1087: "Cirith Ungol"

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whateveries
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby whateveries » Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:26 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:
whateveries wrote:
Jorpho wrote:And no, it wouldn't be the first time a random heavy metal reference has worked its way into a comic. Stryper has come up in Dr. McNinja and Questionable Content; I have never heard of them otherwise.
You have never heard of Dr. McNinja and Questionable content?
I meant I had never heard of Stryper.


tsk. I should be ashamed of myself, I was playing on the ambiguity of your statement, but I think the fun got lost in the attack on you...

Anyway, I suspect, this 'google it' argument is a poor proxy for the real case of you not knowing your LoTR lore, but it would be unkind to yell abuse at you for not knowing your LoTR, you know, in light of the mentos philosophy, but failing to google, whilst not an actual internet crime, is certainly punishable by lots of cranky words. apparently.

still in lieu of a real nerd war about the real issue, this is fine until a good reason to argue comes along.
it's fine.

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby AdmiralGreene » Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:42 pm UTC

I'd butt in but most of this LoTR stuff is way over my head, seeing as I've never read any of the books/seen any of the movies.
I suppose I should state something clever, no?

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby enumerated powers » Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:50 pm UTC

Appears Randall was in Mike Baldwin's head...

Spoiler:
Image

(...regarding syntactical ambiguities, that is.)

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby Eternal Density » Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:33 am UTC

peewee_RotA wrote:Obviously Heavy Metal has a high density in the search results. They aught to show up periodically.

Image
Yeah, for me the words "heavy metal" don't immediately imply anything musically related. Though I had forgotten about that excellent shirt design until now.
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby neremanth » Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:55 am UTC

Arben wrote:
TheoGB wrote:I *still* want to know what Gaiman is referring to here: http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2010/05/o ... ering.html

By now, the internet has caught up. He's referring to inventing one of the Zorya sisters because it suited him in American Gods ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zorya ). Apparently it went through the cycle of being referred to online and citing his book, and then someone wrote a book about myths and gods and included his creation, and then the wikipedia article was able to cite that 'non-fiction' text on the subject. This process is, probably, the subject of an XKCD strip somewhere and probably has a proper name that I don't recall.

I'd search for it, but I'm sure someone on this forum knows the one I mean.


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I at least am glad Jorpho asked what Cirith Ungol was. Well, not asked, noted that it hadn't been mentioned yet. Sure, if no-one had answered that in the thread I'd have Googled it, but this saved me the trouble, and more importantly, meant I had only a couple of pages of thread to get distracted by rather than the whole of Wikipedia.

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby AdmiralGreene » Tue Jul 31, 2012 11:45 am UTC

neremanth wrote:I at least am glad Jorpho asked what Cirith Ungol was. Well, not asked, noted that it hadn't been mentioned yet. Sure, if no-one had answered that in the thread I'd have Googled it, but this saved me the trouble, and more importantly, meant I had only a couple of pages of thread to get distracted by rather than the whole of Wikipedia.


You could've always used TVTropes!
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby eran_rathan » Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:02 pm UTC

At least Steve isn't here to argue about googling a Galilean transformation...
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby philipquarles » Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:47 pm UTC

One morning, I killed a hobbit wearing my ring of power. How he got my ring of power, I don't know.
Spoiler:
I don't think this is technically ambiguous.

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby super_aardvark » Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:59 pm UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:
super_aardvark wrote:You keep talking about how lazy a person must be to use the forum instead of Google. Yet, you also keep repeating how much easier it is to use Google.


Nope, I never said this. I said it is easy to use Google - no comparison to the easiness of using the forum was ever mentioned.


Oh, really?

blowfishhootie wrote:Sitting at a computer discussing it in an online forum means the person asking the question literally has at their fingertips a huge database for answering their question that would require exactly the same amount of effort from them to find the answer. Actually, less.


