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Against Monopoly

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Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.





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Comment Posting Announcement

As you know we welcome comments. However the comments sidebar is getting taking over by gratuitous exchanges of insults rather than intellectual commentary on whatever side or point. I've tried not to moderate the comments beyond removing obvious spam. Heated exchanges are one thing but constant exchanges of insults are something else. I think interested readers are starting to feel discouraged by the tone of some of the comments, and some have complained. Let me start by requesting especially Lonnie, "nobody" and "none of your beeswax" to dial it back. If provoked don't respond, please try to stick to the intellectual point. If necessary we (the editors) will start removing posts that are designed to offend rather than inform. If you think another commentator is out of line, please don't respond in the comments, just let one of us know so we can take appropriate action.

Thanks,

David


Comments

A simple solution might be to change the comments sidebar such that it only included approved comments, e.g. from site authors.

Moreover, one can also display approved comments below stories in full, whereas 'not-yet approved' comments are displayed in scrollable textboxes. This at least visually limits potentially churlish tirades until such time as a moderator can mark them as approved (worth reading) and they appear in full.

Then you could consider creating three classes of site author: 1) editorial 2) occasional contributor 3) approved commenter

This way, you can still have that 'no censorship' policy, but childish verbiage remains in scrollable windows (unqualified to be 'recent comment') and easily avoided by those who don't find it particularly entertaining.

David:

I personally would welcome the improvement. It pretty much sucks to be attacked by None of Your Beeswax/Nobody Nowhere/None of Your Business every time I post, regardless of how on-point my comments are. Worse, he is now attacking all anonymous posters, somehow believing they are me.

David...

And yes, I will. I should have read your message before my earlier post...

Crosbie writes:

A simple solution might be to change the comments sidebar such that it only included approved comments, e.g. from site authors.

That's no good. The comments sidebar is the only place to see all new comments and get caught up. If it changes to not showing all new comments, it won't be possible to get caught up except by clicking through to the comments on every top level post, ctrl-ending to the bottom, and checking the date on the last comment. At this time there are thousands of top level posts. It's already troubling that this becomes necessary if more than 10 new comments are posted between two of your visits (really, 9; the 10th has to be an old comment for you to be sure you're seeing all the new activity).

In fact, if anything the comment sidebar needs to be more inclusive, with links to earlier sets of ten comments.

I think others have suggested that before, but without effect.

Then you could consider creating three classes of site author: 1) editorial 2) occasional contributor 3) approved commenter

That would require adding logins and all the associated machinery to the site (and probably restricting non-logged-in users to posting as "Anonymous" only, so they can't impersonate a logged in user). Overkill. No other blog does this; or at least, not many.

On the original topic, I have read a few of the exchanges at issue here and it seems that things go downhill when 1. Lonnie says something, usually in favor of some form or another of "IP"; 2. None or Nobody (I think the same person) replies; 3. Lonnie replies with namecalling; and then 4. it seems to become a cycle of None basically saying "I know you are, but what am I?" in response to every single bit of rudeness in Lonnie's previous post and then Lonnie firing another volley. None's insults do seem to generally be Lonnie's own ones rephrased and thrown back at him, in particular.

As near as I can tell, Lonnie makes pro-IP arguments, they get demolished, Lonnie quickly runs out of logical ammunition, and then resorts to ad hominem attacks, and that's what starts it. That, and he's now got such a hate on for None that if he sees his name on a post he promptly goes nuclear now without waiting to run out of conventional ammo first.

Alternatively, sometimes Lonnie just pops up and attacks None's reply to someone else. Either way the end result seems to be a ridiculous number of highly-repetitive iterations and Lonnie eventually giving up and letting None have the last word, which could be sped up a lot and made a lot less annoying to the rest of us, without affecting the eventual outcome, by Lonnie simply not continuing it once there's nothing new being said on the actual topic of "IP".

The best way for these exchanges to be made milder and perhaps even nipped in the bud would be for Lonnie not to hurl abuse at None/Nobody, though he can make any logical points he might care to try to make of course, and for None/Nobody to perhaps change No, you're the X. None of the nasty things... to just No, none of the nasty things... or something like that. That way he can still rebut every insult, which he seems to feel a strong need to do, without being susceptible to the accusation of hurling insults him- or herself. Further, if one of the two does as suggested, and the other doesn't, we'll know who the real villain is.

Zerbulous...

I disagree with your characterizations.

I would like to see an example of where I replied to a reasonable post with name-calling - especially an example where name-calling was begun by me.

I looked back at the most recent post where I responded, "No Method to Patent Madness: The Supreme Court's Bilski Decision." You will note that the person who "popped up" was Nobody Nowhere. What is amusing is that Nobody Nowhere was name calling, using ad hominem arguments, along with other inappropriate phrases, against an Anonymous commenter that was not me.

When I asked Nobody to stop calling other people my name, he quickly attacked me with additional inappropriate statements.

Referring to an earlier thread, "World War 0," I pointed out that additional data would have been useful. I provided reasoning why the additional data would be useful. The responses from None of Your Beeswax was to claim that I called David Levine a liar (which is hilarious beyond belief because I said nothing about David and the data to which Beeswax referred was from Eckhard Hoeffner; even more interesting is that Hoeffner replied and said my points had merit].

I do not substitute logic and reasoning with ad hominem attacks. Furthermore, Beeswax has yet to "demolish" my arguments. If anything, he does his best to respond to my comments with hand waving, hysteria, accusations of threats, lies and "nasty remarks." Of course, if you can point to an example, I would be appreciative and I will attempt to keep from substituting, per your characterization, ad hominem arguments for reason and logic.

Crosbie, there's a difference between censorship and an editorial policy. Censorship is what the State does (censorship was first practiced by Roman censors, who were an arm of Rome's government). Editorial policy is what a private owner decides to publish--or not to publish, as is his right--with his own property, such as a weblog. I know this distinction is generally overlooked, and the only people I know who consistently make it are us libertarians.

I think this blog should have an explicit editorial policy, which should be outlined in no uncertain terms. First-time commenters should have to read it and agree to adhere to its guidelines before being allowed to post comments. Also, I strongly think that pseudonymous (and one name only, such as Zerbulous above) commenters should not be allowed. In other words, no None of Your Beewax, no Nobody Nowhere, no Anonymous(s), et al. First and last names must be posted. Of course, people might use fake names, although presumably this might make it a bit harder.

And the stuff that None of Your Beeswax and posts should not be allowed "INSULT DELETED," etc. In fact he should just be banned, as perhaps should Nobody Nowhere. The name calling has to be stopped one way or another.

I left the blog a while back because I didn't like the lack of an editorial policy, and the fact that trolls were taking over the comments.

Oh boy.

Lonnie writes:

I personally would welcome the improvement. It pretty much sucks to be [false accusation deleted] every time I post, regardless of how on-point my comments are. Worse, [false accusation deleted].

No. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

Zerbulous writes:

As near as I can tell, Lonnie makes pro-IP arguments, they get demolished, Lonnie quickly runs out of logical ammunition, and then resorts to ad hominem attacks, and that's what starts it. That, and he's now got such a hate on for None that if he sees his name on a post he promptly goes nuclear now without waiting to run out of conventional ammo first.

