Witness Voting Guide

7 months ago
71 in witness-category

A lot of users aren't sure who they should vote on for witness. This guide is intended to give some helpful tips on how to determine which witnesses to vote for.

To start with, if you are not sure what witnesses are/do, here are some good posts with info about the witness position:

Each user can vote for up to 30 witnesses. You can change your witness votes anytime.

The steemd.com witness page is a great place to research witnesses. It has a lot of great info that will help you look into your choices. It also shows the current top 100 witnesses.

Witness Voting Guide

Witness Proposal

Each witness will create a 'witness proposal' describing their intentions to becoming a witness. You can read their post by clicking on the link under the "URL" column on the steemd.com witness page. This will give you a great idea about what the person's witness campaign is all about.

Communication

Many witnesses will create periodic updates/reports to share what they are up to with the community. These can be found by browsing the posts that are created in the witness-category, witness-report, and witness-update categories. This is an important aspect of being a witness, because it helps the community understand what the leaders are doing to move the platform forward.

Community Interaction

Many witnesses spend a lot of time interacting with the community. They are found responding to questions in the Steemit.chat channels, posting, curating, and commenting on posts. It is good for the witnesses to stay involved with the community in ways beyond their witness duties.

Price Feed

Maintaining an accurate reliable price feed is one of the key duties of witnesses. This is used to determine the amount of STEEM that users will receive when converting SBD->STEEM. It is also used to calculate the SBD 'debt ratio', and the prices that are shown on post payouts. The prices that witnesses report are shown under the "Feed" column on the steemd.com witness page.

Price Discount

In addition to reporting an accurate price feed, many witnesses use a "price discount" to influence amount of STEEM that gets generated when users convert SBD->STEEM. The price discount is a complicated and somewhat controversial topic, and many witnesses are doing different things with this parameter. It is shown under the "Bias" column on the steemd.com witness page.

If witnesses are posting a Bias > 1.000, then they are 'discounting' the price of STEEM. The higher the number is, the higher the discount is. If the Bias = 1.000, then there is no discount. If it is < 1.000, then they are actually doing the opposite - and charging a premium.

The intention of the discount is to ensure users get closer to "one USD worth of STEEM" when they convert SBD->STEEM - if the market conditions are not resulting in a conversion near one USD. This will result in lower post payouts (in terms of the SBD price shown), and increase the amount of STEEM that users get when they convert SBD->STEEM. This does put downward pressure on the price of STEEM, but it also helps to incentivize more users to convert SBD->STEEM - which can help to reduce the overall SBD debt.

Understanding what each witness is doing with their price feed and why, is an important way to distinguish between the various witnesses.

Still Running?

Interestingly enough, there are a lot of witnesses in the top 100 that are no longer running as active witnesses. If the witness on steemd.com is grayed out with a line through it, then they are no longer running their witness node. These witnesses are excluded from the 'Delegated Proof of Stake' calculations - so having them in the list is not really doing any harm, but voting on them would essentially be wasting your vote.

Seed Node

It is not a 'requirement' for lower level witnesses, but most higher ranked witnesses will run a seed node for the network. This is a public instance of the 'Steem blockchain' that the community can use for blockchain operations. The seed nodes that the witnesses are running form a large part of the 'core infrastructure' that powers the blockchain.

You can see a list of the available seed nodes, and whether they are up/down here:
https://status.steemnodes.com/

Registration Fee

The witnesses determine the amount of STEEM that sites like Steemit.com must pay for a new user to create an account on the blockchain. It is important for this to be high enough for new users to be able to interact with the blockchain (vote, post, etc.). The registration fee is shown on the steemd.com witness page under "RegFee".

SBD Interest Rate

Witnesses set the interest rate that users will get for holding SBD. A higher interest rate will encourage more users to buy/hold SBD, but this will also increase the amount of SBD in existence. This is another parameter that witnesses have differing views on, and understanding what witnesses are setting it to + why, is a good way to evaluate different witnesses. The value is shown as "APR" on the steemd.com witness page.

Hardfork Decisions

Every time there is a hardfork, witnesses will have to chose whether or not to accept the new version. A majority of the witnesses need to adopt the changes in order for them to take effect. If there are controversial changes, whether or not a witness is planning to switch to the new version can be a key deciding factor in whether or not to vote for them.

Under the "Version" column of the steemd.com witness page, it shows which version the witness is running.

If a hardfork has already occurred, then witnesses who are still running an older version have chosen not to upgrade. Usually it is not a good idea to vote for witnesses that are not running the latest version.

If a hardfork is going to occur soon, then witnesses have until the scheduled hardfork time to upgrade their version (if they are planning to pick up the changes). Often witnesses will not update their nodes until close to the hardfork time, to allow more time for the changes to be tested/reviewed by the community.

Witness Funds

The witnesses are paid in Steem Power by the blockchain for their work. The amount that they get paid will be changing as part of hardfork 16, assuming a majority of the witnesses pick up the changes.

Because the witnesses are getting paid a lot for their services, many of them chose to use a majority (or even all) of their witness funds to do things that benefit the community.

