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Submission + - Germany won't prosecute NSA, but bloggers->

tmk writes: After countless evidence the on German top government officials German Federal Prosecutor General Harald Range has declined to investigate any wrongdoings of the secret services of allied nations like NSA or the British GCHQ. But after plans of the German secret service "Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz" to gain some cyper spy capabilities like the NSA were revealed by the blog netzpolitik.org, Hange started an official investigation against the bloggers and their sources. The charge: treason.
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Comment Re:Slashdot videos suck! (Score 3) 117

Videos/podcasts and similar formats are definitely not for every setting, but they do allow you to get to know a person a bit better than a simple transcript does. In a video, you can see a person's facial expressions, you can hear emphasis, and you may be able to make more of an emotional connection. For a podcast, you can listen in the background, during your commute, etc. Each format has its advantages/disadvantages.

I agree a transcript would be awesome though; sorry that I've not gotten around to that yet (I do these in my spare time and suggested to Roblimo that he might want to run a shorter version). If you want to help, I've set up an Amara import here. In general, Passionate Voices is a community project (the videos are under CC-0, i.e. free to reuse), and help is always welcome, including with doing itnerviews.

Comment "Pipeline" by Sumana (Score 1, Insightful) 117

A few days ago, Sumana released this video, Pipeline, a critique of the tech industry's treatment of women. It's relevant to the overall discussion re: hospitality and worth watching (the main point being, "getting women into tech" doesn't really solve any problems if the actual experience in the industry is a terrible one).

Comment Re:Only Two Futures? (Score 1, Flamebait) 609

>NOMINATE scales people based on their choices relative to contemporaries

That's exactly *why* it works across decades. Because it allows a continuous chain of comparison even between people who never served together. (E.g, person A served with person B, person B later served with person C, person C later served with person D, etc)

Comment Re:Only Two Futures? (Score 5, Informative) 609

> "JFK was more conservative than most conservatives are today"

BULLSHIT!

Keith T. Poole at the University of Georgia has built his career on quanitfying the liberality/conservativeness of politics.

I couldn't find his numbers for John Kennedy, but he gave John Kennedy a -.318 during the 83rd Congress, making him the 15th most liberal member of that body. By comparison, in today's Senate, he'd rank as the 31st most liberal senator, between Senators Wyden and Murphy, and more liberal than EVERY SINGLE Republican in Congress.

Comment Re:Glass? (Score 1) 175

There's increased costs, for maintenance (regular cleaning) and replacement (it still cracks when damaged, even if it stays in one piece).

Glass by itself isn't nearly as strong as steel, so it would either need bollards or a steel fence to protect against vehicles. Vehicles crashing through gates can be very bad.

Bollards may not be a good idea though, because a smaller vehicle such as a motorcycle might still be able to go between the bollards and break through the glass.

Perhaps the lower half of the fence could be the current steel fence (to protect against large and small vehicles), and the upper half could be glass (to reduce the aesthetic impact).

Comment Re:Sandbox (Score 2) 94

Thank you for giving it a spin and reporting back, glad your tests worked. :-) Our policy is to not execute JS at all on older browsers like IE6 and IE7 (for security and maintenance reasons), which has the side effect of keeping us honest in ensuring all core features work without JavaScript.

Comment Re:"Millions of dollars spent" / state of Flow (Score 4, Interesting) 94

Hey gl4ss, these are fair points, but I stand by my original estimate, including overhead & travel. A couple of things to keep in mind: 1) Although WMF is based in the SF Bay Area, it is a non-profit, there are no bonuses or stock options, and base comp is good but not as high as you can get elsewhere. We also hire internationally and our teams often include remote folks in regions with different pay scales. For positions like community liaisons, we often hire younger folks who don't get quite as high an hourly rate as an experienced engineer would. 2) Yes, managers need to get involved, there are meeeetings, etc., but our engineering managers tend to be responsible for pretty large groups (20+ folks) since teams working on user-facing features have their own dedicated Product Managers and most of the day-to-day decision making exists at the team level. This reduces the risk of micromanagement and keeps managers focused on supporting teams rather than getting in their way. 3) The delta in compensation between engineering managers and engineers is not as high as you might think.

