Is User Sentiment Up? Can Numbers Tell Us?


After reading a couple of recent posts and their comments—to wit, that thanks to newsteem (ie, the EIP and a general striving for a positive change in culture), things were looking up on the blockchain, user sentiment was up, etc.—I got curious about some numbers. Thankfully, penguinpablo has been publishing different data for a long time now, and it became the source material for this post.

I wondered if these numbers could be the reason for any good feelings about the current state of the blockchain. I wondered what the data could prove, disprove, and whether it would really do neither.

I honed in on three different categories:

  • Daily Accounts Transacting—unique daily users
  • Daily Number of Votes—posts and comments
  • Daily Number of Posts—along with the average number of comments per post

There are obviously more numbers to pay attention to, but these are the three that the aforementioned posts and comments by others got me interested in the most. I figured more accounts transacting, more votes and more posts would equate to a higher positive for user sentiment, while lower numbers would lead to the opposite. Even if within these numbers there were undesirable quantities of spam, vote farming, etc.


Knowing how to group the data, how large of a sample to pull, etc., is always the fun part when trying to present it. I didn't want to go overboard with it, but at the same time, I wanted a fair representation in an attempt to avoid actual or even perceived cherry picking.

As to methodology, then, I started a year and a half out from today, and then chose periods of time before and after hardforks, particularly HF20 and HF21/22. I then grouped the three different categories for those specific windows in time together. Also curious as to what STEEM value was at any of those particular points, I then added in the ones which more or less corresponded with the timeframe.

The results are as follows:

DATA SET 1—MAY 1, 2018

Daily Accounts Transacting 2018-5-1.pngDaily Number of Votes 2018-5-1.pngPosts + Comments 2018-5-1.pngSTEEM Chart 2018-4-23.png

For the week leading up to when this data was published, the total number of accounts transacting was mainly between 61,000-66,000, with the outliers on both ends being in the lower 58,000 and in the lower 67,000.

During that same period, the daily number of votes ran as low as 706,783 and as high as 779,964. Note the number of paid bot votes, and the percentage totals.

Posts were published at a robust clip in the range of 52,000 to nearly 56,500.

You'll note that this was the week following STEEM reaching its second all-time high, closing at the end of 4-23-2018 at $4.36 USD.

DATA SET 2—AUG. 31, 2018

Daily Accounts Transacting 2018-8-31.png
Daily Number of Votes 2018-8-31.png
Posts + Comments 2018-8-31.png
STEEM Chart 2018-8-27.png

Four months later, by the end of August, the number of accounts transacting had dipped into the lower to mid 50,000s, rather than the lower to upper 60,000s.

Daily number of votes dropped, too, with the amounts widening from a little over 70,000 vote fluctuation in a week to a little over 90,000. Low end came in at 631,804, with the high reaching nearly 723,000.

However, the category of the three that dropped the most precipitously was posts, falling to basically half of what they were four months ago. Note that the average comment per post held, and actually ticked up a bit.

This particular period of time was the last few weeks leading up to Hardfork 20, but it was also the last time STEEM value closed nearest $1.00 USD.

DATA SET 3—NOV. 1, 2018

Daily Accounts Transacting 2018-11-1.png
Daily Number of Votes 2018-11-1.png
Posts + Comments 2018-11-1.png
STEEM Chart 2018-10-29.png

A year ago, after most of the dust had settled from HF 20, the amount of accounts transacting, despite the introduction of Resource Credits (RCs)—which hampered most of our ability to do much of anything for a period of time before the allowance was upped by a factor of 10—was pretty similar to what they looked like before the hardfork, though trending down a tad.

Meanwhile, the number of daily votes declined a little more, dipping below 590,000 on the low end, while not quite eclipsing 631,000 on the high. You'll not that paid bot votes continued to fall, in total and in percentage of votes.

Again, posts took a greater hit, sliding another nearly 32% from just two months prior. Average comments per post, as you'll see, stay more or less the same in this period.

DATA SET 4—AUG 16, 2019

Daily Accounts Transacting 2019-8-16.png
Daily Number of Votes 2019-8-16.png
Posts + Comments 2019-8-16.png
STEEM Chart 2019-8-12.png

This next data set fast forwards several months to mid-August of this year. The significance of this time period is that it is just before what would be not only one but two hardforks, but Hardfork 21 being the one to bear the Economic Improvement Proposal (EIP).

