Investigating the whale scam - Assumptions above knowledge.

4년 전

Are the upper rank whales just a bunch of scammers? I got involved in a debate yesterday with a user who believes they are.

Let me break down just why he thinks they are, and how easy it is to assume this when following his logic.


Statement 1: Having multiple accounts is considered scammy.

"Big whales have created many alt accounts to suck the rewards away from the system"

In fact, having multiple accounts was a requirement in the beginning of Steem. Way before the majority of us even knew what steem was. Most of the upper ranks have multiple accounts for obvious reasons; A witness account, a miner account, a blog account, and maybe some more accounts for whatever purposes.

Did they create multiple accounts for fraudulent purposes? Simply put: No.

Statement 2: Stealing rewards from the platform.

"Upvoting your own alt account with super whale powers is stealing money from steemit"

We need to stop for a moment and look at what makes someone a whale. Those users are the very same users who invested their own time, money and resources in making steemit as we know today. Their investment is what most of us are chasing, the monetary reward by their huge balances. There is no such thing as stealing on steemit. Most of us joined here to make some rewards, just like the early investors did. Sure, having millions of SP on your account may be impressive, but it won't pay your bills.

Yet we assume whales are only here to share the rewards with any john doe making some introduction on steemit, however, if they upvote themselves, we start screaming it has to be a scam! Don't we all check the 'upvote post' check box upon submitting? Don't we all pray for a big whale to vote our content?

How do you justify the expectation of those guys investing everything they had, pouring money in a new platform, sharing everything with us, yet not receiving anything in return themselves but greed and envy? If some day, an anonymous person builds you a castle, just like that, for free, would you close the door on him if he asks you to have a coffee with you ?

From my perspective, if a whale upvotes his own alt account, they are only rewarding themselves instead of you.

Statement 3: Voting patterns reveal scammy accounts.

"Account X upvotes a post and within seconds 40 others do! SCAAAAAAAMMMMMM!!!"

Steem is a wonderful platform and blockchain. It even has this cool thing called "proxified voting." Let me explain you some of the basics.

Every user can authorize another user to cast votes using his keys. We have a main curator, lets just call him @maincurator. All that @maincurator does, is scan steemit for new and good content. Now i don't have the time to scan 24/7 on new potential trending content, for whatever reasons. But i really like what @maincurator is doing, and his upvotes are mostly inline with what i like. I can authorize @maincurator to vote with my account using nothing but our own blockchain. Nothing scammy, no hocus-pocus. Just code.

Now let's extend this, and 50 other users love what @maincurator does. This would mean, by every vote @maincurator makes, a total of 50 other users will cast their vote within the same second. What if @maincurator follows me, loves my posts, and upvotes every single post I make? It would show that all my posts are getting the same votes within the same time span.

Does this imply my account is a 'fake, scammy' account? No. Does this mean many of those accounts got created just to suck away rewards and upvoting my own posts? No.


It is my belief this community is being poisoned by greed, hatred and envy from the new userbase towards the old userbase.

People are actually accusing and investigating such simple actions like proxified voting because they rather believe in conspiracy theories and assumptions than taking a look at steemd and acting with knowledge. Even worse is that those users are assuming they have the knowledge.

At a slow pace, we'll see the intellect and childish behavior of bitcointalk appearing on steemit.
If anyone ever has doubts about anything, talk to this community instead of spreading rumors around.

Knowledge is king.

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This was a really well-written article. I fully agree it's THEIR investment, their sweat, their idea, their money, their platform. They should do with it what they will. What they do to come up with a way to entice new users to increase its growth is up to them. Not us.

They can bot-vote whatever they want. If they think a user is consistent in producing great content, this scenario you have painted is worthwhile.

HOWEVER--I think it's a bit candy coated, don't you think?

Let me give YOU a scenario. Let's say @maincurator invents a blog account, uses a bot to write it, sometimes plagiarizes the material, dupes the public into thinking it is a real person, puts out mediocre content at best, encourages (and allows for) 10 automated fellow whale votes into the curation so it instantly trends, and repeatedly makes $1,500 to $2,500 on every single post, regardless of whether the content had any quality to it.

Would it not be easy to assume that the initial coded upvotes had little (or nothing) to do with content or appreciation for the content, or trust for the curator's choices in material, and had everything to do with the fact that there was money to be made, and the post was guaranteed a trend JUST BECAUSE of the votes that were banded together? Even if @maincurator upvoted a heap of dung, it would trend simply because they banded their votes together in a pseudo contract, if you will. So whales are not only whales now, but all of a sudden, they are giant, mega whales--the same way giant corporations merge.

And what if, for argument's sake, the platform was encouraging people to invest, giving them the impression that they, too, could trend just like this little account did?

And what if, again, for argument's sake, minnows came on board and dumped their bitcoin into the system, $10, $50, $500, $1,000 and so on, and they started noticing that they were not getting a return on their investment, despite writing great material. And they started noticing that not only do articles sometimes trend for trend's sake, but that some posts trend in a certain pattern (as stated above), and a lot of them are bot-written or plagiarized?

For the sake of THIS argument, wouldn't it be a healthy response for a minnow to be a little disillusioned at the very least, if not completely irate?

The questions of ethicality come into play here. Is it something we can still chalk up to "oh well, they invented the platform, they can do with it what they will" or are there some issues of misleading marketing going on?

I think in general, the content on here is good, the users have integrity--we work hard and mean well, the comments are worthwhile, and the community is great! And what's to stop every dolphin and fish out there from forming their own sock-puppet account and pumping out content they have no attachment to or belief in, but they have a few dolphins whose bots will vote on it automatically every time--so it trends?

