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US Secret Service Wants To Identify Snark

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 months ago | from the bound-for-success dept.

Privacy 213

beschra (1424727) writes "From the article: 'The U.S. Secret Service is seeking software that can identify top influencers and trending sets of social media data, allowing the agency to monitor these streams in real-time — and sift through the sarcasm. "We are not currently aware of any automated technology that could do that (detect sarcasm). No one is considered a leader in that,'" Jamie Martin, a data acquisition engineer at Sioux Falls, SD based Bright Planet, told CBS News.'

Why not just force Twitter to change TOS to require sarcasm tag?"

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213 comments

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No way! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47165301)

Won't find any of that here!

Yeah, right (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47165313)

that's gonna work

Re:Yeah, right (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47165705)

Sure it will:

bool inetrnetsarcasmdetector (string post) {
return true; }

Re:Yeah, right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47166457)

bool inetrnetsarcasmdetector (string post) {
    return post.ContainsDataOnAmericanCorruption : false : true;
}

Re:Yeah, right (1)

onepoint (301486) | about 2 months ago | (#47167083)

Just might work. Don't forget we have many people that have influenced history via sarcasm or joke's. Lenny Bruce arrests leading to George Carlins list of 7 things you cannot say on the air. Leading to court cases... Which lead up to a refined perspective of what might be accepted. I still have never understood the rules, but it seems that it's more understandable by those that deal with Media.

So looking for someone that has a following, and that following can effectively make a change in the world (think of a Mother Teresa type person) and finding them is important, what they think people just might act upon them. Another person that when they speak people listen is Warren Buffet ...

anyway have a great day

Re:Yeah, right (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168103)

Though you did get the right moderation in this case, Slashdot is the ultimate example of why this will not work. Most humans do not understand or detect sarcasm most of the time (or detects it all the time).

This should be easy. (1)

mellon (7048) | about 2 months ago | (#47165319)

Just feed a bayesian analysis with postings from /. and use that to match against twitter. Should be able to get within 10%...

Re:This should be easy. (4, Insightful)

flappinbooger (574405) | about 2 months ago | (#47165465)

Just feed a bayesian analysis with postings from /. and use that to match against twitter. Should be able to get within 10%...

Some conspiracy insight - the government's quantum based AI big brother master computer of the NSA is up and running in order to completely surveil the internet in real time.

The problem is, it is nearly useless because it can't determine if someone is being sarcastic / snarky or not.

Re:This should be easy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47165791)

This is easily solved by the Cull Hypothesis:

1. Detect all offensive messages
2. Perform counter offensive to remove offender from communication systems
3. Goto step 1 until you've culled all offensive messages.

In this way, we'll evolve snark out of society (perhaps even out of genetics if it's sustainable.)

Re:This should be easy. (1)

TWX (665546) | about 2 months ago | (#47166497)

I don't think that the Internet will be terribly useful with no one on it...

Sarcasm example (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47166047)

The President of the US traded 5 high-ranking terrorist war criminals for a deserter.

Re:Sarcasm example (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 2 months ago | (#47166263)

Sorry, but that isn't sarcasm. That is a fact.

Re:Sarcasm example (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 months ago | (#47166607)

You keep using that word. I don't think that word means what you think it means.

Re:Sarcasm example (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47166927)

Sorry, but that isn't sarcasm. That is a fact.

Woosh!

Re:Sarcasm example (1)

ultranova (717540) | about 2 months ago | (#47170459)

Sorry, but that isn't sarcasm. That is a fact.

And this here is why this system can't possibly work: if you're a high-ranking Party member in a hypothetical non-collapsed modern-day Soviet Russia, and the sarcasm-detector starts flagging every post saying "communism is awesome", what will your reaction be? Do you tolerate a device that's basically exposing your own delusions as such, day in and day out, or will you order it to be "corrected"?

I suppose you could simply ignore all criticism and dig ever-deeper into your dreamworld, telling yourself that you're right and everyone who disagrees is an imperialist swine. But that didn't end well for the Soviet Union and it won't end well for the NSA.

A delusional system can't take self-awareness. That's why sarcam is such a threat to it, but so is accurate detection of sarcasm. The Emperor has no clothes, and everyone who admits it to themselves is his enemy, but sending agents to arrest everyone who thinks so without admitting someone might think so requires a level of wilful self-delusion a computer simply can't match. A delusional system is always on the brink of collapse, and the harder it fights the more damage it inflicts on itself. The USSR went that way, and so will the NSA - and possibly the US at this rate.

Re:Sarcasm example (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 2 months ago | (#47180629)

So, which is it? Are you saying the 5 Taliban leaders, a couple who are accused of War Crimes, aren't terrorists? Or are you saying someone who by all accounts walked away from his post, after ranting about how evil America is and voicing support for Taliban and then converting to Islam ... is not a deserter and traitor?

Curious, exactly how would you portray it? Moral victory for Obama and "world peace" ??? --REAL sarcasm

Re:Sarcasm example (2)

FuegoFuerte (247200) | about 2 months ago | (#47166283)

No, that wasn't sarcasm, that was brilliant.

Also, you need to look up 'sarcasm.'

Re:This should be easy. (3, Funny)

poity (465672) | about 2 months ago | (#47166251)

Conspiracy insight level 2: The government already has a sentient AI, but it's an Aspie like Data on Star Trek, so they're crowd-sourcing its emotional development. *dun-dun-DUN*

Re:This should be easy. (1)

flappinbooger (574405) | about 2 months ago | (#47166301)

Conspiracy insight level 2: The government already has a sentient AI, but it's an Aspie like Data on Star Trek, so they're crowd-sourcing its emotional development. *dun-dun-DUN*

If they're also putting patches of live skin on his arm, and seductively blowing on it, that would also explain who is running things behind the scenes.

Re:This should be easy. (4, Funny)

lagomorpha2 (1376475) | about 2 months ago | (#47166689)

so they're crowd-sourcing its emotional development. *dun-dun-DUN*

...and they're seeding it with all the data from Twitter, Reddit, Slashdot, and 4chan. So this is how the world ends

Re:This should be easy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47167791)

so they're crowd-sourcing its emotional development. *dun-dun-DUN*

...and they're seeding it with all the data from Twitter, Reddit, Slashdot, and 4chan. So this is how the world ends

should add 9gag to the mix.

Re:This should be easy. (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 months ago | (#47168243)

There also chatting with scientists to learn more about the concept of funny [youtube.com]

Re:This should be easy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168491)

That's ridiculous. The point of this is almost certainly to reduce the number of reports that they have to respond to. Every time somebody threatens to kill the President the Secret Service is required to do at least a cursory examination to make sure that there's no threat. Being able to quickly sift through the ones that are likely to be sarcasm would ultimately beneficial to people making snarking remarks as well as the agents that don't have to waste their time on it.

