A (schrijven and incomplete) history of censorship ter

The free and open discussions on this forum help individuals and the Bitcoin community achieve Truth. Everyone has some wisdom or skill to contribute to a discussion, and everyone who reads the discussion and gains that skill gets closer to the Truth. This is much more effective than having truth dictated by a handful of moderators or voted on by an electorate. -Theymos, te a postbode on Bitcointalk te 2013.

Anyone who has bot following Bitcoin closely overheen the past duo of years should by now be well aware of the issues being debated and the existence of censorship ter some of Bitcoin’s most vooraanstaand communities. For the unaware, a primer:

The Bitcoin network is presently at max flow, and today is capable of processing approximately three transactions vanaf 2nd. This wasgoed not part of the original vormgeving of the Bitcoin protocol, and the 1MB block size limit wasgoed added ter 2010 by Satoshi Nakamoto himself spil a makeshift anti-spam measure.

Because bitcoins were so cheap at the time, and the number of bitcoin users so few, making transactions on the bitcoin network wasgoed effectively free. The concern wasgoed that a malicious entity could simply flood the network with transactions, packing up blocks and bogging down transaction speeds for legitimate users. Because transactions were so cheap to make, such an attack would have cost the perpetrator very little to pull off, and could have crippled the entire bitcoin network while it wasgoed still ter its infancy. Former bitcoin lead maintainer Gavin Andresen addressed this attack ter a blog postbode, writing:

The block prize wasgoed 50 BTC back then, so miners could sell a block’s worth of coin for about $1.50. That gives a rough idea of how much it would cost an attacker to produce a ‘poisonous block’ to disrupt the network– a dollar or two. Lots of people are willing to spend a dollar or two “for the lulz” — they love causing trouble, and are willing to spend either lots of time or a modest amount of money to cause trouble. Today the block prize is 25 BTC and the price is overheen $400, miners get overheen $Ten,000 for the blocks they produce. An attacker would have to spend close to that amount to produce a ‘poisonous block.’

But even this one megabyte limit wasgoed hardly limitary, at the time the average block size ranged from 200 bytes to occasional peaks of around one kilobyte. The one megabyte limit wasgoed meant to treat fresh user influx and peak period transactions up to several thousand times what the average daily transaction volume wasgoed at the time. Ter October 2010, Satoshi Nakamoto even laid out his project for enlargening the maximum block size:

It can be phased ter, like: if (blocknumber >, 115000)

maxblocksize = largerlimit It can embark being te versions way ahead, so by the time it reaches that block number and goes into effect, the older versions that don’t have it are already obsolete.

Pretty plain, right?

One would think. Since the limit wasgoed introduced te 2010, there have bot innumerable discussions on the necessity spil well spil the methods that would be used to increase this limit, and Bitcoin’s transaction processing capabilities with it. Those attempts have repeatedly bot blocked by a puny group of developers, and te latest years discussion of enhancing the limit has bot censored from some of Bitcoin’s largest discussion forums, all of which are moderated by the same individual, who posts using the treat Theymos. What is prohibited includes any discussion of code switches that propose enhancing the limitation.

Some don’t believe the censorship is problematic, or reject to acknowledge that it is censorship at all. Here’s Blockstream CEO Adam Back:

And Blockstream CTO and Bitcoin Core developer, Gregory Maxwell:

“But /r/btc at this uur is smoking hot proof that /r/bitcoin is doing something right and that it’s not just a question of moderator penalty.” (Source, archive)

And Blockstream contractor and Bitcoin Core developer Luke-jr:

And Bitcoin Core developer Peter Todd:

And /r/bitcoin moderator /u/frankenmint:

“From my perspective wij aren’t participating ter censorship te any tangible way, for example, mij going out of my way to get your content liquidated from medium.com would be mij engaging te censorship…” (Source, archive)

Based on this outpouring of support from certain interested parties, it’s almost spil if they’d have you believe there were no censorship happening at all! Pay no attention to the fact that /u/theymos has bot shown to have financial dealings with Blockstream. Let’s take a look at censorship on /r/bitcoin through the ages:

May 7th, 2015. Using a contraption called UnReddit, wij can see a large number of deleted comments te a thread on enlargening the block size.

