Abuse Fighting Groups: Let's Talk Solutions (Art Edition)

in #hive-1745782 months ago


So this post is piggybacking off of @juliakponsford's post bringing up concerns about Hive Watchers and in general abuse fighting groups here on Hive. I'm just going to focus on Art because that's my area. I'm looking to start the conversation about establishing some basic standards and accountability so that we can be stronger together instead of fighting each other hopefully.

The main point of my idea is to mimic something like the US government where we have federal laws that affect the entire country, and state laws that are in effect in individual states. Country = all of Hive, States = Communities.

I have certain rules in OnChainArt. Most aren't about morality or right or wrong. They're about trying to curate a certain type of content and user in that community. I'm trying to connect users that are like minded, into the same stuff, and create a place where consumers can come to get a very specific type of content. I've spoken before about how I think this is the best use for Communities and that belief has only been reinforced as time has gone on.

So I think the Community rules should be about curating a particular type of content and user, and I think the "Federal" rules, should be the ones that are focused on clear objective things we don't want to promote. I think most people would agree that Plagiarism is bad, but I think there is a HUGE range of disagreement on what exactly plagiarism is. So this is where I think we should come together and establish some standard language and definitions for us, to help us accomplish our goals.

I'll get the ball rolling on what I see as plagiarism in art.

  • Presenting someone else's artwork as your own.

That's all. That's the only thing I consider plagiarism. I have some other terms that I use for other, in my mind lesser offenses.

A Ripoff

  • A ripoff is copying someone else's artwork without mentioning that it's a copy. In this case, you still create the artwork, but it's either completely or in very large part based on another piece of artwork. It's an uncredited study.

Then there's

A Study

  • A study is a credited copy of another artist's work.

In all these definitions I'm talking about drawings or paintings. I think going from a photograph to a drawing or painting is in and of itself a large enough change, that that new drawing or painting is an original work. For example, as an art instructor, in many cases, I and my students are drawing from the same model or the same reference, but every painting will be totally unique, because the translation is personal to each person and that's what a drawing or painting showcases. If you clearly used photo reference, which just about any artist can tell when something is referenced vs drawn from imagination, you obviously are NOT showcasing character design or something like that and if you find these nuances confusing, well that's why I'm making this post which I think reflects the feelings of mosts artists here.

Sort of like if I drew a picture of a car, you probably wouldn't say I plagiarized the car designer. It's a completely different medium and we're focused on showcasing very different skills.

It is something that is also hotly debated. That's what I think, would love to hear your opinions in the comments.

Anyway, so my recommendation for the "Federal" level would be..

  • ID theft (Someone posing as an artist and posting their work)
  • Plagiarism(Based on the definition above)

And when it comes to art, that's it. Everything else should be up to the communities what they will and won't allow.

For example in OCA, I've decided not to allow studies or what I defined as ripoffs above even though I used different language because that's just a term I and some in my personal circles use. I've also recently decided no photography, or Artificial Intelligence art. Did you see the thumbnail image to this post? That was created with a single click and painted by an AI application. One of the better ones that I've found that I dare not even reveal because I feel like I'll suddenly have a surge of new watercolor artists in OCA.

I have nothing against this sort of technology. I actually find it fascinating and fun and I've experimented with it in the past and still do, but here I feel like the incentive to find a new photo, run it through this and post it in the art community is too great and is not achieving the goal for OCA that I set above. While this looks really cool, you don't have to be an artist to create this, and OCA is a community for artists and people who want to appreciate art.

Thoughts on Implementation

So first off I think some things need to be established. The only reason I feel it's justified to even write a post like this is because I feel like these groups are services for the community. If it was just an individual using their own stake I wouldn't say any of this, or if it was a small group of individuals all using their own stake, again, I wouldn't feel like it would be right for me to tell people how to use their stake, but if these groups are using a diverse group of people's stake with the condition that they use it for the bettering of Hive, I think it makes sense that they be accountable to the community. Or at the very least to the people who support them directly via delegations, upvotes on posts, or following a downvote trail.

If the majority of the people supporting these groups are satisfied with the status quo, there's not much more to say, but I think things can and should be improved as all things over time can and should be improved. This is not me dictating, but hopefully starting the conversation on the best way for us all to work together to maximize our resources.

