Self-Voting: Scammy Behavior, Rational ROI, or Something Else?

in steemit •  2 years ago  (edited)

I've jumped into a few interesting discussions about self-voting and wanted to put my thoughts down as they are today.

I'll be up front with some of my own biases. I get frustrated by an entitlement attitude. I think improper expectations breed frustration. I think Steemit has always been designed as a lottery, though the flattened reward curve has changed that a bit. I don't think trying to make everyone equal is how we can improve the world, because equality of outcome can't exist between people with radically different ambitions (though equality of opportunity is certainly something we should aim for as a compassionate community).

So right up front, I know Steemit isn't "fair", and it probably never will be, much like life. It's not fair that I was born in a wealthy country to intelligent parents. Yeah, at times we didn't have much money and had to sell the house and live on a boat, but I've had a lot opportunities, more than many.

With all that said, let's jump into a Pros and Cons list for self-voting. To be clear, self-voting is when you vote up your own post or comment.

Cons - Why Self-Voting Is Bad

  • You're essentially adding noise to the system.

    I forgot where I first saw this argument in conversation, but I think it's potentially the best reason not to vote for your own posts. The rewards mechanism here is designed to increase the signal and decrease the noise. Votes from Steem Power holders determine rewards pool distribution. It's supposed to be a signal from stake-holders to indicate the best authors and posts. Now by "best", I acknowledge this is a subjective concept. Not everyone agrees on "best", but hopefully all Steem Power holders at least try to vote for things they think should be repeated and supported in order to increase the value of their holdings. Unfortunately, I think many fail to consider timescale in this process and go for short-term gains.

  • You're signaling to the community something important about your intentions. Are you greedy?

    This one's a little more controversial. If you regularly participate in behavior which ensures you get more than your "fair share" (whatever that might be), then the rest of your tribe may begin to resent you. In some tribal gift economies, to take more than you give out is considered a terrible offense. People who are overly concerned about their own wellbeing are difficult to trust. Trust is hugely important when building strong communities.

  • You're gaming the system.

    In its worst form, some people add valueless comments just so they have another post they can vote up. This is similar to the early days where the bandwidth constraints weren't working properly and many were spamming the network looking for rewards. Steemit implemented a "4 posts a day" target with decreasing rewards beyond that. This limitation has since been removed, but the idea remains: If you're spamming the network just to increase your own rewards, are you really adding value to the entire network? Should the network be rewarding your behavior?

Pros - Why Self-Voting Is Good

  • You're a serious STEEM investors who needs to see a good ROI to remain engaged.

    The way I like to think about this argument compares Steem Power holders to bitcoin miners. If someone invests $10,000 in a miner to obtain their "fair share" of the bitcoin rewards pool, no one complains at all. No one cries foul-play or considers that person a bad actor, even if their actions and investment decrease the rewards for everyone else. If that same person invests $10,000 in Steem Power and starts posting, commenting, and voting all their own stuff up with a similar mindset that a portion of the rewards pool is their "fair share" based on their investment, are they actually wrong? Just as the Bitcoin protocol allows for ASICs, the Steem blockchain allows for self-voting (and there is no real way to stop it anyway). If a Steem Power investor doesn't see an ROI incentive here, they will go elsewhere and the value of the entire network could go down. We all have an incentive to see Steem investors gain rewards, stick around, and bring in more Steem investors.

  • You're sending an important signal about the quality of your voting.

    If the network agrees with your self-vote, they may join in (especially if they are follow voting you via a voting trail). If the network does not agree, you've given them important insight into your process of determining quality. A self-vote on low quality content may provide more signal than any other action, potentially leading to unfollows, lost trail voters, loss of perceived status and reputation, etc.

  • You've invested real money and time into Steemit in order to have power here.

    Some people are afraid of the concept of power. I am not, only the immoral misuse of it. I see power and influence as closely related. I greatly appreciate power used voluntarily to benefit humanity. For me, I see this influence/power dynamic play out in the comments or in the newly created posts page where high Steem Power authors who self-vote get to have their ideas, their influence, stand out and rise to the top. That's a good incentive to purchase Steem and power it up. It's part of the design of this system.

With that said, I'd like to mention another point. To me, it's arbitrary to be okay with self-voting on a root post but opposed to self-voting on a post with a parent (i.e. a comment). The blockchain doesn't really care or make much of a distinction. Each comment can be viewed as a standalone post. In my opinion, much of this thinking comes from the default action on Steemit.com which votes up a newly created root post immediately. Notably, ChainBB does not vote on your new posts by default.

So now that we've unpacked all this, where does that leave us?

Could it be that the Pro and Con list above is too black and white? What if the ideal behavior for everyone is somewhere in the middle? Maybe we shouldn't demonize those who upvote themselves without first understanding their justifications and asking the tough question of whether or not their actions, over the long run, will increase or decrease the price of STEEM and the mass adoption and use of the Steem blockchain. Maybe taking a hard stance either way isn't beneficial.

As this discussion has taken place since hard fork 19, I've been thinking about my own actions a lot more.

The last week or so, I've stopped voting up my own root posts (note, one of these is a Resteem I did vote for, so ignore that).

I was curious how not voting on my posts would impact the rewards and number of votes I get. When I compare to the week before, I see what looks like a pattern:

I seem to have had more votes (and thus, higher payouts) when I voted up my own posts.

I've been thinking about that, wondering why that is. I know some people follow vote my account meaning they've gone to Streamian's Curation Trail system and added lukestokes. Could it be when I don't vote up my own posts, those accounts also don't vote and any accounts following them in turn miss that vote as well? By not voting on my root posts, are they losing out on curation rewards they'd otherwise get and could that mean I could lose vote followers?

From this perspective, maybe a root post and a comment are actually different. Maybe we should continue to vote up own root posts but keep the self-voting on comments to a minimum? Or maybe I'm imagining a pattern and creating a narrative when neither actually exist. Maybe we should use our new 4x voting power to support other authors instead of ourselves.

Maybe we're back to the original discussion about fairness and (dare I say it) privilege. If someone's just starting out, their own vote might be the only vote they get until they build a following. Someone like me who's been building a following for a year still does very well without my own vote (though I may be leaving something on the table by not voting up my own posts).

I don't have the answers, but as always, I enjoy tinkering with the system to find what works, what doesn't, and what benefits the community.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

When is self-voting okay, if ever?

Why the stigma towards how investors use their Steem Power but no stigma towards how miners use their mining rigs?

