In my last witness update post I promised to post more often, so here I am doing my best to keep that promise! The @witnesssurvey account has recently put out - you guessed it - a witness survey, to which I, along with all of the other witnesses, have been asked to respond.
This seems like a great initiative, and I want to first say thank you to everyone who has spent time putting this survey together and to everyone who has submitted a question!
I've always held the belief that the concept behind paid content promotion services is a great one. An important value driver behind the STEEM token is being able to use it to reach the Steem audience, and that's what content promotion services (commonly in the form of bid-based voting bots) are trying to accomplish.
While the concept is very good, the implementation leaves much to be desired (from the Steem UI perspective, not the services themselves), which in my opinion is the reason behind most of the issues and complaints. I could go on for pages about this, but the short answer is that I am very much in favor of a system where STEEM tokens can be used to promote content (i.e. advertising), and where it is displayed clearly as such in the various user interfaces.
What does the witness want to do to make the blockchain more user-friendly and help to on-board new users. What do THEY personally want to see done and what will they do to get it there? - @ericwilson
The user-friendliness of the blockchain all comes down to the user interfaces built on top of it. Steemit.com does a poor job at this, and since they are still the primary user interface it makes the whole blockchain seem not user-friendly.
I haven't seen much outside-the-box thinking on how to make a really user-friendly Steem interface. I think this is for two main reasons, (1) since condenser is free and open source, most sites use that as their base rather than reimagining things from the ground up, and (2) most of the projects are run by developers who don't typically have the best sense of user-friendliness.
I want to see some new UIs be created that really come at it from a completely different perspective. Something you never even considered before that makes you go "wow, I never thought of doing it like that!". I hoped that the "Destiny" project from Steemit, Inc would be that project, but unfortunately it seems like that will no longer be happening so it's now up to the community to take the reins on this one.
As for what I have personally done to make it more user friendly, well I don't think you'll find a simpler way for an average person to get an account and start using the blockchain than Steem Monsters.
Do you think votes for witnesses should last indefinitely or should they time out (or perhaps decay over time) so that periodically voters will need to reevaluate and affirm their positions by recasting their votes? - @harvhat
I'm very much in favor of vote decay on a conceptual level; however, on a practical level I don't think it's something that we should spend any of our limited resources working on any time soon. There are much more important things to be done which will have a much larger impact on the future of the platform.
Do you think the 30 witness votes each steemian gets is the correct number, especially in light of the fact there are only 20 top witnesses to be seated? - @harvhat
This is one that, frankly, I don't really know. A lot of smart people chose the 30 witness vote number and agree it's the correct amount (including @gtg here) so for the moment I am trusting those more knowledgeable than myself in this regard. In the meantime I have made a note of this because I would like to make sure I fully understand the reasoning behind this choice.
My main concern is that it lacks strong leadership. Many will say that it doesn't need leadership because it's a decentralized platform, but being decentralized doesn't remove the need for strong leadership.
Bitcoin is an anomaly in that regard, and if we were one of the top cryptos I wouldn't be worried about this, but as a struggling platform in a sea of other projects run by impressive teams, it's absolutely essential that we have strong leadership that can push the project in the right direction and inspire confidence in users and investors.
I'm hopeful that sooner or later an app will be released, built on top the Steem blockchain, that really breaks the mold of what we've seen so far. Something with a real team and resources behind it, with a solid business model and strong marketing.
Something like that will really open people's eyes, particularly investors, to what the Steem platform is capable of. I am doing my best to make Steem Monsters fulfill that goal, but I'm hopeful that other projects that are more focused around the core content publishing / social media aspects of the platform will do that as well.
What is the monthly cost of equipment? - @abh12345
The equipment costs to run my witness are approximately $400 / month which includes four witness nodes and one seed node.
Where do your earnings go? - @abh12345
A portion of my witness earnings go to pay someone who helps run my nodes. I think it's vitally important for any critical infrastructure that there's more than one person available to step in if there are issues. You can rest assured that, even if I end up in the hospital the night before a hard fork, my nodes will be taken care of.
Aside from that, I work on Steem full time and that is the only source of income for myself and my family. I'm fortunate that between my savings and earnings from Steem Monsters I don't currently have to power down and sell any of my Steem Power to pay my bills.
