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> Wikipedia: A Threat To Civil Society, No More Monsieur Nice Guy
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Jonny Cache
post Mon 1st October 2007, 4:10am
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QUOTE(Nathan @ Sun 30th September 2007, 11:56pm) *

QUOTE(Jonny Cache @ Sun 30th September 2007, 3:00pm) *

QUOTE(Nathan @ Sun 30th September 2007, 2:55pm) *

(aside) I love those Star Trek references.


Then you know the next line …

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"Many such journeys are possible, let me be your gateway."


No, I can't swear by my memory much anymore as it has lately developed a knack for post hoc fabrication, but in the scene at the end of the story I think Kirk says:

Let's get the hell out of here !

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Jonny Cache
post Mon 1st October 2007, 1:48pm
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Okay, that was fun, but threats to society are no laughing matter, so it's back to work for us tireless defenders of the public good —

On another thread we've been discussing the political econony of Wikipedism, mostly still rubbing our eyes with disbelief at the speed with which it transits from archaic feudalism to modern totalitarianism in a blink of those very eyes.

Sic transit, etc.

But there is something more to be understood, something that doesn't quite fit under classical notions of political economy, and it even falls outside the pale of the latest buzz about the information economy, the knowledge proletariat, and all that.

The only halfway fitting analogy that I can think of right now would have to be the realm of drug economy, the politics of addictive substances.

Not really a new idea, of course, but the Church of Wikipediology has definitely cut the sacramental mix with a few new wikipoisons.

Jon Awbrey

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Jonny Cache
post Tue 2nd October 2007, 3:30am
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Any list of required readings on the psychology of addiction and the political economy of its exploitation would have to include the following book, written by one who knew the problem from bottom to top and from the inside out.

Burroughs, William S. (1959), Naked Lunch, Grove Press. Reprinted, Castle Books.

Jon Awbrey

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Kato
post Tue 2nd October 2007, 12:17pm
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"The junk merchant doesn't sell his product to the consumer,
he sells the consumer to his product.
He does not improve and simplify his merchandise.
He degrades and simplifies the client."

William S. Burroughs. Naked Lunch.
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Jonny Cache
post Tue 2nd October 2007, 5:52pm
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Golly, Gollum, you really oughta get to a gym …


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Jonny Cache
post Mon 29th October 2007, 12:30pm
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QUOTE(Kato @ Tue 2nd October 2007, 8:17am) *

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"The junk merchant doesn't sell his product to the consumer,
he sells the consumer to his product.
He does not improve and simplify his merchandise.
He degrades and simplifies the client."

— William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch



There is a discussion in the so-called "Tar Pit and Feather Barrel" of The Wikipedia Review that touches — off and on, hot and cold — on the Matter of Evil, a thing or two about which I have a thing or three to say, but I can hardly tell the Tarry-Eyed from the Feather Heads in that subversion, er, subforum, so I will leave those animadversions where they lie and resurrect the issue here, in one of the more general contexts where it fits.

Jon Awbrey

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Jonny Cache
post Mon 29th October 2007, 3:32pm
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QUOTE(Jonny Cache @ Mon 29th October 2007, 8:30am) *

There is a discussion in the so-called "Tar Pit and Feather Barrel" of The Wikipedia Review that touches — off and on, hot and cold — on the Matter of Evil, a thing or two about which I have a thing or three to say, but I can hardly tell the Tarry-Eyed from the Feather Heads in that subversion, er, subforum, so I will leave those animadversions where they lie and resurrect the issue here, in one of the more general contexts where it fits.

Jon Awbrey


There is a maxim that cautions against attributing to evil that which can be exlained by ignorance. Or some say stupidity, but 6 one way, ½ a wit the other, it's all the same to me. It is a good maxim, variously attributed in modern times, but the gist of it harks back as far as Plato's Socrates, at least.

None of that means that there are not evils in this world. There are actions that most of us do not hesitate to call evil. At barely one remove from the world's active evils there are the systems of belief that excuse and foster the growth of these evils.

For the record, I have to say that I place Wikipedia and its Pushers in both of these classes.

