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Microsoft Patent Deems Comic Books Shameful

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the worst-patent-ever dept.

Books 209

theodp writes "A newly-surfaced Microsoft patent application describes methods of secretly matching up individuals whose shared 'fringe interests' might be 'a source of shame or embarrassment' to them should they become known to society-at-large. No, not sexual preferences. A much bigger taboo. Comic books. 'For example,' explains Microsoft in its filing, 'an ambitious professional is not likely to divulge that he likes, say, comic books, even though quite true. Appreciably, certain affinities especially those relating to fringe interests, eccentricities, or topics about which there is a common misconception or very little mainstream familiarity or understanding are generally omitted rather than included in conventional descriptions. Typically, this is so because these affinities might be a source of shame or embarrassment or incur undue explanation.'"

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209 comments

People associate it wrongly (4, Insightful)

devxo (1963088) | more than 3 years ago | (#35453362)

Well, are you sure would really want to tell right away to some girl you meet that you read comic books or watch anime? Things like can make people think about you wrongly. And for example, when I'm visiting Thailand I like the ladyboys there, but it's not something I'd say to anyone when I first meet them.

Re:People associate it wrongly (4, Insightful)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#35453420)

Just because you don't mention something you like right off the bat doesn't make it shameful. I hardly ever talk of my love of whole grain pepper, but that doesn't make it a dirty secret. Comics are a mainstream interest now, with multi-million dollar movies in the spotlight. Comics are not an under-the-counter phenomenon.

Re:People associate it wrongly (5, Funny)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 3 years ago | (#35453520)

"I hardly ever talk of my love of whole grain pepper, but that doesn't make it a dirty secret. "

Yeah sure, keep justifying your perversions to make yourself feel better. Sicko!

Re:People associate it wrongly (3, Insightful)

boristdog (133725) | more than 3 years ago | (#35453530)

Comics may be a mainstream interest now, but if one of the first things I find out about someone is that they are really into comic books, my first reaction is still: "Hopeless Nerd!"

Then again, if the first thing I find out about them is that they are really into football, I think "Brainless Sports-a-holic!" Even though football is WAY more mainstream than comic books.

It's human nature.

Re:People associate it wrongly (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35453866)

Thus showing exactly why I tell people I like comic books: I don't need short sight knee jerk reactionary bozos like you in my life.

IT's not human nature. It's social training and the inability to actually think.

Re:People associate it wrongly (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454020)

I think that life is prior art.

Re:People associate it wrongly (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35454164)

IT's not human nature. It's social training and the inability to actually think.

More like social brainwashing, and those subject to it like it.

Re:People associate it wrongly (4, Insightful)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454180)

Thus showing exactly why I tell people I like comic books: I don't need short sight knee jerk reactionary bozos like you in my life.

So you're saying your personality can't otherwise compensate for what may be a cushioned negative reaction once someone gets to know you.

IT's not human nature. It's social training and the inability to actually think.

It is human nature. There is practically endless studies validating this point exactly. The old cliche, you only get one chance to make a first impression, has been endlessly validated. Your position on the matter is factually incorrect and should hopefully give you pause as to the origin of such incorrect "self discovery."

Like it or not, within seconds of meeting someone for the first time, consciously and unconsciously you have read the book by its cover. Period. Now then, what you do with that summation will differ from person to person but nonetheless, it absolutely is human nature.

You see someone with a asymmetrical facial feature, subtract points based on the degree of asymmetry. They don't have perfectly groomed hair? Subtract again. Wear glasses? Subtract again. Bald? Subtract. Teeth? Subtract again. Now the cultural norm will dictate the severity of subtraction (example, teeth in UK vs USA) but nonetheless, its programmed into the DNA of humanity. And as physical characteristics play a major role in this analysis, so does behavior. Someone with a reputation for state sanctioned executions is far less approachable than someone who is a well established lover.

