Steemit Can't Grow Right Now - Here's Why

in #steemit6 years ago

right brain.jpg

So, here we are, after a year of work, writing, reaching out. Steemit has grown...but not that much. The growth has been stunted by a mysterious force. Is it because of the curation rewards curve? Is it because of "bad whales"? Is it because of nested comment limits?

The Short Answer: No

After all, we've got awesome tech here! We've got instant and free transfer. We've got people getting paid to do things they usually do for free!!! What the heck is going on?!

Here's WHY: "Engineers were in charge of building something social without marketers telling them how mass psychology works".

Don't get me wrong. I am in awe of what engineers and programmers can do. They are as close as it gets to magicians in my book. But they are mostly left brain people who don't have the best senses of how people think and act based on deeply innate mechanisms within the human psyche.

What's missing?

PEOPLE ARE TRIBAL. Each of us are interested in different things and are looking for like minded people to have meaningful conversations about the things we care about.

Right now, ( can't grow because all of us are stuck in a single stream/bucket. All the crabs are trying to get to the top but only a few can do it. Needless to say, this can't scale. I don't care about gardening or latte art but some people do, they should have a place where they can enjoy each other's content. But if that's all I see in my feed...I'm out.

As that ever happened to you? Getting on steemit, started scrolling and then said to yourself: "wow, today it's boring stuff!"?

That's because a single stream with no single topic can't make everyone happy.

The Solution

Communities of interest

When I saw that "communities" were schedule for Q3...I was sad. This function is what needs to be in place for Steemit to scale.

A user shouldn't be force to join a party of 2000 people who are all interested in different things. What a user needs is to find their tribe. Each user experience should cater to HIS/HER interests. Their feed should reflect WHO THEY ARE back at them so that they are constantly interested.

(Those tribe could be under invitation only or completely open. This should be user generated of course. )

We don't need to re-invent the wheel here.

Reddit has sub-reddit & Facebook has groups & pages. Why? For all the reasons above.

Imagine if you could go to a community where the only thing you can read about is Steemit related News? Or your favorite crypto such as DASH or Bitshares? How about Gardening?

What to do with Tags?

In my opinion those tags should be used the same way pinterest uses them: for it's search engine.


I want to see putting this feature as a TOP PRIORITY. We can't grow without it. All marketing is useless if people can't identify with the things they care about. An ETA for this feature would be awesome too.

There are 2 pages

If there is demand for some change it will happen, or result is in a devastating failure

Yes that is right

I agree one thousand percent. Nobody here really wants to see my awesome cigar reviews, and I get it..., it's not their thing.. but why aren't my cigar people here? No community ( group) yet. On Facebook, probably 50k-100k unique folks in the many cigar groups, most who buy/trade regularly and use PayPal. All on the fringe of what's allowed on FB and PP..,I see a mass exodus from both, due to recent threats/scares.

I want to see your cigar reviews. I'd appreciate that, followed!

Thank you! Sorry I somehow missed this comment. Cheers!👍

When I saw that "communities" were schedule for Q3...I was sad.


I want to see putting this feature as a TOP PRIORITY. We can't grow without it

What makes you think they aren't a priority? We've been working on them for weeks already now. :)

Q3 is about 90 days from today.

One day, I hope to see constructive criticism posts that don't start from the premise of "steemit has no idea what they're doing". :D

Communities are definitely one of our main projects right now, but this "must be a TOP PRIORITY" thing is silly. Our top technical priority is a polished mobile app, without which we will be left in the dust. Communities will be a centerpiece feature of that, to be sure.

An ETA for this feature would be awesome too.

You have it already: Q3. Your stereotyping of us as clueless engineers conflated the delivery date as the starting date. ;)

So, just to give you a little background: I joined steam today and this is my first comment on a thread/post. I am a developer myself and I've been in situations like these a lot of times.

I think both @cryptoctopus and you are right in your own place.

