Self voter Return on Investment (svROI) notoriety flagging bot

in steemit •  last month

Overview

Self voting is something that most people agree is problematic on the Steem blockchain. However only a very small minority of people would go as far to say that there should be no self voting allowed at all, with most agreeing that a smaller proportion of votes should be directed to oneself than to others. There is no consensus on the ratio of self votes to outgoing votes, but self votes should generally be the lesser.

There is a consensus that investors should get a return on their investment, and that buying Steem (and especially powering up Steem into Steem Power) is something that should reward the investor. When expressed as self votes this motivation is in conflict with Steem's main stated purpose: to use the wisdom of the crowds to determine a value for social media posts. This is especially true in the context of a limited reward pool.

Self votes are problematic if they self award a return on investment much higher than the consensus amount, i.e. that some investors take advantage of other investors' goodwill. One of the main reasons is that this suggests to serious outside investors that Steem is a ponzi or other type of scam, and signals to malicious investors that Steem is a get rich quick scheme. It also shows existing users that the platform is not about any contribution except capital, and discourages the creation of content, development, or any other non-captial investment.

We can calculate a value which indicates this metric as the return on investment with regards to self votes and denote this value svROI. It is extrapolated to annual return from the sampled period. If we see a very large relative svROI value then we believe there is strong motivation to down vote the excessive self voters self voted posts to the value of their self vote.

@sadkitten is a bot which calculates svROI for all accounts on the Steem blockchain and counters the self voting of those accounts that take advantage of their investment at the expense of the community, to the best ability of the voting power and delegation.

Though there is a consensus about excessive self voting there is no consensus about what to do about it. This project is only one approach to deal with it and can be categorised as down voting over a disagreement of rewards. While this is an officially supported reason for down voting by Steemit it is still contentious, with many outspoken critics. However our position is that all votes are legal, all votes are valid and that the balance between mutually exclusive ideas of fairness can only be settled by a free vote when no agreement can be made.

What this bot does

@sadkitten scans every single vote made on the Steem blockchain, identifying self votes. It calculates the svROI metric and keeps track for each user. Each week a list of the top 100 self voters is compiled and for the week after that the bot attempts to counter all self votes by these 100 users. The list is ordered highest self voting to least on that list.

The bot is best effort and will make use of the available SP to the best of it's ability.

If you agree with the mission and want to support it please delegate to @sadkitten, no need to ask permission, just pitch in.

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I forecast helpless minnows to be smashed again while noone touch any whale no matter how bad are his sins

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@sadkitten doesn't look at size of accounts.

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@transisto selfvoted for his own comment heavily and has problems when others are doing the same. Am I missing a point or smthn? Explain Please

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please explain this nonsense @transisto

I am SO conflicted! I strongly support your purpose, and comprehend the point behind automating it, and pooling SP.

I am highly reluctant, however, to abandon my principle of opposition to automated votes. I haven't purposely done so yet, and yet I am strongly attracted to do so here.

Gonna think more before I undertake an action that will invalidate that principle.

Out of curiosity, why decline payout? It seems counterproductive to me. The payout for the post could provide more SP to @sadkitten.

Thanks!

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As you know I've never been against automated voting in general, no more than setting an alarm to wake me up in the morning. But I have been constantly questioning whether or not any particular use of bots for voting is positive or not.

In this case I'm happy that the bot is performing actions I agree with, so I am happy to support it. It's a personal call. I'm glad that you're in favor of at least the mission, if not the means. Perhaps you'll come around to that too.

Decline payout is generally the best thing to do on shared accounts I find, and it is culturally a gesture of goodwill, that it's not about the rewards. But I'm not herd set on that, it wasn't considered for more than a few seconds.

Disclosure, I'm still the dev behind this and still support the initiative, now rebooted. 😽 🤟

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how are you going to make the bot to guess or detect the large account of users who have 2 or 3 additional account? to regulate the auto vote.

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That's not included in the AI so far, but I'm working on it. As for the how, that's fairly easy to determine.

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How do you determine if they are using other accounts to vote on their own posts?

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We don't, but that's something we're looking into. Step by step.

