|The stupid question is the question not asked|
Hang on a second. You might be reading more into this than I intended.
We already have tools to keep an eye on blatantly offensive or other objectionable nodes. Friars and above help moderate content; janitors clean up titles, add <CODE;> tags, and handle other clean-up.
We routinely edit (reap) nodes that are inflammatory, obscene, and personally directed. There are no hard and fast rules, so we leave it to the community--or appropriate enpowered users--to work together and decide what to do with the material. While we occassonally have problems, the community leans toward tolerance more than conservatism.
Today's anti-handle activities suggests that the same sort of trollish behavior that leads to routinely reaped and edited nodes could be applied to handles. (To some degree, it already has.)
Consider, for example: Suppose you personally dislike the word "bozo" and want to go ballistic whenever you see someone called a bozo. Now, suppose someone signs on as "RedmistIsABozo," just to take a swipe at you--for whatever reason.
You'd be seeing that everytime you hit ran across a node they posted. Think about the situation for a moment. We don't like name calling, we strongly discourage "questionable" content (using whatever yeardstick).
If I posted a node saying "You're a bozo, Redmist!" then it would most likely get reaped. (BTW, I'm just using you as an example; you're not really a bozo.)
In reality, the node would probably the voted down and left alone, but what if you replace "bozo" with one of George Carlin's Seven Words? Go on, be creative.
My idea is a proactive one. Designed to determine whether or not we need tools to keep an eye on handles in the same fashion that we keep an eye on content. Tools similar to the ones we've already agreed to.
I am not, in any way, shape, or form saying that anyone's right of propriety is better than anyone else's, nor am I asking the Monastery to submit to some right-winged conservatism (compassionate or not). Instead, I'm wondering if we shouldn't have the same level of community-input on handles that we do over content.
After all, I can think of various handles that I would find offensive but would not publically object to. (Actually, there are a few already.) I can also think of many that I would patently and vocally object to.
Unlike the CB, there's no global /ignore flag. Every time someone posts using a patently offensive handle, we'd all see it. So, now that you've thought of a really creative handle, imagine what you'd think seeing it on a regular basis.
If that handle were violent, personally insulting, or otherwise trollish, there is little we could do today, save lobbying vroom until it got taken down. As we saw this morning, a large number of such handles could be registered in short order. Furthermore, as was done today, the registrant could log in and out and play games in with the ChatterBox and with posting.
I believe there are lines that we've already agreed to, lines that we will not accept anyone crossing over. And we've lobbied for tools for making sure those lines aren't crossed.
I'm simply asking whether or not it's worth developing similar tools for handle selection. Tools to be used by trusted people working together to draw a consensus about the next action. Is it censorship? Yes, absolutely. But, it's community (or rather, team) driven, not dictatorial. We use the same approach to censor as a community; we just call it moderation.
The system isn't perfect, but it's getting better. I think these tools would help strengthen it further, provided they were community--and not individually--based.
As a side benefit, we could use these tools to--again, as a group--discuss whether or not old, unused handled could be recycled and used by other people.