Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
Education Microsoft Programming

Programming Prodigy Arfa Karim Passes Away At 16 536

quantr writes "Arfa Karim, child prodigy, youngest certified Microsoft Professional in the world and winner of the president’s Pride of Performance, breathed her last breath on Saturday night at the Combined Military Hospital in Lahore. Arfa had an epileptic attack on December 22 and had been in a coma since."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Programming Prodigy Arfa Karim Passes Away At 16

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 15, 2012 @05:24PM (#38708004) must be asshole day at /.

  • by forkfail ( 228161 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @05:24PM (#38708006)

    Seriously, folks - what the hell is wrong with you?

    A young woman of tremendous promise and an incredibly positive outlook on life dies far before her time, and this is what you have to say?

    Some really sick folks. First time in a long time that I've actually been embarrassed of the folks here at /., despite some seriously differing opinions.

  • by tj2 ( 54604 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @05:25PM (#38708012)

    Wow, what a bunch of badasses we have here. Way to slam a dead teenager for not being as cool as you are. Real men, you are.

  • The candle ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PPH ( 736903 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @05:29PM (#38708048)

    ... that burns twice as bright burns half as long.

  • Why... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 15, 2012 @05:30PM (#38708062)

    Why is this posted on Slashdot?

    This is a sad event indeed, but the sad news here is that a young person, yet to live a good and full life died. Not that a possible future program hero died.

    Its not news for slashdot. Its news that in this world, a lot of people still die because of diseases that should be able to be helped.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 15, 2012 @05:31PM (#38708064)

    Wow, what a bunch of badasses we have here. Way to slam a dead teenager for not being as cool as you think you are. Real men, you are.

    There, fixed that for you.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 15, 2012 @05:32PM (#38708070) must be asshole day at /.


    Early comments are disgusting and bring shame to /.
    RIP Arfa.

  • Re:Why... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Canazza ( 1428553 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @05:41PM (#38708136)

    She was a programmer. A gifted, young programmer.
    Slashdot reported on the death of Denis Ritchie, why not her? Or do you feel that they don't matter?

  • by IANAAC ( 692242 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @05:42PM (#38708144)

    Well at the basic level Certified just means you can pass the test.

    Do you know how old she was when she passed it? She was 9.

    You may not be impressed by that fact, but I am.

  • by Beelzebud ( 1361137 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @05:42PM (#38708148)
    Those posts up there do not strike me as "dark humor used as a coping mechanism", from grieving people. It seems more like the work of a bunch of asshole trolls who hide behind the AC label.
  • by singingjim1 ( 1070652 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @05:44PM (#38708168)
    People have to die. Sad fact. Don't take it so hard. I bet about a million other people died the same day. Are you mourning for them? Lighten up, Francis.
  • I am astounded (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vikingpower ( 768921 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @05:45PM (#38708172) Homepage Journal
    at the level of most of the comments here. Had I known this teenager ( I only learned of her existence through this post ), I would have seriously thought of how to make a full-blown engineer or computer scientist out of her.

    I know that, in the face of the appallingly low level of most of the comments here, it is easy to take the moral high ground. I know. But still - this is tremendously sad. We ( with "we" I mean both "humanity" and "we, the engineering community" ) lost something valuable here: a promising life.

  • Sad :( (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aquarajustin ( 1070708 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @05:48PM (#38708196)
    It's sad that she passed so early. She appeared truly gifted and it's a shame that she died too soon to learn how awful Microsoft products are. She could have become quite the *nix wiz.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 15, 2012 @05:49PM (#38708204)

    The real problem is the summary. Yes, it's all very sad that a bright young girl died. But having a "Microsoft Certified Professional" certificate is not what I would call a child prodigy. Judging entirely from the summary, this seems like the usual case of people putting a dead person on a pedastal and exaggerating about how good they were. Now, maybe she did do something worthwhile, but the summary was just stupid. I can list dozens of programmers who wrote really good, meaningful software before they were in high school. I count that as being a prodigy much more than a certificate.

