Re: notifying particular thread to wake up.

 Owen Jacobson <>
Sun, 28 Oct 2007 22:29:18 -0700
First: I appreciate your honest, if heated, attempt to answer my
questions. Thank you.

On Oct 28, 5:29 pm, wrote:

On Oct 26, 9:48 pm, Owen Jacobson <> wrote:

that out entirely. The *other* implicit assumption is that the best
you can possibly do from any given interaction where you've been
insulted is come out at zero total reputation change, which is a
rather pessimistic state of affairs since each "non-best" outcome
causes you some small loss that you can never recover. This being a
non-ideal universe, we can expect many, if not most, of the outcomes
not to be best.

This will happen to everyone, however, so the relative scores of two
different people can approximately hold steady. You and my other
attackers either dislike me, or seek to increase your relative scores
by decreasing the scores of others. No matter. I will continue to
oppose you so long as your actions are damaging to me and you show
signs of inimical hostility.

You've misinterpreted my opinion of you. While I certainly dislike
you and make no attempt to disguise it, I do not wish harm upon you.
Rather the opposite: I'd like you to go away, but since that seems
unlikely, I'd like it if you tried to improve yourself.

Yes, yes, I know. "I do not need to improve." I disagree and believe
that essentially everyone needs to improve. If you truly feel you do
not need to improve, by all means, don't do a damned thing. There's
no need to remind us that you see that statement as an attack by what
it implies. I don't, and if you said exactly the same thing to me,
despite my dislike for you, I'd take it at least somewhat politely.

And before you start on *that* line: I have improved myself. I know
more about vi, chess, and google than I did before I got drawn into
any of this; further, I'm quite finished with openly slagging you.
I've had my fun, but it's time to move on to an approach that might
actually be productive. You might disagree and find that this post is
just as open an attack on you as others. I respect that opinion, but
I disagree with it so fundamentally that, without independent
verification, I cannot possibly adopt it as my own.

  If I help someone, or post a piece of information that solves
someone's problem, the total change in my reputation can be similarly
quantified. We'll call that gain of face Y.

So you're suggesting I ignore insults and post helpful posts.
Unfortunately you're only thinking one move ahead, and you're also
assuming that "reputation" is strictly one-dimensional and that
everyone reads everything.

In as much as I was suggesting you do anything, yes, I am suggesting
that you ignore insults in favour of posting helpful things. However,
I only asked for your opinion, not that you change your rules.

Ignoring "attacks" and posting what you believe to be helpful things
doesn't excuse you (or anyone) from checking facts before being
"helpful", or from being polite to others even when you feel they
might be wrong, or worse, deceitful. The fact that some people are
less than 100% polite with you at this point is easily explained, but
that doesn't *really* justify it and it reflects somewhat poorly on
them when they're rude to you first in a discussion, and does not
reflect on you at all.

Furthermore, and I know I've said this before, you would be rather
hard to "attack" if you had a little more care about what and how you
posted. While you obviously don't see it as such, accusing people of
spamming without spending any effort whatsoever to verify whether they
benifit in any way from the product they endorse is rather
inflammatory, does not reflect well on you and *was* taken as an
attack of sorts by others, whether you meant it to be taken that way
or not. In the eyes of anyone who sees things that way, *you*
attacked first. Similarly, you suggested that initialising the UI in
a Swing application from the main() thread was acceptable; a few
minutes with google prior to posting would've disabused you of that

These examples exist, and maybe other people seem them differently. I
encourage people to go verify who said what and what's actually true
for themselves; google is out there, and I can provide links to
specific posts on request.

The second is that accusations get made against me that helpful posts
elsewhere, even if those were allowed to go unchallenged, would not
disprove. For example..., an accusation that I'm ... sexually interested in

I've edited out a lot of text here to address this specific case.
Anyone who sincerely believes, merely on the basis of Mike replying as
if you were, that you were flirting with him needs their head
checked. They're clearly unable to differentiate between mockery and
fact. And, while I do think it's amusing, I don't think his
insinuations are being taken seriously by anyone.

