Jimquisition: The Adblock Episode

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BakedSardine:
Media companies, specifically those in the magazine industry, shot themselves in the foot by offering online content for free when the internet started getting big. The scramble to generate revenue led to the only option they had left - putting ads on their website, which most consumers find distasteful and/or distracting.

The real issue is that the content that websites like The Escapist offer is not particularly special and their place can be filled by any number of communities due to the open nature of the internet. If The Escapist went away, everyone would just move somewhere else, much as people did when sites like 1UP essentially folded. And if all the media sites folded, people would still form internet communities to exchange their thoughts on games, reviews, etc.

The more nefarious issue I see is that websites and even print are moving to native advertising where they essentially give PR companies direct access to their content systems and they can feed in stories promoting their brands. The New York Times published one about the "success" Samsung had in sponsoring the Oscars that was clearly a PR piece, yet was not labeled as an advertisement in any way. Sites like Escapist will not doubt move this way, if they haven't already.

If you want a prime example of native advertising, here you go: http://www.today.com/health/man-loses-56-pounds-after-eating-only-mcdonalds-six-months-2D79329158

This is why ad companies exist. Many sites use intermediaries for their advertising and as such will be provided with a range of adverts by the service. Ad choices and even google are providers. This way any content you put out is entirely independent of the advertising revenue as the adverts are matched and provided by a separate group. your advertising revenue doesn't depend on keeping the guys behind the adverts happy so they have no control and tell you how to run your content. As all that happens is you get a different set of adverts by the ad service provider.

The issue with this being the cut taken by such services as it further reduces ad revenue.
Oddly while everyone hates on EA. They happily ran adverts on Destructoid while it was just as happily bashing one of their latest games. If corporations respect independence and honestly of people then when they do often they get talked about in a positive light, just like I'm doing now so it can be more beneficial especially when you've really made yourselves into a giant evil monster, that bit of good press can be the start that helps turn opinion.

KisaiTenshi:
Paywalls and Advertisements are mutually exclusive to each other.

Cable TV charges for channels (paywall), and yet still plays advertisements.
Both are costs for content (in fact, Cable TV was initially billed as "Paid-For, ad-free TV".)

So no, the two models aren't mutually exclusive.

Jonte:
On the 4th January yahoo had malware infected ads

Source's http://edition.cnn.com/2014/01/05/tech/yahoo-malware-attack/

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-57616617-83/yahoo-users-exposed-to-malware-attack/

Please excuse my bad English

It happened for a short period of time for a very few amount of users in a few countries of the world. Yahoo gets billions of page views and tens of if not hundreds of billions of ads served a day, and only an estimated 300,000 malware ads were served before the ad got detected and removed from the system. That's.............less than a thousandth of one percent of the ads ONE DAY had served a malicious ad. You probably have a greater chance of dying in a car crash, are you going to stay at home today?

I never said it would never happen, but it shows how miniscule the chances are of it happening on legit sites. And note some important details. The infection rate was only 9%, indicating the vast majority of the small fraction of people that got served this malware did not get infected. Why? Because it was blocked by a virus scanner, firewall, or because their computer was updated so the Java exploit was already patched. So competent users like you and me weren't even at risk. So what are you afraid of?

Fact is, it's really hard for malicious ad servers to sneak bad ads into the systems of the major networks, and if they managed it it's not for long.

A bit off-topic, but I would personally appreciate it if Jim didn't use pictures of actual poop (4:40). >__>

Also, can anyone explain to me what the the shrimp is supposed to symbolize please? I've seen it used so many times in Jim's videos, but I'm still unable to pinpoint a meaning to it.

KisaiTenshi:

The site isn't choosing to transmit anything, you are choosing to request data from it.

They are choosing to transmit it. The site does not have to respond to my request. That is their decision.

KisaiTenshi:

Nobody ever expects a 100% click-thru rate any more than any newspaper advertisement ever expects someone to buy every single thing in the newspaper.

So, why would you expect a 100% non-blocked ad delivery rate?

Why is it "theft" when people block ads, but not when people ignore them?

KisaiTenshi:
Ads are about putting that brand in peoples heads. Why else would McDonalds and Coke constantly advertise in absolutely everything? Do you think they sell a BigMac and a Coke every time an ad airs to everyone that sees it?

No. So why would you expect that every time you deliver an ad it won't be blocked?

TopazFusion:

Atmos Duality:

KisaiTenshi:
Paywalls and Advertisements are mutually exclusive to each other.

Cable TV charges for channels (paywall), and yet still plays advertisements.
Both are costs for content (in fact, Cable TV was initially billed as "Paid-For, ad-free TV".)

So no, the two models aren't mutually exclusive.

Also, purchasable newspapers and magazines (which have already been mentioned in this thread,) often have full-page advertisements in them too, even though you've bought and paid for the newspaper/magazine.

If you are paying for cable, you are paying to receive free ad-supported OTA broadcasts aggregated with cable-company-owned content that costs them nothing extra. Your subscription does not go directly into anyone's pockets but the cable company, they have fixed costs for putting those channels on the basic tier. If you want the "good" ad-free channels like HBO you'll have to pay the subscription fee that goes directly into HBO's pocket. The basic tier alone is not a paywall, it's just whatever "value" the cable company can give away for free by having your service active. This goes back to Analog cable when "blocking premium" channels meant the cable company came by and put a filter on your line, and took away your HBO descrambler. Today they can a-la-carte the entire system but it would mean the end of all specialty channels. There are entire channels that are not carried on cable because the cable company doesn't feel they have enough audience appeal. Likewise Carriage Disputes http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carriage_dispute

But sure, if you consider paying for basic service a paywall, then you also will insist that paying for internet access is a paywall to every site on the internet. There is no relationship between your internet service provider and the site's you access. There is no relationship between you paying for cable, and those individual channels on basic service.

