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Submission + - SPAM: Amazon Seller Reviews

An anonymous reader writes: A disturbing trend has occurred lately for me involving Amazon Sellers. A few days or weeks after purchasing a product, an unsolicited email is sent asking for a review of their product. Sometimes the email tries to pull on the heart strings, speaking about them being a family business or how important reviews are. Yet the net effect is obviously encouraged to manipulate the review score in their favor.

When I first started using Amazon, I tried to very diligently and promptly rate sellers. Over time, this has heavily dropped off as Amazon has become a generally more reliable source due to other people doing seller ratings. The system quickly becomes broken, however, whenever ratings are solicited. My own personal advice is one of three things: (1) start rating sellers who do provide these unsolicited requests with the lowest possible score and a comment of "I do not approve of this seller's business practices" or words to that effect; (2) cap your score at a maximum of half the possible highest value; or (3) simply refuse to give them any score and possibly reply to them on the why.

Options (1) and (2) may be critical in the long-term. Because of how the ratings algorithms work and the general tendency of most people to not rate products objectively unless they're terrible, most scores are inherently inflated in the positive direction out of feelings of guilt about the consequences of doing otherwise--most people don't view a 3 out of 5 as a measure of neutrality. Yet it's precisely this neutrality that should be expressed or outright disagreement on such business practices. I only fear that Amazon may, in the future, decide to retaliate against 1 out of 5 star reviews based upon "business practices" as "irrelevant".

What are your opinions on this matter? Have you been effects as well?

Comment Re:A kind of "Nous sommes des Inconnus" .. (Score 1) 488

We're depopulating Syria to steal the oil.

Better then to slaughter tens of thousands to steal the oil. Seems like either way, we steal the oil.

We're taking over the holy land on behalf of Jews.

Hey, if Jews want to go and live in an Islam Caliphate, more power to them.

We're forcing our western culture on hapless Syrians.

Yep, nothing more forced than granting voluntary relocation outside of a warzone which might, you know, result in them being exposed to other cultures.

Hell, as some point they'll call it slavery.

They'll call it slavery and the people will live and work freely. Or we continue the air strikes and leave ISIS to behead and every day they live in fear.

Thousands and thousands of hours of MSM hand wringing over the conditions inside immense tent cities ...

Because God knows we couldn't build houses. Let's do the math. 6.5 million refugees times $30,000/home* (in many rural areas of the US) == $195 billion. Hey, that's only ~2 years worth of Iraq wars. And we give a lot of people homes. Meanwhile, MSM will hand wring over everything. They'll do 129 separate stories, one on each victim, just to get more ad revenue. So it goes.

... and indignant libtards demanding we bankrupt ourselves to "fix" it.

Compared to what? Air strikes? Bombings? We've already spent much more in war to "fix" it and done nothing of the sort. How about we do something constructive instead of destructive. And for once in history, it might be actually be cheaper.

*PS - Feel free to play around with the numbers (obviously, a lot of families make the numbers more plausible, as you're not really giving each refugee a home). Consider the solution involves many countries taking in refugees, not merely one nation. But even if it were only one, say France, it's doable. Sure it could turn into a clusterfuck with tent cities. But that speaks of a government unwilling to commit to a plan or even having a plan at all. That's why Katrina was such a clusterfuck. It wasn't the Hurricane. Yet government can in competence build out massively. See the Marshall Plan . See China and their city building.

Comment Re:A kind of "Nous sommes des Inconnus" .. (Score 3, Interesting) 488

IS is one of the largest threats to our way of life in the west, but we are thinking too small when we think of ways to combat it.

You're right. We think too small. The answer is clear. While we talk and talk about the evil of ISIS and the refugees and the "need" to vet these people. we leave 6.5 million+ Syrians at the mercy of Assad or ISIS or Russian bombings or US bombings or French bombings. We're all being monsters to these people. The death of 129 Parisians is nothing compared to the horror that we sit and watch and act helpless to stop. We debate and discuss and debate some more. We think too small. The answer is clear.