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When two accounts both upvote each others comments within a minutes, over and over it can't be hard to detect.
See accounts ghazanfar.ali and leopard0505 comment history. Both are commenting on an article with a minute of each other and upvote each others comment, no way that is just automatic upvoting, it's clearly the same guy. That has to be a way to detect such obvious fake account upvoting

Does the bot have some way to counter circlejerk votes?

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Not yet

Great initiative, delegating 1k SP and resteeming this :)

So self voting is bad because it goes against the stated mission of Steemit ‘to use the wisdom of the crowds to determine a value for social media posts’, yet vote buying and automated voting via bots is acceptable?
That is one major contradiction. While I agree self voting does not help identify good content, nor does auto voting and bots and when you have a witness on the trending page having paid approx $2k for upvotes, I fell the platform has bigger issues than a few minnows upvoting themselves.

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exactly

I see some very successful people here self voting. They would get good rewards anyway. I stopped doing it ages ago so I could support others more

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I also do awesome things that I want to make sure people know about

Sounds good. I wrote a bit about this not so long ago when I went to war with an abusive self-voter. I was trying to determine where consensus was on what people consider abuse, but also targeting the worst offenders (as you are doing) is possibly a more pragmatic approach.

https://steemit.com/steem/@buggedout/grey-areas-of-steem-1-legitimate-self-voting-vs-abusive-self-voting

Sending some delegation now. Good luck with your mission.

I even saw a 93-94% self-upvoter today. Irony - they were making a fuss about how much they gave back to people with an occasional upvote. (They were also gaming @minnowbooster, but that's another story. )

I agree that it's only part of the suite of problems with which we are grappling at the moment. I mean, this won't ping someone like @trafalgar, who is doing quite well out of voting for the multiple accounts he controls.

At least between you and @transparencybot, people hoovering up the reward pool have to work slightly harder for it (or just delegate their SP to a bidbot).

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Right, you hit the nail on the head, it's just one part of a solution. It takes many people working on this stuff to have an effect. The point I've been trying to make is that because a solution isn't completely comprehensive doesn't indicate that it's useless.

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That's a fair point and it requires the whole community doing their own thing to keep it clean and fair, thus me constantly banging on to my fellow bottom feeders that we can make a difference in our own small way.
I know that trafalger, I grassed him up before. He's the one who just comments on posts then upvotes himself 6 days later.

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I note that he moved his voting to 3-4 days to avoid that attention. But his actions have started to grate with some of the people who have previously defended him - and I can't say I blame them. See here for a relatively short summary, or here for a long comment thread of justification, economics, game-theory, claim and counter claim, as well as the same spurious moral reasoning that the wealthy regularly wheel out any time the peasants get too uppity.

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Indeed. It's not just decentralisation. It's that reality, being complex, doesn't reward 'one size fits all' style solutions.

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Right on.

I agree @bronevik. I think this is just another bad idea. Flagging, and negative reinforcement have never worked. This just creates another avenue for abuse and solves nothing. If self upvoting were a bad thing it would have been removed in the last hard fork. And if you have ever read the Steemit White paper you would know that Steemit IS 100% Capitalistic... by design. In essence you're punishing people for using a thing in a way in which it was designed to be used. That is gas-lighting. That is sociopathic. Please stop this nonsense @sadkitten.

Quality service I remember this bot having 100k delegation

I agree we have a problem to solve regarding self voting and powerful friendships who vote each other content. Same as with bots. I guess that's something expected on a Decentralized platform. In my case I love the community and do my best to upvote content I enjoy, but at the end of the day also like to reward myself upvoting my comments. Is that so bad? Maybe, I'm probably not educated enough to really grasp the impact of my decision, but to me, what really is destroying the community (in matter of content) are the robots. Hope nobody gets offended by my comment and the fact that I probably will upvoted later. Cheers!

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If you upvote someone else than yourself 10% of the time you should stay clear from sadkitten for a long while.

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Oh great. Yeah I usually upvote more posts from the community than my own. Thanks for the reply.

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Greetings friend, good job, you make successes and blessings for you

I just read these words in the whitepaper about self voting and the coincidence made for me to read your post right after.