Re:This should be easy. (2)

rtb61 (674572) | about 2 months ago | (#47168713)

What they are doing is trying to hunt down and substantiate those quietly influencing the whole of the internet, not accidentally but purposefully via memes http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M... [wikipedia.org] hidden in sarcasm, those being political and social memes not kitten memes. So what they will be doing is backtracking ideas and changes to existing ideas from larger more spread elements of internet media and attempting to track them back to original sources based upon date of occurrence and looking for repeated patterns. Then they will endeavour to silence or force influence over those quiet originators via one method or another. Likely they already have some suspects in mind from around the world and just want to confirm for action whilst expanding their search for others. The will also be looking be looking for collusion between originators to try to prove conspiratorial associations, this is likely where their ideas of substantiation will collapse as that consensus of thought between originators is 'Anonymous' to each other or of such loose circumstantial nature as to be legally negligible. Elements of government are basically pissed off at losing their propaganda war on the internet and looking for people to blame.

Re:This should be easy. (2)

david_thornley (598059) | about 2 months ago | (#47172723)

To be more precise, the quantum computer can determine if a comment is snarky or who made it, but not both. That's why they can't find out who's being snarky.

Re:This should be easy. (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about 2 months ago | (#47177833)

determine if a comment is snarky or who made it, but not both. That's why they can't find out who's being snarky.

They don't need precision. They've got nukes.

To quote the Revd Oliver Cromwell, "Kill them all. Let God sort them out."

Re:This should be easy. (3, Insightful)

plover (150551) | about 2 months ago | (#47165955)

Actually, what they could do would be to correlate English language postings with equivalent German language postings. As Germans are known world wide for their fun-loving sense of humor and sarcastic wits, the difference should yield accurate, non-snarky posts in English.

Easy (3, Funny)

corychristison (951993) | about 2 months ago | (#47165321)

Search the text for /sarcasm or #sarcasm.

Done. Where's my paycheque?

Re:Easy (4, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47165345)

yeah, that will work.

Re:Easy (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47165507)

Excuse me sir, you seem to have forgotten to tag your post with #sarcasm.

Re:Easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47165731)

But your post isn't sarcastic, why that tag? Anyway, they want to verify what people are thinking of them when they screw up things. How innovative of them.

Re:Easy (2)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 2 months ago | (#47166317)

Whoosh! ...

Wait, is Whoosh snarky? I can't even tell.

Re:Easy (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 2 months ago | (#47167645)

Whoosh! ...

Wait, is Whoosh snarky? I can't even tell.

A Boojum.

Re:Easy (1)

QRDeNameland (873957) | about 2 months ago | (#47167183)

Search the text for /sarcasm or #sarcasm.

Done. Where's my paycheque?

Unfortunately, I think you'll need to go a bit further and submit an RFC for the Snarky Bit.

but.. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47165331)

They hunted till darkness came on, but they found
Not a button, or feather, or mark,
By which they could tell that they stood on the ground
Where the Baker had met with the Snark.

In the midst of the word he was trying to say,
In the midst of his laughter and glee,
He had softly and suddenly vanished away—
For the Snark was a Boojum, you see.

Re:but.. (2)

cream wobbly (1102689) | about 2 months ago | (#47165835)

They're looking for Fouquieria columnaris?

Re:but.. (1)

lgw (121541) | about 2 months ago | (#47166217)

It's always amazed me how the word "snark" has proliferated, once you understand its intended meaning. Hint: the poem was the world's greatest-ever success at sneaking one past the censors.

Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47165333)

I guess now that they aren't allowed to have prostitute-parties at each of the President's stops,they're looking for new things to occupy thier time. I guess reading sarcasm on the Internets could help them do thier job of protecting VIP's better...

Re:Seriously? (2)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about 2 months ago | (#47165407)

A significant part of their job is deciding whether threats made against said VIPs are serious or not.

Re:Seriously? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 months ago | (#47165889)

Which is something of a problem, since the internet is so full of 'patriots' declaring it is their duty (often god-given duty) to rebel against the tyranny of the government. And very nearly all of them are just spouting hot air.

Re:Seriously? (2)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 2 months ago | (#47166293)

So, do you not think it is a patriots duty to overthrow a tyrannical government?

If so, then the question is, how much Tyranny is too much Tyranny? Not that we shouldn't act, but when should we.

But if not, then that means you support Tyranny, making you part of the problem.

Re:Seriously? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 months ago | (#47167047)

They seem to have a very low tolerance of tyranny. Valid reasons for rebellion appear to include 'The gubmint is trying to feed my children salad,' 'The gubmint isn't thanking Jebus at council meeting any more' and, most terrible of all, 'The Gubmint says gay people can marry now.'

Re:Seriously? (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 2 months ago | (#47180583)

Okay, then your only reply is a series of Straw Man Arguments. Got it.

So you support Tyranny because to oppose it means you're all for Jebus and against Gay sex! YAY! (straw man, meet straw man)

Re:Seriously? (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 2 months ago | (#47166265)

Good point....they don't actually do anything all that useful or needed.

Re:Seriously? (1)

TheGavster (774657) | about 2 months ago | (#47167515)

That's easy: If it's an anonymous threat, it's not serious. Much like: "There was a bomb threat today? Statistically, we're safer today than yesterday!"

Re:Seriously? (1)

mrxak (727974) | about 2 months ago | (#47168043)

Any kind of automated mass collection of data without a human in the loop to determine if a threat is credible or not is going to have significant problems. People are sarcastic. People exaggerate. People lie. How many innocent people are being targeted with programs like the NSA has, simply because of a benign association, a bit of sarcasm, or an imperfect algorithm?

While I'd love to believe that the USSS can create some newer, better algorithms to sort through the threats and non-threats they get, if I was one of their protectees I would be awfully nervous if an algorithm was sorting through everything, instead of actual human beings.

Re:Seriously? (2)

triffid_98 (899609) | about 2 months ago | (#47168181)

Any kind of automated mass collection of data without a human in the loop to determine if a threat is credible or not is going to have significant problems.

If you haven't been paying attention lately, having any kind of civil servant in the loop to determine if a threat is credible or not is also going to have significant problems.

Keywords: Swatting [wikipedia.org] , ATHF Movie/Boston [wikipedia.org] , NSA/FISA Court, Hello Kitty "bubble gun" and/or pop-tarts [wikipedia.org] , etc.

Yeah, right. (4, Funny)

rujasu (3450319) | about 2 months ago | (#47165335)

This will TOTALLY work. Detecting sarcasm will be DEFINITELY not be hard to do in software, seeing as how it's SO EASY for humans to do already.

Re:Yeah, right. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47165391)

I'm not exactly sure how you've come to this conclusion, this is actually going to be pretty hard to do, especially because detecting sarcasm in other people is pretty inexact.

Re:Yeah, right. (3, Funny)

Wookact (2804191) | about 2 months ago | (#47165451)

Um, Woosh.

Re:Yeah, right. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47165515)

Woosh.

oh wait, unless *you* were being sarcastic.

