Taking A Stand Against Spam On Steemit: When To Law Down The Law...?

in steemit •  last year

This is a young platform and community, and we're still in process of determining fair rules and protocols.

Yes, the whole philosophy of decentralization is supposed to embody the core principles of a lack of censorship, free speech, and such. Yet, like any social space, there needs to be some rules set in place.

i.e. no spam.

Straight up: spam is NOT cool.

And whether a person manually spams posts with complete disregard to the content they're posting on, or uses a bot to automate replies attempting to drive traffic back to their account and gain followers - this is a practice that is not acceptable.

So... when we come across people that seem obliviously ignorant to the fact... what is the appropriate response?

I, myself, was faced with such a situation today. And, maybe the offender got the blunt end of the stick as I was not in the best of moods to start with, though I chose to take a stand.

It wasn't the first time I saw comments of such a nature. i.e. "Nice post. follow me."

Yet, it clearly wreaked of spam.

And looking at the offender's account, I saw he had made dozens of the exact same comment on plenty of other posts today. Chances are, he set up a bot to do so. Though, that piece is irrelevant.

Straight up - I don't appreciate this community being degraded with this type of conduct. And as an investor in the platform - via an accumulation of Steem Power I've kept locked into the community - I chose to exercise my voting weight.

First, it came with a comment in response to his spam: "Stop it. Such spam is unacceptable. You will be flagged to diminish your reputation score if you keep up the inappropriate behavior."

Well, a couple hours later... turns out the warning was not heeded.

So, I followed through on my word.

Only a fraction of his spam comments flagged - yet enough to decrease his reputation score from 35 to 5.

Yeah.



Now, that may seem like a pretty heavy hand.

And yeah, that might seem harsh, in spite of this "supposed to be" a platform free of censorship.

Yet, rules of conduct are rules of conduct.

I don't particularly like the fact that I did this. But if an example isn't set, then what...?

Are we seriously going to just all sit around and watch members like that disrespect the community and its members by blatantly falsifying comments in order to gain followers for themselves while giving nothing back except bot-automated spam begging for attention?



Are my actions set in concrete? No.

I gave the user another piece of feedback letting him know clearly the consequences of his actions. Should he choose to redeem himself by acknowledging his errors, stopping the inappropriate behavior, and expressing a commitment to changing his ways to restore integrity to align with the rules of conduct for the site - no spam - then I would happily unflag many of his spam comments to restore his reputation score.

So, the ball's in his court.

I'm no whale... merely a 1/10th of what weight the true whales are throwing around. Nonetheless, I do have enough Steem power to inflict a signficant hit on an account whose behavior is deemed inappropriate. And spamming comments fits into that category.

Truthfully, it's a bit humbling to confess this all in the open like this. I don't particularly want to risk being perceived as some tyrant who unfairly inflicts censorship on the poor minnows.

But, having invested so much into this site, I might have a certain responsibility to it as well. Namely, using what power I have been granted to guide the direction of conduct in alignment with the cultural codes it's been commonly agreed upon are and aren't acceptable - such as no spam.

So that's that.

And I share this, to take a stand and set an example.

Straight up - spam ain't cool.

If y'all wanna munch down on that highly-processed, preservative-saturated canned pork shit Australians love so much, knock yourself out. But the kind of "spam" that takes the form of soulless, self-serving, automated comments that are nothing more than clickbait intended to draw users back to one's own page with offering nothing of substantial value in return... maybe we should exercise our power to curb such behavior.

Call it censorship if you want. Or, call it leadership. Or anything in between. Or don't call it anything at all.

Of course, some may continue attempting it. But the more we stand up against it, the less likely it'll be to continue.

Call me old, grumpy, intolerant, or whatever you might. But fact is, I have been growing intolerant of bullshit.

This platform is pretty fucking awesome. And fucktards contaminating it with spam degrades it. Period.

So, let's squeeze that shit out.

It doesn't mean we have to be ruthless dictators. But, the lines in the sand must be drawn.

