1. 33

    Hey, so… Speaking on behalf of the mod team, we aren’t quite ready to make a rule “no sex toys” or anything like that, but this post is on our radar as being borderline. I’m letting you all know so the community can think about what standards make sense for a place like this.

    I personally believe in sex-positivity, but I can imagine that we have many readers who work in corporate environments and wouldn’t particularly want their managers to see them reading this article. Also it seems to have brought out the worst in everyone humor-wise, so that’s a point against it… I’m removing the worst comments (mostly just sex jokes).

    We’ve had feedback recently, by the way, that people don’t realize we have a full team of moderators who coordinate on decisions. So we’re all trying to be a bit more visible - that’s why I’m the one posting this.

    1. 29

      I’m absolutely in favour of on-topic sex-related content here. But even TechCrunch, hardly known for sober and sensible reporting, was able to cover this story without sniggering. And in my opinion, if managers have a problem with their software developers reading a serious, objective article about computer security like this one just because it’s about a problem with a sex toy, the problem is with the manager/company, not with the employee.

      If people aren’t able to discuss stories like this without making content-free comments with crude jokes, though, it doesn’t speak well for the community here.

      1. 19

        The problem with bawd is that it is even more subjective than normal humor…and given the quality of jokes that were removed, I can’t disagree with a sort of broken windows approach.

        But, like, I can’t get behind the pearl clutching amd serious business aspect of this. The story is about an exploit wherein a dick gets stuck in a poorly programmed cage. That’s pretty fucking funny. Let us not give up our ability to laugh at the absurd.

        1. 8

          Most of those jokes were dumb and disposable, but yours (at roughly 28 upvotes when I saw it) was very well done. Maybe a little crass, but given the subject matter hardly crude or offensive. I’m sure it was removed out of “fairness” or some high-minded ideal like that. Not a pearl to be clutched, but the site lost a tiny little… sparkly rhinestone or something, with the loss of that joke.

          (All you late-comers missed it, sorry. Please direct any feedback you may have to our hard-working mod dom team.)

          EDIT: typo fix

          1. 12

            The problem with my joke–and thank you for the kind words–is that it shifts the Overton window a bit far on a direction that isn’t sustainable.

            I get pissy about advertising and marketing here for the same reason, even with submissions that are of themselves high quality.

            If a bawdy joke of mine has to be removed to spare us legions of copycats citing it as precedent, I can’t really in good conscience object.

            1. 2

              All you late-comers missed it, sorry.

              I’d love to receive a copy in my email inbox if you don’t mind. First two letters and last six letters of my username at the big search engine’s mail domain.

            2. 5

              Oh, I agree that it’s hilarious. I just think jokes like this have an effect, probably unintended for most people, of reinforcing the perception that the site is only for men. I don’t want that outcome, so I felt the need to step in.

              1. 16

                As a woman myself, I don’t feel excluded by the particular sex jokes that were shared here because of my gender. I’m more concerned about the stigma that the jokes reinforce and the culture of mandatory conformity to conservative sexual standards they strengthen.

                To get personal, I’m involved in the BDSM community myself. (In my case, this isn’t a secret, but it’s also not something I tend to bring up in other social circles.) I know men, women, and those that lieth betwixt who enjoy both sides of this particular kink. I also know plenty of people in the community who are absolutely terrified that their work might find out about this part of their private life, because they’d lose their job (and possibly their entire career), have their children taken away from them by social services, etc. In most cases, even if sexual orientation (that is, basically, whether you fall under the LGBT+ umbrella) is a protected category under anti-discrimination laws, other kinds of sexual interests are not.

                Allowing jokes like these makes people feel like they’re a fair target for jokes when they’re already under serious and massive pressure about this aspect of their lives. We’re not asking to be ‘out and proud’ — we know that for most people in most contexts, an interest in kink is just TMI. We’re just asking for an environment where, if it does come out by accident, we know our colleagues and our bosses will just shrug and say ‘it’s your private life, whatever’ and not start making jokes at our expense. And if there’s one thing we can learn from the struggles against sexism and homophobia in the workplace, it’s that the road from stigma expressed through humiliating jokes to stigma expressed through firing someone is shorter than you’d think.

                1. 15

                  I am unsure that ceding the space of sexual humor to males assigned st birth is anything but sexist, but here is not the place to litigate it.

                  1. 4

                    I’ve recently started spending more time on IRC, please feel free to send me a DM over there if you’d like to discuss that. I don’t expect that we’d necessarily come to agreement but if you want to know more about how I think about this topic, I’m happy to go into detail.

                    1. 9

                      I feel like your admission that you removed a bit of humour that you yourself found funny because you want to attract more women to the site reinforces the perception of (at least a contingent of) women as spoilsports of male humour, which is probably not going to do much to endear the people here to the new guests that are attracted here for that reason; you seem to have gone against your original goal.

                      I also find it quite unnerving that individual mods have the power to shift the direction of a thread for activism purposes. If it becomes a stated goal of this site to cater more to women and it achieves that by cleaning up what men like about the site… well, I’m a man. How far will this go? What kind of incentives for women that ruin the site for us men can we expect? It can’t just be down to individual mods with no checks in place.

                      1. 12

                        It is fair enough to raise those topics for discussion. There’s three things in it that I’d like to reply to.

                        First, it’s not down to individual mods. The mod team talked this over privately before doing it. I’m handling the public-facing communication today because I am closest to the issue and because I have the time. I understand that it’s not very visible to site members that that happens, which is why we’re trying to be more explicit about it, such as my remark that I was “speaking for the mod team” up-thread. To whatever extent things here are matters of my personal opinion and not the site’s position, I have tried to be extremely clear about that, as well.

                        Second, I’m trying to retain the women we already have by not driving them away with unchecked, gendered, sexualized humor. As a trans woman I promise that I have many hilarious observations to make about genitals, but I also recognize that were I to start doing that in a professional space, it would make many people uncomfortable. I think highly of lobste.rs community members, and I’m sure most people here can recognize that some topics are for private conversations where you know everyone involved. In a private setting, you can be sure you aren’t violating people’s boundaries and expectations. In a semi-public space such as this, you don’t really know who’s reading or how they feel about it.

                        Third, I don’t think this is a zero-sum thing. I think everyone benefits from trying to have a civil community where nobody has to be confronted with jokes about genitalia unless they want to. I think that makes things better for everyone, regardless of gender. If I truly viewed this as a thing with winners and losers, with one group’s happiness being possible only at the cost of another group’s unhappiness, I wouldn’t be taking the time to justify the decision and engage with discussion about it. I would simply have deleted the page - it would have saved several hours of work.

                        1. 12

                          Thanks for taking the time to respond.

                          First, it’s not down to individual mods. […]

                          Fair enough. I still have my apprehensions about the implicit activism angle, but you’re right, you were clear on the fact that this wasn’t just you and what was your opinion. I guess I just inferred from some of the comments that this would have probably gone differently without your influence; the rule applied seems arbitrary until you realise the views that are probably being represented in ‘the cabal’s secret meetings’ ;).