This is already the case. But hypothetically, if EVERY account were to do this, there would be nothing left to feed off of. This is why I take an Atlas Shrugged approach:

A platform will only have as much as integrity as the greatest stakeholders give it, or as the owners give the greatest stakeholders.

If this was the plan all along, then it's a really ingenious plan. My hats off to the owners and original investors of this clever system.

Perhaps there is nothing wrong with teaming up for up votes. Even if it is gaming the system. Again, that IS how it all started around here---I just think it should be more transparent, or it takes away integrity of the place. And it certainly disillusions the wee folk.

As for me? I'm going to keep putting out good material, networking with real people, and boycotting sock-puppets for now. I like to think I'll keep that attitude as I grow.

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i like your last paragraph starting with 'As for me?' thanks.

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Thanks! I always like what you publish. You're always out for the little guy. I've been following you awhile.

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Let me give YOU a scenario. Let's say @maincurator invents a blog account, uses a bot to write it, sometimes plagiarizes the material, dupes the public into thinking it is a real person, puts out mediocre content at best, encourages (and allows for) 10 automated fellow whale votes into the curation so it instantly trends, and repeatedly makes $1,500 to $2,500 on every single post, regardless of whether the content had any quality to it.

Now, imagine if a whale did this...with multiple accounts. How would other users on the platform react if they were to find out it was actually happening? How would that affect the credibility of the platform amongst its own users? And do you think those users would encourage their friends and family members to join?

The concern is not that somebody is making more money than somebody else. The concern is that people with huge amounts of influence can create fake accounts in the first place and make them trend from their first post and each subsequent post - all for their own benefit, at the expense of actual, original content creators that are spending their time contributing to this platform and thinking that it's a fair playing field. It can do a lot of damage.

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How would that affect the credibility of the platform amongst its own users? And do you think those users would encourage their friends and family members to join?

I'll tell you what, it's certainly curbed my enthusiasm to share it. That's for darn tootin'. I don't talk about it as much. I'm not as proud to. I had a few people I was recruiting who are exceptionally successful, intelligent, well educated, independent-thinking individuals who I thought would be a good fit here. My brother for one, who owns an IT company and also writes for his own blog, a close friend from college, for another, who is an anti-statist, supremely skilled developer, with copious amounts of knowledge about every subject matter that would do well here.....and now all I tell them is, "Well....I take that back. Here's how it REALLY is, and if you're up for that, then take a swing at it." I don't want them coming on here and being like, "Becky, you're an idiot. This is a scam." because that IS what they would say.

I'm up for it. I think it just depends on the type. It's not for everyone. It's either for highly skilled developers who would DEV regardless, or highly skilled writers who would write anyway. Or highly skilled idiots who like taking advantage and would do it anyway.

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Very well written, and if you want investors, you have to give them something to invest in. I don't know everything, but I know there is a big school of whales, likely not bad people, who are giving the impression of Scamminess. It is now up to them, how to steer the ship away from that impression.

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@whatsup, why am I not following you? I'm always reading your posts, and they're always well written. So, consider yourself followed. When we're dolphins, we'll have to rally up. I think that's going to be the best approach on here.

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I thought the same thing, and followed you back! See you around SteemIt

Maybe this analogy will help the complainers:

I have a business. Through my hard work, effort and brains the business takes off and I have to employ people, many of whom who have never been employed and it is their first chance at earning an income. They see me buying a new expensive car with the proceeds of my hard work, and decide to strike as they do not have enough money to buy the same car.

I joined this platform 5 weeks ago. I have no knowledge of computer programming or cryptocurrency. All that is expected of me is to blog and network. I am rewarded for my efforts. I am happy. Why would I expect to earn the same rewards as the founders (hard work and brains)?

The petty jealousy defies all common sense, but money is involved, and money makes many people lose their minds!

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I agree with @onetree: I have no knowledge of computer programming, little experience with cryptocurrency. All I do is write and curate and help build up the community. And I get paid for it! I am rewarded for my efforts. I am happy. I'm not going to expect to earn the same rewards as the founders. Neither should anyone else.

HOWEVER, people coming on here DON'T KNOW that the majority of the trending posts are essentially founder-written and/or founder-curated. It's a raw deal if you think about it that way. It's all about expectations.

Maybe a little shifting of those expectations would help mitigate some of the sour grapes going on.

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This goes well beyond mere "jealousy." And it isn't just a problem with the vote timing. Steve appears to be arguing about something that he is completely unaware of. There is a pattern of what seem to be sock puppet accounts (plural) created by whales, voted by the same whales, curated by their other sock puppet accounts, sharing similar features and styles, etc.

There's no reason to assume that someone noticing these things is "jealous." It represents a serious problem for the platform if the system can be abused this way - especially by the most influential people on it. The issues with @mrron and @msgivings are only two examples (there are others) and we will likely learn about new ones soon enough. Please don't dismiss the questions or criticisms so easily. There is legitimacy to the concerns.

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This analogy...... it's centralized employment. People get upset I think largely because it is promoted as decentralized... open... all of that. I am sure a lot are upset by the money part, it's easy to be.

I think a good portion of the others are upset though because it seems to take away from growing the site. Direct the rewards where you want sure.... absolutely. It's just how it can appear at times, not saying that is what it is.

Biggest part though is the decentralized theme and having it not represented as easily or visually. Everyone wants the site to grow, but to a new user seeing a founder post about the status of the site who is making $1500 for reporting the status of the site. It looks and feels off, I understand currently there is no other way to make the post visible without trending it.

They could do like the MySpace guy and @dan and the crew are everybody's first feed I guess?

