SteemFest was an amazing time! There was a lot of useful information and fun activities. My favorite part of the whole conference though was getting to actually meet so many of the cool Steemians that I have spent the last year+ getting to know online - in person. So fun to see so many of you face-to-face!
On day three of the conference, I walked into the room where everyone was sitting down for dinner. A lot of the tables had started to fill up, and I was looking for a good place to sit. I saw that nearby there was an open spot next to @sneak. @sneak and I have gotten to know each other quite well over the past year through our interactions in GitHub, and he was someone I really wanted to spend some time with. When he invited me to sit down next to him, I was thrilled - @timcliff and @sneak together at SteemFest - how perfect! :)
Most of our conversation was actually about non-Steemit related things. @sneak is an amazing person and leads a very interesting life. One of the things that I found most interesting about him was how he applied the principle of cost/benefit analysis to various areas of his life. He seems very able to take a step back from whatever the situation is, and make a calculated decision about what is best for his life.
After spending most of the dinner talking about life, we eventually segued into Steemit related topics. It started out with @sneak sharing his views on several of the mainstream social media platforms out there - Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and many more. One other thing I learned about @sneak, is that the guy loves his social media! He seems to use and know tons about pretty much every platform out there. What works, what doesn't, why people use them, and what can be improved. I have a lot of confidence in @sneak's ability to bring the Steemit website, Steemit mobile app, and the Steem blockchain into the leading edge of Social media.
We eventually transitioned into a deep-dive of how communities will work. Everything that follows is my understanding of a fairly complex technical conversation that we had a few days ago. It should be fairly accurate, but I just want to throw a disclaimer that some of this may be slightly off from what Steemit actually plans to implement. Also, I'm sure Steemit reserves the right to change any/all of this during their implementation.
Communities are going to drastically change the platform.
Right now, all Steemit content is presented to users through a 'fire-hose'. Everything all at once, either through the trending page, new/created page, or a user's feed. Users are all competing for a brief glimpse of attention before their post is shoved off by the thousands of other posts shooting through the hose. Communities are going to change all of that.
The Steemit homepage is going to consist of a handful (probably around 20) pre-selected communities, which are the defaults. These communities will be broad topics that appeal to wide audiences, such as news, gaming, music, funny, etc. Users will have the ability to keep the defaults selected, or chose different communities that are more tailored to their personal preferences. Users will be able to drill down into any of the communities to browse the content within them. Users also may be given the option to follow a community.
At a technical level, a community will start out as a 'regular user' account and will be converted into a community. The reason for this is so that communities can eventually share in the revenue from the posts that are created within them (more on this later). When a user creates a post within a community, it will still be posted under their own account on the blockchain, but it will have JSON that designates it as part of a community. Hivemind (a new back-end application layer that is being built by Steemit) will interpret all of the data to determine how the post is handled for the communities.
Communities will either be public (anyone can post) or restricted (only moderators and approved users can post). When a user creates a post, they will either post it as an individual (within their own blog) or in a community. Posts that are created within a community will not be shown on the user's personal blog. If a user tries to post in a community that they are not authorized to post in, Hivemind will just ignore the post for the community, and it will be just be shown in their personal blog.
Communities will have moderators. Moderators will have the ability to hide any content that appears in the community which is not in line with the community's rules/standards. This includes both posts and comments. Users who are interacting with the community may be given the option to turn off the moderation - so they can see everything (even if the moderators hide it).
For content that is not posted within a community, the user who posted the content will have moderator control over their post. Users will have the ability to hide any comments that they do not want on their blog. Hidden content will still be available on the blockchain and possibly other UIs, but they will be filtered out by Hivemind for the data that is presented on Steemit.com.
Communities will eventually support payment splitting, where a portion of the posts reward is shared with the community account. Community admins will be able to set this amount as a percentage (from 0-100). When enforced, a post will only be allowed within the community if the author shares the required percentage of the rewards with the community account.
Eventually moderation may even be expanded to allow anyone to moderate a community, with users being able to choose which moderator(s) they want to have filtering their content. This is a revolutionary idea that may change the way that we consume content!
Personally I am very excited for communities, and the changes to the landscape that will come along with them. I am also very excited for the long list of additional changes that Steemit has in the works!
Thanks @sneak for the fabulous dinner conversation! It was one of my biggest highlights from SteemFest, and a night that I will always cherish :)