Hardforks, Communities, SMTs: Interview w/@justinw and @vandeberg

in #tsp2 years ago (edited)

In today's episode of The Steemit Podcast we interview Steemit's Head of Engineering, @justinw, and Steemit's Senior Blockchain Engineer, @vandeberg, who explore the recent hardforks, Communities, and Smart Media Tokens.

Audio Only Version

The Hardforks

We begin with a discussion of what went right with the recent hardforks, primarily the economic changes (the EIP) and SteemDAO and then move on to the blockchain halting incidents that occurred as a result of overflow bugs. @vandeberg explains why these halts were actually the intended response to unintended bugs.

@vandeberg then explores what we have done since the incidents to ensure that there are no more bugs like this lurking in the code, and what can be done going forward to ensure that no such bugs are included in the SMT code.


We then move on discussing the timeline for the rollout of Communities, and @justinw shares that all the backend work in Hivemind that was needed to implement Communities has already been completed! We've now begun implementing the frontend components in Condenser (the open source software that powers steemit.com).

Smart Media Tokens

The timeline for SMTs is very positive. To get a better sense of that progress be sure to check out the SMT Burnup posts that we've been releasing on @steemitblog. There are only about 8 issues left !


The testnet is absolutely critical because adding Smart Media Tokens to the blockchain will be one of the biggest changes to ever happen to the protocol. Almost every single core system that exists in Steem is being expanded or redone to support SMTs.

The potential combinations of SMT features are so extensive that we cannot hope to test all of them. The testnet will not only enable users, developers, and businesses to begin familiarizing themselves with how SMTs work through hands-on experience, but in the process they will also be assisting us by testing all of the combinations of features.

Mainnet Launch

We don't take any hardfork lightly, but this is by far the most important HF to get right because there is so much that is changing. We believe that SMTs should be tested on the testnet for at least 3 months. During that time we expect an extensive back and forth between ourselves, developers and Witnesses as we work together to finalize the most powerful, and secure, release possible.

This is just a summary of the interview, so be sure to watch the 20 minute video in full for more details.

Future Episodes

If you have any questions for the team that you would like us to answer in future episodes, please let us know in the comment section below.

The Steemit Team


not bad interview at all

Oh wow I didn't even know this account existed and i'm looking forward to listening to the interview thanks for doing this @andrarchy ... also any other accounts i'm missing for my Steemit INC list?

Thats an useful list and it should be more public!

At a glance, I believe that mostly covers it yes 🙂

One to add: @steemitdev

No more overflows in the future, good.

Need to wait until next year for SMT. At least we know when the time comes. I am eagerly waiting for the community to roll out before STEEMFEST or after?

Great interview, watched it from start to finish

Very glad people are understanding how important honest voting is (voting rewards not just going back to the voter either through selling or circle jerking etc) and how the economic incentives have a drastic impact on the honesty of voting behavior.

Eagerly looking forward to Communities and believe it'll greatly improve the user experience on here.

There's no honest voting going on here, at least not for the majority part.

think my downvotes are honest, working on the other

I said majority, that leaves space for honest voters. A small space but none the less some space...lol.

To evaluate that claim, we need a quantifiable definition of dishonest voting.

Dishonest would be openly saying I do not read the articles that I up vote or that I don't have time to read the articles I up vote on a platform they signed up for whose reason for existence is rewarding authors based upon what a person thinks that particular article is worth.

voting behavior that's indifferent to the voter's subjective appraisal or reasonable expectation of their subjective appraisal of the content

eg Vote selling: if I vote based on who pays me the highest rather than what that content is. Circle jerking/post farming are all similarly content indifferent.

How would you operationalize that definition? That is, which formal criteria would be useful at the detection of such behavior?

You can't detect it precisely unless you're the voter yourself, in which case you know pretty well if it's the content influencing your decision or not (eg if they're paying you to vote on their post, or if you're voting on their post because they're voting on yours in some stake weighted arrangement etc)

Externally, for now there are generally many hints as to whether the vote is bought or part of a circle jerk or some other dishonest scheme. Eg. If there are on chain links to vote buying.

Ultimately, if these things become less telegraphed, people will just have to get into the habit of downvoting whatever they believe is over rewarded more generally.

It's definitely a work in progress, but it's noticeably better than pre HF 21

That's like saying I broke into the store and only robbed it of the things I really needed.

