Flagging. Someone has to do it.steemCreated with Sketch.

in steemit •  2 years ago 

Flagging these accounts is where a good chunk of my voting strength has gone recently:


I'm sure there are many, many more. These are just the ones commenting on my posts or that I've seen clearly on other posts.

They are obviously spam bot accounts, and they all follow the same pattern:

  1. Comment
  2. Vote
  3. Follow
  4. Reblog
  5. Repeat

Some ways you can spot them:

  • All of these accounts were created in September 2017.
  • They all use female avatar pictures.
  • None of them post their own root blogs. It's all just reblogs.
  • They all start their meaningless comments with the author's username.
  • They never reply.
  • Their comments all use poorly generated text like this:

    Excellent... Motivating and it will make me joyful to check out effort and resolve prevail. Adore it..
    Really intriguing and insightful submit. Want you the most effective with all of your potential endeavors.
    Thanks for publishing this Charming instant in time for yourself..

I love making sweet, sweet curation rewards with my Steem Power as much as the next Steemian, but if we don't show these spammers how pointless their efforts are by putting their accounts to 0 with our flags/downvotes, all they will do is fill up the blockchain with useless noise. As a Steemit witness, I wanted to raise some awareness about this and ask some of the larger accounts to save some of your voting strength to flag these down to a zero reputation.

Maybe if things become so obviously spam, Steemit, inc might consider undelgating their delegated steem power to these accounts. If they want to spam our blockchain, at least make them use their own money to do it.

Have you noticed any other accounts fitting this pattern? Go ahead and light them up in the comments. I'm not going to use up all my voting power on these, so eventually I'll just mute them, but I'd like to get their reputation down quite a bit before then so everyone else can simply ignore their spam.

Steemit is our home. Sometimes we have to do a little house cleaning.

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Last weekend, my Twitter account was suspended because I called someone on there a dumb bitch. She really was being a dumb bitch though. I asked her a question, and rather than answer it, she tagged 5 other people to start a fight; While playing dumb about what I asked her.

What I didn't realize is she was the leader of a Twitter Troll Gang that goes around False Flagging accounts They don't like. So even though Ted Cruz can watch Full on Porn on Twitter; even though people call folks names on twitter all the time; Even though I was not actually in violation of twitter's community rules, My account was still suspended.


Because a person with enough influence and enough mindless followers, could point at someone and say "Flag this person" --- and whether that person is really in violation or not; the System is set to Suspend them anyways.

So while I get what you're saying here - I'm not a big fan of these kinds of efforts bro. They often harm people who aren't in violation of rules - as a similar thing happened to me on Facebook as well. Several outspoken people of color have noticed their social media accounts flagged, or taken down on these platforms - mostly over False Flagging.

MOST recently it happened to Desus and Mero -

Just like they say in this commentary; You have Nazi's on Twitter calling people all sorts of N-words - there is full on porn throughout the 'community' - and yet I get what you're saying.

You don't want all this useless value on the blockchain; and while your motivations are pure (unlike the twitter trolls that got me suspended) - this practice of pointing out who others should flag; needs to stop in my opinion. The people who create these sites need to do a better job of Monitoring their platforms; We, community members, need to be less willing to do their jobs, for them. Because unfortunately most of us are not trained in moderation; and mess this task up royally; or use biases to flag people who are not in violation; causing harm to people who don't Truly deserve it...

Glad you made almost $80 on this post though!!! Some good news at least :)

It sounds to me you took your personal story and applied it to this situation which is much different.

There are no humans involved in these comments.

As a programer, I recognize algorithmic commenting from bots, and I can recognize it possibly before many others can so this post is useful to them. This isn't about flagging another human, it's about flagging a non-human bot flooding our network with spam. I'd never condone any form of censorship against an actual human here unless they are causing harm to others. I've posted at length about flagging. I've been flagged consistently myself (read that post for details).