  • by forkfail ( 228161 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @05:52PM (#38708236)

    Perhaps, but I don't make a habit of pissing in open graves before the dirt's even shoveled in.

    And I find it reprehensible when others do it out of some sort of misbegotten patriotism, envy or need to prop them selves up by being vile to others.

    Especially in the case when such potential for brilliance is snuffed out so early.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 15, 2012 @05:54PM (#38708248)

    You think I should care about some little girl who had maybe some tech skills, and died young?

    Well, I think *you* should care about the hundreds of women raped in the last 24 hours, or the ones subjected to genital mutiliation by their own mothers, or the female infants killed at birth in China.

    I did not realize that I could only pick one topic to care about. Thought I could pick both. Silly me.

  • by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @05:56PM (#38708270) Homepage Journal
    You should know more than anybody else here that controversy grabs eyeballs, illicits emotional response, and provokes people into action.

    People have the choice to browse at a high threshold so they don't even see offensive comments. This may come as a surprise to you, but perhaps a large number of Slashdot readers enjoy browsing at -1. There is a reason for that, but you'd best not think about it too hard - you might have a nervous breakdown.
  • Re:Why... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by El_Muerte_TDS ( 592157 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @06:00PM (#38708308) Homepage

    The contributions of Dennis Ritchie are well documented.

    So we know she became MCP at the age of 9 (and getting a bunch of awards). What has she been doing in the past 7 years? A prodigy would have had some sort of output in a 7 year timespan.

  • by TheRealMindChild ( 743925 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @06:04PM (#38708362) Homepage Journal
    So you can ignore the fact that the world is full of assholes? AC posting restrictions is good enough to work for the most part. Buck up, be a man, and ignore those who are just trolling. Falling to grief means they win
  • by forkfail ( 228161 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @06:04PM (#38708364)

    To get a cert at 9 is pretty amazing. You may not think much of it, but honestly, that's an achievement.

    To get it in a nation like Pakistan, that's incredible, what with all the cultural impediments that must have stood in the way.

    And if you'd read the TFA, let alone listened to the interview at all, you'd know that her attitude was one that others might consider emulating.

    Regardless of this, it's still beyond belief that folks are being so incredibly mean spirited. Even jackals treat their dead better.

  • by beadfulthings ( 975812 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @06:05PM (#38708368) Journal

    Thank you. It took amazing intelligence and self-discipline for her to achieve the certification at so young an age. She was apparently also a promising programmer. That's especially true if you consider where she lived--surrounded by a culture where young girls are not normally valued for their intellectual gifts. Her death is doubly tragic--not only has a promising young life been extinguished, but a pattern and role model for other struggling girls has been lost. Her family deserves a lot of credit for encouraging her gifts and talents, and they also deserve our profound and deepest sympathy for their loss.

  • by forkfail ( 228161 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @06:07PM (#38708390)

    And it's my bloody right to tell you that you're being one.

    Honestly, it's like Westboro Baptist suddenly got a bunch of new members or something.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @06:07PM (#38708394) Journal
    Indeed. The MCE tests are pretty easy for an adult. Passing one as a teenager displays a somewhat above-average level of competence. Passing one when your age is still in single digits is very impressive.
  • by tyrione ( 134248 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @06:08PM (#38708402) Homepage

    Well at the basic level Certified just means you can pass the test.

    Do you know how old she was when she passed it? She was 9.

    You may not be impressed by that fact, but I am.

    The tragedy is that she was a young girl in the prime of life and seeing her life taken too soon, not because she was labeled a Microsoft Certified recipient and thus labeled a child prodigy for doing so.

  • Screw Most of You (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 15, 2012 @06:08PM (#38708410)

    I am sickened by some of the posters here. I expect stupidity and ignorance from the CNN posters, here I thought there were be a higher standard because of the average intelligence and educational levels of the average reader here. I was sorely mistaken. If you're so jaded and bitter that you use the news of the death of a young girl, who seemed to be quite remarkable by the way, to post stupid shit about how you hate Microsoft, certifications, or whatever, you need to get your humanity checked. I know you can feel so smarmy posting your bullshit into the ether, but, you are genuinely fucked up for doing so. I really have to stop reading reader's comments on websites, it's actually beginning to damage my soul. Thanks assholes.

