Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

Personal information in submissions

By goonie in Meta
Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 08:10:34 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

People sometimes say things in the heat of the moment that they later regret. Geeks are particularly prone to doing so, and young geeks even more. Even better, these days people can say things in the heat of the moment to an international cast of thousands. How should k5 story submitters strike a balance between telling it like it is and protecting themselves and others?

About twenty years ago, one bright young high school student and proto-geek in my home town felt the need to poke fun at the excesses of the town's Australian Rules football team. So, he wrote what he considered a rather witty essay about them. He even commented on their training technique which largely involved the extensive lifting of pots of lager at the local hotel. He sent it off to a football magazine, glad to get it off his chest and never expecting to hear any more about it.

The young man concerned was surprised to receive a royalty check and a copy of the magazine, complete with the article, printed in its entirety, training technique references, and, most importantly, the author's name, the name of the town and the football team featuring prominently. He was even more surprised when a local shopkeeper decided to provide photocopies of the article to virtually the entire town. The ensuing harassment forced the author to leave his home town for the safety of boarding school. Many years later, he still feels unease returning home.

At this point you might be wondering what the heck the preceeding two paragraphs have got to do with the net and specifically k5. It's simply this - I've noticed a lot of submissions to k5 lately have been by people who resemble the young author described above. They have been high school students, most highly intelligent and articulate, who for one reason or another have had difficulties with some aspect of their lives - school rules, for instance. In their submissions they've described what they consider the terrible injustices of their situation, and have asked for help and advice here. What they haven't grasped, however, is posts might be read by others, members of their own physical community, who aren't going to be so sympathetic. Without being too melodramatic, this could lead to serious undesirable consequences both for themselves and for others.

To quote some specific examples of what could have been unfortunate incidents, we've had somebody admitting to cracking their school's computers, another doing a verbal on a specific teacher, and that's just two I've noticed.

Now, k5 serves a valuable purpose by allowing these students to state what's on their mind and ask for help and advice, and I really want that to continue. I know that it would have helped me through high school as a geek who copped their share of abuse from peers and misunderstanding from teachers. However, it would be much better if students like these posted in a way that doesn't put themselves at risk of unintended consequences, and the best I can come up with is that we should provide some guidelines (I'm not advocating hard and fast rules) for submitters in this situation as to what they should and shouldn't say.

These guidelines would include things like:

  • Don't admit to any wrongdoing in a k5 story unless it's crucial to your story and you're prepared to take the risk of getting caught.
  • If you do admit to wrongdoing beyond what is known by your teachers/parents/etc., don't say *anything* that could be traced back to identify you.
  • Before you submit a story, count to ten, preview it, read it again, preview again, and think twice before you push the "submit" button. Once you've submitted, it's out there.
A final point I'd like to make is that while the guidelines I envisiage would be applicable to everyone who submits to k5, it's really minors I'm worried about most. When you're an adult, when you say something in public you should be aware that it's your responsibility what you say. If you lose your job or get sued, that's your own fault. Kids haven't had the chance to learn that, and I don't want them to have to learn the hard way.

What do you all think?


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


How should we protect minors posting to k5?
o Protection? Protection from hysterical old farts like you, you mean? 29%
o No ID - no posting to k5 4%
o A bit of friendly advice will go a long way 44%
o We should have a jock/parent/teacher filter on k5 anyway 6%
o Inoshiro 14%

Votes: 123
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o admitting to cracking their school's computers
o doing a verbal on a specific teacher
o Also by goonie

Display: Sort:
Personal information in submissions | 65 comments (58 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
Oppressive past (3.75 / 8) (#2)
by Beorn on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 04:02:41 AM EST

I agree, anyone should think twice before posting things that could get them in trouble, (which is why I won't reveal some of the things I do instead of work, even if it would be a good story.[1])

But personally I'm more concerned (or intrigued) by the fact that there is no reliable delete button on the net. Whoever I am 30 years from now will not be able to escape his past, no matter how hard he tries. This is new, it hasn't happened before, and I'm curious to see how we'll deal with it.

Will we come to accept that everyone, (including politicians), make mistakes and learn from them, or will the only future presidents of the Eurasian Commonwealth be charismatic but completely anti-social loners who live their entire life in a small box?

- Beorn
([1] Note to future potential employers and in-laws: I'm joking, of course.)

[ Threepwood '01 ]

Re: Oppressive Past (5.00 / 1) (#11)
by theboz on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 09:21:00 AM EST

But personally I'm more concerned (or intrigued) by the fact that there is no reliable delete button on the net. Whoever I am 30 years from now will not be able to escape his past, no matter how hard he tries. This is new, it hasn't happened before, and I'm curious to see how we'll deal with it.

I think you posted this early in the morning and didn't realize what you just said. :o) This is not anything new. If there were a delete button to get rid of the past then that would be something new. What happens on the internet is the same that happens in any other aspect of life. If you say or do something, you can never take it back.

I'm not sure how familiar with U.S. history, but I see a parallel in the people that signed the U.S.'s "Declaration of Independance" from Britain. Basically, these men were posting a severe rant that basically said they would ignore and fight against the authority of their political leaders at that time. It could be considered treason, and they would be executed if they lost. Basically, the clicked on the "submit" button when they wrote their name (including John Hancock) down on the paper. Once that document was released and the British rulers saw it, there was no delete button. It's really no different in principle to post an article to the web, or to send one in to a magazine.

To reply to the author of this article, I think people should be responsible for their own mouths. I am sure that someone 16 years old is aware of what they are saying and doing. They do not need to be patronized, but perhaps guided. It is good to give a list of suggestions to them. Also, to say that an adult should "know better" is a cop-out in my opinion. Yes, everyone should, but also people should be a little more lenient towards adults in the same situation. I find it disturbing that someone thinks I should be taken to court and be forced to give them money for something as simple as saying "cock sucking scumbag" in front of them. Not that it has happened, but you can be fired from your job for something that stupid. All in all, it's best to think before you speak, but also people need to chill out sometimes too.

[ Parent ]

Immortality (4.66 / 3) (#16)
by Beorn on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 10:23:21 AM EST

I think you posted this early in the morning and didn't realize what you just said. :o)

Hey, not *that* early. ;) We're several hours ahead of the US, you know.

This is not anything new. If there were a delete button to get rid of the past then that would be something new.

You're right of course, but the amount of personal data with immortality has exploded. As a netizen, I see the the net as a social *and* official place. It's where I publish carefully thought out ideas, and where I blurt out personal rants. I definitely do not give this comment as much thought as I would a magazine article.

By collecting everything I have ever written or published on BBS's and the web, (not to mention IRC and E-mail, both of which I log), you'd get a pretty accurate and personal picture of who I am right now. I'll leave behind an ocean of data when I die. All that's left of my great-grandparents is some official records, and a box with letters and pictures. I don't know who they *were*, and I never will.

- Beorn

[ Threepwood '01 ]
[ Parent ]

Hows about a little old vice-versa? (none / 0) (#20)
by tzanger on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 11:41:34 AM EST

By collecting everything I have ever written or published on BBS's and the web, (not to mention IRC and E-mail, both of which I log), you'd get a pretty accurate and personal picture of who I am right now. I'll leave behind an ocean of data when I die. All that's left of my great-grandparents is some official records, and a box with letters and pictures. I don't know who they *were*, and I never will.

