Tags of Broken Dreams :: A Curation Observation

in #curation3 years ago (edited)

I'm a curator for @gmuxx's curator service, @muxxybot. No surprise there. I'm sure I'm not giving up state secrets, since my nominations are offered from my own account.

Since I curate for fiction, as part of that my responsibilities are to guide my little curator canoe through the ocean of various tags where fiction is regularly posted. So, /fiction, and /story, and /fantasy, and whatever other places good fiction goes to die.

It's not easy to find good work. In fact, it's exceedingly difficult if your standards are even a small bit higher than the ground upon which you stand. Still, it is my duty, and I don't typically mind scanning through tidal waves of mire to find a pearl.

That said, it's depressing.

In my foraging, I'm presented with two extremes, not counting spam and plagiarism.

I see the posts that earn well, sometimes over a hundred dollars, little schools of minnows and plankton trailing after the bot-boosted content in the comments and upvotes. Huge payouts ought to mean quality work, but any veteran steemitter knows this to be untrue. I can't curate these posts anyway, since their payout is already far higher than what I'm looking for. And their stories, almost without fail, are subpar. (By my own standards and opinions. No offense to those posting non-subpar work.)

Then I see the posts that are languishing in the backwater eddies, many hours or days old. I look at them, and I can see the love and effort the author put into them. I know the author is proud of their work.

Sometimes they present their story with all the fanfare of a brass band, building us up to expect something amazing.

Sometimes it is low-key, and although the craftsmanship is there, the author is also humble, and has offered no preamble, sometimes not even a photo. Or he doesn't know any better, and doesn't realize that steemit requires you to market yourself with all the energy of a used car salesman and the tenacity of telemarketer .

I see stories that are good, occasionally great, but they're all created with the hope of a payout to reward them, some measure of their worth. The authors are putting a slice of themselves on display, a part of their soul on stage, and they're hoping that others like it as much as they do. So, the author puts this snippet of themselves out there, posts this lovingly crafted work, and sits back and wipes the metaphorical sweat from his brow. And waits.

I stumble across these, and I feel for the author. I want to upvote them (and often do) but I can't do much. These people are creating real content, and investing real hours into their work. It's not a meme, not some garbage post about where bitcoin is going today, not another photo post. Quality and garbage has no distinction on the blockchain, of course. Steemit doesn't care.

The authors care, however.

Days later, their work sits at a penny. Or ten pennies. Dead on its feet, done before it started.

I see these corpses of hope as I pilot my boat through the backwaters of steemit, churning my way though the tags of broken dreams.

Ever onwards.

Title image by @negativer using Canva.

Join us at The Writers Block on Discord.
A great community of writers there, helping each other get better at what they enjoy doing.


Yes to all that. It hurts to see it happening (sub-par content getting rewarded while great content languishes) and it hurts to be one of the people putting blood, sweat and tears into content that sometimes goes unnoticed.

I love the concept behind Steemit, and the ideals around great content being rewarded. But we live in a world where people who have the smarts, the technical savvy and the motivation to game the system will do so.

Funny thing is that it didn’t bother me that much until just a few days ago. I had long ago decided to ignore the crappy practices and focus all of my Steemit time on writing, curating and commenting on good content and building community, in the hope that my strong moral fiber and support of others will ultimately pay off. And then my frustration about all the things you talked about in this post hit me a couple of days ago like a ton of bricks, along with sadness about plagiarism and wars and flagging. It’s like thinking you’re in the Garden of Eden and then coming to your senses and realizing it’s Lord of the Flies. I considered quitting.

I’m climbing back out of my personal sink hole. It is what it is. I will keep on keeping on.

It's a weird thing, I've heard that from a couple different/unrelated people lately. I'm not sure what it is about steemit, but it does seem to drain you more than you'd expect. I know it's mostly the money side of it that does it, but also the absurdly unfair nature that is constantly in your face, and the ongoing need to attend to your account and posts, and to be attentive to others' accounts and posts. And of course, the work of creating a post just to watch it be ignored.

I've considered quitting more than once too, and I think that's a natural roller coaster, from what I've seen from other folks that are long-time members.

