The Hivewatchers & Spaminator Operational Proposal

in #hive10 months ago (edited)



THE DATA

Since the start of the successful funding of Hivewatchers proposal in August 2020, we have accepted 5192 reports of which 5024 reports have been accepted as valid abuse which falls within the scope of Hivewatchers work.
Tens of thousands of Hive Dollars have been returned to the reward pool from these abusive posts.

  • 2819 reports for Plagiarism
  • 66 reports for Identity Theft/Deception
  • 365 reports for Photography/Art/Image Plagiarism
  • 374 reports for Copy & Paste
  • 1103 reports for Spam
  • 237 reports for Unverified Identity
  • 41 reports for Comments' Spam
  • 20 reports for the category "Other"

During this period, we have also verified the identity of 313 users and have given them @hivebuzz verification badges.

The break down of downvotes:

Hivewatchers

  • Number of downvotes: 957
  • VP: 89520%

Spaminator

  • Number of downvotes: 1643 (with autodust votes below 1% 80001)
  • VP: 129808% (with autodust votes 153072%)

Steemcleaners

  • Number of downvotes: 1078
  • VP: 93174%

ADM

  • Number of downvotes: 8679 (with autodust votes below 1% 13288)
  • VP: 153521% (with autodust votes 153616%)

THE HIVEWATCHERS

Hivewatchers provide consistent and scope-based anti-abuse services to the Hive ecosystem. Our prime focus is fighting fraud directed at the Hive Ecosystem and its communities.

Fraud includes any form of deliberately misleading activity or deception aimed towards monetization or other malicious goals.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Fraud can be defined as:

1a: DECEIT, TRICKERY
specifically: intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right
was accused of credit card fraud
b: an act of deceiving or misrepresenting: TRICK
automobile insurance frauds
2a: a person who is not what he or she pretends to be: IMPOSTOR
He claimed to be a licensed psychologist, but he turned out to be a fraud.
also: one who defrauds: CHEAT
b: one that is not what it seems or is represented to be
The UFO picture was proved to be a fraud.

In relation to Hive, Fraud refers to any and more of the following:

  • Identity theft
  • Identity deception
  • Plagiarism (text, image, art)
  • Malicious deception
  • Phishing/malware links

What are Hivewatchers?

Hivewatchers project first and foremost aims to fight the fraud and the exploitation of the Hive Ecosystem. Users who engage in one of the above activities get a comment on their posts. The comment usually links to the original source of the content they have presented as their own. The comment offers a very succinct educational point.

Users who engage in identity theft or identity deception are immediately added to the ban list (also known as a blacklist). This is because, in identity-related cases, there is always an innocent victim who may have severe personal consequences if the perpetrator isn't stopped.

Users who either refuse to acknowledge that fraud is wrong and continue to carry on with it, eventually get added to the list as well. That time varies depending on multiple factors.

For many users that ask to come to talk to us, it is the only time they get to chat with other Hive members. Often, they themselves have been victimized by those who have scammed or misled them and ask for help. Many stay in touch long after their appeal is up or question answered.

Hivewatchers rely on the community to locate instances of fraud and report them. Community members submit their reports anonymously on our website at http://hivewatchers.com and, should their reports be accepted as valid and correct, receive a small payment of appreciation. We manually check every report to make sure it is within our scope and is accurate. The comments from Hivewatchers are all manually published (although they are templated for consistency).

Background

Hivewatchers were originally Steemcleaners. The project was started in 2016 by @Anyx who, as a Ph.D. student, was troubled by all the plagiarism and fraud he saw on Steem. He created @cheetah, a hands-off similar content bot, and then formed Steemcleaners. Many people have joined in along the way and have spent time in the role of a Steemcleaner. Those of us who are part of Hivewatchers now are not the founding members and cannot speak of the project's full history as some of it is beyond our knowledge.

When the Steem blockchain was lost during the hostile takeover that gave birth to the Hive ecosystem, Hivewatchers was born.

