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New York Times' Reddit Piece Shows Dangers of Internet Journalism (techraptor.net)
354 points by ColinWright 718 days ago | hide | past | web | 263 comments | favorite



I've believed since newsdiffs.org (mentioned in the OP) was launched that an in-house diff-tracker/displayer for the New York Times would be both a win in transparency, accuracy, and the company's bottom-line. The first two are mostly self-evident...in terms of improving the bottom-line...well, I often go to the NYT for breaking news. For a given event, they'll often have a main story which they update throughout the day. The obvious problem is that if I've read it once, I have to re-read the entire story throughout the day, and mentally parse out the updated bits.

So why not have, for _every_ story, a "History" link, or even a _feed_ of latest changes, so that readers who re-visit a story can quickly see the atomic updates? For my own reading habits, this would cement the NYT has a place to go to for developing stories...the transparency/accuracy bit are just icing on the cake.

This issue of having an in-house Newsdiffs was brought up by the public editor back when Jill Abramson was still editor:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/26/opinion/sunday/26pubed.htm...

Here's what she said:

> Right now, tracking changes is not a priority at The Times. As Ms. Abramson told me, it’s unrealistic to preserve an “immutable, permanent record of everything we have done.”

I can't speak for her true motives or intentions...but part of the problem here is technical ignorance. Her perception seems to have been that tracking changes would have been too much of a burden -- and she is justified in thinking this if she has never worked with something that uses a diff-like program...and in my experience, this includes most news people...in a newsroom, editing and re-editing stories and supplying reasons (i.e. as in a correction) is a very manual process. If a newsroom is using WordPress, sure, they know of the concept of article versions...but they don't really grok the ability for machines to create timestamped diffs.

However, if Ms. Abramson was familiar with the kind of system that Github (or Wikipedia, for that matter) uses, she would see that keeping an immutable, permanent record is actually quite easy for machines to do. So to create a inhouse change-log-per-article would be quite easy, technically, and with some interface work, it'd be a very welcome feature to more than a few readers, IMO.

edit: In terms of "most news people" not knowing diff...I'm basing this on anecdotal experience with non-programming investigative journalists who, among all journalists, have the most to benefit from understanding the implications of an efficient document diff, but I haven't worked with any who demonstrated that grasp. A common scenario is having two versions of some important document and wanting to see every change made. A diff would not be perfect, but it doesn't have to be, it just needs to triage possible changes to further investigate.


One of my pet peeves with reporters and writers is that they believe themselves to be studied, enlightened and informed, more so than their audience. And if true this would be great.

If true they could inform me and give me better understanding of the world around me.

Sadly, I find, most of them rely on gut, opinion and lack rigor. They lack basic scientific investigative techniques. So we end up reading mostly opinion backed by further opinion, sometimes backed by unreliable social sciences studies. By unreliable I mean the results are often one offs but they are cited as if accepted fact.

For example, antivax. The opinions of antivax are given the same credibility as epidemiologists. That to me is egregious. Sometimes they do the right thing and call out the questionable opinion as they tend to do with the anti global warming crowd.... But I bet that is helped by their political leaning more than by their being rigorous.


For the sake of argument, let's stipulate that the mainstream US news media consists of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the LA Times, and the Washington Post.

Could you cite an example in any of those four publications where undue weight was given to "antivax" people?

Just so you know: I 1000% agree with you that giving equal weight to antivax crazies and professional epidemiologists would constitute "undue weight".


FWIW in England prominent favourable coverage was given to anti-vacination frauds; and to climate-change deniers (even those paid for their opinion); and to MRSA scare merchants (see Bad Science for examples). Look at the terrible quality of most science reporting (especially anything related to nutrition).

mc32's comments don't seem too far off-base -- although I have no idea if they apply to the US media.


I don't have a citation. It's more a vibe I get from listening to npr interviews. They have interesting guests with some neat theories about things -politics, economics, social justice, climatology, sexuality, etc. I would love for them to prod the guests for evidence and methodology rather than take what they say at face value.

I want to know why something might work not simply feel good that something might work. Let's take the minimum wage. From a layman perspective I think a higher national minimum wage would be welcome and adjust it to inflation. But I'd like for this opinion to be validated, not simply presented as unquestionably good.

I mean, let's say we standardize at 15 or 20 or a speculative $30hr. What would the impact be. Will it lead to more automation? So higher pay for those with jobs but more unemployed? Who becomes the undesirable and unhirable (the inexperienced)? If it leads to higher unemployment (speculation) what are our responsibilities as a society and who has preference (citizens vs non citizens)? Do we train?


> Sadly, I find, most of them rely on gut, opinion and lack rigor.

> I don't have a citation. It's more a vibe I get from listening to npr interviews.


I don't have a citation. It's more a vibe I get

Ironically, something an anti-vaxxer would probably say too.



I'm not a journalist and don't have their gravitas. Journalists have some gravitas and it should be required that have some modicum of rigor. This is a forum where we exchange ideas not an organ of record and the one who is taken to be the preeminent news source in North America.

There is a difference. They have whole teams dedicated to research. Use them. As someone upstream said, don't take one fact and weave a theory around it. Make sound reasoning and use the research teams available to them.

Thomas asked for evidence from select publications. I don't bookmark things like that. I don't even recall where I might have read or heard the anti-vaxers, but they are an example of a group whose voice is given much too much voice in mainstream media, in my view.


And I asked where that was happening in the mainstream media, and you started talking about the minimum wage.


Robert F Kennedy was the source for the Salon Piece in footnote 4.

"He had written a much-discussed and much-challenged story for Rolling Stone last year linking childhood vaccines and a rise in autism."

"Nonetheless, perhaps more than any other Kennedy of his generation, he is looked upon as the next potential vessel for Something Bigger. In words, temperament and actions, he conveys a frenetic vibe of restlessness that invites the questions "What else?" "What next?" "What more?""

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/25/fashion/25bobby.html?pagew...

Its this kind of stuff that is ultimately problematic. Note that this is in the 'fashion' section of the NYT.

You could say that 'Salon' is outide your definition of mainstream media, but the issue is that the sites you mentioned still cover the stories, even if nothing more than as references in pursuit of 'journalistic integrity'.

Obviously google will turn up lots of materiel on this if you want it.

(Note that the current treatment of these topics is far more skeptical. The LA times in 2015 is not going to treat these topics the same as the NY times in 2006.)


Salon is nowhere near the mainstream media. It's a punchline for people who think Slate is mainstream, and those people are themselves not in the mainstream.

The NYT piece you cite is not about vaccination, and notes on that subject only that RFKjr wrote an antivax piece that was challenged.


I suppose you could use the same argument for rolling stone, but frankly it doesn't matter. Look at the UVA rape case from earlier this year (covered widely). The RFK piece on vaccination was published originall in rolling stone. The hagiographic prose the NYT writes about the author (kennedy) and the editorial selection of the piece by rolling stone lend these ideas credibility regardless of the flaws in the articles. Again, look at the UVA rape article earlier this year (published: rolling stone) and see how much coverage it got in NYT, WaPo, LaTimes etc. Its worth noting That WaPo debunked alot of the Rolling stone reportage ultimately, but that just goes to show that not all newsrooms are single minded/purpose entities.

Lastly, if you look up (and read) the footnotes in my earlier not, you'll se that there is a clear link between the academic critique of 'journalistic integrity' and the anti-vaccination example, insofar as 'false balance' is a well defined sub-topic of that debate. Under the Wikipedia article for that...you notice (rightly or wrongly) that of the examples given, the anti-vaccination quakery (eg, kennedy in rollin stone etc) is a "well worn" example.

In other words, a commenter making reference to this is not making any novel or original argument that needs "footnotes". Footnotes are useful when there is a more subtle point, a nuance or something that is not obvious. Footnotes are less called for here, as a simple google search will attest.


No, the complaint that drew the request for citations was 'antivaxers given same credibility as epidemiologists', not the complaint on journalistic rigour in general.

Just like the "it's a vibe" response, your own point on rigour isn't particularly rigorous.


If the New York Times gave the same amount of column inches to holocaust deniers as it does anti vaccination nuts there would be an outrage despite the fact that both camps are about as valid as each other.


There's a lot of prejudice in your sentence. Having some experience in this debate topic, I don't think there are "holocaust deniers", there are only gas chamber skeptics. Same with "anti vaccination nuts", I think there are only people that are against forced vaccination. No one is against you vaccinating your kids and living in a town where only vaccinated people are allowed.

If arguments were as simple as you're pretending they are, those argument would not have been going on for decades.


EDIT: I should have searched for [innguest holocaust] before answering.

There are plenty of people who think the holocaust - all of it - is a lie. And even if we accept your much more limited version of what a holocaust denier is - "the holocaust happened but the gas chambers didn't" - well, that's wrong too.

And there are plenty of people who campaign vigorously to stop other people's children being vaccinated, who accuse people who vaccinate their children of causing harm to those children.


Regarding the holocaust, see all I have to say about it in my other reply below.

As for vaccination... look, I am not against vaccines, I was vaccinated. I don't think vaccines are harmful. But I am intellectually honest enough to understand their arguments and to see you're distorting them.

Just like a Christian should proselytize and try to convert me if they actually believe I am going to hell, so should an anti-vaccination person that believes vaccines do harm and want to convince others about it. It took me a while to understand this. Penn Jillette makes this point here in 1 minute: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owZc3Xq8obk

That anti-vaccine people proselytize tells me they are genuine and I should look into what they have to say and exchange ideas with them to see where they are wrong and where I might be wrong.

If they don't proselytize how do you suggest they bring up their concerns? I am for the free market of ideas. I am always skeptical of those that don't engage in debates because the other side is "clearly wrong".


You said

> Same with "anti vaccination nuts", I think there are only people that are against forced vaccination. No one is against you vaccinating your kids and living in a town where only vaccinated people are allowed.

I was responding to that. There are people who are against all vaccination; people who think you are harming your children if you vaccinate them. You are wrong to suggest that those people do not exist.


    I don't think there are "holocaust deniers", there are only gas chamber skeptics.
I don't want to give any publicity to such idiocy but here you go:

http://expeltheparasite.com/2013/10/28/the-holocaust-hoax-it...

http://www.nizkor.org/features/qar/qar01.html


Indeed it is this kind of idiocy that turns people off revisionism altogether, when in fact it is a serious field that has contributed enormously to progressing the much needed, and much stifled, research on WW2 atrocities.

For the intellectually curious I'd say steer clear of any website with a swastika. Start with Skeptic magazine's Michael Shermer "holocaust debate" with Mark Weber (available on Youtube) for a civilized discussion, based on documents, among intellectually honest people. If you want something to read regarding revisionist arguments, I can recommend Arthur Butz's PDF book (a fellow computer scientist) available online. For the mainstream arguments I recommend the relevant parts of Hilberg and Arad and then Pressac's books on gas chamber operations. This will equip the student with enough knowledge to be able to talk about the subject intelligently.

This was the only safe way I could find of starting this research since a lot of material online seems hell-bent on blaming Jews for everything. I never understood this spurious connection. I don't hate anyone, and I was curious to know how exactly millions of people could have been killed in such a systematic way. So I started looking for material without the hatred and it does exist, but it leads down a deep rabbit hole with very few certainties. Gas chambers are one of the hardest problems for historians to explain and the most prominent researcher in this area, Jean-Claude Pressac, has switched between mainstream and revisionism a few times because of that. That much should entice the potential student.

Near-unanimity among academics happens when there is great political pressure. Even the Pope's political enemies in the 13th century conceded to his altered version of 4th century history (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donation_of_Constantine) that was used as a device to support the Pope's political authority. Today, Israel needs a similar political authority, and as Norman Finkelstein argues, it finds such authority in the mainstream holocaust narrative. Hence the political pressure against progress in this field, and hence the laws against discussing it in Europe.


most people don't get their news from print media as far as i know.


I think part of the problem of scientific reporting is that journalists deliberately look for sensationalist material, and how journalists discuss science is little different from how Bill O'Reilly might react if he just found an exclusive clip of Hillary Clinton getting drunk and saying stupid things. Bill O'Reilly and his team would probably be thinking about how this might be worth a month of material.

The other part of the problem is that scientific writing is meant for scientific audiences, an audience which is expected to be aware of an ecology of evidence and professional debate occurring around studies. If we don't want pathological journalism, where a journalist finds a single piece of evidence and spins whatever narrative they want from it, then we need a journalist who is authoritative enough to represent a whole field and its diversity of opinions, like Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Would you trust Neil to be honest with you?


Depends on what you mean by "honest". I would probably trust him not to maliciously proclaim falsehood when it is obvious and known to him that it is false. But I wouldn't trust him not to "find a single piece of evidence and spin whatever narrative they want from it". In fact, there are documented instances where Tyson changed or invented quotes to fit his narrative, so that ship has sailed.

I'd trust somebody like Tyson the same way I trust Wikipedia - if the matter is factual and mostly uncontroversial (like how the steam engine works or what is the value of pi with certain precision and how one could calculate it) I'd have pretty high degree of trust. If the matter is a subject of controversy, you need to verify the references - or seek out the sources and proof if there is none, and then you need to consider how trustworthy those are too, without these the degree of trust would be "some people think that it is true".


Actually, No I would not since he seems to go outside his knowledge base, gets political, and make some false statements. Check his validated Twitter feed for some examples. Now if Feynman was still around, I would trust him since he had a record of giving honest opinions.


