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Steem Hardfork 20: Thoughts on Velocity

in witness •  2 months ago

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After 14 months, we finally have a new hardfork to consider for approval.


My feelings about this new hardfork are currently mixed. Unfortunately – in typical Steemit, Inc. fashion – this is another let’s-cram-it-all-in-one-proposal hardfork. Before I even begin, I’d just like to reiterate my desire to have more frequent proposals and less changes to consider for each fork instead of the exact opposite, where we have to either accept undesirable changes or have no changes at all.

With that out of the way, I see some good and necessary changes being proposed and I see some things that appear to be unnecessary and overcomplicated.



What I like about Hardfork 20


Removal of the minimum SP power down restriction – If the SP is yours, you should be able to withdraw it. If there were concerns about exploiting account creation, then the fix is to mitigate account creation exploits, not to prevent all users from withdrawing their tokens. This one is a no-brainer for me.

Reducing the curation window time and self-voting rewards during that time (reverse-auction) – This is something that I have supported since the spring of 2017. I’m glad to see it finally being proposed in a hard fork. I honestly have no idea why it took so long to make this change. A 30-minute “reverse-auction” window was unnecessarily long and has done very little to nothing at all to “combat bots.” Self-voting within that window and being able to maximize your rewards was never ideal and didn’t make much sense to me. And anything that may increase the total pool of curation rewards is a great step. We definitely need to improve SP utility and SP returns for invested users.

28-day expiration of internal market orders – A good addition, in my opinion. I don’t think it’s a critical need, but if it helps to improve blockchain performance with insignificant or no negative consequences for token traders, then I’m for it.

Reward beneficiaries paid based on author settings – Again, this is a no-brainer and a good implementation. It keeps things simple and uniform, which should not be underestimated (time and again).

SBD print rate – This just makes sense to me. If our debt limit is 10%, then we shouldn’t be reducing the print rate of SBDs starting at 2% and increasing the printing of STEEM. In the few cases that I have observed, it’s negative STEEM price action that leads us closer to the debt limit, not the over-printing of SBDs.

I do, however, have a major issue with the SBD conversion function being taken off of the flagship site, steemit.com. This conversion function is the primary tool for users to combat the oversupply of SBDs. It isn’t an “advanced setting.” It’s a critical blockchain function. With prices creeping toward $1.00, it may be very necessary to use the conversion function to both reduce the downward pressure on SBD prices and to reduce the debt ratio by slightly increasing the STEEM supply at the same time. If having a pegged token is still desired, then we need the available tools to be...available.



What I don’t like about Hardfork 20


The new account creation functions and features.

I’ll keep my critique of this simple: It all seems to be an unnecessary and convoluted mess.

Back when the 2017 road map was released by Steemit, Inc., one of the concepts that they touted was K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple, Stupid. It was a great idea that had a lot of support, as the blockchain already seemed pretty complex and easily confused new users. Making things simple for users, making the blockchain more efficient, keeping things as transparent as possible, and allowing for quick troubleshooting are all excellent ideals to strive for with tech and social media.

We’re not getting that here.

Instead, we’re being asked to accept a more complex system of account creation that will require new parameters from witnesses, including many of the same ones who are unable or unwilling to set existing parameters today. These parameters are supposed to be set for discount account creation tokens – the number created each day and the total supply. Then the new Resource Credits (or RCs, which are being proposed in this same hardfork to control bandwidth resources) will apparently be used to actually create the accounts.

Very few of the top-50 witnesses even bother setting bias and APR parameters, even when SBDs are off the intended peg. When it comes to block size and creation fees, most of them simply wait and copy whatever the first person does. If we’re hoping that new parameters will be set based on robust testing and discussion among witnesses and the community, then I’m afraid our hopes will be sorely misplaced.

Even if we were to assume that all of our top witnesses will be engaged and discussing these new parameters regularly, these account creation changes alone should be their own hardfork proposal. There’s no reason why they ought to be included with curation reward, power down, and internal market order changes. The account creation and RC system/market are significant alterations of Steem protocols and will likely have a large impact on the ecosystem. And as stated above, they will add a thicker layer of complexity to the system.

