Should Top Be Banned

(Copied from InsultJustificationDiscussion.)

Let's have this issue out once and for all since many discussions seem to return to the same theme.
I was enthusiastic about c2 years ago. I stopped posting any of my opinions about software development years ago. I just cannot stand the idiotic flaming.

I still read c2, usually through RecentChanges. Sometimes I use it for reference, for which purpose it is usually good.

But there is no way I would bother with any of my approaches to software development. It just aint worth it.

In regard to the present discussion, I know Top has some very good ideas. I also know that the RKs of the world also have some very good ideas. The constant to-and-froing of people like these reminds me of the early days, when there was always a healthy argument between the fortranners and the cobolers. Never the twain shall meet.

Show some respect for opinions you do not embrace. You just may learn something. --PeterLynch

Yeah! We should stop deleting SchizoidGibberishWikiAuthor's contributions, too!

I agree that we shouldn't dismiss an opinion merely because we do not wish to embrace it. That's quite different from dismissing an opinion on the basis that there is no sound or valid justification for it. Sometimes TopMind has good ideas, and I don't hesitate to acknowledge those. RK was full of interesting ideas, though he was also an emotional powder-keg with a vicious streak who left about six months before I arrived (I chatted him up, later). But TopMind also likes to weigh in on subjects in which 'UnconsciousIncompetence' is a relatively positive description of his expertise (DeliberateIncompetence would often be more accurate). And if he has trouble following a counter-argument due to his incompetence, he shifts blame to everyone else - blame the 'academics' and 'ivy leagers', blame the anti-toppie conspiracy, blame anything but himself. Sometimes he even claims to be speaking for 'the masses' and 'the practitioners' arrogantly voting himself representative. (You won't see me speaking 'for' academics.)

Despite the fact that I acknowledge and respect some of TopMind's ideas (I refuse to dismiss ideas merely because they come from fools, babes, or TopMind), I cannot respect TopMind as a member of this society. I truly, honestly, believe he's of net negative impact and believe he should have been banned years before I joined WikiWiki, and I suspect the only reason he wasn't banned is that he was somehow 'grandfathered' in by people unwilling to ban members of the 'old guard'.

Anyhow, this present discussion isn't about whether Top has good ideas now and again. Nope. This isn't about insulting ideas. This is about behavior, and habit.

I know many of you want this to be an academics-only wiki, but it is not. Ward has NOT declared that scope limit. I know you don't like communicating with practitioner-minded people, but tough. If you want your ivy-league ideas to be adopted, you better learn to better communicate with practitioners instead of trying to belittle them away. If WetWare matters, the practitioner mind can't be dismissed anyhow just to simplify your equations. Software and design issues are as much for people as they are machines. You have to design hammers with carpenters in mind, not physics teachers. This means you have to work with carpenters to test your theories. It may be uncomfortable, but necessary. It's the step the Greeks skipped to their peril because they didn't want to get their hands dirty. The Romans, with their inferior math, clobbered the Greeks because they were willing to get their hands dirty.

If you ban me, do it because of clear-cut rules, not merely because my statements generate waves in general. It is human nature to ostracize minds not like our own. Resist. You can learn from aliens. Besides, other than failing to become an academic, I'm not sure what my "sin" is exactly. And who made Failing-To-Become-An-Academic an "official" sin here anyhow? I agree I generate "friction" in the wiki-wiki community, but it's because I say things about software that are uncomfortable to others. Is that by itself a sin? Controversy by itself is not "bad". In fact, it's a necessary part of growth and change. You seem to be afraid of the Big WetWare Question, and hide on an academic island with your poetry to protect you (queue S&G tune). --top

I vote no. -JH

I vote no and I am an academic. -- JohnFletcher

I vote no. -- GunnarZarncke

A vote is irrelevant - just HandWaving of a different sort.

{The "friction" Top causes here and elsewhere is the same "friction" that quacks cause in the medical community. However, unlike some quacks, Top is harmless -- except, perhaps, to his employers and himself -- and I doubt anyone (except other quacks) takes his views seriously. The best way to be "rid" of him is to ignore him; anything else only gives him a certain unfortunate legitimacy.}

Another no vote. I don't think we should ban people unless they are abusing someone. While Top's deliberate ignorance and claims to represent practitioners is annoying, I don't think it qualifies as abuse. -- Martin Shobe.

Reluctantly, I must go with the consensus here that Top is basically harmless. Annoying, sure. Simple-minded at times, absolutely. Capable of wasting plenty of your time with meaningless, illogical arguments, to be sure. But still harmless, even after all that. Stop feeding the trolls and they'll go elsewhere to chow down. -- MartySchrader

[As of October 2010 I may have shifted my opinion on this matter; check out IsTopTheNewRichardKulisz for more details. -- MartySchrader]

I think we should stop deleting SchizoidGibberishWikiAuthor's contributions on that same basis as the arguments given above. You guys (MartySchrader, Martin Shobe, Top) should help. We should start reverting deletions immediately.

{Point taken, but although the value of Top's contributions is clearly debatable, all but one of the participants who have weighted in on the matter would rather see Top's posts remain. I don't see anyone seriously arguing that SchizoidGibberishWikiAuthor's contributions should be preserved.}

I consider DoubleStandards the greater sin. If we are going to keep Top's contributions on the basis of the arguments given above, we shall also keep SchizoidGibberishWikiAuthor's. I will seriously argue this. If we wish to keep Top's contributions but reject SchizoidGibberishWikiAuthor's, you will need to provide some different arguments.