Infrastructure

The Hivewatchers service is more complex and robust than it looks. This section is here for general information and is not related to this proposal.

http://hivewatchers.com is a ruby site hosted alone on a VPS. It has a bridge that allowed it to post directly to the Hive chain.
The bot that writes the automated comments is hosted on an entirely different server and is hands-off. It is commanded only through on-chain interaction. It is currently disabled but we plan to enable it again.
The ban list/blacklist is issued on-chain through commands. They are then parsed and channeled through multiple redundancies to ensure that if any hacking occurs, the list is unaffected.
Additional servers and scripts exist for Cheetah and Spaminator but are not related to this proposal.

Risks

You may guess that fighting fraud is not always popular. We have gotten every type of threat and form of harassment. Most users are good people and the educational part of Hivewatchers is perfect for them. However, organized scammers are different. They enter the ecosystem with a clear intent to exploit, scam, deceive, and steal and they create approaches that can rival some corporate business plans to do so. When caught, they fight tooth and nail and resort to everything under the sun. Being a member of Hivewatchers is a thankless and dangerous job.

Proposal

Type of Proposal: Hive service, non-tech operational, and labor costs
Technology: Partial OS

Time and Commitment

Hivewatchers is a part-time job at best, a full-time job during peak times. Complex investigations, particularly ones involving multiple victims and accounts, can take days. Helping users can take anywhere from a minute to an hour per person. Assisting another project can take an hour or over a day. Processing reports always takes hours. Maintaining the infrastructure takes time. It all adds up.

Average time commitment per 7-day week: approximately 49 hours divided between three people.

49 / 7 = 7, rounded up to 7 hours per day, every day of the year.

Current Ask

We are asking for 105 HBD per day. This ensures that our current three members and daily reporters are paid for their time and dedication, and the service can be supported (100 HBD per day), and also to cover operational costs of The Spaminator (5 HBD per day).

Project Maturity

Phase 1: Establishment

The project is 4 years old and this phase has long been completed.

Phase 2: Technical Maturity

The Hivewatchers reporting frontend platform, backend processing platform, list servers, and all supporting technology have already been funded, paid for, and donated by the team.

Phase 3: Evolution and Ongoing Operations

Hivewatchers must continue to operate as per normal while completing this phase. Included in this phase (but excluded from the above funding request) are:

  • Documentation development hours (documentation is ongoing and will be released shortly in due course)

  • Liaison hours

  • Server, script, bot, and site upgrades

  • Related servers

  • This proposal is to fund the ongoing operations only. All additional task hours or costs will be donated out of pocket by the Hivewatchers team.

  • If unfunded.
    If unfunded, the service may explore alternatives for funding.

We are aware that many organized, malicious scammers are eagerly waiting for Hivewatchers to lose funding. We will never let anything prevent us from stopping an identity thief, among others.

Final Thoughts

Hivewatchers have been around for years in different forms and are always evolving. We appreciate your support, your feedback, your criticism, and your collaboration. Thank you for considering our funding proposal.


SPAMINATOR

Spaminator is an anti-abuse and anti-exploitation project designed to restore funds back to the reward pool.

Financial Ask

  • $50/year x 2 domain names (Hivewatchers and Spaminator, keeping them together for the sake of simplicity)
  • $10/month for the servers that host the bots and API
  • $100/month for maintenance of infrastructure and misc costs such as IP address(es) (including Hivewatchers infrastructure)

Total: $1370 / year

Why is there a slight increase? One of the old servers had to be lifecycled and was replaced by a more powerful machine.

Notes

This is a no-usage labor costs proposal. The maintenance costs above are purely for a developer who is not myself to monitor and update the framework (backend bot, its database, etc). No frontend hours are included because frontend updates are non-critical.

The $100 monthly amount is calculated on average based on annual hours. It is conservative and includes miscellaneous costs.

