WG 5.3: DAO - By the community for the community

To mint or copymint: strategies for negative curation

Emma Baizabal


"art gives the particular being realized hic et nunc the power to have been itself but also to be itself one more time and a multitude of other times"
- Gilbert Simondon

Blockchain is a dynamic network enabled by the constant interaction of hundreds of connecting computers around the planet. In the same way, the art world is a complex, multiform network that provides unrestricted resources. On the contrary, it's a world that is constantly under construction, that requests proof of what is at stake in common soil and, as everything that matters in life, the result is not the final destination but the process in itself. 

Every work of art is an adventure, both conceptual and technical, and to build a world that provides such leeway is part of the necessary back and forth that makes everything fall into place. Precisely, decentralized construction of a shared world requires hands and minds willing to collaborate. That's exactly what happened in the middle of May in the first hackathon for the Hic et Nunc platform: a hicathon sponsored by the Tezos Foundation and Tezos Commons, and the participation of developers and artists interested in accelerating some new projects that can ease reset the place of art and technology through NFTs. 

If, as the namesake novel of Ciro Alegría says, broad and alien is the world, athwart every artist  exists the risk of a shadow, a copycat or copyminter prepared to appropriate the work and creativity of others. This is something too familiar in the world of art, and we have seen that the nft world is not an exception - yet it is exactly through collective empowerment by an aware community that we recall that where danger lurks, also grows the saving power. 

From the working groups that gathered to build enhancements to HEN, “the community by the community”, AKA “community moderation”, was entrusted to encourage strategies to collaborate in the moderation decentralization, with the goal to collectively fight the copyminting and malicious content. 

Both @Quitters and @UFFFD have been working hard for entire weeks in an ongoing dialogue with artists that already have a discord channel to report copyminters as well as violent content and infringements to the core values of the community. This channel has been fed by constant reports from the community, and with a rising member amount in the room its been difficult to follow everybody's warnings. Even then, it has been working not just to respond to the reports but also to share some red flags that can help to prevent fall in the copyminters scam. The most important part of this channel has been, by the moment, to keep the community actively participating in the continuous learning and the mutual trust to generate a safe space for the exchange of nfts. 


The whole conversation has been very prolific not just in the discord channel but also in the voting tool created for the hicathon. What to do when you realize that you’ve been sold stolen artwork? That whoever you thought was a new artist is a scammer? Burn it all? Close everything and leave? We hope not. The environment is changing everyday and it is not enough to have "techno-utopian hopes" about technology, specifically because this can make us forget that the technology is the network that we make and operate together. From these main concerns the doors are still open to some initiatives: to make a reward system that inspire collective moderation, types of reporting rewards, as hdaos or tezos, to secure that the moderation is safe and trustworthy, badges for new and old minters, an images search UI that help to double check artwork. Nothing is carved in stone but the multiple layers of this new reality keep making shapes.


The team is still small but with great engagement focus in the realization of concrete routes like the google-like form for HEN to feed a list for moderators to deliberate if a profile needs taking down. This is fundamentally helpful specially for those who are not in the discord channel. Everything that helps to empower the moderation and foster a kind of negative curation where the most important feature will  be the collective learning that makes it possible to identify more assertively legitimate works of art. There have been a few processes that have been automated like the objkt ID selection and the wallet address - but is still important to recognize that the ultimate goal is to amplify the collaboration to protect from copyminters. In this sense, in the last post-hicathon reunion @Quitters emphasized the importance of adding a tutorial to HEN itself that helps to balance the increasing proliferation of copyminters, which goes hand in hand with the growing community willing to collaborate in the protection from them. 


Although the long-term view is to develop a smart-contract solution to fulfill this function, it is fundamental for more people ready to contribute to make the group grow: back-end programmers, to make sure the path from community to moderators run smoothly; smart contract experts to automate reporting and deliberation on whether copyminting occured; and UX/UI designers who can translate this dynamic into an approachable community effort. 

For the time being the form is completed, the poll request are set and a new and clean repo ready not just for moderators but for the community in general can work with it. The horizon of possibility still covers the vast territory of the network in Hic et Nunc and the invitation is still open to keep staking new ideas, deepen in conversations that feed the reality of new projects and, most importantly: hands ready with technical skills to make this new art world a complex and dynamic network closer to us. 

Trust is the lifeblood of any community, and WG 5.3 sought to maintain and foster this trust within HEN by implementing ways to catch malicious and errant actors, such as copyminters, in a decentralised and community-driven approach.

For the short-term with a focus on practicality, the group first systematised a reporting process and developed a prototype where reporting is made easily accessible through a button on each NFT page linked to a Google form.

The group also further developed ideas and methods on automated copymint detection, community-driven reporting, and community-driven moderation that it hopes would be implemented in the future to protect HEN and its community better.

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Fighting against copyminting and malicious content is an unending battle, and WG 5.3 worked tirelessly to actively engage with the community in building a safe space for the collection of NFTs. 

Although some areas have already been automated - such as the reporting of OBJKT ids and wallet addresses - the team hopes to implement more solutions in future. These include a reward system to inspire collective moderation, badges for new and old creators, and an image search UI to double-check artwork. 

In the long term, the team hopes to develop smart contracts for some of these solutions.

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View the work that WG 5.3: DAO - By the community for the community accomplished over hicathon!