An Objective Look at Vote Buying Bots and Some Other Steemit Stuff

in steemit •  6 months ago

I had what I felt was a really great talk with @whatsup last night, and we touched on the subject of vote buying bots. She also discussed them with other people, and I read her comments.

@whatsup has been a proponent of the bots for a long time, and I do think she makes good arguments. Those who know me know that I'm pretty ehh about them, personally.

But let's have an objective look.

In 2016 when I joined Steemit, the gimmick of the site was presented to me as follows:

It's a stake-based platform; the more STEEM Power a user has, the more influence he has over the reward pool. It's gamified version of social media. Content creators compete with each other for the whale votes every day, so you need to learn what each whale likes and dislikes and work on your content accordingly.

I was fascinated by the concept.

Before making my first post, I learned about Dan Larimer and his philosophies because he was obviously a huge whale at the time. My goal was to get a vote from Dan.

So, I made a post entitled "What if Facebook was Regulated Like the Job Market". It's an old analogy of mine that I still think is the best thing I've come up with in terms of societal articles. The point being that if Facebook was under similar regulations as the labor market is, people would have less Facebook friends as the Facebook friend market would suffer in a number of ways.

My devious plan was successful, and my very first post on the platform got a vote from Dan.

Since then, I had times when I actually actively decided to have a trending post. I went out of my way to write a post with the goal of getting it to trending. Not every time was successful, but most of those times I managed to pull it off. I would have a few whales in mind who I wanted to target, made a post with them in mind and boom.

That was the concept that hooked me at first: the idea of just using your brain smarts to succeed. It was the gamification aspect of the whole thing that attracted me.

I realize not everyone is capable of doing that, but I viewed Steemit as a meritocracy; the smart would swim, while the rest would sink.

I also realize that all of the above may be absolutely infuriating to some, and I may have just earned a few new haters, but I also know that the people here who like me, like me for my honesty. So there's some honesty for you.

Now it's the middle of 2018, and a lot of hardforks later, things have changed quite a lot.

Steemit is an entirely different landscape than it once was. The entire "Try to attract a whale" aspect of Steemit that I once enjoyed so much is all but gone. It's no longer a game of wits, not really.

The whales have delegated their SP to the vote bots, and for the most of us, it doesn't matter what we do or how we do it, we will never get that big whale vote. It's pretty much impossible.

And with all the STEEM Power going around through delegations, the votes by non-whales are probably the least valuable they've ever been.

Though I do want to add that when I talk about value, I'm merely talking monetary value. Votes by humans who manually went through something I created and felt like it was worth their time to upvote - no matter their SP - are infinitely valuable. I guess I'm endlessly insecure like that and need some kind of validation for the stuff I create. So, don't think for a second that just because you don't have a million in STEEM Power that I don't appreciate each and every person who actually genuinely follows me.

But anyways.

Obviously enough, as I got "older and wiser" in terms of Steemit age, certain realities of the platform became apparent to me; a lot of the content that got big support never really had anything to do with the content, but the support was the result of "good brother" networks, under the table deals, "I'll scratch your back, you'll scratch mine", vote trading, all that good stuff.

Furthermore, the political reality of the site is such that you say one wrong thing and your account is dead. You're ignored by all the major stakeholders, which results in your content being practically invisible forever.

You're too negative, you're toxic. Yada yada.

Followers don't mean much as most of the links aren't discovered through the Steemit feed, but are shared privately in chats. I have 3000 followers, and my content is regularly read by approximately 3 people. Give or take.

So, there are definitely "issues" from the viewpoint of an average user. With that in mind, it's easy to understand the allure of the vote-buying bots: no longer is it a game of luck whether or not your content gets seen or not.

@whatsup made what I felt was a very, very good point about the bots: now it's completely up to you to invest into your content directly, and have it become visible to everyone.

That's an excellent point, and I'll be the first to admit that.

With the bots, even someone like who has alienated the community could theoretically get into trending automatically.

And I get the point. It's advertising. You create something, you pay for advertising, you hope it pans out. It's easy to understand on paper.