(image source, CC0 public domain)

Edit: Looks like the default policy on new posts will be changing as this PR was merged in: https://github.com/steemit/condenser/pull/1541


Luke Stokes is a father, husband, business owner, programmer, and voluntaryist who wants to help create a world we all want to live in. Visit UnderstandingBlockchainFreedom.com

I'm a Witness! Please vote for @lukestokes.mhth

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A long time ago, when I was a software engineer in an AI lab, we did some work with Fuzzy Logic. It sums up my approach to almost all knowledge. Nothing is totally black or while, but its some shade of grey and that shade may change due to context.

Self voting is fuzzy to me. In my opinion, people stating out with low SP should always up vote their own posts and occasionally their comments.

People like me in the middle should up vote their posts if they are doing about 1 or 2 posts a day. Seems to me that if they are doing a ton of posts every day, then up voting them all might be seen as an attempt to take as much reward as possible, which may be good for them and less good for the community. I'm not against the occasional comment up vote at this level either.

Whales who post occasionally should up vote themselves, maybe at less than full power. Up voting their own comments might not be the best idea.

But its very fuzzy! Different people are going to have different ideas. How do you define hot? What does it mean to be tall? When is self up voting bad? All fuzzy!

While I agree minnows should largely upvote their own comments/posts, I wanted to make everyone aware it doesn't really do much. It takes 112 to 119 days of upvoting your own comments 10 times a day just to double what you have(assuming no one else upvotes you). Upvoting yourself when you have the 75ish steempower they give you doesn't really do anything because it goes away after a certain point. You might get 30 days I think it is before it goes away, or until you earn a certain amount.

The only real way to get ahead here is making quality posts frequently, or commenting good comments a lot, or having a following to bring with you, or buying into the system(I did purchase about 195ish Steem).

Upvoting yourself without first buying more Steem is an exercise in futility, because you will be making less than 20 cents per day when you do your 10 upvotes. A person could make way more by putting some thoughtfulness into their comment or by making their ow blog post.

Usually when someone upvotes a blog post I make, I upvote them back then and there or a day or so later. I go back and look at who upvoted me and click their name and upvote if they had a good blog post. I think that is how Steem should be used for the most part. But just my opinion from a newbie! :)

Although I had noticed this trend of upvoting of own posts and did not think much of it, I just happened to see this conversation. @truthforce, I am in agreement with the points you have raised above.

meep

Wow I agree! My brother just started here recently. His vote is worth only 0.02 and I actually told him he should upvote himself, And his comments. That way he can build himself a bit as fast as possible. It's kind of a difficult decision on whether or not you should, When you are much smaller than everyone else. It doesn't bother me personally when I see smaller people upvote themselves, but not everyone will agree on that. because at what point do we stop?

In my case he would better upvote my articles instead his comments, because I upvote commenting newbies, as long as they upvote my articles as well (even if that has more of a symbolic value). If everybody keeps upvoting himself (or close members of his 'club' whatever they write) the motivation of writing time consuming high quality articles decreases. In my opinion that can't be the sense of this platform.

In my case, I do a lot of commenting but very little upvoting. Why? Because I upvoted a lot when I first got here (12 days ago) and now I'm recovering my steem power from that mistake. But even so - I have now been advised to only upvote 10 or so times per day to keep the steem power. So are my comments a waste of time?

I think they are worthwhile for the engagement and knowledge I get - plus they pay substantially more than my posts. I'm not sure if this is a long term strategy. Later, when I get the slider bar I will figure out how to upvote more often, but for now I think I am stuck at 10 a day.

  ·  2 years ago (edited)

It isn't a mistake to upvote others, you actually get curation reward and in addition many people should upvote you, too, then. If sometimes voting power decreases, so what? It will recover soon: you lose just nothing.
I upvote you now (30 %), so that you see how nice it feels to get upvoted ... :-)

Edit: you can also upvote comments with a very low percentage, so that voting power decreases very slowly only.

Edit 2: If you can only vote with 100 % it is indeed reasonable to upvote about ten times a day. But even then I would suggest not to upvote your own comments only.
(In my opinion it's a big disadvantage of HF 19 that newbies can only upvote 10 times per day in average anymore.)

Well, I was down at 40% a week ago and now I'm trying for the 80's so it seems to take a long time. I drained the power right away when I first got here.

I upvote about 5-6 times a day right now. I am not upvoting myself ever on posts or comments or replies.

Thank you for the upvote! I do really appreciate that. I followed you and will be sure to use one of my weak votes for you as soon as I can. It's midnight in Bangkok and I am done voting for today :(

The slider would help for sure and I will use it as soon as I get it so I can spread the love better. I wish it would come when you join and that someone would explain the reason to use it, but at least I understand now. Thank you so much for helping me.

Dang! I just saw the amount of your upvote. Holy cow! Thank you again :)

I like this perspective also and yes have and do up vote myself but with that being said the majority of my up voting power goes to content that I want to see more of. I see nothing wrong with the up voting of one's own self especially in the beginning of their steem journey. Thank you Mr. Stokes for starting a great discussion.

I'll try it, thanks everyone for the insights!

Great perspective. I like it.

A concise assessment of both pros and cons

One question I have is whether the community looks at investment in writing is equal to a cash investment...does it matter where the SP power from?

The underlying theme that runs through all these posts, your and others, is that Steemit isn't fair. People who take the time and effort to build networks of readers, and I daresay friends are going to be rewarded a lot more than those who put effort into writing...unless the roulette wheel lands on their post that day ;>

Finally, for me, it's not a self-voting process that is the question, but rather whether the value of any given self-vote is valid. My own judgement is that a "me too" comment isn't worth an upvote, but that if you spend time on a comment or a post, you should reward yourself.

This was a nice read, thank you

What is even more unfair are people building a huge following list using unfair tactics. I personally want to do everything organically so I am not taking or inhibiting anyone else. If I succeed in the end noone can say I took advantage. This is what I mean

Great comment, thank you.

I think the "earned" SP verses mined or purchased SP is a misnomer. What if someone earned BTC solving childhood diseases for a decade and then decided to invest that money into Steem Power? Are they less deserving than someone who writes blog posts? I don't think we can measuring things so easily.

I'd say that both writing and a cash buy-in provide value to the platform; the first in providing content and the second in proving value.

And as you say, hard to measure which benefits the platform more

I personally bought in 195ish Steem by spending BTC I earned from Bitcointalk Ad-campaigns. Double value added! hehe.

But yes, I think we need more people using it and the signup system should be something that makes people want to sign up. Getting that 5 steempower is a decent incentive I supposed, but to make that back for a total newbie likely won't happen for months unless they comment on big articles where whales are. I think that is the underlying issue that all the minnows have to go to a whale post and try to get noticed because it is more profitable than to make your post or to comment on other newbies posts.

And here I am proving that! But I do comment on a lot of stuff made by not so big people hehe. Also, hi!

