This is for Steve. And Private Quentin. And whoever else  has nothing else to do but argue on Amazon’s fora on a Thursday night, when you all should be out drinking (which is what I’m doing, although fortunately the Duke of Somerset has WiFi).

I’m not Quentin.  I’m just me. Steve Ptasznik should lay off.

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Thursday November 08 2012at 03:11 pm , filed under misc . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

16 Responses to “Corroboration.”

  1. you should get twitter, much easier to verify this stuff x)

  2. Not only am I staying clear of Twitter, I’m seriously considering divesting myself from Facebook as well. There’s an instapoll and a blog entry simmering in my head on that very subject.

  3. Steve seems to be a variation on a troll that appears to feel he is amusing, as his latest post makes clear. Ah, the lovely pastime of arguing on the Tubes.

  4. Is it me or has there been a marked increase net-wide of trolls?
    The level of input and attempts at getting a rise out of people has definetly increased in the past few months.
    Not just here – but on all forums and boards. This is phenomena that is desperately in need of investigation.

  5. pG,

    Hm. I had noticed it, but I thought it was just that I was getting surlier.

  6. I think a lot of the trolls got their appetites whetted during the recent Endless Campaign, at least here in the States. With the campaigning done at last (at least for the next month or two), they don’t know what else to do with all of that partisan sniping instinct.

    This might be yet-another argument in support of neurodeterminism. I should probably hush up.

  7. You guys should come and check out Google+, has a nice little circles structure that does an excellent job of both weeding out trolls and discouraging those with such a tendency to become trollish. I’m having trouble finding a lively sci-fi community there, but the tabletop RPG community is on fire and it most of it is pretty rich and intelligent discussion (with a smattering of cat photos) rather than just “look at me” and “this is what I did” posts.

  8. @Peter Watts: My own sentiment was that whenever The Next Big Thing came along, is that I instantly get an account there in both my full Real Name as well as with an alias or three.

    This prevents people from hijacking your name/identity and playing deceptions against people who can’t be bothered to actually track down the particulars and veracity.

    I realize that not too many people nowadays use UseNet and most of them who do are accessing it through major news hubs which have excellent spam and fraud filter mechanisms, though of course nobody has ever managed to develop an actual Bozo Filter that works at the distribution sites. (For that, SLRN had an excellent newsreading killfile feature-set.) My point is, back in the days of Wild and Woolly UseNet, almost anyone had to learn to read the UseNet headers to be sure who exactly posted what, and where, and how it was routed to global distribution, etc. An excellent mental exercise all around.

    Still, once having locked in my identities, I have abandoned most of those sites. FaceBook in particular turned out to be worse than useless, it turned out to be (as I told them when I closed out the account) “an informational playground for the neighborhood Stalker Cult”. Hopefully you live in a much better neighborhood than I do.

    Consider that you might want to simply not use (yet still retain) your main FB account, but create a Fan page and/or a Marketplace page, as that is a great place to use to point people to new releases, etc.

    i also second the motion that you might want to try Google+, but enter that fray with a jaundiced eye, so to speak. Seriously understand their privacy model before you let yourself get too chatty. 😉

  9. walkerp,

    And the science blogging community is also pretty active.

  10. @walkerp
    Seconded, google+ is a haven of comparative sobriety from the twattersphere, and reconciled me with the whole “social network” concept (I’m more of an old-school ML/boards type of ranter, precisely because of the better S/N ratio and antitroll defense mechanisms).

    While not quite there yet on some aspects, the whole Circles thing allows to filter what to share with whom, both on-the-fly and in preset fashion, and with much less overhead than managing fora.
    Thanks to facebook taking the main of the noise for itself and being the default choice for “I had pizza, but I hate anchovies LOL” poasting, g+ also remains relatively self-selective, while the already-established userbase is large enough to set a tone/culture for newcomers to opt-in.

    No way to predict whether or how long it will hold before it devolves into another ad-infested trollfest, but for now, it’s in that sweet spot, and certainly worth a shot.

    Find me there if you care, same address.


  11. Bruce Sterling had this one novel in which the lead character is walking home, and someone tries to kill him. He escapes, runs home, there’s someone waiting there to try to kill him. The guy calls the cops and runs away, only to have someone else try to kill him. Later he’s talking to the cop, and someone else tries to kill him…

    Eventually he discovers that an AI search engine was tasked with getting him dead, and what it had done was to scan every last piece of internet correspondence or posting that it could find, and build a list of folks expressing in rather out-of-control psychotic terms, how much they hated his “kind” in general or him personally in particular. And then it e-mails them his schedule as posted on something rather like Twitter (he has to post these, he’s a campaign manager). And since the instigator is automation, as far as the trail can be backtracked, what can be done?

    Moral of the story? If you’re going to post your every last detail to the twitterverse, either be someone that nobody could possibly hate no matter how demented they are, or hire bodyguards. The easiest thing to do, of course, is to stick to essays and fiction, and outside of well-managed public appearances, keep a very tight lid on all personal details, especially as would indicate time-and-place either in the future, or to allow analysis of predictable patterns.