That's about the size of it.

The best way for these exchanges to be made milder and perhaps even nipped in the bud would be for Lonnie not to hurl abuse at None/Nobody, though he can make any logical points he might care to try to make of course, and for None/Nobody to perhaps change No, you're the X. None of the nasty things... to just No, none of the nasty things... or something like that.

I have no objection to this.

Lonnie comes back:

I looked back at the most recent post where I responded, "No Method to Patent Madness: The Supreme Court's Bilski Decision." You will note that the person who "popped up" was Nobody Nowhere. What is amusing is that Nobody Nowhere [insults and other nonsense deleted].

No. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

The responses from None of Your Beeswax was to claim that I called David Levine a liar (which [calls None of Your Beeswax a liar]).

No. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about None of Your Beeswax are at all true.

I do not substitute logic and reasoning with ad hominem attacks.

You do quite frequently, most recently in this very post where you called None of Your Beeswax a liar.

Furthermore, Beeswax [lies deleted]. If anything, he [false accusation deleted].

No. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about None of Your Beeswax are at all true.

Of course, if you can point to an example

Beeswax already did, where he highlighted your false accusation of "non sequitur" in response to one of his posts, implying incorrectly that he was an idiot. There are numerous other examples.

Bill Stepp wrote:

I think this blog should have an explicit editorial policy, which should be outlined in no uncertain terms. First-time commenters should have to read it and agree to adhere to its guidelines before being allowed to post comments. Also, I strongly think that pseudonymous (and one name only, such as Zerbulous above) commenters should not be allowed.

That's a terrible idea. Disallowing anonymous speech has a chilling effect on freedom of speech, as is well known, and the right to anonymous free speech has been repeatedly upheld by the Supreme Court.

And the stuff that None of Your Beeswax and posts should not be allowed "INSULT DELETED," etc.

Why the hell not? I'd sooner ban insults than ban sober and inoffensive replies to insults. You'd strip me of my ability to defend myself? You'd allow people like Lonnie to throw punches at other users, but deny those other users the right to raise arms up in front of their faces to stop such blows from connecting?

In fact he should just be banned, as perhaps should Nobody Nowhere. The name calling has to be stopped one way or another.

This does not make sense. First of all, does the name calling have to be stopped? Or should we commenters be free to sort such matters out among ourselves? Secondly, I'm not the name caller -- Lonnie is. If anyone is to be banned, he ought to be banned long before I am. My only namecalling has been in retaliation to namecalling by others; I never initiate it.

I left the blog a while back because I didn't like the lack of an editorial policy, and the fact that trolls were taking over the comments.

I have noticed exactly two trolls, both making inflammatory pro-IP comments: Lonnie and Prionpropatentuiq (or however the hell it's spelt). Both show the same pattern: make pro-IP comments (harmless so far), and when inevitably there are rebuttals from the regulars, start flaming those regulars calling them names (not so harmless). You're proposing to a) block regulars from DEFENDING their reputations when attacked in such a manner while allowing the two trolls to continue their tactics, b) BAN one of those same regulars, and c) deny everyone the right to anonymity, making insults hurled by Lonnie and Prion all the more dangerous because they'll now COME UP IN GOOGLE SEARCHES ALONGSIDE THEIR VICTIMS' REAL NAMES? I can't think of a more surefire recipe for making the situation worse. The fights centered around Lonnie and Prion will become MORE vicious since their victims' reputations under their real names will now be at stake; higher stakes always makes for a more vicious and less holds-barred game in general. Tying their targets' hands behind their backs would only make this worse still.

Of course, we have no way of knowing whether you're really Bill Stepp. This is exactly the kind of suggestion I'd expect Lonnie or Prion to make via sockpuppet, since if it were adopted by the admins it would pretty much hand them victory on a silver platter. Might just as well rename the site to ProMonopoly in that case, since anyone who posted an actually-against-monopoly comment would get shredded, and even smeared under their real name, by the Dynamic Duo there while you held their arms behind their back so they couldn't fight back or even BLOCK.

I should add that most other blogs do not seem to need an "editorial policy" other than that egregiously offtopic and spam comments get removed. I think Zerbulous made the same observation. I concur with him that if any change in policy is to be made, it should be that uncivil posts (and [insult deleted] None of the nasty... is not uncivil, unlike whatever it was responding to) are the only additional category besides spam to be deleted, and anonymous and pseudonymous commenting stays unchanged; perhaps also remove 100%-off-topic comments EXCEPT those comments that are a (reasonably-civil) response to a personal attack; the right of reply when attacked personally MUST remain inviolate, as it is in academia, or people won't dare comment here for fear of being smeared and left without recourse to undo the damage. That would in turn severely degrade this blog's value and usefulness to a large fraction of its readership.

Bill, my apologies for risking compounding the dilution/confusion of the meaning of censorship. I at least put it in quotes. However, sometimes I think people let their antipathy toward censorship roll over into a laissez faire editorial policy.

I suspect that a lack of manpower may also play a part. Possibly also a fear of exhibiting any autocratic tendency in the site founders/editors/authors - which may be related to an affinity with the anarchist philosophy (meant in the most non-pejorative way possible).

Anyway, the solutions I proposed require little manpower (aside from implementation), and I think they withstand Zerbulous's criticisms.

I think you're barking up the wrong tree with respect to getting commenters to identify themselves. If someone wants to exhibit a continuous identity that's up to them. All this site can hope to persuade is that comments are well behaved, and that is best achieved by rewarding good comments/commenters and penalising bad ones - whilst taking pains to avoid unduly penalising unknown newbies. That's why I suggest semi-redaction by textbox for anon/pseudon comments.

We can also wonder if the low signal-to-noise commenters are being sponsored to degrade discussions on this site.

Nobody Nowhere (troll):

You are wrong about free speech and the SCOTUS. In fact, it has put restrictions on speech, some of which are actually libertarian, such as not being allowed to shout "fire" in a crowded theater. That was about the only thing Holmes ever got right, as I pointed out to my next door neighbor (a laywer) in a conversation yesterday. He agreed. Death threats are also illegal, and rightly so.

But who cares what the SCOTUS thinks? This blog is private property, and the owners have just as much right to allow or disallow anyone they want, for the same reason that you have a right to disallow anyone from going into your bedroom at 2 am (or at any other time) and making a speech or uttering any other words. IOW, it's all about property, not speech. Which the SCOTUS doesn't understand, but that's another subject.

Having said this, I don't expect David to start acting like a property owner. I hope I'm wrong.

Bill, there should be NO restrictions on speech, i.e. no censorship. However, certain speech may be prohibited where it can violate others' natural rights. So, you prohibit speech that maliciously jeopardises others' lives ("Fire!" in a crowded theatre). However, people must still remain free to shout it.

People are free to fly planes into buildings, but such actions are prohibited when they maliciously jeopardise life (terrorist vs stunt man). However, note that unlike censorship, prohibition does not directly interfere with the freedom to act. Speech that maliciously incites violence should not be censored, but it should be prohibited.

