MeatballWiki | RecentChanges | Random Page | Indices | Categories

Hi, I'm Martin, aka MyRedDice (Amongst other names - cf WhatIsMultiplicity). Former member of HTwoGTwo and WikiPedia .

Updates on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/myreddice

PrimarilyPublicDomain: All of my contributions to MeatballWiki are hereby placed in the PublicDomain unless otherwise indicated.

I'm quite amenable to having my content moved to CommunityWiki, if it's deemed to be a Good Thing. Drop me a note if you have any suggestions. Note that my contributions to CommunityWiki are not PPD, except where indicated, but I am happy to make them PPD if the community there decides it wants to make that switch.

I'm cleaning up a few of my CommunityWiki signatures via [1], since I'm currently largely part of their audience rather than an active contributor (and also because it's just good practice). Nothing unpleasant intended, and I still hope to use CommunityWiki:MeatballDuplicate for copyleft purposes where appropriate.


October 9, 2003. For your masterful refactoring work and the PrimarilyPublicDomain experiment, I hereby award you the BarnStar. Thank you! -- StephenGilbert

Thanks for the incredible amount of reworking! The page churn is simply amazing. Meatball did not only awake from a long slumber, it seems electrified! -- AlexSchroeder

October 30, 2003. For ForgiveAndForgetting all that should, I award you a BarnStar. -- SunirShah

(feeling a bit inadequate in such company) - Me too! Thanks for the reworking, that is. -- PaulBowman

I'm very impressed by your masterful rendition of the RightToVanish. I'm additionally impressed that you avoided thread mode, and that you (hopefully) headed off a UseRealNames argument, but I was completely floored by the clear writing and well-rounded thinking itself. Thank you. Wow. -- SunirShah

January 3, 2003. I've been wanting to give you a BarnStar for a few weeks, but I couldn't think of a specific reason, until it hit me. I don't need one. So here's one for your incredible contributions lately! -- SunirShah

Martin, Congratulations! I'll think I'll turn here for StarGazing? in the future. Great work! -- HelmutLeitner

Sterling work on ReverseIndex. -- EarleMartin

Nice work on LynchMob! -- SunirShah

Gah, I am such a praise whore. Thank you. --Martin



You can email me (martin at myreddice.co.uk), or say hi here somehow. I try to be a 'real person' online nowadays, so here's my employer's address, for those who think that nothing beats a letter. There are prizes (£5 to your favourite charity) for those who send me something fun.

Martin Harper
Speech Machines House
Merebrook Business Park, Hanley Road
Malvern, WR13 6NP

messages, thoughts, discussion

Recently spun-off: part of HTwoGTwo, CategoryReworking, part of KeptPagesFailures

To be written: DefendAgainstIdolatry? (but see ReveredLeader), NetKook?, CommunityOverContent (but see ContentOverCommunity), UserReference?, AttentionSeeker, IdentityOppression, BeLazy?, BlockingIsFeeding?, LimitVisibility, PrincipleOfSubsidiarity?, BindingVote? and OpinionPoll? (see VotingIsGood and VotingIsEvil), BoldThenHumble? (maybe BoldThenTimid?), NextLeader?, PublicScriptStrings? (see ad on PublicScript), FreeSpirit? (anarchs - contrast AntiAuthoritarian, who is an anarch-ist).

A CommunityBridge? is a person who assists people and ideas to flow between two communities. Such a bridge can allow flow both ways, or only in one direction. The most common form of bridge occurs during WikiEmigration: one person moves to a new community, and their roots in the old community encourage others to follow in their steps.

Examples: LionKimbro wants to be a one-way bridge, which he calls an "anti-member", but he's not sure where to. StephenGilbert talks of the wikipedia diplomatic corps: a group of folks who form a two-way bridge.