I'm sorry to hear your Twitter account was suspended, but maybe calling someone names isn't the best approach to conflict resolution? Lead with non-violent communication and you probably would have had a much better outcome (though it sounds like if you piss off the wrong people, you can still get censored, flagged, etc).

The reason this post did well financially has less to do with the post and more to do with the following of people who appreciate the content I've been publishing here for over a year and choose to reward that. Those votes (many of them automated) bring some of my posts to the hot and trending pages so others can find them and vote them up as well.

Thanks for sharing your opinion. Though I don't agree with you in this case, I'll give you a vote for speaking your mind. The blockchain can't be censored, so everything we put on here stays on here, even if it's flagged.


We are working behind the scenes to develop some useful tools to help counteract the spam problem. Stay tuned; this isn't how it will have to be forever.

Thank you, Sneak! That's really great to hear. Sometimes I wonder how to get Steemit's attention on matters like this so it's very encouraging to see you all listening and participating in these conversations.

I'm confident what you're working on will be helpful. Depending on the timeline involved, would it be worth implementing an intermediary solution? Maybe a list of obvious spam accounts which the witnesses could agree upon so that Steemit, Inc could remove the new account SP delegation from them?

It's really important to me to keep Steemit uncensored so I know this isn't a simple problem to solve. Any tools we develop to prevent these spam accounts could sadly be used by bad actors who gain enough power to do so. I'm thinking about bad whales or governments down the road.

I'm excited to see what you all are working on.

Maybe a list of obvious spam accounts which the witnesses could agree upon so that Steemit, Inc could remove the new account SP delegation from them?

We already have/do this.

I wish there was an easier way to track who is delegating to whom. Maybe a future wallet improvement could make that number linkable to a table showing where the delegated steem comes from.

As for that process, how do you determine who should be undelegated and is that something we in the community can help with? Transparency on how all that works would be really helpful to know about.

Thanks again for your time as I know it's valuable. Looking forward to meeting you at Steemfest!

Edit: So for example, the accounts I mentioned here in my post: What process is there for us to request steemit, inc to undelegate their steem power to them? Based on this comment it appears Steemit is given them that bandwidth via delegation which they are using for spam.

This is 2 very good news!

Mr. @sneak, I have a bone to pick with you...you recently downvoted one of our member's comments and I'm shocked, honestly. I'm assuming you may think it to be a spam bot and got confused. @sneaky-ninja is an account we have set up specifically for members of #thealliance to buy upvotes from via his delegation we set up. No different than @bellyrub or Rando or the goat or minnowbooster except it is done MANUALLY. All of our allies are good content creators as that is one of the stipulations because we won't vote on any rubbish. We are even writing a backstory for him and it's really quite good. In the future, please delve a little deeper into what you are actually downvoting.

@lukestokes, several of our members, including our witness, have taken to downvoting spammers. One thing I've seen recently, is they will leave a comment like 'nice post, upvoted'. Then, if you upvote or reply to that post, they will come back and edit the comment with several links and a beggars guise. I am assuming this is to prevent the initial downvote on the spam itself. Tricky, I wouldn't have noticed if the post wasn't hot. So, something else to watch out for :)

Post changing: Wow, that's shady. Yeah, with the 7 day payout it can be awkward if something you vote on gets turned into spam. Thankfully, everything is on the blockchain so it can clearly be shown what happened when.

As to your beef with sneak, maybe hit him up on chat first? Vote buying is generally something that is frowned upon here, but there are many forms of it, some better than others. If someone does a "vote up this post and I'll..." then that usually gets a downvote. I'm not familiar with what you're doing, but if the main developer from Steemit, inc doesn't like it, you may want to ask around in chat to figure out why.

I´m really curious, what´s it exactly that you´ll come up with. Those Spam Accounts are just so annoying as they tend to push good comments downwards and leave you with their nonsense in the top...

Thank you !!! We all need that. Who doesn't love sincere response or feedback instead the same kind of comment all the time

Thank you, @lukestokes, for your efforts to keep our steemit clean.
IMO, your actions and similar actions from other steemians have caused the spam to decrease clearly.

