The Scaling Debate Could Use Some Civility

Bitcoin’s scaling debate has been getting increasingly nasty and out of hand since it began. While there is nothing wrong with disagreeing with anyone in the community — Bitcoin is meant to encourage discourse and debate — things are taking a turn for the worst. The animosity in this debate is hurting the image of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general. We all need to reign it in.

I don’t care who you disagree with, just how you disagree with them

One of Bitcoin’s greatest features is that it encourages the debate of new and old ideas. Through decentralization, users are given a voice. While there is difficulty involved in tabulating the results of that debate — there’s no precise way to vote per se — the spirit of the cryptocurrency debate is such that everyone should be able to participate in the discussion.

We need to remember this, especially as one of the more contentious — or at least noisy — network changes draws closer. Whatever “side” you are on in this scaling debate, I want to be perfectly clear: personal attacks and threats toward advocates of the opposing side is wholly unacceptable. Not only do these sorts of acts not further the discourse or help the debate, they also actively hurt cryptocurrency’s image.

It is fine to disagree with someone and fine to let them know that. However, civility will get us way further in this debate than name-calling, cursing, and SWATing.

Where unproductive discourse lands us

Cryptocurrency communities are already fighting an uphill battle. Not four years ago, to the rest of the world, cryptocurrency users were all seen as drug users and nefarious actors. We’ve made gains since then, but in the face of a system that is looking for every reason to dismiss us, this kind of behavior can knock us back.

When people behave irrationally like this, it only provides ammunition to everyone saying that we have no place in the modern economy. If we can’t figure out how to act decently to one another in a debate involving millions, how are we supposed to get anything done when billions adopt (hopeful, I know, but I’m an optimist)?

Given how some of us are handling ourselves right now, few others may take cryptocurrency communities seriously. Think about that the next time you’re tempted to label someone a “shitcoin troll” or “core shill” on Reddit.

Our opportunity

We have the opportunity to turn this around, to show off what distributed consensus and distributed debate can look like. We can showcase the eloquence in the technology, and holding ourselves to a higher standard is just one way that the community can do so. It lets onlookers see past the noise and gaze upon the brilliance of the blockchain, allowing them to begin imagining their own use cases and adoption possibilities.

It’s okay to be upset and to disagree; just do so productively.