NewSteem, Downvoting and How Not to Keep People Around

NewSteem and Downvoting Needs to Find Balance

Downvoting/flagging or whatever you want to call it, was baked into the Steem blockchain at conception. You might as well know that if you don’t already. It’s there, that’s a fact.

It didn’t just start with HF21.

I’ve heard and seen a lot about downvoting in the last while. Probably because it is impacting more people than ever before. Some of the posts I’ve read contain some thoughtful comments on different sides of the discussion. Some of what I’ve read is just downright disrespectful of others.

Content Discovery on Steem

Content discovery through curation/upvoting was also baked into the blockchain from the beginning. The downvoting is meant to work in conjunction with upvoting to work the better quality content into view while lower quality drops down.

If tech ran as tech was designed, this would be a perfect blockchain. Add people and the various ways people find to game a system, out goes any chance of perfect. The Steem blockchain was also an experiment and a first trying to build a social media which gives rewards.

Effectively getting good content to be visible is a struggle on any site. has 30-50 people who spend their days doing nothing but curate content. I hear similar complaints over there that I hear here about visibiity.

They also have the ability to terminate accounts of bad actors. That is not available here. On Steem, the larger stakeholders using downvoting are the only deterrent available to deal with bad actors.

Human that we are, we don’t have any problem with the feel goods of getting an upvote. And we’re just as human when we feel badly about receiving a downvote. It’s a negative experience. The feelings are to be expected.

How Not to Normalize Downvoting

I’ve seen it argued, none too kindly, that we’re going to ‘normalize’ downvoting and people shouldn’t feel any differently about getting a downvote than an upvote. That argument is total bullshit. It ranks right up there with “beatings will continue until morale improves”.

Death is normal too but we don’t expect people not to feel badly when they experience losing someone near them. What is done with feeling badly is more important.

I’ve seen it argued a comment should be required if you downvote someone. I’ve seen the counter-argument that you’re no more entitled to a comment about a downvote than for an upvote. The counter-argument is correct. All things being equal, a downvote doesn’t need any more explanation than an upvote.

Accepting the Humanity of Community Members

People generally will respond better to a negative experience when they have some understanding of why it happened. Steem is a community, least we claim we are, so a comment isn’t as much an entitlement as it is a courtesy which allows the receiver to understand what is happening.

If there is an expectation on the downvoter to leave a comment, there also needs to be an equal expectation on the recipient to receive the comment without becoming the Steemian from hell and going off the deep end.

I don’t downvote very often. When I do, I will usually leave a comment. I’ve had some try to argue the point with me. I wont engage. I’ve left a comment on why I’m downvoting. They can adjust their behaviour or not. It’s they’re choice.

Not All Downvotes Have Any Effect.

I’ve read some posts where the Steemian writes about being so upset about being downvoted they are ready to leave the platform. The downvotes have wounded them to the core. As I’m reading this tale of woe I’m thinking wow, this person must have been really hit hard.

Off I go to Steemworld to have a look at their account. I set the filter to show me the flags and click back through the previous week. Yes, there are two or three downvotes, all at 10% and no value lost on rewards.

Really? Did the person even look at the situation? Those 10% downvotes with no reward loss come from a group of accounts that randomly downvote and have been doing so for months. Think of a swarm of gnats flying around, they are a nuisance but don’t do any harm.

Remember I mentioned earlier that feeling hurt/disappointment was normal? Well these ones are the exception to the rule. If your response to getting these nuisance downvotes is a desire to leave the platform, you might be just a tad over-sensitive.

Maybe you think that life should always be good experiences and you should never have a negative experience, even a small one. Sorry, life’s not like that. If you don’t know that by now, you’ve got bigger problems than some downvotes on Steem.

Moving On To Downvotes Which Actually Impact Pending Rewards.

There are multiple reasons you might receive a downvote on your post. The main ones can be found when you click on the downvote button. They include: disagreement on rewards, fraud or plagiarism, hate speech or trolling, miscategorized content or spam.

In most cases if you receive a downvote without explanation, it is likely for disagreement on rewards. There is a reason post upvotes don’t payout immediately. The community aka your readers have opportunity to weigh in on how they want to value your post. They can both agree by upvoting or disagree with downvoting. It hurts to see a drop, but that is the way the system works.

If you have used Tribe tags, you better be sure those tags are relevant or you will receive downvotes for wrong tags. If you don’t know the purpose of the Tribe, don’t use the tag. It’s that simple.

OH, and don’t whine over losing rewards on the other tokens not related to the wrong tag. The same applies to misusing the regular tags. There are consequences to actions.

If there is a fraud or plagiarism issue, most of the time you’re going to get a comment either from the person informing you they have caught your misbehaviour or from Steemcleaners. Only use content you own or actually have rights to and this wont be a problem.

