Introduction or Some Shit
I was informed by a bot - shocking, I know - that two years to the day was when I made my Steemit account. I'd be lying if I told you it wasn't a significant thing in my life. Actually, I was quite surprised looking back at just how huge and life-altering it was to join Steemit.
There was a time period where I made such a ridiculous amount of money here, it beat my day job at the time hands down. Pretty crazy when you think about it.
I never quite understood just how good I had it. Just by making one blog post per day on the internet, I never had to worry about being able to afford food in my life. That was pretty rad. Coupled with the crypto pump that put my 2012 BTC investment into the green as well, 2017 was a pretty crazy year. Craziest I've ever had.
It was also the only time period in my life that I was consistently happy, every day.
Now that my supporters have either abandoned me, or powered down, and bitcoin's been going down for a long time, I'm noticeably less happy, but that's neither here nor there.
I'm still here, though. And I sat down to think about why. It's not like I have a lot of good reasons to be here. I'm making no money here, and I can get more engagement by posting on Facebook. So, that's 0-2 as far as Steemit is concerned.
It may even cause more unhappiness than happiness, honestly, as I watch every single one of my posts bomb these days. Never going anywhere. It hurts the ego, you know?
I keep telling myself that it's just that the bid bots rule the pool these days. But that's not entirely accurate, either, since I see a lot of posts make it into the triple digits without bid bots.
My biggest sin on Steemit is looking at the popular kids' postings because it's always pretty depressing and makes me feel like a failure.
Honestly, if it was that day in August 2016 now, I'd do a lot of things differently. You'd see me buy up all of the STEEM off the market during the 7 cent days, and right now I'd be enjoying life in one of the vote-trading circles. But alas, I'm not.
That's one reason why I've never entirely faulted the vote-traders; they took a risk and bought in. A risk I was too scared to take. Buying STEEM was a really, really good deal for them: they're getting infinite money printed to their wallets, and all they have to do is make a short post on their blog once or twice a day. And they're set.
It's a damn good life. I've been there, and it was the best thing ever. I bet you're not used to this level of honesty here, but hey.
About still being here. I've gotten to know some of my favorite people through Steemit, so there's that. I have a few people who read - and care about - what I post, and that's cool.
Steemit was also what finally inspired me to write some fiction, which had been a thing I had wanted to do for a really long time. And it's crazy that I have a couple of people reading it and - again - caring about it.
God knows how little people read on Steemit, so for me to manage to hook a few people well enough for them to read 5,000 words of fiction on an online blog is pretty neat. Not that it matters here, or anything. We're not rewarded based on content. But it warms my heart, nonetheless.
But boy is Steemit different than the site I joined two years ago.
A friend of mine - a whale who has since powered down and moved on to EOS - recommended Steemit to me back in the day. I lurked for a while before joining. The idea was intriguing. It was a social media/blogging site where people were rewarded for producing and "curating" content.
Now, I'm smart. It was obvious to me even before joining that nepotism and favoritism would take place for the simple reason that there's money involved. Money and people. And I don't want to be a damn hypocrite; I'm guilty of the same exact nepotism. It's human. It's okay.
But back in the day, Steemit was still more true to its original intentions. Yes, there was nepotism. But there was still the game aspect to it. The game of who has the best content to attract the whale votes.
Nobodies such as myself still rose to the top of the Trending Page - despite all the circle jerks that were already in place. And if one was lucky and worked hard enough, he got to be a part of a circle jerk himself.
Not so much the case these days. Followers don't mean much. All the work you've done on Steemit over the past two years means nothing now. You either buy votes, or your posts are swallowed whole by the abyss. Never to be seen.
Unless you're one of the lucky few in the circle jerks, that is. Damn, I envy them so much. I even annoy myself. Being human is hard. Real hard.
But I must say that the original concept for Steemit held more appeal to me.
The idea that people would create content and compete with each other for that day's whale votes. Those that were manual, earned through cleverness and wits.
Not through paid bot votes.
It was rewarding when something you came up with was rewarded by the whale vote.
You had accomplished something. Either you were clever, funny, whatever.
It reminded me of the thrill I had way back in the day when I regularly did stand up. Every time I got a massive laughter out of the audience, it was an indescribable feeling. Not because of shit like the sharing of laughter and all that blah blah, but because of the fact that through something that came from me I could succeed like that.
Little ole me. Crazy. With just my brain and brain alone. Well, I have cute eyelashes, too.
These days? Stuff's pretty clinical and predictable. And boring. And dead.
I don't mean this to be an anti-bid bot rant because there have been a million of them on the platform already.
