Strategic CIO // IT Strategy
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6/6/2014
07:00 AM
David Wagner
David Wagner
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Geekend: Sarcasm Detector Wanted

US Secret Service wants a bucket for those times you are dripping with sarcasm.

Top 10 Secret Reasons Microsoft CEO Ballmer Retired
Top 10 Secret Reasons Microsoft CEO Ballmer Retired
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Welcome to my first Geekend on InformationWeek.com. I wrote this weekly column for three and a half years on EnterpriseEfficiency.com, and now that I'm bringing it to InformationWeek, I'll repeat what I wrote in my very first Geekend:

Every Friday I'm going to talk about stuff I love -- gadgets, games, movies, and the people who make them -- and I'm not going to worry about the enterprise. Just once a week. One post, for a little bit of fun so we can enter the weekend on a high note.

I hope the InformationWeek audience enjoys my little jaunt through the geekier side of life as much as I do.

[How's your company's geek:jock ratio? Read Geeks Versus Jocks: CIOs, Beware Your Culture.]

Speaking of geek life, the US Secret Service is making an interesting jaunt into natural language processing by asking people to make a sarcasm detector. Here's an intercepted video of an early test:

You can see they're still working on it. But seriously, the Secret Service really does want its own social media monitoring software (it uses FEMA's now), and among the criteria -- buried among other humorous requirements, like its needing to be compatible with Internet Explorer 8 -- is the need to detect sarcasm.

Why would anyone need to do that on Twitter? Isn't Twitter the most sincere place on Earth?

As much as I want to make fun of the government's inability to detect humor of any kind, there's a real need here. You know those signs at the airport that say, "All jokes about bombs will be taken seriously"? That's Twitter for the Secret Service. How do they know the difference between a tweet that says, "I want to kill the president over that decision" and "I want to KILL the president over that decision"?

Allow me to share a personal story of this problem before social media even existed. My grandfather was a Navy veteran and literally would have taken a bullet for any US president, regardless of party. But he also considered it important to write letters to express his dissent. Once he wrote a letter to President Reagan (whom he loved) protesting something Reagan was doing with veterans' benefits. He wrote: "A man ought to be shot for thinking like that..."

Uh oh. Somewhere in Washington, a little file was created. And several years later, when Reagan was visiting my grandfather's hometown, he got a knock on the door. The Secret Service agents told my grandmother they'd be outside the house until the president left. My grandfather was confined to his chair because of a stroke, and when my mother informed the agents, they went in, politely talked with my grandfather, and left.

But imagine this encounter on the scale of Twitter. Not just a few thousand angry letters, but 500 million tweets per day, plus Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, and countless other social forums. And they aren't all hashtagged #Iwanttokillthepresident #thisisnojoke. How do you tell the difference? How do you even read them all?

So good for the Secret Service, but this is a tall order. How do you teach a computer something that not all people are good at?

We're getting surprisingly close (and yet still so far away), with teaching computers about regular humor. We've even got them writing jokes like this one: "What do you get when you combine a fragrance with an actor? A smell Gibson." That at least resembles a joke. But how do you teach sarcasm, which requires an understanding of the intent

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David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio
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SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
6/6/2014 | 7:34:00 AM
Sadly we do need this
My first thought was wondering how often our government hears "great job on that one guys" and takes it as a compliment rather than sarcasm.  Now I'm pretty sure that some politicians will always spin sarcasm to be a compliment but government agencies really need to be careful about how they take what is said/written/tweeted.  After they get the sarcasm detector figured out the next thing they need to work on is a BS detector so that they can stop taking people who are just spouting off so seriously.  I see a lot of dumb things repeated and wish there was a good way to mark garbage tweets as what they are.
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
6/6/2014 | 10:04:09 AM
Re: Sadly we do need this
@dave – Bazinga! Sentiment detectors like Lymbix and others comb through communications for sentiment and tone.  Of all the emotions,  detecting  sarcasm is particularly difficult, since it requires a great deal of context about the writer's subject, as well as an understanding of the use of language and paralanguage (images, etc). But, it can be done, and has been the subject of considerable work in computer labs since the 1970s.

It buys you the same thing that understanding any other emotional state. Emoticons are among the many ways people indicate sarcasm. Watch out for those winking ;-) faces . So, for the foreseeable future, the more textual communication we have, in social media and email, the more we need to understand what it all means in a context that makes sense. Challenging.

