Steemit's Got Issues! - Self and Circular Voting - Take 1

in #steemit7 years ago

Steemit's Got Issues!
Self and Circular Voting
Take 1

Steemits Got Issues

For those of you that have not followed since the opening post This Post
will give you insight as to what these discussions are and how they are intended to work.

I encourage you to read these posts thoroughly before responding. Please do not skim, you may miss something of value.

Links to Topics Discussed Thus Far:
  1. User Friendliness and Site Functionality

Today's Topic: Self and Circular Voting

Before we get started I want to let everyone know that I am fully aware of how controversial this particular topic is. It is that very controversy that makes this topic so important for discussion. I will do my best to show this issue as objectively and as without bias as I can.

Self Voting

So, it may seem easy to just say that self voting itself is wrong somehow but there is actually much more to this issue than what lies on the surface.

First, let's look at some of the facts.

  1. There has never been a rule made on steemit that ever referred to self voting (even in its worst of forms) as not being allowed.
    • There is a site etiquette that clearly states that it is not itself a set of rules and even this does not mention it.
  2. During creation of any post or comment there is a check box asking if you want to upvote the post or comment you are creating.
  3. Some people and groups have taken it upon themselves to enforce their own set of rules regarding this issue.
    • This has been done both individually and with the use of bots.

Now there are of course, many reasons why a person may upvote their own posts or comments.

These are simply reasons. I am not labeling any of them as right or wrong.

  1. Paid advertising.
    • Let's face it, it is hard to get noticed here, upvoting yourself can help, especially if you have enough sp to make a difference.
    • This is true for comments also. You may think your comment needs to be at the top of a post for whatever reason.
  2. As a means of gaining profit from the site.
  3. To ensure that you can payoff a delegation that you have paid in advance for.
  4. Because you are selfish and simply do not want to use your voting power for anyone else.
  5. As an investment into yourself.
    • A good friend, @enginewitty says it like this: "Self-voting is basically investing in yourself. When you go to work at a new job, you buy clothes to fit the position. Until you realize you don't want to work for someone else. Then you may want to go to school and you often have to purchase books and if you didn't recieve a scholarship, pay for your classes. Then you may even come to a point where you want to start your own business. You make it look how you want, buy the decorations, the advertising - all money, time and effort that you put in. When the money starts coming in, do you reinvest some of it? Do you buy more advertising? Better furniture? Faster tech? I look at self-voting as reinvesting in yourself to improve - say - your online store and make it more appealing. You are the boss after all, and are fully allowed to PAY YOURSELF."
  6. As a "pat on the back" to yourself.
    • Maybe you just want to give yourself a reward for all the work you may (or may not) have done.

I'm sure there are more reasons, this is what I could come up with during the writing of this post.

The thing is that since there is no rule about it on steemit, there is not a single reason in that list, or any other that would actually be wrong. Now, many will say that this or that reason are wrong and from their perception they may be right. Yet, as far as is concerned self voting is ok no matter your reason.

A couple fun facts about steemit:

  1. We are a group of individuals.
    • We are all very different and do not all have the same goals or agenda.
    • Nor do we all have the same beliefs or outlook on life.
  2. Being individuals, we are all here for different reasons.
    • There are so many reasons to be here that we cannot expect everyone to have the same ones (There is one common thread but I will get to that later.).
  3. We all have different ideas of what "right" and "wrong" are.
  4. We are all given voting power that regenerates at the same rate (by percentage) and that did not come with instruction or restriction.
  5. This platform was handed, to all of us without any rules.

Small interjection.

Though we are all here for different reasons there is a common thread.


This is a cryptocurrency site. Even if you think you are here for a multitude of other reasons, money (no matter how far down the list) is one of them. If it were not you could easily be on a social site that does not payout and does not have such a difficult learning curve. Going through all the learning and research required to simply use/understand this site is hardly worth it without some thought of monetary return. To top it off, the entire site is based on cryptocurrency... ie: money.

Circular Voting

Circular voting is when a group of people upvote each other.

I'm really not going to spend much time on this one becaues to me it is quite silly.

When you see posts getting lots of rewards and realize the same people are always voting for the same people it seems really unfair at first.

When you dig into it you realize that on some level, nearly every single person on this site is guilty of it. Think about it, you start posting then all the sudden someone starts upvoting you. Most of us begin to return that and it goes from there.

