The recent controversy between Steemit Inc and the community - the premine, control, and where it leads this blockchain

in #steem5 years ago

I'm not going to candy coat any of this, since I think the greater community needs a splash of realism and less pandering. At this point in time I have nothing to lose (besides wasting my time) and just think this entire situation is absurd. The vast majority of the "scare" surrounding the issues discussed over the last week have no actual merit and are, in my opinion, cases of manipulation to maintain the status quo.

Buckle up, this is going to be a long one.


How we got here

To start with, let me explain all of the events from an objective perspective. I'll try my best to leave my opinions out until later in the post, after I first try to give a better sense of what has happened up until this point.

Last week/weekend (between the 10th and 13th of January 2019), a discussion started and set this entire chain of events in motion. This was in the so-called "Secret Slack", a Slack community controlled by Steemit Inc which houses discussion between Steemit Inc employees, Witnesses, Developers, and other randomly selected Steem community members. I was present and participating in these discussions, as were a many others.

This specific conversation started as a discussion about how to attract developers into the Steem ecosystem. Ideas being tossed about, examples of other comparable systems debated, and opinions being stated about the challenges in the current environment. This type of chatter happens a lot - which isn't surprising due to the incredible amount of passion in this community.

The conversation eventually turned though, when a Steemit Inc employee chimed in. At this point in the conversation it was specifically about incentivizing blockchain developers (external of Steemit Inc) to contribute to the code that runs the platform. A disagreement occurred involving the approaches, the value of, and the effectiveness of this sort of effort. There were a few comments made during this exchange, which were viewed as talking points and an excuse not to act. This sparked the powder keg. From this point on the conversation was no longer about attracting developers but a serious discussion about Steemit Inc, it's overall competency, and it's leadership.

This is actually another common topic that comes up in the "Secret Slack" regularly. With the New Year having just occurred and everyone reflecting on 2018, it's been brought up more than usual. As the conversation progressed, with some strong statements from community members on this topic, this is the point in time where a fork was mentioned for the first time, on Friday the 11th. It was mentioned as a method to force Steemit Inc to change how they are operating, as opposed to all of us involved "just complaining". The fork proposed would have done one thing: freeze Steemit Incs premine assets.

The participants in the channel (community members) engaged in this topic. During this time there was no mention by anyone of supporting the idea. It was discussed like any other idea proposed, with speculation of both the good and bad it would do for the Steem ecosystem. The discussion continued over the weekend, hopping to different channels, as more community members were invited (even those not in the "Secret Slack"), and the debates continued.

As far as I'm aware, no one had planned on talking about any of this, it just happened organically. It was presented as a "nuclear option" to force change.

Sunday the 13th is when Ned joined the channel on the Secret Slack and made his first remarks of 2019 to any of us. The immediate tone was a defensive posture, labeling one of the participants in the discussion a "hacker", and then claiming the witnesses were considering the going through with the fork. Around this time is also when the Steemit Inc power down began (directly to exchanges), in an effort to protect themselves against this "threat".

No one anywhere at this point had expressed support for actually performing the fork on the live Steem network.

The participants attempted to defuse the situation on the spot (with mild success), and since Ned wanted to talk (after being absent for the previous weeks), those involved decided sure, why not talk. It was then decided that instead the usual tactic of "everyone just saying whatever we want in chat", a committee would be setup to represent the views of the group, while trying to address the problems at hand. The idea being less individual voices (from the community) = less confusion (for Ned).

I am/was a member of this committee, which regularly talked with Ned over the week (14th-18th). Many suggestions made by the committee were outright dismissed without any discussion. Unlike the public discussion where we discussed the merits of an idea, regardless of personal opinions, this discussion was unproductive in meaningfully exploring anything. It's unknown if any benefit will come from the efforts of the community and committee due to these efforts.

Yesterday (the 19th), we've all decided to open up publicly and share with you what's been going on.

So here we are. I'm a day late, but this post took a while to compose.

Note: This is where my objective view of the situation ends.


Why we are here

From here on out I am expressing my views as an individual, based on the behavior I've observed and past experience/history.

To disclose: I have been very vocal in these private chats about the direction Steemit Inc has been taking Steem over the years, especially over the last year. None of my opinions should come as a surprised to anyone involved in the "Secret Slack", whether they're a community member or Steemit Inc employee. I typically don't bring these opinions up publicly, like I am right now, because Steem and DPOS have enough public perception problems as it is. However, at this moment in time, one of the following is true: either I am at a point of inflection or the entire community is.