Magazines and Print publications you can subscribe to, or you can buy them individually. So the ads are subsidizing the printing cost. Subscription fees and individual purchases pay the employees. Some magazines, particularly female-targeted ones, are made entirely of ads, because that's exactly why they are buying them (ever wonder why there are so many in waiting rooms?) People also read them in the library, or stand around a bookstore and read them there. That's the "Free" model for print.

Let me ask... do you really think anyone pirates print magazines?

Hence why paywalls and ad-supported content is mutally exclusive. You can not make the same content free and ad supported while putting the same content behind the paywall with ads, because the subscriber gets no benefit from subscribing. You either have no paywall, or you go full paywall.

You get stuff like this when you don't go full paywall:
http://www.jensense.com/2011/06/02/how-newspapers-are-earning-money-from-ads-visitors-cannot-click-sabotaging-their-cpm-rates-too/

There's often Terms of Service rules for ad networks that prohibit putting ads on pages that are private, password protected, or unreachable with a web spider. If your site is entirely subscription based, and you throw ads on top, you're unlikely to have enough a high readership that all but the worst ad networks would drop you.

As for how this relates back to the ad blocking discussion, the analogy to ad blocking for TV is using your own PVR, not the cable companies, so you can fast forward through commercials. The channel you watch may prohibit fast forwarding, and many Cable company owned VOD services disable it at the request of the broadcaster.

Likewise blocking ads in print would be like having someone glue blank pieces of paper over every ad in a newspaper or magazine... rendering it unusable in a library, or unsalable if you did it at the bookstore.

Thanatos2k:

Aardvaarkman:
Keep taking what from the tray? And who else am I harming?

"Who am I harming sneaking into a movie theater without paying? The show wasn't sold out and they were gonna show it anyways! I just hate previews, ok? I refuse to pay for any movie with them!"

Terrible analogy. I have to pay to have the right to enter a movie theatre. There is no such contract with a website that voluntarily sends content to my browser without any pre-existing contract.

Again, you haven't answered the question. What am I taking, and who am I harming by doing so?

Thanatos2k:

I wonder if the irony of this statement escaped you, because your attempt to debate the semantics of "semantics" all but proves how much you care about this conversation and what lengths you'll sink to in order to "win" a conversation.

What lengths I'll sink?

You are the one avoiding rational debate, and whenever faced with direct questions go off on tangents and personal attacks. I was not making a semantic argument.

Thanatos2k:

Advertisers are a parasite on the system.

You seriously think advertising is evil. There's no talking rationally with such an individual. I'm done with you. Keep on stealing.

Again, putting words in my mouth. I never said advertisers were evil. I said they are parasites. Why is it that you transformed the word "parasites" into "evil"? It seems like you want to argue with things that people aren't actually arguing.

Accusing me of theft is a very serious accusation. What is it that I have stolen?

Aardvaarkman:

KisaiTenshi:

The site isn't choosing to transmit anything, you are choosing to request data from it.

They are choosing to transmit it. The site does not have to respond to my request. That is their decision.

If I checked an IP list of failed ad delivery, that could be arranged, but then you know, VPN's exist. This is in fact what some I do with some of my clients who have "Clever" fans that think they should just rip the site to avoid ads.

Aardvaarkman:

KisaiTenshi:

Nobody ever expects a 100% click-thru rate any more than any newspaper advertisement ever expects someone to buy every single thing in the newspaper.

So, why would you expect a 100% non-blocked ad delivery rate?

Why is it "theft" when people block ads, but not when people ignore them?

You don't know that an ad has been ignored, only that an ad didn't have an impression value, and may or may not have had a click-thru. Hence it's easier to tell when someone is blocking an ad than it is if the ad successfully translates to a sale.

Aardvaarkman:

KisaiTenshi:
Ads are about putting that brand in peoples heads. Why else would McDonalds and Coke constantly advertise in absolutely everything? Do you think they sell a BigMac and a Coke every time an ad airs to everyone that sees it?

No. So why would you expect that every time you deliver an ad it won't be blocked?

When you cancel or switch internet service, do you rip all the cables out of your home so they can't ever be useful? You made your point that you're a horrible person that takes pennies from the take-a-penny-leave-a-penny jar.

KisaiTenshi:
The chances of getting malware is zero if you've been letting your operating system update automatically and have antivirus software.

That's absolutely not true.

There are constantly new security exploits found, which have not been patched by system updates or detected by antivirus software. I don't know what to say if you really believe that system updates and antivirus are ahead of all the exploits.

Even when exploits are publicly discovered, the patching of operating systems and software can lag months behind the exploit.

NewClassic:
As the opening post suggests, there's no universally agreed rule as to what is or isn't acceptable, so there's going to be some disagreement, even among mods.

This ... doesn't exactly instil me with confidence.
It gives the impression the mods themselves don't know what's against the rules and what isn't (in this thread, at least).

But thanks for the reply though. Appreciated.

NewClassic:
In this case, Jim had mentioned this video coming on Twitter, and another mod had said one or two comments in passing about it.

Wow, that's incredibly lax of Jim. From what he wrote here, it sounded significantly more formal than a random Tweet to some random mods.

Did none of the moderators feel the need to flag this issue for the attention of someone higher up? From what you wrote, it sounds like this never left the confines of the moderator's circle. This seems like a pretty serious oversight.

KisaiTenshi:

You don't know that an ad has been ignored, only that an ad didn't have an impression value, and may or may not have had a click-thru. Hence it's easier to tell when someone is blocking an ad than it is if the ad successfully translates to a sale.

Why does that matter? You were just expecting that nobody expected a 100% sell-through rate. So why would anybody expect a 100% ad-delivery rate?

Aardvaarkman:

When you cancel or switch internet service, do you rip all the cables out of your home so they can't ever be useful?

What does this have to do with anything I've said?

