Vandeberg's heart was in the right place. But he allowed his emotions to overtake reason and he secretly reached out to the witnesses. It's completely understandable. His life was directly impacted by the recent Tron acquisition of Steemit, Inc.
Tron initially expressed what was considered hostile terminology, using words like "token swap" and "Old Steem." It looked like the chain was under attack.
What would you do?
As a result of this situation, Vandeberg felt compelled to instruct the witnesses on the correct course of action that minimized overall impact on the chain.
First and foremost, he did not want to see anything irreversible. So he pleaded with the witnesses if they intended to deploy a code changes in response to numerous hereto "token swap" phrasing, it must a) not require exchanges to upgrade and b) be reversible (in the sense that it not later require another hardfork to undo).
Vandeberg also pointed out that that the threats of a "token swap" may have been a miscommunication to get a press release out as soon as possible. He suspected that Tron just wanted to overshadow EOS/Voice on Valentine's Day by getting the release out.
With this in mind, he suggested that if the witnesses wanted to take action, they should only censor certain operations from certain accounts, via softfork.
Vendeberg was absolutely clear that any unwarranted, preemptive action needed to be avoided, if possible.
Witnesses went ahead with the softfork even after various clarifications were made that "token swap" was erronious. Tron responded by labeling the action as a "hack" in order to communicate to exchanges what they perceived as unusual in urgency.
Due to these circumstances and how it was later characterized, the exchanges powered up so the softfork could be bypassed.
Witnesses went ahead with preemptive action, regardless of the facts and Vandeberg's warnings.
To the exchanges, the situation was characterized as a security breach. It's not hard to reason that it was, from the exchanges' perspective because the witnesses deployed the softfork without facts.
The idea of the softfork itself was too clever for the witnesses to come up with on their own. But once armed with this solution, they felt emboldened, allowing emotion to take over.
Witnesses should swallow their pride, accept the temporary label of "hackers," and consider a special hardfork to restore exchange liquidity in a specific timeframe only. The chain has been vandalized and we should accept that in and of itself as restitution.
The chain will forever reflect this one-time vandalization of emotion. That's punishment enough.
Witnesses should apologize to Tron Foundation for operating without facts to protect the chain. Witnesses should re-evaluate their process and criteria of protecting the chain.
Exchanges should begin their powerdown now, so that in 7 days they will begin to restore liquidity in case the witnesses are too prideful to implement the special hardfork.
To put this in perspective, if various exchanges with 100 million STEEM all begin to powerdown today, in 7 days 7.6 million STEEM would be available for withdrawal by depositors, each week.