                          Second, I’m trying to retain the women we already have by not driving them away with unchecked, gendered, sexualized humor.

                          Just curious, is this something the women we already have (or used to have and then left) tell you is driving them away, or are you basing this on prior research/knowledge/beliefs of how women react to bawdy jokes?

                          As a trans woman I promise that I have many hilarious observations to make about genitals, but I also recognize that were I to start doing that in a professional space, it would make many people uncomfortable.

                          Sure, but lobste.rs isn’t really a professional space in the same way your average office workplace is. Most people understand the limits at a workplace are necessary to some degree to avoid making people uncomfortable, but restrictiveness in humour is itself often uncomfortable, and I don’t understand why you’d prefer that discomfort over the other in an online community like lobste.rs.

                          The community itself as it stands were apparently reacting quite favourably, so I’m not sure why we would restrict the community’s humour to appeal to some outsiders.

                          I’m sure most people here can recognize that some topics are for private conversations where you know everyone involved.

                          Yes, like swear words, some would say. But we don’t have to care about those people’s sensibilities. This site happily accepts swear words like “fuck” in submission titles, comments, etc, even though it makes some people uncomfortable.

                          The reality is that you’re implicitly saying that the set of people made uncomfortable by sexual jokes are more worthy of catering to than the set of people made uncomfortable by swear words, whether it’s because they are a (net) bigger set (big enough?) or because they seem to you subjectively to have a more ‘valid’ reason for being uncomfortable or whatever other reason.

                          If it were just about not making people uncomfortable, you wouldn’t be able to say almost anything interesting. When choosing whose discomfort to prioritise, you’re revealing your values or sympathies or allegiances (either it makes you uncomfortable, or you sympathise with those made uncomfortable by the joke more than by the restrictiveness in humour or other things you could have removed, or you are just catering to the biggest or loudest group).

                          In a private setting, you can be sure you aren’t violating people’s boundaries and expectations.

                          Not really. You can make an educated guess, but you never really know how someone might react to something. But we don’t let that stop us. Talking or joking about taboos or controversial topics or breaking taboos in general is always risky. Someone often has to be the first to set the tone to a riskier level (bit by bit) and the other person may always react negatively.

                          In a semi-public space such as this, you don’t really know who’s reading or how they feel about it.

                          Sure, I just don’t see how that’s relevant. There are people that feel offended when they read swear words, but the tone of this site is such that we allow them. The question isn’t why should we set rules around what’s acceptable and what isn’t, the question is why this particular rule? Why should we cater to people who find bawdy jokes uncomfortable over those who find they brighten their day?

                          Third, I don’t think this is a zero-sum thing. I think everyone benefits from trying to have a civil community where nobody has to be confronted with jokes about genitalia unless they want to.

                          Or stories about genital instruments? I’m sure there are lots of people that are quite disgusted by this story, or at least made uncomfortable by it. Why are jokes about genitalia any more uncomfortable than stories about genitalia? Hell, the title of this submission makes a genital joke (“cock-up”).

                          I don’t think everyone benefits. Not all the people missing out on the humorous comments that were removed are going to be happy about it or would have been made uncomfortable by them. That’s why we’re having this conversation. It quite literally is zero sum, at least in the way it’s been implemented currently.

                          If I truly viewed this as a thing with winners and losers, with one group’s happiness being possible only at the cost of another group’s unhappiness, I wouldn’t be taking the time to justify the decision and engage with discussion about it. I would simply have deleted the page - it would have saved several hours of work.

                          You can justify the decision all you want, it’s not going to make everyone on the other side of the debate happy. If you’re talking about fielding compromises, then perhaps instead of removing these kinds of comments entirely, they could be quarantined in some way. Still not gonna make everyone happy, but might go a good way.

                          1. 5

                            Thanks for your patience. This is a lot to respond to!

                            Ultimately, yes, some people are clearly unhappy with this decision. To those people, I say that I encourage you all to view this as a chance to reflect about how important sex jokes are to you, and treat it as an opportunity to change course.

                            Once again, I believe that this isn’t zero-sum and that everyone benefits. However, to whatever extent there has to be a choice between priorities, I am choosing to side against people who feel that making sex jokes on this site is a fundamental attribute of who they are, which they are not willing to surrender.

                            I think the unifying theme in your concern was really that I can’t make everyone happy. To whatever extent that turns out to be true, I take full responsibility for it. I think that cost would be worth it in this particular case.

                            I think that addresses most of the substance of your long comment. What it doesn’t address, I’m not sure I have anything particularly interesting to say about, that I haven’t already said. There’s one exception, which I’ll respond to directly:

                            Just curious, is this something the women we already have (or used to have and then left) tell you is driving them away, or are you basing this on prior research/knowledge/beliefs of how women react to bawdy jokes?

                            Both.

                            1. 2

                              This doesn’t address the meat of my comment (or my other comments), which is about the seeming inconsistency in reasoning:

                              However, to whatever extent there has to be a choice between priorities, I am choosing to side against people who feel that making sex jokes on this site is a fundamental attribute of who they are, which they are not willing to surrender.

                              This trivialises one side’s feelings on this. No one feels it’s a fundamental attribute of who they are. Some people are reacting strongly because it’s an application of a nonsensical rule in pursuit of a gender activism agenda that degrades the quality of their experience. People can deal with limiting rules, but it stings more when it’s done in the name of reasons that would be shot down in any other context.

                              I could just as well say, ‘however, to whatever extent there has to be a choice between priorities, I am choosing to side against people who feel that swearing on this site is a fundamental attribute of who they are, which they are not willing to surrender’. People would be bemoaning how stupid these rules are and all to please some dumb puritanical and/or religious agenda, why should we acquiesce to this?, etc.

                              I think there’s a certain contingent of people who see certain activist rules as just as nonsensical as certain bureaucratic rules and their mind rebels just as it does when faced with silly rules in any other context; they react quite strongly to what they see as the inability of humans to think clearly when their mind has been infected by bureaucracy/activism/religion/patriotism/whatever.

                              I’ve responded to your other comment on bitrot and dpk having articulated your reasoning clearer, so that’s where I’ve addressed that.

                              1. 4

                                The point I’m trying to make is that I’m not taking a side against “men” or any larger group. I’m specifically only taking a stance against the making of sexual jokes here on lobste.rs. Whether you’re part of that group - of people who make those jokes, here on this site - is entirely within your control.

                                1. 1

                                  Just to be clear, when I say that people don’t like nonsensical rules that come from a gender activism agenda, I’m not insinuating that you’re taking a stance against men.

                                  I’m saying that (a few) people are reacting strongly because they’re pattern matching on [imposition of annoying new rule that prioritises some outcome that they struggle to care about] [with justifications that they believe make no sense, and were they applied to anything else, would not fly] [for a cause they’ve had previous experience with that seem to constantly do this].

