Go fork yourself...a parable of self love

in steem •  last month

Alice, being the curious programmer that she is, decides to write some code on her own computer which is somewhat like a Steem blockchain node, except that certain accounts are no longer recognized.

She runs this node for a while and all is well until, soon enough, one of those unrecognized accounts performs an operation and her node rejects that block as well as any blocks thereafter. Other nodes sending those blocks are recognized as invalid or malicious and are disconnected.

As it turns out, Alice is a witness on the network and has configured her node to require a minimum participation of zero. As such, her witness continues to sign blocks, and the other witness accounts present on her computer continue to miss blocks until the blockchain code eventually disables them. Alice is able to vote in her own group of 20 top witness accounts and her node functions perfectly (except, of course, that no one else is using it). Perhaps Alice uses this node for experimental or development purposes or, you know, "self amusement". It doesn't matter which.

One day, Alice is talking to her friend Bob and telling him about this node of hers when it occurs to Bob, "You know, I have an account on that node, since I had an account on Steem [not one of the ones Alice disabled]. It would be fun if you gave me your modified version of the code, I connected my node to your node and we could then amuse each other." So they did.

Soon, Alice and Bob invited their friend Charlie to join the party and things really got going. In time, half of Steem's users joined up, and soon thereafter more than half. Eventually, nearly all of Steem's users were connected to each other using Alice's modifications, all were happy and and all sorts of varied amusement took place. So much so, in fact, that the old blockchain fell into disuse. Still there, of course, as it is nearly impossible to fully destroy a blockchain, but no one much cared about it any more.

Theft? Piracy? Heist? Hackers? Violating property rights?

You decide.

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Seems mastubatory.

Update: Under this scenario would Alice, or anyone else running Alice's code, have anything to negotiate with anyone involving the original code?

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Yep XD Guess jerking off is quite fun XD

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People are free to carry on discussions with any willing party as far as I know. If someone were to reach out to Alice and say "Hey, I heard you are doing some stuff with nodes and stuff, let's talk," she might engage, she might not. Seems pretty much not relevant to the story.

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So she would not initiate negotiations or feel the need to formulate demands objectives that involve the majority chain in some way. She would not need to make any kind of ultimatum about running her fork in response to anything involving the unrecognized accounts, if those accounts completely overreact and powerdown due to her node (and sympathetic nodes) suddenly missing blocks and spamming the p2p network with irresolvable blocks.

In fact, to Alice, there's no ideal outcome involving the majority chain or any desire that the majority chain would interpret her actions as being beneficial to both chains and their respective communities.

Alice is just not interested in any actual change from the majority chain in terms of their behavior and relationship with the community.

Alice is not saying that if they go down this path the result better be more than proving a damn point.

Alice is taking this all nonchalant, after all. No vision, just shedding the unrecognized accounts. No negotiation. No pressure. No noise.


This scenario is entirely unrecognizable from what happened one week ago. I gave an analogy before:

Imagine a mugger walks up to you and points to a crude drawing of a knife. He then crumples up the drawing and throws it away and asks you to open negotiations in "good faith." He also informs you that if you do not commit to participate in his negotiations and if these negotiations do not proceed in a productive manner, he supports an "alternative method" involving the forced removal of your property.

You cannot separate the negotiations from the fork, as much as you wish you could.

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This scenario is entirely unrecognizable from what happened one week ago.

That should be obvious. It was in fact nothing like it, by intent.

I'm not sure what the rest of your comment was about. It was too long for me to read carefully, clearly being off topic to this post.

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Rats. I was ready to go over proximate cause.

In a nutshell:

  • The Alice scenario fork just sitting there doing it's thing
  • A negotiation with demands and no leverage

The two by themselves do nothing. The two together, where the fork is used to create leverage and the leverage is used to justify the fork, creates a new situation that crosses over to being objectively wrong.

