Comment 59799

By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted February 15, 2011 at 10:27:30

For the sake of argument, let us say that this story was about anonymous bloggers and their legitimate needs to be recognized :-) --and not really about-- a broader exploration into the minds of those who have come to lead our city while being under the intoxicating spell of the Gyges ring.

Let us indulge here a bit. Most good anons acknowledge that they do come in two varieties - which is a good start! It would follow that good anons have the potential for great conversations, while bad anons take down entire discussions. So if an on-line conversation were to progress constructively, it would make sense that the good anons are acknowledged, while the bad anons are contained humanely!

The lack of fear among bad anons - of getting caught by human intervention has seen many a conversations spiral out of control. Zoo keepers across the world have tried and failed to prevent incidents set off by bad anons, which then go on to ignite the passions of many good anons who are threatened by the specter of being thrown out with the bathwater.

In the words of Game Theory: "...We are finding no solution..." in spite of the many good onymous & anon commenters in our city - many a revolutions have got corrupted, co-opted or simply wimped out - not because of human beings deep desire to remain anonymous, but because of the overpowering energies of those who choose to posses the Gyges ring.

So for a moment - if we were to define the problem as being that of a 'human design failure' to handle the power of anonymity - and not anonymity itself; and if a non-human software code based on semantic recognition were to be implemented on blogs -- which automates the separation of the anonymous "flaming bag throwers" from the "potentially great anonymous contributors" into two literal columns, (a break from the flat or nested commenting model) -- what then would this on-line conversation field 'look' like?

Further if this hypothetical code - lets call it 'Plat-O', had the ability to prevent commenters from crossing the columns, once being assigned to a column - based on their user name and quality of post on any topic -- what then would this on-line conversation field 'feel' like?

On the face of it, the resulting conversation would appear to have one column containing all the Gyges ring wearing good anons who are freely sharing thoughts with the onymous; and the other column would have the Gyges ring wearing bad anons enjoying their version of the same conversation with the like minded.

The question then yet remaining, would be: Do you think our new school Plat-O would be able to totally satisfy the old school Plato's grave doubts concerning the human character …which led him to conclude: "even a 'habitually just' man who possessed such a ring would become a 'thief' -- knowing that he couldn't be caught."?

Being assigned to a column by smart non-human code instead of getting grayed out -- would surely no longer give cause for crying out: Aha! Censorship! Nor would the good or bad anons fear being caught or jostled, as their deeper needs to keep their identity a secret is respected while being given equitable air-time.

One may digress here and ask: But why such a need for anonymity in this age of transparency?

Well, that is simply not our question to ask here - as there could be many private reasons, it may be because some are shy, some are not confident, some are afraid of something or someone, or merely because some haven't yet developed a well founded reason for turning flaming onymous.

So moving on from such digression, I am quite sure that Plato being who he was, would have pushed his software engineers to the limit to develop such a system to test his theory. But the unintended consequences of such an non-human exercise may well have finally led him to give up his pursuit and fall back to the much more universal principles of the 'Gyges Ring' -- with the hope that some among us would eventually get his story and self-correct our position without human or non-human interventions - after having come to the conclusion just as he did -- that all humans are fallible, and the mere possession of the power of invisibility is condition enough to stray.

Now if there are any code developers out there in our city with the curiosity to develop Plat-O -- if only to disprove Plato's old school observations of the human condition -- they just could be the one to bequeath a made-in-Hamilton gift to the Blogosphere and reap its many benefits!

Mahesh P. Butani

Development notes: #001 - Plat-O must be coded to seamlessly turn long winding comments to tldr form - for the benefit of those whose afflictions fall outside the scope of good or bad anonymity. :-)

Comment edited by Mahesh_P_Butani on 2011-02-15 10:55:05

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