In a free society we are free to violate each others' rights. But we empower a government to prohibit and remedy such violation. Such freedom is known as liberty. We are free to do or say anything, but only at liberty to do or say anything if it does not violate anyone else's natural right. Freedom can have repercussions. Liberty has none since it excludes those acts that have any. However, we still need freedom as well as liberty.

It's a dangerous state that censors its citizens' speech in the name of protecting its citizens' rights. Of course, that's not to say a state can't also be dangerous in prohibiting speech it shouldn't, e.g. sedition, criticism of the king, pope, god, etc.

Bill Stepp writes exactly the kind of inflammatory comment at issue here:

Nobody Nowhere ([insult deleted]):

No. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

You are [insult deleted]

No. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

about free speech and the SCOTUS.

From http://www.eff.org/issues/anonymity we have the following:

Anonymous communications have an important place in our political and social discourse. The Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that the right to anonymous free speech is protected by the First Amendment. A much-cited 1995 Supreme Court ruling in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission reads:

Protections for anonymous speech are vital to democratic discourse. Allowing dissenters to shield their identities frees them to express critical, minority views . . . Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society.

I suppose you're now going to insult the eff.org webmaster rather than back down.

Bill continues with:

In fact, [calls me a liar].

No. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

I think I've just proven that I was not lying about SCOTUS upholding a right to anonymous free speech.

But who cares what the SCOTUS thinks?

I care.

Having said this, I don't expect David to start acting like a property owner. [veiled threat deleted].

I don't respond well to threats.

(Others: Note the lack of namecalling in my post. Note its abundance in Bill's. It should be clear which of us is the villain here.)

Good Heavens. Now Nobody is accusing Bill Stepp of being me.

Nobody:

Logically showing that someone had a non sequitur is not calling anyone anything, as I have pointed out multiple times. A non sequitur is an argument of reason and logic, not pejorative.

As for "inflammatory pro-IP" comments, how can a pro-IP comment be inflammatory? Any logical and reasoned comment having a basis of support, either pro-IP and anti-IP can hardly be considered inflammatory. It is only when comments switch from a factual basis to using value-laden words that the comments become inflammatory. Responses that include [insult deleted][nasty deleted] are certainly inflammatory, but the original comments to which these unnecessary and inappropriate comments were added are typically far from inflammatory.

I would welcome keeping the comments civil and avoiding escalation of nonsense. Characterizings viewpoints and opinions and [insult deleted] is not only uncivil, by typically unfounded. If carried to its logical conclusion, all comments would consist of garbage like that and this blog would become just as Bill Stepp characterized it.

Lonnie writes, such a short time after my post that he must surely be stalking me:

Good Heavens. Now Nobody is [false accusation deleted].

Am not! I only said he made an inflammatory comment. And you only have to reach the third word in his comment to confirm that it is, indeed, inflammatory.

Logically showing that someone had a non sequitur is not calling anyone anything

No, instead of saying it right out it's just insinuating it.

Is that supposed to make me feel it's less evil?

As for "inflammatory pro-IP" comments, how can a pro-IP comment be inflammatory?

By being posted to an obviously anti-IP blog, for starters. Tone and content, too; for instance if it calls anyone names or insinuates nasty things about anyone, then obviously it's inflammatory, and if it's laughably and blatantly wrong (e.g. "But filesharing is STEALING!!!!1!1one") then it's obvious flamebait.

Any logical and reasoned comment having a basis of support, either pro-IP and anti-IP can hardly be considered inflammatory.

And what, exactly, would you know about logical and reasoned comments? Your comments on that particular topic might become somewhat credible if you actually posted such a comment someday, instead of just another insultfest like this one.

It is only when comments switch from a factual basis to using value-laden words that the comments become inflammatory.

With "using value-laden words" presumably including any time you call your debate opponent an idiot or accuse the site admin of academic dishonesty, I suppose?

Responses that include [insult deleted][nasty deleted] are certainly inflammatory

Of course not. They're simply calling a previous commenter on his behavior, and rebutting whatever that previous commenter said that was incorrect and inflammatory.

but the original comments to which these [insult deleted] comments were added are typically far from inflammatory.

No, they were always inflammatory, at minimum implying something negative about another person if not outright calling them names.

I would welcome keeping the comments civil and avoiding escalation of nonsense.

I wish I could believe you were being sincere, but your own behavior, frequently calling others names, belies your claim.

If you wish to convince me that you really do now welcome keeping the comments civil and avoiding escalation of nonsense, then please observe the following restrictions:

  1. Do not directly call anyone names or accuse them of any form of wrongdoing.
  2. If you are contemplating making a statement X in response to another person's statement Y, where a person reading and believing statement X and considering its context as a reply to statement Y could infer an unflattering assertion about Y's author, then do not make statement X. The most usual case where this would occur is if you were about to make a statement X that conflicts with statement Y to such an extent that if X were believed, Y would have to be disbelieved and it would then follow from Y's apparent falsity that Y's author was apparently an idiot, a lunatic, or a liar. Clearly all three of those alternatives are unflattering assertions about Y's author, so their disjunction is also an unflattering assertion about Y's author; moreover, it is one that can be inferred from X and its context and thus X would not be permissible in this case.
  3. Do not put words in anyone else's mouth e.g. by misquoting them.

If, after a month, you have done none of the things listed above (or have done them only rarely, and when called on it you've apologized), then I might begin to believe that maybe you've really turned over a new leaf, Lonnie.

Characterizings viewpoints and opinions and [insult deleted] is not only uncivil, by typically unfounded.

This makes no grammatical sense, I'm afraid. Please rephrase. Unless, of course, doing so would violate any of the above three rules.

If carried to its logical conclusion, all comments would consist of garbage like that and this blog would become just as Bill Stepp characterized it.

If what carried to its logical conclusion? Your repetitive and tiresome namecalling?

Nobody:

Rephrased: Characterizings viewpoints and opinions as [insult deleted] is not only uncivil, by typically unfounded.

If what carried to its logical conclusion? Your repetitive and tiresome namecalling?

Nobody, I vow I will do my best to avoid name calling in response to your name calling. Certainly I will not start it. I challenge you to do the same.

I also challenge you to support your statements, for example the one claiming that I accused David Levine of academic dishonesty. Prove, with evidence, that I did that. Show with complete quotes from my comments that I, or anyone, for that matter, accused David Levine of any such thing.

If carried to its logical conclusion, all comments would consist of garbage like that and this blog would become just as Bill Stepp characterized it.

If what carried to its logical conclusion? Your repetitive and tiresome namecalling?

Substituting relevant comments with brackets and unsupported allegations of lies, name-calling, inflammatory remarks, etc.

As for "inflammatory pro-IP" comments, how can a pro-IP comment be inflammatory?

By being posted to an obviously anti-IP blog, for starters. Tone and content, too; for instance if it calls anyone names or insinuates nasty things about anyone, then obviously it's inflammatory, and if it's laughably and blatantly wrong (e.g. "But filesharing is STEALING!!!!1!1one") then it's obvious flamebait.

