OCDB and Downvotes | A #NewSteem approach

in busy •  15 days ago  (edited)
The #NewSteem is here and you can already notice how the approach to the Trending Page, voting behaviours, Bot usage and overall engagement is changing and most Steemians and projects are adapting to all of these factors.

The mindset and cultural changes the Hardfork brought are many and, in my opinion, all of them are positive.

If you like reading you can check how the flagging behaviour has completely changed for the better, influencing on the Trending page and on what gets rewarded and who's rewards are too much and the staked Steemians decide to return them to the reward pool.

Striving for a fair stake distribution, @ocdb already made some changes and improvements to ensure the best ROI for authors while still taking care of the delegators by keeping our cut to 0%, meaning we are still the ONLY non-profit bot in the market. You can read more about it here

OG Whales are removing their delegations from voting bots to apparently create Curation Projects; Voting bidbot owners are adopting good practices that were originally started by OCDB while some others still need to adjust to the market behaviour; the general bot tracker also made some adjustments and they are encouraging Bot owners to take action; even OG Steemians who used to post a quite frequently are changing their voting/posting behaviour to provide value to the community.

TL:DR - Everyone is doing their part to make Steem a better place, to make #NewSteem the place we always wanted it to be.

Every project and Steemian who cares about having a healthy Steem has to put some effort and commitment into sharing the load that is making Steem a better place. As the Bot with the currently largest delegated stake out there and thus, the biggest downvote in the whole Steem Ecosystem, it's OCDB's responsibility to take action.

We are not going to downvote or even interact with posts on the Trending page even if we disagree with the post's rewards. It would be irresponsible from our side and it would represent a conflict of interest if a stake distribution service downvotes posts that received bidbot votes... and since most of the posts trending are usually there thanks to other voting services, the management of deserves and what doesn't deserve to be on the trending page is up to the community.

After reading a lot of posts, comments and lurking discord servers to get a taste of what the community thinks needs to be done and trying to understand where can we be the most useful without negatively affecting our voting userbase, we decided we are going to start downvoting voting circles farms that do not add any sort of value to the ecosystem.

These voting circles go unnoticed since they are never trending or even in the hot section, but we know that projects like @steemflagrewards are aware of some of these voting farms but they don't have the VP to deal with all of them. @spaminator goes a long way to counter these farms but some of them have found loops to avoid their bot or evade their rules. @steemcleaners doesn't deal with reward disagreement so they can't really deal with the voting farms.

So, instead of criticizing or complaining about how these vote farms are not being dealt with, we have decided to aid these great projects that are doing all they can on their effort to counter abuse and return these post rewards to the reward pool.

So, in addition of helping out fair stake distribution and supporting an only whitelisted authors voting bot and get a very competitive ROI for your delegation, when you delegate to @ocdb your SP will also be helping us counter these voting farms abuse.

If you are aware of any of these farms, please send me or @acidyo a discord message so we can take action. Let's all of us help in any way we can to make this #NewSteem the best version it can be.

Disclaimer: We are not a downvoting project and it won't be our main approach/concern. We won't focus on maximizing our downvotes just for the sake of maximizing them. Our downvotes are not to be taken as retaliation nor will be used for personal vendettas, they should not be taken as something personal. The downvotes OCDB give will have no other purpose other than returning the rewards from posts made by users that bring no value to the ecosystem and just upvote posts from blatant circle voting farms such as the example cited above.

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I love it, and the same FUD spreaders that either reason that human nature is not goodness but wickedness or that the major stakeholders are dumb, greedy or both, wasted absolutely no time to give their opinions mere moments after the hf launched to assure everyone what a failure it "is" while everything else points to the contrary.

Let's show these FUDers that there are more good players than wrongdoers 💪

I was thinking of doing a recap of how the Whale Experiment happened, that was so long ago and such a great example that completely defies all "whales are greedy and stoopid" rhetoric that these leeches shit out by the boatload, o you know what, I just remember that was one of the topics I was going to list in a "topics I'll never write a post about", instead of actually writing it lol.

  ·  15 days ago (edited)

It would be irresponsible from our side and it would represent a conflict of interest if a stake distribution service downvotes posts that received bidbot votes... and since most of the posts trending are usually there thanks to other voting services, the management of deserves and what doesn't deserve to be on the trending page is up to the community

I would disagree with this. It is the responsibility of every stakeholder and by extension those to whom stakeholders have entrusted their voting power in the form of delegation, to see that the reward pool is used in a value-contributing manner and to take action with downvotes when it it is not, at the risk of seeing Steem fail. When large portions of the reward pool are allocated by bots/services, then those become just a subject to scrutiny and downvotes as anything else, in fact more so. It is not a conflict of interest to act against irresponsible usage, it is directly in the core interest of every Steemian to see that the reward pool is used well. And to be clear I believe that bidbots and other voting services are themselves perfectly fine, but like every tool they can be abused, and it is the responsibility of those with downvote power to step up and make sure that does not happen.

