IMPORTANT: Abuse reporting framework

in steem •  3 years ago 

Please ACTUALLY READ this post

As was to be expected, we start seeing posts from scammers and plagiarists. Steem being a blockchain, posts cannot be deleted, but they can be downvoted which is an effective way of pushing them off the listings but requires sufficient voting power. As the content and number of users is growing at an exponential pace, it won't be practical to expect that sufficient voting power will be available and cover all content being posted at all time. The #reportabuse tag is meant to be a central place to report abuses so that Steemers concerned with keeping the network clean may help downvoting infringing posts.

What to report

Please report following posts to #reportabuse:

  • Plagiarism (shameless copy/paste from external content). Note that not all copy/pasting is plagiarism. It's usually tolerated as a usage, and legal in many jurisdictions under the "right to quote" umbrella, to quote extracts from someone else's work so long as the extract covers only a small portion of the work, and unambiguously gives credit to the original author. There is no exact definition of what a "small portion" of a work is exactly, and this is left to common sense. What is tolerated on Steem as "right to quote" will change with time, please observe the outcome of plagiarism related moderation and adjust your threshold accordingly. A few examples: self-attributed quotation of someone else's work is plagiarism; copy/paste of an entire photo gallery without author's explicit consent is plagiarism; reproduction of public domain or open sourced content with proper license mention and credits is not plagiarism.
  • Fake profile: introduction posts that show strong elements of forgery
  • Spam: reckless promotion of products, persons or services out of the right category and/or too repetitive
  • Scams: posts that show strong elements of fraud like forgery, misrepresentation, impersonification of someone else, attempt to receive undue payment, deceitful advertisement etc.
  • Misplaced indecent content: indecent or age-restricted content in particular pornographic content should be tagged "[NSFW]" in title and posted to the appropriate tags and only these tags
  • Unethical content: content considered to be unethical or illegal in most jurisdictions like child pornography, apology of violence, terrorism or racism etc. Note that Steem being a blockchain, it doesn't fall under any specific jurisdiction, so legality cannot really be determined for sure. Moderation decisions by the community will likely converge stronger on consensus around ethics / morality rather than legality, but legality is still a good hint do decide whether to make a report.
  • Serious cases of libel / defamation / character assassination: serious baseless accusations that cannot be resolved through discussion with the author. For example someone spewing thread after thread accusing someone of something reputation damaging without evidence. Note that libel doesn't apply with fictional characters.

What not to report

All the content that doesn't appear to be unethical or illegal should be allowed to stay, regardless of people's personal position toward the matter. Note that legality is relative to jurisdiction, morality is relative to culture and both are largely subjective so there is no surefire way to determine that something is definitely wrong. Posts that fall in the gray zone but are sufficiently controversial can be reported, and left for Steemers to decide, in the same way as things are currently handled at collaborative websites as Wikipedia. Please always apply common sense, and be aware of what the community agrees to be OK even if that doesn't fit your standard so that we can avoid over-reporting.

Misbehavior isn't the same as abuse

This tag is not for reporting misbehavior. Misbehavior is to be handled directly in situ using voting. Examples of things that should not be reported in #reportabuse but dealt with directly in the thread

  • trolling
  • astroturfing
  • begging
  • controversy
  • mud slinging

Serious cases can be discussed in tag #moderation, but it's unlikely that anyone will have the time to police misbehavior. This may change in the future when Steem Power is better distributed. But this is likely overkill at the moment.

Before you report

If the abuse you notice is mild, please try to discuss with the author first before reporting the case. If the author doesn't answer or is not cooperative, you may report the case. Serious abuse should be reported directly.

How to report

Make a post using #reportabuse as main tag
The title should describe a precise yet concise description of the abuse: eg "Ripoff of Instragram photo gallery"
The body of the message should contain:

  • short explanation of what the abuse is
  • link to the infringing post(s). If there are several post in a series, put all the links in the same message.

Be objective and stick to facts

Remember: never attribute to malice what can be equally explained by stupidity.
Refrain from judging intent, and stick to the facts.
Refrain from being libellious toward the poster who infringed.

Innocent until found guilty

Reporting works on the base of "innocent until found guilty". Do not assume that something is improper just because it was reported in #reportabuse. If you choose to check some report post, do remember to be objective before making a decision and to let your moral compass make the decision. It will happen that some posts are reported due to overreaction, malice, misunderstanding or lack of perspective.

Dealing with unjustified reports

Should you feel that the report is unjustified, please say so in comment of the reporting post in #reportabuse and downvote the reporting post instead of the reported post. If you feel that other moderators intervention was unjust, you may also choose to upvote the reported post to compensate.

Dealing with justified reports

If on the other hand, you believe that the reported post is indeed infringing on etiquette, please downvote the reported post, and upvote the reporting post in #report abuse. You may also want to comment in the reporting post if you think there is matter to controversy but don't bother if it's an obvious case.

Don't be an a**hole

Steem is meant to allow a constructive and friendly social media experience. Don't spend your time scrutinizing everybody's posts for clues of misdoings. Engage normally with the content, without being judgemental. Don't sweat the small stuff. When you run into something wrong, you'll know it, because it will feel wrong. And discussing with the author will usually solve the situation, or make it downright outrageous. So long as nothing upsets your moral compas or raises an eyebrow, it's probably all good.


This is not a text of law. This is only a tentative abuse reporting framework. I encourage you to follow it. But if you do not agree with what is written in this post do not apply it: after all this is a decentralized network. Please provide feedback in comment. I will collate feedback and update the post accordingly. Subsequent updates will be announced on #steem and #reportabuse.

This is public domain. Feel free to copy, adapt and modify.

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  ·  3 years ago (edited)

Fantastic post. Thank you recursive. This is an excellent framework for us all to contribute towards. Nothing is perfect, but if we all do our best to stay courteous....we can work through any ambiguity.

You already said it for me. Thank you :-)

Nice one recursive!

I've been downvoting mainly to make sure that spammers don't get any money. Usually "you get what you pay for" so it's important to discourage spamming with downvotes.

Good point on "innocent until proven guilty." I got a little overzealous last night on an obvious fake account, but if it somehow had been real, I would really have had egg on my face then.

Remaining calm and polite is important - lesson learned going forward.

Here here! Unfortunately these kind of fantastic posts are ignored.

I wish i had seen this 4 weeks ago....thanks for putting this together

This is a good article and should be reposted to keep people aware that there are actions that can be taken to keep people honest. Thank you

Loving the second last paragraph and ditto. Cheers ;)