OPEN LETTER TO @WHALES: please be mindfull with your MASS-DOWNVOTES before it's to latesteemCreated with Sketch.

in #steem5 years ago
111.jpgI believe that currently, most Steemit users are aware of the latest changes which followed HF21 and HF22.

Especially HF21 has brought many extreme emotions ...

INTRODUCTION

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I've read a number of interesting publications related to that recent forks, however, most authors seem to focus on the new 50/50 reward split, non-linear rewards curve and benefits of new free downvote pool.

And today, I would like to focus on that latest improvement: free downvlote pool. I see this as a crucial topic which doesn't get enough attention.

Lately, I've witness groups of users teaming up and looking for other targets that they could mass-downvote to their satisfaction. And many people out there express satisfaction, whenever they can join mass-downvoting and sending one user after another into "oblivion".

PROBLEM I SEE

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Dear readers, try to imagine a community in which people who have the largest stake (wealthy ones) are receiving new weapons.

A tool that allows them to punish anyone who doesn't follow and obey their own 'code of ethics' and unwritten rules. Imagine that you could lose your hand whenever they would decide that you deserve that (regardless of your crime). Or sentence you to death, without any warning or even without letting you know what you did wrong.

Imagine a world full of small local of wealthy warlords, who started "cleaning" the world from unwanted people and targeting them for crimes that were not considered 'crimes' until now. A world where those warlords do not take any responsibility for their own actions (and there is no power that could regulate their behaviors or punish them for wrong decisions.

This is how I see Steemit right now. And I feel so sorry for all those users, who's accounts and sometimes months of work ruined just within a day. Very few users with a large stake, seem to even try to put himself/herself in shoes of those who are being flagged/downvoted for reasons they usually do not understand.

So many of them act like simple "downvotes" would solve the problem.

EXCELLENT EXAMPLE

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I understand that fighting abuse is generally a very noble thing to do, we all still should think twice if receiving punishment is equal to the crime.

Please have a look at this example of a user, who has been mass downvoted and his reputation went down from 40 to 12, simply because he used a picture, which was coming from a free picture site so he was allowed to use it without giving credit to this site:

Honestly, sadness was all I felt while reading this comment. I'm really sad for all those vulnerable users who will suffer for reasons they sometimes do not understand.

How many of you would continue your efforts on the Steemit platform, knowing that you got downvoted so badly to the point that your publications are no longer visible to anyone?

IMPORTANT QUESTION

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Is it really the way to go?

How much longer can Steemit endure with unregulated "militia" (wealthy users with their own visions).

Militia that can punish anyone they target without any given warning, without adding to a blacklist of people being warned, without taking any responsibility for their actions and possible mistakes.

We can call them militia, we can call them warlords. Either way, those users are absolutely above the law. Their invested wealth allowed many of them to become THE LAW. And it's absolutely scary ...

IT'S TIME FOR REFLECTION

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I strongly believe that it's time for solid reflection, before it's too late.
On one hand, so many people are trying to onboard new users,

...but at the same time many of those users are being discouraged by being targeted. Often without warning, without a second chance and sometimes without any option but to power down.

After all, what would you do if you would become downvoted till your reputation is close to zero and your publications are no longer visible to anyone .... would you still stick around?

Those newbies more often than not are coming to conclusions, that the Steemit platform is very complicated, with a huge learning curve, there is pretty much noone supporting their efforts and helping them to get some traffic. However, there are many people eager to punish them for "doing wrong".

Let's make it clear: I'm not fully against downvoting and I see great work done by users like @theycallmedan and many others, however it's very obvious that something needs to change. Or we will end up killing the remaining of our small userbase and turning STEEM blockchain into club of "wealthy and privileged only" users.

Not to mention that users who will be "forced to quit" Steemit will probably never come back and will share their awful story with others. Is that what we really want? To bring so much negative PR to our platform?

Something really need to change. And we should start with acknowledging the problem and thinking of solutions.

IT'S IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER:

Right now we're building downvoting culture and results of our actions will stay with us for very long time.

RESTEEM IF YOU CAN
Yours, Piotr

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Piotr

There is bound to be some abuse of the downvotes, just as there was before the HF. You come up with one example but don't name the person or who is doing the downvoting.