I'm just stating that from my vantage point - strictly - Steemit is more boring, mundane, and predictable. With very little in the way of excitement.
And a big part of that, of course, is me doing worse than I did before. Now I need to worry about money again since the printing machine dried up. For me, at least. Those better than me at this game can still make decent payouts for their pointless blogs.
Do I deserve something? Not for me to decide. But I do feel that if the stuff here were genuinely judged on quality, some of my stuff would earn me more than I'm currently getting.
I feel a bit nauseous saying that since that's so self-entitled and childish. Such a "Look at me, I'm an artist!" type of things to say.
I never want to completely go down that route, either. That's why I always remind myself that value is subjective. There's no changing that. What I feel is the bee's knees, can make someone else wonder if the bee ever had knees to begin with.
I guess I've still wanted to hold on that romanticized idea behind Steemit. That it was this magical place where a nobody like me could just go to, carrying nothing but his content with him, and make it.
It was this alternative to Facebook and traditional social media.
But slowly but surely, it's turned into exactly like Facebook and all those old-fashioned, tried and true ways of social media and business.
You need to pay for advertising. You need to use bots. You need to game and manipulate the system. You need to stop on and over people to make it. Stab them in the back, while kissing others in the ass. Depending on wallet size.
No longer can you just come in here and post good stuff that's liked by people, earning rewards in return.
The big shots here repeat the mantra of "I did not invest in the STEEM blockchain to give you birthday presents!"
And I guess that's fair. It always does come back to this, doesn't it? I can't tell you what to do with your stake. There's nothing I can do without interfering with your self-ownership.
Now Steemit, moreso than anything else, ever, has made me question my stance as a libertarian - after seeing what a truly free market has turned into in just two short years, wondering if a giant-sized Steemit really is what I want an entire society to be.
Maybe some people do harmful things with their money, and that's why we need fascism and violence to keep them in line. Perhaps libertarians are wrong.
Oops, that's a different post.
And I'm joking.
No, I'm not.
That's a secret.
I've always had trouble picking sides on issues because I often see both sides - and I also find flaws in the arguments from my own camp.
One of the things that puzzle me here on Steemit is the following notion:
The Trending Page Sucks!
But usually, this is thrown around by people who also take pride in the fact that they never really visit, let alone read, the Trending Page. And admittedly, I don't, either. Not much anyway. I did, however, take a stroll through the Trending Page in preparation for this post.
And I don't know where the idea that it "sucks" comes from.
Sure, there's not a lot of stuff there that interests me, personally - but surely that can't be the definition of being "shit".
I'd say shit content would be stuff like broken English, bad grammar, plagiarizing... Stuff along those lines.
I took a peak, and I saw a lot of stuff that was written well. At the very least adequately.
Again, not things I care much for. But I'm not the whole market. And it'd be pretty arrogant of me to assume I was.
Actually, I'm a very bad judge for stuff like this because most everything I'm interested in is rather niche.
Retro game speedrunning. Philosophy. Austrian economics. ´
I guess liking otters is pretty mainstream, though.
But What if I Told You There's a Tool You Can Use When Content You Feel is Shit is Being Rewarded?
It's called flagging. Also known as downvotes.
I said earlier that Steemit today is barely recognizable, and it's very much different from the site I joined two years ago.
Some things never change on Steemit. One of those things being the culture surrounding flagging. Sadly.
People still see the flag as a personal attack against them, which is not how it should be.
People still feel entitled to their potential payouts, which is not how it should be.
What seems to happen a lot on Steemit is people attracting regular big votes long enough for it to become standard, and then they feel that's the way it should be forever and ever. They get used to the fact that once they post, they make, say, $100 every time, and they are entitled to that. Hell, I talked earlier about this happening to me, to a degree.
These people seem to lack a fundamental understanding of how Steemit, and the allocation of rewards, works.
There are two types of votes: upvotes and downvotes. These don't differ from one another in any other way other than being opposite to each other.
I've said this a million times, but I want to repeat it, over and over and over and over:
When a post is upvoted, it's upvoted because the upvoter feels that particular post should be rewarded more.
When a post is downvoted, it's downvoted because the downvoter feels that particular post should be rewarded less.
It doesn't have to be anything personal, it's not like all upvotes are personal, either.
It's hugely hypocritical to accept the upvotes, but reject the downvotes. It reminds me of a certain other trending author from back in the day, who was more than okay with the fact that he was getting upvoted by both dan accounts, guaranteeing huge rewards, but once he got downvoted, he went on a nonstop tirade FOR WEEKS about how it's soooo wrong that one or two users on Steemit dictate who does and doesn't deserve to be rewarded.
