I was recently asked in discord about posting frequency and what is accepted by the community, something that is a hard question to answer, but especially relevant after Hardfork 21/22 that encouraged more downvoting. This article isn't suggesting a particular number and there are no hard rules at all, but instead will raise some points for consideration and perhaps some discussion.
Let's get into it.
The first and foremost consideration on the Steem blockchain is generally the post payouts, as they come from what is considered a shared pool of finite resources and as such, there is an opportunity cost involved. One STEEM going to account A means that account B can't have that Steem. Because there are quite large differences in support levels across authors for many reasons, it is likely that an account that gets a lot of support will likely be expected to post less, than one that gets little.
Again, this is not a hard rule and it is up to voters to decide if they support or not, but if for example, a person has a large vote and used it solely on themselves and their alt accounts ten times a day, it would likely be met with downvotes sooner or later. The reason is that while some selfvoting is accepted, most take the stance that this is a community that encourages sharing and distribution of STEEM to those who deserve it.
Next we can talk about quality of content and this is closely related to the payout above. For example, if a person was getting highly voted on 10 selfies a day, it would likely be met with downvotes. And, there are many people who would say that a random picture of lunch is not worth large voting support at all. However, remember that a professional photographer could spend many hours creating a single picture, but the quality level is likely to be different.
The real question in regards to frequency and quality is whether an individual can actually deliver something of value multiple times a day without the standards dropping significantly. Quality is subjective in many ways of course, but in general one likely has a sense of what the quality of something is in relation to what surrounds it. And, it is pretty obvious when someone is posting low-quality content.
The third thing to consider is the audience and what someone is willing to put up with in terms of frequency without annoying them and having them tune-out, mute or unfollow. I know that if I am consistently seeing what I consider low-quality and irrelevant posts by an individual coming through my feed, I will choose to ignore them or unfollow, as it doesn't add anything to my consumption value, so I am not going to vote on it anyway.
When people are consistently posting near-automated posts from applications that do not add much value to others, it is generally seen as farming. While not everyone may hold this view, many with stake do believe that in order to get a vote, a post has to add something of value to the community or, on average the posting account adds value to the community. Some people like myself who do get significant support, tend not to "shitpost" as we are going to get automated votes on them regardless.
The reason people have automated is generally based on the quality and consistency of past posting behavior, where some have decided to support "sight unseen" as they trust the content creator to deliver. However, there are many people who have been able to get voting support and then suddenly, their posting behavior changes and increases to take advantage of the votes. This is seen as greed and will often be met with downvoting if it continues. There have been many cases of this kind of abuse, but it is up to the voter to remove the vote from them or, up to the community to remove the value if they do not think it deserves it.
The blurry line
As you can see, pretty much all of these things are going to be treated in a subjective manner unique to any individual in the community. This means that the reaction to various behaviors are going to vary also. While some people will see someone posting a lot and just mute them, another will choose to downvote the value away, especially if it is low-quality and easy to output content.
There is no bright line on how many posts is too many in a day and I would like to say that people should use common sense, but I know that it is asking too much. Often greed sets in if getting rewarded and the urge to post more is too strong. While for others, they think that posting more is a way to get attention, without considering that what it is actually doing is turning people away from taking it seriously.
This is an attention economy and while many people are competing for viewership and vote value, it is up to each content creator to make their decisions on what is likely going to work for them. However, there are consequences to decisions made that can range from people turning away and ignoring content to people downvoting heavily - everyone is free to decide how they act here, but it doesn't come without reactions from others.
The community future
However, things are changing. For Steem to really go mainstream it requires participation from all kinds of people, posting all kinds of content. What this means is that the space is evolving into being more accepting of variation in all of the things I have mentioned thus far.
The coming Community functionality and Smart Media Token (SMT) powered experiences, will allow for a much greater range of posting behavior from a single account as content can be placed into specific content buckets that are tailored for narrow communities. This means that a post like this one that is general and likely relevant to many, could be followed up with a random question posted in a very small community without it attracting the attention of my entire audience.
Content separation through Communities on the Steem blockchain, could be visualized in a similar way to posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and TikTok, without having to have multiple accounts. While each platform is differentiated by some kind of content type, the Steem blockchain is "content agnostic", meaning it can deliver all equally.
This has been part of the problem in the past as high-end articles that take many hours to create, are positioned with selfies, some of which earn a great deal more. With one shared pool of STEEM resources where there is competition for the contents, this creates friction and conflict and raises all of the questions of the points mentioned above, and likely many more I have skipped and missed.
However, the Steem inflation pool has changed and is changing more, as there isn't just one pool anymore, there are many. The tokenization layers possible on Steem means that there are now dozens of inflation pools distributing concurrently, and once SMTs are released, this range will grow even faster. This means that there can be many resources, with many of them holding economic value.
And, that means that content creators are no longer tied to earning just from Steem holder votes, the can earn from multiple token holders, across multiple pools. This means that the posting frequency is likely to go up for many people, especially since there can be communities that are created exclusively for narrow types of content and are rewarded from a layer token.
Clear as mud?
As I said, this post wasn't about giving a definitive answer on posting frequency, but rather provide points to consider. It is up to you as a content creator to decide how often you post, but remember that it is up to the individuals in the audience to decide whether they think it is too often, overvalued or spam.
While there is no one rule, what people have to consider are the unspoken rules of any community and the individuals within, who look at behaviors and judge whether they are generative of value or harmful to the value of the community itself. While it is your prerogative to decide your actions, as is it theirs.
In my personal opinion, there are very few people who can consistently post multiple times per day and still deliver something of value to the community without diluting their quality. What I have found is that hose who try eventually either burning themselves out or, burning the audience who's attention they are trying to grab and eventually, they fall silent.
Perhaps a very general rule of thumb could be;
if you are only posting it for a payout, it probably isn't worth it.
But, that is my own opinion as a content creator who has managed to consistently produce multiple times daily, for three years straight. So, while no authority, I do have experience on Steem.
For some the lines are clear.
[ a Steem original ]