#bitcoin-assets +m

Saturday, 12 April, Year 6 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

Yes, yes, it was my idea.i

The way it works has been already scooped : if you're in assbot's WoT one or two layers deep, you can give yourself permanent voice by sending the bot a private message. If you are not, you can be given voice by anyone who is, in half hour chunks. And, quite biblically, they who voiceth can make silenth too.

The reasons it works like this are multiple, and they converge. Let's follow the roots :

  1. #bitcoin-assets is a professional channel. People who earn their daily bread a certain way, and some who don't yet but aspire to one day and are particularly advanced in the requisite crafts gather there. It's not a matter of what the topic of the channel is, as people there may and indeed do engage in a variety of discussions. It's a matter of who the people involved are.ii
  2. Free speech is the cornerstone of sanity, and diligently observed. Free speech however does not mean the ability of random twelve year olds to interrupt the State of the Union address with their own considerations, even should those roughly follow the same topic, and reflect roughly the same ability and understanding as the products purported to emanate from the Stanford educated brain of the current president.
  3. There exist a multitude of channels, websites, means and methods allowing those interested in acquiring basic familiarity with Bitcoin to do so. There similarly exist a multitude of idem serving those interested in sharing their own personal if entirely anonymous feelings and partially digested opinions regarding Bitcoin and its relation to the world. #bitcoin-assets is neither of these. Everything may well seem a rooster to your cluelessly cute chickenhawk, but that doesn't make Foghorn a dog.
  4. The WoT objectively and quite factually divides the population of planet Earth into two classes : the haves and the have nots. Much like fire long ago, much like literacy in its time, much like computer literacy later on, this is nothing to joke with. You're either in or else you're out, and the people on the outside sooner or later end up picking the cotton in the buff. There's no point in beating around the bush or hiding behind a finger on this topic : whosoever does not have a WoT presence is a second rate citizen. Not just "in the world of Bitcoin", as there isn't such a thing. The whole world is the world of Bitcoin, each and every last wrinkle of it.
  5. The barrier to entry is not particularly high : the 29 level 1 contacts in assbot's WoT have a combined reach many times more than the maximal population of #bitcoin-assets. Acquiring the ability of self-voicing oneself reduces to obtaining a rating from any of these 29 people.
  6. This creates a de facto aristocracy, which may appear problematic to the casual observer, especially should he find himself well steeped in the socialist outlook fashionable in the West these days. However, aristocracies are historically a beneficial and desirable institution. They become harmful if two conditions are met, and especially so if they're met simultaneously : a) that the aristocracy be fixed, and b) that the aristocracy be incompetent.iii
  7. The #bitcoin-assets aristocracy is not incompetent. Whether in anyone's estimation others not named are just as or even more competent is immaterial : arbitrariety is not the problem, incompetence is. The #bitcoin-assets aristocracy is not particularly fixed, at least in the sense of it being extensible (in fact the list was 25 names long earlier). Therefore, objections on this line will have to be a lot more refined than simply "it's undemocratic and therefore bad" or "it's unrepresentative and therefore evil". Reality doesn't work that way.
  8. The system brings out the power dynamics between the two groups (call them what you will). This should in principle be very educational, for both. Having others depend on your arbitrary use of power denied to them is the first lesson of leadership, and the deep reason those born to rule are taken riding and hunting by their ruling parents. Having the limits of your ability and power presented neatly before your eyes is the first lesson of self improvement, and while conceivably many will shy away from it like a slug avoids salt, nevertheless the observation that in their case there was very little basis to improve upon in the first place will be difficult to dispel. Moreover, as the entire process is to occur publicly and collegially should limit harm to everyone involved. Not exactly a yeshiva in this respect, more like a college, from the old days when people still ate in the hall and a university degree actually meant something. Something great.

As far as I know, nothing quite like this has ever been tried. The various social media sites, the facebooks and twitters of the world are spinning around this same drain, but it seems to me that we've fallen in. The results over time should be interesting, and perhaps even instructive.iv

I would definitely love to hear a scathing critique of the entire thing, and the scathinger-er the better. I'm looking at you @anjiecast.

———
  1. Kako implemented it. As per the convention we have, if you wish to praise someone you need to talk to me, and doubly so if any cookies are involved ; but if you wish to vent and rage you should talk to him, because it's all his fault. []
  2. The notion that all people are equally people and so the control of conversation should be based on the topics addressed is socialist nonsense, anathema both to Bitcoin and to reason.

    A forum doesn't work and shouldn't be organised on the lines of "anyone can discuss shoes here", thus making it a shoe forum. Moreover, it should be organised on the lines of "any shoemaker can discuss whatever he pleases here", thus making it a shoemaker's forum.

