Saturday, May 16, 2015

Why Reddit sucks

What I learned from reddit is that the world is a fucked up place ... because the people in it really want it that way.

Now, a few years later, I realize that they fucked up reddit just like local, state, and federal governments. Who is 'they'? I have no clue. But I can characterize 'them' by saying they're not reasonable, they don't use logic, and my feelings mean nothing compared to their feelings.

The worst is the instant gratification. Because I can click in 0.002 seconds, I can also read with 100% comprehension in a fraction of that time. And if I can't, I can easily downvote in that time span. The writer shouldn't have tried to communicate anything more complex than 0.002 seconds of my understanding. I really ought to ban him for that, actually. - fn7

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The ugly history of Reddit CEO Ellen Pao and her husband Buddy Fletcher

Reddit CEO Ellen Pao oversees a site that claims to support free speech, but allows -- or encourages -- its users and user-selected controllers of subforums, or "mods," to remove controversial data. It remains unclear whether Pao ordered this herself because, as with all things Reddit, communication is anonymized and private.

Nonetheless, Redditors have noticed that threads and users have been disappearing when they discuss Pao, her multiple anti-discrimination lawsuits, or her husband Buddy Fletcher and his economic and criminal troubles. Evidence suggests that Pao is short on cash as is her husband and that they are trying to raise cash by suing her former employers, using the (circular) reasoning that because Pao did not succeed, the cause was discrimination, and thus the solution is to pay the couple a fat sum -- despite the arguable ethical problems of doing so, given a past history of criminal behavior by Buddy Fletcher.

For the convenience of Redditors, I present some of the public evidence against Fletcher and Pao:

While Fletcher owns three apartments in Manhattan’s exclusive Central Park West Dakota co-op, an $8.85 million self-described castle in Connecticut’s tony Litchfield County, and, with his wife Ellen Pao, a $1.5 million San Francisco home, the ex-hedgie stands accused of cheating Massachusetts and Louisiana cops and firefighters out of more than $100 million and not paying close to $3 million in taxes. - New York Post

New York investment manager Alphonse “Buddy” Fletcher Jr. is being sued by the MBTA Retirement Fund and some of his own hedge funds on accusations that he defrauded them of more than $50 million.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in New York, accuses Fletcher and his firm, Fletcher Asset Management , and other parties of conducting a “long-running fraud” in which they misused money for their own benefit, inappropriately took inflated management fees, and overstated the value of assets. - The Boston Globe

During the last two years, Fletcher and Pao have become embroiled in bitter and sensational conflicts that have been the talk of Wall Street and Silicon Valley. In February 2011, to the shock and titillation of New York society, Fletcher sued the co-op board of the Dakota, the iconic 129-year-old apartment building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side whose famous residents have included Yoko Ono, Lauren Bacall, and Leonard Bernstein, and where John Lennon was shot to death in 1980. Furious when the Dakota’s board denied his application to buy his fourth apartment in the building, a $5.7 million two-bedroom, Fletcher sued the board for racial discrimination. In his complaint, Fletcher painted the Dakota, one of the city’s most exclusive co-ops, as a hive of bigotry, where victims were said to include the singer Roberta Flack and the actor Antonio Banderas.

A little more than a year later, in May 2012, Ellen Pao dropped her own bombshell lawsuit, alleging that she had been the victim of sexual discrimination by Kleiner Perkins. Her exhaustively detailed, sometimes lurid allegations roiled Silicon Valley. There was inter-office sex, steamy advances from senior partners, client dinners to which only men were invited, because, according to Pao, one partner told her women “kill the buzz.” Equally shocking to many was Pao’s claim that she had complained repeatedly to Kleiner’s management, including to John Doerr, a senior partner and the much-respected dean of the Valley, and that she had been ignored. - Vanity Fair

Fletcher is the husband of Ellen Pao, the former junior partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers whose gender discrimination lawsuit against the Silicon Valley venture capital firm is on trial in San Francisco state court.

The U.S. trustee in charge of liquidating Fletcher International Ltd. said in 2013 that Fletcher’s company was a fraud that didn’t make a single profitable investment after Aug. 31, 2007. According to the trustee, Fletcher funnelled money out of the fund before it went bankrupt with the intent to defraud investors. - Bloomberg Business

Fletcher moved to Wall Street after graduation, excelling at equities trading at Bear Stearns, then Kidder Peabody. He quit Kidder in 1991, dissatisfied with his bonus, and set up his own firm, Fletcher Asset Management. He also sued Kidder for racial discrimination, alleging that the firm decided that the amount he was owed “was simply too much money to pay a young black man.” An arbitration panel dismissed the racism charge but ordered Kidder to pay Fletcher an additional $1.3 million in bonus money.

[...]A Feb. 27 affidavit by a Fletcher employee revealed that the FIA Leveraged Fund hadn’t filed an audited financial report since 2008, and that Fletcher’s main fund hadn’t filed audited financials since 2009. What’s more, Fletcher attempted to repay the Louisiana pension funds in a manner reminiscent of his Calgene maneuver with Harvard years earlier. Instead of cash, Fletcher offered the pension funds warrants to buy shares in United Community Bank, according to court documents. - Fortune

What kind of financial straits was her family in when Pao filed this lawsuit? Bad ones.

