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[P]
The Blue-Themed Nightmare

By anaesthetica in Meta
Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 09:13:00 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

This is not another political polemic. The way that Kuro5hin, and virtually every other forum in the world, is 'discussing' politics has become more than tiresome. It is damaging, relentless, and all-too-often it is mindless. What follows is a quote from a Henry Miller novel, and some reflection.


I suppose there is no region in America like the old South for good conversation. Here men talk rather than argue and dispute. Here there are more eccentric, bizarre characters, I imagine, than in any other part of the United States. The South breeds character, not sterile intellectualism. With certain individuals the fact that they are shut off from the world tends to bring about a forced bloom; they radiate power and magnetism, their talk is scintillating and stimulating. They live a rich, quiet life of their own, in harmony with their environment and free of the petty ambitions and rivalries of the man of the world. Usually they did not settle down without a struggle, for most of them possess talents and energies unsuspected by the curious invader. The real Southerner, in my opinion, is more gifted by nature, more far-seeing, more dynamic, more inventive and without a doubt more filled with the zest for life than the man of the North or West. When he elects to retire from the world it is not because of defeatism but because, as with the French and the Chinese, his very love of life instills him with a wisdom which expresses itself in renunciation. The most difficult adjustment an expatriate has to make, on returning to his native land, is in this realm of conversation. The impression one has, at first, is that there is no conversation. We do not talk--we bludgeon one another with facts and theories gleaned from cursory readings of newspapers, magazines and digests. Talk is personal and if of any value must be creative. I had to come to the South before I heard such talk. I had to meet men whose names are unknown, men living in almost inaccessible spots, before I could enjoy what I call a real conversation.

--Henry Miller, The Air-Conditioned Nightmare, written in 1945 upon his return to the United States.

Henry Miller's support of the Southerners is what struck me most about this paragraph. I don't post it here in support of Bush (although Texas really isn't Southern in the strictest sense). I don't post it in support of the French. But I think Miller's final point about the methods of discussion that we have are a more potent criticism of our entire climate of debate than anything else I've read since 9/11.

With that in view, there are some things I feel we should actually discuss here at k5. I think we do tend to browbeat one another with 'facts' we've picked up from perusing the internet. Too often this borders on the sterile intellectualism that Miller mentions. MLPs and our responses to them illustrate this more often than not. MLPs dealing with the war issue take for granted existing political polarization, take one small slice of what's been happening, and foment a stereotypical exchange of views. Recent editorials seem to be rather long-winded versions of the same, stringing together sensationalized non-sequiturs into an only semi-coherent polemic.

What's lacking in the stories and responses is time taken in fashioning a response that has been thought ought, deals with the actual subject matter in a subtle way, and includes a view to the gestalt of the topic. Gone missing is the altogether personal element: one rarely represents their opinion as bolstered by evidence, but rather presents evidence and adds an inflammatory quip by way of contribution.

The undue focus on every minor event within the current situation in world news aggravates this tendency. We find ourselves taking many quotes from other sources that we haven't taken the time to fully understand within their context. This doesn't really get fixed by responses or comment rating because most other people don't go research other people's claims for their veracity, but rather read and rate up those comments they agree with on instinct.

With this in mind, those who create stories, and those who post replies, ought to try and add something to the conversations, based on their personal experience--focusing on creating something of cultural insight rather than entering strict competition to see whose side can win the debate.

That being said, I'd like to hear what your thoughts on the state and quality of submissions to k5 are, and more importantly, how we can remind ourselves to keep responses well-thought out, constructive and perhaps even subtle in their points.

Also: please vote in the poll. Thanks.

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Poll
Vote Your Conscience
o Henry Miller is the best writer of all time. 2%
o MLPs, as they are currently being submitted, are a plague. 25%
o I am guilty of browbeating others with poorly understood facts. 20%
o I've never had a conversation with a Southerner. 23%
o People ought to expect a fierce response from k5. 11%
o World events right now are more important than breathy reflection upon culture. 16%

Votes: 314
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Kuro5hin
o Also by anaesthetica


Display: Sort:
The Blue-Themed Nightmare | 148 comments (134 topical, 14 editorial, 0 hidden)
Not sure about your entire premise (4.28 / 7) (#2)
by BadDoggie on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 03:57:25 PM EST

I'll give you relentless, and even mindless, although we usually manage to stop the latter in the queue. I'll even spot you "endless"; you can prefix "seemingly" if you so desire. But "damaging"? How so?

You present an interesting excerpt from Miller, and then fail to see how it should have been applied -- not to the South but metaphorically to K5.

You've been here long enough and posted often enough to knw that there is an incredible variety of opinion, and serious differences thereof even between those who, more often than not, share other strong opinions. How is this "dangerous" or "bad" or even "questionable"?

IQia stories don't get the auto-dump from me. There have been been some interesting discussions, ideas, opinions and links coming out of these. What worries me are people who think there's nothing to talk about.

So howcome you didn't post this to the edit queue?

woof.

"The line between genius and stupidity is very fine indeed, but you're so far away from the line that it doesn't matter." --

This was supposed to be Topical (none / 0) (#4)
by BadDoggie on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 04:02:11 PM EST

If an editor could change it, I'd be thankful AND wouldn't have to repost it.

woof.

"The line between genius and stupidity is very fine indeed, but you're so far away from the line that it doesn't matter." -- Parent ]

Miller Quote (5.00 / 5) (#10)
by anaesthetica on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 05:13:31 PM EST

I wrote the article after having read the above Miller quote exactly because I thought it did apply to kuro5hin. I'm sorry if I didn't make its inclusion clear. It's interesting in its application actually. Especially the parts about isolation, something that's not really possible on the web. But what the web lacks in isolation it can reclaim in a different pace. The bloggers have been commended on the speed of their reporting. I say, leave that to the bloggers, let them scoop k5. What k5 is (or ought to be), in relation to blogs and news sites, is a more widely balanced collection of op-ed pieces and interests. But what k5 might give up in speed (the one-line MLPs) it can gain in thought-out insight and reference to a wider picture. We all know that culture is a broad term concerning a collection of different social, political, economic and artistic elements. But in the heat of the crisis we seem to eschew well-developed thought. In a way we're letting the political atmosphere affect writing and discussion in exactly the wrong way.

I don't think that it's bad to have a variety of opinion, in fact it was my intention with the article to hopefully open up more of the gray areas and overlooked experience. What I think is damaging, bad and questionable is the polarization of debate here at k5. Articles seem increasingly designed to provoke standard responses, and focus on sensationalizing discrete issues in order to get posted. I think that polarizing discussion is dangerous because it removes the opportunity to reflect on personal experience, or add in points of view that don't fit in to the pre-drawn battle lines.


—I'm the little engine that didn't.
k5: our trolls go to eleven
[A]S FAR AS A PERSON'S ACTIONS ARE CONCERNED, IT IS NOT TRUE THAT NOTHING BUT GOOD COMES FROM GOOD AND NOTHING BUT EVIL COMES FROM EVIL, BUT RATHER QUITE FREQUENTLY THE OPPOSITE IS THE CASE. ANYONE WHO DOES NOT REALIZE THIS IS IN FACT A MERE CHILD IN POLITICAL MATTERS. max weber, politics as a vocation


[ Parent ]
that's how I understand the word "troll" (none / 0) (#55)
by Viliam Bur on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 09:52:18 AM EST

designed to provoke standard responses

I do not know how much it is related to anyone else's meaning of that word (including any "official" definitions).

By my definition, 99% of comments on any Iraq topic are trolls. But I do not rate them all 1 points, because yet they are less trollish than a TV or radio.

K5 is much better than most of TV and radio programs, yet... I still feel it is not good enough. I still believe there is a better way to communicate. Face to face communication's major disadvantage is that they are frequently the same people, from the same culture... It is good to hear opinions of someone from the other side of planet - though I wish those people would write more personal experience.

[ Parent ]

"Hey ... (4.91 / 61) (#3)
by pyramid termite on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 04:01:56 PM EST

... Harlan, what do you think about the weather?"
"Not bad for March. Could be gettin' close tomorrow, even."
"That Bush boy sure stood up and said his piece, didn't he?"
"Yes, sir, he did."
"Somethin' ain't it?"
"Yes, sir."
"You know, I was readin' on one of them web sites that someone faked that paper on the Iraqi nuclear supplies."
"Well, you know, no matter what game you're playin', there's always got to be a joker in the deck."
"Yeah, you got a point."
"I was readin' where someone said that geniuses got parts of their brains that are smarter than other people's parts."
"I hear bloodhounds got part of their noses that smell better than other dogs' noses."
"I sure hope they aren't spendin' my tax money on that crap."
"Yes, sir."
"Did you hear that new Beastie Boys song?"
"Yes, sir. Can't dance to it, at all."
"That's right, you can't."
"I wonder what our ol' boy Duxup's up to."
"Lovin'"
"I reckon."
"Things sure are close in the world these days."
"Yes, sir, close as hell."


On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
Lovin Indeed (none / 0) (#113)
by duxup on Wed Mar 19, 2003 at 02:26:27 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Well (2.10 / 10) (#6)
by medham on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 04:33:45 PM EST

I'm a Southerner, and I've never lost a debate here. Make of that what you will.

And there are some highly objectionable--even obscene--passages in many of Miller's works. Take a look at Opus Pistorum, if you don't believe. My favorite part is the Black Mass.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.

win? loose? who's the referee? (3.80 / 5) (#8)
by svampa on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 04:58:11 PM EST

I didn't know there was a referee!!. I want to talk with him right now! someone pushed me last story.



[ Parent ]
Kinda Sad About the Poll (3.00 / 1) (#14)
by anaesthetica on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 05:37:49 PM EST

No one has selected Henry Miller as the greatest author of all time. This is sort of upsetting. While I would put him in my Top Five, I think #1 goes to Vladmir Nabokov. But someone out there must like Henry Miller. Perhaps it's just not eating away at their conscience to confess this opinion to k5.


—I'm the little engine that didn't.
k5: our trolls go to eleven
[A]S FAR AS A PERSON'S ACTIONS ARE CONCERNED, IT IS NOT TRUE THAT NOTHING BUT GOOD COMES FROM GOOD AND NOTHING BUT EVIL COMES FROM EVIL, BUT RATHER QUITE FREQUENTLY THE OPPOSITE IS THE CASE. ANYONE WHO DOES NOT REALIZE THIS IS IN FACT A MERE CHILD IN POLITICAL MATTERS. max weber, politics as a vocation


[ Parent ]
miller (5.00 / 1) (#56)
by adequate nathan on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 10:19:01 AM EST

You can't be serious. Miller was a decent writer who occasionally had something to say, but he's no Donne or Goethe or Eminescu.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Nabokov vote seconded... (none / 0) (#105)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 08:46:57 PM EST

...Miller, on the other hand, is just a wee bit too self indulgent and narcissistic to place among the class of the greatest.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
make of that what i will... (3.40 / 5) (#16)
by circletimessquare on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 05:50:21 PM EST

I'm a Southerner, and I've never lost a debate here. Make of that what you will.

ok, i make of that that your ego is so big it blinds your judgment.

i think archie bunker would say he never lost an argument either. he was an armchair racist, bigot, and sexist, and a laughable character.

your quote bears the hallmark of a closed mind, and also, luckily, a laughable closed mind. ;-P


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

pot: Kettle, you are sooo black! n/t (4.00 / 1) (#138)
by ph0rk on Wed Mar 19, 2003 at 06:09:18 PM EST


[ f o r k . s c h i z o i d . c o m ]
[ Parent ]
An interesting commentary... (4.65 / 26) (#7)
by gr3y on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 04:56:23 PM EST

I was originally attracted to kuro5hin by the discussion.

I usually share my personal thoughts, opinions, and experiences - good, bad, and horrifying. However, all too often, a respondent seems more interested in "scoring points". To that end, he or she frequently picks some thing that I did not mention and uses it to "prove" that I'm wrong, or claims that I simply don't have the facts when I'm writing from the emotional well.

