1.  

    Apparently somebody made an updated version of the OG guide to techno! I’m amazed! The commentary I don’t think is quite as pithy as it used to be, but the descriptions are waaaay longer and it covers stuff from the ’10s now.

    EDIT: Okay, the pith is still there…

    Drumstep is an extension of the Pendulum sound, especially since Pendulum has made some of it. But characteristic of most Drumstep is that most tracks are often split in two, with one half being a more “DnB” like sound and the other half being a more “Dubstep” sound. As if all that variety somehow makes the song better. It’s like putting both country and western influences in your soft rock song.

    Drumstep is also a genre that largely exists through remixes (one of the hallmark signatures of a trendwhore genre). No one actually sets out to make a Drumstep track, but invariably at some point a Drum n Bass producer will like a Dubstep drop enough to go “this needs a Pendulum kick” or a Dubstep producer will listen to a shitty Liquid Funk vocal track and think “I know a way to make this even shittier!” And that’s how Drumstep survives: As the b-side leftovers of dumbass cross-genre remixers.

    1.  

      I remember this old version! I must have come across that one over 10 years ago at this point, when I was first discovering electronic music. My opinion on the new one is about the same as my original reaction to the old one: it’s neat to see all of the history and relationships between genres, but I still find the judgmental tone unbearable. Let people like things!

      1.  

        What a pity, the updated version requires flash.

        1.  

          You should check out the description of Dubstep.. I don’t even dare quoting it! It’s about in the middle by height

        1. 9

          @jacob-jackson In case you want to know why someone marked your submission as spam: You seem to be the developer of TabNine [1]. Your only two submissions are to lobste.rs are about TabNine.

          https://github.com/zxqfl/TabNine

          1. 2

            Beat me to it, well done.

          1. 20

            Other than noting that this is basically just advertising for a new feature of sr.ht, it should probably be tagged release (since it’s a new feature) and not practices or virtualization (since it doesn’t really teach anything about virtualization).

            1. 4

              Sorry, I still don’t fully grok the tags on lobsters.

              1. 2

                No worries! Practice makes perfect. :)

            1. 4

              Hold on, got you a thread for this. One second!

              EDIT: Here you go!

              1. 3

                Thank you. Will post there too.

              1. 3

                Unfortunately, papers like this contain a critical flaw. They assume that AI systems are driven by a certain class of control mechanism. This class doesn’t have a formal name but we could loosely call it a Goal Stack With Utility class of mechanisms. Their central feature is that the system tries to maximize a reward signal, and in so doing acts intelligently.

                The problem is that such mechanisms only work on toy problems. They do not scale. They arguable never will scale up to the point where they can drive a real AI (an AGI). Part of the reason they don’t scale is that they break down in precisely the kinds of ways described in papers like this one …. except, they do this all the time, in such a way that (a) they continually exhibit stupidity, and (b) during learning, they add corrupted (false) new knowledge to their system in such a way as to make the stupidly increase over time.

                So, what this type of paper does is to assume that the AI never suffers these failures during its formative period, but instead blossoms into a superintelligent and therefore dangerous AI. Then, the authors implicitly assume that the AI suddenly reverts to type when it is an adult … and they point out all the ways in which the AI could be dangerous. The critical flaw, as you can see, is that these dangers they point to would already have prevented the AI from becoming intelligent in the first place.

                I published all of this in a 2014 AAAI Symposium paper called The Maverick Nanny With A Dopamine Drip.

                1. 1

                  Can you link to your paper?

                  1. 2

                    Apologies for forgetting the link. It can be found here: https://www.aaai.org/ocs/index.php/SSS/SSS14/paper/viewFile/7752/7743

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                  One thing I think is useful:

                  It doesn’t matter what you were paid at your previous gig, and don’t answer if they ask.

                  “Since this is a different engagement, with different technical and team needs, my previous compensation is not a useful datapoint.”

                  1. 14

                    “My current compensation is part of the reason why am looking into other opportunities”

                    1. 12

                      I would avoid saying this. It provides signal that your current pay is low and will lead to a lowball offer, which is the opposite of its intention.

                      1. 1

                        Last week we had to get rid of a bunch no-demand electronic components, so we sent the spreasheet (with purchase prices removed) to one of the scavenger companies. First thing they asked was, what we paid for them originally?

                        Seriously, this is a super common tactic in purchasing, and you are a resource being purchased. They are minimizing the cost. No polite retort here would make your negotiation position worse vs revealing the figures.

                      2. 3

                        “My current compensation is part of the reason why am looking into other opportunities”

                        Respectfully, I see this as an anti-pattern. Here are things potential employers might well read between the lines of this statement:

                        “I only value money and don’t care about the work”

                        “I’m a self important primadonna”

                        “I’m not loyal and will cut and run if things are not precisely to my liking.”

                        I recognize that your statement doesn’t ACTUALLY say any of these things.

                        1. 1

                          Fair points I guess… but consider that asking your current salary is an attempt to gain negotiating leverage on you using power imbalance. You know it and the interviewer knows it, there is absolutely no other reason asking for it. And I mean it’s not something you blurted out of blue, the comp was the question they brought up in the first place. Only so much ways for a polite retort, and none of them is 100% safe if someone insists to read between the lines deep enough.

                          1. 1

                            Oh totally it’s a CRAPPY thing for a potential employer to do and should be a red flag to anyone looking, I’m just suggesting that explicitly saying that crappy salary is why you’re leaving your current gig, in my opinion, weakens your position.

                            YMMV.

                      3. 6

                        Also, in some places it’s not legal for them to ask (though they can still ask what salary range you want).

                        1. 4

                          It doesn’t matter what you were paid at your previous gig

                          Strong agree

                          don’t answer if they ask.

                          Or do answer, with a number that sets an expectation for future negotiations. Depends how you feel about lying.

                          1. 3

                            It can be dodgy to lie since that can be discovered, but “It would take $X to get me to leave” is probably always better than a lie and give you a lot more flexibility…

                            1. 2

                              Or do answer, with a number that sets an expectation for future negotiations. Depends how you feel about lying.

                              Problem with that one is that a new employer sees your old income on your P60 (in the UK at least,) with lying during an interview being grounds for dismissal.

                              That being said past wage shouldn’t matter to a new employer unless they are trying to lowball a potential hire. On principle I never ask during interviews I host and have in the past hired people on nearly double what they came from; usually wages are negotiated by an intermediary such as a recruiter.

                              1. 5

                                Your wage is not technically secret information in the US, but if you don’t share it yourself, there’s no plausible mechanism for a new employer to find out. Your previous employer almost certainly won’t share it, and if they do, you’ll have cause to be very upset with them. (A functional, professional HR department will confirm dates of employment and possibly job title, and nothing else.)

                                That said, I’m definitely more comfortable redirecting or answering “how much are you currently making” with “I’m looking to make $X” than lying outright.

                                1. 1

                                  Problem with that one is that a new employer sees your old income on your P60 (in the UK at least,) with lying during an interview being grounds for dismissal.

                                  So why dodge the question if employers have access to this information? I don’t know about the United States if companies also have this information.

                            2. 3

                              It doesn’t matter what you were paid at your previous gig, and don’t answer if they ask.

                              What if it’s required?

                              1. 9

                                Walk, if you can. There are fewer gestures more powerful than walking away for something that an HR person would believe is so small in order to convey how serious it actually is and how serious you are about your financial privacy.