Also, can anyone really tell me that you can't vote your friends all the time using steemvoter or something? No, you can't because that is ludicrous.

The only time this seems like a problem to people is on accounts that are making a lot from it.

I can assure you that all the way to the biggest whales, and even many that would enforce rules against circular voting, they are in fact doing it themselves.

All of this being said... Is self or circular voting wrong?

Well, the simple answer is no. No... self or circular voting... in any form (even pure profiteering)... is not wrong.

I promised at the beginning to be objective and non bias, so what do I mean by that?

Well, look at the simple facts above.

There are no rules here. Steemit developers did not set a rule for self or voting. In fact, adding a check box on both comments and posts encourages it. They are basically telling us to do it. They also have not created a rule about circular voting.

They also never made any rules as to how to properly use your voting power each day. You can do with it as you will.

Ok, then is it fair?

When you stand in a platform without any rules what even is fair? I can tell you that their are forms of self and circular voting that do not seem fair.

However, is it fair for people to take it upon themselves to self appoint and enforce their own set of rules regarding it? Again, we come back to the same place... This is not wrong because there was never a rule. Some think it fair and many do not.

Then what is the point in all of this?

My point is simple, to get people to see this issue objectively.

The reason that this issue is so controversial is that there was never a rule.

Without a rule about this issue it is simply allowable on all counts.... Simple as that.

If it is allowed because there is no rule then it is not fair for people to downvote those taking advantage. However, without a rule, those downvoting are not in the wrong either are they?

This is a mining rig!

When you really get down to it, each and every one of us is a component in a grand mining rig. The type, not unlike proof of work or proof of space or any other mining type, is Proof of Brain.

With proof of work, would it be wrong for someone to reinvest into more rigs?

With proof of space, would it be wrong for someone to reinvest into more hard drives?

With proof of stake, would it be wrong for someone to make a second, third or many more purchases for initial coins to add to their staking wallet?

So in a proof of brain system, with no rules, how could it possibly be considered wrong for someone to self upvote?

It shouldn't...

At least without a rule saying that it is.

Why do people feel like it is wrong then?

It has been deemed wrong by several whales that want to control the reward pool then advertised as against proper etiquette for the site. Again, site etiquette does not include it, nor is site etiquette a ruling of any kind.

Why do these whales say that it is wrong?

They claim it to be a form of Reward Pool Raping.

The idea is that if people do things, like self voting and circular voting, it will diminish the reward pool at a faster rate than anticipated.

That all sounds good until you consider one thing...

If reward pool rape is the idea of taking tons of coin from the pool without adding valued content (again, never a rule of any kind about this), then wouldn't the original miners of steem have been the biggest reward pool rapers of all time? I mean there were over 100 million steem coins mined before it ever became proof of brain concept (I'm estimating here. I don't have an accurate number, I just know it was a literal shit ton.). For those of you that do not know, this is exactly how many of our whales became whales to begin with, not by producing or curating content.

Hilariously enough, the power to enforce self created rulings on self and circular voting (among other things) comes from that mining that never provided any content of any kind. In fact, many of the whales today that make these types of decisions will never have to create or curate (effectively never supporting the proof of brain concept) to continue to stack coin... ever.

The truth is that since this coin was mined before it was converted into proof of brain concept, it has vastly tipped the scale and made this site (and really any other on steem blockchain) very imbalanced in terms of community equality.

Had the coin been proof of brain since the beginning we would actually have a pretty fair situation. By the time a single account could have amassed 5-6 million coin we as a community would have had time to discuss issues like this one and form rulings to govern them.

It wasn't, so now the majority of us are simply at the mercy of anywhales that want to throw weight around.

Wait, are you saying that whales suck and that we should put a stop to the ones downvoting self and circular voting?


Whales are just people with more coin. Many of them understand this issue and have seen it from infancy in fact. As far as the ones that mined coin in the beginning I say good for you! Any of you must be stoked! I know I would be.

Here is what I am saying:

If there were a rule in place about self or circular voting, claiming it to not be allowed, most people would not do it. Those that would, would also understand whatever consequence they had to endure if they were caught.

The sheer fact is that there is no rule!

Without a ruling on this issue, those that are enforcing it, regardless of the moral reasoning behind their actions, are in fact just being bullies. Using their power to push people around, taking rewards from fellow community members for their own personal agendas. Self upvoting hurts no one, taking someones rewards does. The reward pool will dry up eventually with or without self voting. Claiming it to be reward pool rape without considering the original mining to be one and the same is outrageous.

