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A Cautionary Tale of Open Source Social Technologies

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the careful-what-you-let-go-viral dept.

Social Networks 330

eweekhickins writes "The 'country' drop-down menu on one organization's donations pages omits Israel as a country and includes 'Palestine.' Among other things, this means that Israelis can't donate to the organization from these pages; it also presents the risk of a PR nightmare for the organization. This EWeek story cautions that while basic Web 2.0 technologies combined with open source can be incredibly powerful and productive, they can also lead to disastrous results for an organization that isn't paying close enough attention."

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330 comments

take care (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23890845)

i hear that open source causes aids because it's nothing but a bunch of faggots sucking dicks and fucking each others faggot asses. big dicks, they love the big dicks.

Interesting story... (1)

Darundal (891860) | more than 5 years ago | (#23890847)

...although not sure to classify it as FUD, but wondering if anyone else out there has similar stories?

Re:Interesting story... (2, Interesting)

HiThere (15173) | more than 5 years ago | (#23890891)

Well, there was this time the mainland Chinese government and the one on the island were in bitter competition as to whose flag would be displayed in Red Hat Linux. I forget who won, and why displaying both wasn't a valid compromise. (Probably neither side wanted to compromise.)

Re:Interesting story... (3, Interesting)

daeg (828071) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891465)

There was also the use of the UN flag under the Gnome or Tango icon sets (forgot which one) as a "locale settings" icon. It angered non-UN countries/users. Despite it having nothing to do with the UN at all, they felt slighted.

Re:Interesting story... (5, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 5 years ago | (#23890999)

I'm sure to classify it as FUD. They're just bawww bawing because someone forgot to add their country to some (noncomprehensive) list. If Madagascar or something were missing, nobody would bat an eye.. but just because it's Israel it's a huge issue. Come on, by shrieking foul over non-issues like this they muddy the waters of real problems with racism.

I pointed out that this isn't just any omission and addition. When you omit Israel and add Palestine (which is not even recognized as a country by the United Nations) to a country drop-down menu, you seem to be making a very loaded political statement.
Ugh, this is not a story.

This isn't the case on the agency's own site, but it was the case on the pages for Causes, which puts widgets...
Facepalm.

Re:Interesting story... (3, Insightful)

Detritus (11846) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891253)

So you would be happy if they replaced "Israel" with "The Zionist Entity"? Whether or not you think it matters, it's important to many people. Maps are political statements, as are lists of countries and their names. Pretending that Israel does not exist is a common practice in the Middle-East.

Re:Interesting story... (2, Insightful)

Bandman (86149) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891343)

While I sympathize with the Israelis in this case, it's open source, right?

Fork it and add your country. Then make it better software than it was originally. Hit them where it hurts.

Re:Interesting story... (0, Offtopic)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891367)

That is true, but it strikes me as pretty anti-semitic to suggest that Jewish people are that easily manipulated by bigots as to automatically buy what a Pro-Israeli organization is saying without considering the organization's reputation.

Jewish people really run the spectrum, for example one of my college roommates got the shit kicked out of him in Israel by border guards while protesting the Israeli government's treatment of the Palestinians, and yes he's Jewish.

Some of those organizations differ very little from the Klan both in terms of bigotry as well as in terms of extremism. I'm guessing that this individual was either horribly informed or belongs to the bigoted type of outfit.

Not unlike similar groups in the US that sometimes use patriotism to write off far less savory values.

And at any rate, it would be largely a moot point to include the Palestinians anyways, because there are far more Palestinians with money in Israel than in the Palestinian authority. It would be a lot less obvious to just exclude both. Right now, they don't even have the cash to buy their own food in most cases.

Re:Interesting story... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23891401)

The CIA world factbook is one of the best places to get geographical data on countries.

Re:Interesting story... (5, Funny)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891587)

"The CIA world factbook is one of the best places to get geographical data on countries."

Yes, you are right. You can trust them because they are not controlled by any government.

Re:Interesting story... (1, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891839)

I have to agree it is FUD,and whiny FUD at that. You are using their Open Source software for free. It is THEIR software,they wrote it,they are entitled to their opinions. If they don't like Open source gives them a really nice remedy that they wouldn't have in proprietary land. It is called FORK IT!


IMHO it is just the height of gall to take someone's free open source software and then bitch about his beliefs. Reminds me of those software companies that are like "We want all the software for our product for free but we don't want to follow your GPL license so we shouldn't have to!". That is what BSD is for people. You don't like the GPL choose software that has a license you like. If this bunch doesn't like this developers political views then fork it or use something else. But to whine about "The perils of Open Source" like developers are sitting around wasting their time trying to come up with landmines for lazy companies they've never heard of is just ridiculous.But as always that is my 02c on the subject,YMMV

Palestinian Territories, Occupied...Iraq, Occupied (5, Interesting)

s-orbital (598727) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891183)

I worked for the university webmaster back when I was in school. My boss noticed the option "Palestinian Territories, Occupied" appeared in the dropdown list of some web-form software we were using. Being kind of a joker, he then changed Iraq to "Iraq, Occupied". It remains like that to this day, years later.

