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