User talk:Leucosticte/Archive 1

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Hello, Nathan Larson, and welcome to the Mises Wiki! Thanks for signing up – we're glad to have you! If you need help getting started, take a look at our help pages.

Community discussion takes place at the MisesWiki Commons, so feel free to post any questions you might have there or on my talk page. Please sign your messages on talk and discussion pages using four tildes (~~~~); this will automatically insert your username and the date. Again, welcome! Pestergaines 14:01, 8 July 2012 (MSD)

Hi there. Wanted to offer my own welcome as well. Looks like you've hit the ground running here and certainly started finding your way around. Thanks for the initial contributions. Your presence is already appreciated. --John James 12:10, 10 July 2012 (MSD)

User Talk and captcha

I got your request message, but please in the future direct all "talk" content to the appropriate discussion/talk pages. I'll see what I can get done about the captcha. --John James 09:15, 11 July 2012 (MSD)

editing other user's pages

Please refrain from redirecting or otherwise editing other user's pages as you did here. User pages are intended to be the creative space of the user only, and not to be edited by other members without consent. --John James 09:32, 11 July 2012 (MSD)

Gotcha, but I would also argue it's not the greatest practice in the world to leave one's userpage redlinked, since sometimes people try to link to it and then it goes nowhere. Having said that, I will abide by what I now realize is the norm of this wiki. Thank you for pointing it out. Nathan Larson 09:40, 11 July 2012 (MSD)
Yeah I know what you mean, and it is uncommon that a user will have his user page remain un-created (i.e. no content) thus resulting in the red link, but if they do not wish to have a page, there's no reason it should be forced upon them. Certainly not without any notice. --John James 09:43, 11 July 2012 (MSD)


Just added a note on my page about the literature template. Basically the few editors here already knew about it but when I thought to mention it to you I figured I'd just add the note under the Useful stuff section. Thought you might find it helpful at some point. Happy editing ;) --John James 09:53, 11 July 2012 (MSD)

OK, thanks. Nathan Larson (talk) 09:38, 13 July 2012 (MSD)
So, just out of curiosity, why did you not use it when you created a book article 22 minutes after thanking me for it? --John James 23:00, 13 July 2012 (MSD)
Mostly because the primary purpose of that edit was to test out my new signature. But I see now that your template actually improves the page quite a bit, if one can find the resources to put in the appropriate places in the template. Nathan Larson (talk) 23:08, 13 July 2012 (MSD)

Transparency‎ and Majoritarianism

Hallo Nathan, I was just checking out your article on Transparency, and thought, 'Finally!', when I noticed the following sentence in the very first paragraph: "The government makes poor enough decisions when the public is able to scrutinize the bases for those decisions, but it is even worse when they are kept in the dark." I started to wonder where that quote came from as the first reference was from the Constitution of the US! Then I got it. :)

There were some more things which seemed out of place, so I decided to read your article on [1] - and that's where I really have to object to the choice of words. Allow me to explain why:

The Mises Wiki, imperfect as it is, should be an encyclopedia. We should not editorialize and enter our own opinions - although they necessarily tend to seep through. (And to be fair, there are pages where some editorializing is okay - Talk and Argumentation pages, for example.) However, most of the content should be as neutral and well-referenced as possible to make it useful and respectable. There are countless other pages out there that rave about this or that evil in the world. Here, we want to approach things differently - the bad things (and the good things) should be defined as neutrally or even 'mainstream' as possible (hence my preference for sources like Britannica for definitions), and then show-don't-tell why is a particular thing considered bad (good, both, etc.) and by whom - then spell out the consequences. So even if we feel strongly about something, let's not offer opinion pages but let the 'authorities' speak instead, mapping out the arguments of the different sides of a debate. For example, we don't say that Inflation is evil, but rather define what it is and show its workings and consequences - even someone who disagrees with the typical libertarian/Austrian position on inflation should be able to see why they are so against it - and then we can lead a discussion on an entirely different level. (Similarly, let it not be said here that Paul Krugman is incompetent, but show all the instances where he contradicts himself or makes mistakes. :) )

Can you please edit the mentioned pages and remove, tone down and/or source the respective statements as needed?

