My take on Self-voting, Vote-buying and Reward Pool Rape
tl;dr: Linear flags were a mistake.
And nobody asked for them in the first place.
On the 14th of June, 2017, this release hit Github:
It is version 0.19.0 of STEEM, title: Equality.
It introduced linear rewards.
Before, rewards were distributed by the infamous
Simplified, this meant that a vote was worth less on a post, that nobody had voted on before, and worth more on an already popular post.
Whereas with linear rewards, a vote with a certain amount of STEEM Power behind it, will have the same impact regardless of which post it is for.
Together with changing the 'reward-curve', the update also changed a single vote's impact;
A 100% vote will be 4 times more powerful once HF19 is completed.
On the 25th of June, enough witnesses had upgraded to v 0.19.0 and the scheduled 'hardfork 19' happened.
Before, the community had complained about the unfairness of reward-distribution on STEEM. To get high rewards, you needed a substantial amount of
r_shares ( powerful votes ).
It either took seriously good content or serious collusion to get really high rewards on a single post.
With HF 19, all those issues with collusion instantly disappeared.
Now, to abuse the rewards system, you do not need a substantial amount of STEEM Power anymore.
You can simply vote yourself.
As HF 19 ( Equality ) hit the blockchain, the effects of the changed 'reward-curve' and the increased vote-impact resulted in a ridiculous reward-drain.
Some payouts increased up to 10x, while the top-payouts did not shrink as much as one would have expected.
Strangely, nobody had predicted this effect ...
The effect on the community was disastrous.
Most users realized they did not need a network of readers anymore, they could just vote for their own posts and comments only and maximize their own rewards.
The original STEEM Whitepaper had a mechanism to prevent this sort of 'vote abuse'.
Interestingly enough, the updated Whitepaper kept the same passage.
With linear rewards, it just does not make as much sense:
The Story of the Crab Bucket
A man was walking along the beach and saw another man fishing in the surf with a
bait bucket beside him. As he drew closer, he saw that the bait bucket had no lid and
had live crabs inside.
"Why don't you cover your bait bucket so the crabs won't escape?", he said.
"You don't understand.", the man replied, "If there is one crab in the bucket it would
surely crawl out very quickly. However, when there are many crabs in the bucket, if
one tries to crawl up the side, the others grab hold of it and pull it back down so that
it will share the same fate as the rest of them."
So it is with people. If one tries to do something different, get better grades, improve
herself, escape her environment, or dream big dreams, other people will try to drag
her back down to share their fate.
It then goes on about how with enough 'crabs' in the 'bucket' the more 'abuse' would be negated and that it never is a perfect system and so on.
What this all fails to mention:
With linear rewards, it takes as much power to fight abuse ( pull another crab back down ) as it takes to just vote yourself ( just keep climbing ).
Before, ( with
n^2 ) a vote had a much larger impact on popular posts, for either upvoting or downvoting.
An account with the voting power to reward a single post -which nobody had voted for, yet- with 1$, would increase the payout of a post worth 100$ by 10 $.
It could also downvote the 100$ post by 10$.
The numbers are made up - it is just an illustration
I would like to propose a new hardfork: Quality
Non-linear reward distribution should create a self-regulating mechanism, just as intended in the original Whitepaper;
Only content that a large group of stakeholders agrees on could generate large payouts.
A vote on already popular (exposed) content would have more impact.
In theory*, this would create a curation process, where good content would automatically rise to the top.
*This only works with half-way responsible shareholders, or to be more clear, if @ned stops giving away stakes to $%@§heads.
I wrote 'non-linear' because there was some discussion around other 'curves' - sigmoid for example.
I think there never was anything wrong with
I want a vote to have the most impact on the most exposed content.
The last 6 months have shown that hf 19 was not a good idea.
The quality of the trending page is even worse than before, self-voting is rampant ( and very lucrative ) and vote-buying is 'an interesting phenomenon'.
I understand, STEEM is now becoming 'The blockchain for Smart Media Tokens (SMTs) and decentralized applications'.
I understand, Steemit is mostly a proof of concept and that STEEM is designed to host all sorts of applications.
I still think that Steemit should at least make an effort to ensure good content, to get STEEM into the hands of talented people of all sorts.