There are quite literally thousands of accounts which have been placed on blacklists for a range of abuses on the platform including vote farming, spamming, plagiarism, circle jerks, bid-bot abuse etc. I'm not kidding on that. Install the extension steemblacklist and watch as your make your way around.

So who is this one person who claims to have used public domain graphics and was heavily downvoted? Who did the downvoting? If the person is truly innocent then there are those who could be interested in helping. Be aware, is not the first time I've howls of innocence and have learned the current bad action is just the tip of the ice-berg.

I don't personally take part in doing much downvoting. That is my choice. But, if I come across someone misusing the platform, I do choose to.

I have always watched some of those currently engaged in downvoting platform abusers doing so at the expense of their potential income and often without support. There is two sides to the argument.

IF the current level of downvoting makes some of those abusers either go away or stop their bad behaviour, then the move is better than I expected it to be. Discouraging the abuse makes the platform more attractive. It's not like people can just have their accounts shut down like on other platforms.

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A lot of utopian ideals on steemit get dashed on the rocks of human depravity as they do in the world at large. The law of unintended consequences is irrevocable this side of the fall.

Late BIG THX for your supportive comment @armadilloman

Yours, Piotr

Steemit is converting to DrugWars

Hi crypto.piotr, I think it's important to have changes, which affects the system in a good way. As it seemed in the first look, the HF21 was looking promising. More curation, less sh.tposts...but it seems to me, that it started to be used in a bad way. Yes, you are right with the downvotes, it might not serve just as a tool to "improve steemit", but also as a revenge fighting place such as DrugWars. Okay, DrugWars is just a game, where you can earn some DGW tokens (STEEM previously), but still a game. I really think this kind of behaviour should stay there. I think this might change a bit in the future when the "olympic sport" of downvoting will not be as amusing as it is right now after changing the rules that way.

Great comment @ritxi

Indeed. One thing that scares me the most is the fact that we can fight with different sort of abuse on steem blockchain, but there is absolutely nothing can be done to those who abuse downvotes. That's scary.

Imagine that steem competition in order to destroy this community would only have to invest less than half million usd, spread it between accounts, power up and steadily be targeting few users at the time. How long would it take for most of those users to quit steemit? probably not that long

Yours
Piotr

Indeed it might happen, but I still hope rationality and positiveness will succeed and win.

Hello Dear Friend, I would like to thank you for writing this post. It is as if you and I share a the same inner thoughts, the way you verbalised it is actually far better that I could have. The imagery you created is spot on, as someone who originated from Africa and was constantly having to be worried for myself or my family that we could be attacked at any point, I echo the sentiments that Steem should not go that way.

Putting downvote power in the hands of people who have money but may not be qualified to be objective or to contain their emotions is highly dangerous. I am on Steem today because of the positive sentiment I received from whales in the beginning for my ideas and not because I was met with a hostile downvote, I certainly would not be.

I understand the need to prevent abuse and think it has its place, but the same as the law prevents vigilantism, there should be rather one accountable body that to the best of their ability evaluates posts against properly defined criteria and not just give a gun with daily free bullets to everyone who has an opinion of who should be shot at for whatever reason they personally decide.

If you look at the latest buildteam post, we have started to give away 20% of post rewards by setting @null or @steem.dao as beneficiary, this is likely to give users some reprieve from being downvoted and some immunity when promoting their posts, but not guaranteed, especially if post quality is dubious.

However one member of our team members who relies on income from translating a weekly a weekly post for us had this to say:

i feel like we are giving away our meal to the bullies at school while doing this

Also my team reports that alot of users are leaving Steem, I personally fear this will become a policed state, I came to Steem because it embodied the spirit of freedom which is what crypto is all about, I now feel that it will become a place where bullying will become rampant and many lives will be destroyed, I now live in a country that has very low violence but workplace bullying is very high, which leads to emotional damage and high suicide rates, this is a massive social problem and by going this route of empowering whales with downvotes without evaluating their character and ideals to wield such downvotes is highly dangerous.

I will continue to monitor the situation and receive feedback from users such as yourself.

Dear @thecryptodrive

Thank you for your time. Amazing comment. I'm glad to know that we're on the same page and we see those issues.

Today I've noticed another excellent example of being mass-downvoted without a warning. My good friend ulqu3 was away for quite some time and he posted something the other day and used bidbots to push it to trending page.