That being said, as long as the downvoting power is used for something useful, and voting circles are a perfectly fine case, then I don't see an actual problem. Not everyone can address every bit of abuse with limited downvotes.

But if and when we come to a time that all voting circles have been broken up and are no longer a problem (and hopefully this happens), yet hypothetically bidbots/services are still paying out large amounts far in access of value (particularly once the current excitement over downvoting bidbot abuse wears off a bit and participation in policing it may wane), then it won't be responsible for anyone with a large voting power to ignore this.

I believe he meant to say we don't want to seem as if we want to damage the business of other bid bots on purpose for our own sake. The way the EIP already has changed the behavior to using bid bots and @ocdb as well in a very short time span is a very good sign for the future use of responsible and thoughtout bids from the services. Dare I say it almost seems difficult to find posts to downvote right now, I'm guessing they are figuring out other ways in smaller scales to abuse them.

At the same time @ocdb is not a "business" per se as it is nonprofit and while we try out best to mitigate abuse which usually does not happen often because users got on there through curation we'd right now at least prefer to find some "easier" posts to identify and downvote than to judge each bid botted trending post individually.

  ·  15 days ago (edited)

Dare I say it almost seems difficult to find posts to downvote right now,

Yeah, you're right about this. There is definitely a lot of value in looking for the more hidden abuses right now. I just don't think we can rule out that complacency sets in and it becomes harder to maintain momentum on healthy downvoting. I hope that doesn't happen but I fear it might.

we don't want to seem as if we want to damage the business of other bid bots on purpose for our own sake

Sure, but treating that as a blanket reason for all bidbots to never downvote the others even when they are out of line just becomes a damaging cartel. I don't think we want to encourage that. The focus should stay on whether particular cases (payouts) are appropriate to the content or not. You can almost ignore who voted for it entirely. Actually, that's a good way to entirely avoid the issue you stated: Make a policy not to look at all at who voted when deciding to downvote.

Yeah, I'm sure we'll get to a more mature stage where downvotes aren't taken as personal from both customers and bid bot owners over time. Luckily many of them seem to have adapted well to the EIP and are using their downvotes too, wish I could say the same about some others but maybe they'll also get there before they run dry from delegations or start some idiotic retaliations. There are still a lot of these cases like the one we are gonna focus on now, we'll take them one at a time and see how they react and respond and hopefully they'll see it as a positive change and adapt along with the rest of the community.

"...bidbots to never downvote the others even when they are out of line just becomes a damaging cartel."

This is precisely the scenario that I warned about pre-fork. With the curve changes it means that most smaller accounts actually NEED to boost their post to keep pace with previous post values. If we are also enabling a cartel of post boosters then STEEM will have become totally captured.

  ·  15 days ago (edited)

The former won't work. People keep making this prediction/claim/suggestion but it is really mathematically impossible. If most smaller accounts try to boost their posts they will end up blocking each other and driving the breakeven point higher. The reward pool is fixed size. Everyone can't be an "above average driver", to borrow an absurdity from the famous survey. It will always remain out of reach.

In addition, and by design, by boosting their posts higher in hopes of reaching some elusive break-even point, they make them more visible and attractive to downvotes. So, even if it could work, which it can't, it won't work in practice.

The latter is a bigger concern because it is at least mathematically possible. We will have to see how it works out, but from a starting point we should at least state clearly that it isn't socially desirable for that to happen and try to enlist agreement on that point. Yeah, I know we can't depend on that, but it can't hurt.

Just because it may be mathematically impossible if EVERYONE tries to do it, does not mean that some won't attempt to - even feel further incentivised to do so. It is the sort of situation where perception is reality and this comes down to understanding human psychology. It is game theory, not mathematics.

I know for a fact there are people who haven't used vote-selling services in the past but are now considering doing so to "stay ahead of the curve" (pun intended).

Some sort of consensus amongst whales, witnesses and vote-sellers about incentivising more vote-selling not being a "socially desirable" outcome would be good to see. I won't hold my breath ;)

does not mean that some won't attempt to - even feel further incentivised to do so.

