My Proposal To Reduce Spam on Steemit (and reward policing)

in #steemit5 years ago (edited)

I recently read a post from @timcliff about reducing the spam problem on Steemit by making it less profitable.

Effectively Tim's proposal is to increase the threshold for earning on a comment or post to offset spammers coalescing their pennies across potentially thousands of accounts.

The issue with such a proposal is that it would address the spam problem by punishing Minnows who are new to the platform. As I have written about before, it's a hard road for a new Steemit user to get anywhere.

It's great to see Steemians like Tim thinking about this stuff, and while I might not agree with increasing the threshold, it's still a great idea nonetheless with the intent of reducing spam on Steemit (a problem in need of a solution).


Steemit feels like a large corporation at the moment where the people at top get away with everything, and those on the bottom are picking up the scraps and trying to get to the top floor.

My Proposal

A simple, "Report Low Quality" link on each Steemit post. At the moment there is no way to report low quality on Steemit and I don't think it is even mentioned under the current flagging functionality.

This report low quality button or link would function as follows:

  • Steemit user clicks the link when they see a post they deem to be low quality. This is a free action, unlike the current flagging functionality
  • It then goes into a review queue
  • The review queue would be a public area where users above a certain reputation levels could review and vote on whether a post is low quality/spam
  • Votes would have consequences. If you report something as low quality or spam and the reviewers deem it not to be, it costs you money or reputation (proportionate to your reputation and wallet value). If your vote was accurate, you would earn curating reward dollars.
  • Voting would be anonymous (the content creator won't be able to see who voted) so this would mean that reporters would have no fear of retribution.

For all of this to work, there would need to be newly introduced content guidelines. Spam posts and low quality content would need to be defined and written in a Steemit content guidelines article. This would be a mandatory read for new users.

To my knowledge the Steemit platform allows all content except spam and other blatantly inappropriate content you wouldn't want here. A clear set of guidelines to raise the standard is a much needed thing for this site, I've seen too many bot voted pictures of flowers with no captions making a lot of money.

Essentially this would reward Steemit users for policing the platform and not costing money in the form of a public negative vote on a post. People are scared to use the flagging button because it costs reputation and the author can see and retaliate (I've experienced this before).

An incorrect vote could cost you money, power or reputation, so users would still have to be careful reporting something. But accurate reports would result in rewards.

This would be a great new way for Steemit users to earn money and at the same time, get rid of the spam and people exploiting Steemit while genuine content creators suffer.

There could be downsides and caveats I haven't thought of, but I feel as though is a nice non-destructive way to clean this place up.


At the core of this proposed moderation queue style system would be a consensus type safeguard. One of the problems with Steemit is the heavy power users have more SP to throw around and therefore are more influential. This proposed system would work the following way:

  • Multiple confirmations or rejections of a low-quality post would need to be made. To prevent abuse, a randomly computed number of confirmations would be needed on a marked post, to prevent power users from manipulating the queue system.
  • Users would get a limited number of votes per week (initially you might get 10 votes for a week)
  • Over time depending on your voting record (did you vote for or against valid submissions) you will accrue more votes as well as curation rewards.
  • If a Steemit user regularly votes against a valid marked post, they will lose influence in the queue over the time for abusing their power of responsibility.

This would not cover every angle, but limiting votes and making it so Steemit users had to prove themselves with a track record would be a step in the right direction.

Bonus proposal

But wait, there's more. Guidelines and ability to report content is one thing, but what about the inverse? Allow low quality content to be rewarded, but help make it easy for new high quality content to be discovered.

At the moment we have; new, trending and promoted sections. With exception of new, the rest require spending money in bots and bidding.

How about a new natural section which uses an algorithm of some kind to promote new content on the platform? The best way to reduce spam is to I introduce guidelines and make it less visible by burying it with actual content.

The specifics and logistics for this one would require a lot more thought and effort, but it's another potential step in cleaning up Steemit.



I love the idea - we need some changes because the current system just isnt working and people are getting fed up! I havent used the flags for a number of reasons - 1 - I dont have enough SP to make much of a difference and 2 - fear of retribution as you mentioned.