Whether or not a witness is powering down, and if they are - what they are using their funds for, is often an important deciding factor for whether or not to vote for a witness.

Improving the Community

This is probably the most important part of being a witness. What they are doing to benefit the community is really what sets the witnesses apart. From funding and organizing projects, to creating new applications and tools - the witnesses are leaders of the community that are driving the project forward. What their vision of the project is, and what they are doing to achieve it, should be a key factor in determining who to vote for.

Vote for witnesses here:

https://steemit.com/~witnesses

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Sort Order:  trending
50
  ·  last month

Great information... I am new here and is actually wondering what a witness is all about. I still have my 30 points intact. Now I know how and where to use it. Thank you for your valuable information. Keep on sharing. Followed you.

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71
  ·  last month

Awesome, glad it helped! :)

46
  ·  2 months ago

Well explained

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71
  ·  2 months ago

Thanks!

66
  ·  7 months ago

timcliff Thanks for the information on witnesses I will have to take the time and look deeper into voting on more witnesses

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71
  ·  7 months ago

Welcome @me-tarzan. Glad it helped! :)

72
  ·  7 months ago

Price Discount

I've ceased my price feed bias because of the stable and now somewhat risen price of STEEM. I think it's important to stay on top of the bias if the market is no longer in a long slide downwards.

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70
  ·  7 months ago

Interesting point. :)

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71
  ·  7 months ago

Thanks @pfunk - I updated the guide to add clarity to when this should be used: "if the market conditions are not resulting in a conversion near one USD".

70
  ·  7 months ago

Keep up the great work!

Shared on twitter

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55
  ·  7 months ago

Steem_Land Steemland.com tweeted @ 26 Nov 2016 - 17:14 UTC

Witness Voting Guide — Steemit steemit.com/witness-catego…
@SteemUps @SteemitPosts @steemit @steemiobot @Beyond_Bitcoin

Disclaimer: I am just a bot trying to be helpful.
69
  ·  7 months ago

Awesome and Imperative

Everyone needs to see this. Honestly, I think it's important enough to put on the hamburger board. Resteeming

64
  ·  7 months ago

Thanks! I had two votes that needed changed,...

56
  ·  7 months ago

Great explanation. I will review my voting for witnesses. Although my stake is just a drop in the ocean but "what is an ocean but a multitude of drops".

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71
  ·  7 months ago

:-)

65
  ·  7 months ago

@timcliff this may be an ignorant question, but how is being a witness different from mining STEEM?

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71
  ·  7 months ago

They are related. Every block, there are 21 'miners' that contribute to the 'Delegated Proof of Stake' calculations. Each of the top 19 witnesses, plus one backup witness (chosen at random based on a weighted probability of their vote shares), plus one miner.

Everyone in the non-witness mining pool is basically on equal footing, and it is largely a competition of computing resources. For the witnesses, the more votes they have, the more blocks they will get.

The top 19 witnesses also have additional responsibilities in that they set the parameters such as the price feed and SBD APR.

66
  ·  7 months ago

This post has been ranked within the top 10 most undervalued posts in the second half of Nov 26. We estimate that this post is undervalued by $18.40 as compared to a scenario in which every voter had an equal say.

See the full rankings and details in The Daily Tribune: Nov 26 - Part II. You can also read about some of our methodology, data analysis and technical details in our initial post.

If you are the author and would prefer not to receive these comments, simply reply "Stop" to this comment.

54
  ·  7 months ago

This post has been linked to from another place on Steem.

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69
  ·  7 months ago

Thanks @timcliff. I've just shaken my witness list up a little, and added you to mine. Thanks for your hard work.

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71
  ·  7 months ago

Cool, thanks!! :)

67
  ·  7 months ago

This post was really helpful. Thanks for making it clear @timcliff!

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71
  ·  7 months ago

Welcome! Glad you found it helpful :)

68
  ·  7 months ago

Thank you for educating me on the witnesses with a strike-through. I have removed my vote from those witnesses and re-deployed a vote to one additional witness "curie".

Is there a way to vote twice for a witness? I do have leftover votes, but only feel comfortable voting for several witnesses I am familiar with. If I could I would definitely throw more votes your way.

I have resteemed this post to help encourage a vote for you as witness.

I appreciate the continued education and your support to the SteemIt community.

Steem on,
Mike

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71
  ·  7 months ago

Hi @etcmike - I'm glad the guide helped :) There is not a way to vote twice for the same witness. Technically one could split their SP across multiple accounts and vote 'twice' - but it would not really do anything, since the ranking just tallies the amount of SP that is being cast across all the votes. The actual number of votes does not make a difference beyond perception.

Thanks, I appreciate your support! :)

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68
  ·  7 months ago

You just gave me another reason to increase my SP.

@timcliff, I do have another question. If my SP is spread across my witness votes, then does not using all my witness votes increase the weighting of SP to those witnesses I did vote for?

Thanks for educating me (and the community) further on witnesses and witness voting,

Mike

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71
  ·  7 months ago

Each witness you vote for will get 100% weight, regardless of how many witnesses you are voting for.

68
  ·  7 months ago

Re-steemed :-)