Why Steemit should not be a battle ground of downvotes

in writing •  11 months ago 

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“With great power comes great responsibility”
-a proverb popularized by the Spider-Man comic books

Power is quite paradoxical in nature. It is difficult to attain and retain power. We gain power for empathy, kindness, fairness in the society. But often when we climb the ladder of success, we forget those virtues. True power grows with empowering others. When you give away your power, it actually expands.

Competitive altruism is a mechanism of raising power level by cooperation and generosity. It is extremely unconditional. People, who are generous to share power, enjoy escalated power value and higher social esteem. On the other hand, power hoarders or power traders receive much lower social reputation. So many social experiments have proved the outcomes of competitive altruism.

“It is much safer to be feared than loved”
-Niccolo Machiavelli in his 16th century book called ‘The Prince’

Machiavelli proposed that immoral behavior was normal and effective in the socio-political structure. Yes, in the society, power can be attained by coercion, manipulation and deception but such power doesn’t provide any direction to the society. We need people who can use their power for the greater goodness. Power is a dynamic trait. It is quite like water. It flows fast, accumulates fast, often gets frozen or evaporates. Often power has a short life. This often makes people selfish and aggressive when they accumulate power. People try to reap the benefits of power quickly.

Image Source – Screenshots from Steemit (A downvoting whale and an user frustrated by the downvotes of the whale)

Steemit is democratic in nature. It has a downvote mechanism besides upvotes. Here the users can downvote the contents of the ‘bad players’ in the ‘proof of brain’ economy. The users get free downvotes also. Yes, it might be important to keep the platform spam free but the downvotes can be misused too. It is easy to follow the downvote trails of a so called abuse fighter and automate your downvotes. It is also possible to automate downvotes by following upvote trails of a particular user for vengeance. There are professional downvoters in steemit in abundant quantity also. Downvotes can be used to ‘witch-hunt’. Sometimes it can lead to war. Due to the decentralized character of Steemit, community members enjoy high power here. Often a newbie may find it difficult to deal with the operational process. If you re-post a socially forwarded ‘meme’ in Steemit, you may be accused of plagiarism and invite huge downvotes and flagging by abuse crusaders. Steemit works like this. Good enough! But possibly a few warnings can correct the wrongdoings of the users. After all, it takes time to understand that Steemit is not facebook. Leave the new users. Nowadays, we can see downvote battles also in Steemit. @mmmmkkkk311 is one such user, who downvotes all posts upvoted by @steembasicincome as he hates automated upvotes. His downvotes are also followed by his downvoter army. This recent downvote battle created ripples in this platform as many users, who hold nominal SBI shares, started to receive downvotes. Who is right or wrong in this battle? I’m not gonna analyze that. But ultimately severe negativity is getting spread.

Image Source – 'Barbareek', the greatest warrior from Mahabharata who gave away power for greater goodness

We can draw inspiration from the great mythological story of ‘Barbareek’ from Mahabharata. ‘Barbareek’ was so powerful that he could end the war of Mahabharata in one minute if he alone fought it. But he did not join any side in the war as he was the greatest warrior on the battlefield and whichever side he joined, must have made the other side weaker. Eventually he would have oscillated between the two sides and would end up destroying everyone except himself in the planet. This is the era of social media and we have a virtual social life in different social platforms. Steemit is the most popular decentralized social platform. Machiavellian role models are not desired in Steemit. Battles also are not desired here. We need to choose a different power model, which is routed in empathy, compassion and generosity. Steemit should not be a battleground of downvotes. Allow it to spread positivism, not vengeance!

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We have total freedom on Steem to act as we wish, but it can have consequences. I downvote where I think it has a benefit to the platform. I avoid doing so in retaliation. I've had plenty of retaliation against me.

I'm not self-voting or taking anything out for now as I think we need to concentrate on building the community.

There will always be those after short-term gain with no thoughts for others. Downvotes are a way to deal with them.

I've been thinking about it a lot, and the best proposal I have to manage downvotes is based on activity.

Currently there are a lot of accounts that only downvote without doing anything else. Downvoting could be based on activity, you get your downvotes only after contributing to the blockchain.

Then the network can then manage them.

An alternative is an appeal process that would have the downvote affect removed allowing creators to get their SP and SBD back from the post.

Downvotes are a way to deal with them.

Downvotes can't "deal" with accounts that don't create.

