Steemit - Value is Subjective

in #steemit5 years ago

If you haven't been paying attention, there's been some in house arguments here on Steemit. Here's my take on current issues.

warning: this is a text heavy post targeted toward influential users and developers on this platform

I've been watching from the shadows as users battle back and forth with their opinions, yet I've seen very little constructive conversation. Most of the conversation I've seen has been for the sake of argument. There has been some great points raised, but most think they know what's best for every one else. This is the reason I didn't wish to speak on these topics, but now I feel I must add my own thought to help us as a community, come to an understanding.


Now, there's been some discussion over the use of flags lately. The discussion has been brought up numerously over the last 6 months, though it seems large stakeholders have taken it upon themselves to dictate the value of certain posts, citing that they're policing content for the good of the platform.

Firstly, there is a current type of flagging method that is considered a sybil attack. Manipulating the scoring of individual posts to better suit yourself, and doing so with multiple bots. There is also those with large stake weight that are dictating posts (not a sybil attack). Dictating the rewards of a post is evidently abusive and devalues the platform in the long term. Not only are you negating the subjective value given from another user, you're also misusing the reward pool in order to better suit your individual perspective of what is or is not valuable.

Secondly, by flagging someone, you're attacking both their reputation and their potential rewards on this platform. From your perspective, you may be doing the right thing by flagging their content, however, you're devaluing another persons account by placing a mark on their name. There is no reason to do this other than if that user is behaving negatively. If someone posts plagiarism, material that is copyrighted by law, that is considered abusive behavior, because it is illegal.

Thirdly, for those of you who disagree with flagging altogether, the flag was created for fair scoring of content and to report abuse. There is the problem of it being used for sybil attacks, but if a user truly believes their flag is necessary, then that is their perspective. They're entitled to their own opinion, just as you are entitled to posting the content they flagged. It costs nothing to create a post, you're not taking any risk in posting that content, and if you're flag before a payout, then consider that the payout was always pending, and was not guaranteed.

Now, personally, I dislike flagging. If I disagree with something, I either try to voice my opinion with reasoning, and if myself or the other person can not reach an understanding, I simply choose to walk away. The same goes here on Steemit. I disagree with a lot of the content that makes it to the trending page, because frankly, most of it is boring, though I do not flag it. I do not think that my opinion is any more valuable than the person who gave it such a large reward in the first place, and I respect that persons opinion regardless, and unless their opinion coincides with abuse and negativity, then I have no reason to disagree with them.

You see, what I find boring or distasteful, may not be for others. My perspective is much different from any person reading this. We are individuals. Saying that a piece of content will not attract new users to the platform is ridiculous. There are individual niches in society of all types, and to disregard that is to be anti-social, which is obviously counter-productive on a social media platform. Also, people are arguing that if we upvote the same individual niche continuously, that also devalues the platform. Well, to say that is to assume that people are going to vote for the exact same thing every single day for the rest of their time here, which is a large assumption to make. I for one vote on different stuff every day.

I believe the term "flag" is negative and that it should only be used to police malevolent activity on the platform, such as physical abuse or other illegal activities that the general public find absolutely intolerable. I would like to see a down vote button, that is simply a metric tool, to voice a negative opinion without affecting someone's rewards or reputation.


excerpt from steem's whitepaper, addressing sybil attacks

Sybil attacks have become a real issue with this platform, though no one is willing to admit it because we're all involved in it.

Steemvoter and Streemian for example, along with voting bot scripts, give users the option to manipulate the value of posts. This is a fundamentally huge problem as you can see that it goes against the very wording of Steem's whitepaper. How are we supposed to retain a "fair assessment of the subjective value of each contribution", if each contribution is being manipulated.

The counter-argument here is that, "we simply don't have enough time to use all our voting power". We don't have the time to vote on every post, this is true, but that's not what we're here for. We're here for entertainment and to connet. If you're coming here for entertainment or to connect, then you've and allotted time for reading and commenting. You're here to find something valuable worth reading, or someone valuable to connect with. You're not going to scroll through every post, that's ridiculous, but you do have the time to find a couple really good posts, like them or follow the user that created it, and move on.

The metrics of this site are basically a lie, since voting can be manipulated. How do users obtain over 500 votes and yet only have 50 views - sybil attack. Why is it that posts being voted on by bots are attaining such high value - sybil attack. Why is the trending paged based off rewards when those rewards are being manipulated - that's not what's trending, it's only what's being farmed.

