All the different reward curves explained in an easy to understand way. And how they effect you.

in #exyle2 years ago (edited)


All the different reward curves explained in an easy to understand way.

I have seen a lot of users asking for an explanation of the different reward curves and how it will affect them.

In this post, I will try to do just that.

I won't use terms like "Vests" or "Rshares" and things most users don't understand or want to know.

I just keep it simple with Steempower and Payout.

Let's start with the N^2 or the superlinear reward curve.

This curve was around when I joined Steem in 2016 and it looks like this:

Screenshot 2019-06-01 at 08.09.44.png

As you can see looking at the picture, the more Steempower a post receives the faster the payout goes up.

This also means that the start of a payout is very slow. You need a good initial amount of votes with steempower to get the curve started but once it does it speeds up quickly.

As you can see from the example the first 100K Steempower on the post adds $5 to the post. But later that same amount (100k) of Steempower adds $25 to the post.

Under this curve, we had a 50/50 curation and author reward.

What ended up happening was that some popular authors kept getting all the votes because it was simply easier and more profitable for Steempower holders to receive curation rewards to vote for already popular content than to go out and find gems to curate.

If you were a 'good' curator and no-one else would vote for that amazing piece of content you found then all that time and effort was for nothing and you would have been better off voting for already popular content.

In this time all the Steempower was in the hands of a few.

Having Steempower was useless (unless you had millions) and so was buying it. There was no way you could compete with these giant accounts. Even with 10k SP you couldn't make a dent in your own account and help move it forward.

I remember I had 10k SP at some point and my vote was worth $0,01.

If you were not in the in-crowd you would be looking at $0,00 payouts most of the time and you could not empower yourself in any way to make a difference.

This is why the curve was changed. To make it fairer for everyone!

And that brings us to the next curve.

Linear Curve

This is the curve we have today. The linear Curve.

Screenshot 2019-06-01 at 08.13.49.png

The linear Curve means that Steempower no matter where in the curve it is given will always represent the same amount of Payout.

The curve is as steep in the beginning as later on. This is why when you increase your amount of Steempower your vote is worth more. The two go hand in hand.

The premise is simple. If you want to give away more payout you need more Steempower or in other words, if you want to empower your account you need more Steempower.

I love this curve because it gives every Steemian control over their own account and they can make it grow.

It's an extremely powerful feeling and a good incentive to build a home here.

And this is what happened. We now have a strong Steem middle class and it's getting bigger with the years.

Linear doesn't come without flaws. Building your account is different for everyone. Some build by using their SP to empower their efforts on the blockchain through blogging or by building a business. Others grow their account simply by upvoting themselves or putting it in a bot.

And as another downside. So-called 'Content discovery' on went down the drain. But I didn't care much about that, it was the same people over and over so from my point of view there wasn't much 'content discovery' to begin with.

A lot of smaller users are empowered now under the linear curve and this is about to change under the new proposed curve.

The new proposed curve

This is the latest proposed curve I could find. It's called the convergent linear rewards curve.

Screenshot 2019-06-01 at 08.21.20.png

This curve is a hybrid between superlinear and linear.

It starts off as N^2. Which means that you need a good initial amount of votes with Steempower to get it started. I have colored it in Green.

After it's up and running it will change to linear (in yellow) preventing payouts to get to high like back in 2016.

What will this mean for you?

Well if you have no Steempower you need people to vote on your content to get it started. If you don't have these votes now, you are looking at $0,00 payout unless you can find a way to make SP holders vote on your posts and you will need a lot more of them under this curve than linear.

Buying SP will not help you as much as it would under linear unless it's enough to get you out of the start of this curve.

If you are a minnow or dolphin then you will find that your vote when you vote on posts with no votes will be worth a lot less, that's because of the n^2 curve. But if you vote for posts that are doing well it should be about the same as it is today because by then the curve has turned linear.

