Reputation and the Bot Crisis, Sybils, and Cheetah.

in steemit •  2 years ago

    Despite being a little tuna by power in our society, as the operator of one of the more successful bots I feel like I have some weight to chime in on the current bot issues we face. So I split it into three topics, and here are my ramblings.

Topic 1: Reputation and the Bot Crisis

    There recently was a back and forth between @dantheman and @williambanks, on the reputation system, the respose here, and then the last response on vilifying bots here.
    Here are some thoughts I had while reading this back and forth.

  1. Restrict access to the web socket: This didn't quite make sense to me at first; you cannot restrict access to the blockchain so doing this won't change anything for long. If the suggestion was for the website to only reveal content that was transacted through browsers using, then I understand the argument, and agree that this could be a way to "stop" bots. (Not that I agree this is a good solution.) It will also mute cheetah, however, and I am not sure if we are ready for that (topic 3).
  2. Focus on vote count rather than vote weight: This, as dan suggested does not work due to Sybils (topic 2).
  3. Help people improve their bots: I do not think this will work, unfortunately. Bot operators are not going to follow leash codes, if they have no incentive to do so. As much as I appreciate the effort from @williambanks, and wish it success, I am not leashing cheetah.
    In addition, I, and it seems some other anonymous members (p.s. I would like to chat strategy with these people if they are willing to come forward, I am anyx on, will continue to attack spam bots or one-liner bots with extreme prejudice in the meantime. You will notice most spam bots are already getting hidden.
  4. (Unwitting/stupid) people causing accidental harm: Not really about bots, but this is actually a funny problem that I encounter often, most notoriously when people upvote plagiarism. Perhaps cheetah didn't respond fast enough, or it was an article that slipped though. I try to remove the payouts (I need help to do it as a tuna), but I am not always successful in this. The best way to fix this is with reputation -- not just the system that dan proposes, but in general people need to watch what they are upvoting. Perhaps look at an accounts history of posting, before you decide.
    Seriously, just look at this post, and check the user's history. The same person even copied my own post, here.. We all as a community need to think harder about our upvotes, or we are going to incentivize this garbage to continue.

    As it stands, all these bots are harming our ecosystem and hurting our chance for mainstream adoption. Overall, I hope we can limit or remove bots by decreasing post rate somehow -- perhaps setting more restrictive bandwidth limits on replies, limit replies per day, and definitely reduce the ease of creating sybils -- reputation does not matter if one can continue to create new accounts.
    I also look forward to gaming and breaking the reputation system that dan is suggesting (or better plan, I hope to chat with him first to see if we can stop problems before they occur with it).

Topic 2: Sybils

    Sybils are becoming an interesting and increasingly important problem, especially if they remain easy to create when the reputation system is active. You may have noticed the low-weight downvote spambot, which was visibly removed from the website. The same user is now upvote spamming posts. Fortunately, that user does not have many accounts.

    On the other hand, there are some of us with many accounts, that actually do not want to cause harm, but are forced to if we want to use all our stake. The main source of this is the way that mining works; we essentially are required to make multiple accounts in order to mine continuously, or we are penalized. As a result of this, I have many accounts, and if I want to upvote with all my VESTS, I cause a sybil attack and can immediately start trending on hot (it is quite silly). But of course I want to use all my VESTS to upvote!

    One way to help us is to disincentivize the use of multi account spam by offering a more "official" means to the end. We currently have witness vote proxies, wherein the power of an account is applied to the leader, and their votes are funneled through. It would be nice to allow the same thing for upvotes too, so I can link my other accounts, and only upvote "once". This makes it not only easier to use all my stake, but also lets me do so without feeling guilty at abusing the system. For curation rewards with this, I suppose it should all go to the proxy leader, but some people may want to use this to follow curators as well. I look forward to other's thoughts on this. (I am sure I am not the only one who has thought of this, too.)

Finally, I have a few suggestions on account creation:

  • Stop allowing POW to create accounts.
  • Stop allowing reddit to create accounts.
  • Perhaps allow accounts by invitation only (and they still must use Facebook to sign up).

    I think it is necessary to invoke some harsh restrictions before it is too late. This is an actionable band-aid that we can do even before we begin reputation calculations. Oh, and change the hot algorithm...

Topic 3: Cheetah bot

    It will be interesting with a reputation system if cheetah will be able to stay alive (not everyone is fond of what I am doing). We have recently solved plagiarists (at least of the minnow variety) from downvoting the cheetah posts out of existence, thanks to some a few members auto-upvoting cheetah posts, and whales taking notice and increasing her power. She also got some power for the satire post we just wrote here (good for a quick laugh). Thanks for the support guys!

    I know some people would be interested in some statistics regarding catches that cheetah bot makes, especially with the 4 post payout change. Unfortunately, I still catch 100's of posts in a day, but at least the overall rate of posts has decreased. As I feared though, the change made little difference to spammers and plagiarists -- perhaps they are unaware of the payout changing after 4 posts? I am not sure if there a notification that warns them of this (if not, there should be)! Or perhaps we need to have a hard limit that simply prevents more than 4 posts, not just a soft one.