Great to hear there are going to be a heap of configuration options. Have we seen a list of those somewhere? eg; could we see an SMT with a 104 week powerdown? 208 weeks?
What sort of reward curve options are we looking at? n3? decaying?

Greetings, thanks for the updates.

Does the Steemit Team have a plan to increase STEEM value in order to fund Steemit projects?

It would be nice to never see STEEM again under a $1.


Okay guys. Let me get this right. The problem is content discovery....the answer is communities. So if you join a community of "supposed" liked content you are more apt to discover what you are looking for or have an interest to read, if you read it then you are more apt to engage.

You know what though? That isn't happening. At least not to any great extent. Maybe if you are lucky you will find a comment, two, maybe three (and even that is iffy still as to if those comments don't believe to alts of the author) What we have found though is people joining communities basically saying "I'll pat your back if you pat mine" and put those people on their auto voters. One person even went as far as to tell me he doesn't have time to read the stuff his community writes and it's his stake, his right to put his vote where he wants to. The only way you are going to solve the lack of engagement is to get rid of auto votes, that makes individuals go out and look for the content in their community they want to up vote. One guy in a community wrote a post about three bags of shit hanging from a ceiling....and his community, on auto vote, up voted that shit to over thirty dollars. You see how this is not the answer to find quality content and up vote it? It's just a new way to circle jerk. It's even made it even all the harder for anyone else as all the votes are being distributed in a circle. I'll pat your back if you pat mine.

Communities aren’t here yet so you must be referring to steem engine tribes that some are also calling communities - these are very different products (nothing against tribes, it’s also a cool but different product). Hive communities that we are developing include moderation features and you can subscribe to and view them from a single interface among other things.

No it's not cool to up vote content one doesn't honestly read and/or engage with, that's the whole premise that steem is based on, to claim otherwise is a flat out lie and deceitful to the platform's intended purpose.

I don't belive I made any claims for or against automated voting. Just pointing out that communities are not here yet and are a very different product than tribes.

Looking at the bigger picture - I believe what you are pointing out are issues with engagement and content discovery. Hive communities aim to help solve these problems.

When you make a statement as such:

it’s also a cool but different product

you are for people forming groups to circle jerk up voting each other using auto voter.

Nah, no where does anyone say the platform is filled with content to read and upvote all though that is one use.

Another is for stakeholders to allocate the stake to whatever they feel ads value.

Please do show us where the platform has ever been promoted as a gouging mechanism to make money. We'll be waiting....but if I was you I'd quit while I was ahead....otherwise I may have to go find a fifth grader to decipher for you what you just said.

Great to know this differences, would we have to wait for communities to be released to find out any other differentiating characteristics? Also, is there any option for you to integrate the work already done by Steem-engine team into the next communities and SMT releases?

Great to know this differences, would we have to wait for communities to be released to find out any other differentiating characteristics? Also, is there any option for you to integrate the work already done by Steem-engine team into the next communities and SMT releases

Hmm. So what you mean is that the model will be similar to reddit?

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Yes, it's quite clear that the idea of finding quality contents by means of voting is fundamentally wrong and steem is a wonderful demonstration of this fact. Quality contents is always appreciated by very few and not by crowds.

Nice statement. That is very true, even when it comes to authors you really like not everything or subject they write on will a person who usually enjoys their stuff will want to read.

By what mechanism is 'getting ride of auto-votes' even possible I wonder?

I am not sure but it can't be that hard, they got rid of the number of views an article received that use to appear. I am sure that was a decision made in regard to auto voting as it showed the extent to which people were just auto voting articles instead of reading and engagement. In all reality how can you have twelve views but seven hundred upvotes.

It was removed due to it being a poor implementation at the time. We have some ideas of how to better do this with hivemind and it's something we'll circle back around to in the future. We are not against having a view counter though - it would be a great thing to bring back in due time.

Give it some time. Communities don't exist, yet. Steem-Engine Tribes do. I'm sure it's a mixed bag when it comes to them.

I'm sure it's a mixed bag when it comes to them.

I am sure misuse of bots was a mixed bag also as some people opted not to use them.

Perhaps it's just me, but does anyone else see a disconnect with @sunlit7's comments?


It's a hobby, been doing it for years, there's no disconnect.

