[Dear Steemit] An Open Letter to Steemit Inc.

in #steemit3 years ago


Dear @steemit / @steemitblog,

I'm writing this because I have concerns and, to be honest, doubts about Steemit as a viable content platform and it's long term prospects. I'm not the only one to notice that there are many worrying trends on this site right now, not least of all abusers and those who think they are entitled to attack new users.

To most of my regular readers, it doesn't come as a surprise to hear that I've had a long-running problem with a single user who was caught abusing and plagiarising by @abusereports and a handful of other users including myself, and that individual has gone on to create 70+ accounts (possibly an awful lot more) with the sole intention of harming Steemit. They aren't specifically attacking me or any of the numerous other users on their hit list, but the platform itself. They are deliberately trying to paint Steemit as a toxic, unwelcoming place and for most genuine users that couldn't be further from the truth.

There is an upcoming hard fork which seeks to address some of these problems. However, I don't feel they are enough and certainly won't stop the abusers from doing what they are doing. Removing bandwidth and therefore the need for delegated Steem won't help or stop the abuse. A user by the name of @nathen007 brought to my attention the fact that there are individuals on sites like microworkers.com who are paying people to setup and verify accounts and hand the details over for small amounts of money. One of these individuals states that they plan to buy thousands of accounts. Thousands. Just let that sink in for a moment. It could be a coincidence, but that same listing has had 71 completed tasks, a very similar number to the amount of accounts @camillesteemer now has. This is the real problem here to me, and I can only see Steemit Inc stepping in and doing something about this.



I propose a KYC verification process for all accounts new and old. I know to many that is an unpopular opinion to say the least, but it's the only way I see value being put back into this system. So long as individuals can purchase accounts for pennies from unsuspecting people on crowdsourcing sites, this problem is only going to grow.

As Steemit is built upon the Steem blockchain, we are able to view a wide range of data that you wouldn't be able to see for other social media platforms. @arcange puts out a daily report on Steemit statistics, and I've been looking through them over the past day or so. Coupled with the value and price of Steem, two things stand out at me from these reports:
  • The number of active authors has been decling
  • The value of Steem, and therefore Steemit, is declining

It shouldn't come as a shock to anyone that the entire crypto market is hurting right now, and has been for most of 2018, however there has been a shockingly large decline in the value of Steem. I've worked this out by comparing the price of Steem to the market capitalisation (or market cap) of Steem for the past year. As you can see from the chart taken from CoinMarketCap for the past twelve months, this decrease in value has fairly recently begun, growing since February of this year. For comparison sake, this trend doesn't appear with BTC or even my beloved ETN.

I've recently been going through users that I'd come into contact with in the first few months of me being active on this site, and a worryingly large number of them have ceased to be active in the past few months, since February. Some are still active, but their payouts have massively declined and they seem to have powered down a large chunk of their Steem Power. This is not a healthy trend and is definitely linked to the decrease in value over the same time period in my opinion.

In my eyes, Steemit is a content platform foremost and it is the authors and curators who should be being nurtured by the larger members and groups, but also by Steemit themselves. This is not happening, and instead I'm seeing people talking about the investors. Fuck the investors. It is the authors, and the curators of their content who add value to this platform, not the investors, and they are being driven away.

This platform has so much potential and could be truly life changing to huge numbers of the world's population. There are admirable projects already like @treeplanter, but they aren't getting the support that they need or deserve. There are excellent content creators, making interesting and engaging content that is going unrewarded.

There are certain large users who are treating this platform like a pump-and-dump scam, encouraging people to invest large amounts of money with the vague promise that the price will increase to $10-$14 or more. This is harmful to the long-term viability of the project, and is further devaluing the platform. I won't name any names, but I'm sure many will know exactly who I mean here.

If things are left as they are, I can no longer invest my time or money into this platform drowning in a sea of spam and abuse. I cannot recommend it to anyone, because I wouldn't want to risk them losing any of their own capital. I truly believe in the potential of this experiment we call Steemit, and I'm not going to take any extreme actions like powering down or completely withdrawing from the Steem blockchain, but I am now looking at the viability of other alternatives.

For the time being, I will be moving over to busy.org which at least has been developing its user interface with some interesting features, rather than removing them like Steemit has. Once I've explored the alternatives I will be posting about them here for any else who might be interested.

At the time of writing this I have to admit, I'm feeling a bit disillusioned with Steemit now. A lack of proper response from Steemit, coupled with the aggressive stance certain groups on this platform have taken makes me feel like a bit of a fool for investing so much of my time here over the past few months, but at the same time it has also been a positive and rewarding experience, I can't deny that.

To those who are being flagged, you are not alone. If you are a genuine content creator, I encourage you to continue doing what you enjoy and maybe look at busy.org for the time being. Please reach out to me if you are being attacked and I will do everything in my limited capacity to help you.

Thank you for reading. Sincerely,

@johngreenfield

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I'm wondering if making the ability to flag an unlockable achievement - say at rep 30, would solve this.

In a way... that’s kind of what the upcoming updates will do. With the proposed revamped system, new users will start with 0 Steem Power, not the 15 SP delegation they receive now. If someone sits at the initial 25 rep, sure they can throw flags all they want... but with 0 weight and no effect. Attaining a 30 Rep is rather easy, I’d guess the positive votes needed to hit 30 only amount to about 2 SP of value at most. Essentially a 30 rep account will have unlocked the ability to throw 2 SP weight flags. The main abuse ongoing here is the use of unearned, delegated stake for these trolling purposes. Steemit Inc. does already allow for reporting of these bad actors to have their delegation removed however.

