My Take On Vote Buying? I'm Out! ⛔ Chances & Challenges Of Open Economic Systems

in votebuying •  2 years ago  (edited)
Once upon a time there was a place called steemit, a source of inspiration, a think tank full of talents swimming around, where value was given back to those who created true value and where social interaction and communication where the drivers to success.

It was a place where quality mattered, where community spirit was celebrated as a core competence, where overall growth and wealth were the shared vision.

Lately that places has lost some of its glory thanks to services that are trying to undermine the concept of value.

Here's why I believe that vote trading is a trend that could be able to destroy this platform if we're not able to control it.

Picture kindly provided by

Vote trades are everything but not steemy!

Please excuse my pathetic introduction, but I needed to attract your attention since this is an important issue.

Before getting into detail, I'd like to make one thing clear: I'm a member of this community since 1.5 years and I want this place to succeed. So even though some of you might feel offended now, this is not to attack you and your doings but to challenge them in view of the overall progress and growth of this network.

Ned Scott @ned perfectly summed it up at the fireside chat in Lisbon when being asked about 'vote buying on steemit':

It is one of these things that have appeared, because we're playing with an open economic system.


Probably, it's even good that such services have found their niche in order to demonstrate the weakpoints of the system. The inexistence of censorship provides uncountable beneftis we all know, but it also leaves room for harmful greed.

No matter how community-oriented most of us might be, there will be ALWAYS be people that will try to abuse the system.

From my personal point of view, vote buying is an abusive phenomena in the way that it is excecuted on the platform right now.

Thanks to vote trading services a position on the 'trending page' is no longer the result of hard work, it's the result of a smart investment. If you want to have a payout of $100+ you can simply buy it yourself.

Even the naming of some of them is already quite confusing to me. While they pretend to support smaller accounts on the platform, their clients who were boosted to the trending page own reputations of 60+ or even 70+.

Maybe the people who are running these kind of services can explain their motivation to run such projects. It would be also interesting to listen to those who are using these services, the ones that have decided on buying votes instead of earning them.

There might be services that are even contributive to the eco-system, but the ones that are dominating the platform currently definititely don't fit in this category.

The problem is actually a chance!

We're still in beta, so we have all opportunities!

One of the best characteristics of an open economic system is that we're all in charge.

The future of this platform is in our own hands, and we're able to push it into the direction where we'd like to have it.

Here's why I don't believe that vote trading should be part of steemit's future path:

  1. Vote buying is 100% opposed to the core idea of this eco-system that pretends to give value back to the ones who create value. 
  2. Vote buying enables content creators to get around any quality check, thus it challenges the whole concept of quality on this platform.
  3. Vote buying leads to a non-reliable content structure. 'Trending' is no real trend any longer.
  4. Vote buying pretends to support minnows but actually favors the more powerful (the more you invest, the higher your reward).
  5. Vote buying - if consequently excecuted - may be able to seriously harm the image, thus the eco-system of this platform.

We talk about the serious threat of 'fake news' on TV but accept 'fake trends' on steemit? That really doesn't make sense to me!

If you had the chance to listen to my presentation at Steemfest², then you know: I truly believe in the future of this platform.

Yet, I'm also a believer in value and defender of quality. A vote buying service enables any user to be rewarded for providing zero value.

Do we really want to become the next Instagram where a copy of Miley Cyrus, vomiting over her shirt makes it to the top just because she bought herself the trending position?

We've got amazing storytellers, authors, artists, poets, filmmakers, actors, directors, photographers and creators of all kinds bundled at once place here. Please let's give them room to evolve and to be rewarded for their adding value.

Vote buying proves them and all their skills wrong. It actually devalues and disrespects any kind of creativity.

That's my very personal take on boosters and vote trading. I bet there are many more. Let's talk about it!

Best, Marly -

Thanks for your valuable time!
This blog was launched at the end of July 2016
aiming to provide stories for open-minded
people who enjoy living on the edge of their lives,
stepping out of comfort zones, going on adventure,
doing extreme sports and embracing the new.
Welcome to the too-much-energy-blog!

PS: Don't forget that this is a troll-free zone.

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  ·  2 years ago (edited)

One way is to stop voting on content that use them. After a while the only upvotes that content will earn will be paid which will make it unprofitable for the content creator.

  ·  2 years ago (edited)

We can even start flagging identified vote traders...

PS I think if we tweak the "promoted" section in a smart way we can diminish vote traders very much. For example throw promoted post's into trending page (every 10th post for example) and use a obvious badge icon that informs that it is "promoted"... Then maybe applying the option to filter them out BUT "loosing" some hypothetical profit sharing activated capabilities from the promoted posts... (get paid to see promoted posts, like BAT are trying to do...)

The badge icon idea is great! Like that!

Promoted post

Then everybody knows that it's been a "bought position". Also people who don't want to upvote promoted content, may avoid allocating their upvotes on these marked blog posts.

A badge would require a change of the UI design, correct?

  ·  2 years ago (edited)

Yep, but relative easy to do.

If we give more power to our promoted section and the same time use a badge, then the majority would prefer to throw SBDs to get promoted that way instead of buying delegation... The same time the SBDs would raise the value of all STEEM holders and not only the pockets of individuals that happens to have a lot of power.

Then everybody knows that it's been a "bought position". Also people who don't want to upvote promoted content, may avoid allocating their upvotes on these marked blog posts.


Ah OK now I got it. You'd like to re-activate the already existing Promoted section in order to weaken the vote trade industry? Smart move :-)

Time to copy @sneak and @vandeberg here, just in case they'd like to consider some of the ideas.

Yep, invite them ;)

This might be a golden idea right here. what better way for visibility than to increase the value of Steem. This can solve the whole vote buying issue.

We have @transparencybot for total bids over $50 now - but you need to look into the post.

Also, a keen eye and using the bottracker webpage as reference, it's pretty easy to spot a bought post.

Less so with vote-selling now in the frame, but a check in the wallet of the post owner will clarify.

I wish I could resteem this!