It takes a while to build up a network, for sure

you will have LOTS of quality posts that drain down the Memory Hole in the meantime. but keep writing, commenting, and making friends

And here I am proving that!

;>

Well said!

If you don't upvote yourself in the posts or replies, you reduce your chances of being seen.

I say upvote yourself imo.

And if you upvote your comment you reduce the chances of others of being seen. :)

Was it OK to upvote myself to increase my chances? ;)

I understand that feeling, and I share it to an extent, though I don't often upvote my own comments.

However, it irks me when people upvote themselves far more than they share the love. Worst of all, when people will upvote their own comments without upvoting the post they commented on.

Exactly what @sethlinson says, and a quick glance at your history @sephiroth, it looks like you upvote others at least 3 or 4 times as often as you upvote yourself. No issues there. I think the main debate and concern is those who are the opposite of your ratio, and simply "mining" Steem with low quality content and self votes.

I'll quote Justice Potter Stewart of the Supreme Court when he ruled on an obscenity case in 1964.

I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description ["hard-core pornography"](abusive self voting), and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture (Steem User) involved in this case is not that.

(Bolded substitutions mine for the analogy!)

Thanks for the reply. Yes, I try to upvote content that I like more than the stuff I have. I think it is selfish if they just upvote themselves especially if they do not upvote the thread that they responded in.

This makes me laugh since I am the biggest prude on the planet. I see porn everywhere now! Nothing to do with steemit but the very reason all major media is out of my life now :)

Right on. I always upvote the main post if I even bother to reply to it before upvoting myself.

  ·  2 years ago (edited)

On your edit about the PR, that was me! Very happy it went through. 😆 You beat me to an announcement, so I just made one I was planning for a slightly less tired moment

It's really interesting that you mention the increased economic impact of HF 19 made you consider your own actions more. I've spoken to many who have also had this experience, as have I.

But a system like Steem must be designed to take into account all aspects, especially the negative. I don't think we can expect everyone to behave "well" unless the incentives are there to do so. Even a few scammers, spammers or otherwise negative actors can disrupt things for the rest. After all blockchain technology is built on the assumption of mostly honest actors while allowing for some dishonest ones. We need to bear that in mind.

I really think that self voting should be removed at the blockchain level. I'd love to hear your thought on this proposition.

Btw I think that answers the question "when is self-voting okay, if ever?" - not at all. I've laid out my reasoning in other posts, but it boils down to this: we are not qualified to judge our own work and reward accordingly.

Great job! I upvoted your announcement just now and thanks for resteeming this post.

I really think that self voting should be removed at the blockchain level. I'd love to hear your thought on this proposition.

It's not really possible. If someone really wants to do this, they will. They will create other accounts to do it. I'd actually prefer to know who these people are in a much easier way (see my signal argument above). If someone is going to participate in activity I disagree with (as an example), I'd much rather have that activity be fully public, not hidden in a corner. That's the problem I see with many government regulation attempts. They make something "illegal" and yet people will continue doing it anyway in the shadows. I'd much rather see people discuss the activity openly and honestly and that's what I've attempted to do with this post. So far, I think the conversation has been great. Some people love self voting. Others hate it. I think both have reasons for their positions.

Reminds me of this old post: We Disagree. Are You Ignorant, Immoral, or Stupid?

It doesn't have to be that way. :)

Thanks for all your efforts on this topic.

Prohibition often has worse outcome, than the problem it was trying to fight, as it creates an underground economy, and then creates a lot of judgemental attitudes. It's one of those things that divides a community, making it easier to bilk it, rather than support good behavior and tolerate things that not everyone agrees about..

Wow, interesting perspective, I hadn't thought of it that way. You've certainly given me more food for thought with that analogy.

I'm fairly new to Steemit (just a week old), and in this time I've read as much post I could've read.One thing I noticed that doesn't seem fairwas when started coming across post in which people would ignore voting on the mother post(the main post) but activey votes on comments..some even go to the extent of commenting on a post selfvote the comment then reply their own comment and selfvote it again.

Yep that's exactly the kind of thing I want to highlight and oppose

See my post below, why I think this is a very bad idea, now that I've looked into it, and finally have an opinion.
I say, 50/50.

To me it's all a matter of the percentage. If you're splitting your vote power 50/50 between self and others, I'll be ok with it, though I'd prefer less self voting. As it creeps above that I'll start to grimace, and at levels of 80%+ self voting it's just egregious.
It's not illegal, yes the code allows it, but it's a matter of community standards and etiquette which we all organically form by our behavior. No one can stop a person from self up voting 100%, but no one can stop a person from posting plagiarized content either. What we do control is the community reaction to the situation.

I feel like the bitcoin miner comparison is somewhat flawed. I think a better analogy is to consider ourselves shareholders. I mentioned in another comment elsewhere, that if you can show me a company where the shareholders voted that all profit be paid out to them in the form of dividends, completely foregoing spending on employee raises, hiring, development, improvements to infrastructure, etc... and that company is thriving... then I'll change my opinion.
That's essentially what 100% self voters are doing, and they're relying on other more rational voters to pick up their slack and keep the overall organization running while they continue to reap profits that others are foregoing for the sake of the business and a more long term vision.
If heavy self voters consider themselves short term investors and follow this valid profit strategy, it's up to long term shareholders to down vote them in the interests of the whole. If people feel the self voting practice is harmful to long term success , it's ROI needs to be mitigated and made less profitable.
We force people to self tag potentially objectionable content with the nsfw tag so that it can be properly filtered. If they don't they'll have that content filtered for them through downvotes. We do this because we recognize that having such content clearly and randomly visible on the site would be a huge deterrent to it's growth and success. There is no code, no rule prohibiting people from posting porn under the tag familyfriendly. So to me the "it's part of the code, it's allowed" argument doesn't fly.

Of course that kind of depends on how "allowed" is being used. If it means that we should leave heavy self voters to their own strategies and devices then I disagree. If however someone takes the "code allows it" stance and equally agrees that if self voters begin to be flagged into oblivion, they are equally ok with that, then I respect their viewpoint because it's consistent and based on community consensus.

Yes! I agree with the 50/50 concept!

Great comment! I agree, I like your analogy better in that, unlike mining, here blogging is the new mining and rewards are what interest people in participating in this platform. If those rewards are forever unreachable because too much self-voting, the platform itself will not thrive.

Yup. I envision it like some vulture capital firm in the business world buying up stake in a company, selling off it's assets and bleeding it dry at a tidy profit and moving on.
It really got under my skin when I saw a user who literally only up votes themselves, 100%, make a post touting how they're stopping their power down because they're so committed to the platform and asking for others to help them reach their Steem Power goals. That just seemed a bit too audacious to me. And they're getting legitimate sincere votes from other users who have no chance of it being reciprocated. Not everyone goes into a blockchain explorer or keeps an eye on stats, most would not have any way of noticing this kind of behavior.