For instance, a recent poster tried to convince me that I did not go through basic and AIT with four soldiers with college degrees. He didn't ask what my military occupational specialty was, or he would have learned that it was military intelligence, and not infantry. If they had, this might have affected their argument, and might have lead to some understanding. She didn't ask, though, and wasn't willing to entertain the notion that she just didn't have enough facts on which to base her argument that all soldiers are uneducated, stupid brutes.

In short, there was no discussion, no attempt to understand my point of view, no dialogue... No one questions my comments, they merely dispute them. There's no realization that a human being is posting as "gr3y", with all the problems that usually causes, and who is usually willing to entertain alternative explanations for what I've witnessed.

This has become worse in recent months, and I've instituted a personal blanket ban on all "war in Iraq" stories simply to keep myself from being regularly infuriated. I get that at work and I don't need it when I'm trying to relax.

I don't even comment on them - I just vote them down as quickly as possible. I'm disgusted by the "Bush is an idiot" argument as an explanation for war in Iraq, any reference to "USian", and comments like: "the estimates of the peace march were waaay wrong - there were at least a million people there".

In short, for the past several weeks, I've considered it a profitless endeavour to post at all, and I've only posted a handful of comments in select circumstances. There's no point. When everyone's mind is already made up, there can be no exchange of ideas or experience.

I like your submission, and I'm interested in reading what other people have to say, so I'm voting it +1 FP. But I'm not voting in the poll because the options are too limited. How about a "none of the above"?

I am a disruptive technology.

Well Said (4.66 / 9) (#19)
by Aemeth on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 07:01:27 PM EST

I was introduced to K5 by a friend, who sold it to me on the basis that it had real discussion, and well thought out opinions and arguments (in the non-violent sense). Unfortunately there seems to be more and more people who are treating K5 like 'the other site', and posting pointlessly inflammatory messages, and failing to advance the discussion in any way. Worse still is that every user with a marginally different outrageous comment feels the need to post it as well, leaving those looking for real discussion to trawl through far too much dross. Of course, the forum has to be left open so that those with something to say actually get to, almost a Catch 22 really. Also there are some genuinely satirical and worthy 'trolls' who can actually make a sensible point through advocation of the devil, as it were. Possibly there are too many out there attempting this sort of post and failing miserably. Hopefully this article will wake some people up to the expected content of this site, and either raise their standards, or return to whatever newsgroup they came from.

...mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true.
Bertrand Russell


[ Parent ]
I stumbled across it... (4.66 / 3) (#32)
by gr3y on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 08:39:23 PM EST

as strange as that may seem.

The internet is still a big place, and I don't have the lifetimes necessary to sample even a tenth of it, although I wish I did.

I find myself responding to each post as if it were not a troll, even if I suspect it is. That's their nature, I guess, to encourage that kind of response. A well-crafted troll certainly accomplished this.

As I posted earlier, I hope reasoned discussion prevails. Enough people poke and prod me in real life to try to get some reaction out of me that I don't seek it on the internet. And I have enough of a problem presenting my personal opinion IRL in a way to which other people are receptive. When people poke and prod me online as well, it makes the effort worthless.

If the trolls and devil's advocates overpower the reasoned speakers here, it won't be worth sifting through the garbage to find the honest opinion, exactly like that other site. I hope that doesn't happen, because I've been looking for a site like K5 for a number of years, and I've never had the opportunity to participate before. Now that I have that opportunity, I'm loathe to have it taken by those that have nothing to contribute.

Maybe this post will serve to encourage others to raise their standards, as you say. There's room enough for all. That's what I don't understand. In an environment where anyone can speak their mind freely and (relatively) anonymously, why do some insist on portraying an opinion that they do not personally believe simply for the thrill of the thing?

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

Human nature (3.50 / 4) (#46)
by greenrd on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 06:50:40 AM EST

k5 is a large enough community to have a fairly diverse audience.

In an environment where anyone can speak their mind freely and (relatively) anonymously, why do some insist on portraying an opinion that they do not personally believe simply for the thrill of the thing?

Because any sufficiently large community will always have its share of mischieveous people.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Also (3.00 / 1) (#60)
by trane on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 11:09:27 AM EST

trolls can be useful. At the very least they often provide laughter, which is supposed to be the best medicine and all that.

Also trolls can present unpopular viewpoints, or they can challenge accepted viewpoints with uncommon arguments. Even if the troll himself doesn't hold the opinion he presents, it is likely someone somewhere does; so it is often useful to consider the troll's argument and answer it in a non-emotional way.

[ Parent ]

Of course... (none / 0) (#109)
by gr3y on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 10:11:28 PM EST

I agree with the previous poster, who stated that every community has its deviants, and deviance is a sign of a healthy society, in my opinion. Public forums on the internet seem to attract more than their fair share of miscreants because they allow (pseudo) anonymous participation which encourages behavior that would be reprehensible in other public forums. However, it also allows those that would not speak their mind in those other public forums to share their ideas.

I wish more of them were clever trolls, or challenged conventional thinking, or stated unpopular points of view in an amusing way, as you say, rather than trolls who troll for trolling's sake. They would be worth reading, then.

I suppose I might as well wish for gills, while I'm at it. Or a filter that lets me separate the "good" trolls from the "bad".

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

yeah. (3.66 / 3) (#37)
by pb on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 11:33:08 PM EST

K5 has been dying for some time now; this requires both an influx of clueless users, and no strong guidelines, enforcement, or community to beat them into good citizens.  The same thing happened at /.; it's somewhat inevitable.

But I've ranted on this, and possible "technical solutions" to help out, for a long time.  There's probably stuff about it in my diary, or in my (eternally hidden) dumped stories, or something.

So, yeah, K5 sucks.  And I'll abandon it as soon as I find something better, or come up with something else.  Which probably won't be any time soon.

:(
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

k5 dying (5.00 / 1) (#49)
by anaesthetica on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 07:30:32 AM EST

I'm not quite sure that an influx of new users is the problem. The whole of k5 votes on stories in the queue, and as you know, it's much easier to get a story dumped quickly than it is to get it posted. I think we're just getting lazy about our standards. Furthermore, it doesn't seem like technical solutions will work—what can we do beyond moderation and the submission queue? If older more experienced k5ers just give up and leave the whole thing will fall through much quicker. But if you and the other capable k5 users can raise the bar for submissions, writing stories that have decent hooks and substantive analysis or reflection, I think more people will be inclined to raise their own standards when submitting or posting.

p.s. i think your .sig is quite relevant to the discussion being had here.


—I'm the little engine that didn't.
k5: our trolls go to eleven
[A]S FAR AS A PERSON'S ACTIONS ARE CONCERNED, IT IS NOT TRUE THAT NOTHING BUT GOOD COMES FROM GOOD AND NOTHING BUT EVIL COMES FROM EVIL, BUT RATHER QUITE FREQUENTLY THE OPPOSITE IS THE CASE. ANYONE WHO DOES NOT REALIZE THIS IS IN FACT A MERE CHILD IN POLITICAL MATTERS. max weber, politics as a vocation


[ Parent ]
technical solutions (5.00 / 1) (#61)
by trane on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 11:21:34 AM EST

For one thing if users could select story topics to hide (such as Politics or Fiction or whatever) it might eliminate a lot of the whining about "too many fiction submissions" or "too much politics".

And once k5 develops a sufficient ai, you might be able to hide all political stories that don't include a personal viewpoint or whatever other criteria you were pushing in this article.

Whereas others who don't mind the stories that you find unsatisfactory might still be able to view and comment on them.

I think it is likely that there is always a technological solution to a social problem. Technology gives us the means to allow each individual to fully customize his/her view of the site. So the site could eventually be all things to all people, all of the time...

[ Parent ]

Yes. (none / 0) (#92)
by pb on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 06:12:52 PM EST

Actually, that's part of my solution too; you've definitely got the basic idea.

But remember, Rusty is against customization, so if that truly is the solution, then he won't acknowledge it.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

true. (none / 0) (#93)
by pb on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 06:18:23 PM EST

Why does the whole of k5 vote on stories in the queue? And, for that matter, why should I care about what the whole of k5 thinks?

K5 isn't a community; maybe tiny bits of it are, you know, people who share views, or enjoy debating about each other's ideas.  But just because we all created accounts on the same website, well, that doesn't magically make us a community; far from it.

But what if you had a choice about who was in a community, or if you got to pick who you trusted to vote on things, or who you didn't?  What if people who didn't care about politics could ignore all the political nazis, and go back to talking about Fiction or Technology, and if people who absolutely hate Fiction could go back to talking about News and the Media instead of vehemously voting down every bit of Fiction they see?

Well, those would be the benefits of customization; it lets you avoid the tyrrany of the majority.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

Balkanization (4.00 / 1) (#101)
by anaesthetica on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 08:12:19 PM EST

That's actually a really interesting observation. Reading through the Meta section I've discovered a bunch of posts concerning how the voting system works, and it does seem that quick and organized minorities (not to speak of those who have so little else in their life worth doing to establish multiple k5 accounts) are able to push their desired content through, or "shitcan" stories before the majority can vote them up. This works both ways. The majority can sometimes strong-arm a story through, and a plurality of people can sometimes quickly rush something through that the majority wouldn't normally allow for. I guess that's just one of the odd quirks of the scoop voting system, in that it allows both the majority and an organized minority to have their say.

You're right that k5 as a whole does not necessarily constitute a community, as we do not all share common interests or opinions or backgrounds. But I'd like to think that a vast majority here at least share something. Similar to popular conceptions of the United States as a melting pot of cultures held together not by religion, ethnicity, history etc, but by the Constitution and Civic Life. Similarly k5ers, while constituting a variegated group of individuals, most likely share a common interest in preserving the tolerable signal to noise ratio, while having the opportunity to engage in interesting conversation with people who won't just stonewall them.

However, I'm not sure that filtering stories by topic will solve anything. It's not the topic itself that's inherently frustrating. I enjoy many politics articles, just like I enjoy some technology articles, and most culture articles. I don't want to filter politics articles simply because aggravatingly short and hasty articles outnumber the thoughtful well-conceived pieces.

If someone truly has no interest in seeing Fiction stories, perhaps they should just click Abstain rather than voting it down. I doubt the Anti-Fiction Nazis will consider that an option in reality, but conversely the quality and layout of the Fiction pieces thus far has not been very high. Admittedly, it is harder to write good fiction than it is to write a decent journalistic analysis or reflection on a topic, but should we lower standards just because it happens to be fiction? I don't think that would be right either.

I think that filtering of stories would lead to an unbalancing of k5 as a whole, creating a kind of balkanized website without a sense of itself as a whole. K5 is not yet that large that it needs subsections and subdomains entirely separated (by choice or by other means) from the rest of the users.


—I'm the little engine that didn't.
k5: our trolls go to eleven
[A]S FAR AS A PERSON'S ACTIONS ARE CONCERNED, IT IS NOT TRUE THAT NOTHING BUT GOOD COMES FROM GOOD AND NOTHING BUT EVIL COMES FROM EVIL, BUT RATHER QUITE FREQUENTLY THE OPPOSITE IS THE CASE. ANYONE WHO DOES NOT REALIZE THIS IS IN FACT A MERE CHILD IN POLITICAL MATTERS. max weber, politics as a vocation


[ Parent ]
fortunately, I didn't suggest that. (5.00 / 2) (#111)
by pb on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 11:02:18 PM EST

What I'd like to do is give the user total control over what they see on K5... if they want to see or discuss any article, they should be able to, whether or not the majority approves.  Simple filtering by topic or section isn't robust enough to assure that I'd automatically see only (and all of) the articles that I'd be interested in, but I do think that it could be useful in rare cases (like an anti-Fiction nazi choosing to not see Fiction).

I'd rather be able to personally blacklist or whitelist users or groups of users for various things, or assign them ratings based on how much I value their opinion.  Let's say, for example, that I thought that this story was the best story ever on Kuro5hin, and I therefore trust the people who voted for it to also vote for other stories I'd like, and similarly distrust those who voted against it.  I should be able to note this, and in the future, any story that has these people voting for or against it should have its voting score similarly adjusted for me, based on how much I trust them. Therefore, depending on my list, I might have different stories showing up on the Front Page and other stories hidden that would otherwise show up.

