Three articles below:

The New BBS

Where do more inventors come from?

Let's Question Authority!


The New BBS

Dear Friends,

In 1991, at Friends General Conference, I told a classroom of Quaker bulletin board owners that we needed a Quaker list. One Friend took me seriously and started the original Quaker-L that November.

In 1979 I suggested new consensus-process procedural rules for the Providence, RI Clamshell Congress. We had a presiding clerk and a speaker recognition clerk. The names of speakers were written down on a blackboard to save everybody from waving frantically. We had a committee of two process people to take process questions off the floor.

Now, here’s my new suggestion. A hardwired procedural system would help online discussion forums.

The problem:

Free speech isn’t free with trolls around. When I write about global warming online, in reply I get a global warming denier with a rubber-stamped lengthy position paper, asking for documentation of my sources just to get my goat, or coming up with ad hominum arguments questioning my personal credibility. I don’t need to answer these faceless people who are organized and paid by Exxon/Mobil’s ad agency.

I don’t want to admit that their disparaging comments hurt me, or deter me, but they do hurt a bit. I’m not a punching bag; I’m a human being with feelings.

Furthermore, I care about details. I want to take gambles with new ideas and see how they do.

The nuclear industry has hired an ad agency to blast a great deal of talking points. I sometimes questioned these people about certain details that weren’t in their script. They either gave a flip answer to avoid the subject, or they ignored me. This sounds something like Governor Palin failing to answer a debate question.

Then I wrote something about Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and a Republican operative called me a small-minded excuse for a human being, thank you.

I have seen the invective of sports trolls. I’d love to indulge myself in the details of sports prognostication, but I dislike the verbal abuse found on, say, official Yahoo sports boards.

The final type of troll is the paid operative who wants to sell Viagra online, or wants to advertise porn sites. These people abuse many bulletin board sites. They don’t pretend to stay on subject, they just spam, over and over. They waste everyone’s time and energy.

When we have intensely popular bulletin boards freely open to the whole world, they suffer. I’m sorry that they don’t work well. Imagine a classroom where someone opens her/his mouth and two kids in the back always shout her/him down.

Good thinkers don’t have the freedom to think in detail; their emphasis has to be on not being shot down. We can’t find consensus. We can’t solve our thorny political problems. We descend into lowest common denominator thinking. Participants are turned off, and they run away to individual blogs.

Our country goes into seemingly perpetual war, our prisons overflow, our national treasury gets cleaned out and our environment gets raped. Maybe we could use some online group decision making.

The struggle so far:

Some have tried moderated boards. That helps. However, it requires someone with an iron hand to read every message. It requires more personal sacrifice than most people want to make, because trolls take out their wrath on the moderators, and because moderators are human and make diplomatic mistakes sometimes.

Worse, the trolls don’t care. They just fire away with venom. If a troll gets thrown off, he/she assumes a new identity and starts again. has tried voting. Some messages earn 5 out of 5, some get 1 out of 5. However, voting has no meaning, so the trolls don’t care.

I want to try something new, something no one has done yet. I think that new online users from anywhere can be accommodated and trolling can still be dissuaded. In addition, procedural rules can steer a group of users toward something approximating consensus.

Please remember that democracy itself is an ongoing experiment. Athenian democracy was easy to understand; assemble all of the citizens in the town square and do what the majority wants. However, with ever-greater numbers of citizens at great distances, Athenian democracy becomes quite hard to use. Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and others needed to invent the procedural rules for a representative democracy. We have since added to these procedural rules, for example, the United States added women’s sufferage and presidential term limits to its rules.

For that matter, consensus process is an experiment. In the last ten years I have seen the invention of periods of silence between speakers, enforced by the clerk in large plenary meetings. Everything in this blueprint says "democracy", but if you look a bit closer, you'll see a democracy that dances around the edges of consensus process.

The original United States Constitution was four pages long, handwritten. I won’t afford to include too many hardwired procedures in this proposed bulletin board, but I can’t do without a certain minimum of procedures.

What I’m looking for:

I’m first looking for a simple feedback procedure. Is an anonymous user’s message ok, is the message deeply offensive, or is the message just about perfect? I start by copying Alternet’s system of voting from 1 to 5.

Next I want to add meaning to the votes. Alternet lists messages in the order that they were received. Whoever files the first message on Alternet gets read by everyone. Whoever files the 100th message usually gets ignored. That’s why, in each thread I want the message with the highest vote, the message nearest to reaching consensus, to go first. All messages are lined up in voting order. The spam winds up at the bottom.