Comment Re:"Millions of dollars spent" / state of Flow (Score 3, Interesting) 94

Hi TuringTest, thanks for your comment! Contrary to your past tense, Flow continues to be in active development, and continues to be deployed to new use cases, most recently a new user help forum on French Wikipedia, and a technical support forum on Catalan Wikipedia. Since the only way to roll out a system like this is to replace existing use of wiki pages, we're proceeding conservatively to test it out in social spaces where people want to try a new approach, and improving it in partnership with real users in those venues.

It's true that talk pages, being ordinary wiki pages, support "making your own workflow". I love the Douglas Engelbart reference, though I doubt Engelbart would have remained content with talk pages for very long. The lack of a discrete identity for separate comments makes it impossible to selectively monitor conversations you're participating in (you literally have to use diffs to know what's going on), or to show comments outside of the context of the page they were added to. This is a pretty tough set of constraints to work with. At the same time, you're absolutely right that a modern system can't simply emulate patterns used by web forums or commenting systems like this one.

Like wiki pages, Flow posts have their own revision history. Flow-enabled pages have a wiki-style header. Each thread has a summary which can be community-edited. Threads can be collapsed and un-collapsed by anyone. All actions are logged. In short, wiki-style principles and ideas are implemented throughout the system. At the same time, we believe that as we add modern capabilities like tagging, we can replace some of the convoluted workflows that are necessary in wikitext. Already, Flow adds capabilities missing from talk pages -- notifications for individual replies, watching specific threads (rather than a whole page), in-place responses, etc. More to come.

Comment Re:"Millions of dollars spent" / state of Flow (Score 4, Informative) 94

Hello metasonix! First, congratulations on the successful article submission. In answer to your question, I was referring to LQT development. LQT was put into maintenance mode in early 2011, so of your "10 plus year project", about 7 years elapsed with a little bit of paid effort dedicated to the development of LQT. $150K max spent (not all of it by WMF) on LQT is really a high estimate -- Andrew Garrett, the only dedicated developer, also worked on other projects during that time, including the widely used AbuseFilter extension.

Flow development kicked off in summer 2013, about 18-19 months of development effort so far by a team that's fluctuated in size but currently comprises three full-time engineers, about half a person's time for UX design and research, a product manager and a community liaison. During that entire timeframe, I would estimate money spent on the project so far at less than $1M. Even if you combine both efforts, "millions of dollars spent" is pure hyperbole, and adding up elapsed time to exaggerate scale and scope of these efforts is equally misleading.

Comment "Millions of dollars spent" / state of Flow (Score 5, Interesting) 94

The article summary speaks of "millions of dollars spent" on a new discussion system for Wikipedia. The article actually tells a very different story -- the LiquidThreads extension started out as a Google Summer of Code project, was funded for a while by an interested third party, and then received a little attention from the Wikimedia Foundation (one designer, one developer) before development was put into maintenance mode. I would ballpark the total money spent around $100-$150K max. Elapsed time does not equate money spent. LQT continues to be in use on a number of projects, but its architecture and UX needed to be fundamentally overhauled.

Flow, the designated successor to LQT, continues to be in development by a small team, and is gradually being deployed to appropriate use cases. It is now running on designated pages in a couple of Wikipedia languages, and old LiquidThreads pages are being converted over using a conversion script developed by the Flow team. Contrary to the article's claim, WikiEducator upgraded to a recent version of LQT, and will be able to migrate to Flow in future using the conversion script.

You can give Flow a try in the sandbox on mediawiki.org and see for yourself whether the article's claims are hyperbole or not. Disclaimer: I am the person referenced in the headline of the Wikipediocracy article, so take my view with a grain of salt, as well. ;-)

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