    Also, I have begun to notice Steemit reposts are being caught, and many users don't like this. I am leaving the cheetah comments; I think it is useful, as many users are duplicating their "introduceyourself" post, especially if their first was unsuccessful in getting thousands like some people get. I know I will continue to get hate for tagging the resposts, but I don't care. People should be aware it is a repost, and then they can vote accordingly.

    Finally, I am also seeking out some web dev help if possible. It is quick for me to spit out a log of catches, but I would be interested in displaying them on a website -- this way, users interested in cheetah catches and wanting to help manually curate could do so easily. I already have a server to host the website, just need the web interface and link to the logging.
EDIT: It looks like I have some help on this, thanks to those who offered!

    Thanks for reading, this is just a bundle of thoughts from this week. I was hoping not to do another post until my last one came off trending (seriously, even I don't want it there for that long, stahp it), but I had enough thoughts piling up.
As @williambanks points out, @cheetah is basically my pet, and I agree. So this will be my picture for this post.

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A few comments:

Sybil attacks

The way to stop Sybil attacks is to stop creating ways for Sybils to attack. For example, the recent change to posting rewards directly incentivizes Sybil attacks (I don't know whether they are already occurring, but I suspect yes) by those wanting to spam low quality posts out of a hope that some of them, even a small number, produce rewards (comment spamming is the same, and is not currently Sybil attacked because comments don't yet have a per-account quota, but introduce such a quota and that is exactly what will happen).

Another example is the Hot view, which uses vote count as a metric. This was originally the front page and was moved to an alternate view because it clearly incentivizes Sybil attacks. I think it should be removed altogether. Likewise, displaying vote count on posts is pointless and misleading and also, albeit more subtly, incentivizes Sybil attacks (a post or comment getting more attention and attracting real votes because it already "has many votes"). Instead posts should include some normalized and/or summarized indication of vote weight (weighted stake)

Unfortunately, a number of the recent changes including the aforementioned posting quota have ignored these core principles of not granting weight to "accounts". The result is that in trying to address one problem, more are created. I hope that the reputation system Steemit plans to implement, and generally speaking knee-jerk reactions to a "Bot Crisis" do not make similar errors, but I expect that if great care is not taken to slow down and think things though, they probably will.

PoW accounts

PoW accounts should not be removed. They are an extremely valuable way for controversial, censored, or otherwise at-risk people to obtain access and publish information (possible very highly valued information) without needing to link with some external resources (social media account, etc.), which could literally put their lives at risk in the most extreme cases or at least discourage coming forward in the less extreme cases. Anonymous whistle-blowers, political dissidents, and others in this group deserve our greatest respect and accommodation if the idea of censorship resistance is to mean anything (popular ideas are rarely censored). But more importantly, the entire approach of limiting access rather than widening it is focusing efforts on exactly the wrong direction, but I'll get to that later in the next section, after discussing the reality of PoW accounts.

In point of fact, if you look at the current swarm of bots, approximately zero of them are PoW accounts (please go and look if you are unsure about this). They are all, or nearly all, Steemit-provided accounts. In all likelihood, it is much cheaper and easier to obtain large numbers of accounts via Steemit signups rather than mining (also the Steemit-provided accounts come with free SP, significant in large numbers, which means they have negative cost; as long as that continues, those wanting to create accounts for profit rather than for use will likely continue using that route). Not only is the mining difficulty significant, but the maximum possible number of PoW accounts created per day is 1372, and this theoretical number greatly overstates the maximum feasible number, because there are high-powered miners competing for, and winning, most blocks who do not create new accounts with each block (for good reasons). In summary, disabling PoW accounts is an example of a reactive response that does not solve any real problem, but comes with a very real cost.

Facebook, Reddit, and growth

You suggest that Reddit account signups be removed and only Facebook be allowed. This is misguided. Not only are fraudulent Facebook accounts plentiful, easy to create, and regularly used in high profile frauds (including some involving massive numbers of such accounts), but this approach is entirely self-defeating.

Reflexively one might suggest that access to accounts be further limited and more verification be added. I've even suggested this myself, as an initial reaction to The Bot Problem, but I now realize that was a bad idea. In fact, as the site continues to expand it will probably make sense -- and be inevitable to prevent a growth bottleneck -- to open up registrations even wider (examples: retail purchase of an "access card", email registration, mobile registration, etc.). Many of these accounts will be obtained fraudulently and/or resold. The system must be designed to accept this reality and minimize negative impacts from it.

This inevitable widening of access will create more ability to Sybil attack, but only if the number of accounts controlled by an individual actually matters in any way. This problem can only be solved without putting harmful obstacles in the way of new users (which is a very big deal if you want the platform to rapidly grow to truly massive scale) by refocusing efforts on ensuring that Sybil attacking gains no advantage and also causes no real harm (see #1 above). The so-called Bot Crisis is a crisis primarily because it threatens to unleash a new round of poorly-thought-out changes that will make mattes worse. One might even speculate on whether it could be intended to do just that.

