Additional Ideas for "Content Improvement" and
few more thoughts about "Votes Farming Business"
This is sort of continuation of my previous blog post regarding "Idea to improve the content". There was just only one single comment there, made by @spectrumecons (yeah, that's how it is: only 1 single comment! that I suppose shows the example of either how much normal posts , i.e. non-bot-voted, get exposure or attention at all; or that how much most of people actually care about some real ideas proposals; or both). By the way he has done an Extensive Research and an Expert Analysis (as a professional Economist) of whole Steemit Ecosystem and published in in series of his posts: "Is the Steem ecosystem in disequilibrium?" - which I would like to recommend anyone interested and concerned about this subject. (and which incidentally also does NOT get much attention at all - as it truly deserves! neither there is much discussions... even though his work done is truly remarkable!)
So, I have replied to his comment and as it often happens, got carried away "somewhat" (or rather quite a lot 😄). thus my reply to him became too long and I decided to make it into a separate post. because I believe and hope that post may have a better chance of been seen than just a response to comment. because as I know neither comments nor replies to comments - are not "Searchable" at all. Only regular standard posts. (even though comments and replies to comments are also considered by System as good as regular posts - since they are being rewarded in the same way)
"Lock-up Stakes Solution"
= "Put out Fire with Fuel" ? 🙄
Frankly, I do not think that my idea outlined in that previous post is such a "clever" proposal - rather quite an obvious and natural one. that's provided some people are really concerned about curbing the Bots Voting and changing the "voting behavior" - instead of pursuing some other goals (according to one's personal interests) under pretext of those things. otherwise, the "upvote" button outside the post (in the Feed list) doesn't seem as undesirable and unfavorable for those goals - but rather quite purposely made available so! i.e. to significantly simplify the activity of bots (and the job of Devs who make them) and so called "Curation" of people who may do it kind of "manually" (= not use bots, but themselves) however practically "bot-like": just pressing the Upvote button seen under the Post Title (i.e. Link in the Feed List), without even clicking on that title to Open and View the text (= Content !)
Basically, present availability of the Upvote button Outside the post - factually not only Facilitates but even Encourages such a "voting behavior" of "content indifference". and I am very surprised to see that while there are a lot of discussions, talks, proposals of seemingly solving those issues through some change in "rewards proportion" (between Authors and Curators) - there is no any proposals even slightly hinting on RESTRICTING entirely or at least curbing (i.e. making it a bit harder) the "Bot-like" Upvoting. that makes me think that perhaps no one is actually wants to prevent or even reduce that! because I mean: why else would be Upvote button be made so easily visible and accessible - without need to even as much as sort of formally "View" the Content of post (= open it at least).
Real curation actually involves reading the post
Exactly ! unless what System (or rather Devs who make and maintain it) means by "Curation" is somewhat or quite different from what other people mean by using it, when they talk about "Content quality", "improving content", "content indifference", etc. I suspect that indeed, there is a "difference in terminology" at play here.
WHY would anyone bother to even as much as LOOK inside the post (take just a peek / brief glance) - if it is not the compulsory Condition to become eligible to "Curate" / "Upvote" (= get access to "Upvote" button). since it is so invitingly and attractively placed OUTSIDE the Post itself - that is practically sort of Officially Approves this kind of "Curation": so called "Content Discovery" is EXTREMELY simplified and minimized to the basic trivial act of ... "Links Discovery" (= of just Titles of the posts in the Feed List). 😄
Will the bots be able to trigger the upvote button with a comment?
Well, I suppose nowadays almost any kind of script (program code) can me written which could perform almost any sophisticated actions. although at the same time there ARE some counter-measures, such as Captcha and I guess some other newer ones.
The main point is: whether or not at least some efforts (or show / display of such) are made to create an appearance of that Restricting of Bots and bot-like voting behavior (i.e. "content indifference"). presently it is pretty evident that no any such efforts made - rather fact of Upvote button easily available outside, without need to Open the post - suggests that it is quite Ok to do so called "Curation" with bots or "bot-like". WHY else it is made visible and accessible ("impressible") from Outside, WITHOUT any need to open / read the text of post itself? :)
Alright, let me add a little bit here...
IF there was an actual concern of curbing / restricting / minimizing the bots or "bot-like" (i.e. "content indifferent") voting behavior - I am sure SO MANY other extra measures could be implemented too. mentioned and suggested Captcha is just the most common and obvious one. however Devs surely could create various other tests.
