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    curl author: I’m leaving Mozilla person daniel.haxx.se

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    This is a personal update on somebody whose work, quite possibly, everyone reading this has used. By all means let’s normalize this. We should be thinking of our colleagues as people, not just in terms of what they can do for us right now.

    (This is my personal opinion, not a site policy, as you can tell from the fact that I’m posting this without my hat. Since it’s an opinion about how the site should be used, I wanted to be extra-explicit about that.)

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      Who determines the threshold for being worthy of sharing personal updates on this site?

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        The voters, I guess. 78% of the people who voted on this article voted it up, so it’s apparently worthwhile.

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          Is this really correct way to interpret vote counts here? I think that in general it’s easier to vote something up than vote it down. In case of this site it is even more so - voting up is just one click, but to vote down you have to provide a reason. This likely skews counts in favour of upvotes.

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            Actually, you’re right, looking at the percentage of votes which were upvotes is not a good way to analyze things here on lobste.rs. We do try to discourage downvotes, and that’s intentional.

            Instead, it would be more meaningful to compare the total count of upvotes to the rest of the front page. As I write this, this article has 48 upvotes, and there are only two other articles in the 40s. This is no substitute for a rigorous analysis, but I think it’s at least a good first pass.

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              Actually, you’re right, looking at the percentage of votes which were upvotes is not a good way to analyze things here on lobste.rs. We do try to discourage downvotes, and that’s intentional.

              Instead, it would be more meaningful to compare the total count of upvotes to the rest of the front page. As I write this, this article has 48 upvotes, and there are only two other articles in the 40s. This is no substitute for a rigorous analysis, but I think it’s at least a good first pass.

              Understanding the bin, sbin, usr/bin, usr/sbin split has 30 upvotes and zero downvotes; at the time of writing this story has 75 upvotes and 26 ‘off-topic’ downvotes.

              That’s a good indication that there are stories which have unanimous ‘good for lobste.rs’ vibes, as well stories which are highly contentious like this one.

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                Ah wow, I’d actually missed the downvote count until you pointed it out (the version of the header that I see is a bit verbose). Thanks for that.

                Yes, there are definitely some stories that are a lot more contentious than others. I don’t think that we should strive for everything to be uncontroversial; sometimes it’s precisely the contentious stuff that leads to the most interesting discussions. It would be surprising and upsetting if everyone agreed all the time.

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        What do you think we should be normalizing?

        To be fair, I didn’t exactly explain in great detail either–just complained about an article that contains like two datapoints (so and so is leaving mozilla and is uncertain about future, curl is still being maintained by them) and that has no actionable information (it is highly, highly doubtful anybody here is in a position to change the outcome of the departure, and it is equally unlikely anybody is going to switch away from libcurl if they’re already using it) other than being an update on a colleague.

        My concern is that while I totally support the use of the person tag for honoring our dead and sharing historical figures, there are other uses I’m skeptical of.

        I’m not sure that it’s useful to let the person tag be used to backdoor in smear campaigns, no matter how richly deserved.

        I’m similarly unsure about its use to normalize breathless clickbait, or free advertising.

        Finally, though I do enjoy reading them, I think there is something to be had in perhaps separating interviews and just people’s own essays–and yes, I’ve benefited myself from this fuzziness.

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          Personal updates from people who are significant to this community, whether they’re already well-known by name or not, and whether or not there’s anything actionable. I think it’s humanizing, and I think it’s important to make sure there’s space for that.

          Debating the merits of the person tag more generally is really a separate question, but I do think it’s a useful question, so here’s my opinions on the concerns you raised. Thank you for asking.

          I do generally dislike smear campaigns, but I also see the case that, when the allegations are true or at least credible and well-backed-up, they can be important warnings - as in the case of the Larry Ellison one you linked.

          I’m opposed to clickbait and advertising on lobste.rs.

          I think personal opinion pieces can be interesting sometimes. If anything, I think they’re more likely to be relevant to a highly technical audience than interviews are, since the journalist is usually trying to orient their piece towards a non-technical audience.

          All of these are judgement calls, and I trust the people here to make reasonable decisions on them and to vote accordingly.

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            from people who are significant to this community,

            I think this is somewhat circular reasoning. I know of the people because of their work, it’s primarily their work that I’m interested in, and I’m tangentially interested in life changes that affect their work, say for example someone’s pet project got them hired by $WELL_FUNDED_CORP who wish to officialy back their pet project, and therefore I might be more likely to use their pet project because it now has a little more long-term security. But if it’s just life news (‘I am moving jobs, this won’t affect curl’), then I’m not really any more interested in that than I am in the life news of my dentist. Which is to say, I am interested in as far as any compassionate human would be, and I’d be polite and congratulatory in person, but it is absolutely not what I come to lobsters for. To be clear, there is absolutely tonnes of space for that already in other places.

