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Comment Re:How to stop Trump (Score 1) 225

I think you spent a lot of time on the unimportant part and ignored the possible solutions. I just dashed off a list of what might motivate trolls, but my main point was that none of those reasons matter.

It's fine with me if the trolls play with themselves until they die of exhaustion, but I'd prefer to improve or evolve the rules of the game so that they aren't wasting my precious time. I'm not sure why you spent so much time essentially speculating on the trolls' motivations, when my key question would be "Would any particular motivation be unaffected by my proposed deterrence?" I guess my real concern is that I might be looking at the problem from the wrong angle, but I still feel the solution would work for me, and other people can freely play with the trolls if they wish.

Comment Re:This is the best thing that's been on /. in yea (Score 1) 163

Actually I think of it as a kind of dual of the spam problem. What sort of email system would help people who get too much non-spam? Or perhaps I'm just trying to reduce my own tension because I want to react to something that a celebrity had done (usually what an author has written in my case), but I don't actually want to waste their extremely valuable creative time?

What I would like to receive when I write to such a person would be a robotic reply from their celebrity email system. It would actually return a webform based on the analysis of my email. As I work through the reply I would be able to confirm the analysis (or provide feedback to improve the analysis) while hopefully getting answers to any questions or recording my sentiments for the convenience of the author in question. After getting through the analysis (which would also prove I'm not a robot), then I would be able to submit the form and the answers would be tallied up and I could see how other people feel on the same issues.

There should also be some meta-options, too. For example, there could be an option to publish my letter on the author's website, preferably 'close to' the letters of people who feel similarly to me. Then we would be able to see the comments and react to them, still without bothering the celebrity. If some part of the website becomes highly active, then maybe that should also be brought to the celebrity's attention. Another obvious meta-option would be to argue for escalation, if the author of the email insists that the email needs more personal attention, but I think this should be deliberately made quite difficult.

In cases where the celebrity wants to communicate more personally with fans, certain email could be selected for a personal reply. Perhaps a lottery or a vote of other fans for the best email, and the celebrity's reply could be shared widely.

Anyway, I've written to a lot of authors over the years, and many of them have been kind enough to respond, but I wish I had been directed to a celebrity email system. Not sure about your situation, but slashdot used to be a hotbed of activity--and I noticed that you stayed out of the way after the wasps' nest poll was posted recently...

P.S. And once again I wish that slashdot were using a financial model such that I could help contribute to the development costs or the ongoing costs (in the case of some authors I admired).

Comment Re:Wait... Who got that other half of the $$$ rais (Score 2) 19

I spent about fifteen years of my career in the non-profit sector, so I have some perspective on this.

Raising money in a non-profit is just like selling stuff is for a for-profit. Generating gross revenue is relatively easy -- if you spend a lot of money you can rake in a lot of dough. What's a bitch to generate is net profit. In the non-profit sector we don't use the term "profitability" very much, so the metric that's often used to describe financial is "cost to raise a dollar." For typical fundraising activities cost-to-raise-a-dollar runs from 0.25 to 1.5 dollars/dollar.

Take junk mail. The cost to raise a dollar for a well-run direct mail campaign is in the range of $1.25 to $1.50, so if I want to raise $115,000 to spend on other things I have to scale my direct mail campaign to bring inover $258,000 gross. As you can see I chose a net target that was exactly 1/1000 the size of the ALS bucket challenge net, so you can compare the efficiency of the processes readily. The cost to raise a dollar for the ALS bucket challenge is actually better than a well-run direct mail campaign -- $0.91.

And it should be more efficient than direct mail, because direct mail is about the least efficient method there is. The marginal costs are huge because you pay for the names and addresses as well as printing and mailing of each piece, and most of those pieces will end up in the landfill unopened. So if direct mail is so inefficient, why use it? Because the financial inefficiency doesn't matter to the organization doing the fundraising. The end result of my hypothetical direct mail campaign is that my organization has $115,000 it didn't have before. That probably pays for one and half full time staff positions (at the low do-gooder wages we pay) for a year.

So the ALS challenge was in the financial efficiency range of methods normally used by non-profits, albeit a little towards the inefficient end. That doesn't really tell us if the campaign was responsibly run or not; to know that you'd have to look at all the expenses and compare those to costs in other viral Internet fundraising campaigns. But the bottom line is that the ALS association ended up with $115 million it didn't have before.

Can you think of a way of raising $115 million in a few months? I thought not. So presuming the guys who ran the campaign didn't spend the money on hookers and blow, I wouldn't be unduly concerned by a cost-to-raise-a-dollar of $0.91 if I was on the board.

Should donors care that the ALS challenge was a little high on the cost-to-raise-a-dollar metric? Well, I look at it this way. People did it because it was fun and for a good cause, and two years later we can point to concrete and significant scientific results from the money raised. That's not only pretty good, it's pretty damned awesome.