My own labor costs (@guiltyparties) (my hours are always donated free of cost) or the labor costs of Hivewatchers members (investigating, entering data, researching, etc) are not included in this amount. This is purely to pay for the tech and its upkeep. It does not include any maintenance of the Hivewatchers site.


Thank you for all the support from the community that has been given to us throughout all these years.


Approve The Proposal with Hivesigner

Approve The Proposal with PeakD


Addendum

Hivewatchers and Spaminator are both scope-based projects. It is the official policy of both these projects that they are to focus on their respective scopes and do not deviate from said scopes.

It is the policy of Hivewatchers and Spaminator that at no time is the account used selectively outside of its scope for personal or political-related ends. All content and subjects are treated equally under the Hivewatchers and Spaminator frameworks and their treatment is further restricted by the technical limitations set as part of the bot algorithms and the front and back-ends.

In extreme cases such as terrorism, murder, child pornography/exploitation, and similar situations of grave consequence will the accounts be used outside of their main scope. Those are extremely rare and in the entire history of these projects, there have only been a couple of times this was required.

The personal opinions of team members are not subject to regulation but may not be uttered on our professional project accounts. Where errors occur, we thank all community members for letting us know and will correct them.

Sort:  

I’d like to see a firm commitment that Hivewatchers and its personnel maintain a strictly apolitical stance.

This includes in statements related to any Hivewatchers work on personal Hive accounts of Hivewatcher personnel.

That's been added and I've included a policy statement to that end.

Does the Hivewatchers-Helper comment pictured below fall within the scope of the project and is it appropriate commentary for the project's professional accounts?

image.png

The full context of the comment is in HiveWatcher's discord server, on the off-topic channel:

  • I propose that a fair reading of that comment strongly suggests a personal bias regarding the entitlement and privilege of persons with a national origin in western countries.

  • Should the project's accounts even be engaging in "off-topic" activity if, per the policy addendum, "they are to focus on their respective scopes and do not deviate from said scopes?"

Thanks.

@guiltyparties... are you the man in charge of the @spaminator account?

I believe I vote for your witness... do I not?

Sir... there is a serious problem with how both the @hivewatcher’s & @spaminator accounts are being operated.

If you want to earn the trust of the Hive community you have some serious explaining to do.

@wil.metcalfe

That was resolved already a while ago but I'll hit you up on Telegram if you got something. I don't know otherwise and I don't know who votes for me. Spaminator synced up last night after node issues so everything should be ok on that side.

It’s been downvoting (automatically?) me and many others for the last 2 days. Trust is a fragile thing. Please account for your actions.

I’m on vacation. I’m not able to for about a week. It’s already been quite enough dealing with this as is. As well... I’m not the only one that’s being affected. This is very unfriendly for Hive and doesn’t help with our reputation within the crypto community.

So what happened with you is you've been reported by several members of the community for comment farming, which is posting comments solely for the purpose of voting for them. I'm not going to go into detail here since this affects other accounts and projects. I'll pause the bot on the account and we can talk on the Hivewatchers discord when you're back.

I want to know who are the members of the HW team and their clearly defined roles in the operation.

Edit: turns out even @guiltyparties doesn't know who this new member will appear under for their Discord handle.

You call this a team operation? Perhaps Guiltiesparties himself should stop “dabbling” in multiple projects on the chain and excel in none of them. He’d be much more effective if he focuses on a few things he’s actually good at.

The third is an enigma

It's not an enigma. He knows very well who it is as the user has been working with us for a few weeks already. I have no idea why you think that @guiltyparties does not know.
The user wants to stay anonymous.

Oh? Someone I have no clue that you said I already know? Go pound sand with your lies.

Like I've said and as you know, there is a great deal of personal risk that HW members accept. Where a member is at higher risk, we don't disclose their identity so they can stay physically safe.

I don't disagree that I've got a lot on my plate.

Nobody gives a damn about the identify.

I asked you what exactly is their role and what Discord handle should we expect them to operate under.

