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November 03, 2022

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my thought about trying to regulate speech is that there is value in making room for loonies.

today's loony is tomorrow's visionary! that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

the problem is not that people say insane outrageous things. the problem - the harm done - is that so many people embrace it.

the problem is not that people say insane outrageous things. the problem - the harm done - is that so many people embrace it.

the problem is not that people say insane outrageous things. the problem - the harm done - is that so many people unthinkingly embrace it.

Fixed that for you.

After all, it's undisputed that the Ds lost the 2000 election by 5 to 4. But that didn't stop us expressing considerable dissatisfaction.

I'm assuming that this refers to an election there in the UK. Because here in the US, the Ds definitely won the popular vote in 2020.

I believe my figures are correct for the Supreme Court vote, which was the one which mattered.

Ah. We don't typically refer to a Senate vote to confirm an appointee as an election. Hence my confusion.

WRS, and to elaborate a bit...
there are two species of the problem "so many people embrace it":

1. Those who are so ignorant/stupid that they don't realize that they're embracing something egregiously incorrect;

and
2. Those who pretend to embrace the lies, to use them as a tribal marker and rhetorical weapon to sow confusion.

#1 should be informed or ignored if uninformable. #2 should be curb-stomped.

In Ye Olden Tymes, of which actual conservatives yearn, being found to be a blatant liar/cheat/fraud was such a profound stain on ones honor that it was time for sucking on a bullet or jumping out of a Wall Street window. But we live in dishonorable shameful times it's just a shrug, a little smile, and keep on doing it.

Scrag 'em and be done with 'em.

#2 should be curb-stomped.

Amen. After which, drop them in a landfill (bundled up as befits toxic waste) and have done.

wj, I believe you misread 2000 for 2020. Pro Bono is referring to the SCOTUS decision on Bush v Gore.

today's loony is tomorrow's visionary! that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Once again you're taunting those of us who missed him with the space bat guy, aren't you? It's too cruel of you...

And now, to quote Monty Python, for something completely different. From today's Guardian on the prospects for Labour:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/dec/02/politics-keir-starmer-labour-tories-number-10

My favourite bit, with my bold:

But affection is less important than respect. As a political operator, Starmer has followed a steep learning curve out of a deep hole. Also, Britain’s experience of misrule by Boris Johnson devalued flamboyant loquacity and grew the market for professional steadiness and unflashy competence.

Sunak is competing in that space, too, but draped in a Conservative legacy too soiled with chaos to be laundered with a mild managerial style. As a former Downing Street adviser puts it: “There might not be much in it between Rishi and Starmer, but then voters look over their shoulders at who heads a rabble of mad bastards.

Really, talk about le mot juste.

the problem is not that people say insane outrageous things. the problem - the harm done - is that so many people embrace it.

You're not wrong.

On the other hand, this seems a little like saying, "the problem isn't the guy lighting matches and tossing them into the woods, the problem is how flammable all that dry brush is."

It's really a "why not both" situation.

This goes into the larger issue we have when we talk about social trust, which is, very succinctly: greedy a**holes keep ruining things for the rest of us.

We really ought to be able to have nice things without 15 billion exactingly specified lines of legal code and a DOJ division to protect them. Even still, whether it's racists, email spammers, Exxon execs, or Trumpian politicans, someone will inevitably come along and exploit our soft spots.

I do think we're capable of being better than that in the long term, maybe with capitalism's boot not on our necks, but it'll take some effort.

....the problem .... is that so many people embrace it.

Like they say, in numbers there is strength. So how did we wind up with such numbers of people in the thrall of some really bad social beliefs?

Perhaps this brief article brings a causal relationship worth considering.

Ya' never know.

wj, I believe you misread 2000 for 2020. Pro Bono is referring to the SCOTUS decision on Bush v Gore.

Oops! I did, indeed. Apologies, Pro Bono.

Brujeria, bobbyp! (Brujerizmo, even, if I dare say.)

"the problem is not that people say insane outrageous things. the problem - the harm done - is that so many people embrace it."

"#2 should be curb-stomped."

One of the problems with content moderation is that different people interpret jokes and half jokes and kinda jokes as serious, and it builds on itself.

And often knowing whether or not it is a joke/half joke/kinda joke depends on the context and the person. So for example from wj it is a joke, but if I saw it from bobbyp I wouldn't be so sure.

https://media.makeameme.org/created/i-keep-them.jpg

I must say I've always assumed you all knew when I was joking.

