It Doesnt Matter About The Vermin

CharacterAttack alert. This page should contain just one exclamation mark by RichardDrake, after the word "them" near the end. Thank you.

This page is an example of ExtractToAnswer? or some excellent scheme like that. I've found that creating a new page to answer is often a good thing to do with complex, multi-faceted conversations on controversial topics, in order not to clog up the original page. But then I like mostly small methods in programming and mostly small pages on wikis. A small amount of the text on this page can simply be folded back when the original page is cleaned up, and, of course, having deletable pages on Wiki these days makes this all just grand.

I'm replying here to the current responses on PseudonymityWithUntraceability, especially the anonymous one under Is it acceptable? and Walden's own, hence the choice of page name. But I appreciate all the responses, thank you. In my lexicon that means WikiResponds? even if it's never true to say (or wise to think) WikiDeletedIt?. The response matters because I guess you could call this issue of the full implications of RealNamesPlease a PetSubject? of mine. But then, with Walden and me involved, the pet was always liable to become a lithe and agile cat that loves chasing vermin. We always agree on the metaphors you see. Maybe not on anything else, but on the absolute importance of metaphors to liven up what will otherwise just be more garbage on the burning trash heap of WikiOnWiki. A few vermin and an effective chase from good old Tabby, that's what we're needing, maybe looking forward to even. -- RichardDrake

"It doesn't matter"

Originally, the person answering under Is it acceptable? said:

"If wiki wants to enforce real names, it could implement a registration/login procedure."

This is what we do on WhyClublet, with that much stricter regime that Ward and others always expected us to need for the religious, anti-religious and irreligious nutcases we were aiming to cater for. Ward generously included me as the proposed leader of that group and I've always felt sure that was because I was the least of a nutcase. Or, of course, the greatest. But with such people, we felt we needed more control of the asylum, so this is exactly what we did.

That is really irrelevant to PseudonymityWithUntraceability here because we all accept that there's the freedom to post anonymously on Wiki. I think we all greatly value that freedom too. If you don't, an anonymous post to complain about it or even a signed one, that an anonymous person can edit the next moment, really seems rather surplus to logic. Let's move on.

That left us with:

"It doesn't matter. All you can do currently to get people to use real names is to ask people nicely. If that doesn't work, it's not worth worrying about."

This was in answer to "Anyone brave enough to explain how Wiki does deal effectively with PseudonymityWithUntraceability?". I have to say that, as explanations go, "It doesn't matter" is not my top favorite. "Except when it does" is one answer. Another is to give examples in the past when abuse of PseudonymityWithUntraceability really did seem to matter. But am I dreaming or have we already been down that track and decided it wasn't the way to go? Damned if one does, dismissed with disdain if one doesn't. Still, I don't agree. It does matter. It matters at least enough to ask, so this first sentence in the response should be deleted to retain the force of the question.

"All you can do currently to get people to use real names is to ask people nicely."

No, I think that on WhyClublet we have shown that this is not all you can currently do. You can, if you choose, not only ask people nicely, but also make it clear that they have refused to answer reasonable questions about who exactly they are in the real world. We say that if there is a really good reason for pseudomymity, someone in the community trusted by the hosts (in this case by Ward) needs to be convinced and to know who the person is behind the pseudonym, in case there is a reason to contact them. And the biggest reason to contact them? To check that something signed as them really was written by them. In other words, it's for their own benefit, if they have any normal interest in the integrity of their own signature.

WaldenMathews and the more general issue of vermin

Quite right of course that, just like the poor, vermin will always be with us. Walden, you have been on Wiki much more than I have this last year. If you're telling me the problem with vermin ain't that bad at present, I believe you. This makes me feel very grateful to you, Ward and god. Not always in that order, but I have found two of those people to be extraordinarily humble in all my dealings with them!

"Certainly this community is too far along to be undone by a minority input of clever cowardice."

It's the history issue above that I'm really into here. I want to know how to ensure this wonderful WikiWikiWeb lasts a hundred years and more, with SisterSites spinning off whole trees of distant relatives, all of which retain the greatest affection for the great grandaddy of them all. All with true and lasting respect for RealNamesPlease. Even for the legendary old FoundingFathers, from WayneCool to JimCoplien. Let's go for that.

-- RichardDrake

I don't have a complete answer for you, Richard, and certainly nothing like a project plan. I intuit (after reading enough Tom Robbins, of course) that the business of ensuring is too like the business of killing, kind of like ensuring the bird song by caging the bird. But extreme advocates like you are part of the living fabric (did anyone stop to think that the "quick" of this web may refer to its life force rather than the vulgar haste with which we may overwrite each other's artwork?), so I would no more ask you to stop your fascination with this subject than I would lock you up "for your own good".

The "problem with vermin" depends an awful lot on my expectations, I find. In some societies, a single blemish or scab on an apple renders it unfit for market, while in others these signs are tolerated and maybe even appreciated as signs of balance and wholeness. The other weekend, I ate a worm (small tomato borer, the cream filled kind with the crunchy brown head, you know?) in front of family and friends as a way of informing all our expectations. (The expectation of expectoration went unfulfilled.) But I'm afraid I digest... (Owww... was that pun intentional?)

Rumor of a mouse is not enough to make me set the trap. I need to see some droppings, and they have to be where they look like they pose a specific health threat. When the trap claps, there will issue one mouse from the premises. There shall be no general issue of vermin, though.

-- WaldenMathews

With Walden and me, the puns are almost always intentional. I know that's hard to digest. Don't egg us on. -- rd

It's about replacing one form of low life with another, isn't it, Richard? A tonnage of punnage to drive away the venomous asp (sp?). Lie-detectors are for stodgy intellectuals. Ever see a maggot laugh at itself? Yet they go everywhere with their fly "undone". As Tom Robbins says (Switters, actually), "Send in the clowns." -- wm
Richard, I don't think it's useful to think about how to make this Wiki last 100 years, or anything nearly so grand. Many wonderful, beautiful things last a short time, and then they're gone. That doesn't make them any less beautiful. And on the other hand, many grand, horrible ideas have been put in place in the name of utopian thinking.

Any interesting community will attract negative behavior. There are measures you can take that will minimize the negativity without stifling the spontaneity, and you should take those. But perfection will never happen in a community of free people, and it's possibly dangerous to seek it. There's a lot of rudeness here, yes. And perhaps, as the Wiki gets more reknown, that rudeness will eventually grow enough to make this place intolerable for us and all the people we like here. But right now, I think that rudeness is worth it.

To draw a real-world analogy: I've lived in cities all my life, from mid-sized (Minneapolis, Barcelona) to massive (New York). I know that living in a city shortens my life expectancy. You walk past so many strangers in a day, and you never know; one of them could be seriously mentally disturbed, and could suddenly push me in front of a subway or stab me with a syringe. These things happen.

But until that happens, I get to walk around in places where there's the kind of life I like, the kind of energy I like. And for me, I suppose that's a worthwhile tradeoff. See, I'm like this Wiki: I'm not going to be around forever, either.

-- francis

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