Anyone who writes a Mentifex FAQ ought to include the brouhaha that ensued for Old Judgment-Proof when Mentifex bore the brunt and became the butt of Mentifex-bashing diatribes on the topic of the purported Trust Metric used on various social Web sites to establish a hierarchy or pecking order among the participants of the website community. Human beings love to establish castes and layers in society after a top-down fashion, from the highest muck-a-mucks down to the lowliest peons and newbies, from the Brahmins to the Untouchables, from the Samurai to the Burakumin. Hey Noob! Have you ever felt discriminated against or treated as cyber-trash in a Web community that you naively, gullibly tried to join after believing the posted inducements of how splendidly welcome and love-bombed you would be if you just registered on the dotted line? Well, welcome to the club and to the big stick that will be wielded against you if you dare to challenge the social order of the entrenched bigots in your new on-line community.
The Internet and the World Wide Web are indeed changing human society, but not always for the better. In just this year of 2009, a great uproar and crisis occurred when new mapping technology started to reveal social conditions that existed hundreds of years ago in Japan. Maps were going on line that revealed where Japanese society had forced the Eta and Burakumin to dwell apart in excluded communities. To this day, bigoted Japanese bourgois secretly check whether someone about to marry into a family might potentially have Eta or Burakumin origins. The new maps have the potential to adumbrate and darken the social standing of entire neighborhoods in Japanese cities.
New technology is having a much more insidious effect in the field of the genetic testing of newborns. There are some genetic conditions for which all newborns ought to be tested, but they will not be tested -- for a socially explosive predicament. The testing of newborns tends to reveal that a certain percentage of them are not biologically the true children of their supposed father, the legal husband of a woman giving birth to non-spousal offspring. How does society resolve the clash of interests in such a situation brought about by advances in science? Which is more important, the health of newborn babies, or the secrets of paternity? Only time will tell on violations of the "trust metric" in marriages.
On the Internet, and especially at Advogato, a Trust Metric is an elaborate scheme to welcome new members (newbies) to an on-line community and to let the noobs gradually acquire status and privileges as more and more pre-existing members certify the noobs at various levels tantamount to social strata in the off-line human community. If there were no trust metric at sites like Advogato, Robots.net and SlashDot, openly malicious evildoers could come in and immediately attack the normal operation of the site. With the trust metric in place, secretly malicious evildoers enjoy the blood sport of ganging up on chosen targets and trashing their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. So the trust metric serves two purposes: it slows the encroachment of outsiders, and it enhances the entrenched powers of insiders.
As I blow the dirty secrets of the trust metric wide open here, do not say to me, "You'll never eat lunch in this town again." First off, we're not in Hollywood. Secondly, I don't eat lunch on the 'Net. Whenever Netizens have wanted to meet Mentifex in meatspace, we have gotten together in a restaurant or a coffee shop -- the natural habitat of computer geeks all over this land. [Hunter S. Thompson (HST), wherever you are, I've got the flow, man, I'm postively flowing. Didja catch the musical reference in "geeks all over this land", or the double entendre in "welcome to the club" and in "time will tell on"?] It is not for nothing that the Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) crowd calls Mentifex not a troll but a smurf.
Seriously, though, Mentifex here with his AI-Has-Been-Solved message encounters dim-witted hostility year after year at website after website. Before our exegesis of the Trust Metric itself, let us examine the growing list of sites that have either banned Mentifex or pushed him into leaving -- and speculate on why they did so.
43 Things.com, all about "What do you want to do with your life?", lets Mentifex join up and seek out goals in life that he shares with others, then autocratically deletes the Mentifex account with no explanations or apology offered. The only trace left of Mentifex is his stated goal to live in a fool's paradise.
AGI-Roadmap.org did a "rollback" on all Mentifex contributions, such as stages in the MileStones category. Mentifex had devoted days and days of work to contributing write-ups of wiki-pages with AGI-Roadmap ideas. Sorry -- new ideas not welcome here.
CogNews -- asked ATM not to post so much; ATM quit altogether. ATM and CogNews continued to link to each other.
http://www.914pcbots.com/community/ -- ATM left because of censorship.
Generation5.org initially welcomed Mentifex, then turned insultingly against him.
Robots.Net has a kind of seesaw effect going on. Users rate Mentifex (as AI4U) up and up, then the unaugmented slightly evolved chimpanzees in charge remind all their yes-men and fanboys to decertify Mentifex so as to prevent him from posting comments on articles.
Ruby Application Archive (RAA), as described on Wikipedia, caved in to demands from Ruby bigots who induced Matz himself, the originator of Ruby, to remove a link to the Mentifex webpage on AI in Ruby. It especially galled the in-crowd Ruby bigots that the Mentifex link was the very first link on the RAA. By the way, Mentifex is on record as having voted in favor of creating the comp.lang.ruby newsgroup on Usenet.
SL4 (Shock Level Four) calls Mentifex a crackpot and bans him from the forum. Dr. Ben Goertzel subsequently says on SL4 about Mentifex and his oeuvre that "the ideas themselves are significantly better than most of what passes for cognitive science and AI."
Witch-hunt-pedia (Wikipedia) has an army of otaku gremlins who maintain a watch on AI-related articles and forbid the writing of anything positive about Mentifex AI. Those who wish to denigrate and attack Mentifex ad hominem are welcome to do so anywhere on Wikipedia
Advogato is not one of the sites above that have banned Mentifex, but is nevertheless a major battleground in the conflict between censorship and freedom of speech. On 24 April 2007, a member of Advogato took it upon himself to publish Advogato Has Failed on the front page, as an indictment of Advogato for letting Mentifex penetrate the trust metric shield and gain phatty posting privileges to the front page of Advogato. The ensuing comments showed that some members supported the right of Mentifex to engage in free speech.
The controversy spread outwards from Advogato into the Wikipedia articles on Advogato and Trust Metric, and even into the AI community with a mention in the AAAI paper Otello: A Next-Generation Reputation System for Humans and NPCs. There Michael Sellers refers to the "celebrated 'Mentifex' example, where an individual somehow achieved Master or 'most trusted' status despite the objections of others in the community."
For the first two years after Advogato Has Failed, Mentifex did not post any comment in his own defense, because it would have been infra dig(nitatem) to do so. Now the occasion of this Cyborg blogpost in rebuttal affords an opportunity to post a link to this rebuttal in any venue where Mentifex is falsely held up as a heinous example of how the trust metric tries to stifle free speech but fails to do so.
Mentifex has always wanted to live and let live on the Internet as just one more individual offering to share some ideas on artificial intelligence (AI). It turns out, however, that to offer solutions to AI problems is to step on the toes of entities opposed to anyone other than themselves having a say on AI matters. Free speech be damned, when it threatens the efforts of some parties to sucker the gullible public into making monetary donations to the oh-so-noble cause of preparing humanity to deal with the coming Technological Singularity that is being triggered by the Mentifex initiatives in artificial intelligence. Kill the messenger, if the messenger does not toe the line and express worshipful admiration of the in-crowd at your vanity website. Crucify him, if the upstart preaches a message contrary to accepted opinion.
Hic jacet Mentifex,
repulsus at invictus.