Steemit, inc might consider undelgating their delegated steem power to these accounts.

I strongly agree.

This comment has received a 22.50 % upvote from @lovejuice thanks to: @sadekj. They have officially sprayed their dank amps all over your post rewards. GOOD TIMES! Vote for Aggroed!

Hello Luke. We are glad to see you are doing this to ensure we have a healthy community and getting rid of these spammers.

We work towards the spanish speaking community by detecting plagiarism and abuse, we are the equivalent of cheetah in spanish.

Here is our introduction post in english in case you want to read about this project backed by the witness Cervantes.

Have a great day, best regards.

Very cool! Very glad to see this happening.

Ah! I think you flagged two of them on one of my posts. Thank you. I'm also using @commentwealth to flag spam. Feel free to ping me on discord and I'll send CW out to troll.

@commentwealth does seem to be a great tool, especially for micro-minnows. :D

Thanks @gregvence - yes, I especially thought it could help minnows because, when you're new, you don't want to rock the boat by flagging people.

That's a pretty cool project! Thanks for letting me know about it.

how does that work? Do I just follow them and it'll flag spam??

I completely agree brother.
It sucks to have to use voting power to stop scammers but its an investment in a better future. Once they get down they don't show up anymore and they loose. The only reason these scammers do it is because they profit. If they didn't profit they wouldn't do it. You can stop them, WE can stop them!

Then no one will do it anymore because its a waste of time. That solves it.

I have proposed that we have more guilds that reward people for reporting leach accounts and then having delegated power to stop it in its tracks asap. I see it happening soon.

Thanks for your contributions to the platform.


I also detected @redeyes, @eureka9 and @smartdeveloper with slightly different pattern: no names in comments, no any own posts, but only resteemed and all comments are about nothing

Yeah, looks like spam to me.

Thanks for your willingness to clean house and keep the community strong. Much appreciated!

  ·  2 years ago (edited)

Add a penalty system of some sort which will give you 3 strikes or warnings on the last warning your earning power should be removed for 7 days or limited. Hope this makes sense great job budd.

The problem with any system is it can be gamed by bad actors. I'd hate to have trolls going around falsely attacking innocent brand new accounts. Maybe the witnesses could be trusted with a responsibility like that. If they make a bad decision, they could get voted out if their witness position. That might actually work. If witnesses voted on a bad actor list, Steemit could then undelegate their SP. Hmm... interesting idea.

Agree yes

Many thanks for the house cleaning efforts! Not glamorous to do but quite important.

Comments from bots are always discouraging because at first it seems a post or comment is getting engagement and then the letdown happens when you realize it's a mindless spam bot.

If there's a future with nearly indistinguishable human robotic/AI lifeforms I imagine real humans will have the same feeling of disappointment -or worse- when engaged in conversation by an android. The uncanny valley and all...

Yeah, it certainly doesn't set a good first impression for the platform, either.

Unfortunately it´s very hard for smaller Users to flag efficiently without loosing all your Voting Power. I used to make some nonsense disappear on my blog but basically just ended up wasting my Votes, which I could rather have spend on good comments or Posts intead...

Therefore I´m really greatful to hear that you and as well other whales try their best to get rid of those Spammers. Thanks for that @lukestokes!

Yeah, I do think it's something people with more voting power should step up and deal with more often. Also, don't forget, you bring attention to the abuse in the steamcleaners chat channel or via similar projects.

I am part of #newsteem and founder of "the inquiring times" we are starting off by covering people who are working to fight abuse of the rewards pool... I realize that I will need to include witnesses in this especially considering the recent whitepaper remarks... perhaps you'd be interested in being featured in this publication? maybe an interview...... js. I'd love to have you aboard.

Sounds interesting! I haven't done much (and many around here have done much more), but if an interview would be helpful, I'd be glad to do it. Just let me know. You can drop me an email if that's easier via luke.stokes @ gmail or hit me up on Steemit chat.

