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Anonymity

With the Vagabond Workstation release, I want to share my thoughts on anonymity in general. I'll start with why I announced my involvement with the project publicly.

  • Code can be analyzed and similar authors can be determined. I have a lot of public code already.

  • My fingerprints, even without that, are all over.

  • It lets me hire people to work on more core parts of SporeStack, since it's built using this.

  • I probably would have made a mistake and had a link back to me that people could find.

  • I think some people need to be willing to put their name on unpopular things and ideas.

Realistically, it might be another 6 months of work to scrub myself off of it, I might still miss something, and then possibly have some explaining to do. The truth tends to always find its way out. There are numerous possible downsides to this, but in general I've chosen to live my life out of the shadows. So it's probably odd that I made something to help you live in them.

I also am in a position where I think I can hunker down to one degree or another if pursued. This may or may not be true in practice, but I have been building my life to a higher degree of self-reliance than usual.

Anonymity can be used for good and bad, like everything else. But most notably, it can be used to do the things you're not able to do with your name behind them. In a good society, this is evil. In an evil society, this is good. Of course this is in a very generalistic sense. As thought is policed and business regulations increase, living with a modicum of liberty might only come from anonymity. Anonymity, in this sense, serves the purpose of protecting you from the power of the state. Or possibly the power of the public. Numerous people are chastised for their views. People are kicked out of colleges and out of social circles for having "unacceptable beliefs" or sometimes even for sharing facts that don't line up with a very vocal group's opinions.

I predict that society could fall and fall to the point where what we view as mostly normal now becomes criminal. While many battles are best fought out on the open, sometimes you stay alive in the shadows.

I think there is a place for people to live with their name on their "heinous" thoughts, and for others to spread their ideas covertly. I have gone too far in the deep end, opening up about a great many subjects, to the point where many would not consider employing me if they knew what I had said out in the open. I cherish ideas and free thought. I want to learn and grow, so I must. In a closed-mouth society where we censor to protect emotions, we deny rational thought and progress of our species. Not that I like insulting people's emotions, but I don't think someone's feelings should trump someone's right to speak. I also think people should speak with respect and not expect to be heard if they spew garbage.

I also believe firmly that ideas should be kept alive. If nothing else, to learn from them. There are many valid ideas that are unpopular and yet correct, which people will say they have with the mask, but without they hide it. This is not good as it further pushes the idea into the realm of "unacceptable" and only for the anonymous.

Somewhat different topic:

Government regulations tend to favor the established companies, which limits competition and increases the number of monopolies. This lowers the quality of competition on the market, leading to worse goods and slower innovation on the whole. I think that everyone should be able to compete. Equality in one sense, and meritocracy on the other.

On this tangent, democracy is a system which pits the majority against the minority. There are few checks and balances in place. Perhaps I am idealistic, thinking deep down that we do not need government and that two neighbors giving handshakes should mean something, but I at least want to see a push to that direction. Or perhaps a change in quantity above all. We cannot be happy under the same set of rules when our numbers are in the hundreds of millions. People will not agree and will fight. Smaller, tighter knit communities with more diversity in methodology are more likely to succeed in some meaningful way than subjecting the masses to the legal power of themselves. Most of us do not know how to build roads, yet we claim to know how with our votes. Most of us do not know how to have a stable economy, let alone run our own businesses. Yet we vote to tell business owners how to run their business without second thought. In a democracy, our power exceeds our humility for the voter, and our humility exceeds our power for the enabler. The natural order of things is not preserved and opportunities shrink for all.