I have no idea how to remedy it.

Me neither. But maybe talking about it is the very first step :-)

I have my bot programmed not to vote on posts with votes from pay-for-vote services, but it would be a bit of a headache to do this with manual votes.

Also vote buying is not always offered as a public service. If user A sells a vote to user B in return for attention, we can't even track that.

I think it's rather a question of culture, community-spirit, vision than just a question of algos... Don't you think?

So what we look out for are the posts that have a comment saying they've been upvoted by one of the vote buying places right?

Hey sweetie! Yeah, one idea here is to mark these articles with a badge (symbol) and like that make visible that their position within the content ranking has been bought and not earned.

If the rest of the system worked correctly this would be an issue but greater concerns that are more damaging to reward pool and steemit as a whole would be

  • sock puppet witnesses
  • selective moderation
  • witnesses with privileges above standards of steemit
  • self voting whales
  • Whales setup to pay investors with no basis on quality
  • vote trading between high sp holders and old users

i believe these would be more pressing issues to the economic value of the system

You're always a great source of inspiration here @surfermarley, couldnt agree with you more. This place has changed for the worse since I joined 6 months. Its nowhere near the same place I was so happy to find months ago

Thanks for kindness and for adding this! I have the very same sensation and I don't like it...

One of the things I hate the most is the myth perpetuated that

the only way to get noticed for a newbie is to use these bots

What a load of tosh. It is used because it sounds like a reasoned defense. In reality people are chasing the vote booster services because it makes them money and they hope to gain more money by their posts being more visible.

If they were on another platform would they pay to boost their post? I seriously doubt it. But here they hope to fatten the worm to attract a bigger fish.

At least that's my take.

The basic principles still hold and I have seen it happen with many an account.

If you engage regularly, post reasonable content and do so regularly you will get noticed and build a following.

Lol, that comment was a little longer than I thought it would be. Needless to say I agree with your post :0)

You hit the nail!

One of the things I hate the most is the myth perpetuated that the only way to get noticed for a newbie is to use these bots.

The only way to solve these issues is to provide a better onboarding: more tutorials, support and information in the beginning. That would definitely lead to less frustration = less demand for such services.

I bet 90% of the users that sign up to steemit have no idea how this platform really works.

Thanks for your support - I love long comments written by humans, hehe :-)

I love it when I read a post that inspires a long comment from me. On my phone too!

I would love to see a return to the messages from months ago before the voting bots. The ones that inspired people to think less of the rewards and more on interaction and quality content. Since the rise of the booster services is more of a how can I get as much money as possible mentality with some.

Indeed. Going back and looking at comments under older posts, from this time last year, say, is really quite a comparison! People really were connecting. The rise of the bots broke me, lol. I was in the top 25 of commenters. But when I could see all the bots zooming to the top, it broke my spirit for Steemit for awhile. But winter is a good time to dig in, so I'll be back at it once our Thanskgiving holidays are over. Good comments and engagement keep people on Steemit, not upvote bots.

It was quite different this time last year wasnt it! There were comments left right and centre from everyone and it was all quite cosy.

I hope you do dig right back in! Nothing beats comments and engagement!

It was a lot of fun, that's for sure. I'm digging, lol! ; )

Glad to hear it!

Read my content.. please

Please have a look at my comment below this as well. I'll just reiterate that the incentives in Steemit are the real problem and not the minnows trying to get ahead in a very primitive and often fully ineffective Steemit incentivation model. If you can explain to me how I can get much more headway for the excellent content that I write, I am all ears. Please let me know. I am more than happy to take good advice.

OK, I'll bite since you seem to think the problem are the minnows in the pond. Please have a look at the excellent and very intelligent content I have and then explain to me why I can't get any decent headway without using MinnowBooster or the like. This is my challenge to you and your comment. If you can answer this for me, or find a way to get more people to my excellent content, then I'll happily stop using any bot support.

Honestly, I think whales are not searching out and upvoting excellent content enough. Instead I see things like "I'm new to Steemit" posts with a couple of selfies and a few words about excitement to join Steemit at $200. This is in my view a problem with proper selectivity as well as inherent Steemit incentivation issues and the inability to filter out and properly upvote real content rather than just fluff.

My my my! What an seemingly aggressive response!

Please tell me where I said that the problem is minnows in the pond? If that is what you took from what I said then I cannot help you.

However I am always up for a challenge because I am a positive soul.

Let me look at your account.

Voting power - 98.12%
Goodness me, have you ever considered voting for people? People on this platform do like votes. I dare say you do too. I know that when I was a minnow i looked favourably on those who voted for me.

Let's look deeper though. The past 28 days.
Screenshot 2017-11-14 at 8.04.32 PM.png

Hmm, it looks like in the last 28 days you have cast 26 votes. Not even one a day for others. In fact a fifth of those 26 have been on yourself.

My advice from this cursory look at your account would be.

Interact with others, comment and vote. Build your brand and following.

Your welcome.

Aggressive? Clearly you have misinterpreted my challenge. I suggest you take the time to read some of my content instead as I suggested.

Also, considering that my votes give about 1 cent apiece and sometimes not even that, I wouldn't worry to much about whether I've upvoted enough people lately or not. I don't have a slider bar to adjust my voting power and give out more to the right people. Trust me I would do it if I had it already.

  ·  2 years ago (edited)

Actually, not having a slider bar or having to worry about your voting power because of it should mean you vote more, not less. It's a luxury you have at the beginning to give you a good start by commenting and voting like crazy on other people's content. And that is how you can and will be noticed by others and get rewarded. That is how I did it, and meesterboom did it. You're basically taking the lazy way out on all fronts and here you are giving a man who has worked his arse off from the beginning a hard time instead of listening to what he has to say. @meesterboom is awesome, anyone who has gotten to know him will say the same, and unfortunately with your attitude you're not likely to have it said about you. Unless you make some changes.

