On 12/6/05, Martin Osterman <stonewallgrant(a)gmail.com> wrote:
Perhaps my newness to the encyclopedia (member as of
March, 2005) has left
me feeling naieve. However, I'm inclined to give Jimbo the benefit of the
doubt. He says it's an experiment, so I'm inclined to go with that.
On what grounds do you suggest that this is a "permanent policy change" in
the guise of an experiment?
Primarily because experiments are better designed. I think part of the
problem is that what I'm thinking of as an experiment is different
from how Jimbo's using the word. He's probably just using it to mean
"I'm making a change and I'm not 100% certain of what will happen,
even though I'm pretty sure it'll be good."
Whereas I expect "experiment" to mean "I'm making a change and I
know what will happen, but I've put in place mechanisms to measure as
many of its effects as I can, so that I will be able to determine
whether it is good or not."
My suggestion is also based in a little appreciation for the
immutability of human nature, which suggests that all institutions
institutionalize, that is, tend towards restrictiveness, hierarchy,
and centralization of control. Steps in that direction are rarely
reversed. This is a small step, but its direction is clear.