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Interview with the Creator of BitTorrent

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the what-you-say dept.


brokencomputer writes "There is an interesting interview with Bram Cohen, the creator of BitTorrent, on my site, Because there is already a plethora of information about BitTorrent, this interview takes a different approach and focuses entirely on Cohen's Asperger's Syndrome. In addition to being interesting to anyone interested in BitTorrent, Cohen's story is extremely inspirational to those of us who do have Asperger's, and will probably be so even to those without Asperger's Syndrome."

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Question... (3, Funny)

Bob Cat - NYMPHS (313647) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484264)

What do you...

(rest available from the torrent)

Answer (1)

News For Turds (580751) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484333)

I just farted. It reminded me of you.

Re:Answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484388)

bad troll.

try again.

Hooray! (5, Funny)

kryogen1x (838672) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484265)

From TFA:

WP: How was life at school?

BC: I hated school, and dropped out of college. I got picked on a lot in school, and had a lot of trouble making friends.

Rejoice Slashdotters, we still have hope!

Re:Hooray! (5, Funny)

Dante Shamest (813622) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484395)

Rejoice Slashdotters, we still have hope!

No, this man actually got laid.

Re:Hooray! (5, Funny)

Sebadude (680162) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484483)

No, this man actually got laid.

Oh. False alarm then.

Re:Hooray! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484454)

Actually, we figured this out a long time ago, statistically, there are 51% women 49% men on the plannet.. So statistically, in order for 2% of women to be single, every single looser guy has to have a woman. Unfortunately, many women prefer to be abused and used by a playboy who's got a flock of chicks to bang than to have an anti-social geek... and not all women get married, and invariablly more than 4% of the female population is single at any given moment, so if by hope you meant finding a woman, all you need to do is lower your requirements enough, and learn enough about how to deal with one other human being to not drive them Crazy, oh and females are attracted by Scent... so a bar of soap, and a carefully selected fragrance will help greatly too...

Re:Hooray! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484691)

You forget that there is a large portion that are homosexual, so not every guy will get a woman...

PLEASE NOTE, (4, Funny)

King_of_Prussia (741355) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484266)

the corrent pronounciation of Asberger's is "Ass-burgers".


Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484317)

What exactly is an Ass Burger?


Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484362)

The correct pronounciation of "corrent" is like "torrent" and does not mean "correct," i.e. it is wrong.

Re:PLEASE NOTE, (-1, Offtopic)

Lev13than (581686) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484479)

the corrent pronounciation of Asberger's is "Ass-burgers".


Ass-burgers indeed.

Re:PLEASE NOTE, (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484481)

so if you have assburgers you like to give rim jobs?


Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484701)

If only it were called Pussysandwich Syndrome.

Oh, fuck (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484271)

Bittorrent was made by a retarded kike, and MSFT can't even code a PNG decoder for their browser!

Re:Oh, fuck (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484414)

Hate to say it.. but those with Asperger Syndrome probabally have a MUCH HIGHER IQ than you. drome+IQ&spell=1 []

So who is the "retarded kike"?

How does it feel to know (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484272)

that you personally took away my job? I was supporting my family, making movies, and now I have nothing.

Re:How does it feel to know (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484356)

Listen pal, nobody forced you to make Gigli. If you spend all your time making massive steaming piles of excrement you shouldn't lament your fate when nobody buys them.

After all, you got paid to do work of little or no value. Consider yourself lucky, people who want to create things of value have been having trouble finding work going on 5 years now.

A great book (4, Interesting)

kentmartin (244833) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484283)

There was a book I read recently which was written as if narrated by a teenage boy with Asperger's Syndrome.

It's called "The curious incident of the dog in the night time" and I recommend it to anyone who would like to learn a little more about Asperger's, or, just feels like an entertaining and moving read.

Re:A great book (1)

DanteLysin (829006) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484329)

The Wikipedia hyperlink was better reading the the wrongplanet link. Asperger's Syndrome - had never heard of it before now.

ty /. for the links.
ty kentmartin for the book reference.

