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[P]
Siding with the Trolls

By acheon in Op-Ed
Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 03:33:47 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

Since the dawn of civilization, mankind has been inventing gods, demons, monsters and all kinds of magical creatures as an attempt to explain the world we live in. Our ancestors shielded themselves behind myths in order to deny their ignorance and responsibilities, and so do we. The Age of Reason doesn't exist. We hunted barbarians, heretics, communists, terrorists and many other varieties of monsters supposedtely responsible for all problems in existence. Tell me: who among us couldn't be labeled as a terrorist nowadays? Nobody?

And as all communities around the world and through ages, we, online, invented our own monsters: The Trolls. Just as for terrorists and communists, most of us are wrongly labeled as such for sake of convenience. And few heretics did actually worship the devil. Let's dig our heads out of the sand and look beyond the myth.


Pertti Lounesto died on June 21 in Greece. He was an infamous, yet brillant mathematician and physicist. Infamous because he dared doing something very few people do, especially in his branch: showing that others are wrong. He's published counterexamples to classical theorems in Clifford Algebras.

His personal website is still online. He wrote an interesting piece -- which has been pulled out of his original article on counterexamples since -- on how he first attempted to discuss his results with other experts on Usenet. All he succeeded to do was getting caught in a flame war against amateurs. He's been told, among other things, that giving counterexamples is "thinking backward". And that's the most polite comment he received, by far. Unsurprisingly, he concluded that discussing such things on open forums isn't a good idea. You may run a search on Google and see for yourself.

This is only one example of an individual who has been tagged a troll because he was right and dared telling others they were wrong. And the people who flamed him in fact weren't the targets; it's just that the only wrong thing in our self-important-people-populated societies and communities is to tell someone he's wrong. Freedom of speech is often nothing but an excuse to think what we want and shield ourselves from the truth. The problem is that people don't like this very attitude and don't give a shit about what the troll says.

Ironically, this is a double-edged sword, because it becomes wrong to tell the troll he's wrong, isn't it? So don't expect too much rationality behind any argument given by that kind of flame, on the contrary; the troll is supposed to be the one having a wrong attitude and bad language, but more often than not he's the most rational and polite one, and roles are rather reversed.

What can be said of people so foolish that they're going to fight against those telling the truth rather than opening their eyes? How can we convince people so irrational they believe whatever they think and do -- or don't -- have no consequences? Can we moderately re-educate people to think with their heads and take their responsibilities? The troll who is true to himself, the real troll, believes that arguing with a stone is pointless. A stone is not going to change its mind unless you break it. And since the real problem is with people's attitude, the only reasonable option left to them is the only one able to reach most people: personal attacks.

Did I hear 'unjustifiable'? Decide for yourselves. But even this true kind of troll is radically different from the myth. His arguments are always rational. His foul language is relevant and, believe it or not, includes words of four syllables or more. He's not so limited that he can't change his mind if he's proven wrong himself. Moreover, his goal is still to convince people that they're wrong; he just choses to break their minds by showing them how pathetic they are instead of using more moderate, but less appropriate methods. Some of them are even altruistic. Besides, the one who pretends to help others and in fact cares more about what these people think of him is an hypocrite. The other one ends up being a troll.

What is the most funny -- or depressing -- is that all of us end up reading Dilbert. And laugh. Although I understand why a real troll laughs, I'm pretty scared to learn why the others do. I just hope it's not a cult of mediocrity.

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Poll
Are you a troll ?
o So what ? 6%
o I rather believe in politeness, respect and freedom of speech. 24%
o Shut the fuck off. 7%
o 1w n 31337 h4x0r. 7%
o Crom'h Flobtsh Hai'rshith. 3%
o Ask this on Slashdot, you idiot. We're civilized here. 15%
o No, but that's only my opinion. 16%
o I'll tell you if you kiss the ground. Really. 19%

Votes: 194
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Google
o personal website
o run a search on Google
o Also by acheon


Display: Sort:
Siding with the Trolls | 252 comments (229 topical, 23 editorial, 1 hidden)
Sounds familiar.... (4.00 / 2) (#3)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 04:04:56 PM EST

http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2001/5/26/17236/4053

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
Indeed... (none / 0) (#6)
by acheon on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 04:08:08 PM EST

...except that we're just not talking about the same thing. We just reach the same conclusion.

[ Parent ]
circular (none / 0) (#86)
by dazzle on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 04:58:21 AM EST

The world is a circular place. What comes before happens again, history repeats itself ad infinitum. The same arguments and conclusions.

---
the internet: a global network of small minded people


[ Parent ]
thinking is hard... (3.62 / 8) (#5)
by pb on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 04:06:37 PM EST

Since this double-standard of not taking "trolls" and their well-reasoned arguments seriously is something of a pet peeve of mine, I'm going to be lazy and merely quote myself on this topic.  Stop me if you've heard this before.  :)

Apparently the average K5er thinks that parody is just a code-word for TROLL, and all trolls must be modded down no matter what, because trolls don't ever have opinions.  Remember, kids, Swift and Voltaire were horrible horrible trolls; try to get all of their books banned from your schools and libraries.

Indeed, there are many here that are decidedly a danger to intelligent thought and rational conversation. But since this is a mediocrity, this is allowed, if not encouraged; it isn't easy or even necessarily moral to force people to think for themselves, or to consider an opinion, what it might imply, or what questions it might inadvertently raise, inside or outside of its current context.

No, this is far too much effort to expect from the average Netizen, and yet the average Netizen seems convinced of holding to these sorts of ever-vigilant values while in fact these duties are shunted at every conceivable opportunity.

Debating and thought are such tiresome things, so it's no wonder that people don't want to contribute the staggering effort to maintain such a level of intellectual activity.  Such madness could lead to an early demise, or perhaps a change of opinion, or a debate!  No, it's better that we simply leave the hard questions unquestioned and go back to writing quick, easy treatises on the trite and unamusing for the jaded and uninteresting.

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

k5 is not a school, nor a library. (3.00 / 3) (#14)
by haflinger on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 04:22:44 PM EST

The kind of troll that I take offense to (of course, I know I'm not representive of the majority of k5ers; the "Trolls Are Really OK" troll just got posted to the front page, despite my best efforts) is the statement posted simply to acquire responses.

I think statements should be posted because they're interesting, not because they make the S/N ratio worse.

Swift, obviously, didn't have this problem. The medium he was using was not prone to developing S/N problems. People read Swift because they were interested in what he had to say, not because they were hoping to find something to ridicule - because most of them weren't writers.

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]

I agree somewhat. (4.50 / 2) (#23)
by pb on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 04:43:59 PM EST

I voted -1 on that article because it was pointless and arrogant; apparently that's popular around here, however.

Swift and Voltaire both had these problems; surely Swift could have gone far in life had he been in favor of the status quo.  Voltaire's case is even more bleak--I think France considered his writings as "Noise", or treason, which is worse.

In any case, I'm not advocating anything that increases the noise level--shouting down "trolls" does that; responding to them intelligently does the opposite.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

We disagree on tactics. (none / 0) (#48)
by haflinger on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 06:33:20 PM EST

I feel that responding to trolls intelligently encourages them. This is the Lonely Idiot With A Computer theory of trolling. You give them feedback - any feedback - and they feel validated. Avoid responding, and you discourage them.

I've seen it work pretty well on Usenet. The problem always is getting the newbies to ignore the trolls.

I wasn't referring to the popularity problems of Swift and Voltaire. I was suggesting that the medium that they use is better writing polemics, because you just can't get immediate response the way you can online.

Also, most blogger satirists aren't as good as Swift. ;)

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]

perhaps (4.00 / 1) (#55)
by pb on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 07:14:16 PM EST

This is only if you assume that they are trolls in the first place.  The reason that I reply is as much to debate their position as it is to determine how serious they are.

Certainly today's technology has changed the quality and quantity of people's writings, as well as their style, but it hasn't changed human nature one whit.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

Sometimes it's a pretty safe bet. (none / 0) (#77)
by haflinger on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 11:27:33 PM EST

There are some really obvious examples: it's pretty clear that this user, this user, this user, this user, this user, and this user are all trolls. But sometimes it's harder. Is medham really a troll, or does he only smell like one? :)

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]
heh. (4.50 / 2) (#78)
by pb on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 11:57:25 PM EST

To tell the truth, I find Steve Ballmer more entertaining than medham most of the time.  :)
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
Answer (5.00 / 1) (#80)
by pyramid termite on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 12:51:09 AM EST

But sometimes it's harder. Is medham really a troll, or does he only smell like one? :)

Actually, I think he's most likely to smell like fish, most probably an oleagenous pelagic.

"I forget, in a certain way, everything I write, doubtless also, in another way, what I read." - Jacques Derrida
[ Parent ]
While you may have a point (4.75 / 4) (#15)
by StrontiumDog on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 04:24:28 PM EST

... comparing the average k5 or ./ troll to Voltaire or Swift (who I would not characterise as merely trolls, which is what most internet trolls are - trolls and nothing more), is at very best like comparing Uncle Noam Chomsky to Noam Chomsky.

[ Parent ]
depends on the troll (5.00 / 2) (#20)
by pb on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 04:36:19 PM EST

You'll notice that Uncle Noam Chomsky often is moderated below 1.00, and although sometimes his ludicrous babbling is entertaining, it is often more incoherent or vicious.  As such, he is not the subject of my ranting.

Better examples would be signal 11, streetlawyer, thrurler, greenrd, thelizman, etc., etc.  Note that these posters often display controversial opinions and defend them well.  While calling any of them "trolls" might be easier than taking the time and effort to argue with them, it is also intellectually dishonest.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

These aren't trolls. (4.50 / 2) (#30)
by StrontiumDog on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 04:53:23 PM EST

(With the possible exception of thelizman, I haven't made up my mind yet). They may occasionally (or more than occasionally) engage in trolling activities, but that is not the prime purpose of their personae, and few k5 regulars will accuse them of being trolls all the time.

Trolls are personae like medham, Uncle Noam Chomsky, Anne Marie, the old qpt, Rachel Ellis, or E r i c . Characters dedicated full-time to trolling.

What's the difference? Whereas streetlawyer, trhurler, greenrd et al. defend opinions which (the reader gets the impression) are on the whole a reasonable facsimile of their own personal feelings on the matter, k5's real trolls drip with insincerity. It's the insincerity which provokes the allergy to trolls in k5 readers.

[ Parent ]

if you say so (4.00 / 1) (#33)
by pb on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 05:00:43 PM EST

People are liable to shout "troll" at anything they disagree with; let me remind you that streetlawyer was a well-known and very successful troll on slashdot.

In any case, I give everyone the benefit of the doubt, even medham--although he says the most ridiculous things sometimes, he can be quite entertaining as well.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

Oh, slashdot (4.00 / 2) (#34)
by StrontiumDog on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 05:05:41 PM EST

don't want to sound supercilious, but that's such a knee-jerk crowd that I find it almost impossible to post there without baiting 'em.

[ Parent ]
s/slashdot/kuro5hin. (nt) (3.00 / 3) (#41)
by la princesa on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 05:46:43 PM EST



___
<qpt> Disprove people? <qpt> What happens when you disprove them? Do they disappear in a flash of logic?
[ Parent ]
Only the USians :)(n/t) (1.00 / 1) (#46)
by StrontiumDog on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 06:07:45 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Ridiculous? (1.50 / 2) (#43)
by medham on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 05:56:23 PM EST

I find that a bit excessive. I often have unconventional opinions, which I happen to think is a positive thing. I share these opinions, and I believe everyone thinks the community is better for it.

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

sometimes, yes. :) (4.00 / 1) (#51)
by pb on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 07:08:20 PM EST

Even though you have unmasked me as a "Bioware shill", some of your other assertions remain way off the mark.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
Though (none / 0) (#53)
by medham on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 07:11:58 PM EST

I seem to recall you having to retract this baseless accusation before, I'd again make clear for this new audience that, although you may disagree with some of my statements, none of them could be legitimately be called "way off the mark."

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

well, (none / 0) (#56)
by pb on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 07:27:06 PM EST

I'm sure that from your perspective, that's quite true.

Incidentally, I'd be interested in testing your NWN module, if only for the sheer irony involved.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

I am also a troll here (4.00 / 3) (#88)
by streetlawyer on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 06:24:06 AM EST

Though since so is everyone else, it has less impact.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Please (3.50 / 2) (#42)
by medham on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 05:54:56 PM EST

Look at the seven well-received stories I've posted here before making these, I should say, outlandish associations.

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

I am your biggest fan. (4.50 / 2) (#45)
by StrontiumDog on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 06:01:51 PM EST

Nevertheless, squeezing the occasional companion's mammaries in public does not negate the fact that you prefer enacting the Phaedrus in dark rooms.

[ Parent ]
Trolls aren't sincere. (3.69 / 13) (#11)
by bc on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 04:18:58 PM EST

That is the big problem with them.

One can consider the Internet to be a "state of nature" on the model that Locke would have recognised. None of us are bound by any laws but Natural Law, and as, on the internet, nothing identifies a fellow but his words, it is clear that first and foremost of these Natural Laws is that all posters should be sincere.

If a poster is insincere, he perverts the society to which he belongs and fills it with misstrust. In the online world, then, insincerity and trolling are analogous to murder or theft of property in the real world - they destroy the ties that bind us and allow a society to exist in peace.

If we are to avoid the Hobbesian view of the State of nature, that constant warfare will out itself, that being human nature, we must accept the Natural Law of the internet that insincerity be squashed.

As we have no sovereign on the internet, and no body enforcing Justice and power over others, it is clear that every individual poster has the right to punish those who transgress the natural law of the internet.

It is right that trolls be punished, and that they be smoked out and destroyed with measures and punishments commensurate with the harm they cause our communities, here in the State of Nature.

bc

♥, bc.

Sincerity (4.50 / 2) (#18)
by acheon on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 04:29:52 PM EST

There's another article about trolls discussing that issue : http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2001/5/26/17236/4053.

Besides, it looks like your views of communication are very narrow. There are many more ways to make a point than saying it formally. And every of them has its use. It's called subtlety.

[ Parent ]

No (3.40 / 5) (#26)
by bc on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 04:48:21 PM EST

The fundamental basis of any human relationship is trust.

On the internet, the issue of trust between people is all the greater, because the only way we communicate is through the written word. There is no room on the internet for sophistry or games, no room for artistry of expression if it obscures the point or relies on multiple layers of meaning you can't be sure the other poster will understand. There is no room for deliberate hypocrisy, or deliberate lies. We must all be direct, and all be honest. This is the Natural Law of discourse on the internet, and anyone who breaks it is deserving of the swiftest retribution.

Trolls break it. They are deliberately dishonest.

Lets have a thought expirement. Imagine you have a steep hillside, full of farmers. Each farm is covered in trees. If any particular farmer cuts the trees down, he can increase his produce and gain profit. If they all do, there is soil erosion and they are all lost.

What happens?

Without a central authority, a sovereign, it is hard to say. However, one can only hope that each farmer will trust in the community at large and not cut any of the trees down in his particular plot. If any do, however, the rot can spread and the whole community is damned.

In this example, it is clear that the issue of trust is very important if the community is to keep any cohesion, and to remain viable. It is analogous to the internet, and those posters who troll are the ones merrily chopping trees down on their own little plot.

It is a terrible thing to do, the ultimate crime in the online world - lack of sincerity. It destroys communities and every single poster has the absolute right to annihilate anyone who breaks the natural law.

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]

Stop fucking with my mind! (2.66 / 6) (#38)
by Uncle Noam Chomsky on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 05:40:56 PM EST

You are wrong. In the future, the boys and girls will write their comments backstage in total darkness while the winners are announced in the glare of the front page. There will be row after row of table, tr and td tags containing webcam snaps lined up alphabetically by city and state. When the winner is announced, Uncle Noam will be at the center of attention. As the band strikes up a beat, he will start smiling and Bert Parks will sing, "There he is, Miss America." Everyone will clap like crazy and give him fives. "Every flower, every rose, stands up on her tippy toes... when Miss America marches by!" Afterwards, at the farewell ball, though it will be a terrific letdown for everyone, Uncle Noam will not be nearly as depressed as Psychologist, who only managed to win the swimsuit competition, after all.

On the internet, the issue of trust between people is all the greater, because the only way we communicate is through the written word.

There you go with your words again. Whatever, Mr. Liberalist. They're just scratches at the back of your throat.

---
Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the American media.
[ Parent ]

Uncle Noam Chompsky and bc - yin and yang (nt) (3.50 / 2) (#49)
by mami on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 06:40:22 PM EST



[ Parent ]
is this always a problem? (4.25 / 4) (#27)
by pb on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 04:49:45 PM EST

I don't think the sincerity of a poster should matter at all, for two reasons.   First, there is no good way to determine whether a given post is sincere or insincere.  This naturally leads to my second point, that all we can do is judge a post on its merits.

To judge a post on someone's posting history is to admit that you hold a bias against them.  Indeed, we moderate comments, not posters.  And we theoretically moderate them on their quality, not on their content, which is why I can both disagree with you and rate your post at a 5.00.  (Voltaire would have done the same)

I would appreciate it if everyone were honest, but as they are not, I can merely judge them on their words, give them the benefit of the doubt, and reserve the low moderations for the truly incoherent and poorly-argued posts.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

There is a way (4.00 / 4) (#32)
by bc on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 04:58:48 PM EST

Consistency. If the poster is a Marxist one week, and a libertarian the next, there is obviously something fishy going on.

In any comment, a large amount of the argument will implicitly depend on reputation, because it is ridiculous to expect every comment made to painstakingly prove everything. Things just have to be hurried along to keep things interesting.

Therefore, troll posters tend to make arguments more tedious, as you can't trust their arguments.

They are a waste of time and space.

Secondly, this site is far, far more than merely a place for debate. it is a plce where people get personal support, write diaries, expose themselves and ask for personal advice on the most important and private areas of their life. it is a community, a support group, and so much more. Insincerity destoys all this, and can actually hurt real people in very real ways!

This is why it must be extinguished.

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]

true, but... (4.75 / 4) (#36)
by pb on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 05:11:13 PM EST

I think that even someone playing Devil's Advocate isn't necessarily insincere; they may be merely pointing out that there are other points of view in the world that contradict with whatever argument is being presented.

I agree that people use kuro5hin for all sorts of things besides mere debate, which makes the issue more complex.  However, insofar as people are merely debating, I am not worried about their sincerity; in fact, even at in other situations, I'm not usually worried about sincerity in particular.

I worry when people blatantly try to hurt others when such behavior is uncalled for.  An example would be replying to a Diary about depression/suicide by saying "just fucking do it already so I don't have to listen to your crap"; this might be completely sincere as well!  Also malicious lies or libelous behavior fit in with this, which is far worse than mere insincerity.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

Please (2.33 / 6) (#52)
by greenrd on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 07:08:23 PM EST

That was an odious and boring troll. Hence the 1. Please, go away.


"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 ]

Now now (2.16 / 6) (#58)
by bc on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 07:27:52 PM EST

I think you should stop making painful comments.

You don't want to be too hypocritical, do you?

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]

Trolls must be reviled as well. (3.28 / 7) (#81)
by elenchos on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 12:55:16 AM EST

To merely punish these vaporous odors in the Nostrils of Society is not nearly enough. Punishment is merely the detached and just act of a rational custodian of the common good. Trolls are too evil to deserve such luxury. They must be hated.

We must each focus the fiery rays of our boiling hatred and bend them unto the most tender and private parts of the trolls very immortal soul. Mercy and human kindness are absolutely alien to the troll and must so be absolutely alien to all who hate the troll. Hate them with all our might! Hate them day and night!

Hate them in a car, hate them in a bar. Hate all trolls, near and far.

Sam I am.

