@just2random is Leaving Steemit and This is a Real Problem - Part Two

in steemit •  2 years ago 

JR is leaving - 2.jpg

I received a solid response to my first article in this series. This was really great to see, but also confirmed some of my fears. As I mentioned in the first post, this series was originally one big article. I’ve split it into a few pieces to make it a bit easier to read. This runs the risk of clouding the message though, as each individual part has to stand on its own merits. So I want to start this piece by spending some time clarifying what I am trying to say with this series of articles.

It probably easier to start by clarifying what I am not trying to say. I am not saying that Steemit sucks or that Steemit should be easy.

What I am trying to say is that there are some issues with the platform at the moment and that these issues are slowing the growth of Steemit. I also think that they have the potential to completely derail the platform if they are not addressed. This is an opinion not a fact.

The biggest issue that I see is that its getting harder each day for new members to be successful here. It possible that this is just the nature of the beast and that it needs to be accepted. I think its an issue that is at least worth acknowledging though, even if that's all we do.

I'd like to go a step further though, and examine some of the underlying issues that give rise to this overarching concern of mine. Each of these underlying issues is fixable, should there be a desire to do so. The intent of these articles is to raise some of these issues as points for discussion. It's my opinion that if we can address some of these points, then we can make the platform even better, which will accelerate its growth. This is something we will all benefit from.

The issues as I see them fall into two categories:

  • The philosophical – How should rewards be distributed, what is fair etc. These are much more difficult to solve and likely to be the subject of some fairly robust debate.

  • The practical – These issues relate to the usability of the platform. By this, I mean how easy we make it for someone to have an account and operate it. These should be much easier to solve, as they are less political, and should just be a matter of giving appropriate priority to them.

So, let’s look at some of the problems with this platform.

It’s Getting Harder Every Day to Be Successful And This Needs To Be Acknowledged

This is probably the one thing that I hope people take away from this series of posts. It’s what I referred to in previous articles where existing users lecture from on high to new users about how hard they worked in their day, and how they were successful, so therefore all you need to do is be like them and you can be successful to. It should be apparent from my previous article that I am not on board with this point of view. It’s what I refer to as the “back in my day” perspective and I am going to come back to it repeatedly.

It’s much, much, much harder now than it used to be. All of us existing users, sitting on nice piles of SP accumulated over the past 12 - 18 months would probably have a similar experience to @just2random if we were to start today. Here are some stats. All figures are sourced from a recent post by @pablopenguin which you can find here.


The first one talks about the total number of posts, which includes comments.

weekly posts including comments.png

What we can see from this chart is that since mid-2017 the number of daily posts has increased from less than 50,000 per week to about 1.8 million per week. That’s an increase of approximately 3600%. Try being a minnow and getting a post noticed amongst the 1.8 million other posts that are posted in any given week. It wasn’t just as hard in your day, in fact it was much, much easier. We don't have to make things easy for everyone, but if you were here early then acknowledging your good fortune would be tactful I feel.

Let’s take this analysis further and look at another chart from Pablo Penguin’s post.

Posts plus comments per post.png

This one looks at number of comments per post. What we can see here is that the number of posts has indeed skyrocketed, and if we exclude comments, stands at about 550,000 posts per week. At the same time as the number of posts has skyrocketed, the number of comments posted has fallen by almost half. So not only are there now more posts, but each post is receiving less interaction. When you factor in that some users can get a hundred or more comments on their post, this means that the average user is getting far fewer than the 2 to 2.5 interactions per post as shown in this graph. Part of this problem is the prevalence of shit posts, and I acknowledge that there are a large number of dedicated people working very hard to eradicate this kind of content. Part of the problem also relates to curation rewards, but more on that later. What doesn’t change is the fact that for a newbie with a reputation of 25 and 28 SP, the chance of getting ‘noticed ‘is getting much, much lower.

So, the first point that I would highlight is that it’s much harder for minnows to become established on Steemit than it used to be, even as recently as six months ago. There is nothing wrong with this in principle. Making a name for yourself in any kind of social media environment is difficult. But when you combine this with some of the other difficulties that I will outline in later posts , the picture you build is one where perhaps we are making it so hard that we are potentially shooting ourselves in the foot.

I'll expand on this further in my next article.

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

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Who can do something about this ? How many people among those that can bring about the next HF agree with your analysis ?

