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Re: [RSS-DEV] Re: "Reborn into a world that's grown up"

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  • Sean M. Burke
    ... This touches on a serious problem: the bozo bit ( ) in the online world is quite sticky. That is, once you (e.g.,
    Message 1 of 6 , Jan 8, 2004
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      At 04:35 AM 2004-01-06, Bill Kearney wrote to Dave(y) Winer:
      >[...]It's YOU Dave, that's been unable to work with others, backstabbed
      >them, insulted them and in general heaped nothing but FUD and abuse upon
      >them and their efforts.

      This touches on a serious problem: the bozo bit
      (<http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?SetTheBozoBit>) in the online world is quite
      sticky. That is, once you (e.g., Dave Winer) have convinced people you're a
      fool, they stay convinced. It becomes a visceral reaction: show people the
      string "From: Dave Winer" and they will grit their teeth. And some say that
      this is as it should be.

      But a problem arises when avowed kooks, dorks, and halfwits suddenly shape
      up, and start being at least marginally sane. I assure you, I've seen this
      happen. The causes can involve neuroendocrinology, psychopharmacology,
      added dietary fiber, Chinese accubeating, or a good talking to. But the
      result is what's important: out-of-date infamy that leaves a sort-of okay
      person laboring under the public shame of their past behavior which they
      are quite unlikely to resist.

      So, how to unflip the bozo bit for people who've learned their lesson? I am
      not the first person to note this problem, but I think I've come up with a
      solution. A stupid solution. So stupid it just might work!


      At first blush, a single public act of contrition would apparently be all
      that's needed. In a small static community, this might do the job, in the
      form of (say) a very public bout of drunkenness involving maudlin
      self-blame, promising to turning over a new leaf, etc. But this seems quite
      impractical in an online setting, since the listserv equivalent of such an
      act would only reach a small proportion of all the people who'd need to see
      it for it to work.

      A slightly better specious solution is to publicly change one's name, to
      let the world know that one is no longer, say, "John Doe", but now must be
      addressed and referred to by a totally different name, say, "Khu-Ol Nengk"
      or whatever. This practice is completely ruled out by its very tacky
      history -- Cassius Clay becoming Mohammed Ali and other islamenclature;
      John Cougar Meloncamp shifting around his last names; Prince and his
      nymphoglyph; DeborAH Gibson; Podunk Bell becoming Cingular, UK Post Office
      becoming Consignia, and a million other corporate shapeshifts; and so on,
      lo, even unto Courtney Cox-ARQUETTE.
      Moreover, publicly changing one's name to something totally different is so
      drastic as to be histrionic. It's no good.

      An alternative would be to non-publicly change one's public name -- i.e.,
      to start using a pseudonym, and to tell no-one that you're the same person
      as that nasty old what's-his-name. But this is dishonest /and/ impractical,
      which is a bad combination.

      What I think is the best approach is to change one's first name to a
      diminutive form. So if a "John Doe" builds up a richly deserved reputation
      as a blowhard and right bastard, but then he shapes up, he need simply 1)
      permanently change his realname in his email program to "Johnny Doe", and
      2) explain the reasons for this to whoever asks.

      This approach is contrite and resolute, but not as overdetermined and
      obscure as a complete name change. Meanwhile, all the people who had been
      conditioned to grind their teeth at the sight of "From: John Doe" would now
      see "From: Johnny Doe" and do a mental double-take that would at least
      partially depotentiate the teeth-grinding bozo bit reaction. They might
      wonder, "Is that's a different guy than that awful John Doe?". And the
      answer is yes he is sort of a different person, because people do change.
      Occasionally. Sometimes for the better. Occasionally.


      So, for example, one look at the SGML specification is enough to convince
      us that Charles Goldfarb has a lot to live down. If he wanted to show the
      contrast between his past offenses and his present niceness, he would
      become "Chuck".
      If he were already Chuck Goldfarb, he would become Chuckie Goldfarb.
      If he were already Chuckie Goldfarb, he would either have to choose one of
      the wildcard nicknames (Bubba, Bud, Skeeter, Doc, Slick, Tiny) or totally
      hit rock bottom and use simply his initial: "C. Goldfarb".

      Anyone who already uses simply their first initial, or doesn't use a first
      name at all, has noplace left to go. The public degaussing of their shame
      can be effectuated only by leaving the Net for a year and feeding starving
      people in Africa.

      (Footnote: it is forbidden, in this renaming scheme, to go from a
      diminutive to a non-diminutive or less-diminutive (a Dave Winer cannot
      become a David Winer); it is forbidden to start using one's full middle
      name (a Charles [F.] Goldfarb cannot become a C. Frankomen Goldfarb); and
      under no circumstances can one start using an IRC nick, RPG/MMPORG name, or
      the like -- no "Merlyn", no "k1llz0R3lla", no "sk8r420", etc.)

