Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!
We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).
Welcome to the real world. One man's fair is another man's cheating.
You realize, of course, by this logic if you grow a years worth of food, and I steal it... well, tough luck for you. My 'fair' is your 'cheating'. Of course, if you come and kill me for it, well, tough luck for me.
We have a civilization so that sensible rules that promote equity can exist and be encouraged. Inequitable use of the commons is, simply, unfair. You can call it 'fair' all you want because there is no rule against it right now, but that doesn't make it more equitable. That just makes you an opportunistic douchebag.
You have upkeep on a house, you have to keep renewing your lease on the domain. The value of a house can fluctuate based on it's surrounding neighborhood and location. The value of a domain can fluctuate based on the market and companies it can be related to.
That would be really convincing if the cost of the domain name registration was, in fact, an actual cost. It's so small as to be a non-existent factor. Further, I think you're stretching really far to connect house value fluctuations to domain name fluctuations. I guarantee that Google.com is worth more to Google than to anyone else. This is simply not true when talking about housing prices.
How is www.chosenwebsitename.com commonly held?
The space of domain names is limited, because they cannot be created. There are a discreet number. That makes it a commonly held resource, with 'property rights' that we're sort of making up out of thin air. It's actually not surprising that the first pass was less than equitable.
P.S. Read the Tragedy of the Commons. It's basic political philosophy; if you don't understand it then your wild assertions about what is 'enlightened' only make you look uneducated.
This is the only point to which I would concede, except that I was careful to use the term "invest". Investments by nature can carry costs, more commonly referred to as "risks". In housing, you carry the risk of a recession, or housing prices dropping, as well you pay into it every year in the form of taxes. In domains, you continue paying into that domain, at the risk of receiving nothing back. Ever.
Yeah, I run the risk every day when going to work that I will be hit by a bus. But I get a lot of money to do go anyway, and do some other things besides. Would I call my job 'risky'? Probably not. Likewise, buying up domain names for very, very small amounts of money and selling them for far, far more is not that risky. That's why so many people do it. The risk+work is not commensurate to the reward; a pretty sure sign somethings not equitable.
But, then, you're clearly not interested in equity. In the first, you're interested in believing that you're part of some sort of privileged class that gets to act like douchebags because, well, they can. In the second, you're interested in defending this as right and just. I can help you with neither of these problems, as they're self involved delusions that refuse to see what the cost to other people is.
The problem here is that it's almost always more profitable to buy the domain from the jerkface than it is to not have it. Given that, even if they're cutting into your profits by being a parasite, they're still viable. Thus is the way with all successful parasites.
You're making the assumption, of course, that 'getting there with the money first' is a totally fair and equitable process. That no one starts out with more of this stuff than anyone else. Which, of course, is entirely wrong.
But you then have the poor taste to go ahead and exaggerate what someone would do in each of three cases for what you see as a totally inoffensive action. Nevermind that each of these three cases is entirely different. With real estate you have to continue to put money into it to maintain value. With stocks, you both get money out (with dividends), but are allowing others to use the money you put in to actually do something productive. You also stand to lose value there. With internet domains, neither of these situations apply.
In fact, a closer - and I dare say more logical - analogy would be the renting of a room, not the buying of a house. No one cares if you rent a room, or what you do in it - perfectly legit. Of course, if you sublet the room, most leases will state you can only sublet it for the amount of money you're renting it for, if you can do so at all. Why are internet domains any different?
You're arguing that someone who happens to have money at the creation of a new commonly held resource has all the rights to that resource. That they get to profit all they want off that resource without ever paying back into the communal holding. That is, directly, harmful to society.
You should be careful, by the way. Just because we say 'buy' a domain, that does not mean in actuality 'buy'. It means 'lease'. Because we say 'buy', you should not confuse it with 'buying a house'. The two are not equivalent. If you want to debunk someone's logic, you should be careful to use proper logic yourself.
In truth, I made no recommendation of having anyone dictate - or even imply - what the legitimate use of a business is. Rather, I suggested that, like post office boxes, domain names be treated as a rental from an institutional body. That you can sell the domain name, but that any cost you charge above the rental fee also goes to the institutional body. Basically, you can 'buy' and squat on a domain as long as you want - if you keep paying the fee - but you can't profit from it, any more than you could profit from reselling post office boxes.
By the by, two notes. First, $4M is pocket change to a country. Less than pocket change. Secondly, whenever someone brings up the phrase 'slippery slope', even when they're using it correctly, most people, myself included, discount what they're saying. Sure, 'slippery slopes' exist, but if you can't lay out the chain of logical events that leads from x policy to y problem, waving your hands and saying 'slippery slope' isn't much of a replacement.
There used to be a time "real" land was just as plentiful as domain names.. and we did just fine.
But some people did more 'fine' than others. Specifically those people who started out with the means to buy and 'work' large swathes of land, who could then turn it over for ever larger amounts of money. There is some value in this - even if it's not an entirely equitable arrangement for those people who start with less - but that value is not seen on the internet.
It really doesn't matter how much I 'work' a domain name. It will always be more valuable to me than it will be to anyone else. If Google sold google.com (just the domain name) to IAmRussianBrideAdAgency, you can bet that while there would be an initial high flow of traffic seemingly interested in Russian Brides, but value would flee from that domain name like rats from a sinking ship as people realized that google was no longer at google.com.
I think the solution is pretty simple; you can sell a domain name to someone else for at most the time-adjusted value of all the dollars you've paid the registration company. Anything extra goes to that registration company, who gets to keep reasonable operating costs. The rest goes into a fund for internet development or research or somesuch.
