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

Giving cyberspace a voice.

By Forum in Op-Ed
Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 09:55:49 PM EST
Tags: Kuro5hin.org (all tags)

The topic has been brought up a thousand times, in equally as many chat rooms and web boards, "How can we give ourselves a voice?" It is widely known that the voice of a group, when sounding in unison is heard louder, clearer, and more widely than any single voice. The people of k5 have spoken individually for too long, and now some of us wish to speak as one.

The idea was brought up in #kuro5hin this morning, "How can we give ourselves a voice?", "What do we do to be heard as one?". "We want to declare to people that we stand by what we say." And in a fashion true to the participants of k5, we talked, problem solved, and came to a solution. This is our solution.

To equate our voices on k5 with our "meatspace" voices, the voices that are more readily listened to by "non-geeks" and politicians, we would have to give up some of our anonymity in exchange for the power of a group voice. It was proposed that a thread be started, (this being it) wherein members could make themselves known by their real identities, on a completely voluntary basis.

This would be accomplished by electing a group of representatives who would be in charge of compiling the list of volunteers' names, addresses, public keys, and whatever other information you wished to divulge. At that point a snail mail mailing list would be set up, run by those who volunteered for, and were elected by you. Those selected volunteers would then mail confirmation letters to those of you who wished to take part in this.

The information from this thread would, at a later time dependant on participation, be stored in a database accessible from a link that would be put up on k5. This "reality link" would show to others that you back up your statements and beliefs with your full public identity.

Perhaps, in the future this could go so far as to become a special interest group, or a political lobbying party. Once again, dependant on volunteering, and participation. You can make a difference. The choice is yours.


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


Do you think this would work?
o Count me in, I like the idea. 32%
o I'm not sure I wanna give up my personal information 16%
o I don't really care, I'm not a US citizen. 14%
o This will never work. 17%
o Did someone say McDonalds? 19%

Votes: 117
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Kuro5hin
o Also by Forum

Display: Sort:
Giving cyberspace a voice. | 74 comments (69 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
Similar thought (3.60 / 5) (#2)
by pete on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 04:53:10 PM EST

I've been wondering about the whole Constitution thing since it came up a few days ago. This is one of the ideas I came up with as well. It seems like a common feeling at places like k5 is: we have all these people that believe in certain things, but all we do is sit around and whine. How can we make things happen?

I do think that the readership of k5 is diverse enough in both geography and political beliefs that it will almost never be unified on a given topic. Just take the U.S. Presidential election for example -- would we have an official endorsement? So we should discuss how to handle multiple conflicting viewpoints.


LOB (none / 0) (#34)
by titus-g on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 03:07:31 AM EST

You're right. We could sit around here all day talking, passing resolutions, making clever speeches. It's not going to shift one Roman soldier!
So, let's just stop gabbing on about it. It's completely pointless and it's getting us nowhere!
I agree. This is a complete waste of time.
They've arrested Brian!
They've dragged him off! They're going to crucify him!
Right! This calls for immediate discussion!

--"Essentially madness is like charity, it begins at home" --
[ Parent ]

Name One (1.00 / 1) (#47)
by the Epopt on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 10:51:09 AM EST

I challenge your basic assumption, that "we have all these people that believe in certain things" -- can you name one thing that "all these people" believe? Just one?

Cue the Jeopardy "waiting" music....

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

[ Parent ]
Um (none / 0) (#51)
by pete on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 03:12:21 PM EST

Did you conveniently skip the part of my post that says "I do think that the readership of k5 is diverse enough in both geography and political beliefs that it will almost never be unified on a given topic"?


[ Parent ]
The K5 Ministry of Meatspace (3.33 / 6) (#4)
by Arkady on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 04:57:25 PM EST

As I proposed in the other thread that we should think of administration rather than government, I suggest that this is a marvelous idea which should be known as the Ministry of Meatspace. This Ministry would be responsible for coordinating any K5 activities which cross into the Real World and functioning as the ambassadors from the K5 to various Real World entities.

Good one, Forum.


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world.

One small problem.... (3.00 / 1) (#42)
by Hillgiant on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 09:50:27 AM EST

There is no K5 cabal.

Therefore it can have no Ministries. =]

"It is impossible to say what I mean." -johnny
[ Parent ]

Existing organisations (3.25 / 4) (#5)
by jesterzog on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 05:00:24 PM EST

Reading this story made me wonder: What sort of political action do existing computer-related organisations such as the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) take part in, if any? (I'm using ACM as an example because it's the oldest and one of the most well known computer related organisations.)

There are a lot of organisations around that specialise in grouping together professionals and others interested. So far it's primarily been for things like setting in place professional standards. They don't seem to visibly do much for expressing professional opinions of their members, though.

Should ACM and co be acting and speaking more on political issues than they are at the moment?

jesterzog Fight the light

Architects... (none / 0) (#27)
by flieghund on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 11:04:34 PM EST

A similar question was raised a few years back here in California, by architecture professionals in regards to the American Institute of Architects. Being a member of the AIA is not a requirement of being an architect (licensed by the state is), but about half the professionals in the country belong to it anyway. (There are other groups, such as the Society of American Registered Architects, SARA, but their membership levels pale in comparison.)

The AIA is generally considered to set the "standard" for professional practice in architecture, developing industry-wide conventions such as owner-architect contracts and continuing education requirements.

So, getting back to the story, a few years ago people in the profession started asking, "What have you done for me lately?" IIRC, this question was posed in relation to a ballot measure that would have required using State architects (public employees, rather than private firms) for any project, including private projects, that involved more than $10,000 in public funds. (My numbers might be off -- I wasn't paying too much attention since I wasn't registered to vote in the state at the time.) Lacking the political clout to do much about it individually, the architectural profession banded together under the AIA (actually a PAC called "ARC PAC") to oppose the measure. It eventually went down in flames, but only after a long and heated ad campaign war.

The moral of my little story is this: the "organisations that specialize in grouping together professionals" usually require some catastrophic event (or the possibility thereof) to move forward into the political action domain. You mention the ACM; I am not familiar with their political experiences, but I would imagine that your lack of knowledge is indicative of their lack of effort in the political arena. This is not necessarily a bad thing -- there is no reason to go around spending membership dues if there is no crisis to confront. Though I imagine that, given the current political climate around technology, that this will change in the near future.

Using a Macintosh is like picking your nose: everyone likes to do it, but no one will admit to it.
[ Parent ]
Not for me... (3.50 / 8) (#7)
by trhurler on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 05:17:30 PM EST

I am not a part of some "group." My viewpoints are not determined by consensus or vote. I am a person - not a political viewpoint, an opinion of this or that computer or technology, or a stand on moral and ethical issues. Regardless of the perceived benefits, I will not allow some group of largely self-appointed(or even elected, for that matter,) "speakers for k5" to decide what to tell the world in my name. You want my opinion, you can get it from me. The idea that we're some kind of bloc of mostly identical people who agree on things and want that agreement recognized is dubious even if you leave out the oddballs like me, and including us makes it a ludicrous proposition.

