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Comment Re:"Shadowbans left and right" (Score 1) 143

Twitter is capricious with its bans. It bans people for saying offensive things, but doesn't ban them for saying threatening or dangerous things.

I abhor hate speech, and I actually support my country's ban on it. I believe speech can be weaponized; advocating for the extermination of a person or people on the basis of race or orientation or whatever shouldn't be protected speech. (Don't argue with me about this; I don't care what you think in this regard. I'm just giving this preamble as context, not to invite any discussion on the matter. I mean, post if you want, but I'm not going to read any of it.)

The problem with Twitter is that because they're so useless on their own and haven't allowed anyone to make useful tools for the service, people that I *do* want to hear--usually women--are driven off the service because of the unending firehose of rape and death threats. Police don't take those seriously, and neither does twitter, and so the system becomes unusable for anyone at the receiving end of that. I don't think that's an acceptable use of a service.

IF Twitter had provided appropriate tools from the beginning (shared block lists, tools to filter out threats and random hateful garbage, etc.) this would all be a non-issue. The all-speech-is-free crowd could go off and do what they want, and the people that are just trying to live their lives without hearing how they should be raped to death could ALSO use the space as they want. Instead, Twitter lashed out in all directions at none, ineffectually banning people but not making the system any better for anyone.

If you're going to provide a platform for free speech (and for twitter, I fall on the side of more speech being better often because it means repressed populations may actually get heard), you also need to provide tools for some people to make sure they only have to hear what they want to.

Comment Re:What makes an engineer in the US? (Score 1) 548

My definition of 'engineer' includes 'legally responsible for the work they do', which is what happens with P.Engs in Canada. I don't know how it works in other places, but an engineer signing off on something means something. I have no legal liability for my code and I make no guarantees to anyone about it. (Keeping in mind that I'm a game programmer so, y'know, whatever.)

Comment Re:Catch? (Score 1) 191

I've been running iOS 10.3 beta for the whole run on an iPhone 6 with 16GB of storage. There haven't been any problems, despite the limited space that it has to work with and how much it has to go and flush cache files and whatnot. I'd be surprised if there are more than a handful of problems related to the upgrade.

Comment Re:Uber issue, not a tech issue (Score 4, Insightful) 272

Your anecdote isn't data. It's nice that you've worked for progressive companies and that you yourself are good about working with women, but it's absolutely a systemic issue. Story after story after story confirms it.

Rather, I think you and the companies you work for are outliers. Congratulations on that; I hope you keep your streak.

Comment Re:Two Solutions (Score 2) 266

"Premature optimisation is the root of all evil"

is an aphorism that is exactly trying to get across what you say at the end

"Don't assume, Profile!"

Basically, the guy that originally said it was trying to say you can't guess what the problems are going to be before you lay the code down. Write the code correctly, but don't try to tinker with your scheduling algorithm to make it provably optimal when it's going to be dwarfed by order-of-magnitude problems with the network code.

Comment Meanwhile, post a link to an Oglaf strip... (Score 3, Insightful) 122

My work internet blocks Oglaf, so I can't find and link the strip in question, but a couple weeks ago my partner put the strip up on her Facebook page. A day later, the strip had been taken down because it was 'offensive'. It's a cartoon, and the punchline was basically that a guy fucks lemons. Woo. It's NSFW, I guess, but it involves two adults and lemons. It's really no big deal, and it's pretty funny.

I have friends that are models. Heaven forbid they show even the barest bit of nipple. Sometimes it doesn't even take that much. They have pictures taken down and temp-bans put on them.

So my question is who are they employing to scan these images, and why do they find partially clothed women more offensive than pictures of exploited kids?

Comment Re:Who will algo the algos? (Score 2) 183

I know quite a number of machine learning researchers and they're not just aware of that, they're also aware of the implicit bias that gets built into machine learning systems based on the training sets. It's a huge problem and it's hard to solve. While I feel like Google has both the resources and responsibility to be a better actor in this regard, only by exposing their system to real world challenges can they actually suss out what needs to be fixed. It's a bit of a catch-22--you don't want to release unless the data is accurate, but the data can't be accurate unless you release it to be stress-tested. Hopefully the turnaround here will be quick.

Comment Re:Perhaps a better method... (Score 1) 1001

Here's the thing: those are perfectly reasonable requests, the rules aren't arbitrary, there's some determinism, etc.

I went to an interview, and I got asked how to write something that calculates the nth Fibonacci number. The naive solution is of course to do it recursively, but I'd recently been reading about it, and I had an iterative solution. So I wrote that down. Turns out the question is multi-part, and the second part is "do it faster". My solution was already pretty optimal, so I didn't have anywhere to go. It was clear that this wasn't okay. I did the work better than expected on the first try, but got docked points for the interviewer's lack of imagination.

This is what people mean when they say they don't want to solve riddles. I'm not there to be a dancing monkey, we're trying to have a dialogue about why I'm right for your company and to clear a minimum bar for skill. There's this story about fizzbuzz ( where basically the writer concludes that bad programmers are weeded out by really minimally challenging problems, and making things more complicated doesn't give you any better sense of success.

My questions in interviews are more philosophical. "What do you think about commenting code?" "What's your favourite programming language? Why? What problems does it have? Do those problems have solutions? How do you work around issues like that?" These are questions that programmers think about on their own time and have opinions about, and having an opinion and being able to talk intelligently about it tells me a lot more about how engaged and appropriate someone is for the job than basic BS like 'write a solution for the nth Fibonacci number'. That's not an inherently interesting problem, it tells me very little about what you'd be like to work with or even your problem solving skills, and ultimately bores the both of us.

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