Proposal to make spam less profitable

in #steem6 years ago (edited)

There is little cost to adding spam to the blockchain. Accounts are given a limited amount of bandwidth to use, but as long as they stay within those limits - they can create as many posts and comments as they want for free. What users do with those posts and comments is entirely up to them. Some use them to create content that adds value to the network. Others post spam that does nothing more than annoy users and add garbage to the permanent storage of the blockchain.

One thing that I think increases the amount of spam is the fact that there is a small chance of earning rewards - even if the posts/comments suck. If a user posts 10,000 "nice post" comments in a month, and 10% of them earn a few pennies worth of rewards - then that is still a profitable business model.

One change that I think would help address this is to increase the amount of rewards a post/comment must reach before it gets a non-zero payout. Currently if a post/comment earns 0.001 to 0.019 SBD worth of rewards - this is rounded down to 0.00. If a post/comment earns at least 0.02 SBD - then they receive their reward.

If we increased this threshold up to 0.10 SBD, or even 0.25 or 1.00 SBD - then posts/comments that did not receive sufficient votes to pass this threshold would receive zero payout. This would likely decrease the incentive for users to create spam.

Technical Details

For those of you who aren't interested in the technical details, feel free to skip this section. It gets a little nerdy :)

Here is the section of code that is currently checking the "dust threshold" (0.02 SBD). If posts/comments do not reach this threshold, the payout is rounded down to zero.

This is the definition of the function, where it does the computation:

Here is where the threshold is set to 0.020 SBD:

Feedback Requested

What do people think of this change?

  • Do you think it will help with spam?
  • What do you think the 'right' threshold should be?
  • What are the potential negative consequences?
  • Do the "pros" outweigh the "cons"?
  • What other suggestions are there?

Note: There are currently no plans to implement this. I am just proposing it to see what people's thoughts are. If it seems like there is a lot of support for it, then further discussion on whether it should be included in a future hardfork would be needed. (So far, it is just an idea.)


This post has been resteemed from MSP3K courtesy of @aggroed from the Minnow Support Project ( @minnowsupport ).

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Tim, this is a terrible idea. Wanting to reduce spam is a noble goal, however doing that through limiting the potential for comment rewards doesn't seem like the right way to go about it (especially with your suggestion of 0.5 or even 1 SBD!). It may help discourage spam, but at the cost of also discouraging legitimate discussion and harming the future of the platform.

I agree with you here. Reducing spam by making it less lucrative is a great idea. But this proposal is just another symptom treatment that ignores the actual disease.

Spamming can be more easily and effectively handled by blockchain protocols that were already working in the past. And they can be handled by actually applying bandwidth restrictions that were meant to explicitly deal with spamming.

Rounding rewards from $0.10 or $0.50 (or even $1.00!!!) down to zero isn’t a solution. Most users would be making nothing from interactions at that point. And without rewards, this place would be “dead.” Sad, but true.

How about we roll back full linear rewards (and find a better alterative to n2) and delegation (the two things that make spamming lucrative and reduce accountability and the engagement from “invested” users) and tighten bandwidth restrictions so that both comment and wallet spammers aren’t able to run wild with their scam promoting and block bloat? And at the same time, perhaps STINC can halt the creation of massive bot-nets via their sign-up process?

Tap-dancing around the causes of our many problems here won’t fix anything. They need to be confronted head-on. To do that, the sources of the problems need to be identified. But to do that, there needs to be an honest conversation about it...where criticism isn’t automatically/reflexively shut down in favor of endless cheerleading.

Boom that there is a good solution. raising it to .20 and even 1 dollar is just anti plankton.

So you are telling us to hold on until a nice whale takes notice of you but keep posting you'll get there eventually. Shakes my head.

yeah this is the most ridiculous idea ive heard in awhile. lol talk about repelling all new users to the platform.

Exactly! This is why I support your witness.

How about we roll back full linear rewards (and find a better alterative to n2)

I had an idea on that one a few days ago:

My own existence is a testament to the problem with account creation through steemit.


No one is censoring messages in this method, so there is no cost by applying a higher dust threshold. There is no discouragement either. There's only a 'quality' threshold before financial rewarding occurs.

The risk here is that insightful, value-adding comments won't get rewarded financially if they are not seen or upvoted by people with enough SP. I don't think that's a problem, those insightful, value-adding comments do get rewarded in other ways: relation-building, follower-growing, meaningful discussion, etc.

The problem with spam is that it's done purely for the financial incentive. Remove that incentive and you will drastically see the level of spam drop.

@timcliff: I really like the idea, but the actual value of the dust threshold (whether that's 0.1 SBD, 0.5 SBD, or any other value) should be part of a permanent discussion and always open to debate as the situation on the Steem platform changes.

There is no discouragement either.

Of course there is. I would be discouraged enough to leave the platform for

relation-building, follower-growing, meaningful discussion, etc.

Which is the reason I would leave for Minds. Minds is better at all of those. And soon Minds is getting a cryptocurrency as well. And as beta tester of that cryptocurrency: It looks like rewards for small accounts will be better on Minds.

