Ethics of AdBlock

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LaserGuy
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby LaserGuy » Fri Oct 16, 2015 5:15 am UTC

KrytenKoro wrote:
PAstrychef wrote:As for the restroom issue-maintaining them is a huge cost to businesses. Not letting the general public drive up your costs with no return is ok by me. Giant department stores like Walmart or Macy's expect a certain amount of walk through customers, but most food places don't. (Also, in the US the homeless population will use accessible restrooms for a lot more than a quick visit, driving those costs even higher. It's one thing to help the needy, it's another thing to expect that a business should lose custom while doing so.)

Sure. Like I said, no one business is obligated, by any means. But if every business does it, well, you're gonna have people forced to shit on the sidewalk. We can walk down the street without catching cholera because "you must buy something to use the restroom" is not the default social contract everywhere.


There are lots of places that have this exact situation. Most of the major tourist areas in Europe that I've visited, at least, have pay restrooms--as in, it's not even that you buy something, you just pay to use the restroom. There is no shit on the streets.

Consider the custom of giving cops a free meal. No business is -obligated- to do so, but there is a material benefit, especially for frequently-robbed places like gas stations, into enticing cops to loiter around.

Or, on a more cynical and a bit odious (to me) note, advertising that you give free drinks to pretty girls at nightclubs. It attracts the pretty girls, the pretty girls make the nightclub seem like a fun place to be, and now you have more paying customers then you would otherwise.


And all of these things are the choice of the business owner. If a cop shows up to a restaurant demanding a free meal, that's a protection racket (I'm sure that happens to, but it's presumably technically illegal).

Depending on your content, there are absolutely benefits for not insisting on monetizing every single person who consumes it. That doesn't mean it's at all wrong to produce content where you do need to monetize every single person -- my only critique of that kind of site is how often they forego their due diligence in vetting their ads, not that they have ads at all. But I've been arguing since the beginning against this notion that the mere existence of a method of monetizing consumers means that there is an implied contract that that is the minimum cost.


And businesses are free to make the decision of how they want to monetize their business. Consumers are not free to make that choice on their behalf.

morriswalters
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby morriswalters » Fri Oct 16, 2015 12:43 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:And businesses are free to make the decision of how they want to monetize their business. Consumers are not free to make that choice on their behalf.
False dichotomy. This is a market finding it's method. The content producer has an agreement with his ad partner. I have no such agreement. The content producer has thrown his goods on a public sidewalk and surrounded it with bill boards. Ignoring his billboards is my right. If I could find a way to block billboards in real life I would do that as well. The content producer is relying on the kindness of strangers. Please look at my billboards. I'm not kindly. The content producer needs to find a way to monetize his wares. That he hasn't succeeded is his problem, not mine. Facebook has solved this by being invasive, Twitter hasn't solved it at all. Google has been immensely successful. Andy Weir started The Martian on a blog, recognized he had something and monetized it of Amazon. That content producers can't effectively monetize their product is their problem.

Tyndmyr
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Oct 16, 2015 1:46 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:You can happily reject the deal, and ignore whatever a given merchant offers.

You are not, however, entitled to what he offers while denying him payment the payment he desires.
The deal is, the merchant puts stuff up on the PUBLIC internet, and I choose whatever I want to see. I do not choose to see ads. If the merchant does not like this deal, he or she can happily reject it by removing his site from the PUBLIC internet, and put it behind a paywall.

Jose


Again, you are simply repeating your standard. You are not justifying it. Why is *this* the standard? How do you know that it is?

KrytenKoro wrote:
PAstrychef wrote:As for the restroom issue-maintaining them is a huge cost to businesses. Not letting the general public drive up your costs with no return is ok by me. Giant department stores like Walmart or Macy's expect a certain amount of walk through customers, but most food places don't. (Also, in the US the homeless population will use accessible restrooms for a lot more than a quick visit, driving those costs even higher. It's one thing to help the needy, it's another thing to expect that a business should lose custom while doing so.)

Sure. Like I said, no one business is obligated, by any means. But if every business does it, well, you're gonna have people forced to shit on the sidewalk. We can walk down the street without catching cholera because "you must buy something to use the restroom" is not the default social contract everywhere.


I do so as a rule, and I have literally never been forced to shit on the sidewalk. In fact, it's not even something I need to contemplate. Do you frequently find yourself forced to shit on the sidewalk? Does *anyone* reading this actually experience this, or is this perhaps not a real issue?

This analogy applies particularly poorly to ad-supported content, as reading free web content is not a biological need. You avoiding an ad-laden site will not result in society crumbling while we all poop everywhere.

KrytenKoro wrote:Consider the custom of giving cops a free meal. No business is -obligated- to do so, but there is a material benefit, especially for frequently-robbed places like gas stations, into enticing cops to loiter around.


Yup. And such an exception is made clear to those who get a free meal. Payment is the default.

If you walk into a resteraunt, and just expect to be fed free, even if you are a cop, you're being a dick.

morriswalters wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:And businesses are free to make the decision of how they want to monetize their business. Consumers are not free to make that choice on their behalf.
False dichotomy. This is a market finding it's method. The content producer has an agreement with his ad partner. I have no such agreement. The content producer has thrown his goods on a public sidewalk and surrounded it with bill boards. Ignoring his billboards is my right. If I could find a way to block billboards in real life I would do that as well. The content producer is relying on the kindness of strangers. Please look at my billboards. I'm not kindly. The content producer needs to find a way to monetize his wares. That he hasn't succeeded is his problem, not mine. Facebook has solved this by being invasive, Twitter hasn't solved it at all. Google has been immensely successful. Andy Weir started The Martian on a blog, recognized he had something and monetized it of Amazon. That content producers can't effectively monetize their product is their problem.


How the hell is that a false dichotomy? If you disagree with his premise, he isn't even offering options, so it isn't a dichotomy in the first place.

Note that, again, we are talking about ethics, not about law. Statements like "I'm not kindly" don't really do a lot to support your position as ethical. Yes, we are all aware that you *can* block ads. But having the ability to do something does not make that thing ethical.

Do you have any actual support for your ethical premise at all, or you merely going to restate what you believe to be right yet again? What makes it "their problem", and thus, something for you to ethically be unconcerned about? How is this different from literally any other problem that affects you?

Do you view ethics as solely the question of what is convenient for you?

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ucim
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Fri Oct 16, 2015 2:04 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Andy Weir started The Martian on a blog, recognized he had something and monetized it of Amazon.
Actually, according to an interview, he tried to give it away on Amazon but Amazon would not let him. A price had to be charged in order to fit in the system. You can still download the book for free. He puts it out for free, it attracted moviemaker attention, and then the big money came unbidden. (I don't know how much of it he got, screenwriters are at the bottom of the heap).

Tyndmyr wrote:Again, you are simply repeating your standard. You are not justifying it. Why is *this* the standard? How do you know that it is?
You are doing the same.

An agreement requires both parties to agree. You have yet to justify and defend your claim that society agrees with your view. You merely state it again as if it were sufficient. This isn't an argument, this is just contradiction.

Jose
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Oct 16, 2015 2:09 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
morriswalters wrote:Andy Weir started The Martian on a blog, recognized he had something and monetized it of Amazon.
Actually, according to an interview, he tried to give it away on Amazon but Amazon would not let him. A price had to be charged in order to fit in the system. You can still download the book for free. He puts it out for free, it attracted moviemaker attention, and then the big money came unbidden. (I don't know how much of it he got, screenwriters are at the bottom of the heap).

Tyndmyr wrote:Again, you are simply repeating your standard. You are not justifying it. Why is *this* the standard? How do you know that it is?
You are doing the same.

An agreement requires both parties to agree. You have yet to justify and defend your claim that society agrees with your view. You merely state it again as if it were sufficient. This isn't an argument, this is just contradiction.

Jose


No. I've justified it with popular acceptance. The fact that the vast, vast majority does as I do, and not as you do, indicates that my behavior set is the popular one in society by definition.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Fri Oct 16, 2015 3:34 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:I've justified it with popular acceptance. The fact that the vast, vast majority does as I do, and not as you do, indicates that my behavior set is the popular one in society by definition.
No, you're confusing submission with acceptance.

Blocking ads is still an affirmative step, and is still "techy" enough for many people to not bother with it. I'd venture most people don't even know they can do it, or what it involves. Or it doesn't bother them, and "not bothering them" is not the same as "it's unethical to block if it bothers you". And despite this, adblock software is the most popular addon for Firefox.

So no, your "justification" does not fly.

Jose
Order of the Sillies, Honoris Causam - bestowed by charlie_grumbles on NP 859 * OTTscar winner: Wordsmith - bestowed by yappobiscuts and the OTT on NP 1832 * Ecclesiastical Calendar of the Order of the Holy Contradiction * Heartfelt thanks from addams and from me - you really made a difference.

morriswalters
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby morriswalters » Fri Oct 16, 2015 3:54 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Do you view ethics as solely the question of what is convenient for you?
I thought I'd answer this first. As an ideal yes, as a practical reality, only so much as it suits me.
Tyndmyr wrote:How the hell is that a false dichotomy?
Well, those certainly aren't the only options, and neither is completely true. But okay since it really changes nothing.
And businesses are free to make the decision of how they want to(try) monetize their business. Consumers are not free to make that choice on their behalf.
I've corrected the first and will explain the second. In point of fact the second statement is counterfactual. This is a negotiation. Content producers want something. I will pay for it under two conditions. One is that I agree to the price, the other is when the goods are presented to me in a way that I wish to consume them. The content producers in the case we are talking about, wants me to pay in time and attention. Fuck them in no uncertain terms. That is my negotiating position. There is probably some threshold that I will accept, but not the current one.

