About two or three days ago while patrolling Steemit's main upload pages on curation duty, I stumbled upon a post by an older user I hadn't seen before here on Steemit, but who apparently has a bit of a storied history here (or so it seemed to me). In it he detailed, somewhat ambiguously, some might argue, a series of circumstantial blows he'd taken in recent times, that had lacerated his overall financial standing and living situation, and had brought him to the very brink of despair.
By the dozens, members on Steemit had arrived in the comments section to collectively voice their support of him, criticize him for not being able to prove it due to a supposed lack of plausibility, and raise questions on whether Steemit could function properly if more people started playing the victim card alike (and in some cases may even have been implying that he had started it, in the latter scenario). Arriving at this post as a newcomer after it had already picked up steam and momentum, I took in the details, as well as the accusations, questions, and support being exhibited in the comments thread from a neutral perspective (as always when I lack sufficient knowledge of a conflict to 'choose a side'). All this man was asking for in the face of his plight was help from the community, best as I could tell. Whether he was really in a tough situation or not I don't believe is for us to pry too deeply into.
After all, regardless of whether we've been struck multiple times on life's merciless anvil in the last few weeks or the last two years, every one of us is broken, bruised, and struggling to get back up. There's, to be sure, a few lucky b*stards out there who have managed to stay above the surface and keep life going great for themselves, both in the real world and even here on Steemit. While I'm happy for them for having managed that tremendous feat (and it is tremendous when you think about it), the vast majority of us have fallen and tumbled more times than we'd like or care to count. And while there's many different takes on how people should deal with it when it happens to them, and with whom and what, all equally justifiable in their own rights, anyone who believes that someone who has fallen genuinely hard should attempt to rise above it on their own and ask for no help with it whatsoever needs to be woken up to reality.
If people are willing to trade upvotes, follows and goodness knows what else here on Steemit for the sake of getting ahead in the new rat race of this particular crypto, and people who post simple pieces about places they've traveled to and what they did there can get up to seventy eight votes or more simply by virtue of their voting power as well as people's fancy for said activities, why shouldn't those asking for assistance (especially if they seem genuine) receive freely the attention and support they'd get here regardless? After all, if you really don't believe someone is actually experiencing hardship and is just fishing for upvotes, then you sure as hell wouldn't upvote them. And if you do, then you'd make sure they'd get the upvote (keep in mind, the man seemed to largely be asking for any kind of help, not necessarily upvotes or resteems in particular, though emphasis was given to those first...he seemed to simply be pleading for help in general). All that a sob story that may get involved in any scenario would do in situations like these is add some emotional effect to the post itself (not unobtainable through other, less melodramatic means such as poems, stories and pictures).
What Steemit is, ultimately, is a platform where anyone can post about anything they'd like to, and where the users control the flow of the cash being generated through distribution by virtue of merit and favour, represented through the upvotes. And seeing as both Steemit, being the open social network it is, and Steem itself, being a decentralized currency represent in their own ways freedom and autonomy of choice and expression, surely we can't start imposing restrictions on what might be flaunted at a marketplace of ideals, thoughts and philosophies such as this one, or we then risk allowing in personal prejudice and bias into the mix, resulting in numerically superior problems therein. Sure, no one loves a sob story if they see or hear of it too often, but if they are real, then that suggests the existence of problems in need of tackling. It is not the plague, but the symptom.
It doesn't matter whether the guy was actually in a fix or not. Doesn't matter if he phrased things a certain way to draw greater empathy from readers. Doesn't matter if some details were exaggerated to add upon the effect of the post. All that matters, is that he be allowed to post about it, and that people be allowed to exercise their powers of curation upon it as per their choosing. Because that kind of freedom and choice is what Steemit represents.
And I think that isn't something we have to worry too much about protecting either.
The fact remains that Steemit is a growing community, and a fast growing one. More people join everyday. And if there is one thing the world as it is right now has proved time and time again, its that with the amount of diversity present in our species as of today, there can never be any such thing as a lack of variety with us. And as more of that variety creeps in through the cracks into Steemit, the more said variety helps to balance the scales. There will always be those that dig deep into matters (like the one above) that come up, who then report their findings. Others who are by their very nature sympathetic and willing to assist even in the face of it being a farce. And others yet who raise crucial philosophical questions based on the things they observe in such matters, as well as those who only see progress in direct, decisive action and nowhere else. And therein lies the beauty of the world we live in today, especially in the most advanced arenas of society, because now every single one of those voices, as well as those yet to attain speech gets a say. Cryptocurrencies are still unknown to a vast, immense number of people, and of those that are familiar with them, most only know of the formidable Bitcoin (and now, more recently, Bitcoin Cash). Fewer still know of what cryptocurrencies mean for the future of payment, trade, and existence in general. And even out of those precious few, an infinitesimal count fewer may actually permeate through to Steemit. This array of filters and distillations makes it nigh-impossible for anyone but those more educated in the concept of cryptos and what they represent to become a part of this particular community. And with such awareness typically comes a sense of class and equity less easily found in social media sites like Facebook, amongst others. Which means that this particular community, until the day cryptos really take off, and they become widely known, will be populated by members capable of congenial, cordial, compassionate manners of operation where interaction with other members and curation is concerned, no matter how hostile or heated said interactions may become.
Because no matter what other differences lie between us in opinion, circumstance or perspective, everyone on Steemit is part of at least one consistent, common struggle; the need to succeed. And because of the blockchain-based reward setup, even newer, potentially more brash, abrasive users who find this platform are incentivised to be civil, decent and proper. It is this struggle, and the variety of humankind that has found it, which makes Steemit, and its vast network of souls a self sustaining ecosystem. Such is the design of this platform and those that have come to occupy it, that it may sustain itself simply by virtue of us being ourselves. Being human. We're everything about normal social media and internet-based community improved ten times over. And we can keep going. We will keep going.
So here's to variety, co-dependence, peace, abundance, and freedom...