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I would not presume to tell anyone at DailyKos what is or is not important in the meta field. I will, however, tell you something I saw at Wikipedia. I'll be very, very brief, too.

1. As you seek, so you shall find.
2. First amendment rights do not exist on privately published websites.
3. "They" are indeed infiltrating us.
4. The real danger comes from the weakness of democracy, not the power of the state.

This is my first "meta," and it's a summary of all I know, so I think it's my last, too.

Below, I'll expand.

1. As you seek, so you shall find.
Vandal hunting creates vandals the way that cops create criminals. I do not mean merely that every problem looks like a screw to the man with a screwdriver. (Every man looks like a John to a prostitute, every civilian looks like a criminal to a cop. . . .) I mean that beginning with the assumption that there are people amongst us who must be false in identity or intent leads inevitably to finding actions that can be judged that way.

Why am I writing this? Is it because I want Them to get away with it? How long have I been here, after all?

Additionally, once a person judges an action prejudicially, because that person is trying to be a guardian, then the charge will create suspicion and a desire to get even.

2. Ain't no first amendment.
We all know this one, I hope. No one has a right to have a diary published, or a comment published. Conversely, getting new users validated quickly is not a goal by itself, nor is it not a goal. This website is privately owned. Subscribers (of which I am one not this year) have some contractual right, but t'ain't to be on the main page.

3. They are here already
The moment your website makes a national news service, and I'd say long before, your enemies will have joined. Go to any Disquis-using magazine website and look at the comments. Why on earth would libertarians be reading The Nation? Why would Stormfront fools be at Mother Jones? If they're there, you can bet they're here.

The "they" to be concerned about is never going to be evaded by internal rules that are tolerable to those who wish to participate. Legitimate "thems" to worry about are trolls (thread hijackers) and people who attack the website to get at the user ID information. The latter are behind the curtain worries, and the former can only truly be policed by somewhat anti-democratic methods.

4. The danger is not spies, but users
Wikipedia was/is being harmed not by trolls, but by interested political entities. Because Wikipedia requires consensus for rules, the interested political entities a) registered accounts, b) made useful edits, c) created new accounts, d) made constructive edits, etc. Because they were professional/state, they could multiply. What's more, these "persons" chatted, spoke politely, lost graciously, etc. When, however, an editing war broke out on Russia vs. Estonia or Poland vs. Germany, then suddenly the votes would be a landslide. There would be many, many, many users in "good standing" who would vote together.

If you spot a new user who never makes a diary but follows lots of people, that doesn't mean you're being spied on. After all, you're writing public essays, so how is anything spying? However, if you see accounts writing a couple of generic diaries that a -bot could do and a few comments ("Me too!" "Great job!" "Yes, but what about the cosmological constant?"), just bubbling along, that would be your worry.

However your rules work, that is how your enemies work. In this case, the robo three strikes and all that would be easily accomplished by "sock puppet" accounts. Proliferation of misinformation would be accomplished by sock puppets up-rating something to the rec list that doesn't belong there (e.g. the Dan Rather set-up). What won't happen, though, is a flood of NSA agents or FBI agents signing up to "get" anyone.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (8+ / 0-)

    Everyone's innocent of some crime.

    by The Geogre on Sun Aug 18, 2013 at 10:28:10 AM PDT

  •  Discus Pfhaw! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Geogre

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Sun Aug 18, 2013 at 10:46:03 AM PDT

    •  I hates it (0+ / 0-)

      Disquis is evil.

      I don't think this place has the rampant militancy that Wikipedia had, where there was a need for constant monitoring of "new changes" that led to people making themselves into vandal hunters. Slapping vandals vs. making a life of it are different things.

      Everyone's innocent of some crime.

      by The Geogre on Sun Aug 18, 2013 at 10:53:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Virtual Shelf-space (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, The Geogre

    Using the metaphor of a marketplace of ideas with virtual aisles and virtual shelves to describe sites such as dkos, some things start to make sense.

