markpasc (markpasc) wrote,

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Pseudonymous noise

[I share this post from my weblog. David Brin's talk about anonymity is in The Transparent Society, which I'm still reading.]

David Brin talks about anonymity and how it can sow distrust in a society. That's especially come to mind with recent activity on the roundup-users list. Some guy (mike n.) is asking a lot of broken questions in different emails, not reading the (admittedly not great) documentation, and such. The suspicious part is that suddenly two or four other folk arrive after him, pulling the same tricks. Two more folks with identical cadence make me think he may be trying to avoid people ignoring him by appearing as different people.

Then again, Player 3, Eric W, could be telling the truth when he says a friend showed him. And Player 2, jamesjn, might be showing his hand when he asks after a Japanese localized version and says Roundup gets icy by which he may mean freezes. mike n may repeat his mail because he didn't actually subscribe to the list and so doesn't see the responses; that could also explain his resending slightly reworded mail, but then jamesjn did that too, so either neither of them understands how mailing lists work, or.... It's weird but not inconceivable that all that (acronymized SMS-style pidgin, repeating the same questions after getting answers, resending edited versions of the same mail before getting answers, being unable or unwilling to find the download and documentation links, using Western first names with last initials only, using free web mail services) is normal in the circles they run in.


I may just be avoiding seeming prejudiced (even just to myself) in the presence of all this unusual behavior, but it's surely a giant spike in the noise level on that list. It's irritating enough that I don't mind thinking it's one highly unaccultured person trying to bilk folks into thinking for him. At any rate, it's evidence for Brin's threat that the mere possibility of ano- or pseudonymity is divisive enough to disturb.

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