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Pleased to Meet You...

By Shpongle Spore in Meta
Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 12:50:34 AM EST
Tags: Scoop (all tags)

Scoop offers a lot of ways for us to personalize how our comments are displayed--in addition to user names, we can specify an email address, web page, and a witty signature. While these bits of information are certainly nice to have, I'm fairly certain most of us don't introduce ourselves in real life by giving our email address or favorite quotation.

Rather than including these nice but irrelevant tidbits with each comment, why not include some in information that really contributes to our understanding of each other?

The single most important piece of information I'd like to see displayed with every comment is the author's location. Never again would we need to wonder what someone means by "here" or "dollars", or whether someone's bad writing is due to unfamiliarity with English or simply laziness. It might help break down stereotypes by showing the wide range of opinions present in each country, and at the very least it would help remind us that we're writing for an international audience.

I propose adding a "location" field to the user preferences and displaying it with every comment. There should be no restrictions on what is entered in this field, but users should perhaps be reminded not to use abbreviations that won't be understood outside their country. If anyone neglects to specify their location, that fact should be noted with their comments as a not-so-subtle reminder to say something about where they live, even if it's a lie or something unhelpful like "Earth".

Along similar lines, I propose adding a field for people of enter a one-line description of themselves to be displayed with their comments. This would allow everyone to state their age, sex, religion, occupation, or anything else they feel is important to understanding what they have to say without repeating it every time and without having it ignored like signatures are. Unlike the location field, this one would simply be omitted when it is left blank, thereby not drawing attention to its absence and allowing people to remain mysterious without standing out.


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Adding a location field is...
o ...a great idea, let's do it! 48%
o ...OK, but I'll leave mine blank. 18%
o ...not useful. 15%
o ...too nosy. 17%

Votes: 198
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
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Display: Sort:
Pleased to Meet You... | 107 comments (96 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden)
Why not? (4.42 / 7) (#1)
by graal on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 12:20:31 PM EST

As long as people can opt-out, it they wish.

For Thou hast commanded, and so it is, that every
inordinate affection should be its own punishment.
-- St. Augustine (Confessions, i)

Would just get abused. (3.85 / 7) (#2)
by kitten on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 12:22:05 PM EST

I mean, it's not a bad idea in principle, but in practice all you'd get is a bunch of smartass replies. Where are you from? "Hell, 7th Ring Of." "Saturn." "Yo Momma." "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue." "In the beginning, there was the Word..."

and so on. Do we really need this? How many people are going to provide a realistic answer? Not many, I'd wager.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
Possibly, but not *that* much (3.00 / 1) (#5)
by SamBC on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 12:30:54 PM EST

I think if all people were asked for was a rough location - state or similar if in a large country (eg US) and just the country otherwise. Make it a list to choose from, with the default "unspecified".

If you want people to be able to give more detail, have it as a seperate field, wich people will largely pay little attention to. People can abuse that how they like.
-- Sam Barnett-Cormack Software Developer | Student - Theoretical Physics & Maths UK Mirror Service | Lancaster University http://www.mirror.ac.uk/ | http://www.lancs.ac.uk/
[ Parent ]

Location != place of origin (4.33 / 3) (#3)
by fraise on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 12:27:20 PM EST

People move around, and it seems this site has quite a few expatriates. "Location" is far too simple, and could be misleading. For example, I'm in France, but I'm actually American, born and raised in Oregon, USA. I also lived in Finland for two years. If I just put down "France" for my location, while it's correct, goodness knows how many people will assume I'm French.

the beauty of free-form text (3.66 / 3) (#8)
by Shpongle Spore on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 12:34:51 PM EST

So say something like "France (originally USA)", or just "France" and put "American expatriate" in your mini-bio. Either one would be accurate without being misleading.
I wish I was in Austin, at the Chili Parlor bar,
drinking 'Mad Dog' margaritas and not caring where you are
[ Parent ]
a/s/l (4.40 / 10) (#4)
by enterfornone on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 12:30:19 PM EST


efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
r u kewl? (en tea) (3.00 / 2) (#20)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 01:40:46 PM EST

jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
I LIKE GIRLS (3.66 / 3) (#39)
by zocky on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 04:48:59 PM EST

I mean, if coal can be converted to energy, then couldn't diamonds?
[ Parent ]

ME TOO! (3.00 / 2) (#59)
by ScrO on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 06:09:14 AM EST

I can't believe I just wrote that. (=


[ Parent ]

AND SK8BORDING (3.00 / 2) (#66)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 11:34:43 AM EST

jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
All work (none / 0) (#97)
by zocky on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:12:10 PM EST

and no sense of humor make wiml a dull boy.

I mean, if coal can be converted to energy, then couldn't diamonds?
[ Parent ]

Point, counter-point (4.00 / 2) (#6)
by 5150 on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 12:33:35 PM EST

Whether an individual puts their location or something absurd such as, "Deep Space 9" I agree that it is nice to be reminded of the breadth of the K5 audience.

Having said that, the elements that you propose be 'optional', someone else might view as just as necessary to understanding the audience. I think the one alternative is to allow a user to fill in such fields (location, gender, age, etc) with the knowledge that it will be displayed.

p.s. my location is the capital of the electorally dysfunctional state of florida, my gender is female, my age is 29++

Sig. (4.00 / 3) (#7)
by Aneurin on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 12:33:57 PM EST

If it was that important to the person then why not let them put it in their .sig; a feature we already have... like so:
Aneurin, UK.  "Blah, blah".
Just think: the entire Internet, running on jazz. -Canthros

Kind of a hack. (4.00 / 1) (#10)
by Shpongle Spore on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 12:39:20 PM EST

That would work, but I don't think it's what most people use their sigs for. The point is not just to give everyone the opportunity to give information, but to actively encourage it without being too pushy.
I wish I was in Austin, at the Chili Parlor bar,
drinking 'Mad Dog' margaritas and not caring where you are
[ Parent ]
User Info (4.60 / 5) (#12)
by Aneurin on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 12:49:26 PM EST

That is what the User Info page is for; everyone already has that opportunity.  I think that if a user should want to know more about a 'postee' then they can click on their name and view that page.  I just don't see how the system needs changing in any meaningful way -- its more bloat for generally unnecessary things. However, that said I wouldn't really mind (unless the speed of K5 suffers) if we could have an 'enhanced userbox' above each post for that info but it has to be as already said, optional.
Just think: the entire Internet, running on jazz. -Canthros

[ Parent ]
It has to be attention deficit disorder (4.25 / 4) (#22)
by krek on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 01:54:56 PM EST

TV has ruined his attention span, as a result he need a 'text bite' that can be quickly evaluated so as to determine what opinion he is required to hold.

[ Parent ]
You can already do that (3.57 / 7) (#9)
by krek on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 12:35:04 PM EST

There exist a spot to put a short intro, it is displayed on your user page.

I think that having an explicit 'location' entry would just be prejudicial. How many Saudi's do you think would have been able to have been heard last September if it was known that they were Saudi? Even if they were all for bombing the shit out of Afganistan, they probably would never would have received a fair hearing at that time.

making comments more expressive (4.00 / 1) (#13)
by Shpongle Spore on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 12:57:08 PM EST

The problem with information on the user pages is that it's not very accessible; if you want to know where a lot of people are from it would be very tedious to check all their user pages, and ultimately unsatisfying since not everyone even writes a bio. Also, you might not even realize beforehand that someone's nationality is relevant to what they say, possibly creating a subtle misunderstanding that goes undetected.

