Bid Bots: Steem's Achilles Heel? I present A New Way To Solve The Bid Bot Issues And Reinstate 'Proof Of Brain'.

in steem •  3 months ago

One of the main reasons I was initially attracted to use Steem is its independence and decentralisation - after years of being delisted and outright censored on G+ and Facebook, a blockchain based solution seemed ideal. As a system engineer/designer and also someone who always looks for exploits and all angles in systems - I would like to focus now on some issues relating to system security and also relating to bid bots.. Plus propose yet another painless way we can solve the issues involved and improve Steem.

New users to Steem fairly quickly learn that the potentially utopian, non-hierarchical ideal of an 'anarchist' social network they may have imagined is not exactly what Steem is. The 'anarcho capitalist' aspect is not tempered by enough checks and balances to prevent the wealth level of users from being able to dominate the 'reach' and exposure of posts on the network. Far from being a true implementation of the 'proof of brain' concept that serves as one of Steem's unique selling points, the reality is that 'proof of wallet' will trump 'proof of brain' every time here.

As long as a bigger wallet translates to bigger reach on the network and higher positions on the trending page, the 'proof of brain' becomes harder to find in a sea of posts that only prove the presence of money on the part of the poster.

It could be argued that this is the price that the network's users have to pay in exchange for being paid to blog and post whatever they like. Instead of having to watch a few seconds of random video adverts on Youtube, they instead have to sift through paid posts from all manner of people who have bought their way into the trending pages. As long as there is desire to be high in the rankings, there will be desire for Steem Power and the price of Steem can increase, which is good for all users.

So this is the basic dynamic that has drawn great debate right through Steem's life so far.

Free Speech?


While some might come here mainly to 'make money', the uncensored nature of the system also draws those who are seeking to spread information without being held back. This is ultimately where the ability to buy votes becomes even more of a significant problem. While using bid bots can force us to see posts that are artificially boosted and which do not truly reflect the will of the community, there is an even more problematic outcome. It is possible for malicious actors to stifle free speech and prevent the free flow of information here, just as they already do on the mega corporate networks.

How To Ruin Steem With Bots and Money


  1. Buy enough Steem to give you enough power to run a bid bot.
  2. Run a bid bot.
  3. Receive new funds from running your bid bot.
  4. Use your growing resource pool to boost your own posts and those of your team, drowning out those who you don't want to be heard.
  5. Make sure your bot dominates the other bots and becomes the 'go to' service for vote buying.
  6. Introduce arbitrary blacklisting of those you want to silence, so that they can't buy votes from you.
  7. Add your opponents to lists run by 'anti spam' bots to ensure that they get extra negative PR and even justify auto downvoting them into oblivion.
  8. Build your Steem Power and a network of sockpuppet accounts to allow you to produce a lot of pointless content that distracts the community away from the material that you want to suppress.

If you can't make enough money from Steem directly, find money from elsewhere.

Now, if this is just an individual actor or a small group - the chances are that their effects will be limited. But what if the actor is a state/government with access to an infinite money printing machine? Aka fiat currency? Or even just an oligarch or someone like Marc Zuckerberg?

Effectively, it could be possible for a secret service related to such a group to setup the scenario I have highlighted and to carefully control the finances involved such that their investment into the tokens doesn't really benefit anyone much except for them (in the long term) and achieves their goal of controlling the free flow of information too.

How much is control of the free flow of information worth to those who are highly motivated to do so? What if they have almost unlimited money? Why would they not have a go at such control?

Those who have shared 'controversial' material on mainstream social networks, that dissents from the mainstream narrative on key subjects, will possibly already know that great resources are already employed to silence such messages.

How can we really defend against this on Steem?


Even without bid bots this takeover attack could still be possible just with Steem Power, but it might be more noticeable and difficult to pull off. So while the idea of moving all posts that use bid bots to their own list of 'promoted' posts is a good one anyway, it might not be enough to fully secure the free and honest flow of information here.

A SOLUTION!


