"Steve just autistically tells the truth, which isn't something anyone is going to accuse Noah Smith of doing."
Steve carries water for Fascism. A better class of lies for the more discerning customer. Steve is sometimes being a dupe and sometimes the terrorism is working: making him terrified of looking Truth in the face. Part of the Regime's defence is being a Lovecraftian horror, direct contact with which will drive you mad. If you neglect the psychohazmat suit, that is.
"Why We Can't Have Nice Things: Honor Code Division"
Naturally what Steve describes is, at best, half an honour system. Turns out if you cut a cow in half, it tends to fall over and bleed out. (Mind blown yet?)
Nearly everything about this system is exactly the opposite of real honour.
"Honor systems are mostly self-enforcing."
This one isn't even slightly self-reinforcing. Steve is correct, which means this isn't an honour system.
"But honor systems require the occasional severe enforcement"
Or rather, this system relies entirely on a central gatekeeper terrorizing the defectors. Which any lord could tell you immediately; this design is not some sort of mistake or oversight. Peasants, sadly, are not known for understanding the second-order consequences of actions. (Third and higher are right out.)
Any scientist or engineer can tell you immediately too: what's the experiment? Where is the case study of a student cheating and being harmed outside the central authority's banhammer?
Probable cope: "Peasants can self-rule." Yeah, very no. Fascist.
Speaking of immediate recognition, the psycho lords can immediately tell there's hay to be made. A lovely opportunity for sadism and wrecking the illusion of something beautiful.
Double point round: you don't get honour for free. You have to earn it. Did the honour code extend only to those who had proven their worth? Was it a whitelist? Or did it get extended equally to everyone? Did it use a blacklist?
In shocking news, the gate on this system was seized by a bad actor, whereupon the "self" enforcement immediately failed.
Wow guys how did an egalitarian system get dinged for not being egalitarian enough. I am so surprised. The world is a mysterious place, I can't even.
Please refrain from /headdesking hard enough to hurt yourself: it's them that deserve it, not you.
In a real honour system, first of all it's focused on agreements between two agents, not a unilaterally imposed standard which cannot reasonably be observed. It's self-reinforcing because if you don't honour your agreements, nobody makes agreements with you anymore.
This "take exams in your room" honour would be a very secondary result. If someone had repeatedly shown much honour, maybe we would make this agreement with them - in exchange for privileges. Not in exchange for not being punished by being sent to your room like a naughty child. (Out of your room in this case, lol.) It's self-reinforcing the way any good contract is self-reinforcing: breaching the contract voids the contract. The benefits you paid for are revoked.
Steve carries water for Fascism when he fails to notice this "honour" system was a Sophist system. Standard "conservative" behaviour, developing a false dichotomy between more!Fascism and less!Fascism, instead of between Fascism and the many varieties of not!Fascism.
It should already be obvious, but it's worth repeating: who else but a Sophist could design this system? Obviously it was designed to reward those who cheated without getting caught. The best Sophists. The Sophists extracted a system that constitutes a cheater-rewarding system when isolated, called it an "honour" system because they extracted it from a system of honour, then laughed all the way to the bank.
Only a peasant could possibly call this an honour system. "It feels similar to honour! 🙃" Yes, it does feel a bit honour-esque, if you don't think about it at all for even a second using any kind of effort or due diligence (the kind of things honourable folk have) of any kind.
This is what happens when you put peasants in charge of things: scams. Scams for days. You fool, you absolute rube, you will drown in scams of every kind.
An agreement to let you police yourself is generally the opposite of honour. It should only be done in very special cases, not be the foundation of the whole system. You only earn honour for keeping your agreements, which means you need to show you kept your agreement. To show you didn't cheat while alone in your room, you would have to agree to downright paranoid levels of after-the-fact policing. Which sort of defeats the purpose of this particular "honour" doesn't it?
A real privilege the honourable might ask for is their own personal proctor, at a time of their convenience. (One guy for an hour, instead of the several hours of a team required for the paranoia.) This isn't a moral thing: it's the fact that, by keeping their agreements, the honourable dramatically reduce the costs they impose on the university or indeed on anyone around them in general. This behaviour ought to be rewarded, so you get more of it. Some of the relative profits they hand out ought to be returned. Bonus: the honourable signal their willingness to be watched and verify their behaviour. They demonstrably have nothing to hide. They don't even ask for the opportunity to cheat unless they absolutely have to.
Real privileges can't be openly asked for in a Fascist system. The real privilege of the system was, as above, privileges for Sophists, who got them by cheating without being obvious about it.
P.S. I said I was trolling Sailer. This is true, but more importantly I'm pointing out how he's carrying water for Fascism, so he no longer has the "I was duped!" excuse. Guess how he has been responding, as I knew he would?
Shills like to pretend they're ignorant like peasants, and then try to bully you into pretending to be as ignorant too. "Nobody could possibly know or discover [stupidly obvious thing] 🙃!" Problem: I'm the bigger bully.
By defending him, Nick Land throws his lot in with Sailer's doomed voyage.
not even close to good enough