domingo, 4 de marzo de 2012

The Social Code

There is spanish version of this post at El Codigo Social.

Among geeks there is a concept called “The Geek Code”, a sort of code that looks like the following:
L++ W- J+++ P+ C-
(It)Which tells us that I am quite Linux-friendly, I don't feel aligned with Windows, great fan of Java, I like Perl, and not very much the C programming language. There is no A in the code, which means I'm neutral about Apple.
The code is slightly more complex than that, but it is easy to interpret. Afterwards, that's what social codes claim: show a lot of information with very little text.
When you meet a geek at the CCC or the Euskal Encouter wearing a t-shirt with his geek code, you immediately know if you will have an easy conversation with him. If he has a J+++ in his code, just like me, we both know that we will get along because we all love talking about our passions.

The geek code is a fairly old concept (in Internet time) that I am surprised it hasn't spread more (become more popular). The Geek Code favors assertiveness, that is, expressing opinions in a transparent, non-offensive way. By using it you are expressing your disappointment about something. For example, by the W- of my geek code, I've stated that I don't like Windows. It is an aseptic assertion. I'm not saying Windows is bullshit that fails all the time. No. It is just that I don't like it.
The geek code expresses the sole purpose of facilitating new contacts, new friends, new employees, new employers, new relationships as a whole.
A geek never argues with another geek because of their geek code, not even a W+++ L--- with a W--- L+++. At worst, they mutually ignore.

It seems to me so great and necessary the idea of a code that identifies you, that I am proposing the world to we all start using the Social Code.
Like within the geek code, we must classify people by those Aspects that separate us, or we are fond of, but which are never related to geography. I will make a proposal here, but ideally, we should all vote and decide which those Aspects are. Though we could identify many of those aspects, the idea is to keep the code short, with no more than six aspects to begin with. Once the whole world is able to interpret a social code at a glance, we might think about adding some more aspects.
The following is my initial proposal:
P private Property. Represents your willingness to communism or to capitalism as far as privatization and private property concerns. For example:
- do you think it is right that someone can buy an island? If your answer is yes, perhaps you're a P++.
- Do you think that airlines should be managed by the goverment? Yes? perhaps you're a P-.
- Do you think it would be great to put a cap of 3 million euros/dollars to what a single person can earn in a year? put a P-.
- Are you one of those bank managers who collapsed investment banks but won billions of dollars, and also think they did nothing wrong because they did nothing illegal? you're a P++++ S sports. Represents how much you love sports, both practising and watching. But what  if... you weigh 150 kg and spend the whole day in front of the TV eating popcorn and watching sports? Does it mean your a sportsman? It´s not an easy answer. So let's give the option to subdivide so that we can distinguish between watching and practicing. Thus, a D++ is someone who practices and watches a lot of sport, but a Dp---w+ is someone who does not practice any sport at all but enjoys watching great sport events. If you are a D++++ you are Michael Phelps or Usain Bolt. R Religiosity. Represents your spirituality, regardless of your religion. You might think subdividing by religion could be a great idea, but I think with this subdivision it could lose the non aggressive essence of the Social Code. Let's better keep just the R, thus a R--- is a radical atheist, and a R+++ is a bishop, or an imam, or a hippie druid who speaks with the trees. If you are R++++ then you are the Pope :-) X seXuality. Represents your inclination for sex liberty without taboos or religious preconditions. A P- could be a person who does not believe in sex before marriage. A P+ is someone who would probably give condoms to his 15 year old son, but he would rather prefer he doesn't use them until he's 18. If you are S++++ you are Cicciolina.

T Technology. Represent your animosity or passion for technology and progress (and the threats) that this entails. Thus, a T- can be a mother with a 12 years old daughter who has seen several cases of pedophilia started on Internet, and she sees Internet more as a threat than a progress. A T+ is someone who buys a smartphone but do not plan to change just because the new model has emerged. A T--- is a preacher who believes that computers where developed by the Devil, and Bill Gates is its incarnation. If you are T++++ you are Marc Zuckerberg or Jules Verne.

Well, I've said I would do six but with these five is enough. I insist that the idea is not to be these five, but to decide in democracy which ones should be. For example, we could change the X sexuality, for L Liberty, where a L--- would be a pro-dictatorship and an L+++ an anarchist. Perhaps many people decide that there should be an A aspect, where A- is someone who dislikes animals, and an A++ is someone who owns two dogs, a cat and an iguana at home, for example.

I've found P punishment could be interesting too. A P+++ would argue that laws should be much more hard on punishments to the point that someone who stoles from a shop should have his hand chopped. A P++ is someone who thinks Guantanamo is needed. And a P--- is someone who always turns the other cheek.
To make it clear, I'll be the first to publish his social code:

P- Sp+v- X++ R- T+++

One important thing: if I don't write an R, or an R0, it means I am neutral towards religion, probably I don't practice it but don't I condemn it.

Let's figure out my code; easy, isn't it?

P- cause though formerly I was P+, after this financial crisis I understand that we are not ruled by the elected. Bankers govern us. And we may assume that elected people will be minimally ethic, but cannot say the same about bankers. Now I think that we should watch how much people earn. I believe in the abolition of tax havens. Poverty outrages me.