Sure, and in raising up their posts they will make them more visible to potential downvoters. That's the purpose behind the curve. With some further evidence we might want to refine the parameters a bit but the fundamental idea is sound.

An author with a small payout might, in cases where the post is marginal, actually be better off leaving well enough alone and taking the smaller payout with less visibility.

Anyway, it doesn't really matter what happens in one particular case or another. What matters is that which becomes systemic, and my point about mathematical impossibility is that it isn't impossible for low-payouts to systemically escape the curve by buying votes. Some might, but only by volunteering to stand out from the crowd and be scrutinized.

I'd expect that most half-decent authors would want to stand out from the crowd and be scrutinised.

Hey! Smooth, budy, I understood that I was wrong! My apologies! Let`s be friends! No need to proceed please... Thank you! Regards, Profit Shooter

I totally agree with your first paragraph, it is the responsibility of everyone with stake (or delegated stake) to take action. The conflict of interest for us lies here: If we downvote a user who used any or several bidbot services, it may look as if we are trying to discourage users from using a specific bot instead of OCDB thus wrongly making us look like "unfair players engaging in dirty competition", when in reality we don't want to compete with anyone, just try and distribute stake in a fair way.

We are already seeing bots taking back their vote on abusive posts (including ocdb, we already took back some votes) and hopefully every bot will begin doing this so if/ when the scenario you mention in the third paragraph comes into play, we are not forced to take action. If it does happen, as you say, it will be on everyone's interest, including us, to dive into downvoting those posts.

Thanks for your input and as a major OCDB delegator backing the decision of downvoting circle voting farms.

Yeah I understand what you are saying about downvotes being used as a malicious competitive tool and I'm certainly not in favor of that. Anyway thanks for taking the initiative on this now as you have and I'm sure we will learn more going forward.

I would disagree too and I think that as the prominent issues are dealt with, it will need to be revisited. As you know, there is a fair way to go before that, though this has moved relatively fast considering the fork was only 4 or so days ago.

For now, I like that there is the focal point as having the scope makes it easier to target, and what they are targeting many others might avoid.

considering the fork was only 4 or so days ago

Yup. What really matters is how this all plays out over the next several months. The early changes are exciting but that's also a bit of a trap because once the excitement wears off then the real work begins.

It is a long-haul move and I am hoping that there is enough momentum that some decent active trails are set up for those who are uncertain about what they should do. People usually act on default and the default plays need to be in the best interest of the ecosystem.

It seems the vote sellers are a bit conflicted now as they can be considered part of the problem by indiscriminately selling votes. Of course they cannot judge every post. I know OCDB operates a whitelist and others use various blacklists. Some do not do this and have been voting up some real crap as they have refused to pass any judgement. That may be good for business, but it is bad for Steem. There was an interesting discussion between some of them on Discord today. I did not hear all of it, but some posts may emerge.

Vote sellers have to accept that things will change. Users have more power to reduce rewards. I think those on this post are probably high enough and will not vote on it. I am low on voting power anyway.

The whitelist tends to be higher rated when they are handpicked on quality. Of course, once on things can change. The blacklist invites all and then removes for abuse after the fact, but as we have seen, abuse can go on a very long time.

Things are now changing for the better, I think.

This is perfect. It is like the last hardfork(s) have bought steemit back from a brink that we all knew we were standing on but only as we are pulled back from it we realise how things could be.

Damn, I have had too many beers and not sure that reads right but what I mean is, I approve!

we decided we are going to start downvoting voting circles farms that do not add any sort of value to the ecosystem.

This is what I wanted to read from somewhere this week. Many have waited close to 2 years for an account with the resources to take action, and the EIP has made this a reality.

Cool, cheers!

Thanks for the heads-up Eric and I look forward to seeing how this plays out. I think there is going to be a lot of interest in how this side-project impacts the voting circles and behavior of abuse in general.

Good work from @ocd again.

Hopefully the downvoting culture spreads everywhere (as it is already happening) and some of the other bots join in the initiative. Thank you for your feedback mate.

Oh, this was some really exciting news. Not that unexpected coming from you guys, but I wasn't expecting this so soon.

Will be cool to see who you'll target next, even though I have a good idea already. I wonder how that will go this time.

but I wasn't expecting this so soon.

overall change is happening much faster since the EIP and I fucking love it.

First I want to say that #newsteem is exciting. I already see some people voting like crazy and trying out how new steem works. After all the panic, it seems like people might realize that giving more to ecosystem builds up their account faster. Curation is cool and we should embrace it!

