Uncertainly certain about the future

in #steemit6 years ago

In all my time at Steemit, it is now that I am the most uncertain about its future and the vision I had planned for my place within it. It was always a bit of a long shot but the odds are decreasing but, this doesn't mean they are non-existent. In some ways, I am glad this is happening now as Steem is still in its infancy.

In uncertainty is where life is really lived and the most valuable of it is when what is uncertain is the concept of the future itself. What I mean by this is that when we have our plans questioned heavily by circumstance we have the chance to step back, take stock and reevaluate our positions. Perhaps that is what I am doing now.

In no uncertain terms, the bidbots (at least in their current form) are the single largest threat to the community and if something isn't done, they will kill it. You might not care too much if you are a bidbot operator since you will make a pretty penny (if you own your own stake) and when it fails (due in large part to you), you will move on and justify your actions as "Lucky, you made it out with profit." For those using the bidbots however, I hope you have enough to retire on or your content is good enough that it can survive another platform.

If Steemit does fail, that will not be the end of this type of platform but, it may be the end of a decentralized version as a successful decentralized community requires members who self-govern for community development. That hasn't happened here yet and may never as greed overpowers community in the hierarchy of values. The next versions will take lessons from Steemit and likely say no to decentralization.

Funny isn't it? The thing that drew so many people onto the platform to begin with is probably going to be the nail in the coffin for the platform itself. Instead of using the decentralization to build a strong and equitable community, they use it to take all they can for individuals. Maybe the ability to maximize individual profits, not the distribution for community strength, was the real draw card for them and their pockets are never full enough.

The next platforms to come will solve many of the problems here but, don't expect users to have any control over it. Don't even expect you yourself to be able to earn at all. The next platforms will be monetized versions of the old where the ones who make the money are the already famous stars and those who are willing to sell themselves out for money and act in accordance with guidelines or, be demonetized. They will attract the masses but for the most part, the same old people will earn and just like the centralized/privatized bidbots, the owners will take the lion's share.

But, here is the uncertainty still, that final nail is not yet in the coffin, there is still a lot to hope for but, that hope swings on the community pulling together including the people who have the power to make real changes. It will be in these uncertain times that will make or break Steemit, not the times when everything seems like it will work out.

It is in the uncertainty that change actions can be taken to rebuild the foundations to weather storms and take advantage of future values. It just isn't happening now. To get it to happen people would need to take that big step back to really think about what they want and see if that is actually where we are headed. I think most will find that the future being created on this time line isn't going to be one where they are flourishing.

Our actions are no different here than the actions of past generations, of past millennia. Actions that continually lead to extremes in wealth and poverty. Actions that inevitably lead to system failure and collapse. That is why so many people ended up at Steemit in the first place, the outside systems are collapsing.

For the most part, you don't see the wealthy of the real-world buying in to Steem do you? No, they are the downtrodden, the shunned, the social outcasts who were failing in a system that didn't accommodate them adequately. They come in here and what do they do? Act the same as the oppressors on the outside at the first opportunity they get.

It is to be expected though as they have learned their behaviours like monkeys in a cage being hosed for trying to get the banana. Socialized to think that the only way to get ahead in life is to get rich by making others poor. The actions of governments, bankers and rent-seeking middlemen the world over. They are acting like programmed robots.

The irony.

They don't seem to understand that this learned behaviour is the control mechanism, they are never going to be free acting on what they have learned. It is through this behaviour that those in power continue to maintain and grow their positions, continue to win. It is CERTAIN.

The only way to break that system is to understand their manipulations and wear the cost of changed behaviour in the short term for long term benefits. The problem is that crypto people are not long-term thinkers, they are profit seekers. They are not generally hard workers, they are looking for easy paths to buy a Lamborghini. They are not community orientated, they want to get rich from a keyboard through a monitor.

And, it is these people running a social platform?

The reason that the other platforms have been so popular is that they focused on the people. No, it wasn't for those people's benefits but they understood the power of relationships and hacked human wiring to manipulate the majority into getting what they want. Assholes to be sure but, clever assholes.