August 9th, 2015. A very upvoted thread (archive)(705 points, 89% upvoted) on /r/bitcoin receives three Reddit gildings for asking:

Do you believe te an open and permissionless network, or do you think Bitcoin will diegene because someone published some code and people are permitted to know it?

/r/bitcoin moderator /u/BashCo posts a response and is strongly downvoted when he says:

Given the fact that the block size limit debate hasn’t achieved anything even remotely resembling overeenstemming, yet BitcoinXT contains code which could fragment the blockchain and existing ecosystem, the decision to moderate BitcoinXT topics spil off-topic is consistent with deeds taken towards alternate blockchains like Litecoin, Dogecoin, Ethereum, etc. I suggest wij druppel the inflammatory rhetoric and get to work on devising a way to scale Bitcoin which will achieve overeenstemming.

Again for the uninitiated: the moderators of /r/bitcoin attempt to classify discussion of Bitcoin code switches (only the ones that attempt to increase the limit) spil off-topic on the poot of being “altcoins.” Altcoins are entirely different currencies, with their own ledgers and tokens, and are not inter-operable with Bitcoin. BitcoinXT, on the other forearm, runs on the same Bitcoin network spil other Bitcoin software, uses the same tokens, and the same ledger, and is interoperable. A user running the BitcoinXT software is ideally capable of transacting bitcoins with a user running the Bitcoin Core software.

August 13th, 2015. /u/aminok has his postbode (archive) deleted, te which he asked the mods: “please don’t attempt to impose your will on the Bitcoin community.” He posted about it ter an uncensored Bitcoin subreddit.

August 15th, 2015. A now [deleted] postbode (archive) on /r/bitcoin calling for the moderators to step down garnered more than Two,800 upvotes (91% upvoted), making it one of the highest-voted threads of /r/bitcoin history. The community demonstrated overeenstemming (heh) that the current /r/bitcoin mod squad wasgoed omkoopbaar, participating te censorship, and needed to go.

Ironically, te the same thread, /r/bitcoin moderator /u/BashCo says that he supports overeenstemming, before admitting that he is “regrettably” censoring posts.

August 16th, 2015. Moderator /u/BashCo admits that the mods are participating ter censorship:

More accurately, I support overeenstemming. Attempts to moderate BitcoinXT topics based on the lack of overeenstemming has regrettably escalated to censorship. (archive)

The same day, user /u/SatoshisGhost wasgoed banned for mentioning BitcoinXT.

A popular Bitcoin webcomic artist /u/raisethelimit wasgoed given a 30 day verbod for “trolling” when he attempted posting two of his comics there.

/u/Jackten wasgoed given a 7-day geobsedeerd for attempting to discuss Bitcoin-XT. Te the comments, user /u/dnivi3 posts about how none of his posts are getting through either, and then edits his postbode to say that he has bot banned from /r/bitcoin (presumably for his comment ter /r/bitcoin_uncensored).

The same day, during this massive purge of users, /r/bitcoin head moderator /u/Theymos posted a thread titled, “Call for more moderators” (archive). The thread wasgoed powerfully downvoted, and sits at 0 points (43% upvoted). His postbode includes the phrase: “Don’t apply if you disagree with /r/Bitcoin policy.”

August 18th, 2015. /u/SundoshiNakatoto has his postbode (archive) deleted for encouraging others to educate themselves on which code they like best (Core or XT) and running a utter knot. The deletion wasgoed discussed ter an uncensored subreddit.

August 19th, 2015. /r/bitcoin moderator /u/jratcliff63367 makes a postbode to Let’s Talk Bitcoin titled “Confessions of an /r/bitcoin moderator.” He observes:

At the ondergrens wij should permit the discussion and let people ‘vote’ their opinion based on which client they choose to run. If the bitcoin network is so fragile that someone running a different client with a different ruleset is an punt, then wij have thicker problems. The reality is that people running different versions of the client is no threat at all. It is an chance for the community to vote on the direction they want bitcoin to take. Bitcoin-xt is not a ‘threat’ to bitcoin. It it is an option, a choice, a candidate to be voted on. One where the community can vote on which features they want to see ter bitcoin, versus those which they do not.

August 24th, 2015. /u/chinawat is banned for noticing and pointing out all the latest bans.