            Other people may come to lobsters for that, of course, but they could just as easily get it from twitter or reddit or HN, and I quite like the fact that there’s usually something that improves me as an engineer (e.g. this site got me onto TLA+, mostly through seeing formal-methods related stuff on the front page several times a week), rather than just valley news. I would like it to remain that way, I’m not sure I agree with the ‘well if people upvote it then by definition it’s appropriate for lobsters’ line of thought, because we’d all just be watching gladiatorial combat on tv if that were true, and I fully support the idea that this can be a non ‘just let the market decide’ space for purer, more cerebral, mostly more CS things, even if others accuse me of policing or gate-keeping or whatever, and that’s why I’ve written this comment.

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              Thank you for the good writeup! It’s obviously my position that civil public discussion on community norms like we’re having here is really important to keeping Lobsters functioning correctly. :)

              I agree with you on the humanizing aspect, but I’m a little worried that that sort of stuff will tend to clutter up the site–personal updates are, by definition, just another form of (humanitarian, people-focused) news. The fact that it would involve people we’re probably already predisposed to have some sort of emotional opinion on (good or bad) would seem to me to make the potential for abuse and spam even larger than for normal news.

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                Yes, your point is taken. As always, I’m glad we’re talking about it.

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          This is kind of interesting, but it’s neither informative nor actionable–and yet, it’s gotten a bunch of upvotes in solidarity.

          Let’s not normalize this.

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            Why does it have to be actionable? Why do you think the votes are out of solidarity? I find this kind of stuff very interesting.

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              • It’s slacktivism.

              • It’s a pretty well-supported theory that exposing people to a bunch of news, when they can’t do anything about it, contributes to depression and anxiety.

              • And, of course, lobste.rs is supposed to complement the other sites, not replace them.

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                I think I’m missing something here. How could upvoting this story possibly constitute slacktivism? Are you assuming that Stenberg quit Mozilla for some principled reason and that we’re “supporting” him by promoting this blog post? I read the story and didn’t come away with that understanding at all. (And his mention that he can’t get a US visa was a very tangential bit at the end.)

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                  This is such an odd reply. Do you believe that most news on lobste.rs is actionable?

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                    The problem is that lobste.rs wasn’t supposed to be for news.

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                      What’s it supposed to be for then?

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                        Personally I come here to learn new things and not to catch up on news and drama. I could get that from reddit.

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                          Or HN, for that matter. I fully agree; I’d prefer if Lobste.rs would be limited to technical posts. The odd informative post about a person can be interesting, but only if it’s “important news” like a death. Even if someone loudly resigns from a software project I’m not sure I’d want to read about it (it’s just drama).

                          I can’t actually downvote yet, so bear in mind that the upvotes are skewed; out of all the people who can only upvote, if 50% wants to downvote, they can’t. Worse: if 25% upvotes, it looks like the majority is in favor of the post.

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                        That’s news to me. I am pretty sure that’s not true.

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                      To adhere to bullet two it would be best just to shut lobsters down.

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                        There’s good, actionable, technical content here. If you need to see new posts every 15 minutes regardless of quality or relevance, the internet has plenty of that already.

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                          Can you tell me which pieces on the frontpage right now you consider actionable, and which action you would take?

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                            State of Haskell: I’m not into Haskell, so I haven’t read it, but if I were, then I’d focus on making Haskell better for what people are currently using it for.

                            Some notes about HTTP/3: I’d remember this information for use when actually implementing services that use it.

                            Flying for Thanksgiving: I’d take the plane on thanksgiving day, instead of the day before or after.

                            How to install Yggdrasil in Debian(stretch) and find peers: install Yggdrasil in Debian and find peers.

                            Scrolling the main document is better for performance, accessibility, and usability: scroll the main document.

                            Bleeding edge django template focused on code quality and security: scaffold a Django project using it.

                            Python memoization across program runs: memoize data.

                            Running x86_64 binaries on the Talos II: run x86_64 binaries on the Talos II.

                            6 core falsehoods about the digital sphere: not repeat them.

                            Safer bash scripts with ‘set -euxo pipefail’: put this on the top of my bash scripts.

                            The History of GNOME: … okay … I’ve got nothing.

                            Kobzol/hardware-effects: write software that isn’t slow.

                            MEMs oscillator sensitivity to helium (helium kills iPhones): keep helium away from iPhones, and keep this in mind if I ever end up in charge of hardware design.

                            Formal Verification of Distributed Checkpointing Using Event-B (2015): build better distributed systems.

                            NN based self-driving car with Lego Mindstorms and a Raspberry Pi 3: build a demo self-driving car.

                            Open-Source, Bitstream Generation (2013): generate bitstreams.

                            Computing History at Bell Labs: again, historical documents might not have immediate worth, but in the long term, copying an old forgotten design can make you seem smarter than you actually are.

                            A verified email address will be required to publish to crates.io starting on 2019-02-28: avoid getting in trouble with the DMCA if I ever end up in charge of something like crates.io.

                            elm-ui: Forget CSS and enjoy creating UIs in pure Elm: enjoy creating UIs in pure Elm.