Short term solutions

The efforts of "the good guys" have caused most of the abusive bots to be hidden and earn no rewards, removing most of the incentives for people to create them. (If the idea is to just spam the blockchain, that can be done in any number of ways.) Slight tweaks to the UI can improve this further without collateral damage. For example, I suggested replacing individually hidden comments with a summary line ("13 comments hidden, click to show"). @svk even prototyped this and showed me some very nice screen shots. Rolling that out on the site would make most of the abusive bots invisible and a non-issue. Removing from the UI any remaining emphasis on "vote count" as a useful concept would address the rest.


Really good ideas, I like the "13 lines of comments hidden" idea, as the individual hidden comments are beginning to clutter up a lot of posts :-(



Thanks for the post @smooth! As always, your views are thought provoking.
Here's some thoughts I had in response.

For the Hot view, I do not think it should be removed, just reworked. For example, it could show the same as trending, but only for posts within the last hour.

I hadn't thought about controversial people using POW accounts, and that is a good point. Of course, with the ability to create accounts through reg fee, or buy and sell accounts, they would still have anonymous means.
I did notice a lot of accounts in bot swarms are Steemit provided, which makes me think people are just using reddit, upvoting themselves between accounts, and creating accounts here.
Perhaps limiting POW accounts is over-reactive in this case, then.

We also discussed the "vote count" removal before, and after thinking on it some, I definitely agree that it would help the sybil problem. However, other people have suggested removing the dollar value of a post to reduce jealousy, and I understand their point to -- it would be nice to only see a post is important, but not get jealous over how much money they made.
Unfortunately that leaves us at an impass, as these two ideas remove both the metrics we have!

I hope these kind of discussions continue, as we need to make sure whatever is decided will not have an overall negative impact. After the discussions on this posts I am starting to agree a knee jerk reaction is probably not the best, so I hope we can figure out better ways to solve these problems.


For the Hot view, I do not think it should be removed, just reworked

Sure. My objection of course is not the name Hot, just the idea of a leaderboard based specifically on vote count. Using a different metric as you suggest is fine. There could be numerous such useful rankings.

Of course, with the ability to create accounts through reg fee, or buy and sell accounts, they would still have anonymous means

These accounts are still always linked to a creator account. PoW accounts are not. Possibly by some means of buying and selling these could be obtained anonymously (and that probably will occur, for people who want more anonymous accounts than can be obtained via PoW), but it is significantly harder and increases the risk of being traced, which in turn could then transfer some of the risk to the seller. In cases of abuse this might be considered acceptable, but in cases of valued minority expression it is not.

I did notice a lot of accounts in bot swarms are Steemit provided, which makes me think people are just using reddit

Again I think you dismiss too easily fake Facebook accounts. I'm not sure why. Many people I know who aren't even online scammers have multiple Facebook accounts. Scammers create them by the thousands. (Not to dismiss Reddit account scamming either, that is also clearly rampant, and you may be right this is currently the low-hanging fruit, but removing it would just shift that to Facebook, while obstructing some, possibly many, legitimate users who don't use Facebook.)

other people have suggested removing the dollar value of a post to reduce jealousy, and I understand their point to ... Unfortunately that leaves us at an impass, as these two ideas remove both the metrics we have!

Unlike vote count, dollar value is a meaningful quantity that is not arbitrarily manipulated using Sybil accounts. Nevertheless, I specifically mentioned in my first comment another metric, weighted vote share, by which I mean a count of SP voting (possibly normalized or summarized). This is different from dollars because it doesn't apply the reward formula rules. Using this in place of vote count would still allow hiding dollars, if people want to do that.


@smooth Hey these are great ideas. Would you mind turning this into a blog posting and maybe expounding a little, especially on PoW and widening? I'm not following the widening and I'm not sure about the sybil answer either, perhaps though it's because I have a different idea about the root cause.

Final thought, the bots here now, the ones being hidden are just strays. We need to find their owners.

Anyways, great commentary, definitely worth the upvotes, it's buried all the way down here.
Yes I know you're a whale and voting on whale postings drains the pool. I don't care, this needs to go up to the front of the class.


I propose the following:

  1. Post ranking on the home page should not be based on the cost of posts, but on the number of voters. The community should decide by a majority vote rather than by several dozens of people whether it is interesting content or not.
  2. It is necessary to exclude the possibility of automated voting (interesting idea was proposed by @desmonid «Idea to reduce potential for bots?»), either to prohibit voting without viewing the post. I saw how it was made in software license agreements.
  3. Limit the number of votes/log-ins from the same ip-address.
  4. Perhaps it is worth looking after philosophy of SteemPower and weight of a vote? The weight of vote of 1 account has to be always equal to 1 dollar. But each subsequent vote reduces vote cost. So 100% of Voting power = $1, 80% = $0,8 and so on. Speed of restoration from 0 to 1 depends on quantity of STEEM POWER — 10 steem power restore, voice weight completely in 1 week, 1.000.000 steem power in 10 seconds. It would bring much more balance in long-term prospect. Also would solve a problem, whales, dolphins and gudgeons.

@anyx Thank you for an insightful post.

