Yesterday I finished an experiment on myself. How would I feel about Steemit with no prices on any of the comments or posts?
My first impression was surprisingly a sigh of relief. I didn't realize the low-level feelings all those $ signs were bringing up. With them hidden, I was no longer thinking thoughts like, "Hey, wait, why does this post only have $0.12? It's a great post!" The home page also felt different. I no longer had a "What? $5 grand for that?!?" response. The intensity of everything went down. My own feeling of responsibility as a curator (which is funny to say, considering my vote was only worth about $0.20 at the time), went away completely. I went into "Facebook mode" and started liking all kinds of posts. It didn't matter if it was 2 weeks old. If it was good, I liked it. Before I knew it, my voting power which was previously in the high 90%'s got down to the low 80%'s and eventually the high 70%'s.
I was encouraged by the comments on the thread. Some even said they would try it out as well. As the day went on, I started to feel that curration responsibility rising up again.
Had I been squandering my votes?
I had some conversations in Slack with those with much more voting influence than I, and realized how important those $ are for distributing this new currency around. As Sean King discussed recently, this site is essentially a cryptocurrency funnel. Those with high Steem Power are being asked by the whole community to get out there and find the gems among the rocks, to reward those creating great content, and encourage a sense of fairness in the system. They can't do that by number of votes alone.
The only time I almost blew it was waking up first thing in the morning and grabbing my phone to check on things. (I know I'm not the only one that does this... let's be honest, we're all addicted.) Standard routine: Check the price on Bittex. Check the wallet. Check the blog... WAIT! I almost blew it right there until I remembered my phone wouldn't have the CSS style running.
At the breakfast table my wife @corinnestokes teased me with a smile, "I saw the price on your latest blog post." Thankfully, she didn't say more. At this point I had actually made the bottom of the trending list on the home page so I was really getting curious. I waited until after the post paid out, and I found myself more excited about the SBD and the Steem Power anyway. The $ didn't really matter to me.
That, to me, is a sign of where we're going.
Someday, hopefully soon, we will no longer need government-backed, coercive currencies. Instead, we can all interact voluntarily with encrypted tokens of value transferrable to anyone, anywhere in the world, in a matter of seconds.
Ultimately, I'd be happy to see all the $'s go away permanently, but I'd want them replaced with Steem Power symbols. :)
So, did you also participate in the experiment? What do you feel about the site without $'s?
If you haven't tried it yet, you can do it anytime. Just import the css script into Stylish, and you're good to go.
Money may dramatically influence us, but it's also an important signal. It tells us what we care about, even if it's just an abstraction.