I'd like to see some kind of visualization, badge, meter, have it factor into rep score, whatever. If someone comes on the platform and never upvotes another living soul, I don't think they should be able to build up to a 70 rep. I'm sure if people saw this community building metric at a glance, it would influence their voting behavior.

I was thinking along similar lines. If all comments and posts made it clear if the author voted them up, that would be interesting also. The reputation score might some day include all of this behavior, good and bad. That would be cool.

I think the stockholder model is precisely what it in fact is, even down to how your votes count by your number of shares. Crypto mining is not anything to do with organising the actions of a group. It is just participating in a lottery. I have seen attempts to argue that Steem was intended to be also a lottery, but this is wrong, because if it was, why have a voting system at all? Not that anyone with big SP is not entitled to do as they wish randomly distributing it.

  ·  2 years ago (edited)

Why the stigma towards how investors use their Steem Power but no stigma towards how miners use their mining rigs?

Steem has a rewards budget. It's part of the social contract and stated pretty explicitly in the white paper.

The budget comes from dilution of stakeholders and doesn't exist to increase the holdings of major stakeholders. Extracting the rewards at the expense of the network undermines the premise and value of the network as a whole.

Some won't see it that way, but it's in the financial interest of the largest stakeholders to counter this behaviour.

Edit: I don't want to ban or punish all self voting. There is plenty of blatant milking going on though. It's at everyone's individual discretion where they draw the line and what's worth disputing/downvoting over.

I like that point. The "social" aspect of Steemit does imply a different understood contract between all the participants.

I would actually argue that there's a social contract in Bitcoin as well, and it's the neglect of the social contract over time which has resulted in the community becoming dysfunctional.

Well said. Without a shared, uncensored community platform for communication things can and do get toxic.

I seem to have had more votes (and thus, higher payouts) when I voted up my own posts.

If you have a decent amount of SP, voting on your own post can also give it some extra exposure, people tend to read posts that have some payout as they see other people must have valued it, so they go and take a look too.

I think people are more inclined to look at a post that has $20 than one that has $0.01

I fully agree. That could be it right there, but I was surprised to see so many more votes on posts I did last week. It's also possible many other factors (variability in the quality of my writing, this being a holiday week in the US, etc, etc) had more to do with it than anything else.

@chitty you took the words out of my mouth :P
I also tend to look at posts that generated more "dollars"

I've noticed this as well. Some of the newbies with no power, come out in the "new" section with 0 or 0.01 while I can come out a bit higher. Which gives me more exposure.
I feel this is somewhat justified because I have put more work into the platform than some of those newbies. So It's kinda nice that I can make myself "stick" out a bit. Maybe we could even have a limit of self votes per day, that Isn't included into our 10 or whatever it is. That we can give to ourselves at our own discretion, Whether it's a Blog post or comment.

A limit sounds fair. Or perhaps a self-vote could deplete voting power faster than voting for somebody else?

That would probably work! And it would encourage people to vote less for themselves. Or it could have the opposite effect. People would still destroy their power on themselves. But that would also leave less power for them to use on themselves. LOL.

Hahah! Yeah, it could go both ways, good point.

  ·  2 years ago (edited)

I don't look at the number, I look at the headline, the preview image and the preview blurb. If I was only loving a post for its rewards, why would I ever leave the trending page?

If your policy was universally applied, no new users would be able to get a word in edgewise.

Top 3 things I researched when starting to post in Steemit:
1 - when I write a post, should I choose 50-50 rewards or 100%
2 - what % of voting power should I use
3 - should I vote for my own posts

Most answers seem to be personal choice.

One thing I would like to see done as an improvement would be to limit whale voting power.
As they gain power their max voting percentage could drop. For example they may drop to a max of only 80% per vote. This would allow them to vote more often per day but their single vote would have less power. Especially since the K19 upgrade more votes would be valuable. This may allow them to upvote more quality content (and raise viability to more material ) rather than just content from their inner group.

Darryl

Hey Darryl! Thanks for commenting.

So... this is awkward for me. We were roommates in college. I've now become an "orca" which is one step below a whale. Is it wrong if I upvote your comments as part of my "inner group"? Or is that a benefit I get for earning Steem Power for so long and rewarding my friends?

The 80% cap is an interesting idea, but they can already do that be self-limiting their own voting power. They could vote thousands of times with only a 1% vote, right?

(btw, my question is somewhat rhetorical, I'm going to upvote you anyway because it's also a great comment).

I agree that the larger fish have paid their dues to create a community that people want to join.
I don't disagree with upvoting your inner group as that is how it is currently set up. You play with the hand that you are dealt.

It was just an idea that came up while reading alot of
Comments and posts complaining about votes being given to friends over content.

No matter how a system is set up, there will be those who look for ways to abuse it. Those who use it as intended are the ones who will help new comers flock to Steemit and stay!

  ·  2 years ago (edited)

I don't think that's wrong. It's a perk, and you are still using it socially to distribute stake (unlike a self vote which only increases the stake of the voter, which is the opposite of distribution as you have not diluted your own stake). If people feel you're going overboard with it, they can counter your votes.

Well said.

People up voting their own post never really bothered me. If someone posted a bunch of things that clearly had zero effort and voted those up to high payouts then most of the community would be against that, but that's about it for me. I don't tend to get on the flagging for reward pool train.

I also understand up votes for visibility and often that takes just a few cents and I didn't really see people complaining about that.

Recently I've noticed trains of comments from some people that up vote all of their own comments apparently as high as they can. They sometimes don't even up vote the post they are responding to, they just dump all of the steem power into their own comments. It is not a sense of entitlement it is more a view that if we all chose to do that this would quickly become a rather unpleasant environment. It could potentially reduce attractiveness of steemit and by extension steem and that impacts all of our investment.

I am all for freedom, yet I am also against things that can give the platform significant negative PR.

if we all chose to do that this would quickly become a rather unpleasant environment.

This right here! I completely agree. That simple test, "If everyone did this, would that be a good thing for the network?" solves so many problems.

Thanks @dwinblood.

Well considered. There is an element I think ia overlooked. For some the income from Steemit really helps with daily expenses, especially in poorer countries. If your own upvotes provided you enough for a meal, or petrol in your car, why would you not do it? First world countries have the luxury of debating moral issues , where in third world countries there is more of a focus on survival.

That being said. Being solely selfish will not benefit you on Steemit at all. You need to interact and allow people to feel your presence, in order to both gain and provide popularity.