Looks like their view-count and vote activity is already higher on some posts, and that's even without the crypto distributions attached? Wow. The site layout and the content doesn't seem too bad either.

Well, just to play devil's advocate - let's say we set the threshold to 0.10. If a comment doesn't receive enough votes (either from a large stakeholder or several small ones) in order to reach a 0.10 payout - is it actually adding sufficient value to the network to warrant a payout?

Yes, it is.

The value of the network is in the social interactions that occur.

What you're proposing is for everybody but the bigger accounts to get rekt. The big accounts already see their farts going over the threshold, while the entire essays by the small fish can't get over 0.01 a lot of the time.

Basically, your position is that only the big fish provide the value to the network. The rest of us don't count.

With the rep of 72 and 56k in SP, your experience here on steemit is definitely something most of us don't experience. As a member of the steemit's fledgling sports betting community, I've seen a ton of conversation taking place where the total payout doesn't go over 0.10. The real people having the real conversation. That is the real value of the network in my opinion.

Setting the limit at 0.10 is equal to pissing on the small fish. Make an account that can't be traced back to you and join one of the smaller communities here, see how much the upvotes you're getting are worth.

With such a terrible retention and engagement rates this platform has, you want to make it even worse. Try to remember what it looks like to be a small fish just starting out. Yes, 0.10 and 0.01 makes no difference, but it counts. It's a feedback you get, it's a sign you're doing something right. And if you can't remember (if you were always a big player), try to imagine at least.

As a relatively new user I can confirm this. In the beginning it is very hard to stay on track at steemit, because you are not very much seen in the first place and the UI is not very easy to use. I think it would be much better to think about ways to motivate and reward real people and make them contribute content than to get new barriers in place.

You're most welcome :-)

Sorry I took such an offensive tone. I've calmed down a bit after having a discussion with @tarazkp in the comments below.

The worth of the platform is in the number of real people having real discussions no matter their SP. What is the FB but a place where hundreds of millions of people are having discussions? Do their investors want fewer people on their platform? I think not.

I know, steemit is not the FB, but it isn't a knockoff of the either. Steemit is a different beast altogether, making it into medium or fb is a mistake in my mind.

Would you, as an investor, want to see a lot of real people creating real communities around their interest or a bunch of weak, artsy fartsy, attempts at writing by the second-rate authors (most of the

Of course, there are different schools of thoughts on what steemit is or should be. For some, it is just a prop for peddling STEEM/SBD. For them, a cheap knockoff of does the job.

I think that is the most shortsighted attitude towards this platform.

This thing can be huge, but the key to the platform's sustainability is the people that believe in it, the people that find it worth their while to invest their time and energy here.

The content is secondary in my opinion, it's all about the people. There are entire libraries of pirated books written by the most talented and intelligent humans that ever lived. You know how much people bothered to download them? You can count them on fingers. It's all about real people having the real conversations and meaningful discussions.

Spam is A problem (every platform has it), but engagement is THE problem this platform has. Cheers!

Well said! The main value of facebook is generated by the huge number of interacting users (I don't like facebook, but that doesn't affect the statement above).

Well said. I just got my Steem coffee mug and I just found out I can only vote at 100% once every 3 hours so my vote is not a lie - or else only vote on popular content. What a buzz kill.

As a member of the steemit's fledgling sports betting community...

You should find me on or Discord. I may be able to help with that.

Just sent a DM to @ats-david [ats-witness] on discord.

EDIT: I've tried to contact you on, but weren't able to. Anyhow, I'll drop a link on discord on something I'm thinking about doing in the near future. I would appreciate your feedback on it.

I like to encourage the readers to comment my articles by granting their comments 1 % upvotes (depending on the STEEM price that's about 0.1 dollar). I would consider it as counterproductive to void these small upvotes.

Instead of that one could limit the number of posts + comments per day and user which are qualified to earn money (that would be an incentive to make 'good' comments instead of many). In my opinion it was a big mistake to increase the number of four fully rewarded posts per day and user to 'unlimited'.

If a comment doesn't receive enough votes (either from a large stakeholder or several small ones) in order to reach a 0.10 payout - is it actually adding sufficient value to the network to warrant a payout?

I'm only 69 days old on Steemit. So there's LOTS I do not know.
What I have already figured out, quite early in, I may add, is that unless someone has $$/SP in their account, or one/several benefactors who do, content posted sinks fast.

What I already know is that many red fishes post their hearts out publishing good content, get some $0.00 upvotes from a small growing fan base and their posts NEVER even reach $0.01.

Are you saying that in an environment such as this, the $$ value of a post is the ONLY indicator of it's 'true' value? That $0.00 upvoting by non-big fish community members, because it has no financial value, has no value at all?

I'm truly confused here. I truly felt Steemit was a place where there was hope to work hard, meet and greet other community members via comments and slowly advance without a lot of money.

Then I realized it's necessary to get to that 500 SP level fast. Fine. A good goal to work towards.


Small peeps adding to the good content pool that will forever keep Steemit's SEO value high, now can't even collect the little few cents they may miraculously earn without the help of bots... just several $0.00 and $0.01 upvotes adding together?

