Play your part in making Steemit better

in steemit •  18 days ago

It's possible that most people never see a lot of the posts that abuse the Steemit rewards system. They are made by people who have no interest in the community. They just boost their own posts with self-votes, 'vote farms' and by buying votes. Here's a prime example. This post has zero value to the Steem platform, but it's about to earn this guy a couple of dollars. Get your flags in quick.

Junk

Of course people argue that there's little incentive to flag as you don't get paid, but you can if you join the @SteemFlagRewards effort. You need to join their Discord channel for the full details, but just check their comments to see posts that have already been flagged and you can do a 'follow on flag'. Even a few cents off can help.

There are many other such junk posts. Some just say 'test' or 'testing', but it's obvious they are just to make money. We need the vote sellers to blacklist their accounts and this does happen in some cases. We also have witnesses getting the Steem Inc delegation removed from accounts so they cannot be used to upvote junk.

If you don't want to flag you can still help by delegating to @SteemFlagRewards and @AdmiralBot. They are not intended to deprive minnows of rewards as long as they are not gaming the system. In many cases we have persuaded people to change their ways. We risk retaliation, but the community help each other when this happens. They tend to not go after some of the big fish as the risks are just too high. Some have had their reputations destroyed.

Of course there are much worse offenders who actually get onto the Hot and Trending pages. They are harder to deal with as it takes massive votes to make much difference. Some whales will help with this, but it seems the potential curation rewards are too attractive for others. I did a post recently about this. I suspect some good Steemians have allowed their votes to be used by curation trails that are supporting some posts that are really over-rewarded. We need the real cream to rise to the top.

I noticed I made the charts on this post about flagging. It's entitled 'Flag war stats', but I'm not interested in getting into fights. I just want to ensure we discourage abuse of this wonderful platform. I have delegated most of my SP to others to use and I'll use the rest to do what I can to make things better. I really don't care about curation rewards. For most of us they will be minimal anyway.

I continue to see Steem and Steemit as forces for good, but we have to be vigilant in dealing with the bad apples who spoil it for everyone else.

Steem on!

Update : I'm happy to report that @upme have withdrawn their vote on this post and blacklisted the user. We need to make vote sellers aware of when they are supporting junk content. It makes them look bad.

I'm Steve, the geeky guitarist.

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Well damn, this topic was on my agenda and I suppose I cant write about it now.

Here's the evidence, a folder with those words.

@steemitflagrewards is doing a fine job of changing people's minds, as that is the intention.

Maybe I'll still write mine, if I have time.. next week will be super busy for me.

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Funnily enough, there is now a folder on my computer entitled 'Day Month year is the root of all evil' ;)

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You should still write it as you may have some different views. It certainly stirs up some discussion :)

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I will, but when.. who knows.. see my post of today.

I noticed things like this when I joined two months ago. One "author" got paid over $300.00 for posting 5 sentences about why he felt self-improvement seminars and guru's don't work. I could have written an essay of many paragraphs detailing why I disagreed with him, including the fact that apparently several millions of people do feel they need the help. In the end I let it go being new to this platform.

Good article please continue to keep us informed!

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I could choose to buy votes and get on trending, but it would feel wrong to me. Some vote up this stuff in hope of curation rewards and maybe a vote in return, but I prefer to support quality.

Thank you for all you do and for making us aware of this sort of trash. I really had no idea.

You did your research Steve, Like I know you do :)

This is a very complex issue. It is easy to downvote small accounts whose status is not more than insects for this platform. Insects can be crushed under the foot but whales cannot be touched. No one dares to look at their eyes.
So, the system of this platform is based on grave injustice. Crush the poor, worship the elites. I think without making equality no justice and right treatment can not be ensured.

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On this point, I totally agree with you

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When were you disagree with me?

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Totally agree with you.

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Thank you!

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No system is perfect. I don't worship anyone here and they all have to earn my respect. We're fighting the winnable wars for now. Some whales flag other whales and I'd support their efforts where it's justified. We each make the judgement on what is good for the platform. Some just care about themselves.

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Fighting spam feels like playing Whac-A-Mole, but we applaud those who make the effort.

Flagging over-rewarded postings on trending is futile for lack of people who can be bothered to do so, and because of the huge difference in wealth between the bidbots and those who still try; only a concerted effort by some whales can make a dent here, and we all know what many whales have put their money towards.

Considering this, we suggest you remove your kind delegation to the Church of Piglet and put it towards another initiative of your choice, as we will no longer be making proper use of it.

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I'll put more into SFR. Thanks for all you have done.

At least we got a result from a vote seller in this case. They could do with running some simple checks on posts and possibly use a communal blacklist.

