Change Curation Reward System On Steem Blockchain / DISCUSSIONsteemCreated with Sketch.

in Steeming Community10 months ago

Hi friends!

Our last discussion, which is about reducing the power down to 1 week, has gained a lot of valuable insights. If you haven't read or joined that topic, you can go to this post. We look forward to your input! Tomorrow there will be a recap about this topic.

2/ Curation on Steemit, let's look at it.

Blue Modern Illustrated COVID-19 Medical Presentation.png

Currently, we run a model that rewards early voters on big payout posts. Due to this, accounts who have tons of SP and invest in upvote services, gain also the attention of curation hunters that are fighting for the best spots in the curation pool of the post payouts.

We think, that if we flatten the curation reward curve completely, this will have a positive impact on how the people use their precious voting power.

Curation is super important and still should be rewarded high. But it should be rewarded the same for every user, no matter when you vote within the 7-day voting window. Only based on the stake you own. Not timing of voting.

Benefits of having NO extra rewards for voting early.

  1. People will start voting within their communities because they realize this is a social platform and if you vote for others they vote for you.
  2. People will likely create more value as they see benefits in building and joining communities and provide value for others.
  3. People will engage more as they realize its a game of getting noticed.
  4. We can tell investors an exact number for their return on investment. Now we got no clue, on a good day 25% and on a bad 10%??
  5. People will start following curation trails as these have the manpower to go and hunt for great authors. Now people do not follow it as it should be because they earn less on curation. Most curation trails I know vote manually so they loose on curation. Curation trails shouldn't be punished for doing good!
  6. If we want to have good behavior, we should code it that good behavior gets rewarded.
  7. Redistribution of wealth. I know I won't make myself popular with the rich that benefit from this model. I actually do not care as I want Steem to be the best sustainable blockchain. One that treats its users equally and where everyone can come and earn, not only the chosen few. Please think about our future, long term.
  8. KISS - Keep It Stupid Simple. One of the reasons we have a low retention rate is that people do not get it. Even die-hards are having a hard time explaining it. The easier you make it, the more people will use it.

Negatives of having NO extra rewards for voting early.

As you can see, I have blanks here people.

Blue Modern Illustrated COVID-19 Medical Presentation (1).png


How it could be: John has 1000 Steempower, with this stake he has this amount of percentage vote. 50% of that goes to the author, the other 50% is shared between the curators, based on their stake. You can check your vote $ here: He always gets the same return on his investment. If he powers up more, he is sure he earns more.

How it right now: John has 1000 Steempower, with this stake he has this amount of vote, 50% goes to the author, 50% is shared between curators, based when they voted and the percentage vote. We have no clue exactly how much he will earn, sometimes good, sometimes bad. He just got to be lucky or vote for high earners so he might have a chance to earn more...

Do you see the problem too??

Please share your thoughts. I would like to know what do you think about the current curation model that rewards early voters on big payout posts? Should we treat all votes equally and give curators a share of the post payout based on their stake only? Do you think we should remove the early voters' model and go for a change?

Steemingcurators is Steem Witness, if you want please take a moment to give us your vote:, we are currently 62. If you still got witness votes for inactive witnesses, please make sure you unvote those. THANKS


Dear @steemingcurators

May I ask you how long have you been around? Did you use Steemit before non-linear curation rewards curve has been introduced?

It is very IMPORTANT question. After all - non-linear curve has been introduced to solve some particular problems, which were of real importance at that time.

I clearly remember, how much effort has been invested into implementing this change and going through math. And it all took place for one simple reason: TO FIGHT WITH BIDBOTS.`

Don't get me wrong, but saying 'Negatives of having NO extra rewards for voting early.: As you can see, I have blanks here people.' only proves to me, that you are not prepared and you didn't do homework. No offence, but this is the way it is.

If we want to go back to the way things were (which means, that we would move few steps backward) then we need to find ways of dealing with those problems. We need to figure out how to avoid new upvoting bots flourishing? How can we avoid buing upvotes?
Please, come with some solutions to this particular problem. I'm not saying that removing non-linear curve is wrong. But it NEED to come with solution to previous problems. We cannot simply move back and forth. And again back and forth.

It's a bit to optimistic and naive to assume, that previous problem will not come back. It surely will. And bidbots were perfect tool, which allows to milk this blockchain without many limitations.

Yours, Piotr


I think the curation rewards need to be fixed, but not by removing benefits for early voting.

I have long advocated for implementation of a rewards distribution that's modeled after a second price auction. For example, here is an article that I wrote on the topic (with a simulation that was based on HF19/20 linear rewards curve.)

