Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

What Turned VR Pioneer Jaron Lanier Against the Web

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the not-enough-cat-pictures dept.

Social Networks 212

i_want_you_to_throw_ writes "Details of Jaron Lanier's crusade against Web 2.0 continue in an article at Smithsonian Magazine. The article expands upon Lanier's criticism of Web 2.0. It's an interesting read, with Lanier suggesting we are outsourcing ourselves into insignificant advertising-fodder and making an audacious connection between techno-utopianism, the rise of the machines and the Great Recession. From the article: 'As far back as the turn of the century, he singled out one standout aspect of the new web culture—the acceptance, the welcoming of anonymous commenters on websites—as a danger to political discourse and the polity itself. At the time, this objection seemed a bit extreme. But he saw anonymity as a poison seed. The way it didn’t hide, but, in fact, brandished the ugliness of human nature beneath the anonymous screen-name masks. An enabling and foreshadowing of mob rule, not a growth of democracy, but an accretion of tribalism. ... 'This is the thing that continues to scare me. You see in history the capacity of people to congeal—like social lasers of cruelty. That capacity is constant. ... We have economic fear combined with everybody joined together on these instant twitchy social networks which are designed to create mass action. What does it sound like to you? It sounds to me like the prequel to potential social catastrophe. I’d rather take the risk of being wrong than not be talking about that.'"

cancel ×

212 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Oblig. (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413055)

Gabe's Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory [penny-arcade.com]

(Seriously, we've known about this since what, Quake 2 days?)

Re:Oblig. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42413129)

Lanier is under the impression that he, and others on his behalf, somehow obtained, or already had, the right not to be offended.

Not so.

I'll go back to completely ignoring him now.

Re:Oblig. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42413611)

You got that from the summary? Wow. I got something different. I got that people are assholes and strongly relate to others that they know (their "tribe"). I also got that people often jump on a bandwagon without thinking and this leads to the rule of mobs. You really got that he doesn't want to be offended?

Re:ok AC? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42413757)

what i got from the article,
he would like us to continue to be enslaved by "social norms" by being punished for brandishing a position that may widely differ from the norm. Being as we are in a "normal" society and are judged for thinking "abnormally", tying anonymity to abnormal behavior is just a way to enforce entrenched behaviors.
i for one applaud Anonymity online.
case: http://allthingsd.com/20121224/china-poised-for-crackdown-on-internet/ [allthingsd.com]

Re:Oblig. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42413131)

I rarely think of anonymity when I think of Web 2.0. I always thought that part of Web 2.0 was not just user generated content, but a continued identity carried over multiple content arenas, with OpenID and so forth being a prime example. Or is that Web 2.1?

Re:Oblig. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42414025)

That's at least Web 3.x

Web 2.0 was when the content started changing without the user clicking 'reload' each time.

Re:Oblig. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42413287)

Yes, anonymity has its downside, but "a danger to political discourse and the polity itself"?

The Federalist Papers were published under a collective pseudonym.

Re:Oblig. (4, Insightful)

preaction (1526109) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413399)

In support of your comment, anonymity is a requirement for free speech. In fact, forcing someone to attach their identity to their speech is "a danger to political discourse and the polity itself" moreso than anonymity. I will deal with assholes on the Internet because I know that requiring them to identify themselves so they can be tried in the court of public shame leads down a very bad road.

Re:Oblig. (2)

JWW (79176) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413429)

Absolutely correct. It is terrifying to me how many people do not get this point.

Re:Oblig. (0)

jhoegl (638955) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413733)

If you stand anonymous you stand alone.

Re:Oblig. (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413445)

In other words, Lanier is not willing to take the bad with the good of being anonymous. And so opts out of the discussion almost entirely.

Re:Oblig. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42413801)

Absolutely. I would rather suffer through a thousand trolls or genuinely extremist comments from anonymous persons than not be able to read the thoughtful comments a more timid person may not have written had they been required to attach their name to them.

However I'm not sure I would draw a parallel between The Federalist Papers and the drivel many current anonymous posters write.

Re:Oblig. (5, Insightful)

owski (222689) | about a year and a half ago | (#42414023)

However I'm not sure I would draw a parallel between The Federalist Papers and the drivel many current anonymous posters write.

That's only because the barrier to entry has dropped so low. There are many pamphlets from the same era which have been lost to history because they were drivel. There would have also been some real gems that never got out there because costs prevented them from being published.

I think the point that Lanier is really missing is that anonymity is not new, just that pen and ink is now nearly free.

Re:Oblig. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42413749)

Yes, anonymity has its downside, but "a danger to political discourse and the polity itself"?

The Federalist Papers were published under a collective pseudonym.

Well, it means at least Federalist knew who other Federalists were. As a collective they were anonymous to wider public, but they cooperated among themselves under their real identities. It is quite removed from true anonymity, regarding politeness and social considerations.

Re:Oblig. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42413893)

Maybe you don't know about the Federalist Papers. [wikipedia.org] They were written by three like-minded guys, not some political party. And their identity was a closely-guarded secret for several years.
The Federalist Papers were a reaction to a couple of other anonymous writers opposed to New York's ratfiication of the US Constitution.
At that particular historic juncture, anonymity didn't threaten political discourse; it encouraged it.

Re:Oblig. (3, Interesting)

alexander_686 (957440) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413985)

I am going to have to disagree with you – the writers of the Federalist papers where widely known to support the constitution.

Back then, advertising your ideas were taken as sign of ego and hubris – signs that you coveted power and fame – implying that you wanted to set yourself as aristocracy. The time favored cool rotational thinking. The writers wrote anonymously to remove their personal interests from the debate so the focus would be on the ideas.

