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The End of Forgetting

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the you-can-always-say-i-don't-recall dept.

The Internet 329

Hugh Pickens recommends a long piece in last week's NY Times Magazine covering a wide swath of research and thinking in the US and elsewhere on the subject of the perils to society of recording everything permanently, and the idea that perhaps we ought to build forgetting into the Internet. "We've known for years that the Web allows for unprecedented voyeurism, exhibitionism, and inadvertent indiscretion, but we are only beginning to understand the costs of an age in which so much of what we say, and of what others say about us, goes into our permanent — and public — digital files. The fact that the Internet never seems to forget is, at an almost existential level, threatening to our ability to control our identities; to preserve the option of reinventing ourselves and starting anew. In a recent book, Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age, the cyberscholar Viktor Mayer-Schönberger cites the case of Stacy Snyder — who was denied a teaching certificate on the basis of a single photo on MySpace — as a reminder of the importance of 'societal forgetting.' By erasing external memories, he says in the book, 'our society accepts that human beings evolve over time, that we have the capacity to learn from past experiences and adjust our behavior.' In traditional societies, where missteps are observed but not necessarily recorded, the limits of human memory ensure that people's sins are eventually forgotten. By contrast, Mayer-Schönberger notes, a society in which everything is recorded 'will forever tether us to all our past actions, making it impossible, in practice, to escape them.' He concludes that 'without some form of forgetting, forgiving becomes a difficult undertaking.'"

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Working Non-Authorize Requesting Link (4, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028130)

I got hit with a login when I tried to use the link in the summary but was able to surf to this link [nytimes.com] . You'll get a splash advertisement for the Economist or something but I'd wager most people would tolerate that more than logging in.

Posting is forever (4, Insightful)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028134)

This article made me wish I had posted this as Anonymous Coward...

Re:Posting is forever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33028140)

This is becoming more and more of a constant fear for me. I am concerned I need to delete my facebook.

Re:Posting is forever (3, Interesting)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028186)

Facebook never permanently deletes your stuff, though. Read the ToS.

Re:Posting is forever (2, Informative)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028358)

And places like web.archive.org is caching things as well. It's amazing how quickly Google picks up new pages for search results these days.

Re:Posting is forever (2, Informative)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028560)

Here's the Slashdot snapshot from 1998 [archive.org] - Note that web.archive doesn't serve some of the older images, but site content and style is preserved :)

Re:Posting is forever (2, Informative)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028594)

But it does hide them from his prospective employer, unless he plans to work for Facebook itself.

Re:Posting is forever (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028198)

but changing your name is easy

Re:Posting is forever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33028266)

but changing your name is easy

There's already a Buzz Lightyear...

Re:Posting is forever (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33028440)

The problem is most employers and banking institutions will require that you give them any names you might have gone by in the past X years, where X equals whatever they think is a decent interval (usually 5 or 10). So, that means you'd still have to wait at least 5 years for the name change to be at maximum effectiveness. And if someone links your old name to your new one on the Internet, your name change was for naught.

So don't give them your old name, you say? They'll never know the difference? I wouldn't bet on that. If by chance they do find out, you can kiss your credibility good-bye for lying on an application, and that's another name sullied.

Re:Posting is forever (5, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028364)

Don't worry, the internet does forget, and it forgets some of the best stuff, too. Back when I was an avid gamer thare was a very funny parody of Blue's News called "Yello There". A fellow names "Kneel Harriot" (who I later found out was a woman named Janet) updated it daily, and as far as I know there's only one instance of his site in the Wayback Machine [archive.org] at archive.org; "Kneel" and I often cross-posted, me using his character in stories at my site, the now-defunct "Springfield Fragfest" (which last time I looked was now a porn site). The only one one of his pages not missing is the one from the day people surfed to Yello There and found the Fragfest, and surfed to the Fragfest only to find Yello There.

There are a lot of the old sites that are gone without a trace. Most of the Fragfest is gone. My other site (also now defunct), mcgrew.info, is completely gone as well, although I think I have it in a hard drive on a shelf somewhere.

Somebody must have confused the internet with rock 'n' roll, because the internet does indeed forget. It just remembers a long time sometimes.

logs (2, Insightful)

blai (1380673) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028152)

/thread

Learning Without a Negative Response? (4, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028158)

By erasing external memories, he says in the book, 'our society accepts that human beings evolve over time, that we have the capacity to learn from past experiences and adjust our behavior.'

But what if there is no negative response to your behavior? I mean, in the situation quoted in the summary there was no illegal activity. A high school teacher went to a party and got drunk. Nothing illegal there. Sounds like she had some fun (the horror!). So let's assume no picture was taken and no picture was posted on MySpace and she wasn't terminated from her teaching position or dropped from her enrollment in teaching. What negative response would she receive that would stop her from ever doing that again?

