Dear fellow Steemians,
I think most people here agree that it would be extremely good for everybody if we managed to attract more high quality content to this Plattform - ideally content which is available only here. In theory this would be good for everybody: Good content would attract more users, more users mean a rising Steem price, a rising Steem price means that the money available to pay good content rises, rising payments should attract more high quality content producers. A virtous circle.
Unfortunately, it does not work like this. Rather the opposite is the case and we are in a vicious circle. A classical prisoners dilemma situation:
The core problem
Individually, it makes sense for everybody on Steemit to make use of the value of your post for your own benefit. There is many ways how this can be done: If you are a minnow, you can upvote your own posts, the dolphins can lease their Steem Power to the upvote bots and the whales can operate their own upvote bots.
The problem is, that this is bad for the system as a whole and probably also for everybody individually, but if you are the only one to change your behaviour, your individual share of the benefit for the overall Steemit community will be much smaller than the profit you are missing out. After all, you are able to earn as much as 30% or more yearly interest by not curating your upvotes.
The developers of Steemit had thought about this problem and came up with a solution, which they thought would work to keep things in balance and to create a virtuos instead of a viscous circle. In the White Paper they explained it by the analogy of the Crap Bucket:
The Story of the Crab Bucket
A man was walking along the beach and saw another man fishing in the surf with a bait bucket beside him. As he drew closer, he saw that the bait bucket had no lid and had live crabs inside.
"Why don't you cover your bait bucket so the crabs won't escape?", he said.
"You don't understand.", the man replied, "If there is one crab in the bucket it would surely crawl out very quickly. However, when there are many crabs in the bucket, if one tries to crawl up the side, the others grab hold of it and pull it back down so that it will share the same fate as the rest of them."
The idea behind this is simple: Give the community the tools to make sure that behaviour which is not good for the community is corrected by the rest of the community. These tools are the flags or downvotes.
Unfortunately, Steemit has ended up in state where most of the Steem Power is concentrated with people which have all no intention at all to use their Upvote power not for their own benefit but instead let it work for themselves. this is difficult to overcome as those people also have that biggest influence on the development of Steemit as they control the witnesses.
This all together leads to the situation that there is not enough money left for high quality content producers to be paid adequately. I think that @yallapapi is right in his analysis that this is the biggest problem - there is simply not enough money available to allow for high quality content to be attracted.
I think that it will be extremely difficult to overcome this situation with a big bang. Instead, I want to offer a solution how to step by step correct the situation and bring back Steemit back on the path which was intended by its fathers:
The solution: A new tag - qualitypost
I have created a new tag called qualitypost, which I urge people to use if they consider what they have written is exactely this: A high quality posts. the other 4 tabs can be used just as they have been used before.
Curators, which take their job seriously (and although there might not be many) should upvote only those posts which come with this tag. This gives an incentive to people using it as it will maximise their chance to get paid.
On the other hand, people using the tag qualitypost should refrain from using upvote bots. People doing this should be flagged and downvoted by everybody seeing this. Also, I will create a bot that automatically puts a comment to these posts to mark them.
Generally, I encourage people to use the flags and downvote tools to make sure that really only quality content is trending in this new category.
While this might be a slow process, I think it has a fair chance of working out. We would create a small niche inside of Steemit first, which is much easier to keep clean of spam. If it grows, people would tend to look in this category first as there chance of seeing high quality content would be highest. This would in turn result in lower interest for the other tags, which would also decrease the incentive to get attention and the possibility to get extra upvotes besides the ones you have paid the upvote bots for. This would reduce also the income for the upvote bots, which might also help to change their motivation on how to spend their upvotes.
All of this needs no major changes to the Steemit system. However, I would hope that maybe some day in the future it would be possible to combine different tags, so that it becomes possible to view only posts which for example are tagged with steem AND qualitypost. But this is nothing which is needed immediately.
I would be extremely interested to get your feedback and hope that this initiative might help to give Steemit a fresh start and to support its future development.
All the best,
PS I will use upvote bots to make sure that this post gets read. As I do not want to break my own rules with the first post I have not used the qualitypost tag