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Orwell was 26 years too early

War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.

UPDATE: An interesting article in The Guardian makes the case that this is “the first really sustained confrontation between the established order and the culture of the internet. … Our rulers have a choice to make: either they learn to live in a WikiLeakable world, with all that implies in terms of their future behaviour; or they shut down the internet.”

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42 Comments

  1. Don wrote:

    OMG!! This isn’t ironic, by the way. It’s downright terrifying, making you a bonafide terrorist for publishing such truths. Now, that’s ironic. ‘>D

    Saturday, December 11, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Permalink
  2. Court wrote:

    I agree with nearly everything you post on here, and I repost and re-link.

    But I just realized, Iron Knee, that I have no idea who you are. I post with my name – why don’t you?

    As you’ve said on here, Julian Assange has elephant-worthy nuts. So why do you hide behind a pseudonym?

    Saturday, December 11, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Permalink
  3. Don wrote:

    And who says my name is really “Don”?

    heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh (diabolical laugh)

    Saturday, December 11, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Permalink
  4. Jeff wrote:

    Pretty soon, we’ll start praising “the government” for its generosity when it cuts our benefits and social programs into non-existence. Then, all we have to do is look upon the face of terrorism (Bin Laden and Assange are interchangeable at this point) for our five-minute HATE each day, and we’ll be positively happy when we’re whisked away by the thought-police. Let the Ministry Of Truth come forth!

    Saturday, December 11, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Permalink
  5. patriotsgt wrote:

    I’m watching you Don, we know who you are! ;)

    Saturday, December 11, 2010 at 5:04 pm | Permalink
  6. Iron Knee wrote:

    Court, wouldn’t it be ironic if I turned out to be Big Brother and — like in the book — I’m attracting secret rebels so I can then re-educate them.

    Naw, it is pretty easy to figure out who I am. Several readers have done it already. I’m not hiding. Yes, I use a pen name, but so did Samuel Langhorne Clemens.

    Saturday, December 11, 2010 at 6:46 pm | Permalink
  7. falkelord wrote:

    Yeah but mark twain was pretentious, you seem like a nice guy!

    Seriously though, i have to give my quarterly congrats to you ik for your work on this website. Why I remember when we were afraid of an irony shortage after the election!

    Saturday, December 11, 2010 at 7:19 pm | Permalink
  8. Court wrote:

    Then if it’s not a secret, out with it.

    Look, I repost your stuff all the time. I’m arguing on Facebook right now about this very post. With real people, with real names.

    I’m not going to keep on doing it if you’re going to hide behind a cloak of anonymity, easy to crack as it may be.

    Saturday, December 11, 2010 at 7:32 pm | Permalink
  9. Iron Knee wrote:

    That would take all the fun out of it!

    A little over a year ago I was at a party and ran into an old co-worker and friend of mine. He started telling me about this new website he was reading and as he described it, I told him “Yeah, I know that website, I’m Iron Knee”. He totally did a double take and said “You’re Iron Knee? You’re Iron Knee?!?” so loudly that everyone at the party turned. I was cracking up laughing.

    As for Falkelord’s comment about an irony shortage — I started this website in May 2008 and fully expected that readership would die after the election. Boy was I wrong about that. Readership actually took off *after* the election and kept growing. It seems to have leveled off now, but I’m still trapped writing it. Mostly because I love all the comments you guys leave. It drives my wife crazy when I have to find an internet cafe while we are traveling to keep up my posts.

    You can see the traffic stats by clicking on the word “VISITORS” at the bottom right of each page (or by using Google Analytics or Alexa).

    UPDATE: I think the reason I prefer writing under an assumed name is that I dislike it when sites become fixated around personalities. The thing I least like about WikiLeaks is that it is all about Julian Assange. At least part of that is not Assange’s fault, it is because the US media (along with the US government) seems to require a name to attach to organizations (not just Assange, but Osama bin Laden and almost any widespread movement on the Internet). I remember in 1999 when there were widespread protests in Seattle over the WTO meetings, and the media kept trying to identify the “leaders” of the protests. But people I know who participated uniformly said that most of the protests were spontaneous and not organized in advance. That drove both the government and the media nuts. They couldn’t believe that normal people could do anything without someone telling them what to do.