Actually I see the opposite.

We generate a horrendous pile of infomration but it is all transitory. Letters can be read and buildings seen. Records on parchment and mummies are still around. Tapes and drives die, CDs aren't meant to store data more than about 5 years (an estimate I hear now and again). News archives delete old data (witness Deja). When you die that information will be lost because the storage media they're on will have died long before you did.

[ Parent ]
Cheap and easy storage (4.33 / 3) (#23)
by Beorn on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 12:43:02 PM EST

When you die that information will be lost because the storage media they're on will have died long before you did.

I won't let that happen. Neither will the Deja's and Rusty's of the world. Deja has AFAIK not deleted any data, only moved it offline, for some mysterious dawt-com reason.

It has never been easier to preserve irrelevant data than today, to the joy of countless future historians.

- Beorn

[ Threepwood '01 ]
[ Parent ]

Not really (none / 0) (#29)
by fluffy grue on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 02:03:41 PM EST

Magnetic media breaks down over time. Writable optical media tends to break down over time. Even pressed optical media eventually loses the bond between the plastic and foil layers. Even EPROMs eventually lose their data. Even if the media itself hasn't broken down yet, storage technologies go obsolete - when was the last time you saw an 8" floppy drive? Even 5.25" drives are nearly extinct now. Not to mention all the hundreds of proprietary WORM, magneto-optical, and tape drives which have come and gone. Remember Bernoulli drives?

The only feasible, perfectly-reliable way to truly preserve data in this day and age is to print it out onto acid-free paper with an indelible ink which won't get separated from the paper (i.e. high-quality inkjet ink on a porous paper) and store it in a fire-proof airtight container. Using an OCR-friendly font or bit-encoded patterns make it possible to bring it back into a computer later with a fair degree of accuracy. Xerox was working on some neat technology for compressed on-paper data storage, but it hasn't ended up actually getting anywhere since there's no marketable need for it (even though there's an actual need); closest I've seen to this being used are the two-dimensional barcodes used by UPS on their tracking labels. (The Xerox technology was basically a high-definition 2D barcode.)

A lot of places are losing a lot of data because it's stored on magnetic tape and hasn't been touched in 30 years. I saw an interesting documentary a couple years ago on one such data warehouse where they were doing whatever they could to preserve whatever data they could get off the tapes (putting them onto CD-R for the short term); processing a single tape could take days due to the amount of "maytagging" which had to occur ("maytagging" being where the tape drive goes back and forth over a little section until it either resolves what a missing bit is or it gives up, so called because the action looks a lot like a Maytag washing machine). These tapes spend almost all of their time maytagging.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Backups (4.66 / 3) (#51)
by Beorn on Fri Dec 08, 2000 at 03:01:12 AM EST

Magnetic media breaks down over time. Writable optical media tends to break down over time.

Well yeah, but nothing's stopping you from making regular backups. In my case, I burn on CD the really personal data that are important for me to preserve, once or twice a year. As long as somebody cares about those data, they'll survive.

- Beorn

[ Threepwood '01 ]
[ Parent ]

The price of signing (none / 0) (#21)
by Eccles on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 12:12:31 PM EST

Check http://www.aapsonline.org/aaps/brochures/declaration.htm for info on just how high a price many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence did pay.

[ Parent ]
That's an urban legend. (none / 0) (#48)
by odaiwai on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 09:53:25 PM EST

That article you quoted is a well known piece of misinformation. See a debunking of it here.

-- "They're chefs! Chefs with chainsaws!"
[ Parent ]

In your opinion (none / 0) (#22)
by dzimmerm on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 12:17:41 PM EST

Escaping is a matter of changing your name, your SSN and anything else that is associated with you. If you bugger up the new you the process can be repeated. dzimmerm

[ Parent ]
Too complicated (4.00 / 2) (#24)
by Beorn on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 12:49:23 PM EST

Escaping is a matter of changing your name, your SSN and anything else that is associated with you. If you bugger up the new you the process can be repeated.

Yeah, but who'd really want to do that? I wouldn't, even if I may regret some of my words that are out there. And in the case of a politician, who should be most concerned with this, you'd like to be able to *prove* that you actually have a past.

- Beorn

[ Threepwood '01 ]
[ Parent ]

Story moderation should make this a non issue (3.42 / 7) (#8)
by codemonkey_uk on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 08:11:58 AM EST

If those voting on the moderation queue considered this when voting, and voted down things like personal attacks (libel) of, what amounts to kids saying dumb things, and explained why in an editorial, then this should be a non issue.

But its not. That doesn't happen. At the moment.

Perhaps this story, in highlighting this issue, will improve matters. Time will tell.

One other thing, Rusty, perhaps a note on the submit story page to remind people that libel isn't appropriate, and confessing a crime is stupid, would help. I dunno.

"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
Two things wrong with that (4.33 / 3) (#10)
by the Epopt on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 09:15:48 AM EST

If I want to personally attack my boss (I don't, Joe, it's just an example!), that's my choice. I don't want a bunch of self-appointed censors trying to protect me from my own stupidity.

And "libel" does not mean "a personal attack." "Libel" means "a personal attack that is untrue and does objectively detectable damage to the victim's reputation." I can call Bill Clinton a liar without libeling him because it has been proven in court that he is a liar. I can call Bill Clinton the treasonous slack-jawed product of eight generations of intermarried cousins without libeling him even though it is (probably) untrue because it is impossible to damage his reputation.

And just for completeness: slander is spoken libel; libel is written slander.

Most people who need to be shot need to be shot soon and a lot.
Very few people need to be shot later or just a little.

[ Parent ]
Good point. Almost (4.00 / 1) (#14)
by codemonkey_uk on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 09:37:45 AM EST

You made some good points, but I think you missed mine.

It isn't a question on censorship, but a question of whats appropriate. I don't think its appropriate to post personal attacks on k5. I don't think its appropriate for a child to incriminate themselves on k5. I'd vote these things down, and explain why.

If the majority agrees, then thats what will happen. By having this discussion we draw attention to these considerations.

Thus, my point, that there nead not be a diffinitive answer, but that by having this discussion the question will answer itself.

I think.
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]
still almost correct. (none / 0) (#19)
by www.sorehands.com on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 11:25:50 AM EST

Slander is verbal defamation, libel is written defamation. Libel is false statements of facts made with malice, recklessness, or in the case of a private figure with negligence. Libel could also be false statements of opinion that imply false facts. If I call you the scum of the earth, it is not fact but it's opinion. Therefore it's not libel.

Mattel, SLAPP terrorists intent on destroying free speech.
[ Parent ]

We need more of this, not less (4.00 / 2) (#9)
by 0xdeadbeef on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 09:15:04 AM EST

It really bugs me when people refer to injustices but keep the details secret. These posts show up all the time on the Other Site whenever high school or employment is the subject. I'm not sure if people are so much afraid of retribution as they conditioned not to not to air dirty laundry, as they saying goes.

