[FoRK] what the hell, facebook

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Wed Jun 19 20:49:24 PDT 2013

On 6/19/13 7:58 PM, Ken Meltsner wrote:
> Clearly age discrimination, since I suspect there are lots of young
> arrogant people there.

The distribution of arrogance skews to youth, don't you think?
Except for the onset of senility, I would think that most of those older 
have enough perspective to seldom be very arrogant.

Look at the range of definitions:


ar·ro·gant  (r-gnt)
1. Having or displaying a sense of overbearing self-worth or 
2. Marked by or arising from a feeling or assumption of one's 
superiority toward others: an arrogant contempt for the weak. See 
Synonyms at proud.

arrogant [?ær?g?nt]
having or showing an exaggerated opinion of one's own importance, merit, 
ability, etc.; conceited; overbearingly proud an arrogant teacher an 
arrogant assumption
[from Latin arroga-re to claim as one's own; see arrogate]

ar.ro.gant (?ær ? g?nt)

1. making claims or pretensions to superior importance or rights.
2. characterized by or proceeding from arrogance: arrogant claims.
[1350--1400; Middle English < Latin arrogant-, s. of arro-ga-ns, orig. 
present participle of arroga-re. See arrogate]

Adj.    1.    arrogant - having or showing feelings of unwarranted 
importance out of overbearing pridearrogant - having or showing feelings 
of unwarranted importance out of overbearing pride; "an arrogant 
official"; "arrogant claims"; "chesty as a peacock"
self-important, chesty

Based on emphasis of the "exaggerated" and "sense of overbearing" and 
"assumption", "claims or pretensions", I count as arrogant those 
unwarranted or clearly counterfactual assertions of greater worth, 
authority, and status.  Reasonably objective statements and assessments, 
accompanied by caveats and limitations when appropriate, seem fairly 
neutral to me.  If you're interviewing, the implicit and explicit goal 
is clear exposition.

"I work at Google so I know more than you on this subject." may be 
arrogant or factual, depending.
"I went to Stanford so I should lead." may be arrogant while "Thrun and 
Ng taught me these cutting edge methods last month." is probably not.

Youth are more likely to make errors of overestimation of their 
immediate capability, and be verbal about it, oblivious to various 

Some people might see as arrogant someone who decides to take on 
something they may or may not grow to handle.  A different, probably 
more useful perspective is that this is the best way to learn and grow, 
even if it leads to falling short sometimes.  As long as you aren't 
selecting yourself over others for some scarce and important resource, 
it is hard to call that arrogant in the full sense.

I took two AI classes at Stanford as soon as I moved to the bay area, 
fully knowing that I had almost none of the prerequisites and expecting 
to fall far short.  I had no illusions, other than expecting more 
transparency, guidance, and to be able to get enough information to bail 
in time.  Later, when I took two AI classes, they were easy and I aced 
them.  Was the former attempt arrogant? Not really or at least not 
fully, because I knew full well that I wasn't at that level yet and 
never indicated any confidence that I was.  And I learned a large amount 
in any case.

> Ken


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