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April 20, 2018, 05:48:27 AM *
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1  Other / Meta / Re: Initial sMerit for every rank? on: Today at 12:37:52 AM
While specific formula is not given, theymos wrote that the initial sMerit is not solely determined by rank, but determined by rank and activity points obtained in the last year.

The exact formula was:

yearActivity = activity in the last ~year, max 378
freeMerit = the merit (not sMerit) you started with
modifier =
  0.1 if member
  0.2 if full member
  0.25 if sr member
  0.35 if hero
  0.4 if legendary

return (yearActivity/378) * modifier * freeMerit

So the most you could get is if you were a Legendary who maxed out your activity points in the last year, in which case you would get 1 * 0.4 * 1000 = 400 sMerit.

Note that I later made an adjustment giving 500 extra merit to some hero members, but no extra sMerit was given here.

I'll probably publish a dump of the initial sMerit at some point.
2  Other / Politics & Society / Anacyclosis - cycles of society/government on: April 17, 2018, 11:17:27 PM
Recently I heard about something that Polybius wrote about 100 years before the fall of the Roman Republic which seems to me to be eerily relevant even today. He predicts that all governments/societies go through a 7-stage cycle: monarchy, kingship, tyranny, aristocracy, oligarchy, democracy, mob-rule, and then from chaos back to monarchy. I see this sequence throughout history (Russia & the Soviet Union comes to mind), and you could place the US at various points on the cycle.

What do you think? Does this idea still have merit 2100+ years later? If so, at what point in the cycle are we in now?

If this cycle is indeed inevitable in politics, then Bitcoin offers a hope of escape, since Bitcoin (and crypto-anarchy generally) is all about removing politics from life. Instead of trusting a king, an aristocracy, or a majority, you structure things so that everyone is and can reasonably be sovereign over his own affairs.

Here's what Polybius wrote, all emphasis and excerpting mine:

Quote from: The Histories
When owing to floods, famines, failure of crops or other such causes there occurs such a destruction of the human race as tradition tells us has more than once happened, and as we must believe will often happen again, all arts and crafts perishing at the same time, then in the course of time, when springing from the survivors as from seeds men have again increased in numbers and just like other animals form herds it being a matter of course that they too should herd together with those of their kind owing to their natural weakness it is a necessary consequence that the man who excels in bodily strength and in courage will lead and rule over the rest. We observe and should regard as a most genuine work of nature this very phenomenon in the case of the other animals which act purely by instinct and among whom the strongest are always indisputably the masters I speak of bulls, boars, cocks, and the like. It is probable then that at the beginning men lived thus, herding together like animals and following the lead of the strongest and bravest, the ruler's strength being here the sole limit to his power and the name we should give his rule being monarchy.

But when in time feelings of sociability and companionship begin to grow in such gatherings of men, than kingship has struck root; and the notions of goodness, justice, and their opposites begin to arise in men. The manner in which these notions come into being is as follows. [...] Now when the leading and most powerful man among the people always throws the weight of his authority on the side of the notions on such matters which generally prevail, and when in the opinion of his subjects he apportions rewards and penalties according to desert, they yield obedience to him no longer because they fear his force, but rather because their judgement approves him; and they join in maintaining his rule even if he is quite enfeebled by age, defending him with one consent and battling against those who conspire to overthrow his rule. Thus by insensible degrees the monarch becomes a king, ferocity and force having yielded the supremacy to reason.

