We Do Not Need @ned To Be The Face Of STEEMsteemCreated with Sketch.

in #busy4 years ago

There appears to be many people who are still in the conditioned mindset of centralization.

Let me ask, what do these people have in common:

Elon Musk
Bill Gates
Steve Jobs
Mark Zuckerberg
Warren Buffet
Jamie Dimon

They are all faces associated with centralized organizations. Each person has the name of a company associated with him. Flip it around, and you get a similar answer.

Who comes to mind when you see these names:

Berkshire Hathaway

It is very common in the centralized world to see individuals identified with companies. Sometimes, the individual becomes such a big persona that he eclipses the company itself.

Which brings me back to the world of Steem. We are a decentralized network. Since that is the case, why do people keep falling prey to the idea of having a "face" tied to our ecosystem?

I see a lot of calls for Steemit to do marketing. As bad as this is, I come across other posts calling for @ned to get out and start promoting STEEM. This is a horrible idea.

The last thing we want to have happen is for @ned, or any other person for that matter, identified as STEEM. This is simply playing into the elite's hands.

We know the power of decentralization is that there is no single point of access. When people want us to turn to Steemit to handle particular tasks, we are once again creating that single point. It gets even more vulnerable when we try to put a "face" out there.

Again, it is very simple: if they discredit the person or company, the entire ecosystem suffers a huge blow.



STEEM is not Steemit. And it certainly is not @ned. It is much bigger than either.

@ned speaks for Steemit, a private company and a stakeholder in the Steem blockchain. However, he does not speak for the community. The second one is put out there making the rounds, that is when the masses will start to equate STEEM with a single individual.

There is enough confusion as it is. Even some seasoned people on here use the term Steemit when they mean Steem.

Last week I brought up the point on the chat of Crypto Connie's @bluerocktalk show about not having Steem represented in the Bitcoin Dynasty. Her response was to call it Steemit like she always does which is misleading her viewers. She also said that she would love to get @ned on the show.

Once again, someone who supposedly is in the know who thinks @ned is the one to talk to about Steem.

Personally, I have no malice towards @ned. From the few videos I saw of him, he is a fine speaker and could be a great representative to be out in front. However, in our battle against the centralized institutions, the last thing we need is a centralized point of access i.e. a face for them to attack. It is also misguided to think that @ned would express views of the ecosystem. He is CEO and represents Steemit. That is what he will promote.

Steem is fortunate in that it is quickly becoming an application-centric blockchain. It is marching ahead of most other systems in this regard. In an updated for October post, here is a list of the top 5 blockchains with working products.

The first one listed is Steem. Here is what it had to say:

Steem is the cryptocurrency that powers Steemit, a decentralized social media platform that incentivizes user participation through micro-payments. A great comparison of the Steemit site is Reddit with a very evident distinction. Instead of upvotes and downvotes, users encourage participants through micro-payments with Steem.

Steem also works exclusively on the Steemit platform which gives it uniqueness but also limited use outside of the platform. The last point of limited use is contradicted with Steemit boasting a few hundred thousand users and content reaching thousands of dollars worth of Steem.


Leaving aside the numbers being somewhat off, notice how this piece articulated Steemit where it really should be Steem. Nevertheless, the point is that we do have working applications with people using them on a daily basis, Steemit being one of them.

I have no problem with @ned out promoting Steemit much in the same way as if @heimindanger starts promoting @dtube. Developers and people from those projects promoting what they are doing is a great idea. However, they speak for their specific applications only.

Of course, I am well aware that Steemit is more than just an application, they also do the development for the blockchain itself. That said, they do not implement anything. This is up to the Witnesses. Ergo, we see another group of people who are able to promote the blockchain. Many of the Witnesses do a fine job in an interview setting talking about what is going on with this blockchain. In fact, many of them are involved in Steem-based projects themselves.

This is a very important point that I think needs to be driven home. We need to decentralize as much as possible. While some things might take some time, it is not wise to start calling for Steemit nor @ned to do more with marketing or publicity. They are only going to promote Steemit, which they should. That is where their responsibility lies.

One of the biggest problems I have with the mindset many have is because it is ingrained in us to make sure we have someone to blame. Steemit and @ned are targets. Even though this is our blockchain that we are responsible for, let's us make sure we have a whipping post for when things go bad. Too often I saw posts such as "@ned needs to do something about ________" like he is overseer of Steem.

