There has been a lot of drama lately on steemit! Anyone who's been around for a while knows that this is nothing new, but for new users this can be a really confusing situation.
Unfortunately I am seeing a lot of people that are confused by what is going on and are getting caught in the crossfire. This confusion and misunderstanding of how steem works is causing a lot of hurt, anger, hate, and sadness. I have spent much of the last 24 hours trying to educate people through comments to help them get a better understanding of how steem works so that they can avoid hurting themselves and others. I thought that I had better post my thoughts in one place so that I can share it with anyone that doesn't know what to think about this situation.
(I am oversimplifying and might not have the timeline completely correct but I am just trying to use this as an example of the principles for us to learn from.)
First off, a little background. Basically there was an account called Haejin that joined steemit and shares technical analysis information on various cryptocurrencies that many people follow to get trading tips. He posts several times a day and has gained a fairly large following of mostly small accounts.
One day, a whale (someone with a lot of steem power) named ranchorelaxo started giving 100% upvotes to Haejin for several hundred dollars per vote. Is this a problem? No, rancho has every right to upvote who ever he chooses.
Now let me take a quick aside and explain where the steem payouts come from.
There is a rewards pool that is paid out every day. The way that it is distributed is decided by people upvoting and downvoting posts. When you upvote a post you are saying that you think that it deserves more of the rewards pool. When you downvote a post you are saying that it deserves less. Your vote is weighted by how much steem power you have. Everyone has the right to vote how they choose to help us distribute the rewards pool as fairly as possible.
When you have a post that has been voted by people you will see it say "pending payout" this amount will go up and down based on the upvotes and downvotes that you will get over the first 7 days. At the end of the 7 days, you are paid that amount. You are not entitled to any of it before the 7 days are up. People are not "giving you money" when they upvote you and they are not "stealing it from you" when they downvote you. They are simply helping to decide how much of the reward pool you should get for that post. If we accept the upvotes, we have to accept the downvotes.
Ok, back to the story!
So the more money Haejin gets from the reward pool, the less everyone else gets. This is fine because we all get to upvote and downvote to help decide how much each post should get paid.
Several people noticed the Haejin was getting a huge amount of the reward pool and started downvoting the posts to give some of that money back to the reward pool for everyone else. Is this a problem? No, these people have every right to downvote posts that have higher rewards than they think they deserve. This is an important part of steem to help to distribute the reward pool more evenly.
Haejin took this as a personal attack and started downvoting the posts by the people that downvoted him out of revenge. Is this a problem? Yes, the only time you should downvote a post is if you disagree with the amount of money the post is getting or you think it is spam, abuse, or plagerism. Revenge is not a reason and is frowned on by the community.
Another notable whale berniesanders who generally goes on downvoting crusades on accounts that he feels are abusive stepped in. He started downvoting Haejin and his followers in retaliation. Is this a proplem? Yes, again remember what downvotes are for. If you want to counteract the abuse by Haejin, you should simply upvote the posts that he wrongfully downvoted. And again, if you disagree with how much Haejin gets with his posts you can downvote his posts. You should not, however, start downvoting for revenge, even when you feel you are justified.
So to sum up, what happened here was someone disagreed with Haejin's rewards and flagged. Haejin got angry and started revenge flagging. Berniesanders came back and revenge flagged back. Rinse and Repeat.
Now let's look at what should happen. Someone disagrees with Haejin's rewards and flags them. People either agree and do nothing or disagree and upvote Haijin more to compensate for the flag. Haejin accepts the upvotes and the downvotes and continues creating posts.
Well what if someone is revenge flagging? Then we downvote the posts we don't agree with and upvote anything they downvote to counteract it. One of the great features of steemit is the voting power mechanism. When you upvote or downvote anything, your voting power goes down and slowly recharges back to 100%. This means that if one person is upvoting or downvoting a lot, their votes get weaker and weaker. If we all counteract the downvotes of the revenge flagger, eventually their power will be depleted and they give up.
In conclusion, we should use our upvotes and downvotes with care. We should never use downvotes as weapons. We should not support people that are using them as weapons. If either side would stop doing that, there would be no war. Just one person obviously in the wrong and the community will decide what to do about it by upvoting and downvoting accordingly.
Hopefully this clears up some of the confusion. Please correct any errors you see with my post.
Feel free to share this with anyone that is confused by this whole situation.
In the next few days I will share with you an idea that I think would help with these types of situations. Basically it would introduce checks and balances to voting power by revamping the reputation system to something like User Authority or a web of trust and making your voting power based 50% on your steem power and 50% on your reputation. So look forward to that.