A Conversation for h2g2 Law of Continuity

Approach the Pagoda of the Sage

Post 1

Redbeard (Thanks to all who supported The Celery!))


Relax and enjoy the surroundings. This is the place to bring your questions and concerns about Continuity. It is often considered proper to address the sage as 'Venerable One' the first time you speak.

Note that the Sage of Continuity is not a religious figure or a police force -- merely a conduit for the correct movement of heaven and earth.

Be assured that she or one of her students will hear your question and respond in the proper time.

-- Redbeard, Loremaster of the Sage of Continuity

Approach the Pagoda of the Sage

Post 2

Asteroid Lil - Offstage Presence

This is one thread where lack of activity is probably a good thing!

*lights incense and sits down to study*

Approach the Pagoda of the Sage

Post 3


Oh Sage One...

* HE feels a little self-conscious about using such a title, but never mind... smiley - winkeye *

I've long worried about White & Black Holes, I've pretty much nailed down the multi-physics of the 'plumbing', but it's always concerned me what to call the 'grey area' inbetween...

Yours in Expectation.

GOD -... almighty

Approach the Pagoda of the Sage

Post 4

Asteroid Lil - Offstage Presence

I am called Venerable One because my sageness is not always indisputable, unlike my age.

I would not presume to give an answer which meets the rigour of an astrophysics discussion. But in the realm of Right Conduct, your question raises the issue of extremes. It is said, in the 24th hexagram of Return, that "things cannot be destroyed for once and for all. When what is above is completely split apart, it returns from below." And so, "to and fro goes Tao, the Way."

Indeed, the hexagram of Return is the inverse of the one that precedes it, that of Splitting Apart: "The Superior Entity takes heed of the alternation of increase and decrease, fullness and emptiness; for it is the course of heaven."

The black, the gray and the white are all places on a continuum of change, and we can only aspire to move with that Change.


Approach the Pagoda of the Sage

Post 5


* HE scribbles the exchange down hastily whilst wondering why sages need to use such big words when the actual process really comes down to depositing all the expelled matter from one part of the Universe to another, whilst the astronomers aren't looking... smiley - winkeye *

* He further ponders why one would want to start messing about with hexagrams, I mean, it's only one step away from a pentagram, and then it's 'Oh No! I knew, I should have bought her a muzzle, straight-jacket & ten rolls of rubber wallpaper for Christmas !!!' *

* HE even finds time to ponder why anyone would want change, because it invariably means you're about to take public transport, and nobody would consider that cogent for a well adjusted life... *

Why thankyou sage one. It's been...

smiley - winkeye

smiley - fish - Simply, High Spirited.

Approach the Pagoda of the Sage

Post 6

Asteroid Lil - Offstage Presence

The similarity of "hexagram" and "pentagram" is in suffix only. In early times, the ancestors believed in divination and used yarrow stalks and tortoise shells to determine the nature of the times.

In these latter days, although many entities remain dependent on auguries, the Book of Change serves mainly as a poetic source of sound thinking, still relevant today. I have heard the casting of hexagrams (the word simply refers to six parallel lines) described as a manipulative meditation, and I like the modesty of that.


First Styx... now Minoova

Post 7

Witty Moniker

Venerable One,

Let's discuss the etiquette involved when the personality of a researcher created entity is hijacked and brought to life as an actual researcher.

Possibility #1 - The creator researcher him/herself creates a new e-mail address and becomes the entity. I see no problem here, it happens all the time.

Possibility #2 - The creator researcher grants permission to another researcher to take on the persona of the entity. Again, I see no problem here, but the original creator can no longer control the activity of the entity. Do so at your own risk.

Possibiblity #3 - The hostile takeover of the entity occurs without the consent of the creator. I personally find this rude in the extreme.

Your opinion, please? And any suggestions on how to properly handle possibility #3.

First Styx... now Minoova

Post 8

Asteroid Lil - Offstage Presence

Welcome, Witty Moniker. Please have a seat and share some tea with me. This is a most interesting question and I appreciate your giving me the opportunity to say soething about it. I am going to answer at great length (so please help yourself to more tea) and invite other people to comment on this issue in case my personal interest in the matter is thought to cloud my impartiality.

In the title to your petition you have named two entities. One, Styx, was invented as a pet by my nephew Quorthon, and came to life, so to speak, some three weeks before Quorthon left for Australia. That Styx has continued to interact with the community and involve himself in ever-widening circles of activity since Quorthon lost access to h2g2 demonstrates several things. Firstly, Quorthon is not Styx, eliminating Possibility #1.

