1. 2
  1.  

  2. 3

    OK, how is this one off-topic when it comes to the culture of technology?

    You disappoint me Lobsters. Can’t believe you’d downvote a story like this. Heck’s wrong with you?

    1. 6

      Ignoring the use of technology is, sadly, the very long established culture of technologists.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEJ9HrZq7Ro

      “So long as they go up! Who cares where they come down?”

      1. 1

        Thanks for sharing @JohnCarter! And here I thought I’d heard most of Tom Lehrer’s songs. :)

      2. 8

        So, the only thing remotely interesting is that there were four separate drone strikes (allegedly) against the author, all of which failed. That merits, at best, a debugging tag. Hellfire missles were used so maybe a security or even a hardware tag would make sense.

        Unless the author was looking to tie their drone strike experience with interruptions of their daily standups, their experience as a minority in tech receiving Hellfire missles (“Afhgani tech workers get bombed 300% more than Caucasians do”), or suggesting that their H1B status was put in jeopardy due to being on a drone kill list, this isn’t a culture article for us, really.

        This is a political and policy article and as outrageous as it is it doesn’t have anything to do with technology. Even as such articles go, this fails to link to external reports of the incident in question–and it is not uncommon for folks to distort the truth in either direction to win in the media war.

        Part of the good of Lobsters is that we tend not to feature what amounts to outrage porn.

        1. 1

          I downvoted the above as troll because that is what the comment amounts to, nitpicking that I didn’t tag this as “hardware” and somehow using that to justify downvoting a story about severe moral failings in tech culture.

          EDIT: It has plenty to do with technology, the entire thing is about how technology is being used. Drones are a frequently discussed topic on Lobsters, but apparently their application in killing people is suddenly “off topic”?

          But, OTOH, thank you for providing an example of everything wrong with tech culture.

          1. 2

            But, OTOH, thank you for providing an example of everything wrong with tech culture.

            Unless you care to enumerate exact ways that this post is “everything wrong with tech culture”, you don’t really elevate the conversation here at all. I explained, or tried to explain via example, in my comment the ways that the topic matter doesn’t seem to me to be “tech culture”–if you disagree, fine, let’s talk about that.

            However, claiming the content was trolling and crying about it on Twitter doesn’t really make you out as the most respectable poster or one worthy of good-faith discussion and debate.

            I understand that this sort of thing is really rage-inducing to read about and that it is an important topic; for that reason, it is better to leave such incendiary articles in places where they can do more good and where they don’t disrupt conversation.

            1. 0

              Unless you care to enumerate exact ways that this post is “everything wrong with tech culture”

              I can do that for you, sure. I’ll also reply to the parts of your above comment that I didn’t respond to.

              Unless the author was looking to tie their drone strike experience with interruptions of their daily standups, their experience as a minority in tech receiving Hellfire missles (“Afhgani tech workers get bombed 300% more than Caucasians do”), or suggesting that their H1B status was put in jeopardy due to being on a drone kill list, this isn’t a culture article for us, really.

              Here you do this thing (not the first time you’ve done it) where you use the pronouns “us” and “we” to speak on behalf of the entire community, when you are but one tiny part of it. In this case you do it in order to try and define what sort of tech culture topics fit the label of “culture”, and which do not, as though you were master arbiter of what is and isn’t tech culture. This is disingenuous, and therefore you should stop it.

              This is a political and policy article and as outrageous as it is it doesn’t have anything to do with technology.

              And so is every article that gets posted and upvoted here on topics related to terrorism and the government’s invasion of privacy. So pointing out that this is a political and policy article about technology is not an argument in support of this being “off-topic”.

              Likewise, it is simply a factually incorrect statement to say that the article “doesn’t have anything to do with technology”. It has everything to do with technology in precisely the same exact way that all of the privacy and security-related articles here have to do with technology. It is the application of technology—a technology that gets upvoted here in other contexts just fine—on people’s lives, and in a very serious way.

              Beyond that, it is directly tied to every story that appears here about “encryption”, “privacy”, and “surveillance”, as it is because of stories like these that we even have terrorists in the first place. And where terrorism exists, stories about “surveillance”, “encryption”, and “privacy” follow.

              Even as such articles go, this fails to link to external reports of the incident in question

              Does it need to? If you feel so, you should post a comment asking for substantiating links. I personally am totally fine with it not containing a single link as this story is by no means unique and a bunch just like it have appear from various outlets all the time, full of citations from our own government employees.

              So everything within is not just entirely believable, but has already been substantiated multiple times. Further, it is itself a serious accusation that needs a response from our government. From our government, meanwhile, we have had either silence, or admissions of guilt.

              The person in this article is not the one whose credibility is in question.

              I understand that this sort of thing is really rage-inducing to read about and that it is an important topic; for that reason, it is better to leave such incendiary articles in places where they can do more good and where they don’t disrupt conversation.