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Who do you think initiated the "negotiation"? If you are thinking it was the developer of the embryonic fork code or anyone talking about the possibility of such a fork happening, you would be wrong.

In point of fact, at the time the initiation of the fork discussion by Johan, Ned had been MIA for weeks. I doubt that anyone had any expectation of talking to him at all. Any discussion or negotiation took place only after Ned contacted some of the people discussing the possibility of a fork (one might venture to invoke "Alice" here, had the situations not be so completely and utterly different, at least from that point of a requested discussion forward) and asked them what sort of action he might be able to take to discourage it.

When someone asks you "What can I do to discourage you from doing X?", X being a thing which is not an act of violence or a crime of any kind, answering the question is not a threat, nor extortion, nor piracy, not heist, nor theft.

ǝɹǝɥ sɐʍ ɹoʇɐɹnƆ pɐW ǝɥ┴

Sounds like free will and individual choice to me.

There's absolutely no problem with this under the condition that Alice does not try to call her forked chain "Steem". None of this mess would have happened if the conversation was - "hey, who wants to create a Steem fork that removes the Steemit stake called SteemCash, or SteemSV, or SteemNotIt and see if people like that better!"

Posted using Steeve, an AI-powered Steem interface

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(BTW, this story isn't about "this mess". I probably should not have even used the name Steem in the post.)

As far as what chains are called this really isn't determined until after the fact. In the case of Ethereum "forking out" the "DAO Hacker", the chain with the modified consensus rules became ETH and the chain with unmodified consensus rules became ETC, but things could have gone the other way, too. Programmers like Alice don't get caught up in political/marketing debates over things like names.

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BTW, this story isn't about "this mess". I probably should not have even used the name Steem in the post.

You can use whatever names you want but this story is obviously related to the current events happening on the Steem blockchain.

Programmers like Alice don't get caught up in political/marketing debates over things like names.

That's fine for Alice, but in reality names are very important. What's going on in Steem right now is really more about people and reactions than anything technical, and at the end of the day it all really comes down to the naming. Steemit only felt threatened because they thought their stake might be forked out of the Steem blockchain. If the "Alice" in this case had simply said she would call her fork something different than Steem, there would be no threat, and no "mess".

I know your story isn't "about" this, I was just pointing out how it relates to the current situation on Steem and how things could have gone differently by just presenting the same thing in a different way.

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You can use whatever names you want but this story is obviously related to the current events happening on the Steem blockchain

Related in a sense, but really only because of the topic of forking. Clearly this post is about forking, that's in the title. Pretty much everything else in the post is different.

how things could have gone differently by just presenting the same thing in a different way.

No doubt that is often the case.

Seems like Alice is in some sort of wonderland where everyone is happy and bliss.

That place can never prosper because there is no drama and would be boring.

lol

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True true XD

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At least one person around here understands crypto

A: Alice
B: Bob
C: Charlie
D: Darlene
E: Everyone?

This, my fellow Steemians, is a lesson in what we call consensus...

😎



Nice Post, "Smoooove"

Very smooth, smooth.

This Knight is more than happy to party with Alice, Bob, Charlie and anyone else for that matter. The more the merrier really.

In truth, any party is better than the present one - this feels more like a wake than a party.

SirKnight.

Theft? Piracy? Heist? Hackers? Violating property rights?

No. No. No. No. No.

Since the code is open source and anyone running Alice’s code is doing so under their own free will, I don’t see how anyone could claim any sort of violation. In fact, claiming that Alice is committing some criminal or unethical act is the only problem I see here.

If others don’t like Alice’s code, then they don’t have to run it. This is a pretty black and white scenario. Free will and free association trump empty rhetoric and emotional attachment.

Eventually, nearly all of Steem's users were connected to each other using Alice's modifications, all were happy and and all sorts of varied amusement took place. So much so, in fact, that the old blockchain fell into disuse. Still there, of course, as it is nearly impossible to fully destroy a blockchain, but no one much cared about it any more.

