FoRK Filosophy [was Re: duck?]

Rohit Khare (
Wed, 14 Jan 1998 22:13:10 -0800

Ron --

as you know, I have followed up on your request, but I'm not too happy about
it. I enjoy having you here. You recall that I didn't say that when JoeK left
-- he seemed genuinely uninterested -- but I always sensed that you got this
more, Mr. Poutine. It's a party, and as host I'm accomodating, but I'm not
barring the door, either.

Now, if you expect FoRK to be as bitful as dist-obj, well, no, it will remain
permanently aggravating. FoRK does not have a goal in mind; more to the point,
especially as far as technical discussions go, *I* don't have a goal in mind.
FoRK started as a scrapbook of 1) my life and 2) technical pieces of the
jigsaw puzzle. I'm overjoyed others have contributed their bits about their
lives (and, even better, bits about my life as witnessed by them :-), and
their own pieces of the jigsaw puzzle.

As for Tim, who always seems to be the lightning rod for these discussion,
well, even my own kin have asked why we hang out. We are friends in real life,
but that's no special privilege on FoRK: it's just a commandment we're
resigned to. (newcomers should check the FaQ for the Eleventh Commandment).

I am myopic, but I don't see this as an issue of language, tone, or
completeness-of-url-citation; I see it as a falling out over the vision of the
list. I may be wrong though: perhaps you genuinely are offended by Tim's
tactics. I know others on the list who stay despite them, but only barely.

Or, you might see it as unfulfilling that discussion doesn't key off of
technical contributions. VERY few FoRKposts are ever followed up; hence its
scrapbook nature.

> At 09:50 AM 12/22/97 -0800, CobraBoy! wrote:
> >Ron Resnick about 1:50 PM -0800 on 12/21/97, came up with this:
> >
> >> I wrote:
> >> Speaking of which, whatever happened to duck? Is he still on this list?
> >
> >he couldn't handle the list anymore. he found it too depressing that some
> >people on the list never did anything but bitch about what the list should
> >be, yet never contributed anything other than critique.
> >
> >Tim

Now, this is an unfair characterization of Duck, whom I dearly miss, and is a
very good firend of mine in RL (although we did see each other a bit more
often when I kept driving to NYC for the weekend :-). Duck left for the
opposite reason you might cite: FoRK is *too* technical.

Sigh. I have other folks I'd dearly like to invite if it were technical
*enough*. There are about 65 folks today, but lots of people have come and
gone, usually over the volume, something else that's never been controlled.
(although, I must say, the October hiatus sure reset the exponential growth).

> Tsk, Tim - I thought I was in your killfile :) Watcha doin' responding to me??

And by the way, I always felt (perhaps naively) that the right response was
the other way around: for you, Ron, to put Tim in a procmail kill file. Ernie
has already argue eloquently on why Tim and his discussions are a necessary
part of the balance.

> As to contributions, I think my record can stand for itself on that regard.
> At one point, I took this list seriously enough and posted enough that
> I made it to 'overposter' status - right behind you it so happens. No, I think
> I've done my part in the overall FoRK kudos economy. I critique because
> I honestly believe that there remain people who can handle the rough edges
> of this list, but who are still are trying to get value out of the exercise.
> I've stuck around for many, many months trying to be part of that value chain.
> 'Critique' is a postive word in my vocabulary; people who critique are trying
> to take a thing they value and care about, and improve it. But fuck you too.

I respect this, btw. I, for one, enjoyed all of your posts, even if some were
too epic to even consider replying to at the time. I have some of your lef tin
my REPLY-ASAP queue from last October...

> Jay Thomas writes:
> >> There's almost no bits.
> >---So post some.
> See above.

I do my part, and I see a heck of a lot of other folks doing the same: from
Thanhisms to Spiceworld. And, oh yeah, internet ad rates, increasing returns,
PICSRules, and orgasm pills.

> >> get just as easily on msnbc or infoworld.
> >---We're saving you the trip. Did you ever think that others on the
> >list might find things interesting that you do not?
> Sure. And no one's stopping you all from continuing to do so.
> If you think that daily progress reports on Forkbuster status
> are interesting, fine. The only contribution I saw out of dozens of such
> messages that was of any value was Seth's - get a reality grip here folks.
> A little basic math - a 64 bit key has 2**8=256 times as large a
> space as a 56 bit key. I'm not minimizing the importance of working
> on the 64bit keyspace, but for a challenge that's likely to take years,
> daily progress updates are going to get very, very tiresome.

