Is gamification the answer to Steem problems? Initial thoughts after watching hours of talks about gamification.

2년 전


I need to admit that in recent days I haven't been very active on Steem. Partially, because it is simply a holiday season and I've traveled a lot to meet with my family from other parts of my country and partially because recently I have been fascinated by another topic - the topic of gamification.

Don't worry, I am not going to give up Steem, because I've become more fascinated by another topic ;) The truth is... that this topic is so interesting to me, mostly because while learning about all the details of gamification, I am constantly thinking how Steem could apply all this knowledge.

Does Steem leverage the power of a Gamification?

Well, actually every public blockchain needs to be based on Game Theory. It is necessary because every network based on a blockchain needs to figure out a way to incentivize people to host network data and share computing power.

But Steem decided to be more than an average blockchain project. by many people is described as Social Network build on top of a blockchain. I think we all can agree that Steem is a really impressive blockchain project. From a technical point of view, Steem is one of the best performing blockchains in the world.

But Steem to become a successful Social Network Blockchain... needs to first become a successful social network in the first place. Forget about blockchain and tokens. Steem should be a network which everyone would like to join even if blockchain and tokens would not exist. If we will transform Steem to something like that, then and only then Steem will be able to fully utilize the power of a blockchain.

Something is wrong

The first indication that something is really, really wrong... is the correlation between those two graphs:

source: Steem Statistics – 2018.12.29


To summarize the similarities, new users join the network when rewards are high... and (what is more important) leave the network when rewards are low.

I could totally accept the fact that new Steem users join only when rewards are high. People need to be incentivized somehow to perform certain actions and monetary reward for sure can be really effective. The problem is... that whenever rewards become to low, Steem for many people is not an attractive place anymore, therefore currently this slogan is not effective:

stay for a community.png

Why did we fail to succeed so far?

Currently, I am reading a book "Actionable Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges and Leaderboards" which explains very well, that everything we do in life we do because of one of those 8 core drives:

  • Epic meaning and Calling
  • Development and Accomplishment
  • Empowerment of Creativity and Feedback
  • Ownership and Possession
  • Social Influence and Relatedness
  • Scarcity and Impatience
  • Curiosity and Unpredictability
  • Loss and Avoidance

Good games or gamified services utilize all those core drives to some extent. If I would need to summarize why I think Steem didn't succeed till now is... because Steem so far utilized very well only core drive #4: Ownership & Possession.

Is there hope?

The core drive #4: Ownership & Possession can be really powerful. We already agreed that giving tokens to people to stay is not a very effective way. Fortunately here we not only write posts and receive tokens for that.

Steem, by design, is ruled by a community. We all spend the time to improve Steem because we know that it truly belongs to us. This is the reason why I am also writing this post. This is the reason why so many people are trying to improve the current situation. Because we all know that we can really make a difference here.

For exactly this reason I decided to dedicate myself even more to explore the topic of Gamification in relation to Steem, to analyze all problems and potential solutions in this area.

My quest

In the next posts, I will continue to share my finding and thoughts about what specifically we could improve. Till then, I would be very happy to find other Steemians interested in this topic.

I am very dedicated to research this topic, but I am aware of my limitations, namely for example lack of experience (I am not even a game-player).

I do not want to promise too much, so I am far from announcing a Steem Gamification Squad or something ;)

Nevertheless, I can really easily imagine a scenario when a few Steemians spend time together on some chat or something, to research this topic and to share own findings with a world later.

Can you imagine yourself spending hours reading books on this topic, fighting monsters of boredom, inventing magical ways of finding time for figuring out how all this knowledge can be applied for Steem? If yes, you should find a way to contact me, so we could do that together :)

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i built businesses over the years that developed massive user adoption and loyalty from this exact same model.

people will love the ability to not only search for ways to earn badges but also develop a loyalty to the people offering them.

been using this model for years and it works :)

would love to see this develop more.

Posted using Partiko iOS

I don't know if gamification is the answer to Steemit's problems but there is a lot of work needed in simplify the user's experience, is a trouble for all newbies to fully understand the way this network works, if the gamification goes in that direction, I mean that if manages to do the learning process more comfortable for the new user then it might be a solution, if we complicate too much the things in that gamification we could manage to do the network still harder to understand.

Good article, you have here some interesting points.

Steem has gaming built in as you can 'win' rewards and improve your rep, but this has been distorted by vote buying. I see people get a high rep just based on the votes they paid for and so it means less than it should.

Whether people stick around depends on whether they enjoy the experience and if they think it has a future. The money aspect shouldn't matter so much if you treat it like all those platforms that pay you nothing. We don't even have to put up with annoying ads. Steem can be great if you find the right people to hang out with and I hope more of those will join up.


