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Skewing the incentives in an unhealthy manner to combat bots.

Juicy BenjaminApr 23, 2021, 12:39:22 PM

Recent changes to the reward system on Minds makes it so engagement towards your contribution score only counts if it's made by a Minds+ user. This in an attempt to stifle recent surge in botting by people who're attempting to game the system to earn higher token rewards. This has been more prevalent after partnership between Minds and Uniswap, which gave the Minds token a dollar value. 

Obviously botting hurt all users attempting to use Minds in the manner it was intended, as our contributions and rewards are being diluted. We can all agree that this is a bad thing and that the Minds team should do something to stop this. An early, but not quite effective enough, barrier into the reward system was verifying your account with the use of a phone number. As is evident, this barrier was not enough. With their hands tied, the Minds team decided to use Minds+ accounts as another barrier. Many users has seen a push for Minds+ as a money grab and don't quite think this was the right way to do it. It is however a very good prevention as only fools would pay 7 dollars a month per bot, to push engagement rewards. This new change should put the botting for engagement rewards to a grinding halt. 

With all that being said, I personally think that this change, by flipping the incentives creates an uneven playing field and thus stops conversations that were previously being encouraged by the incentives put in place. 

What I mean by this is that previously I would start up conversations or comment on posts that weren't particularly of my interest, because I knew that I would be rewarded for doing so. And I'm sure that many feels the same way. I know a lot of people has been leaving meaningless comments for this reason, but it's obvious to me that the engagement I got on more meaningful comments were higher, and thus lead to bigger rewards. These types of comments were benefitting me, but they were also benefitting the creator of the post I commented on. And a meaningless post to me, became more meaningful because of the conversation it lead to. THIS right here is why the previous reward system was so good, because it encouraged conversations. 
However, with the new system people aren't incentivized to strike up conversations in the same way. They wont go out of their way to comment on posts they find uninteresting, UNLESS, and here's the kicker, that person has a little + badge. The new system encourages more interactions with + members on the site, whether intentional or unintentional. It creates a divide in an unhealthy manner that generates resentment towards a now perceived "upper class" of users.
We as + users might enjoy a little bit of extra traction, but it's not necessarily going to be a pleasant one and we don't get bigger rewards unless we ourselves go out of our way to interact with other + members. This is not good, it hurts all users on the platform, not just the casual users who either don't want or can't pay for +. 

My hope with this blog is to strike up a conversation around what we can actually do about it to prevent botting and go back to a system that encourages everyone to participate more. I personally don't have any suggestions, but I'm sure that if we combine our brainpower, we the community of Minds can overcome this hurdle and make the platform feel more welcoming again. Minds is our home, there's a reason that we chose this platform over others, let's make sure that we can still call this home in the future and be welcoming of ALL people.   

Sincerely Benjamin, a Minds+ user who wants a leveled playing field.