This is complicated by the fact the the content producer has used a public mechanism to hawk his content. That he threw it on the sidewalk where everybody can see it isn't my problem. His problem is to find a way to monetize his product so that we can exchange something of value, before his present content becomes valueless. When the process is complete, if the content has any real value then we will find some point that is mutually agreeable. That point hasn't been found yet.

When the negotiation is finished then simply taking the content will be unethical, as if in this world that means much. Apple sellers don't ply their wares without making sure that they can get paid. That takes effort.
Tyndmyr wrote:Note that, again, we are talking about ethics, not about law.
In a sense law enforces ethics. And you have used an implied contract as a rational. Don't drink that water if you don't wish me to.

edit
an interesting coda

Online ad industry, battling ad blockers, admits it messed up

elasto
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby elasto » Fri Oct 16, 2015 6:29 pm UTC


Good article.

In many ways, the ad industry is going through the same growing pains the music industry did a decade ago.

Ten years ago, the music industry was simply trying to maximize revenue and cared little how much they crippled user experience to do so. Users responded with a firm 'f*ck you' and torrenting threatened to undermine the monetization model completely. Eventually the industry relented and put user experience front and centre again, letting people consume content in the ways the market clearly demanded.

In recent times, the ad industry likewise went full-on for revenue maximization, caring little about how slow, cluttered, annoying and unsafe webpages got. Users again are responding with a clear 'f*ck you' and are threatening to decimate ads as a revenue stream. If the industry has any sense they will humbly relent as that article discusses, and, again, we can all live happily ever after.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Oct 16, 2015 7:09 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:I've justified it with popular acceptance. The fact that the vast, vast majority does as I do, and not as you do, indicates that my behavior set is the popular one in society by definition.
No, you're confusing submission with acceptance.

Blocking ads is still an affirmative step, and is still "techy" enough for many people to not bother with it. I'd venture most people don't even know they can do it, or what it involves. Or it doesn't bother them, and "not bothering them" is not the same as "it's unethical to block if it bothers you". And despite this, adblock software is the most popular addon for Firefox.

So no, your "justification" does not fly.

Jose


They quite literally accept the current situation. The reason why they accept it may indeed include apathy. So? It's still acceptance.

morriswalters wrote:point of fact the second statement is counterfactual. This is a negotiation. Content producers want something. I will pay for it under two conditions. One is that I agree to the price, the other is when the goods are presented to me in a way that I wish to consume them. The content producers in the case we are talking about, wants me to pay in time and attention. Fuck them in no uncertain terms. That is my negotiating position. There is probably some threshold that I will accept, but not the current one.


And that's a valid negotiating position. If you choose to not consume the content because the price is unacceptable to you, that is fine. If they want you back, they can work on that.

Screaming about the price being too high and making off with the goods anyway isn't negotiating.

This is complicated by the fact the the content producer has used a public mechanism to hawk his content. That he threw it on the sidewalk where everybody can see it isn't my problem. His problem is to find a way to monetize his product so that we can exchange something of value, before his present content becomes valueless. When the process is complete, if the content has any real value then we will find some point that is mutually agreeable. That point hasn't been found yet.


The internet ain't a sidewalk. You're sending a request, and the server is sending a response. This is not equivalent to something you must deal with regardless. If you want to never again visit a specific website, it's extremely easy to not. You don't have to "walk by" a website to get to another one.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby morriswalters » Fri Oct 16, 2015 7:44 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Screaming about the price being too high and making off with the goods anyway isn't negotiating.
I don't make off with anything. And I don't scream. :lol: See next.
Tyndmyr wrote:The internet ain't a sidewalk. You're sending a request, and the server is sending a response. This is not equivalent to something you must deal with regardless. If you want to never again visit a specific website, it's extremely easy to not. You don't have to "walk by" a website to get to another one.
True, and she can configure her server in whatever way that suits her. She can make it unsearchable for instance. She could put a landing page telling me whats expected of me. She could put a disclaimer at the top of the content telling me exactly what she expects. And if she does any of those things then I'm stealing. Otherwise I am looking at the content. The internet isn't a sidewalk. But it is public. Otherwise I couldn't be there.

We could waltz around this forever. I actually don't use ad blockers, I just don't go much of anywhere. But if we had followed this line of reasoning VCR's would have died or stayed prohibitively expensive. It's at least conceivable that they would have been designed without fast forward or rewind buttons. To prevent you from skipping commercials. Network series in on demand on my provider do precisely this. However in the end VCR's became a cash cow to content producers, which spawned all kinds of digital choices, which you utilize since you are a cord cutter I believe.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Fri Oct 16, 2015 7:50 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:So? It's still acceptance.
Surrender under assault is not the same as approval.

Tyndmyr wrote:The internet ain't a sidewalk. You're sending a request, and the server is sending a response.
A web page is a set of suggestions to the user agent, which may take those suggestions into account when rendering the page. You have yet to establish that it is unethical to not treat these suggestions as requirements to the user (never mind to the user agent).

If the content provider does not like the deal I am making in my HTTP negotiation, they are completely free to take their content elsewhere. The internet is a public arena (paid for with tax dollars to boot). It is very much a sidewalk.

Jose
Order of the Sillies, Honoris Causam - bestowed by charlie_grumbles on NP 859 * OTTscar winner: Wordsmith - bestowed by yappobiscuts and the OTT on NP 1832 * Ecclesiastical Calendar of the Order of the Holy Contradiction * Heartfelt thanks from addams and from me - you really made a difference.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Oct 16, 2015 9:13 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Screaming about the price being too high and making off with the goods anyway isn't negotiating.
I don't make off with anything. And I don't scream. :lol: See next.
Tyndmyr wrote:The internet ain't a sidewalk. You're sending a request, and the server is sending a response. This is not equivalent to something you must deal with regardless. If you want to never again visit a specific website, it's extremely easy to not. You don't have to "walk by" a website to get to another one.
True, and she can configure her server in whatever way that suits her. She can make it unsearchable for instance. She could put a landing page telling me whats expected of me. She could put a disclaimer at the top of the content telling me exactly what she expects. And if she does any of those things then I'm stealing. Otherwise I am looking at the content. The internet isn't a sidewalk. But it is public. Otherwise I couldn't be there.


You're using very strange and conflicting definitions of public. Is a store public? Can you be in a store? Do you require explicit listings of all acceptable and unacceptable behavior before interacting with literally anything?

Is that even reasonable? I mean, some places DO have EULAs for that. Do you, or does anyone, actually read them in great detail? I would hold that social convention sort of views the EULA with disdain, and normal usage is to click the okay button with as little attention paid as possible.

We could waltz around this forever. I actually don't use ad blockers, I just don't go much of anywhere. But if we had followed this line of reasoning VCR's would have died or stayed prohibitively expensive. It's at least conceivable that they would have been designed without fast forward or rewind buttons. To prevent you from skipping commercials. Network series in on demand on my provider do precisely this. However in the end VCR's became a cash cow to content producers, which spawned all kinds of digital choices, which you utilize since you are a cord cutter I believe.


*shrug* There's a number of ways it could go. However, there is a difference between ethical behavior and technical capabilities. I do not believe that one absolutely requires the other match it.

As for myself, I actually watch fairly little television. I sporadically hit youtube or netflix, the former of which has acceptable levels of advertisement, and the latter of which has a paywall. Both of these are fine, but I do not believe that either required the VCR to exist.

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:So? It's still acceptance.
Surrender under assault is not the same as approval.


There we go with the 'assault' again.

This is...kind of trivializing to actual assault, yknow? Seeing an ad, even one you dislike, is not the same as having been assaulted.

Also, your argument is circular. You're justifying your viewpoint by, again, simple redefinition of a really common word to mean something else. You aren't proving that it actually is assault.

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:The internet ain't a sidewalk. You're sending a request, and the server is sending a response.
A web page is a set of suggestions to the user agent, which may take those suggestions into account when rendering the page. You have yet to establish that it is unethical to not treat these suggestions as requirements to the user (never mind to the user agent).


A web page is not merely a bunch of suggestions, which you are free to do with as you will. Content is content, and is subject to a number of legal and ethical restrictions. For instance, we all agree, I hope, that if you're ripping off someone else's content, you're a bad person, and behaving unethically. Certainly, there are significant movements against plagarism, unattributed/uncompensated use of art, etc.

So, clearly some restrictions exist.

Do you accept that any of these are ethically wrong, or do you hold that literally any behavior not prohibited by technology is okay?

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Fri Oct 16, 2015 10:07 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:This is...kind of trivializing to actual assault, yknow? Seeing an ad, even one you dislike, is not the same as having been assaulted. [...] You aren't proving that it actually is assault.
I'm using the word correctly. You're probably thinking of "battery". That's why the crime is known as "assault and battery". They are separate acts.

