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Roundabout Revolution Sweeping US

ContractualObligatio Re:Really bad idea. (1173 comments)

Wow. So if the facts available don't support your position, the facts must be wrong? That's a perfect little bubble you've made for yourself there.

Countries with the best traffic accident stats (e.g. my own UK) use roundabouts extensively. People are not terrified of them. Personally I'm rather fond of being able to go straight through a junction at 30mph without stopping when conditions are right. It's traffic lights that are best avoided where possible - not all of us need somebody else's help to get us from A to B.

If Americans are terrified, well that's just sad. A country with a car culture scared of a traffic junction? That's kinda pathetic isn't it?

more than 3 years ago
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The Simpsons Reviewed For Unsuitable Nuclear Jokes

ContractualObligatio Re:WTxxxxx? (374 comments)

Could I just say I admire the way you're continuing the debate even though I am making comments that, for all the fancy wording, do refer to your character directly? For what it's worth, I think that your argument is understandable and well intended and largely "correct". But the hardline interpretation has negative consequences. I think there is a threshold to be passed before editorial decisions become censorship; it is only on this basis that we can go beyond disagreeing with it but actually build a case for taking steps to prevent it. Censorship that really fits the meaning of censorship should be prevented, I believe.

Now, back to being an asshat...

Alright, but as I said, that in itself does not answer my original argument.

Your original argument was that I was making assumptions about your feelings. I have in fact answered that several times, and will again:

However, because you do not know my true feelings, it remains an assumption, does it not?

No, it remains a conclusion, based on a premise, grounded in fact. As well as confusing "conclusion" with "assumption", you seem to be assuming that conclusions must be irrefutable to be considered valid.

I do, because as you said, it fits one of the definitions.

True, but using other definitions it is not. Effectively asserting that yours is both relevant and to be considered in isolation is similar to fundamentalist logic. I believe it should be challenged, not simply accepted. Assuming that dictionary definitions can be applied with the precision of a mathematical proof is not, in my subjective experience, reality-based.

"Censorship" is bad in my view, something to be resisted on principle. You could, however, apply a strict definition such as "withholding information from the public by a body" to any and all acts of scheduling, filtering, editing, selecting or prioritizing. Those are all essential activities for a TV network, so in practice the word loses any substantive meaning. However, I believe that words should count for something, because free speech is worth fighting for.

Let's just say that I disagree with the removal of the episodes if they were removed merely because some people were offended.

So would I. But why make that assumption? I don't think it follows from the article.

Yes. What does this have to do with a piece of fictional entertainment? If no one is offended by it, then why is there a need for "empathy"?

Again with the "quotation marks", I see. Again, without any demonstration of understanding what empathy is, I can't really answer that question for you. For my part, empathy is not only a valid consideration in any decision involving other people, but usually desirable and sometimes essential. Read around; it's not unusual to find empathy given as an essential part of living a happy, fulfilling life. I don't get the consistent references to the whole "offended" thing. Is "either offended or not offended" the extent of your worldview?

I've read your posts, but I don't agree with them, just as you don't agree with me.

Absolutely. I just pointing out the difference between disagreeing with a point of view, and acting like it doesn't even exist.

I would disagree more if they were making the assumption that no one else thought that they were funny as well. But that probably didn't happen, did it?

I wouldn't make that assumption. Many people might not find jokes about nuclear disasters during a nuclear disaster particularly funny. They've been getting the news about earthquakes, deaths and meltdowns, see a meltdown on a TV show, and start talking about Japan instead of just chuckling at Homer and Bart. That seems a realistic scenario to me. It's that empathy thing, you see. You keep suggesting empathy isn't relevant, but doesn't that suggest a lack of empathy in the first place?

Also, you say, "no one else". Well, I doubt they'd assume that no one would find them funny, but weren't you just saying to be careful with the absolutes?

I fixated on the one that the article suggested. The one that I do not agree with.

No, that is a scenario that the article suggests. Fixating on one, the one you introduced, is indicative of fundamentalist thinking.

What? We're speaking about a possible scenario.

Yes, but we'd be speaking about at least two if you're weren't so fixated, ones that include context and perspective.