              This is where you should be taking a step back and looking at yourself, at what you are saying.

              You’re essentially saying that precisely because the topic is so significant and important that we should not be talking about it.

              That is the definition of nonsensical backwards non-logic, and that is the tech culture that is very much in need of changing.

              Yes, in fact, we do need to step back and stop talking about our JavaScript frameworks and functional programming for a moment and discuss this topic.

              We do need to stop for a moment and ask, “Is it right that I am dismissing terrorism that I am in some ways personally responsible for, by saying that it’s ‘too incendiary’ and that it’s interrupting my discussion of the latest javascript framework?”

              Some of those JavaScript frameworks are probably powering these drones and/or the communications systems that they are using! Some of the $ that you earn from your tech job goes to paying for these drones! Some of the tech you create is used to murder people in your country’s name!

              Don’t just sit there, telling me that “this dude is ‘talking in the wrong way’”, or that I’m “disrupting your conversation”.

              At the very least don’t touch the keyboard at all. Don’t increase harm by making up nonsense reasons to censor this story from people’s consciousness.

              Allow this important story about how tech is being used to create terror and rob people of their friends, their family, at least one slot in your tech news feed.

              Anyway, if you choose not to, it will come back to bite you in the ass. What goes around comes around. At some point you might find yourself on the other side of that explosion, or virus, or who knows what, caused by people in the tech community who were too busy and apathetic to pay attention to stories like these. Then it will be the turn of the community you ignored to ignore you as your friends and family disappear.

              They will be too busy reading stories about how the latest trend in genetics is being used to create glowing rabbits to pay attention to its use in the creation of super-viruses that are decimating your neighborhood.

              “Quit disrupting our tech news feed with your ‘politics’. Downvote.”

              1. 2

                Here you do this thing… [snip]

                It’s a force of habit, born of many years of chatting and arguing with people. Generally, the second-person “you” is seen as more combative than acknowledging that one may be on the same side. I will cease this granting this courtesy to you.

                it is simply a factually incorrect statement to say that the article “doesn’t have anything to do with technology”

                You seem to repeatedly fail to grasp that words have context and meaning, and that others may be using other loadings than you. “Technology” refers to everything from applied science used by people to the version specific gestalt of the modern techie, encompassing (but limited to) the matters facing modern engineers and developers in their professional knowledge and careers. You just don’t seem to grasp that using “it’s technology which is anything more than naked humans ina field therefore it belongs here because it makes me anggggrrrry!!!one1” is a shitty argument and one that, taken to even a half-hearted conclusion, dilutes the standards and methods that keep this an aggregator worth going to.

                I personally am totally fine with it not containing a single link [snip]

                Then you are fine to be spoonfed whatever narrative happens to be playing so long as it feels right and as long as it plays your sense of moral outrage. I suppose that, were somebody to submit any of the first-hand accounts of people being slandered by social justice warriors or victimized and assaulted by minorities you wouldn’t bat an eye? After all, in some corners, such stories are “by no means unique and a bunch just like it have appear from various outlets all the time”.

                (Hint: Of course you wouldn’t buy it for a second without demanding some actual links and corroborating evidence, because signal power doesn’t equal signal accuracy! Then again, maybe it does, for you and people who tend to argue and kvetch like you.)

                Further, it is itself a serious accusation that needs a response from our government. [snip]

                The admittance of guilt is in fact a response. Again, you seem perpetually dumbfounded by the possibility that somebody (or some government!) could hold a belief different from yours. Literally, to a lot of this sort of stuff, the exchange goes:

                “Hey, evil .gov dude! You just blew up/surveilled/detained/tortured these people/terrorists/freedom fighters/civilians!” “Yep. What of it?” <cue your bafflement when exposed to actual evil and callousness>

                You’re essentially saying that precisely because the topic is so significant and important that we should not be talking about it. That is the definition of nonsensical backwards non-logic, and that is the tech culture that is very much in need of changing.

                You misunderstand me yet again, because you don’t into argument. You quoted me directly so I can’t give you the benefit of a doubt that maybe you glazed over it, so instead you just must be unable to parse what I wrote and too proud/ignorant/silly to ask for clarification.

                I did not say that we shouldn’t be talking about it, whatever your shoddy paraphrasing might imply. I said specifically that it was better suited for discussion elsewhere, because cluttering up the place here with it would do no good. People tend to either argue politics (which does little good in the American system these days), or hand-wring and go “oh golly gee what a horrible thing” (which does no good because it causes no change). Neither is desirable when we are, as you so cutely put it, discussing the “latest javascript framework”.