That said,
I think after receiving feedback from anyone who cares to give input, it makes sense to take a shot at defining some "Federal Level" rules and definitions, and using the proposal system to have the community decide whether it's something they want or not. Another one of those proposals to just figure out people's opinions on something, not for dishing out any money. If the proposal is "funded" then I think that should be the new law of the land until someone creates a better proposal that replaces it.

Alright, that was a long rant. What do you all think? Let me know your thoughts in the comments and try to play nice lol. I know there's a lot of feels about some of the stuff I'm talking about, but we're all on the same ship to the same moon, let's try to work together.


This is an interesting application of the American system and laws. What you're generally presenting are two tiers of rules.

The difference between plagiarism in art and ripoff as you have presented is roughly the same as the difference between plagiarism in text and spinning. The first is a direct copy, the second is a modification based on the original. This is understood and is a good parallel.

The biggest obstacle in general here is user education. All users are asked to do is give credit to wherever the original source came from. The reason many don't is they're afraid they won't be curated. This is untrue but this untruth has been thoroughly spread through the Discords and through the community. It is likely it's been perpetuated by some curation projects that are no longer active, but it still instills fear among the userbase. Obviously you know as well as I do it's complete BS and a decent curator will still value someone's work even if they properly reference everything.

A secondary issue is cases where a user has reproduced something by a currently active artist who is exhibiting and selling their work. I've had artists in full hysterics because someone replicated something of theirs and now it's showing up due to the strong SEO overtop of their own work. When they sign up for exhibitions or galleries, they're treated as the plagiarist. So all because someone didn't cite a source, the artist loses his or her income. You're probably aware how significant a high-end gallery spot is to an artist that's struggling to get by.

An overarching issue we're facing is highly-organized rings of thematic account scammers that look for every loophole to exploit and develop accounts to resemble genuine users. They typically target the art community because of higher curation; the work they put into their endeavors is minimal as it's an assembly-line type approach. Over the years we've and the anti-abuse community in general has dismantled quite a few of these, although handling them is both difficult and dangerous. Targeted harassment the likes of which most users, even during whatever flag war, have never seen is common when dealing with the most severe of these. Death threats, social engineering, hacking, and everything else under the sun has occurred in relation to these.

Right now I'm personally working on developing guidelines that would clarify the distinction between the above and the more common art hobbyist who, while presenting unsourced art, is not an organized malicious actor.

All of this makes sense, and it was with these considerations I decided to change the rules in OCA.

Based on what you're saying, it seems to me that a huge amount of the issues regarding fighting abuse can be resolved if...

An artist creates a work that is in large part or totally based on another work, they cite that original source.

In OCA, copies of drawings or paintings are currently against the rules at the "State level" and drawings or painting referenced from photos must cite the reference, unless the user is the owner of the photo, or the photo is a product bought by the user. This last exception is for an edge case where some people sell photo reference packs for artists, so it wouldn't be right to post their for profit product online for free.

There of course might be other edge cases or grey areas, but I think with that we can probably fix a huge amount of the issues.

The only 'rule' we ever had, everything said and done, is to just credit the source to the best of their ability. That's it. There was never any other rule.

I used a photo reference pack I purchased from XYZ.

My inspiration was the work of XYZ, which can be found at link.



On the home page of OCA, pinned at the top, always, is a post that says "OCA Rules", along with a condensed version on the right hand side. With the rules as easily accessible as that, I think it's reasonable that people are aware of them. In all the years I've been on Hive, I've never heard of any rule, but if it's understood now, we can just move forward with that understanding as the base, but I think there's still issues in the degree.

The latest post by Jaguar is a good example. I think it's a bit ridiculous to call this plagiarism as these two works hardly resemble each other at all. The example you used above about the artist not being able to get into a gallery is not remotely possible here. No one would confuse these two.

Also specificity is really important here. I would absolutely NOT say an artist needs to name their inspirations. That's very different from a reference.



This is referenced. I interpreted it in my own way, but ultimately, I painted this photo. There are no major changes in the subject matter or anything additional elements added other than my choices in HOW I choose to interpret it. Under the new rules in OCA, I would post a link to that photo.

Inspirations could include the color scheme, some of the compositional elements, the stylization, the mood, the list goes on, and that is a 1000% normal part of making art. I mentioned it somewhere else, but I'll say again. I think some of you might have a romantic notion of what it means to be an artist. But we're all constantly being inspired by each other and all taking little bits from each other. It's not something artists hide or are ashamed of or would ever need to be. It's literally what you learn in art school.

