(Very) Basic stuff Steem needs to fix: my personal list

in #steem2 years ago (edited)

I ranted about Steem a couple of weeks ago. Based on the reactions, I realised many took it out of context. I have been criticising (and appreciating) Steem since 2016 about a number of issues over the years. Here, I'll put some of it together, once and for all, so I can point people to one post.

Firstly, I'm an avid user of social media. I have no expertise in building social networks, economics or human psychology. I could go on a tangential rant here to explain Steem's failures, but I'm going to limit this post to user experience and economic changes, without going into operational issues. Also, yes, I'm aware that if there was a will to fix these things, it'll take years to develop.

Secondly, I also fully understand many are content with the current paradigm, but what I may suggest is that perhaps everything I discuss would also appeal to mainstreams social network users. Ideally, I would want something completely different, but I'm obviously going to respect Steem's identity and extrapolate from there.

Finally, I'll try to keep this brief, it'll be a summary. It'll cover only some of the broad perspective, some fundamental requirements. I had previously contemplated just collecting my older posts and comments, but I realized that would be a book length feature that no one will read.

General trend: Streamline and simplify.

  1. Cancel SBD. Let's begin with the premise. SBD was an integral part of Dan's evil plan for cryptocurrency domination. Unfortunately, Dan's plan has proven to be less Blofeld and more Dr. Evil, a dire parody unto itself. The crypto market is gradually heading towards a maturity phase, where economies are building around proven markets like BTC and ETH. The pipe dream of Steem or Steemit dominating cryptocurrency is long over. SBD has been a disaster, never really managing to hold $1 (currently standing at $0.60) aside from market manipulation forces. What makes SBD an egregious indulgence is it keeps dragging STEEM down with it. Due to the very volatile nature of the cryptocurrency market and very brief but explosive pumps altcoins experience, massive amounts of SBD debt piles up. As STEEM drops off gradually, SBD conversions add enormous amount of inflation (correction: It's not actually enormous, that's just hyperbole on my part), rising the lower the price drops, kicking off a negative feedback cycle till the debt ratio drops rises over 10%. This has added constant buying pressure to STEEM over and above the nominal inflation (which we'll get to next). Currently, SBD debt is a shocking >15% of Steem's market cap, and has been over the 10% limit for a long time. These were supposed to be extreme measures, but has now become a common reality for SBD. To make matters worse, in today's market, we have proven stablecoins, to those backed by USD (USDC) and those by crypto (DAI). SBD currently serves no purpose other than to destroy STEEM's value. I have been advocating canceling SBD with a one time conversion to STEEM since 2017, but things are so horrible now, even that would be disastrous in the short term. So, perhaps the current solution would be only to stop printing SBD permanently and leave SBD be as a legacy debt.

  2. Cancel inflation-funded common reward pool. Even without SBD, STEEM's inflation is too high. It is the significant contributor to the token being perpetually in a downward spiral, except for the brief bull runs. People like to offer excuses about how we are "in the bear market". No, this is the regular market. The very brief bull runs have proven to be the exception, not the rule. Other excuses offered are how all altcoins have crashed. Most altcoins are shit, and even in that very bottom barrel reference point, Steem has crashed from #3 to #10 to #30, all the way down to #80 on CMC. The few successful (only relatively) tokens that were once around Steem's market cap once are now 10x-100x more valuable than Steem. Some would argue that dishing out money is Steem's only advantage. However, I would suggest that this system is ultimately unsustainable, so it's not really much of an advantage, is it? Not to mention, most people use social networks for social capital, not financial capital. Steem's inflation should be reduced to <2%, and only used for activities that secure and build the network. Those who are die-hard fans of stake-weighted inflation-generating reward pools can create their own SMTs. Also, some more suggestions later.

  3. Remove SP, make STEEM a single utility token. Investors despise lock-in periods for highly volatile assets. Three months is ridiculous. I once made the mistake of being powered up, never again. There are multiple solutions to this. One would be to remove all vesting mechanisms, and let your STEEM receive voting rights after 7 days. If the reward pool is gone, if some period is still required to counter abuse, it could be a simple stake/unstake process with 48-72 hours (like EOS).

  4. Privacy. In its current state, Steem has zero privacy. While that may be beneficial if you use anonymous accounts, most people like to express themselves and control their content. Users should have some privacy controls, while there are none. If I'm not mistaken, "confidentiality" was high on the roadmap in mid-2016, which suggests to me privacy is possible. On a related note, Steem needs to enable a right-to-be-forgotten, right-to-delete, etc features. I'm aware this is a technical challenge, but this is a very basic requirement for social networks in 2019, where privacy is being deemed a human right across many jurisdictions. Privacy features are also a requisite for the next two points.

