Steem uses a consensus mining system that is different from most conventional cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. As stated in the whitepaper (p22):
With Steem, block production is done in rounds. Each round 21 witnesses are selected to create and sign blocks of transactions. Nineteen (19) of these witnesses are selected by approval voting, one is selected by a computational proof-of-work, and one is timeshared by every witness that didn’t make it into the top 19 proportional to their total votes. The 21 active witnesses are shuffled every round to prevent any one witness from constantly ignoring blocks produced by the same witness placed before.
As stated above the top 19 witnesses are "elected" by voting. The voting page can be seen here. This brings us to the problem:
Due to the nature of Steemit it is attracting people who are not necessarliy familiar with cryptocurrency concepts and the difference in the way that mining works can be confusing even to those who are familiar with conventional POW (proof of work) or POS (Proof of Stake).
There is understandably a lot of confusion in the community over the role of witnesses as well as who to vote for. There is also inconsistency in the information that witnesses and witness candidates provide to potential voters.
A Potential Solution?
Knowledge is power.
With an appropriate set of questions and answers voters should be able to make an informed decision.
With this in mind I have crafted a questionnaire for witnesses and prospective witness candidates. This is a draft framework for community discussion.
The aim is to have a standardised set of questions that all witnesses and witness candidates answer in order to facilitate the process of witness voting for community members.
The questions are designed to be voluntary.
It is up to individual candidates/witnesses if they answer them or not.
A) Technical Questions
1)In a few sentences or less please explain the role of a witness in the Steemit/Steem ecosystem as you understand it.
2)What are the most important qualities for a witness to have?
3)How do you fulfil those qualities?
4)Is there anything beyond this that you feel makes you a better witness candidate than the average person?
5)What kind of hardware setup are you using and is it your own local hardware or rented?
6)What if any contingencies do you have in case of an emergency or server failure?
7)Do you think the current compensation for a witness is fair? If not what do you think would be fair compensation?
8)What percentage (or fixed amount) of witness earnings should be kept and what percent invested back into the steem platform?
9)How do you intend to use your witness earnings?
(Thanks to @geoffrey for suggestions for modifying the last 3 questions here.)
B) Current Witness Questions
1)What challenges or problems have you faced in your role as witness?
2)What other types of decisions do you think as a witness you should be involved in voting on?
3)Are there any changes to the witness/mining system or structure that you feel would improve the system? Why?
(Thanks to @jesta for suggesting question 2.)
C) Community Questions
1)What do you think makes Steemit special and worth supporting?
2)How much do you use Steemit on average per week?
3)What is your favourite type of post?
4)Do you have a specific favourite post you would like to mention or link to? (Feel free to give a shout out to the author)
5)What kind of posts do you dislike?
6)How do you feel about the Steemit governance structure?
7)How would you improve Steemit?
D) Personal Questions
1)How did you get into cryptocurrencies?
2)What hobbies or interests do you have outside of Steemit and cryptocurrencies?
3)What is your favourite movie genre?
4)What is your favourite movie or movies?
5)What is your favourite musical genre?
6)What are you favourite bands/albums?
7)What is your favourite book (fiction or non-fiction) and do you have a favourite author?
8)What is your favourite TV show?
9)Which is your favourite Star Wars movie from the original trilogy?
10)Margarine or butter?
11)The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?
12)Have you ever tried Marmite?
13)Are there any weird facts that you would like to share with everyone?
14)Is there anything else that you would like other people to know about you?
Thank you for reading.
As I have stated this is a starting point for community discussion. All the questions are voluntary - there is no way to compel people to answer, neither should there be.
The witnesses have a priviliged position in the Steemit ecosystem which gives them considerable power. Since people are required to vote for them it is in my opinion to be expected that people would like appropriate information in order to make an informed decision.
The "personal" section is designed to be fun and to help "humanise" candidates. I can understand if some people find the questions frivolous or irrelevant to the job of being a witness.
In regards to this one must consider the dilemma of the voter who may need some kind of alternative criteria to decide between different candidates who are equally capable from a technical standpoint.
Whether people feel that this makes voting a popularity contest or is in some way unfair is for the community to decide.
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