So honestly, until societal norms change, if in fact they ever do in this regard, its by far to your own advantage to not discuss things like comic books and D&D to people you just met. If in fact you develop a friendship, its far less likely that such disclosure later will have any impact on the relationship other than perhaps some friendly jabs.

Re:People associate it wrongly (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454574)

It is human nature. There is practically endless studies validating this point exactly. The old cliche, you only get one chance to make a first impression, has been endlessly validated.

This may apply to a majority of the population, but it does not apply to everyone. There may be immense amounts of social conditioning in society, but not everyone is so easily influenced by it.

Like it or not, within seconds of meeting someone for the first time, consciously and unconsciously you have read the book by its cover. Period.

Except if that didn't happen.

So honestly, until societal norms change, if in fact they ever do in this regard, its by far to your own advantage to not discuss things like comic books and D&D to people you just met.

It's not to your advantage if you wish for such people to not be a part of your life.

Re:People associate it wrongly (1)

trollertron3000 (1940942) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454648)

Yeah I'm real sure you don't judge anyone anywhere. What are you a fucking robot? Delusional thoughts from fantasy island.

Re:People associate it wrongly (1)

boristdog (133725) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454278)

Knee-Jerk?

Tell me, if someone you first meet lets you know how important Jesus is in their life, does your mind not form a "knee-jerk" reaction about that person?
If they tell you how important Britney Spears is in their life? Or Rush Limbaugh? Or the Dalai Lama?
If they tell you how they are "really into" heavy metal? Or hip-hop? Or gambling?
How about someone whom, upon first meeting them, tells you how much they like women with large breasts? Or leather jackets?

All of these are actually pretty common things, but all will pretty much form an image about that person in your head. (Often just: "Sure, but why the HELL are they putting that in their profile?")

Guess what bozo, you have the same knee-jerk reactions to things other people do. Just because you don't have it for comic books doesn't mean you aren't a (knee) jerk like the rest of the human race about things YOU may not be into.

Unless you are an alien robot, in which case I heartily welcome you to my planet.

Re:People associate it wrongly (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454598)

Guess what bozo, you have the same knee-jerk reactions to things other people do.

What was the point of the series of questions if you were just going to fill in the answers for him?

Unless you are an alien robot

Or someone who investigates deeper before reaching such idiotic and hasty conclusions.

Re:People associate it wrongly (1)

N1AK (864906) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454432)

I don't need short sight knee jerk reactionary bozos like you in my life.

Apparently because you've got more than an equal quota all by yourself.

People make assumptions. You can let that negatively affect you, or you can accept it and be more effective. You can pick whichever option you want, I know I will. I made the mistake of including a 'geeky' hobby on a cv, it stayed there until an interviewee was concerned that I might not be able to handle working in a tough enviroment (one that was certainly easier than the one I had been working in before). He made a wrong assumption, based on incorrect world view. That doesn't make him a bad person, it just shows that he, like everyone else isn't perfect.

Re:People associate it wrongly (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454498)

You mean so that you can make a knee jerk reaction to people who make knee jerk reactions?

Re:People associate it wrongly (0)

trollertron3000 (1940942) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454636)

It's not in human nature to judge people? Human history disagrees.

Re:People associate it wrongly (1)

vapspwi (634069) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454106)

I have a giant comic collection going back over 30 years, and I've missed about 5 football games total (home and away) for my alma mater in the last 14 years or so. What does that make me?

JRjr

Re:People associate it wrongly (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454162)

The obvious answer would be "single." ;)

Really, though, if that's the first thing people find out about you; i.e., you're that ... enthusiastic about it (or, one might say, obsessed), it can be a bit weird.

ultimately though ... I don't really care. I'm enthusiastic about things I like, too, but usually don't bring them up right away ... mainly because I figure the other person probably doesn't care that much :P :)

Re:People associate it wrongly (1)

Unkyjar (1148699) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454310)

Busy?

Re:People associate it wrongly (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454128)

It's perfectly natural, since football and comic books are symbols of the two incompatible phenotypes of human males: "Strong Jock", and "Intelligent Nerd".

