Steemit: The Current Identity and the Lack of New InvestmentsteemCreated with Sketch.

in steemit •  2 years ago

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Are there problems with Steemit and can they be corrected? Are they fundamental or fleeting?

Over the past week, I have seen several posts about Steemit trying to identify problems or trying to find answers for them – What is this platform? To whom does it appeal? Why is user retention so low? Why does the price continue to drop? Where are the investors?

Some have said that Steemit lacks an identity, that it needs to attract more content consumers rather than creators, and that investors should see the potential of Steemit and buy while the price is low. Other users have offered opposing viewpoints and their own solutions. I don’t claim to have all of the answers, but I want to take a moment to explain how I see the current state of the platform. As both an entrepreneur/investor and a seasoned content creator and writer, I can offer you my evaluation of this from various perspectives.

What is the identity of Steemit?

Steem is a blockchain-based social media platform where anyone can earn rewards.

This is what you find on the steem.io home page. If you scroll down that page, you’ll see a reference to the Steem White Paper with the following explanation below it:

Collectively, user-generated content has created billions of dollars worth of value for the shareholders of social media companies, such as Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter. Steem supports social media and online communities by returning much of its value to the people who provide contributions by rewarding them with virtual currency.

We can see that the first impression for anyone looking into Steem and Steemit is to identify it with existing social media sites. As users of this platform, we know that this is not exactly an accurate description of what Steemit is. Yes, it technically is “social media.” However, what most people understand social media to be today includes a far more interactive user experience. Right now, Steemit lacks many of the user features that allow such interaction and the ease of interaction. This site would be more accurately described as a blogging platform – as many people have correctly pointed out.

So, we know that Steemit isn’t made for the average Facebook or Twitter user. When most people hear the words “social media,” those are the types of platforms that come to mind – along with Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and many others. They don’t think about Reddit, and for good reasons. Reddit wasn’t set up for that type of interaction – and this is almost exactly how Steemit has been developed. The blogging and voting functions on Steemit are based on those same functions.

Steemit has an identity, even if it hasn’t actually settled on its own self-identification. It is a blogging platform under the larger umbrella of “social media.” Even as a blogging platform, it lacks some basic features that others have, especially when it comes to customization.

A blogger can live or die by their own personal identity and their appeal to their followers. If they have little to no options to visually distinguish themselves from thousands of other users, then their blog is already viewed by them as somewhat unappealing. Why create great content for a page that can’t be personalized and stand out from the crowd? Wouldn’t it be better to create that page on a fully customizable site, then use Steemit as the place for link-dropping? Of course, that could affect the post payouts here, but then this would assume that the blogger in question is receiving adequate payouts that would justify creating the content for Steemit rather than their personalized blog. Depending on whether or not they are seeking readership and loyal followers, or just money, this could play a role in their decision-making.

Contrary to popular belief here, not everything is about the money when it comes to blogging. Also contrary to popular belief here – Steemit isn’t the only site where one can earn money for creating content. In fact, there are many ways to create content and get paid – and not just for the first 24 hours after publishing your post. If Steemit wants its identity to be a blogging platform, and if it wants to attract quality writers and content creators and retain them, then it needs to compete with other sites that already attract and retain such writers and creators.

The current identity of Steemit as a blogging platform, and an underdeveloped one at that, likely has a lot to do with the low volume of active users and the lack of mass adoption. Aunt Carol and your cousin Patty likely are not going to follow you to Steemit to read your blog about cryptocurrency or to upvote your poems. If you want their attention and upvotes, you’ll probably have to copy and paste it to Facebook. The only way they’re going to migrate to Steemit is if the functionality and interaction is similar and similarly easy to understand and adopt.

I would like to note here that Steemit is still in BETA, it is still being developed, and there is a lack of useful, widespread marketing – so there is still a lot of work to be done. On that note, we need to talk about investment.

Why aren’t more people investing in this wonderful idea?

There’s much more to investing than simply believing that something is a good idea. Many of us here see the value that Steem/Steemit can bring to various markets. Some of us have already reaped the rewards of that perceived value. There are some users who have received many thousands of actual Dollars, Euros, etc. for the content that they’ve shared on this site or for mining of the underlying currency. Nobody can deny that these payments have not taken place and that the physical cash in their pockets isn’t real.

But what does this mean to investors? Is that enough proof that the system works and that it can be extremely valuable in the future? Is that enough to drive investment to the platform and into the currency?

As an investor myself, with a fairly decent-sized portfolio, I wouldn’t be persuaded to buy Steem simply for the reasons above. If I was not a writer/content creator and entrepreneur, I probably wouldn’t be on Steemit today. If I knew before I joined about the inner-workings of Steemit, I most likely would not have created an account here. That’s just the hard truth. I’m quite certain that I’m not the only one who feels this way. Many other users have already abandoned their accounts and many of my friends and family have no desire to join Steemit, despite the real payouts.

Investors are aware of these things. They’re not stupid – mostly. Investing your own money into a project is not an easy decision to make, especially when it’s a new, unproven idea. When you add to that the user retention issues, regardless of the reasons for the attrition rates, it doesn’t exactly convince an investor that the project is on the right track. Furthermore, seeing all of the initial “investors” and adopters cashing out every week – while the project is still in its early development stages – is a huge concern for anyone thinking about buying in. In nearly all cases, that would be a flashing neon sign telling them to KEEP AWAY!

This is actually playing out right now. There is a wholesale lack of any sizable investments into Steem and Steemit from those not already using the platform. Powering up Steem from the relatively few active users on the site is not enough to soak up the amount of supply. There is very little interest in the blogging platform and there is very little interest in purchasing or trading Steem. We see this in the consistently declining price of Steem and the extremely low volume on the exchanges.

The low volume can tell us a few things. The first is that the number of Steem holders may be very small, relative to the overall supply. Another indication is that, of those holding Steem, a relatively large percentage is likely being held by a rather small number of stakeholders. A third is that there just simply isn’t enough interest in trading the currency by the remaining stakeholders and other potential investors. All three of these currently apply to Steem/Steemit. This could be a matter of liquidity or just a matter of not being interested enough to trade Steem. Neither is really a good thing.

