Cleaning up Steem trending

in steem •  9 months ago 

First of all I am declining rewards on this post. I do better than a lot of people on Steem in that I can pretty much guarantee to make between $1 and $5 on a post, largely due to automated votes and voting trails. I do not self-vote and the only votes I may buy myself are using my eSteem tokens. Anything I earn is getting powered up for now. I have spent Steem before, but the value is too low to tempt me right now and I am keen to use my voting power for the good of the platform.

This post is inspired by several others I have seen recently about the state of the trending page on Steem and other front ends. We are seeing a couple of posts per day from @burnpost and one each day from @sbdpotato. Neither is really intended to be read, but they are reaping large rewards with the stated intention of improving the economics of Steem. The former 'burns' the rewards to reduce Steem inflation and the latter is using their Steem rewards to buy and convert SBD in an effort to increase its value.


I can see that both have support from various whale and orca accounts who must think this is a good thing, but is it damaging the image of the Steem platform? Many Steemians will not look at the trending page, but it is the first thing a potential new user will see. It has improved somewhat since HF21 as less people are buying votes and a lot of people are using their free downvotes, but it tends to be the same few names who dominate it. That may be largely due to the race to reap curation rewards. If an account is known to get good rewards, then there is a chance to cash in on that by adding to the votes using automated tools. That ignores issues such as quality.

It has been noted that @burnpost is not even showing the right date in the post text.

What we really need on trending are the best quality posts that actual people are enjoying. At least there is some chance of those getting somewhere with the manual curation projects, but you will still mostly see posts about Steem itself and crypto in general which will not interest the majority of internet users.

Both these efforts could be achieved with posts containing real content. This is why I have declined rewards on this post, but it is not likely to trend. Any of us who does well can afford to do that on at least some of our posts.

I am also reducing the SBD by a tiny amount. You could set some Steem aside to do that every week without losing much.


If those projects still want to produce daily posts then why not feature some good content for people to check out? The curation projects could provide some links.

From what I can see these efforts are having little effect anyway. The prices have been fairly stagnant for a while. SBD shows little sign of going up and had a bit of dip last week. The volume is pretty low.

Via @coingecko.

I think we would gain more by using those big votes on posts with real value. Good creators could be asked to decline rewards on some whilst being compensated on others. This would give them more exposure. It should be made clear that this is being done to reduce the conspiracy rumours. I would love to see more art, photography, fiction and music trending.

At the same time some of the big accounts could do more to downvote those who are just milking Steem for short-term profit. You can find plenty of examples of them buying votes and cashing out.

Some will say that seeking maximum profit is just human nature, but I know a lot of Steemians want to see the platform succeed. Many will spend more than they have earned on trips to Steemfest or spend many hours each week curating or running contests. What they make would give them a pathetic hourly rate.

The fact is that we all gain if Steem does well. We have seen that the status quo is not getting us anywhere, so it may be time for fresh ideas. Sacrifice some rewards for the good of Steem. If the price doubles it will more than make up for it.

There are things we can do that only cost time, such as talking to people about Steem in person and on other social media. Most people out there have not heard of it yet.

I get some flack from those I have downvoted and have been called all sorts of names, but I really do want what is best for Steem. I know a lot of long-term users are feeling worn down and frustrated by the abuses they see going on. Let us see what we can do to inspire a little hope.

I am open to suggestions on things I could be doing. The first step to fixing something is to talk about it.

Steem on!

The geeky guitarist and facilitator of the 10K Minnows Project.

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90% of all these comments are a bit above my head. But one thing i thought was a bit odd when I first used steemit, (and I’m definitely still a bit fresh on it) was the fact you could upvote posts without even opening them to take a look. I can maybe understand it slightly on art, or photography, but If this platform is all about rewarding good content and not just attempting to gain the maximum you can with tactical upvotes and posts, I’d think it would be important to read somebody’s post before deciding if you wanted to upvote it.

There's a lot of tactical voting going on, including on my posts. I would rather people read them and commented, but this is part of the freedom of Steem. I do use some automated voting to support some people, but most of manual. I just don't have time to read everything.

I didn’t realise you could do automated votes.

Most voting is automated. I have used Steem Auto. You can set it to vote for certain people or to follow up the votes of someone. You can do the same for downvotes. Everything on Steem can be automated. Some people will write their own scripts.