To put a TLDR in front of this entire section, the reason I believe we are here today is because Steemit Inc exists within the Steem ecosystem as an "unaccountable actor" who ultimately controls far too much. I'll attempt to highlight this belief as we push forward through this post.

The situation from a general crypto perspective

To help frame the conversation a bit, let's step back out of Steem and look at crypto in general. When you're considering the viability of a DLT project (blockchain or otherwise), in order to gauge "risk of investment" (either your time or money), one of the things you generally look at in the distribution is "how much control is the founding entity retaining?". This is typically referred to as "reserve fund" or a "premine" (depending on how fancy of ICO terminology you want to use) and is critically important in any system that relies on a token as a mechanism of control.

Generally from my perspective, the less tokens the founders control the better. There are multiple reasons for this:

  • Risk: a platform which contains a premine almost always relies on the entity receiving it to be successful.
  • Risk: the "control" (mostly in block generation) of the decentralized aspects of the platform can be manipulated by this premine.
  • Risk: the entity could cause downward pressure on a market as they sell this premine (which typically is why there's a lockup/vesting period).
  • Risk: the potential for corruption and abuse, due to the non-binding agreement in which they are granted tokens in a premine.

Today, I, as an investor, will likely reject the premise of a blockchain on this single merit alone. I didn't hold this view when I got started in Steem (which was the first chain I engaged full time developing on), but as I've learned (thanks to so many people here), this belief has been cemented in my head.

Any individual actor in a blockchain ecosystem that is just "granted" a significant portion of the token distribution becomes an "unaccountable actor". That doesn't mean they are good or bad, just that they are unaccountable to the token holders. It's a very common misconception that by owning a specific token, you have a say in how these prefunded entities operate, but you don't. You don't own any portion of whatever company was created with that distribution, nor do you have any say in what they do. They're completely unaccountable to anyone but themselves.

Steem

That brings us to why we are here today. We are in a situation, as witnesses, developers, and members of the community, where the unaccountable actor in our space has repeatedly failed to accomplish anything meaningful or even meaningfully consider alternatives.

From my point of view as an "insider", Steemit Inc has:

  • used their premine irresponsibly, likely due to inexperience (common startup problem)
  • consistently failed to resolve some of the biggest issues facing the Steem platform
  • retained/taken control of this "decentralized" system, both with their rhetoric and threats to use their stake to control it
  • acted in the best interest of their company, their product, and not in the best interest of the platform
  • has demonstrated a priority of company over the platform, refusing to entertain ideas simply on the grounds that it may be detrimental to Steemit Inc

The really sad part is they have every right to do this, and aren't in any way accountable to any of us.

I am not here to argue about ownership of the ninja/premine stake, simply because in every legal sense on this chain it’s Steemit Inc property and there’s nothing concrete that holds them accountable for its usage in anything. Ned could literally decide to retire, and using the same logic he's promoted over the past few days, shut down Steemit Inc because it owes nothing to anyone. Why? Again, there’s absolutely no accountability or responsibility.

It's always been this way, even though many of us would like to hold Steemit Inc to higher standards. That, to me, is the core problem of this entire conversation long before the discussion of a fork occurred. There’s not really a way you can force someone who is “accountable to no one” to change course, no matter what harm or good they cause. This is the case in most situations where a premine exists.

The committee and it's conversations with Steemit Inc

Sadly - through the process of this entire conversation, we actually pushed everything further in the opposite direction of the goals.

Not only are we in a situation where we (those involved in the conversation) have to explain ourselves against outlandish claims of a supposed fork, but now we have Steemit Inc powering down their premine to ultimately make it less transparent than it already is. Not only are they unaccountable to anything the community wants, but now they by hiding their funds we've lost transparency... all based on a conversation that started about addressing their constant failures and what the system would be like if they were actually held accountable.

I can tell you now, if over the past 2.5 years since launch they were being held accountable, Ned would have been fired, the entire organization reworked, and the direction would have changed to a more sensible approach to build great things for Steem. That's not happening and there's literally no leverage to make this happen, at least there wasn't until the word "fork" was brought up. Sadly those conversations also didn't go anywhere because many members of the community latched onto Ned's spin of "theft" and "hackers" causing further distraction.

Speaking of which, let's talk a bit about the fork that was being discussed.