None.

Because there shouldn't be a negative response to that. This is some scarlet letter bullshit where no laws are broken but you've offended someone's morals even though it was on your own time and therefore you should be fired. This isn't about forgetting on the web, it's about managing your public image. Some people are slow to catch on that if it's on the internet, the world can see it. So don't put your dirty laundry on the internet. There are plenty of bumps on the social side of things. Plenty of embarrassing social gaffs on sites like MySpace and Facebook but for things like forums and Slashdot it's great that everything is permanently remembered for reference in the future.

Really this is just the old Facebook privacy issue and their total abuse of their clients. Balancing features with privacy is nothing new -- it's just on a much much larger level now.

Re:Learning Without a Negative Response? (4, Insightful)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028192)

So don't put your dirty laundry on the internet.

This is pretty easy. The problem is making sure other people don't put your dirty laundry on the internet.

Re:Learning Without a Negative Response? (4, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028306)

This is pretty easy. The problem is making sure other people don't put your dirty laundry on the internet.

This could be especially problematic as surveillance becomes more and more popular. That, and the increased capacity to crack security (either through botnets, or exploiting weaknesses in algorithms)

Re:Learning Without a Negative Response? (3, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028362)

Genghis Khan asked to be buried without markings. According to legend, the funeral escort killed anyone and anything across their path, to conceal where he was finally buried. After the tomb was completed, the slaves who built it were massacred, and then the soldiers who killed them were also killed.

You may consider a similar approach to facebook privacy.

Re:Learning Without a Negative Response? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33028326)

The feedback and learning I got from those incidences, is to avoid those career paths entirely.

Even the most fucked up details of my personal life getting outed wouldn't destabilize my job. I'd be slightly embarrassed, but it wouldn't otherwise affect me.

Re:Learning Without a Negative Response? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33028370)

...is to avoid those career paths entirely.

And welcome to the wonderful world of summer internship at the Cock Ring Taste Testers Laboratory here at Gaylord, MN!

Re:Learning Without a Negative Response? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33028360)

Some people are slow to catch on that if it's on the internet, the world can see it. So don't put your dirty laundry on the internet.

That's fine, except that I may not be the only one posting stuff about me.

In the given example, the teacher could have been very careful not to put her drunk party photo online. But if someone else at the same party was less thoughtful, it could have had exactly the same effect, but completely out of her control.

Even more worrying is the possibility of people deliberately destroying another's reputation. There's no shortage of people in this world with a grudge against someone else. It's quite easy to imagine an example where someone fails to get a job because of something someone has posted about them. It needn't even be true; a prospective employer isn't going to take time to give you the benefit of the doubt when there's plenty of other candidates. And the person in question may never even find out what it was that lost them the job; they just don't get to the next interview stage.

And then there's the mistaken identity issue. Having googled myself a few years ago, I know of the existence of at least four other people who share my name (I have a fairly uncommon name). They're all quite different people and most of the time it's obvious which one of us a given web page is about. But not always. And especially in the age of 140 character tweets, it would be very easy for someone to take a reference to one of us and mis-interpret it as referring to another.

Re:Learning Without a Negative Response? (3, Insightful)

cyber0ne (640846) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028550)

So don't put your dirty laundry on the internet.

The key problem here is that, in cases such as the given example, it's not dirty laundry. The social issue at hand isn't so much the retention of information, but the ability (or, in this case, inability) of people in society to properly parse and understand that information. A company would seriously be fooling itself if it thinks it preserved some kind of integrity by not hiring someone who occasionally unwinds with friends at a party. They already have employees who do that, they just ignore the fact that they don't actively know about it. The fact that they can't distinguish between the two is a problem.

Re:Learning Without a Negative Response? (5, Insightful)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028596)

This isn't about forgetting on the web, it's about managing your public image. Some people are slow to catch on that if it's on the internet, the world can see it. So don't put your dirty laundry on the internet.

Wrong.

This isn't about managing your public image, and it doesn't matter if you don't put your dirty laundry on the Internet. If she hadn't posted that picture, somebody else might very well have done that, and the consequences would have been the same.

The problem isn't that this picture was posted. The problem is that the school board over-reacted to something that really had absolutely no bearing on her ability to teach.

The problem is that we're seriously blurring the line between public and private... Between our professional time and our personal time... Between our professional occupations and our leisure occupations...

We've got some kind of new Puritanism going around. You have to uphold the professionalism of your position 24/7. There is no room these days for being human.

Obviously we don't want our high school teachers showing up to work drunk. We don't want them drinking on the job. But she's a human being, and entitled to do whatever the hell she wants to in her off time.

But now she can't. Because somebody might snap a picture of her getting drunk. And somebody might post that on the Internet. And then she might get fired from some other job.

