Knife Man

The Slashdotting

For those of my friends who are not aware of what slashdot is, it's a geek news site. It has a huge following and getting a link listed in slashdot is quickly followed by what is termed "the slashdot effect." This frequently results in many sites being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of traffic from slashdot readers. Servers often buckle under the load. Fortunately, LiveJournal held up quite well.

Being slashdotted is often a huge boost to one's geek credibility, though it's usually short-lived. I have a bunch of new people who've added me (hi folks!), had a couple from people that I knew of but hadn't realized were on LJ (angryrice and brentdax), and have numerous emails from strangers in my inbox (sadly, no gorgeous, rich women offering to spirit me away to a Greek Isle for a lifetime of luxury, but I still have hope.)

The responses from slashdot generally were in one of three categories:

  1. You rock.
  2. You suck.
  3. You lied.

To which I respond:

  1. Thank you.
  2. It's possible.
  3. Yeah, whatever.

As for the third, I'll be posting the police report as soon as I can. The officer told me it will be ready on Monday. If it's not, I'm gonna scream. Until then, I'll refrain from putting too much about the story here because I don't know what is and is not included in the report.

There was also a small category of people who stated that what occurred was not identity theft. What amuses me about this is something that amuses a lot of folks: the slashdot crowd is filled with people who are quick to offer their considered legal opinion, despite the fact they know nothing about the law. This goes hand-in-hand with those who accused me of being ignorant or complacent about identity concerns. Given that I've ranted quite a bit about this topic here and on my use.perl journal, I think it's fair to say this is not an issue that I've been ignorant of. What I am guilty of was being careless with my recycling, so I plead mea culpa to the complacency charges. The point here is that a few slashdotters (some would argue most) enjoy offering opinions on topics of which they are completely ignorant. So to edumuhcate (sic) those who are unclear about whether or not I was a victim of identity theft, allow me to quote from part of Title 18, Part I, Chapter 47 of the US Code where one of the conditions under which identity theft has occurred is listed:

knowingly transfers or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit, or to aid or abet, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of Federal law, or that constitutes a felony under any applicable State or local law;

If you choose to read through the full text and happen to either be a) not a lawyer or, more specifically, b) a slashdotter pretending to be a lawyer, note that your interpretation of the law may differ considerably from a legal interpretation of the law. As a point of clarification,, a US government Web site set up for consumer protection makes clear in their ID Theft section exactly what is meant by the term "means of identification" (emphasis mine):

Note that under the Act, a name or SSN is considered a "means of identification." So is a credit card number, cellular telephone electronic serial number or any other piece of information that may be used alone or in conjunction with other information to identify a specific individual.

Whether or not you agree with the legal definition is of little import. I happen to think most drug laws are asinine, but that bears little weight in court.

Well, that about sums up most of this. Again, as I have more information that I can post about the identity thieves, I will. I was completely blown away by some of the information the police provided me, and, regrettably, it's not over yet.

Yeah, I added you back during the first wave. Now, with tons of people I don't know friending me, I fear my friends list might get overwhelmed even more than it is now.
I really want the knife block that's in your icon. It would make me laugh every time I went into my kitchen.
I don't mind at all. I've been hesitant about adding people back now because my friend's page is already overwhelmed. It's nothing personal. Feel free to stay if you like.
Ugh, there are some things I really like about nerd sites such as slashdot, but reading some of the responses I am reminded that for every ten awesome members, there is someone who makes me nauseated. I can't believe with technology and knowledge that there are conservanerds who have hypothesize violence on others who disagree with them and talk about their guns and morals at least once during every topic.

I was very impressed with your article and response and with its reception. :)
Word of advice....
Don't bother wasting your time trying to beat the Slashdotters with a cluestick, a clue-by-four, or a cluehammer. It won't work. It's like trying to rid the Slashdot universe of trolls, snap-judgements, and Natalie Portmans hot grits. In any event thanks for the add back and someone when I am in the neighborhood I'll say hi.
heh, i was unaware that you had been slashdotted until after i +ljfriended you; a friend gave me the link to your lj before i checked slashdot that day. oh slashdot, you silly silly place. to your experience, i offer response #1: you rock.
Heh. well, now that things have calmed down a bit, i'll fess up to adding you from the slashdot link :P

That, and because i've been coding perl for ~10 years now. Thought your journal might make for some interesting reading.
I saw it on slashdot, read thru a couple of your other entries, and liked what I saw. Feel free to reciprocate or not, as the whim takes you.
the dotcom that i worked for, that died, that got reborn later, and i got contracted to rebuild from the ground up ... survived a slashdotting once ...

people said that it was slow, but it was still 50x faster than work's server usually is :)

which means that it was pretty darned responsive.

oh -- you were complaining about the usual round of git's on slashdot.

funny thing, lots of them still think that the osdl is a good thing. :)
Just remember us little people that added you as a friend way back when you were just some unknown geek.
ID theft vs. CC fraud
The concept of identity theft has been around longer that laws pertaining to it. Legal definitions do not erase all previous definitions. Take, for example, narcotics. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines "narcotic" thus:

1 a : a drug (as opium) that in moderate doses dulls the senses, relieves pain, and induces profound sleep but in excessive doses causes stupor, coma, or convulsions b : a drug (as marijuana or LSD) subject to restriction similar to that of addictive narcotics whether physiologically addictive and narcotic or not

1a is the conventional definition, and 1b is the relatively new legal definition. Now consider ID theft. The term was created because it is not simply credit card fraud. Legal definitions often go way beyond conventional definitions. Consider how the definition of "terrorism" has changed in the last few years. Go read the Anti-Rave Act or whatever it was called, and see if everything it seeks to prohibit could be considered a rave. I could go on and on.

I'm not sure whether you were a victim of ID theft or simply CC fraud. At this point, it seems that you don't either. Let's hope it's the latter for your sake.