So, maybe not so sadly, we do need this.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/6/2014 | 3:58:48 PM
Re: Sadly we do need this
@jastro: I've found that the ability to recognize sarcasm even in face-to-face interactions (as with the Big Bang Theory clip Dave shared) is a distinctly regional and cultural thing. I found this out the hard way when I moved from NY (where, I belive, sarcasm was invented) to the Bay Area (where it seems to be nonexistant). I've goten myself in plenty of trouble already over this. so, maybe for the sacasm-impaired this would provide an important public service. The whole idea of the government using something like this gives me the creeps, though.
Ariella
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Ariella,
User Rank: Ninja
6/6/2014 | 4:41:49 PM
Re: Sadly we do need this
@Jastro true, it's not all that easy, which is why someone suggested a sarcasm font.  Without it, some people feel the need to clarify with *sarcasm* or some such thing. Otherwise, it really isn't always clear, especially if you don't know the writer's general views. 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/6/2014 | 6:04:28 PM
Re: Sadly we do need this
@Ariella: That sarcasm font would certainly make it easier for the government to figure this out, eh?

I used to work with someone who was so great at deadpan humor that 9 times out of 10 he would fool me into believeing something he said was sincere or true--and that was in face-to-face conversations. When you take body language and tone of voice out of the equation, sarcasm in email can be a dangerous weapon--or really really funny.
Ariella
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Ariella,
User Rank: Ninja
6/6/2014 | 7:23:50 PM
Re: Sadly we do need this
@snunyc very true. I know of some people who don't pick up on sarcasm in person on a regular basis, regardless of the deadpan ability of the speaker. Sarcastic messages wouldn't penetrate unless they are accompanies by some telltale emoticon.  
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
6/7/2014 | 7:34:25 PM
Re: Sadly we do need this
@Ariella   Your discussion brings up another interesting  question - Is Sarcasm, still Sarcasm if the other person (s) do(es) not get the verbal jab ?    I guess it still is actually.

But I can understand the debate.
Ariella
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Ariella,
User Rank: Ninja
6/8/2014 | 9:53:51 AM
Re: Sadly we do need this
@Technocratic ooh, a variation on "if a tree falls ..." "if sarcasm is expressed but nobody gets it, does it still count as sarcasm?"
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/9/2014 | 3:58:54 PM
Re: Sadly we do need this
I think the sarcasm font would just start being used sarcastically. But I love the idea that we need to use technology a little better to communicate what we lose with out body language and inflection.
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
6/9/2014 | 10:09:32 PM
Re: Sadly we do need this
that is a good point David. I read somewhere the japanese are big on emicons, may be instead of talking we will all be communicating via emicons.  I really think our tax dollars could be spend on much wiser projects than developing a program to detect sarcasms.  How a about a computer that will tell better knock knock jokes.
Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
User Rank: Strategist
6/9/2014 | 11:24:23 PM
Re: Sadly we do need this
Sorry, there will be no digital way with only words to convey the complexity of expression that comes with the face and body language. Perhaps the government can ask us to post a selfie every time we tweet so that they can try to discern our earnestness that way.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/9/2014 | 1:16:43 PM
Re: Sadly we do need this
@jastro- We definitely need this, if only to help build our new robot overlords. What would an overlord be if it didn't understand how to be sarcastic?

I think this a very fascinating field and you are right that we've been working on this a long time. Social media gives us the chance for millions and millions of new "test" interactions that can be automatic read and processed at incredible speeds by computers. It is like it was designed just to teach computers how to learn our language.
impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Strategist
6/9/2014 | 1:23:10 PM
Re: Sadly we do need this
The sarcasm dtector really is needed in any kind of social media analysis. There is a big difference between really and REALLY? While we perform lots of anyalysis on social media sentiment the accuracy still is not there. I wish the government the best of luck but with our language evolving everyday,( who knew what cra cra was 5 years ago) it is a very tall order. They may get closer but I doubt they will ever crack the code completely.
Michelle
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Michelle,
User Rank: Strategist
6/6/2014 | 10:45:19 AM
Re: Sadly we do need this
Haha! Curious view of natural language processing :) Yes, it does seem as though plenty of government folks are reading "great job guys!" has true and honest not as sarcasm.
progman2000
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progman2000,
User Rank: Moderator
6/6/2014 | 1:41:40 PM
Re: Sadly we do need this
Even if the government realizes it can't be done, you know who can do it? Facebook and Twitter.