Jon Awbrey
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Somey
post Tue 30th October 2007, 5:34am
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QUOTE(Jonny Cache @ Mon 29th October 2007, 7:30am) *
There is a discussion in the so-called "Tar Pit and Feather Barrel" of The Wikipedia Review that touches — off and on, hot and cold — on the Matter of Evil, a thing or two about which I have a thing or three to say...

For the benefit of non-members who can't read the material being referred to, it's not quite so bad as one's imagination might lead one to believe...

Nobody is saying "Wikipedia is Evil" in any sort of objective sense, for example. Well, maybe one or two people are saying that, but the point is, most people here aren't accusing the WP'ers of acting out of malice or a genuine desire to hurt people, though there are always going to be exceptions. The problem, really, is what are they doing about the exceptions?

The most recent example is this WikiEN-L post by Josh "User:JoshuaZ" Zelinsky. He claims to be monitoring "reliable sources" on an ongoing basis, waiting for Daniel Brandt (and should I assume others as well? the mind reels!) to "slip up" and do something "notable" so that they can put the article about him back up on Wikipedia, and go back to sticking it to him - just like the good ol' days!

So the question becomes, is ol' Josh merely yet another far-gone sociopath, or is he genuinely evil, in the objective, demonic, anti-conventional-morality sense?

We also have to bear in mind that in the post-9/11 era, evil is the new bad. The term gets casually tossed around more than iceberg lettuce 'n' croutons.

I've pointed out Josh's similarity to a rogue artificial-intelligence construct many times, and now it looks like they've programmed a whole bunch of new "attack mode" subroutines into him. I imagine the programmer is having a good time, at least. But as I wrote in the other thread, until they fix that, you can't ask me to be impressed with any of the erstwhile-good things they do individually, because it simply will never be enough to overcome that kind of mentality. User:JoshuaZ may be the worst Wikipedia has to offer, but as long as people like him remain there, they'll continue to be a sick community.

(The maxim is "Hanlon's Razor," by the way, and in this case at least, it doesn't apply - JoshuaZ and his programmers know exactly what they're doing.)
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Joseph100
post Tue 30th October 2007, 5:59am
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QUOTE
(The maxim is "Hanlon's Razor," by the way, and in this case at least, it doesn't apply - JoshuaZ and his programmers know exactly what they're doing.)



"Don't attribute evil to what may be simple stupidity"

QUOTE(Joseph100 @ Mon 29th October 2007, 11:56pm) *

QUOTE
(The maxim is "Hanlon's Razor," by the way, and in this case at least, it doesn't apply - JoshuaZ and his programmers know exactly what they're doing.)



"Don't attribute evil to what may be simple stupidity"




But.... Wikipeidia does "evil" though it's thoughtlessness, it's Defamation, It's Lies and Misinformation and Abuse of people, for no other reason as to excise of raw power for it's own sake and gratification.


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Jonny Cache
post Tue 30th October 2007, 6:12am
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QUOTE(Somey @ Tue 30th October 2007, 1:34am) *

QUOTE(Jonny Cache @ Mon 29th October 2007, 7:30am) *

There is a discussion in the so-called "Tar Pit and Feather Barrel" of The Wikipedia Review that touches — off and on, hot and cold — on the Matter of Evil, a thing or two about which I have a thing or three to say …


For the benefit of non-members who can't read the material being referred to, it's not quite so bad as one's imagination might lead one to believe …

Nobody is saying "Wikipedia is Evil" in any sort of objective sense, for example. Well, maybe one or two people are saying that, but the point is, most people here aren't accusing the WP'ers of acting out of malice or a genuine desire to hurt people, though there are always going to be exceptions. The problem, really, is what are they doing about the exceptions?

The most recent example is this WikiEN-L post by Josh "User:JoshuaZ" Zelinsky. He claims to be monitoring "reliable sources" on an ongoing basis, waiting for Daniel Brandt (and should I assume others as well? the mind reels!) to "slip up" and do something "notable" so that they can put the article about him back up on Wikipedia, and go back to sticking it to him — just like the good ol' days!

So the question becomes, is ol' Josh merely yet another far-gone sociopath, or is he genuinely evil, in the objective, demonic, anti-conventional-morality sense?