I'm not just saying this because I have had so many of my heartfelt comments deleted from K5 by these vile trolls. I'm saying it because it's true.

I know you are a humanitarian, bc, but you must harden yourself when it comes to trolls. It is the only way.

Adequacy.org
[ Parent ]

Trolls aren't sincere? (2.75 / 4) (#92)
by DesiredUsername on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 09:52:26 AM EST

You don't really believe that, do you?

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]
Counterexamples. (4.66 / 6) (#17)
by i on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 04:27:31 PM EST

Giving counterexamples is a time honoured mathematical tradition. Search Google for "counterexamples in" and see. Whoever thinks that it's somehow "backward" needs a better math instructor. Whoever teaches such things needs to be shot.

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

Well... I agree (3.00 / 1) (#21)
by acheon on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 04:39:12 PM EST

>Whoever thinks that it's somehow "backward" needs a >better math instructor.

Unfortunately, they're legion. And they rather need a brain ;).

>Whoever teaches such things needs to be shot.

Agree. Although I don't know anyone actually teaching such things, there are many thinking like that. I know a couple of them myself, like most of my own previous teachers.

BTW: Although it's a time-honoured *mathematical* tradition, it doesn't apply to most sciences, physics being on top of the list.

[ Parent ]

Physics (5.00 / 3) (#37)
by maozo on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 05:36:14 PM EST

You have plenty of counter-examples in physics. They're called experiments, and a vast amount of physicists' time is spent designing and executing them. Moreover, a physics experiment cannot be said to 'prove correct' a physical model or theory - it can, however, be said to disprove a theory. Which is exactly what a counter-example does for a mathematical theorem.

[ Parent ]
The truth about counterexamples in physics (3.00 / 4) (#44)
by acheon on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 06:00:59 PM EST

=>When an experiment matches the theory, then the theory is true.
=>When the experiment contradicts the theory, then the theory is even more true.

[ Parent ]
Nonsense (4.00 / 1) (#115)
by adiffer on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 03:23:43 AM EST

You are mistaking our desire as individuals to cling to an old theory with the actions of the community as a whole.  Paradigms may take a while to shift, but there is good reason for this as the first one would not have taken hold if it wasn't useful.

Mathematics is a language and is properly refined through the use of counterexamples.

Physics as most of us do it is a science.  It is properly refined through the constant tension betweeen theory/hypotheses and experiment.

-Dream Big.
--Grow Up.
[ Parent ]

Reply (4.00 / 1) (#119)
by acheon on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 04:06:44 AM EST

I'm planning to submit an article on the topic in 2-3 weeks so I won't bother proving my point now. You'll have to wait for my objection to your idealistic point of view ;P.

In the meanwhile, you can read on real physics.

[ Parent ]

good job then (4.00 / 1) (#123)
by adiffer on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 05:17:28 AM EST

I look forward to reading it.

I appreciate any effort you put into proving your point with a good article whether I wind up agreeing with you or not.

-Dream Big.
--Grow Up.
[ Parent ]

You're right (5.00 / 2) (#22)
by StrontiumDog on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 04:39:54 PM EST

... but the reception of types like Pertti Lounesto in unmoderated sci.* groups can hardly be called surprising. Sci.physics has been going steadily to the dogs since 1995. I stopped reading it when the Archimedes Plutonium threads started constituting more than 30% of its mass.

[ Parent ]
True (4.50 / 2) (#29)
by CaptainZornchugger on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 04:51:57 PM EST

But it doesn't get you grants, and isn't interesting to the administration. For this reason and others, very few mathematicians spend any time trying to invalidate published results. This is one of the things Dr. Lounesto sought to change.

Not to speak ill of someone whom I respected, but it should nonetheless be mentioned that Dr. Lounesto, in his online conversations, came off as insufferably arrogant and egotistical. It is probably this that got him often branded as a troll, rather than his unorthodox points of view.


Look at that chord structure. There's sadness in that chord structure.
[ Parent ]
Kind of like (none / 0) (#31)
by StrontiumDog on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 04:55:40 PM EST

Erik Naggum.

(comp.lang.lisp and comp.lang.scheme. Naggum is a smart, technically competent, knowledgeable sociopath.)

[ Parent ]

Tell me about it. (1.40 / 15) (#35)
by Uncle Noam Chomsky on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 05:07:10 PM EST

The next edition of my book, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, will be revised to include a sixth filter in the essential ingredients of the basic Propaganda Model: anti-Trollism as the liberalist religion and control mechanism. Apropos the first filter -- the size, private ownership and profit orientation of the mass media -- I strongly urge those of you who believe in freedom of expression to stop giving your money to the charismatic Nazi, Rusty. You have already seen the first consequence of your extravagant liberalism:

First they came for our ability to search dissenting opinion and I did not speak out because I never had an original thought. Then they came for the trolls and I did not speak out because I was a geek. Then they came for trhurler and I did not speak out because I thought he was with them. Then they came for me and now webwench will never learn how much I love her.

---
Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the American media.

kids being kids (4.62 / 8) (#47)
by speek on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 06:30:10 PM EST

Kids being kids is not worthy of such lofty sounding defense.

Challenging rhetoric, however, has many names, most of which is better than "troll". Parody, sarcasm, irony, wit, satire. A troll, however, is reviled for the same reason the boy who called wolf is reviled - because his silly, juvenile "tricks" have thoroughly cost him his credibility, and getting it back is a bitch.

This is why I just have to laugh at those who compare their trolling to Socrates and Voltaire and Swift. It's kind of cute, like when a small child points a stick at you and says "Bang!"

--
what would be cool, is if there was like a bat signal for tombuck -

Words to live by (or not) (4.76 / 21) (#50)
by pyramid termite on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 06:59:16 PM EST

Cult of mediocrity
Troll
Kurobot
Liberal
They are censoring us by ganging up on us and modding us down because of our _______ views.
Sea of mediocrity
Of course, everything that you've used as a source is propaganda
Occam's Razor
Moral relativist
_________ - biased media
Amusement park of mediocrity
Strawman!
Slippery slope
Conformists who are utterly unable to think for themselves
Occam's Toothbrush (unnecessarily multipied entities tend to stick in your teeth)
When you get out of school and into the real world ...
Chrome plated megaphone of mediocrity
The lurkers support me in e-mail
The shill accounts voted -1/+1
It's obvious that the ______ bias of K5 posters makes my ________ views unpopular and persecuted
Fascist
Occam's Compact Kit(the more make-up you slather onto an argument the better it looks)
Go back to Adequacy
Obviously, you don't know the first thing about making a logical argument
First Church of Mediocrity
If you were as well informed as I ...
You parrot each other's views and don't do any real thinking of your own
First they came for someone, then they came for someone else, then they came for those other guys, and when they came for me, I was godawfully lonely anyway
Those who desire some temporary liberty at the price of giving up some security ... oh wait, um, um, don't deserve people who argue like you, anyway
Information wants to be shared
Electron babel-pool of mediocrity
I'm wasting my time arguing with people incapable of seeing that I'm right about everything
America is a republican, not a democrat
Occam's Guillotine(the best way to get rid of entities you don't agree with is to chop off their heads)
Fine, you don't have to agree with me, but you don't have to keep saying it to my face

Ah, yes, the endless joys of binary-only interaction between 2nd, 3rd and once in awhile 4th circuit based personalities can be entertaining; once in awhile, by some kind of unlikely accident, real discussion takes place.

I wonder how I should vote on this ...

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
But the worst insult of all is... (4.00 / 3) (#66)
by Pseudonym on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 09:01:16 PM EST

"typical"



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
Re: Missed one! (Words to live by--or not) (4.00 / 3) (#100)
by Stavr0 on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 02:07:37 PM EST

If {insert statement here} then the terrorists have won.
- - -
All your posse are belong to Andre the Giant
[ Parent ]
Don't forget its all-important derivatives: (3.33 / 3) (#126)
by RandomPeon on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 06:05:47 AM EST

-That's just what the terrorists want
-You're supporting the terrorists
-You people are just like the Taliban, the ________ religion make me sick
-We saved your country in the _______ War, and we should have let the ________ kick your worthless asses*
-Get out of my country, you _______ bastard
             -OR-
-America is ________ country, if you ________ people don't like it, you can all leave

*Why is that only Americans use this one?  I want to see the day when someone fills in "France" and "Revolutionary" in reply.

[ Parent ]

Oh, well! (4.33 / 3) (#155)
by SPYvSPY on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 11:47:15 AM EST

What about referring to "Americans" all the time, as if that term has some useful meaning beyond describing the physical location of a group of people. Let me make something very clear to you:

1. There are 278,058,881 (est. July 2001) people in America. Take a look at the populations of major European countries (e.g. Spain, Germany, France). You have a much better chance of being correct when you generalize about the French than when you generalize about Americans.

2. Americans currently have every viewpoint that you have ever had, and then some. Yes, I expressed this as something of an absolute, but I defy you to prove me wrong.

3. There is no American character. This is something that you have gathered from television, movies, propoganda and (perhaps) your limited exposure to actual Americans. Even people that grew up in America have limited exposure to actual Americans. 275 million is a fuckload of people.

In summary, you are free to hurl stones at America (we encourage this, actually), but while generalizing about Americans, you accomplishing nothing more than declaring yourself absurd.

Yes, this might strike you as OT. But, your topic was annoying stock falsities on K5, of which the most egregious is generalizing about "Americans".
------------------------------------------------

By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.
[ Parent ]

Okay I'll fill it in (3.00 / 3) (#158)
by Dephex Twin on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 12:03:56 PM EST

We saved your country in the France War, and we should have let the Revolutionary kick your worthless asses


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]
___-centric? [n/t] (2.00 / 2) (#105)
by tebrow on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 03:35:22 PM EST



[ Parent ]
well, at least you didn't bring up (2.00 / 1) (#172)
by ethereal on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 01:39:37 PM EST

"charnel house"

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

Relevant Quotation (4.00 / 5) (#54)
by Bad Harmony on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 07:13:30 PM EST

"They laughed at Einstein. They laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown."

-- Carl Sagan (b. 1934), American astronomer noted for research for extraterrestrial life

54º40' or Fight!

relevant point (3.60 / 5) (#87)
by streetlawyer on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 06:20:34 AM EST

We laughed like hell at Carl Sagan.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Ah yes, but it was only for the Brooklynese. (none / 0) (#163)
by haflinger on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 12:45:49 PM EST

Nobody else could say billions quite like him. :)

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]
Trolls are a genuine concern. But... (1.14 / 14) (#59)
by Uncle Noam Chomsky on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 07:34:57 PM EST

I believe the real danger is invested in troll busters who -- I won't mince my words -- are genuinely stupid individuals. I do not mean they are stupid because they say mean things about trolls, I mean their comment history is threaded by genuine stupidity. The argument is propter tristifico inverso in its arrangement of cause and effect. We should but never see a story on Kur0shin about the peril these numerous individuals pose to discussion sites like Kur0shin. Is this a coincidence or a conflict of interest? Let me answer the question this way: if you set your Slashdot threshold above 0, Kur0shin compares like a retarded liberalist in bin Laden's harem. Do you know what I mean? What I mean is this: since we all agree that morons easily outnumber trolls, if you hate trolls with greater force than you hate morons, then you furiously love yourself, which is a legal sin in the religious sense! Therefore, liberalists are sinners, nice and mathematical like.

If thelizman wrote a history that dealt honestly with the question of when Kurobot5wanans started to believe in their own intellectual superiority, I'd walk a mile in that man's muddy combat boots. What I mean is, I would vote such a story to the front page.

---
Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the American media.

Tweedle Dumb Strikes Again (3.50 / 2) (#69)
by fathomghost on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 09:54:15 PM EST

if you hate trolls with greater force than you hate morons, then you furiously love yourself

What? Could you rephrase that? I don't follow. Last time I checked, hatred of one thing was not a prerequisite for loving another thing, and loving one's self certainly doesn't imply hating other people. For that matter, hating one thing does not automatically result in loving its opposite. I could hate the color red and still hate the color teal, for instance.

which is a legal sin in the religious sense!

Legal sin? *shudders* I wasn't aware that the concept of sin had made its way into our legal code just yet, and I'll be damned if organized religions follow laws (forgive the pun... it's the christian thing to do). Perhaps you meant to say "technically a sin"?

Therefore, liberalists are sinners, nice and mathematical like.

While we're on the topic of *sin*, we're all technically sinners unless we (thank err... God?) disregard the notion of sin and religion altogether.

I'm curious. Does your own comment history entitle you entrance into the K5 hall of "genuinely stupid individuals"?

Keep at it, Bub. You'll get there someday.

~fathomghost

Ironically, the soundtrack for this post was "Satan" by Orbital.


------------------
"May the source be with you." --The JBoss Group
[ Parent ]
How many fingers am I holding up? (1.33 / 6) (#70)
by Uncle Noam Chomsky on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 10:10:07 PM EST

  • Oops, got your nose.
  • Go play with your legos.
  • Nice sig. Very original. So last century.
  • Etc.

    ---
    Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the American media.
    [ Parent ]

  • Pertti Lounesto is not a troll (4.50 / 6) (#60)
    by guyjin on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 07:44:28 PM EST

    ... or you don't understand what a troll is.

    A troll is someone who intentionally makes an ass of themselves. Finding error in other's examples is not an example of this. That he was flamed for his behavior is not unsuprising - read talk.politics.misc on any given day - but it does not make him a 'troll'.
    -- 散弾銃でおうがいして ください

    And then there are those (none / 0) (#62)
    by marc987 on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 08:07:45 PM EST

    Who get labelled "troll".

    [ Parent ]
    I'm not so sure... (2.00 / 1) (#64)
    by acheon on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 08:58:27 PM EST

    Just like everyone is a terrorist and was a communist, everyone is a troll to some degree or at some people's convenience. That's the way it is.

    Your definition is empty rhetoric. It's just too logical to be applied to the common mortal. It's like when some call all men rapists -- people have their own definitions, at their own convenience. All guys are rapists because that's what they want to believe. They invented the statutory rape for that purpose.

    Similarly, there isn't anyone among us who couldn't be called a troll because it goes down to simple disagreement, and even if we don't post anything we'll be tagged on a side or another according to our origins or some innocent aspect of our background. Besides, because we didn't type something doesn't mean we don't think -- or even mean -- that thing ; therefore we're a troll 'for not having said it'. We're just not sincere. We typed something but we meant something else, didn't we ? Besides, it's pretty obvious we had only bad intent by doing so.

    Paranoid ? That's exactly how most people think. If they can't blast your own words then they will think for you and then blast themselves in order to save face. But well, that makes you a troll. Too late.

    [ Parent ]

    Nope, nope. (4.00 / 1) (#125)
    by paine in the ass on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 05:58:00 AM EST

    I think it's quite clear what a troll is, you can even find a definition in the kuro5hin FAQ if you like, but I'm too lazy to look it up for you.


    I will dress in bright and cheery colors, and so throw my enemies into confusion.
    [ Parent ]
    Really ? (3.00 / 1) (#127)
    by acheon on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 06:10:42 AM EST

    You mean this one ? Re-read it carefully. Then re-read my previous reply. Wash, rinse, repeat. You'll end up understanding my point.

    Oh, I forgot you're way too lazy for that. So I'll tell you right away. People will tag you the way they want even if they have to change the definition. That's how objective they are -- and that's why I brought up statutory rape ;P. Besides, if you had read the other comments, you may had noticed that the people's views of a troll varies greatly ; you just can't impose them a nicely written definition. In the end, the people decide for themselves what a troll is.

    [ Parent ]

    Oh, I see. (5.00 / 1) (#159)
    by paine in the ass on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 12:21:19 PM EST

    Well, of course people will say you're a troll if they want to; people do that sort of thing. But just because somebody says a thing doesn't make it so. You ought to learn that, it's a valuable lesson.


    I will dress in bright and cheery colors, and so throw my enemies into confusion.
    [ Parent ]
    Another valuable lesson (none / 0) (#175)
    by acheon on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 02:13:44 PM EST

    Just because you deny being something people blame you from being doesn't prevent yourself from suffering the consequences. In that case why not give them something to complain about ? You have little to lose making them right, but potential benefits are interesting.

    As for being a troll, the best argument against those blaming you of being one is... to become one. Really. And to make it obvious so they see the transition. This way you can bash them freely and prove your point at the same time ;).

    [ Parent ]

    See (none / 0) (#191)
    by paine in the ass on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 03:39:53 PM EST

    I like trolls to be subtle. I think trolling, done properly, is an Art. "Bashing" and doing things obviously isn't being a troll. And denying one is a troll is also un-troll-like behavior. If anything, the hallmark of a good troll would be to ignore such things while making his accuser appear the billy-goat-eating sort.


    I will dress in bright and cheery colors, and so throw my enemies into confusion.
    [ Parent ]
    Close (none / 0) (#199)
    by acheon on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 04:54:10 PM EST

    The summit of the Art is to be obvious and subtle at the same time. No one must be able to see its obviousness until it's reach its targets. Then it can be judged by its effects.

    The perfect troll is the one which is so obvious that anyone will bash his head in the wall for not having seen it coming. The problem is, very few circumstances allow such perfection to occur. Also, only the perfect moron will fall for it.

    But the troll is first a tool. If it does the job, that's enough. If you can make it fine art, then that's better. But not necessary.

    Oh, well. The recipee for a perfect troll is to make the idiot explain his point of view for half an hour, and then just repeat the key elements of his speech, "to be sure you get it right". The one falling for such an obvious trap IS the perfect idiot, and no one on this planet will deny it.

    [ Parent ]

    "not unsurprising"? (4.00 / 1) (#91)
    by cyberdruid on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 09:47:06 AM EST

    ...in other words - surprising. Is this really what you meant? Perhaps you are saying the opposite of what you mean to troll me?

    [ Parent ]
    oops (none / 0) (#156)
    by guyjin on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 11:48:15 AM EST

    meant not suprising. ooops.

    Ever see those signs that say 'yeild to the the pedestrians'? thats kinda what happened to me.
    -- 散弾銃でおうがいして ください
    [ Parent ]

    agreed (4.00 / 1) (#118)
    by adiffer on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 03:30:51 AM EST

    The people I knew who knew him said he was a little easier to take in person.

    He served a very important purpose with his crusade to correct error.  His error was to be too uncaring of the emotional damage he did along the way.  The math errors needed correcting, though.  We shall just have to learn to cope with the delivery technique since others are likely to do it to us again in the future.

    -Dream Big.
    --Grow Up.
    [ Parent ]

    boring defence of nothing important (3.00 / 5) (#61)
    by alphabit on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 07:49:20 PM EST

    I find this story boring and is so general that it hurts my head trying to either agree with it or disagree with it. This article has bad structure and is poorly reasoned. No wonder this author is arguing for not calling people trolls -- his comments are trollish just by the nature of his inability to reason.

    My opinion: This article stinks.

    --
    'It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.' -unknown
    You're the perfect example -- Thanks (4.33 / 3) (#68)
    by acheon on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 09:29:07 PM EST

    That's exactly what I was talking about :
    I find this story boring and is so general that it hurts my head trying to either agree with it or disagree with it.
    Try to make some sense of that. I can't.

    What I think he means is that he can't make up his mind on any general topic because he's too limited for that. But that's the article's fault.

    This article has bad structure and is poorly reasoned.
    This article has NO structure ; it's a single, simple, easy to understand argument. But that's of course not mainstream ; the aim of most articles is to confuse rather than to inform or explain.

    Notice how his comment is poorly reasoned and achieves nothing. That's what I mean when I say that the roles are often reversed.

    No wonder this author is arguing for not calling people trolls
    Did I write it ? No. But well, since I must mean it, that makes me a troll. Even denial will make no difference.

    Come to think about it, the title is 'Siding with the Trolls'.

