So more or less a week ago my entire daily routine got massively disrupted by the attempted hostile takeover of the Steem blockchain. What has ensued is a pattern of erratic sleeping and eating cycles mixed with overworking myself trying to help the scenario online via social media, doing research and continually monitoring and staying informed about as much of the situation as I humanly and perhaps inhumanly can.
Along the way none of the process has been easy on me and the gnawing fear that I will lose a solid half of my monthly income if things go really wrong in the situation has not helped at all. Currently we have managed to not lose but with each day that passes our adversary in this just keeps pouring more money into the accounts that are being used to try to seize control of our community operated blockchain.
Meanwhile curation projects are suffering, content creators are suffering, investors are nervous and the entire Steem ecosystem has been thrown out of whack because the majority of users Powered Up their liquid STEEM to help bolster our chosen Witnesses that are valiantly (if not gracefully) fighting to protect the blockchain.
Tensions seem high overall from what I can tell and that is not just in regards to the microcosm of the Steem universe. It seems like the 'civilized' world itself has reached a precarious moment in history where 'everything' is on the line so to speak. Obviously these kinds of stressors are further complicating what folks (including myself) are going through as we try to regain control of our blockchain and resist becoming centralized under the control of a single individual.
The disinformation campaign has been pretty intense to say the least. Especially in regards to the community being slandered with accusations that are not just untrue but easily proven to be false. That 'falseness' is verifiable by the unalterable nature of the blockchain where information cannot be deleted, obfuscated or censored. For folks to even look into the validity of such claims is an obvious testament to the good reputation that the community as a whole possesses.
It has been pretty crazy for me to find myself using other social media platforms (mainly Twitter) to speak out not just about what is going on with this attempted hostile takeover but also trying to ask good questions in the hope of bringing out some accountability to the parties involved. I have also found myself sharing the stories of others and doing my best to onboard new users in the hopes that they will join our struggle and help us turn the tide in our favor.
What I have noticed about the social media campaign (especially on Twitter) is that the platform itself is not very conducive because keeping up with the threads of conversations, the posts (Tweets) and who is claiming what is counter intuitive to say the least and confusing and nauseating at best.
There is also the fact that posts that are made on there get deleted and that some users that have directly spoken out against some of the high profile bad actors have found themselves banned from the platform altogether. Personally I think that the censoring of the conversation on Twitter is being censored to a much larger degree than anyone is aware of via a technique known as shadow banning. For those unfamiliar with shadow banning it is basically a form of censorship where the user (or their content) is being blocked in such a way that it is not apparent to the user that it is being done. It is a dirty tactic to say the least because even if folks' make good points, ask good questions or reveal important facts those things go unseen by others and the shadow banned user often feels they are isolated and/or being ignored and simply gives up.
The irony of utilizing centralized (and highly censorship prone) social media platforms (like Twitter) to defend a decentralized (non-censored) platform like the Steem blockchain against being centralized by hostile forces... is not an irony lost upon me in the least. In other times I might even find the irony of it humorous but of late watching the censorship, watching the deletions, watching the retractions of statements, watching the spinning of false narratives (being catered to and endorsed by these same centralized platforms) just reminds me of why decentralization and censorship proof platforms are so important and any 'humorous irony' is just one more slap in the face along the way.
Putting myself on the front lines of the battle to preserve our community operated (and community governed) blockchain was a simple decision especially since I had so closely watched the scenario since it began with the purchase of Steemit Incorporated and the confusion of the purchasing party thinking that just because they bought a company that runs software on the blockchain that they also had bought the blockchain and the community that operates, maintains and uses said blockchain.
All of which shows a poor understanding of how things work and also when presented with the facts the purchaser brushed those facts aside as irrelevant and continued a narrative that heralded the destruction of the blockchain itself as a decentralized and autonomous entity (or non-entity) which to me was one hell of a red flag because combined with a total lack of real communication from the ill-informed purchaser (as well as series of conflicting statements) which all signaled to me that there was either incompetence at play, manipulative behavior at play, deception at play or a combination of those things mixed with some quite obvious bullying and ego tripping.