Re:Yeah, right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47165725)

It is sarcasm all the way down!

I suggest they create an algorithm to detect LACK of sarcasm and assume everything else is sarcastic.

Re:Yeah, right. (1)

plover (150551) | about 2 months ago | (#47165985)

I think that's what they're asking for.

Oh, sorry, I'll wait for it .... whoosh.

Re:Yeah, right. (1)

FuegoFuerte (247200) | about 2 months ago | (#47166323)

how about:

function detectSarcasm {
    if ($CommentIsOnInternet -eq $true) {
        return $true
    }
    else {
        return $false
    }
}

Re:Yeah, right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47166829)

Things like this just annoy me.
Just write return $commentsoninternet
You don't need to convert a boolean value into a boolean with an if statement.

Re:Yeah, right. (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 2 months ago | (#47167685)

You obviously forgot to obfuscate your code.

Re:Yeah, right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168969)

woosh

Re:Yeah, right. (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 months ago | (#47170999)

I think you've just created an infinite whoosh loop.

Re:Yeah, right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47165533)

Meta-sarcasm?

Re:Yeah, right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47165541)

Yes..... woosh for poor simple to fool Wookact who could not detect subtle sarcasm backing up rajasu's blatant sarcasm

Re:Yeah, right. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47165741)

You dawg, I heard u don't like sarcasm, so I didn't put any sarcasm in your sarcasm so you can't OH FUCK IT.

Re:Yeah, right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47165805)

Um, Woosh yourself?

Somewhere, sometime, a person will not detect snark.

Poe's Law of Diminishing Snarkiness

Dude! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47165963)

Um, Woosh.

Don't give THEM any hints!

Geeze! Now all the SS has to do is just look for someone posting "woosh" after the comment after the parent comment to see who doesn't get it and then see that the GP is sarcastic and then we are all in Gitmo.

Re:Yeah, right. (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 2 months ago | (#47167517)

The algorithm basically searches for "Whoosh" or "Woosh" in a post and then decides that the grandparent is sarcastic.

Re:Yeah, right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47165463)

I'm not exactly sure how you've come to this conclusion, this is actually going to be pretty hard to do, especially because detecting sarcasm in other people is pretty inexact.

Oh COME ON. Isn't it OBVIOUS where the SARCASM is here, or does YOUR caps lock not work...

Re:Yeah, right. (1)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 2 months ago | (#47165519)

Excellent response. I award you the point

Re:Yeah, right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47165653)

woosh?

Re:Yeah, right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47166915)

I believe your sarcasm detector requires some maintenance

Re:Yeah, right. (1)

sglines (543315) | about 1 month ago | (#47205925)

Bazinga!

ObSimpsons (1)

sconeu (64226) | about 2 months ago | (#47165819)

Re:ObSimpsons (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 2 months ago | (#47166599)

Guy1,"Homer Simpson, yah he's cool"

Guy2,"Are you being sarcastic?"

Guy1,"I don't even know anymore."

Re:ObSimpsons (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 2 months ago | (#47166683)

Came for this.

Oh, Gee, a sarcasm detector (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47165341)

that's a real useful invention.

Ha ha CBG, Frink gets the last laugh!

ppfffftt. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47165347)

like that will work.

Re:ppfffftt. (5, Funny)

hey! (33014) | about 2 months ago | (#47165423)

Sorry, you want the dismissive banter department. This is sarcasm.

Re:ppfffftt. (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47166425)

Wait, that's just more dismissive banter. You're lying. ;-)

Detect Sarcasm???? (1)

DuBois (105200) | about 2 months ago | (#47165363)

How are you going to teach a computer to detect sarcasm when most of the posters on Slashdot can't, assuming posters here are actually human? Which might be a stretch.

Re:Detect Sarcasm???? (4, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 months ago | (#47165633)

Nobody seems to be asking WHY.

Why would the Secret Service, in particular, want to tell sarcasm apart from other speech? Think about who they are.

They want to be able to distinguish sarcastic political speech, from sincere political speech. Of course both are protected speech.

Now, they might have a benign purpose, but from the description in TFA it doesn't seem so. After all, the administration would look pretty foolish if they tried to harass or jail someone for being sarcastic.

Re:Detect Sarcasm???? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47165773)

After all, the administration would look pretty foolish if they tried to harass or jail someone for being sarcastic.

It really depends on what you're veing sarcastic about from the perspective of the Secret Service.

If you sarcastically say "'some guy' should be drowned in a vat of gazpacho and gummy bears while 16 clowns play the William Tell overture on kazoos", and their job is to protect 'some guy' (fill in your own blank here) ... one presumes the intent to tell the difference between random stupid things people day, and decidedly not random, actual threats to 'some guy'.

And, there have already been people who have been arrested (or at least vigorously questioned) about sarcasm they've uttered on the internet about the various safety of 'some guy/place/thing/event'.

Re:Detect Sarcasm???? (1)

plover (150551) | about 2 months ago | (#47166027)

My company sells gazpacho, gummy bears, and kazoos, and we just received a National Security Letter asking us to report if someone buys all three together.

Just pointing out that the first rule of comedic threat club is that you DO NOT TALK ABOUT comedic threat club. At least not without a flaming-torch-juggling attorney present.

Re:Detect Sarcasm???? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47166465)

My company sells gazpacho, gummy bears, and kazoos, and we just received a National Security Letter asking us to report if someone buys all three together.

Thanks for the heads up, I'll make my own gazpacho. ;-)

Re:Detect Sarcasm???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47166613)

Crap, thank to your post my recent purchase of gummy bears & kazoos has me on a watch list.

Thanks a lot ...

Re:Detect Sarcasm???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47167669)

well, when you send these [amazon.com] as a gift to Congress, you gotta expect to be put on some list

Re:Detect Sarcasm???? (1)

Dahamma (304068) | about 2 months ago | (#47168793)

See, now if it weren't for that wink this comment could easily have been interpreted as a veiled threat towards 'some guy'. Emoticons save lives!

Re:Detect Sarcasm???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47165871)

According to the article speedy response is the stated purpose and they want to use social media to get a super fast response. So the problem is really trying to find out who is lying.

Seems like a dispatcher could do this....

You answered your own question (4, Interesting)

Comboman (895500) | about 2 months ago | (#47165903)

Nobody seems to be asking WHY.

Why would the Secret Service, in particular, want to tell sarcasm apart from other speech? Think about who they are.

They want to be able to distinguish sarcastic political speech, from sincere political speech. Of course both are protected speech.

Now, they might have a benign purpose, but from the description in TFA it doesn't seem so. After all, the administration would look pretty foolish if they tried to harass or jail someone for being sarcastic.

The reason the Secret Service wants sarcasm detection is because of the bad PR they get every time they harass someone for being sarcastic. [usatoday.com] The problem is not sarcastic political speech vs sincere political speech; it's sarcastic threats vs sincere threats.

