back to article Oh, wow. US Secret Service wants a Twitter sarcasm-spotter

The US Secret Service wants to identify sarcastic tweeters from the serious in a bid that will surely cause its software to sink and buckle. A tender issued by the security agency sought a way to determine sentiment, identify influencers and section off those exercising the lowest form of wit across the twitter sphere. In what …

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Do terrorists really tweet about their intended acts?

Going to bomb the subway #lol

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Mushroom

Re: Do terrorists really tweet about their intended acts?

You won't think you're so funny after three years in Guantanamo! Your appeal has been refused because we can't be sure you were being sarcastic until our sarcasm detection software works.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Do terrorists really tweet about their intended acts?

americans don't do humour (or even "humor")

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Re: Do terrorists really tweet about their intended acts?

@Cow Heard

Yay, Germans no longer the most humorless people!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Do terrorists really tweet about their intended acts?

lol = Loss of Limbs?

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Re: Do terrorists really tweet about their intended acts?

I can testify to the American lack of humour, at least within the passport control/immigration desk.

I flew into Seattle Airport, it had been a long flight, jet-lag, needing a smoke etc, I gave a 'sarcastic' answer to a standard question. Five hours later I was allowed into the good old US of A.

Britsh Humour does not always travell well......

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Re: Do terrorists really tweet about their intended acts?

they do. but the apparent sarchasm in their posts meant noone was taking the threats seriously.

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Headline, about a year from now

US Secret Service seeks double entendre-spotter for Twitter

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Re: Do terrorists really tweet about their intended acts?

Ouchy - rookie mistake.

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Joke

Re: Do terrorists really tweet about their intended acts?

"Britsh Humour..."

Now there's an oxymoron...

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Re: Headline, about a year from now

"US Secret Service seeks double entendre-spotter for Twitter"

Entrants must pass an oral exam

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Coat

Re: Headline, about a year from now

Some woman from the US Secret Service asked me for a double entendre-spotter, so I gave her one.

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@Bob Wheeler Re: Do terrorists really tweet about their intended acts?

You really should know better than to try to make jokes at passport, immigration, customs or miscellaneous security staff at any airport in the world.

Part of the problem is, they each deal with maybe a thousand passengers a day. If you're the first person that day to come up with that joke, you're doing well. Chances are they heard it three times yesterday, a couple on Monday, ten times last week, and all in all it's getting a bit thin now.

But the bigger problem is, they're explicitly trained and paid to not detect sarcasm or humour. If the passenger says "I'm carrying a bomb", they have a rulebook they have to follow, no matter how much he's gurning.

If you're lucky, you can get a friendly smile out of airport staff. Generally, by treating them like regular people who are just doing their jobs. But don't try for anything more than that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Get a smile out of a US customs / immigration staff?

Impossible. Miserable, arrogant attitude is what you'll get. Humour doesn't help one bit either

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Re: Get a smile out of a US customs / immigration staff?

Some "high up" in UK Customs told me they try to be friendly and polite at UK border points, because it helps them catch bad people.

If your "entry guards" are known to be angry, arrogant, power hungry idiots, even the innocent are nervous, sweaty and showing signs of fear. If you are friendly and polite, the person in front of you who's a bit sweaty is the one you want to talk to.

They had several knowledge exchanges with US Customs, and pointed out this simple fact, but they don't get it do they.

I had the misfortune of three hours in the airport in New York, my crime was only having a small rucksac for luggage, so they assumed I was going to not go home again, or had something nasty in my small rucksac. They scanned that rucksac so many times it still glows in the dark. They didn't understand a two day trip to New Yorks doesn't need a huge suitcase.

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Be even more fun when they try to upgrade it to irony level.

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Won't that need IE9 or above?

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Holmes

Irony

"Irony: Sarcasm for toffs" (c) Billy Connolly

GJC

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Paris Hilton

Re: Irony

Mock away, but are you sure you know what irony is?

http://fgk.hanau.net/articles/ironic.html

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Joke

Re: Mock away, but are you sure you know what irony is?

