Did We Learn Any Lessons From HF20?

in steem •  7 months ago

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Let’s not mince words or beat around the bush...

Hard Fork 20 has not been a “success.”

Yes, the hard fork was accepted and there seemed to be no trouble updating to version 0.20.2. However, immediately after updating, the actual effect on nearly all users of the Steem blockchain was disastrous. Twice in just over a week, the blockchain was essentially rendered useless for 12+ hours, the second time lasting about 24 hours.

Both instances could have been avoided. If not avoided entirely, effective downtime could have been mitigated or at least reasonably expected and dealt with accordingly.

Regarding the actual update to version 0.20.2, we were given an 11th-hour admission by the Steemit, Inc. communication team that they essentially had no idea what was going to happen once HF20 was live. It shouldn’t be surprising to know that the uncertainty likely stemmed from the fact that the negative RC balance problem which caused the user issues was known during the testing period.


Despite knowing about the negative RC balance problem during testing, the planned fork went ahead as scheduled.


Coupled with this irresponsibility was the fact that both @ned and the @steemitblog account publicly declared that the hard fork was a “success” – while nearly the entire user base was left unable to comment to the contrary and looked on in absolute amazement at the wholesale detachment from reality by Steemit, Inc.

This is not the first time that a hard fork has left users in a state of disbelief – or even the first time that a near-complete reset of blockchain functions/abilities/rewards has occurred. We witnessed a nearly identical result after HF18 went live, where post rewards were reset to zero...without warning or the least bit of preparation. There was a “Whoops! Sorry, everyone!” from the Steemit, Inc. team and the usual excuses that we have all unfortunately grown accustomed to accepting.

Without getting too far into all of the arguments again, I just want to say...

We deserve better.


“Why didn’t the witnesses prevent this???”


I’ve seen this asked everywhere the last few days. And I don’t really have a great answer to the question, but I do have some answers, so I’ll try my best to communicate what could have been done, what should have been done, and what actually happens.

Yes, witnesses are to blame, but they are not solely to blame and not all witnesses share the same burden of blame, if they share any at all. What I mean by this is – there is a pecking order for witness influence and how hard forks are proposed and accepted. Here’s my best take on how things really work, according to my own observations for over two years and based on conversations and feedback from other witnesses.

The top-20 witnesses – by design – clearly hold all of the cards when it comes to hard forks. Hard forks require acceptance from a super-majority of the top-20 witnesses in order for the proposed fork to be accepted as the new version of the Steem blockchain going forward. If the top-20 either rejects or accepts the fork, the rest of the witnesses must then operate their nodes accordingly on the old version (if rejected) or the new version (if accepted). If they are not operating on the proper version, then their witness node is disabled and they do not sign blocks.

So regardless of whether or not a witness is competent enough to review and test code, if they are not in the top-20, then their vote on approving or rejecting a hard fork essentially does not matter.

Because the top-20 witnesses are theoretically supposed to be the people/organizations within the Steem community with the highest level of support and confidence to do their job, and because of the responsibilities bestowed upon them to do their job and to do it properly, these witnesses are compensated much more than the rest of the witnesses in the community.

With that and with their ability to reject or accept hard forks as a collective group kept in mind, it is wholly incumbent upon these top-20 witnesses to seriously and thoroughly review and to robustly test any protocol changes proposed as a hard fork. After all, it is the sake of the network that depends on their actions and decisions during these processes – the very network that pays them and where they are presumably invested themselves.

From all accounts that I’ve seen regarding HF20, this review and testing by our top witnesses largely did not occur. Despite not testing the new code, all of them updated to version 0.20.2 by Tuesday’s fork date.

But it’s at this point that we need to discuss some extenuating circumstances.

As pointed out by myself and many others over at least the past year and a half, the proposed protocol changes in the recent hard forks (17-20) were mostly too large to adequately review and there was not a proper testing grounds for the new code. The former issue has been mentioned directly to Steemit, Inc. many times. They continually propose massive amounts of protocol changes in hard forks, and witnesses – even if they could review it because of their knowledge of C++ code – could not possibly go line-by-line in a reasonable amount of time, then also run formal tests afterwards to an adequate degree that would allow them to make an informed decision about whether or not the code is safe for acceptance.

Granted, with the rewards that the top-20 witnesses have received and do receive, they could hire some help to review and test. However, the better solution would be to simply reduce the number of simultaneous changes and the size of them as much as possible. If that were to happen, then there would be absolutely no excuse for not reviewing and testing any new code.

But on this front, the repeated requests from witnesses to reduce the size and scope of hard forks has fallen on Steemit, Inc.’s deaf ears.

So what can be done by witnesses when these types of hard forks are proposed?

That’s an easy answer: Reject them.

Reject the hard fork as proposed and ask for a “clean fork” that can be both easily reviewed and tested, and/or that represents an immediate need, and/or that involves one major protocol change at a time. Yes, there may be changes in a large hard fork proposal that will improve the blockchain and user experience, but we should not forgo our duties as witnesses simply because we’re afraid to say, “No.”

And this brings us to another problem for witnesses: Pressure to tow the line.

I’m not saying that this happens with all witnesses, but there is a culture of cheerleading and shunning that occurs in this community and has occurred since day one. It has permeated every aspect of the platform, including – and especially – among witnesses. If you are critical of Steemit, Inc. or popular blockchain protocols (regardless of whether or not you believe that either are actually beneficial to the blockchain and community), then you can quickly find yourself on the outside looking in.

But the worst part of this culture is that bad ideas, faulty code, and poor behavior is often blindly supported and accepted because criticism is not handled well by those being criticized and because those who criticize are targeted and shunned by many different people and groups within the community...including by Steemit, Inc. themselves. It doesn’t even matter if the criticism is articulated well, if it’s pointed/accurate, and if it’s being done in the best interest of the Steem blockchain and its users/investors.