I don't have an objectively true argument to make against the bots. That's why I'm destined to fail the debate because the "free market" argument is an automatic win card, especially on Steemit.

I can't tell people what to do with their stake.

No matter how much I would want to be one of the lucky ones on those delicious whale autovote lists.

Though honestly, I'd probably feel awkward. My wallet wouldn't, but I would. Would I complain, or would I shut up? I'd like to stay I'd stay true to my beliefs, but I also realize that I'm human, so who knows. We always say one thing in Situation A, but in Situation B, we go out of our way to rationalize our sudden change in stance. And we don't even notice it, our brain tricks us into not noticing. That's why we never realize our hypocrisies.

But that's offtopic.

In our conversation, @whatsup assumed that I wanted to "hang the bots", but I'd like to clarify that that is not the case. Not really. I don't even "blame" people for "using the evil vote bots" because I totally understand their use. It's an advertising service.

In my opinion, not a very good one, though, since I'm not convinced that a spot in trending really benefits anyone anymore since the whales don't curate anyway, so the additional votes you get are from minnows with the profit made totaling to the couple of bucks you would have made otherwise anyways.

I can't recite to you the amount of times I've had a post somewhere on trending (it used to be pretty regularly a year ago) and I had a lot of new faces on every post complimenting it, only to disappear forever after. I never saw them again.

So it seems to me that the additional support is not very genuine, and definitely not long lasting.

Perhaps I'm wrong, maybe there is a former minnow out there who has the bots to thank. Someone can comment.

My not using the bots is simply a personal choice, based on personal taste.

Me, personally - me as in the individual known as @schattenjaeger - had more fun and more success on this site before the vote bots became a thing.

So, for selfish reasons, I dislike them and the current landscape of things.

I don't want to crucify people for using them. Some people feel that it's necessary to use them in order to not sink here. And I can understand people wanting their stuff to be seen and appreciated. I do, too.

For me, it's no different than not going to McDonald's since I'm a vegetarian. I don't morally support what the company does or stands for, so I choose not to use their services.

Doesn't stop me from being friends with people who either go to or work at McDonald's. Though I would like to talk about priorities in life with the latter group, especially if they're over the age 18, but be that as it may.

I just liked it better before. And of course it has to do with the fact that I was successful under the old rules. Anything else would be gross bullshiting.

I used to be one of the semi-big shots, and now I'm dead in the water. And I'm bitter, no question.

A few people have pointed out the fact that I powered down which is very unpopular here, but I powered down only after it became apparent that I wasn't going to be accepted as one of the golden boys, so why bother trying. I might as well take what I can, right?

It's easy for a person making triple digits automatically - sometimes several times a day - to be holier than thou and preach about never powering down. Well duhh? It's a completely different landscape.

Why would I ever power down if I was one of the golden boys? Or girls, for that matter. I can especially think of one example who's openly stated to not giving two shits about the platform, the people, the chain, anything, and I mean anything, that has to do with the site other than the amount the person can dump. And my God it's infuriating to see the community bend over backwards to throw money at that person's way just because the person is so good at playing everybody. The person has told me all of this privately.

That said, I can't force anyone to like A) me or B) my content, which is why I've settled to just focusing on what I like to do and would do for free. And the people who like to support me and follow me, I appreciate to no end.

The funny thing is. After all my complaints, my rants, my despair, my whining, you name it. I still somehow care about this place and want to see it do better.

This post really lost focus halfway through, but whatever.

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I mean you could have topped off the irony of the post by using a bidbot to promote it, but still well said.

When I used to see crap at the top of trending I could generally determine a reason, like "Oh, this whale likes memes or obviously this whale likes to smoke pot" When there wasn't an obvious connection you would dig a little deeper and find some people vote trading or close geographical community promoting their own, etc.. I might not have liked it all but it made sense to me.

Now I see random garbage at the top and just ignore it, there is no deeper insight needed, they just paid to get it there.

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I'm gonna have to say something here, though, about the trending page. I've made fun about it in the past, as well - a lot. But honestly, I don't think it's very fair to make a blanket statement call all of it "garbage", straight up.

