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Re: Posting "Other Users..."

by footpad (Monsignor)
on Apr 10, 2001 at 07:55 UTC ( #71252=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Posting "Other Users" on potential personality voters from now on

I was going to stay out of this until I noticed the update you made to the node in question.

I sympathize with your frustration; unfairness and injustice are difficult to accept in any form. Also, I know you're not the only person this happens to.

However, I wonder if you're taking the most effective approach toward solving the problem. Updating the node in question with the Scarlet Monk list seems a little unfair to those who aren't doing this.

In some ways, you're raising the spectre of the HUAC. "Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Personality Voting Cult?"

I find this interesting in light of something you once posted in response to an idea of mine:

I'm not here for the XP. I'm here to get and give advice and be part of a community.

Do you really believe that folks like jcwren, zdog, ZZamboni, TStanley, and PsychoSpunk would do this? Also, I noticed that you edited tilly's name from the list. Interesting. It's possible to read that as implying that you trust him, but not anyone else you listed.

Is that what you were meaning to communicate? If not, is it possible that it would have been wise to wait awhile before posting list of the Usual Suspects?

I respect your knowledge and the help you offer this and the larger Perl community. I appreciate all you've done for anyone with an ear to listen. However, I'm a little startled that you would not provide the monks not doing this with the same courtesy that you expect. Would you treat your clients this way? How about your best friends? If not, then why treat those trying to be your peers?

I'm not concerned about finding my name on your list. I fully realize that I'm still proving myself to you. However, I am disappointed to see that you extend (and willingly broadcast) an apparent distrust to other members of our community, members I believe have fully demonstrated as strong a commitment to the Monastery and its ideals that you have.

If you want to solve this problem, once and for all, would it not be wiser to quietly collect data, correlate activities, and determine more specific suspicions rather than using the shotgun of suspicion toward every monk you don't trust?

I spoke with a couple of other monks about this privately and, with certain urging (and a clue), did a bit of research into some older threads. I found an interesting one containing this quote by Corion:

The people who ... do not actively and repeatedly contribute to Perlmonks are a part of us, just as Anonymous Coward and Trolls are a part of Slashdot.

It's a little out of context, but I think there's a point here, one that you either choose to ignore or that you repeatedly miss. A point I tried to make last October when I first started slouching about. There is more than one way to earn respect. You give so much to the community that you will get a certain amount of negative reaction, reaction from people like (forgive me for naming names) bravismore, mr_leisure, DiscoStu, and similar people. Is it fair? Is it right? No.

However, I ask the same of your choice to post the Scarlet Monk list. Sherlock Holmes is quoted as claiming that it is a capital mistake to theorize in the absence of data. It may be wise to consider taking a slow, methodical approach and to use more than a single data point when casting aspersions.

It's right to root out and prevent unfair and unjust behavior. As Dr. King said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice anywhere."

However, I do think that by casting a wide net, you do a disservice to those monks who aren't doing this. I do not believe it will "catch" the offenders in this case. Please reconsider your tactics, if only to show respect for those monks who may be able to earn your trust, or at least your respect some day.


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Re: Re: Posting "Other Users" on potential personality voters from now on
by PsychoSpunk (Hermit) on Apr 10, 2001 at 09:17 UTC
    Wow, hadn't looked back at the "NIQ" so I didn't realize that I had made it into a post by merlyn. I wish that I could own up to personality voting, in fact, because at least then, I'd be in the post with some validity. I ran out of votes earlier today, because SHOCKER there was actually some discussion and questions that I found to be useful!

    footpad, when I do get votes I will vote you up. I will vote jcwren up. And I will vote the root node here down. There, merlyn I have come out and said that I am going to vote you down. I think that right now, you need honesty from people. We're a bunch of faceless bits that you choose to interact with on a day to day basis, and likewise, everyone I've listed in my previous sentences are faceless bits to me that I like to interact with. Unfortunately for you, your personal life is subject to headlines. As such, I can only imagine the effect of the personality voting along with any other blows to your ego (in the Freudian sense of self) coupled with serious issues isn't quite the most pleasant experience.