As wirh everything this is not a black and white issue, but is influenced by factors such as need and generousity, financial circumstances, strategy, and even by how much your upvote is worth.

And....lastly, there is significantly less voting activity on Steemit since HF19, so we sometimes need oue own votes!

That's an important point, one I attempted to touch on in my post. Many here (including me) are privileged, for sure. That's why, before we vilify someone, we should better understand their motivations for upvoting themselves.

You made me think about a few things I didn't consider when I posted about self-voting yesterday. The analogy of comparing miners to investors and their RIO. I never really thought about that.

But it really irks me when someone upvotes their comment that only says, "Thanks" and adds nothing to the conversation. I think that is just a waste of time and makes people stop wanting to interact with you. It's a mistake on Steemit in my view.

This part of your post I agree with and think upvoting your published posts is fine but upvoting your own, weak comments on others blogs is spammy.

From this perspective, maybe a root post and a comment are actually different. Maybe we should continue to vote up own root posts but keep the self-voting on comments to a minimum? Or maybe I'm imagining a pattern and creating a narrative when neither actually exist. Maybe we should use our new 4x voting power to support other authors instead of ourselves.

Here is more on my take on self-voting

Great post! I'm sorry I missed it. And thanks for including a link to this one. Much appreciated.

And yes, I agree. That's the form of abuse I see most people getting upset about. "Why is the network rewarding a 'Thanks' where my post gets nothing?" type stuff.

Hello, this was very insightful to read.
I'm a newbie here and have been watching many video's on YouTube about tips for using SteemIt. The few posts I have made have had negligible votes/comments, when looking at the trending pages and intorduceyourself you can see people with 100's votes earning rewards, it's like oh man where on earth do I start ? How do I even get my posts seen? This is not driven by a desire to make money, but lets be honest here every single person on here wants to earn some!

I want to connect with like minded people, when you're a deep thinker like my self, quite an alternative thinker full of thoughts and philosophies that most people around you in every day life could not even begin to comprehend, I'm excited at the thought that I might find these people on here, I might learn something, I might even be able to help people. But not if I can't get followers, not if my post's have one vote and £.01 value and drop off the home pages in a flash because there is no power behind it. If I want to be seen and heard I have to take steps to build up my account no???

One guy said that up voting your own comments is a good way to build up if you're just starting out, as you correctly pointed out sometimes my own vote is the only one on my post, and I actually do not make random comments just so I can upvote my comment, but I will upvote any comments I make. I have made some lengthy comments on people's post's which actually have meaning (in my opinion), and I upvote these.

Yet at the same time I'm not exactly at ease with it, he also showed some site where you enter a user name and it will automatically vote for you. As a newbie who entered Steemit thinking maybe this is something different (it is different but not in the way i expected), where you can share intelligent content which has nothing to do with X factor, or half naked women and actually be appreciated. It almost feels a little like SteemIt is actually a game you have to try and figure out. Work out the system and all the tricks, which mean's it's not about the content I write, or well not so much, it's more about how well I manage to play the game, as to whether or not my content even gets seen.

It's frustrating and exciting at the same time, but I agree, I don't think it's entirely fair. And I wont upvote my comment here out of respect for your post :)

My post, hopefully, took the middle ground. Maybe it's fine for you to upvote your comment. Maybe it's not.

We all get to figure that out together.

I know exactly what you feel like because I felt it just the same 365 days ago. One year ago today I posted my first Steemit post. I had to figure out what works and what doesn't. I had to leave literally thousands of insightful comments like you've left here to get noticed. I had to build relationships. If you're curious, scroll way back through my blog to read some of my earliest posts. They may help you work through that frustrating/exciting feeling.

Yes in fairness your post is very neutral. I am still getting my head around this whole system and I will openly admit I am not fully aware of how upvoting my own posts/comments can negatively impact the community. It is really great to read all the comments on a thread like this as I feel much of the 'Top 10 tips for Steemit Newbies' video's are definitely geared at making money and this side of things we're certainly not explained in any of them. I am learning all the time, thank you for taking the time to reply to me I will go and have a read through your earlier posts and try and navigate my way through this maze :)

I feel bad for the new posters that never see anything over a penny.. even on great posts, because they have no voting power and no followers to get their posts any attention.

the best best for new Steemers is to read and comment on more established Steemers' posts; to find areas of shared interest; to make going back and looking at their posts interesting...not by follow-begging or "come and see", but by showing they can participate in that area of interest with some value

True I would say when i joined the best way to meet other members of the community was to interact by commenting amd getting to know people.

But was it really so different when you and I started? Yes, the pond is bigger now, but the result is the same. If you know people who have SP (or if you buy some yourself), you'll do well. If not, it's like tweeting to no followers. No one will notice. Steemit is social. It's about relationships.

True.. so newbies should bring their followers and friends from other sites and let the blockchain the rest.

I think that self voting on the root post is an acceptable practice. I would compare it to a public official stating that they appove a message. However like you stated in your post:

From this perspective, maybe a root post and a comment are actually different. Maybe we should continue to vote up own root posts but keep the self-voting on comments to a minimum?

As a minnow with a very small following I am very selective on the posts that i upvote and even more so with comments. I try to only upvote comments that bring substance to the "conversation" so to speak. It is for this reason that I do not think that self voting on generic comments is a responsible practice. I did enjoy reading your thoughts and must say that I agree with most of the points you made throughout. Fair opportunity does not equal fair outcome. Just my 0.002 sbd lol

Thank you. :)

I might be able to explain this:

I seem to have had more votes (and thus, higher payouts) when I voted up my own posts.

I've been thinking about that, wondering why that is.

.. using a bit of an analogy found here.

Great post. Upvoted and followed.

There's a lot of psychology involved. Heard mentality, being part of the tribe, priming, anchoring, etc. It's fascinating stuff.

It is truly fascinating. From my short lived experiment, I've discovered that as long I'm playing the role of performer, actually working, and not being shady street beggar, people do not have a problem seeing money sitting out. They don't mind adding to the pile, provided they've been entertained.

You can watch those abusing the self votes. Notice how they will vote up bland, meaningless comments. Nobody is coming along to add to the pile. Nobody wants to help someone that appears as if they don't need it. They wouldn't last a second out there on the street being a shady street beggar. I don't see them having much of a future.

Agreed. Those who only think short term here don't last. I've been here a year as of today (my first post was 365 days ago, July 6th). Take a look at my wallet and you'll see I've done well because of consistently working to add real value.