The media disagrees (3, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028630)

How many times do you hear a statement like, "he never drinks," being used as a euphemism for, "he is a moral and upstanding citizen" or something to that effect? Americans are being conditioned to think that going to a party and using drugs reflects negatively on a person. If the media is to be believed, then having a beer after work is something that you need to hide from your boss, friends, and family, and the only people who are going to join you are lonely and depressed.

Re:Learning Without a Negative Response? (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028636)

The problem isn't that we need to forget, the problem is that we need to *forgive*. Before this "memory" we were able to live in a fantasy/delusional world where high school and college students were all saints and boy scouts. Now, for a younger generation, party pics are there to remind them that they weren't. I bet the very same people who denied this teacher her certificate did the exact same thing when they were young. But they want to pretend (to their colleagues, to their kids, maybe even to themselves) that they didn't. And what better way to do that than to take it out on some poor girl whose only sin was growing up in a time where there are more cameras and an internet around?

We need a lot less sanctimony and a lot more "So he/she partied in college...but who didn't?"

Traditional societies also forgot technology (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33028160)

What needs to change is the social practice of judging ppl too harshely, not the storage value of the internet.

On the other hand.... (5, Insightful)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028162)

Maybe this kind of thing will cause a shift in people's opinions. Perhaps when people realize that everybody has made bad decisions in their life, everybody's got too drunk and done something stupid and nobody is perfect, the world will be a better place for it.

Re:On the other hand.... (5, Insightful)

saihung (19097) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028316)

No. What's going to happen is the self-righteous goody-goody people in our society who never drink, never screw, never do anything wrong at all are going to get even worse about judging those of us who know how to have a good time. And the rest of us are going to stay silent and pretend to agree, because we're petrified of being judged ourselves by puritanical pricks who seem to be in charge of everything.

Re:On the other hand.... (3, Insightful)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028450)

You're one of those perverts aren't you?

Re:On the other hand.... (2, Interesting)

dargaud (518470) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028478)

...so, make it easy to sue the puritanical pricks who refused employment because they saw one pic of you getting drunk on facebook. the problem should correct itself over time.

Re:On the other hand.... (5, Funny)

quickgold192 (1014925) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028586)

Who says that people who never drink, never screw, and never do anything wrong don't know how to have a good time, you self-righteous, judgmental prick?

Re:On the other hand.... (2, Funny)

cyber0ne (640846) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028598)

the self-righteous goody-goody people in our society who never drink, never screw, never do anything wrong at all

Man, if only that were the case. Then they would be nothing more than an evolutionary anomaly that would take exactly one generation to correct.

Re:On the other hand.... (2, Informative)

alexhs (877055) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028626)

[...] the self-righteous goody-goody people in our society who pretend to never drink, never screw, never do anything wrong at all [...]

You had an empty set. Corrected for you.

Re:On the other hand.... (2, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028322)

I doubt it -- people should already be aware that everyone makes bad choices and that nobody is perfect. The problem is that, at least in America, people are becoming less and less tolerant of "bad choices." When I was a freshman in college, we were warned not to allow pictures of us at parties to find their way onto the Internet, because an employer might see those pictures and not hire us. It is not as if employers are unaware that people go to parties when they are in college, nor is it the case that employers are unaware of what happens at college parties...

Re:On the other hand.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33028376)

nor is it the case that employers are unaware of what happens at college parties

What happends at college parties? Can you have a link with some examples?

Re:On the other hand.... (4, Interesting)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028428)

It is not as if employers are unaware that people go to parties when they are in college, nor is it the case that employers are unaware of what happens at college parties...

But that's kinda my point. Initially people are going to get screwed by it, but eventually employers will realize that they don't have a single candidate that doesn't have something embarrassing about them online and they will have to learn to accept it. No candidate is completely clean, so they'll have to stop being so judgmental.

Re:On the other hand.... (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028506)

Except that not everyone goes to parties while they are in college; I knew several such people when I was an undergrad. The problem is that employers are giving preference to those people, and the existence of those people is not going to change any time soon. It does not help that the media conditions us to think that "he doesn't drink" is equivalent to "he is an upstanding citizen."

Re:On the other hand.... (2, Insightful)

ThePangolino (1756190) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028408)

The problem is that reactions are often disproportionate on both directions. A distant friend of mine was afraid of how much I knew about him simply by typing her name on a search engine thinking I had been following her for years. It took me a while to explain and make her understand all this information was freely available on the internet. See this example of extensive research published in a French magazine [le-tigre.net] .

The truth is random people do not expect anyone they don't know well to know anything about them. This becomes different when you start becoming "famous". That gives a kind of moral justification for your party pics being made public.

As the parent says, everybody has made bad decisions in their life. Everybody seems also not recognize them by fear of the reactions. I think the problem is much more about those reactions than anything else.