                                  1. 4

                                    I do appreciate the clarification. I feel like I’ve done everything I know how to do to defuse such fears, by explaining the rule and why it’s important.

                                    I do believe that the rule is straightforward; I note that the people who are objecting are not the people whose jokes were removed.

                                    If there are truly people out there for whom this is complicated or ambiguous, I’m happy to continue to clarify, but it kind of sounds like you’re expressing concern about the possible fears of a group that’s mostly hypothetical. I’m trying my best to help, regardless, because I feel an obligation to, but at this point I don’t have much to say that isn’t just repeating myself.

                                    1. 1

                                      Yes, you have (explained). People (including myself) will disagree strongly, but as you said, there’s not much left to be said.

                                      I do believe there are deeper layers of thinking and disagreement we could take this to, but I’ve been avoiding that, as I don’t think it’ll do much good for me to make this even more protracted than it already is, especially as I’m quite new to the community myself. I also don’t have enough information to make an informed case tailored to you.

                                      I will say, I don’t think it’s much relevant that the rule is straightforward; I mean, better than it being a contradictory or hard-to-follow mess, but it’s only necessary, not sufficient, for a good rule.

                                      I also don’t think it’s much relevant that the people complaining aren’t those who made the jokes. Just as the rule is being implemented for the sake of people who might read the comments and be negatively affected, the people complaining want the rule to not be implemented for the sake of people who might read the comments and be positively affected (people like themselves), not just for the people who write the comments (who they might be among in the future).

                                      If anything, by that metric, it’s worse for you; you, the person pushing for, implementing, and enforcing the rule, are not someone who is negatively affected by the jokes, as per your admission elsewhere in this thread. It doesn’t make your position any less valid or important, so why should it make ours (if we even were unaffected by the rule just because we’re readers not writers)?

                                      1. 2

                                        I haven’t argued that your position is invalid or unimportant. I consider it, at the very least, important enough to merit a response.

                                        On the other topics: Fair enough.

                                        1. 1

                                          Okay, I may have misunderstood your intent.

                                          What’s the relevance of the people complaining not being those whose jokes were removed? Why’s it noteworthy?

                                          1. 3

                                            It’s noteworthy in that you’re arguing about a harm that, as far as I can tell, is entirely theoretical.

                                            Just to restate my understanding as fairly as I can, the harm you’re talking about is a loss of trust. Correct me if I’m wrong?

                                            I do ultimately have to make my own assessment of what I see evidence for and what I don’t. We appear to have a factual disagreement about the degree of harm and the size of the affected group, and I think that’s relevant.

                                            1. 1

                                              Loss of trust would be a problem if, for example, mods were removing posts simply for holding or arguing a position that people didn’t like. I wouldn’t trust this place to give me all the facts.

                                              We’re talking about jokes; I actually thought you were at least on the same page here, that there is a harm to removing jokes. People derive pleasure from jokes, therefore removing them denies them that pleasure. It’s pretty direct.

                                              Again, it’s just the flipside of what you’re saying. You’re saying there are people who derive discomfort from these jokes, so you’re removing them to prevent that discomfort.

                                              The harm is a simple dulling of the culture, a shifting of the dynamic, sucking the humour out of certain threads. Even if I never consciously notice for the rest of my stay on this site, the impact is felt. A joke is removed, and I never knew it was removed, but it still means I’m a chuckle, a giggle, a belly laugh, a snicker poorer that day. Compound that across threads.

                                              Just as I imagine you might say the harm to keeping these jokes is a simple juvenilising of the culture, a shifting of the dynamic, sucking the comfort out of certain threads. Even if a woman never consciously notices for the rest of her stay on this site, the impact is felt. A joke is made, and she never imagines the site without it, but it still means it’s just another discomfort she has to go through that day. Compound that across threads.

                                              (Now I’m thinking of looking into the intersection of juvenile and sexual humour and gender differences around them; there are certainly stereotypes. As a man, I’ve never observed women being asked to change their style of humour to make men comfortable, except for the sake of equality as opposed to the humour intrinsically making men uncomfortable.)

                                              The fact that this was motivated by gender activism does also make me suspicious of what future changes could be coming that are a problem beyond just jokes, since that motivation does often lead to extreme censoriousness, IMO. That’s just not what I was arguing here, since that is genuinely theoretical.

                                              But since you brought it up, would the Damore memo be allowed on here, for example? That made a lot of women uncomfortable, even mad, but I read through that, and I don’t think he said anything worthy of ostracism or job loss.

                          2. 5

                            Thank you for trying to shift the culture.

                2. 13

                  Coming to this from when I posted the comment, likely after some pruning has been done: I think the post itself is very on-topic and worthy of discussion. If objectionable comments were made, that’s a shame, but I can understand the tendency to go after “trivial points scoring” for internet funbucks karma. I’d hate to see this type of submission removed/censored.

                  To bring some level of technical discussion: I’m reminded, amusingly enough, of nuclear reactors. AIUI, to keep the rate of reaction low, you insert/remove control rods into the reactor core. Those rods are made of boron and other elements that are very good at hoovering up neutrons. That’s an obvious need because too many neutrons make nuclear reactors get spicy.

                  In these reactors, your fail safe is gravity: the rods are lifted away from the core with electromagnets. Something goes wrong, power gets cut, and all the rods slam down into the core and quench the neutrons, halting the reaction. And in many reactors, the routine shutdown process is “press the button to release the electromagnets”: a safety critical system becomes integral to routine operation.

                  We could learn from this in software. We could certainly learn from it with locking sex toys, and it’s remarkable that someone didn’t say “do we want this to fail open or fail closed” at the very beginning of the design process.

                  1. 5

                    it’s remarkable that someone didn’t say “do we want this to fail open or fail closed” at the very beginning of the design process.

                    Unfortunately, I think this is a case of fantasy getting the better of reality. ‘100% inescapable!!’ is a sexy marketing point for the device’s target market. Safety, on the other hand, is just a spoilsport.

                    (Not that this excuses the manufacturers, who should certainly have known better.)

                  2. 9

                    I would like to express both that I am in favor of such subjects being posted here and my displeasure of the perceived inability of the community and the security community to discuss them in an appropriate fashion.

                    The teledildonics industry has bad security standards and this should be as openly discussed as security flaws in other industries. We should also discuss the particular space these suppliers are in, in which they operate in an environment where high trust is needed and consent on all levels is necessary. But we, as a community, on the other side should not use this as a “finally, a place to make dick jokes for fun”, but rather make an effort to discuss the underlying issues in a sober and direct fashion to allow people the space to discuss in a space that is full of emotions, fear and literally things that people keep secret for good reasons. Every joke here about chastity locks rules out discussions with people that do for example use them and get pleasure from them. This makes the conversation not only worse, but impossible.

