The extended version of tips for newbies and minnows in Steem

in help •  3 months ago

This is a compilation of tips, tricks and other practical solutions to make the most out of steem.
This post is separated into 3 sections, so jump to the section that interests you the most: 

  1. Steem features and things you should know when dealing with the steem blockchain, no matter what interface you use to interact with the blockchain. 
  2. Tips for each milestone, both ethical and unethical tips to get the biggest amount of SP as you grow. 
  3. List of some active communities on the steem blockchain, alongside my views on them. 

In the first section I’ll explain the different features and some technical stuff regarding steem, like how the post payouts work, what are witnesses, some applications to interact directly, the internal market and other features that you should know before diving right in. 

The second section will contain different techniques I’ve seen, read and heard to maximize profit in steem during your growth. 

The list of communities will contain a list of some core communities I’ve seen during my travels through the blockchain. I’ll try to explain some features and characteristics of them from a personal viewpoint as well. I’ll also give contact info and other information regarding them. 

Steem features and Steem blockchain 

First feature and most important: SAVE YOUR PASSWORD AND KEYS. NEVER GIVE YOUR MASTER PASSWORD AND MAKE MULTIPLE BACKUPS

The password is made of hashes, so there is no way to recover your password if you lose it, so make multiple saves and keep them safe, really safe. Luckily even if you lose your password your account isn’t erased but it’s very troublesome and not all other cryptowallets are as nice either. Your account also has a set of private and public keys, giving someone your private keys means they are able to post in your name, comment in your name or do other things using YOUR account’s data, so be very careful about people who asks for these things. Moving on… 

There are many ways to interact with the blockchain and get data or write data and unless you’re some kind of genius coming from the future, you’ll want to use an interface to work with the chain. Examples of interfaces are busy.org, steemit.com, mspsteem.com, steemplus, esteem.app, utopian.io, d.tube, dlive.io, steemworld.org, steemdb, ulog.org, steemhunt.com, steemcleaners.com, steemconnect.com, etc… 

Basically an interface is just a way to interact with the data contained in the blockchain in a meaningful way without using code. 

Let’s start with ways to get data from the chain and how to search effectively. 

The first and most obvious way is to use one of the main interfaces like steemit and use the links, look at the pictures, search the profiles, most major interfaces allow you to see directly who has left you a comment and on some cases see where you have been mentioned. This is crucial for communicating with your followers or people interested in you. 

A much better approach when searching for content or specific pieces of info published by a user is to use steemlookup.com made by @curie; witness and curator team. I’ll explain witnesses later but basically if you think their projects and efforts are good, you should vote for them. 

Back on topic, steemlookup has a bad user interface (as of August, 2018) but it’s very powerful when searching for content, not just for tags, but for particular content in a tag. For example, if I wanted to know what writing contests are being held now I could just search for posts who have at least 100 words, that are less than 4 or 5 days old, who possess the contest tag and include the word “writing” in its body. 

If you want to search for more technical information regarding users or posts you can use steemworld.org, steemdb.com or the steemplus extension for chrome amongst other tools. 

Here we can see information about who voted, the amount of the vote, comments, posts payouts, etc… any technical information you might want to see about you or someone else, truly a stalker’s dream tool. 

The most important part besides searching for information is posting your own information, be it a video, a blog, an essay, etc… and getting it noticed

The interface you use for posting can be really important as it gives you the tools you can use for creating the content; some interfaces even pay you extra for using them, since your post will include their tag and give them propaganda. 

The base interface for posting is steemit, but some of the other most popular ones are busy.org (general, pays), esteem (for mobile), dtube (for video), dlive (for streaming), dmania (for memes), steempeak (general), mspsteem (like steemit but supports minnows) and steempress (that's a plugin for wordpress blogs). The key point is to use the best interface for publishing content according to your own interests and benefits. 

The third most important part is moving the money in and most importantly, out

Blocktrades.us is the external market with most relationship with Steem and SBD, however if you want you can exchange SBD for Steem in the internal market with 0 fees, the address to access this market is steemit.com/market 

Steem is accepted on other exchanges as well, but liquidity is a bit poor so be patient when trying to move big sums. SBD on the other hand is very hard to move, so I suggest exchanging SBD for Steem in the internal market before trying to move the money out. 