Re:A great book (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484666)

Actually, I found the interview to be curious enough to compel me to look at the wiki entry (never knew anything about Asperger's other than "autism" until today). Long story short, I'm wondering if I should get myself checked out, as quite a few things were made much clearer.

Re:A great book (4, Insightful)

IGTeRR0r (805236) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484744)

I thought the same thing that you did, but then I thought again - what does diagnosing do for you? Putting a label on yourself like this would actually create Asperger's syndrome for you ... if you get what I mean. It obviously wasn't a problem for you until you read this, and I think that the many people here who think the same way as you and I should not worry about it.

Re:A great book (4, Interesting)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484734)

Every now and then, someone around here makes a prick of themselves caricaturing people with Asperger's. I try to give them a taste of a successful individual with it.

I may not have had friends up to high school, but there were people I could get along with there. My condition was finally diagnosed in high school, giving social workers a decent therapy angle. And I turned out OK. I've learned to recognize body language and social nuance. I'm not perfect at it, but most of it is second-nature by now.

At Grand Rapids Community College [] , where I work and study, I've made dozens of friends. My teachers like me, my boss likes me, my coworkers like me, most of my classmates like me, and I'm Vice President of the Computer Club.

Together with a friend, I organized an end-of-semester bowling party that took place this past Friday. All my coworkers and their friends and family were invited. We had 15 people show up, including people who would refuse to bowl under any circumstances. (One way I got people to show up was by promising them they couldn't do any worse on the lanes than I did. And I was almost person tied my score.)

For a Computer Club event, I've taken the lead in organizing a LAN Party [] to take place July 14. I'm going to meet with one of managers in IT in order to address security concerns and see about using campus machines for people who don't want to bring their own. (Slashdotters welcome...there will be non-student parking.)

And I'm hoping to transfer to Michigan Tech next fall.

In summary: I may be a geek, but I'm a popular geek. With a lot of work and support, some people with Asperger's can be successful on the conventional route. We don't all have to drop out and make our millions by coming up with the Next Big Thing.

Re:A great book (3, Informative)

Bob Cat - NYMPHS (313647) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484364)

My girlfriend left that at my house, and I read it, since I need to read everything (was that a hint?) and YES, it is well written, and will let you know how autistic/asperger folk think. Very uplifting ending too, and the appendix (math stuff) was quite neat.

Re:A great book (3, Interesting)

peculiarmethod (301094) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484380)

There's an amazing book Songs of the Gorilla Nation by Dawn Prince-Hughes, PhD where she describes her fight with Auspergers syndrome, and how she made it to where she is today. (mainly with the help of the Gorillas she tended to at a zoo) It's VERY well written, interesting, and inspirational. Read it.

Re:A great book (4, Informative)

KiwiRed (598427) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484442)

I preferred 'The Speed of Dark' by Elizabeth Moon. (Adult autistic characters are more interesting to me, as an adult autistic, than autistic children characters)

Re:A great book (3, Informative)

torinth (216077) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484660)

Apparently, you didn't read it very well. The excellent book was about a kid coping with autism, not Asberger's, informed by the author's career working with autistic children. While in some ways similar, autism and Asperger's are not the same thing and the book was quite explicitly about one and not the other.

Nonetheless, the book is a really refreshing and novel read that I've recommended to many friends of all ages.

Re:A great book (1)

kentmartin (244833) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484774)

I beg to differ. I had never heard of Asperger's before I read that book. As a result of reading it book, I looked it up. I didn't pull the name out of thin air :)

Google [] agrees with me.

Re:A great book (1)

mondoterrifico (317567) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484770)

No it was narrated as if the child had autism. They are not the same thing in the least.

Re:A great book (2, Funny)

numbware (691928) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484778)

I'd have to recommend that book too. I had to read it for my English class and was probably my favorite book that the class read. But I must say, I DID get in trouble for cracking up when my teacher said Asperger's syndrome for the first time. There was just something funny about a 50-something year old woman who always spoke in upright, proper English to be saying anything that sounded like "assburger."

What? (0, Flamebait)

CmdrTaco (troll) (578383) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484305)

BitTorrent was created by a retard? I knew that it was mostly used by retards.