Now, I think this would be a very cool system, but it ends up sounding like an awful lot of work.  It would probably be more convenient to do all of the extra work on the client instead of on the server, i.e., send the client "headers" of some sort, and let it decide what data it wants to construct the page, sort of like NNTP. But at this point it stops sounding like an addition to Scoop and starts sounding like something completely new, which would be even more work...
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

New Trusted Users (none / 0) (#123)
by anaesthetica on Wed Mar 19, 2003 at 11:12:31 AM EST

I really dig that idea. Althougn k5 might end up like your Tivo telling you that all you really want to see are random stories on Michael Jackson and making toast. Similar to Slashdot's friends/foes scheme, k5 could implement this whitelist/blacklist scheme of yours.

I'm not exactly sure how this would affect the end result of the page however. Perhaps when viewing comments, the rating given to comments could be weighted more by users you whitelist, and less to the users you blacklist, ensuring content that others you trust like is seen higher on the page.

And as you say, if a story that's voted up has enough blacklisted users voting for it, it might be hidden from you personally.

Interesting, but I still think it detracts from the concept of having each member responsible (in theory) for the content of the site as a whole. Part of having an open content/voting system is to allow everyone to shape the site. But if you abnegate that responsibility through filtering technology, I'm not sure that will make the site better in general. How do you think your system will deal with that?


—I'm the little engine that didn't.
k5: our trolls go to eleven
[A]S FAR AS A PERSON'S ACTIONS ARE CONCERNED, IT IS NOT TRUE THAT NOTHING BUT GOOD COMES FROM GOOD AND NOTHING BUT EVIL COMES FROM EVIL, BUT RATHER QUITE FREQUENTLY THE OPPOSITE IS THE CASE. ANYONE WHO DOES NOT REALIZE THIS IS IN FACT A MERE CHILD IN POLITICAL MATTERS. max weber, politics as a vocation


[ Parent ]
possibly, yes. (5.00 / 1) (#125)
by pb on Wed Mar 19, 2003 at 01:05:27 PM EST

I'm not convinced that a straight whitelist/blacklist scheme is the best way to do it; I was thinking of some sort of numerical opinion rating.  Like, let's say you have a range from 0..1, where 0 is blacklist and 1 is whitelist, and everyone starts out at 0.5.  And when you say, for example, "I agree with everyone who voted for this article" (or "I disagree with everyone who voted against this article") then all of those scores would be adjusted appropriately, by 10% or something.  And setting a given user to 0 would be equivalent to ignoring them, while setting them to 1 would be like doubling the effect of their opinion on you.

So you still rely on everyone's opinion to shape the site, both for you and for everyone else; all I'm changing is how you (individually) use that opinion.  And obviously nothing says you'd have to use this system at all; if you didn't, then nothing would appear to change, at least for you...
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

We are cursed with... (4.50 / 2) (#104)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 08:34:08 PM EST

...living in interesting times.

Frankly, I think the conversation about Iraq here at K5 was better by many magnitudes of order 8 to 12 months ago, but as what once seemed as distant possibility has come to present itself as an ominously inevitable outcome, the conversation has become far more shrill and histrionic (mea culpa). People are feeling desperate and many of us, perched high atop our respective soapboxes, are showing the signs of oxygen deprivation.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
That's my conclusion as well... (4.50 / 2) (#110)
by gr3y on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 10:40:18 PM EST

but you stated it more eloquently than I would have.

As "the moment" approaches, I feel more and more helpless to do anything about it, and find myself hoping it will begin and end as quickly as possible, so that we can begin to deal with the consequences of the inevitable. I am no longer willing to debate the rightness or wrongness of war with Iraq. I'm sure I'm not alone.

And I'm probably guilty of histrionics as well, but my reaction has been to vote down any stories about war in Iraq, because arguing about it, at this stage, seems useless. That's my reaction, surely. It's an interesting thought that the screaming and hysteria I'm hearing may be others' reactions, as mine is avoidance (for lack of a better term).

Because I'm not like that, maybe I'm missing the point.

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

aka If you're not for me, you're against me (5.00 / 8) (#21)
by bsimon on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 07:14:37 PM EST

Sometimes people seem to think that a discussion is a contest that they have to 'win', not something they can learn from.

Often these people seem to expect their ideas to be strongly opposed, and see any comment which does not agree 100 percent as an attack.

Maybe it's the old problem of written words not conveying emotion very well. A questioning observation (which might be made with a smile or a quizzical look in real life), is misunderstood as a vigorous challenge to the core of someone's belief system.

you have read my sig
[ Parent ]

hand gestures (3.00 / 1) (#22)
by loomingleaf on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 07:17:30 PM EST

I agree with what you said about the nature of written word. I was trying to capture some of the nature of the more social aspects in my post above which I believe are the real hinges of this issue. I don't think it's so much what people say as how they relate to eachother on such a forum... are they all destined to be the same?

"It makes you wonder what you're putting on your hook when you keep catching the same fish."
........


[ Parent ]
The written word (4.83 / 6) (#28)
by gr3y on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 08:11:56 PM EST

does not convey emotion very well, as most people write. However, some of the most moving words in history have been captured by pen and paper. Personally, I find the sheer volume of sigs and quotes passed around usenet which invoke some form of the written word to be staggering, when I consider how each post is propogated to every news server that carries it throughout the world, and how those words, puny though they may seem to someone who's read them again and again (and heard them mangled again and again), may appear to someone who's never read them, especially when properly attributed. There is power in words:

  • "I swear upon the altar of God, eternal hostility to every form of tyranny over the mind of man. - Thomas Jefferson"
  • "Those that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. - Benjamin Franklin"
When I first arrived, I hoped to learn to advance ideas independent of the intimate, physical appeal necessary to carry a conversation - an opportunity to learn to communicate my opinions, beliefs, and experiences on their merits. I reasoned that if I could convey those ideas without resorting to personality, I would learn to be a calmer, more reasoned speaker as well. I am an energetic speaker, but I find that alienates (overpowers) some people who probably have their own opinions which they do not share because they feel there would be no point. By learning to make my point through the written word, I hope to become a more thoughtful speaker.

I do not claim to be someone who can always make his point successfully, but I am trying to learn to avoid the very thing of which you speak - misinterpreting a questioning observation as a challenge to the core of my belief system. I am not always successful, to be sure.

In any case, I agree with you. This is all too common, and, as I said, I hope to learn to avoid it. Lately I have not had the opportunity. Hopefully, come what may, war or no war, everyone will calm down, tempers will subside, and reasoned discussion will prevail. I certainly hope so, as I've enjoyed my time here, for the most part. I'm intensely interested in what other people believe.

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

I think the real problem is emotion itself (none / 0) (#66)
by trane on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 11:36:40 AM EST

Why should you get angry at a "vigorous challenge to the very core of your belief system"? If you respond rationally to the text of the statement questioning your view, the author's emotion while writing the questioning post is irrelevant.

Personally I find writing's relative difficulty in expressing emotion to be an advantage of internet forums. In my opinion discussions proceed most efficiently if emotion is left out.

Those who "see any comment which does not agree 100 percent as an attack" can be ignored, or educated, or moderated accordingly, or even hidden from your view, if you feel that strongly that they are compromising the discussion's value.

[ Parent ]

Does that stray into the sterile? (4.00 / 2) (#72)
by Gooba42 on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 12:38:48 PM EST

The article really suggests that to have a "real" discussion that you can't leave emotion behind altogether.

I tend to agree. You don't have to get angry or go off the deep end over some discussion but you don't have to be passionless about it either. Passion and eloquence together make for better discussion but I'm not sure that efficiency figures into it. The most efficient conversation would be a one-on-one exchange of facts sans debate or disagreement and that's the last thing you want in a forum like this one.

Perhaps it's more a lack of civility or civics that results in the current state of online discussion. It's more a problem that people drop all vestige of thoughtful or polite response than presence or lack of emotional expression.

[ Parent ]

why? (none / 0) (#128)
by trane on Wed Mar 19, 2003 at 01:30:04 PM EST

Passion and eloquence together make for better discussion but I'm not sure that efficiency figures into it.

I'm sure most people agree with you; but I wonder, why? What does "passion and eloquence" give us that logic and efficiency don't?

The most efficient conversation would be a one-on-one exchange of facts sans debate or disagreement and that's the last thing you want in a forum like this one.

I mean efficiency in arriving at a conclusion not based on irrational or emotional or false arguments. So it shouldn't have to be limited to one-on-one.

The benefit to participating in such an "efficient" conversation would be: conclusions that would be eventually arrived at ("discrimination against blacks, homosexuals, etc. is bad") would be reached more quickly. So society would become better faster.

[ Parent ]

I'm not sure people work that way... (none / 0) (#143)
by Gooba42 on Thu Mar 20, 2003 at 04:59:49 PM EST

I think in some respects people need a sort of protracted argument to bring them around. Someone with an emotional attachment to the status quo won't change because you've proven them to be wrong. They may see the light and want to change but that's a far cry from actually changing.

People have emotions, whether they communicate them or not and society will have to deal with them even if the debate itself doesn't embrace that portion of the mind. I'm not so sure that everything has a logical conclusion in that respect either.

Morals or ethics are very difficult to determine logically. In one respect cannibalism is a very good vector for disease and thus is "bad" in a logic based ethics. However likewise cannibalism is a good source of nutrients in otherwise impoverished ecologies. Nutritionally it's the most bang for your buck and so is logically "good" too. Logic won't always show you the way.

[ Parent ]

I think emotions just slow us down (none / 0) (#145)
by trane on Fri Mar 21, 2003 at 09:26:32 AM EST

I think that logic does lead to the right way, which we eventually get to anyways, but emotions often slow us down along that path.

Emotions must have provided some survival advantage. But they may be outliving their usefulness.

If cannibalism makes sense, I don't have anything against it. Unless it relies on killing innocents, which I believe I can prove, logically, to be detrimental to the society.

[ Parent ]

Apply it to ritual cannibalism, i.e. funereal (none / 0) (#147)
by Gooba42 on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 02:34:16 PM EST

My logic applies mostly to the ritual, funereal form of cannibalism. A society which eats it's young obviously won't remain viable for long.

Logic is very black and white though, if there's one case which isn't perfectly clear one way or another then logically, that suggests that logic can't be relied upon.

[ Parent ]

Logic (none / 0) (#148)
by trane on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 04:12:15 PM EST

There is fuzzy logic, which fills in the continuum between "true" and "false".

But if there's a case which isn't perfectly clear, allow both, until it becomes clear which one is better, if one is better...

I've sort of lost track of the cannibalism argument; if it harms others who don't want to be harmed, it is (I believe I can prove logically) wrong. If the victims don't mind, let it continue. If the society is in danger of dying out as a result of eating its young, well, if the society realizes that is what is happening, then that is what they want to happen. (Sort of like vhemt.org, which I support.)

[ Parent ]

Emotion in written words (5.00 / 2) (#80)
by Quantumpanda on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 01:06:56 PM EST

The problem is not that the written word does not convey emotion well. The problem is that the written word does not convey the non-verbal elements of face-to-face communication.

When you talk to someone in person, their words are not the only communication between you. Facial expressions, gestures, tone of voice, specific inflections, and many other non-verbal signals pass between you, and these convey a great deal of information, particularly about emotional states.

When your communication is written, as it is online, those non-verbal elements are not present. The information they convey must be actively converted into words if that information is to communicated.

I believe that as technology enabled more communication to take place in real time instead of on paper, people have tended to put less effort into developing the skills of putting that information into their words. Letter-writing was once considered a fine art, and if you read old letters, you will notice that those writers frequently were able to convey emotion quite well with only words. They most certainly did not normally speak in the same style as they wrote; they were well aware of the different communicative needs of the different media, even if they didn't know how to explain it.

But most online writing, in my experience, tends to be presented through the mindset of a face-to-face or phone conversation. And so most people simply write down the same words they would use if they were speaking them, never realizing that the missing emotional content could also be conveyed if they chose their words differently.


