in steemit •  10 months ago

Synopsis: Downvoting is bad for the Steemit ecosystem in the long run. There are better alternatives and Steemit management should seriously consider them.

Downvoting has undoubtedly been one if not THE main trigger of conflicts here on Steemit. The "default" way of expressing one's negative sentiment towards someone else's post is to flag or downvote it. Negative sentiment could be caused by differing opinion, differing point of view, a different measure of a "deserving" pay-out, jealousy, you name it. Even our very own Steemit CEO has used the downvote function recently, justly or not (which is not the focus on this post).

Steemians against steemians, you can see many cases of past and ongoing conflicts in Steemit from skirmishes, to destructive arguments leading up to a war between or among groups and followers. There is no question that conflicts divide rather than unite a community. Hence, we should eliminate these factors that trigger conflicts if we want to nurture a healthy and flourishing ecosystem.

Why Downvoting is Bad for Steemit

1.) Downvoting is often viewed as a personal attack and can hurt one's ego

We all know the challenges and limitations of online communication as opposed to face-to-face, in-person dialogue. One vague comment could easily result to misinterpretation and conflict. This situation is further complicated by several factors such as cultural biases, language barriers, etc., and the absence of emotions does add insult to injury. As if this hodgepodge isn't enough, we add the downvote function.

Downvoting is a tool that hurts one’s ego. Imagine, after spending many hours or even days of preparing your post, someone downvotes it and brings down your post pay-out to zero. How would you feel?

And guess what happens when you tramp on someone’s ego - you create a battle of “who has the biggest ego”. In this kind of war, there is no more logic, reason, and fairness. Just ego.

There are several good reasons why successful social platforms such as Facebook and Tweeter do not have a “dislike” button. Known to many, Facebook did spend a considerable amount of time and resources in studying whether having a "dislike" icon would help or hurt the platform. Consider this, a "dislike" does not have a monetary value attached to it, and people don't like it. How much more a downvote which means someone doesn't like your post and also tells you that you don't deserve any payout.

2.) Downvoting Promotes Just the Opposite of “Positivity”

Steemit is a social platform and suffice to say that its success depends upon the positive interaction of the community towards a shared goal. Downvoting does not in any way promote positive behavior. In fact, it does just the opposite – it breeds animosity, anger and hatred.

3.) Downvoting does not exist in the Best Laws forged by our Forefathers

During elections, we vote for the candidates that we like and do not downvote those that we dislike. When we select our Miss Universe every year, we vote for the ones we support and don’t downvote any candidate. Similarly, we upvote and select our Olympic gold medalists, our boxing champs, our MVPs.

Its the same process we use to score our games like baseball, football, basketball and the likes. Points are given and accumulated to get the final score and determine the winner. There are no negative points. There is what we call penalty, but in most if not all sports, penalties like free throws and free kicks results to positive points not negative. In boxing where a penalty for a violation is in the form of a "deduction", this is not synonymous to downvoting. In fact, the "penalty" ultimately results to a positive point to the opponent since every round is scored using 10 and lesser a number. So a “violation” in boxing gives the opponent a “10” score and the violator get’s a “9” or lower.

source: academyofhappylife

4.) Downvote is the equivalent of a “Negative Follower”

What is a negative follower? I can’t even conceptualize its purpose and it’s a good thing that it does not exist in Steemit. For the same reasons, Downvotes should not exist in Steemit.


Either one or a combination of the following would be better alternative(s) to downvoting:

1.) Daily ceiling limit to rewards

Setting a maximum limit to daily rewards per Steemian, reduces abuse of the daily rewards pool by way of unlimited postings. Whatever this limit is, it should be carefully calculated and should consider critical factors such as total mined Steem tokens per day, Steemian population, etc. and should also be reviewed and revised regularly.

2.) Distribute Authorship and Curation Rewards using a progressive system

A progressive system takes a larger percentage of rewards from high-income fishes than from low-income based on the concept of ability to earn. A progressive system might, for example, gives minnows and red fishes 90% authorship and 10% curation rewards, dolphins 80% and 20% and whales 70% and 30% rewards allocation.

Another way of progressive rewards distribution could be based on the rewards value. A post that garnered a reward over $1,000 for example should be distributed using a 70% authorship and 30% curation ratio, >$500 using 80% and 20% and >$250 using 90% and 10%.

3.) Daily Limit to number of posts per Steemian category

This is my least favorite solution but I see some merits to it hence I’ve included it here. The thought process behind this proposal is that as you grow from being a minnow to a whale, you’ve gotten better and better hence the quality of your posts should be much higher and more impactful to the community. The opposite is true for new Steemians since you’re just learning the knots and bolts of the ecosystem.