And not to forget - please don't take this in the wrong way. Your contributions are greatly appreciated and you are doing great things for this site. Some things simply had to be said. Thank you for understanding. Pestergaines (talk) 01:11, 28 July 2012 (MSD)

Okay, I will bear that in mind in my future editing. Although I believe part of the whole point of Mises Wiki was to get away from the restrictions of NPOV. "Unlike Wikipedia, Mises Wiki is focused on a particular subject area, and it does not attempt to adhere to a policy of neutrality", and "Wikipedia is an encyclopedia that . . . aspires to a neutral point of view. And of course, the major difference for the Mises Wiki is that we aspire to an Austrian point of view. We want to be an Austrian resource. Anyone who comes to, we're not trying to fool anybody . . ."
That to me could be construed as an invitation to (or at least not excluding the possibility to) open fire with polemics (at least sometimes, and to some extent), much as Mises often did in Human Action. Of course, that book is not entirely just a bunch of unsourced opinions, like one of Any Rand's nonfiction works. But Human Action, and many of his other works, appears to have been intended both a textbook for students to learn from and as a rallying cry, a call to action, etc.
For example, he'll make rather opinionated statements such as "But all the other intelligent men are not only frivolous but mischievous in neglecting to educate and instruct themselves for the best performance of their duties as sovereign voters" or "But all reasonable men are called upon to familiarize themselves with the teachings of economics." Statements like those cause those books to not read like other textbooks, but I and other teachers (e.g. Thomas Carl Rustici) have successfully used them in the classroom. The students like them and are inspired by them. Check out his class readings — not the most neutral of works! And his lectures are polemic from beginning to end. Hmm, unfortunately I can't find any of his lectures on YouTube; it may have been taken down.
Anyway, back to the subject at hand: Mises does not attempt to back up every assertion he makes with references. For example, when he says "As soon as the economic freedom which the market economy grants to its members is removed, all political liberties and bills of rights become humbug," I don't see him cite examples of particular countries or situations. It is left for the reader to try to present facts to refute, but the logic is strong enough, and the phenomenon is familiar enough to people's experience, that there's a presumption in favor of Mises being correct. Or when he says, "Syndicalism has never been anything else than the ideal of plundering hordes," he doesn't give examples of specific plundering hordes that adopted syndicalism. Citation needed!
Likewise, need I really immediately give examples of how "The government makes poor enough decisions when the public is able to scrutinize the bases for those decisions, but it is even worse when they are kept in the dark"? Someone is welcome to add examples, but to much of our audience, it's probably like going into an explanation of how the sky is blue. It's great to have, but doesn't necessarily have to be there immediately, because the audience already believes it and isn't going to view the rest of what we have to say as suspect because we haven't taken the time to prove that point yet.
If I argue with you, please take it sometimes in the spirit that I'm playing devil's advocate, in an attempt to see, through the process of argumentation, if there might be strengths to a different editing philosophy, or whether you are actually right. I do not necessarily adhere to a particular editing philosophy in a partisan or inflexible manner, and certainly as a newcomer some deference is due (if only because of possible ignorance about the history of the project), but I also believe that wikis can evolve and transform over time. What if we put out a biased page, and that attracts an editor from an opposing viewpoint to explain why we're wrong? That will require an expanding or enhancing of our arguments to meet the objection, and so your goal of presenting the facts eventually succeeds.
Also, isn't neutrality a bit elusive? We can say "Some people believe x for a, b, and c reasons, while others believe y for d, e, and f reasons." But even that leaves open the question of why we didn't cover all the viewpoints out there and give them equal space. What is the reader to think? It would be reasonable for him to conclude that no editor viewed those other views important enough to cover. Every wiki will be biased if for no other reason because of what editors are interested or not interested in devoting effort to adding.
