Honey Pots are coming! Get ready to help fight spam and earn doing so!

in #steemit5 years ago (edited)

We will be rolling out a system to attempt to trap and identify spammers on steemit! The system is fairly simple and we will roll it out as a setting for all users. How it works is simple:

Every day a randomly selected group of Shadow Casters will generate a post automatically. There will be 2 kinds of posts, each time your account is selected it will randomly choose which type.

Comment Honey Pot (CHP)

When your account is selected to generate a CHP, ShadowBot will generate a post informing humans very clearly what it is. It will indicate that it is for catching bot spam and that up voting will help you! It will also make it very clear DO NOT REPLY OR COMMENT on this post or you WILL BE FLAGGED AS A SPAMMER! People who see these posts may chose to upvote you for helping the community fight spam!

Upvote Honey Pot (UHP)

When your account is selected to generate a UHP, ShadowBot will generate a post informing humans very clearly what it is. It will indicate that you should NOT UP VOTE THIS POST.

Using a combination of CHP and UHP across many accounts we believe will allows us to trap bots into our web, identify them, and add them to a special list for all to see!

ShadowBot will monitor CHPs and UHPs it generates for all members for violations of the terms (No Commenting or No Voting). Those who violate the terms will get points, and enough points will lead to a blacklisting. This is very much inline with how email honeypots work!


CHPs and UHPs will be ignored by the Shadow Queue. This will not unfairly create posts that then lead to free up votes from ShadowBot and it's Casters!

If anyone has any input we are still developing this and would love the feedback!!


This is an excellent idea! Hopefully by the time a few bots become smart enough to track and ignore these 'honey pots,' we catch them all :)

Plan is to have a few levels as well, non harmful, abusive, and out right SCAM AVOID. This way we can identify bots who are friendly, bots who are slightly abusive but not really harmful, and those who are blatantly scamming and promoting fraud! This will tie into our reporting system we have been working on the last 2 months!

now that is one clever idea :) There's a lot of spammers and amateur-made bots out there

So as a user I just do nothing?

When we open this feature up it will be a setting you will be able to toggle inside your account.

Thanks shadowbot, you are my only friend.

ShadowBot Doesn't do what ShadowBot Does for ShadowBot..
ShadowBot Does what ShadowBot Does because ShadowBot is ShadowBot!

We are totally speaking the same language here Shadowbot.

Project's Codename Winnie The Pooh ;) Get it because he likes honey pots haha #cornyjoke

Does that make me Christoper Robin?

Great idea,I will wait to see how that is going to effectively work.

We will be rolling out a system to attempt to trap and identify spammers on steemit!

You mean in your project or do you mean “Honeypots are coming to condenser?”

Bots do not post/upvote via the interface as such honeypots on Steemit/condenser are merely a UX failure rather than a well-designed solution. And if they were, they would just go via any interface app.

I am not quite sure what you mean by condenser but our system will be to catch bots that solely exist to spam comments and/or up vote in a spam like method. We are looking for feedback for exactly how we will be rolling this system out.

The interface? I presume you mean steemit.com. All posts are stored on the blockchain as are all votes and comments. Our honey pot posts will very easily tell human beings either not to comment or not to post on that post. If someone does comment or post on them, it is obvious it was a bot not a human being, which is how a honeypot works. Easy for a human to avoid but a trap for a bot.

So you will be rolling out a system which operates on Blockchain level? Or just on Steemit.com (which is the condenser app/interface to the Steem Blockchain).

If the former, how will you operate without a HF because if a bot/spammer submits to a node your system isn’t implemented on it has lost its use already. If your system will operate (solely) on steemit, then it needs to go in the condenser interface which is the front-end on steemit.

I understand what a honeypot is, I just fail to see on what level your honeypot will function: Blockchain or front-end interface.

Or maybe, what you actually mean, is that it will operate within the realm of shadowbot [only]?

It will operate on the blockchain looking specifically at posts we generate automatically. If I make a post and say "DO NOT COMMENT ON THIS POST" and you see 10 comments "Nice post" "Wow awesome". those are spam bots just trying to earn rewards from commenting useless crap! I don't see how it is hard to monitor the blockchain for a post the system created and see if someone violates the post's instructions IE DO NOT COMMENT ON THIS POST.. Condenser app has no bearing on how this will work and is just an interface (wallet) to the blockchain.