To clarify some things though, because you clearly misunderstood several of the points I was trying to drive home. I invite you to re-read the topics you linked and also this one...
STEEMBOTS (read the comments too, you'll see where I explain multiple times that certain bots like cheetah should never be expected to respect leash codes)

#1 Closing the websocket. This is not what I'm advocating and you can't devolve the entire context it was in, into a single sound byte like that. It means you're entirely missing the source problem here and causing others to miss the point in the process. I said close the websocket loophole because it's a security thing and it's being abused. Configure it correctly and the problems go away.

The vast majority of bots that represent the biggest problems we face, are based on a tutorial on this site. That tutorial uses a particular library and that library connects directly to the steemit websocket.

Check the origin, check the headers, if the traffic didn't originate from the steemit website then prevent the upgrade to websocket. Those bots will throw an exception and die.

Correctly constructed bots have their owners "taking it to the next level" and connecting via other means, so this won't effect them at all. Those ones aren't strays like the tutorial bots are. I'm trying to get the bots that already have a loving home on board with STEEMBOTS so it should hopefully be a non issue, especially if @dantheman @ned and the others implement a blockchain backed bot registry option, with the incentive being that the rewards the bot earns go directly to the bot owner, while still allowing the bot to have it's own identity for purposes of limits in the system. That would be the reason for using the registry instead of launching a sybil attack (also to answer your earlier question, yes you are launching a sybil attack but in a friendly manner thus you're proving my point, not everything that looks like sybil is an attack on the system)

@anyx to keep cheetah alive if they decide to close the loophole, stop using the site's websocket guy. It's inefficient anyways. You have my email, if you need help to get @cheetah to connect without using the websocket on this site, drop me a line I'll share the info.

But I'm not making it public, because I'm trying to get bot builders to agree to at code of conduct at least voluntarily.

The net effect of this change is to produce a smarter websocket that doesn't get raped and abused in general.
As a side effect, anyone who built one of these mentally challenged bots using the tutorial will be unable to connect.

They are one day going to want to know why this is. They will come looking for answers, and if we as bot builders get together now and agree to a code of conduct then we can provide them with tools to make much more useful bots like cheetah.

As for following leash codes, no one expects a bot like cheetah to follow a leash code, just like no one expects the police to follow leash laws when they sick a K9 unit on you.

For the vast majority of bots it will work. I have 7 bot builders right now who have agreed to this and this is without any "incentive" other than "Hey cool, I get to hang out with other pet owners as long as I agree to stop my pet from annoying everyone and humping their leg when they come to the door".

Prestige and knowledge are the reasons you join any guild or other professional organization. That's what STEEMBOTS is, a professional organization interested in improving the lives of everyone by building useful tools and exposing steemit to a whole group of people who are interested in AI.

Maybe we won't be that prestigious if the highest paid, most notable bot builders don't join up. But you have to admit the ideas I gave you for improving cheetah were good advice and that was just a couple of hours of thought. Imagine if the good guys all got into a room and talked shop on how to improve their bots and make this place better.

Topic 2 Sybils, these become less attractive if you just allow subaccounts that link to a main account. It's currently a pain for people to sign up if they aren't on facebook or reddit already. So the way people are doing this is buying hacked or compromised accounts from a darkmarket and using those to sign up.

But this whole idea of linking your facebook is wrong minded and adding a "login through facebook" and making it mandatory is going to drive humans away in droves, plus it won't work unless you plan to integrate facebook or twitter auth directly into the blockchain.

And well that could just end up with some embarrassing problems...
Now imagine if that had been @dantheman or @ned or @cheetah or @anyx instead

The blockchain provides the strongest authentication possible. Your keys are cryptographic proof of your identity period. The whole point of crypto is you don't need to trust some third party.
If we add facebook and twitter auth, then why mess around with crypto keys at all?

@anyx The solution to the bot problem is to have more people like you building more bots like @cheetah.

You were incentivized to build @cheetah before there was a monetary reward because you saw a need and rose to the challenge. You built @cheetah because you wanted to build her. Same reason anyone builds a bot.

Then suddenly you starting earning serious love and props from the community. But you aren't fighting bad guys. You are fighting people who see what you're doing and think "Well gee if he can do this, then so can I! Where's the tutorials? Point me at 'em google!".

You are a prime example of why STEEMBOTS is the correct solution. We're just trying to make sure that good people make good and useful bots and then find a way to incentivize them.

But cheetah is a highly centralized system at the moment and social media logins can be gamed so easy that all you're really doing when you advocate for that is the shunning of people who want steemit to be their first social media experience.

Decentralization is the hallmark of crypto blockchain tech and one of the reasons steemit is as popular as it is.

The plans I gave you for a cheetah upgrade would mean cheetah would get much faster and smarter because those plans involve a distributed swarm of task specific AI. And cheetah would get less hate because the notice would be posted under the account of the bot owner who detects the plagarism. But we don't want 2,000 "me too" bots flagging a single posting. You need a distributed coordinated swarm AI in order to collate that much information and the first person to detect should be the winner.

