Jump to content

  • Log In with Google      Sign In   
  • Create Account

SOPA protests (dumb idea)


Old topic!
Guest, the last post of this topic is over 60 days old and at this point you may not reply in this topic. If you wish to continue this conversation start a new topic.

  • You cannot reply to this topic
52 replies to this topic

#1 dpadam450   Members   -  Reputation: 946

Posted 15 January 2012 - 12:36 AM

I keep reading all kinds of websites that are protesting by shutting down their sites for a day. How can you protest the idea that shutting websites down is bad, when you are shutting down your own website, which people may want/need to even use that day. So not only is this idea dumb in my opinion, you are also making your users angry. Why don't these people actually do something useful like write some letters or go talk to their representatives. Probably lose just as much in daily ads for your site that you could just keep it up, use the ad revenue to fly or maybe even just walk down the street, to talk to your representatives. (I'm talking about the big names people speaking out against it, not just poor regular internet users.)

I mean I get the idea: this is what could happen permanantely and not just one day, but shutting your website down does not actually do anything except hurt yourself. Like "I'm going to kill myself if you don't change your bill."

Sponsor:

#2 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 31822

Posted 15 January 2012 - 12:40 AM

I'd guess the idea is that those frustrated website users (many of whom are ignorant SOPA) will be made aware of the situation, and perhaps they'll write to their representatives too...

[edit]

I mean I get the idea: this is what could happen permanantely and not just one day, but shutting your website down does not actually do anything except hurt yourself. Like "I'm going to kill myself if you don't change your bill."

No... it's more like saying "Instead of going to work today, I'm going to hand out political pamphlets"

#3 Sirisian   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1793

Posted 15 January 2012 - 12:49 AM

Yeah it's to gain attention for a cause. Take reddit for instance. It has a few users and they'll be taking the site down for 12 hours to get people to think. Not sure how much SOPA/PIPA will affect reddit.

With the uptime that gamedev.net experiences it'll probably end up joining in on the blackout accidently.

#4 szigeti_roland   Members   -  Reputation: 96

Posted 15 January 2012 - 01:02 AM

a pain.

#5 Triangles-PCT   Members   -  Reputation: 255

Posted 15 January 2012 - 03:01 AM

I assume they will replace the website with some anti SOPA message.

#6 Antheus   Members   -  Reputation: 2397

Posted 15 January 2012 - 07:41 AM

you are also making your users angry.


Airlines train their crew for emergencies. Biggest obstacle they face are passengers. Not panic or fear. But apathy. Experience has shown that in case of a real emergency, people simply remain apathetic and even when they do react, they do with less rigor than needed.

Anger is good since it provokes people to act.

Bystanders are another example. No matter the incident, people will just stand by. To get people to react in such situation, one needs to establish physical contact with each of them. Yelling at a group of people to help you won't do anything. But go around and push each of them and a relevant majority will get engaged. A quite useful technique to keep in mind when dealing with such situations.

It also works the other way. Law enforcement is typically trained to avoid any kind of engagement. You can witness this in any of the videos from real actions. As long as people are merely talked to they don't react. The moment they get grabbed they react with excessive force, even if the contact doesn't warrant it.


Also, the only people that heard of SOPA would be those that read reddit or similar news aggregators and even only those that read relevant topics, let alone understood what it means. There has been almost zero coverage in any mainstream press. If 5 million heard of it, that's not even 1% of internet users let alone of entire population. And 5 million is a lot.

#7 Antheus   Members   -  Reputation: 2397

Posted 15 January 2012 - 10:34 AM

Another after thought.

Getting people to be upset over some site being down would likely result in two things:
- "mah computer is broken, can you fix it"
- "reddit is down again, wonder if digg is still up"

Imagine you turn on TV and your soap channel is showing a big warning about some strange big bold letters and talking about some stuff. There's hundreds of other channels, just flip over.

The TV issue is quite a big one and something advertising agencies (Google/Facebook are essentially advertising companies, all money on web is based on advertising as well) had to learn decades ago. When they showed adverts, viewers would flip channels. If other channel had just a tiny appeal, they wouldn't come back.

