JamBoi's disruption of the OVC list

From: David Mertz <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
Date: Mon May 02 2005 - 12:31:06 CDT

Unfortunately, "JamBoi" has put us in a situation we have not so far
been on in the OVC list. I find his long, rambling conspiratorial
misunderstandings of XML (and other topics) quite disruptive of the
useful conversation on the list.

Moreover, his frequent use of hax0r 1337 speak, RANDOM CAPS, and other
13 y.o. AIM stylisms generally bring down the quality and reputation of
the list. It would be a huge embarrassment, IMO, for any serious person
(politician, computer scientist, informed citizen, certifying agency,
etc) to look at our archive and see JamBoi's posts. I'm also not all
that fond of his exclusive use of a psuedonym; but I don't feel quite as
strongly about that as some folks do.

I would propose giving JamBoi a brief probation period to improve the
quality and conciseness of his postings, and if those requirements are
not met, exclude his membership in the mailing list. I am also
seriously considering modifying the archive software to remove all the
posts from JamBoi, or at least to mark them as "non-serious" in some
manner. It's really anathma to me to think I can no longer point
someone at the archive as a serious recommendation for OVC.

Aside to Scott Brown and others: No, OVC is *not* considering dropping
XML as a basic layer of data formats. FWIW, there already *is* an OVCML
of sorts--take a look at http://gnosis.cx/voting/ for some articles that
discuss the design of OVC's demo XML format. However, in practice, that
format is/was a temporary working DTD; going forward we'll hopefully be
able to use formats adopted by standards bodies such as IEEE-1622.

It's probably futile here, but there is much less to XML than JamBoi
apparently believes. Basically, XML is the idea that you mark your data
by putting it hierarchically in tags that are indicated with angle
brackets. In concept, that's it, the whole idea. There are a few
wrinkles to learn beyond the one sentence description, but at heart
there's nothing more or less mysterious about angle brackets than there
is about comma or tab delimiters.

So if an actual OVC XML format used, e.g.:

  <candidate party="Abolitionist">John Brown</candidate>

No security is magically gained (nor lost, per se) by using the
"radically novel" JamBoiML format:

  [candidate]John Brown
  * [party]Abolitionist

There's certainly nothing in the first thing that makes it magically
"hackable." However, XML has a variety of existing and tested parsers
(and other tools), for many platforms and languages, where JamBoiML has
zero in current existence.
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Received on Tue May 31 23:17:03 2005

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