  • by klui ( 457783 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @06:15PM (#38708468)

    Or driven by jealousy/sour grapes. I sure didn't have the discipline to do what she did when I was her age.

  • by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @06:15PM (#38708474)

    It's pretty special that you consider the phrase "not as gifted as Mozart" to be synonymous with "not impressive". I hope your kids grow up to be Oscar-winning astronaut quarterbacks, or else you're in for quite a disappointment.

  • Lack of empathy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by formfeed ( 703859 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @06:18PM (#38708492)

    Lack of empathy is a clear social dysfunction and the only excuse is adolescence.

    I would not ridicule a 16yo for not understanding how others might feel or how things are for someone else. If you are still busy finding your own identity it is difficult to feel for others. But if you're 20+ and still posting things like the above comments, you are on the way of becoming a pathetic loser.

  • by Beelzebud ( 1361137 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @06:24PM (#38708530)
    One thing I've found that is common among bigots and assholes. They hate being discriminated against. Sometimes I love irony.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 15, 2012 @06:25PM (#38708532)

    On one side we have the who cares, this is not the place to post this. The on the other side we have Its such a tragedy we lost such a great young mind! Then we have the people who probably agree with the first but are to afraid to comment for the karma loss inflicted by the second side.

    Lets be honest, it is a tragedy any time someone dies, even more so when that person had potential to change alot of peoples lives through their work, but let us remember we lose people everyday with more potential and intellect than this girl. She had the right combination to get to the point were she could excel, good parents that encouraged her that had money to make possible what she wanted to do. So I think on that point is a greater tragedy when we lose someone who tries to excel even though they have none of those things to help the process. Where is the press then? Where is microsoft to help them find the best medical care? Where is the overzealous out cry of mourners for those people?

    I think its time the second group of people step back and re-look at all the shit they are giving the first group of people, unless you can name every bright mind the world has lost in the last year and how that young kid who was working themselfs through college because his mother was a crack head and his farther was in jail has effected you.

  • by spyder-implee ( 864295 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @06:25PM (#38708538)
    I thought so too at first, but most of the tasteless comments have been modded down pretty quickly by the rest of the community. The asshole group isn't representative of the rest of us, they just post quick.
  • by theshowmecanuck ( 703852 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @06:30PM (#38708564) Journal
    Sometimes comments that are insightful to some get modded down by 'politically correct' moderators who don't understand the truth is still the truth even if it might hurt someone's feelings. And then others get modded down because moderators in other countries have a language/translation issue and don't understand the point someone is making and thinks they are being rude, or they don't get a joke. These ones I usually attribute to not understanding local colloquialisms. And sometimes a combination of both. I am sure there are other reasons legitimate posts get marked down, but those are two that come to mind. And true, a lot of those mods get corrected, but not always.
  • by 0123456 ( 636235 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @06:43PM (#38708664)

    This is someone who was gifted at something.

    If she learned to fly at 10, she was presumably gifted a sizeable chunk of money.

    Admiral Farragut joined the Navy at nine and was given command of a prize ship at twelve. The idea that anyone under twenty can't actually do much other than play with dolls and watch cartoons is a recent invention.

  • by JohnnyMindcrime ( 2487092 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @06:56PM (#38708778)

    A new word for your vocabulary is here [].

  • A very sad day (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wjcofkc ( 964165 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @07:00PM (#38708802)
    Being familiar with this girls story, I came here to say some kind words. I see that they have already been said.

    For those of you with unkind words all I can say is I have been on Slashdot since 1997 and I have never been so embarrassed and ashamed to call myself a part of this community.
  • by JohnnyMindcrime ( 2487092 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @07:11PM (#38708870)

    Here are the reasons why this is a news-worthy item here on Slashdot and why she should be credited for what she did:

    1. The girl was from Pakistan and therefore unlikely to have been afforded similar social & educational privileges than a 16-year old girl in the USA or Europe.