The Medal of Honour thing I'd agree with you. Producers of original art and entertainment shouldn't be put under pressure like that, and also EA is notorious for putting money before art. Fortunately, that hasn't happened in this case. As has been mentioned repeatedly, these cartoons remain widely available; nobody's talking about boycotts or "rising criticism".

This is what happens when you fixate on a particular scenario. It suggests that you have chosen it not because of the article's content, but because you are bringing in a pre-formed scenario in order to (metaphorically) copy-and-paste existing opinions. That's what makes context-based arguments so useful. They make it clear you are actually responding to the article, and not just being triggered by it.

I allowed for others.

No, you said you saw no reasons, which quite explicitly doesn't allow for them. There's such a thing as an honest debate, you know.

I am focusing on the one that the article partly suggests (that people might be offended).

I'm focusing on one that the article partly suggests, too. It talks about "unsuitable" and "sensitive" material, not "offensive". This is what I mean by the fundamentalist logic, the apparent assumption that your scenario somehow means others aren't really worth contemplating.

However, criticizing minor details about me will likely go nowhere if they do not pertain to the argument at hand.

I think the basis on which we disagree with other people's choices not only pertains to, but lies at the heart of, the argument. Freedom could be said to start from recognising the validity of other people's decisions. Disagreeing repeatedly with another's independent decision based on strict interpretations and pre-formed scenarios is the starting point to restrict individual freedom.

The behaviour of complex systems emerges from individual interactions, which in the case of people is highly dependent on personal philosophy. We cannot and should not pretend to know what another's true feelings are, but that does not mean we should not challenge their written opinions.

Fundamentalism, ideology and literalism share common traits. I think they should be pointed out, especially to people falling into the trap without realising it.

It's difficult to type everything out by adding "I believe" or "in my opinion" in front of it.

Absolutely. That's why it's difficult when people start saying things like "well, that's subjective". You start having to put "in my opinion" in front of everything, and you just can't catch everything.

Your logic seems to need some work

I'm sure it does.

I suspect you're missing the point that although everybody makes mistakes, smart people capable of a rational debate (which you clearly are) know the difference between assumptions and conclusions. When you insist on mixing them up, it's difficult to have an honest debate. The "aw shucks, I ain't perfect" philosophy is another of those catch-all approaches favoured by the fundamentalist.

It is not the assumption that I am questioning.

Oh? How about this: "I don't understand where you're getting this. It's just assumption after assumption." Or perhaps, "Actually, now you're just making assumptions. There could be a number of reasons that I wish for my desires to be fulfilled or that I post here." You're questioning my "assumptions", and even implying I shouldn't be making them at all. There's such a thing as an honest debate, you know.

Stating them as a fact is what I believe is the problem, because that is an unknown as of yet. I would state them as a question, instead.

That's problematic for three reasons. First, as stated in various forms, your feelings aren't the basis of my argument. Some people feel offended, but control it; some don't feel offended, but pretend to for their own purposes; some people react in a way that is to all intents and purposes the same as being offended, but don't recognise it as such. So what really matters is what people choose to say; that is something concrete around which a substantive debate is possible.

(A example of this is that an instinctive negative reaction to "insensitive" jokes on a family show is involuntary. This relates to empathy. If the schedulers believe that many not-easily-offended viewers will nonetheless be reminded of Fukushima, they may choose to avoid such reactions because their goal is to provide light entertainment. This would mean making a decision where no complaints are made or even expected.)

Second, my point was that you seem to be closer to the easily offended that you might care to think. If that conjecture is false, then you'd say you're not like them at all. If it is true, then you'd say you're not like them at all. Therefore, stating it as a question is more or less pointless.

I'd also be making the assumption that you would provide an accurate, honest answer about your feelings, and that you are sufficiently self-aware to do so. Therefore, I simply make the comparisons and you can draw your own conclusions. It would be nice if you did actually offer an description of your feelings, but I don't think it's realistic to expect it.

You may not like the technique. But in my experience, people tend to only change their opinions when they respond emotionally to a debate. If you keep to your suggested format, where most people would tend to claim whatever makes them feel best about themselves, there's little chance it will make any difference.