Regardless of whether or not you like the people who are critical, it’s no reason to support and accept those bad ideas, faulty code, and poor behavior. Even if it’s not intentional, this support and acceptance still happens far too often.

For those who are critical and spend a lot of time articulating their positions, if you say the wrong thing to the wrong people or if they see that you’re not supportive of their plans, then you will not be supported, you will be denied access to discussion groups where critical information and updates are shared, and you are pretty much guaranteed to never see the top-20 as a witness. Again – looking out for the best interest of the blockchain and its users, instead of a corporate entity’s best interests, may leave you working your ass off for pennies.

The fear of losing a top witness position is certainly enough to keep people “in line” or the incentive to reach one of those spots is certainly enough to encourage witnesses to “get in” it. It is partly because of this reason that hard forks are almost never examined critically and especially publicly by witnesses. But it’s not the only reason.

This leads us to another serious problem with many of our witnesses, the ones at the very top notwithstanding: Many do not understand enough about the blockchain (and coding), economics (and behavior), and social media to make informed decisions.

Some are skilled with C++ coding (but very few). Some know a few things about economics. Some know a few things about social media. But how many know enough about all of these things in order to make rational, informed decisions regarding the dynamics of each proposed protocol change? It’s not even a question about code review and testing. It’s a question about whether or not the concepts and the rationale for any proposed changes actually makes sense within the context of the Steem blockchain and the general socio-economic vision for it.

I’m definitely not saying that everyone needs to be well-versed in socio-economics in order to be a witness. However, it would be nice to see an effort by witnesses to at least better understand basic concepts of economics and monetary policy in order to properly manage things like Steem Dollars, APR, and bias. Many of our witnesses never even bother setting these parameters...or know their purpose.

I’m also not saying that every witness ought to be a professional behavioral psychologist. But it would help if they better understood incentivized behavior...if they had a better understanding of things that shape behavior, like antecedents and consequences, so that when behavioral changes are discussed (as with our latest hard fork), it would allow for some careful consideration of the protocol changes in question.

The Steem protocols are part of a complex system that includes making a lot of assumptions about user behavior and incentives. If we have no idea about things like profit motives and interest rates, or what a time sink is, then it’s going to be exponentially more difficult to comprehend protocol changes and witness parameters where these concepts are already implied.

So, all of that being said...

In the end, we’re left with a far less-than-ideal culture that largely punishes critical voices while encouraging and rewarding yes-men, excessively compensates the unskilled, inexperienced, and/or unmotivated, and allows and often excuses the same repeated mistakes from the same people/entity.

It’s no surprise then that hard forks are proposed, accepted, and fail to deliver on promises...or become implementation nightmares. This happens for all of the aforementioned reasons – but it shouldn’t and doesn’t have to be that way.

I would encourage all users – witnesses, whales, and everyone else – to please give more consideration to your witness votes. Take a minute to look around, ask around, and contact individual witnesses directly to find out more about us and what we are currently doing on/with/for the Steem blockchain. If you’re not satisfied with the way things are going, then you are the ones with the ability to change direction.

(And that includes you, @freedom. You are the single largest voter of witnesses. I would hope that you take that vote seriously.)

This last hard fork should not have been accepted. It was simply too large, included too many moving parts, was clearly under-tested, and the dev team and testers had at least one major concern about it. Witnesses dropped the ball by accepting the fork and the Steemit, Inc. dev team was not open enough with witnesses and the community about what was likely to occur...again.

We are now on our fourth iteration of HF20 but it has only been officially in production for three days. And we can’t even be sure that another patch or two won’t be necessary soon.

This is unacceptable.


My promise to you as a Steem witness.


I recently mentioned some of this on a post from @remlaps, but I want to include it here, for the record.

If I were to find myself as a top-20 witness, I can promise you that I will do the following:

In addition to my usual availability and engagement with the community and my general reviews of hard fork proposals, I will...

  1. Operate a public RPC node.
  2. Have the code for all proposed protocol changes professionally audited.
  3. Direct my team to participate in any official testnet for new code.


Regarding specific proposals for protocol changes, I will accept them based on whether or not...

  1. There is a problem in need of a solution – OR – There is a protocol change that is persuasively an improvement upon existing code.
  2. The rationale for the code is coherent with the existing set of protocols.
  3. The proposal is presented in a size that is easily manageable/auditable.
  4. The code has been professionally audited.
  5. The code has been adequately/robustly tested.


If any proposals do not meet this criteria, then my default position will be to reject the proposal.

I would hope that other witnesses take a similar stance on protocol changes and actually stick to it. I understand the eagerness to try new things or to “move the blockchain forward,” but that does not necessarily mean that we need to constantly tinker with the economics of the platform. Stability can be just as attractive and productive than continual change. Forking the blockchain should not be so easy to accomplish. It should not be a given.


Share your concerns and give us feedback.


I know some of you out there will just complain that I’m being critical once again. I understand that.

I also don’t care.

We need more critical voices – more people willing to go against the status quo. It is the critical voice that makes you more adept at defending your ideas. It’s the people looking for and pointing out errors that pushes you to be more careful to not make them. You don’t harden your project by cheerleading, rubberstamping, and shutting out criticism. You don’t learn from people telling you that you’re never wrong.

So be critical. Find the things that you don’t like. Express your displeasure. Communicate your concerns to those people that you believe will actually listen and may be able to help.

But don’t just be critical. Highlight the things that you believe are good…and ask for more of them or propose ways to improve upon them.

As stakeholders, this blockchain is the responsibility of all of us. It’s time that we start acting like it instead of trying to prematurely kill it…either by fattening it up to morbid obesity through cake-eating and complacency, or by killing the proverbial golden egg-layer.

It's in our own hands.