    But what fun is that? Once someone’s survived NF, random wackos should seem like small potatoes, so to speak. Then again, if they’re random wackos with PhDs in the organo-nanotech cross-over domains of genetic engineering and neurochemistry, possibly the only place you’d want them to be randomly able to find you would be in the “letters” section of some peer-review journal.

    Or consider Judo and the Art of Self-Government, and tweet only as provocation. 😀

  12. walkerp:
    You guys should come and check out Google+.

    I’ve actually been on Google+ for a while now — I use it about as deeply as I use fb these days (which is to say, as a linking service to announce new blog posts, and not much more). Still contemplating abandoning fb entirely (notice how I didn’t say “deleting my fb account”, because evidently those fuckers don’t let you do that) in favor of G+, vs just using them both as link services. But I am so fucking disgusted with the signal:noise in social media generally that I’m just a few steps away from saying fuck all of it: if anyone really wants me, they can come to the ‘crawl.

  13. Peter: I almost suggested writing a story about social-media rewiring the brain and turning everyone into Stepford Wives, but I think that’s been done many times already… starting (I think) with the Stepford Wives. (Ira Levin is totally under-rated, in my humble opinion.) See also his This Perfect Day, or Lucas’s extremely similar film “THX 1138”.

    FB’s outsized influence really struck home for me when they locally had to consider legislation to deal with the tendency of employers to actually require applicants to give out their FB login and password so that the potential employers could assess “match” and “fitness”. Why not just demand the key to peoples’ teen diaries and permission to unseal their juvenile record.

    Maybe a story about how a small percentage of the population isn’t interested in social-media and they quickly become persecuted outcasts, publicly reviled and relegated only to the most onerous of shit-work jobs? Hold it, been done: “A Mouse in the Walls of the Global Village”, by Dean R Koontz of all people, collected in “Again, Dangerous Visions”.

    Good points about FB’s policies: people who pass on while their FB accounts live “forever”, can be assigned to a frozen “memorial” status, meaning nobody can log-in and pose as them or vandalize the page.

  14. full on rant mode.

    Facebook is my least favorite place for following public people. It’s walled, and users have to make fb accounts with all the baggage that implies to be able to post comments, or sometimes even read posts. g+ is somewhat better.

    And, it may seem weird that I think this, but twitter seems less intrusive than fb or g+! If I leave a comment on someone’s fb or g+ post, it’s tied in with that post and I show up as interacting with them. With fb, god forbid I even mention your name, I noticed recently that people who mention your name show up on your facebook wall? wtf. If I want to post on your god-damned wall I want it to be a conscious choice. fb and g+ seem to force associations on to people. It’s an intrusive interface.

    Whereas twitter is wild and crazy and one doesn’t assume that anyone of these people necessarily have any link with anyone else, and maybe there are replies, maybe not. It doesn’t presume that I have any association with another person. It’s a bit more like usenet (yay, someone upthread mentioned usenet), or irc where people could join a #channel and it’s not so personal unless someone works to make it so.

    I wish I could find a better way to express that.

    more about what you see on twitter in no meaningful order:

    1. stupid shit

    2. people who find interesting links and I learn about intelligence in parrots or something. or maybe the people are funny enough I want to follow their antics.

    3. services I use who let you know that, a) the FBI raided the datacenter or b) the amazon ec2 region I am using is down and that’s why you can’t reach us. Or maybe c) there’s a weird ass bug and we are fixing it.

    4. holy shit we need to help people tell us what the government is doing to them and their government just shut down the internet. here’s what to do.

    Israel is cutting off Gaza’s access to the Internet. @telecomix has solutions though. Please share: #GazaUnderAttack

    which points to

    finally, I do have a fb, g+, and twitter account but I made the choice to have them and I kind of know what I’m getting in to. I take a calculated risk by using their services. I don’t like it when people don’t make informed decisions when signing up for those things and/or feel completely disempowered and feel they have to. rant rant rant. I think there should be some how-tos and faqs on what it means to sign up for shit, how you might want to sign up for shit, and btw, technology is not magic and even if you sign up for some shit run by someone who isn’t a complete shit, through no fault of this person they will break something and share your private data. or lose it. or whatever. That’s how things are. Being on the internet doesn’t change that.

  15. And, it’s entirely reasonable for someone to communicate mainly via a blog. You have rss feeds, people can learn how to use them. and if you do want some social networking presence that is low key and non-interactive, there’s probably some blog plugin that will push status updates out with links whenever you post something here. (ask whoever runs your blog to figure that out)

    specimen, jwz:
    How I Might Have Just Become the Newest Urban Legend. “Just try to relax and enjoy the rest of your pregnancy.”…

    DNA Lounge update, wherein we’d like “Entertainment” to be legal on Eleventh Street.

    He happens to post a bunch of other stuff to his twitter account, it happens, but I doubt he crafts those posts by hand.

    Oh, and I have a friend who runs a shop and she hires someone to post announcements for the shop to the shop’s fb and twitter accounts. But she’s got a shop where she wants people to show up in a timely fashion when there are new flavors to try or a special or something.

  16. I am very opinionated about this. I will step off my rocking horse now.