Ethics of AdBlock

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Tyndmyr
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Aug 17, 2016 7:52 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:The WHOLE scenario is the problem, not merely the money.
The WHOLE scenario is that you seem to think that advertisers have rights to me and my machine, and I don't.


...no.

Look, leaving aside the Brave thing for now, your perception of rights is fucked up. If you hate how ad-ridden a particular site is, you can just...not go there. You don't have a right to their content. Them putting ads on their own site is not a violation of your rights. Just don't request their shit, if you don't want it.

Your rights extend to your shit. Someone messes with your computer, that's unethical. They do not extend to requiring the entire goddamned internet behave the way you petulantly demand.

Edit: This sounds a bit harsher than I intended, but I'm growing rather tired with your constant misrepresentation of options, ignoring all the conversation that came before. What, precisely, do you not have the right to do, in your world? What are the limits on YOU?

morriswalters
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby morriswalters » Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:03 pm UTC

All I can say is that if you think it's okay, use it. I won't. I suspect Brandon Eich is going to be sued. I I had any copyrighted content on the web and he interfered with my relationships, I would sue. He splitting hair finer than you are. I suspect without knowing that the money may trip him up. For instance if the Brave browser inserted replacement ads in streaming content or inserted a text ad at the bottom of a Netflix window, I think the content owner would scream and then sue. Or hosting companies may block Brave. Assuming it is possible.

elasto
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby elasto » Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:42 pm UTC

Sorry, I have to agree with ucim.

If we lived in a world where everyone owned slaves, and newspapers gave themselves away for free with ads alongside the articles, and people had their slaves read them the articles but not the ads, there would not be conversations about 'how it's immoral for the slaves not to read out the ads', that you are 'stealing the newspaper's content' or whatever, people would simply be saying 'tough sh*t; the free newspapers need to find a new business model'.

As ucim says, websites give their content to me for free wrapped in an HTTP response - and I am perfectly at liberty to read as little or as much of it as I want, just as I am perfectly at liberty to channel hop during an ad break on tv without anyone calling me out on it. And if I choose not to read or watch the ads, that's tough sh*t - they need to find a new business model - and plenty such models have been discussed earlier in the thread.

Indeed, this very website shows you can successfully deliver content free of charge without needing ads.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby commodorejohn » Wed Aug 17, 2016 9:12 pm UTC

I'm on-board with the idea that you're not obligated to have your browser display ads; what skeeves me out is the part where somebody is running an ad-"blocker" service that is really just a delivery system for their own ads. That's sleazy, even if you want to argue that it's not fundamentally a violation of anybody's rights.
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby morriswalters » Wed Aug 17, 2016 9:23 pm UTC

elasto wrote:As ucim says, websites give their content to me for free wrapped in an HTTP response - and I am perfectly at liberty to read as little or as much of it as I want, just as I am perfectly at liberty to channel hop during an ad break on tv without anyone calling me out on it.
I agree, but I don't think that describes his current argument.

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ucim
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Thu Aug 18, 2016 2:19 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:I agree, but I don't think that describes his current argument.


My "current" argument is the same as my original argument, which is on page one of this thread. It is that:

Manifesto

I am in control of my own computer, and am not obligated to allow advertisers to use my system resources, steal my private information, report this information to others in the ad network, build a profile on me, attempt to sell me stuff, attempt to trick me into clicking on things (i.e. by hiding them behind transparent windows), run programs that automate what they want me to do, or do any of the other nasty shit that advertisers have a well deserved reputation for doing.

And not just advertisers. I am not obligated to run scripts or do any of that other stuff from anywhere, including the originating site.

For content that is not behind a paywall, I am not obligated to do anything at all except not harm the site itself. This means I am not claiming the right to DDOS, vandalize, or infect the site, and I am not claiming the right to edit the site's DNS records or any shit like that. But I am claiming the right to request the site's content through normal HTTP channels without the obligation to display any of it or to even request the other multple levels of HTTP requests that sites usually entail (which is usually staggering).

I claim the right to automate any of the tasks that I have a right to do manually.