Both the underlying currency and the platform appear to be dying and investors seemingly don’t want to touch it in its current state. This shouldn’t be surprising. There is no indication that the platform is undergoing any significant changes that will help attract and retain users and there is no indication that the sell-offs will slow down enough to decrease the downward pressures on the price of the currency. Without an increasing number of active users on the platform and investors of the currency to offset Steem inflation, there is no reason to believe that the price of Steem can go anywhere but down – especially when coupled with the continual selling by the largest stakeholders.

Another important aspect for an investor to consider is a loss on their investment due to Steem’s inflation and dilution. Unless someone buying Steem is going to take an active interest in the blogging platform, then they will end up watching their stake become diluted and may also watch its value diminish over time. This can happen over a relatively short period. Without any returns by putting their money to work in the “business” of Steemit, it really can’t be called an investment. Requiring moneyed investors to actively pursue their own growth or ROI by actually working on the platform is going to severely limit the number of people looking to “invest.”

That isn’t “investing.” That’s called a job.

So, where are the investors? Well, they’re out there funding projects and businesses that will actually give them a return on their investment. That is, after all, the point of investing. They’re finding businesses and entrepreneurs who have proven that they can make money and return equity to their investors. Steemit is not the place for that at this time. It could be in the future, but that’s not a gamble that investors usually make. That’s a proposition for speculators.

I want Steemit to Succeed! What can we do?

There is one answer that immediately comes to mind:

DEVELOPMENT!

The site is in dire need of some useful and desired user features. Some have been requested for months. It would be great to know what’s currently being developed and what we can expect to see in the near future, such as profile images/avatars, badges, category and tag organization, improved blog and re-blog organization – you know, things that will make this a better platform for bloggers, since that’s what it’s supposed to be.

It would also be great to see some form of on-platform communication, such as a basic chat function with other users. This would push the site closer to an actual “social media” platform, without junking up feeds with useless posts and comments. The need to go off-site to have a short conversation takes away from the user experience and the ease of communication. Keeping people on-site should be the goal of any social media developer.

If there are projects currently trying to tackle these features, then we should be kept in the loop. Tell us what’s coming, even if the dates are tentative and the development could take a while. Knowing that it is actually being worked on – not just promised – would go a long way. It would tell users that developers are listening to their requests for necessary features and it would signal to investors that the platform is moving forward, albeit slowly.

Another critical element to all of this would be:

MARKETING!

Just hoping that people will show up isn’t enough. Having an obscure website telling people that they could earn money for blogging isn’t going to drive a large number of users here. I get that this is supposed to be “decentralized” and all, but the very large stakeholders that are essentially running the “Steemit Inc.” show need to make the investment into marketing their product. You can’t rely on those with a couple hundred Steem to run large marketing and advertising campaigns, especially when they have little knowledge of what’s happening behind-the-scenes.

Make the investment while you still have the money! Come on, @dantheman and @ned. Use that @steemit account if you have to. Pay users with Steem and keep it in the network, if you can. Are there any marketers/advertisers on the platform that would be willing to develop a professional marketing campaign? If so, pay them with all of that Steem in your accounts instead of cashing it out. It’s the whole “two birds with one stone” thing. You don’t need to post about it to raise the funds. You already have the funding. Use it to help the platform before it’s all worthless.

If this is already happening, then let us know about it. Communication is key.

CURATION?

It seems like this will be a problem for the foreseeable future. I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but seriously – what are we doing here?

There are a few thousand active users, with an unknown number of bots. There doesn’t appear to be much manual curating anymore – especially with many of the larger stakeholders. The smaller “minnows” may still do some actual reading and upvoting, but every day, it seems that more and more content is simply being upvoted by bots and mostly based on past payouts of users. The curation guilds might help with distributing to other users, but most of those votes are auto-voted with curation trails. Given the low number of active users and the increasing number of curation guilds, a lot of these upvotes are now actually going to relatively poor content.

I suppose it’s a double-edged sword, but we as humans should be able to recognize the flaws and correct them. However, that just isn’t happening. There appears to be an overcorrection of the previous upvoting for the favored authors. In an attempt to “distribute” the rewards pool more “fairly,” we’re now seeing more of the “vanilla” topics and posts being rewarded – and even more outright “poop-posting” receiving relatively large payouts.

Over the past week, I’ve seen a jump in bot and trail voting. A ten-minute old post will now quickly garner 120 votes, but only a few cents in rewards. A post can reach thirty minutes and have 250 votes and $0.75 or often less. These votes are coming in large voting blocks, 60 to 70 accounts long. No comments are left – because nobody is reading. Commenting and comment rewards have almost fallen off the charts. There’s little reading and engagement, but lots of “curating.”

Is that what this platform was destined to become? Is that what we want it to be? Is that what we expect will drive more/better content creators to this site?

You don’t have to curate 100 posts every day. Just do what you can as a blogger and a consumer of content. Automating everything will only lead to further disenchantment with the site and less interest from new and existing users alike. There is a role for bots – but more importantly, there is a role for human interaction. We need it. That’s what will ultimately make this platform a desirable place to blog and interact. Nobody wants to write for and interact with bots. Not any respectable people, anyway.

Use it or lose it – or – love it or leave it?

We need to make this place attractive for both quality bloggers and investors. The fact of the matter is – it currently is not. It doesn’t matter if you’re Dan or Ned, or if you’re a day-one user who just figured out how to log in. If you want this place to live up to its potential, you need to help get it there. We are still in BETA. We are still the early adopters. What this place becomes is entirely on us. Begging for investment from people who are not already involved with the currency and this platform isn’t going to save it or make it great.

We know what the problems are. We all have ideas on what can be done to fix them. Some of us have the influence to help make it all possible. But if nobody is willing to act for the best interests of the platform, then nothing will change. It’s great that we can be paid for what we’re doing and you won’t hear me decrying self-interest, but if we’re only interested in how much we’re currently getting paid ourselves, then we’re just going to watch it all crumble while we cash out the few remaining pennies. Some people appear to be content with that. I’m not one of them – at least, not yet.