He is, after all, posting them in the middle of a flame war.

The third is that someone may read the post flaming me and not the
helpful post I make in an entirely separate thread. The one place I
can respond to undo some of the damage you do that maximizes the
impact is in a direct followup to your attack post, because whoever
reads the one is quite likely to read the other, more likely than to
read a more randomly selected post somewhere in cljp.

On the other hand, if you were not constantly involved in arguments
and squabbling, people would be much less likely to find insults and
much more likely to find your helpful and insightful nature on display
first, or even only. Possibly even to the point that the handful of
people who *do* read someone else insulting you and never read your
deleriously-wonderful posts can be discounted as a statistical

Of course, all of this becomes a non-issue if you'd only stop posting
attack posts! You gain nothing by doing so.

Hah! First and foremost, I'm amusing myself. As I've said, I'd take
it to email if I thought I'd get as much pure entertainment there, but
I have a sneaking suspicion you *already* have me filtered and I have
no interest in circumventing your filters just to poke fun at you
privately. I'm also sharpening my wits on you. Blunt as you can be,
you make a handy whetstone.

  I also assert that the effect of my positive actions (Ys) is much
larger on average than the effect of other peoples' negative actions
(Xs). Once again, this assertion is borne of my own observations.

Of course you know I can't trust anything you suggest, not when it's
clear from your other behavior that your intentions towards me are

Antipathetic, certainly; hostile, no. I wish for you the same thing I
wish for myself and for everyone: to learn and improve, in all areas.
To my immediate knowledge, the only time I've openly wished you harm
was in a rather over-the-top, silly flame wherein I proposed the
radioactive death of an entire city. Not exactly the sort of thing
I'd write if I wanted to be taken seriously.

There will be some way in which my following your advice, or
else doing the diametric opposite, instead of keeping my present
course, will harm me. Therefore I will continue on my present course.
That course is obviously causing you some discomfort, since you lot go
to a fair amount of effort to trick me into changing it.

Well, you *are* participating in a particular low in this group's
signal-to-noise ratio. Then again, so am I. Beyond that, I find you
pretty much incomprehensible, which is intellectually discomforting.

What I draw from these assumptions and assertions is that the effort
invested in countering each event where I lose face would be
disproportionate to the amount of face I gain by doing so, and my time
would be better spent being helpful and informative in other threads.

That might be true *if* you could do so unmolested.

I feel it might even be true if someone always popped out to tell me I
was wrong. On the occasions where I *am* wrong, I get a chance to
learn something, and if I'm not, I can count on other people
correcting the interloper for me. People here are amazingly well-
grounded in fact when it comes to java.

Indeed, it would only widen the conflict to include additional
threads driven steadily OT by your accusations, my rebuttals, your
further accusations, etc., etc. This would do a disservice to

Finally, something I agree with. Your use of the word "your" is a
little uncharitable; I'm keeping myself to two specific threads in the
interest avoiding that very thing. I'll assume you meant "you,
collectively" to refer to everyone who you feel is, for lack of a
better phrase, working against you.

I kept a low profile here for
nearly a *year* once, then posted the odd Java-related post, and
before long was up to my eyeballs in gratuitous flamage and attacks

There is a cliche that's served me very well, so I'll share it.

"The only common factor in *all* your unsatisfying relationships is

I keep it as a reminder that, yes, I can be rather abrasive and blunt,
and that sometimes things with other people will go badly because of
me, not them. You can take it however you like, or not at all.

And they are not "my" rules. They are "the" rules. The nature of the
universe; the laws of physics.

Physics does not govern social interactions.

Physics governs everything.

Physics, as I believe it is understood now, is about patterns in
energy systems: electromagnetism, relativity, gravity, orbital
mechanics, quantum mechanics, optics, and so on. It is possibly the
branch of science most directly grounded in mathematics. And it is
absolutely mute on the matter of agents with free will, so I feel it
is an inappropriate basis for a social theory. On the other hand,
"nature, red in tooth and claw" is more a matter of ecology,
sociology, psychology, and (if you stretch a bit) biochemistry.