  5. Granular Communities control. Communities and SMT development are well underway, so I'd assume by this time, the common reward pool would be deprecated, and Steem would be a bunch of communities and SMTs. Wishful thinking, but let's play along. Creating communities need to be as easy as creating subreddits. Admins/moderators should have extensive options to moderate content, act as oracles, etc. On a related note, 5.5) Extensive user interface templates and tools need to be offered with Condenser, including discovery algorithms and detailed visual customisations, that all communities can use.

  6. Advertising platform. The inflation reward pool is unsustainable, but that doesn't mean Steem has to do away with paying content creators entirely. There are two methods by which content creators can earn today - tipping/selling and advertising. Of course, tipping needs to be built into the platform. But it's advertising that can bring in sustainability. I don't want to go into details here, except just point you to Basic Attention Token. This is more complex than it sounds, due to different SMTs, user interfaces etc, but I think it can be accomplished at the blockchain level. SMT/community owners, advertisers, consumers and content creators alike need to be offered a granular decentralised advertising/attention tool. Needless to say, extensive privacy controls will need to be introduced before this can happen.

I have a much longer list, such as speeding up (EOS has proved 0.5s is possible), scalability concerns, DPoS sustainability, referral programs and free registrations, parallel testnets (i.e. linked one-way from mainnet) with simulation, gamification etc. etc. I think this'll suffice for now though, so I can get back to using actual social networks. I will keep rooting for Steem, and hope one day, or decade, it'll meet my needs.

Addendum: To be very clear, none of this will make "Steem moon" or a "Facebook killer". It will always remain a very niche solution. The attempt here is to make it a sustainable niche.


I'm in complete agreement with most of your list, but #1 and #2 especially.

  1. SBD was a neat idea, but failed in practice. It's great to try out ideas, but when they fail, you need to cut them fast and move on. For the past couple of years SBD's only purpose was to thoroughly confuse everyone.

  2. The ONLY current utility of the STEEM token, or actual reason anyone would want to own any, is to gain Resource Credits and be able to use the Steem network. It's a great utility actually, but it's totally dwarfed by the massive amounts of STEEM given out through the reward pool which there's no reason to hold except for speculation. I'm 100% on board with removing the reward pool and migrating it to SMTs.

Worse than confusing everyone, it has also actively devalued STEEM.

Time to unstake is an issue.
I notice it on Steem Engine. When a token has a long lock-in period I hesitate to power that up.
A week should be enough..

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One week should be the worst case scenario, ideally lower than that.

One week is the Worst case scenario? Is not the current three months is the worst case scenario? Or at least worse?
I think that one week would attract much more investors and make much more sense, because the payout time on the Steem blockchain is also one week (7 days).

Yes, currently the period is 13 weeks. 7 days is what it should be, at most.

Witnesses like GTG are staunchly against this. He has explained his reason to me in the past but I think it's bullshit. You and @librosist are spot on, time to unstake is one of the reasons why steem never took off. No investor wants their funds locked up for so long, especially given the incredible volatility of a crypto currency.

There's a general trend of pedantry on Steem with excuses ready for every terrible feature. The reality is normal people just want a convenient, enjoyable, and useful product. There's no justification for obviously user-unfriendly features. If your system requires a 13 week powerdown (it doesn't) then you have to completely overhaul or replace your system till it's in line with what investors expect. Same applies for everything else.

The argument would be that you have to lock it up in order to participate in the rewards pool? That makes sense to me. But not 13 weeks.

I am not sure about the past. There was a widely tolerated practice of leaching rewards through steem - via bid bots.

We might not be having that discussion anymore with the introduction of SMT. At least I heard on multiple occasions that there might not be a use for SP then...

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Why do you have to lock in tokens to participate in the reward pool? It's completely arbitrary.

People will point out a possible abuse vector, i.e. double voting, but that doesn't exist either if the power down is 7 days. Let's say, you make a post and immediately vote for it, then power down. The power down will always finish after the post is paid out.

It was argued that any shortened amount of lockup time requirement would not work out. The amount of time currently chosen is absolutely arbitrary, and as you said, makes no sense.

Disagree with both the analysis and conclusion of #1, but all of the others are good points, albeit at varying degrees of specificity and implementability (the last few are especially vague). I'd be all for #2 and #3 and I think they bear the greatest responsibility for Steem having a terrible reception in the market, which in turn leads to the price declining almost always, though the 80% ninamine and accompanying 800K STEEM/month sell off (essentially more inflation) are part of it too.