So essentially, you’ll be unlocking flagging power as you raise in reputation (which can only occur with positive earnings.)

The other part is simply education of new users. Once users realize the flags they are receiving have no impact on their post or earnings, and are completely random & automated by asshats, I’d hope they can easily look past them. If not, an open social media system will never be the right fit for them.

That may just be treating the symptom more than the problem.

I have expressed in past posts (my opinion hasn't changed) that downvotes and reputation should be inversely calculated. The reason for this is that IMHO, every single downvote reduces your credibility as a content curator and that should be reflected as such. Each downvote is a negative reaction to content; therefore, (even in good intentions) it the downvoter should be affected negatively. To be clear, I don't think downvotes are bad, it's just that they reduce credibility. It should be reflected as such in your reputation. I'll bullet for clarity

  1. Curator at (70) reputation finds bad content
  2. Curator downvotes bad content
  3. Reputation is now (69-ish)

That's a simplified explanation for brevity. The advantage here is that you need reputation to downvote. For more affective downvotes, you need more reputation. As you downvote, your reputation drops because your credibility drops. This forces curators to not just downvote, but to engage in the community for support and produce content in order to gain more influence for downvotes. This also begs the question whether content upvotes should be the only path to reputation increments.

It's a set of checks and balances to prevent bullying. Also, it allows communities to vet curators. Better curators will have higher reputation and will be more affective at downvoting because they have community support through upvotes. Bad curators won't have that support and their reputation will stay low reducing their ability to downvote. This allows curation communities like steemcleaners and qurator to have more control.

I also think that reputation shouldn't be calculated linearly. It should be a matrix calculation based-on community standing and tagging. Perhaps even a single reputation value may not be enough. That is another discussion though. I'm just saying I think the solution here is a pretty involved one.

Your technical ability far exceeds mine! Some really good ideas there though, and I think a more complex system is definitely needed personally. You're definitely onto something when you say it would keep Curators in check. I can see why people might take issue with this idea, but at this late stage in the game I think we need to try a few different methods out. Right now, reputation doesn't mean anything since it can basically be bought.

Exactly. Many people complain about downvoting and call it censorship, but I think what they really have a problem with is the whole reputation system.

I noticed on busy.org they just have likes and dislikes, which I think clears the whole thing up a bit. I realised the other day that if you compare Steemit to YouTube, another platform that's monetised, the whole dislike thing isn't that big of a problem here.

I agree that it's the reputation system that needs more focus, or just heck, Steemit Inc do something! The whole "censorship" argument just comes across as childish to me

Steemit recently released hivemind api that would allow communities to build with better integration to the social media system having to be coupled to the blockchain. I mention this because I think steemit really favors community involvement and crowdsourced curation initiatives.

Therein, may exist the solution. To let community standing become the new reputation system. I like this concept because it's like the Wonka elevator of reputation systems. It doesn't have to follow a simple linear calculation or even be a number. Each community can handle standing differently.

I haven't read about that, off to go do some research now. Definitely sounds like an interesting idea.

It takes Steemit so long to get anything done, I just wonder whether it's got the long-term potential I want it to have. I've been looking into existing and upcoming alternative platforms, and there are a couple that could absolutely blow Steem and Steemit out of the water.

It takes Steemit so long to get anything done, I just wonder whether it's got the long-term potential I want it to have.

I think STEEM is too big to fail, but steemit not so much. It seems like they're going in a lot of directions all at once, but they're also spread way too thin. IMHO, they should dump the condenser. There are a number of interfaces out there that do it better (busy, zappl, pretty much anything...). It takes focus away from them being able to build a platform, tools for the blockchain, and witnesses. It's time to throw in the towel on that one. They've proven decentralized condenser works.

That is something I've thought about before actually and forgot about. I can't see why that wouldn't work, it's not a hard milestone to achieve and stops these accounts from instantly being able to cause havok.

It would be interesting see what a witness / coder thinks about this. I'll tag @themarkymark here as he is familiar with the doofus league and might have some thoughts on the matter.

I'd really appreciate that bud, I'd love to hear what someone more qualified and experienced has to say. There could be a few things I'm misunderstanding.

Maybe we should limit the ammount of flags you can throw per day - I mean really who needs to flagg 100 posts a day?

That's a good point actually, I don't see the need for the average account to have more than say 3 - 10, maybe allowing for certain community trusted accounts like @steemcleaners to have extra

I doubt this would happen though... to many people here would moan and say its all about free speech and freedom to flag however they want to

Why? What's happened?

Sadly, the SDL accounts are so weak that they'll never bother an account like that.

I mean, you have my support, I hate false flagging campaigns, although that's not really worth a lot if he's flagging you.

Giving a 100% upvote to this not because I agree with it but because I can't understand why it's flagged.

I guess on reflection my only issue is it doesn't really address the issue of a loss of value in Steem.

It is somewhat surprising that this kind of thing hasn't been addressed before at a code level.
The only other way I can see of stopping or masking it would be for steemit, busy etc. to shadow ban accounts like this at a UI level.

I think that's what's surprised me the most, the lack of attention from SteemitInc.

That's definitely a creative solution to the problem, not something I'd thought of. I know they have a philosophy of not wanting to prevent anyone from interacting with the blockchain, but there surely has to be some kind of limit to that tolerance.