We don't vet the refugees. We don't let in a mere 10,000 "vetted" Syrians. We let in 6.5 million+ Syrians. We begin the largest known evacuation possible. We put the Army and the Navy to the best use we can, to protect and transport civilians. We deprive ISIS and Assad of the very thing they want, fodder for their abuse and subjects of their subjugation. And when there's invariable terrorists in the mix and they come here? We rejoice. Because here the abuse will not be tolerated. Here the death numbers in the hundreds, not in the tens of thousands. Here we do more to end the terrorism of the many and give ISIS and Assad an empty hellhole to squat in over the few who would actual want such a thing. It's a Pyrrhic victory for them. It is freedom and justice for the people.

Comment Re:Go after em Nate (Score 1, Flamebait) 335

Its sad to see these scientists cry fowl, controversy, and blasphemy at dissenters . Isn't science supposed to have opposing views, with fact-based research on multiple view points using the "scientific method" for cross-checking each-others work?

'How dare you! I have a right to my opposing view, no matter how ill-informed or incomplete or intentionally agenda-driven wrong it is! How dare you point out the flaws! How dare you engage in the "scientific method"! Why, I'll just claim your engaging in the "scientific method" is not engaging in the "scientific method"!'

And this is why I can't take you seriously. You're the one with your head in dogma.

Comment Re:I went back to corporate America because Obamac (Score 1) 578

And you don't find this relevant to this discussion? Exactly where costs are coming from and why? Seems a hell of alot more important than just giving everyone insurance that pays for everything and just raising taxes to account for our out of control healthcare costs.

It's relevant to the discussion. Too bad that, AFAIK, there aren't any studies to spell out where costs are coming from and why. The quote I give only gives a "from" but in mostly esoteric terms that give virtually nothing on the real where and why. Now, if you could provide a study that actually broke down who was using the health care system and how, I'd love to see it. The closest I've seen is little snippets that are often an abuse of statistics.

A very good question. Perhaps it calls for a study (rather than hands over eyes + dump cash into anybody's pocket that asks for medical care). It doesn't even have to be perfect accountability. At this point, I'd settle for any .

You seem to be missing my point. There's already been fuck tons of studies done that show "this significantly increases your risk of cancer type X" where "significantly" just means that there is an actual effect and it's not merely a placebo effect and where "cancer type X" doesn't necessarily apply to any other type of cancer or condition. There are very few examples of any one thing causing one major condition that's preventable and therefore in scope of accountability.

My HSA grows every year (and accrues interest). I fully well intend to have a buffer (+ insurance) for when misfortune strikes me.

That's a ludicrous statement, but thanks for saying it anyways. It's entirely why I asked. You "intend" to have the money "when" misfortune strikes. Yet by its very nature, you have no idea when misfortune will strike, whether multiple misfortunes will strike, or the scale of the cost. Or do you seriously contend that everyone should strive to have millions in savings just in case? Because anything less is unreasonable. Insurance is more of a risk pool precisely because of that and not merely for even "catastrophic" emergency because such a term because untenable very quickly on the cost of many medical procedures.

So then they should end up paying for their mistake, or their children should be taken and given to someone more responsible to take care of.

For the former, you can't get blood from a stone. For the latter, we already have a huge backlog of foster kids.

Well you've finally come around. So aren't you then incensed that next to zero effort was put into healthcare cost control in Obama's healthcare bill?

I would be if I actually thought any health care law passed in the US would do such a thing. Really, we're so well beyond the incensed point on how the system already works, you'd be hard pressed for me to become any more incensed Any real effort to fix the problem would involve either (a) public conversion of the health care system--leading to "death panels"--or (b) massive government regulation into the health care system--as if the current mess is really helping and further regulation is unlikely to be any better than Obamacare.

I never painted all of it as such. In fact, I specifically called out cases that are not self-caused. However, some of it is damn well self-caused. Such as type 2 diabetes for instance. Which statistics show to be ~95% of diabetes cases. So that's at least $245 billion ( that's highly likely to be self-caused. I could bring up numbers for lung/throat cancer and smoking as well.

Yep, those are the major two ones I'll grant you.

Heart disease is likely strongly linked to obesity as well.