Better names? BridgePerson? or BridgeMember?? HumanBridge?? WikiDiplomat?? Hmm. WikiWeaving seems related, but they've wandered off on TechnologySolutions, and it's annoying WordMagic. Plus, most folks don't weave two wikis together, which implies a deep level of interconnection. Rather, they provide an occasional bridge. I'm getting to hung up on names, though. Maybe WikiWeaving is good enough.

That would make it WikiWeaver? then.

I'm not even sure I want to be wiki-specific. Bridges happen between all kinds of communities - even between the RealWorld and a VirtualCommunity. The wiki-specific stuff is just technical, and better covered at InterWiki, etc. One issue is providing cross-links: does the community welcome such links, merely tolerate them, or regard them as spam? And do they actually follow them? It's difficult enough moving discussion from the Wikipedia mailing list to Wikipedia itself. Is that an indication that it's hard to move between types of media, even when not moving between communities or goals? Or just the stubborness of TheCabal??


In Switzerland, politicians sometimes like to call themselves Brückenbauer -- bridge-builders. They BuildBridges?. -- AlexSchroeder

By the way, when you create this page, you may want to consider the essay on SocialSoftware talking about the motivation for the invention of roads, and then tie that into various inter-community technology, like FidoNet, the InterNet, InterWiki, RichSiteSummary, etc. At least that's the technical side of bridge building. On the social side you have the builder and the two communities; on the technical side you have the bridge that makes it cheaper to communicate. Economics is the critical point. -- SunirShah

CommunicationRole suggests "BoundarySpanner?" for one-one spanning, and GateKeeper? for one-many spanning. Another option. With the Wikipedia influx recently, we also need to discuss size mismatches - a kind of longterm SlashdotEffect. There's also GluePeople to read.

WikiPediaIsNotTypical (should be at WikipediaFork) so even though it is CopyLeft, and there is a RightToFork the content, it is practically very difficult to fork the community. But what is hugely common is third parties taking advantage of the RightToMirror?. This is nice, because it increases our readership without costing us bandwidth, CPU cycles, etc, and without splitting the community. Everyone's a winner (ish).

The safest/most CryptoNautic form of RightToMirror? would be to say to third parties: you may mirror us, but...

An interesting question is whether to allow people to add a facility for people to add comments. On the one hand, perhaps we want people to come to meatball and comment here. On the other hand, people won't always want to do that, and if our ideas are so great, they should be freely discussed. One option would be to require that meatball is given permission to use any comments made under the MeatballWikiCopyright, and is notified if there are comments it might find useful/worth incorporating/responding to.

In a sense, we already have this in the "snapshots", but that's for a limited selection of pages. Could it be extended more broadly? Would this allow redistributable content without forking the community over?

MeatballWikiCopyright reserves the RightToMirror?. We haven't used it because I'm not very confident in our copyright, either legally or in terms of FairProcess. I prefer to limit the usages of the redistribution to compilations that are clearly marked as such, like the snapshot. I'm actually very very supportive of Bayle's snapshot initiative, and I wish I had more time to work on it other than just PeerReview. -- SunirShah

I was going to write a whole bunch of stuff here but have decided to put it at CopyrightDoesntMatter instead so that the whole community can participate in it. But I'm writing it because I don't understand your viewpoint about Meatball copyright. --Steve

Redistribution has a legal dimension (which is complex), a technical dimension (it's possible, and InformationWantsToBeFree), and a social dimension (RecordKeeper, ForkingOfOnlineCommunities, etc).

In terms of meatball, I'm uncertain what the best legal, technical, and social approach is, and I think it does matter. The important point you make is that in redistribution/modification discussion copyright isn't everything - I wonder if I should rename CategoryCopyright to indicate this - CategoryReuse?, perhaps? --MartinHarper

Thank you for the reply.

I think we agree on most of the copyright matters. I added some stuff to CopyrightDoesntMatter on ethics, though I took there a somewhat more extreme position than I actually hold to better frame the discussion.