Re:Palestinian Territories, Occupied...Iraq, Occup (5, Funny)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891451)

Being kind of a joker, he then changed Iraq to "Iraq, Occupied". It remains like that to this day, years later.
The software, the country, or both?

Re:Interesting story... (5, Interesting)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891489)

25+ years back, I somehow got "volunteered" into putting up the flags for the World Youth Baseball Tournament when it was held in the town where I lived at the time.
 
There were about 15 or 20 countries involved and the organizers handed me a big box of flags, one for each country, and said "Here you go", and that was the extent of the direction that I received.
 
Each flag had a little tag pinned to it saying what country it was for, so I just put them up in alphabetical order, more-or-less the way that they came out of the box.
 
This almost caused an international diplomatic incident!
 
Apparently you can't put country X's flag up next to country Y because they are fighting about something, or Y doesn't recognize X, or you-name-it. Phones started to ring, including mine, and I had to rush out again and re-arrange the flags to suit the diplomats.
 
I ultimately put those flags up in four different orders over the course of the week or so that the baseball tournament was on, because the arrangements never suited everyone. I only had the "diplomatic incident" occur once, on that first day, but I spent hours on the phone with various mucky-mucks smoothing ruffled feathers. And re-arranged those damn flags almost every day afterward.

Yes Minister (1)

rishistar (662278) | more than 5 years ago | (#23892001)

The first of the quote listed at this page from British comedy 'Yes Minister' [yes-minister.com] always made me laugh (from the 80s).

Re:Yes Minister (5, Funny)

rishistar (662278) | more than 5 years ago | (#23892027)

Actually, here is the quote: Bernard Woolley (on the phone): "No, we can't have alphabetical seating in the Abbey: you would have Iraq and Iran next to each other. Plus Israel and Jordan, all sitting in the same pew. We would be in danger of starting World War III."

Not just Open Source (5, Insightful)

quanticle (843097) | more than 5 years ago | (#23890855)

I don't know why EWeek is specifically highlighting open source software. I don't see how closed source software is immune from this concern.

If you're a nonprofit, you need to look at all the software you're, open-source or not. If you're using software you need to examine it to make sure its not sending a message at odds with your organization.

Re:Not just Open Source (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#23890895)

Closed-source companies are less likely to take the controversial route.

Possibly. (2, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | more than 5 years ago | (#23890969)

Closed-source companies are less likely to take the controversial route.
It would depend upon how large the closed-source company was.

If it was one guy selling the software he wrote, you'd probably see the same implementations of his political views (provided that there was a way to do so).

With Open Source, the one guy can write his political opinions into his code ... which get grabbed and used in a different project ... which ends up in a third project ... etc.

And unless you have a similar political bent, you'd never notice it. At least until someone who did have such a bent brought it to your attention.

Re:Possibly. (3, Insightful)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891019)

And unless you have a similar political bent, you'd never notice it. At least until someone who did have such a bent brought it to your attention.
Of course if it's FOSS you could fix the problem right away, with or without the cooperation of the original developer(s)...

Re:Possibly. (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891421)

One guy selling proprietary software won't impose political views, because he doesn't want angry former-customers and possible lawsuits. The open source contributor can be anonymous, and anonymity makes people more willing to do such things.

Re:Not just Open Source (2, Insightful)

HiThere (15173) | more than 5 years ago | (#23890907)

It actually makes a bit of sense, as FOSS projects are more likely to make choices that a business might recoil from.

More likely though, EWeek is just being afraid of the new and different.

Re:Not just Open Source (4, Informative)

masterzora (871343) | more than 5 years ago | (#23890957)

If you RTFA, you'll find that the reasoning behind the decision is one you're more likely to find from businesses than from FOSS projects. Israel was among the list of countries from which they were receiving overly many fraudulent donations.

Re:Not just Open Source (2, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891095)

If you RTFA, you'll find that the reasoning behind the decision is one you're more likely to find from businesses than from FOSS projects. Israel was among the list of countries from which they were receiving overly many fraudulent donations.

So an organization that is developing a particular open source -- or even closed source -- software tool might make business decisions that are incompatible with your own?

Shocking! Shocking, I tell you!

Re:Not just Open Source (1)

rishistar (662278) | more than 5 years ago | (#23892013)

If you RTFA, you'll find that the reasoning behind the decision is one you're more likely to find from businesses than from FOSS projects. Israel was among the list of countries from which they were receiving overly many fraudulent donations.