Solutions to this were varied. From synchronizing advertising blocks, to more subvert forms of advertising, to different pacing, packaged channels, etc... One reason why cable is so reluctant to provide individual shows is because it limits these options. A borderline viewable show can still generate revenue if one can only switch between similar such shows with high enough probability. But show hand-picked episodes of specfic show and viewer's tolerance drops fast. After a few adverts, they'll lose interest and simply abandon viewing altoghether with no spillage to other content.

Torrents are a demonstration of this concept and both pro-/con- argument to piracy. Those who torrent TV shows only care about that particular show, nothing but that show and nothing but this week's episode. They don't tolerate 5 second ad before, between or after, or anything that even remotely detracts from that week's episode. They aren't willing to compromise on anything. On one side, companies don't lose anything this way - these users wouldn't accept advertising so CTR or equivalent would be too low to worry. On another, residual funding generated from advertising pays for more than just that one show. It also subsidizes others, allows experimentation and company growth enabling them to take on more demanding projects. So while claims that piracy does not mean lost sales are valid to a degree, they tend to be too simplistic to be taken at face value.

All web companies are fighting a cutthroat fight for attention. Turns out that general attention span is incredibly short and limited, so getting people excited about something that is not their immediate pet-peeve (single issue voter in politics) is surprisingly hard.

So getting general population angry would indeed be a big achievement and a very unlikely one.

#8 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 15 January 2012 - 01:16 PM

All web companies are fighting a cutthroat fight for attention. Turns out that general attention span is incredibly short and limited, so getting people excited about something that is not their immediate pet-peeve (single issue voter in politics) is surprisingly hard.

So getting general population angry would indeed be a big achievement and a very unlikely one.

I think it's true that generally people have short attention spans. They are also, however, very easily pissed off when they can't get access something they want (see: http://www.gamedev.net/topic/618104-gamedevnet-has-the-most-down-time-of-any-site-i-regularly-visit/). They might not spend all day staring at the blank reddit page, but I'm sure they'll take the time to at least realize why it's down before moving on.

#9 mdwh   Members   -  Reputation: 901

Posted 16 January 2012 - 08:27 AM

What makes you think that such people haven't already written to politicians? Raising awareness to other people is just as much an important issue in politics as writing yourself.

Regarding ad money, obviously there's the argument of how money is best spent in lobbying. But I'm not convinced that spending lots of money on air fares for a small number of people to travel in person than raising awareness to a massive number of people.


One of the biggest sites now likely to join in the protest is Wikipedia, which does not have ads.

I mean I get the idea: this is what could happen permanantely and not just one day, but shutting your website down does not actually do anything except hurt yourself. Like "I'm going to kill myself if you don't change your bill."

You've just rationalised away the argument for any kind of political lobbying whatsoever. "What's the point in lobbying, it's only going to cost you time/money!"

I suspect that most sites will survive just fine with a day of downtime. Gamedev seems to do it regularly just fine, and we're still here ;)

Imagine you turn on TV and your soap channel is showing a big warning about some strange big bold letters and talking about some stuff. There's hundreds of other channels, just flip over.

Of course people are going to visit websites rather than stare at the screen all day - but as long as they see the message.

And of course, only a minority are going to care enough to write - that's always the case in political issues, even among those who care. But all the more reason to spread a message to a large audience.
http://erebusrpg.sourceforge.net/ - Erebus, Open Source RPG for Windows/Linux/Android
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/mark.harman/conquests.html - Conquests, Open Source Civ-like Game for Windows/Linux

#10 mdwh   Members   -  Reputation: 901

Posted 17 January 2012 - 07:34 PM

Another point is publicity in the media, not just of those visiting the sites. The Wikipedia blackout is getting mainstream news coverage - giving far more coverage over SOPA and opposition to it, than would have otherwise appeared.
http://erebusrpg.sourceforge.net/ - Erebus, Open Source RPG for Windows/Linux/Android
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/mark.harman/conquests.html - Conquests, Open Source Civ-like Game for Windows/Linux

#11 Eelco   Members   -  Reputation: 301

Posted 18 January 2012 - 05:24 AM

I mean I get the idea: this is what could happen permanantely and not just one day, but shutting your website down does not actually do anything except hurt yourself. Like "I'm going to kill myself if you don't change your bill."


