Why Flagging is Important

in #abuse2 years ago (edited)


Coming to a Consensus

When the community of Steemians was much smaller back in late 2016, reaching consensus worked very differently. The blockchain math was different too. There was a time when post rewards paid out in 24 hours before it moved to the week-long window. Upvote strengths (according to each users’ stake) has also changed. Each and every rule resulted in new norms with respect to which content “deserved” rewards. Today, the Steem community is growing rapidly and exists just ahead of a big new normal; Smart Media Tokens. Right now, communities of different generations are grappling with one another to find a healthy rubric to strive ahead with. As debates develop, it’s important to know about all the tools that the Steem protocol provides us with.

So, let’s talk about Flagging

Especially for a new user, it can be an absolute mystery in terms of what flagging is and when/how it should be used. In today’s post, we’ll look at a series of suggestions for this specific functionality of the Steem blockchain.


How does flagging work?

Flagging is the exact inverse of upvoting. This might seem obvious at first, similar to how a ‘dislike’ is the opposite of a ‘like’ on Youtube, but there are a few key differences as to how this functions with the DPoS Steem blockchain.

  • First, your flag/downvote still expends voting power. Within your daily allotment of voting power that decreases with each upvote, you can use some of that voting strength to take away rewards rather than give them. As such, there’s a limit in which you can take away certain amounts of payouts per day depending on your stake.

  • Second, the downvote also affects ratings inversely if the flagger has a higher reputation (according to the Steemit FAQ). Flagging an account with a particular voting strength will decrease their rating according to the same algorithm that calculates how much received voting is needed to progress from 53 to 54 reputation for example.

  • Lastly, it should be noted that unlike upvoting, you gain no curation rewards by downvoting anyone. You cannot earn rewards for downvoting. (Though in the past there has been a cheeky debate in the past about “Dark Steem” rewards… it would be pretty cool to earn Dark Steem for flagging, right? Maybe one day.)


Checks and Balances

Since flagging also eats up voting strength, it should be used more strategically than a ‘dislike’ on traditional social-media sites. Here are some of the scenarios in which we would recommend a flag -

  • Disagreement on Rewards:
    This is one of the more interpretative judgements for flagging. Essentially, if you believe that someone’s payout is disproportionately high or is in some way abusing upvote services for example, your flag can be a signal that their practices are not in the best interest of the community and/or reward pool.

  • Fraud or Plagiarism:
    The crypto world is fraught with unsavory behavior anywhere from phishing scams to simple copy/paste plagiarism. If you believe that content or comments are unethical in anyway, flagging is an effective way to dissuade negative actions and make them less visible.

  • Hate Speech or Internet Trolling:
    This is another example of unproductive and aggressive behavior that could warrant a downvote. If something seems legitimately malicious, flag away!

  • Intentional miss-categorized content or Spam:
    It takes a learning curve to realize what is “appropriate” behavior on Steemit. There are many nuances of preferred blogging practices, there are certain tags that are appropriate and others that aren’t (i.e. tagging a popular subject that has zero relevance to the content of your post) and of course lot’s of spammy comments.

Looking Ahead

None of these ‘rules’ are strict or well-defined and are of course up to user subjectivity. This is why ongoing discussions of specific examples are absolutely necessary as the “right vs. wrong” in any case is not clearly defined. The target is also constantly moving and the interpretation of what is good or bad practice is so determinant on market prices, social health on the platform, community features, activity, and so much more.

We’re interested on hearing your experiences with flagging as well. Do you use the function in other scenarios than the ones we defined? Are there any changes you would make? Let us know in the comments below!

Exploring More @sndbox Steemit Toolkits

Thanks for reading! We hope you found this Flag walkthrough useful. Take a look at our full outline of resource / tutorial posts here. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out in the comment section.

Check out the Steemit FAQ page to learn more!

