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Author Topic: Who on earth is "sdmichael"  (Read 6291 times)

Marf

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Who on earth is "sdmichael"
« on: December 25, 2017, 05:38:08 PM »

Seriously, this guy seems to not exist. He simply has his username in back text with no other profile. He does not see to have ever registered even though he posts. Even banned people have a user sidebar.
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Re: Who on earth is "sdmichael"
« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2017, 05:45:39 PM »

Has to be Ethanman or TheAlan360 under a different username.
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Marf

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Re: Who on earth is "sdmichael"
« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2017, 05:47:03 PM »

Wait, a l a n was banned? I thought he just s***posted and left.
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Re: Who on earth is "sdmichael"
« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2017, 05:52:54 PM »

Wait, a l a n was banned? I thought he just s***posted and left.

He's banned. Banned users don't appear on the "members" list.

sdmichael is not either one of those, though. These are just people without accounts. ComputerGuy, another black-text-only "account", was a constructive contributor.
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Marf

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Re: Who on earth is "sdmichael"
« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2017, 05:54:50 PM »

How the hell does someone get around membership? That seems like a thing that the admins would crack down on pronto.
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Re: Who on earth is "sdmichael"
« Reply #5 on: December 25, 2017, 06:03:49 PM »

How the hell does someone get around membership? That seems like a thing that the admins would crack down on pronto.

It seems like sdmichael's account was deleted. ComputerGuy, on the other hand, was never an account to begin with.
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hbelkins

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Re: Who on earth is "sdmichael"
« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2017, 07:20:01 PM »

sdmichael was the guy who was gung-ho in favor of lane splitting. If he's gone, no great loss.
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Re: Who on earth is "sdmichael"
« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2017, 08:00:49 PM »

Sdmichael is Michael Ballard, who has maintained a website dedicated to southern California highways since (at least) the late nineties.

We have had other users (Austrini comes to mind) whose posts have been retained although their accounts have been deleted, presumably at their request.  In Austrini's case, he is now back on the forum.
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Re: Who on earth is "sdmichael"
« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2017, 08:14:08 PM »

Mike asked me to delete his account and I granted his request.

During the forum reboot after V'ger departed, ComputerGuy was deleted along with RealLifeGuitarHero. CG came back several years later and is Bruce on the board today.

Marf

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Re: Who on earth is "sdmichael"
« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2017, 08:19:26 PM »

Oh, okay.  :colorful:
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Re: Who on earth is "sdmichael"
« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2017, 08:08:26 AM »

For those who care, the mechanism by which this happens is that when an account is deleted, all of the posts associated with it are kicked over to "Guest" posts (i.e. the posts' associated user ID number—mine is 33 for instance—is changed from that of the deleted account to 0) with the user's former name used as the "guest name". As we don't allow non-registered users to post, this is the only way that guest posts will appear.

Because there is really no functional change other than losing the ability to log in and create posts, we rarely delete user accounts. If you don't want to be a member here, we generally advise that you simply stop using the account. We cannot automatically delete every post made by a user, and wouldn't if we could, because it would make threads nonsensical (and that still wouldn't address posts being quoted by other users, etc.).
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J N Winkler

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Re: Who on earth is "sdmichael"
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2017, 12:55:11 PM »

If you are, e.g., running for political office or applying for a sensitive job and don't want your posts to be public where they are conveniently accessible to opposition researchers or background investigators, it is conceptually possible to write a wget wrapper script that logs in as you, goes to your profile, and goes through your posts one by one and effectively clicks Remove for each post.  This of course does nothing about snippets quoted by other people, however.

Requesting account deletion is really a way of cutting off your nose to spite your face since it removes options for managing your account, including deletion of your past posts.
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Re: Who on earth is "sdmichael"
« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2017, 03:05:30 PM »

If you are, e.g., running for political office or applying for a sensitive job and don't want your posts to be public where they are conveniently accessible to opposition researchers or background investigators, it is conceptually possible to write a wget wrapper script that logs in as you, goes to your profile, and goes through your posts one by one and effectively clicks Remove for each post.  This of course does nothing about snippets quoted by other people, however.