Lanier is a dipshit (5, Informative)

realmolo (574068) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413067)

He got in early on 3D graphics and had dreadlocks, which made him a darling of the "Wired" and "Mondo 2000" (remember that?) crowd.

But he is clueless.

Re:Lanier is a dipshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42413251)

Anyone more concerned by who said what rather than what was said is as you say a clueless dipshit.

Re:Lanier is a dipshit (1)

lbmouse (473316) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413281)

And apparently very, very bored.

Re: Lanier is a dipshit (2)

BumpyCarrot (775949) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413473)

(Not) Looking forward to reading Cory Doctorow's summary of this on boingboing.

Re:Lanier is a dipshit (5, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413763)

He got in early on 3D graphics and had dreadlocks

I know, I know. I met him back when he had his original VR system, with a pair of SGI machines hooked up to 320-line or so goggles and about a second of lag between the head tracker and the video. Turn head, wait 1s for image to stabilize, repeat. Once people figured out that all you could do well in VR was move and shoot, interest declined. Even for gamers. (Autodesk had a big interest in VR at one time; the idea was that you'd be able to do architecture in VR with an intuitive interface. Pick up window, walk to wall, insert window in wall, step back, look at result, slide window to different position... Didn't work out. Without force feedback, manipulation in 3D VR is clumsy.)

Lanier's main complaint seems to be that being a second or third-tier musician doesn't pay well any more. Historically, it never did. The notion of musical stardom came from a brief period in history when duplicating phono records was a very expensive process. There are now somewhere between 5 and 8 million bands on Myspace. (Some of which might not suck.) So being a "musician" isn't a big deal any more.

Interestingly, he's against anonymity, which encourages ranting. But nobody listens to online ranting from anons much any more. Post on Slashdot as Anonymous Coward and you're lucky to get a rating above 0. Post on Wikipedia without logging in, and unless you have something really productive to say, you'll probably be reverted, Rant at people via e-mail and spam filters block you. Grief in a MMORPG, and you get kicked out and have to restart as a noob with low stats. Problem solved. (Mostly.)

Facebook and Google, on the other hand, are against anonymity because it interferes with monetizing data about their users. That's not a good reason.

Jared Lanier == Clifford Stoll (1, Offtopic)

Mike Buddha (10734) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413097)

Silicon Snake Oil 2.0?

Re:Jared Lanier == Clifford Stoll (1)

Mike Buddha (10734) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413117)

Oops, damn auto-correct. Jaron not Jared.

Re:Jared Lanier == Clifford Stoll (2)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413463)

Silicon Snake Oil 2.0?

That's my opinion. CSS was a good idea but it's almost never used for its intended purpose, which was to make it easy to change the style of an entire site without rewriting every page. What it's used for is to vainly attempt to make a web site look like a newspaper or magazine page with everything exactly where the designer wants it -- only that's an impossibility, because of different aspect ratios, screen sizes, and orientations.

Web designers today want to use absolute coordinates, which results in one user having a horizontal scroll bar while another has half the screen empty, and both get an ugly page that sucks donkey balls, pretty as the page may be on the designer's screen.

I wish they'd take absolute positioning out of the spec. You can't position an item absolutely on the internet.

Oh, and I have to apologize for web2.0, because I had all its elements in my web site in 1998 (except ebsolute positioning; I'm not nearly as stupid as most webmasters). Sorry guys, my bad.

Re:Jared Lanier == Clifford Stoll (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42413673)

I follow your point, but I don't think Cliff was so opposed to where he saw technology going. From what I saw, he mostly just asked questions and advised us to do the same before leaping forward. And forgive the past tense, but you just don't hear from Cliff much since MSNBC stopped airing TheSite. He seems to be happy making his Klein Bottles.

Aging "Genius" Gets weirder (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413111)

News at 10

its also pretty hard to follow as the topic seems to drift all over the place, Dylan, mob rule on the internet, traffic and simulators, surface, web2.0, terminator, murder... good luck

Anonymous commenters (3, Interesting)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413121)

An enabling and foreshadowing of mob rule, not a growth of democracy, but an accretion of tribalism...

I also think the same thing about Facebook. Here we have people and companies putting all their eggs in the same basket controlled by a single entity.

If He Hates Web 2.0 ... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42413127)

If he hates Web 2.0, I hate to be the one to tell him he's not going to feel any better about Web 3.0. This "sell yourself as the product" (either on purpose or out of blindness and ignorance) mentality isn't going anywhere, and it's not going to get any better until privacy becomes important to the masses again.

Can't handle the truth? (5, Insightful)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413135)

I’d rather take the risk of being wrong than not be talking about that.'"
OK, you're wrong. One aspect of the raw, awfulness that is anonymous internet commentary is far more important than polite reasoned discourse. It represents the true feelings of the participants, unhindered by social inhibitions and cultural conditioning. It is digital drunkenness, and like drunkenness, often reveals ugly facts about human nature, which remain facts, nonetheless.

Perhaps you prefer the sweet simpering smiles of courtesy. I do not. I would rather know who and what people really are. Reality rules. Fantasy is for fools.

Re:Can't handle the truth? (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413303)

Or as the Romans put it: In vino veritas.

Re:Can't handle the truth? (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413493)

Perfect.

There is nothing new under the sun.

Re:Can't handle the truth? (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413497)

Or as the Romans put it: In vino veritas.

Given the comments one sees on the internet, I suppose the only conclusion is most of the participants are drunk.

Re:Can't handle the truth? (2)

OakDragon (885217) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413829)

Or as the Romulans say: in cervisie Siquidem

Re:Can't handle the truth? (2)

JockTroll (996521) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413307)

I will agree the day the web comes with a "smash chair on the head of fucktard and stomp on his face until it bursts open" command, as it usually ends when people got drunk to the point of being completely, and savagely, honest with themselves. That or a CLI where I can type KILL TROLL WITH SWORD and have the command executed in RL.