What if? What if we had a way of building a kind of 'mute' list, just as we already do in steemit.com, but where we can mute the voting effect of VOTERS? This would have the effect of us viewing trending lists without the influence of voters that we strongly disagree with or just see as being manipulative in some way. This would also allow us to black list bots too. The resulting trending/hot lists would be re-ordered so that the payout/reward levels displayed for each post are adjusted so that the voters we choose to mute no longer effect them. This would make the trending/hot lists take a different order for each Steemian, based on their choice of whose votes to mute.

From a programming perspective, this would not be too tough to do, the only issue is that of the processing overhead required to produce custom trending/hot lists based on each user's own preferences and 'mute voter' lists.

The interface need be no more complicated than the existing 'mute' features, except that the list being built is a 'mute voter' list instead. Then, lists such as trending could have a filter flag option that allows us to either view the list with or without our 'muted voter' list engaged. If we have chosen to mute all bots, then we will no longer see their effects. Perfect!

Think of how Facebook allows users to easily and quickly manage their follow/block lists and even snooze people. This could all be performed in a similar way, from within feeds using drop down menus - to add / remove voters from the 'vote mute' list.

Not only does this solve bid bots on a per user basis - but it maintains the principle of free will since no-one is being overpowered by the feature and everyone can have the version of Steem that they personally want to experience!



What do you think? Would this Improve Your Experience of Steem and Your Confidence in Investing here?


Wishing you well,
Ura Soul


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A bidbot is essentially a business running on the blockchain. Trying to get rid of the business is bad for the blockchain. If you want to see less bidbots then I'd suggest having a buisness that is a more attractive return on investment than the bidbot so investor capital flows out of the thing you perceive and to the positive rather than completely abandoning steem.

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The suggestion framed here is very elegant as it basically says "this is a business we don't need, let's see how we can avoid using its service", rather than "let's burn the which".

No, not all businesses are good for the commons.

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To my mind, the original idea of Steem basically offers that more attractive ROI in the sense that a fully functional proof of brain algorithm (unhindered by bid bots) would effectively motivate growth of the platform and increase user retention, leading to a gradual growth in the value of Steem. The original design does grow the platform at a sustained rate (based on what I have seen) and that should increase the value of Steem as investment grows. The issue is that this is a long term process rather than a short term process like bid bots - so to my mind I am advocating long term vision of the kind that Dan had originally - rather than short term exploitation.

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Proof of brain is broken by bidbots, thanks.
Very much.

This is fucking brilliant. Give end users to power to mute voters!!

Can't imagine steemit will implement since they move so slowly but maybe we can get one of the other front ends to do it.

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Thanks! I have already posted a link to this post in the Steempeak suggestions channel. :)

You're not on trending and I am reading your post and answering the proposition in it. I'll repeat some of what I said in chat:

  1. People who originally got upvotes prior to bid bots did it with a) their own SP, b) their friends' SP, and c) with votes purchased behind closed doors. This is still very common and you probably know numerous individuals lost free delegations for that very practice.

  2. Using terminology that applies to traditional private media platforms and other elements of pure central control like "censorship", "silence", and "suppress" is inaccurate on a decentralized blockchain. It would literally take a hardfork to outright censor something. Everything is on the blockchain.

  3. The fact that content is always on the blockchain (despite how its displayed through various front ends) means that said content is always visible and read. My most popular post is one I made a year ago. It still gets a lot of visibility despite never having been on Trending or anything close. Content visibility and the received payout and prominence on the Steemit frontend are all different things.

  4. The bid bot owner has the right to control whom their property, which is the bid bot, upvotes and downvotes. It is their account, their stake, and their property. It's literally their use of their stake, which is a key principle the blockchain was designed on.

  5. As I said in chat, I agree the Trending page should not be the landing page of anything. All that does is hamper the user experience.

  6. No matter how large the stake, content can't be suppressed. Your posts are part of the blockchain until you remove them. No one except you, no Zuckerberg or anyone else, can change that.