Fradulant donations?! Man - it was just someone trying hard to overturn the Shylock stereotype of Jews!

Re:Not just Open Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23890931)

A closed source company cares about money, not political statements. A closed source company would sit in the business meeting and say "hey! making a stand on this issue will cost us money, let's not do it." Wheras the open source developer doesn't care about the money and will instead decide to make a point.

Re:Not just Open Source (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891047)

Yes but everyone expects closed software to have problems, and to have restrictions. Open-source, on the other hand, is a panacea, without flaws, perfection itself! What, it has limitations, a license for God's sake?!? This seems to be the attitude of late by companies just discovering it.

Re:Not just Open Source (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23891145)

perfection? man, i've heard some dumb shit around here but that takes the cake. move along fanboi. you're not needed here.

Re:Not just Open Source (1)

masterzora (871343) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891159)

How is he a "fanboi" by this post? He isn't claiming open source to be perfection by any means. He's merely mocking the viewpoint some people have that open source is the answer to everything.

Case in point (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23891171)

Re:Case in point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23891613)

Mod parent up, it shows that this has nothing to do with open source and that it affects proprietary too (and it's wider than software, obviously).

Re:Not just Open Source (5, Interesting)

grcumb (781340) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891213)

I don't know why EWeek is specifically highlighting open source software. I don't see how closed source software is immune from this concern.

Indeed. One of the fringe benefits of introducing FOSS to the tiny Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu was when I showed local geeks that they could actually choose the 'Pacific/Efate' time zone setting. (Efate is the island where the capital of Vanuatu is located.)

Windows and Mac OS X both display either Noumea (capital of New Caledonia to the South) or Honiara (capital of the Solomon Islands to the North). This creates a very real sense that, as far as the Big Boys are concerned, we don't exist. Worse still, Mac OS X thinks that Vanuatu uses Daylight Savings Time, like the adjacent time zone in Australia. My clock has been off by an hour for months now.

That may not sound like much, but believe me, that tiny little bit of tzdata goodness has created the impression among many local geeks that this software is designed not just for office drones in some distant country, but with them in mind.

Re:Not just Open Source (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23891237)

maybe because it's talking about specific open source apis? i know you guys just love to caw on about open versus closed apis so it applies here you fucking fucktard.

Reminds me of Cosovo/Kosovo (2, Interesting)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 5 years ago | (#23890861)

Seems like people will always look for reasons to hate each other. Can't just make a suggestion; this is something we can HATE over!

OMG! OSS means people can make a statement (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23890869)

"The 'country' drop-down menu on one organization's donations pages omits Israel as a country and includes 'Palestine.' Among other things, this means that Israelis can't donate to the organization from these pages; it also presents the risk of a PR nightmare for the organization.
Only if you're looking for Jewish donations. Pfff!

Re:OMG! OSS means people can make a statement (1, Insightful)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#23890923)

OSS means people can make a statement
The problem is that the developer made a statement that the non-profit didn't want to make, and the non-profit didn't notice beforehand.

Re:OMG! OSS means people can make a statement (4, Informative)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891457)

Actually, no statement was made. The inclusion of Palestine was a glitch, and Israel was not included due to fraud originating from the country. I know this is slashdot, but would it kill maybe 3 or 4 people to actually RTFA before going off on rants? Doing that makes us all look bad. Thank you.

So What? (1)

Watson Ladd (955755) | more than 5 years ago | (#23890873)

They see a huge number of bogus transactions from one country, so they ban it. It's perfectly fine if you want to avoid getting burned.

Re:So What? (2, Insightful)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891097)

Not really, its a decent immediate decision for a temporary duration (over the weekend maybe), but what they should have done is made the sign-up/donation system to better to weed out bogus donations.

Just because Israel may not support them as much as a different country, it may not mean that the per-capita support wasn't equal.

I'm sure they get a lot of bogus donations from the US, UK, etc, but they also get a lot of legitimate ones as well. So they were just willing to sacrifice Israel as a whole, and thus the bogus, as well as the legitimate donations.

So yeah, I agree, "so what" but I don't think it was the right decision from either a profit, or a beneficial to the cause perspective.

Re:So What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23891455)

...but what they should have done is made the sign-up/donation system to better to weed out bogus donations.
Assuming they have a benefit/profit motive, they should only have done this if it was cost-effective. Show me your data.

...it may not mean that the per-capita support wasn't equal.
Weasel word.

...I don't think it was the right decision from ... a profit ... perspective.
What is the basis for this conclusion? More to the point, how can you demonstrate ignorance of exactly how much support they can expect to receive from Israel (see weasel word above) and then reach this conclusion?

Huh? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23890881)

Israel isn't a country. Palestine is. I suppose you think Taiwan is a country too?