Re:On the other hand.... (4, Insightful)

cowscows (103644) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028448)

Not on its own, we'll have to wait until some more of the old people retire/die. For high school/college age kids right now, having pictures from a party on the internet generally isn't a big deal. Even if there isn't a really stupid one of you, there's probably at least a few photos of your friends being dumb that you've seen, laughed at, and gotten over.

But that's a very unfamiliar phenomenon for people who grew up without the internet, and some people honestly just don't like things that are new to them, and don't much feel like changing their mind. Fortunately, those people get older and eventually no longer hold positions of authority, and progress slowly moves forward. We see this gradual change happening at almost every level of society, from serious things like tolerance of homosexuality, to more petty things, like dress codes at work. It's not a perfect system, but it's pretty hard to stop.

A boon for technical searches (4, Interesting)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028184)

Using Google's advanced search to filter out old crap is a major advantage when searching for technical solutions. It means you only get recent fixes / hacks / workarounds / patches. Not all the old stuff that addressed problems with beta versions from 2005. This is one area where Google's search algorithm falls down - by ranking pages with more links, they promote old stuff over new stuff. While that is useful sometimes, I wish there was the option for a decay (or timeout) function into their page-rank algorithms to reward contemporary information.

Mother nature knows best. (3, Insightful)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028218)

If the internet remembered everything to begin with, the invention of deletion would be the revolution.
What use does remembering have if you can't distinguish what is important?

Nature is fully capable of remembering, yet it has built us to forget.

Mother nature knows best. Let go of what doesn't matter. Forgive and forget. We need to trust in the process (or whatever) that created us. Wanting to retain everything is simply being greedy, and no good will come of it.

Re:Mother nature knows best. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33028240)

what doesn't matter in the present may matter to the future.

Re:Mother nature knows best. (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028572)

what doesn't matter in the present may matter to the future.

I've heard similar arguments for ripping media and shortening copyright but they were never so elegantly simple.

Re:Mother nature knows best. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33028484)

What?

Mother Nature invented us, therefore invented everything we do. If we want to remember everything forever then that is just nature running its course.

There is no such thing as "Mother Nature knows best"... Best for who or what? The physical world just does what it does, it doesn't care what happens to anything or anyone.

Re:Mother nature knows best. (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028496)

The point is not to forget, which is impossible because other people can remember.

The real issue is to forgive. Or put another way, USE YOUR FUCKING BRAIN! Being able to react appropriately. The school over-reacted. Unless the school has a Myspace/Facebook policy, a policy that governs what teachers do outside of school, then the school over-reacted. If they are really afraid of under-age drinking then should monitor EVERYTHING children are exposed to. Why not a lawsuit against the NFL and networks for airing beer commercials during football games??? Seriously, children watch those....

Re:Mother nature knows best. (2, Informative)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028554)

Distinguishing between what is important and what is not can be achieved also by attaching weight metadata to any information. That weight can be correlated with the age of the information too.

Nature has no Moore's Law built into it.
Storage capacity is following in close steps behind volume of created information.

Mother Nature has limited resources. Human genome can be gzipped to under one gigabyte. Human brain uses compression so lossy it allows for recognition, but not of anywhere near to precise duplication of memories. Electronic memory CAN remember everything, simply because there's enough of it and it's cheap enough.

And forgiving based on forgetting is as careless and dangerous as is classifying information as less important by deleting it.

Just don't share anything (2, Interesting)

h7 (1855514) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028236)

Do what I do. I exist and consume services. I don't put my name against anything online. Even if you found me, you wouldn't know anything about me. It's bound to pay off once every second person has crap coming up when they are googled. I automatically eliminate at least half the competition this way.

It works to my credit (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028398)

There is a computer scientist with a reasonable international reputation with the same name as me. Because I have no presence and he avoids pictures I have had a number of people assume that I am him!

not enough recording (3, Interesting)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028242)

The problem is that not everyone has been recorded on the Internet doing something which might meet the disapproval of others, even though everyone has done such a thing. Once no-one is able to cast the first stone, everyone's equal again.

The winners are only those who aren't caught - usually by chance rather than design - and those who have the influence to erase history.

Perhaps one day a student union of a first tier college will be enlightened and recommend that all its members take one photo of themselves naked cuddling a blow-up doll and holding a bottle of vodka. If this practice spreads like the spawn of Satan that was Facebook, suddenly employers will find that all their candidates have the naked-sheep-vodka pose. Demand > supply of Chrisian virgin angels. Attitude readjusted.

Re:not enough recording (1)

h7 (1855514) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028310)

The problem is that not everyone has been recorded on the Internet doing something which might meet the disapproval of others, even though everyone has done such a thing. Once no-one is able to cast the first stone, everyone's equal again.

The winners are only those who aren't caught - usually by chance rather than design - and those who have the influence to erase history.

How about people like me, who haven't one anything, let alone getting caught?