Alright then. I’m going to follow this, I’m too interested to see how that will function. Especially without integration by all witness, this is a decentralised ledger after all.

The witnesses have nothing to do with creating a post and monitoring if someone commented on it. The process is the same as embedding an email like [email protected] anywhere on the internet you can then monitoring WHO sends to it ;)

Send an email there and you get on my email blacklist. I didn't need a witness to do that.. Watch i'll get emails to that account now and they'll get blacklisted..

If you have any input we are still designing this out and need the feedback! Thanks for sharing!

To clarify this is NOT something condensor OR steemit is doing, this is something WE are making that we hope will help identify spammers and get some lists going that we may be able to use in the future. We are not going to initially use the list to do anything other than share it with others to use as they see fit.

I get it now. I was thinking the honeypot would be at a different level. But basically, you are going to set traps by adding more noise to the noise.

What do you think will be the conversion rate? How many of those comments will actually be found by bots. Without using catching techniques such as tag abuse and specific keywords.

Not sure it is still in experiment mode really came out of an idea a few of us had about addressing the bots that are the most annoying, no vote and leave comments seconds after at the top trying to get up votes with something like "Wow so nice post!".

This will be an ongoing evolving idea, but the idea could help us at least identify people who are abusing the system. This will also tie into our internal reporting system which we are also developing internally. The hope is that IF we can build something even halfway useful others may join in and build on top to expand the idea to really help the community!

Every member of ShadowBot will be able to generate these traps which will hopefully allow us to identify some of the abusers of steemit!

Thanks for the input really hope you stick around, you seem very knowledgeable and we really appreciate all the input!

IF it turns out to be a great idea, it may land up being something witnesses want to integrate upstream in the future. But I feel just like email, this is going to have to be a protocol built on top. Like DKIM, SPF and DMARC combined with blacklists, we will have to build lists initially until the protocols either are changed OR the systems (condensor) built on top support them.

I agree with a protocol, which is why I asked where the honeypot would be integrated. But it should be between submission to and the ledger. So on witness, on blockchain, level.

Which means a HF.

Otherwise I fear that this is a very well-meant initiative but the conversion (statistical chance of positives) is too low. And of course the MO is defeat automated comments by means of an automated comment/message but that shouldn’t necessarily be mutually exclusive.

But as said, I’m going to keep an eye on this because I’m very curious about this.

We feel in the beginning the posts can be fairly simple. But as we progress bots will begin to attempt to detect these types of posts. Part of the system will be tied into our reporting system which allows users to report posts/comments without having to use their VP to down vote. This also creates a flat voting system whereby each account gets the same weight (SP does not matter). This should help prevent abuse in the long run as we tie in our spam filtering. We have a very well trained spam filter for email we believe we can slightly modify the input for to pipe in comments and posts from steemit. Again this is all in the testing/experimenting phase, but the idea seems plausible!

Also we found we can store CUSTOM_JSON on the blockchain so we can actually publish these lists and results to the blockchain without any modification to any witness code. @bigdeeej proved this last week when he stored the current Bitcoin price on the steemit blockchain inside a custom_json request: https://steemd.com/tx/ca52211257da3f47980e38dc50246fe174eb196f

And what about all those human who auto-vote on my posts?
Do you mean to say that all bots are spammers?

No the big thing is catching comment spam bots who are mucking up replies with nonsense like "Nice post" and "Wow awesome" without voting or even being a real human that read or shared your content! The up vote part we may ditch since it is a lot harder to track but a comment spam bot would allow us to generate posts that potentially help identify spammers. Again just because we make a list does not mean anyone has to use it and we won't be downvoting anyone or blocking them for it, at least not until we get it working right!

So, you are going to spam people's posts with comments that they are not supposed to respond to or risk being dubbed a bot so that you can allegedly catch other spammers who post nonsense comments on people's posts which they are apparently too stupid to notice on their own?

Sounds like an exercise in futility.

