The Bickening

Thursday, 01 September, Year 8 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

I wake up, not much in the mood for anything, I stumble to the screens and within five minutes I got material for an article. Which, retrospectively, I long wanted to write, just didn't know this before now. My life is great ; I am in heaven ; etcetera.

Selected quote to provide the intro :

shinohai btcbase.org/log/2016-09-01#1532863 <<< too much bickering over what trigger characters to use, so don't blame me. I just tried to make nice things.
mircea_popescu shinohai it's not "bickering". toldja 2x to use !~, an hour apart. next day you had changed it to > or some stupid shit and people were complaining, so it got devoiced. next time do critical fixes - such as the control sequence of a chatbot - in real time or remove it yourself.

shinohai Sorry that bot surgery was low on list of priorities at the time.
mircea_popescu so then say "sorry, i couldn't maintain my bot to spec" not "bickering. truth helps.

shinohai Well technically there *was* bickering. Some ppl were happy with original, some didn't like >, other wanted !~
mircea_popescu people doesn't enter in this conversation, it's not a fucking vote. i guess all this can get pretty confusing.
* mircea_popescu will write an article.

There are multiple strands making a Gordian knot here. Let's pull a little at the threads.

I have the sole power to give names. This is certainly a priviledge, in that it can be used to distinguish between one and the other. It is certainly political, in that it has something to do with peoplei. Nevertheless, it is neither fair nor meaningful. This is to say, I didn't acquire it through some sort of process that is universal or repeatableii ; and they don't have any sort of actual effects anyway - a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, a bot by any other control sequence will work as well, etcetera.

Note that of course and necessarily everyone holds this exact same power, in every context that they own.iii You can redefine "niggers" to mean "bureaucrats", like I have, if you wish to follow my context ; or as anything else you wish to, entirely at your option. The only ones who have no say in any of this are the niggers in question, because : a) fuck them and b) nobody asked them anything, in that order.iv

Note also that you're not required to implement this in any particular way. For instance, any and all practical matters and resultant disputes in re "what string shall be my nickname in #trilema" are currently handled by nickserv, which is a process I don't even own, scarcely understand, nor do I care to. There's nothing wrong with this, or any other implementation, and the reason there isn't nor could there ever be anything wrong with any implementation is exactly the transcendent nature of the naming power. You can't ever lose it ; and for this reason, secure in its eternal and unyielding property like that fabled beast, you can do absolutely anything you damn well please, including not being too obtrusive about it, following Schelling point conventions in various groups (such as calling a cock a coq in Montpellier for absolutely no good reason) etcetera.

People do their best. The reason shinohai didn't fix the bot on the spot, of course, is that he didn't know how to. It doesn't happen to be a major change, or difficult to do ; but it does happen to have been scary to himv, and so even if others volunteered a cvasi-complete recipe for doing it, he still didn't approach the task. Yes, he could have been more outgoing, and just went into it notwithstanding it looked scary ; yes others could have been more explicit, and quoted exact lines of code or whatever.

The problem with these "could have beens" is that they're outright idiotic, without remainder. For the latter, please review the excellent Al Schwartz piece on complexity. Yes of course whatever arbitrary quantity of context of any text could have been explicitly stated and so made part of the text. So ? There's always going to be some context left ; and do you have any fucking idea how much space even cursory attempts at "completeness" take ? Oh, and for the former : please review the above Al Schwartz piece on complexity. Yes of course human beings, and science as an emergent behaviour of human beings, rely on paradigms, which are lists of what you're supposed to be afraid ofvi. It is the very heart and nature of sanity to pick the low hanging fruit first, and so that he did what came easy and didn't proceed into what seemed hard is the correct behaviour ; and comments to how hard or easy it "actually was" are entirely not germane to any of this.

Yes, this state of affairs does have the unfortunate side effect of incomplete solutions littering the landscape, and yes this situation is getting on my fucking nerves. But the solution can't possibly be pretending the problem doesn't exist, nor any variant thereof - such as you know, declaring it doesn't exist, preferably "to the Universe", in the manner US libtards "solve" poverty, homelessness and whatever else the fuck they "solve".

People complain. This is human nature, and while the activity does attract some more than othersvii, the source of the complaint is only interesting in the second pass. If you remember the "a) fuck them and b) nobody asked them anything" algorithm from above, it applies here in the sense that the nature counts first ; and source counts second. Meaningful complaints from politically weak sources can be delayed, for a while, but at the risk of doing violence to one's own house for no good reason ; meaningless complaints however are a lot iffier - a strong enough source can actually alter the very fabric of meaning, so that what appeared as meaningless becomes magically meaningful. This magic is after all how paradigm shifts occur, be they of the nature of what alf calls "lowering into pederasty" on the basis of a concept in Russian penitentiary life, or be they of the nature of actual understanding.

