Steem has had a few months ago another hardfork for its history as one of my favorite blogging platforms on the planet, ever. A hardfork that was meant to bring peace to the platform, wipe spam away and tame bid bots, and over all to make the platform better and more attractive not only to new users, or future ones, but to existent ones as well.
But How Sir?
I don't know exactly "the math behind the blocks" of the HF22, but I do know that bid bots nowadays upvote what they feel like and not whoever pays them. I have had myself as well quite a few upvotes from such bots and yes there is a difference between the old steem and the #newsteem. Not a huge one, especially in the case of the trending page which was tackled yesterday in an interesting post by @toofasteddie, that I encourage you to read.
What basically his post aims at, and what I resonate with as well, is the idea that somehow circle jerking never died after the hard fork and that bid bots, and whales that used to delegate to bid bots for revenues, are not selling votes anymore, but some boost to the above mentioned page pretty much the same accounts. I don't check it too often, especially since it got filled with potatoes and burning Steem dedicated posts.
I do get this circle jerking, although I wish it wouldn't exist, and I wish for the whales and bots to curate as Eddie suggested, in searching constantly newer and newer posts, from old veterans and new fish as well. I don't want to get in to the extreme in only supporting new users and letting good old bloggers blogging for nothing and no one, but the flow of new posts is pretty consistent everyday and if I were a whale I would check a bit through it and select some new posts every day to share my love with. You definitely have options nowadays and spam is pretty much nonexistent.
Yes, I said I get the circle jerking, but I haven't reasoned my statement. The first "argument" is the ease of use for ones SP. Having lots of SP and having to manually curate and search through posts every day takes time and effort, and not everyone has that much time for doing this job, thus is much more simple to just puts some 10-12 folks on autovote, people that blog constantly and you get the job done, for you and them. They get your appreciation, you "serve the community" and get your curation rewards and everybody is happy... Well not everybody, but you get the point, I am sure.
Then there's the argument of affinity. Lets face it, we don't love everyone, we don't like the faces of everyone and don't want to hang out with everyone. Steem, as I see it, is pretty much like a collection of some virtual communities where members of a certain community upvote each other and "talk to each other", no matter if one from your community "shit posted" today, while someone, that is not a community member, spent an hour to create a blog post, someone that you don't know, don't care and probably don't wish to know or care about. You'll upvote yours and that's it. He's part of the gang.
You, not you reading this post, but some X on Steem, will curate your fellows in your community because they're your gang, your virtual family/friends, and psychologically(I can't believe I spelled psychologically correct from the first try, English not being my native language) it all makes sense. We're part of a species that loves/needs to form groups, hang around in groups, and care about our group members, and Steem makes no difference when comes to such behavior. If you are in "the right community" there are high chances you will get to the trending page or you'll have some nice upvotes on your ass on daily basis...
...if not, then find one, or embrace the lone wolf walk. Steem, as pretty much other social media platforms, functions similar to real life and that's why such things happen. It never was and probably never will be a bloggers heaven where you get your upvotes based on deeds and efforts poured in your posts. There's no authority to reward that way and will never be.
It never was and never will be "a fair place", if we can think of it such way. It is human created, running under human behavior and as long as humans will curate, it will pretty much run at the same pace, and with the same good old habits. You like me, I like you, you vote me and I vote you. Something like: "me Tarzan, you Jane", but on a blockchain.
They're not all the same, and of course that not all posts that are constantly upvoted by whales and bots are bullshit. Lets not generalize the situation. Some really deserve every Steem in their upvotes, as they manage to maintain great blogs for years, and some of the whales or big curating accounts are not circle jerking at all. Although they could... and get their daily rewards without moving a muscle for that. It's healthy to put muscles to work though and I'll give you some examples of such muscular whales/curating accounts.
There is @curangel, @curie, @smartsteem, @helpie, @ocdb, @upmewhale and @appreciator, hope I haven't miss anyone, that seem to, at least from my own perspective, work on casting their upvotes and not just simply auto vote without check the curated posts before. I have posts that got upvoted by them, I've seen random posts from people I follow, and people I don't, that got upvotes from them, and such accounts seem to have stayed away from creating a circle and supporting only the members of that circle. That's their vision for curating content on Steem.
They're not high numbered, of course, and their voting power is limited thus not everybody can get a piece of their pie, but at least once in a while you find one in front of your blog's door. It should have been great for most of the whales and bid bots to manually curate and to not even have autovotes on Steem, but we're not in that situation. It's human behavior and we'll have to deal with it. That doesn't meant though that I don't find annoying to get on the trending page almost the same users whenever I check it. Even more annoying is to read about burning Steem and some other repetitive actions, that in my opinion are far from being trending worthy. I wonder what new users or potential investors think of when having a look at Steem for the first time and ending at the trending page.
I don't know how much of all of this keeps rich investors, and enthusiast bloggers, away from Steem and how much it is guilty for Steem's low, very low, trading volume, but I truly believe Steem, as a blockchain and cryptocurrency, is highly undervalued. Very few cryptos out there have depreciated seventy times from their ATHs though, but Steem is one of them, and one that has tones of potential, but such a bad marketing. For sure that it requires much more than just killing circle jerking and recreating the trending page to make Steem a top 30 crypto, but I believe it deserves a spot in that range, and I also believe it will be very hard to achieve that.
Anything's possible though...
Thanks for attention,