Styx is a member of the household at the atelier, a position he maintains even though he has lately moved his nest out of the center of things and into the room of his "owner buddy". The things he says can be funny, rude or unsettling, but they are always in character. He has in his own way made friends. He has demonstrated loyalty and integrity toward members of the household and has evidently made an effort to master the "lore" of the people in it. Quorthon is not here to say whether permission was granted for Styx to become a researcher, but his demeanour and behaviour have led me to trust him. Therefore I rule out possibility #3, of a hostile takeover.

Minoova was created by me. I did not register Minoova as a researcher, hence #1 is not the case. I did not grant anyone permission to become Minoova. Hence #2 cannot be the case. But was it a hostile takeover? An easy assumption to make during the presidential campaign, when the staff or rival camps have shown such good-humoured adroitness and gamesmanship throughout the summer.

This matter turns out to be completely unrelated to the campaign.

As it happens in this case, we found out the identity of the researcher quite by accident; having little or no experience of multiple identities, the researcher in question let his guard down and posted his own thoughts under Minoova's identity.He showed no familiarity with some of the most basic facts about the atelier. As soon as I realised that the researcher was neither a member of CWJ 2000's staff nor a member of the extended family at the atelier, I brought the matter under control as quickly as I could.

Minoova the bot will no longer be a maid at the atelier. I am having her re-commissioned by CLI and will disclose details later.
I will be taking the regrettable step of registering Mindspring the Unau as a researcher, as well as Ferrari and the new bot, in order to prevent such hijackings in future. It may please me to animate them from time to time but it should always be evident that that they are me, as evident as Pierrot is Garius. If any of these entities appear in a thread under their own power and behave inappropriately, I hope that offended parties will come directly to me, as the pets and bots in question are undoubtedly being spoofed.

Rude? Personally, I think an artificial entity should be the property of the creator, to keep, share or dispose of. Can the researcher give back the name? If he does that, then the rather comedic interlude in the Aroma Cafe loses all meaning and Continuity. From my point of view, Minoova is gone. Pity. As it happens, the researcher didn't really get a chance to be rude, but a person of ill intent could become invasive or, at the wrong moment, injurious.

Suppose I came in tomorrow and discovered Ferrari was a registered researcher by persons unknown? And then on some adventure, after I continued to treat Ferrari as himself, suppose "Ferrari" caused me jeopardy? I think this is a dangerous trend, and you're right to bring the matter up for general discussion.

First Styx... now Minoova

Post 9

Witty Moniker

Let me clarify my interpretation of possibility #3:

I used "hostile takeover" in the Wall Street sense, a takeover without permission of the current owner. The intended purpose may be noble, dastardly or all in good fun; but it's still unwanted.

My reaction to this circumstance as rude behavior is my assumption that the researcher is an experienced citizen of H2G2. Such behavior by a newbie I would consider naive, possibly ignorant.

And, if one intends to bring the issue to the researcher's attention, at what point does one draw the line between naive and rude?

*refills the teacups*

First Styx... now Minoova

Post 10

Lonnytunes - Winter Is Here

Nods sagely.

And of course there is nothing to stop people registering a name that has already been taken by somebody else.

A good friend of mine, the Aussie ex-cartoonist of the h2g2 Post, has been using the name Wowbagger since the early days of h2g2. There are now numerous other Wowbaggers on site, some trying to emulate DNA's mission for the original Wowbagger character in his books - to insult people in alphabetical order.

This has caused much embarrassment to my Aussie friend.

Maybe we should suggest to h2g2 that all nicknames should be unique?

First Styx... now Minoova

Post 11

Asteroid Lil - Offstage Presence

Unfortunately names can be duplicated, and I agree that they should be unique; surely the software for name assignation would be easily modifiable to make that possible... But the Researcher ID is unique, and I have registered Mindspring and Ferrari today in the faith that I can always cite researcher ID to separate my pets from spoofs or unintentional duplicates. But these are not likely to be easy duplicates:

U147197 Mindspring the Unau
U147205 Ferrari, a Horse

Most of the problems of discontinuity we see are propagated by newbies who arrive at a well-established page or join a virtual event and eagerly or thoughtlessly begin to change things. I have also seen discontinuity used as a form of insult, a deliberate contradiction. And then there are mistakes and simulposts. There's gamesmanship, deliberately altering things to test a rival's ingenuity.

What happened to Minoova is new to me, though. I intuit that a researcher wished to co-opt Minoova into a narrative thread of his own design. He should not have. Or he should have asked permission. Actually, now I think on it, researchers have borrowed Ferrari, but only after asking my permission!