                    1. 4

                      This. The whole product sounds like an ethical failure from the get go: How can one not have hardware fallback? How can one willingly write software knowing the consequences of bugs lacking that fallback? And that’s even before you get to this security issue.

                      1. 2

                        I couldn’t agree more. Thank you.

                      2. 7

                        I understand. I posted this because it was an actual on-topic technical analysis; not the possibly bawdy blogspam that pops up around this kind of thing.

                        1. 2

                          Thanks for replying. Yeah - when I saw the post I also didn’t immediately know whether it belongs here or not. It’s a judgement call, and I can see several defensible positions about it.

                        2. 5

                          people don’t realize we have a full team of moderators who coordinate on decisions

                          Um, how big is this “full team” honestly? I read the mod log as often as I read anything else on this site, and I only ever see you and The Boss in there. You tidy things up and occasionally make high-minded statements while wearing your Sysop hat; he’s a bit more terse, deletes stories he doesn’t like and bans people. I think that’s all there is to your team. Everything else is automatic from “user suggestions”.

                          1. 7

                            There’s three of us who make decisions pertaining to the site, and a couple more who focus on the IRC channel. I think that’s exactly the right size for a community like this. It’s enough to provide redundancy, but not so many that we can’t talk things over and make sure there’s consensus on big decisions. Your tone is accusatory, but I’m not seeing anything in what you described that I consider to be misconduct. Everything you mentioned is working as intended. Thank you for taking an interest.

                          2. 5

                            Maybe it’s worth having some sort of nfsw tag. Then if people don’t wish to see this type of content they can filter the it out.

                            1. 1

                              This to me feels like the most practical way forward.

                            2. 4

                              I don’t understand:

                              Regarding the link: I think that simply displaying the post title cannot be considered not safe for work, and it is up to each of us to choose whether or not to open the link.

                              Regarding the comments: they are not adding information to the link, so I assume they do not meet the rules, and it is fair to remove them, but how are they excluding? If I remember correctly they were mere puns: their only comical value was in the double meaning of words, not in some judgement of value on this or that practice,

                              Maybe we should envision having a “NSFW” tag, or by default blur, but saying this is borderline for a tech website feels wrong. This is dealing with security, ethics and the impact our decisions can have on users.

                              1. 6

                                I tried to engage with this a bit in my longer comment responding to habibalamin, but briefly, when people see a community tolerating sexually explicit remarks they have to also wonder whether that community would tolerate more targeted forms of sexual harassment, should they receive any. It’s a safety issue.

                                1. 4

                                  when people see a community tolerating sexually explicit remarks they have to also wonder whether that community would tolerate more targeted forms of sexual harassment

                                  Are we to understand that bawdy jokes are a less targeted form of sexual harassment? Please tell me this is just a poorly phrased sentence.

                                  Also it seems to have brought out the worst in everyone humor-wise, so that’s a point against it… I’m removing the worst comments (mostly just sex jokes).

                                  The worst comments, mostly just sex jokes. They’re the worst, yet they’re just sex jokes.

                                  “They were the worst comments.”
                                  “Why, what was so bad about them?”
                                  “Nothing, they were just sex jokes.”
                                  “Why’d we remove them?”
                                  “It was the combination of the fact that they were about sex and they were jokes. The story’s about sex, but it’s fine. We allow jokes in comments, too. But don’t ever put them together.”

                                  We’re not talking about the quality of humour here or how mean they were, since friendlysock’s joke was removed, which, rumour has it, was pretty hilarious, and most of the jokes were just puns.

                                  Now I’m wondering how mean friendlysock’s joke was; it can’t have been that bad, right? It was just a sex joke. You yourself didn’t say any of them were mean or anything like that. Just the fact that they were jokes about sex was enough. Were the puns not funny enough and friendlysock’s joke hilarious, but a little too mean?

                                  1. 3

                                    I apologize for not replying at length today, I’m still trying to find time and hope to get to you on the other stuff. This part I can address quickly:

                                    Are we to understand that bawdy jokes are a less targeted form of sexual harassment? Please tell me this is just a poorly phrased sentence.

                                    Yes. In the legal sense, if you made those jokes in a workplace they would constitute sexual harassment in most jurisdictions. That has been upheld many times. Lobsters, obviously, is not a workplace, but if it makes sense to talk about sexual harassment outside of that context at all, it makes sense to let that understanding inform these discussions.

                                    1. 1

                                      No worries, I’m not in any rush.

                                      I would say that bawdy jokes are legally sexual harassment in the same sense that a corporation is legally a person. I was asking for your opinion, not a particular legal system’s (or family of legal systems’).

                                      I could pull out all sorts of definitions from legal systems that would define rape as only penis in vagina, but outside the legal system, I think there are a lot of people who would object if someone said, “well, he penetrated her mouth, not her vagina, so it’s sexual assault, not rape” even if they weren’t saying so to downplay the crime (maybe they were asked why they don’t use the term that activists might want them to use in their coverage of the event).

                                      Of course, for people who care about men’s rights, there’s all sorts of bias in strictly technical definitions, such as the fact that, until as recently as 2011, by the FBI

                                      “Forcible rape” had been defined by the UCR SRS as “the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will.” That definition, unchanged since 1927, was outdated and narrow. It only included forcible male penile penetration of a female vagina.

                                      An Updated Definition of Rape | OPA | Department of Justice

                                      From your own opinion, would you really say that what friendlysock said could be defined as sexual harassment without doing some injustice to the concept or to friendlysock?

                                      1. 3

                                        I phrased it in the careful way that you noted, precisely because I have no desire to take any firm stance for or against that position. I think a full answer would involve a lot of work parsing out the context of what power dynamics exist here on the site, vs. what power dynamics exist in a workplace. The situations have some similarities but they are not the same and I certainly don’t think it makes sense to pull rules from the one context into the other without some examination of the degree to which it makes sense.

                                        No decision that I made on this thread required me to come to a conclusion on that question, nor do I expect that any moderation decision ever will. So the site has no official position on it, and doesn’t need one. I have my personal views, which I’m still happy to talk about.

                              2. 2

                                Honestly I think most people would react much better to a “no sex toys” rule than a “no dick jokes” rule, because humor is a much more personal thing than topics. Having your joke removed might feel like a personal offense, having your link removed because the topic is banned is much more “oh okay whatever”. So not even having the link (the context for the jokes) in the first place would prevent more anger.

                                1. 5

                                  I disagree and am quite on the opposite of the spectrum: humor is a function of the group and setting you are in and negative reactions from the group are on you.

                                  1. 2

                                    That doesn’t contradict anything I said? Sure, yeah, that’s the group side of things. I was talking purely about how whoever writes a post perceives moderator action against that post. (Especially when the group reaction was positive generally)

                              1. 1

                                Designing languages is a vanity activity, no research involved (although there lots of claims about power, usability get made, supported by ego and bluster).

