Roger Ver, a self-described bitcoin evangelist who renounced his U.S. citizenship and lives in Japan, was recently banned from Reddit for referring to the bitcoin administrator Theymos by his real name, but soon had his account restored. His actions, and those of Reddit, have raised questions in the bitcoin community about how censorship decisions are made in community forums.
Comments on Reddit indicated the banned post was up for 12 hours.
Much of the Reddit discussion became mired in the debate between the two bitcoin subreddits, r/btc r/bitcoin, a conflict with roots in the bitcoin block size debate.
The moderator who removed Ver’s post noted that he explained to Ver that the ProHashing thread, the original offending post, is considered doxing and that Ver understood this. Ver’s MemoryDealers site on Reddit was suspended.
Ver posted that he went to Reddit headquarters in San Francisco and chatted with its CEO, Steve Huffman, about his situation. “I’m sure that all the current suspension problems at Reddit are being caused by the traditional karma system, not because of shill posting on Reddit,” he wrote. “The traditional moderation that Reddit needs to work is not able to keep up with the demands of the growing clickfarm economy.”
One post noted that Ver’s own moderator advised him to delete the post, advice he chose to ignore.
Another post provided a link to a screenshot of an early comment by Ver confirming that he believed saying the name of u/theymos did not qualify as doxing. Someone else warned him that Reddit administrators may not see it this way.
Another post included a screenshot of the link posted a week earlier by u/ProHashing, which has been banned from Reddit, presumably for doxing.
The fact that Reddit reversed Ver’s suspension drew criticism: “Anyone else would have been banned on the spot for alleged doxing,” one post stated.
“He doxed someone, funniest part is that someone else did it 1 day earlier and was banned for it,” a similar post noted. “He thought the rules didn’t apply to him.”
“He must have (think he has) friends at high Reddit places to be able to rescue him from a ban,” one post commented about Ver. “Or he’s going to buy his way out. Or just leave it to even worse cronies.”
A poster who said Ver should not have been banned claimed having been banned on Ver’s site for a week for doxing a friend of the moderator by citing a public court case that anyone could have seen; “at least Reddit doesn’t have double standards like Roger does.”
One post claimed that Ver’s action was not doxing Theymos since a “cursory Google search will reveal his real name for you if you so desire to find out. His identity is not a secret in any way.”
Several posters criticized Ver for not apologizing for his action.
One noted that Ver “used to be Bitcoin Jesus. Last 3 years, gone off the rails.”
Some speculated on the reason for Ver’s actions. One hypothesized that Ver was part of a group that tried to start r/btc, but it didn’t gain critical mass. “The political war for control over bitcoin at a code level and at a social community level continues.”
Several posts noted that censorship has been frequent on the r/btc subreddit.
One who recently unsubscribed from /r/btc noted censorship is one problem with the site, another being that it rehashes “the same unfounded salty shit day in and day out.”
The censorship debate continues, demonstrating major conflict within the bitcoin community that shows little indication of resolution in the near future.