It's not Neil's beliefs on politics that people care about. Instead, we care when he makes statements about the field of physics. Not a phenomena, but the field itself. It's because those statements can be incredibly useful to a lay audience.

Imagine hearing this claim: "Most psychologists nowadays use cognitive behavioral therapy, or some kind of statistically-backed similar therapy involving cognitive work, while psychodynamic approaches have almost all but died except in southern California."

This doesn't make a claim about psychological phenomena. Instead this is a claim about the field of psychology. And it's incredibly useful because you don't have to understand the merits of one therapeutic approach over another. Just by hearing about trends of expert behavior, you can develop useful guesses.

If I heard that a dental procedure had fallen out of favor among dentists, I would use that information. As a layperson, I don't need to know about the technicalities of some dental procedure. And I am quite aware that experts can talk me into any way they want. What I want to hear is a representation on the field of dentistry.

I think it is THIS function that we want out of an expert scientific journalist or propagator. We should want someone who can represent the temperature of the field, as opposed to merely making a claim on a phenomena. I trust Neil to say that "most physicists believe X" without spin or deceit.


"I trust Neil to say that "most physicists believe X" without spin or deceit."

See, that's the problem, I don't trust him to say that without spin or deceit. He makes claims about certain politicians making statements they didn't make (e.g. 360 degree turn or taking part of a quote out of time and context) which leads me to believe I cannot trust anything he says without independent confirmation. He has become a pundit not a teacher.


Inability to keep an immutable record of what's been published disqualifies nyt from its claim of being "the paper of record".


Not if the print edition is considered the record. The analogy would be eventual consistency in exchange for higher availability: the tradeoff is the occasional stale read.


Not if the print edition is considered the record.

The NY Times, like all newspapers, is feeling some financial pain. However, go back about 40 or 50 years to the salad days, and there was no such thing as "the print edition". Many newspapers, including the Times, published a number of editions during the day. National papers were also published regionally, with somewhat different contents. I don't know what happens nowadays.

In times of old, the NY Times National edition was supplanted by the Late City edition. But this caused some problems, as this FAQ discusses: http://www.loc.gov/rr/news/faqs/news/nyteds.html


I just don't agree. It's not as though this isn't a solved problem. And this isn't just a stale read, it's a bait and switch.


It becomes bait and switch via a presumption that the editorial direction wrought by the changes is improper. It's not if one presumes that the additional context makes for better journalism: then the changes are improvement. This appears to be the belief The New York Times's editors.


Switching a neutral article for an opinion piece would bother me even if I agreed with the opinion.


I read this comment and was moved to summarize every graf in the piece to check whether it was an opinion piece:

https://news.ycombinator.com/edit?id=9870891

Spoiler: I don't think "it's an opinion piece" is a colorable argument.


It's called parajournalism. "Opinion piece" has a clearly defined meaning in journalism and is an entirely different genre.

Parajournalism seems to be journalism — “the collection and dissemination of current news” — but the appearance is deceptive. It is a bastard form, having it both ways, exploiting the factual authority of journalism and the atmospheric license of fiction. Entertainment rather than information is the aim of its producers, and the hope of its consumers.[0]

Your bullet list summary reveals little but your own bias/agenda and adds little to the conversation. We have the actual diff and can read for ourselves which is sort of the point. The diff link was provided in the source article: http://newsdiffs.org/diff/934341/934454/www.nytimes.com/2015...

I hope Margaret Sullivan looks into this. Seems appropriate.

0: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/1965/aug/26/parajou...


People level this charge, or charges just like it, at every news story they don't like. Nerds are going to get a rude awakening if they think they're going to cow the Times (or the WSJ editorial board, for that matter) over "bias" in their newsrooms; these publications have been at the center of the real-world culture war for decades.


Consider the neutral statements that were deleted:

“It became clear that the board and I had a different view on the ability of Reddit to grow this year,” Ms. Pao said in an interview. “Because of that, it made sense to bring someone in that shared the same view.”

Sam Altman, a member of Reddit’s board, said he personally appreciated Ms. Pao’s efforts during her two years working at the start-up. “Ellen has done a phenomenal job, especially in the last few months,” he said.

Also consider what the article left out, like the complaints of IAmA mods about the way Victoria was terminated; the requirement that all employees move to San Francisco; the ban on salary negotiations; the community manager who said he was fired for being too sick to work; the complaints from mods about poor support from the admins.

Some opinion pieces explicitly state an opinion. This one conveys an opinion by cherry-picking facts and quotes.


* Contra your argument, the piece retains Pao's claim that she left because of differences on the direction of the company.

* The Altman quote that was removed favors Pao's supporters. Removing it makes her plight less sympathetic.

* Contra your argument, the petition not only remains in the final story, but has its own graf.

* Contra your argument, the piece retains the concern about Victoria's firing.

* The relocation of Reddit's employees was a Yishan Wong initiative, as was the salary negotiation policy.

There is virtually no news story that you can't attack for "leaving out facts". You might not like this reported news story, but it is not an opinion piece.


You're right about the petition. Mea culpa; it was just moved.

What's your source re the salary negotiation policy? Numerous news stories said it was Pao's decision.

The move to SF was often brought up again in discussions over the past couple weeks. Contra the misogyny argument, there's anger at reddit that pre-dates Pao.

Regarding the Altman quote and Pao's statement that "it made sense to bring someone in that shared the same view", I can see your interpretation, though I disagree.

Regarding Victoria's firing: yes, the NYT mentioned it, but without explaining why it angered the mods so much.


Here is the entire Victoria graf:

Ms. Pao’s departure from Reddit was prompted after the online message board’s tight-knit community broke into upheaval when news broke that Victoria Taylor, a prominent and well-liked Reddit employee, had been suddenly dismissed from the company this month with no public explanation. In protest, Reddit users shut down hundreds of sections of the message board.

This graf:

* Establishes an objective cause of Pao's ouster --- the firing of Victoria Taylor --- that Pao's opponents widely agree is the reason she left.

* Calls into question the reason for Taylor's firing.

* Reports the subreddit strike, which was done precisely to get this sort of attention.

At no point does the graf downplay the firing or somehow mitigate Pao's involvement in it. Which it easily could have, because Pao didn't fire Taylor, Ohanian did.

I do not think you can win an argument that the Times tried to spin the Victoria Taylor issue out of the article.


> I do not think you can win an argument that the Times tried to spin the Victoria Taylor issue out of the article.

That's not exactly what I said, and certainly nothing I meant to imply. Allow me to try again:

The article ignored the complaints expressed by the moderators.


The article also ignores the fact that Pao didn't fire Taylor, and that the issue of how AMAs were going to be moderated was in Ohanian's portfolio, not hers.

That fact is more material to the article than the specifics of the moderator complaints about Taylor --- for instance, it speaks to the difficult situation Pao was in managing a team that included Reddit's charismatic founder and the chairman of the company, in an operational role. But it also isn't in the article.


Surely Pao must have signed off on the decision at some point?


Deliberate omission of some set of facts is just as much an editorial decision as their inclusion. Ignoring the context of Pao's history in tech is as editorial as its inclusion. The BBC's "Omar Sharif: Lawrence of Arabia star dies aged 83" is appropriate for mentioning his role in a movie more than 50 years ago. Journalism is about exposing the relevant facts and erring on the side of too much rather than witholding is reasonable. History matters.

The past is never dead. It's not even past. -- Faulkner


Deliberate omission of facts that don't fit a particular opinion is a form of advocacy for that opinion.

The NYT is entitled to their opinion, but I think it should be expressed in an editorial, not used to choose what facts to report.


You cannot call a reported news story an 'editorial' because the facts it chooses to present are somehow inconvenient to your agenda. Contra repeated claims that this piece was transformed by addition of "opinions", it seems to be composed entirely of verifiable facts.


I hardly ever use reddit, and I'll certainly agree that reddit (especially the default subs) is dominated by young males and can be, at times, misogynistic.

If I have an agenda here, it's to ask for better from professional journalists.


Would you start a news about Hillary Clinton as, "Hillary Clinton, hero to many..." even though it might be technically true?


If you replace a good article on apples with a great article on bridges, it's still a bait and switch.


Increasing the article's emphasis on gender issues does not make the revision a "bait and switch". All the substantive material from the earlier revision remains. No facts reported in the original piece have changed.


The ethics don't stop when you hit 'send to print'


To message board nerds, yes.

To anyone who takes seriously the notion that the Times is the "paper of record", no.

(This is a positive argument, not a normative one.)


I totally agree with you.


This is basic journalistic ethics, to post a log of corrections made to an article.


It's interesting that the log would also reflect internal editorial struggles within the NYT. If you scroll through the future changes since the major change, you see Silicon Valley described "sexist" then "male-dominated" then "sexist" again [1]. Seeing the flip-flopping edits would surely affect how the article (and SV) is perceived beyond the words themselves.

[1] http://newsdiffs.org/diff/934591/934616/www.nytimes.com/2015...


The newsroom must be deeply divided on the handsomeness of Omar Sharif, too:

http://newsdiffs.org/diff/934092/934104/www.nytimes.com/2015...

You can browse NewsDiffs for all sorts of NYT stories. This story was heavily edited, but it isn't the only heavily edited NYT piece, and there doesn't seem to be an agenda connecting which pieces are heavily edited and which aren't.

The more likely cause is that pieces that have to be written in a hurry will tend to get changed the most before their final version hits print.


Those edits regarding Mr. Sharif's handsomeness only go one way though. His description never increases in subjectivity.

It's not to say the NYT has an agenda here, but rather that there is division, at least between authors and editors. If the paper wants that division to be opaque, and hierarchical internally, than such real-time edits do it a disservice as they bring into the public those debates. If real-time edits are required to break a fast story, then either 1) they should not break stories quickly and wait to publish until their internal debates have settled - penning only 'news of record', or 2) they really should make those debates part of the public record, and not feign historical steadfastness - a timestamped 'record of news'. But to be a news of record where the record is changed is dishonest.


The Pao NYT piece never changes the directionality of the concerns it raises. The quick-take piece mentions gender concerns; the final version fleshes them out and, in the process, alarms "TechRaptor" by increasing their emphasis in the story.

I can go find other examples of this happening --- of a concern raised in a quick-take being fleshed out, and thus changing the emphasis of the narrative in the story. In fact: I bet I can find a bunch of them, all in the NYT, just by taking a bit of time with NewsDiffs.org.

Do you doubt that, or can we just stipulate that this happens all the time?

If you doubt it, I'll do the legwork, but I'm going to ask that you stake a $20 bet to charity on it (if I'm right, you donate; if you're right, I do).

(Or you can do the legwork yourself!)


Yes, the revision between a quick-take and fleshed out article changes the emphasis of the narrative in the story. No, this is not okay if done without a note that it has been done IF you want to be called a document of record. This statement is irrespective of this particular piece.

>The Pao NYT piece never changes the directionality of the concerns it raises.

With respect to this particular piece, I was pointing out later revisions that do change the directionality of a particular concept, namely its description of silicon valley.

"Ellen Pao Is Stepping Down as Reddit’s Chief" becomes "Silicon Valley 2, Ellen Pao 0".

"the entrenched sexist culture of Silicon Valley" becomes

"the entrenched male-dominated culture of Silicon Valley" becomes

"the entrenched sexist culture of Silicon Valley" becomes

"the entrenched male-dominated culture of Silicon Valley".

That is not just a fleshing out of a narrative, but an editorial flip-flop. Sexist is a particular and egregious charge to lay on an entire culture - an editorial statement. Male-dominated is a fact, separable from the concept of sexist. One can be proven, one cannot. Subjective vs objective. Opinion vs journalism.


Your best argument that the Times has "flip-flopped" is that they couldn't make up their minds between calling Silicon Valley "sexist" or "male-dominated"?

I don't find that argument credible.

That doesn't mean I'm right, but it does mean that this is not a profitable line of argument for us. I'll go ahead and assert that both of those constructions mean the same thing.


And I suppose you'd call the NBA racist for being black-dominated?


Maybe you should bring that up with Sullivan, their full-time public editor, or the full-time editor they have in charge of managing corrections and clarifications, or that editor's full-time assistant? If it's "basic", I'm sure they'll agree with you.


While I no longer pay much attention to their editors, previous NY Times public editors and "conservative" columnists have been quite milquetoast. They fully understood the direction of the prevailing political winds.

I'm sure those editors pick their battles carefully. I have zero confidence that they are interested in anything but the most egregious of errors or corrections.


Right...but the implementation details matter. And not everything that is worth tracking is not necessarily a correction.

In terms of corrections, for non-trivial ones, it sometimes takes more than a day to get the true story...and this is sensible, as no one wants to correct the correction. This process is pretty manual.

In terms of changes, as described by the OP, it's not always clear what kind of changes deserve a manually-written line-item description. Fixing grammar and punctuation? Adding a new quote (usually when a new quote is added, an "Update" note is prepended to the story, but for most WordPress using organizations, this is again a manual process)? Rearranging the lede to put a more important, newly discovered fact up higher?

So instead of leaving it to humans to decide which changes are worth manually logging...just let the machine timestamp the changes and show the diffs, allowing the reader to see them in a transparent way. For changes that require no explanation (i.e. the addition of an Oxford comma), let them stand alone. For changes that require some context, such as a new quote, give the option of letting the reporter/editor describe the reason, e.g. "Mr. Smith responded to a reporter's calls at 3 p.m. today".


In this case, the edits were so large, I think they would have been better served with an entirely new follow-up story rather than replacing the original like that.