My criticisms do not come from a place of contempt. I came here with high hopes and I still think that this can be a revolutionary step for the internet and social media, and for cryptocurrency. I guess we’ll see how many people take these issues seriously enough to consider their actions and consequences, and are willing to turn their stake and influence into action.

The price of Steem is currently at approximately $0.15 and the market cap has fallen below $30 million as of the publishing of this post. It’s not time to panic and it’s not dead yet – but it is time to re-evaluate the bigger picture for this platform, the front-end features that can help attract and retain new users, and the way that we’re all consuming and curating content.

Less automated engagement. Less dishonest, harmful behavior. More honest, human interaction, even if it’s controversial. More development. Better marketing. This is what Steemit needs in order to have a shot at becoming successful.

Winter is coming. Will we see to it that Steemit survives?


Questions, comments, ideas...name-calling? Please share below.

This is a 100% SP post – because I’m still hopeful.

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Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one reading and commenting anymore.

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As a writer and reader primarily, sometimes I feel like i'm the only human reading posts. I manually curate everything while surrounded by bots.

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Same here, never use a bot. Steemit is a blogging site to, not just a currency. If no one is reading blogs and participating it's gonna be hard to convince investors it has value.

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and if a vote on a comment have a better payout than the post?

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Yeah, it can certainly feel that way. User activity and prices are down and a lot of the voting is automated, so comments and upvoting comments has fallen off. It's not a good sign, but it can still be fixed with the right development, marketing, and incentives.

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Agreed. I second your emphasis on the importance of knowing the roadmap for development by Steemit, Inc. and, not to sound like a dick, but I wouldn't mind hearing from Ned about how he is developing his skills as the public representative of the platform. A charismatic figurehead who understands the importance of theatricality and hype-building would certainly help and may be critical, and while Ned seems like a great guy who is doing a great job in many ways: charismatic he is not. Musk learned those skills and so can he.

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The silence towards the growing discontent should be concerning to the platform.

The discontent has been growing for months now with nothing to quell the many concerns brought to the forefront. I don't know about the rest of you but silence and inaction only enforces my own personal concerns.

So much that I actually cashed out my SBD today because I don't see any reason to invest it into SP.

We can all try to make this platform what it potentially can be, but it is not going to happen without support from the top down. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem the top has any interest. Cashing out and remaining silent should be a HUGE fucking red flag to anyone with functioning neurons.

What I find disheartening is most of the comments and community interaction right now is on posts like this one pointing out the flaws and ways to improve Steemit. But yet the payouts are shit, meanwhile in trending is another bullshit regurgitated "live your life" better crap post by a couple of the same shitty writers, or should I say "outsourced writers."

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I also read, curate and comment. Currently I use my curation to try to encourage others rather than to make money. (I also want to see this work) My vote is worth nearly nothing, so a comment and letting someone know a human stopped by might keep someone in the game.

I am also very bothered by the silence of the "leaders", and discouraged by the lack of transparentcy. I am new to crypto, but I find I would have to change all of my criteria for investment in order to put much money into SteemIt.

WE ARE NOT DEAD YET. Keep pounding the drums.

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I feel like that too at times. And what @ats-david said about bots is completely true. My most recent post had about 70 bots upvote it in the first ten minutes, creating a 1.50 payout. That's the second time it has happened to me in the last week. I feel as though they are using keywords to determine which posts they will vote for, because I don't have any particularly high payouts that they would be using as justification. The thing is, I spent a lot of time on the article and was trying to convey a message that I felt important, so I would have much preferred 1 upvote and 0.00 potential payout by someone that actually took the time to read the post and engaged me in conversation with a comment. Bots really are draining the life from this platform..

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I'm still participating as I enjoy blogging and the reading the stuff others post. If even I can make a few bucks here then it has massive potential. We need to bring in some big names who can get the word out, but that can wait until Steemit is a more finished product

Another really good post. There is a lot I kinda want to write about it, but you have said a lot of it here and also there is little to no incentive for people to make comments anymore as we also know.
I comment on almost every post that I UPvote and comment on many that I don't Upvote but want to contribute to.
I almost never get an UPvote for comments though I have made over a thousand of them. I still comment anyways because it has a "personal value" to it but its so sad that there is no incentive or support of it and that its becoming less and less common.
There really is so much potential and I have said it since the beginning. Yet a lot of this potential is really being wasted despite how much I believe in and contribute to this community.
I have followed you for a while. Thanks for all your contributions to the community. I even think some of your most important articles made the least or nothing. Great to see this one is getting so much support.
Best Regards~*~

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Thanks. I appreciate that. I want to get back to writing more daily posts, or at least a few posts per week, about some of the topics that I had originally started writing about when I joined. I just haven't had as much time to dedicate to writing lately.

It can be discouraging though - not knowing whether people are reading your posts because there's little evidence of it (no comments on your posts). It's the worst feeling as a writer to not see anyone leave a comment that's actually relevant to your post - some sort of affirmation that your post was good enough for someone to take the time to leave their own remarks on it. One of the things that really bothered me here and anywhere else is seeing hundreds of upvotes or "likes" on a post with no comments. How can that many people vote for something and nobody felt it was good enough to leave a single word about it? Did real people actually vote on it? Did anyone even read it? That's one of the things that we're left to wonder here, especially knowing about the use of many bots.

And the potential here is enormous. What's done with it is up to us as users, but mostly up to those of us with the most SP/influence on the platform. Currently, it's consolidated into a few hands, so it's really up to those users to determine the fate of this platform in the short-term. I really do hope that they use that power and influence wisely. They could be the benefactors of some really great and revolutionary ideas in the internet/crypto/social media world. I hope they have the foresight to understand that and what it would mean for themselves and everyone else that could potentially benefit from this.

Thanks again for the comment and for your support.

