theodp writes "A newly-surfaced Microsoft patent application describes methods of secretly matching up individuals whose shared 'fringe interests' might be 'a source of shame or embarrassment' to them should they become known to society-at-large. No, not sexual preferences. A much bigger taboo. Comic books. 'For example,' explains Microsoft in its filing, 'an ambitious professional is not likely to divulge that he likes, say, comic books, even though quite true. Appreciably, certain affinities especially those relating to fringe interests, eccentricities, or topics about which there is a common misconception or very little mainstream familiarity or understanding are generally omitted rather than included in conventional descriptions. Typically, this is so because these affinities might be a source of shame or embarrassment or incur undue explanation.'"
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