The point of this web site is to debate the issues. If it was a forum for IP destructionists to sit around and pat each other on the back on how awful IP is, then the admins would just delete any comment supportive of IP. However, pro-IP comments are permitted. Therefore, pro-IP comment is not inherently inflammatory.

As for "But filesharing is STEALING," this is a statement of opinion just as the opposite, "Filesharing is part of our CULTURE!" Both are opinion and should be given appropriate weight.

On the other hand, if someone can, with evidence and logic, show support for one or the other position, then that evidence and logic is not "lies," "nasty," or "implications" about any other person. The appropriate response is to provide superior evidence and logic for a different position.

I challenge you to meet items 1 and 3 of your list. As for item 2, I do not see how anyone can possibly meet such a vague standard. Example:

Statement: The sky is blue.

Observation: Today the sky appears to be gray.

If I understand your item #2, you would then infer that the observation is an indication that the person making the original statement is a liar. If so, how can a contradictory observation or factual viewpoint ever be provided? You read the contradiction as an accusation when it is anything but.

A more to the point example:

Statement: My graph, showing data from 1850 to 1980, shows a postivie correlation in the number of patents issued and the growth of the economy.

Question: What about data after 1980?

The question is not an accusation of academic misconduct or disbelief in the data. The question is why the author did not include data after 1980, which should be available. The answer to the question could be important. The data may not be available. The later data may be incomparable to the earlier data for some reason. However, if the data after 1980 shows a contradictory correlation, or some other relationship, then additional explanation of the data would be necessary. I know you would certainly be challenging such data. How can one challenge data under your #2 above without being falsely accused of some misconduct?

Crosbie,

The reason to require people to ID themselves is simple: it raises the cost of acting like a Nobody Nowhere, and hopefully would keep them away from this blog. Why David allows him to comment here is beyond me. Michele votes everyday not to have anything to do with the blog that he co-founded.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but it strikes me as very similar to libs who love public schools but just not the horrible miseducation they lead to. Well, the solution is simple...privatize them, as in private property. Keep the thugs out.

David, you should do that with this blog, which has degenerated to nothingness, as Seinfeld might say.

Bill, I sympathise with you re identity, but I don't think it'll achieve what you're after. Knowing that the author identifying themselves as Kid E Puerile today knows the same password as the author who identified themselves as Kid E Puerile yesterday does little to incentivise the author to refrain from childish banter.

Then again perhaps you have the idea that you can force a commenter to identify themselves with a human body? That would be interesting to see. I think it's a pretty difficult problem.

Crosbie & Bill:

Perhaps I am over-simplifying, but wouldn't it be easiest for the admins to delete off-topic posts? If someone posts multiple off-topic posts they are "banned for life." Yes, they can come back under a different name, but their behavior would likely be the same under the new persona so the new persona would quickly be banned as well.

The "no tolerance" policy would include those who respond to such off-topic posts, incentivizing those who think this forum has had and can continue to have interesting discussions to abide by the rules.

Lonnie writes:

Nobody:

Rephrased: Characterizings viewpoints and opinions as [insult deleted] is not only uncivil, by typically unfounded.

Not when I do it. When I do it, it is in response to "viewpoints and opinions" about me rather than about the proper subject matter, and moreover "viewpoints and opinions" about me that were hostile and inflammatory. In those instances, it is the person posting the "viewpoints and opinions" (I prefer the term "personal attacks" for those particular kinds of "viewpoints and opinions") that was uncivil.

If what carried to its logical conclusion? Your repetitive and tiresome namecalling?

Nobody, I vow I will do my best to avoid name calling in response to your name calling.

I've stopped even bouncing your own namecalling back at you at this point; Zerbulous was uncomfortably close to the truth in summarizing it as "I know you are, but what am I?". Still, at no time have I initiated namecalling, only retaliated in kind, and I have as of yesterday quit doing even that. In fact, in the past 24 hours the only namecalling I've seen on this blog has come from you and Bill Stepp.

Certainly I will not start it.

What about all the places where you'd long since started it, or where someone else (e.g. Bill Stepp or Prionpropatentuiq) had started it? Do you also pledge not to add to it in these places?

I challenge you to do the same.

Already am.

I also challenge you to [implies that I've been dishonest]

No. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

Aww, how disappointing. So much for your "vow". Lasted all of two whole minutes! You'd have more productively spent that time playing Bejeweled Blitz, Lonnie.

If carried to its logical conclusion, all comments would consist of garbage like that and this blog would become just as Bill Stepp characterized it.

If what carried to its logical conclusion? Your repetitive and tiresome namecalling?

[false accusation deleted]

No. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

As for "inflammatory pro-IP" comments, how can a pro-IP comment be inflammatory?

By being posted to an obviously anti-IP blog, for starters. Tone and content, too; for instance if it calls anyone names or insinuates nasty things about anyone, then obviously it's inflammatory, and if it's laughably and blatantly wrong (e.g. "But filesharing is STEALING!!!!1!1one") then it's obvious flamebait.

The point of this web site is to debate the issues.

I agree. That's why I only consider certain pro-IP remarks to be inflammatory. Particularly, ones that boil down to flamebait or namecalling. Honest mistakes from a newbie are tolerable, but if he's pointed to all the evidence and, without actually providing any new argument to support his position or refute the anti-IP position just continues to reiterate his pro-IP position, then what might have started out as an honest mistake has mutated into willful ignorance, which I also consider to be inflammatory. Willful ignorance is a sign that the commenter does not have any intention of letting any amount of reasoned argument or evidence change his mind; that such a person continues to post to an anti-IP blog with no intention of actually listening to any of the anti-IP positions articulated there indicates to me that they're here solely to troll.

As for "But filesharing is STEALING," this is a statement of opinion

It is not. It's a matter of legal fact and it's false according to the courts.

See http://www.securityfocus.com/columnists/175 and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dowling_v._United_States_%281985%29 ... Dowling v. US in particular is a case in which the Supreme Court ruled that even large scale commercial copyright infringement (not just file sharing) was not theft.

"Filesharing is STEALING" is incorrect within the United States until such time as either the Supreme Court overturns Dowling v. US or the government is overthrown (whereupon, arguably, the geographical region in question ceases to be the US anyway).

just as the opposite, "Filesharing is part of our CULTURE!" Both are opinion

Actually, no, that's another factual matter, and this time it's clearly true; there is archaeological evidence that sharing and remixing music, in particular, dates back many thousands of years and in nearly all cultures in nearly all times and places has been the norm. It's the norm here and now, too -- why else all those YouTube mashups? Why else is the recording industry facing such an uphill battle?

On the other hand, if someone can, with evidence and logic, show support for one or the other position

Been there, done that, though I think you're not going to like the results.

I challenge you to meet items 1 and 3 of your list. As for item 2, I do not see how anyone can possibly meet such a [implied insult deleted] standard.

I already am meeting items 1 and 3 of the list. 2 is actually quite technical and detailed; it had to be. I should clarify one thing, though: 2 is valid if and only if the other guy is wrong, rather than always invalid. I've only done a number 2 on you when you were wrong.