                                When it’s been required for me for a job I was earnestly interested in seeking, I told them to put down “something absurd so we get past this hurdle” and when pressed for a real answer, I would say “one dollar” or “ten million dollars” to make it look like a typo on their part.

                                Also, I’d remind them that asking current salary is illegal in several states and there’s a bill in almost every state legislature now that would outlaw it.

                                1. 1

                                  For entry level folks at big big tech co’s, they’ll let them walk away, and offer to pay them much less if they don’t make up counter offer numbers.

                                  So to me the answer is obvious, and representative salary numbers aren’t hard to find these days.

                                  1. 2

                                    Entry level is a whole different game. You have essentially zero leverage at that point. Given that nearly half of job offers are at or near entry-level, I feel like these posts really should distinguish between the kinds of advice given.

                                2. 2

                                  Tell them you have an NDA

                              1. 2

                                Cleaning up the house after getting back from Recurse Center. Came home to a RAID having kicked a drive, so that’s great. It’s weird…doesn’t feel like home again yet. :(

                                At least my dog is happy to see me. :)

                                1. 1

                                  How was RC?

                                1. 8

                                  Taking the train from NYC back to Houston after finishing up at Recurse Center. So many feels.

                                  1. 2

                                    I’d be very curious to hear your reflections on it should you ever write them up!

                                    1. 1

                                      Second that.

                                    2. 1

                                      3rd that!

                                    1. 25

                                      Boy, this might not be a popular opinion, but here it goes…

                                      Suppose someone posted a manifesto to Lobsters, and then went on a mass shooting spree. Should Lobsters be shut down for it?

                                      If 8chan uses Let’s Encrypt (I don’t know if they do), should their TLS certs be revoked?

                                      It’s no secret that 8ch is extreme compared to the rest of the internet. But on the gunman’s thread, apparently 8chan mocked the shooter. I don’t know. I haven’t seen the thread; that info comes from hearsay around the internet. The point is, we’re getting our news about this incident from sources other than 8chan, because it seems like most of us don’t participate on 8chan.

                                      Note that Cloudflare has terminated support for a social network for sex workers: https://twitter.com/SarahJamieLewis/status/1158203593071067136

                                      It’s very easy to jump on the bandwagon of targeting 8chan for this. It’s not so easy to carefully consider the long-term implications of shutting down years-long websites with active communities.

                                      8chan’s cloudflare protection terminates in just over three hours. We’ll see if a gigantic DDoS is about to follow.

                                      I think this is one step closer to the web becoming a series of centralized institutions. And personally, I don’t like the implications of that. The New Zealand shooter livestreamed his attack on Facebook, yet faced no repercussions. When I tried to google for 8chan, the site is completely absent in the search results. I had to use ddg just to get to it.

                                      This is simply my own point of view though. I understand and respect that others have different feelings on the matter.

                                      EDIT: I found a copy of the 8chan thread: https://web.archive.org/web/20190803162950/https:/8ch.net/pol/res/13561044.html

                                      I encourage all of you to read the community response and form your own conclusions.

                                      EDIT2: 8chan is now offline. I assume they’ll be back up within 48 hours, but for better or for worse, cloudflare basically took down this site on short notice in the middle of the night on a Sunday.

                                      1. 35

                                        Suppose someone posted a manifesto to Lobsters, and then went on a mass shooting spree. Should Lobsters be shut down for it?

                                        I assume the post would be removed for violating site policy and wouldn’t harbour it - no need for the state to force the site.

                                        1. 14

                                          Certainly. Calls for violence are against 8chan’s ToS too.

                                          It could be true that 8chan doesn’t enforce their ToS. But we don’t have the data, and it seems plausible that 8chan deleted the thread when the moderators became aware of it.

                                          EDIT: It’s impossible to know for sure, but people are claiming that 8chan took down the manifesto within minutes, and reacted faster than Facebook did. https://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/cm4on1/cloudflare_to_terminate_service_for_8chan/ew075j6/

                                          1. 18

                                            I think the ToS and how fast the manifesto was removed is irrelevant.

                                            The events leading up to the shooting rampage are what matter. There is every indication that over the last six months multiple terrorist attacks were committed by people radicalized on 8chan. The whole extremist community is the problem, not how fast they respond to obvious signs of extremism once an atrocity has been committed.

                                            There is one method we know that works for extremist communities like this: cutting off their platform restricts the extent they can recruit and pushes them underground, where they can be better contained.

                                            Are there some non-extremist parts of 8chan? Possibly, but it’s also irrelevant. Having a community engage in extremism or being taken over by extremists should have consequences and that applies to people willingly associating with that kind of community.

                                            1. 4

                                              radicalized on 8chan

                                              I would assert most people aren’t radicalised on 8chan. It’s where you end up once you’re radical, because only a radical can find that kind of environment sufferable. In a sense, 8chan works as refuge for radicals.

                                              1. 17

                                                There is probably a progression, however the evidence seems to bear out that 8chan’s environment heavily contributes (but probably isn’t the only factor) in making extremists out of these people.

                                                1. 9

                                                  Radicalization isn’t a binary. I’m sure there are plenty of people posting on 8chan and similar corners of the web who are quasi-racist trolls posting “for the lulz” and wouldn’t escalate to violence. But how much does the insular environment push them further to violence? How much does an environment filled with people saying “kill (((them)))” further push people who are already willing to become violent?

                                                  Some research on this topic paints a picture of the impact of sites like 8chan:

                                                  For lone wolf terrorists of the post-9/11 period, traditional loci of radicalization have been replaced by informal online social networks, the civilian workplace, and mass media

                                                  Lone wolves are enabled through either direct means in the form of people who unwittingly assist in planning attacks, or indirectly by people who provide inspiration for terrorism.

                                                  During the pre-9/11 era, 57% of the lone wolf terrorists were enabled by others. In the post-9/11 era, the figure rose to 67%. Nearly all of the enabling was indirect.

                                                  1. 3

                                                    Out of a morbid curiosity, are they including lone wolves that were groomed by overzealous feds?

                                                    1. 4

                                                      In their longer book on the subject, Hamm and Spaajj pull no punches there:

                                                      The strongest and most provocative work exists in the book’s final two chapters which provide a thorough indictment of the FBI’s Sting Program on its ethical grounding and “for diverting resources away from the real problem”

                                                      [they] accuse the FBI of “mythmaking”: exaggerating the threat of these suspects to appease a “results driven culture”, to give the impression that America is winning the war on terrorism and to justify additional funding.

                                                      (doi:10.1080/17539153.2017.1384154)

                                              2. 4

                                                8chan’s moderation is often laser-focused when it comes to rulebreaking, on the popular boards at least.

                                              3. 3

                                                8chan /pol/’s moderators did and were trying to remove it for violating site policy.

                                              4. 23

                                                I can see how you might get to this position, starting from zero or close to it. I don’t even think such a position is bad in the abstract, i.e., if we were to apply a veil of ignorance, I would generally agree that Cloudflare shouldn’t do this. But 8chan and lobste.rs are very different sites, as you allude to. Your hypothetical positions them as equivalents, but 8ch is not the same kind of site. Consider the work done by Bellingcat contributor Robert Evans, that links to his most recent (and relevant) work on the subject. He lays out clearly how the 8ch board members aren’t mocking the terrorist here, but rather encouraging and radicalizing others.

                                                A more apt analogy would be if someone posted a manifesto to Daily Stormer, or the InfoWars message boards, or another site which actively works to radicalize it’s members, in those situations, is it ethical for someone to continue working with them if those sites show a longstanding tolerance for speech which leads to terrorist acts?

