Because I’ve been doing more digging for Bitcoin-related stories, I have certain sources I tend to go back to. One of them is /r/Bitcoin. It has been one of the best spots for researching anything I have ever come across for a reporter such as myself. It’s like the all scams, misogyny and bad ideas come right to me! (But I look other places as well, because I’m not lazy, like CNN.)
I have no real opinion of Reddit. I actually kind of like it to be honest even though I personally never used it. It just seemed like some popular link site that had weird groups like the Bitcoin nuts in addition to being the homebase of the Men’s Rights movement. I got turned off by things like that and Adrien Chen’s article on Violentacrez but now, thanks to BTC, I’m back.
Throughout the time I’ve known of /r/Bitcoin I’ve figured it attracts a lot of newbies wanting to learn about the ‘coin. Seems reasonable, right? It is the first source listed in the “Keeping Up to Date” section on everyone’s favorite Bitcoin Starter site, WeUseCoins.com (now owned by Butterfly Labs).
In life, there are many things we know we don’t know. There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. But what we do know is that there are 76% of Americans don’t have a clue what a Bitcoin is. Either they don’t know its a thing, or they don’t really care. In the same survey linked above, 80% of people said they’d rather have Gold over Bitcoin, probably because Gold is easy to explain and, economically speaking, proven.
But what about those few who genuinely want to know more? What about the men and women who are genuinely excited about such a interesting concept? Those who want to dip their toe into “The Currency of the Future”? What does the Reddit Bitcoin community, linked to by many of the most prominent Bitcoin introduction sites, do to help them, the newest of newbies, looking for the most “Up to Date” info?
The answer is just harass them, apparently.
There’s an old business adage that says “No company was ever unionized without deserving it”. This means things need to change but the guys in charge don’t seem to realize that things are so bad that pretty much 90% of our site’s content is devoted to them and their blatant idiocy. So now its time to force some changes.
First lets just be clear: A member of the Reddit Bitcoin community has decided there has been so much harassment that there needs to be some basic guidelines on how to handle the newbies. So right off the bat things are less Utopian than they have been proclaimed, and more like if the newbies were Snake Plisskin in “Escape from New York”, with everyone just attacking him just because they’ve never seen him before.
Alright. So what’s going on?
Huh. That’s actually a pretty clear depiction of what’s going on. Although there are so many other things you could have pointed out, in reference to just /r/Bitcoin.
This is going surprisingly well.
Well, you haven’t managed to run anyone off Reddit with the usual Bitcoin-Related insanity, so let’s listen.
Yes. If this rule was followed, they could have 5 more “Adopters” a year.
Wow, 2 out of 3 so far. Bravo.
I’d just like to point out that this guy’s name is “secret_bitcoin_login“. It took a guy with the username “secret_bitcoin_login” to be reasonable. Good job, guys!
But names aside, these are 4 legitimate, level-headed and, above all else, reasonable requests. However, given the history of the ‘Coin and its cult-like communities’ past PR disasters being basically a string of hilarious incidents akin to a train crashing and spilling its cargo of dildos next to a row of churches, one car at a time, this is probably going to hit hard.
Now before we continue let me make one thing clear: No, I did not read the comments on the thread. It restored my faith in some Bitcoin followers and I don’t want that immediately destroyed by someone probably named 13-23. This isn’t like the last article where there’s a string of comments that show “THESE PEOPLE SHUR ARE STUPID!”-esque rhetoric. I want to really look into what’s going on here. And I think I know a good starting place.
Recently in the Buttcoin subreddit a man posted his story about trying to explain that there are, in fact, people who know about Bitcoin, but don’t really support it. The top comment, according to him, was that those people don’t exist, a type of mindset the Cult Education Institute calls “Loading the Language“, where easy, memorable and short catchphrases become constricting, to the point that anything outside the “Language” is absurd.
The idea that 76% of Americans don’t know about Bitcoin is to some a laughable statistic in much the same way anti-vaccination crazies, when shown 4 different stories about how not getting vaccinated hurt or even killed people, just strengthened their belief that vaccinations are terrible. Asterios Kokkinos had a great quote on Episode 21 of the podcast “The Biggest Problem in the Universe“:
“I believe all these statistics, obviously, but the people that don’t vaccinate their kid are not gonna be convinced by statistics, so it’s like, what the fuck do we do? …Like, I know that on this program, you don’t necessarily talk about solutions, but, like, seriously. What the fuck do you do? You can yell a million statistics. You can get 1,000 doctors.” (Source)
The answer, it seems, is that you can’t do anything. Whether is be Bitcoin cheerleaders or Anti-Vaccination nutjobs or 9/11 Truthers, there is no convincing people they are wrong or that there is other information they are refusing to see once the language has been loaded.