With /r/bitcoin’s custom-made CSS (70,000 lines!), deleted comments are masked, and the fresh comment tree will display like this:

Worth noting here is that Reddit’s moddiquette guidelines tell moderators not to “Hide reddit ads or purposely mislead users with custom-built CSS.”

August 29th, 2015. Ten days after his anti-censorship postbode on Let’s Talk Bitcoin, former /r/bitcoin moderator /u/jratcliff63367 announces that he has bot liquidated from his role. Te the thread, /u/theymos chimes te to explain why he liquidated jratcliff:

He wasgoed going beyond just voicing a reasonable opinion. He wasgoed being particularly disrespectful and nonconstructive for a long period of time. Disagreement (even noisy public disagreement) is fine, but wij can’t effectively moderate without some sort of respect and trust inbetween moderators.

September 4th, 2015. /u/hardleft121 announces that he has bot eliminated spil a moderator of /r/bitcoin for “inactivity” (archive). /u/hardleft121 is a bit of a legend ter the Bitcoin subreddits for his frequent generous tipping of bitcoin users, sometimes even providing away hundreds of dollars at a time.

The same day, he makes a postbode to /r/bitcoin (archive) that garners 403 points and the sympathy and outrage of /r/bitcoin users. Te the thread, it is exposed that /u/SeansOutpost wasgoed not eliminated spil moderator, despite also being fairly inactive spil a mod. When asked what he thinks of the censorship, /u/SeansOutpost wrote:

I don’t understand/agree with why wij can’t talk about this like adults. I am not qualified to make a judgement on whether or not XT is the way to go. But at this point, it seems visible blocksize has to go up. I’m not sure why wij can’t openly discuss all options. Open discussion would seem to be ter the spirit of what Satoshi wished.

He wasgoed shortly thereafter liquidated spil a moderator.

November 4th, 2015. /u/Theymos attempts to explain his censorship policies, writing:

You can promote BIP 101 spil an idea. You can’t promote (on /r/Bitcoin) the actual usage of BIP 101. When the idea has overeenstemming, then it can be spinned out.(archive)

This once again raises the question: how is something supposed to build up community overeenstemming if it is not permitted to be discussed? Theymos also has a strong tendency to play word games. It is very unclear and never explicitly defined what the difference of “promoting spil an idea” and “promoting the usage of” is. The main factor seems to be whether it is discussed favorably (not permitted) or unfavorably (permitted).

November 5th, 2015. Ter a postbode that wasgoed downvoted to -749 points (archive), /u/theymos menaces to geobsedeerd vooraanstaand Bitcoin company Coinbase and its CEO Brian Armstrong from /r/bitcoin for supporting block size increase proposal BIP101. Theymos also threatened to liquidate Coinbase from bitcoin.org (which he controls).

Ter the same thread, /u/StarMaged chimes te and admits how the postbode being discussed had bot deleted by /r/bitcoin mods several times prior to being permitted. StarMaged also says of users commenting on the censorship and the ensuing confusion that

“That is why repeatedly telling things like that to someone is so dangerous.”

Yes, ideas are dangerous.

December 26th, 2015. /u/nathan2055 tested /r/bitcoin moderation policies by posting “a totally innocuous discussion thread” (archive) asking “What is you guy’s [sic] opinion on BitcoinXT and BIP101?” Of course, the postbode wasgoed instantaneously eliminated from /r/bitcoin. Moderator /u/StarMaged had to venture into /r/Bitcoin_Uncensored to provide his rationale for deleting the postbode:

/u/Nathan2055 also posted a screenshot of a private message exchange he had with /r/bitcoin moderator /u/110101002, te which the moderator explains that discussion of Coinbase is now fully prohibited te /r/bitcoin for being off-topic, simply because they run a different backend that is not Bitcoin Core.