I would absolutely love being able to subscribe to a feed of changes to a story, and/or be notified as additional stories related to the subject story were released. For example, if I subscribed to this story for both changes and for related stories, and there's a revision to that article or there's another big reddit story a year from now, I would love to get some notification.

This is there news organizations can really add value in the digital age, by being more interactive with their user's wants and desires. I expect the NYT to report on most things worth a national audience. I would trust subscribing to them for additional info in a way I couldn't with some smaller news source.


I worked for a major newspaper company (before they sold their assets off and focused on TV/Radio). Every change that was made on our CMS was logged...and stored on the backend. She might not be able to see the changes, but...the changes are probably still there. Editors didn't always focus on the technology side of the house -- they just wanted to make sure that the newspaper was presented in the best image available.


I think a lesson everyone should have in life is witnessing something first-hand in real life, and then reading about it in the media, and seeing how incredibly inaccurate media articles are. Anytime I read an article about a subject I actually have first-hand knowledge of, it reaffirms the lesson.


> I think a lesson everyone should have in life is witnessing something first-hand in real life, and then reading about it in the media,

Even better: Saying something to a reporter, and then reading what you supposedly said within quotation marks. (Although perhaps my data is old and things have gotten better since adequate interview-recording equipment is now on every smartphone.)


Yes, trying to give any sort of nuanced answer to a reporter is almost hopeless.

For instance if you say: "Plan ABC is good, however the specific concerns are X, Y, and Z. If care is not taken in how these issued are addressed it will likely be a very expensive failure".

The article will appear as: PLAN HAS BROAD SUPPORT. _red says, "Plan ABC is good".


Or if the writer is in a different mood: PLAN IS NOT GOOD. _red said "The unaddressed issues in this plan will likely make it a very expensive failure!"


The reader will reinterpret it anyway so why bother.


I sat down with a reporter and literally watched him type out my words, and corrected his article as he wrote it, and made damn sure exactly what I said was written on his screen... and the final article still managed to wildly misquote me. Nothing to do with incompetence (or lack of recording equipment), everything to do with making things fit an interesting narrative.


Nope, it hasn't gotten better. I don't think I've been quoted precisely any time I've spoken with a reporter. The "quote" is usually the gist of what I said, so it's not a big deal, but sometimes the paraphrased version is different enough to change the meaning of what was actually said.


Conversely, from when I used to write professionally, people would often not recall saying something I had recorded them saying on tape.


The fallacy of believing everything else you read is known as "Gell-Mann Amnesia".

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/65213-briefly-stated-the-gel...


That is very true, but you also have to keep in mind the flip side of this. The people who know the most about a subject, including ourselves, are likely the ones who will be most biased about it.

Not saying that is exactly what happened in the NYT piece, but that is certainly feasible in situations like this. The first person who writes the article is the person who was on duty in the newsroom or its virtual equivalent when the news broke. They don't know the details or history of the greater issue, so they stick to reporting the facts. Later, journalists with more domain expertise rewrite and add to the story. Maybe in this instance they are already knowledgeable about Reddit's questionable history with sexism. They see a story about a sexist website deposing a female CEO who is a controversial figure in gender relations (for lack of a better term). Suddenly the story gets reframed with that in mind. The extra opinion is only added because they know more about the subject.


In this case, Mike Isaac, the original writer, seems to have a good amount of domain expertise, as starting last week he has been posting frequently on Reddit in an official role, discussing/answering questions about his reporting on the site. (Also claims to have been a redditor for five years, presumably on some other account.)

Oddly, all of his official account's posts have been in the GamerGate subreddit.

https://www.reddit.com/user/MikeIsaac


Good catch.

Up until now, no one has pointed out the article eerily resembles the tones that began GamerGate.

The more you look at it, the more it appears to be a deliberate troll to highlight the irony of injecting identity politics into journalism.

He's a trojan horse. https://www.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/3cur16/im_m...

Also, so called "anti-gamer gaters" don't simply go off and offer AMA's to "gamergaters".

Anti-GG's modus operandi is to cast aside any discussion as misogyny or harassment.

Both sides harass each other, unfortunately.


It's funny that a writer for the New York Times is apparently tainted because he held an AMA.

An AMA which he held deliberately vague and where he made various of the claims that critics of "GamerGate" make to begin with, for which he was amply downvoted at times: https://www.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/3cur16/im_m...

https://www.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/3cur16/im_m...

https://www.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/3cur16/im_m...

Again, what does this say about an ideology that sees someone writing for a giant publication as "tainted" simply for posting in a certain Subreddit, even if he largely agrees with them?


The people who know the most about a subject, including ourselves, are likely the ones who will be most biased about it.

Which isn't necessarily any worse than the external bias that the reporter/editor may have when covering a subject. And that bias is amplified coming from a place of ignorance.


That happened to me: years ago, '60 Minutes' did a hit piece on a friend at work, and I knew that the story was far from the truth. First hand knowledge in that case turned me off of watching '60 Minutes' in the future and helped me develop the habbit of second sourcing stories, preferably from news media in different countries.


witnessing something first-hand in real life, and then reading about it in the media

You don't even need to read about it elsewhere. Your own recollection of the details of events you witnessed is usually very malleable. It's one reason why eyewitness testimony needs to be treated carefully. E.g. from Wikipedia[1]:

   Memory recall has been considered a credible
   source in the past, but has recently come under
   attack as forensics can now support psychologists
   in their claim that memories and individual
   perceptions are unreliable; being easily
   manipulated, altered, and biased.
[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eyewitness_testimony


Not just true of "internet" journalism.

To write accurately about something that you don't understand is hard. You either have to be very vague or take the time required.

If anything, the internet allows you to publish revisions of the original article, allowing you to correct your mistakes. Very hard to do with the traditional newspaper.


so true


note: I am not a journalist, but I have worked with journalists.

I agree with you as it reaffirms to me how inaccurate media articles are. There are few to no news resources that provide in-depth investigative journalism. The internet makes the news slower because I check multiple diverse sources, and often the report, bias, story is different. It's interesting.

I also see where the story/article is continuously updated by mainstream internet news agencies to fix inaccuracies, spelling, grammar, reduce liability, change the title, change the entire story, change the bias, etc... The comments are almost always more interesting than the actual news report, and can often provide a more accurate report of what actually happened. What were once former respectable news organizations doing investigative reporting no longer exist. We cannot expect "journalism" when reading news on the internet, we need to do that work ourselves.


When I started reporting for my college newspaper this jumped out at me immediately and it was maddening. So I recorded every interview I did, and then had to transcribe the quotes. It took forever, so I guess I can see how it isn't feasible in the professional world, but it never seemed right.


To be fair, that's not just true of "media" - try talking to a person with third hand knowledge compared to first hand knowledge. It's more a human phenomenon than just a 'media' phenomenon.


I agree, but it's kind of the news media's job to report it accurately. "You had one job" kind of thing.


Agreed - they should. For me it's just that which is exasperating, since ostensibly some even went to college for it.


I was hoping someone would write about how bad this article was. (Shocked to see it's the same one as the pretty good piece from earlier.)

The worst part to me was the article quoting Mitch Kapor to back up its implicit support of internet censorship:

>...charges that bullying, harassment and cruel behavior are out of control on the web...

>Mitch Kapor, a co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, noted that Reddit users were predominantly male and 18 to 29 years old.

>“In my view, her job was made more difficult because as a woman, she was particularly subject to the abuse stemming from the pockets of toxic misogyny in the Reddit ecosystem,” said Mr. Kapor, now a partner at Kapor Capital.


Yeah, it's a pretty good example of what has become of news reporting. It has an instance of almost every common issue, except misinterpreting statistics.

Emotionally loaded language. Blatant fact framing. Suppositions. Presenting one side of a controversial issue as an opinion of absolute majority. Manufacturing "context" out of true, but mostly unrelated facts.

It's especially striking in contrast to the original, reasonably balanced, text. Sort of like "before" and "after" pictures.


Here is a breakdown of the article, helpfully numbered by paragraph.

https://news.ycombinator.com/edit?id=9870891

Here is the actual article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/11/technology/ellen-pao-reddi...

My challenge to you:

Either (1) tell me which of those paragraph summaries is inaccurate, and how the accurate summary would reveal "suppositions" and "manufactured context", or (2) tell me which of those paragraph summaries directly implicates either of those two things.

Again, you made a list of things that bother you about news stories, but also affirmatively claimed that the article printed suppositions and manufactured context, so I'd like to see if you can back those two specific arguments up with evidence.

Thanks!


I'll bite. Here's your first point:

>1. Pao is a hero to many online for her gender equality fight, but was ousted by people online as well. This is mostly beyond dispute, except for the presumption that the Reddit mob actually did oust her, which all the principals in the story deny. That interpretation favors the Reddit mob.

Who is she a hero to? How many is "many"? What evidence do they have of this statement? Is she actually fighting for gender equality? You were also right to question whether the 'crowd' (the current wording) is the cause of her ouster, but it is also worth asking just who is to be included in that group, and whether they can legitimately be thought of as a single coherent entity.

That's just one sentence. Your second point:

>2. Pao's resignation was abrupt and happened amidst a torrent of misogynist drama, renewing concerns about SV sexism. It's indisputable that her resignation was abrupt. It's indisputable that the story has generated concern about online sexism. Some people may not appreciate that concern, but that doesn't make its existence not a fact.

We can split hairs about what is meant by "abrupt resignation", but the community has been unhappy for quite some time. The change.org petition has been around for about a month. "happened amidst a torrent of misogynist drama" is a phrase nearly without empirical meaning. Certainly there was "drama" involved, as with any other significant occurrence, but one must ask to what extent was "misogyny" involved, how was that relevant, and what criteria do they use to qualify that term. And of course, "renewing" what "concerns" to whom?

One can continue down your list in a similar fashion.

Furthermore, the context is certainly manufactured. Pao is famous for her lawsuit, and as a consequence gets associated with "sexism in tech". Ironically, while the outcome of the lawsuit determined that she had not suffered gender discrimination, any news about her now assumes as context a narrative that she is the victim of sexism.

The new sexism angle is a red herring, and the article is worse off for it.


> The change.org petition has been around for about a month.

Just to be clear, it was made in response to FPH being shut down.


I think it's difficult to argue that sexism is a red herring when someone resigns in the wake of a petition that leads off by criticizing them for taking a sexual harassment case to court. It's also difficult to argue that sexism isn't a factor in a resignation preceded by many hundreds of misogynist rants.

So, your responses to my challenge. Thank you! I think the first one is valid, and that reasonable people can disagree; the second one, less so.

Who is Pao a hero to? Not so much me. I think it's fair to argue that she's less a hero than "someone with a cheering section". Is she fighting for gender equality? That depends on the semantics you adopt. Reasonable people will argue that taking a sexual harassment case to court is "fighting for gender equality". Pao's reasonable detractors will say that she's fighting for her own financial interests.

Did Pao resign abruptly? Categorically yes, so much so that I'm a little irritated at Altman and Ohanian to see how it was managed. In an orderly succession, the CEO announces that they're leaving at, say, the end of the month. That didn't happen here. Not only that, but this CEO resigned amidst loud, newsworthy clamor for her ouster. Reddit's choreography leaves open the question of whether Reddit mobs can oust people at Reddit --- certainly, the mob thinks it can! There's no practical reason Pao couldn't have been quietly replaced by Huffman, who could have joined the board, and then a few weeks from now announce her resignation at the end of, I don't know, September. Operationally, Huffman would be doing the same thing he's doing now, but the optics would be clearer.

They didn't do that because Pao resigned abruptly. Not only did she resign abruptly, but both she and the board noted in their announcement that that Reddit mob was a destructive factor in the resignation.

Pao would not have resigned had the last few months of drama --- most of which does not appear to have been her making, and before you settle on "the buck stops with the CEO" please note that in this weird company, the CEO's boss had an operational role, and was himself responsible for the most dramatic misstep the company made. She probably did leave because she genuinely didn't feel she was the right person at this point to grow Reddit's userbase. But that judgement was almost certainly based in part on the fact that anything Reddit did with her name attached would be trolled and harassed by the redpill "chairmin pow" mob.


I'm going to ignore your implication that other problems I mentioned are unimportant.

Supposition:

"If she eventually succeeds in convincing a three-judge panel that the trial was unfair"

Aren't news supposed to be about what happened, not about what might happen if something else happens? I could understand if the story was about the trial, but it isn't.

Which brings me to the manufactured context part. The story is about resignation from Reddit. I understand that sometimes you need to provide more information about the subject so your reader fully understands what's going on. However, information about the lawsuit against an entirely different company under different circumstances does nothing of this sort. The only seeming reason it's included (and takes almost half the space) is because it supports meta-narrative NYT chose to pursue.


What a weird quote. The full sentence is:

If she eventually succeeds in convincing a three-judge panel that the trial was unfair, Kleiner (and Silicon Valley, symbolically) would be on trial again.

This is self-evidently true.

You might not like that Pao's trial keeps appearing in the Times story about Pao's resignation, but the giant petition for her ouster chose to lead itself off with it. It's materially part of the real context of the story.


This is self-evidently true.

The statement is true, but what it speaks about is a what-if scenario.

You might not like that Pao's trial keeps appearing in the Times story about Pao's resignation, but the giant petition for her ouster chose to lead itself off with it. It's materially part of the real context of the story.

I'm not saying that NYT should be prohibited from mentioning the lawsuit. I'm saying that it's not directly related, and definitely not related enough to take up half the article.