I claim an absolute right to defend my computer and the private information it contains from any and all intruders. Ad networks are intruders - their purpose is to deliver messages the user does not want to see. (If it were otherwise, ad blocking software wouldn't even exist.) They do not merely display "eat at Joe's", they use up huge amounts of resources in doing so, steal my attention, keep track of what I look at, how often I look at it, what sites I was on the last time they served me an ad of any sort (that's actually prett powerful by itself), correlate all this information to make and sell my personal profile to others.

I understand that by not allowing myself to be abused by ad networks, some websites might not be able to monetize me as well as they would like to. However, I claim that a website's hopes and dreams do not obligate me in any way. This includes their hopes for compensation in any form, direct, indirect, or otherwise.

Content providers are under no obligation to put their content on the public internet. They have the right to put it behind a paywall, or to not put it online at all. But if they do put it on the public internet, then they have no standing to complain when people do not consume it the way they would like.

End manifesto.

All of my stance derives from this, and the fact that ad networks (and many large websites) are abusing the trust that people (mistakenly) place in the mechanics of web surfing.

So...because of this, I do not find that adblocking software is unethical to use on a client machine, nor do I find that script blockers are unethical to use on a client machine. This software is doing what the user wants it to do, and has the absolute right to do, as delineated above. Similarly, the brave browser is client software that also does just what the user wants it to do.

The brave browser is interesting in that it (if I read it properly) blocks ads to the end-user, and then also shows other ads to the end user, and pays a stipulated amount to the blocked advertiser (which would otherwise not get paid unless the user actually clicked), and pays the end-user in a manner that allows them to send micropayments to websites they support. The idea is to provide a good end-user experience for those that choose to use this browser, and to encourage advertisers to stop fucking with us.

I suspect it won't work, but I see nothing unethical at all. And if it does work, it might herald a new business model.

Sometimes I use analogies.
Spoiler:
I understand that no analogy is perfect; they are intended as illustrations of my reasoning, not as proof. Nonetheless, I have carefully constructed them to be faithful in the key elements to the HTTP based issues being discussed. For example, newspaper ads do not consume user resources (other than the weight of the paper they are printed on). Online ads do, and it's a significant downside. So, as an analogy, imagine ad agencies gluing bricks to the newspaper and printing their ads on them. I know that real newspapers don't do this, but if they did, people would get pissed and may well start throwing these bricks through the windows of the newspaper office. As another example, newspaper ads do not create a profile on the reader. Online ads do. It is also a significant downside. So, as an analogy, imagine advertisers gluing a miniature TV camera to the newspaper. I know that newspapers don't really do that, but if they did, people would get pissed, and would probably refuse to take off the lenscap, blot it out with magic marker, and destroy the microphone.

That is what's happening with advertising on the net.
Jose
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby morriswalters » Thu Aug 18, 2016 9:36 am UTC

On the main point we agree. On Brave we don't. I also question your ability to fight back in any meaningful way, short of disconnecting. I've tried ad blocking. I didn't care for it so I vote with my feet, most places on the internet can live without my presence.

elasto
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby elasto » Thu Aug 18, 2016 9:36 am UTC


Tyndmyr
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Aug 18, 2016 2:16 pm UTC

Literally everyone has said that deceptive bullshit advertising like transparent windows, pop over ads, etc, are bullshit, and it's fine to block things for that, or for security reasons.

It's not a point of contention.

So, I'm confused why you keep returning to that well whenever asked to justify literally anything else. Why do you keep ignoring the actual topic, and going back to the security issue nobody disagrees on?

The fact that you're pro-security is not sufficient to explain your "manifesto" of being able to do whatever the hell you want. Which, frankly, is not the case, even in a legal fashion. One can DDOS by simply making requests, and doing whatever you want with them, but everyone understands that this is malicious, even if a single instance of such a request would be fine.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Thu Aug 18, 2016 2:52 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:On the main point we agree. On Brave we don't.
Fair enough. And I'm not promoting the brave browser; I just think it's an interesting alternative worthy of discussion. So... where do you disagree with brave, that would not violate my main points?

morriswalters wrote: I also question your ability to fight back in any meaningful way, short of disconnecting.
Yes, it's hard. But that doesn't mean we should capitulate. At the very least, make it harder for them. I don't run ad blockers, but I run noscript, and have it pretty tight. It protects me from most ads, and also protects me from abusive websites. Unfortunately, it also protects me from good websites, so when I come to a site whose content I want badly enough, I "temporarily allow" scripts from... well, I start with the original domain (it's domain by domain, all or nothing within a domain). Then I try to guess which secondary domains are not harmful. Each time the page reloads, and the new scripts invite their friends (which noscript blocks) and I have to decide about those domains. This repeats several levels. Sometimes allowing all of them involves hundreds of domains running unidentified and unidentifiable software on my computer. At some point I either get what I want from the site, or walk away.