Aardvaarkman:
You made your point that you're a horrible person that takes pennies from the take-a-penny-leave-a-penny jar.

Personal insults are not appropriate or allowed here.

Blocking ads is not theft. I never said I blocked ads. I was just discussing the concept of blocking ads. Yet you feel free to call me a "horrible person" and accuse me of theft for discussing the issue at hand? That's not very nice behaviour.

TopazFusion:

Because, if Jim had heavily pushed for pubclub subscriptions in this video, people would complain that the video was nothing more than an advertisement for the Escapist's subscription service.

Since when has Jim cared about people complaining? And why should he care?

Also, why would it have to be "heavy"? He could have briefly mentioned the subscription benefits, rather than relegating it to a couple of seconds of a slide.

TopazFusion:
You can't complain that there's not enough awareness of the pubclub service, and then at the same time, complain when it's at the forefront of a site content video.

You can't have it both ways.

What?

When did I complain about Pub Club awareness being at the forefront of a site content video? I asked for exactly the opposite - more promotion of the Pub Club. From reading this site, you'd barely know what it was. It's basically never referred to by the writers and content authors of this site, even in passing.

I'm not sure where you get the idea that I'm trying to have it both ways from.

TopazFusion:

This is like saying: "This warez/piracy site is transmitting me data and happily responding to my requests, so it's not theft if I save any of the data."

No, it isn't like that at all. The site is illegally transmitting data that violates copyright law. By making use of that data, you are also infringing copyright (although, it's still not theft, despite being illegal).

The equivalent argument to what I was making, is that I am stealing from the torrent site by loading their home page (without downloading any warez, etc.)

Would you at least show me the respect of actually reading and trying to follow my argument, instead of making non-sequitur responses that don't make sense? Or maybe not replying to them if you don't understand what I'm saying?

TopazFusion:

Aardvaarkman:
I never agreed to any terms of use just by loading a page.

You did actually:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/content/termsofuse

A) This End User Agreement (the "Agreement"), sets forth the terms and conditions that apply to use of the Site by each end user thereof ("End User"). By using the Site (other than to read this Agreement for the first time), End User agrees to comply with all of the terms and conditions hereof.

That isn't legally binding.

How am I to know what the "terms and conditions" are of using a site that I have never been to before? If you click on a link to www.foo.com, are you agreeing to their terms and conditions? No serious court of law would agree.

Aside from it being legally dubious, you can't just put a page on a website, and then make the claim that someone visiting any other page on the website agrees with what that page says. An agreement requires some interaction and acknowledgement of that agreement. Someone clicking on a link to a random page on The Escapist might never have seen the Terms and Conditions, so how can they possibly agree?

This is exactly the same as a website putting a page up somewhere saying "by using this website, you agree that you are a child molester, and owe the operator of this website $10,000." Would you abide by those terms if you happened to visit such a website?

You've accidentally made a great illustration of how far out of touch with reality that many media companies are with the way that the web and the law works.

KisaiTenshi:

I don't know what weird parallel universe you guys are in.

Also I was given the captcha when I posted the second message to this forum, it indeed works. If this were my own site I'd ask for screenshots.

I live in this universe

I don't know what universe comparing the current site layout to problems that are 4-1 years old and from a time when this site looked different counts as proving me wrong.

and yes the ad captcha are broke it's been repeatedly stated that they often do not work on the first go, if you take over a certain time to post.(Just for the record It happened on this post)

TopazFusion:

Not "you" in the direct sense, but "you" in the general sense.

Please don't talk about me in the general sense.

TopazFusion:

Either way, someone is unhappy or complaining.

And how is that different than usual?

TopazFusion:
Point is, the Escapist cannot win. At all. Ever. No matter what they do.

What do you mean by "win"?

TopazFusion:
You can't please everyone.

So, don't try to. But the gist of your post is that you would try to please everyone (by not mentioning the Pub Club).

Aardvaarkman:

Where did I say it had to be legally binding?

You didn't. But you said that someone visiting the site agreed to those terms. But just visiting the site does not mean they agreed to those terms, whether that page says it or not.

Aardvaarkman:
It doesn't matter if it isn't. The point is, they can refuse service to anyone they like, for any reason they like.
They can refuse service to anyone who blocks their ads, or to anyone who doesn't wear a purple polka-dot bow tie, or anything in between.

And that was an explicit part of my argument. I said that by visiting a website, you send a HTTP request to a site. That site can choose to respond to that request, or not. I never said the site had to deliver anything in response to that request. Where did I say that The Escapist had to serve every request?

Now, when you visit a website you have never been to before, how do you know what its terms of service are? How do you know if it's going to serve ads to you, or malware, or pornography, or hate-speech? You don't. Simply making a HTTP request to that site does not mean you agree with anything said on it, nor that you agree to run any scripts or software contained on it.

There is no contract until one is agreed to by both parties.

KisaiTenshi:

If you are paying for cable, you are paying to receive free ad-supported OTA broadcasts aggregated with cable-company-owned content that costs them nothing extra...

...The basic tier alone is not a paywall, it's just whatever "value" the cable company can give away for free by having your service active.

No. Stop. WRONG.

Saying the basic tier isn't a paywall is like claiming McDonald's only charges for the meat and sauce on a Big Mac, but throws in the buns for free (or any other arbitrary combination of Big Mac ingredients/haves & have-nots)
Which is absurd.

The only way your claim could work is if the cable company provided their basic service for "free" with ads and only charged for the premium channels. Seeing how that isn't the case, your entire argument is dead on arrival.

Let me break this down into a simple relationship without the technobabble:

The consumer pays for a basic cable package and the cable company provides access to the contents of that package. Said channels include ads. Bam. Right there, the cable company is monetizing access to the channels while including ads; that's both models at work at the same time.
Premium channels, carriage disputes, or how much the provider pays for the channels on their end is completely irrelevant.