Orca's and Whales will probably be able to blast through the initial n^2 curve. But I'm not 100% sure by how much.

My fear with this curve is that the middle class of Steem will feel less empowered when it comes to their own account.

Curation will change to 50/50 and a separate downvote pool will be introduced are the other changes that will happen.

A downvote under the beginning of this curve weighs much more than later on when the curve turned linear. The plus side: It will, therefore, be very cheap to combat abuse of smaller accounts and vote them to $0. That's good.

But on the downside, it also opens the door of downvoting people you just don't like besides their content. This is especially dangerous for smaller accounts.

50/50 should increase curation. Although I'm not sure how. If an early vote on a post that later turns out to do very well gives a lot of curation rewards than curation is incentivized.

But I can't yet see how this will prevent votes from piling on posts of which it is already known they will do well.

The problem is that any post firsts need to get out of the n^2 curve zone before it becomes profitable and that takes a lot of SP.

So if you are a dolphin curator and you find a post you think will do well, but then it doesn't, then you essentially wasted a vote much better placed on content that would already do well.

This is the one thing I can't visualize in my head so I hope to get some answers about that.

For me, what it comes down to is that there are a lot of unknowns we have to face.

I hope my post adds to the discussion of making it more clear what those are.

The way I see things now:

Taking power away from the middle class in the hope that maybe content discovery on will improve is a huge gamble in my opinion and most of the improvements this curve is supposed to bring are based on the hope that big dolphins, orca's and whales will do 'the right thing'.

I doubt that will happen because not everyone in that group wants to be a curator and they should not have to be on the blockchain of opportunity.

I know linear is not ideal. But it's also not bad. At least it empowers every Steemian equality in a simple rule:

more SP = more power
less SP = less power

Even the people that are accused of abusing the system can only do so with their own share and to take profit from this abuse they will have to sell. The middle class doesn't sell but builds, therefore gaining on the abusers every day. It just takes time to play out.

That's it for now.

I have made this post with my best understandings of the current changes. If I have made a mistake I will correct and write about.

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It will all depend on the parameter C and K: n^2/(n/C + K)

When they find reasonable parameter values, so that a dophin goes into the linear range, than the changes are not that bad.

Thanks for this info, man! That would make a huge difference for sure.

@exyle @holger80 the curve is even more specific:

(n^2 + 2cn)/(n + 4c)

There's a reason for this specific form that has to do with the relation the curation curve has to specify and specific implementation choices, and from the thread they will put out that derivation at some point (there's some in my post as well.)

Basically the slope doesn't start at zero, so actually this is a lot milder than we think it will be. Which I think is good for those thinking it's a bit too much of a penalty to stomach, but not for those that want to see a dramatic effect on the lower end.

I think that it's enough to incentivize stacking votes vs low end reward farming. (Comparing two sets of post farms, if one farms at x per post and the other goes slightly higher, the one farming higher will be getting more) and that can cause cascading effects for how they adjust, even with that.

Thanks so much much for the extra info man!

I plotted the graph as best I could and depending on the value of c it changes a bit.

The initial start is now between linear and n^2.

I recorded the change in a video.

for c=1 (blue line).

Screenshot 2019-06-01 at 18.14.12.png

Have I understood you correctly?

Yup that looks to be right. There's also this interactive tool someone pointed out to me: which allows anyone to play around with it too (can put more curves simultaneously as well, I believe)

nice! And guess what tool I used :)

LOL right, I feel dumb.

Think it makes more sense to divide by n in order to easily grasp the impact. And to use a logarithmic scale for the x axis.

  • green: lineair
  • red: n^2
  • blue: convergent linear as proposed (with some c)
  • orange: alternative n x S^log(n) curve proposed here (by me)

I hope, whatever curve and whatever parameters are chosen, they will also shift dust level accordingly. Massive amounts of comments seem to be about to shift beneath dust level as things look now, and I'm afraid this will really hurt social interaction on the platform.

