Ramblings

BuddyPress, Peepso and Others Are Not Viable WordPress Social Network Plugins

I was asked today to install Peepso for someone who wanted a private social network.

Aside from the obvious points of how this is a terrible idea there is an even bigger problem.

I pointed out that these WordPress installs are awful and should never be used in production.

After this he asked “Why?” To which I replied “It uses only Ajax for everything” As you can guess he then replied “Ajax?”

My final statement was: “Yes, Ajax. It allows for the notifications and chat you see, however, all of these plugins means a page opens about 3 Ajax connections and many browsers, including Chrome, limit number of Ajax connections in a single browser session to 6 which means someone can only have your page open on two browser tabs…”

More than one WordPress developer obviously did not know that to create a set of plugins that cannot get around that problem, this is why WordPress developers are rarely web developers.

Ramblings

The Question of Internet Freedoms

I would say this film is required watching for all internet denizens: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXr-2hwTk58.

It tells of a person who gave everything for the cause of internet freedom, even their own life.

Somethings have made me question free speech and freedom of information on the internet, for example: what is the difference between free speech and self advertisement? Is there an invisible line that should be drawn even on blog comments (such as this very site) between what is considered free speech and what could be counted as very elaborate spam to promote a certain product invisibly?

I have so far avoided censoring any blog comments on here, even ones that contain links to the commentators site or products within them, mainly because I feel so strongly about freedom in every single way that I feel bad about editing that comment, even if to just remove that link.

In an internet where people say they are for free speech (wordpress.com) but then use the very same motto and morale as Aaron to make free speech work for their own ends it is sometimes hard to decide if Aaron really did make a difference in the long term.

Take, as I mentioned, wordpress.com. They boast free speech as being paramount to everything they believe in, that it is required of every blogger on this site (they even produce transparency reports: http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2014/04/17/transparency-report/) and they try their hardest to confront every take down request and stop it. Yet they cannot seem to apply that rule to themselves, in the form of comment moderation on their news blog posts (it is kind of like a wordpress.com newsletter).

I have made many comments on wordpress.com news blog posts over my time here but only one has ever not been censored. I made a comment recently on Rwanda and how evidence shows that it is not only under a increasing, authoritarian, dictatorship (whose leader has been numerously accused by his closest allies of causing the action that resulted in the murder of many hundreds of thousands of people) but that ethnic grievances have never been solved, and how the problems are just laying under the surface for a resurgence of violence.

The comment was in line with the post which talked about using UX design in Rwanda to try and put across and message that massacres are wrong and that they should not be tolerated. I praised the author for his gumption to try and do something but reminded people of the facts that are beginning to once more make themselves aware.

This comment was consequently censored and deleted along with many other less confrontational comments, even ones as simple as “the website you linked has UX problems because…” on a more recent post of what they considered to be good looking websites; ironically they allowed comments through which agreed with their stance.

This explains the problem quite clearly, many people on the internet are using Aaron’s legacy as a means to pass themselves off as pro-freedom, pro-sharing, when in reality they are not. In reality they use and abuse Aaron’s and other legacy to suite their needs, and turn back to the old ways when it no longer suites them.

Freedom is not about it suiting you, it is about you respecting and understanding other peoples wants and needs. When someone comments on your blog post, don’t remove what you don’t like, it is their needs that they feel as though they have to say that. Yes, I understand there are limits, swearing, abusive language, and the rest. However, when someone genuinely makes a worthwhile comment on our site/blog you should try everything in your power to accommodate for their need of freedom, including free speech.

We have created an amazing thing called the internet, people have even died to give us the freedoms we currently enjoy on the internet; you could even count those that died in the World Wars as being part of that, after all is not the internet based upon our own principles of freedom? However, there are those who will use this legacy to their benefit to twist the internet into their own little playground and attempt to tame it. It is bad enough that our internet is run by a bunch of technologically senile people who cannot call us “experts”, let’s not prove that we are no better by resorting to freedom by convince.

Next time someone tries to comment on your blog remember the likes of activists like Aaron who tried to give you the right to make that content in the first place to be commented on.

Try to keep our freedoms.

Ramblings

Why I Refuse to Earn Money From Facebook Games

I was recently approached, through various channels, to co-found a Facebook game.

Essentially the premise of it is to make something like Tetrus or Diamonds and add micro-transactions for bonuses and what not to make the users life on the game easier.

I will get right to the point and state that I turned down the offer.

Sure it is a quick buck, use about 5 hours making the game, £300 of Facebook advertising/marketing and “bingo”, you have something that could earn you double your normal wage in the space of a year. An easy and sustainable income if I may be honest. Once every few years you release a new game and solely you can hold down a wage. No need to work for Zenga or one of those other big companies, just you can earn the money.

So with the last paragraph in mind it seems like a no brain-er to make a Facebook game and earn some easy money, and many do, just look at how many games there are; with an added audience of 1 billion users how can you go wrong? There will always be a suckers addiction and/or misery to feed off.

Wait, what? Addiction and/or misery? Did I really learn to program to do this? And this follows onto my reasoning for refusing to make this game.

Sure I could make this game, sure I could earn a lot of money, but can I really?

Like many others, I learnt to program in my spare time because I wanted to, not to make money. I was in the final year of my university Honors degree in Computing and I had to come up with a final project idea so I chose to make a YouTube replica from PHP. I had never touched PHP before that time nor any web development frankly, aside form a small Java project in my first year to make a simple HTML website running on Tomcat.