For those who actually know me in life you know full and well that I have little patience nor tolerance of bullies or bullying in any form and I have often put myself square in the face of such people/actions because hey lets face it I just cannot abide nor tolerate seeing folks bullied and I believe so strongly in that sentiment that I have no choice but to stand up to it and put myself square in the middle of things whilst giving 'zero fucks' for my own safety/security. The repercussions of my actions in doing so be damned because at the end (and beginning) of each day I have to live with my own choices and the very notion of somehow compromising my own integrity sickens me to the point where I just cannot abide not doing everything that I can do in confronting the bully/bullying, protect those being attacked and absorb as much of the damage myself along the way to bringing such behavior to an end.
The big problem in the current scenario is that there is a lot of money at stake in the situation and not just one person's money but many peoples, as well as the financial security of folks. There is also the income made by those who (like me) rely on the content they create generating revenue to help with 'getting by' each month. So there is assuredly a tangible and healthy amount of fear going on around the money aspect of things. Unfortunately I have seen how the involvement of said 'money' is skewing folks' perspectives and often lending to a sort of myopic tunnel vision where they wholly miss the larger picture altogether because they are so focused on either gaining money from the situation or just not losing what they currently have invested.
In my perspective just because someone pressed a few mouse clicks and transferred tons of money into their Steem account does not amount to the proverbial 'jack shit' and their often 'low effort and high gain' actions do not even remotely compare to the work of developers and content creators who have spent thousands of hours creating unique content, replying to comments and generally engaging with others on the platform. In summary of that observation I would say that (aside from the developers) the content creators by far have contributed (and invested) the most value/energy into the blockchain and they also have a clearer perspective of what is at stake because they have truly put their hard work and effort into making the community what it is today in regard to value.
What I am saying here is that anyone can dump some money into a Steem account and start voting on people and making rewards off of other folks' hard work. It is a 'no-brainer' in that regard and yeah for a few mouse clicks (compared to the hours of work a content creator puts in) the voter makes a substantial profit. Which is all fine and dandy until those same people start critiquing folks' hard work without any real perspective (or understanding) of what it takes to create said work. This sort of behavior is indicative of flawed personalities, entitlement, a lack of compassion and an over-inflated sense of what they are actually contributing to the Steem ecosystem with their 'money' and mouse clicks. Obviously this line of thinking does not apply to all developers, content creators, curators nor investors but it is meant to paint a broader picture of what I see playing out in the current community.
Personally I have received a good bit of critique on my recent posts and even if I make it clear that my pattern of recent posts is nothing like what I usually post it tends to fall on deaf ears. Lately I am much more interested in cataloging the things I find, archiving on the blockchain the things I find to be important, making observations and making some humorous stuff because people apparently need to laugh or they will explode or have some sort of meltdown. I have also been doing my best to present folks with the tools they need to onboard new users and also ease said new users and their own utilization of the underlying blockchain technology so that we can continue in the fight to preserve it.
Having been using the Steem blockchain for the past six hundred and two days I have had a hell of a lot to learn (and am still learning) and I think that something helpful that I can contribute to the scenario is to share what I have learned along the way and equally try to help get new users (and old ones) to become familiar with the system and solve some of the problems that they might encounter along the way.
I see doing all of that as a sort of 'duty' to the community at large and something that I am surprised that more people are not focusing on because without gaining new users and thus potential voters for our community elected Witnesses, the blockchain will eventually be lost because each day those attempting to take it over just keep pouring money into their efforts and the community itself has already put everything that they/we have into it and only achieved a stalemate that will eventually be overcome by the influx of outside capital no matter how much we 'wish/pray' we can win.
