webshit weekly (2019/08/14)

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the second week of August, 2019.

The Lonely Work of Moderating Hacker News
August 08, 2019 (comments)
An Internet examines the groundskeepers of the "Hacker" "News" estate. To the surprise of nobody, it turns out to be wealthy old people. The author demonstrates exceptionally good taste in selection of representation for the opposition. Hackernews revels in spotlight adjacency, but rankles at all attempts to extract a representative sample of comments. Comments which are selected based on being highest-voted are decreed not to be representative. Multi-hundred comment threads are declared irrelevant to understanding Hackernews' internal dialog. No technology is discussed.

Alan Kay's answer to ‘what are some forgotten books programmers should read?’
August 09, 2019 (comments)
A computer nerd compiles a track list for a literary mixtape, then throws it onto a garbage scow. Hackernews toys with amusing recreational ideas like "reading books" or "learning to use software" but most of the comments are suggestions for additional books to not read or links to similar mixtapes from nerds each individual commenter prefers to listen to. One Hackernews is worried that failure to obsessively focus on one topic might make them less attractive to employers. Others agree: learning new things is hard, so it's best to just keep learning the same thing forever.

What Does a Coder Do If They Can't Type?
August 10, 2019 (comments)
An Internet describes the process of computer programming via voice recognition software. Hackernews recommends fifteen thousand different exercises to prevent the physical condition described in the article, but the segment about the author's doctors' dismissal of the problem leads to a shark attack wherein Hackernews lines up every physician currently licensed to practice medicine and executes them for incompetence on live television.

Python Is Eating the World
August 11, 2019 (comments)
A webshit recounts the story of a largely successful C program. Hackernews forms impromptu support groups for the poor bastards who are stuck with using this extremely popular programming language.

Ebola Is Now Curable
August 12, 2019 (comments)
Some doctors find success with a modern take on the old "wait for someone to survive a disease and then find out how they did it" trick. Hackernews has strong opinions about the operation of clinical trials, based entirely on waiting-room magazines and Youtube videos. Other Hackernews insist that the disease should not be called "curable" because people still die sometimes.

Fewer Than Half of Google Searches Now Result in a Click
August 13, 2019 (comments)
Some adtech parasites ramble about Google. Hackernews is on board with this, but some Googles show up in the comments to defend the divine right of their kings. A few Hackernews engage in good-faith efforts to communicate with the acolytes, but in the end all roads lead to "rewrite your website to suit us and click here to create a Google account." Nobody notices the adtech parasites.

Psytrance Guide
August 14, 2019 (comments)
Some webshits spend too much time thinking about techno. Hackernews does too, but can't decide whether it's as an excuse to spend time with other human beings or because philately is out of vogue. The comment threads common to all discussions about techno are present: people pretending to be interested in making more of it, people pretending to be interested in other people's opinions of it, and clenched-teeth debates about which particular beeps and whistles are appropriate to which arbitrary sub-sub-subgenre titles. On a related note: the terms "techno" and "electronic music" are interchangeable; I am not accepting feedback on this topic at this time.

webshit weekly (2019/08/07)

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the first week of August, 2019.

Ugly Gerry – Font created from congressional districts
August 01, 2019 (comments)
An Internet produces an homage to the era when political parties had to put a lot of time and effort into ratfucking their own nation, instead of hiring Alexander Nix or Peter Thiel to do it. Hackernews declares the gesture invalid and immediately begins loudly misunderstanding the motivations behind the practice of gerrymandering. Some Hackernews remove the silver spoons from their mouths long enough to lecture the uppity ones that the law should be perfectly blind to actual conditions experienced by human beings, and when this ideal is reached, we can then rely on the robotic and flawless execution of the law to ensure that absolutely nothing ever disturbs the status quo.

Standard Ebooks: Free public-domain ebooks, carefully produced
August 02, 2019 (comments)
Beings from a higher plane of existence descend from the heavens to spread "necessities" such as "curly quotes." Hackernews is wildly enthusiastic about this endeavor, as the only thing preventing them from reading these ancient classic texts is the insufficiently diverse lengths of the dashes. Then they argue about whether mailing lists are good.

Build Your Own Text Editor
August 03, 2019 (comments)
An Internet writes a C tutorial. Hackernews, completely missing the point, argues about which features they'd like to see in hypothetical new text editors. All of the features already exist in old text editors; in some cases, the novel feature was implemented during the Reagan administration. Hackernews then trades links to toy compiler recipes. Smelling the C, the Rust Evangelism Strike Force shifts uncomfortably in the corner.

All the best engineering advice I stole from non-technical people
August 04, 2019 (comments)
A bureaucrat strains to think coherently. The result is almost discernible as thought, but is drowned in stilted attempts at folksy analogy. Hackernews weeds through the verbiage to extract things to agree with. This results in arguments about what, exactly, constitutes a "manager," complaints that nobody is smart enough to understand what computer programmers do all day, debates about when it is acceptable at work to act like a child, and more complaints that nobody is smart enough to understand what computer programmers do all day.

8chan goes dark after hardware provider discontinues service
August 05, 2019 (comments)
A cartoon pornography archive struggles to find bandwidth after getting thrown off their free ride. Hackernews sternly condemn this betrayal of freedom of expression, arguing that a company whose business model is "having a lot of hard drives plugged into a lot of networks" should be classed as a public service and regulated as national infrastructure. The fact that the cartoon pornography archive has become for mass-murder enthusiasts what "Hacker" "News" is for would-be billionaires who own toe shoes does not, in Hackernews' mind, factor into this discussion. One Hackernews speculates upon the opinions of philosophers, but another Hackernews steps in to insist they clarify that it's only "human philosophers" under consideration. This is a valuable contribution to the dialogue, as horse philosophers do not like being lumped in with the other ones. There are no meaningful technical matters at hand, so this thread has more than fifteen hundred comments.

