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> From what I can tell, the end game is to just abolish marriage/unions in their entirety
Funny, this is what conservatives were warning about from the beginning. And people mocked them for slippery slope arguments.
> the opinions of 320 million Americans are difficult to sort through when it comes down to constitutional interpretation
> "Well, we can't agree on this. What do you say?"
Opinions of 320 million Americans don't and shouldn't matter in Constitutional interpretation—that's the whole point of an unelected judiciary. The court's job isn't to reflect the balance of public opinion, nor to anticipate the long-term direction public opinion is heading in. The court's job isn't to be the final arbiter of public debate, it's to assess whether statutory laws are in violation of the Constitution.
> This didn't remove the rights of 320 million Americans
I'm not convinced. Every single referendum on the subject of gay marriage came down against it until Iowa. The majority of states that had legal gay marriage before this decision had enacted it via judicial fiat, overturning public referenda or statutory law passed by the public's representatives. What is happening when five justices invent something unwritten in the actual text of the Constitution in order to overturn both the existing results of the democratic process and any future democratic initiatives/revisions?
- We're desperately looking for a new form of social communication over the net, one that's fairly standardized but which any one can get involved in.
This might interest you: http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2009/3/12/33338/3000
As a geopolitician, it really makes me happy to see someone emphasizing the constraining effect of geography/topography on military and demographic outcomes.
The author compares small communities to the iterated prisoner's dilemma, which has been 'solved,' with the best strategy being 'tit-for-tat.' Iterated versions of coordination games rely on reputation being known by all players. As communities scale, the number of players rises, and the incentive to coordinate falls because it's more difficult to enforce reputational costs to bad behavior.
Except online communities do have reputation and rewards/costs associated with behavior, usually in the form of points or "karma" or some other distinguishing feature. But, even in small communities, reputation systems do not prevent trolling, flaming, or crapflooding (i.e. 'defection'), and community voting is a notoriously bad system for establishing the true quality of interaction/contribution. Moderators who can ban defectors are still necessary, because reputation systems aren't enough.
Further, the prisoner's dilemma model fails to describe his prior example: the awful YouTube post. This is not a 'defection' in the way that trolling or flaming is. It is either an actual idiot or a foreign language speaker writing broken English. It's not a malicious post, even if it is useless noise. Scale will bring in anti-community trolls, but it will also bring in idiots, teenagers, and people otherwise unable to contribute at a high level (foreign language speaker, people posting from their phone, etc). Their earnest but shitty contributions aren't a defection and the iterated prisoner's dilemma reputational model does not take into account their effect on the signal-to-noise ratio and community decay.
The problem in general is the over-reliance on voting as the best or principal measure of quality contribution. Wikipedia rejected the voting model early on:
Voting up and down is a really low-investment form of interaction. Approval style voting is not ranked/relative and is context free. While voting should still be included, it should not be the principal or most important gauge of quality contribution.