By using a bot on your favorite authors, the people you think are worthy of your vote, you're practically post farming. You're farming for curation rewards, plain and simple. If you've created multiple accounts to this end then you're engaging in sybil attack against the platform, whether you agree or not. You're manipulating the metric data of this platform for your own means. This is a real problem for Steemit and needs to be solved.

Before this problem is solved, which I assumed it will have to be if we wish to use metric data in the future, I will be removing my account from steemvoter. I've not created a bunch of fake accounts but I have been running an automatic voter, which attributes to the problem. I've only started doing this recently, and advocated against it months ago, but thought I may as well jump on the bandwagon. Two wrongs don't make a right.

Attacking Individual Users

Some users here have taken it upon themselves to discredit and shame other users. While this is normal human behavior to attack and defend each other, it's destructive for everyone, and with such a small knit community right now, only a few thousand regular users, it's destructive to all of us.

Feuds usually don't last long so I'll keep this part short. If we're truly wanting to add value to this platform then we should do so by acting civilly, maturely, and constructively. If we're building a community like our founding document suggests we are, then we should do so in a fashion that sets an example for others.

If you have a problem with someone, mute them and move on. Don't air your dirty laundry out on Steemit for all of us to see. It's lame, and you look like an idiot when you do so.

Reward Pool

I mentioned this when I was talking about flags, because some users think it's worth dictating. I do not believe any individual on this platform has a right to decide just how the reward pool is to be used. This platform is based off subjective value and so if the community decides, through consensus, that a post is worth x amount, then it is worth x amount.

"Oh, but then I get less". Yes, and what? If we're going to actually achieve the outline set out in the Steem whitepaper then it's time for us to stop being so damn selfish. Who cares if someone is getting a large chunk of the reward pool. Eventually people will understand that one user is getting more than they deserve and stop voting for that content/user.

The real problem is that sybil attacks are manipulating the reward pool. If you're going to be upset about reward distribution, then be upset about automatic votes/vote manipulation!


You can leave your own argument in the comments here if you like, but I probably wont respond. I know that's counter-productive, but I've already seen every argument here on Steemit that is for or against the things I've addressed. Quite frankly, I don't care, but I felt I had to voice my opinion either way, as I too am a user of this platform, and just as some of you think you know what's best for all of us, I know what's best for my own experience.

I would like to see a Steemit that has a fair system, free from sybil attacks and manipulation, with legitimate metrics, and is a place with real etiquette. The day that happens, I'm sure we'll see a lot more users adopt the platform. Most people are good, and want something that's good, if you deliver that then you'll create true value for the platform.

Peace out Steemians.

Thomas Te Aroha Kohi

Owner/Producer, Thirsty Records | Hip Hop Artist | Entrepreneur

Born in New Zealand and resides in Australia, Thomas writes about many different subjects, mostly about those that affect him at the time. He likes to philosophize about each subject and does the same in his music. Addicted to knowledge though no scholar, Thomas tries to be original & true in his quest to better himself.
Follow him here for more


This was a great post ! One of the best ive seen ! My favorite was the end which I totally agree with ! And have copied it here ! Thanks for shareing and keep up the great work ! 👍

I would like to see a Steemit that has a fair system, free from sybil attacks and manipulation, with legitimate metrics, and is a place with real etiquette. The day that happens, I'm sure we'll see a lot more users adopt the platform. Most people are good, and want something that's good, if you deliver that then you'll create true value for the platform.

As always, thank you for your kind words @karenmckersie

It was a great post ! Thanks for telling it like it is !👍

Nothing to add, @karenmckersie other than a vote - thank you!

Firstly, there is a current type of flagging method that is considered a sybil attack.

Considered by whom? This is outright absurd. And also an out-of-context misinterpretation of the whitepaper.

Steem was specifically designed so that using multiple accounts to vote affords no advantage. A sibyl attack is simply not possible.

Many users have multiple accounts because their steem power comes from mining (which requires you to switch accounts which recieve the rewards).. many other users (me for example) bought other peoples accounts.

the number of votes a post revieves has absolutely no significance. The only algorithm that it has ever effected was the "hot" feed, and that one was changed for precisely that reason.

You have taken that line out of context. When using bots to flag posts, it is a sybil attack.

