Other Place Encounters and Comments

It seems Jeff has muted himself from the twitters…

[cn white supremacy]

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Oh Jeff. You’d think someone so into code would get that x>y == y<x.

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What an idiot.

He means white supremacist, and he’s even wrong about that.

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We should change the topic of this thread to “Coding Horror is a” and fill in a blank since that seems to be what people want to do here.

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It is a rather substantial departure from the topic, though my initial post was originally quite… derisive towards the attitudes of the developers. Maybe a topic fork and cleanup is in order - and if a certain somebody saw this, maybe they’d agree that a mute feature is necessary after all?

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I second the call for moving several of these posts to a new topic, probably in the #anger category.

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Cleanup on aisle 5 all done!

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I split the topic off into it’s own thing, Mel.

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I want to talk about something at TOP, but for obvious reasons, I don’t feel comfortable bringing it up anywhere over there. If the mods over here feel it’s not appropriate, then by all means, please delete this.

Orenwolf: You are, of course, welcome to make that choice, but just realize that’s the same as saying ”as long as Netflix is going to collect metrics on what I watch and how, I will choose to download their original shows instead of subscribing to their network”.

I completely understand the mindset. But I wouldn’t use it to try and justify the moral high ground. Just say it like it is. We’re grownups.

Orenwolf: Wait, who is forcing you to read the site again?

Just own your choices. I can respect a staunchly held position. But don’t present it like you aren’t making a choice here to not be a part of our revenue stream.

I hope someday we can offer other options. That’s all there is to it.

Orenwolf:

But we’re not making that choice to not be part of your revenue stream, we’re making that choice because we don’t trust third party ad services to always deliver clean ads because they have delivered nasties to people’s devices in the past. Why is that so difficult to understand? We want the site to prosper but not at the risk i’m going to get malware, a trojan or god knows what else from some drive-by ad.

Who said any part of this is difficult to understand? I literally said in both of my replies that I understand.

I’m saying don’t use the motive as justification for your action as if you are justified making the choice not to support us because the site is so terrible.

Go find an independent blog with the traffic level of Boing Boing out there, with the number of Authors this site has. You’ll be looking a while, because they no longer exist. They were all consumed by media conglomerates. So we do what we can to survive.

No, your personal decision doesn’t really move the needle for the site. But the adblocking brinkmanship ”game” has lead to more intrusive ads that generate massively less revenue, leading to independent sites laying off staff, giving up journalistic and creative control by being consumed by networks, or simply ceasing to exist.

my point is that there are multiple justifications to make the choice to opt-out of our revenue stream. Make the choice that best suits you. But don’t try to claim the moral high ground while the site you all apparently enjoy enough to visit and be a member of this community for is literally trying to survive.

If your answer is ”we like you, but not enough to support your revenue model”, great, understood. No ambiguity there. ”We don’t like your revenue model and we feel that fact justifies us consuming your content regardless” is a totally different moral position to take.

macunningham:

It almost sounds like you’re telling visitors who have legitimate concerns that if they don’t like it they can stop visiting.

Not at all. I’m telling visitors if they’d like to continue visiting Boing Boing as a going concern at all , then we need your support. If our only available method of support isn’t acceptable to you, we’ll, we tried our best. We really did, and we’re sorry that we couldn’t earn that support. Just own your decision.

Oh, Ken.

First, let me say, I do respect the struggle to “keep the lights on” at TOP. It can’t possibly be cheap to maintain a site with 20,000+ users. I can only imagine the pressure the owners are under to find sufficient revenue to achieve it.

And I’ve always had respect for Ken, who’s the only full-time moderator on the site. He’s had to stand between the whims of the site owner and the gripes of the community. That’s a tough line to walk, and I’ve always acknowledged that. He’s made the effort to be fair and impartial (he does so far better than I ever could) and has been reasonably transparent in his decisions.

But I can’t back him in this.

I find his arguments to be disingenuous, and frankly, insulting. He’s twisting very real concerns about third-party code into some sort of “value-signalling” judgement on content.

And he’s wrong.

Years ago, my laptop was all but bricked by a rootkit-infected ad on TVTropes. If it wasn’t for the help of my antivirus’ tech support, it would have remained unbootable. I consider myself lucky it was saved. So our concerns about third-party code are not unreasonable and they should not be dismissed with such contempt… especially after the site acknowledges upthread that there is an existing problem with ad code damaging the ability to read articles.