Regardless of how much money any one individual has, there are always many other individuals with similar wealth. Even the wealthiest individual rarely has much more than the next couple wealthiest combined. Furthermore, those who have a large investment in a community also have the most to lose by attempting to game the voting system for themselves.

It would be like the CEO of a company deciding to stop paying salaries so he could pocket all of the profits. Everyone would leave to work for other companies and the company would become worthless, leaving the CEO bankrupt rather than wealthy.

I guess they make perfect sense here as they motivate even more the behavior of this bot

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It's a very simple way to delegate some fraction of your SP to guarantee not feeling too selfish about your voting behaviors.

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indeed, you are right, I should do this, SP for the flags! I just have a question: This will not work for multiple accounts of the same people voting each other like exchanging votes stuff, isn't it?

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No, That would be infinitely more complex.

We chose only 1 week to not give too much incentive for users to create proxy accounts.

Everyone does self voting on their own posts, however on comments that should be discouraged.

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I don't.

Lotsa folks don't.

It isn't necessary. Don't do it.

Hey Sadkitten are you going to give back what you stole from us with your down votes

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Sadkitten didn't steal anything if anything the people who power it sacrificed their SP so hopefully more deserving people get the reward that get redistributed by @sadkitten.

I flagged your comments because you copied it everywhere like spam.

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What has happened to this initiative? I don't see any downvotes for over a week and VP is now idling at 100%. If it's dead I'll pull my delegation.

Fuck you and your goal. People like you are highjacking the blockchain and tries to centralize it by seizing the freedom of people. Fuck you.

So, people who have a load of mates autovoting each other ( mainly the domain of the old hands and high reppers) are not going to get picked up by this as they have no need to self vote. How about other high reppers with 3 accounts with their partner who have high SPs and vote each others posts which amount to 6 to 9 posts aday between them ?
The people who upvote most are usually low and mid reppers whose low SP hardly make a difference so what are you hoping to achieve by this ?
ALl thats going to happen is you demonise the newer members and put them off the platform as they cant get anyone worthwhile to bother reading their post and give em an encouraging and decent upvote, show up some of the old high rep members who have a fortune and dont give a monkey what you say and subsequently its a wasted exercise.
No doubt there will be an attempt to make Grumpycat and Berniesanders look bad but from a personal point of view, they need the self votes to build SP to combat the scammers.
No doubt well intentioned, but I cant see the point and the real problem here...spammers, will remain.

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Are you also going after people who use any sort of promotion bot ? This is also a form of self upvoting

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Yeah, seriously. I’d rather see more of the countering of bid bots than self-voting. It has been correctly pointed out on many occasions that self-voting can be easily worked around and it does nothing to combat collusive voting groups and/or sock puppets, which most of the top “abusers” use anyway.

I’d love it if more effort or even consideration was put into correcting the actual causes of the current problems rather than continually treating minor symptoms.

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Next up: @nothappykitten, countering circle jerk.

As for bid bots, @heimindanger is doing some stuff there.

You want to see something? Make it happen.

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Nice comment, put your bottom lip away and stop sulking. Like so many if you dare to disagree.
Oh, and if you bothered to check before basically telling me to do instead of talk, you'd find I 'do' already...
Now run along, stop sucking your thumb and if you at some point grow up, come back and discuss my points.....I noticed in your bleating you never mentioned autovoting without even reading...tbis is just as bad as circle jerking. But anyway, stick to worrying about self upvoting which 90% of people do...

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This comment was for @ats-david, not aimed at you.

I left you a reply to your comment.

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An unreserved and absolute apology to you. Sorry, about that, I should take my own advice and think and study more before engaging mouth.

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I think you missed my point. You’re wasting resources trying to treat symptoms (some of them not really much of an issue in general) rather than curing the disease. The disease is the incoherent and socially/economically destructive blockchain protocols currently in place. If nobody is interested in fixing them, then all of this is a waste of time, energy, blockchain resources, and money.

And we’ve been down this road before with these “countering” bots and how you apply your metrics and methods for dealing with the “abuse.” What you’re trying to fix and your actual results don’t align well.