    -- his comments are trollish just by the nature of his inability to reason.
    Tell me without laughing you didn't see it coming.
    My opinion: This article stinks.
    Notice how unelaborated his fool language is. Like his whole comment.
    -- 'It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.' -unknown
    And then there's the signature. Does it oversimplistically mean we should not criticize negatively ?

    That is exactly the kind of specimen who is afraid of big bad trolls. He tries to counter the very nature of the argument without being able to, makes a lot of unsupported bad claims and in the end blames a monster for not being able to formulate any rational objection.

    That's the end of the lesson for today.

    [ Parent ]

    A Eulogy for Pertti Lounesto (4.90 / 10) (#65)
    by Pseudonym on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 08:59:07 PM EST

    I have been on the receiving end of a thread with Pertti Lounesto before.

    To a first level of abstraction, he was right and I was wrong. It's a little more complex than that because I was using graphics jargon and he was using Clifford algebra jargon and in the end it was probably more misunderstanding than anything else.

    However, what annoyed me was not this. I'm allowed to be wrong, and I appreciate being corrected. What annoyed me was the guy's attitude. I'm not surprised that many considered him a troll, because he looked and sounded like a troll. From the moment he found the slightest flaw in your reasoning, he was your self-appointed teacher and headmaster, and that clouded any exchange you had with him from then on.

    Those who called him a troll misunderstood that the content of his messages was solid, and not intended merely to generate heat. On the other hand, he would start a thread named "[name deleted]'s mistake and failure" with content like...

    The purpose of a scientific dialogue is not to show oneself right, but to show ones opponent wrong, and thereby open new avenues for learning and exploration for the opponent.

    Or the gem:

    Why is it impolite to draw attention to self-contradictions and incompletenesses, which exhibit lack of vision? As opposed to you, I believe that it is the duty of a fellow scientist to serve the community by pointing out flaws and mistakes.

    In other words, when your content is good, form does not matter. The opposite extreme, if you will.

    I won't miss his confrontational style, his ad hominem or his armchair psychoanalysis of those whose mistakes he pointed out. However, despite all this, he has done mathematics a great service. I believe to this day that he had no malice in him, that he truly loved mathematics, and that he was doing the world of science a great service. He certainly did provide a wake-up call to the brand of review which does not actually check the correctness of a result before publishing. Science, especially in rapidly developing fields, need more people to do what he did, though with a more congenial attitude.

    Whether fondly or not, he will be missed.



    sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
    Seems about right (4.00 / 1) (#110)
    by Gumpzilla on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 11:26:55 PM EST

    My dabblings in sci.math gave me the impression that Pertti was ignored simply because he relentlessly flogged a dead horse. Unlike James Harris and his FLT proof, say, I get the impression most people didn't look too seriously at Pertti's content. They just got sick of him always trying to turn discussions toward it or listening to him harp on others. I'd agree with the poster that he's not fit to be called a troll; obnoxious bastard seemed to be more like it.

    I still wonder whether JSH has been trolling with great endurance for the past few years or if he really thinks he has something. I'm leaning towards the latter because the amount of tenacity involved in pursuing the former, lacking any concrete goals, boggles my mind.

    [ Parent ]
    Sometimes a pure troll (none / 0) (#128)
    by RandomPeon on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 06:19:51 AM EST

    I had forgotten about this guy until today, when I read his webpage on errors in published theorems. The page for the most part appears to be true - it claims he pointed out errors, people were very frustrated and disagreed with him, and usually finally admitted their mistake. He left out his method for doing so, however, which I remembered almost immediately when I clicked the other link.

    One entertaining thread has him claiming that Clifford algebra has applications in graphics algorithms. I know nothing of Clifford algebra, but I know a little bit about graphics algorithms, and Pertti's first reply to a challenge to apply Clifford algebra to determining the distance between two line segments was 1) wrong and 2) used general-purpose functions in a Clifford algebra package but no Clifford algebra. I think this guy took some perverse pleasure in playing these games and frequently strayed from finding errors into being an out-and-out troll.

    Ironically enough, when a sci.math reader discovered an missing '-' in one of his papers he violently denied what others agreed was an obvious but minor error.

    Still, it's interesting to see the kind of reactions he could get out of people who are presumably above such stuff. He managed to make very brilliant people say really dumb things....

    [ Parent ]
    I think the real lesson is simple... (3.50 / 2) (#154)
    by SPYvSPY on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 11:37:52 AM EST

    ...even if you are correct and your intentions are pure, if you do not treat others with respect, you will always fail to persuade.
    ------------------------------------------------

    By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.
    [ Parent ]

    Have to agree (3.40 / 5) (#67)
    by Jel on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 09:17:40 PM EST

    I've never really bought into the idea of Trolls.  Even in the case of the dumbest comments, I find the simplest explanation to be the most likely -- that the person in question makes dumb comments.  No reason to assume (or even believe them if they claim) that they made a dumb comment as a result of some bizarre "insider joke".
    ...lend your voices only to sounds of freedom. No longer lend your strength to that which you wish to be free from. Fill your lives with love and bravery, and we shall lead a life uncommon
    - Jewel, Life Uncommon
    Verify range to target. (4.75 / 16) (#72)
    by kitten on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 11:07:18 PM EST

    This is only one example of an individual who has been tagged a troll because he was right and dared telling others they were wrong.

    Then the people labelling him were wrong. That isn't what a 'troll' is.

    Forgive me for being so blunt, but this article was so close to being incoherent that I'm not entirely certain what your point is, if you even had one. However, it looks to me as though you're discussing several entities and ignoring the differences between them.

    When a person happens to have an opposing view from the majority, this does not make him a troll.

    A troll is someone who says things purely for effect. The reaction is usually negative towards him, but all he cares about is that he provoked a reaction in the first place. The topic does not matter - for all the pomp-and-circumstance bravado that certain trolls espouse around here, they are not trying to draw attention to other ways of thinking by acting like children. Despite the fact that they defend themselves with haughty, high-and-mighty rhetoric about philosophy and "considering alternate views" and "getting the masses to think", the truth is they're little more than infantile brats poking a stick into an anthill just to get the ants riled up. Ha, ha.

    The question becomes partly one of sincerity and intent. Comparisions to Voltare and Swift have arisen, but I think the comparision is unjustified. For one thing, these gentlemen had a geniune point to make, and made it. They were writing things considered inflammatory at the time, but their primary intent was not for mere provocation; that effect was merely a by-product of their contrary views, which they sincerely held.

    Compare that to common trolls of today's digital medium, who spout ridiculous views just for the sake of being ridiculous. They are not trying to make a specific point or even a general one (other than 'haha, I got you guys to bitch'), nor do they sincerely believe the things they say (usually). Additionally, they have crafted entire personas around this goal and rarely, if ever, deviate from it, remaining in character for the majority of their online interactions. Voltaire and Swift may have had opinions that were not mainstream, but they hardly allowed thier views to dictate the entirety of their personality. They said their piece and got on with their lives.


    mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
    Wow. (1.50 / 6) (#73)
    by Uncle Noam Chomsky on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 11:12:37 PM EST

    That was a great troll.

    ---
    Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the American media.
    [ Parent ]

    Reference (none / 0) (#76)
    by acheon on Sun Aug 11, 2002 at 11:26:47 PM EST

    Read this comment and my reply.

    [ Parent ]
    A tricky subject (4.50 / 4) (#79)
    by pyramid termite on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 12:42:02 AM EST

    A troll is someone who says things purely for effect.

    But we all say things in the hope that some kind of effect will result; if we didn't, we wouldn't bother.

    The question becomes partly one of sincerity and intent.

    That's a better definition, but unfortunately I can't find a web browser or a newsreader that will tell me what sincerity and intent is behind a particular post. There are times when it becomes clear, but the best trolls can be very hard to detect. Uncle Noam's the best one we have here who is obvious, and unfortunately, he's losing his focus and consistency, as under all the jokes and sarcasm, he has an actual point. There may be others, but I don't *know* that they are.

    Trolls cannot exist without context. If the context is anger and disapproval towards controversial people and viewpoints then the people driving this context will create trolls to oppose them - if things get vicious enough, they themselves will become trolls. I've seen it happen many times - Meowers on Usenet *relied* on this process for successful newsgroup disruptions, knowing that the "righteous" people who fought the trolls would do much more damage to the newsgroup than the actual trolls themselves.

    The main motivation for many people to post online is to prove to the world that they are right. Or cleverer, or better troublemakers than others. Trolls are a small subset of these people who are posting to show the world something, without necessarily wanting to learn anything outside of their construct of reality. There is, of course, nothing funnier, or sadder, than watching one of these people implode or explode when caught in a net of their own fallacies and the more skilled trolls are good at doing this - but again, if they didn't have victims and targets to work with, who were so cooperative, they wouldn't be able to work.

    I'm finding this subject a little tiresome; more tiresome than the actual trolls are. People confuse freedom of speech with the "freedom" to control what they want to see, and those who try best to enforce and argue this are trollmeat.

    On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
    [ Parent ]
    effect (4.00 / 1) (#124)
    by pantagruel on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 05:32:16 AM EST

    A troll is someone who says things purely for effect.

    "But we all say things in the hope that some kind of effect will result; if we didn't, we wouldn't bother."

    This seems to be something of a dishonest reply, in that I am thouroughly convinced that the common understanding of 'saying something for effect' does not in any way relate to saying something hoping for a response.

    As I have always understood it, saying something for effect means that one does not believe in, hold the information conveyed to be true, or in any way relate to the information conveyed in the statement other than as a tool for eliciting the wished for effect from the receiver of the information

    As a general rule the effect one is considered to be saying something to achieve is an effect more extreme than one could hope to achieve via truthful expression, for example someone would be saying something for effect if they were saying something merely to shock.

    Given this definition saying something for effect would be a mark of immaturity in the sayer.



    [ Parent ]
    The problem with that is ... (4.00 / 1) (#144)
    by pyramid termite on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 10:21:22 AM EST

    As I have always understood it, saying something for effect means that one does not believe in, hold the information conveyed to be true, or in any way relate to the information conveyed in the statement other than as a tool for eliciting the wished for effect from the receiver of the information

    And how do you tell if someone is doing that? At times, it's obvious, but other times it's not. At what point is someone saying something "for effect" or just saying it and does this judgement depend more on what his intentions are, or what your reaction is? You're taking a statement X and forcing it into a context of "this person wrote X to affect me" when the real context is "X made me feel something". It's not quite the same ...

    "I forget, in a certain way, everything I write, doubtless also, in another way, what I read." - Jacques Derrida
    [ Parent ]
    defining (none / 0) (#222)
    by pantagruel on Wed Aug 14, 2002 at 06:15:45 AM EST

    "And how do you tell if someone is doing that?" My definition wasn't predicated on being able to tell when someone is saying something for effect or not. There are all sorts of phenomena, conditions etc. in the world that cannot be immediately resolved via a binary process, that saying something for effect may be of these does not invalidate its existence(although as I will state later in this post, I do not believe it is one of these).

    "At times, it's obvious, but other times it's not. "

    Well the obvious times will resolve themselves and the not so obvious will require some investigation.

    "You're taking a statement X and forcing it into a context of 'this person wrote X to affect me' when the real context is 'X made me feel something'"

    Very seldomly would I expect that a person wrote X to affect me, rather I might assume that a person wrote X to affect people of type Y, without any sincerity about X - as long as we are talking about Trolls and posting and all that. In such a situation, saying something for effect, the communication is, to my mind, basically neurotic. It is these communications, the neurotically compelled, that I believe are obvious as being made for effect, and it these that I would undignify with the term "for effect".

    A communication otherwise "made for effect" as defined in my previous post, yet not obviously neurotic in its compulsion, would be made for effect in the same way that a literary work is. The following post http://www.kuro5hin.org/comments/2002/7/4/05012/46905/119#119 was in my opinion a parody, thus written for effect in the literary sense of the word, which would be quite different than if the poster had just written "Kill all sand-niggers" meaning the sentiment sincerely, or had written "Kill all sand-niggers" because the poster's relation to Kuro5hin is antagonistic, and their posts predicated on pissing-off as many anti-american, liberal, terrorist-sympathising Kuro5hin regulars as possible



    [ Parent ]
    Kitten, wrong....... (1.66 / 3) (#90)
    by ganglian on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 09:23:31 AM EST

    You spouted the one opinion that feeds trolls like me. Do we do it for the reaction, in most cases, yes. But, I offer my own caused furor of recent infamy as a good example of your being wrong.

    The original mommyist piece drew much reaction, and whether the prudes in k5 among us like it or not, it caused said furor because it hit a nerve, an exposed one at that.
    You heard me.
    [ Parent ]

    It's more subtle and complex than that (4.54 / 11) (#82)
    by anansi on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 03:42:01 AM EST

    I honestly think genuine trolls are so rare as to be inconsequential. I just had a thread hijacked by godwin's law, although there was no individual (from my POV) playing the part of the troll: just a whole bunch of topic police looking for said terrorist.

    Back in high school some friends of mine and I got tired of the rule lawyering around D&D, so we invented a version played without any stated rules at all. One of us would be GM, and set up a scenario, and the others would respond. This would go on until we lost interest (usually about half an hour)This mirrors the kind of game people play with internet talk

    The game of vollyball and the game of hacky sack both involve keeping something in the air(sort of like a conversation ball if you get my drift), but only one of them involves trying to bring it down to score points against an opponant. when I see this part of godwin's law It makes me think that someone is thinking in terms of vollyball rather than hackysack. When a thread ends because of godwins law, *everybody* loses.(the hackysack players, anyways.)

    There's a classroom exercise that elementry school teachers sometimes play with their class: the class builds a story by tossing out story elements and the techer writes the most interesting ones down on the chalkboard.One rule to this game that the kids generally don't know about-when an object is called for, invariably someone will toss out, "Gun". The teacher is advised to ignore this one, and write down another suggestion, because once a gun enters the story, the plotline always follows down the same funnel towards an ending that's not all that interesting. This sounds like another manifestation of godwin's law to me.

    internet conversations make me thing of a game like D&D without a net; story threads go on until they're no longer interesting. I like to think it's more like hacky sack than vollyball, but occasionally it seems someone tries to "spike the thread". Or maybe it's not deliberate at all. Maybe some of us unconscously shout out, "grip!" "barrel!" "firing pin!" so when we hear ourselves collectively saying "gun!" (fascism, hitler, nazi germany) there's a sudden conscious awareness that this conversation is no fun any more.

    Don't call it Fascism. Use Musollini's term: "Corporatism"

    volleyball and hackysack (none / 0) (#192)
    by Sacrifice on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 03:46:36 PM EST

    Cheer up - in both cases, when you let the ball hit the ground due to your own ineptitude, everyone is disappointed, and you feel like a heel.

    So, really, the two are not so far apart!

    [ Parent ]

    How do you have an Ethical argument with... (4.77 / 36) (#84)
    by snowlion on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 04:53:25 AM EST

    The more interesting question to me is: How do you have an Ethical argument with someone who is irrational?

    My closest friends and I respect rational discussion and argument. For example, if we talk about a theory of the brain, we'll trade our different perspectives, find points of agreement, points of disagreement, how strongly we accept points and on what evidence. We find flaws in each others notions, or strengthen them, and build up some conclusions, and a nice list of data that we wish that we had available to us. That is a form of rational argument about the validity of an idea.

    It extends to all realms, not just academic theories: "Why do you wash the dishes like that?" or "Why did you like that movie?" or "Why did that person succeed and that person fail?" We value rational (ratio, division into parts) discussion. To myself, it seems like the only way to really think clearly, get a view of the immediate scene, and make decisions fairly.

    Now most people I deal with, however, not only don't believe in such a process, but couldn't keep it up if their life depended on it.

    I don't know how many arguments I've gotten into with Kitty (my girlfriend Amber), in which she pulls all kinds of stunts like evasion through tangents, or deliberate ambiguity, mistaken logic, or (her favorite) evasion through straw man counter-attacks. You could wonder if it's just me, but I don't think so, since I very rarely encountered these tactics when talking with rational-arguing friends, but come across them like mines in a minefield when talking with Kitty.

    I used to think that this was a problem mostly with women (not intrinsic, but by training), or the uneducated, until I ran into a number of other programmers who also were incapable (literally, by their present skill set) of holding a rational argument.

    Most people don't argue rationally, and can't argue rationally. And they hate it when I do. What would be an innoculous and nonthreatening argument with one of my close friends is suddenly an open declaration of war, to the unprepared. If I say something like, "Your first two points have some merit, but the last two have almost no merit at all, beyond personal preference," the other person generally gets frustrated. I then (instinctually) go on to show exactly why the last two points have no merit, and then show how they should be conducting their argument with the first two points, and then counter those arguments as I would counter them, asking for new counterpoints, or an agreement to surrender. Needless to say, people hate this in general. Then the useless non-arguments really start flowing, and I'm inundated. I have to either decide to stop, or the argument escalates. If it doesn't stop escalating, it generally ends with me calling the person a completely unrational beast who is lucky they can say "four" when presented with 2+2. (By the way, I'm not recommending my course of action here; Just confessing it.)

    Now the question is: "Lion, if you know that they do this, why do you venture with your argument they way you do?" By and large, because I consider it an ethical necessity. To argue by any other means would be to commit a propaganda attack. That is, we would be relying on the shortcomings of the brain to slip our point in, rather than directly addressing things in full consciousness. Why is this bad? Because it violates the standard of all ethical behavior, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Would you want someone else to slip thinks into your mind, relying on its shortcomings, in order to get you to think things? If not, than what business do you have doing it to other people? Thus, the infuriating practice of addressing people on a rational basis is an ethical necessity.

    Granted, I played it up in the example I gave. Generally we don't number our arguments as we talk, and generally I don't say, "Your last two arguments are completely without merit," but in my head, as I am counterarguing, I have an internal graph of the key points of the argument, and what is weak and what is strong, and carry the argument this way. People can pick it up, even if I'm not referring to it explicitly, and they don't like it. They just don't like the rational form. Period. They hate it. Even if you do it subtely, but still do it, and if you make every effort to do it fairly. They hate most when you show a falsehood in an argument that they present. If you say, "That doesn't apply, because there is a relevant difference, for example, consider the case..." they just dismiss you, and more strongly hold to their flawed premise.

    So, what are you supposed to do. Do the ethical thing, and seriously piss everyone off, and, in the end, cause them to hold more strongly to false premises than they did before the argument, or do you do something else? And if you do something else, how do you ethically justify yourself?

    Now that I think is an interesting set of questions.

    I have not figured out my answers to myself, yet, but I am seriously questioning the my application of the Golden Rule.

    Consider two circumstances, both of which will have the Golden Rule applied on a surface and a deeper level.

    In the first, I have someone who I need to get along with. (By the way, "she" is not Kitty, for those wondering. {;D}=) She is engaged in some activity. I am not at all interested in her activity, but I know from my reading of some Black Magic books that if I ask her about the activity she is interested in, which I have only very minor interest in, that she will be inclined to like me. I don't like the idea of people just pretending to be interested in something I am doing, so I do not like the idea of just pretending to be interested in something she is doing, though I am marginally interested.

    In the second, consider that I would LOVE to have a woman open the door, take her clothes, passionately kiss me, and ask me to fuck her now. However, I don't think it would go over so well if I did that with the cute neighbor next door. She'd freak out and I'd be rightfully arrested. The surface instruction of the Golden Rule is "I want X from my neighbor, so I must do X to my neighbor." That's a shallow understanding. The deeper understanding is, "I want people to treat me the way I'd like to be treated, thus I'll treat my neighbor the way she'd like to be treated." Since she wouldn't like me to strip in her room, I won't.