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There is nothing much to add ! I agree with you 100% @onetree I would not be here without those investors and I plan to keep my little bit of steempower I collect with very hard work , I do enjoy. Sometimes I feel to quit but why would I give up on myself and my efforts to contribute. I have learnt NOT to look for approval but so grateful for recognition. Your #namesinlight post about me yesterday still makes me smile and wanna make me stay for longer and see where this project leads up to. I wish it will survive and for more fairness and balancing in voting! I'm a bit worried about the upcoming hard fork because I still do not understand much to be honest.

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This is clearly a subject that invokes strong emotions. Steemit is first and foremost, an experiment, and we should be able to voice our opinions as we, as the users have a vested (ha!) interest in the continuation of the platform Clearly there is going to be abuse of the system, as it is too young for it to have a pre-solution for every issue that occurs.

It is our responsibility, as members with an interest in the continuation of this platform, that we address the often complex matters that arise in a cool, calm reasonable manner. The amount of whining here at the moment is off-putting.

I agree with @ats-david that this a decentralized platform, but it started from a centralized point, and it is only natural that the income will be concentrated there, initially, but may spread over TIME!

Clearly the "whales" (I actually loathe the ecosystem terms) will have a vested (another ha!) interest in growing Steemit, considering time and money they spent. Perhaps we need a forum to discuss issues in a MATURE way.

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YES,ok we are jealus of the group of whales and their clones,thats my answer to what you say
https://steemit.com/scam/@stell/i-am-happy-that-people-have-started-to-understand-what-is-going-on-here-thanks-to-me

This is a good post but let me add a few amplifications and one minor correction:

  1. In addition to what @steve-walschot wrote, the system is carefully designed so that having multiple accounts does not give you any advatange. This is different from other systems like reddit where having a bunch of sock puppet accounts means you can manipulate the voting and with upvotes and downvotes. When you see someone voting with 100 accounts because he was or is a miner and has stake split up across accounts (which can't be combined for two years), realize that those votes have no more influence (and in some ways slightly less) then if the same SP were combined into a single account.

  2. Authors are allowed (even encouraged!) to upvote their own posts. There is an option in the UI to automatically do it. One of the benefits to owning SP is influence over the posts (including your own) that get visibility and rewards, and this is supposed to be one of the reasons for people to buy SP! Do you (not you, @steve-walschot, the ones criticizing it) really want to advocate a position that means people have no reason to buy SP because it doesn't give them any influence they are allowed to use without being called manipulators or scammers or thieves? If so, what good is it? Why should it trade for more than zero? If you think it matters whether this is done with the same account or some number of different accounts, see #1 above.

  3. Technically speaking the proxy voting feature works only for witness votes, but generally speaking the point is still valid and there is even a service that will do this trail voting for you. It doesn't indicate anything improper. People are allowed to use their votes as they see fit including copying how someone else votes. If you think the number of accounts you see voting matters, see #1 above.

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@smooth

What is your take on accounts like @msgivings (or @mrron), where it was created and hit the trending page from day one, because of the influence of whales? Their votes created the popularity of that account, which was a sock puppet. The only reason it isn't active today is due to the fact that whoever ran that account screwed up and directly copy-pasted some content, which then drew over one hundred flags.

Now, what if this was happening across numerous sock puppet accounts, all being run by the same person/people, who happen to be a whale/whales? Would that not be a problem? Isn't that distinctly different from proxy votes? In that case, we're talking about both author and curation rewards going to the same person/people and the only reason they're getting those rewards is because the creators of the accounts are whales and can vote for them out of the gate. Multiple accounts, multiple rewards - all being influenced and paid out from the limited daily pool.

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Their votes created the popularity of that account, which was a sock puppet

I haven't seen any evidence of that. I saw a bit of 'plagiarism' (one line, perhaps there was more) by @msgivings but to me that whole incident regarding that account, including the extreme effort people put into looking for even one line of possible plagiarism from an obscure source looked very much like a witch hunt fueled by jealousy.

Do you have actual evidence that whale votes 'created the popularity' and that the account was a 'sock puppet' because I strongly suspect you are making unsupportable claims based on your own bias (and more than likely a bit of jealousy). That is exactly what this post is about.

In the case of @mrron, I never saw any misconduct at all other than possibly reposting pictures without a source, which is hardly an unusual practice on this platform (though certainly not encouraged). Did you? Again, it looked very witch-hunt to me.

I personally rarely if ever voted for @msgivings posts, but I actually liked the content, a lot. (I didn't vote for it because usually by the time I saw it, it was already well-rewarded. I think I may have once or twice and then removed the vote once the reward got very high.) From my perspective, the posts were reasonably well-written and had the right balance of being provocative without being clearly offensive. They indeed provoked a large volume of comment and discussion, with a mix between agreement and disagreement, mostly on the substance of what she was writing (with some hate against her mixed in but that wasn't the bulk of it). I guess 'quality' is always subjective but to me that the ability to spark that sort of engagement and active discussion is exactly what we want, and it brings value to the platform.

Multiple accounts

Did you actually read my comment? 'Multiple accounts' is completely irrelevant. People are allowed to have multiple accounts and allowed to vote for themselves or their favored writers or content. That is absolutely part of the value of SP as an influence token. If others disagree about the content adding value they should downvote the posts and this results in the original voter having wasted their vote power.

This system operates on a consensus vote system. I could certainly have downvoted every single one of @msgivings posts if I thought they were poor quality and not bringing value, and they would have earned relatively little (or nothing if others did this as well). I didn't because I didn't think they were poor quality. What (some) SP holders give, others can take away. If people holding SP disagree strongly about the value of a post, it doesn't get paid.

