Flagging Bot Users Arbitrarily Is Like Arresting Those Paying Protection Money To The Mob

in #steemit6 years ago

Heimin 0.jpg

It's raining cats and dogs in here.

Yet another "reward pool argument" is brewing on the trending pages of Steemit.

After failing to make bot owners the villains publicly responsible for the nature of the garbage in trending, the pitch-fork mob is moving on to attacking the customers (or victims, depending on one's view) of these "promotion services."

It should be obvious to everyone by now that if you want your work to be seen by anyone, you are forced to use the bots. The amount of organic votes and views being handed out these days is next to none, and often confined to narrow tags like "Dmania."

Now that the bots have mastered preventing their customers from accruing hardly any of the profit they deem should rightly be theirs (ROI caps, post age limits, post age max-time, adjustable votes dependent on curation, etc) , they are pretty much just a toll you have to pay to get on the "highway."

So, now we have a scenario where misguided users are attacking those paying protection money to the Steemit mob. Hilarious.

Now, with posts like this one: (https://steemit.com/steem/@fzek62442nd3/i-am-new-here), some of these users are definitely asking for it.

Targetted downvoting is not what we are seeing here, however. What we are actually seeing is formally respectable members of the community creating arbitrary downvote tools to flag user's posts (and encouraging others to do so as well) for no reason other than that they are on trending and have used a bot.

Let's take a look at this misguided initiative, that apparently wants to see Trending re-dominated by circle-jerkers like @BookingTeam, repasting the same marketing schlock they posted a week ago each day to hundreds of dollars of rewards.

Heimin 1.png

I tried like 4 times to flag this. Guess my SP is too miniscule.

Uh oh. Here there be Flagons.

Heimin 2.png

"This article is based on false assumptions that are easily disproved, rendering it logically unsound and a waste of everyone's time."

This is going to get me to lunch faster.

This entire article is predicated on:

  1. A demonstrably false assumption.
  2. A personal opinion with no data or support.

Heimin 4.png

Demonstrable proof of false nature of assumptions, in case you actually needed the citations.

Hey Heimin, how about you go back to taking cuts off of other people's content - I don't much care for yours. Keep it to yourself.

Shit, I think we're done here. Next.

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Using bots is a choice. Most of us are here because of a choice. Otherwise we could have been twitter/facebook slaves, but we chose Steemit.
Forcing opinions about using or not using a bot here is turning steemit into the very thing we left behind.
I notice plenty of porn here on steemit, that doesn't mean steemit is a porn site. Similarly using bots does mean artificial AI promoted content platform.
Of course all of us need to be conscious of the fact that to hurt the platform in the long run wold be hurting ourselves.
Enough said.

I believe bots are integral part of the steem design. If they're causing more harm then good then would it be even possible to remove them? I guess not

Trust me, if I could get away with not using bots, I would. Like others and you have stated, pretty much the only way to be seen is to use it. Even though I don't break even, I still to get new users to follow me. I do really think these bid bots need to cap the ROI at 0% so we at least break even.

agree. i have suggested several times that a mandatory limit on how much people can upvote a post should be set. anyone upvoting over say 10sp should have a mandatory content check by the bot owner. I see way too many shit posts being upvoted for 20-30 sp without a blink. these are the people that should be flagged. arbitrary flags are just that, without reason.

At least one dog around here has its head on straight. Thank you.

Watching steemit in fighting is entertaining YES!

But it's also liken to watching the inhabitants of a concentration camp fighting over the fundamentals of gas. It's clearly the thing that WILL destroy you all (by destroying your world) but rather than work to possibly break out...

I don't know... maybe a FORK without bid bots...

If VICE can take the steem chain and decide.. "we will do our own thing"
Then why does not a group of you true believers of a steemit without the RAPE take similar action?

Instead of this ongoing attack on each other?

Keep fighting though.. as I said... this shit is riveting and insightful!

(Was going to use shocking camp imagery but realized some sensitive fck would end up flagging it.)