The 'real' world already lacks vision and compassion and says most of the 7+ billion on the planet have no 'value'. I don't need to be on a platform that makes it plain as day in policies that work against the little person. If the 'poor's' content has no value, then maybe the poor don't need to be publishing here.

We can all find some other way to express our gifts, passions, make money then find somewhere to invest our money.

All most of us are looking for is a place we can share our talents, build a base of followers and advance based on a system that's constantly evolving to support, not sabotage that.

I may be looking at this the wrong way but does the fact that you @timcliff are making almost 100 sbd a week by delegating to minnow booster make you apart of the problem as anyone can buy upvotes no matter how spammy their posts are? Don't hate me for asking but it seems a bit hypocritical.

I do lease my SP to several users, but I have vetted them to ask what they plan to do with it, and I would remove the delegation if I found it wasn't being used in ways that benefit the platform.

Fair enough, it is in the best interests of us all to see the platform succeed and personally I'm not worried at all by the fact that we have a lot of spam earning a few cents here and there if it keeps those people engaged in the platform. Maybe when they have been here for a while and they realise that its in their best interests too for the platform to succeed they will try to improve their input and see the value beyond a quick buck. We are all on the same side.

0.10$ would mean 10 or even 20 minnows (new users, whatever) upvotes, at 100% Voting Power. If one does make 0.09$ by getting upvoted by 15 minnows, it will mean that its content is not worth anything, this is what you propose?

Well there is a perspective that they are not adding financial value to the platform. Will a conversation that is had between 15 minnows attract any new investors to the platform? Will it do anything to cause the price of STEEM to go up?

I am not trying to say that conversations among minnows are worthless, but I am asking you to think of it from an investor’s perspective.

Curious your thoughts.

I think you need to separate a few things here.

  1. Users

  2. Investors

  3. SMT

Tons of minnows interacting with eachother causes the Alexa Site Ranking to go higher. Which shows up more in search results. Minnows and people with almost 0 steempower add a lot of value in views/shares/word of mouth to interest more people to come into steemit. What if you had almost no minnows and everyone was just a small dolphin up to a whale? Do you think any investors want to come to this platform and see a bunch of dolphins and whales upvoting eachother for absurd amounts of money?

Investors, who and what do they want? heh. I think a supar majority of the whales/dolphins/minnows here have never bought any steem, so I think this is more of a thing to focus on for the future.

Which leads into SMTs, this is what investors are going to come here for. Looking at how successful fund raising is for ERC20 tokens on Ethereum blockchain, that is what investors do/care about. I don't think that you can have any kind of success with SMTs if you only have a few thousand dolphins/whales on this platform(vs millions of minnows).

I would take millions of minnows all day everyday over a few thousand dolphins/whales. Investors would to. A few thousand people don't make steemit(or the steem blockchain), they just earn the majority of rewards.

I hope my reasoning makes sense in this regard. Just trying to say that investors won't care about a platform that doesn't have millionws or tens of millions of users(minnows). Minnows are largely users and they won't ever earn much, but they still have a lot of value in many other ways.

Thanks for your question, it is a good one indeed and I was actually waiting for it. Let me answer it with another question:

Does the over 2 billion users of Facebook bring any value to it?

Actually they do, and they make it one of the most successful social media of this world, and we all know that it is a lot of lame content over there and a lot of misinformation. But economically speaking, with an increased number of users, comes a greater value of the platform. There will be advertisers who will pay for their content to be seen, there will be companies that will want their product to reach this market and this society that we all represent, and it will come with an increase in the price of Steem. There were a lot of them who took advantage of this blockchain in order to increase their popularity, and I am sure that there will be more if the Steem user base increases. My personal belief is that Steemit Inc. should focus more on this type of income that could sustain both the company and the blockchain on the long term. If a SP delegation or upvote could increase one's visibility and considering how much are people paying for that, think about it more when the userbase of Steem will be ten times higher. Or one hunderd times higher. If you can visualize that, well it will be just 5% of what facebook has right now.

I hope I have answered your question and excuse me if my answer is not that complete or correct gramatically speaking, I am writing this comment on my phone, at work :)

I am a redfish (here). I invite you to see who follows me on Twitter at BRIX617 and on Facebook Then ask if it would attract investors.

That said, I would not dare invite my celebrity, ecommerce, and science friends here now knowing how some of the others have been so deeply criticized, attacked, and received. At least not at this point.

Investors aren't going to just drop a million of their own dollars into this and walk away. No, they're going to want to leverage their investment and use the platform much the way the likes of Jerry Banfield, Joe Parys, and others.

You never know who someone is OFF steemit or how much money they have in real life. Thats why it's wise to not let ones steem ego control every decision.


What do you think are the main things keeping people from investing?


That's debatable. In the real world the biggest proportion of the populous could be called minnows, yet they are the ones that keep the money engine running and pumping the money back up to the big companies at the top. Cut off that population and where are the companies?

There are many legitimate reasons for commenting for a post or for a comment (like me, now) on steemit.

  • add one's opinion on the topic (this usually adds value to the post)
  • encourage the author of the post / comment
  • acknowledge or correct something in the post
  • offer help to a question (i.e. someone I don't know was asking for something in a comment, somewhere - and I replied to offer them answers)

There are times where comments can be more lengthy than the posts themselves!

