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Friday, February 24, 2006
More geek humour

Interviewing a SysAdmin

I was on the interviewer side of a job interview for the first time a few days ago, and in preparation I asked many people for help and advice. I received a set of sample questions from a best friend in a previous life.

All credit or blame for the following truly belong to Brian R. Smith (brsmith@cs.umn.edu), and is reproduced here by permission:

"How do you work in a team situation when all the other team members are fools and idiots?"

"How well do you program under the influence of hard drugs?"

"Have you ever beaten or killed a co-worker?"

"Give me a rough estimate of the maximum dollar amount that you've stolen from each of your previous employers."

"Do you object to bullwhips in the workplace?"

"Emacs or vi?"

"You have a large network of Suns being used by secretaries for word processing in FrameMaker. Which GNU packages would you install for your own entertainment, and how would you justify them later?"

"You see a wounded puppy bleeding and whimpering on the side of the road while you're running to work to fix a downed computer that tens of users are waiting for. Do you let the puppy die?" "Why not?"

"How much of your workday would you waste by reading news?"

"Recite the GNU Manifesto."

"How many clients (30% diskless, 60% dataless, 10% /var/spool/mail only) can a Sun 600MP server serve simultaneously, and what relation does this have to angels and pinheads?"

The Flamers Bible

by Joe Talmadge

In the time I have been posting to net, I have encountered flame wars of epic proportions (Brahms Gang vs. Tim Maroney), and flame wars of a more modest nature (MIT vs. CIT). Flaming has evolved into a highly-stylized art form, complete with unwritten rules and guidelines.

Here, I have attempted to document the Art of Flaming, in such a way as it will be interesting to old hands (flame masters) and novices (virgins) alike. Without a further ado, then, I present:

The twelve commandments of flaming

1. Make things up about your opponent: It's important to make your lies sound true. Preface your argument with the word "clearly." "Clearly, Fred Flooney is a liar, and a dirtball to boot."
2. Be an armchair psychologist: You're a smart person. You've heard of Freud. You took a psychology course in college. Clearly, you're qualified to psychoanalyze your opponent. "Polly Purebread, by using the word 'zucchini' in her posting, shows she has a bad case of penis envy."
3. Cross-post your flames: Everyone on the net is just waiting for the next literary masterpiece to leave your terminal. From rec.arts.wobegon to alt.gourmand, they're all holding their breaths until your next flame. Therefore, post everywhere.
4. Conspiracies abound: If everyone's against you, the reason can't possibly be that you're a fuckhead. There's obviously a conspiracy against you, and you will be doing the entire net a favor by exposing it.
5. Lawsuit threats: This is the reverse of Rule #4 (sort of like the Yin & Yang of flaming). Threatening a lawsuit is always considered to be in good form. "By saying that I've posted to the wrong group, Bertha has libeled me, slandered me, and sodomized me. See you in court, Bertha."
6. Force them to document their claims: Even if Harry Hoinkus states outright that he likes tomato sauce on his pasta, you should demand documentation. If Newsweek hasn't written an article on Harry's pasta preferences, then Harry's obviously lying.
7. Use foreign phrases: French is good, but Latin is the lingua franca of flaming. You should use the words "ad hominem" at least three times per article. Other favorite Latin phrases are "ad nauseum," "vini, vidi, vici," and "fetuccini alfredo."
8. Tell 'em how smart you are: Why use intelligent arguments to convince them you're smart when all you have to do is tell them? State that you're a member of Mensa or Mega or Dorks of America. Tell them the scores you received on every exam since high school. "I got an 800 on my SATs, LSATs, GREs, MCATs, and I can also spell the word 'premeiotic' ."
9. Accuse your opponent of censorship. It is your right as an American citizen to post whatever the hell you want to the net (as guaranteed by the 37th Amendment, I think). Anyone who tries to limit your cross-posting or move a flame war to email is either a communist, a fascist, or both.
10. Doubt their existence: You've never actually seen your opponent, have you? And since you're the center of the universe, you should have seen them by now, shouldn't you? Therefore, THEY DON'T EXIST! This is the beauty of flamers' logic.
11. Lie, cheat, steal, leave the toilet seat up.
12. When in doubt, insult: If you forget the other 11 rules, remember this one. At some point during your wonderful career as a flamer you will undoubtedly end up in a flame war with someone who is better than you. This person will expose your lies, tear apart your arguments, make you look generally like a bozo. At this point, there's only one thing to do: insult the dirtbag!!! "Oh yeah? Well, your mother does strange things with vegetables."

The Golden Rule of Flaming

My flames will be witty, insulting, interesting, funny, caustic, or sarcastic, but never, ever, will they be boring.

Here endeth the scriptures.

Flamers Bible followup

In article <1452@sab.ck>, Sweet Polly Purebread writes:
> Dear Joe,

I object to your use of the word "dear." It shows you are a
condescending, sexist pig. Also, the submissive tone you use shows
that you like to be tied down and flagellated with licorice whips.

> While I found your article "The Effect of Lint on Western Thought"
> to be extremely thought-provoking,

"Thought-provoking?" I had no idea you could think, you rotting piece
of swamp slime.

> it really shouldn't have been
> posted in rec.scuba.

What? Are you questioning my judgement? I'll have you know that I'm
a member of the super-high-IQ society Menstruate. I got an 800 on my
PMS exam.

Your attempts constitute nothing less than censorship. There is a
conspiracy against me. You, Riff Raff, and Simon Sinister have been
constantly harassing me by email. This was an ad hominem attack! I
have therefore cross-posted this to alt.flame, rec.nude,
comp.graphics, and rec.arts.wobegon.

> Perhaps you should have posted it in misc.misc.

It is my right, as granted in the Bill of Rights, the Magna Carta, the
Bible and the Quran, to post where ever I want to. Or don't you
believe in those documents, you damn fascist? Perhaps if you didn't
spend so much time sacrificing virgins and infants to Satan, you would
have realized this.

> Your article would
> be much more appropriate there.

Can you document this? I will only accept documents notarized by my
attorney, and signed by you in blood. Besides, you don't really exist
anyway, you AI project, you.

> Polly.
Score one for the geeks.

Score another one for the Don for outsourcing
his humour.

Hey, I DID get a 800 in the verbal section for SAT - which brought up my total SAT score to 1510.
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