(Emphasis mine.) Astonishingly, that's (mostly) included in the nested quotes in your very own post--the same one in which you said you never compared the two. Here's another one (emphasis mine again):

blowfishhootie wrote:I type "Cirith Ungol" into Google and[...]. Bam, question answered, and it took no more time than it does to come to this forum and pose the question.


And again after your response to my post:
blowfishhootie wrote:It is not more convenient to ask it on an online message board than it is to type it into Google.


But prevarication aside, you ignored the main thrust of my argument, which I take to mean that you accept it but would rather go on arguing anyway. Far be it from me to impede your fun :)

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby super_aardvark » Tue Jul 31, 2012 10:04 pm UTC

philipquarles wrote:One morning, I killed a hobbit wearing my ring of power. How he got my ring of power, I don't know.
Spoiler:
I don't think this is technically ambiguous.


It's not ambiguous if you understand the semantics. At a purely syntactic level, it is ambiguous--there's no rule that describes the relationship between "got my ring of power" and "wearing my ring of power".

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby Wnderer » Tue Jul 31, 2012 10:17 pm UTC

super_aardvark wrote:
philipquarles wrote:One morning, I killed a hobbit wearing my ring of power. How he got my ring of power, I don't know.
Spoiler:
I don't think this is technically ambiguous.


It's not ambiguous if you understand the semantics. At a purely syntactic level, it is ambiguous--there's no rule that describes the relationship between "got my ring of power" and "wearing my ring of power".


I think the ambiguity is whether he or the hobbit was wearing the ring. It's like the classic Groucho Marx line " I once shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don't know." Or "We took some photographs of the native girls, but they weren't developed."

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby neremanth » Tue Jul 31, 2012 11:17 pm UTC

Wnderer wrote:
super_aardvark wrote:
philipquarles wrote:One morning, I killed a hobbit wearing my ring of power. How he got my ring of power, I don't know.
Spoiler:
I don't think this is technically ambiguous.


It's not ambiguous if you understand the semantics. At a purely syntactic level, it is ambiguous--there's no rule that describes the relationship between "got my ring of power" and "wearing my ring of power".


I think the ambiguity is whether he or the hobbit was wearing the ring. It's like the classic Groucho Marx line " I once shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don't know." Or "We took some photographs of the native girls, but they weren't developed."

I think "One morning, I killed a hobbit wearing my ring of power" by itself is ambiguous, but taken together with "How he got my ring of power, I don't know", it's clear that it was the hobbit who was wearing the ring. I imagined that's what philipquarles meant by it not being technically ambiguous, but perhaps he meant something else?

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby Wnderer » Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:24 am UTC

neremanth wrote:
Wnderer wrote:
super_aardvark wrote:
philipquarles wrote:One morning, I killed a hobbit wearing my ring of power. How he got my ring of power, I don't know.
Spoiler:
I don't think this is technically ambiguous.


It's not ambiguous if you understand the semantics. At a purely syntactic level, it is ambiguous--there's no rule that describes the relationship between "got my ring of power" and "wearing my ring of power".


I think the ambiguity is whether he or the hobbit was wearing the ring. It's like the classic Groucho Marx line " I once shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don't know." Or "We took some photographs of the native girls, but they weren't developed."

I think "One morning, I killed a hobbit wearing my ring of power" by itself is ambiguous, but taken together with "How he got my ring of power, I don't know", it's clear that it was the hobbit who was wearing the ring. I imagined that's what philipquarles meant by it not being technically ambiguous, but perhaps he meant something else?


Okay. I see your point.

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby philipquarles » Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:23 pm UTC

neremanth wrote:
Wnderer wrote:
super_aardvark wrote:
philipquarles wrote:One morning, I killed a hobbit wearing my ring of power. How he got my ring of power, I don't know.
Spoiler:
I don't think this is technically ambiguous.


It's not ambiguous if you understand the semantics. At a purely syntactic level, it is ambiguous--there's no rule that describes the relationship between "got my ring of power" and "wearing my ring of power".