 


Eh, I would give Google the nod on figuring out how to do it before Facebook and Twitter.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/6/2014 | 4:01:29 PM
Re: Sadly we do need this
@ProgMan: Curious to know: Why Google? I'd put my $$ on Amazon figuring this out before anyone else.
progman2000
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progman2000,
User Rank: Moderator
6/6/2014 | 4:03:54 PM
Re: Sadly we do need this
@snunyc - To me Google can figure out a way to do anything.  They can probably figure out my blood type by something I post...
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/6/2014 | 5:52:33 PM
Re: Sadly we do need this
@Progman: Ha! ok, fair enough. I think we can both agree that some tech company will figure this out long before the Secret Service does. The most shocking thing in Dave's article is that the Secret Service currently uses a FEMA's social media app...
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/9/2014 | 3:38:27 PM
Re: Sadly we do need this
The most shocking thing in Dave's article is that the Secret Service currently uses a FEMA's social media app...


@snunyc- I wonder why every government department can't use the same one to a certain extent. And the FEMA one seems to be a pretty good one. Our own Curt Franklin a few years ago wrote a great article about FEMA using Waffle Hosue openings to help know where to send the most assistance. They have some pretty clever ways of thinking through things.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/9/2014 | 3:12:40 PM
Re: Sadly we do need this
Even if the government realizes it can't be done, you know who can do it? Facebook and Twitter.

 


Eh, I would give Google the nod on figuring out how to do it before Facebook and Twitter.


@progman2000- I see that. google has a lot of skill in natural language processing. But I think FB and Twitter have the leg up on the number of free sarcastic posts they can experiment on. :)

I guess my real question is-- what's in it for Google to solve this?
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/6/2014 | 4:00:09 PM
Re: Sadly we do need this
@Michelle: Are you suggesting the government has no sense of humor? =^_^=

 
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
6/9/2014 | 7:13:44 AM
Re: Sadly we do need this
Honestly I believe this happens quite often.  How many times have you heard about a goverment plan and you're wondering if they are serious or you hear them laying out the framework and it sounds like the sterotypical over budget project that is going to under deliver.  I can't help but think sometimes that they hear read suggestion cards and they read the sarcastic ones as good advice.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/6/2014 | 3:55:32 PM
Re: Sadly we do need this
@SaneIT: I would prefer to see the BS-detector created first. In fact, I think it should first be tested at every occasion where a politician speaks before it gets deployed to the general populace.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
6/6/2014 | 4:42:20 PM
Re: Sadly we do need this
>I would prefer to see the BS-detector created first. In fact, I think it should first be tested at every occasion where a politician speaks before it gets deployed to the general populace.

Just get a red light and turn it on at the next political rally you attend. You'll have a functioning BS-detector with too few false positives to matter.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/6/2014 | 6:00:58 PM
Re: Sadly we do need this
@Thomas: You WIN the prize for BEST comment of the week. LOL LOL
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/9/2014 | 3:27:52 PM
Re: Sadly we do need this
@snunyc- funny enough, I like exercising my own BS detector. But I HATE when I don't get sarcasm and look like a fool.

That said, it would be nice if Google, Facebook, or someone else invented a plug-in that could put "We know this to be not factual" tags on articles, pictures, etc that infect the internet.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/9/2014 | 1:13:13 PM
Re: Sadly we do need this
My first thought was wondering how often our government hears "great job on that one guys" and takes it as a compliment rather than sarcasm.


@SaneIT- Ha! Yeah, that's certainly the way it goes down in every Bruce Willis movie. :)
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
6/10/2014 | 7:09:23 AM
Re: Sadly we do need this
@David,

That brings up another issue, do our government agencies think they are portrayed in a good light in most movies?  Sure in some they are the heroes but in nearly every movie that involves the FBI, CIA any intelligence agency or even local police departments there is a lot of dysfunction and it's the person who goes against all the rules who actually gets the job done.  Does this mean that FBI and CIA agents are using those movies as a model for their jobs?  This would explain some things like Edward Snowden's situation.

 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/10/2014 | 10:23:37 AM
Re: Sadly we do need this
@saneIT- Good question. I suspect different parts of government respond differently to that. The military seems to impart from the beginning that being a hero by ignoring orders is not cool. I'd like to think intelligence mostly does the same. 

But we're all the heroes of our own stories so I suspect Hollywood inspires us all to have a little rebellious streak. 

