I’m ecstatic. It is with great pleasure that I welcome you guys to the ninth edition of SteemMag, a weekend digest for Steemians.
Every weekend, I take a look at some of the most important topics on Steemit and also reach out to top Steemians who have expert views on such topics.
In case you missed it, here are links to Issue #1 , #2 , #3 , #4 , 5 and #6, #7 and #8
This week I will be taking a look, for the first time, a number of topics that have received lots of attention from Steemians. A number of posts by a co-founder and @steemitblog has spurred widespread discussions on Curation efforts and Voting patterns. Also, the issue of “ID theft, harassment and plagiarism” was widely discussed.
SteemMag in its usual manner reached out to a number of key Steemians who have in-depth knowledge of the issues and had chats with them…. Really interesting chats…. I had a great time getting everything ready.. I’m sure you will enjoy it too.
Get a cup of coffee and let’s kick off the fun ride :)
In page 1:
SteemMag had a chat with @riverhead – A whale who is also a witness and also the back-end moderator of Steemit.chat. A very nice guy I must say. We had a chat with him on topics ranging from how he joined Steemit, community participation and curation. I’m sure you would enjoy hearing from him.
I also had a chat with @firepower- who is the front-end Lead Moderator of Steemit.chat
In Page 2:
SteemMag had a chat with @anyx , The Lead of the Steemcleaners project
We also reached out to a number of steemians for our weekly Steemians Speak on an exciting topic that can bring some nostalgia. ;)
And lots more
SteemMag in Russian
In addition to the ongoing translation of previous issues of SteemMag to chinese, @zaebars had the idea of translating previous issues of SteemMag and Official Steemit announcements to the Russian language. I believe this ongoing translation projects will help provide more language diversity on Steemit.... If you're interested in translating SteemMag to your native language. Please hit me on steemit.chat @infovore for further discussions.
A Chat With @riverhead
How did you get to know about steemit? And how has the journey been so far?
A friend of mine, who was involved early on, called me to tell me about really cool new crypto project. This was back in early April and I really liked the idea. A decentralized Buzzreditbook – how cool is that? Finally a blockchain project that wasn't trying to reinvent the financial world!
So far I've been having a blast with Steem and also the Steemit UI. Like any other large project there are good days and bad but the good days far outnumber the bad! I'm constantly amazed at the great people involved with the project. A quick look at steemtools.com is all it takes to see the deep pool of talent in and around the project.
You are also a back-end moderator of steemit.chat. What are those things you've noticed so far?
The biggest takeaway for me as moderator is just how little it takes for one person to get a channel completely fired up and turned into a troll-box. Thankfully we have a great team of levelheaded moderators that are helping to keep the peace!
I have also been blown away by the people, such as Firepower, that have recognized the value of steemit.chat and have stepped up to do what they can to see it grow. Firepower has some great ideas and brings a lot of energy and optimism to the steemit.chat platform. Exciting times ahead!
A number of Steemians complain of the platform not running as smooth as that of slack. What more functionality should Steemians look out for?
I completely agree with those that have noticed the relative sluggishness of Rocket Chat versus Slack. We have been scaling up server side hardware and software to try to address these issues. Slack and Rocket Chat provide similar services but are intended for different audiences. A few key differences to note:
– On Slack we had around 1000 users compared to a little over 3000 on Rocket Chat.
– The free Slack service has a global message history limit of 10000. With the volume of traffic we have now on Rocket Chat a message would only last a few seconds and Direct Messages just wouldn't be functional at all. To remove that limitation Slack charges $7 USD/account. Yes, $21,000 USD/month for a chat server at our current occupancy!
– Slack is designed for teams with external management structures and therefore does not have the depth of moderator tools we enjoy with Rocket Chat. There are almost no moderator controls at all in Slack. For Slack's intended audience this is fine but for a public community of this size it would be chaos. The most obvious omissions are channel specific moderators and the ability to assign commands based on account role (moderators can mute users for example).
– Rocket Chat allows the community to own its own data and log files. The paid version of Slack has some of this functionality but a community is still more or less at the mercy of Slack's EULA.
– A specific example of a difference between a community owned service and a paid service: when a few Slack accounts were compromised and email/passwords changed there was a lengthy back and forth with Slack support which didn't really get anywhere. On Rocket Chat we could return the compromised accounts to their respective owners in a few minutes.
As a whale, what do you look for in posts before voting?
I've answered this question and gone back and deleted it about five times now. So let's try it again, this time with feeling. The two biggest goals for my voting are to grow the platform and reward quality content creators. One thing to keep in mind is that as a large Steem Power holder my incentives lean much more toward long term success of the platform than rewards from curating.
When I'm reviewing a post I try to determine first and foremost if it is original, or properly cited, content. Community projects like Curie, Steemcleaners, #steemitabuse-classic, etc. are great in assisting with this highest level filter. Next I try to determine if a post will be of interest to others – is this a link I'd send to friends even if it was on another platform?
Also important to me is if an author is putting out great content and no one has noticed. Inline with platform growth I have a strong incentive to get eyes on that person's work!
There has been a recent rise in your curation efforts. How do you manage your daily activities and curation?