We also have to bear in mind that in the post-9/11 era, evil is the new bad. The term gets casually tossed around more than iceberg lettuce 'n' croutons.

I've pointed out Josh's similarity to a rogue artificial-intelligence construct many times, and now it looks like they've programmed a whole bunch of new "attack mode" subroutines into him. I imagine the programmer is having a good time, at least. But as I wrote in the other thread, until they fix that, you can't ask me to be impressed with any of the erstwhile-good things they do individually, because it simply will never be enough to overcome that kind of mentality. User:JoshuaZ may be the worst Wikipedia has to offer, but as long as people like him remain there, they'll continue to be a sick community.

(The maxim is "Hanlon's Razor", by the way, and in this case at least, it doesn't apply — JoshuaZ and his programmers know exactly what they're doing.)


Being one of those people who does say that Wikipedia Is Evil, I know what I mean by those words, I do not dish them out as a Lite™ appetizer for supper club roasts and toasts, and they express a conviction that I came by honestly, that is, through long, painful, and repeated experience with the way that Wikipediots en masse appear bound and determined to go on conducting their project.

But it's late, late, late, and sufficient unto the day are the evils thereof.

Jon Awbrey

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Somey
post Tue 30th October 2007, 6:20am
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QUOTE(Joseph100 @ Tue 30th October 2007, 12:59am) *
But.... Wikipeidia does "evil" though it's thoughtlessness, it's Defamation, It's Lies and Misinformation and Abuse of people, for no other reason as to excise of raw power for it's own sake and gratification.

Sure it does, though maybe not, you know, all the time... But over in the other thread, we were discussing individual admins and editors, not the whole thing.

I'd imagine Wikipedia as a whole, morally speaking, would tend to reflect both the lowest common denominator of person, and the topmost part(s) of its own "hierarchy of needs." First and foremost, it needs to expand, to constantly open up new territory, whether it be in terms of pseudo-encyclopedic content or just more policy and bureaucracy. Contraction of the site, despite making it far more useful, only increases the likelihood of further conflict as people fight over already-written articles, topics, rules, the whole shebang. But that's what we're seeing - the maintenance phase will ultimately mean contraction, slow and tedious though it may be.

But from a moral perspective, that's all an integral part of the whole Wikipedia concept - they're not going to fix that with a few bans, link deletions, or policy changes. There are troubled times ahead for them, and it will be interesting to see if they finally do figure out who the bad apples are among them, and what they do about them.

My guess would be extra barnstars...
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Moulton
post Tue 30th October 2007, 11:11am
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QUOTE
Wikipedia does "evil" though its thoughtlessness, its defamation, its lies and misinformation and abuse of people, for no other reason than the exercise of raw power for its own sake and gratification.

I define "evil" as a toxic combination of four ingredients...

QUOTE
Evil = Power + Fear + Obliviousness + Ruthlessness
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Kato
post Tue 30th October 2007, 11:34am
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QUOTE(Moulton)
Evil = Power + Fear + Obliviousness + Ruthlessness

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"The sum of all human knowledge"
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Jonny Cache
post Tue 30th October 2007, 1:12pm
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QUOTE

I awoke from The Sickness at the age of forty-five, calm and sane, and in reasonably good health except for a weakened liver and the look of borrowed flesh common to all who survive The Sickness. . . . Most survivors do not remember the delirium in detail. I apparently took detailed notes ...

— William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch



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GlassBeadGame
post Tue 30th October 2007, 4:10pm
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QUOTE(Jonny Cache @ Tue 30th October 2007, 7:12am) *

QUOTE

I awoke from The Sickness at the age of forty-five, calm and sane, and in reasonably good health except for a weakened liver and the look of borrowed flesh common to all who survive The Sickness. . . . Most survivors do not remember the delirium in detail. I apparently took detailed notes ...