I'd be happy to hear who it is that has done so much more to confront abuse on this platform. I understand that there are many difficulties to doing a good job at being a witness, and blogging about it, having communications with the masses. I hope to act as a liaison for the witnesses who are active in protecting the rewards pool.

I msged you on discord and steemit.chat. however gmail works for me too. I have the same name on all of them.

The Internet back in 1990 was big on netiquette.

As a micro-minnow, might I suggest an article on what we can afford to do and still try to grow our account size? Maybe something based on account value ranges?

Usually, I'm just hoping to add enough value in a comment to get a few cents from an author. I don't yet get many eyes on any root posts.

Suggestions? Another root article?

Thanks in Advance

That's a good question. Maybe what you can do is contribute on the chat via steemcleaners or other initiatives and use their link drop channel to bring abuse to their attention. That way powerful accounts will do the flagging and you can keep your voting power to build up your account. In some case you can even get a reward payout for helping out. I don't know the rules on how that works, but I've occasionally seen some payments come in to my wallet for helping expose plagiarism or abuse.

Or do what bitcoin did to stop spam..... and that made bitcoin less useful :( sheitttt. I'm starting to see the light in flagging.

Everything needs a balance. Unlike other cryptocurrencies, spam on this blockchain directly degrades the value and usefulness of the entire network for everyone else. Essentially the value of all of our investments goes down if Steemit becomes known as a social media platform dominated by spam bots.

This makes sense. How do you see the negative impact different from that of bitcoin? Do you see any negative impacts other than larger-than-necessary block chain size or sluggish network?


Its members like you who help make Steemit a better place.
Keep being you!

Thanks man. :)

Thank you for giving the flag to users who really don't want to develop this steemit, I also often see comments that reek of someone's comment spam, but do not understand what is her comments. Sorry my English is not yet fluent, so still is still a lot of mistakes in constructing the said. I very much agree with the actions you do Sir @lukestokes, glad to read your article.

Bots are a plague on steemit, good job

Thanks for your sacrifice for making Steemit a better place! I am afraid we will only be seeing more spammer in the future once Steemit becomes easier to register on, but efforts like yours will surely deter some of them from doing it.

I agree; downvoting these accounts is important. However, it does become hard to distinguish where the line is; I saw an account get nuked by Steemcleaners for including a referral link in their post.

Downvoting should be reserved for those who are obviously not trying to behave well on Steemit, and especially for spam like this. Nice post :)

Yeah, I agree. As for steem cleaners, they have a channel in steemit chat where that can be reached to discuss issues like that. I think they mostly do a great job and from what I've seen, they are open to correction. I don't want Steemit to become some massive MLM farm or spam advertising hub, so I appreciate their efforts.

I'm getting a few spam comments. I will flag the repeat offenders

I noticed these recently: @defreca and @elladinenolana. Also @doryaeriell but she/it is already on your list. If I knew how, I'd program a bot to automatically respond "WARNING: Potential Spambot!" to comments from accounts like those that seem to be comment farming but thanks for flagging them until better solutions are found.

Maybe all of these accounts should be put on a @cheetah ban list, though I don't know if that impacts comments.

I never used flagging button, because I don't know what it to.

Based on your voting weight (your current Voting Power and your Steem Power) it decrease the potential rewards for the post and, if your reputation score is higher than the person you're flagging, will lower their reputation score as well. If the comment or post gets enough downvote weight against it, the Steemit.com interface will hide it by default unless people click a "Show post" button. Flagging should be used to help keep the content visible on Steemit valuable.

Thank you to explain!

Spammers are making it more complicated.

I appreciate your efforts, @lukestokes. It's easier to ignore the random, thoughtless comments from bots or SP grubbers out there. That you're taking the time to call them out - to expose them - is admirable.

I was just lauding @barryduttun for challenging these stupid posters in his post commentary threads. He does so in hilarious fashion! Rather than look the other way, one ought to expose and exorcise them at every turn, when possible... Cheers!

Agreed! Be gone, foul ones!