Thus is formed naturally among men the first notion of goodness and justice, and their opposites; this is the beginning and birth of true kingship. For the people maintain the supreme power not only in the hands of these men themselves, but in those of their descendants, from the conviction that those born from and reared by such men will also have principles like to theirs. And if they ever are displeased with the descendants, they now choose their kings and rulers no longer for their bodily strength and brute courage, but for the excellency of their judgement and reasoning powers, as they have gained experience from actual facts of the difference between the one class of qualities and the other. In old times, then, those who had once been chosen to the royal office continued to hold it until they grew old, fortifying and enclosing fine strongholds with walls and acquiring lands, in the one case for the sake of the security of their subjects and in the other to provide them with abundance of the necessities of life. And while pursuing these aims, they were exempt from all vituperation or jealousy, as neither in their dress nor in their food did they make any great distinction, they lived very much like everyone else, not keeping apart from the people. But when they received the office by hereditary succession and found their safety now provided for, and more than sufficient provision of food, they gave way to their appetites owing to this superabundance, and came to think that the rulers must be distinguished from their subjects by a peculiar dress, that there should be a peculiar luxury and variety in the dressing and serving of their viands, and that they should meet with no denial in the pursuit of their amours, however lawless. These habits having given rise in the one case to envy and offence and in the other to an outburst of hatred and passionate resentment, the kingship changed into a tyranny; the first steps towards its overthrow were taken by the subjects, and conspiracies began to be formed. These conspiracies were not the work of the worst men, but of the noblest, most high-spirited, and most courageous, because such men are least able to brook the insolence of princes. The people now having got leaders, would combine with them against the ruling powers for the reasons I stated above; kingship and monarchy would be utterly abolished, and in their place aristocracy would begin to grow. For the commons, as if bound to pay at once their debt of gratitude to the abolishers of monarchy, would make them their leaders and entrust their destinies to them. At first these chiefs gladly assumed this charge and regarded nothing as of greater importance than the common interest, administering the private and public affairs of the people with paternal solicitude. But here again when children inherited this position of authority from their fathers, having no experience of misfortune and none at all of civil equality and liberty of speech, and having been brought up from the cradle amid the evidences of the power and high position of their fathers, they abandoned themselves some to greed of gain and unscrupulous money-making, others to indulgence in wine and the convivial excess which accompanies it, and others again to the violation of women and the rape of boys; and thus converting the aristocracy into an oligarchy aroused in the people feelings similar to those of which  I just spoke, and in consequence met with the same disastrous end as the tyrant. For whenever anyone who has noticed the jealousy and hatred with which you are regarded by the citizens, has the courage to speak or act against the chiefs of the state he has the whole mass of the people ready to back him. Next, when they have either killed or banished the oligarchs, they no longer venture to set a king over them, as they still remember with terror the injustice they suffered from the former ones, nor can they entrust the government with confidence to a select few, with the evidence before them of their recent error in doing so. Thus the only hope still surviving unimpaired is in themselves, and to this they resort, making the state a democracy instead of an oligarchy and assuming the responsibility for the conduct of affairs. Then as long as some of those survive who experienced the evils of oligarchical dominion, they are well pleased with the present form of government, and set a high value on equality and freedom of speech. But when a new generation arises and the democracy falls into the hands of the grandchildren of its founders, they have become so accustomed to freedom and equality that they no longer value them, and begin to aim at pre-eminence; and it is chiefly those of ample fortune who fall into this error. So when they begin to lust for power and cannot attain it through themselves or their own good qualities, they ruin their estates, tempting and corrupting the people in every possible way. And hence when by their foolish thirst for reputation they have created among the masses an appetite for gifts and the habit of receiving them, democracy in its turn is abolished and changes into a rule of force and violence [mob-rule]. For the people, having grown accustomed to feed at the expense of others and to depend for their livelihood on the property of others, as soon as they find a leader who is enterprising but is excluded from the houses of office by his penury, institute the rule of violence; and now uniting their forces massacre, banish, and plunder, until they degenerate again into perfect savages and find once more a master and monarch.

Such is the cycle of political revolution, the course appointed by nature in which constitutions change, disappear, and finally return to the point from which they started. Anyone who clearly perceives this may indeed in speaking of the future of any state be wrong in his estimate of the time the process will take, but if his judgement is not tainted by animosity or jealousy, he will very seldom be mistaken as to the stage of growth or decline it has reached, and as to the form into which it will change. And especially in the case of the Roman state will this method enable us to arrive at a knowledge of its formation, growth, and greatest perfection, and likewise of the change for the worse which is sure to follow some day. For, as I said, this state, more than any other, has been formed and has grown naturally, and will undergo a natural decline and change to its contrary.
3  Other / Meta / Re: Who is able and willing to moderate the Politics & Society section? on: April 17, 2018, 10:43:32 PM
Flying Hellfish is the new Politics & Society mod. Thanks for your comments, everyone!

Now let's get to work on solving all of the political issues of the world through what I'm sure will be 100% sane, reasonable discussion going forward.
4  Other / Meta / Re: What happens to "Report to Moderator" incase the Board has No Moderator ? on: April 15, 2018, 07:50:43 AM
Reports are seen by everyone with jurisdiction over the post. As Quickseller mentioned, this will always include admins and global moderators, and may include local moderators and/or patrollers (who have jurisdiction over all newbie posts across the whole forum).