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

Re: Not for me... (5.00 / 1) (#8)
by Arkady on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 05:22:03 PM EST

They're not proposing that these people would choose what to say in anyone's name.

They are proposing that we select people to say what we, as a collective group, tell them to say.

Basically. ;-)


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world.

[ Parent ]
Apparently, (3.50 / 2) (#13)
by trhurler on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 06:08:52 PM EST

They are proposing that we select people to say what we, as a collective group, tell them to say.
Which means, tell them to say by consensus. I do not agree to let my name be used in this way. I do not agree to allow someone to say "there are 9000+ people on k5, and they say blah blah blah!" because I didn't say that, and I don't mean that, and I will not stand by that, and I am one of those 9000 people. What you don't understand is, when I say "I do not want a collective voice claiming that it speaks for me" that is precisely what I mean: not as an individual, not as part of a group, not as a banana either. Nobody speaks for me except me.

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
read it again, eh? (4.00 / 2) (#15)
by Arkady on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 06:17:34 PM EST

At this point, I'm starting to think you're willfully misunderstanding.

Forum's proposal doesn't include letting the representatives choose what to say, and it does include an option for you to write a dissenting statement. So, only when you _explicitly_ grant authority would they be representing you and at any time you could require them to also express that you dissent from their statement.

Rather than "there are 9000+ people on k5, and they say blah blah blah!", all (s)he's proposing is a group designated to say "there are 9000+ people on k5, and 75% of them say 'blah blah blah', 20% say 'blah' and 5% refused to endorse a statement or allow themselves to be represented".

I see these as considerably different things.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world.

[ Parent ]
Dissent (3.66 / 3) (#16)
by trhurler on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 06:41:05 PM EST

Dissenting opinions are seldom read and more seldom spread.

Here's my real issue: if you said to me, I want to set up a coded mechanism to allow people to sign a story saying that it represents them, and then we can collect signatures and send that story off to someone or some company or whatever, then fine. But, it shouldn't contain any suggestion that it is the "will of K5" or whatever, because it isn't, even if it has dissenting views attached. It is the opinion of those who signed it, and that is all. K5 is not a person, and it is not really even a group - it is a discussion forum. You cannot speak "for k5." You -can- speak for a group of people who post to k5, if you explicitly say what that group is and they all agree. In general, I will not agree, because in general, I disagree with most people most of the time. I believe Henrik Ibsen was close to correct when he said, "The majority is always wrong."

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Dissention (4.50 / 2) (#18)
by Forum on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 06:49:08 PM EST

You -can- speak for a group of people who post to k5, if you explicitly say what that group is and they all agree.

That, is entirely the point. The object of this is to get together with a group of people who are "of like mind". At that point, IF an issue is raised, you can either concede to, or be excluded from the "group opinion" at your request. That "message" will simply state that included are the beliefs of the individuals who signed. And NO ONE else.


-- "When I walk down the street and only 3 or 4 shots are fired at me, I find it hard to stay awake." -HC
[ Parent ]
Ah (3.00 / 2) (#19)
by trhurler on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 06:52:44 PM EST

That is much better than what I thought I understood you to mean. I can agree with the concept, although I'd basically never take part for two reasons. One, I'm generally not in agreement with very many people, and two, I have no interest in publicly divulging my personal information. Others undoubtedly disagree, and to each his own - but I like my private life private, my email spam free, and my identity known only by people who(imagine this!) actually know me.

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
I should have waited (none / 0) (#21)
by Arkady on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 06:58:55 PM EST

to let Forum explain how (s)he thinks of it. (s)he did a better job of describing it than I. ;-)

Sorry for any confusion, both.


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world.

[ Parent ]
Curious... (none / 0) (#56)
by naasking on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 11:11:45 PM EST

What you said got me wondering if you have the same opinion of elections and government in general. You say that nobody speaks for you but you. Do you vote? Do you elect representatives from your local constituency?

If you do, then how is this any different? If anything, people here on K5 would be of closer mind to you than others if only because of shared interests. If you truly feel strongly against representation, then I would think you would be totally against voting period and any kind of representation on any level.

The president represents America when he travels around the world and often says, "my country believes this, or wants this." I'm assuming you live in America here, but even if you don't, the arguments are the same, unless you live in a dictatorship.

So is this really what you think?

[ Parent ]
Count me in, (1.25 / 8) (#9)
by phunbalanced on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 05:22:34 PM EST

I'm all for this.

What, Why, and How (4.00 / 8) (#10)
by interiot on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 05:24:33 PM EST

What would we say with a unified voice?

Compared to an individual voice, why would anyone pay more attention to a thousand geeks from a .org site that they haven't heard of before?

How would the signers ensure that their voices aren't used in a way they don't like? Okay, the leaders could promise to bring each statement up as a separate story and have everyone vote on it on the poll, but what about small changes the community wants to make? Do the changes have to be voted on too, or will moderation suffice?

Re: What, Why, and How (4.50 / 2) (#11)
by Forum on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 05:33:21 PM EST

Those questions are things that the group (if ever there is one) would decide for themselves. Inclusion or exclusion from a particular topic is and will always remain an individual right. The sole purpose for something like this is so that, in the event that you wanted to voice an opinion that you had, in a situation where a group may accomplish more than an individual, you would have a pre-establibshed group to turn to.


-- "When I walk down the street and only 3 or 4 shots are fired at me, I find it hard to stay awake." -HC
[ Parent ]
I like but... (3.20 / 5) (#12)
by QuantumAbyss on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 05:45:15 PM EST

I don't want to abandon the government idea. I think that this space is really important - if we are going to have power we need to act as "real" people. But at the same time we need a method of deciding what we're considering backing and we need people to organize things a little bit. Rusty is all good for this now, but considering the scope of things we're talking about I think it would be a bit much for him alone.

On the topic of how we decide to back candidates, ideas, etc, as a group - I don't think we should in a simplistic way. Maybe if there is a majority (or 3/4 majority) vote on something we can have the officers (or whatever those people are called) draft (and pass) a letter or something that gets sent to a "real world" person/organization. But as individuals, by our vote, we determine whether or not our name gets added in that letter of support. Maybe we even go as far as creating a counter letter if there is a real split in the organization. While that would certainly split our groups views it would also more accurately express them and keeps people from feeling like their views were not expressed. The last thing we want to do is act like everyone else and not give minorities a chance to express their opinions (at the same time you don't want to sacrifice the majority to the minority).

One other thing that I want to say. I know that a number of people are probably feeling like there is just too much of this political/governmental stuff going on. I don't feel like it is the majority, but it is a fair number. Well, I think that those who don't want to become involved in the whole voting/constitution/real world/etc project shouldn't need to - even if they're active in other ways on the site. That means we need to be careful not to require anything of anyone or build a system that centers around these topics and stops talking about other topics that are important to people. I don't think that things are going that way, but as one who is enjoying this excersize in government I'm probably not the best judge.