— William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch




Funny thing is Burroughs wrote that in 1959. In 1974 he had to kick again to get a teaching job at City College. Heroin like Wikipedia is not that easy to part with and claims of awakening from the Sickness are in fact often taken with a grain or two. At least the wiki takes the notes for you.
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Jonny Cache
post Tue 30th October 2007, 8:44pm
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QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Tue 30th October 2007, 12:10pm) *

Funny thing is Burroughs wrote that in 1959. In 1974 he had to kick again to get a teaching job at City College.


And let that be a lesson to us all.

QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Tue 30th October 2007, 12:10pm) *

Heroin like Wikipedia is not that easy to part with and claims of awakening from the Sickness are in fact often taken with a grain or two.


"grain or two" — good one!

QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Tue 30th October 2007, 12:10pm) *

At least the wiki takes the notes for you.


And burns 'em, too …

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Jonny Cache
post Wed 31st October 2007, 2:32am
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Let us continue with our study of the Social Contract between the Pusher and the Junkie.

QUOTE

I awoke from The Sickness at the age of forty-five, calm and sane, and in reasonably good health except for a weakened liver and the look of borrowed flesh common to all who survive The Sickness. . . . Most survivors do not remember the delirium in detail. I apparently took detailed notes on sickness and delirium. I have no precise memory of writing the notes which have now been published under the title Naked Lunch. The title was suggested by Jack Kerouac. I did not understand what the title meant until my recent recovery. The title means exactly what the words say: NAKED Lunch — a frozen moment when everyone sees what is on the end of every fork.

— William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch


If you find the analogy too sinister for your taste, feel free to substitute Spider and Fly.

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GlassBeadGame
post Wed 31st October 2007, 2:47am
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QUOTE(Jonny Cache @ Tue 30th October 2007, 8:32pm) *

Let us continue with our study of the "social contract" between the pusher and the junkie.

QUOTE

I awoke from The Sickness at the age of forty-five, calm and sane, and in reasonably good health except for a weakened liver and the look of borrowed flesh common to all who survive The Sickness. . . . Most survivors do not remember the delirium in detail. I apparently took detailed notes on sickness and delirium. I have no precise memory of writing the notes which have now been published under the title Naked Lunch. The title was suggested by Jack Kerouac. I did not understand what the title meant until my recent recovery. The title means exactly what the words say: NAKED Lunch — a frozen moment when everyone sees what is on the end of every fork.

— William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch


If you find the analogy too sinister, feel free to substitute Spider and Fly.

Jonny cool.gif


Begin with the notion of exploitive power imbalance. Add a mutual desire for discretion and relative long term stability. Mutual external threats to the relationship builds an outlaw ethic between the players. Finally opportunities for the less powerful participant to betray and inform on the more powerful in situations of peril.
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Jonny Cache
post Wed 31st October 2007, 2:56am
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QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Tue 30th October 2007, 10:47pm) *

Begin with the notion of exploitive power imbalance. Add a mutual desire for discretion and relative long term stability. Mutual external threats to the relationship builds an outlaw ethic between the players. Finally opportunities for the less powerful participant to betray and inform on the more powerful in situations of peril.


Yes, all of that, but you are pushing me ahead of the story at a time when I'm moving kinda slow — bad effects of working through the weekend, I guess, as it feels like Friday to me now, and I've got that urge to be more silly than serious.

The missing piece of the puzzle right now is the engine that drives the whole economy on its weary way to hell — a little thing that Burroughs calls the The Algebra Of Need.

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Jonny Cache
post Tue 6th November 2007, 5:00am
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QUOTE

I have taken morphine for acute pain. Any opiate that effectively relieves pain to an equal degree relieves withdrawal symptoms. The conclusion is obvious: Any opiate that relieves pain is habit forming, and the more effectively it relieves pain the more habit forming it is. The habit forming molecule, and the pain killing molecule of morphine are probably identical, and the process by which morphine relieves pain is the same process that leads to tolerance and addiction. Non habit forming morphine appears to be a latter day Philosopher's Stone. (Burroughs, p. 241).

Burroughs, William S. (1959), Naked Lunch, Castle Books. Appendix, pp. 239–255, "Letter From A Master Addict To Dangerous Drugs", letter dated 3 Aug 1956, originally published in The British Journal Of Addiction, Vol. 53, No. 2.

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