It’s difficult. Really difficult to say the least. Don’t get me wrong either–I love doing this sort of stuff. Having people who do what they love just as much as you do can push you to do greater and better things. You share what you love in hopes that you can amplify that love. When people are motivated to give without the expectation of return, communities can grow almost instantly.

For the past month I experimented with streaming on a little known platform called Stream.me at the recommendation of a friend. They seem to still be developing but I brought a community of artists and friends over to assist filling this void in their platform for artists. I networked with other streamers, got people interested in making art, and a few folks showed up to try their hands at building something that had great potential.  However, something seemed off. They came back to me with a wary feeling of wanting to produce content on the Stream.me platform and asked if we should just go to something more popular like Twitch or YouTube for the long term. I did not fully understand, considering this site is one of the only streaming platforms to offer a cash contest at the end of each month for those content producers that give it their all and share it with their audience. It didn’t take long to figure out the why though. The site is plagued with users gaming the system with repetitive chat messages to gain a high spot in the contest. They work together not to share or create worth while content, but only produce the minimum effort required to exploit rules in a system that the platform creators originally intended to help grow this community of communities. Just within my short amount of time there, it became apparently clear that the platform would never grow past the same seemingly minimum amount of effort and guidance set by its very creators–and that was the troubling part. Instead of understanding that their contest would need a guiding hand to foster fair and balanced competition so genuine and organic content could be created and rewarded fairly all that was offered was half-hearted answer accompanied by an off the cuff remark to deflect a tense situation. The notorious Community Watch, a moderator that enforces rules and helps others with any issues they may be facing on the platform, only offered your standard “if you think you can do better” retort and went on it’s way. It was painful to watch the reaction of those in the chat room who cared for the platform  after hearing the community moderator show such indifference. These individuals literally built their followings from the ground floor with hard work and adoration for a rewarding system that enticed them to start anew. Now, they’re going to have to face a dwindling user base flocking away in mass exodus from an arid platform that refuses to correct any of the corruption that leeches away contest funds. This money could be better spent on advertisement to appeal to wandering eyes that would seek the same opportunity my little art community did. I guess for now, they’ll continue to hemorrhage capital and give away money better spent on growing their community instead of saving it from any impending life support–and ultimately it’s demise.

Communities grow at different paces depending on what you feed them. If you vary the mixture or find something new to offer everyone involved, eventually you’ll discover what food will make it thrive. However over the course of this past month, I have taken away a valuable lesson on how not to grow a community; offer competition on your platform and then fail to give a damn about enforcing your own rules.

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