The reason I don't enjoy it is the trending page has a lot of very general stuff. It almost never happens that I open the trending page and find something I want to click on.

It doesn't make content garbage, though. I'm sure there are people who enjoy some of that stuff.

However, it is something that does make me sad that there seems to be very little "daring" content at the top. It's all very safe - and to a guy like me, boring.

That's just my subjective view, though.

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Oh not all of it is garbage by any means, I meant that when I do see a random out of place article at the top, I know why it is there.

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Oh yet another judge of all things quality and garbage. Exactly what I get tired of on Steemit. If it is so bad, why are you here?

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Don't knock judgements; without them, things rarely improve. Some people stay here to try and make things better instead of going away.

I've seen you make better arguments.

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I must say this is also true. Man, there was good quote somewhere by someone. It was something along the lines of: "Don't think meaningful change can't be caused by a small group of people wanting change; indeed, they're the only ones who ever have."

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"Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For indeed, that's all who ever have." Margaret Mead

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True.. shit. I guess I really need to take a break. The constant negative noise has finally pushed me over the edge.

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Dang it, I know you are right. It was snarky and petty.

I can still be friends with someone that uses bidbots...but I will totally judge them for it. They're undermining everything this place stands for, and are a small part of the downfall of the entire platform.

Sure, that might sound a bit over the top, but really, look at trending. The shit that gets rewarded now has nothing to do with quality. What is this place worth when it's just a joke where shit gets rewarded, not because it's worthy, but because the person paid a bot or runs some vote circle jerk?

It was an epic conversation and a bit exhausting also enjoyable. I rarely find people who will challenge their own position on things and actually consider the other side of a point.

Some of the other commenters are what I like the least about Steem.

Victims of their own arrogance. "There is nothing good enough for me because I am just that awesome."

To be real, I've haven't seen such a group of judgemental, arrogant egos, since I left the Catholic Church. :)

Much respect and the bots wouldn't be here and certainly wouldn't have the demand if some of the stakeholders had begun to support some different and new people. For now I consider them the greatest equalizer on the site.

For those who think the trending page sucks, go have a new view. Instead of looking for what you don't like, ask yourself if objectively, someone might be interested in it.

The most tiring part of steem is not feeling criticized for everything you do. I think that has way more to do with adoption than the financing.

One person I brought on said it is like high school cheerleader camp. (due to all the bitchiness)

Thanks Schattenjaegar. I can't tell you how nice it was to have a back in forth with someone who listens, reads, considers and continues the discussion.

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I'm unconvinced the analogy between bid bots and advertising holds, as bid bots have effects advertising hasn't. As far as it does hold: I don't want bought advertising here either, as it makes content discovery even more difficult than it already is, and it favours the big wallets, skewing the distribution even further.

I prefer people investing time in their content over people investing money in advertising their content. The latter goes against all I thought Steemit stood for when I came here. I may, of course, have been wrong then, in which case, consider this comment void.

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On a personal level, I agree with this. This is also why I opt out of using them. I'll choose the way of the martyr who invests his time and effort into the content, despite the end result.

I'll die a martyr, but I'll die my way. Or something. I dunno.

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Isn't there a song about that? The second verse starts with "regrets", if I remember correctly 8-).

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It's interesting how the whole bid bot justification seems to have shifted from making money to marketing @schattenjaeger.

But, I would also guess

that the additional support is not very genuine, and definitely not long lasting

But it probably makes people think they are doing something that is getting them somewhere.

Certainly if you look at the figures without doing the maths returns can look quite good.

I've not heard about writing for whale votes before but that explains why people make a big fuss about what a waste of time it is trying to attract a whale vote. That was always pretty obvious to me but the fact that it wasn't always like that makes sense of why people would need to say so.

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I don't use the bots myself, but it's just my understanding that the financial returns aren't really there, so I'm not sure if they are a valid reason to use them, really.

So, I'm just assuming that it's the advertising aspect of it all.

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Well pretty much all the posts I've read have said the maths not longer works out, i.e. you don't make a profit. But, it can easily look like you do.