Of course, there is a theory which states if a single man could love both football and comic books he would become an Übermensch.
And there is another theory which states this has already happened. [wikipedia.org]

Re:People associate it wrongly (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454530)

my first reaction is still: "Hopeless Nerd!"

Really? My first reaction would be, "okay."

It's human nature.

Speak for yourself.

Re:People associate it wrongly (1)

wickedskaman (1105337) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454168)

Did you grow up on a pepper farm? Do you find yourself remarking at Denny's, "This is some stale ass pepper!"?

Re:People associate it wrongly (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454568)

That's an absurd question. As if I'd ever eat at Denny's!

Re:People associate it wrongly (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35453494)

If someone judges me without first meeting me then I would rather not be associated with them.
Sadly, too many people judge themselves by what others think of them.
Don't be ashamed or embarrassed, grow some thick skin and enjoy life.
You only live once!

Re:People associate it wrongly (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454554)

So, your going to judge me and not want to be associated with me without even meeting me?

Re:People associate it wrongly (3, Interesting)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#35453624)

Well, are you sure would really want to tell right away to some girl you meet that you read comic books or watch anime? Things like can make people think about you wrongly. And for example, when I'm visiting Thailand I like the ladyboys there, but it's not something I'd say to anyone when I first meet them.

Depends on context.

I'm not going to walk into a job interview and start telling them how much I love Minecraft and Dwarf Fortress, but that doesn't make it a dirty secret.

If I meet some random person on the street I'm not going to start talking about how much I love the ease of provisioning a new VM in our new cluster, but that doesn't make it a dirty secret.

And if I met some girl that I was attracted to (as you seem to be suggesting, rather than just some random acquaintance who happens to be female), I most certainly would tell them that I read comic books and watch anime.

Re:People associate it wrongly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35453852)

I'm an unashamed comics and anime geek (geek in general tbh) - and it's one of the first things I would divulge to a potential ladyfriend (speaking hypothetically now as I've been happily involved with the same girl for four years). If they can't accept me as a valid person because/in spite of this interest, then they're not worth getting involved with in the first place. All of my colleagues at work - a highly-professional insurance brokers in the City of London - know about my hobby, and while some see it as a bit quirky or nerdy, I don't let it define who I am as I have plenty of other 'normal' interests too.

Re:People associate it wrongly (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454356)

I'm an unashamed comics and anime geek (geek in general tbh) - and it's one of the first things I would divulge to a potential ladyfriend

Well, better that than they find out I work with computers...

Re:People associate it wrongly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35453886)

Usually I'd agree, but that's exactly what I did in my last interview and it helped me get the job. Of course I was interviewing with a bunch of other geeks, so researching your target audience is important.

Re:People associate it wrongly (2)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454034)

" Dwarf Fortress"

*hits the panic button*
"Security, we've got another one"

Re:People associate it wrongly (3, Funny)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454176)

Does the panic button flood the chamber with magma?

Re:People associate it wrongly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35454452)

Reading comic books and watching anime is so butch when compared to watching certain adventure/fantasy series aimed at teenage and pre-teen mostly female audiences. One gets that interesting mixed feeling of paedophile/sugar-daddy/back to the childhood/first crush/no, their didn't just do that!/family matters/sniff. I think it's not the content of consumption what matters, rather, it's the way the consumption is made and whether it takes too much of one's attention from the significant other.

Re:People associate it wrongly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35453810)

Most ladyboys I meet are very impressed when I tell them about the comic books I've read.

Re:People associate it wrongly (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35453916)

Geeks have a very misconceived perception of how the world views them. It has always been common on Slashdot (and elsewhere, in more recent years) to convince each other that geek is hip and geeks are the new hotness and that everyone loves a geek. The truth is, the world doesn't.

