Update on @the.masses - Reputation Shattered - Thoughts on Flagging and Censorship — Steemit

Update on @the.masses - Reputation Shattered - Thoughts on Flagging and Censorship

in censorship •  2 years ago

@the.masses is a project that I started up a few weeks ago. Anybody in the Steemit community can use it to post/do whatever they want. The private posting key has been made public. If you would like to read more about the project, you can read about it here.

Last week, I posted an update on what the account had been being used for. Since the last report, tons of people have continued to use the account for lots of different things. Resteeming posts is very popular, although what people really seem to love the most is to leave anonymous comments/replies as "@the.masses". It's catch-phrase has become I am everybody. I am anybody. I am @the.masses.

Since the account's creation, it has been really fun to watch it evolve. It's use has even expanded to the Korean community now - one of the posts that was created by the account was made in Korean. How cool is that?!

It probably won't come as a surprise to many people, but a lot of people have been using the account to say negative things about Steemit. Everybody has lots of ideas on how Steemit could be made better, and I fully support constructive criticism, but there is a line between offering suggestions and trying to improve things, and just trolling / spamming the platform.

Last night, @the.masses posted another "Steemit Sucks" post, and @berniesanders flagged it. I can't say that I'm surprised, but I am disappointed. Not that Bernie flagged it, but that some stupid troll(s) would ruin the reputation of this really cool project for the rest of us. They have decided that Steemit sucks so bad, that they must post in as many places as possible, and as often as they can - how much they think it sucks here..

There is a lot of discussion going on about the "flag wars" right now, so I thought that @the.masses getting flagged down to a reputation of "1" would be a good opportunity to say a few things.


  1. The Steem blockchain is uncensored. Whatever you post on the blockchain is stored permanently, and anybody who wants to can read it. As far as actual censorship, this is a really big deal. There is a place for people to post information where it basically cannot be removed + shut down.
  2. There is censorship on Steemit.com. Steemit.com is a website that displays information from the blockchain, and they have the right to filter the information how they see fit. They have chosen to hide content that has been flagged by the community to the point that it has a negative score. If you feel strongly that this is unjust, then you can create your own parallel website that functions however you would like.
  3. Even though Steemit.com hides information that is flagged, it is not completely hidden from the site. Anybody who wants to can still click a button to view the content. Steemit.com is not restricting your access to view the information.
  4. If enough people in the community decide that something was unfairly/incorrectly downvoted, they can counter the downvote by upvoting. If the comment/post receives more positive votes than negative votes, it will no longer be hidden.


  1. I think that the Steemit Etiquette Guide provides a good baseline for how people should determine appropriate flagging. It is not a set of "rules" that we must follow, but it is a good set of general guidelines that we can all use to try and keep this place a happy community where for the most part people get along.
  2. When you are about to flag a post, this is what the website displays. Trolling is one of the reasons stated on the list.
  3. As @berniesanders pointed out - every person gets to decide for themselves what they feel is an appropriate use of their upvotes and flags. We can discuss community etiquette and best practices, but at the end of the day each person gets to decide for themselves what to do with their own votes. Whether you agree with them or not, it is their vote that they have bought/earned, and they can use it however they want.

Closing Thoughts:

  • For everybody that is so upset about the "censorship" on Steemit, please realize that you are allowed to say whatever you want - but that does not mean that the community has to listen.
  • By design, the system has given the largest SP holders the power and authority to determine what is in the site and community's best interest. They have the most to lose over the site going down, and therefore they have the most say as far as what gets promoted and ignored on the site.
  • If you want more voting power/influence, buy more SP. I've heard it's gotten pretty cheap :)

If you would like use @the.masses account, here is the private posting key:

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I seen that and thought it was a shame to see the account being used in that manner. But can you blame @berniesanders ?

I would have done the same thing, he was called out by name and cursed and slandered. Obviously the account was being used by someone who had already ruined their own rep and no longer had a voice.

I still think it is an interesting experiment, I have used it and seen mostly positive interaction from it. But I think it also shows how one oh shit is the equivalent of three thousand oh goodies :)

The account may be used for good most of the time but when someone uses it to start attacking others it is going to be attacked, and rightly so.

The whole idea was a but flawed in my opinion. Sooner or later the acccount is going to be used in a manner that needs to be silenced..

It should also be noted that this account isn't anonymous in any way, it is very easy for Steemit Inc to see who has used it, so you may want to think twice before using it to slander people...

Thanks Tim ...


Thanks for the comments. I totally agree with Bernie's decision to flag.

Out of curiosity, how can Steemit, Inc. see who has used it? Are you referring to the user's IP address when they are logged into the site?


Sure, the very nature of database structure would have to record the IP in order to validate accounts. We are dealing with real money here even though it may not be much.

A simple query could easily show what other account has used thatv IP in the last 24 hours. If I were to code it I'd include much more, and I bet that have as well...

Most people think OS and Browser etc etc, but every preference is also easily captured and stored with every click. Plugins, etc etc...

There are no two computer alike simply because of the mass array of options we all have. Steemit.com isn't blockchain and it's time folks realized that. It's a PHP-SQL pulling from a blockchain.

That blockchain may be immutable but the site is not...


Really great point, thanks!


You're welcome and thanks for the upvotes :)

I'm a big proponent of building in an admin panel here at Stemmit.

What we have now if flag wars, it's nonsense. Even if we rely on whales to come to the recuse with their massive downvotes we still have the annoyance of hidden post.

Plus the whales begin to be attacked in retaliation, so why not just vote in some admins and build a simply panel where once an account has proven itself to be a nuisance it is muted. Bida Bing Bida Bang.

Allow the community to vote for these admins and provide a method of removing them should they abuse that power. Our whales are pretty awesome people from what I have seen but a lot of negative surrounds them because they have acted to protect the community.

So some think they are the bad guys and some have even went so far as to destroy their own reps, hence using the.masses to get their word out...

It's solvable and in the end Steemit will have a rep of simply not allowing trolls...

We'll get there, thanks for listening :)

Very well said. I said something similar in one of my recent posts.

Steemit.com is not restricting your access to view the information.
Then it's not censorship...merely expressing disapproval.
To prevent flagging IS censorship.

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