The Darker Side of the News

Seen something interesting in the news or on the intertubes? Discuss it here.

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EdgarJPublius
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby EdgarJPublius » Tue Mar 20, 2018 6:57 am UTC

People on the local subreddit have been comparing the bombings to the DC sniper situation back in 2002, with the 'pattern' essentially being random, and so far no claims of responsibility or manifestos. A trip-wire set beside a public road seems pretty indiscriminate compared to package bombs set in front of specific houses.

In the DC sniper case, there were two people working together. I wouldn't be surprised if there were two (or more) people working together to construct and plant these bombs. It's certainly possible that a single person could have planted the two bombs in one day, and set up the tripwire for the most recent bomb, but it seems like both of those would have been significantly easier with an accomplice.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Mar 20, 2018 11:38 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:I stopped using FB about 10 years ago, around the time my parents joined and harassed me on every little thing I did and all my 'friends' kept trying to get me to join mafia wars or whatever. I'd delete my account entirely, but apparently you need a social media presence of some form to get a job today. Luckily there's linkedin, which just generates a different kind of spam than FB.

So my question becomes, is my data worth anything to these people?


I believe in this case, it's like-scanning, so preferences can be associated with individuals, and then ads tailored to those preferences. There's some direct economic value there, since targeting advertising is a thing.

Of course, it's not so very different from what Facebook itself does with advertising. Save for a EULA, I guess. I don't view it as really all that big of a deal, but then, I've assumed that anything put on Facebook is not any definition of private anyways.


Edit:
Zamfir wrote:I am not quite sure what the scandal is here, exactly. This is Facebook's business model, right? They know all this stuff, you pay them money, they do creepy manipulative advertisement for you. It's not a secret, it s their official business model.


Yeah, this. I missed it before responding but...basically it's someone else doing what Facebook is doing. The friends of friends thing is sketchy, but all of the information is being used for manipulative advertisement anyways. It's basically just a different company doing the same thing with the same data. As scandals go, that seems pretty unsurprising.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Quercus » Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:06 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:I don't view it as really all that big of a deal, but then, I've assumed that anything put on Facebook is not any definition of private anyways.


I think this hits the nail on the head about why I'm not freaking out about this (which I was honestly a little puzzled about, so thanks for helping me examine it) - I already assumed that everyone was doing this all the time. I have no expectation that my Facebook feed, and really my whole online presence on websites owned by large companies, is anything other than a tool of manipulation offered to the highest bidder (and, as it turns out, the sneakiest as well). Facebook is "hostile territory" that does not represent mine or my friends interests in any way, shape or form, and I treat it as such.

The trouble is that only a tiny fraction of people approach it that way, and I honestly have no idea how to change that. That I am worried about, but I've been worried about it for years.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby sardia » Tue Mar 20, 2018 2:45 pm UTC

Quercus wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:I don't view it as really all that big of a deal, but then, I've assumed that anything put on Facebook is not any definition of private anyways.


I think this hits the nail on the head about why I'm not freaking out about this (which I was honestly a little puzzled about, so thanks for helping me examine it) - I already assumed that everyone was doing this all the time. I have no expectation that my Facebook feed, and really my whole online presence on websites owned by large companies, is anything other than a tool of manipulation offered to the highest bidder (and, as it turns out, the sneakiest as well). Facebook is "hostile territory" that does not represent mine or my friends interests in any way, shape or form, and I treat it as such.

The trouble is that only a tiny fraction of people approach it that way, and I honestly have no idea how to change that. That I am worried about, but I've been worried about it for years.

Not everyone is as paranoid as you. Also, it violates the terms of service, and the consent decree Facebook signed. Lastly, Cambridge analytics requested the data under the guise of academic study. It be like your grad student decided to make up a fake lab scientific study on HIV patients, and instead sold it to the Trump campaign after stealing the data.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby orthogon » Tue Mar 20, 2018 2:45 pm UTC

I've also been struggling to work out what specifically has gone on here and why it's so bad. It seems to be that a third party obtained data under some kind of academic/research cover and then used it for commercial purposes.