Why wasn't he ranting about the same thing when it was indeed one user ensuring him the rewards on a regular basis? How was it any different when it was upvotes instead of downvotes? Why were the upvotes not an "abuse of power"? It was largely one user deciding he should be heavily rewarded.
Of course, it wasn't. The only difference was that the upvotes made him money, while the downvotes reduced his potential payouts.
When it's a whale upvoting, there's never a problem with "one user" "abusing his power", but when it's one user downvoting, it all of a sudden becomes an abuse of power.
Even though both votes do the exact same thing: allocate a large portion of the resources, based on the whim of that particular individual.
And there's nothing wrong with that. The voting is stake based. I feel silly having to even explain this; this is the entire basis of how Steemit and STEEM Power work, but apparently there is still a significant portion of the userbase that doesn't quite seem to grasp how this Steemit thing functions.
Stake based voting means that the more STEEM Power you hold, the bigger the portion of the rewards you control. This counts for both upvotes and downvotes. A stakeholder can use his or her stake any way he or she sees fit.
A stakeholder can use his or her stake any way he or she sees fit.
So, as an example. Large Stakeholder A decides to upvote a post. This is how he decided to use his stake today. Large Stakeholder B decides to downvote that post. This is how he decided to use his stake today.
No crime is being committed here
I think this needs to be encouraged. Not enough whales care about the reward pool, or the long-term value of Steemit/STEEM, at all.
People need to get over the idea that they are entitled to their potential payouts. This is long overdue. The term "potential" is there for a reason. All payouts are subject to community/stakeholder consensus, and during the payout period, people have the right to upvote and downvote as they please.
I can not, for the life of me, understand what it is about this that is so hard to comprehend for so many people.
I think a lot of people are overvaluing their posts on Steemit in general. Go anywhere else on the internet, and a blog post that gets 30 views is valued at precisely $0.
Steemit is this unique thing that can make posts like that valuable, but it doesn't mean they hold any value in the real world.
And it's the resulting consensus that ultimately determines the final payout.
I generally post two types of posts:
My story chapters, because it's fun
Whatever happens to amuse me at any given time
Any payouts I make are a bonus.
Of course I like money as much as the next guy, but I'm not entitled to anything. Steemit doesn't owe me anything.
Steemit and the reward pool are not about me!
And they're not about you, either.
But don't get me wrong: I totally understand the angst because I would want them to be about me, damn it. No lie. I would. But they're just not. Unfortunately, they're not.
People always use the argument that it's "original work" and this, that and the other thing, but they fail to realize that there are tons and tons of people posting on Steemit that never attract whale attention, and make a few bucks, if that, per post. The rewards that one poster loses upon being flagged are not burned, they go to all the other posters not making a dime.
They post "original work", too.
That's not to say there aren't copy and paste artists raking in the rewards, we all know that there are. But this all goes back to there not being enough whales with the interest, or the balls, to really go against these people. And the community attacking big users flagging surely doesn't encourage doing that.
People could also think of it this way: if posts that bring value to the blockchain are encouraged and reward, then the smaller rewards made by other posts - such as my fiction - will grow as the price of STEEM grows in the future.
Now, I personally am not in the camp of believing that blog posts could really bring value to the blockchain to begin with, but that's another discussion. A lot of users here sure see to think that their posts are a godsent, and the platform would be doomed without them.
I'm not one of them; I'm perfectly fine admitting that my content is not needed on this platform. If you like what I post, awesome! But it's not like my absence would make a dent in anything. I'd like to be able to say that I'm important.
I would like to be important.
But I'm too intellectually honest with myself to not be able to say that.
Steemit is not your job, and if you are indeed talented, you can find occupancy elsewhere, I would think. If you can't - hey, maybe you're just not as good as you think you are.
And I know I'm going to be getting those "Well, I guess you don't mind being flagged then!" people, and to them: No, I don't. Bring it.
All's I'm saying is that a culture of neutral downvoting would solve so many issues here.
Hell, it's the way the place was designed, in the first place. Why are people so damn adamant at not using a tool that is at their disposal on the platform itself?
Damn it, people.
Instead of taking personal responsibility for shit, they rather just complain and say ned should do something. The whales should do something.
SOMEONE needs to do something! And fast.
Do it yourself.
Also, STEEM is cheap. Buy some, and your flags will mean more. It's a simple enough concept.
Steemit is not a platform I enjoy much these days. It's still a platform I enjoy enough to use it. It's mostly because of the four or five people who read and support my ramblings and whatever stupid shit I happen to post at any given time.
So, thank you for a fun enough two-year ride.