Witness log

in #witness-category3 years ago

This update covers:

  • We've got trouble, we've made it double.
  • How Abit's horde of kittens helped with blockchain bandwidth.

"This idea came to my mind after a small talk with @gtg.
Steem wizardry, or steemit wizardry - that's what our witnesses do."
- @inber, freelance concept artist and illustrator.

Steem Wizardry
- Fragment of "Steem Wizardry" by Inber

A lot was happening on external markets, the price of bitcoin was very unstable, which had impacted on all "altcoins," including STEEM. It even went down to $0.80.
Steem doesn't have any fees for transactions. Instead, it uses bandwidth, which depends on the Steem Power held by users. The purpose is to prevent abuse such as spam.

The more Steem Power you have, the more interactions with the blockchain you can make. Bandwidth is not a fixed amount - it depends on certain conditions. This formula takes into account max_block_size, which is a parameter set by witnesses. Other parameters include current_reserve_ratio and indirectly average_block_size.

When problems emerged with accounts whose absolute amount of Steem Power was too low (which resulted in insufficient bandwidth even for non-excessive usage), there were ideas to increase max_block_size.
It was more of a hack than an actual solution, especially as it could not solve voting issues when people fell below fixed #define STEEMIT_VOTE_DUST_THRESHOLD (50000000).
I was against using a wrong tool to solve the problem, so instead I've delegated a lot of SP to users who were experiencing such issues before it was fixed.

This time however, the number of people reporting bandwidth issues was surprisingly high. Some of them had a considerable amount of Steem Power.
There was no other choice but to increase max_block_size
Witnesses reacted very promptly and quickly changed their maximum block sizes. (Have you seen all that hassle with increasing Bitcoin's block size?).

We've got trouble, we've made it double.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the end of the story and the bandwidth problems kept coming back. @roadscape broke the news: the issue was caused by a nasty bug in max virtual bandwidth calculations.
It overflowed 64-bit precision and since one of the components of this equation was max_block_size, which had just been doubled... Yeah, exactly.

Witnesses reduced max_block_size back to a minimum, which resulted in less frequent overflows, while the dev team was working on releasing the fixed version

Release the kittens!

Or: Abit's horde of kittens bravely fought against blockchain bandwidth problems.

Abit came up with the idea of affecting average_block_size for a short period of time every few hours (when we were about to overflow).
We all know that the Internet is made of cats, so I suggested using ascii-art kittens, like the ones below:

            .                .                    
            :"-.          .-";                    
            || :-"      "-; ||                    
            :;              :;                    
            /  .==.    .==.  \                    
           :      _.--._      ;                   
           ; .--.' `--' `.--. :                   
          :   __;`      ':__   ;                  
          ;  '  '-._:;_.-'  '  :                  
          '.       `--'       .'                  
           ."-._          _.-".                   
         .'     ""------""     `.                 
        /`-                    -'\                
       /`-                      -'\               
      :`-   .'              `.   -';              
      ;    /                  \    :              
     :    :                    ;    ;             
     ;    ;                    :    :             
     ':_:.'                    '.;_;'             
        :_                      _;                
        ; "-._                -" :`-.     _.._    
        :_          ()          _;   "--::__. `.  
         \"-                  -"/`._           :  
        .-"-.                 -"-.  ""--..____.'  
       /         .__  __.         \               
      : / ,       / "" \       . \ ; bug          
       "-:___..--"      "--..___;-"               

    _                ___       _.--.
    \`.|\..----...-'`   `-._.-'_.-'`
    /  ' `         ,       __.--'
    )/' _/     \   `-_,   /
    `-'" `"\_  ,_.-;_.-\_ ',     fsc/as
        _.-'_./   {_.'   ; /
       {_.-``-'         {_/

        (        /(
         \ `-  \, ` Qr+as

Source: http://www.ascii-art.de/ascii/c/cat.txt

So if you were looking at your steemd console at that time, you could notice cats running all over your screen.
Don’t try this at home (or at the blockchain). It was a special case that required a special solution for a very short period of time.

After some time, the fix was ready and it was quickly applied by many witnesses. Currently, 15 out of 20 active witnesses are running it. It's also active on many other nodes.

Please note that bandwidth limiting is not a part of consensus and it's handled by a witness plugin (that has nothing to do with being a witness). So it's essential to run it on nodes that are expected to support such a feature.
For instance, it's a good practice to run it on your seed node.