Furthermore, on the main page which lists all threads, the threads are organized by their highest-rated message. The highest rated message on the entire board is the top message on the top thread. Threads with no messages have zero cred, and so they disappear the next day.

Old messages need to be retired, slowly. Every message has an active voting period, slow for a rarely-used board, fast for a highly-used board. When the voting has closed, the message has become an oldie. Oldies lose .2 on their average per day past their closing date. They gradually sink lower and lower within the thread until they sink to zero and disappear.

Because voting counts for something, I want the voting to have immunity from outside fraud. Right now the system operator insures fairly honest inside decisions (but I will try to minimize those decisions in time). It’s the outside fraud that we absolutely have to worry about. An outsider could masquerade as 100 new users and vote 100 times.

For this reason the board identifies users by their long-term participation on the board. In particular, the measure of a user is whether she/he writes well-liked messages or universally disapproved spam. Long-term users who write reasonably well-liked messages are citizens. Short-term users who write spam are trolls. Citizens vote. The votes of trolls should be put aside.

Then what about somewhat new users who might be trolls in disguise? We need to give them a non-zero voting power, then gradually increase their voting power to citizen status.

For these reasons, every user gets a lifetime average of all the messages she/he has entered. This average is called the user’s credibility factor, sometimes called street cred, or simply cred. An average credibility factor of 3 is average. An average credibility factor of 1 means that we can’t trust this person yet, let’s see what she/he does in the future.

Newbies start with a credibility of 1 because we can’t tell them from trolls. We want procedures to encourage new users of good heart to work their way up. For this reason, a credibility of 1.0 earns zero votes, but a credibility of only 1.1 earns 1/10 of one vote. We can accept fractional parts of votes on messages. A credibility of 2.0 earns a full vote.

Frequent participation in voting is one measure of citizenship. Newbies get 0.1 added to their credibility after casting their first three votes. This increases to 0.2 after casting their first 10 votes, 0.3 after 30 votes and 0.4 after 100 votes. In general, users get a bonus of log10(UserNumberOfVotes)*0.2, so every extra vote counts a little.

As a rule, brand new users start with a lifetime “tail” of five messages with a credibility of 1.0. If the user submits a message and the group gives the first message a cred of 3.0, it is averaged with the five 1.0 messages for an average cred of 1.333. If the user submits five messages with an average of 3.0, her/his cred is up to 2.000.

It’s vital to get authentic new users into citizenship, to isolate the trolls. For this reason the entire board is geared toward granting rights and privileges for achieving a measure of credibility.

Chief among these privileges is a tail attached to every new message. Every user’s lifetime credibility earns them five votes on that message, equal to their credibility. If a user’s lifetime credibility is 4.0, their next message starts fairly high on the thread, with a 4.0 average. The message gets read early. A new user’s first message starts at or around 1.0, and eventually some kind citizen will dip down to the bottom, read the message and vote on it.

Only citizens of the board should be allowed to start and to name new threads on the board. A troll could easily use a 4 letter word in a thread name.

Brand new users should be screened from any abusive messages and from spam. For this reason, every thread has a lower threshold. Once the bulletin board gets established with many citizens, the threshold might be a message cred of 2.0 for any new user with a 1.0 lifetime cred, a message cred of 1.5 for a lifetime cred of 1.5, and no threshold for a lifetime cred of 2.0. An exception is made for a user viewing his/her own messages. This threshold rule prevents brand new users from logging in several times as other users, gaining minor cred, and voting on their own messages. It also prevents abusive messages and spam, as voted upon by the citizenry, from getting read by new users.

Ten acceptable messages barely excuse one vicious flame. Any message with an ending credibility below 2 has been universally condemned by the citizens, and has earned a message credibility penalty of (2–cred)*10. In other words, a message with a 1.8 cred gets a computed cred of 2–(2–1.8)*10 = 0. A message with a 1.0 cred gets a computed cred of 2–(2–1.0)*10 = –8. Adding a –8 to a brand new user’s lifetime cred is going to depress the cred to –0.6. A user with more experience will take the hit a bit better.

Long-term uses:

It’s nice to play an online game, but what does voting do in the end? There must be a reward for all of this work.

First, high-scoring oldie messages (over 4.5) belong in a thread called the fleeting hall of fame. Oldie messages lose 0.1 from their message’s cred every 10 days, so that old messages rated 5.0 will hit zero and disappear in 500 days.