Here, the same actions are taking place but they have forgotten to tie the community to the platform in the same way, the incentive was access to the pool but, that is dwindling away.

I have a question: What happens to the value of Steem if there are only bidbots and buyers. If everyone else that doesn't use or want to use migrated to another platform or just went back to Facebook, Instagram and all the other crap places that offer decent functionality?

Tell me, who is going to prop up the price of Steem? The pool becomes a pool of true monopoly money as no one on the open market is really going to want it unless, they are going to use it to buy bidbots. In that scenario, content is useless, ALL content. but, the system itself can't function.

It would be like me giving you 70 dollars and next week you give me 100 back but keep the 70 too. Tell me, where does that 70 come from? The pool right? Yes, but that pool needs to be backed by something otherwise it is just printing money, like banks. But, with no one to buy that added 70? The system can't work that way. It requires demand on that added value otherwise, the value decreases as the volume on the market increases and soon, nothing.

The only reason the bidbots can operate now is because there is a majority that don't use them and a sliver that do. the way to stop them is either no one use them (preferrable), or *everyone use them but never actually buy SBD for them. Just use what comes out of the pool. They will return losses of course so get prepared to wear it.

The other way to stop the bidbots is of course just abandon the platform altogether which many are doing. I talked about not onboarding anyone anymore as I just can't support them nor can I justify why to even start considering the pay to play culture and growing divides. The question of scam comes up and I no longer have an answer to give them.

Now I am trying to focus on keeping worthy people here instead. I don't care about those who leave because it is all too hard, good riddance. I care about those who are willing to deal in uncertainty and take some risks.

Most of the operators of bidbots aren't risk-seekers, they are rent-seekers and no matter their justifications, they are no better than the corrupt politicians and loan managers living off the interest of other people's money. Toxic members of any community. The ones who create the divides and collapse the systems in time. It is only their ability to brainwash the masses into supporting their habits again that they can move through generations repeating the actions.

There is a lot of uncertainty to come but, as far as I see it there is also a lot of certainty. The uncertainty is whether we as individuals can change our behaviours to improve the community. The certainty is that the current actions are going to destroy the possibilities for an equitable and ethical decentralized future.

At least at Steemit.

Taraz
[ a Steemit original ]

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Excellent post Tarazkp - I have been concerned by the bidbots for quite some time - general voting bots too for that matter. You have given this Knight something to think about - perhaps it is time we did something about it.

I am... SirKnight!

Something definitely needs to be done. Let my know your thoughts if you come up with something.

Interesting post, I have so much to say about it. I actually want to think it out and take my time in replying. It's late here, but I also felt like I wanted to acknowledge the post now.

I'm looking forward to read that or just talk it over.

there needs to be at least some open discussion about this. It would be nice if some of the witnesses actually joined in too.

I have to run anyway but I welcome you back later.

Well, I suppose there's always its usefulness as a currency....

Still, the question of scam is easily answered. Plenty of space for someone to come in with no investment and earn on comments and networking. I honestly don't know why scam was ever a question. Even when the big drop comes and people leave, I hope to be part of the second wave that can set a better standard for the platform. Or at least help whoever has a better vision for how things should be.

In terms of bid bot usage, I doubt anyone is spending money to buy SBD to fit into the bot system. As you well noted earlier, the returns are actually not good for a buyer, and pretty damn good for the seller (except if you consider that they could get more if they self voted). As the first scenario is not likely, I'm actually secretly hoping that the second option you mentioned which saturates the pool so that it becomes almost useless, and discourages its use altogether.

I have to say, if you look at the bot usage awhile back vs now, even the trending page has improved considerably from what I remember. I can only hope we do even more to clean it up further, but you know what? I went into the trending page the other day with the intent of flagging something, and ended up not doing anything because it all the posts looked to have a good amount of engagement and was not obviously spam. It may not have been been worthy of such a high amount but it wasn't flag worthy. Maybe I'm too nice. I'm thinking about flagging it still though. Maybe when I'm of a lousier mood.

