Hey Steemit. Let's Talk About Flagging. Again.

in #flagging3 years ago (edited)

I'm of the opinion problems shouldn't be ignored if we care about them enough to solve them. There have been many, many (nauseatingly many) conversations about Steemit flagging already, and I've (for the most part) stayed out of it, other than offering my opinion in various comments. I think this may be my first full blog post on the issue.

If this hasn't impacted you personally, you may be fine to stop reading now and move on. Maybe bookmark this for later if you find yourself frustrated by a flag. For the rest who are passionate about this topic, let's work it out.


We can't talk about flagging without talking about reputation. Flagging brings down reputation scores when the flagger has a higher score than the one being flagged. That puts some responsibility on the high reputation accounts to use their flags wisely to protect the network. Please read this post of mine from 8 months ago to know where I'm coming from regarding reputation:

Reputation Advice from Someone in the Top 0.38%.

It might also be worth reviewing this post because I'm sure there will be many disagreements on this topic.

We Disagree. Are You Ignorant, Immoral, or Stupid?

With that groundwork laid, let's begin the discussion. I'll start by laying out my thoughts. You continue with the comments below.

Why Now

This conversation was inspired by a recent spam comment on one of my posts followed by a lot more spam comments on a top trending post. I was asked to help with this situation because I have a high enough reputation score to have some influence. After seeing the obvious spamming, I did flag them along with the spam on my own post while giving this response.

This is just the latest example of a recurring problem here. I feel for those who believe they are being unfairly targeted by what I would describe as powerful (in the Steem Power sense) bad actors. I too have been flagged with justifications given which to me are irrational. I too have watched a large potential payout drop over 60% because of one whale's actions. I know what it feels like, and it sucks. Many will argue I and others should just get over it and recognize a "potential" payout is exactly that: potential. It doesn't mean a thing until it actually gets paid out in the blockchain.

It's All Potential

In principle, I fully agree with this perspective. I think everyone would be better off if people didn't really care about downvotes and just moved on. That said, I also think it's irrational to ignore a proven aspect of human psychology known as negativity bias.

Negativity Bias

From Wikipedia:

The negativity bias, also known as the negativity effect, refers to the notion that, even when of equal intensity, things of a more negative nature (e.g. unpleasant thoughts, emotions, or social interactions; harmful/traumatic events) have a greater effect on one's psychological state and processes than do neutral or positive things. In other words, something very positive will generally have less of an impact on a person's behavior and cognition than something equally emotional but negative.

I remember how exciting it was to get my first valuable upvotes. Nine months ago, I was checking steemd constantly to see who was voting for me and the dopamine release I'd get was fantastic. Take that effect and multiply it many times in the opposite direction when it comes to a downvote. It can be so negative for some people that the only option they see is to leave the platform (and many have). Some will respond with "Good riddance! We don't need those people on Steemit anyway." I see the merit here in terms of not setting expectations which will lead to a community which ends in a negative outcome for us all, but I'm also very cautious to think any of us can decide what should and should not be on Steemit this early in its life. Ideally, IMO, Steemit can be whatever people want it to be as long as they are not harming others.

Downvote, Flag... Which Is It?

Currently, it's both. On the blockchain, it's technically a downvote. It changes the potential payouts just as an upvote does. If someone thinks something should get more of the reward pool, they use their Steem Power to vote it up. If someone thinks a post is getting too much of the reward pool at the expense of everyone else on the network, they can essentially upvote every other post by giving that post a downvote. That's the technical interaction in place, and I don't see anything terribly wrong with it. The more we know about game theory stuff, sybil attacks, and the potential for abuse, the more we need something like this to keep everything working in the best interests of the network.

The said, the Steemit.com interface which is currently the primary blockchain viewer in use does have the concept of a flag along with this explanation in the user interface:

Most people skip over the first bullet point right away and move on to feeling like they were punished for doing something wrong (fraud, plagiarism, hate speech, trolling, spam, etc). Further, it can be frustrating when someone gives an explanation which itself is illogical. The negativity bias kicks in and we think, "That's a BS reason. You just don't like me, and you're attacking me personally. I feel wronged!"

In some cases, individuals may be attacked personally and that's a difficult thing for many to handle. It requires emotional intelligence and self awareness to respond maturely to these situations and not resort to name calling or retaliating in kind.

Can Non-Violent Communication Help?

