Steem earning fairness and the consumption revolution

in LeoFinance3 years ago

I had a discussion about trade unions with a client today, something that I am personally not a fan of, but I understand their need in some cases. The reason I am not a fan is two-fold.

  1. I think I can negotiate a better deal for myself than they can for me
  2. They treat all workers the same with insensitivity to who any individual is.

I used the case of two welders where Welder A and Welder have a trade union negotiate their salary for them and get them both a small pay rise. Welder A is happy, Welder B less so. The reason is that while each welds 100 beads a day, Welder A has an error rate of 10 a day, while Welder B has an error rate of 1 a day. Even though the cost of repair is much, much lower for welder B, the negotiated salary treats them as if they have the same skill level. If the company is happy with paying for the 10% error rate From Welder A, they should also be happy to pay Welder B say 50% of the difference for not making the errors. Potentially, the company would be better off paying Welder B more and hoping they can find similarly skilled Welder C to replace A.

Obviously there are lots of caveats I could add, but I think you get the idea. Performance matters.

The problem is that while the weld quality and error rates are easy to calculate, much of our performance is much less so, it is more subjective and it is very hard to tease apart all of the factors that go into determining outcomes. On Steem, we can talk about quality of content contribution and apply a broad brush to create some general guidelines, but those factors are much harder to negotiate when it comes to other points, like personality and skill levels, demeanor and ability to create relationships.

I believe that most people want some kind of fairness in the world, but they don't actually want equality of outcome, especially if it is they who are the Welder Bs. The problem is, that most people do actually believe they are above averagely skilled in what they do, at least secretly. I was thinking of an example this morning using YouTube, a place where some users are paid for their content, most are not.

Imagine that the entire YouTube uploader population was 100 people and YouTube had a fund of 100 dollars to pay them from each month, but uploaders didn't know the size of it. Instead of YouTube distributing to a very narrow few as they do now, they let the uploaders decide on their own earnings. Whatever they forwarded as what they think they deserved would be added up together, turned into percentages of the total and become their stake on the pool. Out of curiosity, how many do you think would decline payment as they don't believe their content is worth anything? Do you think that based on payment, you would be able to know what was the best from the worst content? Now, 500 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute.

Do you think it is a good idea for content creators to decide if and how much they get rewarded?

This is what the bidbots were doing on Steem, rather than the community deciding what they thought had value, the creator decided that they should have value and would put their bid in to pay stake to find their content. Not to advertise it, to earn on it. Was that a good system?

Everyone puts effort into their content and even the automated ones need to be set up. But, not everyone puts in the same effort and regardless of effort, not everyone is going to be able to achieve the same level or topic of content as others. Is this unfair? Do you think that if I tell you "I tried really hard", I deserve special credit regardless of what I put forward?

What does your intuition tell you?

Now, I do try really hard to put out decent content and I try to do this a couple of times a day, because not only do I like writing, I also like earning Steem. Writing is my buy-in and while opinion may vary on what it is worth, I draw on my relatively deep experiences in several areas from my life and present what I can in the hope it helps people and, they see value in it. But, they might not see value, I might not engage well, I might not attract the right attention, I might not actually have the skill or the topic range to consistently offer anything of quality and value at all.

The system is broken!!! It's not fair!!!

Do people really want everyone to get rewarded regardless of what they put forward? What kind of world do people really live in and what kinds of decisions to they actually make when they themselves make their ownbuying decisions? How many hungry people would go to the shop and see fresh bread, stale bread and moldy bread all selling for a dollar each, and take anything other than the fresh?

While people might not agree, this is a market place of many things, including content and ideas, and it seems that there are many people wanting reward even though they produce not much of interest to anyone else than themselves or not much of anything new.

Voting has an opportunity cost to it, as a vote here can't go there, so if people are offering what can be gotten for free on other platforms, isn't it natural that they would rather "pay" for what is different here? At least some of the time as it creates a differentiation in the market place from the content perspective. A lot of the time we seem to think that the only way to get users onto Steem is by offering rewards for posting, but the real value of the future of Steem is actually the reward for consuming.

Yes, that is the real innovation of Steem and it is already starting to creep into the awareness of the general public on other platforms, including mobile gaming. They are of course going to use advertising revenue to pay for the consumption, but Steem has the rewards pool, that it separates into content and consumer portions equally. Some think this is "unfair," it is not.

