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  • Apr 20, 2022 @ 06:29am


    Please read my other comments. Yes, trolls are a problem that needs a solution. The solution is end-user filtering, not centralized moderation by Keepers Of The Truth. I proposed a mechanism whereby each reader gets to provide feedback on every post (if they choose to), allowing downvoting of bad comments (trolls and other defects) to make them less visible. I won't repeat the details here.

  • Apr 20, 2022 @ 06:26am

    For what reason should Twitter allow a “debate” about whether Black or trans people are actually people?

    Because, obviously, some people beleive that. And that idea needs to be challenged.

  • Apr 19, 2022 @ 08:54am

    Re: profound level of misunderstanding.

    To the extent we're talking past each other, I agree, Mike. I'm talking about free speech and its value in making society better. Free speech is part of the pacakage of Enlightenment ideas that has transformed the world and given us all vastly greater freedoms than our ancestors had. Free speech is necessary to debunk wrong ideas. Homosexual marriage is legal today because the ideas that prevented it were openly discussed and debunked. Moderation that prevents discussion of "bad" ideas cripples society's error-correction mechanism. Revenge porn isn't an "idea" that's discussed. Posting it is an act. Plotting real-world harassment is conspiracy to commit crime. (And would you rather have bad actors plot such things openly where authorities can track them down and victims become forewarned, or would you rather push it to the Darknet?) Enabling open discusions of "bad" ideas (which we may one day decide are "good" ideas) doesn't require that we also permit real-world crime.

  • Apr 19, 2022 @ 08:45am

    Re: aren’t they entitled to decide who they do not wish to associate with

    Yes, private platforms (including Twitter and Techdiret) are enttitled to moderate and ban as they see fit. It's their house - they can set the rules. But it's not wise if the goal is to have productive and insightful conversations, and to discover new truths via rational debate. Re misinformation causing real harm - yes. That's the price of free speech, and part of the price of liberty. Liberty ain't cheap. But I'll still take it.

  • Apr 19, 2022 @ 08:32am

    “jerk” versus “person who supports a jerk”

    We face a deeply bifurcated set of opinions among those who are vocal online. There are a bunch of trigger words that seem to turn off the brains of many people - for example "Trump" and "socialism". We can and should debate the ideas of Trump and of socialism, taking them apart one by one, and seeing which are valid and which are false. We can't do that by immediately labling anyone who says antything nice about either one - however narrow or conditional - as a "jerk" or evil or an enemy. I suggest that those unable to do that should be ignored in any serious discussions aimed at understanding truth and improving society.

  • Apr 19, 2022 @ 08:24am

    Re ‘just leave it to the community’ will quickly drive most of them away due to the sort of content they’d be facing on a daily basis.

    The idea is that every reader has the opportunity to provide feedback to the community on every post. Bad posts from bad posters would get voted down quickly and shown to very few people. The rate of viewing really bad posts ought to be low. Of course those with weak stomachs could set their threshold higher. (See how Slashdot does it.)

  • Apr 19, 2022 @ 08:22am

    Re: Which ideas are those, pray tell? Be very fucking specific.

    OK, for example "Gays should be imprisoned and have their civil rights taken away". I read that as an example somewhere on the Internet just a few minutes ago. Most people in most countries agred with that thru most of history. That changed in the last 50 years because of free speech - the ideas behind it were challenged and defeated. Without free speech we can't correct our errors. (BTW, when you use words like "fucking" and "bullshit", even tho not directed at me or anyone else, it makes you sound angry, intolerant, and irrational. It's part of what makes peopel perceive you as "a jerk" (quoting from Mike's post yesterday). You'd have more success concinving people if sounded cooler-headed and more rational.)

  • Apr 19, 2022 @ 08:14am

    Re: Yeah, well, I’m still not gonna let you post on my blog.

    I wasn't aware you had a blog, let alone that you've banned me. What was I said that earned your ban?