This is what things would look like with dust level cut-off added:

Looking at the graphs together, if the proposal is something like the last one, the post rewards will be the lowest yet, overall. So they'd have to increase curation rewards for the curators to bother, which means the reduction is twice over for the authors. So, yes, the platform should be completely cleared of the riff raff and about 90% of others with it.

The linear reward system may not be perfect, but it's balancing out. We've reached a point where most people ignore trending anyway and stick to their communities. There are people on here who have been posting for a couple of years and still only get less than a dollar per post, but within their community they can be voted by minnows for a little something and they enjoy the interactions which come with it. We can wave goodbye to them with that last reward curve.

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If you are a minnow or dolphin then you will find that your vote when you vote on posts with no votes will be worth a lot less, that's because of the n^2 curve. But if you vote for posts that are doing well it should be about the same as it is today because by then the curve has turned linear.

As usual the devil is in the details.

If the reward curve for a post turns linear only when the post has 100,000 SP voting for it at full power, I will not vote for anything else but Trending while doing my best to time my vote perfectly. To do otherwise would be an exercise in futility both for me as a curator in possession of about 6,000 SP and the author of any post not going to receive anything less than a large Orca's full power vote worth of votes.

Is the math in this post a mere example or is there any definitive info on where Steemit Inc intends to have the linearity start?

If the linearity is supposed to start at 100,000 SP, then that will truly be the death of organic curation on Steem. Sure, you could use bid bots to get your post above the hurdle, but the risk would be substantial with free downvotes. I'm a regular user of @ocdb and theoretically stand to directly benefit a lot from this. There are only 380 accounts with more than 50,000 SP on Steem. There are about 7,500 active accounts. If each puts out a post a day, that means that each curator with enough SP to amount to anything would have to read 20 posts a day on average. Would they bother to read posts written by the smaller accounts or would the circle jerk for guaranteed profit? We already KNOW the answer to that. It's no longer a matter of guesswork.

Steem will become a big circle jerk again if linearity starts at 100,000 SP worth of votes on a post. That's a certainty. It will be extremely hard for any new author to grow their account here. That means no new authors.

Of course, rewarding users for posting and curating is not the only use case for the chain. There is JSON data storage, which can be used for gaming and digital assets. But by setting the start of linearity at 100k SP will be the death of Steemit and all blogging applications. It will be a very, very quiet chain.

Because I haven't seen any definitive numbers out there, I'm beginning to lean against EIP. I would be very pissed off if my over two years of content creation came to nothing financially. There is a good chance the price of STEEM will come to nothing if 95% of the user base stops posting and is content with auto-voting posts guaranteed to reach the linear part of the curve. I'm sure much of that content would be shitty to boot.

The non-linearity cut off should be at something like 100 SP at most. Anything in Minnow territory or higher would be a total disaster.

Still confused. Still doesn't look like a good idea. sips tea

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Is the math in this post a mere example or is there any definitive info on where Steemit Inc intends to have the linearity start?

It's an example I made. The real numbers are still being tweaked. As @holger80 pointed out:

Well let it die then.. The less authors the more chance for votes for others who work hard to build an account.

I'm kidding of cource but nobody knows how hard it is to put a daily post about an anything on steemit. You can just game but also that the games keeping up with them and blogging, vlogging? Curating. . And besides that have a real life? Wh o w I say ... whow..

But nothing comes for free... if it's too good to be true it is.. building anything is hard work.. even a sandcastle...

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This is absolutely the best reasoning I've seen to be skeptical of the EIP. Most of the reasons I've seen for it are emotional appeals like 'giving more to curators'.

This really helps better understand the situation but not really the logic behind it. It seems as if we are penalizing the fasting growing class of users by numbers.

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They are under the (false?) believe that this will all create insentive for passive stake holders to turn to true curation.

