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Journal: The GamerGate aftermath: the positives 6

Journal by squiggleslash

Must be miserable being a female gamedev right now, but I think there are genuinely some long term positives that may come out of this - none of which, I admit, are as positive as what might have happened if a powerful minority of men weren't complete bastards.

1. Men know it's happening now.

Call it projection, call it being blind to the obvious, but if anyone had come to me in August and told me how a sizable proportion of men absolutely hate women with a passion, with the abuse being entirely one-way, I would have nodded but not understood, because I like to think there's good in everyone. I would have poo-poo'd the more extreme examples of "one or two bad apples". Now I understand. Reading prominent GamerGate figureheads writing articles like "How to rape a woman and get away with it" or "How to break a woman" (no direct links but more information on this anti-misogyny site: http://wehuntedthemammoth.com/) is eye opening for those of us sheltered behind a general assumption of human decency in most people, even the ones we see as sexist. Yes, I've worked with at least one obviously sexist co-worker. No, I thought this was just mommy issues and that the guy was OK underneath. I don't think I'd treat him the same way now.

I had no idea the situation was this bad. I had no idea such evil attracted support from such a large and diverse group of people. I know better now. I have some idea of what to say to my daughter - when she's a little older, obviously - to ensure she can defend herself when the time comes. I know what to look out for from colleagues and "friends." I know what to tell friends who deny that the situation exists.

2. More women are speaking up, and being heard

GamerGate isn't happening because misogynists are slut-shaming a female gamedev who produced a game that wasn't to their liking, it's happening because women - and men - are rallying behind her. The superficial "Actually it's about ethics in gaming journalism" trope exists because those who attempted to intimidate said gamedev out of gaming found themselves the target of an overwhelmingly negative press, with large numbers of developers and other people in the gaming industry, especially women, standing up and saying stop.

It would be nice to go further and claim that this is universal, that women are exclusively looking at GamerGate as a chance to stand up and be heard, but alas, Zoe Quinn, Brianna Wu, and others are reporting that they're talking to many women devs who have headed in the other direction, seeing GamerGate as a reason to want out and to leave. This is terrible.

3. Related issues are receiving more attention.

That video with the women being cat-called, followed, and generally harassed, while walking through New York? Would that really have gone viral in a different environment?

Meanwhile, I wonder how many men have actually sat down and forced themselves to watch Anita Sarkeesian's videos on tropes in video games (caution: part six is actually fairly hard to watch), simply because of the controversy over the last few months? I know I did. It's hard to believe more coverage of this kind of constructive, concrete, criticism cannot lead to both less sexism in video games, and stronger, more original, video games in future.

4. Final thought

I'm not saying GamerGate is good or has been positive. It hasn't. We can choose to build in the ashes, or we can get angry about the loss of the city we once had. Or we can do both. I think I'm feeling both right now.

User Journal

Journal: On posting anonymously 14

Journal by squiggleslash

...as opposed to pseudonymously.

I'm finding it easier to post 100% honestly when I post AC on at least one subject at the moment. Why? Well, because if I post pseudonymously then I risk inflaming the wrath of an extremely nutty group, and I really don't have the time or patience or stomach for the kind of harassment I'd expect if I piss that group off.

I say this because it's a counterpoint to some of the stuff that's been said recently, especially in response to, for example, GamerGate and related Tech Sexism controversies, where many are of the opinion that anonymity has little value, encouraging the lowest forms of life to crawl out and make terrible attacks (such as death threats) without fearing the repercussions.

I have some sympathy with the position, but I also think linking identities to comments can severely limit people's ability to comment on things that genuinely bother them when there's a degree of mob like behavior by some on the opposing side of the issue in question.

Accountability is a force of moderation, but accountability cannot be the only means by which commentary is moderated, merely a significant but not insurmountable factor.

Update: This seems relevant ;-)

GNU is Not Unix

Journal: systemd 1

Journal by squiggleslash

Having read up on it, I don't think systemd is a bad idea. I rather like:

1. Doing away with shell scripts with huge amounts of redundant, and frequently badly written, garbage to manage starting and stopping system services.
2. Using cgroups to properly isolate, contain, and track system services.
3. Centralizing the services concept so it's network aware, rather than a separate inetd server

The major criticisms seem to be "I don't like change/I understand shell scripts" (well, true to a certain extent, but I don't think the current situation was particularly good), XML configuration (reportedly, having seen it, but yeah, XML sucks), and the developers are rude, arrogant, and assholish, which I assume means that the critics are also boycotting Linux and half a dozen other FOSS projects...

I think criticisms 1 and 2 are valid concerns and are essentially the same concern expressed twice. My belief is that there's much to be said for making configuration files as simple as possible, and to avoid manual configuration where possible. Hopefully that's what the systemd developers believe too.

Crime

Journal: What they want you to think 6

Journal by squiggleslash

So... Brown was going to college in a few days, but he decided to rob a store beforehand because that's what undergrads do or something. But they found dope in his system, which also proves that in addition to being a violent "thug" (though not one armed with the prerequesite cola and skittles) he was also a drugged out maniac. And the store refused to call 911 because, uh, not sure, but there's probably a bad reason for it. So later when a cop happened to find him jaywalking it was probably OK to ki... no, that's too strong a word, put him to sleep, because thug.

