Have My Assumptions About HF21 Been Validated?

steem_eip - Copy.jpg

It’s been a few weeks since Steem’s 21st (and 22nd) hard forks were implemented and it appears that the Economic Improvement Proposal (EIP) may be working as intended...possibly with better results than expected.

For most of the past 2.5 years, I had advocated a more-than-linear post reward curve and 50/50 author and curator rewards. I made some economic assumptions in a post back on July 1st regarding the EIP.

The Combined Effects of the EIP

The convergent linear rewards curve should direct more rewards to higher-quality content and reduce rewards to lower-quality content. This would reduce the incentive to produce low-quality content, thereby reducing the number of overall content to be ranked and rewarded by curators. Those curators could then more easily discover higher-quality content and/or rank more content with both their upvotes and downvotes than they could have ranked previously.

The competition for the increased curation rewards should further help with the discovery of both high-quality content and new content creators. The rewards that are kept in the pool from not being allocated to low-quality posts due to the convergent linear reward curve and the rewards that are redistributed due to the free downvote pool should find their way to these higher-quality content creators and their content. As a result, those content creators with proficient social media skills should benefit from increased attention and a higher share of daily rewards.

As higher-quality content and users with better networking skills are pushed up the ranks, the most popular and “featured” content on the various Steem interfaces should attract more viewers and more interest from additional potential quality contributors to the ecosystem. In turn, this should attract at least some additional interest in the STEEM currency and entice more people to purchase STEEM and participate in the content rewards system, thereby increasing upward price pressure on STEEM.

Other possible effects of the protocol changes could include the following:

• Reduced use of bid bots due to both the non-linear to linear threshold and the free downvote pool. Bid bot use would likely/mostly be used only by those with higher-quality content to promote that is less likely to be downvoted for being over-rewarded.

• Delegations to bid bots and other automated services may be returned to the original stakeholders and used for manual curating.

• Additional purchasing of STEEM may occur in order to take advantage of staking in SP and earning better returns from curation rewards, which would further increase upward price pressure on STEEM.

Since the hard fork, we’re seeing much of this playing out as predicted.

Bid bot use has declined (particularly on low-quality posts) as delegators have withdrawn their delegations, vote buyers have reduced their buying, and users have been downvoting those posts with bought votes – as they perceive many of the posts as being over-rewarded.

Spammers and “exploiters” have had their post rewards wrangled in as more users are participating in downvoting the low-value content, thereby helping to normalize downvoting and redistribute rewards to posts that are perceived as having a higher quality.

Larger stakeholders have returned to prior manual curation practices and are again supporting/supplementing other manual curators and voting trails.

Over the past few weeks, we’re even seeing more STEEM being withdrawn from exchanges and powered up than STEEM being powered down and sent to exchanges.

While it may be too soon to claim that the EIP in HF21 has been a wild success, we can certainly say that behavior and reward distribution has perceptibly improved.

Regular bloggers are benefiting from the changes

These are some rewards statistics for three users that I’ve known, followed, or curated on Steem for a long time, which I have randomly chosen as a sample. The rewards do not include curation rewards earned by these users for the posts that have been calculated.

Pre-HF21 is the average post rewards for the time period before HF21 (two weeks for the first two users and one month for the third)
Post HF21 is the average post rewards for the time period since HF21 for posts that have already paid out.
Gross Difference is the difference of the total average payouts between the two time frames.
Net Post Reward is the difference between payouts after curation rewards have been subtracted, using a simple 75% and 50% author reward percentage for the two time frames.

User Name Pre HF21 Post HF21 Gross Difference Net Post Reward
@freebornangel $3.73 $4.89 +$1.16 -$0.35
@old-guy-photos $4.10 $6.92 +$2.82 +$0.38
@nonameslefttouse $6.31 $36.46 +$30.15 +$13.50

17 posts paid out prior to HF21 = $63.40 (2 weeks)
17 posts paid out since HF21 = $83.12

25 posts paid out prior to HF21 = $102.44 (2 weeks)
16 posts paid out since HF21 = $110.67

22 posts paid out prior to HF21 = $138.84 (4 weeks)
11 posts paid out since HF21 = $401.01

The net post rewards earned by @freebornangel since HF21 for posts that have already paid out have declined by 12.5% from the two weeks prior. However, the most recent trend in their post rewards is up, with an average pending post payout near $7 for the past week, which is more than $2 above the prior two week average. This would represent a 25% increase in the average net post rewards from the two weeks prior to HF21.

The net post rewards earned by @old-guy-photos since HF21 for posts that have already paid out have increased by 12.3% from the two weeks prior.

The net post rewards earned by @nonameslefttouse since HF21 for posts that have already paid out have increased by 285.41% from the one month prior.

As stated above, these net totals do not include the 100% increase in curation rewards since HF21.

