Power In Numbers & "Who Made You God?" - Steemit Society Continues Its Evolution

in steemit •  2 years ago

So much has happened on Steemit over the past week, mainly in the area of abuse. I want to explore some of the discussion and controversy.

The landscape here shifts so fast, blink an eye and you might not recognise it. On recent trend is the formation of communities, consolidated by common interests, financial status, or indeed political goals, both noble and nefarious.

Power In Numbers

The original communities here were based around tags related to interests, such as science, photography, and anarchy. Over time it became obvious how cooperative teamwork could be efficiently applied to achieve common goals and some interesting examples have emerged.

Challenges such as the Steemit Photo Challenge and the Steemit Food Challenge effectively see funds collected to reward the most outstanding contributors within their respective communities.

Other community initiatives such as the Robinhood Whale seek to identify and reward the most under-appreciated contributors. There are various other group-forming initiatives, with varying degrees of success. Anyone can try to band people together. More about that later.

Are these mobs, collectives, gangs, cartels, organisations?

They're all sorts, and yes, they include spam and scam cartels. The idea of "goodies and baddies" is however, rather more exciting than the reality of some of the recent goings on. Steemit has been under heavy spam attack in the last week. With such quick and tangible rewards, it was only a matter of time before spammers arrived in their droves, and I believe this is still only the tip of the iceberg. They're also bringing their sock-puppet accounts because the spammers realise the power of numbers on Steemit.

Since recently having my own work plagiarised right here on Steemit and running the gauntlet of "revenge flagging", I've been heavily involved in the fightback against spam and it has been a real eye opener; spam and plagiarism is almost out of control.

If you don't believe me, use TinEye, Google (with quotes around segments of text) or Copyscape to pick apart any random ten posts. Chances are at least one or two of them are complete plagiarism. Change your selection to only new accounts (rep-25), and that figure will be more like 5 in 10.
This is unsustainable.

Perhaps inevitably, in the last couple of days, we've seen the emergence of the Steemcleaners, a group of abuse/spam fighters putting up a united front. My opinion is that they are saving Steemit from drowning in copypasta, (and insuring that original content has a better chance of reward) but others have levied criticism towards them, and other individual abuse fighters.

Who made you God?

Different variations of this question have been a common response to criticism or flagging of those who have been caught plagiarising. In the real world, I would be the first to ask "who made you God" when anyone dishes out chastising criticism, especially when it comes to something like political correctness. Steemit however, is far less nuanced than real life. Protecting peoples intellectual property by exposing plagiarism does not equal "censorship" by any stretch of the imagination.

More generally, people have criticised abuse fighters, including Steemcleaners for being autocratic, and "the kids who wanted to be hall monitors". Well, here's the thing: On Steemit everyone, and no-one is God. If you want to set up your own group initiative, that is your prerogative. You might have to live up to the very high standards of integrity and accountability set by the Steemcleaners though, so, unless you're doing something the wider community is glad to support, you won't have much luck.

Finally, a quick note about profiles with a lot of flags.

When curating, you might come across heavily flagged accounts. There's two main types of heavily flagged accounts. The first, are the serial plagiarists who have been rumbled. The second however, are the brave individuals who stick their necks out to call out spam or abuse, and end up being targeted with revenge flags. These flags on their profiles are not black spots, but badges of honour. These flags are the battle scars inflicted on them for standing up for the Steemit community. Please don't let those flags put you off Upvoting their great content.

I'd like to end by paying tribute to some Steemians who have been heavily flagged, because they stood up against plagiarism or abuse. If you work hard to create original content, here are some people who I believe deserve support and gratitude. Hats off to these folks!
@patrice @klye @anyx @demotruk @minion @pfunk

(All images public domain)

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Paraphrasing from Steemit.chat:

Q: "What gives you the right to judge someone else's posts?"

My answer: My stake in the Steem network gives me the right to judge someone else's posts. I don't downvote unless I have a good reason to, and that reason is always to increase the value of the Steem network.


"My stake in the Steem network gives me the right to judge someone else's posts. I don't downvote unless I have a good reason to, and that reason is always to increase the value of the Steem network."
This is so perfect. It's my new motto


Yes @pfunk, yes it does but remember there are actually three votes that you can cast. The first is an up vote basically signalling to steem that you are impressed with the content and quality of the post and as such you are endorsing and promoting it.
The second is the flag, when you flag a post you are saying that you think the content and quality of the post is not acceptable and will objectivity erode the quality of Steem like spam or plagarism.
The last type of vote is a 'no vote' this vote which is the default for every post you don't engage with and says either you have not seen this post and cannot comment, you do not agree with the content and/or quality and cannot endorse it, etc.