So here's white currently suburban (and British urban anyway, so that doesn't count) me thinking none of this makes sense even if you're trying to tug at any prejudices of mine.

One problem is that Brown being on dope explains the robbery and why the store didn't feel any strong inclination to call 911. Kinda. Well, based on an experience of mine anyway. Thing is, about 25 years ago I'm buying a cheese and onion sandwich from a newsagent in Oxford. In walks a (white, FWIW) man who is obviously stoned. Student probably. Tries to find something to eat, and then has an argument with the store owner who (1) wants him to wait until he's finished serving me and (2) wants him to pay. "Dope fiend" (heh) then loses his temper, swears, makes a lot of comments that sound like a Slashdotter moaning about having to buy music (except about groceries not music), upends a small rack of merchandise near the door, and leaves the store.

Store owner is pissed, but sees no need to call 999. This guy isn't a real threat to anyone. The damage is slight. The situation may resolve itself once the would-be customer sobers up anyway.

Of course, follow this line of reasoning and Brown isn't a thug (I keep emphasizing that word, you know why...) but someone with temporarily poor judgement who was, by default, in a more mellow frame of mind despite appearances at the store.

Which, while I wasn't there, is certainly consistent not with Brown somehow being threatening to the officer that killed him, but initially (while there was no threat) likely to mouth of, and then when the situation turned threatening, more than a little paranoid and likely compliant with the (justifiably, as it turned out) scary cop: that is to say, I think despite the Ferguson police trying to smear Brown as a doped up thug, everything is consistent with the eyewitness accounts that say otherwise.

A few days before going to college Brown, apparently, smoked dope, leading to a series of events where a cop thought he could get away with executing him. Even replacing the more mellow attitude of British police with their authoritarian and mildly corrupt American counterparts, I don't think my white fellow shopper 20 years ago would ever have been shot if caught jaywalking afterwards. Given not merely the attempt to smear Brown, but the type of smear used, which seems to be used all too often, I think he was shot because certain elements in the US, and apparently many are in law enforcement, believe blacks belong to a less human class than the rest of us.

First Person Shooters (Games)

Journal: Videogames and sexism 2

Journal by squiggleslash

Read this: Guardian: From Lara Croft to Bayonetta: what is a 'strong female character'?

I'm kinda baffled by it to be honest. Leaving aside it deals with three female characters, the character it lauds is a poor example of anything, and the character it kinda sweeps under the rug has hidden virtues the author is too shortsighted to notice.

Lara Croft (original)

Lara Croft is perhaps the most famous woman in gaming. Since the original Tomb Raider arrived in 1996, the character has attracted criticism for her physical appearance â" so when the most recent release in the series gave her a realistically proportioned body, the new Lara was praised as a more relatable hero. Removing the over-sized breasts and teeny, tiny waist is apparently all that was needed for the character to evolve from sex object to admirable âoesurvivorâ.

I played a few original TR games, and quite honestly, "physical appearance" is the only aspect of Croft that's dubious. The character is independent, physically strong, smart, quick, and so on. It could be argued that she has "princess" style origins, being born into wealth/power, but she's not a princess in any other sense. She uses the resource at her disposal to her advantage, but she's working hard to get something better. If stereotypical teenage males are drawn into the games by seeing a hottie with large whatevers, said male then experiences a character who makes for quite a good role model. He won't be left with a "Women are toys to be objectified" view.

The counter to that, I guess, is that appearances might put off gamers not attracted to HwLWs, which is a perfectly reasonable complaint, but peripheral to the story the writer writes. The writer is trying to find examples of "strong women" in video games, and pretty much ignores this example, because she's top heavy.

Lara Croft (rebooted)

While Bayonetta fully embraces her sexuality, in the Tomb Raider reboot, Lara fades into her grueling, grey surroundings (...) Lara Croft has had to change to fit into the âoestrong female characterâ role, whereas Bayonetta whips it into submission and makes no apology for her love of lipstick, high heels or, indeed, herself.(...) For all the praise of Laraâ(TM)s growth throughout Tomb Raider, that maturation process is arguably nothing more than a jarring graduation from doubting, guilt-ridden girlhood into lean, mean, psychopathy. Her first kill is supposed to devastate us as it apparently devastates Lara but, almost immediately, weâ(TM)re thrust back into a game which rewards us for killing. Lara is a character who is even uncomfortable in her own story. (...) But within games and wider media, the âoesurvivorâ is a tired trope, women are survivors where men are heroes; they overcome rather than succeed.

I can kind of agree with all of this, survivor is a tired trope and one I've parodied in the past multiple times between pretty much every TV show since the original TV version of Nikita has insisted on portraying heroines-who-sometimes-have-to-use-violence in that way. I'm not sure whether the worst was the 2000s version of Bionic Woman, where the heroine felt obliged to be upset and complain constantly about the fact she'd been the successful recipient of experimental life-saving completely-positive-in-every-way prosthetics, or T:SCC which is just went on for ages with "Miserable Sarah".

But at the same time, what does that have to do with anything? If a male were in the same boat (figuratively), would they act significantly differently? We get miserable if we manage to claw ourselves out of a disaster but are still in danger too, I suspect at any rate.