Ironically I think #3 alone might be the most serious problem and at least the long-lockup component would be very easy to address without any sort of profound platform or code changes (just change 13 weeks to 1 week). But several people have been and I guess are still thinking that long lockup is a good idea, as hard as that is to believe.

BTW, more support for @burnpost not only reduces immediate inflation but could be seen as a vote of confidence for #2.

The ninjamine will always be the dark cloud that hangs over Steem, and will hinder growth and perception for years to come. Unfortunately, it is what it is, and as I mentioned, I'm just extrapolating from the bad hand we have been dealt. I'd like to see a fork (not Steem) by some people which addresses these issues though, and see how that goes.

We'll have to agree to disagree on SBD. As you can see in the comments below and elsewhere, it's largely unpopular, and at the very least needs an overhaul. If mechanisms were devised for SBD to hold roughly $1 without exerting a significant debt burden and consequently inflation on STEEM, I'd be happy for it to stay.

Yes, #3 is pretty straightforward. I understand there's differing opinion among witnesses (as with SBD), but hopefully perceptions will align over time.

I've supported Burnpost since day one. It definitely signals for significant changes so burnposts are no longer required.

I've supported Burnpost since day one. It definitely signals for significant changes so burnposts are no longer required

It doesn't, up until now, signal much because its participation has been low (1-2% of reward pool). Even back when SBD was radically overvalued meaning that 1 STEEM sent to burnpost in liquid rewards would buy 10-15 STEEM from the market and then reduce inflation by 10-15 STEEM, it still only had very small participation (albeit slightly higher than when that clear 'bonus' went away).

Possibly the EIP changes making direct milking more difficult will increase participation and build stronger signal to lower inflation. I have noticed some of the vote-selling bots starting to use their extra vote power on it. Maybe if you can't just outright reward yourself, it then becomes more attractive as a second choice to at least help protect the value of your investment.

I'd say 1%-2% of the reward pool for effectively burning one's own curation rewards is quite significant.

You can still get some curation rewards for burnpost, although they will often be poor, and likely will get worse over time.

"But several people have been and I guess are still thinking that long lockup is a good idea, as hard as that is to believe."
At first I also thought locking up Steem for three months is a good idea to keep the value of Steem, but after I have read this blog post (and some of the comments under it), I see that it is not. A shorter period (for example one week) would be better/good in my opinion. Some people think that even one week is long, and 48/72 hours would be good, like in the case of the EOS blockchain.

With the way content voting currently works, the shortest we could do would be one week. That is needed to prevent the exploit where you can vote, power down, then power up to another account and vote again (potentially even doing this more than once). So a change to one week would be easy, but a change to less than a week could only be done with other changes such as making payouts faster (shorter voting period)

Yes, I also mentioned in this comment that the payout time on the Steem blockchain is one week (7 days). I think that one week (7 days) for the power down period would be completely ideal, but the author of this blog post (@liberosist) calling it "the worst case scenario". I wonder how many Steem witness would agree with the one week (7 days) power down time?

Informally, there probably isn't a lot of support for one week but there may be sufficient support for making some reduction, maybe down to a month.

Personaly I would support the return to the initial 2 years power down time, because I think people with long term goals them should decide how to distribute inflation.
However the short-term investors are needed too.
So the solution could be to have two pools.
The second pool we could destribute to those who are keeping funds in safe ( locked for 3 days) and did not move it for 1 month.
The distribution between two pools could be vitnesses voting parameter.

If we get rid of the content reward pool, what is the value driver for steem? (not saying I am against it, just trying to understand what would give steem any value in that scenario)

Pretty sure I answered this on the thread somewhere (but possibly another discussion) but I recap: Efficient blockchain with significant user base and innovative fee-free model. In-built social layer is useful even without on-chain rewards (and requires RC and therefore Steem to use). Current and future third party apps/games driving demand for RCs and therefore Steem. SMTs and communities with their own reward pools (driving demand for RCs and therefore Steem, also using Steem as reserve/bridge currency). SPS as an alternative rewarding mechanism (albeit all evidence points toward smaller/less inflation being better). Reward pool could remain even if not funded by inflation; it could be funded by advertising and fee revenue (though I think this works better on a subcommunity and not global basis; just my opinion, not necessarily right). There are probably other reasons. There are roughly 75 blockchains with currently numerically more value than Steem and few if any of them have a 'reward pool' (I think none) and Steem does many things better than many if not most of them. The value gap is a challenge to the idea that Steem's current setup and assumptions about model as a value creator vs. a value destroyer.

Another possibility would be to keep the pool but simply make it smaller. The 8.5% inflation is part of the challenge as claimed by this post. The post claims inflation should be 2% or less. There might be a bit of room in there for a smaller reward pool, while still having one.

