Some of you may already know that we launched a community-led anti-abuse project months ago, but we must admit that its effectiveness is very low because we did not receive the support we hoped for from Steemit. Inc. We have also followed the main announcement with more articles you can find here and here to request more support and discuss the topic of anti-abuse in more detail.
Although we did not receive support, this does not mean that the community can not do something about abuse. The concept of negative-voting as defined in the whitepaper is something that should be done by all stakeholders that have an interest in keeping the Steem ecosystem clean and secure. It is the idea that everyone can play a role in fighting abuse regardless of the amount of SP:(1)
Through the addition of negative-voting it is possible for many smaller stakeholders to nullify the voting power of collusive groups or defecting large stakeholders. Furthermore, large-stakeholders have more to lose if the currency falls in value due to abuse than they might gain by voting for themselves. In fact, honest large stakeholders are likely to be more effective by policing abuse and using negative voting than they would be by voting for smaller contributions.
Unfortunately, such a concept can only work efficiently if there a huge distribution of power on Steem which is not the case. In the current situation, antiabuse projects need support from large stakeholders on Steem to have any noticeable effect even though we really do not like the idea. We should as a community avoid conglomeration-like projects where only 1 person is responsible for fighting abuse and deciding which one is going to be sent to the void. We favor the idea of community-lead projects because we believe that without accountability and the ability for people to directly reach out and discuss cases of abuse, we will be no better than former projects that used fighting abuse as a way to pander and attract more political support and financially profit from it by the biases of influential connections.
In addition to that, fighting abuse should not be the main goal here, because it is impossible to 100% clean the chain from abuse, it is time-consuming and a tedious thing to do if you want to do it without being totalitarian. Some might see it as a battlefield, where everyone is against everyone, it is a harsh truth about Steem but yet others might think that this is really normal since what really matters is that the blockchain is properly working, blocks are produced, and the STEEM distributed. A PoW with PoB as a bonus. In this context, we can find in the whitepaper that:(2)
Eliminating “abuse” is not possible and shouldn’t be the goal. Even those who are attempting to “abuse” the system are still doing work. Any compensation they get for their successful attempts at abuse or collusion is at least as valuable for the purpose of distributing the currency as the make-work system employed by traditional Bitcoin mining or the collusive mining done via mining pools. All that is necessary is to ensure that abuse isn’t so rampant that it undermines the incentive to do real work in support of the community and its currency.
As we have said several times before, we like to inform the community about the reality of things in order for everyone to have a realistic view of the situation, everyone should be aware of what to expect. Justice on Steem can not be achieved since the mechanism of distribution highly depends on PoB. Even more, achieving justice on Steem will mean that Steem failed as a blockchain. The reasoning behind this is that to achieve mass adoption we need to accept the idea that using PoB means that there will eventually be natural conflicts that will arise because of cultural differences and many other things. If anyone is willing to help in fighting abuse, he needs to take this into consideration. We are hoping for changes in the future to completely secure the first layer of the chain from the PoB problem, one can say that it is not a problem since as stated in the white paper, but there is a reality that toxicity and bad publicity can do more harm and prevent mass adoption.
We still believe that the Steem ecosystem needs a decent and presentable project to deal with cybercrime on the chain and cooperate with outer actors. In the meantime, we are dedicated to providing tools for people to use and take part in making Steem great and a fertile ground for projects and businesses.
Initially, we thought we would fight cybercrime on Steem using only a bot that we developed, but such a solution is more suited to projects that have a lot of support. We are certainly still doing our best, but we have decided to provide Steem Sentinels, a tool that allows all users to participate in the regulation of rewards distribution. The tool is open-source and based on a project that was financed before by SPS (Steem Proposals). Another reason why we will only support open-source projects to receive funding from SPS. We did not have to start from scratch, and our lead dev made sure to do the proper tweaking to enhance user experience and the stability of the tool. As for now, users can only log in by using Steemlogin.
What can I do on SteemSentinels.com?
- You can trail the downvotes of a specific account and thus downvote any content they downvote at a given rate relative to the size of their downvote. (We invite people to follow @sentinels)
- You can counteract upvotes from specified accounts, meaning that you will downvote anything that they choose to upvote at a given rate relative to their upvote.
- You can counteract downvotes from specified accounts, meaning that you will upvote anything that they choose to downvote at a given rate relative to their downvote.
- You can define a counter downvotes author blacklist, you won't counter the downvotes if the receiver of the vote is in this list.
- You can define a whitelist that contains all users that you will not downvote regardless of the other parameters.
- You can define a hit list that allows you to downvote a user using X% whenever his post or comment reaches more than Y$ (e.g: downvote x account if his post received more than Y dollars).
- You can allow the tool to use your Steem Power to downvote if your downvote Power is depleted.
- You can decide to halt downvote operations if your SP or DVP is above X%.
We have already spent quite some time testing and tweaking the tool. All the functions are 100% operational. However, we are open to feedback from the community. We invite anyone who discovered a bug or facing a problem to directly reach out to us on Discord or send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). We are also open to suggestions on how we can improve the tool.
In the end, we must thank everyone who is supporting us, and everyone who is doing his best to keep the Steem blockchain safe, secure, and vibrant.
Stay tuned, even more things are coming!
The Symbionts Team,
(1) Steem whitepaper. 2017. Page, 14.
(2) Steem whitepaper. 2017. Page, 15.