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I feel you man and don't have any argument for your words.
I do hope there will be enough real participants to make this community function sustainably as the potential is there for great sustainable success for many.
I will keep doing what I can to contribute and participate in a valuable future for this community.
You seem to have so far and hope you continue to do so as this place is better with you.
Best Regards~*~

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Nice discussion. I'm with you, Quinn, on the importance of comments. From the outside, before I joined Steemit, I was really impressed with the amount and quality of discussion. It beats FB and YT all to pieces. I'm still committed to comments (767 of my 780 posts are comments, lol). They build relationships and that's what gets people to stay on a platform. Content is everywhere if you really want to find it. But connection, that's something else.

I think the SteemTrail category-based curation is a good start. It's manual curation and aimed at building the communities under those tags. I don't mind some of the bots, because they help everyone spend all their votes every day. And through Streemian.com, for example, minnows and even plankton can be part of something, as they support their favorite topic-based communities at some base level, even when they are offline. I'm excited to see the communities grow around specific topics. Even on FB, that's where the engagement happens - in the FB groups.

But I really excited, too, about the other applications being built on the blockchain. That, ultimately, is where the real value is. This social platform is just the overlay that allows the system to be tested, in planned and unplanned ways. And for opportunities and development teams to emerge as folks get to know each other and frustrations arise, as each of us are rooting around here on Steemit with our different objectives and perspectives. I appreciate being a planktonic-sized piece of it all.

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I agree with you. I also see the social platform as the foundation to so much more. I have already read ideas pop up on here about an airbnb type idea using steem. Just think of all those 'On Demand' services like them but being delivered on a blockchain. That would just be the beginning. The social platform can lay the ground work for endless possiblities

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Beautifully written~
I to am grateful to be a plankton in the great sea ;-)>

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Truth is that annoys me, that there is almost a waste to comment upon posts now. I am not a great author so i stopped trying to publish mainline articles every day, I prefer to comment on other peoples work and not have average posts cluttering up the readerships blockchain.

thus for Steemit i must make a loss just to support my platform. Surely something minor could be done to make people use the platform better, to work to comment and improve the websites content articles . . .

Until then i am back to slave labor wages ; which makes minimum wages look real good ! ! !

Good thoughts David,
I've resteemed several of the posts you mention, so folks can find them in my blog. I posted one of my own too, trying to spark some discussion.
@smooth made a comment on one of the recent posts about the concerns regarding Steemit, Steem, etc. My understanding was that he thought the payout/curation model wasn't really sustainable as a solo project, regardless of the bells and whistles, but that the projects that are built on it are what will make it a valuable product. This makes sense to me, and was reflected in another post today, though I can't recall the author.
There are various enterprises being pursued right now as Steemit is still in beta. IMO, this is encouraging, and an invisible layer of value at the moment. It needs to remain invisible until such projects actually launch, so as to not make empty promises. But for those who can see them and realize what's going on, the possibilities are really limitless.
I bought into Steemit and powered up twice. All my payouts have been powered up. Even when I received donations for various projects, I paid the donations out from my own pocket and powered up the Steem. And I have another order on an exchange if the price drops more (mixed emotions on that one :) ).
This is because I think that some of these projects will make a big splash, which will breathe new life into Steemit. Also, we have to remember that we're coming off what might be termed a "celebrity spike". The valuation was unreasonable and there has to be a payback. When a spike goes into bubble territory, it generally corrects below true value before finding equilibrium. Right now it seems to be reaching for some solid footing, whatever that might look like. Perhaps it'll be a penny before it's bled enough. I hope not, but it's entirely possible.
At this point, I don't regret coming here and still would have if I'd known about the challenges. I do wish I'd come earlier so I'd be a larger fish. But it is what it is. And if we do come out of beta and get a flush of new users, especially with the new options various projects will offer, our little-fishyness will mature pretty quickly. With that in mind, I think we're here at a good time to capitalize on it being beta. Weak hands will walk. Others will take advantage of the blood in the streets and hopefully reap nice rewards in the not-too distant future. Even if it takes a couple of years for Steem to reach a dollar again, it would still be a decent payout if we're powering up today.

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I've resteemed several of the posts you mention, so folks can find them in my blog.

Thank you. There have been a lot of them over the past week or two and I just didn't have the patience to navigate through tags to find them. (That's why we need better organization!)

My understanding was that he thought the payout/curation model wasn't really sustainable as a solo project, regardless of the bells and whistles, but that the projects that are built on it are what will make it a valuable product.

No doubt. There are a lot of applications that are running off of the blockchain. I think many of them really need to be incorporated into the Steemit.com interface - or at least have several of the projects linked to it and easily accessible from our profiles (that also need to be developed) or from the drop-down menu on the page. Right now, the useful applications require you to leave Steemit.com - which is entirely counter-productive and counter-intuitive for social media purposes. Users and visitors should be retained on-site for as long as possible. Granted, we don't have advertisements that require their existence in order to fund the platform (yet), but keeping them here holds their interest in the site. It will encourage current users to interact more and may entice potential users to join us.

One of the things that really needs to be tied into the user interface is Peerhub. I would also like to see the streemit.online project and other video-based applications incorporated into the site. Having a YouTube-type site tied to Steemit could possibly be a game-changer. Instead of creating content and sharing it from YouTube, you could create and upload it right here on Steemit - or at least have it stored on a site like Steemimg.

Right now it seems to be reaching for some solid footing, whatever that might look like.

Yeah, that's definitely the case. Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be any solid footing. I wrote in another comment on another post that there simply isn't enough of a history to pinpoint any support or resistance. With all of the downward pressure and general lack of interest on both the user and investor sides, there's really no indication that the price trend will change in the near future. The only real hope is to get a bounce or two from development- or marketing-related announcements. It doesn't seem likely that we'll get it from prices alone. It's too hard to put any meaningful valuation on Steem/Steemit right now.

Even if it takes a couple of years for Steem to reach a dollar again, it would still be a decent payout if we're powering up today.