                                                We don’t live in a perfect world, and I am happy to stand at the front of the line in criticizing Cloudflare for lots of things, but I find it difficult to defend a site which so happily supports terrorists and who’s participants work to create more of them. I don’t think it’s ethical to work with terrorists, I don’t think it’d be unethical for Cloudflare, LetsEncrypt, or anyone else to refuse them service.

                                                I think it’s reasonable to worry about the web being centralized, but I don’t think that this is any more or less a step in that direction than the existence of cloudflare as a service in-and-of-itself. I’m also someone who generally dislikes any corporation because I’m a weirdo lefty. But that’s another topic.

                                                1. 12

                                                  If 8chan is anything like 4chan

                                                  Certainly. Calls for violence are against 8chan’s ToS too.

                                                  Anon imageboards have a simply unsustainable community model. It’s impossible to hold anyone accountable for anything they do on there. Facebook and Twitter has serious problems, but at least if they kick someone off the site, it has some teeth to it (you lose all your followers). The closest thing 8chan has is an IP block, and that can be instantly routed around with a proxy and you lose nothing when you do so. There’s a reason why, despite nominally having a rule against it in their ToS, these sites are known for activities like the Anonymous group, /pol/, and cyberbullying. They might talk a good game about moderating their site in their ToS, but they deprive themselves of the tools to really pull it off.

                                                  But on the gunman’s thread, apparently 8chan mocked the shooter. I don’t know. I haven’t seen the thread; that info comes from hearsay around the internet.

                                                  These sites are a lot less conflict-averse than most online communities. I’m not surprised that somebody on there would mock the shooter. There’s probably someone else saying that the shooter did nothing wrong, someone else saying that the shooter was driven to it by our “degenerate” society, and someone else saying that the shooter should’ve just committed suicide and left everyone else out of it. A sufficiently long thread will always have a dissenter in it, pretty much no matter what.

                                                  I have reservations about this incident, because I don’t like the fact that it’s CloudFlare doing it. I’d rather just have the site shut down by the government for negligent publication of text that incites violence, but that’s never going to happen as long as the big websites lobby against it…

                                                  1. 4

                                                    Polite request - could you add a NSFW disclaimer to those top links? Those advertisements are not something I’d want popping up in the office :)

                                                    1. 3

                                                      activities like the Anonymous group, /pol/, and cyberbullying

                                                      These are not against the rules, and so are not bannable offenses.

                                                      1. 7

                                                        You know that hacking, hate speech, and harassment are illegal, right?

                                                        1. 0

                                                          Anonymous are not inherently hackers, hate speech is free speech, and cyberbullying could be depending on the context: I doubt posting about someone online without posting directly to them would be deemed harassment in court.

                                                          1. 8

                                                            I’ve seen calls to directly harass someone not be removed, (and was moderating the other end), so my view of their mods are not as positive as yours.

                                                            Hate speech is only free speech in a very fundamental interpretation of it and definitely illegal in many jurisdictions.

                                                            1. 3

                                                              Anonymous are not inherently hackers

                                                              Sure, they also did zero-hacking DDoS, spear phishing, and intentionally flooding phone lines, all of which would at least be grounds of a restraining order if it weren’t such a pain to figure out who the order should even be served to.

                                                              hate speech is free speech

                                                              As was already brought up elsewhere in the conversation tree, “free speech zones” suck like a Hoover. That’s probably one of the reasons you’re on Lobsters instead of /g/.

                                                              cyberbullying could be depending on the context

                                                              I’m talking about planned raids when I refer to cyberbullying. Not just calling people names in public, but rather calling people names in places where they will be notified about it (like if I posted @WilhelmVonWeiner is a poopy-head on here, so that you would be automatically notified and thus making it probable, rather than merely possible, that you will read it).

                                                              Obviously, there’s always an element of context to something like that, but considering how beyond-the-pale the instances have been known to get, I’m curious what definition of cyberbullying you’d use that doesn’t include 4chan raids on other sites.

                                                              1. 1

                                                                No, I’m not on /g/ because 8chan’s equivalent is /tech/, and nobody on /g/ or /tech/ actually knows anything about technology

                                                                1. 4

                                                                  I agree, but I’m curious: have you ever thought about why so much more interesting discussions happen on here compared to there?

                                                                  1. 1

                                                                    …nobody on /g/ or /tech/ actually knows anything about technology.

                                                                    1. 5

                                                                      Why? Why don’t people who know anything about technology hang out on anon boards?

                                                                      1. 2

                                                                        Probably for the same reason. More people who know nothing past consumer technology post there than people who do, so it drowns out anything interesting. This was the case long before the extreme politicisation of imageboards.

                                                        2. 1

                                                          I’m not sure entirely how it works, but I’ve flipped though 4 and 8chan enough to notice that 8chan must have some sort of moderation.

                                                          4chan pol is all over the place. Extremists and conspiracy theorists of all stripes constantly arguing with each other and trying to out-troll each other. It’s hard to tell what’s even serious, and I’ve never noticed any consistent position to it all.

                                                          8chan pol appears to be full-on Nazis. No serious opposition noticeable. But there also appears to be a leftypol that is full-on Communists, calling for violent communist revolution. Apparently they raid each other periodically, though the righty pol seems to be much bigger.

                                                        3. 10

                                                          Suppose someone posted a manifesto to Lobsters, and then went on a mass shooting spree. Should Lobsters be shut down for it? […] It’s not so easy to carefully consider the long-term implications of shutting down years-long websites with active communities.

                                                          I would shut down Lobsters rather than run a site where mass murders regularly propagandize their atrocities, yes. This is, in fact, a very easy question.

                                                          1. -1

                                                            There are less easy, more realistic scenarios. Suppose someone posted a manifesto, and then took down an electric grid due to an unpatched security issue, resulting in some deaths. (This may seem contrived, but public infrastructure has historically been the most vulnerable.)

                                                            Lobsters has become my home. It’s unfortunate that the community would be shut down due to the actions of one malicious person.

                                                            On the other hand, even if you wanted to keep Lobsters running afterwards, you might not be able to, because the wider internet might deplatform your CDN: https://twitter.com/CodeMonkeyZ/status/1158422046176530432

                                                            1. 8

                                                              Why do you keep imagining scenarios of one lone wolf when 8chan has been home to three mass murderers this year?

                                                              1. 1

                                                                Personally, Im looking at the potential of and actual good Ive seen on Lobsters vs some asshole who might do their evil deed anywhere. Destroying all the good Lobsters did and might do over one murderer is a poor trade in my book. I’d rather fight the specific behavior or commenters promoting violence against innocent people to eliminate the problem while keeping whatever good the site brings.

                                                                8chan couldve adopted this philosophy. They and that channel didnt care. Damage followed. It wasn’t because 8chan as a whole existed, though. They just didn’t cut out those with the worst intentions consistently working toward delivering on them. The haters weren’t even hiding what they were doing per articles Lobsters shared. Bad administration over there is all.

                                                                1. 1

                                                                  Because I am trying to persuade you to think about the implications of what you’re saying. Calls for violence are against the site’s ToS, just like Lobsters, and they actively moderate and ban offenders, just like Lobsters. Yet 8chan is being forced offline for not doing a good enough job in the eyes of the wider internet.

                                                                  We don’t know how much those people used 8chan. Before the internet, crazies sent mail to news stations to get attention. Why is this any different?