Firstly, there is a current type of flagging method that is considered a sybil attack. Manipulating the scoring of individual posts to better suit yourself, and doing so with multiple bots.

I don't think you understand what a sybil attack is. When someone is using multiple accounts under different names to sway the scoring algorithm, that is a sybil attack.

I don't think you understand what a sybil attack is. When someone is using multiple accounts under different names to sway the scoring algorithm, that is a sybil attack.

using multiple accounts does not sway the scoring algorithim.... its specifically designed to prevent that. Upvoting or downvoting with multiple accounts is not a sibyl attack. If you think it is, you misunderstand the whitepaper.

Listen, if you've created multiple attacks that all follow the same action of one, then that is the exact definition of a sybil attack. You are, in fact, manipulation the scoring algorithm for your own ends.

The whitepaper argues against this, yet they left the option to create automatic accounts open. It's one of the issues they address in the whitepaper and suggest their solution is staked voting, either way. Whether you're upvoting content with multiple bots, or downvoting them, you're engaging in sybil attack and manipulating metric data and rewards.

ive already explained to you twice why this is not a sibyl attack, and the white paper explained it again in the part youre talking about.

If you want to call it a sibyl attack, thats certainly your right. You can call A Pope Testosticlese the XXVII attack, that doesn't change that it isnt.

And no, that is not the exact definition of a sibyl attack. the defintion of A sibyl attack is where an attacker gains additional leverage on a reputation system by voting with multiple accounts beyond the leverage he would gain by voting with only one account....

thats why voting with multiple accounts is not a sibyl attack (on steem)-- because the "attacker" gains no additional leverage. Voting with 1 1000SP account is exactly the same as voting with 2 500SP accounts.

Through curation rewards, you gain additional leverage,

Once again, the definition of a sibyl attack is where you gain additional leverage by using more than one account than you would have had if you just used one account.

Curation rewards are exactly the same when voting with multiple accounts, and so is the amount you reward you give or take away.

Also, a sibyl attack is something thats made against the platform, not an individual user.

You really really don't understand the concepts youre trying to address.

You should ask dan what he thinks. Oh wait you already did... he told you that you were wrong.

The definition of A sibyl attack is where an attacker gains additional leverage on a reputation system by voting with multiple accounts beyond the leverage he would gain by voting with only one account.

Through curation rewards, you gain additional leverage, and also give or take away, additional leverage to those you issue said sybil attack on. You've proved my point. Thanks.

I meant that in relation to sybil attacks. You keep taking my words out of context in order to prove your point, which is counterproductive.

You've proved my point again, by the way:

The definition of a sibyl attack is where you gain additional leverage by using more than one account than you would have had if you just used one account.

Curation rewards are exactly the same when voting with multiple accounts, and so is the amount you reward you give or take away.

Curation rewards differ depending on the amount of vote weight you have, we all know this. So, if someone who has different vote weights, across multiple accounts, and who is engaged in collective voting with those accounts, they are essentially manipulating the reward pool for their own benefit, and that, by definition, is a sybil attack against the platform.

You need to think before responding again, or at least consider the entire sentence as it is, because your complete lack of reasoning has us repeating ourselves.

I normally support any type of civil debate about flagging, but this post is just so off-kilter that i can't bring myself to upvote it. You clearly don't understand the way voting works on steemit, and the notion that voting is "dictating" anything is patently ridiculous.

The only dictating i see going on here is you trying to dictate how other people vote.

You clearly didn't read my post properly.

no, i read it. You don't understand how voting on steemit works. Sorry, you just don't. This post is basically a bunch of non-sensical rules about downvoting that you unilaterally made up and can't enforce

No, you didn't, because you've completely ignored half of the things I stated in the post. If you read it again you'll begin to understand that I am neutral on the use of flags, but that I believe people are using them in the wrong manner; poor etiquette.

You're also ignoring the fact that I never wrote this post to dictate the behavior of anyone else, I stated that twice, and instead have tried to justify why and how flags, along with other issues, are on this platform.

I basically agree with @dumar022 on this. If you don't agree with someone, walk away (or comment with your arguments), don't flag a post. That kind of feels like censorship.

Upvoting is something I do when I like an article. Which means I have to have actually read it (or seen it, there are some very talented photographers here).

About flags... i like what you said about just walking away. People are not forced to read anything, they read what they want. About everything else, I have just one rule: read what you upvote

Yeah, I really hope that point resonates with people. By simply not voting on something, you're giving it less value. Simple.

