First week - Dereliction of Democracy?

in witness-category •  7 months ago

TL;DR

First week report of the steem blockchain witness "@lux-witness" set up by @sorin.cristescu and @pstaiano.

Being a steem witness requires, especially for witnesses outside the top 50, much more than running a server and waiting to sign a block. We plan to work on 3 horizons:

  1. Short term: bring more quality content creators to steem
  2. Medium term: encourage businesses and organisations to look closer and experiment with the steem code
  3. Long term: get STEEM quoted on one of the Luxembourg-based exchanges, Bitstamp and/or bitFlyer; work toward a viable "pay with STEEM" implementation

We started our witness node two weeks ago. We officially anounced one week ago. We didn't get enough "witness approval" votes for our turn to come. Hence during our first week we got 0 (zero) blocks to mint. None, nada, nichts. Not a chance.

Meanwhile there are Large Amounts of WASTED Mega Vests, allocated to witnesses which are not active anymore, and have not been active for a long, long time. We call upon the active users currently wasting witness approval votes on long-departed past witnesses to give us a chance.

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You've Got the Power

In this thoroughly researched article which I've already quoted and which I recommend anyone with an interest in the blockchain technology reads, the "consensus protocol" used by steem ("Delegated Proof of Stake") is said to be "a liquid , representative democracy with token holder suffrage."
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Closer to us, in an excellent article by @gadrian published by @steemromania, a number of other important details are clarified (in Romanian). The witnesses are indeed playing the role of the Bitcoin miners, but they are and should be more than that.

In Bitcoin mining, the miners do not need to care about the users, they perform a purely economic calculation: how much capital outlay to acquire the Antminers plus how much "operating costs" (mostly electricity) versus how much bitcoin value (in USD) to compensate.

Conversely, Bitcoin users do not need to care about the miners more than they care about the driver of the bus that takes them from A to B

In Steem on the other hand, users like YOU have a Lot More Power. The power users have is similar to that of the shareholders of a joint-stock company. Using that power, you send a message and you can influence the direction "steem" takes. And when I say "steem" I mean, together, the STEEM cryptocurrency, the Steemit, Busy, DTube, DLive, Utopian, @fundition, and other applications

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This is NOT about (Up)-Voting!

I used to think that people do not bother to use their power to support witnesses because it was too complicated. One needs to click in the upper right corner of the Steemit page to open a menu, then select out of it "Vote for Witnesses", scroll down to the end of the list for the first 50 ranked and enter manually "lux-witness" in the free text box. Hence we proposed a "one-click" alternative using SteemConnect.

But that didn't change that much.

A lot of people with between 0 and 29 witnesses could not be bothered to click, despite otherwise taking the time to comment on my posts ... I've contacted a number of people during the past week and tried to explain that:

Approving a witness is different from upvoting a post.

Here is for instance a regular "content upvote" our application got from user @icybc:

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However user @icybc never approved a witness:

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Which (had he done it) would have shown up as a different transaction type:

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Approving a witness costs nothing ...

But a click. Each one of us has 30 (thirty) "slots" for witnesses. You can approve from 0 to 30 witnesses, there's no difference for you. Your SP (including the SP you have delegated "out", but not that which has been delegated to you) is (virtually) counted toward the total SP of those witnesses which you approved when calculating their turn at signing blocks.

This calculation has no negative cost on the user:

  1. It does not reduce his/her voting power
  2. It does not reduce his/her bandwidth

Keeping an approval on a "Dead Witness" is wasteful and a pity

As you can see in the first image above, @lux-witness sits, in terms of approvals, between the "ukrainian-trail" (134th active witness) and "beerbot" (135th active witness). Between us and ukrainian-trail, there are a bunch of dead witnesses which are still approved by active users.

Take for instance witness "rycharde" which used to run a node ... about 4 months ago. Yet he still counts as an "approved witness" for a number of active users such as @mcfarhat, @ruth-girl, @heart-to-heart and others ...

We believe engaging with other steem users is just the first step. This community has other very important dimensions among which those of governance and of promotion in the outside world. This is a mission who should not be left to Ned alone, a mission for which, in a decentralized system, all those "staked" (among which witnesses come first) can and should contribute.

By approving us, you help advance the cause of Steemit and more generally of the steem ecosystem

Approve @lux-witness!

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This is a serious problem with witnesses and dead votes. Witness ranks should be refreshed completely once a quarter or so. So users actually voted consciously and witnesses would take their responsibilities more seriously.

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I believe I've read in the paper quoted above that there are proposals in EOS for instance to apply a "decay rate" on witness votes in order to prevent witnesses from becoming entrenched. Not sure this would be agreed by the already pretty entrenched witnesses of steem, it's the kind of "asking turkeys to vote for Christmas" proposal that only works if it's baked in from the very beginning.

