Ethics of AdBlock

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ucim
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:29 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:It isn't an explicit contract, no. But oftentimes in social arrangements, there's an implicit agreement as to how things are done.
There's no implicit agreement here. They put out a bundle of content, I'm interested in some but not the rest. There's no moral issue involved with automating my selection of their content.

It makes no difference whether or not some of that content might make money for them. I have no obligation to help them make money.

They may hope they can influence me to the benefit of their bottom line. I'm not taking the bait and have no obligation to, moral or otherwise.

Further, many of the online ads amount to theft of attention. Perhaps that should be a crime.

Jose
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ahammel » Wed Sep 02, 2015 11:52 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:The deal is, essentially, "free content if you watch commercials".
No, that's not true at all.

That may be the expectation on the part of the content provider, but there is no "deal" in place at all.

It's "free content with commercials." I have no obligation to watch or pay attention to any part of this free content, including commercials.

Jose


It isn't an explicit contract, no. But oftentimes in social arrangements, there's an implicit agreement as to how things are done.
Sure, it's just that I don't think most people consider that one of those times.
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Twistar » Thu Sep 03, 2015 11:58 am UTC

You're not obligated to put money in the donation box at the museum. If they want you to restrict you from viewing their content unless you do donate they have the means and rights to do so. I don't see how any argument could be made that there is anything unethical going on.

Sure, if Adblock becomes widespread content providers may need to adapt their webpages and marketing strategies but that comes with trying to make money in the market.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Sep 03, 2015 3:25 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:It isn't an explicit contract, no. But oftentimes in social arrangements, there's an implicit agreement as to how things are done.
There's no implicit agreement here. They put out a bundle of content, I'm interested in some but not the rest. There's no moral issue involved with automating my selection of their content.

It makes no difference whether or not some of that content might make money for them. I have no obligation to help them make money.

They may hope they can influence me to the benefit of their bottom line. I'm not taking the bait and have no obligation to, moral or otherwise.

Further, many of the online ads amount to theft of attention. Perhaps that should be a crime.

Jose


Nonsense. The ads are not being put out in the same fashion as the rest of the content, for you to choose to consume or not. Rather a lot of work is put into adding the advertisments to other content. You see what you don't like, in order to see the things you do.

You are paying in attention. It isn't THEFT of attention. You are not required in any way to view their web pages or provide them with any attention. You merely have the option to do so.

Alternative forms of payment, such as no-ad subscriptions, make this even more clear. You are effectively opting for the benefits of that, but without paying for it.

Twistar wrote:You're not obligated to put money in the donation box at the museum.


Correct. And you're not obligated to donate to wikipedia. It's nice if you do so, but not required.

You are obligated to pay for what you consume in non-donation scenarios. Watching ads is not usually arranged as a donation.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby elasto » Thu Sep 03, 2015 4:22 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:You are obligated to pay for what you consume in non-donation scenarios. Watching ads is not usually arranged as a donation.

So when you record stuff off the tv, you feel obligated to sit through the adverts? You feel guilty skipping past them?

Go to a website like listenonrepeat with an adblocker on and you'll see this message:

ListenOnRepeat may not work as expected when an ad blocker is enabled in your web browser. Please disable it or add us to your exception list and refresh the page. This simple gesture will also help to develop and maintain the project. Thanks & happy repeating!


Websites are quite capable of noticing that you are blocking their ads and either letting you know or even refusing to serve you the content.

Websites are simply going to have to adjust to the fact that adverts can be skipped, just like tv had to get used to the same thing.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Sep 03, 2015 4:45 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:You are obligated to pay for what you consume in non-donation scenarios. Watching ads is not usually arranged as a donation.

So when you record stuff off the tv, you feel obligated to sit through the adverts? You feel guilty skipping past them?


No. We've already covered that. I'm not obliged to stare in rapture at every ad given. I'll cheerfully go grab a soda during commercial break, or hit the skip button on youtube when it comes up. Those are not shorting the content provider. If an ad is interesting, it'll grab my attention despite my limited caring, and I'll watch it. Granted, this is kind of rare, but it happens.

Go to a website like listenonrepeat with an adblocker on and you'll see this message:

ListenOnRepeat may not work as expected when an ad blocker is enabled in your web browser. Please disable it or add us to your exception list and refresh the page. This simple gesture will also help to develop and maintain the project. Thanks & happy repeating!