    2. Pakistan is a mainly Muslim country meaning that women have a lower status than men from the moment of birth. Therefore what she did was that little bit more harder for her than for a boy in Pakistan.

    3. It's good to occasionally get a new story from Pakistan where everyone isn't portrayed as either a Taliban terrorist in the mountains or a member of the Pakistan government hiding them.

    4. Maybe if a few more kids in our rich Western countries (I'm in the UK) took an interest in intellectual pursuits like programming, we wouldn't have so many of them dropping unwanted kids or getting addicted to drugs or alcohol. Maybe just one or two of those kids will read this story and take some inspiration from it, possibly change their own lives.

    So now kindly shut the fuck up if you cannot show some compassion.

  • by buddyglass ( 925859 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @07:18PM (#38708944)
    Obligatory Hawking reference.
  • by Patchw0rk F0g ( 663145 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @07:21PM (#38708954) Journal

    I was going to mod this thread, but I can't. I've gotta comment.

    Truth may be truth, even if it hurts someone's feelings; being an flaming, chasm-wide asshole is just that: being a flaming, chasm-wide asshole. Even if it hurts someone's feelings.

    Those top-side comments weren't intended to point out any "truths"; they were written to reflect the idiot(s)' world-view, not titillate, not provoke, not query nor question.

    Shit like that doesn't reflect on /. ... you see it everywhere. What it reflects is that there are always going to be bitter, uninformed, closed-minded tiny people in this world. I choose not to be one of them.

    Now. off to the next thread to moderate. Hopefully, all the bile and spite was delivered here, where it can collect and stew in silence.

  • by buddyglass ( 925859 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @07:21PM (#38708962)

    Dark humor is a coping mechanism for dealing with the nasty, brutish, and short nature of life.

    There's dark humor and there's intentionally tasteless trolling. Let's not confuse the two.

  • by sosume ( 680416 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @07:37PM (#38709074) Journal

    would you board a plane which was piloted by an epileptic 10-year old? how is that even legal..

  • Hypocrisy... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JohnnyMindcrime ( 2487092 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @07:39PM (#38709084) when you troll gleefully about the death of a teenage Pakistani girl who was a genius with Microsoft stuff but attacked anyone who trolled gleefully when Steve Jobs passed away.

  • by madprof ( 4723 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @07:41PM (#38709100)

    I so wish I had mod points right now to mod this one up. You hit the nail on the head.

    This is a very unusual story. It's basically a rare human interest story on Slashdot.
    This girl wasn't at all important in the computing industry and she didn't invent anything. It's not like Ritchie or Jobs dying last year.

    But it shows how inept people here can be when they write crap going "oh she wasn't that clever"...well so what? The normal thing to do is just not to post if you can't find anything nice to say.

    To post impolitely on a story like this just shows bad judgement and a lack of maturity.

  • by JohnnyMindcrime ( 2487092 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @07:51PM (#38709188)

    Not that it's relevant to this story, but as a mainly Linux person, I wonder if her death would have attracted less negative trolling had she been a Red Hat Certified Engineer or a genius BASH shell scripter.

    I don't feel proud as a member of the human race when people turn a suite of software tools into a religion - be they Linux, Microsoft or Apple zealot.

  • by Daniel Phillips ( 238627 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @08:05PM (#38709276)

    I am with those who maintain that a Microsoft certification is not Computer Science, and that the wikipedia article [] is erroneous, misleading and should be corrected. Perhaps by changing the heading from "Computer Science" to "Systems Administration". An impressive achievement for a nine year old to be sure, but not to be ranked with science. Attempting to mischaracterize her achievement that way only sullies it.

  • by IANAAC ( 692242 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @08:07PM (#38709284)

    I had an uncle who was studing CS, so by age 2 I was writing my first Hello World program in BASIC.

    Sorry, I don't believe you.

    At two years old, you didn't have the motor skill to control a keyboard or a mouse, much less read or write.