At the moment, I've settled into backing off on weekends, posting mild non-fiction (such as this post) and photos during the week, and just enjoying fiction writing in general on its own merits.

Hopefully you can find your own level too @jayna.

It really is a roller coaster. I think like all things in life, the more you can find that elusive balance you spoke of, the better able you will be to ride the ups and downs. Thanks for writing about this. It made me realize I’m probably not cray cray. 😊

I can relate, as I'm sure can many others on the block. It's not like I don't feel rewarded for my effort, as what I make in Steemit is enough to get by (lol hyperinflation), but I'd be lying if I said all the mediocre posts making big bux through cheap tricks doesn't get me down at times.

Recently I've seen whole accounts dedicated to posting low-quality posts and every single one makes more than my average. Fkn bid bots. The worst part is that I've seen people I thought had real potential become, as one says, shitposters. The system pushes you towards that.

Then again, isn't this exactly how the world works in general? Effort is not always rewarded, mentally lazy people get the most resources due to circumstance and the rich keep getting richer with their heaps of gold like do lots of whales with their insane VP.

I'm an enthusiast, and it will take much more than that to make me quit Steemit. I do, however, hope we can some day find a way to evolve.

I agree with your take on this. The economy of steemit pushes you to devolve, since quality content isn't rewarded fairly. Crap content takes no effort, so it's easy to dump out there.

I don't plan to quit steemit, but I do hope I don't get so salty about things that I just start putting out junk because I'm tired of my better effort being wasted.

Guess we'll have to hang in there in the meanwhile and hope :)

It is heartening to know that there are folks out there like you who read. I'm so new here, but understand very well already the power of the bots and already established Steemians. It must be accepted if one is to begin at all. I do my best to present the best quality I can. I take care with my words and also with the artwork I choose to accompanying my words. But I know it takes hard steeming before one gets a true payout for their work. I am grateful for the possibility of a payout full stop. Being an online poet for as long as I have been, it is quite the change of pace.

I also write fiction and so I know the hours of editing it takes to produce a truly quality piece, or in the very least one that is not riddled with errors and typos. Truth, I would be very apprehensive to post this work on steemit at this stage in the game. For one it becomes part of the steemit blockchain forever, after 7 days receives no payout, and my following is so small, very few people would see it. The other thing as I note one of the comments below, not everyone who clicks in would take the time to read it. LOL.

I hope one day to have steemit as a platform for my longer form writing, but not until a bigger audience is available to me. I want that audience ... you know ... I want it read. So in the short run, I will stick with poetry and digital art. And getting to know more people on here ... endeavour to build a mutually supportive community.

But perhaps later today I will post a shorter work of mine. I will let you know when it is up if you are interested.

It's a wise move to wait until you have more followers and recognition before starting to post larger pieces of work. You don't get a second chance to post it, so it'd be a shame to waste it when nobody will read it.

That said, if you get to the point where you're posting something smaller, I'd love to see it. The fact that you're aware of how much time is involved in creating something decent is a good sign :)

I found myself wondering if it would be worth building some simple filters and maybe even AI to build a better client that screens some of the "crap". It'd be easy enough to screen for most memes. There are tutorials for training AIs with Tensorflow to summarize long text and also tutorials that train AI on the intent of the text. I wonder how hard it would be to train something on the "quality" of a post. Given a large enough sample size, you might be able to build something that separates the wheat from the chaff (oh crap - did I use an old man saying there... yup. I sure did).

Man, things like that have been clamored for by the curating community for a long time (and regular folks as well). I can't say how easy or hard it would be to train something to 'find' good content, but as a curator I know in the first 10 seconds if something is going to be worth reading or not. At the very least, it'd be nice to have the chaff filtered out, leaving you with things that at least look like wheat.

Build it, and let me know when you have it done :)

This is where community involvement comes in handy - you remind me of the age old story about the girl and the starfish.

A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.

She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”

The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied, “Well, I made a difference to that one!”

The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.

— Adapted from The Star Thrower
by Loren C. Eiseley



A glorious little story. I've heard variations on this in one-sentence form, but never read the 'full story'.

