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  1. 61

    I realize the odds we catch a flame war are pretty high, but on the balance this seems topical - it’s news about a business’s policies and practices, but it’s not like it’s about them updating their pricing plans or something. We’ve had a lot of discussions about centralized vs. distributed systems, censorship resistant systems, and generally how the systems we build influence the cultures we have. “Like every human culture, this is done by lurching from crisis to crisis trying to decide what’s acceptable and not, what’s individual or systemic.” But uh… that doesn’t mean we have to have a flame war about it. Please try to be kind to each other and to not indulge in hyperbole.

    1. 41

      I love this site, but the seemingly random rules around “business news” are annoying. You are deleting everything that doesn’t relate to computing, yet this one and every time apple announces new things to buy, it is okay. Can the rules be made clearer or abandoned if they don’t work?

      I can read about the kiwi farms (fsck them!) elsewhere on the internet. Do we really need that drama here? If we do, where do we draw the line? There are many, many things in the world worse than kiwi farms, but they are equally off topic. Let’s keep it that way.

      1. 14

        I should’ve put that better than “not pricing or something”. I think this news is a useful example of what happens in the real world when we’re talking about technical projects like immutable decentralized publishing, scaling, running your own servers, privacy, censorship resistance, and the role of the web in society at large. The discussion is rantier and less technical than usual, but I don’t think it’s wasted. The discussion is hard and often fractious because we developers have incredible power. It’s our work that built the systems and interconnections that led to this situation. So this isn’t technical, but it’s very much the results, and we need to understand them to inform the next systems we build.

        1. 7

          You can also see it positively that the rules are more squishy: Do I want business news about startup X dropping feature Z ? No, I generally don’t. Do I want information about a precedence case where cf have used their house right, a company serving ~30% of the network traffic and sometimes called the guys that protect DdOS groups (among other things) ? Yeah I do. Even if I am more interested in coming updates about what this meant for future cases like this. And I’m interested in discussions about the m1 chip from people on lobsters, something that changes the mobile CPU market dramatically in terms of possible power, heat and performance. Even though I don’t intend to buy anything apple for now. Its just not that black & white.

          1. 7

            You can get all of that on the orange site, where all of what you explained is on topic. I think KF is garbage, yet again, this site is about computing. Learning that a publicly traded company in the US has one customer less is not about computing. There is nothing technically interesting here, but that is - according to the description -what this site is all about.

            Regarding apple announcements: minute by minute live blogging of whatever ipad or 3d emoji or tv series are announced is also very much not about computing.

            1. 1

              minute by minute live blogging

              I haven’t seen that one here

              1. 7

                @calvin often does a very nice job covering apple events. Of which some are more about computing than others, in my estimation. But here are a couple of recent-ish examples:

                I find them valuable and hope they keep getting posted here.

                1. 5

                  I find them valuable and hope they keep getting posted here.

                  I don’t find it valuable, but I could chose to ignore it. What annoys me is how any other article that is “business news” gets deleted, yet more apple tv+ shows or the colors of the new iphones are not business news apparently and should be frontpage news on a site that literally says this about itself:

                  Lobsters is focused pretty narrowly on computing; tags like art don’t imply every piece of art is on-topic. Some rules of thumb for great stories to submit: Will this improve the reader’s next program? Will it deepen their understanding of their last program? Will it be more interesting in five or ten years?

                  Some things that are off-topic here but popular on larger, similar sites: entrepreneurship, management, news about companies that employ a lot of programmers, investing, world events, anthropology, self-help, personal productivity systems, last-resort customer service requests via public shaming, “I wanted to see what this site’s amazing users think about this off-topic thing”, and defining the single morally correct economic and political system for the entire world when we can’t even settle tabs vs. spaces.

                2. 3

                  He’s probably referring to calvin’s threads on Apple’s big announcement days. They’re a tradition, where usually we don’t give room for product announcements like that. It’s a fair criticism that this implies our rules aren’t consistent.

                  1. 4

                    Fair, but I think the rules are in the end just to reflect the intention of the community. And because of that I think it is fine when the community decides it wants to break that rule and make these announcements an exception. (Calvins summary could be seen as its own post and is probably the the thing that makes it worthwhile.) Note: I don’t actually buy or like apple stuff, so it’s not like I’m in favor of that exception.

                    1. 1

                      well I actually did ignore them, apparently..

              2. 1

                Interestingly, their previous blog post (https://blog.cloudflare.com/cloudflares-abuse-policies-and-approach/) laid out their policy framework and was both an excellent post and very computing and internet infrastructure philosophy related, and therefore on topic.

                But, we didn’t discuss that post (because no one submitted it?) which makes this discussion all the more off topic, in my opinion: either we’re interested in the discussion AROUND the ban (which is on topic and the other post is better) or we’re only interested in the specific end result (which is obviously wildly off topic).

                1. 2

                  “Infrastructure business announces policy of trying to act like a common carrier, even though it isn’t one” is a little interesting, and if it wasn’t discussed here, that’s a loss but a small one. “Policy announcement immediately runs into trouble” is interesting and contextually makes the first one more interesting.