Try to guess what happened to his publication? Few solid flags from different users and noone did bother to explaining why is he being downvoted. That's the easiest way of "killing" our userbase :( Unfortunatelly.

Putting downvote power in the hands of people who have money but may not be qualified to be objective or to contain their emotions is highly dangerous.

You nailed it!

It's really time to build awareness and ensure that large steem stakeholders do not feel like they are "the law".

Thanks for sharing link to your latest post. Will check it out right away :)

Enjoy your weekend buddy,
Cheers, Piotr

As we both know, downvotes when used properly are good for the Steem economy as they preclude the efficacy of redirecting inflation to things that are not helpful such as spam, plagiarism, or low effort miners of bid bot votes.

It is important for us to encourage a good worth ethic within the Steem culture and that is where I see downvotes as having a certain utility. There is a bad side when they are not used properly such as in cases of content agnostic revenge flagging.

Here are a few things I believe we should remember to downvote or flag properly:

  1. Leave constructive feedback
  2. Keep your emotions out of it.
  3. Try to view the whole picture of the value the post brings to the network rather than focusing on one thing
  4. Don't flag for ideological reasons.

I could expand on all of these but one in particular I would like to speak on is #4. Let's say you disagree about some conspiracy theory but there is an author on Steem producing content supporting that theory.

Let's say they go all out in the presentation. They create images, GIFs, and the language is superb... But ideologically you disagree with the premise.

That's ok. We can agree to disagree but that does not mean we ought to downvote it. Nobody is saying you have to upvote it, either.

Personally, I may give it an upvote just to reward the time and effort even if it is something I do not agree with ideologically.

That bring said.. My upvotes are not to be seen as endorsement neither are my downvotes the opposite. I vote based on perceived value of the content irrespective of the ideas or beliefs they espouse.

Now, it is true I may gravitate towards curating those that represent my worldview but that is my right and everyone else's as well.

Thanks for bringing this topic to the forefront.

You see what @smidge-tv just did. That would be called an opinion or revenge flag.

(He used to get flagged by us for spamming copy/paste YT videos)

Thanks for providing an example of what NOT to do, Smidge.

Dear @anthonyadavisii

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Have a look at what happened with my own publication. For no reason it has been downvoted by few powerful accounts and all SP in rewards (none coming from bots) were cleared out.

Over half million SP behind downvotes, without any explanation why I was flagged so hard.

I never felt so discouraged to continue my adventure on Steem blockchain, the way I am today ....

cc: @achim03, @devann, @oivas, @definethedollar, @missaj, @goldmanmorgan, @deirdyweirdy, @fucho80, @zekepickleman, @minimining, @yonnathang, @alokkumar121, @juanmolina, @dm312, @movingman, @maxbow, @xpilar, @newhope, @majes, @majes.tytyty, @mariusfebruary, @deathcross, @digital-wisdom, @futuremind, @shadowspub, @wakeupkitty

I've been looking at this since the notification and trying to compose some thoughts for you, but this one is tough, because to me it defies any semblance of logic.

I think you jumped into the snake pit with this post my friend. I admire your courage to speak about something that many might be afraid to address in this space.

The powers that be implement the code, and we take what we get. It reminds me of of the general social structure of the world. It isn't much different is it? The one's at the top dictate what is good for all of us, and unless people unite with common goals, nothing ever changes. The polarization of society makes it pretty difficult. (People don't agree on things..)

I find you to be someone who does their best on Steem, and you think of creative ways to build community. Regardless of some of the backlash you've received, I can only see it as a projection of other peoples problems. You do a fine job. Don't let this get you down my friend. I hope this doesn't discourage you to the point of quitting. That is a real danger , an implosion of the ecosystem, people will not continually stick around if they get bullied post after post.

Best wishes @crypto.piotr,
@futuremind

Good morning @futuremind

I recently responded to one of your tags, and you didn't even respond back.. Perhaps it just wasn't drama oriented enough for you?

I'm sorry for not replying earlier. I've been sick for couple of days and I'm only slowly catching up with replying to all comments. I surely didn't mean to ignore you and I appreciate your time.