Bayonetta

Despite appearances, Bayonetta rarely panders to the imagined male audience. Yes, sheâ(TM)s ridiculously proportioned and scantily clad for most of the game, but far from being an object, she is portrayed as having complete autonomy and control over her body and femininity. (...) Bayonetta (...) makes no apology for her love of lipstick, high heels or, indeed, herself. Everything about Bayonetta is determined by her womanhood and femininity, yet she remains dominant throughout: during the course of the game she spanks angels, submits them to humiliating torture attacks and transforms into a panther, clad with painted red claws and gold jewellery. Bayonetta is a powerful woman, she is not powerful in spite of being a woman (...) a truly empowering woman whoâ(TM)s unapologetically feminine, sexual and confident. Dismissed by many as an objectified fantasy, she is a woman without compromise who refuses to be ashamed of her body, who in one sequence giggles seductively as she grasps the pulsating heart of a heaven-sent deity and asks: âoeDo you want to touch me?â

I'm a little puzzled as to how this character is in any way a positive example of a "strong woman" archetype if, as the author breathlessly appears to claim, her greatest strengths are largely limited to some kind of violent version of being flirty and manipulative.

Moreover, if her powers revolve around her sexual effects on the compatible gender, does this not presume that that compatible gender is, in fact, the common controller of power and her oppressor? And does it suggest that the right approach to becoming strong is regularly flashing your boobs to distract someone who isn't doing what you want them to do?

I'm struggling with this one to be honest. If this view of the world is right, then prostitution is a liberating profession, and having skills suited to leadership roles the world needs are nothing compared to the ability to have a boss who's easily caught off guard because he's physically attracted to you.

Unmentioned

Despite the title, the article mentions three characters, quickly dispatches with the only one of any worth, and then avoids bringing up any more. The thesis seems to be survivor bad (well, OK, I guess), looks are important, and strong women are best when they're distracting men by being all sexy and stuff.

I think that's an awful, awful, idea. I don't think my daughter is going to become President, the first person on Mars, or the leader of the largest gang in South Florida controlling 74% of the American cocaine trade, with that attitude.

User Journal

Journal: REPOST: Brandon Eich 20

Journal by squiggleslash

(One last edit. After constructive criticism of my style from JC I'm going to lead this with a quote from a part of a post I made previously that sums up why Eich was unsuitable to be CEO without all the "It's not about X", "Hate campaign", and other stuff that is totally right but makes it all TL;DR. Original post after the -----, you don't have to read it any more)

It's not about what you think, it's about how you treat other people and how you deal with being, quite legitimately, associated with a set of actions (whatever the motive) that many find offensive. We would not be here today had Eich not, two years ago, thought this was a good thing to write:

Second, the donation does not in itself constitute evidence of animosity. Those asserting this are not providing a reasoned argument, rather they are labeling dissenters to cast them out of polite society. To such assertions, I can only respond: no.

about people who might possibly think he has animosity about gays because he donated, twice, totalling $1,000, after it became obvious what the nature of the campaign was, to an organization that repeatedly ran TV ads claiming married homosexuals were a danger to children.

That was a particularly dumb thing to write. It's something most of us feel sometimes when we're under attack, but that's kinda why the job of CEO doesn't go to just about anyone. There are so many useful positions Eich could have gone to, why-oh-why did they make him CEO?

-----

(Just three additional notes: First, I've reposted this because the original was open to everyone, and it turned out the same illiterate idiots who've insisted that questioning Eich's handling of revelations of his donations to an active hate campaign is the same thing as wanting him fired for his opinion are now trolling my journal. So, regretfully, I'm deleting the old JE. Second: this was originally written before Eich resigned. Some minor updates since this was originally published: additional line about "what Slashdotters believe", and removal of comment about other Mozilla board members resigning as this appears to have been misrepresented by media. Finally: actually the situation is worse than described below. In the below I presumed Eich hadn't known exactly what he donated to, thinking it was a generic pro-Prop 8 campaign. It turns out Eich knew it was a hate campaign before he made his donations. This significantly changes the relevence of "Strike 2" below.)

Let's get a few things out of the way first.

There is no issue with Eich's private views, and to a certain extent even his opposition to "gay marriage", however backward and unreasonable such a position might be. It is not about whether he supported Prop 8, whether his name appeared on any petitions in favor of it, or whether he voted for it - again, however unreasonable and backward and pathetic such a position might be.

The problem is this.

I remember the pro-Prop 8 campaigns. Those campaigning for Prop 8 did not focus exclusively on a small set of arguments focussed entirely on some kind of practical, or even religious, argument in favor of Prop 8.

The campaigns themselves were, objectively, homophobic and bigoted. They smeared. They lied. Dog whistles about "protecting our children" (couched with plausable deniability type justifications along the lines of "If it doesn't pass, children will think gay marriages are normal" - uh, right..) were common, as one obvious example.

And Eich donated money to that.

And having basically co-funded a campaign whipping up hate against 5-10% of Mozilla's workforce, he's now in charge of them.

That's strike one.

