This was originally a comment I made, however as it's something many Hive users may be interested in hearing, I've made it into a standalone post.
The on-boarding system needs a massive overhaul. Requiring a phone number is too high a bar and will scare off a lot of potential users. Having an option to verify using a Twitter, Facebook, or Google account as an alternative to using a phone would make it much easier for users to join.
HIVE Onboard needs a major UI redesign as well, it's got some ugly elements and looks unprofessional. No offence to Christian Fürst, most developers are terrible at UI design.
Ecency does a better job of on-boarding users, they do verification by email. However, that failed when I tried to use it and I ended up buying an account using Blocktrades instead.
Once that's fixed we need to solve the user retention issue, Hive user retention is abysmal. While I don't have exact numbers, a quick skim of accounts created last week shows that most of them have not interacted at all or went dormant within a few hours of creation.
How do we fix that? Either by creating a new DApp made from the ground up to retain users or an overhaul of Hive Condenser and Ecency.
Firstly, new users need to be presented with a short tutorial on how to use Hive. I don't remember Ecency, Hive Condenser, or PeakD having one of these. A tutorial also needs to be easy to access again later if someone gets lost. It also needs to be hard enough to dismiss that users don't accidentally close it and forget it exists but also easy enough to dismiss that experienced users don't get upset.
New users also need to be presented with some recommended accounts to follow. These recommended accounts can be determined algorithmically based on if an account has been active in the last 72 hours, if an account is over a certain amount of reputation, and the chance of being recommended can be weighted based on how many upvotes and replies said account has received in the last 72 hours.
There also needs to be a reason for users to return periodically, Ecency has a points system which partially solves this but it's quite basic. A larger variety of high quality games on Hive would likely help massively here, most games that use Hive right now are pretty jank.
As for feeding content to users, the existing Trending and Hot sections do pretty good at that as is, it would however be beneficial to have an algorithm option too which shows content similar to other content a user has liked.
This last major problem is a combined social and ethical one and by far the most difficult to solve, and that's making the majority of new users feel welcome. Hive is already headed in a bad direction regarding this and if it continues onward it could potentially lock out a lot of target audiences from being onboarded.
Services like 3speak are ultimately harmful to the Hive blockchain. Not because of what they do, but because of how they advertise themselves. Advertising yourself as a censor-free, free speech platform is going to bring in a particular crowd of people. Most of these people have been banned off other platforms because those platforms feel that they're harmful to the platforms' bottom lines, and the platforms are right. The users banned for this reason are harmful to the value of a platform because they scare off more users than they bring in.
A free speech platform that does its job well doesn't need to advertise itself as a free speech platform. The people who genuinely have some truth they need to get out will naturally find such platforms on their own, in fact, advertising as a free speech platform is more likely to scare off genuine whistle blowers as it may come off as a red flag.
Not to mention, the current Hive ecosystem actively pushes away use by genuine whistle blowers. It's difficult to use over Tor due to every major interface using Cloudflare combined with the lack of an on-Tor presence. The interoperability with I2P is also nonexistant.
The thing is, Hive is functionally moderated by democracy. Given a representative distribution of people with different views, it will naturally trend towards promoting content that a majority of people like. This problem fixes itself if you have a large enough pool of users.
We need to focus on bringing in your average person.
This last section is some suggestions which could also help a lot but aren't absolutely necessary.
- A robust referral system to incentivise people to get all their friends to join and stick around.
- Some form of community funded bounty program offering people some Hive if they move from Wordpress/Blogger/et cetera to Hive.
- A community funded targeted advertising campaign run on Reddit and Twitter, this would need to happen after the first two problems are fixed, it would also help alleviate the third issue by bringing in more average internet users.
Somewhat unrelated, but if anyone has the resources and wants to fund improvements to Hive's Tor and I2P friendliness, let me know, I've got the technical skills but lack the resources. It would involve running a new Witness node and any profit generated by it can be split. I can begin looking into how long it would take to get something operational, how much it will cost to initially set up and maintain, et cetera, if anyone is interested.
A preliminary, mostly safe, estimate is an initial setup cost of USD$5K/54 XMR/₿0.46 and that the witness node won't be profitable until it's in the top 26 witnesses. Maintenance and setup cost would likely be significantly lower though after running through all the options as I'm currently unsure of the hardware requirements that the servers would need.
I really do hope the Hive community can come together and fix these issues, it's in the interest of everyone on Hive, especially people with significant amounts of money here, to bring in as many new users as possible.