              3. 36

                it’s news about a business’s policies and practices, but it’s not like it’s about them updating their pricing plans or something.

                Business news is generally off-topic, as I recall for many years. Blog posts announcing a decision to stop service to a customer–especially without accompanying coverage/linkage of the facts of the case, the technical issues at play, or even numbers making an economic argument for why it makes sense–would seem to me to be similarly off-topic.

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                  I generally agree with this stance, as there’s nothing strictly technical here other than “we’re blocking somebody”.

                  On the other hand…

                  Fuck KiwiFarms.

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                    If the standard of worthwhile posting and justification has fallen to “Fuck $thing”, this site’s future as a forum for discussion isn’t significantly better than 4chan or reddit.

                    1. 19

                      Let’s put it a different way then.

                      A major company that touches a LOT of the spaces many of the readers here touch has just made a very large decision regarding a cesspool that’s also impacted, directly or indirectly, many of the readers here.

                      It seems pretty obvious that this is a bit outside the usual scope but, frankly, this is one of those things a lot of this community do care strongly about and it’s valuable for them to be made aware of.

                      Also, yeah, fuck KiwiFarms.

                      1. 24

                        Caring strongly is insufficient justification.

                        Many readers care strongly about the war in Ukraine or Brexit or US politics or Taiwan–all of those are just as off-topic.

                        This bit of news is being well-covered in the orange site, twitter, and elsewhere; I see no harm in leaving it off here.

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                          KiwiFarms presents a serious existential risk for Lobsters because of the threats to our community. @alyx did not give a list of community members who have been impacted; hopefully it is obvious that giving such a list would be tantamount to surrender.

                          If we don’t care strongly about each other, then we don’t have a community.

                          1. 18

                            We manifestly don’t care strongly about each other, as seen in the shitflinging any time politics or meaningful policy differences come up. Post as a Palantir employee here and see how much strong caring for fellow Lobsters there is!

                            (Would I prefer that we be a more united community? Of course. Do I think we were some number of years ago? Yes. Do I think that we can do that today? No, not really, because reasons.)

                            I disagree with your claim of KF being some special “existential risk” to Lobsters, especially without proof.

                            And again, I’m not saying anything in support of KF. As far as I know, they’re unrepentant assholes. I am saying that we should be sticking to on-topic material instead of what amounts to gloating.

                            An article on how to make a botnet to go after Kiwifarms, or on the legal issues encountered in taking them to court, or on scraping them for automatic doxing notification would all be great submissions here! I would upvote them!

                            This, though, is just an inactionable announcement that Cloudflare kicked off a customer that some people here may dislike.

                            1. 4

                              Post as a Palantir employee here and see how much strong caring for fellow Lobsters there is!

                              I can’t speak to that, but I’ve posted here as a Microsoft employee and, although there are some very anti-Microsoft folks here, I’ve never felt personally attacked. That doesn’t mean that everyone agrees with me[1], but it does mean that I can almost always[2] expect that people disagree with me politely and respectfully, with well-reasoned arguments.

                              [1] Weird, since I’m always right…

                              [2] Everyone has bad days where they’re unusually cranky, in general this community seems pretty good at pointing out when someone is being uncharacteristically mean and asking them to change, and kicking them out if they don’t.

                            2. 5

                              KiwiFarms presents a serious existential risk for Lobsters because of the threats to our community.

                              Then that’s the discussion, not a Cloudflare blog post.

                  2. 13

                    I realize the odds we catch a flame war are pretty high, but on the balance this seems topical - it’s news about a business’s policies and practices, but it’s not like it’s about them updating their pricing plans or something.

                    1. Fuck Kiwifarms.
                    2. This is nontopical.

                    We’ve had a lot of discussions about centralized vs. distributed systems, censorship resistant systems, and generally how the systems we build influence the cultures we have.

                    Then this would be off-topic, and the articles that use the banning of kiwifarms as a springboard to talk about these things would be on topic, as has been the precedent for a while.

                    1. 3

                      That’s a strong argument that I made the wrong call here. One of the reasons I kept this up was that I figured we’d see a stream of responses over the next week or so about why DDOS protection works this way, alternate systems that would’ve had different failure modes, etc. Keeping the CF post made for a single natural place to merge those stories so users can discuss or hide conveniently. I commented early trying to point the discussion towards the technical aspects, and clearly did not succeed.

                      Would you say the distinction you’re making is that Losbters primarily looks at things through a technical lens to discussion implementation? It isn’t well-reflected on /about and hopefully we can improve that writing and public understanding.

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                    There was no free speech outrage when Cloudflare has kicked out Switter. SESTA/FOSTA is a real example of overreaching legislation having a chilling effect. That’s when you should have been outraged about actual threat to free speech.

                    This case is a private company choosing not to do business any more with a toxic customer (and it’s a shame they did it so late and so begrudgingly).

                    Never forget that Cloudflare is only cosplaying being a utility. No matter what they blog, they are a private company. Until they are regulated as an actual utility with real obligations, they can kick anybody at any time (and absolutely should use that right kick out terorrists).

