The State of Steem Forums Action Plan : a skeleton to build on : #1 Technology

in steem •  6 months ago 

The State of Steem Forums seem to be getting a good reception.

The first one last week provided an opportunity for discussion of the 'big picture' issues and an overview of where Steem is heading.

This week we are moving on to talk about specific 'themes' and elements of the Steem ecosystem. First up it is technology.

I am very keen that these forums aren't just jolly good talking shops. There is a certain degree of urgency that requires us to go beyond talking and onto action.

These forums can provide a framework for this action, but they cannot produce the actions themselves.

The forums will provide the skeleton. It will be up to the Steem Community as a whole to put flesh on the bones, energise it into life, make it walk, talk and do things.

We need to animate...


How do we go forward?

This will require a special type of organisation. We are volunteers. We have no governing body or management structure.

While we might all have a shared vision (or two) there will inevitably be many different agendas at play.

There can be no compulsion or coercion.

We must rely on cooperation, consideration, consultation, collective working and common purpose.


There are already many projects underway to make Steem a better place. Some of these are already in the public domain, some are yet to be revealed.

We must tread carefully and talk openly if we are to avoid duplication of effort and wastage of our precious resources.


As a starting point for each of the coming forums I am going to compile a list of the key issues to be addressed along with any projects I already know of.

I will offer that up as a bare bones Action Plan to be commented upon, added to, edited, amplified and refined.

This will provide a starting document to identify what is being done and what else needs to be done.

An obvious challenge arising from this will be who fills the gaps and how will they be resourced...



The State of Steem Action Plan #1 : Technology


1. Nodes & RocksDB

THE PROBLEM : Nodes require too much RAM to run. Full API nodes particularly are becoming prohibitively expensive. The Community needs to run more API nodes to take over from Steemit Inc nodes as they are reduced.

ACTION REQUIRED : The currently offered solution is to implement RocksDB to reduce memory requirements. Suggested reductions from 256GB to 4GB for API nodes have been suggested by Steemit Inc.

WHO WILL DO IT : Steemit Inc have taken on this task with their reduced development team.

PRIORITY : Critical. Steemit Inc are targeting early February 2019 ??

FALLBACK IF FIRST SOLUTION FAILS : @Blocktrades made a proposal to carry out the RocksDB work for Steemit Inc. The proposal was turned down by Steemit Inc.

Once the cost of running full API nodes is dramatically reduced the Steem Community will need witnesses, dApps and other groupings to run full nodes to replace the Steemit Inc nodes that are likely to be shut down in 2019.



2. SMTs

THE PROBLEM : Smart Media Tokens have been put forward as a critical advance for the Steem blockchain. They will 'tokenise the web'. However after 18 months development by Steemit Inc they still have not been released.

ACTION REQUIRED : Smart Media Tokens, of some sort, are still considered vital to the future of Steem.

WHO WILL DO IT : Despite their significantly reduced development resources Steemit Inc still want to deliver SMTs. However they are now only planning to release a stripped down SMT-lite version in the near term.

PRIORITY : High. Steemit Inc are now targeting mid March 2019 for the release of the TestNet.

FALLBACK IF FIRST SOLUTION FAILS : Several Steem Community developers are now releasing their own Token versions including @fulltimegeek, @shredz7 and @harpagon (with @yabapmatt).



3. Resource Credit Delegation Pools

THE PROBLEM : Since Hardfork 20 new users are struggling to have enough Resource Credits (RCs) to carry out many simple operations such as commenting. Currently the only solution is SteemPower delegation. This is not always available, however many users have surplus Resource Credits.

ACTION REQUIRED : A Resource Credit delegation system is required. Will this require a Hardfork ?

WHO WILL DO IT : No indication has been given that this will be done now by Steemit Inc. Is it achievable by an individual blockchain developer? Would this require a development company like Blocktrades to implement?

PRIORITY : High - Medium

FALLBACK IF FIRST SOLUTION FAILS : Not known.



4. Account Creation

THE PROBLEM : @paulag has just highlighted the fact that it appears that since the redundancies Steemit Inc are no longer processing account creations. This is to be verified, but poses a significant onboarding problem as Steemit Inc controls the main signup points via the steem.com and steemit.com websites.

ACTION REQUIRED : Accounts can now readily be created by other bodies via Resource Credits. @oracle-d are even offering an API for this. Do the signup points on steem.com and steemit.com need to be redirected?

WHO WILL DO IT : Can only Steemit Inc do this?

PRIORITY : Critical - if Steemit Inc are no longer creating accounts.

FALLBACK IF FIRST SOLUTION FAILS : There are major developments coming up like @steemonboarding that may go someway to solving this issue. @oracle-d is working with @steemonboarding. @pharesim's Steeminvite system may offer another part of the solution.



Any other technical issues?

Are there any other major technical issues that need to be on this immediate list?

I am not sure where Hiveminds for example fits in now?

Remember, this is just a skeleton to build on. Please comment below on anything I have missed or just got wrong.

Please do let me know of any projects that offer solutions to any of issues.

Thank you.