As far as targeted advertising goes, I'm not just OK about it, I'm actually somewhat in favour of it. As I used to be fond of saying, most TV advertising is for cars and feminine hygiene products, neither of which I'm in the market for. Replace that with adverts for saxophones and cycling gear and we're both better off. My main problem with targeted advertising is that the algorithms don't work - in particular I'm forever being shown adverts for the thing I just sodding well bought. Or for some reason they decide I'm interested in horses or gay dating sites.

However, the latest developments are something a whole lot more sinister. We're not just talking advertising, we're talking propaganda, fake stories, and other underhand ways of influencing people not just to buy things, but to vote a particular way, and cultivating and ingraining all sorts of prejudices and false ideas.

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xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Zamfir » Tue Mar 20, 2018 3:20 pm UTC

I suspect that a lot of these claims about super-targetted super effective manipulation are just bullshit. It's advertisement people selling themselves, in an area where performance is notoriously hard to measure, with the added buzz of New Technology.

That's the bind that Facebook is in. They have spend years selling (and I suspect, overselling) the idea that they can manipulate people into buying sneakers and fly-swatters, using Big Data and Social Graphs and Artificial Intelligence and every other buzzword of the week. Now people say, huh, if you can do that, then you can also manipulate people into voting, right? And Facebook desperately doesn't want that, they want to be seen as innocuous. But they cannot strongly deny it, without also undermining their own core marketing spin.

Same goes for political consultants, and that Cambridge Analytical in particular. That business is full of bullshit claims of magic tricks to make people vote the right way, if only you send money in their pockets. Did anyone read that last undercover interview with them?
In an undercover investigation by Channel 4 News, the company’s chief executive Alexander Nix said the British firm secretly campaigns in elections across the world. This includes operating through a web of shadowy front companies, or by using sub-contractors.

In one exchange, when asked about digging up material on political opponents, Mr Nix said they could “send some girls around to the candidate’s house”, adding that Ukrainian girls “are very beautiful, I find that works very well”.

In another he said: “We’ll offer a large amount of money to the candidate, to finance his campaign in exchange for land for instance, we’ll have the whole thing recorded, we’ll blank out the face of our guy and we post it on the Internet.”

It reeks of salesman patter. "I find that works very well". There was an earlier story about them manipulating Thai elections, which seemed to consist mostly of building an hollywood-style operations room with big TV screens and leather seats, plus hints about how they also work for MI6. The company seems much more focussed on manipulating rich clients with dreams of swinging elections, then on actually manipulating electorates.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby ucim » Tue Mar 20, 2018 3:56 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:As far as targeted advertising goes, I'm not just OK about it, I'm actually somewhat in favour of it. As I used to be fond of saying, most TV advertising is for cars and feminine hygiene products, neither of which I'm in the market for. Replace that with adverts for saxophones and cycling gear and we're both better off.
But it doesn't stop there. When they can alter editorial content as easily as they choose ads, it's a whole 'nother world. It's what I've been saying for years.

And you know what? They can alter editorial content easily enough. That's not the problem; the payoff is the problem. It's easier to find a reason to pick ads than it is to alter the article. The payoff is much more indirect and indistinct. But it's there.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Quercus » Tue Mar 20, 2018 4:02 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Not everyone is as paranoid as you.

Fair, although I would argue that my level of mistrust in stuff like this is at least reasonable. Lower levels of mistrust are probably also reasonable.

Also, it violates the terms of service, and the consent decree Facebook signed. Lastly, Cambridge analytics requested the data under the guise of academic study. It be like your grad student decided to make up a fake lab scientific study on HIV patients, and instead sold it to the Trump campaign after stealing the data.


I'm not saying that it's not bad. It's definitely bad. I was just confused as to why I wasn't personally freaking out about it on an emotional level. To freak out about something it really has to be both bad and unexpected, and for me this really wasn't unexpected in general terms.

