I'm very excited to introduce a little project designed to improve the reliability of curating trusted users in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics, and I'm now officially opening it up for the public to use:
We at steeemSTEM, like every curation team out there, are fighting an uphill battle when it comes to rewarding content that is original, honest and interesting, but with the money involved on the STEEM blockchain, there is naturally an ever-spawning horde of greedy plagiarists and translators, transcribers and bot abusers and beyond that force us to spend more time than not filtering them out of the Net of Quality.
Everything we do is manual, and our team has necessarily expanded from 5 to I think 44 members including our amazing voluntary Honor Members, curators, community curators and the even more amazing management team.
Although this team does act as a pretty great weapon against content thieves across at least 6 languages, it can be pretty hard for all 44 staff to reliably keep track of well over 100 blacklisted users at any given time.
This is where Stem Assistant comes in.
Thanks to @aboutcoolscience for refining this idea, and in particular @codingdefined for actually turning it into reality, we now have a SteemSTEM Chrome Extension that will automatically provide the most up-to-date blacklist and make it painfully obvious when you visit a blacklisted user.
How does it work?
When installed, a profile page or post will turn a furious red across the top of steemit.com:
When we see this, we will know to promptly move on.
If you visit a page with a grey bar across the top, the user is greylisted.
A greylisted user is not necessarily a criminal. As a community, we expect people who enjoy our rewards to be a part of it too. This is not mandatory, but helping the community grow does shine a light on you and may grab the attention of greater recognition.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, users who refuse to communicate or engage with anybody may be greylisted, as a reminder of their position in the community.
Greylisted users may also be suspicious users who we're not quite sure we can trust yet. As thieves get more advanced, it can take time to catch them out; the greylist is thus limited to smaller votes, if any.
For everyone else, I would simply suggest being more careful reading a grey page, but by no means dismiss them.
Finally, we have a White List which currently has little more than a symbolic presence, glowing a blissful green upon fully trusted authors:
The white list will play a very important role in some huge, super secret upcoming projects, but for now it lies dormant.
As for every other user, they will remain the classic white, so trust all these users with your usual curative nose.
Can it be trusted?
This is something I dug into quite a bit, and as it turns out extensions are incredibly unsafe in general if you're just blindly adding them to your Chrome browser. With ease, they can get permission to access basically everything; passwords, logs and so forth.
This is pretty scary, but to do this, it has to be written in the source code which is visible for all to see, so if you feel safety is an issue, have a look through it and see what you can find.
The easiest way to do this is, ironically, to download another chrome extension.
Updates are not automatic so you will be notified if things change, and you can always get it checked if need be. This is not to say we are untrustworthy, but being hacked is always a thing and I don't think Google Chrome does much to protect against that. To be safe, I will announce any updates right here if they are to occur.
...And you can trust me, right??
Where can I get it?
Depending on demand, a Firefox equivalent could be in the making, but everything else that follows may or may not be a secret so I'll keep my big mouth shut for now.
What NOT to do
We have already anticipated an influx of complainers and whiners who might use this knowledge to dispute their blacklisted status and beg for upvotes accordingly.
As such, any complaints can be directed to your nearest bathroom, or alternatively, our discord channel that has a dedicated complaints room.
To be clear this room is not for vote begging, but to discuss problems, appeal and to say how much we suck.
We are under no obligation to help or explain our blacklisting activities, but here are some typical reasons:
- Plagiarism: Stealing content and images without permission
- Translating: Stealing content from another language
- Transcribing: Writing out dialogue from videos - yes, we can detect that stuff
- Whining: Desperately contacating every steemSTEM member angrily begging for change instead of going through the proper procedure
- Being ugly: Just kidding, you're all beautiful. Except you
- Abusing bots: No need for our upvote if you have the money to upvote yourself $50 a day
- Abusive behaviour in the discord channel
All guidelines can, of course, be found on the above discord channel along with many helpful mentors should you feel a need to right your wrongs.
Enjoy not wasting your VP!
This is open for everybody to use including other curation teams if they see fit, but keep a look out for more evolved curation tools that are solidifying into existence around the blockchain cough @howo cough.
Hopefully together we can prevent all the trash from getting repeatedly awarded for other peoples' hard work.