I finally got out a clear enough question to get a clear enough answer from one of the witnesses about exactly what new users can do on the platform with the current HF20 resource allotments.
Here were my questions:
I'm still trying to understand what happens when someone just lands on the Steemit website and signs his/herself up.
How many SP do they get?
How many RCs do they get? (in terms of what they can do with it, such as x daily comments)
Where is the "money" coming from to secure this for them?
Are they automatically getting accounts now, or do they still wait 3-14 days for manual vetting?
And here were @smooth's answers:
New users get 0 SP. They get RC equivalent of 3 SP as "free" RCs so the are able to use the blockchain. They also get delegated 15 SP from Steemit (which is Steemit's current practice but could change at any time).
With 0 SP you can make about 3 comments every 5 days. With 18 SP worth of RC (above 3 SP + 15 SP) you can make about 30 short-to-medium length comments every 5 days (however, other actions will also use RC, generally at a slower rate, and reduce the number of comments. These numbers may change according to system usage (and/or future software revisions).
The basic 3 SP worth of RC on free accounts is being paid by the Steem community as a whole. As new users are given free RC, everyone else's RC becomes worth less. The 15 SP delegation is provided by steemit using the massive portion of SP (around 80% of the total at the time, altough something less than that now) they got during the chain launch.
As far as I know there is still vetting, but I don't have any details.
Okay, so I'm still going to need to ask Tim/Drakos how they're doing the new signup vetting these days, but this clears up a lot of other confusion.
Specifically, this is why there has been so much confusion about whether new users get 3 SP or 15 SP. In a way they get both, and neither. LOL
Really they are given no SP they can keep, but they are loaned 15 SP as a delegation (so get the RCs as if they had that much SP of their own for the period the delegation continues). And they get an extra 3 SP worth of RCs just to make actions dependent on that more accessible. I don't know how long they get to keep that. Perhaps indefinitely.
What It Means in Practice
Well, at least that's a starting place for discussion.
Do you think 6 per day is enough to make it on here?
If you had been able to make one post and 5 comments per day, and maybe give a few upvotes (which I think take little RCs), would you have kept coming back?
If you invested some of your own money buying STEEM to power up, would you have been certain enough you wanted to do that while at that level of activity?
I really appreciate having this fleshed out. And I also appreciate all the work the witnesses and STINC have been doing to create, maintain and keep growing all of this. That said, my honest answers to all of those questions is, "Probably not."
I wouldn't have invested even the measly $200 I first started with, which eventually grew to considerably more, if I could have only left a handful of comments each day. I know that so much of my success on here (and I believe I have had a successful trajectory) was due to starting out making at least 10 comments every day, and on posts of people who replied to comments. On a lot of days I probably made more like 20.
As a result, I gained a lot of followers quickly.
That meant that soon after I joined I could start creating posts on subjects that matter to me, getting people to actually see them, respond intelligently, then come back the next day looking for more. I was able to grow a regular readership around what I care about. I was hooked by 45 days, and I think that is when I bought my first STEEM.
What to Expect
Now that's not to say that this is the only path to success here on Steemit. There are those who started before me who probably did well with other approaches. So maybe those who are coming after me will do well with still other approaches I have yet to foresee.
But I genuinely don't see it, so if this resource allocation really is going to work to maintain at least our current new user retention rate, then it definitely will have to come from a manner as yet unseen by me. And really, I think we need to increase our new user retention rate.
I know Hive/communities in the next HF will help a lot with retention. So maybe we're just sacrificing growth between now and then. And maybe that's not the end of the world.
My personal preference though would be to increase that RC allocation from 3 SP's power to more like 25 SP's power. That would mean it would be as if the person has 40 SP to start, in terms of RC power.
I think that comes out to about 10 comments per day, which I do think is a bare minimum to successfully grow a follower base on here before you get frustrated with having no one seeing your posts, and leave.
Though the RCs effectively come from us all, I think it is an investment we should all be happy to make. Because really, we're investing in the future growth of the platform we love. And we all know that anything that isn't growing is declining. Nothing ever stays the same in this world of impermanence.
What was your approach to getting yourself established on here?
Could you have done it on 4-5 comments and one post each day?
I'm watching closely to see how this plays out, as I'm sure everyone on here is. And those looking at investing who aren't participating on here themselves at all. What do they see?