  • by 0xdeadbeef ( 28836 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @08:36PM (#38709466) Homepage Journal

    She was girl well out of their league in both appearance and intellect who accomplished more in her short life the typical Slashdot neckbeard ever will. Add Microsoft to the mix and it's like a glowing bug zapper for these moths of insecurity.

  • by GreatBunzinni ( 642500 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @09:21PM (#38709730)

    No one's "falling to grief". We're discussing ways to deal with a problem.

    The only problem I see is some user's inability to act like grown ups and thus let petty comments rile them enough that they go off advocating ways to punish people just for acting in a way that they don't approve. Do you approve AC comments? I don't. Therefore I don't waste my time reading them and thinking of ways I could punish them for saying stuff I don't like.

    And don't come here with that righteous "social pressure" bullshit, with that "teach him to be more civil" load of bullshit. To see how this is such a good idea, remember that in the 60s this very same sort of argument was used in the US to justify attacking and assassinating people for not "knowing their place" and acting "uppity", with a blatant disregard for that time's social order.

    This "social pressure" bullshit is just an excuse for authoritarian folks to bully people into submission and force them to be subjugated to your own views on every given subject. It's thanks to this bullshit that, even in this day and age, we get teenagers being stalked and receiving death threats for not caving to "social pressure" and be fervently aligned with a religion. And this is supposed to be a good thing'

    So, the problem isn't any AC spewing crap to a forum. The problem is you, and others like you, who are urged to inflict punishment on others as a form of revenge just because someone dares to do or say something you approve, and who doesn't cave to your "social pressure". The real problem is that you, and others like you, are intolerant bigots who believe that it's ok to use force and violence to shape society into your preconceived notion of what is supposed to be. The real problem is you, and your inability to just ignore irrelevant stuff, such as bullshit comments, and instead opt to react violently to punish those behind them. You are a worse influence in society than anyone posting distasteful comments on any message board, and your self-righteous attitude does not benefit an society in any way.

    So, if you don't like distasteful comments then stop browsing at -1 and go on with your life. Don't waste your time pretending that you know what's good for society, because you don't. If you don't like it then consider this your recipe of "social pressure", and see how you like it.

  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday January 15, 2012 @09:46PM (#38709844) Journal

    Oh you missed the fun part of the /. mod system...what happens when you have a loonie. I have one that will wait until the article is off the front page (so no one can undo him) and mods down every. single. post. on anything I say regarding anything FOSS. Doesn't matter what the FOSS project is, doesn't matter if I say "hey its nice" he will zero out anything i post on FOSS even if it takes him 2 days worth of mod points to do so. I give him credit to dedication to his batshittiness, it took him 3 days on the Firefox article because I had 3 plus 4 posts but last I checked he managed to zero all of them out.

    The problem is /. has become infected with rabid fanbois which its no wonder the numbers are dropping. look at how on ANY article about MSFT, I don't care if its about...say some book on sharepoint server management, you'll see someone get a plus 5 for typing "use Linux" like that is some magic answer that has fuck all to do with the topic, a post that says "Google is great" or "they do no evil" will also get modded waay up, even if it has fuck all to do with the topic.

    So I agree we need to try something else, hell ANYTHING else, because too many discussions here become giant fanboi circle jerks with everyone that parrots groupthink going up, everybody that doesn't toe the line getting buried. personally I'd like it if I didn't have to wade through a bunch of "nigger faggot cocksucker" posts but I have to browse at the lowest level just to read the posts that don't follow groupthink. I'd say its worth a shot to try different ways of doing it if for no other reason so we might trip over the right way. i miss the days that we could have a 100+ comment back and forth about something like filesystems and OS designs without it quickly becoming fanboi central, but now its all militant flag waving and it doesn't really matter WHAT anybody says, just that they fall on the right side of the mod's belief system. Currently from what I've been able to gather the current "rules" are Google yay, MSFT boo, Apple yay unless its apple VS FOSS then it is Apple boo,Oracle boo, and Canonical is yay unless its unity then boo. We've ALL seen it, just as we've seen a dozen posts below them going "WTF? Who is modding this crap up?" which of course gets modded down by whomever is modding that crap up, its fanboi central here now and it didn't use to be and I hope it can not be that way again but as long as the current mod system is in place i doubt we'll see the groupthink and karma whoring go away.

  • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @11:29PM (#38710270)

    I have zero respect for the certification. It will not buy me in a job interview. I have the slashdot'ers natural inclination to treat MS certification for what it is: someone I don't trust vouching for someone I don't know.

    If you are in an interview with me:

    o Prove you can code
    o Prove you didn't lie on your resume
    o Prove you can communicate with other engineers

    Given all that, she seems like a smart little shit. I would have given her a chance.

    Judging her life after the fact without extra information is not useful, and doing so makes you a dick.


  • by theshowmecanuck ( 703852 ) on Monday January 16, 2012 @03:33AM (#38711344) Journal
    I don't meta moderate any more because they made it a pain in the ass to see the comments in context. How can I tell if a comment is fare if I can't see what the comment is replying to? Is it on topic? I don't know, I can't see what people are talking about to see. Was it insightful. I don't know... a comment about cats could be insightful but maybe not if they're talking about dogs. (I avoided a car metaphor there.) If you can't easily see the preceding comments then it is pointless to meta moderate. And the last time I tried it about a month ago, I just remember having to jump through hoops to find the parent so that I could understand the post. And sending Slash dot a suggestion or complaint doesn't get you anywhere. So fuckit, I don't bother.
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Monday January 16, 2012 @04:41AM (#38711556) Journal

    She is called a programming prodigy but no evidence is given, the only "evidence" is a MS certification on a site where MS certification is a gigantic red flag. Certification in general tends not to be popular and the ones from MS are often considered to have less value then the paper they were written upon if the paper was made of shit.

    The article writer probably knows this and also knows that controversy sells ad impressions.

    The simple fact is that a young person died who had some minor accomplishments that most on /, simply do not value since they know adults with the same who are the waste of IT. Maybe if the article poster had given some examples of actual code she had written? Something that would actually impress other developers? But the only links I seen so far are to software that is frankly not that impressive to people from a generation that had to create their own computer from scratch. Don't forget, there are REAL rocket scientists on Slashdot. People that built their own home computer before there were home computers are supposed to be all impressed with a kid that made a calculator in a modern development environment? Not even a very good calculator.

    It might be hard for a 9 year old to do that particular exam but so what? Coders judge other coders on code, not certificates.

    All this is to me is a young person who died who seems to have gotten some minor press attention for an achievement I do not value. Show me her 3D engine, new sorting algorithm, something that makes her a true child prodigy and not just a very boring kid who read a training manual cover to cover.

    Sad she died, but millions die each day. What makes her worthy of special attention? I just don't like fake emotion from people who shed tears over this but never made a donation to stop people from dying or to cure a disease. Slashdot doesn't need human interest stories.

  • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) * on Monday January 16, 2012 @05:29AM (#38711710) Journal

    I've noticed your little stalker before - he's quite impressively broken (albeit often hilariously so).

    You're right to point at some of the flaws in the mod system and the groupthink it promotes. I'd also agree with some of the specific examples you've picked. However, I'm going to play the optimist here; I think things are actually getting (slightly) better, rather than worse.

    I've been posting on this account since the end of 2003 - mostly on the games stories, but also on some of the general business/sciency ones. I used to have a little challenge I'd set myself when making posts on relevant games threads: "say something critical of Nintendo and still end up at +5". I remember one post which fluctuated several times between +5 and -1 over the course of an afternoon (eventually ending up on +4). These days, that doesn't seem like such a problem.

    Similarly with MS - five years ago, being even remotely nice about them was a 1-way ticket to modding oblivion. But then, I've had a number of posts which were fairly nice about them hit +5 uneventfully over the last few months. I've also noted a lot more modded-up posters who admit that they use Windows as their sole OS these days. Five years ago, I felt that put me in a minority on here. Not so much any more.