Actually, it's most strongly linked to age as is stroke most strongly linked to age. "It is estimated that 82 percent of people who die of coronary heart disease are 65 and older." Of course for medical cost purposes, we might worry more about the ones that live--although without a study, we don't know if it's a one heart attack kill or a many heart attack kill and when the "magic" age hits hence a much greater cost on the 65+ crowd.

Don't pretend these studies have not been done.

Plenty that show a disease is "strong linked to obesity" which means that not being obese cuts your risk by a "significant" percentage. Then you get old and you still get the disease because age is the most strongly linked factor. So, cut all the health care to the old since invariably they're the ones we all know inevitable should be accountable for their age.

NONE of those people are accountable atm. If they're poor, they do as they damn well please, and the rest of us pick up the costs of their incredibly expensive lifetime vices.

Except for vice taxes. And attempts to increase vice taxes. With the goal that those taxes then pay for their medical care. Right, that doesn't work because (1) the government doesn't actually use the money properly and (2) the poor are too damn poor to ever pay for their own medical care. In short, you want all the poor to just die except for the cheap, preventable stuff. Because I fuck well know that I'm poor, not obese, not a smoker, not a drinker, etc, and I'll likely still have a heart attack because...82% of people over 65 die of it.

And most of those cultures also have a far healthier culture: less fat people, more exercise, less job stress, generally better lifestyles. But of course, none of those factors are considered when healthcare costs are compared from nation to nation.

Canada. Seriously, Canada. And let's not forget that less exercise, more job stress comes from working a lot because you're poor (depends on the work, of course). As for obesity, that's becoming pretty epidemic in Europe as well, although I would agree the US takes the lead. Too bad you don't have a study that that's the major cause.

In fact, the major problem with your whole argument is that it very quickly degenerates into one of wanting to off the poor and the elderly to cut costs. To hand wave about "tons of studies" without managing to find one that can actually consolidate the risk factors into hard numbers rather than general "greater risk". If it were enough to sate you simply to hold people at least "any" accountable, you'd already okay because we already have vice taxes on some things and you'd just call for more vice taxes on the rest.

Yet all the above ignores that Canada has very much a similar culture, lifestyle, etc, and they still manage to have a cheaper system. A major part of that is simply having waiting lists and not trying to solve it directly through money. Another major part is the government being the one in charge of rates--although I tend to believe the US government too corrupt for such things, I could be wrong and would be willing to give it a shot given how shitty the current system is. Sure, Canada has some major vice taxes--a major reason I bring them up here--but they're not enough to hold people wholly accountable because the only real way to do that is let them die.

Well, that goes basically for *all* medical conditions because once you choose the "well, they didn't choose their genetics" or "they didn't choose their age", yet their parents did choose their genes to some extent so they can be held accountable and people can't live forever so we can just hand wave all the age-related diseases. So, we do have your proposed shift to 95% of the "knowable" that insurance won't cover and we have lots of people dying out of some obsession over taxes or some shit and some self-righteous belief that studies prove us right that the people deserved to die.

Well, to me, I'd rather just have a well working system, damn the cost. We fail on both counts on that. And I can honestly see an attempt to only fix the costs only making the system even worse. Dare I bring up programming, but I honestly think we should focus less on the preemptive optimization. A shitty program using less cycles is still a shitty program.

Comment Re:I went back to corporate America because Obamac (Score 1) 578

That wasn't my statement. It forces ALL healthcare (including non-emergency care) through insurance. Secondly, your "emergency room" case argument is liberal talking point bullshit. 5% of less of our total healthcare bill is racked up in the emergency room. The VAST amount of healthcare expenses are known ahead of time. If 5% of our healthcare was handled through insurance, and 95% of it wasn't, that would be a functional system.