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There was, and is, a lot of heated debate with regards to HF20 and its readiness for prime time. The top 20, and those of us just under, are not in lock-step with Steemit, Inc. While we try to work with them disagreements will happen and often do. As a witness I sincerely apologize to the entire Steemit community for the disruption in service.

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Thanks for the insight on your remarks about this hard fork. I appreciate that you tried to do what was right.

I am by no means stating that everyone is in lock-step. I am simply stating that there is a lot of pressure to be on board with Steemit, Inc.'s plans for the blockchain - and it's not just from them. It's pretty hard to deny the culture that I mentioned in the post when it's something that has been observed by many longstanding members of the community and new members alike. Those who push back against these pressures and this culture are risking a lot, as I'm sure you've noticed over the past 2+ years.

Even with that pressure and the culture here, I can't imagine why any top witness would want to push this fork through, knowing that it was an extremely ambitious hard fork and knowing that there was limited testing...and knowing that there were in fact problems with negative RC balances. And specifically in light of last week's halt to the chain due to one line of code that contained an error, I have a hard time believing that there wasn't more doubt among witnesses that this fork was going to be implemented smoothly.

Under such conditions, with access to that kind of information, it's mind-blowing to me that all of our top-20 witnesses updated to the new version anyway. I can only conclude that they...

  1. Were not informed of the negative RC balances.
  2. Did not sufficiently audit and/or test the new protocols.
    And/Or
  3. Didn't care enough to be bothered with doing their witness duties and finding out about any potential issues with the code.

Any one of these three is a major concern for this blockchain and its users/investors. As a whole, the "most trusted" people in charge of Steem blockchain oversight and functionality were completely derelict in their duties. I think this is a huge signal to users and investors that there can be little actual trust in such a "trustless" network. And I think it also speaks volumes about the level of centralization that actually exists rather than the theoretical decentralization that everyone seemingly pretends we have.

Anyway - thanks for taking a stand against what many people believe was a failure of implementation, regardless of whether or not they were for or against the changes. I had already stated prior to the fork that I would like to try the RC system, but I was cautious/concerned about the scope of the fork and the implementation of it. I think my concern and the concerns from people like you and @drakos have been validated. I will continue to oppose these massive protocol change packages for as long as they continue to be proposed.

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Frankly, I had such high hopes for Steemit. However, so far I am disappointed.

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Hard truth is that all witnesses need to stand up to these bullies and do the right thing. Maybe next time your preached down to have some balls to pull off your own fork and go your own way. Because if ned and steemit blog can 11th hour everybody off a bridge than you better not accept the next glass of kool-aid. Does anyone even know who these people are? Look at EOS.

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Steemit is awesome. All is Forgiven.

Posted using Partiko iOS

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As well you know, there should not have been a hardfork with supermajority support if there is still heated debate. Again, as well every top 20 witness knows, the moment all top 20 witnesses start producing with a 20.x node, it means they support HF20, not that they are still debating it. That HF20 is still being debated after they elected to run a 20.x node and the chain forked is beyond me.

While time will heal the downtime, the lack of confidence will haunt unless there is some evidence that lessons were learned in all camps.

The top 20 witnesses are the last line of defense between the end-users and hacking, incompetence, or catastrophic errors. While I do not have a large investment here, it is enough I want to feel it is in good hands.

I still see more people fighting rather than assisting with the testnet, etc.

While I am waiting to see how this pans out, it is difficult to feel much can change with Pumpkin and Freedom.

I also want to acknowledge that I saw you communicating on the blockchain prior to the fork about your concerns. Although I don't always appreciate your communication style, kudos for pointing out the risks and doing what you could to bring awareness.

The buck stops with the witnesses, not SteemIt Inc.

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Pumpkin (and thereby Freedom) do change their witness votes from time to time, so all is not lost. The question is, who controls pumpkin and what are their parameters for choosing witnesses?

The buck stops with the witnesses, but if they are all "Yes Men" (and women) then we will never see critical thinking step in and make reasonable requests/demands. Everyone is too afraid of losing those witness rewards for producing blocks.

So really, the buck stops with the witness voters. We do have enough cumulative power to outvote Freedom if we ALL started using out witness votes. Unfortunately, so many people don't even bother to vote for witnesses or even know what it means to vote, or be a witness, that we will not be seeing these changes any time soon.

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Pumpkin (and thereby Freedom) do change their witness votes from time to time, so all is not lost. The question is, who controls pumpkin and what are their parameters for choosing witnesses?

That would be amazing to know.

So really, the buck stops with the witness voters. We do have enough cumulative power to outvote Freedom if we ALL started using out witness votes. Unfortunately, so many people don't even bother to vote for witnesses or even know what it means to vote, or be a witness, that we will not be seeing these changes any time soon.

Maybe we should make major pushes to encourage people to proxy their votes more. Some people really enjoy keeping their ears to the ground and shift their choices frequently depending on developments. In my experience I went from not even knowing 10 witnesses I'd like to support to knowing who most of the top 100 are and wishing I could vote more than 30.

It's really not that realistic to expect your average Steemit user to gather the information necessary to choose 30 witnesses unless they have specific interest in it. If we had a culture where proxying was more popular, even a tiny minnow who dedicated to staying up to date with witness activities could have a pretty big say in matters.

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I like this idea, however, first you have to teach the average Joe Steem users that they should care who their witnesses are. I think there are a lot of people on Steem who do not care one way or the other.

Maybe this current situation could be explained in a way that encourages people to set a proxy, but who do we encourage them to proxy to? Asking people to proxy needs to be accompanied with a list of potential proxies for people to consider. Asking people to proxy to yourself can easily be read as a power play.

So convince the people who don't vote for witnesses to vote, make it easy for them to proxy, and give them a list of potential proxies to choose from. I think then you might have a SLIGHT chance of making a small difference in the witness rankings.

But maybe I am too pessimistic.