Maybe that would be among the first things to implement - a mechanism to ensure more transparency.

Who's who among those who are in a position to make Steem/it evolve (I only know the name of Ned but who else is working with him?). And what do they think about the way Steemit has evolved.

I've listened to Ned's post about the roadmap and he didn't seem to acknowledge the major governance problems, he seemed to mostly look into technical milestones and to focus on SMT. So as far as Steemit is concerned, and its soft governance rules, is there even a pilot in the plane ?

Then we would probably need a kind of Pledge for Whales, some kind of responsibility pact - prevent them from abusing the platform and maybe implementing rules for forcing those who do not adhere to a minimum set of norms to power down ...

Sounds extreme maybe but in the end I bet that if Steemit is to succeed, we are going to rediscover and recreate the mechanics of the human society. It will be a cold shower for all the young anarchists believing that "changing the system is easy" when they'll realize that our societies have mostly grown organically and what we experience today in the real world is a Nash equilibrium - given who and how we humans are, it's almost possible but very hard to get to a better social system.

If Steemit is to succeed, I posit it will look a lot like our society, with checks and balances, and people who complain about them

If Steemit is to succeed, I posit it will look a lot like our society, with checks and balances, and people who complain about them

I personally could not agree with you more on this issue! In this environment we are in the minority. I have written elsewhere about Steem governance, but I believe that Steem is currently being governed the way it was intended to be governed. As a decentralised, anarchistic environment. I think some sort of centralisation is necessary to allow growth longer term. Growth requires decision making, and the ability for decision makers to be agile to respond to changing environments. We don't have either of those things currently. We are a minority here though.

With respect to who agrees with me. I'm not sure. I don't know if this series is catching the attention of those in a position to influence change. I suspect that it isn't. But if enough people are talking about it then the issue has a better chance of rising to the attention of those with the power to do something about it.

I try to make the effort to comment on posts i like and connect with because although monetary rewards are great and getting upvotes is valuable, its nice when there is a social aspect to it! Lets you know that people are taking the time and appreciating your hard work, not just "liking" and scrolling past

Yes, the liking and scrolling past your post without actually reading it seems to be quite a popular thing to do. I started on steemit in January and have been reading some of the post that are trending.

Yes I do acknowledge that there are some posts that should be there but there is also some rubbish out there and all that people are doing seems to be just slapping some images together saying "look what I did" and they get rewarded because they have quite a big following.

We are trying to combat this the @thefreshfive initiative, where we try and give brand newbies a bit of a jumpstart... but yes, it's super hard.

The thing is, it might not be that important to make a name of yourself... most people might be content with hanging in their little community and being upvoted by their friends... with the occasional bone thrown by a passing whale.

I'm perfectly happy on Facebook, and I've only got the 500 or so friends born of a decade of interactions. I don't need to be the most famous... the problem arises when you're trying to make Steem your full time gig... that's where is gets hard for anyone newish.

Is there any initiative on Steemit that you don't have a finger in?

If there is... it's only because I don't know about it yet.

What are all these 10 votes following you around? I thought I was the only person that was a vote pied-piper....

The interesting stat I notice is 65K active users vs 700k+ accounts. When we reach 1Million accounts what exactly will we celebrating?

And at Christmas it was well over 100K actives so this is the real news here.

I'm not so sure Steemit has reached the tipping point yet.

I was looking at this yesterday as well. Id like to be able to calculate the ratio of active users/total users and track it over time.

  ·  2 years ago (edited)

Just an FYI, it definitely was not at over 100K actives at Christmas. It's currently at an all time high for actives.

It's definitely not at a tipping point yet, but it is also far from being on the decline.

Active users have close to doubled, accounts are continuing to grow even though there is a serious road block to creating them (manual approval) and the Alexa ranking has gone from around the 2000th most popular site in the world in the beginning of December to sitting at 932 right now.

That is some extremely strong growth, no way around it.

Communities and SMTs will solve the majority of problems people continue to continously complain about. What most people fail to understand is that the Steem blockchain is going to be a platform for tokenizing the web and allowing communities to be built by anyone anywhere and Steemit is just a proof of concept.

Doesn't matter if Steemit succeeds or not, even though the growth numbers for Steemit show it going strongly in the right direction.