Anyway.... more pitchforks!!

Upvotes @lexiconical

Generic comments could be mistaken for spam.

Tips to avoid being flagged

Thank You! ⚜

"This article is based on false assumptions that are easily disproved, rendering it logically unsound and a waste of everyone's time."

I completely agreed on above point. Some low quality content users getting more upvotes just because they put lot of money in bots. That’s not going to help the community anymore. It’s seriously a danger for the community.

As much as I don't like garbage post being upvoted to popularity by bots, I think they're here to stay.

... and it is a good thing.

All big changes are very painful. To understand that Steemit is a big mess, every single person should face it and then have an opinion about it. So, lets enjoy it.

@lexiconical I completely agree with you. If people WANT to spend their Steem on bots so be it, but if you look at what those bots cost these days and the ROI - the bots aren't such a good deal.

I don't flag bot users arbitrarily.
I don't flag them at all.
"mute" is my friend.

Sure, but you at least flag the ones you believe to be overvalued or what? You have a 70+ rep so would hope you do something about it.

To do nothing and mute, is like covering your eyes and ears while thieves steal from a common resource. It's kind of like lazy and greedy people exploiting the welfare system.

I'm sure you would say something about that, @everittdmickey. You gotta call out this bullshit, brother. You can't just turn your face away from it and expect any kind of favorable income. If these fuckers are going to stop, it's because the community takes away their ROIs on bullshit. If we keep letting them, they are going to keep doing it.

This is one problem we cannot solve by ignoring it until it goes away. It will only get worse.

To do nothing and mute, is like covering your eyes and ears while thieves steal from a common resource. It's kind of like lazy and greedy people exploiting the welfare system.
shaming much?
How bout you tend to YOUR business and allow others to tend to theirs?
No one died and made you god.

Personally I flag when there is a clear violation of NAP like plagiarism, spamming, identity theft, fraud etc. I've always stood by the principle that flagged shouldn't be used based on opinions. If we start walking that path, eventually we'd be no better than SJW crybabies.

Not all abuse is clear but is still detrimental to the platform's growth. Collusive voting is one such example. The intent to curate is judging value, right? When you find a circle jerk that uses 100% voting weight on each others post irrespective of the content thereof. Good chance it's voting collusion.

Maybe one or two circle jerks isn't a huge issue but you have to consider the impact when these things are scaled on the macro level. All in all, there is a lot of irresponsible people on the platform and we have the ability to check certain behaviors that are not ideal in the broader scope past their personal wallet. I have no expectation for man to be anything less than depraved but I'd rather take actions with others to curb the self-destructive cultural norms that have been tolerated for too long.

eventually we'd be no better than SJW crybabies

I care about justice, truth and equity, I value people and real warrior ethos. The latter was instilled in my person during my stint in the military and it ain't going anywhere anytime soon.

I am also not what you would consider "progressive". Will I bitch, moan and complain about bullshit from time to time. Hell yeah I will. I don't think there is a damn thing wrong about that. I'll also do something about it.

I agree with you on Collusive voting/circle jerk. Starting flag wars isn't the optimal course of action. Pushing for the protocol level changes is the right thing to do. I've proposed 2 solutions for this.

  1. A dynamic max payout limit based on the number of unique upvoters in a certain amount of time. For an example you could say an account can get payed upto 4SBD per upvoter per week. This would require an abuser to have hundreds if not thousands of sock puppet accounts and it would make lives harder for abusers while making it much clear for the rest of us that a certain individual is an abuser. We can't just put someone to jail unless a crime isn't proven without a reasonable doubt. People shouldn't be flagged unless the abuse is clear enough.

  2. In DPoS a single block producer can't have more than 4.76% of the total produced votes. Following is my outgoing votes from https://steemworld.org it's a healthy distribution. But it's not enforced by the code and the code is the law. Anybody can distribute 100% of their votes to 1 account. So simply put a fair cap on it. Personally I'd prefer to have the limit between 10%-20% If a person use more than than on a single account, additional votes won't have an effect on the reward pool. Optionally you could burn the additional rewards.

