Reasoning behind the Exclusion list, An Apology, and Time for a Change of Plan

in witness-category •  2 years ago 

Yesterday we saw a little drama here on Steemit down to an exclusion list that had published – Many of you may have noticed the exclusion list was taken down.  I will tell you the reasons in a couple of minutes.

Every day on Steemit are people trying to scam, posting spam and copied posts and being rewarded unfairly. Many of these accounts are closed down only to open under different names a few minutes later.

Working on the ground with redfish and minnows it is important for me to identify accounts not to support, as soon as possible.  Therefore, I created a few data queries to catch these as many of these as I can, as soon as they are set up or become active.  

I also found, and you are all aware, many people on the platform have multiple accounts, and personally with the little rewards I can offer, don’t really want to be rewarding the same person on other accounts vying for the same prize, for example.

Criteria for inclusion on my Exclusion list.

1. All accounts with the text bot in their name (direct query)

2. All accounts with the text resteem in their name (direct query)

3. All accounts with the text bot in their profile (direct query)

4. All accounts with the text resteem in their profile (direct query)

5. All accounts that power down to a different account holder and the account they power down to (direct query)

6. All accounts that that have made transfer to an external exchange where the memo was also used by a different account (direct query)

7. All accounts personally deemed spammy for excessive commenting (query with manual review)

8. All accounts personally deemed spammy for excessive posting (query with manual review)

9. All accounts that have never posted or commented or voted. (direct query)

10. All accounts know or identified to use bots for posting or commenting (including business/brand and community accounts)

11. All accounts identified as bots on Steembottracker.

12. All accounts known to hold multiple accounts

This exclusion list was work in progress.  The idea was to reduce the 1m registered accounts on steemit down to non-spam, non-cheating, one account one person.

Fairly tight criteria, right?  In fact, it is so tight that myself and @abh12345 were also included.  At least this shows the queries were non-bias.

But some queries were also unfair as people were added to the list if their keys were stolen and SP powered down elsewhere or funds transferred to an exchange.

To me this was okay, because the tighter the list the better, and I was going to implement a way to apply to be removed from the list and classify accounts based on Persona, Brand, Community, Charity and so forth.

Accounts of users who have created accounts for others, e.g. @timcliff, were also added to the lists.  Clearly this was something else overlooked with the initial queries.

This was the starting point for a bigger project – a master whitelist.

However, I published this list without explanation, reasoning, and a way for accounts to be removed and what happened yesterday is very much a reflection on how people can react when not happy.

The list was published prematurely and for that I apologies.  I have now taken the list down and wow, I don’t think Steemit is ready for what I was doing and at the moment and have decided to put the project on hold.


Apart from finding people rude, aggressive and obnoxious because of the list, and firing blame on loss of support being down to my list, that in fact was viewed just 6 times before the additional publicity given by yesterday’s breakdown by people, I have some figures I would like to throw out to you.

I believe there are only 45K active individuals on Steemit. 

In May, 88K accounts made a root post.  40K individuals.  Of these, 15 accounts earned 5% of the author rewards and 40 accounts earned 10%.  there are over 1 million registered accounts!

In addition to finding out this, I also found some humour.  Thank you to @jackmiller for creating this.  It brought a smile to my face while receiving abuse from others.

I hope some of you will hop over and show support for @jackmillers post here 

Finally, I would like to thank my witness partner @abh12345 – You know why Asher, I owe you now 😊

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I don't know. For having published what was by all accounts an arbitrary list named as an exclusion list without explanation or rationale -- I tend to think the response was pretty muted.

I've certainly seen others full on assaulted for less and not witnesses.

Certainly glad you have put it on hold... or at least wont try that again without it being fully developed and explained.

Steemit IS ready for what you are doing @paulag with all due respect , I just don't think perhaps some were ready for the reaction. My two pesos, Namaste

Simple facts, I should not have published when and as I did. Lol its all lost in the data of the steemit blockchain now

"I don’t think Steemit is ready for what I was doing" isn't an apology, it's an arrogation of the cause of righteousness to yourself over all others. Which is what was wrong with the idea of the list in the first place.

This isn't a conflict about you rolling things out badly, it's a conflict about your fundamental approach.

It was a justification, not an apology.