Websites are quite capable of noticing that you are blocking their ads and either letting you know or even refusing to serve you the content.

Websites are simply going to have to adjust to the fact that adverts can be skipped, just like tv had to get used to the same thing.


Ah, yes, the "they don't have security, so it's okay to rob the place" justification.

These sorts of security measures are a reaction to pop-up blockers pervasive use, yes. This would be kind of clue that the "donation" model described above is NOT the arrangement sought. They will probably become more common in the future.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby elasto » Thu Sep 03, 2015 5:04 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:No. We've already covered that. I'm not obliged to stare in rapture at every ad given. I'll cheerfully go grab a soda during commercial break, or hit the skip button on youtube when it comes up. Those are not shorting the content provider. If an ad is interesting, it'll grab my attention despite my limited caring, and I'll watch it. Granted, this is kind of rare, but it happens.

I'm sorry, but if you tivo a series you can watch the whole thing without seeing a single advert. How is that not 'shorting the content provider' in exactly the same way that an adblocker does?

Ah, yes, the "they don't have security, so it's okay to rob the place" justification.

These sorts of security measures are a reaction to pop-up blockers pervasive use, yes. This would be kind of clue that the "donation" model described above is NOT the arrangement sought. They will probably become more common in the future.

Wtf? 'Rob the place'? 'Security measures'? What world are you living in? In my world noone has an automatic right to an income.

Once again, adverts are only ONE method of making money. Just like tv shows don't simply rely on adverts to make money, but they also sell DVDs, merchandising, broadcasting rights, product placement and so on, so websites have more than one way to make money. Anyone relying on just one revenue stream and refusing to diversify if that stream doesn't provide enough income, well, why should I reward them for their lack of imagination?

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Twistar » Thu Sep 03, 2015 5:26 pm UTC

There is no obligation whatsoever on the part of the user to view ads on a website. Furthermore, there is no obligation on the part of the user to not block ads on a website. There is no social agreement or anything that advertisements are part of using the internet. If a website wants to enact such an agreement then (in light of new technological developments like adblock) the impetus is on them to put some control in to block content from users who block ads. In the past when ads weren't as prolific and there weren't things like adblock then advertising came for free to websites because they could put ads on and not worry about anyone blocking them so they didn't HAVE to have an impetus to put the controls in place. But the world progresses, things change, people have to adapt.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Sep 03, 2015 5:55 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:No. We've already covered that. I'm not obliged to stare in rapture at every ad given. I'll cheerfully go grab a soda during commercial break, or hit the skip button on youtube when it comes up. Those are not shorting the content provider. If an ad is interesting, it'll grab my attention despite my limited caring, and I'll watch it. Granted, this is kind of rare, but it happens.

I'm sorry, but if you tivo a series you can watch the whole thing without seeing a single advert. How is that not 'shorting the content provider' in exactly the same way that an adblocker does?


That, I don't do.

You'll also note that this particular capability was the source of much conflict, indicating that no, your proposed arrangement is not the one content providers are operating on.

Ah, yes, the "they don't have security, so it's okay to rob the place" justification.

These sorts of security measures are a reaction to pop-up blockers pervasive use, yes. This would be kind of clue that the "donation" model described above is NOT the arrangement sought. They will probably become more common in the future.

Wtf? 'Rob the place'? 'Security measures'? What world are you living in? In my world noone has an automatic right to an income.

Once again, adverts are only ONE method of making money. Just like tv shows don't simply rely on adverts to make money, but they also sell DVDs, merchandising, broadcasting rights, product placement and so on, so websites have more than one way to make money. Anyone relying on just one revenue stream and refusing to diversify if that stream doesn't provide enough income, well, why should I reward them for their lack of imagination?


Right. You can feel free to use alternative ways of acquiring content, sure. Nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with more than one means of payment.

But when you use adblock and do NOT engage in any other form of payment, that's kind of ridiculous.

It's like saying "well, they don't REQUIRE credit cards for payment" because the use of cash is allowed, and walking out of the store without paying in either fashion.

You don't HAVE to reward them. If you dislike the options presented, you can opt to not use the site. For particularly advertising-ridden sites, I do exactly this.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Sep 03, 2015 6:22 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:These sorts of security measures are a reaction to pop-up blockers pervasive use, yes. This would be kind of clue that the "donation" model described above is NOT the arrangement sought. They will probably become more common in the future.


Wtf? 'Rob the place'? 'Security measures'? What world are you living in? In my world noone has an automatic right to an income.

