Flag Wars: The Path to Victory

in #steemit5 years ago

What’s the hottest thing on Steemit right now? Flag Wars – it is so hot, you don’t want to touch it. Both sides flag each other, both claiming they are right, both are unhappy about current situation and nether want to stop. There is only one solution to our problem: no more flags.

How are flags misused?

  1. Flagging someone who doesn’t “deserve” that much money
    Why they don’t deserve it? According to who? How much should be their post worth? Why your subjective opinion should be objective rule?
  2. Flagging for revenge
    It is surly not the intended use.
  3. Flagging for getting upvotes from bots
    How do you know that a bot upvoted the content? It might be as well done by a person that is just sharing his account with a bot. What if somebody else paid for the bot’s upvote? What if somebody would pay a bot to upvote you? What if a person upvotes you because you paid him or he likes you rather than liking the article?
  4. Flagging worthless content
    Isn’t it the right use of flags? No. If the content is not worth it, nobody will upvote it. You might not see the value in posting @haejin’s graph analysis but somebody else might be interested in it. You might not see value in posting movie trailers that they didn’t created themselves, but then you don’t see the editorial value because the person picks only those trailers that are interesting for his followers.


Bots on both sides upvote garbage content all day. Steemit is in deep trouble. Few raised their voices and their flags and decided to clean the platform... others flagged back and the platform turned into a giant mess. But one developer just wrote a post how to bring back peace between human and bots on Steemit...

What is the purpose of flags?

  1. Stop spam
    Nobody wants to see off-topic advertising, repeated posts, comments copied from someone else.
  2. Stop plagiarism
    If you post work of others, they are the one that should get the reward. But don’t go too far since in some cases it makes sense to do a work of editor by selecting materials to post work of others like move trailers which are specially made for a purpose of sharing rather than profiting of their creation.

Author’s editorial rights

Author should be able to moderate comment section under his article, but flags are not the right method. There should be two options – you ether choose to see author’s moderated section or uncensored section with all comments.

Flagless Steemit – is it possible?

Yes, it is possible without flags. We need only shareable personal blacklists to filter authors we consider not worthy reading, spammers and so on. When you log on, you will not see articles and comments of those people. Shareability is important property so that a user can say that he will use a blacklist of someone he trusts plus his own. It should lead to creation of few levels of blacklist from high filtering to low or none. Over time spammers and low-quality authors will understand that being on most people’s blacklist severely limits their opportunities and their effort is just wasted.
So… let’s remove flags.

Examples of Flag Wars

First contentious issue is bid bots. @GrumpyCat believes that bid bots that allow bidding on articles older than 3.5 days old is wrong because he believes it is too late to payout day and so it isn’t done for promotional purposes and he believes that late promotion by bid bots helps only spammers and therefore he flags anyone who uses those bots. Few others with @Drakos flag him back, they believe that his approach is wrong because he missuses flags to hurt others that have done nothing wrong a probably even didn’t know about GrumpyCat’s conditions. @r351574nc3 even created bot @the-resistance that upvotes people flagged by @GrumpyCat and flag him.
Second battle is between @haejin and @berniesanders. @haejin creates lot of trading analysis, he upvotes mostly just himself and @berniesanders considers this behavior wrong and that is why they flag each other. Lot of other accounts also participate on both side of the conflict.

Let’s make peace

Let’s make a week without flags. Why? Because it only hurts Steemit. Consider this: If you are a good author, would you join a platform that on one sides it promises you to make money for quality articles and on the other you can easily become casualty in Flag Wars and lose all you worked for so hard to earn? And if you are a new reader, you hardly wish to read about conflicts of few users but when you look at trending page, you will find plenty about that.
Let’s make peace for a week until May 25th and see if things get better. Let’s consider the points the other side is making and change our behavior a little bit so that after the week we can still live without flags.

Value of whales

Nobody seems to understand that owning lot of STEEM is also good thing that should be rewarded because all of us are paid in STEEM (STEEM DOLLAR OR STEEM POWER). The payouts under the articles don’t appear from nowhere, it is – through inflation of about 10 % annually – removed from all STEEM holders.


