Sorry to say but there absolutely was a pre-mine. I was there and tried to but got ZERO help from those who were mining Steem then. The only thing Dan, Fuzzy, and others would say was, "It's in the code how to mine". For a month I tried to mine but my abilities were not good enough and they were mining everything they could so others couldn't. Unfortunately I am pretty sure all those forum posts from the old BTSForum are long gone now where all this went down.
I see this whole current issue from the one truly bright side, we had a LARGE number of witnesses work together on a consensus and do something proactively for the chain. God/Bad/Indifferent it was still the first time this many have worked together like this. Should have happened years ago, but that is nothing we can change now, we can just move forward and I sincerely hope this is the key that unlocks the doors of open and transparent communications between Inc, witnesses, and the user base.