People are stupid. But we usually can't kill them, so we have to settle for the next best thing: we laugh at them.
[ Parent ]

hmm.. (none / 0) (#84)
by chimera on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 02:23:21 PM EST

perhaps it is such that k5 users have a heavy personality tendency in trying to teach others.

perhaps that is the same thing as 'winning', though.

perhaps the quality of postings has less to do with social interaction than asocial interaction - perhaps k5 posters percieve an argumental thread to be their own internal discussion more than they think they do, and as a follow-through try different low-brow lines of argument just for the sake of it.
much like most coding. sometimes you get it really good, most is tripe.

[ Parent ]

Now (1.00 / 2) (#42)
by medham on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 04:57:37 AM EST

People say that sexism is dead. Wonder what they'd say when I pointed out them that you think that anyone who disagrees with you (by dint of superior knowledge and intellect, actually) must be a girl?

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
[ Parent ]

Post doesn't support your comment... (none / 0) (#74)
by Gooba42 on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 12:47:35 PM EST

The paragraph I believe you were referring to actually started out saying "he" and ended up saying "she". I'm not sure of the reason for the inconsistancy but the paragraph was obviously referring to a specific person/poster and so doesn't seem to reflect any generalized prejudice whatsoever.

[ Parent ]
That is correct. (none / 0) (#108)
by gr3y on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 09:38:40 PM EST

I intentionally started that paragraph referring to "he" and ended that paragraph referring to "she". It seemed fair. I was referring to a specific poster with whom I disagreed and I had no wish to appear to be dragging a grudge into this thread.

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

minor disagreement: Injecting opinion into a story (4.10 / 10) (#9)
by maynard on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 05:03:27 PM EST

With this in mind, those who create stories, and those who post replies, ought to try and add something to the conversations, based on their personal experience--focusing on creating something of cultural insight rather than entering strict competition to see whose side can win the debate.

First of all, I voted +1,FP for this submission. Thanks for opening up a discussion about how to debate in an inherently polarized climate. While I do see some threads of people debating at odds with each other and to no resolution, I also have seen some amazingly intelligent and well read discussion as well. I see less vindictive and polemic debate and more rational discourse here than most places discussing the upcoming war. And this is certainly one of the most polarized sites I read: there's a healthy division of liberals and conservatives here, with neither really controlling the site.

A nit pick though. You write that authors should try to add personal experience and opinion in their writings, including story submissions. Unless the story is sectioned OP-ED, I completely disagree. Author's who write news should attempt to remove as much bias as they possibly can and stick to writing straight facts, with references backing their positions up. Nothing more. If an author wants to present opinion about the subject of their story, write a comment and let that issue get hashed out in a debate thread. JMO. (really short on time today, will try to respond to thread as I can) --M


Read The Proxies, a short crime thriller.

I agree, but... (5.00 / 2) (#27)
by needless on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 07:57:53 PM EST

A nit pick though. You write that authors should try to add personal experience and opinion in their writings, including story submissions. Unless the story is sectioned OP-ED, I completely disagree. Author's who write news should attempt to remove as much bias as they possibly can and stick to writing straight facts, with references backing their positions up. Nothing more.

True, that's the way it should be, but that is seldom the case, especially on K5. The primary difference here is that people usually exhibit their opinion by citing of other sources. How is that personal opinion? It is because sources disagreeing with the submitter aren't cited.

While I'm all for unbiased reporting, the reality of the matter makes me simply wish straightforward bias; it's much less misleading.



[ Parent ]
Debating .... (none / 0) (#57)
by craigtubby on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 10:35:00 AM EST

Maybe K5 should have a debating society.  

A topic is chosen, then 6 people volunteer to be the debators, each saying what side of the debate they wish to be (for, against, neutral).

The 6 are then assigned their side *randomly* so you can have people being against something, but debating for it.  Each person only has one chance to "talk" starting with a neutral introduction - For - reply(against) - reply(For) - reply(Against) - reply(For) - reply(Against) - then the two conclusions from either side are posted at the same time.

We then get to vote on who was the best debator and which side "won" - of course not always the same side.

As a reward for winning?  Maybe the debators get a tag in thier normal comments saying how good they are :-)

try to make ends meet, you're a slave to money, then you die.

* Webpage *
[ Parent ]

Been stewing on that thought all this time... (none / 0) (#79)
by Gooba42 on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 01:02:05 PM EST

Since I read the article I've been trying to figure how it would work but a formal debate site could be pretty interesting.

Trying to figure out a good referee system though would be difficult.

[ Parent ]

The myth of unbiased reporting (5.00 / 3) (#76)
by Quantumpanda on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 12:51:12 PM EST

Unless the story is sectioned OP-ED, I completely disagree. Author's who write news should attempt to remove as much bias as they possibly can and stick to writing straight facts, with references backing their positions up. Nothing more.
Because of the nature of the English language (and for that matter, all natural languages), there is no such thing as a "straight fact". The very act of expressing information in words adds connotation, and unless the author specifically chooses words for a particular connotation, bias and opinion will usually be revealed by the choice of words.

Furthermore, there was a time when reporters were not expected to keep themselves out of the story and simply report plain information. A good reporter--a good writer--knows how much of themselves is appropriate to inject into a story. The value of good reporters is not in their ability to write sterile, unbiased facts--it is in their ability to take the news and put an appropriate personal face on it.

If an article doesn't contain some personal amount of the writer in it, it loses relevance. We are human beings. Language is a means of connection between human beings by the sharing of information. Information is not just facts and data. Our minds are not just our reason--we are reason, emotion, body, and spirit. And language has in it the capacity to express information relevant to all those parts.

If you write an article for k5, put yourself into it. Let me understand why the topic is relevant to you. Show me the person behind the screen. Connect to me.


People are stupid. But we usually can't kill them, so we have to settle for the next best thing: we laugh at them.
[ Parent ]

+1 FP. May the South rise again. (2.33 / 6) (#12)
by dr zeus on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 05:27:35 PM EST



-1 (1.00 / 9) (#17)
by United Fools on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 06:56:50 PM EST

We do not like any article which uses words like "mindless".
We are united, we are fools, and we are America!
Interesting (4.00 / 2) (#25)
by anaesthetica on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 07:45:49 PM EST

You yourself have a story in the queue, for which you selected the Category "Mindless Link Propagation." Does that mean you're going to vote down your own story when it leaves edit mode?

I can't really even tell if you're sincere in this response or being sarcastic. On one hand, you might dislike my use of the word mindless in the intro text. Or perhaps you are attempting to mock "mindless" dislike of MLPs.

I don't dislike MLPs on face, or even fiction articles, unlike many other k5ers here. But I don't notice nearly the same level of negative traits in most Culture or Science or Technology write-ups.


—I'm the little engine that didn't.
k5: our trolls go to eleven
[A]S FAR AS A PERSON'S ACTIONS ARE CONCERNED, IT IS NOT TRUE THAT NOTHING BUT GOOD COMES FROM GOOD AND NOTHING BUT EVIL COMES FROM EVIL, BUT RATHER QUITE FREQUENTLY THE OPPOSITE IS THE CASE. ANYONE WHO DOES NOT REALIZE THIS IS IN FACT A MERE CHILD IN POLITICAL MATTERS. max weber, politics as a vocation


[ Parent ]
Not an issue (1.25 / 4) (#26)
by United Fools on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 07:56:59 PM EST

We cannot vote on our own story... But the issue with "mindless" goes deeper. You have to be sensitive to fools. Using terms like "mindless" is like calling blacks "N****"
We are united, we are fools, and we are America!
[ Parent ]
Science vs Life (4.25 / 8) (#18)
by bsimon on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 06:57:00 PM EST

...we do tend to browbeat one another with 'facts' we've picked up from perusing the internet. Too often this borders on the sterile intellectualism that Miller mentions.

I wonder if this happens because a significant number of people here are schooled in the scientific method. So we tend to hope that we can prove our arguments with facts, evidence, and statistics.

That's an attitude which works perfectly in the purity of the lab, but not so well in the confusion of real life.

Funnily enough, the resulting arguments look neither sterile nor intellectual.

you have read my sig

heh (none / 0) (#68)
by trane on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 11:42:41 AM EST

That's an attitude which works perfectly in the purity of the lab, but not so well in the confusion of real life.

Only because humans are stupid, irrational creatures at times.

Or possibly also because scientific facts tend to get overturned a lot.

[ Parent ]

Scientific method is insufficient for discourse (4.50 / 2) (#71)
by Quantumpanda on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 12:31:59 PM EST

Linguistically and rhetorically speaking, the scientific method is a far from sufficient basis for building an argument or discourse. Facts, evidence, and statistics are valuable information, but just as important to rhetoric is the ability to use the language effectively.

The great debaters of old didn't necessarily have any better grasp of the facts than other people--they had better grasp of the language. Most of the responses I see here on k5 seem to have been written under the assumption that an out-of-context fact, an unjustified leap to a conclusion, and a potentially witty wisecrack, or, failing wit, a blatant insult, are the full measure of counter-argument available.

Persuasion is built on connotation. Debate is built on rhetoric. Meaning is built on semantics. These are not useless literary pursuits for English professors--they are the foundations of effective communication. And none of them will be found in writing built solely on facts and evidence.

If you've never studied general semantics and/or the works of Alfred Korzybski, I recommend you spend some time on general-semantics.org. Even if you disagree with the premises and/or conclusions of general semantics, it's difficult to deny the usefulness of the methods when trying to convey precise meaning.

While I do not fully agree with the conclusions of the article, I applaud periodic attempts to get us to look critically at how we conduct our discussions here. Let such continue.

People are stupid. But we usually can't kill them, so we have to settle for the next best thing: we laugh at them.
[ Parent ]

Psychologically... (4.52 / 17) (#20)
by loomingleaf on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 07:11:19 PM EST

... I was thinking about posting something similar about the nature of k5. However, I believe that you have forgotten the `nature' of the internet, the format or medium of this forum, as it were. As a network for the dissemination of information, people have learned to use the internet to do exactly what you criticise - find facts, remember them, regurgitate them - even batter eachother with them. I don't believe, and this may sound negative, that we have gone far enough, culturally, to be able to move true social intercourse to the net.

This could be for a number of reasons, not least, the consequences of the fact that there is no name to the face that posts. `Who am I?' for example, begs to be answered. There are no ties to a web-browser, no public link to my alias, no guarantee that I am sane even. I can make whatever comments I want without any major repercussions, which doesn't happen in the real world. We know very little information about posters... but what of it?

As a relatively new poster to this site, I often find myself looking through the histories of other posters in an attempt to find out more about them. In real-world interactions we do this information gathering subconsciously with a judgemental glace and, as I have watched myself do many a time, temper our responses to a person based on our judgement. When meeting the delivery man I say "Alright mate!" When meeting a client I say "Good afternoon, Mr. X."

So what happens without this social information? I suggest that we become more brash and critical. There are no consquences for our actions and so we speak out more. I have noticed that often it is the quietest who are the loudest on the net. But, we can't shout "Oi you with the red hair!", "Tree hugger!" or "Paedophile!" because we have nothing to base such an insult on. Instead, we hit eachother with the only personal information we have, facts from the post and other small titbits found on the http.

I think that's just the way it is and it's going to be. It is the nature of the internet and there is nothing that can be done about it. However, I shall endeavour to write more discursive posts in future and that's my little contribution.


"It makes you wonder what you're putting on your hook when you keep catching the same fish."
........


re: looking through the histories of other posters (4.00 / 1) (#30)
by kpaul on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 08:22:37 PM EST

Guilty as well. It's also occasionally interesting to see how certain usernames vote for certain types of stories. Who is it, for example, that has the sig here that says 'on the internet no one knows you're a dog' - a dog ?