If you want to address abusive self votes, you know how to find those users and downvote them.

If you want to address circle-jerks, you know how to find those users and downvote them.

We all know who these regular “abusers” are. There’s no need to hide behind bots or use some convoluted calculations or algorithms and have this pretense of “objectivity.” Just identify the users and downvote them.

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Newsflash for you! @sadkitten is not the name of the HF proposal that force people to be sharing and caring instead of selfish.

We all know who these regular “abusers” are.

Most don't know, regardless, why would you want to put the burden on anyone to search for it and then do the flagging in a time consuming and suboptimal way over simply supporting this bot?

There’s no need to hide behind bots or use some convoluted calculations or algorithms and have this pretense of “objectivity.”

Actually fear of reprisal is a reason to stand behind an organizated initiative like this bot.

There is nothing convoluted but to the laziest who don't want to understand.

svROI mean for that a Steemit subsidized account with 15 SP that post and upvote itself 10 times a day at precisely 2.4 hours would be @sadkitten first target.

It's technically impossible for any human to manually counter that without a significant amout of workload.

I’d love it if more effort or even consideration was put into correcting the actual causes of the current problems rather than continually treating minor symptoms.

Don't assume that treating minor symptoms on a per SP best efforts basis is of lesser merit or taking away from implementing a contentious consensus change.

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Newsflash for you! @sadkitten is not the name of the HF proposal that force people to be sharing and caring instead of selfish.

Yes, I understand. I'm not saying that you need to be proposing hard forks. I'm just pointing out that these types of initiatives don't really do much in the grand scheme of things. There's far too much "abuse" to be countered, which is the result of horrible changes to the blockchain protocols last year. I'm only commenting on the futility of this, not the intentions of those putting in the work.

Most don't know, regardless, why would you want to put the burden on anyone to search for it and then do the flagging in a time consuming and suboptimal way over simply supporting this bot?

Because just like the random upvoting bots, the "countering" bots are absent of the human element that can actually differentiate the larger, long-term abusers from the smaller and mostly inconsequential ones. It just indiscriminately finds and downvotes posts/users based on some subjective criteria by the bot creator. I just don't find that to be a practical way to address the actual abusers that most people who want to counter the abuse already know about. Automation begets automation begets further automation. It's an endless cycle of bot creation and escalation and it never cures the actual problem...it just adds to them. And it usually ensnares a lot of good/honest people along the way, turning them off of the platform while not really making a dent in the actual abuse.

Actually fear of reprisal is a reason to stand behind an organizated initiative like this bot.

But the delegation and other support given to the bot can be viewed by anyone. Unless people are actually donating via exchange transfers, the support can be easily discovered, so reprisal is simple to do.

svROI mean for that a Steemit subsidized account with 15 SP that post and upvote itself 10 times a day at precisely 2.4 hours would be @sadkitten first target.

So is this primarily looking at volume of votes to target the large but low-SP bot-nets?

Don't assume that treating minor symptoms on a per SP best efforts basis is of lesser merit or taking away from implementing a contentious consensus change.

I'm not saying that there is less merit or that the intentions aren't good. I'm only pointing out that these projects often prove to be minimally effective and can have just as many negative consequences as the current automation and abuse, and that they also redirect blame or the cause of many issues to users within the system rather than those who have made the system what it is via protocol changes.

I know that getting the code changed isn't easy (unless you're STINC and control the narrative and direction of blockchain development) and I'm not saying you guys are stupid for trying to do this. I get it and I applaud the intentions. My disagreement is only with the method and the previous effectiveness from other attempts to do the same. If the code can't be addressed, I think it would be much more effective to directly counter the well-known and longstanding larger-SP voting rings and the unaccountable vote-sellers. I still question the effectiveness of that in both the short-term and the long-run if protocols are left as they are, but, in my opinion, it would be better than another automated system of identification and targeting.

But feel free to give it a shot. I'm still interested to see the results, despite my disagreements here. I mean...I don't think things can really get much worse than they are. I hope I'm right about that!