Re:Huh? (0, Troll)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#23890945)

I suppose you think Taiwan is a country too?
I have never heard of a country called "Taiwan" before. The only Taiwan I know of is an island governed by the Republic of China

Re:Huh? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23891113)

Yeah, that crap really cheeses me off. Taiwan? Geeze. It gets worse... I keep hearing these Americans talking about Germany, Greece, Japan and Spain, but I've never heard of one of these places. After some intensive research, I found out these fucking idiots were gibbering about Deutschland, Hellas, Nihon and España.

Idiots. Idiots.

Re:Huh? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23891201)

"Deutschland"? Sounds like some kind of barbarian lingo.

The proper name for this province is Germania [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Huh? (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 5 years ago | (#23890947)

Israel isn't a country. Palestine is. I suppose you think Taiwan is a country too?
You obviously read too much and watch too little television.

You mean that clicking "Accept Defaults" is risky? (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#23890917)

This particular anecdote is rather punchy, as stories of the "OMG if I say something about geography on te7 interwebs someone willz hate me!!!111" variety generally are; but the connection with open source software seems deeply tenuous and circumstantial.

I, for one, am shocked, shocked that a program might not have sane defaults for every situation, particularly if "sane" is not terribly well defined.
As for the payment processing thing, various sorts of black holing of countries based on their dubious reputations is not an "open source" thing, or a "closed source" thing or, for that matter, anything to do with code at all. It is wholly a matter of CYA and cost/benefit calculations, no matter what software the vendor doing the deciding is running. An interesting anecdote about the complexity of doing stuff that seems simple; but barely source related at all.

Re:You mean that clicking "Accept Defaults" is ris (1, Funny)

Mesa MIke (1193721) | more than 5 years ago | (#23890973)

> I, for one, am shocked, shocked that a program
> might not have sane defaults for every situation ...

An I am shocked, shocked that open source software might come attached to a socio-political agenda...

Re:You mean that clicking "Accept Defaults" is ris (2, Informative)

masterzora (871343) | more than 5 years ago | (#23890993)

And I am shocked, shocked that you didn't RTFA, which made it pretty clear that this software came attached with a "we don't want fraudulent donations" agenda.

Re:You mean that clicking "Accept Defaults" is ris (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23891107)

You must be new here. Nobody RTFAs ... like evAr [sic]. The articles are just conversation starters.

p.s. First post.

Nonsense (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23890927)

First of all:
This is could not have happened by using closed source software...... mhhh why?

2nd:
Quote frem TFA: "anti-Semitism", "blablabla"
->
You all know that israel is a !STATE! with inhabitants of all colours and creeds. Not limited to guys with semitic ancestry, right? Furthermore, what are most of the palestinians (since they speak Arabian) referred to?

I get mad when I here bullshit of this kind.

Re:Nonsense (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 5 years ago | (#23890987)

Furthermore, what are most of the palestinians (since they speak Arabian) referred to?
Mostly they're not referred to.

I get mad when I here bullshit of this kind.
I get mad when I read such terrible spelling. But apart from that you make some valid points.

Have to wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23890933)

According to Agape's developer, Chris Chan, Causes uses code from a Ruby on Rails API to build its country name drop-down. The form in RoR's API indeed includes "Palestinian Territory, Occupied," which was then shortened to "Palestine."
One has to wonder why they included that, yet fail to include a bunch of equally valid "countries", such as Sealand, Hutt River, Tierra del Mar, and Ponderosa.

Fuck em (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23890935)

My wife is in charge of online donations for a large international relief agency, and she recently received a strongly worded e-mail from the leader of a pro-Israeli group accusing her organization of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, and threatening to spread the word among potential Jewish contributors--not a good thing.

I'd be tempted to tell them to go away on principle, until they can be a little more polite. This group should be ignored until they start to act rationally, why can't they politely ask for -- what is obviously a mistake -- to be rectified?

If this is how pro-Israeli interests work. It tells us a lot about their occupation of Gaza and attitude to groups outside their own.

Long story short: get back to the kids table, come back when you've got the maturity to treat other human beings as equals.

Re:Fuck em (0, Flamebait)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891209)

Is it a mistake?

I doubt it was a mistake on the part of the developer. The consumer, yes--but not the developer.

Their stance is reasonable.

Re:Fuck em (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23891355)

Is it a mistake?

The courteous way to deal with people is to assume that they've made an honest mistake before throwing around conspiracy theories and wild accusations of rascism and religious hatred.

Their stance is reasonable.

What their stance: that a product should be boycotted and that an organisation must be anti-Semite and anti-Zionism, based on a country options drop-down box is reasonable?

Someone who isn't acting like an arrogant, spoilt child would simply point-out the error and ask that it be fixed. Then if nothing happens, perhaps send a stronger letter. Sending a threatening flame-mail, right off the bat, makes this group look like a bunch of arseholes (in my opinion).

