The Whales are Swallowing Up The Minnows

in #steemit4 years ago (edited)


A common occurence on Steemit when it comes to the popular posting category of breaking news is that the person who first brings the news to the attention of the community is often not the person who is rewarded the most. This in and of itself is not 'breaking news' of course, but let's examine the implications.

The phenomenon

The problem is that breaking news spreads rapidly, especially in the omnipresent social media age we're currently in. Even if another Steemit user discovers and publishes breaking news to Steemit first, they still might not be able to capitalize on it and avoid getting 'eaten up' by a whale.

That's because the clout and following behind a whale acts like a vacuum force (just like in nature). The smaller fish (or dolphin, even) can't outrun this force even though they're faster and more nimble than the whale. It's like a black hole sucking up all the matter around it.

Unfortunately one of our dear users @thedashguy recently experienced this.


A few hours ago the community was rocked when it learned that Poloniex had just added Steem to their order books. Of course this was big, big news on Steemit so it burst onto the trending page and spread like wildfire. But who was the winner?

The current most-rewarded post announcing the news belongs to resident whale @steemed here:

He's racked up a whopping 140 votes worth $2k+ and counting. However it was quickly pointed out in the comments that he was beaten to the punch by a pretty wide margin (breaking-news-time-wise) by another user @thedashguy here:

How much did his post get? At the time of writing this it stands at 29 votes for a paltry $1.87. Quite the disparity - that's the power of the whale.

Is it fair?

I can see it both ways. On one hand, Steemed has earned his whale status and thus deserves the rewards for that. He's bringing efficiency and speed to the news in a way that a smaller fish can't, and thus providing value to the ecosystem.

On the other hand, @thedayshguy discovered and posted the news here first, so it just naturally seems like he should be rewarded for his speed. It just doesn't feel right that he not only gets swallowed up so quickly but also only earns a tiny fraction of the plankton pie.

What can we do, anyway?

One idea I had revolves around posting etiquette on the part of the whales. If a whale learns that they were beaten to the punch, perhaps they could later edit their post and give a shout out to any smaller fish that posted before him. That way the audience reading the whale's post is also alerted, and have the opportunity to let the smaller guy share in the rewards, if they deem it just.

However it's difficult for othersto stay on top of who is breaking what news and at what time, so it creates an additional burden on the whale posters.

What do you think?

Image credits:

Hosting by

Whale -

Blackhole (unmodified) -

#steemit-etiquette #posting-best-practices


Very good idea, I just up voted you and the dashguy. To bad me just a tiny fish. However let's hope this gets noticed and the aetiquette implemented.

I think your posting etiquette proposal is very sensible. The beauty of Steemit is (also) that the community can regulate and improve its own workings at any time through etiquette proposals, a collection of best practices, etc. From this point of view, it is a great social experiment. ..

You make a great point. Being first does not guarantee votes. That's the sad part..

I really like your ideas! Whales definitely deserve a bit more, But those smaller fish need some credit too, Otherwise they won't grow as quickly.

I'm disappointed that this post didn't earn very much! I gave you an upvote! I hope this post gets noticed..

Thanks! Hopefully we can all get a share of exposure on here.