I think maybe it has gone into the 'to hard basket' - but without any changes and ignoring it, it will probably just get worse and worse

You've summed my concerns up well! I'm so bad with words...

Ha! You write good blogs mate so you are good with words! Sometimes I struggle to express what I want to say too

I know what you mean, IRL I don't come across as anywhere near as well spoken. Words just kinda get muddled up in my mouth, it's nice to have some time to think things through!

You raise some viable points here. although really nothing new that hasn't been said before. The one that nonetheless gets my attention is that KYC part..i don't see that happening, for the obvious reason that the blockchain itself, the little i know, its allure is in large part owed to the privacy/anonymity aspect of it. Put KYC, and the disadvantages far outweigh those resulting from not having it.

Thanks, I do realise there's nothing particularly new in there, but I feel like I need to make my stance clear.

I disagree, but respect your perspective. To me, anonymity on a valueless platform isn't worth it. KYC and regulation is inevitable in my eyes for cryptocurrency to really take off. There are already blockchains orientated towards privacy, and anonymity isn't mentioned anywhere in the Steem whitepapers that I've seen. Steem isn't considered a privacy oriented coin or platform, so it doesn't seem like a valid enough reason to me. Users can still be anonymous to each other if that's the concern, however if it's anonymity from authorities, Steemit isn't the place for that. I haven't heard a viable alternative solution to this growing problem yet.

I appreciate your input though and thanks for reading.

Ideally all you say is true, i only fear those Steem INC guys don't seem to listen. But yes, you made your stance clear. Personally i have previously opined on some of these issues, and overall, i am of the opinion that a lot many technical tweaks need to be effected to deradicalize user behavior.

Thanks for your response.

Yeah, that's a good point, a lot of what I say is quite idealized. The lack of proper response from Steemit on these issues is probably my greatest concern.

An interesting point someone raised with me last week was that if these big whale accounts who act terribly and hide behind anonymity had that anonymity striped from them, well their behavior would be very different. It's part of the reason I use my full name on social media accounts, to remind me that just because there's a couple of screens and wires between us, we're still just people. It's all too tempting to call someone a c*nt when there doesn't seem to be real repercussions.

I'm against KYC as my anonymity protects my freedom of speech and having my real name attached to my account would greatly decrease the amount of topics I could write about. I would have to start censoring myself.

Thanks for giving me your reason, first to kinda quantify it! What makes you say that though? What kind of topics would you be unable to talk about? I can understand someone from a country like China needing to take such things into consideration, but we live in countries where freedom of speech exists.

I really appreciate your perspective.

My government can and sometimes does limit its citizens' freedom of expression. Its written right in Canada's Charter with the terminology so broad that all that needs to be done is have a law passed through the Supreme Court to limit rights.

Also, just because it may be ok to speak on a certain topic now, doesn't mean that it will also be ok to talk about it in the future. Anything posted especially on blockchain technology will last a long time. My concern is that we may get in trouble for something that was written previously years before.

My PM and his ministers has already labelled Canadians questioning the course of the current government as Islamophobic, deplorable and unCanadian. What happens when it goes beyond name-calling?

That takes away religion, politics, news, NWO, immigration, philosophy and opinion as topics.

There is also the issue of freedom of association. There is an old saying that mentions that "birds of a feather, flock together which means that people tend to form groups and spend plentiful time with people who resemble them and are much alike them, or have similar tastes, traits and moral qualities. While this is not necessarily true, I can imagine one being judged by who are their steemit friends.

Next there is the concern of the possible retribution of one's employer. The division between one's work and private life is getting ever-increasingly blurred. It's getting to the point that a company's codes of conduct controls one's life outside of the office.

That fear takes away even more topics to discuss. Finance and crypto-currency come too mind.

My thoughts are that we have the right to be anonymous when online. Anonymity is necessary in a free society. In the US, anonymity of penmanship of political articles is one of the cornerstones that formed the structure of their country (see The Federalist Papers). The purpose was to avoid personalities and personal attacks upon the authors. A person disagreeing with an anonymous statement could not attack it by saying that the author was corrupt, rather the person had to respond to the arguments made in the publication. This idea still holds true today. Every freedom has a price that must be paid, internet trolls, while annoying and tedious, are a very reasonable price to pay for the freedom of expressing an idea without fear of reprisal or detraction from substance.

I believe that there is a way to remove/silence the trolls without removing anonymity which is a reason that I joined steemit. Removing the flagging feature from users until they receive a certain rep level may help.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on the subject. I appreciate the opportunity to share my perspective. Thanks.

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Another great post!

I have invited you for the Minnow Booster whitelist which gives lots of benefits for quality authors, among which a higher upvote. You can read more about the MB white list on @minnowbooster or read this post.

https://steemit.com/minnowbooster/@minnowbooster/minnowbooster-epic-update-community-whitelist-now-online

If you have any questions you can come to the white list channel in the Minnow Booster discord.

Thank you so much, that's such an honour!

You are welcome. Now you need 5 accept votes from people already on the list. If you have any questions you can pm me on discord.

No problem, I think I'm already on the discord server so I'll head over there this evening.

Cool, just check it out. There's quite some benefits for White Listed authors. Like a guaranteed profitable upvote of 10-15% and a higher daily max.

What we want to achieve is to provide a profitable system for quality authors.

You should put in your profile "I do not own any bots - anyone impersonating me is a scammer" or something? That way when someone mouses over your profile they will see that. Maybe also a link to this post. Although it is upsetting you would need to have to do this to begin with.