    Now we can use this in the first case. Would I like the woman I need to get along with to be friendly with me? If so, than I should be friendly with her. Is it okay for people to do superficial things in order to establish friendship? Would she think it's okay? My reading of Pride and Prejudice says "YES." They're always inquiring into the health of God knows who, even though its not terribly important to them. It is understood, but for some reason, effective. Have other people ever paid respects to my particular quirks, in order to befriend me? Yes, I think so, and I've been grateful for them. So, I think that the situation transposes.

    At the same time, it puts me in shaky moral grounds, once I move from social graces (which are relatively easy), to the argumentative sphere (which is very difficult for me to resolve.)

    Consider that I am in a technical argument with, say, 3 other people. (This is a somewhat fictional encounter.) I have produced rational arguments about the direction that we should go, and the directions that we should avoid. The replies have been on the order of either silence, or, "Well, I just don't like it." (To put it kindly.) Asking for reasons against my reasons, or for signs of flaws or weaknesses only drew significant ire. The very possibility of the end of any further communication itself, and thus the end of the project (due to schism) is at hand. I reach out, and the book of Black Magic appears. "Ugh. I hate this book. This is unethical," I think, but I am very desperate, and I'm not terribly sure of what can possibly be ethical when polite rational discourse has been thrown out the window by the nice (not being sarcastic) people I am working with. The Black Magic book lists several points. I write a reply, and then go through the points, adjusting my reply to meet every single one.

    It works. Perfectly. Not only are the other devs in complete agreement, but they think that the ideas I've made were their own. They are rabidly holding onto them as their own, and passionately at work implementing them. Wow. That's great. Or is it?

    Is it okay to do such a thing?

    I have every reason to believe that it is in fact done on a regular basis by powerful people, simply because the vast majority of people do not reason, will not reason, can not reason. You have to have some understanding of propaganda and logic and that sort of thing in order to do it. Many people can't pick up television advertising propaganda, much less a weak thread in an argument or conceive of what an argument graph means. This is not a lack of intelligence, just a lack of intelligence applied to this particular realm of reasonable discussion. At any rate... For people to get other people to do intellectual work, they have to use these techniques, since the motivation has to come from within, and quite possibly most intellectual workers are not trained in rational discussion. (By intellectual workers, I am talking about pretty much any work that has to be self-directed. IE, not carrying pyramid bricks from A to B, where a whip is all that is needed.) So this, coupled with a lot of first hand experience, leads me to believe that people in large corporations or in the tech industry or wherever are pulling these kinds of Black Magic stunts, just as I pulled off with these devs. (It really was extraordinary; Before, the whole project was going down in flames. After the email, everything had revived and soaring higher than ever.)

    So, there you have it. That's my ethical quandry. Either address by reason- and you can be flamed to hell, (or, possibly better, if you work really hard and be ultra-curteous, using only "I thinks" etc., and be completely ignored.) Either you address by reason, and are flamed or ignored, or you address by black magic, and very successfully change people and their thoughts.

    For those who are wondering, the "book of Black Magic" has been a euphanism for "How to Win Friends and Influence People." If you do what the book says, then you will get the results you want, provided that they aren't too outlandish. And too outlandish has to be pretty damn outlandish. I haven't read the book, but I've memorized the principles. Things like "never criticize, condemn, or complain" and "praise sincerely and honestly" are some of the simpler ones. There are some more complex and specific ones, particularly in the realm of argument, such as "Begin in a friendly way" and "Get the person saying yes,yes immediately." Get other people to do the talking. All sorts of stuff. If you just write your argument, and then go down the list applying the ideas, it works out. I was really amazed when it worked so well, but it really does. I've tried it a couple of times in live interaction with people, and it worked there as well.

    So what the hell kind of conclusion am I supposed to make? If you are talking with people who can't reason, you can generally make them think whatever you want them to think, provided they haven't already set their beliefs one way or another. Quite possibly even if they have set their beliefs another way, I don't know, I haven't tried. If you are talking with people who can reason, you don't have any problems because you just use your basic default rational protocol, and enjoy it. You can't make them think things (thank God), but you can have an interesting discussion and learn new things that you never knew before.

    The whole thing makes me feel very uncomfortable. I try to take the model of "people want you to be friendly, and social graces are well understood and okay", and try to bridge it to this realm of technical discussion, but haven't yet found the argument that can bridge the two realms. If anyone reading this has thought about it before, please kick in a reply and let me know what you think.

    This is making my head hurt.

    As an interesting side note, I am pretty certain that George Lucas' "Jedi Mind Tricks" are a symbol for these types of techniques, especially considering that they don't work on slave traders and Jabba and other strong willed people, who already have strong wills and/or strong principles and/or strong faith, and are wary to stray from them.

    --
    Map Your Thoughts

    heh. (4.50 / 2) (#93)
    by pb on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 10:08:18 AM EST

    I remember talking about animal rights in Bio-Ethics; there was a girl there who said "I think animals should have rights, but I don't think plants should have rights, and I don't think insects should have rights."

    The teacher said, "I understand about plants, but why don't you think insects should have rights?"

    She replied, "Because they're yucky!".
    ---
    "See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
    -- pwhysall
    [ Parent ]

    Yeah (2.75 / 4) (#97)
    by medham on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 11:27:08 AM EST

    Girls are stupid.

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

    well, (4.00 / 1) (#98)
    by pb on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 11:38:39 AM EST

    Proving that in the general case could take some work, but in that specific instance, I'd consider your conclusion to be quite compelling.
    ---
    "See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
    -- pwhysall
    [ Parent ]
    Hmm (none / 0) (#232)
    by Peaker on Wed Aug 14, 2002 at 08:07:27 PM EST

    Since each person's preference of protection (who should and shouldn't have rights) is completely arbitrary, there is no smart or stupid call about it.

    If the girl finds animals emotionally positive, and thus thinks they should have rights, and bugs emotionally negative, thus shouldn't have rights, she's not stupid and in fact, I hold the same view.

    I like animals, I simply do. I hate insects, I could say because 'they are yucky'.
    This makes me want animals to get rights, and insects not to.

    [ Parent ]

    how so? (none / 0) (#235)
    by pb on Wed Aug 14, 2002 at 11:18:33 PM EST

    What makes you think that everyone bases this decision on completely arbitrary views?  At the least, usually people have some logical rationale behind their views.

    Common examples of questions you could ask to determine if a species should have rights are "is it sentient?", or "can it feel pain/suffer?". Obviously the rights can match accordingly--sentient beings could have the same sorts of protections that we enjoy; creatures that can suffer could have rights prohibiting "cruel and unusual punishment".

    So in this case, if your desires are strong enough, maybe you could come up with a rationale to try and justify your position, but you'd have to do better than "because they're yucky" to enter into a serious discussion on the issue.
    ---
    "See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
    -- pwhysall
    [ Parent ]

    Sentience and suffering. (none / 0) (#237)
    by Peaker on Thu Aug 15, 2002 at 09:34:26 AM EST

    If you want to protect beings who are sentient or can suffer, then you have a hidden assumption that suffering is negative.

    My view on things, is that suffering is negative in humans and animals, because I like them, and I don't mind at all if there is 'suffering' in insects (whatever that may mean), because I don't give a damn about them.

    The questions of sentience and suffering don't really remove arbitrarity, they just move it to a different question (Should all suffering be prevented, etc).

    [ Parent ]

    sure... (none / 0) (#238)
    by pb on Thu Aug 15, 2002 at 09:53:28 AM EST

    And you can answer this one too by arguing that suffering is an unpleasant thing in the general case, even based on experience.

    I mean really, whether or not I care about you, or vice versa, should not affect whether I should be permitted to make you suffer.
    ---
    "See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
    -- pwhysall
    [ Parent ]

    Hmm (3.00 / 1) (#165)
    by tlhf on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 01:13:15 PM EST

    A person didn't say that. A fellow student didn't say that. A friend didn't say that. A peer didn't say that. A classmate didn't say that.

    A girl said that.

    tlhf
    The personal is the political.

    [ Parent ]

    yeah (4.00 / 2) (#167)
    by pb on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 01:24:12 PM EST

    It was a long time ago, back when I was just a boy.

    What's your point?
    ---
    "See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
    -- pwhysall
    [ Parent ]

    what? (3.00 / 1) (#174)
    by Shren on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 02:11:37 PM EST

    You expect him to conceal the gender of the subject to make the anticdote more politically correct?

    [ Parent ]
    Because it was specific (none / 0) (#248)
    by tlhf on Tue Aug 20, 2002 at 06:21:28 AM EST

    My point was that if the person making this silly comment had been male; then he wouldn't have been described as a boy.

    tlhf


    [ Parent ]

    No, probably 'dude' or 'guy' [n/t] (none / 0) (#252)
    by Spendocrat on Tue Jun 17, 2003 at 08:28:11 PM EST

     

    [ Parent ]
    Information (none / 0) (#228)
    by Lacero on Wed Aug 14, 2002 at 10:50:02 AM EST


    I see your point, but saying girl instead of any of the other terms you suggest gives more information about the event.  It's implicit in the context that the person is a classmate.  

    I think if he'd said person instead of girl that would have been worse, that would have been concealing where as this is presenting more facts.  And the more facts you have the better your rational discourse can be, in general at least.


    [ Parent ]

    Social rationality vs. intellectual rationality (4.60 / 10) (#94)
    by pyramid termite on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 10:19:04 AM EST

    Most people don't argue rationally, and can't argue rationally. And they hate it when I do.

    Most people have some kind of rational ability. The problem is they have deliberately limited it to certain areas of their lives, so certain assumptions they have made about things won't be questioned. They are operating in a dominence/submission mode while you're operating in a rational/binary mode. You perceive yourself as trying to disprove a thought or assumption while they perceive themselves as defending their dominence, or the dominence of those they are submissive to, against an upsurper.

    So, what are you supposed to do. Do the ethical thing, and seriously piss everyone off, and, in the end, cause them to hold more strongly to false premises than they did before the argument, or do you do something else? And if you do something else, how do you ethically justify yourself?

    And here's an assumption *you've* made - that the rational thing is the ethical thing. There may or not be a rational way to do the dishes, or a rational reason to like a movie, but other things come into play; what a person emotionally feels comfortable doing or feels responsive to, don't necessarily have rational or ethical components. It's not necessarily ethical to question people's assumptions if they are unable to accept or understand better assumptions they might make, especially when relatively minor matters are concerned. It may be necessary in major things; but what is more important - that people be "right" about everything and how they do it, or they be comfortable? If doing something a certain way works, more or less, and it helps them be "in the zone", or at least be at ease with a task, does it matter that it isn't the precisely "best" way to do it?

    Sometimes, people have to learn the hard way in more important cases.

    I have every reason to believe that it is in fact done on a regular basis by powerful people, simply because the vast majority of people do not reason, will not reason, can not reason.

    Will not reason would be more accurate. Or, better yet, they're reasoning on a social level while you're reasoning on an intellectual level. They're more concerned with the right way to get along in the "tribe" and have a decent position in it, while you're more concerned with the right way of solving a problem. This is why The Black Book, (which I'd guessed the identity of before you told me), works so well at times, as it understands what many people really want, which is not the best way to think but the best way to feel. Unscrupulous people can abuse these techniques; as you've noticed, it's done all the time ...

    The real question is - is it ethically necessary for me to be involved in arguing about such and such a situation? Is it more important that person X be corrected and angry or wrong and comfortable? Is it possible that another more respected or tactful person can handle this situation instead of me? Is it possible that instead of arguing with the person to persuade him they are doing something wrong, I can find a superior or more respected person to *tell* him he's wrong? (That tactic won't win you many friends, but it does work a lot better with stubborn people than arguing with them.) What is the cost if I just drop it or bite my tongue and don't say anything to begin with? (In most situations, this is the preferred option, at least for me.)

    Either you address by reason, and are flamed or ignored, or you address by black magic, and very successfully change people and their thoughts.

    And that's the problem with online discussion is that the Black Magic doesn't work very well here. There's no readily perceivable social context like there is at a workplace; I don't have many cues as to whether Person X is friends with Person Y and trading a lot of emails; I don't have a clear picture of how rational a new person I'm responding to is going to be or what his underlying beliefs may be. Words that with a smile and the right gestures would smooth things over in a face to face encounter sound obviously insincere or empty online. Furthermore, people quickly realize that they can be much more dominant online than they ever could be in real life; you are your words here, and if the words are powerful you are powerful - the logic of these words is another issue. All the logical fallacies and words of power combine into a Troll or a True Believer and no social persuasion is possible - leaving just rational rebuttal, which more often silences people who realize, somehow, that they're being "tricked" or outargued, and conclude the argument with an insult and some bald statements from the common wisdom, sure that they've "won".

    "I forget, in a certain way, everything I write, doubtless also, in another way, what I read." - Jacques Derrida
    [ Parent ]
    I am floored! (3.66 / 3) (#103)
    by krek on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 02:39:08 PM EST

    I had simply never considered that.

    I, like snowlion, had always been under the impression that everyone else was either lazy or stupid; to me, there was no other way to explain the rather profound irrationality that I have encountered since the age of four.

    I almost feel embarrassed that I have never considered it before now, I feel like I was blind and you have removed my metaphorical blinders.

    Most people do not care about being correct, they care about their social standing, they do not care about improving their mental faculties or refining their though processes, they care about improving and refining their social standing.

    It is something that I have always known, and yet... failed, until this moment, to comprehend the significance of; My epiphany is at hand!

    [ Parent ]
    "rational is superior" spin (4.66 / 6) (#108)
    by hoskoteinos on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 06:40:27 PM EST

    Most people do not care about being correct, they care about their social standing, they do not care about improving their mental faculties or refining their though processes, they care about improving and refining their social standing.

    Or, to phrase it less negatively, some people are less concerned with being logically consistent than they are with developing their aesthetic nature, or their selflessness, or their work ethic. Reasoning is only one human faculty, and for whatever reason, many people assume that it is the "highest" and "most correct" faculty -- i.e. they equate logical consistency with moral or ethical rightness. But life is not so simple; sometimes things are arational. Indeed, how dry and mechanistic the world would be if all we had was logic. Life is a dance not a march.

    Human social interactions are not just superficial nicities. Things like sympathy, empathy, and sincerity are meaningful and can be genuinely cultivated -- they don't have to be masks. Often a claim of being rational is merely a rationalization for an imbalance of character. Is a poet or an aid worker any less significant than a scientist?

    [ Parent ]

    Let me look at your statements logically (3.83 / 6) (#135)
    by jig on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 08:32:03 AM EST

    Or, to phrase it less negatively, some people are less concerned with being logically consistent than they are with developing their aesthetic nature, or their selflessness, or their work ethic.

    You've set up a false dichotomy here. None of these things you mention are in direct opposition to reason in themselves, and so can be done rationally.

    Reasoning is only one human faculty, and for whatever reason, many people assume that it is the "highest" and "most correct" faculty -- i.e. they equate logical consistency with moral or ethical rightness.

    You cannot have ethics without logic, since a logically inconsistent ethical system is useless. Think about it. What good is an ethical system that tells you to do an act and also not to do that act?

    But life is not so simple; sometimes things are arational.

    I agree things are arational, but that does not make life any more complex, nor reason any less important. In fact, I would say that things being arational, reason becomes even more important as a guide.

    Indeed, how dry and mechanistic the world would be if all we had was logic.

    And how bloody and miserable if all we had were passions with no logic to guide them. Oh, wait a minute...

    Life is a dance not a march.

    Flowery sayings are nice, aren't they? They seem deep and insightful, but only if they happen to be an agreement with what you already believe. Here's another one:

    "...to argue with a man who has renouced his reason is like giving medicine to the dead." -- Thomas Paine

    Human social interactions are not just superficial nicities. Things like sympathy, empathy, and sincerity are meaningful and can be genuinely cultivated -- they don't have to be masks.

    That's right. But again, you've set up a false dichotomy. All these things can be expressed rationally (and irrationally). They can work together with reason, and in fact, I will make the claim that it is better to have reason by the side. Sympathy, for example, can be expressed with a nice blunt axe, which I'm sure you'd agree is quite an irrational way to express it. I'm sure you'd agree also, therefore, that sympathy is better expressed rationally.

    Often a claim of being rational is merely a rationalization for an imbalance of character.

    Nice ad hominem there.

    Is a poet or an aid worker any less significant than a scientist?

    That depends. On whether the poet and aid worker are rational or not. If the poet writes his poetry by drawing words in the air using his fingers, well, I'd say yes, the scientist (who, let us assume is being rational) is of more significance. And similarly, if the aid worker is giving aid by tanning on a beach in California, then yes, the scientist is of more significance.

    Of course, if all three are acting in their most rational manner, then who is of more significance depends on who we value more. But notice also that reason and logical consistency is required here too. We cannot say, for example, that the scientist is more valuable than the artist, and that the artist is more valuable than the poet, and that the poet is more valuable than the scientist.

    Well, we can.

    But only if we wish to be unintelligible.

    And irrational.

    -----
    And none of you stand so tall
    Pink moon gonna get ye all

    [ Parent ]

    balance (none / 0) (#196)
    by hoskoteinos on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 04:17:35 PM EST

    My intention was not to set up a dichotomy between rationality and everything else; it was merely to point out that rationality can be and often is overvalued and overused. Some people are just way too intellectual and are blind to that fact. I'm not saying you or anyone here is guilty of that; it's just a danger to watch out for. Of course, emotionality can be overvalued too. In the end, all our human faculties are necessary at various times and in various proportions. The trick is to know when to analyse or when to appreciate or when to act.

    [ Parent ]
    I have a concern (4.60 / 10) (#106)
    by Simon Kinahan on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 05:12:02 PM EST

    For what it's worth, I agree with what you say about the difference between what is actually rational, in a social context, and what would be rational in the other person involved were also being rational. I generally do things in the "Black Magic Book" way you suggest, because as a pragmatic matter, I find life unlivable if I don't. It does, however, make me very uneasy, which is why I'm tempted to agree with snowlion's description of it as unethical.

    Consider a simple example. I have a colleague who is not doing a very good job. I want to let him know about my concerns, and I also want to help. Now, generally my colleagues are pretty rational people, so as things stand I would go and say "I was looking over the code you checked in the other day, and I'm a bit worried about what happens in case X. Have you consider alternative approach Y". Now, with most of the people I work with, they'll either say "I didn't think of that. What about case Z ?", and the discussion will continue from there, or they'll say "I thought of that, but it won't work in case V, which is more important".

    However, if I know the person concerned is not so good at rational discussion, and might be sensitive, I'll approach it differently. I'll say "You've done a really good job on Thing. I was wondering, have you thought of case X ?". And we'll go through the whole thing on a smiling friendly question-and-answer basis, with me controlling the path of the conversation. I makes me uneasy. I don't like it.

    Firstly, if I'm wrong, which I often am, the chances are the person won't ever get to tell me I'm wrong, because after all what this stuff is all about is *convincing* people. On one occasion, the person I had in mind when writing the above was being bounced back and forth between our CTO and I being alternately convinced of one thing or the other. He got quite upset, and our CTO thought I was undermining him, which wasn't my intention. He was right in the end, not that its important to the question here.

    Secondly, I am actually disrespecting that person. I'm saying "you're not able to have a reasonable conversation about this, so I'm going to manipulate you into doing what I want". It really, really pisses me off when people do it to me. Because I don't do it much myself, people who are really into the "Black Magic" thing think I don't know what they're doing, and it drives me *absolutely* wild. I find it hard to find the words needed to convey how cross I get.