Aren't open platforms great? There is no hiding on Steem! As mentioned above my primary goal is to grow value in the platform. Since I have no talent as writer, artist, or journalist this means curating content. A lot of content. Sadly there just aren't enough hours in the day to go through even half the content that's being generated! However I feel it needs to be done. To that end I have enlisted a good friend of mine, who also shares a lot of my values, to curate using my posting key. We are in constant communication and he's always trying to curate in a manner that fits the ethos I discussed above. He is his own person though so I suspect many will look with a raised eyebrow why one post got a vote and another did not. That's fine and all part of this great game!
In which way do you think we can we a. Better distribute Steem power b. Improve the prices of Steem and SBD?
This is an issue that will solve itself in time. A lot of the larger stakeholders seem to be idle from a curating perspective and also divesting their Steem Power and selling it. The net results in the short term is a lot of downward pressure on the price. Long term it means Steem will transition from a few early miners to users of the platform.
There are some that view whales powering down in a bad light. Naturally I am not in that camp but I can hardly claim an unbiased view. That said I do feel it is the best thing they can do to address the distribution issue. We cannot simultaneously want a flatter distribution of Steem and pressure people to not sell their stake. Personally I do not see the difference between one whale powering down a large stake or hundreds of people powering down a smaller stake. In my opinion the mechanic of the 104 week power down schedule levels the playing field from a dumping perspective.
The organic growth of Steemit, and by extension Steem, is exponential and effectively without bound. The downward pressure caused by my powering down is linear and has a very clear end point. The problem will solve itself so long as Steem is, and continues to be, a success.
As for the price of SBD I am quite happy with it priced around $1 USD/SBD. Like any stable coin it needs volume for the peg mechanisms to work. To generate volume a token needs some sort of utility. The interest rate on SBD is, again in my opinion, greatly overlooked by many. Also as the Steem platform grows in popularity so will the adoption of SBD by more services; much like the utility Bitcoin enjoys today as a payment token at many vendors.
There have been a number of proposed features on the blockchain? What's your view on the recent 5 votes a day proposal? And powering down whales losing their voting powers?
First let’s just clear up one big misconception: The goal is not five votes per day nor is that what is being implemented. It is akin to implying a $5 daily spending budget will only allow someone to buy 5 things. That
would only be true if everything cost $1. Want to buy five hundred items? Great – buy items that are worth $0.01.
Want to vote more than five times per day? Great – don't vote 100% weight with every mouse click. This change creates incentives for users to better understand voting weights but more importantly makes it much easier to compete with the voting bots. Humans versus bots is the real battleground not whales versus dolphins versus minnows. There have been many great posts on steemit.com that do a much better job of explaining this than I can so I urge people to seek out those posts and educate yourselves.
Removing voting power from those powering down seems like a knee jerk reaction to a problem that will solve itself in time. I would rather see more focus on increasing demand for the Steem token than creating more barriers to exit. The 104 week power down schedule is sufficient in my opinion.
Your personal message to Steemians and projects they should look out for?
We are still in the twilight dawn of the Steem era and need to take a long view of things to come. There is great danger in band-aid quick fixes to seemingly unfair but temporary issues. Keep producing and curating quality content, spreading the word of Steem, and developing really cool tools and projects that enrich the ecosystem. The world will continue to come to us.
If I can leave you all with one parting message it is simply to be kind and respectful to one another. Steem is attracting people from all walks of life, religions, opinions, personal experiences, politics, and ambitions. It is simply not possible for everyone to agree with everyone else nor is it possible to beat people into our one world view. Accept gracefully that we will have and need diversity if we want this platform to reach its potential.
Thanks @riverhead for the really insightful replies.. It’s refreshing to read another perspective on the important issues affecting Steemians.
A Chat with @firepower
What are some surprising activities you've noticed so far in the chat channels and what changes would you like to see?
Initiatives that I'm part of such as RobinHoodWhale, SteemCleaners have all emerged from the discussions (public and private) on the platform. It was a surprise to see engagement at this level and the motivation amongst users of the platform to collaborate with a single mindset to bring positive changes we wanted to see on the site. I'd like to more users helping each other with the queries as the user participation grows here and lesser trolls and scammers.
I'm currently putting together "Steemit Social" — a community management team that in its initial stages will handle moderation of certain to-be-designated official channels for steemit related discussions here.
That will help consolidate some of our efforts in increasing engagement and retention of good users on Steemit. Hopefully it will lead to more innovative initiatives on Steemit.com as people see the benefits of collaboration and JV on this Steemit.Chat platform and use it to further networking and great content creation.
Although a fair bit of this has been achieved with a number of initiatives that we've seen on the site already but team building for Steemit Social is currently underway.
How are moderators for channels chosen?
There are several channels on Steemit Chat many of which are user created for personal reasons. I personally over see over 50 channels on a regular basis.
From this vast number a dozen or so channels have been selected for moderation under Steemit Social initiative. The moderators for these channels are selected on the basis of their current participation on the channels. Those proven to be proactive, helpful, collaborative are considered (if they are willing to step up to the task of moderation)
Also in addition to this I will be selecting on basis of the time they can devote to moderation and a few other criteria. But they can and will be a mix of old timers and new users.
Thanks @firepower for having a chat with SteemMag. We wish you all the best :)
Check out page 2 for more awesome features you wouldn't want to miss :)