The underlying problem is that the Trending page is the Steemit front page when you're not logged in. Before it became a plate of baked potatoes, it was a circlejerk filled by posts about Steem. The Steempeak front page looks much better, since it shows the posts selected by several curation trails.

Steemit may not want to show favoritism to a number of curation trails, but at this point, it would be better to display the New page as the front page, which would show how much activity there still is.

Even the Hot page could be better than trending as I think it relates to actual activity. A lot of high-paid posts do not have many comments. I want to see what people are getting excited about. There is no perfect system, but we should be doing what we can to make Steem look good.

  ·  9 months ago (edited)

With SMTs and other projects growing on the steem ecosystem, it's more and more likely (though not likely yet) new users will come in through other means. They'll follow a link to a post or check out a person they're interested in. Communities will decide what content is "good" and the trending page will fade away as an entry point for new people. I don't know Steeminc has this in mind, but it seems like they do.

Try going to YouTube from a fresh browser that you've never logged in with, and you'll see lots of crap on the landing page. Without the trackers, cookies, and data it collects from you, YouTube has no idea what you like. Therefore it gives you the content that's popular or trending, even if it's crap you'd never watch.

Only a minority come in this way. Most people come through an auto-login synced to their gmail or other service, often already auto-logged in. Hence the importance of Google (owns YouTube), who gives people lots of easy ways to access content. YouTube leverages Google's huge, integrated on-ramp to make it easy for people to "fall into the rabbit hole." Without Google, YouTube would never have succeeded, and certainly wouldn't offer an excellent U/X.

But other services don't have this luxury, they succeed by having 1) a niche audience/purpose or 2) content creators who bring followers. And, of course, an easy account-creation process (via centralized party).

It's about building communities and networks. And making the new account process easy.

Community and networks. If people visit because they have a person or topic they like to follow on the platform, landing page won't matter.

I know what you mean, but a better trending page could be good for Steem anyway. It just needs a few big accounts to change their strategy to make a difference.

Nah. Needs communities to grow and develop around the ecosystem.

Agree that even though these posts are good for the platform (burning STEEM), they look ridiculous on trending for anyone who stops by to check it out.

I suggested a few ways to do something different, as well as did others, by showcasing maybe we can come up with a simple solution. Or perhaps we need to think about why we are in a position where we need to burn so much STEEM? Does it show a deeper problem etc.

I know using steempeak is just an easy way to not have to see this, but agree that for outsiders it’s just meh.

I’ll bug some people.. see if we can brainstorm.

Great post bring a fair observation of the issue, thanks for that.

Cheers. We need to keep the conversation going and find better ways. I know people care about Steem, but we are failing to make it compelling right now.


These posts have no effect on the price of sbd. It's just economics 101.

There will always be steem entering the system, and these posts are just that: more steem on the system.

The only way sbd can go up (and steem) is by buying what is already on the market.

And guess what? With only 65k steem you can buy the supply on Bittrex and bring the price to 1 USD.

It's easier than what they are trying to do.

The post doesn’t have anything to do with more STEEM on the system in the slightest.

The rewards pool is set, and based on inflation. There is a set amount of inflation in the pool for each round of voting (the payout window).. whatever posts happen in that time period split the inflation pool, based on what votes (by stakeholders) were allocated to it.

The Burn posts simply take their cut of that pool and send it to the null account, which is essentially taking it out of circulation (burning it) as it can never be sold. So, less STEEM that is in circulation, the more scarce it is and therefore more valuable.

Yes, if no one Is buying STEEM the amount circulating doesn’t matter much.. but supply and demand is a thing, the burn post is simply addressing the supply aspect.

I’m speaking of the Burnpost (doesn’t have anything to do with SBD). I’m not that familiar with the SPD Potato project other than they are attempting to use the STEEM to buy SBD to help the price.. sort of how you are explaining. They are actually using the rewards to purchase SBD, different than the burn post.

Yes, i understand the idea of the Burn post, but they have been happening for what now? 2 years?

The model doesn't make sense, because on the Steem blockchain, the supply will always increase. It is an inflationary coin. It will be printed forever.

You know what people miss about the economy of Steem? Is that it's tokens aren't supposed to increase price over time. What happened in 2017-2018 was an anomaly, caused by the cryptocurrency frenzy of that time. And since supply of Steem/SBD at the time was very low, prices moved fast.

It doesn't matter how much Steem they burn. There will always be Steem entering the system, and the supply will always increase.