Once again, adverts are only ONE method of making money. Just like tv shows don't simply rely on adverts to make money, but they also sell DVDs, merchandising, broadcasting rights, product placement and so on, so websites have more than one way to make money. Anyone relying on just one revenue stream and refusing to diversify if that stream doesn't provide enough income, well, why should I reward them for their lack of imagination?


Nobody has an automatic right to an income, no, but that doesn't imply that you have a right to deprive someone else of their income if you are actively consuming their product. Again, I think the analogy to file sharing is pretty apt. The artist is putting out a work with the expectation that, in order to consume said work, you have to pay for it. The fact that there are ways to circumvent this transaction doesn't negate the ethical (or, in some cases, legal) problems associated with consuming the work without compensating the artist.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby KrytenKoro » Thu Sep 03, 2015 10:33 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:
notzeb wrote:If so, I would argue that not using AdBlock (or some equivalent) is unethical. Getting infected by malware doesn't just affect you, if your computer becomes part of a botnet.

Malware protection exists, entirely independent of whether it also blocks ads.

Trying to prove the ethics of removing all advertising content by arguing that operating without malware is unethical is bad logic/rhetoric, and you should feel bad.

A large portion of the sites bitching about adblock -dont- prune the malevolent ads, though. I frequently cant use cracked , notalways, or dumbingofage on my phone because of non-policed ads that hijack my browser and send me to the playstore, or (3 times today) replace my page ith "your phone might be infected" and then close the article i was reading if i try to press the back button. Even major news sites (except bbc) often run ads with aggressive popups or popovers.

If those relying on advertisers arent willing to police malicious behavior, they dont have a moral leg to stand on. In the environment theyve created, its up to the content provider to -prove- its safe for me to turn off adblock. Simply whining that they flunked out of economics 101 and need me to risk my information security so they can keep cashing checks isnt gonna cut it.
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Fri Sep 04, 2015 3:21 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:The ads are not being put out in the same fashion as the rest of the content, for you to choose to consume or not. Rather a lot of work is put into adding the advertisments to other content. You see what you don't like, in order to see the things you do.

You are paying in attention. It isn't THEFT of attention. You are not required in any way to view their web pages or provide them with any attention. You merely have the option to do so.


I pay attention to what I want to pay attention to. If a website pops something on top of what I'm trying to read, and then animates something else on the side to grab my eyeballs, and then activates the speakers with an "important announcement", that is theft. I am not in any way obligated to pay attention to them. I merely have the option to, but the option to say "yes" is meaningless without the option to say "no".

If it's not behind a paywall, it's free. I can read what I want, and ignore what I don't want.

Jose
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Sep 04, 2015 3:58 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:The ads are not being put out in the same fashion as the rest of the content, for you to choose to consume or not. Rather a lot of work is put into adding the advertisments to other content. You see what you don't like, in order to see the things you do.

You are paying in attention. It isn't THEFT of attention. You are not required in any way to view their web pages or provide them with any attention. You merely have the option to do so.


I pay attention to what I want to pay attention to. If a website pops something on top of what I'm trying to read, and then animates something else on the side to grab my eyeballs, and then activates the speakers with an "important announcement", that is theft. I am not in any way obligated to pay attention to them. I merely have the option to, but the option to say "yes" is meaningless without the option to say "no".

If it's not behind a paywall, it's free. I can read what I want, and ignore what I don't want.

Jose


That is not theft. That's just obnoxious. Bad web site design is not theft.

KrytenKoro wrote:A large portion of the sites bitching about adblock -dont- prune the malevolent ads, though. I frequently cant use cracked , notalways, or dumbingofage on my phone because of non-policed ads that hijack my browser and send me to the playstore, or (3 times today) replace my page ith "your phone might be infected" and then close the article i was reading if i try to press the back button. Even major news sites (except bbc) often run ads with aggressive popups or popovers.


Cracked has been going downhill, yes. I don't visit those other ones.

There are some areas that are running terrible ads. If you're running a blacklist or something, that's fair. But I like to just abandon sites that embrace the obnoxious advertising. It's usually a sign of decline.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Fri Sep 04, 2015 10:05 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:That is not theft. That's just obnoxious. Bad web site design is not theft.
It is when it's deliberate.

It's not theft if I accidentally connect to your wifi while downloading porn. But it is theft if I "accidentally" connect to your wifi while downloading porn.