Science is not the pursuit of truth, it is the quest for better approximations to a perception of reality.
- QA
Nor Do I (4.00 / 1) (#30)
by Devil Ducky on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 11:37:10 PM EST

If people keep coming up with these types of ideas it will be very difficult for poor Rusty to be the sole administrator of this community. Even Cmdr Taco has help :-)

I also believe that the topic of this discussion should be incorporated into the idea of a government. The first thing to solve is to make sure that no one feel alienated by these going-ons (if they happen). I repeat, the new government must make sure that it does nothing to require everybody's cooperation. It should only be a representation of those who wish to praticipate, and everybody else can continue to use K5 as they have been.

I also suggest that during the creation of all of these things it is found that they cannot be done without the disturbance of everybody who doesn't want to join in, then they should not be done. Another place can be started that represents what we are discussing now, kind of a spinoff, if you will.

I personally believe that all of this is very interesting and that I would like to be a part of it [no, I'm not running, yet :-) ]. I do not in any way want this experiment to ruin all of the "goodness" of K5, I like this and I don't want it to break or let it become another /. where we need moderation and such.

The spelling/grammar in this message brought to you by my good friend Jim Beam. Unless of course everthing is right and then it is because of me, and I am usually such a bad typist just for fun.

Devil Ducky

Immune to the Forces of Duct Tape
Day trading at it's Funnest
[ Parent ]
Do it all through cyberspace. (2.50 / 2) (#14)
by dreamfish on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 06:12:11 PM EST

I can see where you're coming from on this. Quite often on a number of issues, like Software Patents for example, you get a large number of comments of the form 'Something must be done!' but when it comes to effective activism such action always falls to a very small number of individuals who are prepared to go out there and do it.

However the global nature of the internet means that 'meatspace' actions count for less. An issue regarding restrictions of freedoms or government implementing a stupid law in one country is much more difficult for those outside that country to participate in IRL that through net-based activism.

Of course, any net-activism is more effective if people use their real names and direct it at the right people (and that includes media outlets). Futhermore you can understand that in the DeCSS debacle a great many people supported it but only anonymously due to the threat of being included in the litigation.

I would suggest that effectively targetted net campaigns are better and can be more inclusive of the world's net users.

Who lives in the Internet? (3.50 / 2) (#26)
by Miniluv on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 09:39:46 PM EST

People refer to the Internet as if it were a place, as if it had identity, citizenry, and laws. It doesn't. "Meatspace" as it's been so eloquently put IS reality, the Internet is a medium of communications, the same as the telephone, postal service, smoke signals and semaphore flags. What the Internet has going for it is the ability to disseminate information rapidly for real action to be taken upon.
I read the EFF's website regularly, along with the ACLU's, since I'm an American. From their information, and further research of my own both Internet based and not, I decide my stance on an issue. I then communicate that stance to my duly elected representatives at a state and federal level. I once asked the technology staffer of my congressional rep if it mattered that I called. He was quite honest, and said that my rep had made up his mind on this issue, but that they appreciated my communication, and hoped it would continue. I asked if my calling individually made more difference than a petition, and that staffer was yet again honest in their answer of ABSOLUTELY.
A petition is just a list of names of people who were induced to sign. It shows no degree of commitment, no initiative at any level beyond the person who circulated it. When we call, fax, email our representatives we indicate to them we care enough to DO something about it. I informed that honest staffer of my honest desire to vote against the congressman, and he thanked me for my candor, and asked that the next issue I felt strongly about be communicated to them as well, because how I voted had no bearing on their valuation of my input between elections. I respect my congressman if he truly lives by that statement...he's a man of the people. The only way we can make a difference at these levels is by voting and voicing our opinions between elections. Congressman don't read K5/Slashdot/Salon/Slate/etc, but they do read their mail, they talk to their staff, they check the fax machine. Maybe this'll change, but not just yet, so we have to work WITHIN the existing system.
Pretending the Internet is more than it is only hurts our cause, not helps it. I once read that charity starts in the home, and so does political power. That home is their district, and it's time their district started speaking to them.
One last note, regardless of your stance on issues, recognize the reality of this. The more vehement a voter is on an issue, the more likely they are to contact their elected officials. This increases with age. If you oppose the views of these people, you have to match them in activism, and exceed them in factual presentation.

"Its like someone opened my mouth and stuck a fistful of herbs in it." - Tamio Kageyama, Iron Chef 'Battle Eggplant'
[ Parent ]
No one speaks for me (4.53 / 15) (#17)
by the Epopt on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 06:48:58 PM EST

Go to Hell. On a completely voluntary basis, of course. I will not be assimilated into the collective.

I am perfectly capable of speaking for myself, and I have no desire whatsoever to be part of some web site's "voice."

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

example #1 (3.25 / 4) (#31)
by aeil on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 11:43:41 PM EST

You are one of the reasons our culture has no voice, becoming part of a "group" does not mean that you lose what you have, you do not have to give up yourself, but as a member you should at least expres clearly why you do or not agree with the idea being presented. Perhaps the inablity to do this is what is restraining you from agreeing. It certainly seems that way from your post.

[ Parent ]
Who says I should? (5.00 / 1) (#35)
by the Epopt on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 03:12:17 AM EST

If I am the reason you have no voice, then I pity you.

I don't like the idea because I am a reader of this web site, not a subject of your cyber-state nor even a fellow-traveler sharing your political interests. There is no one posting on this web site who understands the issues discussed here the way I do. There is no one posting on this web site whose opinions match mine. There is no one posting on this web site who is as effective at communicating my knowledge, needs, or desires as I am.

But at the bottom line, I am under no compulsion to "at least expres [sic] clearly why you do or not agree with the idea being presented," as you insist I should. Rather, it is the obligation of those presenting the idea to convince me that I have something to gain by letting a mob of self-styled geeks put words in my mouth.

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

[ Parent ]
Broken record (1.33 / 3) (#22)
by spaceghoti on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 07:03:22 PM EST

I still say voting representatives to do this violates the whole principle of the matter. What you need is already in place, you just have to validate it.

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

You people don't understand... (3.15 / 13) (#23)
by iCEBaLM on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 07:40:01 PM EST

When the question of the DeCSS case comes up its all "Join the EFF!" When the question of software patents are raised its "someone needs to change the patent system!" However when the question of volunteering to enter into a group to do something about it it's "Go to hell", "I will not be assimilated", "I am perfectly capable of giving my own opinion".

You people don't understand. You don't understand the crap laws that are getting passed from corporations that want to remove you from your wallet and freedoms, governments that want to remove you from your privacy or what little of it we have left, nor do you understand the word VOLUNTEER!

If you truely are, or want to be, blind to all the absolute garbage that is going on in this world then just remember one thing: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." -- Edmund Burke

-- iCEBaLM

Umm (3.00 / 2) (#53)
by loner on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 04:53:37 PM EST

When the question of the DeCSS case comes up its all "Join the EFF!" ... However when the question of volunteering to enter into a group to do something about it it's "Go to hell", "I will not be assimilated", "I am perfectly capable of giving my own opinion".
You said it, if you want to volunteer or do something, join the EFF! or some other group that's already out there. I think the problem people are having with this proposal is that (a) it duplicates, poorly, the effort of already established organizations, and (b) it removes the "unbiasness" of this site.

