On 2nd of May I am going to shut down dMania. At this point I don't see any future for dMania on the Steem platform and I don't see any reason to continue working on the platform.
The journey so far
I had the idea for dMania the first time I saw the posts from @heimindanger and @prc about DTube and DSound. I was fascinated that creating a platform like that would be possible. A platform that rewards the users, rather than the big companies that run them. That is a completely new paradigm shift that wasn't possible before cryptocurriences and blockchain.
As a developer and a big fan of 9GAG and other meme platforms, I immediately knew what I had to do. To create a new kind of meme platform that rewards their users.
When I launched dMania, it was the very first of it's kind. Not only on the Steem platform, but also worldwide. There hasn't been any meme platform that actually rewards their users so far.
The goal of dMania was to create a platform where users can share any kind of funny content and they will get rewarded by the community. The goal was to replace existing platforms like 9GAG, Imgur or Reddit Fun and give the power back to the users.
Obstacles along the journey
Shortly after I launched the platform I noticed memes in general didn't receive much rewards from the community. The problem was that the community compared them with blog posts on Steemit and thought of memes as low value content. Meme platforms have hundreds of millions of users worldwide and they definitely have value to a lot of users. If you compare them to blog posts in terms of amount of work to create them, memes will always be inferior. It's like comparing apples and oranges. You could just as well compare a scientific paper to a blog post and call the blog post low value content.
To overcome that issue I introduced a similar system like utopian-io. The supporter system on dMania collects Steem Power from the community to reward users on the platform. Supporters get part of the rewards, so they have an incentive to support the project.
I worked hard to find new supporters who would support the project. Over the next few months the rewards for users on the platform increased and at least that problem was solved.
That of course created another problem. I was responsible for spreading the rewards among the community.
I think a single person or a small group of users shouldn't be responsible for the rewards of the platform. That just creates a central authority who controls the platform. In case of dMania using such a system would be even worse, because everyone has a different sense of humor. That's why I tried to find a community driven approach, where the community selects the best content by voting.
I tried to spread the rewards equally among the top voted posts on dMania at first. That worked very well until voting bots started to dominate the platform. Voting bots completely manipulate and skew the voting system on the Steem platform.
To overcome that I switched to a voting system where supporters select the best content. Some supporters tried to benefit from the voting system and I tried several approaches to make it work. The main issue is that supporters should only vote on content they like, without any thought how they could benefit from that vote. I think with the last version I solved that issue, but we will never see how that will work out.
A platform for sharing content
dMania was from the beginning a platform for sharing content. Some users called that plagiarism or stealing content. Those users don't understand the meme culture and how it has evolved. On platforms like 9GAG or Imgur over 80% of the content doesn't originate from there. The content comes from all over the internet and is just collected there. Basically any meme, gif or funny video is just based on the post or work of somebody else. That's how meme culture has been from the beginning.
So on a platform like dMania you are rewarded for sharing the content, not necessarily creating the content. It would only be plagiarism if you would claim that content as your own. There is a big difference between plagiarism and sharing.
Some would say it makes a difference because on Steem you get paid and you benefit from the work of somebody else by posting it on dMania. What they don't understand is that somebody already was benefiting, the big companies that run platforms like 9GAG, Imgur or Reddit. Every single top posts on those platforms is worth thousands of dollar to them. The difference to dMania is that those posts now have a price tag and the users get rewarded.
I strongly believe in a community were sharing is everything. A meme is like a joke in form of a picture. For a joke it doesn't matter who created it, it is only important that it is shared and brings joy to people.
Steem is corrupted to its core
At the beginning I was fascinated by the Steem platform and how it rewards the community. I thought finally a platform that gives the control and power back to the community. Unfortunately when you learn the truth it's not so magical anymore. Steem is just like any old system in a new disguise. Only very few users get the majority of the rewards and those aren't the users with the most valuable contributions. Most of the time they don't contribute at all to the platform.
The Steem platform at its current state can only work if users spread the rewards. If everyone only upvotes themselves or sells all their votes, the platform can never work.