This leads me to option 3: tell everyone to reserve one out of their ten 100% votes to just flag anything on trending that doesn't deserve it. That should discourage low quality bot usage also!

I doubt anyone is spending money to buy SBD to fit into the bot system.

Me either.

(except if you consider that they could get more if they self voted)

I estimate the returns at about 90% of a self-vote. No content required though and none of that pesky social uproar.

It may not have been been worthy of such a high amount but it wasn't flag worthy.

That is a reason to flag. (check my post on 'worth it or not') but, it comes out of the pool. a five hundred dollar nothing bought post could have given 100 authors 5 dollars each or 50, 10. Instead, the value goes to one that isn't worth so much and the SBD to a bidbot.

That should discourage low quality bot usage also!

Again, there is another option in one of my new posts. :P

People with the highest stake has their voice to say. It's really up to them whether they want to protect their investment or not as hold the decisive powers.

it is more than protect their investment as for many, they have invested less than people assume. Some, not much at all considering the returns they are getting now.

yeah, but what and who invested is really irrelevant right now. Everyone (sane and reasonable) wants the best return, no matter what he invested.

Great post! I only disagree with one thing. The problem, in my mind, isn't decentralization, it's a flaw in steem's code / implementation. You have to look at this all through the lens of game theory. Right now, the rules of the system incentivize the abuse of the reward pool. These are problems that can be fixed, I've written many posts suggesting ways that would incentivize good behavior instead. (It's been a while so you'd have to dig through my older posts)

Anyway, the rest of your post is spot on.

You see the problem though don't you with that? It is engineering society again. Perhaps it is inevitable and i do understand incentivising 'good' behaviour but I also see where it will again lead, like it has so many other times. Of course, it will be a slow progression to actually change this world, if we don't destroy ourselves first.

I see your point. I look at it more as creating a system that is resistant to abuse by design. It is a similar problem that democracy is having now. We could just have a king /dictator (centralized) that could make sure everything runs smoothly, the problem is that as soon as the king goes rouge there is not much you can do to stop them. Where a decentralization of power is more resistant to corruption but the system has to be designed very carefully to make it last as long as possible. I will say that steem is one of the best examples I have seen but there are still some loopholes that need tightening as you pointed out.

They don't seem to understand that this learned behaviour is the control mechanism, they are never going to be free acting on what they have learned. It is through this behaviour that those in power continue to maintain and grow their positions, continue to win. It is CERTAIN.

This, precisely, is why exporting democracy is futile and why it took root in the former socialist bloc so poorly. It has to grow organically from the people.

Partly that, and partly that 'shock doctrine' is not very good at manifesting anything other than oligarchic fascism.

That's true, too.

Ya, this is a much bigger issue than most people think, vote bots really have no place if you ask me, the only thing I actually like them for is when other users use them to reward someone else. But this could be done with simple transfers...

I'm still not sure what can be done about them...

I have no idea either.

A very interesting read. I get the part about bid operators being rent-seekers and that makes absolute sense.

Lacking the ability to control or influence others, I must keep my own space clean. Still... I have much to learn. Thanks for the insight.

best not to get involved in some things.

I've started to unfollow those who use bid bots to boost their posts that appear in my feed. I trawl through new from time to time, and vote with what little stake I have on the platform.

I flag spammers and scammers as I encounter them, yet none of the people running the bid bots seem to care about these things, in my view.

It might be extreme, but as far as I know, I also don't vote for witness anyone who operates a bid bot. These people aren't propagating the chain.

It might be extreme, but as far as I know, I also don't vote for witness anyone who operates a bid bot. These people aren't propagating the chain.

I actually think that witnesses should identify as operators/delegators/supporters of bidbots. Perhaps then they will be forced to remove their 'Cone of Silence' between them.

You can check. Its all on the Blockchain. Using the tools at steemworld.org you can see who is delegating to who. 2/30 witnesses (I've checked 5 so far) delegate to bid bots. They're getting their witness vote from me revoked today. :)

I've now got six witness votes ready for the taking... After going through all my top 30.

some delegate through other accounts to potentially or have something to do with the development teams

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