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I believe most people don’t get flagging. And I know a lot of good no great Steemians who quit the ecosystem over the past flag wars, I took a 3 month break last year after being attacked. I can see it’s value for stopping spam etc but when it’s used indiscriminately it’s nit a positive thing for the platform.

Flagging is bad. If you give man a club, he will smash someone had for a "greater good" as he sees it. The only way to total freedom is a total invulnerability. With a flags steemians are vulnerable, so they a tend to use it vs others and need protection. War of the flags will be only worse. And as any war, this will be sucking a blood of life ((

To be honest most of the paid for posts on the trending page could do with a good flagging.
The Minnows trying to make a few cents and contacts through a nonsense comment seem to think it is their only way to play the game because they see such abuse and reward pool rape from the bigger accounts. I believe this has to be fixed from the top down.
Flagging only seems to works when whales are fighting. Just my two cents

My aplogies but I dont know if flagging is a fixed appropriate action. Not only it is subjective but also, subject for abuse. What if someone with a great reputation has a personal grudge on a newbie, the one with great rep can do anything to downvote/degrade the minnow.

  • I reiterate, this is just my subjective view though. I respect each and everyone's thoughts!

Good points @leebaong, overall flagging is very misunderstood. Because most users talk purely about upvotes and the rewards, which makes it much harder to have a balanced conversation about flagging (an equally important feature of the Steem blockchain).

Lot's of flagging is subjective, but it will probably evolve just as this platform evolves.

I actually somewhat favor the act of flagging. I've seen a lot of generic comments which sometimes irritates my stillness. I'm just afraid of the subjective abuse! Though thanks to the community, I've never been flagged yet. Hopefully, will never be.

Openness though still lives in me. One reason why I love steemit is I learned a lot of ideas and I'm open for it. Development needs conflict of ideas to come up with a strong outcome.

Very good point.... They big guys get to use flagging to deal with someone with low rep..
Am pretty sure it happens

Some people just love to drop comments thats are totally unrelated to the post.I think first of all, they should read the post & then they should give their comment which are relevant to the post. If not post author should flag that comments.

Definitely! Spammy comments and wallet memos are everywhere these days. It's important to stay on topic and if done well, there's a high probability that the author will reward strong feedback.

Thanks for this important information. As for me am still learning a lot on how this community works. I have learnt about how upvoting and downvoting are used and why flagging occurs. Just hope some new guys here read this. Thanks

@sndbox I definitely think you should make a post about muting people. As @steevc there are some bad actors posting phishing links but not all of us have enough power to hide the spammy comments. A good option is to mute the person so you will never see their comments again.

Nice idea! A post on under-appreciated features would be fun. "Muting" being one of them for sure. Thanks for your feedback @walnut1 :)

Yes! Definitely an under-appreciated feature :)

I guess the biggest barrier to flagging bad/harmful content is the fear of being flagged back.
At least for minnows like me.

Hopefully the perception changes, because flagging is actually a very healthy way to moderate reward distribution and dissuade harmful content. Right now, with the community being so young, it's certainly harder for minnows to flag and not feel the dangers of being flagged back indiscriminately.

There is way too much bullying that happens this way. Especially with bots, flag wars are real, and weight class is all that matters here. Its a hard problem with no good solution.

I think for now we more flagging bots to create power for flagging but also anonymity. Through delegated SP and a curated bot to prevent abuse. Something like this would be a bit cumbersome and require a kind of dispute process, but we need a way to flag whales and dolphins who only act to siphon power away from steem.

Someone should tell whomever is in charge of proofreading the UI, that the word is "miscategorized", as there is no such word as "miss-categorized". I acknowledge that spellcheck doesn't like that spelling, but that's what it is anyways. If you did want to use a hypen, it would still be just one s (i.e. "mis-categorized")

Good looking out. We edited our graphic! If we come across the UI folks we'll give them a note about the flag pop-up. Thanks @improv :)

Happy to help!