A fork

I just want to make this very clear regarding the fork: these talks never even got far enough for anyone involved to decide anything. The idea wasn't immediately dismissed either, but in discussing nuclear options like this, you can't be dismissive.

Not only did no one commit to doing it, but even after reassuring Ned of this in private, Ned then started a social tour to drum up favor in advance of anything put out by the community. When asked about the power down cited this group as a "threat". Suddenly not only were we trying to have talks with Ned, but those who bought into the spin started expressing concern for what was going on. Either someone fed Ned bad information, he's spinning this for some more nefarious reason, or most likely he's making incorrect assumptions based off his limited understanding. That last one sounds just about par for the course.

Regardless of how it happened, it was a manipulative play, which is yet another common occurrence in a system where a premine exists.

Overall, the idea of the fork had a single goal of forcing accountability, it was not about "theft" or "hacking", it was about correcting one of the biggest problems in this entire system. A problem, which isn't recognized by the only people Steemit Inc is accountable to, themselves.

Fork Alternatives

During the discussions a few other ideas took shape that essentially achieve the same goal of making Steemit Inc accountable. Most of these ideas got pushed aside during the talks with such an intense focus on the fork option. Personally I don't think with Steemit Inc's recent statements of "this is our property" any of this will actually happen, but I figured I'd share them since there's such an intense focus on the fork alone. Some of the other ideas were:

  • Steemit Inc voluntarily giving all/majority of their tokens to an elected body which would, in return, fund Steemit Inc. This provides oversight, transparency, and accountability based on performance.
  • Steemit Inc being willing to burn their token supply in exchange for some sort of alternative funding mechanism.

These both remove the unaccountable aspect of Steemit Inc, which ultimately would lead to a more healthy ecosystem. Ned has made it crystal clear that he's not giving up control of those tokens or his grasp on the Steem.

Where to go from here?

If the goal is still to achieve accountability, I don't see a path forward anymore.

As someone who's spent 2+ years working on Steem, this is a really hard pill to swallow. Probably even harder to accept for those who have actually invested their own money in Steem. At this point the options are incredibly limited. We have already been told "if you don't like it, leave". In reality (and again, sadly) "leaving" is the first step in most of the options available for anyone unsatisfied with the status quo.

It's either drink the kool-aid Steemit Inc is serving and pretend this isn't a problem, or quit.

My confidence that things will improve is nearing zero, so I'm leaning towards the latter of those options at this point but still haven't decided. The last shred of hope I have for any success here isn't completely gone, which is the only reason I haven't officially quit. I'm still watching as things unfold, but with the direction things are heading (the discussions, threats, and the power down), that last bit of hope is slowly fading.

The status of my decision can easily be monitored on block explorers as to whether or not my witness is disabled, which will be the last move.

Final thoughts

I've spent far too much time on this post already, and while I could continue to ramble on a number of topics within this post, at this point I even question the value in it. I also didn't expect to be engaged in any of these topics this week, let alone for the situation to get far worse than it was a week ago (which mind you, is when this happened, along with the "reason").

My perspective today: Steem at this point is corrupted by the "unaccountable actor" and the premine it performed years ago. Those who still believe in Steemit Inc won't believe this - at least not yet, but that doesn't mean it's not true. A centralized actor is in control of this blockchain. Not only a centralized actor, but arguably a malicious one who does not listen to reason, ever admit fault, persists down unproductive paths, makes rash decisions without thinking them through, acts superior despite consistent failures, and also attacks the decentralized community that makes it all possible. All while there's nothing you or I can do to hold them accountable for this behavior.

Ask yourself, is this what you want in a system like Steem? If you're just here for the rewards, you probably don't care where it comes from. More power to ya for that, keep up your hustle. If you're here for the same reasons I am: the ideas a blockchain represents, a fundamental shift in how we can communicate and trust one another without third parties, I would hope this matters to you. There is plenty of innovation happening in this space right now, it's just unfortunate it's not here.

Everything in this system is voluntary. The reason Steem has value is because you believe it does. Steem, and every other blockchain, are all huge social experiments we choose to be a part of. The situation in this experiment at the moment is pretty dire, and it's up to every individual to decide if this is acceptable and if they want to be a part of this.

I'm trying to make that decision and it's not easy.


For further reading, may I suggest a number of other posts, created by community members participating in the same discussions:

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Thank you, Jesta. You've given more to this blockchain than most people combined. Your tools, Vessel, Steemdb, and more. I could go on and on... No one could say this as well as you because you've built so much value here.