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Maybe we should make major pushes to encourage people to proxy their votes more. I've been thinking about this also.

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There are many, probably most who do not have the ability to vote on witnesses. Although I am well informed, I am likely on the cusp of this myself.

Those who are "yes men" because they fear losing money are bad actors, but I feel an inability to have any influence.

I'm waiting for the dust to settle, but I can't currently trust the system.

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you have some good forking points there... ;)

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****echo****

While I am waiting to see how this pans out, it is difficult to feel much can change with Pumpkin and Freedom.

I also would love to see evidence that lessons were learned... show us witnesses! stand up!

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Steemit Inc could outvote Pumpkin and Freedom if they voted for witnesses.

Dude.

tl;dr

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He said, all this ole borking hardforks is BS. Time to start holding witnesses responsible for more than just signing blocks..

tl;dr:
SteemIt Inc engineers aren't the best in the world.
Witnesses are circle-jerkers.
Vote @ats-witness for witness

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I second that! I also think the proxy vote idea would be awesome, now trust of the individual holding that proxy power for the betterment of Steem comes into play.

I have thought it before why not push for @DTube proxy votes? I would do it! You have the team with sufficient knowledge available to do ample research, just a thought I’ve had for awhile seems a good time to share. The DTube community is one of the fastest growing in terms of SP and I personally see much potential in making corrective impacts having it used wisely.

I had considered this for @OneLoveDTube as I have spent a fair amount of time explaining to newbies about importance of these witness votes, I know witness votes are SP relative. Trying to simplify it was taking me down the proxy path yet I am still uncertain whom to bestow that responsibility on to.

Posted using Partiko iOS

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Lol

Posted using Partiko iOS

I hope that the lessons learnt here will be put to good use for future hardfork. Let us learn and move on. Steemit, we expect better next time.

Posted using Partiko Android

It's not only about the code, but also about what is this code doing?

It's an inflation / dilution game. And because of this downtime, and these limits that are in place that will be finetuned but still will be in place, we the community / users are set back, and we will loose this game. In simple words, we will loose our investment, slowly but steady under the impression we have a fair chance to come out at the other end.

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See my comment below about filing a complaint with the FTC.

I agree with the point about having less changes per fork - this approach of many changes together looks a lot like the way governments ram through masses of changes and bury hard to swallow details in there so deep that the reviewers have no chance to find them and comment. This is NOT a good look!

As a witness and a software engineer, with C++ background and experience of working in the banking and social networking industry - I am very frustrated with the situation and really need to see changes here. Yours is the only post from a witness I have EVER seen (other than mine) proposing to use top 20 funds to pay for professional testing. I raised this issue myself in several recent posts.

I have also just proposed that the witness reward pool gets more evenly distributed so that we don't lose millions into a black box that has no measure of return - plus also allowing other competent people to use their passion to work on the project in useful ways.

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...this approach of many changes together looks a lot like the way governments ram through masses of changes...

I've made this exact comparison in the past. It's a really crappy way to push needed changes through that actually have super-majority consensus, not only among witnesses, but within the larger community as well.

Yours is the only post from a witness I have EVER seen (other than mine) proposing to use top 20 funds to pay for professional testing.

Unless we are well-versed and experienced with C++ and auditing code, I think hiring someone to do that job is the most responsible thing to do when collecting large sums of money to perform duties as a top witness. Anything short of that would be borderline reckless, in my opinion. How can you justify accepting protocol changes for a blockchain valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars, with hundreds/thousands of large investors, if you haven't bothered to have those protocols professionally audited and tested?

Going forward, I think more professional audits and testing is really the only way to proceed. If it can't be done before the official implementation dates, then the hard forks ought to be rejected. In light of recent events, that's the only reasonable path.

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Yes, I agree. I actually am experienced in C++ and testing, so I know something of the complexity and size of the task (though I wouldn't know all the details without going more deeply into it all). Co-ordination goes a LONG way when it comes to testing complex systems and I really think we need to have a witness testing channel in chat as a minimum. That in itself would help expose what is and is not occurring.

I worked out earlier (after getting the maths wrong the first time around) that top 20 witnesses currently receive in the region of about $90k per year. Paying others to do professional audits would take a sizeable chunk of that - but if they all split the cost it would be doable. This then comes back to the issue of potentially redirecting some of the witness budget towards tasks such as this but then we have the politics of who gets the job and so the complexities of getting so many individuals to work together in a coherent way just spiral on. I suppose a way of rewarding code changes and bug hunting would go a long way towards helping but @utopian-io doesn't even currently have Steem whitelisted, for reasons I don't understand. :/

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It is of note that witnesses could also choose to hire an organization to audit the code together. It's not necessarily required that witnesses all hire their own programmers to audit the code.

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The hardfork went amazingly, now just to show you I am going to up-vote my own comment.

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Considering the special occasion, I'm going to up-vote this comment as well ;)

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Now, just one more time lol

What a disaster.. there accounts that lost millions of dollars to to this HF20

I hate to say this, but I think STINC calls this fork a success because it was for them. It achieved what they cared about and everything that went wrong they really don't care about.

I kept being perplexed at how they could be so incompetent at protecting user experience during the upgrade. I mean, are these not professionals with some concept of Change Management procedures?

After numerous conversations it has become clear to me. They don't care about Steemit or users on Steemit, except how we help them prepare for the release of SMTs. That's the business they want to be in, not providing end user experiences themselves.

So yeah, this is how they roll. And this is how it's going to be. And they don't care how many newbies leave along the way. They just need the data and enough of us here to present proof of concept.

So those of us who stay with that understanding can stop being disappointed. I would appreciate witnesses doing what you describe as your intention above, and will give you a vote. But ultimately STINC is going to keep pressuring witnesses to rubberstamp their decisions because that's all they want you to do. They don't necessarily have the same priorities as we might wish they had.