Willy-nilly one is then stuck with the problem of scheduling complaints, which is to say choosing to temporarily inhibit meaningful complaints for whatever contextual reason on one hand ; and to tolerate meaningless complaints for suspicion of deep meaning on the other. Neither of these is made any easier by the fact that neither meaningfulness nor meaninglessness are realia, but abstract notions, and so open to varying evaluations by varying parties. In principle the former can be readily resolved with a plain statement of cause - which is a proposition not unlike saying that the Byzantine generals could simply exchange messages. Of course it could be, and if the statement of cause happens to be meaningful in the context of the receiver you're home free. And if not... send another one, yes ? We'll not even discuss the latter, who ever knows why anyone understands anything, and how, and what did it.

The interplay of these three threads is bound to lead to butthurt ; and not merely of the "filled with envious rage" infantile Elliotism variety, but actual honest-to-goodness sorting conflicts, the kind where one ends up with lists that look like 1, 3, 6, 8, 11, 7, 16 and has absolutely no idea what to do outside of ignore it (while that lasts) or else rage (once his cup runneth over).

Traditionally this is resolved by faith, made of exactly the same substance and working on exactly the same software that informs the infant's "I love my mother, and she would never hurt me" ; but obviously one can have only so much of that - it's a qualification like any other, "must be this tall to ride" sort of affair. Alternatively, it can be resolved by understanding, which of course is a very poisonous tree - understanding takes time, and by the time it's all done life went by and, to quote,

Huddled in dirt the reasoning engine lies, who was so proud, so witty, and so wise.

Even more alternatively, it can be resolved through not giving a shit, which is the exact equivalent of magic : for as long as it works it works splendidly well, and cheaply too! And once it stops working nobody's fixing it ever again.

In principle there is no solution ; the bickening is and will remain a fact of life.

———
  1. Yes, anything that has to do with people is political - whether people be the object the thing acts upon ; or be they the agent that uses the thing, whatever the connection, if it's there it's there. What can you do. []
  2. It's not like wealth, which while a political priviledge is nevertheless required for everyone to have, as a prequalification to participating in the social conversation. It's not like knowledge, which while a political priviledge is also required as a prequalification to participating in the social conversation. Both of these are universal (ie, anyone could, in principle, get them - and if they can't or don't, that failure describes them) and repeatable (or more properly said time-invariant).

    It's more like being blonde (ie, not universal) in a world where no peroxide exists (ie, not repeatable) ; or like having green eyes (ie, not universal) in a world where no contacts exist (ie, not repeatable). It's like being chosen by God, or inspired by the muses (ie, not repeatable), in a world where no hard work or reason exist (ie, not universal). It is, in other words, political priviledge outside of the reach of politics ; something that people could in no way alter through any sort of political process - a state of affairs which incredibly irks a certain sort of mind. []

  3. For instance whatever you decide to nickname others' keys in gossipd will be your own problem, as has been pluriously said. You won't be required to use the comment field in e, N, comment as provided.

    Currently you have to type gpg --encrypt --armor -r herpy because gpg is badly designed by the avowed enemies of the free world as well as anything nice and good ; but in a sanely functioning environment it would be gpg --encrypt --armor -r kitty if your private name for herpy is kitty.

    And while we're on this, please stop using USG.DNS already! []

  4. Talk about an epic example of the socialists' weapon working for them a short distance of its swing and for us the entire run of that swing. Derps figured they may gather political power through "examining" the whole naming issue ; turns out they got a little and we'll flatten them with it. []
  5. As the actual shinohai points out, fear properly doesn't enter into it. This is a valid point. []
  6. Ever wondered why Magnetism and Electricity aren't today, nor were ever equally understood, or equally studied ? Remember that at a time electricity didn't even exist, and magnetism was moving ships around! []
  7. Especially because it is perceived - wrongly in the Republic, but rightly everywhere else - as a very cheap way to "political power" ; and so logically if that works why put in the elbow grease to do anything else, which is how America ended up not needing to ever be great again. []
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3 Responses

  1. Glad to see this morning's conversation inspired a trilema article, though I do find the statement "but it does happen to have been scary to him" a bit disingenuous. I have had little to no trepidation working on far "scarier" things in trb, which has far more moving parts than the bot in question. Simple laziness suffices for explanation in this regard.

  2. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    2
    Mircea Popescu 
    Thursday, 1 September 2016

    This is a valid point, lettuce add a note.

  1. [...] but afterwards you're more than welcome to eg reinvent lisp. Outside of some very moderate scheduling constraints you're your own master in the Republic. Which is exactly as it should be. ———It [...]

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