FLAGGING jumps there is social jealousy, there are also private problems between two account owners, FLAGGING allows someone to receive unfair treatment from certain accounts that have no honest principles. and hopefully all can accept the reality with the results and abilities of others, all we can say and shout, "NO FLAGGING" ,, You Agree Steemians ?


Disagree strongly.

You've clearly outlined the various aspects of flagging and are really raising awareness of this misunderstood topic and why it truly is important, which is awesome.

I've begun advocating for Rewards Removal as an alternative phrase to flagging, which has some negative connotations. Flags start flag wars but removing rewards is just the community ensuring fair distribution of the rewards pool.

While flagging can and do regulate inappropriate behaviours for the good of the platform .In the wrong hands it can be used out of spite to shutdown conversations that doesn't agree with the flagger's ideal.We should try to understand where they are coming from unless they come off as rude and disrespectful then they probably deserve to be flagged.

I've never used flagging as I wasn't really sure of the impact. Having read this it makes more sense so thanks. There were a couple of comments that I probably should have flagged, just spammy stuff. I'll be doing that in future.

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good information

I think it's good that we are not rewarded for flagging. The incentive should be cleaning up the neighbourhood. Think of it as volunteering to clean up your favourite beach so that you can enjoy it more.

Retaliation flagging is a problem on here and it's something that needs a better solution. If I have a legitimate reason for flagging someone, I should not have to fear retaliation because of petty reasons. This is what prevents more of us from flagging when it's warranted.

I personally have something against flagging, my idea is to ignore anyhow. But we live in a world where people do so many funny thing and as such a measure of control is needed. If the cheeter for eg labels a content as similar to another, the best remedy is to remove the upVoting button on such posts.

We haven't come across any offensive posts yet, but we're heard and seen related posts about it. So, far it's just these phlish sites that have been warned to other users.
In terms of flagging, we saw a plagiarised post and instead of flagging and getting in dispute with the 'fake' author, we knew the original author and told him about it. He took matters in his own hands. Better not get into unwanted wars. Yet, this is our approach and if we didn't know the original author personally then maybe we would flag. We'll see when it comes to that. 😊


Nice one. Thanks for enlightening us about flagging.

I watched an account in the crowded flag. The account posted hate speech against Islam, from rating 37 down to 7. I also do not understand why there are still racists in the year 2018. Steemit community should have made us become human without any religious background, ethnicity and skin color. Enough has been hostility in the name of ideology and state, let alone about religion.

Thank you for taking the time to break down the science of flagging. I haven't flagged anyone yet because I'm only a week old here and still learning how it all works. I'm bookmarking this article and hope to re-read it when I have issues/questions. This is a great primer for me. Thanks for creating it!

I agree with you but I'm sad to see this in my twitter feed today. Do you have any good posts to share over there? I heard you guys @sndbox support good posts and I would be happy to rt if I ever see any tweeted.

This would help us grow instead of scaring the millions of people in twitter away from steemit. I have only 300 steemers on my twitlist and 6000 content creators in various genres on my other lists. If you could throw me a bone or two this would be a big relief.

Hello, @sndbox. First of all - thank you for your hard work - Thanks to your work - we translate a lot of helpful content into Polish.
I create several days ago: https://steemit.com/polish/@marekkaminski/jak-reagowac-na-spam-na-portalu-steemit-zasada-zero-tolerancji I wrote in Polish - about how to fight with SPAM on stimmit and why this is important - and non tolerance for abuse(SPAM).

My question is what to do in this case:

Some people used tagIntroduceyouself - more than once... More than twice to just get more votes. (to just say hello again...) Should we flag or not?
If people don't use proper tags, or name of tag is same with other word.
Like Polish - polish people and polish - wax. - What should we do ?

What to do when people are "rude" and commentary - is not nice, naughty - and approaches fascism and discrimination.

Is this a abuse or not ? Should we flag - even - when he have high reputation? or not?

Thank you for answer.