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Do you have actual evidence that whale votes 'created the popularity'

Yes. Within the first 3 minutes of posting, @msgiving's very first post received three whale votes. After 23 minutes, it picked up another two. It snowballed from there and repeated on each of her follow-up posts. If you look at the main whale votes on her posts, there is a voting correlation around 98% - over the course of 16 posts. I'd say that's a pretty obvious sign that her popularity and payouts were whale-driven. Either that, or she just had some spectacular luck. But don't just take my word for it - see the votes for yourself:

https://steemd.com/love/@msgivings/my-ideal-proposal

and that the account was a 'sock puppet' because I strongly suspect you are making unsupportable claims based on your own bias (and more than likely a bit of jealousy).

Well, it's convenient to dismiss actual concerns about the credibility of the platform as "jealousy," but no - my claims are not unsupportable. The great thing about this platform is that everything is visible. You just have to know what to look for. And I not only know what to look for - I have found what I'm looking for. Those findings will likely be known to everyone soon enough...that is, if certain involved whales don't flag it into oblivion.

'Multiple accounts' is completely irrelevant.

No, it really isn't. Not when these accounts are being created to purposely manipulate the daily rewards payouts and not when those payouts are being determined by the same whales who created the multiple puppet accounts. It is completely relevant to how the system is gamed by those who actually have the influence to game it with impunity. It's also completely relevant when the platform already has a credibility issue.

If others disagree about the content adding value they should downvote the posts and this results in the original voter having wasted their vote power.

Sure. We'll just have a group of minnows downvote a post that has been upvoted by a group of whales. That will certainly even things out. Maybe you're not understanding that this is a problem with whales. Only other whales can actually do anything about it. So, if I see a sock puppet account making $1000 on their posts, I can downvote all I want. But then my vote isn't going to do anything except maybe draw attention from the whales that are profiting from the account and the rewards. I can risk my reputation by doing this, but I'd rather see other highly-influential investors/users actually care that it's happening.

If people holding SP disagree strongly about the value of a post, it doesn't get paid.

See my previous response. It's the same situation. Only whales can counteract whales. If a group of them are behaving badly, then only another group of them can counteract it. Instead of calling everyone jealous, why not address the issue?

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Within the first 3 minutes of posting, @msgiving's very first post received three whale votes

Okay that is interesting and I wasn't aware of it. Yesterday someone made the same claim to me about @mrron and I looked and there was no early whale voting (nor much early voting at all) on his first post. So forgive me for being skeptical about these sorts of accusations.

As for the rest of your post, you still aren't getting that 'SP holders' make the decisions in this system, and that may include voting in ways that you don't agree with. Whether that happens to be split up into different accounts or not makes no real difference. That is largely whales, yes. 95% of the SP is very concentrated with a few owners, and with that degree of concentration absolutely nothing you say or do is going to make a difference, except make this a less pleasant environment due to constant complaining. Maybe this system can succeed given that reality, maybe it can't. I'm not really decided on that point. But if you think that is unacceptable, you should just leave. Whining about it won't change anything. It is changing over time, due to selling in the market, but slowly.

Instead of calling everyone jealous, why not address the issue?

Because there is no "addressing the issue" when 95% of the SP is owned by a few people. You either make the best of it, try to improve things around the edges given that reality, or you whine and complain and accuse all day long, making the platform worse and reducing whatever chance it has to succeed (constant bitterness and jealousy does not attract new users). I suggest their former, but I can't control what you do. I indeed would not blame anyone who started flagging you though, because voting is about what is bringing value to the platform, and your approach is not doing that.

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These sock puppet accounts (misgivings, hanai, mrron are only few exposed from at least a dozen). All these accounts have been instantly upvoted by the same 3 ultra whales within seconds of their very first post ever on Steemit. Then same pattern continued with their every next post. You can clearly see it in steemstats. That is self evident that these whales exactly knew in advance when these very first posts are going to be created. Also, it is obvious that they have not even read those first posts.
Now they try different technique since few days ago after we exposed this. They create sock puppet account and let it post 2-3 posts with no upvoting by them. Then they suddenly jump from 3-4th post and repeat similar pattern.
One of those whales even admitted to create some of these accounts in chatroom, defending that there is nothing suspicious behind them! We have screenshots of that conversation.
That's what I kept on trying to explain to Steve in conversation but he kept refusing to recognise this observation and kept talking about something else - changing subject to his defense of multiple accounts. There is nothing wrong with having multiple accounts. What matters is what you use them for.

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All these accounts have been instantly upvoted by the same 3 ultra whales within seconds of their very first post ever on Steemit

This is an example of the kinds of lies that are being spread as harmful and ignorant trolls like you continue to engage in a witch hunt. I'm not going to overlook it any longer and you are being flagged. See my response to @ats-david, which breaks down precisely the timeline of @mrron's first post and clearly demonstrates with objective facts that you are lying and spreading FUD.

If you are going to spew this venom, you're not going to do it without consequences on a platform where I have a vote, and I have one here. Troll elsewhere.

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To your response to me (thread limit)...

Yesterday someone made the same claim to me about @mrron and I looked and there was no early whale voting (nor much early voting at all) on his first post.

Except that's not accurate. There was early voting from silver and silversteem after only five minutes. After another 30 minutes or so, another three whale votes added to it. Again, this was his very first post and his subsequent posts garnered the same attention, only faster. Here's the link for his first post:

https://steemd.com/travel/@mrron/why-should-you-visit-pakistan

So, we have @mrron and @msgivings - two accounts that received early whale votes and received relatively large payouts over all of their posts. When they were challenged on their credibility, they just cashed out and left. They haven't been heard from since. It may be nothing - or it may be a serious abuse of the system that needs to be explored further. Either way, it's worth finding out for the credibility of the platform, isn't it?

As to the rest of your comment - it doesn't deserve a response. Coming from someone with your influence on this site, it's just disappointing and shameful.

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Except that's not accurate.

It absolutely is accurate and I'm mildly flagging your post because you are lying and engaging in a continued witch hunt.