Nine and a half months from the last data set, the number of accounts transacting on a daily basis has fallen noticeably, barely exceeding 43,500 while dipping below 40,000.

Along with it, the number of votes continue to decline, again a little more obvious with more time involved. Low end comes in at just short of 483,000, while the high surpasses 532,000.

Meanwhile, though a slower decline than the previous times given the longer time period, the number of posts per day has again, on the highs, fallen another 42%. Comments per post continue to hold, with a slight uptick.

STEEM value by this point has continued its spiral downward to just above $0.17 USD.

DATA SET 5—TODAY (NOV. 1, 2019)

Daily Accounts Transacting 2019-11-1.png
Daily Number of Votes 2019-11-1.png
Posts + Comments 2019-11-1.png
STEEM Chart 2019-10-28.png

This is the period in which we are now, a little over two months out from the latest hardforks and the EIP.

The number of accounts transacting on a daily basis continues to fall. The lowest day in the week, October 25, ended below 29,000, with the highest on October 30, a touch above 33,500.

Likewise, the daily total number of votes has dropped, at what appears to be its greatest total, from a high of 506,464 on September 4 to a high of 391,455 on October 29, a difference of over 115,000 votes.

Posts actually fair the best in this data set, perhaps because there isn't as much left to go. The high on Halloween fell short of 8,900, while the low for the week did not reach 7,600.

STEEM values have pretty much gone sideways over the last two and a half months, coming up some from the lows south of $0.13 USD to rest at $0.157-ish.


The last year and a half has not been kind to the number of accounts transacting, the number of votes cast and the number of posts made.

During this period, the number of accounts transacting daily went from a high of 67,216 on April 27, 2018 to a high of 33,528, a decline of approximately 50%.

And the number of daily votes had a high of 779,964 (or 769,257 non-paid bot votes) to a high of 391,455, again, a drop of nearly 50%.

The number of posts have been hit the hardest—from a high of 56,489 on April 25, 2018 to a high of 8,882 yesterday (October 31, 2019), a fall of 84.3%.

While the total number of comments has gone down, too, the average total per post has pretty much remained within the same range it started at 18 months ago.

STEEM fell from $4.23 to $0.157. That represents a decline of 96.3%.


I'd be hard pressed to argue that STEEM price is not a significant reason, if not the number one reason, for the across the board declines. However, I could also argue that the most recent hardforks, including HF21, has not helped to staunch the bleeding.

Not yet.

The fact that the decline since just before HF21 has been less than any other similar period could signal a reversal will occur in the coming weeks and months, or it could just be there isn't as far down to go.

But does any of this speak to user sentiment one way or the other?

Well, just knowing the numbers are down, and still heading south doesn't help me any, regardless of what my personal situation might be. And for the record, I would say the payout amounts are up somewhat from before the latest hardfork on my posts that don't find their way to one of the curation trail. While I'm happy with any increase, it's not so much that it improves my outlook on things over how I felt prior to the advent of newsteem.

That said, there are numbers that might help out if they were available somewhere.


  • The total number of posts, unfortunately, does not tell us the total of unique accounts publishing them. Some users post a few times a week, some daily, some multiple times a day. So, the post totals don't represent the total number of unique posters.
  • Nor does it tell us how much of the decline is due to spammers throwing in the towel and how much of it was earnest, honest users who have simply given up. The former would lead to positive user sentiment, the other would have the adverse effect.
  • The number of accounts transacting does not tell the entire tale when it comes to the number of daily transactions on the blockchain. Each user only needs one transaction to be counted, but many, it would seem, will have more than one per day. Knowing where the total amount of daily transactions stands over the course of 18 months would be helpful.


All of that notwithstanding, these numbers, and their decline, are good to know. I still feel along with whatever the ratio of spammers, vote farming, alt accounts, etc, that have stopped posting and voting, there is a large group of normal, well-intended users that have disappeared or curtailed their activity. That doesn't make me feel very good.

Either way, there is certainly less to look at as far as posts and comments go.

One could surmise that with fewer posts, and fewer comments (along with fewer users upvoting comments thanks to the convergent linear curve and its higher requirements for payouts), that anything less than a comparable drop in voting would mean more posts getting more votes.