Re:Can't handle the truth? (3, Insightful)

evil_aaronm (671521) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413351)

Exactly. I don't know the kind of circles in which this chucklefuck runs, but he must be fairly well sequestered from reality if he thinks people can rise above our baser nature. People are animals: nothing more, nothing less. We grok tools pretty well, but we're still animals, prone to the same kinds of behaviors as lions, tigers and bears. Oh, my! Anyone who thinks highly of us, as a species, is in for some serious disappointment.

Re:Can't handle the truth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42413417)

This is the kind of thinking usually used by someone looking for an excuse to hurt people.

Re:Can't handle the truth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42413969)

No, it's the kind of thinking that is based on observation. My default behavior in society is to be polite, to trust people to be reasonable, to be accountable for their actions the same as I am accountable for mine, to follow the law, care about others feelings, and so forth. But I know if I blindly walk out into the world and assume that my default expectations will NEVER be violated, then eventually I'm going to be hurt, robbed, beaten, or worse because there really are bad people who are, to use your words, "looking for an excuse to hurt people." So, I'm naturally always a little wary. Not enough to spoil normal courtesy in society, but the skepticism is there.

This stuff is in our animal nature, which exists in all of us. Just because most people manage to tame it in the course of regular interactions with other people doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It also doesn't mean that most people are slave to those instincts all the time or that the nasty things that are said by anonymous idiots in internet chat rooms are somehow representative of a general degradation of society. It only means you're in a place where people don't maintain the facade of civility as effectively because they don't think they have to. It's evidence for exactly what the previous poster was claiming.

Acknowledging my animal nature and taming it does not mean there is any intent or desire to find an excuse to hurt people. My intent is just the opposite: to acknowledge reality and deal with it rationally and effectively.

Re:Can't handle the truth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42413387)

and you get to state your opinion logically; maybe dissuading hot hearts with cool reason.
and its all online, so no fist fights anyway...

Re:Can't handle the truth? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42413447)

It represents the true feelings of the participants, unhindered by social inhibitions and cultural conditioning.
 
Please. I use it to troll. I don't represent any point of view aside from the one I think will get the most reaction out of fools like you. I come off as either a leftist or a rightist depending on who's ire I'm trying to rise and a preach against products that I use daily just to see how much of a twist the fanbois get in. And I don't just do that here, I have accounts across dozens of websites that I do this with. Not to mention areas where I make my voice known but I'm not even a real member of the conversation, like on IMDb where I'll vote films I've never even seen with a 1 or a 10 on a whim. It might not be much but I still do it. And if I could tell you the number of times I've made outragous statements and got modded up on Slashdot when I was 100% trolling is amazing. It has nothing to do with facts or my true feelings. It's me understanding my audience and playing them. Entertainers of all kinds do it daily and make millions, I do it as a troll and feel smug in realizing that supposedly educated people are duped just as easily as the bumpkins on the street. In the end it makes me feel that most of what goes on in the Interwebs is either a scam outright or is likely a scam that draws in people with the best intentions. A great waste of other peoples' efforts. Hurhay!
 
  It is digital drunkenness, and like drunkenness, often reveals ugly facts about human nature, which remain facts, nonetheless.
 
Anyone who's a serious drunk will tell you that what comes out of the mouths of your average drunk after about 2/3rds of a fifth of Jim Beam can't be trusted as either fact or true feelings. I've seen it happen a handful of times but most of the time it doesn't. This is why most of the "digits" guys get off of girls after a few hours of drinking get tossed in the garbage. It's a good idea, at the time, but once reality sets back in they realize that they're lucky that it never went any further.

Re:Can't handle the truth? (2)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413523)

But you too are a real phenomenon. Psychopaths exist. It's a fact that must be accepted and factored into human interactions.

Re:Can't handle the truth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42413567)

Exactly, that is human nature and has no place in a reasoned debate. Chest-thumping and shit-dicking are meant to blow off steam; you called them feelings and they are just that.

I feel everyone is retarded, including you, but that doesn't make me correct and it doesn't make my statement appropriate for conversation. Sometimes the hesitation that arises from being polite gives us an opportunity to temper our urges and actually accomplish something. Otherwises penises and vaginas all the way down.

Re:Can't handle the truth? (4, Informative)

catchblue22 (1004569) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413803)

I’d rather take the risk of being wrong than not be talking about that.'"

OK, you're wrong. One aspect of the raw, awfulness that is anonymous internet commentary is far more important than polite reasoned discourse. It represents the true feelings of the participants, unhindered by social inhibitions and cultural conditioning. It is digital drunkenness, and like drunkenness, often reveals ugly facts about human nature, which remain facts, nonetheless.

Perhaps you prefer the sweet simpering smiles of courtesy. I do not. I would rather know who and what people really are. Reality rules. Fantasy is for fools.

I think the poster neglects something very important here, that the nature of our discussions and interactions changes us. If our default level of discussion is the internet equivalent of a bar room brawl, it will tend to bring out, to accentuate, to amplify those irrational and cruel tendencies. If this becomes too widespread, it will not end well for society.

The poster refers to the "ugly facts" about human nature. If I want to discover these "ugly facts", a quick survey of Roman history [gutenberg.org] will suffice. Roman legions entering a town and indiscriminately kill 300 000 men, women and children. The mad emperors Caligula, Nero and Commodus committed atrocities that would make most readers want to throw up upon reading about them. Never mind the barbarism of slavery. We humans are quite messed up. We have the potential to be good, but we also have the potential to be monsters. Does that mean that we should tolerate, nay, encourage those traits?