Back to what I was saying about my recent posting habits. Personally I have not been trying to make money with the things that I have been posting and the majority of my posts I have been setting the beneficiaries of those posts to reflect who and what I think should be making revenue from them. Admittedly a few posts I forgot to set the beneficiaries on and a few others I felt I deserved the rewards but by and large 'making money' is absent from my list of current priorities. My intention is to disseminate and preserve information and just because some folks sole 'concern' is money... I do not suffer from that affliction.
Something else that I have been doing is just editing my old posts and adding more content to them instead of making more posts. I have been doing that in part so that I can keep my updates convenient to find and not clutter my blog with lots of posts (which has happened anyway) and also just so that I can conserve bandwidth on the network and not take up 'spots' in other folks' feeds with my stuff. The way I see it is that much of what I am doing in that regard is archiving my findings/observations to the blockchain and providing an easy interface (for those paying attention) to find what I am archiving. I am sure that some folks would bad mouth me over this technique as well but it is not like I am removing any of the content in the original posts and am just adding to it. I have also been changing the image that the post preview displays as well as the title of the post just so that myself and others know that a specific post has been altered/updated.
To sum all the posting stuff up I have done my best during my six hundred and two days on Steem to give all my posts my best effort and try to only produce quality content based around things that I actually know about which are my life experiences primarily centered around homesteading, off-grid living and how to do things or what some folks call 'do it yourself' related articles. I have never been truly successful at it all but I have been incredibly consistent with making posts and archiving the 'documenting' of my life. By and large (until recent events) I have stayed within my genre as far as writing and posting goes and enjoyed the journey of doing so along the way.
Given my long track record of doing this and recently finding myself being told that I am a spammer, low effort content creator and generally being 'thrown under the bus' for my efforts seems to indicate that folks either fail to look at anything previous to my recent posts (centered around all this turmoil related to the acquisition of Steemit Incorporated) or have looked and just do not give a shit that I have a superb track record.
The only thing that I am left to wonder about from this sort of behavior is how many other content creators (that have stepped outside their usual genre or genres) are also being unfairly critiqued and/or attacked for expressing their views and ultimately why such attacks are being made in the first place because it seems to me that curators/witnesses (everyone) should be empowering content creators instead of attempting to dis-empower them.
The questions that this behavior raises in me are what exactly are the motives behind such attacks? Are the folks doing it just because they are petty jerks that can no longer maintain a facade of altruism now that their socioeconomic status has been jeopardized and their 'power' threatened? I could speculate all day on this topic but suffice it to say that I take such attacks with a dim view, am taking notes on those doing it and am generally inclined to believe that they are doing much more harm for the scenario than actual good. For those folks that are just cracking under the stress of things please just 'breathe' and remember that folks are doing their best to be supportive and lashing out at folks does not help.
Speaking of doing more harm than good. I have seen a lot of bashing, name calling and mud slinging from all sides and honestly I find this sort of behavior not just counter productive but also demeaning of the very values and ideas that this community is centered around. I think that asking good questions and presenting facts is a much stronger approach than a bunch of immature 'school yard' behavior. On the other hand I think that satire and parody in the situation gets too little attention and given the immense amount of stress the community is under that those things could help tremendously with 'lightening' the mood and presenting the opportunity to laugh a little at the ridiculously insane scenario that we find ourselves in.
On a different note. In the beginning of all this much of the discussions were being held publicly but once things started to really heat up the discussions have become 'closed door' affairs with the community being fed tidbits of what is going on or information on the scenario being completely withheld from the community. I have a lot of opinions on this matter and can draw a lot of my own not-so-flattering conclusions from it even though I understand why it is happening but the important part is that being representatives of the community and 'negotiating' (discussing) things that will affect the entire community without the avenue of community discussion nor input... is its own kind of slow poison and reeks of suspicion and questionable motives. In closing on that thought I would like to say that this sort of behavior is rapidly eroding the trust that was/is placed in our community 'movers and shakers.' If your intention is to erode that faith you are doing a good job and even if that is not your intention... you are doing one hell of a job at it.