An apology goes like this:

I realize my actions could have harmed others, and that I overstepped my self-appointed authority. Upon reflection, I regret my actions.

The End.

I tend to stay away and not engage in conflict. If I didn't then I would have engaged in the fowl mouthed behavior seen yesterday by others . Difference of opinion maybe.

Your entire approach is to make up rules for users here and demand that other people follow them. You are 100% about conflict.


I agree that it was a mistake to publish the list, without criteria for being present there, and a clear mechanism for removal. As witness partner, I share the responisibility for this error with @paulag.

It's also worth confirming that no accounts have been ignored or downvoted by myself or paula based on the list - well, except for our witness account :)

I've ordered a t-shirt from @jackmiller, and have asked for a light shade of red.


But maybe Bieber is more fitting today.

I think PINK will be perfect!

it will suit him :-)

thanks @asher

it seems like steemit is more focused on exclusion then inclusion ... let's get our heads out of our butts everyone !! peace

  ·  2 years ago (edited)

I didn't see the list, but based on some of the criteria I could have been on it.

Once again the self-appointed "heros" of steem who feel they should get to figure out who the good guys are and who the bad guys are have created more damage than they solve.

Did you include on your list those with delegation who went on a wild self-voting spree?

Easy to point at others...

I think your creditability has taken one too many hits for me. See you around.

Interesting way to handle things. I made a list of people who may or may not have done anything wrong, but don't worry, I also was going to "Set myself Up" to force people to get off my list. If that makes sense to anyone, I am worried about their judgment.

Peculiar apology, this; I hate it when people out-arrogant me. Time to mute her and her cronies.

Here I am on the Asher weekly engagement list, and this just makes my head hurt. SMDH.

No-one is going to get it right all of the time.

If you feel that the good we do is greater than the perceived bad, then I'm happy with that.

This list was published without feedback and prematurely and we apologise for that. It provided no negative impact as far as votes go for anyone, whereas I've selflessly given my whole stake away plus much more for months.

The feedback here is, in places, fair, but this is a long game, and we'll continue to do what we can for the smaller stakes.

I agree, I saw most of the comments going back and forth, and I never saw the list. I made my comment three days ago, so hopefully the apology was accepted and we can all move on.


@abh12345 he he .... time will always tell.

Makes total sense!

At least you may have done @ned a service

One example of how Oracles could be used is as a means of validating that an account belongs to one person and is that person’s only account.

From the post Ned Scott and @theoretical of Steemit Explore Oracles on Steem

While maybe not perfectly clear there was a mechanism in place to be removed from the list :

You are free to search the list, and if you feel you are wrongly outcast then you can contact the blacklist provider. Please contact @paulag on steemit for the exclusion list.

Most people that run list/bots/or whatnot have no problem dealing with respectable inquiries when in disagreement.

and firing blame on loss of support being down to my list, that in fact was viewed just 6 times before the additional publicity given by yesterday’s breakdown by people,

I was one of those 6 viewers, and I gave feedback on my experience with it to her, as she had requested in the post.

Now I do not know what happened on day 4 of the post, and I do not know what happened prior to the breakdown, did anyone contact her to discuss the issue? or just make an accusatory knee jerk reaction?

People on steemit are all from various cultures. To me I see and accept this post as it was meant by @paulag, an apology and recognition that the list needed some more work. 1person1account list is going to be created. It does not matter if people want it, or like it, or accept it as a fact or not. It was an example, (the first example) that @Ned used while talking about Oracles and SMT in the post above.

Change is never easy, people get set in their ways, and can not understand why something needs to be changed. Cultural Values are different, and have and do cause problems when neither group wants to understand the other. I have no clue where @paulag is from or what her culture is like, but as I stated above, I accept this as an apology, although in all honesty I do not know why all the negative reactions for her trying to do something that @ned has sort of requested.

Is not one of the jobs of Witness to work for the vision of steemit? Are not whitelist something that @ned has called for to enable the continuation of the development of SMT's? I hope we are not becoming a knee jerk reactionary community where everyone is accused of wrongdoing, while trying to do their job.

