General discussion



By FluxIt ·
I guess I should begin by asking what defines a loner? There are many thoughts. However, there are two distinct definitions that break out from all the others. They are:

1. A person who is socially disfunctional and has behavioral issues that affect his daily life.


2. A person who is so confident, self-assured, and self-sufficient that no organized activity or group is fitting or even necessary in thier daily life.

The purpose of any community or social dependence is the distribution of labor and emotional confirmation in the performance of social morays. Therefore, any societal view of a loner is such to outcast them as misfits in some way. Most often in a derrogatory and perverse characterization.

So who is the genius with computers who writes sophisticated viri, hacks systems with ease, or builds computer controller bots that find their way into highly secure systems? What defines him? Why is he such a societal misfit if infact he is? Does thier intelligence exceed that of a collective of minds? Is the IT loner actually a community of its own linked by computers and the internet? Is it possible that there are loners here in this forum? Would they be willing to express themselves? Would we know if they are?

What do you think?

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by apotheon In reply to IT LONER VS COMMUNITY

There's a distinct difference between a person with antisocial personality disorder and an introverted person. Don't confuse the two. I'm an introvert by nature, though I seem to be pretty good at pretending otherwise. I can be very social at times, but there will always be times when I prefer to be alone, often for very long periods of time. Even when it's fun, being socially very active can be extremely draining for an introvert.

Having an introverted personality can often be very conducive to supporting the skillset of the programmer, particularly in the traditional "hacker" sense of the term.

That's "hacker", as in the first three definitions from this link:

Crackers, script kiddies, and other destructive, unethical lowlifes of the Internet are nothing like that. They fall into the "antisocial personality disorder" range of a "loner". Don't try to romanticize such people. Doing so only makes you look like a completely credulous, media-fed airhead. The true "hacker" luminaries of the computing world (people like ES Raymond, Larry Wall, and others of that ilk) are very literate (don't use "l33tsp34k"), extremely conscious and respectful of the privacy of others, and quite constructive in their endeavors (as opposed to destructive).

Movies and other nonsense treatments of computer culture that glamorize system cracking and malicious code writing are lying to you. Nobody becomes famous and respected (under a pseudonym or otherwise) by being a spoiled brat who hurts others for fun.

It doesn't take any kind of genius to write a computer virus, successfully execute phishing attacks, and otherwise make a dangerous nuisance of yourself.

Collectives don't have intelligence. What they have is a social interconnection of exchanges for mutual benefit. Individuals make up social networks, and individuals benefit from them. You don't have to hate or oppose social networks to be an individualist. In fact, that sort of self-centered behavior is more suited to a tantrum than free thought. An individualist isn't someone who shuns peaceful contact with others out of some misguided, clueless rebellion. An individualist is someone who is uncompromisingly true to him or her self, unswerving in his or her personal honor and integrity, and always respectful of the boundaries of the rights of others (including privacy).

Malicious abusers of the power provided by computer networks aren't any more intelligent than anyone else. In fact, that sort of behavior is evidence more of immaturity, underdeveloped ethical standards, and self-centered willful ignorance. It might also be a sign of nothing more complex than simple stupidity.

In many ways, I'm a "loner". I'm nothing like the sort of "loner" you seem to be trying to paint a picture of with your post, though.

Again: Don't glorify destructive, unethical behavior. If you want respect, or want to prove something (even if only to yourself), do so in a constructive manner. Learn skills and write software that will get you a job instead of a jail sentence.

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by FluxIt In reply to silly

If you ask most people in offices today about thier IT guy their remarks will center not on how well he knows IT but how well he works with people. The remarks generally will be either he is a jerk or a great guy based on how he solves thier system problems. Their problems are mostly MS Office issues like minor printing or formatting that annoy may skilled IT people.