Strike two is that he's never acknowledged that this was ever a problem. My reading, both of his 2012 "explanation" (which lacks any justifications, it's more a "Don't call me a bigot, you're a bigot" type piece of crap we usually hear from right wing nuts caught with their heads in white hoods) and his current "Let bygones by bygones, of course I'll be nice to the gheys that's Mozilla policy!" comments) is that he's pointedly refused to distance himself from the campaigning he co-funded. No "I never had any problems with gay people and I was disappointed to see how the funds I donated were used", let alone support for groups combatting homophobia.

So... what happens next?

Firefox is Firefox. It's the world's best browser, albeit one that has suffered many knocks over the last few years both with its well documented issues with memory and reliability, and the user interface changes that continue to blur the line between it and its competitors. People aren't switching from Firefox to Chrome because they want Chrome for the most part, they're just switching because Firefox is becoming Chrome anyway, leaving no compelling reason to stick with it during the periods Firefox is especially unstable.

A political boycott of the browser is unfortunate and I'm not entirely sure it would be effective. At the same time, there's a feeling of powerlessness one has a result of this.

Moreover, there is an education problem within the community that's obvious from reading and engaging in the discussions on the subject. The same points come up over and over again:

- The equation of Eich's personal views with his public actions, as if all public actions have a shield if they're rooted somewhere in a personal view somewhere, no matter how slimy or despicable.
- The assumption that criticism of generic support for Prop. 8 is the same as criticism of specific campaigns for Prop. 8 that were objectively hate campaigns, with many refusing to believe any of the campaigns that were pro-Prop 8 contained hate propaganda.
- The failure to recognize that necessary and required qualifications for leadership include a requirement that mutual respect should exist between leader and lead.
- A failure to recognize the special role of a CEO within an organization
- An obsession with supporting those accused of homophobic actions because of some perceived disagreement with "Political Correctness", regardless of context.

I have a gut feeling that if Eich had donated $1,000 to a campaign calling for the re-enslavement of blacks, a campaign which used dog-whistles like "Welfare" et al, we'd still be having this conversation. Really. I do.

Eich is, objectively, not qualified for the Mozilla CEO job. I know some people say "Well, look at all his other qualities", and I'm sure they're right and great and all, but a blind man can know the rules of the road and the layout of New York City like the back of his hand but I still wouldn't want him driving a bus there. It is difficult to get good people some times, but you have to be patient. Good CEOs need to be good figureheads, they need to be respected inside and outside the organization. Eich isn't. Maybe one day he will be.

User Journal

Journal: Brandon Eich knew he was funding a hate campaign. He did it anyway. 1

Journal by squiggleslash

I had sympathy for Eich, despite wanting him to exit the Mozilla CEO position. We're a community of people with no social graces and the idea that someone might end up having their career choices limited beause their lack of human interaction skills - or so I thought - seemed depressing and obvious. To recap, Eich's stone-age views on equality weren't what bothered me so much as his failure to adequately handle the consequences of $1,000 in donations to an actual hate campaign.

That evaporated today. Eich knew exactly what he had donated to before he made the donation. Here's the link. And here's the money quote:

This is the campaign to which Eich contributed. It's proper to note that his two donations of $500 each came on Oct. 25 and 28, days before the Nov. 4 vote and well after the style of the TV campaign was established.

Quoting Eich, defending himself in his "I'm not a bigot, you're a bigot, so there, I win" post of 2012: (My bolding)

Second, the donation does not in itself constitute evidence of animosity. Those asserting this are not providing a reasoned argument, rather they are labeling dissenters to cast them out of polite society. To such assertions, I can only respond: âoenoâ.

If deliberately, intentionally, funding a campaign that calls gays and gay marriage a danger to children isn't evidence of animosity against gays, what the hell is?

It had been my previous position that Eich had simply mishandled the situation. He'd obviously made some donations, but I'd assumed he was telling the truth in claiming there was no animosity or homophobia on his part. I reconciled the two by assuming he didn't know that the funds he donated would be used in the way they were. I criticized him for not distancing himself from the campaign he donated to after it became apparent it was a hate campaign, not simply a pro-Prop 8 campaign. I said this was evidence of poor judgement.

This appears to have been a mistake on my part. The truth appears to be uglier.

User Journal

Journal: Depressing 4

Journal by squiggleslash

So you argue X. You make it clear your view is X, and not Y. You explicitly and repeatedly distance yourself from position Y as it's not what you believe. You explain X in clear detail and how X works.

ALL the responses to you start with the position that you're arguing Y. I'm modded through the floor long before I can get responses out pointing out that they're arguing against strawmen.

I'm losing faith but I don't know what in. Is it me, is it them? Part of me thinks "Well, I must be not explaining this well enough", but...

Genuinely asked for help here. Got kinda an answer, but it only semiexplains the whole thing. Getting the impression people read one phrase in my comments and once they've read it they completely switch off and ignore everything before and after it, including the explanation of why I'm using that phrase.

This may or may not be true, but if you can't call a spade a spade because people think you're talking about coffee grounds (OK, it's early in the morning and I'm tired), then how the hell do you proceed and explain that the problem starts with an actual fucking spade, not vaguely related pile of coffee grounds?