News For Turds (580751) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484357)

with this pr0st, I am in perfect agreement.

I must apologize for my rude subject. I have not been the same since goatse died.

Love Always,
News For Turds

Not to rag on him... (5, Interesting)

hoka (880785) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484325)

But that article seems to be sort of lacking. It seems rather short, has a few typos and errors, and doesn't really delve into anything technical about BitTorrent (admitted by the summary). Sure now the people who RTFA'd probably are a little more understanding of a certain syndrome, or are intrigued by the fact that somebody with the syndrome can achieve great things (the American Dream), but I really would have liked to see some deeper thought on the issues. Deeper sociological questions, perhaps more depth on the influence of the (lack of) college, or even his views on the future of any given tech sector or his other interests. I suppose that this all lies at the fault of the interviewer, and not the interviewee.

Re:Not to rag on him... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484404)

No kidding. That article was *pathetic*...9 questions? Please. I liked when the interviewer stated "This is totally unrelated and more of a question I ask.... That pretty much sums up the whole article...a list of unrelated an incoherent questions.

Re:Not to rag on him... (2, Insightful)

slashdotnickname (882178) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484458)

The interview was not bad for a non-journalist whose best investigative work was running across his subject by chance on IRC. It gives a nice peek into the life of an influential technology contributor, but it's a peek that he does not owes us. So I think it's unfair for anyone to expect more from both parties.

Conversely-- (4, Interesting)

Alaren (682568) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484462)

While I don't disagree that a deeper article would have been nice, sometimes it's just about the exposure. Getting one's voice heard is sometimes significant enough, even if that voice isn't saying a whole lot.

I say this because I have a friend who, for the last ten years, has puzzled everyone. He has one autistic brother and one brother with mild mental disabilites. He himself is succeeding academically in a tier-two university, but he seems largely incapable of handling social situations on his own (we're not talking "nerdy and awkward" so much as "completely clueless"). He often calls to ask me why people think it's fun to make him upset. He is obsessed with politics and baseball--talks about them incessantly, even when people make it obvious that they aren't interested.

My friend grew up relatively poor and has never had a reason to see a psychotherapist--after all, compared to his brothers he's just a little this side of idiosyncratic. Certainly not suffering from a disorder of any kind (his parents always said).

But reading this article and some of the links people have given in the comments, I'm suddenly thinking maybe there's a valid explanation for his behavior that lines up perfectly with the genetic tendencies of his family.

The article may not be deep, but it made me aware, and you can bet I will discuss the possibility with my friend, who I am certain has never heard of this.

Re:Not to rag on him... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484508)

Typical of NTs (neurotypicals, or people without Aspergers/autism) to read a bunch of unsubstantiated stuff beyond what was actually written. WrongPlanet isn't a news site, and the interviewer isn't a professional. WrongPlanet's readers would definitely be far more interested in how Asperger's has affected Mr. Cohen than anything tangential that might be of interest to the wider world.

Steven Spielberg (among others) has also been diagnosed with Aspergers. While it can be challenging (sometimes very much so) to be autistic, it also comes with gifts, and autistic people have made tremendous contributions to science and the arts when they are allowed to use those gifts instead of having to hide who they are. I doubt that much progress will be made into understanding autistics until researchers stop viewing it as a deficiency instead of a difference, and stop treating autistics like little laboratory rats who are incapable of giving first person accounts of what we feel and perceive.

Re:Not to rag on him... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484775)

When one reads "There is an interesting interview...", there is an expectation of an interview. The overall complaint here is that there's a lack of content. As someone else stated, there were only 9 questions. Furthermore, those 9 questions were diluted by stupid crap like "How did you meet your wife".

All kidding aside... (4, Informative)

Chordonblue (585047) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484327)

It was great to read this article as it gives me hope. My own son has a similar form of Autism and although I've been able to 'get into his head' to understand him better, I know that others won't have the patience or the understanding to do the same.

And on a further note, I can tell you from experience that early intervention really helps ALOT! My son's progress is such that he is almost ready to join full time with his second grade class. Two years ago he was still struggling with speech.