Third, conjecture really is different to statements of fact, and I've been highlighting what facts I'm basing my conjecture on. For instance,"I made it clear I was referring to the fact that you were quick to disapprove, as per your actual statements." A thin layer of conjecture on top on actual facts is simply easier than, how did you put it, "adding "I believe" or "in my opinion" in front of it".

Basically, if people are offended, and if the episodes are being removed because of that, then that is what I disagree with. If it is for some other reason, such as them not believing it's funny, or something else, then I probably won't even have a problem with it.

Fair enough. I personally wouldn't tend to repeatedly post such declarative statements as you did if my viewpoint relied on a series of ifs, but I appreciate what you're saying there.

I genuinely think the motive here is not fear of causing offence, but schedulers doing their job. I think they know the difference between something that generates complaints (from "the usual suspects", as it were), and something that just doesn't suit the purposes of a particular time slot. It's a small, humanistic gesture in the context of an highly unusual and tragic situation.

Even fans of close-to-the-bone comedy are quite happy with the whole idea of "too soon", and how "suitable" timing is different for, say, family viewing vs. HBO special. I think that's a healthy culture.

more than 3 years ago
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The Simpsons Reviewed For Unsuitable Nuclear Jokes

ContractualObligatio Re:WTxxxxx? (374 comments)

Not in general.

Here's the Collins dictionary on "rebuttal":

rebuttal
noun: disproof, negation, refutation, invalidation, confutation, defeat

See the bit where it says, "invalidation"? That's the bit that tells you that yes indeed, a rebuttal generally implies you think the thing rebutted is invalid. As for what is and isn't on topic, isn't it hypocritical to think that people disapproving of what others choose to do, would not accept the same in return? It's not unusual to see the "hey, we were talking about them, not me" argument, but it's a self-serving approach I'm happy to ignore. Judge not lest ye be judged and all that jazz.

Proclaiming that I am offended as you did a few comments ago is indeed an assumption about my feelings

You're confusing an "assumption" with a "conclusion". I made it clear I was referring to the fact that you were quick to disapprove, as per your actual statements. You can disagree that "easily offended" and "quick to disapprove" are similar things, if you like. It's a fairly straightforward process to explain the overlap if you insist on digging that hole.

Be careful with the absolutes.

I have been, weren't you paying attention? It's actually quite time consuming writing out all the little caveats, drawing comparisons rather than making assertions, and so on. The debate would probably be more substantive if I didn't have to tread so carefully around you.

Justify an opinion?

No, your disapproval. There's a significant difference between, "I wouldn't do that," and "I disapprove of others doing that". The former is just an opinion; everyone has them. The latter is a basis for active interference in individual choice. It's the difference between just having an opinion (probably just given once), and being self-righteous (the kind of thing you might repeat, as you did, in multiple threads).

Like I say, I think words should count for something and I comment on that basis. If you want to write as if yours don't count for anything, that's a shame, but you can't reliably expect others to treat them that way.

Have I changed my mind about anything? No. Have you changed your mind about anything? Not that I see.

Open minds are about more than being willing to change them. This is a one on one debate on a particular subject; it stands to reason that we might not change our minds. However, in the sense that having an open mind means that you shouldn't be quick to disapprove of others, then you could be said to have a closed mind. In the sense that I'm making an effort only to disapprove of one specific individual based on actual evidence, it could be said I'm trying to keep an open mind.

I don't understand where you're getting this. It's just assumption after assumption.

First, it's interesting that as I repeatedly explain how my comments respond directly to your actual statements, you repeat the word "assumption" like a mantra. Second, it's just a little debating trick to highlight an opponent's tendency to over-react. I use a little hyperbole; you fall back on cookie-cutter, catch-all statements, the "get out of jail free" card of irrational debate.

Censorship is 'bad' only to me, and I'm disagreeing with people who say otherwise. Of course, that doesn't make them 'wrong'.

That's the whole self-righteous thing right there. You're not disagreeing with people who say that censorship isn't bad - you're disagreeing with people who say this isn't censorship at all. In the process, you're judging people's innocuous, sympathetic TV scheduling. You're even setting yourself up as someone of higher standards, someone willing to denounce censorship where others will not.

Classic self-indulgent, self-righteous nonsense.

That would certainly be a negative consequence.

To you.

