UPDATE (22nd August): Instead of making a new post, I'm confirming my decision to reject Hardfork 21 here. I'll disable my witness node on 27th August when HF21 goes live, and it'll remain disabled till the network meets my minimum standards. You can read below for further thoughts on the matter.
Here's what Steem needs to do to make me support the active fork again: https://steemit.com/steem/@liberosist/what-steem-needs-to-do-to-make-me-witness-again
I have written enough about Hardfork 21. I have been committed to rejecting this hardfork, unless there were significant improvements in certain areas. Whilst the final code for Hardfork 21 is pending, reviewing the testnet makes it abundantly clear that my expectations will not be met. I can confirm that I'll be rejecting Hardfork 21, short of a dramatic overhaul.
But what does it mean to reject a hardfork?
In short, I will not be running the code for HF21. If a supermajority of top witnesses approve HF21, I'll be left behind on the HF20 chain. My witness will be disabled and I'll be giving up all witness earnings.
So, why would I give up on a steady 200+ Steem/month? It's simple - I value sanity, social and cultural enrichment far above any economic benefits. I have never used bid-bots, I have never delegated to bid-bots or any other such profitable schemes. I have only ever delegated to or followed positive curation and community-oriented projects, and I have never asked for anything in return. I have (almost) never self-voted, instead of focusing on voting engaging community members. I do these because greed has a devastating impact on my mental well-being, while positive interactions on social networks leaves me a happier person. Of course, economic factors are important to me, so it's always a balance. For me, personally, the balance is heavily tilted towards being Steem a social network over a lucrative economy.
Hardfork 21 is lipstick-on-a-pig. It has the potential to offer marginal gains for the Steem economy, but it comes at social costs. I have provided enough evidence before, so I won't go into it any further. This is absolutely a valid approach, of course, but one I ethically and morally, I want no part of. I completely respect fellow witnesses for focusing more on the economy, but I'd point out it's ultimately futile with the interests of content creators and consumers being diametrically opposed to those of investors. It'll never coalesce, ever, no matter how deeply you ignore fundamental economic and historical evidence. Still, a pig with lipstick on arguably looks better than a pig without it, so I understand and respect where supporters of HF21 are coming from.
Regardless of Hardfork 21, I remain cautiously optimistic of Steem's future in carving out its own niche.
Let me clarify:
Rejecting Hardfork 21 does not mean that I cannot approve future hardforks and reenable my witness node. We have seen plenty of witnesses rise up from the ashes, though usually, it's because of a price increase or something. For me, it would be a network that I can support whilst maintaining a moral compass.
Ned had shunned stake-weighted voting decisively well over a year ago. He's no longer around, and who would blame him? But Steemit, Inc. are still active and executing well. They have refocused on SMT and Communities which is very more in line with Ned's vision of moving away from the stake-weighted abomination. I remain cautiously optimistic they'll eventually figure it out, and when they do, I'll consider witnessing again. Eventually and cautiously, being the keywords.
What does this mean for you, the witness voter? You don't have to unvote a disabled witness. You may appreciate the witness' stance, or at least appreciate their sincerity. It's up to you. I'll keep voting for the better witnesses, even though at this point it's abundantly clear I don't agree with most of them.
Finally, I'll remain a STEEM investor and an occasional contributor. I was one of the most active contributors to the Steem network between July 2016 and April 2017. Since then, I have reduced my contributions gradually for obvious reasons stated above. I have always been wanting to be back active on Steem, but the platform has simply gone in the wrong direction since, and continues to do so post-HF21. So, I'll remain a sporadic contributor and continue to hope Steem improves as a social network when SMTs and Communities launch.
PS: Witnesses that claim to be against HF21 but still end up running HF21 code are untrustworthy and duplicitous. You're either for HF21 and end up running it, or against it and end up rejecting it.