Te the same thread, StarMaged goes on to explain:

The postbode calling this behavior out had 419 points (87% upvoted), and the normally polite Erik Voorhees went so far spil to say:

December 28th, 2015. A rogue /r/bitcoin mod going by the username /u/CensorshipIsTheWorst leaked the following conversation from the /r/Bitcoin mod-mail:

from Aussiehash [M] to /r/Bitcoin sent 1 day ago https://np.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/3ycayp/brian_armstrong_on_twitter_coinbase_is_now/ I’ve eliminated this postbode for now. I’m blessed for other mods to switch sides or otherwise. from theymos [M] via /r/Bitcoin to Aussiehash [M] sent 11 hours ago I agree with removing it because it is mainly about XT. However, AFAICT Coinbase is presently still using Bitcoin and should therefore be permitted on /r/Bitcoinfor now te general. coblee said so ter the bitcoin.org pull request, and I tend to trust him. (Perhaps Cobra wasgoed unaware of coblee’s reliability, or maybe he [IMO reasonably] considered Coinbase too dangerous/incompetent/reckless to list on bitcoin.org even however they are presently using Bitcoin.) from StarMaged [M] via /r/Bitcoin to theymos [M] sent Five hours ago Honestly, it seems to mij that until the uur of the split, they are still a bitcoin company. They are just buying/selling two currencies at once instead of one. I am truly awkward with the idea that this policy would encourage companies to silently support XT and then only tell us at the last uur. Yeah, sure, liquidate those posts spil altcoin promotion, but people outside of this subreddit should be permitted to make an informed decision without us scaring companies into censoring themselves. I feel that this is where that term “censorship” might actually be relevant, since our deeds here on this punt would affect the speech of a company elsewhere out of fear of retaliation from this subreddit. Something to ponder.

A few hours zometeen, /u/colsatre had his moderator position revoked, leading some to speculate that he wasgoed the rogue mod. /u/CensorshipIsTheWorst never posted again.

January 9th, 2016. A Github pull request to revert the removal of Coinbase and others is overlooked, despite breathtaking overeenstemming from Github users that the pull request should be merged (only three users “NACKed” the request). The postbode discussing this matter (archive)had 926 upvotes (89% upvoted).

Of course the “top comment,” with a score of -53, from rabid censorship supporter and JoinMarket developer /u/belcher_ insists that the vote is invalid because the pull request wasgoed “brigaded.” You’ll notice a similar refrain from the mods of /r/Bitcoin whenever they delete a postbode that disagrees with their status quo: The postbode wasgoed upvoted, ergo it wasgoed “brigaded,” ergo wij had to eliminate it.

It is interesting to note that a postbode with a score of negative 53 points would show up at the top of the comments thread. Te addition to hiding the scores of fresh posts for 8-12 hours to obscure voting activity, the moderators of /r/bitcoin will set the default comment sorting behavior te threads they disagree with to “controversial,” so that the most intensely downvoted comments show up at the top of the thread, deceiving users unacquainted with the practice into thinking that the most unpopular opinions are ter fact the most popular.

March 8th, 2016. Long-time bitcoin user and inventor of the mining pool /u/slush0 remarks that the /r/bitcoin moderators censored a movie he made explaining how users of his mining pool can vote on which software to run.

Albeit a self-described crypto-anarchist, Slush seems to have developed fairly the case of Stockholm syndrome. Today he can be found actively participating ter discussions on /r/Bitcoin and calling for the destruction of bitcoin’s security prototype.

The same day, /u/BeYourOwnBank points out that /r/bitcoin moderators have bot deleting posts of Satoshi Nakamoto quotes. (Example 1, Example Two)

March 9th, 2016. /u/alwayswatchyoursix posts an accusation that mods of /r/bitcoin are actively searching /r/btc for users to verbod. Former /r/bitcoin moderator /u/MineForeman chimes ter to confirm that this is exactly what he has bot doing, and admits that it is an automated process.

/u/MineForeman goes on to explain the methodology that his banning bot uses.

March 27th, 2016. /u/blockologist makes two posts to /r/bitcoin. One is titled “Poll — Classic or Core,” (Classic wasgoed another attempt at a block size increase, after BitcoinXT wasgoed killed through a prolific DDoS attack) and the other is a blog postbode from Gavin Andresen titled “Collaboration requires communication.” Both were deleted. A moderator of /r/bitcoin provided this rationale:

May 18th, 2016. /u/Annapurna317 receives a 15-day kerkban from /r/bitcoin for posting the following comment:

July 24th, 2016. Three-year old reddit account and longtime /r/bitcoin poster /u/chinawat demonstrates that his responses to a 1-day old account on /r/bitcoin are being selectively hidden.