Though my approach is clearly much different than yours, the results were similar. There's no other place that I know of in the entire online world where I'd be able to make that much money doing what I do. I took a small amount out to begin trading, broaden my horizons, that's been going well too. This is all one big long term investment though. When I do see people thinking selfishly and looking for instant gratification, I can't help but be concerned. If people like me (artists, entertainers) have to go back into the holes created by the industry to control who does what and how, that's a sad day. If it's because of a few selfish people, that might be an angry day as well.

pssst ... it's H E R D Bro ! Heard is the past tense of hear ... This post is 2 months old, but damn it man ! What a GREAT POST and the comments are amazing ! ... While I have your attention ... Could you instruct me as how to have you be my proxy witness voter ? Please .. When you get a chance that is ... And thanks for the great read !

Read More, Reason More ... JTS

Haha! I do that all the time and use the wrong word even though it sounds the same.

Yeah, just go here: https://steemit.com/~witnesses and put in my name in the proxy box then put in your active key when prompted (you should login using only your posting key to protect your wallet).

You can learn more on this post as well.

Hey luke .. Sorry for not replying sooner, Had a Inet outage for 24 hrs ...grrr, lol
Are you in a Discord chat channel ? I don't like this method of chatting.. I far as I know Dm (Direct Messg) has not been implemented, IDK, just got back on the net and steemit.

I am, but not often. Not enough hours in the day to hang out in chat. :)

I hear that ! what do you think about frystikken as witness ? he is a huge supporter of mine, I have voted for him, But I want you to be my proxy, and it takes away that vot, would you consider voting for him ?

I know he does a lot to promote talk radio on discord, but my impression was he can get a little frustrated with some of his rants. Hopefully he's not scaring anyone away. :) Maybe they are all in good fun though. I'll give him my vote for now.

Well... I did not initially expect this topic to receive such an in-depth run-down! But now that you have gone through the pros and cons, I am glad that you did.

It is hard to expect a person not to upvote his or her own content when that literally means shafting their own rewards. Of course - I suspect that this is more advantageous 'once' your vote impacts the pool significantly. That may trigger others to post to try to get on early.

Incidentally, I recently posted a suggestion about 'data flowers'.

I feel that it may address some of the concerns you've voiced about the quality of content being posted out there - even if it does not truly solve a number of other issues - such as the disparity and consequently harder task of getting one's voice heard, as caused by the flattening of rewards.

To conclude, since I as a minnow have very little to gain from self-up-voting, I think I'll continue to refrain from the practice - and let others judge my content.

Great post. I commented and voted it up.

Thank you @lukestokes!

Your feedback was very helpfully 'on the nose' and I'll be modding that flaw out of it. :c)

I love this post! And you are brave for not upvoting your main posts, I would be afraid to do that!

I have mixed feelings on the whole thing. I agree it's being abused. But at the same time I feel that we should have freedom on the platform. And I love what you brought up about investors.
From what I've been seeing, Do we even get "interest" on our Steem Power anymore?
I also like the the thought of being able to upvote my own comments if I feel that my comments are wrongfully being flagged. As a way to add more exposure.

I upvote my own posts, And I sometimes upvote my own comments when I want to see how much voting power I have. (I was guilty of this right after the hardfork, Because I was super excited. )

But I'm still on the fence on whether or not we should disable the ability, Or just discourage it as a community. Kind of like how Imgur discourages selfies, But it's not exactly Against the TOS.

Great comment, thank you. Yeah, it's tricky stuff. I don't think it can be mandated either way, it's just something we as a community need to think about and figure out.

This, so much this..."In my opinion, much of this thinking comes from the default action on Steemit.com which votes up a newly created root post immediately."

That was actually a key thing I was looking for as I read your post, and you've definitely gotten my vote. That is switched on by default, and how many new Steemians are even going to notice or give it proper regard if they do?

Putting an equal amount of both sides of the argument out there is great and I'm personally of the mind, technical aspect of adding noise aside, if it makes the poster / commenter happy or makes sense to them, then who am I to judge? Let them do their own thing and be happy in it.

A small criticism, though it often makes me laugh, it's "foul" not "fowl-play", and for all I know, you intended that.

A suggestion, take a look at the criticism and outright blacklisting of posters accused of comment spamming their own posts. Example, I'm the author, I respond to a comment (from bot or human, whatever) and then some arbitrary judge with a "blacklist" comes in and says, "Don't do that or else". I'd love to hear your thoughts on that behaviour, both sides!!

It won't be for much longer: https://github.com/steemit/condenser/pull/1541

I just edited the post to include a link to that.

it's "foul" not "fowl-play",

Hahah... Here we go.

Thank you! I often have my wife proof read my stuff before it goes out, but I was just too excited to get this one going. I do silly things like this all the time.

"Don't do that or else".

There are a lot of bullies in every community around the world. They are here also. My best suggestion is to learn and use NVC knowing that all violence is a tragic expression of an unmet need. Try to understand their needs, insecurities, etc and hopefully you can meet them without letting them control your behavior.

I'm going to give your NVC article a deeper read, thank you for that. I found your comment particularly telling considering you are a witness and pretty sure most know instinctively where my unhappy is directed, heck I used to be "that person".

Love the shirt, family is giggling at it now, especially since our little flock of Hazel, Prissy, and Mavis (New Hampshire Reds), would entirely get it.

Just consider that topic though, I'm always up for a good read, or leave those cards were they are laying, as I think evolution is gonna solve that issue.

Very interesting article your correct in what you say but unfortunately the voting power some people have will always be unfairly used and I'm sure they would disagree they have after all large investments so I have to sit on the fence. Great article cheers mike

The only value I personally find in self voting, is getting more attention to my posts.

I believe I should get some real value from my STEEM POWER investment, and that value can only be derrived from the utility I get from it. No utility, no investments.

I don't think giving money to myself through self voting, benefits the platform, or the community in any way. Plus if you eliminate that temptation, there's a whole lot of incentive to start voting other people's quality stuff.

Well said, thank you. Attention is important and this is the attention economy after all, but finding the balance, I think, is key. We also can't just change our principles whenever the masses change their minds. :)

Great topic and objective post. I personally think we just have to save some vote power for the others, not consume all of it for your own. May be a question of balance. I personally upvote my posts later, so I can choose the percentuage of VP.

i agree 100% it's not correct to vote for yourself

Another great post Luke! I don't think there is a right or wrong answer. I upvote all of my posts because sometimes that might be the only vote (reward I get). It does get frustrating seeing those that have large investments in steem power but don't actively engage in the Steemit Network create bogus posts (ie. a video from youtube with zero explanation as to why they posted it) simply to upvote and collect their $30. I guess if that is there prerogative then so be it, but it is annoying and I wish there were a way to curb it. I suppose people could flag those posts, but then you could ignite a fire storm of flagging which I have read has been an issue in the past.

Yeah, it can be annoying. One approach is to purchase some steem to power up and demonstrate a different approach. That's what I've tried to do and let the network decide what they prefer long term.