I'm not saying that they are wrong. The fact is that there is no rule disallowing them from being bullies. They actually have full right to take rewards from anyone they so choose because that is how steemit is set up. Although, it does not change the fact that they are being bullies and enforcing personal agendas. A situation we have seen all to often in history and personally I'm not in support of.

It's not a matter of whether any of us like it or dislike it, it is a matter of ruling. Without it, anything goes.

If you want my opinion, these bullies should not be downvoting people for self or circular voting. At least not until it is actually an accepted rule. Once it is they would not be bullies anymore but more of a policing force, accepted by the community as a whole. Even the people that disagree would at minimum understand if there were a rule.

But, this is a decentralized community... We don't want to start making rules.

Let's get real, this is a website, it has rules...

You have to have a username and password, you have to join through a couple specific portals. You only get so much voting power and it regenerates at a specific rate. You CAN upvote any post or comment that you wish. There are rules governing this site all around us.

By not making real rulings on issues that involve the community (such as this one), we are in fact just enabling our own oppression. Without rulings, whales will simply rule. Meaning that whatever they want will simply be unspoken rule that is either followed or you will suffer consequence from a bully with nothing better to do than pick on weak (poor) community members.

Every website on the planet has rules of all kinds. This is in no way a new concept.


Without creating a ruling on issues like this a scammer can scam and a bully can pick on the weak.

Having a ruling draws a clear line in the sand and says "This is as far as you can go.".

A ruling gives someone a legitimate right to enforce while at the same time lets the individual know what he/she should or should not do.

In all areas of life you need to know the rules.

How fun would football be without any sidelines, goal posts, yard lines or referees?

How fun would basketball be without a net, a ruling on fouls or travelling, or out of bounds lines?

How much work would you get done on anything if you did not learn first what parameters you were meant to work within?

Since the site creators have not made rulings for issues like this it now falls to us to decide, as a community, how to handle these types of situations. We need to decide them and then get the site creators to add them, as rules, in whatever means is reasonably effective.

Thank you all once again for joining this discussion and adding your input to it. As a community we will grow and with one voice we will speak and create necessary change.
Master of @sneaky-ninja
proud member of:

michaeldavid thealliance


I think that in the absence of a rule (or at least an etiquette statement), self-upvoting should not be bashed/downvoted. Many people have invested actual cash out of their pockets into Steemit (yes, I mean INVESTED, as Steemit is many things at a time, including an investment opportunity...), so for sure these people (including myself) have the right to seek a return on their investment using any allowed means, especially if they lack the time to provide content. The old notion of "silent investor" should be recalled - this is someone who contributes cash into a venture, but does not play an active role in decisions, value creation processes, etc. Nonetheless, having taken the risk to invest, his contribution deserves a financial return even if he does "nothing" after putting the money.
So....I feel fully entitled to upvote this comment of mine :-)

It's absolutely true. My statement about whales doing nothing to make more coin was in no way meant to claim that they have done anything wrong. It's smart actually. It was only meant to put things into perspective. That type of investing into oneself and self upvoting are both viable means to obtain a return on your investment.

I know just what you mean about investing into steemit. Personally I have invested quite a lot of money here. I learned the hard way about the issue of self voting and lost thousands because of it. If it were made clear somewhere when I started here I would have avoided such a costly mistake.

Kudos to you for the self vote!

Why did you make my comment go invisible on a
post that isn't even yours...??? I wouldn't mind taking
away your up-vote here... Just who do you think you're
messing with...??? Your posts aren't even read... They
should be low rated and invisible... I want an apology
from you... To maintain my Voting Power for others, I
try to avoid up-voting my Posts or Comments... Plus,
I don't pay or charge for any of my Up-Votes...

COIN MAN by @pocketechange

Respect to you Claudio!
Unfortunately but I'm happy at the same time, I can only create contents in order to generate some SBD and Steem. Thank you for sharing your comment!
All the Best!

You're just the kind of person I like @claudiop63.. if I have money, I'd invest into steemit too and reward myself.. it's going to be my freaking investment after all..

Thanks for quoting me! The one thing you said that sticks out most to me is:

this is a decentralized community... We don't want to start making rules.