That is a weird quote. Is it normal for articles mentioning past trials to say "if a mistrial is declared, the trial was invalid"? Seems like an out of place, almost tautological piece of information. Maybe if something like a motion for a mistrial was filed, but why state a fact like that just randomly? It only serves to apply doubt to the validity of the trial outcome, with no apparent basis (I don't really know anything about the trial myself).


I missed one: citing cherry-picked "experts".


Why is it bad? Because you don't like Mitch Kapor? Seriously asking.


Do you think Kapor really supports additional censorship on reddit?

My issue isn't with what he said in his quote. It's that the Times changed their well-balanced piece into one that implies the crappy parts of reddit need to be brought under 'control' and quoted a sentence from Kapor that lends support. I may be wrong (and to be honest I don't personally know much about Mitch), but I'd be surprised if a founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation feels that reddit should be more restrictive on speech it hasn't moderated to this point. While his quote doesn't directly say he supports more censorship by any means, including it in the context of that article misconstrues his (probable) beliefs.


If you're going to make an argument that this piece is "pro-censorship", you're going to have to support it with evidence from the text. I just took the time to reread it, and I do not see support for censorship in it.


I'd specifically point to the Hero vs Angry Mob motif and the quote "bullying, harrassment[sic] and ugly behavior are out of control on the web," which implies that they must be brought under control. Obviously within the context of the overall spin towards sexism as the sole cause we discussed over there -> (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9871281)


The article doesn't saying bullying is out of control. The article says that the Pao incident will renew charges that bullying is out of control. And: Pao's resignation demonstrable did renew those charges!


As James Taranto likes to note, "some people" in journalism is a first person pronoun.

Or at least some people are saying so.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weasel_word

If they expressed any opposing view, that might be valid. But they may as well have stated it as fact.

(aside: that's not a WP: page anymore? lame)


You're looking for:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style/Word...

And the problem Wikipedia has with them is that they can disguise special pleading. But that's clearly not what's happening here: there very obviously is a renewed concern over bullying in the wake of the Pao fiasco.


Eh, that link just doesn't have the same impact.

The weaseling is in the reverse – by saying their article is only about 'some people' they imply that other people exist, but never give them any ink. Hence I say the sentence is equivalent to stating objectively that cyberbullying is a problem that must be stopped and this incident is proof.


Just guessing, but it could be because he runs a competitor to Kleiner Perkins, who were tarred in the updated peice.


Kapor isn't quoted about the Pao lawsuit. He's quoted about the demographics of Reddit and the virulence of misogyny on Reddit. The conflict of interest in that seems six- degrees- of- Kevin- Rose to me.


It seems kind of self-defeating to wish that news outlets would avoid mentioning one of the most noteworthy parts of a story because having it in the open may somehow hurt "freedom of speech".


Mention, sure. Highlight, sure. But this is the top article on a CEO's departure and it doesn't even mention the trigger incident until the 5th paragraph, below the second picture. It says nothing about /r/fatpeoplehate, even though that would support its argument that the internet is 'cruel' (though not that it's sexist).

It solely tries make Ellen Pao into a martyr for anti-sexism in SV.

And don't get me wrong, the nasty behavior on reddit probably warrants an article. I'd argue that the prescription shouldn't be to hide people's behavior through censorship but to change it, whether by convincing them to self-censor or better changing people's minds, which I think sama did well in his announcement. But as a summary overview of why Reddit has a new CEO, this article failed miserably.


Further, it might be burying the trigger precisely because the trigger itself (firing of Victoria) runs against the tone of the (new) article. The whole reason reddit went into lockdown mode was because one of their most beloved employees (who happens to be a woman) was fired. The uproar didn't happen because people were generically upset with Ms. Pao, but because they were passionately upset with how she handled the dismissal a person reddit loved.


Almost no company will say why they fire someone. reddit is not unique in that regard. Personnel retention is a private concern, regardless of how it makes the community feel.


It's not just that they didn't mention why they fired her, it's that they didn't seem to have any plan in place to handle the work that she did, or indeed enough clue about her job to understand that they even needed one. If I remember correctly, one celebrity literally flew out to New York to do an AMA with her assistance and found when he got there that she'd been fired and it wasn't going ahead, and the admins didn't handle the other future AMAs that were relying on her any better.


I am trying to figure out what's happened here and having a lot of trouble. This is the first I heard about the shutdown of some hate subreddits. But how did that play into this? What I know:

1) victoria (and reddit management) shuts down 5 subreddits. 2) victoria is fired (maybe because she refused to move to sf and was otherwise insubordinate). 3) reddit erupts with support for victoria and hate for ellen. 4) ellen resigns.

what's the connection of 1 to 2-4? what else is missing?


(assuming you're serious?)

1) Victoria, the admin who interfaces celebrities and /r/IAmA, was abruptly dismissed. No cause given, which grew a lot of conspiracy theories, but that's obviously standard practice when you fire an employee.

2) /r/IAmA mods find out when a PR rep reaches out to them after showing up at reddit offices and finding out their appointment with Victoria was canceled. Mods don't know how to get in contact with other people who are supposed to appear that day. They take the subreddit private, with a short message about having to figure the situation out.

3) Reddit uproar starts. /r/OutOfTheLoop post asks why /r/IAmA is closed, an /r/IAmA mod explains, people get upset about Victoria leaving. Separately (in my opinion) — or centrally (in tptacek's)— the hate subreddits from prior incidents like /r/FatPeopleHate deletion and GamerGate kick into high gear.

4) Other subreddits start going private in solidarity. This spreads until over 100 have shut down, pledging a 24 hour blackout. I think the petition starts around this time. /r/all is basically just this drama.

5) General shenanigans. Flaming, offensive content, etc. /u/kn0thing (Alexis Ohanian) posts a flippant comment in the heat of the moment, starts getting flamed too. Mostly though, he says "Not going to talk about Victoria. Chill, we're gonna get this /r/IAmA stuff figured out," on behalf of the admins (reddit staff).

6) /r/IAmA comes back up, says they're independent from the admins and are going to run things themselves. Ellen Pao talks to news media, posts eventually but gets downvoted to 0 - all her comments were thousands negative and had lots of angry/offensive replies. (Later we learn many positive things were said to her too.)

7) A week passes, mostly dying down. Petition gets more signatures, ultimately reaching >100k I think. Eventually they post an apology, to mixed reactions.

8) Sam Altman posts that Pao resigned, but includes a reproach of the behavior exhibited in the prior week. Seems to get positive reactions from both sides – people welcomed a return to civility and also Ellen's departure. People suddenly start realizing that the horrible things she's been doing to reddit might be because of reason and/or outside pressure, not because she hates freedom and happiness.

9) People start using this incident to complain about internet behavior more generally.


> Other subreddits start going private in solidarity. This spreads until over 100 have shut down, pledging a 24 hour blackout. I think the petition starts around this time.

Just a small correction. The petition was made in response to the shut down of fatpeoplehate and others.


Gotcha, more of a resurfacing then. I'll change it to this, which I sort of left out:

Lots of pure speculation that Victoria was fired because Jesse Jackson's AMA the previous day went poorly, or maybe because the reddit administration wanted to ruin IAmA somehow. No hard facts.


9) People were using this incident to complain about various things during the entire run of it.

It is merely still going on and might receive slightly more attention now that the shit show is winding down.


yes i'm totally serious and i am still looking for the answer to my question connecting 1 to the rest of the events which you have outlined in greater detail.


To be clear, it didn't happen in the order you specified. It was more like 2-3-1-4 — Victoria fired, protest, subreddits shut down in protest, Ellen resigns (1 week later) — and it was moderators who took down the subreddits, not reddit admins (Victoria was pretty much uninvolved besides getting fired.)


that doesn't sound right. here's the announcement of 1, over a month ago:

https://www.reddit.com/r/announcements/comments/39bpam/remov...


Ah, you meant those subreddits. I thought you meant the ones on strike - I think of the /r/fatpeoplehate thing as a separate, prior incident. That's also not really at all Victoria's department; my understanding is that she really only did AMAs. It was just a recent time the community got pissed off at the reddit administration (and therefore Ellen personally, because CEO), so obviously it fed the flames some more once the Victoria trigger happened.


Victoria wasn't involved in those subreddits being shut down by the admins at all, as far as I'm aware.


It is not censorship to say that a private entity has the right to choose who gets kicked out of their dinner party.

I keep hoping that somebody will write about the difference between censorship and private parties choosing not to support and/or tolerate certain behaviors. It shouldn't be necessary, but there's a generation of people so incredibly entitled and so incredibly insane that they actually need a primer on reality.


Sure it is. It's just not freedom of speech.

> Censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication or other information which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, politically incorrect or inconvenient as determined by governments, media outlets, authorities or other groups or institutions.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship


[deleted]


I disagree. Even flagging notcensorship's personal attack (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9870590) is a form of censorship. It's certainly not First Amendment protected, and you're absolutely correct that he retains the right to call me out anywhere else on the internet (or world). It might even be morally justifiable. But that doesn't mean it's not censorship. Wikipedia adds:

> Governments, private organizations and individuals may engage in censorship. When an individual such as an author or other creator engages in censorship of their own works or speech, it is called self-censorship. Censorship may be direct or it may be indirect, in which case it is called soft censorship. It occurs in a variety of different media, including speech, books, music, films, and other arts, the press, radio, television, and the Internet for a variety of claimed reasons including national security, to control obscenity, child pornography, and hate speech, to protect children or other vulnerable groups, to promote or restrict political or religious views, and to prevent slander and libel.

> Direct censorship may or may not be legal, depending on the type, place, and content. Many countries provide strong protections against censorship by law, but none of these protections are absolute and frequently a claim of necessity to balance conflicting rights is made, in order to determine what can and cannot be censored. There are no laws against self-censorship.


[flagged]


Let me be clear. I do not support the offensive behavior on reddit. I just think censorship and moderation is not an effective or desirable solution.


The only good bits of Reddit are heavily censored by reddit users, not admins. Admins have not censored unpleasant subs; admins have removed subs that engaged in active harassment of people in other subs, in other forums, or AFK.

EDIT: also, parent comment being downvoted and flagged is ironic.


Sure, but the article is talking about the stuff on reddit that wasn't removed. Doesn't calling it "out of control" imply a desire to start controlling it?

(grandparent was edited after flag, even more ironically by a mod I think)

EDIT: In fact, let's all just take a second to appreciate the irony here. A guy made a throwaway account, called me an idiot, and (lamely) doxxed me – all in order to argue for restricting lowbrow content on internet forums. Love it.


Now that it's edited to somewhat more than just calling me out personally (and yes I'm a white guy, I currently live in Virginia and my startup is linked on my profile), there's a couple points to respond to.

(I'd argue that your post just underwent self- or moderator censorship, of the justified sort.)

> It's incredibly disingenuous to claim that having some guidelines on a private forum (e.g. https://news.ycombinator.com/newswelcome.html) counts as "Internet Censorship".

> You are actively supporting hatred by making that argument.

> It is not censorship or suppression of speech to tell a bigot that they can no longer borrow your megaphone. The bigot remains free to buy, build, or borrow another megaphone, a fact demonstrated clearly by the rise of voat.

> It is morally reprehensible to argue that taking away a privately owned megaphone is equivalent to censorship. It diminishes the meaning of the word, and boils it down to nothing. You should be ashamed of yourself for making such a truly insane and asinine argument.

Let's call a spade a spade. It's absolutely censorship by the definition of the word. You believe it's justified censorship.

"It" is somewhat unclear - but let's call it moderation beyond what is currently exercised by reddit, in order to remove the unpleasant content we saw in the wake of the FPH and Victoria incidents and is excoriated by this article.

I argue against it for precisely the same reason you think it's justified. The range of human opinion on every topic is incredibly broad. That means that there's a tiny minority of people who hold truly outrageous and objectionable views. If you simply hide those people with deletions and shadowbans, you relegate them to their tiny corner of the internet where they're free to reinforce each other's insane ideals. One of the greatest things about reddit is that though it's divided into subreddits, it's one big place - and any given user's reddit lineup will have slightly different posts than another's, whether cat photos or racism. That means you get cross-pollination (or -contamination), which offers a chance to change those people's minds. Yes, the crazies will show up in big community threads. But that means the sanes get a chance to teach them why they're wrong, whether by shaming them like sama, convincing them with reasoned argument (lol), or just downvoting them into oblivion and sending some irrational flames back (your choice!).

When you destroy the centrality of reddit, even if by cutting out really bad stuff, you encourage the sharding of the web into isolated echo chambers.

EDIT: No, I think you're absolutely right that reddit has zero obligation to allow any content. I'm merely arguing that though the content may be reprehensible and censorship is legal and even justifiable, it would not improve reddit to remove it.


> The range of human opinion on every topic is incredibly broad. That means that there's a tiny minority of people who hold truly outrageous and objectionable views. If you simply hide those people with deletions and shadowbans, you relegate them to their tiny corner of the internet where they're free to reinforce each other's insane ideals.

Let's take antisemitism as the truly outrageous & objectional view. Say that a tiny minority of users of reddit are vehemently antisemitic. Sure, they can hang out on their own subreddits and talk about how great antisemitism is, and they do. But they also post in popular subs, bringing their vitriol along with them. The community doesn't care, because censorship is bad. Sound about right so far?

Say you're Jewish. You wander in to a thread on some popular sub and you find a bunch of antisemitic comments. What is your reaction? Do you dig in and try to convince the antisemites that they're wrong? Or do you say fuck it and leave? How many times does this have to happen before you write off reddit all together?