Re:not enough recording (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33028394)

How about people like me, who haven't done anything, let alone getting caught?

You will be accused first of hypocrisy, then intolerance.

Re:not enough recording (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33028424)

I call BS.

Even if you can't even remember it right now, there is guaranteed something that you've done that you would rather no one ever find out about due to potential repercussions.

Re:not enough recording (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33028606)

You will be accused first of hypocrisy, then intolerance.

Well, you just covered the hypocrisy side of that.

Re:not enough recording (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33028688)

Apart from recreational drug use and participating in international crime organization?

Re:not enough recording (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33028452)

I am a Christian virgin angel and I already have a picture of myself like that.

the long view (2, Interesting)

praxis22 (681878) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028248)

I realise this is all very well for me to say, but I've always known that this was the case and acted accordingly. On a simple level, I've never said anything online that I wouldn't say to my mother or I wouldn't be prepared to stand behind in future. There is no such thing as anonymity on the 'net, never has been. That's the reason why I don't have alt's. There isn't anything to gain.

I do recognise however that most of the non-geek audience won't have thought of this, and may be bitten, but them's the breaks IMO. The expectation of anonymity is no excuse for acting like an idiot. That said my hormones had already raged. Though Dr Aleks Krotoski does say that in the future, people who do not have a complete record, warts and all, will not be taken seriously, because they are not fully three dimensional people.

Re:the long view (2, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028436)

Why should employers be judging people for going to a party? Look at the first paragraph -- the teacher was fired because a photo of her drinking at a party was "encouraging drinking" and might be found by her students. We are not talking about something horrifying here, we are talking about an adult having a drink and the terrifying possibility that children might see adults drinking.

The problem is not the teacher, nor is it the fact that the teacher posted the picture online. The problem is that people believe that it is terrible for a teacher to go to a party and have a drink, and that if she chooses to do that, she should hide it away like a dirty secret.

Re:the long view (1)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028476)

Though Dr Aleks Krotoski does say that in the future, people who do not have a complete record, warts and all, will not be taken seriously, because they are not fully three dimensional people.

It will work the same as it ever has. The average person would rather vote in an axe murdering psychotic provided that he didn't get caught and says all the right things, than a normal person who has said some things that most people disagree with, but is otherwise a good guy. The sociopaths who take pains to cultivate a bland, god fearing public persona will be able to rise to the highest levels of anything, irrespective of what they are actually like or what they actually do. Or at least, they will make good puppets for those who care less about publicity and more about achieving what they want.

Those with a complete warts and all record will have to deal with the negative consequences of it... unless they continue seek publicity, fame and fortune, which has its own rewards and curses.

Forgiving without forgetting (5, Insightful)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028252)

'without some form of forgetting, forgiving becomes a difficult undertaking.'

Forgiving should never be based on forgetting.
Forgive, yes - give another chance, people change, mistakes of the past should not be repeated.
Forget? - This is a guaranteed method to repeat the mistakes of the past.

Re:Forgiving without forgetting (2, Insightful)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028406)

Maybe so, but without the forgetting, forgiving is always provisional. You're forgiven today, but non necessarily tomorrow...

Re:Forgiving without forgetting (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028658)

Maybe so, but without the forgetting, forgiving is always provisional. You're forgiven today, but non necessarily tomorrow...

Under those circumstances, I'd say you haven't been forgiven at all then. When you forgive someone you stop blaming them. They may still be responsible and you may still remember but you no longer harbor any ill will towards them.

Re:Forgiving without forgetting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33028696)

Unfortunately humans are not rational beings.
Especially women.

Re:Forgiving without forgetting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33028512)

People are imperfect.
If it's indeed the case that people are built to (irrationally) not forgive in the face of constant reminder of mistakes,
then your approach may end up doing more harm than good.

Unless we figure out a way to have it both ways.
Can we be reminded of the lessons but not the blame?

Re:Forgiving without forgetting (1)

kubitus (927806) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028584)

is the pre-requisit to prevent cover-ups!

. selective denial of access will be a powerful instrument of influence:

"we know that you did this - if you do not want others to know, better do this!"

Re:Forgiving without forgetting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33028620)

And "those who forget the past are destined to repeat it".

Yep, forgive but don't forget lest you repeat the cycle.

It's all about adapting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33028254)

If everyone was used to forgiving and forgetting because it was something available to them, they'll just have to get used to forgiving without forgetting. It'll happen to everyone at some point, and make everyone used to it. People at the outer edge will just have it bad.

Stigma (3, Funny)

ewg (158266) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028260)

I'd be appalled if anyone found out I used to program in Smalltalk.

Re:Stigma (2, Funny)

Golden_Rider (137548) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028430)

I'd be appalled if anyone found out I used to program in Smalltalk.

