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.
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