                                1. 2

                                  You’re right, of course. At least, more than half right in my personal estimation, and I’ve spent some time wandering in the PL research mines. The places where you’re wrong are the really interesting places, but they are small islands in a blustery sea of dubious, overstated, generally uncontested claims. Bad money drives out good, as they say. Or, bathwater drives out babies? Something like that.

                                  But your definition of “research” is so narrow that it’s at odds with standard usage, sorry to say. Science is just very political and ego driven, and “computer science” is barely even science. Industry has good reasons to mostly ignore it.

                                  1. 1

                                    I think that slightly less than all would be more accurate.

                                    I’m interested to know what you think are the islands. Always on the look out for real research.

                                    1. 1

                                      Ah. Well, I can’t really promise that my own idea of “interesting” PL research is at all equivalent to your idea of “real” PL research, but here’s a wee handful of influential ideas, off the top of my head:

                                      • structured and procedural programming (FORTRAN, ALGOL, Pascal… etc)
                                      • “objects” (Simula, Smalltalk, a few commercially successful languages you may have heard of)
                                      • actor semantics for parallel computation (Act 1, CSP, Pi-calculus, Erlang…)
                                      • logic programming
                                      • algebraic data types
                                      • Hindley-Milner type checking

                                      … I think I’d better stop before I get carried away. All began as academic projects, just like basically all the underlying ideas in our immature little field that didn’t get inherited from our neglectful parents, electrical engineering and mathematical logic. Academia may innovate very little relative to all the hot air it produces, but industry simply does not innovate, as a rule. (It sometimes refines, though, and that’s valuable. Also valuable as a great proving ground, although there are some deep problems with that too; for example, like Kuhn observed, epistemic change happens on generational time scales.)

                                      1. 1

                                        These are interesting ways to think about programming.

                                        Is interesting their only benefit? If half of them never happened, how much difference would it make in practice?

                                  2. 1

                                    Much has been gained by the study of PL design, the most impactful one is the notion of Safety and Soundness. There is so much more, but I won’t enumerate them all.

                                    Are you saying that all the languages that need to be, already exist? Would you want to dissuade someone from designing a new language?

                                    1. 1

                                      There has been very little meaningful study of PL design, just lots of proof by ego and bluster.

                                      Yes, it is possible to prove stuff about suitably restrictive languages. The only impact of this research appears to have been advancing the careers of those involved.

                                      If somebody wants to invent a new language, that is their business. But let’s not pretend it’s anything other than a vanity activity, unless they do experimental research to back up any claims of usability, readability, maintainability, etc.

                                  1. 12

                                    The comments in this thread are a shame to this website. Come on, people, grow up.

                                    Just having to post this makes me feel like an advertisement on a London bus. ‘Some people have kinks, get over it!’

                                    1. 3

                                      Some people will laugh at your kinks, get over it. FWIW, I think your underdeveloped sense of humor is itself just a little too funny to be shameful.

                                      1. 9

                                        I deleted the sex jokes. I agree - they’re no credit to anyone here. Whatever my own beliefs about taboos on sex, this kind of humor is unprofessional and doesn’t belong in a place as public as lobste.rs. It’s important to know the difference between joking behind closed doors, and joking in a public way that excludes people.

                                        With that said, it is also legitimate to disagree on that point, and to discuss that disagreement. Try to be polite about it please.

                                        1. 11

                                          this kind of humor is unprofessional and doesn’t belong in a place as public as lobste.rs

                                          This seems to imply that professional conduct should be adhered to in any public place, not just work. I bet there are people here that do drugs, even publicly, that they wouldn’t do at work. I don’t think professional conduct is about what you do in public vs. private (even though, of course, there are certain ways you might conduct yourself in private that you wouldn’t in public).

                                          More seriously, it seems like personal opinion masquerading as professionalism. What makes something unprofessional or not? Because if professionalism is the standard for lobste.rs, there are a lot of people who would say that swearing is unprofessional, so should we get rid of all the submissions that use the word, “fuck”, like these?:

                                          (I’m not accusing you of being inconsistent per se, maybe you’re a new mod; I don’t know, since I’m relatively new myself.)

                                          A lot of professional conduct is just about making sure to be inclusive to the lowest common denominator that has enough sympathy or political power, and sometimes about not offending or disgusting. Someone who might do certain drugs, even while working as a lone wolf in a bootstrapped startup of one, might not do them in a company where he’s working with others, so as to allow the office environment to be palatable to good workers who can’t be around drugs.

                                          I think that’s the kind of professionalism that people are talking about when they say, ‘that’s unsuitable for this place because it’s unprofessional’. Obviously, professionalism demands not writing obfuscated code, for example, but no mod here would remove a submission for an entry to the Obfuscated C Code Contest.

                                          That said, when people say, ‘this is unprofessional and therefore not suitable for this place’, what I hear is, ‘this seems like behaviour a professional person — i.e. a member of polite society — wouldn’t stoop to or do in polite company, as judged by my standards of what’s acceptable for polite company or at all[; at all if I’m the lowest common denominator being catered to]’. (I don’t mean “lowest common denominator” as an insult; we’re not necessarily talking about desirable traits here, such as intelligence, just anything that affects compatibility with others.)

                                          In that sense, simply justifying something as unacceptable in polite company or at all due to its unprofessionalism can be quite circular, like justifying something because of policy; okay, but why is that the policy or why is that what should be accepted as professional? You’re essentially just saying, ‘this doesn’t belong here because it’s either unacceptable or unsuitable for present company in this context’. For that reason, to me, it sounds like a smokescreen for a personal or political opinion the person has who’s removing the offence citing professionalism.

                                          Please bear in mind, I’m not necessarily opposed to there being a rule against immature jokes. I just think your current stated reasoning of professionalism is shallow.


                                          Also, the stated reason left for removing sex joke comments:

                                          Sex jokes exclude people

                                          Do they? As a matter of course?


                                          Try to be polite about it please.

                                          Is this in reference to @minimax’ statement?:

                                          Some people will laugh at your kinks, get over it.

                                          1. 3

                                            Ah - I replied to your other lengthy comment before I saw this one. I think you raise some good philosophical points, but I’d prefer to not have two open discussions between us, it could be hard for others to follow.

                                            I will say at least that I think figuring out how to define “professionalism” - or any other policy - is an exercise in making choices about a particular space. In some cases there are several right choices, but you still need to make a choice. We can get into that in more depth another time if you want.

                                            1. 2

                                              I will say at least that I think figuring out how to define “professionalism” - or any other policy - is an exercise in making choices about a particular space.

                                              Yes, this is my point. But I’m not just asking in general, I’m asking why this choice was made in particular? Why are we setting the bar for professionalism to removing genital jokes?

                                              1. 2

                                                I think that’s been addressed at this point. I would particularly draw your attention to the comments by bitrot and dpk, who I thank for saying that stuff better than I could have.

