News game

After a rousing match, the Good News squadron has beaten the Bad News team 2-1!

Bad News got off to an early start when a 1st grade teacher was sentenced to 15 days in jail for allowing her students to name a stuffed animal Mohammed. This apparently counts as blasphemy under Sharia, which seems ludicrous to me. People name their kids Mohammed all the time; I don’t see how this is any different. Although this was a sharp blow against Good News, their defense rallied when the Sudanese president commuted the jail sentence into just deportation back to the teacher’s native Britain.

At this point, the Good News offense kicked into high gear, and scored a huge goal when 17 US intelligence agencies declassified a report saying that Iran halted their nuclear weapons programme in 2003, contradicting the Bush administration’s warmongering and FUD on the topic. This is wholly consistent with what IAEA has said in the past (which I’ve mentioned several times). Bush has claimed not to have known about this report for more than a week, which seems like a lie considering that he’s been blustering about Iran for months.

My coworker commented that some of his faith in the government has been restored since this report came out; he had previously expected that even if such a report existed, it would be suppressed in order to push the hawkish agenda of those in power. However, I think enough people remember what happened with the Iraq intelligence problems and are afraid of repeating those mistakes that they could actually stand up and force the truth to light. Hurrah for some people in government not being totally corrupt!

These events shook up the Bad News team so much that they gave up another small gain to the Good News players in the last round of the match. Facebook has apologized for Beacon, with its poor implementation. Initially, this system would track people’s purchases on third party sites, even if these people were not logged into Facebook at the time, which founder Mark Zuckerberg has deemed, “simply… a bad job.” They have fixed it so that people can actually opt out of Beacon entirely, and thereby keep their private lives private. This is the second time Facebook has screwed up and fixed it several days later. Hopefully this time they’ll get the hang of what people actually want out of their site.

That led to the final score of the match, with Good News beating Bad News by a goal. Good News fans everywhere are rejoicing, as their team rarely beats the Bad News squad these days. Perhaps this is a sign that their new coaches and strategies will lead the team to better things in the future.

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  1. dhalps says:

    Just a note that Facebook didn’t screw up the first time. In fact, other people had written that exact application before (refresh your friends’ page and note the differences. Ooh. Aaah.).

    It’s more that users don’t understand security — note that people love the white pages, but Google’s reverse phone lookup spawned chain email protests just as strong as the Facebook protests. And it’s just an inverted index!

    We need to do a better job of understanding the relationship between actual security, perceived security and user happiness. But that’s not Facebook’s fault.

    • Alan says:

      Who said anything about security? I suspect you mean privacy, since that was what I was writing about. To the best of my knowledge, Facebook has not had any major security problems since I joined.

      The rest of your comment is well-taken, though. I agree that one of the main things they screwed up was that no one explained to the users what the news feed actually changed (which was the ease with which this information becomes available, not whether it was available at all). However, they also didn’t consider whether their users wanted this information easily available in the first place, and I think this was a huge mistake on their part. This was what I had intended to reference, that they were ignoring their customers’ wants and forcing new functionality on them.

      This reminds me a lot of DRM: even though it is fundamentally flawed as an idea and there will always be a way to get around it, DRM is still enough of a deterrent to keep the ignorant masses from copying their data. Likewise, the former lack of news feed didn’t in the least hinder anyone’s access to their friends’ data, but aggregating it was inconvenient enough that most people didn’t bother. The difference is that I think DRM is bad for society as a whole, while the lack of news feed was not detrimental (and arguably was helpful to the community, by making it comparatively harder to stalk acquaintances).

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