A better use of this burned steem would be to use it to make real improvements on the whole ecosystem.

Donate to projects, create projects, pay already popular creators to encourage them to join the platform... there are way too many better ways to improve the economy than fight against something that can't be beaten.

Many would say that those things are already being done... perhaps, right now, there are no projects or creators they feel add enough value to support. So they burn until there are. That’s a pretty simple concept.

Also, yes STEEM is inflationary, and that inflation is supposed to be decreased over time. Distribution is a main reason, as well as supporting content and projects as you said.. but maybe the increase in burn posts lately is a good sign that it’s time to decrease inflation or push some efforts to actually make this place attractive to outsiders, so they will come. I personally don’t think just handing out the inflation has been helping much.. I don’t see any projects or creators who are bringing people in, and those that are are being supported. So while we wait for more .. I guess burning is an option.

No one is trying to beat anything, it’s just a simple way to remove some of the supply when some investors don’t see enough worth supporting I guess.

  ·  9 months ago (edited)

You know what people miss about the economy of Steem? Is that it's tokens aren't supposed to increase price over time

Then it is doomed. No one will invest in it, and the price will crash from however many people want to cash out (even if it is a relatively small number).

You absolutely need buyers to maintain a price in the presence of sellers, and for there to be buyers the investment has to be at least somewhat promising. If and when people believe that the price isn't supposed to increase, the entire project will be a complete and rapid failure. Thankfully that is not entirely the case at this point, but unfortunately there are many doubts.

In reality, the amount of inflation matters. The market may well be able to absorb say 1% inflation but not 8%. These numbers are of course hypothetical, but it is clear that less inflation is easier for a market to absorb for a given level of demand.

Do you invest in USD or any other currency? No you don't. You speculate it's price will appreciate or devalue against another currency. That is how SBD is supposed to work, like any other currency. Or you trade against another currency because you need that foreign money.

What increase the price (long term, not short term) of a company stock? Increase of the value of the company. That is how STEEM is.

So, SBD doesn't have an utility except speculation, therefore there is no reason for anyone to buy it.

And why would people buy a share of the blockchain (STEEM), if this place is totally unnatractive for the general people?

Why would I invest on something that it isn't increasing in value?

Unless those that have the power (big stake owners) get this instead of squabbling over things that doesn't matter, steem will keep on sinking. And this is not speculation. It's a fact. A basic economic fact.

  ·  9 months ago (edited)

There is no SBD entering the system right now from posts. It was suspended by the blockchain due to there being too much of it. There is some entering though SPS funding, but that stays in the SPS treasury until there are approved proposals. Right now there are a few approved proposals but not that much approved spending overall; most of the SPS funding SBD just stays in the treasury (and off the market).

The @sbdpotato posts are doing exactly what you suggest: buying what is already on the market.

With only 65k steem you can buy the supply on Bittrex and bring the price to 1 USD.

Such big market buys don't more the price on a sustained basis. They create price spike and then it goes back down.

It wasn't suspended because there is "too much". That is not how the economic model work. It's about the debt ratio, Wich is related to value, not volume.

And this "experiment" is failed from the beginning, because you people are trying to beat the market laws.

You can manipulate it briefly, but eventually it will self correct.

The moment the price start rising, people will start to sell sbd, to reduce losses.

The moment the price go up to the point where the debt ratio is less than 10% and sbd is printed again, people will again dump it on the market.

How can't you people see there is only one solution to this: make sbd an attractive asset to spend/hold.

Still, this is trying to solve a non-existent problem, while the front-page of the platform look unnatractive.

I'll repeat what I've said before. Add the option to decline Trending to a post. Problem solved. I don't think the problem here is volunteers burning tokens from the reward pool so as to support the price but the unwanted visibility of all the burn posts. Burn posts need to be in Trending only rather infrequently.

Or move the votes to comments instead. Making trending worse helps nobody.

Comments also will show up in trending unfortunately

Really? But you can mitigate that by making a large enough number of comments.

That would help too. In fact better because no coding required.

I feel like I've seen comments make it to trending before... I could be wrong though.

That's not really a great idea. It is contrary to how Steem works to let people unilaterally hide their posts. Every self-voting scammer would use that.

These posts may be ugly, but they are visible and people can decide whether the payouts are good for Steem (vote) or bad for Steem (downvote). Mostly voters are deciding they are good for Steem, albeit ugly.

