Moving Forward for SportsTalkSocial and SPORTS
If you didn't see the post earlier there was an exploit against the SPORTS token to adversely affect the economics of the distribution for a small group's advantage. This allowed the attackers to claim thousands of SPORTS prior to SPORTS's first scheduled payout date. This has given that group a deeply unfair advantage in the launch of the SPORTS token.
Despite this the community within #sportstalk has continued thriving. I've been amazed to see posts continuing to pour in and users contributing ideas on how to deal with the early issues we've faced. In the face of all these issues this has kept me motivated that this project was, and continues to be, well worth the efforts to make it a success. I'd like to say thank you for that and reaffirm my dedication to improve this site.
Fixing The Mess
After spending the last 24 hours reviewing the potential plans to move forward from this incident I've come to decide there is a solution that allows us to move forward without restarting the chain. I'm very pleased with this and believe it will allow us to return to a level where no certain group has full control over the rewards platform.
Shortly after the incident occurred my initial thinking was to stop the token chain and relaunch at 0 balances and try it again with a hotfix for posts created before the launch date. This seemed like the easiest way to cut ties to attack and move forward with a chain that hadn't faced the corruption of rewards distribution.
As the night went on things changed in my mind. I kept seeing new posts being created that were, in my opinion, of strong value. I continued to see market orders for SPORTS being placed and filled within the market. It quickly occurred to me that by making the decision to shut down I'd be taking this early community away from everyone who's already contributed. This seems to be the wrong decision as the SPORTS community has already shown value to so many others.
I believe that despite the existing influence in rewards that have been distributed that we have time to save the community. To accomplish this I have prepared new parameters for the first hardfork of the SPORTS consensus algorithm. I will also be providing a new seed round with additional tokens for users who have staked some of the initially distributed tokens. Finally the last change will be preparing a moderation network that will help alleviate any early distributions.
There are a number of changes that will be coming with the first hard fork of the consensus algorithm behind SPORTS distribution. These are aimed at improving the overall experience for all users and will help to create the long term vision we see for the platform. I have sent these parameters on to the SE team and am awaiting the opportunity to have them merged into the system.
This is the first tool that will enable us to stop the influence of anyone who exploited the initial distribution. By enabling account muting we will be able to mute users who attacked the chain from the @sportstalksocial account. When they are muted they will no longer have any influence on the SPORTS token distribution regardless of the number of SPORTS POWER they may have.
This was mentioned in the initial announcement post as something we'd like to do in the future but wasn't planned to occur until after the first year had allowed for seeding the network in a proper way. Since we'll now be seeding potentially millions of SPORTS it's time to move past the seeding round and into the actual planned distribution. This will mean that @sportstalksocial will actually be issuing new tokens for each block reward.
Part of the changes that will be discussed down the page is our new distribution of over one million SPORTS to users starting this weekend. This creates a new issue in that this first class of SPORTS users will be quite a bit further along than what a new user coming to the network will feel like. To alleviate that we are increasing the per block reward by 10x to 100 SPORTS a block. This means that every minute there will be 2000 new tokens released and should allow the opportunity for anyone seeking to grow a path forward.
vote_window_days: 4 / cashout_window_days: 7
We are introducing a vote window days for voting on posts. This will mean that for 96 hours after a post is created it can be upvoted from members of the community. After those first 96 hours a post will still be able to be downvoted by the community until payout occurs on the 7th day after the post. This should allow the community an opportunity to moderate a post's value before it is due to pay out.
The main issue that occurred with the exploit was that distribution was taken out of whack when a small group owned enough tokens to drastically influence rewards for everyone else. To combat this users will be able to request a SPORTS grant from @sportspartners and receive a new airdrop that will bring them up to a level where they can have an influence. To apply for a distribution from @sportspartners leave a comment here.
These grants will be distributed to users based on my own assessments. I will be taking a number of factors into consideration when supplying these funds like if a user has a past history with the #sportstalk tribe, a past history of highlighting excellent sports content within the Steem ecosystem and the recommendations of other users with positive contribution histories. I apologize that not everyone will be approved for these grants. That being said starting a new blog within the #sportstalk tag will still allow anyone the opportunity to earn far more than what a single grant would allow.
This is the entire reason for using Steem based platforms. We are essentially engaging in a conversation with like minded individuals and applying our stake within our community to account for what is important to the community. That's why this exploit was so dangerous. It supplanted the entire reason of doing this in the first place. Fortunately with the above solutions we'll be on our way to fixing it. It won't end just with those changes or this post though. That's because those behind the exploit have voted for content within the community already. This will leave their ripple of influence for ages to come.
Fortunately there are a couple of tools that are available to the community that will enable us to all combat the unfair rewards that were created over the last 36 hours. The key phrase in that last sentence being "available to the community." While I will certainly be doing my own part of looking at posts rewards it will take more than just myself to stop this. I will need everyone to be vigilant in their use of the downvote tool to remove rewards they feel are undeserved. When you combine the new SP that will be available with multiple users we'll quickly take back our Trending page.
The first tool I want to highlight has been with us since the beginning. That is that each account with SPORTS has a downvote pool with free downvotes available. That's because the SPORTS chain adopts an the idea of a downvote pool that exists outside of your voting pool. When you downvote it will use any downvote pool space available first. If you've already used all of your downvote pool then you can continue to downvote but it will subtract from your upvote pool instead. Our downvote pool regenerates completely every 5 days and allows for essentially 1 free downvote a day. Be sure to claim your SPORTS grant before moderating to ensure you have enough SPORTS POWER to combat any rewards abuse you see.
The second tool is the introduction of @sportsmod. @sportsmod is a new account that I've distributed 100,000 SPORTS POWER to for the purpose of improving our moderation. I want to be clear that this tool is only meant as a means to moderate rewards that were distributed by users who obtained an unfair advantage and is not a reflection of the value a post holds to the community at large. While this tool will have the power needed to remove all rewards that are distributed by users who benefited from the account, I personally will not have the eyeballs to track each piece down. This is another reason that the community coming together with claimed grants and free downvotes to eliminate the problem ourselves is the only real solution.
I feel the need to say thank you again. If it weren't for your support then there's not a chance this could be a success. SPORTS will only ever be as good as what the users are bringing to the table. I have no doubt from what I've seen that we are just getting started and it's amazing what may come of this.
I would also be amiss if I didn't say a thank you to the Steem Engine team for their dedication to helping find the solutions needed. I feel I've bounced a thousand questions off @aggroed, @eonwarped and @holger80 so please show these kind souls all the love you can for their support of building this excellent resource for all Steemians.