Dave Hayes wrote:
> > As for definitions, yours is wrong; the correct definition can be
> > found at:
> > http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/jargon/html/entry/troll.html
> Just who decided this is the "correct" definition? I would accept
> "consensual", but not "correct". I define a troll differently
> (and more generally), so perhaps this is the source of our
> differences. ;)
It's the consensus that a consensus defines correctness. 8-).
> > Some parts of human psychology are hard-wired. You point about
> > the ideas is valid, but so is the fact that most people can
> > remove from their consciousness an idea by destroying the source;
> > if you destroy what you fear or do not understand, it is no longer
> > something begging to be understood, nor something to fear. By
> > destroying the source, you destroy the idea, in effigy.
> This is something only time and evolution will solve. *shrug*
I disagree. There are no counter-pressures, unless you make
it evolutionarily disadvantageous to be a troll, by removing
trolls from the gene pool before they have an opportunity to
> > Rosseau's Theory of the Social Contract permits the state
> > to take such actions as it deems necessary for the common
> > good.
> Just why is this Theory more correct than others?
It's axiomatic in any society that accepts it.
> > Thus trolls serve the most oppresive minority of society by
> > triggering measures which can be justified to the majority,
> > but once in place, abused to oppress *any* dissent.
> You look at this as a forced action. I look at this as the test for
> the next evolutionary level of community. If the community can
> withstand even the toughest troll and yet refrain from implementing
> such draconian and fascist measures, that community is on a higher
> evolutionary level than it's counterparts.
And if not, we'll throw them up against the wall and remove
the genes that permit such dissent to arise in the first
place. Either way, "problem solved"? That's like arguing
"Jeffrey Dahlmer was testing the social acceptability of
cannibalism in order to help society grow, not because he
was a nut who ate people".
In the limit, though, no one in the majority minds a fasciest
state. So deleting the minority is topologically equivalent to
tolerating them, and it all comes down to what bothers the
majority least, option A or option B. Up the level of irritation
sufficiently, and option B wins, no matter what. If you believe
in reincarnation, come back in a couple thousand years, and try
> Personally, if I can help it, I refrain from participating in
> communities with such measures in place. I find that real information
> is more accurately conveyed in the open arena, with all ranges of
> people (from the "STFU" d00d to the multisyllabic pleonastic
> pontificator) being allowed equal access to the mindshare.
If you like anarchy, you can always go hang out where anarchy
is welcome, instead of where it is not...
> Trolls are a necessary consequence to a community of individuals which
> provide evolutionary pressure that benefits everyone in the long
> run. They are not glorified, they should not also be villified. They
> simply exist. Why waste energy seeing them any other way?
Why punch the guy with the ghetto blaster on the public subway
in the face, and smash the ghetto blaster to bits?
The answer: "Because it is a public subway".
Some people are members of communities not by choice, but by
necessity, e.g. "The only way from point A to point B is to
go through the middle".
In "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home", Sopck Vulcan nerve-pinches
a punk (Margaret Thatcher's son, actually), and turns off his
radio. The people on the bus (and in the theater) cheered.
The people on the bus had no choice but to be there, and the
punk made the experience miserable for them, to no benefit to
> > No. You can not tar a positive-sum community with a brush
> > which applies only to zero-sum ideologues.
> Heh, I don't think we are arguing sums and results here.
> I assert the following. You take any large random group of people,
> some subset of them have common interests. This group forms a
> community. The anti-group is also formed (by implication if you
> must). That's how it works. Members of the anti-group are
> not-in-contact, and trickle into the group as trolls and kooks.
And the sherrif throws them in jail, and they leave, or the
sherrif throws them in jail, and they learn their lesson, or
the sherrif throws them in jail, and the townfolk show up
that evening, carrying torches, and hang them from the tree
just outside of town as a warning to the next one.
The recent spate of trolls on the FreeBSD mailing lists also
belies your theory: if your theory were correct, they would
have been there all along, and not be a relatively recent
phenomenon. How do you explain that away?
> > There's a cost for everything, isn't there? The trick is to
> > choose actions which result in outcomes with the highest total
> > sum, even if that leaves you with a lower individual sum in the
> > short term.
> In short, "he who dies with the most toys wins"? That I don't buy.
That's an incorrect paraphrasing of my statement. The highest
total sum is the *net* sum for all members of the society. An
individual is expected to conform to social norms.