At current prices, $1 sounds absolutely dreamy! That would give me heart eyes. In the meantime, I'd settle for some useful features that can attract and retain users, make this place a little better organized, and help move this towards a functioning, full-release platform - even if it's just for bloggers. You have to start somewhere. Let's shore things up for the creative blogging community, then worry about adding the cat-meme sharers and Kardashian worshipers.

Thanks for the comment. It's always a delight to see you continually putting good thoughts into them.

Well, I was expecting SteemIt inc employers to stop power down at about 0.5$ for 1 Steem. Thinking why it did not happen, I have one conjecture: they might accumulate money to take part in croudfinding for Golos network.
We'll see soon enough if it's indeed the case.

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Yes - we could speculate. Unfortunately, that's all we can do, most of the time. Communication seems to be limited.

I think the present lack of investors and investing members is not that bad, because some users are only interested in making fast money. They heard about steem and think "Oh there's a platform where I can get paid for just voting up" - so they do - but than they realize that Steemit is not that simple to use and that it takes a bit more to make money then just voting sth. up. This might be one reason for this lack of investments.
Another reason can be the not very common use of Steemit because most of the people out there are used to Sites like Youtube, Facebooks and Blogs - but Steemit is different to use and I guess many people just don't want to invest much time getting started with a new program.
I had to search a lot of guides and tutorials to get answers for questions I had about the usage of Steemit.
In my opinion it is a MUST-HAVE for Steemit to get a FAQ section where a lot of tutorials and guides are put in - and this section must be in upper menu bar.
Further more it would be nice to have another layout for the "home-site", maybe it would be of advantage for Steemit if this site would be made of a style more people are familiar with - i.e. like Youtube or CNN.

Never the less this is still in Beta-Status. So far I am sure that changes will come and that the developers are having a look on the improvement section to get this project better.

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In my opinion it is a MUST-HAVE for Steemit to get a FAQ section where a lot of tutorials and guides are put in - and this section must be in upper menu bar.

Just to let you know - there is an FAQ section in the upper-right drop-down menu. Within that list, there are other links to find more detailed information. For future reference, you can also send people to #steemprentice over on Steemit.chat. They have a lot of useful info for new users.

"profile images/avatars, badges, category and tag organization, improved blog and re-blog organization – you know, things that will make this a better platform for bloggers, since that’s what it’s supposed to be."

Ditto.

"There’s little reading and engagement, but lots of “curating.”"

Curation is the wrong term if a bot is doing it. A better word might be "leaching"

or perhaps.

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Yep. That appears to be a little more fitting, in some cases at least.

Users will leave this site if more sites like Golos.io are being made. If you speak another language like french, then why not start your own site like Golos.io. This could be a major blow to Steemit, if we start to separate from each other. We could have another big drop in users, activity, investment and drop in potential new users.

Today i seen a post from @better which helps Steemit users that are only making a few cents on very good blog posts. I believe people that have a reputation above 60 should invest, whatever you can afford to @better so he can help more users. It's hard to tell what's good and what's not good, but I believe if you have 20+ people commenting on your post, it's good.

Great post, love it.

The comments count not the upvotes. - @bola

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I'm kind of torn on the idea of sites in different languages. I understand why some people might want that for their native language, but I also think that it doesn't exactly mesh with the concept of global connectivity and breaking down those geographical and cultural boundaries. As a whole, it's certainly not beneficial to the platform and how it's supposed to operate. Breaking off large chunks of users into their own separate communities isn't really going to help build the overall user base.

And while I applaud the efforts of laonie and his bot initiative, I'd rather see more users manually curating and interacting with those users who offer great content but are going unnoticed. A few comments are much better than a few votes that are worth pennies, in my opinion.

Great post. My price projection for STEEM was $0.05 by December 15th. It looks like we might get to that WAY SOONER than I thought. It could end up below $0.01.

Of course all this could be avoidable but actions speak louder than words and it doesn't look like the leadership is actually willing to take drastic actions and take user feedback from the real people on here that have consistently produced content, curated, and engaged with the community oftentimes for piss ant payouts.

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I would really hate to see the price drop below $0.05, but if that happens, we might finally see some people stopping the power down schedules. Maybe not. Depending on how things look at that point, I may convert some of my SBD.

I don't know if there needs to be drastic actions, but something to signal to users and potential investors that there is actually leadership and that they are willing to take some kind of action to get things on track would be nice. I just don't feel like this is something that the "higher-ups" are very good at doing - or are very good at communicating to the rest of us, at least. If they're listening to our requests and feedback, they're not doing a very good job of showing it.

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Your SBD will de facto autoconvert well before reaching 0.05. Below roughly 0.10 it will no longer be pegged to USD and will track STEEM instead.

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I don't think we're at the point of desperation where we need to start pandering to cheap porn thrills. There are some shady things that occasionally happen here, but we're not at that level yet. Maybe if the price drops a few more cents, we could be. Right?

I agreed that more should be done to increase interaction among users to make this platform more fun. At the end of it I still believe in the future of Steemit

Thanks for the post @ats-david. This is my 3rd day on Steemit since my account was approved. It has been almost a year since you posted it. Do you still feel the same way? Is the level of hope down? Has it increased?

Obviously, I cannot know how was the platform when you posted this; have the Steemit team have done something about your concerns?

Many unanswered questions can usually be answered by "follow the money".

The reason why this place is dying is because the price and rewards are dying.

Why is the price dying then? Because gazillions steem are printed every day. Pretty simple.
It doesn't matter whether they are sold on the market or not or if they are locked in a contract. The ever increasing supply means that more investment is needed everyday to support the current price. This is true whether steem are sold or not.
I'm surprised that everyone is trying to find answers in the interface,marketing,development,etc..when the problem is in the underlying system itself. The inflation to be more specific.

If you want more activity and excitement on this platform there is only one way to do it, increase the price of steem, the money that' s what people care about, it's all about the money, don't look any further.
I have written a few posts recently explaining how to increase the price, feel free to go check them out.

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If people only cared about the money, then they wouldn't be using other social media and blogging platforms. If Steemit wants to attract and retain users, then Steemit needs to have an attractive user interface. The money is an added incentive to join.

