eBay vrs42 ad nauseum

From: Tom Jennings <tomj_at_wps.com>
Date: Tue Feb 15 13:43:30 2005

A problem I see with this whole discussion, well-intentioned and
interesting though it is, is that it's trying to use
rules-of-thumb systems that work with large groups of people, to
very small groups of people.

The "is foo69 here?" and the M100-list examples involve very small
groups of friends and acquaintences. Personal interaction
etiquette and ethics override any external law, as it always does,
with all that implies, meaning very broad and personal
interpretations thereof.

With large groups of bidders, hundreds or thousands depending on
context, it's not that the inter-personal and large-scale-ethical
don't apply or don't have meaning, it's that individual
collusions, sniping, even shilling, etc, are massively diluted by
the numbers of participants.

It's a problem of calculus; too small a sample.

And personally, I object to the idea that people "should" behave
according to any arbitrary standard (eg. within the normal curve).
I far prefer defining bounds outside of which behavior is
unacceptable. The former method only gets narrower and narrower
with time as the comparators are all within the group, and in any
grouping there are always outliers, which incrementally get
defined as outside the "should" boundaries.

The U.S. Bill of Rights defines limits of behavior on government,
for example, rather than saying what gov't should do. Not that I
want to start any libertarian or constitutionalist threads. (I'm

Others disagree.
Received on Tue Feb 15 2005 - 13:43:30 GMT

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