If you go into something expecting idiocy, then idiocy is likely what you will find.

in philosophy •  4 months ago


If you hear someone you don't like or that you have frequent disagreements with say something there can be a danger of immediately looking for the fleshy soft spot that you can stab with your verbal knife. The problem with this is that if you are only looking for what you want or expect to find you can effectively blind yourself to other possibilities, other reasons.

If for example someone uses the term "Premine" with steemit if your goal is to attack then you will immediately go to how it is impossible to mine something before it exists. That is an assumption that there is only one interpretation of that word. This assumption would be based on the bias towards the person that used the word. Your interpretation of the word could in fact be accurate and thus, would make that person seem rather idiotic, or as some prefer moronic.

However, if you go into a conversation and you see that "Premine" would be stupid if interpreted that way one might instead think "Is there a way that this could be interpreted that might make sense?" I was not the one who used the term "premine", but the first time I heard it within reference to steemit I immediately understood it was referring to those that were in the right place at the right time and mined steem BEFORE the steemit.com website existed. In fact, much of it happened when all you could do was mine it, and perhaps purchase or trade it like other currencies. At the time it wasn't worth much.

When the steemit website launched it was new and the value of that pre-steemit mined currency became significant. So there were those with significant power at a time when new users were starting with anywhere from 2 to 10 steem power around the time of the launch depending upon how close to the launch of steemit they were at.

The exponential voting curve was still in so that made those that mined steem before steemit (aka premined to some) essentially the oligarchs/plutocrats of the steem blockchain. When it comes to reward or punishment these people can only be challenged by those who also had similar power. They also tended to by nature of the system continue to attract the bulk of new power so they just get bigger and bigger. They are the horizon which new people cannot realistically reach as the horizon recedes as the powers that be get larger and larger.

Is there a way for someone to achieve similar power? Yes, if they are willing to spend millions of dollars purchasing steem and powering up they could become one of these oligarchs, but due to how these purchases would impact the value of steem it would take several million dollars OR MORE for a person to have power on a level of the oligarchs.

We often use the term whale. It is a lot nicer than oligarchs/plutocrats. There are whales, and then there are whales. To be classified a whale is not as huge a deal as some make it out to be. There are some that are vastly more powerful than just a whale. I've been seeing the term kraken tossed around of late, and they are not speaking of the exchange. This is perhaps a better term for these gigantic whales. Leviathan might be a good term as well.

These are what I am referring to as the oligarchs and plutocrats in this post. Why am I calling them that? In the steemit community if you are abusive or hostile you tend to get called out. This is why there is very little of what would be considered trolling. It is not cost effective. Newbies that want to troll don't make money, and don't last long.

Yet, what about those that are already immensely powerful? Some of them can act however they want with little to no consequences. It sounds very much like what we see in the real world in terms of double standards and caste systems.

Furthermore, they are so powerful that a small vote from them can reward someone a sizeable amount of currency. For this reason all these accounts flock around them hoping at a morsel from the voting pool of the leviathan. They act almost like the fish known as the Ramora that feeds off of the surface of sharks.


Source: Real Monstrosities

They will not question the actions of the leviathan for A) fear of being crushed, or B) fear of cutting off their access to the monetary rewards of being a leviathan follower.

This creates a caste system. The leviathans can act a different way than others.

I am one of those that don't intimidate very easily. Even when it would be smart if I did have a little caution.

I ask myself.

"Should there be untouchables?"

"Should people sell their soul for a chance to get paid by an oligarch?"

"Should an oligarch be able to dictate that certain topics cannot receive potential earnings?"

For me the answer to these is no.

I am however, not one of those that advocate theft of steem from anyone and redistribution. I do not endorse such actions by governments, and I would be highly against them here.

What does that leave us? By us I am referring to those that have insufficient power to turn the course of the leviathan.

The only thing I have to say is lack of support. Stop looking for hand outs, speak your mind. If you think someone is acting in a way that others would be called out on then they too should be called out regardless of their size.

When I have put this to the test I have learned some valuable lessons from them.

They are powerful so they can get away with belittling, insulting, and otherwise throwing in as many ad hominem attacks as they choose to come up with. Most people have been conditioned to go on the defense and attack back. "How dare he call me a moron?" They may attack back with insults, their own ad hominems, or by making art that debases the person that insulted them.

That is all the oligarch was waiting for. They now can be perceived as being justified in their attack. You gave in and insulted them back. At that moment you lost the support and sympathy of a number of people, and late comers to the exchange may see that first and believe the attack on you is fully justified.

I too felt the desire to lash back, but I've resisted.

The more I have done this something strange has happened.

For one the urge to lash back has greatly diminished. I don't feel it very often any longer.