A system like that could be expanded to do so much more than it does already without risking any scalability at all.
For example a distributed cheetah like "sockpuppet" detector is possible and this solves the identity theft problem right off the bat. Next week my blog postings will focus on identify theft and sockpuppet detection.

Let cheetah be the central coordinator of all of it, but let the kittens do the hunting.
Think it might be time for cheetah to have kittens?


You patronize me by assuming I do not know how to use steemd. My argument for cheetah dying would be only if hid content due to it not coming through a browser using the site (and had captchas or something). This is what I said in my post. I invite you to re-read my post in that case, too.

Re:Sybils. Allowing sub accounts to proxy under the main account to make sybils less attractive is exactly why I suggested it, I have talked about it for a while just not in a post yet.
And if you don't think account creation is a problem... well... let me just give myself 100 upvotes.

Again, I have absolute respect for what you are trying to build. I appreciate your advice, but I do not know if what you suggested is necessary yet. I know how to scale.
Regarding steembots, I think I will not be a part of it, at least for now.


You aren't being patronized. You said specifically that my suggestion would kill cheetah, but it's because you didn't understand my suggestion and thus summarized it incorrectly.

Close the websocket to traffic which does not have it's origin here and check the headers on incoming traffic to disallow anything that isn't a known webbrowser to use the website socket for This kills those bots.

I'm sure you know how to use the alternative, my point was to not call that option out directly.
That way when existing bot owners come forward with broken bots, we can explain why it broke, why this method was closed off to bots. Hence I said if you need help, email me.

You just called out the answer so now they don't need to risk coming forward and asking for help. It wasn't patronizing, it was controlling the flow of information just enough that anyone reading it could also know how to obtain the information but get a little guidance and oversight in the process.

As for the sybil thing, ok yes you suggested it here, but I've been advocating for it for a week and getting flak from people saying it won't work. Then you say the exact same thing and it's being cheered on.

Look I don't care about credit so much, especially if you believe you came up with the idea independently, but it means you haven't read what I've wrote and frankly that hurts. Most of this stuff has been me, talking to you and others like you. If it's not getting your attention and provoking you to think about this stuff, then I'm literally shouting into an empty room.

If you got the idea after reading about the bot registry which is exactly the same thing, then please give a little credit there.

You are hugely influential, your opinion matters and it carries weight. You are doing a good job and I have never backed down from cheering you on, this despite disagreeing with some of your methods.

What you choose to do is your choice. In the meantime, I'm talking with the people who are the source of this problem and asking them to stop being a problem rather than starting an arms race that frankly won't be won by either side and will just degrade the steemit experience in general.

I had hoped that you would be one of the first to be on board with that. Frankly without you then my efforts begin to lose credibility, because I'm trying to talk to the so called bad guys and get them to become one of the good guys. But you're viewed as one of the good guys and you're taking a stance that you don't want to help these guys who look up to and admire and respect you, to clean up and produce better tools.

Frankly I don't know how to address that. Cheetah will eventually be overwhelmed, as you said the rules changes only slowed down the addition of legitimate content and not the spam. Which is something I predicted openly, and vocally the second they were announced.

I said it would happen, because rules changes of that nature are ignoring the cause of the problem and are always going punish people trying to use the system for enjoyment not bots when their owners are in an "I'm going to burn this place to the ground" mode.

People are advocating for this to become the norm and they don't even realize it...
Read it, read the comments and see how the problem was actually resolved and what actually caused it.

Starting a bot war doesn't solve this. Flagging every bot you see, doesn't solve this.
Talking to the their owners, getting them to feel less like outsiders and more like welcome members of the community, giving them tools, and knowledge and information and advice.
That solves the problem and that's what STEEMBOTS is all about.

Interesting read. Personally I think one of the biggest problems is people trying to vote based on a sort of assumed value, rather than the merits of the item itself. I'm not a coder and it may be hard to implement, but I would love to see there be LESS rewards for voting for people with reputation or "form", and MORE rewards for voting for "underdogs" who create something great. This would mean less people sucking whale dick, and more people digging for nuggets.
Another step towards meritocracy and away from polarization, perhaps.


I dont know... i dont have the perfect system but perhaps with your idea people would start to make a new account from time to time. why would i build a reputation if that is bad thing?


I'm not talking about reputation being a bad thing. I'm talking about discouraging people from sport voting - backing the horses that always win.


i understand that and agree with part of it... but if steemit do what you said, we could have a problem where people don't feel encouraged to build a reputation.


Aye, it would have to be weighted in a way that reputation is most worthwhile. I do however think there is a serious problem with so called "curators" backing the horses that always win, while amazing content slips through the cracks. In fact, I think that's the biggest problem Steemit has right now.


In an ideal world I think that this is a great idea. But as many have pointed out in trying to fix one problem without looking at all the angles is more likely to just create new one.

In addition to other problems listed is how to determine if the underdog post has great content. If you don't have a way of recognizing great content users will just start upvoting posts of users with little activity in mass with no regard to quality.

You would need to have dedicated people looking for great underdog content to upvote. Let's say I'm that person. I find quality underdog content and upvote it. Anyone else who upvotes it gets a better reward. I suddenly get a ton of users and bots upvoting the content I upvote without even reading the content. Which is just another problem.