I've also talked about having a Dislike button which I've explained here: https://steemit.com/steemit/@vimukthi/steemit-feature-request-we-need-to-have-a-dislike-button-separate-from-flags-for-better-online-interactions-according-to-game

@haejin/ @ranchorelaxo and @traf/ @trafalgar accounts do have problems. If you flag them it'd only look unfair because those who get flagged are going to discover than some other accounts with similar voting patterns have not been flagged. They are going to call BS and jealousy and retaliate. I've seen people rallying against @haejin with close to a 100 posts. I've seen only 1 post regarding @traf/ @trafalgar and another Chinese account that is accused of being managed by the same person. This is some real Bullshit and it's not your fault. A person can only check and flag so many accounts and it's only going to look unfair in cases where abuse isn't totally clear. Be smart and push to change the code. I don't come hear to flag abuse. It's not a fun thing. So automate the abuse fighting. Enforce with code; not flags.


Appreciate the thoughtful reply. Yes, I was made aware of @traf/ @Trafalgar as well and his rationale for the action. Seems like it he is trying to justify his actions because others are doing it regardless of consideration to the detrimental effect of such behavior emulated by more whales would have on the platform. Essentially a cop-out consisting of many words.

I don't think anyone really can argue that it is indeed detrimental. I am thankful for the few good and what I call gray whales out there that have at least some semblance of preserving this platform.

I am not very optimistic concerning people so not sure how long this is going to last. I also am an advocate for code level change but think there are forces above my pay grade that would disrupt anything that would cut into the greed's bottom line. When the bad actors control the stake and enough puppet witnesses are in the top ranks, it's game over as far as I see it.

Still yet, as long as I have friends willing to leverage their stake to fight, I will support them using the tools and strategies at my disposal.

As for flagging all abusers, that would be a difficult operation to sustain. We can only work in accordance to our capability. Our coalition which we believe to be fighting for a good cause, the de-incentivizing of behavior that harms the sustainability of the blockchain , obviously lacks the capability to address all the proxy self-vote abusers in parallel; therefore, it is prudent to address them in serial fashion.

I would suspect that @traf's day will eventually come but that decision would not come from me. Sorry it took me so long to get back to you.

go for it.

shaming much?

Exploitive manipulators ought to be ashamed regardless of me but some have been given over to hardened hearts beyond the appeals of ethics.

A flag and positive discourse just might be the medicine to jar their conscience. As a matter of fact, I have observed such in operation. It doesn't always turn out that way. Some people have been given over to hardened hearts beyond the appeal of ethics or reason but short sighted profit is their highest motive.

They are like ravenous wolves and are quickly gaining ground with MANY automated accounts at their disposal. It's going to get more out of control than it already is. Especially when people opt for complacency concerning the BEST tool we have... the flag.

This is about protecting our investments and preserving Steem. The state of trending is just narrow sliver of the overarching problem that is lack of incentivized moderation. We believe in the spirit of service, value of cooperation and preventing scammers from gaining more power on this platform. @steemcleaners, @berniesanders, and @fulltimegeek do a lot and people like you get to reap the benefits thereof.

How bout you tend to YOUR business and allow others to tend to theirs?

Moderation is EVERYONE'S business. I'm sorry that you choose to shirk it.

I don't like your attitude.
you are pretentious and condescending.
and your momma dresses you funny.

I don't like you attitude.

Join the club.

You are pretentious and condescending.

and your momma dresses you funny.

Sorry, you feel that way but.

So how do I make it on Steem?

Here I was thinking I would create and curate quality content for new talent and then whales and dolphins like you would find it then upvote it so I can earn sweet rewards for curation. Isn't it a good thing for all when curation is actually finding content that appeals to the outside so when they see trending, they are like, I want IN on that.