As a result, I'm currently delegating about 50,000 Steem Power to help support promising people and projects on the platform.
[What are some of your] Current projects? - @abh12345
In addition to Steem Monsters, which takes about 100% of my time, I'm also working on the Steem Keychain browser extension (for which we just pushed a big update that I will post about soon), and starting to work with @harpagon on his Steem Smart Contracts sidechain platform, which is amazing and you should really check it out if you get the chance!
[Will you provide an] Alt accounts list? - @abh12345
Of course. In addition to @yabapmatt, I also own the @postpromoter account (no surprise there I'm guessing), and the @mjrcrypto account which is for my IRA funds which I invested in STEEM. Lastly, there is @abide which is my "cold-storage" account for liquid funds...and, because, you know, "the dude abides".
What are the benefits associated with being a witness? - @klassic
The main benefit, in my opinion, is really being able to see and experience first-hand how the Steem platform works, both technically and non-technically (I'm sure there's a better word here but it isn't coming to me).
Once I started to become heavily involved in the platform last year, I wanted to learn everything I could about it and how it works. The best way to learn about something is usually to go do it, so that's why I decided to become a witness in the first place.
How do I become a witness? - @steemingmark
Becoming a witness is relatively easy, but earning the support of the community is hard. To become a witness, you just need to set up a server running the steemd software and contribute to the block production. There are many guides for how to do that, but here's a good one (though a bit out of date).
What do you think the SBD [STEEM] price for a new account should be? - @harvhat
It's a balance. Accounts have a real cost as far as resources required for running the network and there is a limited namespace, so the cost should be just high enough to protect that. Now that extra resource credits can be used to claim free accounts, and the price of STEEM is so low, I would support increasing the cost.
In any case, just creating an account doesn't get you very far, so I think the more important question here is about how we can allow new accounts to perform a reasonable number of transactions on the blockchain without it being prohibitively expensive.
The concept of RC delegation pools is one of the best ideas I've heard to help accomplish that, and I'm pushing to have that get implemented in one of the next hardforks.
What is a witness and how I become a good worker? - @rubaethsyed
At the bare minimum a witness is someone who contributes to the block production by running the steemd software. To be a good witness requires much more than that and I talked a bit about what I feel are the responsibilities of the witness in my latest witness update post.
Have you implemented any new procedures for evaluating potential hardforks? - @patrickulrich
Once the next proposed hard fork is ready to be evaluated, I plan to work with the other witnesses, Steemit, Inc., and the rest of the community to create a comprehensive test plan by which we can evaluate the changes. A lot of people say we need more testing, but everyone randomly testing things on an ad-hoc basis won't work. We need an organized test plan which lists all of the features of the blockchain, not just the new changes, and how they are expected to work.
Additionally I plan to organize the creation of, and help fund, a bug bounty program to heavily incentivize people to thoroughly test the changes and report bugs. I can almost guarantee that a lot of the bugs with HF20 would have been caught if there was enough money on the line.
How does a new user make the availability of his vote known to the cabal of witnesses wannabes trying to overthrow the current witness regime? - @grimgriz
There's a whole lot of connotation behind the wording of this question. I would ask why you're concerned about the availability of your vote being known? Regardless, if you own Steem Power then you are a stakeholder in the platform, and your witness votes are one way you can influence the platform to push it in the direction you want it to go.
So I would say that you should figure out what you want to see happen on the Steem platform, and find and vote for witnesses who support that same vision.
Should we have interest for SBD? - @patrickulrich
In the current market conditions I would say definitely not. The only time I would support interest for SBD is if it's trading significantly under the peg and the debt ratio is significantly under 10%.
What takeaways do you have from the Hardfork 20 issues that occurred? - @patrickulrich
I covered that in my most recent witness update post.
Do you think 20/21 top witnesses a good number or should there be more or less? - @harvhat
In my opinion it is a good number, mostly based on the fact that it has been working very well for a long time (in crypto time that is). I would have to see pretty strong evidence why a different number is better before considering changing it.
Let me know what you think!
Let me know what you think of my responses to the witness survey questions in the comments and I'll do my best to respond when I can. It's great to see an initiative like this and I want to once again thank those that took the time to put this together and everyone who has submitted a question!