My curation practices and thoughts on observed changes to curation

1 year ago
(edited)
15 Min Read
3017 Words

Hi Everyone,

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New Steem has been up and running for about a month now. Things have become a little crazy around here. The number of downvotes appear to be significantly up (I don’t have the stats but this is obvious from just observing). I have picked up a few downvotes myself. I think it is healthy to pick up a few downvotes now and again. After all, not everyone is going to agree with the rewards my posts are getting. I have thrown a few downvotes myself. I will continue to use them when I feel it is necessary.

How I curate content

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Since Hardfork 21/22 (New Steem), I have spent a lot more time curating content. Finding content worth upvoting can be a challenge. There are a few things that I do to make finding content much easier. As I have been on Steem for over 2 years, I follow quite a few accounts. Currently, I am following over 700 accounts and I am adding new ones every day. My first stop to find content I like is my ‘feed’. There are normally plenty of new posts to choose from, this includes resteemed posts from those that I follow. I do not follow any resteem services, so most of the resteemed posts are quite good. If I really like the resteemed content, I follow the content creator.

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I also look for content found by curation services such as @trufflepig, @c-squared, and @steemclub-uk. @trufflepig is probably my favourite source for finding good content. I can normally find a few good posts out of their top 10 selections.

I also make use of tribes to find content I want to upvote. I use the tribes StemGeeks and Palnet. I normally work my way through the new posts on these tribes new/created pages. StemGeeks does not normally have that many posts that standout but I like to visit this tribe as I have invested in it (have more than 7,000 staked STEM tokens) and I believe will eventually become a big attraction. Palnet has plenty of content to look through. When I visit, I normally scroll through all the posts posted in the previous hour to see if I can find any new users and interesting content.

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SteemPeak is also a useful resource to find content. SteemPeak has easy access to tribe content. It also has options to save favourite topics and favourite users. I often browse through the new posts under my favourite topics. I sometimes look through my favourite content creators pages for posts that I might have missed. SteemPeak has also added a few other interesting features to their tool bar such as curators. This tab provides easy access to curation services' curation history. I have not tried out this tab yet but I will in the coming days.

Autovoting

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I do not autovote that many users. I currently have just three accounts on my autovote list. One of the accounts has only posted once this year, another account posts about twice a month and the remaining account posts several times a week. I always make the effort to pop by and check if these users have posted. If so, I will often leave a comment.

Downvoting content

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I have used a few downvotes since Hardfork 21/22. I normally only downvote posts with stacked bot votes on the trending page, known abusers, and users on the top author payout list on usesteem website. When I downvote content, I leave a comment stating why I downvoted the post. So far, a few of the users I have downvoted have been quite receptive to the reasons I have provided. I believe it is polite to state a reason for downvoting a post. It also provides the user with information on what to do in future to avoid more downvotes.

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I also believe downvotes do not have to be permanent. If the user makes changes to a downvoted post that meets the requirements of the downvoter, it only seems reasonable for the downvoter to remove their downvote. I have not removed any downvotes since Hardfork 21/22, this is mostly because these downvoted posts have been heavily promoted by bots, which cannot be reversed. However, I have removed downvotes before for things such as not providing sources and references once the content creator includes them in his or her post. In regards to bot use, I have upvoted posts from those that previously stacked bots votes. I think this is good to further encourage changes in behaviour.

When do I curate content?

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I curate content two to three times a day. I curate content when I first wake up. After I turn on my mobile phone, I normally visit the Partiko App. Partiko is quite easy to use on a mobile device, which is preferred to a computer when I first wake up. I normally spend half an hour to an hour searching through content. I mostly just vote and sometimes provide a comment where I think I can add value. For most of the posts I upvote, I only provide a quick scan for a general idea of the quality of the content. Sometimes I will revisit the post later when I have more time to read the content in more depth. I also look through some of my own posts to see if anyone has left any comments. I respond to most comments left on my posts. I also provide small upvotes for comments that have shown some effort.

I also take the time to curate content before I go to bed. I will use the Partiko App and basically repeat the same methods I used in the morning. I aim to get my Voting Power under 90% before I sleep. This gives it all night to recharge to over 95% for my morning curating.

I will curate content during the day when I can find the time. My day curating is usually in more depth than my morning and evening curating. I use my computer to curate during the day, so I will mostly use SteemPeak or Steemit.