From @cryptoctopus's perspective: He is a user and looks like he has been on Steemit since July 2016, so his advice is valuable for making the platform better. Also, think from a user feedback perspective, all the comments on this post give you a perfect requirement and user story to include in the platform. In some sense or not, it is constructive criticism with a catchy headline ( which worked as well because it caught your and other users attention ). It also validates the fact that @cryptoctopus is a good Marketing strategist. :P

From your perspective: A lot of time, only engineers know what it takes to roll out bug-free features in a short amount of time with a small team ( I am not aware of the size developer community for steemit ).

So both of you are right just in different context.

Lastly: How can developers start contributing to steemit, is it completely open-source ?

There is github page for steemit.

his advice is valuable for making the platform better.


from what i understand, it's not open source. that was one of the main reasons Dan Larimer left. If I'm not properly informed on this, someone please correct me.

It's 100% open source. Dan left because of the license limitation. That one limitation means he cannot compete with Steemit using Steemit's technology because of threats of violence.

Dan left because of the license limitation.

Dan said why he left in his resignation post thread, and it wasn't that. Dan was the one who chose that specific license for steemd.

PS: The NAP doesn't apply to property, otherwise contracts would be meaningless. :)

I would love to have a friendly debate the nuance of contract law. Since we have 255 depth, I'm game. I would use the @marcstevens criteria for discovering if there's a violation of individual rights. It starts with finding a forum with jurisdiction to enforce its ruling.

Sadly, I cannot discuss the details of this particular matter, though I look forward to discussing such things with you in other contexts here on steemit one day. :)

All of the code that steemit produces is 100% open source. There is a little bit of debate around whether or not this particular open source license qualifies as "free software". I think it does, because it is relatively permissive. Some disagree. It's a minor point, because the only restriction on it is that it must be used on this blockchain.

Dan was the one who chose the license in use by steemd. In his resignation post thread he explained why he left, and it wasn't the license.

Lastly: How can developers start contributing to steemit, is it completely open-source ?

Yes! We maintain a bunch of different software packages. We have a product roadmap, so please coordinate with us in before spending a ton of time on PR to make sure it fits in with those plans. (this web app, js) (the p2p consensus daemon, c++) (the blockchain data layer, python)

...and more. :)

One day, I hope to see constructive criticism posts that don't start from the premise of "steemit has no idea what they're doing". :D

That day is here. Oh, wait, nope. I forgot to include criticism, constructive or otherwise.

Edit: I corrected a typo, but turned out I was the not reading correctly, so carry on.

Communities is a top feature and the only reason Reddit is valuable. The other is thresholding for exclusive communities. Steem Power should be required beyond a certain threshold for certain exclusive communities and then I think it can work great.

Under our model, the people who create a community will be responsible for assigning moderators or approved posters for that community, and can institute any sort of standards or thresholds that they wish, based on Steem Power or anything else. :)

I read this post before the mass of comments but have seen it again. I am really glad to read that the top technical priority is a polished mobile app. It's so true. I have seen in chat and in comments people nashing their teeth at the idea of a steemit in mobile app even being needed but then those people are often the first to lament the price of steem and the lack of mass adoption. A mobile app would certainly deal with the latter!

Engineers were in charge of building something social without marketers telling them how mass psychology works"


I have been saying this from day one. Artists, writers and marketers were never involved in creating this platform.
Fix or die, basically. Listen to people who are creative.......because if you don't, someone will come along and myspace this place really fast.

devs here care only of math and hardforks, froentend, social stuff and marketing is totally missed here.

I fully agree. The secret of marketing is segmenting products. Here we need to segment users and make it easy for them to find other people and topics of interest. No black magic needed...just copy Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Then, this place could become THE place where you find a crypto job, a soulmate, an investor, etc. But only if that´s easy and seamless!

You're right. We need these communities as soon as possible so we're not all climbing over each other to share one feed.