The next core part is how rewards are given and how you can make cash posting or how you can give $$$ to someone else by voting. As of HF19 (hardfork 19, something similar to a major version number) the posts live  seven days and the reward pool is divided amongst posts, so the amount you get on a post can vary depending on other authors’ work. Now, after seven days you can see that a post gives 20$ for example, these 20$ will be divided between the author and those who voted, the author will get a fixed 75% (15$ in this case) while the rest of the voters will get a “curation reward” that depends on when their vote was cast, the amount of votes before, the size of pending payout, the size of their vote, etc… 

The curation reward formula is a bit complex, but there are three core points: 

  1. In the first 30 minutes, part of the curation rewards go back to the author depending on how close to 0 you cast your vote. 
  2. The first votes get exponentially higher curation rewards than those afterwards, after 20 votes there is practically no rewards unless you cast a huge vote. 
  3. Your curation rewards depend on the size of your vote as well, more SP means bigger curation rewards. 

This system has several flaws that are abused by those with high SP, since they self-vote (effectively getting part of the curation rewards returned as author rewards) and use bots to vote in the early minutes. At HF 20 the system will change to discourage this shameless behavior. With the new changes the interval will be reduced to 15 minutes and the rewards won’t go back to the author, but will instead go to the rewards pool. 

There are many ways to increase the amount of post payouts and curation rewards, but we will see these in the next section. When creating a post you can also add beneficiaries who will take a part of the author´s rewards if you want to spread the earning with someone who worked hard with you to develop the post.

Another feature of Steem that you should know and be careful with is steemconnect.com, several sites use steemconnect to provide for an easy and safe interface to use some data from your account, like posting or commenting on your behalf. If you want to give your private posting key to someone for whatever reason, think twice before doing so; if you do decide to go ahead and do it, CHECK THE BROWSER ADDRESS, it should say HTTPS and it should look like this: 

NEVER, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE, WRITE YOUR STEEM KEYS (or any password) WITHOUT HTTPS. Yes, you’re giving a trusted someone access to do certain things in your name, but if some unsavory person hacks the connection and gets that information it can be very bad for you, so always check that. Steemconnect also asks for different keys depending on the features needed, so always provide the lowest level key asked: 

memo < posting < active < owner < master

As a final detail, Steem has built in a savings system that generates interest. The interest depends on the settings defined in the core, but it’s not a substantial amount; if you’re worried someone could steal your money, you could put in savings and generate some extra income with the added safety. 

The last important thing you should really know about Steem is what witnesses are and how they work. There are many great posts explaining them, like this one or this other. However, to keep it simple, they’re like senators and miners, they propose changes to the chain, they work to keep the chain alive (through mining the new blocks) and they get paid for it, simple as that. Higher ranked witnesses get paid more and have more influence on the chain, and their rank is heavily influenced by your witnesses’ votes. There are over 100 witnesses and only 30 votes, so you should really check out what they do for the chain, what projects they do for the community, what applications they have developed, what blocks they have missed, etc… These are the leaders of Steem, so vote for those who you really support, and yes, every vote matters. 

As an extra, remember that Steem is a community based blockchain, so be careful about angering the wrong people and being a jerk in general, there are scammers and unethical persons in Steem and I will cover some of their strategies, but you don’t want to end with one of these in every post you make: 

Being blacklisted by any community means that you did some seriously blatantly bad things, so if you want to make money off the good will of the others; do take care, there are people watching. 

Tips for each milestone to maximize profit

This section is destined solely to maximizing profit. The ways to maximize profit are different depending on the amount of capital and SP you possess, as well as the skills and talents you possess (and your free time). People with low SP are called Minnows or Plankton by the community, while people with high SP are called dolphins, orcas or whales. The techniques are different for each people, and some people will find better rewards in one method or another, so I try to list them all from an objective perspective. You will find strategies that are unethical or just pure scam, I do not recommend using those, but knowing the evil is sometimes necessary in order to combat it. Without further ado, let’s start: 