In my opinion, there can be a character limit to avoid short sometimes meaningless comments.

We should focus in educating the users entering the platform and adding more support to them right from the beginning. (It took me 2 months to figure things out with loooots of search)

Also by making it easier for honest people who wish to join and cannot or need support and have to ask it through (non so legitimate) facebook groups (where everybody sells and buys fake accounts, sbds etc)

Dear @timcliff please do not get me wrong, I very much appreciate your efforts and work and you have also helped a friend of mine in the past...

But please, lets focus at

  • making steemit an inviting place - with easy to create accounts and great support to new members
  • making steemit a safe place
  • create a community around steemit that can support each other at whichever field we can

I am at your disposal if I could be of any assistance

Thanks :)

This is a great comment especially

making steemit an inviting place - with easy to create accounts and great support to new members
making steemit a safe place
create a community around steemit that can support each other at whichever field we can

It is hard enough not worrying about will my post just turn to dust now and if it is raisedd even further it will just send the message without money you are a zero.

or several small ones

I have votes with 7 upvotes and 0 payout. How many upvotes would you need?

is it actually adding sufficient value to the network to warrant a payout?

Wrong question: Will the network be adding sufficient value for me to stay.

You are removing what make your network unique (monetisation for small accounts) while the competition ( is catching on.

Steem is a stake based systems. Votes from users with more stake are worth more.

Will the network be adding sufficient value for me to stay.

Nobody is really entitled to rewards here. There are (unfortunately) lots of users that do add value that are under paid. Getting noticed is really one of the big struggles here. It is going to be the same on most platforms though. If anyone can just show up and start earning tons of money without adding value, then that is probably not a sustainable system.

Steem is a stake based systems. Votes from users with more stake are worth more.

Which is not a bad thing. For example on Minds all votes are the same and I am not sure that's a good idea. We see how that goes.

I am a bit on the middle ground here: I think a stake bases system is a good idea but I am unsure of an unlimited and linear stake based system because that is very difficult to balance.

Do you think it will help with spam?

Yes, it will remove span once for ever, there will be just some bots that were left alone to spam because their owners did not took the time to turn them off, but indeed, that will stop spam. I got a more important question, socially speaking:

Do we really want this?

Let me share a short story:

When I joined Steem for the first time, there were a lot of things to learn, and I was not that fast with them, considering my limited time. As a newbie without any follower, I struggled so hard to get noticed, since my posts were completely invisible and nobody knew or wanted to talk to me. So I relied on the only thing that seemed profitable and okay to do: I started to spam. Comments like "Great post", "Nice cat" and so, brought me a little pennies that motivated me to continue to be active on this blockchain and with time I realized that it was not okay what I was doing and I stopped. Then with time, I convinced more people not to do this.

The moral of the story is more than obvious: If we stop the small rewards that people get from commenting, we may lose more people than we currently lose, and this is a thing that we must avoid. I have written about this previously and I still consider that one of the most important values of Steem is activity and traffic. Without that, Steem will never be as successful as it is today, processing that huge amount of transactions.

My personal belief is that before trying to fight spam which we still could do as a community using our flags and educating the spammers, we should focus more on the user retention, activity and good content discovery. When we will have these problems addressed, including bandwidth which demotivates newbies also, then I guess we will be ready to come back at disabling small rewards in order to fight spam, unless the community can not succeed to educate spammers.

As a second argument against this approach, is the fact that there are a lot of minnows who's posts are not worth more than $0.10. How that people would feel when in the 7'th day they will see that they do not get anything on their hard work and underrated and underviewed posts? This favors centralization of the Stake to the same big people who are able to make real money. Not to mention that if we put the trigger at 1$, only dolphins and whales will get some rewards.

I really hope that you don't mind, and that you will take a look at my sincere words right here.

What do you all think?

EDIT: @tarazkp came with the following idea:

Just throwing ideas... What if it was 'payment withheld' for the first few months like a trial period until someone passes muster (doesn't get flagged all the time as Spam).

Which basically means applying the increased threshold that you want to make, but after some time (like a few months I believe) from the moment that a new user made his account. This would be a better idea, but still, I don't think that this is the way to go, at least for the moment. As I said above, there are much important aspects to address and we should start with that and postpone as much as we can this kind of decisions which could affect the user-base of Steem.

A min cashout on post is not what is needed. Minnows / new members have a hard enough time growing on this platform as it is. If everyone wants this place to become more popular and have the whole community against spamming then something needs to be done about the vote values of all members. ONE steemians vote should not be worth more the 100's of other steemians vote's combined. This discourages new members once they sign up and after a week or two (if they last that long ) they give up or in some cases find another way to grow their account ( spamming ).

Another thing that stops this place from growing is the length of time it takes to make a free account. I waited over two weeks before being approved. I bet thousands signed up for an account here and because it took so long for them to get a response, they either completely forgot about this place or their acceptance email got lost among what-ever junk mail they may receive.

Find a solution to the above and watch this place grow, while at the same time the spamming issue will become more frowned upon. Allot don't mind it at present time due to the fact it's the way allot gravitate to so they can grow on this platform.