But if that is true, is that enough to buoy up user sentiment, to stop folks from quitting, to keep things more positive?

If the number of creators are down but the number of curators are up, that could ultimately help the mood and be a good thing for creators, but only if curators can accomplish whatever it is they're hoping to accomplish with curation, which I assume would run the gambit from wanting to support people they know to maximizing ROI.

The former seemed to be happening regardless the circumstances, the latter apparently needed an EIP to pick up the curation efforts of those in it mainly for ROI, and we're still early days as to whether their curation pace will continue, or whether we'll be hearing about something else someone decides we need to make things work better.

Maybe that's SMTs and Communities.

After all of this, I wonder what the numbers will look like in March or April next year when we finally get to SMTs. I wonder what my personal sentiments will be like by then.

Images sources—penguinpablo's daily statistical reports and worldcoinindex

Comments 23

I feel like this site is a niche that keeps getting smaller by the day. It's a pity because the potential is huge but its flaws and human greed are killing it right at the starting line. 😥

02.11.2019 06:24

Hey, @trincowski.

Considering the whole idea behind the EIP was to help the backers of it to do things that are supposed to be healthier for the platform, and that we've been purportedly fighting spam, et al all along, the human greed part has to be a big component in all of this. The last two main hardforks (20 and 21) have been to modify behavior more than anything. I'm just not sure where to side when it comes to which human greed is more damaging. :)

I'm in agreement with the flaws, too, if we're talking mostly above the hood (as in what the users see and interact with regularly, along with good old human flaws). Under the hood, I think there is an amazing amount of sound technology, particularly over the last year, that if it ever gets to be fully unleashed, great things will happen.

02.11.2019 14:21


This post has been manually curated, resteemed
and gifted with some virtually delicious cake
from the @helpiecake curation team!

Much love to you from all of us at @helpie!
Keep up the great work!


Manually curated by @rem-steem.

@helpie is a Community Witness.

02.11.2019 06:28

It was interesting to see that bid-bot votes were in a decline well prior to HF21 and the EIP. The free down votes to combat a declining system was apparently really not needed. I felt and still feel that the increased number of down votes, by both the altruistic down voters, and the troll down voters, has done nothing but to drive content producers away.

When ever the 15 SP troll down vote accounts are brought up, people shrug and say they have no effect they can do no damage. If I was a new user and only had that 15 SP to try and get my account going and growing, those statements alone would be enough to see that having only 15 SP is not going to get a person anywhere, so they leave and go back to the larger social media accounts where they can at least have a wider audience.

For me, I still actually remain somewhat bullish and still hold out hope one day @steem will pull the delegations from the down vote only accounts and that people will request that when a down vote is cast that an auto comment goes with the vote so that the community can decide if the down vote was justified, just as the purpose of the down vote is to decide if the up vote was justified.

I'll still be here come next year, maybe not posting as much, because whether people believe the 15 SP down votes have no meaning, they are still a troll activity and troll activity is one of the primary reason I never took to face book, twitter or youtube social media.

Steem used to be different, maybe not better, but there was no down vote army of bot type accounts like now prior to HF21. The down vote armies belongs to a could of very large accounts and for pretty much all intents and purposes were contained with in those accounts that were some what at war with each other, over a disagreement.

02.11.2019 07:37

Hey, @bashadow.

I'm glad someone picked up on those numbers and percentages regarding paid bot votes pre-hard forks, since both were intended to combat them, as well as the spammers, farmers, scammers, etc.

It seems like we keep changing one bot drone for another—auto upvotes, auto downvotes, auto comments, auto posts, auto this and auto that.

People who don't have the time to do what they would like to, well-intentioned or not, determining where the line is as far as what should be done and what can't be done. No judgments. I wonder if I'm wasting my voting power when it comes to the greater good because I haven't put it to auto voting when I'm not here, but at the same time, I haven't made the change because it goes against the grain.

I think the whole concept that we are not a pay to play but a stake to play blockchain, and the not so subtle distinction being drawn there between the two, should indicate where the value is on the 15 SP accounts. They're expected to grow, and grow quickly enough to operate without the delegation. Which means some things have to happen, the most likely of which is, people find ways to get STEEM and power up.

02.11.2019 14:32

Great analysis. In time, these numbers will make more sense as the long term context develops.