Re:Can't handle the truth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42413863)

I like the comparison with drunkenness and its, uh, overly liberating effect on people's behavior. It is similar in some ways, and I see its effects all the time on the web. Being identifiable does curb some people's bad behavior, and clearly some people shouldn't "drink and browse" in an anonymous fashion for that reason. They can't make responsible judgments when they think they aren't going to be accountable. But where that analogy doesn't work is with the simple observation that many people still remain polite and thoughtful despite being anonymous. It doesn't *have* to turn out badly, even if statistically it often does. Furthermore, as you point out, you may find out what people truly are like. The facade comes down. And that's good in some ways.

Perhaps I have a high tolerance for "internet alcohol", but I don't get drunk on being an anonymous coward anyway. What I say is pretty much what I'd say if I wasn't AC. It's the way I am. If this guy can't deal with the unvarnished comments of miscellaneous people on the internet, and he worries about the broader social implications of that kind of "raw" discussion, then he's really saying he can't deal with people and worries about society and the way that it *is*. There is no special "danger" here. It's called dealing with reality, like you might deal with a person you meet while walking down the street.

Re:Can't handle the truth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42414105)

EVERYONE lives in a fantasy world to some degree. Even if you've managed to avoid magical thinking and politics yourself, I guarantee you that you hold some views that are not congruent with reality.

'Tis alright (4, Insightful)

lightknight (213164) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413167)

While it has taken some time, the internet has evolved defenses to many of these social problems.

Adblock is so effective that advertisers want it outlawed. Spam Assassin cuts down on hideous amounts of junk mail, and Microsoft is offering bounties for the heads of spammers. Encryption is evolving at a frightening rate, spurred by overreaching agencies. Darknets are springing up, complete with obfuscated addresses. VPN is now a common term among the laymen.

The only people getting cut out are the technically illiterate, and their numbers are dwindling each day.

Yes, it shouldn't be like this, but realize, its adaptations are a direct result of our interactions with it; it's a mirror of our society, and it tells us that we have a very dark soul.

 

Re:'Tis alright (1)

Gen_Music (2420986) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413391)

It is natural. We may genetically evolve once every several generations (far less with the addition of welfare states and lack of predator pressure), but evolution is just adapting to evade a danger or gain an effective advantage over our peers. In this case it's the danger of imprisonment and the advantage of social stimulus through software, porn and movies.

Society teaches us that that is bad, but we've taken things without personally giving adequate compensation for aeons. You think we were replanting seeds when we discovered dry wood would make fire? Hell we still often don't now.

Re:'Tis alright (2, Interesting)

Mashiki (184564) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413495)

Adblock is so effective that advertisers want it outlawed.

I always liked this one, I mean it. I really like it, it means that the people are speaking loudly enough that they find their methods irresponsible. If advertisers weren't acting like flashers in front of 10 year old's, who had a side-job as peeping toms after 9pm, they'd probably wouldn't be having this problem with people installing adblockers.

Re:'Tis alright (1)

Kjella (173770) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413955)

Meh, you have many people who'd block ads no matter how nice they were, after all they're interrupting or distracting you from what you're trying to do and trying to sell you something you didn't ask for and that's taking up your bandwidth and your screen real estate and minutes of your life. Asking how many would like to be without ads is like asking how many would like to shop without paying. No, I'm not talking about breaking the law but if you got the choice. But if you find the site has too much ads, do people boycott the site? No, they try finding ways to use the site without the ads. Now don't pretend like I said it was a legal contract or the law or anything, but the social contract is to exchange content for ad views. And it's the consumers pulling a "I have altered the deal. Pray that I do not alter it further" moment.

Re:'Tis alright (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about a year and a half ago | (#42414151)

Now don't pretend like I said it was a legal contract or the law or anything, but the social contract is to exchange content for ad views. And it's the consumers pulling a "I have altered the deal. Pray that I do not alter it further" moment.

The social contract exists as long as: There is a service being exchanged for an equal service. And there is nothing disreputable going on. You and I both know that the chances of picking up malware from an ad. Are as good as picking up a antibiotic resistant MSRA in a hospital by having an open wound and rubbing along the floor. And that's because advertisers don't screen them, or they believe that the turnover from getting more money is worth angering people even at the loss of viewship from those sites. After all, it won't be the "advertisers" fault, it will the sites fault.

Anonymity (5, Interesting)

Dan East (318230) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413173)

I became aware of the impact of anonymity on a person's behavior back around 1991 when I operated a dial up BBS. Punk kids would get on and cause all kinds of problems, but when we politely showed up at their house and advised their parents that someone from that phone number had been dialing into our system and making all kinds of threats, well, the kids would typically practically wet themselves when their parents called them out on it. So for one thing, this is nothing new, and for another, it's an obvious fact of human nature that people will behave differently when they feel there isn't any direct accountability or ramifications for their actions in the "real world".

However, I'm still having trouble seeing where this all fits in to be anti "Web 2.0". If anything sites like Facebook have taken things in the opposite direction, making it more difficult to be anonymous (or at the very least, encourage the majority of people to simply use their actual identity online). At the end of the day there isn't any "real" ramification to these "poison seeds" of anonymity.

Perhaps a real-world example of what he's so concerned about would be more helpful. I skimmed through the rather large story at the Smithsonian site, and I just couldn't really pull any meat out of it. Lots of, um, words about disjointed stuff that I couldn't tie together. Maybe someone else can be so helpful as to sum it up in a way that makes sense?

Re:Anonymity (3, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413719)

However, I'm still having trouble seeing where this all fits in to be anti "Web 2.0". If anything sites like Facebook have taken things in the opposite direction, making it more difficult to be anonymous (or at the very least, encourage the majority of people to simply use their actual identity online). At the end of the day there isn't any "real" ramification to these "poison seeds" of anonymity.

