The day before yesterday while checking Twitter in bed like any normal person in crypto, I read the following tweet from Zooko:
I disagree with that statement, sadly they do. I was already thinking about writing something about this, so thanks Zooko for giving me the motivation and inspiration.
The next morning when I woke up, I saw that Vitalik replied to Zooko and for the 2nd time I agreed with Vitalik (first time being: calling Craig Wright a fraud).
What exactly is trolling?
Ask 10 people and you’ll get 10 different answers so it might be best to just go with the urban dictionary definitions.
I think it’s important to understand this. It seems we are now at a point that when people don’t agree with each other they just call the other person a troll and it ends there.
It’s very easy to do, make a statement, call the other person who disagrees a troll, claim moral high ground and say how sad it is that the other person is trolling you and that it clearly shows that you are right, without ever providing any real evidence about your own statement. (from now on this will be called “cry troll” based on the existing “cry wolf”)
Panda, you’re a troll
I’ve been called so many things this last year. Very often this was a “troll” by people who disagree with me, I’m not. Other times people have claimed that I operate 20+ troll Twitter accounts. I don’t, I have 1 account, I even deleted my own account which was on my real name from before crypto since I only had like 40 followers on it, obviously more people care about what a panda thinks.
Actually the worst one was someone with a certain reputation messaging all the people I was helping with a project and calling me “the most toxic person (or troll don’t remember) in crypto” while trying to convince those people to fire me, even though I wasn’t even an employee or contractor. (kind of what Roger tried with Samson Mow but in this case it wasn’t Roger)
Maybe the people calling me a troll are trolling me (trying to get a reaction out of me), I think it actually has more to do with knowing they are wrong and just crying troll.
What I personally actually try to do in conversations on Twitter or on chats is use my wit to both make people laugh and make people think. I’ve noticed it’s the most effective way to try to educate people have them think about certain situations and statements.
Toxicity: the easy excuse
I think Jameson describes it best in this tweet:
As is with “trolls”, it’s very easy to call other people toxic as an excuse to not look in the mirror and take a moment to think why people are saying/doing “toxic” things. We are not working on pet projects here, we are working on the future of money with attacks coming from all directions to try to destroy the Bitcoin project.
I like to compare it with children playing sports nowadays. When I was young(er) you had a winner and a loser. You had to win to be a winner, now everyone gets a participation trophy and everyone is a “winner” just not to hurt anyone's feelings.
This is a ~$90–100 billion project, if something is stupid or dangerous, then call it stupid or dangerous. That’s not toxic, that’s honesty and if you can’t handle honesty, that’s your problem. It doesn’t mean that the other person doesn’t respect you, it means that you need to reflect on what you said or did.
The issue here is that some people have such big egos that they can’t handle criticism, should we all sit around a campfire and sing Kumbaya? Or just give in with that person to not upset him? What’s more important? People’s feelings or changing and shaping the world?
Trolls and toxicity are mostly a red herring. It’s an excuse to make outlandish claims without providing any proof, because when you get called out you just scream “troll!” “toxic!” and ignore the actual request for proof.
From my personal experience and knowledge there are trolls, there are even paid trolls on Reddit and Twitter, but they’re not on the “side” where a certain group of people claim they are. The blame shifting is real.
To get back to Zooko’s initial tweet, these “real” trolls and concern trolls do matter sadly, they provide the excuse to start accusing everyone of being a troll and being toxic. It allows certain groups and people to get away with lies and misinformation without taking any real responsibility or provide any real hard evidence.
Edit* So I wrote this article yesterday, but I didn’t post it yesterday after hearing about Jeff Garzik’s announcement. I don’t want to change the contents above this edit. But I think I should add a part about toxicity.
So the lead (and only) developer of BTC1 (who really isn’t doing any work on it at all), who is preparing the 2X fork and has been actively creating developer drama, now creates a coin to “solve” these issues while launching his own ICO. (You might also want to check out the advisor page)
This is toxicity.