Tyndmyr wrote:A web page is not merely a bunch of suggestions, which you are free to do with as you will. Content is content, and is subject to...
A web page is not content. Content is delivered via a web page. A web page is a set of suggestions on how this content might be delivered. Content that is publicly available (i.e. not behind a paywall, login, or other security mechanism), is public. The content provider has no say in whether or not I have to view it in a certan context, manner, or style.
Spoiler:
There are laws regarding broadcast radio prohibiting commercial use, and those laws have been stretched to include playing a radio in a dentist office without paying "background music" fees; I find those restrictions unethical myself. Again, legal and ethical are two different animals. They often don't align because sausages. And further, "social conventions" and "ethical" are also not the same.
No, plagarism and such is not ethical, but that's not under discussion, nor is it relevant.

The content provider has made their content available. No requirements (login, payment, whatever) were enforced. It just happens to be displayed next to something else (if my browser takes the suggestion to put the two side by side, or even to display the other thing in the first place).

This is not like a store, where the idea of not walking in and taking stuff isn't just "social convention" but law, enforced by armed police. It's more like a newspaper, where I can dump the classified, the coupons, the special advertising section, the circulars, the stick-on commercial announcements (which are becoming very annoying), and do this even before I read the headlines.

And further, I can get somebody else to do this for me, and have them even cut the regular page advertisements out, just clipping the articles I want to read. And that's what adblock is doing on the web. If adblock is unethical, then it is also unethcial for me to have somebody cut articles out of the newspaper for me to read.

Jose
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Oct 16, 2015 10:25 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:This is...kind of trivializing to actual assault, yknow? Seeing an ad, even one you dislike, is not the same as having been assaulted. [...] You aren't proving that it actually is assault.
I'm using the word correctly. You're probably thinking of "battery". That's why the crime is known as "assault and battery". They are separate acts.


I am aware of the difference.

Assault still has a fairly clear bar. Stabbing at someone with a knife and missing is assault. Displaying an ad is not assault. Merely disliking something does not make it assault. There has to be an attempt at physical contact.

If you can explain where on the doll the ad tried to touch you, you might have justification for calling it assault.

Tyndmyr wrote:A web page is not merely a bunch of suggestions, which you are free to do with as you will. Content is content, and is subject to...
A web page is not content. Content is delivered via a web page. A web page is a set of suggestions on how this content might be delivered. Content that is publicly available (i.e. not behind a paywall, login, or other security mechanism), is public. The content provider has no say in whether or not I have to view it in a certan context, manner, or style.
Spoiler:
There are laws regarding broadcast radio prohibiting commercial use, and those laws have been stretched to include playing a radio in a dentist office without paying "background music" fees; I find those restrictions unethical myself. Again, legal and ethical are two different animals. They often don't align because sausages. And further, "social conventions" and "ethical" are also not the same.
No, plagarism and such is not ethical, but that's not under discussion, nor is it relevant.

The content provider has made their content available. No requirements (login, payment, whatever) were enforced. It just happens to be displayed next to something else (if my browser takes the suggestion to put the two side by side, or even to display the other thing in the first place).

This is not like a store, where the idea of not walking in and taking stuff isn't just "social convention" but law, enforced by armed police. It's more like a newspaper, where I can dump the classified, the coupons, the special advertising section, the circulars, the stick-on commercial announcements (which are becoming very annoying), and do this even before I read the headlines.

And further, I can get somebody else to do this for me, and have them even cut the regular page advertisements out, just clipping the articles I want to read. And that's what adblock is doing on the web. If adblock is unethical, then it is also unethcial for me to have somebody cut articles out of the newspaper for me to read.

Jose


The case of someone cutting articles out of the newspaper for you to read would still result in someone being exposed to the ad. No big deal there.

It would be a little strange to have a robot that chops all ads out of your newspaper before you touched it, though. That would go beyond social norms.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby morriswalters » Fri Oct 16, 2015 11:06 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:You're using very strange and conflicting definitions of public. Is a store public? Can you be in a store? Do you require explicit listings of all acceptable and unacceptable behavior before interacting with literally anything?
Yes and no. The space is available to you if the store is open for some purposes. You can be detained for cause. Concealing merchandise even if you don't intend to steal it may be illegal. And everything that is for sale is marked as such. A Farmers market set up in a parking lot is no different. Nothing in a store can be removed without permission because of the force of law. And you had better know the law. If you can't defend a right you don't have it. There are no implicit contracts, you just grew up knowing the rules. And this shows up all over the place. In copyright, trademarks, in property.
Tyndmyr wrote:Is that even reasonable? I mean, some places DO have EULAs for that. Do you, or does anyone, actually read them in great detail? I would hold that social convention sort of views the EULA with disdain, and normal usage is to click the okay button with as little attention paid as possible.
Mostly I don't read EULA's, I just accept that I probably don't like them. But it defines the ground, and they have legal force. I also feel free to ignore them if they are unenforceable.
Tyndmyr wrote:It would be a little strange to have a robot that chops all ads out of your newspaper before you touched it, though. That would go beyond social norms.
It's odd that this came up. There are such services. They've been around since the 1800's. I hope you didn't honestly think that busy people read indiscriminately.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby notzeb » Fri Oct 16, 2015 11:11 pm UTC

I'm a little disturbed by the claim that since most people are too apathetic about something to take action against it, there is automatically a social agreement that it is an ethically good thing.

Imagine that there is a street you walk down every day (maybe it is a street connecting your home to a convenience store). One day a strong looking fellow starts standing on the side of the street, looking at the people that walk by, and then telling them the single word "ugly". Most people simply ignore the comment - it's just one word, and they doubt that trying to retaliate is really a good idea (a few people do complain, but the police are unwilling to do anything since the person in question routinely donates large amounts of money to the development of the city). After several months, perhaps, you notice that being called ugly on a daily basis has somehow had an effect on your self-esteem, even though on a rational level you know that the comment is meaningless. So you buy some earplugs.

You have now gone against the implied social agreement, and are taking your first steps towards pure evil.
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Sat Oct 17, 2015 3:09 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Assault still has a fairly clear bar. Stabbing at someone with a knife and missing is assault. Displaying an ad is not assault.
The crime of "Assault", at Common Law, is an intentional act by one person that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent harmful or offensive contact. This is defined in the criminal code, and deals with the criminal act of assault.

Outside of criminal law, the word is used to mean any kind of attack, including a strong or cutting verbal tirade against a person. An assault can be physical, physiological, or psychological. Not all (such) assaults are criminal; the word has much wider use than at law.

Many web ads are an assault. Some ads amount to criminal assault on my property (planting malware and the like). Partly because of the behavior of the entire online ad industry (which includes spamers - I'm about to have to close an entire server because of a spam onslaught that I cannot stop), and partly because of my own experiences with web advertising, flash, and scripting, and partly because of the amount of precious screen real estate and computing resources these ads use, web ads certainly create an apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive contact with my property. My computer has been assaulted (to the point of crashing) by online ads. My eyeballs have been assaulted by the moving and flashing graphics of online ads which prevent me from concentrating on the subject at hand. Some ads step on top of the content (sometimes by design, sometimes by poor web authorship).

Assault is the correct word.

I'm sorry that the "nice" ads get lost in the fray. The nice ads can take it up with the rest of the industry.

===

I have two classical music stations where I live. Driving around, I listen to one of them for free, and enjoy consuming the content. As soon as an ad comes on, I change to the other station, which is usually in the middle of another beautiful piece of music. When they go to an ad, I switch back. I do not consider this unethical at all. Nonetheless, I am consuming this content over the air without "paying" for it in attention. "Free" radio depends on ads for their revenue, and I am ruthlessly depriving them of it. There's no security threat here; I just don't want to listen to ads.

Do you consider this to be unethical?

Jose
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Oct 19, 2015 4:54 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:It would be a little strange to have a robot that chops all ads out of your newspaper before you touched it, though. That would go beyond social norms.
It's odd that this came up. There are such services. They've been around since the 1800's. I hope you didn't honestly think that busy people read indiscriminately.


You cut out half my quote in order to take this out of context. Go back and re-read it, and you'll understand.

notzeb wrote:I'm a little disturbed by the claim that since most people are too apathetic about something to take action against it, there is automatically a social agreement that it is an ethically good thing.


That is not the claim. The claim is that, since most people accept it, even if due to apathy, it is the default course of action. You can't reasonably claim ignorance of something almost everyone does, nor is it reasonable to demand signs or notices explicitly requiring every minor behavior that everyone does. If that was how society worked, there would be stupid notices literally everywhere, and it would be difficult to notice the exceptions amid all the pointless repetition of the regular rules.

You can claim all sorts of grounds for why something is evil, but the argument taken so far is basically "I don't recognize this as a social norm". Which is frigging weird, when basically everyone does that. So, that PARTICULAR line of claiming moral justification for adblocking is really strange, and basically involves arbitrary re-definitions(much like the "assault" categorization does).

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Assault still has a fairly clear bar. Stabbing at someone with a knife and missing is assault. Displaying an ad is not assault.
The crime of "Assault", at Common Law, is an intentional act by one person that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent harmful or offensive contact. This is defined in the criminal code, and deals with the criminal act of assault.

Outside of criminal law, the word is used to mean any kind of attack, including a strong or cutting verbal tirade against a person. An assault can be physical, physiological, or psychological. Not all (such) assaults are criminal; the word has much wider use than at law.


Ah, so since some people use the word loosely by way of comparison, you wish to use it more broadly, and treat it literally for some reason.

Next you'll be claim that, as someone on the subway shot daggers at you with her eyes, punching her in the face was self defense.