But sure, if you consider paying for basic service a paywall, then you also will insist that paying for internet access is a paywall to every site on the internet.

Except my ISP doesn't advertise or charge me to use that connection only for a specific, finite number of websites, services, ports, applications. They're supposed to route my traffic according to the rate as advertised to other parts of the internet (including parts not owned by them, another key flaw in your comparison); nothing more, nothing less.

In fact, Net Neutrality Laws in my country, dictate that they engage in interfering with that as little as necessary.

There is no relationship between your internet service provider and the site's you access. There is no relationship between you paying for cable, and those individual channels on basic service.

An utterly false comparison, considering that cable is required to have a contract for each channel it carries unless it owns the channel outright. My ISP doesn't own every website or service I can access, ergo false comparison.

Moving on.

Magazines and Print publications you can subscribe to, or you can buy them individually. So the ads are subsidizing the printing cost.

You can't claim that unless you know exactly how the printing and distribution budget is balanced, and even that is a case-by-case basis so it's not a valid argument even in general. For all we know, those ads are pure profit for the magazine publisher.

Hence why paywalls and ad-supported content is mutally exclusive. You can not make the same content free and ad supported while putting the same content behind the paywall with ads, because the subscriber gets no benefit from subscribing. You either have no paywall, or you go full paywall.

Considering I've rebuked every argument you've made on the subject, no, they aren't mutually exclusive.

If your site is entirely subscription based, and you throw ads on top, you're unlikely to have enough a high readership that all but the worst ad networks would drop you.

And you finish with a contradiction of your entire argument by claiming a scenario can exist which uses a paywall AND ads.
Brilliant.

KisaiTenshi:

As for how this relates back to the ad blocking discussion, the analogy to ad blocking for TV is using your own PVR, not the cable companies, so you can fast forward through commercials. The channel you watch may prohibit fast forwarding, and many Cable company owned VOD services disable it at the request of the broadcaster.

Wait, is this real? It's been years since I had cable (and therefore, a PVR is useless to me), but I never met a show I couldn't skip the ads on. And that was with a provided PVR.

Aardvaarkman:

I mean, really, can anyone explain to me why the Pub Club has been so ignored and neglected by the site?

Every video used to have a Pub Club ad. Maybe they still do. My brain has started to filter out repetitive ads, to the point that I'd have to go looking for the ads specifically. Some actually had them as part of the video, didn't they?

How does this translate to "ignored and neglected?"

I'd also mention that numerous people will remind you in the forum itself about benefits of no ads and no captchas on posts.

The_Kodu:

To give you an example of what Blip TV did which caused outrage for a while was force people who ad blocked to sit for 5 minutes with a screen displaying a message saying why they shouldn't ad block. It really annoyed people but it pointed out how a 30 second advert pays for the show and it's far more annoying to a content producer for people to block the adverts and be racking up huge viewing numbers only to be paid next to nothing. It forced people to understand and feel a small portion of the annoyance of the producer.

I thought it was 90 seconds. But you know the funny thing? In the threads I saw on it, users largely responded by saying that silence was still worth adblocking, which probably didn't set forth the message they wanted. And TBH, with all the problems I've had with Blip ads, I get where they're coming from. I'm not advocating it, I'm just saying I understand why they would feel that way. Ads that are significantly louder than the content, ads that won't stop, ads where the skip button doesn't work, content that won't load, etc. It seems to be somewhat better now, but it's a bad system. In fact, Blip is one of the worst sites for ads I've seen that wasn't doing the porn popups.

Going a little further into the reaction, I referenced Linkara earlier in the thread where he asked is users to let the ads play because it benefited him and he wanted to keep doing his stuff on TGWTG as a full time job rather than whenever he had time. Now, his percentages went up after that, but his video gave people workarounds so as to minimise dealing with ads, so I don't know if that was because people were watching the ads or if he had just cheated the system. But a large number of comments were to the effect of "I want to support you, but I'll still use a blocker." Lewis has a Paypal where people send him money, and he sells merch and tells people to go there instead of watching ads. It seems like people are willing to do anything to get away from the ads, including throwing money directly at people and that doesn't speak well of the service.

I mean, I appreciate Jim and Lewis' approach of "I'm not mad at you" towards adblocker users, because I've always thought being frank with users instead of accusing or demanding is the better approach. But in both cases, we saw a ton of people saying they'd do it anyway, and I suspect more people would say it on here if it wouldn't lead to warnings/suspensions/bans.

Aardvaarkman:
[
Again, putting words in my mouth. I never said advertisers were evil. I said they are parasites. Why is it that you transformed the word "parasites" into "evil"? It seems like you want to argue with things that people aren't actually arguing.

I'll bite. What, specifically do you mean by parasites then? Most people mean it in the sense of "bad and unproductive," and it's not really that much of a stretch to say "evil." It seems at best that's an issue of semantics.

TopazFusion:

This is like saying: "This warez/piracy site is transmitting me data and happily responding to my requests, so it's not theft if I save any of the data."

I know this isn't quite the thrust here, but use of the term "theft" I think ends up being counter-productive. It actually gives people an easy out to rationalise away their actions. Those anti-drug ads have a negative impact and I'm pretty sure I remember seeing a study that the piracy ads that tried to equate piracy and stealing had a negative impact as well.

Zachary Amaranth:

Every video used to have a Pub Club ad. Maybe they still do. My brain has started to filter out repetitive ads, to the point that I'd have to go looking for the ads specifically. Some actually had them as part of the video, didn't they?

How does this translate to "ignored and neglected?"

It hasn't been like that for a long time. So, yeah, that kind of meets the definition of "neglected." I suspect they don't want to "scare away" advertisers by being too up front that there is a way to legitimately avoid ads.