Well, I was only agreeing with your example. Am I to take it that when you tried to come up with a negative consequence, you didn't even agree with your own suggestion? There is such a thing as an honest debate, you know.

If no one is offended, then why would someone need to show "human empathy"?

Let me get this straight. You're asking why anyone would need to show empathy in a scenario where tens of thousands of people have died? I think you need to demonstrate some understanding of what empathy actually is before I could attempt an answer to that question for you.

Offended or not, there is no reason that I see to take off these episodes.

Not true, of course - you've been reading my posts and therefore you've seen reasons to take off those episodes. Sticking your fingers in your metaphorical ears is just another form of denial.

"Funny" is also subjective, after all.

Absolutely. Shock news for you, though: TV schedulers therefore use their subjective judgement. I happen to think that's perfectly OK, because the notion of subjectivity doesn't fry my brain. It's fascinating how you use it as a basis to defend your opinion, but criticise others for the way they deal with it.

As I already stated, the article does suggest that some people could be offended. I am speaking of such a scenario, if it happens.

Just to repeat myself, sure, that scenario seems likely. But the article also suggests other scenarios, which I've talked about at some length. My hope was that you might start thinking beyond the boundaries of the arguments about censorship you probably held before you even read the article.

it's getting quite funny how you keep doubling down on fundamentalist logic.

Such as?

Ha, you say that as if we haven't covered this ground already. Well, that whole thing about fixating on the one scenario would be a classic. If you need a nice easy list to refer to:

  • Fixating on a scenario that you yourself introduced into the conversation.
  • Relying on particular interpretations that ignore concepts such as context, evidence, perspective and empathy.
  • Assuming motives and allowing for no other.
  • Complaining about negative consequences that don't actually happen.
  • Trying to define the topic so that you are shielded from personal criticism

Some of which I've mentioned before, so presumably you were ignoring them. Oh, I almost forgot:

  • Ignoring the counter-argument to stay fixed on message.

Note that these comparisons to the logic of fundamentalists and ideologues aren't particularly subjective. Reflect on that or don't; your choice.

Incidentally, when you wondered where I got my "waving your little book of rules" line from, it's kinda funny that the very first thing you do in response is try to apply a rule about what you think is on-topic. Wherever I got it from - it seems I was right.

Your logic seems to need some work, so here's a final tip. While I've tried to avoid them because you seem to struggle with them, assumptions aren't inherently bad. If someone makes one that turns out correct, it's often called "demonstrating good judgement". Sometimes it's because they have a thing called "experience". Try looking up "inductive reasoning". Fundamentalists tend not to like it, so perhaps it's not your thing either, but it's pretty useful.

more than 3 years ago
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The Simpsons Reviewed For Unsuitable Nuclear Jokes

ContractualObligatio Re:WTxxxxx? (374 comments)

I didn't imply that, either.

Yes, you did. Your point about an ad hominem attack was a rebuttal to my comments, which directly implies that you do not think personal criticism is valid. I've repeatedly demonstrated that I'm responding only to what you say. There's no assumptions about your character, status or feelings. If the comparisons make you uncomfortable, that's a matter for self-reflection rather than complaints. Denial does not an argument make.

As for the useless bit, that's possibly the most ridiculous thing you could say in an online forum. This is just a discussion on Slashdot. Maybe you'll even go away thinking about the fact that you're not actually able to justify your disapproval, in which case great. An open mind is a wonderful thing, and I'm happy to help. Probably you'll stick to waving around your own little book of rules of right and wrong, and keep disapproving of people that don't live up to your glorious standards. Even so, it is reassuring for me that I'm not condoning censorship by any reality based definition. So I find that useful.

I believe that a few people who are easily offended having the ability to have content taken away from others, temporarily or not, because they are offended by it, would count as a "negative consequence."

That would certainly be a negative consequence. One problem, however, is that doesn't seem to have happened here - nowhere is it even implied that the easily offended have this ability. Another problem is that you need to explain how simply not enjoying jokes about nuclear disasters during a nuclear disaster in the middle of a natural disaster claiming thousands of lives qualifies as "easily offended". It's really just a basic demonstration of human empathy.

"Reasonable" is subjective.