I have two classical music stations where I live. Driving around, I listen to one of them for free, and enjoy consuming the content. As soon as an ad comes on, I change to the other station, which is usually in the middle of another beautiful piece of music. When they go to an ad, I switch back. I do not consider this unethical at all. Nonetheless, I am consuming this content over the air without "paying" for it in attention. "Free" radio depends on ads for their revenue, and I am ruthlessly depriving them of it. There's no security threat here; I just don't want to listen to ads.

Do you consider this to be unethical?


Strictly, they are different cases. Manually avoiding ads is different than having them auto-filtered. There is at least minimal exposure, and you can decide to continue to pay attention or not. This is not really different from walking to the fridge during a commercial break.

That said, it does continue to paint a picture of you as someone who is very uninterested in supporting those who provide you with things you like, as even in non-advertising related examples, you have expounded that you believe you have no ethical responsibilities outside of explicit agreements you have made. This viewpoint seems strange, and not compatible with most ethical systems. May I ask what exactly ethical means to you?

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby morriswalters » Mon Oct 19, 2015 5:23 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:You cut out half my quote in order to take this out of context. Go back and re-read it, and you'll understand.
OK the total quote.
Tyndmyr wrote:The case of someone cutting articles out of the newspaper for you to read would still result in someone being exposed to the ad. No big deal there.

It would be a little strange to have a robot that chops all ads out of your newspaper before you touched it, though. That would go beyond social norms.
I suspect if you looked you would in fact find that the process is automated in some cases. However in your view, what difference does it make. The content producer is still being denied the eyeballs of one of the content consumers. Whoever ends up with the clippings. So if I loaded two copies of the web page at the same time and only displayed the one with ad block, what is my ethical position? The page is perceived as viewed by the ad company. I got my content without the ad. No big deal, right?

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Oct 19, 2015 7:25 pm UTC

If you want to look at a page both with and without adblock, I see no particular ethical problem. Perhaps interesting for research purposes.

You seem to deliberately be confusing "load" and "look at", though. They are not the same.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Oct 19, 2015 7:41 pm UTC

KrytenKoro wrote:
PAstrychef wrote:As for the restroom issue-maintaining them is a huge cost to businesses. Not letting the general public drive up your costs with no return is ok by me. Giant department stores like Walmart or Macy's expect a certain amount of walk through customers, but most food places don't. (Also, in the US the homeless population will use accessible restrooms for a lot more than a quick visit, driving those costs even higher. It's one thing to help the needy, it's another thing to expect that a business should lose custom while doing so.)

Sure. Like I said, no one business is obligated, by any means. But if every business does it, well, you're gonna have people forced to shit on the sidewalk. We can walk down the street without catching cholera because "you must buy something to use the restroom" is not the default social contract everywhere.

Consider the custom of giving cops a free meal. No business is -obligated- to do so, but there is a material benefit, especially for frequently-robbed places like gas stations, into enticing cops to loiter around.

Or, on a more cynical and a bit odious (to me) note, advertising that you give free drinks to pretty girls at nightclubs. It attracts the pretty girls, the pretty girls make the nightclub seem like a fun place to be, and now you have more paying customers then you would otherwise.

Depending on your content, there are absolutely benefits for not insisting on monetizing every single person who consumes it. That doesn't mean it's at all wrong to produce content where you do need to monetize every single person -- my only critique of that kind of site is how often they forego their due diligence in vetting their ads, not that they have ads at all. But I've been arguing since the beginning against this notion that the mere existence of a method of monetizing consumers means that there is an implied contract that that is the minimum cost.


Going back to this for a moment, yes, businesses do not need to, and generally don't, monetize every customer who walks through the door. That said, if you are a repeat and frequent guest, I guarantee that they are expecting that you are going to be purchasing something. If you go to a cafe every day for a month, use the restrooms, spend an hour or two sitting at a table using the WiFi, and during that entire period, never buy anything, how long do you think it will take before they start showing you the door?

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby morriswalters » Mon Oct 19, 2015 7:49 pm UTC

I hope I didn't say look at. The ad man can't know that you looked. He can only know if you load the page. And the only way he can know that is if his ad is loaded from his server. He can't know if I look. So if I load the page and it does everything except display on my monitor than I in effect have done that for which he pays the content producer. Now if I read the same page concurrently with ad block, I have fulfilled the so called contract with the content producer, ignored the ads and we are all good, right?

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby KrytenKoro » Mon Oct 19, 2015 7:54 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:I do so as a rule, and I have literally never been forced to shit on the sidewalk. In fact, it's not even something I need to contemplate. Do you frequently find yourself forced to shit on the sidewalk? Does *anyone* reading this actually experience this, or is this perhaps not a real issue?

I've worked at the kind of grocery stores we're talking about, and I've got to witness when someone didn't make it to the bathroom in time (due to age, youth, or health). While I've never myself reached that fatal moment since getting out of diapers (and don't pretend you were perfectly potty trained since coming out of the womb, that's bulls--well, close enough), I've certainly suffered sudden onsets of food poisoning where each "our restroom is only open to clients" brought me closer and closer to despair until a miraculous moment where someone took mercy on me.

If you are of the opinion that it's not a concern, then you're simply wrong. There's not much more to clarify about it -- it does happen (and historically, was a plague on social health, and still is in some parts of the world), and restricting access to paying customers makes it more likely to happen where you'll have to clean it up. You've apparently been lucky, and that's great for you, but it's counterfactual to claim it doesn't happen at all.

This analogy applies particularly poorly to ad-supported content, as reading free web content is not a biological need. You avoiding an ad-laden site will not result in society crumbling while we all poop everywhere.

It's not meant to be an analogy, it's meant to point out that the implicit social contract being assumed is not the universal law that it is being claimed to be. That is the whole of my point in this thread.

KrytenKoro wrote:If you walk into a resteraunt, and just expect to be fed free, even if you are a cop, you're being a dick.

You may be being arrogant, but you're not being unreasonable (it's a common paradigm and thus a logical expectation) or unethical (you are not forcing the owner to serve you for free, or refusing to pay when he asks you for money). The point of the issue is that in certain cases, it's desirable -not- to monetize every single consumer, and such paradigms are common enough in "meat life" and on the internet that the assumption of a default, implicit social contract is hogwash.

Consuming content with adblock on does not become unethical until an actual social contract is being breached, and due to the actual context of society, the creator needs to communicate that contract in order for it to exist. As soon as they do, whether by simple word or by force, yes, it's absolutely theft and unethical to continue consuming, but no earlier.

Going back to this for a moment, yes, businesses do not need to, and generally don't, monetize every customer who walks through the door. That said, if you are a repeat and frequent guest, I guarantee that they are expecting that you are going to be purchasing something. If you go to a cafe every day for a month, use the restrooms, spend an hour or two sitting at a table using the WiFi, and during that entire period, never buy anything, how long do you think it will take before they start showing you the door?

Not a counterexample to my argument. Once they show you the door, they've communicated that they will not accept the current paradigm, and it would be unethical for you to keep showing up there without buying anything.

If you can take a look at this from the opposite perspective, perhaps you could see how it is bad for business for a potential consumer to assume by default that they are unwelcome in an establishment until they have handed over money or, at the very least, solidly committed to a purchase? The assumption that one is free to examine what is for sale before committing to a purchase must be treated as acceptable, or, yes, the system crumbles.
From the elegant yelling of this compelling dispute comes the ghastly suspicion my opposition's a fruit.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Oct 19, 2015 8:45 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:I hope I didn't say look at. The ad man can't know that you looked. He can only know if you load the page. And the only way he can know that is if his ad is loaded from his server. He can't know if I look. So if I load the page and it does everything except display on my monitor than I in effect have done that for which he pays the content producer. Now if I read the same page concurrently with ad block, I have fulfilled the so called contract with the content producer, ignored the ads and we are all good, right?


What is an ethical action for you is determined by what you do, not by what can be proved you did. Murder does not become more ethical if you're sure you can't be caught*.

KrytenKoro wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:I do so as a rule, and I have literally never been forced to shit on the sidewalk. In fact, it's not even something I need to contemplate. Do you frequently find yourself forced to shit on the sidewalk? Does *anyone* reading this actually experience this, or is this perhaps not a real issue?

I've worked at the kind of grocery stores we're talking about, and I've got to witness when someone didn't make it to the bathroom in time (due to age, youth, or health). While I've never myself reached that fatal moment since getting out of diapers (and don't pretend you were perfectly potty trained since coming out of the womb, that's bulls--well, close enough), I've certainly suffered sudden onsets of food poisoning where each "our restroom is only open to clients" brought me closer and closer to despair until a miraculous moment where someone took mercy on me.


So, you're saying "shit on the sidewalk" was an option, but a token purchase was out of the question? Granted, such a situation really cannot arise with ads, since blocking ads is hardly a biological necessity, but in general, society, at least in developed countries, seems to have mostly got the "not pooping in the street" thing handled.

KrytenKoro wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:If you walk into a resteraunt, and just expect to be fed free, even if you are a cop, you're being a dick.

You may be being arrogant, but you're not being unreasonable (it's a common paradigm and thus a logical expectation) or unethical (you are not forcing the owner to serve you for free, or refusing to pay when he asks you for money). The point of the issue is that in certain cases, it's desirable -not- to monetize every single consumer, and such paradigms are common enough in "meat life" and on the internet that the assumption of a default, implicit social contract is hogwash.