Anyone not wanting to be help accountable for their nationality could lie about it, not reveal it, or actively defend their country. Of course you could use the nationality field to shoot yourself in the foot by making some people hate you, but anything that's useful can be abused or misused.
I wish I was in Austin, at the Chili Parlor bar,
drinking 'Mad Dog' margaritas and not caring where you are
[ Parent ]

Nationality is irrelevant (3.50 / 2) (#19)
by krek on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 01:37:57 PM EST

How can knowing a persons nationality do anything but prejudice your opinion of what they have to say.

By that same token, we might as well make the comment headers color coded, yellow for right wing, green for left wing, or perhaps blue for religious and red for secular. I assume most people would see that having these sorts of identifiers would do nothing but draw lines in the sand, a nationality entry would be no different except in intensity.

You suggested that "Anyone not wanting to be help (I assume you mean 'held') accountable for their nationality could lie about it, not reveal it, or actively defend their country", so those who do not want to have their comments prejudged would be forced to be either deceitful, surreptitious or militant. Shitty choice.

[ Parent ]
Works both ways. (4.00 / 1) (#26)
by Shpongle Spore on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 02:45:46 PM EST

How can knowing a persons nationality do anything but prejudice your opinion of what they have to say.

What if (for example) you see some very insightful comments from USians and change your mind about USians all being ignorant assholes?

The real purpose was not just to tag people with nationalities but to put some context with people's comments, just like how magazines and TV shows usually give the home town of people whose letters they publish, even sometimes when the letter is anonymous!* It makes it feel more like you're hearing from a person rather than just disembodied words.

*Maybe they don't do that in the place you're in--I don't know and I might not have thought of it. If that's the case your response may well be "what the hell are you talking about?" unless you can see that I'm from halfway around the world.
I wish I was in Austin, at the Chili Parlor bar,
drinking 'Mad Dog' margaritas and not caring where you are
[ Parent ]

You have prooved my point (4.00 / 2) (#29)
by krek on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 03:12:19 PM EST

You said:

"What if (for example) you see some very insightful comments from USians and change your mind about USians all being ignorant assholes?"

See, it is clear that you have gone into the reading of the comment with the opinion that 'USians' (God, I hate that abreviation) are all ignorant assholes. To have convinced you of their insightfulness it must have been a damn insightful comment.

Personnaly I do not have this problem, or at least I try not to, I am well aware that there are many Americans that are very intelligent, very rational, very well informed individuals, in fact, there are surely more such Americans than there are Canadians, their population base is much larger after all, the statistics are in their favor. I may heap scorn upon the American populace at times, but that is the populace, I must deal with individuals on a case by case basis, to do otherwise is unfair to that person.

If you really want to get to know the people on K5, go look at their comments, go back as far as you can, this will give you a far better idea of who you are dealing with than tagging them by nationality, at least that way your prejudices will be based on reality.

I do describe myself in my .sig

[ Parent ]
Not always... (none / 0) (#103)
by dorsai on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 07:48:02 AM EST

If I make a comment about life in Portugal... perhaps it would be useful to know that I'm portuguese, and probably know a little more about it then someone who has only visited - or has never been here at all ?

Dorsai the sigless

[ Parent ]
It's simple, it's harmless, just do it (3.00 / 1) (#11)
by speek on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 12:44:07 PM EST

No one's forced to do anything, and it is valuable information. The fact that some will put silly info in there is no big deal either. The only drawback is finding a way to display it without taking up too much vertical space, but I'm sure that can be solved.

Perhaps the State of Hawaii could countersue the woman that gave birth to and raised a

Get fully cocked, then resubmit. (3.66 / 3) (#14)
by jabber on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 12:57:18 PM EST

Simply by clicking on the username of the poster, you are magically transported to that user's personal information page. Due to an incredible coincidence, the user has the uncanny ability to put all sorts of personal information on this page. Not only location, but hobbies, a PGP key, anything at all can be put on this page.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

Fully cocked? (3.00 / 1) (#27)
by Shpongle Spore on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 02:56:08 PM EST

What do you mean? Do you think the idea is poorly thought out or just not presented well?
I wish I was in Austin, at the Chili Parlor bar,
drinking 'Mad Dog' margaritas and not caring where you are
[ Parent ]
For lack of a better term, under-informed (3.50 / 2) (#33)
by jabber on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 04:09:29 PM EST

The facility for this function, and more, is already in place.

In regards to your sig, there used to be this thing called a Geek Code, which served as a summary of one's geekiness. You could represent the languages you use, the hardware you have, your interests and such, in a cryptic string of characters that served as your profile to those who kept track of their meaning.

What this proposal seeks to accomplish is similar, but not comprehensive, but there is an unsavory aspect to the reduction of people to an easily readable profile. The personal info page is quite adequate for presenting any and all information that a person wants to disclose about themselves.

Notice, mine is blank. I'd rather people formed their opinion of me through conversation than via profile. And if you feel that there is a piece of information you need to have, to be able to relate to me as another intelligent being, feel free to ask. :)

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

It's a pity (4.00 / 3) (#32)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 03:47:51 PM EST

That almost no one actually does. For example, clicking on your name returns nothing.

I lost my job, my friends and my wife in just one evening. Ask me how!

[ Parent ]

Yes. Mine is blank (4.00 / 2) (#36)
by jabber on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 04:15:24 PM EST

There's really no aspect of myself that I consider definitive enough to adequately summarize me. I'd rather build an understanding with people than present myself as a nicely packaged quantity. If you want to know anything, just ask.

I would be receptive to a meta story that would try to persuade me to fill up that 'about Jabber' page, and about what sort of information would make sense to have there. Discussion of what are valuable pieces of information, and why they should be made available using existing facilities, would get my vote.

Simply assuming that my current location means anything at all about who I am, is, honestly, a bit offensive, since it reduces me, my experience of life, my views and opinions, to a point on a map. We're all much more than our present location, our citizenship, our color or creed, our $ATTRIBUTE of whatever sort. We're the sum total, and then some.

So... How did you lose your job, your friends and your wife in just one evening?

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Why should I contribute to building a stereotype? (4.33 / 6) (#15)
by IHCOYC on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 12:58:56 PM EST

Anybody who cared enough can probably go back over the history of my diary entries and conclude that I am a white male Christian from Indiana (yes, the one in the USA, not the one in Austria).  Where it seemed relevant, I mentioned it.  These things are probably the least interesting things about me, and I would not care to have everything I write be judged or filtered on the basis that "here comes another white, male, American, Midwestern, Christian. . . ."

Altogether too much attention is paid to the matter of racial, sexual, national, and class identities, attempting to play one off another.  I won't play.

GraySkull is home to the anima, the all-knowing woman who gives power to the otherwise ineffectual man. -- Jeff Coleman

Interest (4.66 / 3) (#18)
by kphrak on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 01:34:42 PM EST

I agree somewhat with your point, but this could work the other way too; we might see some stereotypes break down here if someone from the UK writes something conservative and pro-American, or someone from Alabama writes something liberal. :) I, for one, am always interested if someone from far away is posting. You're Christian, so perhaps you remember the passage in the Bible in which Paul went to the Greeks of Athens, who did nothing but listen to the latest ideas from far away. I think of K5 as kind of a modern-day Athens; the more ideas and the less noise, the better. Someone from a far country might put a new spin on things...so I would support the idea of displaying nationality for that reason alone.

At any rate, this is optional. You wouldn't have to enter any info if you don't want to.

