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Jun 20, 2007



While I'll whole heartedly agree with the first sentiment I have to question the second. Although there are a few posters here (not naming names in keeping with suggestion one) that tend to drone on ad nauseum and/or attempt to bully others with their opinions via beating them into submission with an overwhelming wall of text. I've also seen some really great posts and then subsequent discussions about these posts far longer than 400 words. Placing an arbitrary limit (even a soft one) seems counter to the promotion of what we're all after here. I guess I'd just like to see the "porn" standard applied. "I can't define it. But I know it when I see it"


I think both are fair; the wall of text, regardless of the content, is pretty intimidating to read, let alone know where to start responding!

But yeah, it's true, there are good people who write good posts over 400.


Are you saying there is only one way to properly comment on a blog post?

If reading Terra Nova has taught me anything (vis-á-vis MMOs) it is that the idea of a centralized authority trying to control a community is not only politically suspect, but ultimately naive.


Hi Jesper! Speaking only for myself, no, I would certainly not say "there is only one way to properly comment on a blog post." And I think most communities, including MMO communities, do develop expectations, formal and informal, about what constitutes desirable behavior.

Re Makaze & Syntheticist, again speaking for myself, I think of the 400 number as a very "soft" rule and yes, there have been many good comments here that have gone over 400 words. But as S-- says, a "wall of text" is generally intimidating. Since many readers and commenters here actually read through all the comments before responding, it is generally a good thing if commenters are considerate about sharing the space.


Every community has norms, mores, and standards. Even among friends, sometimes it is nessecary to stop, look each other in the eye and say "That's not cool". It's hardly naive to ask people to speak with respect or be asked to leave. On a personal level I have asked people to leave my home for failing to adhere to basic rules of etiquette and respect. Why should a blog be any different?


The great advantage of blogs, as opposed to USENET, is that they are owned by people, who can choose to delete comments. This greatly improves discussion.


Brief is fine. I'll try harder, being one of the 400+ offenders ;-)

Censorship, other than of the truly scary, violent, threatening or hate-inspired variety of speech, troubles me. If I don't like a comment, I can ignore it. If someone doesn't like mine, same. I don't have to like or agree with everything I read.

Too much freedom is better than not enough.


Andy, in this case it is NOT censorship. Censorship is where the government determines what can be said/published. This, OTOH, is editorial control - the owners of this space laying out the rules for using their soapbox.

Those who pay for this space get to make the rules on how it can be used.


Andy we may have to form a "400+ club." :) But I agree with the OP.

(My. Shortest. Post. Ever.)


I think you're right to set out what your standards are. It's helpful to know what the posting guidelines are but the trick will come in enforcing them :) I've found this, along with my fellow moderators, on a fairly civil discussion board centred on Second Life.

That said, I agree with point 1 of your guidelines but disagree strongly with point 2. There's no need for personal insults, flaming etc in order to develop an intellectually coherent argument. The addition of those kind of elements (though immensely satisfying when in the middle of a flamefest) add nothing to the debate. But it can be the case that a poster needs way more than 400 words to develop a line of thought or to put together a compelling argument. I see the need but I hope, as others have, that it will be seen as a 'soft' target. I don't think long posts are the problem that some paint them to be, they can often be illuminating and they can always be skipped. (And I managed that in less than 200!)


I'll rein in my proclivity towards sarcastic sniping.


As another habitual offender of the 400-word rule, I'll also commit to trying to live within that limit.

But I can't help but feel somewhat bemused at the thought of a blog site that wants to encourage the participation of academics asking them to constrain themselves to a paltry 400 words or so. Sort of flies in the face of the stereotype, doesn't it?

Publish really briefly or perish?


Totally on board with the expectation of civility, however. Being passionate about something is great, but volume and venom do nothing to communicate or persuade.



A little formatting work can help with long posts, though probably only to a point. Personally, I've found simply rereading my posts before posting has led me to cut out things that really didn't help discussion, not to mention inflammatory comments.

As for moderation, I found this article to be rather helpful:
How To Keep Hostile Jerks From Taking Over Your Online Community


Well done.

For those concerned about the 400 word limit: I bet the limit will be, in practice, a lot 'softer' for those who are contributing productively vs. those who are effectively just spamming the board.



@Indy: I find your use of all caps disturbing.

;-) I'm so kidding I can't even begin to say. That was irony. Right? Not even sarcastic sniping? And I was being self ironic, and that's OK, too... Right?

Censorship doesn't have to be governmental. The term applies to any suppression of material deemed objectionable by an authority of any kind.

"Editorial control," is a sub-type of censorship, usually referring to material that is objectionable due to content, whereas editorial control refers to format, length, type of language (casual vs. marketing vs. academic vs. business), quality of material, etc. A 400-word comment limit is certainly an "editorial requirement."

The removal or refusal, however, of content based on a criteria of "...personal attacks, insults, aggressive comment-fisking, profanity, and sarcastic sniping" would be censorship.

Which is not always a bad thing. I expect my home-town newspaper to censor letters-to-the-editor that contain certain types of language. I expect censorship of certain words and content from shows billed as "child friendly."

Editorial control is important... for the writers/editors. I believe the bloggers on this site have excellent taste and high-standards of what they will and won't allow in terms of posts. The determination of whether or not a story makes sense for TN is part of their "job."

My job has nothing to do with games. I come here because I like both the posts and the comments. While some might argue that too few comment rules has a chilling effect, I believe the opposite; if you start arguing about what's ok and what's not... well, that's not a very welcoming set of behaviors. And that kind of behavior often leads to arguments about whether content is being restricted due to specific editorial considerations, or unfair slamming of persons and ideas.

In short, the definition of "inappropriate" is tinted in some cases by popularity and personality.

I'm not saying that would happen here. But I've also learned things (in general and about myself) from some of the most "objectionable" comments and posts I've read on blogs.

I like this place. I trust the writers/editors. I'll stay if they lay down some more "qualitative" rules. It just seems... kinda crunchy.

[Comment contains 371 words, including this text.]

[Do smileys count towards the word count? ;-) Whoops... Now I'm up to... 386 words. Not counting ellipses and smileys. Crikey! I can't stop! Now it's exactly 399!]



The only time I've had trouble reading the comments for a thread, other than the occasional bad comment, is the big two-guys-obsessively-criticizing-each-other-about-SL examples recently.


Hey! Greg, you forgot something in the main post:

"3. In exchange for this restraint, the post author will promise to moderate comments to remove obvious spam content, such as adds for Viagra and gold farming services."