So were some elements taken from that original source? Yes. The pose, some ideas about the character, but a ton is different. There is no place where this would fly as plagiarism except here and that's harming the user experience.

I think we completely went off from what we were talking about, which is the HW scope rule.

Lets think about it from another angle? who could it hurt if artists in HIVE cited their photo sources?
Its a win win

I've already conceded that I'll make it the rule in OCA for artists to do that. My last comment is about the conflation of something being referenced directly and something where an artists takes some inspiration from some other source. These aren't the same thing at all, and it's not at all reasonable to expect artists to do that or punish them when they don't.

We all know what a reasonable solution looks like and its certainly not letting abuse go wild.


I don't really know much about what you all are dealing with on a day to day basis. Would love to hear from your perspective if this sounds reasonable or ridiculous or somewhere in between.

Initially I can say this: I think your definition of plagiarism is inaccurate, impractical and even to a certain degree intellectually dishonest, for you know most of the "taking the work of others and passing it as your own"(plagiarism) in art is done by reproduction/rephrasing and not by outright art theft.
Saying only art theft is plagiarism is as obtuse as saying its only murder if done against a wall and with a 7.62 nato round.

It is a sort of argumentative Synecdoche fallacy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synecdoche) where the part is taken by the whole or the whole for the part, in this case you take plagiarism to mean only a very reduced part of plagiarism, namely, straight out art theft is plagiarism, but there's obviously much more to it....

I will reply further later.

A more accurate description would be the difference between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree murder. All of them are bad. They all end with someone dead, but the punishment of the accused varies dramatically.

And while you might disagree, you can't honestly say I'm being intellectually dishonest as this as always been my stance which you're well aware of.

Ok, so lets do plagiarism 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree then

you like red, I like blue, we can perhaps agree in a perfect violet?

I read your poste yesterday.
You can see my opinion in comments under juliakponsford's post.

I like your idea about state laws as long as they are not abusing Hive.
If some art contest or community sets up such rules, then it's all good.
To avoid confusing between understanding what rules what communities/posts have, the posting user could give short and well visible rule intro in the post, Hivewatchers can keep up to date about different "state rules" specific to different posts.

I think that makes sense. In general the way I'd see it working is primarily around Communities(States). If someone doesn't post in a Community I think it would make sense they can do whatever they want, as long as, as you mention they aren't abusing Hive.

I think the next step then, is to as clearly as possible, within reason, layout what we consider abusive to Hive at least regarding art.

Let me get some thoughts together and reply properly on this.

It is very surprising to hear that this picture was created with an application. There are artists who say I am doing a lot of watercolors. I think I will doubt all of them. ! Content created with such applications should not be called art. The rule you set about this makes sense. So, do you have curators who can notice the picture created with such an application? I say especially for the picture you shared. It is hard for me to understand this. Of course, a true watercolor artist will understand. There's really a big disagreement when it comes to plagiarism. Drawing any portrait of someone is considered plagiarism. Nobody has to say this. Because it is another art created with inspiration from the art of photography. I feel sorry for this when I see people pull down because they don't link.

I've used these applications before (see my profile pic...) and I know others who use them. I think they are great and we can call it art as long as we aren't being deceptive.
If I said my art was digital manipulation to look like waterpainting - okay, but no lying about the techniques.
If I said my art was hand painting - not okay.

very good topic!I think it would be a good idea to explorer the system that you mentioned (federal vs. state laws). Just as a community has rules, some rules should be specified for Hive in general and they should be seen on the front page in my opinion. They should be decided on by the community and this would make it more transparent what is a "good" and "bad" action. Currently, it is a group (Hivewatchers) that does not get much oversight and I think it would be better if we open this up.

Hola @midlet… He elegido tu post para mi iniciativa diaria de reblogear. Este es mi aporte para Hive…
Sigamos trabajando y aportando ideas para crecer en Hive!...
Hello @midlet... I have chosen your post for my daily reblogging initiative. This is my contribution to Hive...
Let's keep working and giving ideas to grow in Hive!

I have read some times that when it comes to including yourself or not within the set defined as "artist", you shyly agree to enter it. I believe that anyone who is able to take the mind of another through original artistic representation in any of its forms and techniques must be an artist. If your works @midlet are already able to pleasantly manipulate my (our) mind I don't think that having more experience will make you really an artist, but I think it will make you more capable of controlling the sensations you provoke. So, right now I consider you an artist.