There is another statistic that needs to be pointed out...

The people who chose to leave Steem because they refused to listen to those offering actual economic theory and/or analysis of the proposed code changes – and who believed that all authors would suffer from “stakeholder abuse” of the improved curation incentives – have had a 0% chance of increasing their rewards.

Instead of giving the revised economic protocols a chance to work, they vilified anyone advocating for them and/or proclaimed that Steem would be forever broken...and then left with their own versions of rage-quit posts and comments. I hope that those who have remained or that those who have recently joined Steem learn a valuable lesson from this.

I also hope that the recent behavioral changes and trends continue so that we may continue to improve the overall quality and atmosphere of the platform.

So what do you think? Have the advocates of the EIP been validated so far? Do you think the current user behaviors can be sustained and further improved?

If you think I’m valuable to the Steem community, please approve ats-witness as one of your Steem witnesses!

Comments 24

Are you able to fix the discrepancy between the rewards payout estimate on steemworld and what actually gets paid out. Why is there that problem?

19.09.2019 05:15

In the other hand I am more inclined to upvote potentially good reward earner posts just to offset the "lost" rewards because of the EIP.

19.09.2019 05:20

To listen to the audio version of this article click on the play image.

Brought to you by @tts. If you find it useful please consider upvoting this reply.

19.09.2019 05:21

Very interesting, and it's good to see that your predictions, which were very optimistic, are starting to play out.

I myself was confused, as I've always stated, the language of the blockchain is complex and not easy to understand, and I felt this translated to the HF21/22 saga.

I read some articles that said it was bad, and some that said it was good. I personally haven't posted since the forks simply because I haven't felt very motivated to do so. I found that engagement of my posts is pretty low unless I write about Steemit.

Maybe my content is simply not good enough. I thought it was because people used to engage, however that was when I had more SP so perhaps people were just trying to curry favour.

Anyway that's a different discussion, good to see that Steem has somewhat drifted back towards what it should be.


19.09.2019 05:35

I thought it was because people used to engage, however that was when I had more SP so perhaps people were just trying to curry favour.

In my experience, this certainly factors into engagement. I had a lot more interaction on my posts when I had a 2+ million SP voting trail and when I had almost 400K with delegations. It’s one of the more unfortunate aspects of the culture here.

And yes, when you post about Steem/Steemit, you tend to get more votes and comments. That has pretty much always been the case and is where the original “circle-jerking” criticisms had come from.

As for the actual HF details - I think a lot of people were intentionally stoking fears because they actually believed that their post earnings would inevitably decrease. I tried to tell people that this would not necessarily be the case. And I underestimated the impact of downvoting, which has helped distribute poorly-allocated rewards to better content/users.

But the ones screaming about how everything would be terrible were either doing so out of fear of “profit” loss (as authors), seizing on populist rhetoric (large stakeholders = bad!), or just from a place of general ignorance regarding economics and incentives...or any combination of the three.

Anyway...there’s still a lot more that can and should be done, but this was a good step in the right direction, as I hoped and predicted that it would be.

Unfortunately, I’m hearing that some people want to possibly go back to linear rewards in the future and that some want to pretty much just turn STEEM into a utility token. So we’re still up against people with terrible ideas that never learn from massive past mistakes. Hopefully we’ll grow out of such ignorance/stupidity someday.

21.09.2019 18:13

So what do you think? Have the advocates of the EIP been validated so far? Do you think the current user behaviors can be sustained and further improved?

I was absent for 5 months due to limited time and huge frustration with all the bid-bot thing. So i came back 5 days ago without any prior knowledge regarding the new hf. Then i read some post about all that you are referring too and gave it a go.

The good things are that a lot of people turned into manual curation and generally speaking rewarding quality users. That's an undeniable fact. It still needs work to be done but it's a start. If that continues and i have said it multiple times it will be a good marketing via word of mouth either to reach new users or bring back the quality ones that left.

The only bad thing which i can say which isn't as a result of the HF ,it's just cause of the interface, is the difficulty in which you can find quality posts. I always done things manually, curating,commenting,upvoting etc etc. If you just go to the new page and search it will take a long time to actually find a decent post, something that is very time consuming, so many people stick to the known quality authors, something that i don't blame.

There are still many ways to find quality content though like curation trails, communities,searching through certain tags

19.09.2019 05:35

Have you checked out SteemPeak? https://steempeak.com

19.09.2019 13:56

I was waiting for you to share your thoughts on HF21-22. I don't post nearly as often as I used to a couple of years ago, so I can't talk from an author's perspective. From a curatior's standpoint, I'm more than happy! I'm averaging 2.5 Steem per day in curation rewards.

What worries me, however, is that my feed is a quiet place. A lot of the talented authors that I followed are long gone.