My former point was that those who were not financially capable of covering medical costs had to buy insurance and that those unplanned expenses are why most people are required to buy insurance. Having said that, further research and you appear to be right. Emergency room care seems to be in the 2%-10% range. I should have stated emergency and urgent care--including things like heart surgery after a heart attack or expensive medication/surgery to treat cancer or other ailments after a diagnosis. Having said that, it does leave me to wonder about the other 90-98% of care. So, we have this:

"Of each dollar spent on health care in the United States, 31% goes to hospital care, 21% goes to physician/clinical services, 10% to pharmaceuticals, 4% to dental, 6% to nursing homes and 3% to home health care, 3% for other retail products, 3% for government public health activities, 7% to administrative costs, 7% to investment, and 6% to other professional services (physical therapists, optometrists, etc.)" -- from Wikipedia Cite Note 45, although the information wasn't readily visible in the first link

Given that ~50% of US spending on health care is Medicare/Medicaid and the other ~50% is private (insurance), it's rather hard to separate out that figure to get an idea of how much of that is "Cadillac" coverage of unnecessary treatment of the elderly/poor or what. In any case...

On the demand supply of things, everyone is a "BMW luxury car" unless you really think rich people, poor people, young people, old people, etc have fundamentally different bodies.

They in fact do. Some cram drugs into them. Some cram nicotine and cigaratte smoke into them. Some pollute their bodies with alcohol. Some spend multiple days a week in tanning beds. Some conduct themselves in dangerous activity like base jumping. Believe it or not, healthcare is not a one-size-fits-all level playing field. The only case where I wouldn't want people paying for their individual fuckups is something like autoimmune or genetics, when they literally have no choice in the matter. Most other times, it most likely had something to do with the way they lived their lives.

How much of it is genetics and how much of it is environmental? Should we go 50/50 until we get genetic tests done on those cancer drugs? And what about the fact that generally being old == getting cancer/having heart failure/having a stroke because eventually you "cram" enough bad stuff in your body even if you live a very healthy lifestyle. So, well, you seem to be for ending Medicare near entirely. That right there doesn't paint you very well. Beyond all that, I'm curious exactly how much money you've saved up personally for your inevitable heart attack and cancer. When are you going to have it and are you saving enough? Because if it's oh so predictable, it'll be nothing more difficult than saving up for one's child's college--which plenty of people don't do either.

Though I guess in your mind the ACA really does eliminate those "market options" of "should I get really sick from the flu to the point I need to see a doctor" or "should I stay healthy, not get really sick, and avoid needing medical care". Or was it the idea that hospitals and doctors used to run specials of "have a heart attack take, 50% off your first quadruple bypass"?

You're an idiot. If I never plan to have children, why does MY plan have to cover maternity care? There's one example for you. You seem hung up on emergency care, which is sad, since you're so off base it's not even funny.

Plenty of people don't "plan" to have children. Yet they engage in activities that can result in it. Meanwhile, even if we acknowledge that you really won't ever have kids, we as a society have decided that children are important and maternity care should be a social expense. Now, perhaps *you* don't care about children, but clearly you're in enough of a minority that it really doesn't matter what you think pragmatically. The same goes for lots of most other diseases. We don't want people dying on the sidewalk from lung cancer, heart disease, etc because as much as they caused their illness, we have the means to treat them. This would be a rather different story if it was actually financially impossible. Evidence is, though, that the major issue in the US is simply that health care costs too much, period.

But then perhaps it is the fact we don't just have a financial cut off point for people and more hospitals that will refuse service. Yet that's not predominantly what happens in other countries to explain their better heath care costs. Nor do the simple stats paint a clear picture of exactly what's costing us so much--no matter how much you want to paint it all as the knowable and self-caused, do you have exactly evidence for this or are you just presuming? Of course even if it's knowable and self-caused, plenty liberal "idiots" like me still would prefer them getting medical care. Why? Because if one presumes that to do self-harm results in an effective guilt that warrants a lack of treatment *except* if the person has the money to pay for it, then I really question your exception. Money should not be the deciding factor except as a necessity. Perhaps that's the core of the problem, you say? Well, plenty of more liberal countries have cheaper health care systems, so clearly it's not this liberal attitude about money. It may have more to do with a lack of accountability and resolvability. And if that's your main argument against health insurance and the current health care system, I agree.