If we continue on the current trajectory, the 8.5% will eventually go down to 1%, and the reward pool will be a lot smaller, but the reward pool will still be 75% of total inflation even then, meaning chain security declines to 0.1%. Relative to other chains that is probably too small or at best a big gamble.

Interesting thoughts, thanks. I don't think steem is failing because of the reward pool (at least not the idea of having one in general anyways), but it may be part of it. Overall, it is an interesting set up because the reward pool is what brings people in (and is also the major source of inflation/dilution), is it possible that perhaps the current model only works with a big enough user base, perhaps something in the millions or tens of millions? We never got to those levels to find out if that is indeed the case. I still think steem's potential is bigger with a reward pool, but we were yet to come anywhere close to realizing that potential for a whole host of reasons. While eliminating the reward pool would likely slow down the decline in prices, it may also put a cap on steem's potential user base size, to some degree.

Nobody knows what is best. I'm not 100% convinced for eliminating or scaling back the reward pool but open to the idea. I'm mostly just making the bast case here I can for the idea as presented in this post and then people can make up their own minds.

One thing is for sure, Steem has been a massive disappointment and not well received either by the market or by user growth, and people can debate the reasons and whether and how those might be fixable. Beyond the initial observation, It is all speculative though.

What about consulting some professional economists and bringing them in here to advise on the best economic setup in order to give steemit.com and steem the best chance for survival long term? Currently it looks like a bunch of developers and non-economists (no offense to anyone as they/you are all very smart people in different areas) throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks. What about getting some professionals in here for some input? That seems like it would be well worth the money spent... what do you think?

In practice that is basically up to Steemit at this point as no one else has any budget for it. Witnesses are struggling just to justify expenses and time including 24/7 on call (top 12 are now paid about 13K USD per year), and stakeholders/investors are all heavily under water without even all that much left (my current stake in Steem which was once worth approximately 10 million USD is now worth approximately 100000 USD).

I made that exact suggestion to Steemit 1-2 years ago including some more specific detail on what sorts of experts would be best able to help; it all fell on deaf ears. By this time their available budget is also likely greatly reduced, albeit some of that is probably by their own choices to limit reinvestment of past gains back into the project (my opinion and somewhat though not entirely speculation; I have no visibility into their private books or finances).

SPS may have some available funding at some point (not yet as the pool is still being filled) but for all the same reasons (i.e. low price) that is also limited and has competing demands.

Mostly it seems we need to bootstrap and improvise at this point, as would any startup with limited funding, because that's pretty much what we are.

Also worth keeping in mind that "professional economists" is pretty broad and the number with specific expertise in the relevant sub-specialties is far smaller. Many if not most or all are likely to be highly paid working for major tech companies and other far better funded blockchain projects (and in some cases those overlap, so both).

Thanks for the in depth response, I appreciate it.

Regarding the funding, I would imagine just getting some consulting work done would be feasible using the SPS, or perhaps steemit,inc funds as opposed to a full time position? Inc seems much more open to trying things now than they were 2 years ago when you suggested something similar, perhaps it's worth bringing up again?

It may not be worth the money, but paying someone/someones to come in and outline what they think the best economic setup is for long term success might be all we really need. I can't imagine a consulting job like that would break the bank, though I can't say for sure what that might cost.

Getting a professional in economics and a professional in social media to help guide us in the right direction seems like the right move to me if they/we really want to make this a success instead of having everyone on here play economist or social media expert.

I think that SBD is one of the huge mistakes we did.
I am fully agree to cancel it as it only has served to increase inflation.

I also support reducing the time of unlocking SP.

Interesting thoughts by the way!

Still don't get how removing the reward pool would be good though since its Steem's only edge over existing platforms (although it still kinda sucks atm, will see when communities swing by). Removing it just makes Steem no different than these platforms, and not even accounting for the burden of the blockchain. Moving it to an SMT is likely gonna "decouple" it as it also becomes harder to list on exchanges and there'll be lack of bandwidth demand since it's just easier be on the traditional platforms when there's no reward pool.

As for SBDs, maybe a consideration is to make it better instead of removing it completely since a native stablecoin does seem to be the requirement for mass adoption.

The main thing that is required for SBD to be better is for STEEM to stop plummeting in value. It isn't necessarily the only thing, other tweaks might be needed and this was understood when some improvements were made in HF20 but we wanted to take a conservative approach and make one tweak at a time.

No crypto-backed stablecoin is possible if the crypto backing plummets too much and too fast. DAI would also fail (to remain stable) if ETH dropped like STEEM. BitUSD failed similarly several months ago.

