Why is there so much negativity from people on Steemit?

in steemit •  2 years ago

@jholdsworthy asks here:

why there's so much negativity out there from some people about steemit

I don't know anything for sure, and these opinions are my own. But here's my best guess:

If you get psychologically invested in a tribal identity as a "Bitcoiner," you'll start to have feelings about how all other tribes are stupid, smelly, inferior barbarians. The same thing happens with any cultural identity, really. Having feelings like that isn't within your control -- but how you allow yourself to react to them certainly is.

Some people will react to the feelings generated by their tribal identity as a "Bitcoiner" by reaching for arguments that confirm and legitimize their feelings. No one will take you seriously if you say "Steem is a bunch of stupid smelly barbarians," but they will listen if you say "Steem is a scam because the economics are fundamentally flawed, here's why supply demand capital flux capacitor et cetera et cetera," especially if they also identify with the same tribe as you do so this argument points to a conclusion that agrees with their tribal-identity-based feelings.

Of course, a lot depends on your definitions. The basic idea of Steem is that by buying Steem and powering it up to get Steem Power, you'll have much greater impact on the visibility and monetary rewards of posts you upvote. If we define a "scam" as "not getting what you paid for," then Steem clearly doesn't fit this definition of a "scam." Reputable exchanges [1] will give you real Steem for your Bitcoins (or vice versa), the Steem really can be converted to Steem Power, the Steem Power really does affect the visibility and monetary rewards of posts you upvote, and on the whole the system does function more-or-less as described in the whitepaper and official posts.

But it seems that some of our detractors are defining as a "scam" any scheme in which an asset's value depends on the availability of future market participants willing to buy that asset. By this metric, almost any imaginable token, currency, or good which can be resold is a "scam", because its value depends on people being willing to buy it in the future! This is an incredibly broad, useless, and non-sensical definition of "scam".

Whether the Steem economy is sustainable over the long term is something which depends on many factors. Even assuming the current economic model of Steem is unsustainable [2], that does not mean that it will not become sustainable in the future, nor that buying Steem is throwing away money. When Facebook and Youtube started out in the last decade -- or for that matter, Google and Yahoo in the decade before that -- a lot of critics mocked and derided them as economically unsustainable ventures. But that didn't stop investors from putting money into them which subsequently reaped enormous gains, nor did it stop those businesses from eventually finding and developing revenue sources to justify their valuations.

[1] Whether a particular exchange is a scam is a separate question from whether Steem is a scam.

[2] A questionable assumption, but for the moment let's accept it for the sake of argument.

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From what I've seen in the trollboxes after observing and interacting for hours like some strange digital anthropologist, its remarkably similar to the sort of animosity that can develop between fans of sports teams.

Only this has a lot of money at stake, so the passions increase.

Emotions trump common sense or logic in many of the discussions.


There is also the possibility that some of the negative comments have some merit, but this sort of so-called negativity doesn't promote the platform, so users are quick to jump to Steemit.com's defense because they have a vested interest in its success. Supportive comments get upvotes from influential users like @dantheman which leads to more supportive comments and posts trying to get his and other whales attention.

I agree that many of those that complain add nothing to the improvement of the platform with their unfounded gripes, but to whine about the whiners and get rewarded for it, almost strikes me as hypocritical. It surely goes without saying that there must be problems in a new venture of any sort, but the climate here is very negative towards airing that dirty laundry. There is a lack of transparency and fairness that people feel towards how the the site operates, warranted or not, and it is not being addressed and/or actively suppressed by the incentives to promote the site and not criticize the site.

To this date I've only seen successful posts whining about whiners and no successful posts from an actual Steemit.com naysayer. Perhaps the whining articles are so poorly supported with evidence, are not interesting or not convincing. Then on the other hand it might be that users that have been watching the dynamics of the community for awhile know that there will be no financial reward coming, so they refrain from even bothering to say anything contrary.

I know my perspective is unpopular, but this dynamic I briefly and inadequately explain above has not been shot down by anyone with cogent arguments. The usual rebuttal I get is, "You're a whiner", "What makes you think your opinion is equal to the whales?", "Put millions of dollars in to Steem Power and you can do what you want to do", etc.

