The Technical Stuff, Mining, Witnesses etc.
How is Steem Produced?
Steem is produced by mining using a special version of Delegated Proof of Stake (DPOS) that incorporates proof of work such as that used by conventional mining (e.g. Bitcoin). The exact specifics of this are beyond this article but can be found in the whitepaper (https://steem.io/SteemWhitePaper.pdf).
How much Steem is produced?
80 Steem are produced per minute by mining. 40 are allocated for miners and the other 40 are used for content and curation rewards. This is not the total however due to the way interest and other control factors work a total of 800 Steem are actually produced per minute. For a full breakdown of this please look at p35 onwards of the whitepaper.
What is a witness?
The top 19 witnesses basically run the Steemit network. They are responsible for storing all the information on the blockchain and keeping it going with blocks being verified in a regular manner every 3s. Witnesses are elected by other users and earn rewards in the form of SP for their work.
Again I would refer you to the whitepaper in relation to this to get the full details. I would also suggest these helpful articles by @pfunk and @someguy123 for an alternative explanation.
How do I vote for Witnesses?
Use this page: https://steemit.com/~witnesses
Can I mine Steem?
Yes. There is a great guide here for ubuntu/linux from user @joseph:
I am also aware of a windows guide by @cryptos (though I have not used it myself):
Economic Changes to Steem/Steemit due December 2016
There are a number of economic changes which are due to occur in regards to Steem production, mining and witnesses. These will result in changes to some of the above parameters. These changes are being discussed within the community and have a provisional date of December the 6th 2016 for implementation.
The following is taken from this github page where you can discuss and comment on these issues:
Set a fixed instantaneous annual creation rate of 9.5% from all sources (except Steem Dollars conversion)
Allocate 75% of the created Steem to the Reward Fund. Allocate 15% of the created Steem to the Vesting Fund as interest on Steem Power. Allocate 10% of the created Steem to the Witnesses. Witness rewards would be rebalanced such that the top 19 would earn 1/29th of the witness rewards, the runner up witnesses -would share 5/29th, and the miners would share 5/29th.
Witnesses and miners would be paid in STEEM rather than Steem Power. All votes for witnesses would expire after 3 months, this would remove the incumbent advantage and require people to continuously evaluate and vote for witnesses.
To support more equal opportunity mining the mining algorithm would be updated to use Equihash (similar to zcash).
Reducing the Steem Power holding period to a minimum of three months.
Lastly, under the new inflation rate there is no longer a need to perform a reverse split every 3 years. This would greatly simplify the life of exchanges.
Reduce the SBD delay from 7 days to 3 days and the median period should match.