3012 posts • joined Monday 31st May 2010 16:59 GMT
Broke is better than lying-in-a-pool-of-blood-with-17-bullets-in-your-back
Disagree. The bullets are cleaner and more honest. The broke is just a (slightly) longer, more lingering, painful and humiliating way to die. I've worked with people who are homeless because of crushing debt, despite making a middle-class wage. It's soul-wrenching to see what their lives are like for the brief time they last in that situation.
Re: @Mike Hock
Damned right, name calling. You're a commenter on El Reg; I expect the highest standards of you. Responding to a discussion about "people who run Google, Apple, Microsoft et al" by talking about what Bill Gates is doing today is utterly farcical. He doesn't run that company, and hasn't for a decade.
After he left he ship in another captain's hands, we then went about disbursing his personal wealth to the fuzzy wuzzies. Yay him. Ish. There's a whole other discussion to be had about the strings attached to that money; namely that a lot of it seems to be doled out in the manner of a pimp giving a new mark the first hit for free, with the attempt to tie them into the ecosystems of various companies he holds a stake in for the long run. Which significantly diminished the fuzzy wuzzy part…
But yes, name calling. You are expected to know better. If you're going to be posting around here there are some basic things you should know. Like fundamental POSIX commands, who runs which of the major tech companies and how the right click on a mouse works in various popular GUIs. This isn't EnTechVerge. It's The Register. If you don't know who run's Microsoft GTFO.
Regarding captialism: capitalism is a failure. Just as much as pure communism was. Bureaucratic socialism has been a mess, but the failure modes seem less awful than others, so far. Note that Greece got itself into trouble not because it was attempting to be a social democracy, but because it was attempting to out-capitalist America.
They were hell-bent on running up massive amounts of debt and shopping, shopping shopping. Live beyond their means personally and governmentally. Greece was a shining example of caring only about the next quarter's numbers and dammed be the first that cried "deficit!"
Capitalism failed for the exact same reasons as communism: the weakness and greed of the individual overwhelms the ability to work together towards a common good. Communism vilified personal greed while capitalism deified it. In both cases this religious dedication to rampant individualism resulted in the failure of both systems.
Social democracy – specifically the heavily regulated but not heavily bureaucratised versions practiced by Norway and Sweden – are the best we've got so far. Individuals are free to pursue their goals…to a point. Corporations are not considered "people" in the "citizens united" sense, and they are shackled with social – and legal – responsibilities. I like it.
In essence, the problem is allowing a corporation to shield individuals from responsibility for their actions. There is an argument to be made for this at a financial level, but taken to extremes it causes massive problems. Make the people who run – and who own all or part of a company - responsible for the social, ethical, legal and even environmental fallout incurred by corporations and society will start to look a lot different.
Will we lose some investment as some people refuse to take a risk if their own necks are on the line? Yes. Will such an economy "grow" slower than a more rigidly capitalist one? Yes. It will also be less susceptible to boom-and-bust economics and far less likely to get itself into the kinds of trouble that cause busts in the first place. It will also be better engineered at the societal level to handle busts because social responsibility to the unlucky will be ingrained into the fabric of the culture.
I don't care that capitalism will take some time to die. The wound is fatal, and it can lie there twitching for the next century if it so wished. I will do my damndest not to support the worst of that system's excesses. I will operate my company in such a manner as to respect my staff and my customers both.
Maybe I will be out competed by someone else. Maybe I won't reach the dizzying heights of wealth and power that my competitors do. I am okay with that. Doing right by my staff and my customers is more important to me than keeping up with the jonses. If I fail, I fail. I'll dust myself off and try again.
But I'll be able to sleep at night. It would be easier to accept capitalism and all of its brutal excesses if I were a sociopath, but I'm not. I'm a living, breathing, feeling, empathising human being. I am not the guy you want to run your cut-throat fortune 500 company in today's world.
But I am the guy that a reasonable percentage of folks will want to work with; as a colleague and as a supplier. It won't buy me a superyacht or a space station or a volcanic island. With luck, it'll pay the mortgage, keep my wife in shoes and let me die in a heated room instead of a frozen gutter.
In the end, that's all I really want.
We need a new profession: professional naysayer.
Feck off, that's my job. I don't need the competition, mate.
Bill Gates doesn't run Microsoft, you twunt. Ballmer does. Bill barely even pays attention long enough to periodically vote on the board.
As to "how would I have it work?" I wouldn't use capitalism as the basis of society. Certainly not in it's modern form. I believe in social democracy, not capitalism. Capitalism leads to the United States, Greece or Somalia. I prefer Social Democracy like Sweden, Norway or - at a stretch - Canada.
Publicly traded corporations must act like complete sociopaths in a capitalist society or they face shareholder lawsuits for not doing everything possible to maximise revenues. Ethics are functionally illegal.
