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The ethics of humourby demerphq (Chancellor)
|on Apr 01, 2004 at 13:54 UTC||Need Help??|
No doubt many will think im suffering from a serious defficiency of humour in my diet but I want to get this off my chest.
The april fools hack that involves misrepresenting people by displaying content that they did not select on their homenode, regardless of intention or the perceived harmlessness of it, is unethical and wrong.
I work for a large company that for various reasons was legally obliged to put all of its 35 thousand employees through "ethics training". One of the lessons taught in the course was about how "little things" were dangerous despite the apparent harmlessness of them in of themselves. With regard to the home node hack we have an apparently harmless joke that to me raises troubling issues. Can I trust the gods? They apparently dont take such things as the sanctity of your home node seriously. From this I have to wonder what they do take seriously. And wonder about all the times they have taken things seriously whether they were really serious and what their motivations were.
I wrote a node a while back making clear my view that the gods were implicitly trustworthy. I now know different. Folks, what you thought was a funny joke has just made you look bad. Ive lost trust in you, and Im guessing that many more have too.
The XP hack is pretty funny in an antagonizing way. Certainly got me good. But XP is PerlMonks to give or take away. Its the sites property in a sense. And if the site thinks that messing with it is amusing then all the power to them. But note the difference here: The XP hack doesnt misrepresent me. It doesnt put words or images in my mouth. The home node picture does.
I can think of lots of circumstances where this hack could have been perceived as hurtful or inslting. I dont think its beyond the imagination of the gods to think of them as well. If they didnt then it shows lack of imagination, and poor judgment. If they did and still went ahead it shows just plain poor judgement.
Oh and as a last point, the next time you do a April Fools hack you might want to prepare it well BEFORE April 1, and include code that checks to make sure that it is in fact april fools based on the users local time. For instance I think you'll find that by the time the home node april fools patches was applied a big chunk of readers were already half way through the day, and at least some of the readers were already in April 2. The XP one at least didnt have this problem.I provided a patch to the home node one, despite my distate for the hack.
So not only was joke not funny, the implementation was poor too.
All in all I have to say: -- to the gods on this one. I suppose its not the first time that badly thought out april fools jokes have revealed poor judgment, but I have to say for me its been a real disappointment. *shakes head sadly*
Updated: I'm less sad now. I think vroom resolved this fine. People may find my view on this hardline but for me credibility is very important. Perlmonks has for me always been highly credible. The moderation system, the character of the people involved, the node deletion mechanism, lack of any real advertising, etc, etc, has always made this site superior in my mind. Anything that undermines that is for me very worrisome. Anyway. /me climbs off the soapbox with a blush.
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.