Now, yes yes I'm sorry I have strayed from the main topic. I am agree with the policy that you propose. It seems necessary to prevent devalue the art and this platform. That rules should not limit anyone, really make a contribution to form creators.
I think that all of us can create in one way or another, maybe inspired by a photograph, an image or simply by any work of another person, it will be fine as long as it is referred adequacy and contains in its development elements specific to the creator.
The creation of any digital work is done through programs that have generally been created by others, so making reference to the application or program made must be a rule as well. From the beginning I knew that this boat had something strange because it did not fit in with @midlet's work xD

I think that art arises in inspiration from real or mysterious forms, so any work created from them will not cease to be art if it takes the artist's hands in the process.
On the other hand, using a photo of another author and also applying a filter is something that you can learn to do on YouTube, so if that work don't contains any element of its own, it is difficult to assess.

Owwww snap just when I was about to say what a lovely watercolour artwork I have read that it was click made by AI 😂 I will save my compliment for your actual art, which I saw it can be awesome. And original.
Oh my, I would definetely agree on excluding that. I prefer watching art made by us, Hiveians, rather than click made art. Plagiarism is a no brainer, that is really bad.

I love your idea of federal vs. state law, I think it's a really great analogy and makes a lot of sense. There is room in the art community for everyone to blog about their artistic journey and that includes new people who are still learning and people who have different methods of creation. They just need to be transparent about what they are presenting.

Another thing I highly agree with is this which is something that came up in the comment section of my last post:
If it was just an individual using their own stake I wouldn't say any of this, or if it was a small group of individuals all using their own stake, again, I wouldn't feel like it would be right for me to tell people how to use their stake, but if these groups are using a diverse group of people's stake with the condition that they use it for the bettering of Hive, I think it makes sense that they be accountable to the community.

Blacklisting provable identity fraud and outright plagiarism is surely something we can all agree on but I would really like to see the nuances being addressed in a different manner.

We should be bound by community-driven guidelines and not just some rules to follow. We are all intelligent human beings that always emerge to be the best. It would not make us less of a human if we acknowledge those people who wanted their points to be recognized but not necessarily being applied.

Let's all dwell in peace and hive will be a better place for all of us. I'm a plankton in this vast ocean of opportunities dominated by whales. We don't have any choice but to adapt.

i appreciate ur work. nice art

What a topic! I think what you propose is very good. The rules in the communities should be their own because in the case of art there are many things that don't apply to the general rules imposed by Hivewatchers.
I don't usually use references to make art or in any case I use myself but I don't like the idea of having to put the reference image when it's a painting because I think it loses the magic. Especially if you use photographs taken by yourself. I hope I'm not wrong but @artistparthoroy's case is perfect, if he uses his own photos to make those paintings I don't see the need for him to have to publish a reference because the artwork has a life of its own.
What is art and what is not? there must be as many opinions as there are people. For me, creating with AI applications is not art. I think art is something deep and that is why I'm very critical and categorical with this subject. I've never liked pop art because the superficial and commercial is not art for me and I really can't stand seeing works with the face of Marilyn or the Gioconda anymore! Then there is the conceptual "art" which is null and shouldn't use the art word. There is a lot of the same and even the universities encourage to look for references instead of looking for oneself. So if someone does a horrendous work but it's their own and genuine for me it has more value than a beautiful landscape or a beautiful young lady in watercolor. I believe that art is something genuine, deep, original in the sense of its own search. And I'm not talking about techniques or quality because that's something that is obtained by working. The artist is not someone who paints nice but someone who investigates himself and life and in that way something new will emerge.
I don't want to make this longer. Just tell you that this community that you have created is incredible and that by filtering it more, as you have already commented, it will be much better. There is quality here and that is very nice! So @midlet congratulations!

Thanks for chiming in @barbarabezina. I actually did update the rule a few moments after a wrote it with the exception being unless you took/own the photos.

For example, I've purchased some professionally shot reference packs and if I painted from those of course it wouldn't make sense for me to put someone's for profit product online where people can access it for free. Also if you took your pictures yourself it's a similar situation and unnecessary.

It's really just for when people use random reference found online(like me, lol) that they don't own.