Comment Re:I went back to corporate America because Obamac (Score 1) 578

ACA forces people to engage with the healthcare system through very specific channels (insurance) when they cannot pay for emergency care out of pocket. Crazy shit! Anti-market! Because we can readily have a "market" when buyers don't (because they can't) pay for things they never-the-less receive. Unless you're arguing that we do away with emergency room care for everyone, nothing about the ACA adds to the supply side of things except so far as there's likely to be a shift of people from the emergency room to the doctor's office; but, then, that's most likely to cause a reduction in price.

On the demand supply of things, everyone is a "BMW luxury car" unless you really think rich people, poor people, young people, old people, etc have fundamentally different bodies. That was true before ACA and it stays the same. Cadillac plans, btw, are the ones where people don't have to pay many out-of-pocket expenses and I can personally attest to the point that nothing about the ACA magically erases those except in a few trite ways. Though I guess in your mind the ACA really does eliminate those "market options" of "should I get really sick from the flu to the point I need to see a doctor" or "should I stay healthy, not get really sick, and avoid needing medical care". Or was it the idea that hospitals and doctors used to run specials of "have a heart attack take, 50% off your first quadruple bypass"?

The best part to your little rant is that while you have a small point that any government involvement of the sort involves *some* market elimination, that obviously there's a much bigger insurance market if many more people are buying insurance. Add to it the government subsidizes and it's a real sweet deal for insurance companies on that end. That they have to actually *pay* for care and not wipe it under the table by denying claims, yes it must suck for them. Or that insurance companies can no longer charge 5x the rate for an individual must really cut on those "market options" for individuals who clearly like the idea of getting no better coverage for much higher rates.

But, yes, let's also hear your little diatribe about the evils of car insurance while you're at it, which you basically ran on. Because fuck knows there's no competition in that space. I must be imagining all those commercials. Meanwhile, that there are government standards should mean that Bob's Unfinanced Car Insurance Shack can't enter the market is such a major loss that we should ignore that by setting minimal standards a lot more people actually drive because they don't have to worry upfront about the risk of catastrophic medical costs if they hit someone--not to mention the risk of being hit by someone who didn't or won't keep that sort of cashing in savings.

The only real capper to your statement would be if you were to suggest we expunge all the fraud and murder laws which are obviously very "anti-market". Because fuck knows that a government providing some sort of minimal standards for a society would not in any way provide the basis for a stable market even if it incurs its own costs. It's all zero sum and hence all government can do is shrink a market.

Thanks for the lesson!

Comment Re:I went back to corporate America because Obamac (Score 1) 578

One of the key requirements of any free market is free information.

Not quite. One of the key requirements of any free market is *perfect* information. There's no requirement that information be free in any way. Admittedly, it's generally improbable for information to be perfect and unfree--hence the discord of closed source software and security, among other things.

If you're familiar with "Medicaid oversampling" I'm guessing you're already affiliated with a health care provider. Are you currently pushing your provider to publish its prices? If not, why not?

No, I'm not familiary with "Medicaid oversampling" and Google doesn't really help there. As for pushing my provider to publish its prices, you make it sound like if I somehow got more information out of my health care provider I'd suddenly be able to get prices more in line with their own price estimates per insurer. Well, no, as another major point of the free market is a recognition that oligarchies and monopolies may be a natural consequence in a market place and as such they'll set their own prices which may fall out of an optimal* supply/demand point. As insurance is basically a large financial instrument where the more in the pool the lower per-user rates, it's rather obvious that insurance falls into the scope of natural monopoly/oligarchy. So beyond all the lack of free transition available to buyers, there's simply no means for natural healthy competition--even if cross-state insurance was allowed.

*Okay, that's a rub of the free market. If you're in a desert and there's one well with one owner and a million people about to die, yet no one has the asking price for a drop of water, then the "optimal" solution in a free market would be for everyone but the owner to die of dehydration. Hence, optimal in a free market and actually optimal for society or people in general may be very different things. And since we're having this discussion, I presume you are no more happy with the "optimal" solution that the free market tends towards in health insurance. No doubt, government interference may make the situation worse in many ways, but no government interference would have similar but different problems. Hence, either the whole system reasonable needs abolished or much better regulation needs established. Neither of which I see actually happening, especially as it's unclear how you can well regulate private health insurance when the wealth gap pushes people into free medicaid (admittedly, more often just the emergency room kind).