      Anyone needing my invaluable consultation on some of the thornier issues
      that I leave open here (like whether a Markus can become a Marky; and
      exactly what variety and duration of shames and disrepute are enough to
      turn a "William" into a "W." and then into African exile) can email me
      privately.

      --
      Sean M. Burke http://search.cpan.org/~sburke/
    • Lucas Gonze
      Holy cow. That one of the finest flames I have ever seen. - Lucas^H^H^Hke Gonze On Thursday, Jan 8, 2004, at 20:00 America/New_York, Sean M. Burke
      Message 2 of 6 , Jan 8, 2004
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        Holy cow. That one of the finest flames I have ever seen.

        - Lucas^H^H^Hke Gonze

        On Thursday, Jan 8, 2004, at 20:00 America/New_York, Sean M. Burke
        wrote:

        > At 04:35 AM 2004-01-06, Bill Kearney wrote to Dave(y) Winer:
        >> [...]It's YOU Dave, that's been unable to work with others,
        >> backstabbed
        >> them, insulted them and in general heaped nothing but FUD and abuse
        >> upon
        >> them and their efforts.
        >
        > This touches on a serious problem: the bozo bit
        > (<http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?SetTheBozoBit>) in the online world is quite
        > sticky. That is, once you (e.g., Dave Winer) have convinced people
        > you're a
        > fool, they stay convinced. It becomes a visceral reaction: show people
        > the
        > string "From: Dave Winer" and they will grit their teeth. And some say
        > that
        > this is as it should be.
        >
        > But a problem arises when avowed kooks, dorks, and halfwits suddenly
        > shape
        > up, and start being at least marginally sane. I assure you, I've seen
        > this
        > happen. The causes can involve neuroendocrinology, psychopharmacology,
        > added dietary fiber, Chinese accubeating, or a good talking to. But the
        > result is what's important: out-of-date infamy that leaves a sort-of
        > okay
        > person laboring under the public shame of their past behavior which
        > they
        > are quite unlikely to resist.
        >
        > So, how to unflip the bozo bit for people who've learned their lesson?
        > I am
        > not the first person to note this problem, but I think I've come up
        > with a
        > solution. A stupid solution. So stupid it just might work!
        >
        >
        > At first blush, a single public act of contrition would apparently be
        > all
        > that's needed. In a small static community, this might do the job, in
        > the
        > form of (say) a very public bout of drunkenness involving maudlin
        > self-blame, promising to turning over a new leaf, etc. But this seems
        > quite
        > impractical in an online setting, since the listserv equivalent of
        > such an
        > act would only reach a small proportion of all the people who'd need
        > to see
        > it for it to work.
        >
        > A slightly better specious solution is to publicly change one's name,
        > to
        > let the world know that one is no longer, say, "John Doe", but now
        > must be
        > addressed and referred to by a totally different name, say, "Khu-Ol
        > Nengk"
        > or whatever. This practice is completely ruled out by its very tacky
        > history -- Cassius Clay becoming Mohammed Ali and other islamenclature;
        > John Cougar Meloncamp shifting around his last names; Prince and his
        > nymphoglyph; DeborAH Gibson; Podunk Bell becoming Cingular, UK Post
        > Office
        > becoming Consignia, and a million other corporate shapeshifts; and so
        > on,
        > lo, even unto Courtney Cox-ARQUETTE.
        > Moreover, publicly changing one's name to something totally different
        > is so
        > drastic as to be histrionic. It's no good.
        >
        > An alternative would be to non-publicly change one's public name --
        > i.e.,
        > to start using a pseudonym, and to tell no-one that you're the same
        > person
        > as that nasty old what's-his-name. But this is dishonest /and/
        > impractical,
        > which is a bad combination.
        >
        > What I think is the best approach is to change one's first name to a
        > diminutive form. So if a "John Doe" builds up a richly deserved
        > reputation
        > as a blowhard and right bastard, but then he shapes up, he need simply
        > 1)
        > permanently change his realname in his email program to "Johnny Doe",
        > and
        > 2) explain the reasons for this to whoever asks.
        >
        > This approach is contrite and resolute, but not as overdetermined and
        > obscure as a complete name change. Meanwhile, all the people who had
        > been
        > conditioned to grind their teeth at the sight of "From: John Doe"
        > would now
        > see "From: Johnny Doe" and do a mental double-take that would at least
        > partially depotentiate the teeth-grinding bozo bit reaction. They might
        > wonder, "Is that's a different guy than that awful John Doe?". And the
        > answer is yes he is sort of a different person, because people do
        > change.
        > Occasionally. Sometimes for the better. Occasionally.
        >
        >
        > So, for example, one look at the SGML specification is enough to
        > convince
        > us that Charles Goldfarb has a lot to live down. If he wanted to show
        > the
        > contrast between his past offenses and his present niceness, he would
        > become "Chuck".
        > If he were already Chuck Goldfarb, he would become Chuckie Goldfarb.
        > If he were already Chuckie Goldfarb, he would either have to choose
        > one of
        > the wildcard nicknames (Bubba, Bud, Skeeter, Doc, Slick, Tiny) or
        > totally
        > hit rock bottom and use simply his initial: "C. Goldfarb".
        >
        > Anyone who already uses simply their first initial, or doesn't use a
        > first
        > name at all, has noplace left to go. The public degaussing of their
        > shame
        > can be effectuated only by leaving the Net for a year and feeding
        > starving
        > people in Africa.
        >
        > (Footnote: it is forbidden, in this renaming scheme, to go from a
        > diminutive to a non-diminutive or less-diminutive (a Dave Winer cannot
        > become a David Winer); it is forbidden to start using one's full middle
        > name (a Charles [F.] Goldfarb cannot become a C. Frankomen Goldfarb);
        > and
        > under no circumstances can one start using an IRC nick, RPG/MMPORG
        > name, or
        > the like -- no "Merlyn", no "k1llz0R3lla", no "sk8r420", etc.)
        >
        > Anyone needing my invaluable consultation on some of the thornier
        > issues
        > that I leave open here (like whether a Markus can become a Marky; and
        > exactly what variety and duration of shames and disrepute are enough to
        > turn a "William" into a "W." and then into African exile) can email me
        > privately.
        >
        > --
        > Sean M. Burke http://search.cpan.org/~sburke/
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        > To visit your group on the web, go to:
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        >
        > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
        > rss-dev-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
        >
        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:
        > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
        >
        >
      • Danny Ayers
        ... Very funny, but off-topic, Seany.
        Message 3 of 6 , Jan 9, 2004
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          > So, for example, one look at the SGML specification is enough to convince
          > us that Charles Goldfarb has a lot to live down. If he wanted to
          > show the
          > contrast between his past offenses and his present niceness, he would
          > become "Chuck".
          > If he were already Chuck Goldfarb, he would become Chuckie Goldfarb.
          > If he were already Chuckie Goldfarb, he would either have to
          > choose one of
          > the wildcard nicknames (Bubba, Bud, Skeeter, Doc, Slick, Tiny) or totally
          > hit rock bottom and use simply his initial: "C. Goldfarb".