I had to program in COBOL at one point. Luckily, I managed to destroy any evidence.

I forgot to add: (1)

h7 (1855514) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028270)

that I like this system, especially because nerds will probably know better, but the "socially adept" will probably be raped many times over the period of their lives about the time they got drunk, their vomit, their stupid tweetz, etcs. ha

I bet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33028280)

I bet BP and politicians would back this "forgetting" thing...

Don't we need to just change the way we forgive? (1)

TurinX (1323321) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028290)

I think in many ways it is better to have all this information stored forever. As with most decisions, the more information you have the more informed a decision you can make...

I think the argument that people forget and therefore can forgive is true, but I think we need to then adapt how we forgive. If we accept that people change, then it doesn't matter that we have a store of someone's past actions - we can let then 'reinvent' themselves while still knowing where they came from.

Right now that may be difficult, but that's because the internet is still a relatively new phenomena in Human history. As we progress, I assume we'll evolve to accept that all our actions are remembered indefinitely, and mature to not let past events completely out way current ones.

Forgetting isn't the problem (4, Insightful)

Joehonkie (665142) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028294)

Maybe it's more of a problem with our two-faced, overly moralistic society. Instead of "forgetting" that other people started off young and exhibitionist, we should "remember" that many of the people bitching started off the same way too. And maybe those people should forgive other people when they realize they have their own faults. Or even better, not judge people according to their own personal moral codes.

Hypocrisy (2, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028676)

The issue isn't one of morality. The issue is that the vast majority of people do not follow the rules they espouse. That's why people hate the internet "memory." It exposes them for who they are, or at least who they used to be. The immediacy of information connects us with the past, and can help us make better decisions for the future. CIA coups used to be considered conspiracy theories, but now anyone can look at the source documents for themselves. News stories about what someone reportedly said are routinely dismissed, but a video of the same event makes refuting history much more difficult. In short, reality is much harder to dismiss for the people who are genuinely interested to find out what that is.

So, I'd rather not build in forgetting. I'd rather people learn to be more accepting of everyone and more skeptical of every asshole who wants to impose their morality on others. The ubiquity of distributed recording devices, and the network to freely share that media, is the most dangerous threat to the status quo since the scientific method, and for the same reason: it trades authority and mysticism for reality and results.

What a noob (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028300)

>who was denied a teaching certificate on the basis of a single photo on MySpace
Could he not just log on and remove any damaging photos from his myspace before going for that all important work interview???
This sounds more like some noob not realizing the web is public domain.

If he really wanted the job, he could have changed temporarily his myspace to a marketing ad for the company he is trying to get into...show them he really is serious about getting the job.

Re:What a noob (1)

Fri13 (963421) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028366)

And what you think that would help when he later turns them back and company notices it?

And how about hiring someone who lies so much?

And how about the companies who care WTF the employee is doing in his spare time?

We all really are liers and whores for the companies. Our status is just that who gets paid most from the "fuck".

Re:What a noob (2, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028388)

When did drinking at a party suddenly become a reason to be denied a teaching certification?

Re:What a noob (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028518)

When did drinking at a party suddenly become a reason to be denied a teaching certification?

When there's 100 applicants for each open job and HR needs an excuse, literally any excuse, to narrow the field of otherwise equivalent applicants?

Part of the problem is "every teacher is qualified for every job" which is far different than the tech field. So, everyone whom is unemployed applies for every single job.

Re:What a noob (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028684)

Except that this teacher was denied certification, not a job. It would be as if part of the FE/PE exams was a drug test (although I would not be surprised if someone points out that a drug test is actually part of the process to get engineering certification at this point).

nytimes attempt to perpetuate nazi hypenosys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33028302)

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/26/world/asia/26warlogs.html?_r=1

just another day at the races, by that read. almost nobody got hurt, only 1 lie was told. so, no need to change a thing. we feel 'better' about freedumb of the (bought&paidfor) mediahhaha already.

Re:nytimes attempt to perpetuate nazi hypenosys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33028458)

Isn't it time for your meds?

Once example, and a bogus one at that? (-1, Troll)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028308)

How is choosing to leave a photo of yourself skanking available online while applying to be a teacher about the intartubes "forgetting"?

Seems more to be about the broad being either very forgetful herself, or dim, or having poor judgement, any one of which should preclude her from being a teacher, quite in addition to the evidence of skankitude.

Re:Once example, and a bogus one at that? (1)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028482)

How is choosing to leave a photo of yourself skanking available online while applying to be a teacher about the intartubes "forgetting"?

Seems more to be about the broad being either very forgetful herself, or dim, or having poor judgement, any one of which should preclude her from being a teacher, quite in addition to the evidence of skankitude.


How is a picture of a person dressed as a pirate at halloween, holding a cup, evidence of skankitude? What are you like 8 yrs old? Afraid of girl cooties? Are you still smarting from that time that dog puppet made fun of your Darth Vader costume while waiting in line at the cineplex?