SteemFest Official Carrier

As already mentioned before: on behalf of SteemFest 2017 and with a permission of @roelandp, I've made an agreement with TAP Portugal to offer special conditions for the travels of the participants that are coming to this exceptional event. Discount codes available.

Support Original Authors on Steem (bonus)

Gandalf making Steem wizardry
- "Gandalf making Steem wizardry" by Inber

50% of liquid author rewards from this post will be donated to support SteemFest2.
That will apply to all of my witness update posts from now on until the end of October.

If you believe I can be of value to steem, please vote for me (gtg) as a witness on Steemit's Witnesses List or set (gtg) as a proxy that will vote for witnesses for you.
Your vote does matter!
You can contact me directly on steemit.chat, as Gandalf

Steem On


What would we ever do without you guys gtg. I'm a minnow but I'm already working hard in bring new pips in steemit. Already more than 5 people as join and many on there way. Im also looking to keep the first ever steem meet up in Jamaica. Thanks for creating and maintain a great encironment for this platform to run. God bless.

a good explaination for those of us more techno challenged! thank you

This was very interesting. Thanks for the update, I am sure most of the community had no idea about the inner workings of how the bandwidth issues were being dealt with.

That's why in my latest witness logs I'm trying to reach the audience that have no idea about witnesses (by adding some stories, etc.).
We need a lot more awareness within community.

Ohhh, that's what the kittens were all about. Very confusing to my comment upvote bots, who upvoted quite a few kittens before I eventually had to blacklist @abit, haha.

Anyway, @gtg, I don't know who you are or much about you, but you're a great witness. Thanks for all your good work!

Thank you :-)

very solid post, I put this on Twitter! Thanks for the work you're doing.

Thank you :-)

Well at least the bandwidth error was resolved thanks to @abit's kittens
Increasing the block sizes drastically reduced the amount spent of times I would get the bandwidth error but the recent update seems to have completely mended the problems for me
I hope this perists and thank you @gtg for all your work as witness
Keep up the great work buddy! :)

Thank you :-)

Thanks abit for looking out for us minnows. 🐓🐓

Thank you @gtg for all the effort you are putting to improve steem and steemit.
Your rep and followers do not match your efforts.
I have just voted for you as a witness.

Thank you :-)

Upvoted as always :)
I just released some big news so if anyone could resteem and upvote that would mean the world to me

Thanks for the update!

Hello GTG, I am Pat, I voted you as my witness.

I´m very curios, how steemit will evolve and what the future will show.

Hello Patrick, welcome to Steem! :-)
Well, actually you didn't voted for me as a witness, you voted for my post.
Please take a look at quickstart guide and frequently asked questions, especially at parts about witnesses and Delegated Proof of Stake. When you get more familiar with it, please consider voting for witnesses.
Good luck.

Sorry, my fault. Done! :-)

Don't worry, Steem is an awesome platform but it needs to take some time to handle all of its mechanics.
Thank you for your trust. :-)

Looks Like Everybody Is Talking About This Blocksize Increase And Interger Overflow, But Good Job Guys If It Wasn't For You Steemit Woudn't Be Where It Is Right Now :)

this is really interesting @gtg. the bandwidth issue seems to be of conscience lately and i am sure most people have no idea of this works. thank for sharing this update.

Shared to get the information and the solutions done out to folks! Thank you @gtg!

WOW i hae to say that was very interesting and thank you for all the info and we wish you the very best

Finally happy that bandwidth problem got solved i was having huge trouble due to that

Well said. I almost thought you may mention my double production with that "make it double" reference 😉.

Thats very informative @gtg
Was thinking about it from many days : )
Thanks for this post !!

Well done! Hope everything will be fine

Thanks for the update


Let me resteem your post

Support me @nasrullahilyas

An image I snapped from Steemd spitting out horribly chopped up cats.


Please consider adjusting your matrix interface for proper kitten alignment.

FYI: My article proposing a fix for the SP Delegation Loophole. Hope it helps. Followed. Voted! https://steemit.com/steemit/@cyberspace/proposed-steemit-fix-for-steem-power-delegation-self-voting-loophole

thanks for the info.... and the great effort to resolve our concern... i like how fast you act on the users sentiment....

and im really curious of @abit....
many users are not aware of how you guys make an effort to resolve our problem.... we just always wanted to complain....

salute to you guys... hardwork and dedication.... applause...

Excellent post. Thanks for explaining in detail the cause and fix for the recent bandwidth issues.