2014 Halloween Costumes
[ Parent ]
"Repercussions" (4.00 / 5) (#38)
by DarkZero on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 11:52:40 PM EST

This could be for a number of reasons, not least, the consequences of the fact that there is no name to the face that posts. `Who am I?' for example, begs to be answered. There are no ties to a web-browser, no public link to my alias, no guarantee that I am sane even. I can make whatever comments I want without any major repercussions, which doesn't happen in the real world. We know very little information about posters... but what of it?

This argument has been around for about as long as Usenet has been, but I still don't understand what these "repercussions" that we're missing are, or at least what's so good about them. In real world discussions, people are shunned for having left-wing/right-wing ideas in a right-wing/left-wing area or among groups of friends that feel differently. As arguments go on, people often get emotional and it becomes nothing more than a personal screaming match. And due to the fact that we don't have the option of spending twenty minutes or so researching our next response in a discussion, you usually just have to trust that someone is speaking the truth, instead of actually seeing what they are talking about. Is all of that really so much better than this system, where ideas are judged mostly on their own merits because their presenter is little more than an anonymous voice, and where there is ample time to present evidence to make an argument, rather than just regurgitating a fuzzy memory of something you read somewhere that you think might be reputable?

If you're talking about trolls and people just generally flinging insults, then I can see your point about repercussions, but this article seemed to be talking more about the inanity of online discussion, rather than the raving obscenity of it.

[ Parent ]

repercussions (5.00 / 5) (#41)
by loomingleaf on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 04:52:30 AM EST

I know this is not a new idea, it's something that I've had in my head and discussed with people for nearly seven years I guess, and that is why I thought that it was interesting that it had been ignored in the original post.

Here is a perfect example of how words can be taken differently to how they were originally meant. The comment that you have highlighted was merely and observation rather than a criticism of the system. In fact, my whole post was not critical, merely observational. At least that was what I was aiming for. I enjoy being able to post here because my words are read without any other basis for judgement. I don't like posting here because I believe that I am far better at discussion face to face because I use many non-verbal queues to my advantage, which is obviously not possible on k5.

The real-world repercussions I was thinking of were two fold. Firstly, I don't think I would be able to walk up to some bloke in a pub and say "By the way, what I heard you saying about Iraq is utter bollocks and you're stupid for thinking one grain of that is true!" without some sort of agressive response, maybe violent. The second form was more subconscious as I believe that the social animal part of us is very concerned with saving face. This would mean that it would be less likely for someone to voice opinions that clashed with their 'area', as you call it, because they would be worried about being shunned in some way from the society that they did not agree with - kind of social bullying, I guess.


"It makes you wonder what you're putting on your hook when you keep catching the same fish."
........


[ Parent ]
Oh yeah? (2.30 / 26) (#24)
by MichaelCrawford on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 07:39:24 PM EST

Well fuck you then.

You're either with us or against us.


--

Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


No, no (4.00 / 1) (#64)
by rusty on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 11:29:43 AM EST

I'm sure you meant to say "You're either with us or agin us." Try to get it right next time.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
This is a big part of the problem on k5 too-- (none / 0) (#90)
by amarodeeps on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 05:52:34 PM EST

nobody has a fucking sense of humor. C'mon people. It was a joke, and whatever you think of it, it did not deserve a 0 mod. Of course, if you want to be a humorless dope that's your prerogative, but jeez...

In any case, how about trying this: if you can not tell whether it is humor or not, or if there is the chance that it is, but you don't get it, or if it is obviously a joke, but, while it is topical and to the point you find it unfunny, you might still want to reserve your mod points for another day.



[ Parent ]
Why it is the way it is (4.00 / 10) (#31)
by the77x42 on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 08:34:11 PM EST

People like talking about politics because it's easy to have an opinion and take sides and argue day in and day out.

Nothing gets discussed on K5, it merely goes through a battery of -1's and low comment ratings without any discussion to the contrary.

This is a bit perplexing, however, because we are discussing the discussions on K5 and I don't see much discussion.


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

The title (4.66 / 9) (#43)
by epepke on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 05:38:56 AM EST

It made me think this was going to be about Windows XP.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


I thought it was going to gripe about the k5 (3.00 / 1) (#59)
by gr00vey on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 10:41:19 AM EST

layout! ;)

[ Parent ]
Your difficulty... (4.43 / 23) (#44)
by RobotSlave on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 06:11:35 AM EST

...is that you do not have a sufficiently deep understanding of internet message boards.

You have assumed, perhaps unconsciously, that exchanges in places like K5 are perfectly analogous to transcriptions of everyday face-to-face conversations (or, perhaps, fictional renditions thereof). This is an enormous mistake.

The users of K5 do not keep coming back because it is a good place to have discussions. They return because it is a good place to express themselves, and receive some validation or acknowledgement of that expression. K5 is an outlet, not an inlet.

People do not come here with the intent of crafting sweeping, literary dialogues, and it looks as if Miller, in that typically overripe passage of his, was similarly frustrated not with one manner of conversation or another, but with a lack of literary composition in the everyday spoken word. It is worth noting that his praise seems far more apt as a description of an imaginary South, that of Southern literature, than of a more mundane South, that of Southern speech, which is every bit as susceptible to the banal as that of the North (or of Glasgow or Sydney or Hong Kong, for that matter).

But I digress.

K5 is Hyde Park Corner, not your porch or your kitchen table (Apologies to William Franklin Rothman, who figured all of this out ages ago).

I am, incidentally, deeply amused to find myself (along with the rest of K5) being talked down to by Yet Another College Student Who Has Discovered Henry Miller. Unless I miss my guess, you'll be looking back at this ten years from now with the realization that you were, in your youth, painfully pompous, and hopelessly sanctimonious. With luck, you'll be able to laugh about it, too.

For trolls, maybe (3.33 / 3) (#45)
by greenrd on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 06:47:55 AM EST

The users of K5 do not keep coming back because it is a good place to have discussions. They return because it is a good place to express themselves, and receive some validation or acknowledgement of that expression.

For trolls, maybe (and some non-trolls). But methinks you are erroneously projecting your own desires onto everyone else.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

what's a troll? (none / 0) (#47)
by loomingleaf on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 07:17:16 AM EST

... have I just shown my naivety?

"It makes you wonder what you're putting on your hook when you keep catching the same fish."
........


[ Parent ]
RE: what's a troll? (5.00 / 2) (#50)
by JahToasted on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 09:27:23 AM EST

Click here

[ Parent ]
ahhh... (none / 0) (#53)
by loomingleaf on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 09:48:13 AM EST

... it all becomes clear. thanks.

"It makes you wonder what you're putting on your hook when you keep catching the same fish."
........


[ Parent ]
Yes /nt (none / 0) (#83)
by greenrd on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 01:11:36 PM EST


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]
Hyde Park Corner (5.00 / 5) (#48)
by anaesthetica on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 07:23:49 AM EST

Somehow I think that internet message boards can be what you make of them, despite some inherent characteristics. People act certain ways in certain places because of what they see in their environment. If people see litter on the groun, they're much more likely to assume that they can get away with littering. With a message boards we've introduced voting systems and moderation to keep the "litter" from clogging up the content. But moderation counts for nothing if your standards for other's work and for your own work are too low. And by repeatedly offering poorly thought-out diatribes, you wear down people's standards. I know that there's a core of users at k5 that are more than capable of spending an extre twenty minutes to write up something really interesting. One of the problems, mentioned to me by AmberEyes, is that people who post the one-liner MLPs outpace those of us who can contribute some interesting analysis to a subject. The MLP gets voted up, and your more complex piece gets voted down as a 'duplicate.'

I'm not trying to force a metaphor of face-to-face conversation onto k5. I think Pyramid Termite's brilliant post demonstrates just how silly that concept would be in practice. But the strength of the internet, and in particular k5, is the ability to have a real-time exchange of letters. We can approach a topic with a depth that is even hard to reach in spoken conversation. But it seems it's getting harder to do that recently.

You say that people return to k5 because it's an outlet where they can express themselves quickly and receive feedback just as quickly. That's fine. But what distinguishes k5 from other message boards? From 'the other place?' People are just as capable of browbeating each other elsewhere, why this particular board? I'm not so convinced that a simple outlet is the reason people return to k5 in particular. Call me na&iouml;ve, but I'd like to think that people would return to k5 because of the interesting topics that come up, and the more interesting responses that are possible.

Your interpretation of the Miller paragraph is interesting. I'm not so sure that I agree with your assessment that he was frustrated with the lack of high prose being used in everyday speech. I admit, however, that I did find it strange to hear him talk about the isolated Southerners as people whose character is forced to bloom, for that's never been my impression of the South. But the point of putting the passage in the article was not to literally discuss the South. Serving as an analogy to the current state of k5, the "typically overripe" passage of Miller's makes a point about the nature of discussion, distinguishing between sterile intellectualism and real conversation. I'm sure you'd agree that it's better to have a post that's thought out to at least some degree, makes use of either a view to the bigger picture or to personal experience, and isn't focused on proving the other person wrong, but instead fleshing out the ideas raised.

Finally, the ad hominem attack you included at the end of your post is exactly the type of trolling response that tears down the level of discussion that k5 is capable of. Instead of focusing on the content of the topic, you've attacked me personally, diverting discussion away from the actual substance of the conversation and the veracity of the ideas expressed. Thanks for demonstrating that.


—I'm the little engine that didn't.
k5: our trolls go to eleven
[A]S FAR AS A PERSON'S ACTIONS ARE CONCERNED, IT IS NOT TRUE THAT NOTHING BUT GOOD COMES FROM GOOD AND NOTHING BUT EVIL COMES FROM EVIL, BUT RATHER QUITE FREQUENTLY THE OPPOSITE IS THE CASE. ANYONE WHO DOES NOT REALIZE THIS IS IN FACT A MERE CHILD IN POLITICAL MATTERS. max weber, politics as a vocation


[ Parent ]
Great reply (5.00 / 1) (#65)
by davidmb on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 11:35:40 AM EST

That also proves the parent post right, I'm afraid.
־‮־
[ Parent ]
On a few unrelation points... (3.50 / 4) (#73)
by ph317 on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 12:44:21 PM EST

First on a technical theme: You have repeatedly referred to K5 and/or the internet in general as a real-time collaboration medium, and yet you validly complani of the problem of MLP quips voting up before real articles are completed for submission.  I say the problem is that this medium is not yet real-time, only near-real-time.  In a fully realtime collaborative medium, people would see your lengthy though-out article as it was being written, and they would know it was coming and vote down the MLP.

On the South: Henry Miller's observations of the South are not based on literary fantasy.  Certainly, there are plenty of ignorant idiots in the South.  But if an intelligent man spends enough time there, and looks for it, he will find the people Miller refers to, and people of this sort are pratically non-existant elsewhere in the United States.  I've spent a large part of my life in and around South-ish areas of the country, I have heard Miller's stereotypes speak before, and his passage holds so much more meaning for me because of that.

And lastly, I'd like to point out that ad hominem attacks are a lot closer to colorful conversation than the majority of the technical arguments going on, so don't knock it, it's a step in the right direction :)


[ Parent ]

Indeed (4.00 / 2) (#102)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 08:13:09 PM EST

And lastly, I'd like to point out that ad hominem attacks are a lot closer to colorful conversation than the majority of the technical arguments going on, so don't knock it, it's a step in the right direction :)

Insult, invective, and ad hominem are veritable art forms in the south. And Miller himself was by no means above substituting scathing insult for sound argumentation.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Honestly what is the appeal? (1.00 / 2) (#127)
by NDPTAL85 on Wed Mar 19, 2003 at 01:13:12 PM EST

What is the appeal of all things Southern? I mean do you really consider it a good thing that a Southerner who has some vile belief or way of life will prepare you an excellent meal and invite you into his large plantation home and speak to you like this "I take very kindly to your visiting us this fine evenin" while he uses such eloquence to ignore the racism, paternalism, and general anti-anything modern attitudes. I mean I don't really care how someone says something, I'm more concerned with the actual content. I don't care how good the food a Southerner is serving me is or how wonderful his prose is or how relaxed the mood is if he's a horrible person underneath. Things like the Civil War being about "States Rights" are not arguments I want to hear made no matter how civilly.