You're right, though, people may expect repercussions from the things they say on this forum, but the Internet as a whole may regard them as heros. I'd like to the think that we can even things out, that if we all recognize injustice where it occurs we can help stop these micro-tyrants from getting away with the shit they pull.

In this realm I've considered doing something like a "banned books" list, except this would be a list of students, placed voluntarily, who feel they've been harassed by school officials and would like their side available to colleges, potential employers, the media, etc. The goal would be to positate (what's the opposite of negate?) the influence of that school on their future, and to punish the school by embarassing it. It could be very effective against private schools and universities, where market forces and the need to secure funding is the highest concern, and their reputation is their most valuable asset.

I don't necessarily think it would change much in the lives of the individuals on the list, but the show of solidarity could have great effects on the lives of potential future victims of harassment.

Bad Idea (3.00 / 1) (#36)
by eskimo on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 04:10:27 PM EST

I'm not saying this is what should happen, but I suspect that for many people in the really real world, it would just become a list of people who could not fit in. A list of malcontents who can't or won't participate in reindeer games.

And what kind of persecutions would qualify? I failed Economics my senior year for arguing and proving that my teacher was a communist, though he didn't know it (or I was just a malcontent). Would being able to put a URL with my side of the story have made a difference on my Georgetown application?

Furthermore, if people percieve for whatever reason, that you could not keep up with the herd or hunt with the pack, depending on your viewpoint, what better target than a herd of outcasts to continue to persecute, or a pack of outcasts to question.

I am my own home. - Banana Yoshimoto
[ Parent ]

Don't be such a negative-nelly (2.00 / 1) (#44)
by 0xdeadbeef on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 08:39:37 PM EST

Well, no, but if you were a victim of bullying and were suspended for defending yourself it might make a difference. Or maybe you were suspended for citicizing the school in the student newspaper, or for proselytizing the wrong religion on campus, or for refusing the Homecoming crown you won.

I don't know about you, but I would be more likely to hire or admit people who stand up for themselves and make the right call when they see wrongdoing. But then again, most institutions dislike these people for the very reason they got screwed in the first place.

As for a herd of outcasts, well, I'm one armed, intelligent, and legally savvy outcast who can take whatever they can dish at me. A herd of me would be something you don't want to tangle with. :-)

But if anything, it would simply be fun watch the micro-tyrants stamp and huff when their names and reputations are made the laughing stock of the Internet.

[ Parent ]
No, good idea. (none / 0) (#61)
by ehayes on Sat Dec 09, 2000 at 09:16:47 AM EST

>Furthermore, if people percieve for whatever reason, that you could
> not keep up with the herd or hunt with the pack, depending on
>your viewpoint, what better target than a herd of outcasts to
>continue to persecute, or a pack of outcasts to question.

The entire point of either pack OR herd is that it is much much harder to
attack [many] than it is to attack [one].
A pack (or herd) of social outcasts would ipso facto no longer be outcasts,
and would have their own society for protection.

Ref: biker gangs, TMRC, and kuro5hin.

Besides, if I ever start up my own company, I would prefer people that think
like I do, and that means that they will have problems fitting in with the rest
of the corporate drones. A list of names like that would be for me a
shopping list of people to ask for resumes....

[ Parent ]
I got a different impression (4.00 / 2) (#37)
by CyberQuog on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 04:21:45 PM EST

What I saw was that the author was trying to say that some kids are writing things in a heated and emotional way, maybe just to get it off their chest, and are then submitting the stories to k5. They then receive some unexpected consequences from posting it. Although I agree with you, I think he was just trying to say "dont make rash submissions to k5".

[ Parent ]
Risks (3.60 / 5) (#12)
by zkyice on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 09:23:43 AM EST

I was definitely prepared to face the consequences of getting caught when I posted my story about using a hole to get internet access after 11 when it was otherwise blocked. There were a few things I considered:
  • Based on my knowledge of what the system administrator here and other tech people know, I decided that the chance they would see this was extremely unlikely.
  • If this was seen, the hole had already been blocked, so the only risk was getting in trouble, not losing access.
  • If I was to get in trouble, it would draw a lot more attention to the issue. Whoever was told about it (and there would be several people) would be shown the article, and would see all of the comments, and at least stop to think about it. The punishment, if any, would be minor. It's not like I was risking getting kicked out.

You might be surprised who reads things (4.00 / 1) (#42)
by goonie on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 06:03:39 PM EST

That's the point I was trying to make with the little anecdote. It only takes *one* person to see it, then forward a URL to somebody else, and pretty soon everyone has seen what you've said.

As for your confidence that any trouble would be minor, I'm glad that's the case. In my experience, though, you're underestimating how seriously "hacking" is perceived. It's a criminal offence. It's undoubtedly against school rules. Because people are relying on a device they don't really understand all that well, when you subvert their control of that device, it makes people very nervous - if you can do this, what else can you do?

The final point I'd like to make is that there was no *need* to mention your particular school in the article. It didn't really make any difference to the discussion of the article - 99.9% of the people who read k5 have probably never even *heard* of your school. There was no upside, and potential for considerable downside, so why do it?

Anyway, thanks for responding.

[ Parent ]

Use a pseudonym.. (4.00 / 2) (#13)
by jwilkins on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 09:26:39 AM EST

I am personally a big advocate of openness.. I think that the world would be a whole lot better if more people were willing to put themselves out in the public eye and stand up for what they believe in.

That said, there are times and places where this is impractical for various reasons. In these cases, it seems appropriate to use pseudonymizing technologies. You are free to say your piece without fear of retribution..

Check out www.freedom.net or www.anonymizer.com or one of the many other technical solutions to this problem. Examine each solution and see which fits your threat model the best.

NOTE: I work for Zero Knowledge

Hardly foolproof (none / 0) (#30)
by shadarr on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 02:29:43 PM EST

I use a pseudonym, and so do a lot of other posters. However it wouldn't really matter if I call myself "%3d", obfuscate my IP, and basically make my electronic trail untraceable if I then go and tell everyone where I live, what school I go to, who I'm friends with, and a couple of things that happened to me and only me.

[ Parent ]
Anonymity (2.40 / 5) (#15)
by Signal 11 on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 09:58:45 AM EST

It doesn't matter how careful you are, somebody always finds out who you are. Take it from someone who knows...

Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
And that 'someone' would be you? (4.22 / 9) (#27)
by fluffy grue on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 01:49:47 PM EST

Dude, you weren't very careful *at all*. Posting links to your resume and using the same email address for all correspondence (where that address is the same as your pseudonym, and is also used in a Network Solutions contact address) is hardly "careful."

Also, your bud didn't exactly make a big spectacle of being able to do a whois - you did, and you claimed he was "stalking" you and the like. If he had actually told anyone else your real name then it'd be a different matter, but he didn't - you, however, told everyone that he did, and that led more and more people to do the simple search.