That's... a really good idea and I'm feeling a bit silly for not thinking of it! I'll do that, I'm still getting people asking am I sure I'm not downvoting them... I'm sure.

Edit: Done! Thank you!

Busy.org won't prevent you from being flagged by the same dudes. But you're right on one thing, I've started using it lately and the interface is a thousand times better than SteemIt.com.

About the minions, if they are going to remain with 15 SP, let them flag... It's irrelevant. They spend all their power and they end up voting with 1% of 15 SP = 0.15 SP. Why bother yourself with that?

I'm more worried with certain whales with something like 8.000.000 or 10.000.000 SP who use their power to censor and silence anyone who disagrees with them. These bullies is what we should stand up against. Not those irrelevant minions.

The problem is now the minions are creating accounts like @botmaxu745 - so I'm spending most of my time responding to people who think I flagged them :/
Agree that the busy interface is a lot nicer - in fact I believe @camillesteemer, the leader of the minions, prefers it because you can't see the flags!!
Edit:
Try adding the busy tag to your posts, I quite often get upvotes from busy / busy.pay

I'll start doing that thank you!

Ah, so that's personal... and not random as I was thinking. What have you done lately to bring that kind of attention to yourself?

I flagged one of their horrendous spam posts months ago - but they have a list of like 200 accounts that they have a grudge against.
Here's the "Steemit Defence League" website......
https://justpaste.it/1jpbl

And that's why I avoid all kind of wars in here. It's simply not worth it.
I would only join those wars if I could afford to throw $10.000.000 into this just to piss them off.

But since I can't, I'll stay away.

Have you realised those minions are upset about the same whale that almost destroyed my account, a couple of months ago? Just stay away from toxic people like that. It's the best to do, if you're not rich enough to counter their power.

I'm more worried with certain whales with something like 8.000.000 or 10.000.000 SP who use their power to censor and silence anyone who disagrees with them

I agree with this 100% - I am much more likely to show my disagreement with someone with 15SP than someone with 15,000SP. More and more I am noticing whales/dolphins flagging posts just because they dont agree with what someone has written. Flags should be reserved for blatant abuse only on here

Yeah, I've stopped visiting the Trending and Promoted tabs because all I saw there was whales posting crap, rewarding themselves for it... and acting like they were the kings of the kindergarten.

And that's the best thing I did. After that, I've started encountering a lot more interesting people. Granted, they are no whales... but if we all keep supporting each other, we can grow together without the need for whales. 😝

That's probably another issue I have with Steemit, it can be really hard to find the new or unknown authors. The search is crap, and after 7 days posts can be so hard to track down.

Absolutely, it won't stop the flags at all, however the user interface has come along in leaps and bounds over the past six months, so if I'm going to stay on the steem blockchain, I might as well try a new UI.

I bother myself with it for a few reasons really. The first is a feeling of responsibility because my trying to speak to them many months ago in part sparked this. The second is that they have setup at least 3 accounts with my name on, my images, my links in an attempt to discredit me and make new users think I am personally attacking them so I need to be proactive about that. It's their attacks on new users that bothers me, and I can't in good conscience sit back and do nothing at all.

Those whales are also of a concern to me, the hypocrisy from many of them as well is nauseating.

It isn't about standing up to @camillesteemer, but restoring the value in the platform. Not the price, but the value. The loss of content creators is an even bigger problem, to me at least, than the whales. The whales problem could be addressed by Steemit and isn't one I concern myself with because they could do my account some harm. I can however, reassure the new users who are under constant attack from the SDL that they haven't been flagged for a specific reason, and maybe use these occurrences as a way to reach out to more people and encourage more content that can add value to the platform.

So, just like @soma909, it's personal. I've been victim of a whale who lowered my reputation to negative values, simply because I disagreed with him... on a single comment.

From that point, I said no more. It's not worth it to go against people who shit money out of their ass just to piss off others. Now I won't even interact with them, even if I agree with them... I just ignore the damn whales.

Yeah, I guess I'd say it was personal, certainly now. I completely understand where you're coming from, I've said to myself from the beginning that I'm not here to appease these so-called whales, I disagree with the amount of power they have purely for being early adopters, and the majority are doing nothing to add value to that platform. Most of them, their posts are absolute garbage. Then there's the self-upvoting, bidbots... There are so many issues to be addressed.

Thanks for reading though, it's nice to hear others perspectives on these things.

Oh, and now I see these minions are upset about the same whale that almost ruined my account. Maybe you guys have helped this whale in some way... and are now being attacked for supporting that guy?

This is exactly why I stay away from that kind of negative people.

If that is the reason for why myself and others are being attacked, then Steemit is more doomed than I first thought.

Maybe not. It seems SteemIt is actually doing something:
https://steemit.com/flag/@guiltyparties/the-flag-ring

yup, action is being taken as per @guiltyparties

Like you say, I try not to concern myself with that side of things. All I know is that they were posting plagiarised material, and that cannot be tolerated. I reached out to them, explained why @abusereports flagged them, which I neither agree nor disagree with what they're doing, but in this case I thought the flagging was fair. I told them, like I do everyone else, that I would be happy to help them in any way, and they've spent the last 3 months on this crusade. Just one indian guy who got upset because multiple, multiple users had caught them in the act. Instead of changing their tactics or behaviour, they doubled down on their stupidity and here we are. This all started because I offered them help, not flagged them. Although I feel a sense of responsibility for that, I have nothing to do with @abusereports, and can certainly see how their behaviour is shitty. It's one of a number of issues with the platform. I'll admit I was naive that I thought I could maybe get through to them with kindness, but there's little I can do to change that now unfortunately.