User Journal

Journal: Usability issues with Android, also trying to work around them 3

Journal by squiggleslash

While for the most part, I'm liking Android as a tablet system, I'm increasingly frustrated with it as a phone. By that, I mean I want to be able to use my phone as, well, a phone. Hindering this are several issues:

- My Galaxy Nexus really doesn't understand the necessity of prioritizing voice quality over data availability when I'm on a call. As a basic example, it recently switched, mid-call, from a 2GSM tower with five bar coverage to a UMTS tower with no bars (yes, no bars, which is one above no signal), with the result that my wife couldn't hear a thing I said, and I could only hear "Hello? Hello? Are you still there?" That's an example, the reality is it pulls this shit all the time, and the only way to actually make it reliable is to, well, switch it to 2G-only mode...
- Voice dialing has gone from merely "attrocious" to "what the f--- are they thinking?" over the last few years. Here's a brief history:

1. Google's first attempts actually involved listening to you say who you wanted to call, and then presenting a list of possible interpretations on the screen, requiring you to select, by viewing the screen and using your finger, which one you wanted. Pointless.
2. They semi fixed it, though it was far from reliable, and went in the wrong direction, going ahead with a call without any chance to confirm or easily cancel the operation.
3. At various times they tweaked it, usually breaking something in the process. At various times we've had confirmations. At other, none.
4. They then added Google's patented "You don't want few relevent results, you want as many irrelevent results as possible" feature that has made their search engine such a joy to use in recent years - not. Result, if I call my wife by her nickname, which is how she's listed in my phonebook, it'll translate the nickname into a full name (ie "Trish => Patricia", "Art => Arthur", etc) and then list everyone with that first name asking me who I wanted to call. And then, to add insult to injury, it doesn't recognize my answer ever and ends the session, requiring I go through the entire process again, and again, until I give up. To date, I have not successfully placed a call using the voice calling feature since it was implemented.

Stage 4 is so bad that I actually did something dramatic, I disabled the Google Search app (which is the only way to disable voice dialing) on my phone. Why? Because I didn't want the risk I'd be tempted to use it when driving. Being frustrated by something that isn't road related when you're driving is dangerous.

So... thinking of switching to a tablet/feature phone combination. To do this, the tablet needs T-Mobile data capabilities or else the phone needs some kind of Wifi or similar tethering. I suspect the latter is going to be tremendously inconvenient though, and I'm not sure there are any phones out there with that support.

The tablet needs to be pocketable, making 7" the very largest I can go for. Ideally it needs a front camera and microphone, as I assume the feature phone will have a decent camera for day to day use. GPS is also a must. Operating system? I'm not sure. I like Android but I'm not wedded to it. That said, if it were Windows 8 (are there any 7" W8 tablets?) or something like Ubuntu, I'd want things like an ix86 compatible CPU, expandable storage, and HDMI-out/USB-in ports, and I'm about 99% sure there are no tablets out there that meet that specification - not 7" anyway. To make it clear what I'm after it can be either of:

1. Android tablet, 7", decent modern ARM CPU, 16Gb storage+, front camera, microphone, GPS, T-Mobile compatible 3G or 4G

or

2. Win 8/Ubuntu tablet, 7", Intel Atom or equivalent, expandable storage, HDMI, USB-in, front camera, microphone, GPS, T-Mobile compatible 3G or 4G

So that's where my brain is at. A decent but portable tablet with a dedicated feature phone, rather than a jack of all trades that manages to suck as an actual phone.

Any thoughts?

User Journal

Journal: Could this be the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto? 1

Journal by squiggleslash

It's a quiet evening in my office at the respected media empire of "Fair and biased, inc". My editor and I are discussing ideas for a great story. "You know", says the respected journalist of 96 years, "I'm hearing a lot about Bitcoin these days, it's some new currency or whatnot. Why don't you see if you can interview the creator, Satoshi Nakamoto?"

Seems simple enough, but the editor leaves and I get to work, and after many seconds of research, I discover a problem. Nakamoto is a man who is very difficult to reach. Extensive seconds of searching using the latest technology (Bing) brings me to an online encyclopedia writen by the Internet's most reknowned experts. And their conclusion, their consensus, is that Satoshi Nakamoto is probably not the real name of the inventor of this groundbreaking currency. Nobody has knowingly met Mr Nakamoto in person. Attempts to search for people with this name have proven fruitless.

It becomes apparent that I am looking for an enigma. If Bitcoin's creator is not called Nakamoto, then any details we think we know of him may also be untrue. Some have speculated that he is, in fact, a group of people. Nakamoto may not even be Japanese. Conspiracy theorists posit that the name may refer to an unseen life force existing on a parallel dimension. And some even think, however far fetched, that the creator may be a woman.

Determining who the real Nakamoto is will take some thought. I pour over email after email supposedly written by the mathematical genius. I examine the language used, the non-pertinant views expressed, and I attempt to build a psychological profile of this man. Perhaps, by examining the clues, I can determine who this person is.

I stumble upon a collegue's work for the esteemed "Newsweek" magazine. She identifies a Californian who might be Nakamoto. She concludes that her subject may be Nakamoto based upon the fact he has some kind of connection to Japan, is a libertarian, or at least is distrustful of government, and is a nerd. This is groundbreaking work, and I am inspired to build upon it.

