Why should anyone have the power to reduce another person's pay-out?

3 months ago

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I wrote a detailed whaleshares/steem comparison a few days ago and was immediately flagged 8 times on steem by @berniesanders (who also sent a very large picture of some poo) not because I used him as an example of what happens when the power concentrates in the hands of a few but because he felt as if he needed to "protect people from shitcoins run by scammy trash". So he says.

I am not interested in talking about his comment in this moment but I will say that you need not concern yourself with the validity of his words.

What I would like to talk about here is the conversation bernie & I went on to have under my post and where the thought process led me.

To clarify, I had received a 100% upvote from @stellabelle with a lovely little endorsement to go with it.

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Thank you Stella but I will never know what your 100% upvote tastes like because bernie did his best to make sure I received nothing.

Thank you Whaliens!

Before I go any further I want to say an even bigger thanks to this community for the way in which you have supported this same post here on Whaleshares. Needless to say I would be feeling much more hard done by in this moment if it wasn't for you lot, so... thank you 🙏🏻

The bernie conversation

Caught up in the passion of it all I described the reality of my situation which is that I rely on steem to feed my family.

Appealing to his better nature was always going to be a long shot and yep, not a chance.

Somewhere in our brief conversation, which I ended when he became too aggressive, he said the following words to me:

I'm not sure you understand the concept of freedom.

I thought about this for a moment and concluded that he was probably right.

So I looked it up.


  1. The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants.

  2. The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.

Point 1 seems clear but there is a certain amount of ambiguity around being imprisoned or enslaved. We don't need to be physically imprisoned to be in a prison. Mainstream media does this very effectively without our awareness.


The flagging question

Here we are on the cutting edge of new age social media, seeking a system which is fair & censorship free. Whaleshares have made it x3 times more expensive to use our flag here, which is a great improvement on steem.

With this adjustment only the mega whales will care about flagging someone into oblivion as bernie so kindly did to me.


We are still just talking about money here.

Those with the most can mess with those with the least by essentially de-monetising certain topics. Bernie has made it abundantly clear he doesn't like me shilling whaleshares on steem and he has the power to reduce my rep to 0 ensuring I never see a single pay-out again, should he choose.

This brings me back to that 2nd definition of freedom. I am not physically being imprisoned or enslaved but I am being manipulated to the will of another and this in my mind means I am not free.


Why can't we eliminate the ability to reduce pay-out with a flag?

Perhaps just a big red flag in the top corner so that all may know it has been flagged?

I imagine there must be a logical answer to this question which in this moment I cannot see. Perhaps someone might be able to enlighten me?

It seems to me that while this feature remains (in whatever form) in the end we will still have our high powered bullies running amuck unchallenged.

Eliminating the feature altogether must surely be the only way to guarantee this cannot happen here?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this.

In other news

An old friend made his first post here today and I would like to direct you towards it for he is a very special kind of man who I am proud to call my friend. Creator of the Steemit Mastermind Group and so much more, please welcome @kenistyles



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Who is @samstonehill?

He was a London based filmmaker until he sold everything and set out on a barefoot journey around the world, currently based in the south of France.

He is travelling with his partner & two children and with no bank account he has been living on STEEM & crypto for over a year.

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I can’t bare other people dictating to me how I will or won’t use the platform or what I will and won’t say, think or believe and I’m willing to make 0 £ from that freedom lol. If I can’t be authentic I would rather not be in the platform at all. Most of these ppl who do it add barely any value to the site anyway. I havn’t looked in ages but Bernie’s posts used be nothingness and just whinging about other people rather than creating quality content when I last checked out his page.


I did have a quick scan of his page yesterday and saw nothing of interest. No big surprise really.

He seems like very unhappy guy.

Still, here we are on whaleshares... free to be free!


not yet but I have some guy on me doing the same on WS luckily he's not as big as Bernie yet hahahaha

Bernie if he does have talent or awesome stuff to share isn't bothering, he's covering up the fact that he has zero to offer the platform by going around and pretending he's policing it I imagine, I have'\t seen anything otherwise to suggest different/ I think mostly these ppl doing this are deeply unhappy and trying to exert their ego over others because they don't feel worthy.

Good morning from Thailand buddy 🙏 Thanks for the shout out and my impressed face of the flagging of @samstonehill LOL! Getthim frickkin WS hippies hahahaa!!✊

To be fair that @bah says I agree with, in short, it is what it is and because of it we have a new happier home to play in. For that I'm thankful and forward focusing I'm sure playing in both sandpits will reveal it's own treasures (or grumpy cat poo's)

Either ways man, I always love and appreciate how you break things down for the every man to grasp these sometimes complicated situations.

You're doing great leading by example and teaching as you go, keep sharing bro! 🐳💯


Yo yo yo!

It is an interesting subject I hadn't much considered till this moment. And I find myself wondering now... where is the evidence that a no down-vote system doesn't work?

Anyway, I am absolutely not in a position to complain and super grateful for both steem & whaleshares.

Having recently come to understand the whaleshares mission better, I thought I would throw this one out there and see what came back ;)


The first thing we need to define is "work".

it still comes in handy for cases especially involving plagiarism and spam, and was used recently when one user recently even removed watermarks and copy/pasted another users content into their own post!

You might have also noticed @bottyguard not flagging, but calling people out for plagiarism and spam and such in the comments.

However, if those people just don't give a crap (such as bernie), it really doesn't have much effect, except to hopefully dissuade others from rewarding it.