The claim that was made to me was "within seconds". I looked yesterday and I saw what you saw. The first major vote within 5 minutes, then nothing (major) for 30 minutes and then most other large votes hours later.

There is absolutely nothing whatsoever about this record indicating any form of abuse and you are misrepresenting it and are making false accusations based on it. Five minutes for the first major vote is hardly right away. This is exactly the sort of timeline that is consistent what I've done nearly every day for the past five months in curation. I look at New, see posts that are quite new, say 0-5 minutes, sometimes voting them up after giving them a look. I look in Hot, and see posts that are a bit older (say 30 minutes), but have been gaining votes (this gives them a high ranking in Hot), and finally I look in Trending and see posts that have gotten a lot of votes (say in the past few hours) but I still consider worth additional votes.

They haven't been heard from since.

Yes most likely because you and people like you engaged in a witch hunt based on no real evidence, and they either quit or signed up under new accounts to escape the harassment (and I wouldn't blame them for doing either).

I'm sorry, but you are not adding value to the platform with this kind of abusive and hostile behavior toward new users, nor by constantly making false and misleading claims about some alleged abuse. It is more than anything a version of trolling and it has to stop.

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@smooth

The claim that was made to me was "within seconds".

OK. How am I supposed to know what the claim to you was? I was responding to you when you said:

I looked and there was no early whale voting (nor much early voting at all) on his first post.

There was in fact "early" whale voting. I'm not aware of every discussion you have on this platform, so sure - go ahead and flag my comment for that.

you are lying and engaging in a continued witch hunt.

Well, no, I'm actually not. It really isn't a "witch hunt" if it was demonstrated that there were in fact problems with those accounts. And, by the way, I didn't engage in anything of the sort while it was happening. I was aware of it, certainly, but it was not my doing.

There is absolutely nothing whatsoever about this record indicating any form of abuse and you are misrepresenting it and are making false accusations based on it.

Well, I'll just go ahead and let all of the other evidence do the talking once it's presented.

I'm sorry, but you are not adding value to the platform with this kind of abusive and hostile behavior toward new users, nor by constantly making false and misleading claims about some alleged abuse. It is more than anything a version of trolling and it has to stop.

I'm sorry that you see it this way. There are a lot of others who do not, including some very big whales. You'd be surprised by the support and what has already been turned up. It's undeniable at this point, and I really don't know why you wouldn't want to know about these things. But it's fine. I'll be sure not to engage with you any longer. You seem to be far more "abusive" and "hostile" than I've ever been - especially to you.

Good day.

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@ats-david

There was in fact "early" whale voting.

I do not consider 5 minutes, 30 minutes, and hours later to constitue "early voting" in any meaningful way. That is entirely typical voting for an active curator who closely follows New (which is hardly unusual) or for a voter who has delegated his voting to someone else (who follows New) and is mirroring their vote (common, but I didn't see obvious evidence of that here).

You are taking perfectly normal, common behavior, and spinning it into abuse, which it is not, selling it on the basis of jealousy and harassment of whales, and trying to impose your ideas of how others should vote. That is absolutely the definition of witch hunting.

Well, I'll just go ahead and let all of the other evidence do the talking once it's presented.

That would be a good idea, but then why are these accusations being made and why has this harassment occurred and continues to occur place before, as you acknowledge, the evidence is presented?

When and if you do present this evidence, it better be more solid than someone voting after five minutes.

"It is my belief this community is being poisoned by greed, hatred and envy from the new userbase towards the old userbase."

^ yup. Lot's of envy and jealousy over what the first-timers have that the rest of us don't, and then it breeds into expectations and demands to take what they have. Lots of socialist communist psychosis going on.

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Or just bad design with little or no decentralized governance ... oligarchs are not good stewards.

If anyone asks me my answer is always the same.
1.) I was paid to join!
2.) I'm having fun reading, learning, writing and earning!
3.) Where else do you have an opportunity like this? Facebook? No! Instagram? No! You spend time there too, their founders are super wealthy and you get nothing. Yet no complaining!
4.) I am determined to improve my writing and presentations, stay for the long term and see where it takes me.

@kus-knee (The Old Dog)

lol It's funny how people call scam when everything has been given to them for free. In fact, Steemit has given each new user about $7 for their account just for signing up. The only other thing they need to invest is time, energy, and good content. $7 (at least) is much more than Facebook or Twitter or Reddit has ever given us.

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Scam is when somebody took something from them. I dont think accusing the whales of scamming is a good idea because even if they voted themselves or their accounts, we have no right to question it.

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Yep, exactly. Especially when the questioning is coming from new users who have not taken the time to research or learn about the blockchain, cryptocurrencies, or have even read the white paper. They have also not built up a following of people who like their content.

This platform is built FOR us, not AGAINST us. The entire premise of @ned and @dan creating this social network is to give back to the writers and artists. The whales were here first. They have invested time and money into an unproved experiment. I am grateful for their work and their resources and they have every right to benefit from it.

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Right @mscleverclocks, who are we to question them, we came here for free and had given a chance to earn money by posting content and now that they are not earning, they will question the whales who did not vote their content?

Me, myself is longing to be voted by the whales but that doesn't mean I have the rights to question them if their not voting me.

While the small fry ranting where ours upvote ? Sorry they all went to their own bosses lol

People forget that some of the whales helped Steemit get started by investing. Of course they profit when the price goes up, but some will currently be on a loss. It's still early days, so we all stand to do well in the long run if it does succeed.

That said, I'm not in favour of voting just for profit. It should be about rewarding quality posts and I hope that is being done.

