As a relatively new user, I was excited yesterday when an informational post I made was gaining at least a little bit of traction. The post included affiliate links, and I actually wrote a disclaimer at the bottom of the post letting people know about the links.
Today I logged in and noticed the post was flagged and not showing up in feeds. Unfortunately, @SteemCleaners came along and wrecked my post, it got blocked and sent to $0.
The first question I have for the community at large is do you really want to completely wreck people who use affiliate links? There are thousands of bloggers who we WANT to attract out there that unfortunately would get completely slammed if they tried to use Steem at the moment. This is not appropriate and I think we should welcome people using their influence to sell whatever products they want to recommend.
The second is what can be done to reimburse users when their posts are impacted by these down-vote bots. Because currency is linked to influence on Steem, when you directly slam someone's influence or reputation for an incorrect reason, it is akin to stealing from them.
Users don't just lose the dollars from the down-vote, they lose all of the eyeballs of people who may have looked at their post and up-voted, and they lose the benefits of branding and of gaining influence. So it seems fair that these bots use some of their power to compensate people via upvotes when they are incorrect.
Thirdly, as Steem grows, how will the bots keep up with requests to remove down-votes and compensate the user for faulty down-voting.
Fourth, how do we as a community prevent bots from abusing this down-vote technique to destroy the freedom of speech? Personally I could see there being two super powerful bots, a Conservative bot and a Liberal bot that both identify opposing accounts and down-vote all of their posts to oblivion. Do we really want that to be a part of Steem?
The ability to absolutely silence people we don't like is dangerous and I can see how it will be abused in the near future.