I am glad to see that OCD will fight against this type of abuse. It is totally unfair to farm steem like this and cash out like there is no tomorrow.

Thanks for being the force and motivation on our blockchain.

Peace yo!

This may be a stupid question but I am probably not the only one looking for an answer. Would it be possible to delegate just downvotes to OCBD, or a similar service?

There are no Stupid questions regarding Steem. It is a complex ecosystem where we can always learn something new.

At the moment there's no way to delegate only downvote vests but my best guess is that this is something the Steemit inc team might want to look into in the future.

Thanks for the interest though, have a great weekend!

Thank you for your reply. I really like curating but think that others would do much better work with more downvote power.

All of them are positive..?
So when i did my first downvote after hf21, because of the disagreement on the rewards..
https://steemit.com/steempress/@slowwalker/unidentifiedsculpturesofstonepagodainmireuksatempleplace-cdeaq4nd2q#@luca1777/pwyck4
...i and people on my side got flagged for "constructive criticism" and
later my new post got dv & flagged, too...by a witness.
Some of these people seem to be in your circle, too.
That's a bit hypocritical to me.
God forbid, we say anything negative about Steemit, even if
it is constructive and true.
Professional is something else...

Just noticed this comment now, that's a bummer he acted this way. I'm sure someone will agree with you and start adjusting his rewards without him being able to retaliate.

Thanks for your answer and overstanding ;)

Here are some spam comments you could easily wipe out https://steemit.com/@indicate/comments

Vote circles can be a tough thing to decide on. What is a vote circle, how many people or few pople make a vote circle? Is not SBI a form of vote circle, people pay for a vote in the form of buying into the system. SBI is pretty large now, but it started small. How about Steem-UA is that not a vote type circle, instead of buying in you delegate in for a vote. How about minnowshares, or some of the smaller passive income stream builders, are they not a form of vote circle?

If we are going to describe a vote circle as only those that vote for each others content what if only half of a persons votes go back to those in the perceived circle? Do we all need to take a look at our daily number of votes cast and compare it to number of accounts voted on to avoid being thought of as a circle voter? Smaller accounts have fewer votes that they can cast so may have, a smaller cast votes verse accounts voted on ratio.

Most cases are blatant that much is pretty well understood, but as with the current trending page clean-up against vote bots, this could have a deep effect. A persons vote is their vote. Does anyone really have the right to tell others who they can vote for, how often they can vote for, or when they can vote for someone else? Like the up vote, the down vote can be used in a circular fashion.

Are down vote gangs something we really want to see on steemit. I, like many of you, have seen comments flagged and grey out for no apparent reason. Are we going to have more gulag crime gangs of down voters? "You cheated so you are going to have everything you do on steemit down voted and greyed out for the entire life span of steemit, and the steem block chain".

All I can say is down votes are a slippery slope, the road to hell, is as they say, "paved with the best of intentions".

I'd strongly reccommend to check the example I cited on the post as that is exactly what we aim to counter.

Citing @acidyo's comment about this topic: https://steemit.com/abuse/@tarazkp/downvoting-is-sweetsss

"This one has been operating for over a year or so on the same users, almost 0 comments from the accounts, no interaction, only powerdowns and selloffs, there are many still doing similar things but we figured we'd start with one of the biggest and most obvious one for now."

Of course voting for a favorite account(s) has nothing wrong.

That's exactly why I mentioned the key words "Circle voting farm", as in, people who farm Steem by voting posts/comments like the ones featured in the post linked.

That being said, we will be very careful when assesing if/when to cast a downvote as it is a delicate matter as you well mention.

Thanks for your input!

I checked the sample and am aware of it, and it definitely fits what I and most others would see as a circle of voters. I am just one of those that have seen good intentions spread to extremely bad results. A group of 9-14 people. When the small groups less than 15 are done with then what, do we expand to 30 in a co-op/tribe community? 40 in a co-op?

Two years, approaching three, this has gone on with that particular account. She had and until a few months ago still had, some very nice post that attracted a lot of attention. people, as with Hajien's account, tried to take some action. it created some great drama to watch unfold, grumpycat account tried to point out a lot of ways that behind the scenes under the radar was working, he gave up.

... a delicate matter...

Ask anyone that has been involved with CPS (Child Protective Services), in any country what they think of the handling of the delicate matter of child protection worked out. It is not just CPS either there is an entire alphabet soups worth of groups that started off with good intentions.

Like the old quote "The road to hell is paved with good intentions".