I see this article and the whales that upvoted it as :

"When a bunch of blowhards - usually politicians - get together for a debate but usually end up agreeing with each other's viewpoints to the point of redundancy, stroking each other's egos as if they were extensions of their genitals (ergo, the mastubatory insinuation). Basically, it's what happens when the choir preaches to itself. "

AKA Circlejerk

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Yeah, that's how I'm reading it too. His title says "investigating" and he talks about knowledge being power, but there doesn't appear to be any "investigation" and there appears to be a complete lack of knowledge about sock puppets and collusive voting.

Let's throw out the bot issue for a moment. Instead, let's focus on these sock puppets that have been likely created by whales, upvoted by whales from their initial posting, continually trending from whale votes, gaining popularity from that trending, and then cashing out once the accounts have been identified. And let's talk about the fact that this is currently happening across multiple accounts. Scroll through the trending page and see if you can identify them. It's not hard to do. They're all alike in a variety of ways. This needs to be publicly addressed at some point. Thousands of SBD per week are being funneled into these accounts.

It isn't cute. It isn't funny. It's going to do real damage to the credibility of this platform - and the longer it continues, the worse it will get.

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Circlejerk with a following herd of minnow compulsive sycophants

If I am an investor, I don't really care what work the founders of the company have done before I come in. I care about my ability to either A. Make Money, or B. A great Social Media site.

I don't care how or why the whales have the power they do, and I am all about people making money.

When you can't find a win/win situation, everyone loses. If the whales eat the whole pie, they will be eating it alone.
https://steemit.com/steemit/@whatsup/fighting-over-that-big-steemy-piece-of-pie-while-the-new-users-and-steem-prices-die

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This "When you can't find a win/win situation, everyone loses. If the whales eat the whole pie, they will be eating it alone." is my whole 40minute rant in one sentence.

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I love your rant!

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But what about RHW? It will continue?

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Yes, it will whatever happens.

The real problem we are dealing with is jealousy. Instead of people being happy with a few dollars they'v made, that unless they are incredibly famous elsewhere is more than they've made on all other social media accounts, they complain that others are making too much money.

Steemit doesn't even need to be monetized to be better than most other social media sites. It's great that @ned and @dan are sharing anything at all.

We are happy with the nice car we have until we see that someone else has a flashy new convertible. Instead of working to get that car most have come to the assumption that it's just not fair and that they should be entitled to their own flashy car.

The problem is not steemit at all. The problem is people's perception of "fairness." Notice that minnows that see the value of continued hard work tend to be far more successful than those who have early success and then instead of ramping up their content, keep it the same.

Hopefully people understand that hard work needs to be put in at some point, whether on steemit or another site to gain a following. Great content by itself will only be found slowly here. You are the brand and you need to advertise yourself.

Steemit is not get rich quick, it allows you to get rewarded for the amount of work you put in. I came in with no blogging experience, 0 followers on social media, few facebook friends and no idea how steemit worked.

All people have to do is get to know other people here and slowly craft unique content that engages people in some way. Repeat those steps and respond to comments and you will see success sooner or later.

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You have no actual clue what we are talking about here.
The issue is about sock puppet accounts created by few whales to multiply profits.

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Yes I know that. But I doubt you would care about this if you did not know about it, since you have $500 more than you did when you started.

I believe you are concerned with someone else's accounts because you feel it is unfair that they are voting the way they wish to.

All whales could only upvote their own content if they wish. It would be quite foolish, because without a sharing of wealth, steemit would quickly die and new users would not join if they were not able to make money.

I believe the heart of the issue is jealousy. You can disagree with me on that, but that is completely up to you.

To claim

You have no actual clue what we are talking about here.
The issue is about sock puppet accounts created by few whales to multiply profits.

is foolish. I have no problem with whales receiving more profits as long as everyone still has a chance to make money. Since steemit does not need to be monetized at all, I feel any rewards are simply a bonus.

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It is like saying that it is fine for corporations to become sickly rich and powerful as long as they give us jobs.
These specific whales need minnows on this platform only to cover up their scheme. If there were no minnows, it would be plain obvious what they do.

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That is exactly what I'm saying. How do you think facebook works? Or Google? The Wealthy investors make a lot of money and then hire people to take over certain aspects and then the majority of other people are putting in work for free.

Nobody is forcing anyone to stay on this platform though. If people are unhappy with it, they are free to go. I came in with 0 interest in blogging and have done pretty well for myself. I've made far more in my 2 months here than in ten years of all other social media combined.

There are flaws in all platforms, but if I could choose for there to be only one social media site, hands down I'd pick steemit. I'd dedicate more time to writing unique content and less on what whales do. But that is how I want to handle my time and you are free to continuing to go after whales that you feel are abusing their power. Human greed will always play a part any time money is involved. That is still the reason for my original comment.

I think steemit has done a pretty good job quelling to much vote gaming for the most part. I have plaenty of ideas that I'm sure would work far better than making a few sock puppet accounts.

ok you are discussing about if whale are scamming while being yourself some sort of a whale... Sorry that's totally irrelevant.

You just sound like a bad chill account lol

And quite frankly all these discussion concerning only the top 50 users (while there are now 100k users) shouldn't even be posted on steemit (and kept to the chat).
This is exactly that kind of discussion which makes you looks like scammer as it is mostly whales upvoting for support other whales (and getting out with 1000$ with a no effort/no interest post, while the user base try to write stories...)

So ban all these non sense post, and may-be people won't look at whale like scammers or see the platform as a little scammy...

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while being yourself some sort of a whale

I'm just a new user and started with 20SP not even 2 months ago. Everything i did so far, i achieved it by myself. We all have the same chances in this game. I'm merely a small baby dolphin. So no, i'm not a sort of whale.

as it is mostly whales upvoting for support other whales (and getting out with 1000$ with a no effort/no interest post, while the user base try to write stories...)