Flagingging is the way how this platform keep the user on the track, but there is a such of risk that will obtained by the flagger and a person whom get flagged. Keep on positive and keep steem on. Thankyou @sndbox.

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I don't see how paying for flagging will help steemit, if anything it will hurt it now that would just be giving people a reason to go flag content just to make few extra cents, makes no sense.

I have only put one flag in all my time here. I have earned a couple of flags on my early, more stupid days, and I learned the lesson alright.

The problem is when you flag a mean whale. Or even a mean dolphin. I have seen cases when full accounts are pretty much terminated in just a second of childish retaliation.

For a minnion account, this is really the problem here.

Despite all the rules been mentioned above, some great post still gets flagged despite complying with all the rules. Well someone people just use the flag stuff to frustrate others life.

Thanks for the enlightenment.

Flagging is a step in the right direction. It advocates freedom of speech and allows users to take cognisance of the information they're consuming on the Steemit platform. Just like we do at Blockbasis we vow to protect user and transaction information when sending and receiving cryptocurrency via email, for which we based our services on the blockchain.

A great & informative post as always @sndbox!

The only thing that could be included would be the 'other side', meaning what someone should/could do if their comments or posts get flagged.

I have written a post about the same subject because I unfortunately had to flag someone (for the first and hopefully last time) because they posted a phishing link :(

If anyone is interested, they can also check my post here

Thank you again for all your useful info provided!

No matter how you look at it flagging is a negative thing and so people won't find it cool.

Flagging is bad to my subjective feeling because I have seen people really abuse, like in the case of disagreements in opinion.

People are running away from centralized government because they are not and then you come to a decentralized platform were you are supposed to be free and you get flagging that those not make you express yourself freely

Thanks for the post but flagging creates more problems that solutions. Flagging breeds hatred, envy, violence, division etc. Steemit is a new platform, in its infancy. At this stage, you would want to highlight positive energy and flagging just does the opposite. Flagging could provide a net benefit to this platform when it reaches maturity - when the move out of the "exploration" and enter the "exploitation" stage. There are better alternatives to flagging like daily cap on rewards per user coupled with an equitable distribution of rewards - the higher the reward, the lower the authorship percentage for example.

Am not against flagging ... But I think it's bad for you to discipline a child for something he did and yet not tell the kid what he did... Doesn't make sense to me. Why not tell the kid what he did after disciplining him so he won't repeat it again.
Same should go for flagging please...
When you Flagg someone, please tell the person in a comment the reason he or she was being flagged, so the person don't repeat the action again..
I have seen few Steemians doing this by replying what the person did that deserved flagging and that's very nice.. but I have seen plenty people having to go follow someone just to come asked why he was being flagged by the said individual, which is not so good if you asked me...
I have personally been flagged once, I didn't mind cus it ment I did something wrong or went against the rules of steemit. The problem I had is, I didn't know which of the four rules stated by @sndbox here I went against ... Since then am very choosy on my comment to people's post so I don't get flagged cus it was actually a comment i made on a post that I was flagged...
Please if we can work on this, it would really help those that are being flagged.... Well, it's just a thought I have, am open for a better idea


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Flagging is bad

If you give man a club, he will smash someone had for a "greater good" as he sees it. The only way to total freedom is a total invulnerability. With a flags steemians are vulnerable, so they a tend to use it vs others and need protection.
Thanks for share @sndbox

I am most tempted to flag those who are infringing on copyright, but am too afraid of retaliation, because many are highly rated users. It is very wrong that they should benefit from the hard work of photographers and illustrators. They think that citing a source is fine, because it avoids the plagiarism issue. I would love to see copyright infringement dealt with in an @steemcleaners or Cheetah kind of way.

I know all about flagging. This comment (along with every other comment and post) will be auto downvoted by berniesanders and his bot trail not because of content, but because he is a tyrannical hegemonic prick who wants to control this platform.