                    1. 5

                      Not just a private company but they have been publicly traded since 2019 which means shareholder profits generally come before anything else.

                      1. 4

                        That’s… not really how public companies work. Obviously shareholder value is a large consideration, but the companies are still run by people democratically elected by the shareholders and can represent them in ways other than money. This is an example of that

                        1. 4

                          That is part of the story told about corporate governance in general but the structure of of Cloudflare’s shareholder arrangements is far from democratic. Similar to Facebook, there is no practical shareholder control or board oversight. The company is run by the founders as a practical matter. The linked blog post specifically says they are doing this only due to their own legal exposure, heavily implying they would incur significant financial risks, in terms of litigation.

                          1. 3

                            A tangible example of this is that one thing used to pressure CloudFlare were the Supplier Code Of Conducts in place at a lot of those companies that make sure company ethics are upheld even in their supply chain.

                            Those are often public companies and certainly, a lot of those SCOCs are often there for legal reasons (child labour, tax evasion, etc.), but having received trainings for a few of them, many also speak company values.

                        2. 3

                          Neither the country where I was born nor the one I currently live have utilities, as a matter of law. It has them in practice, of course, which suggests that the legal category isn’t strictly necessary. And that, in turn, suggests that the class may not be a simple definition.

                          IMO the banks are one here, even if each bank isn’t. Being able to have a bank account is more or less required for an adult, even if a customer relationship with any particular bank isn’t. Having a bank account in other countries may be less important, of course.

                          The food shops are one. Not being able to get a phone would also be such a problem (in the unnamed place where I love) that IMO the telcos form a utility (in this place) even if each telco is a regular company.

                          This is a programming/tech site, so my purpose isn’t to ramble about Carrefour or Nestle. I want to suggest that tech companies have a duty to consider in which forms they have such public duties. I see from the blog post that Cloudflare ① thinkls that security providers shouldn’t ditch anyone and ② hosting providers should not have that same policy. This is a considered stance, and I applaud it for being considered.

                          FWIW, I once worked for a small company formed by 100% conscientous objectors. We didn’t want to sell to the arms industry, and considered it, and decided that we’d serve any customer who sought us out on their own, but make no attempt at all to sell to the arms industry, or upsell if we got any such customer. A considered stance.

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                            The free speech talk is usually about a hypothetical future US government turning against its own people, and it’s easy to have a principled stand against something that only exists in people’s heads. Meanwhile, in the physical world, operating in Russia and China already makes corporations subject to the real anti-free-speech laws. There are tyrannical governments that are actually violently silencing their dissents today, and continued presence of corporations in these countries means they are complying.

                            1. 1

                              The free speech talk? Does Cloudlfare talk about free speech? I missed that part (admittedly I haven’t followed it closely). Googling now, I find a commitment to a free and open web, but as far as I understand, that doesn’t refer to free speech, but rather to open specifications and a practical ability to host web sites wherever and however you want. Or more practically, to host web pages outside the FAANG server farms.

                              Regarding free speech, Cloudflare appears to think that any web site operator should be able to get DDoS protection and DDoS protection providers shouldn’t drop sites. But I don’t see any commitment to hosting anything in particular. Cloudflare takes a strong stance against limiting free speech by means of e.g. DDoSes, but I don’t see any commitment at all against legal means. Am I overlooking anything? Feel free to provide a link.

                              (I suppose a shitstorm counts as a kind of level-8 DDoS.)

                        3. 33

                          I liken this to something akin to a citizen’s arrest. If you’re managing infrastructure that’s enabling the digital assault on others, my opinion is that you need to do everything you can to stop it.

                          It is funny that it took such a short time to walk back their earlier statement, though. It looks like there were some credible threats against a trans streamer that recently moved to Northern Ireland, and that was the ultimate motivator.

                          I think a lot of the talk around “Cloudflare shouldn’t be making these policy decisions” is missing the fact that they’re a business and have legal liability as a business. I think that says something: if a service is good enough for evil people to use, then indirect (or direct) legal pressure should be applied such that evil people don’t use it. For anybody wanting to counter this, show me an example of Cloudflare taking a stance on something that isn’t harassment related.

                          There’s a reason why it’s Kiwifarms, 8chan et. al. Because these are the kinds of communities that legal pressure and obligation is supposed to snuff out, for the protection of others.

                          1. 10

                            That’s called “passing the buck”. Liability shouldn’t be the only motivation for businesses to do the right thing, there should be such a thing as “doing what’s right”. Or else we can just give up the pretense we live in a society and just accept we’re all just wallets and 100% of what matters is the content of our bank accounts.

                            1. 5

                              Businesses will do what’s in their best interest. Cloudflare take action when a customer’s bad behaviour causes a serious amount of bad PR, but they’re not in the business of policing their customers. I’m a bit concerned that so many people here expect moral agency from organizations that by design care only for the bottom line.

                              1. 4

                                I’m a bit concerned that so many people here expect moral agency from organizations that by design care only for the bottom line.

                                Why does that concern you?