                                                                2. 6

                                                                  You seem to be trying your best to treat both sites as equal and come up with a “this could happen anywhere!” argument. But it wouldn’t. Because most sites are not the first port of call for white nationalist terrorists looking to chat with other white nationalists in advance of a terror attack; that honor falls to 8chan and friends.

                                                                  If your hypothetical came true, most likely the manifesto would be downvoted from the beginning. I can’t speak for mods but would be shocked if it wasn’t removed immediately and the poster banned. The community certainly would not repost it multiple times after that; if you’re looking for that experience, try 8chan.

                                                                  And the site wouldn’t face any harm afterwards because the community does not have a history of supporting terrorism and terrorists - 8chan does.

                                                                  These things don’t just happen in a vacuum. Context matters.

                                                                  1. 0

                                                                    I can’t speak for mods but would be shocked if it wasn’t removed immediately and the poster banned.

                                                                    That is literally what happened on 8chan. They reacted within minutes.

                                                                    1. 3

                                                                      Cool. Now try the other two.

                                                                      Context matters.

                                                                  2. 3

                                                                    Don’t use weasel words such as “deplatforming” - it’s not what’s happened here. The CDN in question (BitMitigate) was renting hardware and broke the acceptable use policy of their host.

                                                                    “Deplatforming” refers to the practice of “meta service providers” such as Youtube, Twitter and Facebook of removing content from popular listings, search results, and/or ad revenue for reasons that are unclear to the content producer, or that can change over time. It’s also a dog-whistle used by right-wing commentators who believe that content they approve of is being suppressed by these large social media companies.

                                                                    1. 2

                                                                      Then why isn’t 8chan up and running again? The site’s still down.

                                                                      This is a legit use of the term deplatforming. The entire world is coming together to make sure 8chan stays offline.

                                                                      The host wasn’t the one demanding that BitMitigate be taken offline. The internet was. Reporters even showed up on the Twitter thread – if they had said no, what do you think would have happened? You’re literally not allowed to say “Yes, this content can stay” in that context, because you’d lose business.

                                                                      Framing it as an AUP violation isn’t really true in that context.

                                                                      1. 3

                                                                        Then why isn’t 8chan up and running again? The site’s still down.

                                                                        Presumably because they didn’t have a contingency plan in place, other than contracting with BitMitigate, who seem to have built their free-speech mansion on shaky ground.

                                                                        No doubt they will be up on the internet in a couple of days. Non olet as the Romans used to say - money doesn’t smell.

                                                                        This is a legit use of the term deplatforming.

                                                                        I don’t agree. It’s more restrictive than deplatforming. The content is, as you say, inaccessible. Deplatformed content is accessible, as long as you have the direct URL to it. But you are using “deplatforming” in the wider, politicized context. This is just confusing, because people might think that it’s just a question of 8chan not being indexed by Google, or them not being able to use AdWords for ads.

                                                                        The entire world is coming together to make sure 8chan stays offline.

                                                                        This does not seem to be the case to me. It might look that way on Twitter though.

                                                                        Framing it as an AUP violation isn’t really true in that context.

                                                                        I’m obviously not privy to the specific terms of that AUP that Epik/BitMitigate signed with Voxility, so I’m quoting from the Verge article I’m using as source for this (it was submitted to HN yesterday):

                                                                        “As soon as we were notified of the content that Epik was hosting, we made the decision to totally ban them,” Voxility business development VP Maria Sirbu told The Verge. Sirbu said it was unlikely that Voxility would work with Epik again. “This is the second situation we’ve had with the reseller and this is not tolerable,” she said.

                                                                        It seems pretty cut and dried to me. This is a business decision by Voxility, regarding the kind of customers they want to work with.

                                                                        (Edit added a quote and a response)

                                                                        1. 2

                                                                          It’s probably productive to agree to disagree then.

                                                                          A website was cut off from ~all services within 24 hours on short notice. If AWS, Digital Ocean, and every other host refused to do business with you, would you say you didn’t have a contingency plan?

                                                                          No doubt they will be up on the internet in a couple of days.

                                                                          This is looking increasingly unlikely. I think we may very well be looking at the first large-scale deplatforming of a relatively popular website. I keep using that word because that is the definition:

                                                                          Deplatforming, also known as no-platforming, is a form of political activism or prior restraint by an individual, group, or organization with the goal of shutting down controversial speakers or speech, or denying them access to a venue in which to express their opinion.

                                                                          No business in the world can host 8chan and face no backlash from their customers. There is no business incentive to do business with 8chan, so all of them will say no. Therefore the world is cooperating to see that 8chan is removed from a venue to speak: the internet.

                                                                          By the way, I was blacklisted from HN nearly a year ago after asking about their moderation policies publicly. This is partly why these issues are rather important to me.

                                                                          1. 2

                                                                            I agree, I think it’s best we end our discussion.

                                                                            Thanks for clarifying what you mean by “deplatforming”. What’s the source of that quote, by the way? I’ll update my vocabulary accordingly.

                                                                            No business in the world can host 8chan and face no backlash from their customers.

                                                                            You have a higher opinion of the morality of global capitalism than I do.

                                                                            Therefore the world is cooperating to see that 8chan is removed from a venue to speak: the internet.

                                                                            Let’s get real here - the world is depriving a website the ability to monetize speech that is explicitly anonymous. I have very little sympathy for people espousing the sort of ideology apparent on /pol/, but I have even less for cowards who won’t stand behind their words.

                                                                            1. 2

                                                                              At least I was able to persuade you from “It’s not happening” to “It’s happening, but our cause is righteous.”

                                                                              The main point isn’t really about 8chan. It’s about leading indicators. Once it’s in vogue to start banning social networks and working together to keep them off the internet, it seems like a matter of time before various communities are targeted by news agencies.

                                                                              By the way, you could make the same argument about Twitter: It’s allowed white supremacist content for years. It’s a platform where people go to reinforce their own views. And it served as the largest hub for 8chan followers to figure out where to go next. Ban twitter? Why or why not? What’s the difference?

                                                                              (re: the definition, honestly I just typed define: deplatforming into google.)

                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                At least I was able to persuade you from “It’s not happening” to “It’s happening, but our cause is righteous.”

                                                                                You have done no such thing. I have never denied that 8chan is offline, or the processes that caused it.

                                                                                I am not advocating online for the banning of 8chan - I’m not naive enough to believe that this will stop the radicalization of lone wolves. I’m interested in the mechanics of modern web publishing at scale, and how it interacts with free speech. I’ve learned a lot about the roles of CDNs through this story.

                                                                                As to my distaste of people anonymously or not advocating mass murder - that’s hardly a fringe position.

                                                                                Finally, the definition of “deplatforming”. This is the link I get from searching like you did:

                                                                                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deplatforming

                                                                                A quick glance through the reference list shows that this is most likely a partisan article that’s worked hard to satisfy Wikipedia’s standards for notability. Like many other hot-button issues and terms, I do not believe a Wikipedia definition to be a good basis for discussion.

                                                                                This is my final comment in this matter. Thanks for the discussion.

                                                                3. 8

                                                                  When I tried to google for 8chan, the site is completely absent in the search results. I had to use ddg just to get to it.

                                                                  Yep. And this censorship feeds directly into the narratives peddled by the hate groups.

                                                                  1. 32

                                                                    And this censorship feeds directly into the narratives peddled by the hate groups.

                                                                    Any circumstance would be bent to fit their narrative, so this isn’t particularly relevant to informing policy.

                                                                    1. 5

                                                                      Sort of, but there’s a little more to it than just that.