What about... (5, Insightful)

avalys (221114) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484332)

What about the many Slashdotters who only think they have Aspergers, and use it as an excuse to excuse their anti-social behavior?

Re:What about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484376)

Exactly. It's almost as popular as claiming you (or your dear and otherwise perfect children) have "dyslexia" when you haven't learned to read and write properly.

Re:What about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484393)

Around here it's *ALOT* more popular than dyslexia. It's like penis measuring. "My aspergers is more serious than yours!" "No it's not, I can barely look at a girl without shitting myself." "Oh yeah! Well I can't even look anyone in the eye when i'm mumbling at them and spitting potato chip crumbs all over myself."

Re:What about... (5, Interesting)

geekychic (732496) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484648)

actually, in some schools in my area, being diagnosed with a learning disability is quite popular. The diagnoses peak around sophomore year. Coincidentally, the College Board allows students with learning disabilities unlimited time on the SATs without being noted as such on the score.

Re:What about... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484425)

I was diagnosed with ADHD in the 4th grade. I was put on Ridilin, then switched to Wellbutrin, and then to Concerta and Strattera.

Then they diagnosed me with Aspergers Syndrome. But when I got into high school, I realized that I was not and spent a year trying to get the medical community to reavulate me. And they did.

Rediagnosed as "Deoressive and psychotic" I had such a low opinion of myself I was on the verge of suicide. there is nothing more detrimental to a person then to tell them they are basically insane.

In the meantime I was experimenting with myself and found out I was, to put it lightly, a transexual. So now I have Gender Dysophoria to throw onto the heap, but that I can live with because I myself believe it.

Two weeks ago I went under intensive treatment and testing by proffesional to see if I truly was insane.

The consensus? Severe Depression CAUSED BY Gender Dysphoria. Nothing else. I am no longer on any medecine and am instead doing therapy sessions twice a week.

Not a major success story but for me, I've managed to pick up the pieces of my life and move on.

Re:What about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484494)

I don't know how I feel about this being modded funny.

Is it the typos?

i'm sorry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484512)

but that just makes it even more funny...

You're going to feel a lot of funny mods coming your way unfortunately :)

I think the reason it got funny mods is because most mods here (and most people) don't seem to think what you said could be true.

I think it's the way you wrote it, it sounds kind of humurous the way you talk about it towards the middle.

Re:What about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484698)

Actually it's funny because the AC of that post basically described the psychological equivalent of slipping on a bowling alley lane's worth of banana peels.


Re:What about... (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484747)

Bloody hit Submit instead of Preview...

Also meant to say more power to them as they've come to terms and seem to be finally in control (somewhat) of the situation.

That's more than most of us can say...


mod up funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484535)

It's funny because it's true.

Re:What about... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484537)

Like Bram Cohen?

Re:What about... (1)

selfdiscipline (317559) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484718)

This question bothered me. Possibly because I have considered myself to have AS in the past, and now I'm not sure.
When you say excuse their antisocial behavior, do you mean behavior that is annoying or offensive to other people?
I think my behavior is antisocial, but just because I am so quiet and introverted.
A lot of nerdy people who may lack a few social skills tend to join nerd social groups based on nerdy activities like LARPing, Anime, etc. However, there are some people who may not even fit in (or not care to interact with others) even when exposed to these nerd social groups. Social outcasts who don't seem desperate for friends... these types of people may be Aspies.
Whether or not I have AS myself, I feel I can identify more strongly with Aspies than with most NeuroTypicals. As long as I am friendly, I don't think anyone should object to my anti-social aloofness.

Cue OSS zealots... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484340)

Why have ASPberger's, when you can have PHPberger's, or SQLberger's?

Re:Cue OSS zealots... (1)

learn fast (824724) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484598)

Yea but I hear ASP.NETberger's is a major improvement

What about the amateur radio guys? (4, Funny)

3770 (560838) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484697)

What about the amateur radio guys? The HAMbergers?

from wikipedia (1, Informative)

michaelbuddy (751237) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484349)

Asperger's syndrome (AS), is a pervasive developmental disorder commonly referred to as a form of "high-functioning" autism. The term "Asperger's syndrome" was coined by Lorna Wing in a 1981 medical paper; she named it after Hans Asperger, an Austrian psychiatrist and pediatrician whose work was not internationally recognized until the 1990s. -------------- interesting.. well not really but still

Hey! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484360)

While reading an article entitled "The BitTorrent Effect"
They stole our effect!