Therefore, none of the four great suggestions will ever come to fruition because they don’t really “Work” in the context of the language.
So we could show every single example of how embarrassingly easy it can be to scam these guys or how they get arrested for doing stupid things like starting Silk Road and letting a CAPTCHA expose your IP address every time someone logs on yet sticking to your guns because Bitcoin is right and anything else is wrong. It’s like in “The Dark Knight Rises”, when Bane tells a really hot guy “You stay in this plane that’s about to crash”, and the guy just goes all blue steel on him, melts my heart, then crashes with the plane (~swoon~). Someone not constricted would go at least go “I wanna get out of the plane!” Then die, because Bane gave that person permission to. But at least make an effort! Don’t just let “The Cause” be the thing that leads you to your slaughter! Have a little fight in you!
But Bitcoin is comforting to them now. Anything that goes against it in turn goes against what makes them comfortable. Questioning Bitcoin, therefore, is a major source of discomfort and needs to be remedied ASAP.
In our coverage of the FTC’s case against Butterfly Labs, we showed you documents from BFL’s motion to dismiss that were so glaringly condescending it made me dry-heave because I was laughing so hard. It was completely unnecessary but there it was. In a legal document, submitted to a federal court, this was presented with the only edits being certain italicized words to really layer on the sarcasm:
It shows a level of condescension and confidence that is not acceptable in any trial, anywhere, especially when it’s you against the feds. It shows said traits on the same levels as, say, serial killer Ted Bundy as he defended himself in court. We all knew he was guilty but he was so sure he could use his charm to get out of jail because it worked with everyone else, especially his victims. It didn’t work. Even when his 5 court-appointed lawyers told him to let them handle it he demanded to be his own defense, a move one of his lawyers, Polly Nelson, said
“…sabotaged the entire defense effort out of spite, distrust, and grandiose delusion” (Source)
Same with any clip of Charles Manson. You see him saying insane shit all the time, but have you noticed there is a structure to how he will say something in English, then devolve into babbling nonsense? It seems like he is having bits of clarity, followed by being pulled back into, well, Mansonland. That’s the language constricting him. And with Manson that constriction by language is so tight that the only words that can come out are gems like “You guys are living a thousand illusions, man!” Between those two quotes, the one from Bundy’s lawyer and Charles Manson, does the Bitcoin Cult not pop up just a little bit? Especially with Nelson’s “Grandiose Delusion” bit?
When people are trying to learn about this cool thing called Bitcoin and are met with hostility, and then the cult wonders why people hate them, it becomes absurdity! Of course people are going to hate the asshole who, when you ask a supposedly simple question like “What’s a gigahash?” or “Where can I find coins?”, instead of being directed to the Newbie forum, you get called a dick for wasting everyone’s precious time that could be spent studying the philosophy of Satoshi’s masterpiece.
The Loaded Language Bitcoiners work with involves phrases like “Currency of the Future”, “Sheeple”, “Early Adopters” and “Decentralized”. Words that, if strung together enough times, create an atmosphere that tells a Bitcoiner “Anyone who doesn’t know what Bitcoin is must be a fool!”, while everyone else looks at that guy and just goes “Fuck this, I’m paying for my Panera Bread with my Credit Card like an adult.”
There are so many other things that people don’t like about that community of nutjobs, like how everything is the most complicated process that cannot be explained, but these people are pretty much harmless fedora-wearing bronies who hide behind the veil of Libertarianism like it means something to anyone besides Ron and Rand Paul.
A constricting loaded language has led to the cult of the ‘coin. Some of the members of said cult will read this and deny every word I’ve written and attempt to proclaim their currency is the way of the future.
All I will say is this: Visa has VisaNet, their main network center, located on the eastern side of the US. VisaNet can handle 24,000 transactions per second. In that single second, security measures are put in place to stop fraud, stop risks (like overcharges) and help aid in disputes. They also do a 5 day stress test each summer to flood the network with transactions to make sure it can handle an excess number of transactions like at Christmas time, when everyone and their mother is trying to buy something. 2013’s highest capacity was 47,000 transactions per second. And since they can modify their system for maximum efficiency, everyone, everywhere can use Visa and not have to worry their payment won’t go through due to a technical error.
Bitcoin currently accepts 7 transactions per second. I can’t really provide a source though since all the information I wanted to link to is by the cult. And it’s all wrong. You try to get a legit answer from the cult on just this one thing, why the all-digital currency of the future can only handle a minuscule number of transactions compared to a supposedly outdated system, and all you get are lies. Pre-constructed lies at that because, like all cults, the members cannot think on their own.