But if you hear "We follow orders or people die" enough I'd like to think you get past the movie stuff.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
6/11/2014 | 7:20:29 AM
Re: Sadly we do need this
@David, I would tend to believe that those who are enlisted or are employed by the intelligence agencies understand the chain of command and that the majority follow it but part of me sees movies, games, stories where the good soldier turns into a great hero only after breaking out of that mold.  This makes me wonder how often that really happens, not that they become great heroes but that they try to break away because they think that will make them great.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/11/2014 | 11:54:50 AM
Re: Sadly we do need this
@SaneIT- I was flipping channels yesterday and saw a story about a WWII bomber co-pilot. He had hit his mazx number of missions and didn't have to fly at all but he decided to fly a mission with his crew anyway despite the fact that his first son was being born that night. During the mission, his plane was hit and the wing was on fire. 

He decided to...get this...attach himself to a parachute and have the crew hold the parachute end while he CLIMBED ON TO THE WING with a fire extinguisher and put out the flames. He somehow succeeded at this despite being at 20,000 ft and going 180 miles per hour. But just as he put the fire out, a fighter plane shot at the bomber again, setting it on fire again and wounding the guy on the wing and he flew off of it. The crew held on while he was DANGLING OFF THE PLANE for several minutes before deciding he must be dead and they let go.

As he fell, his parachute CAUGHT ON FIRE. And he fell 20,000 feet with a burning parachute, but somehow survived the fall with two broken legs and several bullet wounds.

He was paraded through a German town and sent to a prison camp. He tried to excape twice before finally getting away.

When he got back to England, they told him he was getting England's highest medal. And his response was "What for?"

No one would believe that if they made it a movie. And yet that seems more heroic and more within the chain of command than anything I ever see in Hollywood. Hopefully there are enough of those stories that get told during training that it counteracts Hollywood.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
6/12/2014 | 7:17:48 AM
Re: Sadly we do need this
That is an amazing story and yes as you noted this is done within the rules.  I'm sure there was a fair amount of sarcasm going during the talk about walking out on a wing too.  I know we are a little off subject but this is one of the things I think AIs will have to overcome when dealing with humans.  When we get sarcastic and they take everything literally problems will only get worse.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/12/2014 | 11:49:39 AM
Re: Sadly we do need this
@SaneIT- You are right. I suspect when the guy said, "I'm going out on the wing" someone said, "I'm going to sprout wings and fly out there instead." :)

And you are right. That's exactly why we need one. For better or worse we're in this together now so we better learn to understand each other.

Somehting I wish I would have mentioned in the article-- you know what comes after a sarcasm detector, right? A sarcasm GENERATOR.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
6/12/2014 | 4:39:53 PM
Re: Sadly we do need this
>Somehting I wish I would have mentioned in the article-- you know what comes after a sarcasm detector, right? A sarcasm GENERATOR.

As if we needed more of it.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/12/2014 | 6:30:19 PM
Re: Sadly we do need this
@Thomas- I don't know. I think I'd be entertained by the first time my computer mocked me for my browser history. :)
SaneIT
IW Pick
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
6/13/2014 | 7:53:05 AM
Re: Sadly we do need this
You mean like if I had taken "Clippy" to be sarcastic, which I did quite often.  "I see you're trying to type a letter."  
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
6/13/2014 | 3:49:49 PM
Re: Sadly we do need this
Dave it would be funny, but I would started worried....
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Moderator
6/15/2014 | 8:37:00 PM
Re: Sadly we do need this
Believe it or not, Siri is kind of witty.
StaceyE
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StaceyE,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/30/2014 | 6:46:09 PM
Re: Sadly we do need this
I imagine many politicians are like Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Thoery when it comes to sarcasm.

"What's the difference between a fax and a text message again?"
StaceyE
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StaceyE,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/30/2014 | 6:48:23 PM
Re: Sadly we do need this
I think that most politicians probably are like Sheldon Cooper when it comes to sarcasm.....lol
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
7/1/2014 | 6:53:08 PM
Re: Sadly we do need this
it more depends on the point of view... how I see it...
StaceyE
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StaceyE,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/31/2014 | 10:06:01 AM
Re: Sadly we do need this
@ batye

Your right, point of view plays a major role in how everything is perceived.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
8/3/2014 | 12:11:49 AM
Re: Sadly we do need this
thank you, as we do see things but we do have diffrent aproach/understanding to what we see... so to say...
Michelle
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Michelle,
User Rank: Strategist
6/6/2014 | 3:56:11 PM
Gov vs Humor
There is hope for the future of funny in the government (at least for today).