[ Parent ]
funny. (4.50 / 2) (#131)
by naught on Wed Mar 19, 2003 at 03:27:51 PM EST

i hear this kind of prejudice all the time, and it never ceases to amuse me.  i guess some people need to be angry at someone, and if you can't find someone in the modern world, look to the past.  i've lived in the south for most of life, and the percentage of people in the south who are racists longing for a forgotten past is identical to the percentage of people like-minded in the north.

all angsty teens want to be angry about something.  you want to be angry about a century-old war, and a rich culture you're afraid of.  southern angsty teens want to be mad that they don't have slaves, and that blackey is takin' all their rights.  both opinions are hormone-born, and underinformed.  

why not, instead, whine about something relevant?  i can stereotype people too -- just as horribly and incorrectly.

--
"extension of knowledge is the root of all virtue" -- confucius.
[ Parent ]

On Miller (none / 0) (#100)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 08:06:33 PM EST

It's been too many years since I last read Miller and I don't feel like rummaging through boxes of books to answer this question, but I seem recall an episode related in either The Air Conditioned Nightmare or Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch in which a recently repatriated Miller went to visit one of the mavens of the oh-so-polite southern literary culture (O'Conner or Welty???) and she threw him out her house. Ring any bells? Do you recall what Miller's unforgivable offense was?  

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Hey! (3.00 / 2) (#62)
by rusty on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 11:22:39 AM EST

Unless I miss my guess, you'll be looking back at this ten years from now with the realization that you were, in your youth, painfully pompous, and hopelessly sanctimonious. With luck, you'll be able to laugh about it, too.

Pardon me sir, but I deeply resemble that comment!

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Interesting Link (none / 0) (#94)
by anaesthetica on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 06:23:56 PM EST

Interesting sentiment, considering you voted this article down. I don't doubt you get tired of the "k5 sux0rs" articles though.


—I'm the little engine that didn't.
k5: our trolls go to eleven
[A]S FAR AS A PERSON'S ACTIONS ARE CONCERNED, IT IS NOT TRUE THAT NOTHING BUT GOOD COMES FROM GOOD AND NOTHING BUT EVIL COMES FROM EVIL, BUT RATHER QUITE FREQUENTLY THE OPPOSITE IS THE CASE. ANYONE WHO DOES NOT REALIZE THIS IS IN FACT A MERE CHILD IN POLITICAL MATTERS. max weber, politics as a vocation


[ Parent ]
Nah (5.00 / 1) (#103)
by rusty on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 08:26:48 PM EST

I voted against it because I think the whole Henry Miller thing makes no sense, and I found the article too dull to focus on for a sufficient length of time to read it all. I just gave it the old college try again, and I think you're saying "stuff here should be better," which, you're right, is a golden oldie.

The only way it gets better is if you write better stuff. Telling people how you want them to behave will just lead them to argue with you about your standards. I find the argument tedious, but if you guys want to have it again, that's ok with me.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

How old are you? (2.75 / 8) (#81)
by NewsFlash No One Cares on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 01:07:31 PM EST

I am, incidentally, deeply amused to find myself (along with the rest of K5) observing Yet Another Guy in his mid-20-30's who thinks he's some sort of fucking wise man because he's not in college anymore.

[ Parent ]
Is vs Ought (4.66 / 3) (#95)
by kholmes on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 07:16:43 PM EST

"...is that you do not have a sufficiently deep understanding of internet message boards."

Internet message boards do not speak to themselves. The kind of discussions that take place isn't restricted, for the greater part, by the medium itself but by those who take part and what kind of people they are. Kuro5hin is whatever we wish to make of it.

But I think you are mostly correct, though I must admit that a part of me wants to deny it, that we speak here to be heard. But I have a certain hope that Kuro5hin can allow these other kinds of discussions to take place too. Especially about politics, which may seem strange to you guys, but I find myself lost and confused about international politics. I am sure you feel that Kuro5hin isn't the right place for guys like me, who wants to make sense of the senseless, but then I ask what, then, is the right place?

But for now, I am going to continue trying to have the kind of discussions I desire. And thats really the best way, I think. A part of me, while agreeing with the article, realizes that this article won't change things. If instead, this author shows up in threads with posts of the kind he advocates---and if he learns when to respond and when not to respond---then it is completely possible that the forum will respond in kind.

But let me say, to any who read this, that if you are interested in constructive discussions that there is at least one person who will be watching and reading and waiting for exactly that, and that you are not alone.

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

90% rule. (none / 0) (#134)
by naught on Wed Mar 19, 2003 at 03:34:46 PM EST

you're right -- there are good folks to talk to around here.  some intelligent and thought provoking stuff.  which is why i come here .. mostly to read.

however, you always have to apply the 90% rule, which on the internet becomes the 98% rule.  98% of everything you're going to read here is -expression-, and not -content-.  the content is worth the dig most times, but that fact will always be true.

measures can be taken to bring this number down, of course, but in the interest of being all-inclusive, most sites (including this one) don't do enough to enact them.

--
"extension of knowledge is the root of all virtue" -- confucius.
[ Parent ]

my opinion is that you are wrong as hell (3.68 / 19) (#51)
by turmeric on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 09:43:28 AM EST

my evidence is that henry miller completely fails to mention the horrific history of 'non-debate' in the south. lynchings, the klu klux klan, the assassination of huey long, the death row system, the slave labor penitentiary system, etc.

goddamnit when miller was pontificating about the 'civility' of the south, african americans couldnt even fucking vote.

im sorry but this is the classic case of the 'noble savage' theory that rich fuckers from screwed up societies tend to gravitate towards. your own culture sucks ass so you go out and idealize other cultures and whitewash them and say 'oh look they have solved all our problems, if only the idiots who run our system would do things like that'.

its all crap, and its prejudice and its elitists and its stupid, but worst of all, it's inaccurate.

some more fun facts about the 'polite south' (2.50 / 6) (#52)
by turmeric on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 09:48:05 AM EST

assassination of martin luther king, bull connor letting dogs on protestors, elian gonzales (oh we all know how civil and objective that debate was), the origin of the phrase 'black power' during a civil rights march, etc etc etc.

in fact, i would wager henry miller is a fucking sycophant 'cover up' coward who wants to avoid issues instead of getting to the bottom of them. that is what the south is about, avoidance and a thin veneer of respectability and politeness, covering over a rotting decaying flesh heart. considering the superficiality of 'anais nin' , and the subsequent predictable infatuation of many big city shitheads with that superficiality, it is no wonder he was her friend.

its like couples who never argue. they are the ones that are the most demented, the sickest, the ones with the most horrific secrets.

[ Parent ]

my opinion is that i agree (none / 0) (#54)
by lukeit on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 09:50:54 AM EST

you're right, man.. took the words right out of my mouth.. let kuro5hin be what it wants to be, who the hell is this guy telling you what you should and should not be talking about?
----------- "elders use the past to avoid the future, and youth uses the future to avoid the present"
[ Parent ]
My opinion is that you are a bigot. (1.00 / 1) (#86)
by Cohens Jacket on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 03:22:55 PM EST

What a wonderfully ignorant and bigoted response. You assume that all people from the South are identical and hold the same beliefs, yet you probably scream in indignation if some other idiot suggests that all Arabs, all African-Americans, all (insert any religious or ethnic group here) are the same. Take the time and educate yourself. Your predictable rhetoric makes my eyes ache.

[ Parent ]
State and quality of k5 submissions (5.00 / 6) (#58)
by gr00vey on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 10:39:14 AM EST

are generally very good. I think there is very little room for subtlety, due mostly to the medium. I also think that many people are passionate about their opinions. I really don't see the point of the HM excerpt, and I think the best way for you to acheive your claimed goals is to try practicing them yoursefl. I think you will find it quite a challenge though, as your "rules" are not everyones "rules". For example, the current war situation, we have been fed propaganda, and all the major networks are selling. Only with truely open discourse can we cut through the disinformation.

Polarization (4.75 / 4) (#69)
by anaesthetica on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 11:49:34 AM EST

I agree with you that only truly open discourse can cut through disinformation. Furthermore, I agree that the media in general has fed the public polarized propaganda, stifling public discussion.

I do fundamentally disagree about the opportunity for subtlety, and the route to more open discourse. The Web has a great potential to increase the complexity and subtlety of debates simply because of real-time exchange of letters, with a built-in reference system of hyperlinks, and a democratic participation model. What this allows is a voice from every viewpoint to be heard, potentially, along with a depth that cannot be achieved in TV, radio, memefilters or other soundbitten formats. And a much more complex discussion can take place because every written paragraph can be expanded upon by others, widening the relevant area covered by each topic.

The problem is the polarization of debate through short, sensationalized articles, taking standard or assumed viewpoints, and illiciting stereotypical responses. It is increasingly hard to offer a subtle viewpoint or thought-out commentary looking toward personal experience or toward the bigger picture, simply because of this polarization creating a proclivity for comments to move to either extreme. This stifles the open discourse that you and I both agree upon as necessary.

The speed, lack of analysis, and simple stances taken by the current breed of Politics MLPs illustrates this point, wherein rehased debates play out again and again. Not fit to comment authoritatively on international affairs, people respond through flamebait comments that are poorly researched and lack any substantive or constructive contribution to the topic. K5 may be able to report news at the same speed as any other memefilter, but why give up on the real strength of k5 (complex cultural commentary) to achieve speed and a catharsis of stereotypical attacks upon one-another?


—I'm the little engine that didn't.
k5: our trolls go to eleven
[A]S FAR AS A PERSON'S ACTIONS ARE CONCERNED, IT IS NOT TRUE THAT NOTHING BUT GOOD COMES FROM GOOD AND NOTHING BUT EVIL COMES FROM EVIL, BUT RATHER QUITE FREQUENTLY THE OPPOSITE IS THE CASE. ANYONE WHO DOES NOT REALIZE THIS IS IN FACT A MERE CHILD IN POLITICAL MATTERS. max weber, politics as a vocation


[ Parent ]
you definatley have a good point (2.00 / 2) (#70)
by gr00vey on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 11:56:38 AM EST

I guess I am just a pessimist.. ;)

[ Parent ]
debating politcs (3.50 / 2) (#63)
by auraslip on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 11:24:12 AM EST

is futile anyways.
What exactly puts you in a position to understand all things involved in invading a country?
The only people that fully understand these things are GWB and his staff.

124
Taken together, maybe... (4.00 / 1) (#78)
by Gooba42 on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 12:57:03 PM EST

I would argue that no single person, staff or president, citizen or soldier understands the whole thing. You give them superhuman credit just because of their occupation of the moment.

[ Parent ]
Not futile -- to the writer (none / 0) (#121)
by OldTigger on Wed Mar 19, 2003 at 10:56:39 AM EST

Perhaps like APL code, political polemics are read once - unmaintainable (?). I like to write to see what I think; maybe some will agree, maybe disagree and teach me something; usually not the latter though, but sometimes. It's always good for me, except for the time spent.
Freedom with responsibility
[ Parent ]
Well, that's a key point of democracy. Debate [nt] (none / 0) (#140)
by mmsmatt on Wed Mar 19, 2003 at 08:35:54 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Sterile and intellectual? (3.00 / 1) (#67)
by davidmb on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 11:40:10 AM EST

Have you posted on the right site?