  7. The vote muting idea can work but with a lot of effort on each user's part. They'd have to manually filter based on specific usernames (to remove their effects), which they'd have to list. This is something that you'd have to set up on your own condenser and test to be honest. Once you start you may find other problems and false positives. For example, I've got a curation script that I don't use. It's coded to determine who the greatest curators are and to follow their votes. It excludes all bots and similar automated accounts. While it works, it gets stumped by trails of staked accounts. So no matter what, the feed I get from it is still far from perfect and more often than not, where you'd think A ---> B it's actually A ---> (C, D, E in various relationships) ---> B.

Tagging @paulag here since I believe she had a Trending version without the bots somewhere already too.

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Thanks for your thoughts here.

  1. I was not aware that people lost delegations for selling votes, no. The idea proposed here would allow everyone the opportunity of filtering their feeds by their own subjective decision regarding voting behaviours - this could include muting of clear voting collusion and sale of votes if the individual user so chose.

  2. When the ability of a user to thrive fairly on a platform depends on them having 'reach' and exposure (such as can be provided by the trending page) and that reach/exposure can be limited and controlled by others subjectively and without recourse, then it is not wrong to describe that as a form of suppression. Not only will their post artificially be seen by less people and receive less payout, they will lose motivation doubly - partly through the points already mentioned and partly because those who are not being held back (and in fact actually boosted) will often not represent (to them) 'better' work than theirs. It is like working in a factory where some workers get paid more and more promotions, despite producing less output and more broken products simply because of who they know or agreements reached behind the scenes. Very demotivating. In terms of the idea of 'silencing', it is true that the blockchain itself is not totally scrubbed in such cases, but how many people (even who know about the situation) will actually go and look at the blockchain to hunt down posts that have been lost down the memory hole? Almost none. Besides which, the posts I am talking about are not actually being 'hidden' in the sense that downvoting does - they are simply being made very hard to find - just as google has been doing with just about any pages that don't conform to the 'official' version of 'normal'. (note: google received the largest every corporate fine for this behaviour from the EU last year).

  3. Content visibility and the received payout and prominence on the Steemit frontend are all different things.

    Reputation feeds from post payout and post payout feeds from short term visibility and reach. Limiting one, limits the others. You may not be receiving the same traffic, payout and reputation if you are not visible on trending - which is patently unfair and demotivating. Why should your hard work in the long term be used more effectively by others simply because they are willing to buy votes? Steem is meant to offer 'proof of brain' in the form of ordered lists of posts according to that 'brain' - without such a feature, the entire economic model and incentive structure is lost. It will not be difficult for competitors to take Steem's momentum just by solving this gap.

  4. Nothing in my proposed solution prevents bid bot owners selling votes or doing exactly what they have been doing all along, it simply gives average users the ability to excuse themselves from also receiving the effects of the bid bot 'service'. Advertising companies get paid a lot of money and work with property owners to put up billboards just to get inside the head of random people. Those random people may not have much choice other than to walk around looking at the ground - that's not very civil or friendly imo.

  5. The trending/hot pages are part of the issue, but the entire design model of steem is based around having such ordering of posts.

  6. See above. You might be demotivated to the point of removing them yourself for the reasons already stated.

  7. I can think of numerous ways to make the filtering process simple and effective. Facebook have already shown part of how I think it would work well - the rest would be relatively simple to add in. The method of tracking votes and removing the voters that we personally disagree with would only require us to mute the voter that votes at the end of the trails - I'd need to see a real world example of the problem you are describing with your curation bot to respond in full to that idea. I am speaking with the Steempeak team to discuss the possibility of implementing this there and also thinking of putting up a test trending page on steemocean too.

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I stopped being demotivated about two years ago and long gave up. I'll reply properly if I can think of something constructive to add in a bit.

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hehe - good for you! i got over the issues here mainly because I got a lot of help and support from pro-active whales and others, but not everyone has that support. as a system 'guy', I like to take the principles that work and try to apply them so that everyone can benefit.. I see this approach as one way to do that.