Jose
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby LaserGuy » Fri Sep 04, 2015 11:39 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:The ads are not being put out in the same fashion as the rest of the content, for you to choose to consume or not. Rather a lot of work is put into adding the advertisments to other content. You see what you don't like, in order to see the things you do.

You are paying in attention. It isn't THEFT of attention. You are not required in any way to view their web pages or provide them with any attention. You merely have the option to do so.


I pay attention to what I want to pay attention to. If a website pops something on top of what I'm trying to read, and then animates something else on the side to grab my eyeballs, and then activates the speakers with an "important announcement", that is theft. I am not in any way obligated to pay attention to them. I merely have the option to, but the option to say "yes" is meaningless without the option to say "no".


So, in your world, when you visit someone's house, and they have a painting on the wall that you find distracting, or are playing music too loud for your taste, or their kids are running around and you can't focus on the conversation, they are stealing from you?

If a friend invites you over to their house for a visit, and you find that they're trying to sell you AVON or convert you to their religion, that's theft?

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Sat Sep 05, 2015 2:10 am UTC

LaserGuy wrote:So, in your world, when you visit someone's house, and they have a painting on the wall that you find distracting, or are playing music too loud for your taste, or their kids are running around and you can't focus on the conversation, they are stealing from you?

If a friend invites you over to their house for a visit, and you find that they're trying to sell you AVON or convert you to their religion, that's theft?
No to the first; that's inadvertent. Yes to the second, as that involves deliberate deception. (I'm thinking more of Amway than Avon, but whatever).

And "I consider it theft" in the same sense that theft of bandwidth, theft of service, theft of {buzzword} is theft.

Jose
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Azrael » Tue Sep 08, 2015 12:56 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:
ucim wrote:If a website pops something on top of what I'm trying to read, and then animates something else on the side to grab my eyeballs, and then activates the speakers with an "important announcement", that is theft. I am not in any way obligated to pay attention to them.
If a friend invites you over to their house for a visit, and you find that they're trying to sell you AVON or convert you to their religion, that's theft?
Yes [snip] as that involves deliberate deception.

What are they stealing?

Because TV commercials do the thing you started with, and by no reasonably accepted definition is you TV provider stealing from you. And in the case of the someone trying to sell you something, you can voluntarily leave, and (again) there is no precedent for "trying to sell you something" equating with stealing.

You've stretched the definition well beyond common usage to equate "inconveniencing" with "stealing". By that stretch, people protesting that cause a traffic jam are stealing from you. Someone in line ahead of you who is purposely causing a hold up to leverage a better resolution of their problem is stealing from you.

Unless you're in some prior wage-earning arrangement, your time does not have inherent, tangible value that you can make a claim against someone else for wasting. Think about loss-time accidents -- you can make a claim for compensation for lost wages, but if you don't have a job, you can't.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Tue Sep 08, 2015 2:18 pm UTC

Yes, I am stretching things a bit, but then so is the idea of "theft of service" and "theft of information" and "theft of identity" and "theft of time" and "theft of reputation" and a number of other things that are now considered theft but weren't before, mainly because there are large corporations who stand to benefit from the expansion of definition.

Only in this case, it's the little guy who benefits from the idea of "theft of attention", and the ad agencies would lose. So, it will never gain traction.

If I invite you to my house for dinner, and you come from an hour and a half away expecting a social visit and a nice meal (or maybe not-so-nice, depending on what you think of my cooking!), and instead when you arrive you find fifteen other people who got the same invitation, and an MC who then starts talking about how to get rich with the latest MLM scheme and asks for a list of your friends and their email addresses, yes, you could just get up and leave. And drive another hour and a half home. Stopping along the way for food, since you hadn't eaten. That's three hours you'll never see again, which I stole from you via misrepresentation.

No, there are no criminal statutes governing this that I know of, but that doesn't make it not theft.

As another example, if you download Angry Alligators to your phone and start playing it, and then find that it has vacuumed up your contact list and sold it to spammers, is this not a form of theft also? Certainly the people who are attached to your contact list would be nonplussed by your egregious disregard for their personal information, which they entrusted to you. And while you could say it's your fault, leaving your front door open by mistake is not the same as giving away your furniture.

Jose
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Twistar » Tue Sep 08, 2015 2:52 pm UTC

To me it boils down to the questions of on whom does the onus fall to ensure content consumers see advertisements (or better said to ensure content consumers don't block advertisements,) the consumers or the advertisers.