There is no long term rewards you can win. Post 1000 posts, all high quality, and you only get rewarded for 7 days, and you get no reward after that. No reward for long term engagement like how many quality posts you posted over years.


The 7 day thing is not ideal. Having a good history of posts can help you gain a following that pays off later. I didn't make much on my early posts, but I now have lots of good people supporting me. There's no perfect system, so we work with what we have.


The money aspect shouldn't matter so much if you treat it like all those platforms that pay you nothing.

Actually, this go against research which says... that people actually perform much better when no monetary rewards is given.

Actually... research says that paying for something, and later paying less and less is one of the easiest way to kill a passion.

Whether people stick around depends on whether they enjoy the experience and if they think it has a future.

You do not have to enjoy the experience to stay. I do not enjoy being on linkedin, I just know I need it from time to time. I do not enjoy being on some different websites, but I already spent so much time customizing my experience... and I don't want to try to re-create this experience in a different place. People may do not like their blogs on wordpress, but switching to another platform is a lot of a hassle.

Steem can be great if you find the right people to hang out with and I hope more of those will join up.

With respect to all people here... there are even more awesome people in the other places. You can find awesome people everywhere if you will look long enough. Ok... if Steem would be better in recommending awesome friends to new users... it would be awesome, but Steem do not works like that, so it means that the fact that you can meet here great people is... a little bit random, like in other places.


Actually, this go against research which says... that people actually perform much better when no monetary rewards is given.

That is exctly the problem with Steem, users expect easy "monetary" rewards when they join and quickly leave when they see the "monetary" inequality on each page load.

On Fakebook users at least don't see the bank accounts of those who exploit and sell their private data by stealing their time/life.

One feature i think would make a BIG diffence and actually make people stay is, the ability to turn off the damn $ sign from each post view.

People want to be social not for profit but for being social and the damn $ sign on each page view is killing the only thing we all really care about.

So those who are here only for the profit can have the $ sign all over, but those who prioritise other values should have the option to turn the $ off.


Reward with more than just money. Also reward long term engagement so people have a reason not to leave. If you only offer short term monetary rewards and nothing else then what do you expect?

Long term monetary rewards don't exist. Status hierarchy doesn't exist. There is no ranking. Reputation doesn't mean anything on Steem.


You raise a very good point here. That number on the post, with our without the $ sign, indicates a monetary or reward value and it's always going to be the elephant in the room. When we socialise with people we rarely know how much of an income they get and it's often considered rude to ask. Yet when it does come up there is either a feeling of envy that they earn more or guilt or smugness that they earn less, depending on what sort of person you are.

Hiding that number could potentially sort out quite a few other problems too. Firstly, people would vote on something for the value they genuinely want to give it and not be influenced by others' votes. They wouldn't be voting with curation return in mind. Flagging might not be such a problem as a revenge tactic and bickering tool.

Posted using Partiko Android


I know there are great people elsewhere and that's why I still use other platforms. Mind you, Google+ will go soon and I may lose touch with some people I follow there as I don't have time to join more sites.

I saw potential in Steem from the start. It's very different to most platforms, but it does rely on the users to make it succeed rather than a marketing department. That hasn't been happening for various reasons, but I still hope it can grow.

Happy new year!


Not every reward is money but some reward has to exist for people to perform. It can be a social reward, a psychological reward, but it has to be something.


A very very good point that you heard Yu-kai about "bribery" for reading/blogging =) He calls it killing the intrinsic power by rewards

i said to @partiko to implement the peepeth style badges as a test to see how it goes and pipe some of those funds back into the eco system. i hope they do it.


IMO, badges is not enough. Basically, the value proposition of Steem needs to change. Steem should be able to get new users even if STEEM price would be $0.01.

Facebook Coin cost exactly 0 and they are able to get millions of new users.

The answer is to reward long term engagement with the Steem platform. Of course participants come to earn and leave when they can't earn. Long term engagement isn't rewarded at all.

It's one of the topics of the moment! Very inteteresting.

Where did the author get his 8 core drives from?

Does it cover a sense of fairness? I'm sure one of the main reasons people leave is seeing drivel getting rewards when their better posts get less!

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Where did the author get his 8 core drives from?

According to what he said in his book, this is from his 10-years research.

On the run now but interested. Wrote a post a couple of weeks ago looking at part of this

You can find me on discord under the same name.

We should definitely discuss! I am currently thinking about introducing some gamification within as I am sure this would offer a good way to attract new users and make them staying on the platform. I will reach you out directly at some point next week.

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One thing that has always done well for me is keep the faith (whatever that is to you) and help others! Keep doing those things and you will never go wrong.
Love the idea of making more games on the steem platform we can probably look back at other social network platforms to avoid the pitfalls of things not to do.


