all very exiting in the beginning of course, since they immediately think that they might get there too one day. This exitement fades away pretty quickly, once they find out how all these posts reached the Trending page.

When friends of mine ask me if it's really possible to get hundreds of dollars per post, I have to break that bubble immediately. It sucks, I'll explain to them that pretty much all of these posts on the front page are only there because their authors have purchased their way up there.

After I've explained how upvote bots work and how they influence the Trending page, my friends' enthusiasm usually drops. I personally have no idea how to bring back that enthusiasm. It's true that you have to jump through an awful lot of hoops, if you want to become successful here, even on a small scale. This shouldn't be the case, you should be able to just write a decent post and get some rewards for that without having to spend hours on promoting it.

The most frustrating for me is, not knowing what Steemit's official stance is on these bots. Reading the FAQ again, I've come across this bit of information:

Q: What is considered spam or abuse?
A: Selling or offering to buy votes/resteems/follows, or schemes that facilitate this.
source

I'm pretty sure that this is a fairly recent change to the FAQ, which indicates that they do consider vote buying and selling a form of abuse. I would really like to see some official communication about the subject. I don't even expect immediate change, just that they acknowledge the problem.

Don't get me wrong here, I'm fully aware that the Steemit developers are probably dealing with way more important issues like HF20 and SMTs. All I'm asking for is for them to share their official stance on the issue.

Let's have some discussion in the comment section!


Source of first image: Image created by Goodfreephotos and released under Public Domain; Modified by @daan using Gimp


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Yeah, it's like explaining prostitution to a toddler. Awkward.

Steemit, Inc. could avoid this disappointment by showing a different type of front page. But maybe they like to show big numbers in order to attract new users?

I try to explain that it's a miracle that Steem works at all - at least well enough that bona fide users are able to posts blogs and follow people they're interested in. Game theory would predict that a system rewarding users for upvotes would be overwhelmed by spam, plagiarism and profit-seeking. Steem isn't nearly as bad as Bitcoiners who looked at it once think it is.

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Yeah, it's like explaining prostitution to a toddler. Awkward.

Hilarious :'D

A different type of front page would be nice, but you'd still have the issue that post ranking is determined by vote sizes. I guess they filter out bot-upvoted posts, but that would also turn them against their largest investors.

I do agree that for being a completely different approach to social media, Steemit does work incredibly well. It's completely normal that we have these sorts of issues, since it's a stake-based voting system after all. My biggest 'complaint' is the lack of a roadmap regarding the voting bot issue, I would assume that this isn't exactly intended behavior.

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I agree, the voting bots have too much power at the moment. Another way to improve the front page would be to weigh votes by UserAuthority, a new kind of reputation score that was just launched.

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LOL, I choked when I read this... but it is completely true!

That's a very good question. Perhaps you'd like to join @quillfire in his discussion on this topic at his blog.

https://steemit.com/steemit/@quillfire/derivatives-a-series-about-fixing-steemit-part-3

Explaining Steemit to a non Steemer is hard work. You really have to become a writer to make it on here, and most of the FB lot simply don't want to write more than a sentence.

Explaining that to make it to trending and be seen, you have to pay for your own advertising, really nails the coffin.

They really need to enforce these FAQ rules if something is going to change, but that would mean centralization which goes against the ethics of crypto.

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I mean, it could become a viable alternative for Instagram, with something like Steepshot for example. Steemit itself is more like Medium, I think. I have a couple of friend who have blogs on Medium, but are hesitant to join Steemit, specifically because of the upvote bots.

They feel that they get a lot more exposure on Medium and it feels more real.

I have no idea how to explain it... I was curious to see what other people had to say, but I guess the post is too new to have feedback yet!

I guess, the best I could answer would be like paid advertising? It gets you more exposure... but then there is that rewards component that doesn't fit in the analogy!

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Yeah it's a bit like paid advertising, but isn't it kinda silly that the entire front page of Steemit.com is purely made up of paid advertisements?

yeah, I was one of those who saw big numbers and then reality sank in
I am happy with some Steemians I have met and that keeps me going...
But my friend who didn't get a chance to form any sort of connection, left within the month when she realised the amount of time needed on the platform....

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Yeah it's almost the same for me, I really hope it will change though. I'd really like to see some non-bidbot stuff on the Trending page, at least then you know it's possible to get there because your content is good...

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It would be interesting to hear what their take on the bots is. If they are against them though they need to do something about it. Words without action are pretty empty. You would probably see a mass exodus of some users if you banned them outright . That might open the reward pool to those of us that are left though...

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