Great points. To add on to this here, every new user here trying the platform, learning it, and using it aren't all broke — even if they don't come with their investment in hand. Perhaps they want to see what it is like at the bottom first and what their hard work is worth. Usually, that is most telling. You know who your friends are when people care about you BEFORE you have something to offer them. And you can know how a system functions by the happiness of the lowest caste.

Exactly plus we will have the ones that want to build from nothing. What some whales seem to be forgetting is all the SP on Steemit is no good to them if all the minnows get fed up and leave this platform. Steemit needs minnows.

We talked about the plankton part before. You know what might be helpful to show the orcas and whales?

A statistic on how many plankton become minnows each month.

A statistic on new accounts is misleading. As is a statistic on registered users.

Engaged user is far more important. And making it past that plankton ⇒ minnows hurdle might be a good indication on how well the platform performs.

I think the percentages will show a large amount of sign ups leave the platform. A whale could always create a new account and start from scratch with no help from it's whale account or whale friends to see how hard it is to grow as a plankton / minnow.

I think the gentlebot has a sense of humor considering it's upvote was worth exactly $1.00.

A min cashout on post is not what is needed. Minnows / new members have a hard enough time growing on this platform as it is.


Guys, in case you've forgotten, I stumbled upon a post resteemed by @jesta a few months ago which showcases an elegant mathematical solution to the spam issue, from @scipio:

I agree, and have written about this recently on my blog. I think steem needs to put more effort into hiring curators with delegation. --like a much more serious initiative, traditional media feels less robotic... Cause they have real people curating as much as their fancy algos. And steem doesnt have fancy algos, so it needs people all the more.

With time the curators number has increased and it will continue increasing as the number of users on the platform also increases. I really believe that curation projects have evolved a lot and that they will keep evolving. You have got a nice point here!

will continue increasing as the number of users on the platform also increases

Not sure. A plankton vote is mostly worth less then a Ȿ 0.005 — you can't be a curator before you are minnow. You would need look at minnows to make a prediction on new curators.

Indeed, but I didn't said that plankton will be curators. And yet, you don't need over 500 SP to upvote and earn curation rewards. I am more than sure that even less than 100 SP can still bring curation rewards and most likely that even under 50 SP, for a pretty good or lucky curator can also bring curation rewards.

On the other hand, as the number of users increases, the demand for curators will increase and most likely their number will increase. This is what I believe.

When I started I did make some in curation rewards. Then it dropped, had none for almost a month and as I just saw it's picking up again. Of course they are all absolute minimum Ȿ0.001:

But even that make me happy as it's more then 0. The motivation of even the smallest payment is important.

The curation rewards that you received were higher than usual because the price of Steem was pretty high => your vote was worth more. When the price of Steem got down, your vote got lower value which also reduced the curation rewards that you got. Now the price of Steem is rising again, which is a great thing!


I will admit that I don't have much experience with steem's code but it seems to me like it would make more sense to make the bandwidth way lower. Also people should downvote spam whenever they see it. (As long as it's not a bigger fish)

Hey @timcliff.

I'm trying to figure out how your idea here about raising the dust threshold to whatever it needs to be jives with the proposed HF 20 changes where the dust threshold is eliminated and SP downshifted by 1.219? How can a non-existent dust threshold be raised? Are we talking about two different things here but using the same term? I mentioned you on a comment I left for @smooth, so whichever one you're able to answer on is fine with me. No need to go for both.

There are two different thresholds. One is for a vote to have enough to ‘count’ and the other is for a post/comment to have a high enough payout to receive a payout.

Okay. Now this is all making sense. I really wish we could come up with more than one way of naming things. :) But then, we've got $ stamped all over everything, too. :) I appreciate your response.

Now the question is, with what they've got planned with HF 20, and what you've thrown out for comment here, how does that all work in concert so that we're not completely into the realm of unintended consequences? If payout is being adjusted down via the HF 20 SP deal, and then the payout threshold is raised, just how much will we have to make in order to reach a "valuable" enough payout?

And what's to prevent these other scenarios in the comments where the spammers just change their tactics through consolidation or proliferation (or whatever other scheme works best) from happening? Is it possible to war game this out so we see what plausible adjustments the spammers will make so we can honestly gauge whether or not any moves made will actually have the desired effect?

This proposal doesn’t really seem to be going anywhere, so I don’t think too much more thought needs to be put into it.

What about a small 0.005 (arbitrary number) cost to comment an post? Perhaps it could be wiped out if the comment gets rewarded more than that. If there is a cost to comment, wouldn't that make people think a little more and also target their comments to where they may actually earn something rather than spamming indiscriminately?

The problem with many things here is that there is no direct cost to engaging in any particular bad behaviour until caught meaning someone in the community has to not only see it but take the initiative to shine a light on it. Up until the point that @steemcleaners or @cheetah flag automatically, all gains are profit.

This is the same for plagiarism and ordering bidbot votes on nonsense.

I have a proposal for you guys with 70+ rep and 10k+ SP: make an account not traceable back to you, and start posting and engaging with people here. You'll stop with this silly proposals.