Thank you, I want to "clean my house".

  ·  2 years ago (edited)

@lukestokes - I feel that these spammers and spam bots may destroy the very fabric of Steemit and must be stopped. However, it is unfortunate that this has to be done by flagging by Senior Steemians - which takes a lot of investment of time, voting power and energy, which could have been spent in mentoring some minnows. So, while getting flagged, in a way, the spammers manage to hurt Steemit development. Can't there be another way of stopping them? Perhaps a council of Senior Steemians or empowered Steemian volunteers who votes once in a week or something to just ban such accounts? That will take time too but at least it will be a one time effort a week.

Just my two cents of thought.

No one can be banned.

Well - I guess banning is not possible. Any other deterrent then. My concern was that addressing this on an individual basis by senior Steemians.

It's a difficult challenge because Steemit needs to remain uncensored which opens up opportunities for abuse. I'm thinking maybe it could start with witnesses compiling lists of obvious spam accounts and Steemit Inc undelegating the initial Steem Power to those accounts to severely limit their bandwidth. Maybe the signup process could be improved as well to prevent these fake accounts from being created in the first place unless they spend their own money.

Those seem to be both good ideas. I hope they get considered.

Congratulations @lukestokesr, this post is the seventh most rewarded post (based on pending payouts) in the last 12 hours written by a Superhero or Legend account holder (accounts hold greater than 100 Mega Vests). The total number of posts by Superhero and Legend account holders during this period was 16 and the total pending payments to posts in these categories was 1056.97. To see the full list of highest paid posts across all accounts categories, click here. If you do not wish to receive these messages in future, please reply stop to this comment.


Wow, thanks for all the flagging!!! I truly believe it is imperative if we want Steem to live in the long run... Wish us little guys could play a bigger role, but we try down vote where we can (without starting war, if possible)...
Here is another account I often find - @cornholio...

I've seen accounts way worse than these lol

Well now you know what to do. If we want to keep stackin' we also have to protect our stack with some house cleaning.

  ·  2 years ago (edited)

I hear ya, one is backed by couple hundred thousand delegation... the only bad thing if one speaks his mind about these accounts, they might get targeted 😂😂

Ah yes. I used to be the target of bernisanders for months. He would flag my posts right before payout in the last 12 hour window where upvotes are no longer registered just to ensure any other whales which disagreed with him couldn't restore rewards. It was quite discouraging.

So I guess I've been targeted already, and I just moved on. I don't post here just for the rewards so though it was discouraging, it did remind me why I'm here and how much I appreciate the community here.

One of the best answers a person can up with... mad respect! 🙌🏼

I'm beginning to wonder if someone is making them deliberately in an effort to drain people voting power. I flag the ones on my posts most of the time accept one for some reason it doesn't bother me as much as the rest.

I mentioned you my last post, I think it was you who long ago posted a vid from Youtube about a huge BTC mining farm in Dalian China. Was that you?

No, I don't know anything about Chinese mining farms.

oops. I'm gonna have make an edit. >< lol

I've seen a few on my posts as well!

Drop 'em here in the comments! Let us know who they are.

I've seen some users post the most improper 'standard' comment, such as, there was a post about destruction in a 3rd world country and the comment was saying something about "Beautiful Pictures" - so inappropriate.
Some of it is not 'just' noise !

I agreed. Those, I think, I are mostly just bots which need to be downvoted.

Good work

Good one, you are doing an excellent job and however bad flagging made me wrote my former post(feel free to see it). I guess that you are taking advantage of the recent crypto wild fall? pls see my latest post for details. I wish you a blessed weekend.

Fighting the good fight. Thanks for doing what you can with the large influence you have to make steemit a better place. Although, I'm now curious how one can "check out effort and resolve prevail." Haha.

Hahah, I know, right? Some of these algorithm generated phrases are quite hilarious. I find myself thinking, "WTF does that even mean? What the hell kind of algorithm would even come up with that?"

thank you @lukestokes, regard @mushthafakamal from Aceh, Indonesia

Right ON Luke !!!