02.11.2019 11:58

Hey, @mattclarke.

Yeah. I'm becoming of the mind that it doesn't really matter to those who aren't here what we do on chain. We can have our squabbles and controversies over a number of issues, as well as some pretty cool improvements and expansions, but none of it is really enough to move STEEM value upstream from the general sentiment of the market.

So, if anything, we're all in our own experiences feeling whatever that brings, and then we're locked into this larger communal experience of the bear along with every other crypto out there (except maybe Bitcoin, since it is in the driver seat).

I'm also of a mind that there really isn't too much farther to go down—we either hit the actual bottom and rebound, or we hit the bottom and flatline. If there is reason and logic in any of this (not saying there is), it would seem that limping on as we are forever in a slowing but continual freefall would be the least likely scenario. :) At some point, you hit everyone's minimal amount for keeping the doors open.

02.11.2019 14:40

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02.11.2019 17:17

Awesome post! I am not sure why this hasn't gotten more votes.

I am more inclined to believe that prior to HF20 and HF21/22, the platform was plagued with spammers. Now with RC to control the level of spams and HF21/22 free downvotes, level of spams is reduced. Therefore, from the stats, it may seem that the level of activity was reduced but in reality we might be having an increase in actual users.

@tipu curate

03.11.2019 05:10

Upvoted 👌 (Mana: 0/10)

03.11.2019 05:10

Hey, @culgin.

I would say there's probably plenty of truth to what you say. I don't know about the increase in actual users, though, at least by the numbers. And even so, if we're saying that out of 50,000-plus posts 18 months ago to around 8,000 now that most of the difference was spammers, and we're actually seeing an increase, there really haven't been a whole lot of actual users on STEEM, which is disconcerting unto itself. Especially with well over a million accounts now lying dormant.

I think it's more likely that RCs did, yes, deter a lot of spammers, but that they also took out a lot of newer users, too, and that in between the forks, the attrition on both ends continued, until the downvotes are taking out the remaining undesirable behavior, but also discouraging more normal users.

At what ratio of spammer to actual user, I don't know. I just know that a lot of people who I used to interact with 18 months ago are gone, or have highly curtailed their posting activity here, even if they're doing other things like games and gambling, or autovoting.

As I said above, I think we'll know better by the time the next hardfork is ready what we actually have.

05.11.2019 03:13

Almost a year since I started a Steem account - I didn’t come here for money - I get the necessary information, play fun in monsters and don’t think about the price - I’m not good at the technical part, but the market will change the trend sooner or later, and all changes must be made before the rally

03.11.2019 07:44

Hey, @steem-key.

Yes. In away, the fact that all of these changes are occurring before onboarding the masses is good. The fact that we're over three years into it and we're just barely getting to SMTs, well, there's been a lot of side jaunts and other distractions, and I'm counting this last hardfork among them.

It's good though that you didn't come for the money, although I'm wondering what your number one reason was for coming here, if not to earn something. In other words, it might not be the means to a living wage, but would you be playing monsters and so forth if there weren't some kind of potential reward?

It's okay if that's the way it is. As fun as I've heard monsters is, though, there are other games out there that are more robust and just as fun, I would think. :)

05.11.2019 03:17

Lots of great stats @glenalbrethsen.
I'm not sure what a lot of it means or how it will impact the future, but I do know one thing, I enjoy what I am doing here and really enjoy the interaction with others. My plans are to just keep on keeping on.

I'm sure a lot of time and effort was put into this post and kudos for that my friend.
Have a wonderful Sunday.

03.11.2019 10:59

Hey, @thebigsweed.

Oh, I suppose there was time and effort put into it. I've had posts that have taken considerably longer, and regardless, it's not so much the time or effort as it is what becomes of the post. Rewards, comments, resteems—whether a true discussion is sparked, etc. So far, I would say not so much with this one, but it was pretty heavy with charts and numbers and I actually had two more sets I had considered throwing in.

I don't know if there is any meaning to it. Other than the numbers are down significantly to 18 months ago, and while some of that are surely spammers and vote farmers, there must also surely be quite a bit of legit users who have also fallen by the way. I know because of the number of times I've had to adjust my feed in order to get anything to read, and then get stuff I wanted to read. :)

I like your plans. I think they will ultimately be good ones. I just hope we're done with the sidetracking and so forth. I think we might be. I'd like to see Communities sooner than later, though, and we don't get many updates about when that might show up, and since it doesn't require a hardfork, and most of the work is done, I'm ready for it, to see if it will make any difference with post discovery, for instance.