                                1. 5

                                  Young, educated people being disillusioned the legal and political system and looking to corporations to provide justice … to me that sounds like the backstory of the dystopian 80s sci-fi movies I watched growing up.

                                  On a more serious note, businesses will be “just” only when important people complain loudly. It’s nice when companies act with self-awareness and consideration, but expecting them to do so consistently, and of their own initiative, is a poor way to run society.

                              2. 4

                                The problem is the diffusion of responsibility. Every single person in a company might be decent, from janitor to C level, and yet the company might do shitty stuff, of even just be a shit hole in general.

                                I don’t particularly see any way to “encourage” companies to “do the right thing” other than making the wrong thing so costly and illegal that it’s not worth it. Given how companies tend to just buy legislators, though, that seems like a slow course of action at best.

                                1. 2

                                  Liability shouldn’t be the only motivation for businesses to do the right thing

                                  That’s where it gets tricky. What is the ‘right thing’? In a democratic society, laws are written as a consensus on the minimum standard for acceptable behaviour. The people that draft the laws are (in theory, via some mechanism) accountable to society as a whole. In contrast, if a company makes a decision on whether something is acceptable beyond the definitions of legal liability then they are exercising power without having a corresponding level of accountability. That makes me nervous. Even when they make a decision that I agree with, I have no guarantees that I’ll also agree with their next decision.

                                  1. 1

                                    You can take comfort in the hope the next decision won’t be about far-right assholes doxxing and threatening trans people. That’s where it’s not tricky at all to me.

                              3. 30

                                I’m all for this. Like TheDonald subreddit, the Kiwi Farms forum was used to coordinate hate crimes and as a place to radicalise young men. Like TheDonald, it will probably survive in some form, but lowering its profile will do substantial good by shrinking its community and wasting their time on infrastructure issues. I’m pretty sure there were a few articles studying the effect of banning TheDonald and the incel subreddits and that I’m not just talking out of my arse.

                                Cloudflare and lots of other folks have argued that essentially they should only be censoring stuff if a USA court demands that they do so. This is, in my opinion, a bad idea because courts and legal systems are often injust (rulings; law; access; etc). This is also inconsistent with how CF has acted in the past: they kicked sex-work related sites pre-emptively because they thought that SESTA/FOSTA might apply, but they didn’t wait for a court to demand that they do so.

                                I think that, ideally, individuals and communities should be deplatformed when it is likely that this will prevent serious harm and these decisions should have some democratic legitimacy amongst the people affected. Protests provide democratic legitimacy and in this case there seems to be plenty.

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                                  This is, in my opinion, a bad idea because courts and legal systems are often injust (rulings; law; access; etc).

                                  I myself find that the “unjust” courts are a preferable alternative to that most democratic of institutions, the lynch mob.

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                                    Can I ask when, if ever, you feel economic action like this is an appropriate way to put pressure on a corporation?

                                    1. 18

                                      It’s appropriate if it works; that said, going past that point to claim any sort of moral highground or what-have-you is a step too far in my opinion. I actually preferred it when CF banned a company with the simple explanation of “because fuck those guys” and nothing more, because at least that has a brutish honesty to it.

                                      My point above is a chiding about preferring vigilantism to courts and due process–everybody is super excited about skipping due process until they themselves are in the sights of the mob. It would be nice if we all moved away back towards repeatable and legible policymaking.

                                      1. 15

                                        I agree with everything you wrote above, in principle. However, given that Kiwifarms itself has repeatedly, demonstrably and arguably more literally put people in the sights of the mob, it’s hard to feel like this is the place to draw the line.

                                        Because this is the internet and it pays to be clear - I’m aware you know this, I know you and your views (as far as possible from posts on a website) and I’m absolutely not in any way suggesting you’re trying to argue for KF specifically. In case it needs saying.

                                        The point I’m trying to make is that I’m sympathetic to your point of view but we are deep in “paradox of tolerance” territory here. I generally try not to swear on here but fuck those guys and I will celebrate anything that makes their lives harder.

                                        Arguably @cmcaine’s point above regarding FOSTA/SESTA is an example where the line is significantly more blurred, and I do think that it’s disingenuous of Cloudflare to claim they don’t police speech when they essentially did just that on the basis that they might one day receive a court order.

                                        1. 5

                                          Use of “the courts” and “policymaking” is just a way to give a veneer of acceptability to the whims of the populace. Slavery was legal, then it wasn’t. Abortion was legal, then it wasn’t.

                                          This is America, it’s realpolitik all the way down.

                                      2. 4

                                        It’s not either/or. Some court decisions are unjust and some protests demand unreasonable things. I’m saying legitimacy can come from multiple sources and that it is not enough to just obey the courts.

                                    2. 36

                                      This blog post is some weaselly shit.

