A couple of days ago, I was reading a post from Lordbutterfly, where he talks about dealing with the circlejerks on Steem. By that, I think he means downvoting people who just upvote each other's posts.
I'm not sure if I entirely agree with this, I mean, I do agree with downvoting low-effort posts that have significant rewards, but just downvoting because people are upvoting their friends is a bridge too far for me. To me, it seems kinda fair that people who've invested a lot into Steem, get some form of reward for it. It also seems kinda natural that big accounts tend to upvote each other more.
Though, one could argue that since the curation rewards have increased a lot, such behavior isn't necessary anymore. Well, it kinda is actually... If you swap large-value upvotes with other whales, you'll still earn way more on both curation and author rewards, then if you'd only use your stake to upvote good posts from smaller accounts. Sure, it's a little bit unfair because you're not exactly practicing proof-of-brain to the fullest, but large investors are somewhat entitled to somewhat of a return on their investment IMO. Keep in mind that I'm talking about upvoting qualitative posts of your friends, not just upvoting single pictures or comments for +$20.
Spiral of Negativity
I reckon that if we have to keep policing perceived bad behavior, in order to make Steem work, we're going to lose the battle. If you want to encourage good behavior, it should be done on a fundamental level, with the Steem mechanics basically.
When Steemians are constantly policing other Steemians, we're at a serious risk of ending up with a platform where people are afraid to do anything. I'm already second guessing my use of Steem-Auto, even though I've never made any sort of verbal agreement with anyone regarding swapping upvotes or anything like that. For me, it just happened naturally.
I add person X to my Steem-Auto and after a couple of days, I notice they've added me on theirs. No agreement or anything, though you could say that we're now part of a voting circle-jerk.
These days, I just try to stay away from trying to police the blockchain, sure, I do give a single downvote from time to time, but it's not something I want to spend the majority of my time on. I'm technically still a member of Steemflagrewards, a group which rewards downvoting bad content, though I've not been active for months. Some of the content they tackle surely deserves to be downvoted, but there's also a lot of gray-area stuff, here I tend to feel somewhat bad for the person at the other end.
Switch to 100% Manual Voting?
Honestly, I don't really know what to do from here. Maybe it would be best to just remove everything from my Steem-Auto and completely switch to manual curation. I'm curious what everybody else thinks about that, since almost everybody I know here on Steem using some form of auto-voting, except just a couple of individuals.
I'd really like to hear everyone's thoughts on this...