Re:Hey! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484522)

no no no. you were seeding it.

More info (5, Interesting)

blackmonday (607916) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484379)

According to the Internet Movie Database [] , Steven Spielberg also suffers from Aspeger Syndrome.

Re:More info (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484524)

Hmmm...that could be tied to his moviemaking easily. Especially movies full of emotions on many levels. Yes, he could have problems recognizing them as usual people...but that could learn him to percept them more conciously...and thus direct them better in others on the plan.

Re:More info (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484539)

"suffers", eh?

The only suffering involved is at the hands of bullies who attack anybody who steps even minutely over the line of "normality".

Interesting.. (1)

sik0fewl (561285) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484771)

I did a little more reading in the trivia section and also found this:

Spent five months developing the script Rain Man (1988) with Ron Bass, but had to commit to his handshake deal to direct Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989). Spielberg gave all of his notes to Barry Levinson.

About Asperger's Syndrome (0, Troll)

pmsyyz (23514) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484392)

Here's a much better encyclopedia article on Asperger's Syndrome []

Re:About Asperger's Syndrome (1)

WizardRahl (840191) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484559)

+5 funny you humorless admins

Am I the only one old enough on Slashdot... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484394) remember when we called people with Asberger's syndrome "assholes"?

Some people have Asbergers. I've seen people with it, I can see how it's a syndrome.

The majority of people I've met who were diagnosed with it are, IMHO, simply antisocial pricks who know full well the consequences of their actions but do it anyway. That's not Asbergers.

Personally, I suspect there's a medication/drug treatment regimen for Asbergers on the horizon. Misdiagnose people, then get them pay through the nose for something they don't need.

Welcome to your medicated future, America.

Re:Am I the only one old enough on Slashdot... (2, Insightful)

thedogcow (694111) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484568)

Obviously you don't understand AS. They are not acting, as you call it "assholish" on purpose. People with Autism and AS don't pick up on the social cues that regular people pick up on. For instance, some people with Autism eat sloppy or walk with a gait. There is nothing conscience about this.

Coral cache... (5, Informative)

NemosomeN (670035) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484415)

Just in case... []

I hate posting anonymous, so No Karma Bonus instead.

Pattern recognition (5, Interesting)

Circlotron (764156) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484417)

A while back I was talking to this bloke who's young son has Aspberger's, and when they would be sitting watching tv and two or three ads would go by and then suddenly he would jump up and run out of the room screaming. Almost invariably one of a series of quite graphic government sponsored [TAC] road safety ads would then appear. Seems he had the ability to recognise the combination of the types of ads that immediately preceded the scary ones.

Re:Pattern recognition (1)

HillaryWBush (882804) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484520)

That may be just being can feel things about to come. For example during Ghostbusters I could somehow feel that confusing anti-drug ad with skateboarders coming up. And I don't have Aspbergers, I was just used to the way the Saturday morning producer did business.

Re:Pattern recognition (2, Funny)

Nate Fox (1271) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484611)

thats cool! take him to vegas, see if he notices anything

School != Learning (4, Insightful)

derEikopf (624124) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484428)

BC: One thing about school - I always had this attitude that I was in school to learn, and attempted to do whatever was involved in that process, while school had this attitude that I was there to earn grades, which I couldn't care less about. Unsurprisingly, my grades weren't very good.

Learn? Who the hell wants to learn anymore? That's an old-fashioned way to look at it. Since your acceptance into college and, ultimately, your college degree amounts to your grade, why worry about what you learn? What? Doing your best? Being productive? I don't understand, what does that have to do with getting an A? That kind of thinking is last-century...who wants to be productive when you can just slide by your whole life? I mean, no matter what you make, the government's gonna pay you when you get old. What? The government fucked up Social Security?