          Very funny, but off-topic, Seany.
        • Berosik, Gary
          Hear, Hear! From a person that has known about the Bozo Bit antipattern for some time, I d like to add my admiration for a response masterfully done! :) GaryB
          Message 4 of 6 , Jan 9, 2004
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            Hear, Hear!

            From a person that has known about the Bozo Bit antipattern for some time,
            I'd like to add my admiration for a response masterfully done! :)

            GaryB

            -----Original Message-----
            From: Lucas Gonze [mailto:lgonze@...]
            Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2004 7:10 PM
            To: rss-dev@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [RSS-DEV] Re: "Reborn into a world that's grown up"


            Holy cow. That one of the finest flames I have ever seen.

            - Lucas^H^H^Hke Gonze

            On Thursday, Jan 8, 2004, at 20:00 America/New_York, Sean M. Burke
            wrote:

            > At 04:35 AM 2004-01-06, Bill Kearney wrote to Dave(y) Winer:
            >> [...]It's YOU Dave, that's been unable to work with others,
            >> backstabbed
            >> them, insulted them and in general heaped nothing but FUD and abuse
            >> upon
            >> them and their efforts.
            >
            > This touches on a serious problem: the bozo bit
            > (<http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?SetTheBozoBit>) in the online world is quite
            > sticky. That is, once you (e.g., Dave Winer) have convinced people
            > you're a
            > fool, they stay convinced. It becomes a visceral reaction: show people
            > the
            > string "From: Dave Winer" and they will grit their teeth. And some say
            > that
            > this is as it should be.
            >
            > ...and so on ...
          • derekmoore333
            I personally have no grudge against Mr. Winer. Frankly, I see more absurd complaining about him (like your post and those of others on their blogs) which
            Message 5 of 6 , Jan 9, 2004
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              I personally have no grudge against Mr. Winer. Frankly, I see more
              absurd complaining about him (like your post and those of others on
              their blogs) which annoys me much more. Just my 2 cents . . .
              ahem . . . :)

              --- In rss-dev@yahoogroups.com, "Sean M. Burke" <sburke@c...> wrote:
              > At 04:35 AM 2004-01-06, Bill Kearney wrote to Dave(y) Winer:
              > >[...]It's YOU Dave, that's been unable to work with others,
              backstabbed
              > >them, insulted them and in general heaped nothing but FUD and
              abuse upon
              > >them and their efforts.
              >
              > This touches on a serious problem: the bozo bit
              >
              > blah blah blah
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