!BEER

Just voicing my thoughts on the matter, no intent to come off as accusatory of any of this coming to pass from any individual or group involved. I am not turning a blind eye toward down voting things of this nature, but my own personal feelings of this type of down vote is that in the long run it will not be good for steem.

Plagiarism and excessive rewards are in my view a good reason to down vote, down voting someone for who they vote for is not even if it is a circle of voters like above. I understand in matter of fact it is to do with the rewards not the vote, it needs to be put out that way. Words do matter.

"We have this group of people that have been providing excessive rewards to each other and I think we should down vote some of these for the excessive rewards for low quality content they have been providing each other"

In the above you are not down voting their VOTE choices, their CIRCLE of FRIENDS, you are down voting the excessive rewards they give each other for low effort or low quality content. It is not a personal reason it is a financial reason.

You're being obtuse for no apparent reason, it is clearly not "because of who they vote for" that they are targeted, but because they are extracting rewards, it doesn't matter if it's a circle jerk as in a group or if it's one individual that is doing it, and it doesn't matter if it's referred to as circle voting or "a group of people providing excessive rewards for each other" because they both mean exactly the same thing.

I agree with you but the emphasis in the discussion on 'voting circles' tends to, perhaps more than intended, and almost certainly more than is ideal, put the focus on who is voting, who is receiving votes, and how those votes are made. In fact, it is the farming aspects which matters more than than the 'circle' aspect, as you said.

In the above you are not down voting their VOTE choices, their CIRCLE of FRIENDS, you are down voting the excessive rewards they give each other for low effort or low quality content. It is not a personal reason it is a financial reason.

What if it's both? What if it's neither for financial reasons or personal but for social reasons, like setting an example? What made you think that saying circle voting magically as all hell turns the matter into personal?

To view or trade BEER go to steem-engine.com.

Hey @anomadsoul, here is your BEER token. Enjoy it!

Do you already know our BEER Crowdfunding

All I can say is down votes are a slippery slope, the road to hell, is as they say, "paved with the best of intentions".

Downvotes aren't the slippery slope, only the way they are used is "a slippery slope". A thing is neither bad nor good, it is perfectly ambivalent, no matter if it's a bug zapper or a gun, and downvotes are much the same.

You got a 74.48% upvote from @ocdb courtesy of @anomadsoul!

@ocdb is a non-profit bidbot for whitelisted Steemians, current min bid is 2 SBD and max bid is 18 SBD and the equivalent amount in STEEM.
Check our website https://thegoodwhales.io/ for the whitelist, queue and delegation info. Join our Discord channel for more information.

If you like what @ocd does, consider voting for ocd-witness through SteemConnect or on the Steemit Witnesses page. :)

I am one of those who avail the goog privilege on it. Keeu up @ocdb

Posted using Partiko Android

How do we spit a voting farm? Is it possible to be a part of one and not know it?

https://steemit.com/abuse/@tarazkp/downvoting-is-sweetsss

This one has been operating for over a year or so on the same users, almost 0 comments from the accounts, no interaction, only powerdowns and selloffs, there are many still doing similar things but we figured we'd start with one of the biggest and most obvious one for now.

The example linked above is a good way to identify them! Everyone has some favorite authors that we vote frequently and there's nothing wrong with that :)

Yeah, the Sweetsssj case acid gave is a good example: pure circle jerk with little effort content that gains no outside interest or engagement, treating Steem as a cashcow for free money, nothing else. You definitely aren't part of something like that, I'm sure :)

This post has been included in the latest edition of The Steem News - a compilation of the key news stories on the Steem blockchain.

You guys should probably cool it a bit with OCD, OCDB news. Youre trending a bit way too much. @acidyo.

Downvoted for disagreement on rewards and trending page monopoly this last week.

Posted using Partiko Android

Yes! Good use of Downvote Power, and good to take on this 'niche' abuse on Steem <3 Cheers!

Good initiative, but thise voting farms will probably die off because of the new curve anyway. Small upvotes are worth very little now, it won’t be worth it for them to continue.

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  ·  15 days ago (edited)

The one identified in the post is making large enough payout to benefit from the curve rather than be hurt by it. Which is part of why we even know about it, because such large payouts make it more obvious. Many of the the smaller more obscure ones will likely never be found and will be left to the curve to deal with on its own.

While true, most farms will die out, there are some others by considerably big users that the average user can't/won't target due to lack of SP/fear of retaliation. The best example is the one cited at the end of the post where the curve will do nothing against it. Thanks for your input Marki

Good to know.

So stoked on this, I hope it fixes the bot spam.

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