Decentralised ethics and witnessessteemCreated with Sketch.

in steemit •  last year

In the last day or two there has been a battle of morality and ethics being waged over whether running a browser miner is deemed underhanded. To complicate the issue, the mining was being done by a Steemit witness. 

Now, @dragosroua (the witness running the miner) posted two months ago that he would be testing the mining system on a few of his websites. It seems that many, missed this post. The two people I know who found the miner however @fknmayhem and @julienbh both joined in September so it is unlikely that either of them would have come across that particular post anyway. The site also supposedly gives a warning to opt-out but it seems it is easy to miss.

For me, I had never heard of the site until it came up in chat asking if anyone else had noticed a miner. Even if I had, I don't really know much about mining of any sort, let alone this.

What is of interest to me however is the ethical or moral implications of a steemit witness doing what most in the industry see as unethical behaviour, especially if it is hidden. So far, I have read comments and rebuttals coming from several higher profile members like @themarkymark, @ausbitbank, @personz and of course @dragosroua.

I also just read a technical comparison of processor use between Steemit Supply and Steemviz, the purpose of which I am still unsure about other than that @ausbitbank operates Steemviz and has been outspoken against the miner. To me, this seems like an intentional misdirect or Ad hominem to draw attention away, but I am not well versed enough in the technical aspects to comment on legitimacy.

As a Steemit user, I am under the impression that the witnesses are here to ensure that the decentralised nature of Steemit and its ability to perform are uncompromised. They also decide important aspects for the future development and are compensated for the effort they put in. I do not fully understand the witnesseseither, but, I have been told that I should vote for those that I feel have the best interest of the site and its future in mind.

This brings me now to an ethical question. Does someone running a miner for potentially relatively minimal value in the larger scheme of things have what is best for the site in mind?

I do not know all of the witnesses that I have voted for but, I have had the opportunity to talk occasionally and follow the activity of several of them. The ones that I trust to have the future of Steemit in mind are the ones that have consistently invested into the platform even though it has come at a personal cost. This is all impression based on a few words and posted actions. 

Will I always agree with them? Unlikely. But, when it comes to technical aspects of development, I must defer my vote to them as I have no control myself and even if I did, I would not know what to do with it. For me, if I find out that a witness is doing something that I find in a societal grey area, am I willing to give them the benefit of the doubt?

For me personally, no. My reasoning is that this is a trust based system and when someone with power and responsibility has raised doubt in my trust, I have to err on the side of caution. This is me. For many here who are externally invested or internal earners, there is quite a bit at stake and potential for loss. The volatility of cryptocurrency itself is high enough without having to worry about being able to trust those with power.

The platform has gone through and is going through some difficult issues with stability problems, spammers, plagiarists, scammers, upvote selling, delegation selling, self-voting, competition, development concerns, many new services and a host of other issues. Some of these are technical, some behavioural and some are ethical things that must be solved going forward through public discussion but, at the end of the day, it is up to a small group to decide what to try, not or weed out.

There are so many concerns as we progress forward that we should as users be able to trust that at least the handful of witnesses are willing to put the community future above their own as the two are inextricably linked anyway. If for whatever reason this is not possible, whether through financial or personal reasons, I think it is best if a witness remove themselves from the pool, if even for a short time.

Again, I don't know enough about this particular case but my hope is that anyone that is invested and has influence, whether it be whale or witness, does have our back to some degree rather than just be concerned with their own position, as a healthy community is in their best interest too.

I am on a train at the moment making it hard to get links and the sort, but was wondering what the rest of the community thinks about the ethical and moral positions of witnesses. What makes a good witness? What doesn't? I think it will be a fortuitous time to remind some and bring everyone up to speed on the role witnesses play at Steemit as it is a vital part of our future.

[ A Steemit original ]

Authors get paid when people like you upvote their post.
If you enjoyed what you read here, create your account today and start earning FREE STEEM!
Sort Order:  

A good witness contributed to the community, interacts with the community, and is beholden to the community.

Given the tough competition to be a steemit witness, this person's actions seem to be jacking in common sense, which I see as being the bigger issue even as much as the ethical one.

We need to make it clear now, in the early days, that ethically great behavior that doesn't benefit the community won't be tolerated.

Thanks for bringing this to the attention of the community.

Also, I don't think self voting is a problem, especially for users with relatively low payouts. I do think that high payout posts should give others a fair chance to vote first (since vote order and time matters).


Thanks for taking the time. Yes, considering the competition, one would think there would be a lack of grey.

I should have specified self-voting on comments for no reason. On posts, no issue but you are right, perhaps big voters could leave space for the smaller to vote first.

To me, this seems like an intentional misdirect or Ad hominem to draw attention away.

I am not entirely sure what that is for an attitude either. It does indeed border on ad hominem, and is petty kindergarten fight too.

It's like being caught with your hand in the cookie jar and arguing that it isn't a jar but a plastic storage container.



Let me say that @ausbitbank is a very ethical individual that I'm honored to have as a friend. I will also say that he does a great deal to support minnows and other people new to the platform which is a lot more than I can say about many other "high profile" people on Steemit. In other words, if he says it- I take it to the bank (no pun intended).


In my dealings with him which is a few comments over my time here and some posts about this and that, I have found him to be quite a decent human.


I wouldn't be nearly as successful as I am if he hadn't helped me in the beginning- and as he does now, for that matter. Moreover, I'm certain I'm not alone- he's involved in the minnowsupport program and many others.

Thumbs up

What can you do when the society is devoid of moral decadence