Forget to forget. (1)

Fri13 (963421) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028330)

I only hope that I would forget that I can forget something.
It is not nice at all to notice you have forgot something important, you just can not recall the whole context.

Not just the internet (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028340)

But all data. We store data without regard for it's lifetime, filling up harddrives which then need to be backed up. In some cases, we have data which has existed for 15 years or more. We dare not delete it, because it might someday be useful, but in the meantime it takes up disk storage space which costs extreme amounts of money to maintain.

What we need is a built in expiration date, known to all. When the file is written to disk, it is done so with a default expiration date. When that date comes, it is naturally deleted. Perhaps different data sets have different dates.

If you might want it forgotten... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33028354)

Don't put it on the Internet.

This is more serious than you think. (3, Insightful)

markdj (691222) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028386)

What if you were arrested for shoplifiting in a small town where the newspaper publishes the daily arrest record online? Later you are convicted and your sentence includes getting your record expunged once you serve your community service. However, the record in the paper of your arrest is not. The town doesn't have the power to tell the paper to expunge your record. A background check might find that arrest, but not evidence of the outcome. Now you could lose jobs, security clearences all for something that is not supposed to exist. When your record is expunged, you are supposed to be able to answer no to having been arrested, but the internet says otherwise.

Re:This is more serious than you think. (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028654)

Not to mention the problem with "false positives". Someone with my name(which which not being rare isn't super common either) who came from a town less than 50 mikes from where I grew up and is only 2 years older than me has been arrested twice. I am always worried that a potential employer will find this and assume it was me. The more I go on in life the more I realize the immense value of having a super common name, it makes it a lot harder for people to locate you. If I ever have a son I am going to name him after an actor that has my last name, nit because I am a fan but simply because it will be a lot harder to google my son.

Well...Duh! (1)

SStrungis (629260) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028410)

One certainly does have to manage their public image on the interwebs. It's out there forever. I am a high school teacher. I do have a facebook account. And yes, Virginia, I do watch what's out there and what gets shared, tagged, posted, etc. I have asked friends and students to mind what they post and to take things down I don't want published. I don't know if it's a generational thing. I've telecommunicated since the days of 300 baud dialup and BBSes. I've largely kept my online persona in good repair. I do watch what I type because my students can find me online in a pinch, so I censor my tweets, etc. I don't know if kids are as concerned. Today's infrastructure for communication is way different for my students. Texts, tweets, FB postings, forums, and email are all acceptable forms of meaningful communication. Though I think kids mainly use email as a digital bridge between them and us old fogeys. But in the end, it all has to be managed, cuz people DO judge. It's common sense. S

Not so much forgetting (1)

Vahokif (1292866) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028412)

What we need is to ensure you can say anonymous online, or at least not have to use your real name. Online identitites are easy to reinvent, real ones aren't.

jpg or it didnt happen (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028414)

the cyberscholar Viktor Mayer-Schönberger cites the case of Stacy Snyder -- who was denied a teaching certificate on the basis of a single photo on MySpace

.jpg or it didn't happen. And no I have not soiled myself by having a myspace account.

I tried google images and I'm having trouble figuring which one I wouldn't hire. All of them? The woman posing with several different dogs? (how many does she own, anyway?) The woman singing in front of a well known german political party symbol? The woman wearing a pirate hat drinking from a "goodbur" cup? The woman posing (fully clothed) in a tutu? Then there's about ten other "Stacy Snyder" whom are smiling way too much, which you'd think would be OK for a teacher (unless of course they're the wrong race for racial quota reasons?)

Two other oddities. "cyberscholar" WTF is that? Also, in my youth, HR used to make fun of people whom submitted pictures of themselves posed in suit and tie with their resumes, don't they know we have to toss those out to prove we aren't discriminating based on race etc, but its OK for HR to look at all the pictures of women wearing pirate hats and hugging dogs?

making history 'temporary' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33028422)

why not call it book burning? why not notice the association between the promotion of 'forgetting' with the release of the war crimes papers?
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/26/world/asia/26warlogs.html?_r=1

we always say we'll never forget what happened, then we allow it to happen again & again. it's in the manuals. may as well forget about everything, soon, again.

meanwhile (long enough to let your brain be re-soaped); the corepirate nazi illuminati is always hunting that patch of red on almost everyones' neck. if they cannot find yours (greed, fear ego etc...) then you can go starve. that's their (slippery/slimy) 'platform' now. see also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisocial_personality_disorder

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"The current rate of extinction is around 10 to 100 times the usual background level, and has been elevated above the background level since the Pleistocene. The current extinction rate is more rapid than in any other extinction event in earth history, and 50% of species could be extinct by the end of this century. While the role of humans is unclear in the longer-term extinction pattern, it is clear that factors such as deforestation, habitat destruction, hunting, the introduction of non-native species, pollution and climate change have reduced biodiversity profoundly.' (wiki)