We shouldn't be only pushing the "your voice is worth something" idea where people get paid to post, we should be driving "your attention is worth something *to you" instead. On centralized media of all kinds, what makes them money is advertising revenue and selling data for leveraging networks. The advertising revenue comes from the consumer eyes, the data value comes from the spread of content throughout the internet that attracts more eyes for advertising revenue. It is an attention loop that extracts the value of attention from the audience, and funnels it into the pockets of a very narrow collection of pants.

Steem breaks that loop open and instead creates connections between content and consumer and rewards both for their effort and attention. Rather than funneling it to the few, the Steem blockchain distributes to everyone who puts in the effort to earn, whether through content creation or content consumption. Because the blockchain takes nothing itself, only users of Steem get paid, whether they are creators, consumers, witnesses or developers.

While imperfect, it is a much healthier model than the centralized content platforms that leverage their user base and get them to add content for free to create mass while only distributing value to a narrow set. For every Instagram account with a million followers, there are literally thousands of others with significant followings trying to be a top account daily, and failing to earn anything. No matter how many fake followers they buy. If you add up the connections, the thousands of wannabe accounts get more attentional spread than the large ones, reinforce the mindsets and product awareness and - they do it for free.

Instagram might not churn consumers, but I can guarantee that they are churning through content contributors who get tired of never getting anywhere near the returns needed to live off it, like those large accounts can. Those celebrities and the Insta-famous.

Instagram DAU

Half a billion Daily Active Users (DAU) and, what percentage of them are getting paid to post - and what percentage are getting paid to consume? It is very, very low for the first, zero for the second part of the question.

That is an incredible deal... For Facebook.

I started this post looking at fairness, but I do not think it ended up where it started. What I do believe is that while everyone is focusing on content earning, what people should really be considering as a major value point on the platform is the consumption earning. And, earning on consumption here doesn't require watching adverts or solving puzzles to improve Google algorithms, it can be through being entertained by real people who have real lives and are willing to engage with their audience.

Imperfect yes, but getting better each day. Steem can be a frontrunner in the new internet, one where content creator and consumer have a direct line to each other through the blockchain.

Perhaps people prefer the economic "fairness" on the platforms of the billion dollar corporations, that generate trillions for their shareholders only, instead.

[ a Steem original ]


Posted via Steemleo


This is why the brave web browser is doing so well, along with the BAT tokens.

Yep, and it brings awareness to the model. Steem needs to start cashing in on being the frontrunner

You bring up the interesting issue of whether or not the underpinnings of so-called Meritocracies are really concrete and measurable, or ambiguous and largely subjective.

Now we also have the secondary question of what "value" means.

Now, I do try really hard to put out decent content and I try to do this a couple of times a day, because not only do I like writing, I also like earning Steem.

In your particular case, you provide value (quality/interesting content) in service of getting value (Steem). That is one version of "using" the system. But for many, the term value simply means how can they extract as much value as possible for the least possible effort. That's a different version of "using" the system. Providing value isn't part of the equation, any more than someone who goes to work at a company and hopes they can (as much as possible) get a paycheck for simply standing by the water cooler discussing last night's TV shows or football games cares about their actual job.

From my perspective, the variable here becomes our attitude towards reciprocity. Do we expect to get "something for something" or "something for nothing?" And — tobuild on your "bread" analogy, there are a LOT of people who feel they should be paid for bringing "moldy bread" to the table... I happen to disagree!

One of the interesting aspects of one of the very early "reward-users-for-content" sites (early 2000's) was an intelligent algorithm that lowered the impact of what you might call "outlier upvotes." In other words, if a piece of content was generally rated 5/10 and somebody suddenly cast a 10/10 vote, that vote would be "discounted" because it was out of alignment with general opinion, subjective as that might be. Not disallowed, just reduced impact. And if someone consistently "overvoted," their "influence power" was gradually discounted, as well, as a "penalty" for trying to game the system.

Not sure how/if that could be made relevant here, but your post brought it to mind.