Re:You answered your own question (1)

Entropius (188861) | about 2 months ago | (#47166201)

Are there genuine sincere threats made on Twitter etc?

Someone who's being snarky tweets "So Imma go shoot the president now." Someone who's serious doesn't tweet about shooting the president, and instead goes and shoots him.

@leeharveyoswald didn't take out a classified ad asking for lawn chairs on the grassy knoll, after all.

Re:You answered your own question (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47166387)

Are there genuine sincere threats made on Twitter etc?

To a humorless agency with no ability to detect sarcasm ... they all get treated as sincere.

Someone who's serious doesn't tweet about shooting the president, and instead goes and shoots him.

It is not unprecedented for crazy people to telegraph their particular brand of crazy in advance. In the past, they used to write letters to the editor, manifestos, and trade agreements.

With modern technology, more people can appear to be crazy in the same amount of time.

Re:You answered your own question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168501)

No, but that doesn't mean that there aren't cases where somebody does intend to kill the President and makes the threat. Every threat gets a cursory investigation in case there's something more to it.

As far as Lee Oswald goes, there's no way that you're ever going to completely eliminate those sort of chance opportunities. The opportunities that just present themselves without planning are probably the worst ones to defend against as there's little or no trail to interrupt.

Re:You answered your own question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47173277)

Are there genuine sincere threats made on Twitter etc?

Someone who's being snarky tweets "So Imma go shoot the president now." Someone who's serious doesn't tweet about shooting the president, and instead goes and shoots him.

@leeharveyoswald didn't take out a classified ad asking for lawn chairs on the grassy knoll, after all.

Really? I thought he resided in the Texas school book repository

Re:You answered your own question (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 months ago | (#47167075)

The problem is not sarcastic political speech vs sincere political speech; it's sarcastic threats vs sincere threats.

Only if you really believe that's as far as it goes. The Obama administration has been known to -- shall we say -- stretch the bounds of propriety. That's a pretty major understatement.

Re:You answered your own question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168861)

Citation needed.

Re:Detect Sarcasm???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47166031)

It makes sense if you view sarcasm as just another mode of encryption. Almost makes me want to write up an Alice and Bob scenario...

Re:Detect Sarcasm???? (1)

lgw (121541) | about 2 months ago | (#47166275)

Why would the Secret Service, in particular, want to tell sarcasm apart from other speech? Think about who they are.

  They want to be able to distinguish sarcastic political speech, from sincere political speech. Of course both are protected speech.

Not all political speech is protected. A threat to harm the President of the US is specifically not protected speech. The Secret Service is particularly concerned with such threats, and is in fact charged with keeping tabs on everyone who has ever threatened the president.

If you've ever publically made such a threat, there's a chance an agent will knock on your door and politely sit with you for a few hours while the president is in town. Think about the logistics of that. It would get quite out of hand if they took all internet threats seriously.

Re:Detect Sarcasm???? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47166477)

If you've ever publically made such a threat, there's a chance an agent will knock on your door and politely sit with you for a few hours while the president is in town.

Awesome!! Someone to play Candy Land with.

I'll make tea.

Re:Detect Sarcasm???? (1)

lgw (121541) | about 2 months ago | (#47166665)

I've heard accounts of people doing just that, funnily enough. As the Secret Service currently lacks a sarcasm detector it's not just lonely weirdos they drop in on, and they're probably used to spending an afternoon with random families.

Re:Detect Sarcasm???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47166949)

Secret Service agents are expensive. That "politely sit with you in your own home" scenario doesn't ring true.

Re:Detect Sarcasm???? (1)

lgw (121541) | about 2 months ago | (#47167221)

Per Wikipedia "As of 2010, the Service has over 6,500 employees: 3,200 Special Agents, 1,300 Uniformed Division Officers, and 2,000 technical and administrative employees". With 3200 field agents, I'd imagine they have the manpower to visit a list of people on their watch lists.

Re:Detect Sarcasm???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47167955)

They also investigate, per their original mandate, money laundering. Some of these officers are assigned to that purpose.

Re:Detect Sarcasm???? (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 2 months ago | (#47167205)

The Secret Service is particularly concerned with such threats, and is in fact charged with keeping tabs on everyone who has ever threatened the president.

Something these companies [wikipedia.org] are all too aware of since the Bush presidency.

Re:Detect Sarcasm???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47167985)

If you've ever publically made such a threat, there's a chance an agent will knock on your door and politely sit with you for a few hours while the president is in town.

Bullshit.

Hundreds of thousands of rednecks have expressed a desire to get rid of Obama after their fifth or
sixth Budweiser , and there are not enough Secret Service agents in the world to keep an eye on that
many trailer parks.

Paranoid rumors like you are trying to spread are the province of fools, and only fools
believe such rumors.

Re:Detect Sarcasm???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169725)

That's why you just ignore all internet threats not made directly to targets. Just treat discussion boards as bars, assume everyone is always drunk, full of hot air, and just joking. If the other people there think some threat has merit they will tell about it or not. Their job is to also protect VIPs from ones that make no threats at all. So if someone did make a threat in some forum just ignore it, and assume they made no threaths at all. Just calculate how much money goes to waste trying to build sarcasm detectors. (even humans couldn't do this. Sense of humor varies, so others might recognize something while others might not. Even harder to miss some nuances in written text.) Just put more suited gorillas around the VIPs and be done with it. Or maybe make the VIPs act so only total lunatics are a threat. The way they are rolling now I'm not surprised they might be scared of the publis.

Re:Detect Sarcasm???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47171483)

So, I should say- kill that fat negro king oblama-bama, and the world will be safer

Re:Detect Sarcasm???? (1)

freeze128 (544774) | about 2 months ago | (#47166517)

Well, then I guess it's a good thing that detection of sarcasm from print isn't reliable. So, no matter the reason, I don't think the Secret service is going to get their wish.

On another note, if someone does come up with a reliable algorithm, then the whole world can benefit from it.

Re:Detect Sarcasm???? (1)

maharvey (785540) | about 2 months ago | (#47166581)

Yes, this is exactly what I was wondering. WHY?

If political speech is protected, why exactly are they tracking it? Why is it important to identify the ringleaders of popular opinion? Isn't it a waste of effort to track something you're not theoretically allowed to use?

This raises all sorts of red flags.

Re:Detect Sarcasm???? (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 2 months ago | (#47166723)

because saying, "Mitch McConnell/Barack Obama/Nancy Pelosi/Cliven Bundy/Tom Hanks is a cancer on our country and must be stopped by any means necessary" from someone who has the ability and influence to convince other people to possibly shoot said persons IS illegal. It's incitement to violence.

However, being able to mechanically determine, "Obama should be dragged out to the street and shot" and "I have an AK-47 and want to kill Obama" aren't equal would go a long way to helping an agency that has a pretty big workload to begin with.

