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Poll
Question: Is pool hopping ethical?
Yes, I do it - 54 (23.1%)
Yes, but I don't do it - 56 (23.9%)
Yes, no comment if I do it - 12 (5.1%)
No, but I do it - 11 (4.7%)
No, and I don't do it - 96 (41%)
No, no comment if I do it - 5 (2.1%)
Total Voters: 233

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Author Topic: Pool hopping... ethical or not?  (Read 23000 times)
bcpokey
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July 27, 2011, 10:47:02 PM
 #161

You've still not addressed my question, you say that I've entered an agreement with business partners when I mine on a pool. But no one has made clear the parameters of that supposed agreement (other than what is laiad out in proportional payment structure)? When am I allowed to back out? When can I switch? Once I enter into this so called agreement am I bound to it forever? Can I never change my mind?
You miss the entire point of implied agreements. We don't want to spend twenty minutes negotiating to buy a candy bar, and that level of precise detail is not needed. All that is necessary is that you interact with others in good faith and deal with them fairly. That is the implied agreement.

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The problem with "implied agreements" is that there is no clear basis to them. Your side of the agreement is not the same as mine unless we explicitly state it as so. If I can switch pools after 24 hours, why not 12, or 6, or as often as I want? Where is the line, how are you defining it?
The line is between acting in good faith and acting in bad faith. If you want to change pools because you don't like the pool, want to try another pool, or something like that, you entered and exited the pool in good faith. There's no problem. If you left the pool because you want to shift a disproportionate share of the work to the other miners, only to re-enter it when you claim a disproportionate share of the profit, that's bad faith. That's abusing the system to get a share greater than your fair share at the expense of your fellow miners.

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Just because something increases your personal gain and is complicated does not make it inherently unethical.
Of course not. It's when you deal with others in bad faith and deal with them unfairly that you are acting unethically.

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Everything you do in bitcoin to enhance your stake diminshes someone elses.
No. That's not true.

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Hopping isn't stopping anyone else from doing anything, it is not some secret ploy, does not rely on deception or coercion or any other inherently unethical practice.
Entering a profit-making cooperative with others when times are good, taking a disproportionate share of the profit earned by the work of others, only to desert the cooperative as soon as hard work is necessary to make more profit, with the intent of re-joining the cooperative as soon as the hard work is done in time to get another disproportionate share of the profit is an inherently unethical practice.

Candy bar is an awful example. There is no implied contract, there is an explicitly defined contract. You pay me XXX dollars for YYY candy bars (in the united states). You don't like that agreement then you don't get them. Price is stated, non-negotiable, you agree or you move on. In fact, that is how almost all things in life are, explicit, not implicit. Maybe the agreement isn't written formally "You must take $$$ out of your wallet and put it in my hand" but that's not at all relevant or related to the conversation. There is no statement of any kind as to any actions on my part other than submitting a share and the reward I will receive for doing so.

Additionally you guys are arguing an invalid point. You are not gaining "more than your fair share", in fact you are taking precisely the share assigned to you by propositional payout. That's why people argue against prop payout. While on a global level you may get a higher return due to playing the odds, you are not "stealing" anything that would not have been taken otherwise were you sitting around that pool anyway.

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No. That's not true
Yes it is actually. That's what zero-sum means.

While you may not like "fair weather friends" that doesn't make them "unethical". Makes them unlikable. Meni's argument is the closest one to being plausible, as to taking advantage of the unknowledgable. However the information is freely available, people are trying to make it known as best they can. The other arguments are just crybaby talk really.
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July 27, 2011, 10:54:16 PM
 #162

Candy bar is an awful example. There is no implied contract, there is an explicitly defined contract. You pay me XXX dollars for YYY candy bars (in the united states). You don't like that agreement then you don't get them. Price is stated, non-negotiable, you agree or you move on. In fact, that is how almost all things in life are, explicit, not implicit. Maybe the agreement isn't written formally "You must take $$$ out of your wallet and put it in my hand" but that's not at all relevant or related to the conversation. There is no statement of any kind as to any actions on my part other than submitting a share and the reward I will receive for doing so.
What if the candy bar is defective? What if the merchant knows the candy bar is stale? What if the customer eats the candy bar before paying and then the merchant says that candy bar is $100?