Oh, absolutely. Arguably, it would be reasonable to recommend to someone buying a new car that they ask for it to be painted lime green with cyan polka dots on the roof and purple doors. It's just that most people would tend to think that such an argument is ridiculous. Yes, I think it's reasonable to assume re-scheduling a few cartoon re-runs has no negative consequences.

Evidence for opinions about what others think is important?

Given the world has a lot of people confined to asylums, that kind of catch-all argument is as useless as hiding behind "subjective". How about instead just "others", we say "people who don't make things up to support their case"?

the article implies that some people could be offended. I am speaking of this scenario, and I thought it was obvious.

Sure, but "unsuitable" also has other implications. I've drawn out them out repeatedly and explicitly, but you keep ignoring them to focus on the specific thing that upsets your sensibilities. As well as simply enjoying the debate, it's getting quite funny how you keep doubling down on fundamentalist logic.

more than 3 years ago
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The Simpsons Reviewed For Unsuitable Nuclear Jokes

ContractualObligatio Re:WTxxxxx? (374 comments)

what word shall I use to describe it quickly? .. All you've actually done is attack my word usage, and seemingly nothing more.

Well, this is an online discussion. Words are kind of fundamental to the whole process, in my experience. Would you prefer hieroglyphics? It should be clear that if I'm happy to use "disapproving", "sensitive" and "easily offended" as replacements for each other, I'm more concerned with substance than with labels. So no, I'm not attacking your word usage, but what they imply about your thinking. Unless you're about to propose there's a way I could read your mind, we're just going to have to live with the whole "using words to communicate" thing.

Really, this is just an ad hominem attack at this point.

Is the latin supposed to be impressive? "Ad hominem attack" is just a pretentious way of saying "personal criticism" (as compared to the logical fallacy the phrase is more usefully applied to). Which is funny, because implying that you are beyond personal criticism is yet another tendency of the easily offended.

There could be a number of reasons that I wish for my desires to be fulfilled or that I post here.

I couldn't care less what your reasons for posting are, just what you say in those posts. I believe that what someone says should count for something. Although if you don't mean anything you say, I'd still enjoy the whole process because it's a little intellectual exercise in wading through sophistry to get to the core of an issue.

I support free speech. It would be interesting to me if you had a solid argument based on negative consequences, as compared to the insubstantial "I disapprove of people making decisions I disagree with" approach you're taking so far.

You try to downplay the situation and act as if, because you think it is unimportant, it is unimportant for everyone.

Not at all. I think that if it is unimportant, then it is unimportant, and claiming the direct opposite would be indicative of being overly sensitive. Seeing as we're talking about a couple of cartoon re-runs, my assumption that it is unimportant is reasonable. Where's the evidence for the opposing argument?

I've already explained why I disagree.

Well, kind of. For your argument to make sense, we have to use your definition of censorship, assume that your assessment of their motives is correct (having never met them or communicated with them), assume that being offended is the same thing as not being entertained, assume that it is bad for people paid to provide light entertainment to feel an obligation to provide it, and fear un-named consequences.

There is a high degree of similarity between that kind of judgemental and fearful argument by assertion and, say, those of a fundamentalist Christian who takes a strict view of morals and the US Constitution to justify their hysteria about abortion.

Don't get me wrong, though. Just because you quack like a duck doesn't make you a duck.

more than 3 years ago
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The Simpsons Reviewed For Unsuitable Nuclear Jokes

ContractualObligatio Re:WTxxxxx? (374 comments)

No, my interpretation is rock solid, as you yourself explain. You are using this definition:

censorship
The ability of a few sensitive people to remove content for everyone simply because they find it offensive.

Your post is a tautology: your disapproval isn't because it's censorship, but because of what the situation represents, and what it represents is censorship. My fundamental point remains when you start by disapproving of the situation, and then choose to use a particular, strict definition of a pejorative to describe it.

Slightly worse, in fact - now you're choosing definitions to suit your delicate sensibilities. That is most definitely a hallmark of the easily offended! Sorry, you don't the word being applied to you, do you? A "hallmark of the quick to disapprove", then.