So stop whining about things which don't apply, mmkay?
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Mistakes (2.00 / 2) (#47)
by Signal 11 on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 09:49:57 PM EST

Everyone makes mistakes. :P

Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]
Question about Poll option (2.66 / 3) (#17)
by Michael Leuchtenburg on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 11:12:08 AM EST

What do you mean by "No ID - no posting to K5"? What is an "ID" in this context? A login? A driver's license? Do I have to meet someone in K5 and have them sign my public key? ;)

[ #k5: dyfrgi ]
[ TINK5C ]
It was supposed to be a reference (4.00 / 1) (#39)
by goonie on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 05:22:25 PM EST

to a slogan in (reasonably) common use here, "no ID no entry", meaning if you don't have some official identification like a drivers license that clearly identifies you as an adult you can't enter places where alcohol is served or gambling takes place. Sorry if it didn't make sense to the wider audience.

[ Parent ]
Using specifics can be anit productive... (4.00 / 2) (#18)
by Elpenor on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 11:19:06 AM EST

I have read a few posts around here of people saying that they thought of the consequences of there actions and I just want to point out that often using specifics is anti productive should they come to be known.

It is one thing to go into a private closed door room with someone and tell them that they made a mistake or over looked something or asking about the changing of school policy and it is another to go into a public forum and question their "technical literacy" or their motives. How would you act if your teacher stood up in class and showed everyone your test and pointed out how much of a dolt you were because you got a few questions wrong here or there. That would instantly put you on the definsive and you would not be very happy. And from then on you would resist any effort of the teacher to try and teach you, and you would blame all of your shortcommings in the subject on your teacher. That is exactly what you are doing to the faculty and staff by pointing out their shortcommings in a public place. You are putting them on the defensive and they are going to resist change when you do that and they will not listen to what you have to say no matter how right it is. (In a previous version of this post I found myself doing exactly what I am preaching that you should not do. I was replying to a post and was a bit to harsh but I thought better of it.)

If you need advice on a certain situation it is to YOUR benifit to leave all specifics out because it is anti productive to hurt peoples feelings while you are trying to get them to change. And once you put them on the defensive it will take more then 10 times the work to get them to come around to your point of view and they will take every opertunity to prove that they were right in the first place instead of listening to your ideas.

Some people call this Social Engineering, but the point is if you want people to treat you with respect you have to give them respect.

"Duff Beer - You know you want it..."

Option to delete the post from archives (4.16 / 6) (#25)
by mami on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 01:07:10 PM EST

Instead of asking for more personal responsabilitiy of the poster with regards of the long term consequences of what he has posted, I strongly believe that a usable nuke option for a poster's own posts should be available on k5 and for that matter should even be made mandatory (by law) for any interactive news/commenting site or mailing list, which is archived on the www.

Most posts are responses to a certain subject raised and to other poster's responses. People who read k5, do so regularly. An answer appropriate in a moment of a conversation does not necessarily has any importance in the long run. There is no reason why posters should not have complete control about how long his post is worldwide readable and archived. I am not aware of an option to nuke your own posts after a certain while, nor to disallow to make poster's post by your nickname unsearchable.

Search features like a history of a person's posts backwards over the years I consider outright as a violation of privacy, because archives of these posts are kept against my will for a time period the poster didn't agree to in the first place and are sold to people who should not have any right to use any comments for anything.

The argument that adults know that they have posted in a public worldwide forum and should be responsible enough to know at every moment what the longterm consequences of their public utterings are, is IMHO _NOT_ strong enough to overrule privacy rights and freedom of speech, which includes the freedom for that speech NOT being archived against the will of the speaker.

Deja.com had a nuke option, very, very hidden as an option and extremely difficult to find. Of course in many mailing lists you have the x-no-archive option, but not always.

The technology of interactive conversation on a worldwide forum is new. The old arguments and rules are not strong enough to protect people's dignity and privacy rights.

That's an interesting idea. (none / 0) (#38)
by 3than on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 05:18:00 PM EST

It might be very useful if someone were to write anything politically dangerous. What's more, if there's a nuke button, then the author truly is responsible--no K5.
The only downside is that people might start nuking their material too much...when they get tired of it, if they take just a little bit of heat for it...I'd hate to see people over-using the nuke. And what would happen to the comments? They're not the author's to destroy...and if they remain, it's possible to reconstruct the post somewhat...which could be good or bad.
This merits further discussion.

[ Parent ]
Very good idea. (none / 0) (#40)
by error 404 on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 05:32:33 PM EST

The option to nuke your own comments is a very, very good idea.

The only real downside that I see (other than disrupting the flow - and that can be solved by having nuked posts with replies replaced by a placeholder) is that nuking a post doesn't do anything about copies people may have made. Being able to nuke a post may give some people a false sense of security. Anything you write in public, you must assume (unless you need a copy somedy for your own use) is being archived by your worst enemy, with bcc to your mother.

Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]
re: nuke posts (none / 0) (#53)
by luethke on Fri Dec 08, 2000 at 05:12:07 AM EST

I wouldn't consider it an outright violation of a users privacy. There are two basic ways you may treat a forum such as this, one as a conversation on a partyline phone or as something in print. i would say this is more analogous to something in print. That is typically archived and is available for a long time. This medium just doesn't have the low acceptance rate a magazine does :) Plus there is every possibility (though not much probability) that someone will make a hardcopy of your statement. I know I have from a few to show to some of my non computer friends - people sometimes make a good argument for liberty here. But of course this forum has some of the features of a party line so it just comes down to which side you lean too I guess.

[ Parent ]
Learn to curb your tongue (4.16 / 6) (#26)
by h_ank on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 01:15:50 PM EST

I believe in the freedom of speech, but with freedom comes responsibility and accountability. If you don't stand behind what you say/write then why do it at all? The author who wrote the football article was subjected to the narrow-mindedness of the town's populace. The injustices were committed by people who couldn't accept a difference of opinion, similar to Something Awful readers spamming lame guest books with "You Suck", or more offensive comments.
What was done to protect that author? Perhaps he could have requested the magazine not publish the name of the township referred to, or perhaps the local constabulary, education officials and religious leaders could have encouraged the community to tolerate the article and not harass the writer. Either way, the use of anonymity does not solve the problem of people reacting inappropriately to other people's freedom of speech and when I take over the world I'll see that it stops.

In light of the Napster case, did the magazine ever sue the shopkeeper who feely distributed copywritten material?
________________________ Power to the Peep Hole!!
Consequences (none / 0) (#31)
by spaceghoti on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 02:50:52 PM EST

Also an enthusiastic proponent of free speech, I believe there are extenuating circumstances to this argument.

I am (questionably) an adult, at least by legal standards. If I say something, I am responsible for it. If I do something, I am responsible for it. I can try to weasel my way out of these things, but morally and philosophically I accept full responsibility for everything I say or do. On the flip side, I accept no responsibility for anything I don't say or do, unless it was a consequence of not saying or doing something. But that's an argument for a separate topic.

At what point do we start enforcing accountability? I think that's a question we can't ignore here. Do we set an arbitrary age limit as we do with the right to vote? Should the right to vote coincide with the enforcement of accountability on a person? Legally, that's already in place. This is why we make the distinction of prosecuting minors as opposed to prosecuting adults when criminal charges are filed for children under the age of 18.

