Ya know – I had high hopes for this platform. I really did. Now, just a month and a half in, I've gotta admit – I'm feelin' more than a bit discouraged.
By most standards, I've done pretty well for a newbie. I've played by the rules, drafting my posts with care, engaging with other Steemians, making sincere connections and attempting to beautify Steemit with interesting imagery, whenever and wherever possible. I mean not to inflate the significance of my offerings, but I've posted only high quality, original content and have (mostly) been rewarded for doing so.
All the while, I've been aware of the darker sides of Steemit, yet imagined I could simply find my niche and exist in my own little corner, without ever bumping up against its more unsavory aspects. How very naive of me.
I see so much potential here. Yet the truly good is summarily surpassed by the torrent of absolute shit posts, flagrant reward pool abuse and early-adopting whales who've decided they're the ones to decide the rules of engagement. Step outta line and they'll punish you. Speak up in defense and they can easily destroy you with no more than a passing thought and petty flag, or twelve, or precisely as many yet-to-payout posts as you have on your blog.
Holding Nothing Back
Six days ago I boldly shared a post that had taken me 3 days to draft. It is the most raw, intimate piece of writing I have ever made public – a vulnerable recounting of my life-long struggle with depression and recent, unsettling brush with suicide.
I proofread many times over, checking for typos, ensuring my markdown styling was correct and working, revising wordy parts, making sure the finished piece was clean and easy to read. I used my own illustrations as visual support. I offered resources for anyone presently battling their own depressive demons. As I do with everything – I gave all of myself to it, and published – despite considerable trepidation – choosing to trust that it was safe to do so.
Of course – as I'm certain every single one of us here is guilty of – I hoped it would do well. Not just in terms of my own potential earnings, but also because I know that only those that earn well show up in the trending feeds and I wanted this piece to land in front of as many eyes as possible – to reach all those who might benefit from its message.
I published, then gave it a little time to make its own waves – it barely made a ripple. So I began doing all I could to help it be seen, as organically as I was able. I posted in promotion channels, shared it with folks on the Steemit Ramble discord (huge thanks to @shadowspub for including it in one of her rambles) and I reached out to my new friend @aussieninja to invite him to read it, hoping he'd find it worthy of a @curie vote. He tried to submit it, and learned that someone else already had. Yet, I've received the curie before, and too recently – apparently, it's really only meant to be received once.
Still, he hoped I'd get it, as the guidelines seem somewhat malleable and he felt this post warranted consideration. So...I waited – just in case – hoping someone with a valuable vote might notice.
7 days? Try 3.5 – that's all you get.
By the time I accepted that I wasn't going to get that highly sought after support, my post was already 2 days old and sitting with an unimpressive $1.80 in potential rewards. Lemme tell ya – to have worked so hard on a thing – that hurt. Especially when one considers how much genuine garbage regularly draws in well upwards of $100. What can I say? I'm human – it's pretty much impossible not to feel deflated by that glaring discrepancy.
While I'm generally fine with earning mere pennies, I really cared about this post. So I added the #ocd-resteem tag. I tried to register for @qurator, only to have my coins refunded. I repeatedly transferred funds to @minnowbooster, yet each and every time they were returned, despite having carefully matched my values to the graph on their homepage. I'm pretty sure it's broken, yet no one in their discord is responding to my queries.
Not ready to give up, I begrudgingly started watching a few bid-bots when the post was 4 days old – already too aged to qualify for most. I was reluctant, as every single one was showing negative ROIs, so...again, I waited. I hoped @minnowbooster would miraculously work out in the end.
Yesterday afternoon, seeing that MB was still only available for bids .19 and under – amounts that would make no discernible difference, really – I finally caved, and sent $5 SBD to @sneaky-ninja.
Congratulations. You're a Winner.
While I've found @grumpycat's antics mildly amusing before this, having won his unfortunate attention, I'm seeing things from a whole new angle. It takes a lot to piss me off. This – this didn't just upset me – it made my blood boil.
Shame on me for not resorting to bid bots sooner – for doing absolutely everything else to promote my post and actually imagining that high quality content was still high quality content, even 5 days later. What a horrendous reward-pool abuser I must be with my whopping $5 SBD bid. I clearly deserved swift scolding to whip my ass into docile compliance.
No – I'm not about to sheepishly recoil with my tail between my legs like a reprimanded puppy whose face has just been shoved in her own shit. I genuinely don't believe I deserved to be flagged. I'll not keep my mouth shut just because speaking up risks a kind of childish backlash that could quite possibly ruin me.
Turns out I'm not such a quiet little bird, after all.
@grumpycat – I'm callin' you out.
I agree – the ugliness of bots being used in the eleventh hour to boost bullshit posts is a thing that desperately needs regulating. How to go about that is understandably tricky in a decentralized environment. At least you're doing more than most to try to squash that particular issue – I'll give you that.
What I cannot wrap my head around nor even remotely get behind, is you behaving like an untouchable bully – as though your word is the golden standard to which all Steemians must adhere. Just because you've declared yourself the not-to-be-crossed-nor-questioned Steemit police doesn't grant you the authority, nor preclude you from treating others with respect.
However valid the original issue, your chosen response assumes that everything is black and white – that every instance reflects one and the same indiscretion. It allows no room for the droves of people joining every day – the ones just trying to find their footing who know nothing of your strict protocols. Punishing newbies who unknowingly 'step out of bounds' sends the wrong message and is quite likely to scare them off. How can that possibly be good for Steemit?
Your unfortunate chauvinism aside, the thing that truly discredits you is your hypocritical habit of self-voting. Flippantly downvoting without so much as a glance at the post's content – then upvoting your own self-aggrandizing comment – reveals a marked lack of integrity.
Not only are you a self-proclaimed enforcer of laws you wrote yourself, you're no better than a crooked cop – the kind who pull you over, proudly hand you a citation, then take your wallet and empty it into their own, whistling as they walk off with a smirk, knowing you can't do a damn thing about it.
So – I'm asking you to clarify – how are you protecting the reward pool by flagging a post that was worth just a few SBD, only to reward yourself with >$80 for doing so?? Do you honestly believe you earned that? You're draining more from the reward pool than you're saving. Period.
If you're sincerely trying to protect Steemit, as you apparently claim, then I challenge you to behave accordingly – stop rewarding yourself so handsomely. Otherwise, you're no better than the pillagers you seek to dissuade.
Lastly – I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the upside to 'winning' your downvote. Turns out, speaking up yesterday about your lack of discernment garnered a fair bit of unexpected support and earned me some awesome new followers. For that – I thank you.
Turns out I am a winner, after all...
To those of you who so kindly showed up to mitigate the damage – You're the reason I'm stickin' around. Reading your words reminded me why I felt compelled to share in the first place. Your heartfelt comments doused the flames beneath me, quieting the painful whistle of rapidly escaping 'steem'.
Perhaps we've got a long way to go before we figure out how to collectively govern this space with diplomacy and fairness, but...I do believe its possible.
Full steem ahead,