chas's recent activity

  1. Comment on Are you optimistic or pessimistic about humanity's future prospects? in ~talk

    chas Link
    It's obvious our species is doomed. As soon as we invented nukes, it was over. Maybe we survive 200 years, if all goes exceedingly well. Under a century seems more likely to me, given the state of...

    It's obvious our species is doomed. As soon as we invented nukes, it was over. Maybe we survive 200 years, if all goes exceedingly well. Under a century seems more likely to me, given the state of the world today. Humanity constantly propagandizes its own greatness, to the point that focusing on its flaws comes across as bad taste. I don't see us going on much longer given our problems (see: our brinkmanship during the cold war, our mismanagement of the environment, our meagre and over-hyped technological progress, our inability to coexist peaceably)

    1 vote
  2. Comment on How do you handle your different online identities versus your real life identity? in ~talk

    chas (edited ) Link Parent
    It wasn't my intent to doxx you, so I tried to be vague. The "spritual" info to which I was referring is the many "humanist" links I noticed on your Reddit. The age I guessed for you may have been...

    It wasn't my intent to doxx you, so I tried to be vague.

    The "spritual" info to which I was referring is the many "humanist" links I noticed on your Reddit.

    The age I guessed for you may have been wrong, but it's likely close, based on your link about people "under 25" and your account ages (you didn't sign up to Reddit as a ten year old, presumably).

    Since I see posts where you refer to your grammar, which I agree is excellent, I made a sketchy deduction that you grew up with academic parents. I might be making unseemly generalizations about the grammar of people who grow up in a lower/working class environment; I don't have any data on that.

    If you're satisfied you aren't leaking sensitive data, who am I to keep arguing? I'm sure much of my tone here comes from my own worries. I worry that eventually my own data will be entirely public, and I do not want the world to know the past two decades of my internet comments, search history, bookmarks, photos, medical history, and so on.

    4 votes
  3. Comment on How do you handle your different online identities versus your real life identity? in ~talk

    chas (edited ) Link Parent
    There is no reason to have faith that your Facebook is private. Ignoring the fact that they already share user data with some partners, they can be, and probably already have been, hacked. I just...

    There is no reason to have faith that your Facebook is private. Ignoring the fact that they already share user data with some partners, they can be, and probably already have been, hacked.

    I just spent, at most, ten minutes browsing your "Algernon_Asimov" accounts here, and on Reddit. First thing I notice is your location, which limits the search area to a country of only 25 million people. From your posts, one finds: your gender, your approximate age (late 20s), your spiritual beliefs, possible social class of your parents (academic), interests, etc. Google also lists your account on a chat site (probably could mine its logs to get more info) and some stack-exchange sites.

    And that is just based on decisions you made. If you check https://haveibeenpwned.com you'll find you already have leaked data about you out there. How do I know that? Because everyone I have ever checked has had leaked account credentials. That might include your IP address, which - along with your other particulars - could be cross-referenced with data breaches from schools you attended, government servers, health records, stores you frequent, etc.

    I have no doubt someone could identify you, today, if they really wanted to. In future, more and more data about you will pile up, year after year.

    6 votes
  4. Comment on How do you handle your different online identities versus your real life identity? in ~talk

    chas Link Parent
    Given enough data, most of what a user does could be traced to a specific human by by looking for correlations between a user's peculiar word-choices and grammar, the time of day and week they are...

    Given enough data, most of what a user does could be traced to a specific human by by looking for correlations between a user's peculiar word-choices and grammar, the time of day and week they are active, location metadata in their photos, specific interests and hobbies, browser and computer metadata, etc etc. All it takes is once instance where one of the user's accounts mentioned his/her name, or a pinch of leaked data (and there's oodles of hacked data floating around the web from social networks and shopping carts, etc) and your private identity isn't private.

    Making connections between that data will be a lot easier in future, too. Of course, if machine learning continues to behave in its current effective, but inscrutable, manner, we might not know exactly how it manages to identify people, just that it does :)

    3 votes
  5. Comment on How do you handle your different online identities versus your real life identity? in ~talk

    chas (edited ) Link Parent
    The timeframe of a "decade" is based on nothing. It could be a bit sooner, or perhaps years later. Surely most of us will live to see it, at any rate. If you expect computers to continue to become...

    The timeframe of a "decade" is based on nothing. It could be a bit sooner, or perhaps years later. Surely most of us will live to see it, at any rate.