Without getting all commie, people who have a lot of money, or opportunity, or options, always whine "It's nothing personal, just business." When you have the option to buy domains and sell them for 100x-1000x the price, why wouldn't you? Legally, of course, it's totally legit. Ethically, it's totally not. And I'll tell you why.
When you buy a piece of land, the law assumes that you are doing your bit to maintain and develop that land. In fact, most property law revolves around that idea of having to put work into it. You pay taxes on it, and you are generally expected to be doing something to maintain it's value. When a property falls into total - or dangerous - disrepair, they come to you with the fines. If your sidewalk is hazardous, you can get sued. This is all considered the price of ownership.
With domains, there is no such cost associated. In fact, all that buying up domains does is suck money from actual wealth-generating sectors of the economy. If I start a business called AwesomeWorldChangingWidgets, I can't get that domain if you're squatting on it without first paying you way more for that domain than you did. Now, if you were society at large, and that additional value was being spread across those people who help to bring value to the domain name itself (such as the internet routers, the municipalities that maintain fiber, ICANN, or any of the host of other sectors that make the Internet viable), that would be fair. But you're just taking the money and running: you're taking the money for someone else's work.
The only complaint anyone ever has with capitalism is the 'I got here first' problem. When you start out with resources others didn't have a fair opportunity at, and then exchange them for disproportionately large sums of money, you're playing into this. Yes, it makes your life easier, but you've only helped yourself - and at the expense of literally everyone else. That makes you unethical.
In short; it doesn't. If there is some marker that, logically, makes a thing unethical, then it's reasonable to make rules against it. But right now we deal with the difference between sex and violence like we used to deal with the difference in races; sure, one is sex and the other is just violence, and it happens that we're comfortable with violence, but not sex. But how much of that comfort is the result of exposure, and not the supposed underlying 'betterness' of it? Arguably, depiction of sex ought to be more acceptable, as it has little to do, in general, with hurting people - something that is clearly unethical.
If there was a good case to be made against the depiction of child molestation (and, given that it's a real problem, I'm not sure there is), then one might make policy against it. One might also make policy if it is decided that increasing the exposure to such things encourages it - but if that is the case, then we ought to seriously examine violence. And greed. And a host of other human sins that we readily portray, even glorify, but have no policy against.
But then, I come from a stance wherein I think that the safety of civilization comes from it's consistency in treatment of citizens. Inconsistency leads to injustice, which in turn spawns injustice - because if you can't count on the system to protect you, how can the system count on you to support it?
Child exploitation depicted in Manga is no more ok than person on person violence depicted in literally any TV show is. The fact is that in the United States we get very crazy about certain types of inhuman, unethical or immoral behavior and totally ignore others.
Since I'm not willing to ban the depiction of all human violence, I find it unethical to ban the depiction of (however monstrous) human lust. How about you? Do you feel that the depiction or examination of a depiction of any immoral act is cause for legal recourse?
The ad right below this article is an ad for Scientology. WTF
It always fascinates me, the way grown men retreat to
Wait, wait, wait... stop right there. That's one assumption too many. Who says anyone here is a grown man? And if they happen to be so foolish, I challenge them to cite evidence... evidence sufficient to counter 99.97% of all
Assumptions you make:
- It is easier for a corporation to change their filtration practices than it is for the subset of individuals who break CFL bulbs to clean them up.
- That a brief exposure to concentrated mercury does more harm to you as an (adult) individual than constant blanket pollution of diffuse mercury in the environment.
Corporations are not willing to change. They want less regulation, not more. They don't have a natural impulse to guard individual welfare.
Mercury exposure is not super dangerous to adults. It's not good, but the biggest problem with mercury is when it's in your food and stunts the brain growth of children.
The real question is; if most people agree that CFLs are the better way to go, why is it that you disagree? Is it because of legitimate concerns, or is some part of your identity bound up in some aspect of your objection?
Or do you really think we can get somewhere without taking one step at a time?
Actually, most geeks are under the faith-based assumption that at some point, this is entirely possible. That Transporter Pads or Jump Drives or simple Teleportation is merely a question of time. It is so inculcated our geek culture that certain things will simply come easy once the elegant solution appears, as if by magic. Further, I think it affects how we view most problems.
Take environmentalism. Clearly the solution is greener products; things that will fit into a sustainable economy. But it's a binary clause; if your entire product can be green, then it should be. Otherwise, who are you fooling!? There is no sense of bootstrapping, of having to replace pieces as you can.
The subset of the culture that subscribes heavily to this stance tends to be against refactoring code, and for simply writing programs wholesale by themselves in their attic. They're against good test procedures and using older technologies because they're not shiny enough. Ironically, they're also the sorts who probably haven't written their own libraries - or even approached the idea. They buy most of their stuff, because whatever their realm of expertise, it's limited in scope. Fix plumbing? Hell no! Drill something, or saw something? What is the point - something you pay for is clearly going to be better, and in the end that arbitrary sense of idealistic quality is all that matters.
I hope that as we move forward we get more geeks like you, value_added, who recognize that it's not about suddenly being in Nirvana. It's about constantly changing the little bits that are pain points once any better solution becomes available, rather than holding out for some mythical day brought about in some opaque fashion wherein everything is just right of it's own accord.
In the end it's simple economics; the time-value of progress suggests that a little 'money' or 'value' now, and a little later, and a little later will yield a total greater value than a simple lump sum at the end.
I'm going to go ahead and note that most courses cover Big-O by using sorting algorithms as examples. If you don't understand the sorting algorithm, can you really be expected to understand how the Big-O is different?
Parroting quicksort is useless. But learning to write a sorting algorithm is a gateway to very fundamentally useful topics, such as recursion. It's not so much that the particular example (sort) is useful, it's that it teaches tricky but fundamentally useful ways of thinking.