Agreed, if anything the anonymous voice is being shut out from more and more of the public debate because sites increasingly use debate systems with a real name policy. You could of course register a fake Facebook account but that only lasts until someone cares to report it as possibly fake. People's perception of what the public opinion is, is now formed more and more on places like Facebook and less and less on places like slashdot where nicks are the norm. Sure it cuts down on the spam and trolling and generally obnoxious behavior but it also cuts down on the truth, but is presented as just as good or even better than the real thing.

Re:Anonymity (2)

dumcob (2595259) | about a year and a half ago | (#42414045)

Here is a good real world example - search for "bangalore exodus". Back in August tens of thousands of people thought their lives were in danger in Bangalore thanks to rumors spread both via the social networks and sms. The govt could do nothing for a week to control it. There were ministers standing at the railway station begging people not to leave.

The big difference between anonymity in the 90's and today is scale. Today our networks reach billions of people most of whom, to put it as politically correctly as possible, aren't very sophisticated. I am not talking about education levels. Everyone has weaknesses. Wether its the guy on wall street, silicon valley or McD. It is not a question, of whether their weaknesses will be taken advantage off. This is happening already at a scales never seen before. Whether it is our stock market bubbles or rise/fall of companies overnight or the rise/fall of political leaders/movements overnight or Snooki, Paris Hilton or Gangnum Style, network effects effect everyone in highly unpredictable and uncontrollable ways. Anonymity is a catalyst.

Social networks turn into outrage factories at the drop of a hat these days and we definitely need control rods to atleast slow things down. Anonymity is an obvious candidate.

Penalty potential too potent. (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413187)

Lanier seems to cavalierly disregard the potential for being locked up simply for expressing the truth in open discourse.

I wonder if he, in his wisdom, foresaw a time where government agents or Islamic assassins appear at one's door step simply for expressing an opinion.
I can't imagine someone with even a modicum of historical hindsight would dismiss this so easily.

Re:Penalty potential too potent. (4, Interesting)

Krishnoid (984597) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413583)

Lanier seems to cavalierly disregard the potential for being locked up simply for expressing the truth in open discourse.

I wonder if he, in his wisdom, foresaw a time where government agents or Islamic assassins appear at one's door step simply for expressing an opinion. I can't imagine someone with even a modicum of historical hindsight would dismiss this so easily.

His experience in this area seems to actually be the basis for his opinion:

But something he mentioned next really astonished me: "I’m sensitive to it because it murdered most of my parents' families in two different occasions and this idea that we're getting unified by people in these digital networks—"

"Murdered most of my parents' families." You heard that right. Lanierd's mother survived an Austrian concentration camp but many of her family died during the war—and many of his father's family were slaughtered in prewar Russian pogroms, which led the survivors to flee to the United States.

Re:Penalty potential too potent. (2, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413635)

Yup. He'd be the one in the Warsaw Ghetto talking about safety and cooperation with the Nazis.

The doublethink in this boy is strong.

No, this is not a Godwin.

--
BMO

and the difference is? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42413203)

There is little difference between tribalism and democracy. One is just associated with Greece, making is seem more appealing.

Anonymity isn't the mask, our real identity is (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42413219)

We can only be honest when we're anonymous. That *is* our real self. It's when we have to be out in the open that we hide behind bullshit politeness and "civility" (aka "We both bullshit each other rather than being honest").

Re:Anonymity isn't the mask, our real identity is (1, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413437)

No, that just makes you a pussy.

If you don't have the balls to say something with your name attached to it then don't say it.

Very few people actually have anything to fear other than making it obvious to others that they are morons with a retarded opinion.

One in a billion people have something to actually fear about what they say getting them killed or otherwise harm, the rest just use is as a pathetic excuse to talk out their ass with no repercussions at all.

No intelligent person with half a clue takes anonymous posts seriously even when they have merit.

Re:Anonymity isn't the mask, our real identity is (5, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413517)

If you don't have the balls to say something with your name attached to it then don't say it.

Then why are you using a nom-de-plume, or is your real name BitZtream?

Hypocrite.

--
BMO

Re:Anonymity isn't the mask, our real identity is (4, Insightful)

JWW (79176) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413709)

One in a billion people have something to actually fear about what they say getting them killed or otherwise harm

Um, while this may be true for the whole population of the world. It is demonstrably NOT true for the populations of China, Syria, Iran, Egypt, North Korea, Venezuela, Russia, Cuba, ........

Hell, I'm beginning to think its not even true for the whole world and that you're quite wrong.

Anonymity is unimaginably important when you are standing up to a power structure that does not want you saying what you are saying.

Re:Anonymity isn't the mask, our real identity is (3, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413773)

Anonymity is unimaginably important when you are standing up to a power structure that does not want you saying what you are saying.

The SCOTUS has come down time and again saying that anonymity is crucial to free speech, and nearly everyone cites the Federalist Papers as a shining example.

In China, the Communist Party has a great big problem with corruption, and online communication is exposing that. So they try to cover it up by making people fear for their lives for posting about corruption under their real names.

Remove anonymity and you remove the last check against an abusive government.

--
BMO

Re:Anonymity isn't the mask, our real identity is (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413967)

Remove anonymity and you remove the last check against an abusive government.

Speaking anonymously may be a check against an abusive government, but the ultima ratio doesn't involve talking.

Re:Anonymity isn't the mask, our real identity is (2)

Bodhammer (559311) | about a year and a half ago | (#42414133)

One in a billion people have something to actually fear about what they say getting them killed or otherwise harm, the rest just use is as a pathetic excuse to talk out their ass with no repercussions at all.

