In my opinion, the three great pillars to any sustainable society are the following:-
- Tolerant. Different people are different.
- Constructive. Build on ideas, wants, needs, etc.
- Critical. Because not every action is optimal.
After having the pleasure of experiencing Steemfest in person, I can't help but to think of one thing despite all the niceties and camaraderie-ship: someone will take advantage of the community's tolerance.
Here's the problem with being critical - people are people, and people really don't like to be pointed out or proven wrong. Get into a fight, and usually nothing good comes out of it. Well, maybe only after a long time.
Introducing the honesty post -
I'm not saying that I've been dishonest communicating with the Steemit community. I just tend to have a filter, and really consider what I'm about to put out for others to read. So honesty here really means to go out of my way to point out glaring problems within the community, all in hopes to make things better.
Another reason to emphasize the honesty post is just to signal to the others that I shouldn't be punished for trying to be critical. I want to contribute, not destroy the community.
Some might say "if you have nothing good to say, don't say it". I tend to agree, if I really have nothing constructive to suggest afterward. But I think it's more of a destructive habit knowing that no one likes to fix the boat, especially when sharks are around taking advantage of the situation.
Let's make it a point to deliberately spell-out safe haven posts like this every once in awhile.
Here we go -
There are a few problems with the network that I wish to express after experiencing it for half a year. I will try my best not to single out names, simply because I don't think it's an individual's problem, but a behaviour problem that's being reinforced by the limitations of a voluntary network. Well I'm just being nice, sometimes it really is an individual's problem.
1. Little to no accountability
This goes with the territory in voluntary, non-contractual agreements. With Steemfest alone, I've observed two cases of voluntary agreements being breached without any repercussions. There wasn't even any expressed amendments to make up for dishonouring their agreement.
The first case: last-minute cancellation of some talks at Steemfest. I see this as a glaring problem when contracts are not part of the equation, and I think it's highly condescending to do so especially without any public apology for the community. The best course of action is always to maintain integrity of character - acknowledge your fault, and suggest ammendments. But I've seen none, and it's quite disappointing.
The second case: quite the same as the first. Some of us were actually sponsored to attend Steemfest. Money was given voluntarily by the sponsors without any contractual agreement. Well, suffice to say that for some that decided not to attend after the agreement - they just pocketed the money, and that's about it. Free money, and nothing to make up for not rendering what is expected of them.
It really is just too easy to exploit and take advantage of voluntary agreements, especially if you have quite a good standing within the community. Personally, I will be critical about integrity and accountability. With great power comes great responsibility.
If a post gets great payouts, especially out of great promises, I think voters (and the wider community) should keep track and follow-up on the results. Just like how we wouldn't want politicians to go scot-free after promising this and that, with nothing to show for at the end of the day.
2. Complaining about payouts when no one's telling you what to do
This is a common sight on Steemit. While I don't believe in suppressing complaints, I believe that complaining without understanding context is highly destructive. First of all, what is Steemit? I view it as an open-freelance (or voluntary) platform.
There really is no one telling you what to do here. Sometimes you get money out of your contribution, sometimes you don't. But if you're complaining, are you really contributing willingly, anyway? The beauty of this platform is that you can earn rewards by just doing whatever you like. If you want to earn more, make your stuff relevant for the community. Hustle and provide value.
However, I do agree that the top influencers should break out of certain habits and try to support more persistent, value-adding accounts. Curation groups are part of the solution, at least in the meantime. I think this situation has vastly improved since the early days.
3. Let's try to assess posts / accounts objectively
Alright, the common saying in Steemit is "Value is subjective". Sure it's subjective, especially when the focus is restricted on the contents of a post. However, when you view and study an account's posts collectively, a new dimension arises. That new dimension is simply character.
While assessing character is also a pretty subjective practice, I think it's fair to say that it can be objective when judging an account is being exploitative, or not. My personal alarm goes off whenever I see blatant repetition, especially when there's little or no other attempts to add value into the network. Doubly so when the contents are like what you experience from fortune tellers. Personally, I wouldn't pay fortune tellers that are deliberately delivering false hopes. It's a waste of money.
I agree that it's okay for certain individuals to stick to their own, limited focus to what they think best contributes to the community. But, I personally would like to see individuals getting rewarded for trying out new stuff. The problem with most of mainstream society is specialization of industries, and of what is expected of an individual.
This happens because of the safety-net reward systems of a highly industrialized society. Personally, I think of Steemit as a platform that will ignite the next Renaissance. It's a companion for everybody to explore, contribute, and continuously improve themselves along with other good people.
I hope whatever I've written here adds to the discussion. What do you think about some of the points I've made? I plan to do this post once every 6 months.
I would also like to take this chance to thank those who are always critical about the problems of the network, especially those that don't mind taking a hit in reputation and future payouts.