And there is also the question of, If we're just going to be another Wikipedia, what is the point? How do we improve on them if we have the same NPOV policy? Maybe some readers want polemics. Most of them probably reach the wiki from searches of Also, it's a bit entertaining, or it adds a bit of spice, sometimes to read Austrian writers' sarcasm, polemics, etc. in works that would otherwise be rather dry. Others' mileage may vary, I guess.
It seems that most user-edited online encyclopedias either fail miserably (e.g. Citizendium) or have blatantly biased articles (e.g. Conservapedia). Citizendium might not be a fair example, because they have other problems, e.g. a cumbersome process for joining the community. But Conservapedia has done all right. Better than us, in terms of activity. Of course, that too may not be a fair example, because conservative philosophy is more popular than libertarianism and the Austrian School. A better comparison might be to Libertapedia, which this wiki outshines. So, who knows, maybe you're right.
How about this compromise (which is what I've mostly been doing): Make the articles pretty biased toward the Austrian school, but do so by quoting and citing people like Rothbard, Mises, etc. rather than baldly stating an opinion that emanates from the encyclopedia itself? Nathan Larson (talk) 02:07, 28 July 2012 (MSD)
Okay, that is a lot to consider. Let me answer at least some of your points:
  • Of course, Mises Wiki does not follow Wikipedia's NPOV - it has a clearly defined Point Of View! However, the very same section you quoted also explains why this wiki does attempt to maintain a certain air of neutrality:
  • "While Mises Wiki is more focused than Wikipedia, and does not require neutrality, the ideas of the Austrian School and libertarianism are not uniform—in fact, among the members of both of these groups there is strong disagreement on many topics. Therefore, articles should use verifiable, reliable sources to compare and contrast the various views within the classical liberal tradition."
  • "Furthermore, many readers may come from other political and economic backgrounds. To encourage them to learn more and ultimately accept Austro-libertarianism, Mises Wiki articles should be accessible to non-Austrians and should attempt to provide a bridge from their worldview—whether neo-conservative, Keynesian, Green, or anything else—to Austro-libertarian views."
  • And as is elsewhere noted, the wiki should also serve as a research tool and for students, concluding "The ideal Mises Wiki article clearly and concisely presents the Austro-libertarian perspective, contrasting it with opposing views, and being careful to provide verifiable information."
  • So, we take over a part of Wikipedia's workings - and a part of the reason why it is so widely respected - and apply it for our purposes.
  • As for the expected audience - the wiki is certainly not targeted only to people that already agree with us on all points (keep in mind the large group of minarchists for starters). And we want to talk to people that do disagree with us strongly on pretty much anything, which makes it all the more important to not push personal views on every single page.
  • "Also, it's a bit entertaining, or it adds a bit of spice, sometimes to read Austrian writers' sarcasm, polemics, etc. in works that would otherwise be rather dry." - Here I actually agree, within reason. So, where appropriate, add quotes of Austrian authors where they engage in sarcasm, polemics, etc. :)
  • Again, there are countless other pages out where people write about their opinions on any given topic and debate to their hearts' content. Similarly to Wikipedia, this site is not as much focused on debating issues, but rather focuses on documenting these debates. We should not editorialize and insert our personal opinions but attempt to present the libertarian point of view in its most refined forms - referenced back to solid resources.
  • In short, I want the good features of Wikipedia with a certain POV, without devolving into the raving madness of Conservapedia or, Mises forbid, RationalWiki. ;)
  • And finally: "Make the articles pretty biased toward the Austrian school, but do so by quoting and citing people like Rothbard, Mises, etc. rather than baldly stating an opinion that emanates from the encyclopedia itself?" See! This is where we agree on! :) Pestergaines (talk) 00:32, 29 July 2012 (MSD)

