Hey everyone, every now and again people ask me about flagging. I have a rough history with flagging. I'm going to share that story briefly and then after that I'm going to give some guidelines about flagging.
Once upon a time
There was a newb Discord leader named @aggroed with a 100k SP account housed in @minnowsupport. One day a young @discordiant found a copy right infringing, intensely rude sexist, who was posting stolen porn. @discordiant flagged him. What poor disco didn't realize is that flagging has a lot to do with account size. The other account was much larger, and was an asshole and decided to flag back. He wiped out the meager earnings of poor discordiant. Disco came to Aggroed and said "hey, I could use a hand, this guy is an asshole and flagging people that flagged him for stolen porn and insulting women quite crudely."
The young Aggroed donned his coat of arms and brazenly said, "remove thy flag or prepare for death." The young dickwad (the bad guy in the story, not aggroed) didn't remove his flag or lay down his arms. Instead he started randomly flagging everyone. I mean everyone. He went off the rails and burned all his VP flagging. Young Aggroed used the VP on @minnowsupport to initially upvote everyone back to full post payout and then proceeded to knock the young dickwad's reputation into the negatives.
After spending hundreds of dollars flagging this one bastard a handful of whales thought it was improper that the little dickwad should be flagged to nothing. They upvoted the dickwad back up to $50 and helped recover his reputation. The two whales had more Steem Power than @minnowsupport and the battle seemed lost. In one of the threads the massive dickwad let slip that he was testing drama and was considering backing off. Young Aggroed took it as a victory, removed flags, and helped get the little shit to deescalate. The little shit also removed flags, and he hasn't been back to the platform since.
What's the moral?
It's actually pretty ambiguous to me. I guess the first is don't get into flag wars. Don't get into flag wars you can lose. This platform has unintended consequences. I went to silence this dick, and instead got him allies and more money than if I hadn't intervened. It's a strange place.
Look, the game of Steem is a little like King of the Hill. If you're the biggest account you can probably stand on top of the hill longest. It's possible a team of people may come along to push you off, but generally you're fairly safe if you have an assload of SP and want to act however you want. We have a few examples of that on the platform.
If you're not one of the early miners, independantly wealthy Steem investors, and don't have a mega following then the following advice is meant for you.
Stay out of it!
If you have a small account you're probably going to get slammed, lose rep, lose rewards going back a week, and basically just get roflpwned. Maybe the cause is just and it's worth it... maybe, but you should know the risks going into it. The big risk of flagging a smaller account (especially for an unjust cause like opinion flagging) may end up sticking one's dick in a hornet's nest. Flagging a larger account may land you in rewards jail where every penny you were potentially about to earn for the last week vanishes and now you have a whale on your back sitting on any chance you get a reward.
Resorting to flagging is sorta like resorting to solving problems with your fists rather than your words. It might work, and you might get your ass beat. I would suggest finding ways to deescalate the situtation. Rather than flagging and revenge flagging try to find a common ground and common people to talk out your differences.
What do you do if you get flagged by a whale?!? You should fucking laugh your head off and be grateful for the opportunity. At the moment when you receive the flag it's likely that you're raging mad, fuming that some other asshole could dare to flag your post, but what you're missing is the attention that flags bring to your content.
You were probably sitting there with 600 followers and almost no one reading your shit. Then a mega whale on the platform flags some stuff. That can be a turning point for you! Use that to make an argument of why you aren't a worthless shit, why you get to say or write cool stuff, and why people should support you despite the flag by big mean (insert whale name here). This doesn't mean you're getting out of shit any time soon, but it may be that you get more exposure, followers, and votes from receving the flag than you did the entire time before it.
What about baby flags?
I tend to think it's best to talk it out or ignore it. I've been getting flagged by @bloom for a while for my Meme the News posts. It's obnoxious opinion flags and it costs me $1 every time I post one of them. Do I find it obnoxious? Yes! Is it going to change my behavior? No. I wrote these posts when steem was 7 cents and I had no followers. I'll write them now when they earn a few bucks and I have 20k followers. I've been doing this since I got here. Meme the News, Satirically Yours, Aggroed's Antidote are my longest running serialized posts.
You'll notice that even while bringing up this flag and the guy that is doing it I'm actually supporting the flagger with my audience. It's not my intention, but simply by telling this portion of the story there's going to be some guy that head's over to his account and followers him because of this. I'm helping the guy financially trying to hurt me or trying to get me to shut up with my opinions on the state of the world.
I'd rather talk it out privately. So, @bloom if you're listening I'd love to have you on a Minnow Mayor Town Hall Episode and we can talk through why you're flagging me, what you find so offensive about the posts, and why you think it's the right idea to flag me. I'll do my best to be respectful towards you. Hopefully you can do the same. If this doesn't work oh well. You can't let the bastards grind you down.
What'd we learn?
Steem has unintended consequences. It's best not to get involved.
If you get involved try not to pick fights you're bound to lose because you have less SP.
If you do get involved make sure you have the moral high ground or you'll get your rewards beat up.
If you're getting flagged by a whale don't go balistic and write a rage quit letter, but instead be humble and thankful for the flag and try to judo the whales power and prestige to elevate your account.
If you're going to flag a smaller account be prepared for some explosive personality shit. Many egos can't take a flag. You might also get retaliation flags, and some other nastiness.
For all these reasons try not to flag and just try to run a good clean page of content you like.
Lastly, and a side note
If you get flagged, don't run to the FBI. That's a dumb thing that only a Badman would do. Don't act like that. It's childish and especially if your intention is to grow on this platform it's entirely counter productive. Like everyone else try to work things out by using words and hearing concerns. Then maybe you can get traction. Otherwise you're likely just sticking your dick in the hornet's nest and everyone knows that no fun. I'll leave it like this for now.