If the suggestion was for the website to only reveal content that was transacted through browsers using, then I understand the argument, and agree that this could be a way to "stop" bots.

I think that would stop them! They only want attention! If they loose it then they stop!And that must do any future like site!

It will also mute cheetah,

I love @cheetah but I prefer we have not spams and cheetah is not needed any more....

PS could they white-list good bots?

Thanks for keeping Cheetah up and running anyx. A couple disagreements:

Finally, I have a few suggestions on account creation:
Stop allowing POW to create accounts.
Stop allowing reddit to create accounts.
Perhaps allow accounts by invitation only (and they still must use Facebook to sign up).

No way, account creation should be as open as possible. And definitely not require using some third party dystopian nightmare service. Maybe eventually it could cost a nominal fee, although until there's a good crypto-friendly CC payment processor with global reach this is difficult. Also I think it's easier to fake a FB account than a Reddit account with minimum karma.

Or perhaps we need to have a hard limit that simply prevents more than 4 posts, not just a soft one.

I disagree on this too. It's too restrictive.


Thanks for weighing in @pfunk!
Honestly I hope there is a better way to do it as well, but being too easy is also a nightmare in my opinion. A nominal fee is also already possible, given that users can create accounts with the reg fee, but limiting to that is a barrier to entry that we may not want. I don't know if the community will be able to come to consensus on the best way to approach this.

In regards to the post count, maybe it would be better solved with the interface; perhaps we should have a simplistic visual view in the webpage of "vote power" and "post power", so to speak, so people are better informed.


OMG I agree with @pfunk on something 1000%?
Great way of putting it @pfunk upvoting you on this!



You will notice most spam bots are already getting hidden.

YES! I have noticed it, and I for one am very grateful to all involved in making this happen. :)

people need to watch what they are upvoting. Perhaps look at an accounts history of posting, before you decide.

^^^^^ THIS ^^^^^

Voting alone is not a path to Steem riches. Curation rewards (compared to posting rewards) are pretty small for just about everyone (unless you're a really early adopter or you've dropped some serious bitcoin into this already). Think before you vote. This one action can make such a difference. Unfortunately, IMO, many people are trained by Facebook and Twitter to like anything and everything because it doesn't really mean anything. Even after Dan specifically asked people to stop upvoting introduceyourself posts, people still do. Problems of this variety (stupid people) aren't going to go away with better algorithms (the world is always creating better idiots for any idiot-proof system).

All that said, I'm very optimistic. Things are actually moving really quickly here. What may seem like an eternity in the world of crypto is actually a quick pace for almost any other company. I'm confident the community and those with the most invested in the system will continue working hard to protect their own value.

Thanks for all you do, @anyx! I'm proud to give you my witness vote.


Thank you @lukestokes, your support is always appreciated. :) I agree that the 'like everything' mantra needs to change here; perhaps by showing users their voting power in simple terms on the website.
I am also optimistic: I remain critical only in order to promote change!


perhaps by showing users their voting power in simple terms on the website.

That's a really good point. Power users are hitting up steemd to see their voting power change over time, but most of the new 40k+ users probably have no idea about those details.

I greatly appreciate the work you are doing to make this community better. Thanks!!

I share your pain regarding mined accounts and scattered VESTS. Indeed, the ability to set a voting proxy similar to a witness voting proxy would be a welcome solution.

the website to only reveal content that was transacted through browsers using

Let's not centralize.

Stop allowing POW to create accounts.

But then how would new miners create miner accounts?

Stop allowing reddit to create accounts.
Perhaps allow accounts by invitation only (and they still must Facebook login).

Don't assume everyone has a facebook account. Also, if someone really wanted to create multiple accounts, it wouldn't stop them.

Unfortunately, I think most of these suggestions wouldn't help much but they would be very much inconvenient for most benevolent users. The only way forward is to empower the community with a solid reputation system to fight spam.


@orly Thank you. You are spot on. I've upvoted because I agree with you 100% on everything except the rep system.
A better option is to upgrade minnow power, so minnows actually have power if they have followers who have power, would be the best possible reputation system.


so minnows actually have power if they have followers who have power,

that is a great idea!


Thanks for the feedback, here's my responses:
It isn't centralizing; it would be sanitizing the interface in the same way they are no longer showing downvotes, and the same way hiding based on reputation will work. You can always use a different interface to the steem blockchain. (Not that I agree this is the best method, just explaining.)

I don't know how to solve the unfair advantage old miners would get, but the ease of creating accounts this way is a problem, and will continue to be. Perhaps figure out a way to have the same account in the POW queue multiple times.

Perhaps it won't stop new accounts, but it will at least cost the new account creation fee each time, and there would be a link in the blockchain between accounts.


Sure I don't have problems with any kind of reputation that's embedded in the blockchain itself. I just don't want to become a distinct entry point to the chain in any way. Like, if it didn't show content written to the chain by any other means, that would be bad.

Once a decent reputation system is in place, account creation shouldn't be a problem. Even with POW mining, you can't create accounts at a faster rate than users would flag them.