Instead, it looks like people are mostly self voting and using bots so that kind of goes out the window. Tell me I'm wrong.

Ultimately, it pays more to be selfish. It doesn't pay to build a real collaborative value adding community.

people are mostly self voting and using bots so that kind of goes out the window. Tell me I'm wrong
Why would I lie?
When the first bid-bot was created....
....it was pre ordained..

Somehow I have reservations on how and who will define a quality content.
Bots doesn't recognize (as of the moment) content type.

Steemit should be for humans. The use of bots should not prevent true curators to flag these bots, and give notice to the communities that certain bots/post are inappropriate.

Do we have "bot review classification or something"?

This post has been upvoted and picked by Daily Picked #27! Thank you for the cool and quality content. Keep going!

Don’t forget I’m not a robot. I explore, read, upvote and share manually ☺️

You got a 5.78% upvote from @postpromoter courtesy of @lexiconical!

Want to promote your posts too? Check out the Steem Bot Tracker website for more info. If you would like to support the development of @postpromoter and the bot tracker please vote for @yabapmatt for witness!

The platform has a lot of problems and what you are describing is one of them. Simply put the only way anything is enforced on this site is through vigilante justice by either people with a lot of money on the platform (which btw you may well ask how they got it) or some kind of community account by delegation that goes around flagging things. And indeed it's quite sickening that as a content creator, and I do try very hard Sir, you have to play the bot game, at least at this stage of the platform. For all this talk about "siphoning the reward pool" and big whale on whale shitfights, consider that the site does not even have one million users yet. Seriously, this much problems with this small number of users. You can hardly expect to make a billion dollars on a platform with that few users for sure, but how exactly do you think things would be better even if there are more users? Does the reward pool get bigger? Does SP suddenly give a bigger payout?

Right now the biggest problems for people making stuff and getting recognised are bad visibility and HUGE disparity in vote worth between users. For the former, frankly one man's trash is another man's treasure and when it comes to the internet it's honestly quite hard to judge what's legitimate and what isn't. To me frankly all this crypto discussion can die in a fire, it's legitimately every bit as sleazy and manipulative as MLM schemes. The technological side is interesting, but you don't see people discussing that, do you? You see people drawing lines and looking at graphs and saying this line will go up at this time or maybe it will go down etc. So really I have no interest in that and well so what, I can look at other things. So can you. Now when you make stuff on here and try to make a living, and this platform does need to address that because if you can't make a living on something then you will stop doing it, you have to somehow play to the whims and beg whales for upvotes and basically dance for their dime, and/or play the bot game or lease SP and so forth. Because new users' upvotes aren't even worth a single fucking cent until they reach a score of something like 100 SP or so. So you, as a guy who doesn't just shit out stuff in 5 seconds and calls it a day but actually care about what you're making, you need literal thousands of upvotes by people to even crack a few dollars in payout. Seriously, right now according to upvote calculator 15000 SP (i.e. 1000 new users) nets you a payout of $1.85 (total, which then gets divided up into SBD and SP and now STEEM based on the whims of Steemit). Bro you're not getting a thousand upvotes. It just doesn't happen. People in New don't see your post, because 5 seconds later it's buried under another 10 posts, your followers are frankly fake accounts themselves because a good third or even half of the users on the platform are bots themselves. I get messages all the time asking me to give them money so they can resteem to 15000+ followers. What do you think those followers are? Real people?

I wish I could just focus on making stuff I like, because I do make an effort to make cool stuff. This platform very much has the potential to dethrone Facebook, Reddit, Youtube, Twitch, Instagram, even Wordpress and maybe even Shopify - if someone develops a "shop" extension to the blockchain (I don't know if that's the right word, what I mean is something like Steepshot or DTube or whatever but for making an online shop on the blockchain). But right now I have to study all the intricate and scummy details of the platform to try and get absolutely anywhere, and pay bots to get any kind of return, or even basic visibility. You can't keep condescending to people about that, if things don't work they will lose motivation and they will go away, simple as that. So don't hate on people trying to make a living posting things, as long as it's not deliberate spam and utter absolute shit. If you can't make an actual living on this platform but have to grind your fucking hardest to maybe get some beer money then I'm sorry but that's simply not good enough. Thanks for trying though.