SteemCash is the real Steem.
SteemCash is the real Steem.
SteemCash is the real Steem.

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Who knows, maybe. This is a parable not intended to be any sort of real situation, which fork is the "real Steem" not even remotely at the core of its message, and it really has little to nothing to do with Steem specifically. Replace Steem with another hypothetical coin called Dream. Same story, same message.

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It is possible for Dream to outcompete Steem, but it will take much more than forking out some founder coins to do that. It would require better game theory, better product, marketing, exchanges, etc etc.

If Dream is only about removing founder reward, then I think its not only completely pointless (see other shitcoins that did that and how it worked for them), but also harmful for Steem itself, as such move would create community divisions, breed trolls and take advantage of newbies.

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I'm still not being clear. This post has nothing to do with Steem specifically. My comment about Dream meant just go ahead and replace Steem with Dream in the post; it changes nothing. I did not mean to imply that Dream is a Steem fork. I probably should never have used the name "Steem" in the original post as it confuses things.

On the matter of outcompeting and generally competing, I agree with you of course. You've been around Steem for a long time, as have I. I'm sure we are both well aware of many of the obvious areas needing improvement.

Some repercussions would inevitably ensue, involving things like exchanges, investors, and maybe even the SEC, who might be interested.

Nice comfy story, bro!

A wonderful completely hypothetical work of fiction. Upvoted.

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lol

Revolutionaries.

all were happy and and all sorts of varied amusement took place. So much so, in fact, that the old blockchain fell into disuse.

What if such is not the case? What if there is an ugly divorce? Does the new chain lose infrastructure benefits because it is the new chain (exchanges, the brand, etc.)? What is the vision? What is the point? What is to be gained? What is to be lost? What if nobody cares?

Revolutions often end ugly because most energy is spend on convincing the populace that the entity in power is evil and bad, but once they take over with those responsibilities and obligations they don't know what to do next. I still do not understand WHY this makes the ecosystem any better or worse.

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What if such is not the case? What if there is an ugly divorce? Does the new chain lose infrastructure benefits because it is the new chain (exchanges, the brand, etc.)? What is the vision? What is the point? What is to be gained? What is to be lost? What if nobody cares?

Good questions for sure. Even assuming everything turns out as you say, or worse, I'm missing something though. Where is the theft, or piracy, or heist? Who is the hacker?

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Alice is the hacker. Not necessarily in a bad way, but she is the hacker. I think the real concern is historical data integrity. If Alice within her fork removes certain parties from the history, how reliable is that history?

You can sort of get around this by freezing the account from making transactions preserving the history on the ledger but effectively nullifying it effects, but in terms of participation, that system is no longer 100% open or free. It is a system where stake has a history of being nullified.

So if the data integrity can not be preserved by the code (via existence or free participation) then it is a system of money that relies on trust. Trust that the parties in control (Alice and her friends, the majority will) won't nullify other participants that they view are bad actors. Such a system appears to be tainted by over governance.

So, I'm not going to call that theft or piracy or a heist. But it would be a reason (for me at least) not to participate in Alice's fork. Because I already participate in systems like that and look to blockchain technologies to move away from those types of systems.

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It is a system where stake has a history of being nullified.

Steem is already that, multiple times, even within the past year.

If you want a chain with decently strong immutability (at least since 2010 when the overflow bug had to be forked out), you want something like Bitcoin, not Steem.

In point of fact there is no history being changed in this story, only some accounts being prevented from making new transactions going forward. History itself is unchanged, and that is even verifable as Alice's chain links back to the original chain with all hashes intact, and indeed the other chain's participants share history and can been seen as a second set of witnesses to it. Of course other sorts of state-changes-by-fork are possible, and have been made on Steem.

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Could you give an example? Out of curiosity's sake. Where stake has been nullified without the consent of the party being nullified.