I think the ambiguity is whether he or the hobbit was wearing the ring. It's like the classic Groucho Marx line " I once shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don't know." Or "We took some photographs of the native girls, but they weren't developed."

I think "One morning, I killed a hobbit wearing my ring of power" by itself is ambiguous, but taken together with "How he got my ring of power, I don't know", it's clear that it was the hobbit who was wearing the ring. I imagined that's what philipquarles meant by it not being technically ambiguous, but perhaps he meant something else?


No, I meant that if the first sentence is unambiguous by itself. I think that as written, it clearly identifies the speaker as wearing the ring. Instead, you would have to say, "...while he was wearing my ring of power," to indicate the hobbit. I'm not sure about that though, and I really wanted to make the Marx brothers reference.

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:54 pm UTC

philipquarles wrote:No, I meant that if the first sentence is unambiguous by itself. I think that as written, it clearly identifies the speaker as wearing the ring. Instead, you would have to say, "...while he was wearing my ring of power," to indicate the hobbit. I'm not sure about that though, and I really wanted to make the Marx brothers reference.

I'm pretty sure the first sentence is still ambiguous. Consider two possible ways of rearranging the subject and object, turning it into passive voice:

One morning, a hobbit wearing my ring of power was killed by me.

One morning, a hobbit was killed by me wearing my ring of power.

(Of course that latter one is itself ambiguous as to whether "me wearing my ring of power" is an event which killed the hobbit -- my act of wearing the ring is what killed him -- or whether "me wearing my ring of power" is a person who killed the hobbit -- namely me, who was wearing my ring of power at the time).
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby rmsgrey » Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:07 pm UTC

philipquarles wrote:[...]
philipquarles wrote:One morning, I killed a hobbit wearing my ring of power. How he got my ring of power, I don't know.


No, I meant that if the first sentence is unambiguous by itself. I think that as written, it clearly identifies the speaker as wearing the ring. Instead, you would have to say, "...while he was wearing my ring of power," to indicate the hobbit. I'm not sure about that though, and I really wanted to make the Marx brothers reference.


I'd take the closest antecedent as a general rule, which would make it the hobbit, but the semantics of it being your ring may override that

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby Max™ » Thu Aug 02, 2012 4:42 pm UTC

One antecedent to rule them all...
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby paulrowe » Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:58 pm UTC

philipquarles wrote:One morning, I killed a hobbit wearing my ring of power. How he got my ring of power, I don't know.
Spoiler:
I don't think this is technically ambiguous.

He must have been a pretty animated corpse to get your ring of power after you killed him.

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby flicky1991 » Fri Aug 03, 2012 4:27 pm UTC

paulrowe wrote:
philipquarles wrote:One morning, I killed a hobbit wearing my ring of power. How he got my ring of power, I don't know.
Spoiler:
I don't think this is technically ambiguous.

He must have been a pretty animated corpse to get your ring of power after you killed him.

I read about that in his hobbit-uary.
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby peewee_RotA » Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:25 am UTC

flicky1991 wrote:
paulrowe wrote:
philipquarles wrote:One morning, I killed a hobbit wearing my ring of power. How he got my ring of power, I don't know.
Spoiler:
I don't think this is technically ambiguous.

He must have been a pretty animated corpse to get your ring of power after you killed him.

I read about that in his hobbit-uary.

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby webgiant » Wed Aug 08, 2012 9:27 pm UTC

scottgoblue314 wrote:
Jorpho wrote:Seven comments in, and I see no one cares to explain what Cirith Ungol is.

Yes, the alt-text is funny, and the art is kinda nice, I guess, but otherwise this is flying way over my head.


I was going to give you a hard time about not having the nerd-cred to know a LotR reference, but then I remembered this comic: http://xkcd.com/1053/

So go read your Tolkien! It's wonderful.