When someone insists on calling me a moron or something else it no longer has that effect. It is almost like I have reflective skin. They choose to cast the insults and the intended impression doesn't stick to me in my mind it reflects back upon them.

Casting insults is easy. Even a moron can cast insults.

It takes a lot more skill to debate and have a conversation without resorting to such primitive (we started doing it as small children) tactics.

If I were playing a game with a score then in some cases someone insulting you is like you scoring a lot of points. In some cases that may be match, game over. You couldn't reason with me, and must use insults. Game over, I won.

This is not always true though as a discussion should not be about one side winning or losing. The best discussion is one where both sides come out of it learning things. For this best case to occur both sides must have worked out through some introspection that yes, they are often wrong, and that there is nothing bad about being wrong as long as we learn from it.

My tactic is to speak to the big guys with respect, even when they must resort to insults. I know if I can show respect in the face of their attacks that it does not hurt my position, it strengthens it. I also know that perhaps even if it takes a long time they might think about some of the things I say.

Those with great power can do great things for steem. They can also do horrible things for steem. Doing some good things to me does not create a license to then be bad.

Keep an eye open to comments to see the ones that tell you they didn't read it, but they respond anyway. ;)

So this week I've been called a moron at least twice. I've been called a butthurt old man a couple of times too. I am 47 so if you are young enough I suppose that does make me an old man. I don't have a problem with that. As to butthurt, my wife read that and said she doesn't think she has ever seen me act butthurt. I chuckled. This was one of those mirror moments. Who truly was acting butthurt?

So if you go into a post expecting to find morons, then morons are all you will be able to see.

If you go into a post by someone powerful and you do not question them due to their power then you are kind of falling for an appeal to authority.

They do have power. They can crush us, just as assuredly as an oligarch in a government. We must exercise some caution, but to ignore a problem is to endorse that problem.

Thanks for the inspiration. ;)

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Wonderfully said, my Steemit friend. I've been called a pretentious douchebag by Bernie (let's be honest, they are the primary "bad whale" which comes to mind reading your post) and I was flagged for months, sometimes in the last 12 hours to ensure no one else could upvote it to restore any rewards (now that's just mean).

I took the same approach you did. I called them out on their irrational behavior and didn't resort to name-calling or childish responses. I learned what I could from each interaction and even had a nice chat at one point to better understand their perspective. Eventually the flagging stopped, and we pretty much agree in that I think he's not a good actor here and he thinks I'm a douchebag. Maybe he's right, but I did find it interesting when friends who've known me personally in real life for many years disagreed, they were flagged as well.

Ultimately, unless whales here choose to treat others with dignity and respect, we'll be left with krakens who lash out and continually criticize anything around them. Maybe they are insecure, maybe they need attention, maybe they had a shitty life and don't know how else to act. I don't know, and it's not my job to fix them. It is my job, as a STEEM holder, to promote a healthy community and protect my investment. That's done by not keeping silent, but talking about things which cause harm here.

At the same time, I get how some "assholes" (sometimes they self-label this way as an honor of some kind) pride themselves in being the first to attack other abusers, as if that justifies their behavior the rest of the time. Maybe they've never seen how effective NVC can be. Maybe they are so depressed they simply don't care about themselves or anyone else. I can at least appreciate how, in their minds, they believe what they are doing is just, even if it just makes things worse for everyone. Dealing with emotionally unstable people requires love, patience, empathy and understanding, not more hate and anger.

I very much appreciate your post as one who also learned a lot by being flagged regularly and called names again and again.

tip! 20 hide

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Thumbs up for the mention of NVC and bringing it into this arena.

I've seen (and used) NVC used effectively in a number of tense situations... what remains unexplored territory on that front (which may be applicable in some cases here) is how it works in the contest of those who simply enjoy poking at hornets' nests "because it's funny!" They don't that they-- or other people-- get stung and hurt every time they do it, and they will keep coming back to poke, every time they see a hornets' nest. Maybe it's a form of "controlled sociopathy;" that's not for me to judge.

Either way, hate and anger is NOT the answer, to be sure. Sometimes, giving them a cookie works, however...

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Hahah... believe it or not I have hardly been flagged at all my entire time on steemit. That one a couple of days ago was actually my first BIG flag experience for myself.

I've been vocal about flagging for over a year primarily due to seeing other people flagged unjustly as far as I was concerned.

Though it is playing with fire. Eventually I had to get burned. :)

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Thanks for the Tip. I need to look into that bot. :)

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It's pretty sweet. I had fun giving out tips tonight. :)

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Nextgencrypto (aka Bernie) and Steemed which I've been told may be Smooth's new account both finally got around to flagging this post too. I haven't looked into steemed yet.

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Figured you would get flagged which is why I included a tip. :)

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Hahah... thanks again. :)

Great post!
Thank @dwinblood!
Up!

