From the Microsoft quarterly earnings conference call:
Satya Nadella (head of Microsoft):
In fact, this morning, I was reading a news article in Hacker News, which is a
community where we have been working hard to make sure that Azure is growing
in popularity and I was pleasantly surprised to see that we have made a lot of
progress in some sense that at least basically said that we are neck to neck
with Amazon when it comes to even lead developers as represented in that
community. So we have more work to do, but we are making progress on all
Yeah, that’s not mere ‘reading’. There is a sense of a project to make
‘progress’ using this forum to steer people on the network toward Azure. And
using their influential employees to influence the discussions.
I get that this is how society works: people influence each other and it
behooves an organization to survive—by persuading people through any means it
No, wait—sorry. Not through ‘any’ means. For example, using subterfuge will
often backfire. It is a dangerous technique, innit? Say I hired a bunch
of eager fellas to go on news sites and forums, to bring up ‘Kicks Condor’—to link to me,
fawn about me, endlessly recontextualize me—this is what is happening to you,
this is why you are here, you are entrapped in my game—the unique ‘Kicks
Condor’ brand with its iconic sign on a pixel chair. Have you heard? He’s
rumbling up—he’s ascendant. There is a certain measurable mindshare now
emerging on the flatscreens. Why, it’s more dazzling and varied than I myself had
previously dictated to my personal autonomous pocket assistant!
(Can this be happening to me??) Look at the pixel chair.
You’ll see it again soon.
Question: does gaming the algorithm undermine the algorithm? Or is it the point
of the algorithm? I’m asking all of you out there—is the algorithm designed to
continue feeding us the same narrative that we are already upvoting? Or can the
upvotes trend away?
Or are the upvotes just bullets in some game of Fortnite where Satya Nadella is
spraying us from high above with his army of toadies that have spammed the
server so that he is not just one squad—but all the squads logged in—at least for the
next two minutes? Until Eric Schmidt logs on and mows down all the independent
links running for cover?
I’m not sure if I can say that they are manipulating the feed—but having spent some
time on the ‘new’ page, it only takes about three votes to push something toward
the front page. If you have ten people doing this, then you are gaming the algo.
Hobbyists won’t have this kind of paid workforce. And it’s interesting how
openly he discusses molding that community as if it’s his medium.