I'll use this quote from Azrael to help make my point that the onus falls on the advertisers.

Azrael wrote:Unless you're in some prior wage-earning arrangement, your time does not have inherent, tangible value that you can make a claim against someone else for wasting. Think about loss-time accidents -- you can make a claim for compensation for lost wages, but if you don't have a job, you can't.


The key is the prior wage-earning arrangement. When you go on on the internet or when an advertiser makes an advertisement and pays a webpage to host it there is NO monetary agreement or even non-monetary agreement between the consumer and ANYONE. This means all parties are free to act basically entirely how they please. Advertisers/webpages can advertise whatever and however they like (even inappropriate pop ups) and consumers can choose to view or not view ads.
In light of Azrael's quote, even though the advertisers spent a lot of time working on the ads in anticipation that consumers would view those ads, the consumer is not stealing by using adblock because there was no "prior wage-earning arrangement." The same goes for consumers viewing the ads. If a lengthy ad comes up and takes up 3 minutes of the consumers time it is again not stealing the consumers time because there was no "prior wage-earning agreement."*

I think this point of view is justified by two things. 1) In principle it will in some sense be governed by the market. If people can stand and like particular advertisements those advertisements will generate revenue for the webpages and advertisers. If consumers abhor certain sorts of advertisements then those advertisements will not generate revenue for webpages and advertisements and they will be phased out of that part of the internet.

2) I was going to say here that websites are free to create a contract which makes it so users have to watch/see advertisements to see content since it is this lack of contract that permits the consumers to use adblock. However, I realized that webpages don't even need to use adblock. It sounds like they can just set up their webpage to block the content from people who are using adblock without any prior agreement which is ALSO fine because it's their webpage and they can do what they want.

Also, I think one thing to point out is that these sorts of issues are still being sorted out in real time by court. There isn't really an answer to whether adblock is ethical or not because people haven't really decided how they want it to work.** The question sort of comes down to this. With a store there is an expectation that customers will pay for items they take out of it. If they break this expectation we call it stealing. At a dinner party there is an expectation that the host won't use it to to unexpectedly advertise to unsuspecting hosts. On the internet advertisers have an expectation that when they produce an ad that consumers will view it. The question is, when each of these expectations are in turn violated, when do we consider it to be stealing? And the answer is that it sort of comes down to what we as a society think is right and jury is literally still out on that question. I've made some arguments with justifications for what I think the answer should be.



*now if an ad maliciously takes information from the user that might be a different issue. But I guess internet privacy is something that is really still being worked out. The same goes for advertising.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Azrael » Tue Sep 08, 2015 2:53 pm UTC

ucim wrote:If I invite you to my house for dinner ...

If you download Angry Alligators to your phone ...


One of those is taking property (albeit it digital information, but still recognizable as property) without the owners permission, with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it. That is theft.

The other is not that.

The other is someone giving you something, and you not wanting to take part in the social agreement that comes with it -- and perhaps feeling misled because you didn't know the price of the social agreement up front. But you definitely expect ads when you're consuming content that has both value and costs. You just don't want to compensate the owners for it because reasons. Turning your desire for free content around such that their attempt to meet out the other half of the social agreement is the just the worst. Seriously, you're sticking your tongue out and saying "Nuh unh, you're the one who's stealing".

No they aren't.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Tue Sep 08, 2015 4:28 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:One of those is taking property (albeit it digital information, but still recognizable as property) valuable resources (albeit time, but still recognizable as a valuable resource) without the owners permission, with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it. That is theft.

The other is not that.


FTFY

If I copy your address book, I have not deprived you of it. If I copy your song, I have not deprived you of it. But if I take your time, you will never get it back. I have deprived you of it.

As to whether digital information is "recognizable as property", that is a new concept, which has taken (and is still taking) time to be adopted as a thing. The main pressure to adopt this idea comes from large corporations who have a stake in this outcome. Those same parties have a stake in not making "theft of attention" into a thing.

Jose
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Sep 08, 2015 4:32 pm UTC

ucim wrote:If I copy your address book, I have not deprived you of it. If I copy your song, I have not deprived you of it. But if I take your time, you will never get it back. I have deprived you of it.

As to whether digital information is "recognizable as property", that is a new concept, which has taken (and is still taking) time to be adopted as a thing. The main pressure to adopt this idea comes from large corporations who have a stake in this outcome. Those same parties have a stake in not making "theft of attention" into a thing.