Thanks for creating @cheetah and making Steemit a better place for all!

good point about that introduce yourself reposts. What's the rule on that? only once? can you introduce others as well on introduceyourself too?

I support you and the value you bring through your bots in an attempt to better steemit as opposed to solely use them to get money for yourself like the one word bots do. It would be nice to see the cheetah or some similar bots use some of that money for bettering steemit and some to benefit a charity. (Positive connotations outside of the steemit community will do great things) but in the end the choice is yours and I hope you think about the long term as I am confident you will.

If you want to prevent spam, make it cost money to post.

Hey i came across your page when i was looking up about the cheetah bot that upvoted me, I was trying to figure about what it meant? I mentioned where i got the article from like the source, does this mean im in trouble?

@anyx one final thing...
What you're doing on reposts is fine, with 2 exceptions.
You need to scan the post itself for the words "repost", because if that's there then the user is making it clear that this is a repost, but they are cleaning it up and trying for better visibility. Many of our most upvoted tutorials actually encourage this.

Secondly, you need to watch for changes to any flagged post so a user can take your feedback into consideration and add some text like "this is a repost", at which time you need to remove any flags and delete the comment.
Otherwise this builds bot hate and resentment against cheetah.


Thanks for the feedback on this bit, I have also thought about this, and am planning to change the message for detected reposts.
I have resentment for reposts in introduceyourself, so they can resent me back all they like.


@anyx the cause of a repost could just be people getting too excited. They don't understand how to draw attention to themselves. They post and get nothing. Then they look around and they learn. They fix it, update and repost.

Most of my friends are doing this as I drag them kicking and screaming from facebook, twitter and the like. They're trying and it's legit content from a legit content creator. If people enjoy it now more than they did earlier, there just doesn't seem to be a reason to try and punish them.

Hey, I posted "For Quick Laugh" and a link to this russian site.

After awhile I couldn't vote anymore, my reputation was at -5.

I thought, WTF. What could I have possibly done.

So I went to check out my posts and found this:

Curation rewards
Author rewards
Re: Руководство для новичков. Steemit: Как чёрт возьми это работает?
Нет не одинаковый будет вес голоса. Вес у одного человека с 1000 SP будет гораздо выше.
2 hours ago by lehard (7) in ru-help 0 0
Re: Руководство для новичков. Steemit: Как чёрт возьми это работает?
Отвратительные посты никогда не будут набирать 2 тысячи. Вы же провели отличное расследование, прямо как Агент 007)))…
2 hours ago by lehard (7) in ru-help 0 1
Re: Руководство для новичков. Steemit: Как чёрт возьми это работает?
2 hours ago by lehard (7) in ru-help 0 0
Re: Руководство для новичков. Steemit: Как чёрт возьми это работает?
Расскажу и попробую даже показать в реальном времени как это сделать на другом аккаунте.
3 hours ago by lehard (7) in ru-help 0 3
Re: Beginner’s Guide. Part 2. Steemit: How the hell does it work?
I do not mining, but maybe my friend @testz decided to write about it
3 hours ago by lehard (7) in steemhelp 0 0
Re: Beginner’s Guide. Part 2. Steemit: How the hell does it work?
In the next article I will talk about it
3 hours ago by lehard (7) in steemhelp 0 0
Re: Beginner’s Guide. Part 2. Steemit: How the hell does it work?
Thank you so much!
3 hours ago by lehard (7) in steemhelp 0 0
Re: Beginner’s Guide. Part 2. Steemit: How the hell does it work?
3 hours ago by lehard (7) in steemhelp 1 0
Re: Руководство для новичков. Steemit: Как чёрт возьми это работает?
На самом деле на данный момент эмиссия Стим даже выше 100%. Когда она снизится до 100%, то там будут введены…
3 hours ago by lehard (7) in ru-help 0 0
Re: Руководство для новичков. Steemit: Как чёрт возьми это работает?
Я далеко не самый компетентный))) Для написания статей я задаю очень много вопросов людям, кто в этом разбирается гораздо лучше меня.
3 hours ago by lehard (7) in ru-help 0 0
Re: Руководство для новичков. Steemit: Как чёрт возьми это работает?
Да кураторы (те кто лайкает) тоже получают вознаграждение. Чем больше SP тем большую доля вознаграждения.
3 hours ago by lehard (7) in ru-help 0 0
Re: Руководство для новичков. Steemit: Как чёрт возьми это работает?
Мне бы дельфином стать для начала)))
3 hours ago by lehard (7) in ru-help 0 0
Re: Руководство для новичков. Steemit: Как чёрт возьми это работает?
Согласен на все 100%
3 hours ago by lehard (7) in ru-help 0 0
Re: Руководство для новичков. Steemit: Как чёрт возьми это работает?
Видимо плохо мы статью написали, если вы этого не поняли))) Автор комментария выше все верно написал.
4 hours ago by lehard (7) in ru-help 0 0
Re: Руководство для новичков. Steemit: Как чёрт возьми это работает?
Рад что было полезно!
4 hours ago by lehard (7) in ru-help 2 0
Re: Руководство для новичков. Steemit: Как чёрт возьми это работает?
4 hours ago by lehard (7) in ru-help 1 0
Re: Beginner’s Guide. Part 2. Steemit: How the hell does it work?
You are welcome)
4 hours ago by lehard (7) in steemhelp 0 0
Re: Beginner’s Guide. Part 2. Steemit: How the hell does it work?
Thank you so much) I also believe in the power of the community!
5 hours ago by lehard (7) in steemhelp 0 0
Re: Beginner’s Guide. Part 2. Steemit: How the hell does it work?
I'm glad the post was helpful to you
5 hours ago by lehard (7) in steemhelp 1 0
Re: Beginner’s Guide. Part 2. Steemit: How the hell does it work?
Thanks! Greetings from Russia)
5 hours ago by lehard (7) in steemhelp 0 0