I can now suggest few more the most simple and I think obvious additional measures which would actually ENCOURAGE the Opening of Post, shall we say, for the sake of at least making it somewhat HARDER for bots and "bot-like" Upvoting.
So, here are such additional measures (apart from removing the Upvote button itself): remove ALL the extra information presently visible in the Feed List, such as:
- name of post Author along with that Reputation number in brackets! because Bots can easily be set up to Upvote those with higher that number of Reputation (and probably are) as 1 factor (certainly "preliminary home-work" is done before, to check who is who, Lists are made of whom to upvote or not, how much % etc) - that would kind of make it TRUE CONTENT DISCOVERY, by making chances EQUAL for ALL the post Authors disregarding of their Reputation number (and thus guesstimated "Wallet size")
- number of Votes already made for that post! (to eliminate the "herd mentality")
- number of comments too! (because that can also hint on the actual Interest to the Content of Post)
- Finally, the Reward number in $ !!! which is currently plays of role like a "Fishing bait" for newbies and naive people who think that "oh, since it is already SO high reward number - then it must be truly something REALLY extraordinary GOOD Content, if so many people has already Evaluated it SO highly!" LOL (i.e. all the "Trending" Feed category of posts) not even being aware at all of the fact that that High Number is actually made through sophisticated method of "votes farming" (selling / buying)
- Optional additional measure could be even removing the main Tag above the title of post (which determines - in which main category it is published) - because actually there is a factor of "Highly / Lower" paid Categories or Tags, which I suppose is also being used in bots settings.
- can even Remove the TIME! i.e. how many mins or hrs or days ago that post is made!
- to make it TOTALLY a "Mystery" (in terms of REAL "Content Discovery") - Remove even Thumbnails of a Pictures of the Post and leaving ONLY the Title! because that Picture in fact says a LOT of content (what is it about, photography or Stats or some abstract writing) and hints on its Quality (because the quality of that used Picture indicates the skill of author and efforts spent on creating that post)
To summarize all these things briefly:
Leave ONLY the Title itself visible in the Feed List!
now, THAT would certainly make it a truly authentic and genuine and MANUAL "Content Discovery". and I mean - CONTENT discovery - not just the "Upvote button Discovery" as it is presently so! 😄
(although in fact there is no need to "discover it" - since it is already SO easily visible / accessible / impressible / clickable just from the Feed List)
So, YES, @spectrumecons, I agree with your saying that "people could still be using those to upvote posts" (apps / bots) - but at least those above mentioned most basic and obvious extra measure could make it HARDER (and costlier / time consuming) to continue using those! it might be difficult or impossible to eliminate it completely - but reduce it, make it harder, discourage it - that IS quite possible. that's IF it was really a goal or purpose or concern about "voting behavior" and "content quality" - in other words, IF "bot voting" or "bot-like" (aka "content indifferent") so called "curation" was NOT ALLOWED / Facilitated / Suggested / Encouraged by the System itself ! 🙂
Otherwise it is certainly just fine to keep it as it is now - but instead keep talking about all those things and various "solutions" (through changing rewards as a means to influence the "voting behavior") - perhaps just to create an impression / appearance of "democratic debates" (and "voice of Community does matter!") as a way to "vent off the pressure". (perhaps also to get some funds resources by some Devs who proposes those things - for making all those changes, for each additional "Hard Fork number Zillion" 😆)
Regarding your last thought:
I am surprised so many support the 'locking stake' approach.
It seems like the exact opposite to what should be done to encourage activity.
