Stupid Idea Series: Whore-o-matic

Dave Long dl at silcom.com
Thu Aug 21 11:56:07 PDT 2003


Dirty bits are usually set to indicate
that private material needs writeback,
and so are reset upon publishing. [0]

However, like an unforeseen cache spill,
it may happen
>                  ... that whatever one says or writes
> in public can reappear at the most unexpected time or
> place, so think before you let loose the words ...
and over at the Hutton Inquiry website, [1]
it's clear that sometimes even things
one says or writes in private reappear
as well.

Some of the emails show thought:
<http://www.the-hutton-inquiry.org.uk/content/evidence/CAB_11_0069.pdf>
but others, not so much:
<http://www.the-hutton-inquiry.org.uk/content/evidence/CAB_1_0093.pdf>

The low-tech way to handle the problem
of dissociating oneself from words, once
slipped, is to have enough people in an
organization to insulate decisions from
durable media. [2]

However, in the interests of increasing
productivity, we ought to provide a less
labor-intensive method (or process) for
plausible deniability.  I suggest a mail
plugin which would act as the inverse of
a spell-checker, spreading typos through
all outgoing mail unless it were disabled
explicitly.  This simple step (for which
a prototype exists[3]) would then make it 
clear to any investigators which email was
in serious discussion, and which email was
the office chatter and bad attitude.

-Dave

:: :: ::

[0] does using a writethrough strategy
(matching public with private behavior)
lead to the sort of life which is one
long descent into respectability?

[1] with the flat panel displays in the
courtroom, do you suppose they have set 
up an IRC channel to shadow the regular
proceedings?
<http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,58622,00.html>

[2] Flat denial is another low-tech
method that is more labor-efficient,
but without trust it risks the note:
"one would, wouldn't one?"

[3] With apologies to Dodgson and Higgins:

EXTERIOR -- DAY
                        ALICE encounters HUMPTY DHUMPTY,
                        sitting on a WALL and wearing a
                        rather singular CRAVAT.  We join
                        them in media res.

ALICE           But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument"

HD              When I use a word, it menas just what I choose it to
                mean -- neither mroe nor less

ALICE           The question is, whether you can make words mean so
                many different things

HD              The question is, which is to be master - - thats all

                        ALICE pauses, puzzled

HD              Theyve a temper, some of them -- paritcularly verbs,
                theyre the proudest -- adjectives you can do anything
                with, but not verbs -- however, I can manage the whole
                of them!  Impenetrability!  Thats what I say!

ALICE           Would you tell me, please, what that means?

                        HD looks chuffed

HD              Now you talk like a reaosnable child.  I meant by
                "impenetrability" that we've had neough of that
                subject, and it would be just as well if youd
                mention what you mean to do next, as I suppose you
                dont mean to FoRK all the rest of yoru life.

ALICE           That's a great deal to make one word mean.

HD              When I make a word do a lot of work like that,
                I always give it stock options.

ALICE           Oh!

                        ALICE looks more confused than ever.
                        HD wags his head (body?) gravely from
                        side to side.

HD              Ah, you should see 'em keep their browsers refreshing
                on a Saturday night, to get their protfolio displays,
                you know.


More information about the FoRK mailing list