After testing on a testnet, it’s possible that it may turn out to be a better system than we currently have. But why it needs to be lumped in with other quick/easy changes that have more widespread support is mind-boggling.

All of that being said, I think the Resource Credit idea is worth testing. I just don’t think we need another 20 changes at once...again.

20-second comment limit reduced to 3 seconds – I’m not even sure why this was something that needed a fix. Are spammers not able to spam quickly enough with their spam bots? Or do we simply have world-record speed-readers and speed-typers out there who really want to leave engaging, meaningful comments every 20 seconds on different posts?

Upvote lockout period changed to cool-down – I don’t dislike this change. But I don’t necessarily like the time frame for the cool-down.

Very few posts receive votes (or any attention at all) after the first two or three days after publishing. This was the case before the 7-day payout was even implemented – users just didn’t engage much with older posts (mostly because users don’t engage much at all, but that’s another issue altogether). This was one of the main reasons why I wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about changing the payouts to seven days. I would have much rather had a 48 to 72-hour payout period with extended voting time given to the post based on votes received toward the end of the payout period.

With a seven-day payout and a lack of voting and engagement on older posts, I would rather see a cool-down period of 3.5 days. This would help avoid “abuses” in both directions. It would limit the amount of late upvotes and/or votes purchased via bid bots that are made with the intent to try to hide the rewarding of the post after it is long out of sight by the average user. And it would likewise mitigate any late-stage downvoting that may be meant to simply “punish” another user.

More than that, having the shorter initial window would help with the notion of discovery and creating viral or trending content, which was the original idea behind the reward protocols in the first place, if I’m not mistaken.

So I like the idea of the cool-down as opposed to the lockout. I’m just not a fan of the current proposed implementation of it.



The rest of the proposed changes


I really don’t have an opinion on most of what was not mentioned here, which means I don’t really have a problem with any of it at this time. It’s all pretty mundane.



If there’s anything about Hardfork 20 that you want to discuss, leave me a comment and I will try to get a timely response to you.


Steem Velocity Hardfork - Hardfork 20



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I agree with pretty much everything you said here. A few comments though.

I do, however, have a major issue with the SBD conversion function being taken off of the flagship site, steemit.com.

This was done to prevent users from using it unknowingly when SBD is above $1 USD and losing money. Perhaps a warning popup while it is over $1 USD would been better option, but users would still do it anyway unaware of the loses in some cases significant. In fact 20,000 SBD was converted at ~$7 USD SBD price, for a great loss and the main reason this was changed.

While SBD is near $1 now, I don't think it is pegged and just following Steem which is also near $1. Even now using the conversion would be a bad financial move as you would lose about 3% right now, and likely more over a 3.5 period. But I do agree the lack of this functionality from the web UI is not good. It is still possible though if you are technically inclined.

20-second comment limit reduced to 3 seconds

The core idea behind this change is no legitimate user should be throttled under "normal" and "reasonable" use. I have hit this 20-second limit many times. I read relatively fast but not a super speed reader or anything and I can hit this limit going through comments and commenting one interesting ones. It doesn't happen a ton, enough that I get frustrated, but I have run into it. I hope the RC changes will curb the ability to abuse this but I have a feeling it won't be a positive change in the end.

With a seven-day payout and a lack of voting and engagement on older posts, I would rather see a cool-down period of 3.5 days.

I honestly would like to see longer payout window. At least as an option for some forms of content. I am a big believer in evergreen content, content you put a lot of time into (video, tutorials, web shows, high-quality content) that is referenced and engaged on for weeks or months later should be able to be rewarded. I have tutorial/information posts that are 6-8 months old I still frequently get comments on thanking me for a helpful post. But I am more concerned with things like Web Shows, high production tv like video content, development projects, and other similar forms of content. Some of these have extremely high labor requirements to produce and it is difficult to justify when you have a small window you can be rewarded for it. Many YouTube channels depend on monetization on videos that get paid out for years. The payout wouldn't be a single payout, but something like a weekly payout. To do this though would require major improvements in discoverability. I'd add though most content on Steem wouldn't deserve a long payout window so there is that.

I would have liked to see more big improvements for 1.5+ years of work and I agree would like to see more hardforks and fewer changes in each. It becomes you like this and this but not that but you got to take 20 changes along with it.