To cut to the point: despite doing all that work and still being one of the few in the class who actually completed a project I got a shitty grade; 41.4% in fact which almost failed me (39% would have been a fail) and caused me to lose the 2:1 mark I was heading for.

But that didn’t stop me and I went onto a job which involved that exact work and I can feel pride in my work.

How, after everything I went through to get this expertise and knowledge, could I feel pride in something that feeds on misery? I think I probably speak for quite a few programmers when I say that this isn’t what we learnt to program for.

That’s why I feel sorry for people who work for Zenga, they have to work knowing that they have to take pride in something that brings addiction and misery to many millions of Facebook users, stealing their money in the process; their programs are effectively a plague upon the internet. Maybe that is why I keep hearing such low morale at the company in question, aside from management issues.

Every worth while programmer knows that they need to feel pride for what they have accomplished, sure there will be those who learn to program to “get ahead” in the market or to earn money. But the real programmers, those who make the internet what it is today love to program and they need to feel pride in their work and what they do and know that it is benefiting others, not sucking their money using their misfortunes as an excuse.

I could not feel pride in making a Facebook game that makes a quick buck, though I must admit myself that the thought of doing such a thing is tempting, but for the minute I will resist. I will not convert over to the dark side and become effectively Lord Vader. I still have some moralities left in me.

As such I regretfully but honestly decline to make a Facebook game.

Ramblings

Why I am a Little Annoyed With Stack Overflow Currently

Ok, so as the title goes, I am a little annoyed with StackOverflow currently and my participation in the site has dropped to almost none.

As a bit of background I have been active on SO (StackOverflow) for about 2 years, this problem has only been occuring for about the last 4 months with the arrival of another user.

Before you get any ideas, no, I am not going to rant about the failures of the site, save for one. The reason for my retreat from SO is because of one user, who when he speaks, uses the most foul language at this disposal save for actual swear words.

Some examples of what words he has used (to describe me and other users, including moderators):

– Clown
– Fool
– Idiot
– Whining Bitch
– Foolish
– FUD
– Probably more but I have forgotten

Along with using his reputation as a weapon to insult me and attempt to get upvotes over me (WTF?). I mean this is the sort of user (he did do this by the way) that turns around and says he is authorative because of how many years he has been grinding the same knowledge is ascertained in University.

Even though it is quite fun to see him rage out from start to finish at first it does quickly become tiresome and now I barely even bother to go on SO due to the abuse. The user in question uses this to his advantage to weaponise his reputation gain over me even further.

This does come down to the bad apple theory ( http://blog.codinghorror.com/the-bad-apple-group-poison/ ) laid out by Jeff some while back whereby this single user is starting to poison the experience for others. It is not only me who is being affected and this user has attacked other users as well.

Now I am not perfect, I must admit that I attempted to defend myself and on one question where he added verbal abuse in the comments of my answer I went upto his own and pointed out a flaw in his answer. However, unlike this user I have not resorted to verbal or hateful abuse of others, nor have I lost my temper and neither have I ever placed comments that were not at least helpful to the OP. The comments I placed merely pointed out things in the answer, which as I say to this user:

“You are perfectly free to say my answer is wrong and discuss it with me but have some manners. Do not abuse other users.”

He has recently purposefully sought out my answers, downvotes, then plants some verbal abuse on it using 3 or more of the words in the at the top of this page. He will also make a reference to “why are you posting in this space, your so useless”.

Now I must admit that on one said answer of this other users I did get carried away and wrote like 30 comments, however, the OP agreed with me on my comments and found them particularly helpful. I did not devolve into verbal abuse or hate, I merely used my knowledge of said technology to actually provide holes in the answer. I did not have the knowledge available to me to answer the question as such I was interested to know the answer too and I got carried away with wanting to know. So much so that I used to own knowledge as a benchmark to test out other peoples answers.

This however does come down to a question, if I am able to provide constructive and meaningful responses and the user is unwilling to engage to respond and answer (to which the OP agrees with my comments) then why is that user answering that question? You would imagine that an answer should be water tight, if there are problems in its consistency and building wouldn’t you seek to fix them? Otherwise you are lieing about your knowledge of the subject are you not?

Despite that I did get almost suspended for that activity and it was used by the moderator this time around as a means to justify suspending me against the other users verbal abuse.

I have been suspended and warned the same and this comes down to the problem, a problem which will make me look self righteous.

I have been able to back the moderator in question into a corner whereby the moderator just refuses to answer my last question because they are ineffective to fix the problem. Their last reponse to me (a thread which started out blaming me) was:

My suggestion would be if other user is rude to you, then flag either the comment or the post for a moderator to review instead of engaging them. There is no point in engaging them at that point, that is when a moderator should step in to handle it.

To which I replied:

As I said I have been here before, it goes no-where.

It is all well and good saying to do that but it doesn’t work, he carries on saying that the moderators agree with him and then verbally abusing moderators (look at the responses on my linked question for the PHP).

That is why I reply, that seems to be the only thing that makes him stop after a while. If I defend myself enough from him he eventually gets tired and moves on.

This reply has left the moderator ineffective to solve the problem, the said user will carry on his antics after suspension abusing me and other users without caring for manners. If I try and do anything about it from now on I will also be banned (deleted) from the site.

Effectively this one user has ruined my entire experience of SO and I have no doubt he is ruining other peoples too with the amount that he attacks other users.

This is what happened last time and even contacting SO themselves results in this response. The fact that the moderators and SO themselves cannot come up with a better one has made me tired of dealing with the abuse I recieve from this one user, as such I no longer visit SO and will most likely be looking for another site to replace it soon.