X-Message-Number: 30516
Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2008 08:18:37 -0700
Subject: Alcor's Dictatorial Protection from Pseudonyms
From:  (Tim Freeman)

If Alcor were a representative democracy, I'd want a culture of
ensuring that the people participating in these forums are identified
by their true names.  Otherwise we have the following scenario:

   Dave Pizer (a true name):  I want X!
   Finance Department/knotwiller and 10 other pseudonyms: I want X!

Now look at this from the viewpoint of an Alcor director.  How many
people want X enough to speak up about it?  The number could be
anywhere from 1 to 12, since we don't know whether any of these
pseudonyms are different people from each other or from Pizer.  It
seems pretty hopeless for a human Alcor director to keep track of the
uncertainty -- in practice, they'll probably assume knotwiller and
Pizer are different people.  When the time comes to make a policy
decision and to do what the constituency wants, they'll have an
intuitive feel for how many people want what, and whoever makes the
largest set of plausibly distinct pseudonyms who passionately advocate
a policy will have the most influence.

When the time for elections comes, it would become apparent whether
the director was voting in favor of what real people want, assuming
the election process keeps the pseudonyms from voting.  Until then,
the uncertainty introduced by listening to pseudonyms is cost without

The same reasoning leads to the conclusion that in the presence of a
democracy, people participating in discussions about Alcor policy
should identify whether they are Alcor members or not, since Alcor
directors need to know whether a person advocating a position is
someone who can vote for them.  In practice, having a true name there
will probably be sufficient, since the Alcor members tend to know each

Hmm, having someone falsely claim to be an Alcor member would be an
odd test for their privacy policy.  They can't respond unless they are
sure that the person making the claim is who they appear to be, and
maybe not even then.

Tim Freeman               http://www.fungible.com           

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