Zachary Amaranth:
I'll bite. What, specifically do you mean by parasites then? Most people mean it in the sense of "bad and unproductive," and it's not really that much of a stretch to say "evil." It seems at best that's an issue of semantics.

I'll refer you to the dictionary:

parasite

1. an organism which lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the other's expense

How is that not an accurate description of advertising? "Evil" has a whole other set of connotations, and I believe the other poster deliberately used that word to twist my argument into something it isn't. That's something that s/he's been doing this entire thread, and there's no excuse for it.

Is a mosquito evil? I don't think so. Annoying? Yes. Parasites don't act out of an evil intention - that's just the way they are built. It is what it is.

Why would you need to change another person's words, unless you can't respond to the argument as written in an honest way?

IceForce:

NewClassic:
As the opening post suggests, there's no universally agreed rule as to what is or isn't acceptable, so there's going to be some disagreement, even among mods.

This ... doesn't exactly instil me with confidence.
It gives the impression the mods themselves don't know what's against the rules and what isn't (in this thread, at least).

But thanks for the reply though. Appreciated.

It's more that there's always going to be a bit of fluidity with common sense rules. Things like "Don't be offensive, inflammatory, or degrading" are common sense, but in the same vein, how do you account for every culture, belief, opinion, and potential hazard. Even going from basic things like religious ideologies can be difficult. Some might find the practice of Lent to be a little absurd, or to be confused by the habits of Ash Wednesday when seeing it out in public. Then go deeper, to people whose core beliefs and identities are intrinsically tied with external factors like their sex or gender or fashion code or which subreddits they subscribe to. Then go deeper to talk about their personal gender identities, physical sex characteristics, and other such little details and you could end up under an avalanche of hazards you couldn't possibly see at casual glance. Remove physical factors like visible sex, skin color, and external accessories, and the only thing you can take for granted online is that you're more than likely talking to human being. (Though, in some cases, they may not even identify as such.)

Bring that back to the bigger scale, and you start to get issues of when things are a bit blurry. Even for a single topic like ad blockers. Perhaps some might think "I used to use Adblocker, but now I don't" might qualify as against the rules. Some might consider "I still use adblock, and I have one installed, but I have the Escapist whitelisted" would be against the rules. Some might say "Unless these ads become less obtrusive, I'll keep using ad blockers, though I'm not married to them" might be against the rules. And further, with people proudly flying their ad blocking colors. It'll be a spectrum. So even if the mods were 100% on the same wavelength, agreed 100% of the time, and never made an error ever (which is pretty much impossible when you have groups of humans involved), there are still going to be users who disagree that a comment should or shouldn't be moderated.

So, the rule in place exists to foster discussion, but hopefully keep people from posting YouTube tutorials on how to install ad blockers or saying "If you want a full list of good ad blockers to use on this site, PM me" while claiming amnesty because that's what this thread is about. No matter how many provisions we could try to cover for concrete, hard rules, there will always be a loophole. Debating billions of little provisional statements to append would just take a lot of time, be really confusing, and would probably turn a lot of people off. For context, American lawyers, judges, and administrators only have very rough estimates of the number of crimes listed in Federal Criminal Law Code. Estimated counts are between 10,000 and 300,000. As such, that seemed like a bad approach to take.

Instead, we attempted to make it so people can talk about things that are important to them, but still abide by the restrictions the Escapist sets for its forums. And, even if we mess up, there are safeties in place that we make the users as aware of as we can.

And if it helps any with the confidence, my Skype, Steam, twitter, and other such communication addresses are tied to my profile. If you want someone to call and scream at, I'm always open to helping.

Aardvaarkman:

NewClassic:
In this case, Jim had mentioned this video coming on Twitter, and another mod had said one or two comments in passing about it.

Wow, that's incredibly lax of Jim. From what he wrote here, it sounded significantly more formal than a random Tweet to some random mods.

Did none of the moderators feel the need to flag this issue for the attention of someone higher up? From what you wrote, it sounds like this never left the confines of the moderator's circle. This seems like a pretty serious oversight.

By the time that tweet had gone up in the evening, the work day was over. The next day, we'd've had about 3 hours from people arriving at work to the video going live to really discuss it with everyone. Functionally, they'd already have their own duties to attend to, and couldn't drop everything to discuss it. Most of what happens on the moderation side happens at just the moderator and Community Manager level.

Generally, though, people are cool. Most folks don't want to subvert the rules or cause issues, so for the most part, threads like these will police themselves fairly well. I mean, at the end of the day, forums are about people talking first and foremost. The less I have to do as a mod, and the more I can do as an average poster, the happier I generally am.

Sorry the response to this thread has seemed a bit scattered, as that wasn't our intention. For the most part, assume the mods are just everyday posters who sometimes swing mops around in order to keep this place clean.

NewClassic:

Sorry the response to this thread has seemed a bit scattered, as that wasn't our intention. For the most part, assume the mods are just everyday posters who sometimes swing mops around in order to keep this place clean.

Yeah, that seems extremely problematic.

People who are commenters on the forums shouldn't be doing double-duty as moderators. That's very unprofessional and creates a conflict of interest. Moderators should have no personal involvement with the site, and certainly shouldn't be posting their personal opinions with their moderator accounts.

Aardvaarkman:

KisaiTenshi:

The site isn't choosing to transmit anything, you are choosing to request data from it.

They are choosing to transmit it. The site does not have to respond to my request. That is their decision.

KisaiTenshi:

Nobody ever expects a 100% click-thru rate any more than any newspaper advertisement ever expects someone to buy every single thing in the newspaper.

So, why would you expect a 100% non-blocked ad delivery rate?

When it's nor possible to detect ad blockers then the unblocked views should be paid for in full not cut by a % because those registered views probably had a new blocker.

I've seen it on a site I have access to the stats on.
I can tell you how many views the site got and due to part of it only reistering views with full java enabled I can tell you how many real views people didn't ad block.