I can't save you fifteen percent off your insurance every year but I can save you time responding back with more psychological manipulation, here have a salad, it's on me.


... there's no disconnect.

The disconnect was the gratitude that seemed to be expresessed for being set up for autovotes. Not sure what you are referring to by "salad". A Facebook thing perhaps?

Context is everything....his response was to a article I posted that got one cent after fourteen upvotes

That was pretty laughable, fourteen votes and one penny, it was already >laughable enough before. Thanks for the upvote.

My gratitude wasn't that he put me on autovoter but the fact that he wasn't going to see stuff I posted turn to dust after the hardfork was implemented. If I had written the post myself I'd went over to one of his post like I have done before and nudge him over to save my post from dust. I'd said something along the lines of could you see your penny pinching ass over to my post and save it from a dusting, cause we joke around that way all the time, he's a great guy that way, just as I tell him he's getting to be an expensive habit...give a guy a quarter of a penny up vote and next thing you know they want half a penny. So autovoter wouldn't have made an iota of difference, it was just another opportunity to joke around a bit like we always do.

... and nudge him over to save my post from dust.

Sounds like a dusty circle jerk to me. But that's just my opinion.

Some people take "value" in "customers" who have a good sense of humor, sometimes that better then the pennies of a dollar.

You have such a wonderful skill of coming up with such meaningless platitudes. Bravo! 👏

Thank you for both of these genius, we are now at the new ERA of the STEEM blockchain. Which is much better than HF21 and yeah they might lead us to our next milestone of SMT as well! Thank you for conducting this interview.


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Great interview. My question is, is anyone working on ideas/developments to further support the economics of Steem? Some suggestions I had in mind were:

  1. Sign up Steemit for the Basic Attention Token verified content creator program. SportsTalk.Social and Steemleo have already done this, and I can’t understand why Steemit hasn’t done it yet. The BAT received could be used to supplement Steemit’s ad revenue, or even better, purchase Steem from the market and burned, just like what SportsTalk and Steemleo do.
  2. Encourage more people to use the Promote function on Steemit by doing somehthing like what Palnet, SCT, SportsTalk and other tribe do. That is, Promoted Posts also show up on trending. This would give people an alternative to bidbots, and would help to burn Steem/SBD.
  3. Focus on getting Steem listed on more exchanges, especially CoinBase.

Sign up Steemit for the Basic Attention Token verified content creator program.

That's finally done.

O I didn’t know that. Thanks for letting me know. Steemit should have wrote a post about this.

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Coinbase could mean the end of the long winter for Steem, but the listing fee surely is about the Everest high

I find it a bit odd that SMTs weren't built far earlier. Integration would have been SOOOOOOO much easier and take far less time with fewer possible problems/collisions/bugs. With Steem as complex as it is no wonder testing will take forever.

This post has been included in the latest edition of The Steem News - a compilation of the key news stories on the Steem blockchain.

~Smartsteem Curation Team

intresting ,

💁❤ What a great interview @andrarchy ! and great job @vandenberg & @justinw , glad to hear their are "no more bugs lurking in the code" and will all be taken care of moving forward, Awesome! The SMT will be tested in about three weeks, but still cant believe its going to be up to 6 months away still. WOW! BUT Its still great to see that testing and familiarizing yourselves soon with how it operates is awesome news, and will be such a huge change! Looking forward to the eventual launch!!
💁 Im also super glad to see a lot LESS Malicious Bot Activitiy!!👍
👍💯 Keep up the great work guys! A definite 💯 Upvote and resteem!

Communities will change everything.

Awesome interview. Great to hear insights from the team. 2020 looks optimistic for Steem.

Smooth once said there were talks about implementing 'tip wallet' that users can tip with posting keys. Have you guys considered that or can something like this happen in the future?

Also, tipping/gifting authors on UI level would be a great addition, especially with the higher curation rewards now.

great news . thanks for sharing

Thanks for sharing this great information with us.

Thank you very much for this podcast, but I am afraid you are underestimating the devastating effect of the failure caused by the transition to HF21. It was a textbook example of how testing in production, the wrong way, looks like. Now, it seems, the most important thing is to win back the confidence of users, which was lost. It certainly does not help when you say, that the fact that the blockchain halted was "actually, a good thing". Sorry for the parallel, but it sounds like the "propaganda of success" in the former communist countries. It was not a good thing. Actually, it was a very bad thing which undermined the confidence of users, not to mention the investors, of course, and you have to face it. To say the truth I am pretty scared that the next hard fork could happen already in February next year. If I were you I would not plan it at least until 2021. Give yourself more time to test things properly.