Google uses 2nd price auctions for their advertising sales because the winning strategy is to bid the actual perceived value. Google found that it was the best way to find market values for their advertising. I think that similar principles would apply to value-discovery for Steem's posts.

On Steem, for good curation, we need voters to self-regulate in 2 directions: (i) Vote a post up to it's actual value; and (ii) Don't vote a post up past it's actual value (according to the voter's perception).

Rewards for early voting encourage people to vote a post up to it's actual value, but we have no mechanism that motivates them to avoid overvaluing a post. Hence, we have numerous over-valued posts sucking rewards away from numerous under-valued posts.

The downvote was the intended mechanism for avoiding overvaluation, but that has clearly failed. In response, I don't think we should take away the incentive that seems to be working. I think we should add a new incentive for downward self-regulation.

IMO, with a mechanism like that, downvotes would only be needed for SPAM and illegal content, or maybe not at all.

The response has been that it's not "abuse proof", but that's the wrong question. Nothing is abuse proof. The question should be whether it's better than what we have now, and my guess is that it would be far superior.

Whatever is done, it should be guided by actual economic theory and game theory, not just someone's "gut feeling". We have a history of making changes like this based on intuition and then changing course every year or two. Maybe the SPS should be used to fund an analysis by expert professionals so we can do it once and do it right.

Hi! And thanks again for your valuable contribution to the discussions!

I am interested in that model, but also seems complicated to explain to the average user/investor.

I also feel that we can not make a full abuse proof system but we surely can work towards that. Is it better then it is right now? Yes, then let's change it and work from there. (not saying that we need to update based on impulsiveness without getting serious economic advice)
Self-regulatory systems are key, but also simplicity.

We have discussed the question: What is abuse? A few months back. And everyone comes with a different answer. For some, code is law and nothing is abuse. Some think voting yourself 10 times at 100% is abuse.

A balance between not putting restrictions on users, cause face it, who like that? - And incentives by rewarding users how we want them to behave.

What is wrong with: Your own vote is worth 1$, 50cents goes to the author, 50% to you? You just get what your vote is worth. It gives a clear indication of your earnings without taking guessing in the equation.

Thanks, I am happy this gets so much attention, wasn't expecting that!

What is wrong with: Your own vote is worth 1$, 50cents goes to the author, 50% to you? You just get what your vote is worth. It gives a clear indication of your earnings without taking guessing in the equation.

To accomplish this, I think that you'd have to eliminate the reward for early voters and also the super-linear rewards curve. With a super-linear rewards curve, my vote on a $100 post is worth more than the same vote on a $1 post. If you eliminate the early voting incentive but leave the super-linear curve, everyone will just vote for the posts at the top of the trending page.

The problem with removing both is that if you do this, the voter doesn't care what post they vote on. They get the same reward if they vote for a great post or if they vote for the first thing they see. And so, we wind up with a blockchain full of (even more) self-voted SPAM. We saw it already with the linear rewards curve. People will just make 10 vacuous posts per day, vote for those, and collect both author and curation rewards from their votes. If the community responds by downvoting self-votes, then people will just hide behind alt accounts.

The reward for early voting encourages voters to vote for posts that were written by other people - instead of just self voting - because high payouts are possible if the voter correctly guesses the posts that will get additional votes. And this is the one incentive that we do see working as designed.

I agree that abuse is subjective. Some things are clearly abusive, others are more ambiguous. If we, eventually, construct the right incentive system, it shouldn't matter. The goal is to find incentives that will drive curators to appraise and reward all posts according to their relative perceived value. By reverting to content-indifferent voting, I think that removing the early voting reward would drive things in the opposite direction.

I agree with your other comment that Steem's fall from #3 in market cap to #130 is far more severe than the general bear market in cryptocurrency, and I also agree with you that the curation rewards distribution needs to be revisited, so thank you for initiating the discussion.

On the other hand, I'm not sure if there are any developers available to Steemit or the witnesses to make blockchain level changes at the moment, so it may be a purely hypothetical conversation for some time to come.

Thanks again, I really appreciate it.

I think that you'd have to eliminate the reward for early voters and also the super-linear rewards curve.

Yes, most likely as it otherwise creates a bigger problem as you mentioned.

And so, we wind up with a blockchain full of (even more) self-voted SPAM.

Yes, some people will likely do that, you just can't tackle everything but the goal is to make it better as it is. Spam does not get rewarded by the gross of the users and I may hope the most that are still here want a long-time income from this and see the benefits of doing good for the platform. Eventually, even the spam minded people benefit from a thriving ecosystem and a high STEEM price. :)

It is a complex matter, as solving one problem brings another. But we just got to figure out if it is better to have the Steem flow in 1 direction or distribute it more evenly.