                                      Right in the intro, we have the claim that ‘targeted threats have escalated over the last 48 hours to the point that we believe there is an unprecedented emergency and immediate threat to human life’. I don’t know what has changed in the last 48 hours specifically. Keffals, the current most prominent victim of harassment organized on and supported by Kiwifarms, has been on the run for over two weeks and has fairly consistently been doxxed again within hours of moving to a new location — with people showing up where she’s been staying, in multiple countries. Considering the fact that three other people have already been bulled into suicide by this website, I can’t see how things have changed within the last two days. They just want to seem to backpedal on the policy they announced three days ago and make it seem like they’re reacting to new information in a way consistent with that policy, and not weaselling out of it.

                                      Then there’s the whole ‘we see ourselves as infrastructure’ thing. That would be an admirable stance to take if there were actually regulation on services like Cloudflare as infrastructure. There is none, and they’re clearly betting on the US and other major jurisdictions never introducing anything like the German NetzDG which would actually provide regulation in terms of how they have to react to being used to host content like this. And while I’m at it, those supporting the ‘we’re just infrastructure line’ are also the most likely to be anti-regulation warriors who would fight tooth and nail against the kind of regulation that would actually be needed for ‘infrastructure’ to be taken seriously as such. (For full disclosure: as a resident of Germany, I was against the NetzDG when it was introduced for similar reasons, though I’ve been pleasantly surprised how it’s worked out in practice and wouldn’t want to see it repealed now, though it still needs improvement.) The whole ‘we’re just infrastructure’ thing is just a right-libertarian cover for refusing to take responsibility for who they do business with.

                                      Finally, the most contemptible sentence of all: ‘Hard cases make bad law. This is a hard case and we would caution anyone from seeing it as setting precedent.’ Cloudflare are not lawmakers. They are sticking with the line of the policy they previously set: that they regret taking down similar websites before and they will probably refuse to take down similar websites again. So when another website bullies people into suicide, Cloudflare will be right behind them, presumably until someone has to start another media shitstorm to pressure them into doing the right thing.

                                      1. 20

                                        I don’t know what has changed in the last 48 hours specifically.

                                        A bomb threat

                                        1. [Comment removed by moderator pushcx: Repeating KF abuse.]

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                                            KiwiFarms’ Wikipedia entry has an entire fucking section, heavily sourced, titled Suicides of harrassment targets. Get your ‘boreal’ ass out of here.

                                        2. 17

                                          This is a real world manifestation of the Paradox of Tolerance. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_tolerance

                                          1. 34

                                            There’s so many slippery slopes in this comment section, I don’t know how I didn’t slip myself and cracked my skull in the floor.

                                            “But If we outlaw nazism, where will it stop” At nazism. That’s where it stops. It’s what happened in Germany, Brazil. Probably several other places I’m too lazy to research right now.

                                            “It’s a lynch mob, it’s the trolls now, who’s next” No one. Certainly not you, I.T. person more bland than mashed potatoes (this might be more a reflection of myself than the community but whatever). All the free speech absolutists get all worried anytime something like this happens, and yet, nothing apocalyptical follows. Trump was banned from twitter, but Bolsonaro and other 1000 lying politicians are still there.

                                            So, maybe it’s a good thing that companies sometimes fold to public pressure, and maybe it doesn’t spell the end of free speech and democracy. In fact, maybe it’s not happening often enough.

                                            1. 16

                                              As a leftist I find the slippery slope argument hilarious. “Oh no, you’re saying they’ll come for my speech next? I’ll be the victim of ‘mob violence?’” That’s been the state of affairs for centuries.

                                              I think it’s also informative that the only people actually moved by the argument are believers in some naive rules based liberal world. Reactionaries and fascists gleefully rejoice in the slippery slope because they know when the chips are down they’ll be the ones pushing people down it.

                                              1. 1

                                                Certainly not you, I.T. person more bland than mashed potatoes (this might be more a reflection of myself than the community but whatever)


                                                To thine own self be true, Polonius. To thine own self be true.

                                                A bit of humanity goes a long way, but sometimes that is hard to maintain focus on when we’re arguing about whether bomb threats are a valid form of protected free speech, and what responsibilities companies have for responding to their services being used for the same.

                                              2. 8

                                                On the one hand, I would like there to be more legally protected (and equally legally mandated) common carriers for telecom services.

                                                On the other hand, the FCC and the FTC have generally abdicated their duties in this regard, and it is certainly the case that CloudFlare is not a common carrier by the legal definition.

                                                As long as that situation obtains, a corporation (or person) who defends their actions by saying “it is legal” has resorted to the weakest possible argument. Legal is a partially overlapping set with correct – if you’re lucky, you live in a jurisidiction where the overlap is large.

                                                CF is in the wrong here, one way or another: either by announcing a policy or by announcing an exception to it so quickly thereafter. It’s up to each of us to decide whether we think the particular circumstances justify the particular choices.

                                                I think their general policy choice was wrong, incidentally.

                                                1. 20

                                                  “It’s legal” has been, and continues to be, Cloudflare’s excuse for keeping morally abhorrent customers.

                                                  So if you exclude legality as a justification, it boils down to a moral decision. To me kicking out nazis, csam peddlers, and terrorists is morally justified.