I'm surprised you think TV networks should be completely free to act as censors. It would explain why you use "censorship" to describe minor scheduling decisions, if you think it isn't something that should be challenged in any practical sense.

more than 3 years ago
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The Simpsons Reviewed For Unsuitable Nuclear Jokes

ContractualObligatio Re:WTxxxxx? (374 comments)

Such as adhering to particular, strict interpretations of words, and then using them to disapprove of other people's decisions, even in matters as trivial as selecting cartoons. You really do seem to be in pretty much the same group.

A TV scheduler's job includes simple concepts like, "put light entertainment material in the light entertainment slot." It's entirely reasonable that in their view, jokes about nuclear disasters during a nuclear disaster are not light entertainment.

I think they should be completely free to make that choice. You clearly don't, and are judging other people's scheduling decisions. This is closer to the logic of censorship than it is to free speech.

more than 3 years ago
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The Simpsons Reviewed For Unsuitable Nuclear Jokes

ContractualObligatio Re:WTxxxxx? (374 comments)

Most definitions of censorship would not apply here. The material is not considered immoral, obscene, politically or commercially damaging, or heretical. It is a free decision made by individuals, as a minor gesture, at a moment in time, with no intent to force that view on others, that does not prevent you from viewing the material in question.

It's true that it is censorship - strictly speaking, according to a particular definition, with no sense of perspective or sympathy. Interpreting words in such a manner is a hallmark of the easily offended. It's so much easier to get all self-righteous when you have strict definitions you think everybody else should live by.

If you're worried about the negative impact of not showing a couple of widely available cartoon re-runs, rest assured you have more in common with "offended" people than you'd like to think.

more than 3 years ago
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The Simpsons Reviewed For Unsuitable Nuclear Jokes

ContractualObligatio Re:WTxxxxx? (374 comments)

Fair enough. But that makes for a long list of people they disagree with: the channels doing something on a voluntary basis, the executive producer of the show for not challenging their right to make independent decisions, and all the people that think it's a small courtesy to show some sympathy for dead and dying people caught up in a national crisis.

You have to ask just what is their motive for whining about censorship? Does the voluntary delay of a few re-runs that have been shown before, and will be again, and are available elsewhere, really count as censorship in their minds? Just how safe, cotton-balled and full of trivialities must their lives be to come to that conclusion?

more than 3 years ago
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New Red Dwarf Series Threatened By the Twitter Era

ContractualObligatio Re:I Hate "Humour" (228 comments)

I'm afraid, as a Brit, I find your post to be such an embarrassment to our nation that I must ask you go into a quiet room with a bottle of whiskey and a revolver, and do the right thing.

Surreal and nonsensical humour requires that you enjoy the "different", are not so concerned with what is "proper", and don't need at least 4 episodes of preparatory material before you can "get" the joke. Don't criticise what you can't understand. Let's take a brief tour of exaggeration, silliness, farce and slapstick in British comedy:

18th century: Jonathan Swift writes about midgets and giants to satirise the pomposity of Brits obsessed with what is "proper".

19th century: Gilbert & Sullivan based entire plots on ideas like a fully grown pirate being only 5 years old, having been born on Feb 29th.

20th century: in the 50s, The Goon Show goes surreal, blazing the path 18 years before Python. Spike Milligan is famous both for being surreal and for writing funny books which do not need to be acted out to be funny, and Peter Sellers is famous for his over-the-top characters. The Two Ronnies relied upon "stupid costumes, over-exaggerated characters [and] nonsensical situations" for 16 years. Eric Morecambe, also drawing in many millions of viewers with Ernie Wise for 15 years, was famous for slapstick.

We're now in the 21st century. We still have several of The Goodies, another surreal 70s show, as regulars on I'm Sorry, I Haven't A Clue in its 54th series, with guests such as the ridiculous and surreal Ross Noble. How much more bloody "proper" and "English" can you get than Radio Four on a Sunday afternoon?

It's about time to get down from your ivory high chair and catch up with the past few centuries of what us Brits think is funny. Don't be the guy giving the rest of us a reputation for having a stick up our arse.

more than 3 years ago
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Verizon To Offer iPhone Users Unlimited Data

ContractualObligatio Re:Yeah, right. (327 comments)

people jump on the ignorance when it's relating to something anti-European or pro-American much faster than they jump on it when it's pro-European.