And in the typical case, there is barely any explicit agreement. You put the candy bar on the counter, implying that you wish to buy it. The merchant states a price, implying that this is what he will accept in exchange for the candy bar. You give the merchant money, implying that this is in exchange for the candy bar at the stated price. The merchant gives you change, implying he has accepted the difference in exchange for the candy bar. 99% of the agreement is implied and flows from custom and circumstance.

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July 27, 2011, 11:00:39 PM
 #163

Candy bar is an awful example. There is no implied contract, there is an explicitly defined contract. You pay me XXX dollars for YYY candy bars (in the united states). You don't like that agreement then you don't get them. Price is stated, non-negotiable, you agree or you move on. In fact, that is how almost all things in life are, explicit, not implicit. Maybe the agreement isn't written formally "You must take $$$ out of your wallet and put it in my hand" but that's not at all relevant or related to the conversation. There is no statement of any kind as to any actions on my part other than submitting a share and the reward I will receive for doing so.
What if the candy bar is defective? What if the merchant knows the candy bar is stale? What if the customer eats the candy bar before paying and then the merchant says that candy bar is $100?

And in the typical case, there is barely any explicit agreement. You put the candy bar on the counter, implying that you wish to buy it. The merchant states a price, implying that this is what he will accept in exchange for the candy bar. You give the merchant money, implying that this is in exchange for the candy bar at the stated price. The merchant gives you change, implying he has accepted the difference in exchange for the candy bar. 99% of the agreement is implied and flows from custom and circumstance.

What if the candy bar is defective?  Ummmm, I guess you just puke it out then, call the manufacturer and ask for an RMA... 

and merchants don't say 100 bucks cause you ate it.... they will happily scan that wrapper and ask you for for the terminal says.

This is all hyperbole and pure esoteric speculation regarding what if candy is this or that and blah blah blah... la-la land.

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July 27, 2011, 11:29:47 PM
 #164

OK, I'm confused. I'd like to pin point the ethical problem here.

So, an example: If no one knew pool hopping provided a bonus for hoppers and no one ever realised it, would it be unethical?

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July 28, 2011, 12:11:09 AM
 #165

So, an example: If no one knew pool hopping provided a bonus for hoppers and no one ever realised it, would it be unethical?
If the pool hopper wasn't doing it intentionally or didn't realize they were taking advantage of the other miners, then they would still be acting in good faith and intending to deal honestly with the other miners. So they wouldn't be breaching the implied contract. But people's self-serving and stubborn insistence that they don't see anything wrong with it isn't convincing. People are very good at convincing themselves that something is true if it benefits them to believe it.

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July 28, 2011, 12:22:57 AM
 #166

So, an example: If no one knew pool hopping provided a bonus for hoppers and no one ever realised it, would it be unethical?
If the pool hopper wasn't doing it intentionally or didn't realize they were taking advantage of the other miners, then they would still be acting in good faith and intending to deal honestly with the other miners. So they wouldn't be breaching the implied contract. But people's self-serving and stubborn insistence that they don't see anything wrong with it isn't convincing. People are very good at convincing themselves that something is true if it benefits them to believe it.

Ignorance is not an excuse...  If you go somewhere and you are unfamiliar with their specific driving rules (regardless of how fair they are) and you break one, while you think you were acting in good faith (and you probably were), the cop will still give you a ticket.

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July 28, 2011, 12:54:29 AM
 #167


So, an example: If no one knew pool hopping provided a bonus for hoppers and no one ever realised it, would it be unethical?
If the pool hopper wasn't doing it intentionally or didn't realize they were taking advantage of the other miners, then they would still be acting in good faith and intending to deal honestly with the other miners. So they wouldn't be breaching the implied contract. But people's self-serving and stubborn insistence that they don't see anything wrong with it isn't convincing. People are very good at convincing themselves that something is true if it benefits them to believe it.

OK. So if the hopper doesn't think there's a problem but the full time miners *do* have a problem with it, is it then unethical? (I'm not trying to be a smart arse, just trying to find the parameters for this discussion.)


Ignorance is not an excuse...  If you go somewhere and you are unfamiliar with their specific driving rules (regardless of how fair they are) and you break one, while you think you were acting in good faith (and you probably were), the cop will still give you a ticket.

We're talking ethics here not law.

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July 28, 2011, 01:11:23 AM
 #168

the question is: is it really worth it ?

fine, i'll take the bait.

