March 14, 2005

Slashdot Prospect

I finally wrote what turned out to be a long message to someone at Slashdot, regarding a possible sea change in the wake of the recent "Editor Upgrade". This isn't really an "open letter", but I figured I should blog it (below) for those interested, for reasons of transparency and self-protection.

Likely nothing will come of it. But I don't think I'll reasonably lose, while there is a very small chance that I could gain. The global significance is again the sheer lunatic absurdity of the idea that an ordinary person's blog compares against the "Short Head" of sites at the top of the attention curve. The chasm between me and Slashdot is around three orders of magnitude. That's about the gulf between a man and a mouse. A small mouse.

[Update: I should clarify that my overall thinking is that if things are OK now, I'd get a reply that they're OK now, and if not, not. That seems sensible to me.]

[The links aren't in the original]

Dear [redacted]

I'm directing the following inquiry to you as [identifying detail omitted]. Please excuse the length, I think context is important.

Now that the dust has settled a bit about Slashdot's recent, err, editorial change, I'd like to inquire as to what is Slashdot's policy about people repeatedly submitting articles, and, frankly, whether my name on a submission is still any sort of risk or not.

Previously, I had a major disincentive to submit anything, (though I'm grateful a handful of items submitted by others were accepted). It should not be debatable that Michael often acted maliciously with his editorial position. I think it's objectively true that he was Slashdot's most abusive editor in its entire history. So, I was in the position that if I submitted an article, I'd have to worry about him using it to flame me on the front page of Slashdot. Moreover, I wouldn't be able to tell if an article rejection was honest, or the product of his personal vendetta (obviously if someone hijacks and destroys a group's whole website, they're clearly entirely capable of lesser maliciousness). And then if I resubmitted a rejected article, for the slender hope at a chance at fairer treatment from someone else, I was risking having that portrayed as trolling or spamming (and again, given that I was accused of many things I simply did not do, this is a well-grounded concern). So I just didn't want to play that game.

There's been a few notable times in my life where, after a long-time attacker of me has done something spectacularly abusive to their associates, those people have stopped applying "moral equivalence" to the attacks on me, and realized I'd in fact been treated quite poorly. Ironically, one of those cases was when Michael proceeded to do unto the rest of CensorwareProject as he had been doing unto me for a long time (note, the final meltdown was not him versus me, for the searing reason that I'd been explicitly sacrificed at that point - it was him vs. everyone else). But, I'm speculating as to if he eventually did unto Slashdot as he did unto CensorwareProject. Not to the same extent, obviously. However, there's a chance that, let us say, there might now be some understanding borne of experience.

On the other hand, there's many more times in my life where people have not reconsidered their position, and mud slung at me has simply stuck. I think there's at least one person involved with Slashdot who is still convinced of some outright lies, because I was never able to get the necessary consideration to show the falsity (and I know if I press it, I'll just be told that condemns me).

Anyway, my question here is not about the details of the "Editor Upgrade". But rather, if there's been a concomitant reflection and re-assessment that would be helpful to me. I can't see myself ever going back to censorware decryption research. That damage is done. But it would be nice, e.g., to be able to try to get recognition related to my being an important expert witness in an Internet censorship law Federal court case.

I think, under the circumstances, this is an extremely reasonable query for me to make. I'm putting forth about as much rapprochement as I can manage (though I'm aware that what I can manage is often not at all the same as what would be required). Let me know, thanks.

[Sigh. This feels like begging. I tried.]

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in activism | on March 14, 2005 11:56 AM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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Give up, it's old news by now. Slashdot doesn't really care about personal slights.

Posted by: Why do I have to fill out my name? at March 14, 2005 01:39 PM

Was that the official Slashdot response? :-)

Posted by: Branko Collin at March 19, 2005 09:33 PM

Hey, it wouldn't be a Slashdot thread without a troll or two :-).

No reponse whatsoever. I'm disappointed, but that amount of consideration was hardly unexpected.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at March 20, 2005 03:12 AM