In years past, many who saw these problems and shouted them from the rooftops did so in ways which were hard to receive as fully credible (at least for me). Their arguments weren't very sound and/or they seemed to argue and complain about anything and everything. It's possible they were the canaries in the coal mine of this whole system.

What we do next is what counts. Will many of the old guard finally throw in the towel, step aside, and let a new batch of fresh meat try to create value, build community, and create education only to later come to the same conclusions about Ned/Steemit down the road? What kept me coming back at SF2 was meeting some of the team and seeing communication improve. I thought maybe it could work out, and I had conversations with @andrarchy where he'd talk me off the ledge and convince me things were getting better. It's no secret I've never really understood Ned. Just about every interaction I've had with him has rubbed me the wrong way. I thought it didn't matter because this was a decentralized blockchain. I thought one person couldn't matter that much.

Clarifying things with the "unaccountable actor" language is really helpful.

What we do next matters. Will all this talent and shared understanding of the system float away compleletey to other things, or will there be some new future where something could possibly work? As I see it now, that depends on the actions of one person. Unless something changes, that's not acceptable. We want decentralization. That's what we signed up for.

First step would be, you all should abandon secrecy and establish an open forum for everybody to see. I know you were/are an advocate of opening up the secret slack, at least make it visible for everybody. I think all of this drama happened because of this secrecy. I hope top witnesses, Steemit Inc, etc will leave secret groups and open up for the entire community.

Thank you for stating my position correctly. I’m not a fan, at all, of private conversations. One approach we’ve been exploring in the DAC governance model is read-only channels for elected custodians to dialogue freely without noise, with most conversations happening in memeber channels and full open conversations in community channels even for non-members (eosDAC has this structure in our discord).

I’m comfortable with my words always being transparent, but many are not. I’ve been told by some that my thinking on transparency is flawed because some aren’t comfortable expressing themselves completely if they don’t know the audience involved and think their words will be twisted and used against them. In my experience, this happens more often with “secret meetings” than with open transparency (nothing is secret unless it’s encrypted and even then...)

That said, I respect how leaders are sometimes needed to lead, organize, and propose action. If they spend all their time justifying their every word and providing context so people don’t take things the wrong way, they get little accomplished.

We have to find the balance and part of the way forward may be creating public, read-only feeds from these various “secret” communication mediums. The challenge there is it can actually decrease communication. If people who are not comfortable being transparent know their every word will be displayed, they simply stop talking. That’s when communication fully breaks down.

Facts, but that still looks like a lose/lose. Keep the secret conversations and wish for the best or open up a feed and people filter what they say with potential hidden agenda's.

Hardforks, secret meetings, powerdowns... sounds like a brew for a bad situation. I wish I had a answer, I don't want to just be another person complaining. What ever direction is for the better is what I will hope to support as a invested user.

Hearing from a insider about lost faith does not re assure me and I am sure other "users" feel the same.

Truce.

Я тоже так думаю!

Greetings @jesta,

Happy New Year!

Thank you for this enlightening and well articulated article.

There has always seemed to be disturbance at the top, unknown, unacknowledged yet there. Objectively, one might say most of us do not need to know the minutia, afterall in order to get things done it really need not be bandied about.

However, from a business perspective, investment-wise, at some point, particularily when the price of the asset goes down in a big way, investors begin to ask questions....and so they should.

Just because one has invested does not mean they are here only for a return, however a return is in the mind of anyone who invests their energy, be that energy; time, dapps, money, etc.

Steemit is a worthy and worthwhile project and investors have invested their energy in many forms....all of them are looking for returns, be that return recognition, rank, renumeration, etc.

I for one would appreciate and have looked for Steemit to get out ahead of its investors of all types, keeping us posted on how Steemit is progressing and in all fairness it must come from the top.

Principle, Leadership cannot be divorced from Salesmanship.

Wishing you all the best.

Cheers!

NB Thank you for all you do and have done for Steemit.

Happy new years to you as well, and thank you for engaging. I agree with pretty much all that you've said and I really hope that sort of change happens.

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I appreciate the honest account of things that happened. You and rest of the top witnesses are guilty of keeping secret slack, regardless of Steemit Inc's control. Open it up already.