I used a simple bot for a couple of weeks that paid me 3 times what I paid it so I thought I was making loads. Then a friend of mine showed me the maths and I was actually losing money every time so I stopped and haven't bothered again.

It can look very attractive financially but it doesn't seem to work out well for most people.

Once that was known there seemed to be a shift to the marketing argument for using them and, as I say, I'm not convinced that works either. 😁

Thanks for the post. I'm worried the bots are breaking down the economic engine of Steemit.

I have yet to hear how bidbots are not a ponzi scheme that just relies on new bodies entering Steemit and investing real dollars. The majority of the gains float to the top, and weaker and weaker content reaches the Trending page.

If no one comes here to post, curate, and read good content, then all you have left is the first ever decentralized blogging platform for bots.

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Yeah... the current way of things has taken Steemit away from the way it was first presented to me. Some like, some don't.

Ideally, everybody would compete for manual human votes. That'd be the good kind of gamification, in my opinion.

But the monetary incentive makes that impossible to achieve, I think. And some people like things the way they are, so.

My main interest in Steemit was always if it could solve the "Quality"-problem. The first experiments with this i think was Slashdot's karma system. I am still interested in systems that can support artists directly, but as for quality, Steemit has convinced me that humans do excatly the same way online as they do in the flesh.

The corruption you talk about, because that is what it is when you go nepotist behind the curtains in what should be an open system, the creation of institutions (like Steemcleaners and Curie), the endless opportunism and lick-ass attitude towards the powerful... it all mirrors how any other state is created. Funny to have been here for two years to see the anarchist commune become thrifty pirate-gangster haven (actually what happened at Christiania here in Copenhagen), but not that funny when you could see this happen every other place on the globe.

I have earned more from Bitcoin donations from people on other free sites (Diaspora), than I have earned here with my comic and my art (which is professional quality). It is not that I have not benefited from the community, I have very much - two people translating my comic and helping out, a few large donations, actually lots of funny connections and intelligent people, but money-wise I can see that communication and not quality is what gives you money. That is exactly like the art world I left five years ago.

I think this place needs a middle class. It wouldn't make Steemit Utopia (it hasn't done so elsewhere), but it would make the system less arbitrary and erratic. I just use Steemit as another platform to promote my art. I early on saw how people stopped voting for power-downers, so I didn't. I have powered up instead to see if I can get closer to actually let my self-vote count for something.

Anyways... before I write a whole post. Interesting things you write - mostly not new to me but at least we share view on a lot of things. I hate the vote-selling because it is not promoting quality. I know how the world work, but that doesn't mean I like it.

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This comment was better than my post. I, too, think that Steemit has failed in rewarding quality.

Even if I recognize the Subjectivity of Value problem.

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Hehe, thanks. There will of course never be complete consensus on quality and there doesn't have to be. It would be a strange and boring world if there ever was. But most of us can judge competence and effort, and if different circles of consensus could go together upvoting that it would be great. I imagine that a broader range of wealthy people could ensure that, but of course I don't know. Would be interesting to see if it ever happened.

Maybe I should try to take up the subject. Nothing attracts people as a post about Steemit :) and the quality discussion is seldom discussed seriously. Mostly it is people being pissed that their master-post get less than the charming amateur.

Great post schattenjaeger.

I believe that vote-buying became necessary when Steemit attracted so many users that the created tag became literally unreadable.

And at that time you actually had to be the golden boy, to get votes from bigger accounts, because only then, you'd get seen by other human readers.

In contrast, today - the only thing you need are 2 things:

1.) A solid post
2.) Enough SBD / STEEM to boost it with

No more waiting and hoping that a big curator upvotes your post.

Everbody can decide their own success on Steemit - thanks to vote-buying.

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I think that there is a larger vision to steem, beyond steemit. While I understand that bots suck and steemit generally sucks, the potential for the blockchain to be the engine of all securitarized websites is far greater than what steemit is capable of.

with that said, I also think that people aren't being creative enough with the way they make money because bots are very easy to create.