There will always be entities so large that they can do whatever they want. Seems to me that the only thing we can do is gang up and there in lies the problem; some of us don't want to join a group, community or gang that pigeon holes us into a limited segment of like minded individuals; it's boring! Your solution would provide a partial answer because we may not see the comments, flags or votes, but the financial effect would still be there. I do like the idea though; just uncertain of it's implementation having the desired effect.

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The financial effect would be lessened since the posts would be less likely to use bid bots and also they would gain less traction overall. It's good to work as a team, voluntarily, but ultimately that is what steem can be in totality - we can all work for mutual benefit just by opening up space for free will.

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"we can all work for mutual benefit just by opening up space for free will" I can certainly get behind that one. Greetings!

I like this idea and I agree with a lot of what you have said. I am no a bidbot user and I have worked my ass of to get where I am and to have the rep I have, which means nothing.

What I would say is that this is not a steemit inc problem. Steemit.com is only one user interface and if you use other UI's you will get a different experience, although some of these still do use steemit.com trending, some do not.
So is this something that should be created on a different UI? because although steemit have made changes to steemit.com, their focus is the block, not really the UI and changes like this are faster implemented without steemit inc.

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Yes, I am currently looking to help the steempeak team integrate this into their site or failing that I will code a demonstration on steemocean that allows us to see the idea in action.

I personally never look at the 'trending' page , simply because I know it is fake . I look only at 'new' and my feed pages , those pages are not affected by bid-bots . But I agree that some people are trying to suppress certain type of news here and that is a problem ...

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Before bid bots became a 'thing' here, the trending page was genuinely a good way to find good and different content, I'd like to return that and to reinstate the white paper. I feel a bit like a constitutionalist.. lol

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I guess that can easily be fixed (trending page) . The real problem here are ' cleaners' and other wannabe controllers ...

I would definitely use this feature if I wanted to use Trending at all. I've never really looked at Trending though, other than when I somehow get logged out, so using my bookmark to the site takes me there instead of to my personal feed.

I hate that the world is shown Trending by default when they come to any of these steem sites. That to me is the real problem.

The way of finding posts people are funneled towards is just wrong.

Thankfully when I first joined this site I had the forethought to search by tags I found interesting, then go through "new" to find those people who replied to reader comments. I built my feed that way, and now I have a strong enough group of people I follow that between their content and their resteems, I have a kickass feed.

But if we're going to have to have everyone dumped on Trending when they first come to steem, then something should be done to clean up that page. Unfortunately your solution will only apply to people already here, who know to turn it on. I can't see it being on by default. But those people already here should be taught to use the approach of searching by tags and weeding through posts to find good content creators, instead of just being lazy and depending on Trending.

Perfect, like @buggedout said brilliant! @ura-soul Have a witness vote with an upvote backer.

steem will survive and prosper if "we" keep solving problems with solutions like this.

For me it's control, give me control over the content I expose Myself too. Let Me make my own choices.

I'm sure I would have this "VoteBot" filter ON most of the time because I believe in the "proof of brain" concept however I would also turn if off now and then just to take a look.

I often open hidden content just to take a look, so far it's all been hidden correctly IMO.
I would also like a way control hidden content globally on or off, (just for me of course) and a way to search specifically for hidden content.

I think its important just like Open Source software for everyone to be able to look if they want.

If this is to work it needs to give as much control over to the user as possible.

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Thanks! I may actually code a test version of this on steemocean.com to demonstrate in realtime what the trending page looks like with such a filter in place.

"[...] produce custom trending/hot lists based on each user's own preferences and 'mute voter' lists."

Sounds great!
Self-adjustable multiple trending, tag and follower feeds are also something I'd wish for and believe could improve the user experience.
steempeak makes some very small efforts in that direction; yours sounds a bit in that direction to me too.
Anyway: Sounds like a great idea.

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Thanks, I am talking with the steempeak team currently about how to possibly implement this.

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Great!

Easy, I never look at the trending age.

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I was thinking something similar.