Yeah my intention above all is to create awareness and get the juices flowing. Also to get more insight and knowledge as I do not have all the solutions, I only know my intentions ;)

I agree with you. Early rewarding encourages the user; by discarding the author for early rewarding because you want to set a limit, you discourage the initiative of competition and publication; besides, there is no reason to strive to improve the content because a voting average is maintained.

I agree with you, mostly with this one:

IMO, with a mechanism like that, downvotes would only be needed for SPAM and illegal content

I will say that I disagree with the notion that an incentive to early voting should be removed. I think the system now encourages people to try to be the first to find quality content. In a system where everyone receives an equal share, bots will be programmed instead to find articles with a large ratio from payout to voters. This means that people will wait to vote until the last possible minute (so the amount of voters won't change), and they will not look for quality content, but instead look for a big ROI. This may be good for the short term price of Steem, but in the long term it would not be sustainable (KSS - Keep it Sustainable Silly), and would frustrate authors.

I agree with @remlaps about professional economic analysis being a good idea. These are complex systems, and they should not be changed without a professional analysis of what the changes will do. That being said, I also don't know if this should be a priority right now. We should focus on growing the number of users through marketing, and improving the user experience before changing the complex technological systems that are essential to Steem.

 10 months ago (edited)

I do not fully agree that the system now encourages people to vote for quality. It encourages to vote early, that is the only certainty.

I might have explained it wrong. But what I like is this: I have 20000 SP, my vote is worth a dollar. 50cent goes to the author I vote for, the other half straight to me when the payout occurs. No matter if I voted first or last. It is always 50% of my vote. With this system, there are no incentives to vote early or on high earners just to get a higher share of the pie. You do not earn less then 50% of your own vote, but also not more.

Yes, it should be looked at by economists. I am just creating awareness and want to let people know that we want to improve.

I am with you on the marketing and brining new users in, all about it actually. I also just do not want to ignore the fact 1 million users signed up, and we got about 1k left. There must be something that we can do to improve that 0.1% retention rate.


I might have explained it wrong. But what I like is this: I have 20000 SP, my vote is worth a dollar. 50cent goes to the author I vote for, the other half straight to me when the payout occurs. No matter if I voted first or last. It is always 50% of my vote. With this system, there are no incentives to vote early or on high earners just to get a higher share of the pie. You do not earn less then 50% of your own vote, but also not more.

So what you are suggesting means your curation reward could be made independent of popularity of the post, as there would be no advantage in voting for popular posts, but also no disadvantage to voting on unpopular posts. This would possibly remove the incentive to vote on Quality as your reward would not change. However, looking at it another way, it could encourage you to vote on quality posts. It would certainly be simpler perhaps to explain then our current system. I would need to think this over and I would be curious what others think about this simplicity.


I do not fully agree that the system now encourages people to vote for quality. It encourages to vote early, that is the only certainty.

The current system encourages users to vote early on the articles they think will have the biggest curation rewards. One of the main factors that can be used to predict which articles will return the most is the quality of the article (there are other factors, but quality is taken into consideration by a lot of stake holders).

In a system where everyone gets 50 percent of their vote, large stakeholders have no incentive to think about why or how they are voting since the return is the same no matter how they vote. This means they will not vote based on quality. In addition, this will make curation unfair for small stakeholders. In the current system, if the smaller users vote before large stakeholders, they will likely get a larger percentage of their vote back than 50 percent. If a set curation rate of 50 percent is utilized, there will be no incentive for good curation for either group.

I also just do not want to ignore the fact 1 million users signed up, and we got about 1k left.

I don't think a lot of them left because the curation rewards system was unfair. I will say 1 million accounts != 1 million users. Most of the users probably left because the price went down, or left with the Hive crew. Some may have left indirectly because of the curation system, but this idea will not fix the curation system in any way. It will amplify the problems.

Thanks for the response.

You absolutely raise some valid points. At the moment, curation is also done based on the expectation of a high payout and likely established users or users that have a proven consistent payout benefit from this. Probably because they have a good quality post. The only fact is that this model is clearly not working as it is anticipated.

A flatter curve will not solve all the problems, but as I see it will definitely improve the distribution.

The thing is, we do not have to think like investors, or primarily for investors. We need to think about mass adoption so think about what is good for actually 95% of the people. We need a massive amount of users, so think what is best for them, investors will follow the money, and that is mostly where all the users are.