As for the reward pool, I think the argument is basically that the system overall doesn't work in the sense that the high inflation contributes too much to the investment being unattractive, ultimately destroying the asset value, at which point the rewards become negligible anyway (which is what has happened). Your comments centered around differentiation, and that's certainly a valid perspective, but differentiating by being worse is hardly useful. Given such a choice it is better to be less differentiated and perhaps try to come up with other ways to stand out.

Yes, you're right. As I mentioned in the OP, this is purely a personal thing. I'd rather see a niche, but sustainable one, with people building their own communities; than offer a USP that has proven to be unsustainable. I'm quite surprised by the reaction in the comments, I totally expected more people to support retaining the reward pool. But I understand that perspective too.

I'd be happy to give SBD another go with completely new protocols. Alternatively, one can also consider integrating DAI. There are ways to limit STEEM's debt to DAI by very smooth curves that ramp up very conservatively (or not at all) with temporary price pumps.

Well, right now SBD comes from reward payouts, which is what automatically ramps up with the STEEM price, so if you got rid of STEEM reward payouts you could, and indeed would have to, completely change the mechanism surrounding how SBD gets created.

However, you can't in general place arbitrary controls over the supply of any stable coin, or it won't remain stable. You have to choose between stable price and unstable supply or stable supply and unstable price (or perhaps some point in the middle with nothing being actually stable, but just volatility-dampened).

The DAI protocol does the supply control required to keep it stable. Evidently, it has managed to hold close to $1.00 even through very volatile phases.

All STEEM has to do is manage its debt to DAI. Which, yes, will require a paradigm shift, not ramping up DAI purchasing when the price pumps temporarily, etc. All of this is just throwaway thinking-out-loud, of course, and I'm well aware it's not going to work for multiple reasons with Steem in its current state.

The DAI protocol does the supply control required to keep it stable

It keeps the price stable, not the supply. The supply can ramp up very rapidly, even more rapidly than SBD.

Another semantic misunderstanding, I meant supply control = controlling supply to keep the price stable. I didn't mean supply stability, obviously.

I guess I just don't understand what you propose to use DAI for or how it would be used, but that's okay, we both know it isn't going to happen realistically.

I was just thinking out loud, since the argument is that there's a need for stablecoins on Steem, and other dApps that need stablecoins are starting to integrate DAI. Obviously, it's never going to fit the current Steem model, so let's move on.

Earlier Dan Larimer have suggested the gradual forced redemption of SBD for Steem Power, which, if implemented, should make SBD more stable.
While the forced redemption hardly would be accepted, the voluntery might work as intended as well.
I mean, when being in the haircut area, by doing convertion we might get a check box to choose whether we want to get 90/80/70/60 cents for 1 SBD liquid, or to get 1$ for 1 SBD, but locked in Steem Power.

Remove SP, make STEEM a single utility token

I am sure, that will bring in more investors and as you said, being able to encash quickly will encourage them to invest and not hesitate because of this locking period of 13 weeks.

Even in the current situation there are majority of steem in exchange and I believe the long locking period is the culprit for that.

Actually, there's more locked up STEEM POWER than liquid STEEM currently. Some mistake that for a healthy indicator, but it really is not. Investors want liquidity.

everyone forget that the main purpose of steemit is for curator to pay content creator , not to make money from it.

SP is like giving the owner to allocate resources to the content creator.

You should definitely launch your own, perfect blockchain with your extensive knowledge instead of waiting.

I'm not interested in building a blockchain, and even if I did I don't have the skills required to do so. I'm just a social media user who wants a much better platform than what Steem currently offers. That said, if anyone was building such a platform, I'd be happy to help.

Don't you think these improvements are so obvious? Most of it could have been done if it were possible under time constraints. Still, I am happy with the improvements. In addition, you need to understand that Steem is the first blogging platform and there was nothing that they could have known at the start and it all started as an experiment.
It's good that you have highlighted the issues to the community.

Yeah, I do think they are obvious, but 3.5 years in, it's the same old.

Handled that snarky puppy well 😂

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This flagged comment is pretty hilarious bro @funnyman I wasn't talking about you.. My comment was to the old guy not you...my commen t was made 10 hours before yours..this place is so socially strange

It's simple bro - "Pay Respect to get respect"

I think your points 1,2, and 3 are the most critical. Along with #3, I want to decrease the time of the voting window.

How long does it take a piece of content to propagate to 90+% of its reach? Less than two days. People share content very quickly, and there are some adjustments for different time zones in a global market. If you look at any other content platform you won't find old (2+ days) content above the fold.