So what should that mean for accountability on the web? I disapprove of severe punishment of children, even teenagers, for the consequences of actions with which they are not familiar. Life is a learning experience. Everything you do and the consequences of those actions teaches you something, whether or not you choose to learn it. If a child posts something inflammatory or otherwise harmful, they should be made aware of it and possibly given punishment that fits the crime. Here at K5, users who consistently post flames and personal attacks find themselves modded and voted down pretty quick. Some are kids who are still learning the rules for interacting, some are people (not just kids) who think they're being cool by attempting to provoke the readers. In each case, people like myself will mod them down below readability threshold for as long as it takes. It's called a self-policing system.

Yes, I think we should hold people responsible for the consequences of their actions and words. But I'm inclined to give everyone the benefit of the doubt until they demonstrate they're not worthy of that trust. Then I will enforce those consequences as much as I need to. I will ask nicely, and continue to act nicely until it's time to not be nice.

"Humor. It is a difficult concept. It is not logical." -Saavik, ST: Wrath of Khan

[ Parent ]
The thing is (none / 0) (#35)
by Elpenor on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 03:35:58 PM EST

If a lot of people are reacting inappropriately to you or what you have said (posted,wrote, etc.) then the chances are that you should look at what you said from another point of view and see if you could have made your point a different more effective way.

I also believe in freedom of speech but if you want it to work effectively for you, it is almost impossible to do it by attacking someone or something because they won't listen. But if you tone it down and talk to them and listen while you talk and try to make your point you can get things done and even educate people. But if you are attacking and publicly humiliating people for what they do and how they do it you will never change anything. How would we feel as a community if someone wrote an article making fun of a geek for how he programmed and what he did? Everyone here would get pissed and the guy would get reamed out... Same situation only the main thing in that community was football...

Basically what I wanted to say was the while anonymity will not keep people from acting inappropriately it will stop them from acting inappropriately towards you, while you figure out a way of talking to them in a way that they can respond to and be educated with.

And if you feel the need to make fun of people or what they do you should make sure that what you write will not hurt or upset them or you should expect a bad reaction.

"Duff Beer - You know you want it..."
[ Parent ]

Oh poor football players.... they are so deprived. (5.00 / 1) (#54)
by erotus on Fri Dec 08, 2000 at 05:52:48 AM EST

"How would we feel as a community if someone wrote an article making fun of a geek for how he programmed and what he did? Everyone here would get pissed and the guy would get reamed out... Same situation only the main thing in that community was football..."

Well, I have to agree and disagree at the same time. Sure, people get upset when you attack their sacred cow but maybe I'm a little biased against football. You see, you said "how would we feel... if someone wrote an article making fun of a geek..." Hello? When do people not make fun of geeks in school? Today, geeks are proud of their title but in the days of yore this was not the case. Sure, the guy should have realized that his criticism of the football team would have repercussions. However, I'm sure that the team deserved it if they are like any other football team here in America.

Now, before I step onto my soapbox and unleash my fury I will give this disclaimer: I had friends when I was in high school that were nice guys and were members of the football team. I know that not all football players fall into the dumb jock, all muscle, no brain, no manners, overinflated sense of importance stereotype that I'm about to expand on. OK, now lets move on.

Football players are taught, by coaches oftentimes, that they are the stars of the school. The players seem to believe that they belong to some special "cool" club and that people who don't worship the ground they walk on deserve to be picked on. Football programs are given more money than other organizations in the school and sometimes the football team is considered ahead of academia. This happened when I was in high school thus, the band, soccer players, girls volleyball, etc. were required to purchase parts of their uniforms, shoes, and whatnots while the football team didn't have to pay a damn dime! This is unfair to say the least. The academic decathlon team did very well at my school as did the tennis team but did that news even make an honorable mention? Look at today's colleges - there are professors who won't fail a star athelete because their jobs would become a nightmare if they did. They can fail a gymnist or a band member but heaven forbid they fail a star football player. Is the picture becoming a little clearer? These guys have had the limelight for so long they think they have the right to pounce on anybody who would burst their little pride bubble. They think they have special rights and that they deserve preferential treatment. Maybe Rosa Parks should have stood in the back of that bus. Afterall, how dare a black woman not give up her seat for a white man.

The geeks, who can think out of the box and see football for what it really is, are absorbed in their own pursuits and are not amused by the fantasies of popular society.
Let's take a geek friend of mine and peek into his mindset for a moment so you'll get a better understanding of what I'm talking about. I will call him Brian for this example. Here is how Brian thinks:

Brian hates football with a passion even though he is bigger than most football players. He views football as a complete waste of time. In his mind, there is nothing gained from watching this sport. People who are football fanatics are mindless sheep drones who follow what society tells them to be interested in. He says maybe, if nothing more, it serves to keep the mindless sheep busy with idle pursuits so they don't think and society can remain stable. Afterall, what would people do if they didn't have cable TV, soap operas, sectator sports and beer? There would be discontent among the masses - hence civil government would be threatened. Maybe that's what politicians want? He also says that's what our society has become - A big consumer droid society with people who can't think out of the box. End Brian thought here.

Actually, I can somewhat agree and I've actually seen his theories verified more than once. A guy asked him if he watched football and he replied no. The guy asked him if he watched any sports at all and he again replied no. The man was perplexed and asked "well, what do you do then, don't you get bored?". Brian replied, "Actually, I have many interests and I rarely get bored." The man replied "other interests? what else is there?" It was at that moment that it hit me clear across the face. This guy had no idea that anything else could exist or be interesting outside of football/spectator sports. Could people really be this mindless? I mean that they watch and watch and do nothing mindful?

I believe this is how a geek is different. Geeks like to learn, they like to tinker with their electronic toys and computers. Geeks like to be in active mindful pursuits. I would also put scientists and professors under this catagory as well. There are scientists who still do science in their time off because it is their passion. They don't care if society likes or if their peers like it. Professors enjoy intellectual discussions and spend their time trying to get published or they are doing research on a particular area. Geeks, some would call them hackers, enjoy acquiring knowlege and never want to stop learning. These geek qualities put them at odds with a mindless society that worships complete stupidity at it's finest.

I know I've gone on all sorts of tangents with my response but I digress. Going back to the kid who got his story published - He was throwing these aforementioned points in the faces of people who took their "mainstream" culture to excess. He was bursting their little fantasy bubbles and people don't like being told what they don't want to hear - that their football team was about as consequential to the betterment of society as rat droppings in a sewer. I'll end with another of Brian's comebacks. You see, the guy who asked him Brian if he liked sports got a little disturbed that something could possibly exist outside of football and made a dumbass remark. He told Brian "man, you need to get a life." This is a typical response when you tell somebody you'd rather stay at home and tinker with your box than go to a baseball game. However, Brian responded, "I have a life, I pursue an interest that is both financially and personally rewarding. In the end, I will be more knowledgeable and more fulfilled personally. You are the one that isnt living life. You watch a game. You watch a fantasy. You don't even play, you watch. When your team wins, you feel like you've won. When they lose you lose. Why? Because your own life is so uninteresting that you seek thrills in other peoples accomplishments without ever realizing any of your own." The guy thought long and hard about Brian's words and later apologized for his remark and much later on thanked Brian for slapping him in the face with the hand of reality.