With a privately held firm - or tightly regulated public held industries - ethics are possible. The owners and/or operators can choose to employ people at living wages. They can choose licenceing strategies that are fair and equitable, building long term trust and realising gains over years or decades...not single digit quarters.
Firms where ethical human beings can and do own and operate the business don't try to screw a man's family out of the money required to pay for the support he'll need for the rest of his life due to workplace injury. Especially when it would be a rounding error to the bottom line.
I would replace rampant personal greed with personal responsibility. The CEO works as hard as any one else, makes more than others - due to rarity of required skillset - but not 250x times more. The CEO would accept responsibility for shit hitting the fan, and ask nothing of others he isn't prepared to do himself. Wages would be as high as is reasonably sustainable, with the understanding that the company does need to save for a rainy day.
People with medical issues would be helped by the company, not fired. People would not be fired for being pregnant, the wrong weight, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or so forth. People would be rewarded according to skillset, contribution and time put in. Not according to ability to blackmail and backroom politic.
I keep a shrink on retainer, to make sure my staff don't burn out, and that they are dealing well with issues at home. I make sure they are achieving their career goals by helping with training or even job placement with organisations that can offer more remuneration than my outfit can. My tiny startup can; squillion-dollar companies should be able to as well.
In short, I believe that companies shouldn't forget about the people in the quest for the almighty dollar. I believe that accepting lower margins and even lower total revenue is an acceptable tradeoff for treating staff and end users with both compassion and respect.
That isn't to say don't make a profit. It means that profit isn't all. It means that one quarter a long enough time horizon to plan for your company, and that a rising tide should lift all boats.
If corporations are to have intrinsic rights, I believe they must have intrinsic responsibilities. The pursuit of profit, responsibly.
I am not proposing the extremist elimination of the wealth gap. I propose the reintroduction of corporate ethics, the minimisation of shareholder loans as a bludgeon, and the use of corporate planning that works on the scale of decades.
Treat your staff and your clientele with respect and earn their trust and custom for life. Oh, and assuming you aren't a complete sociopath, sleep better at night.
Hate is probably the wrong word. "Distrust immensely," perhaps. "Am exceptionally sceptical of" is closer to. "Refuse to give them the benefit of the doubt" is the net result. These companies must prove themselves to me each and every time. Each product I use must have its value and ROI proven, the TCO over a 6 year investment period shown to be better than that of alternatives.
Unlike my fanboy brethren, I don't simply accept whatever bilge spews forth from the marketing departments of these companies. I don't pick one or more and devote my sense of self worth to how the companies are doing. I treat them like what they are: legally protected, powerful sociopaths who will ruin me without hesitation if there is the possibility that doing so will increase shareholder value.
These are not nice companies. They are not run by nice people. They are engines for taking your money – and min, and his and hers – and giving it to those who already have more than enough. I use their products as little as possible. I ensure that if I do use their products I have a way out; a means to port my data and my workflow elsewhere at a moment's notice. I actively put my own time, effort and research – and invest corporate funds – into ensuring that I can live without them, if need be.
When and where they offer the best available solution, I will use them. The very narrow offering that I deem to be the best of what's available. I do however assign value to "not being locked in," as well as to "not investing in a product likely to be fractured along feature lines into multiple products." So it's a balancing act; finding what's best not because a corporate whitepaper tells me that "best practices" are to invest my heart, soul and company into a stack of products from a single vendor…but doing what's actually best for me and my clients.
So yes, I hate these companies equally. I don't trust them. I may be "forced" into using them in certain circumstances, but everything they say is taken with great big heaping dump trucks full of NaCl.
"articles and authors are fairly evenly split between liking MS, Apple and Google and NOT liking them."
I am seriously offended, sir. I hate all those companies equally.
Re: "...and the rest. Asus Transformer Pad Infinity. Reg Rating 80%"
Okay, let me put on my Big Old Register hat here for a second and state without hesitation:
The Asus Transformer is fucking awesome. One of the best devices I have ever used. I don't have a Prime, or an Infinity or any of the new ones. I have the original. TF101.
And it rocks.
I give it 90%. Why 10% off? Because there is a bloody settings key were the delete key should be. In fact, there *is* no delete key at all and that drives me mad. Polaris Office is also a steaming heap of goat feces if you are trying to use a mouse + keyboard to get work done...which, you know, is the sort of thing you do with a hybrid device like the Transformer.
It is so close to perfect. So close. It is a nice Android-powered tablet. It is a 12-hour netbook. It has MicroSD, SD and 2x USB ports. It's fast, responsive and capable. You can access your legacy Windows applications by using the RemoteRDP app in keyboard+mouse mode, or the Wyse Pocketcloud app in touch mode. There are a plethora of available browsers, apps for nearly everything.