Describe yourself in your sig!
American computer programmer, living in Portland, OR.

[ Parent ]
I don't see it (none / 0) (#21)
by krek on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 01:40:47 PM EST

How does not revealing your nationality prevent you from 'putting a new spin' on something?

[ Parent ]
It doesn't (none / 0) (#25)
by kphrak on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 02:42:00 PM EST

I'm not saying you have to reveal your nationality to promote a new idea; I'm saying that a different culture or nation might have a different perspective on an idea. Suppose someone posts something on Afghanistan's Reconstruction. The Indians are almost next-door neighbors to Afghanistan. What do they think of it? Do they have a different opinion of things? What about the Pakistanis, the Iranians, or the Afghans themselves; what do they think?

I certainly don't want to say that extra information will ensure a new idea, but some people might have a different perspective on a question because of culture or experience. Sometimes there are a lot of posts to read quickly, and I wouldn't mind filtering by nationality to get a particular cultural viewpoint sometimes.

Describe yourself in your sig!
American computer programmer, living in Portland, OR.

[ Parent ]
jeez (1.00 / 1) (#30)
by krek on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 03:15:03 PM EST

I just can't believe that you think that that is a good idea.

[ Parent ]
not really so (none / 0) (#47)
by SocratesGhost on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 07:16:36 PM EST

because of the stuff you've mentioned (I knew you were a Christian male in the mid-West), I've also come to expect certain things in your responses. When a religious article is posted, I look for your comments because you usually reply to these. Also, I look out for snowlion whenever an article is posted about eastern philosophy. To be certain, some of the things cannot be captured in a sig, such as the fact that your responses are generally well reasoned and thoughtful, but there's a part of that information shortcut that I find really useful and interesting.

I think all that you're doing by including this info is just helping people along to a conclusion that they will eventually draw about you anyway, for better or worse.

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
Why not in the sig (4.80 / 5) (#16)
by kphrak on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 12:59:22 PM EST

I would rather this was a point of sig etiquette (people voluntarily add it to their sig) than yet another field you have to fill out. The reason why I say this is that I don't just want to limit it to K5. It would be nice if this caught on and became an Internet standard.

The three comments I saw picked holes in this (and they all have valid points), but I'd say that in general this is a great idea. Sure, expatriates will have a hard time, like the American who lived in Finland and now in France who commented below...but that's a special case and can be fixed by simply saying "American in France". That is, if you want to be known as an American in the first place. :)

And yes, idiots trying unsuccessfully to be funny will give a point of origin as "Hell" or "Alpha Centauri"...but that's OK, because they could do that now in their sig. Internet noise has its own red flags to keep the intelligent away.

I have also noticed that people tend to be much more polite if the other person isn't just a screen name. If someone says something about himself that I can relate to, I automatically feel more charitable toward him even if I hate his postings; he's closer to home, and I might meet him on the street! Well, I probably won't, but it's a feeling, not an intellectual thing. It's easier to be rude if someone is faceless.

+1FP for a good idea.

Describe yourself in your sig!
American computer programmer, living in Portland, OR.

Confession of an Idiot (5.00 / 4) (#53)
by 5s for Everyone on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 11:33:14 PM EST

And yes, idiots trying unsuccessfully to be funny will give a point of origin as "Hell" or "Alpha Centauri"...but that's OK, because they could do that now in their sig. Internet noise has its own red flags to keep the intelligent away.

I like to do this. Sometimes I use "Cephiro", "Neo-Tokyo", "El Hazard" or "Di Gi Charat Planet", or, here on K5 if it was added, "A happy place where everyone gives each other 5s"... I agree that "Milky Way, Orion Arm" would be more accurate, and "United Duchy of America" would be more realistic, but it's interesting to see a fake location in someone's profile and say, "Hey! I know where that is!"
There is Damezumari in the Bamboo Joint
[ Parent ]

Perhaps we could use some standard abbreviations (none / 0) (#68)
by squigly on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 02:29:27 PM EST

All we need is something like 2 letter code for country.  This is the internet, so I think enough people are familiar with what uk, us, fr, au and de mean at least.  This would take up less screen space, and prevent the funnies (what is the 2-letter code for Hell after all?)

We can probably find a way to increase granularity by adding city (or county, or state) info as well.

squigly; uk-lon.

[ Parent ]

two letter code for Hell (none / 0) (#75)
by martingale on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 09:17:13 PM EST

Why, HL of course...

But the real problem with Hell is that it's a state of mind, and it has many alternative designations: Infernus (IN), Hades (HA), Gehenna (GE), Sheol (SH), Abyss (AB), Abaddon (AA), limbus patrum (LP), limbus parvulorum (LV), purgatory (PU), "Place of torments" (PT), "Pool of fire" (PF), "Furnace of fire" (FF), "Everlasting fire" (EF), "Exterior darkness" (ED), and I'm surely missing a few.

Could make for interesting conversations, though:

"Hi, I'm from IN"
"Pleased to meet you, I'm from PT"
"Hey, do you know Behemoth?"
"Not personally, I'm a friend of Moloch myself"
"I heard he's been hanging out too much with Ascaroth, lately"
"Yeah, I've been telling him to cut it out, but do you think he'd listen to me?"
"Okay, well it's been good to meet you, see you in LP sometime"
"Yeah, look me up next time you pass through the PF, I've got a little condo on the second street to the left of the Tenebrion monument. It's not much, but it's pretty quiet on sundays."
"Okay, bye"


[ Parent ]

Don't forget OP (none / 0) (#78)
by Emissary on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 12:46:59 AM EST

Other People.

"Be instead like Gamera -- mighty, a friend to children, and always, always screaming." - eSolutions
[ Parent ]
Good idea (none / 0) (#69)
by KnightStalker on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 02:57:24 PM EST

... but it might lead to people thinking that accounts are owned by the same person, when they're not. :-)

[ Parent ]
Hate to blow my own trumpet... (2.00 / 1) (#17)
by nicklott on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 01:11:01 PM EST

...but you could link the location to here (when it's finished).

Very much a work in progress, but constructive criticism gratefully accepted.

Whatever happened to geek codes? (3.00 / 1) (#23)
by scorbett on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 02:10:24 PM EST

A few years back there was something called a "geek code", which was a line or two of text you could insert into email sigs. This was an encoded sequence of letters, numbers, and other characters that could be used to represent everything from age to personal interests of all kinds. It was kind of a neat idea, but it never seemed to really catch on and I haven't seen one in ages. Bringing this idea back (with possibly a less stupid name) could be a good move. Does anyone agree?

Geek Code (none / 0) (#24)
by krek on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 02:23:30 PM EST

Look here.

[ Parent ]
Not fast enough (none / 0) (#35)
by kphrak on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 04:14:38 PM EST

It's good on paper, but I can read an English sig at a glance, while a geek code block takes time to decode that I'm too lazy to use. Now if I wanted to encode a lot of information, I suppose it would be more useful, but I think the information should be limited to one or two things you want people to know about you in your post. Which could be your religion, your age, gender, race, occupation, or nationality...or maybe something else.

I see some people (krek, this is for you) seem to think I advocate separating people by making them fill out demographic info and filtering by it, and that does make sense sometimes in the case of location, but my approval is more for the idea in general. As I see it, the article author's idea was that people say what they want others to know about them, and that's low-bandwidth communication.