Curating Actifit Posts

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I post an Actifit Report every week. I really like what Actifit are doing with their DApp and how they encourage people to become active. However, many of the Actifit posts lack content and imagination. In order to support Actifit content, I provide many Actifit posts with very small upvotes; usually between 2% and 7%. Occasionally I come across Actifit posts that have a little more to them. I give these posts a slightly higher upvote.

Content that I like

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I like a reasonably wide range of content. I try to find good economics posts but there are not that many on Steem. I also like posts relating to philosophy, science, contests, news, current affairs, and conspiracy theories (some are good and some are good to debunk). I also like to look at the introduction posts. If someone writes a good introduction post, there is a good chance that this person will provide more interesting and better quality content later on. I also like to read and watch videos relating to Steem. I think it is important to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the ecosystem.

Curation trail

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I have set up a curation trail on SteemAuto. This is the first time I have created a curation trial. My trail could be useful for those that do not have the time to curate content and also share similar interests to me. I will provide more information about this in another post.

Vote Selling

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Prior to Hardfork 21/22, I sold votes using SmartMarket and MinnowBooster. I preferred to use vote selling services than delegating to a bot. I like having control over my own Steem Power. It means I can use it whenever I like. SmartMarket was also good as it provided me with flexibility in regards to whom I sold my votes to and when I sold them. I sold votes once my Voting Power reached over 88%. I created a blacklist of users I would not sell votes to for various reasons such as vote stacking or posting very low quality content. I also only sold votes to those on the SmartMarket Whitelist. I also checked frequently how my voting Power was used and I frequently added new users to my blacklist.

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I have now moved my Vote Power requirement to 98% and I have also just disabled vote selling. Since Hardfork 21/22, I have only sold one vote. My Steem Power must have reached over 98%. Therefore, I disabled vote selling just in case it reaches 98% again. I want to dedicate 100% of my Steem Power to curating content. I have not decided what I will do with my Steem Power when I go on holiday or am unable to vote for whatever reason. I might follow a curation trail.

Observations regarding curation

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I am not the only person to change curating habits. It seems most people are adopting the New Steem mentality. This is great for the Steem Ecosystem. My posts have done particularly well after Hardfork 21/22. Most of my posts were earning just a few STU. Since Hardfork 21/22, my posts are consistently earning over 10 STU. I even have a post with a pending payout of over 60 STU. I have noticed several other quality content creators earning significantly more per a post.

The posts that earn the highest rewards through organic curation tend to be about Steem. This is both a good and a bad thing. It is understandable that after such a major hardfork there is a lot of relevant Steem content. Many users will want to read this content and be informed of all the recent developments. However, if Steem is going to attract more users, there needs to be greater variety in the content that receives the most rewards and obtains the most exposure. At the moment I am not concerned, as the hardfork was only a month ago. I expect the variety on the trending page to improve in the coming months.

Changes to bot behaviour

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Posts that been heavily upvoted by bots have been the main targets for downvotes since the arrival of New Steem. This has caused a reluctance to buy votes as the downvotes make vote buying unprofitable in many cases. As less votes are bought, bots are left with some idle Voting Power. Several of the bots have moved or moving away from vote selling and have begun manually curating content. I see this as a very positive move. Manual curation is far better for the ecosystem than content agnostic bought votes.

Not without some controversy

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Some of the bots have also become involved in downvoting content as well. The downvotes are generally targeted at bot promoted posts, vote circle content, content from well-known reward pool abusers, and posts that have been deemed to be over rewarded by the team members running the bots. Below is a summary of the distribution of downvotes from six vote selling/ former vote selling services.

Bots Downvoting

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Flags from 2019-08-27 to 2019-09-25

Source: steemreports.com

Curating involves both upvoting and downvoting and, arguably, providing comments and feedback. If bots are curating manually, downvotes can be considered part of the curation service they are providing. However, most of the delegated Steem Power that these bots received were based on vote selling, which did not include downvoting. Many of the bots have large amounts of delegated Steem Power. See Table 1.

Table 1: Steem Power of Downvoting bots

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Source: Steem Reports

Downvotes from these bots are massive. These downvotes are at the discretion of the bot owners and their teams. I believe this raises a few questions. Are the account owners that delegated their Steem Power to these bots fully aware of the new usage of their Steem Power? What can be done to inform delegators to these bots, if they are absent or not contactable? Should Steem Power be delegated for the purpose of both upvoting and downvoting content from the same account?