Quote from the BBC (4, Funny)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484439)

From the BBC article, Einstein and Newton 'had autism' [] :

"What most people with Asperger's Syndrome find difficult is casual chatting - they can't do small talk."

So, that includes most geeks, but not those who hang about posting on /., yes?

Re:Quote from the BBC (1)

phlyingpenguin (466669) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484490)

I sat here for 5 minutes trying to decide if I should reply to your comment or not.

Re:Quote from the BBC (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484661)

I sat here for 5 minutes trying to decide if I should reply to your comment or not.

So what did you decide?

Re:Quote from the BBC (1)

pontifier (601767) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484531)

A friend of mine who works with autistic people has said that I remind him of his clients. It seem I am in good company.

pothead moment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484453)

An autistic man created the dominant form of traffic on the world's greatest network.

Pretty cool.

Bram in Person (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484455)

I've seen Bram speak in public. He is a bit awkward, but also very perceptive and direct. He definitely impresses people even with his idiosyncrasies.

er, um. (1)

rharris (849104) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484474)

did any one else catch the "I finally found him on IRC" part? Can an interview that involves tracking some one down on IRC even be trusted? The site does look credible.. but still.

Fashion Victim ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484488)

In the eighties I had to pretend to have "yuppie flu", in the nineties I had to pretend to have dyslexia, and you're telling me that the new fashion is autism. Bah ! Why can't we stick with one condition and have done with it.

Cohen doesn't have Asperger's (4, Insightful)

hkb (777908) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484518)

At least not officially. It's curious how he went from joking that he was "autistic" and "had" asperger's to a self-diagnosis of "I probably have asperger's" to now, "i have asperger's".

Perhaps, Mr Cohen should actually go out and get diagnosed by someone competent before misrepresenting a legitimate illness.

PS: What's with people's fascination of collecting disorders? "I'm a cutter! No! Bipolar! No, schizophrenic!"

For the people that actually have these fad-ish disorders, it isn't some cool gee-whizz thing, it's a nightmare.

Re:Cohen doesn't have Asperger's (4, Funny)

learn fast (824724) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484622)

I was going to read your post but then couldn't finish on account of my ADHD.

Re:Cohen doesn't have Asperger's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484628)

Perhaps he went and got diagnosed? How do you know he didn't?

Re:Cohen doesn't have Asperger's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484675)

How the fuck would you know? "Hasn't been diagnosed" is not the same as "does not have". He represents that he has a set of conditions which seems to correspond with Asperger's.

As there is almost infinite variety when it comes to what's in people's heads, there is no clear-cut definition that exactly describes 100% of anything (including this statement). It's like with species; maybe this fossil is really T-Rex 1.5 or 2.0 but it gets classified as its own species and then where are all the examples of one evolving into another?!?

Excuse me, I think I have a short attention span.

Cohen might. Who are you to say? (4, Insightful)

rjh (40933) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484713)

I was diagnosed autistic at age five. The diagnosis was quickly withdrawn, since at the time a high IQ was a bar to a diagnosis of autism. In 1993, Asperger's Syndrome became an accepted diagnosis in the US, and it was pretty clear that it matched up with the behaviors seen when I was five. In 2000 I finally got around to talking to a psych about it. She gave me some excellent advice when it came to deciding whether or not I was autistic:

If the diagnosis helped me make sense of my life, if it gave me tools with which I could build a better life, then yes, I was autistic.

If the diagnosis turned into an excuse for self-destructive behavior, turned into a rationale for why I should be excused from the rules of civility, if it became a license for uncivil behavior, then no, I wasn't autistic.

In the end, she told me, it wasn't up to her to decide whether I was autistic. It was up to me.

It was the best psychiatric advice I've ever received. And, y'know what? I'm not going to tell you if I'm autistic or not. I don't care if you know. I don't wear a sign and advertise myself to the world one way or another.

I know if I'm autistic or not. That's enough.

So please show some courtesy to Bram Cohen. It's very possible he's received the exact same (excellent) psychiatric advice I've received.

