Post promotion censorship exploit

in abuse •  2 years ago

Let me first start by saying that I fully support the new promotion feature, but that additional thinking might be needed with regards to its synergy with the current upvote/flagging system.

The problem is that, as it is now, post promoting could be used to lower someone's reputation drastically, probably to the point of having them completely censored after a few attacks.

Imagine a situation in which a relatively low quality post gets promoted for $5k, making it top promoted. It wouldn't be too long that large SP holders with high reputation to downvote it excessively to make it disappear from its position at the top of the "promoted" page (as recommended here).

Since Flagging and downvoting are currently the same, the promoted user's reputation would take a significant hit, that being completely out of their control. In the short term, those types of attacks are expensive and quite unlikely. Still, if a whale conflict emerged, it could be done anonymously with no repercussion for the attacker (aside from some thousand SBD loss - a small amount for some).

This is already something that we know to be possible (have you ever witnessed the full power of @dan's downvote?), but low quality posts wouldn't generally make it to the trending page in the first place. If it did, the attacker would be risking paying the blogger directly and exposing themselves through upvoting, making themselves easily identifiable as a bad actor. With post promotion, any post can now reach an undeserved ranking and visibility in the "promoted" tab instantaneously and anonymously.

You may think the incentive is low, but in the long term, large advertisement companies could join the site. Imagine a Coke vs Pepsi scenario, in which Coke censored Pepsi completely with repeated attacks at a fairly low cost.

Although implementing it might require a lot of work on the dev side, I think this is another point that supports the separation of downvotes (to lower payouts) and flags (to lower reputation/hide dishonest content).

Any other suggestions?

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A promoted article doesn't get into trending automatically, it has to get votes like any other post to earn a place there.


Edited- Trending->Promoted, problem remains the same though. Top promoted should get downvoted if it isn't worth the visibility it's getting (even if it doesn't have negative value). Can't be done in current system without damaging reputation.

Interesting game-theory side effect. Hmmm...

hey @owdy you have reason to have concerns. As @pharesim said below a post will need to be trending and get votes like any other normal post.

Imagine this: you paid to promote your post, it's in trending page (this means that some whales upvoted your post and at the same time improved your reputation score) then some users will flag it. However, their flags are irrelevant if there are whale's votes.

I know that because one of my previous post that was trending, received a flag from someone who had higher reputation than me. the only damage was a few cents less :)
Even if there are a group of flags, most of them would be with the RS less than 54.(I have noticed that majority are new accounts and simply flag some posts because they are jealous) Again, there is no impact .


Sure, but in that situation a whale deemed the post to be worth an upvote. If the post has little value, no one with significant power will want to make it gain more visibility/payout than it already has. If it has been heavily promoted though, everyone should downvote it if its not worth its position on the page.

People seem to think that no harm is done by having a bad post being first on a page, just because they can't see the consequences. They don't want downvotes, but don't see that an upvote only system is negative for everyone who doesn't gain visibility (because its not visible). Everyone then goes about their day thinking everything is fine, because they're only exposed to that positive aspect. It's a mixture of Khaneman's "What you see is all the is" and survivorship bias. It's also a clear example of the Trolley problem, where people are willing to upvote a post to the detriment of everyone else, but not downvote one to the benefit of everyone else. This asymmetry just can't be good for the platform as a whole (centralization, unfair payouts, worse curation and content quality, etc).

Anyways, that second paragraph isn't directed at this post promotion issue. It's just the general human/community bias that's pushing against splitting downvotes from flagging. This additional exploit, no matter how weak it may be, is an additional argument in favor of downvote/flag splitting.