> Come on. You haven't even defined a number space and what direction is
> positive here. Personally, even for my overworkable brain, I think
> there are too many variables and too many dimensions involved for any
> meaningful talk about "higher sum" or "better". Some people do well
> talking about this, but I always find them ignoring some non-zero
> segment of the population to do this effectively.
It has high complexity, but it's easily modelled with nonlinear
> The real "better", if it exists, exists for everyone.
The avowed racist and the cannibal?
That's like the PETA representative, who, when forced to
address the issue of tigers eating other animals, said "Can't
we just teach them to eat grass?".
> This is highly general I'll admit. As applicable to FreeBSD, it's a
> bit easier to define your domain of comparison so that you can see
> what is "better" or "worse"...if you are well studied computer
> experts like most of us.
> Still, Microsoft (damn them) has the highest market share...even tho
> they leave much to be desired as a computer software company...people
> -still- buy their products when better free ones exist. We computer
> experts don't understand this, but it illustrates quite nicely that
> there are more dimensions of optima to "better" than we can quantify.
Normatively better free ones *do not* exist. Techincally
better, yes; normatively better, no.
> > In reality, the idea that you can always go from any equilibrium
> > point to another, traversing the distance in evolutionary steps,
> > is just so much bullshit.
> At the scales of time we currently can perceive, I agree that we can't
> see any real benefit in this model. ;)
> Often when I have had arguments in this direction, it would seem that
> there are those who cannot accept the datum that our intelligence and
> brainpower do have upper bounds, and that there are things we cannot
> know even if we try. If you are one of those people, I can assure you
> we will agree to disagree on this line of thinking.
I never met a transhumanist I didn't like... ;^). In the
limit, you can always change your mind by brute-force changing
your mind. Changing what you want to want can be done on a
gross level right now, and fine control is likely not far off.
But for now, the upper bounds do exist, even if I won't agree
that the upper bounds are fixed.
> > Inevitably, the We Fear Change(tm) faction will lose.
> > If someone feels that strongly about the direction of an Open
> > Source project, then barring some legal issue that precludes it,
> > they should fork the project, and go off in their chosen direction.
> > If people are willing to follow, then they will follow, and if not,
> > then they will have to accept the fact that they are a minority,
> > and live with it. It's the people who are so attached to ego that
> > they can't live with that result, that become the trolls.
> This is still "anti-community" behavior, dont'cha know. It's the
> opposite of "support", the antithesis of "contribute". In any large
> collection of humans called a "community" you are going to have
> these. Never mind why (though it is interesting to discuss). Still,
> this phenomena is observable in any human endeavor and I claim it is
> part of the balancing of nature in the yin-yang dance of life.
The difference is that it's socially acceptable, just as it's
socially acceptable in the U.S. for Japan to continue to exist.
Thinks only get dicey if we start talking about Afghanistan and
Iraq, etc., these days.
> > Those trolls attack all *but* the project they favor, since they
> > have nothing else of value to offer their favored projects but
> > their presumed ability to interfere with the otherwise normal
> > function of the competing projects. Generally, though, these
> > trolls are impotent, and can't effectively achieve their goal.
> Some people are good at creation. Others are good at destruction.
> It is this latter category which fosters the troll you describe
> above. I would argue that this troll is a member of the opposing
> community who cannot contribute except by destruction. Since they
> do not want to destroy their own community, they attack others.
And, in self defense, they are themselves trashed by those
they attack. Seems acceptable to me. We have a number of Al
Qaeda members in a prison camp on the tip of Cuba on precisely
this premise. I have no problem whatsoever with that: they
are incapable of building what they want in their own country,
so they attempt to tear ours down, and we lock them up.
Unarmed English policement are rather ineffective against IRA
attacks -- "Stop! Or I shall yell `Stop!' again!" is hardly
On a similar note, we have ~1.6 million people in prision, and
another 4.4 million on probation in this country (~2.5% of the
total population). I have no problem with them being forcibly
removed from society for their failure to obey norms of human
People who can only contribute destruction should be removed
from the gene pool. Locking them away from the larger society
is an OK alternative, as long as when they escalate the issue,
society has the right to escalate as well.
To Unsubscribe: send mail to majordomo@FreeBSD.org
with "unsubscribe freebsd-chat" in the body of the message