It follows then that minnows and red fishes should be given a higher number of allowable daily posts vs a dolphin or a whale. A max of 15 posts per day for Red Fish and Minnows, 10 for Dolphin, 6 for Orca and 3 for Whales could be a good start.

image source:

Authors get paid when people like you upvote their post.
If you enjoyed what you read here, create your account today and start earning FREE STEEM!
Sort Order:  

yaa, I never downvote...I always think positive because if anybody doing the least effort in posting anything for a reward, atleast some energy is put into use instead of watching tv or doing something that has no use like being a couch potato...steemit is becoming in some way an information platform where you can find someone else's points of views in the comment section

I will tend to agree with much of the sentiment expressed here. But still reserving judgement on whether to completely get rid of the downvote. I think the platform should take a long serious look at this and maybe do a bit of research into other ways to penalize or discourage posting and conduct that currently may truly warrant a downvote.

It turns out also that downvoting has not proven too successful at curbing some of the abuse where it would have legitimate uses for. Limiting posts seems to be almost something to look into even if downvoting was retained.

And downvoting could also be programmed to use some ratio of the same amount of power of an upvote, so that negativite penalty does not carry the same weight as positive reinforcement.

It also safe to add function that distribute a daily reward upon login since we all know that a minnow and redfish level is hard to earn a single dollar posting. Let say 1 sbd a day taken from the reward pool. This function will retain user to stay and motivated to do great things.


couldn't agree more @cloudspyder. I've discussed this rewards pool topic in this post: IMPROVING Steemit's REWARDS Structure - Creation of the REWARDS POOL.


That would be fantastic. So many people come here and just get blown aside and quit because of the difficulty of even getting a few votes of pennies let alone 1 sbd. The excitement and enthusiasm it would create would be fantastic


you're right. and many of the new steemians have other jobs as well and couldn't devote sufficient time to make 2 or more posts daily to gain traction and get needed followers. it doesn't make sense to make Steeming your full time job as well since all you get are pennies of a good quality post.


But its look like not going to happen... current top witness are corrupt. In fact they sell vote, where they violated the true mission of the system. Blog and Earn money. Not Blog and bid vote bots to earn a penny.


I'm hoping one most witness agree and they do fork.


I read your prevoius post.. 22 days ago you've already voice out the real problem but still no support and how corrupt the system was.


It turns out steemit and the world outside is completely the same. I wish I could forked steem and make a real sustainable ecosystem for all... everyone will be rewarded unlike the current system we have now. It's completely corrupt where the minnow and the redfish are milking pot of the giants.


competition will come pretty soon and not just one. If this platform does nothing to address the problems raised, folks will migrate to better platform. I'm curious Steemit competition in the forms of YOYOW and EOS. Will see.

This is a great proposal and hopefully, they take it into consideration given that Steemit growth is fast but how about retention.


How many people come and then go inactive or leave? I don't know if i'm using the right terms or not. I know i felt like quitting more than once in the short time i've been here. I was fortunate to invest and got enough sp for a slider bar and can vote for people much more now and have been literally dragging a few folks along with me! It's a small contribution i know but i'm having a much better time it's simply more fun! Uggh i'm the worst writer and commenter. Luckily i can vote for things and people ! :)


I don't have the numbers but technical people here can easily generate that. Retention has always been a big problem especially to new ones who are not getting noticed. I myself went dark for a month when Steem was on so low, glad I came back :)


glad you were able to invest more on SP. I likewise invested a good chunk of our savings just to make posting here on Steemit worth it....but now that the value of Steem is dropping, the pay out isn't that much worth anymore.

Improving positive vibes in Steemit will bode well for the platform. Flare outs from downvotes is just another reason to drive Steemians away. Although many more accounts are being in Steemit, usage and retention over a period of time seems to be declining.

I agree with you that downvoting other people's posts is harmful to one's ego and can actually deter valuable Steemians from posting their thoughts or opinions again. Lately, I have seen mostly attacks on Steemians that have been deemed to be spammers or scammers based upon what they chose to promote to their followers. I think this is an effort to deter them from posting but I am not sure I agree with the way that this has been handled. Is there a way to warn them that their actions are not permitted on Steem rather than treat them harshly? I am fairly new here so I don't know.
I don't think that there should be a limit to how much an individual user may be paid out daily because I feel that could push some users away from the platform. But, your ideas on changing the payout scale could be a viable option in my mind. I agree that positivity needs to be spread more in this world and commend you for writing a post such as this. Looking forward to reading more from you!- Ivy


thanks for sharing your thoughts @socent. I think a better approach to spammers is to give a warning(s) followed by suspension of account if the violation continues.