Turning a MacBook into a Touchscreen with $1 of Hardware (2018)
August 06, 2019 (comments)
An Internet turns an output device into an input device. Hackernews is thrilled that someone finally found a way to make their laptop more like an iPad. A debate breaks out about whether having ideas is worthwhile, and then another breaks out about whether implementing ideas is worthwhile.

Steam Windows Client Local Privilege Escalation 0day
August 07, 2019 (comments)
A digital trading-card vendor sucks at computer programming and is not interested in the consequences. Hackernews slowly realizes that all corporate security reporting facilities are public-relations damage control operations. Many similar stories are told, and at the end of all of them nothing happens. A massive argument breaks out about whether computer games are worth money. Another breaks out over whether privilege separation is even a good idea to begin with, since it makes everything such a pain in the ass.

webshit weekly (2019/07/31)

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the last week of July, 2019.

How to assess the quality of garments (2014)
July 22, 2019 (comments)
An Internet provides information about how to tell whether an article of clothing is a piece of shit. Since none of the evaluated metrics are accessible over HTTP, none of these practices are available to Hackernews. Therefore, Hackernews turns to a topic of conversation in which they are all experts: economics. The few Hackernews who have been exposed to high-quality clothing express some unobjectionable opinions on the matter, but all of the subsequent comments turn into arguments about brands.

No CS Degree – Interviews with self-taught developers
July 23, 2019 (comments)
A webshit conflates computer science and programming. Every Hackernews who accidentally majored in something other than being rich rushes to conspicuous contemplation about the soft skills which, when applied to computer programming, provide context and insight to the important collaborative undertaking to which all of humanity is today utterly devoted. It helps with things that aren't adtech, as well.

Some items from my “reliability list”
July 24, 2019 (comments)
An Internet shares some ways to tell that you've hung your jacket on a shaky nail. Hackernews regurgitates best practice advice from mid-1980s systems administration, which is now socially acceptable because someone at Google made it available in epub format and gave it a different name. Half the comments are an epistemological dialogue on the fundamental intent of the foundation of all status codes, but the enigma of HTTP status codes persists. Attention soon turns to JSON's failure to encapsulate all possible data.

Decades-Old Computer Science Conjecture Solved in Two Pages
July 25, 2019 (comments)
A mathematician knocks one out of the park. Hackernews struggles to make intuitive sense of a conclusion which took years of dedication for an expert to produce. All of the comments are Hackernews incorrecting each other about related concepts or trying to steer the conversation to unrelated topics that Hackernews has a better grasp of. Because of the nature of the content, this submission manages to exceed the arbitrarily magical 10:1 vote-to-comment ratio.

How is China able to provide enough food to feed over 1B people?
July 26, 2019 (comments)
The answer is "by growing food." A moderate amount of detail is provided. Hackernews argues about whether the Chinese people are doing it right and whether the answerer in the linked article is a government stooge. Nobody actually cares about those topics, so everyone starts talking about economic theory instead.

Adblocking: How about Nah?
July 27, 2019 (comments)
An Internet posts a rambling essay with an incoherent headline, which appears to have hastily been cut for length, but which apparently expresses an opinion about advertising on the web. Hackernews marshals a defense of their deeply-held conviction that it is impossible for two human beings to communicate without at least one other human being receiving money in the process. People suggesting otherwise are immediately demonized and those who do not patiently accept corporate lobbying are declared parasites on modern society. Some Hackernews timidly suggest that maybe more advertising would be tolerated if it weren't implemented as a panopticon-style javascript Rube Goldberg machine, but this too is clearly sinister anti-social psychopathy.

Malicious code in the purescript NPM installer
July 28, 2019 (comments)
A webshit discovers a flaw in a javascript Rube Goldberg machine. Hackernews declares this deficiency common in the most popular javascript package managers, never stopping to notice that every source code package manager invented since Kurt Cobain died has been a complete engineering failure, tolerated only due to a systemic industry-wide deficiency in education. Stopgap measures are the topic of the day, but no conclusions are reached.

Megapack: Utility-Scale Energy Storage
July 29, 2019 (comments)
A car company announces discovery of a brand new way to lose money. Hackernews insists that regulatory capture has fucked over electrical utilities the world over, but do not consider the press release at hand, which is a naked declaration of intent to commit regulatory capture, to fall into the class of problematic corporate molestation of national infrastructure. The rest of the comments attempt to understand what problem is addressed by the proposed solution, but the best shot they have is reconstructing the economics of utility services from first principles.

Math Basics for Computer Science and Machine Learning [pdf]
July 30, 2019 (comments)
An academic desperately tries to spackle in the cracks of modern software engineering, which leads to a two-thousand-page textbook. Hackernews starts out by recommending shorter books on the topics, then shorters books on other topics, then a series of YouTube videos, and finally just declaring that nobody actually needs math.

Advertising Is a Cancer on Society
July 31, 2019 (comments)
An Internet refuses to apologize for apostasy. Hackernews loves the commitment and the good-faith effort to lay out a comprehensive and consistent argument, and recognizes it as a valuable springboard from which to declare advertising as a fundamental building-block of human nature, like copyright law, HTTP, and food. This position is, of course, defended from a position firmly rooted in a strong and clearheaded grasp of economics, and in no sense is anyone involved constantly affirming the consequent.