I think its time we have a discussion about pseudonymity, reputation networks, astroturfing, sock puppets, meritocracy and how we judge each others content here.

Lately I have been running into an significant amount of new accounts making outlandish claims, stretching the truth, straining logic and outright false assertions. I have a pretty common card I play, which is usually mockery and dismissal due to account age and I use it more as a light comedic defense than a real objective engagement tactic. Yet, I am constantly rebutted by these individuals and others here that account age does not matter, that we should judge the words for their merit.

They are correct of course. We absolutely should judge the content of the post based on merit and not on account age.

But theres this other side thats missing. An extremely important side that these people dont want you to see when they are astroturfing from rbtc.

Reputation serves a valid purpose on reddit. Without reputation you have no accountability. Without accountability you are unwilling to challenge your views or change your views based on new information, or at the very least you are extremely less likely to change your view.

There is a excellent podcast on this subject on the youarenotsosmart podcast series, which focuses quite a lot on psychology and sociological issues. In this particular podcast it discusses the subreddit /r/changemyview and he interviews reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. Im going to put some relevant quotes from the interview here for discussion – (this is around the 13 min mark)

We obviously have a policy that we enforce strictly but we also want to allow for people to get uncomfortable sometimes because that's where we feel like the growth and the perspective happens like it and it goes both ways […] it is more important for us to be a platform where people can be their true selves and also still feel like they can express themselves and you know we have uncomfortable conversations – at least we Americans often have uncomfortable conversations every Thanksgiving, there’s always some uncle, there’s always someone, were not strangers to it.

I just think that as a whole it's that it's that opportunity for us to get perspective and if we can do it well – and that's not easy and that's something we're we're all working on but if we can do it while that's where we actually start to get we get that empathy and understanding and find our common ground and it is very new territory and we're not perfect but always improving it. I would love to see more people embracing that idea and I think change my view to go back to the sum of the whole thing is such an amazing illustration of exactly that.

That part is just general discussion of the platform, and how we should use it to challenge ourselves in uncomfortable situations. But I think where it gets really interesting, and important is around the 58 minute mark –

Also the key here is pseudonymity[….]and thats really meaningful because it is anonymity with accountability. Real anonymity that is where there is no accountability where you are just are non and you dont have a identity even if its a made up one because there is no accountability. We benefit from all the benefits of anonymity – that is the freedom of the ability for you to be all of yourself and your open and honest self because that ultimately makes for the best content and best experiences you know we as people really want to connect on this deep level and to date all of these drivers license id driven networks facebook and like allows us only to connect in a superficial way.

What he says above is crucial to reddit, crucial to sociology and crucial to the way that we all communicate and understand ourselves here on this platform. Its important to create the best possible experience here and to connect on deep levels.

But none of that applies if you are a coward that constantly switches identities because you cannot stand being wrong or being challenged on your views.

All of these astroturfers and sock puppets that come over here and post with no history yet talk about incidents that happen with familiarity 3-4 years ago are great examples of this. These are the cowards who have been shitposting the same lies for years and instead of being unwilling to face the facts they come here to attempt to change the narrative, to change the way we come to consensus because they are too cowardly to stand by their own words. Even though I might fight and bicker with a few notable people here constantly (you know who you are) I at least respect them that they dont change their identity and they are willing to stand up for their reputation. Those people are likely to shift overtime. A great example is the user Terminal-Psychosis here. I used to see strict nonsense coming out of that person, but over the last year I have seen enormous growth from him a individual in this community, similar to the same growth I experienced here a few years ago.

Look at my account. Look at its age. Most of you will know me as a Bitcoin Core supporter, someone who defends people like Adam Back, Blockstream, etc. Yet how many of you know that I used to be a big blocker? How many of you know that I used to constantly defend Gavin, Garzik? How many of you knew that I was a BitcoinXT supporter?

Go through my history. You will see me posting about it years ago.

I changed my views when new information and education came into my consciousness, and so should you.

To all of you cowards who hide behind new accounts –

You defy the purpose of this experiment. You defy the process of reaching consensus through good faith practices. You try to use disillusionment to create narratives preaching about open and transparent ledgers that will save the world all while you use cloak and shadows to hide your deceit. You are hypocrites. You are not bitcoiners, you are buttcoiners.

This system only works if you are willing to stand behind your pseudonymous reputation. If you are unwilling to be judged and to retain that judgement then how can you grow? How can you progress as a human if everytime the kid on the playground you dont like says something you dont like and you run behind your mommy's skirts?

You are all intellectual cowards and I wish that you would stop trolling our forums trying to poison the narrative with your politics and ideological entrenchments.

I want to be challenged. I have shown enormous change over the years by being challenged. But if you are unwilling to stand behind your pseudo anonymous identity and build your reputation based on the meritocracy of your words then you can never add to the quality of the communication here or the difficult slow consensus building process.

You will only poison the well and I will continue to call you out for it and most importantly so should everyone else. This behavior should not be tolerated and we should stand strong in the face of this astroturfing and narrative poisoning.

And since I know this subject will come up –

No, censorship is not a valid excuse. You may have gotten banned by theymos 2+ years ago and are still crying about it to this day, but you could have just switched identities back then, kept on participating and if you actually cared enough you would have continued to fight the fight but with less abrasive techniques that would have gotten you banned. You didn't have to scream from the top of your lungs like a rabbid religious fanatic, you could have tried to intellectually engage on the philosophy.

I am the example of that. I was extremely vocal against theymos during that phase and had it out with members here all the time. Yet here I am, still on my same account posting here. I may have toed the line a few times but I stayed strong in the face of pressure because it was important that I continue to fight the fight. So could have you, so please spare me the whiney excuses.

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