So much good information you have mentioned here my friend. I don't think so most of the STEEMIAN is know about how they got paid with how many STEEM power and how they are able to generate a good amount of STEEM through their voting power and how it could be beneficial to the of holding a more and more STEEM power to keep voting and generating. 👍

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This is a first time when I actually understand the new curve :)
The other posts was just to much of a trouble.


Agree with everything - they are risking a lot...

It'll be good if Whales and orcas would really curate as expected but they will just curate the same circle of friends and gain more power while smaller accounts will get torn down with rewards.
The will be just a Game Of Whales. @exyle

That is damn good education and I like to add a !BEER as an additional little income on this post.

Thanks @exyle for the shared knowledge

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To view or trade BEER go to

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Thank you so much for participating in the Partiko Delegation Plan Round 1! We really appreciate your support! As part of the delegation benefits, we just gave you a 3.00% upvote! Together, let’s change the world!

So this post is a post to vote on because it will reach the linear 😉

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Thanks for taking the time to explain these elements in layman terms. Although I understood them already, I believe it was necessary for the majority of steemians, who are not really interested in technical details.

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.

Thanks for explaining, I have always know the linear system and fully agree on that "it gives every Steemian control over their own account and they can make it grow."

Steem is complicated enough already, this hybrid reward system probably will make that worse. Is there is a list of witnesses that support and reject this proposal? I would be happy to have a vote to keep things the way they are for now at least.

Thanks for keeping us informed @exyle !

It was very good to read...I was like this post 😊👍👌🌟 good work.

Wow, this is scary. I agree we need to keep the platform interesting and profitable for minnows to keep their interest and involvement, as well as build the platform. I've already seen many new folks get frustrated when they try to engage, but cannot build any progress without buying more steem directly. They can't get the visibility of their good posts out to many curators, and their curation brings them 0 or .001. Hard to keep folks engaged like that, hence the revolving door. While we are getting new subscribers, just as many or more get bored and just drop away.
Thank you for putting together this great explanation, I hope more folks will get engaged and head this off.

Great analysis @exyle, I'm fighting all the way up to reach 10K SP! I'm at 8882 SP right now, been powering up from the start here on Steemit

The 50/50 is a money grab by whales.
The convergent curve only takes from small votes while leaving big votes as they are.
Those that abuse flags will now have 25% more to abuse.

Had so many doubts before but looking at this cleared all those thanks for sharing in simple way

This is probably the best explanation I have read so far.
Linear is the most fair imo. Back to steemit's feudalism days I guess...

By now and after all the posts i have read on this I think everyone is sure that this is just a money grab by the bigger accounts, all three, 50/50, reward curve and downvotes can only help big SP holders any way you look at it. All we will have is a huge circle jerk with the bigger accounts all using a vote bot so they won't even have to log on to make their daily money, and of course the usual smaller accounts agreeing with everything the whales say.

Yea, this new curve is just bad news. I get it, we got to fix things.. but giving such a high bar for the average user to hit, making a system that is complex more complex, and raising the bar for new Steem users to get rocking.. this is NOT a good way to go.

Wish they would hold a community vote on the topic or something.

@exyle Such an important information!!! Thanks for sharing... Hope it help us and learn from them.... Keep up the good work... Keep going!!! Thanks

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You have to keep in mind that currently curation is non-linear so the front running of big votes is still in play. The linearity only applies to the payout distribution of the posts but not to how the curation rewards are allocated to each voter.

I am not a blogger so 90% of my income depends on curation. If the EIP is approved it's important to me to know how it will playout but currently I can't visualize it...will there be less people posting or more? Will the competition for curation rewards get tougher or the opposite? Difficult to say.

One thing is sure, there will be less social interaction on posts. Now you need about 800 SP for a single up vote on a comment to exceed dust level, and that 800 SP up vote should get the commenter 1.5 ct. After HF21, most likely you'll need 1600 SP for a single up vote to exceed dust level, and that 1600 SP upvote will only get the commenter 1ct.

