In the past year, the Bitcoin space has been caught up in the heated block size discussion. Throughout the debate, there have been lines drawn by two significant camps and many just watching from the sidelines. The conversation has enraged some so much that censorship has been introduced into some platforms — most notably r/bitcoin and Bitcointalk.org. This has led many to jump ship and turn to the r/BTC subreddit and the forums at Bitcoin.com over the past couple of months. Both online discussion areas have seen quite a lot of growth since then due to their less restrictive conditions.
The moderators of r/bitcoin, Bitcointalk.org, and even Bitcoin.org have been under scrutiny lately as the block size debate continues. The skeptical attitude towards the domain’s leader Theymos and others involved is due to certain censorship over the past year including many subjects like Bitcoin XT, BIP proposals, and even the censorship of leading U.S. wallet/exchange Coinbase on Bitcoin.org. These topics especially concerning XT and certain proposals have had community members flagged and banned from these online forums. The administrators of the websites feel that the concepts and potential forks brought to the table in regards to code changes are equivalent of discussing altcoins.
Prominent Bitcoin expert and author of the book Mastering Bitcoin, Andreas Antonopoulos, recently tweeted his thoughts on the issue:
https://t.co/YMHGeg9YN0 admins are abusing their power (again). Another single point of failure demonstration. Boo!
— Andreas (@aantonop) December 28, 2015
Let's discuss https://t.co/gPB7txU3qE censorship on /r/bitcoin. Oh wait…
— Andreas (@aantonop) December 28, 2015
Censorship first appeared when XT was introduced with Theymos defending the subreddit’s official stance saying, “/r/Bitcoin exists to serve Bitcoin. XT will, if/when it’s hardfork is activated, diverge from Bitcoin and create a separate network/currency. Therefore, it and services that support it should not be allowed on /r/Bitcoin.” This conversation and others have turned what was a trickle to alternate forums into a running faucet of users migrating en mass.
For example, /r/btc has grown close to 10,000 members and has received a lot of attention and topics added to its forums daily. Some users even claim that at this rate, it could possibly become the “dominant Bitcoin subreddit.” However, /r/btc pales in comparison to the over 170,000 subscribers over at /r/bitcoin, though supporters of the alternate subreddit are hopeful. Every day the subreddit seems to be getting larger, and posts concerning progress are seen regularly with positive commentary. One excited user writes they are “voting with our feet.. r/bitcoin is so 2013.. r/btc is where it’s at today!! Bring it on.”
This is exactly what Theymos told the community on August 17th in his transcript defending his actions:
Bitcoin.com’s forums are also seeing people stepping into the newly created atmosphere. The total member count is close to 3,500 members in only a few months time. Discussion and objectionable topics are not censored according to the moderators, and the site has had one of the largest Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) events in the digital currency’s history. Innovators and executives have joined the Bitcoin.com forum to participate, including Patrick Byrne of Overstock, Andrew Lee of Purse.io, Kristov Atlas, Open Bitcoin Privacy Project, Charlie Lee of Coinbase and the creator of Litecoin, as well as over 60 of the most prominent members in the crypto environment.
Censorship and infighting have led to this division of online forums, and that’s not a bad thing. It shows that a free market approach or competitive realm is always the best way to provide better services to users. If /r/bitcoin is not satisfying the crowd then people can leave the domain as Theymos directed.
Meanwhile, another subreddit that has seen more people come to it is /r/cryptocurrency that allows both Altcoin and Bitcoin discussion. Signs of growth among these alternative communication platforms are already being seen, demonstrating that there is a demand among people who would like to chat about important matters without being flagged and banned.
What do you think about the growth of alternative Bitcoin forums? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Pixbay, /r/btc, Bitcoin.com Forum
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