Now let's say reddit is full of antisemites, homophobes, xenophobes, racists, fascists, and sexists. If you're jewish, gay, from another country, black, aren't a fascist, or a woman, why would you want to keep visiting the site?

Let's say you're none of those things, but you think that antisemites et al. are terrible people. Why would you want to spend time on a site that is full of those kinds of people?

Why would you want to visit a site where terrible people aren't told to get the fuck out but rather defended because telling them that they are not welcome in a community is censorship?


Good example, I am a Jew. Me, I'd probably toss some downvotes around and get out - maybe once in a blue moon if I'm drunk I'll write a response to one of the dumber/ridiculous comments. But there's more vocal people than me.

>Now let's say reddit is full of antisemites, homophobes, xenophobes, racists, fascists, and sexists. Do you say fuck it and leave?

Absolutely I'd leave a place like that. See, that's the great thing about reddit. It's not full of those people. 95% of people are not in the category of the "racist sexist 5%." So those people get drowned out, or downvoted to oblivion, or very occasionally rebuked by an authority figure to positive response. And yeah, those assholes who write the worst shit probably aren't going to change their mind. But maybe we can reach the guy who just browses, and make him think twice before hitting the upvote button.

> Why would you want to visit a site where terrible people aren't told to get the fuck out

I just want them to be told to shut the fuck up, not get the fuck out. And I limit this opinion to reddit generally, since I see it as the central place for internet discourse. Subreddits and non-reddit fora should absolutely censor content to create the desired community attitude.


How is intentionally suppressing speech that you don't like, not censorship?

It would seem to be the very definition of censorship.


I think it depends on the context. If I'm a mod on reddit and I remove a submission because it's a clear rule breaker, am I censoring the person who posted it, or am I performing content curation? Which is the more accurate term to use?

It might be technically correct to call water a 'clear liquid', but isn't there a better term or name to use, a more accurate and descriptive term to use? A clear liquid can also refer to vodka or rubbing alcohol or even many types of acids. Being clear and using the correct terms are important to the discussion. Overusing the word "Censorship" just because it might be technically correct dilutes the word's meaning. Especially since what's happening most of the time is content curation.


The distinction seems akin to freedom fighter vs. terrorist. If you're arguing in favor of improving the community, it's curation; if you just got shadowbanned, it's censorship. But it's the rules themselves that are at issue, not the mods enforcing them. Since the issue is further restricting discourse on reddit and I am opposed, I use the word censorship.

(I'll add that when it ventures into the realm of truly offensive behavior that can hardly be classified as content, the pro-restrictions term might start to become "justified censorship")


>I think it depends on the context. If I'm a mod on reddit and I remove a submission because it's a clear rule breaker, am I censoring the person who posted it, or am I performing content curation? Which is the more accurate term to use?

If you remove speech you don't like, it is censorship.

Curation would be tagging content for a front-end filter that excludes content based on its configuration.


… but that comment is then written as though every form of censorship is obviously immoral and bad which is self-evidently not true using this definition of censorship.

Because according to this definition what an editor at a newspaper engages in is censorship - and no one takes issue with that. It is an self evidently reasonable position to like or even love that kind of censorship – but the comment writes about it as though any endorsement of this kind of censorship were self-evidently evil, something not many people will agree with.

You can use this definition of censorship – but then also know that liking or loving censorship in certain situation is also quite reasonable. I want my censors to be fierce and awesome! I want to, after all, read a newspaper worth reading. And why not also moderate much more heavily at Reddit? Is that somehow evil? I think it would be awesome.


I mostly intended my comment to be a shot at the Times' shoddy reporting on this one. You're right that censorship is certainly justified in many contexts. But the article quoted a founder of the EFF in its clear bias towards more.


>It shouldn't be necessary, but there's a generation of people so incredibly entitled and so incredibly insane that they actually need a primer on reality.

We best get used to it, the baby boomers will be with us for a while.


I'm really curious how these people are going to feel about themselves in 10-20 years when (hopefully) many of them realize how they're coming across to the non-feral, socialized bulk of humanity. Even into my 20s I thought and said some things that just horrify me now. This was back in the '80s and early '90s, so fortunately none of it's on permanent record the way things are now. I'd like to think I wasn't a bad person, just a product of my environment, but I cringe just thinking about it sometimes.


This article was exactly on point. If you think this is off-base then you've been living in a reddit filter bubble; the dialogue there is skewed toward outright slander and misogyny from the most juvenile perspective.


And how does that relate to the complaints from the moderators of IAmA, Science, etc?

Are you calling them juvenile and misogynist too?


This person is speculating about the office politics of a site they actively dislike. I doubt that they have given it any thought, or even have any knowledge on the topic.


Insofar as they went along with the overall thrust of the "blackout", yes; that is support of a mysoginist agenda. However /r/science tried to sit on the fence by claiming they had to make their subreddit private due to its frequent collaboration with /r/IAma -- a reason which was nonsensical. None of this began until Reddit's administration indicated its intention to begin banning certain subreddits. The mindless culture of harassment and hate which has festered on reddit over the last couple of years couldn't tolerate a woman of color being behind this perceived attack on their majority-young-white-male "freedom". It's a joke to think that any of this would have happened with a white male as CEO.


How about an older white male, from a business background, who was openly trying to institute censorship and monetization and was unabashedly ignorant of Reddit culture? I'm fairly confident that a CEO like that would have been significantly more hated by Redditors. The issue wasn't race or gender, it was culture.


The hate for Ellen Pao on Reddit seemed to start with her gender discrimination lawsuit. Also what monetization?


I'm not claiming the hatred for my hypothetical white male CEO would follow the same narrative pathways. I'm claiming that it's easy to imagine reddit hating a white male CEO as much or more than Ellen Pao.

I won't disagree that race and gender were used as part of that hatred, that's obviously the case. I think, though, that it's easy to mix up whether things are tools that people use to attack someone they already hate vs. reasons for hating them in the first place. I don't honestly know which it was in this case, but it's not hard for me to imagine that it was the former.


I agree that the Reddit "hivemind" does not hate a woman just for being a woman, and they can definitely hate a white man. I still think they are more likely to hate a woman. The hate against Ellen Pao started with her lawsuit which is related to her gender.

To take a hypotetical, let's say Reddit's CEO was a gay man who had sued a previous employer for something related to discrimination based on sexual orientation. I think Redditors would have been less negative about that, as Reddit is very pro gay rights. Then, when Victoria was fired I think the anger would have been less directed at the CEO personally and more towards the admin team as a whole, or at Reddit's owners.

We could also compare the recent banning of /r/fatpeoplehate with /r/jailbait earlier. People were upset about that too, but I cannot remember outright hate directed at the CEO personally.

I do agree with you about the racist posts. That seems like it's just a tool used to attack her.


The hate against Ellen Pao started with her lawsuit which is related to her gender.

My understanding is that her lawsuit was more related to her ethics, or lack thereof, than to her gender. Is that an unreasonable way to put it?


If the trial based on sexual orientation was still as obviously fraudulent as pao's trial was then the result would be largely the same I think.

After reading up on the trial to me it seemed rather obvious that the suit was fraudulent and had no basis in reality. The jury quickly reached a unanimous agreement on almost all of the counts as well with little room for debate on most of the issues at hand. As far as I recall they just spent a bit of time on the details regarding one specific thingamabob.

FPH ban had some hate against pao but not on this level as far as I recall (wasn't really in the drama then). The jailbait shebangle is before my time so dunno there.

This combined with the various ethical misadventures of her and her homosexual husband (which would actually help them considerably from an ethical viewpoint considerably if the CEO was actually a gay male as then it wouldn't be an obvious sham marriage).


>I still think they are more likely to hate a woman.

Well sure. If 3% of people are virulently sexist (against women) and none or fewer are sexist against men, the overall sentiment leans towards sexism – especially when they're loud about it. But the opinions of the fringe should not indict the actions of the rest of the people on their side. I do not believe that most or even a substantial portion of the 200,000 people who signed the petition to remove Pao were motivated primarily by misogyny or racism.


I worked as a journalist for over a decade -- CBS, Time, CNET, Wired, etc. -- before founding https://recent.io/ and every news organization I can think of updates articles after publication.

This practice predates the Internet by decades; wire services called updates "writethrus." Updated copy would be labeled internally for editors as 2nd-lede writethru, 3rd-lede writethru, with perhaps some details about what was changed or added, with those internal notes typically not being published for readers. So east coast papers would print a different version of the story than later-deadline west coast papers. The Washington Post did this in print form, with stories in the early "bulldog" edition often modified and expanded before appearing in the final edition. News has always been a snapshot in time.

There is significant pressure on reporters to post news quickly to capitalize on social sharing and search -- even if the quick first post is one or two paragraphs with little review by editors -- and update their articles quickly. This was the official policy in at least one newsroom where I worked. That can and does lead to inaccuracies and hasty reporting, though errors do tend to be corrected quickly. But the linked article does not accuse the NYT of factual errors.

It is true that it would be near-trivial for news organizations to have a history tab appear on each article that shows older versions -- I've suggested this and other features before, like providing people quoted in the article an automatic right of reply in a text field underneath the story. The reason we don't see history tabs is probably a combination of legal risk (imagine that a green reporter writes that John Doe was convicted of murder, and John Doe was the prosecutor, not the defendant), little demand from readers, embarrassment about errors in early versions, and newspaper-era newsroom thinking.


This was not a simple update. This was a rewrite that changed the format and the content - from a factual report to an opinion piece chastising the evil white men of SV, all while managing to put a positive spin on a humiliating trial.

This may not be new in the dishonorable world of journalism, but it's the first time many of us outsiders get to look behind the curtain. We kind of suspected how the sausage is made, but actually seeing it is still shocking.


My intent was to describe newsroom practices, not to express an opinion about the NYT's rewrites. It is commonplace for important stories to be extensively rewritten and amended. I don't know enough about the Reddit saga to discuss it intelligently.

I will stipulate that the NYT editorial board has lectured Silicon Valley on diversity, though it is not diverse itself, and its female executive editor made less than her male predecessor: http://www.aei.org/publication/silicon-valley-gets-stern-lec... http://www.businessinsider.com/nyt-explains-female-editor-sm...

As for the rewrites, changing the lede graf to "entrenched sexist culture of Silicon Valley" is significant. It replaces neutral reportage -- "a week of ceaseless criticism" -- with the newspaper asserting as fact that Silicon Valley represents a more "entrenched sexist culture" than, say, the NYT newsroom itself. It's intended to frame the story in a typical high-level next-day NYT fashion by injecting the author's, or editor's, perspective. It's excellent journalism when it's accurate, but creates the type of controversy you see here when it's not.


This complaint and others in this thread all seem to be that you don't like the new content of the article and have nothing to do with the article being updated.


Is that really what you understood from what I wrote?


People simply choose the facts they want to hear. On balance, the news industry is rapidly declining and is not rewarded for objective and insightful well researched pieces.

People choose the facts they want

Then they choose where to read the facts they agree with. Feminist blogs and news agencies were quick to highlight a woman being blasted out of tech for her gender and highlighting other related stories of abuse on reddit and in tech, MRA blogs post about how a woman was promoted on gender and her attack on free speech in pursuit of a biased agenda, and some fell in the middle.

Virtually none of these stories generated revenue from consumers directly paying subscription fees. It is ad traffic from people rushing to confirm their own bias.


"Feminist news agencies".


> "Feminist blogs and News Agencies"

Is what I said. I don't understand what you are implying though.


One imagines this is precisely the confusion the Oxford comma might prevent.


Not only could the oxford comma not be placed there correctly (it needs a list of 3 or more items), but it wouldn't prevent it from being ambiguous and needing context.


That your belief that there are entire news agencies corrupted by feminism is revealing.


> Feminist (blogs and news agencies)

> (Feminist blogs) and (news agencies)

That you assumed one of two equally appropriate interpretations of this (admittedly awkward) phrasing and jumped to conclusions is even more revealing.


You're right! I didn't read his response to my comment very carefully; I missed the italicization, and thus his point. And: yep, that's pretty revealing about me, too.


My point (which I stated in the parent twice) was that people regularly fall victim to confirmation bias and choose the facts that support their own beliefs. I think I was fairly objective in pointing out that there are opposing viewpoints and people tend to gravitate towards places (blogs, communities, sub-communities, news agencies) that reflect their own views.

> there are entire news agencies corrupted by feminism is revealing

I don't want to debate whether something like xojane is "feminist" or a "blog" or a "news agency" or both. My point was that people look to confirm their own viewpoint, which it seems you are doing here rather than see the point I stated several times. Again, it was that there are opposing sources in media and people gravitate towards views and media that confirm their internal bias.

edit: I can no longer edit the parent post but if it is helpful to others reading it, substitute "news agencies" for "articles concerned with feminist/women's issues"


I think we found a feminist blogger news reporter.


I had read the "It’s Silicon Valley 2, Ellen Pao 0..." article. I remember being surprised that misogyny was mentioned since this issue had nothing to do with gender.

And they even attacked Reddit users themselves - Essentially calling them sexist. It was obvious that this article was politically motivated - There is some corruption happening there.

Journalistic integrity is dead. There is a financial or political motive behind every article you read. I don't trust anything I read online anymore. Maybe Reddit itself is the only place which still has some degree of credibility left. Maybe it's only a matter of time though before moderators start using their powers for personal gain.