                                                2. 7

                                                  One underdiscussed aspect IMO is that if Cloudflare withdraws anti-DDoS services from a customer, this does not by itself affect the availability or operation of a website; not unless they relied on something CF-specific, which seems unlikely. Encouraging CF to take this action either means asking them to take an action that amounts to absolutely nothing, or is an implicit endorsement/encouragement of the DDoSing that will subsequently follow - an illegal activity in the US. If your opinion is already “the end justifies the means” then this is probably morally consistent but it should be acknowledged.

                                                  1. 14

                                                    The #DropKiwiFarms campaign doesn’t need any DoSing to happen to win something from CF kicking KF.

                                                    CF also lowers hosting costs and improves performance. Taking that away from the the owner of Kiwi Farms is another way to hit him in the pocket through increased costs. Poor performance can help the campaign by reducing engagement and recruitment at KF.

                                                  2. 6

                                                    This article about Cloudflare blocking is 1.5d old… But now DDoS Guard has also booted them off. Yes DDoSGuard is the same company that hosts repacker and major piracy sites… And KF was too unpalatable for even them.

                                                    KF now ONLY has an onion site, which is easy to DDoS. And to that I say: good riddance.

                                                    Edit: hey @pushcx you might want to bring this higher here, lest we see another post/flamewar.

                                                    Citation - https://twitter.com/ylitvinenko/status/1566762518093119489 - DDoS Guard came out with official response. ToS violations.

                                                    1. 5

                                                      This is not for CF to do. Plain and simple.

                                                      1. 33

                                                        Why? Seriously, I see this take everywhere, and I don’t get it. They’re a for-profit business; they feel their legal liability is higher than the profit they get from hosting KF. How could they explain any other decision to their shareholders?

                                                        If you feel CloudFlare should provide services even when it is unprofitable to do so, then should be nationalized, or at least regulated as a utility.

                                                        1. 11

                                                          Why? Seriously, I see this take everywhere, and I don’t get it.

                                                          In democracies we have three branches of government tha should be completely separated. The judiciary (courts), the executive (government) and the legislative (senate).

                                                          In 2022 not being part of the facebook, google, twitter, tik-tok, instagram, whatsup or AWS or cloudflare can literally make or break a business, a social life (e.g. public services using Viber and WhatsUp to send messages),, e.g. picture a teenager being banned by instagram while the entire class virtually lives there, etc.

                                                          The power of these private corporations to decide and act is effectively replacing the judiciary and executive branch of a modern democracy. Corporations have incentives that do not align with democracy, so they should not be allowed to act as branches of government.

                                                          Another problem here is that the US government doesn’t wanna be involved - it’s clear nowadays. In politics every time gov makes a decision part of the electorate is hurt one way or another, so if they can avoid making a decision so much the better… Let corporations fend-off for themselves is what they’re probably thinking. The result is that now we have a precedent where ex-POTUS is banned from twitter, opposition leaders are banned from facebook and corporations might be banned from GCP or AWS on a whim or because a specific group is too vocal about it. The key part is realising that incentives alignment is coincidental, there is no oversight of any kind!

                                                          What if it’s an BDSM or LGBTQ group next time? I mean, CloudFlare could decide to ban them because a far-right group was vocal on twitter, right? Questions like what is hatespeech online and which post can be taken seriously in a populated forum (e.g. Reddit) are not trivial questions in 2022 - we need a process that doesn’t depend on reddit’s board and democracies have such processes in place that are slow (unfortunately) and obsolete - we need to make sure they’re up-to-date… But replacing them with corporation can only bring misery and mistrust in the democratic process.

                                                          1. 14

                                                            What if it’s an BDSM or LGBTQ group next time? I mean, CloudFlare could decide to ban them because a far-right group was vocal on twitter, right?

                                                            They already do this. Their DNS service blocks plenty of LGBTQ+ sites but not KF or the Daily Stormer. They already source their blocklists from right wing evangelical groups.

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                                                              Cite source, please. I had not heard this claim, and it seems like an extraordinary claim, which should warrant extraordinary evidence.

                                                              1. 7

                                                                I will admit and apologize that I can find the sources for the LGBTQ+ part, I took it on authority from some folks and can’t find a list myself. I do know that in the past they did have this issue (they have a blog post addressing it) and coupled with quite a few adult content block list being maintained by religious groups or “family focus” groups. I didn’t find it hard to believe, so sorry I can’t provide a list on that end.

                                                                On the KF and DS front I personally confirmed both resolved just fine a couple days ago through KF no longer resolves when I checked today but DS still does. I will not provide a link to the site (I hope you can understand why) but it isn’t hard to find them (along with the claims I made) on twitter on some quite popular posts.

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                                                              What if it’s an BDSM or LGBTQ group next time?

                                                              This is a slippery slope argument. Please, let’s not assume stopping nazis from committing murder will lead to websites we do like being kicked offline.

                                                              Corporations have incentives that do not align with democracy [..] In politics every time gov makes a decision part of the electorate is hurt one way or another

                                                              This is fear mongering. Somehow, all corporations and all government institutions are incapable of aligning with the views of the people. This story is literally CF aligning with the views of the people (albeit very late). There are obviously times were they are not aligned with the people, but movements like #DropKiwifarms exist to steer them back on course.

