The seed of self-upvoting was sowed more than 12 months ago, hf19 just watered it.steemCreated with Sketch.

in steemit •  2 years ago  (edited)


It took two distinct mutations for Lenski's E-coli to become Salmonella.
The first, while necessary, was unspectacular.
The second saw visible results so it got all the fan mail.

A quick steemit history lesson.

More than a year ago, authors and curators shared the post rewards 50/50.
A post would show $100, but the author would only get $50 of that, and only be able to cash out $25.
(The rest locked away as SP, for 2 years then, 13 weeks now)
It was changed to 75/25, no doubt in an attempt to encourage quality posts, under the assumption that 25% was sufficiently lucrative to encourage sound curation.



That was a long time ago and it had no immediate, obvious impact, but it planted a seed.

Fast forward a year: Hard fork 19 leveled the playing field and was met with widespread enthusiasm.
The hated quadratic equation was gone, and every vest was finally worth the same.

From the White Paper...
In order to realign incentives and discourage individuals from simply voting for themselves,
money must be distributed in a nonlinear manner. For example a quadratic function in votes, i.e., someone with twice the votes of someone else should receive four times the payout and someone with three times the votes should receive nine times the payout. In other words, the reward is proportional to votes squared rather than votes.
This mirrors the value of network effect which grows with n2 the number of participants, according to Metcalfe’s Law

This speculative change made Steem power less valuable, dropping the price as I predicted.
It also triggered a wave of self upvoting, and a subsequent wave of posts suggesting changes designed to limit our capacity to do so.

But prohibition has never worked anywhere, with anything.
There is no conceivable change we could make to stop people from being able to upvote their own posts or comments.
Between delegation, sock puppet accounts and vote-for-vote agreements, it's just not possible.
We can't make the self upvote less lucrative than it is, but we can make it less lucrative than an alternative.
We can't take their ability, but we can take their willingness.
We don't have a stick, so we have to use a carrot.

If we move back to the original model, where the author gets 50% and the curators split the other 50%, we make deliberate, careful curation potentially more lucrative than self upvoting.


Ironically, if the changes had been made in reverse order; if we'd dropped the quadratic vote weighting a year ago, and halved the curation rewards a month ago, the self upvote would have still only just arrived, but this solution would have been immediately obvious.

I can't see much support for walking back a month, undoing the recent change; and I don't think doing so would really address the problem, but if we pull this thing up by the root and make curation the focus it used to be; and was always meant to be, very few people are going to want to waste their voting power on their own low quality comments.

They'll stop spamming crap, they'll stop forming cliques and jealously monitoring members for compliance.

They'll start actively seeking out unnoticed gems, and getting their upvote in early, maybe with a resteem to boost their own take even higher.

People are going to get a return on their investment.
It can come from self voting or it can come from curation rewards.

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Brother, I wish I had seen this when you first published it. Sorry I missed the curation window. You know what? I'm going to go find one or two of your recent comments and up vote the heck out of them... :D

As usual, Matt, you've got a brilliant solution here to the one thing I find most annoying about Steemit - that people aren't reading my writing.

Everybody here right now (perhaps except you and a microscopically small group of others) is here to write and get rewards for writing.

Of course, you can't really blame writers for that, because that's what we do... However, what good is a community where everyone is talking all at once and not listening?

Your genius solution would shift the balance to where we would finally have people signing up to read and enjoy the work of excellent authors.

Thanks, man, for hitting the nail on the head - again.



Thanks mate :)
Let's hope Ned and the boys are keeping their eyes open for solutions.

Well, I love this. But I make all my money on Steem through curation, so of course I love it.

I completely agree with your submission. Make curation more lucrative, and self upvoting will become old school.

I don't really have an issue with self voting per se but it gets my goat when someone comments, self votes and doesn't vote for your post. I had a person I won't name do that on one of my posts last week, Upvoted themselves $12 and didnt vote for my work. That's just rude and insulting really. A bit of polite etiquette needed there I think.
I agree with the carrot method as I don't like the idea of forcing folks to do anything here. Many of us came for the perceived freedom the platform affords writers and incentives are always better than coercion. IMHO

Yes, that is really annoying!