"Collectives don't have intelligence." There is a different thought on this point. Crowds (collectives) have a significant amount of intelligence that is far more accurate than one individual and significantly more informed than any group of highly educated people. Check out this book: 'The Wisdom of Crowds' by James Surowiecki.

So what are the personality traits of someone who is as you define it?

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by apotheon In reply to OFFICE PEOPLE...

Collectives don't have intelligence. Collectives contain individuals with intelligence.

"A person is smart. People are stupid." I recommend you do some research on the term "groupthink". There have been a great many studies conducted where the effectiveness of collective decision-making was evaluated, and it pretty much universally comes out as mediocre at best.

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People skills required when you work with people

by jdclyde In reply to OFFICE PEOPLE...

If you are in direct contact with customers (all end users are the customers of IT) then you have to have the people skills to work with them.

Being polite to all customers and coworkers is not an option. Chosing to spend more time with the group is an option you can make without having to alienate everyone around you.

If you get annoyed with what you feel is a dumb question then you are supporting the wrong people.

Has nothing to do with being a loner or not. I work with a group of people, but take my projects back to my office to get done. Will aproach others if I need assistance and they do the same with me.

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Introvert vs. Extrovert


These terms have various meanings depending on the paradigm of the human spirit one uses -- Freud's, Jung's, etc.

The one most commonly used now is the definition implicit in the Meyers-Briggs test that virtually everyone has taken.

An extrovert is a person who gains energy by interacting with a group of people. An introvert is one who loses energy and eventually needs to spend time alone to recharge.

Both extroverts and introverts can enjoy working with others and may be good at it. But introverts require more alone-time in order to replace the energy they lose during the group activity.

Most IT jobs involve a lot of time working alone, no matter how gregarious the title may sound. Even help desk people often have to go offline and do research to solve people's problems. So there is plenty of room in this profession for both types of personalities.

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Spot on

by TomSal In reply to Introvert vs. Extrovert

I think DC_Guy's definitions of what makes one introverted vs. extroverted is spot on.

I fully agree -- that extroverts gain energy from the social activity they are involved in -- they strive it. Whereas their "nemisis" the introvert, likes to have fun with social groups too -- however not to nearly the same extent or duration; as they "lose" energy from this and only re-charge with some "alone time".

I am an introvert. And the above describes me to a "t" with regards to how I am/handle social groups.

Sure I like to have fun with folks, get out, etc. etc. however I don't have the deep seated need that it seems extroverts do for social interaction. I can do fine with just social activity in small doses.

I value time alone HIGHLY (especially because its so rare anymore).

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OK SO...

by FluxIt In reply to Introvert vs. Extrovert

Introvertness or extrovertness is a quality a loner may possess in varying degrees.

So it appears that a IT loner is one who interacts with crowds/groups but handles it in a introverted way? Is that because he is socially dysfunctional in some way?

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Crackers and the like live in Community.

by admin In reply to IT LONER VS COMMUNITY

"So who is the genius with computers who writes sophisticated viri, hacks systems with ease, or builds computer controller bots that find their way into highly secure systems?"

It's a popular view, but quite erroneous that these folks are loners. Check out IRC sometime amoung other things. Groups always outperform individuals. One of the biggest driving forces behind many of these acts is community based.


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strenuous disagreement

by apotheon In reply to Crackers and the like liv ...

Groups do not always outperform individuals. In fact, the opposite is usually true. The only way a group effort can effectively outperform an individual effort consistently, and for more than a few minutes, is if it is organized and directed by a strong individual leader. I recommend doing some Google research on the term "groupthink" for more details.

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by awfernald In reply to strenuous disagreement

The best of ideas/plans are generally based upon one person pulling together the ideas from many, and actually culling the best of the ideas and making a plan that utilizes them to solve the current dilemma.

Even when I was in my prime, my best ideas were almost always an amalgamation of ideas from other sources. I'm sure that I have had my own original ideas before, however, in most cases, they were based upon being able to take tidbits of information from other people and tie them into a cohesive plan.

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