"Dangers" seems like a strong word to me. This blog post is strong on technical analysis, but light on substantive analysis. It tells us exactly how many words are common between the first and last piece, but doesn't say whether any factual errors or omissions occurred between the first and last piece. We know that facts and analysis were added, but is that a "danger?"

The undercurrent in the blog post, and I predict an undercurrent here, is that reporting on issues of gender is not appropriate for a story about a tech company. The Times article went from basically a transmission of the official line from Reddit, to a more in-depth story of the background and implications. This is presented, implicitly, as a bad thing. I don't necessarily agree that it is.

The Clinton story had the opposite problem--there were factual inaccuracies in the first version because of the rush to print. I agree that the rush to be first is usually pointless and potentially harmful.


I don't get that angle at all. 

Issues of gender are perfectly relevant in tech. But the issue wasn't gender - it was basic competence and cultural fit.

IMO Reddit would be absolutely fine with a good female CEO. But Pao wasn't a good Reddit CEO, she was a terrible Reddit CEO. Her gender is incidental to that.

So when journalists try to frame the narrative as "cellar-dwelling young male mouthbreathers vs a shocked and innocent victim of disgusting sexism" - that's heavy-handed editorialising at best, and plain bullshit at worst.

Now - there's always been a thick and disgusting stream of bullshit running through trad media. (See also, Fox News.)

But that's a problem with the old journalistic model, which was (is...) based on selling opinion-shaping to advertisers, sponsors, and media owners.

Pretending the Internet is worse than that seems very self-indulgent.

It's also a rather panicked attempt to undermine the effectiveness of Internet communities as opinion-forming media machines in their own right. The machines happen to self-assemble rather than being engineered in a top-down way like trad media, and they're certainly more open than they believe to external influence.

Even so. The newsies aren't just losing the ad sale and eyeball space, they're also losing the traditional op-ed space to spontaneous community narratives.

If you're an editor, that's a serious problem. If you lose both eyeballs and PR leverage, you really have no reason to exist at all.


>If you're an editor, that's a serious problem. If you lose both eyeballs and PR leverage, you really have no reason to exist at all.

Well, one can still be useful by becoming a toady for elite power interests by promulgating certain cultural narratives.


Publishers who wish to rein in the excesses of editors and journalists who abuse updates could establish a policy of linking to a change history which shows all the iterations of a specific article.

The temptation to make questionable edits would be curbed because evidence would be immediately available, enabling punishing critiques.


It looks to me like they published the original article as breaking news, then changed it to be similar to what is going to, or was printed, in the physical edition of the newspaper.

I would strongly prefer the two articles be posted in their entirety at different (permanent) URIs, but I'm guessing this has already been debated and decided at the Times in favor of what they did.


For context in regards to journalism, the linked article offers "related" content. Looking at what TechRaptor believes to be relevant, recently TechRaptor in their editorial Reddit Banhammer [1] took the position:

CEO Ellen Pao of popular social media site Reddit seems to have more up her sleeve after a failed gender discrimination lawsuit. After new anti-harassment terms have been laid down, subreddits have mysteriously vanished. Of the subreddits that have been banned, /r/fatpeoplehate was among the largest. For those readers unfamiliar with what a subreddit is, think of them like mini communities.

One might think that we’re better off without bile aimed solely at a targeted group, but something doesn’t sit well with me.

The phrase "up her sleeve" has no positive connotation in this context. More importantly, the same history of alleged gender discrimination that the linked article claims is irrelevant to The New York Times's reporting forms an important part of TechRaptor's position regarding her actions in Reddit Banhammer. Indeed it ends with the conspiracy suggesting:

How do you readers feel about Reddit’s censorship with the banning of certain subreddits and would you agree they were justified? Or is this part of something bigger?

TechRaptor's position appears to more about The New York Times's interpretation of events than about the relevance of the facts about Ms. Pao's history when interpreting events.

[1]: techraptor.net/content/reddit-banhammer-crack


As someone who frequently rewrites, revises, and deletes their online comments, to me the article's changes just look like part of the writing process in a world of realtime publishing. The New York Times did not have a front page story ready within minutes of the news breaking, and unlike CNN, they didn't publish random tweets about the event as news: there's better and worse.

Maybe newspapers need git repositories...with no ability to rebase of course.


But why not add the new story as a separate analysis piece, as the NYT often does? What did they gain by changing the original?


There is a very clear movement in journalism to create the narrative that Ellen Pao is a feminist hero. Apparently the NYT is in that cabal.


Please stop.


To me, it appears that the primary complaints in the linked article are based more on the editorial direction of the changes wrought by additional detail than anything else. There's a reasonable position that not placing the initially reported facts into the larger context and treating it as the local police blotter would be poor journalism. Thus a reasonable explanation is that the first draft did not meet The New York Times's editorial standards. This would not be surprising given the constraints of real time publishing and in light of the fact that The New York Times revises the resources at its primary URI regularly. As we expect.

We're not outraged when other companies change content at a particular URI based on their belief that the changes are an improvement. If there's a SPOT, it is the print edition not the web.


For one thing, it's not an "analysis piece". The additional coverage in the later version includes new reported details. An "analysis" is what you write when you're done reporting and want to synthesize several stories you (and perhaps other outlets) wrote. That's not what happened here.


They were likely getting a lot of views at that url and they didn't want to lose their SEO juice.


NPR's web site handles this for breaking stories by keeping the original article and adding updates to the top of the page, with time stamps as information is added, like this:

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/06/26/417717613/...


Pull requests on news articles sounds intriguing.


I don't understand what this post is implying. If the original article was neutral and information driven then the changes aren't a cover up, maybe you could call it a cover down? The people that read the original article and missed the updates are better off. So what's nefarious about it?


According to 'yzzxy, "TechRaptor" is a GamerGate spin-off site. So the subtextual nefariousness might be what you think it is: a bunch of people who don't like it when people write about gender discrimination making special pleading arguments about how the Internet should be covered by press outlets.


Seeing you, of all people, peddling this genetic fallacy claptrap is rather discouraging.

Any such "subtextual nefariousness" is in the mind of the reader.


That's not fair; I invested a substantial amount of good-faith effort challenging this story on the merits. Its alleged GamerGate origins merely explains its weirdness to me.


It's funny because it isn't even true, TechRaptor as a Tech reporting site has existed since early 2013, here is a Web Archive from about a year before "GamerGate" started: http://web.archive.org/web/20131124114156/http://techraptor....

In fact it was founded by Rutledge Daugette in March 2013, over a year before "GamerGate" started in August 2014. So apparently the site was "set up by evil GamerGaters" over a year and a half before it ever existed in prescient foreknowledge and expectation.

What this should tell you both about said claim and the people making it I would like to leave up to you.


You know, my message board nerd instincts tell me I should attempt a grasping litigation of this point, attempting to establish for my faction the notion that TechRaptor is in fact a GG spinoff. But, you're right: I did some research, and while they are beloved of GamerGaters and the KotakuInAction crowd, that doesn't make them GamerGaters.

I retract the implication I created upthread that TechRaptor's story is weird because it's a GamerGate product. I'm back to "it's weird because I don't know why".


[flagged]


Your account has violated the HN guidelines countless times, yet we've stopped short of banning you. We're not going to keep doing that. Kindly follow the rules from now on.


Sick burn!


Same thing happens with reporting on Qatar death toll of building stadiums for the World Cup in 2022, they have used a total number of deaths of immigrants in Qatar instead of those who build stadiums ( their overall death rate is on par with other counties even UK and USA), they have edited [1] the article since then but the original impression has been made and now people are throwing invalid "facts" everywhere blaming Qatar of slave workers deaths for building stadium.

[1] - http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/05/27/a...


Slave labor in Qatar and Dubai is real. Some of the living conditions literally have a sewage trough running right through the run-down and horrible housing complexes. Forced to shit where you eat, have our passport taken away, work unpaid, have no where to turn to for help, and be beaten if you don't meet standards every day.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/25/revealed-qatars...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/7985361.stm


Have you ever read the article I linked? You basically linked two articles with the same inaccurate information regarding deaths, they are masking total deaths of all migrants to the ones that died building stadiums. A lot of Countires that held World Cup had a horrible conditions of construction workers but that did not stop anybody from having a World Cup there.


You should see how some Mexicans live in USA or Africans in UK, not much different from how those mentioned in your quoted article live in Qatar, these people decided to do it themselves.


There are 800,000 Mexicans in Chicago, and the neighborhoods in Chicago that are dominated by them are nice. I don't know what you're trying to imply about American Mexican immigrants, but if it's what it sounds like you're implying, please educate yourself.


I used to work at construction sites in Brooklyn where mexicans were living 10 people a room in horrible conditions in Brighton Beach, so those "nice" neighborhoods that you see in Chicago are just a face of it, try going inside the actual houses...Looking at them from your office or just by driving by will not obviously show a real picture, so please educate yourself.


Your comment shouldn't be grey. I didn't downvote you. I assumed, unfairly, that you were being casually racist (or something; "racist" isn't the right term). Sorry about that.


If you, like me, or tptacek [1], were confused why this is a big deal, that's because it's not. It's common practice for online articles to be changed after they are published, especially as new information comes in. If the article originally contained factually incorrect information that was later corrected that would be one thing, but that's not the case with this article; new information and context was added.

TechRaptor, the site that hosts the article, is strongly associated with the GamerGate community, and that is the source of this concern of this new non-existent "danger". Standing up for "ethical journalism" was and continues to be one of GamerGate's most popular smoke screens. In this case, the NYT article was modified to include context that TechRaptor author didn't like. However, it doesn't look good to say "no, this totally wasn't about the fact that Ellen Pao was a woman" because that's easily disprovable: there are a trillion and a half Reddit threads out there displaying some of the nastiest sexist invective you've seen in a long time, all targeted at Ellen Pao. Instead, TechRaptor attempts to attack the article via a sidechannel discreditation. It attacks an unrelated feature of the article (that it was modified after it was published), which casts a pall over the entire thing, effectively undermining the main argument simply by association.

There is a ton of talk in this discussion thread about how the NYT article is "biased" or trying to present an "opinion". This seems to me like just another way of disagreeing with the argument without seeming like you're disagreeing with it. Claiming that this should be reported on like any other CEO being fired is not a cry for journalistic integrity, it's a request to willfully ignore the very, very special context that this firing took place in. The behavior of the Reddit community during this process, a behavior that was blatantly sexist and clearly occurred at an outsized volume and level of rancor because Ellen Pao was a woman, cannot and should not be ignored. To do so would be, well, unethical.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/edit?id=9870891


> Standing up for "ethical journalism" was and continues to be one of GamerGate's most popular smoke screens.

This is very unfair and uninformed statement to make about GG.

Most important thing to know about GG is that there are many images of GG circulating around. For some people GG is internet hate campaign. For others its political movement. For others its protest of trends on game scene. For others its outrage about reporting on poor releases or cliques in gaming media. Finally there are people who are just exploiting whole thing for internet fame they can capitalise from down the lane.

So quite obviously everybody finds the thing he/she seeks in GG, and so we have number of people attacking other people in different ways under different pretenses, like "IGN sold out!" or "GooberGaters chased girl out of her house!" naturally followed by "they didn't, they display game ads because they are gaming site" or "girl didn't run anywere, reporting her escape off her house's sofa all the time" retorts.

The greatest tragedy here is that there's whole lot of people with binary perception amounting to "with us or against us" who can't tolerate the tought that there may be valid points raised by other side, and thus dismissing (or more often flaming) either Adrian Chmielarz or Anita Sarkesian voices simply because they are on wrong side.


I sympathize with your plea for us to move beyond labels, but that doesn't change the nature of this TechRaptor piece.

This is a smoke screen and it is being used in the same old way to obliquely discredit an argument that a member of the GG community doesn't like. And the argument being discredited is, once again, about the status of women in tech and on the Internet. Far from being an "unfair" characterization -- it's depressingly apt here.


> If you, like me, or tptacek [1], were confused why this is a big deal, that's because it's not.

Ah yes, because you two are certainly the authorities on the matter.

> Standing up for "ethical journalism" was and continues to be one of GamerGate's most popular smoke screens.

What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. It's getting stale that the diverse group of people associated along with GamerGate are merely harassers: you know that isn't true.

Downvoted. You use scare quotes and have to link to someone else's post in an attempt to add weight to your clearly weak argument, make no attempt to add evidence to your points and eventually fallback on claiming thinly-veiled harassment and misogyny. Absolutely no legs to stand on.

For some reason, your particular group of people cannot have a real discussion about ethics without dismissing it all together and then dropping your boogeyman term "GamerGate".

Why do you think that is?


I'm going to go with "because the loudest people who chose to adopt the label 'GamerGate' also managed to spoil the word 'ethics', so that in discussions of interest to 'GamerGaters', readers have to be cautious about whether there are actual ethical concerns, rather than fig leaves used to promote misogyny."

Whatever you might think of the issues "GamerGate" advocates for, another indisputable fact is that its troll faction very definitely turned the words "ethics in journalism" into a punch line. So much so that simply saying the words "ethics in journalism" is very effective code for "this is really about misogyny".


This is disappointing because I think you're smarter than this.

A running joke, "ethics in journalism", by detractors and the very same "journalists" being criticized for ethical transgressions is not effective for anything, besides perpetuating the "this is really about misogyny" meme.

If one is "cautious", one can certainly do their due diligence to investigate this matter and learn that reporting on games, tech and all sorts of other journalism really are cause for ethical concerns.