I also have my browser set to block third party cookies, and "tracking sites", and never touch social networks (other than xkcd, which really isn't one). That's too bad, because social networks do a lot of good things but the cost is essentially total surrender to the hoards of highway robbers and spies that are constantly trying to get into my personal info to steal and sell. There's a lot of stuff that I don't know about happening behind the scenes also. It's a seaish amount to keep up with, and I suspect most people don't even have a clue as to what's going on under the hood. So, I applaud any and all efforts to fight against it.

Tyndmyr wrote:Literally everyone has said that deceptive bullshit advertising like transparent windows, pop over ads, etc, are bullshit, and it's fine to block things for that, or for security reasons.

It's not a point of contention.

So, I'm confused why you keep returning to that well whenever asked to justify literally anything else.
Well, the well deserved reputation ad networks have for this makes me not trust them. They have not earned my trust, and they have earned my distrust. This is sufficient. And I will also ask whether you consider the data harvesting that ad networks do to be "deceptive bullshit" (and worthy of blocking) or not. Because that's a big part of it, but I notice that you don't list it. It's a big deal. It's what drives the industry.

If that can be killed with fire, and advertising were totally anonymous, totally transparent, and there were a firm wall between content and advertising, then we would be in an artificial world in which we could discuss the other things. I'm happy to do that, but in the real world, tracking and deception are the order of the day. Advertising itself is a form of deception - it's not just about giving me information. It's about attempting to induce behavior, at any cost. Because of this it is intrusive. Because it needs to be intrusive, it occupies my resources (CPU time, memory, screen real estate, loading time, etc) in an attempt to get me to do something I don't want to do.

The concept of advertising isn't inherently evil; but the practice of it on the net is nearly 100% evil. That is why.

So, it comes down to two things:
1: The intrusiveness of the message (which I don't want to hear in the first place). This has nothing necessarily to do with security, but due to the fact that it's using my resources, can quite negatively impact my experience.
2: The personal information theft, analysis, and resale that occurs via ad networks. This has nothing to do with computer security, but is more akin to personal security.
3: The computer security issues mentioned above. Uh... that's three, sir!

Now let me ask you - why do you insist that I have an obligation to run every program, display every ad, download every typeface, and do every ch*rpin' thing that an HTTP response suggests to my computer? Why do you think I have an obligation to surrender my computer to every website I visit? Why do I have to support their business model when they have freely put their content on the open and public internet, available via HTTP request with no restriction except a suggestion that I might want to display this other content also?

Tyndmyr wrote:...to explain your "manifesto" of being able to do whatever the hell you want.
That's not my manifesto. And you know this.

However, in the context of an HTTP stream, I do claim the right to be able to not display whatever I want to not display. That's pretty much the gist of it.

Jose
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Aug 18, 2016 6:51 pm UTC

See, it's pretty much a non-starter when you define advertising itself as deceptive. It isn't. It CAN be deceptive, but not all advertising is deceptive. And it certainly isn't equally deceptive. Some advertising is pretty straightforward. Tells you what they sell, and where/how you can go buy it. Pretty common, even.

Some advertising is bullshit "you're the ten thousandth visitor, click here to receive prize".

The former is not deceptive. No deception is occurring. The mere desire to sell a product does not mean one is deceptive. The latter example is obviously deceptive. Because, yknow, they are attempting deception.

The right to collect information or not is a side affair. Preventing display does not prevent information collection and vice versa. One can block cookies just fine and not block advertisements at all.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Fri Aug 19, 2016 1:38 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:See, it's pretty much a non-starter when you define advertising itself as deceptive.
This isn't a definition, it's an observation. And my observation is that the deception seems to increase with the technology. Do you actually disagree?

