The Facebook fiasco

NY Times – Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis

Facebook has gone on the attack as one scandal after another — Russian meddling, data sharing, hate speech — has led to a congressional and consumer backlash.

This account of how Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg navigated Facebook’s cascading crises, much of which has not been previously reported, is based on interviews with more than 50 people. They include current and former Facebook executives and other employees, lawmakers and government officials, lobbyists and congressional staff members. Most spoke on the condition of anonymity because they had signed confidentiality agreements, were not authorized to speak to reporters or feared retaliation.

Facebook declined to make Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg available for comment. In a statement, a spokesman acknowledged that Facebook had been slow to address its challenges but had since made progress fixing the platform.

Not all Pike river families approve of re-entry

‘Pike River families’ has often been put forward as one unified group wanting re-entry to the mine and recovery of the bodies, but at least one family opposes the re-entry plan, calling it disgraceful.

Recent news reports refer to the families collectively:

Andrew Little on Pike River: ‘Re-entry is about fulfilling a promise to the families’

“Re-entry of the Pike River Mine will proceed. To the Pike River families, to New Zealand, we are returning.”

Pike River relatives on mine re-entry: It’s a ‘truly amazing day for our families’

Friends and family of the 29 men killed in the Pike River Mine disaster say an agreed plan to re-enter the mine is a historic moment of truth and justice.

Sonya Rockhouse, who lost her son Ben in the disaster, told Morning Report the change of government had made a huge difference to the families’ campaign and the previous National government had failed them, she said.

Bernie Monk, who also lost a loved one, said it was a proud day for all Kiwis.

Anna Osborne said it was a historic moment for truth and justice and that the announcement was a “truly amazing day for our families”.

“We fought really hard for our men for a really long time and today, this is a victory for our families,” she said.

“This is a victory for the little people of New Zealand.

Pike River Recovery Agency (Government website): Family Reference Group

The Pike River Recovery Agency works in partnership with the Family Reference Group, who represent the overwhelming majority of the Pike River families.  Here they introduce who they are:

‘Stand With Pike’, the families of more than 80% of Pike victims, have fought hard for answers as to why this happened or, more to the point, why no-one intervened to stop it.

24 of 29 is 82%, so that means up to five of the families are not represented.

And one of those five has spoken up – Mother of Pike River victim: Re-entry plan ‘disgraceful’ (RNZ):

Christchurch mother Marion Curtin says she was left sitting by her phone feeling raw after the announcement of the Pike River Mine re-entry yesterday.

Her son, Richard Holling, never came home after the November 2010 tragedy, but she wanted it to stay that way.

Some people might assume that all 29 affected families considered yesterday’s news as a “victory,” she said, but she was one of the silent many who disagreed.

She said the plan was an “appalling” waste of $36 million.

“I’m just so disappointed. I couldn’t believe that cabinet would sign this off,” she said.

Especially given the lack of certainty, she said, with nobody able to tell her exactly what the mine recovery experts would be looking for.

“I see it as sacrilege, really. To go in fossicking around for remains… to go in just to see what they find – I think it’s just disgraceful,” she said.

Ms Curtin loathed the fact it had become so political. She said the months leading up to last year’s election were especially challenging.

“Some people liked that… the politicians climbing on board. I certainly didn’t. That was my son’s death they were playing with.” she said.

While yesterday’s news had been extolled as a “huge victory” and a relief for the people in Greymouth, Ms Curtin did not feel this way and refuted the idea that she was in the minority.

Different people have different ways of dealing with grief. I’m not sure that that is well enough recognised by the recovery agency and the politicians promoting re-entry.

Following the loss of her son, Ms Curtin said said she had just been trying to get on with her own life.

“I remember Richard with love every day. But for me a good day is when I don’t hear Pike River mentioned. I don’t dwell on Pike River.”

Repeatedly bringing the tragedy up in the news can be hard for some people.

And if the re-entry ever gets to the stage of finding bodies, can they respect the wishes of some families, any families, who don’t want ‘fossicking around for remains’?

 

Primary school cancels prizegiving because it discourages non-award winners

Silverdale Primary School has cancelled their end of year prizegiving, and have explained in a newsletter:

End of Year Prizegiving

There has been a lot of talk about the cancellation of the end of year prizegiving. Just to clarify some misconceptions about cancellation of the end of year prizegiving.

1. Sports teams will still be based on skill and a selection process.

2. There will still be placings at school events such as cross country, athletics, swimming, speech competitions. Some of these events have trophies and these will be handed out on the day or at the next assembly.

The end of year prizegiving was used to award children in each class:
– Most improved
– Commitment to Learning
– Classroom Citizen
– Excellence in Literacy and Mathematics

Out of a class of 20 to 30 children how does a teacher choose one child for each award? Don’t we want all our children to improve, have commitment to learning, show citizenship and to have excellence in literacy and mathematics

By rewarding a few we find that it discourages the others.

We are trying to get our children to succeed because they want to succeed and not because of a reward at the end which is subjective at best. The sporting awards are easy to give out, if you win the cross country race you get first, not subjective. Everyone can understand this.

