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Comment Re:Ad blocking is not boycott (Score 1) 108

I agree with you that, ideally, a boycott system should catch the problem before you even click on the link.
The same way that lists of domains or url patterns get published for tools like adblock plus, it would be easy to publish lists of domains for a boycott plugin.

Yes, this can be done automatically, and I can think of doing it without even depending on a master list: the first time you click on a link, and the browser sees you the page is no good (either explicitly by pressing a thumbs-down reputation button, or implicitly by detecting ads in the page), then the browser remembers to block this site in the future. Then you could share that list with friends or to the world.

I'm glad for your response, as it is the first one that is supportive. My point didn't seem very controversial (ad blocking is not boycott, it is free-riding; proper boycott could be done easily).

Comment Re:Ad blocking is not boycott (Score 1) 108

Are we allowed to pretend that without adblocking, the Web is pretty much unuseable?

Define unuseable (for instance: how fast a page needs to load, how good the layout should be, how little bandwidth should be used). I'm sure there are plenty of sites that fit to whatever reasonable definition you provide.
You don't have to like the entire Web, it's not yours. People provide services and either you like them or not. If you don't like them, then don't use them (boycott).
There are plenty of parts of the web that are usable even with ad blocking. People complain that the web was "better in the old days", but there is nothing to prevent those folks from going to ad-free sites and offering their own sites without ads (or with "friendly" ads, whatever that means) too. The Web is not a single monolithic thing, but many different services and communities.

As I was suggesting above, make a proper "boycott" plugin and only go to sites that you like. You can even customize what you like (whether it has commenting, tracking, advertising, bad content, a newsletter popup, too slow, bad layout, bad editorial policy, bad content, or whatever reputation rules float your boat). If you find parts of the web un-usable, then don't use them.

Comment Re:Ad blocking is not boycott (Score 1) 108

Do you think that the cost of visiting the sites with ads should include slowing down page loads and getting infected with malware?

A question is not an argument. But if I read between the lines, you're implying that you don't like the costs (slowness, risk of foreign javascript, etc) compared the benefits. That's fine, then choose to boycott those websites.
That means you should avoid them, just like you avoid restaurants that don't offer a worthwhile trade-off in your view. Boycott is a perfectly valid choice and I encourage it.

Just don't pretend that getting the benefits while dodging the costs is "boycott", when it is free-riding.

Comment Ad blocking is not boycott (Score 1) 108

Ad blocking is not boycott, it is free-riding: using the service (getting the benefits) and refusing to pay (accepting the costs). I'm surprised there is no browser plugin to implement proper boycott.

Boycott (properly understood) means that instead of blocking the ads and still displaying the content, the browser would block the content from loading as soon as an undesirable ad or tracker is detected.
It could even annotate links to sites with such "bad" advertising reputation so the user wouldn't click on them.
Search engines would soon learn to penalize such sites in search engine results, to improve customer satisfaction.

With such a reputation system to implement proper boycott, no consumer is coerced, no consumer sees unwanted ads, and no site owner is or feels cheated.
Of course, in reality, consumers like to get more for less (as normal human beings do) and ad blockers offer a convenient way of having the content and not pay for it. Let's just not pretend that ad blocking is honorable, or that it is analogous to boycott.

Comment Re:Subsidized by the Government (Score 1) 371

Changing who pays does not change the equation.
If it takes more resources or more valuable resources to turn garbage into something useful again, then it may not be worth doing. Prices and profits/losses tell you something important.

In this case, I would look at existing subsidies that make the problem worse: for instance, free/subsidized garbage collection (if people don't pay for someone to accept and handle their trash, they will generate more trash), or subsidized landfills (if landfills pollute their neighbors and it is not controlled, then there is an externalities argument).

Comment Unsupported conclusions (Score 1) 207

I read the paper and it is ok (nothing groundbreaking) on the technical side. But I was shocked to see broad conclusion of political or economic nature that were not supported by any argumentation in the paper.

In particular, the first sentence of the conclusion: "The Internet’s principal revenue model leads to misaligned incentives between users, advertisers, and content providers, essentially creating a race to the bottom."
I guess we'll just take your opinion for it.

Comment Re:Freedom (Score 1) 250

Monopoly on what?
Ebooks? Books? Written content? Information? Entertainment? Leisure provider?

Anything can be defined as a monopoly if it is scoped narrowly enough. Apple has a monopoly on iphones. Yet it is under great competitive pressure from substitutes.
Amazon is in the same boat (plenty of competitive pressure) and consumers don't seem to be fleeing away from the supposed monopolistic abuse (higher prices and limiting supplies, according to textbooks).

If you are interested in the history of antitrust, see Dominick Armentano for a critical review of efficacy of government improving on market competition.

Comment Re:Freedom (Score 1) 250

I agree. Not only is it easier than ever to publish, Kindle Unlimited is just one more option. So if you are a noticeable author, you can still publish on hardcover/paperback/Kindle and escape the fixed-pie game of Kindle Unlimited.

I don't know how many people buy one book every month, but Kindle Unlimited is probably more revenue from an average person. If anything it sounds dangerous for readers, more than authors, as it could be like paying for the gym you don't end up visiting often...

Comment Bayesian senses (Score 1) 244

The above explanations for mondegreens seem very consistent with the recent understanding of neuroscience.
All perception of the world requires inference, as the signals coming into the brain are ambiguous, conflicting and noisy.
For instance, the brain tries to reconstruct a stable 3 dimensional perception of the world from constantly moving and imperfect 2 dimensional projections.

An increasing number of studies show that the low-level processing in the brain is surprisingly similar to Bayesian inference. In particular, it demonstrably relies on priors learnt from the environment (for example, vertical lines should be interpreted as corresponding to longer distances than horizontal ones) and by fusing sources of information (for example, the ambiguous local motion detected in one part of the image is reconciled with other ambiguous local motions into a perceived motion of objects).

For anyone interested, I'd recommend some material by Stanislas Dehaene.

The Wright Bothers weren't the first to fly. They were just the first not to crash.