So anything I had to say about the Amazon business? Gets said here
. Someone probably had the idea of reducing Amazon's exposure to bad publicity without increasing the site's legal liability. Manual censorship of the rankings would certainly make the service more liable, so the idea was probably a tool that would let the site's users do the work for it. After all, if the community doesn't like it, then, well, US community standards laws apply and you're safe. A group of developers coded it up, and it worked well - for a while.
Either a parameter wasn't quite right, or someone released a new version of a keyword file without testing - and, well, suddenly the GLBT books were off the list. Maybe someone gamed the system, too - it's impossible to tell from outside.
A separate test and operations team would have been likely to spot the underlying flaw before it got released - or at least spotted the first wave of complaints and started to triage them effectively, with a more productive response than "It's a glitch".
So now Amazon has to unwind data that's spread across its distributed application platform, which may be stored in any or all of three different kinds of database, and in at least three different geographies and many more data centres.
It happens in the best of companies, yo. Combined with a Cust. Service dept. that sees 'LGBT' in the initial customer query and assumes that the system is functioning as designed, and this is part of policy. But due to the fact that the initial complaints were, understandably from one single, and fairly limited viewpoint, as are all single-user reports
, the cust. service lady totally missed the point, didn't understand the depth or breadth of the issue, and gave a form response that lit a huge storm of shit up.
So Jesus rolled that rock over, took one look at his twitter stream and said, "fuck it, goin' back to bed. Peace."