According to the guidlines
"Please submit the original source. If a blog post reports on something they found on another site, submit the latter."
After my original post to the petition was killed, I thought I had done something wrong linking directly to the petition...as if that was some sort of spam (e.g. linking to an article about a product vs. linking to the actual product page seems to be the norm here as most direct-to-product links come off as spammy).
I'm assuming good faith about the whole thing, but think that it's an interesting gray area ripe for community discussion.
Uh, there is: when you click on "flag" it turns into "unflag", and when you click on that, it turn back into "flag".
I'm just one of the naïve newbies speaking out here but if you don't like something, either enter the discussion with your reasons thus or ignore it and move on.
And just to prove my point, I could flag your post without thinking twice about it. But that's not in the spirit of discussion and is a negative influence.
I choose to comment before I upvote anything, that's how I roll, but on that basis I can argue that the former constitutes a contribution while re-appropriating another button to serve the purpose of a downvote contributes nothing. If the former is the means to encourage discussion then the latter is the means to discourage it.
Downvoting is precisely as valuable as upvoting. They're both ways of saying that some things are more worthy of discussion than other things. The fact that 100 people like something does not make it good or even popular. 100,000 people might think it's an awful topic, or an awful presentation of the topic. If they all agreed on a single article that is better, they could upvote that, but if they just feel the article is particularly bad relative to all other articles, they have no recourse but a mass-upvote, which (besides being burdensome) means they then can't upvote any articles they find especially useful.
To illustrate what I'm saying: If we all agreed never to bury an article that somebody voted for, 100 NASCAR fans (an insignificant number both as a percentage of HN users and a percentage of NASCAR fans) could completely transform HN into a NASCAR fansite by bloc-upvoting articles relevant to their interests. That would be a horrible outcome.
An article about Jimmie Johnson is less appropriate to HN than all the other articles on the front page right now, and the way people register that opinion is by flagging.
If you want to influence HN, you should submit and upvote stories you prefer like the site was designed for.
Whoever flagged the post probably should have their HN account nuked.
Links should exist for the benefit of the reader, not the benefit of the submitter.
I can actually see your point on this. This is a weird gray area in the guidelines I think.
But I'm sure the White House had a fun time harvesting all those email addresses to spam throughout the coming fourteen months of election season!
Taking what people think lightly is a skill practiced by all politicians. They are very good at it.
Because harvesting email addresses is pretty much the ultimate purpose of all online petitions.
Which part excludes it?
Use of government resources for an election campaing is another issue, one more than just privacy activists care about.
In a world where the President can take Air Force One to go to a campaign fundraiser, I don't think that this is taken all that seriously any more. There are certain rules regarding what's "politics" and what's "government", but if the White House has your email address you're certainly gonna be getting a lot of emails going "Gosh, what a good job I'm doing as President. What a pity those darn Republicans are to blame for everything that's going wrong" et cetera.
Says who? I've been registered on more than one petition websites for years using an email just for them ([name-of-site]@mydomain.com) and I haven't ever got a spam email.
Do you have an evidence of this ever happening, or are you just defaming?
It struck me as the first time I'd ever heard of an online petition achieving its goal.
Here's hoping this becomes second time.
Oh! I know the answer to that one!
The only thing less useful? An online political statement that doesn't actually accomplish anything!
And my opinion has nothing to do with the White House. In fact, it stems from my only time petitioning my congressional representative. I begged him for no form letters and no additions to any email lists -- and a I got a form letter and put on an email list.
Now I get emails every month or two telling me what an awesome guy he is.
I think it should read:
"The patent office's original interpretation of software as language and therefor not patentable is much closer to reality and more productive for innovation than it's current practice of issuing software patents with no understanding of the patents being issued."
Or am I missing something?
My position is closer to Jonathan Abrams' tweet: tell the USPTO to stop issuing obvious patents, no matter what form.