Do you really think that the majority of internet ads are of the pure "useful information" variety?

Tyndmyr wrote:The right to collect information or not is a side affair.
No. It is the main course. I don't want to be interrupted time and again in my surfing with commercial messages for which I have no interest. (Hint: I have no interest in commercial messages.) But I really really don't want anybody snooping in on my email, surfing, reading, purchasing, or any other activities, especially for their own pecuinary gain.

Do you really think that the majority of ads don't try to track me?

Tyndmyr wrote:One can block cookies just fine and not block advertisements at all.
But cookies are the least of it. And in any case, I see no reason that I should feel any obligation to view an ad that is trying to track me, even if I succeed in preventing that tracking. The mere fact that they are doing this proves their deceptiveness.

Because, you see, deception isn't just about "Eat at Joe's - the food is great!" (when the food is only so-so at best). Deception is about "This is just a harmless commercial message, don't look behind the curtain, we're not spying on you and we're certainly not going to sell your profile to anybody, even though we make money doing so. No, that's not us. <sound of whistling>.

Deception includes taking advantage of the ignorance of others for one's benefit.

This especially includes taking advantage of the general population's ignorance of the seaish amount of spying that goes on, and their ignorance of why this is bad.

The days of a printed "Eat at Joe's" next to a news article are so long gone it's in a different calendar system. That ship has not only sailed, it has sunk to the bottom of the sea and rusted clear away.

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 * Please help addams if you can. She needs all of us.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Aug 19, 2016 3:52 pm UTC

See, all of the "do you really thinks" are not things I said.

Go back, read it again, and we can discuss what I actually wrote, if you like, rather than random things you have invented.

You seem very paranoid about cookies. You can look at cookies, yknow. See what they actually store. It's usually not really that impressive. Take google, they're a huge advertising network/data warehouse, right? You can expect to see about four cookies from them. Three of them expire relatively quickly(ranging from browser close to 6 months), but one of them lasts for two years, which results in fearmongering reporting of "keeps your data for years!" So, let's look at what's in the cookie. It's the _umta cookie, which identifies visitors(the others are more functional and boring).

Item 1. hash of the domain. This isn't tracking you, it's tracking the site you're browsing. You and your buddy, navigating to the same site, will have the same value here.
Item 2. Unique identifier for cookie, so they can actually identify the cookie. Not exciting at all.
Item 3. Timestamp for first visiting site.
Item 4. Timestamp for previous visit.
Item 5. Timestamp for current visit.
Item 6. Number of sessions.

They're not hunting down your social security number, they're tracking so they can manage things like a decent ad rotation, because you probably don't want to see the exact same ad every time in a row. Timestamps are not obscured, they're in the standard unix format. You can change them, if you want. Or delete them. Whichever. Hitting "delete all cookies" is super easy. But, this isn't really at all shifty. It's remarkably normal, boring technical stuff, with an utter lack of deception, because nothing is obscured.

That's the actual data. Tell me how it's deception.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Fri Aug 19, 2016 5:33 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:You seem very paranoid about cookies. You can look at cookies, yknow.
I am paranoid about tracking. There are many ways surfers are tracked; cookies (specifically third-party cookies) are just one element of one technique. Nonetheless, it's a pretty strong technique.

I'm certain that you are quite familiar with it; if not, it's worth reading up on. I'd recommend the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) as a starting point. Also look up supercookies (or flash cookies) and the html5 canvas element.

Ads are served by third-parties who plant cookies that allow their backend database to remember you from site to site. You are remembered by the ad network because of the (boring) cookie ID, which encodes the ad, the place it's served, and to whom it's served. In addition to the cookies, your browser supplies usefully identifying information as part of the normal HTTP process. At the start, the ad network doesn't "know" you, but the more you surf, the more opportunities they get to place ads, because at each visit, they get to read the previous cookies and add their sources to their profile of your computer browsing. They build a picture of the kind of person you are.

This information is interesting to others. It's for sale. Once sold, it gets correlated with the information the buyer has collected about you from other sources and the noose tightens further.

And cookies are just the tip of the iceberg.