I'm very bullish on this concept and really want it to succeed, but either there really is nothing wrong with the site in which case the whiners can be ignored, or there is something greater and more fundamental that serves to suppress and marginalize those that don't go with the flow. Exemplified by posts like this that are rewarded handsomely for whining about a non-issue.

If the whiners are so off the mark, why are they even worth replying to? Why are posts complaining about complainers being rewarded? These sorts of posts are nothing new, but they consistently get rewarded, which perpetuates a cycle that doesn't even need to exist, if we assume that the complainers are completely wrong.

Thanks for reading my comment. Best wishes.


I've seen a number of "whiners" get their 'whining' post do quite well. But each one brought some valuable perspectives well-thought out to the table. Agree on the potential danger for creating a sort of closed off echo chamber, but I think there's enough diversity in the whales and dolphins to organically grow in interests and niches without letting the ecosystem sink to that


Hi @blakemiles84

I don't doubt that you've seen a so-called whining post do well. If you can recall any in particular it would be helpful to me for purposes of reshaping my views on this topic. It's my intention to go wherever the truth takes me so I'm looking to have any and all of my observations refuted if they are faulty.

Indeed the diversity of dolphins and whales is increasing as expected, but this was not evident 3 weeks ago when the quality of content was poorer and discussion with others was limited due to Slack not being open to new users.

I'm confident the echo chamber effect is still in effect, but things are very clearly improving by the week. May turn out that something unforeseen shifts that tide back in the wrong direction, but for now I am very pleased by what I'm seeing out here in the "real" world of Steemit.com.

Some of the stuff that happens in rocketchat, though? Yikes!

I enjoy how the Steemit system keeps the comments from turning in to 4chan! However, there definitely needs to be a place where users can let their feelings out. I guess Rocketchat is the place for that.

Cheers and thanks again for your comment.

Thanks for taking the time to respond.


Are you referring to a sort of "self-induced social bubble" like google creates, as opposed to DuckDuckGo?


I'm not sure if it is the same as what google has created. I do use duckduckgo, but again, I'm not sure exactly the dynamic you refer to in those two cases as it relates to Steemit.com.

With Duckduckgo my feeling is "privacy is the focus". With Google, "no real privacy, but hey we won't do bad things!" is the message.

With what I mentioned with Steemit, I'm not seeing your parallel. Would you mind fleshing out your thoughts for me?


  1. Are you able to "Submit a Story" to Steemit right now? I can't.
  2. Ok. It took me a moment to realize that it's not on the front page anymore. Here it is.
  3. Where are notifications? I don't know when or whether people have replied to me... unless I go out of my way to look. Oh... so it's under the tab "replies"?

I see your point better now, thanks.

Indeed there is some level of the "social bubble", but it's quite a bit different than what you outline with duckduckgo and google. Still I see the parallel better and as I gather you prefer the duckduckgo style, I do as well.

We'll get there eventually.


People go by what they heard: "If it seems too good to be true... well it isn't." They think steem is promising money for nothing. But it isn't. Any whale that buys steem expecting to get all their money back is a fool. And I doubt the whales are fools. What they will get is influence over a community - at a good value for their money. And the money "created" isn't made from thin air. It's made by the hard work of a building a community with valuable posts.
No one is getting free money.


The value of posts has nothing to do with Steemit money creation, or the value of money created.
The value of money is largely a function of marketing , because most people don't care enough to make thorough analyses to quantify value when forming trading decisions. Btw a whale can get all his money back, really many options.


Considering what happened to r/ethereum and r/ethtrader after the dao attack, it wouldn't surprise me if certain people even hired masses of "trolls, FUD'ers" just to completely mask the reality of everything that was happening. I still to this day don't understand why so much chaos ensued cause they wanted to create a hardfork to prevent the dao theft.

This is something I have been seeing happening in more and more communities lately, and I'm glad Steemit is getting a reputation for accounts going to prevent these "attacks".


I agree, people's emotions shadow all forethought on reality.

I think it has something to do with a focus on the outcome/s rather than the process. Steemit is essentially a market for 'ideas' similar to a trading market.