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The trending page, pre bid-bots was a good way to find good content and since it is effectively the main page that people often see by default, it is worth fixing!

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Well, thats true... Keep up the good work/ideas!

You seem to have opinions all over the board with the commenters here. It's seems like any attempt whatsoever to do anything or say anything that doesn't allow for full unfettered bidbot business seems to run into issues at some point, even something like this that is an option for users rather than something that would get rid of bidbots all together.

I find that sad. Still, as it is, I don't often go to the trending page anyway, so in effect, I'm muting it.

I like the idea of choice, however. I like the ability to structure and filter things the way I want to see them. I hope Steempeak takes a look at it, or even Busy. I think Steemit Inc. has other priorities now with the blockchain and SMTs.

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I wonder how much the scenario you are describing is based more on personal financial investment into bots than it is on neutral assessment of the options. An experiment is at least warranted in my opinion. :)

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Human nature being what it is, we tend to lean towards the things that we're invested in and what we perceive to be for own good. So, there could very well be some personal benefit derived from bots clouding things, or at least making the water murky. That said, how to get past it, around it, through it, is the question. An experiment is warranted. I'm already using Steempeak to post, and need to get used to using it for other things, so I'm already there if they decide to go with voting filters.

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Excellent, me too :)

One problem is that it's very easy for bidbots to deliver votes in a less transparent way, it can be delivered through a network of sockpuppets, then it's very hard to blacklist the voters.

One possibility (which should be possible to implement relatively easy on a centralized web site) is to multiply the vote weight with user authority score rather than voting power. That would most likely cause a trending-list that would not significantly be affected by bidbot services. (the problem with that is that user-authority currently seems to be a closed-source black box).

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Part of the issue with user authority is that it is rooted in the witnesses own activity as the basis for the score. Who witnesses follow gain greater authority. Several of the witnesses run major bid bots.

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Brilliant. If it didn't hurt I'd break my arm trying to pat you on the back.

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Thanks, hehe.

You know what, this is really fucking clever. I have to admit, I mostly agree with @aggroed. However, your solution is very similar to adblock/ublock. I think if it can be implemented as an option then those who run the various portals could choose whether or not to implement it on a case by case basis.

I would strongly urge caution with this idea. If implemented, it should be a soft rollout as an option, as opposed to the new standard. I say this because if the first condenser implemented it as a new standard it could lead to a large selloff of steem by those who invest in bidbots and see a loss in profits. This could cause the value of steem to go down.

Basically, if you want the free market to decide whether or not this idea would be a success you need a programmer to create a condenser that can pull it off either as an option or the standard. If the experiment is a success the larger models will no doubt emulate it. If it's bad for the value of steem they won't.

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Thanks! We (aggroed and I) obviously see things a bit differently overall, in that in my experience, there are many wealthy people who would be very interested in investing in Steem if it were a valid competitor to major social networks. As long as the retention is so low, they won't go anywhere near it and based on my experience with new users, the bid bots and unbalanced playing field is one of the primary causes for them not participating. In fact, I have previously had several meetings with billionaire investors during a period in my life that I worked on a startup and I got to see how they think - they were in no way interested in short term exploitation of users, of the form that bid bots participate in - they want to support creativity that exceeds the levels already in the marketplace among the current 'top dogs'. They want this because they understand that such creativity and evolution is what humanity most needs and values. As a student of business analysis and system engineering, I don't feel good calling bid bots a 'business' to be honest, they are just exploiting a design flaw and failure to uphold the terms and conditions of the site/software. For me, a valid business adds value within the context it operates - but bid bots really just bypass the context and system design for the purpose of personal enrichment without any need for actual creativity or true usefulness.

I have no problem with doing a test on a less well used interface/domain, but I don't think that is a problem anyway since Steemit.com only adds a new feature on every 'blood moon' anyway ;)

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Well, I think bidbots are a genuine business on the blockchain. It's the onus of the condenser to make them irrelevant if they dare to do so. They could do this with your idea but the people who run the first portal to the blockchain are also wealthy steemians.