S+ because even my friends know I hate football/soccer, I love watching tennis, playing paddle tennis, I practice and follow snowboarding, jogging, I may enjoy watching the Olympics, the FIFA World Cup... I really do prefer to practice, but I practice less than I’d like to. So yes, you may bother me with Decathlon adds, for those who are already seeing the opportunity to make targeted advertising based on the social code.

X++ More sexual freedom, less repression, I say. I guess this is a clear sign that I am a
DINK. My friends with 16 years old daughters do not agree, they are closer to an X-.
Surely, we all men were X+++ when teenagers, but we all change over time, specially if we have children. I suppose a X+ could fit me as well. But never a X- or lower.

R-. Even R--- could tell me those who know that I'm an atheist! But even as an atheist, I believe in things like karma, and I feel a bit akin to the philosophy of Buddhism and the Tao. And, as you may see if you read some of my previous posts, I've wondered more than once which is the true origin of the universe. As I've said, the R is for religion, spirituality, not just how fanatical you are about your religion.

T+++ Needs an explanation? I have a blog whose statistics I query from a Desire HTC HD. I pay for the premium version LogMeIn and for extra Gigabytes in Picasa where I keeph all my uploaded pictures and videos (just in case of disaster, Picasa is a great backup). I am writing this post in a Google Doc, just in case the power goes out and I didn't save it in the last 3 minutes. But seriously, I think that technology is complicating life for the bad guys every day (nooo). I know that it raises new risks and opens some doors to evil, but with the faster growing of technology, capturing the bad guys is easier; (the faster the technology grows, the easier to capture the bad guys) no evil goes unpunished, what deters better than nothing to those who have bad thoughts.

Of course, I must state that a social code is not what I am, but what I feel. As, I don't remember who said it before, “Everyone is in three ways: as he is, as he thinks he is, and as people sees him. The social code is about "the way you think you are."
Maybe someone who knows me well would say I am a S- just because I believe in marriage and fidelity. Well, maybe. We must therefore insist that the social code is not an exact science. It is subject to interpretation, but as every aspect is divided into 7 levels (from --- to +++), you can immediately get a rough idea who you are talking to.

The main objective of the social code is to make people to raise public their values, which do not imply the intention to vote or purchasing power.
The goal is allow the Numerati to do a better job and see what kind of people are there in the world, and then tell us back. Aggregate the information to then distribute it back. We'd see that society is not as polarized as it is the political class. Not everyone is on the left or right (when talking about ideology).
This will foster the emergence of some new political parties with ideologies that best represent the most widespread social code, which I will call the “Dominant social code or DSC”. I am sure that the Dominant Social Code now in Occident is not a person totally on the left nor totally on the right.

I guess in the P side, private property,
the most we would see would be a P- or P-- making clear that we are tired of unbridled capitalism that has brought us to this crisis. High unemployment brings a lot of people change their P++ to P -. This doesn't mean that people is asking to return to a Communist Russia. This means that, so far, we want more communist/socialist actions. Surely, when waters calm again, we would return to the P- or even the P+. It would take some time before we see many P++ again.

Another interesting aspect of all the above mentioned is, that these changes to your social code are immutable  and permanently stored, so whether you or anyone you allow, can view the history records of your social code. Ideally, make it public, at least your actual social code. If you are not going to make public it, hardly bother. If you're not willing to tell the truth about yourself, the online world is not for you.
You can also lie... but what for?. And if, by being politically correct, you do not put any + or any - to the Aspects, leaving your social code in "" (blank), what you're saying is that you are a dull boy.
But a S+++ R--- T- D--- P+++ says that, without examining every aspect, you're a fan. That you are someone with strong contrasts. And if your social code changes frequently, it means you're not a fixed mind man.
The analysis of a social code and its variation over time tells us a lot about a person (in case you update it when you feel you’ve changed your mind).
Looking at the evolution of the aspects of a person might see something like this:

People don’t usually change their mind so frecuently, but this is just an example.

What a great tool for self-analysis! But the true mission of Social Codes analysis is not to keep us away from psycologists. The end is to massively study them.
All of us, in our favourite social network, would have our Social Code. If you open it to  public, as it would be desirable, anyone could know a little bit more from you. I’m sure that if you are proud of yourself, and or you know how to make fun of yourself, you won’t have any problem to publicise your personality.

All social networks would have a public API so you can do queries to the users Social Codes, that just returns numbers or Social Codes (never names). Queries like: Which is the Dominant Social Code in Spain? How many P--- are there in the USA? or, like in Business Intelligent tools, how many people are S-- and P++ per country?
This way, statistics are available to the entire world at real time. Not to mention that computers will manage Social Codes better than humans will. So computers could warn us upon things like fast global changes in the Social Code.
We would all know how the world is and what people expectations and desires are at every moment. And the great thing to me, is that, when compared within this global statistics we all are equivalents. Mi P- counts as much as Obama’s P++. Will I be a P--?

Updated: We have started to develop the social code. By now, we have created a web site,, with a widget to embed the social questions into your own web/blog. As long as people start to register and answering the question we will start to assign them all a social code, based on their answers.