Technically Comic #1053 means you have to buy him a LOTR box set, and I mean the books, not the reasonably good movie adaptation by Peter Jackson.

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby bigjoec » Thu Aug 23, 2012 12:46 pm UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:I remember back in the days before the 2004 U.S. presidential election, if you were to type (I think) "idiot" into Google, the first result was Bush's profile on the White House's Web site. I might have some of the specifics wrong - hell, it might have even been Kerry who was the target, I don't remember. I've tried to find the specifics but none of the searches I can think to try are turning anything up. The point is, it was achieved by people spreading links all over the Web using the word idiot and linking to whatever page it was. And so Google's response was to twerk their formula.


By limiting yourself to just search results, you're missing out on key data just waiting to answer your question -- namely the searches made by all the other folks who only vaguely half-remember what they're looking for. Punch your search terms into Google's search bar (say, bush idiot google) -- even with that incorrect term (idiot) -- and Google's autocomplete will get you where you want to go (bush idiot google bomb). Since you (presumably) had heard the name of the practice but just couldn't remember it, that should've gotten you straight to the answer.

So to follow along with your first post on this thread, I'll leave it to you to determine what you should be mocked for -- too dumb to use the output from google autocomplete or too lazy to punch your search terms into a search bar that uses google autocomplete?
But let's hope you're appropriately shamed for getting help from a message board when that same help was so readily available from google.

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby flicky1991 » Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:26 pm UTC

bigjoec wrote:So to follow along with your first post on this thread, I'll leave it to you to determine what you should be mocked for -- too dumb to use the output from google autocomplete or too lazy to punch your search terms into a search bar that uses google autocomplete?
But let's hope you're appropriately shamed for getting help from a message board when that same help was so readily available from google.

Dammit, I thought all this was over! Can't we just say that google and forums are two different solutions to the same problem that both have advantages and disadvantages and leave it at that?
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby blowfishhootie » Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:41 pm UTC

bigjoec wrote:So to follow along with your first post on this thread, I'll leave it to you to determine what you should be mocked for -- too dumb to use the output from google autocomplete or too lazy to punch your search terms into a search bar that uses google autocomplete?
But let's hope you're appropriately shamed for getting help from a message board when that same help was so readily available from google.


There are many, many different combinations of words someone could try to get to that particular information. I probably didn't type something that started with "Bush idiot" I guess. I don't really remember what exactly I searched for. That I failed to find it via Google doesn't change the fact that I at least tried, and that is what I was criticizing - people whose first response is to get other people to do the search for them. There is a big difference between that and the question that sparked this argument. There is only one way to type the two-word phrase "cirith ungol" into Google.

You may not be able to see the difference, but that's your problem, not mine. It's pretty black-and-white.

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Aug 24, 2012 11:10 pm UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:There is a big difference between that and the question that sparked this argument. There is only one way to type the two-word phrase "cirith ungol" into Google.

You may not be able to see the difference, but that's your problem, not mine. It's pretty black-and-white.


As others have already said: If you use Google to find an answer, you educate yourself and no-one else. If you use a forum thread to find an answer, you educate yourself and everyone else who reads that thread. Yes, you could Google it, and then post "I didn't know what Cirith Ungol is so I Googled it, and apparently it's a heavy metal band" and you'd then get the actual reference explained, but then you're both Googling (to find an initial answer) and using a forum thread (to confirm that answer).

Since you're going to rely on the (context sensitive) forum answer anyway, the only gain to anyone from using Google first is to avoid someone starting a lengthy tangent arguing that they should have just used Google.

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby bigjoec » Sat Aug 25, 2012 2:51 am UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:
bigjoec wrote:So to follow along with your first post on this thread, I'll leave it to you to determine what you should be mocked for -- too dumb to use the output from google autocomplete or too lazy to punch your search terms into a search bar that uses google autocomplete?
But let's hope you're appropriately shamed for getting help from a message board when that same help was so readily available from google.


