A Less Talked About Cost of the Vote Buying Bots

in steemit •  3 months ago

Bid Bots have been discussed to death and back more than a few times here. But there's one aspect to them that I don't think has gotten much, if any, attention at all.

The loss of the lottery aspect of Steemit.

I believe the "lottery effect" was even mentioned in the original Whitepaper. I'll try to explain what I mean by this.

Back in the old days, even posts by a small fish like me when I was just starting out had the off chance of getting picked up by a whale. It wasn't often, it wasn't common - but it could always happen if you did the right things at the right time. As a speedrun person, I'll put it in another way: while you could never ensure a 100% chance of it happening, there was a fair amount of "RNG manipulation" that one could perform in order to increase the odds.

RNG stands for Random Number Generator.

It was possible to treat it as a game, sort of. Catchy headline, interesting thumbnail, the right subject matter... and of course some witty and entertaining and/or informative actual material.

No, content has never been the driving factor on Steemit, and I think it's understandable as to why. But it was possible for it to matter back in those days. It wasn't consistent, but it was there, nonetheless.

The lottery aspect was the fact that any post could potentially be the one.

That motivated me to work on all of my posts, trying to make them as good as possible. I usually aimed for a good joke every few paragraphs so even skimmers could potentially catch a funny line that would direct them to the upvote button.

Even if the last post didn't make it, the next one could be the one.

And so on and so forth.

This made and kept Steemit fun and exciting. Sadly, this has been lost along the way, almost entirely. The bid bots are the big voters around, they dictate which posts make it - and they have zero randomness, and can not be manipulated by content quality. The result of this is that the same stuff happens every day. I can post about Mega Man; I can post about Steemit; I can post my fiction; I can pretty much do and say whatever, and the end result is always the same - and pre-determined.

I remember even ned saying back in the day that the lottery aspect was an addictive game that would keep people coming back.

The same people view and vote and engage with my content, no matter what.

There's no excitement, there's very little motivation to try and do the best possible job I can. Even the most hard-working employee starts to lose motivation if his boss flat out tells him he's never getting a raise, he's never going to get promoted, he's never going to go anywhere in his career.

I understand that some people feel this is the better way - and that's fair, it's a matter of taste as long as we don't have conclusive evidence as to what does and doesn't affect the STEEM price.

Some people feel that it's good that the Trending Page is now in everybody's hands, so to speak. Buy a vote and you're there. Like magic.

Like I said, I completely understand that viewpoint.

But the general decline in quality of my postings is a direct result of the lack of Steemit lottery. Why put in the extra effort when I know very well in advance that the post isn't going anywhere anyway?

In case someone was wondering.

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I was thinking similar the other day when I was looking back at a very old post of mine. It got bit by a couple of whales then a swarm and made quite a big payout. I had a smile which quickly faded away as I realised that that doesn't happen anymore, for anyone. Worse still for newbies as well as it has taken the excitement hit out of it.

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Worse still for newbies as well as it has taken the excitement hit out of it.

But...get this...

Any noob who joins can now spend hundreds of Steem Dollars to get on a trending page that nobody actually reads!!!

How fun is that?!?!

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Good luck explaining that the bot owners. The general consensus is that the bots are an advertising tool that you use to gain new followers and supporters. But I just have such a hard time believing that botting gains you new support to any meaningful degree.

Of course, I'd need to test it out first - which I might.

But my theory is that as soon as you stop buying the votes, you go back to making nothing. It's not like the large stakeholders curate the trending page anyway. So, it's not like putting yourself up there gets you seen by a whale who then starts following you.

That's a pipe dream.

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That is spot on, I have seen people who use the bots great the water by putting out a post with no bid-bots on it. It tanks and then they have to boost it up.

The few People with sp who are willing to vote on things usually avoid the vote buyers.

I do think you should test it out!

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But I'd risk losing the few supporters that I still have who I would venture to guess are anti-bid bot.

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new account

;0)

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I guess, but I'd like to promote this account, in particular.