I'm aware you don't care about games or game reportage, but I'll cite a few examples anyway: take corrupt "journalists", such as Nathan Grayson (http://www.deepfreeze.it/journo.php?j=nathan_grayson) or Jenn Frank (http://www.deepfreeze.it/journo.php?j=jenn_frank) who collude, fail to disclose relationships and give favorable coverage and reviews to friends.

By the way, trolls and shit-stirrers are not the "loudest people" nor do they represent a label. No amount of Twitter reweets, likes and favorites will make that a reasonable argument.


It's kind of a big deal. Real and ongoing issues with male-supremacy and misogyny in SV are being actively misappropriated for salacious clickbait. C.f. Newsweek's horrific cover story with a mouse lifting a woman's skirt.

C.f. the title "SV 2, Ellen Pao 0". I mean jesus, talk about derailing the convo from the start. Ellen Pao blew it with the Victoria firing, so there's at least one thread of this story that has nothing to do with sexism and everything to do with typical tone-deaf executives.

I personally don't think the FPH incident is involved in her dismissal, nor her previous harrassment lawsuit -- if the latter was a problem they would have never made her CEO in the first place. Regarding FPH, yes that ruffled feathers but the management seemed united behind it.

So, I don't think it's anti-feminist to call out this article as gender-wars clickbait. The focus on edits is indeed a sideshow, but I'm not surprised it took a GG-focused site to bring it up.


Thanks for sharing, next time somebody tells me news are not fabricated I just pull this up! :)


Probably should have just been a second article, though I could understand why they might not want two very similar articles covering a lot of the same ground. I assume only the latter version ran in print. The first version should probably have just stuck around as a web-only piece that links to the newer one. Be interesting to see what the Ombudsman has to say.


For actual journalism on the internet, it is worth going to shared common sources. I almost always rely on Reuters and AP. Since they are cited so often by downstream media, which is a major part of their business model, their content is--by its very nature--somewhat static. I have also generally found their writing to be less biased, with the exception of Reuters being inherently pro-finance and globalization (again, due to their specialized business model). In terms of more immutable print media, back n the early 2000s, I was also a firm believer in that the ridiculously low word count limits and easier barrier to reader entry encouraged at the Metro (the free public transportation newspaper) left whatever was able to make it through less biased. This again is on the basis that bias would add too much complexity to stories whose sole purpose was to impart the basics of widely agreed upon fact (cf. Simple English Wikipedia).


"Associated Press caused a major uproar when they reported Hilary Clinton was running a homebrew email server from her home. This story was updated numerous times throughout the day with archive sites not catching all of it, though ZDNet has a very good run down of the situation with screenshots of the original. By the end of the day the story was about the Benghazi email probe instead of the original story about running a homebrew email that was essentially disproven once people looked into it."

That story was not only not disproven, but not even contested.

http://www.zdnet.com/article/hillary-clinton-says-she-did-op...


I'm not clear why I'm supposed to be alarmed by this.

The update neither changes nor removes any of the substantive material from the original story (look carefully). It adds additional material, and fleshes some of the previous material out.

It seems like standard practice at newspapers to get a first take on a story and then flesh it out later. It's certainly standard practice at The New York Times, as even a casual look at NewsDiffs.org will show you: all sorts of pieces are effectively rewritten multiple times between their quick-take online version and the final print version. The Times never posts correction notices when that happens; they post them when they get something wrong.

Later

A thread running through this controversy is that the new NYT story is an "opinion piece". Let's analyze it, graf by graf. This list is numbered by graf; the summaries are my own (you could dispute them if you wanted).

1. Pao is a hero to many online for her gender equality fight, but was ousted by people online as well. This is mostly beyond dispute, except for the presumption that the Reddit mob actually did oust her, which all the principals in the story deny. That interpretation favors the Reddit mob.

2. Pao's resignation was abrupt and happened amidst a torrent of misogynist drama, renewing concerns about SV sexism. It's indisputable that her resignation was abrupt. It's indisputable that the story has generated concern about online sexism. Some people may not appreciate that concern, but that doesn't make its existence not a fact.

3. There is a debate about online invective, particularly around gender issues. Calls for Pao's ouster focused on her failed KPCB lawsuit. First point: indisputable (see: GamerGate). Second point: indisputable (see: petition for her ouster). Second point particularly interesting because the suit has no obvious connection with Reddit.

4. Pao's lawsuit revealed a culture that prized machismo. This is the closest the article comes to opening up a salient in the debate. I happen to agree that the trial proceedings and community response did that, but reasonable people could disagree. It would be hard to argue that the Times simply made this up, though.

5. Pao's popularity amongst Redditors was influenced by the lawsuit. Again: indisputable; the petition for her ouster leads off with it.

6: A direct quote from Reddit's chairman about Pao asserting that misogyny payed a role. Reported story is reported.

7: Pao's unpopularity generated a petition, and lots of ugly comments. Nobody disputes this.

8: A direct quote from Pao's resignation letter. Reported story is reported.

9: A direct quote from Pao, and background on Reddit. Reported story: still being reported!

10: A direct quote from Mitch Kapor on the demographics of Reddit. Still more reporting. Three quotes in this story so far, two from the story's principals, one from an extremely well-known person in the industry.

11: Direct quote from Kapor about gender issues on Reddit. Kapor is corroborating points raised earlier in the article.

12: Many subreddits went on strike over the firing of Victoria. Indisputable, and also the event that precipitated the story.

13: Pao posted an apology over her mismanagement of the site that was somewhat broad in scope. Indisputable fact, directly relevant to the core issue of the story.

14: Pao's ouster is a setback, after losing a lawsuit and turning down a lucrative settlement. Indisputable fact.

15: Kleiner's side of the story is that Pao was a bad investor. That is indeed their side of the story. The Times does not rebut it.

16: Pao owes a large amount of money, which the judge believes she's capable of paying. Still more facts.

17: Pao is unclear on how she's going to proceed with appeals. Still more facts.

18: If Pao succeeded in her appeal, the legal showdown between Pao and KPCB could recur. Factual, and relevant to the story: Pao's suit was, again, in the lede graf of the petition for her ouster, and it could happen again!

19: Huffman is the new Reddit CEO and part time at Hipmunk. Indisputable facts.

20: Huffman and Ohanian started Reddit. Indisputable facts.

21: Reddit is a private company with 50MM in funding. More undisputed facts.

22: Pao is remaining as an advisor, looking forward to getting more sleep.

I'll go ahead and say it: by no reasonable definition is this an "opinion piece".


And if anything it's the opposite of "internet journalism"; it's part of an age-old newspaper tradition of adding the revised story into exactly the same slot in between print runs rather than the internet approach of "there's no daily space constraint; let's put Pao's background and court case in another follow-on article and leave the old one alone.


You should be concerned because:

1. the rewrites weren't noted in the article, thus undermining the authoritativeness of ALL NYT pieces.

2. They added a bunch of opinion to what was a fairly neutral piece.


Again: it is not standard practice at the NYT to note rewrites between quick takes and final versions. If you spend even a few minutes on NewsDiffs.org, you're going to see that this happens all the time.

This is important because the "TechRaptor" story doesn't concern itself with the NYT's standard practice --- in fact, it doesn't even seem to be aware of the practice. Instead, it takes a commonplace and uses it as a fig leaf to suggest that the NYT is distinctively bad at covering tech.

Reasonable people can argue that it's bad that the NYT posts quick takes and then substantially rewritten final stories. If they make that argument, they should acknowledge that it happens constantly.

Reasonable people can argue that the NYT sucks at covering tech. If they make that argument, they should not make quick takes the fulcrum of their argument.


> it is not standard practice at the NYT to note rewrites between quick takes and final versions. ... they should acknowledge that it happens constantly.

I thought this was the point of the article?


No, it is not. The article's claim is more specific. In essence, what it says is that the Times does not provide a "git blame" for all their articles, and for that reason, it is bad at covering technology.


hmm, I didn't read it as a piece about nyt covering tech, but about covering news posted on the internet, with the ability to rapidly update and change articles without providing a record. E.g. they gave an example of the AP and spoke of journalism generally. I guess both examples, nyt/reddit, AP/email had an element of tech in them.

Fwiw, this shouldn't be construed as an endorsement of the article.


It's not an opinion piece, it's a biased piece. Let's compare the headlines and ledes, which set the tone of a piece (some might argue they're all that matter).

Ellen Pao Is Stepping Down as Reddit’s Chief

1. Ellen Pao, the interim chief executive of Reddit, resigned from the online message board on Friday after a week of ceaseless criticism from scores of angry users over the handling of an employee departure.

This a pretty matter-of-fact statement of what happened, as you'd expect from a quick reaction piece. 1) Resigned. 2) Week of criticism. (wait, only scores of users?) 3) Employee departure.

It’s Silicon Valley 2, Ellen Pao 0: Fighter of Sexism Is Out at Reddit

1. Ellen Pao became a hero to many when she took on the entrenched sexist culture of Silicon Valley. But sentiment is a fickle thing, and late Friday the entrepreneur fell victim to a shrill crowd demanding her ouster as chief executive of the popular social media site Reddit.

Boom. 1) Hero. 2) Anti-sexist. 3) Angry mob. There's some serious spin being applied here. No mention of any reasoning, we only know they're "shrill."

Next couple:

(initial article was matter-of-fact details that should definitely have been buried later)

2. Ms. Pao’s abrupt downfall in the face of a torrent of sexist and racist attacks, many of them on Reddit itself, is likely to renew charges that bullying, harrassment and ugly behavior are out of control on the web — and that Silicon Valley’s well-publicized lack of interest in hiring anyone who is not male and white is contributing to the problem.

3. The debates over diversity in technology and invective on the Internet have been simmering for a long time, but they boiled over in the last year. One reason was Ms. Pao’s lawsuit against her former employer, the venerable venture capital firm of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Most people will have stopped reading at this point. It's 100% about sexism, bullying and shitty internet behavior. No mention of Victoria, /r/fatpeoplehate, or IAmA.

Victoria's not mentioned until paragraph 5, below the second picture, and it's hedged by an unrelated part about Pao's gender fueling it. Victoria's gender is never mentioned as a factor, and isn't revealed except by her name the only other time she's discussed, in paragraph 12.

The moderator protests get one sentence, also in paragraph 12. None of their complaints besides Victoria were mentioned. Note that the IAmA mods' op-ed was published in the Times 2 days prior.

FPH never makes it in there, even though it would lend credence to their argument about bullying and harassment being "out of control on the web." I would argue its omission leans the article towards the SV sexism storyline.

I'm not saying that anything in the article is false. Nor do I think it's an opinion piece – it absolutely falls on the "objective news" side of the spectrum. It could even be perfectly cromulent as a standalone article — just not as the lead story on the reddit drama.

It's about what's said, what's emphasized, and what's buried. That's spin. And this article is spun, whether because the reporter hates freedom or because Silicon Valley sexism makes for a hot story. That's not the type of reportage I expect from the New York Times.


I think we mostly agree. I'm willing to concede that the piece is "biased" --- I don't know if it is, because I think misogyny is in fact the most important attribute of the Pao story, but that alone forces me to accept that reasonable people could believe the piece wasn't perfectly balanced.

So when you say:

I'm not saying that anything in the article is false. Nor do I think it's an opinion piece – it absolutely falls on the "objective news" side of the spectrum. It could even be perfectly cromulent as a standalone article — just not as the lead story on the reddit drama.

I think that leaves us in a place without much interesting debate. You think the lede of the latest piece is "spin"; I think it's pretty self-evidently the right lede for the piece.

But this is a very far cry from the debate "TechRaptor" and this thread are suggesting we have!


> But this is a very far cry from the debate "TechRaptor" and this thread are suggesting we have!

Actually, as a guy who refreshes the news every 20 minutes (in particular the NYT), I think we've finally arrived at exactly the point. I'd argue there's two groups of objective (as in not editorial) news reporting: summary and expository. The first is balanced, toned roughly at the median reader's viewpoint and getting across maybe the middle ~50% of the public's view/opinion/reaction. The second goes in deep on one side, really digging into who the different factions are, what they believe and why. It explains maybe the 45-95th percentiles – a touch of lip service for the opposition, but that's not what we're here to see.

Each side has merits and drawbacks. Obviously summaries are more neutral and matter-of-fact, but they gloss over important stuff. Expositions are one-sided – Fox News at the extreme – but they're where you start feeling empathy (or antipathy) instead of just facts. Yes, they're biased. That's the point.

The first article was an (incomplete) member of the former category. The second article was certainly legitimate as a member of the latter – I might disagree while reading it but I wouldn't cry foul that it was published.

My claim is exactly that the Times erred by updating instead of posting this article as another. I expect the top story on a piece to be neutral and follow-ups to take sides. By updating the original article instead, the Times is saying that the way they write it is what happened! Where you fall in the spectrum isn't the question. If you can concede that the middle ground on this issue is somewhere to the sexists' side of "Hero Pao was chased out by shrill angry mob," the New York Times' reportage^Weditorial decisions were bad.


The fact that they deleted the original version, rather than added or appended the new one is very telling. People worked on writing and editing it and that work got thrown away. "Hey, Mike, sorry." Why do you think that is?

You know, in the age of hypertext and search engines you would think that news would become more focused on actual events and facts. (Because anyone who cares could follow the links and do searches to get background information.)

Instead, everyone races to push forward more "analysis" and "context". We get "news" articles that pull in unrelated issues, do everything possible to frame the facts, and use emotionally loaded language wherever possible.