Take your "but criminals and risk" bs and shove it.

The role is a Hivewatchers team member who normally deals with plagiarism, investigations, normal type of thing in scope such as verifications and ID theft. The only deviation in activity is the phishing-specific work that I do. You'll see our HW accounts in Discord marked in green, same as always.

Nonsense.

@Logic should not be interacting with people and stick to his investigation role. And that’s just an example of your understaffed operation.

Your proposal doesn’t address any of the recurring problems within your minuscule ranks.

I can't force more people to want to do a very thankless job with high risk, high burnout, and long hours.

Thankless job that you’ve been paid for since the @adm voting days.

If you took no pay for those times, then that’s your problem.

I don't know what's going on with you today but let's talk another time.

The 3rd member's Discord handle is "Nuttin".
This HW member's role is to perform specific investigations that I assigned.

I'll second what @apshamilton writes: I need a very clear confirmation that Hivewatchers makes absolutely no determination on content outside the very limited mandate.

steemcleaners, hivewatchers, adm, and now spaminator are downvoting me and accusing me of being a "flatearthqanonantivaxxer".

I have never been a proponent of anything of the sort, and guilty-party claims they don't know who is downvoting me with the steemcleaners account.

They accuse me of "trolling" when the ONLY comment I made was "this happens a lot" in response to another user in the "appeals" channel asking why they were accused of plagiarism for something they wrote themselves.

image.png

I've added a section since the message seems to have been lost where originally posted.

This Project should be disbanded and completely opposed to as it's become abusive and serves no good purpose all it's been doing is being a complete bully towards creative people and is driving people away from Hive.

IS THERE A COUNTER-PROPOSAL WE CAN VOTE FOR ?

I would Like to set forward a vote of no confidence In Hivewatcher.

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This project can be abusive by causing downvotes to anyone simply accused of anything by this project due to the fact the project doesn't have expert Chef'sAas members and doesn't seem to have a knowledge and full understanding of Copyright Laws as they relate to the creation of food and recipes.

When anything is altered by the simple concept of Copyright Law it is no longer the Original creation.

It becomes the property of the new person that created the new version of the Recipe.

This can be as simple as cooking the same recipe in a different and unique way.

If Hive watchers need someone as an adviser on food and recipes I was a Mess Specialist in the US Navy and have attended Chef's school's the US Navy paid for.

As to images I simply think you're asking for the Cook's and Chef's to photograph their own work rather than using stock photos.

I'm thinking a lot more careful thought needs to be placed on how chefs are treated by Hivewatcher's before this project is allowed to move forward.

This project has become completely abusive and the most abusive person is Hivewatchers-Helper this person outright uses his website discord to accuse people of being scam artists and thieves.

I have complete email copies of him claiming I'm using psychological projection to make an argument valid. Well newsflash dude My argument is Valid. He needs to read this completely https://www.copyright.gov/title17/ As these laws back what I've said and furthermore I would like to make a motion that this project be canceled Immediately.

I support Hivewatchers as long as it doesn't cross the line into content policing and moderation.

The problem is they have crossed that with Chef's and recipes already as there not experts in cooking and have little to no knowledge on the subject or copyright laws https://www.copyright.gov/title17/

RECIPES CANNOT BE COPYRIGHTED
CLOTHING DESIGNS CANNOT BE COPYRIGHTED
DICTIONARIES CANNOT BE COPYRIGHTED

I support Hivewatchers as long as it doesn't cross the line into content policing and moderation.

image.png

acidyo doesn't have much to do with Hivewatchers afaik

perhaps this might clear things up for you,
image.png

Clears nothing up with me, and your word doesn't hold much weight while you keep saying that I'm acidyo.

steemcleaners, hivewatchers, adm, and now spaminator are downvoting me and accusing me of being a "flatearthqanonantivaxxer".

I have never been a proponent of anything of the sort, and guilty-party claims they don't know who is downvoting me with the steemcleaners account.