Looking at steembottracker today vs just a few months ago, youll see dozens of new bots being created (and I suspect this has to do with the fact that the bot code is up on github and everyone just copies the same code). Eventually the land will be saturated and it will become very competitive to make money for the bots since they have to pay back their delegators.

By that time, I hope that people would be focused on new ways to get centralized content and power it off of steem and people wont even realize they are using steem anymore.

That said, I can't force anyone to like A) me or B) my content, which is why I've settled to just focusing on what I like to do and would do for free.

also, this is the key.

Youll probably never see this comment, cause I've been away and missed this post by a crap ton of days, but I just thought I'd stop by and show my human support. Im pretty sure I found you from one of your trending posts way back in the day, I remember thinking you were one of the sortof big guys, but I actually thought you were a girl back then. I liked it better back then too. I got lucky in the beginning, bernie found me very early on, I think on my first or second post. I loved how I could just post photos and people would vote on them because they liked them. I eventually got on some whale lists, I used to get votes on the regular from ned, but I squandered it by not being around enough. After HF19 I dropped off the face of the planet here, now I make a modest 4-5$ from every post I make, I think mostly because I never powered down, which was more just from not being around than an active choice. Anyhow, whatever it is, is whatever. You know I always love your content, even if I'm not around to catch it all. And I'm with you on being bitter for the good old days.

It's only a mildly different subgame. I don't blame you for liking the "sucking up to whales" game and disliking the "do a shitload of math to profit from bot votes" game. But the latter one is actually way more meritocratic and allowing the smart to swim than the former. All you have to do is the math.

Votes by humans who manually went through something I created and felt like it was worth their time to upvote - no matter their SP - are infinitely valuable.

Upvoted for understanding this.

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That’s a fair point, but just to clarify: it wasn’t ”sucking up” I was talking about, but rather creating content that you know certain people enjoy.

Either funny or insightful stuff.

Our brain tricks us into not noticing. That's why we never realize our hypocrisies.

I know this is true, at least some of the time. But it's so hard to believe. In both ways: hard to believe that others are unknowing hypocrites, rather than conscious of it. And hard to believe that I'm an unknowing hypocrite at times. (I need to figure out how to figure out what those times are...)

Definitely worth keeping in mind.

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I get your point, but it's worth remembering that our number one skill as humans is to lie to ourselves without us even noticing. It sucks, and it's possible to stay cognisant about, but it takes effort.

It's probably easier the smarter you are, though.

I feel too jaded to even try to understand anything about this site anymore. The more you peel the layers "of what you thought will be an awesome fruit or healthy way of you to grow your craft honestly and make some money of it idea' you are left disappointed.

I am among those who get tempted to occasionally try bots in search of soothing our artistic egos. One would prefer to have readers manually upvoting their work but no one has that time anymore here. We all want to be whales so bad and sell our votes.

I am currently struggling to get to people we joined this site together but they are way ahead of me thanks to bots. The same controversial bots that my soul is still torn over. Sometimes I want to use them so badly and propel my stagnant minnow status and maybe I indulge a bit but it is a habit that I bitterly want to drop.

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Agree - I've toyed with bots. Don't like what they stand for and seems to sum up the short-term mentality that many users have - wanting instant results! Not good for the long-term growth of the platform.

As a newbie I find your take very interesting

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I think I thoroughly would have enjoyed the "old" Steemit @schattenjaeger!
(I'm also enjoying the "new" Steemit... It's way funner than FB or other social media sites...)

  • I like the idea of catching a trending post that makes several hundred $'s. I think I saw the other day the top payout was like $32k! wow You could never come close to that in this "era" of Steemit...

Vote bots are pretty lame, I don't really see the point over all. I just take the "spam" approach of making videos and blog posts like 123021397123 times a day and hope people notice, and so far I've gotten one whale vote in about 6 months, which isn't too bad. I also invest a lot myself, but there's not much content on steemit that I also like (video games, speedrunning specifically) so I don't really interact with many people here other than myself as a result :P

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I promise to have some speedrunning for you every now and again. :p

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Hey thanks! God bless Mega Man hehe

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Lol indeed.