If you think that nobody who sees your report will be able to understand the reported post, it'd help if you include a very short summary of what they're saying along with the usual report reason.
5  Other / Meta / Re: Are there any banners for Bitcoin Talk? on: April 13, 2018, 07:43:09 PM
There aren't any official banners.

The forum's symbol has traditionally been the upright BTC, since the forum was created before the slanted-BTC logo was created. Here is the full-size version of the forum's favicon, both images created by Satoshi. But it doesn't really matter; use whatever you like. If anyone creates any fun/funny banners, I'd add them as a factoid.

I like this one, but I don't know who created that Bitcoin logo or if there are any copyright issues with it:
6  Economy / Reputation / Re: Major indian exchange gets hacked, 438 bitcoins stolen COINSECURE on: April 13, 2018, 07:21:34 PM
Note that I removed Benson Samuel as moderator, but only because I view the situation as potentially too much of a conflict of interest. I have no reason to doubt Benson Samuel's character.
7  Other / Meta / Re: Any issue with two accounts sharing the same computer(IP) ? on: April 11, 2018, 01:04:58 AM
Can you please provide any examples of this happening in the past? I am curious about this, because if this is the case then it would seem to a hazard to use public/shared VPN(s), TOR nodes or anything like that. I don't believe that they simply would ban an account because it shares an IP with an offender. Otherwise, paying a fee for an "evil" IP would probably not be implemented, either.

I want to read up on some more official statements surrounding this issue.

You won't be automatically banned if someone on the same IP is banned. IP addresses are pretty poor identifiers. In certain countries it is very common for different people in the same general region to share IPs a lot, and even two veteran forum users in the same US state are quite likely to share an IP address somewhere in their IP history.

But if you evade a ban, your alts will eventually be found through manual investigation.
8  Other / Meta / Re: What is the lowest rank that can accept PMs from newbies? on: April 10, 2018, 07:30:34 PM
Rank is irrelevant, you just have to change the setting.
9  Other / Meta / Re: Hidden Input Boxes on the Merit Page on: April 10, 2018, 07:59:39 AM
10  Other / Meta / Re: Hidden Input Boxes on the Merit Page on: April 10, 2018, 07:51:45 AM
Yep! If I may ask,what is the other field adjacent to the merit input?

Read the HTML and find its name.
11  Other / Meta / Re: Hidden Input Boxes on the Merit Page on: April 10, 2018, 07:46:29 AM
The last one is your session key, which allows anyone to use your account. Congrats. (I logged you out, invalidating it...)

Hidden form fields are extremely common. You'll find them on virtually every form on the forum. They're hidden from view, not "secret".
12  Other / Meta / Who is able and willing to moderate the Politics & Society section? on: April 10, 2018, 07:18:55 AM
Politics & Society is trash. People go there, look at a headline, and post a few sentences of their first gut reaction without reading any of the other replies. Who here is up to the task of moderating the section in order to remove this garbage, but without hampering the free exchange of ideas there? It'll be tough, since I do want to hear the thoughts of people who can't speak perfect English, people with extreme/offensive ideas, people who are rude while still making legitimate points, etc. So it'll be a difficult balancing act.

Post in this thread if you're interested so I can see other people's comments on you.

Here are the top 20 reporters in that section over the last 90 days:
| realName        | Non-bad reports |
| Flying Hellfish |             257 |
| rickbig41       |              40 |
| Foxpup          |              29 |
| otrkid70        |              22 |
| LoyceV          |              15 |
| Vod             |              12 |
| BTCMILLIONAIRE  |               7 |
| Sithara007      |               5 |
| marlboroza      |               5 |
| coolcoinz       |               4 |
| iasenko         |               3 |
| lucario21       |               2 |
| bitperson       |               2 |
| nullius         |               2 |
| Xal0lex         |               2 |
| shaun98         |               1 |
| Kaneki Ken      |               1 |
| Be_Happy        |               1 |
| Wolfman15       |               1 |
| Rainbow1976     |               1 |
13  Other / Serious discussion / MOVED: Merit system and Forum rank on: April 10, 2018, 06:57:38 AM
This topic has been moved to Meta.
14  Economy / Auctions / Advertise on this forum - Round 241 on: April 09, 2018, 07:18:41 PM
The forum sells ad space in the area beneath the first post of every topic page. This income is used primarily to cover hosting costs and to pay moderators for their work (there are many moderators, so each moderator gets only a small amount -- moderators should be seen as volunteers, not employees). Any leftover amount is typically either saved for future expenses or otherwise reinvested into the forum or the ecosystem.