Partly you and other witnesses are responsible for all of this debacle, because you chose to keep everything in secret. Your account probably is the least diplomatic, hence most sincere. I suspect reason is because you are no longer top 20 witness. Would you be this honest and sincere if you still were a top 20 witness??? I am not sure, but still appreciate an honest account and observation being shared. I appreciate your work for the platform and I voted for your witness as soon as I saw you were out of 20.

As far of Steem/Steemit, I think it will still be around because of all the people involved, and as you said people still believe in it. I think Inc has done ok, just failed in PR, budgeting, and marketing. I strongly hope @ned will hire a PR mentor or assign CEO duties to someone else. He had a great opportunity to become a face of the Crypto for people in general. He still does. He can become the visionary of the crypto space, only if he wanted to. Just need to ditch that guitar. :)

I believe 2019 will be awesome for all of us. This debacle happened because you all chose to be in a secret environment. If you all chose more openness and rejected secrecy, things would be different, in my opinion.

Steemit will do whatever their vision is. Yes they are the largest stakeholder. That has been the fact since the beginning. Nothing has changed in that regard. I see @andrarchy as a visionary, I wish Ned would listen to him and take his advice or make him a CEO or something.

Anyway, crypto speculators will do their thing, community will still be around. I doubt things can get worse than they are. It is disappointing that human error is stopping the progress though.

In conclusion, forking out any account funds would be the dumbest move ever. I doubt any of the top witnesses would ever go with that. I am kinda surprised the idea was even entertained. Bottomline, if there is no security of funds why bother using the blockchain?

Huge respect for you. I hope you will still be around for years to come.

I think Inc has done ok, just failed in PR, budgeting, and marketing. I strongly hope @ned will hire a PR mentor or assign CEO duties to someone else.

Have they really? I'm asking because I've heard many different and conflicting statements about this. Is it really just the PR and communication or does mismanagement of funds also play a part in this?

If I'm looking at other projects with similar sized teams, I see that they generally get a lot more done. I know this might be comparing apples with oranges, but I don't really have the feeling that Steemit Inc. is working very efficiently.

Don't get me wrong, I'm really hoping that I'm mistaken about this, but some of the problems that they're working on now should have been resolved much earlier.

Well, Steemit.com works. And works just fine. That to me is team has done ok. I do see progress. If it wasn't for Steem price going to unexpected levels (below $1), I think SMTs and other dev works would be on track to completion. I think it will still be happening and eventually, Steemit Inc will deliver SMTs, Communities, etc. Everything else is just a distraction. That's why I think better PR is needed, to actually show all the work being done, maybe even exaggerate a little bit. :)

P.S. I don't like the fact that Steemit Inc and/or Ned is actually not interested in continued development of the flagship site though.

Did you know that before HF17, later known as HF17.5 and finally HF18, we had 16 hardforks in less than a year, I think it was 8 months or almost two HF's a month. Did you know the most anticipated change after HF16 was for a linear reward curve/proportional rewards to stake, which was completely absent from HF17, HF17.5 and HF18 (All known as hf 18)? Did you know that after months of the community demanding it, HF19 finally addressed that singular issue, only to be revealed in the weeks that followed as not necessarily a fix as much as it was a problem especially alongside delegations? When do you think this will be fixed, a simple yet profound change away from linear and not quite back to exponential that ought to have been made more than a year ago but which to my knowledge has still never even been acknowledged by stinc? O yeah, what are the proposed changes for the next HF?

Do you think, knowing that we've had only 3 (or 4?) hardforks in almost 2 years, that steemit is developing and pursuing development of steem in an OK way? Do you really think that stinc can even say "we've been listening to the community"? It seems like as long as they keep making promises, maybe even a little embellishment on top, everything else is a distraction from where you're standing. As long as they apPeaR to be working on the supposed solution to whatever problem community and SMT will solve you will happily encourage them, even though stinc has not given a shit to the community directly evident from HF17 onwards, and even with HF19, as they haven't reached to the community or assessed the results once. I don't know on what you base your thoughts on how well they have done, or them doing OK, but by my standard stinc is completely fucked and it's no wonder that nuclear options are discussed in the slack they created and run, they are after all the ones responsible for the complete lack of communication with the community and the assessment of the changes committed through HF's and the followup to those assessments that has driven the discussion in the direction of considering the options available should their unresponsive and otherwise unacceptable and unaccountable stance to the development of steem continue.

What do you think the community should do if the ones in charge of development don't care about the community? Keep on keeping on?