                                                              The power of these private corporations to decide and act is effectively replacing the judiciary and executive branch of a modern democracy. […] they should not be allowed to act as branches of government

                                                              They are not doing this. They’re a private corporation exercising their rights. You are saying corporations shouldn’t be allowed to “decide and act” without the government getting involved, but also saying we shouldn’t trust the government to make decisions because they’re also undemocratic. That’s a contradiction that I’ve seen many times when it comes to corporations disagreeing with conservative opinions.

                                                              The result is that now we have a precedent where ex-POTUS is banned from twitter […] on a whim or because a specific group is too vocal about it

                                                              He’s still stating on his own social media app that he won the election. He also spread lies about covid that had far reaching consequences. I’m sure most of us know a conspiracy theorist who would still be alive today had they been vaxxed or had they not listened to his lies. Twitter is completely within their rights to ban whoever the hell they want off their platform, just as Trump is allowed to make his own app to spew his lies on.

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                                                                What if it’s an BDSM or LGBTQ group next time? I mean, CloudFlare could decide to ban them because a far-right group was vocal on twitter, right?

                                                                Companies, including CloudFlare on their service, do this all the time. It’s no gotchya, but something I’ve experienced myself. And guess what? It’s not gonna stop if we never pressure a company to drop an abusive evil site like KF.

                                                                Fundamentally, I don’t trust CloudFlare or any other company saying they’re neutral, because never in my life have I found that to be followed up with action that isn’t biased against me and mine. Why the hell wouldn’t I use those levers against the people that want to hurt me, if I can’t get rid of them entirely?

                                                                To be clear, I agree with your overall point. These companies should be either nationalized or broken up - but until they are, I absolutely do not trust them to be “neutral” when it comes to weird freak sex, or LGBTQ topics, or pagan communities, whether or not they use that excuse to defend harassment forums.

                                                              2. 5

                                                                So in your view a for-profit business does not have any other responsibility than to pursue that profit? What a strange take. Of course they have. They operate in a society. Their actions have a much broader effect on a lot more people than just the exhange of money between a few selected parties, so their responsibilities are broader too. Companies are bound to the same system of moral rules we’ve set up as much as every other party. Why would they be an exception?

                                                                1. 5

                                                                  Should? No. But in fact, in the absence of regulation, that’s how it works. If CloudFlare wants their hands tied, they should get the government involved. If they’re a utility, they should be regulated like one.

                                                                2. 3

                                                                  Seems like a pretty analogous situation to Hatreon being suspended by Visa.

                                                              3. 2

                                                                I’m sure that there are some interesting technical discussions to be had on the topic, and Cloudflare has shown time and again that it (they) can deal with the technical challenges, despite the generally weak design of IP networking (and derivative protocols) from a security and attack prevention POV.

                                                                The social aspects are far more alluring, though. I’m going to go make some popcorn.

                                                                1. [Comment removed by moderator pushcx: I missed the personal abuse in this the first read. Sorry - if you want to repost the part about CloudFlare or the law, fine.]

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                                                                    take down completely law-abiding, constitutional content

                                                                    You understand that’s not what we’re talking about with Kiwi Farms? Cloudflare’s post linked here says

                                                                    we believe there is an unprecedented emergency and immediate threat to human life unlike we have previously seen from Kiwifarms or any other customer before.

                                                                    Edit: no, apparently they don’t understand that.

                                                                    1. 8

                                                                      It isn’t an unprecedented emergency. Someone posted a terrorist threat, which was removed from the site within minutes by the admin, and the information about the user was passed to law enforcement, as is longstanding site policy in such cases. This sort of thing happens on all kinds of forums and social media sites – threat posted, threat removed, threatener reported to authorities.

                                                                      What is unprecedented is that this made Cloudflare block the site.

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                                                                        Ah so we don’t do bomb threats, because that would bring the police into play, but we kill people by harassment and count it. What a fine policy.

                                                                      2. 0

                                                                        That’s exactly the kind of thing you say if you conceded to the outcry for whatever reason, but don’t want to admit that social movements have that kind of sway over your decisionmaking.

                                                                      3. 13

                                                                        If this “documentation” about Keffals is from Kiwifarms, I don’t think this is something you should be repeating as fact. It is a trolling, doxxing and harrassment site and shouldn’t be mistaken for journalism.

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                                                                          both documented as committing predatory paedophillic behaviours

                                                                          Documented where?

                                                                          1. [Comment removed by moderator pushcx: Yeah, repeating KF's abuse in their defense is not acceptable.]

                                                                            1. 9

                                                                              You’re seriously citing a doxxing site as a reputable source?

                                                                              1. -3

                                                                                I think when the site is the point of contention, citing it (it cites it’s sources backed up with archive links where possible) is completely reasonable.

                                                                          2. 13

                                                                            About the latter of the accusations you decided to open with:

                                                                            • Either you’ve checked where the paedophilia accusation you’re repeating comes from, and decided to spread Kiwifarms trash;
                                                                            • or you’re uncritically repeating a pedophilia accusation that a moment’s checking would have shown you come from Kikifarms.