They said it more or less worked for this guy:

Posted Image

#12 samoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 5034

Posted 18 January 2012 - 06:38 AM

Taking down your own website is a form of passive resistance, much in the sense of a hunger strike.

About this being a "dumb idea", refer to the father of passive resistance: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win".

The moment you perceive this as "dumb", we're already at step 2 without you realizing. As you get angry, we're at step 3.

The problem is, none of the web site owners taking down their websites will have the nerve (or will be able to afford) to persist to step 4. Which, truly, is the one dumb thing, because it makes the entire endeavour obsolete. At best, people will talk about SOPA for a day, and then the music plays on.

#13 mdwh   Members   -  Reputation: 901

Posted 18 January 2012 - 07:49 AM

Taking down your own website is a form of passive resistance, much in the sense of a hunger strike.

About this being a "dumb idea", refer to the father of passive resistance: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win".

The moment you perceive this as "dumb", we're already at step 2 without you realizing. As you get angry, we're at step 3.

The problem is, none of the web site owners taking down their websites will have the nerve (or will be able to afford) to persist to step 4. Which, truly, is the one dumb thing, because it makes the entire endeavour obsolete. At best, people will talk about SOPA for a day, and then the music plays on.

How do you mean - I'm not sure what "step 4" is in this analogy? I mean, surely winning is what people against SOPA wants?

If you mean they won't do anything else after this, I don't see that's true at all. I'm sure people and organisations against it will continue to do what they can, though ultimately it's only the politicians who have the final decision.
http://erebusrpg.sourceforge.net/ - Erebus, Open Source RPG for Windows/Linux/Android
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/mark.harman/conquests.html - Conquests, Open Source Civ-like Game for Windows/Linux

#14 Nytegard   Members   -  Reputation: 823

Posted 18 January 2012 - 08:31 AM

If you mean they won't do anything else after this, I don't see that's true at all. I'm sure people and organisations against it will continue to do what they can, though ultimately it's only the politicians who have the final decision.


I'm sure certain people and organisations will fight against it, but the question is, is it enough? There are a few things to consider here. One, is the person/organisation two-faced? Are they publicly fighting it, but privately accepting it? Two, is the person/organisation going to be exempted from it? (This could potentially lead to #1). Three, even if SOPA and PIPA are killed off, all it takes is for a much more gradual and stealthy introduction of portions of the bill to be introduced. Tie in internet censorship to a hurricane relief bill, tax reduction bill, etc. Don't introduce the full bill at once, but through time.

I guess I'm much more pessimistic about the outcome of this blackout than the rest of you (as I see internet censorship of this type as an eventuality of reality).

#15 samoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 5034

Posted 18 January 2012 - 08:42 AM

How do you mean - I'm not sure what "step 4" is in this analogy? I mean, surely winning is what people against SOPA wants?

"Winning" means that the public pressure is so high that politicans seem urged to take it back. Which, and no offense intended, won't be the case if some geeks take down their website for a day and some other geeks make a few forum posts about how unhappy they are about it. Nobody really cares what you or I have to say.

"Winning" would be 100,000 angry people in the streets of Washington DC for three days because their preferred socializing website showed "closed for SOPA" for the last 3 weeks. Politicans are stupid like shit. If 100,000 people are in the street (which is less than 0.1% of the population), politicans believe that "the people" will revolt tomorrow, a civil war will break out, and they will probably end up hung, drawn, and quartered on the market place. Thus they do what "the people" wants. This is how Germany went out of nuclear energy.

"Winning" would also be if one or several major, high-profile sites on the scale of Slashdot, Amazon, or CNN shut down for a week, to show solidarism. Though of course we know this is not going to happen for business reasons.