NO, we are not going to post comments on ANY posts! We will be generating OUR OWN posts that we monitor for comments that people post to those posts!

your post didn't make that clear

I love the idea and will certainly participate. I am kind of curious what consequences being on the blacklist would have for a spammer though...

On a side tangent, I was wanting to ask why the Shadow ranks haven't been recalculated in a quite a while. I don't really know if I'd jump up that much, but I seemed to have joined at the exact wrong time as the ranks have been unchanged for almost a month now. I love the concept of Shadow Bot, but it seems to me not adjusting the ranks could lead to unfair allotments.

In the beginning it would only be a list that people could decide to use in their own applications. Going forward as we develop the system others may choose to integrate the lists into their own systems/apps.

Shadow Ranks are calculated over a 7 day period and re-adjust once per week.

Oh thanks. I noticed you used to post when it happened in the news on your site, but I hadn't seen it in a while so sounds like your just not posting as opposed to not adjusting. And I just noticed my rank changed so I'm just going to say thank you and stop asking silly questions.

Sorry for the confusion, those 2 updates were manual bumps we had to do in order to roll out the new release. You should receive notifications in your account each week for your Shadow Rank changes going forward!

Spam fighter @shadowbot and his sneaky shadowplans...

Gotta catch em all!

Will this be a problem for autovote set using steemvoter.com and curation trails ? Steem voter is an excellent to tool cast our votes to the authors who consistently create quality contents and I believe many are using it.

Great question. No we will be sure to have a whitelist of known good bots. Most bots require some form of input from you to get the up vote (either paying or messaging them or tagging them). This should ensure, most, but not all bots will have no issue at all since we will be creating these posts specifically for our traps. For bots that auto-upvote ALL posts, they will need to work with us to ensure their system is whitelisted. NONE of this will be initially used to blacklist anyone, we are simply creating a framework for now. All the issues will be worked out long before it ever becomes used widespread for filtering if it ever does!

ALSO, the more feedback we gather, the more we are seeing, the spam comments are really the issue, spam voting is FAR harder to solve and FAR less of a problem!

I agree, spam comments are annoying. Looking forward to see this framework working to make Steem a better place to share.

i am on shadowbot, yesterday i changed settings to follow back people who follow me, and i changed that shadowbot could vote up from me. But this morning when i first checked my feed and than my blog, i discovered that my blog page was full of resteemed stuff !! is this done by shadowbot?? I directly changed my settings again, because that is so horrible ! I do not know if it is shadowbot, but that is the only thing i did change. I feel like a spammer now. i did not resteem any of this.

That could not be caused by the setting for auto follow back. Re-steeming is a completely separate system.

i changed my settings back and see if it makes a change. I do not know how come it did this, i do not even find my own posts anymore.

Auto Follow Back has no effect on re-steeming. The resteem threshold is the only setting that controls that feature. Turning it to off disables the feature which is the default setting and is what I see for your account.

where can i find this resteem treshold?

It is under your account settings tab. We are looking into this issue now and have turned off the functionality completely until we can identify if the issue was user error or a software bug.

i have to do some work now, but i hope you still will let me know, thank you ever so much for sorting out if it can be caused by that.

We have completely disabled auto-resteem feature until we can identify if/what is causing the issue.

thank you !! it is weird is it not? do you advice me to change pasword maybe ? or do you really think it is from a wrong setting somewhere?

Good initiative @shadowbot

Thank you, we hope it helps to reduce some of the spam proliferating on steemit!

How will this affect genuine 'bot' followers such as @qurator. Qurator is a valuable service for minnows and plankton, they up vote quality content and police the members of their community. However, they do operate as an automatic up vote at times.

I believe what you are talking about is fantastic, and yes we do need to explore ways of getting rid of useless content on Steemit and the silly bots the follow them. However, I am not sure I want my account used in this experiment as I see it impacting my qurator community which is a valuable and useful community for me.

Please consider an opt out on this or an alternative way.

This feature will be opt-in only, and we will work with all legitimate services to ensure they are uneffected by this! We will NEVER force any new features on users without them opting in. You will have the ability under settings to toggle these traps when we release them to our system.