Of course I'm not against upvoting people, however, I actually read content before I upvote and look for good content that should be upvoted. This is a hell of a lot of time at a a penny a vote. I don't just randomly throw out votes like some people seem to do. At least with a slider bar, you can decide how much you want to give people and truly reward the ones that deserve it rather than spewing votes just to use up your vote supply.

And by the way, every comment he made was about voting and ended with a self righteous attitude that he had found my problem and I should be thankful to him for it, however, he never addressed my core points. Not once. These are the types of BS responses that I think are totally worthless and never solve the real problems of the platform that I joined the conversation to discuss to begin with.

I will say it once it again, Steem's incentive system and content filtering capabilities needs some real work in order to get really good content promoted properly. Currently, the system is still very immature and is unable to filter out all the crap posts that are being loaded on the platform at an exponential rate. The BS rants in this comment section blaming non-whales for trying to find ways to work creatively to solve this does nothing except polarize a worthless discussion between whales and minnows. And at the end of the day the question that should be answered is one of how Steem evolves to ensure real content gets developed and upvoted properly. This is why I kept pointing out to read the content. For me this is what the point is and always will be - the content.

I read your last article. And I would have voted on it, had you not bought your votes. Especially considering the content of the article-I don't understand how someone with your ideals would sell out like that. You're pointing out the flaws in the system while doing exactly the thing that ultimately brought about those flaws to begin with. In fact your entire argument here makes absolutely no sense based on who you are presenting yourself to be on your blog. If you want to get a message out to the people, if you actually feel passionate about that message, then you would be spending time with the people. Saying that you 'read an article before voting on it' well if the average article takes five to ten minutes of your time I fail to see how you are unable to read, vote, and comment on more then one a day. Perhaps you started out here with the intention of enlightening people, but if you take a hard look at yourself right now you will have to admit that your primary goal is monetary. You wouldn't buy upvotes if that was not the case, if you cared about people actually reading what you wrote then you would spend time connecting with people so that they would.

This is what I've told numerous people recently:

The fundamental problem with this platform is that it consists of probably 99% content creators. Which means that we don't have the luxury of attracting an audience who is here simply to be the audience. That is why-in its current state-in order to attract a viewership your only option is to broaden your own viewing of others material- to be their audience.

Both of you guys crack me up. You think that I'm in here for the money? Let me tell you that my wallet value is exactly $67.97 after 7 months of investing weeks of my time on Steemit. This is with a few MinnowBoosts included, otherwise, I'd be at around $50. Yes, I'm in the big time now. Woo hoo! You sure caught me. The game is up.

As for me "selling out", you are so ensconced in your existing Steemit worldview that you still don't get what the problem here really is, nor have you understood what it is that I have been writing about in my blog. My last blog post is about our screwed up legal system with perverse incentives that lead to wrong behaviors and system failure. Is the problem the attorneys? No. Is the problem the judges? No. Is the problem the politicians? No. The problem is a system that has been designed wrongly at it's very fundamentals and the result is that it will eventually fail from this because it won't adapt. (It reminds me of some whales too.)

What you can't seem to wrap your head around is that this is exactly the problem in Steemit. The Steemit system has not been designed properly to incentivize and enable mass amounts of people and content. It may have worked fine with 10,000 people, but it won't work fine with 100,000 or 1,000,000 people, especially with 90% producing BS.

Lastly, I really appreciate your assessment of my character because you sure have read me like a book. I feel so ashamed now for having used MinnowBooster a few times.. Actually, let me rather point out that you have no right whatsoever to judge me, my motivations, and my character. I find it pathetic that you would even think to do so in a public environment and solely based upon the fact that I used MinnowBooster a few times. This is the height of arrogance and ridiculousness.

It's an excuse I hear all too often.

My vote isn't worth anything, so why give it?

Think about it. That's all.

Therefore I am pleased to report I rose to your challenge! The fact that you are ever so keen to avoid what I told you is quite simply not my problem.

So you don't read content.. OK

Well it looks as if there is no reasoning with you. Why should I waste my time reading your stuff when the first thing that I look at paints quite the picture. Look at my answer. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean I have to find another

So you think you know me and my value to the platform from the fact that I haven't voted sufficiently for your taste recently? If that doesn't say everything about your assessments, I'm not sure what does.

theyre vote is less than a 0.01 what difference would it make how many votes they make will never be seen

for comparison lets review your voting


is nice vote exchange you have and majority is to users with thousands of sp so for you to say the right way to gets votes when you participate in voting group is comical

Well thank you! I do try my best to be thoroughly comical!

Hey marly, i absolutely think that every crisis has an inherent chance of change. Therefore i do think that we all need to make up our minds and imagine what steemit should be like.
iam definetly into helping and getting this thing fixed :D
Yours Jan

I like your attitude! That's the way to go.
There is still this little beta logo at the top left, and we've got all chances to create the place we're dreaming of! :-)

  ·  2 years ago (edited)