[ Parent ]
RE: Oh poor football players.... (none / 0) (#56)
by Elpenor on Fri Dec 08, 2000 at 10:20:06 AM EST

Damn, I love it when people respond to me and make me think... Thanx... But here are some more of my thoughts...

I think that we are falling into the same trap that athletes fell into ages ago. The trap of superiority. They think that they are superior because they have been taught and told that they are important, and in many cases they are important to schools. Football teams bring in tremendous ammounts of money to schools (especially in the cases of division 1 colleges). They more then cover what the school pays the coaches and staff and what the schools give out in scholarships, and the rest of the money that is made goes into the general funds for the school so the chances are that the football team paid for some of the computers in schools that students are working and "hacking" on. So it is not fair to say that football is a(as Brian put it) "complete waste of time" or even less important then anything else. Now I am not saying that they are right in acting superior but just because there hobbies, likes and dislikes are different from yours does not mean that they are not valuable or important.

Everyone is an individual and things have different levels of importants to each person. Being a "Geek" in my openion does not make you, me or anyone else superior and if we start to think that way we will be just as bad as the people who picked on us. To me it is starting to sound like we "Geeks" seem to think that we are in the "special "cool" club and that people who don't worship the ground they walk on deserve to be picked on." with the exception that we would not quite word it so harshly. As Brian thought that this guy who liked football was a "mindless sheep" because his interests were different. We should really be opening our minds to other peoples interests and not think that ours are the only valuable ones.

There are tons of really intelligent people who watch sports because they like to learn and play with numbers and see if they can take apart the game and see who won why and how. Take baseball for instance the coolist part I think about baseball is the numbers, they keep tract of every little thing that any player does and stick it into a stat, and the fans try and use these stats to determine who is better, how they are better and why they are better and put there reasons into numbers, and the best part about it is the debate, like here talking to other people who love the game and the numbers and learning from each other and arguing.

Anyway What I am trying to say is that nothing is as dull and mindless as it seems and thinking that you are superior to someone or that they are dull and dimwitted because of what they do as hobbies or for fun. I think that not judgin people fairly is just as wrong as when people judge you unfairly because of your interests. I believe that I educated a lot of people in my school about each other because I did not fit into any one stereotype, I showed the hockey team that "Geeks" were not losers and had value and I taught the "Geeks" that "Jocks" were not nearly as stupid as everyone made them out to be.

Now that "Geeks" are comming into there own I believe that it is more important then ever to point out that no one is inferior just because of what they do or how they think. I don't believe that athletes go into sports because they are mindless and society pushed them that way (at least that is not why I got into sports). I believe that they got into them because they love them and have a passion for them, just the reasons that you or I went into computers, the challenge asking yourself if it can be done and then trying to do it no matter what you have to do. I think that we are more the same then different.

"Duff Beer - You know you want it..."
[ Parent ]

even more thoughts (4.00 / 1) (#60)
by erotus on Sat Dec 09, 2000 at 04:50:35 AM EST

I too love it when people respond to me because it makes me think even more. This is what K5 is all about - discussion! Anyhow, I do agree with many of your points and somewhat disagree on others. If I may, I would like to further clarify a few points and expand on a few others.

I agree that we should not judge others based on their interests or hobbies. I personally will never insult somebody because they are a football lunatic. I probably would not hang with them, but I would have no problem with that person as long as they don't attack my interests or my way of life. To each his own I say. I also agree that there are intelligent people who watch sports. I have intelligent friends who enjoy hockey, football, etc... however, their interests don't end there. I agree that people shouldn't consider themselves superior over others because of their hobbies or interests even though sports nutz do it to people all the time.

I somewhat disagree with this statement: "I don't believe that athletes go into sports because they are mindless and society pushed them that way..." You did point out that this was not the reason that you went into sports. I agree that there are people who go into sports for the love of the game, be it as a player or spectator, but these types are in the minority. I would argue, that most are driven into sports by parents, grandparents, older brothers, society, etc. Little league football is such an example. Little league is not for the kids, it's for the parents. The kids just run up and down and have a good time, while the parents are screaming at eachother, at coaches, and at their children. There have actually been parents who have started physically fighting eachother in the stands! This behavior starts a vicious cycle that would make a juicy topic for an entirely different discussion alltogether. My point here is that sports are taken so seriously that there is no fun left in it.

If you are interested in sociology, then maybe I can point out a couple of more things. I'm sure that you're familiar with a bell curve. Take society and put it under that curve. You will see that the bulk of society falls under the middle section while the ends that taper out hold smaller numbers of people. The people in the middle fall into the "mainstream" while the fringes of the curve contain people who are different, odd, superhuman, crazy, and dumb beyond belief. Why did I bring up the curve? This is to allow you to understand my perspective.

The mainstream falls in the middle and makes up the majority. These are people whose interests are similar to eachother. To be more specific, these are people who have a likelihood of sharing a commonality of some kind, be it sports, soap opera's, cars, etc. The people on the fringes are less likely to find people they have something in common with because their interests are so different from that of the conglomerate "mainstream" portion. Want examples? What does society to do to young boys and girls... it betty crockers all the girls and muscle talks all the boys so to speak.

Let's use men for our example and keep in mind I'm not stereotyping or making generalizations. Most men can strike up a conversation about sports and quite possibly cars. How many would respond to "So, have you heard the new Huun Huur Tu Album?" I would say most would not know what Huun Huur Tu is.(It is a group of throat singers from Tuva, Mongolia fyi) Why don't most people know who they are? because society/RIAA/Radio stations/Parents/Friends introduce you to popular music. You have to go out on your own or have very very eccentric friends to find about off the wall groups like this. My point here is that mainstream culture hands you a selection of hobbies or interests that fit neatly into various sub-strata of the mainstream. I'm not knocking the mainstream. I like popular music however, a vast array of my musical tastes will never be played on a radio station. If I did not seek, I would never find the music I like today.

Sports are like the above example. Most don't discover sports and think wow!! Sports discovered them or their parents took them to a ball game at a young age or PE class gave them exposure. Look at how big sports are in America today. There is a "sports" section in the newspaper. There is a "sports" section on the nightly news. There are "sports" channels. People know more about a university because of it's football team and not due to it's academic programs. There are coaches who make more money than professors and there are even college players who make more money than professors, albeit illegally.

Let's move on to fanaticism and how wins and losses are percieved. In Europe, soccer riots have resulted in lost lives, injury, and the massive destruction of public and private property. Just when I thought only Americans could be so hungup over a game....A GAME... it is apparent that this madness extends beyond these borders. I watch ITN news and the BBC news occasionaly and I see these riots and innocent people getting killed because of a game. Soccer matches between towns in Germany, for example, have resulted in an almost full scale declaration of war. There was even a player who was caught by some angry fans and beaten to death because he lost the game to a rival soccer town. What in the name of #$%@ is that? Whatever happened to sportsmanship? People complain that boxing is a violent sport.... Damn, are they wrong.