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I hate to say this, but I think STINC calls this fork a success because it was for them.

This has been my suspicion for a while now, looking back at the last several hard forks. It seems to me that they have been setting up a way that they can maximize the profits from their ninja-mined stake rather than use that stake for the purposes of development, marketing, and onboarding new users as they had originally stated it would be used.

The ninja-mine has always been one of the largest attack vectors against the Steem blockchain, and instead of addressing this by doing something reasonable (since they are clearly not using it as "promised"), they are leveraging it to further enrich themselves by selling/delegating that stake, by creating Resource Credits that can potentially be bought/sold in a marketplace, and by not having to spend that stake on new user onboarding.

So, the development has been shoddy, the marketing is non-existent (and there is no marketing team at all, as far as I know), and the onboarding can essentially be free for them. In light of this...why did/do they need that massive ninja-mined stake that has caused so many issues both within and outside the Steem community?

The push for SMTs just seems like more centralized development for a vision that, to me, will likely be destructive for the blockchain.

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Holy Shit @ats-david!!

This has been the most lucid and eloquently crystal clear comment describing and illustrating with outstanding transparency the current situation of the steem blockchain that I've read in months. };)

Let's see how many more are willing to swim deeper in it.

All our stated issues could be solved if there was some proper management, that could coordinate all top20 witnesses.
But right now they only kowtow to Stinc.

And by the way..

steem 0.20.5 is out

Are you fucking kidding me?
What are they trying to achieve?
Most patches within a week?
This makes it clear that even the core developers of steem have no idea what they are doing and didn't bother with testing.
Code compiles.. My job is done!

I've got nothing good to say. The f'd up math plan to keep the little person in their place and prevent any established whale and probably dolphin from feeling any pain ever, while screwing with people's abilities to feed their children, has left me stunned.

I've been ill the last year with one thing after another. It's left me far behind and detached from the platform while connected via private conversations on Discord to people who use STEEM platforms. The people are from all over the world. If they leave, I'm entirely gone because basically they are the only ones I care about. Well except for continuing to practice.

Basically, this week, Steemit has become a place where I will say precisely exactly any thing I wish to say on any topic. I have Zippo to lose. It is a good place to just practice my arts with or without precision. Why? Because practice is always good.

I would say more but I spent too much RC partying with @Ned on his successful release of HF20.

It was very informative to read your post. I spent some years testing software/ websites and providing in house support for software that was never ever going to work. This release AND the designed "improvements" have left me remembering scams and shams of old.

You were way easy on Ned.

If you want to read my further thoughts they are here, https://steempeak.com/steem/@marillaanne/re-ned-on-the-bridge-hardfork20-20180928t052640869z

I am going to spend time getting my witness votes in order, as you suggested.

Thank you for confirming all my worst suspicions and giving me a moment of sanity in a community of gas-lighting brown-nosers.

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Basically, this week, Steemit has become a place where I will say precisely exactly any thing I wish to say on any topic.

I always encourage people to speak their mind...to not sugar-coat things. I'm glad that you have made this decision. I've been doing it for over two years, and while it doesn't exactly work in my favor with this specific culture, nobody can say that I don't speak my mind, that I'm not passionate when I do speak, and that I don't offer constructive criticism/solutions.

You were way easy on Ned.

Trust me when I say that I am never easy on Ned. I'm sure he can attest to that. But I do it from a place of genuine concern and hope for this blockchain. I wish others would understand that and stop acting as if criticism alone will actually be the thing that holds this blockchain back or brings it down.

..a community of gas-lighting brown-nosers.

I mostly cannot disagree with this description! :)

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Thank you for a very non-gas-lighting and non-brown-nosing reply.

There are far too few realists left in the world. Let's blame Zig Ziegler. ;)

One of the reasons I enjoyed testing was that I actually got to point out things that weren't working without hearing, "don't be so negative." Instead I heard, "but it's working as designed."

Pretty sure the system here is, unfortunately Working as Designed, with unforseen consequences because none of the designers are eating the dog food that they are making any more, as a newbie, from a newbie perspective.

I've seen old timers say two things that are not true any more.

  1. a well written intro post brings in a good amount of money to get started on (Maybe so If your good buddy promotes your post and buddy is well connected)

  2. It doesn't really take that long to get to 500 sp.

Bother.

Anyway, Nice to meet you.

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You may want to consider spending ten minutes of your time filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, I did last week, it took all of ten minutes. He agreed with the statement that it was time to stop discussing if Steemit is a ponzi/pyramid scheme and actually take a look at whether it actually is. When you earn money the decision should be yours what you do with it, hodl it, power up or power down but you shouldn't be held hostage to invest it back into the company for the advantage of those at that the top, nor should those at the top being given a unfair advantage over those at the bottom. If you decide to do that when they ask what the product sold is you tell them liquid steem.

Upvoting my own comments...priceless

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this is not bring me joy!

I think the TOP 20 witnesses should review the changes but I believe many of them would just upgrade to the latest version without doing so when there is a version coming out not to mention those witnesses that are far from the top.

Great post. I see Steem as a big experiment. It will either evolve and continue, or something will evolve to compete with it and it will fade. Your paragraph that begins:

"But the worst part of this culture is that bad ideas, faulty code, and poor behavior is often blindly supported and accepted because criticism is not handled well by those being criticized and because those who criticize are targeted and shunned by many different people and groups within the community..."

is spot on, not just for HF20 and witnesses, but for Steem as a whole. It hit me recently that in traditional economies, one of the biggest problem is that those with the most money rule, and typically rule in their own favor. Unfortunately, Steem, by being set up to be proof of stake, not proof of brain, is suffering from the same problems, only they are even more extreme because Steem's Gini index is close to 1. This means that there is an extreme oligarchy on Steem, along with a hierarchy of control: a few can easily downvote others out of existence for no logical reason, other than to retain power.