    There's a reason why high-fructose-corn-syrup Coke and Pepsi products are the most convenient to reach in the soda-aisle: Coke and Pepsi actually pay* for the privilege.  Coke and Pepsi pay people to stock those shelves. Coke and Pepsi coordinate marketing with store management. Coke and Pepsi help store management to build traffic.

    So even if a new company comes along with a cane-sugar soda that tastes just like Coke (or an even more cane-sugary soda that tastes just like Pepsi), and somehow manages to sell it to the end-user at a lower price, it's still unlikely that Coke and Pepsi will lose their coveted shelf-space.

    Why? Because while the new company may have been concentrating on taste, Coke** and Pepsi know what really counts: shelf-space and marketing.

    "But the internet is unlimited!" you may say.

    In turn, I would answer with a question, "How often do you go beyond page one on a Google search?" (And yes, leaving out the phrase "Or any other search engine" was on purpose.) We are creatures of habit, after all.

    So as I roam the virtual aisles of dkos searching for wholesome or tasty tidbits, I sometimes also try browsing the less obvious shelves.



    * In virtual land, the pay may be virtual, of course.
    ** "New Coke" was the exception that proves the rule.

    Strange that a harp of thousand strings should keep in tune so long

    by jabney on Sun Aug 18, 2013 at 12:27:39 PM PDT

    •  Quite often (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jabney, The Geogre
      How often do you go beyond page one on a Google search?
      Probably for much the same reason you seek less obvious shelves to munch from.

      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

      by Catte Nappe on Sun Aug 18, 2013 at 12:53:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Cool! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catte Nappe, The Geogre

        I've sometimes thought it might be a nifty thing to designate a given day as "Go to that particular item in the google results-day." Sort of like going to TVTropes and clicking the Random button in the lower right hand corner. When a site is as crowded as that one or dkos, for some reason introducing some 'dither' in the form of randomization helps me improve my personal signal-to-noise ratio.

        But now I'm mixing metaphors.



        Strange that a harp of thousand strings should keep in tune so long

        by jabney on Sun Aug 18, 2013 at 01:16:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I won't lie: I like readers (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I found that I was being too fancy pants, so I went another way. Then I found that that was duplicating efforts, so I went another way again. I like readers, and I loved getting in community spotlight. I'm still mystified how some things are in the recommended list with only twelve recommendations, though.

          Since I'm not likely to be able to break news, I don't worry about that list very much. There is an upcoming thing where the League of the South is going to be bothering people a few towns over, but my employers may well be involved, and I live in a "no right to work" state.

          Everyone's innocent of some crime.

          by The Geogre on Sun Aug 18, 2013 at 06:04:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, me too, because I HAVE to (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jabney, Catte Nappe

        I think there were two years or so when Google hit everything on the first page, but their new model, whatever it is, has been for crud. Unless I want to know who won a reality show, or I frame my query perfectly, I'm going deep to get what I want.

        Try "account of the Baltimore City Schools budget crisis of 2003." Oh, all results are for 2013. Google has decided that no old page can be relevant anymore, because no one wants to refer to anything from the past.

        Everyone's innocent of some crime.

        by The Geogre on Sun Aug 18, 2013 at 05:59:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I concur with you on the why's (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      DailyKos rings loudly for a non-profit or issue-advocacy site. For that reason alone, it would attract organizations interested in creating sway. They would do this by either insinuation into a layer of trust (non-democratic sides) or by creating copies of themselves (voting sites).

      When I see people alerting the DK cognoscenti about spies and the like at the site, I scratch my head. First, it does little good to go seeking out the impure of heart. Second, the worry is the same IP in use in multiple accounts at the same time. Beyond that, you have to give over to moderation (human) and trust it.

      Everyone's innocent of some crime.

      by The Geogre on Sun Aug 18, 2013 at 05:57:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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