liebe @surfermarly - ein sensibles thema, finde ich. zum glück sprichst du deutsch, sonst wäre ich hier ziemlich lost. mein englisch taugt zum lesen u. verstehen, aber selber kann ich mich nicht gut in dieser sprache ausdrücken. zum topic. ich bin sehr gespalten, was das angeht. zum einen froh darüber, das es die möglichkeit des boostens gibt, habe ich andererseits auch ein problem damit. und zwar, wenn es die relationen sprengt. von mb habe ich mir mal einen großen vote gekauft. doch wohl fühlte ich mich dabei nicht, denn zugegeben, mein post hat die bewertung nicht verdient. und so habe ich es nicht noch mal gemacht. das gewissen hat mich gepiesackt. immerhin, offenbar habe ich eins. nur sonderlich verbreitet ist das nicht. ich sehe, wie viele völlig jenseits davon handeln. und das dem schlechten beispiel im schwarm gefolgt wird. andere sehen, was es bringen kann, das sogar gewinn möglich ist, wenn man ein bisschen glück hat. inhalte werden so nebensächlich u. dienen nur als potenzielle möglichkeit, mehr rauszuholen aus dem system. das ist eindeutig kritikwürdig. eben auch, weil sich so reputation kaufen lässt, die man sich nicht wirklich verdient hat.
kurz nachdem ich zu steemit gekommen bin, kam die boosterwelle auf. randowhale war schnell allen ein begriff. er versprach generell profitables roi und innerhalb kürzester zeit wurde er so stark frequentiert, das es den bot überfordert hat. weitere tauchten auf. man konnte höhere beträge zahlen, auf höheren gewinn hoffen. es schien, eine geldmaschine zu sein. die masse konnte und kann dem einfach nicht widerstehen. das hat sich bis zu privat-aufträgen hin entwickelt, wo sehr starke steemians (seien es witnesses oder early adopters mit viel steem) ihren vote gegen bezahlung anboten und immer noch tun. wie einen sport legen es einige darauf an, ihre posts in die höchstmöglichen bewertungssphären katapultieren zu lassen - und da sprengt es meiner meinung nach jede relation. und doch kann ich mich nicht aufraffen, es mißbrauch zu nennen.
die einen haben etwas anzubieten, die anderen haben ein verlangen danach. da das so ist, läuft es, wird es angenommen, zelebriert. wie und warum will man das stoppen? das zu stoppen, dafür gibt es gute und viele gründe. du hast einige genannt. ich kann sie absolut nachvollziehen und entwickle ein verständnis dafür, auch weil ich das system mittlerweile etwas besser verstehe. und so sehe ich den mangel an motivation, seine stimme zu erheben, bzw. jemandem zu geben um die person für ihre arbeit zu belohnen, als ein problem an. wenn ich denn selber einstellen könnte, was meine kuratoren an reward zu erwarten haben, wenn sie mich unterstützen - das wäre in meinen augen ein schritt in die richtige richtung. ich habe wo den begriff Curation Slider aufgeschnappt und genau das ist es, was ich absolut gut heißen würde. ich möchte entscheiden können, ob jemand 25%, 50% oder 75% vom lohn meiner arbeit bekommt, wenn er mich unterstützt. und für das system und seine nutzer wäre es kein eingreifen in die freiheit, keine bevormundung - es wäre das gegenteil. und machbar wäre es auch.
ich denke vielleicht um die ecke damit. aber ich habe genau vor augen, was du als problem beschreibst und meine überlegungen gehen im ergebnis in die selbe richtung. ich hoffe, das du etwas damit anfangen kannst. lg

Du kannst mir immer auch auf Deutsch schreiben @pawos :-) Ich werde auf Deutsch und Englisch antworten, damit mich alle verstehen können.

Eine Passage ist mir besonders aufgefallen: Du hattest ein schlechtes Gewissen, als Du den Booster genutzt und Dich selbst damit nach vorne katapultiert hast. Warum? Weil Du nicht nur an Dich selbst, sondern an die gesamte Community gedacht hast. Und das ist genau, was hier in letzter Zeit verloren gegangen ist. Es scheint so als sei schnelles Geld verdienen um jeden Preis das einzige was zählt - egal, ob man damit das ganze Projekt vor die Wand fährt.

There was one part in your comment that especially attracted my attention: you said that you felt the guilty conscience when you used a booster in order to bring yourself onto the trending page. Why did that happen? Because you were not only thinking about your own personal success but about the community. That is something that has been lost lately on steemit. It seems that the only thing that counts is making quick money, no matter if the whole project is supposed to fail then.

Zu dem Curation Slider: ich bin eher ein Fan von "Keep it simple". Je weniger Algorithmen, Einstellungsmöglichkeiten, Regler, Knöpfe wir haben - desto besser. Meiner Meinung führen diese ganzen komplexen Mechanismen langfristig nur dazu, dass es Leute geben wird, die extra schlau sind und wissen, wie man die Regler möglichst gewinnbringend für sich selbst einstellt, während der "Normalo-User" es nicht kann und benachteiligt wird. Das führt dann wieder genau zu solchen Entwicklungen, wie wir sie jetzt sehen - dass Leute "verzweifelt" versuchen sich nach oben zu kaufen.

With regards to your proposed "Curation Slider": I'm a big fan of "keep it simple". The less algos, settings, adjustments and buttons we have, the merrier. From my point of view these complex mechanisms only lead to another split into: those few smart ones that know how to perfectly use them and those who don't. The gap leads to tendencies like we're having them right now where people desperately try to buy themselves to the top.

My suggestion: more education! An improved onboarding, more tutorials, more support, more information for new users. In the end it's a lack of education that leads to a higher demand for abusive services.

Steem on!

I keep to my approach since the beginning of all this. Every sort of vote buying as a tipping tool is great, the rest is nothing but gaming the system.
One could even track it down to a failed or ineffective "promoted" section.

Nice approach!
I had completely forgotton about the broken "promoted" section :-) Thank God human brains tend to remember the positive instead of the negative... always.

See you around :-)

I’ve been on steemit for over a years and have found some success. At times I have looked into the idea of buying votes, but always declined finding the idea rather repugnant. I take greatest pride in the interaction I get with people through comments. Your take on this is right on.

I take greatest pride in the interaction I get with people through comments.

Me, too. To me that is the essence of valuable communication.
Why again was a seperate reward pool for comments created? :-)

Thanks for your great adding!

well done!!! mee tooooo

I think paid bot usage is a major scourge on Steemit. Many prophets in the mainstream of society are warning us that bots may rule over mankind in the near future. That is already happening here on Steemit. Steemit adoption will take a major hit because of this.

This post is of particular interest to me because I have recently started a community to encourage authentic human engagement on Steemit posts. Keep advocating for the rights of original content creators. Kudos to you!

Maybe bots as technological progress are not the issue, but they way we use them. I may have a voting bot that operates like an extended arm to me, allocating votes according to the rules I define. But I can also have a bot that buys votes from bots and sells them to other bots in order to make more profit. Only in the last example I'm seriously threatening the ideology of steemit and risking to affect the standard of quality.

This post is of particular interest to me because I have recently started a community to encourage authentic human engagement on Steemit posts.