    If you expect computers to continue to become more capable, eventually a person could wind up transfering an entire-internet-circa-2019's worth of data to their wristwatch or eyeglasses as easily as a movie or mp3 today.

    The failure of moores law when it comes to clockspeed won't spare us here, because the problem of sifting through large amounts of data is suited perfectly for parallelization.

    I think it will be quite attractive, for example, to buy a pair of eyeglasses that sift through a huge db of facial data, culled from social networks.

    So you stop by a restaurant, the waiter walks over. When he turns to you, his glasses show him an overlay of your data. It searches its own cache of internet data, finds photos matched from Facebook, Instagram, etc. Posts from tildes or twitter with a 99% likelhood of being written by you. Why? Because, if tech keeps advancing, it will be sufficiently easy to get such data and data-mine it.

    I doubt it will be long, because the ability to do everything I mentioned is already possible, given enough time and powerful enough hardware. All that remains is faster hardware and miniaturization. Who would bet against that?

  6. Comment on How do you handle your different online identities versus your real life identity? in ~talk

    chas (edited ) Link
    The correct advice (which sadly I am guilty of not following) is this: All your identities will be tied to your legal name and publicly searchable within the next decade, so act accordingly....

    The correct advice (which sadly I am guilty of not following) is this: All your identities will be tied to your legal name and publicly searchable within the next decade, so act accordingly.

    Technology advances; all the data on the internet today will eventually fit on a $5 pocket device. Computers will search and analyze large volumes of data far more quickly than today, and use better algorithms to identify anonymous accounts. Not to mention, hackers will continue to hack private data and release torrents of it.

    The smart thing to do, with that in mind, is never put anything online that you wish to remain private.

    6 votes
  7. Comment on The sad and lonely life of an Eminem fan in 2018 in ~music

    chas (edited ) Link
    There's no contradiction for an entertainer to produce material that is likeable but also toxic. There were several precursors to alt-right culture that had plenty of skill: Eminem, Sarah...

    There's no contradiction for an entertainer to produce material that is likeable but also toxic. There were several precursors to alt-right culture that had plenty of skill: Eminem, Sarah Silverman, Southpark. That I think their societal impact was absolutely terrible, doesn't mean I don't recognize (well, less so with Southpark, not my thing) their talent or entertainment value.

    2 votes
  8. Comment on Albums with cover art ahead of their time in ~music

  9. Comment on The Canada experiment: is this the world's first 'postnational' country? in ~misc

    chas Link Parent
    Everything you mention is true, and it'd be naive to think Canada sheltered from the nationalist zeitgeist. Canada is a country that seems to churn out a new internet crank every minute (McInnes,...

    Everything you mention is true, and it'd be naive to think Canada sheltered from the nationalist zeitgeist. Canada is a country that seems to churn out a new internet crank every minute (McInnes, Molyneux, Goldy, Peterson, Southern, etc).

    That said, it's also naive to lump Alberta in with Alabama. That difference counts for a lot.

    3 votes
  10. Comment on Skeuomorphic vs Flat Design? in ~talk

    chas Link
    There is a possible universe where "flat design" was done right (satisfying consistently proportioned, carefully planned, thick lines), and was beautiful, but we don't live in it (mishmash of ill...

    There is a possible universe where "flat design" was done right (satisfying consistently proportioned, carefully planned, thick lines), and was beautiful, but we don't live in it (mishmash of ill proportioned, confusing, messy, hairlined crap). We live in a universe where many designers in the rich design era (I think "skeuomorphic" is a misnomer) made better choices than nearly all designers in the "flat design" era.

    3 votes
  11. Comment on A Simple Way to Reduce Harassment in Online Discussion Groups in ~tech

    chas Link Parent
    That's a fair criticism. To clarify, I'm no expert, and my impression isn't based on hard data, just anecdotal evidence. If I made it sound otherwise, I got carried away. I think here, you worded...

    it feels like what's being stated here is more presented as 'fact' from your own experiences.

    That's a fair criticism. To clarify, I'm no expert, and my impression isn't based on hard data, just anecdotal evidence. If I made it sound otherwise, I got carried away.

    To sit here and discredit it (without offering any solution or criticism) based on your own experiences

    I think here, you worded it too strongly. I did make a proposal in my comment. It's okay if you disagree with it.

    please raise those concerns instead of dismissing the study.

    For what it's worth, I intended my "dismissal" to mean "this alone won't solve the problem."