If I understand your item #2, you would then infer that the observation is an indication that the person making the original statement is a liar. If so, how can a contradictory observation or factual viewpoint ever be provided?

In the case that you are making a "contradictory observation or factual viewpoint" in response to me, well, it can't, not to put too fine a point on it. Since I will not have been wrong, it is in fact physically impossible for one to genuinely make a contradictory observation or factual viewpoint. A contradictory opinion perhaps would be possible, but that's it.

In the case of other people, who might be wrong (e.g. yourself), then it could occur and would be permissible.

However, if someone says something that's correct and your contradiction of them is wrong, then you have falsely implied them to be defective or dishonest without actual supporting evidence. There is the wrongdoing. If the person was actually defective or dishonest (which I never am, but you appear to be fairly often) then it is permissible.

You read the contradiction as an accusation when it is anything but.

But it is an accusation. If someone says X, and X is wrong, then that someone must have been stupid, insane, or deliberately lying at the time. To wit, if they didn't believe X then the latter and if they did believe X then either they concluded X from a faulty (i.e., stupid) chain of logic or they're outright delusional.

Of course, the accusation could be true. It's when it's not that it's dishonest and inflammatory name calling.

And of course it's never true about me, since I am none of those three alternatives listed above.

Statement: My graph, showing data from 1850 to 1980, shows a postivie correlation in the number of patents issued and the growth of the economy.

Question: What about data after 1980?

The question is not an accusation of academic misconduct or disbelief in the data.

That depends on the tone you use and on the context. In the case you're actually referencing, you didn't just say "what about data after 1980?"; you asked why David ended the graph at 1870 (or somewhere close to that) and in a manner that seemed to imply that you believed that David knew that the post-1870 data didn't support his thesis so he conveniently omitted it.

If that allegation were true, it would clearly constitute a breach of academic ethics, intentionally cherry-picking the published data to support a particular hypothesis while knowing the rest of the data refuted it.

Since I don't believe David would actually behave in such an unprofessional manner, I do believe, in agreement with None, that your repeated insinuations to the contrary in the aptly-titled "World War 0" thread were nasty, dishonest, and borderline libelous.

(In the unlikely event the allegation were to prove correct, it would remain nasty but not be dishonest or libelous, and it might even become justified. But I think I'm more likely to win millions in Vegas. And I have no plans to go to Vegas. Ever.)

Bill Stepp writes:

The reason to require people to ID themselves is simple: [implied serious insult deleted].

No. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

[implied serious insult deleted]. Michele [hearsay that implies a serious insult deleted]

No. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

Unsubstantiated hearsay, especially supposedly from an admin, is inadmissible.

libs who love public schools but just not the horrible miseducation they lead to. Well, the solution is simple...privatize them

And there goes your level playing field, as you create an educational poverty trap via a vicious cycle of can't get a job, so can't get even a grade school education (for yourself or your kids), so can't get a job (nor can the kids when they grow up), and so on.

And with the level playing field gone, there go your efficient markets, the whole raison d'etre of libertarian/anarchist political pushes. All you'll get is markets for lemons at best; mass starvation at worst. In fact, you'll get a downwardly mobile society, where it's easy through misfortune to fall off a high perch and impossible to climb back up (no education for the poor, and it's long since not been possible anymore to work your way up to the big corner office in the skyscraper from having worked in the mail room in the Left Nostril, Nebraska branch office with a shaky grasp of English and zero education past the equivalent of about grade six).

So you get a horrible "treadmill society" where everyone must work very hard just to stay in place, death by starvation or exposure awaits anyone who falls off the back end of the treadmill, and the only secure place is if you get to the very front and hang onto the handlebars (i.e. become rich enough to buy the influence that will hamstring all competitors and keep you undislodgable -- also an unlibertarian outcome). The thing also gets shorter and speeds up as the remaining unskilled labor is increasingly automatable, until eventually you have a handful of superrich plutocrats commanding armies of robots that wait on them hand and foot while their wheels crunch over the bones of roughly seven billion dead.

That's assuming the robots don't get smart and uppity enough to take over; if there's nobody left alive to overthrow but plutocrats that let everyone else starve to death I think I'd be rooting for the robots in that fight.

David, you should do that with this blog, which has degenerated to nothingness

If you dislike it so much, why not leave rather than trying to impose your own personal vision for how you'd like it to be on everyone else that's using it? Seems that would be the more libertarian course of action, in fact: leave and perhaps even start your own rival anti-IP blog (or even just a straight-up libertarian, even anarchist blog) and let your new blog and Against Monopoly compete for users and attention in the marketplace. See which one gets the better page rank on IP related issues at the end of a year, say. :)

Crosbie adds:

Then again perhaps you have the idea that you can force a commenter to identify themselves with a human body? That would be interesting to see. I think it's a pretty difficult problem.

It's an insurmountable problem. The best-case scenario is that you waste a ton of time and effort and it remains easy, with a bit more hoop-jumping, to post pseudonymously, while freedom of speech is severely impaired (e.g. if you tie commenting to a credit card, it starts to cost money to post, and it costs more every time you get labeled, rightly or wrongly, as a troll and have to change nick; but the poor and those with a recent history of bankruptcy are effectively banned, as are nearly all non-American-citizens, i.e. most of the planet's population of nearly seven billion who simply have no way to obtain a credit card that would work with the site.

The worst-case scenario is that you actually succeed in your stated aims, and thus utterly destroy this blog's comment section by making posting comments require jumping through so many hoops that hardly anyone does so -- and most of the ones that do are the ones paid to do it, i.e. the Big Pharma/RIAA/MPAA/Microsoft/Apple/etc. astroturf contingent. Eventually medical nanotechnology reaches the point (perhaps in as little as 20 years) that the ability to completely alter one's biometrics exists and is cheap and safe, whereupon you're back to square one. What will you do then, use hashes of someone's mind-as-data-and-software? Except minds learn and evolve, so even that won't work ...

Lonnie returns with:

Perhaps I am over-simplifying, but wouldn't it be easiest for the admins to delete off-topic posts?

Starting with yours? I think you ought to be the last to suggest this. I can tell that you actually put a bit of time and effort into the hundreds of off-topic comments you've made over the years; I wouldn't think you'd want to see that disappear in a puff of smoke.

Then again, I and None have already pretty much destroyed their value to you as instruments of persuasion of others, by meticulously and systematically rebutting every pro-IP (and anti-us) comment you've made. So perhaps it would be no great loss. However it would also curtail your ability to do it again; you'd be limited to making pro-IP comments that didn't call anyone names, and when evidence was brought to rebut you, that would be the end of it; you could no longer try to recover by smearing your opponent and creating a great big cloud of FUD.

If someone posts multiple off-topic posts they are "banned for life." Yes, they can come back under a different name, but their behavior would likely be the same under the new persona so the new persona would quickly be banned as well.

Why are you trying to get yourself banned from the ...

Oh, wait. Of course! Perhaps you really don't like posting here, but either your Big Pharma boss requires you to do it or you have a kind of addiction. If you got banned, you'd have the perfect excuse to bring to that boss and/or you'd force yourself to quit cold turkey in a manner that didn't take willpower greater than you apparently possess.