One in a Billion? More like 1 out of 7 methinks. i.e. http://news.yahoo.com/china-requires-internet-users-register-names-141101231--finance.html [yahoo.com]
Ask the the internet users of Syria, Iran, and Saudia Arabia about their online freedoms to say and post what they want? Why did the UN/ITU (Or at least Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Africa) try to to grab the internet this month?

Nekked (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42413247)

I'm NEKKED!

Argument by authority (3, Insightful)

TeknoHog (164938) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413265)

People should be required to use full names and titles. After all, the opinion of a professor is much more worthy than that of a manual worker.

Re:Argument by authority (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42413363)

I hope this is sarcasm...

Re:Argument by authority (1)

Jartan (219704) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413379)

I notice you have your real name linked on your homepage. Good for you not being a hypocrite. Unfortunately this led to you invalidating your point instantly.

Re:Argument by authority (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42413385)

In the words of a troll of recent memory: "Did your parents name you TeknoHog? What are you hiding?"

Re:Argument by authority (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413407)

Only perhaps within the narrow field in which a professor is trained, and even then only if the professor provides better arguments (which he should be able to do). You never know in advance whether the opinion of some lowly patent office clerk turns out to be noteworthy.

Re:Argument by authority (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42413413)

And some people think the opinion of a carpenter is more worthy than the sum of much of the intellectual thought ever in existence.

Re:Argument by authority (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413505)

After all, the opinion of a professor is much more worthy than that of a manual worker.

Wise words from my (manual worker) father:

Opinions are like assholes - everybody's got one, and the vast majority smell like shit.

I've known many a Ph. D. holdin' folk who are so goddamn stupid when it comes to anything but the ultra-specialized topic their education is in (mostly Psychology majors), they can't get work outside waiting tables at Steak N' Shake.

I guess what I'm saying here is, education level is not necessarily indicative of cognitive reasoning capabilities.

Re:Argument by authority (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42413777)

You forgot to include the <sarc> tag I hope.

Fool (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42413271)

Lack of anonymity guarantees politcal persecution.

Most of the original political thinkers of the 18th, 19th, 20th century depended on their anonymity at the time.

This post is too sad for a soviet russia comment.

I'm not sure what he's trying to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42413333)

What exactly is he trying to say? It seems like, in one breath, he decries the giving away of personal information to companies like Facebook, and in the next decries the ability to be anonymous. So which is the problem?

Re:I'm not sure what he's trying to say... (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413451)

You don't have to be anonymous to also not be so stupid as to give away all of your personal info. It is entirely possible to not broadcast everything to the world.

Anonymous Coward .... (1, Troll)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413341)

... of the last century wore a white sheet and burned crosses in people's yards.

Its one thing to stand up, identify yourself and state your beliefs. Its quite another to make statements that you are not willing to stand behind for fear of being ostracized.

The valid case for anonymity, publishing some information that threatened those in power, used to have a solution. Members of the press would offer their reputations as a proxy for that of the whistle blower. They would vet the information (albeit sometimes imperfectly) and put it into the public domain under their by-line. But this function has been eroded in the Internet age. between the Patriot Act and "think of the children", there are very few people left who have the authority to stand up against the information gathering and surveillance tools of the establishment. Perhaps we need to repair this situation rather than just handing every jerk wad the tools to absolute anonymity.

Re:Anonymous Coward .... (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413439)

And yet you use a psuedonym to decry the anonymity ofothers. Please post your real name and full info to back up your statement instead of just being a whiny hypocrite.

Re:Anonymous Coward .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42414147)

And yet you use a psuedonym to decry the anonymity of others. Please post your real name and full info to back up your statement instead of just being a whiny hypocrite.

Knowing the reputation of Slashdot, and the greater Internet, why the hell would you believe anything he responded with?

I think you just have to be a moron to think a person wouldn't say what he did in person if that were the forum.

Re:Anonymous Coward .... (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413549)

It's not just ostracized.

Killed, tortured, same to family, etc, etc,etc.

Anonymity has a long and illustrious history, dating all the way back to nom de plumes in the Greek & Roman times.
In fact, pseudonym is a Greek word.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudonym#Etymology [wikipedia.org]

Lanier is exactly right! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42413355)

I cannot agree more with him:
Anonymous cowards posting on the internet will be the downfall of society!!

The Edge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42413359)

No government will tolerate free speech. They will always put all kinds of laws in place to limit free speech. Any new technology will always have all kind of effects upon society both good and bad. Probably the single greatest shock will not be in anonymous comments and mob rule. It will be in the stoppage of need for human labor. That means that our entire economic system will require very radical changes. We are seeing it already in the large numbers of long term unemployed.

History is longer than 30 years (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413375)

â"the acceptance, the welcoming of anonymous commenters on websitesâ"as a danger to political discourse and the polity itself.

Anonymity is not optional in a free society. If we all had to put our names on our ballots, if cash were outlawed and everyone had to pay by credit card with their name on it, if we truly became the transparent surveillance society tech pundits keep pointing to as the future, then democracy is dead. Anonymity is the one thing that can change the status quo -- it allows expression of ideas, themes, and alternatives to it without retribution or revenge being brought down on the speaker. Without anonymity, the government can simply disappear anyone who disagrees. Corporations can lock out political and social undesireables from key markets. When you make speaking out against the establishment impossible without painting a big target on your ass, you've killed democracy. It simply cannot survive without it.

The internet's free-wheeling and democratic nature, complete with our Anonymous cyber-terrorist groups and our Anonymous Cowards (mostly harmless, sometimes annoying), to cyber-bullies and cyber-other-things-left-unmentioned, is probably a shock to a dreamer like this guy. As a self-described pioneer, he's clearly an idealist. He doesn't see the practical long-term problems, only the ones keeping him from taking whatever his next step is on his ideological journey. For him, he's decided anonymity is the next problem to be kicked out on the way to utopia.