They look even more antagonistic and stupid when the reason for the ommission of Israel is taken into account. It is due to being on an online fraud black list:

Due to high rates of fraud, donations to U.S. non-profits are not accepted for cardholders from the following countries: Ukraine, Indonesia, Yugoslavia, Lithuania, Egypt, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Russia, Pakistan, Malaysia, Israel, Nigeria and Ghana. We apologize for any inconvenience, and are working hard to support donations from more of these countries.

Re:Fuck em (0, Troll)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891627)

I'm calling bullshit. Every e-commerce retailer I've ever gone to that sells outside the US has Israel listed. Every e-commerce retailer I've ever gone to don't have Palestine, which is not a country, on their list.

This is politically motivated; the blame lies primarily upon whatever retard working on RoR put Palestine in the list of countries, but the blame lies as well on the people who didn't proof it.

Re:Fuck em (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23891717)

Every e-commerce retailer I've ever gone to that sells outside the US has Israel listed. Every e-commerce retailer I've ever gone to don't have Palestine, which is not a country, on their list

I'm not sure you checked, but imagining you're telling the truth, have you checked those operating outside the US? Just from what I've seen Zionism is stronger in the US than most of the rest of the world. Of course, that's just anecdotal, not real evidence (unfortunately I don't have the funds for a worldwide questionnaire on what people feel on the subject).

This is politically motivated; the blame lies primarily upon whatever retard working on RoR put Palestine in the list of countries, but the blame lies as well on the people who didn't proof it.

_really_ Got any proof, or are you like the rude people who wrote that e-mail to the authors wife? Those are strong and damning accusations, before making them some evidence should be obtained.

Re:Fuck em (4, Insightful)

vandan (151516) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891967)

This group should be ignored until they start to act rationally, why can't they politely ask for -- what is obviously a mistake -- to be rectified?

That's not how the Zionist lobby operates. They don't rely on courteous behaviour and goodwill. They bully people into submission by crying 'anti-semite!' and threatening to 'go and tell the whole Jewish community'.

Err.... what? (0, Redundant)

Morkano (786068) | more than 5 years ago | (#23890961)

Errr... what does this have to do with anything being open source? I don't think a country not being included in a drop down is really that dependent on developer methodologies.

This whole thing is pure FUD.

Bullshit (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#23890965)

This has nothing to do with Open Source. It didn't occur to these doofuses that it just might be a good idea to systematically _test_ their Web site?

OSS not the real problem here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23890979)

But who's the twit that approved the setup without checking that all countries that are important to them could place transactions? Sounds more like a case of poor planning and verification.

so fix it already! (3, Insightful)

spikedvodka (188722) | more than 5 years ago | (#23890991)

It's Open Source... How hard can that be! I mean really. it might be 2 lines of code more, or (if done right) just another database entry.

It isn't rocket surgery people. that's the strength of OSS, you *can* fix it without having to beg for a fix from your vendor!

Re:so fix it already! (2, Insightful)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891055)

The lesson to be learned here isn't that FOSS is bad, but that people using FOSS should look at what they are using a little more closely before the public gets to interact with it.

Re:so fix it already! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23891941)

There's nothing to be fixed. 'Palestine' is correct.

Or are you, contrary to your sig, giving in and being fearful of Israeli terrorism?

Overreacting (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23891007)

If my reading of the article is right, it goes something like this:

There's a Ruby API that lists countries and regions. One of these is "Palestinian Territory -- Occupied". Someone decided to shorten this to "Palestine".

Meanwhile, someone at Facebook decided that a certain list of countries contains high risk of credit card fraud. One of those countries is Israel. So they won't take your credit card if you live there, probably because they've run into fraudsters operating in that country and they don't want to risk it. Just like they won't take a credit card from Nigeria, to name one.

So, someone sees this and concludes the worst. The Facebook application is anti-semitic. Overreact much?

Honestly, I think people are a bit too touchy about Israel/Palestine. Sure, it's a touchy subject, but a simple set of unrelated mistakes and people assume you're part of a vast conspiracy to destroy their nation? I think we as a society owe it to ourselves to be more careful about such accusations, and not simply react.

Worst summary ever (3, Interesting)

Vexorian (959249) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891029)

Quite substandard for slashdot (and that's quite an statement).

Really, what article is the summary about? I was afraid that after reading all that gibberish it could lead me to a rick roll...

However, it turned out that this was not intentional, but the result of a set of unrelated circumstances that are the direct result of using open source and Web 2.0 frameworks carelesslytools carelessly and do ZERO TESTING.
So, even assuming the story is real, quite it could actually not be real, it has nothing to do with open source, I'll tag it FUD, thanks.

