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Monday, August 14, 2017

Opinion about commentors' anonymity.

The question has been raised regarding allowing or disallowing anonymous posts. I think a vehicle such as this blog provides an interesting and sometimes provocative channel for questioning the orthodoxy and culture at the labs. I suspect losing anonymity will damage that, and ultimately the blog will collapse as a result.

Certainly, there is the constant static of "I hate Bechtel," "things were so much better under UC when we were unaccountable," and "things would be better if NNSA and or Congress would only realize just how great albeit unproductive we are." Oh, and the ever present "why is LANL dominating an LLNL blog" -- which goes back to the death of the original LANL blog. I think that static is worth the openness the blog presents, and it can be easily ignored.

I am also a little surprised that the blog owner, who chose to operate in anonymity himself until he was safely retired and outside the reach of employment retaliation, would even ask the question. If anonymous posting is stopped, will Evil Echo then also be unmasked?

I would also bet you will get a quiet campaign of managers at LANL and LLNL to vote against anonymity.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

"I am also a little surprised that the blog owner, who chose to operate in anonymity himself until he was safely retired and outside the reach of employment retaliation, would even ask the question. If anonymous posting is stopped, will Evil Echo then also be unmasked?"

Excellent questions. Anonymous posting should remain unchanged.

Anonymous said...

Well the poll says the same thing, 80% in favor so far. Of course it's not a democracy, the site owner can do what he wishes, but if saving effort is the main goal, why not save money too and just shut it down?

Anonymous said...

The plain english of the poll questions are exactly the opposite of what you indicate -- 79% as of now are against anonymity.

Assuming, of course, the poll is being properly presented, since it won't show up without disabling adware and malware blockers.

Anonymous said...

One really good thing about this poll: it will reveal, once and for all, how many people are actually posting to this blog. I'm betting less than 50. Should we have a pool? How many do you think there are?

Anonymous said...

Since there isn't any block against multiple votes, we'll never know. That crazy prove-it fellow from LANL has probably already voted 30 times.

Evil Echo said...

When I started posting as EE someone did take up the challenge and dig deeply enough to have a good idea who I am. The handle was never seen as a cloak, just a convenient alias that honors my old unit in the US Army, Echo Company having the nickname of Evil Echo. It's mostly there as an ID for my work writing simulation software and gaming online.

As for not posting a photo vs using the EE grinning avatar -- I'm rather infamously camera shy. A hell of a combination when paired with a globe-trotting mom who loved to photograph people.

So for those that must know, I'm Gregg Schoenberger - worked at MFECC/NMFECC/NERSC and then Livermore Computing. I once stood up to a DoE undersecretary and called him out (quite colorfully) as a liar during the NERSC move to LBL. I was not afraid then and certainly not now.

Now can we move on?

Anonymous said...

Interesting point, the wording of the question led me to vote for the wrong box. I bet many people clicking "against" were also against changing the current system, not against the current system.

Anonymous said...

No one has address the key premise here: is there really a problem with the blog that needs to be solved? The blog is in fact very informative as it is, especially if you read it closely. This includes things a superficial reader may perceive as noise.

For example, we see a number of posts blaming the poor state of LANL management on UC or on Bechtel. Sounds like repetitive noise, right? Nope, this immediately tells us that there are forces campaigning from both sides. Evidently, UC came up with the excuse for its future bid: this was all Bechtel's fault and they've started to disseminate it. Bechtel is going to push exactly the same line against UC. We learn that this is the line each of them will push during the recompete.

We also see the danger of having LLCs made of several partners: no one takes responsibility for what happens at the Lab.

Next, we see posts which actually dig a bit deeper: many of the key managers responsible for the recent decline were at LANL prior to the contract change. But they were elevated and given unlimited power to destroy by LANS. So we learn that the LLC created the environment that allowed the bad seeds to grow and thrive. It was a symbiosis of the worst traits from the partners. Will this happen again with the new contract? Probably, unless specific precautions are taken by DOE/NNSA.

Next, while posters are trading blame, there is actually consensus that the "privatization" scheme definitely failed. That's important. What's also important is that, as other posters pointed out, the people who devised the scheme (Brooks, Bodman, D'Agostino, Przybylek, Dominici, etc) are long gone. Yet, the scheme, damaging as it is, continues to this day. How can this be? Sure, the Bush administration made some clearly bad decisions, but how come the Obama administration, in its 8 years, didn't reverse any of them? Are there apparatchiks on the dough here? If yes, we are in trouble, for what guarantees we have that this would change in the future?

Anyhow, a very useful blog, be careful not to break it!

Anonymous said...

Responding to Evil Echo, a question: Are you still dependent on LLNL or LBL for your livelihood?

Evil Echo said...

3:45

I am comfortable enough in retirement thanks to investments OUTSIDE of LLNL/DOE - whom I never trusted further than I can spit.

My time is spent being a loving husband to a wonderful wife, cooking the occasional gourmet meal, teaching the younger generation the error of their ways in various online combat simulations, writing software ( my Zulu software library had close to 1 million lines of documentation at last count ), tutoring my god daughter, and mentoring a number of other people including one very autistic young man who loves space exploration.

Anonymous said...

So, just to be clear, you are safely insulated from employment-based retaliation too.

Not everyone is in your position.

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