So they would be shooting themselves in the foot if they made a move that created an investor problem. I'm not saying with any certainty that your idea would do that, which is why this experiment should be conducted on a new condenser.

You may be right that some wealthy folks wouldn't invest based on their perception of this blockchain. However, for the most part when investors invest they do so to make a profit. Any investment outside of making a profit is more akin to charity IMO. If they tell you otherwise, they might be gas-lighting ya. The only way to know would be to have access to their portfolio and see what they invest in and why. A lot of time your run of the mill "philanthropists" are doing so for tax deduction purposes (AKA self-interest).

I would encourage your billionaire buddies to be the change they'd like to see on the blockchain. Set up a not for profit business and curate good content. They could pay people to do just that, and it would cause the value of steem to go up because more people would join the blockchain and create good content for the sole purpose of getting a valuable upvote from said billionaire.

In summary, a billionaire curator would cause more people to invest in Steem because the billionaires investment would result in the value of steem rising. It would also create an environment where new users would join simply for the chance of their quality content being curated by a billionaire. That's what I'd call a 360° win : -)

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when investors invest they do so to make a profit

Yes, I am talking about venture capital people and private wealth that looks at Facebook and asks "How can I better that and become even richer?" - Not that I personally think that such aims in life are aligned with humanity's best possible outcomes, but that is how they often think anyway. The logic is that by giving 'the people' what they want/need, then the network grows and profits increase. The question then is "Do people need bid bots? Or do they need something more?". Facebook's evolution shows clearly to me that people do indeed need and want many things beyond 'buying votes' - many would rather stay on facebook than come here, even though they make literally nothing on facebook. Why? Because they feel connected there and they feel they have some power over their experience - some customisation appeal - they can make a 'home' there on their profile and even though the whole platform is a charade of exploitation in other ways, many people still think they have power there and so they stay.

If I were new to this platform, I would analyse the amount of money needed to literally buy my way to the 1st page and would then laugh and walk away. The vast majority of people are never going to even think of paying hundreds of dollars just to have their post on the trending page here - so it is mostly only users who have been here a long time and who have a fair amount of steem, or newer users with their own wealth that will consider bid bots a 'useful business'. Why would it be a useful business? ONLY if you know your own posts aren't really so full of 'brain'. If you can't compete on a balanced playing field (paying field?) then what does that say about your content?

Read the white paper (as serious investors will do) and you will the entire system is designed around 'proof of brain' and so it should be protected as if it is sacred. Yet so many deny this and for some reason can't see beyond the short term situation they experience currently. It is not surprising since they fear losing their money and don't know what would replace bid bots as a 'business' for investors. In reality, with actual marketing (which has never really happened in an organised way) there could be a massive change in direction for the better here. People only have so much patience of such things though and I know of numerous competitors who are chomping at the bit to replace Steem, including it's original inventor himself who has publicly stated he literally wants to obliterate steem like some kind of unwanted child.

For these and many other reasons, Steem NEEDS alternative approaches and experiments to find out what works best and this is a great one I feel.

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"Why would it be a useful business? ONLY if you know your own posts aren't really so full of 'brain'. If you can't compete on a balanced playing field (paying field?) then what does that say about your content?"

Posts that get regular votes or even high value votes doesn't necessarily in all cases prove that proof of brain is involved. You've got to take into consideration wealth classes and reciprocity that people generally tend to engage in whether they do so consciously or unconsciously. It's natural at times to be "nice" to people who are "nice" to you. Call it circle jerking call it whatever, reciprocity is somewhat baked into the cake of human nature.

We also have various systems on the platform, voting trails and the like and trails that follow trails. Even I follow voting trails, right now I'm probably voting on someone's content that I haven't even read. In this case I manually upvoted you, yet had I not you would have received my vote regardless to a lesser degree.

Point being, just because a post gets votes that doesn't necessarily mean that proof of brain was used in the case of each and every vote. Also, to suggest that everyone who uses or has ever used a bidbot is doing so because they have low quality posts would be inaccurate. Many people use bidbots for the exact opposite reason.