    My point is, I have made attempts in the CB before to emphatically state that you have the right to be terse, rude, or anything else you please. jcwren's point is that voting keeps it all accountable. footpad's point is that he's struggling in keeping his level of respect considering his view that you are blatantly disservicing the unwritten rule of not archiving the CB or Other Users nodelets. And my final note is that I happened to wander into the monastery with messages of how your post had been hit with a -3 reputation. I'm not angry that my name is listed amongst the "accused". I'm just disappointed that in this community that you choose to participate in, you don't know a list of names that have been around for some time and have probably mentioned at one time or another that they either don't downvote, or don't have issue with you, or generally just don't vote for you one way or the other. It makes me wonder what you see as your role in this community.

    Update: I just got downvoted. I thought about posting the list in Other Users right now, you know for irony. Then I realized that I'd just be wasting my time. I'm just going to chock it up to somebody who probably isn't happy with my comments.


Re (tilly) 2: Posting "Other Users" on potential personality voters from now on
by tilly (Archbishop) on Apr 10, 2001 at 08:25 UTC
    I actually arrived just as merlyn left, so I strongly doubt I was in Other Users when he took the snapshot. Therefore I think your accusation that he took me (or anyone in particular) out of the list is both unfair and in all likelyhood incorrect. In fact had I been there, I suspect my name would have appeared in the list without comment.

    As for the rest, he posted a list and made it clear that most on that list were not downvoting him, but there were some who had. He didn't say that he suspected any of them in particular. It is unreasonable to assume (as many apparently have) that he has singled out that list of people and cast a mental blot on their names. What he is saying is that if he does this a few times, he will get an idea of who some likely candidates are.

    Which he probably will. With some room for false postives. But in a few iterations, taking into account the people who are always around, he will probably get a reasonable idea. of a few.

    And frankly, while I don't like the tone of the response, he has so far done a better job of analysis than the people criticizing him. He was voted down 3 times, fast, on a node with useful information. (Namely the contact address through which O'Reilly wants to receive typo corrections on their books.) That means 3 login accounts at least. And it wasn't the quality of the node that was in question, so all things considered it was almost certainly personal. Care to take odds that 2-3 of them were still around when he took his chatter snapshot...?

    When I see him post a conclusion that I doubt, I will be first to tell him publically that I do not agree with him. But that hasn't happened yet.

    And flipping your theorizing request around, if it is unfair for him to leap to the theory that everyone on that list is downvoting unreasonably, isn't it equally unfair to leap to the theory that he thinks that?

      I actually arrived just as merlyn left, so I strongly doubt I was in Other Users when he took the snapshot.

      I thought you were. If I was mistaken, I apologize--freely.

      As for the rest, he posted a list and made it clear that most on that list were not downvoting him...

      Yes...and I believe he could have been more considerate of those who were not personality voting. I believe he knee-jerked; I called him on it. I stand by that call, for I do not believe that, in this case, the means do justify the end. Three monks were rude; he listed 21. That's a 7:1 innocence ratio. Pardon me, but I thought that sort of crud went out with Salem and HUAC.

      When I see him post a conclusion that I doubt, I will be first to tell him publically that I do not agree with him. But that hasn't happened yet.

      Then we see things slightly differently on this one. That's a good thing. I shouldn't have to wait for you to call him on something before I express my disappointment over his behaviour. I expect to be held to certain standards; so should he.

      And flipping your theorizing request around, if it is unfair for him to leap to the theory that everyone on that list is downvoting unreasonably, isn't it equally unfair to leap to the theory that he thinks that?

      A fair point, one I will accept. However, I believe that if any other monk had posted the origin of this thread, it would have been placed into Consideration and promptly reaped without a second thought.

      And *that* is what irks me most. merlyn rightly feels aggravated; however, he should not be allowed to be any more disrespectful or trollish than the rest of us. It's certainly his right, but I don't think he should be accorded any special treatment due to his 'nym nor his stature in the community. When he posts stuff I find to be cr@p, I will call him on it. And including 18 innocents to find three dipweeds that might not even have been logged in at that moment strikes me as cr@p.

      (Apologies to chipmunk for the rhetoric, but this is how I see it. We're all asked to adhere to the same standards and those that don't or refuse to create more problems than they solve.)