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I honestly would like to see longer payout window. At least as an option for some forms of content.

That'd be awesome if at the time of posting you could choose the reward period.

20-second comment limit reduced to 3 seconds

That's great IMHO... I'm not patient.

Resource Credits

ewwwww

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I totally agree! We have the ability to just check mark which payout window say out of three that we want for that specific post ! like 7 days / 14 days / 1 month / 6 months etc, thats if you dont mind waiting 6 months for the pay out. Or else let all posts still pay out in 7 days but if you like , you can extend or restart the payout for longer , like restarting the power down. 👍👍👍

Loading...

SMTs

that's right, I went there

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It's there! Didn't you see the Steemit's Minimized Timing post period being changed?

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Oh very good. Consider yourself hired my friend.

Now, quickly come up with a way for me to tell my wife that the infestation is her fault!!

This could be a lucrative arrangement for both of us!

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Maybe in 2020 lol

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Oh, you silly person, you!

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Somebody has to go there, because STINC surely isn't getting it done! ;)

Thank you for the information you provided.

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Your balance is below $0.3. Your account is running low and should be replenished. You have roughly 10 more @dustsweeper votes. Check out the Dustsweeper FAQ here: https://steemit.com/dustsweeper/@dustsweeper/dustsweeper-faq

Pretty solid summary!

I like the discounted account system if that means the steemit sign up process can be improved and is faster for new users. I also like the burning of sign up fees.

Resource credits are what I am really looking forward to.

A good review you have made and the H20 will bring features to enhance account creation, control ressources and better curation reward.

After testing on a testnet ..

Testnet will go live, I guess, after 25. August.
Leaving a month time for testing.
Even in a good test environment, with test cases and such, this is a very narrow time window.

And I also agree, let's have all the features crammed into one HF.
What should one do, that likes only 50% of the changes?
Or 75%..and really hates the other 25% of the new features..

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Even in a good test environment, with test cases and such, this is a very narrow time window.

Yeah, I agree with you there. They spend 14+ months putting this together, then want to spend maybe a month seeing how it'll work, with a very limited number of people testing it, most likely. But at least there is a somewhat public testnet and some advanced notice of testing. That rarely ever happens before hardforks around here.

What should one do, that likes only 50% of the changes?

Reject the hardfork. Make them scale it down to the changes that actually have consensus. Then discuss, test, and possibly revise the ones that do not have as much support. You know...collaboration and consensus stuff. Pretty novel idea, isn't it?

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And as we know, there are many ways to reach consensus. Very doable.

Interesting summary and points! I just got around to reading the release notes and am still digesting.
This review of the HF seemed very balanced and fair with good and bad points.

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This review of the HF seemed very balanced and fair with good and bad points.

That's the only way I like to do things! Fair and balancedTM!

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:) It's your brand! Good to see the funny side of you as well!

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Would be interesting if Steemit Inc came out with that they wanted to HardFork Jerry's special video to the front page hahaha, the reactions...

To listen to the audio version of this article click on the play image.

Brought to you by @tts. If you find it useful please consider upvoting this reply.

totally agreed to what you have said.
it gives a strange sensation to me that reducing the 20 seconds to 3 is really seen as a improvement.
And i really dont know why this account creation has to go such strange ways ...
HF20 is really not what I thought it would be ...
Kind regards
Jan

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HF20 is really not what I thought it would be ...

By the time the hardforks get to the proposal stage, they usually never are what we thought they'd be. They just love to stuff them full of many different things so that everyone can both like and dislike the hardfork. I mean...why bother sticking with a few things that are pretty much universally accepted as good/necessary changes?

Things can change substantially when looking at them on paper than when they are actually implemented, testnet will give us a more precise feel regarding the HF20 changes.
All rewards from this comment will go to charity

Still that community hardfork and that smt thing right?

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Well, SMTs are still being worked on, allegedly. I'm sure that'll be the "next big focus"...again.

The community stuff isn't something that'll require a hardfork, as far as I know. There may be some aspects of it that could require some adjustments/tweaks at the blockchain protocol level, but the main project isn't going to be a blockchain function.

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resteemed.

