The Missing FAQ - A Beginners Guide To Using Steemit
Joining a new social media or blogging platform can be a daunting prospect particularly if it introduces concepts which you were previously unfamiliar with.
If you have just joined Steemit and need to have some quick answers then this guide is for you - at least I hope it is. I have tried to keep things as simple as possible but this will be a work in progress.
Steemit is a platform that is constantly evolving and will continue to do so. I will also try to keep this up to date as long as I can.
I have deliberately used full link URLs to make copying and pasting easier and to allow for there to be a plain text version of this.
Obviously if you are reading the plain text version you will need to ignore references to illustrations and the like. Please share and re-steem this if you find it useful.
There is a kitten photo to reward those who can make it to the end.
QUICK START the TLDR version - I can figure things out and I just want to start posting
Whilst I would recommend reading the rest of this post and the whitepaper (https://steem.io/SteemWhitePaper.pdf) if you think you already know enough and would like to get started I would suggest you do this at the very least:
1) Create an introduction post with verification.
2) Promote your post by joining the chat and sharing it there.
3) Upvote and comment on other users work on the various feed pages.
4) Follow users you like.
The Full Guide
Basic Concepts in the Steemit Ecosystem
What is Steemit?
Steemit is best described as a blogging platform with social media features. You (or other people) can make posts which people can vote and comment on. Votes grant rewards to posts in the form of Steem Dollars and Steem. Both authors and curators (people voting) earn rewards using the Steemit currency system which I cover below:
What is STEEM?
Steem is a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitcoin). It uses a blockchain which is a computer based distributed and public ledger. If you want to learn more about cryptocurrencies I would recommend reading the Wikipedia page on Bitcoin. A fixed amount of Steem is produced everyday and this makes up the rewards that are available for posts and curation.
What is a Steem Dollar?
This is a sister currency to Steem that is pegged to the US dollar. Each SD can be used to purchase approximately 1 US dollar worth of Steem.
What is Steem Power?
This is a special form of Steem. SP is required to vote on content on the Steemit platform. The more SP you have the greater the value of your vote. In order to acquire SP you must either convert Steem to SP by a process called powering up or alternatively earn SP through posting or curation rewards. Unlike Steem, SP is not a "liquid" currency which you can transfer and spend whenever you want. In order to use it in this way it must be converted back to Steem in a gradual weekly process known as powering down. This can be initiated from your Steem wallet and happens over a period of 104 weeks.
What are Whales, Dolphins and Minnows?
These are terms that people use to describe Steemit users with different amounts of Steem/SP. There are no formal definitions. As the names suggest whales have the largest amount of SP, followed by dolphins in the middle and minnows at the bottom. Where you set the boundaries for each is entirely subjective. There is a lot of talk about whales because they have the largest voting power and influence on the platform.
Steemd uses a slightly different system which you can see here (https://steemd.com/distribution):
The Basics of Navigation
Your Account Homepage
Diagram 2 - This shows a screenshot of my homepage for illustration
This is your central hub for Steemit. At the top left (A) you will see tabs for the various different feeds such as home, new, hot, trending, promoted and active. Clicking on them will take you to them. On the top right (B) is a magnifying glass which lets you search steemit, next to which is the "Submit a Story" button which is used to make a new post. To the right of this is a symbol of a head which reveals a drop down menu with various quick access options for your account. Finally to the right of this is pictogram of three horizontal lines - this offers links to things like the Steemit Whitepaper.
Directly below all of these you will see your username with your repuation score in brackets. Next, directly below this (C) will be your stats in regards to follower number, post number, and number of people that you follow. Clicking on either "followers" or "followed" numbers will take you to a list of each where you can see them and manage them.
Down below these is a black bar with various tabs on it (D). "Blog" lets you view a list of your posts. "Comments" shows comments you have made on other people's posts. "Replies" shows people's replies to any of your posts, comments or otherwise. Rewards lets you view your author and curation rewards.
The Wallet Page
Diagram 3 - My Wallet Page for Illustration Purposes
This is accessed by clicking on the "Wallet" tab on right side of the black bar on your homepage (E).
This shows you the amount of Steem, Stem Power and Steem Dollars you have along with your estimated account value (M in next diagram).