What we are looking for, I tell myself, is a nerd. A nerd who uses pseudonyms. And that itself tells me an enormous amount about our subject, about the real face behind Nakamoto. For someone to remain pseudonymous, successfully, they must be able to distance that pseudonym from themselves, and an expert in cryptography like Nakamoto would know this. Insofar as we would be able to tell who that person is, it would be through personality slips, not through hard information that Nakamoto would leak. Nakamoto might, for example, deliberately mislead a reader about the color of his skin, but he would have more difficulty disguising a fact that might pin-point his location, such as the colour of a common plant in the area of the world he lives.

To this end, we can assume that Nakamoto would lie about everything he uses to represent himself. He would claim he lives in a country he does not, he would claim a name that places him in a population centre he has no links to, he would even suggest that his political views center around issues he has no interest in. And likewise, in his other life, his real life, realising that he must distance himself from the invented personality online, he would take steps to disguise views he really does share with Nakamoto. The "real world" side of Nakamoto's creator would criticize Bitcoins publically and forcefully.

I reread the Newsweek piece looking for clues I've missed. Newsweek reports that Nakamoto frequently switches between British and American spellings, and as this is unlikely to be deliberate, I take this as evidence of the real Nakamoto, a clue that, to me, suggests a person who might once have lived in Britain but now lives in the US.

A nerd. Who once lived in Britain, but now lives in the US. Whose public persona must distance himself from Nakamoto, perhaps someone who rubbishes Bitcoin in public.

I drop my coffee cup. Coffee spills on the carpet below, brown goo staining the once pristine rug as a shoc(GET ON WITH IT, ED) I am surprised, and shocked, and baffled. I know who Nakamoto is.

Nakamoto must be, has to be, me, squiggleslash.

This makes no sense. I have no recollection of ever inventing such a thing. In fact, I think Bitcoin is stupid. But then I start to look through the evidence. I look for anything that might show an unintentional leak of information, and I look for hard facts that Nakamoto or squiggleslash have obviously intended people to believe about themselves, that must be taken as opposite to what they are trying to say.

Nakamoto clearly attempts to imply, though his name, that he is Japanese. This means Nakamoto is not Japanese, and squiggleslash is not Japanese.

squiggleslash clearly wants people to believe he is a critic of Bitcoin, through numerous posts. This means the real face behind the two obviously supports Bitcoin, and Nakamoto not only supports Bitcoin, but invented it.

Nakamoto says little about his politics, but occasionally drops hints he supports libertarian views of the world. This means that Nakamoto is probably the exact opposite, perhaps a socialist liberal commie. And that's exactly what many people claim squiggleslash is when he says things like "I think war is bad and it would be nice if we had universal healthcare."

And the unintentional leaks of information just pile up. An ex-Brit living in the US, and one who posts regularly about Bitcoin on Slashdot and Twitter suggesting an interest in the concept. And they're both nerds. The choice of a Japanese name suggests an interest in Japan, and squiggleslash has a Toshiba HD DVD player - an exotic media display device invented in Japan.

I am forced to look at myself in the mirror. There I see the face of a man every Bitcoin enthusiast has wanted to thank since the creation of their favored currency.

"Hello Satoshi" I say.

The face in the mirror looks back at me, and with a puzzled expression replies: "What? I'm squiggleslash you idiot."

Correction

In our story of March 14th, 2014 entitled "Could this be the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto?", it was claimed that squiggleslash is Satoshi Nakamoto, the inventor of Bitcoin. In fact, squiggleslash is not Satoshi Nakamoto.

User Journal

Journal: The greatest trick 3

Journal by squiggleslash

Hunter S. Woodward stood in the corner of his windowless office, tapping his pencil against his lip. In 25 years as a journalist for the AP, Hunter had never come across a situation like this before. This was a story, but one of disappointment. Newsweek had identified the man sitting in the chair behind him as Satoshi Nakamoto, the inventor of Bitcoin. And the real story, the story Woodward had wasted a pizza on, was that Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto, the man actually sitting in that chair, was nothing of the kind. An engineer who barely spoke English, and beyond a few circumstantial coincidences, had nothing in common with Bitcoin's creator.

"OK, Dorian, I... thank you very much again, and I have one more favor to ask, would you mind just confirming the details one more time, just so I know my notes are correct?", Hunter said, "You've already been the victim of one bad story, I want to make sure I, at least, get it right so you can get some peace."

"Of course", said Dorian. "Go ahead."

The veteran reporter strolled idly across the room, past the bulletin board, to lean on his safe. The safe was open of course, the need to keep it full of paper files of confidential material was another thing lost to new digital era that the real Nakamoto was a part of, and was empty save for the gym bag Woodward kept there.

"So... you came to this country in 1970 when E. E. Hunt corporation recruited you and sponsored your visa, you liked the sciences so you got a degree in Physics from Yale..."

"Yes, yes, physicals, yale, yes"

"...but you never liked the mathematics part. You had never heard of Bitcoins until you were first told about them two weeks ago by a friend called Ryder Shia..."

"Good friend Ryder", smiled Dorian. "Very nice man. Environmentalist, always saving the planet. Knows about Bitcoins, good with money."

"...whose birthday you were celebrating."