I am in agreement with you for the most part, but I find it worrying that there are trusted members of the community propagating this bullshit that vote selling is any way acceptable from a moral stand point.

If you - or anyone else - knows who the most mature and least arselickish member of this community who is for bidbots; please do ask them if they would be willing to debate me very publicly on the issue of votebots.

Thanks-

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Hey, this is a good platform for it. Let's play a game. Let's say I'm someone advocating for vote selling bots. I'm not, but let's say I am.

Let's say I use the advertising/visibility argument.

What would your response be?

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I don't really have time for games, that's why I suggested a very public debate so that any time put into an answer will be read by enough to warrant the time spent writing it.

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I understand. But I'm not sure, I wouldn't know who the person would be to fit your criteria.

I'd definitely read it, though. This post has been resteemed quite a few times now this does attract at least some eyeballs, so if you're up to throwing an argument, I'd like for you to.

Edit: Well, perhaps @whatsup is someone you're looking for?

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I understand that. But, you must understand that if this is going to be debated publicly, then I am in no rush to disclose what I might say here right now. That will only give my opponent an opportunity to prepare for what I am going to say, which might then hurt my debate later. I feel too strongly about this issue to allow for such a simple mistake to hurt the cause.

In regards to whatsup. I saw a side of her that I really did not like. But it was followed soon after by an act of maturity that I was not expecting, and so I don't really know what to think about her. But, if she is the one everyone is listening to and using her words to create excuses for their selves to buy or sell votes; then it is her I would like to debate.

Whether she will be permitted to do so is an entirely different thing though.

I can especially think of one example who's openly stated to not giving two shits about the platform, the people, the chain, anything, and I mean anything, that has to do with the site other than the amount the person can dump. And my God it's infuriating to see the community bend over backwards to throw money at that person's way just because the person is so good at playing everybody.

I have only one guess, but I'm about 90% sure, who this person could be.

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Hm, I'm pretty sure you'd be wrong, but I can't know for a fact. But I won't name the person because I want to avoid drama.

You can hit me up in the chat if you want to see if your guess is correct. I'll just give a yes or no answer.

This post had me interested till the last sentence. I am here for a year now. Since June, 2017. I have seen some of the botless days and that worked for me well because I didn't have money to invest in SP or bots. My content was appreciated a lot and I quickly rose to a little fame.

The platform has lost it. In the name of decentralization, free market or whatever. Steemit has lost it big time. It's no more a place to flourish. Not as of now.

Some thoughts I expressed here.

Steemit Inc's focus on SMTs ahead of improving the immediate implementation of Steem blockchain (i.e. Steemit) is misplaced.

Steem enabling heavy delegations and empowering bid/promo bots to have the biggest stake in the platform is a grave mistake which very well contradicts the vision of making humans with stake to decide where the quality is.

With so much wealth at Ned's disposal—and at the disposal of Steemit Inc.—it should not be hard to rectify the mistakes in the code or its implementation.

Removal—even identification—of bad actors in the platform is non-existent.

There are bad actors in the platform who are free to operate at the expense of platform's future and bad experience of other users; like myself.

Dear @schattenjaeger, I found you for the first time today and I must admit that I like you.

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I'm glad you found my pointless ramblings to be interesting. I never understand why, but I'm always happy when it happens. :)

And you make good points in your quote.

Are you exactly on Steimite since 206?
"In 206 when I joined Steemit, the gimmick of the site was presented to me as follows:"
And Whatsup on https://steembottracker.com/#bid no. Good information. I'll also try this bot. Thank you! And good luck!

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Hah, oops. The conversation with @whatsup went on until something like 8 AM. I'm very tired. Fixed.

To listen to the audio version of this article click on the play image.

Brought to you by @tts. If you find it useful please consider upvoting this reply.

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It's either I bootlick or invest in my own content by effort, then some currency. I hate the taste of leather '-) so the choice isn't hard.