The Times (as of 2008) was explicit that they had two stages for online publication (see http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/14/washington/11askthetimes.h...).

The "Continuous News Desk" correspondent quickly write an article, in consultation with reporters. But the final draft of the article -- for print publication -- could be entirely different and with a different byline. I'm wondering if the techraptor reporter is noticing not a conspiracy to editorialize, but rather the difference between the breaking news story (just-the-facts) and a semi-considered story (context).


No matter what the subject matter this does seem like a questionable practice.

Why not make a new article if it is that different? Is there a URL shortage at NYT?

Or was it a case of one commit, another commit and yet another commit and then you have a whole new article?


All that these professional victims do is drown out the voices of the actual victims.


That was the same article?! I was just reading that and though it was some kind of editorial followup.

That NewsDiff link seems like a case for Margaret Sullivan. I can already picture the appeasement article in my head.


Seems like a reportable issue to me. Margaret Sullivan's page is here:

http://publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.com/


There are two convenient fact omissions when talking about sexism and racism towards Pao: the fact that the fired employee was female too. And the fact that Pao is of asian origins and that Asians are traditionally over-represented in SV and not traditional victims of racism in technology.

Those facts made the case for a racist and sexist crowd a bit too nuanced for a front page.

(Or maybe Asians and Indians are officially not counting now? They were getting too much in the way of the simply racist technoworld narrative?)


Regardless of whether the article's editorial stance is a bit kind to Pao, I think the fact that numerous racist comments were directed towards her is a lot more pertinent to the story than the number of Asians working in SV...


in a world where storytelling and example is more important than statistics and hard numbers, this story will be used in the future as an example instead of an exception.


> And the fact that Pao is of asian origins and that Asians are traditionally over-represented in SV and not traditional victims of racism in technology.

Is the reddit audience particularly strong in SV? In the people on the board, and working for the company, yes, in the audience, I would say no.

Also, it doesn't necessarily matter about what people really think, the behaviour on reddit was more about trying to find the most unpleasant thing you can say, rather like when a football/soccer crowd tries to rile up opposition players with abuse - it's more bigotry than genuine racism. Although, just like with football crowds, the genuine racists do then get to ride in the slip-stream. And people don't necessarily go back into the real world and shake it off, these movements develop their own momentum. Much in the same way than 4chan started off being racist in an ironical or troll-like way, and is now unashamedly, sincerely racist.


there is a straight Kierkegaardian element in that behavior, crowd vs people.


I didn't realize Kierkegaard talked about things like that. Could you recommend something from him to read on the subject?


nope, studied at school 15-20 years ago.


You misunderstand racism if you think Asians in tech are not subject to it.


"This is a challenge that journalism faces today -- how to fairly update and keep stories current while informing readers as best we can."

I work in and around the media industry, and I don't think most publishers see this as a "challenge" -- they have other things to worry about (like how to survive post-print, how to operate in an Internet ecosystem with Google/Facebook/Twitter/YouTube, etc.)

Instead, I see a lot of excitement around the ability of journalists to update their work after they publish it -- one of the few upsides, in fact, of the Internet, from their standpoint. Just as Wikipedia articles get better over time, some important pieces of journalism do, too -- with the guidance of new information or challenges to the original writing.

But look, the Internet isn't print. You can publish something at a URL, then change that URL's content. That's not a crime and it isn't worrying -- it's built-in to the medium.

Just like nothing makes the moment of publication special, nothing makes the moment of re-publication or re-writing special.

The New Yorker did a nice piece on the Internet archive, who is trying to "solve" this problem by periodically archiving the web. They pointed out that when Tim Berners-Lee invented HTTP, he considered the idea of versioning, but ultimately discarded it.

    In 1989, at CERN, the European Particle Physics 
    Laboratory, in Geneva, Tim Berners-Lee, an English
    computer scientist, proposed a hypertext transfer 
    protocol (HTTP) to link pages on what he called 
    the World Wide Web. Berners-Lee toyed with the 
    idea of a time axis for his protocol, too. One 
    reason it was never developed was the preference 
    for the most up-to-date information: a bias against 
    obsolescence. But the chief reason was the premium 
    placed on ease of use. “We were so young then, and 
    the Web was so young,” Berners-Lee told me. “I was 
    trying to get it to go. Preservation was not a 
    priority. But we’re getting older now.”
You can read the full story here: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/01/26/cobweb

I think ultimately having a strong and well-supported Internet Archive (if you care, donate: http://archive.org/donate/) is the best possible solution to this "problem". As long as we can go back and see how content evolved over time, we'll be able to study the changes.

And no, media companies are not going to embed Git into their news stories -- most of their visitors don't even know what Git or version control is. And most probably have never even clicked the "revision history" tab in Wikipedia.


Quite. Who cares whether the NYT revised the article? The more salient criticism is that the article is a deeply lazy and tendentious exercise in using insinuation to push a predetermined narrative.


site is not accessible to me, google cache:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:techrap...


I wonder how much the stability of the URL influences this sort of editing. If traffic is coming in via a site such as reddit, a new article with a new URL might not get as much traffic as an edited version of the original article.


For minor edits in the same document is fine but for a practically full rewrite? No, put links at top or bottom of the article for "You might also be interested in".


Internet popularity should not take precedent over journalistic integrity.


I was commenting on the motivation to edit existing articles rather than posting new articles, or even just pulling the original article.


Technically this should be quite easy to fix. Each story gets a git repositiory. URLs denote the state at the time of view. A visitor to the URL gets a small header giving them the ability to read the article as shared or the most recent version. The full commit history should be accessible.

The reasons for not doing this would be mostly non-technical. Face-saving and risk of liability would seriously inhibit implementation.


NewsBlur (newsblur.com) automatically diffs everything I think. Mostly just grammar updates.


Who here didn't know anything about entrenched sexism in SV until codes of conduct, angry twitter mobs and odd journalism articles such as this post came about?


This is interesting, since the piece by Mike Isaac was already very liberally biased.


News are corrupted as fuck, internet makes this worse. Rewrites, frequency, amount, lies, anything goes if you can get +1 view


NOTE: Techraptor is a site set up by Gamergaters to talk about games and tech news without reprecussions from people who find their views exclusive of progressives, minorities, feminists, and LGBTQ folks. They call this "ethical journalism" because they claim to not receive kickbacks or have special relationships with their journalistic subjects, as they perceive their ideological enemies do.

The quality of journalism is low in my experience, notable moments include the point where writers believed "death of the author"[0] referred to authors dying out as a profession.

[0] A major concept in contemperary literature concerning authorial importance after a work is published, see Rereading Barthes and Nabokov by Zadie Smith for a good intro


What I'm seeing is a news piece citing sources I can independently verify.

This is really damning: http://newsdiffs.org/diff/934341/934454/www.nytimes.com/2015...

Did "gamergaters" (whatever that means...) set up newsdiffs too? Oh wait, googling it brings me to a git repository created in 2012, years before "gamergate" was a word on the internet.

So, I click that link, and I see exactly what the article talks about. A neutral piece on a CEO stepping down completely rewritten to push for a "look at how they're mistreating that poor female CEO" agenda. A solid article, turned into opinion mediatrash.

And you're making an ad hominem argument about the website because of who created it.

Quick sidenote (and if this gets me downvoted, have the decency to reply; blind downvotes with no discussion breed censorship)... As someone who is pro- women in tech, pro- women in general, pro- minorities, and even as an activist at times, I am finding it really fucking hard these days to be pro feminism when the agenda consists of lying to people to get into the spotlight.

I can't ever support a cause where this crap happens all the time. Where the facts aren't good enough to push the agenda.

Are there really not enough stories of opressed women that you have to find Ellen Pao, a CEO (which already almost nobody can relate to) in the middle of extremely controversial fraudulent lawsuits, that is accused of being out of touch with its own userbase? And people try to make readers relate to her?

There's so much shit to be outraged at in the world. Why fabricate?

Edit: Yep. Downvoted without discussion. Brilliant. We're really encouraging debates here...


"Edit: Yep. Downvoted without discussion. Brilliant. We're really encouraging debates here..."

Common practice here nowadays. You have to be ready to take a hit in your karma if you bring up a viewpoint that is not widely accepted here. Kind of makes me sad.

Anyways back to your points, this is exactly right. Ellen Pao fired Victoria for no good reason and NYT conclusion -> she is hated because she is a female. I can't find words to describe this level of hypocrisy. I am pretty sure that there are people who disliked her due to sheer misogyny but 200.000 people signed that petition. You don't need to be extremely good with math to understand that those people cannot just all be like that.

Anyways, I agree with you that fabricating things like this article is extremely bad, btw. this is what Chomsky calls manufacturing consent, and he is damn right about it.


>Are there really not enough stories of opressed women that you have to find Ellen Pao, a CEO (which already almost nobody can relate to) in the middle of extremely controversial fraudulent lawsuits, that is accused of being out of touch with its own userbase? And people try to make readers relate to her?

Welcome to Feminism: The Product. Reminds me of the business with Taylor Swift, defender of hardworking artists (oops, turns out she fleeces her independent contractors). Every powerful woman is a martyr for the cause of the common woman, despite every economic sign to the contrary. Meanwhile restrictive abortion laws are making a comeback, coverage of and investigations into campus rape have been roundly botched, the aggressive mainstream "feminist" narrative (at this point I'd argue feminism online is a news marketing gimmick, not a reflection of any real political ideology) stokes tensions that choke productive discussion. Women's rights are as critical as they've ever been but I get the sense all the talk I hear from self-proclaimed supporters is nothing but hot air with ads in the sidebar.

Such is the state of politics in this digital era.


Isn't that he same point the article is making? People in both GG and anti GG were both doxxing, making sock puppet accounts, closing each other's events with threats. It was reported as 'internet people hate women' the same way this was.


Well, lots of vitriolic responses here. Let me say that I don't really have a strong opinion on this article here because I don't really wish to delve into the entire bibliography, but:

1. The points I mentioned are at very least closely related to the topic of the article. They are not totally an argumentum ad hominem, the moment TechRaptor began to commentate on journalistic integrity they opened themselves to comparison of their own journalistic integrity. This does not mean they are wrong about the NYT, it just means there is a possibility of hypocrisy and irony in their accusations.

2. I do not believe this history taints their reporting, only that perhaps greater care should be taken with accepting their claims on similar topics.

3. Please note that the first paragraph of my response carries no value judgement on Techraptor (just a quick, largely neutral history for context), and the second paragraph only includes what I mark as my own personal opinion. I mentioned the "death of author" incident only to note that TechRaptor writers seem to be amateurs (not a sin in any way) who are perhaps not as well antiquated with all industry practices in journalism as NYT writers may be. This does not mean they are wrong.

4. I have also been frustrated when news outlets silently update stories with changes/corrections after those issues are pointed out by myself and others. I have not really engaged over those because the topics of discussion were largely unimportant and I did not really feel invested enough to start a large public argument with a news site or magazine. So I think there is a real issue here to be discussed and I don't wish to silence anyone.


I think came across as too aggressive in my reply, I apologise. Just yesterday when the news story broke, we saw people dropping the "gamergate" name randomly just to score some points on whatever they were arguing.

The name is extremely toxic, especially when there is a massive misunderstanding between people pushing for news stories which are less biased, written in a neutral point of view... and media spinning it as an anti-women movement. Wtf.

I'm of the belief the lack of neutrality in media is severely lobotomizing certain countries. I've lived in several european countries, each with strikingly different styles of media, and none of them are as shockingly bad as the american media.

Just like Pepsi and Coke, there's a symbiotic relationship between various media outlets where "rivalry" just helps drive the views up. Instead of having a handful of neutral stations where the reader can do their own research and form their own opinion (something which most readers are not interested in doing anyway), they divide their readership in camps, willingly driving away one camp while cultivating a soundproof echo chamber for the other. And within that space they'll do whatever it takes to get as many views, clicks, purchases as possible.

CGP Grey has two distinct really well written entry-level pieces on the subject; I'd recommend anyone to take a look if they aren't familiar with them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rE3j_RHkqJc

http://www.cgpgrey.com/blog/why-tv-news-is-a-waste-of-human-...


It's funny because this isn't even true, TechRaptor as a Tech reporting site has existed since early 2013, here is a Web Archive from about a year before "GamerGate" started: http://web.archive.org/web/20131124114156/http://techraptor....

In fact it was founded by Rutledge Daugette in March 2013, over a year before "GamerGate".

What this should tell you both about said claim and the person making it I would like to leave to you.


That clears up my confusion - it was a bit shocking to me that someone who is commenting on the news could be unaware that Clinton actually did operate a private email server nearly four months after it was major news.


You might want to familiarize youself with the flaws in making an ad hominem argument.


I find it very helpful to know if a news source has some kind of agenda. They may be more likely to use statements out of context or to suppress facts, biased towards one side of a dispute. I'm not saying that is the case here, but we are talking about the NYT vs a site I hadn't heard of until today.


This isn't ad hominem, it's directly related to the topic at hand (ethics, motivations in journalism). Ad hominem doesn't mean the mistakes of the past can't be mentioned, it means that character flaws can't.


You sound just like the kind of person that refuses to read any article published in Al Jazeera.


Your comment is a bit inflammatory, but thanks, it's good to know the political biases of a source.


So what? You might be a /%$&/§$ or a )()%§&!"/$ for all I know but I can still independently make up my mind about what you just wrote. Are you suggesting censorship based on people's thoughtcrimes (in your opinion)?




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