I'd say the comments on here are healthily contaminated and just about coherent. That's why I come back!
־‮־

a hearty huzzah, from the South (3.70 / 10) (#75)
by naught on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 12:50:12 PM EST

as a southerner (albeit pretty far north for the south), miller's lines strike home in a way that makes me wistful in exactly the way that too long a stay in cincinatti ohio does. for those of you who've never experienced life in the south, or even a long stay in a small town in the south, it's a worthwhile trip. take two weeks. or three. and just relax. kick off the shoes, and here's the key talk to people. be friendly.

as to the the question of post quality, etc.: the rampant intellectual posing exists wherever the technically savvy aggregate themselves. (see, even i do it.) the internet subculture as a generalization takes itself and its ideas far too seriously, especially those who consider themselves well-informed or news-conscious. i hear this same phrase over and over, though somewhat more locquaciously put and occasionally more polite:

i'm right goddammit, and you're an idiot! i'm better than you, and my news is better than yours, and my cock is bigger, and i fucked your girlfriend!

we can be self-involved, conceited, and rude because there is no consequence to it. there is no accountability. it's not like we're saying anything to someone's face. fundamentally, conversation on the internet as a whole takes place behind the backs of the other posters. if we were in a room with strangers, having a debate, we would never talk like we do to each other online.

the reason conversation is so good in the south is that no one takes themselves seriously. oh, seriously enough to be sure, but fundamentally, they are not threatened by each other's beliefs. they are secure enough to take it in a stride, and with a sense of humor.

in a forum like this, people are afraid of being wrong, because their Beliefs and Opinions are so central to their identity that to disagree is to challenge that identity, basically the cerebral equivalent of calling them fat. as such, disagreements are perceived as insults, and responded to in this mood.

this has been true for every forum i've ever been on, from usenet through yahoo chat, with the exception of my own site. the only reason that site (and others like it) is excepted is that all the posters know each other, where each other live, etc. (something else we do in the south is respond to insults, and rudeness in general, with vast quantities of violence. =) because there are real consequences for being jackasses on that type of forum, you don't run into the same issues. it becomes more like a conversation, and less like a liberal-arts tag war.

like everything else in the world, take away the penalty, and you take away the incentive.

--
"extension of knowledge is the root of all virtue" -- confucius.

You just hit it... (3.66 / 3) (#82)
by Gooba42 on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 01:10:48 PM EST

I was never quite sure why my BBS experiences of years ago were more fulfilling until just now. I knew those people. We'd met or could meet in our local area. There were the flaming, screaming matches but they were rare and mostly a tongue in cheek kind of situation. Starts with someone in a bad mood and escalates until all involved know it's utterly ridiculous.

It's not the discussion, it's the sense of personal attachment not to your posts but to other authors.

[ Parent ]

Well said. (4.00 / 1) (#114)
by Overview on Wed Mar 19, 2003 at 02:57:13 AM EST

What you have said rings absolutely true.  As a young southerner, watching the world changing around me, one thing that I think most of the world has lost is the idea of honesty for the sake of honesty.  Why boast and brag about something one knows little about, rather than just seek to inform others in an unbiased manner?  As the corporate media loses its dignity almost willingly as a whore for corporate sponsorship, who can we all turn to but the honest observations of each other as we seek to hold on to our world as it exists now?  

Your ideas are excellent.

[ Parent ]

Honesty for honesty eh? (1.00 / 1) (#124)
by NDPTAL85 on Wed Mar 19, 2003 at 12:56:07 PM EST

So when southers refer to the Civil War as the "War for Yankee Agression" or a war for "States Rights" instead of a fight in order to keep Slavery going do you consider that honesty for honesty's sake as well?

[ Parent ]
i don't know anyone who fought in the civil war. (5.00 / 1) (#130)
by naught on Wed Mar 19, 2003 at 03:19:34 PM EST

and you don't either.  as such, we (both in the south and the north) depend on what we're told.  in the south, you're taught that the civil war was about states' rights, and not slavery.  you're taught that slavery was on its way out anyway, and that it was a question of self-government.  in the north, or in a revisionist anc culturally over-sensitive history class, where the south is generally regarded as a bunch of illiterate, in-bred hicks who wear overalls and have stills in the back yard, you're taught that the south fought to keep their slaves, because they are an evil, stupid people.

scratch that: you're taught that the north won because the north was right.  they were on the side of emancipation, they were the good guys, despite that blacks wouldn't get the right to vote for another 70+ years, and still don't get full representation in the census (constitutionally).  and in order for the north to be right, the south has to be wrong.  you can't have a hero without a villain, ne?

if you have no personal experience on a topic, you believe what someone else tells you.  anyone you listen to firsthand believes what someone told them.  thus, misinformation is propogated.  all of your college professors are required to be culturally sensitive, and none of them were there.  none of their teachers were there, either.  they read from books, which are (especially from that era in american history) deeply politically motivated.

it doesn't matter which side was right, or what they fought for at this point, save for the sake of mental cock-stroking.  the north had the cash, and the north won, so the north got to write the history the way they wanted.  true of every war.

oh, and yes, i am responding to a trollish dig.  sue me.

--
"extension of knowledge is the root of all virtue" -- confucius.
[ Parent ]

No "consequences" means bad behavior (none / 0) (#116)
by OldTigger on Wed Mar 19, 2003 at 09:25:23 AM EST

You're right about the "identity" of a poster/ reader to be so important. It's got characteristics of a game - an intense, intellectual game, where you "win" by changing other's minds (very seldom), but the joy of playing is like ... intellectual masterbation? But it IS more interesting than what my office mates talk about at lunch!!!
Freedom with responsibility
[ Parent ]
slowed down people (5.00 / 1) (#129)
by andreiko on Wed Mar 19, 2003 at 03:05:19 PM EST

I second that online discussions are not conversations.

It's easy to be witty, sarcastic, or any other way of interesting when talking to a faceless group of people.

All this takes is intellect and brains.

What the quote mentioned was charm and magnetism, and these only partially manifest through words.

There are people whose way of being is attractive (not necessarily sexually) -- like the friends you spend time with without talking or talking very little.

In my experience, such people are "slowed down" -- the opposite of the superwitty, all-knowing, always-right guy/gal who needs to dominate the conversation and be noticed in order to feel secure, as if she can only exist through others' attention.

Slowed-down people talk when they have something to say, kindly, without sparing the truth, and when they listen, they give their full attention. They are interested in feeling and experiencing as much as thinking. They are connected to life through their hearts and bodies, unlike us often who prefer living through our superfast and neurotic minds.

It is scary that many of us do not have even a reference of such a conversation.

[ Parent ]

Is it cultural? (3.50 / 2) (#77)
by joemorse on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 12:53:30 PM EST

Some cogent points, but I doubt that the southern US today remotely resembles what Miller experienced. I too miss rational, respectful debate. But in a society driven by warp speed 30 second TV ads that talk at the consumer instead of with the consumer, real rational debate is almost a lost art. Add in the punditocracy, which seems to thrive on saying the most assinine things, and you have an environment where he who speaks the loudest is thought to have won the argument.



Now let's you just drop them pants!
       -Don Job, from Deliverance
Hear hear! (4.93 / 15) (#85)
by avdi on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 02:53:17 PM EST

For my part, I just wish that K5 authors would focus on writing about what they know well, rather than arguing about the same things the rest of the world is arguiing about.  Periodically I'll decide "that's it, I've had it, there's nothing worthwhile on K5 anymore" - and then someone will post a long, engaging article on some obscure corner of science or food preparation or programming that reminds me why I started reading K5 in the first place.  K5 is, largely, a community of interesting people who know interesting things.  The more we talk about those things, the happier I'll be.

--
Now leave us, and take your fish with you. - Faramir
Agree completely (4.00 / 1) (#141)
by Siddhi on Thu Mar 20, 2003 at 10:03:59 AM EST

Some of the best articles have been on totally obscure topics. Its these introductions to things that I would never have found otherwise that makes K5 so valuable.

[ Parent ]
Contexts and Scope (5.00 / 2) (#88)
by scarabic on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 03:47:02 PM EST

My question is: how can you have a 'Southern' conversation about world affairs? When the events being discussed are far-flung, how else to explore them except through the writings of journalists and scholars?

I don't really see how one isolated from the world, as Miller describes, can sit back in his rocking chair and talk about a distant war, giving it a subtle treatment of the actual subject matter, as you suggest, without citing literature on the subject.

Perhaps we need to inject more of a conscious sense that we're just citing scholarship? Or realize that all most of us have time for, with news headlines, is a hasty reading, and that we should dial down our "certainty" that we understand?

I agree with you about tone, pace, and openness in the conversations we have. It's been too shrill, hasty, and closed-minded of late. Mea culpa, fo sho.

Southern Conversation (5.00 / 3) (#89)
by anaesthetica on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 05:46:11 PM EST

Well as far as the Miller quote, I hope it's not taken too literally. I don't mean for k5 to become the American South substantively. But the substantive points made by Miller can be applied analagously to k5.

As far as discussion of far-flung events: I think people on k5 have been taking the writings of journalists as absolute fact, and using them as battering rams against one another in charicatured political debates. What I suggest is an alteration in the way we approach the writing of article and responses. It has been widely acknowledged that the journalists and news media we too often cite are writing what is tantamount to propaganda, and are often working off the same amount of information a reasonably well-read k5er could assemble. In that respect, it has made little sense to me for us to continue debating back and forth vitriolically slinging biased and slanted links at one-another as if they were the truth. The fact remains that people are not doing their own analysis, and their opinions too often amount to a one-line "me too" or ad hominem insult.

I realize the technological impossibility of isolation on the internet. So what I suggest in place of isolation is a slower pace of discussion on news events. Anyone can post an article the day after the event lambasting one side or the other with a few links, playing on existing controversies. That essentially amounts to a flamebait in article form. I think the strength of memefilters and blogs is their ability to disseminate links quickly. K5 is designed with a cumbersome voting system, making it harder to achieve the same speed as blogs and memefilters. Clearly k5 isn't the perfect medium for that form of information dissemination.

But k5's overwhelming strength is the ability of its members to filter out the chaff from the wheat with the voting system, and to add constructive insight into world events. I think you're absolutely right that we need to be more conscious that we're just citing news media when we include links. What I think would be a major improvement would be more first-hand accounts of the climate around the world, rather than a rehash of CNN's front page. I think avdi's post said it best: k5ers are interesting people with interesting things to say. If only we'd take the take to contribute those interesting things, instead of rushing out the newest event with as little thought as possible, I think k5 could be better than it already is.


—I'm the little engine that didn't.
k5: our trolls go to eleven
[A]S FAR AS A PERSON'S ACTIONS ARE CONCERNED, IT IS NOT TRUE THAT NOTHING BUT GOOD COMES FROM GOOD AND NOTHING BUT EVIL COMES FROM EVIL, BUT RATHER QUITE FREQUENTLY THE OPPOSITE IS THE CASE. ANYONE WHO DOES NOT REALIZE THIS IS IN FACT A MERE CHILD IN POLITICAL MATTERS. max weber, politics as a vocation


[ Parent ]
Southerners (3.33 / 3) (#91)
by Silent Chris on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 06:07:44 PM EST

I think posts on Southernerns are OT in a conversation like this, but I'll post one anyway: why do Southerners still think the Civil War is going on?  Why, when I go to the south, I get reactions like "Damn Yankee" when I ask what a "hash brown" is?  Why do I still see confederate flags?  

Why, when asking one ex-girlfriend, do they consider it a matter of "pride"?  I don't dress in Union blue.  I don't say "Damn Confederates".  I don't support history which, in my mind, was incredibly disrespectful to certain groups of people.  Why continue this twisted "tradition"?

Damn yankee (n/t) (4.00 / 3) (#97)
by shellac on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 07:39:48 PM EST



[ Parent ]
The South (3.83 / 6) (#107)
by HeelToe on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 09:34:54 PM EST

I was a transplant into the south (not really, South West Virginia, but close enough) for a decade.  It took me a while to get accustomed to the cultural norms, but I could never get used to the display of the confederate flag.

To me it represents something anti-America, and shouldn't be allowed for display on anything public-funded or military bases.

My wife is from the south.  To her, it is part of southern heritage and valid to honor the history of the region, despite the slavery issue.  I can't really understand it - if it were my heritage I'd be ashamed of it, but she has a right to her opinion, as do all the others.

I don't think she agrees with all those folks running around saying "The South Will Rise Again."  She also doesn't call people "Damn Yankee."  Though, to be honest, I think that's more of a "newbie" namecalling thing anyway.