Except an office package that wasn't chiselled out of a fucking stone tablet by a collection of lobotomised guinea pigs on crystal meth.
And that keyboard. Fuck the keyboard.
So in all, I give the Asus Transformer (Android) line 90%. The devices are so amazing they almost offset the two hideous flaws that devastate Android devices for real use.
Re: Genius Advertising...
Having personally met some of Microsoft's marketing people, I can confirm for you that the wiggly blue worms I feed my bearded dragon every Wednesday are more capable of performing the duties of marking Microsoft's goods to a marketplace that - quite clearly - these marketing bodies don't have a fucking clue about.
Re: Just a sign of (sales) sucess....
@Fred Flintstone some days I dont' give a rat's ass who is reading what I write. Then I roll my face around on the keyboard and what I really think pops out. It's been a tough week, so my personal (rather than my objectively researched, carefully unbiased) views are showing through the cracks...
Correct Horse Battery Staple
So little imagination amongst the commenttards today
Re: Kindles already widely available in Canada
You couldn't (and still can't, but apparently will be able to soon) buy a Kindle from Amazon.ca. You could indeed buy one in store.
With luck, having a third item available through Amazon.ca will mean a shift towards an increasing number of items available to us Canucks online. That way we don't have to worry about shipping nightmares, or stupid vendors who use UPS and their theiving brokerage.
@RyokuMas a momentary lapse, I assure you. I'll try not to make a habit out of it.
@Fred Flintstone: aye; and Google's hubris has caused it trouble in the US, Mexico, and Brazil as well. If rumours are true, Canada may join the party soon, too.
Microsoft is not alone in making bad choices.
@El Andy: You are correct. They had a mea cupla moment, followed by strong commitments to open source, fixing Vista with Windows 7 and other such things. They were starting to look like "the good guy" there for a while; I was one of their loudest champions.
Then they pissed it all away.
It isn't mine to give; I cannot claim credit for a clever turn of phrase which isn't mine. It's an oft used phrase traditionally directed at Oracle. I've adopted it to refer to any vendor that remains relevant only due to lock-in, not customer demand for the quality of the product or its accompanying levels of service.
Re: Just a sign of (sales) sucess....
Wheaton's law, even. Apparently I am immune to Reddit's Law: Herp, don't Derp.
Re: Just a sign of (sales) sucess....
Actually, Google made some shitty decisions that made malware for Android far easier. It's not remotely so easy on Jelly Bean, but Gingerbread still has half the active market. The lack of vendor commitment to upgrades, Google's complete inability to force long-term support and their unwillingness to police the market have all conspired to make Gingerbread Android devices the pre-SP2 Windows XP of the smartphone market.
I love Android and all (HTC Desire, Samsung Galaxy Tab, SII and Note II, ASUS Transformer) but you know what, Google Done Fucked Up.
Like Microsoft, they learned from this, and made changes. Windows 8 is a very secure operating system whose vulnerabilities are largely tied to backwards compatibility. Android is no different. Microsoft had the excuse of "the internet not being a thing" when they designed their OS.
Google had Microsoft's failure as a shining example of what not to do. Google really didn't have any excuse, but they took the easy route out anyways. Shame on them.
That said, Google fixed the flaws and got the security thing underway in a serious way in two years. It took Microsoft the same number of decades.
Corporations are kind of universally crap. The question is: which company is least likely to screw you now and in the medium term. More importantly, is there a clear exit plan in case they screw you in the long term?
Customer loyalty is customer idiocy. Every company – Microsoft, Google, or even Apple – should have to earn our purchase. Each and every time.
That means more than technology. It means a culture of listening to customers. It means not locking customers in. It means that you have to embed the idea of succeeding on your own merits into your corporate culture. "Being the best" is no longer adequate. The bleeding edge just isn't relevant when the middle of the curve is "good enough."
You need to obey Whaton's law if you want to succeed: don't be a dick.
Re: Microsoft make insecure systems by design
Actually, Windows 8 is not all that insecure. Even Internet Explorer 10 is pretty damned secure. Applications coded to take advantage of the newest security features are pretty damned hard to exploit; the issue remains support for legacy applications. By allowing those applications to remain a part of the ecosystem, they remain a vector for infection.
The operating system itself however? Pretty damned secure. Secure enough to go toe to toe with Linux or OSX. The browser has so far fared well against Chrome and Firefox.
You can bitch about a lot of things regarding Microsoft and Windows, but they've cleaned up their act with regards to security. Credit where it's due.
"Handful of sad Twitter followers, hardly the other side of a conversation."
Yeah, "consumers," those sad fucks. Like "the people who buy things" should have a voice.