Comment Re:I went back to corporate America because Obamac (Score 1) 578

I was on my own with a full-time consultancy, but I scaled it back to off-hours and went back to a forty-hour-a-week corporate job for the health insurance. The cost of individual health care plans was insane, and the crappy ACA plans provide worse coverage with fewer providers - and they're even more expensive!

So, I take it from this that before ACA you had health insurance while a full-time consultant? Out of curiosity further on that point, are the figures that you discovered along the same path of rate increases that have been going on for years now? Was all of this the result of having to dump an older, set policy rate for a current plan--ie, anything that would require switching policies would have had the same net effect on the price/options? I'm asking all this because I"m curious just how much this is ACA and how much of this is SOP when it comes to health insurance.

I really think what the feds are up to here is trying to kill off as many individual and small business operators as possible. After all, it's a lot easier to monitor and tax large corporate entities than it is to chase after a bunch of little ones.

No, I'm pretty sure the point is to fill the medicaid loophole. That is, one of the major unpaid/underpaid costs hospitals face is their requirement to treat emergency cases if they accept medicaid dollars. It's gotten to the point that some hospitals refuse medicaid just for that reason as even with the overtesting--really, a sort of fraud--, there just isn't remotely enough compensation to foot the bill for all the uninsured. The only directly* reasonable course is to effectively require everyone to have their own insurance. But, as you note, the health insurance rates/coverage are horrible in a lot of locales (and really have been getting worse a lot faster than the inflation rate).

So, it seems a necessity to (1) open up exchanges to push a lot of the available plans together to allow people to choose, (2) require consistent plans so that people can reasonably shop for insurance instead of focusing heavily on every little detail, and (3) to subsidize the very poorest so that they'll pay for at least some of their own coverage. Consequentially, of course, even the best case scenario is that health insurance rates will stay overly high for years as the rate of competition will be rather slow given how people tend to buy policies on a longer scale. It's the same reason why competition in cell phones takes so long. It'd be radically different if people could or did switch policies weekly.

In any case, I do feel bad for you and agree that ACA is a mess. But too many people in Congress are so dead-set against Universal Healthcare that ACA was basically the best that could be reached at this time. Now, whether that translates into Congress and the President being against individuals and small businesses... I think it has more to do with them being seriously incompetent about the ramifications of the current system and how much we really need Universal Healthcare as a solution. I mean, both Democrats and Republicans are seriously delusional about how much the free market can magically solve a lot of the problems with our current health care system. I mean, the main part of trying to make the ACA function is precisely to force the existence of a market place precisely because health insurance is such a disaster on its own.

*There was also talk of a plan to a Single Payer system where money currently to health insurance would funnel to the government and Medicare/Medicaid effectively would pay for everything for everyone. That's obviously unworkable solutions because then people would just drop the insurance. Then you'd be back to taxing people a la Medicare/Medicaid...and that's basically how it'd have to go anyways. So, that's why I said "direct" since everything else turns back into government taxes and pays for health care. That's almost certainly the better approach, but then as I say it would have never passed.

Comment Re:Sort of Weird (Score 2) 169

If one could say that any information, no matter how it was obtained, is protected from seizure due to freedom of speech (or whatever the local variety of that right is) then that's an awful big shield to hide behind, it basically legalizes all sorts of [crime] so long as the perpetrator is not caught red-handed.

Yea, uh, that's how it's supposed to work. The major point of the 4th Amendment was precisely to prevent fishing expeditions either in scope of area searched, duration of search, or material to be seized. It all amounts to basically hard evidence gathering of otherwise known facts. To that end, I would actually support requirements of handing over encryption passwords to things if the 4th Amendment was actually being followed as intended. Instead, it takes but the world of a border guard or law enforcement officer to fish into all you personal documents or as in this case the personal documents of your supposedly close associates.