It could certainly work to have multiple Trending pages one of which allows or self-exclusion, but that's a bit more of a complicated change.

That's not really a great idea. It is contrary to how Steem works to let people unilaterally hide their posts. Every self-voting scammer would use that.

That is true but only a very tiny minority of farm posts ends up in Trending or ever has.

I think the best policy is for those who want to support the burnpost and sbdpotato initiatives is to upvote comments set up for that purpose.

  ·  9 months ago (edited)

That is true but only a very tiny minority of farm posts ends up in Trending or ever has

Right, because they would be highly visible and scrutinized, so it is an ineffective strategy that isn't used....

or ever has.

I would say this is very, very wrong. Some of the biggest farmers such as @haejin were on Trending every day for months or years. I can think of several others but I'm not going to name them because they weren't quite as blatant.

Now extrapolate that to where instead the farmers can block visibility. In fact we already have this experience (see below).

upvote comments

I'm all for that but comments also show up on Trending!

This wasn't previously the case but was changed specifically to give visibility (for community scrutiny) on large comment payouts. It was seen that farmers would hide their votes on comments.

BTW, this is also the reason that even spammers with rep < 0 aren't hidden when they have a > 0 payout. The idea is to ensure that all payouts are visible so they can be downvoted if undeserved.

"upvote comments"

I'm all for that but comments also show up on Trending!

Not if a sufficiently large number of comments is made.

  ·  9 months ago (edited)

Agreed, most people who say it's not a problem can't see beyond the fact they are logged in and/or don't care about trending. For first time visitors to the front ends, trending is a showcase of what's available on steem. What does that say about the strength of the platform when that first impression are schemes to prop up either the steem or sbd price?

  ·  9 months ago (edited)

Maybe you shouldn't blame the messenger.

It says we need more compelling content, and currently we are struggling with a lot of crap which can't even outdraw some of the ugliest and dumbest posts on the platform (burnpost)

Some posts do outrank potato or burnpost.

Why is that?

Why aren't there more of those?

  ·  9 months ago (edited)

I've been thinking a lot about that issue. I think trending can be engineered to some extent. That is, a concerted effort by a group of voters to put exceptional posts there. No exceptional posts? Well then we've got to start out with ones that are just good. If there were a couple of these high magnitude composite votes every day on content (steem agnostic content in particular), I believe over time the quality bar would raise itself, because people could see what is possible, and know if they exceed the effort currently presented, they have a good chance of getting a similar result. Right now we are failing as a community to set apart the great posts when they come, and from a voting perspective they are indistinguishable from from "the ugliest and dumbest posts on the platform" as you said. I think that is influencing morale when it comes to effort.

It's a shame they did not make a voting trail for people to join that votes 3 or 4 days after the post/comments are made in an attempt to stay off trending.

Frankly every time I look at trending I’m reminded why I should not. With every other post being automated or flat out spam. Even in the rare chance an author who is not normally up there finally breaks into top trending. It does not hold much value since a large portion of the community has learned to ignore trending.

This is why I suggest ways to improve trending and make it useful. You can do that by changing voting patterns or the site creators can change their algorithms. Neither requires a hardfork.

I trust the trending page about as much as I trust an establishment politician. The only reason to check it out is to see what doesn't deserve my votes.

On the flip side, I love following curators who post their top picks of undervalued content. This is the grassroots of steem that should be most appreciated for providing value to our currency.

This is not about politics. That's a while other issue, but trending is broken. I would hope people want to fix that. Business as usual is not getting us anywhere.

I think the only solution here is trending blacklist, so that these 2 accounts will not show on the list at all

Steemit and the other sites probably have ways to do that anyway, but I think different strategies to address these issues could be more productive.

too bad there wasn't some sort of filter that projects like these could use to bypass showing up on Trending in favour or better quality content.

They could use more votes on comments instead and I see they do that as well. Between them the whales and curation projects could easily improve the mix of the trending page. Either that or Steemit could adjust the algorithm that generates it. That does not require a hardfork. Set it to ignore certain voting patterns.

Thanks for the post and observations; I just was thinking about the same, after taking the screenshot below.
To me it smells of panic (a bit like the idea of the 4 weeks power down). None of this really helps, it just gives everyone the feeling 'they are doing something', while in fact they are too lazy to go around and curate. And it made 2 accounts skyrocket their rep....
The last HF brought a reshuffle of voting behaviours, but in the end it seems like 90% fell back into the 'autovote biggest reward post' scheme. It is better than before, but far from what it could be!