Re: Spam

Hallo Nathan,

after a week of the new anti-spam measures in place, we had about 3 or 4 spam posts total. That's what we had pretty much every DAY before, so big thanks to you for pointing to a much better solution!

Cheers, Pestergaines (talk) 14:20, 5 August 2012 (MSD)

You're welcome. Unfortunately, it has come at the cost of new user registrations no longer working at all. I sent David Veksler an email a week or two ago, and have also posted my proposed solution to MisesWiki:Configuration. Nathan Larson (talk) 15:47, 5 August 2012 (MSD)


Hallo Nathan,

you've got me there... what is a page on Paruresis for, i.e. how does it contribute to the global repository of classical-liberal thought? What useful economical, political, historical etc. thoughts can we derive from it, what sources can we find in it, what is the Austrian or liberal position on it? I don't mind if people post random stuff but this is even more out there than usual, so it makes me confused. :)

(Sorry I have been so sparse lately, been trapped in several projects and at work... but I'll come back eventually.)

Best regards, Pestergaines (talk) 10:38, 26 August 2012 (MSD)

I thought there was an interesting contrast between how private sector and public sector entities approach the problem, due to the differing incentives they face. Also, it is an interesting case study in the application of laws intended to protect people with disabilities. These regulations requiring accommodations probably will not help paruretics in the workplace any more than the laws requiring wheelchair access to the workplace helped wheelchair-bound job applicants. It is better for everyone to have employment-at-will and allow discrimination based on paruresis or any other attribute the employer finds problematic.
I saw no references in the Austrian literature to it, so I performed my own little analysis. I hope that's okay. By the way — what would you think of the idea of creating an Essay namespace for the posting of original thought on economic and political issues relevant to the Austrian school? It could be a bit similar to the Mises Blog, except more suitable for mass collaboration. I'm not sure how much use it would get (advertising on could help), but it could be worth a try. If it turned out to be unhelpful, we could always eliminate it later, and move the content to some other site that's willing to host it. Nathan Larson (talk) 10:54, 26 August 2012 (MSD)
I see you went ahead and made it, let's see how it works out. Actually, it is a pretty good idea. Quite a few of the pages created recently (and okay, some older ones too) are more essays than proper encyclopedic articles, so we could move most of them into this "Essayspace". Which is a little odd name, I'd suggest simply Essay. By the way, what does this page do? 13:16, 22 October 2012 (MSD)
Sorry, the last post was from me. I was wondering what the page is for, and why there are all the broken links to rationalwikiwikiwiki. Pestergaines (talk) 20:49, 22 October 2012 (MSD)
Good catch; I thought I had fixed that issue after I copied the template from RWWW, but I guess not. Anyway, it was intended as a projectspace page to link to projectspace pages concerning other namespaces, as well as the AllPages special page for each namespace. Nathan Larson (talk) 22:02, 22 October 2012 (MSD)


Hallo Nathan. When (and how) did you turn into an Administrator, if one may ask? Pestergaines (talk) 23:39, 15 October 2012 (MSD)

I took the liberty of promoting myself via mysql after David Veksler gave me server access. I figured it would be useful for maintenance and troubleshooting purposes. My philosophy about it is that if you're going to have server access, it's pointless to not have sysop access too; the whole purpose of not being a sysop is so that you don't have capabilities with which you can't be trusted, but if you've been trusted with the tools needed to change anything whatsoever in the database or file system, then you already have power to block, delete, and all the other stuff that sysops do. It's fairly common in the wikisphere, and often convenient, for developers to be allowed to add themselves as sysops; in fact, I don't know of any wiki or other site where that's not the practice. If the developer has access to the back door, he might as well have access to the front door too. Nathan Larson (talk) 00:17, 16 October 2012 (MSD)
If David added you then it makes sense. It was just surprising to see you acting all over the place without any announcement or trace in the logs. Welcome to the fold! Use your new powers responsibly. Pestergaines (talk) 11:57, 22 October 2012 (MSD)
Thanks. In these types of situations (i.e. when I'm also wearing the developer hat), I generally view it as expedient to use the sysop powers pretty sparingly. That is, I prefer to leave it to some other sysop to take action unless the sysop action in question would be unlikely to attract any controversy. Nathan Larson (talk) 06:06, 27 October 2012 (MSD)

"mises wiki" prefix

Nathan, I have to assume you're the one who changed the MisesWiki prefix to include a space. I was wondering if you're aware that that has broken all the previous links with that prefix. Tex2002ans couldn't find the Typos page he's worked so hard on, and thought it was gone. Not even the Commons link in the default wiki sidebar works.

That prefix was created without a space for a reason. It is not good syntax to have to be having space (requiring an underscore) for system pages. Could you undo this change please? And in the future if you could put a notice or invite some kind of discussion, it would help avoid such confusion. --John James (talk) 05:28, 16 October 2012 (MSD)

Mitt Romney

Hi Nathan, please check this page and the changes I've performed on the Romney article. Thanks. Pestergaines (talk) 00:45, 18 November 2012 (MSK)

Errors on page

Hi, I notice PHP errors on several pages like "Warning: unlink(/home/web/public_html/wiki/mediawiki/images/thumb/f/fb/Yes_check.svg/20px-Yes_check.svg.png) [function.unlink]: Permission denied in /home/web/public_html/wiki/mediawiki/includes/filebackend/FSFileBackend.php on line 428" - see e.g. MisesWiki:Call to Action/Austrian predictions or the essays. Any idea what's going on? Pestergaines (talk) 15:45, 30 November 2012 (MSK)