IMHO, K5 can be better used if articles regarding specific issues simply include links/pointers to established organizations who are trying to resolve the problems. Then users can freely discuss the issue here and add their support to the other organizations if they so choose.

[ Parent ]

Trivial solution (3.40 / 5) (#25)
by Sunir on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 08:25:54 PM EST

The trivial solution would be to use your real name. If you like your handle, at least put your real name in your user information. As you note, I use my real name.

Signing a petition list sans petition is equivalent to joining a political party. That would be a disaster for kuro5hin as it is a discussion site; i.e. it thrives on dissenting opinion. Besides, do you have any idea how hard it is to form a party (even a small one) without providing free beer? It's much easier to just use your real name.

"Look! You're free! Go, and be free!" and everyone hated it for that. --r

Another possible idea (2.60 / 5) (#28)
by dyskordus on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 11:08:21 PM EST

Maybe we need to elect (in some way, shape or form) a spokesperson.

Our spokesperson, whoever he or she may be, could be our voice in the non-online media. People could be told about what's going on here (online) by someone who isn't a buzzword-spouting, Wired reading, M$ using "expert" who finds themselves to be the coolest thing with two legs and an anus.

We could explain things such as why DeCSS is good, and why software patents are bad. If the ignorance of the electorate is reduced, people will not vote for candidates who support such things when they realize how much they will affect their lives in the next few years.

"Reality is less than television."-Brian Oblivion.

I like this idea (1.50 / 2) (#29)
by aprentic on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 11:33:46 PM EST

My real name is Claudius Li. If this thing actually get's off the ground email me and I'll provide the necesary info. I might even consider volunteering to help out if there's a shortage of people.

some thoughts (3.60 / 5) (#32)
by radar bunny on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 11:59:43 PM EST

1) While well merited the inherent problem is that geeks are by nature not socially minded. That is kind of what makes us -- umm geeks. I'm not saying this is This isn't a universal truth, but it is the strong tendency.
2) To come together on a few issues sounds good but to simmply sign away my name on a blanket cause of sorts is something I would be skeptical off.
3) I would not suggest linking this directly to k5 because it could then begin to shape what K5 is rather than having the posters on k5 shape this "forum".

These are my only real concerns. I am however game to help and feel free to email me for help. I hold my BA in poli sci and history and have worked some with a recent congressional campaign so i have a strong understanding of how the system works and how to use it. And, for a while now I have stood and watcha and also said, "something needs to be done." Of course i always add to that, "but what?" The one thing I keep comming back to is "communicate." Let people know what i think and why i think it. It's something I have done and done well. But imagine what a few thousand well minded, goal oriented, and well motivated geeks could do.
The power of effective communication can bring about real change and again if the goals are clear I'd be more than willing to help.
again i have concerns about how this would work, but they are not near as strong as my concerns about doing nothing at all.

What the hell is going on here? (4.76 / 21) (#33)
by StatGrape on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 12:37:16 AM EST

Since when has K5 been so irritatingly political? First we have the ill-conceived K5 Constitution, and now the equally useless Hands-Across-K5 movement. Here's some harsh reality - this is just a web site, and neither deserves nor needs to be anything more. This isn't the real world; there is absolutely no need for a constitution or a group of representatives here, and the actual formation of either will wind up as a laughingstock. I don't mean to be patronizing, but it's true. And while I'm at it, what the hell makes anyone think that "non-geeks and politicians" will care about a group of faceless internet users who are using supposed real names? I can lie too. Say hello to Herve Sanchez! Am I more credible suddenly?

What the hell happened to just showing up here to read the articles, maybe debate the issue, then moving on to continue our lives? Suddenly, this place is ruled by politics, both in the colosally boring articles being voted in and the online democracy sentiment being tossed around. It's just a web site people - a big ol' pile of text, images and scripts. It's not a fledgling country or anything more important than it appears. You're losing your perspective, and it's going to turn K5 into the anti-fun with a quickness.


This too will pass (4.00 / 4) (#37)
by Spinoza on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 04:32:37 AM EST

A few weeks after the US election, when everyone settles down and accepts the result, I'd say. Everyone's just a wee bit over-excited by all the campaign politics. What do you expect, after having politics blasted at us for the entire campaign year? Of course it's pretty much at the top of the collective mind, even if their thoughts turn to more diverse paths than Bush v. Gore.

Besides that, politics is easy to write about, because you don't need to know anything. Compare this to writing a worthwhile article on a technology oriented subject, and you'll see what I mean. Try to go into reasonable depth on a subject like the technology Celera used to sequence the human genome, for instance. (I admit, this example is somewhat out of date, and a more current example would be better.) It's a fairly interesting subject, although I wouldn't dare try to write an article about it, because I don't understand it in adequate depth to make any sort of comment. If I did, it would probably still result in a slightly off-topic discussion about patent law, rather than a discussion about the whole genome shotgun sequencing technique. (although I would agree the genome patent thing is/was worthy of discussion.)

Furthermore, politics doesn't require much in the way of news. People can churn out these political pontifications any time they want to. Actual news requires that:

  • Something of note happens
  • You find out about it before anybody else reports it.
  • You are in a position of knowledge about the news item, and hence can give learned commentary.

The problem is, this is a rare situation for the average geek to be in. We're seldom the first with the news, so we are left with the "commentary" option. Giving learned commentary is a difficult thing indeed. It involves things like learning, research, and thought. Effort both leading up to the article's writing (learning), and during it (research and thought). Sometimes we'd just prefer to sit down and scribble out whatever political ruminations have been on our minds lately. It's ever so much easier on the synapses.

Politics will always elicit a response, as everyone has some sort of opinion. People will always be happy to give their two cents, and contribute to the general political flaming. (I am certainly no exception.) It's fun. It gets your blood up. It's probably good for the constitution.(physiological, not "of the United States") The eager reactions to political articles give the author a warm, fuzzy feeling of having "made waves". Other prospective authors are quick to join in to feel for themselves that same heady joy.

Politics seems important. It has flashy TV coverage. It has flashy TV haircuts. People with deep voices talk about it on the news. Women in suits stand in front of the capitol and report on it, as high winds completely fail to disturb one hair of their rock-solid coiffures. It must be incredibly relevant and interesting. Hence, articles on politics seem relevant and well worth writing and commenting upon.

I recently performed a statistical analysis on data submitted to the "who are you?" story, to determine what percentage of k5's readers had an academic background in political science, economics, sociology, or computer science. (Actual I did no such thing, but I suspect that my conclusions are correct with a margin of error of 5% at the most.) The breakdown went like this:

  • Poli. Sci. - less than 1%
  • Economics - Less than 1%
  • Sociology - Less than 1%
  • Comp. Sci. - Greater than 70%

This leads me to the conclusion that few of the people who discuss politics on k5 have any formal education in any field relevant to it. Noting the comparitively mediocre responses that articles on subjects relevant to computer science (or pretty much any science) receive, I surmise that people who work in computing like to discuss things other than computers in their off-time. I will postulate that a web community of Poli. Sci. majors might very well spend all their time in uneducated discussion of computers. (Actually, they'd probably discuss porn all the time, or football.)