Kids wanna play... they gotta know the consequences of breaking the rules.

Yada yada yada. Badda-bing, badda-bam, badda-boom.

And, I'm out.



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Agreed with many of the points you make.
If a line in the sand isn't drawn now against spamming it'll be too late. The adoption rate for steemit is increasing quickly with new users being tempted by potential rewards.
Showing them the correct etiquette is important otherwise Steemit will go downhill at a rapid clip.
Kudos to you for making a stand.

May not be considered the best response to this behavior....but the simple truth is examples need to be set. I myself have flagged a few individuals for this same behavior. As you did, I researched the profiles and found them to spamming every post they came across.
We will likely never be able to eradicate the problem, but if we want to truly promote good content on this platform we have to flag the negative behavior also.

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i wonder if a flagging bot might help this.. obviously it would have to be carefully programmed.. but it isnt hard to detect the worst offenders, like this guy who comments exactly the same thing every time!!

OH MY GOD i just checked this guy out again and now hes changed his name from Davinger to a girl and put a cute girl image on..

CAN WE GO AND ALL DOWNVOTE HIM? This is one of the worst spammers ive seen .. I did tell steemcleneers but they haven't finished the job!

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Agree! Let's not make it one of the other social media platforms that are downgraded by spammers and bots.

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Let's not make it one of the other social media platforms that are downgraded by spammers and bots.

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I completely agree with your rationale, however i think this was the perfect response; the spammer was given adequate notice to alter his behavior and failed to do so. This right here is the beauty of Steem itself, this is an un-censorable decentralized community of users who have a vested interest in the platform's success, and that means making sure only valuable, well produced content is added to the network.

Nowadays you have people asking for a Upvote & Resteem their Content, a link to irrelevant information or the worst ask to donate money. Everything will be recorded in the Blockchain, dont think you'll make it far as spammer but since this platform is new it's best to take some action, sometimes it's best to just use the downvote button. Take action if you want a better Steemit, good post!

It's SO annoying...normally I just ignore the comments unless it is SO BLATANT it deserves a response. I have only flagged a comment one time, due to it just being straight up spam...not even saying nice post or whatever. Just a link to their post asking for upvote4upvote & follow4follow. SMH....gtfo with that shit

Here's an idea I just shared with another user on the same topic:
It's going to be a tough behavior to combat, especially the more the platform grows.
I think a smart move would be to get a #spam trending.
So for example, if one of your tags for this post were #spam or #shitpost or #justlikeshitcoinbutyourblog 🤓
We could then all use this hashtag not only when we post about these kinds of things, but also when we find this behavior...using it in comments we leave on shitposters. This would allow said tag to trend and would allow us to not only easily find people doing this, but also to reward those who did find it with upvotes.
What do you think?
(Personal upvote for visibility)

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We just, as a community, have to agree on one hashtag to use for this stuff.

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Even a hashtag that's a secret... So only the creators here know what it means would work.
Like #kittenmittens 🤓

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Its a start, worth a shot.

Yes, I agree spam sucks. I had an incident the other day where someone posted the same spam comment about a cryptocurrency being released across a few of my story posts. I asked politely on the first one to please remove the spam and the account had a timeframe to do it within. Now, I don't flag much. Even when I see blatant plagiarism(Yes, if you post an article and give the link, that is still plagiarism) I usually just click x and move on. But seeing the same exact message(with a picture) really made me PO'd and I flagged every single one of those eye sores.

'Straight up - spam ain't cool.' and people who self upvote their own spam, are the WORST! Thanks for doing what you do.. I seen a post by matt-a about this and decided it was a mantle I would take up too! and there was a group here talking about the same problems. I just have so little steem power that the battle will be hard for me, I will fight it though. I have enough SP to have an impact at least. Thanks for being one more good dude, fighting the spam battle. You are appreciated

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And man, just a side note all these people who commented in your post so far are some of my favorite steemians. You got that good audience!