It depends on the shape of the curve. If the linear portion starts too high then that would be the outcome but the proposal is not set in stone yet.

Very interesting. This was a great run down of all the possibilities. I think it is just going to take time to see what will happen. There are a lot of peopel that seem to think this is the way to go. I don't know as though we would be able to stop the change even if we wanted to. I just hope this doesn't force me into oblivion.

Thanks for taking the time to break this down. Changes to the EIP are confusing and worrisome to us content creators.. It seems like this will turn it into even more if a curation game. I'm just going to keep doing my best to release good content and hope that it'll get noticed! Cheers.

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Go Vegan bro. All that dietary cholesterol is making you look fat.

One upside to the EIP: We'll all get to down-vote these off topic posts for free soon 😀

That's fine I'm cashing out and won't be on steemit much longer, 6 more weeks till power down. So all you fat meat eaters can enjoy this place alone :D Feel free to downvote me, I'm the one looking out for the animals and trying to protect the environment. You look like an old nerd that never gets laid from your photo, so that explains why you have so much free time to care about my vegan comments. Best of luck to you.

Photo added for simplicity:


You respond to a tech post that has nothing to do with animals or the environment with nonsense about cholesterol, that also has nothing to do with either animals or the environment. You really need those B12 supplements as brain damage is clearly starting to set in. And yes, I'm old, so will you be, just at a way younger age, in actual years, than me, on your current "premature aging diet.
And what's more, if you care for those two you wouldnt be vegan if you had researched the facts first as you would have realized mono cropping hurts both way more than cattle farming. And as for cholesterol, the 20th century called and it wants it's science back. Cholesterol doesn't make anyone sick or fat. Google David Diamond, Ivor Cummings, Michel de Lorgeril and Uffe Ravnskov and look into their work. The LDL hypothesis is pretty much dead, and guess what, it's those plant based sugars and refined grains and plans based high omega 6 ultra processed seed oils that cause CVD and cause obesity, not the eggs and bacon.

Enough said, here is a link to get you started on your obviously long path away from ignorance, premature aging and B12 deficiency induced brain damage. See you on the other side.

I've done months of deep digging into the topic. Those that are telling you animal products are healthy are brainwashed or shills of the meat and dairy industry. We evolved as frugivores, we need to eat our species specific diet for optimal health. Watch durianrider on youtube for the best info on this. Or watch What The Health. Or just look at the cultures that eat a lot of dairy and meat, and compare those to cultures that eat a lot of rice and fruit.

Regarding cows. There are over 1 billion of them on the planet, and they take way more resources to grow than plants do. On top of that they end up eating a lot of plants for their food, so it's a double hit. Plus all the methane gas they release. There are much more cows on this planet than humans pound for pound.

Exyle, keeps posting steak photos on his blog so I was trying to get his attention. My bad if it was unrelated.

I've been navigating nutritional tribes for over 30 years now because of being delt a bad hand genetically. Been duped into the plant based narrative in the past, and went ovo-vegetarian for a few years untill I discovered new health problems (gum disease) were cured magically by just eating some duck liver once a week. Years later I found out that specific plant foods (legumes and sweet fruits such as bananas) were responsible for headaches and weight issues respectively. Like all diet tribes ever, a vegan diet is mostly narrative that pretty much breaks down when you run the data or run N=1 experiments. I'm not with the whole carnivore diet clan, but the number of people who resolve decades long health problems by eating nothing but water and meat is really telling us the plant based for health is humbug.

As for genetics, we decent from entomophagous proto-primates and we as apes diversified to also eating meat, leaves, roots, fish and fruit. And guess what? Environmental issues faced today can be solved without monocrops and without monocrop fed CAFO meat if we just embrace our entomophagous root. Read the post I linked to.

I'dd suggest we stop polluting Exyles comment section with this off topic sub-thread and move this discussion to that post instead.

i replied to you in the thread that you linked in case you didn't see it.

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