Ads are allowed to contain any non-annoying HTML/CSS style. No images, JavaScript, or animation. Ads must appear 3 or fewer lines tall in my browser (Firefox, 900px wide). Ad text may not contain lies, misrepresentation, or inappropriate language. Ads may not link directly to any NSFW page. No ICOs[1], banks, funds, or anything else that a person can be said to "invest" in; I may very rarely make exceptions if you convince me that you are ultra legit, but don't count on it. Ads may be rejected for other reasons, and I may remove ads even after they are accepted.

There are 10 total ad slots which are randomly rotated. So one ad slot has a one in ten chance of appearing. Nine of the slots are for sale here. Ads appear only on topic pages with more than one post, and only for people using the default theme.


- Your ads are guaranteed to be up for at least 7 days.
- I usually try to keep ads up for no more than 8 or 9 days.
- Sometimes ads might be up for longer, but hopefully no longer than 12 days. Even if past rounds sometimes lasted for long periods of time, you should not rely on this for your ads.


Exact historical impression counts per slot:

Info about the current ad slots:

Ad blocking

Hero/Legendary members, Donators, VIPs, and moderators have the ability to disable ads. I don't expect many people to use this option. These people don't increase the impression stats for your ads.

I try to bypass Adblock Plus filters as much as possible, though this is not guaranteed. It is difficult or impossible for ABP filters to block the ad space itself without blocking posts. However, filters can match against the URLs in your links, your CSS classes and style attributes, and the HTML structure of your ads.

To prevent matches against URLs: I have some JavaScript which fixes links blocked by ABP. You must tell me if you want this for your ads. When someone with ABP and JavaScript enabled views your ads, your links are changed to a special randomized URL which redirects to your site when visited. People without ABP are unaffected, even if they don't have JavaScript enabled. The downsides are:
- ABP users will see the redirection link when they hover over the link, even if they disable ABP for the forum.
- Getting referral stats might become even more difficult.
- Some users might get a warning when redirecting from https to http.

To prevent matching on CSS classes/styles: Don't use inline CSS. I can give your ad a CSS class that is randomized on each pageload, but you must request this.

To prevent matching against your HTML structure: Use only one <a> and no other tags if possible. If your ads get blocked because of matching done on something inside of your ad, you are responsible for noticing this and giving me new ad HTML.

Designing ads

Make sure that your ads look good when you download and edit this test page:
Also read the comments in that file.

Images are not allowed no matter how they are created (CSS, SVG, or data URI). Occasionally I will make an exception for small logos and such, but you must get pre-approval from me first.

The maximum size of any one ad is 51200 bytes.

I will send you more detailed styling rules if you win slots in this auction (or upon request).

Auction rules

You must be at least a Jr Member to bid. If you are not a Jr Member and you really want to bid, you should PM me first. Tell me in the PM what you're going to advertise. You might be required to pay some amount in advance. Everyone else: Please quickly PM newbies who try to bid here to warn them against impersonation scammers.

If you have never purchased forum ad space before, and it is not blatantly obvious what you're going to advertise, say what you're going to advertise in your first bid, or tell me in a PM.

Post your bids in this thread. Prices must be stated in BTC per slot. You must state the maximum number of slots you want. When the auction ends, the highest bidders will have their slots filled until all nine slots are filled.

So if someone bids for 9 slots @ 5 BTC and this is the highest bid, then he'll get all 9 slots. If the two highest bids are 9 slots @ 4 BTC and 1 slot @ 5 BTC, then the first person will get 8 slots and the second person will get 1 slot.

The notation "2 @ 5" means 2 slots for 5 BTC each. Not 2 slots for 5 BTC total.