Exactly. I don't blame people for gaming the system if the system let's them; dont hate the player, hate the game.

Im hating it all at this point! 👍

There will always be a flaw in the system and its natural for people to look for 'work arounds' to enrich themselves. Again that's ok as far as I'm concerned providing those who do have powerful votes who are currently voting for their own comments try to be better role models to those coming through by at least sharing the votes and not using other people's work as a catalyst to fill there own wallet.
Children mimic their parents and learn through watching those around them I'm sure people do the same here. Who knows? Maybe I'm just old fashioned.

I am Groot! :D

Love the Rainbow lorikeets by the way, I always had them on my balcony in Manly.
They used to fill the trees in the evenings., the noise was defending. A nice memory for me.

I lived in Manly for 3 months in '96.
Beautiful spot.
It was the School of Artillery at the time, now it's the Biggest Loser house.

Wow. I was there 91-92 & 94-97.
I wonder if we were ever in the Steyne or Shark bar at the same time?
Small world eh!

Yep. Those were the spots.
I was dating a local girl so I didn't spend much time out on the turps with the lads.
I was only 17 at the time.
I remember listening to the radio in my room there when news of Martin Bryant's rampage came through.

Were you a dropshort, or a cloud puncher like me?

Just a travelling Pommie dude.
Drinking you dry, refusing to wash etc 😂

I totally agree !👍

I've had that too, it hits you right in the feels.

I am with you on this, @creatr passed this on for me to read, I dislike seeing members voting for there own comments but I remember there was a post going round telling people to do it just can't remember what post it was. I think sheep one person starts others follow,

Unfortunately, in the current environment, a self upvote is typically the most valuable use of one's voting power.
We can blame people for acting rationally, or we can give them a better option.

Give them a better option definitely

I don't understand all the ins and outs of this, but it looks like the removal of quadratic voting made it viable to have a mass of low SP bot accounts voting up your posts for a reasonable return. There's no perfect system and there will always be abuse.

It always seems that the same few people head the global trending page. We should hope that curation will at least highlight good posts within a tag and highlight the good comments on each post.

It's all a big experiment and it's fun to watch the outcomes.

The bots are annoying. More annoying are the group voting bots. Join the click (pay) and the voting bot will (supposedly) help you rise to the top. To be honest, I really haven't seen these this minnow projects make much difference.

But what I am discovering is a community of interesting and thoughtful people posting quality content from all walks of life. And it seems to be, they are discovering each other. The more time I invest here, the more worthwhile and rewarding it is becoming.

And I'm not even talking about financial rewards!!!

Good idea.

Something definitely has to change - there is so little interest in content nowadays with post views being at an all time low. At least that's what it feels like. And reading comments these days is just so annoying ;)

It's hard to wade through the dross.
I also have a suggestion to minimise spam which I think has potential.
Thanks for dropping by.

@mattclarke I think you are onto something here. I really have a dislike for the self-upvoting of comments. Too often do I see someone post a low quality comment and then self-upvote it, often giving it more value than the original post. Then the commenter doesn't even upvote the original post. Greed has become more noticeable since the latest HF.

I do understand why you might self-upvote your own post, particularly if you have pumped a lot of time and effort into. Comments, however, are another matter altogether. Thanks for sharing your views.

We're all 'greedy' in a sense. I'd just like to see that greed harnessed toward building this place instead of tearing it down.
Thanks for your input.

You always make such good points man.

  ·  2 years ago (edited)

Interesting idea. There have been a lot of tweaks in the year I have been here, and even more before that too.

I wonder if there is a middle ground between linear and quadratic that balances equality of votes with the network effect of voting for popular content? If I recall correctly, @nonlinearone proposed an alternative. I had a quick look, but couldn't seem to find it.

I think you are on to something with the emphasis on curation as an incentive to spread your vote though. Has anyone done any studies on the effects of HF19 on curation and whether minnows are now also earning more on this front too?

I can't see how quadratic weighting is meant to stop self upvoting.
I can appreciate how it would keep minnows honest, but whales with sock puppets can make money hand over fist.
We need to stop trying to stop it, and start looking at making legitimate voting more attractive.
How's your little girl doing btw?