There have been many talks of possible community action guilds and other initiatives, and if they pan out, perhaps at some point they just may be able to replace flagging altogether.

For now though, we can at least be comforted that there is no one so powerful on Whaleshares that they cannot easily be "normalized" by the community as a whole, which in itself is a huge difference.

How many 50K SP accounts would it take to counter bernie on STEEM? On whaleshares, a 1% stake would be around 260,000 WHALESTAKE, which could be relatively easily counter-balanced by means of a small community outrage initiative... lol

finally, on the subject of @berniesanders exerting his freedom, it felt worth repeating part of my comment on the subject vis-a-vis my last post:

Freedom of speech is also me having the ability to flag this post, which I will do shortly.

@berniesanders also appears "blissfully oblivious" to the difference between exerting his own "freedom of speech", versus his ability to unilaterally exert his own power over others to completely shut down anyone he disagrees with.

However, given the real Bernie Sanders is a die-hard socialist / communist who owns THREE HOMES, whose wife bankrupted a university in Vermont...

Well, I suppose it does make sense that @berniesanders would also support a government entity exerting its own power "freedom of speech" to shut down another person's voice.

Until, of course, it ever happens to him... 😱 😭


Yeah, He had a post from about 2 years ago where he was boo hooing that @iflagtrash flagged him, playing the victim over his own bot flagging him. When I confronted him, he knew better than to flag me. His bot auto flagged me, unbeknownst to me at the time, for a few times, sometimes a day sometimes 3, and it generally would get me more payout had he, not ben flagging and definitely more eyes on me.


That is really interesting to learn! Thanks for this.


Thanks for this Alex. Had no idea users were going to such extremes to plagiarise other people's work!

I can see clearly how whaleshares is in a much better position than steem to combat this and can only imagine how Bernie's story would quickly reverse itself if it did ever happen to him!

Because then plagarists can earn for plagarizing, abusive self voting will never be checked and it will prominently be displayed for everyone to see without anything that anyone can do, in the end hurting the overall value of the platform as people will see this as a ponzi scheme, people paying themselves from a shared reward pool meant for everyone.

Saying that you're not free because people will downflag you is the same as saying you're not free to speak your mind because people will disagree with you or jeer and boo at you, or saying that you're not free to express yourself because people will judge you and denounce you. Downvoting and Upvoting is Curation. That is why it should firstly be considered in that way, so saying that why should people not be able to rate things with zero or one star or in any such comparable way is saying the same as why should people downvote. Low reviews cost money for those who receive them the same way that downvoting costs rewards.


Hey there! Long time no see. Wasn't it you who alerted me to some of the backstory on Krishnamurti?

Thanks for breaking down this answer. I do see what you are saying but I am still wondering where is the evidence that a no downvote system doesn't work? If people want to self vote or plagiarise shouldn't they permitted to do that? It is up to us as curators to decide where the reward pool goes, which also means where it doesn't go.

Here on whaleshares everyone can see clearly who we are voting for so in the end curators will get wise to those who are playing the system and things should even out without the need for downvotes?

Am just shooting out ideas really. This is not a subject I had considered much prior to this.


If plagiarists want to plagiarize freely they can, all that changes is that with the current system it's not incentivized and same for self-voters.

If we rest on indirect action, yes sure that we get to decide where the reward pool goes to and where it doesn't but direct action is required to curate effectively and not give out the impression that this is a haven for anything and everything.


Now that I am thinking about plagiarism I am wondering why it is persecuted at all? Other than for legal reasons. When I am researching an article it is very rare that I read an original document. They are copies re-posted by people looking for hits on their site. Which is fine because it gives the article a wider audience and makes it easier to find.


There's absolutely nothing wrong with copying, but there's a big difference between claiming someone's work as your own and crediting the original author.

Plagiarism is simply a lack of integrity. We shouldn't incentivize it because we endorse the use of blatant lies to distribute information. Incomplete information instead of information without omission or alteration of important details is unprincipled to furthering information and inquiry.

Also, I see you used the tag Censorship. Calling curation censorship is the same as calling self defense premeditated murder because it devalues the act and its justification completely while consequently asserting that content that was curated as hidden is altered or changed or suppressed systemically. Censorship is systemic, and systemic doesn't equate to one person or a group of people curating content but a protocol which effectively suppresses to where theres no way to receive or access the information. It spits in the face of what both steem and whaleshares functions as.


I threw in the censorship tag in the last moment and can see now it was perhaps not the right word. It is more of a feeling like I am being censored when my post looks like this on steem:

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But technically speaking it isn't censorship. The information is still there, though less people will likely read it.

What if bernie decided that no one on steem could promote whaleshares? He could effectively de-monetise every post on the subject and in time no one would write about it. Isn't this a form of censorship?


I think more people do I always go to the grey posts firsts as they will obviously be the most interesting haha


haha! Excellent. I hadn't thought about it this way ;)



but then I am a rebel! maybe they are not all like me but I'm straight to the grey comments hahahah


Exactly why despite whales flagging my comments they would only make people intrigued and interested to see what was "forbidden". I'd refer to their flags as " mystification cloak" and "mystery spell".


No, it's nor, its a form of weeding out the driven from the ones merely interested. Nothing is stopping them from speaking their mind or publishing their thoughts. If authors were told that nobody will publish their work, and they still could self-publish, that wouldn't be censorship, yes it would de-incentivize writing about that subject but not everyone works to sell books, some work so they can write and share their writing.