                                                                      As an outsider, it is hard to sell me on “look at the (((people))) that run everything, fluoridate our water, and steal our precious bodily fluids!”. Like, that’s clearly some neonazi nutjob.

                                                                      But, a smaller complaint–“hey, some metagroup of people don’t like us (nevermind why) and they keep banding together to kick us off of public platforms…you could be next!”–is, critically, able to be backed up with evidence and sold to a rube really easily.

                                                                      We aren’t weakening their positions by engaging in the exact tactics they accuse us of, and, what’s more, we are setting precedent that probably is going to be abused.

                                                                      1. 14

                                                                        We aren’t weakening their positions by engaging in the exact tactics they accuse us of, and, what’s more, we are setting precedent that probably is going to be abused.

                                                                        The point of the parent is that they will accuse others of any tactic (and exactly that can be found in relevant playbooks). Opposition is an important democratic property and refusal of support is a the most basic and important form of opposition. And that’s precisely what that strategy aims for.

                                                                        Following that demand is just as good as dropping dead.

                                                                        1. 17

                                                                          We aren’t weakening their positions by engaging in the exact tactics they accuse us of

                                                                          You absolutely weaken their positions! No platforming is a patently effective way to deny people the ability to spread a fascist message with ease.

                                                                          Nobody is saying you are forbidden to print your neonazi newspaper, just that the printing press in town will politely decline your business and the community won’t let you set up your table in the farmers market. Go try to pass it out on the street if you want. If you want to spread your message, we won’t make it easy, you’re going to have to add your own effort & money to the mix.

                                                                          More concretely, 8chan didn’t get null routed: a business decided that it was within their best business interests to decline to take money from a web site linked to multiple fascist terrorist attacks. Another business, one willing to attract a similar clientele will likely extend their service. I find it strange that so many capitalists all over the internet are wringing their hands over this… it’s what the system demands, right?

                                                                          we are setting precedent that probably is going to be abused

                                                                          Oh mate, the next time you see coverage of BLM protesting police brutality, people marching against ICE, or a counter protest against the KKK, take a look at the pictures the media puts out: see who is holding riot shields and tear gas guns and which group they’re pointed at.

                                                                          The state - not just private enterprise - has favored certain categories of speech over others for over a century. In some cases it has been direct, by passing laws that criminalize membership in certain named organizations, and in other cases indirectly through the use of “investigative committees”, surveillance and support of oppositional groups.

                                                                          1. 10

                                                                            We aren’t weakening their positions by engaging in the exact tactics they accuse us of

                                                                            Deplatforming hate groups literally weakens their position. It’s not only acceptable but ethically responsible to do so. Or even ethically necessary: sunlight is not always the best disinfectant.

                                                                          2. 2

                                                                            Yes! Also, these arguments ignore that there’s also a tangible effect: labor that needs to be invested to build the features yourselves.

                                                                          3. 4

                                                                            Google delisted 8chan a long time ago because people kept (keep?) posting child exploitation images in there.

                                                                          4. -1

                                                                            Wow, be careful on that slippery slope! They should really put up a caution sign or something…

                                                                            1. 6

                                                                              …slippery slope? A quote from a later comment on this post…

                                                                              MasonJar avatar MasonJar 1 hour ago | link |

                                                                              Uhhh guys, seems to be a bit of an update on this, but it seems that the free-speech-absolutist CDN BitMitigate, which took over 8chan’s service and was also serving DailyStormer, was just taken down by its upstream provider, Voxility. Is this getting disturbing to anybody yet? If you’re okay with a website that doesn’t censor opinions you don’t like being dropped by companies providing services to it, are you also okay with an internet service provider being dropped by its upstream provider because it refuses to terminate services to that website?

                                                                              1. 3

                                                                                I don’t see how this outcome has anything to do with the alarmism of the parent post.

                                                                                And, although you didn’t ask:

                                                                                Are you also okay with an internet service provider being dropped by its upstream provider because it refuses to terminate services to that website?

                                                                                Yes, absolutely: this was a good and correct maneuver by the upstream provider.

                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                  I replied to the comment in question here:

                                                                                  https://lobste.rs/s/j72cp9/terminating_service_for_8chan#c_pgcwks

                                                                            1. 24

                                                                              News is the mindkiller, and I doubt discussion here will be worth the flames that we risk.

                                                                              That said…

                                                                              Among other things, that resulted in us cooperating around monitoring potential hate sites on our network and notifying law enforcement when there was content that contained an indication of potential violence. We will continue to work within the legal process to share information when we can to hopefully prevent horrific acts of violence. We believe this is our responsibility and, given Cloudflare’s scale and reach, we are hopeful we will continue to make progress toward solving the deeper problem.

                                                                              This is problematic in the extreme.

                                                                              1. 15

                                                                                News is the mindkiller, and I doubt discussion here will be worth the flames that we risk.

                                                                                Yaaaaawn.

                                                                                This is problematic in the extreme.

                                                                                I’m inclined to agree with you there, maybe not that strongly. A subthread that I see in the Shopify and Cloudflare statements of the last years is that they consider themselves basic, unreplacable, state-critical infrastructure like a phone provider, which just isn’t the case.

                                                                                1. 4

                                                                                  While I agree that legally mandating such things would be problematic (it isn’t currently mandated, as far as I’m aware), I suspect you and I would come up with different reasoning for why it’s problematic.

                                                                                  Meanwhile, Cloudflare mostly seems concerned with public perception, and wants to be seen to be doing something rather than actually do something. I’ve seen claims that this is probably also related to plans to IPO in the not-too-distant future, which often motivates a bit more curation of a company’s public image, at least for a little while.

                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                    I’ve seen claims that this is probably also related to plans to IPO in the not-too-distant future

                                                                                    Highly likely. They’re a big, growing company aiming to make a pile of money. Such companies often do PR work to boost sales and/or retain customers.

                                                                                  2. 4

                                                                                    This is problematic in the extreme.

                                                                                    As this has been a potential legal requirement for a long time now [0], is the problematic part that they are doing this willingly (as I infer from the paragraph’s tone) rather than under threat of federal penalties [1]?

                                                                                    Or is the problematic part something simpler, i.e. that they are saying this aloud? And in either case, is it any more problematic than it was last week or last month?

                                                                                    [0] So-called “National Security Letters” have existed in something like their current form since 1986.
                                                                                    [1] They initially had no penalties, technically, and got their teeth in 2006.

                                                                                    (For anyone new to this topic, remember to support the EFF. They fight long and hard on the principles about exactly these sorts of things)

                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                      Yes, it is a legal requirement. The problematic part is using it as an argument why they should do it.

                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                        Good clarifying questions!

                                                                                        In order: yes, sorta, again sorta.

                                                                                        Yes, it’s more problematic because they are saying that they view a personal moral requirement and that they will voluntarily exercise their (growing, vast) surveillance capabilities to do this. Again, quoting for emphasis:

                                                                                        We believe this is our responsibility and, given Cloudflare’s scale and reach, we are hopeful we will continue to make progress toward solving the deeper problem.

                                                                                        Like, references to “the deeper problem” looks a little spooky–especially when the deeper problem isn’t explained in terms of the social/political/economic conditions that make radicalization so attractive.

                                                                                        For the next bit, sorta. It’s not quite that they are saying this out loud–like, the problem was already there, they’re probably already doing it. Buuuut, it does give them the chance to get mainstream techie support for their behavior and capabilities because of leveraging an odious event. That’s always how these things happen, right. That’s also why my answer to your third question is sorta.