I know plenty of people who think of videogames as something that entertained them in their youth, but now that they're adults, it's not relevant. I've even come across plenty of teenagers while playing with my buddies in online games (Call of Duty, for example), who don't understand why guys in their late 20s or even 30s would be playing videogames. I've even read forum discussions asking the question of how long people will play videogames or when it's time to stop playing (and these discussions are ON game sites, mind you!) and a common response from young people is that they'll probably stop when they're around 20 or 30. Sometimes maybe 40. If teenagers think playing games into adulthood is ridiculous, how do you think other adults (and especially older adults) think of you?

I once wryly reacted to myself doing or saying something kind of shamefully geeky by snickering and saying "god damn, I'm such a geek". In front of a girl I'd been with for awhile. Her response? She very quickly showed great concern and assured me that I wasn't a geek and I shouldn't say that about myself. In her mind, a "geek" was an insult. A derision. I guarantee she's not alone. Hell, you even see it on a regular basis in modern media, when someone is referred to as a "geek" or a "nerd" in a very derogatory way.

So yeah, there are a LOT of things out there that you may not be ashamed of, but that you wouldn't want publicly associated with yourself. It's one of the problems many people had with Blizzard's attempt to force everyone to use their real full names in the forums (sorry, but my full name is a private thing which I do care to guard, if at all possible - thanks Blizzard!). It's the problem a lot of people have with the idea of some enforced internet-wide identity requirement. There is value in anonymity.

I enjoy videogames. I would absolutely not want friends, future girlfriends, family of future friends or girlfriends, employers, government agents, or others to be looking up information on me and find a ton of videogame related stuff associated with my name. Not because I'm ashamed of being interested in videogames, but because I know that all of those people would unfairly judge me for it. That because I play videogames a few hours a month, I might not be able to get a security clearance, because someone sees videogames as something only an untrustworthy addictive personality would engage in. Or that a future girlfriend might see it as a sign of permanent immaturity. Or that an employer might see it as a potential problem of some sort.

It's the same reason people often don't want their lack of religious belief to be public. Again, not ashamed of it, but being an atheist is not exactly something you want to risk being known about you when the chances are strong a future employer or manager is a devout religious person and holds strong prejudices against you based solely on that (you know, prejudices like our former president had when he said that he doesn't believe atheists can be patriots and maybe shouldn't even be citizens).

Of course, the number of devious ways this could be utilized are nearly endless.

Re:People associate it wrongly (1)

pitje (1083069) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454154)

wow
Am I glad not to live in the society you live in.
Or be as concerned as you are about how other people view me.

Re:People associate it wrongly (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454250)

You're using a computer so chances are, you ARE living in that world. The fact you don't realize it is kind of tragic.

Re:People associate it wrongly (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454160)

Which is why these days I pretty much introduce myself with "Hi, I'm $name, I'm weird. Here's a bunch of geeky stuff to prove it".

Some people get weirded out, which is exactly the intention. It stops things early and removes the need to worry later. Life's short, I don't need to spend a part worrying about this nonsense.

She very quickly showed great concern and assured me that I wasn't a geek and I shouldn't say that about myself. In her mind, a "geek" was an insult.

Yep, ran into somebody with that kind of opinion. We don't talk anymore. No regrets about that.

Re:People associate it wrongly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35454458)

This is why I'm happy with my current gf - she is definitely not a geek or really has any kind of geek interests, but she lets me geek out to the fullest. If it's something I'm really into, she will basically follow along and just trust me because I've set a good precedent of things that are actually fun\interesting. I got her watching a little bit of anime, playing a few games (she is definitely not a gamer, but she plays casual games like Peggle) and she's even tried to pick up M:TG.

I don't know what it is, probably personality-wise we are both kind of reclusive, which probably helps.

Re:People associate it wrongly (1)

ddusza (775603) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454588)

If you are introducing yourself as a string literal, then I can see where the 'other people' may look at you funny. I'd have to admit, makes it great for fun at a party where you have "Hello, my name is $NAME" on a sticky badge....(can't wait for the next party!). Wow, I love being a geek (and a 44yo gamer, with no intention of growing out of it). :D

Re:People associate it wrongly (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#35453952)

Depends on if you're looking to score or if you're looking for a keeper.