19.09.2019 05:41

I'm reallllllly liking HF 21/22 to be honest. This has restored quite a bit of hope for the platform for me and several other folks that I'm close to.

19.09.2019 06:22

Yeah, I like the direction. The code changes weren’t what I would consider ideal, but good changes nonetheless. It’s positive momentum that we can build on.

21.09.2019 18:14

The net post rewards earned by @nonameslefttouse since HF21 for posts that have already paid out have increased by 285.41% from the one month prior.

Yeah but ... they licked someone's balls I heard.

19.09.2019 08:09

Aggrandizing Ned since 2016

19.09.2019 08:20

Ned muted me.

19.09.2019 20:24

thats considered one’s biggest achievement on steem

19.09.2019 20:45

Why are you listening to people lick balls?

All kidding aside. Don't be a douchebag.

19.09.2019 18:55

lol wut

21.09.2019 19:16

I said don't be a douchebag.

I thought you had a sense of humor. Alas. Apparently we were both mistaken.

21.09.2019 19:40

I do find it hard to form an objective idea about the HF. For sure there are good things but there are also bad things. The strange thing is that my upvote has less value when I do upvote a great post written by an author with only a small support, while the same vote would have much more value when I do upvote an author from which I do know that the linear reward curve will be reached.
More people do have this feeling. So more and more people are using auto votes and do split these autovotes between the people they like and the ones which will have post after post above the linear reward curve!
This of course all results in less VP left for manual curation.
I dind't like the 50/50 split change but my objections were not enough to push we away!
But I do have concerns about the linear reward curve.


19.09.2019 09:08

Overall I'm not hating it, but specifically my bottom line is smaller, my vote value is much smaller, and nobody votes on comments.
I'll give it some more time, but giving the golden children more at the expense of the newbs is not optimal for retention, imo.

19.09.2019 15:02

...but specifically my bottom line is smaller...

As I noted, your post rewards are on the rise, and not by an insignificant percentage. A 25% increase in the face of a 40%+ reduction on paper is great, in my opinion. But we’ll need to see if this trend can continue and whether or not users can leverage this new “success” into further improved results in their quality, networking, and bottom line.

...my vote value is much smaller...

This is relative to whether or not the content you upvote is subjectively “popular” with other users. By itself, your vote may be worth less. But as part of a larger consensus, it could be worth several times more than it was with a purely linear algorithm. I may be in the minority, but I see this as a huge positive. The major failures of linearity should have been very clear to everyone over the past two years.

...giving the golden children more at the expense of the newbs is not optimal for retention, imo.

I’m not sure that’s actually the case. I’m seeing a lot of new/smaller users getting bigger boosts from support...without the “need” to buy votes. But even if that was not the case, I see no reason why new users ought to receive any specific amount of support just for being new.

People should be rewarded on social media for creating entertaining/engaging/informative and popular content and for being able to network/promote themselves. Whether you’re new or old, rich or poor...it shouldn’t matter.

I’m not saying new users shouldn’t be helped or supported, but I see no reason why there should be any concern about the number of rewards they get as a new user. As I’ve said many times in the past, rather than focusing on trying to distribute rewards to new users just for showing up, we should do a better job of managing expectations for social media “success.”

21.09.2019 18:35

Yeah, it is probably time to switch gears.
No longer are we going to be an avalanche rolling down the mountain to crush the old paradigm.
Now we are a snowball hoping to not melt in the sun.
Thanks, imo, to stinc's 2 year walkabout.

I looked at my rewards a little closer, and you are correct.
I was getting ~15 steem a post, and that is about what I get now.

My vote being smaller really hurts because it was my policy to only put it on posts of people being real if their payout was 1stu or less.
Since the fork I have raised that to 2stu.
So, my vote will never see the upper edges of the curve.

If we hope to draw in more users, we have to support the ones not privileged by being here earlier.
The folks that come here and post real content have to be our priority, during the accumulation of users phase.
Voting only the golden children will not attract a wider audience, even if it will maximize curation rewards.

I know I fall into that category, but I do my part by only voting less popular content.
I don't think a steem full of chads and stacies is gonna bring in the normies.
I could be wrong, they do well enough in real life.

At least we got a chance at pob, now.
Overall, I haven't seen any glaring deficiencies in hf21, and much to like.

21.09.2019 19:55

Hey I know that old guy lol. Thanks for the mention!

I have to say that I have been slow to claim this as a stellar success but you know, it is starting to feel that way. Day by day, we are seeing some larger accounts knocking down highly botted posts. I think was key. Now if this trend can continue, we may really have started Steem on the way to recovery! I am cautiously optimistic and overall well pleased in the changes.

21.09.2019 08:52

People plodding along trying to keep to the rules and guidelines set out on Steemit, look as if they will be rewarded in the end.🍒

06.10.2019 12:24