I've been making use of the mute button myself.

It's a great little tool. :-D

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But that mute button only hide his comments from you not from other users

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True!

But if everybody used more mute button, the spammers audience will shrink considerably and they'll end up talking to themselves. :-P

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true....spammers are all over the place. As one whale has said, we can't really stop them. All we have to do is adjust. But how? Anyways, we will just go for the things that we are good at...focus and perseverance might be the key.

When I encounter spam, I take action.

That's all I can do. Some live by a distinct code that doesn't encourage parasitic exploitation. I'm one of them.

No mercy, and no regrets. Low-value posts and articles deserve the full strength of the spam-hammer.

I like your way to make that person realise his mistake,and i also agree that if that person stop spamming activities in future then we should happily unflaged him😊

I think one of the biggest problems for this is where the flag is located. I think the flag should be located at the bottom of the post either by the resteem or by the upvote. If they don't want to put it there for fear of misclicks it needs to be in this area somewhere. I was on Steemit for two weeks and didn't know there was a flag or downvote feature until I accidentally saw it one day. I just assumed you had to be a certain reputation level after someone posted about downvotes/flagging before I was aware it was possible.

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I didn't even realize that the flag icon would generate a downvote until this post! Would be nice to have some guidelines on that (it probably exists and I just haven't seen it, yet)

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I know right!?

Well you did warn them so spot on. Spam like this is detrimental to the platform.

"And whether a person manually spams posts with complete disregard to the content they're posting on, or uses a bot to automate replies attempting to drive traffic back to their account and gain followers - this is a practice that is not acceptable."

Could not agree more!!!

That's opportunism for you. I hope more people like you balance out the spam.

The problem is that Steemit is like a jungle, there are no rules and as so everybody do what they want, upvote the posts they like and downvote others they don't like for any reason. So control is in the hand of the individual based on his power. If that bot has enough SP he could do the same to you.

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And if I was spam commenting on dozens upon dozens of posts, I'd deserve it.

Upvoted and also resteemed!

Annoying, for sure. But, an emerging indicator of an attention economy platform starting to mature a little bit. I'm not much of a youtuber, but my kids are and I am constantly in awe of the spammy comment threads on popular videos there. And the "subscribe to me!" spam maybe gets those people fractions of cents per clicks, so converting is not as big of a deal as it is here.

Must mean you are doing something right @rok-sivante if the spammers are flocking your way!

I support your decision. Anybody who sets up a robot to post "nice post!" on dozens of threads deserves to be flagged into oblivion.

Great post! I think you were more than fair with your progression of action.
Also its not censorship, its cause and affect.
You communicated clearly and even after the fact still gave opportunity for redemption.
You are helping shape the Steemit Community in the way that you see fit and I am sure there are many who agree with you. Actions like this with clear communication are not censorship but community vote. Our vote is our vote and the amount of sp is the weight of that vote. WE all get to use it how we want, thats why this platform is free of censorship.
That account made a choice and u made a choice. Your choice was an effect of their action.
Also cool that u posted about it to give some insight and perspective.
I support you in your process.
SteemON!

Might I suggest taking a look at dang007, he mostly spends 7/10 upvotes on himself a day and the other 3 downvoting people who flag him. He is wisening up and waiting until day 6 to upvote his comments and posts now though. $157 in upvotes he gave himself yesterday according to personz and smackdown.kitty.. I flagged him but I don't have enough SP to do anything to him, and he informed me in a comment that he will be flagging me back now, yay..

I completely agree with you I have started putting something at the bottom of every post I do to warn them, It has seemed to help a lot. You can check it out if you please. If they still spam I give them a warning to remove the spam or get flagged. So every one that still spammed removed when warned. I also done a post awhile back about all the spam and it's only going to get worse unless we put an end to it now. Let's Keep Steemit Spam Free. This was a great article upvoted and followed :)

I think it's wise for ALL of us to be concerned with the integrity of the SteemIt platform! Don't let garbage collect in our 'house'.

