Over the past few months, Reddit bitcoin moderators including Theymos, who controls major bitcoin forums and discussion panels such as Bitcointalk.org and Bitcoin.org have censored any discussion of bitcoin XT, proposals of bigger blocks and the censorship itself.
Yesterday, Roger Ver and the Bitcoin.com team hosted the largest bitcoin AMA, with the participation of prominent bitcoin entrepreneurs, startups and developers including Gavin Andresen, Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire, Xapo CEO Wences Casares, Overstock CEO Patric Bryne and bitcoin core developer Mike Hearn, which will continue until december, with over 70 respected figures from the bitcoin scene hosting Q&A sessions on forum.bitcoin.com.
However, the star-studded event, which included 30 CEOs from the biggest bitcoin companies have been censored by bitcoin subreddit moderators, who allegedly manipulated the vote count to disparage the AMA event.
Host Roger Ver and his Bitcoin.com team firmly believe that the moderators decided to censor the event on /r/Bitcoin simply because the event is being hosted on bitcoin.com, which previously had a series of disputes with Chinese bitcoin exchange OKCoin, former company in charge of the development of bitcoin.com.
Ver told CoinTelegraph:
“I just announced the biggest Ask Me Anything event in the history of Bitcoin, with participation from nearly every CEO. Because this event is being hosted on Bitcoin.com, /r/Bitcoin, with its 174,000 users, has censored it from public view.”
While some subreddits are controlled by Reddit itself, individual communities like bitcoin reddit is maintained by a separate group of moderators. Bitcoin Reddit currently is moderated by 4 individuals (with full permission), excluding rbitcoin-bot, /r/bitcoin’s automoderator bot which automatically “censors” posts and requires users to message the moderators each time a link is submitted on the subreddit.
According to the policy of Reddit, moderators are allowed to enforce their own rules in independent communities. “Individual communities on Reddit may have their own rules in addition to ours and their own moderators to enforce them,” states the Reddit team.
However, a section of its policy clearly states that “Vote manipulation is against the Reddit rules, whether it is manual, programmatic, or otherwise.” According to the policy, moderators are allowed to censor or take down posts or links which are harmful and display violence. Since the bitcoin subreddit is an individual community, moderators including Theymos have the permission and the rights to do so. But, technically, no user or moderators are allowed to manipulate vote counts of accounts without any notifications. In other words, if the Reddit moderators did manipulate the vote count of Roger Ver’s AMA event, it is illegal under Reddit policy and could be punishable by Reddit with a long-term ban.
Ironically, Theymos and the Reddit team have been banning users for discussing the “prohibited” topics discussed above.
For example, Mike Hearn’s thread about his medium blog post on an alternative block proposal was apparently removed by the mods and the Reddit user smudger who posted the Medium entry on Bitcoin Subreddit was banned for seven straight days without any further explanation.
However, Theymos , the “architect” behind bitcoin subreddit, believes that centralization is the only option to control forums and users must be permanently banned for discussing technologies that could potentially damage Bitcoin itself.
“Centralization is sub-optimal. Decentralized forums would be better. But no one wants to use decentralized forums, even though they've existed for years (eg. FMS). Until that improves, centralization is the only option,” said Theymos.