A no tech guy leading MS = shameful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35454022)

1 of the largest software companies is being led by a guy with no technological background whatsoever. That is shameful. It's a clear picture into what's happening in the United States of America today and not just at Microsoft. Any small wonder why we're "going down" folks? Put unqualified, and essentailly blind, dolts at the wheel steering the ship and this is what you get. The only thing keeping MS afloat is the billions they drew from their past, when they were actually led by a genius with both business and computer technical acumen named Bill Gates (and Jim Allchin possibly as well).

Re:People associate it wrongly (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454262)

It takes bravery to say that even in a forum. Surprisingly no-one has insulted you for it.

Re:People associate it wrongly (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454334)

I've met some very cute girls at conventions. It was more a case of telling them which comic books I read and which anime I watch. Mind you, I wasn't trying to pull. Had I been trying to pull in a context like that I'd probably have to claim to write or illustrate the comic books.

Re:People associate it wrongly (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454388)

> Well, are you sure would really want to tell right away to some girl you meet that you read comic books or watch anime? Things like can make people think about you wrongly.

If at the local japanese manga store, yes. If not, that really depends on where we meet.

If people are that shallow to judge you based on your honesty and hobbies, they can fuck off. This tactic weeds out all the immature relationships.

I want authentic relationships - "pretending" to hide my interests because someone doesn't understand what a geek is / does is immature of them.

Re:People associate it wrongly (1)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454436)

If your trying to pick one up here [thechurchdallas.com] it would defiantly be to your advantage. Just please leave the game books in your car, having VtM books in your pants makes you look like a dork even by church goer standards.

And I deem... (2, Interesting)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 3 years ago | (#35453424)

And I deem patents shameful.

Has to be done. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35453430)

Worst Patent Ever.

Sounds like a Good Idea (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35453454)

The title of this article is pretty sensational, and hides the true idea behind the patent.

The patent isn't saying comic books (and other fringe interests) are "shameful", it's saying that if you are putting yourself out there in some way, like a resume or a dating site, fringe interests aren't going to be the first things you list.

For example I used to do a college radio show on Japanese noise rock, it's cool, but if I tell most people about right off the bat, I get a blank look.

Re:Sounds like a Good Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35453774)

If that sounds anything like Japanese Reggae then you should be ashamed and commit Seppuku !
8-)

Re:Sounds like a Good Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35453890)

I just find it amazing that a "hide this interest for people it is not mutual with" button is patentable. But, I've seen worse, I suppose.

Re:Sounds like a Good Idea (2)

greed (112493) | more than 3 years ago | (#35453932)

But...

Isn't that exactly like the "wanna-f**k" sites and apps that tell you someone is interested in you only if you are interested in them?

That is, if I say I'm interested in Person X, nothing happens. But when Person X also says they're interested in me, we both then get some indication that has happened--instant message, profile marker, whatever. It's really great for shy people. Though you still have the "I don't know what to say" issue.

This one goes back to multi-user BBS days....

Come to think of it, I might have seen something similar, like "don't list extreme fetish interests for users who have not filled out any extreme fetish interests". Hmmm. I wonder if those ex-sysops I know have backups of the BBS software....

Re:Sounds like a Good Idea (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 3 years ago | (#35453976)

See, I'm one of those kind of people that would say, "Cool! Tell me about it!" I wouldn't have much interest in something called "noise rock", although I have a couple of items in my music collection that might qualify (thanks eMusic!).

I have little patience for people who react negatively to strangeness. I don't lead with my interests, which are also generally esoteric, but I don't go out of my way to hide them either. Besides, more often than you would expect, you find someone who recognizes or at least appreciates them, which more than makes up for 10 blank stares.
 

Re:Sounds like a Good Idea (1)

tixxit (1107127) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454038)

Further, the point about expectations is important. Slashdot of all places should realize the value in not sharing with everyone that you're a computer nerd, lest they start requesting your help/input every time their computer goes bonkers. The same can go with homework or car troubles.