Cool information

Congratulations @gtg!
Your post was mentioned in my hit parade in the following category:

  • Pending payout - Ranked 6 with $ 380,15

I hope all problems are fixed successfully!

Posting unrelated link as a comment is not the best way for post promotion. Also, why I would vote for this? Only because you've used some photos that you have found on the Internet?
Try creating original content. Make your own photos. Use them to illustrate some original, interesting story.
Have more patience. Urge for getting easy upvotes would cause only troubles.

holy shit your account will be worth a lot if steem reaches 10$

All the steem!

This was interesting info I had no idea about what happend with bandwidch :0)
Thank u for sharing. Great job u do.

Great post,thanks for keeping us updated on the bandwidth problem and sorting it out so quickly.You and the rest of the witnesses do an incredible job,well done.

i dont understand how crypto work, and i don't understand how steem work, so, why im here? lol

That actually is the success of the platform, that people without deep knowledge about digital assets and internals of blockchain-based platform can be here. Better understanding would come in time. Please take a look at Quick Start Guide and Frequently Asked Questions to get some idea about witnesses and whole lot of other details about Steem platform.

As a newbie or "minnow?" I got encouragement from your reply Gandalf. This can be quite bewildering to a newcomer but I am working hard at understanding all this stuff. Thanks!

Great information. Please keep up the great work.

Hello steemian friend ... l am @ardipunti I just joined this community ..
Help me to popularize my account like friends who have long joined in this steemit thanks

You are both amazing: you and @inber. Great work!

Buenas explicación, no tenía idea de cuál era el problema y cómo solucionaba.

Well that makes sense thanks for fixing it. U was so frustrated lol. Once second I had bandwidth the next I didn't. Lol Took me an entire day to post a post on Monday. Between my phone battery and my bandwidth lol


Glad to hear that people are hard at work solving problems that us newbies don't even know that's going on thanks for the hard work you're doing an awesome job

Thanks for your contribution

I experienced bandwidth limit issues several times and now I am learning more about it as I have read several posts regarding it already. One just need to wait some time to recharge and be able to use the site again. :)

i don't know about witness for what ?
@gtg what is it ?

Please take a look at Quick Start Guide and Frequently Asked Questions to get some idea about witnesses and whole lot of other details about Steem platform.

Should I stay or should I go now... I think I'll steemit through. Great to know the issue is being taken care of by sincere folk like you.

Love to see how the community gets together to solve all the problems and that is amazing

A Strong women looks a challenge in the eye and gives it a wink
Cheer for world cup final for Team INDIA @aaravm and upvote post

As you might already noticed by your reputation going down significantly, spamming with such comments is a really bad idea.

I have voted for you as a witness, and I am also following you. I am a minnow but have noticed a lot of the listed wirnesses have been very inactive for a long time. I have been carefully checking out witnesses although I am still unsure of how that affects my experience on the blockchain. Thanks for posting the qulaity content!

Thank you.
It is not easy to say whether someone is contributing to the platform or not just by looking at some witness stats. Also impact on your experience would not be something that can be easily spotted (which is good because few faulty witnesses wouldn't do much harm to whole platform).

I am new to steemit and trying to figure out more on how it works from users and not reading tutorials. I understand the basic post and upvoting and follow options but a few things I just stumbled on and was wondering about.
What does Witness mean and how does it work?
Also what is this Vest?

@gtg any help is appreciated

VESTS = Vesting Shares, on steemit it is presented as Steem Power so users can get a better idea how much their vested shares are worth.
Witness is also called delegate. Steem, unlike Bitcoin is based on Delegated Proof of Stake (instead of Proof of Work) which means that there are no miners who protect the platform. Instead we have witnesses. They are elected by votes of platform stakeholders, in a way like you just did.
Thank you for that.

Please, better take a look at least on quickstart guide and FAQ. It really helps to get a better understanding about the platform.

upvoted you as witness.

Dear Steem advanced,
I really appreciate your reply on my post to tell me the real value of steem. I want to invest very much on steem, but with this business plan I am sure it fails in future.


Thanks a lot.

Very enlightening. This article really helps me as a "little boy" in steemit to understand things that are new to me. Thanks @gtg

why should I vote for witness

Because you can.
Because every vote does matter.
Because security and reliability of the platform depends on the witnesses so you should make sure that you vote for those who can be trusted and those theirs job.

Please take a look at @timcliff's Witness voting guide to get some more info on that subject.