When I see posts I consider to be hate speech or trolling I generally move on. There is lots of content to see without wasting my time on haters. I think in most cases, if the person is ticked enough to downvote, they will be ticked enough to leave a comment.

Bid-Bots and Downvoting

Since HF21 many of the larger stakeholders have added bid-bot use for profit to reasons they will downvote. This actually comes under disagreement on rewards. Since it is so controversial, I’m addressing it separately.

Keep in mind that many, if not most, of those downvoting for the use of bid-bots are also actively curating content. They would rather upvote you for good content than have to deal with you using bid-bots for profit.

Bid-bots were not originally built into the chain. They arrived with the ability to delegate stake. Large stakeholders could delegate stake to an account for people to bid for votes. Didn’t take long for it to be figured out, there was profit to be made from bid-bots.

Stakeholders delegated to earn passive income and steemians used them to get more notice on their posts and more rewards. The argument was put forward the bid-bots created a utility for the token and provided a sort of advertising for the customer.

Those who are downvoting for bot use are doing so with the counter-argument that when you purchase advertising any where else, you bear the cost of doing so. If you want to advertise using the bid-bots you need to do so without earning profit.

So, if you have a post you think just needs to be up on Trending, decline rewards and bot away.

The topic of downvotes came up during the Witness Chat in The Ramble last week. I asked a couple of people who have been involved in the downvoting to come on voice to give their views on the topic.

@theycallmedan made the point that bid-bot use impacts the value of curation. Remember I mentioned earlier that curation was there at the beginning to churn good content into view? Bid-bots artificially churn content into view. That is counter to how the system is supposed to work.

@nonamelefttouse who has been on the platform almost from the beginning left a really good comment on @guiltyparties’ post on the subject of bid-bots in which he describes how bid-bots negatively impacts content creators like him. I’ve linked to the post which I recommend reading along with the comments.

Living With Community Standards

On a decentralized platform, there are not so much rules as community standards. Since this platform is a proof of stake based platform, the more stake a person holds the more influence they get over establishing those standards.

You might not agree with the standards but as long as they are in play, life in the community is a lot easier by respecting them. That is not to say you shouldn't advocate for what you believe is a better way. You need to do so in a responsible manner if you want to be actually heard and considered.

Revenge Flagging And NewSteem

It comes as zero surprise to me that there is a lot of revenge flagging going on in response to the downvotes.

I’m glad to hear that there is some effort in the community to support and help those who are maliciously downvoted. Like so many things on Steem, more information needs to be available to help those who need it.

I’m going to largely ignore the can’t fix stupid factor. There are some people, no matter what you do, they are going to be the Steemians from hell. My usual response to that group of people is to first attempt positive engagement, then ignore them. Life’s too short to burn energy on them.

Respect Breeds Respect — Stop the Disrespect

Notice I said positive engagement? Responding to people who have been downvoted with a ‘get over it, it’s normal’ or ‘you’re being silly’ is neither helpful nor positive. It’s disrespectful. Just because you can downvote doesn’t grant you power to demean others.

It was similar disrespect toward others during the leadup to HF21 which prompted people to decide to walk away from the platform. More so than the change in reward structure. It will also contribute to pushing others away from the platform if it continues over the downvoting.

It wont be the ones who react badly and become the steemians from hell who will leave. It will be others who are already struggling trying to find their place on here. They see this going on and decide to flee before they get hit. They leave quietly and without fanfare.

The sad part is, some of them probably would have been good community members.

Welcoming and Helpful Doesn’t Cost Anyone

Recently a new person showed up in one of the Pimp Your Post Thursday afterchats. She joined in the conversation and we started to get to know her. She told us she had actually joined over a year ago but found the platform unwelcoming. She had left not long after.

She came back to look around and see what was happening. Her positive experience in The Ramble and The Steem Terminal discords encouraged her to stay. She’s now active on the platform.

If NewSteem is going to be part of moving this platform forward, people need to be treated with respect. Treating people badly because they feel badly over a negative experience is not helpful.

If you have been downvoted, you have a responsibility to manage your own feelings. Just because you’ve received a negative experience doesn’t mean you get to lash out. Everyone, including you, have an investment in this platform.

Put your energy into building up the platform. When you lash out, you work against your investment.

Bad news travels faster than good news every time. It’s our choice which gets better fed.

*Images courtesy of Pixabay

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Comments 47

Some great points! I'm going to have to save this one and re-read cause it's chalk full of good vibes..

Posted using Partiko Android

13.10.2019 16:07

thanks @assfaceproject .. glad to see you are still around.

13.10.2019 16:37

Thank you for supporting @CatsMakeKittens by being a part of our community @shadowspub.

Each CATS you purchase gets you daily upvotes from me @CatScientist as our community grows so do your rewards for being a member!

