I’ve had community building on my mind today. Part of that comes from seeing how different blockchain communities make decisions designed to foster more healthy communities.
In seeing the different decisions that were made, you can also see the problems they’ve identified, things they feel are a threat to the community they are trying to build.
You also see what they value.
Some communities value growing the token value above all else. As such, they focus on attracting investors who will stake larger amounts of tokens for longer periods of time. They therefore make rules that reward this behavior. For example, on Steemit there are systems for selling your upvotes, delegating to bots, delegating to individuals, and so on. All these are ways of making it profitable to invest large amounts and leave it powered up.
You can of course also upvote your own posts if you are active on the platform. And the more stake you have powered up, the more you can give to yourself with your upvote. Most platforms have this feature.
In contrast, I’ve heard that Ono doesn’t even allow people to upvote themselves. Also, everyone starts with the same upvote power and inability to buy more. So really, they don’t value the idea of people investing and holding large stake at all. Instead it seems they pay a dividend of some kind. I haven’t looked into that platform much, so I’m just going off what I’ve heard. They seem to value equal access to participation above all else.
Some communities really value your simply spending time on the platform. With Minds and Trybe, for example, you’re given tokens just for visiting the websites. To me this means that they place a high value on participation, not just investing, delegating to a bot, then never coming back.
There are quite a few examples of different values the various platforms seem to be built around. It will be interesting to see which value systems turn out to be most successful. But then, I suppose we have to also consider what “success” means in this context.
Is it the token being worth the most?
Is it having the most active users?
Depending on what the creators of a platform value most, success means different things. The objective is simply to collect enough people who agree, so that the endeavor can thrive.
Dealing with Community Threats
Just as each platform has its own ideas of community values, it also has its own ideas of what is a threat to those values.
If your primary goal is increasing the value of the token, perhaps spammers are considered the greatest threat to the platform, because they don’t buy coin and also don’t add valuable content that makes others want to invest in the platform.
If your primary goal is participation, then a threat might be people who sign up then only come back once a month to post, comment, and upvote. They may have lots of stake to do it with, but they aren’t building the base of activity on the platform.
If your primary goal is a fair society, then you may make it impossible to use money to increase stake and instead require lots of community participation to increase stake. I’d describe Whaleshares that way. There are no bidbots and you can’t even buy the tokens that used to provide upvotes anymore. Now those tokens must be earned by participating in contests, challenges and discord communities.
Some platforms deal with threats by rewarding desired activity highly so that you’re at a great disadvantage if you don’t engage in it. Others punish bad behavior, such as with downvoting power equal to upvoting power.
Ultimately these are all experiments in creating healthier communities that include the earning of money that can change one’s life. It’s serious business with high stakes for many people. As such, it’s very instructive to watch and see what happens. What a great testing ground for decisions we may someday be making offline as well!