Mole Needs Love!
[Amazon] As the old saying goes... 
12th-Apr-2009 07:55 pm
"Never attribute to malice what you can attribute to stupidity."

That said, all told, I suspect we need a variation on that, based on Clarke's 3rd law.

"Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from malice."

(My journal's not indexed. Googlebombing Amazon Rank doesn't work from here, though kudos to the Smart Bitches for pulling this off. And, you know, given the givens, I do suspect stupidity over malice in this case. Sufficiently advanced stupidity, of course.)

(Oh, and it's hit the AP and I've seen it on Slate's front page.)
13th-Apr-2009 03:22 am (UTC)
I like how you put that.

At best their supreme *glitch* has been gamed but good, and I do suspect that is the case. FUBAR comes to mind.
13th-Apr-2009 03:29 am (UTC)
I do not envy anyone who works in that part of Amazon right now. This is the kind of PR nightmare that wakes a person up in a cold sweat.

13th-Apr-2009 03:26 am (UTC)
I could buy the advanced stupidity theory. There needs to be explaining now.

Although, it's nice to see that the google bomb is already working -- #1 hit right behind the news blurb.
13th-Apr-2009 03:30 am (UTC)
I expect they're already scrambling to figure out how, exactly, to explain things while running things past their legal department and wishing they could roll things back to before this shit broke.
13th-Apr-2009 03:49 am (UTC)
I like your Clarke's 3rd Law variation. It explains so much in my everyday life.
13th-Apr-2009 04:18 am (UTC)
It's really sad how much can be explained by that. I may have to tape it to my office door.
13th-Apr-2009 03:55 am (UTC)
I'm going over to Jurisimprudence to codify that into law. Minim's Law sound good to you?
13th-Apr-2009 04:06 am (UTC)
Hee! Sure!
13th-Apr-2009 03:56 am (UTC)
Looks like they already dragged one of their heads of publicity out from under the chocolate and Easter ham.

And over at Smart Bitches some guy who claims he works for amazon is offering up the theory that some low-level employee was messing around with the algorithm based on being forwarded some complaints.

Would a company like amazon really let a low-level (whatever THAT means, exactly) mess around with algorithms of that nature?
13th-Apr-2009 04:18 am (UTC)
I know NOTHING about how they roll their algorithms into production, or what kind of test passes they do on them first. However, that sounds like someone trying to pass the buck downstream to me.

(I mean, yes, it's totally possible that, in trying to fast track fixes to a buggy system at this time of the year, someone, somewhere, signed off on something that shouldn't have been signed off on, and all hell broke loose. But I doubt it would be just a dude monkeying around with the code.)
13th-Apr-2009 03:59 am (UTC)
Honestly, I don't buy that it was a glitch. Someone, somehow deliberately sought out GLBT books to mark "adult." If it were truly a glitch, how would dildos, Ron Jeremy's bio, and the tons of het porn/Playboy books not also be marked "adult" as well? I think "glitch" is a code for "we have a malicious programmer" or "we didn't think there would be this much of a fuss."
13th-Apr-2009 04:15 am (UTC)
Oh, there are millions of ways for something like this to be a glitch. (I count "malicious soon-to-be-ex-employee was able to fuck up the system" as glitch, if it comes down to that, because in a public-facing system of that size, there should be measures in place to keep things like that from happening.)

If the theory that they had automation in place that turned out to be fairly easy to manipulate with a coordinated effort turns out to be the case (I would not be shocked--I mean, look how fast the Googlebomb worked), I think their test team needs a huge round of pink slips, because how the hell do you NOT write a test case for something like that?
13th-Apr-2009 04:19 am (UTC)
Ah, see, when I hear "glitch," I think "system error" or "the algorithm didn't function properly." "Glitch" implies a certain lack of blame. Like "oops, the computer froze. Must be a glitch." I don't consider anything that had premeditated or knowledgeable human interaction to be a "glitch." I'm all for calling a spade a spade.

But yeah, regardless of HOW it happened, the entire programming team needs a complete fucking overhaul.
13th-Apr-2009 04:33 am (UTC)
When I hear "Glitch" I hear "Oh FUCK, what the FUCK happened??! WHO DO I KILL???!?!?!? Umm. Shit! Have to say something while people are waiting and angry. Can't get tl;dr, don't know the specifics yet. Okay. 'There's been a glitch in the system. We're working on it.' OKAY. Now, who do I kill????"

Not, you know, that I've ever been faced with that.

13th-Apr-2009 05:13 am (UTC)
Yep. And yeah, my reaction to the whole thing was yours.
13th-Apr-2009 01:04 pm (UTC)
I think I love you. :)
13th-Apr-2009 01:27 pm (UTC)
"Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from malice."

This is beautiful. If I had a door I would tape this to it. (Since I'm in an open-plan office, maybe I'll just make it my screensaver...)
13th-Apr-2009 04:38 pm (UTC)
Word city. I don't really care whether this was malice or stupidity (The Blunder Twins). The effect is exactly the same. I just want it stopped.
15th-Apr-2009 09:22 pm (UTC)
Minim's law will roll the world.

fractalgeek's first law: "Any otherwise inexplicable action by a large corporation or govenment is best explained by a conspiracy theory". But yours is FAR snappier.
23rd-Apr-2009 12:14 am (UTC)
I love Minim's Law. Thank you.
23rd-Apr-2009 12:17 am (UTC)
P.S. I'm putting it on my quotations page at Let me know if you'd prefer me to use your real name.
23rd-Apr-2009 04:55 am (UTC)
My real name stays safely off the internet, due to unfortunate uniqueness factors. The pen name is just fine and dandy!
23rd-Apr-2009 08:55 am (UTC)
Cool. Then it's as minim_calibre that you shall become famous.
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