If you know all this, then insisting that this is all very innocent and "boring" is disingenuous to the core. And deleting cookies is not simple at all... not if you want to preserve the good cookies (the ones that keep your preferences, remember which stocks you are following, whether you are logged in or not...) To illustrate, clear your own cookies, and then do a week of ordinary surfing. Then look and see how many cookies you've accumulated. See how many you can identify. See how many your mom could identify.

Scripts and cookies and canvas and flash are not inherently evil - they have good uses too (and some sites put them to good use). But they have been abused far too much while the ad networks keep whistling "move along, nothing to see here".

Tyndmyr wrote:See, all of the "do you really thinks" are not things I said.
But they are things you seem to be touting. So answer the questions straight out.

ucim wrote:Do you really think that the majority of internet ads are of the pure "useful information" variety?
Do you really think that the majority of ads don't try to track me?


Do you or don't you? I'm not going to ask your hairdresser.

I'm also going to take a bit of a break from this thread, primarily to not monopolize it. I'll keep reading, but I won't post for a while. (At least I'll try not to!)

Jose
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Aug 19, 2016 5:54 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:You seem very paranoid about cookies. You can look at cookies, yknow.
I am paranoid about tracking. There are many ways surfers are tracked; cookies (specifically third-party cookies) are just one element of one technique. Nonetheless, it's a pretty strong technique.

I'm certain that you are quite familiar with it; if not, it's worth reading up on. I'd recommend the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) as a starting point. Also look up supercookies (or flash cookies) and the html5 canvas element.

Ads are served by third-parties who plant cookies that allow their backend database to remember you from site to site. You are remembered by the ad network because of the (boring) cookie ID, which encodes the ad, the place it's served, and to whom it's served. In addition to the cookies, your browser supplies usefully identifying information as part of the normal HTTP process. At the start, the ad network doesn't "know" you, but the more you surf, the more opportunities they get to place ads, because at each visit, they get to read the previous cookies and add their sources to their profile of your computer browsing. They build a picture of the kind of person you are.


Yes, obviously, they track the ID. That's literally it's only function. What data are you afraid of google having in it's big bad database? I mean, it's not as if you can't peruse their API. Shit's public.

And advertisers give precisely zero shits about you as an individual. In a good sense or a bad. You're just part of mass aggregated data. You might budge a click per impression number a touch this way or that, but learning about you, personally, is just not valuable. Advertisers are interested in questions like "does this ad perform better than the last one". Nobody is browsing through information about you, personally. Literally nobody.

All you are doing is saying "it's worse than you think". No, it's not. I'm a web developer. This is boring everyday stuff for me, not something I heard about on the evening news.

If you know all this, then insisting that this is all very innocent and "boring" is disingenuous to the core. And deleting cookies is not simple at all... not if you want to preserve the good cookies (the ones that keep your preferences, remember which stocks you are following, whether you are logged in or not...) To illustrate, clear your own cookies, and then do a week of ordinary surfing. Then look and see how many cookies you've accumulated. See how many you can identify.


Ah, see, you tacitly admit that they're NOT all bad, and that some of them are there for legitimate functions. Enough so that "blow them all away" is not what you want to do.

But you can. It's trivial. Things will just...not remember you. Any entries in a database tied to a cookie ID are now just irrelevant, contextless numbers that'll likely get automatically deleted as this becomes apparent to them.

Do you want sites to remember you, or not? You can't have it both ways. Not without actually going through and deciding on an individual basis. Which you also don't want to do, but is totally available.

This isn't deception, this is just you being petulant.

Tyndmyr wrote:See, all of the "do you really thinks" are not things I said.
But they are things you seem to be touting. So answer the questions straight out.


They're not. I don't care about "most ads". I care about the ads on the sites I go to. If a site is an atrocity of terrible ads, intrusive bullshit, etc, I just...stop visiting it. The internet is big. I don't have to visit any particular site. Some sites are pretty awful. Some are pretty clean.

ucim wrote:Do you really think that the majority of internet ads are of the pure "useful information" variety?
Do you really think that the majority of ads don't try to track me?


I think you've already made up your mind, and nothing I say to this can possibly matter to you. I suspect that even I somehow proved that the majority of, say cookies, were benign, as you have finally admit is routine, you would ignore that, and continue to focus on the bad apples. So the question isn't really important.

