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Understanding Downvotes and Reputation on HIVE

November 28, 2021

What is HIVE Voting

HIVE has a simple mentality when it comes to Proof of Brain:

  1. a reward pool that is constantly generated and filled given a specific interval per day; and for HIVE, one of the essential parts
  2. reputation, or the wisdom of the community

It's the community that decides what you receive, if you receive anything, or if you stay at a particular post level. The community as a whole chooses to do this, not just one person or two. That's why downvotes exist in HIVE and why reputation is so essential on HIVE.

When you upvote someone on HIVE, you are essentially rewarding them, but you are also affecting the reputation score of that person (usually). Similarly, if you downvote someone, you can also affect their reputation score, as you are essentially telling the community that the QUALITY of that post is lower than it should be and that some of the rewards need to be clawed back to the community.

Why is that important?

HIVE, relies on the community to make good decisions to have a stable economy. Suppose we didn't have any downvotes on the system at all. The only thing that'd happen is an inflated market that constantly pays repeatedly without any capability to stabilize the economy or HBD. HBD, essentially, would run out of control, overinflating post values and effectively crashing the value of HIVE. Not a very good scenario there, eh?

So, one thing that most users will see when they start on the HIVE network is that they tend to vote only at 100% - and this is fine - you should be doing this until your Hive Power is high enough (usually around 500), to actively change your vote slider and change how you vote. After all, if you have low Hive Power, you want your votes to be counted as significant.

Conversely, when the new user is posting, they may receive a downvote or two based on the content, quality of the post, or something that the community disagrees with. And, often, the value of that downvote will be directly proportional to the number of rewards the post has earned. I'll talk more about that in a moment, but first, let's consider the 2nd part of the PoB: The wisdom of the community.

What is Reputation

Reputation, in a way, is an indicator of the trustworthiness of an author on the Hive blockchain community. Ergo, it's about how much others on HIVE trust YOU as the author/voter on the blockchain. There are a few factors that make up a reputation score:

  1. the reputation of the voter
  2. the reward shares (rshares) of the voter

You can see your reputation score on and look at the raw score right there on the top:

This reputation score is not an arbitrary number. Still, it is represented in a human-readable format to give you an overall idea of how well the voter or you are doing on the blockchain overall. In reality, the whole number is a bit lower down on the hiveblocks side:

But, wait, you ask yourself, "Why is this number so much bigger?" That's because the human-readable reputation score is just a logarithmic representation of this number to make it make more sense.

You see, reputation is the net aggregate sum of all the rshares received at any given point in time. If you were to display this number, it wouldn't mean that much to users, as often, at any given point in time, that number will change. So ultimately, it's just a snapshot of the rshares at that instant in time - thus, it's not a good indicator of how well you are doing, and it's hard to compare such a large number to other users.

So, the system generates a freindly number using a simple formula (well, for it, because it's a computer):


Let's consider my values here:

  • My Raw reputation is: 1,855,562,738

When you plug that into the formula, you receive:


Which gives a net result of: 27.4162807849

Which effectively matches the reputation you see in the first screenshot (just simplified down to a smaller number and rounded)

Can someone's reputation affect me?

Yes, the basic rule of thumb is that if their reputation is MORE than yours, it will affect you overall (either by affecting your reward on the post, your overall reputation, or both). For example, here's a good infographic that was created by @sacrosanct last year:


You'll notice that there are many ways that one's reputation will affect your overall reputation on the system. Still, as you can see, the simple point is if the person has a positive reputation or a negative one, or if the person has a reputation score HIGHER than yours when taking action on the chain.

If a voter has a lot of Hive Power and is upvoting you at a high weight (let's say 80%), it can significantly impact your overall reputation (and post reward).

Conversely, if the voter has MORE hive power than you, but this overall downvote isn't more than the reward value of the upvotes on your post, it usually won't affect your post reward (that much) or reputation.

Why is this important to understand?

The community governs itself when it comes to the stabilization of the HBD vs. the rewards given out on a post and the reputation of the user vs. the post reward. If it were not for reputation, HBD would go insane, and the overall value of HIVE would plummet badly.

By ensuring that the pending post rewards via upvotes are factored into the decision whenever a downvote is received, the community is backed by the chain to protect the value of the HBD and user posting. Suppose it wasn't there, and it was purely a factor of just reputation. In that case, bots could go in there and massively downvote everyone, instantly, to receive a fraction of their reward - and thus, the HBD would be unstable again, which would cause HIVE to plummet yet again.