"...surprise Brithday", said Dorian. "Told me after he went on celebratory vacation. My English... not so good", continued Dorian, wearily, "But... yes yes, you say, uh, correctly?"

"Well thank you Dorian, and again, I'm so sorry. I hope at least you enjoyed the pizza!"

"Of course", said Dorian, "Glad to help. I go?"

"Of course", said Hunter. "I'll call you a cab."

Dorian staggered up, and with a wave left the office. Hunter examined his notes again, fingering the lock on his safe. The manufacturer's name, Yale, seemed oddly suspicious for some reason. And yet.

Hunter took his coffee mug from the desk, and took a sip. As he did so, the journalist's face froze, and the mug fell from his hands.

"I got degree, Physicals from Yale"

Hunter's gym bag, his physical training equipment, sat in his Yale safe, in clear view. Dorian couldn't have known it was a gym bag, surely? It was open, but only the fabric of some clothes, and his deoderant were visible. Degree brand deoderant. Coincidence. It must be. But.

The journalist's eyes switched to the bulletin board. A large poster dominated the board, "Ride Shares", it said, "Save the planet and some money!"

"Good friend Ryder. Very nice man. Environmentalist, always saving the planet. Knows about Bitcoins, good with money."

Beside the Ride Shares poster was another advertising an Easter Egg Hunt, and beside that, almost as prominant, was one announcing "Ssh! Birthday surprise!", reporting on a party being prepared for a coworker for the day they returned from vacation.

"Surprise Brithday. Told me after he went on celebratory vacation"

Paniced, Hunter picked up the phone. "Has Nakamoto left the building yet?", asked Hunter. The voice on the other end was non-commital. "I think I just saw him... hold on... no, I can't see him."

Hunter dropped the phone and ran out of the building.

Nakamoto had left quietly. "This way to leave please?" he'd asked the security guard at the door of the AP building. "Have nice day good", he said as he stepped out. He walked to the waiting taxi, and got in. His voice changed, he muttered "Get me to LAX airport, my good man. There's a Bitcoin in it for you if you can get there in fifteen minutes."

User Journal

Journal: Ignore this JE, unless you work for Slashdot 4

Journal by squiggleslash

You haven't (I think?) open sourced the new Slashcode, so consider this my contribution.

Executive summary

  • This is something to aid functionality testing.
  • There is formatting involved. This line, for example, is part of a unordered list (ul)
  • This document is both a test case (and has been posted twice, once as a journal entry, and once as a comment) and a functionality checklist.
  • There should be four bulleted list items here, a blank line above the first bulleted line, and "Executive summary" written in bold above that. Then another blank line and so on, but you get the picture. Underneath "What we, the users, are looking for" (which is in bold too) is a numbered list (ol). Take a gander at the source if you need to.

What we, the users, are looking for

  1. We should be able to read the discussions, nested, with some way to filter by moderation level
  2. Comments below our moderation level (or blocked for any other reason) should not appear, and neither should subthreads of those comments. We should be notified if such comments exist.
  3. Comments should be correctly formatted
  4. It should be easy to add a comment to a discussion starting a new subthread, or respond to an existing comment
  5. It should be immediately obvious how to format the comments we're writing.
  6. We should be able to easy visit a user's profile or our own profile
  7. We should be able to see what we've (or any user has) written (paged if necessary/desirable), with recent activity being prominent, and know what activity (moderation and number of replies) have centered around each contribution
  8. We should be able to visit a comment in isolation and see and interact with the discussion of that comment.
  9. We should be able to see journal entries written by a particular user, in order latest to earliest (paged if necessary/desirable), seeing the full content of each
  10. We should be able to post a journal entry from a button clearly visible on the front page and on pages relating to journals or ourselves
  11. We should be able to see all journal entries written by our friends (or by some equivalent means whereby we can build a list of users whose journal entries we're interested in) in order latest to earliest.
  12. We should be able to open any journal entry and, if discussion is ongoing, contribute to the discussion in the same way we do front page articles
  13. We should be able to add users to our friends list, or our foes list, or equivalent functionality
  14. We should have some way of using our friends and foes list to change what comments we see in a discussion at each moderation level. Alternatively we should have some other means by which to identify users whose journals we want to read, users whose comments we always want to see, and users whose comments we never want to see.

Nice to haves

In the words of every Slashdot user ever:

What's taking so long with the unicode support, man?

Also most websites let you edit comments, even if only for a window of time immediately after they were posted. And isn't it rediculous we don't have a spell checker? (Answer - not really, Firefox has that, but I thought I'd mention it because it's a common complaint.)

This line should stand on its own and have blank lines above and below it.

This line and the next one should be paired. There should be a blank line above this one but not below it.
This line and the previous one are paired. There should be a blank line below this one but not above it.

Also everything above should be in the same font. Just saying.

User Journal

Journal: Beta, the boycott, and discussion quality 3

Journal by squiggleslash

It does appear, with the "boycott" of Slashdot in full swing, that discussion quality on Slashdot is markably improved, not simply better than when it was when the betoddlers were throwing their rattles out of the high chair, but improved compared to how it is usually. This is, of course, my perception, and it's possible that I'm seeing what I want to see. Still, I'm seeing mostly on-topic material, and strangely I haven't commented as much as I did pre-boycott because I usually find someone else has said either what I wanted to say, or something that addressed my thoughts so entirely I don't need to say it.

