The Vote Selling Plutocracy on Steem: How it Contributes to the Disenfranchisement of Low Stake Users and Human Curators
On Steem, the below article has been titled:
I’ll take one Financial Freedom please!… Oh, about that…
It’s a mixture of satire and serious concerns that follows below…
When many of us joined Steem, we were likely wooed by fanciful libertarian (or ancap?) rhetorical buzzphrases like “financial freedom for all”, “breaking free from the evil bankers” and “disrupting the corrupt financial institutions” of the world. etc. Seems to be pretty much the same mantra of your typical crypto.
But what we got was something different.
With the changes brought forth by HF 20, my personal impression of Steem seems to becoming more solidified as being a vehicle designed in such a fashion that the powerful become inordinately more powerful. It seems designed to attract the wealthy elite that they may multiply their wealth, influence and control over the common man. With the changes to dust voting changed affected rshares for lesser SP accounts as outlined by @crokkon [here](https://steemit.com/utopian-io/@crokkon/how-will-the-hf20-dust-vote-changes-affect-the-vote-values), it seems moreover that the little guy is getting nerfed and whales are getting a buff.
You already know what type of business these changes favor… Bid Bots
I believe @lextenebris put it quite succinctly in this comment.
Under HF 20, the bot situation is simply that their voting timer becomes easier for them to hit and less easy for humans to hit, improving their advantage over human curators even more, and the relative change in voting power doesn’t matter a bit to them. If anything, since most voting bots represent a high SP player, they gain an additional advantage because humans who might be seen as competitors in the same space have to get to the same level of SP to have the same kind of voting leverage and voting advantage, and one of the most obvious ways to do that is to use the voting bots to do so — which increases the SP of the voting bots. One ends up in a situation where you literally have to pay your enemy in order to possibly have the power to pay yourself in the future.
How long have I been preaching against the OP bots?
For the unawares, OP means overpowered. Term often used in video games.
@freedom is by far the most decisive stake in play for witness voting and that does not seem to be changing any time soon. I’m not saying that all @freedom voted witnesses are involved in vote selling. There are also a handful of witnesses I have worked with personally and are involved in some legitimately good projects that are being voted on as well like @utopian.io or @busy.org but it still should be rather concerning that witness voting has become so centralized and people are actually paying for it to stay that way. It makes me wonder what kind of pull @freedom has for effecting changes that will push users to being more dependent on these “promotion services”.
Another compelling point that a colleague made was how much SBD @freedom is holding is compounding the problem of the peg being broken. Here is an article, https://steemit.com/sbd/@themarkymark/sbd-print-rate-0 by @themarkymark that discusses that issue at length.
Oh, how ironic it is that the very people paying the @freedom sponsored bots are investing in the very antithesis of the thing they hope for. They are not investing in freedom but a form of slavery. Sure, one may rightly say that it’s not necessarily slavery as using the Steem blockchain is opt-in.
You’re damn right it is and that is precisely why you vote sellers should be concerned.
The alternative non-vote selling platforms are not only coming. They are HERE. I’m including my profile links in each if you care to follow me.
I’m starting to gain a little bit of traction. Engagement and reciprocity are crucial. If someone takes the time to peruse your blog and like the content that appeals to them, I would recommend doing the same.
Note: ONO app is in Beta at this point so may want to wait until they work that out. If you would like an invite code. HMU.
One of the things that drew me to ONO was the culture that is contrary to vote selling. Leah Stella Stephens has been a pleasure to work with and I can tell she has a heart for people over profiteering. I will continue to contribute and am just waiting for KYC validation to write articles.
I played a role in their successful AMA (Ask Me Anything) on /r/EOS.
In fact, it was one of the highest upvoted in the sub. It would seem to me people are more than ready for some change.
The question will we ever reach the point that Ned Scott will consider deploying the stake under his control to address what I believe to be glaring problems that I have outlined above? We don’t need potentially bought witnesses supporting the bot agenda disenfranchising the sea of low SP holders.
If anything, we should be EMPOWERING such users for retention which lends to greater adoption. Instead, we are going the opposite direction and that is NOT COOL!
I don’t think we need to hold our breath. We need the power of the collective. It is time for the power of the mindful plankton, minnows and whales to rise up against our bot overlords.
Am I optimistic about Hard Fork 20?
Lastly, please don’t mistake my ranting as a trying to spread FUD. Quite the contrary, I earnestly care about the future of Steem but I am also cautious that we collectively do not meander too close the the event horizon so to speak and we do something sooner rather than later which is precisely why all stakeholders need to raise their concerns before it is too late.
If you believe this fork has some redeeming aspects, please share your thoughts.