Steemit Bots Attack Blogger for Reposting Own Content - Dictatorship by Algorithm?

8 months ago
45 in steemit

As a Deep Political blogger and crypto-enthusiast, Steemit struck me as a fantastic way to introduce my content to a new audience and potentially make a bit of money on the side - seemingly the best of both worlds.

Image Credit: MovieNomics

But upon posting only my second article on Steemit, I've found a bot account is now flagging my posts for "copyright infringement." And who does Steemit cite as the "copyright holder" I have so egregiously violated? None other than myself! Before Steemit, I was unaware that I could be in violation of my own copyright, but it seems the Algorithmic Lords have decreed otherwise. Good to know.

The original post can be found here: https://steemit.com/politics/@rusticus/cia-breaks-its-silence-on-new-silk-road-says-challenging-the-brics-and-aiib-was-a-mistake

Copying/Pasting articles without permission is copyright infringement. If you want to share a news story, simply link to the source, and include your original commentary, and possibly small quotes from source. Copy paste is discouraged by the community, and may result in action from the cheetah bot.
Source:
http://www.activistpost.com/2016/07/the-turkish-coup-in-context-redrawing-the-map-of-the-cia-drug-trade.html

-Steemcleaners

All jokes aside, I'm by no means a powerhouse in the blogosphere, but I take pride in my research. My blog gets a decent amount of traffic and I'm lucky enough to be resyndicated by alt-media aggregators like Activist Post . But it seems I've been hoisted on the petard of my own success, as my articles are picked up by enough blogs that Steemit's bots believe me to be stealing from myself.

The irony of all this is that my work is not copywritten at all, but instead licensed under a Creative Commons License, a specific type of shareable license that allows anyone to redistribute my work provided I am credited properly. So not only is Steemit incorrect for finding me in violation of their copyright policies, they are in fact violating my own license by threatening any potential users who may wish to repost my content on the platform! 

Image Credit: Creative Commons

Without entering into a philosophical diatribe about the fallacious nature of "intellectual property" itself, I merely note this: How popular can Steemit become as a media platform if it disallows content producers whose work is popular enough to be picked up by bots? How many vibrant writers and articles are Steemit's bots in danger of turning away simply for the sake of limiting copy-paste articles? Isn't the nature of voting on the platform designed to sort these conundrums out organically via the community?

How much recourse do original content producers on Steemit have when they're up against nameless, faceless, poorly programmed bots?

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72
  ·  8 months ago

Hi @rusticus.

Firstly, apologies if you were annoyed by our comment yesterday. You weren't flagged because we don't usually flag new accounts. New accounts are however, more likely to be scrutinised by us, as well as the community.

It's a very good idea to post an introduction at some point, and when reposting your own content, be sure to mention that somewhere.

Our aim is to help original content creators get the rewards they deserve.

By the way, we are mostly humans. You can find out more about us here.

Best of luck.

50
  ·  8 months ago

How much recourse do original content producers on Steemit have when they're up against nameless, faceless, poorly programmed bots?

The answer, of course, is none. Achilles heel.

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45
  ·  8 months ago

Or intentional design to limit competition? Good to know my Socratic Monologue did not fall on deaf ears entirely - all roads lead to Greece? Isn't Simulacra a Greek word, too? ;)

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50
  ·  8 months ago

Actually, Simulacra is the plural of the Latin simulacrum (likeness) . Deep philosophy surrounds it...

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45
  ·  8 months ago

Thank you! It was my only question that wasn't actually rhetorical :P #TheMoreYouKnow

60
  ·  8 months ago

Hi rusticus, welcome to steemit. It is true that there are bots identifying outside content, but usually the action is limited to only identifying the source and not flagging of the actual post. Essentially it allows the curators to have more information with out doing all the extra work. Often you can contact the bot operators and with some verification they will put you on a whitelist for their bots. Probably the easiest thing to do is to link to you steemit account from one of the original publishing accounts to show you are the same person.

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45
  ·  8 months ago

Thank you for your response, lafona (and norbu as well), and I truly appreciate your suggestions for being whitelisted. Hopefully the bot operator will see my response to his post and contact me.

However, the issue here is not simply that posts by original content authors are being "marked" for potential removal. It's that bots aren't set up to deal with Creative Commons or Share-A-Like Attribution at all, which comprises a vast portion of the blogosphere today.

Steemit is a young platform and these are the types of issues that should be dealt with before it reaches maturity. This place can either become a robust community for content producers adding value to the world or yet another digital ghetto, and a firm stance on Creative Commons and other open-source licensing structures early on will be a defining step on that growth path.

My greatest aspiration for this post is that it sparks such a conversation :D

70
  ·  8 months ago

Good you brought this up. Yesterday I cautioned an OP for what I thought was plagiarism from a web article. Turns out he was the original author but was new here and had not made any reference to this fact, or the article on another website. The bots missed him but I noticed and cautioned the author, but I did NOT flag him. Maybe bots should first caution and then start flagging down repeat offenders. The post I commented on is here.