Re:Sounds like a Good Idea (2)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454048)

Of course the fringe things are going to be among the first that you list.

People are always so fucking infatuated with themselves that they can't wait to tell you about all the things they're into that you've probably never heard of. The fact that it's fringe and you haven't heard of it convinces them that they're just that much cooler.

Re:Sounds like a Good Idea (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454584)

You're not describing an average person, you're describing a hipster.

Shame (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35453462)

I think I'd be more ashamed to admit I worked at Microsoft.

Shameful Admission. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35453478)

Perhaps I should confess the fact that I own Microsoft stock. There, I have said it publicly !

Re:Shameful Admission. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35453830)

You and your type disgust me.

Re:Shameful Admission. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35453964)

You disgust me! There, I have said it publicly !

Sounds like a good idea to me... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35453482)

I used to have a big interest in the paranormal... I would never have listed it in a dating profile, but would have been interested in other people who were also into it. Now, not sure I like the label of "shameful"... but it was something I didn't want to just blurt out.

Re:Sounds like a good idea to me... (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454028)

Well, it's something that's easy to prejudge wrong because "interest in the paranormal" could mean a reader of the "Skeptical Inquirer" type of person who is genuinely interested in the fact that there are a lot of weird things we can't explain (at least yet) or an idiot who falls for "psychics" and astrology and all the other superstitious nonsense associated with "the paranormal".

Re:Sounds like a good idea to me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35454100)

Thank you for demonstrating the reason why I wouldn't list it as an interest. At the time, I fell somewhere in between, but judging by your response, you would have labelled me "an idiot".

Re:Sounds like a good idea to me... (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454308)

That may be because paranormal things don't ever happen. Its just a rare thing with a physical explanation (maybe based on physics which are not known yet). You may as well believe in the lucky green cheese fairy who lives in a pumpkin house on a spaghetti farm on the dark side of the moon over psychics and ghosts.

I'd like to know... (1)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | more than 3 years ago | (#35453516)

...where The Real Housewives of xyz and River Dance end up on the 'Fringe Interests' list, because there's no way in Hell people would admit to either of those of a first date.

Re:I'd like to know... (1)

Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) | more than 3 years ago | (#35453818)

...where The Real Housewives of xyz and River Dance end up on the 'Fringe Interests' list, because there's no way in Hell people would admit to either of those of a first date.

I once had a first date with a woman who admitted that she believed that David Koresh was the Second Coming. People will admit all kinds of weird shit on a first date. Of course, after hearing that I called for the check, paid up, and walked out.

Re:I'd like to know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35453960)

No offense intended, but I'd see something like that as a possible attempt to get rid of a less than desirable date, and it sounds like it worked.

Re:I'd like to know... (1)

Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454586)

I only went out with that woman as a favor to a friend.

"Blackmail Database" (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35453536)

Oh this is nice.

This time it's a list of legal but less than popular snips of data we can attach to a person's profile!

Then one of a couple of options results:
A. Pwned security breach and it hits the wild
B. Given to agencies to threaten people with if they get out of line.

Re:"Blackmail Database" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35453740)

Yes, but if they're patenting this business model, does that mean nobody else can use it?

Re:"Blackmail Database" (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35453986)

Sure they can use it, they just have to license it from Microsoft.

"Wouldn't you prefer Windows NOW?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35453554)

So once M$ finds out that I read web-comics (even *GASP* fur... ER, anthropomorphic ones!), they're going to call me up and offer me special... deals... on their software if I don't want that shameful information generally known?

Where is the fucking invention? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35453564)

The US Patent system is totally fucking loony. All this East Texas shit be trippin'. This just proves it.

To be honest, my secret kink is not comic books, it's vinyl. I'm not

Re:Where is the fucking invention? (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454042)

I have a pretty big record collection too!