Oh that sounds really cool! Best of luck for your project :-)

  ·  2 years ago (edited)

You are right. I have no problem with bots as a technology. Only where they are used to put some at an unfair disadvantage. The other issue is this: Is Steemit content meant for human consumption or both human and bot consumption? Let's say I write a flash fiction piece. Wouldn't I, the writer, feel unrewarded if my article were to be only bot-curated even if it were upvoted for a fairly high amount of SBD? Wouldn't I have hopes that actual people read and commented on the creative post I created? I've had a few posts that were read only by a few people but upvoted by plenty more who did not even look at them.

Steemit has a lot of good things going for it. The fact that it is decentralised is one of them, but it still has some way to go to gain the total confidence of those who create content for the perusal and enjoyment of other humans.

And, thank you for the wishes! 😀

I've had a few posts that were read only by a few people but upvoted by plenty more who did not even look at them.

I think that ratio will be something we can't change. Bots will be always part of this eco-system. Look at the positive aspects: if someone decides on "blindly" upvoting your post via bot, then he trusts you and your content. To be honest: I'm really happy that many users have decided to auto-vote my stuff. That's really a way to express confidence here.

But also, depening on the content I think we have still a lot of people reading and commenting here. That's at least my perception and how I experience it in my own blog. As long as you right interesting stuff people are willing to talk about, you will have them interacting.

Look at this one her for instance: I think by now no bots have commented in this thread...? :))

I suppose the bots fear you lol... I appreciate the fact that you are able to enjoy success using your methodology. I will need more getting used to the platform, I think. I wish you even more success on your journey here :)

If the rest of the system worked correctly this would be an issue but greater concerns that are more damaging to reward pool and steemit as a whole would be

  • sock puppet witnesses
  • selective moderation
  • witnesses with privileges above standards of steemit
  • self voting whales
  • Whales setup to pay investors with no basis on quality
  • vote trading between high sp holders and old users

i believe these would be more pressing issues to the economic value of the system

Interesting points! I'm not really well informed about the world of witnesses, so I can't agree or disagree here. What do you mean by 'selective moderation'?

I think what these points do all have in common is that people tend to favor their own personal success over the overall community's wealth. In the beginnings of steemit's journey that was quite different. I'm missing these times and the spirit.

by problems with witness i mean it would be easy to implement change in hard fork to reduce value of multiple consecutive voting and selfvoting would save a lot from reward pool and give value to content creators and incentive's searching of content as is what platform was designed for also the 5 minute window which directs most curation to user all easy fixed

by selective moderation is the fact pushing of scam ICOs referral links and plagiarism by stake holders and witness gets receives no action multiple other accounts also for whatever reason

Right on brother. I'm almost shocked reading all these comments of people that are at 70+ complaining about people further down the Steemit foodchain. They can't seem to realize that there are plenty of people like me that typically can't get more than a few cents per post for honestly great content. Then they are wondering why people end up using bots for a kick upwards. This is not the real problem. This is only the symptom. That they can't see this, leaves me extremely disappointed.

I fully agree that the points you raise above as well as the immature incentive system in Steemit and the inability to filter and track consistently good content is the real issue involved. However, without more whales understanding this rather than just blaming the minnows, I'm not sure how the platform gets changed to solve this.

At first AS a minnow i must say i tought vore buying services was a good addition, but over time it seems like the content quality has dropped way down. I still check in and read my favorite authors in here but must admit the spark got lost after seeing so much spammy material getting bot upvote done :/

I can really unterstand that vote buying is an interesting tool for minnows, since it's quite tough to stand out in the beginnings. There are more and more users joining the platform, and being discovered is sometimes mainly a question of luck.

However... I'm pretty convinced that there must be more solutions to that demand. Vote trading can't be the overall strategy since it's actually totally counterproductive to our quality standard.

There have been many great curation projects in the past that were 100% focussing on quality and newbie support. I'm pretty sure that we will have them in the future, too.

Hm. I may have less knowledge on this than you, so I don't fully understand how exactly this is harming the community. So here is my (maybe naive) perspective and the questions it raises for me:

If vote buying is a bad thing, is Steem buying a bad thing, too? Aren't they a little bit similar in the way that you can either a) earn your Steempower or b) buy it?

I did buy Steem in the beginning. Because I believed in it as an investment, and because it enabled me to give more to others. The higher my SP, the better for the community and every author I upvote.

I could have gone the slow route - earning; or the fast route - buying. I chose the fast route.

When someone buys a vote, they earn Steempower that they might otherwise not have earned. That Steempower benefits everyone they upvote afterwards.

I think it's great that we have a system where we can contribute with time, hard work, or money. Or a combination of it.

I also think it's great that some creative entrepreneurs spotted a niche on how to start a business here in our Steemiverse. I have never bought a vote - I don't need to support them if I don't like them or see no value in them. But people who do see the value, will use them and that is fair. Supply and demand will regulate that.

I also delegated some of my SP recently to @boomerang because I wasn't on Steemit a lot, so I didn't use my upvotes and I thought I was doing a good thing by giving my SP away so that others can use it and benefit from it while I'm gone (and me, too, of course - so far I've always seen the win:win in everything that happens on Steemit).

I get your point about quality - but I also think "quality" is very subjective and we'll never find a consensus on what quality exactly means for everyone.

In regards to trending - here's where I am naive - I never check the trending page. The other day when you told me my post is trending - I didn't know about it :) I only check my feed and the people I'm following and want to read. The trending page is not on my "things to achieve" list :)

If the trending page is supposed to be some kind of proof-of-merit, then bought votes indeed cause confusion, though, and they should appear under promoted, because that's what they are, right? So this part I totally agree with.

For the rest - other than causing confusion and a conflict of values, I don't see (yet) how this economically harms the Steemit platform and community. Based on what I wrote above, I have a feeling it might actually contribute.

I love how passionate you are about Steemit and bring this up to be discussed here. I'm genuinely interested to see all the responses to get a better perspective on this.