The State of Steem Forums

  • Forum 2 (20 December) : Technology - API nodes, RocksDB, SMTs, RC Delegation Pools, account creation

  • Forum 3 (10 January) : DApps, Apps & Developments - nodes, business plans, delegations, marketing

  • Forum 4 (17 January) : Steem Economics - steem inflation, attracting investors, revenue streams, advertising

  • Forum 5 (24 January) : Marketing, onboarding, PR

  • Forum 6 (31 January) : Communities, content creation, curation, retention

  • Forum 7 (07 February) : SteemCommerce, shopping with steem

  • Forum 8 (14 February) : Pulling it all together, where have we got to, where are we going, how are we going to get there

All are on Thursdays 8pm - 11pm UTC/UK on MSP Waves.



If you missed the first overview forum last Thursday with @aggroed, @anarcotech, @anomadsoul, @crypto.talk, @exyle, @fredrikaa, @hr1, @imacryptorick, @llfarms, @lukestokes, @nathanmars, @paulag, @project7, @shadowspub, @starkerz, @taskmaster4450, @themarkymark, @therealwolf and @yabapmatt the recording of the forum is available...



SOS Daily News

To provide a quick and easy reference source of all the latest posts and information about what is going on on Steem I am producing the SOS Daily News. This is the latest edition ...



[ graphics from @pennsif ]

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great post and outline of whats to come. One of my big takes from this post is
"We must tread carefully and talk openly if we are to avoid duplication of effort and wastage of our precious resources."

I look forward to the forum and hearing the ideas from everyone. Thank you for putting this together and the time and effort you are spending on it

i want to add that you can create an account on steemhunt -- https://steemhunt.com/sign-up - put in username and verify with a mobile number, much faster than steemit and i believe there is 4,920 pending claimed accounts created already if you look on https://steemd.com/@steemhunt -- also provides a great looking introduction to the hundreds of steem dapps.

Excellent post and echo these thoughts.... I have some thoughts coming from a non-technical perspective:
[1] Full API public node: How much would the future proofed (4gb) size API service cost to run per month? Could the community (heavily) delegate to a new account "@communitynode" which earns rewards through posts (or self-votes(only for the purpose of having some certainty in income to run the service). It generates income simply to fund the API service. If it builds reserves of Steem- then it publicly demonstrates that it always has funds to run the service for a number of months (assuming stabilised prices) which gives confidence of continuity in service. If/when it has significant excess funds - could it burn Steem to suppress inflation. Could "@communitynode" be run by volunteers/ how onerous is this in terms of time and effort.
[2] SMT-Lite - supportive of any and all attempts to bring about a solution.
[3] In the absence of Resource Credit Delegation - is a fall back plan just good old normal delegation. Again can it can be coordinated with some form of central "@communitydelegation account" perhaps a guild can "distribute the delegation" in a fair/transparent way.
[4] To your point in avoiding duplication of effort and wasting scarce resource - if the feedback on the @oracle-d account creation service is good. Let's get behind this with more support to them however they need it (witness votes?) or raising awareness?
It looks set to be another very interesting and thought provoking forum. Thanks for taking the lead @pennsif.

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Thanks for these points.

Re #1 my understanding is that dropping to 4GB would bring the monthly cost down to maybe $20 or thereabouts. But we will need more than one community node. Maybe more like a dozen as we scale up.
The bigger cost will be the tech time to run them.

Re #3 I believe the problem with using standard SP delegation is scalability. Say you need 15SP (although I have heard mention of 30SP) to get going, just a thousand new accounts a week will require some account being willing to delegate 15,000SP per week for X weeks (until released back). And we need more than 1000 new account a week to grow well....

Re #4 if @oracle-d can handle it they will be a good starting point - but again scalability will be the issue. Particularly if using SP delegation instead of RC delegation to support the new accounts.

And I would say @oracle-d currently have a very underrated witness position (#133). They really should be top 50 at least now...

Apart from technological questions you made a strong and important point on the governance of this process. This starts with transparency and this post of yours is excellent and very precise.

My question (or suggestion): is there any central place where these posts, links to the SOS-forums and the overall roadmap may be stored so everybody has (reading) access? Collecting all threads is already now a challenging task.

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Yes the coordination of all this endeavour is likely to be challenging.

I am producing my SOS Daily News digests to call all the relevant posts and projects I find each day into one concise daily post, that might help...



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Yes, I know and already rely a lot on your daily posts personally. Thanks a lot for all the effort you are putting in there.

I think, Steem communtiy would need something more decentralised so the workload is not only on you (and a few others). Something like GitHub for commuity governance. Is there anybody around with a suggestion, which software could support collective governance of a change process?

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Yes, something like a GitHub could be useful.

I think it is important to note, that Ned did not commit to SMT lite, he said they were considering it.

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In this post they have given their timelines now for SMT- lite I believe - looking at the little spreadsheet capture...



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Yes, you are correct, in the recent steemitblog, it was stated they will consider it. So, I guess a person has to guess which is true.

do u still believe in steemit? I've seen nothing substantial for 18 months

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Great summary to start with as I am sure these are enough to fill the 3-5 hours allocated to it. While I think these are the priorities, time should be spent on other issues impacting the protocol and its economy such as SBD and the debt ratio. Thanks for putting this together!

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Thank you. Not only for this daily update, but the forums.

The first one was a revelation to me, and I am anxiously looking forward to the rest, starting tomorrow.

It's sort of a perfect storm in my mind. Topics and items that need to be discussed and SOLVED soon or even sooner than that, and the host with enough horsepower to get the principals involved.

Thank you!

Just wanted to say thank you for taking the initiative to make things happen