Android isn't perfect. Neither is iOS, Symbian, Tizen or Windows Phone. BBX might be, given that QNX is amazing, but we'll have to wait and see on that. (Even with a "perfect" OS, if there are no apps and the vendor's name is mud, what hope is there?)
The difference is: Android is open source, and Apple has a strong core of people who trust it. With Android, you aren't reliant on Google; if they Oracle us, we'll fork them.
Microsoft's strong core of people who trust them is [insert phone sales here]. Non-zero, but not what it used to be, either. In fact, they've been so busy aiming for the middle of the bell curve with such laser precision, they haven't' realised that at some point, everyone belongs to the edges. By pissing off nearly every niche over the past few years, they've alienated entire generations of people.
Microsoft doesn't have trust. It doesn't have apps. It doesn't have wow, it doesn't have buy-in.
So it doesn't matter if Android is flawed. It doesn't matter if Windows Phone is superior, equal or worse. What matters is that at least three generations of individuals in today's markets are looking at the Microsoft brand name associated with Windows Phone and saying "no. Not again."
When this happens – when your brand name is so strongly associated with things like malware, enthusiast antagonism, anti-competitive practices, lock-in, hostile licensing, anti-consumer scandals (plays for sure, does it?) and so forth – you've got bigger problems than the launch of one phone operating system.
Microsoft is facing the reality that habitually screwing over their customers has created such broad animosity that they are now a legacy vendor. You heard me: Microsoft are a legacy vendor. They are going to have a miserable time entering new markets. Not because they aren't technically competent, but because of how they have treated customers. They need an image reformation, and they need that soon.
No new interface – Ribbon, Metrololo or otherwise – can cover up the urgent need for a massive change in corporate culture.
Microsoft may have the world by the balls, but then, so did mainframe vendors not so long ago. So did Novell. So did RIM. IBM still sells mainframes. HP still sells Itanics. Novell still authenticates users and RIM still pushes email. Yet to call any of these vendors anything but legacy in these markets is insane; they don't have customers, they have hostages. Microsoft is no different today.
Windows RT, Server 2012 (hyper-V + storage) and Windows Phone are all excellent products. Windows RT is a top notch tablet platform that deserves serious consideration. Server 2012 can go to toe to toe with VMware. Windows Phone has consistently proven to be capable, fast and have great battery life.
So what is holding back explosive adoption? Nobody wants to play with Microsoft any more. They are just tired of getting treated like a prostitute whose loyalty is assured by their substance dependence. Microsoft expects that they can slap us around and we'll crawl back up the steps the next morning, looking for a hit.
They have treated us like this for so long that you would have to be out of your right mind to want to marry yourself to them in a new market.
Microsoft is a fantastic organisation populated by some of the smartest people on the planet. They are capable of amazing innovation and technology leadership, not simply following others. They have demonstrated this over and over again, even in their newest line of products.
That isn't enough any more; there are others that can do this too.
If Microsoft wants to succeed, they need a "mea culpa" moment. Where they admit the sins of the past, make the changes required to win back consumer, small business and enterprise loyalty; they need to undertake some dramatic steps to polish their tarnished corporate image.
They can be replaced. They are being replaced. One Android phone, iPad, VMware licence, and Google Apps subscription at a time.
"The para-virtualized drivers for RHEL for running atop VMware's ESXi hypervisor have also been added to the Anaconda installer so you don't go nuts looking for them if you happen to choose ESXi over KVM for your server virtualization layer."
Canada particularly vulnerable
Carrier Pigeons less willing to work in the cold.
Re: Several points
You know Khaptain, I've thought about what you've said here long and hard. Went and nommed a pile of carrot sticks and enjoyed a Zen like moment of contemplation. In the end, sir, I believe you are probably wrong...though I must admit that my first instinct was to agree with your position.
The cynic in me would say "why yes, that's obviously Truth spoken to Power." The reality - admittedly in my n=1 anecdotal experience - is that, on balance, I have been treated better by freeware/open source companies than I have by Big Tech.
Some of this is to be expected; I'm a Great Big Nobody in the tech journalism (or sysadmin purchasing power) world. Why would Big Tech give two shakes of a bent damn about courting my interest? Freeware/Open Source on the other hand…they need all the exposure they can get!
I have been on exactly two junkets: one for VMware, the other for Spiceworks. One is Big Tech, the other is Freeware. I have gotten demo gear from small outfits: Unitrends, MobilePCMonitor, Ninite and so forth. I have gotten demo gear from Big Tech: Supermicro, Dell, VMware, Intel and so forth.
There are junkets and freebies to be had on either side of that corporate line. What changes is how they treat you during the process. Are you a highly institutionalised cog in a massive, scripted, heavily regulated and proscribed machine? Or are you someone that they want to legitimately engage with, get your feedback, help evolve their product to meet your needs and earn your loyalty as a long term customer and evangelist?