The article will probably get dumped, judging from the current votes, but I see some people already adopting the "Location/Nationality/Religion in signature" thing, so some people seem to think it's a good idea. As for me, I would rather see one thing that someone wants me to know about him/her than a dozen quotations from Thomas Jefferson, Ralph Nader, or Homer Simpson.

Describe yourself in your sig!
American computer programmer, living in Portland, OR.

Describe yourself in your sig!
American computer programmer, living in Portland, OR.

[ Parent ]
Crap (none / 0) (#37)
by kphrak on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 04:17:40 PM EST

Damn auto-signature. Sorry, readers.

[ Parent ]
Too Geeky (none / 0) (#38)
by bodrius on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 04:27:22 PM EST

The problem with the geek code was that its primary purpose was, I believe, to display the degree and mode of geekiness of the source. The fact that it was a geek-code pre-established that both sides of the communication were geeks, by virtue of being able to both understand it and write it without too much effort.

In that sense, geek code is online slang. Its a language that helps define the identity of the social group that uses it, and that alienates those who don't. It's primary purpose is this identification/differentiation, not clarity of communication.

There's no difference between identifying a Sailor Moon fan by the geek code, or a Canadian by the rogue 'eh', 'aboot'. Those 'in the know' see the difference and point it out. This article proposes exactly the contrary, having this information displayed crystal clear and pretty much stamp it on our virtual foreheads whenever we comment.

On the other hand, if you really want to have that information on every message of yours and make this accessible to a broad demographic, it would be necessary to automate the generation and display of such data through a hashing system that would end up being very similar to the geek code (if you want to keep it geek-readable).

Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
[ Parent ]

Strongly disagree (5.00 / 5) (#40)
by bodrius on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 04:54:38 PM EST

One of the beauties of Internet communications is that they are more likely to be judged on content (the equivalent, for information, of 'character') than on context.

I really don't see what would be so valuable about having this displayed with each contribution.

What would that information contribute to their understanding of my arguments/ideas? Any information with enough depth to help others figure out what I'm saying is unlikely to fit in one or two or 10 lines of text. Don't we have already the user page for whatever we feel is important to say about ourselves? Don't we even have a Diary for lenghty content we would like to share? Don't we even have a link to any website we want for really in-depth coverage of who we are, if we find it necessary?

That's even assuming that we agree on what information is valuable to each case. This article mentions geography, because apparently that's something the author would really like to know. Yet others would find that information rather irrelevant even to the language used: what would constitute a greater influence, country of origin, residence, time-spent-there, social class, education... ?

Some people might find more interesting to know who reads and comments on kuro5hin as classified by age-group (x<20,20<x<30, etc), education (GED, B.S/A, M.S/A, Phd, etc), gender, heck, even sexual orientation!

How do we decide what is interesting/important? Should it even be considered interesting/important to the point of making it a site feature? With the limited space that a message/article provides (if we keep content central), which user's informational fetish should be satisfied?

I would support a structured way to provide broad information like this on the user's info page, because it could provide interesting results (statistics on any of the previously mentioned data would be great material for some stories),  because it would be the appropiate place to put it, and because it would be the only place to present enough information for it to matter.

Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...

I Don't Want To Know (4.83 / 6) (#42)
by tudlio on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 05:06:45 PM EST

<IMHO>I'm surprised how much time we seem prepared to spend talking about ourselves on this site. What I love most about asynchronous, anonymous communication channels is that I don't have to do the social cue interpretation dance. I don't have to react to a person, I can react to a person's ideas.

Online interaction is different from face to face interaction, and that's a good thing. Both have their place, and neither should try to emulate or supplant the other.</IMHO>

insert self-deprecatory humor here
You don't have to (none / 0) (#88)
by Josh A on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 08:25:22 PM EST

You don't have to...

...know - the proposal has been changed to allow you to customize what information is displayed.

..."do the social cue interpretation dance". The author has given excellent (imo) examples for how this could make it easier for you to "react to a person's ideas" without having to go through a different sort of dance of figuring out the details.

The only downside I can see is for people who, upon seeing someone's location, won't be able to help finding it prejudicial. Those people, of course, should turn the location information off for their view of k5.

Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney

[ Parent ]
Would make scoring much easier (3.80 / 5) (#43)
by kholmes on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 06:11:58 PM EST

I think its a great idea. For example, in any thread I could score down everyone from Europe, score up all women ages between 19 and 24 who live in the states, and score down all Christians and Muslims.

Heck, I wouldn't even need to *read* the comment to form an opinion about it. Eventually, the people we decide to score down will eventually leave to find a website of their own.

Result? I will be emmersed only in opinions I agree with. How great is that!

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.

Probably the most valid point. (none / 0) (#94)
by rodgerd on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:33:53 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Probably the most valid point. (none / 0) (#95)
by rodgerd on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:38:17 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Would partly like it (4.50 / 2) (#44)
by Platy on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 06:24:38 PM EST

But I don't want the pages be cluttered with the same details over and over again, this makes it just so much more unreadable.
But location is a good idea, then I have an excuse for my bad English ;-)
Tongue-tied and twisted, just an earthbound misfit, I.
Revised proposal. (4.87 / 8) (#48)
by Shpongle Spore on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 07:20:05 PM EST

The Complaints

Ok, the complaints so far:

  1. The screen is too cluttered already.
  2. Why location? Why not something else?
  3. Why not use the sig/user page?
  4. Saying where I'm from doesn't say who I am.
  5. You racist bastard, you just want to judge people!
I'll start from the bottom of the list. I'm NOT proposing this as a way to judge people. I just think there are a lot of cases where it would be easier to understand people's points of view if you know a few salient facts about them that are not available now. Part of the reason I proposed making the location a free text entry rather than a country selected from a list is so that people can be intentionally vague if they don't want to give away too much. You don't have to say "France"; you could say "the northern hemisphere", "Europe", "Christendom", "the coast", or whatever you feel best represents where you live.

For #4, well, yes, it doesn't say who you are, not even remotely. I'm not proposing adding this information as a substitute for getting to know people. I've just observed that language and cultural assumptions vary in sometimes subtle ways, based largely (but not entirely) on location. Since all we have to work with here is language and ideas, it would behoove us to be clear on what flavor of English we're using what region's cultural idiosyncrasies we're victims of. The point is not to give a full explanation of who you are, just to give information that might be useful in interpreting what you have to say.

As for the sig and user page--well, sigs have always been for silly quotes and the like. I think it's easier and more effective to put a new feature into Scoop than to try to change everyone's idea of what a sig is for to suit my tastes. The user page is a bad place for what I have in mind because unless I become an obsessive link-clicker, I'm only going to see the user pages of a few of the people I'm most interested in. User pages also suffer from a vicious cycle: hardly anybody looks at them, so hardly anybody writes them, so there's no point in looking at user pages because they're almost all blank! I have neither the time nor the inclination to research and remember every person who posts here, but I'd like to know a little bit about everyone, even something as basic as location--it might even help me keep track of people better, too, so I might really get to know who they are after a while. Adding more information that you can see at a glance for everyone is important for my purpose.

The Resolution

Ok, so I haven't addressed points 1 or 2, because doing so involves scrapping my whole proposal for something more general. So here it is, version 2.0:

Add more fields for things like location, age, sex, race, religion, occupation, political affiliation, native language, favorite text editor, etc., all optional. By default these would display on your user page but not anywhere else.

Instead of always displaying each person's email address and web page, allow each user to select which attributes they see with each person's comments (and stories, of course). That way I could show location and occupation, but others could show just email and URL like it works now. In all cases, missing fields would simply be omitted from the display.