So, change the voting window to 2 days and that allows your power down time to be shortened to 2 days + some number of blocks.

In 2016/17, there were two payout periods, short and long. The long period was 30 days, and the short one was either 12 or 24 hours. In the end, they moved to one period which is a compromise of both.

It was both 12 and 24 at different times. 24 worked better because of time zones.

I don't think 7 days has worked out in a useful way (the later portion of the 7 days has mostly just become a way to hide milking rewards, as was the 30 days when that existed) and would be supportive of going back to 24 hours. However, the vote recharge and mana stuff also needs some lockup period to avoid similar issues of vote then move stake and vote again.

I had discussed this with curators a while ago. Most agreed that 48 hours is enough time for them to find and curate posts, so I'd be in favour of that. 24 hours is better than 7 days too, though some "sleeper hits" content will be missed. Ultimately, I'd rather the focus be on removing the common reward pool entirely, so we don't need to waste time on these. SMTs can experiment with their own payout times if so inclined.

SMTs can experiment with their own payout times if so inclined.

Unfortunately it has become a common and lazy habit to claim that SMTs are going to fix everything. In fact, a lot about SMTs is fixed using the same mechanism as the global pool, and not arbitrarily configurable, at least in its initial implementation, which doesn't even exist yet, and god knows how long it will take to not only be completed but to reach a level of quality and reliability that can be responsibly deployed. I don't recall if payout time was one of them but I think it very well might be.

A more fully configurable vision of SMTs where each and every little aspect of behavior can be configured on a per-SMT basis is a pipe dream that could be years or even decades away given the philosophy behind SMTs. A far better approach would be abandon this idea of hard coding everything into the blockchain itself and go back to the original plan for smart contracts where different projects can build their own SMT (or whatever you want to call it) to work however they like.

Some sleeper hits are always missed by the way. I can think of one case where an interesting post was pointed out to me months later and received near-zero votes originally. Any payout time is going to be a compromise, particularly when power down time is tied to it (though until we convince enough people that power down time needs to be short, this doesn't matter in practice).

Let me be very clear - I have very low expectations from SMTs, particularly the spec proposed by Steemit. I haven't followed development so I don't know how it has evolved. The Steem Engine and tribes stuff is a tangential prototype (and is arguably more sophisticated already) that suggests what we already know - it's very, very unlikely it'll have any significant positive impact. The social media space is mature and saturated, even if one had deep pockets and sought to revolutionize the market, there's basically no rational reason for building it atop Steem.

I misused "SMT" to mean the current spec, as you correctly point out. To clarify what I said above, I want admins and moderators to have the tools required to configure their own communities and tokenisation however they want. I'm well aware this is not what "SMT" means currently and will take years to develop, as I made clear in the OP. I absolutely agree these should be fluid smart contracts rather than hardcoding everything to the blockchain, which has no practical value beyond some misguided idealism.

None of this will make Steem a "Facebook killer" - that's simply delusional. But we are at a dead end with the current paradigm, in my opinion, and must try something different.


I still see the biggest problems in the ninja-stakes.. and all these sockpuppets manipulating the development and way steem is going. (not decentralized)

You're absolutely right, it's another significant issue that'll hang over Steem for years to come.

Yes please! 1 and 2 should really be priorities. 1 since a long time...

As an addendum: Steem or blockchain social network will never be able to offer the quality of experience centralised competitors offer. I still believe it can form a sustainable niche if some of the things mentioned above are fixed.

Normally I'm not in favor of short comments, but I make the exception here, as there really isn't much more to say:

Thank you.

You're welcome.

I like your optimism :)

When SBD failed to maintain it's peg for the first time it should of been a red alert for everyone. When SBD failed to maintain it's peg for second, third, fourth time, to the upside or downside it was an absolute madness to keep it around. It is still around. Consequence of failed SBD is a 8% increased inflation than it should be. Saying the inflation is 9% per year as long as SBD is here is a lie. To fix this SBD needs to go, I've also been saying this for a long time.

Glad to have you back :)

This is more a post about what it'd take to have me back. If some of these changes were implemented, some well-moderated communities established, I'd be back blogging actively, I'll buy a lot of tokens, and resume witnessing. Till then, it's just the occasional activity from me, mostly for nostalgic reasons like I mentioned last time. :)

Moderated communities are probably coming...eventually. We'll see how the pace of development goes. Past experience is not entirely encouraging, though there does seem to have been some improvement.

Ned claiming in April 2017 that Communities will release in 2 months was the final straw*. So, I'll believe it when I see it.


Sure, that was part of the 2017 roadmap to nowhere, along with the steemit.com mobile app.