Essentially, political discussion on k5 is on the same level as political discussion between your father and grandfather at Christmas dinner, particularly if your grandfather is a gun-toting, war-mongering republican ape, and your father is a bleeding-heart, tree-hugging democrat sissy. That there are people present who don't comprehend this simple fact results in the following two problems:

My advice is to take these as unavoidable side-effects of a boisterous and enthusiastic online community. I suspect the whole online democracy thing is an indirect result of the Slashdot moderation system. Having their moderation points restricted to a meagre five, doled out at seemingly random intervals has bred an inordinate enthusiasm for voting in the more impressionable members of the population. This is why k5 has been so successful -- the ubiquitous voting. This k5 constitution thing is just an attempt to capitalise further on this insane lust for voting.

[ Parent ]

...insane lust for voting. (3.33 / 3) (#39)
by titus-g on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 05:27:48 AM EST

This too will pass (5.00) (#37)


--"Essentially madness is like charity, it begins at home" --
[ Parent ]

Hold on there (none / 0) (#71)
by dennis on Fri Nov 17, 2000 at 09:57:39 AM EST

I object to the implication that only professionals should debate politics. Politics affects everyone. It would be silly for poli.sci. majors to debate the relative merits of IIS and Apache, because not only are they not knowledgeable, they aren't affected much by the issue. But politics affects each of us directly. Political decisions affect our use of software, our free speech, and what guns we can own, to pick just three examples that affect individuals directly. Furthermore, the people writing the laws often have less knowledge of the subject matter than the people most affected. European politicians propose a computer security treaty that would drastically reduce security, and Dianne Feinstein proposes a ban on assault rifles, which she defines as "a rifle designed to be fired from the hip for extra lethality," which is nonsense to anyone who has ever handled a rifle.

I'm not trying to restart the gun debate here, it's been beat to death. I'm just saying that whatever laws we make, should at least make sense, and poli-sci/econ/soc majors are not necessarily the most qualified to make those decisions. And even when they are most qualified, they may not have my own best interests in mind. Politics is a subject that, in a democracy, demands and rewards participation and debate by all. And the politics of technology most certainly should be debated by people familiar with technology. Leaving it to the social scientists would be a mess. (And incidentally, I was an anthropology major.)

[ Parent ]

You may be missing my point. (none / 0) (#73)
by Spinoza on Fri Nov 17, 2000 at 06:18:55 PM EST

The point I was trying to make was that, for geeky/engineering/computing types, we seem to be more interested in discussing politics, than things in the geek spectrum. I don't think I was trying to imply that geeks shouldn't talk about politics.

I do think that if people are so interested in politics, they would not object to doing some background reading before starting to post weekly articles on the subject. Either that, or they should try to take themselves a little less seriously. I'm getting fed up with all the "I'm trying to change the world, but I need help" articles. Particularly the ones that ramble on for nine hundred paragraphs without introducing any new subject matter.

[ Parent ]

Well, you do have a point there (none / 0) (#74)
by dennis on Sun Nov 19, 2000 at 01:44:37 PM EST

Didn't mean to jump on you. :-)

[ Parent ]
Since when? (3.33 / 6) (#40)
by rusty on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 08:10:43 AM EST

Since when has K5 been so irritatingly political?

Politics is reality. Politics decides how you are able to live your life on a daily basis. I know most so-called "geeks" don't like to think of themselves as ever having anything but a truly original opinion, but face it, 90% of the time we all agree on the big issues. The question is, when did you (and everyone else) become so irritatingly cynical? We have something cool here-- the net-- and if we don't protect it, it *will* be taken away from us, while we gab on message boards. Between Slashdot and K5 there are well over a quarter million people who *could* be mobilized to speak out on issues that matter to us (and speak to the people who will make the decisions, not just yammer amongst ourselves). But we continue to stick our heads in the sand, and hope "someone does something." Foo.

Personally, I think the proposal here would best take the form of a means of distributing "alerts". So, you check the site, there is an issue that you can register your opinion on. Whatever your stand is, the point is that it's something we feel matters enough for us to get involved. You click a link, and get the phone number of the relevant person for you to call (might be your rep, might be a senator, might be a company spokesperson... whoever it is). You pick up the phone, and call them, and tell them what you think. This, communicating with real humans, is the only way we will be heard.

Now imagine this: The House is voting on a Bill that will ban domain names with numbers in the middle (to take a silly example). An alert goes up. "Bill Foo to be voted on in House" ... goes on to explain what Bill Foo says and why you should care. Link at the bottom: "Contact person". Click that, it gives you the phone number of the rep for your zip code (easy to store in your user info). You call them. Meanwhile, your Rep and her colleagues discover that in one day, they got 9,000 phone calls about this one bill. Chances are very good that that will be the only opinion they hear from their constituents. Do you think that could do any real-world good? And all you have to do is make one phone call. Take you five minutes. We can even generate a script for you to read.

This site isn't the real world. But all of us have to live in the real world too. Why shouldn't we take the step from just bitching about it, to doing something about it?

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Philosophical differences, my man. (4.00 / 3) (#43)
by StatGrape on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 10:16:23 AM EST

Rusty, I'm not going to debate philosophy with you, since we are obviously both staunch in our opinions, but I'll ask you this; when was the last K5 article that wasn't grey-suit serious (and please, don't point to the 'Who Are You' one)? I looked back over the last few weeks, and saw nothing but dull political commentary and whining over perceived loss of freedom. This isn't your fault personally, but the theme of this site is slowly diverging from what brought many of us here; it was an interesting version of Slashdot for those who don't want to cry over the DMCA six times a week. There have been some darn fine articles submitted, but they're naturally voted down immediately in favor of crap like the one we're in right now.

But, I'm not going to play this game. I'm at the head of the pack to flame the jackasses who scream "Slashdot sucks!" as soon as an uninteresting article is posted. K5 does not suck, but it's becoming very, very dry. If this is the type of site you envisioned K5 becoming, then that's fantastic, but the 4.85 rating that my original comment currently has indicates that there are those who are becoming as disinterested as I. The fact that this site is attempting to become a political entity in more than one sense is a benchmark example of taking things far, far too seriously.

But, you're certainly right about one thing - politics is real life, and that's why I can't stand the idea of being unable to avoid it on the web as I am in my everyday world. Is there really no room for pure, intelligent entertainment any longer - sites where people debate each other for enjoyment and personal betterment instead of trying to change the freaking world? Traditional media is a lost cause, that's for sure. I work hard to keep NerdPerfect entertaining and politically agnostic, but a quick comparison of my traffic totals versus yours clearly shows that a significantly greater number agree with you over me. I think that's a shame.