                                                In response to your remark that “This seems to imply that professional conduct should be adhered to in any public place, not just work.”, I do not agree with that stronger proposition and will not attempt to defend it. However, I think that significant aspects of professionalism in the workplace are worth importing to Lobsters in particular. That’s because we are trying to be a place for nuanced conversations among people with deep knowledge of technical subjects, and that sort of thing is significantly easier when people behave professionally.

                                                1. 1

                                                  I’ve read all of both bitrot and dpk’s comments already, they both say quite a few things. What, in particular, do you want to draw attention to?

                                                  I understand dpk’s reasoning of feeling excluded when the jokes stigmatise a kink that the reader happens to have. I don’t see how this is relevant to your gender-based reasoning, which she specifically said does not apply to her.

                                                  I don’t quite understand bitrot’s point about making gendered jokes being alienating to gendered minorities without qualification. Surely, that’d depend heavily on the joke (or the person, but recall the rule about catering to the lowest common denominator)? No one is the butt of a joke in a pun, which is what most of these jokes were, according to other comments. I guess we’re just doing a blanket ban on gendered jokes just so there’s no grey area, which… okay, I guess.

                                                  I’ll ignore the comments about the biases of the users here, except to say that I don’t know why technical ethics would be off-topic here, and if it is, I’m against that as well.

                                                  1. 2

                                                    I think the entire comments are worth reading; all the background they discuss was in my mind and informed this decision.

                                                    The reference to technical ethics was because there have been a lot of previous conversations as to whether it’s a subject that belongs on lobste.rs. My personal opinion (not the site’s official position) is that it does. I am, I think, in the minority with that view, so I’m pleased to learn that I agree with you. However, with that topic we are trying to wait until there’s something closer to a consensus among community members; if we ever impose any top-down rules about it they will be informed by those discussions.

                                          2. 6

                                            Well, I’m glad to have had a chance to appreciate them before you “tidied up”.

                                            Your (and I do mean the plural “you mods”, although anyone here can read the mod log and see who the “mod team” really is) tireless efforts at sanitizing, “professionalizing”, and generally gentrifying this site will be its eventual demise, because you are quite literally excluding people. I find it quite ironic.

                                            Carry on, though. I’m sure whatever remains will be quite to your taste.

                                            1. 6

                                              You are entitled to have those positions.

                                              1. 4

                                                And you are so very entitled to tell me how entitled I am while wearing your big hat. What a nice discussion this is turning out to be.

                                                EDIT: I think what I meant is “THANK YOU MA’AM MAY I PLEASE HAVE ANOTHER”

                                                1. 6

                                                  Hey man, let’s not do it this way. It’s beneath you.

                                                  1. 6

                                                    Telling someone they are entitled to their opinion is just passive aggressive — they know that, so you’re obviously trying to communicate something else — and I think an aggressive response is no worse than a passive aggressive one.

                                                    To be fair, minimax’ initial comment was itself quite harsh, but really, if you don’t want to engage with the person, just don’t engage; never close with a “you’re entitled” as the sole response, that’ll definitely fan the flames.

                                                    1. 5

                                                      I see your point, but unfortunately it’s part of being a mod that you don’t always get to simply “not engage”.

                                                      Sometimes you need to acknowledge that somebody has raised points for consideration, but that continuing the current discussion is unlikely to add anything new.

                                                      I think that’s especially true when you have the unenviable job of moderating a thread on a contentious topic like this and are responding to multiple people on different fronts.

                                                      Personally I didn’t read it as passive aggressive, but hey! Communication on the internet is hard, so let’s give people a little room for error.

                                                      1. 4

                                                        What would have been lost if Irene had simply not responded to that particular comment of minimax’? Her comment doesn’t acknowledge that minimax has raised points for consideration.

                                                        I’m sure she didn’t mean to be passive aggressive, but I don’t think passive aggression requires intention. It’s just a way of communicating explicitly politely but implicitly sending messages of contempt, either deliberately or accidentally (though of course, it’s possible to misread the implicit).

                                                        In this case, Irene’s comment explicitly communicates that minimax is entitled to his position. Well, we all know that, so of course, her comment explicitly communicates nothing new and therefore might as well have communicated nothing except the implicit.

                                                        What’s the implicit? Well, she’s communicated that she’s seen the comment. She’s communicated that after seeing it, she decided it’s not worth her time to truly engage with the points that minimax raised. She’s communicated that she still felt compelled to respond. She hasn’t communicated the reason she felt compelled to respond, but it’s not a major leap — for someone maybe struggling with applying the principle of charity due to being in a bad mood caused by her own mod actions in this very thread — from there to, “she has contempt for me or my position and wanted to communicate that fact and even wanted to do so in a dishonest way”.

                                                        1. 4

                                                          I was probably too terse, and I regret that. My goal was to communicate that dissent is welcome. (Edit to add: I also wanted to communicate that I disagree with the position I was responding to, of course.)

                                                          There was nothing else to say; I wasn’t going to change anybody’s mind by continuing to argue.

                                                          1. 1

                                                            I think that’s communicated by just not removing minimax’ comments.

                                                            It’s all good.

                                                            I don’t mean to attack your comment — I’m not that angry, and I understand that you are dealing with a lot of comments and a response here or there can easily come out in a way that can be misunderstood — merely explain minimax’ response, since he doesn’t seem to be doing a good job of humanising himself judging by friendlysock’s response to him, and he’s roughly representing my position on this matter.

                                                            1. 3

                                                              That makes sense. The exploration of why it was received badly was helpful, thank you.

                                                              I also realized belatedly that there’s two meanings to “entitled”; I wasn’t trying to comment on minimax’s mental state. I’ll know to avoid that word next time.

                                              2. 2

                                                “Gentrifying”?

                                        1. 1

                                          The Old Calculator Museum has a page on this calculator. Really beautiful device.

                                          1. 2

                                            That’s the better link. Thanks!

                                            What a beauty! And so featureful! Multi-line display, RPN, selectable precision… Another great counterexample to the myth of progress.

                                          1. 3

                                            Oh cool, 2021 will definitely totally for sure this time be the year of the Linux Desktop.

                                            Wishful thinking couched as prediction; one of the more annoying idioms in pop tech.

                                            1. 5

                                              At first I thought you were asking about ‘dev environment’ like software tools, and expecting to see lots of answers on the ‘emacs and zsh’ level. But this sounds like a much deeper and more difficult question, about job satisfaction. (Or is it about effectiveness, i.e. delivering best value to your employer? The two need not be entirely at odds, but don’t conflate them too blithely!)

                                              Either way, this is something that has been studied extensively and empirically, and 100x more philosophized about. I’m partial to Daniel Pink’s Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose formulation. It’s not about software at all, it’s just about work. It’s simple, covers a lot of ground, and tries to connect the employer and employee perspectives.