I'm a fan of non-violent communication which focuses on really hearing and understanding someone's needs, not whatever toxic actions or words they use to poorly express them. If we can truly understand what someone's justified needs are, we can often meet them at no cost to ourselves. Meeting the needs of others is one of the best experiences we can have as humans. See the post I linked to for more on that and Marshall Rosenberg who developed it.

Technical Problems Causing Emotional Problems

Abuse of the network or of individuals here is a problem, and we have to figure out a good way to deal with it. I think at the core of the drama here is the current inability of the technological solutions to deal with the known emotional challenges we talking, walking, meat bags bring to the table. The founder of this platform proposed a partial solution back in August of last year, but it was ultimately rejected by the community. There may be other solutions which could negate the influence of someone's Steem Power if they are acting negatively towards the network, but nothing concrete exists right now other than the flag.

There's also the problem of expectations breeding frustration. If someone sees a "potential payout," that creates an expectation. It's irrational (IMO) to think they wouldn't (on some level) think of that reward as "theirs" because of how the Steemit interface displays it. I've talked about potential solutions before, and if this is a problem for you personally, you can right now hide the $$$ values on Steemit:

Do You Care Too Much About Steemit Blogging Rewards? Find Out Here.

Still another problem is dealing with "Bad Whales" whose actions seem to indicate a lack of caring for the wellbeing of others. We've had "whale fights" before where those with a lot of Steem Power go back and forth flagging each others' posts. I don't think anything positive comes from this. So how do we, as a network and community, deal with actions of high powered accounts which we believe will lower the long-term value of Steemit and the wellbeing of those here? How do we deal with irrational people who seem to act against their own long-term self interests?

I don't really have answers there. It's possible technological solutions can't be developed to handle this. I choose to believe otherwise, and I put my trust in the wisdom of the crowds to come up with ideas and talk them through so we can all benefit.

I'm also willing to be patient as we work it out.

Thanks for reading this long post. I'm declining payout because I don't like the idea of profiting off of the challenges Steemit faces. If you found it valuable and want to delegate rewards to it anyway, I'll leave a comment for you to do so. I also always appreciate new followers.

Thank you. Please, let's keep this conversation polite, rational, and mature. If it gets heated and you feel the need to attack someone personally, please step away and reply after your body has regulated the chemicals released by your negative emotions.

Luke Stokes is a father, husband, business owner, programmer, voluntaryist, and blockchain enthusiast. He wants to help create a world we all want to live in.


Tell me what you think about my suggestion of trying a new flagging system along side a stunted downvoting, by increasing the voting power needed for one by 10 times an equal upvote, and then decrease the power delegated from SP through the downvote to 66% or less.
Here is the post.

Also I should edit it to reflect a more recent adaptation: tie the curation to reputation over 30-40 just like flagging would be, to stop sockpuppet accounts and be able to confine bad actors to simply creating content until they can climb back up in reputation..

Interesting. Thanks for sharing your views. I think anything done without respect to VESTs creates a Sybil risk and puts a lot of trust in a reputation system which could then be gamed without any cost. Example: someone reates 100 bot accounts and they all vote each other up and look like real people. They all gain reputation over time and eventually have enough reputation to cause havoc on the whole system. This is a complicated problem, to be sure. I'm not yet convinced what we have no isn't the best solution yet possible.

From what I've seen, usually when people get flagged to oblivion, they've done something pretty stupid or reacted to something with high negative emotion. I might be wrong there, but that's what I've seen repeatedly.

It couldn't work for two reasons:
First they would need to create a bunch of content and have the rest of the community vote them up to gain reputation. They couldn't vote themselves up as the curation system will only be enabled at 30-40 reputation.

The second reason is that they couldn't gang up on anybody. If they for example flag one content with 100 flags, their flags will be invalidated with just one counter flag, in turn another counter flag will damage the first flagger's reputation. In that example for them to be marginally successful they would need to spend a lot of time and effort to plan each individual attack and create bots to flag as new counterflag add up to their flags. Eventually only 100 people would be needed to counter their efforts and reveal the content and not affect the authors reputation, and if they flag as each new counter flag manifests, 200 counter flags would punish all flaggers reputations, as they couldn't waste their efforts and flag without counterflags present because that would lock in their flags and count only as gestural flags. Plus the prospect is that 100 flags vs 99 counter flags will only affect the authors reputation as one flag, 1000 flags will only count as one flag, because it's one offense per content, not 1000, and the author would have 30 days to petition enough people to nullify the flags, so if the flags are malicious that effort could be stalled effectively.

