The never-ending discussion surrounding autovotes | Can autovoting be improved or made more fun?

I just noticed @steemauto/Hive.Vote introduced a sudden change where they basically reset autovotes from the standard 'daily' vote setting to a 'weekly' one which is automatically set to twice a week.

I'm not against autovotes as I'm not pro or anti most behaviour: most things are fine by me if it's not obvious abuse. It keeps my blood pressure low to live this way :-)

I do however feel like we can make (auto)votes more rewarding other than financially. I don't think I have the answer but let's just write down some thoughts.


Why autovotes rock - the summary (we all know this I guess):

  • Curation is a big part of Hive. Some people believe in and want to invest in HIVE and instead of HODL set a few people on autovote and generate the curation rewards - way cooler than HODL'ing BTC, don't you think?
  • It's a way of rewarding the most consistent users (more on that later)
  • It can be a way of spreading ones vote very wide among 'the community' - I know there's a few curious whales who are spreading votes between 10-25% amongst a very wide amount of Hive users, and from what I can see, they are indeed often very reputable/consistent users. I think of accounts like @mangos, @alexis555, @ripperone who are never mentioned or seen as 'real users' but have been upvoting a pretty big Steem/Hive base for years now with significant votes. Their votes really made a difference on my personal journey on this chain - and I guess they did/do for many others.

Why autovotes suck

  • Some people get autovotes because they get autovotes! It can be very interesting to place your vote right before another big vote comes in curation wise, so some of our users who were once rewarded by 'that one whale' because that person wanted to reward one authors efforts, now receives quite a few 'whale votes' - not because those whales want to reward the author per se (although they will often avoid obvious bad content) but just because they want to optimise their curation rewards. Although that in itself is just 'smart' if you want to passively enjoy your earned/bought Hive stake, it does lead to some authors getting exponentially 'autovoted'.
  • Once a user has 'won' that vote there's no need to improve their content. Many users that create decent content and then 'gain' autovotes can just keeping doing what they did - no need to make that one epic post or other effort, right? "The votes will come in if I did what I did yesterday!" Now, of course, lowering your quality/efforts might risk you to lose the autovotes because that might get discovered after a while, so often these authors keep up a basic quality, but their motivation might more be about posting a fixed daily quota than something else.
  • The other side of this coin sucks too: what if you are a pretty good writer or video maker but want to shitpost your way through communities for a day or a week? How embarrassing is it to see your one liner post earn 50$/HIVE? I believe autovotes can sometimes ruin some of the light-heartedness we need on Hive to really make this an engaging platform.

What if we lived on a Hive that only did one of the extremes?

  • If we only had people autovoting - do you think this platform would have ANY value - at all? Do you think it would attract new users?
  • If we only had people not autovoting - do you think people would think this platform lost value? Do you think a platform without autovoting would attract new users? Other types of users maybe?

It's interesting to collect your own thoughts about autovoting if you take a minute to imagine these extreme ends. Truth often lies somewhere in the middle, but a platform with 100% autovotes would probable not have a lot of value to future users and thus might be a hint why we wouldn't want to 'reward' autovoting too much.

How to better autovote?

I suspect many people will write about this autovote change so maybe I shouldn't even have started this post because what are the chances I will actually bring something new to a discussion that has been held so many times already? I was just coincidentally sitting behind an empty screen while seeing this discussion getting started on @steemauto/Hive.Vote.

Maybe I can simply share my wishes regarding autovotes, fully accepting they will never really disappear and always be a part of this ecosystem.

  • Spread votes more widely/with smaller percentages: there's nothing more annoying than seeing the same content on trending each day, and there's nothing more awesome than to see more people get a few decent votes. If you need inspiration on how that looks like take a look at the voting behaviour of @mangos, @alexis555, @ripperone
  • Don't reward 'good content' - reward good Hivers. Those who show up a few times a week, really try to engage, make something valuable of our Hive Communities (which often are not about long-form content) - try to make them part of your autovote efforts.
  • Leave some room for manual curation! Really! If you spend 10% of your VP each day you can easily spend 50% of your VP once a week on posts/Hivers you really like/want to reward once but not on auto, you'll certainly make someone smile with an unexpected vote here and there. With about 10% of you VP 'spent' the rest of the week your VP will recover automatically meanwhile helping to keep an element of surprise on Hive.
  • Don't chase the curation rewards ONLY by pre-voting bigger votes. It can be very worthwhile to vote smaller accounts, and vote on content after 2-4 hours instead of cramping everything in the first 15 minutes. Some of my biggest ROI comes from being the last to vote on a post that didn't make 1$ before I voted.
  • Once a day? Twice a week? It's up to you but think about it! Make a conscious choice and review it from time to time. Set a quarterly appointment in your calendar to review your autovotes, remove a few, add a few, reward some authors once a day for a few months, lower others to once a week for a while, and mix it up again in three months.

People work harder if they feel they can win or earn something and don't know when it will happen - in the end we want people to have fun and not feel either overlooked or entitled in regards to post rewards.

Well, this is basically just a rant and I might add additional thoughts in the comments. What would you like to see changed in regards to autovoting? Am I missing a few important points on the subject?

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