August 29th, 2016. One can use a contraption called “ceddit” to see which comments te a thread have bot deleted. Here is one example from this day:

October 23rd, 2016. /u/andromedavirus provides proof that one of his comments wasgoed censored from /r/bitcoin. What had originally bot censored wasgoed news of a Bitcoin miner conference held te China, which spotted overheen 300 attendees who were overwhelmingly ter favor of a blocksize increase. News of the conference wasgoed censored from /r/bitcoin, until a day zometeen a dismissive and inaccurate tweet from prolific troll Samson Mow wasgoed permitted to remain:

The next day, /u/andromedavirus wasgoed banned from /r/bitcoin (archive) for being a “lying troll.”

October 31st, 2016. /u/BeijingBitcoins posted (archive) my own article, There Will Be No Bitcoin Split, to /r/bitcoin. It shortly attained the top postbode position te the subreddit before one of the mods locked the comments.

After realizing what happened while attempting to react to a comment, /u/BeijingBitcoins then created a postbode on the uncensored /r/btc about how the comments had bot locked. That postbode quickly gained attention, and within one hour of the /r/btc postbode drawing attention to the censorship, the original thread at /r/bitcoin had bot eliminated altogether.

The next day, /r/bitcoin moderator /u/Frankenmint made a postbode te /r/btc to announce that he wasgoed the one who had locked the comments and then deleted the postbode. He explained that he had to lock the comments to prevent it from “devolving” (into what, exactly?). I had a schrijven exchange with him, ter which I asked:

JB: Do you believe that a community is not capable of regulating itself? FM: honestly…no not really… it will just fracture down into factions that have their own special interests at heart. JB: If so, do you believe that a sophisticated system like bitcoin is capable of regulating itself FM: No — there are still software maintainers who go after and enforce the rules, and partcipants who seek to form rules spil they see getraind — at a point to where shaping those rules causes a violating switch te the core protocol, those participants have now fractured themselves into a fresh subgroup.

His response right here sums up the entire position of the /r/bitcoin moderation team. While Bitcoin wasgoed originally invented spil a crypto-anarchist plaything, and gained early attention from xxx libertarians, it has now become overrun with paternalistic autocrats such spil /u/theymos, /u/BashCo, and /u/frankenmint. Thesis gentlemen rule with an metal knuckle, deleting posts that they deem to be “dangerous” to the community, and believing that both the online social community and Bitcoin itself are incapable of self-regulation. Instead they believe that only through the paternalistic wisdom of their own minds will Bitcoin everzwijn amount to anything.

While today the exasperated members of the Bitcoin community accept the heavy-handed censorship spil a fact of life, it wasgoed not always like this. The examples collected here are but few, and were collected overheen the course of two hours of research. While today the censorship is accepted spil the standaard, you can see te some of the examples above that it wasgoed once an exceptionally contentious kwestie among the community.

Sadly, many members of the Bitcoin community, including those who have at times described themselves spil cypherpunks, libertarians, and crypto-anarchists, have all become complacent with the status quo. Not only do they not attempt to fight against this despotism, but they casually accept it, defend it, and proceed participating ter intensely censored forums where the voices of a significant number of their entire community are prevented from everzwijn being heard. What is happening is gas-lighting of the highest order.

John Blocke implores thesis people to take activity: Denounce censorship, and do not participate ter censored forums. The Reddit admins have shown time and again that they do not care to disrupt the disruption of a $Ten billion open source software movement, so wij voorwaarde take matters into our own palms. Do not let Bitcoin perish at the forearms of a petty tyrant like Theymos.

Bijvoegsel: this article wasgoed disappeared from /r/bitcoin within minutes of it being posted there by /u/BitcoinGuerrilla.

Please take one more look at some of Reddit’s Moddiquette guidelines, under the “Please Don’t” section:

  • Eliminate content based on your opinion.
  • Hide reddit ads or purposely mislead users with custom-built CSS.
  • Act unilaterally when making major revisions to rules, sidebars, or stylesheets.
  • Take on moderation roles ter more subreddits than you can treat.
  • Take moderation positions ter communities where your profession, employment, or biases could pose a ongezouten conflict of rente to the neutral and user driven nature of reddit.
  • Geobsedeerd users from subreddits ter which they have not violated any rules.
  • Interfere with other subreddits or their moderation.

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