You might be familiar with the term network effect. Usually it refers to positive outcome when a service becomes more and more beneficial to everybody when new users join in. But there can be also negative outcomes, which happen when the platform becomes worse with every new user.
Currently Steemit is suffering from negative network effect. This is because the user interface can't handle a big userbase. Every day we are seeing more new users coming in. And what they do? They post and comment. It adds up too quickly. That makes it harder for everybody to find content that they like the most. It's also harder for bloggers to get more followers.
If you have recently checked out the page for new posts, you know what I'm talking about. You need to go through a lot of posts to find even one truly interesting.
Just a while ago I made a test. I skimmed through about 50 newest posts. I couldn't find any worth of upvoting. Only one post was somewhat entertaining because it contained a funny video. But I had already seen the earlier and the post didn't contain much besides it, so I didn't bother to upvote. Needless to say, didn't find any authors to follow, either.
You might have also seen a lot of "nice article, please follow me" comments to posts. That's what happens when new users are desperately trying to get attention.
To make the situation worse, Steemit is planning to get ready to get millions of new users more to the platform. If that would happen without redesigning the whole UI/UX, Steemit.com would become almost unusable. That's why I disagree with the proposed hardfork 20. It just doesn't make any sense to focus on getting more users to the platform while it can't scale.
What we need, preferably as soon as possible, but at least before any mass signups of new users happen:
- Customized feed. Now we can control our own feeds only by following other users. That's not much. Facebook has a good reason to control what their users see in their feeds. If everybody would see everything they follow, there would be too much noise and the user experience wouldn't be good. But the problem is that it's Facebook who is deciding what users see – not users themselves. With Steem we have a chance to let users be in control and customize their own feeds as they like.
- Language support and filtering. If you see language that you don't understand, it's ultimate noise. There is no value. It just fills the page and steals your attention. That's why Steemit should implement a support for defining a language for posts. When a user publishes a new post, they can let everyone know what language it's written in so others can decide do they want to see it.
- Communities. Hopefully coming in the near future. This feature will allow creation of real communities around certain topics and interests. Currently there is no option to follow a tag so this hasn't happened nearly as much as it could have. Comparable to groups in Facebook or subreddits in Reddit.
- Notifications. The current notification system is unreliable and too simple. Users should have several other options for receiving notifications, like emails or notifications for mobile phone.
Once the user experience is better and we have shifted from negative to positive network effect, we can start to think about scaling the platform for millions of new users.