It's sad to know that you think that all I care about is creating dramma. I hope you can see my point of view: this post wasn't about me and about any dramma at all. I tried (in the most polite and mature way) bring up issue that is really affecting many users.

Personally I know several users, who has been affected with mass downvotes and some of them already decided to quit this platform. I still see it as a problem and please allow me to give you another great example: @ulqu3

This user just posted something after being away for quite some time. He then upvoted his publication using bidbots and got heavily downvoted. Which would be okey, as long as someone would bother to inform him why is he being flagged by so many people.

This is the problem I've been trying to underline. It's important to create healthy mindset of those powerful stakeholders. It's not about creating dramma (as you suggested in other comment).

Thank you again for your reply.

Yours,
Piotr

Yes, the drama comment was unfair of me to say. I was wrong for that Piotr. I really don't think you are drama oriented. I was in a shitty mood, and shouldn't have even responded in that moment.
I am sorry for saying that.

I actually very much agree with the downvote problem. If a large stake holder is going to take away someones rewards, they certainly should comment with reason. I really wish downvotes were never implemented into the system to begin with. There are some logical arguments to why they need to be there, but I see mostly negative outcomes from the implementation, and I think a better system could have been designed.

I'm a top stake holder in the weedcash community. It's very specific to cannabis related content. We try to keep it on topic, and we utilize flags when necessary. We have a specific system though, where if a user posts out of context, they get a free pass on the first post. We notify them that they have utilized the tag incorrectly, and no flag is given. If they continue to post out of context, then we flag. Some might even disagree with this system as well, but the idea is to show some compassion, because it could be a new user who just made a mistake. We want to encourage, not discourage.

It's easier in the niche tribe communities that are specific to topics, but not so easy in the main tags, because it comes down to difference of opinion, and we are not all going to agree on things. In this sense, I see flags as inefficient and detrimental to the ecosytem, and as you stated, something that has the potential to influence people to quit completely. That is a loss for steem.

When I say you jumped into the snake pit, I do not mean it in a drama oriented way, and stated it was something that I felt admiration for, because it takes courage to talk about something that could result in flags. I do feel you are pretty courageous.

Thank you again for responding maturely to my rather immature comment.

PS. I hope you are making a quick recovery and feeling better.

Best regards,
@futuremind

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Brother @crypto.piotr:

With my little knowledge I can affirm that those negative votes were made by the same person. These downvotes were issued in the same minute of time. These accounts must be related in some way.

Then this "punishment" obeys the criteria of a single "mind."

Do not feel sad about this. It was simply an excessive action of a human being with a lot of SP but without any scruples.

As you know, I had a similar experience of being subjected to downvotes. My response was to simply let it pass. I took a few days off, stayed away, and revitalized my personal motivation and agenda.

Of course, the support I got from you and numerous other Steemit compatriots helped a lot.

It took a while to get over the discouragement, but now I'm back. Once again, I'm enjoying composing posts.

I hope you find yourself re-inspired and rejuvenated. Cheers!

Yeah, I remember your unpleasent experience @majes.tytyty

Did anyone contact you and warned you that using bidbots will be punishable before you received downvotes?

Yours
Piotr

Yes, I was contacted by a Steemer named @lordbutterfly. His message(s) were blunt, rude, and very undiplomatic. At first, I had no idea why he contacted me.

Whatever ... it's in the past now. Let's make the best of the New Steem.

Cheers!

Unfortunatelly lordbutterfly isn't very polite. I also encountered his not really pleasent comments few times.

Hope you're not discouraged @majes.tytyty

I was a bit discouraged, but I'm well over that nonsense, and I'm back to the "enthusiastic" level. Creating posts regularly, and enjoying it.

Last night, I went to HUG gym restaurant for their amazing plate of chicken cutlets and huge salad. Sat at the same table in the same chair, but missed my good friend Piotr.

Hope you are doing well in Poland. Also, I hope that someday soon, the price of Steem and other cryptos will ascend to their "proper" levels, and that then we can arrange to meet somewhere ... in Europe or SE Asia, maybe.

Cheers!

Friend @crypto.piotr, a few hours ago comment on your post, then I come and I find this.

Very accurate your words I really think that it is a mistake that should be corrected, I do not understand why someone is censured and punished simply for sharing their opinion regarding the changes made, we need to be more responsible when using the negative feedback for not harm someone who has exemplary behavior within this community.