The "no tolerance" policy would include those who respond to such off-topic posts

Ah. I see. You're just trying to go out with a bang, taking me and None with you, so your buddy Prionpropatentuiq can spout similar pro-patent nonsense unopposed.

How disappointing.

Of course there's a slight problem with your fiendish scheme: what happens might be you post a civil pro-IP post, I post a civil rebuttal, you flame me, you die. Then your flame is deleted by the admins. Oops! Now the admins have thrown a monkey wrench into your plan because I don't have to reply to the deleted post, don't get kicked off, and then the whole scenario repeats itself with Prionpropatentuiq. And then the shill count here drops to zero. Final score: 2-0 anti-IP. Game over.

Even if the admins let your flames stand, you might take me down with you, or None, but the other would remain to bring down Prionpropatentuiq. So it would really be us going out with a bang and taking both of you with us, and again nobody's left to push the Big Monopoly agenda over at this blog. Failure to achieve your ultimate goals once again.

This should serve as a lesson to you: those ultimate goals of yours are in fact impossible for you to achieve. Between the two of us, None and I can completely check your every move and stifle any progress. You cannot achieve victory; the best you can hope for is a perpetual stalemate.

The reason for this is simple, of course: the anti-IP forces are on the side of right and just, and because they are right, and the truth will out, we will prevail. The best the pro-IP forces can hope to accomplish is to delay the inevitable and squeeze a few more gigabux out of their ill-gotten and undeserved monopolies before they experience the fate that always awaits dinosaurs: the loss of their food supply and outcompetition by nimble little upstarts like the mammals, Linux, and Kickstarter.

Something that might help: For the most disruptive commenters, make it so that their comments (identified by IP address) only show up to themselves. When no one replies, they may grow bored and go away.
Nobody Nowhere is seriously deranged. Scott Carpenter has a good idea, which ought to be implemented.
Scott Carpenter writes:

Something that might help: For the most disruptive commenters, make it so that their comments (identified by IP address) only show up to themselves. When no one replies, they may grow bored and go away.

That would be dishonest, though. Worse, what if it got silently used on someone right after they were personally attacked? They'd post a comment in self-defense rebutting the attacks, think they'd successfully blocked them from doing any damage, and therefore not take the actions actually needed to block them (such as post a rebuttal via a proxy server instead of from their home internet connection).

Worst case: Somewhere down the line, they lose their job, can't get another, starve, and die because of these unrebutted attacks and other similar situations cumulatively ruining their good name.

If the admins nix all comments with personal attacks, this might not be a problem, but it forces users to rely on the admins doing an adequate job of recognizing and removing personal attacks instead of the users being able to defend themselves. It's like the government putting police on every street corner and confiscating all privately held guns: if the police can be trusted, that's great; if they can't, everyone's up the creek. (The usual POV around here, I'd expect, is "the police can't be trusted".)

Of course, if the admins nix ONLY posts with personal attacks, and allow at least non-retaliating "Not true" type rebuttals of same, then there's no problem: our guns may be all gone but our Kevlar vests remain unconfiscated by the state. But this is incompatible with any form of banning by IP or user name, as opposed to nixing of specific individual comments, since a banned person who is attacked would still be denied the right of self-defense.

I remind the admins that in academia there is traditionally a right of reply in any forum (written or live) when personally attacked in front of any audience by a debate opponent, and this is generally held to be inviolate; I strongly believe such a concept should extend to this site (and indeed everywhere), whereas many of the proposals that have been mooted in this thread would deny the right of reply to some class or another of users and would determine that class subjectively. Several of the proposals are in fact just thinly veiled attempts by my own recurring attackers to strip away, specifically, my capacity to defend myself, presumably as a prelude to their throwing a knockout punch. If in particular you fall for such a transparent ploy by users seeking to shut up other users that they disagree vehemently with, it will tarnish the reputation of this blog. In particular, a nominally libertarian blog will have been observed in public acting like a state subject to regulatory capture by a special interest -- ouch!

IMO, it isn't the place of the admins to pick winners and losers in debates among the users (let alone to pick pro-IP winners and anti-IP losers). And, as stated in a previous comment, IMO there's no way of persistently identifying users that would be reliable short of putting up a paywall, if even then. Attempts to identify users non-automatically, by such subjective means as evaluating "posting style" and the like, with the purpose of enforcing bans of any sort, are especially perilous as it would be easy for an innocent person to be subjected to a ban by mistake for simply sounding similar to some previously-banned user.

In light of the evidence that any kind of user-banning would be fraught with peril and would experience technical difficulties, I reiterate that any enhanced comment moderation will have to be on a comment-by-comment basis if it is to be fair and just at all.

Bill Stepp writes:

Nobody Nowhere is [vicious insult deleted].

No! None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

Interesting that the original post here singles out me, Lonnie, and None as examples (while not bothering to mention Prionpropatentuiq or delve into the Lonnie situation deep enough to realize that Lonnie's the instigator there) but for the last 24 hours the only really nasty namecalling to be slung on the entire site has come from Bill Stepp. Seems like everyone else at least somewhat improved their behavior in response to that warning, while he suddenly turned vicious. I wonder why? I hope he didn't think that the warning applies solely to me, Lonnie, and None; I'm pretty sure it's meant to apply to every user regardless of who was chosen as an example to illustrate the point. And "every user" includes you, Bill.

Anyway, Bill, I will repeat my advice to you from earlier:

If you dislike this blog so much, why not leave rather than trying to impose your own personal vision for how you'd like it to be on everyone else that's using it? Seems that would be the more libertarian course of action, in fact: leave and perhaps even start your own rival anti-IP blog (or even just a straight-up libertarian, even anarchist blog) and let your new blog and Against Monopoly compete for users and attention in the marketplace. See which one gets the better page rank on IP related issues at the end of a year, say. :)

Mr Levine,

As an sporadic commenter in this blog i have been faced with the dilema of answering "none of your beewwax" or not answering him. I did it until his comments became really offensive (not for me, but for disabled people in general). Led by the hotness of some debates, it is possible that i went also too far in some of my comments, so, althought i consider freedom of speech sacred, please feel free to delete any of my comments in this blog.

Prionpropatentuiq Defender of Unlimited Intellectual Property System.

History News Network has a registration system and a set of rules at its discussion boards. They forbid anonymous commenters. The comments there are generally civil and avoid ad hominem attacks for the most part.

This sort of system could be implemented at this blog, I should think.

"Interesting that the original post here singles out me, ...., and None as examples (while not bothering to mention Prionpropatentuiq..."

Nobody,

You seem obsessed with me. Arent you the same as this "none of your beeswax" im boicoting for a disgusting comment ? I guess you are. In any case let me explain you the situation:

Mr Levine and other posters in this site is clever and wise enough to differentiate:

1) malicious commenters abusers of free speech from commenters which only disagree with its ideas.

2) bad, just disruptive and uneducated criticism from new, constructive and coherent ideas or positions (althought maybe incorrect once implemented, exactly as his ideas or positions can be).