This provides everyone with some incentive to give any information they feel is relevant about themselves since they can be sure that anyone who might actually care about the information will see it (unlike user pages). I fully expect that most people would choose to leave most of their information blank since they don't think it's relevant, but that's just fine. I only want to add a mechanism for the information to be provided while giving a little bit of guidance about what kind of information might be appreciated.

I realize this has turned into a full-fledge Scoop feature request rather than a K5 proposal, but I think the crowd here has as more insight into Scoop than anyone else, so I've love to hear more opinions!
I wish I was in Austin, at the Chili Parlor bar,
drinking 'Mad Dog' margaritas and not caring where you are

Aagh! (4.33 / 3) (#52)
by nr0mx on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 10:48:03 PM EST

I'm NOT proposing this as a way to judge people.

I'm NOT saying you are. However, what makes you think it will not be used in this manner, irrespective of why you're proprosing this ?

Never again would we need to wonder what someone means by "here" or "dollars", or whether someone's bad writing is due to unfamiliarity with English or simply laziness.

Uh-oh! Now what have we here ? Are you judging them ? I would say you are judging them. I know you made the proposal in good faith, but look where it can take you.

No need to apologize. I expected nothing different from a USian male agnostic computer programmer. :)

[ Parent ]

judgment vs. prejudice (none / 0) (#91)
by Shpongle Spore on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:37:32 AM EST

I'm NOT saying you are. However, what makes you think it will not be used in this manner, irrespective of why you're proprosing this ?

It would be used to prejudge people, but hopefully not by too many people, and certainly not by anyone whose opinion I would care about.

Uh-oh! Now what have we here ? Are you judging them ? I would say you are judging them. I know you made the proposal in good faith, but look where it can take you.

I guess I should have said "pre-judging", since I have no problem with judging people based on how they act, and I happen to think writing poorly when you could just as easily write well is very disrespectful to your audience. Really though, I'd only thought that knowing where people were from would be a mitigating factor in any judgments people make against each other--just like I can hear someone with a thick foreign accent speak very poorly without thinking badly of them, if I know English is not your first language and you're not just some bastard who thinks he's too cool to spell properly, I'm a lot more forgiving of bad writing.

I was a bit surprised to see so many people assuming that knowing each other's nationality, etc., would be a source of judgments against people, but it is a good point--certainly something each person should consider when deciding how much to reveal about himself.

No need to apologize. I expected nothing different from a USian male agnostic computer programmer. :)

Too bad I changed my sig like the sneaky bastard I am! Seriously, though, I could care less if you choose to disregard what I say based what I choose to tell you about myself. I'd much rather have you hate me for what I tell you than like me out of ignorance.
I wish I was in Austin, at the Chili Parlor bar,
drinking 'Mad Dog' margaritas and not caring where you are
[ Parent ]

objections (5.00 / 4) (#54)
by martingale on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 11:35:38 PM EST

The heart of your proposal seems to be that you want information about k5 users "up front", without spending too much time online. What's the point? Do you think you can be more effective in arguments if you have a better grasp of who you're arguing with?

I find that k5 has a relatively small active userbase - the people who regularly post. After a couple of months, it's easy to recognize those people, and their past comments give a lot of clues about them - where they live is relatively easy to pick up unless they made a real effort to hide it.

Compared to an "up front" summary of their salient features, reading their past comments forces you to ingest a lot more about them to get to the bits you want to know. That's a good thing, I think. I gives you a rounded opinion (based on the body of comments of course) which you cannot bypass just to get to their place of residence. It physically protects the person from being slotted into a prefabricated mold for users with the given statistics.

So my point is, to better argue with people on this site, your best bet is to spend an evening reading their past comments. And that is already possible and allowed. Knowing that they live in a particular place, as a single piece of information, won't help make your comments any more interesting to others.

By the way, if you do want quick summaries, there are regular stories where those who want to gather and post information about themselves. Carnage4Life has even built a search engine to do this kind of thing. But not everyone is listed, naturally.

BTW, I'm also a believer in 1. I'm on minimal k5 settings, and I still think sigs are a waste of space - fun the first time you read them and annoying after that.

[ Parent ]

+1 Worth discussing, but no. (5.00 / 6) (#56)
by QuickFox on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 02:55:45 AM EST

location, age, sex, race, religion, occupation, political affiliation, native language, favorite text editor, etc., all optional.

Allow me an anecdote. Bear with me.

Once I was strolling with a friend who had brought along a friend of hers. It seemed to me that this guy was just dim-witted and boring. His pronounciation was weirdly indistinct and he seemed to never quite know what we were talking about.

Suddenly my friend mentioned in passing that the guy was hard of hearing. It so happened that I was learning sign language and was already somewhat fluent. With sign language he suddenly seemed bright and funny. We had lots of common interests and much to talk about. We talked for several hours that evening.

My prejudice about certain details created a barrier -- an extremely useless barrier. In a web-based discussion I would never have noticed those details. One of the great advantages of web-based discussion is that it liberates us from these barriers. The fact that I can't even guess who you are and what you're like is a huge advantage. It's not a disadvantage, it's an advantage.

Your proposal does have many merits. Just as you say, it would be useful to learn how great the differences can be between people from the same country. Perhaps it would be useful if it were turned on only occasionally, only on certain stories where it might seem relevant.

Even so I think the advantages of not knowing outweigh the disadvantages of knowing. Humanity has a long way to go before we learn to overcome those barriers of prejudice. Wait 30 years, maybe by then web-based international conversation has brought us closer to this ideal.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Anecdote is an argument for the proposal. (none / 0) (#92)
by Bryan Larsen on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:29:19 AM EST

In my opinion, your anecdote argues for the proposal. Your friend's friend was "dim-witted and boring" until you knew he was basically deaf. To which I respond: Chinese people on the web seem "dim-witted" because they have trouble putting together an English sentence that flows well. Once you understand that they are Chinese, you judge them differently. Bryan

[ Parent ]
Good point! (none / 0) (#98)
by QuickFox on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 09:31:37 PM EST

A very interesting viewpoint.

Sadly, in many parts of Europe many people have a negative prejudice against anyone with a foreign accent. The reaction is very similar to racism. It seems inevitable that such people will be prejudiced against people posting from the countries they despise. If they don't know the nationality they have to judge the comment on what it says instead.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Complaints stand (5.00 / 2) (#65)
by bodrius on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 11:27:03 AM EST

Your version 2.0 solves problems 1 and 2, but seems a very complicated solution for something that I'm not convinced needs to be solved at all.

Is a click really too much investment for you? Do you really need this information up-front on every comment?

One of the reasons I find the email/website a good combination of information to display on each comment is precisely because they do not provide information on the author, just ACCESS to the information on the author. It's all just a click away, like the user info, like the comment history (well, TWO clicks away). What you have in front of you is WHAT the user says, not WHO the user is, which should be your primary concern on the content.

A couple of clicks seems to me a very small investment if you want to understand what someone is saying. An up-front displayed information seems to me a very large obstacle to understand what someone is saying on the merits of the message.

In any discussion your attention will be focused on "a few of the people I'm most interested in", and how do you decide which are the few will be influenced by the data present on the page, mostly in ways you are not aware of. Let this be decided by the content of their message.

If you have trouble understanding the content of the message the info is a click away. If you don't have that problem, the info should not matter anyway.