  • Apr 19, 2022 @ 08:12am

    Gay people

    Your example isn't about truth - it's about a policy opinion. The second opinion is repugnant to most people. The first one was repugnant to many people 100 years ago. And 1000 years ago. That change for the better was due to free, and at the time highly contentious, speech. Whatever people's opinions, they must have some reasons for having them. Those reasons can only be challenged if the opinion can be discussed in the first place. BTW, you could be more polite (less of what Mike called "a jerk") in your postings than you are. I haven't been rude to you.

  • Apr 18, 2022 @ 06:35pm

    It's OK to be a jackass

    ...but be a POLITE jackass.

  • Apr 18, 2022 @ 06:29pm

    I agree

    Yes, the problem is that lots of people are jerks. They aren't polite. They don't honor the Principle of Charity. They name-call and cheer for their side. The fall for and promote every logical fallacy in the book. And more. All incompatible with reasoned argument and honest search for truth. We all do it to some extent. Some of us are better behaved than others. But all of use would behave better if there were consequnces to being a jerk. Few of us would behave this way with people we know in real life - if only for fear of getting punched in the nose. But MODERATION isn't a solution, it's just a way of killing unpopular ideas. Most of the ideas we cherish were once unpopular. The solution is FILTERING, by end users. And fliltering based on politeness, among many other things. Every reader should get to vote on every post they see - vote on accuracy, reasonableness, polieness, willingness to listen, seplling accuracy...and more. Weight those votes according to the scores of the readers doing the voting - people who themselves behave well should get more weight than jerks. Then present those scores to other readers so they can decide who to listen to. And who to ignore. But it's the READERS who must make those decisions. Not Guardians Of The Truth. There can be no such things.

  • Apr 18, 2022 @ 06:19pm

    Re: That's a true statement

    I'm not saying that everything is shades of grey. Of course some statements are true, others are false, and many are somewhere in-between. I'm saying there's no objective, outside way of determining what is or isn't true. Sure, it's raining. I agree. You agree. How do we convince a 3rd person who thinks it's all a Hollywood effect? All we can do is present the evidence. A reaonsable person will probably agree with us. But not always. And if they don't, there's no 3rd party arbiter who can say, in general, X is true and Y is false. It's easy for rain (putting aside drizzle and mist). For lots of things it's not so easy. It never can be. But we need to let people argue it out so those of use who can't look outside for ourselves can find out.

  • Apr 18, 2022 @ 12:52pm

    There is no objective way to determin truth

    ...short of mathematics and physical sciences (and even then it's really hard!). Free speech is necessary to any democracy - if those who disagree with the status quo and reigning orthodoxies can't speak up and make their arguments, society can't adopt better ideas and policies. Free speech has costs. It inveitably enables lots of BS, misinformation, hate speech, and other nonsense. That's the nature of the beast. But we have to put up with that haystack if we want to ever find the occasional needle of wisdom. Moderation is not the answer. End-user filtering is the answer. Let all speak their mind - bullshit, misinformation, hate, and all. Let listeners judge.

  • Apr 04, 2022 @ 10:17am

    FOIA requests can be used to harass

    Some people use the FOIA process to harass public officials. It's a fact - if you've hung around local government much you've probably seen it more than once. Suing probably isn't best response, but I don't know what practical alternatives there are. As for "the public will pay for the production of the records, so complaints about expenses are nothing more than indications these agencies would prefer to serve the public even less", that's pretty disingenuous. If it's spent on responding to frivoulus FOIA requests, it can't be spent on whatever else the public wanted it to be spent on.

  • Mar 30, 2022 @ 09:35am

    Karl, you're really down on Starlink

    Karl, you seem really down on Starlink generally - not just in this post. I don't get why. It's almost like you're a shill for the incumbent telecoms that it competes against (I'm not accusing you - it just sounds that way.) Sure, it's not a magic wand that fixes all the world's broadband problems, but it's an immense advance over the status quo. It's the only practical low-latency solution for rural people. You should be cheering them on (and their competitors such as OneWeb too), not dissing them. Re specifics:

    • There are no "Dragon engine production woes". Dragon is SpaceX's crew capsule. It has nothing to do with Starlink - you're thinking of Raptor engines for the new Starship rocket. (The production problem seems to be mostly solved now. Starship will help bring Starlink's price down once it's working.)
    • Orbital satellites were invented in 1957, 65 years ago. Did you really think the sky was going to remain pristine and empty forever? Did you also expect never to see the sight of airplanes marring the beauty of clouds after the Wright Brothers invented airplanes in 1903? The fact that we see few satellites today is a sign of the retarded development of space travel compared to aviation. But eventually Earth's skies were always bound to be filled with spacecraft - it has always been just a question of when. The fact that it's finally happening now is a welcome sign of progress.
    Astronomers, like everyone else, love to whine about every inconvenience, but they have lots of options, and low-orbit satellites are only a photography problem near sunrise/sunset (the rest of the time the satellites are in the Earth's shadow and invisible). Serious scientific astronomy will move off Earth altogther, for the same reason professional telescopes are sited far from from city light pollution. That's a good thing - nobody reasonable wants to go back to cities without electric light (a few astronomers excepted!). Nor will we want to go back to a world without satellites all over the place. Be happy, Karl, - we don't live in a utopia, but things are getting better!

  • Mar 30, 2022 @ 09:07am

    If the problem is "affordability", the problem is not about broadband

    Access to competitive broadband in rural areas is one thing. "Affordability" is another thing entirerly. If people can't afford stuff offered on a competitive (not monopolistic) basis, it's because they don't have enough money. Totally. Different. Problem. Maybe we want to subsidise people who live in rural areas, maybe not. Maybe we want to give poor people money, maybe not. But don't point your finger at "broadband" and say that's a problem, if it's available competitively. Broadband is a neccessity of modern life, just like electricity, housing, food, and clothing. If some people can't afford it, that's because they don't have enough money. It's not a problem with the broadband.

  • Feb 17, 2022 @ 07:14pm

    Re: Re: Can better disclosure solve this?

    The new ones that would be started to take advantage of the customers looking for that. If buyers knew what they were, and weren't, getting. Don't underestimate the power of money sitting on the table waiting to be picked up.

  • Feb 17, 2022 @ 08:04am

    Can better disclosure solve this?

    It seems to me this problem is partly (mostly?) insufficient disclosure to buyers about what they're getting.

    I don't think anybody expects their Alexa or Google Home to keep working if Amazon or Google goes out of business, any more than people think that (purchased, wired) telephones will keep working if the phone company goes out of business (or owners don't they don't pay their bill). I think people know these are just "terminals" for a backend service.

    But for things like "purchased" books or films on streaming services, that clarity doesn't seem to be there. If there were more required disclosure about what you're getting I suspect buyers would flock to services that offer a plan for how the buyer keeps their purchase in the event of service provider bankrupcy, etc.

    I'm a fan of free markets, but not of fraud - markets work only when the rules of honest dealing are enforced by government.

  • Feb 07, 2022 @ 08:51am

    Never attribute to malice...

    ...that which is sufficiently explained by incompetence.

    I think people here vastly underestimate the incompetence of software designers at car companies. They just barely get the comptuers working at all, without any real internal standards or architectual clarity. Simply put, they're half-competent hacks (of course there are some outliers, but not a lot).

    It doesn't help that Big Tech sucks up most of the compentent programmers willing to work for big burecratic companies.

    Te car companies CAN'T comply with the law because their software is so poorly engineered in the first place, not flexible enough to accomodate the law's requirements, and will take literally years of effort to make complaint with the law (I say "make compliant" rather than "fix" because if they ever do it, it'll be by more half-competent hacking).

    Go read the court expert's report on the Prius software.


    (Yes, Tesla is an exception. Tesla is Big Tech and has competent software engineers. But they sell computers with wheels as a perihperal, not cars with a computer.)

  • Feb 02, 2022 @ 06:42am

    Re: what the law in Japan says it must

    I think you're implying that Japanese law says the if they don't pursue infringers Toei could lose the right to enforce their copyright. If that's really the case, I also have some sympathy for them. But such a law is idiotic, needless, and ought to be changed immediately. Any copyright owner ought to be able to say "we will permit unlicensed use in situation <x>", without losing rights to license in other situtations that are <not x>. I don't see how even Hollywood executives could rationally oppose such a legal change.

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