But as I said, Steem is an interesting experiment. I would like to see Steem move more in the direction of something like Stack Exchange, which overall has far higher quality content. Can the ideas there be combined with ideas from Steem to get the best of both worlds? Can we shift from proof of stake, to proof of brain, but somehow reward those who have invested more? Or do those who have more SP really need to be rewarded more? If they are not meaningfully engaging, why should they?

With respect to Witnesses and HF20, I suggest a different model prior to each HF: the witnesses post what they are doing to test and their results/opinions on the HF at least one month prior to the go live date. That would give users a chance to shift votes to witnesses who show that they are truly engaged.

Proud member of #steemitbloggers @steemitbloggers

Exactly the reason I vote for your witness since day 1.

Admire you still are passionate where many would have given up. We need more such personality on steemit. Resteemed.

The true -ve impact of HF20 is yet to start. These people are trying to take away interaction and engagement from a platform they say is a social network. This is really funny! If nothing reasonable is done, this will be the beginning of the downfall of steemit.

Can you imagine them trying to compel everyone to buy steem and power up? Nobody does anything by compulsion. When people see the value of the product, they would advise themselves to tap from it. Most of us share our original intellectual properties here with no guarantee of getting anything back and we don't complain because we thought the platform had a future. They came out with HF20 that we thought was going to improve engagement and make the platform more interesting and it turns out to be the opposite. That's a true lack of vision! Maybe when only the few whales and a handful of dolphins are left, they would wisen up.

Note: this comment cost me so much RC so you better appreciate it because soon you won't be getting any on your posts because HF20 has turned commenting to a luxury. Lol

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These people are trying to take away interaction and engagement from a platform they say is a social network.

I asked if this was their goal, but I received no response. I usually never do.

But give it a couple of more days and see if things don't improve by then. I know it sucks, but at this point, there isn't much we can do about it. It's out of my hands and very few people at the top are ever willing to listen. Even fewer are willing to act.

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See my comment. (I won't take your silence as consent LOL.)

Went to vote for you and it says your witness is disabled.

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Yeah, it's replaying for the latest patch at the moment. Should be back online soon.

Another point is the dependence on Steemit Inc being the sole developer of these Hard forks which I think is unacceptable for a decentralized approach of the community. I have seen the talent from other developers who have helped expand the ecosystem with Dapps and other integrations with the Steem blockchain; these could work independently and propose changes that could make the processed less centralized and less efficient as the time between the changes seems to be wide for technology that is evolving by leaps and bounds.

Thanks for being honest and bold about this catastrophic software update.

Being a developer, I cannot agree more with your idea of preferring smaller chunks of changes over big ones. As a user, I am indeed re-evaluating if it makes any sense to stay on a platform like this. I quickly became kind of addicted to Steemit (partly for the money, but more importantly for the social experience).

I would have given a full upvote, but my voting power is still around 50%, so that needs to wait. I resteemed your post to bring it to more users, nonetheless.

Posted using Partiko iOS

I agree, Steemit could use more critical voices. I was originally on Minds exclusively before coming here, and since then I have noticed two major differences between Minds and Steemit.

First is rewards. I get quite a bit more monetary rewards on Steemit. I think part of that is the curation community in general, as they are very active on Steemit while Minds still doesn't have much of that.
But the second is more worrying. Criticism. I get criticism on comments and blog posts alike on Minds. Steemit, I almost never see criticism of any kind on my posts beyond mention of typos, though I personally will voice my honest opinion on just about anyone's post. It does seem there is indeed a high tendency of people to blindly support anything they see here, because they want people to support them.

I think this is tied to the first thing; rewards. Steemit has a dollar amount associated with every post. Users don't want to lose what they have, and they want to increase what they can get. The most straight forward way of doing this is positive feedback while avoiding rocking the boat. Many people ignore the ideas being discussed and just see the dollar signs. They see someone earning hundreds, and assume they must have higher value content as well as connections, thus encouraging them to support that person blindly.

After the fork, which:

  • I wasn't even aware of before it started. I don't know if there was a coordinated campaign to alert users, but if so I do not recall seeing it.
  • prevented me from posting for a full two days(frustrating when I had a schedule of posts for the week, a practice I had been doing for over a month)
  • not only prevented, but deleted my scheduled posts on SteemPeak(Luckily, I'm the kind of guy to back things up locally)
  • did not give me an explanation as to what was going on or what "resource credits" even were(this should have been in an info box on my profile somewhere, but I only even saw an actual metric using SteemPeak and no explanation of how much I needed to post. I had 15%, but still couldn't post. Basic information on using Steemit should not require tracking down posts on Steemit.)

...and this article highlighting why this happened, I'm deeply concerned about the viability of Steemit. This is not the first major technical issue, and it's unlikely to be the last. It seems there are systemic problems in how the leadership works and how such leadership decisions affect the community. I think the vast majority of users prefer a stable application as opposed to the latest and greatest(highly debatable) code, and yet that is not what has been provided. I will need to seriously consider my continued participation on this platform.

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I think the vast majority of users prefer a stable application as opposed to the latest and greatest(highly debatable) code...

This is my understanding and these are my expectations as well. I would much prefer a stable system with less variable economic incentives rather than a system constantly in flux with a vision that seemingly changes on a Ned whim. It's hard to ask for investment when an investor's money can be significantly affected by multiple variables...and multiple changing variables from fork to fork.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't seek additional/better ways to increase SP utility - we absolutely need to do this, but we should do it in a manner that makes potential changes in returns more easily predicted/calculated and in a manner that ensures a higher degree of behavioral stability among users.

Nobody likes unpredictability. And they certainly don't like it when it comes to their investments. Since Steem is primarily an economic and stake-based system, we should be doing as much as we can to treat it as an economic/investment platform. Minimize risk as much as possible and maximize returns for those assuming the risks...and keep these risks and returns as stable as possible with each protocol change. If major changes are needed, then we better be damn sure that these changes actually have widespread stakeholder consensus and that they are implemented as smoothly as humanly possible.