[ Parent ]

hmm (4.50 / 2) (#49)
by SEAL on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 12:49:40 PM EST

I think there's a time and a place for political debate and "making your voice heard". K5 is getting a high volume of this right now, because of a major (and hotly contested) election in the U.S.

I'll side with Rusty on the idea that we shouldn't just bury our heads in the sand while the rest of the world makes rules that affect our lives. I really don't know if K5 can speak as one voice, though. Rather, it would make more sense to take things on a case-by-case basis to see how much support there is for each issue. This would be much like gathering petitions offline.

You MUST take this approach in order to be taken seriously. Keep in mind that K5's readership is not 100% comprised of U.S. citizens. That alone would indicate we have differing opinions on many issues. The different geographical locations of the people WITHIN the U.S. show this as well.

Even assuming we have a united voice on an issue, who do we pitch it to? The reps in the U.S. Congress care about what their constituents in their districts want, not what a bunch of random people around the globe want. So what it boils down to, is that K5 would be turning itself into a special interest group. Lobbyists.

Don't get me wrong - it works for many groups, including foreign ones. But I think we should all be aware of the monster we'd be creating by doing this. Our goals may be important to us, but becoming a special interest could very well create a negative image for K5. Is that an acceptable tradeoff? Something to think about.

Best regards,


It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.
[ Parent ]
yeah (3.00 / 2) (#54)
by rusty on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 05:15:17 PM EST

when was the last K5 article that wasn't grey-suit serious

Ok, I'm with you there. More tech, more weird stuff, fewer, but better, political things. We have always been more political than you'd expect for a bunch of geeks, I think the election is just drawing it out right now.

Hey, I know *you* can write. As always, change starts with you.

BTW, I have a couple tapes of me chatting with Larry McVoy which will be very interesting, and not political at all, when I finally get around to writing them up as an article. Keep an eye out, and submit something !political. :-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

More tech stories (none / 0) (#69)
by Ndog on Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 05:12:33 PM EST

I agree, more tech news would be nice. Here is an excellent article, that could help keep some that don't have time to search out tech news on which to comment, up to speed.

[ Parent ]
just a thought (4.00 / 1) (#57)
by radar bunny on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 11:27:02 PM EST

i'll refere to this post of mine where I made the comment about the proposed forum shaping k5 rather than the k5 members shaping the proposed forum. Again, im tired of simply complaining and again i'd be more than willing to help. I also agree with you about being able to contact your congressmen. I dont think most people understand how important it is that congressmen hear from their constituants. I also think people have no idea how much they can shape the votes their congressmen make. And there are going to be a lot of technology based legislation coming out of the next congress. The sad thing is --- most of our representatives don't understand the full implications of these laws (or the damaget he could cause). Hearings are goign to be heard on carnivore and maybe even echelon. How far in depth those hearings go depends on how much interest the people show in them. it's up to us (the ones who know and understand this stuff) to expain to our congresmen why they should or shouldnt support different legislation. It's also up to us educate those around us about this importance and heve them also contact their representives.

but again, I think this would be best as a seperatepart of k5.
Also, on a slight side note. While i really enjoy this site - and even like the name. kuro5hin.org is a hard place to tell people to goto for information. I know this sounds silly, but again -- one more reason to keep it at least a little seperate. Maybe set up a seperate "sister" site. Just a thought --- and it's open to criticism.

[ Parent ]
Alert Distribution (3.00 / 1) (#61)
by jxqvg on Fri Nov 10, 2000 at 11:35:38 AM EST

I'm sorry to cite and reply to this post, with more references to come, no doubt, but I just dig the idea of distributing alerts, raising political awareness.

My next brainstorm is that since we have so many different opinions, that we focus more on advocating political action either way on an issue. To elaborate:

  1. Bill X comes up in political entity Y
  2. K5 reader A brings attention to this bill, posting an article citing the available documentation and an explanation as to why K5 geeks should care
  3. A feeding frenzy of discussion ensues, bringing out relevant points and additional facts
  4. Readers A,B, and C, who also happen to be constituents of Y, take action in the form of Phone calls, letters, or any other available form of real political action either way. After all, it's up to A, B, and C to make up their minds on the issue. In this way, A, B, and C avoid feelings that they're being "assimilated by the collective(a not uncommon fear, apparently)", while at the same time benefiting "the collective(geeks)" by making geek opinions heard.
  5. The Constant Of World Suckage(CWS) is lowered based on an intricate formula that will not be expanded upon here.

[ Parent ]
Yay and Boo (4.40 / 5) (#36)
by duxup on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 03:41:14 AM EST

I am somewhat fascinated by the actual discussion of forming some "voice" or political organization revolving around k5. I never thought it would be discussed this much, especially with so little substance to it. Most of the discussion seems to revolve around how to form such a group with no discussion on what it would do or say.

I'm reminded of a quote from Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany who after gaining power from Bismarck said:

"The course remains the same, full speed ahead."

Unfortunatly nobody knew where they were going. It turned out W.W.I was full speed ahead, and even the Kaiser didn't want that when he realized the ramifications.

I am more so concerned with the fact that all of these proposals seem to purport to speak for "The people of k5." I've always supported k5 (I visit and post often), but now if I support k5 will I be also supporting "the voice" as well? I also worry that if there is a political organization as well as a news site with obvious affiliations that the news site's credibility would be in question.

Since the website and voice are identified as the same thing will any financial income (or future income, if there is any) from advertising on k5 go to the political organization? If the first question is answered yes then even if I visit k5 and I'm not a member of "the voice" will I be contributing to a political organization I do not support, that would suck.

While I do have many concerns in the end I applaud those people making some of the proposals. Much of the time I see lots of moaning but no proposed solutions. At least someone is trying something. However, I'm not at all inclined to join an organization that already purports to speak for me without even proposing a basic platform to start with. I find that suspicious and ominous.

And what, exactly, do we agree on? (3.50 / 8) (#38)
by Burb on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 04:58:57 AM EST

If you look at almost any topic, there's a wide range of opinion. We cannot speak with one voice because we have many voices. This will never work.

Damn right (2.00 / 1) (#68)
by ewan on Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 05:01:11 AM EST

I have yet to see a thread on kuro5hin that didnt have lots of several conflicting viewpoints.

There is no one voice here, because its a discussion site, and anyone who wants something else should go somewhere else for it.


[ Parent ]

a voice on the internet implies (4.00 / 3) (#41)
by Defect on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 09:01:08 AM EST

that the people listening are also on the internet. Unfortunately (or fortunately) that is not something that can be guaranteed. One thing, though, that everyone has in common, is that we are all living, breathing humans who can all read and write (i hope i'm not assuming too much here). People who don't care about the internet are not going to care about what 9000 users think, just like i don't care about hunting and don't give a shit about my redneck neighbors when they kill whatever it is they kill.