My favorite point is on subjectivity as we all can claim what is or is not spam, hateful, unsafe, hate speech, not good, not valuable, not worthy, not Oatmealicious, too long, too short, too boring, maybe copied, etc. But who decides all of that like you said, is the question. I believe in free markets, in supply and demand. I don't downvote people. I focus on what I like. i focus on people I like. But if I don't like people or things, then I may write about. I may make videos about it. Make memes about it. Make GIFs and articles and websites about it. Have debates about it. I believe in making conversations and in raising awareness to these kinds of things if we want to. Love the Star Wars reference in your post.

Who creates all the value we enjoy here in the rewards pool? Investors.

Should investors have a larger voice than others in how that rewards pool is paid out in order to protect their investment?

Downvotes ensure content that would generally be seen as not valuable by the outside community don't show up on trending and lower the reputation of Steemit and STEEM which hurts investors and eventually lowers the value of the rewards pool for everyone.

If you don't think downvotes are useful, I suggest reading the white paper again.

What do you think about this?

"malekalmsaddi troll abuse and flawed steemit system"

That's the problem. If you don't like something, you can easily silence others, especially new users.

I've spent some more time looking at this problem today and I see examples of exactly that - new users being turned off the system right at the beginning. After my initial enthusiasm I am starting to wonder seriously if Steemit is for me after all. I've even seen one account that appears to have been created purely for the purpose of annoying other users by flagging them (I don't mention that account here for fear of being attacked - i.e. I am self-censoring myself here). The only way forward I can see with the system as it is, is if some of the powerful users start recognizing the problem and acting to protect new users who get wrongly attacked as they join.

I will try to convice others that flags should be removed from the platform but I don't expect results any time soon.

Should investors have a larger voice than others in how that rewards pool is paid out in order to protect their investment?


My point is that if something got to trending page, it must have been considered valuable by lot of people or by big investors. Most likely we just don't see value that other people see. For example: I don't see any value in the "burning posts" but lot of other people do. The right way to solve it would be to convice people by dialog rather than by flags.

I am happy to hear opposing view anyway, thanks.

Excellent post, up-voted and re-steemed.

I am only just starting to spend any serious amount of time on Steemit but immediately I see the very serious problem of misuse of flagging. I can see there is a rationale behind the flagging feature, but the problems seem to me greater than the advantages.

Just a thought off the top of my head - could there be some adjudicating authority that quickly assesses flags and removes them if there is not a sound reason (the 2 purposes you give above seem entirely reasonable to me).

Thanks, only authority on Steem are witnesses but you would need lot more people and also make it worth for somebody to evaluate the posts. Also quality of a post is subjective. I prefer no flags and I will try to convince others.
The ideal solution for me is personal blacklist to filter the spam and things you don't like. This way no one gets hurt and everybody is in control what content they see.

Your blacklisting idea makes sense to me on the face of it. The list would be constantly growing but I suppose it would be easy to write a program for users that auto-muted accounts as they were added to the blacklist.

Initially I saw Steemit as having great potential for freelance journalism, but some time soon governments are going to wake up to the existence of the platform and have a fit when they realize they can't censor it. One scenario I can imagine happening is governments (or powerful individuals) start secretly putting large amounts of money into influencing what's going on on the platform. Say you are a journalist who exposes government corruption, quickly you find that there is no opportunity for you to make money on Steemit as they are heavily downvoting.

Yes, government can infiltrate Steemit with a lot of money, they can downvote (flag), and that can discourage people. So, it is up to we the people to upvote those posts to outweigh the downvotes regardless of where they may come from. The downvoting does not delete (remove) the content off the blockchain of Steemit but it does demonetizes like they do already on YouTube. By the way, Twitter & Facebook banned me for sharing a Hitler photo.

Good points joey, those are certainly advantages over FB and Twit. As I understand it, someone could in fact design a different website to look at the Steemit data that showed all the flagged comments, and even who had flagged them. That would help us uncover attacks and co-ordinate remedial action.

I'm guessing you're not a fan of old Adolf though right? :-)

You have great ideas. Should I be a fan of Adolf?

Thanks joey. I am giving this whole matter of the flagging a lot of thought and devising a complicated strategy to counter the problem.

I've seen your picture of old Adolf, I see what you were driving at but we better not talk about THAT because we might get flagged!! LOL

Yes it would be an awful lot of work since people are abusing the flags so much. If people could be trusted to only flag posts for plagiarism and spamming, but clearly they can't ....

You got a 1.30% upvote from @brupvoter courtesy of @petermail!