You know better than most, but you have any idea how many times I've been banned and censored on Facebook? To me, that's what it really comes down to, the freedoms I have to be me. If I want to upvote myself 10 times a day, so what? It's MY choice. Granted, I don't because I like to spread the love and help people out. But everything I have I earned one way or another. I bought delegation to assist rewarding others AND myself better. Is it a principle or etiquette? No. I promise, the same people that are whining about self voting and circle jerking are doing it themselves and lose profits when newer upcomers start using that same 'system'. So they planted seeds of pool rape and etiquette when really, it is a matter of preference and BUSINESS.

You're so right. It is really a matter of what we want for ourselves. Since there is no ruling on it, it is indeed acceptable. In my opinion, even if I don't agree with how much self voting a person does, it is ultimately their choice. Even if a person is "abusing" his/her self vote, that is still their choice and should not be flagged by upset whales wanting to bully someone much smaller than they are.


Great and balanced perspectives and explanation on some of these issues / challenges etc on Steem.

There is no black and white - it's all a grey area. I havent selfvoted for a very long time - but then I also invested quite a bit of my own cash into the platform when I started - so it wouldn't be wrong of me to look for a return (my opinion of course).

I also do autovote among the communities Im in and I know that autovote is reciprocated in some cases. It does in fact make me want to write the best posts I can as I know I wouldn't want my autovotes to be wasted on rubbish. The people I autovote I have already established a relationship with on Steem and I know they write good content and I want to make sure they are rewarded. I regularly check in to make sure that's still the case :) I think in many of the smaller (ie less SP) voting circles ( at least in my experience) that's the way it seems to work.

Downvoting is an interesting one.. I see the value of having it - but I see a lot of abuse of it as people work their own agendas - and you are right - there's no rules against it so it comes down to how people feel ethically about their actions on steemit and we don't all have the same set of ethics / morals / beliefs and then whose to say what is wrong or right? (Deep questions for a Sunday morning lol!)

Thanks again for sharing your perspectives

Thanks Shelly!

It does leave the platform in a peculiar situation. Personally I lost thousands when I first started because of these bullies, having no idea self voting was even an issue for some.

The way many have used the downvoting thing is really an issue for me. Possibly a topic for discussion itself. The reason being that new and small users cannot defend themselves in anyway. If a whale wants to go against any rule/etiquette no minnow can even do anything about it but watch while a whale can see you upvote one of your own comments and thrash you silly. Very imbalanced.

I believe that upon joining the only rule I saw was the rue that said..
"never lose your password"

I feel every other thing should be allowed aside bullying.

Also, one issue i see you silently put forward is

"That all sounds good until you consider one thing...

If reward pool rape is the idea of taking tons of coin from the pool without adding valued content (again, never a rule of any kind about this), then wouldn't the original miners of steem have been the biggest reward pool rapers of all time? I mean there were over 100 million steem coins mined before it ever became proof of brain concept (I'm estimating here. I don't have an accurate number, I just know it was a literal shit ton.). For those of you that do not know, this is exactly how many of our whales became whales to begin with, not by producing or curating content.

I wish @ned or one other founder or any big whale can say something regarding this.

Oh and by the way, I self vote alot and steemauto should be considered against the law too

Thanks for the comment.

You are right, that is the only rule I remember to, just looked the other day. lol

Its true about many whales mining it. I don't think it's wrong. Personally I think it was smart on their part, it is however a conflict of interests of sorts since the very power gained from it is now being used to enforce rules that don't exist. Also that it really tipped the scale for basically all other users. There is literally nothing we can do about that one now though it would be interesting to hear founders take on it.

As far as steemauto, there are a ton of things like this now. Some of the features are pretty cool, like post scheduling. I don't personally use it.

I don't use it either.. I like this @claudiop63 ..

That's the issue. How do we decide 50.1%, 51% 75% To reach consensus. Then what happens to that 25-50% that aren't happy, do they work, start their own steemit competitor.

Then you start taking on exceptions or compromises to get most everyone to agree. Then that black and white rule becomes a little more gray.

Then whales use loop holes to make the most of these grey areas to make it easier for them to grow and harder for us smaller accounts. See any similarities here?

This is only a problem if it is left to us to vote on or something similar. Which is sort of where we are at perhaps. If the creators of the site (not just random whales with personal grudges) were to make a decision and make it very known we would basically have to accept it because it would be a steemit rule, created and enforced by steemit creators. Then, anyone that did not comply would simply suffer consequence like they would for breaking any other rule on any other site anywhere else on the web.