When Pao filed her suit in 2012, her husband was having considerable financial difficulty. Kleiner wants to now submit evidence of a tax lien sent to Kleiner for Pao’s partnership interest, and bankruptcy filings of her family, including her husband. They want to say that because her husband’s hedge fund was doing poorly, her family needed money. Pao’s husband is a bit of a controversial figure, as you may have read in the long Vanity Fair profile of them. He also has a history of being litigious. - Recode

If any of the rest of us acted like this, we would end up in jail. Pao and Fletcher must have powerful friends, including those who got her hired at Reddit. Then again, it looks like she may have been hired specifically to crack down on discriminatory voices, apparently starting with those critical of herself.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

You can fight for racial nationalism without racial cruelty

From the worst social media platform ever:

A little rant about race:
Every now and then someone hits me up on here and says "Do you know you have a black/gay/whatever person on your friends list?" Well yes, actually i do. I have several. What may be even more shocking to some of you is that I am quite friendly with a wide variety of people in real life as well. I may have my own boundaries based on personal preferences with all sorts of people, but I am friendly to anyone who is friendly to me. I am supportive of people and ideas that i think are more than 50% positive to the things that I believe in. No matter where they come from. You ALL should be too.
Someone just messaged me about the post on my boys letting me know they saw a non-white person like it and i see other people in the movement being "outed" and chastised for this all of the time. Well here is my humble thoughts on the subject...
I left (and took my old club with me) what i considered to be "the movement" for white nationalists in 2007 and publicly posted the reasons at that time. The short version is that the movement was counter-productive and ideologically flawed. However, prior to that i lived the life that some of you claim to believe in to the fullest. I pulled no punches and i made a name for myself. You can do your own research on that and come to your own conclusions about whether or not i am qualified to make this opinion public now, but I assure you that if we were face to face you would respectfully sit here and listen to what I have to say.
The first thing is that nearly all of you have at least one person that you are friendly with who is not white or does not fit the movement mold. Stop keeping it a secret. Stop trying to shame others for it. Just admit. I'll even go first. I HAVE SEVERAL PEOPLE THAT I AM FRIENDLY WITH WHO COULD NOT BE IN YOUR MOVEMENT. SEVERAL WHO ARE NOT WHITE. ONE OR TWO WHO ARE PROBABLY GAY. TONS OF LIBERALS EVEN. I have at least one thing in common with all of these people that is more important than my differences.
We are not Puritans. The only thing that bonds white racial activists to one another is that we have decided that we have a right to self-identify and defend ourselves as a group. Just like any other group. To ask for this right you need to show a basic human respect to those other groups. We are currently denied these rights on some levels as a group. Everyone can see it. If you stick to that line of activism i think you will find yourselves facing very little resistance from sensible people. After all, if you claim to be engaged in activism based on your community, or race, or country, then you are politically active and politics is about relating to people. NO ONE relates to hateful, puritan bullshit. Not even the other people in your "movement". That is why it is stagnant and always loses ground.
If you absolutely do not associate with anyone who is not white, that is fine too. But that is just a preference. Let me put the meaning of the word preference in perspective for you. A preference includes who you want to date or hang around with. It also includes whether or not you want anchovies on your pizza or whether or not you smoke cigarettes. Whether or not you feel comfortable letting yourself be obese, or if you like action movies or chick flicks. Any of these preferences can be absolutely repulsive to another person but they are just preferences.
They are not your politics.
They are not your religion.
They are not your identity.
Here is a perspective some of you may understand even better. You know what is so annoying about gay activists? They take a preference and make it into all 3 of those things above and they never shut up about it. Its just a preference but they define themselves by it, and demand everyone else accept, condone, and promote their preference. Does that make it clearer? That is what some of you do with race. You take a basic quest for fairness, truth, and self-determination and you turn it into the most annoying fucking thing on Earth. Then you try and prove how WP you are by scouring other peoples business.
Well I am not going to participate in it. It is not going to help you or your family. Won't help your country or your people. Decades of failure should make that clear to you if your conscience or insight does not do it first. I have preferences that a radical left winger would consider racist, so i will never have a problem with being called a racist. At the same time i treat everyone with respect because i don't fear people, and i don't dislike them without a reason. I can greet anyone with kindness and respect and then dismiss them or protect myself from them if they prove to be a bad individual. I am comfortable with myself and the world around me as i work to change it. You should strive for this too. It makes everything clearer and it changes the way people perceive you. If you are not interested in this opinion then delete me off here. I won't be mad at you.

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Social media is dead

All social media sites are susceptible to this simple hack:

  1. Set up IRC channel.
  2. Wait for friends to arrive.
  3. When there's ten, post new content to social media.
  4. Post link to the IRC.
  5. Have you and 1-2 close friends downvote/report everything else.

All of the algorithms I've seen so far are susceptible to this.

I do not engage in this practice for many reasons, some ethical and some practical.

On an ethical level, it's toying with people's faith in society; some trolls argue successfully that this faith is misplaced and should be shaken; I counterargue that without strong signaling to that effect, it becomes vandalism.

The practical is that anyone who trolls around the sites can see who is engaging in this practice and rapidly realizes they're behaving badly. I remember the crucifixion of davisreis666 on Reddit as an example. - *

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Sunday, May 10, 2015

"Diversity is not necessarily a strength."

The single most glaring factor of all is one that everybody overlooks, but it is one that maybe we should consider: those societies are relatively small compared with much of the rest of the planet and are basically full of people with the same ethnicity, religious background, and a host of other factors.

Basically, the fact that everything is relatively small and homogeneous in the population probably helps a lot in terms of trust, mutual respect, and general social smoothness.

It's a lot easier to feel charitable and socially cohesive when you're not wrestling against stereotypes against this demographic or that class and can actively see that everybody basically has the same values as you do.

Edit: Yes, I'm pretty much arguing that diversity is not necessarily a strength. It certainly can be, but not necessarily. - *

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