I would argue that if you really are trying to improve the quality of Steem you do not use flags to signify disagreement with a point of view our even how that view is expressed, that is what the 'reply' function is for and if you are incensed than 'mute' that person. Remember not everybody will agreed with you and what goes around comes around.

A lot of us have come to Steem because we feel we are not being allowed to express ourselves on other platforms without censorship. When I see flags being used to attack people because you simply disagree with them I loose a little more faith in the platform, if you want to create an echo chamber I and I assume others will turn from contributor to speculator and syphon as much money out of the system as possible as that will be the platform's only value at that point.


pfunk, that was a good article, I don't think we disagree at all. The only thing I will say on this is that a flag has an effect beyond the post or comment that is flagged as it affects your reputation. I do not think that flags should be used to signify disagreement with a single post that is all. Of course this is an decentralised platform and users should operate it as they see fit within the scope of the platform.


Reputation doesn't get affected very much by a single flag though. It's not something to be too worried about unless your reputation goes negative, which is something that won't happen unless you really messed up.


Well I invite you to look at https://steemit.com/life/@susanne/the-crap-i-put-up-with-because-i-m-a-girl-in-it and see if my comment deserved a 50 point drop in rep


Cheers pfunk that's a good idea thanks for the advice


I can't comment under @chuckleberry so reply is here:

Yeah that's unfortunate, and it's an artifact of Steemit more than Steem. At least changes to the Steemit rep system are easier to do than change Steem. I don't believe you should lose so much reputation from one comment either. I'd vocalize the problem on the steemit.com github.


A 0-vote is a waste of time. Like I said, I don't downvote things without good reason.

Re: flagging, the meaning got muddled when a downvote became a "flag" on the Steemit front end. I'm not going to conform to the front end UI's idea of using it solely for clear abuse. The concept was changed because idiot newbies were downvoting everything. You can see more on the topic in the comments of this post.


Well said. There definetly needs to be some change in this, its getting out of control with all the bots posting. Maybe adding a captcha would help, but I'm not sure how these "gangs" will turn out, or how they will be rewarded for there hard work. More @cheatah bots would help too.. Many ideas are out there, but we need to remember its still in Beta.
Thanks for the post.

Hat's off as well for the fella', who made this awesome post! :)

Some have battle scars because they dared to criticize inequality and behaviour of some whales...

It is important to not let the spam'n'scam get outta hand. It will be bad for the economy if they just fuck off with what steem they earn and flip to bitcoin. I don't wanna waste my tadpole voting power on those bastards.

Wow, you've hit the nail on the head with one of my chief concerns about posting on this medium: plagiarism and revenge-flagging! I love it when somebody speaks out what is unspoken and all of a sudden you feel validated for experiencing something. I am still fairly new to this site so I've kept my concerns to myself - though admittedly they've affected what I am willing to post and my perceptions of this site overall. By you 'airing' a concern I've been holding onto you've succeeded in 'freeing me up' and restoring to me a sense of optimism. I thank you for this.

What's to prevent a whale from pillaging the work of a minnow on here and then making a mint without any homage/or cash paid to the originator?

Given that I have been developing my own psycho-philosophical system over the past decade I find myself very guarded about the content that I share on public domain.

@condra you've addressed some very pertinent issues in this post and I really appreciate it. I actually had no idea that others shared the same concerns til now, given that I still finding my way in it all.

Excellent post and call to attention.
As one who seeks do do the best he can in providing the highest quality posts while maintaining originality and authenticity (I even take my own photos for every post and make my own artwork), it grieves me to see such lame, halfhearted efforts to make a quick buck flooding into steemit. Many have been gentle and considerate when encouraging newcomers to post in appropriate tags or, if they are linking a YouTube video, to add something of their own to the post. Unfortunately, the flag attacks fueled by vengeance and the poor attitude and lack of integrity of some are indeed becoming a plague. I appreciate all of you who are hard at work fighting against the abuse.

If I wore a hat, I'd take it off in your honor.

A post with the names of people revenge flagged might be a worthy post to release every couple of days. Then those of us that can might be able to up vote some of their work to counter act those negative flags.

I don't downvote except for plagiarism, spam, or clearly abusive content. If I disagree with a person due to opinion I leave them be.

I would still like to counteract retaliatory flags if I can help with that. I'm not that big yet, but I assume every little bit helps.

Absolutely spot on man. It's not much bu I just gave you my full power vote for this. I've been on Steemit for literally one week and it is incredible to me having seen it transform this fast. And great advice letting people know about tineye, if I ever have a thought that a poster might be a poser, I just tineye the photo and you'll find out in seconds.