On Point 3:

You say:

"I think it's easier and more effective to put a new feature into Scoop than to try to change everyone's idea of what a sig is for to suit my tastes"

To which I say: I think it's better for you to try to change everyone's idea of what a sig is to suit your tastes, than putting a new feature in Scoop to please your (or anyone's) informational fetish.

Because I'm afraid that's what it is: an informational fetish. Any information that fits a couple of fields is too superficial to help you understand anyone, be that their education, country of origin, or anything else you can imagine. If that little piece of information says so much about that person, there's not much to know at all.

Knowing where I live will not tell you much about me. What you guess correctly from that information will be misleading, to say the least, as to who I am. Reading my past comments will tell you much about who I am and how I think, but will take an investment in time you don't seem to be willing to make. Without that investment of time, superficial information will only increase your ignorance about me as an individual. Such data is only useful for statistics.

You say that most user pages are empty because almost no one checks them. I can't say for sure, but I suspect they're checked more often than you think by active members of kuro5hin. I know I see them whenever I look for someone's comment history, which is by far the most useful Scoop feature.

I believe most user pages are empty because most people don't know what to put in there. Perhaps structuring the data as you suggest would help encourage users to use that space.

On Point 4:

You mention in the article that most people don't introduce themselves in real life by email address and a favorite quote. I find this to be a burden of real life, not a disadvantage of electronic communications.

Introducing myself with a witty quote would probably say much more about who I am than telling them my name, profession and natural origin. The only reason I don't do that is because the social fabric forces me to follow some rituals if I don't want to get institutionalized, such as pretending I care about the weather, dressing codes, or whether someone comes from Rome, Hong Kong or Iowa.

Probably since high-school I introduce myself just like other people: name, profession, age, geographical origin, etc. I then proceed to interact with other people in the useless game of noise-production that some people call 'casual conversation'. This provides the framework for the casual interaction between people you don't want to know so you can buy/sell/ask-for-information with little investment. These are STRANGERS.

With luck and some effort, after multiple encounters, the parties will finally reach the level of trust to use witty quotes, honest comments and opinions to expose part of their personalities and actually exchange ideas. These are the people you KNOW, and you know them by what they say as friends, not what superficialities you know of them as associates/co-workers/acquaintances.

What is the advantage of introducing the useless protocol in electronic media, when its purpose (casual interaction) is not present here?

Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
[ Parent ]

Missing the point (none / 0) (#96)
by wurp on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:01:09 PM EST

It seems to me you're missing the point of the article.  He's not proposing that you're going to "get to know" anyone from their location field.  What he's proposing is that when they say "the President", "the law", etc., you will know what they're talking about.  What's more, we make such comments so frequently and casually that often we seem to ignore the fact that everyone isn't from the US (or wherever).

I personally think version 2.0 is a damned fine idea, and I would make use of it if it were there.  As a side benefit, K5 could become more of a kind of geek dating service if people could indicate sexual preference/status and others could elect to see such.

Anyway, I think it's a good idea, personally.
Buy my stuff
[ Parent ]

The point? (none / 0) (#99)
by bodrius on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 07:39:58 PM EST

If that's not the point of the article, then perhaps he should avoid the following:

I) Using "Pleased to Meet You?" as the story's title.

II) Stating as the story's purpose, in the introduction: "why not include some in information that really contributes to our understanding of each other?"

III) Saying things like: "Along similar lines, I propose adding a field for people of enter a one-line description of themselves to be displayed with their comments." in the text.

On the other hand, assuming that the correct point is your point:

Shouldn't solving that kind of anthropocentrism be the responsability of whoever is making the unwarranted assumptions?

If I start talking about my President (non-US) as "the President", misunderstandings will be common, of course. But it's my responsability to not appear as an idiot and, at least, provide a name (if I'm too lazy to provide a link).

However, even if we use such terms casually it's normally because there is a context which allows us to do so. Otherwise, clarifications are requested and promptly given.

If I say "President Chavez" in a thread, and (a google search later) you read many messages talking about "the President" (not "President Bush" or "President X"), you'll almost certainly assume I'm talking about the same guy. If we're talking about the "DMCA", which is a law from the US, you'll naturally assume any conversation regarding the "law" is in the US context, unless specified otherwise.

Stories that fail to provide such context should be corrected and/or filtered at the edit queue, and usually are.

This is no different from normal conversation, we depend heavily on context (that's why it's so hard to parse natural languages). I have yet to see someone forgetting which country's President they're talking about while discussing the Florida election.

You can always ignore the context, and you can always forget to provide the context clues for your own dialogue. You will seem an ignorant idiot in any non-provincial conversation either way. Perhaps avoiding that would be a good skill to have.

Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
[ Parent ]

Why is more information bad? (none / 0) (#101)
by Control Group on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 05:54:54 PM EST

You're right: people should provide context, and a well-constructed comment will avoid all problems which this proposal would solve. But, by the same token, people should know how to spell and perform addition, but I'd be willing to bet everyone who posts here has had a spelling mistake caught by a spell checker and used a calculator to add a list of numbers.

You have provided a great list of reasons the problems it addresses ought not need solving, but few reasons that providing the extra information would be bad. In another post, you ask if a single click is too much effort. The obvious answer, of course, is "no," since a single click is not in itself a great effort. But waiting for the page to load afterwards can be non-trivial (either due to K5 being slow, or a poor connection), particularly if one is reading K5 from work. Of course, they probably ought not do that, either (oops). Not to mention that it's a lot more than a single click if you want information on most of the people who have posted.

Essentially, unless there's some indication it would be harmful, I'm always in favor of more information presented than less. I like have a tach in my automatic-transmission car. A case could be made that I shouldn't have any need for it (the transmission handles engine RPM), but I still like having it.

Personally, I don't care one way or the other if this gets implemented, but just because I don't care doesn't mean it's a bad idea.

"Oh, nothing. It just looks like a simple Kung-Fu Swedish Rastafarian Helldemon."
[ Parent ]

Too Much Information (none / 0) (#102)
by bodrius on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 10:47:44 PM EST

I'm not against having more information about the users who willingly provide it... as I have mentioned in other comments, I do believe there could be some interest in collecting that information (without pushing too much).

Some ideas have been mentioned in this discussion which I find worthy. Formalizing the collection of this information (so as to make it useful/easy-to-interpret), for example. And that "Dynamic User Page" idea would solve the problem the right way, I think, for those whose browsers support modern JavaScript.

But I am against too much information provided in the wrong place, as I've made clear here and here, for two reasons:

- In general, because information should be in its proper place or it will be distracting, and detracting from the relevant information.
  Apparently even the author agrees that the information SHOULD be on the User Page; he just doesn't believe people are using that page, and he wants his particular favorite piece of data up-front.
  So this pretty much establishes that, if this were to be done, it should be a modification(formalization) to the user-page system.
  The question remains over whether this is a good idea or not. Some people would be concerned about making this kind of information so easy to acquire/analyze, as it's valuable to telemarketers and other incredibly annoying pests.
   I just got my 11000th call from a certain phone company this week, so I sympathize with that position. I don't think I'll get more phone calls, but if the data is detailed and attractive enough, there would be ways to really annoy Kuro5hin's users. As I have mentioned before, I think the data could be valuable enough for the community and that technological self-restraint would impede abuse, but the need for this self-restraint means more, accesible information is not inherently a Good Thing.