Does that suck for some, yea it sure does. However on every site you go to there are rules that govern what you can and cannot do there. For instance on many sites you cannot have nudity. That was never voted on and some don't like it but they simply go somewhere else or deal with it. In that type of scenario there is far less controversy because it simply comes as site rules.

When someone has not broken a site rule, for instance by self voting, then anyone that hurts them or their rewards for it is being malicious and harmful to that person over a personal thought or belief. It is basically cyber bullying in a new form.

@michaeldavid can you see this?

Then what happens to that 25-50% that aren't happy, do they work, start their own steemit competitor?

legit, I think these big guys are doing much of the harm becaue.. hey.. there's no competitor!!
who else is thinking ike I'm thinking?.. by the way we are all looking at the news for what zuckerberg is planning to do with learning cryptos for facebook's development.. I think @ned has to do something fast before zuckerberg comes up with something genius

Zuckerberg will never come up with something genius.

Crypto is decentralization. Decentralization mean no 3rd party gets a cut.

No 3rd party getting a cut means end of facebooks revenue -> Death of Facebook.

Crypto is, steem is.... Steemit is not. Steemit is actually owned. In fact, their logo is even copywrited and they have made it very clear you are not allowed to use it.

Besides. Ripple is a crypto and it is not decentralized.

You are definitely on the right track here.

All it would take for someone with loads of money like Zuckerberg to make steemit an obsolete platform is make the same thing on an existing block chain or his own that is simply user friendly and has a good communication/notification set up. That's it, game over.

That one simple thing is why steemit is not already super huge. If it, at minimum, is not fixed then steemit may become myspace down the line.

Thank you for thinking in my line. I don't know if you have seen the news about Zuckerberg planning to or already studying cryptos to find solutions to Facebook's issues and if he has snitches and I mean tech snitches who are studying this platform and seeing these issues, they will find solutions and make theirs an even better platform for earning on proof of brain

wow, no i have not heard any of that but it makes me feel like the crypto space is about to get interesting. lol

Great post. There's a box u can check before you upload.. If they didn't want us to use one vote on our own posts why would it be there? You could just upload and upvote it yourself if u wanted to be sneaky or if it was forbidden which I don't think it is? Thought went into putting it there, why would the creators of the site do that if it was frowned upon? Usually it's only mega large accounts that have any problems and they dont care because they're already sitting pretty, I think they just get bored sometimes?Lol And circle jerks can be good and bad, it's a social platform and clearly you're going to look for your friends first and give them upvotes, that's human nature, were not all bots just yet. That being said it's everyone's responsibility to look for and curate new and quality material and I always save votes for that task. I use the resteem feature aswell when I find something I think more should see. We're a community and we have to look out for the well being of such but most of the greed I've witnessed on here is usually by the larger accounts, funny hey..

very true man. That box is even on comments lol.

You might be right about them getting bored lol.

Greed will be anywhere money is. Even greedy people are part of our community :)

An excellently presented essay on an issue that has fogged my brain in the past!

It is very foggy, that is for sure lol.

Thank you.

Great post!
I have read it but I will read it again because I want to make sure I don't miss anything.
I support so many Steemians, especially the ones who need upvotes and I upvote their posts often. My voting power is most of the times less than 50% but I give a 100% upvote most of the times. My upvote is around $0.20 average.
I write between 18 and 21 posts a week so I think it's right to support my posts if Steemians with a higher voting power, who like music, dance and fitness posts, don't upvote my posts. So when the chain breaks you need to upvote your posts.
Thank you for sharing!

Being able to upvote yourself is important. Does it open opportunity for people to use it in profiteering ways? Yep, but that is just the nature of crypto, people are after coin. Those people are no less par of our community. It's like that one drunk chick at every party that is so annoying she gets the lable "that one drunk chick... No one likes it, many want her to leave but she is not really doing anything wrong. She is just not well liked for it.

Hey bro I was looking for you on discord, but not sure if you use the same user name. Anyway I'm also from the alliance, I guess I'm one of those new guys still learning as we all are on this platform. Anyway @sneaky-ninja may be having issues, I try to invest in thealliance bots to get a boost but its been two days and I have not got an upvote yet and was hoping for one or a refund if that is ok. I hate to bother you with the issue but looking for a fair boost or return being that I'm crawling my way to self sustainability here on steemit. Thanks for your help and consideration @michaeldavid be well

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