"Engineers were in charge of building something social without marketers telling them how mass psychology works".
Strongly agreed. But rooms, groups or tribes are not the solution. They are needed, of course, we need even more user-friendly communication managed by people who has the skill to plan it - that means sociological skill about social media.
I am a newbie and I had to reassure people myself today about what was happening after the hardfork. No one in Steemit is in charge for communication to users and PR, apparently.

This is so true. A news button or an announcement button is needed!

All marketing is useless...

And no marketing is worse.

I agree with your statement about them not understanding the social aspect of social media. I think it all began with the creation of a blogging site. Very few people actually blog. Even fewer can do it well. There would have been a much better reception and probably a lot more interest if a blogging site wasn't created and they opted for something closer to Instagram instead.

I'm not sure that communities will solve much until there's a way to search and actually find the content you're looking for. This also happens to be why a 7-day payout doesn't make much sense. You really can't find much here after it's posted unless you know exactly where to look...which is basically on the user's profile page.

In short, there are still plenty of reasons why Steemit has problems attracting and retaining users. With the UI/design being what it is, it's not even visually pleasing and fun to use. If it weren't for the payouts, I doubt anyone would actually use this site. That's a huge problem. People should want to use Steemit because it's a great site for social media...and also because you have a chance to earn rewards. Some serious work needs to be put into the former.

With the UI/design being what it is, it's not even visually pleasing and fun to use

Agreed, UI/design is godawful. Even looks better.


I post frequently on other blogs and thought I could use some of them here, but every time I use one I get this robotic message from "cheetah" stating my posts sound familiar.... At the end of every post, I always state where it was posted before. I'm not enjoying Steemit, nor the posting, editor, and the site itself is not enjoyable to read. I've only been here a short while and still don't understand how the payout works, or if you upvote early you receive more $$?. Why make a site so complicated for a first-time user? Think I'll quit posting on this site.

Cheetah is a robot that messages the author if he finds the same content on other sites. You just need to message him that it is your content, not just something you have copied from other sites.

The site is still new, lot of work to be done but it's heading toward the right direction, a bit slowly though. But it will get better. I believe there is steemit faq that you could read on that could answer many of your questions. Here it is:

"... without marketers telling them how mass psychology works".

No, they just ignored the advice.

DASH didn't.

Because, Circle Jerk....

I don't go to the trending page much at all. I've been here a while and I have a ton of interesting content in my feed from people I follow. I have never found a day where there was nothing of interest for me.

But yes, we need to be able to do groups, and it IS coming, right? Last I heard it was later this year, but if it can be here sooner, that might be good.

I say, might be good, because I am of a little different opinion than most I see posting here on growth. I like a nice controlled growth for steemit. If a rush came here, most would have a less than optimal experience I think, and some of the established content producers would be lost in the new mass of blogging humanity.

Further, with a large group here, businesses are going to find a way to flood us with infomercials and the entire community feel of this place will change. I saw it happen in the early years of YouTube. I'm kind of liking the solid community base here, the small town feel, but with slow steady growth.

This is the only thing holding Steem back. I don't know why they didn't just copy all the Reddit subs (literally) and let people move in. We could capture a huge chunk of Reddit just by saying "Hey, come do what you do there over here, and get paid."

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

I wonder how the tribes will work, and exactly which community I'll fit into. Sometimes I'm so random and have a wide spectrum of posts... just wondering how it'll all work out.

Me too. I am looking forward to it :)

Yes this is my problem as well!

Will there be a community for random guys who don't fit into boxes well?

I pretty much agree with 90% of this...

Steemit is unique and different, and the developers did something revolutionary by wrapping a social content site around the otherwise pretty cut and dry tech known as a blockchain. It's revolutionary because you have this "uber geek" concept (sorry, generalization... not meaning to offend anyone!) wrapped in something most people can understand.... social blogging.

But-- as you said-- this was created by people who "know code" but probably don't know much about the human psyche...