In large part, I find the smaller organisations leave me feeling excited. Like I have a voice in product development. Features I need and want will probably appear and the ages old bargain of "the more licences you buy, the quicker your features are dealt with" still applies here.
The larger organisations leave me feeling – for lack of a better word - processed. There is some secret, hidden social contract that I am just not privy to, but probably should be. They do these tickbox items I buy X number of widgets, or go forth and evangelise their thing. There is little to no feedback taking place: with big tech I am not a customer, or a journalist or so forth. I am an on message instrument of the hierarchy. Thoughts about product improvement be damned.
It's the smaller orgs that give me the warm fuzzies; I feel that I can bet the business on them because I feel my needs will be responded to.
Amongst the bigger orgs, I feel I can trust Intel; not because they'll listen to me, but because they Just Make Good Shit and I don't really have a reason to complain. VMware has engaged well with me and I feel I can trust them in a way that I can't trust any other big software companies. Supermicro have been mostly okay, a lot of the issues they had in the early aughties seem to have evaporated. Dell is a completely mixed bag, and you'll get awesomeness from one group and completely screwed over by the other.
So…are these junkets and back-patting going to drive corporate purchasing forever? I don't think so. Regardless of how nice the junket is, nobody wants to lose their job over a steak dinner and some mediocre wine. If vendors keep up with processing CxOs, they are going to start to clue in here…especially when they take the opportunity to get wined and dined by smaller orgs.
Dealing with startups who actually try to meet your needs seems like a far better deal – short, medium and long term – for your political existence within your company than selling out for the cost of a simple junket.
We have laws now that require accountability. Shareholder lawsuits are becoming more and more common. CxOs are actually being held accountable for their actions; some even have to prove they did things like due diligence.
So while at first blush it seems that the cynical view on this would stay correct forever…the truth is that the quality of the schmoozing on offer by the Tech Titans has declined as they have become more and more sure of the inevitability of their supremacy. Corporate hubris has led to Tech Titans that don't even bother to pretend that your input matters, or that your requirements will ever be met.
You are believed to be addicted to their software/hardware/services. They can treat you however they like, and you'll be back on the front steps the next morning, begging for another hit. For some use cases, they are probably still right.
I argue however that this simply isn't the case for the majority of use cases, anymore. The pendulum of power is shifting back into the hands of "people who buy widgets." Big Tech is going to have to start pretending they care, or they are going to start bleeding market share; eventually, they may even bleed the high-margin market share that actually matters.
Meanwhile, a whole new generation of tech startups are coming onto the scene with corporate cultures that say "listen to the clients, do what they need, and you'll get all sorts of customers, money, etc." The balance of power will shift and the dance will begin anew…
Re: You're using it wrong
Dude, nowhere in that rant were the words "your mom" used. I think you may not understand how the mind of the YOUR MOM LAWL!!111!!111oneoneone
Re: Seems to me that the biggest fanboys run most of the media.
You can count on me to be loyal to nobody. Well, except Ninite. Those guys are baller.
Other than that, I hate everyone equally! Some just actually - for now - make a widget or a whotsit worth using. Of course, if you're a fanboy, that means you will inevitably hate me. Your company will inevitably screw up and I will gleefully call them on it.
Oi! You there! That's a dumb idea! Now back away from the user interface…
Re: Geez, not this s41t again...
Why you're so right, how didn't I see this obvious point before? The world is binary! If one person doesn't have an alternative solution to meet the needs of their quixotic use case, then obviously nobody else, anywhere does either.
n=1 determines all things! It's so clear to me now!
In the words of my generation - I hope I'm doing this right, it's been a while you guys - and monkeys come flying out of my butthole.
n=1. Oy vey.
Re: Several points
"Losing their monopoly " - be it MS or anyone else - doesn't mean "every single user in every single use case has alternatives." It means the plurality of users in the plurality of use cases do.
I do believe that time has arrived where there exist few - if any - true monopolies in tech. Not that "a niche can find an alternative," but that "most users can find an alternative."
More succinctly: treat users/customers/clients like crap at your own risk. Even if you are Microsoft, Apple, Google...
Remember that we're not talking about baking the entire drive at 800c here. This is talking abotu spot-heating the individual gates to 800c. This is something like 80 silicon atoms. It is not only not that energy intensive, it shouldn't damage the rest of the drive, if done right.
Phase change memory can do this today, albiet only to 500-600c. It should be something easily made available for mass production.
The Kinect did not come out of Redmond. It came out of a university research department. Microsoft licensed a cut down version of the device. LIDAR (which is functionally all the Kinect is) has been around for bloody ages. All the university did was change it from a sweep to a static projection and map distortion in the dot field.
Kinect is brought to you by Microsoft's wallet, not its R&D.