I'm aware that I'm sounding smug and superior here, which really isn't what I'm trying to do - I'm not claiming that I'm better than anyone for "seeing this coming", I didn't see this coming, my disquiet was so general as to not be useful for the prediction of anything. I'm just commenting on my own personal (lack of) emotional response to this story.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby orthogon » Tue Mar 20, 2018 5:02 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
orthogon wrote:As far as targeted advertising goes, I'm not just OK about it, I'm actually somewhat in favour of it. As I used to be fond of saying, most TV advertising is for cars and feminine hygiene products, neither of which I'm in the market for. Replace that with adverts for saxophones and cycling gear and we're both better off.
But it doesn't stop there. When they can alter editorial content as easily as they choose ads, it's a whole 'nother world. It's what I've been saying for years.


That's kind of what I was saying in my final paragraph.

I think Zamfir may have a point, except that we know that even normal advertising is extremely persuasive - I don't think that's in doubt - and it feels intuitively plausible that advertising that you don't know is advertising could be more persuasive still. I don't have citations for that, but surely knowing that something is an advert puts you at least somewhat on your guard, which must have a nonpositive effect on your persuadability. (This was behind the ban on "subliminal advertising", although I don't think that was ever shown to work).
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby sardia » Tue Mar 20, 2018 5:28 pm UTC

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/201 ... ome-office
For those of you wondering why Britain is soft pedaling the Russia response, the UK has been selling Visas that almost entirely goes to Russian oligarchs, and essentially launders dirty Russian money. In addition, the UK is home to Russian fueled real estate boom.
So yea, the UK has been corrupted by Russia. I'm also increasingly confident that the Trump family is corrupted by Russia, but that's harder to prove.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Mar 20, 2018 5:37 pm UTC

So... how do we neutralize the propaganda? It costs far more to debunk a claim than to make it; this is how the Gish Gallop works, so that's out of the question. I'm thinking, every so often, a user name should be code that deletes info on the harvester, e.g., little Bobby tables makes his Facebook profile, but a smart harvester will fix that ASAP.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Mar 20, 2018 8:52 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:I suspect that a lot of these claims about super-targetted super effective manipulation are just bullshit. It's advertisement people selling themselves, in an area where performance is notoriously hard to measure, with the added buzz of New Technology.


I do agree, particularly seeing how often companies seem to want to advertise a book I just purchased off of amazon or something to me. Yes, I was interested in it, but I bought a copy. It's unlikely I'll want a second copy when the first can't even have arrived yet. So, there's not THAT much intelligence going into such marketing. It's perhaps a step up from advertising entirely blind, but a lot of internet advertising is not yet very far removed from that.

That's the bind that Facebook is in. They have spend years selling (and I suspect, overselling) the idea that they can manipulate people into buying sneakers and fly-swatters, using Big Data and Social Graphs and Artificial Intelligence and every other buzzword of the week. Now people say, huh, if you can do that, then you can also manipulate people into voting, right? And Facebook desperately doesn't want that, they want to be seen as innocuous. But they cannot strongly deny it, without also undermining their own core marketing spin.


The nature of advertising folks is that their advertising skill is always used first and foremost to advertise themselves. Nearly ALL advertising is trumped up a great deal, and is not actually nearly so effective as advertised. It's not worthless, of course. People wouldn't buy it if it was worthless. But it's also not uncommon for extremely large and well known advertising campaigns to not actually accomplish much of anything. The taco bell dog advertising is one such example. Well known, great icon, existed for many years, still remembered today. Didn't actually do anything for sales. But it made the advertising company what, $200 million? Maybe not a success for Taco Bell, but definitely a success for TBWA.