@CIA

"We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet."

 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/9/2014 | 3:30:17 PM
Re: Gov vs Humor
There is hope for the future of funny in the government (at least for today).

@CIA

"We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet."


@Michelle- That is hilarious. Good for the CIA. I wonder how many contractors, vendors, and consultants it took to do that? But seriously, am I the only one uncomfortable with the idea of the CIA having a Twitter account?
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/6/2014 | 5:59:35 PM
Sarcasm at Work
This post has me thinking back on the many times I've employed sarcasm at work. And then I read some leadership material awhile back that said sarcasm is actually an expression of anger. I've always considered sarcasm to be a form of humor, not an expression of anger.So that really opened my eyes.

What do you all think? Is sarcasm just a passive agressive way to express your anger? Do you use sarcasm at work? how do you feel when others at work are sarcastic to you?
BillK627
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BillK627,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/7/2014 | 12:32:07 PM
Re: Sarcasm at Work
@snunyc,

Yes, the bioepistemological equivalent of sarcasm is a "knife in the back."  It is anger, masked.  The non-passive aggressive equivalent would be the outright expression of one's disagreement, the analog being direct confrontation as if one is standing face-to-face with the polemical (or physical) opponent.

Note the latter (initial, direct questioning or disagreement) also precludes the possibility of an embarrassed rejoinder that all sarcastic people employ when they're not able or not willing to shift to more honest, more open expression after being questioned or challenged about their prior attack:

"C'mon, I was only joking!  Can't you take a joke?!"

Such an excuse by the "joker" is simply another passive-aggressive attack, designed to deflect attention and elicit the one objecting to feel as if there is something wrong with his or her interpretation of the original anger, rather than engaging directly (again) with the intellectual challenger.

Ultimately, sarcasm is a polemical tool used by intellectual cowards.  And trolls.

Bill
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
6/7/2014 | 7:27:32 PM
Re: Sarcasm at Work
@S.N   Some interesting questions   I consider sarcasm to be a part of human nature, usually carried out in an mean spirited way,  That is not to say all sarcasm need be mean spirited.

When used with maturity it can occasionally be helpful in getting an otherwise unheard point across.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/9/2014 | 3:52:58 PM
Re: Sarcasm at Work
This post has me thinking back on the many times I've employed sarcasm at work. And then I read some leadership material awhile back that said sarcasm is actually an expression of anger. I've always considered sarcasm to be a form of humor, not an expression of anger.So that really opened my eyes.

What do you all think? Is sarcasm just a passive agressive way to express your anger? Do you use sarcasm at work? how do you feel when others at work are sarcastic to you?


That's a toughie. I think a lot of humor is the expression of anger. They say humor is about someone else's pain. If you fall down it is funny to everyone but you. Someone else falls down, and it is funny again.

That said, we also use humor to see joy in painful situations.

There's a difference between sarcasm and irony. Irony is probably less angry. Still, I think there's room for all sorts of humor even in the office. But you have to earn your reputation for being kind, honest, and willing to say what you mean to folks so that when you are sarcastic or otherwise using humor people don't think you are doing it to hide your true feelings.
Bhori
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Bhori,
User Rank: Ninja
6/7/2014 | 4:35:46 PM
Re: Sarcasm Detector Wanted
You know those signs at the airport that say, "All jokes about bombs will be taken seriously"? 

Very interesting post, David. The subject remind me of the incident, when I once checked into military college with a bag to meet someone personally. As I was without a car, the person offered me to drop the bag at my location which I accepted, as I was supposed to head somewhere else immediately after there. When I was checking out from the facility & collecting back my ID on the gate, the guard questioned me that "You went in with a bag, where is that". At the first moment, I was amazed at his observance. Then, unintentionally, the reply popped out "I have fitted it". Suddenly expressions gone blanked on the other side, other guards which were hearing the conversation came closer. There was a long pause. Though they understand the joke but certainly they didn't like it. Then, I had to briefly tell them the whole story, and they didn't let me out until they confirmed about the bag with a person I went to meet.
Bhori
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Bhori,
User Rank: Ninja
6/7/2014 | 5:08:02 PM
Re: Sarcasm Detector Wanted
Ultimately, sarcasm is a polemical tool used by intellectual cowards.  And trolls

@ BillK627: Very well said. I have mostly used sarcasm at work as an opportunity to demonstrate the anger without leaving any proof. Sometimes it's a best way communicate what you are afraid or unable to communicate straightly.