Competing mythologies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23891065)

Israel, Palestine. A magic sea versus a flying horse? What happened to physics and math?

Web 2.0 (2, Insightful)

kaos07 (1113443) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891089)

Wtf does this have to do with the crap that is "Web 2.0"? When has giving a donation been considering "Web 2.0"? Online donations have been around since forever. Well I guess everything else that is labelled "Web 2.0" such as social networking and user generated content has been around forever as well, so from that stupid and pointless viewpoint I guess it would be "Web 2.0". Did Kdawson post this story?

read the docs before using something (1)

story645 (1278106) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891109)

The drop down menu isn't even testing-it's something they should have done before they even considered using the software. (It's probably in some of the documentation-'specially if the reason for it is fraud.) Part of figuring out if it's the right tool for the job and all that. Though even if they did implement it, looking at the drop down menu isn't testing-it's just learning the damn software. You should know what options users have, just 'cause it may be important for a variety of things.

Re:read the docs before using something (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891869)

I thought everyone knew open source projects didn't have documentation!

(The above is a joke, albeit one with a grain of truth to it.)

Can't understand where is the problem (3, Insightful)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891119)

neither why is open source per se or social networking potential culprits there.

- Palestine appearing in the countries list because is a (valid?) short form of "Palestinian Territory, Occupied". If isnt valid is not Web 2.0 or open source fault, was a developer decision that could had been taken in any part of the chain (i agree that the chain in this particular case is pretty long).

- Israel not listed because, as with other 14 countries, their IP space is very used by fraudsters. Maybe with spam is easier to understand... If Israel were responsible for 80% of world spam, and because of that becomes filtered from a lots of mail servers (lots of countries used to be widely filtered because of spam coming from them), that would be anti-semitism of those servers admins? Maybe a bit worse, if an israeli ISP a lot of spam is being sent, and it ends a rbl (if behaves badly that way, will end in most), would be antisemitism too?

Is a nice spin to blame web 2.0 and open source for things that dont implies them to happen. Next big hurricane, if being tracked by web 2.0 sites and with open source software, will be blamed to them too.

Re:Can't understand where is the problem (3, Insightful)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891499)

Yes, that would be anti-semitism by the new definition.

An anti-semite used to be someone who hated Jews. Now an anti-semite is someone hated BY Jews. YOu don't need to look much farther past Jimmy Carter to see what I mean.

Carter, who is hardly a skinhead, was recently lambasted for being an "anti-semite" for suggesting that maybe, just maybe, its not OK to use tanks to fight kids with rocks.

Apparently, if you don't support the murder of palestinians, you must clearly support the murder of Jews. If you're not 100% pro-israel, then you'll hear the bloody curdling screams of "racist nazi holocaust 911" until you relent.

There is really no way to win. Sucks, but there it is.

Re:Can't understand where is the problem (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23891639)

An anti-semite used to be someone who hated Jews. Now an anti-semite is someone hated BY Jews. YOu don't need to look much farther past Jimmy Carter to see what I mean.

Carter, who is hardly a skinhead, was recently lambasted for being an "anti-semite" for suggesting that maybe, just maybe, its not OK to use tanks to fight kids with rocks.

Absolutely false. Israel doesn't use tanks to fight kids with rocks. Israel uses tanks against fighters well-armed with rifles, machine guns, mortars, rockets and RPGs.

Carter was criticized by many for suggesting that Israel was akin to Apartheid South Africa. There is no apartheid in Israel.

Arab & Muslim citizens of Israel can vote, run for office, say anything they want, print anything they want, follow any religion they choose, work in any profession they choose, serve on the supreme court, and sue the government (and sometimes win). Doesn't sound like apartheid to me.

These are all things that are sadly lacking in most Arab & Muslim countries. Why are Arab & Muslim countries not accused of apartheid?

In fact, refugees from Sudan [npr.org] try to get to Israel. Isn't that odd? Even more strange, Sudan is actually still at war with Israel. Why would someone voluntarily choose to live in an enemy foreign country under apartheid?

Re:Can't understand where is the problem (2, Informative)

vandan (151516) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891953)

Israel doesn't use tanks to fight kids with rocks.

Israel uses tanks and bulldozers to demolish Palestinian houses, often with children inside who are too young to throw rocks.

There is no apartheid in Israel.

Don't be moronic. Israel is THE definition of an apartheid state. Are Palestinians allowed to vote? No. Are they allowed to travel? No ( sure, then can wait for days to go through 'checkpoints', but in effect, no, they can't travel ). Are Palestinian refugees allowed to return home? No. Are Palestinians treated as equals? Most certainly not.

Arab & Muslim citizens of Israel can vote, run for office, say anything they want, print anything they want, follow any religion they choose, work in any profession they choose, serve on the supreme court, and sue the government (and sometimes win). Doesn't sound like apartheid to me.

