I hate e-drama, but, as anyone who has ever been in abusive relationship will tell you, you don’t choose drama, it chooses you. Recently, a rather abusive trend in Hive has been getting exposed, and as much as I like the platform, I may have to resume sharing my artistic content here on WordPress instead.
For those of you who don’t understand how Hive works, it is a blockchain social media network that generates cryptocurrency. Every vote determines the value of a post, and payout occurs exactly one week after the post was published. The value of a vote is determined by the Hive Power (HP) of the account making the vote, and HP is generated by receiving upvotes in turn. The more upvotes you get, the more one of your own votes will be worth. Downvotes do the opposite, lowering the value of the post. A post’s payout is determined by the added value of the votes, which is why a post with 500 upvotes from low-power accounts could pay out the same as a post with a single upvote from a high-power account. What we have right now is a situation in which a handful of high-power accounts are cancelling out all the upvotes from low-power accounts and thus reducing the payouts of popular posts to near zero, and not for any good reason.
Weaponised voting is nothing new in the internet age. In the information war, the audience is what everyone is competing for. However, when each vote is worth the same amount, popularity is all that matters. On Hive, not all votes are equal, as I have just explained. Weaponised voting on Hive is a form of suppression. This isn’t outright censorship, as the whole point of a blockchain is to prevent anyone from tampering with the content to silence people (the way that Google is known to do), but it’s bloody close. For this reason, the drama about weaponised voting has been well-documented in the Free Speech community, to which I am subscribed, because, as you know, freedom of expression is of paramount importance to me.
I need to go off on a tangent for a bit about who the biggest targets for censorship are. On the Silicon Valley social media Big Three (FaceBook, Twitter, and Google, which owns YouTube), for example, anyone who disagrees with the progressive agenda is a target – this includes people on the socio-political left, because “liberals get the bullet too.” At first, only the far right, whatever the hell “far right” actually means, was targeted. Then, mainstream conservatives became targets. After that, the particularly radical fringes of the far left also became targets, though this was mostly limited to Twitter, and the air was thick with irony that the perpetually offended were unironically making the exact same arguments in favour of free speech that actual liberals have been making for centuries. However, there is a common myth among the free speech defenders that censorship is limited entirely to pundits – it is NOT. I have been saying, albeit in tiny circles, and usually in IRL conversations, rather than online, that anyone who is not on the payroll of the big players is a potential target, and the next biggest threat to authoritarians, right after intellectuals arguing in favour of freedom, is the DIY community. This broad community is best associated with homesteaders, but not limited to them. Anyone sharing their skills online, certainly those who intend to teach others, is part of this broad DIY community. Now then, the reason for this is quite simple: authoritarians do not want people to be able to take care of themselves and live without the system, and actions speak louder than words. It is one thing to extol the virtues of living off the land without having to worry about government interference, but it is quite another to demonstrate how that can be done, and that it’s not as hard as it looks. Contrary to what the double-talking owner of Bracing Views likes to constantly say, there is nothing wrong with “rugged individualism.” Furthermore, Comrade Commissar, if you’re reading this, I’ve basically just debunked your entire narrative that there is a wall of propaganda promoting it – all evidence points to the exact opposite, unless, of course, you consider me to be a propagandist. Incidentally, I’m not the only one who has pointed all of this out; Tarl Warwick has too, on multiple occasions.
Returning to the subject of Hive, by now, the suppression has already gone quite far. We are at the point that pundits are no longer the only ones being suppressed. When I chimed in, commenting on two recent posts by Patriot Reloaded, I twice mentioned someone else who is also being suppressed in the exact same manner – a young Russian artist named Alena Vangozhenka. I hate to draw unnecessary attention to the girl, but she is a perfect example of the utterly nefarious agenda behind censorship. By the way, in order to preempt the otherwise inevitable accusations of “white-knighting,” I should point out that I’m not romantically interested in her; she’s too young, too short, and too girly (and the irony is not lost on me that those are exact same complaints that the last girl I had a crush on made about me), but she is an enormously talented artist, and I like her content. While the superficial justifications for censorship are always difficult (but not impossible) to argue against, such as combating “misinformation” or “plagiarism,” what, precisely, is the justification for censoring a 23-year-old kid who paints cute animal pictures and, as far as I know, makes no content that is remotely controversial? That was a trick question – there is no justification. In the case of Hive payouts, the only reason for downvoting her posts into oblivion is to keep all the blockchain tokens for yourself – which is exactly why Steemit failed, lest we forget!
On principle, I should probably ask to be blacklisted by the curators who are abusing my friends. Unfortunately, those same curators are the only reason that my posts are as popular as they are. As of two weeks ago, I’m making more money on Hive than Alena, despite the fact that she posts far more frequently than I do, and her content is much more popular than mine – this is all because of the malicious downvoting. When it comes to dealing with abusers, some battles simply aren’t worth fighting. Sometimes, it’s best just to keep your head down, and not cause trouble. Sometimes, it’s best just to walk away. I’m not sure what the best course of action is, but for now, I’m just going to keep making my usual content, and if the blockchain’s history is about to repeat itself, at least I will know to jump ship as early as possible – and I’ll make bloody sure to take all of my friends with me. I doubt my countrymen need much encouragement, seeing as all the Russians that I followed on Steemit migrated to Hive before I did. Perhaps this is a cycle that will just keep repeating itself: a new blockchain is created, people move there, it becomes a lucrative endeavour, greedy players scuttle the platform, a new blockchain is created, and the process starts over. Now that we’ve already been through this once, perhaps it’s just a new feature of blockchain social media: moving to a new platform every other year! It’s a lousy feature, more akin to a “bug,” but it’s not utterly unbearable. Of course, getting the curators to stop abusing creators is far preferable, and I’d like to see the damage undone. If this is a fight that we can win, I’ll fight; granted, I’m not sure how much a red fish with a reputation of 62 and only 424 HP would be able to do.