They accuse me of "trolling" when the ONLY comment I made was "this happens a lot" in response to another user in the "appeals" channel asking why they were accused of plagiarism for something they wrote themselves.

image.png

Who are those 313 users (from a general point of view) and how did they got their identity verified? What does that mean and how to get verified as well?

Other than that, good job you're doing here, trying to make Hive a better place. Keep it up!

Hello,
We ask them to verify and we submit the verification to our DB, or they submit the verifications in the form:
https://hivewatchers.com/verifications/new

You can browse verified accounts here:
https://hivewatchers.com/verifications

Being verified does not mean that the user has not committed some abuse or that the account will not be prone to our investigations for any abuse.
It is simply verification that they are who they claim to be outside of Hive blog.
From these 1103 reports for Spam, I estimate that about 1000 were reports for this type of abuse.

The most common activity is tricking the community by deleting that old post to cover up detection and then reposting this content again after a while. Sometimes in a different language.

Though the proposal is still waiting to become active, I already gave my vote since I believe we need abuse fighting teams. Reading some of the comments to this post and your more recent post on your personal blog (@guiltyparties), I like to give you my thoughts (in brief/summary style).

  1. Governance of abuse fighting can never be implemented in code only, it always requires humans.
  2. Governance shall be extended to include 100% transparency of all the work

HIVE Comments/Posts using existing UIs or Discord are not the right tools for the transparency (mentioned under point 2) needed. I believe all conversations part of the governance of abuse fighting shall be documented lawyer style, ie a 'folder' for each case. A tech solution needs to be designed to facilitate this. Think of a website as UI. All conversations need to be on some blockchain, best to use HIVE, but can also be another blockchain (ie use a blockchain-based chat service to integrated into the solution until we have something like that for HIVE). With (some) knowledge devs, such solution should be possible to create out of existing services in the crypto space... initially its gonna be more like solution integration, rather than core code development. Sure, some 'code' is to be developed to create a fully functional webservice + whatever is required to integrate existing functions to deliver all the features required.

I wish I was a developer, and I wish I had all the knowledge of what is around in the crypto space and how to select the needed services and integrated them into the solution we need. But I don't have that knowledge, so I can only give you my thoughts and opinions. I do hope, you will spend time on this. In my honest opinion, it's the only way forward to have a (much) better system implemented for abuse fighting. With that I mean, the community (and even outsiders) having full trust in what you are doing for HIVE, as well as being able to scale abuse fighting as we grow.

There are a major issues with doing everything on chain. Even if a better system was created (let's say a frontend that doesn't nest comments and makes them very readable and only selects the Hivewatchers comments), it's not ideal for something that's meant to be a live discussion. We have considered many different options but we couldn't arrive at anything ideal. Everything we do is with language barriers and geographical limitations in mind.

Some concerns are:

  1. The person may run out of RCs as conversations are long. Often the person needs help and it's a matter of them themselves being scammed by someone they trusted or a money seller. The discussion becomes long. There are also a lot of revisions and corrections especially for people who don't speak English well.
  2. Many individuals are using mobile devices but don't have unlimited data plans. It's considerably cumbersome to have them load let's say hive.blog every time.
  3. Second blocks + Hivemind means that every message takes time. In many cases the person has a short window while they have power or service. We also don't have an unlimited amount of time.
  4. On chain other people can butt in and start derailing the conversation. In a chat we can regulate them somewhat but on chain we can't.
  5. Many people don't want their account messed up with massive strings of comments and discussions over something that's a straightforward matter, particularly if they're the victim of someone else.
  6. The person may be getting downvoted by others (not Spaminator) and would not want to post anything as a target.
  7. People understand the Discord process and if they don't they can ask clearly. They see other people write their messages and are guided by them. We'd need a frontend that only has posts/comments related to HW so people can find others as examples.
  8. Many people don't have access to their accounts when they're coming to appeal. They're hacked but don't realize it.
  9. It is a considerable learning curve for many people to use a new frontend or to just locate it and sign in. Those who think it's not are approaching it from their own perspective. Discord is already at the upper limit for many people.
  10. In ID theft cases the fewer mentions of the stolen identity the better. It affects search results and upsets the victim. The victim also doesn't have a Hive account nor do they want one most of the time.