What we need here is something that emulates Facebook's "groups" or G+'s "Communities." Whether they need to be (in the beginning) created "from the top" or user created is open to debate... some of the content could also be sorted better through perhaps allocating 200 "hard" tags that help funnel content in the appropriate direction... sort of a combination of "open groups" and the way eBay uses "categories" to organize content.

What we ALSO need is better communication tools. I know most people here LOATHE any form of centralization with a passion... but for moments like the update this morning, it would be nice if there were "official" or "system" messages to keep the community at least minimally informed about what's going on behind the scenes. Again, this is a "social" function because most normal social users are NOT going to go to github and research updates. They just want the effing news, front and center.

Agree with this. Like a SteemitOffical account used for uber important site wide news

This is exactly what @steemitblog is used for. :)

Yeah thanks. I didnt know it, but I have since learned about that.
Still would be cool if it is something important/official, that Steemit could pin it so we all would see it and not have to look for it.

I'm kicking around that idea, but our teams are cranking right now on some really exciting projects and I'm not sure that I want to privilege our content. I'd rather err on the side of keeping condenser (the software that powers the web interface at completely operator-neutral.

In the mobile app (currently under development), we will probably have some sort of "alerts/updates" system to pin a little one-line banner at the top that links to a post on @steemitblog.

Very cool. Thanks for the info.
I'm really enjoying it here and think you guys are doing a great job!

Yes we need a news button or feed for updates, hardforks etc....

Don't get me wrong. I am in awe of what engineers and programmers can do. They are as close as it gets to magicians in my book. But they are mostly left brain people who don't have the best senses of how people think and act based on deeply innate mechanisms within the human psyche.

This kind of negative stereotyping of engineers doesn't hold up at scale. There are plenty of psychologist programmers. Zynga was built by engineers. Zuckerberg built Facebook.

Steemit's prototypes worked that way, sure. But it's a totally different company now.

It's called constructive criticism, something you have yet to fully grasp.

Evidence speaks. Show us a demo of this different company?

After implementing linear reward curve, this in my opinion, is also the top priority! No reason to start any branding before we have communities (subreddits of reddit) or the users who join us will be quick to leave.

Great article. I believe for growth it is important to have some people that understand marketing in addition to good developers. Groups can help maybe, but what I think is great about Steem, that you are not put into "boxes" groups.
I have so many different interests, like many people here with open minds and high intellects and like Steemit the way it is now.

Agreed! Also on the note of tags, we desperately need a better search function. All we have now is an out-of-date google search bar. The first thing I did when I joined was search "architecture" and found a handful of old links ordered in no particular/ or observable manner. Searching steemit shouldn't be a off-putting task. We have a ton of interesting content (among lots of un-interesting) and that should be much easier to explore, discover and share.

the problem is... the hype is long over.

remember voat? that was cool for 1 month until people went back to reddit.
steem didn't even reach the 1 month in massive active user growth.

the tech is cool, but you can't afford to lose hype in a crowded space like social networks

I have been saying what we need is the ability to FOLLOW & MUTE TAGS

I completely agree, we need to be able have different sections for different subjects, or even be able to create a new section ourselves as it's a growing community with diversely different interests. A good idea would be being able to buy a new section with steem maybe and then that's your section you can promote it anyway you want, and manage it and possibly even recieve a tiny percentage of all rewards posted within that section, if that's even possible. It would be a whole new way of making a little extra income while seeing articles you are interested in.
Again I don't know would it be possible but I think would be a great idea

This is exactly the type of system I envision. All groups should be user generated. They should have fees paid in Steem for creation, upkeep, and add on features / modules. Fees can be burned like with promotion now. Community moderators should be able to set the new post reward split features to fund the community through its activity, and possibly earn profit.

"If you build it, they will come."
Well, not really. That used to be kind of true, I think. Now, so many people have built so many things that everyone is too spread out. They don't know where to go. They don't know which websites and products are actually the ones they want.