Of course, all of the above is a moot point since this is the UK and obvious US laws don't apply. But, then, as I already stated it's not as if US laws really apply in the US properly either. As a sort of tangent, I think this scenario disproves Upaya--I don't think journalists intent to reclaim their inherent rights was anything more than a expedient step towards their real needs to oversee government intrusions but it's come at the cost of enshrining the false belief that journalists deserve these inherent rights and everyone else will use them to shield their crimes. It's funny that we don't see that logic used to have harsh, dismantling laws over governments and companies which consistently function as much worse shields to crimes not only of wanting desire to harm but simple, consistent apathy to negative consequence.

Comment Re:Just be honest - it's not for *US* (Score 1) 2219

To keep up with that, websites either need to constantly change in small increments, or to do it in big chunks. We'd been doing the former for a while, but the decision was made to start fresh. I totally understand how jarring it is to see such a huge amount of change all at once, but we also have to look at what the website will look like a few years down the road.

The classic design in 2014? Not too bad. The classic design in 2018? Probably not going to cut it.

So, what you're saying is that in 2018 you predict that /. will have to involved into an unusable, crap-looking site, and you want to beat the future to the punch and deliver that in 2014? That's precisely what people are pointing out to you and until you, the /. development team, actually deliver an improvement to the current design *for the users*, all the above is stating is how you envision /. circling the drain in the future. As another posted of mine stated, perhaps you are envisioning a wholly new wave of users--an Eternal September. If so, then the only thing I can imagine is you and others are listening to know exactly how *not* to design the site to as quickly as possible get the base to leave and let the new fresh meat^W users in.

The whole point is that generally alienating your base will eventually alienate your new users as well--and there will always be new users--as they see how disposable you view them and unilaterally you act. Until you get your shit together and the commenting system, whiting spacing, etc are to a usable state, any sort of announcement that even hints at a switch over or auto-redirects to test out the beta are bound to alienate and generally make the situation worse. It doesn't take 25% of users being auto redirected to get the feedback to know of problems you're already aware of and state to us you know need fixed.

So, do you understand or do you grok?

Comment Re:READY OR NOT IS NOT THE ISSUE!!! (Score 1) 2219

I think you've got this all backwards. It seems that rational slashdotters have no interest in learning a new way to do the old thing. ...Unless there is some compelling reason or need, learning a new way to do an old thing is a waste of time better spent on learning something totally new. Yes, I do get that sometimes there are improvements that make it advantageous to learn a new way to do something old, but the beta is not such an example.

Which is more or less precisely it. When Slashdot did its redesign 8 years ago, there was a bit of fuss too. But the level of it was a lot less precisely because it included a lot of improvements without the useless layout butchery. And eventually virtually everyone switched over from the earlier Slashdot classic to the current design (hence my comment you quoted, as not everyone values the current design). I agree that the beta is not an example of such, but that's precisely why leaving it as a choice is the way to go. People won't choose crap* and if their claim of "listening" holds they'll devote most their resources to either (a) creating yet another beta but more aligned to the current design or (b) simply evolving the current design as far as they can.

*Yes, there's always the risk that a new wave of people will come in wholly unlike the current community will come in and see the new design as better than the old one and utterly replace the current base. And there's the distinct possibility that a lot of people will tolerate a lot of crap (hence why defaults for design, web browser, opt-in donor cards are so important) to be almost equivalent. Still, I wouldn't count on a new save coming in, and I can only imagine even a vocal minority on /. to make the new Beta near unusable for a placidly accepting majority. After all, it's a vocal minority that's responsible for the submitted stories, the higher rated comments, etc. That's just an inherent part of the system of filtering out a lot of noise.

Comment Re:READY OR NOT IS NOT THE ISSUE!!! (Score 2) 2219

we want you to know that Classic Slashdot isn't going away until we're confident that the new site is ready.

Nobody gives a flying fuck about if it is 5%, 50%, 95% or 100% ready when they kill off the classic interface.


To reiterate the point, the obvious truth is that the beta will be "ready" when people chose it over classic slashdot. For some people, it'll never be ready because they don't care to learn something new (ironic enough given the audience). But, the first big step to getting people to adopt the new beta is to make sure it's actually a choice. Otherwise, as others have stated, they'll pull a Vista and learn just how uncaptive of an audience/crowd/mob they really have.