I like to look for models in history and MeatSpace, and I wonder what the best analog is for the collaborative output of an effort like MeatBall. Maybe what we do is similar to the written output of a college or monastary. There is in neither case any real expectation of remuneration, and widespread distribution of the information is a goal, yet attribution is expected, at least to a degree until the ideas have been built upon and changed to the point where they are no longer recognizable.

I think a tradition is more valuable in this regard than a LegalSolution.

Here's an idea for a wiki intellectual property tradition. The totality of the wiki is a collaborative effort. Authorship is acknowleged on a wiki-wide basis rather than per page. Authors may de-sign at any time if they decide they no longer see themselves as agreeing with the overall wiki effort. A tradition should exist of encouraging derivative efforts, reuse, and repurposing. Perhaps a tradition should exist to discourage forks.

It would be powerful to say: "Don't fork the wiki without a good reason" and to, like a labor union, expect contributors to respect the picket lines if a fork occurs. That may be more useful than attempting a legal solution based in copyright.


Martin, just a question. How much of the PageDatabase have you read? I have to reread it now that I've been gone for so long. -- SunirShah

I've looked at about half the pages, I reckon, but I've read much less than that: perhaps a quarter by page count, and a fifth by line count?

That's a lot of pages (1250). A couple thousand if printed. I wonder if you have figured out any of my secrets. ;) -- SunirShah

Diary like thing: Jan 2004, some time. I got given a book today by work: "Talk is not cheap". It's a tribute to how little I still know about good communication that there was lots of basic stuff in it that I hadn't considered, or knew but didn't put into practice, or had forgotten. There was also irritation: "If you rearrange the letters in the word listen you get silent." - isn't that profound! Also, I've picked up a copy of a dance mat game, in a vain attempt to get myself fit. Which is nothing to do with online communities, but probably does illustrate my unsalvagable geek nature.

Jan 2004, later. Gah, I look back on h2g2:A617078 [2] and gosh it looks childish. Kind of embarrassing, but only because I forgot the context: we weren't allowed to criticise: if we did so, we risked formal warnings and bans - and many of us got them. Even in that trivialised form, that page still got me a week's suspension from the place. Sometimes I wish I could forget stuff like that. Forgiveness is so much easier.

Example: I'm still carrying around in my head the memory of a time I (deliberately) trapped my sister's fingers in a drawer. This is ridiculous: I was something like 8: 16 years later, and still with me. 8 years ago I forced myself to remember it forever, as a reminder of what I could become if I didn't get some semblance of self-control. Now, grown up and with my inner beast caged, if not tamed, I kinda resent being controlled by my teenaged self.

Just think of all the stupid stuff you thought about doing, but didn't. And all the close calls, and stupid things you said. It took years but I finally realized that none of the people I've said stupid, clueless things to remembered any of it for more than 24 hours. And most of ones I said mean, hurtful things to were able to get over it with a few years of psychotherapy. In the same light I've learned to get over that stuff and quit carrying it around after a few years. They've gotten over it by now, so I might as well too.

Avoid people who try to constrain you to be today no one more than the person they knew you as three years ago. Bosses, parents, girlfriends, whoever, get away, or at least go on hiatus for a while so they have time to recalibrate themselves. And above all, don't bring such constraints on yourself.

I am in a constant state of realization that most of the things I was doing five years ago were a waste of time and money inasmuch as I didn't enjoy them as much as I thought I did and didn't accomplish what I wanted to accomplish.

Oh, I hate IdentityOppression as much as the next follower of Luke Rhinehart, so I certainly agree with the concept of breaking one's chains. Alas, the mind is willing, but the mind is weak: it's only my wanderlust that keeps me alive, as opposed to merely living.

I am in a WikiPedia:Responsibility_assumption frame of mind today, probably because I'm happy with a really long and intense debugging session at work yesterday that produced some great results.