Sometimes, I use bid bots, particularly when SBD/Steem rate is not proper for a power up (not easy when you're plakton). So if conditions are met, it can be a good opportunity to change some SBD to SP, but as I cannot invest very much in bots, I never made profit of it.

But in general I'm not pro-bot either.

I understand how you feel I feel the same .. it is frustrating to spend an hour doing 1 publication and not have a favorable vote in my case I have 767 followers of which only 1 actually follows me and I have to resort to using the bots so that my publication does not remain at zero.
Currently there are many new account that is already including a vote of one whale per publication. I do not know if it will be luck or everything is coldly calculated.
As you say Steemit is no longer the shadow of what it was before, now everything is based on what you have to buy vote to be seen or to get additional votes, but most are minnow as you said before and it is reality.

It was a great conversation and I appreciate you considering and challenging your own perspective and summarizing.

Per the comment suggestions, which triggered me. :) I've decided to boost this post! :)

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What an awkward position to put me in. :D

I can't not thank you because it'd be rude, but thanking also feels wrong given the context. I'll just bite the bullet and say thanks regardless. Lol.

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Oh, the comment and the blockchain both state it was me, so don't be annoyed please. :) It was meant to be "Funny Nice", not rude.

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I was just messing with you. :)

Steemit won't survive if the platform can't keep the newbies.And they won't stay once they realize they are irrelevant. (My own family member abandoned the site for the same reason).Then what are all the whales gonna do with their investments?

It was a interesting read. I am not in favor of bid bots but I still use them because I can't find any other way around this platform. Without those my posts will organically earn less then 10 cents.

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Yeah, that's kind of what I meant when I said I understand their use. I'd say it's mostly due to two main issues:

  • The UI is so bad, most of the stuff here becomes invisible and it can't be helped. There's no reason for it to be this helplessly hopeless, but alas, it is.

  • The circle jerk that is determined to keep the same names on top, no matter what.

This post has received a 4.18 % upvote from @booster thanks to: @whatsup.

I love your post and I appreciate that you took the time to write it. Focus or no focus :)

I am with you on this love / hate bot relationship. They are a way of making some income and gaining some visibility. Both are shallow, though. They are not organic.

On the other side, it is so hard to achieve organic recognition. So ... bots are the easy way out.

Do I use them? Not at the time and very rarely if at all. I do delegate to two of them so you can find me guilty.

Bots are a phase in the evolotionary development of the platform. Not every route taken is a route of beneficial progress. As in the real life.

Yes, this platform is a game and a mirror to real life which is an ultimate game.

Losing focus too :)


Ps: since I am a devoted steemworld use I regularly check your posts to see what's new.

Ps2: I am late for upvoting the post. I will make it up on some other posts of yours :)

Ps3: keep on writing out of your expertise and your passion. That's the way to go.

I'm not bothered about being on the trending page as it probably won't get me what I want, which is engagement. Of course I might make more money if I bought votes, but it seems the profit margin can be small. I get plenty of engagement on my posts because I built up connections with people.

I like your Mcdonalds analogy.

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Yeah, it's been shown that the trending page won't get you quality comments and engagement. You'll get fake people's fake compliments because they want their profile to be seen in the comment section of a trending post.

It's all just empty "good post" spam. I'm sure there's good stuff in-between, but most of the people I like don't even bother with the trending page, so there's that.

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I find I tend to only get spammy comments when I use some of the top tags. I'd rather stay under their radar and get better quality comments. I wish the trending page had less prominence for new users. The Hot page is a little better.

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Yeah, lately I've been using just random tags - save for #fiction and #gaming. And my spam comment counter has actually been pretty low lately.

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I find that using steemit or steem attracts the spam. Tags are so abused that they are effectively useless for many topics.

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Yup, it's pretty pointless most of the time to try to find content that actually has anything to do with STEEM under the #steem tag. Same for #steemit.

A properly functioning tag system would fix a lot around here.

i admit i am poor at economics but why does the law of diminishing returns not be applicable to delegated SP? if there is not enough good posts coming in to be upvoted and poor content gets the votes then it is mystifying because there is no new money coming in, right? if there was more good content then there would be value appreciation (not inflation).

it almost feels like we paid 10 bucks and got 8 back. we put in 4 more and got 9 back. around and around we go until it is not clear how much we should put in to get our original 10 back! sounds confusing to me!