Oh, and to that end, I'd suggest a big first step would be to make it trivial to switch from/to the beta layout and not bury it as an option at the bottom of the page or to randomly change to/from the beta layout for people who normally lurk without being logged in. Seriously, that's also a complaint I generally have about Slashdot "classic"--too many pretty preferences require you to be logged in to take effect. But, really, it'd just be enough to make it a choice for the user.

But, yea, it's not like the /. community is at all about choice or anything. :)

Comment Re:Oh, wow, really? (Score 1) 449

What do you mean, "regardless"? There's no "regardless" about it. It's like comparing a guy who won a gajillion dollars on a scratchcard to Warren Buffett (except for the fact that you could never get richer than Warren Buffett with any scratchcard). There is no comparison.

And thank you for proving the point of the "regardless". Even in your own mindset, you feel compelled to mention money as some sort of comparison as if money == aptitude, no matter how much you discount the comparison.

Or are we really now meant to re-appraise Bill Gates's intelligence and business acumen in light of this spectacular failure to hold out against a chess grandmaster?

Yes, we are. Because Bill Gates being good at making Microsoft or being a billionaire means nothing in light of chess, general strategy, curing malaria, etc. Sure, he might be good at some of those latter things, but the whole point is that way too many people do associate money with ability in a lot of areas it has nothing to do with it and its that large sum of money which is used as a basis to pay any attention to Bill Gates or ilk beyond how, you know, they're spending that money or doing whatever actually business they do and how that business will effect people.

Ie, it's appropriate to issue some humble pie not on Bill Gates--well, not necessarily, since he does come across as a general egomaniac although he's mellowed a lot--, but on everyone to really appreciate the situation.

Comment Re:cadaveric yes, live no (Score 1) 518

I think allowing the sale of cadaveric organs is reasonable; right now, hospitals and doctors effectively enrich themselves and frequently engage in fraud and nepotism. Getting that money to the family of the deceased is a good thing.

"Will you help this boy see? Will you give this little girl your dead son's heart?"

"No. Fuck 'em!"

"What if we give you $1,000?"

"Well, then, sign me up!"

You might call the above ridiculous. But that's, more or less, the argument that said economist is the context of cadaver organs.

Btw, you're making the same fallacy Mark Twain did about copyright and publishers. He argued that copyright should more or less be perpetual because publishers have no incentive to drop prices just because they no longer have to pay the authors their royalty. But like tax cuts or increases, that's rather a moot point to the issue. There's something inherently ridiculous and wrong about selling organs just as there's something wrong (obviously, to a different scale) to extending copyright or fiddling around with the tax code to maximize some numbers.

The best chances for an organ transparent recipient are people (especially how it's structure today, parents and relatives of the deceased) to want to give those organs away (and I'd argue for a more opt-out system (one where the dead prechoose and an affirmative to donate cannot be overridden and need not be reconfirmed from living relatives)). By the same token, a copyright system works best which an author keeps making new works that people want to buy, not simply having a single smash hit that they worry about publishers milking more than they can. Same with taxes being an attempt to micromanage behavior instead of to micromanage acknowledge the necessary and least unjust way to form the burden of paying for the services the people want and need. That is, each system only really works best when people buy into wanting the system to work and to participate in its functioning to its fullest; best is not a matter of numbers precisely because numbers are a horrible metric*.

Money clouds the issue. If it does it with the doctors, who have made much more of an oath to the preservation of life, then I trust the common person even less on that point. Obviously, there's no way to take money out of the equation completely, but that doesn't justify encouraging its use.

*You go on a segue about organs from the living, and this is precisely it. If you can kill one person and harvest their organs to save 8, it's a bargain in numbers, right? Yet that's obviously wrong and quoting numbers doesn't change that. The only real question is, then, if we even want to have a system that respects the wishes of the dead or not when it comes to organ harvesting. And I'm tempted to say to ignore their wishes. But, that does seem wrong as well. So, well, we should just leave it as a choice unless or until society accepts such an idea.

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All life evolves by the differential survival of replicating entities. -- Dawkins