    Saturday, December 11, 2010 at 8:30 pm | Permalink
  10. Court wrote:

    Lame. Um, you don’t remind me of Julian Assange, who’s actually out there sticking his nuts in the fire. You’re a dude who runs a website that is mostly an aggregator of what other people say, and you won’t even use your real name to do that.

    No, you remind me of Molly Norris, actually.

    Not that you care what with all your millions of page clicks and all but as soon as I’m done typing this I’m off to unsubscribe and I won’t be reposting off this site anymore. Too bad, there’s a lot of good stuff on here – most of it produced by people with names, I note.

    Saturday, December 11, 2010 at 9:39 pm | Permalink
  11. Patricia Andrews wrote:

    You know, I once made a point about real names having to stand up for what they say, but in this case, what is said on this site usually CAN stand the light of day. Court, I think you’re a little over the top on this one!

    Saturday, December 11, 2010 at 9:54 pm | Permalink
  12. Paul Cowie wrote:

    Oh dear Court, aren’t you being a little precious about this/

    99.99% of people’s posts are under a pseudonym. why get hysterical about Iron Knee. it’s the site I come to, and am certainly not concerned about who the hell Iron Knee is.

    Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 10:15 am | Permalink
  13. starluna wrote:

    Freedom is having the ability to choose your internet handle. Long live freedom!

    Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 11:55 am | Permalink
  14. Michael wrote:

    Good riddance to Court. IK isn’t going to play by Court’s rules, so Court’s going to take his toy and go home.

    IK, I think your update at 9 really gets to the point. The discussion here generally revolves around the merits of the points raised. Revealing your real name (along with those of Patriotsgt, Falkelord, Starluna, Thought Dancer, or any other of the regular posters) doesn’t add anything, except for the possibility of ad hominem posts.

    If you (or anyone else on a web forum) want to post under a pseudonym, trolls like Court should respect your choice instead of whining.

    Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Permalink
  15. Iron Knee wrote:

    The other issue is that I start companies for a living, and small companies have to raise money. And most funding sources are, shall we say, rather conservative.

    Years ago, I had someone refuse to invest in a company I was doing because on my personal website I have lots of photos, and they found some photos I had taken at Burning Man that were mildly NSFW. We had a board meeting, and some of the board asked me to remove any questionable photos from my personal site. But I decided to leave the photos up. If someone was that easily offended, then I probably didn’t want them investing in my company anyway.

    On the other hand, I’m also involved in other people’s companies (like right now), and it would be insensitive if my personal activities got in the way of them raising money. Political Irony is obviously a much more popular site than my personal website, so it could cause problems if that were the first site that came up when people Google my name. So I prefer to use a pseudonym. But as I said, other than that I’m not hiding who I am and it is easy for anyone with rudimentary internet skills to figure it out in about 30 seconds. In fact, on LinkedIn I list this blog as something I do, and anyone looking to invest in a company I am involved with will certainly look at my LinkedIn page. I just don’t want to shove my politics down anyone’s throat, and this site really isn’t about me.

    If Court doesn’t like that, that’s his problem. And doesn’t it strike you as ironic that Court himself is using an internet handle?

    Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Permalink
  16. Iron Knee wrote:

    Michael, I actually agree with what Patricia (once) said. Being anonymous can be used both for good and for bad. You can use anonymity to protect yourself from bad things, or you can use it to do bad things. For example, I dislike it when people attack someone but do it anonymously. So I understand where Court is coming from, but he is being too ideological about it (and if you have read the About page, you know how I feel about ideologues).

    On other forums I post using my real name.

    Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 12:51 pm | Permalink
  17. Don wrote:

    Took me a couple minutes, but, yes, IK, you’re not invisible. Impressive. You and I have a good personal friend in common, as it turns out. I know someone who would probably like to talk to you at some point, but I can arrange that through Paul.

    For years I presented workshops all over the US and, as hard as I tried, I could only learn a fraction of the names at any given workshop. What was important, though, in my role as planning facilitator was to hear what they had to say and incorporate those thoughts into the world-view I was helping their group create.

    I guess I kind of look at this in a similar vein. It has never worried me that I know or didn’t know the real names of all the folks we “talk” to here on PI. What we have to say seems more important than who we are and people’s handles are fine with me.