                                              1. 2

                                                The book Accelerate claims a causal (not just correlation!) relation from job satisfaction to organizational performance which is at least similar to effectiveness. (Disclaimer: the data is from self-rating surveys)

                                              1. 5

                                                If you read a couple of these gawking drive-by language tourism posts and want to actually settle down for a bit and learn some Smalltalk, Pharo by Example is what I’d recommend: it’s very approachable, but serious and unpretentious. The original Smalltalk-80 Blue and Orange books are still quite readable, but they’re more of historical interest. Along with several other out-of-print texts, they are available as PDFs on Stéphane Ducasse’s site.

                                                1. 2

                                                  I wasn’t actually suggesting filtering Medium posts out. Just being able to recognize them before clicking on them.

                                                  1. 4

                                                    Every post here (except for meta and ask posts) is already labeled with the domain name that it points to. It’s displayed in italics, after the tags. It’s a link to all stories submitted with that domain.

                                                    1. 4

                                                      To be scrupulously fair, Medium does allow custom domains, but they still count towards Medium’s stupid “paywall”.

                                                      I’d rather have a tag that denotes that the site is behind a paywall/regwall - but such a tag would imply those submissions are on-topic, which they seldom are.

                                                      1. 3

                                                        I like that idea: a Paywall tag. In this case the post was on topic I thought.

                                                        1. 2

                                                          I don’t think a paywall tag would necessarily attract paywalled content. You could argue that having to wear such a badge of shame might disincentivise posting such things. As far as paywalledness being correlated with off-topic-ness, I think those two concerns can be disentangled.

                                                          1. 1

                                                            If I knew that I could do so without burdening my fellow community members with a poor, or even rude, UX — e.g. the paywall being a surprise — that’d make more inclined to post paywalled content.

                                                            I don’t understand why paywalled stuff has to be a badge of shame. I think the standards should be higher for paywalled content, just as they should be for content that takes up more of your time, but money is just one potential cost, not even as valuable as your time, yet we wouldn’t say that long form content is a badge of shame.

                                                        2. 2

                                                          In this case, medium.com was not in the domain. See the OP.

                                                          1. 2

                                                            d’oh! Thanks, I see now. OP is asking for a warning label, to work around Medium’s somewhat deceptive quota scheme and custom domains.

                                                            It’s a real enough concern for somebody who can’t or doesn’t want to just circumvent this particular flimsy paywall. But I think it may be unwise for Lobsters to get into a little arms race with one particular site’s shady business practices.

                                                            I would cautiously support a paywall flag, the same color as the video and pdf flags. That seems like a more general solution.

                                                      1. 3

                                                        Here we go again

                                                        1. 2

                                                          No mention of Unums in any of their forms. Blissfully ignorant of prior art? Or just pretending not to notice?

                                                          1. 8

                                                            A single uncertainty bit just isn’t enough. If one is going to go that route, representing real numbers faithfully, then one probably wants (exponential) continued fractions (CFs) instead, because they have much better computational properties:

                                                            • CFs are stored as lists of integer coefficients, and can be expressed as iterators which yield integers one at a time
                                                            • CFs exactly cover the real numbers
                                                            • CFs can, with one extra bit, exactly store not just the rational numbers but all quadratic surds
                                                            • CFs can, with an extra zero/infinity coefficient, express whether they are finite (equality is still undecideable, of course)
                                                            • CFs can be truncated simply by taking a prefix of the list of coefficients, and these truncations are extremely good
                                                            • CFs can represent numerous transcendental constants exactly as infinite iterators

                                                            But note that, ultimately, the reason that they went with their custom type is so that they could embed the decideability of RCF into a slightly-richer but still-decideable theory. Unums couldn’t do this at all; they’re quite numeric.

                                                            1. 4

                                                              Unums are briefly referenced actually:

                                                              Hardware-architecture-level alternatives to conventional machine floating point arithmetic have occasionally been proposed (for example [22, 23]). These address problems orthogonal to our concerns.

                                                              [22] is Gustafson’s Beating Floating Point at its Own Game: Posit Arithmetic which describes posits and unums.

                                                              By the way: for those that prefer slides, there’s also a YouTube video with an overview of the paper.

                                                            1. 2

                                                              Nobody’s “right” about the future until it isn’t the future anymore.

                                                              I mean, I get it, it’s an idiom for talking about what’s the better way. The unspoken and unquestioned assumption is that the future is inevitably going to be better than the present. That’s a nice faith to have. It’s harder to maintain, as a naïve faith, when you start studying the past. Perhaps that helps explain why so few of us do.

                                                              1. 11

                                                                Great piece! I really appreciate the deep look at an area of computer science that I don’t know much about. I also really liked how the author motivates it by tying it to political and philosophical concerns.

                                                                1. 14

                                                                  Anybody who says , “I was wrong” gets a small automatic mental notch of trust and interest from me…. Conversely anybody who claims they are never wrong, gets a large mental red flag of distrust and disinterest from me.

                                                                  1. 8

                                                                    I agree, which is why I think making “I was wrong” a part of the title is psychological manipulation.. The first question should then be “who are you?” why should your word hold weight, a lot of the time the “I was wrong” is just a status play by a clever meta-gamer who is still wrong in his (presumably) second attempt.

                                                                    This time however the person has a nice followup to the“who are you” and I believe he’s right that lattice based datatypes are the (democratic) future.

                                                                    1. 12

                                                                      Meta: this is a wonderful comment to remind all of us that 1) the internet is full of people playing games and meta-games, and 2) it doesn’t matter whether you’re doing that or not, some people will assume you are.

                                                                      When I first got online, I’d make all sorts of jokes: self-deprecating, random puns, and so forth. I knew that I used humor as a way to lighten the mood. It took me some time to realize that 99.9999% of the world didn’t know me and assumed my jokes were manipulative (They were, of course, just not in the way they took them).

                                                                      Recently, some friends on FB asked me to do a synopsis of what I’ve learned as a layman studying CV-19. Studying it was a hobby, so I did the best I could, prefacing my essay with “I am just some random guy online. I know nothing. Please do not take this as any sort of professional advice” I felt that was the most honest I could be. When I posed it, people came by and publicly wondered why I was so humble and claiming to know nothing. It was obviously a manipulative play on my part!

                                                                      If you take this shit too seriously it becomes a world of mirrors. I’ve learned to give it a good faith effort, say “I don’t know”, “I was wrong”, or “I’m just some random internet clown” and move on. This commenter was happy with the followup to the essay. That established the bona fides from them. But in general there’s no universal answer to this conundrum. No matter what you create, you can be assured that some folks will view you in a negative light. It’s not you or them, it’s just a result of having so many hundreds of millions of people online, all with different motives.

                                                                      1. 4

                                                                        The internet is so irony poisoned, I assume sincerity is irony and irony is sincerity. Makes it hard to assume good faith, even when we should.

                                                                        We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.

                                                                        1. 6

                                                                          I don’t have that overall impression myself.