- When you post a bid, the bids in your previous posts are considered to be automatically canceled. You can put multiple bids in one post, however.
- All bid prices must be evenly divisible by 0.02.
- The bidding starts at 0.02.
- I will end the auction at an arbitrary time. Unless I say otherwise, I typically try to end auctions within a few days of 10 days from the time of this post, but unexpected circumstances may sometimes force me to end the auction anytime between 4 and 22 days from the start. I have a small bias toward ending auctions on Fridays, Sundays, and Mondays.
- If two people bid at the same price, the person who bid first will have his slots filled first.
- Bids are considered invalid and will be ignored if they do not specify both a price and a max quantity, or if they could not possibly win any slots

If these rules are confusing, look at some of the past forum ad auctions to see how it's done.

I reserve the right to reject bids, even days after the bid is made.

You must pay for your slots within 24 hours of receiving the payment address. Otherwise your slots may be sold to someone else, and I might even give you a negative trust rating. I will send you the payment information via forum PM from this account ("theymos", user ID 35) after announcing the auction results in this thread. You might receive false payment information from scammers pretending to be me. They might even have somewhat similar usernames. Be careful.

[1]: For the purposes of forum ads, an ICO is any token, altcoin, or other altcoin-like thing which meets any of the following criteria: it is primarily run/backed by a company; it is substantially, fundamentally centralized in either operation or coin distribution; or it is not yet possible for two unprivileged users of the system to send coins directly to each other in a P2P way. The intention here is to allow community efforts to advertise things like Litecoin, but not to allow ICO funding, even when the ICO is disguised in various ways.
15  Economy / Auctions / Re: Advertise on this forum - Round 240 on: April 09, 2018, 07:11:44 PM
9 @ 1

If you are not a Jr Member and you really want to bid, you should PM me first. Tell me in the PM what you're going to advertise.
If you have never purchased forum ad space before, and it is not blatantly obvious what you're going to advertise, say what you're going to advertise in your first bid, or tell me in a PM.

4 @ 0.2

Theymos, can you please check PM from me and tell if ETH.TOWN is eligible for advertising.

Too ICO-like for now; see my PM.

2 @ 0.26

You also seem to be advertising ETH.TOWN.

1 @ 0.28

I still think that's too ICO-like.

Auction ended, final result:
Slots BTC/Slot Person
2 0.26
1 0.24 darknight44
2 0.24 Phore
2 0.24 Stunna
2 0.22 ChipMixer
16  Other / Meta / Re: Thanks for the Cake... I Guess on: April 08, 2018, 09:51:02 PM
That's the default SMF cake image. If someone has a better image (with no copyright issues), I'd use it.

Happy birthday, OP.
17  Other / Meta / Re: Does Cobra control something over Bitcointalk and ? on: April 08, 2018, 09:41:45 PM
 - Cobra has ultimate control over the domain name. I have access to the domain name settings.
 - Cobra runs the server.
 - Will Binns holds the BTC.
 - Cobra has ultimate control over the domain name. I have access to the domain name settings.
 - I run the server. Cobra has no access to the database or server.
 - The BTC is held by myself and the treasurers. Cobra has no access.

I am not Cobra. What would even be the point of that?
18  Other / Meta / Re: TLS error on: April 08, 2018, 10:28:50 AM
Is this twitter handle official
It looks official but why it's inactive since 30 Nov 2017?

This can be helpful for announcements or any such unforeseen events.

That is the official twitter handle, but I only tend to use it for long-lasting outages that I can't quickly fix. I don't use Twitter otherwise, so you're not going to see any more regular news, etc. from there.
19  Other / Meta / Re: TLS error on: April 08, 2018, 04:02:48 AM
Is * actually used for anything? I don't recall ever using a subdomain on the forum. is the image proxy.

 - Prior to last year, and used *, while used its own cert.
 - As of last year (which I'd forgotten about), and use *, while uses its own cert.
20  Other / Meta / Re: [April fools] New new rank requirements on: April 08, 2018, 03:57:09 AM
Those were the good ole days like when Atlas tried to commit suicide and I sent the police to his home to make sure he's okay.

I also called his local police when he did that, but they basically blew me off. Did you actually convince them to visit him?

Surprised nobody pointed out the pointless bit shifting in that equation Wink

I did write it that way in part to be more confusing, but it's not pointless; 1<<10 is 2^10. It restricts the result to the 10-bit space of the game-of-life board.
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