The other thing you mentioned is content search. It is certainly not possible to solve properly now, when you got only five tags and they are mostly abused for things which have little to do with the contents. On the other hand, everyone knows that tags suck and the right way is to use controlled vocabularies. While this may be beyond capabilities of avarage user, it certainly is not for even a semi-skilled curator. If only a small fraction of posts had proper subject identifiers it would already greatly increase the number of meaningful queries.

The reason for the rush is that others are developing blockchain-based social medias and Steem is no longer the only fish on the pond. I still think they have an enormous advantage because of the amount of great developers and the endurance the core of the Steem community has.

thanks for taking us through what happened and your future plans, I'm pretty jacked, jacked to the tits about the SMT's cant wait to test them out and see how we can integrate it into our current business model

The force is with you! You got a 66.04% upvote from @steemyoda courtesy of @steemyoda!


its really good to learn more,

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A very interesting interview @steem.marketing.
Great job keep up the good work !!

Really, really excellent interview! Enjoyed it and appreciate the well articulated questions and answers!

What you did for steem economy tell me why it's just continuously going down? @steem.marketing

Communities will be so awesome!

Great interview many interesting things keep doing your job!

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Waiting for the SMTs

ေကာင္းပါတယ္။ႀကိဳးစားၾကမယ္။ သေဘာလည္းက်တယ္။ ကြၽန္ေတာ္လည္း ႀကိဳးစားဆဲပါပဲ။

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Hola ,y gracias ,son ustedes muy creativos .....por favor expliquen a un ignorante en la materia como yo ¡ que son estos conceptos ? los últimos hardforks, ?Comunidades ? y Smart Media Tokens ?
suerte y arte ¡¡¡


Do an Interview with @roadscape the hivemind guy!

Thank you for the updates. I’m curious if the SMT will alter Splinter Lands (Steem Monsters). Will the game need to switch to SMTs after the hardfork?

Nice interview, I understand the outline, I hope the next interview will be released as soon as possible!

Very glad people are understanding how important honest voting is (voting rewards not just going back to the voter either through selling or circle jerking etc) and how the economic incentives have a drastic impact on the honesty of voting behavior.

So I know I'm a bit out of my element, but when I joined Steemit the driving reason was Dtube & the horrors that were happening at youtube at the time. Dtube had major functionality issues, and I know it was a crude front-end that used Steemit as a crucial part, and as it's token system. However, after the change, I had to make the new Dtube account and lost my subs, and a new token system appeared that is currently worthless. Did Dtube essentially hard fork from Steemit?

This is a work in progress
I really appreciate the gesture and I say kudos..

Wao amaizg ur article

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Consider advertizing this RSS link to your podcast and not only a link to anchor.fm site:


This way people can listen from their favorite app right away.

Great and long waited things at the horizon. Hopefully Steem will get back up where it deserves to be!

It is a nice and cool interview,shout out to you.

Am surprised to see a post like this and am interested in this!
I wanna be like you in future !
But would like to request to follow me back and to support my community childrens because they are too risky to their lives!

Specific knowledge, good interview :)

It would be amazing if these rewards were burnt :)

It always seems the future doesn't quite arrive ,,, but thanks, I guess it's always about patience unfortunately

very good publication brother


Until @steem.marketing start using the "featured" post opportunity to interview non-crypto nerd celebrities, I don't think the marketing at the back of the name is working.😌.

You want the masses to come to steemit and buy STEEM? Do something new. Lol, interview a top musician. Engage them.

You are absolutely right on that,marketing is all about using what people like the most to sell them a product

I hope @steem.marketing would do something about that. I'm really looking forward to see something "featured" like that on the trending posts.

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It's definitely a work in progress, but it's noticeably better than pre HF 21
Very glad people are understanding how important honest voting is (voting rewards not just going back to the voter either through selling or circle jerking etc) and how the economic incentives have a drastic impact on the honesty of voting behavior.

Eagerly looking forward to Communities and believe it'll greatly improve the user experience on here.

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