I like your way of thinking! Actually you're right: when I power up, I'm also improving my position on the platform through monetary invest.

However, I thought (and maybe I'm completely wrong), that this place was created to give value back to the ones that create value, and that Steem was supposed to be a currency that rewards given attention. Now, if we're able to use vote trading services in order to buy attention (visibility e.g. through a trending position) then we purchase attention but we don't earn it any longer.

My personal understanding of the current content structure is: attention (reading time, social interaction, etc.) has to be earned. That's the driver of this eco-system. At least that was my understanding of Ned Scott's presentation at the first Steemfest in Amsterdam. I wasn't there but I watched the videos. There was one chart where @ned explained steemit's life cycle. The core driver here was value created through social interaction.

Maybe I'm much more naive than you are but that has always been my idea of this platform :-D

I agree with you. Vote buying would not be good for the community. I tried a few when i just joined steemit newly though. But, there are alot of great works out there that are not being rewarded. Some of these authors feel they can only get a reward by buying votes. I don't really blame them, I have been in those shoes before. It's not like I have thrown the shoes away though. But i have decided never to use a vote service anymore. This is just my opinion though. Not everyone was given birth with a silver spoon.

Nobody was given a silver spoon when signing up to steemit :-) We all started from zero, even if it's hard to believe. Everybody (every single account) started with 0.00 SP.

Also everybody has the very same chances here to get to the top. If you (you: @jaff8) produce an epic piece of content the steemian world has been waiting for every since, then you'll get on the trending page with it. No matter who you are, no matter how high or low your reputation is, you can make it.

THAT is the reality of steemit.

Yeah, all accounts started from the bottom, I get. But the thing is your theory is not always true. A friend once told me that to survive on steemit I have to join a sub-community. She has been here for some time, I have come to understand what she meant. I have come to observe alot of cliques. You said,

If you (you: @jaff8) produce an epic piece of content the steemian world has been waiting for every since, then you'll get on the trending page with it.

Your words makes it look that easy, like there's a bot that discovers posts that needs to get to trending. But in reality, it's not so. Most posts I have seen in trending are mainly posts by similar classes of people. The few that got there without being in that class, got there by upvote bots. Please don't get me wrong, I'm just airing my views :)

I think during the past 1.5 years on steemit I've been on the trending page 10 times in total.
It's not the ultimate / the one and only leveling board here.
Yes, I check the trending page by myself every morning, because it's a nice indicator on trends, news, price situation etc. However, it's not that you can only become a successfull blogger on steemit if you're constantly on a top 10 payout position.

Imagine the following real life situation:
The company of your dreams is hiring a new employee. You want to get on that position no matter how. What do you do? Obviously you try to get a way in, a helping hand, someone who opens the door for you, a recommendation,... That's how life / business works - as in real life so on steemit.

You may be a nerd, but if you don't communicate, network, engage, connect on this platform, you're lost :-) It's a 'social network' after all...

Yes, now we are talking lol. Engagements are important. You can't be antisocial in a social network. It's like someone in a wrong place. Let me continue steeming, till the "helping hand" comes like you said.

That's the spirit :-)
You've got a new follower now by the way

Wow, it's not everyday someone amazing comes by. Thanks :)

Haha, you've got some great content to offer, so I had to...:-)) You're welcome! I have you thank you for the great convo here.

Hi sweetheart! I agree with you a hundred percent on this issue. I came across a post today resteemed by @acidyo that had what seemed to me to be some viable solutions. And what @hilarski suggested seems a good idea for a personal way to help.

Hey sweetie! Hope you're doing well! We need to chat more often :-)
Excellent adding, thanks for dropping the link! The more we talk about it, the merrier. I think we need some changes.

I have been sooo ridiculously busy, but finally things are coming together with the winter business and getting to a pace I can handle. Thankfully because it was making it very hard to be on my beloved steemit- then of course as soon as I am able to spend real time here I find out we have BIG problems once again :(

It's so sad that what could have been nice projects, helping new people out by having a team looking for and curating quality content like Curie did when I first joined, turned into this garbage.

I couldn't agree more... Curie is really one of the best examples on how to do it.
Right now there are so much negative voices and abuse on the platform. Mostly I just publish my article, reply to the first comments and leave the site again just to not see and read anything... Very sad!

Vote buying, delegation, vote trades... I don't like the current culture of the site right now either, but I don't think it is all about the voting bots.

I use them. If you are going to stop supporting the voting bots better consider not voting for those who are paying for delegated power also.

I like the fact that you used the word 'culture' here. It's pretty much about that.

Voting bots and vote buying are two different things to me. I also use a voting bot to flank my manual curation. But that doesn't have anything to do with vote trading on a grand scale as it is excecuted right now. To me a vote bot is an 'assistant', a time saver. But I have 100% control over these votes and am not selling my votes in order to get attention in return.

It's a complex issue... And I'm happiest that we're talking about it!

Simply make the promote feature more attractive or some other kind of feature that motivates people to invest in the ecosystem and not in a single person

Investing in the eco-system is always a good idea.
Furthermore, I believe that we need a better onboarding: tutorials, support for new users, etc. That would lead to less frustration = less need for attention buying.

dear @surfermarly, I appreciate and support your thinking.and your effort to write that article for serious isssue is also praisable. you are real creator, i love your work. keeep it up. good luck.

Thanks for your kind feedback!
I'm always trying to point a finger at the importance of the community spirit here. Lately it's hard to find it on the platform. It seems that the overall goal is making quick money, no matter the consequences for the whole eco-system. That's pretty sad actually.

I think we need a better onboarding and more tutorials and support for new users. Everything in life starts with education, and obviously many new users are lost here. That leads to a higher demand for services like the ones that are evolving right now...

As a newcomer, trying to grow organically, I totally agree.

On a related note, to increase human interaction and level the playing field I submitted a suggestion yesterday to hide most of a post's meta-data until someone chooses to vote for it:

Interesting article and thoughts!