In the other situation where they go on a rampage and counter flag legitimate flags in order to damage those flaggers reputation they would become targets of a movement decimating their reputation in no time and curtailing their accounts to curation and content creation only.

Of course those situations depend on them building high enough reputation by creating content and not by spamming, trolling or plagiarizing as that would be easy and rewarding to counter with flags, as policing the community should be, not a tax on voting power.

Tell me what you think, I believe that vests should be curtailed only for upvoting and that is not to say we keep the current voting curve, a flatter more balanced curve is needed, that was the main problem with hf16-17, and downvotes should cost 10x the voting power as you mentioned because they are negative actions overall and should be modeled after the real world where negative bias is evident, not a binary vulcan mindset. People would be incentivized to upvote more and bad actors will be drained 10x faster if they autoflag people.

This will create a whole clique within the community that will be happy to address bad actors with the new system, just the same as the chat channel for abuse, they will be given reports of content that wasn't flagged for justifiable reasons (as disagreement on rewards will be dealt with the downvoting system) and people could foster an environment geared towards reputation as a metric for good standing in the community. The great thing about this suggested system is that people can reverse other's flags or invalidate successive counterflags on valid flags with effectiveness and balance, not by money makes right.

Reputation is not consensus and cannot be used to limit operations on the blockchain.
As we can see with noganoo how abusable it is, the current system is too flawed to use it for anything but hiding negative value posts really.

What is that mean? Consensus is not reputation, yes, consensus is agreement, reputation is a system. But to say it cannot be used to limit operations on the blockchain is ridiculous as I want to know WHY and HOW that is, for one why can we not have a system of reputation that LIMITS operations on the blockchain, is reputation not a metric tied to individual accounts and used to determine numerous factors, and (how) therefore used to determine other factors as well?

"Consensus" on a blockchain means that every node in the network can verify it via code. This is not the case with the reputation, so it cannot be used to limit operations on the blockchain.
And it shouldn't be, because it's flawed. Not everyone with a 0 reputation is a spammer, not everyone with a high one is a saint.

Bump, maybe you didn't see my comment/reply to this but I am waiting to hear back.

I can't really answer that ;-) I assume that it's too costly to check each posters reputation for the witness nodes, but for an in detail explanation I'm the wrong guy.
What I do know is that its rules are quite arbitrary, and we already had multiple cases of rep abuse. That's why I'm opposed to using that metric for anything but GUI filtering. Maybe someone will come up with some better metric in the future, but I wouldn't bet on it.

I still don't understand how reputation cannot be verified on the blockchain, it's not a metric that is tied to each individual account? So I guess the questions would be why is it not the case with reputation, and how is it not the case, unless I somehow didn't get the premise of reputation correct, it being a metric that is tied to each individual account.

Let's assume it is, then it can be used to limit operations, and it should be, because without limits we have no way to counter abuse, and limits require absolutes, while people aren't absolutes, it's not the point of who's a sinner or a saint then.

Because it is absolute it's not a detriment in any sense, it's because the current system has not implemented what I am talking about that it cannot deal with noganoo spam attacks, or any big whale wrecking accounts and engagement/retention.

I hope there is some validity to these assertions or explanation for them, right now they are without logic or rhetoric, therefore they fall down by the first gust of wind from critical questioning.

I wish I would have seen this comment days ago, somehow it got lost and it obviously didn't help not noticing/seeing it, but now that it's been addressed I hope it renewed a little discussion in this direction and in the problem of flagging as a whole.

Agreed, well commented @pharesim

I don't see why a system which treats N flags the same as a 1 flag would improve things. If 10 people are upset at what someone posted compared to 1 person being upset, those clearly have different weights, IMO.

Note, I said "person," not account. I think an identity system may need to be built into a reputation system for it to really function effectively. See my post on Privacy, Identity, and Human Flourishing for more thoughts on that.


If you feel you absolutely must reward this post, upvoting this comment is your alternative.

Checking later when my vacation gives more time, important point to discuss!

It is reported by Steem.it members that there is a large increase in membership this month. I hope that the Steem.it flaggers will understand that flagging new members leaves a bad impression.

I am stunned that needs to pointed out repeatedly.

I am stunned that needs to pointed out repeatedly.

As am I. Not everyone is rational, and not everyone values the same things.