You are not here to discuss. You're here to berate everyone into accepting your opinion as truth.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Fri Aug 19, 2016 6:23 pm UTC

A brief reply...
just to answer the questions directly asked:

Tyndmyr wrote:What data are you afraid of google having in it's big bad database
The data that can identify who I am and what kind of person I am. The data that can predict what I might or might not like. The data that can predict my political leanings, my health issues, my employment history, who I associate with, and what I do with my life. The data that can be sold to somebody else, to my detriment. The data that can be used to shape my view of the internet to somebody else's ends. The data that can influence whether or not I get a mortgage, car loan, job, or visa.

Tyndmyr wrote:I mean, it's not as if you can't peruse their API.

And not just google. I'm a web developer too. But in any case, my mom can't peruse their API. The ethics of ad blocking need to take that into account too.

Tyndmyr wrote:Ah, see, you tacitly admit that they're NOT all bad...
I am stating up front that not all cookies are bad. I will also state up front that not all ad servers are evil. But enough of them are that it's not unethical to defend oneself, even if that means blocking them wholesale.

Tyndmyr wrote:Do you want sites to remember you, or not?
I want some sites (first party) to remember some things about my preferences. I want ad sites (third party) to not even know I was there.

Tyndmyr wrote:You are not here to discuss. You're here to berate everyone into accepting your opinion as truth.
I could say the same about you: you're here to tout the idea that ad tracking is benign, and it is unethical to resist it, and that a web user is obligated to support a website's business model.

Jose
Last edited by ucim on Fri Aug 19, 2016 6:27 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Aug 19, 2016 6:26 pm UTC

ucim wrote:A brief reply...
just to answer the questions directly asked:

Tyndmyr wrote:What data are you afraid of google having in it's big bad database
The data that can identify who I am and what kind of person I am. The data that can predict what I might or might not like. The data that can predict my political leanings, my health issues, my employment history, who I associate with, and what I do with my life. The data that can be sold to somebody else, to my detriment. The data that can be used to shape my view of the internet to somebody else's ends. The data that can influence whether or not I get a mortgage, car loan, job, or visa.


I have bad news for you. That's called a credit report, and is bought and sold no matter how many ad blockers you use.

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:You are not here to discuss. You're here to berate everyone into accepting your opinion as truth.
I could say the same about you: you're here to tout the idea that ad tracking is benign, and it is unethical to resist it, and that a web user is obligated to support a website's business model.


You have entirely misunderstood the past 16 pages.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Fri Aug 19, 2016 6:28 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:You have entirely misunderstood the past 16 pages.
Question for the group: Have I?

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ijuin » Wed Sep 07, 2016 3:39 pm UTC

What bothers me the most is the use of my computing resources, especially the download time and data usage. Let's say that a given set of video ads takes ten megabytes, and my phone plan charges me ten dollars per gigabyte. The ad has thus cost me ten cents that I did NOT intend to spend. Effectively, it is as though postal "junk mail" ads were delivered to me "postage due".

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Sep 15, 2016 6:15 am UTC

Adblock is now selling "acceptable" adspace.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby commodorejohn » Thu Sep 15, 2016 7:34 am UTC

Yep. That's why I've switched over to Adblock Edge.
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Thu Sep 15, 2016 9:37 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:Adblock is now selling "acceptable" adspace.
Rather than a separate list of "acceptable" ads, I'd like to see a set of ad properties, which the user could choose to block based on. For example:

[_] Block ads with animation
[_] Block ads with images
[_] Block ads with flash
[_] Block ads with HTML5 (i.e. canvas) elements
[_] Block ads with cookies
[_] Block ads with any tracking method
[_] Block ads larger than [____](h) x [_____](v) pixels (...or ems or percent...)
[_] Block all third party ads
[_] Block all ads
[_] Block all ads and send fifteen thousand volts through them.

This will allow (and encourage) the original ad provider to supply alternate versions of the ad, and eventually (hopefully) move completely over into these alternate versions. These worms have all got to go back into the can, and I think this is better than opening another can.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Sep 15, 2016 10:58 pm UTC

Seems nice in theory, but in practice, I'd imagine that the vast majority of users would just click "block all ads" rather than carefully thinking about each category.

