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Re^2: I post to Perlmonks anonymously...

by Anonymous Monk
on Dec 05, 2006 at 16:29 UTC ( #587904=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re: I post to Perlmonks anonymously...
in thread I post to Perlmonks anonymously...

My reasons weren't listed either.

I want my posts to stand or fall on their own merits, not my personal reputation, for good or for ill.

People sometimes risk falling into a 'cult of personality' mentality. Too often, I feel that the message gets overshadowed by the messenger. I'm not happy with this state of affairs.

I post anonymously in an attempt to work around this quirk of the human psyche, and try to get a more honest reponse to my words. It's interesting and challenging; in my experience, anonymous posters are viewed as something of "second class citizens"; and I guess I've always been a fan of privacy, and of underdogs.

I've noted that the exact same posting seems to generate a better response if made under a newly invented pseudonym than if posted as the "anonymous" user. I haven't figured out exactly why, but the social behaviour interests me...


Comment on Re^2: I post to Perlmonks anonymously...
Re^3: I post to Perlmonks anonymously...
by throop (Chaplain) on Dec 05, 2006 at 16:43 UTC
    > the exact same posting seems to generate a better response if made under a newly invented pseudonym
    My experience on USENET is that a psuedonym that looks like a real name (Kurt Wallich or Crowder Thompson) gets more respect than an obvious psuedonym (LargeSpaceMonkey or Gravedigger) which still get more respect than psuedonyms that are unpronounceable or illegible (gR9jmlcrq or §¥ww«)

    throop

Re^3: I post to Perlmonks anonymously...
by Tanktalus (Canon) on Dec 07, 2006 at 22:01 UTC

    I'm not sure this is a bad thing. Often the messenger is part of the message. For example, if George "Dubya" Bush and Hillary Clinton both said "The war in Iraq is going well," different people would find that news more believable from one than the other. Or, even better, if they both said "We'll be out of Iraq soon," well, the interpretations of how that would happen would be vastly different. Based on the messenger.

    Closer to home, if someone posted something controversial about Perl 6, is it a bad thing that we take it seriously when posted by (among others) Ovid or TheDamian or TimToady, but with a grain of salt if posted by a known troll (in the spirit of not provoking a flamewar, I'll let the reader decide who they think is a known troll rather than sharing my opinions on who would fall under that category as it's not really relevant who, in particular, it is). Extend that a bit more, and we look at Anonymous Monks. These are treated with suspicion by many (myself included) just because there is an absence of credibility. Not just poor credibility, but a complete lack. There is no context to place the message against to help decipher how to interpret the words.

    As for the newly invented pseudonym, there are a couple factors here. First is the possibility of a history, thus context, being created. Second, the optimism that a new pseudonym is actually not only a new member, but has gone through the effort to "officially" join the club and be included, affords them a bit of leeway on the credibility, even if it's just the context of "I joined your group and am attempting to contribute to it." There is a presumed level of commitment that grows as the use of that pseudonym shows more posts, or even more time in the CB.

    If you're at work, and someone comes up to you to tell you you're fired, isn't important that you know who this person is when deciding how to react? e.g., your immediate manager, their manager, the department clown, someone you've never met, or someone with a bag over their head?

      Closer to home, if someone posted something controversial about Perl 6, is it a bad thing that we take it seriously when posted by (among others) Ovid or TheDamian or TimToady, but with a grain of salt if posted by a known troll

      Well, yes. I think that kind of assumption of authority can sometimes become a bad thing. Experts can still be wrong now and then, and annoying people like "trolls" can still occasionally be right. I understand that some people don't feel it's worth their time to consider the merits of every dubious seeming proposal; but on the other hand, that's sometimes where the best new ideas come from: where the experts don't look, and no one else dares.

      These are treated with suspicion by many (myself included) just because there is an absence of credibility. Not just poor credibility, but a complete lack.

      As for me, I dislike the entire notion of "credibility" in online debate; I don't want people to ever automatically assume I'm right (or wrong). I'd prefer that they examine my ideas to find out.

      If you're at work, and someone comes up to you to tell you you're fired, isn't important that you know who this person is when deciding how to react? e.g., your immediate manager, their manager, the department clown, someone you've never met, or someone with a bag over their head?

      Not really. All I need to know is whether or not he has the legal authority to fire me. If the guy in the clown suit can actually fire me, I'm fired regardless of how he looks.

      I'm pretty sure than everyone here has the legal authority to hold an opinion on Perlmonks -- even us strange guys with bags over our heads. Or maybe I'm just trying to hide the fact that I'm wearing a clown suit while posting this, and I like wearing big rubber noses! :-)

      You seem so proud of this stance. Someone should tell that it is nothing to be proud of. So I will.

