This week's "Hacker" "News" annotations are pretty good.


  • The United States Senate continues the war against their own users. One Hackernews suspects some kind of massive federal conspiracy to censor comments on Another suddenly realizes that people might disagree about things for reasons other than ignorance, and becomes distressed. The rest of the comments are people arguing about technical methods to work around the user-tracking they implement in their day jobs.

  • Google continues the war against their own users. The XMPP Memorial Society trades barbs about whose fault it is that a misdesigned overengineered shitshow of a protocol failed to gain traction amongst non-erlang enthusiasts. Every single messaging platform in current existence is held up as Obviously The Future. Hackernews tries to figure out what Google's master plan is, and why Google is working so hard to make it look like aimless poorly-managed floundering. IRCv3 continues to be a retarded pile of solutions to the wrong problems.

  • The United States House of Representatives continues the war against their own users. Hackernews is outraged, presumably because the rules will now enable other companies to compete with Google in the lucrative Fuck Everybody's Privacy market sector. The entire comment thread is just Hackernews arguing about political shit and deciding which elected officials are betraying the American people. Not a single goddamn Hackernews makes the obvious connection to the shit they do at work all day for a living. The tacit consensus: Hackernews isn't bad for creating the tools of surveillance capitalism; Congress is bad for letting people use them.

  • Some academics figure out how to make shit in pictures look like shit in other pictures. One Hackernews notices that the machine learning papers have largely stopped relying on mathematics or any other scientific endeavor; the others are ready with reassurances that someone will get around to formal research sooner or later. All this stuff is super worthwhile in the meantime because we can just keep passing around training sets verbatim and treating them as infallible, just like we do with node.js libraries! Both the machine learning community and the web development community are completely free of charlatans! Scout's honor!


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14 Responses:

  1. "We read HN so you don't have to and properly summarize it for free" is an excellent service to provide.

    The XMPP Memorial Society trades barbs about whose fault it is that a misdesigned overengineered shitshow of a protocol failed to gain traction amongst non-erlang enthusiasts.

    Speaking as one who was (very peripherally) there before the corpse was interred:

    1. Ouch
    2. True on all counts

    Not that I'm bitter. Much.

    • Chad D Altenburg says:

      I know two Software Engineers at Google. One works at the office in New York City while the other one works at the office near Boston. Anyways, talking to guy at the New York office is entertaining because his response to any criticism is "You're confused on how things work."

      But this gets unfunnier. Because lately he hasn't responded to anything. Maybe he got fed up with people asking him what he thought were stupid questions?

      And the guy at the Boston office really doesn't give me the time of day.

      Wait, I don't know how this relates to anything.

      • Owen W. says:

        Maybe you should relate to your friends as people instead of complaint boxes. I doubt there's a single criticism of Google that they haven't heard before, or expressed themselves internally on Google Plus. Does that make them willing tools of the oppressor? Maybe, but it doesn't also obligate them to talk to you.

        • Chad D Altenburg says:

          Well, they critize my code. So I just return the favor by critizing...well...yeah...things happen.

          • Dave says:

            I criticize your code too but that doesn't mean I want you talking to me about the policies of my employer.

            • James says:

              Do you see any fundamental social inequities inherent in that statement? Until the Google triumvirate become more responsive, or they open a general customer service call tracking system, or set up a responsive ombudsman on social media, it's best that ordinary people express their concerns about Google to googlers directly, and that works pretty well because most of them have high esteem for their company and positions, so they are likely to communicate constrictive criticism internally and advocate for effective resolutions.

  2. Paul N says:

    And to think I used to worry that jwz was the most cynical person on the Internet.

  3. Finagle says:

    This is my new favourite thing. I haven't enjoyed tech commentary this much since NTKnow.

  4. earino says:

    This is, far and away, my favorite way to consume HN. For the sake of my entertainment, I hope it becomes a regular staple. For the sake of your blood pressure and happiness, I hope this never ever happens again :)

  5. Web Guy says:

    I still have afterglow from "Beatus Graham" in the last batch.

  6. That search company found three apparently serious instances of "war against their own users". I want more!