[PLUG-TALK] a superset of censorship

glen e. p. ropella gepr at tempusdictum.com
Fri Jan 2 16:36:17 PST 2009

Thus spake Russell Senior circa 02/01/09 04:02 PM:
> I recently watched this, a talk by one of the intellectual and
> humanitarian rock stars of the Portland metropolitan area, Ward
> Cunningham:
>   http://cyborgcamp.blip.tv/file/1556645/
> The whole thing is worth watching, but skip to about 46:30 for a bit
> about trolling on wikis.  
> ``The way I think about it is [...] writing for a wiki [...] you have
>   [...]
>   taking it.  And if you start thinking in those terms you can read
>   what people are saying and it's very easy as a human to say "is this
>   guy giving or is this guy taking?"  You just read what he says.
>   "Uh!  This guy's a taker."  [...]  Trolling is the quintessential
>   example of a taker.  He doesn't give you anything, just demands your
>   attention by saying something crazy.''
> I'd say that Glen's brand of trolling is still giving.  Anything that
> induces understanding, advancing, clarifying thought can't be taking.

Damn him!  [grin]  I hate people smarter than me.

But there is one flaw in Ward's reasoning.  Taking and giving are just
two parts of Ouroboros.  One cannot (successfully) give without taking
or take without giving.  It's easy to see this when we posit a pure
giver.  We all can imagine a pure taker.  We _think_ we see them
everywhere.  But it's clearer when we imagine a pure giver.  Nobody's a
pure giver.  Even Mother Teresa and Ghandi have to _eat_.  And even if
their consumption fuels further giving, ultimately, they eat for purely
self-serving purposes.

It's reasonable, then, that if there is no such thing as a pure giver,
there's probably no such thing as a pure taker.  In fact, I can already
say that MR, through his myopic and incompetent attempts at politics,
has given us the opportunity to clarify the people who subscribe to

I really like Richard's refinement of the definition of this category of
people ... "us".  It strikes me as very cool (but perhaps self-indulgent
and narcissistic) to think the members of plug-talk (and probably plug,
as well) as a collection of diverse people united by reason, if not
always in our rhetoric, but always in our open-ended use of computers.

A real test would be to see how many of us are users of linux mostly out
of pure emotion (not reason) ... because we find monopolies or
closed-source morally objectionable versus those of us who use it out of
reason (flawed though each argument may be).

Are we just a collection of mantric morons who support/use linux because
we're victims of mob mentality?  Are we reactionaries with painful
histories of exploitation by corporate empires?  Perhaps some of us just
can't fit in with the "cool kids" and find it easier to be accepted by a
bunch of geeky freaks?  Or are we more rational than your average person
and, thereby, choose the more rational operating system for our purposes
(which may include using those other OSes sporadically?

p.s. I _almost_ included you with Jeme amongst the constructive
ridiculers ... but you're too much of a teacher.  Even your ridicule
always includes "hooks" for the curious idiot to improve himself.  So
you didn't make the cut as a ridiculer.

glen e. p. ropella, 971-222-9095, http://tempusdictum.com

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