Always

  • Use the best interface for publishing your content. If you’re coding or making some complex analysis in open source projects, use utopian.io; if you’re uploading funny stuff, use DMania, if you want to talk about yourself, consider using Ulog or steempress; the key point isn’t just the extra money you get from using these applications, but the fact that the community will grow in power, as the community grows in power your articles might get higher visibility and more votes. 
  • Keep track of your followers. Give a shout out to them once in a while, collective thanks alongside personal thanks, rushing to the next post without taking your time to reply to them is a sure way to get ignored next time. People will understand if you can’t reply to 30000 comments every day, but taking the time to reply a few particular ones can get you a long way. 
  • Spread the word. Yes… shamelessly spread the word the next time you make a great post in the related places. Don’t go around spamming your post in the wrong places, or disturbing the peace of some communities, but if your post is of value to some particular group of people, make sure to tell them, maybe not one for one but do make an effort to spread the word, sometimes the feed gets cluttered and your very friends may miss a good post from you, don’t judge them for that, and don’t press them, but if you don’t spread the word beforehand, you can very easily get ignored. 
  • Write high quality posts. Even if you’re planning to scam users, make sure you do it in a good quality post. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but high quality can be easily measured. Keep a tidy format and put some emotions and personal views into the text. Make sure to use decent images and videos if they’re part of your post. A cluttered post is as bad as a single image post. 
  • Use templates to speed up your work. it’s a lot faster to copy + paste and make a few editions than to build everything from scratch. 
  • Keep track of your projects, tasks and promises. Keep post-its if you need them, don’t say you’re going to do things you’re not planning to do. 

Baby steps (0 to 100 SP) 

When first starting you won’t have much influence, followers or money. Due to this fact, many people will ignore you unless you make a serious effort, since your vote is basically worthless. Getting your work curated is also a gamble, so the easiest way to start is to get yourself involved in activities that force people to read your work; in other words, contests and projects. 

  • Participate in contests. Some contests can give some decent amount of steem and SBD, plus there is the fact that people will read your work. This is hands down the fastest way to get a dime when starting. 
  • Participate in a project directly. Some possibilities are curation projects, reviews, translation, analysis, coding, etc… Basically find a project that pays some amount for the work done. This will boost you quickly to that 100SP while also getting some recognition for your efforts. 
  • (Unethical) Create some posts regarding some not so great offers with ad chaining or referral links. Remember to keep quality high so that some fools bite. 
  • (Unethical) Offer some fake or rigged service that requires some sort of upfront payment, like Ponzi schemes. 

Child phase (100 to 1000 SP) 

Once you reach 100SP your vote is worth at least something, and your reputation should be somewhere above 40 at least; so you can actually participate more directly in some projects that requite investment in the form of delegations. This is a phase of consistency more than anything and you should focus on community interactions at this point.

  • Contests are still valid. While the returns are significantly smaller at this point, it’s still a good way to get some recognition and ideas for writing when you got nothing in your head. 
  • Join communities if you haven’t already and get into direct involvement with them. There are communities for pretty much everything in Steem, so pick one, two or ten that interests you and grow inside. Several communities have accounts who possess a very high amount of SP delegated by witnesses and whales, and their votes can make a huge difference; so work together with those communities you believe in and whose interests align with yours, a list of some important ones is in the next section. 
  • Have patience. It might seem like it’s taking forever, but the fact is that with little money it’s very hard to get too high of an influence or to create new projects, this phase is mostly about patience. 
  • (Unethical) Plan rigged giveaways with simple rules: Upvote, follow, resteem. Basically you coordinate with a few other scammers and make posts saying that you’ll give 3 SBD to the winner, and 1SBD to two other runner ups, then you give those 5 SBD to your 3 coordinated friends so that it appears on the transaction wallet. They then give you that money off the chain (in person or through transactions on another crypto). Make your friends use several accounts and give 1 SBD to one of the suckers every now and then to avoid suspicions. 
  • (Unethical) Create some “freemium” app, project or game that works on Steem, and that at a certain point gives you steem in return, except that the point should not be reachable by users who don’t spend steem to begin with… 

Teen Stage (1000SP to 5000SP) 

Just like in real life, this is the hardest phase of all, and requires creativity instead of patience. With 1000SP however you have enough to make your own decent projects and host some interesting ideas.