Besides, it's fallacious to imply that people need "incentives" to innovate. I'd wager there are much more people who are hindered by the patent system than there are people who would stop innovating just because there's no more monopoly to be had by being the first to apply for some legalese nonsense.
It's utterly absurd to imply any sort of ownership or rights to an abstract concept. The very notion of it should be grounds for attesting insanity. Instead, we should focus on free flow and exchange of ideas, tight cooperation and incremental development off each others' discoveries.
So no, they shouldn't be patentable. Nothing should be.
A sophisticated algorithm for simulating turbulent flow near jet engines.
A sophisticated algorithm for optimizing [some complicated industrial process].
If you want a specific example, this is just what I got from a google patent search for "rational drug design", but: http://www.google.com/patents?id=3b8kAAAAEBAJ&zoom=4&...
This is one of the problems with software patents. Using machine learning for handwriting recognition is a pretty obvious "innovation" to anyone with a little background in AI who has thought about the problem at all. If we allow people to patent "using machine learning for X" for all activities X, that blocks a lot of innovation. The field is moving so fast right now that people are thinking of new ideas all the time; we don't need patents to encourage that.
There are some non-obvious algorithms that are worthy of patenting (that is, if algorithms were actually patentable). One that comes to mind is the fast inverse square root algorithm (https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Fast_inverse_...). In our field, trade secret (e.g. compiled source code) is usually sufficient to provide protection against a competitor stealing a novel algorithm, rendering patents largely unnecessary.
This is really the only economically sensible basis for patent law. Unfortunately it tends to get clouded in lots of other fuzzy ideas, like protecting ideas and incentivizing innovation.
So to give an example of something I think is a legitimate software patent: consider a hypothetical solution to the hidden node problem in the context of white space devices and wireless microphones: http://www.shure.com/idc/groups/public/@gms_gmi_web/document...
Basically, say you have a transmitter T and a receiver R, and a whitespace device W. W listens to the spectrum and opportunistically uses whatever radio channels it hears as free. T transmits on a fixed frequency to R, and R receives without transmitting. There are situations where because of geography, R can hear T, but W cannot hear T. So W detects T/R's frequency as free, tries to use it, and interferes with R. This is the problem that Microsoft's white space devices ran into with unlicensed wireless microphones in the FCC tests.
What algorithms could you put in a whitespace device (or a network of whitespace devices) to alleviate this problem? This is not really something that a programmer of average competence would find obvious. Indeed, so far nobody has a good solution to the problem, despite quite a bit of research. However, when somebody does come up with a good algorithm, it will be fairly easy for other manufacturers to copy it. Even if it's not, unless it can be protected by a patent, whoever discovers it will have a huge incentive to keep it secret, which means people can't work on improving it.
I think this is a pretty good case for allowing patenting of the algorithm within the specific context of a whitespace device (which is basically what the current law is supposed to be). You have a situation where solving a problem requires quite a bit of investment. You can't really do research on this without buying a bunch of whitespace devices and wireless mics and doing a bunch of testing in different conditions). At the same time, because the end result would be easy to copy, nobody really has the incentive to work on it, especially not smaller research labs which might be able to solve the problem but certainly wouldn't have the manufacturing muscle to build and sell their own whitespace devices.
The reason so many software patents sound ridiculous is because they don't really require any innovation. They're simply an attempt to take obvious ideas and keep other people from using them. As a rough rule of thumb, for a patent to make sense, it should take way more effort to come up with the algorithm than it does to implement it. If it doesn't then there isn't really any free rider problem.
I haven't even heard of this petition site before, it's interesting that it hasn't been overrun by 4chan scripts inflating whatever. "We petition you to make 4chan the official capital of the internet."
Please sign it if you are so inclined
Google bought Motorola recently and some say just to have security that android is used on the phones. They then used ,and still are, the patents as an leverage against rivals competitors.
I think as indiviudal company you can gain, but with these wars the eco system is weakend and in turn everyone is worse off.