Hi Bram. (0, Offtopic)

Sheetrock (152993) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484521)

While BitTorrent has gotten a bit of a bad rap because of its use for copyright infringement, what kind of future do you envision for commercial uses of the protocol?

This is not a Slashdot interview! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484634)

Your question will not be forwarded to Bram, and he will not see it or answer it. Mod down, please.

Re:Hi Bram. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484732)

this is not a Slashdot interview, you ass! did you even read the article summary???

What must suck... (4, Interesting)

schnitzi (243781) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484525) to have everyone assume that you were able to create this great original application because you have Asperger's, as opposed to crediting your creativity or perseverence.

TAG vs Asspergers? (1)

baomike (143457) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484608)

Some of the "symptoms" could just as well be applied to TAG kids and adults. The obsessions with a subject, intense concentration, disregard of surroundings/people. One problems with tag kids is boredom in school, which can lead to disruptive behavior or withdrawal, some just play dumb.

People tend to select a group of people around them that have similar intellegence, if there are none what does it look like?

Aspergers Syndrome (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484620)

From Encyclopedia dramatica []

As a Fad

Since its introduction into the knowledge of the general public, Asperger's has become somewhat of a fad for those seeking to garner attention. In the fine tradition of disease whores everywhere, many young people who have ever felt the least bit shy or eccentric decide to self-diagnose themselves, forsaking the opinion of a qualified MD and therefore belittling genuine sufferers for just the sake of appearing special.

As Covering Up for Being a Total Fucktard

Some close-knit communities of people with distorted views of reality, such as furries, plushies and otherkin will frequently claim to have Asperger's or be Autistic en masse, often finding some way to tie its manifestations into the fact that they are social misfits, can't properly express affection, or to claim that it's an intrinsic part of being fucked up in the particular way that they are. In these instances, having "Asperger's" seems to be closely tied to posting disgusting and semi-nude pictures of yourself frequently to the internet, or writing extremely off-kilter fanfiction (see here ( [] ). This disease (and the associated Autism) are frequent mix-ins for those who like to claim to have many diseases and disorders. They can usually pull it off in quite a long-term manner, much as children are often over-diagnosed with ADD/ADHD simply because if you distort reality enough, you can claim the particular social dysfunction or misbehavior is part of the syndrome in question.


If you feel that you're shy, unusual, highly intelligent, able to sense the emotional states of others, good at judging body language and inordinantly pre-occupied with things that most people are not, congratulations! You are just like everybody else.


Re:Aspergers Syndrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484633)

Some close-knit communities of people with distorted views of reality, such as furries, plushies and otherkin will frequently claim to have Asperger's or be Autistic en masse.

You forgot /.'ers.

Aspergers == geek? (1)

annodomini (544503) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484623)

So what's the difference between having Asperger's syndrome and being a geek? I mean, it sounds like the description (not being able to pick up on social cues, somewhat of an outcast, smart but doesn't do well in school, focuses intensely on things) describe exactly the same thing as "geek" to me, except maybe for a set of interests that "geek" usually connotes (computers, science fiction, gaming, etc).

Re:Aspergers == geek? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484671)

Actually they're often drawn to logical things like computing and it's sometimes referred to as the geek syndrome.
A stereotype probably but also likely based in truth.

Re:Aspergers == geek? (2, Interesting)

kiwi_mcd (655047) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484703)

I can tell you from personal experience it is a hell of a lot worse.

Here is the clinical criteria for it [] Try effects like:
- inability to cope with stimulus (e.g. music on, people around)
- broken marriages
- constant problem with authority (could be boss, police or others)

Can give lots more but you probably get the idea especially if you read the URL.


Just one sentence... (1)

mrbarkeeper (560018) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484625)

...and the whole summary becomes more clear:

Asperger's syndrome (AS), is a pervasive developmental disorder commonly referred to as a form of "high-functioning" autism.'s []

On Fake Diseases (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484650)

On Fake Diseases

When children behave in ways that schools or parents dislike, this behaviour is often characterised as an illness. Depending on the nuances of the behaviour concerned, a child might be deemed to have Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD),
Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) or any one of a growing range of other illnesses.

