New Idea for "Steeminators" to Combat Things Like Rewards Pool Abuse

in flagging •  2 years ago  (edited)

Edit to add: I originally used the term "steemcleaners" to describe this concept because I didn't realize that steamcleaners was a term already being used to describe something different so I edited this post to use the term "steeminators" to avoid confusion. I don't really like calling it the steeminator concept, but it avoids confusion and the name can be changed at a later date if this concept ends up being used.

Recent posts about flagging and rewards pool abuse got me thinking about a new “steeminators” system which would be designed to lesson undesirable activity on Steem such as rewards pool abuse, bot abuse, duplicate content, plagiarism, etc.

The Problem With Flagging

Currently the primary tool on Steem to combat undesirable activity is to flag it which can be helpful, but it is very costly for the person who uses the flag because they need to 1) give up some voting power to flag, 2) they need to spend time flagging, and 3) they open themselves up to retaliation as a result of their flags. It seems like we need a better tool in addition to standard flags, and I think the steeminators concept I describe below could be a better tool to help lesson undesirable behavior on Steem.

Introducing Steeminator Power

Steeminator power would be similar to steem power except steeminator power only affects flags and it doesn't impact voting. steeminator power is based on the amount of steem power but it is delegated completely independently. For example, if a user powers up 100 steem to steem power then they automatically will also power up 100 steeminator power as well, and similar to how the user can delegate 100 steem power to someone, they can also delegate 100 steeminator power to a completely different person. Every user with steem power is essentially a steeminator with steeminator power, but the real power in steeminator power is the ability for people to delegate their steeminator power to users who have proven themselves to be very effective steeminators.

What Does a Steeminator Do?

The goal of steeminators is to identify and punish undesirable behavior on Steem. This can be done manually when you see objectionable content, but the really good steeminators will probably develop programs to help them analyze every vote, every post, every Steem delegation, every transfer, every withdrawal, etc. to find patters to identify people who they feel are engaging in undesirable behavior on Steem. If other users agree with a particular steeminators actions/flags then they can delegate their steeminator power to that steeminator.

The Impact of Steeminator Power

When a user with steeminator power flags a post or comment the rewards given to that post or comment would be lessoned. Since the total amount of steeminator power is the same as the total amount of steem power, a flag with steeminator power can't lesson the rewards by the same amount of a vote with the same amount of steem power, but a percentage like 25% might work well. For example, if a 10,000 steem power vote would add $1 to a post's reward, then a 10,000 steeminator flag might reduce a post's reward by $0.25. This 25% number might need to be bigger smaller, but it just can't be 100% or there could potentially be no rewards, and it can't be so small as to not be effective. Keep in mind that the total amount of a rewards pool wouldn't be impacted by steeminator flags so if one post gets $0.25 less because of a steeminator flag, then that $0.25 doesn't vanish as it is redistributed through the existing rewards pool mechanism. Note: In this proposal nothing changes with the current flagging system, and the steeminator concept is just an extra layer that works on top of the existing flaggings system.

Incentive for Steeminators

Similar to how witnesses perform a valuable service and are compensated for their service from rewards, steeminators could also be compensated from rewards for their valuable service, however, where the witnesses get 10% of the rewards pool, I'm thinking the steeminators would only get something like maybe 2%. However, this small percentage could make it very worthwhile for certain highly skilled people to invest time and resources into being an effective steeminator. The rewards would be distributed to steeminators based on the amount of steeminator power one has or has been delegated. For example, if there was an exceptionally good steeminator and lots of people thought they were doing an amazing job, then they might get 10% of all the steeminator power delegations which means they might get 0.2% of the entire rewards pool for their service.

The Steeminator System Doesn't Cost People Voting Power

The drawback of the current flagging system is people have to give up voting power to flag undesirable behavior on Steem, however, with the steeminator system a user could delegate their steeminator power to a steeminator whose actions uphold their values, and this allows every user to have an impact on preventing what they feel is undesirable behavior without having to give up voting power. A steeminator would likely be very specialized and have little to no steem power (but have a lot of delegated steeminator power) so it doesn't really cost a steeminator voting power to flag undesirable content, because specialized steeminators would have no real need for an upvote because their tool is the flag.

The Steeminator System Minimizes Reprisals

The specialized steeminators would likely be accounts setup just to function as a steeminator so revenge flagging a steeminator wouldn't have much of an impact on the steeminator because they would likely not make many posts so revenge flagging to reduce a steeminator's rewards or reputation wouldn't have much of an effect on steeminators. There may be revenue flagging on people who delegate steeminator power to a particular steeminator, but there is some safety in numbers where if thousands of people delegate steeminator power to a very effective steeminator, then it is difficult to try and do revenge flagging on thousands of people.

Conclusion

I think the steeminator concept wouldn't be too difficult to implement as I don't think there would need to be any changes on the front end other than maybe to add in the amount of steeminator power (and delegated steeminator power) . The steeminator system allows people to have a say in disincentivizing what they view as undesirable behavior on Steem without having to forgo voting power, without having to spend a lot of time hunting down undesirable behavior, and without having to worry as much about reprisals for their flags. It also gives incentive for people who have the ability to be exceptional steeminators to invest considerable time and resources into combating undesirable behavior on Steem where it is important to note that undesirable behavior would be defined by how people decide to delegate their steeminator power.

I look forward to hearing what others think of the steeminator concept. I'm sure I've overlooked some unintended consequences of the steeminator system, but hopefully we can find solutions to overcome those.

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The main crux seems to be about retaliation and use of voting power.

Retaliation can be handled in an alternative way in the current system: by setting up flag trails off the blockchain, and starting to flag only when the trail has accumulated enough power for flagging (with a healthy amount over the SP of the opposing side). This also helps a bit with voting power if you have enough power.

Considering the VP use, I think that's a reasonable cost, whose benefit is returning rewards to the pool for the good of everyone else.

You were right, this solution is very similar to my trial by jury example. I like it. Throwin' you a follow.

I view Steemit as a virtual government. We should start acting like it.