Aardvaarkman:

Why is it "theft" when people block ads, but not when people ignore them?

The job of an advert is to try and attract attention to get a person to desire or care about something, if it is easy to ignore and or people don't care then the advert is at fault. However blocking it is like putting a large wall up so it doesn't even get a shot at failing.

Aardvaarkman:

KisaiTenshi:
Ads are about putting that brand in peoples heads. Why else would McDonalds and Coke constantly advertise in absolutely everything? Do you think they sell a BigMac and a Coke every time an ad airs to everyone that sees it?

No. So why would you expect that every time you deliver an ad it won't be blocked?

there are ways and means to tell who is ad blocking these days.

Zachary Amaranth:

The_Kodu:

To give you an example of what Blip TV did which caused outrage for a while was force people who ad blocked to sit for 5 minutes with a screen displaying a message saying why they shouldn't ad block. It really annoyed people but it pointed out how a 30 second advert pays for the show and it's far more annoying to a content producer for people to block the adverts and be racking up huge viewing numbers only to be paid next to nothing. It forced people to understand and feel a small portion of the annoyance of the producer.

I thought it was 90 seconds.

Probabaly was, I know people were up in arms though so I thought it must have been longer than 90 seconds.

Zachary Amaranth:

But you know the funny thing? In the threads I saw on it, users largely responded by saying that silence was still worth adblocking, which probably didn't set forth the message they wanted. And TBH, with all the problems I've had with Blip ads, I get where they're coming from. I'm not advocating it, I'm just saying I understand why they would feel that way. Ads that are significantly louder than the content, ads that won't stop, ads where the skip button doesn't work, content that won't load, etc. It seems to be somewhat better now, but it's a bad system. In fact, Blip is one of the worst sites for ads I've seen that wasn't doing the porn popups.

I'll give you that TBH some of their adverts in the past were just broken. I think they're getting past that now though.

Zachary Amaranth:

Going a little further into the reaction, I referenced Linkara earlier in the thread where he asked is users to let the ads play because it benefited him and he wanted to keep doing his stuff on TGWTG as a full time job rather than whenever he had time. Now, his percentages went up after that, but his video gave people workarounds so as to minimise dealing with ads, so I don't know if that was because people were watching the ads or if he had just cheated the system. But a large number of comments were to the effect of "I want to support you, but I'll still use a blocker." Lewis has a Paypal where people send him money, and he sells merch and tells people to go there instead of watching ads. It seems like people are willing to do anything to get away from the ads, including throwing money directly at people and that doesn't speak well of the service.

True, I do like the idea of their being options for people who don't want to adverts. I remember the comments from that video and one user made the point they didn't like the adverts because so many of them were self improvement ones or ones they felt made them feel inadequate but they'd happily support the show by donating

Zachary Amaranth:

I mean, I appreciate Jim and Lewis' approach of "I'm not mad at you" towards adblocker users, because I've always thought being frank with users instead of accusing or demanding is the better approach. But in both cases, we saw a ton of people saying they'd do it anyway, and I suspect more people would say it on here if it wouldn't lead to warnings/suspensions/bans.

again it's about options mostly. To use the mobile market as an example you can either have adverts or pay a bit to remove them. the options are there.

The_Kodu:

When it's nor possible to detect ad blockers then the unblocked views should be paid for in full not cut by a % because those registered views probably had a new blocker.

You're not making any sense here. The ads are paid for in full. The ads that are blocked are taken into consideration.

The_Kodu:

Aardvaarkman:

Why is it "theft" when people block ads, but not when people ignore them?

The job of an advert is to try and attract attention to get a person to desire or care about something, if it is easy to ignore and or people don't care then the advert is at fault.

But how is it the ad's fault if it plays while the person is out of the room making coffee? It doesn't matter how good the ad is, if there is nobody there to watch it.

The_Kodu:

there are ways and means to tell who is ad blocking these days.

Yes, I know there are ways of detecting when ads are blocked. What's your point?

TopazFusion:

Man, this is getting tedious.

As someone previously said in this thread, you seem to have this weird problem where you take a word for its strict, stringent, absolute definition, whenever it suits you. But you also don't, whenever it doesn't suit you.

Nonsense. Care to point out where I do this? I take words for what they mean. Here, your meaning of "win" is ambiguous. So, I asked you to clarify. What does it mean for The Escapist to "win" in this context? It's a very simple question.

TopazFusion:
By pleasing you and doing exactly what you want, we'd be annoying someone else. By doing what that someone else wants, we'd be annoying you.
We can't please person X, person Y, person Z, and do what they all suggest/want, because that's actually impossible.

I never said you could. But you say that "I" couldn't have it "both ways." But I never asked to have it both ways. I asked to have it one way.

The problem you have here, is that you are conflating the desires of a group of different people with different desires into one person. This is a fundamental error. You need to be aware that the group os made of different people. Different people wanting different things is not the same as "having it both ways."

TopazFusion:

If a site's terms of use say that they will forcibly serve ads to you, along with their site content, (unless you purchase a premium membership), then there's nothing you can do about it.

You could block the ads. After all, you never agreed to the terms of service. Of course, if they detected you blocking ads, they could also stop serving you content.

TopazFusion:
Trying to circumvent that, is the equivalent of walking into a store and taking their entire supply of free samples, and walking out again without buying anything.

Maybe it's similar, but most stores would stop you before you were able to do that. Either way, not theft.

TopazFusion:

I'll let you in on a piece of inside information: The Escapist actually tried that.
But it was found that having someone who has no knowledge of this community, and no involvement in it; it was pretty much impossible for that person to moderate effectively.

Did they try it with trained professionals? It sounds like they didn't, because a professional would make themselves familiar with the community as part of their training.

TopazFusion:
Are you saying moderators should have separate accounts for posting and for moderating? So we would have mod accounts that never post on the forums?