[ Parent ]

Damn Yankees and Dumb Southerners (none / 0) (#142)
by Nex77 on Thu Mar 20, 2003 at 01:57:58 PM EST

Seems perfectly understandable to me - it's merely the opposite of some northerners hearing a southern accent and immediately thinking (and often saying) 'oh, dumb people'. I don't think either stereotypes are useful. Nex

[ Parent ]
Learn more about the Civil War... (none / 0) (#146)
by skyknight on Sat Mar 22, 2003 at 06:29:18 PM EST

and why it was really fought. When you realize that it wasn't started over slavery, that in fact slavery was just a rallying cry added on later, things will start to come into focus. Basically, the North was strong-arming the South politically and economically; the South, not wanting to take it anymore, decided to up and leave. The North acted to crush the secession, and long after the hostilities were under way added the emancipation factor, as a propaganda element. Lincoln was quite explicit about it, saying that his only motivation was to preserve the Union, and to that end he would have either fought to abolish or preserve slavery, whichever were more expedient to that end. If you want a parallel, think, perhaps, Russia & Chechnya.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
A guide (4.60 / 10) (#96)
by kholmes on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 07:30:03 PM EST

At least some things that I've found, that helps:

  • If you see that a thread has become polarized, don't reply.
  • Judge a thread in its entirely rather than in its last post.
  • Know who you are responding to. Only give short replies to brow-beaters or trolls, since they aren't worth the effort anyways.
  • Know why you are participating. This can help avoid you responding out of anger.


If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
Very wise response (3.00 / 3) (#106)
by mguercio on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 08:59:17 PM EST

I couldn't agree more with your guidelines. People are people. You will get all kinds. If we selectively prohibit certain types of responses, then we would be just as guilty as the people that don't follow the guidelines that you mentioned. We all learn from each other. Some good things, some bad; but hopefully the majority of the things we learn from each other are not in vain.
The definition of "high achievment" is not the wisdom that you have attained yourself, but the wisdom you can share with others.
[ Parent ]
True... (none / 0) (#144)
by loomingleaf on Fri Mar 21, 2003 at 07:46:57 AM EST

...responding out of anger is one of the main problems here I feel.

"It makes you wonder what you're putting on your hook when you keep catching the same fish."
........


[ Parent ]
ah yes, the superior conversation of the South (2.25 / 4) (#98)
by zzzeek on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 07:56:39 PM EST

how much more human they are than us northerners !    I am sure they happily kicked back on their porches every night in these superiorly lucid communications, as they continued to be totally fine with enslaving an entire population of humans for 300 years!

who needs those ugly "facts", "morality", or "reasoned arguments", anyway ?  Those southerners have got it figured out.

actually (5.00 / 2) (#137)
by ph0rk on Wed Mar 19, 2003 at 05:56:40 PM EST

The north was just as content to keep slaves.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=northern+slav ery&btnG=Google+Search

And, what the hell does that have to do with the southerners of 1945?  They didn't enslave anyone I know of.

.
[ f o r k . s c h i z o i d . c o m ]
[ Parent ]

You're absolutely wrong (1.83 / 6) (#99)
by hershmire on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 08:04:11 PM EST

(although Texas really isn't Southern in the strictest sense)

According to Merriam-Webster, "southern" is defined as:

a: lying toward the south; b: coming from the south

In the face of this evidence, one can only glean that Texas, in the strictest sense, is southern. All ideas to the contrary are wrong. Perhaps you should peruse the internet more, and get your cold hard facts straight.
FIXME: Insert quote about procrastination
I beg to differ with you, Suh! (5.00 / 4) (#112)
by shaper on Tue Mar 18, 2003 at 11:13:57 PM EST

I was born and raised in the South, and have lived there, by the Grace of God, for 29 of my 37 years on this Earth. More specifically, I hail from the last state to secede and one of the first to be raped and pillaged in the War of Yankee Agression. The measure of your ignorance may be taken by your relative indignance and irritation at not only these statements but also the way in which they were stated. None of the definitions of "southern" in this context fit into any puny pedantic dictionary definition of a direction on a compass.

Texas is not in the South. Texas is not in the East, West or North, either. Texas is Texas and that's all there is to it. Texas is desert, cows, cowboys, ugly hats, oil wells. The South is cotton, soy beans, rice, forests, cotton mouths, gators.



[ Parent ]
Obviously... (none / 0) (#132)
by hershmire on Wed Mar 19, 2003 at 03:28:50 PM EST

the South is devoid of sarcasm and parody...
FIXME: Insert quote about procrastination
[ Parent ]
heh (none / 0) (#135)
by naught on Wed Mar 19, 2003 at 03:38:01 PM EST

you post a sarcastic post, and then get frustrated at an equally sarcastic response.  :)

--
"extension of knowledge is the root of all virtue" -- confucius.
[ Parent ]

The irony is sickening. (n/t) (none / 0) (#136)
by hershmire on Wed Mar 19, 2003 at 05:23:33 PM EST


FIXME: Insert quote about procrastination
[ Parent ]
Please... (4.00 / 1) (#119)
by smapty on Wed Mar 19, 2003 at 09:54:23 AM EST

So your saying Arizona is a southern state as well? I'm from North Carolina, and like most Texans, have always considered Texas a foreign country.

[ Parent ]
See, it's this kind of thing (4.75 / 4) (#126)
by mveloso on Wed Mar 19, 2003 at 01:06:11 PM EST

It's this kind of literalism that poisons the debate on all things K5.

Texas is part of the South geographically, but not culturally. Most Northerners don't understand this because, well, they've lived in the North all the time.

Texans are Southerners the same way that New Yorkers are New Englanders - they may be in the same general area, but that doesn't mean anything, really.

But because statements like this are outside of the worldview of Northereners, they think it's stupid and ridiculous, when all they're showing is their ignorance.

Disclaimer: lived in texas and new york.

[ Parent ]

What is certainly the poison of this site... (3.50 / 2) (#133)
by hershmire on Wed Mar 19, 2003 at 03:34:04 PM EST

...are those users who don't see the joke. Of course I understood the author's arguments. My comment was a parody of those who run to the fact books and argue the simplest and most insignificant points.

If only there were real <sarcasm> tags in HTML. Maybe it could make the words another colour or something...
FIXME: Insert quote about procrastination
[ Parent ]
Well. (4.00 / 2) (#139)
by mindstrm on Wed Mar 19, 2003 at 06:50:59 PM EST

considering his point is that we shouldn't be just tossing out facts, but rather, discussing things, how could anyone NOT take your post at face value?


[ Parent ]
Subtle, complex debate (4.80 / 5) (#115)
by Metatone on Wed Mar 19, 2003 at 07:45:21 AM EST

First of all, congratulations on a creative approach to the topic. Having said that, the Henry Miller quote is probably rather past it's prime. The history of the 20th century increasingly looks like one where facts turned out to be more important than anyone thought possible.

Moving on to the meat of the topic. I only became a regular reader of k5 a few years ago as other forums I was associated with died a slow death. With that timespan as a proviso, I have to say there was no "golden age," story quality has not dropped dramatically and political threads have attracted suspicions of "strategic commenting/moderations", along with a strong quantity of flamage and trolling, at least since the Clinton years.

Keeping posts "well-thought out, constructive and perhaps even subtle" is a worthy goal. I find that the conversations I have had that most reflect this have been with friends. From this, I would deduce that mutual respect is an important part of building a quality discussion. Perhaps the growth of the k5 community has led to a "flamebait" attitude. After all, if someone posts something "*clearly wrong*" and I do not know them I am unlikely to give their line of reasoning the same benefit of the doubt as if I have a history of reasoned conversation with the individual involved. I must admit to being somewhat at a loss when it comes to suggestions to improve the mutual respect between posters, other than more posting and more reading, which should begin to give people more data on their comrades. Perhaps we should all give the k5 irc channel try also. Real-time communication can be a help in building a sense of community.

Another thought is that subtle posts tend to be long. Whilst we don't explicitly reward one-liners, unlike the other site (+5, Funny) we are vulnerable to the same impulses. Sadly, just like quality haiku and western poetry forms, terse yet subtly profound posts are generally thin on the ground. Moderation does not seem to be to blame on k5 as frankly, many posts stay unrated for long periods of time. Thus, we should all endeavour to write longer responses, taking more care to acknowledge the ambiguity in our arguments.

Having said all this, it is probably necessary to admit that many debates (e.g. Political, Social, Economic) do not easily lend themselves to careful debate. This is because people with different views often have different "basic premises" for their arguments. At this point, effective discussion tends to be very difficult. These attempts to interact with each other's worldview are very valuable, but will always contain some heated disagreement as they impinge on strongly held beliefs. In these discussions, self-discipline is the key to improving k5.

Listening vs. Talking (4.00 / 2) (#117)
by yndrd on Wed Mar 19, 2003 at 09:26:07 AM EST

I've discovered that the general level of discourse on public message boards tends to be very low because there seems to be a greater cultural emphasis these days on speaking/expressing than on listening.

I see people on message boards who are verbal cowboys who prefer to shoot a person for pulling out a pack of cigarettes than let someone potentially get "the drop" on them.

I lurk on several boards and post only when I have something to say. I don't feel compelled to argue every point or have my mousy cries heard above the general din. Even when I do have something to say, I usually pause and consider it before posting.

Best boards? (none / 0) (#122)
by OldTigger on Wed Mar 19, 2003 at 11:02:30 AM EST

And do you have a list of best boards? The bloggers do (instapundit, andrew.sullivan, kausfiles, etc.)? The first big need was to get more talking, more raw data. Now the big need is how to filter out the unwanted, less valuable. Is there K5 list "of the best", or do you have your own personal list of favorites? This is a real question, I'm learning -- trying to listen!
Freedom with responsibility
[ Parent ]
Info overload -- where's the analysis? (3.00 / 2) (#118)
by OldTigger on Wed Mar 19, 2003 at 09:38:53 AM EST

This was a good idea for an article, and said well. I'm new here, it's not clear to me how to rate articles and replies, but I do think that's the right idea. And, at some point, allow folks to filter OUT those with low ratings, or this one from an unrated guy, etc. Rating is one key. Easy filtering is another. Weblogs (blogging!) is yet another, where brief, quick thoughtfulness is rewarded -- by more hits. And, of course, bloggers reading bloggers. Also, and perhaps quite important, is that LOTS of folks realize the upcoming US - Iraq war/ police action (enforcing UN resolutions) is a watershed singularity in history (maybe?), so there's a huge amount of uncertainty and tension associated with it. [I'd even say a lot of the anti-war emotion is the desire to go back to a situation of less uncertainty; not a real option, but a strong desire -- that's a different rant, though] And, in a conversation, different rants can be followed, or dropped, easily. But usemail/ forums & responses/ blogging & commetns are all still fairly new, and perhaps changing too fast to develop customs that can withstand environmental (the war) waves well. Some of my thoughts, anyway. (I'll save them for myself in a word journal, not quite ready for good blogging, yet.)
Freedom with responsibility
Info overload -- where's the analysis? (3.00 / 2) (#120)
by OldTigger on Wed Mar 19, 2003 at 10:00:18 AM EST

This was a good idea for an article, and said well. I'm new here, it's not clear to me how to rate articles and replies, but I do think that's the right idea. And, at some point, allow folks to filter OUT those with low ratings, or this one from an unrated guy, etc. Rating is one key. Easy filtering is another. Weblogs (blogging!) is yet another, where brief, quick thoughtfulness is rewarded -- by more hits. And, of course, bloggers reading bloggers. Also, and perhaps quite important, is that LOTS of folks realize the upcoming US - Iraq war/ police action (enforcing UN resolutions) is a watershed singularity in history (maybe?), so there's a huge amount of uncertainty and tension associated with it. [I'd even say a lot of the anti-war emotion is the desire to go back to a situation of less uncertainty; not a real option, but a strong desire -- that's a different rant, though] And, in a conversation, different rants can be followed, or dropped, easily. But usemail/ forums & responses/ blogging & commetns are all still fairly new, and perhaps changing too fast to develop customs that can withstand environmental (the war) waves well. Some of my thoughts, anyway. (I'll save them for myself in a word journal, not quite ready for good blogging, yet.)
Freedom with responsibility
The Blue-Themed Nightmare | 148 comments (134 topical, 14 editorial, 0 hidden)
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