My Wikipedia thought for the day is that some of the policy disagreements there can be characterized as CommunityOverContent vs. ContentOverCommunity discussions. The community is sort of schitzoid about that. Deltionism=ContentOverCommunity; inclusionism=CommunityOverContent. It also leads to some of the conflict over page protection and edit wars. Still not the core source of conflict, but an interesting aside, IMO. -Steve

On the other hand, ContentOverCommunity is itself a source of conflict: if you prioritise stuff above people, then you'll get conflict - and you have to trust that the stuff is worth that conflict. Question is, what is the core source of conflict?

On bad days, I wonder if I'm helping or hindering. If I wasn't such an AntiAuthoritarian, Eloquence & co would have probably got their formal voting scheme by now, and who's to know if that wouldn't have cleared everything up?

You know better, and you know the chaos that would create. The conflict would just shift and we'd see another attempted layer of HardSecurity, and fights over whether each vote is valid. "That's a sock puppet" -- "no it's not it's my roommate" yada yada. And then the problem of people voting in blocks would just get worse. It's not about antiauthoritarianism, the grand fallacy is that the voting turnout for any given issue is so low as a percent of the community that it just won't work.

Erik (Eloquence) and I go way back, you know. Back before when he hated wikis. It doesn't surprise me he is trying to bring voting into Wikipedia. Well, he and I don't agree on much. Heh. -- SunirShah

Ok, I need a repacement pattern name for IdentityFascism? that doesn't violate GodwinsLaw. It's rude to compare people to Nazis simply because they have a different view of identity to me.... us.... me.


Fascism is the organized autocratic and totalitarian system of government that uses nationalism as the cohesive force, often in a millitarized opposition to another "foreign" entity (which may be internal). You know, Republican. Would you like to be more clear about what you want to write about? --ss

I was thinking of dictionary:fascism - "Oppressive, dictatorial control". From PersonaTourism: "the expectation of consistent responses to the same social situation". From SockPuppet: "if someone uses a pseudonym and doesn't even have the courage to say so, well then they are also lying, and therefore reprehensible". Society sends a strong message: be one person, behave in one way, be predictable and controllable. Accept our labels, and stay in your pidgeonhole.

It's just the dark side of SerialIdentity, and it's probably necessary for society to function.... but TheIndividual finds it oppressive. --mh

Alex gave us his real life references yesterday. I guess that yes, it may be necessary that so is done.

Actually, the clue is in the definition: IdentityOppression. Anywhich, I should also be writing ProvingIdentity?, since I keep running into strange people who believe that any OnlineIdentity is unprovable, no matter how hard you try. However, I think I'll sleep instead. --mh

A long time ago I was thinking of writing a guide on how to uncover real names, but thought better of it. It's a very dangerous thing to do, especially collaboratively. -- SunirShah

In most cases, it's not especially difficult since prolific writers leave plenty of cues and since it is difficult to avoid making mistakes. On the other hand, the individual who pens a single expose and uses the internet as a means of distribution, if careful, can confound source seekers. Compose at the Kinko's and pay in cash. But the techniques are the same as any other investigation. Role-playing interviews, as they are euphemistically called, work well. Filing a frivilous lawsuit is usually enough to get recalcitrant ISPs and the like to release server logs. Usually that isn't necessary, if you contact them with an IP and a time and dummy up some sample logs showing a security violation on some server somewhere, that is enough to break loose the data. People want to believe, and it takes training not to.

We seem to have quite a few TWiki people having a nosey round recently. :)

One of the problems of the GodKing of a wiki (who appears to desire to be treated as a ReveredLeader) deciding to use HardSecurity to turn a VestedContributor into a CommunityOutcast is that people outside the WikiSubcommunity that supports that decision tend to look beyond the boundaries of the original community. (FWIW, I'm referring to myself as the latter point - I've not fought it to break the ConflictCycle) I could probably say more, but it would come across as whinging, so I won't :) If you're curious, I'll write up a summary on OWikiClone's wiki to save cluttering up Meatball.