    Let me give you an example: We have a salesman in our office. He *never* engages in a discussion as a rational enterprise. It is all about status. All about convinving people. Once, we were discussing how to produce a demo. He asked me some question about whether we really needed some component.  I started to answer by thinking out loud, which is my habit even if I know the answer already, because I want people to understand what I'm thinking. And the fuckhead *yawns* at me. He opens his fuccking mouth like some wild animal and shows me his tonsils. Not in any jokey "I'm doing this to make a point" way, but as a straightforward attempt at domination and manipulation. Which is what yawning means - it doesn't just mean you're tired. Being the slightly retiring person I am IRL, I just clammed up. I should have fucking hit him. See: that is rude, not just by convention, but because it is treating someone else as less than a full person. That is my concern about all this stuff.

    Another example with the same person: We were in the pub. Somehow the topic of Ukranian came up, and my Russian colleague mentions that Western and Easternn Ukraine speak very different languages and just pretend they're the same. I mentioned that this is a bit like Norway, and that they have two languagues, one closer to Danish and the other closer to Old Norse. One of my colleagues makes an expression of doubt. I grin and play on it a bit, but this fucker says "there are ways of saying you're lieing", or words to that effect. Now, I confess to occasionally bullshitting a bit to improve a story told over a pint of beer (and actually this troubles me in itself, being, as it is, a bit of manipulation), but I never say something I know, or even think likely, to be untrue. Once again this shithead is establishing his dominance at my expense.  

    In an attempt to get back to something that might be regarded as a reply to your post: You're right when you say all we have here are words. As you also say, some words are powerful. There are people here who don't do rational argument, but do understand about powerful words, and treat argument, which is really what K5 is about, as a competitive sport, rather than an opportunity to share knowledge. Unfortunately, I suspect that even here, if someone reads a discussion in which one person seems to be dominating, but another has the rational arguments, they're likely to assume the dominant-seeming individual "won".

    Simon

    If you disagree, post, don't moderate
    [ Parent ]

    The flipside (4.66 / 3) (#111)
    by Gumpzilla on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 11:51:05 PM EST

    Secondly, I am actually disrespecting that person. I'm saying "you're not able to have a reasonable conversation about this, so I'm going to manipulate you into doing what I want". It really, really pisses me off when people do it to me. Because I don't do it much myself, people who are really into the "Black Magic" thing think I don't know what they're doing, and it drives me *absolutely* wild. I find it hard to find the words needed to convey how cross I get.
    You appear to be saying this based on your reaction to having these manipulation techniques performed on you. You perceive this as disrespect, thus you assume that all of your colleagues will as well. But perhaps these colleagues who you feel are unable to hold a rational discussion would feel disrespected by your more direct approach. Presentation matters. They clearly get upset by the direct approach, and I think it's not irrational to think that they might be getting upset because they feel that you don't respect their work. So, you are acting in a way which makes them feel respected. What you seem to be saying is that you feel less respect for them.

    You are not saying implicitly through your actions to these people that you disrespect them and that you are manipulating them. This may be how you feel about it, and it may be how people like yourself would receive the message, but I bet it is not how the message is received. In fact, I feel that your post displays, overall, a hypersensitivity to the power issues at play here. The pub anecdote, for example, struck me as a pretty heavy overreaction on your part.
    this fucker says "there are ways of saying you're lieing", or words to that effect. Now, I confess to occasionally bullshitting a bit to improve a story told over a pint of beer (and actually this troubles me in itself, being, as it is, a bit of manipulation), but I never say something I know, or even think likely, to be untrue. Once again this shithead is establishing his dominance at my expense

    Now unless you're using bullshitting in a way that I'm not familiar with, you are first saying a) I occasionally embellish stories or talk out my ass a bit, particularly when drinking, and then b) I never say anything that I think likely to be untrue. I find those two statements to be inconsistent. He calls you out, saying he thinks you're BSing, and your reaction is that he is trying to prove his dominance.

    So how is this different from somebody saying in a "logical" manner, "I disagree with that point"? He's saying that he disagrees with you, essentially, and your response is emotional inflammation. Does this imply that you are incapable of having a rational discussion? Is your emotional response to this more valid or worthy of respect than the emotional responses of some of your colleagues to direct questioning of their code?

    [ Parent ]
    Two points (3.00 / 3) (#121)
    by Simon Kinahan on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 05:13:18 AM EST

    You are not saying implicitly through your actions to these people that you disrespect them and that you are manipulating them. This may be how you feel about it, and it may be how people like yourself would receive the message, but I bet it is not how the message is received.

    Yeah, I know. I can't get over my gut reaction, though. That's not very rational, now, is it ? :)

    So how is this different from somebody saying in a "logical" manner, "I disagree with that point"? He's saying that he disagrees with you, essentially, and your response is emotional inflammation.

    I should point out that I didn't actually react, and on that occasion, I wasn't really pissed off. Just irritated. I dislike the person concerned because of other things.

    It is possible to make stuff up without saying anything you think is likely to be untrue. This is basically what anyone engaged in a creative enterprise does, after all. On this particular occasion, I wasn't, but it was that kind of context, so my other colleague thinking I'm bullshitting is not that surprising, and indeed I did play on it a bit, so I don't mind that.

    What irritated me is this guy saying, basically, "I know you're not telling the truth because I have Black Magic Powers". It is irritating because he's making a claim to special knowledge, which isn't warranted. As it happens I am telling the truth. What he's picking up is just the typical body language and speech patterns normal in a pub conversation. I certainly wouldn't claim that my response was rational or worthy of respect, which is why I didn't actually say anything.

    Simon

    If you disagree, post, don't moderate
    [ Parent ]

    what a lovely thread (4.00 / 1) (#113)
    by fhotg on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 02:49:17 AM EST

    now we have that there are at least two different modes of argument, one rational logic, the other playing on feeeling, emotions, associations. Most here prefer the former, they're better at it and somehow feel its better. It's better, because the outcome of a rational argument is the optimal solution for the issue at hand, given the knowledge and intelligence of those arguing.

    However many arguments in the real world are not about what's logically right, but about who wins. If the partys agree to use logical arguments, they limit themselfes to a certain playground with given rules, it's a competition, a sport.

    If it's about stuff with a higher priority than 'getting better at logic reasoning' or 'winning the rational debate', for example getting laid or not doing the dishes, its irrational to insist on limiting yourself to the strict rational variety of argument.


    ~~~
    Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

    [ Parent ]

    Manipulation (4.00 / 2) (#157)
    by Lacero on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 12:00:06 PM EST

    I think it's more serious than disrespect.

    As you say, manipulation is about getting someone to do what you want, and also I think taking from them the ability to do what they want.  They might give it up freely, and probably won't even realise they're doing it, but to me you're taking part of them and replacing it with you.  Instead of making their own desicions and acting out their wishes they just do what they've been convinced is right.  This is to me just about the worst thing you can do to someone, though I think most people will disagree.

    Which brings issues of responsibility, if you convince them instead of arguing you don't know if you're right or wrong, and it seems to me it's all your fault if you're mistaken.  And you're not just taking responsibility, you're taking it from the other person.

    Also where do you draw the line?  How do you know you argued your case successfully, and didn't just sidestep their brain and put opinions straight in their head?  Is trying not to do it enough? or is it just as bad however it happens?

    As for the specifics of k5, competitive debate is extremely distasteful to me.  I guess I'm only here because I can't find anywhere better.

    [ Parent ]

    also (3.00 / 4) (#95)
    by pb on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 10:55:59 AM EST

    You might not want to cite "The Golden Rule" as a standard for moral or ethical behavior; IMO, it has serious flaws. The most obvious one is that other people might not agree with your morals, so by doing unto them as you would have them do unto you, you are in fact imposing your views of right and wrong upon them.

    Also, upon further inspection, its logical structure looks suspiciously like "p->q => q->p", which is the converse, and does not logically follow.

    A good example of this in action would be: "I want hot chicks to have sex with me, therefore I will have sex with hot chicks"...
    ---
    "See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
    -- pwhysall
    [ Parent ]

    ah (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by pb on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 11:11:26 AM EST

    I see you've addressed some of the Golden Rule nonsense in your post; that's good.  Other questions to ask yourself:

    • How do you actually know what other people would want you to do?
    • under what circumstances should you subscribe to their morals instead of your own?

    ---
    "See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
    -- pwhysall
    [ Parent ]
    The Golden Rule: Considering Self Equal (4.75 / 4) (#112)
    by snowlion on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 02:47:11 AM EST

    I don't think the flaws with the Golden Rule you described are real.

    Imposing Views of Right and Wrong on Others

    (aka The Hot Chix0rs debate.)

    If you don't want people imposing their views of right and wrong on you, then don't impose your views of right and wrong on others. There are, however, some types of impositions you are willing to make, and thus accept from others as well.

    The Golden Rule is simple in concept, but very complex in application. There are all sorts of priorities and exceptional cases and complexities interworking in that simple rule.

    "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Do you even know, to the n-th degree, how you would really like people to treat you? I don't! I think that in itself is an extraordinary question, and I find that a life of applying the Golden Rule is a life of Self discovery through serving and being served.

    Logical Structure: Inverse?

    This point is not valid, because the Golden Rule is a principle, not a logical premise and conclusion.

    If I were to say, "IF doing unto others, THEN IT MUST FOLLOW that others do unto you in kind," then your structural attack would be valid, provided we're not talking about something like handshakes.

    But the Golden Rule is not a logical argument. Rather, it is a command, or a principle: Do unto others how you would have them do unto you.

    You either like it or you don't. I have heard that Kant explored the Golden Rule and tried to put some foundation behind it, but I haven't researched that myself. Someone who knows about Kant can reply to this post and clear that up for me.

    Knowing what others would Want you to do

    You asked a good question, "How do you actually know what other people would want you to do?" I think it's a good question, because people from pretty much everybackground in the world have bothered to answer it: "You don't actually know, so you do your best to find out."

    Master Confucius said that the first thing he did whenever he visited a new city was to inquire deeply into their local rites and rituals. Other religions have similar sayings. "When in Rome, do as the Romans do."

    It takes effort for us to interface with one another. It's what you would want others to do. You don't want someone coming up to you pretending that they are the lord of all protocols- there's always a give and take.

    Altering Morals

    I'm a moral absolutist, so I don't believe in subscribing to anyone's morals but your own. And I believe that the foundation of all morality is the Golden Rule.

    That said, you are going to run into other places where they want to be treated differently. If you would like people to respect your customs, you have to respect theirs. If you do that, I believe that people will respect and protect you.

    As I said, the Golden Rule is complex in application. You will have to think carefully about the boundary between individual and society, and find where you think the line is. I believe that there is an absolutely just line, a "theoretical perfection", but that it is very far from our vision. So what do we do? The best we can.

    Forgiveness is an important element in applying the Golden Rule, because we all have different levels and domains of knowledge, different wants, different cultures, and are at different stages of growth.

    Basic Idea

    The basic idea of the Golden Rule is that you are not given special priveledge, and neither is anyone else given special priveledge.

    If you accept that idea, then you accept the Golden Rule.

    You can say things like, "I believe it is okay for our great overlords who have superpowers to hack our minds for our own protection."

    You can also say things like, "I believe that no being should hack another beings mind without explicit permission." You can do that as well.

    You can draw the line wherever you think it goes. You will draw it as much in line with the Spirit of Life (generalizing to all living things) as you know possible.

    Generalizing: If the galaxy were a cell in a super-plant, would you hold it against a super-cow for eating the super-plant, and thus ending all life in this galaxy? Well, probably not. That's probably okay with you. So you probably forgive eating microbes, right?

    What if a super-intelligent alien species came here and started eating us? Would you want that? Probably not. I wouldn't. So I try not to eat cows.

    (If there WERE super-intelligent aliens, and they ate humans, but some were vegetarians and didn't eat humans, but did so occasionally when they were with other human-eaters, albeit reluctanty, for the sole purpose of getting along with their super-intelligent alien friends, then I don't really hold it against that vegetarian alien. It's a matter of scale.)

    There's a lot of ways you can cut it. It's self-discovery. We make mistakes. Keep forgiveness in mind.

    And again, because I've been accused of this a number of times: I'm not a moral relativist. I'm a moral absolutist. I think that there's an absolute line. I just don't claim to know where it is. I have ideas of my own, but would never say I was certain where they lie.

    --
    Map Your Thoughts
    [ Parent ]

    heh (4.00 / 1) (#116)
    by pb on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 03:25:24 AM EST

    That's an interesting interpretation of The Golden Rule; however, by The Golden Rule, that application of it might work for people like you, but certainly not for anyone.

    For instance, some people wouldn't want to spend that much time researching a culture before they start interacting with it--that lack of knowledge would necessarily hamper their application of The Golden Rule, yet it still holds, for they wouldn't necessarily want to hold back newcomers to their culture, either.

    For that matter, some people are fundamentally against the intermixing of different cultures at all; by keeping others out, they're doing both groups a favor, in their opinion.

    I wouldn't mind subscribing to the "I'm not terribly special" philosophy myself, but obviously these are fairly personal questions.

    And I think that the cell in the super-plant would live on in the super-cow, perhaps in a new form.  Also, cows are tasty.  :)
    ---
    "See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
    -- pwhysall
    [ Parent ]

    oh and also (3.00 / 1) (#117)
    by pb on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 03:27:00 AM EST

    Kant was an asshole; I wouldn't trust him to baby-sit my cat, and for good reason, so I also won't trust him to interpret The Golden Rule, or to make any important moral judgements; he's already failed that test, IMHO.
    ---
    "See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
    -- pwhysall
    [ Parent ]
    On Kant (4.00 / 1) (#129)
    by dagsverre on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 06:40:29 AM EST

    I don't know about it in detail but it went something like this: You should always act in such a way that your actions could have been a law or rule for society. In other words, consider what would happen if everyone did the same as you and whether we would be better or worse off.

    (I can see quite a few problems with that myself, I'm just retelling...)



    [ Parent ]
    The Categorical Imperative. (none / 0) (#161)
    by haflinger on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 12:36:33 PM EST

    This is purely for the purpose of clarification; I despise Kant intensely.

    The Categorical Imperative states that you should always treat fellow human beings as ends in themselves, and never as a means to an end. It's similar in practice to the golden rule, but fundamentally different.

    Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
    [ Parent ]

    Untitled Reply (3.00 / 1) (#145)
    by Woundweavr on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 10:28:45 AM EST

    If you don't want people imposing their views of right and wrong on you, then don't impose your views of right and wrong on others. There are, however, some types of impositions you are willing to make, and thus accept from others as well.

    The Golden Rule as it is most commonly stated is "Do unto others as you would have them do onto you." Ethical systems are not its sole domain, nor does behavior encompassing in ethics completely within its scope. Sharing a candy bar has little ethical scope, unless it is derived from this ethical basis. Actions only involving self (tatooing, piercing, abortions, masturbation) can be included in ethical systems but do not involve others.

    TGR is in general a way to determine what is an ethical action, not an attempt to impose a seperate system of ethics on someone else. The difficulty arises because what you enjoy different things from others. While ethics may be the source, personal preference is the more likely culprit.

    This point is not valid, because the Golden Rule is a principle, not a logical premise and conclusion.

    If I were to say, "IF doing unto others, THEN IT MUST FOLLOW that others do unto you in kind," then your structural attack would be valid, provided we're not talking about something like handshakes. That is not how it would be stated logically. I would state it (and obviously some variation can occur) for an action related to another individual to be ethical, it must also be ethical if he or she performed the action to you. "If p->q is ethical, then q->p must be ethical." If this is taken to be a definition of ethical behavior, it can be considered without a flaw. However, actions of p->q are often quite different from q->p and thus the problem emerges.

    You asked a good question, "How do you actually know what other people would want you to do?" I think it's a good question, because people from pretty much everybackground in the world have bothered to answer it: "You don't actually know, so you do your best to find out." This brings the obvious problems of a)how to obtain such information, b)how to interpret such information c)what to do if such information gathering is not what another desires (or finds immoral/unethical?). If the custom of the place is xenophobic or finds questions to be very rude, how would one interact with such a culture.

    Generalizing: If the galaxy were a cell in a super-plant, would you hold it against a super-cow for eating the super-plant, and thus ending all life in this galaxy? Well, probably not. That's probably okay with you. So you probably forgive eating microbes, right?

    What if a super-intelligent alien species came here and started eating us? Would you want that? Probably not. I wouldn't. So I try not to eat cows.

    To be honest, this is a pretty poor argument for vegetarianism. Many of my friends are veggies, and don't need to resort to making ludicrous examples. If you are an absolutist, stick to your guns.

    Following your argument to its completion, what if each molecule of O2 housed a utopian universe of millions of lifeforms. What if each time you changed that molecule to CO2 you killed the entire society and damned them to an eternity of torture? Shouldn't you not breathe, because you'd be angry if someone else did such to you?

    The Golden Rule becomes more problematic the deeper one delves into it and attempts to become more precise. Another way to restate it would be, "Treat others well" or "Do the Right Thing." A strong basis for ethical behavior, but one that provides little exactness.

    [ Parent ]

    Categorical Imperative (none / 0) (#245)
    by the bluebrain on Fri Aug 16, 2002 at 03:25:06 PM EST

    ... as far as I understand, states that you should base your decisions on essentially arbitrary, even ad-hoc, rules that you yourself would welcome becoming universal.

    The idea, as I understand it, is that the onus is on you: you have to come up with the rules, so there's no cop-out (one rule would obviously be that when you are applying the categorical imperative, you should not make "special exceptions" for a given person / situation / time, whatever - because then you're saying that everyone else should, too).

    As to it's application re. your "black magic" - keeping it simple: if you are good, lead on. I believe that rational discourse has certain limits. Decisions which are essentially political in nature make their way even into such towers of the rational as computer code - which is a gross understatement: of course they do. The resulting app has a certain purpose (the "why", not the "how"), which is by nature political, irrational.
    If you believe you are a good person, then consciously influencing others towards a "good" goal should not be a problem. Point being that you're doing it anyway: go too far in the "black magic" direction, you become a big ball of slime, go to far in the "rational" direction, you become an anal retentive prick - but you influence people anyway.


    [ Parent ]

    I always prefered Heinlein's version anyway (4.00 / 1) (#146)
    by lordpixel on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 10:39:32 AM EST

    The Golden Rule:

    Those with the Gold make the Rules.

    Lets just say it evoked some cognitive dissonance until I figured out you weren't talking about that version.

    That said, this is one of the most interesting comments I've read in a long long time.

    I am the cat who walks through walls, all places and all times are alike to me.
    [ Parent ]

    heh (3.00 / 1) (#149)
    by pb on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 10:57:58 AM EST

    I don't consider that version to be very different, but at least it's more honest.

    TANSTAAFL, while you're at it...
    ---
    "See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
    -- pwhysall
    [ Parent ]

    Golden Rule (4.00 / 2) (#153)
    by Cro Magnon on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 11:22:23 AM EST

    I always thought it was "Do unto others before they do unto you"!
    Information wants to be beer.
    [ Parent ]
    that was (3.33 / 3) (#101)
    by Run4YourLives on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 02:25:04 PM EST

    the longest fuckin' comment I have ever read.

    well said, nonetheless.


    It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
    [ Parent ]

    Nice post (2.75 / 4) (#102)
    by krek on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 02:28:36 PM EST

    Have you considered a full article?

    [ Parent ]
    the point of dialogue (4.33 / 3) (#109)
    by hoskoteinos on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 07:18:44 PM EST

    What's the end goal of having a dialogue with someone? Presumably it is the furtherance of truth (whatever that means) and for participants to leave with more understanding than they came with. Assuming clinically precise logical argumentation is the only means to that end is narrow minded. It's one way to do it, sure, but most people (including me) find that such clinical exchanges aren't very rewarding, in terms of personal satisfaction and knowledge gained.

    Human dialogues, if they are to be truly worthwhile, necessarily involve a certain amount of looseness and social deftness to counteract, bypass, or subdue those subtle psychological blocks and complexes which we all carry (like the tendency to take things personally). Sometimes it takes arational approaches to sneak into each other's minds. Two Aikido masters engaged in their practice comes to mind.