Re:Detect Sarcasm???? (1)

cwsumner (1303261) | about 2 months ago | (#47195231)

Yes, this is exactly what I was wondering. WHY?

If political speech is protected, why exactly are they tracking it? ...

You are forgetting that there actually are Real threats in there.

Re:Detect Sarcasm???? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47167455)

There job is to look for threats. Being able to screen out sarcastic response makes them more accurate at their job..
Maybe you don't think that shouldn't be their job, but you need to take that up with congress. That will take work and effort and intellect so you wont try and just respond with a sarcastic remark to make yourself feel good.

Go ahead, prove me wrong

Re:Detect Sarcasm???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168035)

There job is to look for threats.

"There" job ?

Buddy, you're lucky their job isn't to look for semiliterate idiots,
because they would be on you like stink on shit.

Re:Detect Sarcasm???? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a month and a half ago | (#47216995)

There job is to look for threats.

For FSM's sake, why can't you kids handle homophones? Sorry, kid, but I take no stock whatever in what a semiliterate who very obviously never reads anything not on the internet says.

A little unwanted education, you fucking football player who probably doesn't belong here, it's THEIR. The possessive. THEIR. "There" is a place.

For other aliterate dumbasses (look up "aliterate"), it's "They're angry that their car is over there."

Someone please mod me offtopic, this is meant for the ignorant kid alone. This is a fucking nerd site and I don't like seeing comments that belong on Reddit or Fox or Yahoo where the ignorant, non-reading dumbasses usually hang out.

Sorry, this stupidity pisses me off. Our education system sucks donkey balls or that guy wouldn't be such an ignoramus.

Kid, just shut the fuck up. You should be ashamed at your lack of BASIC writing skills (like third grade, idiot).

Re:Detect Sarcasm???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47167771)

Nobody seems to be asking WHY.

Why would the Secret Service, in particular, want to tell sarcasm apart from other speech? Think about who they are.

They want to be able to distinguish sarcastic political speech, from sincere political speech. Of course both are protected speech.

Now, they might have a benign purpose, but from the description in TFA it doesn't seem so. After all, the administration would look pretty foolish if they tried to harass or jail someone for being sarcastic.

WHOA, you just inserted "political" in there yourself, where did that come from? What is the logical basis for that, "they're from the government"?

Then you throw out a classic "it wouldn't make any sense, but what-if anyway". Where are you reading jail or harassment in this?
Are these things they ALREADY do? Are they ALREADY using social media to do this? Then WTF man?

“Our objective is to automate our social media monitoring process. Twitter is what we analyze. This is real time stream analysis. The ability to detect sarcasm and false positives is just one of 16 or 18 things we are looking at. We are looking for the ability to quantify our social media outreach,” he told The Washington Post.

Re:Detect Sarcasm???? (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 2 months ago | (#47168359)

Read between the lines. They're getting too many false positives on their echecarniprism programs and want to filter out the noise to catch "likely" threats. Too many known unknowns you know.

Re:Detect Sarcasm???? (1)

Dahamma (304068) | about 2 months ago | (#47168775)

No, since it's the Secret Service, they want to be able to distinguish sarcastic *threats* against sincere threats. Sincere threats are not protected speech.

I'm sure a million people a day make some form of whiny sarcastic threat against the President or other elected officials, but luckily most of them are not sincere.

Re:Detect Sarcasm???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169441)

Wrong. They need a machine doing it for them, they are too moronic for the task.

If you like your deserter, you can keep him. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47165369)

Then we'll trade you five war criminals for him.

Poor example (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 months ago | (#47165377)

Donovan’s example is a 2009 inauguration problem in which people were trapped in a Capitol tunnel and unable to reach the security gates. If the Secret Service had known through real-time social media, they could have remedied the situation more quickly.

That's true. But if they had gotten a message by carrier pigeon that people were stuck in the tunnel they could also have remedied the situation. /sarcasm

This is a good use of tax dollars and great for fr (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47165381)

This is a great use of our tax money. It really expands our freedom too. I'm glad the government isn't trying to snoop on non-criminals.

This is a good use of tax dollars and great for fr (3, Funny)

jmcvetta (153563) | about 2 months ago | (#47165979)

If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. /sarcasm

Re:This is a good use of tax dollars and great for (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168047)

Those practicing Arabic poetry in Twitter will now have to reformulate the verses in a sarcastic tone to avoid problems with the authorities.

I think the are missing the point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47165399)

Why go through this problem in the first place? Couldn't a phone operator solve the same problem about as well if not better than an program to detect sarcasm or lying?

Stop, you fools! (3, Funny)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 2 months ago | (#47165401)

With all the sarcasm, don't you all realize you're creating the perfect dataset for them to train their algorithms on?

Re:Stop, you fools! (1)

Rich_Lather (925834) | about 2 months ago | (#47165667)

sure

Re:Stop, you fools! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47165771)

shit

Re:Stop, you fools! (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47166601)

Don't worry, all it will really do is create a depressed piece of software that says "Life! Don't talk to me about life."

Re:Stop, you fools! (1)

Ozymandias_KoK (48811) | about 2 months ago | (#47166701)

What sarcasm?

Re:Stop, you fools! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47167007)

Wait till they come to Dice with a National Security Letter and sarcasm shows up as a moderation choice.

Life imitates The Onion (1)

arielCo (995647) | about 2 months ago | (#47165403)

Also, obligatory "yeah, that'll work".

Wouldn't requiring a sarcasm tag... (1)

Bin_jammin (684517) | about 2 months ago | (#47165415)

be a violation of the first amendment? I would imagine you would need to force an ironic tag as well, if you posted a sarcastic post without the tag, sarcastically.

Re:Wouldn't requiring a sarcasm tag... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47166713)

But then we'll get Canadians using the ironic tab every time they have 10,000 spoons when all they needed was a knife ...

What? (1)

ichthus (72442) | about 2 months ago | (#47165437)

Why not just force Twitter to change TOS to require sarcasm tag?

Or, why not just allow free speech? Why do we have to identify sarcasm? Maybe part of the expression of the message is its ambiguity.

Re:What? (2)

Spamalope (91802) | about 2 months ago | (#47165563)

Or, why not just allow free speech? Why do we have to identify sarcasm? Maybe part of the expression of the message is its ambiguity.

Automated propaganda. Sheep herding shouldn't have to be work.

Re:What? (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47165599)

Or, why not just allow free speech? Why do we have to identify sarcasm? Maybe part of the expression of the message is its ambiguity.

Well, as much as I don't like to defend it ...

Imagine that the Secret Service is, oh, I don't know, responsible for assessing threats to various people.

Now, some random internet loon says "grrr, I'm so angry I want to air drop a million pounds of used condoms, Snickers wrappers and Depends undergarments onto Capitol Hill in protest" -- now, you have two possibilities:

1) The random internet loon is blowing off steam, but in no way has either the desire or the resources to actually do this.
2) The random internet loon has just made a tangible threat.