Many who are sports fans will feel a different level of disappointment or satisfaction when a team wins or loses. I live in Texas, a big football state, and it amazes me how people actually come to work in a bad mood because the Cowboys lost. Who the hell cares. Well, I guess I should be greatful my coworkers aren't out looting and rioting, but still. This is what I'm talking about when I say "mindless." I don't mean that people are dumb, I mean that an outside influence as inconsequental as an outcome of a game determines their mood for the remainder of the day. Great, I lost a racquetball match yesterday and I should probably be more upset because I was actually in the game, while my coworkers are just spectators of players they don't even personally know. I play racquetball for fun, to blow off steam, and to stay fit. I have yet to incite a riot, burn down a city, or kill someone. My fans, if I have any, have yet to do any of the above either. Maybe I just don't get it.

At last, I want to point out again that in no way do I think of myself as above these people or that "mainstream" sucks. I'm simply pointing out my own observations and reiterating what many sociologists have also pointed out and of course I'm ranting. Finally, I believe that what sets geeks or other eccentric people apart is that many do not share enough "mainstream" values or they simply abhor various values of the "mainstream." Most importantly, I doubt many geeks inherited their geekiness from society. They discovered computers on their own. If someone pursues perl scripting, I can bet that society had very little to do with their decision to write scripts for fun. Geek, if one wishes such a label upon himself, is about love for technology/computers - at least in todays world. I would also include philosophers, scientists, professors, hackers, and people who generally think out of the box or like to tinker with technology and learn. Are they any better than the "mainstream" for it? Some would argue yes and others would argue no. Some would even aruge that they're worse off than the "mainstream." Why worse? Another aspect of this discussion that I could spin a research paper on.

Really, I would love to be able to write about and explain every theory and every sociological and cultural pattern I've studied. This discussion could spinoff in so many different directions it's not even funny. I love to study human culture and society. I have a B.A. in Anthropology, although I work in the IT field, I still enjoy the psychology of culture and society as a whole. Many of the things I questioned, pointed out or ranted about in this post have answers or reasons - at least from an academic perspective. The answer is one that fits neatly into a particular paradigm but still leaves many aspects untouched. This is what makes social sciences more difficult in many ways than hard sciences like physics. There are so many answers to the question. Figuring out the question, on the other hand, that's the hard part.

[ Parent ]
Community leaders didn't (none / 0) (#41)
by goonie on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 05:44:44 PM EST

As I understand what happened (and you should understand that I wasn't personally there to see the events - I'm not that old), while the teachers at the school tried very hard to protect the student, outside school at least some "community leaders" tacitly encouraged the victimization and harassment. Many of them don't have a lot to be proud of, to say the least.

Another point I should make here is that the author of the story, along with his brother, went on to be a successful journalist at a major metropolitan newspaper. The morons who made his life hell are largely still stuck in the same town and, if they're lucky, have made shift supervisor at the meatworks.

As for the magazine, it might have been wise to replace the author's name with a penname, and remove the name of the town. However, the magazine was based in a metropolitan area, and the section editor probably had no idea how the town would react. If you've never lived in a small town, you don't know what they are like.

Finally, you should understand a little about the place. Like most of small-town Australia (and small-town America as I understand it), the place has been in economic decline since the 1950's. Industries and retailers, have gradually shut up shop, the rail link closed, anybody with intelligence and ambition automatically leaves when the finish high school. The place is becoming a ghost town of the unemployed and retirees. Amongst all this, the football team remained (and still remains) strong and one of the few sources of pride left to the town. The article put this source of pride out to public ridicule. While it may not be particularly rational or fair, it's not hard to understand why they got upset when their sacred cow was publically dissected.

[ Parent ]

Students and other hot-headed people (3.50 / 6) (#28)
by Elendale on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 01:50:19 PM EST

I have two things to say on this matter:

First, people should remember that this site is open to everyone and that everything you say here is archived. I don't mean to say you shouldn't say certain things here, censorship in any form is a poor idea to begin with, but rather remember who you are talking to (everyone) and format your ideas appropriately.

Secondly, i think K5 and other places like this are huge boons to geeks and other outcastes and, having been in the situation myself, posting a story about how something you think is unfair (though everyone you've talked to said it is perfectly fair and wonderful to have social violence or whatever the complaint of the day is) and having people actually agree with you for once is a wonderful way to vent.


When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.

Geeks again... (2.00 / 6) (#32)
by maketo on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 02:55:36 PM EST

Will it ever stop? "Geeks and esp. young geeks"??? Please, how long before you start using "geek offspring" and "geek mother"??? Funny.
agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
"geek" most accurate term (none / 0) (#59)
by goonie on Sat Dec 09, 2000 at 03:41:42 AM EST

The young protagonist at the heart of my anecdote wasn't particularly technically inclined, as I understand it. He became a journalist, and a good one by all accounts, so he could hardly have been described as a "hacker" in the Jargon File sense. However, he shared the traits of intelligence, curiosity, and a scepticism towards an anti-intellectual sports-dominated environment that singled him out. "Geek", to my way of thinking, is the most accurate word we have at the present time for identifying that kind of individual.

I know many people associate the word with Jon Katz, whom they regard as some kind cross between a buffoon and Satan himself. Even if you do think that way, recognize that even bufoons can occasionally make useful contributions to a dialogue.

[ Parent ]

Just Shut Up (4.16 / 12) (#34)
by DJBongHit on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 03:24:19 PM EST

Geeks need to learn when to keep their mouths shut about things. Many geeks are quiet and reclusive in social situations, and then when they get on a messageboard like K5 or Slashdot they turn loud and obnoxious to make up for this and may say things that they really shouldn't. If you're not prepared to have anything you write archived, cross-indexed, scrutinized, and saved for future reference, DON'T WRITE IT! It's as simple as that.

Those of you who know me from outside of K5 know that I'm a huge proponent of free speech and various other personal freedoms, but with freedom comes responsibility. Geeks need to start to accept the responsibility for things that they say online or in writing.

And about your question of how to protect minors who post to K5... a little alarm went off in my head when I read that. All I saw was "Won't somebody please think of the children!?" Minors can accept responsibility for what they post just as the rest of us can.


GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

This coming from (2.00 / 4) (#43)
by enterfornone on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 06:40:58 PM EST

someone who runs a website where people regularly admit to using illegal drugs...

efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Responsibility (3.00 / 3) (#52)
by erotus on Fri Dec 08, 2000 at 03:46:58 AM EST

"This is coming from someone who runs a website where people regularly admit to using illegal drugs..."

I'm not sure what you mean by this. It appears that you're implying that people who do drugs obviously can't take responsiblity for their actions. While there are those who abuse drugs, there are others who use them responsibly. I know a few people who smoke pot on a regular basis and hold down good jobs. Alcohol is a 'legal' drug and the same rules apply. Some can drink responsibly and some can't. Don't lump all drug users in the same basket.