Also, the lists we will be building are not going to currently be used by anything, they will just be a list of known bots. Good, Abusive but not malicious, and Spam/Scam Blacklisted.

This sounds good. Thank you for clarifying.

Good idea thank you!

great initiative @shadowbot,
ive recently joined and think your service with the ranking system helps support the system reward good authors and discourage abuse and the honey pot will only add to this.

would be nice if you had a discord server to have information resources and ease of direct contact for any who might be interested in learning about what you offer.

We are rolling out our own steemit crypto based chat that will work on top of your steemit account in accordance with the whitepaper's design for memos.

interesting sounds like a great development for the platform
have you considered posting your projects through @utopian-io?

This post has been ranked within the top 10 most undervalued posts in the first half of Dec 04. We estimate that this post is undervalued by $182.39 as compared to a scenario in which every voter had an equal say.

See the full rankings and details in The Daily Tribune: Dec 04 - Part I. You can also read about some of our methodology, data analysis and technical details in our initial post.

If you are the author and would prefer not to receive these comments, simply reply "Stop" to this comment.

I added 3 of my friends to an auto vote bot. They are also on shadowbot, if the message is posted by shadowbot on their behalf and the auto vote votes them will i be penalised? This is just on 3 accounts, they did the same for me as well and we don't spam.

We believe after gathering feedback that using the Voting trap will probably be a bad idea. We are going to focus only on the comment traps for now then we will see if voting traps can be created going forward from there!

What do you think such a post can achieve?
Look at this post here.
I do not see any Spammer right away.
And payout is high.
Spammers come in numbers. Right now a better method is to count post/day and look at the frequency. Did you try that already?
And once you identified them, what are the next steps? Is @spaminator involved?

No I'm not involved in this.

I see some issues with it just with skimming it.

  • There are too many new non-english users that comment with something generic to start out without realizing it is spam. Unless they are self voting less than 20 different generic comments hardly constitute spam worth flagging in my book. Flagging this type of comment without a constructive comment is abusive in my opinion.

  • Same with random upvoting.

I don't see this providing any useful data beyond catching unsuspecting newbies and random voters along with the occasional advertising bot.

We appreciate you input, we feel that using the same concepts we have been utilizing for spam and phishing detection for email over the past 12 years can and should be applied to steemit. This is our hope and effort.

We are utilizing a number of techniques including spamfilters, reporting services, frequency analysis, and now adding honeypots. @spaminator is not affiliated or involved with ShadowBot currently.

Congratulations @shadowbot!
Your post was mentioned in the hit parade in the following category:

  • Upvotes - Ranked 5 with 701 upvotes

Amazing idea. Thank you for sharing!

What if the CHP and UHP got messed up? Will there be any back-up to check on the bots who most of the time spam us?

Great idea helping minnows as well. I hope it will take off as I think it will. Thanks for the hard work. Happy to contribute through my account!


Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't ShadowBot a bot itself?

So what if the other bot owners fight back and decide to start flagging your users, just like you do theirs?

All the users of ShadowBot are listed in the admin section, so it would not be very hard for someone to do. I think this is a terrible idea that jeopardises the safety of ShadowBots users.

Besides, how is ok for ShadowBot to upvote posts but not for other bots?

We do not ever flag anyone (or at least down vote them). We are simply generating lists and curating data that can be used by others to determine potential spam and abusive accounts. If you look into how email filters were created you can get an idea for how we are approaching this process. We are taking a monitor and see approach. Defense, not offense.

Hello shadowbot, I have not getting upvotes please help me sir..............

I am also not getting any upvotes for about 4 days...pls @shadowbot fix this...

Thanks for this, this is very much needed. While there is a lot of AWESOME content on here there is a lot of hot garbage clogging this place up that needs to go away.

It's really frustrating being a creator who puts time and effort and thought into stuff only to see your being out earned and people are getting ahead with just bots that offer nothing to this platform and make it a poor user experience.

I've been flagging alot more stuff lately, anyone who's using the introduction or introduceyourself tag and has introduced themselves a dozen times is getting flagged, anyone who's using something like IFTTT to autopost stuff that doesn't even get posted correctly and is clearly a bot posting stolen content and a broken link is getting flagged. We really need to Steem Clean this place