I like that approach and agree with it. Policing Steem seems to be taken very seriously by many that believe in the community and have been around for a while. It's nice that there are those that care so much for it. - Ivy

I Agree with your post thank you for sharing to all of us! The downvote feature it's two blade sword.

thank you for sharing, indeed the reality that we see in steemit as @sandalphon convey, there is a good platform and got good value posting no one votes, on the thing they have seen and enjoy it, and mocking have someone else when it's a work, very nice enlightenment this friend, if possible, @jhoni will restem now continue.


thanks for the feedback and resteem jhoni. let's keep this positive energy moving.

I like post

Well presented, but I have a feeling that nothing will come of it. For as long as the top earners are hungry for huge earnings, they have no incentive to make any changes.
We can see that among animals altruism is a positive force, contributing to their survival, but we don't WANT to see it also applies to us.

As for downflagging, you did not address certain problems with flagging does help us limit. For instance, plagiarism and scamming.

To me, scamming is not as much of a problem as I never reply to them so it seems not many hit on me. Sometimes, if I have a feel this person is acting out of ignorance, I'll spend time on them, without rewarding them. I end up feeling good when they learn and try to improve.

However, what if the owner of the post were to havethe right to delete any comments they do not like. The person deleted should not have the ability to return to that post for at least seven days. However, the deletion should be the only discipline, no flagging, no loss of income.
As for plagiarism. It should be reported to a group of volunteers and only the approved group be allowed to remove income (fully or partly, at their discretion). Those punished in this way must have the right of appeal - for instance, when the plagiarism is from an article the poster wrote originally.

Anyway, good luck and thanks for caring enough to try and find a solution.


thanks for sharing your thoughts and for pointing out more areas for improvement in the platform.

well said! i also don't like the down voting part.. i wish it wasn't there

Interesting idea. I have not had to suffer any negative flagging or feedback fortunately.. but for a system that doesn't have any automatic moderation, the community should be able to flag something that doesn't abide by the community terms.. like incorrectly labeled NSFW or something damaging to the community just by the very content they promote - hate, violence, harmful power over others in devious ways, etc. I like that maybe downvotes should go, but not flagging terrible content that shouldn't really be in a community building platform. To be honest though, I didin't know you could downvote.

What I do agree and hope happens is the auto distribution changes of rewards to smaller creators, like a tax system on larger resources so funds distribute evenly around the system to good content creators, even if with less following. Viral content, even if worse quality than a smaller creator, can technically still earn more just by the sheer momentum of followers - which is ok.. but hard to compete with, so less followers = higher rewards to any attention, thus as you point out, may be more equititive. But it's a fine line, you can't "penalize" the income of high quality and popular creators with viral content.. but the 30/70% might be a nice balance for that. A very fine balance.

Resteemed by @resteembot! Good Luck!
Curious? Read @resteembot's introduction post
Check out the great posts I already resteemed.

ResteemBot's Maker is Looking for Work.

I beleive this is a great academic solutions. To remove the flags/downvotes may be a good start. I love reading these opinions

Downvoting was, is, and will never be a solution. It creates divisions.

thank you for sharing this very useful information for me and others

Resteemed by @resteembot! Good Luck!
Curious? Read @resteembot's introduction post
Check out the great posts I already resteemed.

ResteemBot's Maker is Looking for Work.

Really, I see no point in downvoting someone's post? What good, as you mention, does this do for the steemit community, as a whole? Nothing- this only does harm and we are here to promote the platform, not downgrade what we are ultimately trying to build upon.

Thanks for your post, this is a nice piece of shilling for the steemit community to learn from, and hopefully we will see less and less of these malicious downvotes as the word spreads.




thanks for the positive energy @conradsuperb.


Of course man I'm all about promoting steem for the better


I've never downvoted and I wouldn't downvote a post just because I don't like it, I would just ignore it.
But I think there needs to be something for emergency cases. Like: I don't want pedopornography pictures in here, for example. How would you hide something like this without a negative vote?

I don't think anyone would do this, but there may be a few dangerous, scamming or anyways very bad posts, so I wouldn't remove the flag button

Very good post

This post has received gratitude of 12.46 % from @appreciator thanks to: @sandalphon.

excellent post i invite you to see my blog

I've been on Steemit three weeks now and what's really fucking annoying me (apologies for the strong language) is the amount of crap people post here in the hope of a few penny "clicks".

I saw a picture of a sheep earlier, with a description of what a bloody sheep is; really!?

Steemit needs three things:

  1. Moderation
  2. A minimum word count
  3. Soft ban for reposting other peoples work or obviously spam/shit-posting.

I'll continue to down vote spam, rewards should come from quality posting (such as this article).

I send you positivity by upvoting :P

This post was resteemed by @steemvote and received a 7.55% Upvote