Second, and this can be implemented a year or three years from now, any user on this board reaching a credibility of 3.0 is not only a citizen of the bulletin board, but is a member of and servant to an attached Credipedia (my term) with login privileges to the Credipedia. Members are responsible for cutting and pasting high-rated (approved) messages onto appropriate pages of the Credipedia.

Now the board / Credipedia becomes a long-term decision making system. In practice the board will seek something approximating consensus with hundreds of citizens, with allowances for troll votes. My hope is that the board will operate at 1000 times the velocity of a Faith and Practice revision process, with a fair to good decision making process, covering 100 times the ground that a Faith and Practice can cover. For example, a minute on bisphenol-A could be drafted in a week, and an improvement made to the minute one month later. The board could equally write advices on sexuality to young people, or discuss the finer points of setting back thermostats to save heat. Finally, the board is in a good position to rewrite its operating procedures as needed, to improve its effectiveness.

In the long run, I hope that one form of the board will grow to take on governmental functions, providing for its members’ and the larger community’s common welfare. This is why I invent decision-making tools – because our current government doesn’t work that well.

Other countries’ dissidents and other religions’ dissidents may copy the Credipedia’s format. This is a movement.


Optional procedures:

A troll will try logging in as 100 new users to gain 100 votes. The board’s first line of defense is, say, a limit of 2 new users per two hour period and 5 users per 12 hour period. To make it harder for the troll to predict, the two hour period can waver between one hour and three hours.

I have modified citizenship to get a board started. On a brand new board with only 5 users, citizenship starts at a very low 1.0 and Credipedia members start at 1.0. As the board grows to 30 users, citizenship is slowly bumped up to 1.5. Beyond 100 users, citizenship levels off at 2.0 and the Credipedia member level starts at 3.0.

I don’t want citizens and members waffling between on and off status from day to day, depending on votes. Optionally, once a user clears 2.0 and becomes a citizen, she/he has to drop below 1.5 to become a non-citizen again.

What if the troll slowly accumulates 100 almost new users who voted 100 times? Should 100 new users outvote 10 experienced and credible users? No! All new users can write messages, and they have to have some voting power or they won’t bother to vote, but the board can’t afford to give away the store to vote fraud. For this reason, in this option every user’s credibility minus 1.0 is their voting strength. A voter with a credibility of 4.0 has earned, and deserves, 3 votes. If the average voter gets 2 votes, the initial tails on messages need to be lengthened to 10 votes of that user’s lifetime cred.

We still don’t want to see ballot stuffing by dozens of pumped-up voters, who might all be the same troll. For this reason, the sysop needs to download all votes and look for voting patterns. Did two or more users vote for almost exactly the same messages in the same way? Did the two users almost always vote around the same times, one after the other? If I discover clear vote fraud, I want to assign a permanent vote fraud credibility loss to both users, say, –0.5. This penalty will be always subtracted from a user’s lifetime cred, just as the number of votes is a plus. This option deters fraud while still allowing for the troll’s eventual redemption on the board. Maybe after a year of good behavior the penalty can be removed. The Founding Fathers believed that ordinary men could be good or bad, but they all were constrained by laws to act appropriately.

Optionally, in time the board can give a +0.6 annual credibility bonus to people who pay $20 dues, +0.8 for patrons who give $100 and +1.0 for an underwriter over $500. Bonuses can also be given for extraordinary workers. The board needs to be self-sustaining and it needs workers.

Voting on any new message stops after 1 day (after 14 days when the system is first starting up, gradually dropping). At that point, the message’s tail is removed. Only real votes for the message are tabulated to get the message’s final cred. This way, even a newbie can earn a good 5.0.

Optionally, any users with cred under 0.1 should not be allowed to post any messages. Any users with cred under 0.8 should be limited to 1 message per day, and to no more than 50 words in the message. Any users under 1.2 should be limited to 2 messages per day, and to no more than 100 words per message.

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Software goals:

A skeleton of the new bulletin board:

Hyperlinks on login screen: “ submit”. Clicking it sends the email address and password to the main screen.

Mandatory hyperlinks on main screen. One hyperlink per thread. Use the threadName. Clicking it sends the user’s coded id (or maybe we use IP addresses to track users) and the thread number to the thread screen.

Optional hyperlinks on main screen:

Go to the new thread name screen. If user is a citizen it succeeds. If not, the new thread name screen doesn’t work.