Absolutely. Ideally, the moderators wouldn't be posting on the forums at all.

TopazFusion:
How is that different to keeping a single account like we have now, but taking away our blue usernames, banhammer badges, and forum titles, and going 'incognito', so to speak.

It would mean your would be posting under a personal account, and not representing the company, or intimidating other posters so that they don;t argue with you, for fear of reprisals.

It's rather disturbing that you call it a "ban hammer badge," by the way. And why do you put "License to Ban" beside your avatar? That's not very professional - it creates an atmosphere of hostility.

TopazFusion:
We'd appear as ordinary users, but secretly, we'd have mod abilities too.
When we'd post on the forums, people wouldn't be able to immediately tell that we were a mod.

It wouldn't be secret. You'd have to use a .sig or similar to indicate that you were also a mod or an employee.

TopazFusion:
But this would be detrimental, rather than beneficial. Mods need to be visible on the forums, and people need to know which users are acting as the 'police' of the forum, so they know who to turn to if they need assistance.

Why? Couldn't you just have a link to a contact form that people could use if they need assistance? You already have a "flag" icon on each post.

It seems extremely detrimental to me that you need to see yourself as an authority with "police presence" - that sends the message that the forums aren't a nice place for discussion or a community, but some kind of Demilitarized zone where people need to watch their step.

TopazFusion:
[quote="Aardvaarkman" post="6.843934.20790923"]
If a site's terms of use say that they will forcibly serve ads to you, along with their site content, (unless you purchase a premium membership), then there's nothing you can do about it.

Trying to circumvent that, is the equivalent of walking into a store and taking their entire supply of free samples, and walking out again without buying anything.

You like analogies, so do I! Let me try one:

Say I send a letter to a shop, asking for them to send me things. Just like that. Things. I don't know what the store sells, I just know where they are and that my message will reach them. I Do not know even if they'll reply.

Now, I receive not only a reply, but a box full of things! I don't know what's in it, so I open it. Turns out it's full of spiders. But more importantly, as I violently threw the box away from me, an IKEA catalog fell on the floor. Beyond the spiders and the large IKEA catalog though, nothing else! It's like they don't expect me to reply or pay or anything. Strange huh?

So, because it turns out I actually think spiders are cute and my knee-jerk reaction to them was totally unfair, I make a second request. However, this time, by some terrible mailing mishap, the box got to someone else and the IKEA catalog was gone by the time they put all the spiders back in and remailed it to the proper person. However it turned out for the better since I didn't really want to see the catalog AND the box was lighter as a result so it got to me a little bit faster (the mail lady didn't have to pedal so hard uphill to get to my house this time. I wonder when she'll ask why I keep getting sent mysterious boxes every couple of days.)

...

I think, if we wanted to be really clever, the best answer to the whole ad thing is to have two instances of the page load, one sandboxed in a virtual session of sorts that just loads almost all content by default and the one you actually want to see. The ads/etc will all "hit" on the sandbox. The clever bit is this: reverse-adblock the sandbox so that the proper CONTENT doesn't load! Only the ads! Do the opposite on the one you want to see. This way you don't waste the bandwidth of the site (thus mitigating the whole point of ads paying for bandwidth!)

Yeah, I know what you're thinking. Gee, I wonder if we have such high levels of technology for such a pioneering and forward-thinking idea such as that one. The truth is?

Yeah.

Sure.

Pretty simple actually, for most websites. That's the fantastic magic of the user being able to dictate (almost) entirely how they process the information on the client side.

Edit/PS: Honestly though, if the website offered the same level of content as it did originaly back when it was actually a webzine, including the really nifty PDF download with the nice design and all, I would pay upwards of 10 euros MONTHLY for either weekly or bi-weekly issues. Paywall'd and all. Hell, I don't even mind print-ads NEARLY as much as anything, so you could also put ads in your PDFs too, I don't mind! Too bad that era is long over, too bad indeed.

Aardvaarkman:

TopazFusion:
Are you saying moderators should have separate accounts for posting and for moderating? So we would have mod accounts that never post on the forums?

Absolutely. Ideally, the moderators wouldn't be posting on the forums at all.

TopazFusion:
We'd appear as ordinary users, but secretly, we'd have mod abilities too.
When we'd post on the forums, people wouldn't be able to immediately tell that we were a mod.

It wouldn't be secret. You'd have to use a .sig or similar to indicate that you were also a mod or an employee.

A sig that no one would ever see because the mods never post?

You're not making sense here.

IceForce:

A sig that no one would ever see because the mods never post?

You're not making sense here.

The .sig would be on the "personal" account, indicating that the user also has a mod account.

And the "mod" account would not never post - they would post, but the mod account's posts would be restricted to official business, such as making a warning post in a thread.

Aardvaarkman:

TopazFusion:
Are you saying moderators should have separate accounts for posting and for moderating? So we would have mod accounts that never post on the forums?

Absolutely. Ideally, the moderators wouldn't be posting on the forums at all.

But the mods are fun to talk to!

TopazFusion:
How is that different to keeping a single account like we have now, but taking away our blue usernames, banhammer badges, and forum titles, and going 'incognito', so to speak.

It would mean your would be posting under a personal account, and not representing the company, or intimidating other posters so that they don;t argue with you, for fear of reprisals.

None of our moderators are intimidating, though.

Clearly, you never met Labyrinth when she was a mod. THAT would give you some perspective. Also, for someone who's concerned about mods intimidating users into not arguing, you're really goddamned persistent in arguing with one.

It's rather disturbing that you call it a "ban hammer badge," by the way. And why do you put "License to Ban" beside your avatar? That's not very professional - it creates an atmosphere of hostility.

The badge is called "Patron Saint of Oppression". Professionalism was never the goal when that badge was being designed. Also, I find it interesting that the only people who talk about "atmosphere of hostility" are people in the midst of a long and probably unnecessary argument. It's incongruous, is all.