Yes, I know that whale is very active in flagging spammers and cheaters.

Unfortunately he also attacks a lot of innocent people for having a different opinion and disagreeing with him. He was personally responsible for driving a lot of new users away and I have even saw a couple of Steemians give up on the platform after a year or more creating content.

He makes enemies everyday and, fair or unfair, it was only a question of time until someone decided to retaliate.

My advice is to keep doing your thing and stay on the sidelines of these matters. Or else you risk getting trampled for being in the way.

You're not wrong, and I'll definitely be taking your advice onboard.

This was an informative post @johngreenfield. I hope you continue on Steemit, I look forward to reading future posts. I am glad I found your blog, though it is ironic what brought you to my attention lol.. I was flagged on my last post by an account with a 25 rep pretending to be you. It is using your name and profile photo as well as a link to your blog. I am not on discord at this point in time so I can't report it, but I thought you should know. The account is called superfipo.

Thank you so much! To be honest, at this stage they're just giving me free promotion!

Yeah, I've got that account on my list, currently standing at 86 in total. Crazy.

The same thing crossed my mind as I read through some of the comments on your post lol. Whoever it is, they are finding you legitimate followers. :)I really hope this random flagging stops soon though. I don't even remotely have enough SP to survive a full onslaught..

There are two bots that a great user has already created which are currently being fixed, but once they're back up they'll come and upvote any affected posts or comments.

Luckily, they tend to run the accounts vote weight into the ground so the flags are often worth literally 0.

Feel free to drop me a message if you get a few of them and I'll happily upvote any affected content. You've taken some lovely photos!

I very much appreciate the offer to offset any flags. Thankfully it has only been the one flag so far. The fact that people in the Steemit community are already stepping up to tackle the issue is one of the many things about the steemit platform that I find extremely refreshing. Initiatives like that and others, continue keep me engaged and posting.
I also greatly appreciate your willingness to do what you can to inform and help people effected by this unfortunate example of pointless negative actions of one disgruntled spammer.
Thank you very much for the upvotes and compliment as well! :)

Ironically I was led here by having my original comic post flagged by a user calling himself "johngreenfieldBOT" (@superlove). I have kind of figured that it couldn't be you :)

I think the most important point is that content is the original idea behind Steemit. Quality content was what should create value, not investors. They were supposed to come because the content had made Steem valuable.

Steemit inc. is not good at communicating and not good at showing what their intentions are, which is very bad for user confidence both in the socail network and for the currency. I think they could learn from the bombastic language used by central banks. A "War on Abusers, spammers and losy content" from the Steemit inc. would be a good signal even though the practicalities are harder in reality than in theory.

I completely agree with you, and the lack of communication from Steemit Inc. is something they desperately need to work on. Just like you say, they have the ability to send a strong message, but just aren't doing so.

Most of these things are not new but I also see them not as major failure points for steemit. With KYC i have no issue as i am here as myself but know most of the big boys would be out immediately, and we would use some key supportive community members.

@johngreenfeild I am one of those who have slowed down blogging here somewhat. I was writing a lot of long blogs last year. I noticed the decline in activity here around January. Since I have other businesses, my time is not unlimited. I am really starting to believe steemit is an experiment. To be ultimately built to attract other developers to build on it. We have been in beta for two years, there is no real communication, there is no drive, excitement, passion from leadership. Here, we have something that could change the world ...but may end up like Myspace.

I completely agree with you @melbookermusic, and it's a real shame you're not as active as you once were. I'm glad it's not just me that noticed the decline starting at the beginning of this year, although upon reflection maybe it's due in part to the crappy crypto markets this year? There's no doubt in my mind overall confidence in cryptocurrencies is damaged at the moment.

It's the lack of any real development on Steemit itself that bugs me, I'd love to see Steemit as a shining example of what can be done on the Steem blockchain, but at least busy.org has been developing its UI. I've only seen Steemit remove features over the past few months like post views.

The 2 microworkers screenshots are actually different people buying accounts. The smaller one (who is currently trying to buy 25 more) is steemit user @ xxxxxx . He buys accounts a few at a time and has for a long time. His articles are also bought (or definitely used to be) and his pics downloaded from google. He then upvotes his articles using minnowbooster and his own hundreds of dust accounts.
There is another user doing a similar thing, I will get back to you on as I'm cross with myself as I can't find the screenshots I took quite a while ago. When I find them, I will drop you a note.
Thanks :-)
PS Look at the names who are upvoting him. Some really top quality genuinely great community members.

Do you use Discord? You're doing some really amazing detective work there.

Do you think the larger one that had 71 completed tasks at the time of writing this post could be the SDL? It's a very similar number to the number of accounts I'm tracking, plus the text is very similar to how they used to write in their posts.

I agree with your points and have come to the conclusion that automation is the soft spot on the Steem blockchain. Have a look at Medium and you'll see they're all about manual curation. That attitude has provided the resilience required to build an audience of loyal readers and authors.

See what I wrote here:

https://steemit.com/steemit/@digitalfirehose/the-power-of-manual-curation-is-quite-evident-on-medium-com

After reading your comments, it occurs to me that I did not take into account other interfaces in comparing the Alexa rating of Steemit.com and Medium. In any case, Medium doesn't depend on crypto market cap for its popularity.