Ishihara and TBS would love this (1)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 3 years ago | (#35453580)

Ishihara and TBS would love this in their crusade against otaku and anime fans.

Not a bad idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35453610)

Whether it needs a patent is something else, but the basic idea behind the technology is quite good.
For example, I have a collection of elegant (not military) pocket knives, which -while I am not embarassed- is not something I mention at work - they might think I am a closet psychopath.

Actually not a bad idea (3, Insightful)

pifactorial (1000403) | more than 3 years ago | (#35453612)

I get the humorous Microsoft-bashing potential of this, but... I think they're actually thinking along the right lines here. It's not news anymore that any sort of public profile on the internet can land you in trouble with an employer. Certain categories of online services (e.g. dating services) depend on a person being willing to divulge potentially embarrassing information about themselves. People will continue to want to take advantage of these services, but given the opportunity to avoid embarrassing yourself in front of potential employers / friends / etc., I think one would choose the option of having this sort of information kept secret.

But haha, yes, comic books are taboo. Scott McCloud would have some choice words.

Re:Actually not a bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35453874)

"It's not news anymore that any sort of public profile on the internet can land you in trouble with an employer."

Only with employers that are as uptight as Microsoft.

Re:Actually not a bad idea (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454110)

Chair throwing aside, I've heard that MS is actually a fairly good place to work.

So what's the story here? (3, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#35453660)

The patent doesn't seem particularly terrible on comparison with a lot of the ones we've seen. The example given is clearly chosen to be as inoffensive as possible whilst still being something that someone might plausibly want to keep to themselves.

So, I guess the story is "Microsoft is evil, patents are also evil, here's something that's potentially mildly offensive to easily offended comic book fans so this proves they're evil"

Interests such as an inordinate fondness for... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35453672)

Chairs?

Trollertron3k Deems Submitter Retarded (1)

trollertron3000 (1940942) | more than 3 years ago | (#35453674)

And Trollertron3k Deems Submitter Retarded!

Don't you guys realize we'd read the stories without your hype? For the love of God can we get an accurate headline this week?

Ambitious professional (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 3 years ago | (#35453718)

I see no reason at all why an ambitious professional should hide a passion for comic books. Does anyone see any problem at all? I don't.

Steve Balmer (2)

UdoKeir (239957) | more than 3 years ago | (#35453720)

By day he's mild-mannered executive Steve Balmer, but at night he dons his monkey suit and becomes CHAIR MAN! Promising to "f--ing bury that guy" (he's done it before), he guards the streets of Redmond from free software.

Re:Steve Balmer (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35453878)

Chairface will eat him for lunch.

I'd fault them... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35453748)

... but liking Microsoft products is also on their list of "shameful activities"

Furries realized this years ago (1)

greenreaper (205818) | more than 3 years ago | (#35453802)

We just made our own dating site [pounced.org] . Problem solved!

Worst... Patent... Ever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35453812)

/ob-comic-book-guy

Mis read the title (1)

Dupple (1016592) | more than 3 years ago | (#35453816)

I could have sworn it said 'Comic Sans' is shameful

As a middle aged computer gamer (1)

Liambp (1565081) | more than 3 years ago | (#35453840)

I know where they are coming from but I have no idea how they can turn this into a patent.

*Con as prior art? (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 3 years ago | (#35453854)

I think the idea is a bit of innuendo. 'Comic books' sounds better than a shared love of roleplaying Hannah Barbera characters covered with mustard on a waterbed with Orson Welles films playing on a projector. Even within comic books, there may be certain comics that are less socially acceptable than Marvel and DC. However, even if one accepts this as the kind of thing that could possibly get a patent, various conventions and internet forums, where one can escape from the people that know them personally already exist to fill a somewhat similar role, and there's already some systems in place that allow some degree of confidence (Bob clicks a button to say that he likes Alice, but Alice doesn't find out until she clicks a button that Alice likes Bob).

Now what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35453902)

What am I going to do with all my old issues of of "Eerie" and "Creepy" and all my framed "Tank Girl" art? Why can't society leave us alone?