WHILE I as a likely candidate for this "list" (oops, maybe I was not on it!?!) take notice that the most Noble Intentions may get an account listed, I do not feel that it is proper, at this time. That being said, the worst offense here by @paulag seems to be putting the cart before the horse, or more apt, Setting a Caboose to pull a Freight Train. A list of this magnitude should have the groundwork laid, reasoning laid out, people prepared, removal criteria set forth, (and maybe more) THEN reveal the list. I have seen 2 possible inclusions for myself and my "minnow serving" bots to be on said list. My Bot's Priorities, in order:

  1. Feed Minnows and Redfish
  2. Pay Back the DELI Investors
  3. Make a small SP earning, feedback loop for #1 and #2
  4. Lather, Rinse, Repeat!
    We also have a massive curriculum available, with rewards, for those that choose to GROW. There are also possible "penalties" for those that break the rules of common sense and decency. Like Plagiarism, etc. BUT, if this lands me and my bot accounts on some sort of Exclusion List, then so be it. But I have never concealed these facts from Day One. In fact, both my Bot Accounts were created by @Patrice ❤️ 🧡 💛 💚 💙 💜
    Thank-You Patrice!
    @PaulaG, this post makes sense to me but I do not see an apology... but IMO maybe it is not necessary? I am not Offended, just wondering if the Culture is changing to make what I do less acceptable in the near future.
    Awaiting some clarity, no need to answer directly, if another post is forthcoming. TIA

The list is sensible, but here's a data point-my wife and I both have accounts, and so we've both sent Steem to the same exchange account (memo code is same).

I'm probably not alone here...

NO you are not alone here, that is for sure

  ·  2 years ago (edited)

45k active users? If that’s true I feel both thankful and concerned at the same time.

Thankful that I found this little place and concerned that there must be a large number of these people holding a very large number of accounts each.

While I don't know what the number of active users is either, let's not start another rumor on faulty logic. We already have too many people running around saying things that are not true.

Here is just one example of the faulty logic. More than one account sending to the same address.

Maybe the address is a payment place for a seller of goods, or a bot account. Or in my specific case, a trading account I share with my husband. You can't trust assumptions made on assumptions.

Well, I have 13, just as an example. I think tying one user per account into the rest of these things is pretty poor - maybe find a way to whitelist one account per user instead if that's something you really want. Although I don't really see any value in excluding the posting/curation accounts just because I have them separated out instead of posting 30x/week on my main.

A lot of the most-community-minded people here have multiple accounts. Curie isn't a person, nor is OCD, nor is SNDBOX, and so on. Putting them on a master exclusion list is pretty much the height of insanity.

I have a couple of accounts as well. They serve different purposes. One was set up for my online store for example.

I see no problem with having a few accounts, as long as rhey’re not used for questionable behaviour.

So do I, I have a brand account for my online business and I had set up an account for zappl but dont use it.

"concerned that there must be a large number of these people holding a very large number of accounts each"

I can confirm this is the case

Something wrong with having multiple accounts?

I have not read your list.

i am curious why the list was taken down. were there actions performed on the basis of the list published that were detrimental to the community? in order to correct any assumptions you would have made when building the list, would it not be better to prune the list with feedback from others?

is it possible that most of the community members feel that the existence of the list itself is a form of censorship? i know that for us censorship is a serious default of our obligation to the community.

i am a little confused as to where censorship begins and where it ends

its confusing to me too. If one can not publish a list then it is also censorship!

What should this list be used for?

Under its first iteration, absolutely nothing. We hoped In time to build a list of single main person accounts.

In time and with feedback, it would be potentially used as an oracle for 1person1account. This will never please some.

It's not that you can't hold many accounts, but for some SMT, it will be required for fairness.

The list was published prior to any feedback, this was a mistake. However, in time I see others venturing down this route as Orcales, and I hope they have learned from our mistakes.

In time and with feedback, it would be potentially used as an oracle for 1person1account. This will never please some.

I can understand why. Many people have multiple accounts for the simple fact that not all our activities fit one category only. It's the same reason why on other social networks too, people create multiple accounts and channels for their different interests. It is nothing new, and certainly not limited to Steem.

I see a place where you'll be able to offer different account to different Oracles, depending on what their goal is and what you plan to use your account for.

What many of these lists will try to exclude is 1personXaccounts, as we see @steemhunt trying to do via voting patterns right now.