Do not forget about the authors, without them this platform would be pretty worthless and empty, and your wallet too!


  ·  9 months ago (edited)

It should be about the content with the economics in the background, but it seems some people are too focused on the mechanics and not on actually growing the platform. At least I got some discussion going.

At least I got some discussion going.

oh yes, this is working quite well on steem nowadays, more people seem to participate in (and listen to) these discussions.

Nice post. Very interesting stuff. It has been a long time since I have even bothered visiting the trending page, so I didn't realize this stuff was going on.

I think we need to be aware of such issues. Our rewards will be affected by this as well as all the general abuse that goes on

  ·  9 months ago (edited)

I don't think it even matters. Even without those "burn STEEM" posts, trending page is a boring place. It doesn't offer any value to the "normal" users. Every other post is about STEEM or some boring stuff that nobody reads. So let us circle jerk this place to death.

What good will that do? I don't feel like giving up. If you just want to post crap then do it on Facebook ;)


It’s better than it used to be, though I agree there is a lot of STEEM content there.

Posted using Partiko iOS

This is kind of a good point. The plan is to shift more activity and attention toward communities rather than one unified Trending. If you're interested in cars or whatever, you go to the cars community and see what interests you, not what happens to interest other Steem voters.

The reason for what you call circle jerking is that the only thing all of us really have in common is being Steem users. Once we're better able to focus on our actual interests, the experience should improve. That is the theory at least.

Here is something interesting I just found out in 5 minutes:

All you need to bring sbd to 1 USD is only 1.02 btc


Come one... Don't tell me all the whales behind this bullshit can't afford 65k STEEM...


It's way easier than making this useless posts again and again...

Nope. As I said elsewhere, that would just create a short price spike.

And as I said, what this potato is doing is just creating a long term spike.

Same shit, different time frame.

  ·  9 months ago (edited)

No it isn't, because @sbdpotato is reducing the total supply of SBD. That is persistent beyond the point where the buying stops.

If you take 60K STEEM and buy SBD, you may increase the price temporarily, and if you then convert it, you have removed 60K worth of SBD (roughly 10K SBD at this point) from the supply. If you continually buy SBD, convert it and repeat, as sbdpotato is doing, the amount removed from supply over time is much, much greater. Potato has already removed 10K SBD from circulation and is still going at a rate (increasing) of now several hundred per day.

It is a bold ambition but, especially if the SPS is approved, sbdpotato aims to potentially remove millions of SBD from the supply, which can dramatically change the market equilibrium. That can't be done with a little buy spike.

Bullshit. The moment these sbd disappear, and the price start to go up, the debt ratio will go down, and sbd will start to be printed at the same rate again.

Since no one gives a fuck about buying sbd, all this new supply goes to the market and the price dumps again.

I just realized how this is a perfect framework of a pump and dump scheme...

  ·  9 months ago (edited)

That's also not how it works. If the SBD price drops due to printing (without the haircut), then there is a natural incentive for people to convert SBD using their own money because it is likely to show a profit (buy SBD at $0.98, convert into $1 worth of STEEM). This maintains the price of SBD more or less at $1.

The only reason this doesn't work now is because the massive STEEM price drop overwhelmed it, causing the haircut rule to kick in.

What is needed is both for the SBD supply to be reduced to get back in line with the current value of STEEM and/or for the value of STEEM to go back up (or at least stop dropping).

If that doesn't happen (STEEM maintains or grows its value) then Steem will literally die, and none of this will matter.

How come that I see SBD supply increasing? Even when hot potato is doing his thing? There is a 0% print rate... sooo?

Is it that very sneaky there is a reverse conversion introduced? from steem to sbd for the SPS?

  ·  9 months ago (edited)

There is SBD being created into the SPS treasury, which is counted as part of the supply (IMO this should be changed; I would only count SBD supply when it is paid out from SPS) but most of it isn't being paid out. Currently 280 SBD per day are being paid out from SPS (keychain $100 and howo $180 proposals) and potato is removing more than that (others convert too), so the circulating supply is shrinking even though the blockchain reported-supply is increasing.

I believe the total printing into the SPS is about 1500 SBD per day so potato will probably get to that at some point if its funds continue to grow, and then the reported supply will also decrease (may happen sooner due to others converting).