Our desire to protect our expensive technology and to use the bandwidth we pay for as we see fit is not equivalent to saying “well, we don’t like you, so we want the milk for free.” I find that insulting on a personal level, insulting to the community as a whole, and an argument in bad faith. How many times have members requested some sort of paid membership or voluntary contribution as an alternative to ad-based revenue? Yet there has been little indication that the idea has ever been seriously considered. Is advertising truly their only hope… or is it just the only thing they’re willing to do? For a site which claims to celebrate maker culture, they don’t seem too interested in innovation or experimenting in other models of revenue.

I’ve seriously considered flagging that little “grownup” comment as Inappropriate, but I know that won’t fly. And I’m still thinking about posting some form of this in-thread over there… but I believe it would only fall on deaf ears. Maybe it’s just frustration talking, but Ken is clearly unwilling to consider anything we have to say on the topic.

I am disappointed.

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I agree. He’s the one who’s wrong and who’s not being very grownup there. Specifically, he doesn’t address this at all:

As long as ad networks aren’t able (read willing) to actually evaluate what each ad is capable of doing nor limit the actions an ad can take

They admit that they know that they’re serving bad ads, often enough that they even made a special email address for it because

we have no idea they are running in the first place.

So they admit that they didn’t do due diligence on the ads that they’re serving or vet them in anyway, and neither did the networks that they’re getting ads from. The grownup thing would be to admit that and apologize. Not to guilt and insult the readers for pointing it out.

He could do well to reread his own words:

Just own your choices. I can respect a staunchly held position. But don’t present it like you aren’t making a choice here
don’t try to claim the moral high ground

That sort of attitude problem is why I quit going there. I’m not going to go back there just to post that, though. That would be too close to griefing or trolling.

It’s sad to see a neighborhood deteriorate like that, and especially to see people who you know are really trying to keep it a good place, under pressure, deteriorate as well.

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I stopped going there after The Exodus, but I always hated the TOP did not listen to its own community.

When I got into learning about business, one of the fundamental tenants of creating any business, but particularly one built around an online community, is to find out what the community wants and create that.

The only poster that seemed to get that at all was Rob. When he crowdfunded the safe opening. That is the kind of shit that should have been going down all the time.

It always felt to me that the bloggers had all their own projects they were interested in promoting but they never seemed to realize that they needed to engage people on the site in a meaningful way around those projects. It felt like a one sided relationship.

They worked so hard to create the discussion boards but I think in the end it was all just Jeff’s pet project tolerated by the rest, and not really seen as central to their revenue stream.

Just drove me crazy. They are sitting on a gold mine but they don’t know how to monetize or care to. No one wants a bunch of garbage ads.

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If the only available method to support them is to turn off your adblocker and get flooded with intrusive and potentially dangerous ads, then they haven’t tried their best. Sounds to me like they need to be owning that decision. They’ve got loads of other possible choices they can make, but the only one the reader has is “keep coming back” or “go elsewhere”.

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Wow. Until I got to the bottom, where you specified who wrote that, I was sure it was Jeff being his usual dick self. Makes me wonder if Ken’s ok or breaking under the strain of modding, sysadmin-ing and somehow meeting the clashing expectations of readers versus owners.

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Is Ken a sock?

I left in the exodus and haven’t been back, so I don’t have a sense of the new zampolits.

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Sorry, my fault. I wanted to copy-and-paste the words so nobody would have to click over to read them, but forgot to add who said them to the quotes before posting. I’ve edited to correct that.

But yes, I could see this level of snark coming from others… but I never expected it from Ken.

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Yeah, Ken is definitely in the wrong about this.

I am not saying paywall, but I bet there is a decent portion of us readers who would gladly kick in $5/mo (arbitrary number, there) or so. Kind of a voluntary donation in lieu of ads, like The Guardian does. Which would work out to more than the few pennies that they would get from us individually on ads.

But there is no option. And Ken is refusing to admit that. And he’s victim blaming people in the ad wars, saying it’s the people who use blockers that cause more agressive ads. No, history shows that any medium that has ads and attracts eyeballs ends up with more and more aggressive ads competing with each other. The blocker wars are something else entirely. People using blockers are not seeing the ads, so they are not aimed at those people. The malicious ones are deliberately aimed at people who don’t use them, because they are likely lacking in other protections as well.

People will support content they enjoy, just look at Patreon, sometime. One of my favourite webcomic artists runs incredibly successful Kickstarters for his books – as in fully funded within a couple of hours successful – while flat-out stating in the video that all the content is available for free on his website.

Ken is refusing to acknowledge any other options (or why they’re not options) for people. It’s a bad look from site staff (and J. has now deleted it all).

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Ken is Orenwolf, it’s his real name – he’s the sysadmin and now chief mod.

And I get it: keeping the lights on means he keeps his job. But search for more ways to do that, don’t attack people attempting to defend themselves.

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Isn’t this exactly the sort of payment model the Boingers have been advocating since the 90s?

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