Flying by the seat of our pants and testing buggy code on the production chain is horrifically irresponsible for all parties involved.

HF20 proves devs/owners/whales still only care for themselves.
Top 100/1000 vs the rest of us, whoever is left.
Never handled or addressed bad actors and bots, or obvious misusers.
The numbers prove it if anyone is honest.
Maybe the next 100k real folks that join won't be pushed out.
But after realizing they are just used as food for whales to consume and the conditions they persist in is of little concern because another 100k will come and go next year.
I liked the idea of coming to a crypto environment and doing whatever I could to learn and post and comment like anyone. Maybe get some rewards and grow along with crypto and its community. Contribute a bit, cull bad content while boosting valuable content and have a certain amount of enjoyment and steem credit for my effort.
I just came back after 7 months and it isn't any better and maybe worse.
If this place drives away a core crypto fan that has been around since litecoin was launched and has followed since then something is wrong here.
It feels more like big money ad yellow/white page business directory blockchain. Pay lots and you can speak here.
Then facebook/twitter social blockchain where any good thought/idea can truly rise up organically like originally conceived. Not drowned out for a few more vests.
Meme it. Eastwood in "For a Few Vests More!

Just out of interest, who actually writes the codes? I know a lot of witnesses are very technical, but it seems that anyone can set up a witness node and if they get enough votes they could get to top 20. So my question is, do you have to be technical or know programming to be a witness, as lets be honest a lot of people vote for witness because someone asked them to or because they are part of the same community. Can non witnesses help to write the code? And if so, who is responsible to verify their capabilty, to check, test and test their work. I know nothing about witness work and the technical side of things, so this is just laymen question from a normal user that's been caught up in all this.

Ps I personally am enjoying this break, but I wish it was due to another reason and not how the whole HF went.

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Just out of interest, who actually writes the codes?

Nearly all of the code comes from the Steemit, Inc. development team. There are a few other people who submit pull requests via Github, but most of the planned hard fork protocols come from the same company.

Thank for the post. I voted for you, though my vote won't make any difference.

Highly rEsteemed!

Wish we had started this Blockchain experiment with more responsible people such as yourself. You got my vote.

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Too late for me to resteem - I discovered this post thanks to @geekorner just now. But thank you for this post!

I gave you an upvote which is about 1/3 of its power before the fork and this comment will probably be my only one for today. I agree that testing is most important. With this being social media why would you kill option to comment for many people.

@ats-witness I think you belong in the top 20 and will go and vote for you as soon as my account is back up again. Blessings!

You called it before hand that there were a ton of unknowns and even the language from Steemit INC was very unsure. Now everything turned out as a back alley abortion with an infection on top.

Unfortunately the witness situation is a joke and it always has been.

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Unfortunately the witness situation is a joke and it always has been.

It seems I've taken a further slide down the list since yesterday. Other than jump into the cheerleading line, I don't know what else I can do. So I guess I'll just keep sliding, because I don't even own any pom-poms.

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Yeah it is an issue for sure. People just see it as negative and those in power will want to remain in power. Sometimes the truth hurts.

I honestly think most of us are better off focusing on other platforms. A lot has been learned from the STEEM experiment and it will continue to be here as an example.

We are just no body complainers on this chain. EOS VC has funding for projects so that is a focus that some of can potentially obtain.

Finally someone has the guts to say it as it is. Many right now are discouraged and unless a person can kiss feet the smaller fries, I mean, minnows are left in the dust and confused in the Steemit lingo.

Posted using Partiko iOS

.. trying to vote for you, but it just spins and spins and says you disabled your witness 9 hours ago.

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The witness is currently replaying. It should be back online soon, then maybe try voting again?

Not sure why it wouldn’t work. Plenty of witnesses that are disabled still have thousands of Mvests of approvals. Seems like a broken system to me. Amirite? :)

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I think there is something wrong with that feature right now. I can't get ANY of my witness vote changes to stop spinning and take.

Lesson learned: A centralised cryptocurrency is dangerous

Posted using Partiko Android

This is starting to feel like the proverbial shot in the dick.

New users cannot even post?

I was going to give you a vote, but you already have mine from before.

Since one of solutions is to try to separate power of steemit inc from witnesses, we as a community should take votes away from witnesses that are also steemit developers. Do you happen to know who they are so I can take my votes away?

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As far as I know, Steemit, Inc. does not have any of their employees/coders running a witness node. I believe they ended that practice last year around the same time they stopped voting on witnesses.

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OK, thank you.

I hope there's change. I've see too much failure with the hardforks and not many owning up to the mistake. I started to power down just to be liquid if something happens. I want steem to succeed but if I see more failure I'll take the few bucks I've got and get out.

This is an excellent piece of writing. It is very thought-provoking with much straight-shooting. As someone who worked in software development long ago, I totally agree that trying to pack too much into code at once is a bad thing, and your suggestion that witnesses reject such a proposal is only logical. You were already getting my vote, but this would have won my vote, otherwise! Bravo!

I like your words mate. I need more time to investigate your actions and your intentions, but if they all align, I am voting for you. We need curation and checking up (usually hard work that does not get rewarded properly in my view).

One of the few people willing to say it the way it is, you just got my vote, and I hope many other peoples.

I was utterly shocked and in disbelief when I was still under the impression the negative RC balance problem came as total surprise to everyone... now I'm not sure if it isn't even more shocking to lern the problem was known...

I fully agree with the sentiment that we need smaller more auditable changes and most importantly a much more critical approval process amongst the top 20...

instead of trying to prematurely kill it…either by fattening it up to morbid obesity through cake-eating and complacency, or by killing the proverbial golden egg-layer.

amen!