I'm hopeful but yeah wow let's not pretend there aren't problems.

You got a 4.74% upvote from @upmewhale courtesy of @lexiconical!

Earn 100% earning payout by delegating SP to @upmewhale. Visit http://www.upmewhale.com for details!

Sure enough I was just flagged by that piece of shit madpuppy for having the audacity to use sneaky-ninja because apparently in his deranged brain it makes sense to punish someone who explicitly doesn't do the thing he blathers on about: upvote a post on day 6. I got it upvoted within something like 15 minutes after and specifically try to avoid any sixth day shenanigans and in comes this cunt and slams me with a -$6 flag and upvotes his own post, the smug piece of shit.

Frankly I don't think this platform has any protection against this sort of thing. You can flag some abusive guy's posts, but unless you're rocking some hefty vote amounts your flag doesn't mean shit. And even if it did, why would you waste your vote worth on punishing a troll like that? This guy madpuppy has like 133k SP, the guy is literally a millionaire doing nothing but downvoting people based on his own inept idiotic view of the world.

Really I'm starting to think the very foundation of this platform, the fact that nothing and no one can be outright deleted, is more of a curse than a blessing. I've already said it before, the real test will come when someone uploads some proper vile shit onto it, then all the flags and downvotes in the world won't change the fact that the servers will continue to store that stuff, forever. I don't know how that doesn't keep the devs awake at night, I would be absolutely freaked out about this 24/7 and trying to think of a way to stop it.

 6 years ago (edited) Reveal Comment

And the biggest accusers are using bots and/or massive self-voting to promote their politics. If real/AFK world has taught us anything, All politics are bad. @ned actually wanted people to buy STEEM to promote their content and it's probably what eventually lead to STEEM delegations. Bid-bots are simply filling a market need that wasn't served by the PROMOTE feature.

What @lexiconical and you say are not mutually exclusive things. Bid bots might well be "reward siphoning tools" as you say, they are also an effective promotion tool which is

  1. available - nothing has been done by Steemit Inc. to prevent them from existing, as I point out in other posts, see page 15 of the Steem whitepaper where it is written clearly that "eliminating abuse [...] shouldn't be the goal" (sic!)
  2. to everyone - everybody is free to use bots

If bots are available and everyone is free to use them then those who don't should contemplate changing a poorly designed system.

Also, regardless of the provocative style of the author, his arguments remain sound.
As long as bots are permitted, flagging the users is akin to punishing the victims of the Mob. With the current setup where "eliminating abuse [...] shouldn't be the goal", Steemit Inc. has created a "Mob-ocracy" and what you are doing is the modern equivalent of "turf wars" between mafia clans.


It's a real shame that the "promote" function is so useless, otherwise all this could be avoided. Right now you basically pay to get your posts thrown in the ghetto of the Promoted tab, which no one in their right mind would ever visit to begin with. I mean who the hell likes ads? That's as if Facebook had a news feed option that only shows ads lol who would use that ever?

is there a possibility of making two trending pages, one with an organic only trending, or a limited amount of bid bots used, and another trending page with no limits on the bot? That way it would give the reader some control on which trending page to personally support and read, upvote or share, and vice versa?

There are several ideas being floated around. One would be to simply not have a global trending page. You could still have trending "per tag". Another would be to have trending linked not to rewards but to views×votes (regardless of rewards). A third has been implemented, a bot (Steem Sincerity I think) that comments on posts with high rewards from bots and informs readers that the post "trends" artificially thanks to bots. A fourth is the SMT thingy that's in the process of being implemented where you have several currencies, one per community if I understood well.

If bots are available and everyone is free to use them then those who don't should contemplate changing a poorly designed system.