                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                          get mainstream techie support for their behavior and capabilities

                                                                                          I feel the negative moral valence attached to the “behavior and capabilities” in question here, but I really struggled to put my finger on the specifics, and it led to some interesting thoughts.

                                                                                          First I considered this it in the context of Network Neutrality-esque discussions: maybe a CDN could legally be required to be a “dumb cache” similar to the Network Neutrality goal of requiring an ISP to be a “dumb pipe” (broadly and conceptually, not necessarily thinking about the former Title II implementation).

                                                                                          But then I realized the capability you referenced had a key phrase above: “growing, vast surveillance capabilities”. Even being a “dumb cache” doesn’t stop anyone from looking in said cache and performing services, for legal authorities or for customers.

                                                                                          It seems you take issue with Cloudflare being able to perform monitoring of any users of any site that has opted to be their customer? That seems like the responsibility of the site itself, no? Wouldn’t Cloudflare just be helping? Or is the issue that, because Cloudflare is in the US but a customer might not be, the customer is now subject to a form moderation beyond what is required in their jurisdiction? The Cloudflare blog post does mention that their are no shortage of competitors who are happy to step in, so there is a market alternative in that case.

                                                                                          On the other hand, if Cloudflare is helping a site enforce its existing content policies (e.g. 8chan supposedly has a policy against violent threats?), that seems like it might equally be a useful service offering. The only difference from the “but they’ve been doing that” status quo is the visibility.

                                                                                          Think of all of the recent hullabaloo about moderation (ala Facebook and Twitter), especially discussions of legal requirements to do so (to say nothing of Australia passing an actual law). For any site or community which relies on user-generated content, and which has policies they would like to enforce, but cannot afford the moderation workforce to do so (i.e. is not Facebook-scale), they could pay their CDN to help them do so for much cheaper. They are already paying the CDN to have the data, so it seems like the most efficient spot for that kind of moderation assistance? Especially if it comes with a CYA for the site operator from the oncoming dogpile of content liability legislation.

                                                                                          And if the site owner is making the choice, and paying for Cloudflare Cloudmod™ Content Reports a service, it would at least be more transparent in the website’s ToS, privacy policies or otherwise (hopefully?).

                                                                                          That is: people would not join huge online communities and still feel a false sense of flying-under-the-radar complacency? It’s not that people expect “privacy” in these situations, because they are making public posts, but I have always felt people have a sense along the lines of “Who am I, Stephan McUnimportant, to be banhammered for my threats?”

                                                                                          Anyway, pulling back from psychological analysis of forum posters, and having laid out my thinking on a content moderation service, I half-expect to see an applicable AWS CloudFront add-on spring up next week. After all, they are the #2 CDN after Cloudflare (iirc) and it might make for a compelling competitive offering.

                                                                                    1. 17

                                                                                      What pointless advice—writing is not about the text, it’s about the reader! We often see such advice because rules about the text are comfortable: they imply that you can write the same way no matter the reader. That’s just not the case. You write for specific users, and your writing has a specific function. Just think about the writing for a tutorial aimed at beginners and the writing of a formal sepcification for experts; they’re not the same because the reader, and the purpose of the reader is different.

                                                                                      Don’t write by rules, figure out what your reader wants and give it to them.

                                                                                      Write short sentences.

                                                                                      https://i.imgur.com/8usNRMy.png

                                                                                      Learn how brains organize ideas. Readers comprehend “the boy hit the ball” quicker than “the ball was hit by the boy.”

                                                                                      Funny that he gives this example, because it’s exactly the opposite of what the director of the writing program at the University of Chicago tells students and faculty. Check out what he has to say about active vs. passive: https://youtu.be/aFwVf5a3pZM?t=3949 If you can’t watch here’s the gist: the first sentence is about the boy, the second sentence is about the ball. “What if the reader wants to think about the [ball]?!” asks Professor McEnerney. (If you’re interested in writing, you should take the 75 minutes necessary to watch the entire video. The ideas can be shocking the first time you hear—they certainly were to me—but you can’t argue that they’re wrong.)

                                                                                      Good writing is not about you following a bunch of rules. It’s about you figuring out who your reader is. It’s about you figuring out why the reader is reading your text. And it’s about making sure that your writing fulfills that function for that user.

                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                        Good writing is not about you following a bunch of rules. It’s about you figuring out who your reader is. It’s about you figuring out why the reader is reading your text. And it’s about making sure that your writing fulfills that function for that user.

                                                                                        This is a good point.

                                                                                        But, if I must read something that doesn’t target me, I’d prefer that it be brief and simple.

                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                        I recently came across onivim2 and instantly disliked the idea of a proprietary vim fork. what do you think about their perfectly legal yet unethical approach?

                                                                                        1. 6

                                                                                          I think that it’s off-topic for this site, mostly since it is a hit piece (accurate or not). Flagged. :)

                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                          Rollbar treated us pretty well. Their query language was a bit wonky though.

                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                            What did you find wonky about the query language? Was it that you couldn’t get the data you needed, or just that it was more difficult to use than you’d have liked?

                                                                                          1. 12

                                                                                            “Incorrect” is fine here. Even better if you could leave a clarification, but people don’t always have the time and energy. (And, of course, it’s OK to let someone be wrong on the internet without engaging.)

                                                                                            Shamelessly hijacking your meta thread,

                                                                                            It seems that the limited downvote options are very good at preventing superfluous downvoting

                                                                                            This seems less the case this summer. I haven’t had spare time to run numbers (I’ve been exceptionally busy all of July), but it feels like the mod dashboard has been filled up with people flagging stories and comments they disagree with or apparently want to push down the page. I’ve messaged to ask about some of the really odd ones and mostly gotten what feel like flimsy justifications.

                                                                                            Trying to find the minimum effective dose, I’m going to add some more explicit guidance on the flagging reasons to /about. If, like @angersock, you have opinions on this when to and not to use particular reasons, please comment here.

                                                                                            1. 4

                                                                                              Those guidelines looks pretty decent to me to be honest. Although I do tend to lean more towards the “applied strictly” interpretation.

                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                I have opinions! I don’t personally see the benefit in the “incorrect” category at all. Nothing wrong with making a mistake, and if you see one, post an educational or corrective reply to help everyone out. If you don’t want to reply, just leave it alone without downvoting (that would be like saying “You are wrong!” and walking away - who are you helping?) and let someone else do it. But that’s just my interpretation of the word “incorrect” - I’ll be just as happy if the community agrees on a different interpretation.

                                                                                                The other categories serve their purposes well. If anything I’d like upvote categories too, so I can filter out the “funny” or “agreeable” comments and get straight to the “insightful” ones.

                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                  I like the metaphor. That article on minimum dose got deleted or something, though. Here’s archived version.

                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                    I stand by my prior analysis. I need to get my blog back online since it also had some writings related to the topic.

                                                                                                  1. 4

                                                                                                    That whole subthread was almost totally useless because of pearl-clutching about what’s good taste and what wasn’t. Such things are the reason people tend to want broader flagging tools–I’d suggest we would be better served trying to tackle the problem at its source.

                                                                                                    1. 18

                                                                                                      In this case, isn’t it better to reply to the comment, explaining why you think it’s misunderstood?

                                                                                                      1. 7

                                                                                                        This seems right to me. If you want to convey something specific to the person you’re downvoting, then reply to them. The categories, as I understand it, exist to curb reflexive downvoting.