Requesting account deletion is really a way of cutting off your nose to spite your face since it removes options for managing your account, including deletion of your past posts.

This is such an edge case that the chances of it coming up are incredibly rare, which is fortunate. I would think that as a policy we would be opposed to usage of such a script—again because once you post something and it is responded to, removal of what you posted destroys the coherency of the thread. Depending on the exact construction of the script, it could also cause server-load issues.

A better approach would be a manual audit of one's posts to delete the percentage of them that could look bad while leaving the benign ones alone. It's more work, but if you're running for office it will not be the last time you have to put in some hours toward good optics. (I would argue that the typical posting history here would help to bolster a potential candidate's infrastructure cred if it were found...although maybe it would be a good idea to avoid being associated with Alanland.)

If there were a true need to mass-delete posts, it could be done with a fairly simple SQL query (something like 'drop all from table POSTS where USER_ID = 336' or so). But we tend to not mess around with the database directly due to the risk of unforeseen consequences, and the above-mentioned thread integrity issues.
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Re: Who on earth is "sdmichael"
« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2017, 04:00:15 PM »

I stress that auto-deleting my own posts is not something I would, personally, consider doing.  I try to live by an old Russian proverb--"Man is master of the word left unspoken; once it is spoken, it is the master of man"--and in general maintain a civil and facultative online persona.  Moreover, such a brutal approach would leave traces (e.g., quotes from the deleted posts) that would in turn drive opposition researchers to try to retrieve the original posts through Google caches and the like.

However, I can easily see the self-deletion issue coming up in the future given that our posters have a higher degree of political engagement and a firmer grasp of policy detail (at least in the transportation field) than the general population at large.  We live in an age where political careers have come to an end as a result of mismanagement of digital lives (Hillary Clinton's email server; Anthony Weiner's sexting; one of Trump's nominees for a federal judgeship appearing to endorse the Confederacy in a blog post), and this incentivizes aggressive approaches to reputation management even when they are ham-fisted and self-defeating in the long term.

The existence of digital records in itself makes youthful mistakes easier to excavate and as a society we still haven't come to a consensus on when, or under what circumstances, these should be allowed to lapse into obscurity, whether this is through the digital records ceasing to exist, being hidden, or being left in public view with the understanding that they are not to be counted against the person they would otherwise show in a bad light.
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Re: Who on earth is "sdmichael"
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2017, 04:08:44 PM »

If you're running for office, don't post under your real name and make sure you don't identify yourself in specific ways.  Or just don't say things you'll regret later.
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Re: Who on earth is "sdmichael"
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2017, 05:31:19 PM »

sdmichael was the guy who was gung-ho in favor of lane splitting. If he's gone, no great loss.

I remember him more for being the guy who suggested a short-notice Southern California road meet and then immediately got irrationally enraged by the suggestions we offered to try to help him plan his meet. We literally said nothing more than "it might be a good idea to plan more notice, though it's your meet so you can do it how you want" to which he went ballistic and "killed" the idea.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2017, 05:34:15 PM by TheHighwayMan394 »
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Re: Who on earth is "sdmichael"
« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2017, 06:01:35 PM »

sdmichael was the guy who was gung-ho in favor of lane splitting. If he's gone, no great loss.

I remember him more for being the guy who suggested a short-notice Southern California road meet and then immediately got irrationally enraged by the suggestions we offered to try to help him plan his meet. We literally said nothing more than "it might be a good idea to plan more notice, though it's your meet so you can do it how you want" to which he went ballistic and "killed" the idea.