Hey Randy --

Fair enough, but me and Ren (and some others) have been deleting the general TN comment spam for what feels like eons. I'm sorry that we don't get all of it, but you should know we're bailing with buckets to get rid of the stuff you *don't* see. :-)


"3. In exchange for this restraint, the post author will promise to moderate comments to remove obvious spam content, such as adds for Viagra and gold farming services."

Hey, what?

That's a useful public announcement.

Who has time for sex and gold farming when you're grinding UBRS?


GregL, it doesn't take much wit or imagination to tell that you're debating these weighty matters likely with only a few people in mind, and I'm one of them -- and that some would like to drive me off the forums. It makes some uncomfortable to be challenged at the core with many of their very closely-held tenets, and some may be wishing to find a way to have a greater "comfort level" among "their own kind". I really think you need to re-examine what you are doing when you think up things like "don't post more than 400 words" (many of your contributors might violate this, for example) or "don't post excessively in one thread" -- it's not for the sake of *improved* intellectual discourse but *sequestered and isolated* intellectual discourse. And that's not good for any field of scholarship which has profound implications for the Metaverse that all of us have to share.

If you want to stick to an excellent concept like this, "This means that we do not want to read personal attacks, insults, aggressive comment-fisking, profanity, and sarcastic sniping" -- then start with some of your own contributors and original posters who insult, snipe, and attack in their very first paragraphs. And if you mean business with something like this: "All of these are forms of speaking that tend to scare off and offend certain readers while at the same time derailing the conversation intended by the original post author." -- then that means YOU have to enforce it -- and really enforce it. Not selectively. Not against people you don't like. Not against people who fundamentally challenge some of your dearest ideological precepts.

But step up to the plate when atrocious things happen like the W-hat thread, where I challenged Mark Wallace's happy little thread about "emergent behaviour" to remind him that his "emergency behaviour" was in fact real harm -- RL harm and real monetary damage that griefer groups can cause in SL.

The griefers then had a field day, without a single editor/moderator/contributor standing up and saying "Stop it". It's what that sort of awful thing can happen so casually -- like the other recent onslaughts where my RL name was repeatedly linked with false accusations and endless vindictive polemics by another poster -- that you lose control of the situation. That sort of thing has to be nipped in the bud by a pointed comment from those who control the board very early on, and not treat it as "moral equivalency" if the other person begins to fight back. If you don't want to have to undertake the unpleasant task of aggressive intervention or even banning, then you have to be willing to set the tone. Setting the tone means immediately standing up to bullies and attackers when they appear -- not letting them fester so that those attacked feel they must reply, absent defense. If you can intervene with these values you state early enough, then the job will be accomplished.


"Был бы человек а дело найдется." А. Вышинский


@greglas: Or you could switch to WordPress and the excellent plug-in, Spam Karma, which I have found to be truly amazing.


Andy --

We could do a lot if we changed platforms, but we're not in this for profit, so we have a lack of energy for the grunt work...

Thanks to all for your agreement to shoot for comments of 400 words or less. I appreciate that it will be a little hard for the more talkative (typative?), including myself, to follow, but we'd really like the regular community to give a good faith effort to abide by it.

As the OP states, many of the authors here felt that a little more brevity in the individual comments would improve the flow of the discussion.


All for it. Just a shame a temporary ban wasn't leveraged first, as suggested, during what I assume is the thread which initiated this guidance.

If I may, I'd suggest adding the following:

2. Civility extends to those not involved in the discussion.

(e.g. Don't vindictively name drop)


I can only say that this is a long time in coming and ask for those here to forgive this next part of my post. those that know me well off line know I do not back down from certain types of people ...

@Prokofy: Again you attribute a motive which does not exist to the administration of a site not your own. Again you assume it is all about you and that you are the target of such rules and reminders as what has been laid down here on Terra Nova.

The world does not revolve around you - there is no great conspiracy to silence you, you are no better than anyone else here. You challenge nothing at all - The things you 'think' you challenge exist only to you.


I do not post here often, but I flatter myself with believing that when I do post, I am contributing something worthwhile to the discussion -- a different point of view, a bit of insight, some unusual experience, whatever I have to contribute. In the future, however, I will not post here at all. Don't worry, you'll never miss me.

I am by nature thorough, not to mention long-winded. When I take the time to post, I don't just dash off a few hasty words. I explain my point in depth so that it is (hopefully) understandable and unambiguous. I quote sources, I explore alternatives, and I try, in the space of a post, to explain why my position on a subject is valid, and why others might wish to accept it.

I can't do that in 400 words. I'm no Abraham Lincoln. I'm just a gamer, would-be game designer, and random wanderer of blogs. Until now, I have appreciated TN because it is a community of thinkers, not just ranters. I fancied that people were actually reading what I wrote and thinking "Hm, maybe Wanderer has a point here." I looked forward to equally extensive and well-thought-out replies.

If I want "am not!" "are so!" posts, more notable for their brevity than their content (or spelling), VN and the WoW general forum are with us always. That isn't what Terra Nova is ... was ... about. It's sad to see an academic community treating thorough, well-thought-out posts as "intellectual bullying" and requiring mere thought-bites alone. That takes the concept of dumbing down discourse to a new depth. What's next, prohibition of any word with more than two syllables? A requirement to ?0$7 !|\| 1337 perhaps? You'd have every right to do that, but I don't think that it (or the 400 word limit) would raise the level of discussion here.

Anyway ... goodbye, Terra Nova. I'll miss ya.


I'm perplexed that the indications in the OP and elsewhere that the 400 words is anything but a hard cap are going pretty much ignored by those who seem to want to find a reason to be aggrieved. Why not take it as a recommendation about the virtues of concision? I, for one, won't be counting words in my posts or in the comments of those who weigh in in my posts, but nonetheless it seems to me that thinking in terms of a post that fits in my browser window (as Greg suggested) would be a useful rule of thumb.


My my my oh my, what an interesting new policy. And you know, when I read the calls for concision and the 400 word rule, I could not help but think of the following passage from Manufacturing Consent.

"CHOMSKY: The U.S. media are alone in that you must meet the condition of “concision” — you’ve got to say things between two commercials or in 600 words. … the beauty of that is you can only repeat conventional thoughts. … Suppose I get up on Nightline, I’m given whatever it is, two minutes, and I say Qaddafi is a terrorist and Khomeini is a murderer, the Russians invaded Afghanistan, all this sort of stuff — I don’t need any evidence, everybody just nods.