However, there is something unusual about these diseases. First of all, they are defined entirely in terms of their symptoms, not in terms of some malfunction of the body. Why is this unusual? After all, before the underlying cause was known, diseases like AIDS and SARS, too, were recognised in terms of their symptoms. But that is different. It is perfectly meaningful to say: "that looks like SARS, but it might just be a bad cold, or the person might be deliberately exaggerating his symptoms". Hence also, with real diseases, it is possible to have an asymptomatic disease, like asymptomatic Hepatitis C. But it is not possible, even in principle, to have asymptomatic ADHD.

There is another unusual feature of diseases like ODD that should give us pause: they are typically treated without the patient's consent; and indeed the "treatments" are often physically identical to what would in a non-medical context be called punishments. This breach of human rights is casually justified as being "for their own good".

ADHD and its ilk really aren't diseases in the same sense as, say, Hepatitis C. They are metaphorical diseases, the names of which denote behaviours that are deemed to be morally unacceptable. In other words, the child has a certain opinion about what he ought to be doing and this opinion is different from his parents' opinion about what he ought to be doing.

Take ODD as an example, the diagnostic criteria are:

A pattern of negativistic, hostile, and defiant behavior lasting at least 6 months, during which four (or more) of the following are present:

1. often loses temper

2. often argues with adults

3. often actively defies or refuses to comply with adults' requests or rules

4. often deliberately annoys people

5. often blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior

6. is often touchy or easily annoyed by others

7. is often angry and resentful

8. is often spiteful or vindictive

Note the many moral judgements that are necessary to make any diagnosis according to this definition: "actively defies", "deliberately annoys" and so on. These are not deemed to be disease symptoms when a child does them to an intending kidnapper, or to the parents' political opponents at a demonstration, for example. These states of the child's brain become diseases only when a certain condition - disapproval - exists in the brain of another person - the parent or other authority. The treatment is also metaphorical and for ODD it consists of conversations and discipline. Again, this is very different from other diseases: bacteria are not great conversationalists, one cannot debate diabetes, but apparently ODD can be disposed of by talking to it.

The entire purpose of these diseases is, in fact, to give these vile "treatments" a gloss of medical and scientific respectability. Then no attention need be paid to whether the child is right to behave defiantly toward his parents in specific cases. No effort needs to be wasted on such fripperies as rational argument or considering that the child might have a point if they repeatedly refuse to obey their parents or say that they are bored in school. How very convenient for the force-users.

There is one last oddity to note. Professor Michael Fitzgerald of Dublin University has recently said that geniuses such as Socrates, Charles Darwin, and Andy Warhol may have had a mental disease called Asperger's syndrome characterised by not wanting to talk to people and having "restricted" interests with "abnormal" intensity. Now, suppose that having Asperger's syndrome for a while would help you to complete a great work on a "restricted" interest since you wouldn't have to spend time on conversations that would distract you from your work and you would be able to focus intensely on it. Might one not prefer to have Asperger's symdrome to being mentally healthy under such circumstances?

What does that make a person who "cures" it by force?

a more detailed look at AS (1)

jleq (766550) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484751)

Just so you know, just being a nerd/geek doesn't mean you have Asperger's syndrome. It is not a "disease" that you can get, you either have it or you don't. Even when I was an infant, people noticed that I had a ridiculously long attention span. I don't hate the fact that I have AS... it can be incredibly annoying at times, as I still have issues interpreting body gestures or figures of speech not laid out in scientific terms. At times I wish I didn't have this affliction. Then I remind myself that I can sit in front of my computer for 14 hours straight writing code without getting bored, assuming that I am interested in what I am writing. I proceed to laugh, and profit.

Why flaunt it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12484757)

I'm schizophrenic, diagnosed as sever schizophrenic, but I don't tell people. I don't understand why anyone would willingly flag themselves as disabled. The extensive orientation I've received has been uniform in suggesting I keeping my condition to myself. Fortunately there are very effective drugs on the market to ameliorate against symptoms of my many mental disorders. I can't imagine what it was like for people of John Nash's generation. I graduated from university and have been successful, but again I would never reveal my condition.
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