I am from the untouchable caste in India, and I know how it can be when I'm insulted for no other reason except where I was born and which caste I was born into. It is disheartening and I wish people would think twice before doing something so ungracious.

Well first off: Steemit is very close to the real world oligarchy. We got a voting system that is tailored similar to the real world democracy (voting for representatives [witnesses]). Hell a real life oligarch could even just buy a majority stake in Steemit for one billion.

I think a power based oligarchy is the necesary result of an anarchy. That is why I am no anarchist. However, just because someone has power that does not make them evil.

On the topic of premining: You have an advantage on me by starting a year earlier with Steemit and being able to write faster. I have an advantage to people who start right now or in a year from now. Even if something is public, that does not mean everybody starts mining at the same time.

On the topic of debate: You can course at someone and still make a point, you can also not curse and still be insulting.

I had to smile when I read the comment Bernie mad about you on steem.chat. It is the criticism I had that you are "not focusing enough on solutions and too much on problems" but said in a very insulting way.

I also remember when people tried to argue in my post about the climate change hoax that I need to read more about the basics of climate change. Insulting my intelligence is really a bad idea and if I had known @liberosist is such a big shot, I might have been more respectful.
In my opinion I clearly won the argument. The last thing I heard from the 'climate change supporters' was "There is never real consens" after they tried to convince me that it had to be true cause consens.

If you insult my intelligence, I will show the world how dumb you are and the best way to do it by exposing their weak arguments and not by catchy name calling.

I like to argue competetivly and even if someone 'wins' the argument that does not mean that the winner did not learn anything from the debate or even convinced the "loser". Some people are just better at debating than others.

I agree to every word. This guy called me names - I had to google them to understand what he meant :). See it in this post: https://steemit.com/steemit/@emble/enough-is-enough-we-gotta-do-something-about-this, that's of course downvoted and $0 payout, but he made some money because without self-upvoting, his comment would not show up.
If we really want to get rid of his growing power, we should create a bot that will downvote every post upvoted by his bot - with the same amount. That will make his bot useless.

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Heh the people that tend to abuse it the heaviest are so powerful you couldn't build a bot or bot net big enough to stop them.

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Yes you can, because every vote is only about a $1-2 if you collect some delegated steem power and announce it in a post: "Don't buy upvotes because it migh be downvoted" and you downvote every day 10 posts, nobody will buy from him.

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He was the 7th most powerful account on steemit before he powered down and spread that power out over other accounts which have continued to grow, and before Randowhale. I actually don't know how big he is at this time due to him being spread across numerous accounts. I suspect collectively he is likely higher than #7 now. I may know soon.

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Yeah he is the biggest there is. We can't build a bot big enough to stop him. You have to convince someone bigger than him to do something about it. Yet even they will have trouble because that guy down voting you is the creator of Randowhale... so every time people use Randowhale they are sending him more currency with which he can power up more. :)

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The bot doesn't have to have any reputation. It can be -20 the SP is what makes the vote. You don't have to downvote every vote only a small percentage.

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I wouldn't down vote posts he voted on. That would be guaranteed to back fire. That would become a flag war. We've never seen those end up well and they end up being bad overall for steemit.

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We have to create a secret bot with no traces. He can downvote the bot as much as he wants but the Power will stay.

To be honest, the existence of these kraken comes as no surprise to me, should anyone receive a large amount of power, they'd be sorely tempted to abuse it (see any major government as an example). Should one apportion a large amount of power towards a random sample from any demographic, statistically some of them will abuse it. But for as long as the good whales outnumber the kraken, the community will be fine, and I have good cause to believe that this is the case.

I believe that the general moral bend of the earliest whales of steem is one that is particularly predilected towards decentralization and aid, and those that deviate from it primarily do so out of their own ego. Consider that blockchain based techs were not exactly all the rage back then and an early comer would have had to have quite a bit of knowledge concerning this technology to have been so early; squarely putting him into a demographic of techies and nerds that generally tend to be good-natured if not egotistic. True, some exception apply, but should these exceptions be exposed to the light of day, it takes but several rounds of moderation by fellow whales to keep them in check.

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Good response. I agree with what you said. Exposing information in a more palatable format about a number of these networks of power is now one of my projects. I don't intend to throw anyone under the bus initially, just provide information in a way that is hopefully easier to consume at a glance.

dwinblood a butt hurt moron of an old man! Lol! That made my day. Especially knowing it made even your wife chuckle! aaah. Let them crush away. I'm not attached to anything here except the rich content and curious opinions that strengthen my navigation skills. I like to resteem important issues that don't get enough attention even if they are peppered with bias and obscurity I just like to know people are still thinking for themselves as much as possible. Other than that I'm happy to help protect this community in any way I can for whatever it its worth. Love your Aikido style dwinblood. Keep being you.