Inflation is an issue, but there are mechanisms on the platform to counteract it. As I stated in the post - that's something that a pure investor would likely consider about this platform: Do I want to "invest" if I have to actively work for any ROI? There needs to be other ways to get some ROI on the platform before an investor decides to buy in - options that don't require working this like a job.

In any case, the site can't survive with only a few thousand active users. It needs more development and marketing. That would be true even if there was no money involved for users. Social media requires people to make it "social." A few thousand on a global platform isn't attractive to other potential users and it isn't sustainable - underlying cryptocurrency or not.

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When the price was 3$ the active numbers of users was 15 000 per day roughly and 50 000 per week.
You can look at the charts and you will see that the more the price goes down the fewer users on the platform. This is because the price of steem is directly correlated to the rewards on the platform. Steemit is designed to reduce the price/steem over time due to the hyper inflation ( which is totally unecessary), so this platform ( with the current specs) will never be able to attract more users since the rewards will always go down.
Even if steemit's interface was much better than facebook it will not be able to attract new users ( there are like 100's of social media site out there but none come close to facebook or twitter.
The only thing that could make people migrate here is the money aspect, sure a good interface would help but if the price keeps going down the interface wouldn't matter .

Now that I'm curating for SteemTrail, I'm finding I don't have as much time for my own curating. (It might look like I'm only posting a few links a day for consideration. But quite a bit of time is spent commenting on new users posts, to give them some tips.)
So often I AM just upvoting and not commenting. If I comment on everything I upvote, I won't be able to upvote as many posts. But since my vote is only worth 1/10th of fuck all anyway, I'm starting to see (thanks to all these comments) that my voice is worth more than my vote.
Thanks @ats-david for the thoughtful post and thanks to all commenters.

very good!!!!

In my opinion the 3 main problems are:
1: Hyperinflation
2: Really ugly distribution
3: No ad incomes

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1 - Inflation can be a problem when there aren't enough users on the platform or enough ways to use the currency. It isn't necessarily the main problem. There are ways to get around the inflationary aspects of Steem. One of them is the ability to hold Steem Dollars. As long as the SD can hold the peg, you still get a fairly close 1:1 exchange when selling. If Steem is $0.01, then you'll get 100 Steem per SD. If Steem is $0.50, then you'll get 2 Steem per SD. If you're holding SD, then it doesn't matter if the price of Steem fluctuates.

The main concern about the inflation is the dilution of Steem Power. To help offset this, they pay interest on your holdings that is equivalent to the inflation of Steem. Theoretically, you can use those interest payments to purchase Steem at it's current price and power it up to maintain your stake. Whether that's actually proving to be true is the question. But with the relatively rapid decline in Steem price, you'd have to be buying and powering up quite often to maintain your share, or receiving relatively large curation rewards. I think this is one of the main problems for attracting investors.

2 - The distribution is all wrong, but I don't know what can be done about it now. There is definitely some concern with how it's playing out. The largest stakeholders are earning large amounts of Steem and SP from their roles as witnesses and from their curating, so they can essentially power down and cash out without losing any stake. This is part of the pressure being put on the exchanges - consistent, large sell orders from a handful of stakeholders. It would be better, in my opinion, to try to sell them on an internal market - or even encourage them to use the Steem on actual products (from places like Peerhub) - rather than dump them on the exchanges. However, this is probably not going to stop because there doesn't appear to be any incentive for them to stop selling.

3 - This may be something that we will eventually see. I don't know if there's any way around it. As a "decentralized" platform, if the largest stakeholders of "Steemit Inc." eventually do turn things over to the community, there will surely be users who would be willing to sell some ad space on their blog and posts. As users ourselves, we will decide on whether or not we want to support those users and their advertisers. I don't think it's necessarily a good or bad thing. It's just how things will evolve. If it's needed for Steemit to survive, then it will probably happen. It may happen even if it's not needed.

That's half of the excitement, isn't it? Not knowing if we'll be hit with ads every time we click on something? I sure hope they get that development on track.

resteemed

Great post and very informative. You make very valid points and especially why a lot of new users leave. Personally I am fairly new to Steemit but it does take quite a bit of time getting your head round how this actually works. What should you write about, what tags to use, what to vote on, is the content good etc. I think a lot of people come because they think If i can post the same stuff I post on Facebook I will then make money and then get totally disheartened when this doesn't happen. They see some posts making a lot of money yet cant figure out why they cant. If they want to keep people Steemit has to explain better and have training videos. Uploading a picture and videos should already be on the platform and should be unnecessary to upload from outside sources. I really believe these points raised are frustrating new users and eventually say, enough is enough I'm no further forward and the just quit. Would be interesting to hear what other people have to say

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What should you write about, what tags to use, what to vote on, is the content good etc.

I think this should be the easiest part. Write about topics that interest you and that you're passionate about. It'll come through in your writing and readers will pick up on that.

Use tags that are appropriate for your content. This is a bit of an issue on Steemit because of the lack of any navigable categories in the side panels. This is something that should have been at the top of the list for the platform. It's hard to find content when it's not properly organized. But use the tags that work for your post. If you're writing about your recent trip to Sweden, then tag the post with "travel" and "Sweden." If you're writing about your favorite pizza, then tag the post with "food" and "pizza."

Is the content good? Well, that's up to the reader. If you think it's good, then upvote it. If the rest of the community disagrees, then they won't vote for it (unless they are using bots and trails and have followed you). If they happen to notice that you're constantly voting content that they think is absolute garbage, they might let you know about it. It's all part of the process of filtering content. The only thing that matters in the long-run is how you want to use your own votes. Just understand that your voting can be viewed and evaluated by others. That's just the nature of the platform.

I think a lot of people come because they think If i can post the same stuff I post on Facebook I will then make money and then get totally disheartened when this doesn't happen. They see some posts making a lot of money yet cant figure out why they cant.