There appear to be permissions problems. I am working on resolving the issue. Nathan Larson (talk) 15:51, 30 November 2012 (MSK)
The issue has been resolved. Nathan Larson (talk) 16:36, 30 November 2012 (MSK)
Nicely resolved! I noticed another thing: the favicon seems to have disappeared. Can you please check? Pestergaines (talk) 16:52, 1 December 2012 (MSK)
Fixed. Depending on your browser, it might take awhile to appear. (On mine, it never disappeared, probably because it was cached on my local system.) Nathan Larson (talk) 17:02, 1 December 2012 (MSK)

Page and Index namespaces

I imagine you've figured it out by now, but in response to your question on my talk page: the page and index namespaces are used to hold wiki versions of printed texts. The process goes like this:

  1. Scan a printed work, page by page
  2. Collect the scans into a single file, usually with a .djvu extension
  3. Upload the file to the wiki
  4. Create an index page for the file. This index page automatically generates a unique link to each page in the file
  5. Create a page in the page namespace for each page in the file. Here, you use OCR, typing, or other means to exactly replicate the content of the page
  6. Create a page in the main namespace that transcludes (contains) a series of pages from the page namespace.

This functionality is live at Wikisource -- for example, No Treason:

  • The djvu file is at [2]
  • The index is at [3]
  • One of the pages is at [4]
  • The collected chapter is at [5]

I attempted to replicate this here, but was unable to do so due to technical difficulties that I could not overcome. The original plan was to convert a number of works from the Mises archive to digital format with help from volunteers using the wiki.

Hope this helps; let me know if I can be of further assistance. Forgottenman (talk) 05:42, 13 December 2012 (MSK)

Nesting level error

Here's a new one: when trying to submit changes to some pages, the following error appears: "Fatal error: Maximum function nesting level of '100' reached, aborting! in /home/web/public_html/wiki/mediawiki/includes/parser/Preprocessor_DOM.php on line 985"

To see it in action, try to add some content to e.g. UK. This may be the template that's the cause: and this may be a solution:

See also for more errors. Looks like we need some of your code mastery! Pestergaines (talk) 01:34, 5 October 2013 (MSK)

Fixed. I increased the maximum nesting level to 200. It runs pretty slowly, though. Nathan Larson (talk) 07:17, 5 October 2013 (MSK)

People on Facebook

Please tell me you are not going to create a page for every guy that has a few Facebook friends. :) Pestergaines (talk) 10:36, 17 October 2013 (MSK)

