This post is going to be exploring the importance of there being an attainable stake for every user on Steemit. I have posted about Steem distribution a number of times, however all these posts have been attempting to prove the trajectory of redistribution, rather than the importance of this phenomena in general.
This post was inspired by @anyx The Steemit Tragedy of The Commons, and many interesting comment’s this post received. There was one area in particular caught my imagination, but for the purposes of making this post readable in it’s own right, I’m going to have to take a step back;
What is the Tragedy of the Commons?
The tragedy of the commons is an economic problem in which every individual tries to reap the greatest benefit from a given resource. As the demand for the resource overwhelms the supply, every individual who consumes an additional unit directly harms others who can no longer enjoy the benefits. Generally, the resource of interest is easily available to all individuals; the tragedy of the commons occurs when individuals neglect the well-being of society in the pursuit of personal gain.
Quote from Investopedia
I think we can all agree that this kind of behaviour can be seen across many constructs of modern day civilisation. Many pursuits of wealth come at the expense of society (one expense to society being the Environment).
@anyx highlighted many area’s where they believed Steemit is descending into ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’, all of which are area’s that need to be monitored for the good of ALL users on the platform.
My particular interest is in sharing how Steemit has changed since I started being a user, and what I believe to be the trigger for this…
In the Beginning…
I joined Steemit around 10 weeks ago after reading an article on CoinDesk about users numbers increasing by 1600% in 1 month. I initially joined to be a passive Steem Power Holder, after reading the White Paper. I thought the concept had potential, but knew that my odd’s of earning my way through Content Creation were slim…
So, I created an account and had a look around. At this time, there was only a few hundred daily active users. Competition between Content Creators was low, and so was (in general) the Quality of content being produced.
I decided to invest 1 Bitcoin and Post a few times to understand what was going on. I am not a Writter or a Blogger, so my expectations were very low (with regards to rewards), this was merely a way of educating myself on my investment. My first 2 posts earned me the princely sum of $0.01. The fact they earn’t anything was a miracle, they were rubbish.
The thing is, I was invested, I owned a ‘piece of the pie’ and I paid for it. In my mind, I brought some shares in a start-up, and any contribution I made (however small) was going to help my investment move forward.
It also felt like everyone was in the same boat. I suppose we were. We all had everything to gain by Steemit taking off, and many of us had something to lose if it didn’t..
So I carried on, and very quickly Steemit began to get some traction. I improved a little (over my 600+ posts), and got a few followers, and benefited from Steemit’s success…
In order for Steem(it) to be successful, we need an engaged community. Having 100 very successful bloggers is not going to help us achieve the Ultimate Aim. We need a community in the millions.
This is where distribution comes into play. We need every user to feel valued, feel they have something to gain by staying, and something to lose by leaving. The same feeling I had by investing in Steemit in it's infancy..
Everyone needs a VESTED Interest
This has become a more contentious issue over the past few weeks. There have been complaints left right and centre regarding 'Whale' power, and difficulties for new users to be noticed. In the comment section of @anyx post, @smooth wrote;
If you have a piece of land that nobody owns, the incentives can be for everyone to exploit it in every manner and to a degree that the land is ruined. If someone owns it, the owner won't want the land ruined and will most likely define rules and limits governing its use.
This, I believe sums up nicely why we need every user to feel they have a level of ownership in Steemit. This is something that will solidify Steemit’s future, and the biggest barrier we have to achieving this ideal, is education..
We are only a few months into the Steemit Journey
New users are being sold a white lie. This lie is not from @dan or @ned, or hidden in the White Paper, it’s from user promotion that is far too short term looking. Too many new sign-ups are being sold on Steemit by users promoting their success, without explain how much work they had to put into achieving this success (whether off the platform or on the platform). This is what is causing the discontent in my opinion. When you are told in no uncertain term, "Join Steemit, you WILL make money", it's very easy to get disillusioned when this doesn't happen immediately. Especially when you see many users succeeding where you are failing.
What is everyone forgetting?
Steemit is a SOCIAL Media site. You need to be SOCIAL, build up a following, engage with the community, and then, you’ve got a decent chance. BUT this takes time and effort. Would you expect 1000 friends on Facebook the first week you joined?
New users need to be educated to the fact that, an average user will likely make no significant rewards from their first 15-20 posts (like me), but they need to use these posts to learn what the community wants, build up a following, and over time, persistence might pay off.
It’s important that we get these new users vested in Steemit as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, selling Steemit as a ‘Get Rich Quick Scheme’ will hurt us in the long run. It should be sold as a Social Media Platform where, if you create content which is loved by the community at large, you will be rewarded. If not, you still have a level of free speech which is unprecedented amongst any other social media platform..
Everyone’s Interests are aligned…
The one thing that is on the side of new users is, everyone’s interest are aligned. I have shown in a number of previous posts here and here, that the Steem Economic System is set up to distribute ownership away from the Top 1% over time over time, and that this is already happening.
This is a good thing, but it will take time. New users need to understand that, my first mover advantage 10 weeks ago, is your first mover advantage now. We are all early adopters of Steemit, and with long term success, comes long term rewards for everyone.
The ‘Whales’ have nothing without a growing user base, and also have the most to lose if we don't achieve this. Decision made by the @ned and @dan to date have been in the interest of new users. Especially;
- Changing the Contribution Rewards from 50:50 to 75:25 in favour of Creation over Curation (EDIT: this change was made prior to the first Rewards Payout on the 4th July, @rainman)
- Allowing and Promoting ‘Whales’ to reduce their voting power for certain authors, allowing rewards to be spread further and wider, and synthetically putting more voting power in the hands of the masses.
So, how do we give new users a vested interest in Steemit? It's not simple, and it's not something I have the answer for right now. I personally think it is up to us, the community, to sell Steemit in a slightly more sustainable way. Steemit needs to be sold as a long term commitment, where long term rewards will follow. NOT a Get Quick Rich Scheme, from which you flee the moment the money dries up/or going get tough.
I believe it is on us to create a vested user base!!
Interested to hear your thoughts...