Let me know what you think.

Many medium articles also rise due to paid for claps.

This is news to me. Can you verify that?

yes, give me a few mins please :-)

I don't want to show you the exact article or user who bought the claps, but whether it was the author themselves or an SEO , they paid 100 people 11cents each.
This type of paid for engagement is rife online. Buying any manner of social media like, or friend or follower is common on crowdsource sites. Reviews, attempts to increase the visibility of products etc....so sad but a huge part of the internet is so fake, and even medium doesn't escape, in fact I see a rising trend of clap buying which probably correlated to its increase in popularity. There are many crowdsource websites with huge crowds of workers and with few scruples it seems. Use your imagination and with a few USD there is so much you can do.
Screenshot 5.png

This is why I've been saying in a few places and in certain circles, that:

Money != merit

There is so much intangible and intrinsic value floating around, that money doesn't even begin to cover it. Money is nice as a medium of exchange, but it's only an approximation of value.

Well, it's too bad that Medium has to deal with that, too. I had high hopes for them and I still do. I am reading them more often and they do have very high quality articles to read there.

But if people need to buy votes, then they are exhibiting a rather high sense of insecurity. I would rather let my article stand on the merits than to pay for votes. That was the lesson I learned from using bots for a short time, too. I was getting more satisfaction with fewer votes not paid for, than with votes paid for.

I can't help but get the sense that someone will develop AI to root this out and expose it. It's only a matter of time.

I appreciate the updates to this issue so I am following you now. I only wish that we met under better circumstances.

There is no simple solution, but I have an idea.
What if the community were able to flag users and bots, as opposed to posts, but the flag weight would only be worth "1" for all users and not their voting power. Once the account reaches a defined threshold, it could be escalated to a group of Steemians, who openly (visible to all Steemians) vote to have user removed or not however, those voting could also be subject to being flagged for being bias.
Although the KYC could find resistance in the community, what if the IP address was actually visible from users flagging? Would that not be a deterrent?
I've been flagged twice now, and have reached a 40 "reputation". I am pretty concerned about what you express. I believe that Steemit had a good potential, but it seems that the project management may be suffering with "Business Processing Management" (BPM).
"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."
Abraham Lincoln

@mirrors @johngreenfield

That is such a well thought through idea, I'll think on it a bit and get back to you properly. Personally, I don't see any problems with a system like that. The ability to flag accounts for review would definitely get around the current issue we're facing.

Personally, I think KYC is inevitable, or some form of it, but yeah, I'd be happy with that as a compromise myself. Having that information would certainly help, even though IP addresses aren't necessarily identifying information.

Luckily, their votes are worth very little, and there are already bots setup by @anthonyadavisii that will counter the flags. Just keep doing what you're doing, and it's easier said than done, I know, but just try to ignore them.

I absolutely believe in the potential of Steemit, but it doesn't mean there aren't some concerning areas for sure. I've been very lucky in my growth on this platform and I'm so grateful for it. I just don't want to see it fail!

I'm relatively new on Steemit. Just like you I give a lot of effort with my posts.
I found this fantastic explanation, researching why I was flagged? It is unfair that you are a victim of this abuse. I'll be following you for further information and curb my ignorance on this subject.
I wish you a lot more support, you have mine. Thank you for taking the time in writing this post.
Have a great week ahead.

It's nice to meet other content creators!

There's a lot in life that's unfair, and to be honest this situation has ended up helping me. It's everyone else, like yourself, who I feel bad for. You've done nothing to deserve flagging, and I know how upsetting it can be, especially when you've put so much effort into your posts.

Thank you so much for your support, it really means a lot.

Have you signed up for the @dustsweeper service yet?

I replied on a post of @randohealer just now, who I believe you are working with to help, but I figured I'd repeat here as well.

I'm not sure if you're aware but you can submit accounts to Steemit Inc. to have their "faucet" delegation revoked. It requires going through a procedure on Github (which I'm not too savvy in but you or other more technically minded users may find it trivial!) and supplying some proof so the reviewer can deduce that the accounts are abusing the faucet or violating the ToS. At the very least I think you should tackle the account impersonating you... seems like a pretty cut and dried case there!

Here's the link.
https://github.com/steemit/redeemer-irredeemables

If you knock them down to .1 Steem power I'm not even sure they'll be able to flag that often without running out of bandwidth.

Thanks for that, another user pointed me in this direction, but I'm going to leave it to @themarkymark and @guiltyparties who are already on the job. I've given them my list of all the accounts I've found, so hopefully that'll help in the shortrun. Although I need to look into how the upcoming hard fork will affect this situation.

Really interesting post mate! I feel a similar way from time to time - but I just keep on Steeming along in the hopes things will change and get better over time.

I dont see the spam/scams changing anytime soon - wherever there is money to made then people will try and take advantage of this - rather than working hard and creating content and curating.

Although not everyone wants to invest money there is a possiblility to just invest a few hundred and curate good content and earn a bit on the side. Those users that have gone inactive on here (yes I follow a few like this to sadly) often still come in and curate content (if you look at their Steemd page) which suggest to me that the ammount of time they are spending and the small rewards they recieve has led them elsewhere - even though some of them still enjoy reading content on here.

For me it has been refreshing on holiday having less time for Steemit - I avoid all the politics and just write a blog when I have time to.