  The question also remains over whether part of the user-page data should be shown up-front, which brings the second reason I don't like information in the wrong places:

- Because whether you realize it or not, you take cognitive shortcuts when you deal with people. What you perceive affects how you consider other data, even when to consider the data at all, and most of that process is unconscious.
  We group people by every tiny bit of data we receive so we don't spend too much time parsing what they tell us. Even as it is now, take a look at most political discussions: at the first "clue" of which stereotype is someone supposed to fit in, we're all too eager to stop evaluating the content and reply with canned answers of our own (which help the other person fit us into another stereotype).
   As difficult as it is to carry real conversation, where you judge what someone says by what they say and not by your cached standarized profile, in touchy subjects in Kuro5hin or any other forum, at least the "clues" we get are minimized and of a semantic nature. This makes it a bit less likely for our profile to be that far from reality, because it forces us to parse, at least partially, the message.
   If we provide more "clues", they are more likely to confuse and interfere with the message than to provide more understanding. At the very least, they will actively interfere with which message is parsed in the first place, regardless of its content.

   I cannot emphasize enough that this process is unconscious and unavoidable. We can make a conscious effort to limit it, but we cannot be entirely successful because without stereotypes we cannot be socially functional. We even adapt ourselves to the stereotypes of other people in order to communicate.
   Thus, I'm not talking about "racism" or conscious discrimination.

For example:

 I mentioned in one of my comments that some people would be interested in the level of education of the community. I at least would like to know how many Phds vs High-School dropouts are participating, and I think it's for legitimate reasons: Kuro5hin seems to have a reputation for well-written, argumentative discussion, and it would be nice to know how education actually correlates to such skills or to the assumptions people have about Kuro5hin's audience, with a nice sample as opposed to anecdotal evidence.

  However, consider that, using this proposed feature, I make the system display the highest level of education of the author of each story/comment.
  I can honestly say I would pay more attention to the "Phd" than the "High-School" entries, even when the first may be arguing about something outside his/her expertise (a Phd in Postmodern Lit. arguing about compiler construction), may be irrelevant (a joke), or may be completely idiotic (idiots with Phds are just published idiots). The second may have intimate knowledge of the subject, be very precise and relevant, or may just be intelligent and insightful where the "experts" are not.  
   This is not something I would do consciously. As a matter of fact, if I were to follow my anecdotal experience, I should do the contrary. But it's something my mind, automatically, would do for me. Of 100+ comments, it would sort their priorities by degree of education before I get the chance to actually read them.

   Perhaps you're not so easily biased by a supposed education, but you're likely to be biased to at least one of many other factors: age (young==ignorant || old==obsolete), gender, marital state, amount of kids (parents know best about legislation on education), sexual orientation (gay==liberal), race (US && black/hispanic==Democrat!), etc.
   You're also more likely to be biased with the piece of information you display on each comment. That's why you display it in the first place, usually.

   I consider that encouraging our bad practices that we carry over from the Real World (TM) into a context that does not need them would be a very heavy price to pay for a little more clarity over which kind of dollars is someone talking about, or whether a pop is a soda or not.

    I prefer that people to read the comments before they start making up their minds about the content. This is impossible to achieve in Real Life (TM) for the reasons mentioned above. I'd prefer not to make it impossible online too.

Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
[ Parent ]

Hi, I live in... (2.00 / 1) (#49)
by X-Nc on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 07:56:18 PM EST

The Washington DC Metro area. Been here for 14 years. Far to long. I was born in Germany and lived there (off and on) for 14 years with 2 in Italy. My family comes from the Pittsburgh PA area. Is this enough? Maybe I should update it on my bio page.

Aaahhhh!!!! My K5 subscription expired. Now I can't spell anymore.
that could be me .... (none / 0) (#61)
by mami on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 09:09:55 AM EST

what da do now?

[ Parent ]
Dynamic User Info (3.40 / 5) (#50)
by Eloquence on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 08:52:36 PM EST

Have you checked out Dynamic Comment Display? It only works in Mozilla and possibly IE, but it's pretty neat: You can fetch a reply to a comment without reloading the entire page, it just gets inserted in the right place. (You can activate it in the Comment Preferences.)

Now I don't use used Dynamic because I prefer Nested (if I had a slow connection, I'd probably use Dynamic), but this is something for which this type of active page wizardry might be really useful: Dynamically fetch additional information about a user without reloading the page. Just a little down-arrow that when clicked displays everything the user has entered about themselves in the right place.

I think it's time we actually make use of some of the neat features that the new browser generation offers us. Users of old browsers could still click the User Info page as usual.
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!

Sure (5.00 / 1) (#63)
by bodrius on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 10:21:52 AM EST

I never tried that (and probably won't because my connection is fast), but it sounds like a neat concept.

Then just give a "Dynamic User Info Display" functionality. If the problem is inconvenience at getting the "user info" (just a click away), this could solve the problem for those who really want something like this, and the information will still be just whatever you want to say about yourself on the "user info", be that your geographical location, race, sex, origin, or mythical nature.

Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
[ Parent ]

Intresting idea. (2.00 / 1) (#51)
by delmoi on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 09:40:09 PM EST

I'd throw in gender to.
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
asl plz [n/t] (2.50 / 2) (#55)
by felixrayman on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 02:25:10 AM EST

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
Why? (4.00 / 1) (#87)
by Josh A on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 08:10:14 PM EST

This may not describe you, delmoi, necessarily, but it does apply... I find it funny when people online aren't sure how to treat each other until they've sexed each other.

Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney

[ Parent ]
So, basically you want something like an ID, (2.00 / 2) (#60)
by mami on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 09:08:26 AM EST

so that you are able to profile, do research and harm the privacy of commentators. How many people would comment here, if their identity could be traced and their physical location be found out within seconds?

You wished commentators could not lie about all the information they would give out about themselves, so you must be wholeheartedly against trolls then? You just are a bit scared to admit it and look for "fuzzy" ways to accomplish it, right?

Oh well, who says life is not funny on K5 ...

So if you gave your (5.00 / 1) (#71)
by davidduncanscott on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 06:44:28 PM EST

home address as, say, "Europe", you figure the jackboots would zero in on you within seconds?

I think he's just tired of all those tedious "Oh, you mean Canadian dollars" and "What's so difficult about a right turn?" exchanges, never mind the "Oh, so English isn't your primary language" ones, that might be avoided if each comment included the poster's approximate location. I'm not sure I care that much, myself, but certainly I've mentioned a number of times that I live in Baltimore, MD (but then, I was too foolish to come up with a clever nom-de-kuro5hin either.) Nobody is suggesting missile co-ordinates, or verification of the submitted data, or even that any data be required.

But hey, don't slow down to read this, or the paranoids might catch up...

[ Parent ]

hey ... (2.00 / 1) (#76)
by mami on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 10:46:27 PM EST

don't take my comment so serious. I like to extract a grain of truth and then kid around with it in making it the size of a melon... What would K5 be without exaggerations?

[ Parent ]
Okey-day (nt) (none / 0) (#81)
by davidduncanscott on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 01:20:06 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Good idea, but. . . (4.50 / 4) (#62)
by tiamat on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 09:25:04 AM EST

I don't see a need to change scoop. Just start a trend to put the info in your .sig. If people feel it's useful it'll catch on. That way there's no requirement if you don't want to, and people won't feel pressured by the white empty spcae if they don't want to tell.

How do you make a sig anyway? (4.50 / 2) (#82)
by bigsexyjoe on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 03:34:34 PM EST

It might be a stupid question, but I have no idea how to do it.