TopazFusion:
We'd appear as ordinary users, but secretly, we'd have mod abilities too.
When we'd post on the forums, people wouldn't be able to immediately tell that we were a mod.

It wouldn't be secret. You'd have to use a .sig or similar to indicate that you were also a mod or an employee.

...so you immediately ruined the point of removing the moderator account. Cross that one off the list.

TopazFusion:
But this would be detrimental, rather than beneficial. Mods need to be visible on the forums, and people need to know which users are acting as the 'police' of the forum, so they know who to turn to if they need assistance.

Why? Couldn't you just have a link to a contact form that people could use if they need assistance? You already have a "flag" icon on each post.

It seems extremely detrimental to me that you need to see yourself as an authority with "police presence" - that sends the message that the forums aren't a nice place for discussion or a community, but some kind of Demilitarized zone where people need to watch their step.

Nope. Just nope. Jesus Christ, where does the internet FIND all these people who mistake police for soldiers with assault rifles? A policeman standing on a street corner is not threatening at all. A policeman relaxing is NEVER threatening. There's no sane way to draw a line that reads "police = demilitarized zone".

For the record, I feel significantly safer with a policeman nearby than without. I don't get why other people don't.

Aardvaarkman:

IceForce:
A sig that no one would ever see because the mods never post?

You're not making sense here.

The .sig would be on the "personal" account, indicating that the user also has a mod account.

And the "mod" account would not never post - they would post, but the mod account's posts would be restricted to official business, such as making a warning post in a thread.

How is that any different to the way things are now? It just seems like a more convoluted way of having things the way they currently are.

If someone had a sig on all of their posts that said "Oh by the way, I'm also a mod on a separate account", that defeats the entire purpose of what you're proposing.
Because then everyone would know that user is also a mod. So you might as well just give that person a blue username and all the other things that mods get to identify themselves with.

IceForce:

Aardvaarkman:

IceForce:
A sig that no one would ever see because the mods never post?

You're not making sense here.

The .sig would be on the "personal" account, indicating that the user also has a mod account.

And the "mod" account would not never post - they would post, but the mod account's posts would be restricted to official business, such as making a warning post in a thread.

How is that any different to the way things are now? It just seems like a more convoluted way of having things the way they currently are.

If someone had a sig on all of their posts that said "Oh by the way, I'm also a mod on a separate account", that defeats the entire purpose of what you're proposing.
Because then everyone would know that user is also a mod. So you might as well just give that person a blue username and all the other things that mods get to identify themselves with.

Well, you know. It wouldn't be on the OFFICIAL mod account, so it would be much more business-like and professional, and fiction is always full of symbolism so I want reality to be full of symbols too. Just because.

Also, people would never make the connection between the two accounts, right?

lacktheknack:

None of our moderators are intimidating, though.

So, what is "License to Ban" supposed to convey then, warm friendly hugs? A potential poster could easily be intimidated by that display into not speaking freely.

lacktheknack:
Also, I find it interesting that the only people who talk about "atmosphere of hostility" are people in the midst of a long and probably unnecessary argument. It's incongruous, is all.

Why? Is a discussion somehow hostile because of its length or necessity?

I would think that hostility would be better judged by things like like personal attacks and name-calling. Which have often happened in much shorter threads.

lacktheknack:

It wouldn't be secret. You'd have to use a .sig or similar to indicate that you were also a mod or an employee.

...so you immediately ruined the point of removing the moderator account. Cross that one off the list.

No, it doesn't remove the point. It separates the user's personal account (with no special privileges) from the employee's account (which represents the company).

lacktheknack:
Nope. Just nope. Jesus Christ, where does the internet FIND all these people who mistake police for soldiers with assault rifles?

In many countries, the police are soldiers with rifles.

lacktheknack:
A policeman standing on a street corner is not threatening at all.

How about a policeman standing on every corner? How about a squad of police dressed in full riot gear with shields?

lacktheknack:
A policeman relaxing is NEVER threatening.

What the hell? Policemen are frequently threatening. Policemen regularly assault people without cause and abuse their power.

The way I see it, I consume and enjoy the content and as such the content creator and the site that hosts the content should be compensated as fair exchange. On balance i would rather tolerate a reasonable level of advertising than pay a monthly subscription fee.

To this end I have Adblock but try to exercise some restraint as to when I run it. Things like banner ads don't bother me, and I am reasonably tolerant towards the adverts that run before video content as long as there is a "skip button" but where sites use pop-up ads and auto playing advertisements the Adblock goes straight back on.

All in all I'm ok with ads, as long as they aren't overly intrusive.

IceForce:

If someone had a sig on all of their posts that said "Oh by the way, I'm also a mod on a separate account", that defeats the entire purpose of what you're proposing.
Because then everyone would know that user is also a mod. So you might as well just give that person a blue username and all the other things that mods get to identify themselves with.

No, it doesn't defeat the purpose, because when the user is posting their personal opinions, it would be clearer that they are not speaking on behalf of the company. It also means that the "personal" account could be warned/suspended/banned for violations without affecting the moderator account.

It provides a separation between the person's official role, and their personal interactions on the site. But like I said, it would be better if the moderators weren't involved in personal activity on the forums at all.

If you look at Topaz's strong personal opinions expressed on this thread, it doesn't give much confidence that s/he has impartially moderated the thread. Especially when the topic of this thread has involved so much discussion of moderating practices.

Aardvaarkman:
If you look at Topaz's strong personal opinions expressed on this thread, it doesn't give much confidence that s/he has impartially moderated the thread. Especially when the topic of this thread has involved so much discussion of moderating practices.

If an abuse of power is taking place the staff handling the appeals will notice and the moderator will be dealt with.

Seeing as such a thing hasn't happened we can only assume that your lack of confidence is misplaced.

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