Comment Re:This is the best thing that's been on /. in yea (Score 1) 163

Don't you [whipslash] need a celebrity email system?

Don't I need a way to spot such interesting articles? PERL is one of my favorite perversions, and I still use Strawberry PERL several times a week. Surprised I never noticed this article.

Kind of confused, however. On the one hand, you seem to be laying low (which only makes good sense in the absence of that celebrity email system), but on the other hand, you (if you are the source of the newest poll) seem determined to harvest the whirlwind. On the third hand, you didn't ask for any suggestions this time, though I have thought of several improvements to my troll-deterrence suggestion, mostly in terms of making it easier to implement (and more symmetrical) in the slashdot context. On the fourth hand, I still can't help pay for the implementation or ongoing costs of anything in particular (but could only donate in unacceptably general terms), and on the fifth hand I already forgot what hand this was...

Had to hit the head, which apparently reminded me to suggest Stallman (rms) as an interview candidate. See if you can get him to confess to his cancerous anti-design ideology of anarchism. After all, slashdot suffers from emacs disease, an extreme form of feeping creaturitis. (I've had several email exchanges with rms over the years, and they even contributed to the development of the financial model I've suggested slashdot should consider adding, but mostly I've concluded that he's from a different universe than the rest of us.)

Now to look at the secret Larry Wall interview...

Comment But the dictators of Texas removed my vote (Score 1) 151

Actually, my vote was neutered more than a decade ago by gerrymandering, but the latest fake solution for a fake problem finally persuaded me to put it out of its misery. Why pay the poll tax for the empty ritual of voting when I could donate the money to Bernie while that hope still existed? (Even if Bernie had gotten the nomination, I simply could not entertain the delusion that he could win in a state that is already insane enough to elect Ted Cruz.)

Texas politics has a long history of sickness, though the sickies in change did change once. When I was born in west Texas, the state belonged to the Dixiecrats and the only meaningful election was the Democratic primary. Now the state belongs to RINOs, and it's the so-called Republican primary that matters. I suppose the punchline is that part of their "new" platform is repealing and renouncing birthright citizenship for alien invaders--like the original Texians who invaded old Mexico. Hey, two can play at that game and I can renounce my birthright Texian citizenship. Count me as a stateless American from the "No Vote for You" Party, eh?

Hey, at this point I'm far enough away to watch in bemusement as Trump slams America into reverse at 90 miles an hour. (Remember the old song?) Might be better to move to the southern hemisphere, however. Nuclear fallout probably won't cross the equator, will it?

In conclusion, I virtually voted for Cowboy Neal, but in reality this is a terrible idea for a poll. We're about to see a whole LOT of heat without any illumination.

Comment Re:How to stop Trump (Score 1) 225

As you were saying?

Really dangerous to try to predict what a crazy person will do next. Especially in his 42nd incarnation of insanity. As an explanation, insanity is perfect, except for the lack of predictive power.

Or maybe he isn't crazy? Maybe the account has been taken over by a professional propagandist? If the latest reports of paid Russian trolls (supporting Trump, among other projects) are accurate, then I'm certain they would rather use old identities as much as possible.

On several occasions I've actually speculated about the motivations of trolls, but it always seems to shake down to two possibilities: They are insane (probably sociopaths or pathologically ignorant) or they are paid to act like they are nuts. They certainly aren't trying to engage in rational conversations and I've never seen evidence of a mind-changing outcome in any discussion invaded by trolls. There are some minor variants of the analyses. Where does "profoundly stupid" fit in? Sincere religious delusions? Maybe a search for suckers who might buy into 419 scams? Or some kind of masochistic pleasure in losing arguments?

Too much thought wasted on the trolls. Or is that their real goal?

Perhaps partly as a result of our exchanges here (but I think it's mostly from an external discussion), I think there is a refinement and simpler version of the "self-deterrence" approach that would work for slashdot within the existing post-scoring system for visibility. The maturity filter could be incorporated into the "Configuring Comments" settings with an age-of-account score modifier. (Should still be logarithmic, so a displayed score setting of -6 would actually be e^6 on the negative side (= -403 individual votes). You might favor a different base, but I like e.)

Then the self-deterrence could then be simplified into a visibility report. The warning would be "Your reply will be invisible to the author of this post. If you insist on replying here, then your reply will be flagged as insincere, or you can click here to start your comment at the top of the discussion." The insincerity flag can remain as before.

By the way, I've realized that there should obviously be a score modifier for posts that have been flagged as insincere, too.

How to get there from here? (https://ello.co/shanen0/post/ryl6plxbdwsws_ivmg3gow) Funny story, eh? Perhaps a better financial model would help, but I'm often suffering from delusions of grand solutions, and the world persists in doing exactly its own thing.

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