To end my last comment in this blog (ive already told everything i had to say for free about IP) all comments in this thread seems pretentious to me since they assume people read comments in this blog...maybe 2 or 3 !

Unpronounceable pro-patent user writes:

Mr Levine,

As an sporadic commenter in this blog i have been faced with the dilema of answering "none of your beewwax" or not answering him. I did it until [false accusation deleted].

None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

Led by the hotness of some debates, it is possible that i went also too far in some of my comments

Including the above.

Defender of Unlimited Intellectual Property System.

Unfortunately. The evidence, as has been posted repeatedly, is that this would have terrible consequences for just about everyone. A few monopolists would temporarily make out like bandits, but in the long run an ebbing tide sinks all boats.

None of your Beeswax should be kicked off this blog permanently.
Bill Stepp writes:

History News Network has a registration system and a set of rules at its discussion boards. They forbid anonymous commenters. The comments there are generally civil and avoid ad hominem attacks for the most part.

This sort of system could be implemented at this blog, I should think.

Discussion boards traditionally require logins. Blog comments traditionally do not. Furthermore, requiring registration does not magically prevent problem behavior. It just gives miscreants another weapon to use against users: attempting to get them banned. Dedicated troublemakers (especially if backed by, say, some special interest groups) will easily be able to create more accounts. If it will disadvantage anyone, it will disadvantage the little guy who has no corporate sponsors and tries to rebut stuff written by those who do.

Meanwhile, of course, it will inconvenience absolutely everyone.

I again recommend against this.

Meanwhile, prionpropatentuiq writes:

Nobody,

You [vicious insult deleted]. Arent you the same as [insult deleted]? I guess you are.

No. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

In any case let me explain you the situation:

Mr Levine and other posters in this site is clever and wise enough to differentiate:

1) malicious commenters abusers of free speech from commenters which only disagree with its ideas.

The malicious commenters here are you, Lonnie, and Bill Stepp. I've seen extremely uncivil comments from all three in response to much nicer comments by other people. I and None have not, to my knowledge, posted uncivil comments in response to civil ones, nor any uncivil comments at all for over a week now. To his credit, Lonnie appears to have stopped making uncivil comments too, and the latest comment from Bill also lacked namecalling. The only one still insinuating that other people are crazy, liars, etc. seems to be you at this point.

2) bad, just disruptive and uneducated criticism from new, constructive and coherent ideas or positions (althought maybe incorrect once implemented, exactly as his ideas or positions can be).

I'm not sure what this is supposed to mean, but you and Lonnie keep proposing to make the "IP" problem worse and even when it's pointed out exactly what all the consequences would be the only response you two've typically given back has been a) repetition and b) namecalling, though that seems to have improved of late. And Bill Stepp has repeatedly advocated for overthrowing all governments, with a similar if not even more vitriolic reaction if it's explained to him the various downsides of doing so. He offers no coherent rebuttal of concerns raised re: the arising of defacto warlords or the fate of the poor in the event of such an occurrence; only repetition and namecalling. So if anyone is involved in "bad, just disruptive, and uneducated criticism" it would be you three: the ideas mostly fail the laugh test, their repetition has clearly disrupted this site, and as for "uneducated", simply ignoring detailed and cogent criticisms in favor of repetition and namecalling, repeatedly and consistently, makes for willful ignorance, which boils down to intentionally staying uneducated.

As for "new, constructive, and coherent ideas or positions" those come from the site admins, for the most part, proposing new business models to wean legacy industries off the copyright and patent crutches.

To end my last comment in this blog (ive already told everything i had to say for free about IP)

This is hilarious. It looks like the pro-IP movement as a whole is going to do itself in the way Rupert Murdoch's news companies are, but with added irony for that extra dietary yumminess. Lock up your own pro-IP position behind a paywall? Hehehehe! That's sure to make our side get much more exposure than your side. You're handing us victory on a platter here. Thanks!

all comments in this thread seems pretentious to me since they assume people read comments in this blog...maybe 2 or 3 !

Now you're resorting to insulting the entire blog? How lame. Of course there are dozens of occasional-to-frequent commenters as well as four or more regular contributors of top-level blog posts here, and this is apparent even at a glance at the site's front page most times. And as for readers, this blog is indexed by Google and comes up tops for some Google searches. With that in mind, your insult falls kind of flat. :)

Some anonymouse wrote:

[threat deleted]

I don't respond well to threats.

Yours, "Anonymous", was exactly the kind of non-constructive comment being complained about here. If anyone ought to be banned it is you.

Nobody:

Regarding your comment about "malicious commenters."

I noted that you were calling an anonymous poster my name in the comments for the post "No Method to Patent Madness: The Supreme Court's Bilski Decision." On 07/07/2010 at 07:21 AM I asked you to stop calling other people my name, which seemed quite a civil request.

Your response on the same date at 11:46 AM was extremely uncivil, claiming that I called you a liar and claiming that my comment was pointless. Then, you called me a liar and claimed I made nasty comments about you. Lastly, you made a statement that seemed totally irrelevant to my initial comment.

Is asking you to refrain from calling other people my name being uncivil? Certainly your response to request was.

Nobody:

One of your comments is intriguing:

I'm not sure what this is supposed to mean, but you and Lonnie keep proposing to make the "IP" problem worse...

Just how have I proposed making the "IP problem" worse?

Lonnie writes:

Nobody:

Regarding your comment about "malicious commenters."

I noted that you were calling an anonymous poster my name in the comments for the post "No Method to Patent Madness: The Supreme Court's Bilski Decision."

How absolutely fascinating.

On 07/07/2010 at 07:21 AM I asked you to stop calling other people my name, which seemed quite a civil request.

But it's a difficult one to fulfill without first starting calling other people your name. Which I have not done.

Your response on the same date at 11:46 AM was extremely uncivil, claiming that I called you a liar and claiming that my comment was pointless.

Obviously, you did call me a liar and your comment was pointless or I wouldn't have said those things. In which case your comment as a whole was uncivil, whatever else it may have contained.

Then, you called me a liar and claimed I made nasty comments about you.

Apparently, that was right after you lied by making a nasty comment about me.

Lastly, you made a statement that seemed totally irrelevant to my initial comment.

It wouldn't have been, even if you may not have understood its relevance.

Is asking you to refrain from calling other people my name being uncivil?

It is if you're in effect falsely accusing me of stuff.

Certainly your response to request was.

At most rather mildly, especially compared to some of your past tantrums on here.

I'm not sure what this is supposed to mean, but you and Lonnie keep proposing to make the "IP" problem worse...

Just how have I proposed making the "IP problem" worse?

By expanding and/or lengthening "IP protections". Please don't feign ignorance. It's rather grating on my nerves.

Say, was there a point to your comment other than to insult and try to provoke me?

Nobody:

My point was that you called an anonymous poster my name and I did not appreciate that.

Second, I have never proposed to expand IP protections. Indeed, I have suggested that IP protections need reduced in a number of areas, as is well documented in my posts.

Lonnie again:

Nobody:

My point was that you called an anonymous poster my name and I did not appreciate that.