Self upvoting isn't the problem. The problem is when people self-upvote and no one else agrees the content is worthwhile. Quadratic weighting stops that, assuming everyone is equal in vote power. Because a post/comment with one vote will only get one ten thousandth of the reward (that is to say, nothing at all) compared to a post/comment with 100 votes.

In practice, people are not equal so this model is false, and it was largely false in the original whitepaper as well. What it really did was let orcas and whales self-upvote or vote for their friends or business partners while the bulk of the user base might as well not vote at all.

I didn't know there was ever a 50/50 split with curators. That must have been changed pretty soon after the launch. I'm not so sure I agree that a return to 50/50 is a good idea. Without content creators, there is nothing to curate. Creating content requires more time and effort than consuming and curating, so I'd say a 75/25 split is more appropriate as it is reflective of that fact.

I'll take 50% in an atmosphere of frenzied upvoting over 75% in this barren wasteland.
It's a smaller slice but a bigger pie ;)

  ·  2 years ago (edited)

It was changed a couple of months after launch, slightly before the first payout (July 4, 2016). But in fact the change was much greater. Early votes reduce curation rewards further (the so-called reverse auction), so in effect the split is more like 88/12 (estimated number from a few months ago; might be slightly different now but it is clearly more lopsided than 75/25).

Great point smooth. Thanks for chiming in.

I only joined a month ago after HF19 I guess and now I see the difference between the steemit back then and the steemit now in terms of curation and rewards. Thanks for sharing!

Welcome aboard. It's still in beta, so we have a lot of these type of discussions.
Hang around, cultivate a following, and a year from now we can reminisce about the good old days of mid '17.

Thanks for this infor .. I didn't knew about this I'm new .. thanks for helping me

Very interesting. Unfortunately I don't really understand all the formulas and stuff. But even in the only 4 days I've been around, I'm wondering if there is a whole lot more I need to get straight.

When a friend pointed me to this site, I was thrilled of the perspective, that one could actually get some reward for ones input.

After I opened my account, I was overwhelmed with all the super interesting content and reading and looking quickly became far more important to me, than anything else... figuring a reward of 0,003 of something for a newbie wasn't gonna change my world much anyways.

The content I found inspired me to add my own few stories and to my great surprise, there seem to be quite a few people who like it. Of course, I'm thrilled with the "rewards", and artists pretty much live on attention ;-) Plus I have found the conversations I've had so far much more interesting than on other social media.

For me it would make sense to reward this quality.. in the post, and the conversation. Of course I have no idea, how it can be done :-/

You're a noob today, but in the years to come you'll be considered a very early adopter.
Best advice I can offer; Don't burn yourself out posting to a small audience.
Make one or two great posts, then comment on other people's posts until you have at least 100 followers.
Nothing destroys motivation more than seeing your sweat and tears upvoted by both the people who saw it.
Following you.

Your advice is most appreciated, as I was wondering today of how I should go on. Hahaha... hardly find the time to post anyways, as there are so many other things around here which interest me :-)

Thanks a lot for the follow. Like your content, so I'm following too. Even if most of it is hard to understand for me... but like you say, there is hope! ;-)

Get busy and network Reinhard! =)

hahaha... (laughing hysterically)... I'm trying hard @leoplaw! :-)

Very interesting! Thanks for sharing.

Some very good info that i never knew before.

Yes, going back to 50/50 would help just from the sheer motivation (the carrot) the shift gives people whether we realize it or not.

Very well written. You're causing me to think this morning, 6.17am as I type. Tad bit too early to give you an intelligent response, but I'd thought you'd enjoy knowing, you caused me to think. One thing I will say, it would be cool to roll back some of the changes, because I don't believe all the changes have been good, your article case in point. Ok, where the hell is my coffee

Great post ! Love your character at the end ! LOL! Thanks for commenting on my article earlier and leaving me a link to this one , all I know is something needs to change soon , and fast ! Before the bots totally take over , then it will be , bye bye Steemit ! Best of luck to you , upped !!👍👍👍

Having money in any system will cause people to work that system to their own advantage every time, it's just human nature. All you have to do is look at how many bloody ridiculous law this stupid government bring in every day, yet people will always find way to work the system to their advantage. Thanks for sharing the info my friend. Cheers

Although I respect everyone that upvote themselves, I don't upvote myself since my first week I believe. I realized that steemit is a community of giving, the more you give the more you receive, therefore I'm saving my upvotes to give back all I have received. That's the way I see it anyway.