That's where marketing comes in.

Yes, tags would be a great improvement to the site, but that's a basic function that I think needs to be in here pronto.

One great way to market something is to address a problem with it. You could build the one thing that will fix humanity until the sun expands, but no one will know about it unless you find a way to tell people - en masse - in a way that will show them WHY they NEED Steemit. Why they can't live without it.
Not like "here's this cool thing with some of the most awesome world-changing technology built in",
but instead we need something more like,
"Here's a problem that everyone seems to share with a similar technology that is widely-used, but is outdated and boring...and here's how Steemit addresses that problem and improves upon the experience." <----and that is the key thing right there. We need to address the user experience down to the individual mouse clicks. Functionally, the front end needs to be at least on par with the websites that we are taking aim at as direct competitors. Otherwise, it won't matter how awesome the blockchain technology under the hood is.

Developers: "It's got a Porsche 911 Turbo engine that'll take you from 0-60 in approximately 4 seconds."

User: "Okay, but you put it in a Pinto."

Agreed! 100 % I post mostly music and a music community would be great. I can see why they are scheduling Communities for Q3... giving time for the UI to develop... before scaling.

Communities are not scheduled for Q3. Communities are scheduled to be released in Q3. The implementation started weeks ago.

Cool. Thanks for the clarification @sneak

I agree that feature would be helpful, especially if when you post into a community your post didn't also show up in a general feed. I'm thinking something along the lines of Facebook groups.

Private groups would be neat. I'll even take private messages as a start.

Yes! Ditto on the private messages. They would help so much. Can you do all that on a block chain?

Yes, i believe. PM already works on

Doing private messaging well is an entire company-sized task. We think that's best left to existing messaging apps, but will eventually be adding integrations to easily use/link those other accounts.

For now, our immediate development efforts are on mobile apps, to power increased conversion and retention.

That's why Busy is more appealing because Steemit doesn't understand how humans prefer to have private messaging. A lack of understanding of human nature seems to be getting in the way.

I am of the strong belief that humans do not prefer to have a 47th private messaging app on top of iMessage, Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, Twitter DM, WhatsApp, Line, Snapchat, Wire, Telegram, and Signal.

I'm not ruling it out for the future, but we're focusing on building a social experience on mobile right now that does not include chat. There are vastly better chat systems out there than anything we could ship quickly, and it's way more important that we deliver the current steemit experience (plus communities and achievements) on mobile ASAP.

Once that ships, we will re-evaluate the value proposition of implementing a quality messaging platform.

If I'm totally wrong and the feature is that much of an in-demand requirement, then people will use Busy instead of condenser or our forthcoming mobile app. The Steem ecosystem still wins. :)

Our goal is success of the Steem Platform. If becomes successful in the process, that's nice, but it's not a requirement.

Exclusive groups with a Steem Power entrance threshold would be the most neat. As in not private in the sense that no one knows about it but only cool kids who care about Steem can get in.


And there are even so many ways to achieve this, but the most obvious one is a better way to search through tags. As in they should be available from EVERY SINGLE page, not just from your home button and they should work as categories for you to browse through.

Then these categories should have sub-categories.

For example: I'm doing gaming reviews.. so I would put my main tag as gaming and that would then have an option for ... lets say 3 - 5 subtags to be put on it

So I would do a review of lets say DOOM, it would get main tag "gaming" and I would then put subtags "review" "fps" "doom" on it

and the rest of the so called main tags could even be left alone, but you would only have access to subtags for your first main tag.

May i please ask. are you a gamer? Do you actually do gaming reviews or let's play stuff?

Yes, you can check my channel and you will see the reviews I do there

I am on It, to find my Music Collective tribe together with @edje and stated this in my post from yesterday.

It's would also help evening out the rewards as I find you write out a pretty decent article only for it to be pushed so fast down the feed it doesn't get chance to earn, communities would give everyone a better chance at earning as the post would be visible longer and be seen by more like minded people!