{Argue away. In the mean time, I propose we maintain status quo, such that Top's contributions shall remain and SchizoidGibberishWikiAuthor's shall be deleted. If you can convince the regular participants -- or at least a majority thereof -- that either Top's posts should go or SGWA's should remain, then that can change.}

DoubleStandards it shall be, then. I suppose I'll just leave WikiWiki.

{You do know we're no longer giving out the "Richard Kulisz Award for Amateur Dramatics (Queen Category)", don't you? By the way, the standard applied here is essentially the same as that used to maintain employment in the public sector throughout most of (at least) the Western world: Schizophrenia or psychosis is cause to be dismissed; being an idiot isn't.}

I've been thinking about leaving for a while now, so this is hardly a spur-of-moment thing. Rather, this is a 'last straw' issue - or perhaps an excuse I've been seeking for a while now. WikiWiki takes too much of my time. Arguing with self-important morons - mostly TopMind - is too tempting and takes too much of my time; the best way to resist temptation is to avoid it. People who say "don't feed the trolls" often feed them on a regular basis - hypocrisy whose basis is character weakness rather than dishonesty. I'm not strong enough to follow that advice, and the resulting ThreadMode messes undermine many otherwise valuable pages. I believe many useful community contributors have left for similar reasons. (How many people who commented in ObjectiveEvidenceAgainstTopDiscussion are still here?) I see WikiWiki as a dying community. I think I will find or build a better platform for airing my own thoughts. In the meantime, I will remove my name from this Wiki, along with any contributions I feel would require maintenance by me. Doing so will remove the remaining temptations to remain in this bad, bad place.

{I suspect you're reaching a realisation that most Wiki participants eventually seem to reach, which explains why keen contributors inevitably go elsewhere. It certainly is reasonable to leave if you're finding yourself drawn into spending more time here than you like. I never spend a minute more than I want to -- sometimes that means I delightfully argue ad infinitum against Top's idiocy, and other times I let it slide. I don't take WardsWiki seriously enough to give it more attention than that. Maybe that's part of the problem. *Shrug*. Note, by the way, that what you're going through with Ward's Wiki is something you'll probably eventually experience with the 'net as a whole and you'll wind up planting bananas or running a motorcycle shop. That's not a bad thing. The world needs more bananas and motorcycle shops.}

A community goes sour because the people let it. Anyhow, you should stop feeding the trolls even if you find it delightful. Your words: "The best way to be rid of him is to ignore him; anything else only gives him a certain unfortunate legitimacy." Or are you keeping a troll around for amusement? Sigh. Well, keep your pets, have fun.

{Yes, I do find Top amusing. Is he trolling deliberately? Dunno. Don't care. Doesn't matter. I haven't particularly argued with Top lately, though, because I don't feel like granting him any legitimacy except when my desire for casual amusement exceeds my desire to limit his legitimacy. Lately, it hasn't.}
See WikiAsReference for some comment on that aspect. (Note: this is missing a de-reference tag??) Please explain. Perhaps it is that I didn't give the reference here to PeterLynch's comments at the top of this page, where he said Sometimes I use it for reference, for which purpose it is usually good.
Won't Do Something

The accusation against me seems to be that I "won't bother" to read the pet academic materials of the author(s). However, I also ask a chore that the other side refuses; namely describe in detail how they know their pet technology is better in (useful) measurable numbers, not just "it feels right in my head".

Your chains of (alleged) reasoning are too long to skip measurement. GoodMetricsUseNumbers, so stop using lousy metrics and acting like your Rube Goldberg "logic" is "good enough". It doesn't matter how complex it is, numbers can be found to measure it. Even rocket designs can be measured in various metrics such as success percent, cost of fuel to reach the moon, etc. Thus, complexity is NOT an excuse to receive a Get-Out-Of-Metrics-Free card. I find it hypocritical that you complain about what I won't do, yet you won't do something either. --top
Banning him gives him more recognition than he deserves, delete gibberish and move on.

Deletion is rude. You are free to argue your case, but not delete others' opinions (without risking retaliation). I know you feel certain you are right, but that's not sufficient reason to delete opinions you don't agree with. EarnYourRightToInsultMe.
Engineering is a process by which we expand we expand and refine our knowledge based an application and testing, it is not a system of unsubstantiated belief. TOP applies a very old technique of LanguageFraming? such a way Facts are challenged by Belief on supposedly equal ground. aka "his opinions are just as good as our facts." It proves should a fundamentally misunderstand what science is about that I would be surprised if it can ever be fixed.

If your "facts" were clearly true and refined, then using them to counter such "proletariat" claims via something like ItemizedClearLogic should be relatively easy. If you do so repeatedly for the same person, such a proletariat will lose credibility and people will stop paying attention. You could link to a list of their failures against ItemizedClearLogic when they start a new set so that readers can quickly identify their past logic failures to know better. It has the side benefit of documenting IT knowledge in a concise manner for students etc.

"Equal ground"? That sounds like some kind of human ranking, ArgumentFromAuthority. -t

[1] Unless perhaps as it relates to selecting among competing theories. Occam's Razor generally favors elegance. But that's at a different stage than the "problem issue" here.
See: IsTopTheNewRichardKulisz


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