Sir, with respect to your accomplishments, there are no digital utopias anymore than there are real ones. The analogues between our world, here, and the world out there, and your desire to bridge the two, is noble. But you cannot pick and choose ideological values for your new world. All you can be is a humble medium through which social change occurs. All the great inventors of the world know this. When Maxwell was approached by a politician on the usefulness of electricity, he remarked, "One day sir, you will tax it." I'm sure he envisioned homes lit by power 'from the ethers', and buggies that no longer needed horses as he slaved away in his lab, but he kept enough perspective to realize that what he was discovering would one day integrate into the fabric of society in ways even he couldn't imagine... and the idea of free power for humanity, while noble, was less practical in light of the fact (no pun intended) that it would be regulated and taxed. He knew that, before it even existed.

Show some humility, sir. You are not the first, nor will you be the last, to become frustrated that the world you created did not develop at all like you imagined.

Re:History is longer than 30 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42413945)

Your premise in incorrect. Democracy does not require anonimity; it requires an open-minded populace that is willing to invite, tolerate, and accept alternative points of view.

However, is such a condition does not exist -- and within our current society it regretably does not -- then we do need some form of anonimity to protect those who will advocate differing policies and ideas.

"What Turned VR Pioneer Jaron Lanier Against the W (2)

BumpyCarrot (775949) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413431)

Answer: Having to find something other than VR to talk about, and too much sci-fi. HTH.

Re:"What Turned VR Pioneer Jaron Lanier Against th (1)

freeze128 (544774) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413889)

Maybe it was the VR5 television show that stank so badly...

What? (4, Interesting)

bmo (77928) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413435)

"As far back as the turn of the century, he singled out one standout aspect of the new web cultureâ"the acceptance, the welcoming of anonymous commenters on websitesâ"as a danger to political discourse and the polity itself."

Oh you mean Fidonet? AKA Fight-O-Net? Or like my local bbses where everyone knew each other? One wag commented just hours ago at another forum that the local networks were "the crazy story of raging hostility and love." And they were. We would fight it out online and go to Rock&Bowl and RHPS every weekend. The Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory doesn't account for cruelty and bickering among the people you know and love. It also doesn't account for the BS people post under their *real names* - see Facebook for that.

This isn't some new phenomenon. This is human nature being acted out online. I don't know where he's coming from that he should be surprised at all. I think he led a very sheltered life online and offline. He thinks that the masses should go back to where they came from. We're well past that point of no-return. Maybe if he doesn't want to be immersed in society, he should go create another Internet, with a population of 1, himself.

--
BMO

If this is a problem... (1)

Howitzer86 (964585) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413441)

What is the solution? Should we follow the Chinese example [nytimes.com] ?

Re:If this is a problem... (1)

bmo (77928) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413869)

ESR would go right along with the Chinese. He is deeply offended by the "sexygirl69 problem" as he calls it. I followed him on G+ for a while and got disgusted by the fellating of Google and the Right of Corporations to know your real name. Never mind that there are valid reasons for anonymity, including violent ex-spouses, stalkers, or governments bent on silencing dissent.

The backers of totalitarianism are within our community.

--
BMO

Anonymity vs Pseudonymity (5, Interesting)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413629)

Seems to me that while anonymity is a problem (and the post of the link to Penny Arcade deserves to stay at the top of the heap), pseudonymity is very very useful, and largely immune to many of the problems of anonymity.

Take Slashdot, in particular. Slashdot has accounts and a reputation system. You are not required to use your legal name as your account name, but that's irrelevant. Once you've chosen a name, it's your name. Outside of astroturfers, most of us use only a single Slashdot account. (I'm sure there are those of you out there who work really really hard at muddying the waters around yourself. We know you're out there. Congratulations. Don't respond.) In consequence, the karma an account accumulates maps pretty well to a single individual. Lanier's concerns about a lynch mob congealing out of the masses are short-circuited by that mapping. We don't know each other's given names, but we know a name for each other. Except for actual Anonymous Cowards, we are pseudonymous, rather than anonymous. And that's enough to form a community, rather than a mob.

Well, almost. I mentioned the reputation system and karma already, but it bears repeating. That plus conversation threading is probably indispensable as well. The @Blah convention of non-threaded comment systems works very poorly, since it doesn't scale. Taken together, the three features form a community.

Lanier is right if you ignore Slashdot. Every other site that accepts comments is full to the brim with useless trolls. But it's easy to see why, and the names in use don't matter a damn. What matters is the lack of karma, moderation, and threading. Youtube comments are a cesspool of noise that should simply be deleted, right now, and reestablished with a SlashCode moderation system. The difference would be astounding.

In truth, because the names currently in use are usually required to be unique within a system, they're usually better identifiers for an individual than their legal names. If my account name was John Smith, I could be one of thousands of John Smiths. But I bet there's only one AreYouKiddingMe on the entire internet. (I haven't Googled and I'm not egotistical enough to bother.) So advocating for requiring the use of legal names online is rather missing the point. The identifier isn't relevant to either the problem or the solution.

And Lanier is wrong, whether you ignore Slashdot or not. There is one crucial difference between an online mob and an actual mob: nobody can get killed by an online mob. Driven to suicide is the worst it gets, and if our personal support systems (in-person friends and family) weren't so broken, even that wouldn't happen. Nobody has ever been strung up from a tree by a crowd of Youtube commenters, and they never will be, because they AREN'T a crowd. They're a bunch of individuals sitting in front of screens, separated by a cumulative total of millions of kilometers. That, and the psuedonymity/anonymity cuts both ways—the mob can't hang a person it can't find.