So, total incentive would be low. Standard tragedy of the commons. Hard to get any one user to pay even a small attention cost for the benefit of the overall environment.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Fri Sep 16, 2016 2:57 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:I'd imagine that the vast majority of users would just click "block all ads"...
Not really much of a loss. Users who are not open to seeing ads are also not open to the ads they see. It might even be better, as they would not be annoyed by the company with the ad they aren't seeing, and thus the company is spared the negative vibes. Giving the customer what they don't want isn't usually a good course of action.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby HES » Fri Sep 16, 2016 10:03 am UTC

ucim wrote:Users who are not open to seeing ads are also not open to the ads they see.

Has it not been established that this isn't as true as you think? As much as we all like to think "adverts don't work on me", there is still an effect.
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby commodorejohn » Fri Sep 16, 2016 2:15 pm UTC

Has it been established, aside from just you repeatedly claiming that it's totally true because psychology?
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby HES » Fri Sep 16, 2016 2:32 pm UTC

You have a odd definition of "repeatedly".
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ijuin » Fri Sep 16, 2016 4:44 pm UTC

I'd also like to see "block ads over X megabytes in size". The ones that I find the most annoying are the video ads, which not only have audio which drowns out whatever I was listening to, but also hogs my download bandwidth, greatly slowing down the content that I had come to see, sometimes to the point where my system lags heavily.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Sat Sep 17, 2016 1:25 am UTC

HES wrote:
ucim wrote:Users who are not open to seeing ads are also not open to the ads they see.

Has it not been established that this isn't as true as you think? As much as we all like to think "adverts don't work on me", there is still an effect.
But the ones that are open to seeing ads in the first place are more likely (yeah, citation needed) to be willing to respond to the ads that are presented, rather than ignore them or cover them up with another window or hang them off the edge of the screen. For example, I get newspapers and magazines with blow-in and stick-on ads. I peel them off and dump them without even looking at what they are for, because I resent this manner of forcing their message into my face.

And, to the extent that ads "work on you whether you think they do or not", I do not accept that there is an "unspoken agreement" that to view free content on the public internet I need to expose my brain's workings to whatever an ad designer wants me to unwillingly absorb.

It may be too late. The ad industry may have already gone too far (and if so, it's totally their fault - I have no sympathy for them). But if it is not too late, then allowing users to control the amount of control an ad has over their computer (and their brain) might lead to a better internet ecology and may be worth trying.

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 * Please help addams if you can. She needs all of us.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby morriswalters » Sat Sep 17, 2016 3:26 am UTC

If it really bothers you all that much write a browser which reads the page and downloads the ads and dumps them in a bit bucket for disposal while taking the content you desire and displaying it to you in its virgin state. Ad men buy eyeballs, give them digital eyeballs. Solve the problem with the the tools of the problem. Then wait and rewrite it when they figure out how to beat it. Rinse and repeat. Business doesn't care about you, they are in business to make money. And most content is crap. So break the paradigm. The fact that some will go broke when the paradigm breaks is a fact of life in the world. Most ideas don't work. The fact that the world is a certain way is not an indicator that it will, or should be that way forever.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Sat Sep 17, 2016 5:16 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:If it really bothers you all that much write a browser which reads the page and downloads the ads and dumps them in a bit bucket...

Or, I could write a browser add-on to do the same.

Wait... it's already been done. And it's not unethical.

ETA: Here's another one - I sent an email to a friend in which I enclosed a link to a commercial entity. It was for a company whose products I was actually recommending. When she responded to me, the email I had sent was quoted at the end, as per common practice of many email agents.

BUT... somewhere along the way, an ad for the product I had mentioned was inserted into the body of my email, over my signature.

So to those who hold that blocking ads is unethical - I wholeheartedly disagree, and that is another reason why. It is the advertisers who are unethical, and we have the absolute right to defend ourselves in any way necessary.

Jose
Re-edited to clarify that that last part was not specifically aimed at morriswalters.
Last edited by ucim on Sun Sep 18, 2016 1:39 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby morriswalters » Sat Sep 17, 2016 9:30 pm UTC

ucim wrote:So don't go telling me that blocking ads is unethical. It is the advertisers who are unethical, and we have the absolute right to defend ourselves in any way necessary.
Quote me where I said it was unethical. It would be hard to do since I am amoral and do whatever I like, if I believe I can do so without cost to me.(see notes in the spoiler) I simply pointed something out that is not available in a browser. A way to monkey with the advertisers by creating the illusion of someone reading their ads, thus getting them to pay the content producer, while getting what you want.