                Try to imagine yourself at your favorite coffeeshop, talking with a friend. And then some jackass comes up and screams and hops up and down about how terrible the plights of starving children are. The first time, you might agree. But if the same thing happens over and over, it gets old. And while the jackass might be correct that there are starving kids who need help (a claim which, at the bare minimum you seem to hold, is unassailable and beyond question given the state of the world today), all they’ve done is succeeded in disrupting whatever you and your friend were talking about–and that might’ve been something useful, like the first steps in a plan to end hunger. Worse, this jackass and his friends have made it a habit to champion (loudly and spammily) their cause of the week at this place, and pretty soon people stop coming. And because they stop coming, they stop meeting other like-minded people, and everybody is worse off. Except for the starving kids, because not a damned thing in the coffeeshop was going to change their plight.

                Do try and perform the cognition required to draw parallels between the above parable and our current predicament here on this site.

                Some of those JavaScript frameworks are probably powering these drones and/or the communications systems that they are using!

                I find it extremely unlikely that these systems–massive, bespoke military single-use piloting systems, made over fifteen years ago–use Javascript frameworks. You discredit yourself by saying something so misinformed. I’ll recant if you can show otherwise, but seriously, read the wiki pages.

                Some of the $ that you earn from your tech job goes to paying for these drones!

                First, you assume I am currently employed. Check your economic privilege, as the kids say these days.

                Second, some of the money I spend on taxes goes to curing cancer–I don’t consider myself anymore responsible for curing cancer than for bombing innocent civilians, though the money eventually goes to both.

                Some of the tech you create is used to murder people in your country’s name!

                How is that, exactly? Like, seriously, now you just sound silly. None of the code that I’ve written in Javascript (or C, or C++, or Python, or Ruby, or Elixir, etc.) would be useful for murdering other people, in my country’s or any other name. This is frankly insulting, because if I had written such code, it wouldn’t have managed to fail to deliver the target four times. I refuse to be accused of being immoral, but I doubly refuse to be accused of incompetence!

                Allow this important story about how tech is being used to create terror and rob people of their friends, their family, at least one slot in your tech news feed.

                Nope. We’ve read about this shit since before the towers fell, and it’s all old news. And that sucks, and it’s horrible, and the world is a cruel uncaring shitty place some of the time. But not a single upvote or a single angry comment is going to do a goddamned thing to help the people wronged, and so in the meantime, I’m going to enjoy my Javascript frameworks and try to eke by what I can and enjoy chatting with my colleagues until the time where we can actually fix something.

                Then it will be the turn of the community you ignored to ignore you as your friends and family disappear.

                And that community is who, exactly? Displaced farmers and veterans from the Middle East? I’m about as alien to them as they are to me, and I highly doubt (given the region’s track record over hundreds of years) that they’ll suddenly find it in themselves to be concerned with the oppression of Americans.

                Also, privilege strike numero dos, amigo. Don’t assume everybody has family and friends left to disappear. I get what you were saying, but it doesn’t apply to everybody.

                ~

                We’re probably even have similar goals, but you’re too busy sign waving and making noise in the streets to realize the interesting things happening around you. Instead of trying to make people care when it is inconvenient/irrelevant/intractable for them to do so, try a softer approach. Good luck.

                1. 0

                  Hey, if anyone is persuaded by all the fallacies, category errors, and nonsense above, may you be their Lobster King.

                  As for me, I’m not going to spend a second more on you.

        2. 4

          It is a political/war story (and an interesting one), not a technology one. I believe claiming it is about “how technology is being used” or “the culture of technology” is, at best, overly broad. All weapons of war are technology, hence all stories about war could be posted under that over broad specification and I don’t think lobste.rs is the place for that. I can get my political news elsewhere, and do.

          1. 0

            No, you’re just happy to upvote only the “good” stories about drones (and other tech), while turning a blind eye to the bad ones.

            That’s not just hypocrisy, it’s what causes these things to happen in the first place.

            1. 4

              First of all – I read that story before it was posted here – and I read the 2011 story about him well before that -> http://tribune.com.pk/story/134864/north-waziristan-tribes-declare-war-against-us/ – you attacking me as an individual is both incorrect, counterproductive AND misses the point.

              The point is about useful filters. This isn’t a generalized news site, we have to filter what we consider to be “on topic” content somehow. If you lower the filter to be “how technology is being used” or “the culture of tech”, I fear the site becomes far too generalized, and selfishly – far less useful to me. There has to be a reasonable filter.

              If the story was “drones being used to drop food and save lives of orphans” and it was just a long personal account article about how wonderful the orphans are, and how amazing $country is for doing for drops – with no details on the tech, I would also consider it off-topic…

              1. -1

                If you lower the filter to be “how technology is being used” or “the culture of tech”

                So, you’re saying that:

                • We can talk about technology, but not how it’s being used
                • We can have a culture tag, but not use it to talk about tech culture

                Sorry, but please explain how that makes any sense.