I would really hate to see you go from Steemit! If you do go make sure to keep in contact via Discord :)

Thanks so much bud, and yeah you just gotta keep on grinding away.

Y'know, that's a really good point. I read this comment yesterday and wanted to think on it a bit. In my head, I often compare Steemit to YouTube, because they're both platforms where the value is derived from the content, and they are both ways to generate good income too. Go on any popular video, and it will have so many dislikes guaranteed. I guess because flags here can mean a loss of money directly it stings a little more, but dislikes on youtube videos mean the algorithm will favour them less... unless everyone is getting dislikes. Sorry, I've gone a bit waffley there but yeah, I guess this is inevitable really.

Yeah, and curators are a massive part of Steemit too, probably just as important as the authors. I did notice that the number of curators has grown, it's just the authors have been dropping off, but maybe that isn't a bad thing? Fewer authors churning out what is essentially bacon (not quite spam, but not a fresh ham either) means the better content can float to the top easier.

I know what you mean, I've realised the politics and drama on here just isn't worth the time. More focus on my content! That's not to say if I come across stuff that violates the guidelines I won't comment first, flag later but I wanna see the platform thrive.

I'm not going anywhere, I'd be silly to go. I've done really well on here, but at the same time I don't want to put all my eggs in one basket. I've started using busy to write posts because the interface is just miles ahead of Steemit, although not perfect. I'm looking at Medium and other alternatives, a couple of promising looking blockchain ones too.

I've been meaning to ask if you're on discord! If I send you the four digits wanna add me?

Yeah I dont use Youtube to much these days but I remeber in the past there is a lot of hate going on there - so many trolls! Actually makes Steemit seem pretty tame to be honest!

Busy is a much better platform I agree with that 100%

I feel I have invested enough time now to learn how it all works here that I would be silly to leave aswell! As you said dont get to involved in the politics if you can help it ! The only reason I get involved is because alot of my content on here is about helping and building this community!

Whats the four digit code on DIscord? I think my name on Discord name is just Conradt?

I got downvoted by someone impersonating you, I was like I never had any beef with this guy, it was a mystery until found out about these accounts that just downvote. I am not overly concerned as they have no SP and cant really hurt me

Hi, I saw your article: https://steemit.com/steemit/@johngreenfield/abuse-fighter-steemit-doofus-league-accounts and referred it in my Korean posting that you just upvoted (probably autovoting :) Thank you so much for great articles!

Thank you, and I'm just sorry that you've been flagged too. There's some great members in this community, and they're already on the case.

Hi, thanks. But @superlove looks like your bot that downvoted one of my posts recently. What's going on?

Sorry, I thought you were aware, they aren't my accounts. As I've mentioned in this post, they are accounts set up by another user, and I'm not the only one to have had this done to them. Their votes are worth literally nothing, so the best advice for now is to ignore them. There are already some great Steemian's on the case.

Oh thanks and i'm really sorry to hear that. you know people don't read a long post in details :) Sorry about it. Anyway, now I realize a bit how you feel. Hope they resolve the problem soon.

Hi again, as you may know, they're working on it. https://steemit.com/kr-steemit/@blockchainstudio/steem-downbot While it's in Korean, you can see the pic. Steem is taking away the initial delegation from them :)

I haven't, it isn't my account. As my profile description says, I don't have any other accounts. This post explains the situation and contains links to past posts explaining the situation. I'm sorry you've been flagged.

But he described ur steemit account .. to contact ?? What i do now i got flag

Ignore it, it's worth nothing

okay but its feel sad

There are already bots that should come along and upvote any affected content, and I know it's really annoying and upsetting especially when you put so much effort in.

i am enjoying my work on steemit , good platform to work and interact

thank you

I'm glad you're enjoying your time here!

I think the idea of a social network that will pay you for your time and content is great, but it's also what causes these problems. People will post things on any other site and make $0.00 on it, and that never bothers them or causes them to slow their output. They just want likes, which are worthless. On Steemit, if you got 100 likes that were all for $.001, you'd be bummed out because you didn't make any money, but you got more "likes" than you would've gotten on any other site.

I do hope they can address some of the issues so that new people will not be so discouraged, but without making things unappealing to existing users at the same time.

Only time will tell!

We need a middle class. Societies with more equality is much more effective.

Hey @marksheppard, thanks so much for reading and commenting first of all, it really means a lot.

I think you're right there, this "facebook/twitter" mentality is definitely an issue. I think different people have different motivators though, and I can only really speak for myself, but I want an audience for my content above the money (don't get me wrong, every penny helps!). I'm quite happy with 100 low-value upvotes, if I know it's been read and enjoyed. I'm going off on a tangent though.

There's definitely a balance to be had to keep everyone happy, I just hope they do something. Like you say, only time will tell.

One thing I always remind myself of is the word "beta" next to the Steemit logo. It's still a work in progress, and I enjoy it a lot how it is, even with the flaws that I see. It's not like Facebook, Twitter, and all of the others don't have downsides as well. One thing I still really like about Steemit is how people are more civil around here, and I think that's partially because of the payout thing. No one wants to get flagged, and everyone wants to get upvotes. I don't see that as a bad thing, though.

Absolutely, although I must admit some slight frustration with the Steemit UI, as I've only seen features removed and slightly cosmetic changes made, compared to busy.org who have made some real progress. But like you say, it's beta!

I really like the emphasis on genuine sincere interactions, it's a real breath of fresh air. I realise I come across as particularly wingey in this post, but there really are many plus sides to Steemit, and it's only because I believe in the project that I care.