You are right but I guess I had the weekly actives in my head rather than the daily actives. I think this chart has been removed from the analysis now.
daily weekly.JPG

Active weekly stats make more sense as not everyone posts daily, but should still be called active. But over a period of time, it appears we are growing and not shrinking as I suggested.
It's the apples vs pears problem.
My bad.

I thought you left Steemit! (Kidding)

Those stats give a lot of insight into the way that people actually use Steemit. I wonder if multiple accounts was the norm in the evolution of other social media platforms.

I'm trying to kick the habit ;-)

Thanks for your series, I am quite interested in what comes next. I have been on Steemit since almost 6 months now and it is kind of a love/hate relation. Sometimes my posts hardly get noticed and sometimes there is a whale that votes and a lot of others follow. I get a few comments on my posts, but rarely a lot of interaction. I would say that although I love the platform and the huge potentials it has and brings, it is indeed quite a lot about the money at the moment. That, plus there is quite a lot of crappy posts on it as well. So, there is work to be done..

Thanks for reading @toocurious

I think the next post, hopefully out today , will be the most impactful! I hope you enjoy it.

I wonder if the decoupling of SDB with the USD around 2017-week47 influenced the ratio of comments to posts, since in a post you have the 50/50 option making it more profitable to blog than to comment? Just a thought.

Regarding STEEMIT going forward I think it's a pretty good place to blog for free (despite some rough edges), where you might actually get paid for your efforts. I've noticed some of my facebook friends have started linking articles here so that is cool, and I will likely start doing the same soon (I have a much bigger following on fb currently). Anyway that's my positive spin on it at the moment!

I think the drop in curation started when the reward ratios went from 50/50 to 70/30. The amount of curation peaked in June/July last year and it then started steadily dropping after that. People respond to incentives as they say.

I started on steemit a little over a week ago. It's interesting to read about the growing pains steemit is having becuase im too new to fully understand...Its a great idea and I have hope for the future when I read posts like yours dedicated to identifying problems and working to solve them. Its neat that a platform like this allows for that kind of development. Individuals can actively participate and therefore feel apart of the solution and that will always count for something in terms of retaining new users.

I'm still a plankton and have been in here for over 2 months now and I completely agree with this. It's really really hard. The big ones always says to write "quality" content posts but with too many people now on steem and with people depending now on auto upvote services I doubt that is still the case. I see posts with over 50+upvotes but when you go inside the post, it only has less than 10views.

You call the spade like it is. I must really read the rest of your series. In my attempt to become a bit more diplomatic, I think of the many less-than-interesting posts as mis-categorized or wrongly-tagged posts. On the same subject of shit posts and do we even need them, the system appears to be working well for some, so I have my doubts it will be altered very much, philosophical, politically speaking or practically.

There may well be robustness to the conversation, but will it be meaningful or directed to a goal to change?
I anticipate mostly self aggrandizing and self-righteous posturing. I never thought I'd say it, but I think an AI-bot is more likely to fairly decide on quality of posts than a profit-driven group of human curators aka whales. The groups whether small or large, appear to be infected by basically the same human politics and a little thing called profit. A sad indictment on the human condition if you ask me.

I never knew it would come to this

A penny for your thoughts - where did you think we were going to end up?

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This is an unbelievably well thought through article. Too bad I'm not a whale or I would make a difference. You show with stats what we all know to be true, and you do it in an understand way.

I agree with you 100% that what has happened as steem went up. The good thing is that the problems were exposed and now can be fixed. Only if people at the top want to do something about it.

I love your post and will be looking forward to number 3! Great job @aghunter!

This is actually the first time that I see someone addressing the concerns I directly had when I started with Steemit.

I really believe that all treats together could kill Steemit in the long term. I think you can see that from the number of accounts becoming inactive, which is really HUGE. Maybe you should have a look at that also in this series?

If I do some calculations, I end up with the average reward being 1/36 of what it was less than 1 year ago. So my average Post now gains like $0.03-$0.12. 1 Year ago that would have been $1-$4 😳

Love the way you have put this together @aghunter - the overlayed graphs make your point really clear. I’m going to read the last post in the series before I comment more. :)

Wow look at those numbers! It is definitely a challenge when starting out. I came here only knowing one other user! It seems overwhelming at first. You really need to be a self starter on Steemit. Luckily, I’m pretty friendly and curious, so I just started asking random people for help and I always found it! The #newbieresteemday clan grabbed my hand and gave me tools to move forward! That was, and is, incredibly helpful.