You're not thinking it through. Here's roughly how it works:

  • American website hosts an ignorant, anti-European comment. That's insulting. Europeans will respond, and fellow Americans will respond because you're making them all look like douchebags.
  • American website hosts an ignorant, pro-American comment. That's bragging. The rest of the world will respond, and fellow Americans will respond because you're making them all look like douchebags.
  • American website hosts an ignorant, pro-European comment. That's being nice, even if it was ill-informed. It's a compliment. Nobody wants to jump on it, because they don't want to be douchebags.

What you're observing is just the natural outcome of people trying to be good people. Don't be the douchebag. You got it wrong, you got called on it. If that's too much to handle and you need to go all caps, then, like OMG!!!, the big, bad internet may not be for you.

more than 3 years ago
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Verizon To Offer iPhone Users Unlimited Data

ContractualObligatio Re:Yeah, right. (327 comments)

The point was that it was ignorant, not that it was anti anything.

more than 3 years ago
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WikiLeaks Will Unveil Major Bank Scandal

ContractualObligatio Re:So... (1018 comments)

If you can't see a difference between "can do no wrong" and "not perfect", then we have no common ground upon which communications could profit .. not even a common language

You're absolutely right. And here's the problem - you're struggling with some basic English. Seeing a "meaningful distinction" is completely different to just seeing a "difference".

It's nothing but semantic masturbation to claim there is any difference in real world outcomes between "I'm better than you" and "I'm perfect". Makes you feel good, maybe, but it's no use to anybody else, and embarrassing to witness in public.

Out of interest, how far did you have to shove your head up your ass to find lines like, "we have no common ground upon which communications could profit"?

about 4 years ago
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WikiLeaks Under Denial of Service Attack

ContractualObligatio Re:Right Response? (870 comments)

You don't even realise how sad it is that you thought the two big words are so much more important than the little one, do you?

about 4 years ago
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WikiLeaks Under Denial of Service Attack

ContractualObligatio Re:Right Response? (870 comments)

Mandela, that well known Western leader! And Kenya, surely the finest of all Western nations! Not a single result on Google for Blair calling him a murderous autocrat, either.

You're just making it up, aren't you?

Incredible vanity will also make you feckless and ineffective. Why use three words when one will do? But it is very impressive that you prefer to use the big words. Maybe Jiminy will give you an extra wish as a reward.

about 4 years ago
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WikiLeaks Under Denial of Service Attack

ContractualObligatio Re:Right Response? (870 comments)

Read those papers again. You'll find the leaders of the Western World use diplomatic language regarding Mugabe personally. Words like "tyrant" might crop up, but not "scumbag" or "murderous". They don't meet with him anyway, which makes them irrelevant to the discussion of how diplomats should talk to their contacts. You should read the posts a bit more closely before commenting.

If your point was about how everyone knows Mugabe is a scumbag - well, no shit, Sherlock. And is anyone surprised to find out that Berlusconi is vain? Is anyone of adult age really so naive that it bothers them diplomats don't call him that to his face?

You can wish for unicorns and ponies and everybody always being honest with each other if you like. I'm sure Jiminy Cricket will be right along to sort that out for you.

about 4 years ago
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WikiLeaks Under Denial of Service Attack

ContractualObligatio Re:Right Response? (870 comments)

If the conversations between the US and its contacts are of such "unflattering" nature that they give rise to diplomatic crises when uncovered, then perhaps the US should have trained their employees and contact to not behave that way.

Absolutely. I'm sure you'd agree that Robert Mugabe is a wonderful person, and how terrible it is that anyone might criticise him simply for being a murderous dictator responsible for the deaths of vast swathes of his felIlow citizens. How uncivil it would be to point such a thing out. Right thinking people such as yourself should not stand for such indecent revelations.

about 4 years ago
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What Software Specification Tools Do You Use?

ContractualObligatio Re:Agile (200 comments)

Try reading that book again. Adams includes the budget process in his list of one level removed activities, and says, "You couldn't run a company, for example, without a budget process. I'm not suggesting you try." He then goes on to provide further advice, essentially that fiddling and reorganising is usually bad, while re-engineering and streamlining can be good. The latter are one level removed.