Strength friend, we must move on, I am sure that this can be solved and these people reflect to withdraw that negative vote.

@fucho80

This is a mature approach and standard, sadly many will fall short.

Posted using Partiko iOS

@smidge-tv why are you downvoting this?

If you look above and read you may figure it out. Everything in life isn't always as it appears.

I agree with you. There is plenty of content I vote for simply because it is good and well written although I am not interested in the subject. I do not care about that. I love to read and it still can be a good read.

The only problem is where to go if they start hunting you to break your neck because it is a great sport or to prove they can? Who will stop this? Where to get your right?

We all are here and invest in Steem.
Some with money, others by writing..

💕

Posted using Partiko Android

Hi @anthonyadavisii

I was just going through some older replies and I realized that I never thanked you for taking the time to write this comment.

Appreciate it a lot,
Piotr

"Let's say you disagree about some conspiracy theory but there is an author on Steem producing content supporting that theory."

I will downvote anything that is a lie like pizzagate. Or that goes against coventional scientific wisdom like Anti Vaccine posts. Its not about opinions or disagreement. This place is a cesspool of disinformation

Think it looks better from the positions of "orthodoxy" to actually articulate a counter argument demonstrating how it is disinformation.

It's easy to dismiss whole theories that are unpopular but takes a bit more effort to attack the underlying supports or things they use to try and substantiate said theory.

Also,I do believe it's healthy for scientific consensus to be challenged so the things we assume to be so can be re-examined. I mean people have believed some wonky shit take blood letting for instance.

Hi @crypto.piotr

There is nothing wrong with your article, you ask questionable questions about flagging and many here have answered you. Of course, the meaning of flagging is different from person to person.

I have used flagging myself, but not without reason.
I have always explained and given warnings before going to that step.
In fact, it has also led to some of the warnings I gave to get on the right path and they wanted help understanding what they could do and not do in Steemit.
Some of them are actually my friends today in Steemit.
Flag them without telling why it would be possible for them to get away from this platform and tell their friends about it.

I think everyone needs a warning first about why they can be flagged. And when we give a flag there should be a comment box that we must use before we can access the flag.

Everyone here at Steemit was new users once and many made mistakes including myself.

Flagging someone to use the wrong tag without saying why is the same as not teaching something to others, but putting yourself to the judge without elucidating the case for them

I have also seen that there have been several new small accounts lately that just take advantage of flagging me for no reason.
But I do not want to start a war against them, it will not be right
They do not post and do not respond to inquiries.
Such accounts should be able to be logged and stopped.

I hope you continue with your quality posts and that people will give their support to you.

Dear @xpilar

I only had a chance to read your comment and I would like to thank you for sharing your thoughts.

I think everyone needs a warning first about why they can be flagged. And when we give a flag there should be a comment box that we must use before we can access the flag.

I love that idea! I never thought about it. That could help.

Flagging someone to use the wrong tag without saying why is the same as not teaching something to others, but putting yourself to the judge without elucidating the case for them

Absolutely! You nailed it!

We're clearly on the same page here. I know that downvotes can (and are) being used by many large stake holders to make steemit a better place, but it's obvious that there is huge room for abuse and there is very little (or nothing) we can do to prevent that.

My goal was to point out the problem. Problem which really exist. I can even give another example: ulqu3 - he has been away from steemit for a longer while. Came back, posted something and used bidbots to boost his post to trending page. He got number of heavy downvotes, but noone bothered to tell him what did he do wrong. Not even one warning or explanation.

I already know several similar examples and it's not hard to imagine and understand, that many of those users will quit steemit. And that worries me.

I hope you continue with your quality posts and that people will give their support to you.

Absolutely appreciate it. Enjoy your weekend,
Piotr

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While I understand that downvoting may be necessary in some extreme cases, what I suspect will happen is that instead of tackling the real abusers, easy targets will be picked off while the worst offenders continue unmolested because they're too big to take on.

To avoid that you can downvote thosre posts if they do not follow the rules. I doubt it will hurt them but at least you are honest.
If it comes to downvoting the rules are for everyone.

💕

Posted using Partiko Android

Late thank you for dropping by and for your comment @deirdyweirdy

Enjoy your weekend, Piotr

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