[ Parent ]
Not always. (2.00 / 1) (#55)
by StrontiumDog on Fri Dec 08, 2000 at 07:28:13 AM EST

It appears that you're implying that people who do drugs obviously can't take responsiblity for their actions

Addictive drugs. First time or infrequent users can take responsibility for their actions; the behaviour of long term physical addicts is more akin to the behaviour of people under duress. I have spoken to junkies who badly, badly want to kick the habit; they can't. This is why lung cancer is the biggest killer in the West; this is why my great-aunt was still smoking cigarettes even when she had been diagnosed with the throat cancer that later killed her.

Saying "Well, they should have though of that when they took their first shot" is simply not going to make the grade. One of the prerequisites for taking responsibility is the ability to correct mistakes and learn from them. Systems where mistakes are incontestable, irreparable and final are not about responsibility, but about scapegoats.

I personally cannot condone the promotion and usage of physically addictive drugs, including tobacco. Sites that do this are IMO simply irresponsible, because they do have the ability to control their behaviour.

[ Parent ]

Talk about missing the point. (2.50 / 2) (#57)
by marlowe on Fri Dec 08, 2000 at 02:38:05 PM EST

The point is that Bonghit should practise what he preaches. Unless he's using the word "responsibility" in Sartrean or Clintonian sense of being willing to say "oops".

-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
[ Parent ]
I do practice what I preach (3.75 / 4) (#62)
by DJBongHit on Mon Dec 11, 2000 at 06:12:28 AM EST

The point is that Bonghit should practise what he preaches. Unless he's using the word "responsibility" in Sartrean or Clintonian sense of being willing to say "oops".
I practice what I preach. I said:
If you're not prepared to have anything you write archived, cross-indexed, scrutinized, and saved for future reference, DON'T WRITE IT! It's as simple as that.
I am prepared to have what I say archived for future use. If it comes back to haunt me, so be it. I'm doing something which is illegal yet I believe shouldn't be. So I'm saying "Look at me, I do drugs constantly, but I still hold down a good job and am a productive member of society." It's absurd that the law would have my life ruined because I choose to put a safer substance into my body rather than support the alcohol companies.


GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

[ Parent ]
Well, it's good that you don't drink. (3.00 / 2) (#63)
by hjones on Mon Dec 11, 2000 at 09:23:10 PM EST

I must presume you don't drink or else your "safer substance" point would be disingenuous. Alcohol certainly is more harmful than marijuana. Unfortunately, there's not a lot we can do to get rid of alcohol. We know, because it's been tried. Incidentally. has anyone ever seriously argued that smoking pot is actually good for one's health?

"Nietzsche is dead, but given the way of men, there may still be caves for thousands of years in which his shadow will be shown. And we -- we small-minded weaklings, we still have to vanquish his shadow too." - The Antinietzsche
[ Parent ]
I rarely drink (none / 0) (#64)
by DJBongHit on Wed Dec 13, 2000 at 04:12:50 AM EST

I must presume you don't drink or else your "safer substance" point would be disingenuous. Alcohol certainly is more harmful than marijuana. Unfortunately, there's not a lot we can do to get rid of alcohol. We know, because it's been tried. Incidentally. has anyone ever seriously argued that smoking pot is actually good for one's health?
No, I drink very rarely, and usually regret it - I've only gotten drunk once in the last 4 months, although I have the occasional beer with lunch. Also, absolutely people have argued that marijuana is good for your health. The only danger comes from lung damage. Read the article I linked to - marijuana has huge health benefits.


GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

[ Parent ]
point (3.00 / 2) (#58)
by enterfornone on Fri Dec 08, 2000 at 09:53:06 PM EST

I was sort of joking, main point is that people post stuff to Smokedot that might come back to haunt them one day. Much like admitting to cracking a school computer, admitting to doing illegal drugs might not be a good idea.

"Mr President, we have logs from Smokedot and it seems you were a regular poster."

I don't agree with prohibition, but still it would be a good idea not to admit breaking the law in a public forum.

efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Fair point (4.00 / 3) (#45)
by goonie on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 08:48:08 PM EST

I agree with most of your post, and I fully sympathise with your concern that I sounded dangerously like "won't somebody think of the children?". However, I think it's fair to single out minors in this case because:
  • They're not as able to defend themselves if parents/teachers/peers treat them unfairly. This may not be just, but it's true.
  • The examples that came to light of people saying more than I considered was wise were both from high school students.
  • I wasn't saying that these teengers were stupid - far from it. I'm just pointing out that even smart teenagers sometimes lack the life experience to know that sometimes keeping your mouth shut is the best option.
  • I wasn't advocating prohibition - I was just trying to suggest that perhaps some friendly *advice* would be a good idea. The poll questions were done with my tongue firmly in the cheek area :)

Anyway, you make a good point, and I hope I've clarified my personal position.

[ Parent ]

it might help... (2.75 / 4) (#46)
by goosedaemon on Thu Dec 07, 2000 at 09:26:56 PM EST

...if perhaps you couldn't post until previewing at least once. i habitually preview everything. i even previewed this comment. :p twice.

Well.. (3.50 / 2) (#49)
by mindstrm_2 on Fri Dec 08, 2000 at 12:42:31 AM EST

I suppose it should go without saying. One must be responsible for one's actions (because nobody else can be), and posting articles to a website is an action.

If you post personal information publicly... you have no reasonable grounds to expect somebody won't read it. So don't post things you don't want others to know about. THe walls almost always have more ears than you realize.

ALso, though, I see a shift happening in our society today. The net is making people communicate again! It's making people say 'hey, that's rediculous!' about certain laws, and business practices. IT's giving people some real voice, and some confidence. SO people *are* freer to speak out, though it's painful for some.

A related topic... (3.66 / 3) (#50)
by mindstrm_2 on Fri Dec 08, 2000 at 12:47:28 AM EST

something I've related to over many a dinner conversation with the older generation...

INvariably, over some kind of family dinner, someone looks to me, the internet expert, and asks 'don't people hide their identity in chat rooms or pretend they are girls or whatever?'. I say' Yes.. they sure do. But hold on a minute..'.

The benefit of chat rooms, one I found on irc a long time ago is that, although Alice may not be a 17 year old girl in California, but is actually a 30 year old fat man from Ohio, she (he) will still, if you are discussing politics, law, life, *anything* requiring personal opinion, give you an honest opinion. THey won't pretend to have different opinions, their false identity actually gives them the power to voice their real opinions. ANd when I'm talking to someone online, I'm more concerned with what they think than what color their hair is.

Anonymous K-5ing? (none / 0) (#65)
by yigal on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 02:59:55 AM EST

In my opinion it would be nice if there was a possibility to suppress personal information on your posts. After all, let's assume the following (exaggerated) scenario:

During a discussion on legalizing homicide, I explain that I am very fond of committing murder. I even give some examples, but I obfuscate it really well, so no-one is able to tell where I live and where I killed those fiftyfour people. I've told everything I wanted to tell and no-one will be able to trace it back to me!

Until some smartass compares my post to other posts by me, posts where I did not feel the need to obfuscate. Too bad for me.

However, if it were impossible to compare my murder-posting with my I-like-my-job-very-much posting, noone would be the wiser.


Personal information in submissions | 65 comments (58 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:


All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!