As I recall, it was more than that, including some of us East Coasters indicating interest and sometimes being East Coast-style pushy about more advance notice. It seemed at that point that his proposed meet was turning into more of a production than he envisioned, and he perhaps wasn't getting any nibbles from others in SoCal for the more casual, local get-together he envisioned, so he threw up his hands and said "forget it".

He is better known for his expertise on old US 99 in southern California, and the guided tours he gave to some of us (one of which seems to have turned into a mini-meet) of the old highway through the mountains north of Los Angeles.
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Re: Who on earth is "sdmichael"
« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2017, 09:29:25 PM »

I remember about fifteen years ago he got into it with Ralph Herman in either MTR or one of the California driving newsgroups about the continued serviceability of porcelain enamel-on-steel overhead guide signs.
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Re: Who on earth is "sdmichael"
« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2017, 04:49:34 PM »

I remember him for being a part of a notable forum drama a few years ago.

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Re: Who on earth is "sdmichael"
« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2017, 05:04:57 PM »

I remember him for being a part of a notable forum drama a few years ago.

Ah, irony.
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Re: Who on earth is "sdmichael"
« Reply #20 on: January 01, 2018, 10:45:03 AM »

I am actually surprised that we can edit or delete our posts, in some cases years later. Every other forum I have been involved in on a long term basis only allowed a regular user 15-30 minutes to edit their post themselves and they never could really delete it (post #123 would still be there, it would just be blank after the user deleted the words). Only a staff member could delete a post outright, or edit it after time has expired.

We had a case here recently where a member deleted his OP in 80 something threads making all of them (well except for the ones where a responding member quoted the OP) confusing or hard to follow.

I really wouldn't mind losing the right to amend or delete my posts after a certain time period, I don't ever post anything that I think may cause me problems down the road.



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Re: Who on earth is "sdmichael"
« Reply #21 on: January 01, 2018, 01:02:22 PM »

We had a case here recently where a member deleted his OP in 80 something threads making all of them (well except for the ones where a responding member quoted the OP) confusing or hard to follow.

I'm in the process of fixing them, but it won't happen overnight.

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Re: Who on earth is "sdmichael"
« Reply #22 on: January 01, 2018, 04:45:15 PM »

I am actually surprised that we can edit or delete our posts, in some cases years later. Every other forum I have been involved in on a long term basis only allowed a regular user 15-30 minutes to edit their post themselves and they never could really delete it (post #123 would still be there, it would just be blank after the user deleted the words). Only a staff member could delete a post outright, or edit it after time has expired.

We had a case here recently where a member deleted his OP in 80 something threads making all of them (well except for the ones where a responding member quoted the OP) confusing or hard to follow.

I really wouldn't mind losing the right to amend or delete my posts after a certain time period, I don't ever post anything that I think may cause me problems down the road.
I think that editing should stay. Sometimes I make dumb spelling errors and I don't want to embarrasses myself.

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Re: Who on earth is "sdmichael"
« Reply #23 on: January 01, 2018, 04:53:36 PM »

I think that editing should stay. Sometimes I make dumb spelling errors and I don't want to embarrasses myself.

I see what you did there.

But yes, I too frequently don't catch a formatting or grammatical error until I've already hit [Post].  Sometimes I've already previewed the post a couple of times and still miss something, having to edit it later.  But that should be immediately obvious.  I don't think I've ever edited a post more than a few hours after posting it (unless I'm forgetting something).  Maybe a 24h rule would be good.
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Re: Who on earth is "sdmichael"
« Reply #24 on: January 01, 2018, 04:55:30 PM »

I think that editing should stay. Sometimes I make dumb spelling errors and I don't want to embarrasses myself.

I see what you did there.

But yes, I too frequently don't catch a formatting or grammatical error until I've already hit [Post].  Sometimes I've already previewed the post a couple of times and still miss something, having to edit it later.  But that should be immediately obvious.  I don't think I've ever edited a post more than a few hours after posting it (unless I'm forgetting something).  Maybe a 24h rule would be good.
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