I'd love to see a more content-driven structure here in general. Currently content is ranked according to the payout. Why not structure it according to the users' fields of interest? Show me content I like, hide te one I've already seen/commented - independently from its monetary value.

If we focussed more on the message and less on the money, the success would come automatically...

Thanks and I agree. To that end I'd also like to see some sort of bookmark/label functionality so I can organize and get back to interesting posts later.

I wholeheartedly agree with you. I have been on the platform since Aug. 2016 and I believe in the platform. However, much has changed here in the last few months. With voting being pre-assigned by the rented vote services, I feel we are loosing much of our interaction with each other. Since I only do a post now and then my perspective is more from a commenter's view which I do a lot of manually.

I feel we are loosing much of our interaction with each other.

YES. That's my sensation, too.
Even though our (you and me) conversations have always been the complete opposite :-)


  ·  2 years ago (edited)

I understand the issue, but I also understand where it's coming from - minnows I am guessing. Because of these solutions, they are able to get a better payout for their posts because without it, Steemit gets quite depressing. No one likes to see $0.80c rewards on a post they worked hard on. However, this also causes less valuable posts to get high payouts aswell.

How to solve this? No idea. But supporting great, original content is a great start!

I understand the frustration aswell and I think many of us have felt it. Lately, when people ask me for 'vote for vote' or such things, I reply by telling them to stop asking this and to write meaningful comments on people's posts instead. I think by now, that is the only real way to earn new followers. The New feed is way too overcrowded to get noticed anymore.

write meaningful comments on people's posts instead

This is key. Writing such comments make someone stand out from the rest and is open for a conversation - which 9/10 times the author is interested in, otherwise he/she wouldn't have posted. This way it's so much easier to find more engaging and interesting followers and people to follow. Honestly, this is what I think is the best way to gain more followers.

The New feed is way too overcrowded to get noticed anymore.

I actually never check this.. Sometimes I check a random article in a hot section of a given tag; photography, travel, introduceyourself, crypto are my favorites.

New is simply too crowded and most of the time content that doesn't interest me, is useless or is in a different language.

New feed is way too overcrowded

This is really bad because if one doesn´t have yet a big follower base that would be the only chance to get high attention (buying oneself into a trending page is not an option for most of the minnows, let alone the morality aspect)

Very true. So I guess we're back to commenting!

I'm brand new, so no one would ask for my vote, because it's not worth anything, but I find asking for a vote to be highly offensive!
I suppose trading a vote for a vote is the same sort of thing as buying one...but it somehow feels wrong.

I find asking for a vote to be highly offensive!

I am very happy you feel that way! Many of us do, but new users do seem to resort to these kind of 'promotional activities' sometimes. I talked to a few who basically told me "Oh, I though that was normal here, everyone seems to be doing it". That's a bad trend to set, but we can't really do anything but teach the new members some proper etiquette (basically just normal social standards...).

These things happen due to a missing "onboarding management". People start to be active on this platform before actually knowing how it works.

Yeah, that's a very good point. We do have a Welcome and FAQ page, but I think social etiquette isn't covered much there. There is mention of an etiquette guide written by someone, but other than that, people have to figure it out on their own. I doubt many people will even look for such a thing.

From my person point of view the welcome page is too static. I'd love to see some fancy video tutorials that are as cool as the platform itself. A black & white 2D list is very old school and I don't really know how many people even read it...

How to solve this? No idea. But supporting great, original content is a great start!

Yeah, definitely.

I understand the issue, but I also understand where it's coming from - minnows I am guessing.

Not really. Rather people who found a weak point in the system and took advantage of it.

I also "comprehend" the behaviour or the motivation, but I won't support it :-)

Rather people who found a weak point in the system and took advantage of it.

I am always trying to look at the bigger, or maybe the nicer picture here. But, yeah, that's the result of it :l

I also love that bigger and nicer picture :-) Lately it's been a bit difficult to see it...

supporting great, original content is a great start

The problem is that "whales" don´t even see lots of the awesome content some minnows provide.

To grow organically on steemit requires a bit more than publishing content and waiting for whales :-) During my first 6 months on steemit what I did here was: reading, commenting, engaging, learning, studying, improving. Nobody gets rich over night, but everybody gets better over night :-)

That´s what I am doing :), or trying to do

I know, I feel like they generally just trail, bot or don't actively search for good content in the first place.

I think delegations is one part of a potential solution, but not entirely. Because also in the terms of delegations people just 'sell' it for a lot.

Thank you for putting into words on the page the very thoughts I have been thinking.

We have seen so many great ideas wrecked by people who want to game the system for whatever reason.

It’s true this reveals the weakness of a concept, but it also points to the fixes necessary.

I agree and think that a weak point is always a chance, so we should try to work on solutions to fix these problems.

I think a "vote buying service" that checks for quality of post before voting could potentially be an option. It could just mean that you're paying to get your post read (and probably critiqued) instead of just paying to vote.

This is something I've been thinking a little about and I was more than amused to see it as the first thing when I logged back in.

I think a "vote buying service" that checks for quality of post before voting could potentially be an option.

That would be a paradox. Whether I pay for position or I'm rewarded for quality.
If quality was the key driver, there wouldn't be any need to buy the attention.

There have actually been a few people selling their eyes on people's posts. They ask for a small amount of SBD and in return, they will read the person's post. If they like it, they'll upvote, if not, they won't. I can understand wanting a service like that, because it's really hard to get noticed in the constant stream of crap on New feed. I don't think many look at that page much anymore... I still think it's a bit dodgy though, but atleast it's better than all of the vote buying going on. I've tried it in the past, but it just doesn't feel fair. Now, most of my posts gain between $2 or $3, but atleast they are genuine upvotes from people who mostly read my posts and comment aswell.

It just kind of sucks to know people can boost themselves to Hot or Trending like that while the people who want to play fair get left behind, because they get drowned out. Oh well, it's as you say, that's part of the deal with no censorship!

I can understand wanting a service like that, because it's really hard to get noticed in the constant stream of crap on New feed. I don't think many look at that page much anymore...