On the other hand, suppose you say something that just isn’t repeating conventional pieties. Suppose you say something that’s the least bit unexpected or controversial. Suppose you say, “The biggest international terror operations that are known are the ones that are run out of Washington.” Suppose you say, “What happened in the 1980s is the U.S. government was driven underground.” Suppose I say, “The United States is invading South Vietnam” — as it was. “The best political leaders are the ones who are lazy and corrupt.” “If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American President would have been hanged.” “The Bible is probably the most genocidal book in our total canon.” “Education is a system of imposed ignorance.” “There’s no more morality in world affairs, fundamentally, than there was at the time of Ghengis Kahn, there are just different factors to be concerned with.”

You know, people will quite reasonably expect to know what you mean. Why did you say that? I never heard that before. If you said that you better have a reason, you better have some evidence, and in fact you better have a lot of evidence, because that’s a pretty startling comment. You can’t give evidence if you’re stuck with concision. That’s the genius of this structural constraint."

Hey, just a trip down memory lane.


Wanderer --

Please don't despair. I'm truly sorry that this is your reaction to what is intended, as I explained above, as a "soft" expectation intended to discourage commenters from, as Matt puts it, spamming the board. I would hope you'd re-read the opening post and some of the comments on this thread, understand the reasons behind the policy, and reconsider your decision. The policy is intended as Thomas described and is certainly not intended to, nor likely to, imho, turn Terra Nova into a community of monosyllabic ranters. :-)


Hey Peter --

Always pleasant to have you participate here. So I've got that book on my shelf too and I'm curious: What do you think of Chomsky's argument? If you buy it, how do you think it applies here?


Chomsky is obviously right, IMHO. The point is that concision is not a good thing if you are interested in saying things that go against the common wisdom and want to explain why you are saying such things. It doesn't matter if you are talking about the US invasion of Viet Nam or the economies of virtual worlds. Interesting and provocative points of view require us to transmit more bits of information to articulate and defend those positions. The demand for concision is thus a tool that in a single stroke makes it harder to say something that goes against common wisdom and makes it easier to get a chorus of dittoheads nodding in support of whatever common wisdom is dishing out today.


Hmm. OK, well let's say you say something controversial, provocative, and counter-majoritarian in a short(ish) post and someone questions or challenges you on your comment because you've provoked their interest. Then you reply. They probe further. You reply.

I'm not describing the dittohead situation you describe, am I? If a forum facilitates that kind of back and forth dialogue, would that be better or worse than a monologue? Again, I'm particularly interested in how this might apply to the discussions here on Terra Nova.


No, Chomsky (as usual) is not correct, at least as regards his usual hobbyhorse -- the Right has no monopoly on mindless soundbites.

I'm sympathetic to the larger point, however. Brevity encourages declarative statements, such as the reporting of facts (even if they're only perceived facts). But exploration of an idea -- its strengths, its weaknesses, its implications -- inherently requires more words.

So it's up to the editors at TN to decide whether blogging here should be more about reportage or exploration. The form, to some degree, will condition the content.

I'd like to think we can agree on that observation without trying to use it as some kind of political weapon.


Bart --

Do you think a conversation between multiple participants requires that participants speak 400+ words in a single utterance in order to explore an idea? Do you think if they speak in less than 400 words in a series of comments, they can't explore an idea? I'm honestly trying to understand this.

The intent here was certainly not to encourage "reportage," we're much more interested in exploration. But form does inform content, and that fact was certainly part of reason for seeking brevity (as explained above).

Re the politics of this, I'm still not sure I grasp what the claim is there about a substantive hidden agenda (if there is one).


I'm just a reader here. Having read a bunch of comments, I have to say that a number of very constructive posts were longer and some not so constructive ones were shorter.

On the point of raising an unconventional idea in brief, then wait for others to challenge it, to then post again. The actual length posted will be the same or longer. I'm not sure that this helps actually.

I personally rather prefer that someone develops and justifies their ideas immediately, even if it's a tad longer.

Then again when one wants to develop a detailed view, blogging them somewhere might indeed be the best idea.

In academia we do have size restrictions, but the reason for them is mostly economical (size of proceeding/journal volumes) and alternative publication venues for longer developments can usually be found (review journals, book).

The beauty of online dialogue is though that there isn't inherent economical reasons for brevity.

If the goal is to prevent people from dominating the discourse there may be better approaches to achieve this. For example one could ask people not to repeat a position they have already expressed. As people to keep quoting to a minimum (only quote key passages and only when the quote is required to make a point).

In fact academic publications often have guidelines that do go in this direction of choosing how to present material, independent of length restrictions.

Anyway, on a completely different note, this is beautifully self-referential: An online community observing emerging online communities discussing it's own rules of conduct.

P.S. On the Chomsky quote, he doesn't really claim that the Right has monopoly on sound bites, he just claims that brevity supports conventional thought. May well be Left conventional thought as well. But this really is at the heart of the trouble here, even if one tries to be clear about an idea, it can be seen in many different ways ("Chomsky being right or wrong"). I'm not sure if looking at length of comments really solves this basic problem of dialogue.


I think the above exchange shows pretty well that you can bring up and justify controversial points, reply to them, see others' replies, and build a meaty conversation, all without hugely lengthy posts.

If the soft-400 limit begins to chafe and lower the quality of thinking and writing here, I'm sure it'll be expanded. OTOH, saying "I can't say anything substantive in that small a space" reminds me of game designers who say "I can't design with such limits!" Limits often make for clearer writing, designing, and thinking.

That said, I'm sure I'll violate the soft-400 at some point. Just not today. :)


Well, if people are going to quote Chomsky, let me add a couple of my own quotables.

One, well known in business, is this: "Sorry this memo is so long, but I didn't have time to write a shorter one."

The other is advice my PhD advisor (James Noel) gave me: People are going to devote the same amount of time to your paper that they will devote to any paper. If you make it short, you control what they read. If you make it long, they will pick and choose."

So I will try to adhere to the 400-word limit, especially since one of my earlier posts was called (by someone whose opinion I respect) "incredibly verbose."


Greg, as Moroagh says, it's about giving individual contributors enough space to develop complex thoughts.

A more detailed comment implies that the writer spent more time thinking about what to say. That's no guarantor of depth or value, but I suspect the odds of those things go up versus an exchange of simple, declarative statements (because that's all there's room for).

Particularly for an academic site, I'd think encouraging careful and comprehensive thought would be important. A 400-word limit probably doesn't spell the end of smart TN threads as we know them, but does it help?