I can totally buy that a lot of internet advertising is of a similar nature.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby ucim » Wed Mar 21, 2018 2:20 am UTC

orthogon wrote:That's kind of what I was saying in my final paragraph.
Then why are you still in favor of [targeted advertising], when you see where it's going?
CorruptUser wrote:So... how do we neutralize the propaganda?
We change the ecology. The reason propaganda self-amplifies is that it is planted in soil that makes its money off of its traffic, irrespective of the (intellectual/moral/spiritual...) value of the content that draws the traffic. In fact, the worse the content, the more the profit.

We need to dis-incentivize trash. But the system that is (powerfully) in place makes that hard. That is what needs to be re-thought.
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A similar kind of thinking is what preserves the drug problem, the poverty trap, and other social ills.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Thesh » Wed Mar 21, 2018 2:24 am UTC

Agreed; capitalism itself is the problem. The race to the bottom affects everything, including information.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby addams » Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:22 am UTC

ohhh....This is an F%#*@ing depressing discussion.
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Psychology and Marketing have advanced.
We are a very easily manipulated species!
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby ucim » Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:24 am UTC

No, capitalism isn't the problem, it is merely imperfect (like all other systems). The problem is what is incentivized, and how we are misled to follow the bait. We took what was "given" to us, not realizing what was being taken from us. Socialism, communism, Marxism, all the -isms have that flaw; it's just a different entity doing the giving and taking.

If advertising were prohibited on the net, there would be far less incentive for spam, popups, data aggregation, and the like. The ecology would have developed differently. Perhaps quality would have been incentivized. This is more along the lines of "free speech is the problem" than "capitalism is the problem".

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:43 am UTC

If advertising were banned from the 'net, about 4/5 of the sites would disappear, and 1/10th of the sites would retool into nothing more than propaganda machines being funded by "totes not advert dollars, bro".

Interestingly, right now Rob Balder is experimenting with replacing advertising on his site with ethereum mining. I hope it works out for him, because if it does, might be a rather interesting way to have cryptos actually providing a service...

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby ucim » Wed Mar 21, 2018 4:07 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:If advertising were banned from the 'net, about 4/5 of the sites would disappear, and 1/10th of the sites would retool into nothing more than propaganda machines being funded by "totes not advert dollars, bro".
But if advertising had been banned from the 'net, the sites would not have been there to disappear; they would have evolved differently. Maybe better. Maybe people would not have learned to not pay for them. And the propaganda machines... well, to what end? Somebody would have to be supplying the money, and they'd want a payoff. Where would the payoff come from, in an ecology where people valued what they were reading?

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Dauric » Wed Mar 21, 2018 4:11 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:If advertising were banned from the 'net, about 4/5 of the sites would disappear, and 1/10th of the sites would retool into nothing more than propaganda machines being funded by "totes not advert dollars, bro".


This absolutely. Without advertising for goods and services a lot of content simply wouldn't make the content producers enough money to be worthwhile for them to produce content. Even crowdfunding and patronage programs don't bring in the revenue that advertising dollars provide.

This would unfortunately leave a "content" vacuum, and nature abhors a vacuum. Someone would seek to fill that content space, and disturbingly enough the ones most likely to do it would be the ones looking to push an agenda. The content would be effectively 'advertising' a point of view, but presented as content rather than as political advertisement it neatly sidesteps a "ban on advertising".

What we need is something I don't think we'll ever see again in any significant quantity: A return to boring journalism. A certain amount of television air-time given over to news-as-community-service rather than as sensationalist revenue generation. Fact-based reporting, clearly labeled editorials, news personalities who could be the most trusted people in America.

Unfortunately without something like an FCC mandating air-time or content-space or whatever be given over to such a community-service that space and time becomes another vacuum, in this case a profit vacuum. Resources spent without short-term gains or any demonstrable profits at all, which -someone- will take their share of it and try to generate more revenue with it by being sensationalist enough to draw more eyeballs, which forces other outlets to up their sensationalist spins to get those eyeballs back... and we get right back to where we are today.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Thesh » Wed Mar 21, 2018 4:34 am UTC

ucim wrote:No, capitalism isn't the problem, it is merely imperfect (like all other systems). The problem is what is incentivized, and how we are misled to follow the bait. We took what was "given" to us, not realizing what was being taken from us. Socialism, communism, Marxism, all the -isms have that flaw; it's just a different entity doing the giving and taking.