The problem is that all of that is a lie. I don't know why you Zionists bother spreading this BS - anyone actually interested in the conflict already knows the horrors that you are inflicting upon the Palestinians. The only thing you're doing is further entrenching anti-semitic views, by inflaming anger against you.

Re:Historical Factoid (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891529)

Actually the Palestinian state as created by the UN existed until it was annexed Jordan after the 1948 war.

Free will and determination. (2, Insightful)

lightversusdark (922292) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891167)

My company does exactly this, and it is a conscious decision.
Anyone that tries to tell us that we "can't" do business like this needs to join the free world.
And to be blunt, it is really only a PR nightmare for American companies.

No trolling in submissions please (5, Insightful)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891187)

Please don't bring the Israel/Palestine mudwrestling into slashdot. The walls have just been freshly painted, and it's not fundamentally a technology issue anyway, since those lobby groups will latch onto anything for publicity.

Israel is a Terrorist Organization (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23891707)

Here is proof [archive.org] .

Meh (4, Insightful)

sentientbeing (688713) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891211)

FUD. The pro-Israel activists are more annoyed that Palestine is recognized and is in the drop down menu more than Israel being omitted.

They spend a lot of time discouraging recognition of Palestine as an independent state and at every opportunity. Re-read the article again with that in mind. Palestine certainly IS a country and is recognized by many others around the world. The UN reference is a red herring. Israel occupies Palestine with military force.
Take note that it was a pro-Israel pressure group that started this 'controversy' with immediate threats to the developers.

Re:Meh (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23891303)

They spend a lot of time discouraging recognition of Palestine as an independent state and at every opportunity. Re-read the article again with that in mind. Palestine certainly IS a country and is recognized by many others around the world. The UN reference is a red herring. Israel occupies Palestine with military force.

Wrong on all counts. There has never, ever, in the history of history, been a country called Palestine. Wishful thinking doesn't change historical fact.

Palestine is most certainly NOT a country at the moment. Does it have a head of state? Currency? UN recognition as a country? Embassies? Diplomatic immunity? Recognized as a country by the US? UK? France? Russia? China? Brazil? India? Sweden? Japan? Canada? South Africa? Germany? Spain?

Now as to the claim of occupation, Gaza is most certainly NOT occupied by Israel. Israel completely withdrew from Gaza, and forcibly removed Israelis who wanted to stay.

Parts of the West Bank are under Israeli control, as negotiated by the Oslo accords which established the Palestinian Authority.

Re:Meh (1)

rossz (67331) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891669)

Some moron modded you down as flamebait. I guess some people really hate the truth. The idiot is probably part of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, which has explicitly stated, "the truth is not a defense" when conducting one of their kangaroo trials because someone's feelings are hurt.

Re:Meh (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891845)

Palestine is most certainly NOT a country at the moment. Does it have a head of state? Currency? UN recognition as a country? Embassies? Diplomatic immunity? Recognized as a country by the US? UK? France? Russia? China? Brazil? India? Sweden? Japan? Canada? South Africa? Germany? Spain?
Are the answers to any of those questions actually no? I can't see one.

Re:Meh (1)

vandan (151516) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891927)

There has never, ever, in the history of history, been a country called Palestine.

That's a ridiculous lie.

Does it have a head of state?

It has a democracy, and one in far less disasterous state than Israel's ( or the US's for that matter ).

Recognized as a country by the US? UK? France? Russia? China? Brazil? India? Sweden? Japan? Canada? South Africa? Germany? Spain?

Yes that's because of the horrible corruption of our governments. If you ask ordinary people, they all consider Palestine a country under siege. It's only the mainstream press and governments that try to hide this fact.

Now as to the claim of occupation, Gaza is most certainly NOT occupied by Israel. Israel completely withdrew from Gaza, and forcibly removed Israelis who wanted to stay.

1) Bullshit
2) Zionists occupy the WHOLE of Palestine; not just the West Bank & Gaza strip. ALL of it is theirs. Israel should not appear on a map at all.

Parts of the West Bank are under Israeli control, as negotiated by the Oslo accords which established the Palestinian Authority.

Yes, and this was a horrible betrayal on the part of Fatah, and one of the reasons Palestinians voted so overwhelmingly for Hamas.

Re:Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23891793)

Agree.

Being Jewish, I run into the anti-semitism industry all the time, and I'm tired of their thuggery and intimidation. (There's a reason why I'm posting AC.) I think everybody else is finally getting tired of them too.

Norman Finkelstein http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/content.php?pg=3 [normanfinkelstein.com] has enough energy to fight them and he says it better than me.

