Voting Services And Trending
One of the hottest issues in town right now is the trending via voting services of posts of questionable quality, relevance or importance as well as posts in which the effort put into them is disproportional with the purchased rewards.
The voting services are a great way to allow new quality content producing users out-of-the-box access to the trending page without having to wait to be discovered by the existing curation guilds nor having to build rapport with the select network of stake holders.
While some quality content is being boosted to trending by these services that wouldn't otherwise get that visibility, it is also true that these services are being (ab)used to boost a lot of low quality content to trending that wouldnt otherwise be there either. In short, the result is that now the trending page is more severely broken than before the voting services existed, even worse than it already was.
If you were here before the voting services you might be thinking
that the trending top is looking very similar nowadays than it did then, and I agree, but the trending is not just the top 50 places in it, in the medium reward posts part of the trending spectrum, say 10-50$, the abuse of these services is much stronger, since most purchased votes fall within that range. What you see in the top 50 of trending is just the tip of the abuse iceberg.
Fixed ROI Voting Services and Farming
The most blatant and severe type of abuse within the voting service realm happens with whats called fixed ROI services, those that return a fixed profitability, as is the case with @minnowbooster and @smartmarket which have a fixed profitability of around 200%.
Since @smartsteem has a whitelist most of the abuse routes around them
and goes to MB
The sistematic exploitation of such services with pseudo-content is called farming, since a few good examples are worth their weight in gold I am talking about things like this:
In other words, from very low effort content, to copy paste, to outright plagiarism systematically boosted to 40+. You might think those are picked examples that dont reflect the true state of affairs.
If that's the case I would invite you then to the live feed of @minnowbooster's votes: https://steemdb.com/@minnowbooster/votes
so that you can see it for yourself.
In the last 24 hours you can find this post upvoted to $53
This is a plagiarist that I already reported to @minnowbooster
here is the source for that last particular post:
Plagiarism barely spun to avoid cheetah detection.
Incorporating Curation into Voting Services
The solution to the abuse of voting services is to incorporate
curation mechanisms into them that allow them to conduct their business while increasing and incentivizing the platform's quality of content. Mechanisms like whitelists, tiers and others that I will delve into in the next post on this subject.
So, lets apply that last principle to the concrete case of MinnowBooster, the reality is that, despite their best efforts MB at this point is so permeated by abusers that if they were to blacklist them all they will end up in red ink, unable to sell the votes for all the delegations they have.
So what would be a solution that is a win-win for everyone involved?
Incorporating curation at a "grant level": A contest or application process is created to select say 50 winners of a grant for quality content creating minnows, let's call it the MinnowGrant. The grant consists of a loan of 50-100 dollars, allocated via a vote to the winner, to be used to promote their posts via MB for a certain amount of time.
The winners of the grants recirculate the main capital of such loan back to MB boosting the next post and so on, keeping only the profit and paying the loan back from the first profits. In this manner the people delegating their SP to MB get to sell their votes, the quality of content increases, is incentivized and rewarded, while farming abuse decreases, everybody wins.