Bitcoin Community Split Hardens as Gavin Unsubscribes from r/bitcoin

Gavin's response crisply summarizes his viewpoint on the issue, and conveys Bitcoin's stated ideals of consensus and openness.

Tensions are lower these days, nearly a month after a proposed fork in Bitcoin set off acrimonious debate, allegations of censorship and other non-Bitcoin spirited behavior.

Combatants are weary after a prolonged battle and have achieved some sense of closure on the issue, withdrawing to the sidelines and putting their beliefs into practice through the coding and broadcasting of the various proposals that have emerged.

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This closure is likely the hardening of the split between the two sides of the block size debate. Gavin Andresen, Mike Hearn & Co may have taken a somewhat radical step in spearheading Bitcoin XT, but paling in comparison with the subsequent reaction. Moderators of the reddit discussion forum, r/bitcoin- arguably the most popular for Bitcoin- removed discussion related to Bitcoin XT. Even comments and threads with the highest upvote scores were removed. Led by head moderator Theymos, the argument was that Bitcoin XT is not Bitcoin, rather an altcoin like litecoin or dogecoin.

In an apparent imposition of emergency law, more stringent rules of what constitutes permitted discussion were enacted by the moderators in order to restore “law and order.” Much of the community alleged censorship, which is in contravention of Bitcoin’s stated ideals of decentralization and consensus. They called for mass migration to new discussion forums (although they risked facing disciplinary action if making these calls on r/bitcoin).

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Now, users post the same link for Bitcoin stories on at least three subreddits: r/bitcoin, r/bitcoinxt and r/bitcoinAll.

Users have also been wondering why Gavin Andresen’s expert flair no longer appears in r/bitcoin. The status, applied to acknowledged experts of a subreddit’s subject matter, is indicated by an icon of a small stack of books appearing next to their username.

Initially, theories included ‘foul play’, since ruled out, or that Gavin may have intentionally or unintentionally turned off the setting. It seemed like too much of a coincidence, however, that it happened at this time.

Gavin later replied, “I think it’s because I unsubscribed from /r/bitcoin.” One user inquired why he would leave, considering that his full time job is Bitcoin and that the forum contains many important bits of news and information. Gavin, who generally avoids arguments and rhetoric, concisely replied, “Because discussion of some important matters is being repressed, over the clear wishes of a majority of participants.” That was his only other comment on the issue thus far. Gavin’s response crisply summarizes the issue, and conveys Bitcoin’s stated ideals of consensus and openness in the same breath.

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