All that said, I'm a fan of clarity, too. Long, rambling monologues or jeremiads don't encourage discussion. So I can see the value of asking people to try not to monopolize conversations with Walls O' Text.

Overall, then, I have some reservations about this new policy, but I can understand and respect the intent behind it. Let's see how it works, and go from there.


Actually the message is : " this is OUR blog and we use it as WE wish ; take it the way WE want or leave it ; if you ever assumed that this is academic...actually it's virtual ".


any mass-media is no longer a mean of information ,instruction, education or entertainment, but a tool used for political proraganda , for advertises and for manipulation.
that's why the virtuality sux; if you wanna play a game, or wanna have a conversation , be it even an academical debacle , you have to have it face to face , the ol' good way, not on internet , in a server controlled by a stranger or an institution.
TN is dead. I doubt it ever had a chance to survive to the Patriotic Act.


Amarilla> "this is OUR blog and we use it as WE wish ; take it the way WE want or leave it"


I think there is very little OUR and WE among the TN author crowd, we're always arguing, and that's a good thing. I think most of 'em are nuts and most of 'em must think I'm nuts, just as 1 example ;-) But that is the beauty of it, we all sorta get along to push this project along. I think that is all what this comment stuff is about.


"... While those who manage the blog ..."
Try again."..I think there is very little OUR and WE among the TN author crowd...".


Dude, you cannot have any academic discussion in a blog . Such a discussion is held in an aula . If the speaker there have anything interesting to say , the others will listen even if it takes 3 hours - or 401 words . Civility in a discussion means : WE, the participants, the majority, we are deciding what is civil and what not, what is rude and what's not, what's interesting and what's not.You dont have a discussion but only between equals participants. THAT is a civility, because it's based on democracy . You don't have ANY sort of valuable real discussion in someone's home : because he/she will kick you out when he/she disagrees your opinions. The host may swear , but you may not .

The point is not about TN's explanations and excuses ;one can pretend anything about everything; the point is : why does TN feels this urge to remaind us obsolete " rules " wich TN never tried to enforce ? Why does TN suddenly wanna act like a " god ", a " GM " but in the same time pretends to be a " field of academic discussions " ?
Maybe Bloomfield , as a researcher and specialist in " behavior " can help us understand.
But that, only if TN agrees , ofcourse...


Oh, i just discovered that i can put it in less words : taboos and academia doesn't mix well; arrogance/dominance/hypocrisia doesn't mix well with the notion of ".. promoting intelligent and sustained conversations among the community of virtual world researchers and creators " , either.


Shirky's Law of Process: "In small groups, we talk about process only as a way of avoiding talking about people."

This looks to me like you had a situation where one or a few people wouldn't shut up, and where you were neither willing to shut them up, nor were you willing to have a future policy that allowed for editorial judgment about when to shut someone up.

Instead, you've now proposed that everyone shut up a little bit, all the time, even though many good comments, comments filled with structured arguments or detailed data, will fail the 400 word test, and you've done this in order not to seem to be solving the problem that prompted the policy in the first place, namely altering the behavior of the offenders.

And the icing on the cake, of course, is that the limit is optional, meaning it will not work on people for whom moral suasion is currently ineffective.

If you go through with this, I think you will find that you have implemented a policy designed to foist a solution onto the entire commenting population of TN, with the notable exception of those whose behavior created the problem in the first place.


Hey, you know, I just saw some of Ms. Hadydon's creatures. And.... when... you can not distingish bwtewwen the spiritual and the real... it is difficult.


As a past violator of standards (including the two major ones promulgated here), let me be the first to approve of this post.

Standards are fine, as long as they are clear and explicit and consistently enforced. Sustaining a healthy culture in a multi-user environment is difficult, whether it is labeled an "MMO", "VW" or "community blog".

This is a good place, worth sustaining.


Amarilla:"If you go through with this, I think you will find that you have implemented a policy designed to foist a solution onto the entire commenting population of TN, with the notable exception of those whose behavior created the problem in the first place."

Since when were the Terra Nova authors a bunch of free-speech haters? Have you any evidence of this at all? So there's a new rule to protect people from getting kicked in the face with a wall of text. So what? I wonder how many people skip over such diatribes automatically, because the point is so buried in needless waffle it's not worth the bother?

People who seem to think this blog is now a police state are talking absolute nonsense without basis.

Personally, I'd like to see the blog move to a forum format where the posts are topics for discussion, and we can work in an environment better-suited for to-and-fro discussion, like how http://www.macrumors.com works.



Well stated. This is an example of the difference between academic consensus and management. Sometimes it is just better to throw out the bad apples before they spoil the bunch. Before I run afoul of the "too many metaphors" rule, I defer to wiki on trolls.

Using this wisdom has kept our quite cantankerous real estate bubble blog afloat for some years now.


Apologies to Clay, I didn't mean to quote you. I think you're right.

I need to get better Ctrl+C foo.


Greg, this isn't my blog and you and the TN admins have to decide what kind of space you are trying to cultivate. I feel like I have a residual interest at best. I mean I used to read this blog first thing every day. Over the last two years I read it less and less because I feel it is becoming more and more insular and less and less contentful. I come back now and then to check and see if there is any detailed thoughtful analysis of topics like Bragg vs. Linden Lab, I find nothing, and then I leave for an even longer period of time.

The *feel* of the blog is now like this -- it's like a little virtual cocktail party where people working on gaming can stay in touch, but the ground rules are "let's keep it all friendly and let's not say anything controversial -- keep it chitchatty".

When somebody *does* post a long critical post you can pretty much feel the blog admins cringing: OMG, someone is fouling our nice chitchatty cocktail party.

Now I know that this is very subjective, but its something I've been thinking for a long time time.

Personally, quite apart from this, I think a 400 word rule is perhaps the most dangerous policy a blog admin can institute. It basically is a policy that caters to the common wisdom of people who drop in on the blog several times a day and it freezes out ideas that are not going to emerge in the face of a chorus of 20 people beating the idea down.

But like I say, it's not my blog and your goals may be different than mine would be. Just don't fool yourself into thinking that a 400 word limit is content neutral.


Uri said: "I think a 400 word rule is perhaps the most dangerous policy a blog admin can institute."

I disagree; not even "perhaps". I'd venture other policies can be more "dangerous" when publicly promulgated but then not fairly enforced or simply disregarded when doing so serves some other purpose. Policies like those on the Herald for example.

Clay hit the nail on the head afaic.


