All entries for Tuesday 26 April 2005

April 26, 2005


I should be doing my project report right now, but my mind is full of thoughts after staying up into the wee hours last night and reflecting on life and the election.

I don't think there can be many people on earth who truly believe that they are an evil person, simply because then many of them would cease to function, everyone thinks that their own actions are justified.

This justification though is really just a matter of perspective, one man's justification is anothers insanity or calculated malice. We see this all the time in courts of law.

It ties into the free will vs determinism debate I guess in that in a completely determined system every action is predicated by the totality of external factors preceeding it and is thus inevitable.

On a lesser level many people are happy to accept that there are somethings that we have little or no control over such as our emotions and primative drives, which somehow leads me back to my project report… really should get on to that.

To bring it back to earth, there seem to have been many situations in my life when I have percieved actions one way only to find out later that someone else sees them in a completely different light. People are very attached to their own perspectives and I expect this is where the origin of most long running disputes lies. One man looks at the sky spitting lightning and see's an angry vengeful god punishing him, another see's an angry god punishing his neighbour and still others see a force of nature entirely explainable by science.

Often perspectives seem to me more emotionally based than rational, for example taking your friends side in an argument. Occasionally I think its fruitful to sit back and consider even your most strongly held opinions from another perspective. Think without bias why someone else might feel differently about a situation, there are probably a lot less purely evil people out there than one might expect, just people trying to get along in life.

The man who steals your wallet might be trying to feed a family of four kids, the guy who abuses you at work might have recently suffered some kind of family bereavement and the conservative candidate may really believe that his tax lowering policy is for the good of everyone.

I think that I'm going to put this under PDP since I think is a valuable life lesson in tolerance, something that I used to be accused once of having very little of. A change in me if you like.

Anonymous commenting

There does seem to be a difficulty surrounding anonymous commenting on Warwick Blogs. On the one hand there is the advantages of allowing anyone in the world to comment on your blog anonymously:

  • Wider mix of opinion; views can come from outside the bubble.

  • Controversial opinions can be expressed freely.

  • Concealing your identity possible.

  • Its handy when you can't be bothered to log in or the log in breaks.

And on the other we have the disadvantages:

  • Anyone from outside the bubble can abuse people on their blogs through comments, or be annoying by typing repetitive/the same comment over and over.

  • No response mechanism, except deletion, to abusive comments precisely because the comments are anonymous.

I'm not sure how to resolve these issues. To keep the benefits but lose the disadvantages. I assume it is impractical to keep a database of non-warwick university warwick blog community members with an e-mail address authenticated account? This seems to be the standard method of allowing anyone to comment but still keeping it relatively easy to control user access. Another option would be I.P. address banning, something that is often use in IRC chat rooms to get rid of persistant chat abusers. I wonder if there is reason why this hasn't been implemented, beyond time constraints. Perhaps it has and I just haven't noticed it.

I'm not sure what the solution is but it does seem to be a steadily growing area of difficulty in the blog community.

April 2005

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