Thank you for posting this and the many replies delving deeper into the thoughts of each as the pros and cons are being discussed, as a new member here I have wondered if it perhaps had to do with cultural background, I felt uncomfortable upvoting my comments in discussions but was told I needed to do it, and no I have not journeyed into posting a blog yet and have no clue when I will, I am staying busy enjoying this fantastic community! Resteemit for others to enjoy as well!

Thank you for resteeming, and I agree, this is a pretty fantastic community. :)

Really like perspective your example of SP investors compared to crypto miners puts out there. It really is the same in some ways.

Me personally, I upvote my posts and do not vote on my comments 99% of the time. As much as I enjoy the community here there is still a financial component as well and I have worked hard to have some SP behind me.

I like the perspective of not being ashamed of the success we have and the Steem Power the network has allocated to use over time. Ultimately, it's ours to use. How others perceive that use is also a consequence of our actions.

Ain't that the truth!

I think taking the middle ground is the best as one wants to get a good ROI as an investor. So, it's ok if one votes himself 2 or 3 times a day on his own posts but consuming all of one's voting power on it's own and not voting any other will also result in a lower ROI. Think of that in this way if all the whales start to vote just themselves and they have not much of voting power left to upvote a good piece of content or even if they have they don't want to consume it on others coz this way the next day there voting power is not gonna reach 100%. So, what's gonna happen?

Only 1000 or so people gonna show up in trending pages and there will be nothing lower chances for anyone else to get the same visibility as the whales. Result will be same sort of content every week for the genuine readers and when something gets monotonous it becomes boring. Result will be lower readership that means more inactive users, less faith in the community and thus it falls to the ground.

So, it's best to do both. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Keep doing that. :)

The trending page? I rarely look it. Sometimes I forget to check it for a week because I'm too busy interacting with people I follow and great comments on my posts. I agree though, balance is key.

Yup I know you must not have the time as you have quite a following but i was talking about from a readers perspective coz not everybody at steemit is planning to be an author. Some are purely here to find quality content and we can only provide them with that if we keep some balance.

You made the assumption part way through that upvoting a main article and upvoting a comment are the same. You are right in theory. You are wrong in practice. Look at your own post above. Have you ever put that much thought and time into a comment?

The conclusion is real simple - and you proved it further down in your post.

Upvoting your own posts is fine. If you are posting such crap that you can't even upvote main posts, stop posting.

Upvoting your own comments is tacky. I did that for awhile, but then saw the error of my ways.

STEEM On !!

Dave

Have you ever put that much thought and time into a comment?

Surprisingly, I have. Ask @jedau. I've had many deep comments with him that he'll argue impacted him in very important ways. It wasn't about rewards, it was about a relationship and an important conversation.

That said, I agree with your general assessment, but I'm wondering, do I even need to upvote my own posts? I still get by okay without it and now I have more voting power for comments and posts from others.

I suppose jealousy is the biggest factor. People don't see how much a miner makes. How much a top Steemit account makes is very public knowledge. I actually saw somebody try to call out a popular travel blogger a while ago, because she didn't upvote every single comment on her posts. She probably gets hundreds of comments a day, but this person tried to tell her she was greedy for not upvoting his comment. LOL

That person probably did not understand that voting power is limited and recovers by 20% daily... and so needs to be used with a degree of conservatism. ^_^

Alternatively... 'entitlement' - though I do not personally attribute the term to people who 'try'.

I favor the right/ability of authors to self vote. My personal policy is to not do it all the time (only a half to two-thirds of the time) and generally to not do it during the first 24 hours after I post (so as to allow others to earn higher curation awards).

You evil capitalist, you! Heheh. It'll be interesting to see how this changes over time. It wouldn't surprise me if more projects and bots start downvoting self-voters if more people start expecting that to not happen as much. If they did, do you think you'd change your policy? Either way, it's interesting how divided people are on this topic.

Downvotes from folks or bots with low rep and/or low SP are unlikely to change my or others' behavior. And folks with high rep and high SP are usually ones who have been around here a while and see responsible self-voting as a part of the Steem culture. Plus, such folks benefit from responsible self-voting themselves. So they seem unlikely to downvote except in cases of abuse (though I may be wrong on that).

When self-voting becomes abusive (done too often or self-voting for crap content), offenders will likely be sanctioned (flagged) by folks with high rep and/or high SP, and this should dissuade abuse.

In short, I personally don't see a day when all self-voting is verboten or shamed away, but maybe I'm wrong.

I agree to this. Responsible self voting, while still spreading around to curate, etc, is wise and helpful to the community. Some bad actors employ some sophisticated bots that self vote, but that is a little different in my opinion.

@sean-king, I am running a Witness and reaching out for support from the community to get the last few positions to 50. Would you consider helping out?

verboten

Haha. You lawyers with your fancy 5 dollar words. I had to look that one up! :)

I agree, it will never be completely shamed away (nor am I arguing that it absolutely should be), but I do think it's interesting how much relies on trusting high reputation and high SP holders to act as rational, self-interested actors. I've seen many abuses of this, and I recognize how irrational many people can be. Nothing is perfect.

see responsible self-voting as a part of the Steem culture

I was thinking about if that changes. If the Steem culture begins to see self-voting differently. It's quite interesting to think about how this all relates to larger contexts of "the real world" where our individual opinions are shaped by the tribes and cultures we live in which themselves are shaped by the emergent properties of many individual opinions.

Yes, some high Rep high SP folks behave irrationally, but I think there are enough of them that the "wisdom of the crowd" should prevail.

To me, Steem is no different than a closely held corporation. In a closely held corp, a small minority of shareholders hold a majority of the company's voting stock. They can use this power wisely or stupidly. For instance, they can use it to hire only themselves and close (but incompetent) family members as employees and pay each other completley undeserved levels of salary (the corporate equivalent of pure "self voting"), or they can use their power to hire only competent outsiders to run the business (the equivalent of only voting for others), thereby sacrificing any real "say so" they have in its operations. Or, as most rational people do, they can do a combination of the two, hiring themselves and maybe a couple competent family members (so that they continue to exercise some influence over the director of the business and its operations) while also spending good money to hire competent outsiders. Sure, there will always be those who resent the "insiders" privileges to hire and fire who they please, and to "pay themselves great salaries", but over time competence will prevail or the company will fail. If the company is raped and mismanaged by short-sighted insiders, it will quickly fail, the stock will go to zero or close to it, and the stock will be bought on the cheap by more competent and wiser people who will quickly restore its value (and then some). Over time, stock inures to the competent.