Love the idea of making more games on the steem platform

I am not saying that we need more games. IMO we should just introduce more gamification technics to Steem ecosystem.

For example, I really like the idea of having mentor-mentee. We could design the system which makes sure that newbies are mentored by more advanced users of Steem. We could design quests for mentors and their teams. A lot of things can be done to make onboarding of Steem more interesting and more fun!

But designing such a thing is not an easy thing to do. Requires a lot of time and effort...


The most valuable currency is a user attention nowadays. Clean design, dangerously simple flow, one-click-to-pay solutions, catchy slogans etc. The concept of mentor-mentee can't even compete with today's standards. It requires too much people's effort.

I believe the gamification is a topic worth exploring, but I see it as a second step.
We have not even solve first step limitations. Simple account registration issues, lack of content discovery engine, we do not have even fully-working UI.

Why do we expect people drop their services for the sake of worse solution, like STEEM? Privacy? Latest Facebook case shows it is not a problem. Freedom of speech? Vast majority does not care. Decentralisation? Yep, cool.


We have this mentor-mentee concept in #steemSTEM. Even then we see that when the price declined we saw the phenomenon of people not contributing. Most people come to this platform for free money. That is a truth. I guess we need some nice and unique strategies to overcome this.

This post has been included in today's SOS Daily News - a digest of all you need to know about the State of Steem.

I could see a potential in gamifying steem apps to direct users into the world of quality open source software with excelling user experience. I plan to make something similar at work.

I experience #1, #2, #3, #4 and #5 by authoring posts.

I also experience #7 when a thumbnail catches my eye, and I am investing in Steem to offset any losses I'd incur if the Global Financial System and USD collapsed #8.

The decrease in authors was partly caused by Hardfork 20 and the need for Resource Credits. The low price of Steem played a greater role, but don't forget the RC requirement after Hardfork 20. @noisy @andararchy

I am personally very happy with @steemit @musing and the Steem blockchain!

Maybe if 95% of the inflation went to more than 100 accounts more people would want to play?

Bring back the n2, and downvotes for those that abuse it with votes of more than 500mv, and give the original design a chance instead of letting the hijackening persist, imo.


Maybe if 95% of the inflation went to more than 100 accounts more people would want to play?

what exactly you mean by that?


Do you have numbers that show anything different?

How can 'multiple millions' be expected to buy into a game where the rewards only go to the top 100 accounts?

The top ten voters control ~25% of the daily rewards. Source
~19% goes to proof of wallet and pay to play. Source
9% goes to mrdelegation beneficiaries.

There is ~50% and we have accounted for less than 20 accounts.


thats not 50% as 25% daily rewards and the 19% contain duplicate accounts.

As for 9% to misterdelegation, well if you look how far these rewards are spread, is more focused niche curation


I get there are duplicate accounts, care to put out definitive numbers about how far down the sp ladder rewards make it so i can stop ballparking numbers?

Regardless of where it goes, it is still taken from the rewards available to attract users not favored by the ninjaminers.
Until the ninjamine takes its thumb off the scales nobody gets the wisdom of the crowd as they should.
Under linear rewards we get proof of wallet, we get that in our daily lives, who wants to come here for more of the same?

Presuming a successful platform is the goal, and not just an exit scam for the earliest adopters, we should expect those with the keys to the code to act like it.
That is not the impression the newbs have been getting, clearly, as evidenced by their absence.

@spectrumecons has written a lot about game theory. He can certainly be of help in developing ideas for Steem's future.

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Twitch and StackExchange are two good examples of gamification at work on a site.

Steem is already a game on some level since everybody is competing or collaborating to earn points i.e. tokens. And it's also a game to try and get to the top of the list where your post can get the most attention and tokens.

game theory is about mathematical games, its about knowing the action rational decision makers in order to minimise risks of attacs. But gamification is all about non-rational decision makers (everyday life humans). non-rational =/= irational, its about emotional, perception and motiv based decision making.

psychology, behavioral biology, neuro economics they all have great theorys to work with when you design a game. In business there is something called serious games.

One of the most obvious mistakes was to show the dollar price under the article. Every one knows about the anchoring bias of the human mind. Once u get payed realy high in dollar terms, then every other payment will be too low.

Yes, gamification is a great way to go. I have some experience with this in the 'mental health' sector where we wanted to motivate people to do their mental health tracking and homework and stuff, and if done right it can really help. Badges are not enough, it's more about leveling up and feeling like you had to work to be able to 'do more'... We could also gamify Powering Up of course ;-) I need to think about this and today is not the day for that, but add me to a working group if one is formed :-) Cheers!