    Me, on the other hand? I have no real interest in establishing a name for myself in the blogosphere and, besides, with eyes as bad as mine, I can barely see myself in the mirror. Why would I want others to see me better than I can see myself? 8>D

    Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Permalink
  18. Hassan wrote:

    Hmm, the suspense is killing me. All I see in your profile is that you have written two books in computer science. I also belong to this field, so I might have read your books. Can you give me hint what kind of books? Are they theoretical computer science or vendor specific technologies? If vendor specific, then from open source world or closed source?

    Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Permalink
  19. Michael wrote:

    Oh, I certainly agree that anonymity can be both good and bad. As an example/tangent…I just saw Fair Game (Sean Penn and Naomi Watts film about the outing of Valerie Plame) the other day. I found it interesting that there was no mention at all of Maureen Dowd’s faux martyrdom in the name of “freedom of the press.” Yes, protecting sources is an important part of journalism, but when it’s obvious to EVERYONE that this anonymous source was simply leaking a covert operative’s name for political retaliation (i.e., not really as part of a story), Dowd and Novak should have tossed Libby and Cheney to the wolves. Instead, they let the administration hide behind anonymity in a very bad way.

    I was just trying to point out that I don’t see that here. The discussions that I see here focus on facts. If somebody makes a seemingly bogus claim, others will call them out and ask for sources.

    I just think it’s rude, pointless, and absurd to demand someone break pseudonymity without having a compelling reason to believe the person is a shill.

    Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Permalink
  20. Court wrote:

    I forgot to unsubscribe from this comment feed.

    Iron Knee, it’s not a handle, it’s my name. Click on the link.

    Rudimentary internet skills, indeed.

    Later.

    Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Permalink
  21. christine o donnell wrote:

    Holy shit Court you sound like a lovelorn stalker or the worst undercover agent in history

    Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Permalink
  22. Iron Knee wrote:

    Michael, did you mean Judith Miller?

    Court, I already had clicked on your name (indeed).

    If you can forgive some of the rude comments thrown your way, you’re welcome to stick around and contribute to a conversation about privacy and anonymity.

    Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 8:46 pm | Permalink
  23. Michael wrote:

    D’oh, you’re right. There’s a scene in the movie where Joe Wilson has a confrontation with an unnamed reporter. My mind jumped to Dowd because she’s got red hair.

    Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 9:27 pm | Permalink
  24. Hassan wrote:

    Huh, finally figured out. Thanks iron knee for your work, using it daily at my work.

    Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 10:20 pm | Permalink
  25. Iron Knee said “Years ago, I had someone refuse to invest in a company I was doing because on my personal website I have lots of photos, and they found some photos I had taken at Burning Man that were mildly NSFW. We had a board meeting, and some of the board asked me to remove any questionable photos from my personal site. But I decided to leave the photos up. If someone was that easily offended, then I probably didn’t want them investing in my company anyway.”

    Applause. One of the lovely things my husband has managed to do is avoid working for companies that would impose on him a more conservative ethic than what he wants. I suspect that one of my firings was because I wasn’t so lucky. Good on you for not going along with excessively conservative ethics. ;-)

    (Oh, I think I saw those pics. And seriously, if those pics are a problem for a group of people, then they’ve got some serious issues with accepting what it is to be physically human….)

    Monday, December 13, 2010 at 7:00 am | Permalink
  26. Michael wrote:

    OK, I finally gave in to the temptation and looked for you. It took about 30 seconds, based on clues you’ve dropped. OK, not so much clues as big red flashing arrows pointing the way. :-)

    As expected, I see that you’re a person with diverse interests and an impressive background. And yet, I still don’t see how any of that has any bearing on the points you post here.

    Anyways, thanks for doing the site. It’s daily enjoyment for me.

    Monday, December 13, 2010 at 11:43 am | Permalink
  27. Iron Knee wrote:

    Dang, and I thought I was being subtle.

    Monday, December 13, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Permalink
  28. Sammy wrote:

    If my name was Court Merrigan, I’d be the one using a fake name.

    Monday, December 13, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Permalink
  29. patriotsgt wrote:

    Didn’t know you were a fan of Machu Pichu, but should have guessed given your affinity for places like NZ. My family and I have been there 3x and visted many places in Peru. If you go back that way you’ll need to visit Lago Titicaca (on the border of Peru/Bolivia) and the Uros people who still live in the lake on floating reed platforms.
    Keep up the good work IK even if we don’t always agree.

    Monday, December 13, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Permalink
  30. starluna wrote:

    Now, Sammy, that is uncalled for. Court’s argument was invalid on its own merits regardless of his handle/name.