The questions is if the number of active members is increasing or not. Otherwise it is just fluctuation. Users are coming and going since there is no retention program.

We should try to retain 100% if possible. We won't reach that but, it should still be a goal. Thus, "good riddance" is not a good attitude IMO.

Why would people stay on a platform? Because they enjoy spending their time on it. In this case: because people can't just get enough from the content experience provided on steemit. Currently it seems that most of them don't do enjoy their ride and leave after a couple of activities. That's why the number of active users isn't increasing. 3,200 in 12hrs is nothing worth talking about.
That's the way to go:

  1. Create a product people will talk about.
  2. Develop a smart retention strategy and adapt your product/design accordingly.
  3. Bring more people to the platform (marketing).
    Currently we are called to work on no. 3 but don't have no. 2.

Yep that's why I wrote about wanting a 100% retention policy. I want to retain even the people I disagree with. If we're to be an inclusive community that means everyone.

Yet a lot of the activities are the opposite of retention oriented. This is something that needs to be addressed.

I'm relatively new here (Nov. '16) and not a very tech savvy guy. Having said that, I've not flagged anyone that I can remember. If I don't like the content of someone's post, I keep scrolling until I find one I like. If I consistently don't like someone's content, there's the "Mute" option so I'm not bothered.

As far as disagreement with rewards goes, somebody must have liked it enough to upvote it, or else the rewards wouldn't be there. I realize that this isn't a democratic platform that, in the words of Orwell, "Some animals are more equal than others." This is what drives people away and discourages many others- either from posting, or joining. But, I'm just a crazy old man...

I agree with the "If you don't like it, just move on" perspective because I think value (in this category) is subjective. Value can only be determined in the moment of transaction, and if it has upvotes, transactions have taken place. That said, I also see the potential for abuse where some whales could just vote on their own stuff for curation rewards and, over time, bring down the value of the entire platform as new users see (subjectively, comparatively, etc) low quality posts getting high rewards. Collusion in that sense is also a form of abuse and the downvote is a way to prevent that behavior.

But yeah, not all human animals think about these issues in the same way. :)

What you described is what I see on the Trending page... high dollar people upvoting often silly content. The problem is the disparity in voting power. It would take a lot of minnow downvotes to counter one whale upvote, unless I misunderstand the voting process. Anyway, I'm optimistic that in the long run things will work themselves out.

I have a post on the trending page right now. How should I take your comment? ;-)

The problem is the disparity in voting power.

I agree and I think the Steemit developers are aware of the issue also. There has been much discussion about the voting power curve and how it should be adjusted.

I'm optimistic that in the long run things will work themselves out.

Me too. :)

I guess you took it the right way.

Let me start by saying I don't expect anyone to care about my personal story or my stake in this platform. I am sure this is ground that has been tread and retread for months now. That said, I have no idea who to even ask questions regarding this issue, so here we are.

I must admit I am a bit confused by everything that is going on with this platform. I have gone back and forth with Steemit the entire time.. I bought in at the top when it first got listed, because, as a writer, the idea of writing for and with the crypto community got me excited in a way that crypto alone had yet to do.

I have never been a blogger, and do not have a lot of experience with it, but when the platform seemed to go in that direction, I tried a post or two, realized I didn't enjoy it, and took a break. No one read them anyway, so it didn't much matter.

I have come back a couple of times to see how things are going, and each time I saw things that both excited and concerned me.

A month or so ago I posted excerpts from a story I had published through a magazine, with a link to the original story. Flagged, downvoted, whatever it was, it went gray and did not get seen.

Believing this must be because the story was published elsewhere, I figured I had broken a rule and I let it go.

Yesterday I tried again, typing up a story I had written but not published. It was immediately flagged and grayed out.

Tried a test post. Immediate gray, even though on steemd.com I couldn't find where it was downvoted or flagged.

I have never received more than a couple of dollars for any post I have made, so please do not think this is me whining about payouts. What does concern me, however, is that I am spending time working on stuff that doesn't even have a chance to be seen due to being auto-flagged.

Most legitimate publishers will not accept stories that have been "published on a blog," so I would be better off just setting the stories on fire than to post them into a "gray hole" where they never see the light of day.

Again, this is more about confusion than complaint.

Do I make another account and hope it doesn't get auto-flagged? Hope that I don't stumble into another subset of whatever social media war is going on around here? Do I keep posting into the "gray hole" because I believe in the platform?