    One more thing. There is a huge difference between actually understanding or knowing something, e.g. that I'm going to die, or that my knowledge is hopelessly limited, and intellectually holding some opinion or presumed fact. When I say dialogue's end-goal is increased understanding, I'm talking about the former kind of understanding. The latter kind is nice and better than nothing, but it isn't nearly as efficacious as the former.

    [ Parent ]

    The Rational Approach: Not the Only Way. (3.00 / 1) (#114)
    by snowlion on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 03:21:09 AM EST

    What you write reminds me of a Robert Anton Wilson sketch. I forget where it came from; I saw it in my best friend's book.

    It consisted of two opposing pages. On the left side, it had something like "Hey, Scientist! Explore alternative states of consciousness. See beyond your hyper-skepticism. Research OOBE." I forget what was there. What I remember most was the other page.

    It said, "Hey, Hippie! Explore the extraordinary predictive power of the equation. Understand the secrets of the material universe with Physics. Build things with electronics."

    It was about 5-10 years ago that I saw it, so I've doubtlessly gotten it wrong, but the essence has stuck with me.

    I have seen first-hand spoon and fork bending. The same best friend took a fork of mine that I verified that I couldn't bend, and made the coultry do things that I had only seen playdo do before. I still have it in my bedroom, as a testament to the weirdness in the universe. I've also had a shared dream with him, which has completely convinced me of the reality of such things. There are a few other out there things I have observed. Skeptics tell me that my best friend has been playing tricks with me, but I am more certain in my best friend's trust and my fork than I am in the "skeptics" beliefs.

    I meditate, and get data about the world from various sources.

    That said, rationality does a great job of integrating everything that I have seen, and putting it all together nicely. Weirdness included.

    I think that the ultimate Reality is not Rationality, or even calculable by the application of Rationality. Rather, I believe that the ultimate Reality is an Ocean of Love. Reason is far away, as Kabir said.

    But I also think that hippie space-oids have cold shafted Reason way too soon, and owe it to themselves and to the world to acknowledge its importance. Give unto Ceaser what is due Ceaser, and this world (the Demiurge's world) is Ceaser. Even the astral plane of flowing emotions has a reason of its own, that is calculable. It is slow-mind. Emotion is the physical body's mind.

    I won't write more; I am going deeper and deeper into a specialized set of terminology that most people will misinterpret as meaning that Lion has no sense of Rationality at all. I am just speaking a particular jargon.
    --
    Map Your Thoughts
    [ Parent ]

    RAW poem at Getty museum (none / 0) (#185)
    by Sacrifice on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 03:07:24 PM EST

    In a fit of pseudo-intellectual guilt for living in a big city but never taking advantage of those "cultural advantages" one hears so much of, I once visited the Getty museum in Los Angeles (actually, I was trying to impress a girl).

    The following poem, engraved on the ground at a central path leading to the gardens, was the following poem, which for some reason has stuck in my mind, and was probably also written by Robert Anson Wilson (I didn't see it at http://www.rawilson.com/poetry.shtml but the style matches):

    ______EVER__EVER______
    __CONSTANT__CHANGING__
    _____NEVER__NEVER_____
    _TWICE THE__LESS THAN_
    ______SAME__WHOLE_____
    (underscores are my own, of course.)

    [ Parent ]
    i agree (none / 0) (#200)
    by hoskoteinos on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 05:00:41 PM EST

    Balance is of utmost importance. I de-emphasized reason only because my impression was that it was being over-emphasized.

    Each individual, and even each community or society, has their deficiencies. Geeks tend to see logic as the be-all and end-all. Mystics tend to overvalue bliss and undervalue descrimination. I sit at my computer and neglect the dishes.

    I gotta admit, I'm suspicious of your friend's fork-bending. Many seemingly impossible feats of spoon bending have been debunked. But who knows. The world is a strange place.


    [ Parent ]

    Cultry Revisited (none / 0) (#223)
    by snowlion on Wed Aug 14, 2002 at 06:48:12 AM EST

    I get this a lot from people who don't know
    my best friend Joel Ford. "Oh, you've been fooled," they'd rather say, than believe in cultry bending. Whatever floats your boat.

    I brought one of the thick spoons I ate with daily to school one afternoon in my Freshman or Sophomore year. I put it in front of Joel, and asked him how it was done. He explained the process to me. I tried to bend the spoon several times, very hard, but I couldn't get it to bend at all. Joel held it in his hand, and rubbed it softly a few times. The first few times, it didn't work, but on one one try, it did. The spoon became like butter in his hands, for a period of about 15 seconds. Without any undo force, he just started putting it into shapes. I asked him to put it in a staircase pattern, and he did. It did not require any sort of forcing on his part.

    I tried to take out the stair case pattern a number of times, but the spoon was hard again at that point. (I link to fork-you in particular, because her description of how to to do it matches Joel's, and her description of what happens matches what I saw, though I have never met the fork-you girl.) I later tried to remove the stair-case, but I never managed to do it. The only way I found to make any change was to put one of the "stairs" under the leg of a table, and stand on the table jumping up and down on the table, and that only slightly improved it.

    I saw a number of other spoons and forks that Joel had worked at his apartment. All were completely unbendable to me. I see no reason to disbelieve that he bent them.

    This doesn't count to you for much, but Joel is no liar or prankster, especially in something like this. He's a tripper. If it was a hoax on his part, damn- what an elaborate hoax. He'd have to have found a spoon just like mine (which he'd have to have stolen from my parents, because he doesn't have one- believe me, I know {;D}=), bend it in his own time, and then get a few others to switch with my spoon so I could see some sort of fake progress in bending. All of which I find completely rediculous.

    I can also add that I was able to bend a spoon for a period of about 3 seconds. I felt the "melting" feeling, and was able to rework the spoon. I got so excited, though, that it stoped. It was pretty amazing. Afterwards, I could do nothing with it.

    So, take what you will.

    Myself, I am a strong believer in this, having done it very briefly, and having seen Joel do it a number of times (that wasn't the only one), and Joel's large collection of bent spoons.

    I don't know about "debunkings". I've heard of a number of cases where scientists have come in and said, "Okay, show us the spoon bending", and nary a spoon is bent. My only conclusion, cheesy as it is, is that it has something to do with the scientist's mindset. That's what I have to accept, in order to logically settle what I have seen versus the scientific data.

    That said, there are hoards of people having spoon bending parties (read about it on the fork-you website) in which large groups of people bend their cultry, and large numbers of people have great success. You can read about it.

    Incidentally, Joel hasn't bent a spoon sense high school. His mother found a big stash of her forks missing, and found them in various array under Joel's bed. We both lost interest. I don't think Joel has even tried in 10 years.

    Ocassionally, I think that I'll revisit it one day, but I wasn't very good at it. I found it a pretty frustrating experience. I have a lot of scientist in me (went to Mudd), and that's probably what dampens it for me. Joel, maybe he can do it again. We'll see.

    I don't believe in crop circles or UFO's or aliens or the tarot or ley lines or numerology or any of that stuff. However, I've had to be inconsistant with shared dreams and fork-bending. I've been completely convinced by seeing it myself, and even participating. What can I say? I have nothing to add.
    --
    Map Your Thoughts
    [ Parent ]

    Careful, careful! (5.00 / 1) (#230)
    by bjlhct on Wed Aug 14, 2002 at 03:39:17 PM EST

    Be wary of strange explanations. Strong emotions have a way of making you justify them. And also remember that you're easily fooled...your brain takes as many shortcuts as possible prossecing visual information. And then remember the "mechanical" chess-playing Turk.

    -

    "Sometimes a cheroot is just a cheroot." -Jung, in Pilgrim
    [ Parent ]

    Well, what can I say. I saw it. (none / 0) (#239)
    by snowlion on Fri Aug 16, 2002 at 01:50:13 AM EST

    I've seen Joel (my best friend since 2nd grade) do most of the configurations on this web page. I hadn't seen the braid; I thought that was pretty original of her. Twists are pretty classic, though, from what I understand.

    If you have a good explanation for that, fine. Myself, I think there's something psychic going on.

    Try and see this firsthand, if you can. It's a riot.

    --
    Map Your Thoughts
    [ Parent ]

    No Dice (5.00 / 1) (#249)
    by bjlhct on Wed Aug 21, 2002 at 09:06:38 PM EST

    Well, you piqued my curiosity, and I gave it a shot. no dice. Maybe I'll try again sometime.
    If i saw that done, I'd try and tape it, then check out the fork for high temps or whatever.
    I've never seen this, though.

    Also, my post you replied to was more about vague feelings that something must be right or wrong.

    [ Parent ]

    what kind of dialogues do you get in? (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by Shren on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 07:12:25 AM EST

    I listen to them all day and the whole point seems to be to run over someone else with your ego and point of view like you are driving a monster truck.

    Think about it. How often do you really care about other people's input?

    [ Parent ]

    pissing matches (none / 0) (#197)
    by hoskoteinos on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 04:23:59 PM EST

    ...are what most "dialogues" are, even if they are polite on the surface. Ideally, participants will enter into an exchange with a willingness to be sympathetic to the other participants' points of view and to change their own opinions. It's much more fun that way, too -- one can actually learn something.

    [ Parent ]
    The best reason to have a dialog (5.00 / 1) (#179)
    by mingofmongo on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 02:29:06 PM EST

    is to force yourself to put your ideas into words, and thereby get a slightly more objective view of what you think.

    Things that seem perfectly reasonable in the soft squishy environment of the mind, often look kinda dumb in the cold light of language. The squishy environment is great for incubation - the stark cold environment is great for evaluation.

    Having a dialog makes you express your ideas, and hear someone else's take on them. As an added bonus, you might occasionally get the other person to think about it.

    "What they don't seem to get is that the key to living the good life is to avoid that brass ring like the fucking plague."
    --The Onion
    [ Parent ]

    That's the hard part (none / 0) (#205)
    by Wah on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 06:33:51 PM EST

    The hardest part...

    is to force yourself to put your ideas into words, and thereby get a slightly more objective view of what you think.

    Things that seem perfectly reasonable in the soft squishy environment of the mind, often look kinda dumb in the cold light of language. The squishy environment is great for incubation - the stark cold environment is great for evaluation.

    This is the really hard part.  Like you say, in the fuzzy logic of the mind, many concepts seem to work themselves out into a consistent whole.  But when they must me moved into a more...linear environoment (written/spoken) it is much more difficult to maintain cohesion.  

    I think this is why many people are very uncomfortable discussing the deeper aspects of what they truly believe.  The mind deals well with conflicting logic, especially when untested.  Paper tears it to shreds.

    So people only like to share these deep beliefs in a place where they know they will be accepted.  There seems to be strong emotional gain from doing so, and a forgiving environment is very helpful if one doesn't use just the right word to express their emotion/idea/faith/passion.  So now we have churches and /.  

    Anyway, if someone knows about some of the psychology behind this.  I'm all eyes.
    --
    Where'd you get your information from, huh?
    [ Parent ]

    logic stabs you in the back (4.60 / 5) (#133)
    by Shren on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 07:51:37 AM EST

    It all comes down to the Law of the Excluded Middle. Logic is self-defined as reasonable, self-defined as the very basis of reason. But what is the basis of logic? Most people think of two-valued logic when they think logic. But how reasonable is it, really, when logical argument at the most-used level demand that something be completely true or completely false? Don't forget that logic says nothing about how you get your premises.

    When I see someone turn towards a reasonably strict logical argument, it is, like landing lights, a signal. "I am going to try to oversimplify this discussion." They're going to try to slip a couple of hugely permissive premises into the debate so they can make some specific conclusion out of them.

    Challenge thier premises and you end up going back where the madness lay, as the only thing to do, logically, is to try to come up with smaller premises to prove your core premise so you can get back to your conclusion.

    One merely need to take a look at Objectivism to realize the dangers of unfettered reason. Thier cult figure specifies the premises and which logical method to use, and everyone pretends that the conclusion stands as an absolute, even if the premises make most people scratch thier head.

    What are the premises? Most of the pages I've read on this in the last 10 minutes of searching all go back to "A is A", which isn't a premise, it's an axiom. Where's the list of the premises? If they are so sure of the utter rationality of thier philosophy, you'd think they'd just give you the premises and let you work it out for yourself instead of handing out conclusions. What happens when they hand out premises? It's easy - those with even half open eyes realize that the premises are far from ironclad and light them up like a flamethrower on a christmas tree.

    [ Parent ]

    Premise vs Axiom? (none / 0) (#209)
    by kerinsky on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 07:58:38 PM EST

    Wow.  I wish I could have put it that well myself, I tend to get way too longwinded and go off on too many tangents when I try.  I was wondering however what defenitions you would use for the words axiom and premise?  I'm bogged down reading a book (Godel, Escher, Bach: an eternal golden braid) that promts contemplation of such issues right now and am spending too much time thinking (and working) and not enough time sleeping, so I'm hoping your brain can adress the issue with more clarity than mine at the moment ;)

    Kerinsky

    PS - I love your sig

    -=-
    A conclusion is simply the place where you got tired of thinking.
    [ Parent ]

    Premise and Axiom (none / 0) (#224)
    by Shren on Wed Aug 14, 2002 at 07:19:40 AM EST

    An axiom is a premise you expect to be portable. It's the difference between a tool and a car part. If you have a good set of sockets and a socket driver thingie, you can work on most any vehicle. Premises usually arn't. You don't try to install "The sum of all angles in a triangle is 180 degrees" in the same car that you'd try to install "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" in.

    At some point the axiom isn't portable. You can't hammer a nail with a rachet set without misusing the rachet set.

    From a more technical standpoint, an axiom is a statement that you assume to be true without proof. I don't see a mathematical definition of premise, but premises are used like axioms. A premise is a proposition I hope you won't argue with.

    In the real world of academic research, an axiom is a published paper and a premise is what you pretend that published paper means. Don't laugh.

    From the perspective of causal argument, a premise is something your opponent is willing to agree with or at least will let you get in the door.

    I think my sig is too long, but I haven't thought of another one yet. Everyone really educates themselves - it's just that some enviornments are more or less conducive to it.

    [ Parent ]

    Hyper-rational communities (4.00 / 2) (#186)
    by Sacrifice on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 03:08:32 PM EST

    Unacknowledged, unrealistic emotional motivations are probably behind most of the discomfort experienced after being opposed by effective rational argument. Counterproductive reactions like "I cannot be shown to be wrong in front of everyone - how dare he try and show me up - I'll punish him with my response: a clever mockery that will have him shamed before our peers" are never confessed, and are probably not even internally acknowledged by their owner.

    When you get silence and blank unrecognition in response to your argument, you can bet the tongue is tied by "well, who does he think he is, always acting like he knows better ...", which at least they have sense enough not to voice (but not sense enough to stop from thinking it).

    You could form a community much like this one, except with the premise that all discussants make only honest, logical arguments, where people suppress their vested emotional interests, and propaganda is anathema ...

    ... and you would have bitter pretenders and hypocrites, driven to furtive, desperately unprincipled attempts to preserve the fiction of their purely open, rational belief system, while smearing their opponent as an irrational flamer.

    Sounds familiar?

    [ Parent ]

    Human Nature (5.00 / 2) (#206)
    by acronos on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 06:57:21 PM EST

    People are both emotional and rational.  Recognizing only one of these sides does not usually lead to very useful communication.  If your intentions are good, speaking tactfully will benefit everyone involved in the discussion.  If your intentions are bad, you can be just as cruel with pure logic as you can with insults.  Speak to people in a language that they can hear.  To do anything else is pointless.

    I have a strong aversion to lying, which often gets me into trouble.  If my wife asks me "Do I  look good today?" and she looks bad, I tell the truth.  I see nothing wrong with putting great effort into trying to word the truth in the most inoffensive way that I can think of.  I see nothing wrong with mixing the truth that she looks bad with other truths that are complimentary so that she doesn't receive the incorrect message that "I don't love her."  It is not what you say that matters.  It is what is heard that matters.  If I ignore the possibility of hurting her, I have done neither of us any good.

    Now for the controversial part, all communication is manipulation.  Communication is an attempting to help others see your point of view.  My choice of `help' in the previous sentence rather than `force' is manipulation.  The choice of `force' might have led a reader down a path that had little to do with what I am trying to say.  I think carefully about how to say things in the way that most clearly illustrates my point.  I don't think I am unusual in this, and I don't think it unfairly disadvantages my opponent.  As long as I am willing also to recognize the other point of view, I don't see anything wrong with this.  It is like grease for comprehension.  It is taking a hard line stance to try to manipulate (discuss) without considering anyone else's position that I consider unethical.  

    The motivation of the parties will have a significant impact on the tools they consider acceptable.  I am not arguing that all tools are acceptable.  I am arguing that manipulation is part of conversation, and tools based on it should not be automatically ruled out.  If I am motivated to find the best answer, then I will use tools that accomplish that.  If I am not motivated to find the best answer, then it doesn't matter what tools I use - I consider it unethical.  It is the motivation that is the real issue, not the tools.

    On a different note, there are numerous defense mechanisms.  People often justify a lack of tact with a claim to honesty.  I consider this a defense mechanism.  I suspect that your choice to attack people with logic does not manifest nearly as much integrity as you believe.   Also, I suspect, your decision to ignore the emotional reaction to your words is irrational not honest.   For instance, this paragraph is difficult to write.  Is it worthwhile to include something that could be so easily construed as a personal attack?  If it is construed as a personal attack, then it is pointless because you will not hear a word I say.  However, I think there is a chance that you will hear me, so I include it.  A rationalist defensive response would be to try to pick apart my post with logic errors without actually hearing what I am trying to say.


    [ Parent ]

    Color Me Duxup..... (5.00 / 1) (#213)
    by bjlhct on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 08:40:22 PM EST

    K5 redeems itself again! I'd given up the op-eds here after the front-page crapflood a while back. No more!

    (Hugs snowlion)

    And now, for that great bit there (should it become an article I'd +1FP it) I'm going to try to reply despite how much my head hurts.

    -------

    It is true: despite how the classical methodology of rational dialectic is our only road to truth people don't seem to act as if they think so. Right now I'm blaming this on cultural norms and instinctive social psychology. It's "what do I do to be accepted and get more power within this group." This would predict, among other things, that the reaction you describe is more severe when this is in a group setting, and that seems accurate.

    And I'll also say: I have recently realized how I'll pretend to be some way that I'm not to be accepted in a group. I've realized that, and I'm trying not to. And there are another million ways culture and instinct cloud your thinking and lead you around. You just have to be able to realize this: "It's the meat talking, ignore it."  I mean, I'm an insecure person, so I'm working on ignoring my brain when it tries to get me to do something because of that. To this end I've come up with a number of psychological tricks, which I wouldn't have time to type out here if I had a way I'd come up with to describe them with text.

    In fact, you even think this way. I mean, have you ever found yourself basing something off a stereotype? "Oh, and if I do foo like foo, then I can be a foo, which is koo." Or "Wah, I'm just like a foo! Why do I bother?" Now, cultural norms are a way to transfer accumulated wisdom. Which would be great if the wisdom wasn't crap, at least for the modern-day world, and there weren't ads.

    Well, anyway, thought is a treacherous maze, so take care not to fall for what you complain about.

    So, now I have, try to make the status-neutral, and avoid yourself what you just described. And then I'll generally try to say "Ok, why is it that you're saying X?" and so on, instead of "X is wrong."

    After that, well, you can't be expected to be a emotion broker and manage everybody so that nothing gets out of hand. What are we rational people, super-beings in a flock of sheep? Probably not. So find different people, or if you can't it's not your fault, and you can ignore them or play along.

    ----

    P.S. your comment got me to check out your website.
    Good job. you're an interesting person too.
    Hope you don't mind if I email you sometime.