One can be rude and or act unethically, even when not *forcing* someone to do something. Now, granted, forcing tends to be a little more easy to justify as unethical, but it's polite to check for exeptions to default pricing. To ask about senior citizen pricing, military discount, police discounts, etc...that's fine. To just expect it without asking is kind of rude, because the default at a resteraunt is to pay. Even if your particular exception is common in a given area, you should still check because it's an exception to a general rule. If they want to charge full price to cops, they absolutely can.

A desire to not monitize is fine. But when a desire to monetize is indicated, one should not simply assume one is the exception, and walk out without paying.

KrytenKoro wrote:
Going back to this for a moment, yes, businesses do not need to, and generally don't, monetize every customer who walks through the door. That said, if you are a repeat and frequent guest, I guarantee that they are expecting that you are going to be purchasing something. If you go to a cafe every day for a month, use the restrooms, spend an hour or two sitting at a table using the WiFi, and during that entire period, never buy anything, how long do you think it will take before they start showing you the door?

Not a counterexample to my argument. Once they show you the door, they've communicated that they will not accept the current paradigm, and it would be unethical for you to keep showing up there without buying anything.

If you can take a look at this from the opposite perspective, perhaps you could see how it is bad for business for a potential consumer to assume by default that they are unwelcome in an establishment until they have handed over money or, at the very least, solidly committed to a purchase? The assumption that one is free to examine what is for sale before committing to a purchase must be treated as acceptable, or, yes, the system crumbles.


Those are not opposites at all.

Sitting at a table using the wifi and "examining what is for sale" are not the same thing. The former is using a free service they have made available to customers. If you're doing that, without ever being a customer, you are indeed exploiting the system.

Yes, you can rely on waiting until they catch you, and kick you out or bar you from returning...but, not being a dick in social situations usually revolves around not pushing things to that point. Act in such a manner that you do not need to fear being caught.

*Barring very strange ethical systems.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Oct 19, 2015 8:50 pm UTC

KrytenKoro wrote:Not a counterexample to my argument. Once they show you the door, they've communicated that they will not accept the current paradigm, and it would be unethical for you to keep showing up there without buying anything.


The ethics of the situation don't change depending on whether you get caught.

If you can take a look at this from the opposite perspective, perhaps you could see how it is bad for business for a potential consumer to assume by default that they are unwelcome in an establishment until they have handed over money or, at the very least, solidly committed to a purchase? The assumption that one is free to examine what is for sale before committing to a purchase must be treated as acceptable, or, yes, the system crumbles.


Yeah, but I'm not talking about potential customers. I'm talking about people who are actively, repeatedly using the service. They are customers in every sense of the term except they aren't paying. If you're visiting a website every day, or multiple times a day, you aren't a "potential customer" who is just checking things out to see what it's like, and it is extremely disingenuous to try to pass yourself off as one. At best, I'd read this argument as: It's okay to adblock websites that you've never been to or aren't sure about, but if you regular or frequent visitor of a website, then you ought to whitelist (or donate, subscribe, etc. depending on the service).

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby morriswalters » Mon Oct 19, 2015 9:08 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:What is an ethical action for you is determined by what you do, not by what can be proved you did. Murder does not become more ethical if you're sure you can't be caught*.
I have the ethics of a pig. But that wasn't what I asked. Three pieces. The content, the ads, and me. I satisfied the needs of the content producer by downloading the page and the ads. She got paid. I got what I wanted. The ad company got ignored as they would have in any case. Is it your intention to argue that ethically I am required to view the ads? What is it that I'm stealing?

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Tue Oct 20, 2015 6:53 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Ah, so since some people use the word loosely by way of comparison, you wish to use it more broadly, and treat it literally for some reason.
I use the word the way it is used in general conversation, not necessarily in the strictly defined legal sense. This is a general conversation, not a court case. As a conversation, it doesn't even deal with legal matters, it deals with ethical matters, which are different (and often unrelated).

Tyndmyr wrote:Next you'll be claim that, as someone on the subway shot daggers at you with her eyes, punching her in the face was self defense.
Your attack is unwarranted and unworthy of you.

Tyndmyr wrote:Strictly, they are different cases.
Of course, strictly they are different cases. If they were strictly the same case, there would be identity, not analogy. I don't see in any way how manual vs automatic ad avoidance (you might prefer to call it "evasion", to be strict about it) makes a whit of difference. Hearing "and now a word from our sponsor" is hardly exposure to an ad on the radio. No, I've pretty much completely evaded the "important commercial messages" while listening to the radio for free. I can even envision (a good Kickstarter project) a device that listens to the radio for me, and mutes it when an ad plays; ad content has a noticably differenet audio spectrum than non-ad content. It would not be unethical to create or use such a device.

eta:
Tyndmyr wrote:The claim is that, since most people accept it, even if due to apathy, it is the default course of action.
The claim is further that, since it is the default course of action, it becomes an unwritten social agreement. I disagree with that. It takes more to make an agreement.

Tyndmyr wrote:That said, it does continue to paint a picture of you as someone who is very uninterested in supporting those who provide you with things you like...
Internet ads (especially) are not a "thing that I like". But that's besides the point.

The point is that there is no unwritten social agreement in place that requires me to load commercial advertising content (and its associated cookies, trackers, scripts, and whatnot) onto my equipment, nor to allow it access to my precious screen real estate, nor pay attention to it, nor to click through and/or purchase the hawked goods.

First off, social agreements, written or otherwise, are agreements. They require that society in general agree that thus and such action is warranted and expected, to the extent that the general public will stand up and apply social pressure to those who do not conform. This happens with things like jumping the queue, washing your hands after using the bathroom, eating with knife and fork, skinnydipping. Sometimes they get codified into law, but more often than not, social pressure is sufficient.

There is no general social pressure to load and/or watch advertisements (except perhaps by the advertisers themselves). It is not a social agreement that one should allow advertisers access to your machine and your mind in exchange for reading public material.

responding to morriswalters, Tyndmyr wrote:You seem to deliberately be confusing "load" and "look at", though. They are not the same.
They are close enough. "Load" means make my computer vulnerable to. "Look at" means make my mind vulnerable to. I have no ethical obligation to become vulnerable, just because I selected and viewed some content that was placed on the PUBLIC internet.

Tyndmyr wrote:May I ask what exactly ethical means to you?
In short, ethics is one of several "good - bad" spectra that are often used as proxies for one another, but are in fact quite different. Some of them are:

lawful-criminal
nice-dickish
conforming-deviant
ethical-unethical
honorable-oily
fair-unfair

These are independent; it is quite possible to be lawful and dickish, or oily and ethical, at the same time. That something is dickish does not make it unethical.

Actions affect more than one entity, and it is quite possible (for example) that being nice to one entails being dickish to another. And I, myself, am one of the entities involved; ignoring this leads to complete self-sacrifice "for the good of others". I don't buy into that. I also don't buy into the idea that somebody's hopes and desires engenders in me an obligation, especially when the hopes and desires are from a much more powerful entity than myself.

Ethics are about the underlying reasoning behind the balance of decisions one makes which one the one hand could adversely and unfairly affect others, to one's own benefit, or on the other hand, entail foregoing or sacrifice in order to not harm another. Part of the calculus is "unfairly", and another is "harm".

By viewing part of the public content of a public site, I do no harm. Granted, I consume bandwidth, but that is harm only in the sense that breathing is harmful to the environment. The content has been made available on the public internet; it is there to be consumed. The content provider (and/or their affiliated or unaffiliated co-providors) is (probably) hopeful that I consume other content as well, but their hopefulness does not make it unfair to them that I do not. The content provider may have made deals with other companies to attempt to suggest to my browser that it display their content to me; those deals are none of my business. I do no harm by not conforming to their hopes and dreams. It is not unfair. That's the way the public internet works.

Now, even if there were an "implied social agreement" to do or not do something, going against this "agreement" would not necessarily be unethical. Ethics has nothing to do with it, except to the extent that ethics was the original reason for the rise of this particular social convention. Jumping the queue comes to mind.
Spoiler:
And while I'm on that subject; a pet peeve of mine. It is conventional to ask the person you are cutting in front of if it's ok to do so. However, it is not conventional to ask everyone else behind that person; they are equally affected by your cutting in line and should have an equal voice. But by "implied social agreement" (in the US), they do not have a voice. It's likely thought dickish to complain. However, it would be far less unfair if, instead of allowing somebody to cut in front, the social convention were to trade places with the one wishing to jump the queue. This would at least make it fair(er) to the people behind, as they would not have to wait for an extra person. [/pet peeve]
In the case of internet advertising, ethics is not involved, except for the execrable ethics of the advertising industry to begin with. They and their cohorts get no sympathy from me.

Jose
Order of the Sillies, Honoris Causam - bestowed by charlie_grumbles on NP 859 * OTTscar winner: Wordsmith - bestowed by yappobiscuts and the OTT on NP 1832 * Ecclesiastical Calendar of the Order of the Holy Contradiction * Heartfelt thanks from addams and from me - you really made a difference.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby KrytenKoro » Wed Oct 21, 2015 3:00 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:The ethics of the situation don't change depending on whether you get caught.

It's not "being caught" to change from "I'm okay with you doing this" to "I'm no longer okay with you doing this". You weren't hiding anything from them. If a friend tells me I can crash at his house for a week but no longer, I haven't "been caught" when I leave on the seventh day. Accepting and giving handouts with a limit is not a "getting caught" situation.