In this case I like the idea of being anonymous - I dont want to start fights I just dont want to see 'nice post' on everything that I post!

I agree I think maybe we should have a trending and then an 'organic trending' where there is an algorithm to subtract any upvotes that have been paid for. I think having this would allow the best content to gain exposure organically while if people still want to promote thought bots then they can still get to the trending page.

I think this is in esscence what Steemit planned - the promote page was for paid promoted posts and trending was for content that had gained alot of attention.

Unfortunaly with all the bots around we are still far away from coming up with a solid solution

The current system is definitely broken, wholeheartedly agree. The flagging functionality is all but unusable (unless you're a heavy power user on Steemit and your flag counts), I am not even sure what it is intended for when it can be abused by heavy-hitters, like the war between @haejin and @berniesanders where there has been some flag brigading between the two in their content war.

An organic trending page makes so much sense, I could see it working by using some time calculation in combination with a list of known bots. The problem with bots is that they seem to be popping up at a high rate, I see new ones every day.

A good solution might be to analyse an authors wallet history. Most bots work on the premise of sending SBD and putting the link to the post as the memo message. If you could build a natural trending section that automatically excluded any post that has been mentioned in a transaction (only by the author) you might be able to do it.

I dont know much about the fagging war your referring to but I can imagine how it went down.

Yeah most of the bots go through Steembottracker so I guess we would have to somehow link the organic trending page to that where ot would pull the data from who has upvoted what with bots.

Its worth thinking about - I wish I had some knowledge of HTML etc etc then I could be a bit more technical about it all

When you say that incorrectly reporting a post as low quality would cost you money, how do you picture that specifically. Would there be an upfront cost to report; which would be reimbursed for reports deemed correct?

It could work like this:

  • You report a post as low quality or spam (if you have any votes for the week)
  • It then gets added into a moderation queue where it will be reviewed by multiple Steemit users
  • If the general consensus from those who review the post is your report is accurate, you would earn some form of curation reward.
  • You would then be given that vote back to reuse because you lodged an accurate report that was confirmed by independent Steemit members.
  • If the vote you cast is deemed to be false (consensus votes determined the post is not spam or low quality) you are penalised in the form of lost power or something to that effect.

Basically the idea is to incentivise honesty and for reporting. If you just went trigger happy reporting every post without double-checking, eventually your reports would count for nothing and you would lose the ability.

Specifics around how this could work haven't been determined and I think given the way Steemit is currently built it would require a remagination of the platform itself.

Steem Cleaners are similarly already doing this, except they don't have a system in place that depowers and makes it hard for people to make false reports. However, Steem Cleaners pay out rewards to people who make valid claims of comment spam, Steemit misuse and so on.

Does that make a little more sense? Sorry, explaning things in detail can sometimes be one of my shortcomings.

All good, mate. The penalty is where it gets tricky for me. This process or body raiding your wallet would be a huge rethink of the architecture of this place; as your wallet is otherwise sacrosanct; same with your voting power. There are things that steemit INC can't do; which is part of the charm of the place :)
If you wanted to penalise by downvoting pending payouts, then the reporter could have send reports from a second account from which they don't post. There are quite a few accounts out there with a rep of 25.
You can't up or downvote them, because they don't post or comment, they just vote.

Nice 👍 idea 💡
Steemit really needs cleansing......

It's an appealing idea, this way people can choose to focus on positivy(upvoting) or policing(flagging). It might be able to work with some great synergy.

But. What will happen when certain powerful groups use this to silence others? Might result in very terrible censure.

What do you think about the downsides?

I just edited the post with a safeguards section. But essentially the system would require multiple confirmations (yes or no votes) on a queue item and it wouldn't matter what your Steem power is, if you misvote and everyone else confirms it's a valid submission and you didn't, you would be penalised under the new proposed system.

I think there are probably downsides that have yet to be discovered, I can't think of any at the moment. I feel as though a consensus type voting queue that rewards valid submissions and penalises invalid ones would work quite efficiently.

Now getting it to work with the Steem blockchain and with Steemit, that is where the real challenge is.

very innovative

You got a 9.79% upvote from @redlambo courtesy of @beggars! Make sure to use tag #redlambo to be considered for the curation post!

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