Spoiler:
Once upon a time before I came to xkcd I believed in the idea that there was right and wrong and ethical and unethical. You and others like you have convinced me otherwise. So now I don't steal because I know I can be caught. I don't murder for the same reason. I pay for content when I need to, or if the producer of the content makes me believe that I should by being able to connect to whatever it is within me that produces guilt. A rare event. I'm not trying to tell you to do anything. I am throwing out random thoughts as it suits me, pointing out things I believe to be germane.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Sun Sep 18, 2016 1:36 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:
ucim wrote:So don't go telling me that blocking ads is unethical....
Quote me where I said it was unethical....

Sorry - that part was not aimed at you (even though I quoted you to begin with, kind of as a launch point). In that edit I was responding to the thread.

I'll re-edit to make this clearer.

Jose
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby morriswalters » Sun Sep 18, 2016 1:43 am UTC

No problem.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Sep 19, 2016 3:42 pm UTC

Just got adblock for my phone. Couldn't be happier. Tired of websites crashing in order to reload all the gaddam adverts that block your screen with no way to get around them.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby WorldTradeRichard » Tue Sep 20, 2016 1:54 am UTC

I think that adblock is only ethical is specific instances that would be the cause of the website designer not allowing the user into his website unless you clicked on the ad. I once tried making my image logo thingy smaller, so I went onto the first google suggested site. I set the size, the background, the crop area, pressed enter, and the link to my resized image showed up, only to immediately send me to a bidding website ad. So I think that in only certain situations is the adblock option actually any ethical.
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Liri » Tue Sep 20, 2016 2:46 am UTC

I installed it primarily to avoid the often malicious ads on free streaming sites, so I definitely don't have a leg to stand on here. After a couple weeks, I completely forgot it was on until I used a friend's computer.

It's just hard to imagine that companies advertising online ever get that much benefit. Especially the more annoying ones. I'm sure they must, or they - hopefully - wouldn't keep bothering us with them.

If a site relies solely or largely on ad revenue and doesn't provide a "Donate!" button for Adblock users, then they're shooting themselves in the gut and I don't feel bad. I'm not saying I would donate to every site I blocked, but I might if I really valued the content. I have indeed donated to Wikipedia.

One on hand, I like the free reign a business model based on many small donations gives to organizations to keep content of their own choosing, but it's probably only viable for a select [relatively] few websites. I'm not donating to CNN, for instance (it is remarkable just how shitty CNN's website is).
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Sep 20, 2016 5:25 am UTC

It is remarkable just how shitty CNN is. And the scary thing is that this is the best source of news in the US. Foxnews is bullshit, msnbc is also bullshit, nbc is basically GE's propaganda department, abc is basically nothing. Everything else is basically blogs and other unreliable news sources. Hell, we have a discussion in the other forum regarding a NYT article that proves that NYT has no quality control. I use the BBC as my primary source but even that has serious issues and sticks its head in the sand about a lot of things. So... Associates Press or Reuters?

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Liri » Tue Sep 20, 2016 12:55 pm UTC

I use BBC as my primary, too. I go to NYT for opinion/editorial pieces. AlJazeera if there's something big happening in the Middle East, like the failed Turkish coup.

There are a lot of online news sources filling the void of quality journalism left by the old powerhouses but it's daunting to try and sift them out from the rest. And because most of them are online only, they rely a lot on ads. They also mostly have agendas which sucks, even if you generally agree with them. You know what you're going to get with The Atlantic or Vox. I like reading opinion pieces, but only when it's clear that that's what it is. I don't really feel compelled to help them out. But should I be compelled to at least not hinder them by turning off my Adblocker? I'm currently not feeling very compelled.
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Ashford » Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:41 pm UTC

sam_i_am wrote:The reason why I use adblock is because ads can sometime contain malware.

I don't mind having to look at ads, but when I turn adblock off, I feel more at risk


This.


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