If you're visiting a website every day, or multiple times a day, you aren't a "potential customer" who is just checking things out to see what it's like, and it is extremely disingenuous to try to pass yourself off as one.

The kind of websites I visit, yes I am. I've purchased goods from those websites, after being convinced of their quality. I've funded kickstarters for those websites. Mostly webcomics, and their model relies on people checking things out and creating a community to spread the word, with some eventually buying books or funding patreons and kickstarters.

At best, I'd read this argument as: It's okay to adblock websites that you've never been to or aren't sure about, but if you regular or frequent visitor of a website, then you ought to whitelist (or donate, subscribe, etc. depending on the service).

If that's what the website asks you to do.

If they don't, yes, it would definitely be ethical and kind to whitelist them, but that doesn't mean it's unethical not to.

I'm not going to address the donate and subscribe bits, partially because of the below, and partially because they're completely superfluous to the topic.

Yeah, but I'm not talking about potential customers. I'm talking about people who are actively, repeatedly using the service. They are customers in every sense of the term except they aren't paying.

I'm hitting my head against a brick wall here. I don't know how many more ways to explain that the use of ads is generally just looking for enough money to stay afloat, and that the default or desired models are not always "monetize every visitor as much as possible". Patreon-based systems designed for voluntary funding from only part of the community have already been brought up, Wikis have already been brought up, every extremely common example on both the web and the real world I can think of has been brought up. If you're insisting on treating ruthless capitalism as the only possible lens through which to view interactions on the web, then there's not a lot of hope of being able to get anywhere in this conversation.

I've been forced to just repeat my main points over the last few posts, so I'll do y'all the favor of exiting the conversation so you don't have to see my posts anymore.
From the elegant yelling of this compelling dispute comes the ghastly suspicion my opposition's a fruit.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Oct 21, 2015 3:16 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Ah, so since some people use the word loosely by way of comparison, you wish to use it more broadly, and treat it literally for some reason.
I use the word the way it is used in general conversation, not necessarily in the strictly defined legal sense. This is a general conversation, not a court case. As a conversation, it doesn't even deal with legal matters, it deals with ethical matters, which are different (and often unrelated).

Tyndmyr wrote:Next you'll be claim that, as someone on the subway shot daggers at you with her eyes, punching her in the face was self defense.
Your attack is unwarranted and unworthy of you.


You are missing the point.

You are using it in a colloquial sense when justifying your use of it, and then using it in a technical sense when using it to justify your actions. Swapping definitions of a word within an argument is bullshit.

Tyndmyr wrote:The claim is that, since most people accept it, even if due to apathy, it is the default course of action.
The claim is further that, since it is the default course of action, it becomes an unwritten social agreement. I disagree with that. It takes more to make an agreement.

Implicit or grudging acceptance is still acceptance. If most of society accepts something, you got yourself a social standard.

If it takes more than that, please, explain WHAT it takes.

Tyndmyr wrote:That said, it does continue to paint a picture of you as someone who is very uninterested in supporting those who provide you with things you like...
Internet ads (especially) are not a "thing that I like". But that's besides the point.


You are being deliberately obtuse. The content creator is being supported by the ads. You like, and consume the content, without supporting the creator in any way.

First off, social agreements, written or otherwise, are agreements. They require that society in general agree that thus and such action is warranted and expected, to the extent that the general public will stand up and apply social pressure to those who do not conform. This happens with things like jumping the queue, washing your hands after using the bathroom, eating with knife and fork, skinnydipping. Sometimes they get codified into law, but more often than not, social pressure is sufficient.


Really? Because way more people skip washing their hands after using the bathroom than use pop-up blockers. People *mostly* don't say a word, though you may occasionally get a person who expresses their dislike of your actions.

And I'm straight up telling you your actions are unethical.

What else do you expect here?

There is no general social pressure to load and/or watch advertisements (except perhaps by the advertisers themselves). It is not a social agreement that one should allow advertisers access to your machine and your mind in exchange for reading public material.


Most stuff put on the internet by content creators is not in the public domain. You are explicitly limited in what you can do with it. Sure, if you're talking about Project Gutenberg or something, knock yourself out. But in most cases, you are, again, misusing a word's definition.

It is public in the context that anyone can access it. Much like damned near anyone can go to McDonalds and get a Big Mac. This isn't the same as being entitled to it for free, or being entirely free from restriction.

Now, even if there were an "implied social agreement" to do or not do something, going against this "agreement" would not necessarily be unethical. Ethics has nothing to do with it, except to the extent that ethics was the original reason for the rise of this particular social convention. Jumping the queue comes to mind.
Spoiler:
And while I'm on that subject; a pet peeve of mine. It is conventional to ask the person you are cutting in front of if it's ok to do so. However, it is not conventional to ask everyone else behind that person; they are equally affected by your cutting in line and should have an equal voice. But by "implied social agreement" (in the US), they do not have a voice. It's likely thought dickish to complain. However, it would be far less unfair if, instead of allowing somebody to cut in front, the social convention were to trade places with the one wishing to jump the queue. This would at least make it fair(er) to the people behind, as they would not have to wait for an extra person. [/pet peeve]
In the case of internet advertising, ethics is not involved, except for the execrable ethics of the advertising industry to begin with. They and their cohorts get no sympathy from me.

Jose


Social conventions are not necessarily perfect, no.

But you need a justification beyond "I don't recognize them". You have provided a reasonable one here, for your objections to line cutting practices. You have not provided a similar one for advertising, merely claimed that it does not apply.

And, I ask, is it at all fair to others that they support the creator, and you do not? If everyone acted as you do, many content providers who wish to monetize their content via ads could not. Perhaps they would try paywalls. Perhaps they would give up on it entirely. Whichever. In any case, the current situation is that they depend on others to produce things that you enjoy, while you evade paying your bit. Does this not seem unfair?

KrytenKoro wrote:I'm hitting my head against a brick wall here. I don't know how many more ways to explain that the use of ads is generally just looking for enough money to stay afloat, and that the default or desired models are not always "monetize every visitor as much as possible". Patreon-based systems designed for voluntary funding from only part of the community have already been brought up, Wikis have already been brought up, every extremely common example on both the web and the real world I can think of has been brought up. If you're insisting on treating ruthless capitalism as the only possible lens through which to view interactions on the web, then there's not a lot of hope of being able to get anywhere in this conversation.

I've been forced to just repeat my main points over the last few posts, so I'll do y'all the favor of exiting the conversation so you don't have to see my posts anymore.


You keep focusing on "not always". Always is utterly irrelevant.

If there are *some* who wish to monetize all visitors, then you are still ignoring their wishes.

I have no problem with the existance of other models, but we are not talking about those models. They are an irrelevancy you keep bringing up. Patreon, etc is a rounding error compared to advertising based models. It is not the standard.

Explain why it is okay to block ads when someone DOES wish to collect money by showing you ads, and accept that this does happen, at least sometimes. Otherwise, everything you say is merely repeating something irrelevant to the actual topic of adblock.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby elasto » Wed Oct 21, 2015 4:19 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Explain why it is okay to block ads when someone DOES wish to collect money by showing you ads, and accept that this does happen, at least sometimes.

Because ads are dangerous and annoying. Sometimes they are more annoying than they are dangerous, and sometimes they are more dangerous than they are annoying.

The ads that are neither dangerous nor annoying can be whitelisted, and ethical ad-blockers do just that.

Is it really any more complicated than that?

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby morriswalters » Wed Oct 21, 2015 4:29 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Explain why it is okay to block ads when someone DOES wish to collect money by showing you ads, and accept that this does happen, at least sometimes. Otherwise, everything you say is merely repeating something irrelevant to the actual topic of adblock.
That isn't what you are arguing. The advertiser doesn't and can't know he has showed me anything. In it's purest sense it shouldn't make any difference. But what ad producers have done is become adept in finding ways to produce ads that have become impossible to ignore. They do this by manipulating my access to the content. I'm not going to bother to list them. And they also track me in ways that are difficult to impossible to stop. Ad blockers are a direct response to that. That is me ignoring the ads. So isn't your argument instead that it is unethical for me to ignore the ads.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Twistar » Wed Oct 21, 2015 4:34 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:And, I ask, is it at all fair to others that they support the creator, and you do not? If everyone acted as you do, many content providers who wish to monetize their content via ads could not. Perhaps they would try paywalls. Perhaps they would give up on it entirely.


Ucim has made this point to you countless times but I'll make it again. You say "many content providers wish to monetize their content via ads...". They WISH to make money that way. But the wishes of the content providers do not place obligations on content consumers. If the content provider can't stay afloat on the ad monetization business model so be it. If they give up as a result of this so be it. I have no problems whatsoever with that outcome.

Now, it is possible that this standpoint falls somewhere on the nice-dickish spectrum because the position that I don't have a problem with people failing isn't necessarily the nicest stance I could take but I choose to take that stance for various reasons that I think outweight the potential dickishness of it. Furthermore, while it may not be the "nicest" position it is by by no stretch of the imagination unethical.


I have no problem with the existance of other models, but we are not talking about those models. They are an irrelevancy you keep bringing up. Patreon, etc is a rounding error compared to advertising based models. It is not the standard.

They are not irrelevant to this thread. The thread is about the ethics of adblock. Clearly those sorts of websites would not be offended by the use of adblock and serve as a counterexample to websites that rely on advertisements so thus they are interesting and relevant to the conversation.