200% 150% increase in output.

is it worth it?
what do you think?


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July 28, 2011, 01:43:47 AM
 #169

Has nobody brought up the pools which explicitly state "pool hoppers welcome here"?

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July 28, 2011, 01:47:21 AM
 #170

I think if there are uninformed full time miners at pools that explicitly welcome hoppers, then the pool takes the hit on ethics and not the hopper.

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July 28, 2011, 03:53:43 AM
 #171

Has nobody brought up the pools which explicitly state "pool hoppers welcome here"?
The only pool I know to say this, is one that thinks they're using a hopping-proof method and falsely represents themselves as such, making this irrelevant (and for pools which are truly hopping-proof, the statement "hoppers welcome" is technically true but meaningless). Is there a proportional pool which says hoppers are welcome? If so I guess it's ok to hop them.

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July 28, 2011, 07:18:03 AM
 #172

Ignorance is not an excuse...  If you go somewhere and you are unfamiliar with their specific driving rules (regardless of how fair they are) and you break one, while you think you were acting in good faith (and you probably were), the cop will still give you a ticket.
The same is true here. Here the specific charge is acting in bad faith, so good faith is obviously a defense just as not speeding would be a defense to a charge of speeding. But not knowing that acting in bad faith was prohibited by an implied covenant is not a defense, just as not knowing speeding is illegal is not a defense.

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July 28, 2011, 07:21:19 AM
 #173

OK. So if the hopper doesn't think there's a problem but the full time miners *do* have a problem with it, is it then unethical? (I'm not trying to be a smart arse, just trying to find the parameters for this discussion.)
It's not quite that simple. If the hopper doesn't think there's a problem, and that belief is objectively reasonable in light of the information he knows or should know, then his conduct is not unethical. We rightfully cast a skeptical eye on those who are informed that their conduct is unethical and somehow manage to form an apparently sincere belief that we are wrong. (And, per my post above, bad faith is sufficient -- it doesn't matter whether they knew that an implied agreement prohibited them from acting in bad faith.)

For example, in United States v. Cheek and Cheek v. United States, Cheek was charged with willfully failing to file a tax return. His defense was that he didn't believe he was really required to pay income tax. The judge disallowed his defense (ignorance of the law is no excuse). His conviction was overturned because to willfully fail to file income tax returns, you must know that you have a duty to file them. However, he was retried and convicted. The jury was not impressed with his arguments that he didn't believe he was required to pay income taxes because the 16th amendment wasn't properly ratified or whatever crazy argument he made. The jury felt that he was just lying about his beliefs, just like pool hoppers are.

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July 28, 2011, 07:23:30 AM
 #174

Has nobody brought up the pools which explicitly state "pool hoppers welcome here"?
If a pool specifically says they welcome pool hoppers, then the only possible issue that I can see would be miners who don't understand the implications of that. But I think it's fair to say that they have an obligation to investigate that and decide if that's the pool for them. A pool owner doesn't have an obligation to educate his miners about the implications of his policies, just to tell them what they are.

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July 28, 2011, 09:47:51 AM
 #175

Has nobody brought up the pools which explicitly state "pool hoppers welcome here"?
If a pool specifically says they welcome pool hoppers, then the only possible issue that I can see would be miners who don't understand the implications of that. But I think it's fair to say that they have an obligation to investigate that and decide if that's the pool for them. A pool owner doesn't have an obligation to educate his miners about the implications of his policies, just to tell them what they are.

Well, if I was a rational new pool operator, I would welcome hoppers at least until I get my pool hash rate up to a certain level where they become a problem for the majority than being the majority themselves.

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July 28, 2011, 11:08:24 AM
 #176

I think pool hopping is not unethical, it's rational. If the pool operators offer me a profit by switching between them....why not take that advantage?
Blaming the hoppers is like blaming everyone who knows how to set off something against tax liability properly.

It's up to the pool operators to declare their pool as hopper friendly or not. It's up to them to take action against or for it. The users can choose the pool the suites them best. There are so many pools out there, i doubt that hopping is a problem at all. Are there any reliable statistics about how many pool hoppers there are and how many "loss" they have caused?

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July 28, 2011, 11:13:59 AM
 #177

I think pool hopping is not unethical, it's rational.
It's rational in the sense that you benefit from it. If you would benefit from killing your mother and could get it away with it, would it be rational to kill her?