What a dumb conclusion... (3, Insightful)

Viceroy Potatohead (954845) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891313)

It might as well read: "A Cautionary Tale of Closed Source Social Technology". Go check ten random sites with nationality registration. Chances are, "Israel" is on the list, but "Palestinian Territory" isn't. They are no more indicative of the failure of closed source than this is of a failure of open source.

I wonder how many times they've bitched about the omission of Palestine... gee, none? What a surprise. Hypocrites.

I'm a little bitchy, but one can't play the anti-semitic card every time Israel is omitted/criticised. It devalues everybody.

Re:What a dumb conclusion... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23891371)

I wonder how many times they've bitched about the omission of Palestine... gee, none? What a surprise. Hypocrites.

Hypocrites? Hardly. Palestine is not a country. Period. It might be in the future, but it isn't a country right now. On the other hand, Israel is a country, recognized by the UN, and all countries except most of the Arab/Muslim countries.

Given that most of the Arab/Muslim world denies that Israel has a right to exist, they are sensitive to things which make it look like Israel does not exist.

Re:What a dumb conclusion... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23891789)

How is this flamebait?

Palestine is not currently recognized as a country. Israel is currently recognized as a country.

Those are objective facts. If you can't accept objective facts you really ought to get your head examined.

Nothing new for Proprietary or FOSS (2, Informative)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891339)

People leave things out, forget, or usually just plain didn't know better. Similar things were said for some commercial product a few years back (I think it was Windows or Office, but I could not recall). It was either a language or time zone setting that neglected the country.

This is like all the software bug news articles - yes, there are bugs in software, but you know what, people actually FIX them, they don't STAY that way there are new versions, etc. It's all just some techno-political FUD mudslinging to influence the ignorant.

A Cautionary Tale of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23891373)

A Cautionary Tale of Open Source Social Technologies

Open Source Social Technologies will cut you wide open!

/obscure?
//good karma to the first one to cite the ref

FUD (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23891441)

This is nothing but FUD and here's why.

Any organization using FOSS and/or COTS has to understand its need to QA the combination of parts. This is also true when you write your own software.

Don't be so gullible.

Article shows bias (5, Informative)

nwetters (93281) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891473)

From TFA:

I pointed out that this isn't just any omission and addition. When you omit Israel and add Palestine (which is not even recognized as a country by the United Nations) to a country drop-down menu, you seem to be making a very loaded political statement.

Israel was omitted because of fraud from that country, which seems like a good reason. Palestine was probably included in the list because it is recognised by the UN, and is included in ISO 3166-1 [wikipedia.org] . If you were to delete Palestine from the list, it would certainly be a very loaded political statement, but its inclusion is not.

Re:Article shows bias (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891741)

Well said.

Most of us are willing to accept this hateful rhetoric, and there's always a few who do find the answers. Good Job.

A proposed edit. (1)

bitspotter (455598) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891533)

"This means that if you're using open-source code, you have got to be very scrupulous and diligent to make sure that another developer hasn't surreptitiously slipped in a political message or a feature that could make your organization look bad or even lose it money.

And always be mindful that once you let third parties touch your enterprise in any way, decisions they make will be broadcast around the Internet whether you like them or not. Basic Web 2.0 software technologies are proving to be both incredibly powerful and productive, but they can also lead to disastrous results for an organization that isn't paying close enough attention."

There. That's better. Same point. Less FUD.

I'll have to add this to my list of criticisms of things as if they don't apply to the things they're being contrasted with. Like blogging vs TV, radio, and newspapers, or Wikipedia vs Britannica.

Q: Why is closed source/Britannica/TV/newspapers/radio better than open source/Wikipedia/bloggers?
A: When closed source/Britannica/TV/newspapers/radio makes a mistake, almost no one finds out about it.
Q: Ah. Wait... that's a feature?"
A: It is to them. Get it?

Israel's a country now? (-1, Flamebait)

vandan (151516) | more than 5 years ago | (#23891901)

Israel isn't a country. It's a large land mass under illegal Zionist occupation. I can't just declare my selected land-mass a country and expect people to recognize it, even if I claim that my religion give me the right to said land.

Of course the UN and its constituent Western imperialist powers decided that they'd take Palestinian land and hand it to a bunch of violent religious fundamentalists. That still doesn't make it a country. I suppose it depends on who's definition you're using though.

And as for the rabid frothing-at-the-mouth 'pro-Israeli' fools who make absolutely sure that the world knows of the plight of the poor, innocent, fun-loving Zionists, they can go fuck themselves. THEY are the anti-semitic ones, and the Palestinians are a Semitic race, and the Zionists are therefore quite clearly anti-Semitic. This much was obvious when they were first fighting for the establishment of their fundamentalist state - they worked with the most anti-semitic people they could find, because they both had a vested interest in the outcome - for the Zionists, they got their land, and for the anti-semites, they got rid of the Jews.

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