There are many others. The Hivewatchers family of tools is already significant and much of it is being updated now. If we were going for a frontend we'd be scheduling it into next year. A ticket type system is already in the early stages of planning as part of something else.

The other end of the public on-chain discussions is we cannot have proxy appeals. Those are first of all unfair and mean unequal treatment for people, which we all know is a form of corruption. Second, we had many cases of scammers targeting people to either force them to issue a proxy appeal or as retaliation if they're unsuccessful. Death threats and threats of violence/assault where the parties know each other are not uncommon. When a scammer fails with a proxy appeal they take it out on the person who tried to help. Proxy appeals are much more difficult to control on-chain than off.

What we do and keep doing for now is all of our appeals and discussions are in the public areas of Discord. We're not permitted to process some situation elsewhere. Everything is to scope. I mentioned this in another comment earlier, but Hivewatchers is like a chess piece. It can only move as designed and it can't move in any other way.

In regards to feedback, we accept feedback. We are the only anti-abuse project that does. However, we've been around for many years and we fought through many attempts to manipulate us. We don't take "feedback" from any special interest groups that are only lobbying for their own preferred users. All Hivewatchers actions are uniformly applied to everyone no matter where they're from and what their content is.

You certainly have some very valid points. Your comment shows you've thought things out thoroughly as you also planning further improvements, like the ticketing system you mentioned. If something will be done on-chain, I was thinking more of separate dossiers instead of discussions in the comment section of a user post of concern. Maybe blog UIs should start to ignore these posts, maybe a special community. That said, I realise the HIVE chain is not really built for on-chain, open but more controlled corners. And yes, the appeal shall not include bystanders, it shall be between the appealed and HW. Also, I was thinking of maybe using some other chain in the market with services that may suite the needs for HW. Appeal process doesn't have to be on HIVE chain, persé. Anyways, as mentioned already, its shows you know what you are doing and seeking ways to improve. You have my vote, as I already gave it :)

h!vewatchers is downvoting based on their POLITICAL OPINIONS

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@edje - this is EXPLICIT CONTENT MODERATION

@pfunk - this is EXPLICIT CONTENT MODERATION

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first they came for the "flat-earthers", and i did not speak out - because the planet is obviously an oblate-spheroid...

then they came for the "conspiracy-theorists", and i did not speak out - because i really don't stick my neck out for "lunatics"

then they came for the "pro-VOLUNTARY-vaxxers", and i did not speak out - because i generally like to "stay out of politics" generally

by the time they came for the independent-minded-free-thinking-skeptics, there was nobody left - are you kidding me ? those free-thinkers never join anything or listen to anyone !!! - they're super easy to pick-off one by one.

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when i defended a murderer - nobody called me a murderer

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A bold statement you make there which I can't underwrite myself. Not sure to what part of the comment by HiveWacthers you refer to substantiate your statement.

HIVE Comments/Posts using existing UIs or Discord are not the right tools for the transparency

yep.

20211107_141930.jpg

using existing UIs or Discord are not the right tools for the transparency (mentioned under point 2) needed. I believe all conversations part of the governance of abuse fighting shall be documented lawyer style,

Hello. No sé si este sea el medio adecuado. Solo busco orientación para entender que está pasando con mi cuenta. Si pueden asesorarme se los agradezco. Feliz tarde.

Hello can you help me with the downvotes??? First of all I didn’t know if post to hive and after at proofofbrain is a double post so I’d spam and second for the plagiarism you have the right it’s totally wrong from me it won’t happen again I promise

what d0 y0u mean with that my friend ;;;;