#16 Simian Man   Members   -  Reputation: 1010

Posted 18 January 2012 - 09:10 AM

Yeah just like all of those people who protested their workplaces by not working. Not only is this pointless, it only hurts themselves because they lost the wages they would have earned. They would be better off working, then sending a letter to their congressmen on their break. These kind of strikes have never accomplished anything. Oh wait a minute...

#17 phantom   Moderators   -  Reputation: 7564

Posted 18 January 2012 - 09:48 AM

Yeah just like all of those people who protested their workplaces by not working. Not only is this pointless, it only hurts themselves because they lost the wages they would have earned. They would be better off working, then sending a letter to their congressmen on their break. These kind of strikes have never accomplished anything. Oh wait a minute...


The problem with this example is that if people stop working then the company suffers, loses money and thus are forced to come to some sort of settlement over time.

Wikipedia goes down and the net effect on the people drafting the bills is....? Well, you tell me...

Passive resistance and strikes only make a difference when they impact the people involved on both sides; wiki being down is going to have no impact on those wanting to draft the bill thus from that point of view is pointless.

For the general 'non-geek' population this is likely to cause an annoyance more than anything; they'll see some text and either ignore it and complain about the site being down or read it, not understand and then complain about the site being down. The population simply isn't well versed enough in technology to realise the problem.

And finally, we get to the point that a vast majority of users cant make a difference at all. Living in the UK all this 'blackout' is to me is a mild annoyance which ends when I wake up tomorrow. I can do nothing to adjust the outcome of what is going on in the US (and the last time people in the UK decided to voice an opinion on US politics that I recall was back in a presidental election when we basically got told to STFU and keep out of it... mmmm).

In short as bad as I'm sure this is being in another country with no say on the matter I currently simply don't care and just have to live this with mild annoyance. A position most of the users in the world are in.

#18 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 18 January 2012 - 09:53 AM

And finally, we get to the point that a vast majority of users cant make a difference at all. Living in the UK all this 'blackout' is to me is a mild annoyance which ends when I wake up tomorrow. I can do nothing to adjust the outcome of what is going on in the US (and the last time people in the UK decided to voice an opinion on US politics that I recall was back in a presidental election when we basically got told to STFU and keep out of it... mmmm).

In short as bad as I'm sure this is being in another country with no say on the matter I currently simply don't care and just have to live this with mild annoyance. A position most of the users in the world are in.

While I am aware that not being in the US makes it fairly simple for you to ignore a lot of SOPA, SOPA passing severely impacts the integrity of the internet that would probably lead to similar legislation in many other first world countries.

#19 phantom   Moderators   -  Reputation: 7564

Posted 18 January 2012 - 10:07 AM

No, not being able to affect the passing of the bill in anyway makes it easy for me to ignore it... or would have if a bunch of websites hadn't decided to inconvinence the rest of the world over it...

(And to give you an idea; the estimated population of Europe is approx. twice that of the US, so just taking those two areas alone into consideration this protest does nothing more than inconvinence two people for ever 1 it eduates (assuming they get educated, see earlier reply for thoughts on that). Expand this to other countries/areas with high internet usage/pentration and the ratio drops even further.)

#20 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 18 January 2012 - 10:23 AM

(And to give you an idea; the estimated population of Europe is approx. twice that of the US, so just taking those two areas alone into consideration this protest does nothing more than inconvinence two people for ever 1 it eduates (assuming they get educated, see earlier reply for thoughts on that). Expand this to other countries/areas with high internet usage/pentration and the ratio drops even further.)

http://www.internetw...s.com/top20.htm
The American internet market is approximately the same size as the entirety of europe's.

Clearly if the website's didn't feel the legislation affected their sustainability they wouldn't be protesting. Is your inconvenience for 12 hours more important than the continued sustainability of your favorite websites?

edit: Being the second largest internet base in a single country with the largest already enforcing heavy restrictions on the internet, and the next largest being half as large makes any legislation very important to anybody with any interest in the sustainability internet technologies.




Old topic!
Guest, the last post of this topic is over 60 days old and at this point you may not reply in this topic. If you wish to continue this conversation start a new topic.



PARTNERS