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There's no doubts that steemit is deeply flawed and this "decay rate" is something that should have been there from the start. EOS has it right, for sure. A shame I choose steemit to invest, really bad idea so far.

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I don't lose faith - when something is still on paper or in testing mode everything looks rosier than proves out to be afterwards. I wouldn't say steemit is "deeply flawed" but it does have its problems. Thing is, it is a mostly deecntralized system, hence there's nothing stopping another bunch of bright people (with some seriously rich dads) from coming along and steering the ship in the right direction. Look at what busy.org has accomplished, without involvement from Steemit Inc (also called STINC).

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Rich kids will just turn out to be pool-abusing faggots like @haejin, because most people are greedy fucks, unworthy of air they breathe in. Alas, this is the world we live in. A good intension rarely comes along with the ability to accomplish it, sadly.

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Indeed. Having both good intentions and the ability to put them in practice is exceedingly rare ...

I suspect you won't get too much valuable feedback from many on this platform regarding your witness campaign. But, because I believe that you guys mean well, I would like to share some of my personal thoughts on this matter.

Granted, these conclusions are mine and because I'm not the owner of the absolute truth, they should be taken with a grain of salt.

  • As much as there are a lot of technical knowledge involved in running a witness server, the political aspect of it is probably undeniable.
  • Most Stake Holders that Hold an Amount to move the ranks are voting for dead Witnesses intentionally. Possibly waiting for the right Witness to show up, possibly because they believe the current Ranking is the most beneficial to Steem's Ecosystem. To believe however that they are not voting on witnesses because they don't know that they have votes tied up into dead accounts is highly, highly improbable.
  • All Aspiring Witnesses seem to need a big project to back them up, something to show for to gain the support of the Stake holders that matter. Running Steemit.Chat in my opinion did wonders for FollowBTC and CrimsonClad, but they had worked like Santa's elves for months without making any profits.
  • As much as its not a requirement to be community oriented as a witness, its probably the most sustainable way of garnishing support. Meaning, to belong, participate of an established community or to possibly start your own.
  • A possible route for a successful Witness campaign could be straight up development for the blockchain. This however has to be extremely impressive, the creation of a dapp that solves actual shortcomings of this platform. (nothing against games and fun, but meme apps probably wont do).

Best of luck!

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Hi @meno, thanks for taking the time providing your feedback !. Indeed, there are a lot of factors at play many of them you described very well. Part of the reason we started as a team was to combine both the social/community part with the more technical aspect of developing new tools and running a stable witness.

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Thank you @meno, as Pablo says we agree that there needs to be a mix between community building / social on one hand and technical skills on the other hand.

I'm not so sure about voting intentionally for dead witnesses ... maybe there is some of that too, but it cannot be only that.

We started not long ago but we plan indeed to take up some serious projects as well as expand the community. Let's see how we manage !

Steem on!

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At the expense of possibly irritating someone, I distinctly remember @blocktrades writing a long time ago (it would be a mission to find this comment) that leaving his spots open, voting on dead accounts was intentional and for the reasons I wrote above too. Now, is this the case for all whales? probably not, but I would not be surprised in the slightest if most subscribe to this strategy.

I'm not saying this in an accusatory way, not in the slightest. It actually makes sense to me, if we think about the fact that a top tier witness is standing to make a pretty penny maintaining the network, making the decision to support a new one has to come with the least amount of faith possible.

Allow me to submit to you an example of someone who was not vetted properly, yet with his "charisma" managed to run a successful witness campaing, @zeartul and his @bellyrub (and the bank). He collected thousands of Steem as a witness ranked in the 30's, if memory serves me right, only to pull an exit scam that rivals the bitconnect types.

Hence my sympathy with the big whales on the issue. I think a new witness in my opinion will be put through the paces, he or she will have to demonstrate to the big Stake holders that he or she is willing to stick it through even when the price of steem wont cover the costs of being a witness. It's almost as an endurance test... they make you walk on the coals if you will.

Grant you I'm being a tad ridiculous, but I don't think I'm way off... quite the opposite.

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Well, when you start from very low as we did it's pretty clear that it's not about the reward. We've provisioned a server for a year before having any idea of whether the rewards would cover our costs. Someone around the 115 rank in the active witness list would not be covering our server costs (let alone cover the time spent). We would need to climb up to around place 60 to approach break-even when only half the time spent (Pablo's because one can claim that I would be blogging anyway, with or without the witness) is included. So looking at it from the get go it is clearly a lousy business to start a new witness, if it had been for the money we wouldn't have even tried.

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thats a healthy attitude @sorin.cristescu, the challenge becomes then to project this to the blockchain, to the stake holders effectively...

How to make the right amount of noise, enough to be visible, not too much to be annoying... Hence the politics aspect of it all.

