Witness Voting Guide

in witness-category •  last year

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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Estaba pensando e buscar información sobre que es un testigo gracias @timcliff encontré información aunque de una solo lectura o basta, tiene de mi 2 voto 1 por el articulo y otro por testigo

Thanks for this post, I was reading about witnesses and voting for them and was somewhat confused! I've just seen on a linked post that anyone can vote for witnesses, so that has answered a question I had. I was wondering if you needed to earn some money or power first, but appears not.

This whole system involves so much, it is a lot to take in! Great to have this and other posts explaining the process.

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Cool, glad it helped :)

Wow a comprehensive explanation as to the witness system, greatly appreciated @timcliff have an awesome new week.

You know, I never even knew there was such thing as a witness until I read this post. That sounds like a lot of work! Is it a full time job? I for one appreciate what you're doing @timcliff I think you're the only witness I've come in contact with on the network so far though. So one of my 30 votes goes to you. I guess I'll wait until I meet some of the others to use my other votes.
Thanks again for making it all work for us!

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It is pretty much a full time job, yes. You have probably seen some of the other witnesses around too, you just may not have known they were witnesses :)

@timcliff thank you very much for making this! What first introduced you to steem? It is posts like this and such a great community that makes me to enter into this world!

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Thanks :)
My brother is into crypto currency investing, and he told me about the project about a year and a half ago.

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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Awesome, glad it helped! :)

Well explained

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Another very helpful article, @timcliff. I will be voting for you as one of my witnesses. Keep up the great work!

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Thanks for your reply, @timcliff. Since you are very active, and knowledgeable here, may I ask you a couple of questions which I have not been able to figure out here? I have been using the SteemNow stats from @penguinpablo, and it says my 100% upvote is worth $0.00. This has been the case since the beginning of my Steemit usage starting in July 2017. I started checking my profile stats on his site shortly after making my first post in August. What makes my upvote worth something? Am I doing something wrong if it still says it is not worth anything? And also, I have never seen an option that allows me to down vote anything. What triggers this feature? Thanks in advance for your helping me to understand these things. I have read the FAQ's and several authors' articles, but still can't figure it out.

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Hi @mitneb - the amount that your vote is worth is a function of how much Steem Power you have. You can use this tool on SteemNow to estimate how much your vote would be worth if you had more SP: https://steemnow.com/upvotecalc.html

To downvote, just look for the flag icon. It should be in the upper right corner of posts/comments.

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@timcliff, thanks for this help. I see the flag now. It sure is small, and not where I expected it to be. Probably better that way to keep people from accidentally tapping it. And the calculator was helpful. I see that it takes 100 SP to get a .01 value. I have a long way to go before I get there. I'm investing in the platform by powering up 100% when I publish articles, but I am not purchasing any SP because I am trying to grow my account value completely organically by participating in the platform and engaging with people. I was trying to build up a bit of funds to employ the minnow booster bot or some other one that seems like a good one to use, but maybe it is better just to keep powering up my SP instead. What would you advise is the smartest thing to do with my meager assets? I currently have 1.783 Steem, 1.936 Steem in the Steem Power category (not counting the delegated 13.124 balance), .451 Steem Dollars, and no savings. Thanks in advance for your insight and advice.

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If you are trying to grow your SP, then powering up all STEEM is the way to go. For any SBD, you can trade for STEEM on the internal market (link in the main menu as well as your wallet). There are zero fees for this.

Regarding trading SBD for STEEM, you can just trade at the current market price, or you can try to time it and get the best value. If you watch the prices of STEEM and SBD, you get the most STEEM if you wait until the price of STEEM is lowest and the price of SBD is highest.

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Thanks for this helpful advice, @timcliff. I'll take it. I'm also trying to earn more of anything by entering contests that have awards for the best entries. This seems like a good way to publish, engage and interact, and improve myself at the same time. Cheers!

Thank you for explaining this part! I am wrong or to have a good chance beeng witness it to have a build up community outside steemit before? I am asking because I have seen a lot of familiar faces like youtubers etc.

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I started out a little over a year ago, and I didn't know anyone here or have any outside following when I joined.

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I mean like jerry banfield as example, he has 200k youtube followers and thats make easy for him to growth community here.

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Yes, having a following before you join does usually help; it is not the only way to success though :)

Wow, to think just 11 months ago you wrote this guideline and made so little. Fast forward to today, to see how much has changed is encouraging. Congratulations and thanks for th helpful tools!

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Welcome :)

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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".

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

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Welcome! Glad you found it helpful :)

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

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

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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Interesting point. :)

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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".

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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.

Awesome and Imperative

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

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

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

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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.

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.

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