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September 23, 2015

A COMMENT SECTION GOES HORRIBLY WRONG: In order to pretend they didn’t completely jump the gun on the Ahmed the clockmaker story, the DIY-oriented Hackaday Website runs – just out of the blue, totally for kicks and grins, no reason, just seems so pleasin’ – a story titled “Clocks for Social Good.” Things begin to go awry in the comments, starting here:

You know how you periodically investigate a kick-starter, going over public pictures and asking real questions about “is this real”?

The difference in the way you are approaching Ahmed’s clock and a random kickstarter is really really painful to watch. Your credibility is on the line here and you really really need to say “yeah okay we were taken in by a story that was too good to check”.

Ahmed’s clock was just a disassembled commercial clock. It’s painfully obvious. And to your readers, it’s even more painfully obvious than it is to a lay person.

I’m embarrassed for you guys. You keep doubling down on “lay people hate science” when what they really hate is being lied to to advance a narrative.

Right now, it’s starting to look like you either are incapable of spotting an obvious fake, or that you don’t like facts get in the way of the story you want to tell. Neither is good for your credibility.

All that said, these are really cool clocks, and the bomb post was good too. But it’s obvious you’re trying to cover up your error. Quit blowing smoke and own up to it.

Hey, you knwo what? It would make a good “fail of the week” post. And for the same reasons. Failure happens, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, and we cant’ let it get in the way of trying. We need to normalize admitting error so that more people will do it.

I also think a post where you examine Ahmed’s clock the way you examine anything else, trying to identify chips, boards, and model numbers would be good forensic work.

Well, that article’s already been written. The video version is much shorter for those who don’t wish to type TLDN in response:

But stop by the comments section yourself if you’d like to join in on the “fun.”

(Headline inspired by this long running series at Small Dead Animals.)