Chill and go meta, dude. The most amazig thing about this whole RC5-64 thread
has been the *very socialization of it*. Distributed computing and
metacomputing and globus and all that jazz can take a flying leap until they
can figure out this amazing phenomenon o fmass cooperation. SETI@Home groks
it. Dist-objers don't. The stats server is more key to their success than any
aspect of divide and conquer...

And, remember, per Dan Connolly, "we believe in the interconnectedness of all
things" -- it keys back into my thinking about munchkin cooperative recursive
auctions, render framing in hollywood, and ... At least it does for me.

> >> There's not much humour or high level mocking.
> >---You mean like the amazingly funny ebonics Christmas Carol, that
> >were already old bits to me?
> No I mean like _originally_ written fun stuff, like things duck, JoeB,
> Wayne, Adam and others have been noted for in the past.
> Eg, *this* is a good humourous, mocking FoRKpost:
> Anyone seen anything like that around here lately?

Sure. That's why I hang out here: I never know what's coming up next.

> (I said 'not much', since there is some. E.g. Dave
> Crook shows great potential for that old-style FoRK fun, although
> he has a thing or two to learn about self-describing typed bits :)

Yep, Dave definitely groks our disjointed sense of humor. So do many, many
others. I can't even begin to list everyone I've laughed at here: although
that's mostly 'cos I don't want anyone making lists of who I laughed at vs.
with :-)

> >> Remind me - what phase is this list in? Oh yeah, mouldy
> >> and covered in cobwebs :-(
> >---Seems to be in full-out bitch phase to me. If you see a void, fill
> >it.
> Oh, I've tried. But it's rather pointless trying to play chamber music
> on a subway platform at rush hour. You get rather drowned out,
> you know? Now, there's nothing wrong with
> crowded busy places - ultimately, I think you & Tim are right - FoRK
> should be left alone as Cobraboy's noisy domain - I'm the one out
> of place here.

Perhaps. I think of it as a cocktail party, though. It is what you make of it.
You have been sulking in the corner for quite a while, too, IMO.

Besides, in the words of the Highlander, "there can only be one!" -- me. it's
*my* noisy domain, which is why my dudgeon is hihg enough to even be
responding at such drastic length and inviting you back. I don't see it as you
rejecting Tim, it's rejecting me. But that's OK.

> A most recent example of the wonderful, informative, quality material
> I am privileged to receive as a FoRK subscriber:
> Tim writes:
> >> Mike Milliken forgot the golden rule: when you make a lot of money, be sure
> >> to give the boys in the local, state, and federal governments a cut so they
> >> will pull strings for you so everyone will leave you alone.
> >
> >my point exactly. Ms hasn't exactly lined anyones palms.
> Oh, yes, and authoratative Cobraboy is the one to know just exactly
> what MS has, or hasn't tried to do. I'm sure Ballmer, right before
> paying off his Congressman, calls up Tim to keep him informed.
> Fuck Tim, you ARE stupid, aren't you?

Nope. I think that precise thread showed how catalytic causticism can be. Greg
Bolcer replied with a spectacularly document post about eactly how MS plays
the washington game; later, Motehr Jones dedicated an enitre issue to the
topic. Tim's self-importance aside, he is right. Just like spunkanado was
right back when we were breaking *him* in :-)

> I can see next week's TBTF already:
> "MS facing Justice Department wrath because of their shortsighted
> unwillingness to bribe government officials. TBTF has learned from
> Cobraboy! ( that ..."

TBTF *has* learned from FoRK. I use it as early-warning radar,and so do many
other folks. Mike's mailing list of techbits is an informal example; TBTF is a
formal one. The first Certicom crack? heard here first -- and more to the
point, *done* here first. Quoting Dan again (which is ridiculous, since he
isn't even on this darn thing!), we all provide a service in digesting bits. A
hundred stomachs is better bile than one. It's a mutual aid society: do I read
RRE? no, but I can trust its bits to appear here as needed. RISKS? CERT?
Forbes? egads, no, we can all barely cope, so we have a cooperative. And where
else would I have learned about the heirloom seed market (thanks Jim)?

> > This stupid list has been wasting away for months now.
> ---So unsubscribe.
> I am.
> Rohit, as soon as you're back from India, take me off this braindead thing.

Call it what you will, Ron...

> Bye all! Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and all that....
> Ron

Happy New Year,
Rohit Khare