I totally understand where you're coming from. I believe in the project, too, and have invested a lot of my time and money. So I get concerned about certain spammy aspects of it, all the while remaining hopeful and optimistic for the future of Steem and Steemit.

If you're hopeful, then I'm hopeful!

Hey there @johngreenfield, your bot @superfipo down voted me. ?? I'm not exactly sure why. It seemed to be on one of my posts where I was paying it forward, and reviewing other users.

I'm a real person, with actual real feelings. So, not sure why you would want to hurt me like that, or what I ever did to you. ???? I'm very confused.

I'm all about building community. So, I'm reaching out to you, because YOU are the one attacking me.

Amy Honey

Hi Amy,

Unfortunately, as mentioned in this thread, it isn't actually me attacking you. I'm also all about building community, but appreciate you reaching out to me. This very post is an open letter to Steemit Inc. asking them to do something about the situation.

Regards,

@johngreenfield

But the @superfipo says it is YOUR bot. Is it not?

No, it is not. As I've explained, it is not my bot, I do not control it or have anything else to do with it. This post explains the situation in part.

It also isn't a bot, just one account that someone has setup, one of over 70 accounts they have. Many other users have had accounts named after them. Please read the post to catch up on the situation.

Kind of amusing to see this on this particular post :) It says it's your bot!!!

Must be mine then! :P

@soma909 you were flagged by a worthless gang of trolls, so, I gave you an upvote to counteract it! Enjoy!!

And @johngreenfield, if that is the case, that is horrible! I would be so annoyed if someone created a bot in my name to down vote someone. I have personally never down voted anyone.

It's quite annoying I have to say. Unfortunately they are attacking everyone and anyone at this point, it's become such a problem that myself and many others feel that Steemit Inc., the company who created and controls this platform, need to do something in order to stop it from going down the pan.

Thank you so much for clearing this up for me. I greatly appreciate it. I have to admit, I did not read your post. I will now. I was just pissed!! LOL! So, I jumped on your first post just to ask you about it. I am still fairly new.

You have a new fan! I will follow you, and thank you for caring about the blockchain.

Thank you so much, that means so much! I completely understand, I'd be pissed too. Let's just make a positive out of all this, I'm going to try to think about it like they're giving me free promotion!

Oh, and I just want to say sorry for coming across a bit short, the number of people leaving me comments asking why I'm downvoting them is too high!

LOL!! I totally get it! I did not take it personal at all. I would be SO IRRITATED if someone did that to me, and good to know in case it happens to me. The good thing is, they didn't really take anything from me, because their account was so low.

I was just more hurt than anything. :) I try to be friends with everyone!!

I remember my first flag from them, I nearly quit because my perfect record had been ruined lol!

Yeah that's it, their downvotes are worth so little, although I have started getting flagged by accounts who have some Steem Power, I think in part because some people think these accounts are mine. Oh well, I'm sure I'll sort it out.

Thanks for stopping by and keep on creating!

I have had a string of these downvotes now but they are worthless so won't hurt anyone in the long run. Its a shame you can't downvote a non-posting account to get their rep lower.
It doesn't help that steemit is the one lending them the small amount of sp they do have.

I hope you get this sorted as anyone who doesn't dig a little deeper to find out whats happening may just downvote this account in retaliation.

Came across this post after your alt account downvoted me, of course I'm bothered but figured I'll check your content and see what you have to offer.

I stopped reading after you suggest a KYC, crypto isn't for you and I wish you luck surviving in this industry.

Have you mentioned this to @steemcleaners ?

Not this specific account, because there's little that @steemcleaners can do. @guiltyparties and @themarkymark are in the process of removing the delegated SP from the accounts, I've supplied them with my list of 86 accounts.

This is a long running problem stemming from just one user who was caught plagiarising around 3/4 months ago. Many users and groups are well aware of the accounts, we've dubbed them the Steemit Doofus League (SDL).

Their flags are worth literally 0 most of the time, as they don't seem to understand how SP and VW work.

I've got to say, I'm a little taken aback about your comments about KYC. You are aware that cryptocurrencies in general are nowhere near as anonymous as many believe? There are privacy oriented coins like Monero and it's siblings, but Steem certainly isn't privacy orientated. As Steemit is a platform where users can earn money, and good money too, regulation is inevitable. Steemit isn't just another social media platform, it's a financial platform too. Just because accounts have been validated to a good degree, that doesn't mean users lose their anonymity between each other, should they want it. I completely understand that to many a KYC process would put them off, but if you truly think you can be anonymous online, then maybe the internet isn't for you. Although I appreciate your luck, I've been doing ok without it so far.

STEEM doesn't have to be KYC, a lot of people including myself migrate from platforms that demand my personal information and Steemit definitely won't adopt this in their right mind, what's the point of being on Steemit if I cannot remain anonymous.

No one said blockchain technogy is for being anonymous (it's a public ledger) but it sure as hell doesn't ask for your license and blood sample. No idea what you prove to achieve with this post.

Maybe if you read it in its entirety you'd have an idea

I also never said it had to be, that was just my proposal. Rather than saying they gave up reading because they got triggered at the sight of KYC, some people have proposed different ideas.

The point of being on Steemit isn't to be anonymous to everyone, and who are you trying to remain anonymous from? Rhetoric about blood samples is great and all, but what do you propose? My main issue is with the loss in value

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