It would be neat to see if an account reaches 0 rep to see that steem power re delegated out to everyone who flagged that account, but this could be abbused.

@lukestokes @sneak - I have noticed repeat/identical comments coming from the same user on a couple of my own articles. I don't know if this is the right place to be raising the idea - but if we could get the developers to put in place some kind of account-freezing mechanism that targets accounts that are spamming identical comments each time, that adds a little bit more workload to those who engage in this kind of behaviour.

You can try raising the issue in chat and see what comes of it. Also, if it's a real person you're interacting with, let ask them to stop or flag them with a screenshot of their comments. That's what I often do.

yep, think a lot of us are maybe doing this on our own in our own ways and I've flagged a few on my own blog for doing this and it is the same weird phrasing over and over

Leave the account names here and I'll update my post to include them. Let's expose these trash accounts.

Appreciate your efforts on this. It's a tough situation with no easy answers, but I'm confident Steem will evolve eventually to find a way to better deal with it. It needs to be well thought out and not a knee-jerk reaction because the answer could cause more problems than it solves. In the meantime, we just need to rustle up support manually like you're doing. Eventually I plan on having some SP so I can join the fray.

Slow Clap.

I know someone who post almost the same comment all the time... Most of the same one anyway. And I talked to him about it, he said that is his style, not to mentioned that he left his comment right after you post a long article , means that he actually don't read it

Some just don't care, some don't even get it :|

Given the Smart programmers on steemit, this is might be stopped by one programmer with the right algorithm. The problem is very similar to Amazon's fake review problem. There have been many ways amazon can tell if a review is fake. They look at the words, used, who posted, when they posted, what IP address they posted from. Taking just the date time stamp, we know real people eat and sleep and do not live 24 hours at there computers. This could be used to help determine if the comments are computerized. One could look at the reaction time from when the post was posted to when a comment was added. It could look at the speed in which comments were added. It could even look at the time it takes to "input" the comment. A tool could be built that would then autoflag or highlight offending accounts and let someone else flag.

@sneak's comments implied they are working on something, so I'm encouraged. Few have the resources Amazon does, but you're right, things can be improved.

I think it's a very important problem you are talking about. Some posts i realize that almost all comments are from bots. I feel a bit sad, and annoyed..I wonder however, if the root to the problem can be solved? Is it possible that creating an account can be made more difficult? In the end I guess someone always find a loophole, so we have to rely on the community to help and disarm the annoying bots.

Yeah, I've read stories about how terrible Twitter is. How so many of the accounts are completely bogus. It's inevitable, but maybe fighting algorithms with algorithms is the way to go which is why I appreciate projects like @cheetah by @anyx so much.

That might be a good Idea ! Btw I have an idea for a project which I think could bring value to Steemit. Who would I talk to about that ?

The community. Post about it and see what comes of it.

There's also this official approach from the steemit blog, but I haven't seen it used much, unfortunately: Crowdsourced Marketing Protocol: Ideas, Proposals, Projects

Okay awesome I will give it a shot ! Thanks 🙏

Luckily, I don't get much spam, but when I see it, I smash it. Good work Luke.

Nice! Thanks for doing your part.

  ·  2 years ago (edited)

Thank you for using your flag and talking about it. I've also been doing some clean up as I go, and I think all Steemians should.

Much appreciated and I acknowledge you lose the chance to earn.

Thanks, @whatsup. I really appreciate your efforts as well. It's probably something we should talk about more. The rewards for posting alone might offset any curation losses. :) I almost did this post as a declined payout but then I thought a second and realized we should reward posts like this and encourage others to do the same. We have to protect what we love.


  ·  2 years ago Reveal Comment

And I'll be waiting to flag your spam comments.

How much back checking do you do before flagging a post? Is subjective from your idea of right and wrong or do you involve other moderators? How about when you tag someone and you get it wrong where is the public post to say you got it wrong for flagging in haste.