@freezepeach: The Flag Abuse Neutralizer
Introducing @freezepeach, the service that encourages controversial topics and tries to facilitate diversity of opinion on steemit. The aim is to add an effectively neutralizing vote to posts or comments on the platform that have been flagged solely because of a difference of opinion. With a plethora of possible gray areas to be explored, this service will be a serious undertaking to say the least. Take this introduction as a guide to understanding the philosophy and reason behind this service, rather than interpreting it as a concise volume of guidelines set in stone.
Undoubtedly, the flagging feature is a net-positive to the community in many ways, but with those benefits come some severe drawbacks. Currently, it is sporadically being used by some members to punish users for expressing a point of view (instead of just rewarding the content they wish to see). Reminiscent of Pavlov's dogs, it seems some wish to condition a response in anyone who may engage in what they feel is "wrongthink".
Not only is this a proven formula for future stagnation in the community, it opens the possibility for corporations, governments, and other potentially nefarious actors to effectively control what is and isn't allowed on the platform. With the promise of a censorship-free blogging platform built on the blockchain, many of the people fleeing to steemit are themselves victims of censorship on the various social media giants. When people join in the hopes of freedom of speech, only to find their content getting flagged, they can become both one of the biggest impediments to the growth of steemit, as well as some of the most dedicated spammers.
Is Flagging really Censorship?
Time and time again, the issue of flagging and censorship has been fiercely debated on steemit, and time and time again, it always comes back to the blockchain being forever, thus nothing is ever truly censored. In absolute terms, this is correct. Whatever is said on here, even if hidden do to low ratings, will always be available due to the very nature of the blockchain. But that begs the question: Does an action have to be absolute to be considered censorship?
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of censor (v.) is:
to examine in order to suppress or delete anything considered objectionable
According to that definition, suppressing information is also considered censoring.
Does flagging plagiarists and spam constitute a form of censorship?
Is censoring necessarily a bad thing?
The short answer; yes, flagging is a soft form of censorship, and no, that's not necessarily something that's bad. We all use our votes, our stake, to decide on the content that gets put here, and that can be beautiful. But it's not likely to be sustainable if we allow dissenting views to be punished.
With the need for witnesses to derive consensus on all future decisions that shape this platform, the very existence of steemit is predicated upon our ability to handle disputes as a community. By taking the proper steps and being vigilant, we, as a community, can help to ensure a flourishing open market of ideas while also keeping spammers, scammers, and plagiarists at bay.
@freezepeach intends to neutralize "opinion flags" by (eventually) matching them vest-for-vest in the hopes it will dissuade users from focusing on the negative, and instead use their weight to reward content they like. This may also have the added benefit of incentivizing flaggers to comment with arguments or reasons they flagged, instead of letting the flag speak for itself. To provide transparency throughout, every post that is upvoted will be resteemed, and every comment that is upvoted will be featured in biweekly/weekly updates, along with other announcements or changes.
Defining a term like "opinion flagging" will be an ever-evolving process, but in general, here are some key elements to look for:
- Flags on controversial topics
- No comment from the flagger
- No history of plagiarism, abuse, scams, spam, or flag wars for the flagged user
@freezepeach will like to help with all those who have been flagged for difference of opinion, but will likely abstain if the victim goes on the attack and becomes an abuser themselves.
With this service, users are given another avenue of dispute resolution, instead of feeling all alone and taking upon themselves, potentially escalating the situation.
How you can help:
- Do not send donations. For the sake of impartiality, all donations will be sent back.
- Follow @freezepeach to help upvote content that has been flagged, and to get an idea of what gets upvoted by this service.
- Delegate SP only after you've seen the content that has been resteemed. and are sure you want to help.
If you have any posts/comments that you would like reviewed, or have any questions or concerns about this service, come join the discussion at freezepeach's very own discord server.
PLEASE NOTE: It is guaranteed that @freezepeach will upvote something you don't like. This isn't about deciding who is right, this is about allowing people to speak. This project is ran by @r0nd0n, or on discord as r0nd0n#5176.