        I don't know how the community would react were it someone other than merlyn.

        I can only say how I would react.

        And on this I don't have a double-standard. When I was just starting here, I ran into a few problems myself. I know what a pain it is. And every time this comes up my sympathies are with the person or people who are experiencing personality voting. There are possible technical solutions. I have never been convinced that they would be a bad idea.

        Incidentally reading that thread again, it is clear that from the start my opinions have remained consistent. I don't like voting on the personality. The reasons why I don't like it have remained pretty much the same. And I don't like it whether or you you are voting for or against the person.

        FWIW right now I am inclined to give merlyn more of a break than usual at the moment. Not because he is merlyn, but because I know he is going through a lot of crap at the moment and I know how stressed people overreact. Not that I think that changed how I reacted in this case, but it is a point worth mentioning.

      The only name I edited from the list was my own, which is obviously excluded because I can't vote on my own posts. {grin}

      I wish to eliminate personality voting. I've asked vroom to implement technical solutions, and he hasn't, either for lack of will or time.

      So I'm doing it another way. If I post the list of people on each time I get personality downvoted, eventually the culprit can be narrowed down. It's simple logic.

      Sure, I could have done all this in private, then posted an article with my conclusions, but I think if I capture the raw data, you can all conclude the same thing.

      I fully expect to be downvoted when I'm wrong. But when I've given a brief, factual, correct statement as I did earlier today, to have gotten -3 in 5 minutes is a disservice to the others trying to sort fact from fiction in the Monestary. The XP system fails when personality voting is permitted. I intend to at least reveal the offenders, even if I can't do anything about it.

      And to repeat what I've said frequently in the CB:

      • I do not care about my personal total XP!
      It's just silly that a posting gets downgraded simply because it says "by merlyn" at the top. That's just completely confusing, and an abuse of the XP system. I want that to stop. And I want to start by identifying the culprits.

      I will post an uncensored list from now on, for each posting that gets -XP right away when I can't see a reason. For example, I bet this post will get -XP right away, because I'm stepping on toes (and you know who you are).

      I've had time to think this over, and I now believe I'm doing the right thing. vroom has the power to make it stop, and has not. So now I take it into my own hands.

      -- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker

        Out of curiosity, I voted ++ on the node in question (my fourth vote of the day, which is about all I really spend). It bumped the reputation to 4.

        There are plenty of people who work through Worst Nodes every day or two, voting up nodes that don't deserve to be in negative territory. (And more people should do that -- there are a lot of posts that should stay at zero, in my opinion, instead of -2 or lower.) I suspect that you have very few posts at zero, and maybe a handful at -1.

        It's not a failure of the voting system if, over sufficient time, the aggregate voting patterns of the monastery as a whole will tend to give you more positive votes than negative votes. Many many more.

        I'd say that provoking you into a reaction is reward enough for the few consistent downvoters you describe. Hit the button, watch merlyn hit the ceiling every few weeks.

        I only speak for myself, but I don't consider "personality downvoting" to be a problem. Has it happened to me? I dunno. It doesn't really matter. I'd be perfectly content if I could make the XP nodelet go away altogether, which seems to me to be a better solution than looking for maybe only one bored apple in a whole orchard.

        Update: Oh, and I've posted a couple of poor-quality nodes that have received more upvotes than they deserve. Personality upvoting ain't so bad, and the system permits that too. Free will can suck.

        I'm not going to express an opinion one way or the other here, because I think I can see both sides and haven't made my mind up yet, but there is one pertinent question I think I have to ask:

        merlyn, let's suppose this becomes quite regular, and you generate your list on a regular basis. And let's say it does get whittled down to one or two suspects. (Big ifs, I think, especially since you assume it's the same people doing it regularly, which may or may not be the case).

        What happens then? Do you publish their names on your home node? Do you set up a list of "Merlyn's Most Wanted"? (Although, that would be a giggle :)

        Also, what is going to constitute proof? How many times do you have to see their names? As I see it, you never have anything more than circumstantial evidence, which could inflame opinion (as it obviously is doing) if you ever did publish a list of the culprits.

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