I will not self vote this and it is paying out soon so I am glad to contribute a full power vote, even though I am voted down a bit as usual, to give you about $3.5 towards your retirement to evacuate the state LOL.

You already know how I feel about a lot of stuff here.

You have been one of the good ones Matty, thanks for sending this along today, I had to be AFK for about 3 hrs.

Have a nice week man.

No worries, mate. Thanks for the eyeballs and support.
We'll get there in the end. Just gotta remember we're still in beta.

My big 1 year Anniversary / Steemit Birthday post is up, I put 4 hours into it.... I would love for you to drop by that post, as a friend!

Nite man, it is soooo late for me here now....

It's certainly been popular. Congratulations.

HF19 giving us more voting strength, combined with the explosive growth causing the reward pool to thin out has definately increased the self upvoting greed. Your suggestion is really good and could be part of the solution for sure, but still allows unlimited self voting, just with a 33% reward reduction.

I believe there needs to be a higher cost of self votes whereby the more you upvote yourself, the more voting power you lose compared to a normal upvote. Basically a system of diminishing returns for self upvotes.

I posted a proposal here about 2 weeks ago, which could combine nicely with your proposal to incentivise curation as a more rewarding option than self votes.

Really sorry I missed this one during the curation window @mattclarke... found my way here via one of @creatr's comments on one of my posts. Anyway, what you're saying here makes so much sense, especially the part that we simply have to create a "carrot" that makes it less attractive to spam and self-upvote junk.

The beauty of this is also who would be attracted to the site, in the long run... and how this would affect our overall long-term well being. If Steemit becomes known as a place where you get fair rewards for creating quality content but a losing proposition for spammers... we'll attract a much better "class" of clientel, and the current "war on spam" won't be such a resource drain.

Thanks mate. That's exactly what I'm thinking.
I think my other recent suggestion would also be tremendously effective at attracting the type of steemer we're looking for.

Hi Matt! Have you come across @paulag? She has been doing research into many of the burning questions of Steemit and been doing the number crunching.

Voting habits of the top 200 Whales - SteemitSQL Analysis

How well do Blog Posts Really do on Steemit – Analysis SteemitSQL Database

Analysis of New Steemit Users July ’17 – Steemit Business Intelligence

I've read the last one, and her name looks familiar.
I'll take a look at the others.

They are interesting read, because it shows, while there are few whales with their hands in their pockets, most are helping, and most newbies (minnows) just give up without trying.

If there is any one thing on Steemit that really needs change immediately, its the trending page. This is the thing that is building the biggest unfair advantages on this network.

Who's responsible for maintaining that and the overall site?

  ·  2 years ago (edited)

Interesting! I didn't know that! I think I totally agree with you. There has to be some really good incentives for curation to fix this. Putting self-upvoting aside... Right now, everyone wants to create content because that's where the money is but not everyone is good at creating content so what we're getting instead is a lot of spam I guess. If the system rewarded the curators just as much as the authors, then this madness would stop and only those who are good at creating content, would tend to do so and the rest would focus on curation! I upvoted and RESTEEMED and I hope this gem gets more attention. Brilliant post :]

Thankyou for that.
There really is no way to stop the self upvote except to offer something better; an alternative, more lucrative use for one's voting power.
It might sound like a raw deal for the content producer, but I believe content producers are getting a far more raw deal at the moment.

You keep nailing it. I can't agree more :]

Absolutely agree with increasing the curation reward!

There must be some level of curation % reward that effectively means self-voting (direct or indirect) is no more lucrative than random voting would be. At close to this level, the effort required to profitably 'curate' good content becomes a quick glance to check what you're looking at isn't total nonsense or spam. At that point self-voting would cease.

I haven't yet thought through what the % split would need to be though, but 50/50 sounds like a good HF20 change to me - even as an author.

^ this guy gets it.
It wouldn't even be breaking new ground, just undoing a previous change.

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