There are many, many different combinations of words someone could try to get to that particular information. I probably didn't type something that started with "Bush idiot" I guess. I don't really remember what exactly I searched for. That I failed to find it via Google doesn't change the fact that I at least tried, and that is what I was criticizing - people whose first response is to get other people to do the search for them. There is a big difference between that and the question that sparked this argument. There is only one way to type the two-word phrase "cirith ungol" into Google.

You may not be able to see the difference, but that's your problem, not mine. It's pretty black-and-white.


I'm not sure what's more amusing -- that the "just google it" guy failed so spectacularly at a simple googling, or that he seems so averse to learning how to google more effectively. (Seriously, all it took was typing "bush goog" into an auto-complete-enabled google search box and keeping an eye on the search terms that popped up -- "bush google bomb" and "bush google failure".) You may not be able to see the humor, but I suppose that's your problem, not mine.

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby J Thomas » Sat Aug 25, 2012 1:37 pm UTC

flicky1991 wrote:
bigjoec wrote:So to follow along with your first post on this thread, I'll leave it to you to determine what you should be mocked for -- too dumb to use the output from google autocomplete or too lazy to punch your search terms into a search bar that uses google autocomplete?
But let's hope you're appropriately shamed for getting help from a message board when that same help was so readily available from google.

Dammit, I thought all this was over! Can't we just say that google and forums are two different solutions to the same problem that both have advantages and disadvantages and leave it at that?


Probably not. Similarly with other moral issues. If you say "If you don't like abortion then don't have one" or "Why not let slavery just be a personal matter between a man and his slaves" then some people will have a hissy-fit because their intention is for the bad people to stop being bad. And if we compromise with evil by letting it continue to exist, then we are being immoral ourselves.
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby Max™ » Sat Aug 25, 2012 8:49 pm UTC

Wait, I'm lost, are we arguing whether google is evil or whether message boards are evil?
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby Radical_Initiator » Sat Aug 25, 2012 8:50 pm UTC

Yes.
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby Max™ » Sat Aug 25, 2012 9:26 pm UTC

I thought as much, guess I'll go google discussions on the topic...
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby Radical_Initiator » Sat Aug 25, 2012 9:30 pm UTC

Forums are lawful evil, google is neutral evil.
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby Max™ » Sat Aug 25, 2012 11:01 pm UTC

Radical_Initiator wrote:Forums are lawful evil, google is neutral evil.

So what does that make Bing after it ate Yahoo?

Yahoo was already a chaotic evil undead spam-monster, is Bing a chaotic evil lich?

Where is it's phylactery?

Wanna go on a quest?
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby Radical_Initiator » Sat Aug 25, 2012 11:27 pm UTC

Max™ wrote:
Radical_Initiator wrote:Forums are lawful evil, google is neutral evil.

So what does that make Bing after it ate Yahoo?

Yahoo was already a chaotic evil undead spam-monster, is Bing a chaotic evil lich?

Where is it's phylactery?

Wanna go on a quest?

How do you know I haven't already sold my soul into its undead service in order to be taught the arcane secrets of SEO? :twisted:
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby rmsgrey » Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:57 am UTC

J Thomas wrote:
flicky1991 wrote:
bigjoec wrote:So to follow along with your first post on this thread, I'll leave it to you to determine what you should be mocked for -- too dumb to use the output from google autocomplete or too lazy to punch your search terms into a search bar that uses google autocomplete?
But let's hope you're appropriately shamed for getting help from a message board when that same help was so readily available from google.

Dammit, I thought all this was over! Can't we just say that google and forums are two different solutions to the same problem that both have advantages and disadvantages and leave it at that?


Probably not. Similarly with other moral issues. If you say "If you don't like abortion then don't have one" or "Why not let slavery just be a personal matter between a man and his slaves" then some people will have a hissy-fit because their intention is for the bad people to stop being bad. And if we compromise with evil by letting it continue to exist, then we are being immoral ourselves.