That mindset is not of decentralization. It is nothing more than putting daddy in charge since we are not accustomed to taking care of ourselves.

I was happy to see @ned's comments about designing another interface, one that includes a completely different corporate structure. Personally, I do not care if he starts 50 different companies, each creating a different application. In fact, I hope he does. The more that is on this blockchain, the better it is for all of us.

What I do not want is more consolidation, especially in the minds of people. We need to promote the idea of decentralization and this starts with our message.


Actually, it starts with our mindset.

The face of STEEM is all of us.

We should promote it that way.

For a great reminder about this, here is a wonderful article by @lukestokes. It should be required reading for every Steemian.


If you found this article informative, please give it an upvote and resteem.


@taskmaster4450 - build your own .com site if you want to be a .com boss.

Flagged for moronic clickbait and hate speech.

  1. Steem isn't truely decentralized, it's controlled by 15 witnesses? (supermajority) But that's a separate topic. I see it as semi-decentralized, it's definitely a step in the right direction from completely centralized.

  2. If they really want to separate steemit and the steem blockchain, they should rebrand steemit to a different name altogether, and forward all traffic to a new domain. Normies (people who don't understand blockchain tech) will likely always link the two together. Actually I think Ned is in the process of doing this by starting a new corporate structure and domain to onboard normies, which makes sense since naming the company steemit Inc, doesn't really reflect the mission.

Saying that 15 witnesses control Steem is not exactly accurate. You need a consensus of 2/3 of the witnesses (if I recall correctly) to determine which is the longest chain. That's about 15 block producers. For a hardfork you need 17 to reach consensus if I am not mistaken. However, the rewards pool is allocated based on the stake-weighted voting of the SP holders. That is a different layer of decentralization (or lack there of).

However if we only measure the number of block producers then a blockchain like Steem is"more" decentralized than bitcoin (for example) which has 8 mining pools with 84% of the hashing power. But that is another story.

8 or 17 still about the same in terms of decentralization in my book. I'd like to see account based witness voting, that would be much more decentralized than we have now, which is a plutocracy. But that'll never happen because you would never get a supermajority of witnesses to vote themselves out their own positions to make it democratic.

Fore account based voting we would need to have some sort of proof of identity or uniqueness of an account to prevent sybil attacks. Otherwise someone could easily create a multitude of accounts and replace the witnesses with possible nefarious intentions. Stake weighted voting prevents that.

Ultimately it is a user with millions of Steem power who controls who gets to be in the top 20.

I would choose @battleaxe she has what it takes to tango.

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Well written article which pretty much sums up my frustration as well. There are too many people who equate Steem platform/blockchain to Steemit. Steemit is merely the first app integrated with the Steem platform/blockchain. More people need to be aware of this differentiation and it will only do justice to this decentralized platform.

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I disagree. The strongest open source communities all have at least a benevolent dictator or several central figures.

Only DOGE is an exception to that but that’s because there is no vision. And that’s fine like that.

Steem would be a lot bigger already if we had a central figure. We would have many more dApps building already.

And the proof is in the pudding: Steemit Inc themselves have announced a fund for SMTs (or at least put the news out that they were open to take funding to operate a fund).

Edit: I partly disagree. You are right but at this point a central [entity] would still accelerate us massively. But, it’s more complex than both sides.

So you have two types of 'figureheads' when it comes to projects, and we'll be generous and call Steemit a project which it's not but that's a whole other can of worms. You have people that own it (Or used to own it) such as Bill Gates [Microsoft] or Mark Shuttleworth [Canonical-nee-Ubuntu]. You could legitimately say that @ned falls into that category seeing as he holds a pretty large portion of the Steem , and then there are (Or were) Community leaders such as Jono Bacon and Ted Haeger former Community Managers of Ubuntu and Novell (SuSE) respectively.

Community Managers are actually a good idea, it gives participants a focus and someone to direct their grievances and fears towards something that Steemit is sadly lacking. I remember seeing (I've been out the loop for a bit) lots of posts from people desperate for help being advised to "Go on Discord...." which imo is appalling especially given that the current trend for Code of Conducts is prevalent across the Internet at the moment and yet most of the 'Moderation' is [or was] down to bots such as cheetah. Sadly, those who hold the purse strings start asking what is the value [in monetary terms] of having a community leader which is why the likes of Jono and Ted no longer head up their former respective communities.