:)

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Being a Steem witness is no more about witness server than astronomy is about telescopes. :-)

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Spot on. This is precisely why I thought it's about time for a "non telescope specialist" type of astronomer to step on the scene. Most of our current "top 20" (or should I say top 50) are telescope specialists. In the beginning it was the only thing that was needed. But if this eco-system has not yet outgrown that phase, it will, soon enough. And then the value provided by a contemporary astronomer in conjunction with a state of the art telescope built by someone else will become apparent.

OK ! You convinced me to vote , You have my vote , I guess I need to do some research and cast more votes as well , Best of luck

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Thanks a lot, @jkenny ! May I ask you how did you come to read our witness update ?

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I was scrolling through random pages , Cought my eye so I read your post , I am not up to snuff on witness voting but I like the idea of your post . Best of luck .. I think steem needs some more people pushing for trying this platform out ,

Good reminder.

As a witness a witness, I’ve already created a simple tool that give the status of our witness.
https://evildido.github.io/getMyWitness/

Technical aspects play an important role for Steem witnesses, as do community-oriented projects.

I think we have quite a few witnesses oriented on developing and maintaining tools and applications for the community. They are really important and without their work the ecosystem wouldn't be what it is and couldn't grow.

However, this is a fresh approach, looking from the community (and from a witness position) toward the outside and trying to attract more businesses, and even attempting to facilitate the listing of Steem on an exchange which also allows fiat operations, as a long term goal.

I think @sorin.cristescu has access to some interesting circles, which would allow him to generate exposure for Steem where it would be virtually unknown or ignored otherwise. I see this as an important asset for SMTs too.

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Let's see what I manage to do. I'll try my best. This blockchain is really cool and deserves more effort. Thank you @gadrian

@lux-witness, I voted for you.

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Yes, indeed, thank you very much, @vipnata!
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good luck!

Thank you for the reminder for checking my current witness votes. I had only voted for two in the past but now they both have missed several recent blocks.

You have my vote and best wishes for success.

Thanks for the post, this helps a lot. As a new user I was not even aware of dead witnesses delegation which does seem like quite a WASTE.

One would think there are failsafes in place to mitigate this effect... or at least make it more evident or incentivized for users to not select dead witnesses. You got a vote from me.

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Thank you ! Indeed as I was answering to another post, the problem is known and newer blockchain designs will probably try to tackle it

I see all this situation like this. I must agree with the witness I'm voting. I must like their work and to be able to communicate or to have something in common with the witness I'm voting for.

There are already 3 witnesses voted by me. Guess what, all of them are Romanians. I think you will be able to support the Romanian community too so this is why I voted you.

Good luck!

It's a shame I missed payout on this one, I would have upvoted it. Excellent and thorough piece, it is a problem that many users on here vote for witness's and then just forget about it completely - never checking to see if they are still active and helping to support the platform. And conversely some users have still to discover they can even do it, I know it took me a while to figure out what Witness did and start giving votes for them - it's probably one of the more less obvious aspects of this platform so it's good we are seeing more people making posts about promoting Witness Votes and also the monthly Witness meeting in Steemit Ramble with @shadowspub.

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#thealliance

Hello friend, excellent publication, count on me, I invite you to visit my profile and have you too, Regards

Hello there!!!!
thanks for sharing this great information for the community,
good luck!!! have a great day

Before using the steemit Witness, we need to verify all our information. Then we have to be involved in system wise work.

Congratulations @lux-witness!
Your post was mentioned in the Steemit Hit Parade in the following category:

  • Pending payout - Ranked 3 with $ 442,34

Congratulation lux-witness! Your post has appeared on the hot page after 79min with 37 votes.

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That was thanks to the bidding bots, summoned for visibility, @cnaranha.

Now given that you came to check this post, what about "getting your feet wet" and approving your very first witness ?

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Or are you afraid of something ? You have 30 (thirty) slots available, you can approve and disapprove at any time you wish, it costs nothing. Why not try it ?

until now I still do not understand how to use witnesses. maybe you can explain me how i can use the witness for my ste m power.

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You are from Indonesia, right ? You vote to choose candidates for political office, right ? Joko Widodo, Susilo Bambang Yudhuyono, Megawati Sukarnoputri, etc.

Similarly, in Steem you have a specific action through which you vote for witnesses.

Only in Steem it's better because you can change your choice of witnesses at any time, not only once every 4 / 5 years. If you agree with our priorities, try approving @lux-witness. It costs you nothing and you can change your mind anytime. And you can choose any 30 witnesses you wish, they don't come "bundled" on party lists.

If you want to try, click for instance here. Like with voting for a politician, you are afterwards entitled to expect that the witness "keeps his/her word" and does what (s)he has set out to do (as per the programme)