Re: Jumpers for Goalposts
@Fibbles some communities use a ratio system. Most don't use anything, really. The upvotes/downvotes and badge systems being entirely for the ego of the reader as opposed to a method of controlling the message.
The Register made a decision about they'd like it to go and you haven't even let them give it a try before you are in here dooming about how it won't work. You don't have direct evidence about why it will or won't work, you're just appealing to your own authority as the rationale for why it must be done your way. Otherwise doom.
As to your dismissing my research practices regarding online communities...*shrug*. You can believe or disbelieve whatever you wish. I disagree with your take on human nature, so I am - quite obviously - wrong, lacking appropriate information and possibly insane. It is clear that if I had the information available to you and the social context that you possess to filter it I would reach the exact same conclusions as you because you are simply correct. I bow before you in humble awe.
Regarding your "request" to be nice to your precious feelers: I so no margin in honouring it. I am who I am, I don't pull punches. I "calls it like I sees it;" part of that is a deliberate choice in word usage. The words, tone and even expletives chosen are chosen very specifically to convey what I want to convey. My arguments, my ideas and – in this case – my contempt.
The Register isn't a torrent site, and sure as shit isn't ebay. The whole concept of a ranking system in the first place – badges, titles, what-have-you – is of dubious relevance to begin with. The badges system however does provide a neat way of rolling out new forum features to commenters one "layer" at a time. A great way to ensure that The Register can continue to evolve how it allows it's forums to evolve without simply throwing the doors open to everyone.
My contempt for your ideas and rules stems from the competitive nature of your approach. "Use a ratio," "game the system" and so forth. You would appear to quite blatantly view the badges as a rank. As though they indicate some level of importance.
Quite frankly, I think that's bullshit and not remotely reflective of the kind of community that The Register has tried to build. The badges are emphatically not ranks. They are instead a measure of "this person has been a part of the community long enough to understand how it works and has become 'plugged in' enough that we can trust them not to abuse things like HTML posting, editing and so forth."
The badges are an extension of an already extant internal system by which people were granted forum privileges in the first place. They are not an epenis.
Let's examine this a little more closely:
Let's say that I have 2000 upvotes and 50,000 downvotes. Looking at how downvotes work here on The Register, people downvote people into the ground because they disagree with what that individual says. The community is starkly different from Ars Technica or Reddit, and different again from Spiceworks, Puppet, Zenoss or so forth.
That individual with 50,000 downvotes could be a troll. They could also be the guy who believes something ardently. The Apple lover circa 2002 who isn't trolling, he just happens to be a believer.
The number of downvotes accumulated really isn't relevant. To punish people for getting downvotes in The Register's community – and I am very specifically talking about The Register's community here – is bad form. It would have a direct impact of punishing people for saying things that others disagree with, even if they aren't trolling in an obvious sense.
The Register isn't Reddit, and it isn't Ars. The community hasn't evolved to use the upvote/downvote system as a means of judging whether or not the comment was topical and non-redundant. If you go back, it was originally hoped that this is how it would be used, but this is not how it ended up being used here in practice.
That said, 2000 upvotes is an indication that you have been around here for a while. You could theoretically farm 2000 upvotes in a short period of time if you put your mind to it, but there has been zero evidence that anyone has tried this. More to the point, if you did farm 2000 upvotes in record time, then you probably understand The Register's community quite well. So I don't see the problem in giving that individual a Silver badge and letting them run around with HTML and whatever other advanced forum privileges will eventually come with that badge.
Again: the badges are not a damn ranking system. They are a screening system to help The Register find out which readers can be trusted with some more advanced features. Nothing more, nothing less.
You pass an arbitrary point – 2000 upvotes – and you are considered to know enough about the community to interact with it in a meaningful way. Ratios and so forth would help you create a nice echo chamber in which everyone agrees with one another, but they don't help you create an open, free discussion system where your only real interest in community moderation is keeping the advanced tools out of the hands of newbies, astroturfers and marketing types.
Re: Come on, lets get this into prospective.....
@AC: who in this thread is holding up the lady in question as a beacon of humanity? She sounds like a right Bad Person for keeping that bottled up for 19 years, coupled with infidelity and gods only know what else.
I can imagine that most people would be pretty upset. I think it's small minded to be upset about the fact that the lady is transgendered, but it is perfectly reasonable to be upset about infidelity, not coming clean about your past, etc.
For "perspective;" if you had done a dime for murder and not told the person you married for 19 years about it, that's probably in the same category of "things you should probably disclose when a relationship starts getting serious." I think "I'm adopted," or "I have cancer" probably fall into that category as well. Not because I am judging someone's past, but because the fact of marriage means both parties are now subject to the emotional, social, familial and economic burdens that the other bears.