Actually, yes, the profit motive itself that is the premise of capitalism is inherently flawed in that it creates incentives that are inherently negative - i.e. what is best for the business owners is not what's best for either the workers or the consumers, and thus the economy as a whole (generally speaking, profits represent the negative aspects of the economy, and that's what businesses seek to maximize). The end result is that the economy itself is backwards - producers seek to make consumers depend on them, and don't care about the quality of the product, just the amount sold.

If, instead, we had a system in which the people who depend on the news itself are the ones who have control over the news, then you would not have this problem. Yes, soviet socialism has the same problem, for the same reason as capitalism - the incentives were the same, hence why it is often referred to as state capitalism.

Hell, if we didn't have copyright protections then this problem goes away, since the only way to make money would be to show that you can produce quality content. The agencies that do the best job of vetting information would be the ones that get the funding. Consumers would subscribe to local news agencies that report in their communities, and local news agencies would cooperate to provide the national and global news.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby elasto » Wed Mar 21, 2018 4:50 am UTC

A benevolent dictatorship is the best possible system of government - with the minor flaw of tending to evolve into a non-benevolent dictatorship which is the worst.

On the net, the best sites tend to have a strong ethos of public service, be non-profit and financially secure. Examples that spring to mind might be Wikipedia and the BBC.

It's very rare for such sites to arise organically though. Under capitalism there's just too strong an incentive for them to drift towards softening their ethos and/or becoming for-profit (or attention-seeking, at least, and therefore click-baity).

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Thesh » Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:19 pm UTC

Austin bomber is dead - detonated a bomb in his car as police closed in on him.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/21/us/a ... spect.html
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:33 pm UTC

24 white male. No known motive just yet, but I'm willing to bet as to what it was; notoriety. Some people don't want to watch the world burn, they want everyone to know who burnt it.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Weeks » Wed Mar 21, 2018 6:09 pm UTC

This act of notoriety against our nation will not stand.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby sardia » Wed Mar 21, 2018 6:31 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:24 white male. No known motive just yet, but I'm willing to bet as to what it was; notoriety. Some people don't want to watch the world burn, they want everyone to know who burnt it.

And that isn't candy coated terrorism because?
I do understand we should wait to find the rambling diatribe against x group first.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Mar 21, 2018 6:57 pm UTC

Never said it wasn't terrorism. I said earlier there was insufficient information to draw conclusions as to motives from, but not necessarily insufficient information to place bets.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby ucim » Wed Mar 21, 2018 8:09 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Actually, yes, the profit motive itself that is the premise of capitalism is inherently flawed in that....
Yes, it's flawed. This is why it should not be unrestrained. Every other system is flawed too, just in different ways.

But this is not the root of the power behind fake news on the net.

Thesh wrote:Hell, if we didn't have copyright protections then this problem goes away, since the only way to make money would be to show that you can produce quality content.
Uh.... no. It is much easier to copypasta quality content than to create it, so the creators would lose the means with which they could produce it in the first place. There would still be a few, (such as the ones you mentioned), but not enough.

What we need is a simple solution to a complex problem.

(Didn't we just elect one?) :)

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Thesh » Wed Mar 21, 2018 8:34 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Thesh wrote:Actually, yes, the profit motive itself that is the premise of capitalism is inherently flawed in that....
Yes, it's flawed. This is why it should not be unrestrained. Every other system is flawed too, just in different ways.


When the flaw is the entire foundation of your economy, and the source of wealth for every single person with power, it can't be fixed through some half-assed restraint; it can only be fixed through collective action to completely restructure the economy and change the incentives. Also, it's quite obvious that you haven't studied anything outside of capitalism, so spare me your dismissals; I'm so sick of ignorant people who feel they need to butt in to derail these conversations. It is the unwillingness of people like you to acknowledge the problem that prevents us from addressing it.