How I see the recruiting and retaining process:

  1. Get potential clients in the door,
  2. Make them interested by giving them a sample (votes in this case)
  3. They become hooked and invest some of their money
  4. These people feed the newbies and the cycle continues

Thanks again, I really like these discussions

OMG, you've read my thoughts!
Just a few days ago I've asked this question to at least 60 people (steemit bloggers chat in tg) I've asked how can I count (appr. at least) how much I can earn from my vote. No one answered) Now I understand why - there's no exact answer)
And I hardly understand about early birds (when is deadline of being an early bird?)


If you remove the early voters' model, wouldn't it be just a mass checking where did steemcurators go and where they vote, and put votes only where steemcurator's reward was high enough?

To tell the truth, I tried it myself — was tracking some steemcurator, and put my vote to where the steemcurator put (yeah, yeah, I didn't know anything about early birds system and was so surprised I've got much less than 1 cent, I mean much less)))

As for me, a person with a small SP (it's small for now but who knows), I'd rather say you should treat all votes equally and give curators a share of the post payout based on their stake only. But in the Diary Game it can be turned to chasing on steemcurators, I'm afraid.

Or... If there was a feature (some button or sth) that can show if curator's vote is still counted as an early bird's or no (and what's the gradation or curation rewards on different time).
Or... I don't know, I'm not sure I understand the system of curation rewards right LOL
But I'm glad this topic appeared in your blog, I'll read all the updates^^

Hi thanks for joining the discussion!

To explain it as easy as possible: Curation atm works like this

If you vote before the 5-minute mark that a post is posted, a share of your vote goes back to the pool. As penalty so to speak.. If you vote before all big votes come in, you get a bigger share of the 50% that goes to the curators. (minus the amount that goes back to the pool as penalty for -5 minute voters.)
IF you vote after the bigger votes, a share of your vote goes to the people that voted before you. That is why you earn less if you vote on posts that already have a big payout, or if you vote a few seconds to late.) It is more of a game than an actual investable venture.

If you vote before all the big votes come in, you get a bigger share of the pie, based on your own vote of course. Thats why you sometimes earn more.

What we like to change is this actual model that causes people to autovote on people they know are going to get high votes, and everyone is competing to be first. If all people were chasing the ROI, we would even have less users.

What we like to achieve is a more fair distribution of the votes

Thank you, now it's clear ) couldn't find this in FAQ.
You explained so well, may be you even should add these few sentences explanation to a FAQ section? (of course, if early birds system will remain).

 10 months ago 

Thank you @steemingcurators for running these very interesting discussion posts.

The Steemit Team

Thank you for your appreciation!

To be honest, and as a newbie, it took me some time to understand all the curation system and how it works. So, at first, making it a bit more simple will make people engage from the very first moment. There are so many things that are pretty new and hard to understand when you start here in Steemit, I think curation shouldn't be one of them.

Besides from that, I think that removing the higher rewards for early birds is fair. At first, you get somehow an idea of the reward you're going to get by curating a post and then, it encourages you to vote the post anyways (if you think the post deserves it) even if it already has lots of votes.

There's also another thing, for those of us who are in different timezones (far from Asia and Europe), sometimes it's impossible to catch good, interesting posts as an early bird. They're all posted in times in which we're sleeping, so it reduces our chances of voting for them. By being equal in the curation rewards, this wouldn't be a problem at all and that's somehow a bit more fair!

Thank you for letting us talk about it! :)

It should be very simple, but sadly it just isn't. When you need 200 pages of tutorials how a social media platform works, something is wrong imo. We do not only need the geeks and the people that instantly get all these complex matters. If we want to become the biggest, simplicity is key. I am not changing that statement :D

You are absolutely right. Both authors and curators miss out on tons of income due to this system. We have a model that rewards bots. Human interaction is almost gone, do we reaaallly want that?

Thanks for joining the discussion. Happy to hear that you are happy to speak up. This is why we do it

Hello steemed @steemingcurators.

I agree with many points that you have raised here.

One of the advantages that I see in this proposal is that the nervous votes that only seek to receive curation, would end.

This early voting system leads curators to vote without even reviewing the content of the post.

Perhaps by changing the system, the true value of the posts (The effort and talent of the writer) would be better appreciated.
Also avoid giving upvotes to plagiarists of content and overvaluing low-quality posts.

Juan Molina

Thanks Juan!

I am happy you see the potential benefits of such a system. We speak about self-regulation but with a non time based curation model you already take a lot of regulation. People will look for quality authors that they WANT to support instead of chasing the ROI.. I honestly feel this is the way to go. If we like to keep our users anyway.

