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A GuidePost acts to encourage users to go in a certain direction: a PricklyHedge is the opposite of that. Something that isn't actually a barrier, but is nonetheless difficult or unpleasant to cross, and thus acts (perhaps inadvertently) as a barrier.

Is it an AntiPattern?

Example: pages and pages of LegalEse? in software licenses

Another example: WikiWiki and MeatballWiki don't have explicit software support for timestamping comments, which acts to discourage timestamping. Contrast CommunityWiki's software support for a certain type of timestamping, which acts as a GuidePost that such timestamps are desirable.

I don't think that timestamping qualifies as a prickly hedge, merely a GuidePost, as the lack of or provision of timestamping is not meant offensively. A PricklyHedge is HardSecurity; it's meant to control access by restricting freedom. You are free to timestamp here, except we are free to undo those timestamps, and thus the timestamping is a negotiation. A prickly hedge is non-negotiable; it is an inflexible architecture that does not take into consideration how you feel or think or what your intent is. -- SunirShah

The reason I wrote CategorySoftSecurity below, is because this sort of thing is about influence and dissuasion, rather than enforcement. I put up a prickly hedge to discourage the neighbour's kids from clambering into my garden, but it's a "soft" barrier, so if there was an emergency they could get through it, even though it'd be unpleasant for them. By contrast, a ten foot concrete wall with razor wire at the top is clearly hard security. A non-prickly hedge would be weaker, but would it be softer?

The original page author's inspiration was an argument on Wikipedia regarding http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Submission_Standards, where the apparent situation (I only heard this second hand) was that some people were planning to ban users who didn't comply with this legal document. Either way, the idea (again, apparently) was to place this giant license agreement in front of users when they made edits, which has an effect not unlike logins to reduce the number of people willing to contribute. Logins are also such a mechanism, as well as long customer information sheets, as well as UseRealNames here. Each functions to DissuadeInteraction up front by making interaction with the community or the site as painful as possible to the wrong sort of people. Now, while UseRealNames does this by design (as it acts like FlyPaper?), a long licensing process, logins, and customer data do this inadvertently and to their own detriment. And whether or not the case as described is true for Wikipedia, which I admit it very well could not be as I don't understand the situation, the point remains that one can throw up 'prickly' barriers to entry inadvertently or on purpose. And I will admit that UseRealNames is 'hard' since it is not perfectly flexible, even though it has a lot of wiggle room built into it (partly to accommodate some flexibility). -- SunirShah

On reflection I agree this is SoftSecurity. I wonder if it is really more generalizable as a SpeedBump?. I want to include AltHackers in this somehow, as I see them as related. Or maybe this is really better called a ScareCrow??

Or maybe a ScareCrow? would simply induce fear (such as a lot of worthless legalese), but a PricklyHedge seems more architectural, but also more of an unpleasant architecture rather than a difficult one. A TransactionFee seems like a PricklyHedge to me. -- SunirShah

I have been thinking about this. A PricklyHedge can be intentional, in which case the SpeedBump? or ScareCrow? terms can apply, depending on what the intention is. Or it can be unintentional, and be driving people away without your knowledge. - t

Also a PricklyHedge demarcates space or territory, boundaries or gaze; whereas a SpeedBump? limits the (extremal) ranges of energy, actions, and behaviours; and a ScareCrow? will DissuadeInteraction after the boundary is crossed, which is useful when the intended target can get around the fence (e.g. crows flying in from the sky; editors to an open wiki). The PricklyHedge scares people from entering. The ScareCrow? scares away people after they have managed to come inside anyway. The SpeedBump? merely regulates their behaviour once they are inside. An unintentional PricklyHedge might be a garbage heap outside the building. The difficulty of using Meatball might be an example, for instance, even if we rationalize it as intended. -- SunirShah

To avoid LegalThreats, put up the PricklyHedge of posting your lawyer's contact information. Forward all other LegalThreats you receive to your lawyer. That will cut down on the bogus threats. Of course, when you do receive a threat, then you should be more worried.


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