For the avoidance of doubt, I don't think jack lecou is a freedom-hating bastard.

I do blame russell, though, for bringing up the alien space bat guy when I've made it clear how I yearn for his story....

"#2 should be curb-stomped."

And this, of course, was Snarki. I would have thought the clue was in the name.

But what if Snarki was just a fat-fingering of Anarki that stuck? (Hey, it's proper Swedish and on-point for the mythology...).

Pictures at BJ today.

It has to be getting so boring and repetitive that I keep complimenting (or more accurately appreciating) your photos every time, and so after this I'll stop, but as usual several of them just floor me, particularly #1, #3 and the foliage+water ones. And clearly I'm not alone, the BJ commenters seem all in. Bravo Janie, you are an artist.

On the subject of joking/humour, I realise we haven't seen Pete around lately. Do you have him in the "Business" folder? If not, and if Pete is lurking, he should check in.

And now this owl (not nightingale) is off to bed and bedtime reading. It's 2.23 am, and if I switch off the light before 4 it will be surprising.

Good night, all.

Thanks, GftNC. And yes, I have Pete on my list. :-)

So for example from wj it is a joke, but if I saw it from bobbyp I wouldn't be so sure.
and
And this, of course, was Snarki.

Before you worry about how to judge content is you need a system of attribution that is relatively problem-free (pseudonyms are fine as long as they are stable) A lot of problems start from how identities can be a lot more fluid on-line, which includes problems not only of trolling and catfishing but also astro-turf. While identity need not necessarily firmly fixed (I believe that we are or at least can be different people in different groups), you need some sort of understanding of who is saying what.

It may be that this is a quaint idea and we can't do anything about it, but I'd prefer to try and address the identity problem first.

It may be that this is a quaint idea and we can't do anything about it, but I'd prefer to try and address the identity problem first.

It's an indication of how far we have to go that reliably sorting real people from bots is still a challenge. Let alone establishing which individual belongs to which collection of IDs.

There is also the matter of those who live under repressive regimes. Their liberty, or even lives, could be at risk if the identity behind their pseudonym was revealed.

I've been in some protracted discussions, professionally, trying to figure out how to distinguish "legitimate law enforcement" requests (or subpoenas) from attempts to repress and punish inconvenient opinions -- think of the difference between straight out fraud (or child porn) vs someone guilty merely referring to Putin's invasion of Ukraine as a "war". We have, as yet, been notably unsuccessful at coming up with a methodology which is close to working to distinguish those. (Suggestions from Chinese and Russian participants, mostly, that we treat all requests from any government as equally valid have not found favor from the rest of us.)

What I'm saying is that, if we come up with something here, I will be astounded. Ecstatic, but astounded. It is, as mathematicians would put it, a "non-trivial problem."**

** For those who have not encountered the jest, problems in mathematics are said to fall into two basic categories: "trivial" (as mathematicians see it anyway), and impossible to solve.

This reminds me of what Martin Smith says at around 3:00

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cAI8mybdKc

tldw, in regards to scammers, he says the idea that it has to be a technological solution is bollocks, if a company can't solve it technologically, it has to solve it manually and that the companies that benefit from all this need to take more of their resources to stop it. One might argue that it would destroy the whole business model, but to me, if it does, that shows that the business model itself was problematic. I suspect it is similar with any other massively open enterprise.

One might argue that it would destroy the whole business model, but to me, if it does, that shows that the business model itself was problematic.

Doing more manually only destroys the business model to the extent that it currently thinks it should produce vast profits for minimal infrastructure or personnel cost. It could (run right) still be profitable, just not to the point of making people billionaires. My heart bleeds.

For those who have not encountered the jest, problems in mathematics are said to fall into two basic categories: "trivial" (as mathematicians see it anyway), and impossible to solve.

One of the stories that was handed down by the math graduate students when I was at that point in my life went like this...

The professor gets to a certain place in the lecture and announces, "From here, it's obvious that..." and writes down something. One of the students asks, "Professor, is it really obvious?" The professor stops, looks at what he's written, walks back and forth in front of the board looking at what he's written every time he passes, goes out into the hall and walks up and down a few times, then comes bouncing back into the room, beaming, and tells the student, "Yes, it is!"

My freshman physics professor, lecturing to several hundred students, used to pass over certain bits of the analysis by saying, "It's intuitively obvious to the most casual observer...."

You could quote that line and get a laugh forever after.

PS Michael's story made me laugh out loud.

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