Sorry if I sound too harsh, but the reality of your experience here on steemit doesn't match that of an average steemian. You are followed around by an army of ass kissers and even your farts are upvoted to hell. An average small fish is putting his/her heart and soul into creating something here only to see it go unnoticed. For the most part, we are shouting in the dark.

The engagement rates on steemit are abysmal and you propose to tax it (thus lowering it still). Please, create an anon account and start posting. Do it as an experiment in order to see what the most of us experience on a daily basis.

I've won a contest last month and got 75 SP delegated for a month. I've been doing my best to spread that $0.01 vote of mine around the sports betting community in order to encourage folks to not give up. I've been posting comments cheering them up, providing feedback,... Your proposal is pissing on people like me. Sorry for the anger in my response, but think twice before proposing that stuff. You're big enough for the devs to listen to you. For the opinion of people like me, nobody cares.

Don't, by having a good intention, drive the nail into the steemit's coffin. Cheers

Exactly, and all those 0.01 comments were not paid to any of them. In fact, it cost you voting power to basically lead them on. You spent part of that delegated time frame putting miles on your mouse.

And there I thought I'm rewarding the efforts of the newcomers... what a downer.

Nevertheless, knowing what I know now, I'd do it again. My efforts didn't go completely unnoticed and my participation in this discussion had some people take a closer look at what I'm doing. The end result of me making noise and putting miles on my mouse is that I've got 550 SP delegated to continue doing what I did so far.

The only thing I regret is destroying my voting power. It will take me at least a week to regenerate it :-)

Have you had a close look at my blog? Have you gone back to the start? Do you see the rewards that go to the hundreds of minnow who do engage well on my account? None of them would be affected by this proposal because they engage well and don't spam. I can only speak for myself but, if people actually put the effort I do into this place into their work, they would likely do very well in time. It is an investment isn't it? Investments have a cost and their is no guarantee of return.

The engagement rates on steemit are abysmal and you propose to tax it (thus lowering it still).

Again, drop by my blog. Engagement rates are abysmal for many reasons, one of them is because of Spam posts, spam comments, spam bots that add no value to the system but do extract some.

I have a proposal for you guys with 70+ rep and 10k+ SP: make an account not traceable back to you, and start posting and engaging with people here. You'll stop with this silly proposals.

I have a few dozen people I have brought onto the platform and helped, some do quite well now. This is a social media isn't it? It is about being social and engaging with the community. None of them spammed to get their start. If people come in and expect to spam for reward without engaging in the community, should they earn?

It takes work to earn here and that work is going to increase as more and more come onto the platform. If one wants to treat it like facebook, do not expect earnings.

Because their is only upside to acting like an ass here, there are a lot of people acting like asses. What you call a silly proposal is work towards real solutions and trials in the early stages of a startup.

So now, What is your suggestion to stop spam posts and comments?

I appreciate your reply. Thanks for not ignoring me.

Do you see the rewards that go to the hundreds of minnow who do engage well on my account? None of them would be affected by this proposal because they engage well and don't spam.

I see where you're coming from. You see the small fish on your account engaging meaningfully and getting properly rewarded for it. Props to you for taking care of your community, but most of us are not on your blog engaging with you. Our interests lie elsewhere and I don't appreciate the proposals that will damage my community.

Try to see a perspective of somebody who's not following the big accounts here, somebody who's interested in a niche topic that sports betting is. There are no big accounts there, and the most members have less than 0.01 vote. What's worse, the nature of the beast is such that great essays, photo travel logs, recipes and such are not to be found (no chance to get @curie reward or to be featured by @ocd).

The most valuable content a member of our community can produce is the tip. Which outcome to bet on. We don't care for 2000+ words essays, we care about the profitability of your tips. Now, you may call the content we produce to be not worthy of the reward, but I can say the same thing for the umpteenth artsy fartsy post by someone well versed in the gentle art of kissing up to the whales.

Should we all drop what we are doing and line up for the crumbs the big accounts are bestowing upon us? Screw that!

Every proposal that discourages the engagement is beyond silly - it is suicidal. With the eos around the corner and the panic that will ensue here, the last thing needed is to piss on the small guys just because the big ones are tired of seeing spam.

So now, What is your suggestion to stop spam posts and comments?

Whack-a-Mole. Do as I and report the spam to the steemcleaners when you encounter it. It takes time to get an account here, and mere seconds to get it flagged to death by them. The solution we have works well enough.

Don't fight a relatively minor problem this platform has by solutions that would kill it completely. If the solutions the two of you proposed are to be implemented the steemit is done for.

See the numbers in the reports that @paulag is making. Spam is not this platform's problem. Dead accounts and meager engagement are.


I have a few dozen people I have brought onto the platform and helped (bolding added by me).

New users NEED to be helped, otherwise they are totally LOST among the vote-buying bots and other gimmicks. I'm finally out of the dust stage and made it into the minnow category, yet even after a year of working hard and honorable, I don't have 1,000 SP despite putting everything I earn into SP. The way the system works, the more users that come on-board, the harder it is for the new users to earn anything at all. Putting greater barriers on the new users is not the way to grow the platform. Without those helpful votes from dolphins and whales, it is pretty much hopeless to start from nothing at this point in time. I've had a few random big votes or curation trails land on my posts and let me tell you; it's like winning a lottery!

