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Steem earning fairness and the consumption revolution


7 days ago9 min read

I had a discussion about trade unions with a client today, something that I am personally not a fan of, but I understand their need in some cases. The reason I am not a fan is two-fold.

  1. I think I can negotiate a better deal for myself than they can for me
  2. They treat all workers the same with insensitivity to who any individual is.

I used the case of two welders where Welder A and Welder have a trade union negotiate their salary for them and get them both a small pay rise. Welder A is happy, Welder B less so. The reason is that while each welds 100 beads a day, Welder A has an error rate of 10 a day, while Welder B has an error rate of 1 a day. Even though the cost of repair is much, much lower for welder B, the negotiated salary treats them as if they have the same skill level. If the company is happy with paying for the 10% error rate From Welder A, they should also be happy to pay Welder B say 50% of the difference for not making the errors. Potentially, the company would be better off paying Welder B more and hoping they can find similarly skilled Welder C to replace A.

Obviously there are lots of caveats I could add, but I think you get the idea. Performance matters.

The problem is that while the weld quality and error rates are easy to calculate, much of our performance is much less so, it is more subjective and it is very hard to tease apart all of the factors that go into determining outcomes. On Steem, we can talk about quality of content contribution and apply a broad brush to create some general guidelines, but those factors are much harder to negotiate when it comes to other points, like personality and skill levels, demeanor and ability to create relationships.

I believe that most people want some kind of fairness in the world, but they don't actually want equality of outcome, especially if it is they who are the Welder Bs. The problem is, that most people do actually believe they are above averagely skilled in what they do, at least secretly. I was thinking of an example this morning using YouTube, a place where some users are paid for their content, most are not.

Imagine that the entire YouTube uploader population was 100 people and YouTube had a fund of 100 dollars to pay them from each month, but uploaders didn't know the size of it. Instead of YouTube distributing to a very narrow few as they do now, they let the uploaders decide on their own earnings. Whatever they forwarded as what they think they deserved would be added up together, turned into percentages of the total and become their stake on the pool. Out of curiosity, how many do you think would decline payment as they don't believe their content is worth anything? Do you think that based on payment, you would be able to know what was the best from the worst content? Now, 500 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute.

Do you think it is a good idea for content creators to decide if and how much they get rewarded?

This is what the bidbots were doing on Steem, rather than the community deciding what they thought had value, the creator decided that they should have value and would put their bid in to pay stake to find their content. Not to advertise it, to earn on it. Was that a good system?

Everyone puts effort into their content and even the automated ones need to be set up. But, not everyone puts in the same effort and regardless of effort, not everyone is going to be able to achieve the same level or topic of content as others. Is this unfair? Do you think that if I tell you "I tried really hard", I deserve special credit regardless of what I put forward?

What does your intuition tell you?

Now, I do try really hard to put out decent content and I try to do this a couple of times a day, because not only do I like writing, I also like earning Steem. Writing is my buy-in and while opinion may vary on what it is worth, I draw on my relatively deep experiences in several areas from my life and present what I can in the hope it helps people and, they see value in it. But, they might not see value, I might not engage well, I might not attract the right attention, I might not actually have the skill or the topic range to consistently offer anything of quality and value at all.

The system is broken!!! It's not fair!!!

Do people really want everyone to get rewarded regardless of what they put forward? What kind of world do people really live in and what kinds of decisions to they actually make when they themselves make their ownbuying decisions? How many hungry people would go to the shop and see fresh bread, stale bread and moldy bread all selling for a dollar each, and take anything other than the fresh?

While people might not agree, this is a market place of many things, including content and ideas, and it seems that there are many people wanting reward even though they produce not much of interest to anyone else than themselves or not much of anything new.

Voting has an opportunity cost to it, as a vote here can't go there, so if people are offering what can be gotten for free on other platforms, isn't it natural that they would rather "pay" for what is different here? At least some of the time as it creates a differentiation in the market place from the content perspective. A lot of the time we seem to think that the only way to get users onto Steem is by offering rewards for posting, but the real value of the future of Steem is actually the reward for consuming.

Yes, that is the real innovation of Steem and it is already starting to creep into the awareness of the general public on other platforms, including mobile gaming. They are of course going to use advertising revenue to pay for the consumption, but Steem has the rewards pool, that it separates into content and consumer portions equally. Some think this is "unfair," it is not.

We shouldn't be only pushing the "your voice is worth something" idea where people get paid to post, we should be driving "your attention is worth something *to you" instead. On centralized media of all kinds, what makes them money is advertising revenue and selling data for leveraging networks. The advertising revenue comes from the consumer eyes, the data value comes from the spread of content throughout the internet that attracts more eyes for advertising revenue. It is an attention loop that extracts the value of attention from the audience, and funnels it into the pockets of a very narrow collection of pants.

Steem breaks that loop open and instead creates connections between content and consumer and rewards both for their effort and attention. Rather than funneling it to the few, the Steem blockchain distributes to everyone who puts in the effort to earn, whether through content creation or content consumption. Because the blockchain takes nothing itself, only users of Steem get paid, whether they are creators, consumers, witnesses or developers.

While imperfect, it is a much healthier model than the centralized content platforms that leverage their user base and get them to add content for free to create mass while only distributing value to a narrow set. For every Instagram account with a million followers, there are literally thousands of others with significant followings trying to be a top account daily, and failing to earn anything. No matter how many fake followers they buy. If you add up the connections, the thousands of wannabe accounts get more attentional spread than the large ones, reinforce the mindsets and product awareness and - they do it for free.

Instagram might not churn consumers, but I can guarantee that they are churning through content contributors who get tired of never getting anywhere near the returns needed to live off it, like those large accounts can. Those celebrities and the Insta-famous.

Instagram DAU

Half a billion Daily Active Users (DAU) and, what percentage of them are getting paid to post - and what percentage are getting paid to consume? It is very, very low for the first, zero for the second part of the question.

That is an incredible deal... For Facebook.

I started this post looking at fairness, but I do not think it ended up where it started. What I do believe is that while everyone is focusing on content earning, what people should really be considering as a major value point on the platform is the consumption earning. And, earning on consumption here doesn't require watching adverts or solving puzzles to improve Google algorithms, it can be through being entertained by real people who have real lives and are willing to engage with their audience.

Imperfect yes, but getting better each day. Steem can be a frontrunner in the new internet, one where content creator and consumer have a direct line to each other through the blockchain.

Perhaps people prefer the economic "fairness" on the platforms of the billion dollar corporations, that generate trillions for their shareholders only, instead.

[ a Steem original ]


Posted via Steemleo


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