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Old 02 March 2013, 02:49 PM
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Default Amazon row over 'rape' T-shirt

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21640347

Quote:
Internet retailer Amazon is continuing to list clothes from a US firm despite a row over a T-shirt printed with the message: "Keep calm and rape a lot."

On Friday, US company Solid Gold Bomb apologised for selling the T-shirt and removed it from sale, saying a listing was automatically generated in error.
And an explanation of how the shirt probably came about:

http://iam.peteashton.com/keep-calm-rape-tshirt-amazon/

Quote:
This is a great example of what I think Digital Literacy should mean. The world around us is increasingly governed by these algorithms, some annoyingly dumb and some freakishly intelligent. Because these algorithms generally mimic decisions that used to be made directly by people we have a tendency to humanise the results and can easily be horrified by what we see. But some basic understanding of how these systems work can go a long way to alleviating this dissonance. You donít need to be able to write the programmes, just understand their basic rules and how they can scale.
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  #2  
Old 02 March 2013, 06:11 PM
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The fact remains that "rape" was on the list of verbs that someone thought might possibly belong on a funny shirt.
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  #3  
Old 02 March 2013, 06:53 PM
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Yea I mean the computer picked the combination of terms but somebody had to enter in 'rape' to the second category (assuming it wasn't just pulling every verb in the dictionary).
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Old 02 March 2013, 08:09 PM
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It probably was just pulling every verb (of a suitable length) in a dictionary - there wouldn't be a lot of point in making an algorithm like that, and then compiling a list of verbs by hand.

As well as not checking the word list, which was a stupid mistake but not necessarily malicious, the problem is more that they thought that a good template for a t-shirt might be "Keep Calm And (random verb) Her" - and they didn't also include a "Keep Calm And (random verb) Him". They should definitely have checked the word list as well, after deciding on that template, but it's the template that was the first problem.

(eta) At least this will finally kill the whole "Keep Calm And Do X" thing. If people are already deciding just to try to generate every single possible combination and hope one or two of them turn out to be good, then there's nowhere else for it to go...
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  #5  
Old 02 March 2013, 08:17 PM
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A Turtle Named Mack A Turtle Named Mack is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
As well as not checking the word list, which was a stupid mistake but not necessarily malicious, the problem is more that they thought that a good template for a t-shirt might be "Keep Calm And (random verb) Her" - and they didn't also include a "Keep Calm And (random verb) Him". They should definitely have checked the word list as well, after deciding on that template, but it's the template that was the first problem.
Where did you get that? The OP shows the phrase template was "Keep Calm And (random verb) A Lot." Big danger of inappropriate verbs creating a phrase like that in the ad, but not sexist in the format.
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Old 02 March 2013, 08:24 PM
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It's in the comments - somebody looked at the pages and pulled out all the endings they'd used ("Alex" at 11.18am on March 2nd).

Quote:
The variations available on Amazon are OFF, IN, THEM, ME, A LOT, HER, IT, US, THEM, ON, NOT and OUT; that list will have been made by a human. Unfortunately the presence of HER with no corresponding HIM does kinda lend credence to the theory that these guys are shits.
The t-shirt that they've singled out ends in "A LOT" but presumably there would also have been a "KEEP CALM AND RAPE HER" one. (eta) The fact that there was a "KEEP CALM AND HIT HER" one has been mentioned in a couple of places.

If not for that then it would just be a stupid and easily predictable (at least with hindsight) mistake.

Last edited by Richard W; 02 March 2013 at 08:33 PM.
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  #7  
Old 02 March 2013, 10:58 PM
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Even if the verbs were pulled from a dictionary, it's not too hard to keep a blacklist of words to not use
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Old 03 March 2013, 08:02 AM
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When I was listening to the story on the news yesterday one of the participants in the debate did mention "Keep calm and shoot him" had appeared, so I assume "HIM" is on their list after all.
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  #9  
Old 03 March 2013, 10:54 AM
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I would imagine they did "have a blacklist". They probably ran it through an obscenity filter.

This is easily predictable in retrospect, but they appear to have done this to minimise the amount of time they had to spend thinking about specifics the slogans. Therefore by definition they probably didn't think it through properly.
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