The outlier model would be interesting, but also potentially irrelevant on a stake based system (perhaps). For examplem if you have a million Steem and look for content that will increase the value of your Steem directly (whatever that might be), there might be a host of people with 10 Steem who just don't care and would rather rank a meme a 10 than what actually could add value to the platform.

In some ways, what we are trying to avoid is the making of the Homer car for content:

I think this happens through niche content markets where the truly interested amateurs and professionals can rank content with a discerning eye, rather than the every man and his dog approach having a say on all content.

I don't go to my hairdresser for heart surgery, nor a surgeon to paint my portrait. When it comes to content evaluation, while we can all be critical, it doesn't mean we have the actual knowledge to critique.

Side note: I cut my own hair.

Good point about niches; I'm already a fan of SCOT tribes because they are helping in terms of creating interest groups and making content discovery a little easier.

I'll be interesting to see how SMTs/Hives impact the Steemosphere; I'm hoping a healthy level of granularity ensues... not too "generic" and not so specific that we end up with a bunch of semi-stale tribes with 7 members, because they are too tightly defined. I suppose we can but hope that the user base the natural intelligence needed to figure it out.


I think there will be communities that could have many thousands, others that have very few members in a very tight niche. As long as they are valuable to the users, it doesn't matter much.


Thanks :)



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The system is broken!!! It's not fair!!!

While I can understand perfectly your viewpoint, I just wonder in what measure we could change of perspective if consumption, 'curation' & appreciation of content & ideas could only be exerted humanely, manually, consciously and organically exclusively and could not be automated at all.

A lot of the time we seem to think that the only way to get users onto Steem is by offering rewards for posting, but the real value of the future of Steem is actually the reward for consuming.

Consuming... as long we can extract 50% of the incomes of author's posts & efforts through automated curation.

I started this post looking at fairness, but I do not think it ended up where it started.

Yeah, I can see it. But as for Steem concerns, that's why my comment. :)

Automation is not going away in the world unless an EMP takes out all electricity, then there are larger issues at hand. PRetty much, the economics of all of the other platforms are near 100% automated as the algorithms choose who and what gets seen, collects all of the "votes" of the authors and the like and then distributes a little to very few. Patreon is a little different as people pay "kinda directly" to the cretor, but even there it goes into an escrow account that Patreon controls and has been known not to pass onto creators.


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Why is steem rising? The value I mean...noticed it today

The markets are all seemingly gearing up for a bullrun and there are people finally buying to take advantage and have stake at the top too :)

Do people really want everyone to get rewarded regardless of what they put forward?

A sliding scale to 0 seems about right :)

#marketing - could well be a bit more of that if the rumors are true?

A sliding scale to 0 seems about right :)

I think that most people don't really know the amount of trash on this blockchain, and that is just the stuff that had some effort put in ;D

Unless people voluntarily post their desired value of their post at the top or bottom (no one does this), I assume the value to be atleast whatever I decide to reward it.
There are plenty of posts I read and am not voting because I am puzzled why anyone thinks it is already worth 10 dollars.
I guess we all determine values. But did someone really think it was worth 10$ or is Steem an imperfect distribution model?
Fortunately we have downvotes, but I can't remember the last time I downvoted someone because I didn't think their post was worth as much.

I guess we all determine values. But did someone really think it was worth 10$ or is Steem an imperfect distribution model?

It is imperfect, but at least it is somewhat community driven. Sure, some accounts have much more say than others, but on YouTube for example, one account has all the say.

Good point about Steem being community driven. I do like watching YouTube and rarely watch anything on threespeak or dtube. However I've seen oc YouTube videos uploaded to Steem that got 10$ payouts with like 10views on YouTube. They were super cringey at best, very poorly made, and I was surprised I managed to get through them.

There is probably on a sliver of watchable content on YouTube, it is just that the algorithms push that sliver into the eyeline. I am seemingly too old to sit and watch YouTube videos for anything other than specific use case needs. I don't get how people sit and watch video after video endlessly. :D

I queue up the videos and cast them to the TV while doing other stuff around the house. But yeah good point about the algorithms.

The autoplay improves their statistics a huge amount. Funny how it is auto enabled ;D

There's never going to be a perfect model/system. All for continuing to try though XD

Yeah, definitely not, but I think the goal of life is to continuously improve on life - and weirdly, economics is very important :)

 3 years ago Reveal Comment