Like rain on your wedding day ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Mock away, but are you sure you know what irony is?

> Like rain on your wedding day ?

The irony is that nothing in that song is actually ironic.

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Re: Mock away, but are you sure you know what irony is?

@AC From the above link...

2. "It's a black fly in your Chardonnay."

The irony here is that there is nothing remotely ironic about this line. In perhaps her one sweet moment of unadulterated genius, Alanis has shown us the true meaning of irony by giving an example of it that isn't ironic at all! Get it? It's a deliberate contrast between apparent and intended meaning: the textbook definition of irony!

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Coat

Re: Irony

"Mock away, but are you sure you know what irony is?"

Of course we know what irony means, we're not stupid. It means 'a bit like iron.'

Mine's the one with a copy of The Uxbridge English Dictionary in the pocket...

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Re: Irony

You're all wrong.

Irony is what gets the creases out of my shirt.

Steven "Rimshot" R

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Coat

Re: Mock away, but are you sure you know what irony is?

So irony is when your new Apple née Beats headset sound a bit tinny?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Irony

i'm under the impression that yanks think Irony means Metallic

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Re: Mock away, but are you sure you know what irony is?

However the posting of that comment was ironic.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Irony

I thought Irony was what you played Golfy with

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I'll do it for free

def is_tweet_significant( text )

return false

end

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Re: I'll do it for free

Guaranteed to be correct 99.9999999% of the time

with a 0.0000000001% error rate

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Meanwhile, at a secret location ...

... a specialist team have been assembled to analyse the comments on The Register. It's a dangerous job and specialist counselling is not only available but is compulsory.

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ha

Sarcasm detectors... yeah, that'll work...

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: ha

You ********, my sarcasm meter just exploded… look what it's done to my keyboard!

(Of course you're exactly right. What qualifies as sarcasm in one sub-culture could be completely misconstrued in another.)

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Impossible

Even most human brains have trouble detecting sarcasm.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Impossible

Sheldon has that problem

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Facepalm

Re: Impossible

You're not from around these parts, are you?

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Would this help?

I've got a generator based on the Twat-o-Tron that will generate nowtrage on demand for Twitter. Based on the number of followers it got, it managed to convince the public / other bots out there.

What the fuck are "influencers"? Online hypnotists?

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Re: Would this help?

"influencers"

The idiots that other idiots think have something worthwhile to say.

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Military Intelligence

Elsewhere in El Reg:- DARPA crazytech crew want to create HUMAN-FREE cyber defence systems.

Crack a joke in the twittosphere and a drone will be on its way to make your day go with a bang.

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Facepalm

Shouldn't be that hard to do

Just look for the sarcasm tag - /s.

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A bit late for Paul Chambers

If the UK authorities had such a filter, it might just have saved Paul Chambers quite a lot of trouble, as it was fairly clear that the police, prosecution and lower levels of the judiciary were completely unable to do it using normal judgement.

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Re: A bit late for Paul Chambers

What if he'd only been pretending to be sarcastic? Johnny Terror is a devilish cunning fellow ...

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US Secret Service seeks sarcasm-spotter

I wish them the very best of luck in their valuable endeavours

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Anonymous Coward

The Pun is the lowest form of Wit

The original quote is from John Dryden in C17

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O._Henry_Pun-Off

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Re: The Pun is the lowest form of Wit

Whereas spoonerisms are the wowest form of lit.

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Anonymous Coward

"Oh, a sarcasm detector. That's a *really* useful invention"

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I really enjoy comments like this.

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Joke

The problem's been solved here already -->

Oh, IE8 has a spot of bother with PNGs, doesn't it?

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Big Brother

Eh, easily done...

Mandate compulsory <sarcasm></sarcasm> markup tags, legislate anything non-anodyne outside those as Legally Considered A Threat, and you're done. If you're having a particularly lazy day, you could even omit the first part! Oh, wait...

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Headmaster

Re: Eh, easily done...

my opening sarcasm tag started long ago...

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