                            Yet another memory leak in ImageMagick or how to exploit CVE-2018–16323: stop writing C (“perform a DoS attack” would also be a valid, but less accepted, answer).

                            If I were to invent a programming language for the 21st century: this one should probably be tagged “satire”, but in any case, it’s a call to stop repeating history, so while it might not be immediately actionable, keep it in mind before you ever start writing a programming language.

                            Time is Partial, or: why do distributed consistency models and weak memory models look so similar, anyway?: build better distributed systems using these consistency models.

                            boar - Tool for archiving your digital life: archive my digital life.

                            Developer to Manager - Experiences going from development to management: avoid repeating their mistakes.

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                    I knew this would be a controversial post generating a few down votes. I almost felt like not submitting at all, but I decided to submit for those reasons:

                    • the author of curl is a somewhat noteworthy person, his blog is often times featured here.
                    • there is a person tag on lobsters
                    • the upvote/down vote system will tell me if I was right.

                    Regarding my last point: I value friendlysocks comment here. I think he’s right. 4 downvotes (“off topic”) is a strong supporting signal. I’ve gotten less downvotes for stuff that was truly controversial :-)

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                      Thank you for participating in the site, and even more for explaining your reasoning!

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                      Please stop policing content.

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                        Fwiw, it didn’t come across to me as policing. Imho, It’s good we have healthy discussions on content from time to time.

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                          Consider it opening a discussion about content, rather than policing it. It is surely agreeable that not all content (even high-quality content) is desirable on lobste.rs; so we need to reach a rough consensus on where the line should be drawn. Doing that exclusively by “letting the votes decide” has been demonstrated over and over again to lead to low-effort content; so there needs to be discussion. And here we are, discussing. =)

                          So: why do you think this article should stay? What does it bring to lobste.rs that’s valuable to the community? I’m not generally in agreement with @friendlysock that news and current events should be outright banned, but in my opinion this particular article doesn’t really bring much to the table. It’s basically saying that Daniel is leaving Mozilla, he’s not telling us why, and we shouldn’t worry about it. Okay? Is this useful or important for significant numbers of people to know? I don’t feel I benefited much from reading the article.

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                            An appropriate response to a post you don’t want to see on the website is to downvote it, flag it, or hide it. An inappropriate response is to comment and complain that the post doesn’t meet your perceived standards for content. The latter, especially when coming from a member and not a moderator, is pure moralizing noise, actually and substantially worse than the “offending” content being submitted in the first place.

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                              I have to agree with @whbboyd and @danielrheath. It’s obvious that voting mechanisms are not effective for maintaining quality (for examples, see Hacker News, Reddit and a plethora of other sites). Maintaining norms through interaction seems like a better approach worth experimenting with, and moreover, it seems to be working for Lobste.rs.

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                                This is a community, and communities find (and maintain) their cultural norms by interacting with one another.

                                Perhaps this norm has changed as the site has grown, and perhaps not.

                                especially when coming from a member and not a moderator

                                Having a database bit set (or not) has nothing to do with your credibility or standing in the community. He’s one of the oldest and most active site members, and (as evidenced by karma/post ratio) is well regarded.

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                              I, for one, appreciate that someone is doing it.

                              The internet has no shortage of sites with a poor SNR; lobsters has remained high-quality primarily because the cultural norms lean towards ‘keep the noise low’.

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                                Having less discussion on why content may not be a great fit for lobsters isn’t a great long-term strategy. FWIW, it’s exactly the difference between low-quality communities like /r/programming and higher-quality communities like /r/netsec on reddit. I would really prefer that we don’t end up like /r/programming or HN, and a little introspection can’t hurt.

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                                it’s actionable in the sense that there could be someone here that 1. likes his work on curl and mozilla and 2. have a company that might want to hire him.

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                                  That would be the case if the post indicated he was looking for work - but it explicitly says he has other plans.

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                                    well it didn’t quite say that. it just stated that he was unsure where he was going and was in talks. perhaps someone else wants to get in on those talks.

                                    I don’t yet know what to do next.

                                    I have some ideas and communications with friends and companies, but nothing is firmly decided yet. I will certainly entertain you with a totally separate post on this blog once I have that figured out! Don’t worry.

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                                      Fair enough.

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                                At least US immigration is protecting us from Curl [sarcasm indicator]

                                1. -1

                                  too close to the cuff

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                                  curl author:

                                  I’m leaving Mozilla


                                  curl author is leaving Mozilla!

                                  me: Uh, OK.

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                                    curl remains the world’s most widely used HTTP client

                                    I don’t know, I would expect this to be rather Chrome or Blink/WebKit, due to the massive scale of Android deployment.

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                                        I still think Android users are more likely to use their browser to do HTTP than curl.

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                                          Android is using curl in the background regularly, without the user doing anything. Same is true for all connected devices lately. Game consoles, cars, etc. I don’t think his statement is false.