I should've stuck to my original choice to manually curate. Got greedy and chased rewards like others. Turns out I've basically made the same rewards anyway. Back to manually curating every thing.

I always enjoy reading your perspectives.
As a user who is honestly completely unaware of strategy relating to politics, targeted voting and financially motivated activity i like your straight forward assessment and explanation of the way this platform functions.

Steemit for me is a way of balancing the reality of a world motivated by consuming and affording to exist.
This is a space that I will never utilise for calculated personal financial gain. It's an escape for me.. I never want it to feel like work. If someone likes something I post it feels validating and nice. I vote in the same way, if I like it I click.

I also like that you speak your mind and similarly don't seem to concerned about censoring your opinions to attract reward.
I think authenticity in the end will attract the right kind on genuine attention.

Thank you @girlbeforemirror. Your compliments mean a lot to me, because being true to who I am through my writing is something I strive to convey.

And I agree too, that the decentralized nature of the platform creates nuances of authenticity. Positive virtues in a misguided world are nice, where ever we can find them.

I have always manually done everything ! I enjoy it ! 👍

Although will need to do some research to truly appreciate all aspects of this post since I'm a newbie- the issues raised seem to indicate a potentially gamed system and to think about what we want. If it's primarily exchanging time,skill and knowledge for financial benefit while enjoying the work - it's a job. But we wouldn't want anyone messing with our punch clock or our paycheck fairly earned. Hmmmmmm. I need to read the white paper.

thanks for the article. I'm rather new here, so such articles are really helpful ^_^

You're welcome @kobold-djawa. I hope though, that my post hasn't darkened your opinion of Steemit. I was trying to target the more frequent users who've been here for some time as they know these problems all too well. Beside what I've mentioned, there's really zero other reasons to complain. I wouldn't rather be anywhere else, Steemit is my home :)

Well, it doesn't harm anyway to see many different perspective. Everyone has their own capability to analyse each information they got, based on their own knowledge and personal experience.

Personally I believed in "Honesty is the best policy" just like "Cleanliness is next to Godliness". I hope this problem can be solved soon because it's Steemit's future and its users and the whole community that will be affected.

well written @senseiteekay. Some people on this system really do have an overblown sense of themselves... I think you may have skewered a few of them, even if you didn't intend to.

Thank you for you comment, though I highly doubt I skewered them. Narcissists don't accept criticism.

I've been here on steemit since the last week of December and I know nothing at all about what's going on although I have been reading and following people that I think has some role in steemit. I also read thread of arguments and even degrading comment. Thank you very much for bringing this up.

Thanks for reading @marifa

the flag was created for fair scoring of content and to report abuse.

This is the only thing I really disagree with. The flag doesn't report abuse to anybody. Nobody gets any kind of notification of a post being flagged as abusive. It really is just a down vote, though I agree that it should mostly be used only to correct abuse. I don't disagree with the reason smooth gave for his flag yesterday but it's just incredibly obvious that that reason was bogus. There was no need in that circumstance to correct the rewards on a post that had 200+ views. To claim that posts need to be more "interactive" when the most successful of these "interactive" posts he refers to has less than 30 views is just blatant evidence of a false rationalisation.

People need to ignore the flag explanations and start looking at behaviours if you want to figure out if a flag was for personal interests or community interests. When somebody contradicts themselves consistently it becomes more and more obvious their words mean nothing. Focus on behaviours and draw your conclusions from there. There is no need to give a reason for a flag. Really the only vote he countered was Dans. There's nothing wrong with that if it were true that the post isn't valuable to the community. But it was perfectly obvious by the views that it is valued by the community, not just Dan and so the reasons given were clearly false.

Anyway, rant over. I want to be more positive and cooperative but it's just not in my nature to pretend I'm blind, even if it would mean better rewards. Thanks for posting.


In the whitepaper, it suggests that flags were created for fair scoring, as a downvote, but the abuse of using said flags has become evident. There was never a clear explanation on how someone was going to use a flag, and there's no justification for when we do, because we each interpret it differently. I think that's why the people who consistently downvote posts seem contradictory. They themselves have no real justification for how the flag is supposed to be used.

I think people need to ignore flags altogether, unless the piece of content actually puts the platform in jeopardy. We can just easily negate rewards by retaining our own vote, just as you would by downvoting a piece of material.