    I think the fairest criticism of my comment is that I shoehorned my own concerns into this thread. Cheers.

    3 votes
  12. Comment on Banned accounts should have their past comments visible in ~tildes

    chas Link Parent
    Well if we feel we are "owed" them, probably. If they are mutually beneficial features, I don't see a conflict.

    Well if we feel we are "owed" them, probably. If they are mutually beneficial features, I don't see a conflict.

    5 votes
  13. Comment on Banned accounts should have their past comments visible in ~tildes

    chas Link
    The only thing the mods might owe a user is the chance to download an archive of their content. Beyond that, I don't think a mod owes anyone disk space. If I ever get banned, I'll take it as a...

    The only thing the mods might owe a user is the chance to download an archive of their content. Beyond that, I don't think a mod owes anyone disk space. If I ever get banned, I'll take it as a sign that I didn't belong here, and I'll just quietly take my "business" (well, my "opinions" at any rate) elsewhere.

    4 votes
  14. Comment on A Simple Way to Reduce Harassment in Online Discussion Groups in ~tech

    chas (edited ) Link Parent
    I'm generally an advocate of customer focus ("user focus" is more apt in this case) in business. Customer focus includes setting a welcoming tone. However, when we talk about countering trolls, I...

    I'm generally an advocate of customer focus ("user focus" is more apt in this case) in business. Customer focus includes setting a welcoming tone. However, when we talk about countering trolls, I think what constitutes a "welcoming tone" changes. There is a sizable ratio of users, especially today, who respond positively, the more negative is a company's response to trolls.

    I have an example from this week. I notice Reddit users are complaining about a user with "1488" in his username, who has been creating dozens of neo-nazi posts. Reddit deals with each of his posts on a case-by-case basis. In a sense, Reddit, by giving the benefit of the doubt to this bigot, is being kind and welcoming. That "kindness" rubs many users the wrong way. A harsher attitude from Reddit toward this type of propaganda would set a more welcoming tone for the site overall.

    Users who are sick of online hatred are starved for examples of social media companies who are proactive about countering it. I doubt such users would feel like the target of the harsh wording in my original comment.

    5 votes
  15. Comment on A Simple Way to Reduce Harassment in Online Discussion Groups in ~tech

    chas Link Parent
    Yep, it's still a doomed approach because it leaves the door open for endless accusations that the mods are enforcing the rules arbitrarily. The effective approach is probably to position...

    Yep, it's still a doomed approach because it leaves the door open for endless accusations that the mods are enforcing the rules arbitrarily.

    The effective approach is probably to position moderation like "We moderate [sitename] as we see fit. We reserve the right to ban any user, for any reason. Generally we ban users we think fail to make a positive contribution, but we may ban you for absolutely any reason, or no reason at all, at any time. Don't bother complaining about our decisions, we never promised they would be fair. We have zero tolerance for nonsense."

    7 votes
  16. Comment on But Do You Want Dylann Roof To Have Rights? in ~news

    chas Link
    What bothers me about taking away the vote from anyone is the prospect of corrupt government using this to avoid accountability. We should make it as hard as possible to unjustly legislate...

    What bothers me about taking away the vote from anyone is the prospect of corrupt government using this to avoid accountability. We should make it as hard as possible to unjustly legislate dissidents into prison and ignore their votes.

    6 votes
  17. Comment on Voat, the ‘Censorship-Free’ Reddit, Begs Users to Stop Making Death Threats in ~tech

    chas (edited ) Link Parent
    The point isn't to evangelize the edge lords, and bring them back into the fold. That strategy is arrogance, and doesn't work. Rather the point is to make it harder for the edge lords to...

    it just condenses them into one space that you can no longer reach at all

    The point isn't to evangelize the edge lords, and bring them back into the fold. That strategy is arrogance, and doesn't work. Rather the point is to make it harder for the edge lords to evangelize the general public. That is a strategy which is more likely to succeed. Ask any marketer; "reach" is a big deal.

    10 votes
  18. Comment on <deleted topic> in ~talk

    chas Link Parent
    Same here. The Guardian is pretty good. Regardless of the paper, if an issue is controversial, I google the journalist's name. It really helps if you know where the author is coming from, and it's...

    Same here. The Guardian is pretty good. Regardless of the paper, if an issue is controversial, I google the journalist's name. It really helps if you know where the author is coming from, and it's generally not hard to get a sense of that from their bio.

    3 votes