Fantastic and inspirational post, Deva! I like the terminology of kraken and leviathan, but if I were to propose a term for the steem-oligarchs that use their power or influence to disadvantage others, I think 'orca' or 'killer whale' might be a good choice. As you noted, respect is key, Bushido and many marital arts include bowing to your opponent for precisely that reason, respect elevates a conflict or disagreement into something both people can learn from. It is immensely difficult to overcome the emotional block to learning something from someone who disrepects you. Your whole post made me think of that most famous of quotes from Spiderman:

Cheers!

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I think 'orca' or 'killer whale' might be a good choice

Those terms have been used. Kraken was the go to at the time due to the fact these particular whales are also so much larger than most other accounts that are classified as whales.

I used that quote in a discussion with one of them. I told him "With great power comes great responsibility" and said that sometimes I get the impression instead he is thinking "With great power comes great opportunity".

I was talking with a friend today who is a minnow like myself. He expressed his frustations on steemit in which someone just voluntarily comes after him to downvote him. No offense, no abuse, no relationship whatsoever. Not all, he was still downvoted on two of his article by same person. He wanted to start the downvoting war but i advised him not to. Things like this will not of a fact help the community. A single tree doesnt make a forest. Great post.

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Sadly the lower in the power structure you are the more people seem to get hit by the subjective down voters. There are people that will do something about it if they can. Check out @freezepeach.

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Ok. thank you.

Very nice thoughts on this. Kind of reminds me of how things behave differently when not observed. Like light particles take different paths depending on if they are observed or not. Same way with this. Humans look for patterns and we are likely to find them haha.

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Schrodinger's Cat. :)

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I was gonna mention that but I like the Double Slit Experiment better.
:P

This post has been upvoted and resteemed in the name of free speech. I may not agree with what you say, but I agree with your right to say it.

Thank you for the article. I am new to Steemit but is it true that Steem will experience a ten fold increase in Steem coin production every 3 years? If so, then the plutocrats should experience massive dilution in their Steempower over time if they do not continue to produce content that the community considers to be valuable. Old man Time will be the Kracken's worse enemy! Steem on!

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It could be an issue if they remain inactive. If they are at all active they gain curation rewards that can be significant. If they get really smart and make something like Randowhale their income can be almost automated. :)

I'm new to this, but posts like this one are slowly helping me to gain an understanding of it all. I enjoy writing and do it for a living. However I also do it just because I like it. Steemi is refreshingly free of the type of troll that spoils facebook. Some people are just plain mean, and they seem to get off on criticising everything they see. Thanks for posting, I've followed you.

Solid points all around. Very reasonably articulated.

Keep Steemin man! I always enjoy your posts

I agree, the first time I heard the term premine, I interpreted it to mean the activity of mining steem tokens before the steemit website was launched.

Great article. Thanks for sharing!

i think steemit should not be a place to have discussion or debates to the point of calling names and insults... But i guess i am wrong...

Anyway, when someone try to hurt you with insults, it is because they are already hurt and feel inferior to you...

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many people use Steemit chat or discord to vent, so they keep their insults and name calling of the blockchain. That is even worse, imo.

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Yep, i have seen that... They act one way here, but on the discord they are different haha... that keeps me away from chats to be honest..

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In my recent case I doubt he feels inferior. If anything he likely feels superior. He is just so incredibly powerful on steemit that he is untouchable thus insulting is the big red easy button. He can hit that button as often as he likes with no consequences.

That was brilliant! - but now I'm wondering if you are you really Eckhart Tolle using a pseudonym?

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Ugh......

I guess I need to read some of his stuff. I watched part of a video of him on Oprah once because people kept talking about him.

That particular presentation I found kind of annoying. I also felt it was common sense. If I am already GETTING what he said and you think I might be him, perhaps that is why I wasn't so impressed as what he was saying seemed common knowledge to me. If it wasn't common to me I might really get into him.

I haven't really given him a chance other than that video though so perhaps I need to check him out some more soon.

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I highly recommend the audio of him reading "A New Earth" - there is something about his voice, real wisdom and zen comes through all of it.

I am no fan of Oprah and thought she tried to drag him down to her level, while he just looked bemused. But he really is exceptional, and my comment was intended as very high praise :)

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Hahaha.... I took it as praise. Yet I also was shaking my head. I should take it as praise as I know Dan Larimer ( @dan ) is a fan of that guy, and I am a fan of Dan's work, and his writings.

To whom much is given, much is expected. Too bad the obligation to do something meaningful back or even maintain a good standards mean nothing to many people. Scary.

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Well said.

Thanks for the teacher