@ura-soul Witness Update #12 - Forking Hell! A Very Hard Fork to Chew On... I Aim To Start Testing Future Hard Forks Myself.

in witnesss •  21 days ago

@ura-soul witness status

As you can see, as of this time, the Steem blockchain is functional, but continues to 'harmonise' the new system of 'resource credits' that is intended to improve the network in a variety of ways.. As of this time this means that only a minority of users can interact with the blockchain...

Hard Fork 20 includes changes to the way that the Steem network manages the use of the physical computing resources that are used in keeping the network running. Previously, it was possible for accounts to be temporarily unable to use the system if their Steem Power dropped too low and their access to 'bandwidth' reached a critical low in response. Steem Power was tied to the access of bandwidth on the network and thus the actual use of the network. The new model uses 'Resource Credits' to replace this simplistic system and is intended to more accurately model the real world use of physical computing resources on the network.

This has several important benefits, but it seems that the new fork could have been tested better before being implemented. Here's a recap:

  1. The initial release of HF20 failed after witnesses upgraded to it due to some bugs and we rolled back to HF19 until fixes were available.
  2. The patched version also failed in a different way and another patch then needed to be released.
  3. The Vote 'mana' (that replaces the old 'vote power') parameter and the 'Resource Credit mana' were accidentally clocking negative numbers for many users, so they were unable to interact with the blockchain.
  4. We are now running v.0.20.3 of the Steem blockchain software and the network has forked successfully, except that we are left with the unfortunate situation of needing to wait for the new 'resource credits' system to come into balance before everyone can use the network again.

Resource Credit 'Mana' and Voting 'Mana'


Resource credits replace the old 'bandwidth' model and you need resource credits to do everything on the Steem blockchain, including vote, comment and create accounts. It will apparently take a while longer for everyone on the network to have sufficient resource credits to fully use the blockchain again. I have had to wait until now to post and only a very small number of accounts with high Steem Power could post over the last day (meaning they automatically jumped onto the hot page, but couldn't get many votes!).

The short version is that 'Vote Mana' replaces the old 'Vote Power' and is intended to function very similarly. Resource Credits can be used up by interacting with the blockchain, but if you have enough Steem Power to cover your activity then you won't be prevented from using the blockchain. This isn't a 'fee' for using the blockchain, since you can always power down and sell your Steem, you just need to hold Steem Power to gain resource credits and use the the network.

The coming days - I will look to test Steem and get into the code more than I have.


I am told that despite all the headaches, we should see normal activity return to the blockchain in the next few days and we will then be able to take stock and take steps to try to prevent these recent problems from reoccurring.

It has become very clear to me that we need more qualified software testers looking at the hard fork code before it goes live and this is partially the responsibility of the top 20 witnesses - WHICH IS WHY YOU NEED TO VOTE FOR WITNESSES THAT UNDERSTAND SOFTWARE/CODE! If you vote for witnesses that can't read code, then they can't really test and understand new versions of Steem properly and will just go along with the new version blindly.

I don't fully understand how much resources Steemit Inc. have invested in professional testing of the software, but it seems like (as with many software companies) they perhaps much more invested in writing code than testing it in a real world way.

Since I have experience of running a testing dept. for a commercial software company (albeit I got made redundant - I think because I found too many bugs and the directors didn't like the political fallout from it.. lol) - I am considering making space in my schedule to learn the Steem code and participate in future testing efforts. The main barrier to this for me is that this kind of work takes a LOT of time and thus I need to be rewarded for doing it. This is partially why the top witnesses are paid so highly - they are meant to be able to offer high quality services to the blockchain regarding Hard Forks. Their pay allows them the time to do this challenging work, but I suspect that only a small percentage of them are actually doing this. I know that @timcliff is one who is actively testing. It would be good to know how many others are.

Anyway, here's to the future - so far Steem's value has increased rather than dropping during this challenging period.. So, let's do the best we can and Steem on!

Wishing you well,
Ura Soul


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I am told that despite all the headaches, we should see normal activity return to the blockchain in the next few days and we will then be able to take stock and take steps to try to prevent these recent problems from reoccurring.

The order of operations here (and in your steps 1 through 4 above) are so terribly wrong.

(on second thought, I'm going to screenshot the steps below):

It has become very clear to me that we need more qualified software testers looking at the hard fork code before it goes live and this is partially the responsibility of the top 20 witnesses - WHICH IS WHY YOU NEED TO VOTE FOR WITNESSES THAT UNDERSTAND SOFTWARE/CODE!