Now people can't have it both ways, they can't have a decentralised service whereby nobody is in charge, nobody controls your data and they can use whatever the hell they like to connect to the service (Which actually they can't for the minute, so much for decentralisation. LOL) and then start moaning that nobody is stopping Billy big Balls from abusing them or for that matter "Nobody is spreading the word".
For me personally, I favour the idea of a community council elected by the community for an 18 month at a time tenure a bit like the Ubuntu Community Council with a good smattering of Steemit Ambassadors like the Fedora Project has. Again, these are all elected roles which can be rescinded at any time. #TwoPenneth

I was actually thinking of the DASH community, and also Blockpass, who mostly function based on community management.

The other model would be EOS with Blokc.one currently throwing hackathons everywhere.

We definitely need the second, and the first can be kickstarted by Steemit Inc.

Then, if we look at for example WordPress, “ownership” does lead to improved focus and results.

It’s complicated, but while still lacking the truly decentralized development I think some “guidance” is still welcome.

Otherwise it will be too many turf wars too soon.

As I say, I've been out of the loop for a bit so feel under qualified for the minute to make any firm judgements. I can't see what harm a Council with a Leader/Manager or even Glorious Leader if some would prefer could possibly do?

The concept of "Here's the ball, every idiot have a kick!" is no way to win a match.

I can agree that a central entity could have push this further ahead already. The challenge with that, in my view, is the entity becomes too tied with the ecosystem as the one people point to. Hence, if that entity suffers setbacks, most will view it as a set back for the ecosystem.

Like Steemit.com...the fact that they havent updated the app does not mean that Steem is stagnant. There is a lot more progress taking place on here.

But we will see how things unfold.

Even if Steemit Inc becomes more “prolific” (read: outspoken front facing), thanks to the roadmap we are on now, things will change in next 12-18 months because of DPOS. Yet, right now... they are still the place to go to, but that doesn’t mean that will always be like that.

I will write a post about next in next 12 hours.

@steemhunt is the place to go to!!!!

Great post, people confuse a lot in this space. Steem is not Steemit.

It's not a good time to market anyway. We are only adding ~ 200 new accounts per day. Then they get here and need to "buy in" if they want to comment and post more than a few times a day. Until that gets fixed, even if anyone is working on that issue, Steemit and Steem should be lying low.

Found this post on twitter with a bunch of other negative sounding tweets today.

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Hi @taskmaster4450 well said. Companies like Tesla and Microsoft etc don't need thier owner. They have grown up a lot and stakeholders can take it forward.

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Leadership != centralization.

I am pro leadership AND against centralization.

Whenever I see someone putting out propaganda to undermine a good leader, I immediately begin to become suspicious of their motives.

The wolf accuses the sheepdog of violence.


Thanks for linking out to my article.

I agree with your analysis, but I also wonder how ready people are for this reality you're describing and whether or not it yet fits for the Steem blockchain. Among the many things I'm involved in, I've been working hard to help build tools that will enable anyone to create a DAC, a Decentralized Autonomous Community (see the video on https://eosdac.io/ for details or if you have EOSDAC tokens, join the DAC today at https://members.eosdac.io ).

The Steem blockchain is not yet a DAC.

Steem and the SEEM token are, in a sense, centralized by the code contributions of the employees of Steemit, Inc which take their vision, leadership, and marching orders from Ned (as far as I understand). If Steemit, Inc. were to decentralize as a DAC, then the influence of a single individual would diminish and there would be no "CEO" to speak of. If the core code contributions came from the community and not Steemit, Inc. that would also increase the decentralization and decrease the importance of the CEO's public involvement. I think it would involve a community-controlled code repository and possible a foundation of some kind to manage it as a service provider to a larger DAC which defines Steem. There would also (most likely) be some call to deal with the initial distribution to the Steemit, Inc. accounts currently managing account creation and represent another form of centralization.

My hope is Steemit, Inc. will move towards empowering more decentralized governance and increasing the influence of community members even more. I can see a path forward where this happens, but it will take more than just a few people to see this future and support it. In some ways it begins to look like a chicken or the egg problem as Steemit, Inc. uses its influence to push forward community leadership which in turn is supposed to diminish Steemit, Inc's influence (but my instead validate it). It's tricky stuff to get right.