You're absolutely right in every way. Now who's up for a Holy War against misplaced apostrophes (outside of educational contexts)? Kill the greengrocer!


On the other hand, there have been legal cases because two consenting adults wanted to draw up a legally binding slave contract between themselves and were told they couldn't - the issue with institutionalised slavery is, at least in part, because it wasn't just a personal matter between a man and his slaves, but a relationship enforced and supported by the wider society, within a legal framework...

And abortion is even murkier - successfully banning abortion would mean (temporarily) enslaving women to their unborn children. Myself, I'm against abortion, but also against irresponsible parenthood, and against compulsory sterilisation, and against genocide, which leaves me without an option I'm in favour of.

Forums v Google is even less black and white - as has been pointed out, each approach has advantages and disadvantages, so declaring one to be the one true way over the other is, at best, dangerously dogmatic.

One of the many ways to slide into evil is to decide that every one of your opinions is the word of Deity-of-choice and that you have a duty to persecute the unrighteous. Whenever you're tempted to attack a perceived evil, there are two questions you should ask yourself: "Am I being excessive?" and "What if I'm wrong?"

There may have been a hint that you may be being excessive in your zealotry at the point where you considered that (involuntary) slavery and abortion made good comparisons to asking a question on a forum...

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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby J Thomas » Sun Aug 26, 2012 9:55 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:
J Thomas wrote:
flicky1991 wrote:
bigjoec wrote:So to follow along with your first post on this thread, I'll leave it to you to determine what you should be mocked for -- too dumb to use the output from google autocomplete or too lazy to punch your search terms into a search bar that uses google autocomplete?
But let's hope you're appropriately shamed for getting help from a message board when that same help was so readily available from google.

Dammit, I thought all this was over! Can't we just say that google and forums are two different solutions to the same problem that both have advantages and disadvantages and leave it at that?


Probably not. Similarly with other moral issues. If you say "If you don't like abortion then don't have one" or "Why not let slavery just be a personal matter between a man and his slaves" then some people will have a hissy-fit because their intention is for the bad people to stop being bad. And if we compromise with evil by letting it continue to exist, then we are being immoral ourselves.


You're absolutely right in every way. Now who's up for a Holy War against misplaced apostrophes (outside of educational contexts)? Kill the greengrocer!


On the other hand, there have been legal cases because two consenting adults wanted to draw up a legally binding slave contract between themselves and were told they couldn't - the issue with institutionalised slavery is, at least in part, because it wasn't just a personal matter between a man and his slaves, but a relationship enforced and supported by the wider society, within a legal framework...


And so people are not legally allowed to enforce that kind of contract, no matter how much they want to. Meanwhile you neighborhood council can decide what color you can paint your house and even how often you must mow your lawn -- if you don't like it then live somewhere else -- and your employer can require a non-compete clause etc. The legal restriction is basicly that you can't enforce a contract that *sounds* like slavery. Legal frameworks are designed to control people's behavior, to force people to fit social expectations -- whatever those social expectations happen to be in that particular society.

And abortion is even murkier - successfully banning abortion would mean (temporarily) enslaving women to their unborn children. Myself, I'm against abortion, but also against irresponsible parenthood, and against compulsory sterilisation, and against genocide, which leaves me without an option I'm in favour of.


Yes, in the argument about who should be forced to do what, you haven't decided on a winner. You don't want to allow abortions, and you don't want to allow irresponsible parenthood, and you don't want to allow compulsory sterilization, etc. Actual libertarians would probably be extremely irate at you, because they think you shouldn't be allowed to enforce social norms except the particular ones they agree with.

Forums v Google is even less black and white - as has been pointed out, each approach has advantages and disadvantages, so declaring one to be the one true way over the other is, at best, dangerously dogmatic.