                It’s great that you read this story elsewhere. But you are not the sole audience of this website. It does not revolve around you. This is an important story, and I’m sure that some people here haven’t seen it before.

                We should know how our technology is being both used and abused—especially when the consequences are as severe as what’s written in this article.

                Does this article’s presence on this website really hurt you so much that you want to deprive an entire people of their right to have their voices be heard as to how American technology is destroying their lives?

                Sorry, but your pain upon seeing this article here is insignificant compared to theirs. Their voice needs to be heard, and we need to hear it.

                1. 2

                  We can have a culture tag, but not use it to talk about tech culture

                  You and I disagree on what “tech culture” articles are – which is the fundamental point of our debate. I consider http://john.onolan.org/open-source-culture/ a “tech culture” style article. Generally about either open-source cultures and communities or about technical companies cultures and communities. Again, the article you linked has basically ZERO technical content. It is obviously and overtly a political story.

                  But you are not the sole audience of this website. It does not revolve around you. This is an important story, and I’m sure that some people here haven’t seen it before.

                  Neither are you. This story was downvoted BY THE COMMUNITY long before I got here – I simply agree with it being down-voted as off-topic – it is you who are raging against the community, not me. I don’t think this story fits on lobste.rs. As for “importance” – there are LOTS of “important” stories that don’t belong on lobse.rs – importance isn’t the filter!

                  Does this article’s presence on this website really hurt you so much that you want to deprive an entire people of their right to have their voices be heard as to how American technology is destroying their lives? Sorry, but your pain upon seeing this article here is insignificant compared to theirs. Their voice needs to be heard, and we need to hear it.

                  Now here is where we get down to the meat of it. This is obviously a political cause for you, which is kind of the point… I don’t want lobste.rs to become a political hotspot. There are TONS of places for you to debate your politics that are designed expressly for that purpose, lobste.rs doesn’t have to ALSO do it. The melodrama of “deprive an entire people of their right to have their voices be heard” is exactly what I hope to avoid on lobste.rs… the only people “deprived” are a tiny self-organized community of people who ACTIVELY don’t want this type of article on a specific aggregation site. No one is saying the article shouldn’t exist, no one is saying government should censor it, we just don’t want it in this small niche community.

                  1. -3

                    Nah, all your talk is just a failed attempt at obfuscating your two-faced hypocrisy, which is easy for me to prove.

                    Here are a bunch of articles upvoted by Lobsters, equally “tech/political” in nature, the only difference is instead of “us” being the bad guys it is “them”, or it’s a political piece about protecting privacy AKA “political piece but it’s OK because we’re the ones that are being targeted by technology” (too many of those to list):

                    The irony of all the political NSA-related stories is that it is because of folks who downvote stories like this one here that this war continues to exist in the first place.

                    You think keeping our culpability and responsibility for creating terrorism hidden under the rug is going to help with that? Rhetorical question.

                    Keep pushing your demands for privacy. Keep upvoting those political Snowden stories. Keep pushing that crypto. Keep ignoring the tech that goes into weapons that you are creating and financing (through taxes) that’s giving the government an excuse to spy on you in the first place.

                    Fine. Just keep your mouth closed the next time a terrorist attack hits home, please. Remember your role in censoring the uncomfortable tech/political stories that didn’t, at the time, apply to you.

                    EDIT: And if you think I don’t notice the sock puppet voting you’re doing, you’re sorely mistaken. Keep selectively shouting “politics”. Won’t save your argument.

                    1. 1

                      Laugh. You fight the power! You have every right to rage against the machine, I encourage it! What I don’t support is your ridiculous belief that you can force feed whatever you want on a broader curated community. If the community doesn’t buy what you are selling, take it with some grace and move on. There are LOTS of communities for angry political screeds punctuated with rhetorical questions.

                      1. -1

                        What I don’t support is your ridiculous belief that you can force feed whatever you want on a broader curated community

                        Nice red herring. I don’t have such a belief.

                        I think it’s perfectly reasonable of me to point out the community’s obvious hypocrisy though.

                        And I think it’s unreasonable of you to downvote me for that (with or without any sock puppets).

                        1. 1

                          I think it’s perfectly reasonable of me to point out the community’s obvious hypocrisy though.

                          It’s not obvious hypocrisy to us, though, and that’s why your message is not getting through. You are functioning on a clearly different definition and reasoning for what constitutes “tech culture” than at least several of us are.

                          It’s not reasonable at all to keep branging and banging on about this without making at least a good-faith attempt to figure out where this miscommunication is occurring.

                          And I think it’s unreasonable of you to downvote me for that (with or without any sock puppets).

                          You know, it’s entirely possible to be downvoted by several people who find your argument unreasonable or your tone annoying. There’s no need to raise the boogieman of sockpuppetry, and frankly it makes you look silly to do so.