Be careful of taking simplisitic advice out of context to reinforce your own sense of superiority.

about 4 years ago
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US Supreme Court Expected Political Ad Transparency

ContractualObligatio Re:Kennedy's folly and sad legacy (617 comments)

The biggest gang wins. That what Democracy is.

I would've sworn that was mob rule. This recent decision to give the "gangs" rights certainly keeps the US at the very forefront of democratic experimentation.

As a legal convenience .. The AARP is a corporation. The NEA is a corporation. The AFL/CIO is a corporation. The NAACP is a corporation.

True, true. So, your democratic philosophy is one of gangs and legal conveniences. I've got to admire the inventiveness. It would never have occurred to me to look at it that way.

As a Brit, it's fascinating to watch the direction the US is taking. When the colonies declared their independence, they were all about "self-evident truth" and "unalienable rights". We were awfully put out. But it turns out, they're just as keen as us to find ways to ensure hereditary power. We really shouldn't have worried.

more than 4 years ago
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Microsoft Admits OpenOffice.org Is a Contender

ContractualObligatio Re:Time Cost (480 comments)

It doesn't work like that. Off-the-shelf software is far cheaper than paying development time for a bespoke solution, even including upgrade costs. Software vendors typically have to make significant changes over a ten year frame. Accept that some of those changes may favour a different set of users, learn to factor maintenance into your budgeting, and suck it up.

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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ContractualObligatio ContractualObligatio writes  |  more than 8 years ago

ContractualObligatio (850987) writes "The Register asks the question of whether businesses are at risk of having no budget to develop code, from maintaining too many "pure play" applications: Pure Play Maintenance. What is the experience on slashdot? Are people spending too much timing maintaining code and integrations because the business is adopting too many applications? Do IT teams have the time and money to actually improve and innovate the way their companies do business?"
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ContractualObligatio ContractualObligatio writes  |  more than 8 years ago

ContractualObligatio (850987) writes "Speaking as an HP employee, I think it is right that the chair should lose her position in light of recent events. HP is a great company starting to find its way once again, and we should not be involved in that kind of behaviour. She does stay on as a director, which I am sure will disappoint some. However the outcome is fitting. She is now in a post where her business expertise is valued, but she no longer purports to set the tone, she has been publically embarrased and punished. Actually as a Brit this is similar to how Parliament used to operate. When things went wrong, a Cabinet Minister would be asked to take responsibility and resign for what happened on their watch. However this still left them on the backbenches as a local MP i.e. there is a separate democratic process to actually remove someone completely. It's not a bad way to do things (it's not the same anymore...).

Here's the press release:

Press Release
Patricia Dunn to Remain HP Chairman Through January 2007 Board Meeting; Board Appoints Mark Hurd As Successor

September 12, 2006

PALO ALTO, Calif., Sept. 12, 2006 — HP today announced that Patricia Dunn will remain as chairman through the company's Jan. 18, 2007, board meeting. Mark Hurd, the company's chief executive officer and president, will succeed her and retain his existing positions. Dunn will continue to serve as a director.

Richard Hackborn, who has served on the board since 1992, has been designated lead independent director, effective in January. In addition to having been chairman of the company in 2000, he spent 33 years as an HP employee, concluding his career in 1993 as head of the PC and personal information product business.

Dunn said, "The recent events that have taken place follow an important investigation that was required after the board sought to resolve the persistent disclosure of confidential information from within its ranks. These leaks had the potential to affect not only the stock price of HP but also that of other publicly traded companies. Unfortunately, the investigation, which was conducted with third parties, included certain inappropriate techniques. These went beyond what we understood them to be, and I apologize that they were employed.

"I am very proud of the progress HP has made over the past 18 months. During the remainder of my tenure as chairman, I look forward to completing the transition that is underway, including expanding the board, continuing to improve our corporate governance standards and bringing the current issues to resolution."

Hurd said, "I am taking action to ensure that inappropriate investigative techniques will not be employed again. They have no place in HP.

"HP holds itself to the highest standards of business conduct and we are accountable to these standards for everything that we do. The company will work to put these matters behind us so that we fully resume our focus on the business and continue to earn the trust and support of our customers, employees and stockholders.""

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