It seems like Greg’s initial post has been blown way out of proportion. He simply reminded everyone that this is an academic discussion group and that the participants are other human beings. Most of his post is just common sense, common courtesy.

It makes sense that the guidelines are “soft.” We are all adults. We ought to be able to use our best judgment to determine what is appropriate behavior for a given thread. Sometimes it is appropriate to use profanity, post multiple times in a row, write an exceedingly long post, and so on. Not leaving options would itself chill speech.

Have we forgotten: this is supposed to be engaging discussion – even FUN? Isn’t banning people, or admonishing people directly (as many have suggested), counter to that?

Greg has reiterated – about five times now – that the 400-word mark is not a quota but rather a good faith guideline. Incidentally, 400 words is roughly equal to a one-page, single-spaced essay with MS Word default margins. Greg merely qualified what he meant. That’s it.

Let’s suppose that instead, Greg had said: please keep your posts to one page. Or, if he had said: reasonably necessary length. There would have been 50 posts asking: In what browser? What screen resolution? What size font? What does “reasonably necessary length” mean? In whose view? Are you going to edit our comments to conform to this so-called “reasonably necessary length” standard????

You get the point.

Realistically, many other forums have strict and, dare I say, oppressive comment policies that certainly trump this one and that are mercilessly enforced – NOT mere guidelines. At the risk of sounding trite, no policy will make everyone happy, all the time – but every forum has one. The participant must decide what policy works for him.


I also agree with Clay's take on this.

The folks running TN are not much like print editors and these rules should not be evaluated as if they were simply editorial policy. Blog and forum operators are running communities and so are responsible for maintaining the overall tone of the discussion and activity in their community.

If people are ruining the intended purpose and tone of a community, I think it is far more productive to directly address the particular people involved (preferably by email with a clear first warning before any kind of action is taken to limit the person's contributions to the community). Blanket do-nothing conduct guidelines are not going to teach good manners (or logic, or reading comprehension) to the problem-posters.

As a long-time reader who *rarely* comments here, I have had to skim/skip far too many comments lately because they cross the line that separates "unusual but valid and supported opinion" from "batshit crazy misreading of what is being discussed." I think that net communities (including TN) put up with a lot of bad behavior just because the trolls type well and have a decent vocabulary. A well-spoken troll is still a troll. And if someone is just posting to get a reaction or play out some kind of emotional/social melodrama (starring themselves or their favorite causes, of course) then I think they are as useless to the community dialog as someone who rants incoherently and hurls personal insults just to get a reaction.

400+ word posts haven't ruined as many communities as aggressively obnoxious people have (when left unchecked).

Also, brief comments are not always best (or ironically, the least time-consuming for all involved). A common problem in an online forum is someone posting something poorly stated or lacking sufficient supporting information. Then someone (often several someones) reply to what they thought was meant by the vague post, sparking a pointless dialog of "no, you misunderstood X" and "I did not! you said XX!" and everyone else has to read the whole mess that could be avoided if the first poster had just explained themselves more clearly in the first place. I'll take clarity over brevity any day. ;p


@ Kellyrued

Like you, I read and do not post – the latest trend in deteriorating discussions has become annoying. I was glad to see the original message.


Shouldn't the first step in enforcing a policy be establishing what that policy is? It seemed like that was the point of the original post. I am not sure that it is fair to spontaneously commence admonishing people -- whether they are bad-mannered or not.

Maybe I misunderstood, but I did not read the policy statement as something that would not be enforced. However, what I, personally, did take away: the 400-word thing is a target and TN will not be adopting China’s approach to moderating information flow. (Both of which I found reassuring :/)

In my opinion, there is a significant difference between the behavior described in 1 and 2. A violation of 2 is more subjective. Therefore, it makes sense (at least in my little bubble) to have different standards for each.


>This looks to me like you had a situation where one or a few people wouldn't shut up, and where you were neither willing to shut them up, nor were you willing to have a future policy that allowed for editorial judgment about when to shut someone up.

No, Clay, that's not what it's about, and if some of the posts in question were all less than 400 words, they'd think up something else -- that restriction just proved handy.

No, what it's about is when the first snarky or nasty or inciting post shows up -- even from the original poster (like that time from Dan Hunter dumping on Onder Skall's post about virtual worlds, or when Bonnie is hopping mad about what is in fact so far a non-event in SL -- restriction of sexual expression) -- moderators never say "no". That is, they never set the tone. They don't need to erase, cut, ban, boot. They can *set the tone*. They can say to the OP, hey, why are you inciting here? You're going to get some nasty replies. Or when someone drags in a RL name so as to try to harass with undesired disclosure, or libels or makes false attacks -- there's silence. Miles of abusive posts of the most awful kind from the Something Awful, including demands to "post tits" -- and the moderators, so keen to the sharp critique of their own sacred cows, are silent. Come on, Clay, what's up with that? If moderators intervene earlier and tell people to shape up as a form of peer pressure, there'd never be any need for someone like me to fight back chapter and verse, or the need for long parsings of contrarian points of view.


Just some points.

(1) If you have a burning post that is in excess of 400 words and *you have your own blog*, then write it on your blog and link to the post. Duh.

(2) If to get your point across you need an army of words, think a moment. Can you condense it? Yes? Do so. No? Post the comment, but try to be brief - for your own sake. See (4).

(3) Before clicking submit, especially with a LONG comment, read it through.

(4) Realize that people often ignore posts over a certain length, especially if it looks like a fight between Webster and Oxford.

(5) Sniping is just tacky. If your best argument boils down to 'you suck', then disconnect your computer from the internet immediately and fly a kite in the rain. Do so before you have children, as this will potentially provide more of a public service than 'you suck'.


Although I disagree with Prokofy and I am not particularly enamored with her style, I tend to agree that some of the authors have done their part to set the tone. Dan Hunter's infamous and weakly supported vitriolic attack on Onder certainly comes to mind. As does Castronova's oft unveiled sarcasm whenever he is criticized. I was drawn to TN because of the spirited yet mature and informed debate; the potential to learn a great many things from smart, gracious folks with whom I was often prone to disagree with like Andy Havens or Thomas Malaby. Of late this type of discourse has been rare or non existent. And I, for one, rather enjoy Andy's long-but-passionate posts; I would hate to see such dialog culled.


Forming, storming, norming, performing, adjourning.

"DING! You've reached level 3. Now go kill some rats in the sewer."

