What Constitutes Abuse and What Type of Content is Suitable for High-Value Upvotes? (Buildteam's Minnowbooster Project)
Maintaining standards on the quality of content suitable for being upvoted is important when it comes to ensuring a long and bright future for the Steem ecosystem.
Not everybody knows about proper academic standards for writing and ADSactly and BuildTeam would like to come together and help people understand what constitutes quality content while highlighting the importance of proper sourcing.
The Steem ecosystem is growing by leaps and bounds and provides outstanding opportunities to gain rewards through content creation and participation on sites like Busy.org and Steemit.com.
But, as the price of Steem grows alongside the Steemit social network, so do the number of spammers and abusers and con-artists wanting to farm the network in one way or another for easy money. This presents a real challenge and represents a direct threat to the survival of the entire project.
The Robots (Bots for short...)
The invention of voting and bidding bots has created a new dynamic on the platform. Before you needed to network and gain favor with Steem Power holders in order to grow your account. Now with services offering the ability to lease Steem Power or buy votes it seems everybody has access to visibility and patronage, they just have to pay for it.
Now, there are many that argue that bots shouldn't be allowed. This is a valid point but in rebuttal I need to make the point that the chain was made in a way that facilitates bots and a very open development environment in which to build upon. The idea of bots being banned from the ecosystem is most likely not possible, so lets move on and look at other options.
How can bots change their systems in order to prevent spamming, farming and general abuse of the blockchain? Many ideas have been proposed but most revolve around some sort of whitelist / approved account list being allowed to access the services provided by bots. But is this unfair to people not accepted? Doesn't this just perpetuate the problem of the few having a voice while the masses are left out? I would argue that a whitelist could be harmful if not implemented in the right way.
A blacklist seems to be a better way to control abuse. The problem is that a blacklist can be very subjective as well. Who is in charge of the blacklist and what criteria is being used to blacklist an abuser from using bots?
In this article I'd like to discuss a few do's and don'ts of content creation as it pertains to posting on the Steem blockchain. Again, please note that although some of these guidelines may be subjective, it is my belief that if a content producer tries to follow them, their content will be of much better value to the Steem community.
Meaningful and Original Content is the Way Forward!
I'll start by saying that I believe everyone has something of real and genuine value to contribute through their writing. Everybody is entitled to their opinion and the blockchain was made for all of us to share our ideas and opinions with the world. So I would say that your biggest ally in this process is simply using common sense.
Lets be honest... Does a copy-paste tech spec of a mobile phone really deserve to be in the HOT section? C'mon guys, if members of the Steem community found a post like this getting a huge upvote they should report it through the Steemcleaners or MinnowBooster discord servers. As a writer who often spends time in the @ADSactly server I can also say that this would be a great place to report abuse as well. The community will listen to your points and support its members. All you have to do is join to become a member. Yep, its really that easy!
What about a simple “selfie of me & my friends?” Does this really contribute to the platform and community that much, should people be able to boost it to hundreds of dollars in post rewards? Nope, I don't think so...
Now this can be messy business deciding which post is spam and which represents a sincere effort and an example of 'quality content.'
Obviously, post length is subjective as it should be. If you break your back as a photographer to get that special shot, its more than likely that people will be able to tell.
But if abusers boost their internet-downloaded pics to hundreds of dollars in post rewards it's a red flag. The community is bound to notice and are completely within common sense to report this behavior.
A Few More Guidelines as to What Constitutes Abuse.
One of the largest bots in the ecosystem @MinnowBooster recently needed to update its Terms of Service (TOS) in order to combat the rampant abuse taking place using its voting service. I'll just go over a few of the main points although for the complete picture, the post can be read here:
The following are the new updated guidelines of use of the service (I have received permission to publish this content from @MinnowBooster):
What constitutes abuse of @minnowbooster?
Using multiple accounts to post duplicate content and purchasing MB upvotes for all of them Same goes for using multiple accounts to post low quality content just to farm Minnowbooster for profits Upvoting posts with MB that are written in a copy / paste style Using a MB vote for very short or repetitive content. Length is subjective, but 150 words is a good safe guideline.
Posting duplicate content is just asking to get blacklisted. Steemians want to read original content made by you! We want this to be a living breathing platform, not a boring repository of copy paste internet materials compiled as simply a means to milk the reward pool.
Short content is fine but again its a very subjective thing to decide if a one line poem deserves 100 dollars in posting rewards... Perhaps you could write something below your poem? Tell your readers what inspired you to write it? Maybe add a few pictures if there was any visual inspiration involved?
Photography Post Rules:
Single photo posts are not allowed. Photography posts must contain supporting text and show significant effort in terms of production value (location, setup, lighting and subject) to be considered boostable.
Again this seems reasonable. If you are a photographer, why not place a few pictures in a post rather than just a single image? If you really want to show off a single image because you're incredibly proud of it, that's fine too, I'm sure if you are that passionate about it you could write a few paragraphs about the experience of getting that magical shot right?
Public Domain Content:
Sources and Authors used in posts must be correctly cited and linked to original content
This is a very important point. As a writer on Steemit you should try your absolute best to follow academic standards. You can write about whatever you want, you can use the work of others and stand on their shoulders but you must do it the correct way.
Lets say that I wanted to quote a snippet from an article I enjoyed. Instead of copying and pasting it into my post, I would format it as a quote and tell readers where I got the information from in the source list below. Don't know what I'm talking about? Let me show you a few screenshots of an article I recently wrote on @techblogger.
Here is the article:
This was written about a robotic pet that can help remind you to be more social... I know right?! What's going on with the world these days eh?
Anyways, let me show you where I needed to quote some information from the article in which I learned about this new and strange pet.
Notice the middle paragraph is a different shade and indented? This was copied and pasted from the original article in which I sourced. If you would like to do this but don't know how, the Steem markup language requires a (>) in front of the text which it will convert to the formatting which I have shown above. Finally it is important for my readers to know where I got this quote from. I provide a list of my sources at the end of my article. This can be seen in the image below:
So there you have it. If you want to write about a topic and you are using research materials to create it follow the method in which I taught above and you'll be on par with the world's greatest academics. Lets keep things civil and high brow on the Steem blockchain shall we?
I know my fellow @ADSactly society members know how important it is to protect Steem and maintain it as the top crypto platform for social interaction. We don't want farmers, plagiarists or spammers clogging up the feeds. We want real posts made by real people. I hope some of these ideas have helped clarify what I feel constitutes abuse and in knowing we can all be aware of these guidelines as we continue to write and publish to our heart's content.
Once I found Steem I was amazed that someone hadn't thought of it earlier! If you have already moved from Facebook to Steem, I commend you.
We can make Steem what we want it to be. It's a community effort after all.
What do you think about the abuse taking place on the blockchain? How can we promote a healthier environment for original content producers? How can we help them get more visibility for their outstanding content?
Here's a chance for the @ADSactly community to leave their thoughts and opinions on this topic!
Thanks for reading.
Authored by: @techblogger
In-text citations sources:
"MinnowBooster - Updated Terms of Service (ToS)" - MinnowBooster
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