I agree with you on your perspective about art. Although it's not something I ever bother talking about you'd probably understand that I don't really see myself as much of an artist. I'm a painter, I'm a 3D generalist, I'm a motion designer and concept designer, but when it comes to art as you describe it, which is what I also consider art, I'm pretty much a novice.

Really glad you're enjoying the community, and I'm really thankful to have you contributing there :)

@midlet Being a novice doesn't detract from value, rather it shows that you are aware of where you are positioned and that is not a small thing.
I'm immersed in the depths of art and that is why I take the subject very seriously. So it may not be very fun to talk to me about art, especially if it's conceptual art 🤭
I really enjoy this community and I'm grateful to be a part of it.

Beautiful writing
Thanks for pointing out the mistake.@barbarabezina
I will try to correct myself.

@artistparthoroy You didn't make any mistake! I was referring to the community rules. If you want you can and you are free to show the references. 🙂

After reading your argument and writing.
I thought it was my mistake.
And I like your writing so much that I thought I'd correct myself. thank you

I took one look at that photo and knew it was lacking the emotion your normal artwork contains. Imagine my relief to know it is artifical intelligence and not the creation of your inspiration and talents.

There is another category that recently came up in Korea and that is apprenticeship scamming. A popular artist was hiring others to do 99% of the work. He would add a few strokes, sign it and sell it. Apparently it is not fraud according to the appeals court and now supreme court. Here is a good article.

I like the idea of a hardball and consistent approach to any specific offense (post zeroing), but perhaps a second chance when it comes to blacklisting the account, unless it is deliberate fraud.

The I don't know excuses are really getting to me, especially when they think the post should still be rewarded because they forgot credit.

Yea, I don't have much sympathy for someone's single post getting zero'ed. I really feel like that's a slap on the wrist. But yea, getting added to a blacklist is pretty major and I think should be reserved for malicious users. Interesting about the apprenticeship scam thing. Scammers will find a way...

For your Art Community, I think you have described what is what. I know that photos are used in studies, and it is a fine line from plagiarism, to rip-off. If some one claims they took the picture, and this is their drawing of it to showcase how they saw it that is fine. If someone did not take the picture, and claim to have taken it, then that is not fine.

I am somewhat confused by what you are allowing reference the "case Studies". Is it okay for an artist to use a photography as an aid and then present his water or oil painting on the site? as long as they say this is the original photo from (source), and how I saw it in oil or mixed media.

I ask because I do enjoy seeing how various people can see a photograph through the use of their medium, kind of like how I enjoy a Short Story from a picture, they are all different. As long as they provide the source of the photo themselves or someone else's I would not see that as a rip-off, but I would like to see a few progress photo's just to know it is real and not memorex.

I am all for communities controlling what they see is beneficial to their community. Just because there are some cute cows, and some people that ride cows, Cows do not belong in a Horse show. So as a visitor and a consumer to various communities, I appreciate it.

If I want to see artistic photographs, I visit the Photography Communities. So your excluding Artistically rendered photo's is not a big deal to me and I appreciate it since I visit the Art forum for Paintings, Sculptures, and other forms of art such as stained glass, and not pretty pictures.

So yes, in OCA the new rule is to leave a link to your photo reference if you don't own the original photo reference and your painting/drawing is basically exclusively referenced from that single reference.

It just makes things easier for everyone I think. Glad you're enjoying the Community :)

I am, I don't stop by often enough, but it is nice to know that when I need some different content, I have a place to go. Variety, that is what communities bring to us.

Something I'm unsure about - if I take a photo and run effects and art filters on it, is that considered art? I hope it is, but it's just a photo with some filter effects


  • Which leads me to this - if I take an image that i don't even know where it originated from and do various stuff to it, would that be considered art? If so, how different would it need to be?

I do a lot of stuff like this for my blogs and webpages, but have no idea if it is art or not, so I don't tend to share much of it on Hive.


"What is Art?" in my mind is like one step down in depth to what is the meaning of life, but when it comes to Hive, I personally would rather people not monetize a photo that they don't own that they ran a filter or a few filters on, but that's just my opinion.

There are no laws here but the ones we decide on and choose amongst ourselves to enforce.

On the other hand if it's a photo you took or that you own, I think that would be fine to monetize or post or whatever. On the other hand, say you took a lot of photos and made a collage, then ran filters on that, I'd think that was fine as well. These are really abstract issues so there's never a black and white answer.

Thanks, that sounds reasonable - to make things simple I'll go with anything I do to my own photos could be art