No, I am not really familiar with the history before HF19. I understand what you are saying. I can see the frustrations and disappointments for lack of progress (or visible progress). I just choose to focus on the positive. Among them, I see platform working as positive, smts still in development, there were improvements to dev portal, hivemind, etc.

I was also a bit frustrated and disappointed towards the end of 2018. This year will be awesome for Steem. I think/hope Steemit Inc will deliver this year.

Unfortunately that's just it, they could have sat on their hands all this time since Dan left almost 2 years ago and the platform would still be functioning /working. Why is that a positive then, if it's not strictly framed in terms of HOW MUCH WORSE IT COULD BE. As if keeping it running was/is an accomplishment, I guess it could be if you consider that they could have broken it.

Steemit- At least it's still working.

Steemit- #SMT2kandwhen

Steemit- From 2 HF's a month to 2 years every HF.

Steemit- Etc. (ETC).

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What project has anything done? Every blockchain out there is a fluff of dreams. Steem is the only one with actual work, even if it's not too much.

When I wrote my reply, I was thinking of LBRY to be exact. They've been issuing updates very regularly and the amount of work they've done in a very short amount of time is pretty amazing.

Now, it's still comparing apples with oranges, because their project is a lot more straightforward than Steem.

Source:
https://lbry.io/news

To be clear, they have a working product, nothing fluff about it.

I mean just look at this one development update and compare it to Steemit's development updates. The difference is huge IMO.

https://lbry.io/news/nov-dec-update

Compare that to:
https://steemit.com/steem/@steemitblog/new-year-new-devportal-updates

In my time around Steem this is not the first time that discussion of a fork has occurred. It is the first time it has come out into the open and that maybe is a good thing. It lays out the arguments and lets the community respond with their views.

Discussing topics is fine. But, in the end, any blockchain that can just delete accounts/funds/stakes will be a failure. I thought the main promise of blockchain technologies was/is TRUST. Nobody will trust and/or invest in a chain that has a history of removing accounts/stakes/funds.

i quite agree about not liking the reasons for the proposal. The discussion coming out into the open is healthy in that the community gets opportunity to weigh in. It also provides opportunity to observe the behaviour of the witnesses.

Then explain why almost nobody trusted ETC and and why everyone trusts ETH.

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Fuck ned

Firstly, thank you for a comprehensive explanation of what had actually been going on. It was feeling a bit cryptic with all the little titbits that were coming out.

I have to say that I think Ned's reaction and stance is purely human nature. He is the creator of Steem, is he not, so is it any surprise that he feels it's property? Most people feel that their creations are and want some sort of control over it. So to hear people say he should be cut out from any control would make him feel like his project is being stolen from him.

I know the idea behind this is that it is decentralised and run by the community, but relinquishing and allowing yourself to be overridden isn't easy for anyone, especially when what you've created is being touted as something pretty special and is even being copied by some. He's probably feeling a bit betrayed at this point with all the criticism coming his way, whether it's rightly or wrongly received. Pride can make it very hard for us to hear advice, even when it's in our best interest.

Not making any judgements either way here and I know nothing of programming. Just some thoughts to put behaviour into perspective. It kind of begs the question, will decentralisation ever work with human nature as it is?

Well said, I can't disagree with any of that.

I know I've felt the same sort of "desire for control" over open source projects I've started, that others have forked and improved upon. I've asked myself the question of "why don't they just work with me instead of forking it?", which is a valid question, and maybe the answer is just that they'd rather go it alone without my involvement.

It is human nature to question these things.

It is human nature to question these things.

Isn't it just! I guess that's why they came up with copyright protection. We're not the best at sharing. ;D It can't be easy to see someone forking something you've created, even when it was created open source.

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Thanks @jesta for posting publicly on these matters. I'm not part of the "secret slack" and the amount of communication that goes on in private venues when we have a permissionless blockchain for communicating is disturbing to me.

The post discusses the nuclear option of a hard fork to remove Steemit Inc's share. While this sets a dangerous precedent of theft by the masses, it also is the most straightforward method for rectifying an undeserved premine. What percentage of all STEEM does Steemit Inc own? If my understanding is correct the early distribution of STEEM was a disaster and the inequitable distribution of early stake creates problems to this day.

You're absolutely right that the early distribution as it occurred does cause some problems on the scales of a social platform. Not all of the actors from that period are good or bad specifically, but it's created some really weird power dynamics.

I'm not part of the "secret slack" and the amount of communication that goes on in private venues when we have a permissionless blockchain for communicating is disturbing to me.