Why this Mindset?

It would be best if you didn't look at a downvote on HIVE as a personal attack; most of the time, it is not. Unless you angered someone and made an enemy, it's unlikely that your downvote was malicious. Why? Because downvoting does cost the user who downvotes. If they consistently downvote all of your posts all the time, even their reputation will begin to fall, which affects them in the long run and lowers their reputation score as well.

Remember, this is a blockchain, so anything you do on the blockchain has a cost - sometimes that cost comes in the form of your reputation on the blockchain. Both positive and negative. So, instead of being upset that you received a downvote, try to embrace it instead.

Evaluate your post and find out what people didn't like.

Was it a post that was just a picture with a short sentence?

Chances are, the community may have felt, even if it was your picture, that the CONTENT in the image wasn't worth the value it had received - this is a stabilizing factor of the community vs. the pending rewards the post received. This is a NORMAL function of the blockchain. And something you really should embrace. Maybe it was the wording or description you used, perhaps the light was off, perhaps the color composition wasn't that great, and the community felt the pending rewards were too high, so they lowered it.

Remember, the PENDING rewards are NOT YOURS until the post pays out, which means you cannot expect to receive that value at payout - it's a good indicator of the quality of your post and content, not how much the community values YOU as a person.

Was the post text controversial?

Frequently, controversial posts will have lots of likes and downvotes. They may receive hundreds of downvotes that are small or several downvotes that are huge, based on how the author is framing something or giving out information in a way that the community, itself, disagrees with.

But, to back that up, they are also receiving likes to follow this as well. As people defend the position, those likes increase the reward value, and those votes take away the value as people disagree. Ultimately, leaving a pending value shows the overall agreeance of the community.

Was your post a retweet or repost of someone else's work?

Generally speaking, in most communities, this is frowned upon. Profiting off someone else's work is usually considered fraud, and in many communities in HIVE, they downvote them to show their disapproval of what you are doing. For example, most users who take a picture from stock photos will initially earn a lot in pending rewards. Still, then community members see this trending picture and immediately start downvoting it. This removes some of the pending rewards and lowers the reputation (usually) of the poster who did the plagiarism. This is an important mechanism to help align the value of the HBD/HIVE with the post content and keep the economy stable. You should embrace this and probably stop doing such actions or alter what you are doing so the community understands why you are posting that work.

Are you posting unique content YOU created, but people don't seem to like it?

That's a possibility, too - the community on HIVE is diverse - everyone from school kids to high school professors, to soccer players to stay-at-home moms, executives, professional athletes, influencers and politicians, doctors, and lawyers use HIVE. So the community is very diverse. And, remember, when you are posting on HIVE, you are posting for the entire HIVE community to see - even if it's posted in a single community. Why? Because it's a blockchain. What happens on the blockchain is public information that everyone should know. Ultimately, the community will judge the value of the content you are providing.

If it is unique but not worded right, has grammar errors, or doesn't translate well, the community will generally let you know, either in the comments or by voting. They often let you know how you can improve - and if you watch the patterns of the downvotes on your posts, you'll see specific types of words, phrases, or how you word things does tend to matter for the community as a whole. You'll eventually learn how to improve what you are providing to make it more appealing to others.

Trending Posts

HIVE, as a community, tends to like to protect HIVE - in general, everyone who posts on Hive should have this mentality. After all, if the value of the post goes crazy, HIVE itself will crash. So, users on HIVE tend to be very protective of the rewards and content on the blockchain.

For that very reason, trending posts and top posts exist on most hive communities (, peakD, and even As more people begin to like or dislike posts, the community as a whole can easily see those posts, and then the community can judge them. If that post has A TON MORE LIKES than what it is worth, generally, people will start downvoting it to level out the reward and content value. If the post has A TON MORE DISLIKES than what it is worth, because it may be a controversial post, the community tends to balance those dislikes with likes and helps stabilize the value of those posts.

It's all about that reputation and what the community feels about the post's value. So, your mentality needs to adjust to accommodate that. It's usually not a personal attack, so don't take it as that.

Is that to say that some people won't attack you; you may have made an enemy of a whale, and they may start downvoting you - but one thing you'll see is they won't do it forever - because ultimately, it will affect THEM and THEIR reputation more when they do so. After all, if your downvote isn't worth as much as the upvotes on the post, then your reputation may suffer. These problems tend to work themselves out over time. Just continue being you, posting quality content, and being honest on the chain. That is all you can do.

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