Go to the Credipedia already logged in if a Credipedia member, or as read-only guest if below the cred limit.

New thread name screen: box for the thread name, submit button. It assigns a thread number, assigns the user’s lifetime cred to that thread name for the day, and goes to that new thread.

Hyperlinks on thread screen:

vote links. Clicking sends user’s coded id, the vote ( 1, 2, 3, 4, 5), the message id and the thread number to thread screen.

Back to main screen button. Sends user’s coded id back.

Logout button

Offline routines: every midnight, archive completed votes (30 days at first, down to 1 day eventually.

Archived messages, oldies, slip .2 cred for every day past their vote completion, down to zero.

The hottest message in a thread is the thread’s current cred. When a thread goes to zero, it essentially disappears.

Optional: Some messages go into the fleeting hall of fame thread and slip .1 cred for every 10 days past their vote completion. Round off all creds to nearest 0.1.

Basics: login to main:

Check for a hacker redflag time. If not exceeded, print a strong warning msg to the hacker.

Check hack attempts: 2 per 70 minutes. If too many, set a random hack redflag time between 16 minutes and 2 hours from now, weighted toward early.

Check failed login attempts: 4 per 5 minutes. If too many, count 1 hack attempt and record the hack attempt time in a stack, set a random time between 3 and 15 minutes after now, weighted toward the 3 minutes, the hack redflag time.

look up email address, match password, count 1 failure, record time and crash back to login if it fails.

Assign a security number in database or otherwise recognize them as logged in. goto main.

Registration web page

Count new users who register. Limit 2 per 70 minute period, 5 per 5 hour period.

2 users can’t have the same email address.

Manually email users when vote fraud is detected. See how long they take to respond.

Main: run a security check on id# or IP address. If it hasn’t been used in an hour, cancel it and go to login. Otherwise, update the last used time.

Basics: main

Cred = Security check() (cred is rounded, in .2 sections, easier to work with, harder for hackers to see through)

Top msgs

Each day, only the hottest threads get shown, and their number is determined by the cred. Always 10 threads for a cred=1. Maximum 100 for a cred=2 or over.

In Main, Just pull the thread names and thread numbers off the stack.



Where is this link coming from?

From Vote: (msgnumber, usercode, votevalue)

Pull the usernumber from the usercode.

Record the msgnumber, usercode, votevalue. We want to catch hackers someday.

Change the votevalue from 1 to 0 and from 5 to 6, expanded outliers.

Add the usercred and the votevalue*usercred to the msgcred and

Move the msg in that thread’s stack to reflect its new status. First move it down a notch repetitively until it won’t go down, then up a notch repetitively until it won’t go up.

From NewMsg (at bottom of thread).

Add 1 to the board’s message count.

Add 1 to the thread’s message count.

Create a tail of msgcred(boardmsgcount)=usercred *5,

msgvotes(boardmsgcount) = 5


Loop: if the next msg up in the messagecount has a lower cred, swap places. Continue to swap until false.

From Main:

Loop: for each msg with cred greater than usercred + log10(boardmsgcount)

(stop when the first <cred is found.)

Look up messagenumber from the thread list

Print username()

Print out the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 voting hyperlinks for that msg

Print the msg text.

Print the go back to main screen hyperlink.

Stop and wait.

Under CreateNewThread,


User has to be a citizen, else errormessage.

Read the new thread name

Truncate it.

A brand new thread gets that user’s cred for the first day. Shift the stack down as needed. The stack needs to be 101 names long.

The stack gets a unique number assigned from

topstacknumber= topstacknumber +1

now go to thread (topstacknumber)


Where do more inventors come from?

I’m quite smart and I’m dogged. You can find other people that are as smart as me.

At age 13 my father lost his faculty position, was divorced and disappeared from my life. My mother told me that other people just didn’t like him. The truth was, my father caused his own loss of tenure and the divorce, but I was completely innocent for my age and thought only good of my father. I saw a man get his doctorate, then tenure, and work hard building houses on the side, and everything was then kicked away. In the next ten years I grew to become a militant atheist to the American dream.

I had a seventh grade math teacher who believed that inflicting concussions would make me do my homework. His technique worked for a couple of days, after each incident. I flunked eleventh grade English because I would be assigned 10 words for English homework, but then I’d read 300 pages of science fiction until 3:00 a.m. and I wouldn’t have my homework done.

I knew even then to organize my life so that I could get the most out of my good mind. I had no interest in a car, which would have demanded a job to support the car, which would have eaten into my time and energy.