  • 400 votes, not even 5% of those votes from 'whale' accounts. This means another 95%, non whales, upvoted this as well. Or are you assuming 95% of the upvoters should not be considered as our 'user base', and consider this post as non sense ?
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400 votes, not even 5% of those votes from 'whale' accounts.

Well, to be fair, 70 of those votes are all from the same person's bot accounts. So, it's not like these are unique voters. Also - several of your whale votes are all the same person. So, we can't just look at vote totals and make any specific argument about them. What we do know is, you wouldn't have anywhere close to a $2000 payout if whales weren't voting for this. You'd be lucky to get $20.

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exactly, and that post is just a gentle pat in the back of the whale, to get some more
(don't forget to thank the badgers).

Also steemit isn't that old, so you got in there 2 months means, you got in there mostly at the beginning...

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Now I'm going to call you out bit here. Number of votes does not matter and likewise "5% of those votes" does not matter. Only SP matters. I really wish the UI would be updated to fix the bug it has of displaying a meaningless number (fortunately the "Hot" page was indeed fixed to avoid ranking based on vote count), but as long as it does, the knowledgeable members of the community such as yourself should avoid attaching some meaning to it.

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So it was the SP all along, not the votes nor the comments?

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"Hot" used to use votes, but that was broken and easily manipulated so it was fixed to use SP instead.

I too have been puzzled by the bitter sense of entitlement I've occasionally encountered here. I mean, even if the system is unfairly rigged to favor whales, so what? It's not like they're stealing preexisting resources. They invented the platform and the payment system and the currency. We choose to participate because we see a potential personal benefit, a benefit that didn't exist prior to a few months ago. It would seem more productive to figure out how it works and how to make it work for us. If it's not going to work for you, just move on to something that will.

With that said, sometimes complaining about it is a way to benefit, especially if the complaining post gets upvotes...

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And how do you actually know if these particular whales had anything to do with creation of Steemit?
Do you even have a clue about what 3 whales we are talking about?

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Who's "we"?

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Members of Steemit community who have figured out this scam.

Well I come here to write, I'm actually getting more experienced, I also come to read what other people post, there are some posts I find great and I up vote them and sometimes comment, there are some other posts which I find not so good, so after I read them I just ignore them and do nothing more, and there are some I don't agree with, sometimes I comment about why I disagree.
Do I want to make some money here, of course I do, everyone wants to make money regardless of what they say, that's why we are writing here, if not we could comment on Facebook.
As for the whales I couldn't care less about what they do, they were here first, they invested heavily so I am in no position to complain about them. In any case there is nothing I can do about them so why worry? Just try to have a good time and just maybe write an article that will be a hit and you get a good reward.

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Nice thought @gduran, aside from learning we also wanted to earn. The whales came here first and if they have grown enough to be a super whales its because they had spent so much time in the community way before us and even invested huge money.

Its their investments, its their money and we have nothing to do about it. Lets just be glad if they voted for us.

WELL DONE!

You win today's "Protecting the Masters" prize!

The multiple accounts to suck rewards accusation had nothing to do with pre-launch or early-days multiple accounts, the individual that floated that was talking about what happened since, and what is happening now.

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Protecting the masters got him £2000, speaking truth to fact has got you $0.01, Here, ladies and gentlemen is the problem! The masters are the only ones that can pay anybody on this platform, and that truly sucks. But, lets be sensible, other than the elephant in the platform has potential. It's just a shame that the founders are trying to extract so much, so soon.

Knowledge? It's as simple as this, Steemit is 'supposed' to pay users based on the popularity of their content. Steemit does NOT do this. When upvoting users are 'Supposed' to upvote things they actually like, however they are 'NOT' rewarded for this, instead curators are incentivised to gamble on what will be popular and upvote at 30 minutes. A charlie Shrem vote about a toilet break will earn $500, but an interesting blog post about being a goat farmer in Mongolia will earn $0 if the persons account is ranked under lvl40. The faults in the system are OBVIOUS, however they benefit the people currently in power (the whales) so nothing will change. Steem will continue to trend downwards, until a rival comes along that is fairer and I promise you, all these 'steemians' who 'love' this platform so much and are pleased with their $10 posts containing ACTUAL CONTENT, will jump ship for the next thing, and then Steemit will die just like Myspace did. I'm not jealous or bitter. I have enough money to enjoy life, I joined Steemit because its an idea without equal, however much like bitcoin, Ethereum and Dash, the real important issues are being dictated by a privelidged few. currently I've not seen a system that deals with this early adopter problem, but I'm sure one will be developed soon. And when it is 'Loyalty' will be the only thing that platforms like Steemit will have to keep people. Like Chris Brown said 'These h*£s aint loyal.

While the statements you've responded to were in need of addressing, I think some of the mistrust is coming from accounts like @mrron. From the comments on that account's posts, it's obvious the community smells something fishy, but the posts trend anyway without seeming to have the content or support to justify it. When members can tell something isn't right and yet can't find explanation and don't know who to ask, it can snowball into crazy theories.

I'm not saying that's what happened in this case, but I think that @steemship's call for a communications specialist will help a lot in making members feel they have someone they can ask. Trust is key right now. Recognize that "spreading rumors around" is what it looks like when people who are upset are trying to" talk to this community." The "accusing and investigating" are emotionally loaded attempts to self-inform. They are a good thing, I think. Much better than members leaving in a huff and spreading misinformation outside of Steemit. With someone caring and experienced with Steemit to look into things and explain in non-jargon, members will come to feel they have a voice and won't get so shrill.