                                                                            Neither behaviour is welcome on Lobsters.

                                                                            1. 1

                                                                              The accusations primarily come from Twitter and Discord users involved, corroborated with tweet archives and witness testimony. It is up to you what the preponderance of the evidence suggests.

                                                                              1. 16

                                                                                No, it’s up to YOU to consider the evidence before sharing, instead of mindlessly posting accusations of pædophilia.

                                                                                You can’t repost hateshit here and then innocently go “just repeating what I’ve read, feel free to make up your own mind”.

                                                                                You went deep enough to find the paedophilia slander; therefore you are certainly aware that KiwiFarms has an harrassment campaign going on; and this did not stop you from reposting the slander? You know exactly what you’re doing.

                                                                                I also note that half your comments in this thread are a mixture of (a) reasonable argument about “the social-moral freedom of businesses to simply afford customers service” and “uncensorable people at their worst”, and (b) some KF talking point that is unconnected to your argument. I’m thinking specifically of

                                                                                • The pedophilia hateshit in your opening comment
                                                                                • “Personally, considering anything on Kiwi Farms “ an imminent and emergency threat to human life” is laughable if you’ve visited the site, ever.” (link)
                                                                                  • By the way, this suggests that you’ve visited Kiwi Farms and didn’t find it so bad. Not a point in your favour.
                                                                                • Going “the evidence is out there” when I pointed out you were, intentionally or unintentionally, spreading Kiwifarms hateshit. (the comment I’m replying to). A reply that makes it pretty clear you’re spreading the hateshit intentionally.

                                                                                My personal reading on this is that you are intentionally spreading KF talking points, and posting them as part of longer on-topic comments to muddy the waters and avoid getting moderated.

                                                                                @pushcx and other mods, this thread is probably a bear of a job already, and I see you are monitoring and moderating already, for which my thanks. Could you please look at the opening comment again? I know that 80% of the text is reasonable, but the ‘innocently repeated’ pedophilia hateshit needs to be excised. If it were in a separate comment it would be gone already. Thanks for taking another look.

                                                                                1. 8

                                                                                  You’re right. I missed it, and I appreciate you pointing it out. I’ve removed the comment.

                                                                                  1. 4

                                                                                    By the way, this suggests that you’ve visited Kiwi Farms and didn’t find it so bad. Not a point in your favour.

                                                                                    This is a false conclusion. I have visited kiwi farms. I do find it bad. It’s not contradictory at all to hold the position “Kiwi farms is bad, however, it’s laughable any user on that platform is an imminent and/or emergency threat to human life”. I really don’t care for the site or it’s continued existence. I do care for the risk of landsliding DDOS protection and CDN services into stricter, unproductive or otherwise “generally worse” circumstances.

                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                      You do realize how difficult it is to evaluate a situation like this if all of the data (true or not, good or not) is being proactively censored, yes?

                                                                                      “These are literally the worst people for what they posted also no we cannot show what they posted or talk about it” is a formulation that cannot coexist with meaningful discussion of any type or rigor.

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                                                                                        I’m not going to permit republishing their abuse here because they occasionally pretend they’re righteous vigilantes. It’s not difficult to evaluate because they’re obvious lying. If they had the vaguest sliver of justification they’d be an internationally recognized charity group that works with law enforcement like ICMEC, NCMEC or RAINN. Instead they’re a collaborative creative writing group like r/nosleep that also pretends their fictions are real, except instead of telling spooky stories with a flashlight under their chin, they recontextualize and invent evidence that their victims deserve the harassment they themselves commit. To be unambiguous: comments that repost their abuse will be removed and posters banned.

                                                                                        1. 6

                                                                                          Thank you for doing the right thing in this case. It means a lot that this community won’t be pushing their propaganda.

                                                                                2. 1

                                                                                  I am also concerned about the lack of ability to censor the distributed systems that people want to eventually take place of these behemoth corporations. Do we really want swathes of uncensorable people at their worst, or does the risk of censorship at least provide a meaningful degree of moderation w.r.t the most extreme things people say and actionably call for? (Personally, considering anything on Kiwi Farms “ an imminent and emergency threat to human life” is laughable if you’ve visited the site, ever.)

                                                                                  1. 18

                                                                                    People like to laugh at the former prime minister of my country for saying “The laws of mathematics are very commendable, but the only law that applies in Australia is the law of Australia.” I never laughed - it’s true, and a sobering thought for distributed communication projects. If you participate in a communication system which is uncensorable then your communication will be out there for all time. You’d better not misstep in case it becomes illegal later. And if operating that system means past content is downloaded to your computer, then using the system at all becomes de facto illegal. Once made illegal, ISPs can be tasked with monitoring for people who use said systems or using tools to obfuscate their activity. Whether it’s distributed or not, it all comes back to the law in the end.

                                                                                    1. 3

                                                                                      I call it the Westphalian Gundam rule. The person who commands all the people with the guns, makes the rules.