I would like to share with you some of my thoughts. When I first started with SEO, almost a decade ago, the things were simple. All links were valuable, negative SEO wasn't a reality and automation tools were at their peaks.
Back then almost no one was thinking about Whitehat SEO. Blackhat gave must better and faster results. You could have your website skyrocketed in SERPs with just forum profiles for very competitive terms and stay there for months!
This golden era of SEO has passed. Today the tricks of the past will guarantee you a fast trip to oblivion of rankings. Nowadays Whitehat SEO is a necessity because Blackhat doesn't work or to be more precise, doesn't work as good as in the past.
All we can see the decline of Blackhat SEO. The old tools aren't updated any more, we can't see Blogspot or WordPress.com sites high at the SERPs for competitive terms and the flow of new case studies and loopholes/exploits in engine algorithms has been decelerated remarkably.
I quite miss the old days...