Btw. What do you mean by oracles? I should've asked it in my previous comment but missed it.

  ·  2 years ago (edited)

Check out @steemitblog that's where Steemit kick out their updates.

Should be 3/4 back where there is a focus on Oracles.. Let me know if you need a link, I'll hook you up when I'm not mobile.

I guessed something like this would be your response @paulag.

I'm sorry that so many people rushed into attack mode when, clearly, you'd made a bit of a mistake somewhere and when you are obviously you are doing your best to improve things around here.

It reminds me of the time when qurator made some changes and hadn't thought it through as well as they might have done. But like you they took corrective action immediately.

I am so glad that I am now six months down the road on this adventure and no longer get so upset about such things. There was a time that I would have gotten caught up in the drama and felt miserable that such things are as they are.

I admire yours, @abh12345's and teams such @qurator's, resilience to keep trying to do good stuff here when people are so eager to jump on you for any mistake.

I hope you will resuscitate the project, or something similar, at some point because I think it is a good one.

At least you had Asher in your corner with you so you weren't alone. Onwards and upwards now I suppose! 😊

We all know that max 1/10 of the overall accounts are held by different users and the payouts are also quite known.
Thanks alot for bringing this back to our attention, mass adoption is still far far away ..
To show the list in this state was a mistake, but hey shit happens.
Thank you Paula!
Kind regards

hay @jedigeiss thank you for stopping by, yep shit happens. wish more people looked at it that way!

Hmm so I should make a list? lol

Yes, make a list of how many bots you've sent to your comments.

At the next STEEMFEST, during the handing out of awards:

" & the 1st prize for the #shithappens tag goes to.....

do we even need to open the envelope......

Paula... come on down!!!!!"

You crack me up, Jack 🤣🤣🤣🤣

i'm with you fairy! :)

That's the spirit, pretty lady 🤗🤗🤗🤗

@thekitchenfairy yay thank you so much my dear lady!! hugs

oh no, will i be taking that from jerry?

I laughed. Was it wrong? 😜

are your t-shirts organic? i haven't seen "the list" but i like the shirt. :)

Appreciate your work.

Unfortunately you've confirmed what I suspected about how many "live" users we have here.

You had a list, and now you have the logic published about the workings behind the list. It was an error you recognized early on and corrected, so I commend you for that.

It is interesting how a Proof-of-Stake system mirrors the real world with scammers and opportunists, does it not? I find it instructive for any other digital currency, as a warning of what NOT to try.

It is such a pity that POS does mirror the real world, but when money is involved this does not suprise me. I think others digital currencies are already learning from the mistakes of steemit and POS. Steemit is an experiments, still in beta and may be ahead of its time, lets just hope not to early!

I don't see the problem here. It's a test platform just as you say. Eventually someone will figure out the ideal system that creates most amount of success.

The platform name doesn't really matter. It's still the same game of creating value no matter what the platform is being called. But there is nothing even close to Steemit right now that works this well.

Compared to the traditional trio of YouTube, Facebook and Twitter this is a pretty massive step forward in evolution and excellence in a data system that works.

The real world has created more abundance than ever before so clearly that system works. That's why it's good that Steemit mirrors the real world so to say.

looks around the comment area. Something smells like shit here, only 45K active steemians is saying a lot though. farts and walks out

As a new user here, I find myself spending more time here trying to figure this whole thing out rather than adding content and value. So I really appreciate when a “witness” takes risky proactive steps to, in my opinion, move this thing in a positive direction. Moreover I really appreciate it when they acknowledge an infraction, own-it and correct it. Besides “Let he who has no sin cast the first stone”. Admittedly I was not effected by this action and am sure I would have been equally po’ed had I been. But when “The needs of the many, outweighs the needs of the few”. Bold actions must be taken.I understand the “putting it on hold “ thing. But please not for too long. We need initiatives like this.

Proud supporter of @steemcommunity !

ah thank you so much for your support. Thankfully no one got hurt or were any way effected, although acquisitions have been thrown at me to the contrary. Live and learn I suppose.

The idea was to reduce the 1m registered accounts on steemit down to non-spam, non-cheating, one account one person.

...would there be enough to make up a football team, though?
...Keeping my sarcasm topical

ha ha love this :-)