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. ;)