Oh, well. I dunno, it's the new media and all. Gotta stay on the cutting edge. There's always the Miscellany: namespace if mainspace placements raise too many eyebrows. But really, where do we draw the line on notability? Quite the conundrum in this modern age. In any age, really.
Some libertarians specialize in lengthy books that a lot of people have trouble digesting; others specialize in sound bites posted to social media. Who is to say which is more influential? Both are part of the value chain that produces more libertarians.
You should friend/follow (probably the latter, since he's reached his friend quota and might have to unfriend me to make room for you) Chris though, if you haven't already; he really does have some good posts. :) Nathan Larson (talk) 10:58, 17 October 2013 (MSK)
Actually, posting pictures or sound bites on Facebook sounds like a good place to draw the line. Yep, some of his stuff is funny. Other than that, he doesn't seem very remarkable.
Here's a notability test that's very imperfect but can be a good start: who says he is popular? "Reasons commonly cited for his popularity ..." - who says that? "neologism ... was coined with respect to Lyspooner." - who coined it? If somebody is considered notable by other notable folks, perhaps he is notable himself. Facebook statistics alone do not seem like a good reason for me (and you might agree.)
In another topic - please don't create random categories that contain only to one article - unless you mean to create more articles. We have a lot of those things already and they don't serve much purpose if they don't group things together. Pestergaines (talk) 23:36, 20 October 2013 (MSK)
I was about to add some more points to that essay and rename it reflect that there is some stuff that Facebook is unique in offering, which is why it is so addictive. Facebook is in serious need of some reforms, though, I think.
Categories sometimes start out with one person; they don't have to stay that way. To say "please don't create random categories that contain only to one article - unless you mean to create more articles" seems to me to be sort of like saying "please don't add a stub template unless you tend to expand the article". Maybe expansion will happen, maybe it won't. One hopes it will, but it's not guaranteed. To add it is basically to say "It should be expanded". Even if it never does get expanded, the fact remains that it should have been, so the label was not wrong. Then again, if the article, and other articles in that category, shouldn't exist to begin with, that's another matter.
"If somebody is considered notable by other notable folks" sounds like a potential catch-22, due to the infinite regress. It's true, though, that the weasel wording should probably be excised from the article. Unless, of course, it's transwikied or moved to another namespace.
There should be someplace in the wikisphere for everything. But where? The wikinode lists Libertapedia, LPedia, Wikibéral, etc. and those are just in the libertarian sector. The fragmentation wouldn't be such a problem, except that it's hard to even keep those wikis active; people just don't have time to check that many watchlists and recent changes pages. There's a technological solution, but it's going to take awhile to implement. Oh well.
Anyway, I'm going to consider next time whether Miscellany: or some other site such as Libertapedia would be a better venue, when the case seems borderline. Hopefully that will reduce the amount of conflict. My tone above probably sounds argumentative; actually, sometimes in retreating, I just want to put out there all possible counter-arguments that were in the back of my mind, and which if left unexpressed would make me uneasy. I do this even as I acquiesce to the fact that on the whole, the other person is correct enough that he should win. Nathan Larson (talk) 04:17, 21 October 2013 (MSK)
Well, there's a difference between categories and stubs - even short stubs can be useful, while categories with only page are pretty much useless. (As said, we already have a few of those.) Categories are supposed to link pages together. If you are going to create more pages of a kind, or think that someone will within a reasonable timeframe, do it. Otherwise, there's not much point.
Notability is a hard topic and is - and mostly likely will stay - unresolved for some more time. On the one hand, I want to err on the side of having more content rather than less. On the other hand, I don't want to dilute Mises Wiki into an everything goes place where everyone will create a page advertising whatever they happen to do or like at the time. I want it to be relevant. Talk about hard to achieve. Pestergaines (talk) 02:19, 22 October 2013 (MSK)
You have a good point; "everything goes" wikis tend not to survive very long. There has to be a theme around which the site is focused. I guess it's just a matter of using namespaces for what they're intended for; mainspace is supposed to be kept to a certain standard, because it's pretty much the showcase. Nathan Larson (talk) 03:29, 22 October 2013 (MSK)

What's up?

You seem to be pretty active these last few days. Why the change of name? Pestergaines (talk) 04:06, 18 December 2013 (MSK)