Of course you didn't -- you were trying to be anonymous to avoid everything you said being taken with a grain of salt roughly the size of Lake Michigan due to coming from someone with a known conflict of interest, and I spoiled that for you.

Well, boo frickin' hoo, cry me a river.

Second, [calls me a liar]

Aww, how disappointing.

No! None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

Nobody:

I did not post as anonymous, despite your false claims to the contrary. How sad that the best you can do is claim everyone is me, including several anonymous and Bill Stepp. I am surprised you did not claim that proprion was me. And I do not need to hide my opinions of IP. In fact, I am quite happy with my opinions of it. I think I have made my position abundantly clear.

As for calling you a liar, how about this? You prove, with evidence, that I ever proposed to expand IP protections.

I am disappointed that you have quickly returned to your former ways.

Lonnie writes:

Nobody:

[calls me a liar]. How sad that [insult deleted]. I am surprised you did not [nonsense deleted]. And I do not need to hide my opinions of IP. In fact, I am quite happy with my opinions of it. I think I have made my position abundantly clear.

[calls me a liar].

I am disappointed that you have [false accusation deleted].

No! None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

I have been avoiding namecalling. For a while, you had been too. It is you who has disappointingly reverted to his earlier behavior.

As for your position on IP, you have indeed made your position abundantly clear. Unfortunately.

For people to be well behaved, in general some accountability is needed. I'd suggest the following system to improve the quality of comments to this website.

1) Allow people to create accounts on the website. The creation of an account should require human effort (CAPTCHA) but please not an email address.

2) Give each account a reputation rating, which should represent the posting quality of that identity. New accounts start at 0.

3) Give each account "rating points". With a rating point, the user can rate a comment "up" or "down". Comments may have a rating below zero. Rating points slowly regenerate, up to a maximum of the user's reputation rating.

4) Calculate each user's reputation rating to be the average rating of that user's comments. Exponentially decay the weight assigned to older comments, assigning a greater weight to more recent comments.

5) The administrator has to start the system off by rating at least one comment positively.

Oh, and, of course,

6) Allow users to define a threshold for comment quality. Comments below this threshold should be folded, so that only the presence of the comment, its author, and the rating of the comment is visible. Clicking the comment should expand it to show its contents. Users may want to see all comments, only those rated 0 or higher, only those rated 1 or higher, etc. The default should be to fold all comments with a rating below 0 (and to expand comments with a rating of 0 or higher.)

Congratulations. You've just reinvented Slashdot's commenting system. Which, of course, hasn't stopped a proliferation of useless trolling, "me-too", and incoherently misspelled comments over at Slashdot.
The douchebag proposing making us all pay money to comment here might want to read this, and then think twice:

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100705/15004510071.shtml

Slashdot's system goes a long way, but it is not completely decentralized, as voting power is not decided by your average posting quality but by being appointed moderator. The system seems to work fairly well over at Slashdot. It has not completely stopped useless trolling, "me-too" and incoherently misspelled comments, but it has surely limited it. There is a certain lag before the system has erased all junk, but older posts on this website will be readable, and for the newer posts, members will at least have the satisfaction of being able to do something about all the junk they see.
Kid says:

Slashdot's system goes a long way, but it is not completely decentralized, as voting power is not decided by your average posting quality but by being appointed moderator. The system seems to work fairly well over at Slashdot. It has not completely stopped useless trolling, "me-too" and incoherently misspelled comments, but it has surely limited it.

Evidence?

Kid goes on to add:

There is a certain lag before the system has erased all junk, but older posts on this website will be readable, and for the newer posts, members will at least have the satisfaction of being able to do something about all the junk they see.

"All the junk they see"? All the junk I recall having seen is the occasional, infrequent flamefight. These usually mainly occur after everything more useful has already been said in the affected comment thread -- I just quit reading the new comments in those and I don't think I end up missing much. Add to that the odd inane or me-too comment. And the fact that all of these are easy to spot or skip. Insults -- hit "back". Short, no capital letters -- skim, and if there's just generic praise for the blog with little or nothing new and specific to the topic of the blog post, hit "back". [insult deleted] -- hit "back". "None of the nasty things" -- hit "back". Strawman argument in favor of copyrights or patents -- hit "back".

If the volume was much, much larger you might have a point, but frankly I don't actually see a big problem here, and I expect that most of the proposed "cures" here would prove worse than the "disease".

Discussion forums get the occasional vehement disagreement and the odd inane or not-very-useful post from a nut or a "me-too"er. It's normal. Live with it. Trying to change it will inevitably either fail or stifle some amount of productive, useful discussion, so let's not bother with it.

I was going to comment on the recent post by Justin Levine, but unfortunately comments appear to be disabled (as they were for his previous post).
Lewis Hyde's Justin Levine has disabled comments.
Justin Levine's post has comments disabled again: Paul Allen Files Patent Lawsuits Against The Entire Web (Except for Microsoft)

Against Monopoly is going to have to decide whether it's interested in discussing the issues or simply presenting news items and editorial opinion.

Let's put it this way, of the thousands of blogs I have come across, I have never subscribed to any that do not welcome comments. That's because if they do not welcome comments they do not welcome me.

The vast majority of people may well prefer blogs without comments, but just in case I'm wrong about that, I thought it worth a comment to bring this matter to this site's attention.

I do not approve of the practice of disabling comments. Please try another way to fight trolling.
Justine Levine wonders at the contrast between cultural laissez faire and anal retentiveness exhibited in the freedom to remix Night of the Living Dead and none to remix Star Wars.

Perhaps a similar contrast exists between authors of this website? Between those who welcome comments and those who do not - between those who would tolerate the public's discussion and cultural exchange concerning their published work, and those who believe their work should remain unassailable, out of reach and untarnished by the great unwashed.

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Justin Levine wants you to read what he's found interesting, but apparently isn't interested in what you think, your comments in response.

Director Jean-Luc Godard: "There is no such thing as intellectual property.".

Justin, what are you scared of? Spam? Why do you insist on disabling comments on your posts?

Spam and puerile commenting may well degrade the conversation, but far worse than a lack of comment moderation is the disablement of comments.

By disabling comments you signify a deliberate disinterest in your readers' opinions and thus effectively insult them.

If the entire site had decided at the outset not to support any commenting at all, well, maybe you could do nothing about it, but you, unlike many other authors here, have disabled comments.

Justin Levine, what would help is if you stopped pettily disabling comments. That way people could share their views on what you've posted with other readers. Why are you posting to this site if you find such sharing so disagreeable?

You seem to enjoy the liberty of commenting on other sites, e.g. on copyhype.com. So, why deny the liberty you enjoy to others?

People might have commented on your item Does 'a guy who makes a really good chair owe money to anyone who ever made a chair?', but you have prevented potentially interesting discussion.

Justine Levine, perhaps you might confront your comment disablement roadblock and summon the willpower to overcome it?

Why introduce us to those who observe the dangers of restricting access to knowledge, if you then partake in the restriction of its exchange?

Why not re-enable comments on your posts? What have you to fear from those who would discuss your articles?

re Roadblocks to a National Digital Library.


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