                                                                          I mean, on many websites and communities, definitely. But, for me and myself, I try to engage with people on the internet sincerely, unless that make it actively hostile to do so.

                                                                          I generally think that this site, for example, hasn’t suffered from too much irony poison, but that could just be my impression.

                                                                          1. 3

                                                                            I have some friends that have just given up on serious conversation at all. They feel the well is so poisoned, the net has become a game of everybody speaking with insincerity.

                                                                            That’s a sad way to be. I’m glad there are only a few folks I know like this. I can understand why they’ve given up, but it still looks to me like it’s worth giving honesty your best shot.

                                                                            1. 1

                                                                              There’s an algorithm for that, you know.

                                                                            2. 2

                                                                              I tried to post a response but it didn’t show up? My phone crashed at the same time so maybe that’s the cause..

                                                                              Roughly two things to say:

                                                                              Re poison; I think identity is the solution, but deciding how we structure identity on the internet is the political problem of this century so lets leave that aside for now.

                                                                              But I mostly just want to clarify my stance, “I was wrong” in a headline, implies “and that is out of the ordinary” — so it’s an appeal to authority. Now I expect to see that claim backed up immediately or I don’t trust this person to be a careful communicator.

                                                                              In this case that was exactly what happened and so the headline had the intended effect. Nevertheless I think any status play should be carefully evaluated.. or you’ll be influenced by all sorts of “experts” while you wade through a sea of platitudes. Mine included.

                                                                              On a somewhat unrelated note: from my perspective blogging is impossible. Since I can’t know who the reader is I cannot back up my statements — people playing different language games with similar assumptions (but directed at various targets) means choosing sides based on how you argue your point (which any one of the groups would perhaps accept if you argue in their language).

                                                                              The author can bypass alot of that by establishing himself as an authority on the subject and staying high level. A great strategy, therefore very popular, therefore people get very jaded by common patterns being misused…

                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                On a somewhat unrelated note: from my perspective blogging is impossible

                                                                                I’ve been on internet forums ever since there was an internet.

                                                                                You’re on to something there. As the crowd size grew, I found myself either commenting/blogging longer and longer, trying to catch and prevent any misunderstanding … or just giving up and not commenting. So many discussions are now impossible to have.

                                                                                Blogging is a good example of a medium where people can drop in, grab a sentence or two, and then misconstrue it to mean/imply anything they want. If you try to clarify? They’ll just say you ninja-edited your blog. Text really sucks for difficult conversations, in many ways.

                                                                                This is a tough and non-trivial problem. I’m trying to switch to video. I suck at video, but it’s much more difficult to take it out of context with low effort and at least the folks watching can get a higher bandwidth by watching body language, inflection, etc.

                                                                                I find the most disturbing content I consume to be people who claim to be experts, mean well, are trying to help folks, and give out terrible advice. There’s nothing to do but walk on and ignore it, but whenever I see it I feel as if a great harm is being done. It’s the kind of thing that face-to-face conversations were made for, imo.

                                                                      1. 5

                                                                        Debt doesn’t have to be understood in its financial meaning. It basically means that an inevitable act is postponed. Some debts grow over time others don’t. Some can be transferred to other actors, some cannot. Some turn into trap doors if they are forgotten. To me a technical debt is that but related to a technical realm. No need to narrow it down further.

                                                                        1. 1

                                                                          RIP, David Graeber. May his debts be forgiven.

                                                                        1. 5

                                                                          When does this debt mature? Can we sell it? Oh, we can only pay it off through labour?

                                                                          I find the metaphor bankrupt.

                                                                          1. 2

                                                                            No credit check! Bad credit OK! Buy here, pay here!

                                                                          1. 6

                                                                            While being unable to manage a mailing list for a company whose entire purpose is infra is very confidence shaking, failing to take you off their mailing list is a pretty low-severity data violation. You can easily block Cloudflare emails and the email address itself may not be associated to any user-identifiable information beyond the email address itself.

                                                                            1. 10

                                                                              It might be low-severity, but it is a violation.

                                                                              But I think that the point of the article is that they’re breaching data protection laws. They said “we’re protecting your data”. Then they say “we don’t know where your data lives”. That’s not confidence-inspiring, especially considering that half the internet goes through Cloudflare and they have the data from all of us.

                                                                              1. 5

                                                                                No, this is not about the principle or low-severity. The whole thing was meant to prod organizations to create proper practices and concepts how to continue going forward with (customer) data (and when to delete). This was tedious and not fun, but we did it, in order to comply with the law and because it’s the right thing to to. Apparently Cloudflare simply doesn’t care.

                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                  Cloudflare is large enough to not be subject to that “right thing to do” moral calculus. Organizations of that scale can be very creative at justifying their behavior, but the behavior itself reliably responds only to (dis)incentives.

                                                                                  They will continue to not care until it is demonstrated to them, very conclusively, that non-compliance is more expensive than compliance.

                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                    You’re stating the obvious and I agree with you. I was simply trying to convey to the parent poster why it’s worth making a fuss and it’s not just fine glossing over it. They certainly don’t need unaffiliated people downplaying it.

                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                Most Go frameworks are like this […] apps built on such a foundation can, given poor governance, slowly evolve into an unsupportable mess of incompatible plugins and mismatched coding styles.

                                                                                If there one thing that is not happening to Go frameworks, it’s “mismatched coding styles”. The Go language allows little variation in how code is expressed and go fmt is universally accepted. This has the upside of making code that other people have written easier to read, but frustrates people coming from Lisp and Haskell to no end.

                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                  I doubt “coding style” meant only superficial formatting :)

                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                    If you browse Go code available online, the non-superficial coding style is also pretty similar, or at least not “mismatched”. Compare this to ie. C++, where a wide range of coding styles are used.

                                                                                  2. 0

                                                                                    Ah well, people coming from Lisp and Haskell frustrate everybody else to no end. (I’m not taking sides, it’s just an observation.)

                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                    Suggest graphics.

                                                                                    It’s a little strange to me how the word “reactive” can be used to describe something that doesn’t have any affordances at all for live interaction with a user… unless maybe you count voice sync? It’s apparently just “reacting” to a ticking timer. Cool library for generating static SVG, though.

                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                      I’ll stick with my stats raps, thanks

                                                                                      1. 8

                                                                                        So, the argument is that FTP is going away, and the evidence presented is… that Chrome stopped supporting it? Pretty weak sauce. A more compelling argument would involve, like, gathering some actual usage data.

                                                                                        Sure, FTP has been getting replaced by HTTP(S) and SSH for quite a while now. But the tail on these legacy technologies can be awfully long.

                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                          Suggest satire. Unless… sincere? in which case just quietly weep

                                                                                          1. 0

                                                                                            The goal is to be always sincere :)

                                                                                            I am probably a lazy person which is why I believe that this is going to change lives. Do you believe otherwise?

                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                              It changed my life already; I’d just rather not say how. Rube Goldberg smiles down upon you.