Name a situation in which consumers or workers are better off because of higher net profit margins. There isn't one; so the idea of incentivizing it, in and of itself, is only going to lead to worse outcomes.

ucim wrote:But this is not the root of the power behind fake news on the net.


The root is that we don't have quality journalists, so we don't have a quality source of information, so we can't know what's true. Plus, there are people who literally profit when people have bad information - that's the basis behind marketing and advertising in general, and it makes our entire economy less efficient. Capitalism fails to incentivize quality in every single aspect of the economy, and it's mostly because of marketing and advertising and those marketing tactics are so profitable because copyright law makes the products important rather than the actual reputation of producers ("You'll buy from us because no one else is allowed to sell this" vs "You'll buy from us because we can make this product better than anyone else").

ucim wrote:Uh.... no. It is much easier to copypasta quality content than to create it, so the creators would lose the means with which they could produce it in the first place. There would still be a few, (such as the ones you mentioned), but not enough.


How does copyright take away their means to produce? It changes their revenue sources so they have to get paid before publishing, but it doesn't prevent them from producing. The idea that royalties are the only way to pay for things is silly. But, it's quite clear that you aren't going to put thought into these issues, so please just stop acting like you have something to add when it's quite clear that you are not interested in hearing alternatives.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby elasto » Wed Mar 21, 2018 8:59 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:copyright law makes the products important rather than the actual reputation of producers ("You'll buy from us because no one else is allowed to sell this" vs "You'll buy from us because we can make this product better than anyone else").

That works when it comes to physical goods (you might buy an identical design table made by Bob rather than Bill because Bob's tables are superb quality whereas Bill's wobble and have splinters) but doesn't work for digital goods where copying is flawless and effortless.

How does copyright take away their means to produce? It changes their revenue sources so they have to get paid before publishing, but it doesn't prevent them from producing.

For digital goods it kinda does.

If a studio spends $100m making a movie and the first person they sell it to for $10 can legally upload it and give it away for free then the system just can't function.

(Costs for movies will drop once they can be shot entirely in photorealistic CGI with no human actors or physical sets required, and before that the movie industry may move to a Spotify-type model, but copyright will still be vital to make the sums add up.)

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Thesh » Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:06 pm UTC

elasto wrote:That works when it comes to physical goods (you might buy an identical design table made by Bob rather than Bill because Bob's tables are superb quality whereas Bill's wobble and have splinters) but doesn't work for digital goods where copying is flawless and effortless.


In both cases you are paying for quality control - in the case of news, you are paying someone to vet the information they obtain, not for the article itself. Most likely, you would pay one site to provide you with the stories from the organizations that they have vetted, and they pay the organizations for those stories.

elasto wrote:If a studio spends $100m making a movie and the first person they sell it to for $10 can legally upload it and give it away for free then the system just can't function.


No, they would just go to the movie theaters who are going to show it and say "This is the film we want to show, how much is it worth for you to show it?" Once the studio reaches the funding goal, they release it and any theater can show it as much as they want.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby ucim » Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:10 pm UTC

thesh wrote:it's quite obvious that you haven't studied anything outside of capitalism...
I'm so sick of ignorant people who feel they need to butt in...
It is the unwillingness of people like you...
it's quite clear that you aren't going to put thought into these issues, so please just stop...

I used to think ad hominum was beneath you.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Thesh » Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:10 pm UTC

So what systems outside of capitalism have you studied?
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Dauric » Thu Mar 22, 2018 12:48 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:I suspect that a lot of these claims about super-targetted super effective manipulation are just bullshit. It's advertisement people selling themselves, in an area where performance is notoriously hard to measure, with the added buzz of New Technology.