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"There's far too much "abuse" to be countered, which is the result of horrible changes to the blockchain protocols last year."

While those changes may have made the problems worse, they aren't the cause. All the problems pre-existed those changes.

The problem is stake-weighting.

I agree with almost all your points.

Ignoring stake-weighting as the root of the problem of financial manipulation will, as you point out that it has, result in endless loops of attempts to mitigate via other means, such as @sadkitten, which in turn bring on new problems, which require mitigation...

Wash, rinse, repeat...

While I strongly disagree that things can't get much worse, I share your hope that they don't.

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While the concept and code of @sadkitten may look simple to you, the final outcome is the result of many hundreds pages of brainstorming.

My disagreement is only with the method and the previous effectiveness from other attempts to do the same.

There has never been anything this thorough done aiming to do the same.

@SadKitten is using emotion and a fair punishment that strikes a balance between people preferring to slightly change their voting behavior instead of self-voting via proxy.

It is completely automated and contentious only to the extent of it's amount of SP. I personally believe it would show result with as little as 50 SP.

With this bot it is up to everyone with SP to decide what they think is an acceptable level of selfishness and push a % of their SP to be used efficiently to send a message where it make the most difference.

We tried to make @sadkitten as simple as possible to understand so it can be seen as some sort of soft-consensus.

Basically a statement saying.
"Too much self voting is fundamentally not acceptable" and enforced to this extent.

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I really dig the initiative. This is one of the best initiatives to counter abuse but I also agree with probably most people here that something more fundamental by the way of a HF needs to be done.

Nonetheless, I very much applaud this initiative and I'll consider delegating some SP to it.

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Thank you :D

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There's nothing to hide behind, it's just a bit of automation. Who has the time to manually search this stuff out? The people who do that are stretched to breaking point. All associated names are known and the calculations are pretty simple.

I agree that ideally we'd have blockchain level changes and that these kinds of things are patches, along with cheetah, steemcleaners, etc. etc. but I'm sure you also appreciate the difficulty of that.

I think of it making one particular abuse vector less attractive. Others are working on other vectors, this is just one. I'd like to expand it but we go step by step.

We'll see how it pans out this time.

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I note that creating a bot with delegations creates a larger pool of SP to flag with.

I have too little SP to effectively flag various abusers. Did I not oppose bots voting, I might well delegate to @sadkitten. Paradoxically, I am giving the matter thought, as automated opposition to abusive automated financial manipulation may actually be appropriate.

I wouldn't delegate to hide my participation, and I have no fear of flags. I would delegate, if I did, in order to add SP to the flag pool, so it would have the ability to counter more SP.

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[...] automated opposition to abusive automated financial manipulation may actually be appropriate.

This.

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To plans to right now. I'd be interested to read a detailed argument for it.

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Have a look at the first downvotes of the bot and tell me we're not countering spammers.

@sadkitten is community funded this time around, so we'll gradually increase what it does in proportion to what we have to work with. I'm gradually working on making the AI smarter and what the bot does more comprehensive. I stand by it that countering the highest self voters as a first obvious metric is worthwhile. But I agree, and always have, that it's not the only indicator.

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We shouldnt be countering the highest anything first, but the lowest. Hit people at the bottom and they can either learn to play nicely or be dusted into a negative rep which leaves them impotent. I know there are many worries about sign up and retention rates but 6o me its notnthe quantity but the quality that matters. Take a look at this guy as a prime example ofnthe creeping cancer we should be dealing with firstly... @betprofit @morelife has many other id, posts dozens of stolen pics daily and no one gives a fuck....i flag some hut now hes building and getting stronger, my flag is having little effect....look at the promobots happily promoting this shit. Ive made reports to steemcleaners with no avail.....the point is, they all think bes too small to matterbut hes not, one day his compounding will make him huge and then ,like the haejins of this world, will be unbeatable and nothing will be able to do done. There are many like him doing a similar thing I flag. One whale dropping just one 100% flag on each of his IDs would finish him....but no, no one caresbecause they dont have the foresight.
Go look at Allysyummyfood, and her bfs page and their joint page......ohhhh Allysyummyfood, like sacrilege to criticise her here but she upvotes herself, has a lot of big hitting autovotes and her posts although professionally done are short....with the 3 accounts she posts half a dozen posts a day each making a lot of money but no one is ever going to dare say anything about this.
Uvotes I think are the least of oir problems, but most importantly , we should be starting at the bottom and working up and not the other way around

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Why not both? If you're strongly motivated by a different kind of approach it would be cool to see what you could come up with towards that. Some people do care about things I've found, but you don't always find that they care about the same things.