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As SFR is your first choice, we have also delegated to them.

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I think this system can work almost perfectly if people work collectively for the betterment of everyone but everyone has his/her own priorities which makes things worse.

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There are good and bad motives at play. Need to get a good balance

I hope I'll be forgiven for abstaining from Flagging until my account grows a bit more. Those who really really really really deserve it though (like scammers) are an exception

Thank you guys for actually doing something about it. If The more powerful accounts acted like you and Whatsup, steemit would be better

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You don't have a lot of SP, but even delegating 50 can help. It will be well used.

The thing that drives me the most crazy is when someone upvotes their own comment on your post. Even worse is when the upvote they give themselves is more than the upvote they gave your post. I guess everyone thinks their opinion is valuable, but still...

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I often won't vote up those comments and I'll consider flagging if they don't add value. It's very tempting to just take, but I'm happy to help others and rely on their generosity

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Yeah, I just got one the other day and he was lecturing me about dust comments and how my small vote isn't really helpful. And then he pulls that trick and I kind of lost all respect/interest. :)

Why shouldn't they game the system? This is a no one, whom had an upvote paid for by one of his many many other accounts, all with almost no SP. So what ?
Mean while, self upvoting whale jerking rings abound, and now we have yet another auto curation AI system just launching.
Whats the difference between what this guy has done, and someone getting an upvote on an auto curation trail when the person giving the upvote never even read the post that they upvoted?
I find the reward flagging a little uncomfortable if Im honest, there are too many double standards at play on the whole platform.
If Steem is about content, the it should be upvoted after being read. End of. Viewing figures and the opinion of thise viewers should be the only metric that matters.
Very few people actually read, always the same problem. Too many creators, and almost no consumers.
If curation were rewarded more than the content, as per the @dlike model, perhaps the balance would be much improved. I know of no other business where the service or product provider is more important than the customer, but here on Steemit, during times of relatively weak rewards, everyone is looking for ways to use technology to basically cheat the system.
Another issue is that people are being rewarded to flag when really, if the community that I hear so much about, was so important, they should do something just for the good of it. Im not sure why we need Steemcleaners and the flag reward crew, if the delegations from community minded members were increased, and volunteers were recruited to help this would allow steemcleaners to be more effective. Is only doing something for a reward any more morally or ethically right than the people they are fighting against?
Seriously. How difficult is it to take down spammers and scammers with 5sp? No one sees half of what goes on anyway because almost no one goes through the new feed!
Bidbots arent the problem, they are just paid advertising which may or may not return a profit, anyone who provides any service or product that needs to be sold to make money needs some for of advertising at some point.
Apologies for the typos, Im in bed on the tablet and the fat fingers are struggling badly!

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Here are some fun readings for ya.

https://steemit.com/steemit/@enforcer48/steemit-de-evolution
https://steemit.com/utopian-io/@crokkon/what-is-the-reward-pool-share-of-vote-sellers-bid-bots-and-autovotes-1535479520399

Basically, automation on Steemit has gone to the point it's not an exaggeration to say people don't read half the times, and it's not necessarily because of too many people are creating, when considering bid bots, et al handle about 8% of the total number of daily votes.

In the process of finding these abusers, it is hoped that flaggers would also come across genuine Steemians creating content. Hence, my response to @kabir88 when he promoted @steemflagrewards.

Bidbots arent the problem, they are just paid advertising which may or may not return a profit

Actually, it's super easy to turn profit. The smaller bots are especially so. Even a top witness encouraged me to use them.

bid game.png
someguy.png

Most vote sellers/bid bot services do not actively check the contents they are promoting. They are automated, just like the Steemauto votes, which not only void a step in the QA, but also allow these 5SP accounts to come in with 100 liquid Steem and start rolling in more tokens until they are caught by the community.

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Dont you think though that if its possible to write complex bot for initiatives like UA or truffle pig that can work out whats quality and upvote it, it must surely be infinitely easier to code a bot to pick out one word posts and down vote them!
Will give your linked articles a read later. Thanks :-)

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You are oversimplifying the scope of abuse if you think auto-downvoting a one word post, or a few words for the sake of discussion, would resolve things. There are such things as a misclick of an incomplete post or a failed test, even with rewards declined. What about other languages? What about photographs with little to one word descriptions?

Are you gonna waste voting power downvoting those? Are those the only kind of abuse that exists on this platform?

Don't you think with millions of SP, @steemcleaners or @berniesanders would have done that long ago? What about @therealwolf? He's a developer, why do you think he hasn't done that already?