You want voices to be heard? Add a section to K5 titled "Petition" or something of the sort and relate your cause. Maybe rusty could set up a p.o. box in the name of K5 and all those who support the cause could write a letter with their views and mail them to the p.o. box. People could still debate or discuss within the online forum but people who feel strongly enough could write a letter. Once enough letters have been collected or a certain time limit has elapsed then the letters could be presented or sent to the relevant part(y/ies).

You want one of the presidential candidates (an example, don't bitch at me) to hear what you have to say? What is he going to do, go to k5, sign up for an account and post a story just because half of us has our names and addresses behind our nicks? Do you think people are going to listen to someone who calls himself "Defect" or what about "Buttfucker2000" (just saw that ingenius nick on the vote scrolldowns).

But i personally do think they'd at least pay more attention if they were delivered a box with 9000 letters from all over the country/world.

I, in no way, am standing behind my description as the best idea, it could be done in many different ways. I'm just saying that if you want to shout in "meatspace" you're going to actually have to /be/ in "meatspace."
defect - jso - joseth || a link
are internet fora write-only media? (4.00 / 1) (#66)
by TuxNugget on Sat Nov 11, 2000 at 03:33:10 AM EST

I've often wondered whether anyone is listening at all.

As in real-life, how often will someone else's words change your mind? If it is about something technical that I don't know enough about, then I'll listen. But if I think I know, I may think they're wrong and not really listen. As soon as we go from the technical to the socio-economic, everyone thinks they know, and most people won't listen. At least thats my opinion :-)

Perhaps a majority of what goes on in online forums is venting or posturing rather than true communications.

[ Parent ]

Unassociated with K5 (4.00 / 4) (#44)
by Michael Leuchtenburg on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 10:21:38 AM EST

I like the idea of a geek lobby. It would help to counteract much of the lobbying going on that is counter to my interests (given as I have similar interests to many geeks, any given geek lobby would likely support at least some of my interests).

However, I don't think it should be associated with K5. Having a weblog for members of the lobby is one thing, but co-opting an existing weblog is a completely different matter. Not every member of K5 supports the idea. Yes, sure, maybe you think we should have a vote, and if the majority wants it, it happens. Lets imitate the US way of doing it (and the way of many democracies) and ignore the minority. No.

I like the idea of a geek lobby. I plan to contribute to the various geek legal organizations I like when I get my next paycheck (the first time in a loooong time I've had significant disposable income). Maybe I'll even try to sew the seeds for a true lobby. I don't particularly like the idea of a lobby, but I do concede that sometimes we must do things we don't like to get a good end result.

As to what the lobby should do, well. The founding members should define a structure for it. The should also define a few beliefs that the lobby will push. Others may join, or may not, depending on whether they agree. After that, what happens is determined by the structure.

Most people here would suggest a democratic procedure for deciding on issues to pursue. Maybe this is the right way to do it. However, it could lead to people who are not for the cause of the geek (well, the cause of the founding members) changing the course entirely. I think lobbies need a bit of authentication for their members before they start letting them make decisions.

What is the right structure? I certainly don't know. I'm going to research it a bit, though, and who knows; maybe in a couple of months I'll be submitting a story about the geek lobby. Maybe you will. But regardless, I think it needs to happen. Geek opinions are underrepresented in Washington. I'd like that to change.

[ #k5: dyfrgi ]
[ TINK5C ]

What's the goal of k5? (4.20 / 5) (#45)
by blixco on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 10:35:22 AM EST

I have this feeling that those people who didn't want to participate in the "real world" aspect of K5 would be derided or jeered by those that did. I also think that tying my posts to my identity is a pretty awful idea. My viewpoints not only conflict with my employer, they are enough to get my happy ass fired. Not only that, I don't want to deal with my neighbors when if/when they find out about my wanting to, say, burn the statehouse down, or blow up the government. Therefor, I'd never....ever...reveal my identity to you people (as much as I like all of you).

Plus, I would think that this would invalidate the idea that your opinions, thoughts, actions and life online count as much as your opinions, thoughts, life, and actions offline. Using your real name to justify your post seems silly. Call me a traditionalist.

On the other hand, for certain political organizations who have a specific charter and goal (Irish Northern Aid, The Militant, Greenpeace, Friends of Mumia, FAIR, etc) organizing and campaigning In Real Life is the way of the organization. The web sites (ie www.fair.org, www.inac.org, etc) are extensions of the organization, used as tools to distribute information, engage in heated discussion, and act as a portal to other sites, orgs, and info.

Quick question, then: is the goal of kuro5hin to further the Geek Cause (whatever the Geek Cause may be)? If this is the case....I'll wander over to this slashdot place people keep talking about. I'm just in it for the discussion, thanks. My actions go to many much more worthwhile causes.
The root of the problem has been isolated.
You can do this already... (3.50 / 4) (#46)
by Paul Jimenez on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 10:44:53 AM EST

1) use your real name. This is mine. If I want posts here to not be associated with this real name, I login via another account (accessed via anonymiser.com of course) and post using that. 2) as for the geek lobby... is the EFF completely bankrupt? or FSF? Or several other similar organizations with not as much popularity? Get involved with them, volunteer your time, effort, or cash to help out.

another real name (none / 0) (#62)
by mike huber on Fri Nov 10, 2000 at 03:24:21 PM EST

This is posted under my real name.
I've been here a while, under a userid. I like the casual anonymity, the alternate persona. So I'll mostly be posting under that. But when I need credibility, verifyability, a meatspace existance, I'll post as
Mike Huber
2601 S. 99th
West Allis, WI 53227
(414)328-2267 (office)
nax@execpc.com (home)

Feel free to contact me.

I'm sure there are plenty of people who could connect me with my other user id. I haven't taken any serious precautions. I'd rather you didn't, though.

I have a concern: it would be sad if K5 turned into a political advocacy thing and lost its current character. Let's keep this what it is, and share some political tools.

And let's get back to the technology and fun. It's been pretty damned gray here lately. I know, I should be the solution, I should post a fun technology story instead of griping. But I don't have one at the moment. I'll do it as soon as I can.

Mike Huber
email to nax at execpc dot com for details.
[ Parent ]

Self-reliance (3.00 / 2) (#48)
by ubu on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 11:45:53 AM EST

by Ralph Waldo Emerson

"...Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. Society is a joint-stock company, in which the members agree, for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater. The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs."

As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
Politics (3.00 / 2) (#50)
by Joshua on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 01:51:10 PM EST

We sit here on k5, and on /. and all over the web and we complain. We complain that we don't like what's going on in the world, we complain that we don't like the candidates for president in America, we complain about laws we don't like and filtering software we think sucks, and all we do is fucking complain.

Let's keep complaining, certainly, but let's start acting too. Let's act as a political party, or at least a political interest group and see if we can achieve some kind of influence. We are geeks, and we care about this shit, so let's unite, and form the geek party.


No. (none / 0) (#58)
by blixco on Fri Nov 10, 2000 at 08:28:39 AM EST

That would be incredibly silly. Tentamount to having a "race car drivers party" or a "gas station attendant party." Now, unionizing wouldn't be all that bad (I'm in a couple of telco unions myself), but there are far more worthwhile things out there to fight about than the rights of geeks. How about standing up for the rights of all mankind?