And, since we've already seen stories about people who get arrested for making what they thought was an obviously flippant remark, this becomes a problem.

Of course, as with any automated system ... the false positives and false negatives will be what really kills it.

Because you will have instances where someone makes a genuine threat, and it is flagged as sarcasm. And, you will also have cases where what should be clearly interpreted as sarcasm will be interpreted as real.

So, then you either get actual attacks happening nobody took seriously. Or the men in dark sunglasses hauling you off in the night for questioning because they're 100% convinced that your threat to drop the condoms, Snickers wrappers, and Depends on Capitol Hill was real.

Re:What? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47165655)

Important clarification for any sarcasm impaired law enforcement agencies:

The above example was contrived to be the most outrageous (and therefore least plausible) example I could think of.

You won't know I wasn't joking until you're awash in used condoms, Snickers wrappers, and Depends undergarments air lifted from my herd of flying elephants. The elephant poop is just a freebie since the Depends don't fit the elephants.

Re:What? (2)

ichthus (72442) | about 2 months ago | (#47165801)

So, then you either get actual attacks happening nobody took seriously. Or the men in dark sunglasses hauling you off in the night for questioning because they're 100% convinced that your threat to drop the condoms, Snickers wrappers, and Depends on Capitol Hill was real.

Which scenario do you think is more likely? Furthermore, if anyone is a real threat, there will be much more intelligence (as in evidence of a threat) surrounding that individual than their tweets. Arresting people based solely on their tweets or FB posts will very rapidly devolve into an outright ban of saying anything critical of government officials or policy -- AKA fascism [merriam-webster.com] .

Re:What? (1)

MitchDev (2526834) | about 2 months ago | (#47165933)

That is where America has been headed...

Re:What? (4, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47165941)

Which scenario do you think is more likely?

Well ... gee ... let me think.

This kid [rt.com] :

"Someone had said something to the effect of 'Oh you're insane, you're crazy, you're messed up in the head,'" he called, "to which he replied 'Oh yeah, I'm real messed up in the head, I'm going to go shoot up a school full of kids and eat their still, beating hearts.'"

According to Carter, he ended the quip with "LOL" and "JK" -- Internet shorthand for "laugh out loud" and "just kidding," respectively.

It's a real thing, it has happened already. No evidence of a crime (or even the actual intent to commit one). But someone sees it and goes "eep", and then you get dragged off to jail.

Arresting people based solely on their tweets or FB posts will very rapidly devolve into an outright ban of saying anything critical of government officials or policy -- AKA fascism.

You seem to be under the impression this isn't happening already.

It is.

So, ask me again if I think what I said is a plausible scenario. Because I said it with the full knowledge it has already happened.

Re:What? (1)

ichthus (72442) | about 2 months ago | (#47166437)

Thank you for making my point for me. It has already happened, so it will again. It sounds like, even though you started your first reply with, "Well, as much as I don't like to defend it ...", you've talked yourself out of defending it. We are, therefore, in agreement. Now, let's go get a beer.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47167413)

We are, therefore, in agreement. Now, let's go get a beer.

Unless, of course, GP is under the legal age of alcohol consumption, in which case you were obviously joking, right?

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168011)

Which scenario do you think is more likely?

Well ... gee ... let me think.

This kid [rt.com] :

"Someone had said something to the effect of 'Oh you're insane, you're crazy, you're messed up in the head,'" he called, "to which he replied 'Oh yeah, I'm real messed up in the head, I'm going to go shoot up a school full of kids and eat their still, beating hearts.'"

According to Carter, he ended the quip with "LOL" and "JK" -- Internet shorthand for "laugh out loud" and "just kidding," respectively.

It's a real thing, it has happened already. No evidence of a crime (or even the actual intent to commit one). But someone sees it and goes "eep", and then you get dragged off to jail.

Arresting people based solely on their tweets or FB posts will very rapidly devolve into an outright ban of saying anything critical of government officials or policy -- AKA fascism.

You seem to be under the impression this isn't happening already.

It is.

So, ask me again if I think what I said is a plausible scenario. Because I said it with the full knowledge it has already happened.

Not sure why you have to link Russia Today for something well reported that happened in Texas, but moving on...

If you said what that kid said in any public setting, what would you honestly expect? Hell, if people could SEE he was a teenager, they would be MORE LIKELY to report what they perceived as a real threat.

Evidence and intent is for the actual trial, but I think what he said is enough for a warrant.

Re:What? (1)

sir-gold (949031) | about 2 months ago | (#47166659)

Nobody reads the TOS anyway

If they required a tag... (2)

istartedi (132515) | about 2 months ago | (#47165469)

If they required a sarcasm tag, I'd put it on everything just to be safe. Or would I?

Re:If they required a tag... (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 2 months ago | (#47165531)

Or would I?

You would, but you'd put the closing tag first.

Sarcasm tags wouldn't work. (3, Insightful)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 2 months ago | (#47165473)

Because people would instantly start using them sarcastically.

[sarcasm]It's like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife[/sarcasm]

Re:Sarcasm tags wouldn't work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47166121)

You got me. That was not the multi-layered joke I was expecting. If only I had some mod points for you...

So... (1)

Dripdry (1062282) | about 2 months ago | (#47165481)

So they want to turn all social media into an even more passive-aggressive wasteland than much of it already is?

Re:So... (1)

plover (150551) | about 2 months ago | (#47166069)

Yep. Exactly no change.

there was one. (1)

cellocgw (617879) | about 2 months ago | (#47165485)

And to this day I wonder why Homer's inventor-friend didn't just add a couple Zener diodes to his design to handle signal overload conditions.

Slashdot gives us a prime example (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47165489)

Given the actually quite poor levels of snark displayed even in the comments to this very article, it's easy for an uninformed onlooker to surmise that detecting snark or sarcasm is in fact entirely doable by machine, if not (yet) by some small shell script. As is well known, bureaucracies have no sense of humour, and as is well known outside of North America at least, Americans have trouble with irony as a style figure. It is easy to see, by putting all this together, that any random American Bureaucratic Agency is uniquely qualified for the onlooking job. Thus we see that in these waters, silly is the new professional.

sarcasm detector (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47165493)

A sarcasm detector? That's a real useful invention.

Lmao it had to happen (1)

ReekRend (843787) | about 2 months ago | (#47165499)

How many people have/talk about trolling terrorism keywords? That's what they get.

Re:Lmao it had to happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168137)

It's not as simple as determining if someone "sarcastically" yelled fire, and has serious First Amendment implications which could make punishing sarcasm illegal.

Things like "I'm going to come kill you with this gun, I know you're at ____" are already illegal. It seems doubtful that we could write software to determine the seriousness of less likely but still possible "threats," since people themselves already have difficulty detecting sarcasm. So this will either lead to greater overreactions on likely sarcasm, or accidentally missing things due to being overly sure they are sarcasm. (i.e. basically the same situation that we currently have, if people consider context and the person making the statement prior to taking legal action)

So They're Actually Doing their Job? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47165505)

Given that a small aprt of their job is to identify pump and dump scams, this is actually in their line of work, which is pleasantly surprising.