(Shite, I guess this was sarcasm... *selfplonk*)


Greg L :

Please help me , i need your - and TN's - help on this : yesterday i was in SL and had a passionate discussion with what seemed to be an arab fury ; and i don't know how but at a momment i was shouting " ...bush is a moron and a terrorist and americans are stupid, fat , uninstructed and uneducated ". I guess i was citing from a extrenistic site, just to make a point about how stupid ( and maybe fat too ) some extremists can be .

The help i need is on this : 25,000 avatars came to listen exactelly in the momment when i quoted that proposition , they'd missed the rest of discussion ; now you , the scholars and academics, please tell me , will the CIA come after me , label me as an enemy combatant , abduct me from Albania and put me at Gitmo ?
Or i'm just stupid , because you gonna tell them my IP ? Afterall, it's your obligation to do so....hey , you, the experts , tell me what is the difference - if any - between the flying penis in SL , asking Prok to post tits at TN , and making covered political propaganda in a cartoon...
I can tell you what is the same : spreading a certain message in a public space.
To me , it seems like you here at TN wanna be the player and the game's owner at the same time. It doesn't work like that. Wanna discuss things ? Don't come with bullshit like " please dont talk this subject in my house ". Or, with excuses like : " you may not use the word "" carot "" because my wife has a bad habit - in her bedroom ."

So, how's gonna be at TN ? May we, or we may not discuss about VWs and MMOGs ?


I like the idea of a soft 400 word limit. It allows a more conversational style.

As someone who occasionally has unusual ideas to express, I’m not convinced long posts are the answer for getting such ideas across. My experience is that people are either in a state to accept a new idea or not. If not, just adding words adds noise. When people go to a lecture, or read a paper, they are have already stated in interest in hearing at length what the author has to say. This isn’t an agreement that everyone has made on this blog. Better to toss out a novel viewpoint briefly, and see if people are engaged by it.

When I write long posts, I have some sense of convincing myself that I have a good argument, but I am not sure I am really convincing the unconverted. I also succumb to the temptation to answer every “wrong” point that someone makes in their post. But usually I go back and edit it down to the most crucial point or two. Answering every point feels more self-indulgent than informative to me.

That said, there are some long posts here I have enjoyed reading, and short ones I would rather have skipped.


and short ones I would rather have skipped.



>When I write long posts, I have some sense of convincing myself that I have a good argument, but I am not sure I am really convincing the unconverted. I also succumb to the temptation to answer every “wrong” point that someone makes in their post. But usually I go back and edit it down to the most crucial point or two. Answering every point feels more self-indulgent than informative to me.

These are all good points, Hellinar, and we'd all do well to contemplate and even heed them. They'd make more sense if they related only to arcane game mechanics discussions, or erudite discussions of semantics and meanings in artificial intelligence or something. But the real arguments occur on much more political and economic topics actuall far from the core of "ludology".

Here's where your notion of gentility can go wrong: when you opt for leaving whole swathes of 'wrong points' or points made in profound bad faith, or points heedless of the very persuasive arguments already made against those points, or selective and biased presentation of "the facts," you're letting bullies win, and you're often letting mediocrities win. You can bow out and leave the board to the mediocrities, but you could also try to stay and fight the good fight.

People perceive something like TN as a here-and-now conversation that they want to be "nice" and "witty without cutting" etc. But it's not merely a conversation. It's a public record. It's an archive. It's history-in-the-making because this field is so innovative and revolutionary with far-reaching consequences *and it can't just belong to the board owners and their corporate and university sponsors*.

Therefore, it's important sometimes to make the arguments and post them so that they can be read in the future. Imagine if Mark Wallace could post something light and blithe about emergent behaviour in Eve and W-hat clubs and no one ever challenged this happy-little-tree-in-the-corner Bob Ross painting. Imagine if you didn't try to challenge it, and the bad side of "emergence" was not revealed -- and challenged. That thread forever stands now as a profound indictment of both the barbarians and the people who didn't stand up to the barbarians at the gates (unless of course they chicken out and delete it).

No one would have to publish a point-by-point, shrill , preachy indictment of Bonnie's selective indignation about suppression of expression if it wasn't creating a terrible moral vacuum around it and getting visibility. And so on. Merely linking to your blog in these kinds of urgent civic situations is not enough.

Here's where your notion of gentility can go wrong: when you opt for leaving whole swathes of 'wrong points' or points made in profound bad faith, or points heedless of the very persuasive arguments already made against those points, or selective and biased presentation of "the facts," you're letting bullies win, and you're often letting mediocrities win. You can bow out and leave the board to the mediocrities, but you could also try to stay and fight the good fight.
"A statement I believe to be true *is* a fact until it is *disproven*." - Prokofy Neva/Catherine Fitzpatrick


This forum is public only in the sense that you can make a fool out of yourself to however many people read the blog and, as Prokofy Neva points out, to the masses that read the public record it creates. You are on private property when it comes to any speech rights as applied to TN.

@Prokofy Neva:

You make an excellent point re the public record. But, doesn't the so-called "softness" of the limit address that?


Prok and Csven are banned. I'm tired of both of them.


I like to have hope in resolving oppposites in the kind of profitable synthesis I've often found at TN. The histrionic polemics in some recent threads does not so much "scare off and offend" me personally as strike me as irresolvable by the insistence of those adopting the poles. Many of us won't read very far, I suspect, and may well avoid adopting such shrilly presented positions *even where they have merit.* How unfortunate, for there is often a useful kernel, if only we can discern it, at work in "the feelings and sensibilities of others", however unusual or unbalanced they may seem.

Regarding point #2, I'd suggest forgetting it. When posters indulge in abusive rhetoric I suggest applying an approach Gandhi found useful: non-participation.


randolfe: You had me at "smart..." Thank you, sir. I, too, have enjoyed our various discussions, regardless of word count.

And, did you just say you enjoy my "long, passionate post"? Oh, my... Now I'm blushing ;-)


@ Candy, it's not about me , nor about any specific country/policy ; the " problem " of public spaces privately owned got solved long ago, in the terms of Law at least. What i was trying to draw attention on, is : the VWs, MMOGs , blogs and not only , became a cocern for public policies , and i expect to find some possible answers here at TN. Feasible solutions to the problems the VWs ( and the alike ) poses toward the RL. In order to avoid any further misunderstanding : i'm jew, i'm crippled, i love America; and i don't care very much for any religion. And i love the VWs. Maybe you shoud pay more attention to the music rather than to the tone. At TN, atm i'm more interested in the player-game's owner-public policies relationships. And i do know the educational/learning potential of VWs and i do know what experimenting in VWs is , despite of what my posts might - wrongly - seems.