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I am not sure what would be a solution to improving the sign-up process both for steemit and for DApps that would not add an extra layer or introduce a new system. So I would not use that argument against it.

For me, having the ability to sign up a thousand users on my own every day without a significant cost is the most important change I need to work independently with Steem. It doesn't really matter much to me how it is done as long as there is some scarcity to it that gives DApps the incentive to give accounts to users who will actually add something of value rather than at will.

thanks for explaining this in a way even a pleb like me could understand. @themarkymark too.

smart cookie
UnfinishedParchedChipmunk.gif

What do you think of the blockchain selling sbd?
Instead of burning the steem in a conversion, using the proceeds to replace/augment normal inflation.
During times the debt limit is hit the steem could be burned to push up its price.
A multiday average would serve to quell abuse/manipulation.

My contention is that 1b sbd will not exist any time soon with the current inflation rate.
We barely have enough sbd to pay a semipro hockey team with none left over for tshirt sales, let alone replace a significant portion of usd/euro.

By selling sbd for 1usd of steem the peg is prevented from going up.
No demand means no sales, so the normal inflation would be the bottom.

By putting the proceeds into the normal inflation payouts, sp holders, witnesses, and authors benefit from the added cashflow, while it lasts.

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Are you saying that you want to cap the price of SBDs at $1.00 of STEEM via blockchain protocols? As in, you sell an SBD on the internal market and you get only $1.00 of STEEM? Same as the conversion function, but applied to selling as well?

Please clarify. I want to make sure I'm understanding your comments.

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No, not exactly.
Im saying open an account, call it sbd open window, and send steem to it for sbd in return.
The reason to use an account rather than a ui function is for ease of transparancy.
Anybody can look in the wallet, it takes a more advanced user to access the blockchain.
By opening this window sbd is capped at one dollar, mostly.
If somebody wanted to pay more on an exchange they could, but why would they?
I guess a premium could be charged for accepting btc, or other tokens, instead of steem, on the exchanges.

The steem sent to the account would be distributed just like normal inflation.
If the debt ratio is too high, it could be burned.
An average would be used to avoid manipulation of the market.

If demand for a pegged asset is more than 15m, then sbd rises in price breaking the peg.
15m sbd is not enough to run an economy.
Why bother adopting a pegged crypto if there is barely enough of it to go around?

We need billions of sbd to begin thinking about replacing even a tenth of the usd/euro market.
The current inflation rate doesnt meet the demand anytime soon.
By forcing demand for a pegged crypto through steem first demand for steem is up.
For merchants the price of steem is irrelevant, they will get 1usd for 1sbd whether that is one steem or ten.
Though i would think that once sbd held its peg for a while it would take on a life of its own as, other than author rewards, each one only came into existence by paying one usd of steem.

We could just bank the steem from sbd sales, but that wont keep the price from dropping.
Spreading it through normal inflation turbocharges adoption.
In the time it takes to go from 15m to 15b sbd the current users will be very excited.
What happens when the excitement falls back to the normal inflation rate remains to be seen, but while the spigot is open alot of people will get very wet.

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If you see a hole in this plan, please point it out.
No point continuing to push a flawed plan.

Great update worthy of a upvote and resteem! Thanks!👌👍✌

I agree that changes should be voted on in a more line by line basis. It is the biggest inefficiency in the US government today. Laws being thousands of pages long and stuffed with special earmarks just to get a basic thing everyone agrees upon changed. I guess this is what you get when policymakers say I will vote for this if you add what I want too.

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+1 +1

:-)

but in these proposals I see nothing against the thefts of votes and accounts on steemit!
Honestly, 10 or 20 seconds for the comments ... I do not care.

Thanks for the thorough review.

All in all, I feel like Steem,Inc does not make changes to improve the uses interactions here. I use to spend so much more time here before, reading, writing, commenting, interacting... But now...

I don't know where Steem is headed but at some point the focus wshould be placed on the users and not on the tech. It should be fun and entertaining to come here. It is not the case anymore.

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20 sec comment limit is annoying. It gives blogger doubles to reply comments, but does little to prevent spamming. Spamming bot can spam once every minute.
A better way to limit spamming is leaky bucket, but a hard coded 20 second limit