An interesting take on the topic:
Frontline: I was just flabbergasted discovering Cambridge Analytica Just under 4 minutes.

tl;dw: It's not that Cambridge Analytica could really do the manipulation that they claim, it's probably mostly marketing. It's the fact that the culture as a whole has gotten to the point where you can sell services essentially in the open that by the measure of their marketing are utterly reprehensible.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby ObsessoMom » Thu Mar 22, 2018 5:44 am UTC

ucim wrote:ad hominum hominem

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby elasto » Thu Mar 22, 2018 12:47 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:No, they would just go to the movie theaters who are going to show it and say "This is the film we want to show, how much is it worth for you to show it?" Once the studio reaches the funding goal, they release it and any theater can show it as much as they want.

So basically Kickstarter for movies? Why would any theatre offer money when the first day it is released they can legally pirate it and show it without paying anything?

Basically the industry would devolve into what porn movies have right now, which is amateurs creating porn for free and professionals creating bespoke productions for individual wealthy clients. Nothing else would end up getting made.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Thesh » Thu Mar 22, 2018 2:24 pm UTC

They will pay for movies that their audience will want to see the most, and if they don't get it funded then it doesn't get released. This means we get a more diverse range of content, as you aren't going to get money from a community unless you make a film that is specifically for them. Since everyone saves money on films, they have a lot more money to fund the stuff they want for themselves.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Dauric » Thu Mar 22, 2018 6:34 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:They will pay for movies that their audience will want to see the most, and if they don't get it funded then it doesn't get released. This means we get a more diverse range of content, as you aren't going to get money from a community unless you make a film that is specifically for them. Since everyone saves money on films, they have a lot more money to fund the stuff they want for themselves.


Copyright though has relatively little to do with the cost of making movies. I'm not saying all's well in the land of intellectual properties, but I think abolishing copyright is a case of "throwing the baby out with the bathwater".

Copyright does some important things, like allowing an artist to maintain control over their creation. Say someone makes a series of children's books with the character "Fluffy Bun Bun". Without copyright someone else can go out and make the "Fluffy Bun Bun Movie" using all the characters from Fluffy Bun Bun,.. except that it's an animated snuff porn.

With copyright the original creator can stop the damage to their reputation and "brand" (the concept of "Brand" isn't just an advertising thing, it's a human-brain pattern-matching and association thing that advertisers take advantage of) being caused by the movie using their characters without permission. Without copyright anything you create can be used by someone else to the detriment of your public image.

...

That said, I think the real problems with copyright and other intellectual property laws have more to do with "Patent Trolling", or getting the rights to some intellectual property (be it the patent to Force Feedback joysticks, or the copyright license to Spiderman), and sitting on them until someone pays you a small fortune to resell that right. There's regulations about having to do something with an intellectual property or forfeiting the rights to use it, but these regulations as they stand have loopholes you can pave a four lane highway through (in both directions no less*), and often result in the creation of garbage just to hold on to the license. This is a problem suited to a more focused solution than to throw out existing intellectual property laws in their entirety.

*in one direction you have licenses like Spiderman that Sony Pictures had to produce an utter drek of a movie to keep, on the other are Abandonware software titles that while nothing has been done with them in decades (Infocom's text adventures held by Activation come to mind), but they still haven't gone public domain.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Thesh » Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:56 pm UTC

Allow them to trademark the titles, for the sake of brand and reputation, but I don't think there should be restriction on derived works (except for attribution).
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Dauric » Thu Mar 22, 2018 8:20 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Allow them to trademark the titles, for the sake of brand and reputation, but I don't think there should be restriction on derived works (except for attribution).


Too easy to get around and abuse. I said the character was the Fluffy Bun Bun, not the title. The series of books could be "The magical adventures in Rabbitland", and FBB is the main character. The "Fluffy Bun Bun Movie" not only dodges the trademarked name, but effectively holds the trademark on Fluffy Bun Bun away from the book writer.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Thesh » Thu Mar 22, 2018 8:47 pm UTC

You can protect the character name in the title, but allow the use of the character itself.
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