I can see many similarities with my development as a trader, at first I was entirely outcome motivated, what my p/l was on the day, the win/loss ratio. If I wasn't doing well I'd look to blame the market, telling myself the algos had an unfair advantage or it was being manipulated.

As I went through painful lesson after painful lesson I learned to accept the things I had no control over and just try to develop my process, refining it and improving inch by inch.

You can see the same refinements in some of the writers here, just focusing on their process and looking at where to add value. To an outsider it may seem incredibly unfair but as someone who has read and communicated with some of the top content creators I can see the process based mentality in full force.

Until you slip into that journey or find similarities in other areas of your life then it's much easier to just look at outcomes and negativity ensues.


I like this point of view "Steemit is essentially a market for 'ideas' similar to a trading market".
I see the negativity how when a POS coin get high value, all miner or traders that did not mined or buy those coin when they was cheap can feel regret, because at this moment they can be earning profits.
I mean, i see the SP like POS is for any hybrid altcoin, when more you have in your wallet more you earn. Great post and sorry for mi bad english.

I certainly fit in the "bitcoiner" category prior to Steem. For a while, I organized a Bitcoin Meetup in Nashville and, if I'm honest with myself, always had a slight snicker inside when someone would talk about Litecoin (or any other altcoin, for that matter). I watched people I respected get scammed by crap-coins, and it frustrated me. I was convinced the network effect was all that matters and Bitcoin/bitcoin was the undisputed champion. I dealt with any cognitive dissonance that might arise when some new altcoin boasted of features Bitcoin could only dream of by remembering Betamax lost to VHS.

Network affect is all that matters.

And then, like a trojan horse, Steemit hooked me. I love intellectual debates on social media. I love gamification. I love being rewarded for my content. I read the white paper. The cognitive dissonance increased.

This is superior technology to Bitcoin.

I could no longer deny it. I embraced the truth. I let it wash over me. I invested some bitcoin. I've had a lot of fun ever since. :)

Thanks for the post and here's my take as a non tech "old dog." How could I or most people possibly be negative? I have not invested a dime here! I was given a gift for opening an account and have been able to have fun, learn and earn! I have enjoyed reading articles that interest or entertain me and interacting with their posters and I've been rewarded....I think handsomely! No complaints here!


That's literally where I'm at, they give you 20$ just to sign up but is a scam... Ummmm ok.

I wonder if the number of people who believe steemit is a scam/ponzi would perceive it more favorably if the default filter was set to New posts instead of Trending posts. Thus, when they logged on, they wouldn't see the $2K+ posts and use those figures as their earnings target.

Without commenting on the scalability of Steem's economic model, it was to be expected. Everything that is new and innovative will always have its skeptics - and Bitcoin had its fair share. It usually stems from misinformation, fear and uncertainty. The debate with the Bitcoin maximalist a couple of days ago made this very evident - he simply hadn't done his research.

As for the tribal behavior - it's high time we got out of the jungle. Cryptocurrency as a whole is still a very niche category, it will never reach the mainstream if there's so much unnecessary bickering within the community.


Skepticism is healthy. If the platform can't handle the low simmering heat from some minnows noise then it really needs to stop trying to cook.

The "bickering" is so lopsided and easy to squash that there really is no need for a post like this one. It's creating a problem to discuss where there isn't one.

If the platform deserves to succeed, it will succeed and the background noise of inconsequential minnows isn't going to affect it at all.

Unless the minnows actually are on to something? Hrm...

It's understandable that people might develop frustration when they turn to a front page and see so many stories with a huge response. It can create unfair expectations though because that type of success is truly hard to come by. It's always easier to express frustration than to consistently go back to the drawing board and try to come up with strong content that may break through.

But it seems that some of our detractors are defining as a "scam" any scheme in which an asset's value depends on the availability of future market participants willing to buy that asset. By this metric, almost any imaginable token, currency, or good which can be resold is a "scam", because its value depends on people being willing to buy it in the future! This is an incredibly broad, useless, and non-sensical definition of "scam".

This^ is a very good point. Thank you for that - I'll definitely use it to strengthen my argumentation when introducing new people to Steem.

I feel like steemit is going through a rough patch. Or, as I said in a recent post, steemit is in its awkward stage.