    [ Parent ]

    That link was hilarious (en tea) (none / 0) (#219)
    by pyramid termite on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 11:46:01 PM EST


    "I forget, in a certain way, everything I write, doubtless also, in another way, what I read." - Jacques Derrida
    [ Parent ]
    Super sweet post. (none / 0) (#234)
    by Kaki Nix Sain on Wed Aug 14, 2002 at 10:59:39 PM EST

    If this were slashdot (and I still went to slashdot) you would have just earned 'friend' status in spades. Not because I agree with everything... hell, I was thinking "well, that point is nice, but a bit less so that this one which could still probably escape from under set of evidence one". I would give you friend status so that your comments got first dibs for my attention.

    Then again, you probably just programmed me to say that or something close.

    Whatever, wish I had more time, but there is more to read.



    [ Parent ]

    KIS(S) (5.00 / 1) (#236)
    by slaida1 on Thu Aug 15, 2002 at 07:47:35 AM EST

    I think you'd be better off with less rational types if you'd just take small steps at a time and not rush into conversations and scare'em badly. I've heard enough to learn and dismiss most talk from types who can't KIS.

    Being rational just gets you halfway towards your synthesis of two different views about world and life and other such big stuff. Rational think&talk sounds and feels cool but even now I got tired reading these posted replies because most of them are too goddamn long! Homer in me said: "booring! I'm hungry"

    My point being: think big if you like but talk small.

    [ Parent ]

    Nah... (4.42 / 7) (#89)
    by Rocky on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 08:47:19 AM EST

    Pertti wasn't a troll.  

    He was an arrogant prick who took every opportunity to push his damn book.  

    He might have often been correct and incisive, but that doesn't change the fact he was obnoxious about it.  

    Nyah.

    If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?
    - Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

    You keep using that word (4.35 / 14) (#107)
    by Simon Kinahan on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 05:34:16 PM EST

    I do not think it means what you think it means.

    Simon

    If you disagree, post, don't moderate
    Absolutely, utterly, and in all other ways (4.50 / 2) (#140)
    by Swashbuckler on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 09:24:43 AM EST

    Inconceivable!


    *Note* - this comment contains no inside K5 humour because inside K5 humour is only for/by K5-wankers. Media does not = "community."
    [ Parent ]
    Is it me? (3.00 / 10) (#120)
    by FredBloggs on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 04:59:48 AM EST

    Or is this site getting more and more full of absolute bollocks?

    I think that's you (3.33 / 3) (#122)
    by acheon on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 05:16:34 AM EST

    Of course if you don't like it, you can always visit a more mainstream site instead.

    [ Parent ]
    no, he's right (3.66 / 3) (#130)
    by Shren on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 07:06:40 AM EST

    the post/hide threshholds are too damn low.

    [ Parent ]
    Been thinking that myself... (3.33 / 3) (#141)
    by lightcap on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 09:48:17 AM EST

    for a while now. Seems like few stories are getting dropped these days.
    Mommy, what were trees like?
    [ Parent ]
    both the post and the hide have problems (4.33 / 3) (#142)
    by Shren on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 09:55:36 AM EST

    Lots of stuff gets hidden in the first 5 minutes of it's existance. Lots of stuff wavers back and forth between 95 and -20 untill the people who don't really care are the only voters left, and they slowly shove it onto the pages.

    [ Parent ]
    Huh! (4.00 / 3) (#150)
    by FredBloggs on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 10:59:09 AM EST

    "the people who don't really care are the only voters left, and they slowly shove it onto the pages"

    Same problem as most western democracies seem to have. Floating voters will be the cause of extinction of life on this planet!

    [ Parent ]

    Yep... (3.33 / 3) (#132)
    by srn on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 07:21:47 AM EST

    Don't blame me, I didn't vote for it :)

    [ Parent ]
    Yes it is (3.00 / 2) (#143)
    by Fon2d2 on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 09:55:48 AM EST

    The young white whiny geek majority is in control of this site now and it has become almost completely predictable and pointless all at once. The statistics did use to work differently, but as the geeks slowly crowd out the diversity, they also start pushing more and more unimiginative stories up to the 95 vote threshold.

    [ Parent ]
    Yes (2.75 / 4) (#147)
    by ubu on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 10:44:46 AM EST

    Yes, and it's you. This article is one of the most brilliant things posted to this particular site. A preponderance of people like you probably accounds for the rarity of such excellent articles.

    Ubu

    Ooops, almost forgot to include vulgarity: eat shit and die, motherfucker.


    --
    As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
    [ Parent ]
    I considered it may be a satire, (3.00 / 2) (#151)
    by FredBloggs on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 11:00:18 AM EST

    what with almost every sentence being inaccurate, but its just not funny enough!

    Thanks for swearing though! :)

    [ Parent ]

    It's a troll. (2.50 / 2) (#152)
    by Ken Arromdee on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 11:19:16 AM EST

    Way back in grade school, my school happened to be near a sign store. The town wasn't a big city, and the sign shop was pretty small.

    But one thing about the sign shop is that it was easy to notice. Why? Because since it was a sign shop, there were all these big signs (mostly on the side of the building) all pointing to the sign shop and making the sign shop ludicrously prominent.

    Just like the biggest signs are the ones promoting the sign shop, the biggest trolls are the ones trying to justify trolling. I've yet to see a defense of trolling that wasn't a troll itself. Including this one, which I voted -1 to. I just wish the general kuro5hin population had enough sense to recognize them.

    [ Parent ]

    What do you expect ? (3.00 / 1) (#169)
    by acheon on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 01:28:07 PM EST

    I've yet to see a defense of trolling that wasn't a troll itself.
    How do you expect a sign shop to promote itself ?

    How do you expect a troll to promote trolling ?

    You tell me. But a sign shop promoting its signs through radio ads would rather harm itself, wouldn't it ?

    Next time work out better comparisons. I hate bashing people with their own words and arguments. Please try to give me some challenge.

    [ Parent ]

    The definition of 'troll'? (4.66 / 3) (#134)
    by Sampo on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 08:28:44 AM EST

    A discussion like this should always begin with a common definition for the subject. I for instance have no clue what 'Troll' really means. I've read probably thousands of posts commented/modded to trolls, but I have seen a lot of conflicting views on what it really means. In my mind the definition is still very blurry.

    I've seen posts called trolls after glorious arguments like:

    All computer nerds are IDIOTS!!!

    Also I've also seen posts which are repeating the information supposedly known by everyone reading the forum called trolls.

    Does anyone have a 'real' definition. Can one exist in a world like the Internet?

    Sidenote: yes, I know some people could say that these examples are the same.. :)



    Words with emotional value. (2.71 / 7) (#136)
    by Per Abrahamsen on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 09:07:51 AM EST

    A lot of people, in particular otherwise intelligent young males, have a hard time grasping the fact that words carry both a factual and an emmotional message, and that people tend to respond to the emotional message more than the factual message.

    In most cases, you can deliver exactly the same information using either negative or positive words, and the reaction you get depend almost exclusively of what spin you choose.

    This is a very useful technique if you know what you are doing. I use both, deliberately. For example, if I want to create a consensus I try to use positive words to describe different viewpoints. In this kuro5hin story I used positive words to describe the effects of both the BSDL and GPL, because I believe the partisanship is harming all of the community. At other times, I deliberately uses emotionally negatively ladden words to describe a set facts, in order to provoke a discussion when nothing else seems to do the trick. The later can reasonably be labelled as trolling, even if I believe in the factual content of the message.

    So trolling isn't always bad. However, most trolls are harmful, they are lazy and choose easy targets like MacOS vs. MS Windows vs. Linux vs FreeBSD, areas where there already are clearly defined camps, and the trolls just create an automatic response but no new insights. I.e. exactly the areas where a positive spin would be more useful, so people could understand (even if they disagree) the positions of the other camps.

    The real sad (negative word!) troll behavior is when they after having used negative words to start a (maybe needed) discussion, go into martyr mode: "How dare they call me a troll and other negatively ladden words for simply stating the facts!" While trolling can be useful, this self appointed martyrdom is just embarrasing. When you play with fire, you must expect to get flamed.

    [ Parent ]

    Please rate parent 0 (1.25 / 4) (#139)
    by Per Abrahamsen on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 09:15:22 AM EST

    If that is still posible.

    It should not have been posted as a reply to the grandparent, but as a top level comment.

    [ Parent ]

    email the editors (5.00 / 1) (#164)
    by Shren on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 01:10:14 PM EST

    The editors will be happy to remove your comment if you request.

    [ Parent ]
    I should have done that. (none / 0) (#225)
    by Per Abrahamsen on Wed Aug 14, 2002 at 07:47:12 AM EST

    The current ratings are pretty silly, 4 zeros and and 4 ratings of 4 and 5.

    I thought it was smart that any trusted user could delete the message, but I forgot the mechanisms to prevent abuse.  Stupid me.

    I guess it doesn't really matter more, as the story is getting old.


    [ Parent ]

    Honestly, double-posts don't matter. (none / 0) (#229)
    by haflinger on Wed Aug 14, 2002 at 11:55:14 AM EST

    People just ignore them. My approach is that I only rate the first one posted. Reposting that comment at the root level was unnecessary too.

    Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
    [ Parent ]
    Guys, he only needs _one_ zero... (5.00 / 1) (#204)
    by haflinger on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 06:19:27 PM EST

    ... don't go unnecessarily demolishing his mojo for No Good Reason. :)

    Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
    [ Parent ]
    Why was this comment rated 0.00 / 4? (4.00 / 2) (#208)
    by valeko on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 07:34:06 PM EST

    There's nothing inherently abusive about it.

    I politely remind the "retards who are trusted users for some reason" community that you are only meant to hide blatant crapflooding/spam, not something that you strongly disagree with, or maybe even don't understand.

    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    Read the whole thread. (5.00 / 1) (#212)
    by haflinger on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 08:33:19 PM EST

    Especially this comment. He should properly have only been hit with a [ 0.00 / 1 ] though.

    Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
    [ Parent ]
    The Real Definition (none / 0) (#170)
    by dipierro on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 01:30:08 PM EST

    is here. Unfortunately, the word has seemed to have lost its real definition. Such is a common problem when word usage spreads among the cretins as quickly as it does on the internet.

    [ Parent ]
    Definition is not the problem (3.66 / 3) (#178)
    by etherdeath on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 02:28:05 PM EST

    The problem is that most people who use the term seem to think they can objectively identify trolls all the time. Any definition I've seen, including the one you linked, provides a definition which leaves a lot of room for interpretation.

    One particular line from that definition illustrates how arbitrary and meaningless the definition is :

    Trolls are recognizable by the fact that they have no real interest in learning about the topic at hand - they simply want to utter flame bait.

    I am not sure by what means people are able to determine the motive of a troll. Actually to the contrary, I often find trolls to be very interested in the topic. How they choose to show this interest is a different matter.

    In general, I find the term to be somewhat junivile. In basic terms, it's an attempt to objectify the categorization of "someone whom I find to be annoying". Its use is often an attempt to hide sketchy assumptions of motive or short circuit a debate.

    [ Parent ]
    Troll? (none / 0) (#217)
    by ktakki on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 11:30:57 PM EST

    Forget the imagery of a goat-eating being that lives beneath a bridge. "Troll" is a misnomer. The word should be "trawl".

    The point of a troll is to trawl for responses. The means is unimportant, only the end result matters. A troll can be subtle ("The word should be 'trawl'") or blatant ("Kirk could kick Picard's ass!").

    Historic trolls include the invasion of rec.pets.cats by rec.arts.marching-bands, every post to alt.religion.scientology, www.landoverbaptist.org, Star Wars: Episode I, and the 2001-02 NFL season.


    k., who, as a Kibologist, should know.
    --
    "In spite of everything, I still believe that people
    are really good at heart." - Anne Frank

    [ Parent ]

    Emotionally ladden words (3.90 / 10) (#137)
    by Per Abrahamsen on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 09:12:16 AM EST

    A lot of people, in particular otherwise intelligent young males, have a hard time grasping the fact that words carry both a factual and an emmotional message, and that people tend to respond to the emotional message more than the factual message.

    In most cases, you can deliver exactly the same information using either negative or positive words, and the reaction you get depend almost exclusively of what spin you choose.

    This is a very useful technique if you know what you are doing. I use both, deliberately. For example, if I want to create a consensus I try to use positive words to describe different viewpoints. In this kuro5hin story I used positive words to describe the effects of both the BSDL and GPL, because I believe the partisanship is harming all of the community. At other times, I deliberately uses emotionally negatively ladden words to describe a set facts, in order to provoke a discussion when nothing else seems to do the trick. The later can reasonably be labelled as trolling, even if I believe in the factual content of the message.

    So trolling isn't always bad. However, most trolls are harmful, they are lazy and choose easy targets like MacOS vs. MS Windows vs. Linux vs FreeBSD, areas where there already are clearly defined camps, and the trolls just create an automatic response but no new insights. I.e. exactly the areas where a positive spin would be more useful, so people could understand (even if they disagree) the positions of the other camps.

    The real sad (negative word!) troll behavior is when they after having used negative words to start a (maybe needed) discussion, go into martyr mode: "How dare they call me a troll and other negatively ladden words for simply stating the facts!" While trolling can be useful, this self appointed martyrdom is just embarrasing. When you play with fire, you must expect to get flamed.

    Gratz (4.33 / 3) (#148)
    by ubu on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 10:50:12 AM EST

    A lot of people, in particular otherwise intelligent young males, have a hard time grasping the fact that words carry both a factual and an emmotional message, and that people tend to respond to the emotional message more than the factual message.

    Wonderfully said. But you might well consider that most "trolls" are fully aware of the emotional effect their words carry, and are counting on it to discomfit their opponent. Take a look at almost anything I've ever posted to Rusty, and you'll see why he's such a fun challenge: he's hard to rattle.

    Many trolls don't rattle merely for the sake of argumentative advantage. They know that people are ruled by their emotions and they want to take advantage of it, in blatant celebration of their superiority over these "herd animals". I admit, they do make an interesting point. If you watched Bob Batchelor fly off the handle recently, you know what I mean.

    Ubu


    --
    As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
    [ Parent ]
    For you English majors (3.00 / 1) (#168)
    by milican on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 01:24:19 PM EST

    An excellent explanation of connotative (positive) and denotative (negative) language and its effects on emotional responses and perceptions.

    JOhn

    [ Parent ]

    I'm vexed! (none / 0) (#207)
    by cr8dle2grave on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 07:02:21 PM EST

    Per's comment, as far as I can determine, only addressed the possibility of positive and negative connotations when speaking or writing discursively and he only peripherally addressed the connotative/denotative dichotomy when noting that in "describing a set of facts" he can do so in language with an emotionally "negative" or "positive" tone (the connotative aspect of the language used).

    And why would you presume English majors are in need of an explanation of connotation and denotation? Were you trolling for English majors?

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


    [ Parent ]
    types of trolls - for those concerned about (1.85 / 7) (#138)
    by gr00vey on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 09:15:06 AM EST

    semantics http://www.fortunecity.com/victorian/byzantium/55/troll.htm The (Quite Small) Lexicon of Usenet Trolls v.1.2 / April 99 Compiled by Blue Troll -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Trolls are from : Werebat - Krystal Blade - Dantalas Trollslayer - Colin Fisher - Blue Troll - Rob Hertel - Zimri - Anthony Toohey A compilation gathered on rec.games.frp.dnd by Blue Troll -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Blue Troll - A relatively benign species, interested primarily in the gathering and dissemination of useful and nteresting information -- a "scholar among trolls", if you will. Bee Troll - A species much like the above, butunfortunately, have an irresistable streak inside them that will not let them dly pass up a spelling mistake without correcting it. Grey Troll - Who posts an inflammatory comment, and then claims later that they were asking a legitamate question. These trolls seem to have a problem with math, as they don't make their second post on any given number. Their alignment would probably be more Chaotic than the Bee, or the Blue. Viva-Troll - Who subsists on a diet of straight caffein, and sugar injections. These trolls usually embroil themselves in a flame war, then post a "comeback" after every post by other users, any time of day, or night. Math Troll - These Trolls are strictly lawful, beleiving victory can only be obtained through the sheer number of posts they made. To ensure their victory in a battle, they will post singular sentences over numerous posts, to counter one persons idea. These trolls are extremely annoying, and dangerous, seeing as how they continue to attack at every turn, but say very little at what it is they are attacking. Rip Van Troll - Who wakes up in time to be in the middle of a flamewar, and decides to repost the first message on his/her newsreader with a nasty comment, while the world has already moved beyond the first post (whatever it may be) and delved into the deep psychology of Gary Gygax. High Cleric Troll - These trolls are fully capable of resurrecting old flamewars and starting them fresh, simply by laying on hands, and a few words of wisdom. Unfortunately for us, their following is extremely large. Anti-Troll (AKA Troll Hunter) - A special type of Ranger (read: Ranger kit) that has Trolls as their species enemy and will fixate on flaming a specific Troll and being rude to all other Trolls sometimes aleinating friends and allies in his quest to rid the world of Trolls or die trying. Doppleganger Troll - This troll is really a regular in the newsgroup he's posting in, but in times when he wishes to troll, he forges his headers and assumes another email address and takes upon a separate identity. He sometimes enteres the thread as his old self to try to confuse other posters into not believing it's really him 8) Cowardly Troll - I have encounterd him in my journeys among Usenet. This type of troll is quite obvious, but when a poster calls him a troll and points it out to him, this troll vehemently denies trolling and insists that he's enlightening the masses. Ego Troll - Who seems to reply to his own comments or question under another personality. He starts a flamewar against himself hoping some people will hate and insult one of the two. He also likes waffles. Noble Troll - This troll does his best to make an entire newsgroup into one huge flamewar. But, what separates this troll from the others is that this troll takes pride in being a troll and even starts to brag on a newsgroup that he gets fan mail. These trolls think their actions are works of art much like a Michaelangelo, but they turn out to be anything but..... Impotent Troll - A troll who is genuinely malicious and malevolent, but the newsgroup readers regard him/her/it as comical in his/her/its monotonous rantings. It is usually highly susceptible to counter-trolling. Thoul (Ghoul Troll) - This breed commonly feeds in soc.history.ancient. We could define it as someone who is at first glance seems to be very fearsome. He's ghoulishly attracted to issues long dead and theories long killed. His chief attack is a continuing flamefest, which will ultimately paralyse the victim with boredom. PseudoTroll - That's the type who after getting brutally trolled and caught hook line and sinker, posting response after response to trolling, claims that, in actuality, THEY are the troll, trolling the original troll by pretending to be really worked up and upset at the troll.

    Trolls put out the fire (4.00 / 3) (#160)
    by Swashbuckler on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 12:31:56 PM EST

    "The well-constructed troll is a post that induces lots of newbies and flamers to make themselves look even more clueless than they already do, while subtly conveying to the more savvy and experienced that it is in fact a deliberate troll. If you don't fall for the joke, you get to be in on it. See also YHBT."

    An increase of fire and hostility correlates to a decrease of good trolling.

    Once someone has been trolled, there is no reason to listen to their fire. From that point on, their comments should be, by default, a 0. Its over.

    This has always been my interpretation of a troll. It is a regulatory tool designed to decrease the amount of hot BS that turns collaborative media into catharsis for the confused.

    The tool works so long as the site works, that is when users are not only broadcasting their opinion but asking other people theirs. If someone then posts an opinion so arrogantly misinformed, there lies an opportunity for an effective troll. The group of users who have taken the time to read the discussion and understand the issue will be privy to its humour and will put an end to the flamers glory because his has been rendered completely and utterly useless to the group. Trial by fire, really.