Did anybody notice the lack of solid arguments from the author of this post? How is that someone stating "knowledge is king" (?) is not throwing a single logic/technical/whatever argument? @steve-walschot this posts is totally subjective. You are just missing the point of the matter, may be because you are so busy joking. Lots of people are smelling something. Being it true or not, it wasn't here before. Could you explain without teasing or mocking how knowledge-is-the-king is related to distributedness, or better said, decentralization?. Im seeing little features of those published in the awesome Steem Whitepaper. Steem still has a lot of future anyway. But theres no need to be arrogant.

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And please double check with yourlogicalfallacyis.com just in case.

You are right @steve-walschot, super whales are business man and there here for business. They dont just come here and invest millions for nothing. We have no right to question there action because its their money not ours.

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Then maybe they should just get rid of all the users who are not whales. In the end they can just perpetuate their scheme without need for anyone else here on this platform.
Unless they need minnows to make their scheme look legit by pretending that every minnow has a chance too by feeding them an illusion of American dream in Steemit style and doing random charity upvoting.

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I can understand your sentiments @logic because I myself is not earning like what many does here. I am also longing to be voted by the whales because its not easy to create a good quality articles and then just lost under the sea but we came here for free, nobody force us to join here.

Let's just refrain from expecting too much and enjoy the platform.

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I was tempted to join by false advertising. I had no clue that my role here was majorly to help these specific whales to shade their profit driven scheme. Not all whales are like this. Only specific few.

can you explain this please, 100 accounts with the same names upvote : http://imgur.com/pk3WLnI

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Clearly proxified account.

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this is why I have stop posting on steemit and come time to time to only read some posts

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Those accounts are all me. They were mined, I bought them from the miner. Both were happy with the deal. It cost me a lot to buy those accounts. Because of the rules of the blockchain I can't combine them for 2 years. Maybe if enough people worry about the appearance, then the Steem developers will find a way to allow us to combine accounts more quickly, like 30 days.

I figure by voting with all of them and getting people such as yourself to voice "concerns", the founders will do something about combining accounts.

@steve-walschot

There are two sides of the coin here and this is why I upvoted two different comments that express it, but not your post.

[—1—]The first side is the point you make where indeed we live in a free-market and the people who pioneered are rewarded. No problem with that since they spread the earnings to the rest. We are all thankful for this.

[—2—]The second side is focusing more on the ideology of Steemit and this is where most people lost their shit. It was advertised as decentralised, even anarchic but it is not. It has no difference from oligarchy and plutocracy.

...

Which brings us to the 3rd and most important point. If people see that it is basically a scheme, no different than the one in the outside world then they won't buy into it.

I explain both of these points in a past article

https://steemit.com/anarchy/@kyriacos/no-steemit-is-not-anarchic-so-what-is-it

Whales writing about whales! What next? You've got 13K SP mate! YOUR A WHALE! With reputation of 66, please don't condescend to us minnows! I can see through ya! I've been on here a while mate!

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13k SP makes someone a whale??? Last time i checked distribution on Steemd.com, being a whale needs 230k. My upvote only counts for like 0.10 SBD... I'm not a whale, by far. Not even an adult dolphin!

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Whales telling whales who is a whale? Whatever next? Anyone with 10k+ SP is a whale - most minnows know that - and I know that. Valid points made in your article though ;)

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We have a semi-official definition to avoid this discussion :D A whale starts at 330k SP by now.
https://steemd.com/distribution?fishy=yes

Whatever the debate is, there is no denying the fact that whales wield strong voting power. We minnows have very little influence which is very frustrating. #minnowsunite

Ok we are jealus of you all that you earn money :),but i havent seen any of you earn anyting you just keep writting here in the hope the whales give you a penny.
Dont worry the good whales will pity you and give you some money...

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yes ..for this to continue we have to just shut up, keep putting out our beggar signs appeasing and glorifying the STEEMIT gods, in hopes that one day they grace us with their attention.

Fuck that I say! First thing they need to do to remedy the situation is make the smallest vote of those with min decent reputation, worth more than ZERO CENTS. People with good reps and average SP when they vote, it does not even make 1 cent of difference.

The whales making their friends n family rich does absolutely nothing for the vast majority of us ..no matter how much perverted stats the wannabes are posting. The value of SP is dropping because the nouveau riche are cashing it all out ..we see this and are NOT BUIYING

if you are talking about me you should give my links my friend so that people read themselves what you are talking about
https://steemit.com/scam/@stell/why-i-think-steemit-is-a-scam-2
https://steemit.com/steem/@stell/why-i-think-steemit-is-a-scam

After one year is the whale envy still as bad as you say it is?

Posted using Partiko Android

great post
thanks for covering this

Thanks for the information. It seems that Steemit is a great platform...not perfect as nothing is. Let's not wound our own!

Steemit is not a scam. I am glad you cleared this up! :) KNOWLEDGE IS KING ;)

Question, how much steam power do you need at minimum to be a whale?

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I think you meant to say whale not wale throughout your article.

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Shiat yes! Seems like grammar check changed all whales with wale :D Thx for pointing out

What a crock. If someone is found to be manipulating the system by using a "whale" account to vote for something posted by one of his other accounts, it's fraud.

Your analogies are ludicrous. You're not only condoning scammers, trying to make it seem like they're not doing anything wrong.

Who taught you how to spell 'whale'?

I laughed away too much with the 3rd statement lol.

great post.....so trueI have seen this too !

This is beyond excellent. I don't think negatively enough to conjure some of the questions you addressed, but I have thought similar things and had to remind myself of the very points you brought up.

I think the main problem is everyone has a scarcity mentality. The ones who thrive here are the ones who believe there is more than enough to go around and share our content freely with the community.

Phenomenal content throughout this entire discussion

Good sum up, makes perfect sense.

I for one would be totally exhausted running another account, and what i mean is, having how many more accounts? My hat is off to any person who could even think about having one more internet account in life: i would like less. So rock on multiple account holders, you are strong