Someone please help me understand what is going on.

Someone please help me understand what is going on.

Unfortunately you were the target of a "Bad Whale" who has a lot of Steem Power and uses it to flag people for irrational reasons. He appears to thrive on drama and there have been many people who have left this platform because of his actions. The technology doesn't currently have a mechanism for dealing with this problem, which is why I wrote this post to raise awareness about it. Your story is a good example of how things can go badly for people here and why it seems so unfair/irrational.

For those not following along, here's what seems to have happened:

@dirty.hera was apparently following my votes via Streemian. I flagged some of berniesanders abusive comments where he was calling other Steemians names. He retaliated by flagging every post of @dirty.hera.

@dirty.hera: I'm glad you responded by asking questions. Many aren't willing to do that and just leave instead. I hope you do very well here.

Thanks for responding, @lukestokes.
I really don't want to stick my neck out any further here.. all I wanted to do was post some stories and see if it went well.
Is whatever happened yesterday the reason that my posts are now showing up gray even without being flagged or downvoted? On #fiction under hot or trending my story is the only one grayed out, even though one other story had a flag. Is my reputation all messed up now?
@noganoo said it is part of a new update.

No, your posts are not grayed out as far as I can tell. Maybe try refreshing your browser? And no, your reputation isn't all messed up. Please ignore the bullies here. Don't let them define your experience. There are a lot of great, interesting people in this wonderful community. If some people flag you, that's on them. Just move on and treat everything as a gift.

Thanks, man. I appreciate you taking the time to help.
I think there is a lot of potential here for this community, and I look forward to seeing how it develops.

I'm really glad to hear that. So many others have one bad experience and leave. I do hope the rest of your experience is positive. One of the best ways to get more engagement and followers is to be helpful and comment on other's posts.

Well if I don't feel like a complete dumbass.
When I click on a post it turns gray to show that I have already seen it.
Holy derp I feel stupid.
Still, glad to clear up the flagging issue.
I will post a new story today in honor of this giant snafu.

Ah, that explains it. Thanks for clarifying.

what i think is there should be people wo will look into the issue.

i also think flagging should not be immediate, it should be send as some kind of command and there should be a bot or humans who will look into the reason and execute the command if justified

I am relatively new on Steemit having joined last month and must admit to being a little vague on the whole flagging issue. This post has cleared up many questions I had so for that thank you. As to answers - I'll listen to what more experienced Steemians have to say before formulating opinions. I look forward to the discussion. Followed.

Thanks for the follow, and i'm glad it was helpful to you.

Thank you sir for sharing this. I was feeling stressed before and I think I can that it that now.. I will ignore that person's flagging me on my every single post I make. I stay away from negativity ..

@lukestokes can you take a look at my very grey blog and help me figure out what the heck is going on? @kimmydee2. It's very frustrating when you aren't here for the payout (but it's a nice perk) and just wanting a creative outlet for yourself to open up and see this happening. I'm sure it is just technical here as I have nothing but upvotes. It is very disheartening to be a newbie and frustrating, as well. I put hours of hard work into these posts. All my own work, my own pics, though I had the right categories. They are a series, so how would I bypass a "spam" issue? Uggggg so confused. Tips???

Hello. I'm not sure what you mean by very grey blog? When I first went to it, the page didn't load. Later I did a refresh and it loaded just fine. Is that what you mean? No one has flagged you, so there's no issue there.

They are all appearing grey when I look at them.....not sure?

In my 9 months here, I have seen nothing to indicate that the value (to the platform) of the flag/downvote outweighs the harm that it does. What problem does it solve that cannot be solved in another way?

  • Spam? Unfollow / mute / bandwidth limiting.
  • Disagreement over value? Vote for something else (or lots of other things).
  • Illegal / abusive content? Unfollow / mute. Also, flagged or not, it's still on the blockchain.
  • Fraud / plagiarism / trolling? This is probably the strongest argument, but is it strong enough to outweigh the damage that flag-wars do to the platform? Can be addressed through comments and automated removal of up-votes after plagiarism is detected.
  • Self-voting? (i) it still happens, anyway; (ii) stakeholders should be able to vote for content subject to whatever criteria they choose. Competition will penalize the ones who don't vote wisely.
  • Reputation? See @neoxian's proposal

If flagging didn't exist, as far as I can tell, the above problems could all still be addressed in other ways. For example, plagiarism might be combatted by creating services (like @steemvoter) to monitor comments and automate removal of one's own upvotes if plagiarism is indicated in a comment (or even by an upvote from a particular account).