Jose


Azrael is precisely correct.

You are not being forced to consume ads. Sure, if the company locks you in a box and forces you to view ads, you have a point. This is not that.

This is merely content being offered with advertising. You pay for the content with attention to the ads. If you don't like this, you can just....not consume the content. Done. Your time is not being "stolen". You are choosing how to spend it.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Tue Sep 08, 2015 5:06 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:zrael is precisely correct.
You are not being forced to consume ads.
I was referring to the dinner party example.

In any case, if it's not stealing to put an ad in front of me, then it's also not stealing to avoid the ad, even using automated means.

Jose
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Twistar » Tue Sep 08, 2015 5:14 pm UTC

ucim wrote:In any case, if it's not stealing to put an ad in front of me, then it's also not stealing to avoid the ad, even using automated means.


That was my point above. Neither is stealing.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Sep 08, 2015 6:59 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:zrael is precisely correct.
You are not being forced to consume ads.
I was referring to the dinner party example.

In any case, if it's not stealing to put an ad in front of me, then it's also not stealing to avoid the ad, even using automated means.

Jose


It isn't exactly stealing, but it is finding a way to break the implicit social arrangement. It's a little rude. You're circumventing the method they use to get paid, while still consuming their content.

It's like going into a resteraunt, ordering a water, and using the napkins and condiments. Yes, that's not exactly stealing, because no price tag is on those things, but you're definitely violating the established social arrangement here.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Tue Sep 08, 2015 7:27 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:It isn't exactly stealing, but it is finding a way to break the implicit social arrangement.
There is no implicit social arrangement. In fact, the internet used to be commercial-free. Popups, popunders, flashythings, and all that other crap came about because commercial providers wanted to make money on this government-sponsored thingie. It has yielded good things and bad things. But there is no "implicit agreement" that I'm supposed to pay attention to ads, or to surrender my browsing history, or let algorithms read my mail to learn "how to better customized my experience".

There's also no implicit agreement that I will read the newspaper classifieds. I am not breaking any contract, social or otherwise, by tossing the ads straight into the recycle bin. Ditto junk mail, be it virtual or paper. There's a whole multi-billion dollar industry out there trying to persuade me... I ain't buying, and I don't owe them anything.

And it's not like going to a restaurant and just ordering water. It's like getting one of those letters with mailing labels and a plea for money, using the labels, and not sending them a donation. Nothing wrong with that either, on any level, even though their business model includes hoping to persuade me with their gift.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Sep 08, 2015 7:43 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:It isn't exactly stealing, but it is finding a way to break the implicit social arrangement.
There is no implicit social arrangement. In fact, the internet used to be commercial-free. Popups, popunders, flashythings, and all that other crap came about because commercial providers wanted to make money on this government-sponsored thingie. It has yielded good things and bad things. But there is no "implicit agreement" that I'm supposed to pay attention to ads, or to surrender my browsing history, or let algorithms read my mail to learn "how to better customized my experience".


Yes, there is. The idea that the web is a non-commercial place is utter bs. It hasn't been for ages. The fact that it once was(when it was a tiny, tiny shadow of it's current self) is not relevant. It is commercial now. That's socially normal.

You do not HAVE to do any of those things, no. That has never been what the argument is about.

What you are arguing for is the right to use services that depend on those for income free, because you're technically dodging what is otherwise enforced.

You continue to ignore the option of simply not using such services, as if you are REQUIRED to facebook, and read sites with unending pop-ups, and so forth.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Tue Sep 08, 2015 8:06 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Yes, there is.
No, there isn't.
Spoiler:
I came here for a good argument, but this is just contradiction!
Tyndmyr wrote:You continue to ignore the option of simply not using such services, as if you are REQUIRED to facebook, and read sites with unending pop-ups, and so forth.
I am not required to simply not use such services. Not by law, not by convention, not by social graces.

Not only do I block ads, I also disable animations, block scripts, and in general protect myself so that I can browse the web without getting dirty.

However, I do not facebook. I don't trust the company at all. And I duckduckgo rather than google, unless I'm in a jam.

I am not obligated to support anybody's business model. And that's all I'm going to say about that.

Jose
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Sep 08, 2015 8:18 pm UTC

ucim wrote:I am not obligated to support anybody's business model. And that's all I'm going to say about that.