Try explaining to a child that has tried hard all year with their learning that they didn’t get the Commitment to Learning award because someone else was trying harder, this is subjective. How do you judge who tries harder??

We will continue to hand out Principal Awards and Team awards throughout the year, these certificates are based on our values and recognise what children have done.

I hope this goes some way to answer your concern.

From Newsletter 35 (PDF)

Original source: Silverdale [Primary] School cancels end of year prizegiving because it discourages those that do not win awards

Keep in mind that this is at a primary school where they don’t have exams.

There seems to be a bit of contradiction in not giving out ‘subjective’ end of awards but continuing to give out Principal Awards during the year, which must also be subjective. From my experience with Principal Awards (given to grandchildren, they didn’t do them in my day and we called the boss a headmaster) they are rotating awards that include all pupils over time, and often are for very subjective and grand sounding attributes.

Player of the day awards to sports teams are also often rotated.

There are different ways to see this. I understand the need to encourage every child to learn, and never winning an award may well be discouraging. We didn’t get learning awards at primary school in my day and we seemed to survive without them.

But there can also be benefits for awarding those who strive, and who do very well.

Perhaps the Government could follow the lead of Silverdale Primary and cancel the Queen’s Birthday and New Year gong handouts. I have been very discouraged by not winning one (that’s sarcasm – while some community awards and recognition of services may have merit I oppose knighthood and damehood sort of awards).

 

A trivial matter

Year 13 students are complaining about the use of the word ‘trivial’ in a history exam (in a quote by someone called Caesar) because they didn’t know what the word meant. And the chairman of the New Zealand History Teachers’ Association agrees that it is ‘unfair to test comprehension’ in an exam.

I’m not sure if this acceptance that lack of knowledge of the meaning of words is an alarming indictment of our school education, or it is a sign of changing times.

Stuff: Students launch petition after being flummoxed by word ‘trivial’ in NZQA exam

Year 13 students are worried they might fail their history exam because they didn’t know what the word “trivial” meant.

The senior students have launched a petition asking for the essay to be marked based on students’ own definition of the “unfamiliar” word. It has so far received more than 1300 signatures.

As of now there are 2159 signatures. The  petition:

The year 13 History Causes and Consequences essay has made the decision of including an unfamiliar word (trivial) which caused much confusion among the students who were sitting the exams on the 14th of November 2018.

The word which many students were not particularly familiar with meant that student’s had to write the essay based on their own understanding of the word. Many of which were different to what the word actually means; meaning that the true potential of many students are going to be covered.

This petition is made for the government to recognize the true potential of the students and mark the essay based on the student’s own content and understanding of the event. Please do not feel threatened for this is only a petition to recognize the hard work and efforts put in by many across the country.

Stuff:

Students sitting the NZQA Level 3 History causes and consequences paper on Wednesday were confronted with the word in a quote from Julius Caesar: “Events of importance are the result of trivial causes.”

Students were asked to analyse the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with Caesar, with reference to the causes and consequences of a historical event.

Taieri College student Logan Stadnyk is one of those who sat the paper and signed the petition.

He said he was “lucky” to understand the word, but at least half of his class didn’t.

Now the students were worried they could be penalised.

Some of his peers thought trivial meant “significant”, he said.

“Trivial isn’t a word that you hear too frequently, especially not if you’re in Year 13,” he said.

I’m not sure how those who write exam questions can ensure all words used are frequently heard by 18 year olds.

Chairman of the New Zealand History Teachers’ Association, Graeme Ball, agreed.

He called the exam a “little bit of a snafu” on the part of NZQA, and said the language used in questions should be “accessible to all”.

The exam was not testing comprehension, so it was “unfair” to make that part of the assessment, he said.

I learned that being able to comprehend exam questions was quite important, but that was quite a while ago.

Should students be able to take a dictionary into exams? Do they have dictionaries these days?

But should Year 13 students know the word “trivial”?

It was “debatable”, he said. “I don’t think we can make assumptions about what students should and shouldn’t know at that level,” he said.

A spokeswoman for NZQA said the language used in the question “was expected to be within the range of vocabulary for a NCEA Level 3 History student”…

I would have thought so.

…but candidates would not be penalised for misinterpreting the word ‘trivial’.

How the hell does that work. Can students who state they don’t understand a word answer a question however they like? Or do exam markers guess if meaning is not understood and allow for that in marks? I guess that is kind of normal.

But not understanding a word like ‘trivial’ doesn’t seem like a trivial matter.

Should exam questions be dumbed down to avoid any student not understanding words used? Or should meanings of any tricky words be included in exam papers?

Or should vocabulary be taught in schools?

 

UK Ministers resign, confidence vote likely for Theresa May

Missy has summarised developments (overnight NZ time) in the UK political split over Brexit plans, with a number of Cabinet Ministers resigning (7 so far), and a confidence vote in Theresa May likely.

(Thanks for this Missy).


Her ‘deal’ has been compared to Chamberlain returning from Munich.

A quick review of this morning’s happenings (rather than re-posting everything I posted this morning).