Some thoughts:

Obviously beta isn't in place yet, and quite honestly, it needs work - the concept is great, but it needs lots of features implemented that aren't yet. So it's unlikely that people using beta are improving the place. On the other hand, it could be argued that people who liked D2 and stuck around after its implementation were the wrong type of contributor. People who remained despite D2 ensured some level of quality was maintained, but for the most part the decision by many to leave caused Slashdot a severe amount of damage.

What we have, with Slashdot sans betoddlers, is a mix of hangers on, new people who weren't attracted especially by D2, and people who never cared that strongly and still don't.

To that end, while I'm sure Dice is reconsidering whether it's worth going ahead with the redesign given the fit many have thrown, I think it would be worth their while accelerating the process and getting Beta "finished" and feature complete. I think Slashdot will benefit from a refresh, I think Beta is going in the right direction - even if the process of testing it was, maybe, perhaps, just stupid, and I think the people most upset about the changes are, with a few exceptions (because there always are) not the people who actually make Slashdot a good place to be.

One thing I would suggest is Dice open source the new Slashcode (if they haven't already, I haven't seen anything to suggest they have). It'd help us contribute improvements, show good faith, and be entirely in keeping with the history of this website which has always been free software.

User Journal

Journal: The redesign 4

Journal by squiggleslash

Getting tired of every thread being hijacked by whiny children.

I've tried the beta. It's nice. It's obviously not finished yet (to give an example: are we expected to believe that the final version will have a prominent way to show journals, but not submit them, or have access to a friends/foes interface to view journals of friends?) but it's clean, it ends the absurdity of D2 with CmdrTaco's absurd experiment with sliders, and very readable. I would, in addition to restoring critical functionality like that just mentioned, also lose the sidebar on articles.

Has Dice made any serious mistakes? Well, the only major one I'd argue they've done is to release it way too early and to do so in a way that made people feel like it was foisted upon them.

I'm tired of seeing every thread hijacked by the people who don't like it. And here's the thing: D2 was also a clusterfuck. To this day things like the user info page is virtually useless with information about moderation and replies being located on an entirely different page to information about what you posted. D2 made Slashdot horrible, that's when the system really jumped the shark and you saw a mass exodus to other websites.

Condemning Dice for trying to fix that is worse than unhelpful.

User Journal

Journal: DeviantArt thinks this is spam 2

Journal by squiggleslash

[Just saving this here in case I need to point to it. Long story short - never try. Someone posted a question. I wrote an answer. Then wasted five minutes signing up because DA pretends you can comment when you don't have an account then hits you with the sign in barrier. So you sign up, enter lots of crap, open Yahoo mail to retreive the confirmation email, confirm, then you're landed me on an unrelated page. So I had to back out until I found the comment form in my history. Fortunately the comment was still there. Then I resubmitted it. "DeviantArt can't post this message because we think it is spam." Uh, what? So I cut the comment, reloaded the page - in case there were expired magic tokens or some other never-works-in-practice anti-spam crap, repasted, and got the same message.

So.... then I said "Screw it", and tried to cancel the account. Which it refused to do, because it had forgotten my password. I knew my password, but no, DeviantArt thought I didn't. (OK, perhaps I made a typo when setting it up, but just curious DA assholes: you prompted me twice for my email address, which I can read, and which you're going to send me a confirmation email to anyway, but only once for the password which I can't read because each letter's replaced by a black circle. Does this make sense to you? No? Me neither.)

But, of course, DeviantArt didn't need my password anyway, it jsut insisted on it. You see (1) I'm already logged in and (2) DA's going to send a confirmation email to that email address I had to enter twice. But, fuck, OK, send me my password reset thingie. What's that? You can't? Not until I log out? Oh. My. Fucking God.

Last action on my part while still logged in is to send a nastygram to the person who wanted help. OK, it was polite actually, but I was seething.I actually signed up to DeviantArt to show you. Unfortunately DA says my comment is "spam". There are no links, it's just a list of instructions. To add insult to injury I can't now cancel the account as it reports the password - the one I set five minutes ago - is incorrect.

So, anywho, log out, remind password, open Yahoo mail, click on link, reset password, log in, close account, yes I'm sure, re-enter password, open Yahoo mail, click on link, YES, I already said YES SEVERAL SODDING TIMES you DICK. Why? You're asking me WHY? You call me a fucking spammer because I try to help someone? Reason entered. Yes. OK. Closed.

No good deed goes unpunished.]

It's not pretty, but I found you can get by by using unity-2d-panel.

1. Make sure you have Cinnamon set up to only show a bottom panel.
2. Open a terminal and run "gnome-session-properties"
3. Click "Add", and in the dialog box that comes up enter "unity-2d-panels" in both the Name and Command field. Save and close.
4. Restart your Cinnamon session.

This, obviously, only works if you're running Ubuntu. It may not work in very recent Ubuntus - I recall reading somewhere Unity 2D is not supported in more recent versions (I'm running 12.04) - if in doubt, before doing any of this type "which unity-2d-panel" at the command line and see if it can find that application or gives you an error message.

Many people are unenthusiastic about their work.

Working...