The problem is, you think we're *all* complaining and not acting, when it's probably just you.
The root of the problem has been isolated.
[ Parent ]
Me too (none / 0) (#60)
by jxqvg on Fri Nov 10, 2000 at 11:14:06 AM EST

I don't complain a whole lot(your mileage may vary), but I definitely don't act in the political sense. Something like this just might give a focus some energy, at least then I can complain a whole lot to people who can actually do something about it. As for the existing groups, I can only qualitatively and vaguely say that I don't like what I've seen.

[ Parent ]
Exactly. (none / 0) (#64)
by Forum on Fri Nov 10, 2000 at 07:58:05 PM EST

Hence the proposition for a new group. A group whose sole purpose is to take your opinion and do something about it. Or at least to try.(And "your" being an understood meaning the reader of this article, not just the person to whom it's a response to.)


-- "When I walk down the street and only 3 or 4 shots are fired at me, I find it hard to stay awake." -HC
[ Parent ]
thekult.org - There already is an organization... (none / 0) (#63)
by rantradio on Fri Nov 10, 2000 at 04:24:30 PM EST

There already is a growing Internet organization with members all over the world exacly like the one described above. They aren't into politics just yet because they are only about 7 months old and their numbers are not large enough but at the page they are growing it shouldn't be too long. Just go to www.thekult.org and click on FAQ or e-mail join@thekult.org or read "The Virus Manifesto" on the web page for more information. The Kult is about "organizing counter-culture and Internet subculture".

[ Parent ]
Nick Proxy (3.66 / 3) (#52)
by jxqvg on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 04:19:53 PM EST

Rusty made This post concerning the idea that K5 could be a distribution point for alerts on issues that "our government", or just random readers brought to the attention of the group. Real people could then contact real representatives of country X's(admittedly X looks like it's going to lean in one direction) physical government to sound off.

I voted that I wasn't sure about giving out my real-life information since I would like to keep this nick as a seperate entity.

Slapping the peanut butter and the jelly together, I've got a sandwiched thought to fire off somewhere in the back of my head: Why do we need to make our real-life identities known for our real-life bodies to take political action? Hell, why not think of them as two seperate entities in partnership, "Jackson Q. Garvey and jxqvg, partners in crime and politics" [obvious crack omitted]. For all intents and purposes, the only real reason to attach a real person to each user account is to prevent people from holding multiple identities in the "K5 government".

I really wish I could expound on this a little further, but I think the essence is captured above. Can't our nicks be our personal proxies, giving privacy to those who wish it, yet still registering our prescence in the same way that our real-life voice will on the phone with our senator('s undersecretary's second office assistant's volunteer team)?


addendum (none / 0) (#59)
by jxqvg on Fri Nov 10, 2000 at 11:09:59 AM EST

Think of the nick as your own secret ballot, only with new and improved capabilities.

[ Parent ]
Two reasons I can think of (none / 0) (#70)
by aphrael on Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 05:54:27 PM EST

In theory, at least, you shouldn't need to give your identity to the government in order for it to listen to you, and neither do I. But theory is a wonderful world in which few are priviliged to live, so we have to deal with reality instead

I see two problems with anonymous political action. One, if the target of your political action is a local government, there is no way for it to know that you are in fact one of its citizens; I could easily anonymously protest some decision of the town of Missoula, for example, and it would be none the wiser. While this might be good --- anti-slavery protests worked like this, for example --- it is also bad; it means that the governmental entity in question has no way of knowing if the protests, or the actions it takes in response to the protests, represent the will of its citizens.

The more relevant one, at least for modern political action on a large scale, is the fact that anonymity may allow people who are arguing out of self-interest to obscure or hide their self-interest, which makes it less clear to the people listening to what is going on. This is particularly a problem when the political speaker is a large corporation which tries to hide its economic interest in a particular issue in some form of high-sounding rhetoric; the reaction of the listener is going to be *actively* different if he doesn't know who is speaking.

[ Parent ]

Proposal (none / 0) (#72)
by dennis on Fri Nov 17, 2000 at 10:11:49 AM EST

It would be nice to have an organization that issues digital certificates certifying where you live...and nothing else. When you send a letter to your congressman, you could certify that you live in his district, without revealing your identity.

[ Parent ]
New Katz-bot? (2.37 / 8) (#55)
by Zane_NBK on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 07:10:10 PM EST

Is this a that new Katz-bot I've been hearing about? The style is perfect but the length is greatly lacking. I'm looking forward to 2.0!


RE: Giving cyberspace a voice (3.33 / 3) (#65)
by freedom2 on Sat Nov 11, 2000 at 02:18:42 AM EST

I believe that is what we are doing right now. We are presenting our opinions to others in attempts to convince them of our viewpoint. What does a "group voice" give us? In my opinion it would be an attempt to form a lobby to try and fit in with the present political system. I however think the present system is the past, and the future is more closely related to what k5 is all about. The present system uses lobbies, polls, the electoral college and other outdated mechanisms to solve the issues of large constituencies spread out over large areas. Well the problem has been solved better with technology. It is now possible to tell you mayor, governor, senator, or president exactly what is on your mind using any number of technologies (email, phone, websites). How will decisions of the future be made? I think at some point we will be able to decide on issues in public debate much the same way as issues are talked about here on k5. So my opinion: You want to be heard? Then say what is on your mind intelligently, thoughtfully, and respectfully while trying to present solutions along with questions. Do it not only on k5, but on other sites that allow you to express your opinion on issues. I think what it takes are sites like k5, people willing to share there thoughts and ideas (and who isn't?), and some type of rating or ranking system for posters so that you can ignore or filter out or "take with a grain of salt" those posters that spam or like to talk to hear their own voice. This is the future, let's take it to the next level. Freedom

Hypothetical Situation (3.33 / 3) (#67)
by IoaPetraka on Sun Nov 12, 2000 at 03:44:37 PM EST

After billions of USD have been spent, the world has finally been connected. Even the remote villages far from eletrical power, have self-perpetuating satellite connections at the center of their people. Translation software snickers back and forth across continents, bending and folding binary into different binary sets.

For the first time in the known history of civilization, mankind is no longer shackled by the tides of distance or the walls of diversionary culture.

The ribbon is ceremonially cut, and for the first time 7.2 Billion sentient creatures anxiously spoke into the recepticals layed out for them.

Questions were asked, statements were made, threats were volleyed, love was shared, sadness, hatred, hedonistic laughter. It was as if the Earth rocked on the back of the turtle, slowing carrying it along.

The Earth spoke, and it said:


We interrupt this transmission to bring you the latest news from Brazil where the United States Soccer team has actually scored a goal! Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.


The Voice had spoken and the People roared a mighty cheer across the tundra, wetlands, deserts, and pollution stained hillsides.

And it was good...

Ioa Aqualine Petra'ka

Giving cyberspace a voice. | 74 comments (69 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:


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

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