I am guessing it is unlikely that all account owners that delegate Steem Power to bots are aware of the change in usage of their Steem Power. The next step would be to inform all delegators of these changes through all available means. I assume that most bot owners have done this. However, if someone is uncontactable that is a problem. Is a bot owner able to remove delegated Steem Power to their bot? If so, this would be the easiest solution.

So what can a bot owner do?

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A bot owner could choose to only use the delegated Steem Power from delegators who have consented to the new usage. For example, if 20% of the delegators are uncontactable, the bot could use only 80% of its Steem Power and leave the rest idol. Another solution would be for bot owners to create another account. This new account would be used for curating content and the original bot can still be used for selling votes, left idol or used for resteeming content. Creating a new account would require those delegating to the original bot to switch their delegation to the new curation account. I believe this only takes 5 days.

Upvoting and downvoting content using the same account?

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When someone delegates Steem Power, it provides the delegatee with access to both voting and downvoting mana pools. Prior to Hardfork 21/22 these mana pools were not separated. People delegating to a curation service might not want their Steem Power used for downvoting but currently they do not have a choice, as these two mana pools cannot be delegated separately. Separate delegation of mana pools could be solved with a future hardfork. In the meantime, curation services could offer delegators the option to delegate to a service that purely upvotes content or one that both upvotes and downvotes content.

Is anyone selling downvotes?

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I was a little concerned that the creation of the downvote mana pool would create a market for selling downvotes. So far, that does not appear to be case. I would not be surprised if such a service appears at some point. I also believe if people starting buying downvotes, the community would step in and it would not be worth it for the buyer or the seller.

Malicious and retaliatory downvoting

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I was also expecting the new downvote mana pool to bring about a wave of malicious and retaliatory downvotes. I have read a few complaints here and there about downvote attacks. I have also seen a few downvotees retaliating with downvotes of their own. Overall, I don’t think it has been that bad. If you are being targeted, it is worth raising it with some of the main advocates of New Steem.

Overall thoughts

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I am glad that we now have the 50/50 rewards split between content creators and curators. I was very concerned that the curation incentives would not be sufficient to entice stakeholders to use their Steem Power to curate content. The donwnote mana pool has played a huge part in reducing vote selling and encouraging curation. Many of the larger stakeholders have changed their behaviour and have chosen to curate content or support the new curation services.

I have definitely become more committed to curating content and no longer feel the need to sell votes. This is what I wanted to do all along but my earnings were not sufficient to make it worth my while on a full time basis. I look forward to finding new interesting content creators to support.

Just for fun


I have made several new GIFs that I have started using to help me with my curating. Some of these are a little cheesy but they could be fun to leave as comments or parts of comments on posts that I have found particularly interesting.

Bing Bong gets excited

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More encouragement from Squirt the Whale

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Monkey feels inspired

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Posts that can calm the Hulk

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Posts that are not trash

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Manual curation found you

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Mick wants you to enjoy an upvote

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Fairy Godmother grants an upvote

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Doctors debate what to give you

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Game of Thrones Upvote

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Whale thanks you with a vote

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Thanos lets his votes speak for him

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Proof of intelligent life

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Feel good upvote

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Boogeyman votes for you

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The techy posts that make a difference

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Worth a flower but gave you a vote

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Even dragons vote for hot posts

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Encouraging message for someone who powered up

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I hope you enjoyed these little messages of encouragement. Curating should involve more than just voting.

More posts

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If you want to read any of my other posts, you can click on the links below. These links will lead you to posts containing my collection of works. These posts will be updated frequently.

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New Economics Udemy Course

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I have launched my first Udemy course ‘Economics is for Everyone’. The course focuses on how economics affects everyday people, the decisions they make and how they interact with the world around them. The course contains 24 video lectures (about 4 hours of viewing), 64 multiple-choice questions (3 at the end of most lectures), 32 downloadable resources (presentation slides, additional notes and links to relevant Steem posts), and 2 scenario questions. The course is currently free-of-charge. Click the link above to access the course.


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Steem - The Future of DApps

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Post Payout Donated to Steem Proposals