I think some fee on instant power down can be a solution like 2-5% which should directly fully or half burn it can give you a solution to counter inflation and it can also increase fund to steemit team.
That’s what I think
Your suggestions are great.

That is basically extortion. "Wait for 13 weeks, or pay me a ransom now!". Investors hate these kinds of shady terms.

Spot on, agree with all points, I think some changes as stopping printing SBD are not too hard to develop and could be implemented relatively quickly. Maybe we should make some SPS proposals for each change and let the community vote for it.

Technically, SBD printing has already stopped since the debt ratio is above 10%. Currently, everything is paid out in STEEM. Given that the mechanism already exists, it should be trivial to just eliminate printing of SBD, and just pay out everything in STEEM, including SPS subsidies.

Additional idea, remove the SBD peg (convert to STEEM ability) also and leave SBD as is, but that would be quite harsh to existing SBD holders, not an easy task, but in hard times as these, also extreme measures should be evaluated.

Unfortunately, that may be too harmful for Steem's already tattered reputation.

Great ideas but it will take a very long time to implement. Look how long it took for just 50/50 curation to take in effect 😀

A lot of time has been wasted in marginal improvements, whereas no one is addressing the significant issues. It'll take years, for sure, but I'd like to at least see a roadmap and some commitment to these major improvements.

The time wasn't really wasted on the marginal improvements, it was literally just wasted doing nothing, for example an entire 2017 roadmap of which nothing whatsoever was delivered, allegedly pursuing some "secret project" called Destiny which was apparently completely abandoned (if it actually existed in any meaningful way) with the 70% layoff. The actual improvements which have been deployed (few though they are) took relatively little or even in some cases very little time.

Yeah, Steemit Inc. has been catastrophically mismanaged. Still, the deployed improvements have also taken too much time, including discussions, testing and such. RC took the best part of 2018; HF21 took 4 months to implement (and several months of sporadic discussion before that); and they still mucked both of those with at least 3 chain halts. The only efficient development in recent times has been SPS, unsurprisingly not done by Steemit Inc.

Four months is a reasonable period of time compared to other blockchain projects.

The bug rate is definitely too high, I agree there. Even less well funded projects consistently do better, but then that's probably part of why at least a few dozen of them are worth more than Steem now.

Totally agree! 💪🏼🙌🏼💯

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Not to mention all their alt-counts that they've emptied for a long time.

And meanwhile a community that looks more like a sect than anything else is trying to keep its head above water.

At the next alts pump we will see 80% of all those who preach the good word disappear.

They'll think, "Phew, I managed to save my ass."

I advise you not to get tired of trying to explain anything to these people. Win your coin like the others if you can or if you can't, do like me and convert yourself into a troll, it's much more fun. At least that way we keep our dignity and we have all the time we need to earn money on other BC that are much more profitable than this joke that Steem is.

I never thought that 1 & 3 will be pulled out by you @liberosist, I actually had the same solution way back 2016 and long before steem's downtrends.

Yeah, plenty have been wanting these changes for a long time, but there's always been resistance to them.

I totally agree on SBD, it's never really served a purpose in my time on Steem, except to give me a little cache that I can convert to STEEM every so often, at which time it feels like found money.

Not sure how I feel about #2 and #3, though I could see a future where the reward pool matters less because I'm earning other tokens. I have mixed feelings on the staking time - I balked at it initially, but as a small time user the staking process encouraged me to build on here in a way that a shorter staking would not have done.

You've clearly done a great deal of thinking on these matters, and I don't think you're wrong. However, I disagree that inflation based rewards are unsustainable, or that advertising is beneficial on a platform wide basis. Despite the apparent contradiction, I don't actually disagree with your financial considerations. It's just that I reckon a growing platform can sustain inflation based rewards - it has demonstrated brief stints of this in the past, during rapid growth - and that advertising revenue will lock Steem on a path that is better avoided. The latter is not a financial matter at heart, but a social one. The social benefits of the rewards mechanism when deployed functionally, as in encouraging content and not profiteering, I believe can nominally create financial incentives.

They have not because profiteering has been encouraged instead, and this has destroyed the social benefits of Steem. Advertising revenues will but continue this destruction IMHO, unless advertising is limited to individual blogs, which ads users can avoid by not reading those blogs if they so choose. Should the platform undertake advertising, that will encourage adblocking, which will kill advertising - and the platform based on it, Steem itself - as a revenue stream. I am slowly coming to grips with the realization that the devs that created Steem seem now to have been intent on abusing the social network in order to personally profit, and this underestimates the power of social interactions, while overestimating (or not at all caring about) the ability of society to be corralled sustainably by cowboys seeking no more than to profit from the herd.