To be honest, me too! 😃 or rather not by the numbers of supporters of that proposal or proposal itself - but by the fact that it is being expressed so Straightforwardly and Openly, can say blatantly. and especially by the "Covering" or "Wrapping" it into the pretty foil of "That would Help the Community", "Improve the Content" and "Attract new users"! 😝 as I can understand - it is rather more like .... kind of "racket" (or "racketeering") or "demanding ransom". sort of like this (imagined):
oh, alright - you want us to stop our so PROFITABLE votes farming business? to attract genuine Content Discoverers and Readers and 'Quality Gourmands'? that's fine with us - just make us a BETTER OFFER! PAY US MORE, higher rewards, good enough to satisfy us - to leave all of you silly fellows alone with your 'Content Discovery' and 'Manual Curation'. make it good enough for us to do our 'Autopilot style Passive Income' thing - without need to bother with even as much as ANY kind of 'Voting' at all - just plain and simple Stake Holding and Compounding. (HYIP style)
Ok, I'll be more blatant and say it out loud:
IMO there is nothing at all surprising in such proposals and the fact of so many so fast support it rather proves that. because it is mostly (or only) about ... making it more ATTRACTIVE for new potential users to come join the throng as well as all the already registered newbies - with all such talks of "caring for Content Improvement" etc. while the real goal is - to attract never and bigger Capital Inflow and "Long Term Commitment" of it! not just in form of SP, already existing, but now in "Locked" aka "non-Delegatable" SP. that's simply freaking HILLARIOUS! it's like :
making already "illiquid" or "Non-Fungible" Capital - further more so, now into "Non-Delegatable" !but basically it is literally making it more HYIP type than it is already now. by giving MORE incentives / rewards / dividends to the "Real Investors" (or "pure investors"). or in other words - Additional Interest Bonuses or even Higher Yield percentage as a compensation for such a "Lock Up" of already "Non-fungible Capital". so that MORE people are interested and encouraged to Invest as such "pure Investors" - thu bringing in more money inflow into the system .... (to facilitate the "earlier investors" earn even more and be able to cashout more? :))
However in fact hardly anyone mentions at all (or very briefly, vaguely, sketchy) that even if such things would be implemented - NOTHING stops those "Pure Investors" do BOTH! i.e. "Lock Stakes" AND yet still continue to do ALL the same stuff they've been doing so far: "votes farming" etc. therefore IMO all such talks about "that would help improve content" are merely talks! UNLESS some REAL and serious measures are done to actually RESTRICT those activities. because without even talking about how "good or bad" these things are - it is simply too funny that people make it appear as serious enough consideration that it would really HELP anything. while in reality it is rather like: "Let's PAY THEM MORE! to Restrict their GREED by themselves" LOL
It's almost like: trying to extinguish the Fire by pouring in more petroleum or oil / grease. or like encouraging the Obese people to Slim down - by giving them MORE rich food and thus wetting their already voracious appetite!
That's in other words and more elaborate way to say what you've already expressed:
It seems like the exact opposite to what should be done to encourage activity.
EXACTLY! because it IS so. because these ideas / proposals are made out of the consideration that big stakeholders (whales etc) will NOT even bother to consider to CHANGE or Restrict themselves on their own. because WHY should they? (since they sort of hold this whole "Ecosystem" together with their "Long-term Capital Commitment" = "Steem Power Stakes" = "High Yield Corporate Bonds") the ONLY thing which may make them interested enough to at least pause for consideration is: HIGHER rewards! (dividends / derivatives) which would at least EQUAL their current Revenues from "bot using" / "votes farming".
HOW to ensure that those higher rewards for them? (especially with STEEM price value dropping ever lower day by day, nullifying their Profits - especially if Stakes are Locked up for a longer periods of time) WHERE from would come enough VALUE to "Insentivize" them enough to agree for those "self-restrictions"? from MORE Capital inflow - from bigger number of newcomers.
Why would they be willing to join and INVEST? considering that there are ever newer alternative similar rival platform emerging, while present System here is discouraging newcomers (and even mid- and old-timers too) from participating here due to hardness of competing with all those "bot runners", whales, "Pure Investors". it can be accomplished by making it appear that there is some "genuine CARE of Community" about "Good Content" and all related stuff. to make all those newcomers believe that things are not so bad / unfair.
So, basically, it is like more about luring in bigger crowds through the appeal of "Fair Deal", "Equal Chances" (that's what "increase curation rewards" translates into) etc. In other words, it is sort of:
HYIP minded Vs everyone else
an attempt Convince all those who are HYIP-illiterate (or naive / less or inexperienced) to believe that they do have a same chances and their concerns and interests matter too - so that they help to Facilitate fatter Rewards for those who already are HYIP-experts.
Putting down fire is done by restricting it - not by adding more Fuelt to it! :)
(or more exactly, by cutting off the oxygen inflow, which is one of the main ingredients for that chemical reaction called fire - apart from the fuel, such as oil, grease, petrol gasoline, gas, etc)