Yes, but there are advantages and disadvantages to abortion, slavery, genocide etc too. It's just that many people think the absolute moral cause overrides any practical advantage. When you argue that someone's moral stand is misplaced, that he's being dogmatic, you are only disagreeing with his morals, and I don't see that there is any absolute ground to decide who's right. It gets decided in a particular culture on the basis of practicality and tradition and such. So for example most Americans believe that it's perfectly fine to imprison cattle for their whole lives and then slaughter them in huge numbers, because only human beings have rights. Other animals are only property, and anybody can do whatever they want to animals that don't belong to anybody within the restrictions imposed by the society. If you think you would enjoy torturing stray cats, society will try to stop you not because stray cats have the right not to be tortured but because society is disgusted with people who want to do that and wants them to be locked up until they are cured. Meanwhile cows with their big sad eyes can be imprisoned for life, force-impregnated, castrated, etc because.... If at some point we decide to stop breeding cattle to eat, we will probably just genocide them.... My point here is that moral arguments come from social contexts, and have no special validity beyond the society that enforces them.

One of the many ways to slide into evil is to decide that every one of your opinions is the word of Deity-of-choice and that you have a duty to persecute the unrighteous. Whenever you're tempted to attack a perceived evil, there are two questions you should ask yourself: "Am I being excessive?" and "What if I'm wrong?"


That sounds good to me! I would add a third: "Is there enough of a social consensus behind me?". If 50% of the population is dead-set against you, you must find a way to live with them. The alternative doesn't bear much consideration. Work to spread your point of view and persuade people, but no enforcement at all. And if 20% of the population is against you, you must still try to live in peace with them. Look for ways they can conform some without compromising their principles. 20% is too much, you will win in the end if your people are dogmatic enough but it will cost way too much. 5% is too much. 1% is too much. 1% can swing an election. But when it gets down to 0.1%, then there are no limits but human decency. You can declare their beliefs a form of mental illness. You can make it illegal to be them. It's fine to refuse to hire them, or refuse to rent to them, etc. Or you can give them as much toleration as the society around you will stand. At 0.1% they don't really have rights, so you can do what you want.
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby Max™ » Mon Aug 27, 2012 1:46 am UTC

Just had to note, as a true libertarian (i.e. an anarchist who favors liberty) I am not irate over someone being unable to choose which evil they would prefer to inflict on another.

I am irate over there being a political party that so exemplifies irony they aren't even aware of the irony of being in favor of hyper-capitalist political positions and calling yourselves "The Libertarian Party", as there is nothing libertarian about the vast majority of those positions... unless you think corporations are actually people and deserve all the liberty they can get... but that's just awful.
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby J Thomas » Mon Aug 27, 2012 2:50 pm UTC

Max™ wrote:Just had to note, as a true libertarian (i.e. an anarchist who favors liberty) I am not irate over someone being unable to choose which evil they would prefer to inflict on another.

I am irate over there being a political party that so exemplifies irony they aren't even aware of the irony of being in favor of hyper-capitalist political positions and calling yourselves "The Libertarian Party", as there is nothing libertarian about the vast majority of those positions... unless you think corporations are actually people and deserve all the liberty they can get... but that's just awful.


You have described your opinions before, and you are not a libertarian by the accepted meaning of the word. You are probably a libertarian in some deep philosophical sense, the sort of sense that Thomas Jefferson and Jesus were communists, but not by the accepted meaning.

The accepted meaning boils down to this:

Everybody in the world has the absolute right to do whatever they want, provided they don't do bad things. Me and my friends will decide what's bad,

They don't say it quite that way, but that's exactly what it boils down to.

It's hard to start there and end up someplace ironical.
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby Max™ » Mon Aug 27, 2012 3:37 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:
Max™ wrote:Just had to note, as a true libertarian (i.e. an anarchist who favors liberty) I am not irate over someone being unable to choose which evil they would prefer to inflict on another.