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If the pool operators offer me a profit by switching between them....why not take that advantage?
The same reason you don't steal from people just because they make it easy for you to do so.

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Blaming the hoppers is like blaming everyone who knows how to set off something against tax liability properly.
Except those that set off against tax liability properly don't enter into agreements with other people in bad faith.

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It's up to the pool operators to declare their pool as hopper friendly or not.
Sure, if a pool declares they're hopper friendly, then there's no issue. If a pool says hoppers are prohibited, I hope you agree that it's unethical to hop. That leaves the issue where the pool operator doesn't make such a declaration, which was the case most people were discussing.

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It's up to them to take action against or for it.
So you agree then that if a pool operator doesn't take action for or against pool hopping, they are breaching the implied agreement with their miners? If not, then what does it mean to say it's up to them?

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The users can choose the pool the suites them best. There are so many pools out there, i doubt that hopping is a problem at all. Are there any reliable statistics about how many pool hoppers there are and how many "loss" they have caused?
That's not relevant. It's wrong to steal even if you're stealing from someone who can tolerate the loss and doesn't have many people stealing from them. Sure, if a bank has a lot of people stealing from them, they'll probably wind up offering sucky rates and service and customers will leave them. That doesn't justify stealing from a bank.

The transparently self-serving arguments pool hoppers use to rationalize their behavior is obvious. Make those same arguments about anything else and they're laughable.

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July 28, 2011, 11:50:19 AM
 #178

If you would benefit from killing your mother and could get it away with it, would it be rational to kill her?
Yeah, like killing someone is in any way comparable to pool hopping. Cheesy Compare apples to oranges.

The same reason you don't steal from people just because they make it easy for you to do so.
With pool hopping you don't take anything out of someones personal wallet. Hoppers and Non-hoppers do not possess anything before the payout round of the pool. It's a competition to get the biggest slice of the cake and not from someones personal pocket. You take an offer the pool operator gives you.

Except those that set off against tax liability properly don't enter into agreements with other people in bad faith.
[...]
If a pool says hoppers are prohibited, I hope you agree that it's unethical to hop.
If hopping is prohibited by the pool's TOS, it's a TOS breach and therefore stealing. If it's not in their TOS it's rational to take the advantage.

So you agree then that if a pool operator doesn't take action for or against pool hopping, they are breaching the implied agreement with their miners?
"implied agreements" are as the name says implied and therefore subjective. If the pool operator explicitly points out that pool hopping is not allowed, then pool hopping is of course an agreement breach.

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The users can choose the pool the suites them best. There are so many pools out there, i doubt that hopping is a problem at all. Are there any reliable statistics about how many pool hoppers there are and how many "loss" they have caused?
That's not relevant.
It is relevant. The users are what makes a pool strong, "the force" is on their side. If you don't like pools that allow pool hopping, then don't use them. Join a pool that suites you best, show your protest by joining a pool that actively fights pool hopping.

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July 28, 2011, 11:55:14 AM
 #179

If you would benefit from killing your mother and could get it away with it, would it be rational to kill her?
Yeah, like killing someone is in any way comparable to pool hopping. Cheesy Compare apples to oranges.
The point was to show that the form of your argument is invalid. Showing that something benefits you and that you can get away with it doesn't show that it's rational to do it.

With pool hopping you don't take anything out of someones personal wallet. Hoppers and Non-hoppers do not possess anything before the payout round of the pool. It's a competition to get the most from the cake and not from someones personal pocket. You take an offer the pool operate gives you.
Pool hoppers see it as a competition to get the most from the cake. Other miners believe that it's a cooperative. That's the problem. If everyone understands it's a competition, that's fine. But otherwise, you expect that the guys on the same team as you are playing for the team, not themselves.

Quote
If hopping is prohibited by the pool's TOS, it's a TOS breach and therefore stealing. If it's not in their TOS it's rational to take the advantage.
If you're going to repeat a refuted argument, you should first address the refutation. Showing that you can get away with something and also that you benefit from it doesn't show that it's rational if it's unethical. If you could kill your mom and benefit from it, would it be rational to do it? If you could cheat your business partner out of $5,000 and get away with it, is it rational to do it?

I am an employee of Ripple.
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July 28, 2011, 12:04:26 PM
 #180

Don't hate the player, hate the game.  Cool

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