From the perspective of the originators of Steem, it seems to have run it's course. The potential of the voluntarist society the inflation based rewards mechanism enabled has not been adequately developed, and instead has been parasitized, resulting in the disappointment of users initially attracted to that potential and horrible user retention.

I'm a hopeless romantic, and will probably have to turn off the lights after everyone else leaves if the profiteering isn't abandoned for capital gains and social engagement. HF21 prophecies doom from my perspective, and today I but wish I was wrong about that.

I greatly appreciate your sound thinking on the matter, although I reckon focus on financials is the reason we are in this death spiral and focusing on creators is the onramp we missed, focusing on voluntarist society itself, and that can yet get Steem back on track.


Inflation is definitely sustainable where an active economy has been bootstrapped. But outside of BTC and ETH, that is simply not the case. Steem is far, far off, and like I said, the Dr. Evil pipe dream is dead.

I'd urge you to check out Basic Attention Token. It's not the traditional advertising with banner ads and pop ups that you're thinking of.

BAT is an offshoot of Brave, which is owned by a particular multinational (the entity that owns AXA, and much more, linked to Bilderberg) that I presently believe has nefarious intentions. The rhetoric about it is great, the corporate originators of that rhetoric are duplicitous IMHO. I do understand that advertising is more than banners and popups, but also that people innately resent - and more importantly, resist - psychological pressure, and all advertising is psychological pressure.

As the understanding of the market becomes more sophisticated under the incessant and increasing onslaught of that pressure, resistance is going to grow until it becomes a white hot sword of purification for some, while for all it will be resented and reviled as manipulative and contrary to honest representations.

As Orwell noted, when lies become politically necessary, the truth becomes revolutionary, and everyone needs must have some core of truth they can rely on. All we hear is more and more manipulation, and immersing Steem itself in that vile pot of swill will engender backlash.

I don't disagree with your financial considerations. I just don't think they matter in the long run. The social interaction between good folks will, and that is the golden goose that will lay Steeming eggs of capital gains.

I don't expect anyone to listen to me. At this point I only hope my rants eventually grow into understanding of what actual value is, what really matters to people, so that the essence of the voluntarist government Steem could have become is developed here, or elsewhere. Money itself is not valuable. Gold has no monetary value. Paper can be burned for heat, or pasted on walls as decoration, and gold has industrial uses, but money itself does not. It's able to be a shortcut to value, but it is defiled by financial manipulation and decentralization will eventually render it utterly obsolete.

In the meantime, it has been used to extract wealth - parasitizing actual human interaction - from social media on Steem, and that manipulation, inexorable and ubiquitous, has caused users to abandon Steem because they are angry and unwilling to be nothing more than cash cows exploited by substantial stake holders.

People, relationships, production of goods that people need, those things have value. Money has devalued those things on Steem, and that is the detour that has brought us to this impasse. It can be fixed, I think, still on Steem.

As I said, I am a hopeless romantic.

#1-3 you can have right now on golos.io
(you should be able to log in with your Steemit keys from 2016)
Whether it would be enough to make a Steemit competitor is a question.

That's interesting. I haven't checked out Golos in a long time, I'll do so.

The current Golos have abandoned the Steem code base completly, under the hood it's an remastered EOS fork.
Here's its blok explorer
Cyber is the system token. You can earn cyber only by staking and delegating to blok producers and they'll be sharing their rewards with you. The unstaking is instant.
By posting/curating on Golos.io you only earn golos tokens, not cyber tokens.
However the classical Golos is also available on golos.id

Interesting, Golos has made good progress, but ultimately it is still too complicated for regular use.

You read my mind on this:

Extensive user interface templates and tools need to be offered with Condenser, including discovery algorithms and detailed visual customisations, that all communities can use.

I'm thinking of ways to add these features to Hivemind.

...need to be offered a granular decentralised advertising/attention tool.

I'm working on a feature that could be added to Hivemind that would basically enable communities to do this. I call it Native Ads. What are your thoughts on this? More explanations are on my blog too.

I read the design overview for Native Ads. It sounds promising! All the best.

I don't see number 2 going well. Why would anyone come to the STEEM blockchain for there social needs if number 2 was taken away?? Answer: They likely wouldn't because as you said this is a niche site and I believe that niche hinges on number 2. Sure you would still have the die hards here but if a someone new was searching social media sites to post their content on what would make STEEM stand out among the masses???

That's a fair view, you can see some responses to it higher up the post.


Sure... Why not. :)

Constructive Thoughts! I like that...

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If we get rid of the content reward pool, what is the value driver for steem?

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