As far as the Town Hall meetings go all that I can surmise from them is that the 'loudest' people in the room tend to dominate the conversations, not much community input during them is given credence unless it is by a large stake holder or representative/ally of a large stake holder and even people that present wonderful ideas/solutions are shouted down or ignored by those 'louder' voices because it conflicts with whatever narrative/itinerary is being pushed. This sort of 'pushing' of a narrative/itinerary does not foster constructive debate, discussion or solutions and leaves me seriously questioning the wisdom of those doing it.
I do not claim to have a bunch of solutions and can only share my perspective to the best of my ability but what I see playing out before me is ludicrous and not really a path to a winning strategy. I have done my best to do what I myself can do but I have to ask myself if it is really worth it or not to continue at this point given the actions of those in 'leadership' roles, the myopic shortsightedness of those only concerned about their money and the absolute ineptness of anyone to manage (help/guide) the broader campaign that is going on in a way that is actually productive and offers a glimmer of hope that we might actually win.
Personally I think that at this point it is better that I withdraw from being so active in things because honestly working on spring water systems, planting food and doing a bunch of other things that I generally do this time of year now that my winter downtime is approaching its end is way more important to me and going to contribute something meaningful to my life in a tangible way.
As things stand I have been spending eighteen hour (plus) days doing everything that I can to help ensure that we as a community even have a chance to successfully thwart this hostile takeover and emerge victorious and yeah that is awesome and all but it has come at a heavy cost to not just the things that I need to do each day in my own life but also to my readers and my sterling reputation among them of making posts consistently.
In other words my own scenario has grown so out of whack for what is good for me that I have to reign in my compulsion to just keep pouring myself into this affair. I will remain involved, continue to observe the situation and continue with my effort to bring in new users that might change the balance of things... but besides that I have to spend my time doing other things that contribute to improving my quality of life and further the sustainability of the homestead where I live.
I have a lot more thoughts but this summary will have to do because at this point I should probably just speak it out to an audio recording instead of painstakingly writing them out and thus creating more work for myself by having to proofread and edit them.
Finally I got this all out of my system. Ta ta for now.
TL;DR: There is no tl;dr because you should have more patience and attention span than a gnat on a high wind if you want to inform yourself about things.
I haven’t finished this post yet (it’s bookmarked 😁) but I’d like to speak to your point of using centralized media (twitter) to defend decentralized media (Steem) is an opportunity we’re missing to boost murmur and other decentralized alternatives. The lack of apps to connect to decentralized social media alternatives is a hinderance to our cause overall.
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Thanks for the background, it clears up som eworries! I agree that money is no substitute for sweat over a keyboard.
Currently we have manged to not lose but with each day that passes our adversary in this just keeps pouring more money into the accounts that are being used to try to seize control of our community operated blockchain.
Keep in mind that every week that now passes will free up 1/13th of the frozen STEEM in at least two of the exchanges involved in the hostile take over. My guess is that much of it will find its way back to accounts to be used to vote against the sock puppet witneases.
The present state of The Chain could continue to exist for some time, in my opinion.
I think many period just pick at what they feel supports their narrative or what will make them feel better about their own questionable behaviour.
There has been so much argument about the ninja mined stake and whether or not it should have been locked on its supposed questionable ownership, yet @nikv left some interesting articles which certainly give another entirely valid reason as to why the witnesses should have been suspicious enough of JS's motives to lock it up:
This isn't the first time he's centralised a blockchain, yet ironically the Tron site proudly displays "DECENTRALIZE THE WEB" on its landing page.
Lengthy but heart felt piece. So much is going on and if you have an outside life or running multiple projects (like me) then you miss all the intricate details.
I'm still having fun around here and enjoy the casual use of the platform. I do think some need to take time away on occasion as it really changes people and not in a good way.
Hope you get your respite! Take it easy