(I know I didn't specify this above... but "burning" stake is technically nullification.)

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Johan's HF21 was copied from HF9 which was implemented (unilaterally by Steemit using their ninja-mine aka "premine" to vote in their own witnesses) to reset keys (to a key known only by Steemit) on a bunch of accounts whose owners, including dan and ned, were careless and lost their keys. Not only that but the group of accounts was not exact, innocent third parties' accounts were also taken, some returned, some likely not (because they were unable to prove ownership to Steemit's satisfaction). I avoided losing accounts by sheer luck (the time window missed my accounts by a few hours). In a recent fork an account balance was reset as it was able to obtain extra coins due to a bug. There are numerous others I don't recall.

Steem is based more on governance and deciding (sometimes unilaterally by Steemit) on the 'best' approach, than on absolute immutability, for better or worse.

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I guess that is fair. Some could argue "intent of code" ala Dan Larimer to differentiate between the two, but I've never found that to be a convincing argument. I guess this comes down to an "optics" thing. I think it might be cleaner to start a new chain rather than to fork, but I can see how certain parties might interest in a fork versus just starting a new blockchain.

Steem is based more on governance and deciding (sometimes unilaterally by Steemit) on the 'best' approach.

Which is why I use and participate with Steem based on it's representational (and entertainment) value rather than treating it as "hard" money. That being said, forking is built into the code, so regardless of what one considers the action, such a proposal is built into the rules of this game.

In time, half of Steem's users joined up, and soon thereafter more than half. Eventually, nearly all of Steem's users were connected to each other using Alice's modifications, all were happy and and all sorts of varied amusement took place.

Can you think of any examples where a fork of this kind has happened and the community didn't get divided?

The life of a crypto believer 😂

Posted using Partiko iOS

That's funny how the names start with A, B, C... Still trying to understand the metaphor behind the story. I'm sure there is some kind of underlying truth. There must be...

Wouldn't it just create a situation where people can cross-post on both without having to rebuild an account from scratch?

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Only if you broadcast multiple times.

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Yes that's what I thought was meant by "cross post". Good point that it wouldn't happen automatically.

If only,...

If Alice's node works and I can have an account on both the old and the new chain... well, I would be happy to entertain myself by playing on the new chain. I mean, it can't be that much worse than the a chain that has a centralised entity that dumps coins and reduces the value of my holdings every month.

Would I sell off my holdings on the old chain to buy more on the new chain? Not sure

I have love to learn this computer stuff about node and coding or programming. I really love

I'm here like... Am I on the matrix?

Posted using Partiko Android

"Alice & Bob"

We are on a DPOS Blockchain, I have no opinion, only 30 votes.

So consensus of opinion between the witnesses is the only way forward...

No consensus, then the proposals or opinions should be dropped...

If a witness on a dpos blockchain don;t grasp this, he is not fit to be a witness.

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We are on a DPOS Blockchain, I have no opinion, only 30 votes.

Actually no, you are a free individual and even though you happen to be using a DPoS blockchain you are still able to have an opinion (which you may express, in part, by voting)

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"(which you may express, in part, by voting)"

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There are many different ways to express opinions. In fact you just did so.

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Yet, clearly irrelevant when it comes to influencing the consensus. The only way to do that for a lambda Steemian, is by using his 30 votes. A cruel mechanics that only cares about power, unfortunately.

Na, this sounds like Whaleshares ....

Thus spake “Bob” (ie, me) 😀

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I guess maybe Alice isn't much a fan of the name Whaleshares. She calls it her own private Steem. It's her node, I guess, who can dictate otherwise. Thought crime?

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I guess maybe Alice isn't much a fan of the name Whaleshares

agree - It sounds very cryptic or something

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Except missing that whole btshares thing,...

This post has been included in the latest edition of SOS Daily News - a digest of all you need to know about the State of Steem.



That is a great fictional story! Where can I fictionally sign up?