This is decentralization at work, we don't all have to be doing the same thing.

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Side note - you should check out @steemflagrewards - we might be able to help give you a bit more backup - though we are drowning in this stuff right now.

Thanks for the tips too - will check out those accounts :)

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Thanks for that mate :-) I prefer to use sp for flags cos for me anyway, any upvote regardless of its value means someones read and appreciated...the financial value is not as important so battering spammers with flags is better value to me. I can still upvote my friends who comment on my posts at 0% cos it still shows them gratitude for bothering to reply.
Regarding the accounts I mentioned, look at the football tips they post, identical format to about 10 other accounts, usually in the betting category. @greem is another of his dog ones too
Thanks again :-)

You and your community are all threth for the integrity of steemit. Without investers this community is not a goood place and everyone must realize it if want steemit to succeed. Stop bulshit downvotes without reason to people.

What a great post. I’m just a very tiny guppie in the steemit pond, but try to support all good causes and content. Wish I could help with your mission.

..........and how would the permissible extent of self voting be determined, will it be an individual scrutiny or a percentage of the total self voting on the system.......... I'm really confused here and which is actually worse, self voting or voting with bots?
Questions! Questions!! Questions!!!

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There is no lower % of acceptable self voting. If people think it's going too far they'll just undelegate.

I don't foresee sadkitten ever have enough SP to scare people like @haejin that self upvote 9.5 times a day. I wouldn't see it as a bad thing though.

Everyone does self-voting, and it is not a crime, especially if you do it for a good cause. I know some people who self-vote 1 post perday and that is a giveaway post, and they distribute all SBD from that post to the voters. I am not self-voting myself because I don't have much SP; however, I don't think it is bad. I would, however, not support 100% self-voting, especially if the user has large amount of SP, but there is no harm , IMO, if a minnow self-votes. I saw sadkitten has ruined someone's account who had less than 500 SP and who was uploading his own videos, and earning few cents from them. I think, there should be some rules that @sadkitten MUST follow, before starting downvoting anyone's posts.
In short, I don't like this project in its current form.
There are other big abusers who should be handled, such as dmania, which is giving huge votes just for a meme downloaded from internet.

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Sadkitten is a bot, it does not discriminate based on content or amount of steem. It simply flag those who self-vote the most.

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Well, I know it is a bot, but the owner of the bot should have some rules. I think, some percentage of self-voting should not be a problem. This is gonna be a decentralized world.

i have yet to self vote but that is no thing to brag on. I am less than a week old on here!

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Welcome aboard!

Sounds too cool and would surely like to participate

Those who invested their own money into Steemit helped BUILD this reward pool! Upvoting should be regulated but not eliminated. Take away self-upvoting and the Steemit platform will lose. I just might even dry up and blow away!

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it seems that the big boys and girls on steem do not aka the whales do not like anyone doing what they do among them selfs. and for each other in order to get as much money as they can with the upvotes which is what all the small minnow's have not choice to do which is upvoting their on post. yes a small minnow can only upvote their on post by a penny or two, yes 0.001 to 0002. and yet the big boys and girls can not stand for that . they have to sic a robot aka the sadkitten on you, in order for them to get that extra penny or two. and let us all face the truth that is what they are doing, also lets look at the facts, when even a post has a very very small upvote even at a penny to five cents it is more likely to be viewd then and maybe even upvoted by some one else, if you agree with the above statement then please re post and share and maybe even upvote it

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Your self votes will be countered by @sadkitten for 1 week starting Thursday, April 12th 2018, 8:14 because your account is one of the highest self voters. For more details see this post.