Stuff that I didn't post and now I'm just thinking WTF is going on.

I agree with invitation only accounts from now on 8]

thanks for sharing with us.

Hi @anyx, sorry it's somewhat offtopic, but what's the best way to report @cheetah bugs? I believe I'm seeing one

I think it can be very difficult to distinguish a repost or straight up plagiarism, especially when some people may go through the list, upvote the titles that get their attention and then go back and read them but not do due diligence on if the poster is copy pasting.

I try to do my part and downvote if I know it's a copy, or if it can reasonably be construed as such, and I'll leave a comment saying why I down voted.

I think education is the most important way to combat the tide of copied content or reposting for perceived missed rewards. People are super excited about steemit and they want to get every steem they can, I can only imagine the creative scams we've yet to see.

Good thoughts, keep on trucking. Cheetah's #introduceyourself got all my upvote love. Asimov told me I write like Hemingway or Trump :/


@prufarchy here is a simple algorithm to detect if it's a repost...
Have I seen this before? If yes, then who posted it. IF owner of posting now == owner of posting earlier, THEN repost = true ELSE plagarism = true


Sure that works. I don't need one, I actively scan for plagiarism. I was being devils advocate for those who probably do what I outlined above, vote without realizing... Alls I was saying


Reposts generally don't deserve much in the way of rewards anyway, so it doesn't really matter that much from the perspective of voting and abuse. It's like movies. First run = $. Old movie = late night on some obscure cable channel.


@smooth That was a great comparison! Thanks, gave me a good laugh, have an upvote on me!

Voltron was always the best. Always.


Lol, that's not voltron that's transformers.
But my idea would be to upgrade @cheetah like this...

Also @anyx I'm a little concerned that you've chosen a decepticon for cheetah, they are the bad guys and the image you linked, they just stole from the good guys and got caught :)

There is an autobot named cheetor...


I do not see myself as a "good guy" or "hero" in this story.
Like you say, cheetah is my pet, and it follows my orders. My philosophy on plagiarized content is solely my own, and it is up to voters to decide if they agree with me or not.


@anyx Fair enough, I can respect that.

Just understand, that mindset is literally the same mindset as every other bot builder.

You may wish to keep in mind, that most of the generation using this platform, grew up on transformers where the decepticons were the bad guys. Inept bad guys, but bad guys nonetheless.

It's cool for nostalgia, but psychologically it pokes little pinpricks in the back of the mind and triggers people to feel a bit less inclined to cut cheetah any slack when she misbehaves.

I just read this on according to my 2 day experience on it seems to be quite legit I made English translation
translation of the scam post

lol, don't take it the wrong way, but you found your way of getting money out of the system by talking about how other should vote, should post, your bot etc...
That's nice but at some point it looks to me as much as spamming as what you are complaining about.
Sure the content is original, but repeated everyday it is just getting a little boring. My fifty cents...


Repeated every day? My last post was 6 days ago, and brought Identity Theft to attention, a completely different topic.
If you are talking about my post from 2 weeks ago that is on trending, yeah, it is stupid that it's still there.


that's probably what is happening here... yeah the trending thing is a bit misleading

I dont understand the content much as other people do but I do believe it is for the good welfare of the steemit community.

Bots can be good an bad for Steemit. All my posts are authentic.

I found this interesting too. I think cheetah is the only bot that seems to have some use and I can understand why you created it. It is interesting that some whales have used bots for automatic upvoting of the very kind of plagiarising and content stealing posts that cheetah highlights.

Anyway some sort of solution needs to be found for content theft. I have posted on this issue before but a lot of people seem unable to understand the issue and/or choose to be wilfully blind to it (since it is earning them money).

Thank you for your contribution in trying to deal with this.

PS are you sure that the person in Topic 1.4 is really a person and not a copy/paste bot? Seems like it is just automated copying.

Hey @anyx
Just wanted to let you know, I link to you in my latest article here .. Up top, you're described as a "techie"

Well at least now I know why some of my more legitimate posts are stuck in no where land.. That makes me feel better.

(I wrote one today, and squinted at the 54 cents I made. I didn't get it until now)

I'd also like to thank you for posting about this problem. It will surely get abused. Some people can milk it for awhile, but when someone else gets the same idea, we'll spool forever into a crazy place that none of us want to go..