It also shows your transaction history at the bottom (H).
Next to each amount for each of your currency types are various drop down menus which are accessed by clicking the disclosure triangles to their right. For Steem you can "transfer" to another account, "power up" (which converts it to Steem Power). "Buy or sell" allows you to sell it on the internal market. Finally the "Deposit" option lets you buy Steem using Bitcoins via the Blocktrades service. There are similar options for Steem Dollars allowing transferring and trading on the internal market and "Convert to Steem" - which converts your SD into Steem internally after a week.
You can also buy Steem or SP using the button (L) which seems to duplicate the functionality mentioned above.
Steem Power only has 2 options - you can "Deposit" using bitcoins in a similar process to that for regular Steem. "Power down" starts the process of converting your SP to Steem weekly over a period of 104 weeks.
Permissions Page (For security reasons I have not shown this)
This is accessed from the wallet page and is next to your wallet in the tabs (K). For Steemit you have 4 different keys with both public and private versions. If you click on the Permissions tab there is an explanation of the role each key serves which I have copied here for your convenience:
Posting: The posting key is used for posting and voting. It should be different from the active and owner keys.
Active: The active key is used to make transfers and place orders in the internal market.
Owner: The owner key is the master key for the account and is required to change the other keys. The private key or password for the owner key should be kept offline as much as possible.
Memo: The memo key is used to create and read memos.
As stated next to the Owner key for maximum security you should only use it when you have to. Therefore if you are logging in just to post then you should use your posting key only to do that. This ensures that if it is stolen or hacked the person who takes it can only post on your account and not actually make any transfers or steal from you.
The final tab on the right (in K). This lets you reset your password and generate a new password.
The Submit Post Window
Diagram 4 - The Posting Page
This is pretty easy to understand and is similar to a basic wordprocessor. You can toggle the view between .html and the text editor depending on which you prefer using the button to the right of the Editing bar (H).
Before you post make sure you have checked your spelling, grammar, formatting etc. If you have made a mistake you can edit your post for up to 30 days after posting. All your edits are recorded on the blockchain so people will be able to see if you have altered your text after the fact.
You add tags to the bottom of your post to make them easier to find. You can use up to 5 tags. The first tag becomes your main tag category. Once set this cannot be changed. The other 4 tags can be edited during the standard 30 day period. If you post contains any graphic content it should be tagged as "NSFW" - failure to do so can result in other users flagging your post. Note there is currently a bug where using NSFW as your primary tag can hide your post - until this is fixed ensure that you DO NOT make this your primary tag. Do not engage in tag spamming - using tags which do not fit your post. This is another way of getting flagged.
It is beyond the scope of this post to discuss the legalities of what kind of images you should use in your posts. There are a number of posts that discuss this. It is a good idea to list your image sources and provide credit. How you do this is up to you. If you are claiming credit for images then it is usually expected that you have some sort of verification for this.
How do I add images to my posts?
Steemit does not store any images on the blockchain itself. Instead it stores links to images. In order to do this those images need to be stored and acessible somewhere else - something called hosting. I can't list all the potential image hosting sites here but some examples include imagesafe.org and Steem.img.
What is Promotion?
You can pay SBD to have your post (or someone else's) displayed on the promotion page. They are ranked according to the amount paid. It is illustrated in the diagram below as box O.
When you make a post on Steemit people are able to reward you by up-voting your post. The amount earned depends on the amount of SP they have (it is a little more complicated than that but I will cover that later). The dollar value of your earnings is payed out, half as SD and half as SP. There are two payout periods one which lasts for the first 24 hrs of the post and the other between 24 hours and 30 days. You can also now choose to receive 100% of your payouts in SP (J).
The Reward Pool
Since a fixed amount of Steem is prouced every day then the amount available for rewards every day is also fixed. Depending on how many people vote and curate those rewards are then apportioned to each of the posts. Although the value of the reward pool in terms of Steem is fixed, the value in terms of Steem Dollars earned by each post will vary because the SD is equivalent to 1 dollar worth of Steem.
Why Do the Earnings for My Post Go Up/Down?