"I think the bottom line is, what kind of a world do you want to leave for your children," Andrew Smith, a professor in the Arizona State University School of Life Sciences, said in a telephone interview. "How impoverished we would be if we lost 25 percent of the world's mammals," said Smith, one of more than 100 co-authors of the report. "Within our lifetime hundreds of species could be lost as a result of our own actions, a frightening sign of what is happening to the ecosystems where they live," added Julia Marton-Lefevre, IUCN director general. "We must now set clear targets for the future to reverse this trend to ensure that our enduring legacy is not to wipe out many of our closest relatives."--

"The wealth of the universe is for me. Every thing is explicable and practical for me .... I am defeated all the time; yet to victory I am born." --emerson

no need to confuse 'religion' with being a spiritual being. our soul purpose here is to care for one another. failing that, we're simply passing through (excess baggage) being distracted/consumed by the guaranteed to fail illusionary trappings of man'kind'. & recently (about 10,000 years ago) it was determined that hoarding & excess by a few, resulted in negative consequences for all.

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"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." )one does not need to agree whois in charge to grasp the notion that there may be some assistance available to us(

boeing, boeing, gone.

watch out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33028454)

...In italy we tried to pass a law to make it illegal to write (news/internet/etc...) about illegal facts and refer to a single person after 2-3 years.

just to say, forgive and forget can be good (altrough it's not my opinion), but don't push it too far...

This would be good for government too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33028468)

It sure would be nice if the gov't would "forget" the run-ins they had with me in my youth..

4chan has it right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33028498)

Everything posted is removed after interest has been lost in the subject.

It's quite the liberating and a zen-like experience to know the finity of your interaction.

In traditional societies... sins are eventually... (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028502)

In traditional societies, where missteps are observed but not necessarily recorded, the limits of human memory ensure that people's sins are eventually forgotten.

Um, no. In traditional societies, sins are remembered long past the lifetime of a person due to gossip, and continued gossip, and then oral history, their sins are immortalized in song, and eventually when people learned how to write, those songs were written down. To reinvent yourself in those days you used to have to move to another town. The only thing the Internet has done that is new is allow almost everyone on the planet access to every small town's gossip.

This happens often enough... (1)

jzarling (600712) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028552)

I do not agree with the outcome, but this has happened often enough that one would think most people would understand that you should exercise some restraint on your posts.
Most HS kids know that they need to control whats seen on their FB pages, and at 25 I would think this woman would have understood that also.

I actually think society is just getting dumber (3, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028558)

I am technically generation Y. I'm right on the border with generation X, so my first exposure to the Internet came at 1995 when I was in middle school. There is a marked difference between the older half and the younger half of gen Y in how we view the Internet. The younger half puts it all out there without any attempt to make it hard for busy bodies and ne'erdowells to connect the dots or find them. When people act like this culture of letting it all hang out online is something inherent to the Internet, I take great offense to that because I am old enough to remember how mainstream culture first interacted with the Internet and it was with a hell of a lot more sense than we often have today.

The fact is that society is getting dumber. Systematically dumber. I know this not just from watching how my own generation is starting to behave, but from listening to how my dad recounts how law enforcement **used to be**. He was a cop in the post-Vietnam era. He retired in 1996 and has very little good to say about how cops behave today. No common sense, no independent thought, no questioning whether following orders actually helps the rule of law. It touches everything. Our society is getting dumber, more legalistic and less capable of sensible behavior.

It's also getting a lot more judgmental. I think this is a natural reaction to people seeing all of this stuff that went on behind closed doors, but the fact remains that either people have to learn how to compartmentalize behavior (like disregard a politician's past, if they have what it takes to be an effect, informed leader) or actually dramatically reduce the visibility-by-internet of society.

long term (1)

ConvexCourse (1494325) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028604)

the problem really is that we are still on the verge of change. the people making decisions like not hiring stacy are still holding to the old way of thinking. once we reach a point where those people have grown up with the internet, once they're lives are out there all the time too, this won't be an issue. we'll all have a greater understanding of indiscretion then.

adaption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33028612)

Our culture will adapt to this new environment, so that indescretions imbuned on the internet will be less influential in determining a persons character.

Because theres no books detailing war (1)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 4 years ago | (#33028664)

I mean, we can forget about war and all the bad things in life, because its not like we have painting and books depicting what happens or anything. Because we dont have a video of Bill Gates saying we only need 64kb of ram....

I think this guy got stung because he was stupid, but is now clever enough to realise he can make some money out it by becoming a "Expert on forgetfulness and the solidarity of the state of the internet". Que interviews with newspapers and tv stations.

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