On Steemit

Encouraged by the honourable Diaspora hero [herzmeister der welten](/people/869bd9c582925ae2), I signed up on the block-chain-powered social network, Steemit about three week ago. I promised [Senya](/people/a73cb4801200013290ad00163eb64c50) to make a report, and when I got some mails this morning about Zulus downvoted proposal on Loomio, I thought that it was about time I kept my word.


To make it short: Steemit is a social network that is build with block-chain the technology behind Bitcoin, and the general idea is that the money from people blogging-posting should be paid, not to Facebookwitterinstagram & co. but to the creators themselves. The economical theories behind can seem a bit shady to most, but in reality economy is shady and inventing money is what money is all about. For this purpose the blogging platform has been build on a new cryptocurrency called Steem.

As of now Steemit is in beta (it was initiated in the spring 2016) and rules and functionality is continually tweaked by the people behind (Ned Scott and Dan Larimer, creator of the BitShares). At the same time the fluctuations of the Steem - 4.5$ in mid July - 0.5$ now - has an impact on the earnings and enthusiasm of the community. So, even though it run - it is still a big experiment.

The good, the bad and the ugly

To me Steemit has been a very fascinating experience. I have, as an artist for many years been preoccupied with the question of how artists (and other entertainers) can survive economically in the age of the internet. Things have really been bad before, but after the internet they have become worse. Streaming, social media, global competition - these things have been very hard on especially the musicians - and taking back some of that from the big media is very important. Fundraisers, Patreon & Bandcamp are part of the solution, and a very obvious one, to pay the artist directly, but another approach: to make sure that a like is transformed into some kind of value, would be a clever and reasonable addition to the before mentioned.

I also like that there are professional artist on Steemit. I mean - Diaspora is mostly tech-people and political activist, and it has been nice to reconnect with colleagues :) Some of the articles are made by people who really strive to make quality, so you find some fine blogging - as usual losing in the hard competition with kitsch'n'cats. I also really appreciate the edit post button - I kind of have gotten used to not have a possibility to edit, but it is a nice feature.

On the other hand I have to quote [Fray Maléfico [SG]](/people/80d17ce059f80134b8c00b7691893c4f) from an earlier post I made: "There’s something terrifying about the idea that people ought to be rewarded for getting traffic."
Coming from Diaspora to Steemit has been like coming from the bickering of an anarchist village and walking into a evangelical missionary tent were everybody is talking in tongues and having seizures in lust for the almighty Steem.

Then there is plagiarism - I know that I am a bit naive in this - my daughter, who posts her drawing on Instagram, told me so - but introducing money into the deal makes people even crazier than the ones just chasing attention. I have actually been instrumental in catching two large bloggers, shaking up the whole community, simply because I have a good eye for drawing-style. Try to look at this guy.

Another problem is economic inequality. Of course it should be suspected from a project based on free market fluctuations, but the system favours the rich, with the argument that it will be an incentive not to remove value from the platform, and that it will reward long time bloggers over newcomers. But as it is now you can have 100 upvotes and 0.1$ worth and then a large Steem-holder upvotes and you go immediately to 80$. Being a parody of ultra-capitalism is not the way.

The impressive thing is that the community have created collective accounts were they try to curate the best content and have received funds from some of the big players (called whales). There is some irony in this for me, as I have almost dropped out of the Danish art-hierarchy just to end up with a new official foundation that I have to apply to :)

So some of the shortcomings are simply compensated by the Steemit community. The same thing with the plagiarism-police that is run by, I must say, idealistic and just Steemit citizens that do not get much for the effort.

Which brings me to... the ugly part. Because inequality is not the only problem with having a rich oligarchy - corruption is too. When you make a decentralised network (and Steemit is more decentralised than Diaspora), it means that you absolve from having control over what is happening. But that is not really the case for Steemit - not as it is right now at least. Steem-influence is used as a way of tweaking the network - downvoting things you do not like or think will harm the network. When I found and helped out in defacing the pathetic plagiarist above a large Steem-holder voted down a post by one of the plagiarist-policers describing the whole affair that was meant to be split amongst the four of us that had made the exposure. His explanations were very vague, but the subtext was obviously to suppress talk about the plagiarism because of things like this Twitter account :), but doing so he broke the stated rules of flagging to meet his own end. That is corruption plain and simple, but there is a lot of talk about even worse cases and they seem to be funded.

But hey - of course I can live without the money because the detective-work was actually quite exiting. Who should have believed that I would someday be part of the POLICE.


Steemit is a very interesting experiment, and more technology are in the making: I will also try Synereo that actually look even more promising, more decentralised, more open to other uses of the block-chain - also the maidsafe network are worth a look: maybe Diaspora will someday run on Maidsafe - decentralised and encrypted.

But as things are now I am sure that Diaspora will do without any monetary incitements (sorry Zulu :) Diaspora is a completely different fish - I myself feel compelled to add value to this place for free simply because I know that others do too. I have done this by translating Diaspora to Danish, paying to the fundraisers, and posting some of my artworks for free on my Katharsisdrill profile (some of which I have made steem-dollars by posting on Steemit). Sometimes you can see slightly sentimental epitaphs for Diaspora-founder Ilya Zhitomirskiy here on Diaspora, but sad as his story is, the ones we really should honour are the current Diaspora developers and the podmins. (I just have to mention [Pirate Praveen** (j4v4m4n)](/u/praveen) who did not get enough for his big work on Poddery.com

So I will not be leaving Diaspora for Steemit - they are like Christiania and a Turkish bazaar, two very different things, and I guess that I need both hustling money and a place to relax in the company of all you uncommercial nerds, tinhats, screenfighters, aura-readers, jazz-aficionados, and universaLOVEists.

#Diaspora #steemit #social-network #block-chain #bitcoin #steem