That's one of the problems with the marketing and communication about the platform. A lot of the things posted on Facebook are just recycled content or absolute trash. The successful writers who use FB are usually successful here as well. There's a reason for that. They have followers and usually a fairly decent "brand." They bring people with them. You can be successful here without them, but it's a little harder to pull off. Most of the payouts here are based on momentum or just happening to snag a vote from a large stakeholder. In the future, the hope is that this will change. We'll see what happens.

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Many thanks. I really appreciate your reply and honesty. You don't need it but I,ll say it all the same good luck. Now following you

Isnt the problem, dan the man and ned powering down?
Looks like dan is sending like 3000$ a month to poloniex.
This will drain the volume fast right?
And lower the price even more.

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Well, it's not just Dan and Ned. A lot of the early miners are powering down and selling on the exchanges. The bigger problem is the lack of useful development of needed user features on the site and the lack of any widespread marketing campaign to try to bring users to the platform. If there are enough people wanting to join Steemit because it's a great platform, that would certainly mitigate some of the downward pressures from the sell-offs.

Above anything else, this has to be an attractive platform for bloggers - and that doesn't mean that the attraction must be about potential profits from writing. We need a more diverse, creative, thriving user community with solid interaction. To get that, we need more, better creators of content. In turn, they need to be attracted here by the features of the user interface. If the interface can't attract bloggers, then the rest of it really doesn't matter much. Making money is a great incentive for bloggers, but having an easily accessible and navigable blog that can bring in and retain the average reader/follower is the first step.

First, you do the initial development. Then you bring in alpha and beta testers and correct any issues and make improvements to the interface. Then you market the product to regular users and future investors. We're in step two, but everyone is pretending that we're ready for step three - despite the fact that step two is running into some developmental issues and the initial investors are selling off. You can't get the new users and investors when the existing users and investors are jumping ship - or at least appear to be jumping ship. That's why I've continually stated that we need better communication from the upper echelons of "Steemit Inc."

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Before embarking on marketing, it would be better to improve the development, otherwise the newcomers leave as many have already done.

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That would be ideal. I'm not sure where they are on development. Some updates would be nice, either from the developers themselves or from the golden halls of Steemit Inc. There needs to be much more development - and while they're getting the development done, they can start putting together a marketing campaign that will be ready to roll out once the finishing touches are put on Steemit.

Everything is a process, so we can't get ahead of ourselves. First, you get the khakis. Then you get the girls.

I read the entire post! ;-) I have to agree that from a newbies standpoint there definitely needs to be some changes for better engagement. I for one read most of the posts I vote for and do try to leave comments to inspire the authors. Thank you for the great article. I for one am here for the long haul and look forward to the positive future of Steemit!

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I know it's hard for many new users to get noticed and to gain followers on Steemit. But this is really true for practically any blogging or social media site. We all need to build our "brand" and to gain our loyal followers if we want engagement on the site.

My criticism of that isn't so much about new users, but more about the fact that too many people are content with turning over all of their curation to bots and automated trails, then also not engaging with the community via comments. Some people do both. My recent involvement with @steemtrail includes a small degree of curation via automated voting, but I also manually curate and comment on posts throughout the day.

I understand that people are busy and that there has recently been a lack of monetary incentive to curate and comment, but it can't always be about the money if we want a thriving, interactive community of creators. There needs to be other means of feedback and support.

I for one am here for the long haul and look forward to the positive future of Steemit!

I hope to do the same and would love nothing more than to see Steemit and many of its users be successful.

This is an excellent post @ats-david. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. As one of the few solo, organic curators (at least that's how I feel), I often leave a comment with an upvote because community engagement is very important to me. Sure, I love seeing my posts upvoted a hundred times - but I rarely look at the dollar amount with any kind of excitement. I LOVE seeing comments though. That's what keeps me hitting my f5 button. LOL

You have so many valid points and I also worry about user engagement and retention, but I'm also concerned with front-end development and the price associated with it. I don't really comprehend blockchain technology. Obviously, the data has to be stored somewhere. Servers are necessary (and pricey). The more we add on, the more it's going to cost...and at what price to an already struggling Steem economy? Who winds up paying for it in the long run? Usually the bloggers and content creators with the loss or shut down of a site they've spent countless hours on. But hey, I'm still optimistic. I would love to put a little extra money in the bank, but I'm committed to Powering Up when I can. In my situation, my only true investment is my time. If it shut down tomorrow, I still wouldn't have hard feelings because I earned more here than any other blogging or social media platform...I've learned a shitton of stuff about cryptocurrency, and I've made some pretty awesome friends.

No comments are left – because nobody is reading. Commenting and comment rewards have almost fallen off the charts. There’s little reading and engagement, but lots of “curating.”

When one spends spending several hours in writing a blog post, this is the most frustrating part: none or very few comments :(

I have also tried to convince some of my colleagues to join Steemit. They all laughed a lot when checking the content of the trending page.

I honestly hope things will change as the whole Steemit idea is very nice.

The founders have given a piece of meat to a pack of wolves. After, they say, no government, no rules, no violence!

Thank you for this great article, I am really inspired to learn and write one day such comprehensive and sound article myself. Well done!

You summarized well what the existing investors and users should think about.
They already invested their time and money, and they can not get the refund, so the only thing they can do is trying to fix the problems whatever they are.

However for new investors, there is almost no motivation to invest with all these problems and risks. The only incentive for betting is a slim chance that all these issues will be "solved" eventually in the future. To estimate this chance, then they look at the people who can fix these problem, which are the dev team and whales.

The dev team and whales are really seriously invested in this project? To new investors' point of view, they are already big beneficiaries of this project even when it fails. I think someone should calculate how much those dev teams, witness nodes, and early miners have already cashed out so far versus how much actual money they invested. Their ROI must already be way over than any other projects they invested recently. That is why they keep powering down and selling at lower prices. Actually their shares are not much decreasing either even with weekly powering down because they continue to get new steems from "witnessing", "curating", mining, and sometimes "blogging" with their own huge votes. When they already made huge profits, the remaining game is a just extra bonus round regardless of future steem prices.