Sure, but if you are using someone else's services without paying, in whatever form is expected, then you're stealing that content. For someone with such a broad definition of theft, this should be obvious. I'm not obliged to support Walmart's business model, but that doesn't mean that I can go into the store and just take stuff. If you don't support their business model, you don't shop there. If you don't support a website's business model, don't visit it.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Sep 08, 2015 8:20 pm UTC

ucim wrote:I am not obligated to support anybody's business model. And that's all I'm going to say about that.


Right.

But neither are you entitled to their content.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Azrael » Tue Sep 08, 2015 10:17 pm UTC

ucim wrote:But if I take your time, you will never get it back. I have deprived you of it.

Again, because you ignored the point last time: Your time has no specific value.

I know, what the fuck? But everyone's time has inherent value!

The fuck is what I said -- people willfully deprive you of your time in a thousand ways everyday. Many of them so far removed from your presence that you don't even realize it. None of that is theft. The dude asking for a petition signature? Not theft. The coworker purposefully delaying their response to an email? Not theft. Comcast under-staffing their customer service lines? Not theft. The security guys at the airport purposefully working to rule because their boss is being a shit? Not theft. The subway system that purposefully chose the less efficient operational mode because it came in under their operating budget? Still not stealing.

It is only theft if I deprive you of your time based on some mutual understanding that establishes such value -- either a wage situation or something similarly defined. Your boss asks you, an hourly worker, to do unpaid after hours research? Now you're talking. But if you're salary? Nope.

The ads are not stealing from you. Suggesting so is so far beyond any meaningful precedent, definition or practice that it's ... infantile. There is a massive difference between not being obligated to pay attention to the ads (by whatever means you chose) and rightfully claiming that they are stealing.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby morriswalters » Wed Sep 09, 2015 12:17 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:It isn't exactly stealing, but it is finding a way to break the implicit social arrangement.
Then they should fix it so you can't do it. In the relative scheme of things, what is the difference between not having speakers and turning off the sound? Or blocking versus just ignoring? If they are using methods to reach below my level of consciousness to tag me in some unconscious way then I would be within my rights(such an ugly useless phrase :wink: ) to protect myself from whatever they are using, by whatever method I can find. Web bugs, Flash cookies, refusing to honor the no track flag. In general, taking every liberty that they can to push things at me. If they want me to honor some implicit social arrangement than I want reciprocity.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Azrael » Wed Sep 09, 2015 2:00 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:If they want me to honor some implicit social arrangement than I want reciprocity.

... stop watching the content. No, really. That's the reasonable response to sites as malicious as you suggest. I'm pretty happy when my malware protection blocks those. But for other, mostly benign sites that (gasp) want to expose you to ads in order to provide the revenue necessary to support the site? That is the reciprocity. It's not "Give me your shit and make it super easy for me to dodge the bill". It's "Well, I don't like your bill, so I'm going to stop consuming the content".

The practical difference between muting or ignoring the ads on TV and using adblock is that one of those prevents the content creator from being paid. The other just means you have the presence of mind not to be a complete rube. Congrats on being slightly better than average.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby morriswalters » Wed Sep 09, 2015 10:09 am UTC

I don't use adblock, but that's just because it adds a layer of complexity that I don't want to deal with. And sites in and of themselves aren't malicious. And the ads themselves don't bother me, any more than they did when say, newspapers, printed them. But the people who create the sites invite things in that remove something that is my property, my privacy. And they do it in such a way as to make it impossible for me, a non developer, to see what it is that they are doing. I suppose I'm a cur because I block Flash by default? I've had to do the same to Java. When they clean up their act I might start feeling some morsel of guilt.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby KrytenKoro » Wed Sep 09, 2015 3:51 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:The practical difference between muting or ignoring the ads on TV and using adblock is that one of those prevents the content creator from being paid. The other just means you have the presence of mind not to be a complete rube. Congrats on being slightly better than average.

You just keep repeating that one is acceptable, and the other one is abhorrent. You've not successfully demonstrated that not watching/listening to TV ads is any less a violation of the hypothetical "implicit contract" then blocking ads is.

However, what is this social contract established by? The mainstream? Many mainstream sites have the shitty, malicious, annoying ads that have been pointed out. We're not talking about some obscure "Warez -n-Porn 'R Us" site.