[ Parent ]
How to make a sig (4.50 / 2) (#83)
by QuickFox on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 05:53:47 PM EST

When you're logged in,at right under your name there's lots of links ("Moderate submissions" etc) and among the last are several links for preferences. Go to those pages and experiment, get to know them. One of those pages has a field where you can type a sig.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]
Thanks, I don't know why I didn't see that. (n/t) (5.00 / 1) (#85)
by bigsexyjoe on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 06:24:54 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Sounds great (1.50 / 2) (#70)
by dipierro on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 03:34:01 PM EST

If only there was some way we could get raw access to the database, then we could create a K5 to do anything we wanted.

Hey! (3.00 / 1) (#72)
by number33 on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 07:37:43 PM EST

You stole my idea.

My humblest apologies... (none / 0) (#74)
by Shpongle Spore on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 08:53:09 PM EST

Actually you're probably not the only person I've stolen the idea from, but whenever I've seen it, it's been in a context that generated very little discussion. This way I can get the ego bruising I always wanted =)
I wish I was in Austin, at the Chili Parlor bar,
drinking 'Mad Dog' margaritas and not caring where you are
[ Parent ]
What if we don't want this information displayed? (1.50 / 2) (#77)
by Stick on Sat Sep 14, 2002 at 11:24:09 PM EST

I for one keep most of my details off K5, as I'm sure many others do. The most I've given out is my age and country.

Stick, thine posts bring light to mine eyes, tingles to my loins. Yea, each moment I sit, my monitor before me, waiting, yearning, needing your prose to make the moment complete. - Joh3n
You read the article, right? (none / 0) (#89)
by endah on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:25:51 AM EST

The suggestion is to have the ability to add your location and extra details 'if you want to'.  Otherwise it's either simply ommitted, or there's an indication that you've chosen not to enter anything.

You are also free to falsify information

[ Parent ]

lather, rinse, repeat (1.50 / 2) (#79)
by jann on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 01:28:38 AM EST

seen this argument / request so many times before it is getting more than a trifle dull ... Nothing will happen, the article will get lost in the mists of K5 and in 4 months time
lather, rinse, repeat.

I already use my real name... (3.00 / 1) (#80)
by Ben Welsh on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 12:10:20 PM EST

Is that not smart? Don't answer. I wish I hadn't, since I find myself wondering whether I should post certain comments when I could be (gasp) recognized, or even tracked down. Then I tell myself, 'no one cares who you are, stupid. Don't be so self-centered you self-righteous, pig-headed moron.' Maybe I'm too hard on myself.

Christianity Meme
It's the other way round (5.00 / 1) (#84)
by QuickFox on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 06:20:43 PM EST

no one cares who you are, stupid.

But those who know you IRL may care what you do on the Web. Your friends may google for your name. Prospective employers will definitely google for your name. This means you better behave well!

If you want more freedom you can make yourself another account and let this one fall into oblivion. Just don't use one account to moderate another, that's extremely rude and trollish.

Not even my closest friends know my online name, because I like the freedom. It's not that I need to hide anything, I'm equally serious and constructive online and offline. But this way employers and others won't know about any follies I might commit by mistake. For example I might regret something I write in the heat of debate. Our Web writings might stay publicly available forever!

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Ahhh, nuts. (none / 0) (#100)
by Ben Welsh on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 02:23:27 AM EST

I can't even figure out how to get a new one. I couldn't find anything about deleting this one, and even though I changed the email, creating a new account tells me my email is already being used. You had to scare me. See what you started?

Christianity Meme
[ Parent ]
Don't worry too much (none / 0) (#104)
by QuickFox on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 10:32:10 AM EST

You can't delete an account. This is site policy, for several reasons. All you can do is leave the account unused and let it fall into oblivion.

even though I changed the email, creating a new account tells me my email is already being used.

Did you change it to a valid e-mail address? Did you receive an e-mail about the change? Did you confirm the change? That's required on many sites, but I don't know about Kuro5hin.

Did you check all your Preferences pages? Maybe the address is mentioned somewhere in your settings.

If that doesn't solve the problem, I'd wait for a day or two after the address change and then try again. Maybe there is some built-in delay, so you have to wait some time before using the old e-mail address in a new account.

If it still doesn't work, I'd e-mail help@kuro5hin.org and explain.

You had to scare me. See what you started?

It's not really a problem unless you've done things you need to hide from the world. For example, employers don't expect us to be more than human, so ordinary, trivial stuff won't matter at all. Imagine if you should hire people, you wouldn't care about trivial mistakes, odd hobbies, odd opinions etc. It all depends on what is shown and who might look.

If you prefer to hide something that is now easy to find, it might be a good idea to stay with the account for a while, with a behavior that you want people to find, so they find this instead. So, whatever you do, don't lose the old account's password, and make sure the e-mail address you use for it is valid. Even if you leave the old account completely you may want to return to it some day.

But don't worry too much. Most likely it won't matter in any way.

I hope this helps. Good luck.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Googling for candidates (none / 0) (#93)
by rodgerd on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:29:35 PM EST

I generally Google on people when hiring, less because I'm screening for people's gaffes or political views (and it's illegal to discriminate on those here, anyway), more because I like to get a feel for how someone's CV corresponds to reality; from real life example, it isn't uncommon to find "Internet experts" who don't appear to have any presence on any newsgroup, mailing list with Web archives, or Web pages generally. Which always sets my antennae a-twitching.

And while I can't and won't hold the fact you've got different political views against you, if it turned out you bragged about giving gays or women or whites a hard time in the workplace, I'd definitely roll up a flag (since in New Zealand employers have a duty to prevent harrasment and the like).

[ Parent ]
Fine as it is already (3.00 / 1) (#86)
by r1chard on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 07:56:44 PM EST

When someones comments pique my interest I check out their diary. Diaries allow people to express whatever they want without the constraints of form filling.

Likewise people's home page links, not that you'd get much info from my home page at the moment.


Usual reply for meta/scoop stories. (4.00 / 1) (#90)
by Ranieri on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:36:44 AM EST

Submit a working patch and we'll see if it works.
Taste cold steel, feeble cannon restraint rope!
Anybody still listening? (none / 0) (#105)
by Shpongle Spore on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 11:57:50 AM EST

There have been a lot of good arguments against my proposal, some of which I was able to integrate and others I can't really address. If the proposal ever gets implemented I think it would be a good idea to summarize some of the more insightful comments here as a warning to people who might give away or take in more information than they think they want.

One of these days I'll get around to setting up the necessary tools on my box and make a patch to Scoop. We'll see what happens then.

Thanks to all who participated!
I wish I was in Austin, at the Chili Parlor bar,
drinking 'Mad Dog' margaritas and not caring where you are

Little icons (none / 0) (#106)
by delsarto on Thu Oct 03, 2002 at 01:39:58 AM EST

No one seems to have suggested little icons next to your name. You could do up some for all sorts of different attributes and people could choose those they identify with. Make a limit of 5 or so, and for more fun just have the icons but don't describe excatly what they are, but make it so you guess depending on the overall combination of icons a user uses. Oh and you can choose to turn them off if you don't want to see them.

Real life.... (none / 0) (#107)
by Niha on Fri Oct 25, 2002 at 03:42:06 PM EST

This is Internet,and luckyly you don´t have to act as in "real life".Many things we say to introduce ourselves in "real life" doesn´t say very much in fact about who we really are. Well, I agree that sometimes you would like to know something else about people here,but I think there are already ways of doing it. And anyway,saying I´m an european girl from a non-English speaking country(reason for my bad English :P) +18 would help to understand me better?

Pleased to Meet You... | 107 comments (96 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden)
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