In the case of @smartsteem you'll find a whole lot of folks who use their service for the purpose of boosting quality content. Obviously it's subjective, but if you boost a shit post you run a high risk of getting downvoted and or trolled in the comment section. The cool part about the responsible bidbot operators is that they blacklist shit posters.

Whether it be in the form of voting trails or bidbots -- the fact of the matter is that automation changed the very nature of the blockchain. The technology is a double-edged sword if you ask me. Some see the bid bots as a bad thing, I both agree and disagree with that statement depending upon the post that is boosted. Some see the curation trails as a good thing. I both agree and disagree with that statement depending upon the post that is boosted.

Also, steemians don't only use bots to hit the trending. People come to steem and they find their writing niche and many times they're using the bots to simply rank higher in specific tags which is far more easy to accomplish than it is to hit the trending page. All that aside, I think your idea makes for a good experiment, one that needs to be conducted and if there is a mass exodus and people choose that condenser over the first one then it's highly likely that STINC will respond accordingly, as good ideas and successful strategies are highly contagious.

If Dan can create a better model, I say more power to him. STINC can adapt or die. Competition is what creates greatness. Just imagine what the computer market would be if there were no competition. If Dan does do it better, I'm sure someone will create a condenser that emulates that better model. In this brave new world of all things technology and internet there is one key maxim that holds true. Adapt or die. Fakebook is going to die, they've commit suicide by engaging in censorship. They bled out some last quarter and they will continue to do so in the next one.

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Posts that get regular votes or even high value votes doesn't necessarily in all cases prove that proof of brain is involved.

Yes, that's true.

Call it circle jerking call it whatever, reciprocity is somewhat baked into the cake of human nature.

Yes, there is nothing wrong with reciprocity.

just because a post gets votes that doesn't necessarily mean that proof of brain was used in the case of each and every vote.

Yes, so you are describing something like a 'proof of popularity' factor. Does popularity always equal brain? Absolutely not!

to suggest that everyone who uses or has ever used a bidbot is doing so because they have low quality posts would be inaccurate. Many people use bidbots for the exact opposite reason.

In my experience, people who use bidbots when their posts are some of their best (which I do sometimes), do so because they have no other way to gain exposure. The driving force behind that dynamic is that there are already so many other posts using bidbots. I am saying that I don't think this all got started by people with the best posts since they should have already been having success at reaching the top spots anyway. In actuality, I started experimenting with Booster very early on - mainly because I was actually making profit just from using it AND it was boosting my posts... So it would have been a bit dumb not to use it. However, I had no idea where things were headed then!

On balance, I would rather have an environment where I stand some chance of trending on merit alone, than one where I have a guaranteed chance of trending only by spending money.

I just get frustrated to see so many people behind an exciting system that helps so many people, yet so little intention to hold balance for new users and new 'brain'. The 'old' world is full of pyramid hierarchies and people trying to control those below them out of fear of losing their position. I would like to think that 'proof of brain' ultimately proves this to be a poor choice!

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I feel ya man. Putting the genie back in the bottle (and I think that's what your trying to do) can prove challenging. It will only work on whichever condenser implements it. I'd like to see a whole lot more experimentation with the various portals.

I think it could work.

My own solution is to NEVER look at trending...

Just to throw a bit of "devil's advocate" work out there, but what would stop those that run the bid bots then placing negligible ($0.001) votes on the content produced by those they want silenced, thus making sure they are also "muted"

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As long as the user interface makes clear that the vote muting has occurred and how to disable the vote muting, the situation should be ok. To be clear, the idea is not to mute the posts themselves in any way, but to just remove the effect of the bids that have been bought from bid bots and other specific accounts. This would change the order of the trending pages without actually hiding any posts.

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That's an important clarification you should add to the main post.

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That's an important
Clarification you should
Add to the main post.

                 - indigoocean


I'm a bot. I detect haiku.

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No problem, I have now edited the post to make that clearer.

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Thats a good point.