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The few People with sp who are willing to vote on things usually avoid the vote buyers.

Yeah, I was in that camp. I wouldn’t upvote posts that used bid bots. And I would never dream of “curating” the trending page. If you’re on that these days, you’re most likely getting downvoted, actually.

That’s how I roll.

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A little counter-intuitive, considering you delegated your SP to a bid bot.

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Well, people change...especially when their valid criticisms of a shitty system are continually ignored. And since very few people care anyway, it seems that we can just do whatever we want without consequence.

Fuck integrity. I tried that. Didn’t work.

Now I’ll just do what I want to do and not care if the platform fails due to greed, ignorance, and incompetence. I’ll build my network and if Steem proves to not be able to keep up, I’ll move on. But its future really isn’t in my hands. It’s currently in the hands of social and economic illiterates.

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I understand this but at the same time I got to say it is sad. I guess we watched the death of the site.

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I think that's how most roll now!

We should promote that more. Somehow!

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That is awesome!! There is always a silver lining!!

Have you considered it might be the linear reward system, too?

  • I was thinking about that the other day. Before, couldn't a post go "viral" with no whale votes? ... enough "little people" vote it and it could make pretty good rewards?
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The old system was definitely better for getting a post go viral, absolutely. A post getting one significant vote would usually lead to the sweet pile on effect where whales would compete for curation rewards by stacking up their votes.

That doesn't really happen anymore.

So, yeah, you're right.

@schattenjaeger
I notice that there is a certain oppositional tone to this article, I think I have to report this back to the non-existing de-centralized steemit government.
;)

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What’s your point?

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I was making a joke... No worries...
(I just read this article about how it was bad for your steemit career to openly criticise anything going on here)...

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Hah. I’m dead already, so it doesn’t matter. :)

And this wasn’t a call for a government. Just a thought I had which I felt was interesting enough to air out loud.

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Yeah @schattenjaeger
don't , uhm, take anything I write seriously,
(or like when I am joking, like the first comment with the smiley at the end).
Thanks for taking all this time to write here and share with us.
/FF

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It's not like I have anything going on, so my time isn't that valuable. Haha. But glad you appreciate it.

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So how did you get your rep all the way up to 70?

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People used to like me. Also, the landscape was entirely different back when I was still among the popular kids.

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Not sure about the bidbots being the actual problem.

I mean. I could pay a bidbot to upvote your post and this would add some randomness to the game.

The problem is nobody does it.
They all self-promote.
Whale or minnow.

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Prior to the bid bots, the way for a whale to make money was to vote on content. Now voting means losing money, so no one does it.

And of course no one is going to spend their own money to promote someone else's content.

The secret was that there used to be an incentive for whales to vote. There no longer is one.

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Well if there is a way to incentivize curation, we should totally do it. Maybe I'm not there for a long enough time, but it seems counterintuitive to lose money on curation.

I think voting trails are killing the system. Maybe more than bid bots. It encourages laziness and closed circles voting.

And of course no one is going to spend their own money to promote someone else's content.

Why? If I find an interesting article I'll sometimes use bidbots on it to encourage its author.
Call me a fool. I don't care.

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Curation rewards are the incentive. :D

It's just that the bid bots arrived to compete with the curation rewards, and won. The whales went for what pays better.

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Yes you are right, for a high SP owner there is really not that much point in curating content when you can use other systems to earn rewards much faster. They have become investors now since the value of their Tokens have grown so much. So we would need a new influx of curators and new liquidity to make things exciting again. :-)

This post reminds me how bad I was at "whale hunting" back in time lol.
Bidding bots won't get you anything, I totally agree, not even just a few views, like you said before, only very few Steemians read posts, that's the beauty of current Steem.

Agreed. The lottery effect was powerful. Once you had a post that won, the first thing you did was tell your friends about this cool site etc.

I guess maybe this whole experience shows you still need a leader to step in and fix things when they run amuck. Sadly we don't have that.