13.10.2019 16:08

I hear you and I have heard all kinds of experience from People on downvote, my own is that I have 2 downvotes on most of my posts and its ones with The 10% and I see it and like...sux but not unexpected... So NO biggy.
Only once I got a downvote from @ocdb that really hit Hard but they did leave a comment and it was cause I used tipu on my post, not much but still. So I apolagized and I heard them so after that I haven't used anything again on my posts. I have no problem with downvotes and most of them answer if you ask about a downvote so most are good People.
Then ofcourse there are those that use their downvote to hurt People and say they do it for a reason but you see they downvote someone Who never done any of those reasons.
Also uses all The bots they downvote others for using... THAT I have a problem with.
And once a newbie got downvoted on her introduction post and it was her welcome to this place... She felt sad and not very welcoming but after some interacton and commenting he apolagized to her and took back the downvote.
Communication and engagement is the key.
Together we CAN make this place a true home!
But over all I hope we are a community that really want to support each other, be welcoming

13.10.2019 16:17

downvoting a newbie without explanation especially is never good. Taking the time to explain whatever error the person blundered into would have been much smarter.

I've not seen much of the downvoters using bots that aren't getting hit. I don't spend a lot of time watching for it though.

13.10.2019 16:39

Yes I agree...
I haven't seen many downvoters using bots eather but as in all cases there are some that uses things wrong. Like downvote a newbie Who didn't even knew what a bot was ... But I belive they can be defeated.
I belive in the good in People and as I said my experience with the downvoters has been that they do it for a reason and they do give a answer if you ask.
Thank you for enlighting this subject, its very much a subject that is all around at this time.

13.10.2019 16:49

Downvoting a newbie is the most destructive thing you can do here on Steemit. I think downvoting will always be an issue. We are still people and people abuse power when they get it.

14.10.2019 18:59

I hear you and I agree... There will always be people who abuse power...Its the human nature.
But I belive that if we really work together to get rid of People like that as they destroy things for others... We can have a place where we feel at home.

Posted via

14.10.2019 21:27

Epic post and a lot of good points. Unfortunately, I don’t think too many of the downvoters bother to upvote or “would rather” upvote anyone other than their immediate circles.

I have to admit that I have been frustrated with #newsteem, but I’m hanging on.



13.10.2019 16:18

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13.10.2019 16:18

They are actively seeking out good content to upvote. People and projects like @ocd @theycallmedan @whatsup @justineh @themarkymark and others.

13.10.2019 16:31

The more I hear this, the more I am convinced that my content is not "good" and that my time would be better spent doing something else.

13.10.2019 16:57

well content creation is a craft and you get better by doing. Just took a quick look at your account. I notice that you say you're "Math Professor; Crypto Trader; Philosopher" yet most of your posts are more personal journal. Why don't you try to mix in some informational posts?

13.10.2019 17:06

Been there and done that and watched 'em turn to dust.

"Only a fool expects different results from trying the same thing twice." - Albert Einstein

13.10.2019 17:12

take a look at similar posts and see what's different. If you've written them with search engines in mind.. they may well serve to bring in eyeballs if not rewards.

The early articles I wrote often make me cringe. I suspect down the road I'll look at some my current ones and feel the same way. We learn as we go.

13.10.2019 17:16

Math professor?

We could use more quality mathematics post for the STEMGeeks tribe. You'd be surprised how many persons mentioned by @shadowspub actually browse the STEM tags.

14.10.2019 09:12

Thanks for the shout out, and yes I agree with the fact that many who are trying to practice “responsible downvotes” are also actively curating. Of course we have some people who just downvote and I guess that’s their right.. my thought is there are plenty of us to counter that and help steer our community to a positive culture. That will for sure take time.

Great write up btw - lots of good points made and explained in a way that many can understand. Thanks for taking the time to do so.

13.10.2019 23:12

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13.10.2019 16:18

I've experienced the new downvote trend as well. It all started with a downvote I made to an abusive post concerning one of the users. My latest post has 5 downvotes. I don't know if it's a grudge thing since there are no comments from the downvoters. Anyway, I think if we go on like this there'll be even less content to enjoy on the blockchain.

Posted using Partiko Android

13.10.2019 16:22

it's not a grudge... reread the part where I talked about the 10% downvoters. They're basically a cloud of gnats.

13.10.2019 16:34

It will eventually get to the point of downvotes being normalised - and I even seen a proponent to the DVs say Ideally, ALL posts will have at least 1 DV on them.." which I can honestly say I can see that happening too.

People spend so much attention to the number of downvotes.. I mean, 5 downvotes on a post that has 300 upvotes is nothing.

But why aren't people like "OMG I LOVE STEEM! I got 300 UPVOTES!!!" instead they are like "Omg I quit because of these 3 downvotes that my great post got ..kbyi!!!"