Welcome to the realization of Steemit's circle-jerk. Sure, I'm being overly negative here, but it's clearly a systemic issue (pun intended).

You nailed it though, we need witnesses who are actually going to support the network, not just build dapps on it and push through untested code (or "accidentally" fork the network).

so far Steem's value has increased rather than dropping during this challenging period

This is the completely wrong perspective to be viewing the situation from. The Community was wronged, who cares about the "investors"? Without the community, the investors wouldn't even be here. Let's put value on the people and content first; and we'll worry about the SMTs and other "most advanced" blockchain offerings after the team figures out how to perform basic "blocking and tackling" first.

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I am just recounting the experience from my own perspective as I went through it as a witness - what in particular is wrong about the points you copy/pasted?

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The fact that there were so many failures ("bugs") with HF20 and it was still pushed out as fast as it was..

this comment has taken me over a day to post.. Gotta love this new HF20 RC system!! Maybe I'll be able to post more than once every 6 hours in a week from now?

.. my RC finally pumped to 100% .. 4 days after the HF ..

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Oh, I see - I thought you were saying that I was wrong for putting the points down as I did.
On the more productive side, this is motivating me and others to take direct action as best we can now.

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I find it difficult to believe that if nobody cared about QC (quality control) / UAT (user acceptance testing) when something as "groundbreaking" as HF20 / Velocity was being pushed out.. that anyone would really care about doing the proper due diligence for the next fork..

It's not like this was one mistake and a quick fix.. this was a series of mistakes, and the bugs seem to keep on coming =/

I'm hopeful, but I'm not going to be holding my breath..

If you are looking to get involved with testing, one thing I recommend checking out is the automated testing area of code. I have some information on it in this post.

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Great, thanks Tim. That's a useful intro post for me for sure. I haven't used C++ for a very long time, so I don't expect to be producing much of use for a while - but I will definitely be adding this all to my future plans and 'to do' list. Is there a generally reliable test net available? Or is it best to somehow set your own up? Do we need multiple servers to run our own test net?

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Well all of those tests are built into the code and will run automatically when you call the command in the post. They are actually quite extensive as far as coverage of various scenarios goes. You can run them from a single machine.

Alright, I'll trust that you'll do well, and since you put forward your qualifications, I'll vote for you as a witness. 🎉🎊

I wish I had more computing power to run a witness myself.

BTW, do you use dsteem? I'm looking for some advice on its usage and I can't find anyone to chat about it.

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Oh thankyou! I thought you were already voting for me but that's ok - a reaffirmation (or affirmation of my lost memory) is good enough. ;)

Steemd is the executable that runs the Steem nodes, including the witness nodes. You can ask me questions, sure - but the best place to learn for most people is the witness channel on steem.chat.

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Not Steemd but Dsteem, lol. It's a Javascript library to do blockchain operations.

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Aha! I don't have any experience with that, no. The only website I have created to interact with the blockchain is Steem Ocean - which uses @Steemsql and standard PHP.

I lost 59% of my VP by claiming rewards of 0.169 SP and 0.129 SBD. As a result I can't even power up the 50 Steem I have sitting there. I now have to wait for 2 days and 17 hours before I can start voting again. Since I paid for most of my 640 SP, I can honestly say I'm not happy about paying customers having to do the R & D for them. This is a disaster; I don't know whether to power up or down because I may be locked out for another 2 or 3 days. Greetings!

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In temrs of actual loss of voting power - I am told that the reduced VP / Vote Mana situation applies to all equally and so when payout occurs, we should see minimal 'unfairness' - we shall see. In terms of the time delay, yes, this sucks - the best I can say is that at least it is intended to be a one off period of downtime.

We began testing Aug.26th on the HF20 testnet and had node setup on testnet along with many other's.

I know things didn't go as smooth as we had hoped. I can say, this was my first time involved in being a top 20 approving a HF, and my partner and I learned some valuable lessons, I promise.

I am also excited for all the new good things HF20 has brought us and people will start seeing that over the next week, along with the framework for communities to be integrated into Steemit

We have achieved some battle scars from this and I believe and hope next time around (HF21) we will be better at it.

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Very good - every moment is an opportunity for enlightenment :)

Thanks for taking the time, and Mana to explain things my friend.....

Keep Steemin !!

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You are welcome! Thanks, you too!

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