Advogato's 2nd trust metric works... for now

Posted 19 Jul 2007 at 21:11 UTC by Zaitcev Share This

Three weeks ago, etbe (Russell Cocker) suddenly started pumping hateful leftist propaganda into Advogato. Since then, the metric reports for few nodes to which I am connected shows a precipitous decline, below the level of 3 in fact. This proves that Advogato works as designed at least to stop small scale attacks.

The interesting part is, even report for mako places etbe at 1.0 (with confidence 0.14), although I am sure Benjamin shares some of the political views promoted by Russell, even if not in such extremity perhaps. I am not sure if the core of Advogato users remain committed to causes of Free Software over their college indoctrination, but I am hopeful.

There are two other observations I would like to make. First, etbe's attack is only a small scale attack (only one node went bad). Second, with time the etbe's attack may yet evolve into an experiment on high-noise computation. This may be difficult for Advogato's code to handle.

The base graph has links placed according to community connections (initially for purposes of 1st trust metric). For example, my own connections are dominated by Linux kernel hackers. These links have nothing to do with political persuasion of nodes. Therefore, if certified users start to subvert the interestingness rating by assigning higher ratings to those with whom they agree and lower to those with whom they disagree, it is going to create noisly, low quality input data for the 2nd metric.

It does not have to happen necesserily, thanks to the silent majority. For example, I drive an SUV, but a very efficient one, with fuel consumption better than that of many conventional cars. Advogato members of such persuasion are more interested in Free Software than in leftism, fundamentalism, and other such causes. So I don't know how that will play out. Perhaps Raph and Steven can tweak some parameters to reduce the impact of noisy nodes if/when the problem becomes noticeable.

Addendum, posted 19 Jul 2007 at 21:18 UTC by Zaitcev » (Master)

I forgot to mention that such kind of attack is not new for Advogato. I seem to recall people losing their marbles before, e.g. if I remember right, badvogato flooded with some Christian gospel at some point. The difference now is that old attacks were non-divisive. Very few members would rate previous rantings with high interestingness.

Another reason (or excuse) to mark etbe's attack in particular is that I saw a couple of articles recently which claimed that the trust metric has failed, so I wanted to redress the balance a little.

Calling this an "attack" is quite a stretch.., posted 19 Jul 2007 at 21:58 UTC by Pizza » (Master)

Your base complaint seems to be along the lines of "I don't like what etbe has to say". This is all fine and dandy, but just because you disagree with or dislike it doesn't mean that he has any less right to spout off-topic than, for example, you used to with your anime posts or I used to with my picture-of-the-day posts.

So call it what it is -- bad form -- and leave it at that. His off-topic posts have no bearing on his technical competence or his (ongoing) contributions to Free Software.

Oh, one more point.

Advogato members of such persuasion are more interested in Free Software than in leftism, fundamentalism, and other such causes.

Are you a Free Software Fundamentalist?

Technical discussions/subjects/ideas ultimately boil down into "correct/incorrect" or "good/bad" through use of the scientific method. Well-defined tests with reproducible results. Either some proposal works (better than what came before) or it doesn't, eh?

On the other hand, Politics does not. This includes all of those silly causes/labels (eg "leftist" "rightist" "fundamentalist" "humanist") people use to make themselves feel superior to others -- which is, at best intellectually dishonest, and at worst a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

translation, posted 19 Jul 2007 at 21:59 UTC by joey » (Master)

"I don't like Russel Cocker's blog posts and feel they threaten me, therefore he's attacking Advogato and losing his marbels."

Thanks for reminding me that I'd forgotten to certify him, which as usual I've done based on his actual work in free software, and not his personal political views.

Me too, posted 20 Jul 2007 at 04:02 UTC by ncm » (Master)

I just certified etbe myself, and rated his diary entries as "very interesting". Thanks for the heads-up.

I don't understand Zaitcev's use of "hateful" in this context. Is

By the literal definition of terrorism the US government is responsible for more than it’s fair share of terrorist acts performed around the world."
anybod supposed to be hateful? Sounds simply factual to me. (I do object to the apostrophe in possessive "its", but am inclined to forgive it in a non-native English speaker -- once.) If you think we should forgive the terrorism in this instance, it seems to me the burden is on you is to explain why: "Terrorism in this case is entirely justified because..." Saying "because it's the government" doesn't suffice. Promoting a fictitious connection between Al Qaeda and whoever is being terrorized does is worse. To complain that pointing out the fact is "hateful" activity is farther from sufficient, and claiming the person is himself hateful, for having written the fact, is right out. Of course doing the terrorism itself is worst of all, but inventing apologia for it is only marginally better.

RDF & OWL, posted 20 Jul 2007 at 20:12 UTC by badvogato » (Master)

David Hay's writing was quite amusing:

You may wonder why the "Web Ontology Language" has the acronym "OWL". It seems that In Winnie the Pooh, Owl imagines that his name is spelled "WOL", until his friends correct him. Here, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) decided to start with the correct spelling.

And then someone else told me that RDF stands for Robotech Defense Force, and i believed in that interpretation, for that instance, ....

thank you!, posted 23 Jul 2007 at 20:06 UTC by lkcl » (Master)

thank you for prompting me, i didn't realise that russell was on here. his work on selinux has been amazing, and crucial to linux's ongoing development.

and his views don't in the slightest bit impinge on, in any way shape or form, his ability to Do Work.

that's the thing i love about free software. even the most barking mad people's contributions are actually useful.

many free software people are above-average intelligence, fiercely independent, highly political - after all, they wouldn't be doing free software if they didn't feel that there was something wrong with unfree software.

consequently, therefore, it's quite common for them to spot _other_ things that are wrong with the world, and to want to speak about them.

your words say a great deal more about you, Zaitcev, than about russell.

and btw, even though i think you are incredibly naive for your restricted america-centric blind reactionism against russell, i _still_ Certified you as Master, after reviewing both your home page and the other Certs you've received, because, having looked, i could not do otherwise (you deserve the Master rating).

simply put: even if someone on here was an axe murderer, i'd still rate their work (coming out of their prison cell if they were allowed a computer) based on the quality of their work, not on any of their other actions and ESPECIALLY NOT THEIR VIEWS, past, present or future.

A response, posted 4 Aug 2007 at 00:27 UTC by etbe » (Master)

Posting an Advogato article about this, but the guidelines make it clear that flames don't belong there.

So I posted to my own blog (as suggested by the Advogato guidelines). The post is at the above URL.

Just split, posted 21 Aug 2007 at 07:18 UTC by Malx » (Journeyer)

Hey! Why you need to put all in one bag? There should be several ratings - that's all. If the person is great in FS contribution - then you should rate him as Master. If the single article of him is not on topic of FS - then this single article should be rated as "Not related" independently of the person certificates.

Or better just put several groups of articles and make people rate every article as related to one of that groups. Say - "FS News", "FS Discuss", "Questions on FS", "FS Annonce", ... "Not related to FS" (is is not leveled up as Master/Apprentice.. - just sorting topics here). That way all articles not about FS automatically will fall into "Not related" :)

That's all. Then you could even display all of them on first page (ok - except of "Not related") ;) Even more - you could display icons, show only one type of articles and even look into "not related" group (they are not deleted).

Same to blogs entries. That is something like tags, but provided with trust metrics.

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