Please don't stop at helping only your friends, but spread some love around, because the platform desperately needs that now. There is no reason why Steem couldn't be a real currency already in use, except for the mindset of those in control.

Another point, most new users won't have built in mentorship. To have empathy, you must experience it for yourself to the point of feeling it first hand.

My point exactly.

And what do you propose for all the new users that downloaded the Steepshot App from the appstore?

Your account is more then a year old. Times where different then. Times where different six month ago. Voting power for plankton is on a decrease.

the hundreds of minnow

And what about the plankton?

very well in time.

that in time is getting longer and probably exponentially. I don't think you can reach dolphin in one year any more. Heck you are now hard pressed to become minnow in a year.

I am a SteemSTEM honor member, mentor and engagement officer and i make a lot of comments (some are very long) and very few of them get any votes. We are trying to make others engage, comment and socialize, we are educating them to prevent plagiarism and spam. And it's working, and like me are tens more. Adding a cost to socialize and make friends is prohibitive. I consider myself one of the good guys, I don't self upvote or use bots.
This will ban the people we are educating to build upon the community.

I am a SteemSTEM honor member, mentor and engagement officer and i make a lot of comments (some are very long) and very few of them get any votes.

It sounds like you work for the government ;)

In another comment I added in this chain somewhere I also suggested *payment withheld' on new members joining the system until after some trial period . This would likely help you a great deal in your public servant position working for community development as it will lesson the people wasting your time.

Part of my goal here is to take people which show promise, educate them, help them write better articles and make them socialize and get noticed. The rate of success is small, adding another hurdle will reduce the comments they will make and thus their exposure and their involvement.
Do you think that people will post quality things while in the trial period? They will post "nice article" until the trial period is done. Then they will post "nice article". Because what is changing in their mentality? Psychologically speaking? Why would he not?

Because, they will be flagged, much like they are now and lose their earning potentials. Anything earn up until that point will be burned. It might not be a time thing at all, it could be 1000 comments.

The education of these people is absolutely atrocious and that seems to be before they even get to Steemit. The onboarding here is non-existent and none of the suggestions to UI tweaks that have been offered up to improve behaviour from day one have been implemented. Still, something has to be done.

This is a 'get paid for content' site, there should be a few hurdles. work needs to be done before the pay.

I have observed that the lack of education about such comments is to blame.
Which means that they will spam and lose until they will get educated, case in which initial spam won't be reduced by much, and I rarely see accounts over 40 spamming.
I have nothing wrong with reducing spam, it's just that I don't want it to be the equivelent of chemo: poison everything and we hope that the bad ones die before the good ones.

I have observed that the lack of education about such comments is to blame.

Yes, it should be better outlined at onboarding but, thinking that the introduceyourself tag is filled with bidbots, they come in knowing something.

As said, the education seems bad before they come onto the platform considering what people seem to think being social is.

and I rarely see accounts over 40 spamming.

I see quite a few.

I will always fight to educate people here. I am also doubling my rewards with my own bought Steem from Bittrex.
From my experience, as soon as we educate them, 99% give up their behavior. They do it because they see others doing it, they think they are tricking the system & it has something to do with how they rank themselves as more intelligent than others, hence the sense of righteousness of their actions.
I have managed to get 30+ people to give up their vote selling by talking in detail to them (Discord and comments).

I think that this is one of the problems of the world we are living in, putting ourselves (let's say the more educated) vs the less educated. Any of our rules will be seen as an attempt to maintain our wealth and status. It's how psych works when you are poor and uneducated.

Also for @timcliff:
I would love to talk more about this, I am not here primarily to make money, so we will talk again. I will get more involved in creating this better world. I might also be wrong, but a healthy discussion is what we need.

My problem with that idea is that when you're commenting and encouraging small members you often don't get any upvotes because they have to vote at 100%, so they limit their votes. It could become costly to then communicate with them and they would lose even more encouragement. When I started a little community of homesteaders were encouraging and looking out for each other. Our votes were near worthless, but the communication was priceless because it kept us going. A fee would have stopped that dead. We could have moved communication to discord maybe, but it takes away from a discussion focused on a post that could add value.

Hi Tim. I had not known about the $0.02 post/comment threshold. Thank you for sharing because I now know to meet that minimum to show my support on comments.

I understand the need to combat spam. However, setting such a high threshold to 0.10 SBD, or even 0.25 or 1.00 SBD would mean many newbies will lose the small support they are getting now. Many quality posts receive pennies due to it being lost in the Steemit feeds. Some are lucky to break out of the 1 SBD mark if they try to grow organically. Setting a high threshold that would result in no payout would discourage the few lingering to give up hope completely on steemit.

The change would mean not being able to give newbies their Newbie Nickel as @davemccoy likes to do for newbies that engage within our community. Many of us don't have the SP to even give the minimum $0.10 you suggested at max voting power so we wouldn't be able to encurage newbies to move outside their blogs and engage with others in contests or general chitchat.