 
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
6/7/2014 | 7:14:30 PM
Re: Sarcasm Detector Wanted
Regarding the Secret Service's quest to develop a way to measure sarcasm - I  really think our tax paying dollars should be spent elsewhere to be honest.  I understand the Govnerment has talked itself into believing that all forms of social media present a opportunity to find trouble before it starts.

I think the sarcasm detector is a bit much - no sarasm intended.
LUFU
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LUFU,
User Rank: Strategist
6/7/2014 | 6:18:54 PM
Hire a Sarcasm Consultant
I think Don Rickles is still alive. Get him as the Prime Sarcasm Contractor and he can sub out a lot of the work to Sarah Silverman, Lewis Black, and a few others. Too bad George Carlin and Bill Hicks are dead - they'd have all of DC in the snide and sarcastic mode in no time. They could get Steven Wright to fix their sense of irony.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
6/7/2014 | 7:22:07 PM
Re: Hire a Sarcasm Consultant
@LuFu    Nice.  You mentioned all the greats.   You even threw in Steven Wright for good measure !
zerox203
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zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
6/16/2014 | 12:43:43 PM
Re: Sarcasm Detector Wanted
There's a famous notion about how computers can't play the traditional Japanese game of Go. Supposedly, it's not because the game is too complicated, but because it's too simple. You can place a piece anywhere on the board, at any time. Apparently, that's too little complexity for any computer to derive a winning strategy based on. Now, I have no idea if that anecdote is true or not (don't there exist Go video games?), but I think it's very relevant to the discussion at hand. At a certain point, do we run up against a wall of what computers simply can't do? Or are there endless possibilities, some of which we just haven't unlocked yet?

Maybe the secret service needs to go back a couple of steps and get a human sarcasm detector first, though. Sitting out in front of your grandfather's house for a letter he sent years ago, especially considering his age at the time, was more or less a waste of taxpayer dollars. We ought to work on automated criminal detection in the sense that the volume of tweet (etc.) are too much for humans to read... but we still ought to have a system of humans with common sense to back it up. The debacle with the NYPD twitter campaign you wrote about back on E2 is a great example of this problem and how it goes both ways. Anyway, here's to four more years of Geekend!
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/16/2014 | 12:48:49 PM
Re: Sarcasm Detector Wanted
@zerox203- I get what you are saying. There is a real danger in picking the wrong target when building these things. And certainly crime predicting intelligence would be awesome. 

The question I have is which comes first? Social media scanning or crime intelligence?

I would think social media scanning would be a part of an crime prediction software. And sarcasm detection would be a part of any social media scanning.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
7/1/2014 | 7:01:08 PM
Re: Sarcasm Detector Wanted
all I could say welcome to the age of technology... in Canada we have now a big problem -

'No judgment, no discretion': Police records that ruin innocent lives


 -  http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2014/06/22/no_judgment_no_discretion_police_records_that_ruin_innocent_lives.html it getting a bit scary...
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
6/18/2014 | 3:09:07 PM
Scary
I am really worried about the extent of humor being allowed on the social media. Now as per the situation prevailing, nothing can be taken lightly. We need to define a fine line between humor and whats not. But we need to understand that is that fineline is drawn by its thinker. I agree that the understanding of intent is the biggest concern.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
7/1/2014 | 6:57:23 PM
Re: Scary
could not agree more, same here... but where is should be fine line we shall not cross... or...
kstaron
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kstaron,
User Rank: Moderator
6/19/2014 | 10:54:18 AM
Intent detector
I was just talking with a friend who wanted to be witty in an email but was afraid it would come off wrong. I think we could all use an "intent" detector sometimes. I have sent introductory emails to clients and actually stated, please assume any and all words in any of my emails are meant to help me help you and come with the best of intention. Think of my tone as upbeat and friendy. Becasue sometimes I have to tell clients something they don'r want to hear and without tone in email it's that much harder. with twitter it's even worse. you got a character limit and a whole host of people who forget that real people are attached to those twitter accounts and not some machine on the other end. Trying to protect through tweet monitoring is going to cause a lot of headaches.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
7/1/2014 | 6:56:19 PM
Re: Intent detector
this days, it scarey and interesting at the same time... as with comprehension is to each his own... as same with communication skills...
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