I think we all know that the Minds crew has an issue with communication, so I (and by "I" I mean I stole this idea from Timo) thought it'd be a good idea if they had a newsletter. That probably won't end up being an official thing anytime soon though, so here's an unofficial one where I attempt to remember what happened in February, and what's supposed to be happening in March.
What I will attempt to accomplish in this Newsletter:
So let's get started, shall we?
~A Wild New Chick Appears!
Okay this happened in January, and there were two new hires, shush! The Minds Team gained two new staff members, @tanyatech and our very own @Bashynx ! The Minds Team is quite small and more often than not that tends to show, sometimes in a charming '12 guys in a basement' kinda way, and sometimes in a... less than stellar 'everything is on fire' kinda way. With some new blood coming onboard, it'll go a long way to giving Minds some very much needed polish.
That's right folks, Minds finally got emojis on the web app! No more Mobile App Master Class Emoji Hoarders! While the inclusion is still rough around the edges and is gonna need some tweaking, it's nice to finally have this long awaited addition. Even though it is just one step in a long line of needed features, progress is happening.
We've also seen some improvements made to discovery and the site's UI, along with a few much needed bug fixes. The RM toaster notification doesn't pop up and overstay it's welcome anymore, and we now have a 'disable comments' option in canary that... does nothing at the moment.
On February 17, The Minds Team hosted their second ever Townhall Meeting, an online gathering of the admins and users where they go over any big changes made to the site and host a Q&A for users to ask questions and voice concerns or opinions.
Among the issues discussed were Minds' market image, potential ways to shill the platform and make it stand out, and potential new features that would greatly benefit creators.
But of course, one of the highlights of discussion was a infamous spam problem, particularly when a Nigerian "social media manager" took the mic and berated the admins for banning one of his "clients", going so far as to accuse Ottman of lying. Ottman then took the opportunity to check out the banned channel live and show everyone exactly what inauthentic content looked like: image post after image post with no heart or soul behind it, interacted with only by other inauthentic accounts in order to increase token reward gains. The exchange was legendary.
The next townhall is due to happen at some point in Q2 of this year, so keep an eye out for that announcement when the time comes.
~The Great Bot Crackdown
And speaking of spammers, both the admins and community have been pulling together to crack the whip on the bot problem. According to sources, it's estimated that the entirety of the Minds userbase is 75-80% bot accounts. Obvious, that's a problem. But the admins have been working overtime to swing the banhammer down on these freeloaders by the thousands with the help of the Bot Hunters, who have also been quite active lately in sniffing out inauthentic users.
As a result, the network score has dropped significantly. It wasn't long ago that the score was topping 1 million, but thanks to all the efforts, it's been knocked back down to a much more sane 200k-300k range, making token reward distribution much fairer for users.
Anyone who wishes to participate in the hunt can do so by reporting any bot or spam activity to you see, or by posting screencaps or @'s in the Bot Hunter Group. The soldiers of the #fridaymemewar have also been doing their part every week to drown the bots in a flood of memes. (Yes, it actually works too, since the spammers pick up on the hashtag's popularity and out themselves trying to fish for upvotes.)
~Bobman Did a Contest
Not long after the Townhall, Michael Bobman hosted an art contest centering around our bot problem. The prompt: draw or write a story about a token hoarding beast! The winners of the 100 token pot (split 75/25) were @fickleflame and @neutronboard respectively. You can find links to their entries in the winner announcement here: https://www.minds.com/newsfeed/1344282669680168966
I also suggest checking out some of the other entries found under the #mindscontest tag, as there are some real gems out there.
~Further Spam/Bot Crackdowns
As far as I can tell, there are some nice big changes headed our way, since this is March and the last month of Q1. With any luck, we'll see the implementation of the bot hunting AI that seems to be in the last stages of development. Provided it doesn't gain sentience and immediately hack into the pentagon's nuke supply, it should be an effective weapon against the spammers, as well as the ever annoying comment bots who have been springing up and leaving poorly composed phishing scams on our posts and getting banned like the world's most irritating game of wack-a-mole.
There's also the elusive trust system that might make an appearance. We don't know much about it yet, other than it relying heavily on the jury system, but both of these systems were intended to go live back in December, so their implementation can't be too far off.
BREAKING: It also seems that the admins have discovered the spammers using groups and paywalls to hide their activity and have temporarily suspended reward earnings for posts of that nature.
See post: https://www.minds.com/newsfeed/1345509971835490310
~What in the world is happening with Plus?
Minds has been oddly quiet on the issue, but last year many of us picked up a Minds Plus subscription for the amazing deal of 48 tokens. That deal has since gone the way of the dodo, leaving only the impossible-to-obtain, wtf 2,500 token lifetime membership in it's wake... which I'm sure you just had a nice laugh over if you didn't know it was a thing.
But as of February, many of those lucky accounts have seen their subscriptions run out, leaving them back in the Land of Big Brain Boosted Posts and Blurry Plus Only Pics. There was a lot of confusion surround the issue while the admins seemingly tried to figure out what to do with the 48 Tokens Club, but it seems the decision was made. Some accounts were extended another year, and some, myself included, are stuck paying for another year. With money. Booooo.
It's not entirely clear what the circumstances were that dictated what accounts were gifted additional the year, but there seems to have been a cutoff at some point. With any luck, we'll hear something about this decision in the future, and if magic happens, we might just get a better Plus deal as far as token payments are concerned.
Aside from the gloomy storm cloud that has been the current world events hanging over everyone's heads like a stubborn case of the I-Don't-Want-To-Live-On-This-Planet-Anymore's, the community of Minds, though small, is always up to some shenanigans.
~Timo Did a Thing
One of our resident indie authors, @timoburnham, has released a multi-part story on Amazon Vella, and he'll be more than happy to shill it. This would be Timo's second big book release after his initial novel, The Black Saint, went live last year.
Check out the post on this here: https://www.minds.com/newsfeed/1335660681663352833
~Meanwhile, on the underside of the planet...
Some of you may also be aware that one of our creators, @mineya, is currently stuck in his own house thanks to Australia going full dictator, so he has very few options for making money to support his family. He makes video reviews of various media (mostly comics) on his youtube channel, and has a substack where he writes about life under Australia's current totalitarian oppression. Very much worth a looksee if you're a comic fan or looking for new reasons to want to set the entire government on fire.
Our resident sharkman and memer extraordinaire @megamouthgames announced that he and his wife @catpachino are expecting their second baby!
Announcement here: https://www.minds.com/newsfeed/1341783880641810449
This comes only a couple months after the news of one of our bigger artists @blancaartist is expecting, and the birth of several other new Minds babies from various other users.
The tag #MarchMemeMadness has been in my head since the middle of last month, so I'd be kicking myself if I didn't make use of it. Token prizes might not be the most dazzling until reward earnings pick back up, but ready for some meme contests!
And that about wraps up the first Unofficial Minds Newsletter. Tune in next month for another, provided I don't forget! :D