HF22 came out for a certain category of Steem users as a long-awaited and quite necessary upgrade, and for others it was a real "Steem Coronavirus", which put them to the ground. Those in the first category were delighted to find, after this upgrade, a much cleaner platform, free downvotes to use when needed, totally independent of the voting power that was used, before, when you dropped a flag for any post, and bid bots smiling, who now vote for you without asking for any money in return.
The second category I refer to, the one that had to face what could be the Coronavirus for spammers, also called HF22, is what we all call this network as simply spammers. Some people understand them, others don't. Some accept them, and others do not, but it seems that for a short period of time, some several months, they went into hibernation. The avalanche of downvotes that hit them after HF22, burying them alive almost entirely.
For some time however, it seems that these spam commentators have begun to reappear, and this, I have noticed not only on my blog, but also on the blogs of other people I follow. This kind of spammers rarely post anything, and they are generally users who come from countries with a weak economy, driven by the earning opportunity that Steem offers. All they produce for this blockchain are comments that have nothing to do with the posts the comment one, and in some cases these comments contain only one or two thumbs up, and nothing more... I have a few screenshots that I am uploading here, to portray some of these comments, from posts of mine, recorded in the last week. You rarely get an upvote from such users though, and most of the time those are worthless, because their voting power is insignificant.
Those who have been here around the time of 2017-2018 bull run, as active users, when Steem token had a much higher value in dollars, know very well this kind of users. Just then, as now, they imagined, that if they drop a useful information or nice post type of comment, they will receive upvotes that would bring them a dollar a day, or even more. Rarely were the cases in which they succeed, and although they seemed to be exterminated, it seems that they survived... or rather, they were resurrected.
We could look at this situation as the beginning of a new bull market, considering that their density was at the highest levels during that period, but that would be a nice lie to ourselves, meant to make us ignore them. However, they are here, just like those ones who cast -10% downvotes with 15 SP, on dozens of posts daily, both cases in my opinion, create a bad image for Steem, and bring nothing more than noise and fake traffic to this platform.
Yes, it is true that many of us have been vocal about dozens of times that a successful social network is determined by both the number of users and the traffic registered by it, but do we really need, or want such users? Not really... I used, not really as an answer, instead of exclaiming a bold NO, because I think that sometimes problems can be solved without removing certain diseased organs.
What are the potential solutions for this situation though?
Given the free downvotes that HF22 has made available to all users, we could start by using them to close their mouths, but that would be practically an act of extirpation. An extirpation that will decimate the number of users of the platform, which will cause these spammers to sell even the last Steem they own, and leave the platform, and last but not least, traffic will definitely be reduced. A possible solution, with quite immediate effects, but aggressive at the same time.
Let's say I have some empathy for such people and I understand their position from which they distribute this kind of comments, served in bulk. They are people who are probably trying to make a few bucks a month by milking the "Steem cow", but they do it in a ruthless way. Most probably, these are not native English speakers, just like myself, though in their case it is very difficult to read a 700-800 words post, understand it, and submit a comment with a minimal connection with the subject discussed in the post.
Thus, the simplest solution in trying to milk the Steem cow, is to create several types of standardized comments, which are generally appreciation and congratulation type ones, and to distribute them ruthlessly, to the left and to the right, generally towards users whom they consider as "high reputation ones", that they could get some upvotes from. So, what is the mildest solution to this problem, which I propose?
I would rather turn the water into wine, instead of boiling it all, until it evaporates, and I'm going to educate this kind of spammers. How? Responding to their comments, not in a harsh way, but rather inviting them to put a minimum effort to understand what that post is about, which they are preparing to comment on, and then resort to a last effort in creating a comment, a meaningful one, not just spam. This way, I think they would have much more to gain, than to lose.
Didn't you just say that they don't understand English well?
Yes, it is true I said that, and for this type of situations, google translate is available on both desktop and mobile. If they have the time to cast left and right, meaningless comments, which add no value to their activity, means they have time to translate a post, see what it is about, and then write a comment, related to the post, as much as possible. Consequently, from now on, I will follow such comments on my blog, and try to educate these people, to help them, not to destroy them. Truth be told, I couldn't destroy them, even if I'd want that.
I am aware that not all of them are real life dudes, and that some are mere bots, but I hope that the no-bot ones will answer my request to educate them, and to transform them into true active users of this platform, and not just simple parts of a dead traffic, on a blockchain that is as alive as possible. What about you though, have you noticed the comeback of such users, what do you think about the situation, and how do you approach it?
I decided to face paint the users on the above screenshots, because I don't like pointing fingers, and putting people to the wall. I am addressing a problem, and hopefully, finding a solution to it...
Thanks for attention,