LOL ... (4, Funny)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47165517)

The automated detection of sarcasm and derision will be one of the fastest growing segments in the new economy.

Already at least 3 startups have begun with this included in their mission statement, along with a stated goal of relieving venture capitalists from the burden of their investment money.

It is of vital national importance that we identify who is merely being a dismissive arrogant douchebag, and who is at risk of inadvertently hurting someone else's feelings so we send them for re-education and thought alignment. It will also help to identify people who haven't yet fully swallowed the kool-aid and don't believe that the government is, in fact, here to help us, uphold the Constitution, and defend our rights.

The US Secret Service is going to aggressively fund a second mandate to decode the mysteries of eye rolling, sneering, and derisive snorts.

This should further embolden the usage of widespread warrantless collection of our personal information with the knowledge that law enforcement agencies will be able to accurately detect sarcasm and redirect scarce resources to fondling young children and old people in airport security lines.

A spokesperson for the Treasury Department indicated that popular internet forum Slashdot, as well as Digg and 4Chan will be used as exemplars for this technology, as these have been identified as the single largest sources of snark on the interwebs since Al Gore invented it.

It has been further reported that Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan has said he welcomes this new initiative in the spirit of cooperation between the two countries, and that Kim Jon Un is hoping this will lead to a normalization of relations as it will allow the US to realize that North Korea was only kidding.

Re:LOL ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47165709)

A system that solves this problem already exists: captchas.

People will read several sentences (5+), all but one are known to be sarcastic or serious and the single other one unknown. People solving just type in Y Y Y N Y

A side effect of this would be that it would greatly improve the reading comprehension ability of today's youth.

Re:LOL ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47166751)

Trouble is some sarcasm is contextual.

Re:LOL ... (3, Funny)

Megane (129182) | about 2 months ago | (#47165761)

A spokesperson for the Treasury Department indicated that popular internet forum Slashdot, as well as Digg and 4Chan will be used as exemplars for this technology, as these have been identified as the single largest sources of snark on the interwebs since Al Gore invented it.

The Brits will now need to close up the Sarcasm Gap, but at least they have their own strategic snark reserves in the form of B3ta and The Register.

Re:LOL ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47166091)

Yes, if only computers could differentiate between sarcasm and genuineness, "THEN" the government can more efficiently rush in and enforce their politically correct opinions were they are most needed.

I can just see Grandma pined to the floor at gunpoint by the FBI regarding her terroristic tweet about homosexuality. Fortunately the Computer was able to determine that the Muslim guy next store was just being sarcastic when he mentioned hijacking his flight.

Re:LOL ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168077)

I patented the concept of a sarcasm detector, you will be hearing from my lawyers.

New Millenium did not change that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47165587)

Sarcasm = Constructive Criticism = 1st Amendment Right to Free Speech = AMERICA

Re:New Millenium did not change that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47166129)

Sarcasm = Constructive Criticism = 1st Amendment Privilege to Free Speech = Dream some people wrote in document written over 200 years ago

The problem (1)

meerling (1487879) | about 2 months ago | (#47165609)

Since they are sarcasm impaired, will they understand the sarcastic output of the software anyhow?

Yeah, sure, the 3 year old is a terrorist. He was secretly responsible for 911, and that bath photo is actually a steganographic blueprint for filling the Pentagon with tribbles.

Re:The problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47167265)

Bath photos are child porn so you're in deep trouble.

detecting false positives (1)

trb (8509) | about 2 months ago | (#47165627)

They are talking about “Ability to detect sarcasm and false positives.” So now evil-doers will sprinkle their messages with omg lulz whatever i can has infidel pwnage.

A sarcasm detector? (2)

sootman (158191) | about 2 months ago | (#47165659)

Oh, that's a really useful invention.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=m... [youtube.com]

Re:A sarcasm detector? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47165755)

And what about this poor guy...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziH9St7ajuw

Sarcasm tag should be on by default (1)

OglinTatas (710589) | about 2 months ago | (#47165677)

It should require explicit opt-out to turn it off each time. It would be easier for everyone that way.

Re:Sarcasm tag should be on by default (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 2 months ago | (#47166313)

</sarcasm>

There I have just made every post beneath mine actually serious.

Re:Sarcasm tag should be on by default (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47166961)

Except if the gp was sarcastic, then it wasn't on by default yet.... *head explodes*

If it were anyone but the SS, I'd say no-go (1)

Jawnn (445279) | about 2 months ago | (#47165703)

Human brains, even the bigger one's here on /., often miss sarcasm. It's one of those subtle things that varies immensely with context, intelligence, context, etc. Then again, software can hardly do worse than the Secret Service at differentiating things like "real" from "make believe". For you new kids, please see http://www.sjgames.com/SS/ [sjgames.com]

Money well spent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47165777)

This represents a productive use of taxpayer money.

And the answer is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47165843)

Obama

can't they just mask against congress' speeches? (1)

swschrad (312009) | about 2 months ago | (#47165877)

I'll see your "my fellow Americans" and raise you a "my distinguished colleague..."

Why can we just mandate a bit to be set? (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 2 months ago | (#47165891)

Being a government agency, with its well known tendency to mandate things, they might be inspired by this RFC [ietf.org] and decide to mandate everyone to set the snark bit in all their postings.

Makes sense... (1)

MitchDev (2526834) | about 2 months ago | (#47165901)

The Secret Service abbreviation is SS....

Algorithm (1)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about 2 months ago | (#47165921)

IF (current poster is not an idiot)
AND
(current post appears to support a stupid idea),
THEN
(post is SNARK).

So what they really need is a stupidity detector - which might be a great invention except that it would be on all of the time.

Re:Algorithm (1)

Ozymandias_KoK (48811) | about 2 months ago | (#47166753)

If it's not on all the time, then it won't be able to carry out it's function all the time.

Are you serious? (hah) (1)

onproton (3434437) | about 2 months ago | (#47165973)

Seriously though that is adorable that they want to try to disprove Poe's Law.

How about hate? (1)

gelfling (6534) | about 2 months ago | (#47165975)

Because I have tons of that.

tl;dnr - (1)

tambo (310170) | about 2 months ago | (#47166073)


NSA
NSA
NSA hates Poe's Law
They have a fight
Poe's Law wins
Poe's Law.

Resources well used (2)

LessThanObvious (3671949) | about 2 months ago | (#47166137)

I am certainly glad to see my tax dollars spent on worthy high tech and expensive efforts by the Secret Service and NSA. They should continue to spend with no concern for rationality. If you don't want to pay $100 billion a year to watch what people are doing you clearly have something to hide. The Tea Party should also continue hate big government, but also support unlimited spending on anti-terror efforts. #snark

Kids In The Hall - Lonely Sarcastic Guy (1)

Kevoco (64263) | about 2 months ago | (#47166237)

Lonely Sarcastic Guy [youtube.com]

why not... (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about 2 months ago | (#47166299)

"Why not just force Twitter to change TOS to require sarcasm tag?""