Yeah, you'd think a better solution for accountability would exist at this point. Unfortunately Slack, which is permissioned and very controlled, has far better communication tools than what we have on Steem today. That to me is the primary reason - it's hard to use Steem to talk about this stuff, unless you write massive blog posts that take almost 3 days to write :)

  1. I don't see how Steemit is exceptionally unaccountable. In what way are you or I or anyone else here accountable to the community in ways that Steemit Inc. is not?

  2. Do you think Steemit Inc.'s role is deserving of a higher standard of accountability than any other user, and if so are you willing to articulate that standard?

  3. Do you recognize that a substantial contributing factor in this scenario is your and others' willingness to participate in a secret governance forum? Will you stop?

  4. Why is Steemit Inc.'s vague potential use of their premined stake to influence events unacceptable, but Freedom's actual use of premined state to vote you (until yesterday) and others into top witness slots something that needed no action?

There is no democratic action happening here if someone owns that much stake. If as a developer or investor your ideas can't get any leverage or traction because they can be turned over instantly then what is the point of having a "decentralized" system?

-#3. I agree on this one big time, while ultimately there is no way to stop this, communications should be happening publicly on chain.

To be completely honest, it's hard to have productive conversations on-chain with the tools at our disposal. It's a lot more efficient to use a polished tool like Slack, which in my opinion, is far superior to steemit.com for this purpose.

If we had a Slack-like interface that used Steem to make the conversations public record, I'd be pushing for that.

Yeah, it's essential and a killer app at the same time.

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People have explored it, there are a number of hurdles in the way of "doing it right".

It'd probably also take a significant amount of time, more time than I have available as one dude.

Well, theres always hurdles in the way. Still think it can be done and monetized quite easily.

Yeah.. Make one...With the computerizing and the keyboarding and the coding.... ;)

There exist one. I'm not sure how good it would be though but it exist.

  1. Witnesses are accountable to voters (the community). Beyond witnesses though, there is no expectation or accountability for anyone else. I'd like there to be ideally though, for anyone who wants to contribute and be held accountable. Those people should be rewarded.
  2. In short, yes. In any blockchain project out there, if during it's genesis the founding group reserves a portion of the supply for themselves, do you think they should be held to higher standards than those who purchased in? I think it's implied, otherwise why would anyone ever agree to participate?
  3. I've never been opposed to making all of those discussions public, except security incidents. I don't choose where these discussions happen though.
  4. Steemit Inc's premine was a premeditated act by the organization launching the blockchain (in secret) as part of a "plan" to fund themselves. I don't have enough information on who freedom is (as does anyone else) to render any sort of opinion. I do think the way the entire inflation model has played out (with many early miners earning millions of steem) is also a problem, but is not the subject of this post. A fair distribution is an entirely different topic, especially in how it relates to a social economy.

Witnesses are accountable to voters (the community).

By which you mean "Witnesses are accountable to Freedom."

So a registered company with an address and an ability to receive service of documents exercising outsized control over the chain is bad, but a complete unknown exercising outsized control over the chain is fine because you don't know enough to judge? That is a bizarre position.

I'm beginning to doubt the "nobody knows" narrative anyway. The recipients of his support have been remarkably well-organized to defend his interests here. Maybe that just happens to be a coincidence.

I'm beginning to doubt the "nobody knows" narrative anyway

I can tell you that I don't know, I've heard plenty of rumors though that name every notable personality you can imagine.

By which you mean "Witnesses are accountable to Freedom."

Eh, to some degree. There are a number of witnesses, myself included now, who are still up there even without the pumpkin vote. Having a massive anonymous stake like that voting against you does make it incredibly hard to progress in ranks.

So a registered company with an address and an ability to receive service of documents exercising outsized control over the chain is bad, but a complete unknown exercising outsized control over the chain is fine because you don't know enough to judge? That is a bizarre position.

I didn't say that at all, what I did say is that I don't really know enough to make an opinion on that account specifically, then further stated the fucked up distribution on this chain is also a problem but not the subject of this post or recent drama.

Steem has plenty of problems, I'm not saying any of the issues you raised are "ok", just that I haven't been focused as much on those lately.

By which you mean "Witnesses are accountable to Freedom."

Well, yeah. He has the most stake. Thats how DPOS works. :D
We signed up for this... for all the good and the bad and now it doesnt suit us anymore?
All you can do is hope that whats good for Freedom is good for the rest of us.

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