I don't think that taking action the way you did is censorship in any way. This is a social community - meaning the community decides what is good and what is not (makes me think of the 'thumbs up' or 'thumbs down' signal from the audiences in the Roman colosseum).

If we have the ability to reward good content/people, then we should absolutely be allowed to exercise our collective voice to downvote abusers of the platform. I wish there were guidelines on the best way to go about this. I can see the potential for a 'feeding frenzy' on downvotes.

I fully agree with you! I have not the big voting power and the only way I have is to ignore the spammers. It's always a pity, whe I see other newbies answering "thanks, following you" etc.
I'm glad that someone took the lead in this and will spread the message by resteeming this!

I hear what your saying, but as for us little minos, we dont have much choice but to put up with it. If i was to do what you did, I would be destroyed by a person like you speak off very quickly, in some kind of flagging retaliation. Not to mention the little bit of money I do make would evaporate instantly.. I have very low everything. I spend a great deal of time creating my posts, as do many others, but get very little in return mostly. I'm not complaining at all by the way, I understand how it works and I will keep working at it.
You and others with your power, may be able to do something and hopefully you will, or Steemit will turn into the same crap youtube has. All lies and conspiracy rubbish.

Best of like to you I hope you get something done about it.
Followed you and resteemed, to see what you achieve : o)
THL

I only get upset if the don't vote and spam my post. If they leave no comment related to my post and just spam them self. I flag it.

it yea! Its annoying n so wrong, in correcting em, care needs to b taken not to insult or offend anybody, ther r respectable ways to correct people so they wont take offence...

Cannot agree more.

agree! we need to take actions.. voted!

Steemit is a nice platform on Give and Take, consider using it in the best way by not publishing spam, but good contents instead, make the steemit to be valuable. I also made a discussion on this 2 days ago, feel free to check this out, not begging for upvotes just for your information -

STEEMIT CAN GIVE YOU WAY MORE THAN WHAT YOU THOUGHT!!!!

If whales like you go crazy on downvoting people no one will use this fucking platform anymore. Let people do what they want. Kylie Jenner on instagram said: "stop commenting l4l" and soon what happened? MILLIONS OF "l4l" comments. IF steemit will grow at huge proportions like facebook and instagram, people with less following will be hardly discoverable ... Things will settle, there is no need for freedom fighters. Thank you.

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  1. I'm not a whale. Maybe a dolphin.

  2. If people spam the shit out of posts, maybe no one will use this platform anymore because of the shit quality standards that weren't set and therefore established no filter for ensuring quality content.

Look in the mirror if you want an example of freedom fighter.

I respect your opinion as a counter-perspective, though the view stands alone as one of many other comments from cpmmunity members who agree spam is NOT appropriate here. You want consensus and democracy - the verdict is clear based on the outcome of who's commented what here. Spam ain't cool. The majority do NOT want it on this platform. Period.

Everyone should not creates spam messages! I will downvote these guys.

Support. Spam is annoying.

I couldn't agree more!
please follow me and upvote my comm...

haha only joking! I too am spending time to help stop this .. imagine if we had to wade through endless begging requests on all comments to find anything useful.. This whole ecosystem would be totally degraded.

I am usually quite friendly when i warn people, and always ask them to just write something interesting instead.. most people are too on their own track or indeed just a bot.. in which case i head to the steemcleaner.. I hear that is the best way to go.. I tried flagging once but that just made this guy so angry he trolled me for day or two...

keep up the good work protecting this place!

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Would u help me flag this guy. Hes the worst spammer and liar ive seen yet! He just changed to a girl now and is a comment spammer as well as a serial image theif. Hes down to rep10 now but still keeps going and ignore all my messages.

https://steemit.com/@davinger
https://steemit.com/@davinger/comments

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Looks like I already had a few days ago, though think that was before his/her virtual sex change operation.

Flagged a few more as yes, blatant spam.

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Nice one buddy!