At this point, I remain unconvinced that flagging solves any problems that cannot be solved by plain old-fashioned competition for rewards/up-votes. Flagging would only be, perhaps, necessary if up-votes could not be removed.

Of course, thinking about it some more, there's nothing stopping someone from launching an @steemvoter style service right now to crowdsource a defense against the flag. "Pay us 1 steem per month, and we'll automate a vote from all of our subscribers to counterbalance any downvotes that you receive. (perhaps subject to some other criteria, perhaps not)"

From a platform perspective, that's probably an inefficient use of voting power, though. i.e. friction.

Steemit needs a filter, at least for guests and new users. There's no way around a crowd-based way of doing that.

You obviously haven't been here before @cheetah and other spam/plagiarism/abuse hunters started working ;-)

I wasn't, but they also didn't have the mute button then. From what I can see, these days, cheetah doesn't actually use the downvote very often (if at all). Recently, I've noticed that the comment from cheetah usually says, "I upvoted you," and that comment alone is generally enough to discourage significant new up-votes. I know it's something I check for. So a cheetah upvote or comment could still be one of the available triggers for automated vote removal.

Also, using @neoxian's reputation proposal, low reputation users could still be muted automatically.

It is necessary that single posts can be hidden quickly. Steemit shouldn't and cannot show spam or let alone illegal materials to anyone.
Reputation alone is not enough, high rep users can start posting childporn too.

That's a web site issue, not one on the blockchain. Add a "Mute this post" feature, and if enough people mute it, the web site mutes it by default.

I'm not saying that downvotes accomplish nothing, or even that I'm opposed them. I'm keeping an open mind. All I'm saying is that I've not been convinced that the value outweighs the harm that we see on a daily basis in terms of frustrated and vanquished users. All that voting does is create a stake weighted ranked list. There is no technical reason why a downvote is needed in order to accomplish that ranking.

As I wrote about a while back, there is also the risk of a downvote that's wielded by a well funded steem/steemit competitor, industry group, or state actor to consider.

That muted post would still remove money from upvotes. Even if it's plagiarism or illegal.
Downvotes are also used to counter unjustified self-upvotes. Being able to hide valued posts would open up new ways for this kind of abuse.

I don't agree that there's much harm done. The people that overreact because of a flag would've created other dramas if not for that.

Thank you for this great comment. I think you make a lot of good points, and I enjoyed reading @neoxian's proposal as well.

and we'll automate a vote from all of our subscribers to counterbalance any downvotes that you receive

"Pay us, and we'll endorse your bad behavior that is deserving of flags/downvotes"? That seems like a recipe for disaster to me.

Could go either way, depending on the implementation. It could be like medical malpractice insurance, or it could be abused. Either way, it's possible, which means it will probably happen sooner or later.

The big difference for me is there's no government with a monopoly on the use of physical force here. That means all ideas have to stand on their own merit and face the reaction of the market. I like that the most about the Steemit ecosystem. :)

Sometimes government is required in order to fix the problems of society. The invisible hand can't take care of everything. The best ideas don't often surface quickly. Democracy is not really the best tool for this. Just look at how long slavery thrived under a democracy. It took war and then specific laws to turn it around.

How many lines of your morality function has been written so far? :)

How many lines of your morality function has been written so far? :)

Hahah... I love this. :) I think AI will learn what human wellbeing is and then teach it back to us in ways we can understand it. For now, I'm just trying to write things down using human language before even considering what that might look like in machine language. :)

I define government as a monopoly on the use of force within a geographic region. If we're saying Hobbes was right and we need the Leviathan to keep everything working, well that may be the case. Smart people like Steven Pinker seem to think so. I look at it more in terms of Maslow's Hierarchy and have written about it a bit here. I think as our technology improves, we evolve with it because it's what made us human in the first place. We move up the hierarchy and no longer need the primitive fight or flight responses that got us here. That, combined with non-violent communication, I think, could get us to a place where problems could be solved without the use of violence. We just need aligned incentives and methods for dealing with sociopaths who are not motivated in the same way as others.

Right now Bernie is one of our Plutocrats.

I don't have a problem with wealth. I have a problem with actions directly intentioned to decrease the wellbeing of others. Rich and poor alike do this, but you're right in that it has a much wider impact when wealth is involved.

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