You do realize that no action taken to prevent serious flaws is a platform killer. If everyone delegated all their SP to bots, that would be the death of manual curation and quality control. The blockchain would end up filled with worthless garbage. Guess what would happen to the price of STEEM and SBD in USD? The more SP you have, the more concerned you should be about what's going on the platform as a whole.

Decentralized platforms running without a central authority must rely on voluntary community policing and self-governance against abuse. Who gives a fuck what the current system specs allow or the whitepaper says? If the system does not work, it needs to be fixed.

The more SP you have, the more concerned you should be about what's going on the platform as a whole.

Absolutely, that's why I keep leaning in in the debate :)

You do realize that no action taken to prevent serious flaws is a platform killer. If everyone delegated all their SP to bots, that would be the death of manual curation and quality control. The blockchain would end up filled with worthless garbage.

Absolutely. What I'm trying to say is that "no action taken to prevent serious flaws is a platfrom killer" DOES NOT IMPLY (logically speaking) "any action is better than no action". There are actions you can take that can be WORSE than "no action" (basically speeding up the death of the platform ...)

Decentralized platforms running without a central authority

Yeah but let's face it, that is not entirely the case of Steemit. And frankly I think it's a good thing, too. If Steemit Inc proposes something sensible and a handful of big witnesses approve then it can be implemented. We are at HF 19 after all, not at HF 1 or 2 ...

Who gives a fuck what the current system specs allow or the whitepaper says?

Well, that is a very misguided position I can tell you. It's like the tail who says "who gives a s**t what the dog's head wants to do? I say I need to wag!"

On the contrary, the glue that keeps this place together and prevents it from descending into a destructive free-for-all (or most likely "all-against-all") is precisely the fact that this place has a mission (emanating from the whitepaper) and a history, a past from which to learn. These are the fixed points that should always be used as a guidance when looking for consensus not about "whether it needs fixing or not" (it does) but about the next question, which is FAR more difficult: "what is the right fix to apply?"

Your entire article is based on unproven opinions. It is the literal definition of garbage. It has no value.

Your response is to wade in here crying like a baby.

Amusing how you storm in here making demands (and missing the Grumpycat joke), yet denying that you are a dictator. You are literally dictating.

Nobody has to prove shit to you, cartoon-dog boy.

"Bid bots are not promotion tools, they are reward siphoning tools, fueled by monkeys like you using them."

More opinions blathered with no support.

"By the way your post is trash, your writting style is pathetic"

I was trying to write down to your level. You don't post anything of value, period. You're just another reward-pool-SJW rabble-rouser who runs around opinion flagging like a naive crybaby.

Ps - You argue like a bitch.

By the way, since we're covering fallacies, your whole argument is one. The burden of proof is on you, since I cannot prove a negative ("that I am not solely here to farm rewards"). Your silly little tasks you demand would prove nothing.

Maybe it would help if you didn't present your opposition with an impossible, fallacious task as a precursor to arguing disingenuously.

"Proving Non-Existence
Description: Demanding that one proves the non-existence of something in place of providing adequate evidence for the existence of that something. Although it may be possible to prove non-existence in special situations, such as showing that a container does not contain certain items, one cannot prove universal or absolute non-existence. The proof of existence must come from those who make the claims."


"where I am trying to defend my assumption. You are clearly trying to argue here and not create a discussion."

You mean, where you provided no actual data to defend your assumption?

Yeah, didn't find you doubling down on your opinion too compelling.

The scientific method is about formulating, testing, and then adjusting hypotheses. Not by starting out with an assumption and trying to prove it.

Here, unlike you, I'll provide SUPPORT:

"sci·en·tif·ic meth·od
a method of procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses."

You literally just demonstrated you don't know how to apply the scientific method, and it shows in your work.

PS - Since you clearly missed the joke:


You'll note that no dictators actually appeared in the image I used to modify, just a uniform and a cat. Technicalities and all.