Thanks Juan!

My real pleasure.


I like the idea of a convergent linear author rewards curve but at the same time a linear curation rewards curve (which means I agree with you).

Yes, the idea of rewarding early voters was to incentivise people to seek for 'quality content' and upvote it early with the hope that many upvotes will follow. However, in reality most of the early upvotes are just automated, rewarding content of popular authors, independently of the quality of the content.

I was powering down here for certain reasons. That doesn't mean I wish STEEM and the remaining community bad. The opposite is the case, I wish you good luck! So even if I wrote it on the other chain, you may be interested to read my last two posts about exact this topic you are discussing here:

Hi @jaki01! Thank you for joining the discussion. It is highly appreciated!

It is something that bothers a lot of users as you can see the amount of feedback you got. And then you got the users that don't respond out of fear to say something stupid. I just think the numbers do not lie, the majority don't like the current curation model. Only the gamers or the ones that get the game of curation.

I saw an argument of someone that downvotes should regulate it and that downvotes are the solution, I think that that is absolutely the wrong approach because then you would make "punishment" the norm. More hate and more disappointment. We should work to reward good behavior, not solve by downvotes (punishment). That card is been played already and also doesn't work. (retaliation and lifetime downvote subscriptions included)

Your idea is for sure better as it is right now. And if more people like you ruled the scepter at the top, things might have changed for the better. Sadly they are the ones that designed it and profit the most of this model (short term thinking btw)

Nice to know you. Everyone has their own reasons to leave or to stay. I wish you all the best and hope to see you here again though :)

Hi @steemingcurators

I have four things to say;

First, thank you for starting this discussion. I think change is inevitable, so we should try to influence it, both learning from our past and our present, as we try to build a better future.

Second, I think the Steemit platform is built to reward people who invest a lot in SteemPower with larger votes and greater share of curation. But the Steemit platform curation algorhythmn multiplies the effect of your SteemPower if you vote early, so small SteemPower holders get a larger share of curation rewards by voting early then their SteemPower would normally provide. However, I am not saying this is an absolute reason not to eliminate the early voting provisions from the code, but I am saying we need to consider what we lose with the change and decide if we want to put it back another way.

Third, I feel that Steemit is a special social media, which pays you for being social. But people think writing posts is the total social experience. I think writing posts is like saying Hello, the social part is what you say afterward in the comments.

I think the true test of our social skills is how we reply.
Do we reply with politeness and manners?
Do we listen to different viewpoints to learn from another’s point of view?
Do we make relevant comments?
Do we add to the discussion?
The world is not full of sugar and spice, so neither will be our discussions. But we can be civil.

Fourth, I personally believe we have the opportunity to put the Social back into Social media.
We can change curation rewards to reward those who vote, but also reward those who comment. Perhaps a new alcorhythm which distributes part of curation to commenters. This would reduce, the pressure to upvote early, and reward reading and commenting in a constructive and relevant manner.
Perhaps both author and fellow readers could influence your share of curation by voting on your comments.

I am not wedded or bound to these ideas, but I offer them up as starting points for further discussions.


 10 months ago 

Hi! Thank you so much for your valuable contribution to the discussion. It is highly appreciated!

Small SteemPower holders get a larger share of curation rewards by voting early then their SteemPower would normally provide.

This is actually sold to the public so it seems like a good idea for small users. But in reality, the gains are SOO small for small users that IMO they do not outweigh the losses that are accrued by all the VP that now goes to curation hunting. The best scenario would be that investors follow multiple curation trails with a percentage VP so everyone can benefit and has a chance to at least survive. This would also give more power to communities built on Steem.

I still see only benefits. It's partially educating as well. But some parts need to be built in the code to help :)

I am totally with you about the social aspect. The comment section is where the magic often happens too, and often way more interesting than the post itself.

Not sure if rewards to comments are something that is codable. You might get tons of trash just to get a piece of your post payout and smarties that find loopholes. Probably needs to wait some years for AI to be implemented :) But I like the way you think!

Thank you so much! We need to do these discussions more often as they give so much insight, love it

Really happy that you are touching the subject, and I consider this to be an important discussion, and really happy that you are so passionate about the platform. I do agree with you here and there, but I also see some big minuses and dangers. I added it all in the following article:

I will look at your article.

Thank you so much! I replied

Greetings friends, I understand the importance of investors in the platform, but we must also understand the effort made by users when publishing, equity is applicable here, I think that at Steemit should open accounts that finance prospective curators and strengthen the growth of users, in this way we will increase our SteemPower to become potential independent curators.