Just curious!

Nice read. I leave an upvote for this article thumbsup

Not only a great in-depth criticism of what is wrong here but you are also a skilled writer. I wish I could experience the 2016 steemit too.

Thanks for sharing! A link to your post was included in the Steem.center wiki article about Upvotes Bots. Thanks and good luck again!


Congratulations @schattenjaeger!
You raised your level and are now a Minnow!

Do you like SteemitBoard's project? Vote for its witness and get one more award!

Brilliant post - I agree with you on all of it (apart from the vegetarian bit) and feel the same.

But I don't follow you because you resteem a lot and I'm not into resteeming.

https://steemit.com/steemit/@sift666/is-resteeming-the-scourge-of-steemit

We are all different...

Looks like you appreciate real interaction and genuine reactions. So I figured lets share a few thoughts.

You're right about losing focus. Nevertheless it was good to read. I usually write and speak in the same way.

I really wonder how it was before the bots? Nowadays I only get spammed with 100+ new bot followers per month and 3 real humans.

Looking at the bots I wonder what percentage of SP is used for self upvotes? If that's close to 20% or even 30% then the majority of upvotes is used for paid bid bots and self voting. Which results in no one ever being able to succeed in beating the paid bots and self voters. Which most likely means the rich will get richer and the poor get poorer.

Anyways my feeling is that newbies shouldn't come here for the financial aspect. But only because they like the social aspect.

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Bots have always been a thing in the STEEMsphere, but the open and honest vote buying bots are a rather new invention. Originally, content creators competed with each other for the whale votes. Usually getting one whale vote resulted in the rest of the whales following suit and stacking up on a post.

And what you said is what a lot of people have been saying: it's nearly impossible to compete with the bots and big self-votes. That's what makes a lot of people lose hope.

It's easy to say that "Oh, you're just here for the money?", but that's a little short-sighted. Steemit is a game, of sorts. And when people start playing a game, they want to play to win. They get frustrated when they feel that the rules are unfair. Whether they are or aren't isn't even the issue, it's whether or not they feel that they are.

And it seems like a lot of people do.

Like I said in the post, the unfortunate reality is that Steemit is no longer really a competition between content, it's just a competition between who wants to shill the most money into his or her content.

And hey, that case can be defended, too. It's just that liked the original idea more. It's a personal preference.

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Why do you think that case can be defended? I mean if you see this purely as crypto game, why would above invest money in it? What gives the crypto currency value? For paying a game and see who invests most and cheats best?

I could be exaggerating a bit. But I hope you understand what I mean?

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Yeah, I getcha.

It can be defended by using the free market argument. Steemit is decentralized and free, and in a wild west people can basically do as they please.

There's no central authority or set of laws here, so anything goes, basically.

Is all of the behavior desirable? Absolutely not. And I myself have grown a bit more skeptical towards the whole idea of a decentralized network like this even being able to produce a result that's in line with what people feel is a desirable end result.

As evidenced by what goes on in here.

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There is no such thing as a free-market argument; such an argument would assume that a free market is optimal for all groups and societies, or maybe some sort of religious Holy Grail that cannot be doubted. As yet, this is unprovable, and there is plenty of evidence that unbounded free-market economies may not yield the most pleasant of societies.

I just felt like disagreeing with someone. Must be the heat.

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I think we are basically on the same line.

At first I believed that this could and would be a really awesome decentralized social media platform. Where one as bonus could earn some money. And real good bloggers could earn quite some money.

Nowadays it looks more like a crypto game that basically doesn't have any ethical rules.

Steemit could be showing that it's almost impossible to create a decentralized platform that works pretty well.

But I still keep my hopes up for a social media platform that financially rewards its users in such a way that at least 95% of the users agree to the system. Which also should really in higher numbers of active users and keeping them to hang around for a long(er) period of time.