For a few reasons. People may unvote after voting you up. The Steeem price will vary throughout the day. The actual value of each vote is calculated using a prediction algorithm which may differ from the actual value which results from the daily rewards being divided by the number of votes. When the value of Steem goes up, the rewards in terms of Steem Dollars will increase, when it goes down the opposite will happen.
The actual values on posts are only estimates until the time of the final payout when the actual payout will be formalised.
How do I format text in Markdown?
Most people are familiar with .html but not so much with Markdown. You have to use markdown if you want to format your text in responses. This is pretty easy to learn and pickup. I found the Markdown Cheatsheet here very useful for this purpose.
What is Verification?
Verfication is a process where you give evidence to show that you are the person that you claim to be. This is to reduce fraud and people impersonating well known figures.
There are a number of ways of doing it. You can post a photo or a video (preferably) which shows you holding up a sheet of paper with your handwritten user name on it. You can also verify by posting a link to your Steemit profile on a website which you are already known for running such as a blog, photography site etc. For more information this post by @reneenouveau covers it very well:
The Blockchain Remembers So Be Sure Before You Hit Post
Whatever you post on Steemit is on the blockchain forever. By forever I mean forever. As long as the blockchain exists then your original text along with whatever changes you made to it will be there. So before you hit POST be sure that you are happy letting your post and the information within it live forever.
How Do I get noticed?
There is no easy answer to this. As a bare minimum you need to post content that is original, high quality and well formatted. In addition it seems that having images helps. Networking via the chat and commenting on other people's posts also helps. Doing things that help the community and promote Steemit will also get you more attention. Beyond that a lot of it is down to luck and persistence. If there were some secret to guaranteeing your posts get a lot of attention I would be using it myself!
Curie, Robin Hood Whale and Steemsquad
It can be difficult to get your content noticed on Steemit as a new user (as mentioned above). There are various groups on Steemit that have tried to specifically curate content that may otherwise be neglected. They are called Curie, Robin Hood Whale and Steemsquad. There are also some older initiatives such as Minnows Unite that aim to do something similar though they don't formally curate in the same way. I would suggest doing a search and following the appropriate links to find out more. They also have channels in the chat where you may be able to get further information
Steemprentice - A Mentoring Group
This is a mentoring group for new users started by @sykochica - please see their launch post for more information.
What is RocketChat?
Steemit currently does not have it's own messaging system and this role is fulfilled by the Rocketchat service.
It's basically a place for you to talk to fellow Steemit users and share your posts. Follow the link here. Always remember to be polite and curteous. Don't forget to read the rules of each channel before you post or share work. Disobeying this could get you permanently muted.
Curation, Commenting and Sharing
Diagram 5 - The Footer at the bottom of every post - with curation options.
By voting on a post which becomes successful you can earn curation rewards. Currently 25% of the earnings from a post go towards the curators who upvote it.
What is Flagging? (see diagram 6 below from one of today's top posts)
The little flag in the top right corner is used to "flag" posts. There is no specific rule on when to use this, however, the community consensus seems to be that it should be used in cases of abuse. This includes situations where someone is plagiarising content, impersonating someone else, or trying to claim ownership of other people's work. Flagging can make people's posts less visible depending on your reputation compared to theirs. Use it with great caution and if you have any doubts it is probably better not to flag. Recently flags have started appearing in the drop down menu which shows votes as a minus sign (previously these would only have been visible on the blockchain).
What is Reputation?
Every user has a reputation score next to their name (see box C in Diagram 2). Every new user starts off with a figure of 25 (the maximum is 100). Your reputation goes up when users with a higher reputation vote on your content. Getting flagged by someone with a higher reputation can push your repuation down and make your posts less visible. This is a mechanism that is designed to help control abuse of the Steemit platform. Users with lower reputation are unable to affect your reputation.
What is Resteeming? (Box Q)
This is like reblogging or sharing posts on other platforms. Once your reblog a post it will appear in your feed to your followers as if you had posted it yourself. Use it conservatively and with caution. It is great to want to share content you like and appreciate with people you follow but you don't want to annoy them by overdoing it. Also just because you have a deep interest in "The History of Mongolian Carpetry from 1932-1936" doesn't mean your followers feel the same.