So why not resetting the system and restarting it?
Why not starting a new project with better features, fairer rules and share distribution, balanced power structure, true decentralized reputation system with actual human curating and engagement without bots which can not read contents?
They know these are not easy thing to achieve, but which one has better chance?

If new potential investors think this way, there is little chance the steem network can survive and grow.
Again steem is not democracy or anything similar, so it is up to them who have power that can make changes.

I feel you have some really good points in the post. I share a lot of your concerns. I also feel as initial believers or testers of this site, it is a large part on us where to take this. I think steemit is just the platform setup and released into the wild. The people here are the ones that can make it whatever it is they want out of it. There are apps and widgets you can create and use, curate content, and spread the word to get as many people involved as possible. The one thing that got me instantly hooked about this site was the flexibility of it. We can't have it both ways. If it is distributed network and every one has shares (Steem Power) involved then everyone needs to step up and start creating apps/content and spreading the word! Let's keep up the good work and not get discouraged. This thing has so much potential!

The business stuff shoots bye over my head.... but I really, really think this is a super post.

I'm not a bot, or am I? Hmm. Your post got me thinking.
It seems to me that the world has more content consumers than content creators. That's why we have cable networks and programs to pump content to consumers, who pay for the content they consume.

Steemit doesn't require you to pay to consume content. Upvotes don't cost anything but time and attention.

Why don't we make it more rewarding to consume content on Steemit, rather than to just to create content? If people got rewarded more to read and upvote posts, they would stay on the platform longer even if they are not creators of content. Retention would be improved and curation teams would not be necessary.

Those who do create good content would not need a whale vote to earn rewards if the minnows vote had more weight. And those who only read and upvote posts would have more than a .0001 Steem reward incentive to do so.

As for bots, CAPTCHA works quite well already. If an upvoter only user of Steemit could earn more by interacting with the content they consume, they would come and stay and tell their friends and as soon as they saw real cash in their friends hands, their friends would join. Any thought?

I am excited to see this post getting votes and comments! Maybe people are getting ready to listen.

steemit for me is like a forum or blogging site :)
i love how you can post articles with ease .

I hear you. I'm also happy to see you taking a stand, after we met in one of the curation trails projects. I like your approach.

I don't have any info about shareholders but I don't consider that very concerning. As a matter of fact, I do have a good feeling about this entire thing (it's just a feeling, though).

I follow the github issues closely and I see there is activity. Devs are working on stuff. On the other hand, when I look at the content in the website I sense this feeling of anxiety, which I think it's somehow borrowed from the early adopters. There was a number of people who cashed ginarmous amounts of money just for being in the right spot at the right moment. Those people feel now, naturally, they have less, or they get less. And that frustrates them. And newcomers coming in with high expectations just borrow the same attitude.

When I got here (less than a month ago) that carnival was finished. Steem was 0.38, now it's 0.13. Again, at the inflation level, I find this quite normal. Building a community takes time. As in years, not months. (I know because I built a few, both online and offline).

But I don't see any reason to inflate the things more than they are already inflated. It doesn't look like an abandoned ship, I don't buy into that "last chance to make Steemit great again" discourse. I choose to write, to produce good content, to promote in my own network, to do manual curation on the tags I chose and be calm.

Steemit may or may not work. Nobody really knows that.

But at least I did my share of work and I learned tremendously.

I checked out the bots for curating and decided against getting involved with them. I would rather interact and read, it feels wrong to use a bot to judge creative content.

I struggled with posting content. It seems programmers have set up this blogging platform without much thought to user interface. I struggle with my content earning currency and being creative, it gives me my creativity constipation. I loath worrying about being popular, that little number by my name...also with the payouts, I have a hard time figuring out what kind of content to post. One day I get a big payout, the next day the same content earns nothing. I keep thinking of The Skinner Box and dancing pigeons. I may do a painting about that! Me doing my odd little ritual dances trying to earn some steem.

Great post.

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Wow man, you nailed it on pretty much every point.

I feel like the users that are still active and enthusiastic would be willing to go much further to help develop the platform than whoever's in charge believes. I'm kind of shocked that they're so absent. Or are they really just leaving it up to the invested users to market this entirely on their own? I've read other posts with users that genuinely want to help but really don't have much to go on.

I guess I'm wondering whether this is something that can be addressed solely by the community itself given better leadership, or if formal channels absolutely need to be opened to work this out. Like, is there anyone we can actually get in touch with that could make a difference? If not, then could some of these issues be handled mostly by the community (say 90%, then serve it up to whoever can actually give the go ahead), for example, finding someone who's willing to add the features users want in exchange for steem. Although, maybe whoever has the authority has given up already, because it doesn't seem like it'd be all that hard to address at least ONE of the problems you've mentioned.

This is an interesting take. I have my reservations, though. I mean, personalizing is awesome. Nothing against that. And more possibility for interaction and messaging within the platform would be great. I look forward to when they integrate the model into the platform, so we don't have to go outward to chat. It will happen, no doubt.

I'm a little picky. I think the people who stick to it and flourish here are the kinds of bloggers we want to flourish here. What I mean is, it shouldn't be easy for everyone. Otherwise, the content would suck.
I like how intellectual a lot of the posts are on here, and that is expressly because it's difficult to make a splash on here. You have to work for it. It's not for the faint of heart.

As it grows, it will stabilize because the many of us who are on here right now for the long haul will be dictating a lot of the culture here with our curation. I think it's a privilege to do so, which is part of why I tend to power up. Not like I'm swimming in it or anything. But I think the model sifts out nonsense.

I'm all about quality. So...that's my little two pennies' worth.

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Thank you for your post and guiding . I want to boost steemit community in Japan. Regards David

Hi @ats-david
I try to read around two new posts, that looks interesting, a day (not trending posts), this is how ended up reading your post today. Your post is a really good post. I believe we should have zero bots and zero automatic votes on Steemit. Ok I will give in to one bot, the Cheetah bot, to root out plagiarism. I am a South African and is going to the first Steem Saturday that is taking place this coming Saturday, I hope I will hear some good news on Steemit. @ned will be attending in person. Great post