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BigBrother comes from the book MetaWiki:NineteenEightyFour, and derives from the Cambodian Pol Pot's preferred title of "Brother number one." It is used to describe total surveillance by the State as a means to total control.

It can be extended to a full panopticon, so that peers can also exert power over us. Our identity can be trackable anywhere by anyone. My supermarket will know the contents of my fridge, my family will know exctly where I am in the world, I will be tracked on countless CCTV cameras across the world. Every single interaction I have with another human being will be referred back to my unalterable "identity". See CommunityOfGlassHouses.

I often get the impression that MeatBall, or Sunir at least, is in favour of the concept -- or at least, considers it as inevitable, so we might as well enjoy it. --anon.

I believe you should enjoy the right to control your entire LifeInText as much as possible. Since your recorded identity becomes merely a reading, and on a wiki the text is malleable, then it follows that your recorded identity is malleable. You can always change your recorded history on a wiki, or disconnect your identity entirely by de-signing everything. But the only control you have over FirstReading is yourself (a little self-PreemptiveModeration), so you should be careful what you do.

But I also disagree with myself. Quoting myself from WikiMindWipe...

That isn't how moral rights work. Once something has been said, it cannot be unsaid ever except through a universal lack of will to remember it in the LongNow. This is not 1984; you cannot rewrite history. Moral rights allow one to control how one's work is used after it is created, but that doesn't mean an author can unmake her work. It still can be quoted by anyone, and eventually even reproduced after her rights lapse. Cryptonauts call this non-repudiation, but it's really much deeper than that. Once you've published something, it's public. There's no going back.

Why the two positions? Because sanity must prevail. If you have written text that is injurious to yourself, you should be able to retract it provided you do not need to be held accountable any longer (ForgiveAndForget; forgiveness first, though). However, the public also has a right to maintain its integrity. Rewriting history damages the collective memory and culture. So, I also understand that HumanRights is a balance between TheIndividual and TheCollective. Consequently, your LifeInText is malleable only so far as we let you change it. To quote myself again from WikiMindWipe, "If someone wants to go, let them; but if you want to go, go peaceably."

However, you are right that I think we should all enjoy it. The above discussion focuses on the negative, as you would expect on a page called BigBrother. But imagine a place where we all act in GoodFaith so that we can AssumeGoodFaith. Where we all watch out for each other, cleaning up after our inevitable mistakes. We keep each other from putting feet in our mouth, or from making factual errors. We ForgiveAndForget. We teach by doing rather than telling. We say a few words in one night to wake up the next morning to see a fully completed theory. We all know each other personally, and we take care to make everyone feel good about themselves and their day. Where we can have perfect strangers reach into our hearts and improve our own understandings of the world and ourselves? I'm not convinced that is too good to be true. -- SunirShah, "I am a social construction."


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