    Monday, December 13, 2010 at 5:14 pm | Permalink
  31. Iron Knee wrote:

    Yeah, we wanted to make it to Lake Titicaca on that trip, but it didn’t work out. Too many great places to visit; not enough time!

    So far, my favorite places to visit have been the Galapagos Islands, Antarctica (including South Georgia island), Southern Africa, Banff and the Canadian Rockies, Southern Utah and Arizona, New Zealand, Cuba, the Saline Valley, the big island of Hawaii, Barcelona, and France.

    I don’t know about you, but I LIKE the fact that we don’t always agree. I like it more that even when I don’t agree with your opinion, I can respect your opinion.

    UPDATE: See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11987647 “A coalition of Democrats, Republicans and independents from around the US has created a new group in the hopes of reducing political partisanship.”

    Monday, December 13, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Permalink
  32. patriotsgt wrote:

    Yes, mutual respect should be the foundation of all good debates. Seems there is a shortage of that inside the DC beltway though, which is a shame because thats where it’s needed most. I love being challenged and appreciate a diversity of ideas. It forces me to consider more possibilities and leads to better decision making.

    Monday, December 13, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Permalink
  33. Sammy wrote:

    Starluna, sometimes it’s fun to be petty and sophomoric.

    Monday, December 13, 2010 at 6:29 pm | Permalink
  34. Iron Knee wrote:

    Aren’t there plenty of places on the web to be petty and sophomoric?

    Monday, December 13, 2010 at 7:35 pm | Permalink
  35. starluna wrote:

    I agree. I personally appreciate the occasional petty and sophomoric comment about Limbaugh’s fat pompous ass. Or Beck’s pasty clownish facial tics. Or even Olbermann’s 1980s CEO hair style. But Court was already beaten down and ran away.

    Monday, December 13, 2010 at 7:39 pm | Permalink
  36. Ok everyone, stop showing just how awesome you all are. We might have people wondering why those inside the Beltway can’t act just as civil as those of us outside the Beltway. ;-)

    Iron Knee, so where are you going next? And can I climb into your luggage. ;-)

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010 at 4:46 am | Permalink
  37. starluna wrote:

    This group is great and has inspired me to do something I am generally not inclined to do. I am generally opposed to online courses in principle but because of my experience with this group (and some others on FB) I agreed to teach an online class next semester. I’ve decided to design the class with the secondary goal of learning how to interact in the online environment in a constructive manner. The topic in the course is sufficiently controversial (Hispanics in the US) that it should provide the opportunity for grappling with difficult issues.

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010 at 9:31 am | Permalink
  38. Sammy wrote:

    Yes IK, there are plenty of places on the web to be petty and sophomoric. But sometimes people just have it coming. There are plenty of in-depth, sometimes even long-winded and wonky, discussions here. A little levity doesn’t hurt, even if it’s sarcastic. And Court didn’t just make his comment and leave it at that. He pounded the non-issue into the ground and then took his toys and ran off.

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010 at 11:27 am | Permalink
  39. Starluna, I’ve a few years of online teaching, college level, behind me.

    I hope to all that’s kind to you that you won’t be using Blackboard.

    Good luck!

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010 at 11:27 am | Permalink
  40. starluna wrote:

    I use Blackboard for my regular classes primarily as a mechanism for distributing materials. I force them to use the discussion board for group work mostly so that I can monitor them and intervene when needed. But for this class I am thinking of using Moodle. I’ve heard good things about it and it has a blog-like look to it.

    Thanks for the wishes. I’m going to need all I can get for this one.

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010 at 11:59 am | Permalink
  41. Iron Knee wrote:

    ThoughtDancer – It is very sad. A whole year has passed since I’ve made a significant trip to anywhere exotic, mostly because I joined a new startup in Dec 2009. If you climbed into my luggage now, you’d just be stuffed in my closet.

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Permalink
  42. Iron Knee. Then can I recommend Europe? I know you lived in the UK, but I did love it there. And Europe would certainly make it easy to keep on posting here. ;-)

    Starluna: I’ve also heard delightful things about Moogle, and I have used Blackboard as you have. I’ve tried to use Blackboard more extensively, but has some serious flexibility issues, especially for writing courses. Again, good luck with the online class (and you do know that online classes take more time than face-to-face ones… the surprise is how much more time…).

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Permalink