Amen brother you have mine and @OneLoveDTube witness votes!

I agree there is a problem with “yes men” in the current system, if I had the coding knowledge I would be gunning for heads! I was expressing my concerns just with the limited knowledge I have only to be laughed at repeatedly, guess who’s laughing now? They still are because they the ones able to get paid this week 🤦‍♂️ loose loose situation for me.

Posted using Partiko iOS

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"If I had the coding knowledge...."
Even with limited knowledge, some of us still have insights, intuitions, hunches, and predictions. So, to all the tech-savvy heavyweights running the show, I would urge you to Listen to @d00k13!

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Thanks @carollean for the vote of confidence!

It’s a sad state of affairs when your wallet determines your input into the system to which your invested. I did however get some recognition for my efforts much after the fact but it was good to be noticed. We do have some good players in the system but it seems like their voice is muffled by the constant banter of agreement with the status quo.

Posted using Partiko iOS

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We have some good players - yes - and the status quo can drown out their voices. Yes. I'm amazed I'm still here, after the politics and clashes I've seen. I'm also surprised the bot didn't catch you in misspelling @carolkean - maybe it's because there really is a @carollean. :)

I believe this upgrade is going to impact the new users:-(

I'm but a small fry, probably forever stuck outside the top 100. Just have to go with the flow. Have zero say or steem power to do anything. 😢

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You are not alone and most of us here will never be in the top 100 don't worry about it. Very little we minnows can do.

Good night I have just a few months in steemit with the update in my wallet in steem power I see a tab that says power down and has a slide bar wanted to know what function meets. What dou you recommend.

An in-house civil war is imminent!

Yes... just stay calm and Trust Steemit. It always comes back. Steem is the Best Crypto on the Planet

Posted using Partiko iOS

Just let us know ahead of time that the Site will be down for about a week for maintenance and testing and recommend an alternative place to blog.... create a sister blog like WEKU

Posted using Partiko iOS

Why have you switched off your node/witness?

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We are on the fifth iteration of Steem version 0.20, so my node is being updated and replaying...again. I also used this opportunity to make some adjustments/upgrades.

I will be online again today.

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Thanks for the reply, I was worried you had been silenced, all good then, though why this shit show is on version 5 is way beyond me, I just want my bittrex wallet unlocked so I can bank the steem that I was going to invest in this dump.

May I ask what the strategy is for approaching top 20 witnesses and when/if you get there what will the roadmap be for the planned outcome? Considering the top 20 is very difficult to approach in the current timeline, I'd like to know how you plan on doing it.

I would like to see a post like this from all witnesses. A manifesto of sorts. I will for sure be rechecking my witness votes (for what that's worth) after this debacle and I think a vote is coming your way. but I do have one question, are you involved with any of the bidbot activity on steem?

Alright have you on my list of witnesses ;-)

Great points. You've earned my tiny witness vote.

While I feel that a lot of different projects give a lot to the blockchain...perhaps more of the top 20 spots should be given to programmers that are capable of reviewing the code...or groups that have at least one member that can review the code, or at the very least hire someone to do so. It's horrible that a hard fork can be put forward by Steemit and not reviewed by the witnesses. That's their job. It's nice to support projects, but if they can't have members that do the traditional jobs of the witnesses, should they be in the top 20? I'm leaning towards no, because this was an utter failure.

I can't believe that they announced it as a success after either. The Steemit blog post, and the whole idea that we need to just wait was just horrible. They acted like they expected this. Like if it was a possibility that they never even mentioned. That's horrible. No one knew that it was a possibility that we all would be completely unable to vote or post or comment after the HF, and yet it would still be declared a success, and any problems would be minimized. I hope that we move very quickly towards decentralizing the production of the code for Steem, because that was a travesty. We need more coders that have no affiliation with Steem, and will be able to produce their own patches and forks, and review any code that is proposed.

(I am voting for you as soon as I am done writing this comment)

I have a lot of things to say about Steemit,Inc. A crazy amount of things. Specially as soon as I became a witness.

(sarcasm) I love how they are just pushing new version on the live blockchain. sorry but no one can convince me that they know how to do testing. I mean seriously, you ought to have a way on firing a whole network with various versions on it and have tools to add your own tests/transactions.

I am sick and tired and disappointed of the current state of affair. We have so little full nodes that when steem.api is down, everything else is down. We have only 20 witnesses who decide everything (to be fair, this is much better than 7 pools deciding everything on ETH or BTC but in my opinion, this is clearly not enough). We have bots and whales who do not care about content and quality but just focus on the cash.

Seriously why would anyone join and stay here at this point?!

It's time to revisit the witness vote decay idea. I understand there were security concerns, but it could be a gradual decay or something of the sort. The whole point of voting and elections are that it is periodic. Either way, the current DPoS system has failed. (Not as corrupt as EOS, mind, but that's only because there's less money involved.)

Would it be possible to come up with a super-majority of witnesses to stonewall code changes larger than realistically auditable and testable? You've already stated your support for third-party review and testing, they could be the ones to specify acceptable limits.

It is with great regret that I

  • totally agree with your discussion about the problems.
  • unvoted all top 20 witnesses in protest.

I believe you will do what you propose if you become a top 20 witness, so you just gained my vote. Thanks for saying what needed said!

While this is definitely NOT going to win you many top 20 votes, it does earn my Witness vote. My greatest fear, and also realization, is that the HF did some serious ahrm to the new account.

I recognize that there was some intent behind ti, there's also a very difficult stumbling block for newbies and redifsh to grow an account now. Before HF20, newbies could spend energy and effort, commeting, to grow a following and eventually, their Rep and SP.

Now, with diminished RC and longer regen times, Newbies will take forever to build accounts, or more likely, get frustrated that their energies are being wasted, and move on to other platforms!

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