Explain why it is okay to block ads when someone DOES wish to collect money by showing you ads, and accept that this does happen, at least sometimes. Otherwise, everything you say is merely repeating something irrelevant to the actual topic of adblock.


Same thing: "wish".

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Oct 21, 2015 5:34 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Explain why it is okay to block ads when someone DOES wish to collect money by showing you ads, and accept that this does happen, at least sometimes.

Because ads are dangerous and annoying. Sometimes they are more annoying than they are dangerous, and sometimes they are more dangerous than they are annoying.

The ads that are neither dangerous nor annoying can be whitelisted, and ethical ad-blockers do just that.

Is it really any more complicated than that?


As I've already said, I'm fine with whitelisting. Dangerous stuff is, well, dangerous.

What the rest of this lot is arguing for is indiscriminate blocking of everything.

morriswalters wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Explain why it is okay to block ads when someone DOES wish to collect money by showing you ads, and accept that this does happen, at least sometimes. Otherwise, everything you say is merely repeating something irrelevant to the actual topic of adblock.
That isn't what you are arguing. The advertiser doesn't and can't know he has showed me anything. In it's purest sense it shouldn't make any difference. But what ad producers have done is become adept in finding ways to produce ads that have become impossible to ignore. They do this by manipulating my access to the content. I'm not going to bother to list them. And they also track me in ways that are difficult to impossible to stop. Ad blockers are a direct response to that. That is me ignoring the ads. So isn't your argument instead that it is unethical for me to ignore the ads.


If your argument is "if they can't track me, it's okay", it's incredibly disingenous to complain about them trying to track you.

Maybe the problem is right there at the beginning, where you assumed that "they can't track me" is an ethical solution.

Twistar wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:And, I ask, is it at all fair to others that they support the creator, and you do not? If everyone acted as you do, many content providers who wish to monetize their content via ads could not. Perhaps they would try paywalls. Perhaps they would give up on it entirely.


Ucim has made this point to you countless times but I'll make it again. You say "many content providers wish to monetize their content via ads...". They WISH to make money that way. But the wishes of the content providers do not place obligations on content consumers. If the content provider can't stay afloat on the ad monetization business model so be it. If they give up as a result of this so be it. I have no problems whatsoever with that outcome.


And they have no obligation to grant you access to their content.

Choosing not to go to ad-ridden sites is perfectly fine.

The idea that there will be no backlash due to adblockers is...optimistic. I suspect that countermeasures will eventually become more common, if indiscriminate adblocking becomes more common. Advertisers will eventually require them. This attitude is building an adversarial internet.

If you patronize those who advertise reasonably, and avoid those who do not, you introduce selection pressure against those who are...well, unreasonable. If you block everything, then you're not a potential customer at all, so long as you keep blocking. You're just a threat.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Oct 21, 2015 5:44 pm UTC

KrytenKoro wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:The ethics of the situation don't change depending on whether you get caught.


It's not "being caught" to change from "I'm okay with you doing this" to "I'm no longer okay with you doing this". You weren't hiding anything from them. If a friend tells me I can crash at his house for a week but no longer, I haven't "been caught" when I leave on the seventh day. Accepting and giving handouts with a limit is not a "getting caught" situation.

KrytenKoro wrote:
If you're visiting a website every day, or multiple times a day, you aren't a "potential customer" who is just checking things out to see what it's like, and it is extremely disingenuous to try to pass yourself off as one.


The kind of websites I visit, yes I am. I've purchased goods from those websites, after being convinced of their quality. I've funded kickstarters for those websites. Mostly webcomics, and their model relies on people checking things out and creating a community to spread the word, with some eventually buying books or funding patreons and kickstarters.


Yeah, that means you're "a customer", not "a potential customer". They're providing a service, and you're paying for it. Good job.

KrytenKoro wrote:
At best, I'd read this argument as: It's okay to adblock websites that you've never been to or aren't sure about, but if you regular or frequent visitor of a website, then you ought to whitelist (or donate, subscribe, etc. depending on the service).


If that's what the website asks you to do.


Why does it matter if they ask? Reciprocity is the foundation of ethical behaviour and functional society. If I give you a heartfelt gift for your birthday, are you honestly saying that you believe you aren't expected to give one in return unless I specifically ask you for one?


KrytenKoro wrote:
Yeah, but I'm not talking about potential customers. I'm talking about people who are actively, repeatedly using the service. They are customers in every sense of the term except they aren't paying.


I'm hitting my head against a brick wall here. I don't know how many more ways to explain that the use of ads is generally just looking for enough money to stay afloat, and that the default or desired models are not always "monetize every visitor as much as possible". Patreon-based systems designed for voluntary funding from only part of the community have already been brought up, Wikis have already been brought up, every extremely common example on both the web and the real world I can think of has been brought up. If you're insisting on treating ruthless capitalism as the only possible lens through which to view interactions on the web, then there's not a lot of hope of being able to get anywhere in this conversation.


Many wikis are ad supported. Many blogs and webcomics are affiliate ad supported if not ad supported outright. The free Internet as we know it today functions primarily because of ad money. The alternative is not going to be a donation based model--they don't generate enough revenues, for the most part, to support a serious business. I'd much rather an ad supported internet than one where every other website has a paywall, for example.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby morriswalters » Wed Oct 21, 2015 6:20 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:If your argument is "if they can't track me, it's okay", it's incredibly disingenous to complain about them trying to track you.

Maybe the problem is right there at the beginning, where you assumed that "they can't track me" is an ethical solution.
Horse cookies. My argument is that I can choose to ignore the ads. As in not look at them. And that ad block allows me to do exactly that. The difference between yesterday and today is that both I and the ad producer have better tools. You've tapped danced and refused to engage. You've refused comparisons against similar behavior that society has found to be both ethical and legal.

You can't attack my ethics since I don't care if they track me, and I don't use ad block. For me this is an investigatory exploration. Content producers who do things that I don't like can starve to death for all I care, the same content is always available elsewhere for a lower price. For instance I neither visit Cnet or CNN any more because of their ad policies. Convince me that it would be wrong for me to use ad block by offering answers to questions that I have asked you again and again.

Is fast forwarding through commercials on a DVR ethically similar to blocking ads.

Am I obligated to give attention to ads?

LaserGuy wrote:I'd much rather an ad supported internet than one where every other website has a paywall, for example.
What you would rather has nothing to do with it. And an ad is a paywall, one designed to make content look free. Much in the same way that retailers use 99 cents as a price point instead of a dollar.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Oct 21, 2015 7:45 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:If your argument is "if they can't track me, it's okay", it's incredibly disingenous to complain about them trying to track you.

Maybe the problem is right there at the beginning, where you assumed that "they can't track me" is an ethical solution.
Horse cookies. My argument is that I can choose to ignore the ads. As in not look at them. And that ad block allows me to do exactly that. The difference between yesterday and today is that both I and the ad producer have better tools. You've tapped danced and refused to engage. You've refused comparisons against similar behavior that society has found to be both ethical and legal.

You can't attack my ethics since I don't care if they track me, and I don't use ad block. For me this is an investigatory exploration. Content producers who do things that I don't like can starve to death for all I care, the same content is always available elsewhere for a lower price. For instance I neither visit Cnet or CNN any more because of their ad policies. Convince me that it would be wrong for me to use ad block by offering answers to questions that I have asked you again and again.

Is fast forwarding through commercials on a DVR ethically similar to blocking ads.

Am I obligated to give attention to ads?


We've been over this. I have already answered these questions.

You are not obligated to give ads your full attention. Merely to experience them in some trivial fashion. If the ad is not interesting to you, that is not your fault. An ad you are fast forwarding through, or see briefly potentially can fulfill it's function if the advertiser works to appeal to you. Ads that are technologically blocked without any input on your part cannot possibly appeal to you. You are likely unaware of their existence. Nothing the advertiser does at this point is relevant.

If you choose to avoid content that is ad-ridden, you're sending a clear signal to the content provider. If they put up a pile of ads, and see readership drop off harshly, that sends a certain message. Adblocking is, instead, an effort to avoid detection. Not pay the cost, but still enjoy the benefits. The message sent to the content owner is rather different. After all, if adblocking is done mostly by people who indiscriminately block everything, it does not imply that he has erred, merely that some of his user base is composed of freeloaders who may not even be aware of his attempt to monetize his content.

LaserGuy wrote:I'd much rather an ad supported internet than one where every other website has a paywall, for example.
What you would rather has nothing to do with it. And an ad is a paywall, one designed to make content look free. Much in the same way that retailers use 99 cents as a price point instead of a dollar.


The invention of the .99 price point was to prevent employee theft by requiring the employee open the cash register to make change. Even dollar prices make employee theft easier. A *lot* of retail practices center around prevention of employee theft. Observe that, in practice, when customers read signs with 49.99 prices, they will often read them aloud as "fifty dollars". Note also that, historically, you can see evidence of such pricing back in the 1800s. The idea that this is some trick of modern psychology simply does not match historical use.

Anecdotally, when I swapped to using whole dollars, I saw no dropoff in purchasing, and have never received a single complaint about it. Note that say, Chipotle, will always have a bill that ends with .25, and their pricing and so on is designed around this. This *is* pricing theory, and it has a simple purpose, reducing change.