No problem on the link on your article. It is a masterpiece; one that all can learn from.

My view is the answer to your question is that the people on here are not fully ready for what you describe. It requires taking some responsibility to push for a DAC and to own up to not having one or two people to blame.

I do believe you spelled out a good path to that point but the masses are not ready for it. Hence, we will not see the Witnesses pushed to try and achieve that end...at least for some time.

Perhaps there will come a day when the average user will realize how important it is to decentralize as much as possible. Sadly, I can only see that after the centralized organizations start to use that against everyone. We know they are not going to lie dormant.

An excellent blog. Very informative. Thanks for sharing.

While I agree that Steem is much more than both steemit and Ned, I think the central point of aggregation continues to revolve around both of those given the lower they wield to determine the future direction of the blockchain. This is because they remain the sole developer of the underlying code which like we saw recently could implemented without sufficient testing or understanding of its implications because of the leverage Steemit has with many witnesses. While I think this will materially change give what happened and a new breed of witesses taking over the governance of future implementations, we will still lack the development being decentralized which is where I think focus will need to be if we truly want to become decentralized from Steemit. Not that I do not believe they provide value with that focus, but we need more minds involved...

It can be extremely confusing for some people to distinguish these new concepts of STEEM, Steemit, STEEM Dollars and STEEM Power. Especially for people who are still trying to wrap their minds around blockchain itself.

You're amazing, I read this one with so much thoughtfulness really one thing we must address is not address @ned as a sovereign entity because that would be suggesting centralization, it's decentralized and steemit should not be something we feel @ned solely own, a lot of stakeholders too are here

In fairness to @ned, if he is setting up another corporate entity that creates a UI meant to really pull in newer people, then that is a form of decentralizing. From his comments, it appears the two will be separate although there could be some cross ownership.

We will see what be brings out.

True. Does Microsoft still need Bill Gates and Paul allen?

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Is Steem 38 years old?

No. True. But it's all about the leadership.

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Whenever I see someone complain out @ned powering down this is what I think of. Like... don't we want him to power down and decentralize the platform at some point?

They complain about him having too much power then complain about him powering down, reducing his power.

Makes no sense.

Great article.

Maybe the conecepts of open source and wiki are helpful in describing how colaboration works.

The ecosystem contains blockchains, tokens, dApps and so on. All these different aspects have varying degrees of decentralization, which can lead to confusion as to where responsibilities lie regarding different questions.

p.s. Warren Buffett is famously the head of a very decentralized organization. In fact it says in the Owners Manual of Berkshire Hathaway: "we delegate almost to the point of abdication". He only makes investment decisions.

It is hard for people to shift mentality for what they see all their life.

AGREED! However,

step too far into the "faceless" shadows and run the risk of cultivating an environment for Anon and the like. Steem needs to have ethics associated with it, and for most people that usually means a face.

this platform is semi centralized in the hands of the large stakeholders. a person with 1 million sp can basically dictate who they want to be witnesses and produce blocks. this individual can also basically control the exposure you acount gets with their voting power.

It was a good concept but i think it was poorly planned and led to the current situation we have.

I personally think some organized centrality is good as long as the masses are who sway those decisions and not the large stake holders expressly. its like a oligarchy in here right now.

I like your way of thinking @taskmaster4450 and appreciate that you raise awareness for this topic.

I personally feel that we're still far a way from such a scenario where we can clearly seperate centralized vs. decentralized structures, and according to the already submitted comments it looks as if I wasn't the only one.

Just consider that most of the developers who're in charge of updating this blockchain are part of the Steemit, Inc team for a start. Even though they mostly work behind the scenes while we are the face of Steem as you perfectly pointed out, they are the ones who have a primary influence on how this place is gonna look like in the future.

A couple of outstanding influencers whose visibility even trascends the chain's borders, won't change that. It'd require a close collaboration between both sides in order to really create an impact, e.g. using creators as multipliers in Marketing and PR, establishing a real network between community builders and the HQ in order to create synergy effects, presenting the community and the makers as one. Maybe that is even taking place, but so far it hasn't been appreciable.

Again, thanks for this piece of content and for initiating such an interesting discussion!

Please check out my latest post if you have the time!

There is no CNN interview... There is only @ned's face in front of a bunch of BSOD and the audio muted.

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