Dan Hunter wrote:

Prok and Csven are banned. I'm tired of both of them.

Thank you.



I doff my cap at you Mr. Hunter.

Good show.


This language was removed from the comment policy above.

Spamming the reading community with lengthy opinions has the effect of dominating a conversation and does not respect the right of others to speak and participate. While there may be exceptions, as a general rule, please endeavor to make your comments responsive to the opening post and fewer than 400 words or so (so that they fit on a single screen). Please do not post multiple comments in one thread consecutively. If you feel a need to comment at greater length than 400 words, please do so on your own blog or other venue and post a link to your longer thoughts in the comment field.

The principles seem like a good start.

"Endeavor to make your comments responsive to the opening post" seems much more important than a 400-word limit. Even if you're responding to a point made further down, your post should be comprehensible read alone after the leading post.

If someone's writing reveals a religious or political source you don't like, that should not give you the excuse to insult them. If you want to do so, take it to email. Your personal neuroses are no excuse to behave badly in public.

While I'm pointing a finger directly at one particular multiply-banned individual with that, there's another perfectly good example in this comment thread. Any reference to Noam Chomsky is certain to be contentious; I think he's a competent linguist and sophist, but he's delusional and incompetent at everything else in the world. But that doesn't mean it's appropriate to start an argument about the Vietnam war now, or to insult someone because they quoted Chomsky. Talk to the substance of the argument.

Mutually congratulatory posts with no argumentative or informational content are useless nonsense. Again, take it to email. Nobody else cares. Dan Hunter's behavior in this thread is just as bad as ever; personal ad-hominem attacks against people, like them or not, are inappropriate in public. Doing that in a thread *about* behaving like an adult in public is irony, but I doubt it was intentional.

What I'm left wondering is, were some people just not taught how to talk to people, at all? Is there a behavioral modification that can be made to them at this point, or are they permanently damaged?

I know my online behavior when I was younger (and more often drunk) was pretty flame-heavy. Eventually I sobered up and learned to behave like an adult. But if someone is over 30 and still hasn't learned how to write in a civilized manner, is there anything that can be done for them?


TerraNova- A stack of MUD program listings and research papers pounding on a human face, forever.


Comment spam.

Saw the comment about comment spam. Seriously guys, implement Akismet. Its a lifesaver.

Anyway , re rules. Blogs are little intentional communitys. Little tribes even. It doesnt have to be authoritarian to develop a communal sense of decorum about whats apropriate and what isnt.

Theres good ideas out there on online consensus and whatnot that can completely short circut authoritarianism in communitys without giving up a firm set of guidelines about whats kosher and what isnt.

Sometimes however an asshole needs to be called out however. then things get silly. alas.


Dan Hunter says:

Prok and Csven are banned. I'm tired of both of them.



I think removing the quantitative limit on word counts and the removal of bad apples are both a step in the right direction.


@anonymous poster said: I think removing the quantitative limit on word counts and the removal of bad apples are both a step in the right direction.

At the same time, those actions essentially validated the assertions made in the earlier heated posts (okay, rants) from the recent banees. (Note: I realize that the bans were probably coming for some time now.)

But, whatever -- I just come here to read the commentary about the law (when such commentary exists).


As a note from a long time community maintainer (which I think is an appropriate public note in a discussion of community maintenance), public discussions of bans such as the above is exceedingly counterproductive.


Er. I meant announcements. The discussions of course will happen whether you will it or not.


Didn't you guys and gals hear? Communism is dead - except in the Ivory Towers of your sclerotic minds, of course.

Thanks for reminding me to remove you from my Bloglines.


Code is law.


This entry and commentary has ended in a way that I find disturbing and difficult to fathom.

The blog entry set out some guidelines for posting comments. These were discussed in a fairly amicable fashion with some voices of dissent regarding the 'target' of limiting the length of posts.

Then Dan Hunter tells us that "Prok and Csven are banned. I'm tired of both of them." and the word limit from the original post is removed.

I don't really understand why you would take such extreme measures as banning two people from posting comments when the ink on the guidelines is still dry. If this had been made clearer when Prok and Csven were tearing strips out of each other in response to previous posts it would be understandable but not right now.

The rationale given is also deeply troubling. Silencing people because you're 'tired of them' is a weak reason. I could understand banning people for consistently derailing threads, for using racially derogatory language, for posting trollish comments with no evidence to back up points of view. But simply because you're 'tired of them'? That doesn't seem to me to be a very healthy response to dissent. I would have hoped that the readers and contributors to this board would be able to handle a little robust discussion now again.

I know it's difficult to reverse such a decision given the very public nature of the announcement but I would urge you to reconsider for the benefit of the public debate and the record of these discussions.


Prok and Csven are banned. I'm tired of both of them.

This language was removed from the comment policy above.

Thank you, for both of those things. While I used to read Profoky's posts for the train wreck value they also tended to destroy the discussion at hand. Especially true after her run in with the Something Awful crowd which somehow seemed to crop up in most posts since then despite having nothing to do with the topic at hand. It's been a long time in coming and well deserved.


Isn't it great that internet forums, regardless of intentions, always turn into high school fights. Even at the mighty TN, a "hey, why don't we just be considerate of one another" post leads to cries of censorship, delusions of persecution, and high-minded, self-righteous insults.

"The road to hell..." "No good deed..." etc, etc


" we are not practicing the democracy, we are spreading and enforcing it . "
- The Emperor has no clothes -

"Isn't it great that internet forums, regardless of intentions" --you don't know intentions on interned, you only see acts and effects.


you don't know intentions on interned, you only see acts and effects.

Yet another way in which it's too much like offline life. :/


Every other internet forum in the world bans people for being toxic to the discussions. I don't understand why Terra Nova should be held to any different rules.


@ Syntheticist:

I agree. There was nothing wrong with the original comment policy. Maybe I personally would not adopt it – but oh well, people can go somewhere else if it is that offensive.

The ensuing debate was uncalled for and, at times, immature. But, I admit it. I got some laughs out of watching the smart kids fight :> (Oh, the literary sources cited!!)

Problem #1: TN put the comment policy out there and then 1) engaged in the debate about it and 2) changed the policy in response to that debate. That changes things. It makes the policy-making a group project versus an administrative edict. In my opinion, either way is fine; however, one must pick one or the other to avoid (the appearance of) unfairness.