05.11.2019 03:24

Howdy sir glen! Wow that's alot of stats! It's kind of depressing. Those SMT's better work out wonderfully!

05.11.2019 04:04

I kind of thought so, too. Yes, a goodly portion of them was bound to be spammers, which is a bummer in and of itself to think that so many people would want to come here and pretty much undermine the platform in whatever pitifully petty way they could.

On top of that, surely, is a another amount of earnest honest users who have essentially created a en masse exodus from the platform, for whatever reasons.

So, yes, I don't find much positive from those numbers, but somehow, others will. :)

I mean, one could look at it and say, the last time the posts were that low and the price of STEEM was around $0.15 USD, the all time high occurred with a couple of months. :)

Possible, I guess. Won't know until it happens.

05.11.2019 04:27

It sure would be nice if the price went up like that and that would bring lots of people back too.

05.11.2019 04:33

You also miss:

Comments fro spam bots and fake projects.
Botnets flagging or circle voting
Memo spam

So all this if was to be filtered ans non human inteaction will show a clearer picture of the decline.

I think we have new users full of hopes.

But newsteem even if it had the positive effect of killing the out in the open bidbots and temporarly increasing the rewards received from organic curation we already are seeing the decline in that, as the capital finds new way to seize the rewards pool.

You have several ways to go about this:

sell votes in a discord no need for memos, transaction non traceable (i can setup a bot for that in about 10 minutes)
Sell votes via an intermediary BTW oer other SMT UIA blockchain

Split your fortune and stablish a circle jerk
join a whale or dolphin circle jerk

the conclusion is:

Steem is the cheapest hosting service i ever had.
i even get tokens from time to time instead of paying a monthly fee.

It is ugly but steempeak fixed that.

It costed me a lot in inscription fees: no one forced me to buy steem i could have farmed it like most have done.

Steem is rotten from the inside, no amount of HF can fix greed and stupid

06.11.2019 18:06

Hey, @nnarvaez.

Thanks for pointing those things out specifically. I guess I was working in a broader category of spams and scams, but anyway.

There's more that could happen, as you point out, to siphon off more or to game the system. It's apparently endless if you have the know how. Which is sad.

My concern is, if STEEM can't make it, then there's not much hope for some other system, either, because the same kind of behaviors and mentalities will be involved there, too.

STEEM itself is an awesome technology. The people moving it around, well, they tend to be more self-serving it seems than what they really should be if the platform and community is to ever thrive and be for everyone.

07.11.2019 04:26

i fully agree.

I didnt mean the points i pointed as a siphon of the rewards pool i pointed them as you seem to be looking to see if user sentiment (users trust in the system) is looking better and sadly hard data ommits the bot activity which gets mixed in there so it skews the data with bot noise...

I invested 15k€ 3 years ago in this place and now i am doing the most illogical thing... i am trying to double down.

because if i double my bet i would only need steem to hit the 40 cents again to break even and be done with it.

The technology works, what has failed is the model.

i am working in a different model that no one will like decentralized wallets centralized reward system...
like a company should be run.

but of course my case uses are not shitposting and poorly copying reddit or facebook.

07.11.2019 08:26

Hey, @nnarvaez.

Doubling down. I like the reasoning behind it. Even with the cratering and sideways action we've been getting for a year, 40¢ USD seems quite doable. :)

So, you're creating a different working model. I'll be interested to see where it goes.

07.11.2019 15:13

I'll be interested to see where it goes.

TBH Me too, did yo read my post about the STEEM based graphene blockchain as a continuos training platform?

That is the direction i would like to go, i realized an out for the public coin / blockchain would just be another speculative circus and much more than a 1 man job.

So i am concentrating on something i can handle on my own until other programmers see an interest and come to help.

Something i have learnt on my time on steem is that real uses and professional applications of this technology do not get you whale support.

For that you need to make a shiny web page a lot of hype vaporware and innovative ways to secuester the rewards pool. (I am not good at making webpages hahaha)

07.11.2019 15:40