                                                                                                        1. 7

                                                                                                          There are plenty of times I downvote without leaving a comment. Either because I’ve tried leaving a comment before and they were hostile/unreceptive, or because others have tried leaving a comment and failed to make any noticeable impression. It’s much easier to just downvote and move on than it is to engage in a hopeless battle to change someone’s behavior.

                                                                                                          1. 7

                                                                                                            Regrettably, downvoting without explanation provides very weak signal and as a community norm is toxic.

                                                                                                            1. 16

                                                                                                              There’s a lot more that’s toxic about this place than downvotes. Other than certain members who continue to be inflammatory (which is not a synonym for “expressing opinions I disagree with,” as so many like to believe), for example, I think a legitimate argument could be made that upvotes are more toxic than downvotes. We continually have short, low-efffort, low-content comments upvoted, usually because they are “clever” or are a “zinger.” The upvotes, at minimum, encourage this type of behavior. If I want that shit, I’ll go to r/programming.

                                                                                                              Either way, one can’t be expected to do battle with folks whose comments are so predictably tired and inflammatory, that I can often say, “oh there’s one comment, and given the title of the post, I can bet that so-and-so said something like such-and-such.” There’s just no point. And then you have other members that just repeatedly grind the same ol’ political axe any chance they get. Nobody has the energy to respond to all of these comments. And even when you do, you’ll invariably be accused of tone policing (or similar) and “shutting down alternative opinions.” So then you have to deal with those folks too.

                                                                                                              So, from my perspective, we have a culture we’ve established here of very light moderation, and a very high tolerance for asinine/unconstructive behavior. Every time I come here, I more and more think about just deleting my account and leaving. I don’t see any of this changing, and my guess is that it’s only going to get worse as the number of members increase.

                                                                                                              1. 14

                                                                                                                The downvote category I have wished for much more often than the proposed one is “Rude”. Replying to an inflammatory or ad hominem comment often just makes the commenter escalate, and best-case it derails the discussion. “Troll” isn’t right because the commenter isn’t deliberately trolling (at least I’d like to think things aren’t that bad). If someone is being blatantly uncivil I’d like to be able to downvote that behavior, regardless of content.

                                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                                  I could go for a category like that. Anything along the lines of: mean, disrespectful, uncharitable.

                                                                                                                2. 8

                                                                                                                  I often get a lot of ‘troll’ down votes mixed with lots of up votes. I don’t think I am a troll, so don’t really know what to do when that happens and nobody says anything. It is just an anonymous ‘fuck you’ from someone out there for some reason I don’t understand.

                                                                                                                  One thing I found is If you want to make long form comments and have people see it, you are better off making a submission or blog post than trying to convince a single person of anything via comments.

                                                                                                                  anyway, if it was me who annoyed you, sorry about that, its not something I’m doing on purpose.

                                                                                                                  1. 6

                                                                                                                    I hear you. I don’t have an answer - if I did, I’d be doing it.

                                                                                                                    I definitely agree that there’s a trap where short jokes rise to the top. I think upvotes do have some value in letting people feel good for saying something that was received well, but it’s an open question whether the benefits outweigh the costs.

                                                                                                                    I don’t have any special insight to offer on the other issues you mentioned, other than to say that for a place to be a community requires members to be committed to positive engagement. It isn’t easy.

                                                                                                                    1. 4

                                                                                                                      Yeah, indeed, it is quite hard. IMO, probably the only path is to 1) convince existing moderators or new moderators to devote more time to policing this place and 2) shift the culture of the community to welcome stricter moderation of content. That’s… hard for any number of reasons!

                                                                                                                    2. 5

                                                                                                                      We continually have short, low-efffort, low-content comments upvoted, usually because they are “clever” or are a “zinger.” The upvotes, at minimum, encourage this type of behavior.

                                                                                                                      How often does this happen, though? Anecdotally, I only ever see the low-effort comments once in a while - usually on the more popular posts that have been simmering on the front page for more than a day. And usually those replies aren’t ever top-level, usually a reply to something else. In my experience, the vast majority of posts on this site feel thoughtful and sincere. When the “clever” posts happen, I’m actually relieved and reminded, “oh yeah, lobste.rs folks do have a sense of humor”, even if it wasn’t all that clever or funny.

                                                                                                                      Either way, one can’t be expected to do battle with folks whose comments are so predictably tired and inflammatory, that I can often say, “oh there’s one comment, and given the title of the post, I can bet that so-and-so said something like such-and-such.”

                                                                                                                      This is something I endorse. I will often see people attacking other peoples’ opinions directly on this website. I’m sure that a certain subset of folks here toe the line between “strong opinion” and “inflammatory”, and they know they’re toeing the line, but they haven’t done anything technically against the rules - but after reading their comments, there’s a bad taste left in your mouth. They may use harsh language directed at the person they’re replying to, or deliberately insult a piece of what they’re saying in a curt manner, or being just plain rude. Perhaps a “arguing in bad faith” or “rude” downvote option might help, but then again, we already have a “troll” downvote option - so that may just be what we want to use in those situations.

                                                                                                                      I suppose I don’t really browse the site as often as other people here, so my experience may not be in line with yours. Thoughts?

                                                                                                                      (postscript: I’m always worried I’m going to misunderstand someone’s argument and then have a whole thing where it feels like I’m arguing in bad faith when in reality, I’m being confident about the entirely wrong thing because my reading comprehension sucks. When faced with “post opinion” or “delete and avoid possible misunderstanding” I will more often than not choose the latter to avoid uncomfortable confrontation.)

                                                                                                                      1. 7

                                                                                                                        I personally feel like I see those low effort zingers a lot. The linked thread from this meta thread has them, for example. On the one hand, I think humor is good, but on the other, a lot of it that I see here do it at the expense of others. I see a lot of comments in the style of n-gate.com, which I personally think is just a complete and total pile of garbage, although it’s perhaps less on-the-nose in comments here at lobste.rs.

                                                                                                                        But, everyone is likely to have their own standards for what kind of conversations they want to see here. I’d prefer to keep high standards. We already have places on the Internet where the n-gate style of humor is encouraged and accepted. In contrast, we have precious few places where we can expect continued high quality discussion. Lobste.rs is decent in the grand scheme of things; I’m likely a harsh critic because I sense the potential to be something better.

                                                                                                                      2. 1

                                                                                                                        I think a legitimate argument could be made that upvotes are more toxic than downvotes.

                                                                                                                        (my emphasis)

                                                                                                                        Why? A comment with a large number of upvotes is not promoted in any way apart from the small number inside the arrows. There’s no sorting algorithm like on Reddit that promotes this.

                                                                                                                        If you believe that people are changing their commenting style for karma points, thus degrading the site for everyone else, you may have a point. But “toxic” is a very strong word.

                                                                                                                        1. 4

                                                                                                                          I don’t really want to get lost in definitions of words. I used toxic because friendlysock did. If you want to choose a different word for describing both situations that is less strong, then sure, go right ahead. Also, saying it’s about karma kind of undervalues it. Most of us are human, and it’s not unlikely that we get a dopamine hit when we say something that is popularly validated.

                                                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                                                            There’s a big difference between a forum which is genuinely toxic - where newcomers are looked down upon and insulted, where snark reigns supreme, and trolls run unchecked - and a forum that might tend towards silliness and unseriousness but doesn’t literally make people anxious to visit.

                                                                                                                            I’m fine with zingers and one-liners being downvoted - “me-too” and “off-topic” work for this - if the community feels they have no place here. I don’t see it at this moment in time as a big deal though.

