Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Any MP that can correctly use "regex" in conversation is OK by me.

I have to say that, in the past, I have been unimpressed by MPs, but this evening I met three that were surprising sensible, and one in particular that clearly has a clue. They were all very good and I had a nice meal and some drinks in the Stranger's bar afterwards.

Chatham House Rule prevent me from naming the MP but he does, apparently read my blog, and I would be delighted if he would post a reply confirming his perl scripting abilities.

Well done.

20 comments:

  1. Q. Should one refer to the Chatham House Rule or the Chatham House Rules?
    A. There is only one Rule.

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  2. People who have a clue about MPs would suggest that there is one MP, with, I understand, a considerable interest in cycling, who I would imagine would be able to use regex in conversation.

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  3. There is an MP with considerable interest in cycling provision who I'd presume you may be referring to.

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  4. It was interesting having 3 MPs that were keen to understand some of the issues. And nice that I had the chance to be involved. I'll try and get in to more of these things.

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  5. If I were to place a bet I'd put it on the honourable member for Cambridge as he's a trained Biologist and you really can't do modern biology without Perl.

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  6. That is a nice surprise indeed ... I recall meeting a local Labour MP, in about 1999, and mentioning the extortionate costs of dialup access in the days of 0845. He replied that he didn't think the Internet was a good idea.

    (No, I don't think he'd related to David Cameron or Claire Perry, except in outlook.)

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  7. Wow do I have to curtesy next time I see you lol xxxx

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  8. I know the member for Cambridge speaks perl; I've tidied up some of his code :-)

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  9. A&A has already breached the Chatham House Rule by tweeting the picture showing some of the participants in the meeting.

    http://www.chathamhouse.org/about-us/chathamhouserule

    "Q. Can I 'tweet' while at an event under the Chatham House Rule?
    A. The Rule can be used effectively on social media sites such as Twitter as long as the person tweeting or messaging reports only what was said at an event and does not identify - directly or indirectly - the speaker or another participant. This consideration should always guide the way in which event information is disseminated - online as well as offline."

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    1. That is interesting, and not how the rule has been explained to me on many previous occasions. It has always been explained to me that one can quote comments but not attribute them. The inability to even say who is a participant was never explained to me, and also rather odd as one always reveals one participant (myself). I know one of those pictured was happy with the picture, and the picture was in fact taken after the meeting was over, but you learn something new every day!

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  10. Why doe secrecy rules apply to a meeting between a trade body and a handful of MPs? For MPs to be meeting trade associations *without* it being a matter of public record who met with who seems to invite all sorts of suspicions.

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    1. Chatham House Rule can be useful to promote debate and I am slightly puzzled that this covers details of who was there, to be honest.

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    2. The idea is to allow complete honesty; if you know that (for example), the gutter press will represent anyone at this meeting as "in favour of the dissemination of child pornography" unless the meeting is clearly in favour of censorship, many MPs will simply try to ensure that everyone leaves the meeting feeling that the MPs wanted censorship to protect children as a way of protecting their careers.

      If, on the other hand, their identity is unknown, a smear campaign by the gutter press can't target them personally; they can thus discuss things openly and honestly, knowing that even if they accept a position the gutter press can't stand, it won't come back to bite them.

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    3. Indeed, which is why I was puzzled that revealing the names of any participants would be not allowed by the rule. Just being there does not mean you were the one that made the comment. Also it appears to be possible for part of a meeting to be operated under the rule, so one can say who was in the meeting prior to and after the part with the rule. Oh well.

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    4. Hypothetical scenario - the entire meeting is under CHR. It's known that the meeting is about filtering out adult material on the Internet; some of the MPs pushing for that publicly are both senior in their parties and also known to believe that any technical obstacle raised to filtering is just nerds being obstructive, by analogy to cable TV.

      Under a variant of CHR where identities of those present can be revealed, the MPs who spoke with you are under pressure to represent their colleagues' viewpoint forcefully (dominating the meeting if needed), or face allegations of party disloyalty. This prevents them from engaging with you properly, as they can't permit the meeting to end with an understanding of why this is a difficult proposal - it *has* to end with them able to assert that they beat the nerds into line, otherwise they're in bother with their senior colleague, who can make or break their career.

      Under CHR itself, where their identity can't be revealed without agreement from all present, they can engage properly, listen, and learn, knowing that the problematic senior colleague will not hear about their disloyalty to the party line.

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  11. I confess; it was me, although I wouldn't claim any perl monk status, as ~owend knows to his cost - he is one of the few people ever to try to read my code. It was mostly fairly hacky stuff - but it worked.

    To give the context of the comment, there was a suggestion made a few years ago that ISPs should be required to filter out defamatory content as it passed through their networks ...

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    1. Thanks for posting, much appreciated. It was a very interesting evening, I have to say.

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    2. Even someone that can write hacky code has some clue about what you can expect a computer system to do, and the challenges of explaining the problem to a computer. As you say, try and write a regex to filter porn URLs - not going to happen. Ultimately porn filtering needs a team of people subjectively assessing if something is porn or not (what an odd job to have). It would also have lots of automated keyword searching classification, or at least suggesting sights to be checked, and that would go wrong a lot. There would have to be proper appeals processes. One issue right now with mobiles blocking things is that a web site does not know they have been (wrongly) blocked, let alone why, or who to contact to get unblocked, and even when they do know, they have no formal process or legal right to have the site unblocked or right to any compensation. Make this happen on a national scale and you create huge issues.

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  12. Years ago I knew someone that used to work for a well known MP as a researcher. A reporter kept haranguing her and really being quite abusive - and the MP found out. Apparently he went up to the reporter at an informal event and, to use our local paralance, 'decked him'.

    There was never any report in any newspaper, and I was told that's because there's a rule than nothing at these events gets reported. Up until reading this post I was sceptical such a rule could actually exist (or exist for very long) but it actually does.. amazing what tradition can do.

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    1. Not sure that Chatham House Rule covers that, quite...

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