UA and Truffle Pig are works in progress. While I believe AIs have that sort of potential, but the technology is not refined to that point yet. Take @aicurator for example, it's great at being efficient. It doesn't see quality. How about @cheetah? It's ran into some hiccups with non-English languages.

Have you even seen the current UA algorithm in the works right now? It correlates with whether or not you interact with Witnesses or not. It's still got some ways to go.

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Excellent points but using keywords and word count to trigger an autodownvote bot is at least something. None of the points raised in the original post are an ideal solution either but as Steve rightly points out, everyone has a part to play and every little helps.
None of this addresses the question of how autocuration is a good thing. The point still remains that if you arent read by a person you dont have chance to be upvoted. Thats life and we need encouragement to actually read and then decide if what we read is worthy of one of our upvotes.
If we follow the route we are on, we will get re spun articles using one of the many online article spinners being upvoted by ai powered auto upvoters, with people following only what they know will pay them a curation reward.
The languages issue is a substantial one but shouldn't be as this is allegedly a decentralised environment.
Many of the views expressed on the abuse topic come from 'privelidged' for want of better word, context. This also needs addressing and throwing into the equation.
I look forward to reading @slobberchops article on reward flagging as a career move!
At the end of the day, the rewards reclaimed from flagging the post were repaid to the community minded people who flagged it! If there was no reward, how many would have still flagged it?

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It is something, but keywords and word count can be gamed; hence why we need to be careful when we consider which part of the process to automate.

Auto-curation is a gray thing: it all depends on the user. For example, @johngreenfield taking a break from Steemit and set authors he knows he enjoys the content on auto-votes. It's like a sponsor vote, the creator is encouraged to continue to work while he is gone.
@fulltimegeek does something similar. He has a whitelist of authors.

Like you said, it can't be entirely a good thing, especially when we hit over 41% on Steem Auto. It's like half the people aren't even here. At some point, auto-curation tends to be abused anyhow.

As for @slobberchops career choice, well good luck to him. Checking out all their wallets, I think only the actual Steem Cleaners and maybe some industrious Reporters in their group have good compensations. Other than that, I don't think even Bernie's Abuse Reports can top those in terms of returns.

Spun articles are already around. Some are more apparent. Some are not. And yes, I do agree with the reading part because that is one thing the AIs won't be able to do for some time and picking up spinning is one of them.

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Automatic voting will always have limits. I think we could use AI to alert humans about good and bad posts that need attention. A lot of those we flag could be picked up that way. If be tempted to create a bot that picks up SFR confirmation comments and automatically does a follow on flag of appropriate size.

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Hopefully, that will be in the works as we improve our workflow. I think @admiralbot is supposed to fulfill that role at some point when it becomes strong enough.

There are other ways we can shave time such as having a bot that picks up all SFR mentions, so all the approvers have to do is review all links, but like you said, there are limitations. We could be spammed by throwaway accounts, etc.

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Real debate by real people....real Steem :-)
Respect to everyone. I often find the people I disagree with most are the nicest people I chat to lol

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Of course anyone is free to do whatever they want on Steemit as there are not rules, but the community gets to decide what they like and if they don't like junk posts to get rewarded then they can flag them. No rule against that.

I don't like to here people saying 'everyone does ...' as it's patently not true. I manually curate what I vote on and I do read posts. The comments I get show that some people read mine. You obviously did :)

The curation crew put in a lot of effort finding bad posts and their rewards would make for a pretty poor hourly rate. The rewards scheme just goes some way to paying them back, but some would do it for nothing. If people are getting rewarded for voting up crap then we need some incentive for them to flag it. I sacrifice my SP to support this.

There are no absolutes. Steemit is not perfect as it's made of people and people will be greedy and/or selfish. We have to fight the winnable wars and leave the big cases to the whales. We can at least stop some spam minnows becoming bigger fish.

A bit late to read this post but I think I would give a few words in.. Since voting bots are such as integrated part of steem (at the moment) Why not go after the vote sellers that makes it easy to abuse their voting service?

I know right now we do what we can and the way is to just go after the "buyers" that choose to "abuse" the system...(a very flawed system if you ask me). But what else is there to be done?

I will check out @steemflagreward, maybe its something I would support or join in on.

Thanks for sharing the word, dont take my feedback too harsh, I simply just speak my mind on this subject:)

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I'm open to all opinions. We have to fight the winnable battles. In some cases we have persuaded vote sellers to blacklist certain users. Others may not care as much. They have become part of the scene, but I think they ought to be more careful of what they allow if they want Steemit to grow. Currently a lot of people are put off by what they see happening

I find people that upvote their own posts (and comments) without caring for others disgusting

Also, at least put in minimum effort in everything you do, why is that so hard for many steemians?