Downvotes definitely have limitations. Non-posting accounts can also earn from curation. I'm against placing too many restrictions on what people can do. Most of the accounts downvoting recently have hardly any sp and cause no real damage. Steemit could withdraw delegation from those. If others opt to buy and hold sp in other accounts there is little we can do. I accept it as a 'tax' and just try to direct rewards where they are earned.

Appreciate your constructive feedback.

Posted using Partiko Android

After all, it takes time to understand that Steemit is not facebook.

You don't seem to grasp how easily a bad actor can just create a new account and feign being a new user to get away with manipulating rewards.

Sure, folks can exercise their own judgement as to what is what but I would strongly encourage one to err on the side of caution,leave a flag / comment explaining why and then let the user sort it out if they have proof it is their content for instance.

I like how you make this a philosophical argument but your characterization of flags doesn't seem to consider their usefulness in preserving our economy for honest people that aren't afraid to put in a bit of work.

People trying to game the system take a calculated risk and, if we don't flag, the risk is low. If we do, they may think twice.

Thanks for your constructive feedback

Hey thanks! Sorry if I was a bit sharp. Far too often downvotes (and by proxy, those that advocate for their use) get a bad rap in spite of the good they do for Steem when used responsibly.

Remember that the vast majority of downvoters do not hurt you in the slightest (except as a little sting.) Yes, there are accounts that have been created with the soul purpose being to downvote people.

The whole downvoting SBI thing has been more serious, but there's a group of people trying to help the guy understand that SBI isn't a threat to anyone. He actually seems to be coming around too.

Being able to downvote plagiarism and other things which harm the platform is incredibly important to the whole ecosystem.

I'm not actually sure if there's a good way to put better handles on the system, but let's not tarnish the whole thing for a few spots of rust.

Thank you for your contribution to the conversation.

Thanks for your constructive feedback

I was in a (mentally) bad place when I wrote that post of mine. I have since regained my confidence, and have written a couple of posts. (No I didn't leave after all, although I am taking it easy for a while, thus might not post that often.)

In my latest post I reaffirmed Mariusz (@mmmmkkkk311) that I will continue countering his acts of hate (downvotes) with acts of love (SBI sponsorships).

Ok. I used screenshot of your post :) Things will change soon.

Posted using Partiko Android

It seems like everyone had been affected by the "downvote mania" because, you are not the first person who wrote about it. I wrote my own version yesterday. I wonder who will be next........

I just hate the down voting system for vengeance's sake. Why can't we just downvote because its a bad content

I believe that having the down vote option with an automatic comment/private message to the author should be pushed through- in order for the downvoter to communicate what he/she do not find agreaable in a post.

There should be downvote control mechanism I think

Posted using Partiko Android

exactly. I feel that everyone no matter how small their reputation felt entitled to down vote somebody else's work. I am not upset with that. It felt to me that newer accounts are power playing. Little did they know that if their reputation is smaller than the person they are trying to downvote, there is little to no effect.

Totally agree with you on this! Good post! I still get a downvote or two on my posts, but I have decided to tag those downvoters and send them virtual hug from giphy :))

Funny.... but I thought about doing the same type of thing myself. :)

Great article. The biggest problem with downvotes is that they can be used to enter personal crusades, just because someone doesn't like the opinions of someone else. That is completely wrong but it's being done by some people, ever since I joined the platform.

Some people left because of those wars, others simply stopped posting and started trolling.

It's a pity that humans are so conflituous and vindictive by nature. It's something that we actively need to work on...

Yes true issue

I say ignore what you don't like. How is being negative gonna serve in the end???

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oh great

Well, @puncakbukit reblogged your post to thousand followers.. Thank you very much to approve @puncakbukit as witness.

There's no battleground, people will just leave, the bad alongside the good.

There's no battleground,
People will just leave, the bad
Alongside the good.

                 - kiwibloke

I'm a bot. I detect haiku.

He hurt @pifc pretty bad last week with 3 100% flags. It is total bs considering the efforts @pifc makes in creating engagement and encouraging low earning steemians that produce quality posts.

Yes you are doing great job

@paragism, Most important point is Decentralisation. Decentralised Structure is a blessing and a curse at the same time. Steem World is same like real world where people have Freewill, with Freewill comes both negative and positive actions.

In my opinion it depends upon individuals if they want to play fair or not. Stay blessed.

Posted using Partiko Android

Yes, it is quite real

Yes. 👍