If I am adopted, this could cause awkwardness at the next family gathering if my mate happens to say something unknowingly. If I did a stint in jail, it could affect my ability to travel, obtain employment, and more. If I have cancer – or had cancer – this could indicate a higher likelihood of dying in the near-to-medium term.
Trans, not trans…that bit isn't the important part. Not disclosing something that potentially affects both of them is huge. Despite what some might say, "I was born a man" affects both people. There is a massive social stigma – especially in some countries – associated with transgendered individuals. Dealing with the reality of this is something that will affect both parties.
If the fact that your partner is trans magically affects how you feel about them, that says some pretty shitty things about you. Similarly, if you feel that you need to hide your past from someone, despite the fact that if/when it catches up with you, you are both going to have to deal with the fallout, you're probably a Bad Person too.
As I've said in other posts; the whole situation is just sad. Lots of sad things from a couple of people who – at least from the limited information available – don't come across as very Nice People at all.
Re: Why we're uppity.
"What the hell have we become?"
We were never any more civilised than we are today. We have become better as a culture than at any time previously. We've just always been pretty crap to each other; ask Homo Sapiens Neandertalensis about our tolerance for others some time...
Re: Jumpers for Goalposts
@Fibbles a 'massive subset' means I read comments and articles across a wide array of sites. I do avoid certain ones as a daily habit. That said, I also make a point of randomly selecting articles (and non-article comment sections) on the various websites I frequent for in depth analysis, even - I would go so far as to say especially - if they are the types of articles where I would not normally spend my off hours.
In those cases, I am not spending my personal leisure time to trawl the comments and participate as a commenter. I am reviewing the comments with an eye to understanding the community, the various factions within. It helps with understanding my readership and helps with understanding the evolving nature of the IT community; things that help my clients.
Building in ratios and such to the posting system might not seem complicated from a design standpoint. Certainly, when you are approaching it from an engineering standpoint, trying to anticipate every problem and create a rule or bit of code to cope with it seems like the way to go.
The problem is that people aren't machines. You don't engineer communities; people have a natural aversion to rules. I argue that – not only philosophically – but from a pragmatic "if you don't want to have to keep butting heads with your own readership" standpoint, you only enact the absolute minimum necessary rules.
Your suggestion would require adding a layer of regulation for a hypothetical problem that not only does not exist today on The Register's forums, there is little evidence that it exists on the forums of similar communities. It may be relatively simple from a code point of view, but it is "one more thing" to bear in mind as a comment; one more rule on the list.
So my argument is simple: until such time as there is a demonstrable need to address this hypothetical problem, it should remain unaddressed.
As to not swearing, hell no, I won't go. I have no reason to adjust myself to meet your expectations, demands or desires. Ain't the internet great?
Maybe you should regulate it until until it works exactly like you want. It's just a little bit of code…
Re: Why we're uppity.
@MIchelle Knight that's because it is "Throwaway." I don't find violence against trans people - or any identifiable group - to be particularly surprising. Sad, yes. Something that needs to be fought, yes.
Re: Why we're uppity.
Where did I say it was "lawful" to kill transsexual people? I said "people are generally shit." People are killed for being black, white, trans, gay, fat, pretty, stealing a boyfriend, embarrassing someone, you name it. Killing someone for being trans is no different than killing them for being black or for being fat. It's a hate crime directed at an identifiable group. Humans have been doing that shit since time immemorial.
It's not okay, but it is fairly common. That's why we can't allow shit like this to occur; if we are ever allowed to point to a single group and say "violence against them is acceptable," then the violence against them will be unimaginable. They will become the locus of all the pent up rage and desire to exclude of society's twatdangles.
Black, white, trans, straight, fat, pretty…it doesn't matter. We either make "being a bigot" the problem that needs punishing, or we splinter off into our little tribal groups and howl at intruders.
Bigotry isn't to be tolerated, regardless of the target.
Re: Why we're uppity.
@MIchelle Knight it's not a contest. I don't have any articles to hand on the topic because I purposefully put them out of my mind. (Though I can think of at least three incidents in the past few years; the worst of them being in – I think – Florida, where a group of hooligans bad a kid to death "because he was a stupid fattie.")
I can personally recount for you tales of domestic violence situations – two in total – here in my home town in which a man murdered his wife "because she just sits around the house getting fat." "No fat chicks" is a popular t-shirt around here, to say nothing of the discrimination we receive looking for jobs, etc.
Do trans people have it worse? Possibly. Quite probably, even. The social acceptability of "being fat" seems to vary from place to place, but being trans seems to get folks in Deep Shit just about everywhere.
My point was not to compare one type of bigotry to the other, or to render the hate directed against trans people somehow more "common" or acceptable. My point was to reinforce that some people are just – to use my new insult du jour - fucking cuntweasels. They will find a reason to hate and then find people who fit that category.