      Deciding a message must be right, or must be wrong, on the basis of who posted it, really is laziness of the very worst kind. Group think of the lowest order.

      Neither theDamian nor TimToady would ever claim to be infallible, and their history shows that neither is afraid to admit their mistakes. And I'll bet that neither would be comfortable with your taking their word for anything, without taking the time to apply your own intellect to the matter and reach you own conclusions.

      Using others opinions as a lazy substitute for forming your own is the reason "Dubya" got his second term.

      Deciding what to believe, based upon your (cowardly unexpanded, and therefore unchallengable) personal beef with an authors previous writings, is exactly the kind of small-minded and predudicial thinking that marginalizes this world into warring factions at both the local and global scale. Nasty.

      Am I one of those people you've unilaterally condemned as a troll, without having the courage of your convictions to name? Or am I one of those who's opinions you so readily take as your own? Or am I just another anonymous monk for you to treat with suspicion.

      You'll just have to consult the "many" for whom you take leave to speak, and have them reach an opinion for you.

        It's lovely that you read so much into what I posted. Perhaps you're an idiot. Perhaps not. Perhaps I didn't explain myself properly. Perhaps it was explained just fine. Without context, it's somewhat difficult to tell which one is more likely. Even if we were to try to come to a conclusion based on a "preponderance of the evidence" - we have almost no evidence to base things on. You have no character to bring to trial (no, not a court of justice, but even a court of opinion). All we have is what you actually say - in absolute isolation. Perhaps you're the same as the previous anonymous monk. Perhaps not. We cannot assume. Even if you were to claim to be the same anonymous monk, there is nothing to substantiate this claim. At least with the "troll" monks, we can substantiate their character claims based on their login (admittedly fallible, but still substantial).

        If I find that I agree with someone most of the time, or disagree with that person most of the time, I can use that to predict (with reasonable certainty) whether I'll (dis)agree with them again in the future. Perfect? No. Prejudicial? Yes. Lazy? Hell, yes. Wrong? That's in the eye of the beholder, I suppose. I don't see a problem. Because if I were to spend time minutely investigating everything some well-known troll says, just to find out that this is, yet again, another troll, I wouldn't have time to learn things of serious value, or to spend with my family.

        Does that mean I agree with or like everything that TheDamian or TimToady says? No. Will I follow all of TheDamian's suggestions? Definitely not. I completely disagree with some of the things attributed to him in his book that I've read on PerlMonks. But I've found that, by and large, what he says makes sense and is well-defended, and will likely spend more time reading what he has to say about style and advanced perl programming (though maybe not political or anything I've not concluded he's a reasonable expert in yet) than, say, perl_lover_girl (the owner of the current "worst node of the year"). Not much different than how most monks are likely to read jesuashok's and madtoperl's posts with some skepticism about originality.

        The old adage, "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me" holds true in both directions. We're probably hypervigilant on plagiarism - but being accepting of experts of their expertise does not seem to be a problem.

        Am I proud of this stance? You seem ready to label me as such. I am not. Nor am I ashamed of it. I see no reason to be proud nor shamed by what I think is natural human tendency, especially when I see no better option that gets me better results for such a relatively small cost.

        You decry my convictions - how pathetic. I said why I didn't want to label people: just because I find someone to be trollish is no reason to make that a public label that may influence others to label them one way or another. I'm doing not much different than you - you don't want people to be influenced by your nick as to the value of your post, I don't want people to be influenced by my nick as to the value of these others - either positively or negatively. Except I'm following the other rule: if I have nothing nice to say about someone, I'm simply refraining from saying anything at all. Rather than taking potshots, hiding behind full anonymity, I'm stating my position, and staking it to my public persona. Sure, there is some pseudo-anonymity since my nick isn't associated directly with me, personally. But I'm betting there is more than one monk who could know the association between my nick and my real identity if they cared enough to pull it from their archives. A few choice google searches would probably expose the link as well. That said, this pseudonym I use here is already associated with my history on this site, something that remains for all to read/search through at any time. It is that "good name" that I keep, and it's that which provides my posts with context.

Re^3: I post to Perlmonks anonymously...
by Anonymous Monk on Dec 11, 2006 at 18:59 UTC
    People sometimes risk falling into a 'cult of personality' mentality. Too often, I feel that the message gets overshadowed by the messenger. I'm not happy with this state of affairs.
    Yep you're right! For some proof to back up your claim, Just look at how some of the later more intelligent questions from Nik and Win were handled. Their reputation ruined any chance of them ever getting a polite and correct answer.

    Of course this is posted anon to protect my XP. Now if only I had configured a proxy server to hide my real IP so no one could guess who I am.

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