In most cases, the combination approach (hiring key insiders and also competent outsiders) is the most rational one, and I think its the one that Steem has taken and will continue to take. To censor self-voting (to deny insiders the right to hire themselves at all and thereby exercise any meaningful control over the company) is short-sighted suicide. Steem can certainly do it, but other blockchains won't and they will no doubt be more successful.

Excellent comment, thank you Sean.

Over time, stock inures to the competent.

Another $5 word! I like it. :)

I think you're right. Even if individuals aren't rational, the long-term economics and wisdom of the crowds does trend towards profits by those who can create profits most efficiently unless threats of violence or social shaming are involved. Where many get confused, I think, is when they tightly tie systems which create profits with human feelings, wants, desires, expectations, misunderstandings, etc, etc... all the squishy stuff which is hard to map to a spreadsheet.

Steemit, it seems, is both a corporation and a digital expression of humanity.

Whatever it is, I like it and really enjoy discussing it's details because it helps me better understand myself and the "real" world outside of Steemit.

Your comparison to insiders/nepotism is a good one. Many think nepotism is always bad no matter what. Those would probably also say self-voting is always bad. The funny thing, I think, is that often those are people who've never had real power/influence/responsibility of their own. Once they get it, they better understand the challenges involved. Without it, it's easy for them to say how others should act.

There so many ways to look at it, only time will tell. Good post my man!!

Thanks, Stackin!

:)

I dont see any part of this as a bad thing, its part of the code, its allowed , the creators know about it, and its not "illegal" per say because its part of the system

its ALSO a way for smaller people to start out, whales wont always upvote people, so even just a small 0.02 cents to new people might be an incentive to work harder and make more content on the platform

regardless if people are giving themselves 2.45 or $128.99, theyre not hurting anyone, their actions dont affect anyone else, and theyre not stealing from other people.... why is this still a topic to discuss?

their actions dont affect anyone else

No? It removes rewards from the rewards pool in a way many think is not helpful to the network. That impacts everyone by leaving fewer rewards for others.

I don't agree with voting up your own comments.
As in, "What a Wonderful Post" and I'll have the 100% 2 cents or $100 for that fantastic contribution to the Steemit Community. Thank you very much.
It's not only acting the Nob, it's also unethical.
If you want to enrich yourself with Steemit mining.
Write a great Post. (Like this one) Then up vote it.

But let the comment up vote, be someone, who actually likes the comment.
And go and use your selfie up vote on someone that deserves it

Great post Luke. I found it late. After having already flagged someone who I felt was completely negatively impacting steemit. I told him why, how he could change it. Had a long conversation about ways to use the SP productively. Not that bots are much better, but I suggested he make one and let other people use his vote and give him money, that way the posts that got his upvotes, got more views since they probably added value to steemit as a whole...

I see a big difference between upvoting posts and comments. regardless of what the blockchain considers them.. One contributes to analytics and good searches..

Lastly bitcoin is in no way a social media platform. on a social media platform thats connected to a block chain the dynamic is going to be different. So comparing it to mining, I get it. but they are fundamentally different. This place is community. They broadening, healthy community and the content created are what will give steem its value in the end.

But you did make the issue have a lot more gray areas to me. It is indeed not all black and white..

We both know what would happen if we all just upvoted ourselves 10 times a day though. and in particularly if we just commented, good job 10 times a day and upvoted that.. It wouldnt even take all of us, probably just a 51/50 self vote attack lol..

Regardless keep up the good work, thanks for bring up the good questions and talking about them so rationally

Great reply, thank you. I agree, Steem has some characteristics which make it unique from bitcoin and certainly adjusts the rewards dynamics. I'm a big fan of the "if everyone did this" exercise. There'd be no quality discovery process and great authors would leave which would lower the search rankings of the site which lowers value for everyone. That's why I think a balance is good. I now only upvote my own posts when I have plenty of voting power to do so. I haven't upvoted a comment of my own in a long time either, but I'm not competely against the idea if I feel my comment is important enough for others that it should be seen first to influence the discussion.

I concur completely. No comment upvoting for me, but I understand there are reasons where it's acceptable.. I only post 1 or 2 times a day and my vote is only worth 1$ so I upvote them.. 2 votes myself, 8 votes for everyone else feels a good split to me, but I would be fine without the ability to vote on myself too really... I am going to have to leave this account because of my new found flagging war. but I couldnt just let someone say 'yes' in a comment and give themselves 20$, when they didn't upvote the post they commented on in the first place. I am on the short end of the voting power though, so I should have just left him be probably. let him take his 200$ a day from the reward pool.. Live and learn.. Keep doing what you are doing for steemit, need all the goodness we can get, to counteract those few mostly selfish people!

Who are you talking about? Have you asked them why they are doing that before flagging them? I've found those conversations quite interesting.

I did, I told him (dangOO7) why I flagged his comment. How I would unflag it if he removed his own vote. I explained to him that bots are doing exactly what's he is doing in essence. Only in a more healthy way, allowing other people to pay to upvote content they feel is worth it. Told him inertia had the code open sourced. When people pay for a booster or randowhale, they are usually trying to promote something that is more often than not worth it. Things that might add to the Alexa ranking or Google search results. Where as a comment that says 'yes' just isn't worth 20$. I told him to get on steemitchat and message me and I will help him even.. then he went and downvoted 4 of my posts. Commented saying he has to make his money work for him, that it's not a rule.. I compared it to cutting lines. There isn't a law against it. It just makes you a dick, who is bad for the community when you do.. I really really tried to be nice, and helpful. But he had already downvoted most of my posts, so I just went ahead and started flagging back.. the original comment I flagged was him trolling elfspice in one of his posts, he upvoted his own troll comment. And I just said I will remove the flag once he removes his upvote, because it's both a troll comment and removing rewards from the reward pool for a non-contribution. I tried as much as I feel I can. I know not what else to do. Until it's a rule you can't upvote your own comments a few hundred dollars, he will abuse it. This is why we have ridiculous laws irl, because people abuse everything that they can until a law must be made to prevent people from being bad actors. It's all good, I will survive. He did have a point. I invested all I can and it's only 3k Sp, he invested 150k sp. Since he's willing to risk more he should get more rewards. There are just healthy ways and unhealthy ways to do that. I would rather steem become worth 50$ ea. , Then to give myself 10$ worth of self upvotes a day until it collapses and I'm holding bags of self back patting with everyone else. The community is still more good than bad though. I know that. Steemians in general , wabt what's best for steemit. So I still have faith you guys will make this work. I have just been singled out by a less than good member of the community. And I need to step away for a while.. I enjoyed my time on here though. And thanks for all you do, you are appreciated. You rose all the way up through the witnesses in my short time here. It was cool to see, and you deserve it! Keep up the good work!