    That said, I guess there's another explanation here. It might not be that the nature of the slashdot community has changed, but rather that companies/products themselves have evolved and the groupthink consensus has just evolved over time to follow suit. After all, over the last few years:

    - Nintendo have upset a large portion of their hardcore fanbase by basically ignoring them through the product life of the Wii, focussing on 1-shot exercise and party games instead. They still have a few rabid fans left, but there's a big disillusioned crowd out there, which just wasn't the case 5 years ago.

    - Apple have gone from being the charming underdog to being scarily big and powerful. The effects of their walled-garden mentality are becoming more relevant and painful.

    - Microsoft haven't really done anything outright evil. They've been pretty incompetent in places (Vista, 360 RROD, anything their marketing department does), but the sense of malice you got in the 90s and early in the last decade just isn't there any more. They've also done some pretty cool things, such as Kinect.

    - And at the same time, Windows has reached the point where it is, for the most part, stable, reliable and pleasant to use. This at a time when Linux on the desktop hasn't exactly been making great strides forwards.

    I suppose there's an easy way to test this. Let's see if I can get a +5 modded post that says something nice about Sony (who seem to be the new favoured villain of choice).

  • by ajo_arctus ( 1215290 ) on Monday January 16, 2012 @05:30AM (#38711714) Homepage

    because too many discussions here become giant fanboi circle jerks with everyone that parrots groupthink going up

    Every time I see the word 'fanboi' or the phrase 'circle jerk' I lose a bit of faith in the site I'm on. Stop it. Learn to use grown up words and make your point more rationally. I know you're annoyed that you have a stalker, but surely they'll get bored soon enough -- maybe now the school holidays are over. I also suspect it's a personal grudge, rather than a FOSS thing.

    As for your other point, you must understand that we all miss the good old days -- but that has been the case for thousands (if not millions) of years. Not only that, but group think is something you have to learn to accept, no matter how annoyed it makes you. Maybe those mod-rules you point out exist purely because that's how the majority of people feel? That's the basis of democracy. Slashdot still, after all these years, somehow manages to see discussions with contrary views and actual debate. For that we should be thankful (though obviously not too thankful -- especially with the ever increasingly 'sensational' stories that seem to be appearing).

  • by TaoPhoenix ( 980487 ) <> on Monday January 16, 2012 @08:01AM (#38712268) Journal

    I may have figured out the answer, if only they'd implement it:

    Limit the number of times you can mod any particular user. Borrowing phrasing from another site: "You have downmodded hairyfeet too many times lately. Please moderate other users instead." Then if he keeps downmodding against meta-mod checks, he simply loses his mod points entirely.

    I agree that those "crude words" you used would draw downmods, because it's like when a bully tires you out and tricks you to use coarse language out of exhaustion, then that "justifies" their downmods. I know, I wish we could get off the playground, but if them's the games, ya gotta try to sidestep them.

    Tip - find a scientific phrasing. Buried beneath copyright woes, scientists *have* studied tons of stuff in those little projects that aren't sexy enough to draw page clicks. So for the words you were using, try also "Perceptual Bubble". The entire rest of your post then works, but it's got Secret Sauce that makes the mods happy.

  • by bzipitidoo ( 647217 ) <> on Monday January 16, 2012 @10:30AM (#38713084) Journal

    MS is as evil as ever. You are having doubts about this? Think they turned over a new leaf after 2005? Then consider these:

    2006-2007: The draconian DRM of Windows Vista

    2006-2008: OOXML. MS bribes and threatens the ISO to get the purposely bad and encumbered OOXML format declared a standard.

    2008: EU fines MS for failing to comply with a 2004 antitrust order. MS has a long history of paying lip service to court orders while evading the spirit of the findings.

    2011-2012: Secure Boot: Windows 8 may be designed in a way that prevents other OSes from booting.

    2012: LG caves, and will pay MS to license technologies supposedly infringed by Android.

    They're still rent seeking, controlling, monopolistic scum.

I was playing poker the other night... with Tarot cards. I got a full house and 4 people died. -- Steven Wright