It's very appropriate here. If everyone just 'helped out a little' it would make a different to everyone that was helped. And really, for a lot of people receiving, that help is the best thing they received all day. And for a lot of people giving, that help given might be the best thing they've done all day.

Thanks for the comment and story!

That is such a brilliantly beautiful way to look at it!
Feeling Inspired

Have an amazing day!


And then the authors leave, taking their good content with them :(

The inevitable conclusion, indeed. Salt on their lips and bitterness in their hearts.

That sounds like a depressing canoe bro. I completely understand though; I know what you mean about high payout garbage and earn-nothing gold. It's ridiculous. We just all need to become whales in the Writer's Block :P

Come, Caleb. Ride with me in my sad canoe. We'll go places.

Hey, I got Spring Break this coming week and I’m free ;)

Good story...I like how you use the canoe metaphor for wading through fiction. I got a little down and out that my posts used to, at times, pull in tens and even hundreds of SBD. But, then the curation trail that had upvoted my art posts seemed to row on past me. Soon it was back to reality and my posts were doing good to get $1 or $2. However, I kept on going, figuring that if I don't give up, it will pay off.

In the last week or so, the curation trail threw out their net, and caught a couple of my fish...I mean, posts. :) So that was cool.

Also, you can take your steemit content and repost it to another blog, which increases its shelf life. So if it's good, and it doesn't get upvoted, you can always reuse it.

And that is sounding very green. Now if I can just find a house off the grid to move to.

Yes, you were definitely having your glory days a couple months ago, but as you level up it's less typical for curators to randomly pick you; normally they look for smaller folks, figuring the larger folks have already get entrenched with their own followers and don't need the help. A couple bucks a post is where I've been for a while, so you're doing good to get double digits.

Still...you get to re-use your content, and I'm writing for the fun of it, not so much for the money.

Days later, their work sits at a penny. Or ten pennies. Dead on its feet, done before it started.

The struggle is hard at times. No matter what content your are into.

It's true. It's hard for everyone, except for those at the top. Like anything else in the world, I suppose.

We'll be up there some time. Keep up the great curation work.

Ever onwards indeed. The world is a dark place, I cherish people like you who try to shine their light on those parts that shimmer.

Thank you @nobyeni :)

I try to shine my light as much as possible...except my batteries are running low...and I just leapt off a railing into a dark chasm.

This won't end well.

Hmmm... I feel that I may be part of the floating bodies... However it is not dead! Just a bit stalled! Life has gotten very busy.

I've got a mountain to climb, but I've got stamina!

I've offered more than a few floating bodies of my own, so I'm not one to judge. Real life should always take precedence!

For sure. Though it is not too late to preform some proverbial Necromancy on some of the stories eh? My World of Kedra stuff was always going to be a long term thing but I am sure that people wish to bring back some other types of stuff.


I do fiction so this kinda interests me a lot

the author is also humble, and has offered no preamble...

Er... Care to say more on the 'preamble'

Ah, just folks that build up their work, either in their introduceyourself posts, or announcing some grand new story they're going to be serializing on steemit. Some folks do that, and some do not. The ones that do, you can tell they're excited about it, and want the world to be excited as well, but that rarely happens.

Part of the benefit of contributing to Steemit is the wonderful people you meet. The other thing is, whatever you post may not bring in a lot of financial reward (at least at first) but it just may influence or even turn another's life around in some way. It also provides a place to air one's views etc. As far as good stuff being neglected in favor of "junk food for the mind" (not all of it is, of course), but that's like bringing healthy food to a pot luck; that just may be the dish that's left untouched. It takes effort to read and understand; glean bits of truth that resonate. Those who do are the individuals that benefit, and those are the ones that writers seek, don't you agree?

It's true; sometimes there are intangible benefits beyond the simple money reward. Hard to maintain that perspective long term though!

Hi @negativer, I just stopped back to let you know your post was one of my favourite reads and I included it in my Steemit Ramble. You can read what I wrote about your post here.

Join us on Thursdays for Pimp Your Post Thursday at 11am EST or 7PM EST in the Steemit Ramble Discord or:

If you’d like to nominate someone’s post just visit the Steemit Ramble Discord

Very wonderful story brother, i love your story☺ keep spirit🤗