I suspect that this "analogy" is merely a tendency to overascribe mental plasticisty to others. In a similar vein, I do not think many people believe ads are anything other than an attempt to extract money without creating explicit paywalls. This isn't a trick. It's blatantly obvious. You and I are not particularly clever for understanding how advertising works. Basically everyone does. The thing is, we'd rather have a degree of ads than pay subscriptions to all the websites we enjoy.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby morriswalters » Wed Oct 21, 2015 8:34 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:You are not obligated to give ads your full attention.
So your ethical position is that I must share my attention with the ad.
Tyndmyr wrote:An ad you are fast forwarding through, or see briefly potentially can fulfill it's function if the advertiser works to appeal to you.
Every DVR that I have used skips frames, with no sounds. If you can make sense of it then your are a better man than me. However the Dish Hopper automatically edited the video to remove commercials. Was its use ethical? The point I'm making here is that in both cases that implicit assumption on the content providers part is that you watch the commercials. Yet VCR's which enabled commercial skipping were declared legal and everyone bought one. Content producers changed their business method to either block or accommodate the consumer.
Tyndmyr wrote:Adblocking is, instead, an effort to avoid detection. Not pay the cost, but still enjoy the benefits.
First ad block seems to be detectable, and certainly the content producers page loads can be compared against the advertisers in near real time. I can block him but he can know.
Tyndmyr wrote:The invention of the .99 price point was to prevent employee theft by requiring the employee open the cash register to make change.
That's one of several possibilities, the origin is obscure. However the theory of physiological pricing isn't. We will have to agree to disagree.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Oct 21, 2015 8:49 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:You are not obligated to give ads your full attention.
So your ethical position is that I must share my attention with the ad.
Tyndmyr wrote:An ad you are fast forwarding through, or see briefly potentially can fulfill it's function if the advertiser works to appeal to you.
Every DVR that I have used skips frames, with no sounds. If you can make sense of it then your are a better man than me. However the Dish Hopper automatically edited the video to remove commercials. Was its use ethical? The point I'm making here is that in both cases that implicit assumption on the content providers part is that you watch the commercials. Yet VCR's which enabled commercial skipping were declared legal and everyone bought one. Content producers changed their business method to either block or accommodate the consumer.


Have you actually read the ruling on which you rely? It does *not* rely on a consumer right to avoid watching ads. Instead, it relied on the technology having significant non-infringing uses. And this was regard to making copies, not ad avoidance.

So, it's not really backing your case at all. We're not calling for Adblock to be banned.

Dish hopper auto-editing commercials is past my comfort zone. I do not, and would not use this for this purpose. Fast forward is fine. People fast forward through things all the time, including regular content. They can see the content at least in brief, and can stop and rewind at any time. That's different than it being automatically removed entirely.

Note that ad-supported content, this is the case. I would also be against things like, say, in the UK, using an unlicensed box to watch the BBC. If you enjoy the content, pay your bit. There are cases, like, say, DVDs where ads are stuffed inside them, where I'd be entirely okay with user modification. Because that's not apparent to the customer when they're buying the item. Plus, it's their item, because purchase. This is different than an entirely free website that has ads.

Tyndmyr wrote:Adblocking is, instead, an effort to avoid detection. Not pay the cost, but still enjoy the benefits.
First ad block seems to be detectable, and certainly the content producers page loads can be compared against the advertisers in near real time. I can block him but he can know.


It *can* be detectable. It is not automatically so for content providers in the way that "oh shit, nobody is visiting my site" is. It requires a degree of analytics, which, say, your average webcomic author or whatever probably isn't doing.

Again, you're pushing off the ethical burden for your actions on other people, if you do this(generic you). You're relying on others to detect your actions and take measures to stop you. For complaining about a lack of agreement or communication, this does not seem to be either of those things. It's just forcing your preferences until you get caught.

Tyndmyr wrote:The invention of the .99 price point was to prevent employee theft by requiring the employee open the cash register to make change.
That's one of several possibilities, the origin is obscure. However the theory of physiological pricing isn't. We will have to agree to disagree.


The theory of psychological pricing(physiological pricing would be...something else entirely) is recent. This is not. Unless somehow causality is flowing backward, it's literally impossible for your example to be derived from this theory.

And hell, if it WAS the product of 1800s psychology, it would be by far the most wildly successful example of such. The field was, as we know it today, barely existing at all then, experimenting with all manner of strange ideas. It'd be strange for a budding field to NOT seize upon such a success if it was indeed theirs.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Wed Oct 21, 2015 9:36 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:You are using it in a colloquial sense when justifying your use of it, and then using it in a technical sense when using it to justify your actions.
No, I'm not. I'm using it in a colloquial sense in both cases. IANAL and TINACC.

Tyndmyr wrote:Implicit or grudging acceptance is still acceptance. If most of society accepts something, you got yourself a social standard.

If it takes more than that, please, explain WHAT it takes.
I stated it above.

First of all, you need agreement. This is a higher bar than "grudging acceptance".

Secondly, you need strong enough agreement that societal pressure comes to bear on non-compliant folk. You'll find this kind of pressure if you go to the grocery store naked; you'll find this kind of pressure if you (are known to) don't wash your hands after taking a crap; and it wasn't too long ago that you'd find this kind of pressure if you flirted with members of the same sex.

Third, even if there is a social agreement, that doesn't make breaking it unethical. See my gay example above. Ethics and social conventions are orthogonal. Your logic seems to be
{grudging acceptance} => {social agreement} => {required for ethics}
This is faulty for the reasons I (and others) have pointed out.

If you are trying to show that something is unethical, it is not sufficient to show that it violates some social construct. It is not even relevant whether it does or not.

And confronting somebody who doesn't wash their hands (or violates some other social construct) is a big deal. Most people just avoid them, or report them if there is an authority to do it to (works mainly if there is legal backing) - it's easier and safer. You aren't even confronting me about internet ads - this is a discussion we both entered willingly. Nonetheless, social pressure does come into play - your mother probably taught you about hygiene. Mine certainly did. She didn't however teach me to pay attention to ads. In fact, she taught me how deceptive advertising is. (Is that evil - teaching somebody how deceptive advertising is? It does, after all, weaken the economy, and if everyone realized how deceptive ads are, commerce would slow down, and a slowing economy could be disastrous)

Tyndmyr wrote:You are being deliberately obtuse. The content creator is being supported by the ads. You like, and consume the content, without supporting the creator in any way.
I don't care, and don't need to care, how the creator is supported. The creator put it up on the public interet. I presume the creator owns the content, and therefore has the right to put it there, or choose to put it behind a paywall. But once it has been put on the public internet by the content provider, it's free to be consumed.

Tyndmyr wrote:You have not provided a similar one for advertising, merely claimed that it does not apply.
Yes I have. You just don't accept it.

And no, it's not unfair that some people choose to allow their computers to be overrun by ads, and I do not, any more than it's unfair that some people donate to good causes, and others do not. If everybody did not support good causes, those good causes could no longer flourish. This does not make it unethical to not donate to good causes, even if one benefits from them.

Yanno... it's the advertisers' fault. They are the ones who have polluted the internet with their flashy graphics, their browser-crashing scripts, their popups, popunders, z-layer trickery, their autoplay sound files, their sneaky tracking methods, their buying and selling of our personal information, their monetizing our privacy. They are the ones that are unethical. Adblock, flashblock, sound controls, noscript, hosts files, and other methods of defense are the result of their evil ways. If advertisers keep doing what they are doing, and our defenses are taken away, content providers will find too few people willing to put up with it, and they will wither away. Adblock and the like are a healthy and ethical response, which applies pressure to the ad industry to clean up their act so that they can partake in the internet ethically. Sadly, they have a whale of a lot of cleanup to do. I'm not holding my breath.

Tyndmyr wrote:And they have no obligation to grant you access to their content.
Correct. Should they choose to put their content behind a paywall, we would not have the right to demand it back. However, they have not chosen to do that. They have chosen to make it publicly available. Choosing to not take the suggestions of their web designer is not unethical.

Similarly, consider a website that hosts content along with autoplay audio ads (the only ads they use), which support the content provider. They are safe, but annoying. Am I ethically obligated to turn my speaker up? Is it unethical to browse with my volume set to mute? This is strictly the same thing as we are discussing; it is a proper subset.

Tyndmyr wrote:Ads that are technologically blocked without any input on your part cannot possibly appeal to you. You are likely unaware of their existence. Nothing the advertiser does at this point is relevant.
This constitutes beef byproducts of the highest purity. The ad industry knows about adblock. They know we use it. They know why.

What the advertiser can do is to clean up their act, apply pressure to the rest of the industry to clean up their acts, and wait for the internet to notice. And if that's hard, and if it takes time, and if it's risky, well, that's castigation for their loooooooong history of abuse. In fact, they'd be getting off easy.

Jose
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Copper Bezel
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Copper Bezel » Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:25 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:The theory of psychological pricing(physiological pricing would be...something else entirely) is recent. This is not. Unless somehow causality is flowing backward, it's literally impossible for your example to be derived from this theory.

And hell, if it WAS the product of 1800s psychology, it would be by far the most wildly successful example of such. The field was, as we know it today, barely existing at all then, experimenting with all manner of strange ideas. It'd be strange for a budding field to NOT seize upon such a success if it was indeed theirs.

This is equivalent to noting that medieval painters didn't know the wavelength corresponding to red and thus could not have knowingly used the color in their paintings. That someone in the nineteenth century thought prices looked more appealing that way does not require modern psychology. Trade was not invented in the nineteenth century and people have had theories, inklings, and tested practices in it quite apart from any formal science of human behavior.
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