June 02, 2015

Fang mail

I stopped posting to USS Clueless 11 years ago.

But occasionally people link to old posts of mine, like just happened last week when Ace did it.

And every once in a while I get fan mail, or perhaps "fang mail" would be more accurate: "This was a really neat post, but you should change it because it didn't include something I think is important."

RE this particular post, I think there is a tendency to oversimplify the idea you are presenting. It is often presented as "you need to be willing to do back to your enemy whatever your enemy is willing to do to you." I don't think game theory requires such literal Tit for Tat. It merely requires significant consequences for breaking the rules. For example, a credible threat to use Nuclear weapons if Biological weapons are deployed, would satisfy the significant consequences argument of game theory, without requiring a country to maintain stocks of Biological weapons or an open threat of Biological MAD. I think this is important, since it allows for some modifications of the Tit for Tat scenarios that avoid the danger of "turning into your enemy" in order to defeat him. You do not have to match an enemy brutality for brutality, as long as there exists some other way to punish the enemy for violations that has equal significance to him.

You don't actually get into this part of the question, but I think this might be a worthwhile update to consider to the post, since people are still reading it and it has been referenced by others as saying something to that effect.

I can't change it. Frustratingly, that server ("regulus") is sitting on my computer desk within arm's reach, but a couple of years ago Microsoft issued a Win 7 security update and now I can't access it either with telnet or with FTP. (It also fouled up my ability to access my WHS, "Deneb".) So I'm not capable of making any changes on it any more.

Even if I were inclined to do so, which I'm not. Dammit, I wrote that post in 2002! Let it rest, already! USS Clueless wasn't a series of academic papers, it was a fucking blog.

(I do have to admit that I get three of four letters a year from people who thank me for doing USS Clueless and who don't try to convince me to rewrite parts of it. And I am grateful.)

UPDATE: Besides which, I did write what he's saying, in a different post.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Rants at 05:38 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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