I have asked several times of the past 8 or 9 months for an upgrade to the SEARCH page. You click on the search and it goes to a blank page with a google search bar. There were dozens of great ideas to customize the home page, change the search, and add some great search features. This was always "in the works". I hope we can get this done to find, like you said, what each individual person is looking for. I will keep coming back and clicking on the search page.... month after month. A youtube style search maybe....

This is what Eli Pariser refers to when he talks about a "filter bubble", although he uses it in a far more negative way.

I agree with this post completely. While I may not use the same language as @cryptoctopus in reference to tribes, I share the sentiment - each individual has their own interests, and has their own identity based upon those interests.

While Pariser may be correct in mentioning (as @juvyjabian suggests, in his idea of a trending page full of top posts on a diverse range of topics) that individuals need to have the opportunity to reach outside of their "filter bubbles", at the same time those "bubbles" still exist as our current reality - and, as is mentioned in this article, when that is ignored, people simply get bored, and they look instead to the myriad of other options on the internet that will do the filtering for them.

I truly believe this article reflects the next step for Steemit as a platform.

I agree with you.

You are absolutely right. I can tell you that the idea of communities was discussed here several times. I hope it is somewhere in the roadmap.

I totally agree!

I think you are on to something. It's great with all the gardening and floral pics, but it is not my cup of tea. And I tend to get a rash with too many kitty pics.

I agree, once everything is working well enough we really need to push the human element. It is social media after all.

We can get people on steemit by using competition. We here create own content, own memes, own stories. We can take them and put own links on reddit, facebook and so on. People then will read in on steemit, see that this site is pretty cool and maybe they will register. No try, no gain. :)

Agree. This should have been one of the first changes implemented. It is absoloutly vital this change takes place.
There will never be mass adoption until this happens... full stop

Absolutely agree. It seems clear (and with broad consensus in the comments here, at least) that we need better separation between communities. i would love to have an easier time identifying interesting arts/music posts.

Agree. Inability to follow topics/tags and reward curve are too biggest problems. Delegated sp an sharing rewards are good additions but really need these two areas fixed.

I also think that has a ton of competition. especially coming from the crypto space. Make no mistake, is centralized, and I believe that is a turn off for a lot of people who want a blockchain powered alternative to Facebook.

Cheers @cryptoctopus! It was quite interesting to read.

I notice on your graph there is a little uptick at the end in March. Could that trend continue without any changes? Time will tell.

Interesting point of view, but I think you really need to triple the number of users before taking that a priority.

This is a great post I just started writing actually what attracted me to steemit I am gonna post it later, may help I am new steemer yet to be honest I am a little more tech savvy than most people I know .... I actually work in digital marketing and the most important part of my job is being able to kind of serve as a liasion or middleman, even translator bridging the gap between the technical and non technical, its a very interesting topic, when I finish writing the post I will put the link here. My theory is that I have listed what attracted me to steemit.... probably taking it one step further and entering the mindset of someone less technical than me would bring you to the more marketable side (I am thinking of myself in regards to a human guinea pig right now)

Finally, someone else is talking about this.

Every time I plead with the community to make Steem more palatable from a marketing standpoint, the cry is always the same: "We have to perfect the backend first!"

That is the same losing mentality that took down Novell and mid-90s Apple. We need some real leadership on this issue because Steemit is languishing right now.

the cry is always the same: "We have to perfect the backend first!"

I don't think I've ever heard this sentiment expressed. Our bottleneck affecting conversion right now is user experience and has little/nothing to do with rewards or curves or other consensus-related algorithms.

It's also worth noting that there are separate and parallel teams working on our user experience and the blockchain. The former is several times larger than the latter.

This is a great post. I have an article speaking about a similar issue. Me and a few others have made every first tag as #thedonald to create a channel like reddit. So at least I know to click that tag to find everything I'd be interested in!

There are 2 pages