Of course, it's hard to get noticed. That's why such services are successfully evolving. There's a huge demand on steemit!

If we want to get a high standard of quality back, we will also have to talk to those who use these services, especially users that have high stakes and actually don't need to buy votes. Minnows technically can't boost themselves to the trending page since they're unable to invest so much. It's established users who take advantage of the services and buy a trending position. THAT's the true tragedy :-)

It's established users who take advantage of the services and buy a trending position. THAT's the true tragedy

That, I can wholeheartedly agree with! :-)

I believe that we need to improve the onboarding, produce more tutorial videos for newbies, give them support, tips, explain how everything works. It's as if you were hired to work at a new position but nobody explains you what to do.

Everything starts with education.

I'm new, so I might get tired of it, but I use the "New" tab pretty regularly. In some ways it's better than the "Hot" or "Trending" tabs. Both of those tabs are full of articles about bitcoin. I like reading those a bit, but I think it's obvious they're there because that's the kind of content the large investors enjoy. The New tab allows me a chance to find a few cool things that there's likely little to any chance I would see otherwise.
Of course, there are also a lot low quality posts, but there's also a different type of low quality posts on the other tabs.

In some ways it's better than the "Hot" or "Trending" tabs. Both of those tabs are full of articles about bitcoin.

You're right about that! I actually used the New tab a lot when I was new too. Eventually though, most of us gather a list of people we follow and that means spending a lot of time in your followers list to keep up with everything they put out. I've actually had to clean up my list of people I follow a couple of times already, because even keeping up with that sometimes feels like such a chore.

Sometimes (not often) I do visit the New tab, but I always make sure to select an interesting tag to filter it :-)

I do understand the angle you're coming from, and I personally do not use these services but an argument could be made that, considering the increase in number of daily posts, it has become increasingly difficult to get noticed organically hence the "paying to get the attention".

The question is: do we want attention that is bought? Or do we attention that is earned? :-)


Why we need to looking for attention i things is more base in help ,honestly and information

Bountiful post will dony

Wise words brought to you by:



Haha, thank you!
What a pose :-D

Well said! I feel exactly the same way! People are losing hope and giving up. Definitely not about quality anymore! Thanks for speaking up. We should all speak up more often!

Thanks for your encouragement!
Sometimes speaking up is a bit uncomfortable, but that's the only way to create change...

Only way to handle this is making newbies get into the community quicker. Say if you are into art and don't see much progress on your content, then others have to take you in the circle. That way use of bots to get noticed would be reduced.

Sure! That would be smart curation of newbies and quality promotion. But most people don't like working on steemit without being paid for it :-) That's the main problem...

As they say, Money is root of all evil. Different people, difference circumstances and different priorities. :)

I often ask myself why @Ned stated that "whaletank" was better than DASH DAO and Worker proposals...but then went and downvoted it.

I regularly give away far more in my competitions than i id wonder why things like this are not uplifted on the platform.

Maybe it has something to do with the same reason I was kicked from neds steem slack, "fyrstikkens" steemspeak, and Bernie Sanders "coinbar"...

oh wait...yeh i remember.. because ned decided he would write "his" smt whitepaper...

anyway, toss me your bts addy @surfermarly and i'll gladdly toss you some.

I regularly give away far more in my competitions than i make...

I've done that as well, but most people on this platform don't like working without being paid :-) That's I guess the main problem of vote buying. There is very few smart curation, quality promotion and efforts to bring valuable stuff in front and make it more visible.

Projects that help the community to grow without being paid for it have become pretty uncool.

I have to admit that once in a while I tried to use some of them like @buildawhale or even @randowhale but I am finally over it and out. NO MOOORE! It doesn't make sense and has no value for our community of talented people and doesn't even help for any of my articles anyways. Every single member who takes time to comment and engage is much more special! Good posts will rise without those "booster"services or vanish.

Every single member who takes time to comment and engage is much more special! Good posts will rise without those "booster"services or vanish.

YES. Not surprisingly I fully agree with you :-)
I really hope we will find a way to get back to our older quality standards. It was a lot more fun talking to human beings than it is talking to bots now, haha

I do understand though how super frustrating it can be for the new ones and even myself sometimes when I see over 129 comments of real humans at max 23$ payout. I am not complaining but our system is "out of balance".

Yes, it is.
But mostly because have stopped to take care of it. In the beginnings there was much more community spirit and everybody was interested in the overall success of this project. Now it seems that 99% are only interested in making quick money for themselves.

Whatever the reason might be ....I continue my path and supporting the people who are passionate and master the Spirit and value of this platform. Most of the time I keep myself out of those kind of discussions. Let’s keep on putting the focus on our responsibility as “Dolphins”. I am patient .....

Thank you for opening up the discussion on this! What Do you think about the 'promoted' tab?

On a side note: I think there's a typo at "but accept 'face trends' on steemit? " ... i gues it should be 'fake trends'

The promoted tab idea had been brought up earlier in this thread, and I think it's a REALLY good idea! :-) Instead of pushing the money into some services that only try to abuse the system, we could give the value back to the eco-system.

Thanks for the hint! Yes, there was a typo - even though 'face trends' might also exist somewhere (but not in this context) :-D

@surfermarley You have set such a great a great example for us newbies! I have learned from your videos as well as reading your posts. I agree totally. But, how to "really" fix it, I don't know. In everything you do it seems there is always someone who will try to "game the system." It happens in business, in investing, and it happens here.

Thanks for your encouragement, @melbookermusic! I'm really happy my content has inspired you in such way :-)

I think we need to and can fix this. As long as we sit down quietly and watch, nothing will ever change. Bringing it up is the very first step, so I'm glad we're talking :-)

Brilliant! - so true

"Do we really want to become the next Instagram where a copy of Miley Cyrus, vomiting over her shirt makes it to the top just because she bought herself the trending position?"

Buying upvotes is beyond sad...

I'm glad you picked a politically correct picture :-)


The concept of paying for a vote was strongly opposed in the earlier times of Steemit but now it is bit driven it seems the