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Court on Video Games: Less Cleavage, More Carnage 397

On Monday we discussed news of a Supreme Court ruling which held that violent video games deserved free speech protection under the First Amendment. Now, frequent Slashdot contributor Bennett Haselton writes with this followup that questions the Court's consistency in such matters. "I'm glad the Supreme Court struck down the California law against selling violent video games to minors, but reading over the decision, I had the odd feeling that the arguments by the dissenters made more sense than the majority — mainly because of the hypocrisy of continuing to ban sexuality while giving violence a pass." Read on for the rest of Bennett's thoughts.

Google Should Be Logging In To Facebook 95

Frequent Slashdot contributor Bennett Haselton writes "Facebook indirectly accused Google of creating dummy accounts to log in and spider information from their site, and Google denied the charge. But if Google wants to help users discover what strangers can find out about them, then spidering Facebook with dummy accounts is exactly what they should be doing." Read on for the rest of his thoughts.

Anti-Porn Facebook Page is Deleted, Then Restored 145

Slashdot regular contributor Bennett Haselton writes: "An anti-porn organization's Facebook page is disabled by Facebook, and then resurrected. Was the page the victim of a 'complaint mob,' and could the previously-discussed 'voting algorithm' have saved the page from being shut down?"

Computer De-Evolution: Awesome Features We've Lost 662

jfruhlinger writes "If you listened to tech marketing departments, you'd believe that advances in computers have been a nonstop march upwards. But is that really true? What about all the great features early hackers had in the '70s and '80s that are now hard to find or lost forever, like clicky keyboards and customizable screen height? This article looks at much beloved features that lost the evolutionary war."

Privacy Hacking Worse Than PR Flacking 59

Here's frequent Slashdot contributor Bennett Haselton who writes "Facebook apparently hired a PR firm that tried to seduce some pundits into writing negative editorials about Google. The 'attack angle' would have been that Google was endangering users' privacy by scraping information about users from Facebook and making such information easier to find with a Google search." Hit the link below to read the rest of Bennett's story.
The Courts

A Court's Weak Argument For Blocking IP Subpoenas 220

Frequent Slashdot contributor Bennett Haselton writes to point out some unfortunate holes in a judge's recent ruling that was largely welcomed 'round these parts: "A federal judge has ruled that a Canadian adult film producer cannot subpoena the identities of ISP users that were alleged to be sharing its copyrighted movies. Regardless of whether one supports the conclusion, the judge's reasoning was pretty weak. But the real hurdle is convincing people that a non-lawyer is entitled to call out a federal judge on their logic in the first place." Read on for the rest of Bennett's thoughts.

My Crowdsourced Follow-Up About Crowdsourcing 59

Slashdot regular contributor Bennett Haselton writes "In my last article, I proposed an algorithm that Facebook could use to handle abuse complaints, which would make it difficult for co-ordinated mobs to get unpopular content removed by filing complaints all at once. I offered a total of $100 for the best reader suggestions on how to improve the idea, or why they thought it wouldn't work. Read their suggestions and decide what value I got for my infotainment dollar."
Social Networks

Crowdsourcing the Censors: A Contest 111

Frequent contributor Bennett Haselton is back with an article about how sites with huge amounts of user-generated content struggle to deal with abuse complaints, and could benefit from a crowd-sourced policing system similar to Slashdot's meta-moderation. He writes "In The Net Delusion, Evgeny Morozov cites examples of online mobs that filed phony abuse complaints in order to shut down pro-democracy Facebook groups and YouTube videos criticizing the Saudi royal family. I've got an idea for an algorithm that would help solve the problem, and I'm offering $100 (or a donation to a charity of your choice) for the best suggested improvement, or alternative, or criticism of the idea proposed in this article." Hit the link below to read the rest of his thoughts.

Censorware Vendors Can Stop Mid-East Dealings 126

Slashdot regular Bennett Haselton is back with a story about Internet censorship in the Middle East. Several blocking software companies claimed that they had no control over how various Middle Eastern governments used their software. Bennett says it's time to put this patently false claim to rest. American censorware companies could easily cut off Middle Eastern governments from using their software, and thus make their existing filtering systems far less effective; they just refuse to do it. Hit the link below to see what he has to say, and make up your own mind.

Diablo 3 Hands-On 216

At this year's Blizzcon, we got to try out a section of Diablo 3 that was pulled directly from the single-player storyline and playable with all classes. A large number of skills and abilities were playable, and the skill rune system has been implemented, a feature that was lacking for last year's demo build. We also got to spend some time trying out the newly announced PvP system — Battle Arenas. Read on for a walk-through of Diablo 3 as we've seen it so far. In short: it's shaping up to be an excellent game, and a worthy successor to Diablo 2. Read on for more.

Greg 'Ghostcrawler' Street, Lead Systems Designer For World of Warcraft 175

As World of Warcraft prepares for the launch of its third expansion, Cataclysm, on December 7th, the design team is busily trying to finish all the new high level content, the destruction and rebuilding of Azeroth, and major changes to many of the game's systems and classes. At Blizzcon we spoke with Greg Street (a.k.a. Ghostcrawler), Lead Systems Designer for WoW, about Blizzard's goals for this expansion, the problems they're trying to solve, reasoning for the creation of a few new features, and why they aren't willing to simply throw more people at complicated projects. Read on for our discussion about World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.

Alan Dabiri, Lead Software Engineer For StarCraft 2 138

The StarCraft 2 team spent most of Blizzcon talking about the map editor and custom games. We spoke with Alan Dabiri, a Lead Software Engineer for Wings of Liberty who worked on the user interface and helped out on the game's integration with Battle.net. He provided some more details about plans for making the map editor more approachable, the coming updates for Battle.net (including chat channels), and a bit about the development of Heart of the Swarm, the Zerg-themed expansion being worked on now. Read on for our conversation about StarCraft 2.