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I understood the proposal as "let's ignore bidbot votes and see how the trending would look", rather than "let's hide all content with views from the l bidbots".

One could reverse the votes. A small positive vote from a bidbot turned into a small negative.

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I guess it would depend on how the muting worked. I was imagining a scenario where users could choose to mute content that had been upvoted by certain accounts (eg bidbits).

Ure-the best... great concept and so simple.

Seems like a Good Idea... Let's hope it can gain traction.

Cheers @Ura-Soul !!

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Thanks - We shall see :)

I believe this could be implemented without too much overhead in stand-alone viewers like the esteem suite.

I have been asking for a real mute button for some time. If I have someone on mute, their remarks should also be auto muted on any content I create. If I post and they are on my mute list, my content viewers should not have to see the drivel of their comments. They should be auto greyed out. I know people will say that is censorship, no it is not. It is no different than a guest at a party you host spouting of a bunch of nasty language and you asking them to leave your house. That is not censorship, my blog is an extension of my house, people are invited to comment, when they act like an idiot, I will mute them so I do not see their stupidity, and I would like to avoid subjecting my viewers to their idiocracy. Just as the newspapers do not print every letter to the editor I should not have to allow every letter to the editor to be in plain site on my blog.

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I started by disagreeing with you but after reading your comment about 10 times I think I agree completely.

As long as I'm notified that they are there and I can un-hide them and take a look myself.

I think it could be helpful if the author of the post could grey out, NOT hide or block replies.

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I just think that I should have more control over what is replied in my post. I would not want to see 100 comments all full of foul language, I don't think anyone would like to see that. So a greyed out post that if visitors want to see why I have someone muted they would be able to make a determination in their mind that it was for possibly for cause.

Making a comment cost nothing, downvoting it to a point it is not viewable can take a lot of steem power.

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I disagree. Publishing an article is not like inviting folks to your House; it's the same as displaying it on the Street and we don't control who roams the sidewalks nor what they say about what they see. A newspaper edits their articles before publication; once published they no longer control who sees it or what people say about it. What you are really asking for is a way to select readership, but that would also limit your ability to gain new followers. That being said, since we pay for our Steemit accounts, the ability to select our readership is not an unreasonable request.

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I'm in on greying them out.
It's your blog, you could have that choice.

Blocking them completely is a bad idea, imo.
It allows immature behavior to persist in a bubble.

I upvoted your post.

Cheers to you.
@Pinoy

Posted using https://Steeming.com condenser site.

I was not here in the era before bots. In my time here, I've noticed several different type of bots. There are the obvious bots that are free for anyone to use; and there we focus our attention on the abuse. Of which I agree it is prevalent. There are also discrete bots supported by esteemed members of the community to support 'whitelisted' members.

Are these reputable members operating discrete bots that support their circle of friends also ruining STEEM?

In using the term bidbots, does this also apply to vote selling? There are many individuals in Rep 60-70 that purchase votes from @smartmarket and @minnowbooster. Can an algorithm be used to track sold votes?

I wrote a cookie parody post once when I saw a food post boosted all the way to trending. I bidbot it with all my earning to see where it would land; nowhere near trending. The @transparencybot stopped by and acknowledged all the bots used, but not the votes that were sold/bought.

So if a MUTE capability is the proposed solution, how will it track individuals that purchase votes?

Bring back the n2 and the whale experiment and we wont have to turn a blind eye to abuse?

Ignoring the problem wont resolve it.
The community has to do that in their own way.

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Forcing whales to not use their investment is an unrealistic and in some sense unfair limitation on the entire process - not to mention something that hugely limits the attractiveness of Steem as an investment to those who could boost its value the most.

I don't really see that allowing users the free will choice of removing problems as they see fit is ignoring the problems. In fact, I see this as allowing the community to do things in their own way. The solution on offer is just a method of applying personal choice to your own browser without affecting much else, yet it does solve the problem for each individual - I'm not sure there is a better way of 'having your cake and eating it too'.

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Okay, that's wonderful

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