    Forums exist to serve specified groups, not specified topics, because speech, and the world, and everything that exists is for and about people, not for and about things. []

  3. The best case study for aristocracy and its foibles would of course be the Soviet Union - that shining example of a fixed but incompetent aristocracy and the turmoil it created over a century stands in stark contrast to the relative stability and utility of the less fixed, more competent medieval aristocracy of Europe. The example of 1700s France illustrates the notion that once aristocracy becomes as fixed and as incompetent as was the case in the Soviet Union, complete societal collapse follows, as was the case in the Soviet Union. []
  4. It's not in question that this idea is necessarily good. Nobody's married to it, I definitely am not. The point however stands that this is something worth being stupid about, because we don't actually know yet what's stupid and what isn't, let alone why. []
Category: Meta psihoza
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16 Responses

  1. On the one hand, good for you for doing what you want. On the other, this is how self-selecting, myopic cliques work.

  2. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    2
    Mircea Popescu 
    Saturday, 12 April 2014

    It's also how the medical profession selects itself. Or the legal profession. Or pretty much every science.

    What's one to do ?

  3. "As far as I know, nothing quite like this has ever been tried" perhaps not that exact way, but invite only communities are older than the Internet, and quite common on said Internet.

    Actually, I'm now realizing that the places where I spend most of my time are like that!

    The results are very interesting. Of course it's always a battle of "what if we miss great people" vs. "what if we invite the wrong people and all turns into shit" (I would argue that everything eventually turns into shit anyway). The first part is easily fixed by being partially public.

    The self-selecting myopia happens regardless of this aspect, because no matter what, people want the approval of their peers. Only anonymity (as opposed to pseudonymity) can work around that.

    I feel #bitcoin-assets is already no stranger to groupthink, anyway!
    I'll end up by the best description of this channel ever: http://btcbase.org/log/?date=06-02-2014&bots=true#484109

  4. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    4
    Mircea Popescu 
    Saturday, 12 April 2014

    the best description of this channel ever

    Lol. Amusingly enough, herbi actually IS on the self-up list.

    Only anonymity (as opposed to pseudonymity) can work around that.

    It does not, unless by "work around that" you mean "throws out the baby, the water, the tub, the maid, the faucet and then burns down the house and plows the plot".

    everything eventually turns into shit anyway

    The Cosmic Rhinoceros has shown me many futures, which doom shall I speak of ? In all of them everything material is at all times inside the digestive cavity of something or the other.

    Actually, I’m now realizing that the places where I spend most of my time are like that!

    This is the strangeness of the world we live in. You know the newspaper memory hole effect ? (Wherein a person with competency in a field reads a item on that field, and finds it full of holes and altogether nonsensical, then flips the page and treats some other item on some other field he has no competency in as if it were sensible and meaningful, somehow magically forgetting his experience minutes ago and somehow magically failing to infer that a broken pipe is probably broken in all lights) I would say the exact same happens with elitism : everyone of any value whatsoever participates almost exclusively in selected venues, and any value of any value whatsoever is always selective, yet somehow many people suddenly forget this and pretend like equality is somehow a value, and socialist democracy good or desirable. It boggles.

    perhaps not that exact way

    I was trying for sarcasm. A failure is me.

  5. Anonymity certainly has its drawbacks but needs to exist to keep the groupthink in check. Like being drunk, it has its social function, though we obviously shouldn't be drunk all the time.

    Eh, the newspaper thing is what I tell absolutely everyone when they tell me they found a journalist or politician didn't know at all a subject they know about. Of course it's like that for all the other subjects! Somehow geeks usually think those people are only ignorant about technology... But I'm not sure how it's really relevant to the discussion here.

    And "older than the internet" was kind of a reference to http://trilema.com/2014/anonymous-derpage/ :)

  6. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    6
    Mircea Popescu 
    Saturday, 12 April 2014

    but needs to exist

    Definitely, but as a solitary activity. It's not, nor could it ever be, a group thing. Even leaving aside the noxious effects on development anonimity promises, a secret group is not the same as an anonymous group. The latter is an exercise in nonsense.

    But I’m not sure how it’s really relevant

    Well my thesis is built on a simile : as with the newspapers, so with elitism.

  7. "...doubly so if any cookies are involved..."

    I'm all about movin' some cookies. I hope the classic chocolate chip is satisfactory.

  8. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    8
    Mircea Popescu 
    Monday, 14 April 2014

    Hey, nice avatar. Is it a cookie ?

    Anyway, sure, we accept any cookies! Especially good ones.

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