Users should have a high incentive to spread their votes and reward others. Only valuable contributions and engagement should be rewarded.
If you look at Steem now you will see a different story. Users selfvote and sell their votes as much as they can. The community doesn't even recognize that vote selling is basically selfvoting. The community even encourages vote selling. At the moment over 30% of the reward pool are already sold. In three to six months over 50% of the reward pool will be sold. A system like that is worse than any system out there. Only very few are really getting rewarded, it's not free and you have to pay to be successful. Nobody will use a system like that and it will result in a massive drop in user numbers.
Who is benefiting from vote selling? Only the whales and the vote bot operators. @freedom gets over $5 million USD a year for selling his votes. A user who has never posted or engaged in the community at all. Many whales do the same. By buying votes you are just making them wealthier and more powerful.
Some whales here on the platform think they are all mighty and powerful. What they are is just one user who is granted too much power by the system. Most of them just care about how much they can get from the reward pool. They don't care about the platform at all.
Developing on Steem
You may have noticed the low number of apps on Steem. The Steem blockchain is already over 2 years old, but there are only a handful of successful apps on Steem. There are no big companies or startups building on Steem.
Because there is almost no support by the community for those apps. The community just cares about vote selling and to generate more rewards. The voting bot ecosystem flourishes, but not the apps on Steem. There are way more voting bots on Steem than apps.
Apps on Steem almost get no delegations from the community. That's why Steemit Inc. stepped in to support those projects with delegations. They had to because the community did not.
ChainBB, MultiTube and SteeFun just shut down recently. dMania will be next. With the support of the community and Steemit Inc there could be hundreds of apps on Steem. Now there are just a handful of successful apps and more and more shut down every day.
For creating dMania I was attacked and insulted by other Steemians and developers. An app that contributes to the ecosystem and brings new users. That's what you get when you build on Steem, insults and accusations thrown into your face.
Daily witch hunt on Steem
You can see it every day on the top of the Trending page. Some user accusing some other user of some kind of abuse. They rather throw accusations at each other than working on a solution.
The current curation system on Steem makes that just a lot easier. Basically everyone can push any content to the top of the Trending page. All you need is to buy some votes or have enough Steem Power.
The problem is that the community didn't vote for that content to be on the top, only a single user did. It is very easy to influence the opinion of the community like that. Most of the users on Steem think the content on the top of Trending must be the most valuable or true. How else would it get there? The truth is, it is just the arbitrariness of a single user or a small group of users.
dMania wasn't target of one, but several witch hunts. dMania has several enemies in the community with too much power who wanted the project gone. Now they have reached their goal. I hope they are happy.
They manipulated the opinion of the community and spread false information to discredit the project.
It doesn't matter how good dMania gets, they will always try to keep it small. dMania can never be successful in a community like that.
Anyone involved in the project knows that I have always tried to spread the rewards among many users and as fair as possible. I have always used my personal stake to vote and reward as many as possible. I have always used the stake of dMania to reward the community and push the project. I have never made any deals or anything like that. All I ever did was in the best interest of dMania and the Steem platform.
At this point it doesn't matter anyway and I don't have to convince anyone. The project is dead. All you should do is take a look at who is accusing dMania of any abuse and how they are contributing to the platform. Most of the time you will see they are just selfvoting or selling all their votes with more Steem Power than dMania ever had.
Shutting it down
I don't see any future for dMania on the Steem platform, that's why I am shutting down the project on 02.05.2018. All supporters should undelegate and reclaim their delegations. dMania has still over 100k delegations in Steem Power. I will stop the bot and close the Discord server as well. Image hosting will be available for another week.
I will power down and quit the Steem community completely. This will be my last post on Steem.
I want to thank all users and supporters who contributed and supported the project. Unfortunately a project like dMania can't exist on Steem.
If I can I will try to revive the project somewhere else. At the moment the Steem blockchain is the only place to create a project like that. Soon there will be other platforms with a better and fairer system than Steem provides. It's just a matter of time.