First Styx... now Minoova

Post 12


*Considers the issues being discussed*

If I may, I wish to comment on the subject of all names being unique.

As it is, that would be a good thing to a certain extent. But eventually, that would cause someone who might want to use their own name to give it up based on another researcher using it. Last names would be a good way to differentiate.

However, because people can put in tiny details (using lower case instead of capital letters, spacing, etc.), a name can't be perfectly protected.

On a third note, if someone were to try and make their name be theirs and theirs alone, the parenthetical comments used by many researchers as a form of advertisement, would not be easy to manage.

Anyway, I just wanted to think out loud about the individual name things. Sorry for interupting.

First Styx... now Minoova

Post 13

Garius Lupus

Your mention about the parenthetical comments reminds me of something Phil said. He noted that there are lots of other Phils on h2g2 and that is why he always includes some parenthetical comment after his name. He has also said that he has never participated in the same forums as any of the other Phils, so it really hasn't been a problem.

The other problem with making a "unique name" rule is that lots of researchers join for a short time and leave. That would freeze that name forever, unless there was some policy for dormant accounts. I think this could be fairly easily done, so on the whole, I think that a unique name rule would good.

On the hijacking - I am very dissappointed in losing Minoova. She is Lil's creation, but I helped with her new, um, shape. It was a fun bit of "visual" humour at the Atelier and I will miss her. It was definately a hostile takeover. As for what you can do about it, one possibility that I thought of is to register the creation yourself and confront the impostor. It's too late now to do that for Minoova, but in future it could be solution.

First Styx... now Minoova

Post 14

Redbeard (Thanks to all who supported The Celery!))

Current h2g2 policy (from the don't panic faq)
Is my nickname exclusive?
Currently nicknames do not have to be unique, but you should try to ensure that your name is recognisable as your own, to avoid the confusion that would arise from having two people posting with the same name. We may impose a requirement for names to be unique sometime in the future.

So it's possible that they will make uniqueness a requirement in the future, but I would hope that if they do that, they still are able to retain some of the flexibility we now have, and that could be problematic.

In order to create a system that required uniqueness, the computer would have to compare names. Currently my name is 'Redbeard (Celery-Webjello party at A404407)' If someone else registered as 'Redbeard' the computer would see that as a name uniquely different than mine, and if I later tried to drop the paranthetical stuff, the computer would refuse me the name 'Redbeard'. My guess is that just from the standpoint of technical logistics, a unique name system here would start having restrictions (no parentheses, no special characters, etc.).


Regarding Minoova. Do what you wish as far as changing her, but I don't see that you've lost her. She is herself. She was clumsily _impersonated_ by someone else, but that doesn't take away who she is.

First Styx... now Minoova

Post 15


I think that RB's right. Besides, I like the name Minoova. Oh, but just so you know, I'll work on the changes you requested if you don't want me to stop.

First Styx... now Minoova

Post 16

Garius Lupus

You're right RB. We haven't lost her. And we're now fighting to get her back. smiley - smiley We fear the impostor must have kidnapped or switched off and hidden the real Minoova, so we need to find her. I just hope for his/her sake that he didn't push that orange button on her back. Who knows what would have happened then! (I had some difficulties with that button in the shop and pushing it can cause some, um, odd effects). Anyway, once Lil gets back online when her computer is fixed, we can all help her find the real Minoova.

First Styx... now Minoova

Post 17

Witty Moniker

I'm not in favor of having unique researcher names, it's too useful being able to change them for a variety of reasons.

Perhaps we can lobby for the ability of Researcher A to block Researcher B from contributing to fora within Researcher A's My Space and Guide Entries. It could work like e-mail settings:

Block all
Block only X, Y & Z
Allow only A, B & C
Allow all

First Styx... now Minoova

Post 18

Asteroid Lil - Offstage Presence

I hope that it should not come to that. We have strong, albeit passive, moderation in the form of the Italics. Better to correct one misinformed or over-impetuous researcher than to form factions within the Guide.

I had gone offline for 24 hours almost immediately after the original "name-jacking" event, but when I returned, the researcher who took Minoova had changed her name to "Evil Minoova" and was displaying truculence at the atelier. This was causing disquiet to at least one new researcher who dropped by in a subsequent posting!

So I went to the Evil Minoova space and reasoned with the researcher, trying to explain why the namejacking was so invasive. And I admit I was angry. But on account of the abuse of hospitality as much as anything. If several more days go by without further activity by Evil Minoova, I hope I will have made my point.

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