    However, when K5 becomes a strictly broadcast medium and no one reads the thread and understands the issue, a troll has no relevance and is therefor just part of the flame. So if the democratic philosophy behind collaborative media is something important to you, I think that supporting the "troll" is something you should do. Support the troll by increasing your willingness to be receptive because if no one is listening no one can be trolled.




    *Note* - this comment contains no inside K5 humour because inside K5 humour is only for/by K5-wankers. Media does not = "community."
    quote was from The Jargon File (3.50 / 2) (#162)
    by Swashbuckler on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 12:42:09 PM EST

    troll


    *Note* - this comment contains no inside K5 humour because inside K5 humour is only for/by K5-wankers. Media does not = "community."
    [ Parent ]
    Yes (1.25 / 4) (#166)
    by TheBahxMan on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 01:19:45 PM EST

    This post is for that fowdery sugar stuff that all the good bakerys put on their blueberry muffins and of course, the letter Q.
    LUNIX RUELS http://linuxpro.cjb.net
    There should be laws against trolling... (2.50 / 4) (#171)
    by dipierro on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 01:37:10 PM EST

    Just like there are laws against spamming.
    In capitalism, man exploits man. In socialism, it's the other way around.
    On what basis ? (3.00 / 1) (#173)
    by acheon on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 02:07:41 PM EST

    You'd jail trolls for "lack of sincerity" ? Lying will be outlawed before that ;P.

    But well, throwing away a random clueless opinion is free and legal. And it makes you look more intelligent, inciting people to listen to your crap. Since it's much more harmful, it should be outlawed. Our system would become a technocracy where judges would be engineers evaluating the potential harm caused by morons' words and would have them imprisoned if they represent too much a big risk -- say, if they promote complete freedom of speech, for instance.

    At least that would be feasible ;P.

    [ Parent ]

    After writing that beautiful artical, (5.00 / 2) (#176)
    by mingofmongo on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 02:16:08 PM EST

    you just fell for the most obvious, and funny excersize in trolling I've seen all day.

    "What they don't seem to get is that the key to living the good life is to avoid that brass ring like the fucking plague."
    --The Onion
    [ Parent ]

    Yeah... (3.00 / 1) (#181)
    by acheon on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 02:39:51 PM EST

    That was the point. Trolling should be obvious. This way, it's guaranteed to catch only idiots and it's much more effective. And this way it's much harder to discard it as 'just another troll' ;).

    [ Parent ]
    It's only a half-troll. (1.00 / 1) (#182)
    by dipierro on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 02:42:32 PM EST

    I do honestly feel that laws against trolls are just as ridiculous as laws against spammers.

    [ Parent ]
    Who do you know he's a troll? (none / 0) (#194)
    by bigsexyjoe on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 04:11:38 PM EST

    Maybe he's just dumb. The simplist explanation is the best.

    [ Parent ]
    Trolling is stealing (1.00 / 1) (#177)
    by dipierro on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 02:18:26 PM EST

    You have a right to speak, but you don't have a right to force your speech upon others. Trolls shift the cost of their speech from themselves to the websites and ISPs which host their nonsense. Trolling costs the U.S. billions of dollars each year in connection costs, bandwidth, and lost time. We have laws against fax advertisements due to this. We have laws against spam due to this. Why shouldn't we have laws against trolling, as well?

    [ Parent ]
    You forgot the 'Huh ?' (2.00 / 1) (#180)
    by acheon on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 02:37:04 PM EST



    [ Parent ]
    You must be a troll (1.00 / 1) (#183)
    by dipierro on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 02:42:58 PM EST

    and that's why you're defending them.

    [ Parent ]
    Troll, heh (3.33 / 3) (#184)
    by wnight on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 02:56:29 PM EST

    That about describes you and your comment rating. I go back into old posts and find that you rated a bunch at 1. And you seem to have a pattern of doing this to anyone who disagrees with you.

    Pathetic really.

    [ Parent ]

    Heh (1.50 / 2) (#189)
    by dipierro on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 03:26:14 PM EST

    That about describes you and your comment rating.

    Really? What definition of "troll" would that be? "People who disagree with you"?

    I go back into old posts and find that you rated a bunch at 1. And you seem to have a pattern of doing this to anyone who disagrees with you.

    I could say the same thing about you.



    [ Parent ]
    Doubtful (2.00 / 2) (#195)
    by wnight on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 04:12:52 PM EST

    You could say it, but it'd be a lie.

    I found a run of four of my posts you gave a 1 to. I have down-rated you, but only on a post-by-post basis, and usually when replying to you with a reason.

    You on the other hand are the typical rating-coward, going through someone's posting history just to piss them off.

    But yeah, I'm sure that those four posts, in a row, all deserved the lowest rating you could give them. All for, get this, disagreeing with you. Feh.

    [ Parent ]

    Bullshit (1.00 / 1) (#198)
    by dipierro on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 04:28:11 PM EST

    I found a run of four of my posts you gave a 1 to. I have down-rated you, but only on a post-by-post basis, and usually when replying to you with a reason.

    Hmm, I see three in a row with only one reason, which is essentially "I disagree."



    [ Parent ]
    Yawn (3.66 / 3) (#231)
    by wnight on Wed Aug 14, 2002 at 04:05:42 PM EST

    I didn't think the (n/t) message counted.

    The message you say I "disagreed" with was a juvenile flame and only tangentially related to the topic at hand. By any objective standard, it deserved the rating it got.

    The other message was a one-liner that was again barely relevant. And you'll note that I rated you higher than the other rating you got on it.

    You rated six messages (I went back and checked) in a row at 1, despite the fact that one was rated highly by other people. Those weren't all even from threads you were involved in. I think that shows you're pretty much a baby who has to lash out at anyone who disagrees with him. Sad really...


    [ Parent ]

    How do you determine who's trolling in court? (4.50 / 2) (#187)
    by bigsexyjoe on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 03:16:00 PM EST

    How do you determine who's trolling in court? The slippery slope arguments work very well on this issue. Trolling laws could easily used to censor political speech.

    But the main problem is that no one cares. Our courts are clogged up as it is. They would not enforce laws about posting links to goatse.cx. Where I live they don't even press criminal charges against peope writing bad checks.

    [ Parent ]

    It seems to me (none / 0) (#201)
    by Cro Magnon on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 05:01:55 PM EST

    that it's a bad idea to troll in court! I reserve my trolling for K5/Slashdot.
    Information wants to be beer.
    [ Parent ]
    The Church of Scientology, the RIAA, (none / 0) (#202)
    by bigsexyjoe on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 05:21:48 PM EST

    The Church of Scientology, the RIAA, and just about every fortune 500 company troll in court. Oh well, what can you do?

    [ Parent ]
    more laws are bad (1.00 / 1) (#190)
    by Shren on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 03:38:38 PM EST

    The Gift that Keeps on Giving

    [ Parent ]
    Nah (3.00 / 1) (#193)
    by dipierro on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 03:47:27 PM EST

    There should be a law against saying that more laws are bad.

    [ Parent ]
    Best troll I've seen in a long time (none / 0) (#243)
    by Afty on Fri Aug 16, 2002 at 11:15:07 AM EST

    If the people who replied would care to carefully review the topic, then the consequences of the parent post, they might smile, and might not have bothered with their serious replies.

    [ Parent ]
    Mine wasn't serious ;P (5.00 / 1) (#244)
    by acheon on Fri Aug 16, 2002 at 01:19:24 PM EST

    I replied with another troll ;).

    [ Parent ]
    I troll (1.20 / 5) (#188)
    by Thinkit on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 03:17:06 PM EST

    not. But get accused.

    The Troll is an elusive creature... (3.00 / 1) (#203)
    by Arevos on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 06:04:22 PM EST

    Are true Trolls endangered, now? Are lesser species squeezing these internet creatures out of their niche? I propose we consult with Trolldom experts, and employ hunters who can find these be-oo-tiful beasts and tag them with radio transmitters (or spy software for a modern approach). Only then can we conserve these rare creatures, and protect them from the copying species known to most as the "Loudmouth Moron".

    Um, but to get back on target, I agree that the word "troll" is more of an insult now, and is more a phrase to say "I don't agree with him" in rather more frank terms. I myself may be guilty of crying "troll" on more than one occassion (for shame!).

    [ Parent ]

    I disagree (4.00 / 2) (#210)
    by acronos on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 08:02:08 PM EST

    Trolls are the enemy of constructive conversation.  If you have a point and are expressing your honest opinion, you are not a troll no matter how disagreeable that opinion is.  If you are just trying to stir up trouble, you are pathetic and a troll.  I will not be complicit in your attempt to glorify something that is so childish.

    Thanks for your help (1.00 / 2) (#211)
    by acheon on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 08:27:39 PM EST

    Whether you like it or not, you are my accomplice. Because I can use your point as a basis to better explain mine ;P.

    But let's get started, shall we ?

    First, trolls are not the enemy of constructive conversation ; they are the enemy of the conversations that lead nowhere. No one participating in a constructive conversation -- in a constructive way ;) -- will walk in. At best the novice troll will be teached by others how to be really trollish, as I have done here.

    Second, your views are simplistic. There is more to expression and communication that one can formulate. In the end, trolling and bashing are tools just like words are ; if you don't know how to use the former then you're severely lacking imagination.

    Third, I believe that most people giving honest opinions are pathetic. If it's only their worthless opinion then they should keep it for themselves. See the poll ;). Besides, who said that anyone not speaking his mind directly is looking for trouble ? And who said that looking for trouble is necessarily pathetic ? Life is like 'eat or be eaten' ; either you run after trouble or it runs after you. The latter is pathetic, for sure.

    [ Parent ]

    In conclusion (none / 0) (#214)
    by acheon on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 08:57:28 PM EST

    Now that the discussion seems almost over I'm going to clarify my point a little, which I've made intentionally obscure ;P.

    First, I'm calling for a wider definition of a troll. Since no one can agree on a definition anyway, even those who actually care about it. And since, as I point out in the article, everyone gets tagged a troll for sake of convenience, then my description is closer to the truth, that is, someone who says what the others don't want to hear. The gap between this and the various definitions is pretty narrow anyway.

    Second, trolling goes way beyond any concept of sincerity. One can speak his mind -- although it may not be obvious -- and still be trolling. The goal of trolling is to have fools make fools of themselves and there are many more ways to do it than making fools of ourselves. Besides, the usual method isn't really efficient even compared to flamebait derivatives, so it's only like the poor-man's-troll. Or the one without imagination.

    Third, to hell with the goddammned ethics !!! Trolling is a mean to an end and those who can't understand such a simple thing as this are only worth getting caught by their own narrow-mindedness. Besides, trolling is all about exploiting people thinking with their emotions instead of their head. Someone sinking that low deserves it and shouldn't complain.

    Fourth, bashing people and attacking them personally may be for the targets' own good. If people think with their emotions then that's how we should reach them ; any rational way is pointless. If that can make them think with their heads in the future then that's a good thing for everyone.

    Don't you agree ?

    No, I don't. (none / 0) (#218)
    by mami on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 11:39:56 PM EST

    I don't agree and you are an idiot.

    Your article is completely irrelevant.

    Thinking with all my emotions I come to much   deeper analysis than any that you might ever be able to put together superficially.

    Thinking with your analytical head and intentional exploition of other people's emotions leaves you with nothing but a very poor soul, Mister. And poor souls are poor thinkers.

    Don't you agree?

    [ Parent ]

    No I don't (none / 0) (#226)
    by acheon on Wed Aug 14, 2002 at 08:13:35 AM EST

    Although everyone has feelings, having them override reason is a weakness.

    Besides, your own "emotional reasoning" is quite superficial, don't you agree ? Or maybe, if you don't mind, you could share with us you wisdom, that you seem to have kept so well hidden for now... at least from your post.

    As for not being able to figure out how a troll can put his insidious techniques to good use : You're severely lacking imagination.

    [ Parent ]

    yawn (nt) (none / 0) (#233)
    by mami on Wed Aug 14, 2002 at 09:54:33 PM EST



    [ Parent ]
    but ad hominem is more boring than enlightening! (none / 0) (#240)
    by livus on Fri Aug 16, 2002 at 01:56:27 AM EST


    I just can't see why you think personal attacks are so effective, at best they frustrate people, and at worst bore the tits off them.

    How this can be posited by you as enlightening is beyond me. I mean, only someone with no emotions at all isn't going to get bored and irritated by a troll taking up space to comment on facets of the lives of people s/he has never even met.

    It's like that troll classic - accusing people of having no lives because they're online with the troll - the irony gets so ironic and the joke so meta that only a god could be amused.

    ---
    HIREZ substitute.
    be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
    I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
    I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
    I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

    [ Parent ]

    "Get a live" (none / 0) (#241)
    by acheon on Fri Aug 16, 2002 at 05:45:36 AM EST

    That statement bores me too.

    That's a pity you consider my essay to be nothing else than promoting easy excuses and flamebait. My point of view is somewhat deeper. It's rather that this problem is part of its own solution. If you make idiots knowingly make fools of themselves, they have no one else to blame. They can only turn their anger toward themselves. And that's right on target.

    The more this happens, the harder the time they have to run away from reality. See, people use a plethora of lowdown tactics for not to face the truth. As long as they don't get burned they won't have any reason to use their heads. Using their own emotions is like fighting fire with fire, but it's a strong incentive ; nothing reaches them better.

    Life has become too easy. People don't need to use their heads to survive. Now they don't even need it to have a good life. This has produced a breed of narrow-minded people who just don't see the point of using their heads anymore. The only way for them to enlightenment, as you say it, is to not let them get away with it too easily. That hurts -- no surprise they don't like you for it. But no troll will do it for thanks.

    [ Parent ]

    live->life (nt) (none / 0) (#242)
    by acheon on Fri Aug 16, 2002 at 05:48:13 AM EST



    [ Parent ]
    Hmm. (none / 0) (#250)
    by livus on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 03:29:28 AM EST

    Hmm. I'm sure your article addresses more than the issue I commented on. I know people who took issue with the semantics bothered you, but honestly - if someone is an effective communicator who is trying to get genuine thoughts and ideas across, then that person doesn't fit my understanding of what a troll is, unless s/he is also obsessively ad hominum irritating everyone like mad. Hence my comments.

    ---
    HIREZ substitute.
    be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
    I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
    I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
    I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

    [ Parent ]
    Academics discuss trolls... (4.00 / 2) (#215)
    by faustus on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 09:16:16 PM EST

    ...I found two academic investigations into trolling. They seem to arrive at anti-troll conclusions, ignoring the fact that trolling can be a form of insidious satire.

    Check, here and here

    Predictible (none / 0) (#216)
    by acheon on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 09:24:50 PM EST

    Having the opposite opinion would risk infuriating the teacher.

    Besides, the purpose of a study is to prove a point made in advance, not to find an answer to an open question.

    [ Parent ]

    Oh yes (none / 0) (#251)
    by Spendocrat on Tue Jun 17, 2003 at 08:20:55 PM EST

    Besides, the purpose of a study is to prove a point made in advance, not to find an answer to an open question.

    This is most certainly always the case.

    [ Parent ]

    Troll now means annoying teenager (4.00 / 1) (#220)
    by bigsexyjoe on Wed Aug 14, 2002 at 01:30:16 AM EST

    How is Lounesto a troll? He was a serious researcher. He made real points. The poster of this article uses a strange definition of troll. Us "newbies" have taken over this forum and most others a long time ago. Troll just means a disruptive poster.

    I guess the noble troll he speaks of pretends to be an annoying teenager with too much time on his hands but is in fact a snob who desires an insular community and has too much time on his hands.

    A troll often pretends to have ridiculus views because he believes it to be obvious that no one really holds such views. These trolls are very naive because there are many people with extremely off-the-wall views. Most of his fellow trolls are, in fact, newbie teenagers who hold those views sincerely.

    The best reason to troll is to be funny. The second best reason is because you are trying to ruin the forum. The third best reason to find out who's a newbie. (This is very important to determine for obvious reasons.) The worst reason is to try to make the forum better.

    The fact is that if you trick people with a troll and get them to respond then they will just spend their lives believing that you are a moron and not caring that they were tricked.

    I can laugh at a funny but innappropriate comment. I might even troll occasionally. However, those who troll constantly just need to get laid.

    Not a troll, just chose the wrong medium. (none / 0) (#221)
    by coolvibe on Wed Aug 14, 2002 at 04:06:05 AM EST

    He shouldn't have used USENET. It's still september there, you know?

    Usenet is flooded with so-called experts that call everyone a kook or a troll if they don't agree with the general consensus. It's a weird kind of group dynamic.

    To discuss anything seriously, avoid usenet.


    --
    Yet another community site: hackerheaven.org. Now in juicy Scoop flavour!
    [ Parent ]

    I agree trolls are too often naive and ridiculous (none / 0) (#227)
    by acheon on Wed Aug 14, 2002 at 09:57:29 AM EST

    What is the point of a troll that doesn't make the target's own crap backfire at him ? Indeed, that's ridiculous and a big waste of time.

    And that's part of my point. A real, skillful troll should be able to push the technique to its limits. Make the thread last until the fool contradicted himself so many times that his only possible reactions are to either turn mad and make his case worse or run away in shame.

    A real fool is almost begging for that ; someone making him blast himself without effort. Believe it or not, they learn with time. Either they think before they post or they run away to "more open-minded and respectful forums". That is what makes the forum better. Not doing so will make any open forum worse as it becomes more popular. Like here.

    What I describe above is nothing like flamebait. But it most often looks like a troll and is very often considered like one. Moreover, the "classical" troll is really cheap. So let's discard the boring old definition and have a new one which makes more sense. That is the point of the article.

    [ Parent ]

    He wasn't a troll (none / 0) (#246)
    by digitalmedievalist on Fri Aug 16, 2002 at 05:46:12 PM EST

    The troll exists to provoke hostility, to annoy. He or she doesn't attempt rational discussion--the troll doesn't want discussion, the troll only wants attention. Lounesto was an intelligent person who lacked some basic social and communication skills. He wasn't a troll. A troll, in addition to being genrerally offensive and obnoxious, also usually does things like post-x-no archive, or changes accounts and spoofs as a matter of course. The best trolls can also be genuinely amusing, but it's been years since I saw one--not since, oh, 1995 or so. I thought someone would have referenced this--but I sure can't find it. s.v. "Troll" in Eric Raymond's jargon file. Moreover, you can tell people they are wrong. Depending on how you do it, and the individual, the person may agree, disagree, or flame you. There may come a point when you have to walk away, or ignore/filter the person, but you can tell people they are wrong.

    Think what you want... (none / 0) (#247)
    by acheon on Fri Aug 16, 2002 at 06:50:49 PM EST

    ... or rather re-read the definition from Eric Raymond's jargon's file. Oh, wait ; you just posted it.

    He's himself pretty quick to derive his original statement to include any flamebait moron. Read between the lines ; the "clean" definition is a pathetic excuse. In reality, anyone can be accused to be a flamebait moron, since "a troll is not sincere" and "a troll aims only at disrupting the discussion". Therefore a troll is : "Anyone I choose not to believe to be sincere and therefore to aim only at disrupting the discussion." Since we're so pathetically subjective anyway.

    So my point of view is much closer to the truth. Why not assume ourselves then ? Why not do so deliberately ? Let's make fools of them. Let's disrupt their pathetic discussions about their worthless opinions. Let's give them good reasons to call us trolls. They almost beg for it anyway. Besides, that's the only way to reach them.

    Among many others, Pertti Lounesto had what it takes to have others make fools of themselves. Take some time to read his posts. If you can't see why I call him a troll, that's because you never understood what it was all about.

    In any case, I'm going to apply the theory in another article. Many among you will better understand then ;P.

    [ Parent ]

    Siding with the Trolls | 252 comments (229 topical, 23 editorial, 1 hidden)
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