Hatred and exclusion are an important part of their psyche. We've seen it in everything from racism to misogyny, persecution of fat to the shit that poor gingers have to put up with. Different is bad to some people and the only thing that determines how violent or abusive they become about the topic is how socially acceptable it is to act out their violent, exclusionary tendencies.
That said, if you really feel the need to make it into a competition, I am sure Google can provide you information on people murdered for being fat. I know of several incidents first hand. I won't, however, go looking them up. Because it's depressing. Because I have a conference call in 5 minutes. Because those people don't deserver another 15 seconds of fame.
Re: Jumpers for Goalposts
@Fibbles my argument is that I don't see manipulation across a massive subset of articles across a wide array of websites, so we don't need to design a system resistant to manipulation.
Design takes time and effort. The more you design something to be resistant to manipulation, the more onerous it becomes to use it. The more complicated the rules are, the fewer people will play.
So no, I don't believe there is a requirement to design the system with the resiliency you describe. If – and only if – we see it emerge as a problem should we then sit down and decide to make the system more complex. Keep it simple. It's a fucking internet forum; not a bridge across a river.
Re: Why we're uppity.
Can't say I disagree, but then I've had people tell me to my face that if the law allowed it they would murder me because I was fat. Bigotry knows few bounds.
Why we're uppity.
I've given a lot of thought to "just why exactly are all us commenttards flinging our shit out of the pram about this, when we will gladly accept seemingly misogynistic stories about ladies trying to smother their husbands with their boobs." What makes exploding breast implants more acceptable than this?
So I am going to take a moment to try to put my feelings to a little bit more of a considered comment format.
ITEM 1) A couple of unfortunate word choices in the article. Consider the following:
For almost two decades Monica was a "big sister" to Jan's two kids from his previous marriage.
There is no logical reason to put "big sister" in quotes here, excepting to accentuated Monica's transgendered nature. This gives me a sad.
There is also this:
Monica's cover was finally blown
Again, this wording gives me a sad. It once more emphasises Monica's transgendered nature as though it is something that would/should obviously be hidden.
Now, I am entirely willing to chalk this first bit – the tone of the article – up to some sort of "super-sensitivity" on my part. Maybe I'm just a bleeding heart ultra-left-wing liberal. I don't know. I don't want to burn anyone at the stake over tone choice here, but I do have a couple of sads.
ITEM 2) Bootnotes has traditionally been – at least in my personal perception – the repository of "things which are funny or completely bizarre." I don't find anything about this sad story funny or bizarre.
The only thing about this situation that makes it any different from any other "domestic violence leading to divorce" situation is that the lady in question is transgender. Keeping a secret from your partner for 19 years is not that fucking uncommon. How is it any different than "that son of yours…not your son"? How is it different than "I spent our kids' education fun on hookers and blow, but didn't tell you all these years?"
It isn't bizarre. It sure as all get-out isn't funny. Given the prevalence of similar domestic disturbances, this isn't even news, except that there remains a certain category of individuals who still cling to social prejudices that – quite frankly – I find abhorrent.
The lady smothering her husband with her breasts is just weird. Truly bizarre. Not because she tried to use her breasts as the murder weapon, but because her rationale was so off-kilter. The inclusion of massive breasts to an all-male audience will drive clicks – no question – but the story itself is still just odd enough to be "news of the weird."
The same (mostly) could used to apply to the whole "exploding breast implant" thing. (Though that is admittedly becoming a bit tired.) The first time I read it, I didn't even know that was possible. I think it is still news if/when this happens in some novel way – this is a technology and science website, after all…some of us are actually interested in the science behind breast implant design – but I'm pretty sure that unless the headline convinced me this was something other than "some lady's new jumblies burst on an airplane again," I wouldn't click.
This is why.
So that's the thing, I think. That's where the pushback comes from. It isn't because you have a bunch of people trying very hard to prove they are politically correct, or whatever other bullshit I'd hear from the clowns at the local Tory pub. It's because – if this thread is to be a barometer of commenttards – there a significant chunk of The Register's audience are actually empathetic enough that we don't believe in discrimination any more. Not out of political correctness, but because inclusion is a truly core part of our philosophy.
So if the only thing shocking about a story is something that requires bigotry to appreciate, I think this exact response will recur.
I'm going to take a bit of a risk here and say that I'm glad this is the case. For years now, I had thought I was one of the only Register readers who believed in these sorts of principles, lived my life in this manner. It is the number one reason I spend time in the comments section of Ars Technica: because I have found in those commenters individuals with a shared reverence of science and a shared empathy for our common man.
I am humbled and awed to see that my fellow Register readers are in fact the wonderful people that they are. I am proud of you all. Proud to be a member of this community.
So to The Register's fine commenters: thanks guys. You've restored a little bit of my faith in humanity today.
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