Not directing this at you comment OP, you just spurred the idea for the thought in my head ;)


14.10.2019 01:32

That makes sense. It's good to discuss our thoughts.

14.10.2019 07:17

Too long 😠😠

Downvote!! 😡😡

13.10.2019 16:27

too many long words too?

13.10.2019 16:35


14.10.2019 07:18

Personally, the tone used in the comment can make a difference.

Also, I think many forget that there are many that have no idea about the internal politics and how everything works and for them it can be especially confusing when these hostile downvotes and comments come out of the blue.

Great post and "The Voice Of Reason" comes to mind.

13.10.2019 16:31

thank you @whatsup... I was trying to catch perspective from both sides.

hostility to things is easy.. cooperation takes work.

13.10.2019 16:36

Yeah, agreed. I've always been an advocate of downvoting, but I didn't really picture the gang wars. I should have known. :)

staying low and trying to change the topic as often as I can.

13.10.2019 21:55

Excellent points as always, it‘s a situation that spiralled out of control - but hopefully over time it will start to settle and a balance will be reached.

Posted using Partiko iOS

13.10.2019 16:38

thanks @c0ff33a .. it really does need to settle. I believe you are correct... it will .. just needs time and cooperation to work toward balance.

13.10.2019 16:40

Wow, this is an amazing writeup! I notice also the downvoting at 10% from random accounts with maybe one post 4months ago, and no SP of course 😀 funny to read that people are getting so upset..

The Steem blockchain was also an experiment and a first trying to build a social media which gives rewards.

Finally! I read it written by someone else!!
change the was to is, and take note steemians! We can all get carried away and sure I was also one buying steem at high prices, got dragged right into the collective ego of the cryptoworld 😆

Social media is just for narcassism usually and peoples representation of who they think they are (Ego), and well, look at any social media site, humans are funny things.

Great experiment though if you ask me, and only by experimenting will something (or nothing) happen haha!

13.10.2019 19:50

Agree with you 100% here. I am a newish Steemit member. I have just recently been hit with an onslaught of downvotes for what seemed like no reason at all. I was actually going to write a post on it. I was able to pinpoint the exact time these downvotes started, and get this "coincidence":


Funny thing is, I only did this because I was trying to get a handle on voting power and I spread myself too thin, just trying to learn the process and whatnot. I was going to slowly put every witness and other user/bot I gave access to back on my list.


Some of these supposed "witnesses" or "whales", who, one would think are users that should be promoting good behavior are just pushing the little guy down. Not all of them. Some are very helpful. However, and I won't name names here, but one of these "witnesses" downvoted two of my posts for no reason whatsoever. I mean the posts aren't offensive in any way, they just happened to be the TOP MONEY MAKERS this week in my group. His 2 downvotes pushed them down a combined $10 roughly. That may not seem like a lot, and monetarily it isn't to me either, but my account's total value is only around $150. His two downvotes and whatever other bots he sicked on me lowered my potential growth overall by over 15% this week.

I have a lot of Bitcoin. I got in on it early and got lucky. But I also chose not to sell or even swap a lot of it. Point being, I am a mini-whale in the world of Bitcoin, but I wanted to earn that status on Steemit. Not just send 10 BTC to blocktrades and make myself a whale. That to me is cheating. I just got in on Steemit late, so I am a mere That minnow status doesn't translate to the entire cryptoverse. I was very close to sending a couple Bitcoin here and really dishing it back to some people, but I didn't and I won't. As you state in your post, these downvotes for no reason are a great way of making someone like myself lose interest in the Steemit community and seek other platforms that encourage good content and spread love instead of hate.

Great post. Resteemed and UP voted.

13.10.2019 19:56

If you do follow trails again, might I suggest SteemRewarding? It offers all the features any of the others do combined, and also allows you to create a downvote trail to follow if you want.

It's the only autovoter service I use, meets my needs and the parameters you can set for voting rules are great and allow me flexibility I could not find elsewhere.

When I want to get a handle of my VP, I just go to my User Settings on Rewarding and set the "Pause all votes when VP is under:" to 100% which basically pauses all my voting rules at once until I lower that value again (you can also pause your rules individually but it's easier to just stop it ajj)

14.10.2019 01:26

#SoICalled911 is trending on my Twitter today... perfect sagway!

Screenshot 20191013 at 19.18.35.png

14.10.2019 01:20

@giphy curate 100%

14.10.2019 01:32

Upvoted 👌

Powered by witness untersatz!

14.10.2019 01:32

This post has been included in the 201st edition of The Steem News - a compilation of the key news stories on the Steem blockchain.

14.10.2019 16:58

!trdovoter 100

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16.10.2019 16:20

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16.10.2019 18:19

💓 The Ramble.

Posted using Partiko iOS

20.10.2019 12:13


20.10.2019 19:31