I am irate over there being a political party that so exemplifies irony they aren't even aware of the irony of being in favor of hyper-capitalist political positions and calling yourselves "The Libertarian Party", as there is nothing libertarian about the vast majority of those positions... unless you think corporations are actually people and deserve all the liberty they can get... but that's just awful.


You have described your opinions before, and you are not a libertarian by the accepted meaning of the word. You are probably a libertarian in some deep philosophical sense, the sort of sense that Thomas Jefferson and Jesus were communists, but not by the accepted meaning.

Accepted by whom?

I ask because a little perspective might help explain my statement.

Anarchists have been using the term "libertarian" to describe themselves and their ideas since the 1850's. According to anarchist historian Max Nettlau, the revolutionary anarchist Joseph Dejacque published Le Libertaire, Journal du Mouvement Social in New York between 1858 and 1861 while the use of the term "libertarian communism" dates from November, 1880 when a French anarchist congress adopted it. [Max Nettlau, A Short History of Anarchism, p. 75 and p. 145] The use of the term "Libertarian" by anarchists became more popular from the 1890s onward after it was used in France in an attempt to get round anti-anarchist laws and to avoid the negative associations of the word "anarchy" in the popular mind (Sebastien Faure and Louise Michel published the paper Le Libertaire -- The Libertarian -- in France in 1895, for example). Since then, particularly outside America, it has always been associated with anarchist ideas and movements. Taking a more recent example, in the USA, anarchists organised "The Libertarian League" in July 1954, which had staunch anarcho-syndicalist principles and lasted until 1965. The US-based "Libertarian" Party, on the other hand has only existed since the early 1970's, well over 100 years after anarchists first used the term to describe their political ideas (and 90 years after the expression "libertarian communism" was first adopted).


The accepted meaning boils down to this:

Everybody in the world has the absolute right to do whatever they want, provided they don't do bad things. Me and my friends will decide what's bad,

They don't say it quite that way, but that's exactly what it boils down to.

It's hard to start there and end up someplace ironical.

Interesting, where did you get that?

For comparison:

Considering definitions from the American Heritage Dictionary, we find:

LIBERTARIAN: one who believes in freedom of action and thought; one who believes in free will.

SOCIALISM: a social system in which the producers possess both political power and the means of producing and distributing goods.

Just taking those two first definitions and fusing them yields:

LIBERTARIAN SOCIALISM: a social system which believes in freedom of action and thought and free will, in which the producers possess both political power and the means of producing and distributing goods.


Given the origin of the word, I'm going to continue using it as I do, and pointing out that the US Libertarian Party appropriated it and attempt to spin it as "freedom for those with money and engaged in capitalist enterprises to do what they want without government interference", more or less what you said, "me and my friends will decide what is bad", that doesn't mean they're using the word properly.

The US Libertarian Party is as libertarian as The Democratic People's Republic of North Korea is a republic which practices democracy for it's people.
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby eran_rathan » Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:11 pm UTC

Max™ wrote:The US Libertarian Party is as libertarian as The Democratic People's Republic of North Korea is a republic which practices democracy for it's people.


This is why i prefer the term 'rational anarchist' (re: 'the Moon is a Harsh Mistress', R.A. Heinlien).

“A rational anarchist believes that concepts such as ‘state’ and ‘society’ and ‘government’ have no existence save as physically exemplified in the acts of self-responsible individuals. He believes that it is impossible to shift blame, share blame, distribute blame . . . as blame, guilt, responsibility are matters taking place inside human beings singly and nowhere else. But being rational, he knows that not all individuals hold his evaluations, so he tries to live perfectly in an imperfect world . . . aware that his effort will be less than perfect yet undismayed by self-knowledge of self-failure.”
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Re: 1087: "Cirith Ungol"

Postby Max™ » Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:14 pm UTC

Not bad, I similarly use the label "naive anarchist" to mean much the same. "If men were angels, this would be heaven, as I am no angel, the best I can do is try to keep it from turning into hell."
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