Once, my high school gave the same 30 minute IQ test two years in a row. I remembered every correct answer from the previous year. I filled out the answer sheet in 7 minutes and brought it forward to Mr. Devine, who looked like he was sure I was an alien life form come to earth.

Having no car had consequences. I was the weakest kid in my high school gym class, but in engineering school I walked all over Worcester for years. I walked for pleasure, later for groceries. Then I started commuting 20 miles home on weekends by bicycle. Otherwise I hitchhiked or took buses.

All through high school and college I invented things. In February of 1975 I volunteered on the spot, to a MassPirg speaker, that I could design an atomic bomb. This later scared me as much as it scared the speaker.

I opposed the Vietnam War in a class about ethical values in Computer Science. I earned that professor’s enmity. Later I earned my department head’s enmity because I challenged departmental policy in a way that went before the faculty senate, and I won. Being surprisingly innocent, I used these professors as job references. In a go-go computer job environment I found no programming job whatsoever after graduation, try as I might.

This completed my transition into diligent indolence. For most of my life I’ve had no steady job. I’ve been tight with dollars and I have picked up pennies off of the street, understanding with each penny that God gives us bread (and wisdom). At first I had a zero-based budget, eating every can of food in the cupboard. I eventually found a 20 hour per week job for 5 years because my sister had some pull with a Brown professor, and with that I put away a bit of money.

And then for another 30 years I had ideas in the middle of the night, ideas in the daytime, breathtaking ideas and shortcuts. My heart raced and I ran out of energy thinking about them, on the edge of bipolar disorder, except that I get plenty of exercise and nutrition to temper these excesses. I have thrown away vast amounts of ideas as they were supplanted by better ideas. Good inventors are persistent. They are dogged.

I’m a mandolin player and great at harmony and countertempo, but I don’t sing for a living. When doing Therapeutic Touch I can have rather hot hands, but I don’t heal for a living. My deep apologies to practitioners for thinking that there’s something better than a healing practice.

I’m a bit psychic. I don’t know if that helps my ideas flow. It might. Once a Brown professor, Harold Ward, asked in a 1979 lecture what a space alien would say about our pollution of the earth. I dashed out of the lecture hall and taped up a printed reply in all four workshop rooms in about 2 minutes. Someone tipped Dr. Ward off and he came running down the hall with a paper and confronted me. We both could do nothing but laugh. Please don’t ask why I had four fresh carbon copies of a printed reply, and tape, in my backpack that morning.

Many of my inventions have to deal with global warming. Many others are space inventions. Why space? In the long run, forested acreage equal to 1 million earths may be constructed by robots out of the asteroid belt. This extra room doesn’t solve our population explosion, but it gives humanity 1000 to 2000 years extra to think about the problem.

So here I sit, fully loaded with developed dreams, living in my personal alien world of beauty, waiting for the present world to catch up. I, we, need you to be the 100th monkey to bring about the change on this earth. Then we need a closed circle of more inventors. For this, God give you courage.

Let’s question authority!

“Epper si muove” (But it does move.) – Galileo, in a murmer, after he was forced to renounce his idea that the earth moved around the Sun.

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Excuse the plainness. Plainness is preferred by numbers of Friends.

This is somewhat of a listening project about government and authority. All questions are open-ended, with multiple possible answers.

Return communications can be routed through: psychware [aatt} yyaahooo [ddoott} ccoomm! I think you can read that address, but the web's automated address collectors will miss it.

People have different ways of thinking about problems. Some seek more stability and some seek more change. Some seek fundamental change and some seek pragmatic compromises. Some prefer to do the math and others prefer to have a general feeling of fairness about an issue. Some dream new thoughts while others proofread. One of my goals is to respect other people’s ways of thinking.

I look at politics as a varied set of beliefs, something like religious beliefs or debatable scientific beliefs. Various groups of people will all hold a common belief, such as celebrating the Sabbath on every Saturday instead of on every Sunday. People become passionate about their beliefs.

At times, religion and politics have become tightly entwined. The fundamental Israelite idea that even the king is subject to God’s law, and that God’s law will be read to every citizen on the Sabbath, has political implications.

In a dance thousands of years old, the king has struggled for more power and wealth, while Judeo-Christian citizens have struggled for more equality. Early Christians were put to death for not burning a pinch of incense to the honor of the Roman emperor-god. Great numbers of early Quakers were jailed for not taking their hats off to a judge in a courtroom, or for not reciting a loyalty oath. In response, most denominations became quietist, partially staying away from politics so that their members wouldn’t be killed, jailed or fined. Yet traces of political activism still infuse the Old and New Testaments.