Five Members of the cabinet have resigned, they are:

  1. Shailesh Vara – Junior Minister for Northern Ireland. He claims that the deal leaves Britain in a half way house.
  2. Dominic Raab – Secretary of State for Exiting the EU. He said the indefinite backstop threatens to break up the Union.
  3. Esther McVey – Secretary of State for Work & Pensions. She said the deal does not honour the result of the referendum.
  4. Suella Braverman – Junior Minister for the Department for Exiting the EU. She warned that the concessions do not respect the will of the people.
  5. Anne-Marie Trevelyan – Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Education Secretary. She said the deal is unacceptable to Brexit Voters.
  6. Ranil Jayawardena – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice. He said the deal does not deliver a fair Brexit.
  7. Rehman Chishti, the PM’s trade envoy to Pakistan and Vice chairman of the Conservative Party for communities has resigned, saying that the deal is contrary to their Manifesto commitment.

May gave a statement in Parliament after which she received no support. During the questions after Jacob Rees-Mogg asked May why he shouldn’t put in a letter to the 1922 Committee Chariman. This is quite a big thing, whatever you think of him JRM has always supported the PM, he hasn’t supported the deal, but he has always said he supports the PM of the day, and that he has indicated in Parliament that he is thinking of putting in a letter of no confidence is quite a big deal, and he has influence among other Brexiters.

When he spoke in Parliament JRM obviously already had his letter written, he has just submitted it to the 1922 Committee. The key part is this: ‘It is of considerable importance that politicians stick to their commitments or do not make such commitments in the first place. Regrettably, this is not the situation, therefore, in accordance with the relevant rules and procedures of the Conservative Party and the 1922 Committee this is a formal letter of No Confidence in the Leader of the Party, the Rt. Hon. Theresa May.’

JRM has said that the Brexit deal has turned out to be worse than anticipated and fails to meet the promises given to the nation by the PM.

It is expected that the required number of letters will be received by the Chair of the 1922 Committee by tomorrow, and if so then a vote of confidence in Theresa May as leader on Tuesday is expected.

There has been some speculation on who may run for leader, though I think we may get a better idea when the Chair of the 1922 Committee are closer to receiving the 48 letters needed and we see which Cabinet members resign then.

Leading contenders at the moment are:

  • Dominic Raab (odds about 11-2)
  • Boris Johnson (odds about 5-1)
  • Sajid Javid (odds about 5-1) he is the most credible leading contender, despite having voted remain he is against a soft Brexit and for delivering Brexit. He has gone against Theresa May on several occasions, and he was reportedly behind a tougher stance on EU Migrants post Brexit than was originally positioned by TM. Has the advantage of being an ethnic minority (Pakistani parents) and a (non practicing) Muslim, despite having been brought up in a Muslim household he doesn’t practice now, and has stated on a number of occasions the only religion in his house is Christianity (his wife is apparently a practicing Christian). So looks good for the moderate Muslim vote, but isn’t a problem for the extreme anti-Muslim vote.
  • Jeremy Hunt (odds about 8-1) he won’t be a popular choice, he is universally disliked by the public.
  • David Davis (odds about 11-1) he is a popular choice among many party members to bring in as an interim PM until Brexit is done.
  • Amber Rudd (odds about 50-1)

Sources are reporting that Michael Gove was offered the Brexit Secretary job, but he has turned it down unless he can go back to Brussels and renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement.

 

Media watch – Friday

16 November 2018

MediaWatch

Media Watch is a focus on New Zealand media, blogs and social media. You can post any items of interested related to media.

A primary aim here is to hold media to account in the political arena. A credible and questioning media is an essential part of a healthy democracy.

A general guideline – post opinion on or excerpts from and links to blog posts or comments of interest, whether they are praise, criticism, pointing out issues or sharing useful information.

General chat

“Is there any way we could have a thread for the more lightweight stuff like music and general chat?”

Do it here. Please no personal attacks or bickering. Anything abusive, provocative or inflammatory may be deleted.

Open Forum – Friday

16 November 2018

Forum

This post is open to anyone to comment on any topic that isn’t spam, illegal or offensive. All Your NZ posts are open but this one is for you to raise topics that interest you. 

If providing opinions on or summaries of other information also provide a link to that information. Bloggers are welcome to summarise and link to their posts.

Comments worth more exposure may be repeated as posts.Comments from other forums can be repeated here, cut and paste is fine.

Your NZ is a mostly political and social issues blog but not limited to that, and views from anywhere on the political spectrum are welcome. Some ground rules:

  • If possible support arguments, news, points or opinions with links to sources and facts.
  • Please don’t post anything illegal, potentially defamatory or abusive.

FIRST TIME COMMENTERS: Due to abuse by a few, first comments under any ID will park in moderation until released (as soon as possible but it can sometimes take a while).

Sometimes comments will go into moderation or spam automatically due to mistyped ID, too many links (>4), or trigger text or other at risk criteria.

Free speech is an important principle here but some people who might pose a risk to the site may be limited.

World view – Friday

Thursday GMT

WorldWatch2

For posting on events, news, opinions and anything of interest from around the world.

May struggling with Brexit

It is being described as a botched deal or a no deal.