Can I share on Other Social Media?
Yes you can use the share button (R) to share on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin.
What is My Voting Power Percentage? (See Diagram 7 below)
This is like an "energy bar" in a computer game that gets depleted every time you vote. You start off with 100% and then every time you vote your power and hence the value of your vote goes down. This makes the value of the payout from your vote go down. Think of it as a control measure to stop you up-voting everything you see. Currently the only way I know of seeing voting power on the desktop is to use Steemd (https://steemd.com/@youraccount)- I believe the mobile client (eSteem) does show it though.
Voting Slider (Diagram 8)
Note that after you reach a certain level of Steem Power you can also use a slider to adjust the weight of your vote - you will start to see this once your SP reaches above about 300. The lower the weight of your vote the lower the payout and also the lower the depletion of your voting power percentage.
What is Following?
Clicking on the Follow button makes that user's posts automatically appear in your Home feed. It is similar to the way feeds work on social media sites.
Who should I follow?
Anyone you like. That is your choice. If you would like platform updates then there is an official account for them here:
Is there a github page for Steemit?
Is there an Etiquette Guide for Steemit?
Well funny you would ask that because I wrote one myself lol:
The Technical Stuff, Mining, Witnesses etc.
How is Steem Produced?
Steem is produced by mining using a special version of Delegated Proof of Stake (DPOS) that incorporates proof of work such as that used by conventional mining (e.g. Bitcoin). The exact specifics of this are beyond this article but can be found in the whitepaper (https://steem.io/SteemWhitePaper.pdf).
How much Steem is produced?
80 Steem are produced per minute by mining. 40 are allocated for miners and the other 40 are used for content and curation rewards. This is not the total however due to the way interest and other control factors work a total of 800 Steem are actually produced per minute. For a full breakdown of this please look at p35 onwards of the whitepaper.
What is a witness?
The top 19 witnesses basically run the Steemit network. They are responsible for storing all the information on the blockchain and keeping it going with blocks being verified in a regular manner every 3s. Witnesses are elected by other users and earn rewards in the form of SP for their work.
How do I vote for Witnesses?
Use this page: https://steemit.com/~witnesses
Can I mine Steem?
Yes. There is a great guide here for ubuntu/linux from user @joseph:
I am also aware of a windows guide by @cryptos (though I have not used it myself):
Are there any Apps for Steem?
Yes there are a lot. To find them please visit Steemtools : http://steemtools.com/
Are there any Steemit Podcasts?
Yes, these are the ones I know of. Apologies to those that I may have missed:
- Steemit Talk: http://feeds.soundcloud.com/users/soundcloud:users:244752675/sounds.rss
- Steemsmart Podcast: http://steemsmart.libsyn.com/rss
- Dollar Vigilante: https://www.dollarvigilante.com/feed/podcast
- Neocash Radio: http://neocashradio.libsyn.com/rss
Are there any Steem Radio Stations?
- Radio Steem by @roelandp: http://radiosteem.com/
- Steam Speak: by @fyrstikken : http://steemspeak.com/
Are there any links for Steemit on other Social Media?
Official Steemit FB page and Twitter:
Is there a Mobile Steem App?
Yes it's called eSteem and you can find it here: https://github.com/feruzm/esteem
What are your favourite Steem Apps?
These allow you to analyse Steemit and the blockchain in a variety of ways. Please check them out.
Conclusions and Apologies
This is a long post by necessity. I apologise in advance for any typos, errors and omissions. If you spot any please let me know.
How you can help
Please let me know of any mistakes as noted above. Also let me know if you think there are any important things that I have missed. Please resteem this and share it if you think your followers would find it useful. If you would like to reuse this feel free but please link back to the original post and credit me. I am also happy for the Steemit team to use this post as they please with the same proviso.
Thank you for reading. All the best - @thecryptofiend completed on 28th September 2016.
Your Reward for Getting to the End
The Obligatory Kitten Photo:
Image Credits: All images are stock photos from my Istockphoto account or screenshots taken from my own account.
If you like my work and aren't already, please follow me and check out my blog (I mainly discuss photography but I do other topics like this too) - @thecryptofiend