Or, do you perhaps mean something else when you say "physics"?
Something I've not understood? If so, would you elaborate?

It does not surprise me that you keep being drawn into arguments as a result.

I am "drawn into" an argument as soon as someone makes an egregious
claim about me in a public forum, whether I reply or not. If I don't
reply, I merely ensure that the argument has the form "White moves,
Black resigns" instead of Black refusing to go down without a fight.

Alternately, maybe it prevents there from ever being an argument, by
trading off the small negatives for more time to do things that have
large positive effects.

And that the only words on the matter at all that get recorded for
posterity are the least favorable ones for my purposes. History is
written by the victors; one might argue that the victors are whoever
gets to write the history. If I write nothing, therefore, I lose. If
not, then I suppose both sides win, which really makes it a draw.

"Both sides win" is not, in fact, a draw; game theory is full of cases
where both sides can win and come out ahead of their initial
positions. The key assumption is that each player is playing
primarily for the maximization of their own score on some metric,
rather than maximizing the amount their score is "better" than

For example, see the classic Prisoner's Dilemma problem; it's possible
for both sides to come out more ahead in total than either side could
have done alone, at the expense of not maximizing individual score.

The nasty thing is that the best I can do is draw, as soon as someone
else attacks. That really shouldn't be the case; it should be that the
unprovoked attacker puts themselves in a position where they can draw
or lose but not win, because clearly they are the bad guy.

In my experience, that *is* what happens. I consciously sacrificed
some of my reputation by choosing to get involved at all; it's paid
off, since I've enjoyed my participation pretty thoroughly, so for me
that exchange was worthwhile. Similarly, my opinion of other
participants is (somewhat wryly) adjusted downward as a result of
seeing them here[1].

Really, what would I *do* with your real name?

At minimum, tie the same nasty insults you keep making against me as
Twisted to that name in an attempt to destroy my future prospects in
life, socially and employment-wise. At worst, stalk and physically
attack me, vandalize my residence, or even go after my relatives and
my friends for all I know.

Nothing good, that much is certain, so I feel perfectly justified in
doing my darndest to deny you that information. No good can possibly
come of your obtaining it.

Have you ever considered why I post under my own real name? And, yes,
that line in the From: header is what's printed on my driver's
license. Or why Arne posts under his? Or any of the many people
here, both in this thread and outside it, who feel no need to hide
behind a pseudonym?

Is it possible that the world is just a *shade* less hostile and
dangerous than you believe it to be?

There was a fairly long period of time where the top hits for my name
on google were some layabout's post to comp.lang.c++ opening with
"owen jacobson is gay". It had no impact that I'm aware of on my
ability to get a job (I've been productively employed by a few tech
companies, some of which hired me while that was right at the top of
the list for my name), and it's now fallen off of google's radar, so I
don't think it will affect my social life at all in the future. Plus,
it sometimes makes an amusing anecdote when talking to SEO[8] wonks.

And I have a fairly distinctive name, so it's not like people might
write it off as some other guy who happens to be named "Owen

Really? Why go to so much effort to obtain information you have no
intention of using?

Amusement value. It's time I could spend replying to you instead, if
you'd like.

It makes no sense.

I'm human. So are you.

If you want to continue discussion the fundamentals of social theory,
game theory, ramafications of java threading, chess, or anything else
at all, my email address is right there in the headers and I have not
filtered you in any way. I invite anyone to use it.


[0] Your highly-selective editing makes that hard, but not impossible,
to verify.
[1] Shades of Captain Renault, here...
[2] Yes, it is a common practice, which is what you fell back to.
Common practices can be wrong too. Reasons why I might've expected
you to know it was common, but wrong, have already been discussed *to
death* elsewhere.
[8] Search Engine Optimization, or, the fine art of gaming Google.

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