If it's not Consolidated Lint, it's just fuzz

I can imagine how this conversation went (4, Insightful)

Ghostworks (991012) | more than 3 years ago | (#35453906)

Lawyer: "So why did we originally create this feature?"
Engineer: "Porn. Mostly the kinky stuff. Tranvestites, golden showers, that sort of thing."
Lawyer: "We can't use 'defense of transvestite porn' in a patent,"
Engineer: "Why not? It's why we made it."
Lawyer: "Yeah, but every patent is also a public document, which means it's a potential PR nightmare. Do you want to see 'Patent Protects Porn' on Slashdot?"
Engineer: "Actually..."
Lawyer: "Forget it. Just come up with something normal people would find both a harmless interest and somehow secretly shameful. Mainstream fringe."
Engineer: "...."
Lawyer: "Never mind, we'll think of something."

Next MS patent: how to live your life correctly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35453940)

In fact i think that uptight attitude goes some way towards explaining the lack of creativity displayed by MS and much of big business.

Does anyone in America understand "metaphor" (2)

whitroth (9367) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454024)

I can't imagine that they'd say in a patent application "people who are interested in alternate sexuality", or "people who were abused as children", or "people who belong to a religion other than Christian who live in the Bible Belt (aka the Christian terrorist homeland)"

                  mark

Re:Does anyone in America understand "metaphor" (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454230)

Good point.

But consider this: Microsoft needs the services of just such 'out of the box thinking' creative employees in order to survive. It would seem strange on the surface to see Microsoft develop and patent a method for identifying such people to their employers. But Microsoft has been attacked [wikipedia.org] in the past for its support and defense of just such people. So perhaps they are patenting something in order to keep its use out of the hands of conservative interest groups know for the use of just such tools [progressivepatriots.com] . If they own the patent, they can sue to prevent others from using it.

Re:Does anyone in America understand "metaphor" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35454382)

I can't imagine that they'd say in a patent application ... "people who belong to a religion other than Christian who live in the Bible Belt (aka the Christian terrorist homeland)"

Or "people who have a deep rooted self-hatred that they project onto their neighbors"?

Carl Barks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35454210)

Say what you want, but Carl Barks is one of the most influential writers in American history. Don Rosa is a close second, and hollywood is still ripping off his and Don Rosa's works regularly for movies.

Why oh why do so many people like the bust MS (1)

BudAaron (1231468) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454216)

I truly wish that posters here would be more truthful and less dramatic with headlines. The leader on this one is such bullshit!!!!!!!!!!

Don't Understand the Comments Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35454226)

This is a great idea, but a terrible patent. Of course I'm not going to tell people I just met that I watch anime, because we all know that creepy anime guy that walks around with Love Hina shirts on. Even if someone doesn't feel ashamed of the particular type of anime that he watches, the average person isn't going to know the difference. It's this way with all nerd-dom; we know that the average person that reads sci-fi books, watches anime, plays Dungeons and Dragons, plays video games, and reads comic books isn't a creepy guy who lives in his parents' basement. But we all know people who fit the stereotype, the average person knows people who fit the stereotype, and most importantly, the average person doesn't know the large group of normal people that don't fit the stereotype because they're not part of that social group. They only notice the people that stand out. If you want to be mad at someone, don't be mad at the people that don't want to "support the cause", whatever that means. Be mad at the people that become so obsessed that they think of their particular entertainment sources as a cause to begin with. What bothers me about this is that Microsoft is patenting something that is pretty damn obvious.

Wasn't this described in AP (1)

bmearns (1691628) | more than 3 years ago | (#35454266)

I'm pretty sure I remember reading something exactly like this in Applied Cryptography. I'll have to check when I get home, but I'm pretty sure Schneier can argue he has prior art.

My Hobby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35454630)

I once had an interviewee for a programming position claim that her "hobby" was reading Byte magazine. Shameful. Funny at least.

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