Under the threat of death, citizens have learned to lie or to evade. The Bulgarian head gesture for the word “no” is to nod your head up and down, because long ago Muslim invaders who didn’t speak the language would kill anyone who wouldn’t nod up and down to certain religious questions. Certain black spirituals were coded messages for escaping from slavery.

The result of over two thousand years of evasion and of compromises is a mess of coded messages and flat denials of the same messages, both related to religious beliefs and to political beliefs. If we’re going to make progress, we have some sorting out to do.

Here are my questions. Multiple answers, or your own considered answers, are absolutely acceptable.

1. Politically, I’m a citizen of

a. The United States of America

b. The world

c. The Kingdom of God

d. Red Sox Nation (or fill in another sports team here)

e. I have dual citizenship

f. I belong to some truly honest U.S. government to be named later.

2. Should the citizens of a poor country owe a previous dictator’s debts?

a. Every penny of them

b. Some of the debts should be forgiven in cases of abject national poverty.

c. No debts. Let the creditors go to the dictator to get their money back.

3. Do you keep your politics to yourself?

a. Yes, my employer is really tough.

b. I tell people if they ask me.

c. I’m really out there.

4. What, politically, do you expect will happen in the long run to the USA?

a. We’ll have corruption without end.

b. We’ll see gradual and incremental improvement in our government.

c. We’ll see a nonviolent revolution.

d. We’ll see a violent revolution.

e. We’ve already reached a good democracy.

5. Does a free market work?

a. No, it tends to revert to monopoly.

b. No, it destroys the environment.

c. It can, but it needs guidance.

d. Yes it does. I’ve lived well.

6. What is money?

a. Money is god. Do what it says.

b. Money is an imperfect tool to mold society, but it’s the tool we have.

c. Money is fake, an often empty promise.

7. Was the last election fixed?

a. Hoo boy yes!

b. Our election system is corrupted by cash.

c. American democracy is fundamentally honest.

8. Are you satisfied with your government?

a. By and large, yes.

b. I want change.

c. I feel like an outsider.

9. Does religion in government help?

a. Of course it helps!

b. I think they’re the worst crooks!

c. It neither helps nor hurts.

d. It depends on the person. Some are good and some aren’t.

10. What would be a good base for our government?

a. Consensus process

b. A 51% majority

c. What we have now

d. Proportional representation

e. A plutocracy. It’s worked pretty well.

f. A compromise with the wealthy, because anything else would be unstable.

g. Put the poorer citizens first to counterbalance the overbalanced power of the wealthy.

11. Could we have a free market of competing governments?

a. Maybe, if they don’t clash.

b. We already do. We have federal, state and local governments, and we have separation of powers.

c. No.

12. How do you vote?

a. I vote for the best candidate.

b. One major party is rotten, so I vote for the other party.

c. Both major parties are rotten, so I vote for a third party.

d. The election system is rotten, so I stay home.

e. My one vote is, in truth, meaningless in national elections, so I stay home.

13. Are you a good citizen?

a. I help my local government to work better.

b. I help my community but not the government.

c. I help my national or world government to work better.

d. No, because I’m barely surviving myself.

e. No, because the system is all messed up.

14. How does the major media cover elections?

a. Efficiently and with great wisdom.

b. The media covers too much fluff to boost ratings.

c. Candidates manipulate the reporters.

d. The media has pretty much been bought up and are terribly biased.

15. How important is anonymity online?

a. People should be forthstraight about who they are and where they’re coming from.

b. We need anonymity because too many people would lose their jobs for their political thoughts.

c. At online forums, we need to screen out the paid shills and the worst of the trolls.

16. Would you buy an energy saving light bulb from a nuclear weapons manufacturer?

a. Yes, to encourage them to shift production.

b. Never, on moral grounds.

c. I might mistrust such a company’s consumer products more than normal.

d. It wouldn’t affect the purchase.

17. Do you like the trial jury system?

a. Juries protect us from cigarette companies and polluters.

b. The D.A. gets too many “automatic exclusions” to get rid of all the black jurors. That’s an evasion of consensus process.

c. Jury trials take too much of the juror’s time. I don’t like jury duty.

d. The courts are full of lawyer games, so that justice is only for the wealthy.

e. Sometimes the police lie in court to get convictions.