  • Delegate. You can delegate to bots for a certain amount of returns, these returns are actually quite good, but require time, and you will lose the power of your votes. 
  • Vote reciprocation. This might seem unethical for some, but many people don’t think it’s like that; just find some pals to autovote, and that they autovote you in return. 
  • Host interesting contests. By making good, interesting contests you can get returns higher than the amount you’ll give as a reward in the contest itself. The keyword here is interesting. • Ascend in rank in communities. This will usually require delegation in one way or another. Don’t judge people for asking money to prove your interests, unfortunately, that’s how the world works. 
  • (risky) Buy votes. If you’re sure your posts are good enough you can use a bidbot to pay for a vote to send you into the trending category where people will most likely vote. A trending post with high quality WILL probably be reviewed and voted by the average person, this is a normal reaction explained by social psychology and used extensively by people in the marketing sector. The other fact is that people could be willing to give votes just to expect a vote in return (because with 1000SP your votes mean something to those who are just starting) 
  • (Unethical) Sell votes. Either directly or through your own created bidbots, this might be less profitable short term than buying votes, but it’s less risky and has higher potential in the long term due to the curation rewards your bidbot could generate if used by enough users. This is an unethical practice that has caused great damage in the community, but many of the big users do it, so you can probably get away with it. 

Adulthood and existential crisis (5000SP to 25000SP)

This is basically an extension of the last stage, but with higher numbers.

  • Trade. Learn how to trade and do it, it’s hard and risky, but it’s one of the fastest ways to increase your capital at this point. 
  • Create your own project, community and/or tag. Make it so your followers give propaganda to your community and projects by giving them benefits, services and $$$. Be creative with your project, typical projects are curation projects, but things like steemmonsters can give MUCH more, but several times more returns. A couple of deciding factors to make the highest income is to make a project that encourages both cooperation and competition while also providing returns for those who invest the highest amount, this is basically called pay to win in games and premium or VIP accounts in normal applications or online services.

Well-off people (25000SP +) 

If you’ve made it this far then you’re probably in the top 0.1% of the steem blockchain. There is no great recommendation here except to keep at the things that you’ve done thus far.

  • Delegate. A high return when delegating is to get 1 Steem per 50 SP delegated per week. Using this formula then you should average 2000 Steem per month only by delegation, and in one year you would have doubled your capital and a little extra. 
  • (Unethical) Create another account and delegate to that account, then use that account to vote for your content and comments with 100% strength, since self-votes don’t give much returns. This has two benefits against delegating; you’ll conserve your SP to give a vote to someone you care about AND your post will easily get into the hot posts. Since you’re a 25000 SP user not many people will face you directly, but be careful with this approach if you’re not in good term with other people with high SP since they could flag you to death. 

List of active communities on the steem blockchain 

Okay, first some key pointers. Not every community is the same, not everyone is equally helpful. Most communities have some pyramid structure, so it's going to be hard to get recognition in some of them. If you're looking for some particular community, check the related tags and search for "discord" keyword, use steemlookup if you're familiar with it. I hope that eventually the smartmediawiki will be filled with all the communities, but so far, no dice. So here are some of the key communities you've got to know for starters, at the very least:

MSP (Minnow Support Project)

A community focused on helping minnows and other low SP users through contests, resteems, curations, a bot system amongst others. This community has a ton of support from very big and important persons so it's a good place to know people and connect. Just remember to give and not just take. The community also has many people that know spanish and can help you if you're not comfortable with English. Find them here: https://discordapp.com/invite/dpGVBcy

ADSactly

Adsactly is a big community. They have many services including services outside of Steemit. Moving up in Adsactly or finding things to do there may be a bit hard at times, however. They are a good bunch and you can find lots of things to do in their servers. Many coins, projects and other things. You just need to have the correct skill set and mindset to progress. Find them here: https://discordapp.com/invite/ZnjxS2n

Curie

Curie is a community focused on curation. They use solid methods, and talking with a curator I learned that there is more depth that some may think. I thought hard whether to add Curie to this list or not, because I don't want people disturbing the peace of their server, but I decided to do so anyways. Why? because Curie is a community that gives a HUGE upvote if you make good content and it's unrewarded, so I'm listing them here as an encouragement to write good posts. Find them here: https://discordapp.com/invite/6r7qRXh

Cervantes

Cervantes is a Spanish community, the biggest Spanish community actually. They have different curation members for different categories, art, writing, tech, etc... If you want to write your posts in Spanish then there is no real reason to not join them and support them. Find them here: https://discordapp.com/invite/2cAAj3t