                                                                                                                      3. 2

                                                                                                                        What if a comment couldn’t be downvoted unless it has at least one reply? Or a given person is not allowed to downvote unless they have left a reply?

                                                                                                                        1. 3

                                                                                                                          That would just play into the hands of literal trolls. A downvote is all the response a troll comment deserves.

                                                                                                                      4. 3

                                                                                                                        I’ve done this too. My comment above was solely in the case where it seems as if a commenter has specifically misunderstood a post or a comment. In that case, I believe it’s more constructive to reply and ask for clarification, instead of leaving a hypothetical “misunderstood” downvote.

                                                                                                                        1. 3

                                                                                                                          I’d prefer that the default behavior was moving on with no action.

                                                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                                                            Oh I don’t mean to suggest anyone has a responsibility to reply whenever they downvote. I think I’ve done the same thing. I only mean to say that if you do want to communicate something specific, they say it.

                                                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                                                              Aye yeah, that makes sense!

                                                                                                                        2. 4

                                                                                                                          I’m of the opinion that the reply should be in addition to the downvote, to keep the discussion on track. Otherwise the comment will have the same moderation value as other comments, increasing its exposure and causing more confusion.

                                                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                                                            I would echo this, misunderstandings happen, it doesn’t necessarily warrant a downvote. If you feel like clearing it up, that keeps the conversation going in what is hopefully a constructive way. If you don’t feel like clearing it up, that is also fine.

                                                                                                                            And perhaps I am misunderstanding here, but a downvote says you were wrong to misunderstand and I may or may not clear up the misunderstanding.

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                                                                                                                            art tag maybe?

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                                                                                                                              I definitely share the sentiment. On the other hand it feels bad to make an analogy to the Onion article which is about gun violence.

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                                                                                                                                Considering the real-world implications of this sort of technical irresponsibility (which include things like “airplanes crashing out of the sky and killing 600+ people”), I think this is entirely the analogy that needs to be made more often.

                                                                                                                                It terrifies me that more people in the IT industry don’t realise the real-world implications for their decisions :/

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                                                                                                                                  airplanes crashing out of the sky and killing 600+ people

                                                                                                                                  I’m not especially impressed with npm either, but I don’t think it’s causing airplanes to fall out of the sky?

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                                                                                                                                    NPM isn’t directly responsible for causing airplanes to fall out of the sky because it’s not being used in obviously-critical / life-or-death systems. The most it can do is ruin lives and thus kill people indirectly (ex., by presenting an attack surface by which bank accounts can be drained, or by being so bloated that, when deployed at scale, it heats up the atmosphere enough to be responsible for the death of a few hundred people from flooding or migration-related-violence somewhere down the line).

                                                                                                                                    As a general policy, though, treating software problems as potentially fatal (the way we treat law problems as potentially fatal) is pretty reasonable. Anything deployed at scale has the potential to kill indirectly, and everything deployed at google- or facebook-scale probably has. Nothing is preventing individual software engineers from considering these cases, aside from taboos against reminding us of their possibility.

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                                                                                                                                      The most it can do is ruin lives and thus kill people indirectly

                                                                                                                                      I know someone who works in health informatics, where they provide web-based applications for patient management to hospitals. At least once they had a bug that caused allergy warnings to show up on the wrong patient’s record (such that a nurse might not know that you’re allergic to latex or penicillin). That absolutely could kill someone.

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                                                                                                                                    It terrifies me that more people in the IT industry don’t realise the real-world implications for their decisions :/

                                                                                                                                    Often, the response to pieces like this tends to be a sort of reckless naivete: “what’s this guy’s problem? They can just fix it!” I think there’s a subconscious belief that the community will self-correct after each breach. This belief ends up being something of a thought-killer because it cuts off thoughts of, “but why did it ever happen in the first place?” My guess is those thoughts are seen as a bit negative/taboo, because obviously the community would never all be wrong about something!

                                                                                                                                    I’m not sure what the cure for lackadaisical developers is, other than avoiding massively popular ecosystems just to have a better shot at being around people that care.

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                                                                                                                                      The Canadian practice of the Iron Ring ceremony echos your very important point. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Ring

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                                                                                                                                        While surely virtuous, I doubt this ceremony (And any feel-good manifesto that gets posted here every now and then) have noticeable impact on how engineers deal with the real-world implications of their decisions. Oaths are nothing but fluff when there are no actual controls and consequence.

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                                                                                                                                          I think that, as you suggest, the ceremony definitely does not usually result in software engineers feeling the weight of their decisions. I would hope and expect that it does feel that way for, for example, civil engineers. I also think we need to all take responsibility for moving our profession in the direction of greater accountability. We should live in a world where software engineers take this stuff seriously, and taking it seriously as individuals is one important way we can work towards that.

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                                                                                                                                      The implication here is that it’s the result of a systemic flaw that is ultimately preventable.

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                                                                                                                                        I think the point jjmalina is making is that it’s in poor taste to compare a JavaScript packaging problem to an act of wanton, unspeakable violence.

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                                                                                                                                          wanton, unspeakable violence.

                                                                                                                                          So, webpack?

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                                                                                                                                            A satirical article by the onion (which is the comparison being made) is not an act of violence in any way, shape or form.

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                                                                                                                                              The comparison is not between ‘a JavaScript packaging problem’ and ‘a satirical article by the onion’. The comparison is between ‘a JavaScript packaing problem’ and ‘gun violence’. (Both expressed in the form of satirical articles.)

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                                                                                                                                          This was exactly my reaction and put me off from reading the article. For those who recognize the allusion, it’s very much a false equivalence to compare CI/CD failures to actual loss of human life. The Onion’s article is a biting satirical commentary on a tragic systemic failure of American culture and legislative bodies. This article is about NPM being insecure. Distasteful.

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                                                                                                                                            I just see it as a pattern for a joke. A knock-knock joke can either be a completely harmless joke that a child would say, or an adult could come up with a terribly offensive one.

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                                                                                                                                            [Emacs] is your virtual home for at least nine hours of the day, every day.

                                                                                                                                            I’m impressed and frightened of this work ethic.

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                                                                                                                                              Could also include time working on personal projects at home. Good odds you’ll be using Emacs for that too if you use it at work.

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                                                                                                                                                I’m not. If you work nine hours of the day, every day, when do you ask if you’re even working on the right thing?

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                                                                                                                                                  I mean if you’re using Emacs everything you’re doing is the right thing ;)

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                                                                                                                                                    touché!

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                                                                                                                                                    The market will tell you, presumably.

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                                                                                                                                                  I love this, and I meta-love thinking about the reaction I’d get from co-workers were I to do this. I’d feel like Dale Cooper taking the Twin Peaks Sherrif’s Department on a rock-throwing tour of Tibet.

                                                                                                                                                  Now I need to decide on a deck to get for this. Not sure whether to get the Neon Moon Tarot or a more traditional one.

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                                                                                                                                                    I use a thoth deck as well as a My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic themed one. The pony deck seems to be the most effective.

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                                                                                                                                                      The pony deck seems to be the most effective.

                                                                                                                                                      That’s because friendship is magic.

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                                                                                                                                                        I always misread thoth deck as thot deck.

                                                                                                                                                        It is neat to see all the different decks people have come out with, but the Alchemical deck is the one I grew up with.

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                                                                                                                                                        There’s always Steven Jackson’s Silicon Valley Tarot: http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/cards/steve-jackson-games.shtml

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                                                                                                                                                          Damn, those are gorgeous! And definitely hacker/cyberpunk-flavoured :)