Thanks for resteeming :D

Everybody who has ever clicked on a flag should know how it's meant to be used since there is a pop-up with a description written in perfect English. For the ones who don't know still:

Flagging a post can remove rewards and make this material less visible. Some common reasons to flag:
Disagreement on rewards
Fraud or Plagiarism
Hate Speech or Internet Trolling
Intentional miscategorized content or Spam

Thus "disagreement on rewards" is a generally admitted reason for flagging. It's more a 'downvote' than a flag actually...
I totally agree with you that flags should not been abused. Nothing shoud ever be abused.
But this is like if you asked to forbit knifes at home since they could be used as a weapon... The tool itself is not the problem. The weapon doesn't make the murderer. It's the people and their mind.
I fully agree with you on the dream of a world full of good people. But that's not the reality, not even in a self-governed world without censorship. I would even say that in a world where everybody's voice is worth something, we will have to deal especially with problems like these...
One thing might make you happy: in the long term people who don't play according to the general rules, won't succeed here. Just focus on your stuff, be a role model for these bad people.

I leave you with that quote:
How people treat you is their karma, how you respond is yours.

Steem on :-)

Thank you for your comment. I understand that it's a downvote, and that it used to actually be called a downvote instead of a flag, but it doesn't change the passive aggressive tendency it has when used. Chastising someone's rewards or reputation is like fining them for speeding. I think that analogy fits this better, rather than your knife analogy, because the tool is the problem. You can create a safety knife that doesn't cut people, and only cuts a specific thing.

Also, the world is filled with good people. We're everywhere. If you choose to be good, then the world is good.

Fully agree with your last statement. You get what you give.

Give goodness and the world shall become good!

Don´t even ingnore them, then they will get bored....:)

Check out my latest post if you want. It´s about being Robing Hood in self-governed environments. Actually our conversation inspired me to write it. So thanks! ;)

I'll check it out now.


Good article...upvoted and followed! If it were up to me there would no flags or bots. What you said at the beginning about influential people dictating value "for the good of the platform" is straight out of Communism! And it' bullshit! The fact that there are flags shows me that the creators had no intention of creating a non-censored platform. The same with disparate voting strength. In a free and open election (system) a rich person's vote doesn't carry more weight than someone who's poor. There was never any intention for parity in my opinion.

Thanks @richq11. I think there's room for negative opinion, as disagreement helps us reach consensus, but you're right, dictating what something is worth is in fact Communist behavior.

I think they intended to create parity in a way that profits the Steem cryptocurrency, but failed to create countermeasures for abusive voting, such as sybil attack. When it comes to voting power, they've created a trickle down economy. Unfortunately, trickle down economies do not have parity, and give room for the powerful to dictate the actions of the poor.

Well put! I always find that comments are the best form of disagreement. Not only does it open up discourse, it gives a person to have his/her mind change. I can't count the number of times where I've disagreed verbally only to have my mind changed. J.S. Mill wrote brilliantly about censorship, to paraphrase, "it deprives us of the opportunity to replace error with truth."

I know the feeling all too well. I enjoy being corrected when I am wrong, even if I seem stubborn at first, I'm always willing to open myself to new knowledge in order to grow.

I've not read any of J.S Mill's work. I'll have to check it out. Thanks!

This quote is from On Liberty. Mill was a Utilitarian in Britain in the 1800's

This post has been ranked within the top 50 most undervalued posts in the second half of Jan 16. We estimate that this post is undervalued by $6.82 as compared to a scenario in which every voter had an equal say.

See the full rankings and details in The Daily Tribune: Jan 16 - Part II. You can also read about some of our methodology, data analysis and technical details in our initial post.

If you are the author and would prefer not to receive these comments, simply reply "Stop" to this comment.

Thank you @senseiteeka for detailing, clarifying and naming concerns that have been surfacing for me whilst exploring Steemit. It's ethic seem primarily egalitarian, but there does appear to be a swill of bottom feeders lurking (that's kinda low, I know, but ya know what I mean) in the pool with less than progressive agendas. I maintain faith in the hope that the ideals of the Steem ecosystem will prevail, but it's lucid voices like yours that are needed - thank you

Coin Marketplace

STEEM 0.25
TRX 0.08
JST 0.042
BTC 28964.50
ETH 1812.93
USDT 1.00
SBD 2.50