“It wasn’t love at first sight. It took a full five minutes.” Lucille Ball
All Steem/SBD earnings from this post will be donated to @outreach to support outreach and marketing efforts.
Today’s Steemit Roadmap is an ambitious document that takes time to digest. Initially, it did not excite me, perhaps because of its list-style format where the good stuff is buried with the technical tweaks. It is clear that a lot of development work still remains for the site. But the more I have read through this Roadmap and discussed it with others today, the more excited I am becoming about where we are going.
Remember that Steemit.com is the flagship (though just one part) of the overall Steem ecosystem. I am glad to see that the development team’s emphasis remains on growing that whole system, scaling it as an industrial-strength blockchain, and making it friendly for third-party developers and others who want to use STEEM. We could be impatient and demand faster changes to Steemit.com itself, but building the infrastructure for long term exponential growth will serve us well later.
Let the Roadmap sit awhile and ferment. Then enjoy it like a fine wine. If you’re patient, there are some truly exceptional ideas in here.
These are the plans that excite me the most:
1.) The Communities
Tags and feeds have not been enough to delineate content. We need to let communities develop and help them grow. Also, we need to enable a greater variety of content types (including shorter length posts) and give people more control over moderation and curation.
The Roadmap ideas for building Communities blew my mind. I knew they were discussing some changes to the content areas, but had no idea it would be this comprehensive and address so many of the site’s needs at once. I REALLY like this idea.
People will be able to create and help oversee their own Communities. Can one person start and run a Community? Sure, though it is still a social site and market forces are at work, so these will evolve and users will migrate over time to the best ones.
The term “moderators” might bring some bad things to mind. When I think of how not to moderate, Reddit’s /r/Bitcoin comes to mind, since one moderator there has exercised some extreme censorship. With Steemit’s Communities, people can adjust their feeds, so if a moderator is being a fascist, then users would just vote with their feet and move on.
That is exactly what we need to create an open, censorship-resistant content model. We must empower community members to take on more responsibility and have more of a stake in moderation. Enabling this has been a challenge because most people do not have large voting stakes and the only remaining tools besides votes have been comments or flags.
Those who have recognized that this is a social site and have built bridges are gaining the trust of the broader community. You will have great opportunities going forward to organize and operate your own communities. Once you do, please look me up, because I can’t wait to support you and follow your feeds!
2.) The Tutorial Walkthroughs for New Users
New users need a lot of help. There are so many moving parts here, even if the basic idea is fairly simple. Back in June, I helped write the Steemit 101 e-book on Amazon because there was so little help for new users. Since then, others have created clearer guides and FAQs, but the hurdles in signing up and getting started have screened out a lot of people who lack the patience to persevere.
Building a walk-through tutorial will help “onboard’ newbies and show them how to complete some of the first few actions. I love the idea of awarding them for these achievements, which leads right in to the next part.
3.) Gamification: Insignias, Achievement Goals, and Fun Stuff
Did you know that Steemit is one large game? When the tax man cometh, you can try mentioning that, too! So far, the fun factor on the site has been lacking (unless you like writing long articles or voting on them), but that is about to change for the better.
Research has shown that people like to have fun and be challenged to achieve new heights. We have seen this already with the limited number of achievement features we have, such as reputation scores. Many users have told me the rewards matter less to them than the reputation score does.
Having badges, different levels of achievements, and whatever else they dream up will be awesome additions.
Gamification features should be considered as a whole, in combination with other changes like the Communities (also in the roadmap) and the increased Comment Rewards (see the previous Steemitblog proposal).
Note to team: Can we please have some gamification features for trolls and passive-aggressives to get their kicks? Instead of flagging, maybe blasting some space invaders that come in to take their STEEM? STEEM Invaders! We need STEEM Invaders! Or something with donkeys.
4.) The Blockchain Fabric
For most of us, this is background stuff, because we are focused on visible features. But I’m guessing that some members of the development team are proudest of this achievement. As I understand it, using the multiple parallel chains will allow much greater scalability as we prepare for more widespread uses of STEEM in the future.
Somewhere, Satoshi just blinked. Or maybe he rolled over in his hammock. This is a huge leap forward in blockchain technology, the kind of innovation that spurs a whole new generation of development. And a generation in crypto is what, like three months?
Naw, they’ll be talking about this one for years. If we want Steem to have space for all of this development, then they needed to address scalability concerns. This solution is a big achievement.
5.) Using the Steemit Account to Fuel Development and Growth
Prior to Steemit, I was a member of the BitShares community for more than two years. One of the biggest problems there was that there was very little money to support development and marketing. We constantly argued over how to allocate the few resources that were available. Steem’s hyper-inflationary environment seemed better suited for this initially, but since it was not something that the market understood well, they scrapped that and got the inflation under control here. Also, witnesses earn money that can be used to fund initiatives in the community, but it hasn’t been that much money with the low Steem price, and a lot of it needs to go towards critical development work.
So I held out some hope that there was an early account allocated to support additional development and initiatives.
Meanwhile, community members often have wondered aloud how the Steemit account would be used. It contains more than 40% of all Steem. Today’s Roadmap clearly sets forth that this account “will be gradually divested of its holdings in an effort to increase promotion and development of the platform.”
Perfect. That is exactly what we will need. I could not have scripted this better. Redistribution is extremely important and I always will support that. But it’s the second part of that sentence that gets me really excited.
Sure, they could burn that Steem or give it away. But can you imagine what we can achieve with that huge of a war chest available to fund development and promotion? Excuse me, but holy shit.
This isn’t a moon rocket. It’s a launcher capable of hurling rocket after rocket towards the moon and well beyond.
BONUS # 6:
I can’t help myself; here’s a bonus. The mobile development stuff is badly needed and I’m glad that they are addressing this, too. More and more people connect with their phones and tablets these days. Wish it was coming sooner, but good development is worth the wait. We need apps for that.
In conclusion, this Roadmap may seem dense, but it tells us a lot about the plans for Steemit’s (and Steem’s) ongoing development. There are some amazing plans in here. If you’re impatient or looking for a quick buck, this may not be the right place for you. But if you’re a long term thinker and comfortable working to build Steem and Steemit over time, take note. These guys clearly have a long term vision and the means to put it into action.
All images are public domain from Pixabay.