The awkwardness is not attractive and it can be turning people negative. Greed and resentment are growing in some corners. The new scoring system is adding another level of potential for elitism.

Like I said before, the platform that was great for 10,000 people is now being groomed to be great for ten million people. It just might not be great for the adolescence it's going through now.

I don't like seeing the negativity, but let's continue to look at it. Negativity about where we're going we should take seriously. Negativity about what we're going through temporarily should be taken with a grain of salt.


I'm new here but I'd guess people are being negative because they thought they'd post six times and become millionaires and are sad this did not happen for them


Exactly. It's the whole "faucet" mindset. They want something for nothing, and the posts here were showing it for a minute. Seems to be fixing itself up nicely now though.


That's the negativity from some. From others it's just that things are changing. From yet others it's that their first post made them rich and famous but their second post didn't make them richer or famouser.


Na. Ebbs and flows. We're in a valley right now. The hack really threw a monkey wrench into one of our many turbine engines. Still building this plane in flight.


I am in agreement that we're in a valley. I just have a different opinion as to why we're there. My different opinion is due to point of view alone, not due to any disagreement.

You seem to be part of the 'crypto' community and perhaps that is why you see our current valley as tied to the hack.

I'm simply a brand new constituent and I got here through the lure of potentially good content being rewarded, and I see the valley as being tied to a needle-in-haystack state of affairs vis-a-vis good content.

I am happy with where we are going and am also happy to be trying to play a part in the beta.

I am looking forward to hundreds of posts earning dozens of dollars (not mine -- I am not much of a writer).


I am going to study the differences between my comment and those of blake and wingz to better understand where I went wrong.

Oooh! I am a Bitcoiner! =)


Username checks out.

Personally, I'm just skeptical about the long-term sustainability of steem. I've given it some thought, and I just can't image how it would work.
Anyone who invests in SP eventually wants to get that money back, plus any profits generated in various ways while using the platform. At the same time, new tokens are being distributed all the time.
To me it just seems inevitable that in the long run there will be an abundance of increasingly worthless tokens and no reason to buy in anymore.

I'm not trying to be negative here, it's just always the conclusion I arrive at. I already asked the community to convince me otherwise but didn't receive any convincing arguments.


Try to compare Steem's economic model with Bitcoin's. They are quite similar. The only difference is that Steem spends inflationary funds on rewarding content creation and curation, whereas Bitcoin spends similar amount of funds on burning electricity. Actually BTC spends much more but when compared to market caps - it's similar.

If Bitcoin's economic model can survive and expand, so can Steem's.

If there was no Bitcoin I would have similar doubts as you are having. But the existence of BTC and its 8-year old track of resilience denies common sense and classic economic principles.


Bitcoin has a limited supply, known in advance. And it was the first cryptocoin on a blockchain, providing features that no other payment system did at the time (decentralization, transparency and anonimity). I believe these are the properties that made Bitcoin popular and give it value.

I can't figure out what similar values steem could provide. Sure, it gives you the power to curate content and distribute rewards, but I don't think anyone would invest money simply to gain these abilities. In my opinion, whoever buys Steem Power is hoping to get at least as much money back some time in the future as they put in.

What am I missing?


In my opinion, whoever buys Steem Power is hoping to get at least as much money back some time in the future as they put in.

Whoever buys Bitcoin hopes for the same - that the system expands and they will get as much money back some time in the future as they put in.

Bitcoin is indeed a special case - it had a first mover advantage by providing very unique features as a payment system. But Steem is also a special case: it provides unique features as a censorship-resistant medium and an unprecedented content reward scheme - nobody has done it before.

IMO the only vulnerable aspect is this:

Bitcoin has a limited supply, known in advance.

I've been thinking about it as well. Is this a crucial feature without which Bitcoin would have never taken off?

I think not, and this is why: the year 2140 (when BTC inflation stops) seems to be remote enough to exceed any reasonable investment horizon. And how will Bitcoin resolve mining incentives when inflation drops further? Bitcoin has no choice but expand and increase its price to compensate for decreasing mining rewards (the alternative is to increase transaction fees but this will kill the product). If Bitcoin fails to expand, it will collapse because the imminent halving process will effectively remove financial incentives for mining.