One thing I will say about it is this - it could be argued quite simply that the root cause of the problems (since this was just one symptom) is an inability to DevolvePower effectively, with the approach taken to impose decisions on a community after a ConcentrationOfPower into a WikiSubcommunity that always "publicly" agrees with the GodKing rather than have community led decisions with people feeling able to express their genuine opinions publicly. (Partly due to the apparent ease of mind at which HardSecurity is wielded to ensure that opposing views that have power from criticism to DissuadeReputation is blocked out)

One situation that has occured as a resulting is a partial ForkingOfOnlineCommunities - since many of the more active contributors have moved over to IRC for initial discussions rather than the wiki. Positive aspects of course are looking beyond the usual boundaries and a view to collaborating rather than competing. Personally I think this will lead to cross pollination and strengthen all the communities touched as a result. One can but hope :) -- MichaelSamuels

Martin, I updated and streamlined our discussion at ConstitutionalCrisis. Maybe you want to check and rework some of your arguments as I did or restore it if my light refactoring isn't acceptable. -- HelmutLeitner

Thanks Helmut.

So, I was reading a forum elsewhere, and happened upon this comment by the resident BenevolentDictator (taken out of context):

Give negative reputation if you disagree with a post.

I wanted to explain why this is really bad (can you say GroupThink!?). But after umming a bit, I decided not to say anything - to lurk a little more before butting my nose in. But today I read SunirShah's comments about how people should go out and try to support other communities, and thought maybe I should write something up on giving bad marks for unpopular opinions, and why this should be discouraged, not encouraged, in a community. Citing SlashDot, of course.

But how much politics do I really want to get into? Travelling around the web helping all manner of online communities lacks humility somehow. But how much of that reluctance is laziness? Dunno.

Well, there is a difference between being a white knight and being supportive. The first step is forming a PersonalRelationship with someone. If they ask you, then they ask you. But to form a personal relationship, sometimes it's good to stick your neck above the crowd to see if anyone else is thinking the same thing. When I go to conferences, I have a habit of asking very deep and critical questions of the lecturers, not for the sake of getting an answer (which never happens), but rather to make it apparent to other people in the room with similar interests and perspectives that I would like to talk about that subject. Also, when I was campaigning for Manley, I went to the Martinite parties and was open that I was working for John Manley. This helped me acquire the people who were quietly loathing Paul Martin. But I wasn't smarmy about my support of John Manley. I just remained polite. (PrincipleOfConstantRespect). So, if you have something to say about it, go for it, but be respectful, and be mindful your goal is not to make the change (although that would be great), but to find other people there who themselves want to make the change. If this highly unfocused blurb makes sense? -- SunirShah


In the GoodBye page I tried to follow a link re: a Wikipedian. It appear to be something entirely different. Maybe it should be dropped unless a current link can be found that help people understand the main subject better? -- DavidLiu (I am very new so probably dont know better) May05

I've found a current link, but on reflection, I think it is better that I delete the reference as being too specific (and, in honesty, too vindictive). The general principle is well stated by the page itself.

Seeing your name on RecentChanges reminded me that I am sorry I never really got to interact with you on WikiPedia; I've rather appreciated coming across your writings months and years later. Cheers, KatWalsh

A very warm welcome back Martin. It's been a long time. What have you been up to? I hope good things, and that you're going to stick around. -- SunirShah

Playing World of Warcraft for a while, but I went cold turkey a few months back. Now I'm dancing as my main hobby. Working as a web developer for a US company. Got a two-three month trip to Atlanta coming up. Online community still fascinates me, though (mercifully) shorn of my wikipedia responsibilities I don't have the direct experience I once had. My job sadly isolates me somewhat from my users/customers/people. Division of labour is a terrible thing. Thank you for the re-welcome. I learnt so much here.



MeatballWiki | RecentChanges | Random Page | Indices | Categories
Edit text of this page | View other revisions