I'm sure there are popular sites that don't autoplay ads, or make sure to prune their google ads to reject browser hijackers, or do all the "right things", and oh my lawrd it's so terrible how those conscientious site runners are losing revenue despite doing everything right. But the social contract you're citing is a fiction. The one that actually exists is that website owners, to get paid, will allow ad companies to place ads, with little to no oversight over ethics or practices, and the ad companies will do everything in their power, including breaking the law (so long as they don't get caught - for fuck's sake, the government is still basically unable to police telephone spamvertising ), to get money or useful data from the computer user -- and most of what they do will be invisible to the reader until their computer goes tits up.
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Wed Sep 09, 2015 4:16 pm UTC

KrytenKoro wrote:
Azrael wrote:The practical difference between muting or ignoring the ads on TV and using adblock is that one of those prevents the content creator from being paid. The other just means you have the presence of mind not to be a complete rube. Congrats on being slightly better than average.
You just keep repeating that one is acceptable, and the other one is abhorrent.

You make it sound like Azrael simply keeps repeating this without citing any reason in favor of his claim. But in fact you've just directly quoted a reason that he gives.
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Sep 09, 2015 5:17 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:It isn't exactly stealing, but it is finding a way to break the implicit social arrangement.
Then they should fix it so you can't do it. In the relative scheme of things, what is the difference between not having speakers and turning off the sound? Or blocking versus just ignoring? If they are using methods to reach below my level of consciousness to tag me in some unconscious way then I would be within my rights(such an ugly useless phrase :wink: ) to protect myself from whatever they are using, by whatever method I can find. Web bugs, Flash cookies, refusing to honor the no track flag. In general, taking every liberty that they can to push things at me. If they want me to honor some implicit social arrangement than I want reciprocity.


It's socially acceptable to give commercials fairly little actual attention. Pre-emptively blocking them from ever appearing is a little far, but most other forms of non-attention are culturally expected, and do not break the payment model. Have your sound off? Whatever.

The reciprocity is getting to consume the content. Obviously.

You can totally opt out by just not consuming that content. Or by choosing an ad-free paid option, where that option exists. Either is fine.

The "they should fix it so you can't do it" is ridiculous. Something does not become morally right merely because it is possible. If that were the case, then morality itself would be a meaningless term.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby morriswalters » Wed Sep 09, 2015 5:58 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Pre-emptively blocking them from ever appearing is a little far, but most other forms of non-attention are culturally expected, and do not break the payment model. Have your sound off? Whatever.
Commercial skipping on a DVR?
Tyndmyr wrote:The "they should fix it so you can't do it" is ridiculous.
In point of fact the cable company does exactly that. I can watch any show that of the major content providers without the benefit of a DVR, simply by agreeing to watch the commercials, something I take advantage of. Or I can commercial skip by using the DVR. On the other hand I subscribe to the New York Times. Not only do I pay for the privilege, I get Ads to boot. So can I block the ads? I pay for the content. So can they have it both ways?

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Sep 09, 2015 6:08 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Pre-emptively blocking them from ever appearing is a little far, but most other forms of non-attention are culturally expected, and do not break the payment model. Have your sound off? Whatever.
Commercial skipping on a DVR?
Tyndmyr wrote:The "they should fix it so you can't do it" is ridiculous.
In point of fact the cable company does exactly that. I can watch any show that of the major content providers without the benefit of a DVR, simply by agreeing to watch the commercials, something I take advantage of. Or I can commercial skip by using the DVR. On the other hand I subscribe to the New York Times. Not only do I pay for the privilege, I get Ads to boot. So can I block the ads? I pay for the content. So can they have it both ways?


In short, they wish to be compensated by both ads AND payment. If you dislike this offer, you should simply not subscribe/consume. Ideally, tell them why, too.

Personally, I do not wish to pay to view ads, so where better alternatives exist, I will happily take them. As a consumer, you should feel free to do that.

You should not feel free to take anything you are technically able to take.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby morriswalters » Wed Sep 09, 2015 7:38 pm UTC

Which speaks to the Times but not to the cable. Which example is moral or right and which isn't. And I buy content that suits what I want and is presented to me in a way that makes sense. And have no compunction about using content if it is free to use(ad supported). Neither do I have any compunction about blocking the ads if it suits me. I suppose you could say that if people had not pirated music than the music industry would never have been forced to the new paradigm. The same for film. And I like how it is now versus how it was when I was young. In effect the public screamed at them. That caused winners and losers, but what the hell.

And the ad companies are as much responsible for the pain as the consumer. They are nasty and invasive. The set up routes for malware. I suppose under the paradigm that you suggest I should be ashamed of blocking both Java and Flash by default.


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