In short, Bitcoin faces a similar challenge to Steem and the limited supply does not help. Both Bitcoin and Steem need to continue expanding or find an alternative source of revenue. However Bitcoin's limited supply can have a psychological value - people's perception matters even if it's illogical.


Damn, economy is complex. I've been thinking for a while and i'm not any closer to an anwser than at the beginning.

I'm not sure how much inflation matters. On one hand, intuitively, I'd say if something is generated out of thin air, it should eventually become worthless. On the other hand, fiat is practically generated out of thin air and yet kinda-sorta works.
But fiat is also unique in the sense that it doesn't really depend on exchange rates; your salary is fiat, the grocery store takes fiat, at this point people believe in it so strongly it's just this ubiquitous IOU representation. But when you have a less popular, in everyday life practically useless token, exchange rates matter. And they are sensitive to volume.

It would be interesting to see how much BTC is mined vs how much steem tokens are generated per unit of time compared to the total available volume though.

And to address your point about BTC: I don't think mining has to be profitable. As long as it is, of course you will see huge farms consuming a lot of electricity for profit. Eventually, I could see users and merchants running single nodes in their own interest to keep the network running, breaking even from transaction fees or probably even at a loss. That would be the ultimate decentralization.

Btw thanks, thanks to you I'm even more confused now :/


@innuendo and @orly are having a nice back and forth here. I think this sort of discussion is valuable, but it won't get rewarded as it should.

Thanks for having a civil discourse and bringing your unique perspectives to the community. Even though you aren't getting a bunch of money, just know that it still is appreciated.

Thanks to you both.


You are watching the "tip of the iceberg", unaware that Dan stated "the real money isn’t in blogging, content generation, or voting. The real money is found in bootstrapping a digital currency. "


The blogging platform thing is a Trojan Horse. You can build anything on the Steemit blockchain once you have the users (markets, hosting, etc). The REAL goal is to take out creaky Bitcoin.

i guess its not easy to put this many people together and expect them all to get along

When I hear scam, I ask: "Who got scammed?"

You also have to consider that the community isn't really getting paid for useful articles. Every day that I come here, the top articles are always "what is Steemit", "what is Bitcoin", "why you should do Steemit", "why this is awesome", etc. Its getting old really fast. I came here to read interesting posts, not watch a circlejerk. It's actually making me visit the site less now.

I really think that other "crypto guys" are afraid of Steem (Steemit). They see themselves as endangered because of us. But why would that be so? The space is great enough for all us. In the end they are afraid to lose money but let me tell them: together we could reach much more instead against us

I think a very real factor in the negativity from people within the crypto space is the feeling that they missed the boat. Their egos get involved and they would rather tear something down than admit they failed to recognize an amazing opportunity.

What they don't realize is that the door is still wide open. This is still a once in a lifetime opportunity, and people joining today are still getting in on the ground floor.

It's that ever-present "my team/your team" mentality, and that is so not how this place works. Everyone is on their own, and it's up to each individual to show to everyone what they're made of. Even if you get jealous of someone else for making way more than you for posting something similar or what you think might be inferior (which, by the way, is completely subjective), expressing that jealousy or outrage for things like that really won't help you. Only bad parents reward bad behavior.

Competition. Only the strongest survive. Thx!

As long as it keeps paying, and we keep getting quality posts, it does not matter what anyone thinks, because even if they are fundamentally correct on some level, continued use and continued payment = Success

"you'll start to have feelings about how all other tribes are stupid, smelly, inferior barbarians."

Why just them?

I can just as easily argue that the world economy is a scam. Just people like holywars and FUDing. All of the greatest inventions were not understood by the broad masses immediately.

For the same reason that there's so much negativity on Facebook (people actually use it, and people aren't just happy unicorns shitting skittles) + the disruption effect.

@theoretical: I have a question for you. Are you on Rocket chat? What is a good way to communicate with you?

You caused me to have a negative Steemit experience when you whale bullied me cause I down voted you comments where you were gaming the platform for money and laughing about it...then you went and downvoted all the content I posted... here's a link to what I downvoted from tuck https://steemit.com/science/@tuck-fheman/mysterious-purple-orb-found-floating-on-the-ocean-floor and here is what he downvote I assume in retaliation