On a personal note, Thank You for your witness Q&A responses to my teammate @mellofello. He is offline at the moment due to life changes in the real world. I wanted to thank you for your answers. The real life is just as busy for me at the moment. We will find time to get those answers out to the newbies in our community. Finding time to write is the challenging part!

Exactly my thoughts, I believe it is important to remember that most of the traffic and the huge number of transactions that Steem is processing is due to minnows who are a lot and who a posting and interacting much, trying to get noticed there. Without them, this will not be possible:

And the value of Steem will not be the same. This kind of threshold removes their chance on this blockchain, more morally than financial...

Thank you for the snapshot @mejustandrew.

If I may point out, Asher (@abh12345) has a Curation and Engagement leagues he does weekly highlighting the engagement done weekly by the 300+ steemians entered in his leagues. His post receives a minimum of 200+ comments a week (last one was 465 comments made!), and many of the engagement action are made by redfish and minnows. Some find the community aspect of steemit the reason to continue blogging/engaging with others despite their pitiful earnings.

I understand Tim throwing this idea out there to combat spam. It is an idea afterall and is subjective to agreement or not by the mass. I appreciate that he is asking everyone for their thoughts because change has to start somewhere.

Indeed, the transparency and the involvement of the community in the decisions regarding the future of this platform are essential things which stay at the core of Steem, and this proposal debated publicly here by @timcliff is the perfect example that this blockchain is running healthy. His proposal has a completely correct intention, but the side effects, as you pointed out too could be devastating.

Earlier today I decided that I need to get involved more with small minnows and help them grow in order to increase together the value of Steem, as I concluded that they are the foundation which gives a big value to this blockchain. Curation projects as the one you highlighted above are perfect and we all need to interact more, to create here a better social network than any other one. After all, considering censorship resistance and decentralization of this blockchain provide the means to do so!

We hold the same values with the #newbieresteemday initiative. A lot of our members are other redfish and minnows, with the simple intention of helping newbies as they are starting on here. That is great you will be more involved with small minnows.

I also read your comments up above. Excellent points!

Change the minimum potential payout for a post from zero to a small negative number. A post or comment starts at zero as currently but a flagged post will receive -0.02 or -0.05 payout.

The negative payout could be deducted from wallets (controversial and potentially tricky legally no doubt) or built up into a debt which is deducted from any future positive payouts. Spammers will get less than nothing, making the practice uneconomical. Minnows will be unaffected.

As an alternative, give users a set number of posts and comments per day (5 posts and 20 comments for example) with the possibility to purchase more from a central market for a small fee. Alternatively an additional free comment could be awarded for each comment that makes a certain small level of payout.

I think the first idea is great. This will actually impose a cost on spammers. In my comment, I outlined why this measure doesn't really impose a cost on proficient spammers.

Not sure if it's possible to impose negative rewards that takes away from one's wallet though.

Thanks @wilfredn!

When I've looked at spam accounts before in analyses, the majority do tend to shut down once their potential return falls to zero. No doubt they start up again with a new account but that's a different problem to solve.

Another option (bouncing off the ideas in your comment) is to reduce the delegated SP or bandwidth as the debt builds up, so spammers spam themselves into submission.

To prevent free speech suppression it could be made possible for other users to remove a user's debt using upvotes. The amounts of potential debt would only be small, unless the user is producing vast numbers of flagged comments.

This is a brilliant idea, and if the negative payouts reduced a spammer's SP that would reduce the power of mass produced spammers that have their SP delegated from a main account.

They should take away from the user's Steem Power, because spammers could easily avoid this by not having any SBD or Steem in their wallet, but Steem Power is required to have bandwidth.

or built up into a debt which is deducted from any future positive payouts.

This should work for this idea as spam accounts will never get out of debt.

I think so. It would be a question of calibrating the negative amount so that it takes away the thin margins on which spammers operate, without allowing any serious impact or abuse from flag wars. Even -0.01 might be enough to deter spammers, who would quickly rack up dollars of debt. Whilst a flag war with far fewer posts would still be only be cents at worst.

It is at least worth an experiment isn't it?

Many people writing normal comments won't get out of debt. Imagine some minnows interacting on this social-network, they will lose money with each comment they are making to each other. Where this will lead?

Not under the (first) approach I put forward. Minnows won't have any debt. All comments start at zero. You will only build up a debt if you start getting a very large number of flagged comments. Minnows writing normal comments won't be affected.

That theory could possibly help a great deal and some help is better than no help.

@timcliff have you seen the idea posted by @minature-tiger? What would you say this would do on a broader scale (you know the code better than others.)

Currently if a post/comment earns 0.001 to 0.019 SBD worth of rewards - this is rounded down to 0.00. If a post/comment earns at least 0.02 SBD - then they receive their reward.

If we increased this threshold up to 0.10 SBD, or even 0.25 or 1.00 SBD - then posts/comments that did not receive sufficient votes to pass this threshold would receive zero payout. This would likely decrease the incentive for users to create spam.

With bidbots you can increase this threshold to 1$, and it can still be b/reached.
The only answer is deletions once a certain ratio of the witnesses agree.
And scams should not get a favorable treatment over spam.

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