Problem #2: Perhaps for the first time ever, Csven and Prok were not being toxic. There were /plenty/ of other comments that were as equally as aggressive, provocative and abrasive. Those people have not been banned


Candy writes:

Problem #2: Perhaps for the first time ever, Csven and Prok were not being toxic. There were /plenty/ of other comments that were as equally as aggressive, provocative and abrasive. Those people have not been banned

I hear that kind of rationale a lot from persistent troublemakers in our MMOs. Usually, it's something like, "Why did I get banned when Bob did the same thing and only got a slap on the wrist?"

The answer is that your past behavior matters.




Problem #1: TN put the comment policy out there and then 1) engaged in the debate about it and 2) changed the policy in response to that debate.

I got the impression that the "policy reminder" was a thinly disguised (and inappropriately public) response to the transgressions of just a small handful of posters who've recently been dominating threads with insufferable redundant ranting.

I don't think TN needs to worry about word count or civility as long as someone knows when to step up and moderate. I agree with Scott's comment above that the announcement of the bans was counterproductive but at the same time I think that the posting of the "policy reminder" was unproductive. The correct action, imo, was private warning to the people abusing the forum for very personal, insular flames and potshots. If the toxic posting continued, then a private ban would suffice.

My humble suggestion to TN (since your readership is bound to only get larger and more diverse as these topics become more intriguing to people well outside of academia and the tech industries that made it all possible): recruit a volunteer community manager. Find someone with experience moderating a similar community so they understand the tone and signal-to-noise ratio that is expected by the core TN audience.

There are plenty of places to talk about Second Life, legal issues, etc. but TN stands alone as a place where practicing developers, leaders in research, and virtual world legends actually read and post. I can read SL residents ranting out their asses on dozens of other blogs but I come here to see what the serious students and stewards of this space are talking about.

I don't fancy that my occasional post is the draw for most TN readers and the marketeer in me knows that TN would lose most of its readership very quickly if these forums ever became dominated by the rants of the People (read the Official Linden Blog comments... I mean... my god, what if THAT came HERE like a swarm of locust).

If TN wants to maintain its readership, it needs to be mindful of the quality and tone in the community here. This isn't about elitism, it's about maintaining value for the people who put in the time to read and reply on this blog. I might be the only reader that feels this way but I wanted to express my appreciation for the moderation effort, even if was tactless in execution, and I wanted to express the hope that TN moderation meets future challenges since the topics here are becoming more interesting to a more diverse readership.

Allow me to take your hand, like the Ghost of Virtual World Blogs Present, and point you toward the Official Linden Blog for a chilling visage of where TN could be headed once every mouthbreather on earth has as many VW accounts as they have social networking site profiles. Read the comments there- all of them- for a full week and then wonder how long before THAT descends on TN like locust. *shivers*


Matt Mihaly said: The answer is that your past behavior matters.

I hear you, and I don't disagree. As far as I am concerned, forum administrators can ban whomever they like. Believe me, I would not have been as nice as Greg was when this whole thing started.

With regard to the timing, I think this situation is a bit different. An analogy:

You are pulled over for speeding by a police officer who has seen you speed 20 times before. He gives you a warning and says: "You speed again, and you are getting a ticket." You drive away -- going the speed limit with others speeding by you -- and then get pulled over 2 miles down the road by the same police officer. He says: "Sorry, I am sick of your speeding through my town. Here’s a speeding ticket."

The two of them were heeding the policy warning and contributing to the discussion.

Whether or not they deserved to banned is for the blog owners to decide and not my point. In my view, it would have been more effective (or at least honest) to say “Csven and Prok are no longer welcome here” because, judging by the results, that was the purpose of the whole policy bit.

@ kellyrued:

Well said.


Was the post about Prokofy Neva and csven being banned a joke?

If not, then I won't be reading TN again. Not that anyone cares, I'm sure. I'm just a casual reader, not a contributor.

What is it about online communities that makes people flaunt power in such a primitive way? Knocking people off a discussion board simply because one is "tired of them" is no more than the arbitrary exercise of power. It's "might makes right."

I don't want to read a forum controlled by people with that degree of political immaturity.


what a drama ....what anybody have to lose / to earn if tomorrow TN stops to exist ? Or if you get banned ? ( wich , btw, it's impossible , unless you make the access to TN via a RL account , and forbide new registrations ).
It's a blog, for god's sake ....Look in a mirror and ask yourself : what's the drama ?!


@ Amarilla

Drama maybe for some…but what interests me about the thread is that it is a prime example of what happens when there are no formal rules, or laws. Maybe that interests me because I went to law school (and before that was a programmer), so my professional life revolves around rules.

However, if you track the thread, initially there was outrage coming from all directions – too strict, too loosey goosey, a great conspiracy, people asserting non-existent rights. It screeched to a halt when two (disliked by the masses) people were summarily banned – like there had been a public beheading or something – and then the policy was changed. (Or, the weekend happened :>) Now, we are dissecting it, but no real preemptive solution has been installed because mob rule was effective – nothing left to see here.

There have been god knows how many discussions here and elsewhere about freedom in vws – keeping out govt regulation, spurning private regulation by the developers and pushing for unfettered choice. This is considered acceptable because they are games and, like this blog, do not affect real life. But, what happens when virtual economies (much like the Internet 10 or so years ago) are in fact recognized as legitimate because of simple dollars and cents?

We are unable to come to a consensus on whether there should even /be/ a comment policy in this blog – let alone /what/ it should be…and only like 30 people participated in /that/ discussion. And, people seem to think we will do better when real money is at stake??

Anyhow, this now has nothing to do with the original post, so I will shut up now.



Oh my, isn't it fascinating to consider:
- how a communities may be managed
- whether we will re-create or improve law
- how critical our assessment of prior efforts
- how exciting to have virtual innovation venues
- how potent for learning at reduced cost/risk
- how promising for accelerating evolution

I much prefer this thread :)


"Yet another way in which it's too much like offline life. :/"

In wich case the online life should be more focused on improving both the ofline / online ones. I still doubt there's any difference at all.
Just same players in two different levels games.
If we were to talk about policies ,rights and laws....in all matters you only have what you can enforce/protect.


All posts should be in haiku format only. Here's my reply.

Topic intrigues me.
At once a name comes to mind,
Prokofy Neva


There should instead be a minimum word-count rule implemented--say, 250 words. Of course, make it a soft rule, so that it's completely subjective and therefore meaningless. Something that can be enforced arbitrarily and at whim.



There really needs to be a way of accurately going "ZING" on the internet. If there was, I would reply to your post using it.

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