Re:Anonymity vs Pseudonymity (2)

Lithdren (605362) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413785)

Nobody has ever been strung up from a tree by a crowd of Youtube commenters

Of course not! Half of them wouldn't know what a rope is and attempt to hang said target with a string of cats; The other half would be terrified of the green stuff growing out of the ground and the big table-like-material object that seems to be growing out of it, and quickly run for cover into their basements.

McAffee, Lanier...WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42413641)

Is there something in the virtual water?

Anonymity on today's Web?? (3, Insightful)

seandiggity (992657) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413707)

The primary victim of "Web 2.0" seems to have been anonymity. We are tracked. Everywhere on the Web. And we have to work much harder than we should not to reveal ourselves...and it's not just our identity, it's our location, our friends, our habits, our pleasures.

Jaron's a long time iconoclast (2)

peter303 (12292) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413753)

My first live Jaron talk was a rant against virtual reality at Xerox Parc in the 1980s. The VC's were exploring it as the Next Great Thing. Jaron had done some experimenting and found it lacking then.

He does think about things deeply. So I value his comments even if I do not always agree.

Evolution of world-wide societies (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42413789)

I think the main reason for Lanier's discomfort lies in idea that the web is driving us towards a significant shift in social interaction. The old standbys of social segmentation mean nothing on the net. Age, race, gender, religion, sex, even language. Anyone can rotfl or TL;DR or RTFA along side their now global peers, even if in reality they currently share no common norms. I think it is this one change which should be celebrated.

This change has not come without consequences, however. With a lack of norms comes a possible anomie, and my main concern lies with the coming generations. While most of us reading (indeed, the early adopters of this evolution) are like minded in nature; introverted, rational thought, highly adaptable with great problem solving ability, it doesn't mean that we have become the archetype of the world. We also have found our 'place' in society. A lack of definite social structure can be harrowing to most, especially when coupled with the main social controls that the net currently employs: shunning and shaming. We don't hang online offenders, but to some on the receiving end of these controls, the effect may end up being the same.

Also realize that children pickup up much more than just language by watching their parents and siblings, and other members of the kid's self defined community. Important cues as to personal space, appropriate gestures, the levels of response to various stressors. Your kids are watching you on levels that you find innate and invisible. The net doesn't provide these important queues. When (North America) has both parents at work, the siblings at higher grades of school and the net as the next social everything-anytime, along with it's inherent anomic state, I think we are going to see much more behavior crop up which we would find highly erratic or disturbing. I predict a large rise in violence/suicide in the coming years, especially amongst children in ages were we've not considered such behaviors possible.

As to social catastrophes... I don't think those are the words he wants to use. Significant social events maybe. His position is obviously one of concern, but to be honest, the doom and gloom side of human nature is an everlasting trope. It's 2012, soon to be 2013. Villages are still being sacked. Thieves and sociopaths still kill and plunder for personal gain. Revolutions still promise change. And most people still try and lead a peaceful life while still enjoying a good fart joke now and then. Nothing new under the sun there.

What is changing is our interaction with one another on a global scale. With the advent of a mostly norm-less, instantly accessible society for all comes a new era for both social wonders and horrors.

How many metaphors per word? (1, Insightful)

GlobalEcho (26240) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413835)

capacity of people to congeal—like social lasers of cruelty

How many similes and metaphors can this guy pack into 10 words? Let's count...

  • 1. Capacity of people
  • 2. people congeal
  • 3. people like lasers
  • 4. social lasers
  • 5. lasers of cruelty

Simile and metaphor constructs are supposed to help us understand ideas, not make them more obtuse. I think he is trying to make an analogy to the resonance of lasing, but good grief! How many people understand laser physics better than the social dynamics of internet forums?

Complete bollocks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42413853)

The most evil individuals this world has ever known, were well known.

The problem is the attention-seekers, not the anonymous.

Re:Complete bollocks... (1)

Millennium (2451) | about a year and a half ago | (#42414067)

Were they so evil because they sought attention, or did they become famous because they were so evil? I'm more inclined to believe the latter.

One of the big reasons that so many of the 20th century's social experiments failed is that they failed to take human nature into account: they based themselves on ideas of how people ought to be, and which some people can even achieve, but not humanity en masse. Not being able to hide from ourselves does indeed have some potential for harm, but it also forces those who work on greater plans for humanity to do it with open eyes about who we are, and if this is allowed to happen, perhaps we will be able to avert repeating some of the 20th century's mistakes. The result will probably not be as kind or as gentle as the 20th century tried (and failed) to be, but it will be a human result. I have trouble seeing that as bad.

So basically... (1)

Coppit (2441) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413947)

So basically he's reguritating a plot point from Black Ops 2? Except with high falutin' language?

Kind of Like... (1)

ios and web coder (2552484) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413961)

Most of the "Anonymous Coward" postings I see here are folks with mod points that want to mod in the same discussion in which they are posting.

It just took a couple of ham-fisted goofs (*waves* Hi "foe"!) to let me see what was going on.

It's amazing how much more polite we get when we have to have our name (even an anonymized one) signed at the bottom.

I found that Disqus [disqus.com] was "kind" enough to trawl all the databases they could, and found some very old comments (ones that I really regret making), and offered to link them to my current Disqus profile.

How nice. I declined. However, I have since signed off of Disqus. Not because of that, but because they were obviously hacked (or sold their user list to hard-core spammers, which I doubt). I use DEAs for these kinds of services. Getting penis pill spam on one of those DEAs automatically flags that service for binning.

Dead on (1)

paiute (550198) | about a year and a half ago | (#42414011)

I totally agree. Anonymity and false identities - two sides of the same sick coin - will lead to the fall of liberty. -- Polly Baker
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>