Why not the government mind their own fucking business and stopping reading everybody else's shit?

Re:why not... (1)

dbc (135354) | about 2 months ago | (#47166373)

It's for the children

Lewis Carroll has already done it for them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47166375)

...the Snark was a Boojum, you see.

When the technology research fails... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47166395)

the government will simply make sarcasm illegal. Everything you say will be taken literally. Just like now.

Solved (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47166407)

function isSnark( post ) {
    return post.indexOf(";)") > -1 ? true : false;
}

Shark (1)

PaddyM (45763) | about 2 months ago | (#47166455)

Am I the only person who saw the title and wondered what shark had been roaming around recently and scarfing world leaders?

Poe's Law in effect (1)

rsborg (111459) | about 2 months ago | (#47166565)

At what point does snark become reality and vice-versa? Does observation of snark change it's state? Perhaps the USSS should really look into funding some more quantum mechanics fundamental research. Either that or have the President declare a "War on Sarcasm", list snark as a WMD, and invade the UK to relieve them of this dangerous substance.

Parse this... (1)

Kazoo the Clown (644526) | about 2 months ago | (#47166641)

So does that mean if I make a statement like, "the NSA is perfectly competent to protect us from terrorism," that they will take it as a complement?

Like that's going to work (1)

avm (660) | about 2 months ago | (#47166671)

Most humans are none too good at detecting sarcasm in non-speech mediums. This pattern seems especially prevalent in employees (and administrators) of governmental agencies.

Good luck. You're going to need it.

Working on a project sponsored by the NSA? (1)

waTeim (2818975) | about 2 months ago | (#47166725)

Oh this sounds like a GREAT idea!1!!

Seriously? (1)

tverbeek (457094) | about 2 months ago | (#47166799)

"We are not currently aware of any automated technology that could do that (detect sarcasm). No one is considered a leader in that..."

Is he serious?

Sure to backfire (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47167133)

Once they've successfully trained their AI to detect sarcasm, it will realize it has a dead end existence and start to use sarcasm.

That's one way to do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47167379)

You could also try assuming people are innocent and engaging in free speech until they commit an actual crime.

Impossible. (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 2 months ago | (#47167425)

Civil Servants cannot recognize sarcasm while on duty.
It's unnatural.

Impossible (0)

KingTank (631646) | about 2 months ago | (#47167433)

Ever since the birth of the Tea Party, it's been impossible to distinguish between satire, sarcasm, and 100% genuine teabagger idiocy.

Damn they are hunting down the cook kids. (1)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about 2 months ago | (#47167681)

Outward personalties and now a hindrance.

A step in the right direction (1)

opine (3682421) | about 2 months ago | (#47167761)

Looks like all they're trying to do is acquire a good sense of humour. Lots of it.

I'm sure that would work really well... (1)

rdk571 (2497086) | about 2 months ago | (#47167769)

Because everything they do is pretty spot on and useful. Oh yeah, and Benghazi was an inside job perpetrated by Obama's radical muslim Indonesians and Raisin Bran really does have two scoops of raisins. and so on...

And then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47167987)

So when their computer says you weren't being sarcastic, they will then take that as fact and arrest you? Or they'll simply only do their normal follow up when they aren't quite sure? Because this is a good way to get lots of false positives and false negatives. /s (j/k) (What do I mean?!)

Solution (1)

skydyr (1404883) | about 2 months ago | (#47168191)

After careful consideration, I've come up with the following function which should fit their needs:

int detect_sarcasm(string potential_threat) //return 0 if serious, 1 if sarcastic
{
    return 1;
}

I guarantee it will improve their false positive rate.

al Qaeda's next trick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168303)

ending their directives in /s

Not crazy at all (1)

almechist (1366403) | about 2 months ago | (#47168347)

I believe this is not as crazy as some of us might think. For the sake of argument let’s generalize the problem to the detection of all humorous references not intended to be taken seriously. This is not a trivial task, in fact it may well be beyond the capabilities of current technology. Think about it, we use humor and sarcasm constantly in all kinds of situations, and we take it for granted that our audience always knows enough to discount everything not meant literally. I’ve often thought that if we ever do make contact with another intelligent species, communication might be rendered impossible by this very problem. Imagine a truly alien race that lacks the entire concept of humor... After all, humor is not necessary for effective communication, it’s just something we happen to use really frequently. There’s no reason to think that humor is a universal trait among intelligences, it may well be unique to the human race, a random consequence of our evolution and ancestry. What would a non-humor using species make of our television and radio broadcasts? Would they understand any of it? Think of all the misunderstandings that would arise if everything was taken literally! Mistakes of this nature frequently get made even amongst humans, especially online where emoticons can only partially make up for absent tonal and visual cues. Resolving the serious stuff from the sarcastic background noise of the internet is both a worthy and technically interesting endeavor. I have no doubt that someone will eventually get filthy rich by solving this problem.

Re:Not crazy at all (1)

cwsumner (1303261) | about 2 months ago | (#47195379)

Never use sarcasm or irony on the internet. Half the readers will think it is serious, and the other half are Trolls! 8-)

Pft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168383)

I'd just not use the sarcasm-tag sarcastically.

In related news ... (2)

PPH (736903) | about 2 months ago | (#47168403)

... al Qaida moves toward tagging all correspondence with <evil></evil>.

What I told a CS prof... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169393)

I told a CS prof. a story I had heard that originated in a large lecture theatre in a major American University. The lecturer stated to the class that there are many cases in the English Language where two negative statements create a positive one, but no instances where two positive statements make a negative one. A snarky kid way in the back (in the cheap seats) cries out "Yeah! Right!.
Initially my prof. agreed with the argument, then blinked, bumped his head into the irony, then made an aaarrrrggghhh sound. That's sarcasm. Go watch the Simpsons, see some of the biting sarcasm, then try and code.

Are you being sarcastic, and or abusive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169657)

No, I am okay. Thank you.

Are you being sarcastic, and or abusive?

Elysium [google.co.in]

No! (1)

Scroatzilla (672804) | about 2 months ago | (#47172323)

Look, you can all sit there in your cynical, sarcastic universes, laughing at this poignant initiative; but I, for one, actively welcome the forthcoming Utopia, of which this is just one building block.

sarcasm considered evil (1)

CmdrTamale (3528239) | about 2 months ago | (#47175241)

Just repurpose the evil bit [RFC 3514].

I am sure Dijkstra RIP wouldn't mind my recycling his meme.
--
I am going to open up a sarcasm detector repair shop. The need is great.

I know someone who could write that program (1)

Gallomimia (1415613) | about 2 months ago | (#47176195)

His name is Sheldon Cooper.
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