Oh, I didn't think I'd been all that active compared to, say, last year, when I wrote all those essays. I was trying to think of an explanation for the log entry for the name change, but couldn't come up with anything, so I left it blank. Sometimes I have trouble figuring out what to put in those summaries; I have a similar problem when I'm programming and need to think of a name for a function or parameter. Often, I name them something misleading or non-descriptive because I can't think of something better. I'm creative about some stuff, but other stuff I'm very uncreative about.
"Leucosticte" is a name I got by asking a random word generator for an obscure word. I looked up what it meant and it seemed fairly harmless and without any undesirable connotations, so I began using it. I don't mind being called "Nathan" or "Nate" in the real world, but I find "Leucosticte" to be more aesthetically pleasing than "Nathan Larson" as a username. Plus it's useful to learn how to spell that word in case you need to write about mountain finches at some point.
I've decided that it's a bad practice to use one's real name in the wikisphere. I used to think that sort of transparency was desirable, because it helps people who are interested in your activities in one place find you in another, which could facilitate collaboration. I thought that people were being paranoid when they wrote articles such as this.
But I got burnt pretty badly back in December 2012, when I found out that opinions, desires and other thoughts posted online under one's real name can be used against the person in the real world, even if no criminal intent or plan was expressed. I used to think that, despite all the other freedoms we've lost, we at least retain the right to say what we want without being punished, as long as we don't threaten violence, conspire criminally, violate intellectual property, distribute illegal pornography, or commit other illegal acts, but that's not always true. Once you attract the government's attention and they have you in their crosshairs, they only need the slightest excuse to pull the trigger (metaphorically); and the statute books contain a lot of excuses. Once they have an excuse in hand, virtually all of your other personal characteristics (with the obvious exceptions of traits like race, color, etc. that pose no threat to the statist quo) are fair game as reasons to act harshly against you, per 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)(1) and 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)(2)(C), among other laws.
Transparency can work against a person from the other direction too — if people find out details about your offline life, they can accuse you of being biased in what you do online. It doesn't matter so much at a place like Mises Wiki, but it matters a lot on Wikipedia. William Connolley's biggest mistake was connecting his Wikipedia identity to his real-world identity.
It's sad that Wikipedia would reward being deviously underhanded and secretive and punish honesty and openness, but that's how it goes. There are probably plenty of people there who manipulate the system just as badly as he did to push their agenda and suppress contrary viewpoints, but they're subtle enough about it, and savvy enough about working within the culture, and patient enough, to be able to stay under the radar. A lot of succeeding in these wiki-battles is about devoting inordinate amounts of time to the project over a long period, beyond what your adversaries are able and willing to invest. The first person to lose his cool or to get fed up loses the fight.
How do you defeat such people? Or, as was asked in Make Love, Not Warcraft, "How do you kill that which has no life?" You can't. The ArbCom might be the epitome of that phenomenon; consider the Vogon-like mentality you would have to have to meet voters' criteria for getting elected to that position. You have to have never said anything edgy, thrown a tantrum in frustration at the majoritarian wiki-bureaucracy, or committed a youthful indiscretion online (that anyone knows about). There's not much forgiveness or tolerance left in the wikisphere; the standard offer is pretty much dead. I recently posted some arguments concerning that, but it's probably too late to reverse the tide.
Inclupedia is probably the wikisphere's best hope, but it's hard to pursue that sort of project without help. I'd overlooked the importance of morale, thinking that all I really need is a computer, food and shelter to accomplish whatever I wish to do, as far as Internet projects are concerned. Humans are not quite that simple, though. Motivation can be sapped by any number of demoralizing factors.
Perhaps the most lonely people are those who come up with new ideas, because at the moment of the idea's inception, there is no one else who shares it. Rothbard called his wife "the indispensable framework". I wonder if Mises would have been able to write Human Action without Margit's providing moral support? It's easy to do a small project without feeling any emotional need to talk to anyone else who cares about it; huge projects like a book are a different matter. I think that's why a lot of Internet startups are partnerships.
Have you ever read Les Misérables? I've never read any other novel that depicted certain aspects of the human condition so poignantly, such as the fact that in life, sometimes no matter what we do, we have reason to feel guilt and regret. E.g., do you let Champmathieu get wrongly condemned in your place for the sake of the greater good? Most people, when their own potential suffering is added to the equation, start to view "the greater good" as a pretty appealing option.
It's easy to say "I have to do what's necessary to ensure that I am in a position to do good in the future." The problem is, those "necessary" acts can sometimes produce so much guilt that one becomes incapacitated from actually doing the good one intended to do. Or one finds that one such "necessary" act leads to another, and it never ends; and by the time one reaches the end of one's life, one still has never gotten around to doing that great good that would have made up for all the evil.
But what can one do? It seems in this life, we can (1) surrender to evil, or (2) suffer the consequences of not surrendering (which include being subjected to some rather painful experiences and being deprived of any position of influence in society or ability to provide for one's loved ones), or (3) commit suicide. Some libertarians would say that the last option is unethical (at any rate, some people aren't capable of it, so for them it's a moot point). The second option is more than most people (including me) can stomach for very long, because fortitude is only available in limited supplies. So that leaves surrender. But I guess we can justify surrender by saying "I post to Mises Wiki about how great it would be if society didn't require us to surrender to evil; that makes up for the fact that for now, I do surrender to it."
Strange than in a world of 7 billion people, a large percentage of whom are interconnected via an Internet they spend a great deal of time on, it's still possible to be alone in one's endeavors, interests, etc. One could say it simply reflects the beautiful diversity of the world, that it's possible to be so different despite there being so many people who could have, by chance, been different in the same way. One has an opportunity to stand out and be unique, which can be very advantageous. True, if you can handle the crushing pain of isolation. Nathan Larson (talk) 19:05, 18 December 2013 (MSK)

Available to chat about Objections?


You made some good comments on the Objections topic. I'd be happy to exchange by email or otherwise with you and improve that page. Let me know. You can find my email on this page -- Julien Couvreur (aka Dumky)

Sure, my contact info is, Leucosticte (talk) 12:37, 8 January 2014 (EST)


I'm guessing you gave me privileges to take care of the spam? If so, thanks. I think I got most of it. Smith (talk) 11:22, 1 August 2016 (EDT)

Good choice! And thanks for doing it! Pestergaines (talk) 17:49, 3 August 2016 (EDT)