A New Beast For Building Online Communities


(Kevin Wong) #1

Hi all! I’ve been a lurker around these parts for awhile reading up on everything there is to know about building communities online and also figuring out a framework to evaluate the value of the community that I’m participating in. But it’s proving to be difficult because it’s quite a paradigm shift, and here I am. I hope the community around here will be interested.

So far I have yet to see any mentions of Steemit. Search results on this website failed to turn out any mentions of it at all. It’s a very unique social experiment, a working prototype that has been running for close to a year now. It’s a blockchain-based social platform. It runs on a kind of cryptocurrency (also programmed to act like a database) called STEEM, and Steemit is the UI / UX abstraction as a social platform that’s a hybrid of Reddit / Medium.

Here is the abstract that can be found in the whitepaper (https://steem.io/SteemWhitePaper.pdf - still work in progress and community-driven, but the fundamentals are there):-

Steem is a blockchain database that supports community building and social interaction with cryptocurrency rewards. Steem combines concepts from social media with lessons learned from building cryptocurrencies and their communities. An important key to inspiring participation in any community, currency or free market economy is a fair accounting system that consistently reflects each person’s contribution. Steem is the first cryptocurrency that attempts to accurately and transparently reward an unbounded number of individuals who make subjective contributions to its community.

It’s quite a new thing, and here’s a blog entry a few months ago:-

Recently I’ve been thinking long and hard about the value of the STEEM blockchain, primarily in terms of userbase, contentbase, and communities. Other than being a currency-backed social platform, what makes the platform so different from the likes of Reddit, Instagram, Facebook, etc?

All information on the STEEM blockchain is secure and can be accessed by anyone for their own research and analysis. Is this the case with the regulars like Reddit, Facebook, etc? I don’t think so. Not all information collected by these platforms are readily available.

This is why I think STEEM is something quite different. Anybody will be able to study the network in-depth and have anybody else propose solutions and even design narratives for different communities and perspectives. I think this is pretty damn valuable - it’s just so difficult to make a good guess at the numbers since this is quite a different ballgame.

Information is growing, thanks to STEEM’s 3-seconds transaction time and zero fees - which supports frequent social transactions, much more than any other blockchain-based platforms in existence. That said, there will be a time when more users start finding ways to make good sense of things by studying the blockchain.

I think such a feat is impossible to do for Reddit, Facebook, etc. The trick now is to find those who know about online community-building and ways to evaluate them.

I’ve been operating as a contributor on that platform for close to a year now. Personally, I don’t think any of us in the network are community-building experts, and so I hope the community here will help us out. We’re always appreciative of beta-testers, builders, and early-adopters in joining us at www.steemit.com. I’ve used the word “us” because anyone who joins will own a small part of the platform, and stakes can be built over time as more community members vote on account contributions.

Thanks for reading - it is much appreciated!


(Sarah Hawk) #2

Hey Kevin,
Good to hear from you.

I’ve never heard for Steemit before – I just checked it out. Interesting concept.

What is the challenge that you’re currently trying to solve? How can we help?


(Richard Millington) #3

I think Fred Wilson wrote something about a blockchain for our identities some time ago. Would love to see it implemented.

But again, as @hawk asks, what’s the problem you’re trying to solve here? Is it for other people to collect data?


(Kevin Wong) #4

Hi there @hawk @richard_millington - thanks for the response,

I’ve gone through some of your notes from Buzzing Communities. It would seem there are several problems:-

  1. The STEEM protocol releases an X constant amount of STEEM / day (or simply time cycle). Every user has the power to flag / downvote posts to counteract abuse, or more generally, regulate the supply of currency distribution. This is according to stakes - the higher, the more influential the votes will be. So let’s say if I think some posts are being over-valued, I can downvote it if I disagree, and reduction of payouts of that post will universally increase the payouts of all others posts in the network. This has created an issue with user dissatisfaction because flags / downvotes are usually taken personally.

  2. Spillover voices, or the lack of knowing if complaints are coming from a small or large portion of the community. It’s not easy to ascertain a consensus or general thought bubble. However, the entire blockchain and its contents are fully transparent, which enables any data scientists to come up with a framework that tries to make sense about the activities that have going on. There’s a lack of segmenting, unlike sub-communities / sub-reddits.

  3. Problem trying to figure out the value of the blockchain with its growing community, financial & social utilities, and contents being generated all the time.

  4. Ways to grow adoption of the platform, of course.

While I’m just another participant on Steemit, these are some of the problem which I think exists. I think it would be best be experienced for a while and admittedly, my statements here are based on my limited bubble of user experience. I would say that its simple addition of currency on top of what we’re already used to in social activities on FB / Reddit / etc certainly has both good and bad side effects. I would certainly invite the explorers and experimenters to come register and try it out :slight_smile:

Edit: Alright some community members have pointed me to some Fred Wilson articles on STEEM / Steemit:-