Dlive, Dtube

Basically Dtube and Dlive have communities besides their own platforms and encourage participation and engaging in use of the platform. Links are: https://discord.gg/dtube and https://discordapp.com/invite/RgQcx7F (dlive)

Utopian.io

I almost forgot about Utopian.io is one of the biggest communities out there. They're focused on supporting open source projects and development and have a big amount of users and huge SP. Contribution with Utopian can be a little complicated and understanding how they work is truly a hassle, however good contributors are rewarded with huge votes up to 20$ consistently and a vote of 60$ or 70$ is not unheard of either. If you're a fan of open source projects and have been working helping some of them for a while now, you can do so using Utopian as well to get some extra recognition and income. Link to their server: https://discordapp.com/invite/NQDycTs 

I've compiled a good list of other communities here

Of these communities I'm really active in MSP, You Got Snekked, vladivostok, ArchdruidGaming and Akihabara Steem (anime community). Other great communities I've seen working are: (List in no particular order) 

  •  OneLoveDTube (I'm going to start spending more time here)
  • Curation Collective (C squared, a curation effort)
  • SteemBasicIncome
  • InformationWars
  • SteemGamingCommunity
  • ComedyOpenMic
  • Utopian-Io
  • OPGaming
  • SteemSTEM
  • SteemitRamble
  • SteemIT central
  • Metal Tribe of Steemit (for lovers of the music genre)
  • YouAreHope
  • BuildAWhale
  • CELF
  • Slothicorn
  • SteemSilverGold (Only for true fans)
  • Wafrica
  • Steem gigs

Refer to the linked list for the explanation on some of them and others not mentioned here as well as their links. I propose to use the steemcenter as a hub for communities, so that anyone can find them. I'll keep that excel up to date and slowly fill the steemcenter wiki with the info regarding communities, but eventually the communities themselves should add themselves there.

Final Words

This is a huge post full of important things that everyone should know before diving into Steemit and the Steem blockchain. Steem is a revolution for bloggers that provide impressive returns for both bloggers and investors, but many of us don’t know how to maximize the potential of the platform, I hope this post helped a bit on that front. 

The list isn't complete nor exhaustive; the only way to have a full list is to have a site where the people can create entries for their projects, applications, contests and/or communities. A simple site divided by tags could very well solve this issue, but nowadays the only site who does that is steemprojects.com, which actually shows applications running on steem, and doesn’t contain internal projects or communities. 

If I missed some key feature for the general user or some important community is missing please leave a comment or contact me in almost any discord server, I’ll edit the post and make the fix as soon as possible. 

Kind regards 

Eilder Jorge 

Image sources: Pexels ,Steemit and the other associated sites.

(Date of last edition: August 24th, 2018)

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Thanks for such a well made post. I’ve been wondering about how to find communities here, I sort of fell into the @openmic community out of shear luck which has been really awesome but finding others has been tough. It’s funny (and a bit annoying) that so much on the steem blockchain happens off the steem blockchain...

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Yeah, I've seen lots of people that read the faq (like me) then write good content and feel discouraged because they don't understand how things work... hopefully things will change one day, but until then I'd like to believe this post can help some of these newcomers find their way a little better. I should probably add a section including steemauto and trails so people can understand those a little better. Thanks for stopping by.

I can't say adsactly are a good bunch.

They upvote their own bad quality posts to several hundred dollars, and if you ask them if that is a good idea for steem and long-term profits, you get flagged.

And of course there is that "you have to join to get explanations" and "you can't understand from outside" and such.

They are like a cult.

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Can't say I agree with them, at least we're on the same page there. I added them because they're big and do have influence... but yeah, some people also told me in DM to be careful with them. I guess that like in every place there are some good people there but it smells a bit like my government, and look where my government has brought my country (Cuba) to.

Thanks for writing such innovative post . I was searching for such community where I can feel free to express myself.

Please spread awareness about this dangerous game. Please upvote, resteem and comment if you like this post. https://steemit.com/momo/@bindas/be-aware-of-momo-challange

Thanks for so much informations in one post! A great post for all minnows! 👍

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I really hope it helps them as much as it helped me... I felt so lost when I started, and after reading the faq and figuring out everything was so different... thanks for the comment!

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