1. 2

    I’m curious what other lobsters think Facebook should be doing?

    Let’s assume that it’s not profitable for them to offer their service to the EU if they can’t track their users, since that’s the basis of their business. Should they offer “opt in to tracking or pay a yearly fee”? Should they just leave the EU completely?

    1. 14

      The “what should Facebook do if this isn’t profitable” question reminds me of the response to Taxi company’s being upset at Uber/Lyft cannibalizing their business: you don’t have a moral right to your business model, if it’s not profitable, do something else. We shouldn’t reduce quality of medical care because it victimizes undertakes.

      If it’s not profitable, either don’t operate that service, or find some alternate business model that is profitable.

      (FTR, I’m pretty dubious of the benefits of GDPR, but I think the “what about their business models” is one of the worst arguments against it)

      1. 3

        The “what should Facebook do if this isn’t profitable” question reminds me of the response to Taxi company’s being upset at Uber/Lyft cannibalizing their business: you don’t have a moral right to your business model, if it’s not profitable, do something else. We shouldn’t reduce quality of medical care because it victimizes undertakes.

        I think the Uber comparison isn’t half bad.

        For example, in Europe, a frequent problem was that Uber tried to undercut reasonable regulations (like having proper insurance for passenger transport and adhering to service standards like having to take any passengers). Here, Ubers approach was morally problematic (“moral” being local and all), and they tried to spin it as a moral issue and users choice.

        1. 2

          I’m not in the EU and don’t know enough about GDPR to make a comment on it specifically. I just asked what others thought Facebook should do if we assume that the restrictions placed on the by GDPR make their fundamental business model nonviable.

          1. 2

            Well, they should do as any other large company that suddenly found their business model regulated :). It’s not the first time this happens and not the last.

            It’s their job to figure out, as much as it had been in their hands to avoid the discontent that lead to the GDPR from growing.

            I’m not precisely enjoying GDPR either (I think it has vast flaws and actually plays into Facebooks hands), but Facebook is a billion-dollar company. “What shall we do now that winds are changing?” is really their question to answer.

        2. 3

          I’m curious what other lobsters think Facebook should be doing?

          I can think of a few things, but monkeys will fly out of my butt before any of them happen. They could, for example…

          • Mail everybody a copy of their data on solid-state storage.
          • Destroy their databases.
          • Shut down their data centers.
          • Release all of their code into the public domain.
          • Fire everybody with severance pay.
          • Dissolve the corporation.
          • Send Mark Zuckerberg back to his home planet.

          Facebook is one of the cancers killing the internet, and should be treated like the disease that it is.

          1. 2

            Second option would be great, but enough of daydreaming :)

            1. 1

              You’re asking the wrong question.

              1. 3

                What ls the right question?

                1. 3

                  @alex_gaynor has the right idea above: https://lobste.rs/s/krca7n/facebook_now_denying_access_unless_eu#c_si5pn0

                  The question “well what do you suggest then?” posed to people arguing against Facebook’s business practises implies some kind of self-evident virtuous right Facebook has to exist at the expense of all humanity’s effort.

                  I do not agree with this position. The world was fine before Facebook came along, for many people is fine without it, and will be fine if Facebook disappears. Facebook is a leech on people’s private lives, minds, and mental health.

                  It is not up to the common person to provide Facebook with a position. It is up to Facebook to provide a position for itself by virtue of being wholesome and useful to society. If they cannot, then that’s the end of it. I owe them nothing, no-one does.

                  1. 2

                    It is not up to the common person to provide Facebook with a position. It is up to Facebook to provide a position for itself by virtue of being wholesome and useful to society. If they cannot, then that’s the end of it. I owe them nothing, no-one does.

                    I agree, but if people continue to choose to use Facebook in the wake of the numerous controversies, then perhaps people just don’t value their privacy more than the services that sites like FB provide. FB is only as big as it is today because people use it.

                    1. 1

                      I implied no such thing, and haven’t made a value judgement on Facebook or GDPR anywhere here. I simply asked what others here think that Facebook should do given the changed situation; I’m just curious as to what Facebook’s next moves could be.

                      I find that question much more interesting than your condescending replies and tired opinions about Facebook, a service that I don’t particularly like and am not trying to defend.

              1. 5

                Relevant previous work: http://shadyurl.com/

                1. 6

                  AntennaPod: podcast app (a little buggy but mostly works)

                  DNS66: systemwide rootless adblocker

                  Firefox Klar: Firefox Focus, but free

                  Silence: texting app

                  Simple Gallery

                  Tusky: mastodon client

                  Unit Converter Ultimate

                  1. 2

                    Firefox Klar: Firefox Focus, but free

                    they are exactly the same. They changed the name to ‘Klar’ (german for ‘clear’) in Germany due to trademark issues (focus.de is a magazine there). It is also not in the main repositories, but in a seperate one that does not build from source.

                    1. 7

                      One difference between that two is that Klar have telemetry turned off by default, AFAIK: https://gitlab.com/fdroid/rfp/issues/235

                    2. 1

                      If I have root, is DNS66 still better than AdAway?

                      Also, I’m torn between Tusky and Twidere, if anyone has opinions I’d like to hear them.

                      1. 3

                        I’d say AdAway is preferable to DNS66. There’s also Blokada, which works as a pseudo-VPN.

                    1. 4

                      I can’t imagine sitting on the floor in front of that setup.

                      1. 1

                        Why not? :)

                        1. 3

                          do you have to lean over the keyboard/lean down to see the screen? because the image I have in my mind seems pretty uncomfortable

                          1. 2

                            I can tell you, sir, in reality it feels wonderfully comfortable. :)

                      1. 3

                        I disagree heavily with the core thesis of this article–that Javascript is in need of replacement–but the treatment of it and the ideas explored are quite interesting.

                        1. 6

                          I’d honestly settle for browsers handling JS the way they do cookies. Let me decide whether to allow all JS, allow only self-hosted JS, or disable JS entirely – and let me blacklist/whitelist particular domains.

                          1. 5

                            Have you looked at umatrix?

                            1. 2

                              I use a hosts file.

                              1. 6

                                I use a hosts file too, but umatrix allows more fine-grained controls than just blocking all requests to a domain, in addition to doing things like only allowing iframes/cookies/media from domain X to be loaded from domain Y.

                            2. 1

                              You could write or use a browser extension that injects a Content Security Policy into the response. Make it configurable on a per-site basis is a stretch goal. :-)

                          1. 3

                            If the author’s here, your cert’s expired

                              1. 14

                                This is literally how the guy makes a living, so, maybe don’t do that?

                                1. 9

                                  I took it down.

                                  1. 2

                                    Very considerate of you! :)

                                    1. 3

                                      Ya I didn’t intend to upset anyone, it was purely a convenience thing.

                                  2. 8

                                    “First, everything is free all week”

                                    He’s encouraging people to grab his videos by giving everything away for free. All he required was a login which may have monetary value later that timetoplaytypus’s share negates. It’s possible, though, he thinks they can only grab a small amount of videos with some portion of people paying for the rest after deal expires. That’s on top of new, recurring revenue from it on future videos. Maybe this hurts him on at least gap between what he though could be shared and what would be. In that case, he’d have made a gamble that may or may not pay off vs offering a limited number of videos with a clear prohibition on sharing them.

                                    On ethical side focusing on results, I don’t think there’s a huge difference of someone here sharing his videos all at once in convenient form for free vs him saying grab as many as you want after you log in for free. Given freeloading users vs type and number that would pay him, I don’t think he’d have many losses in that scenario if any at all. The kind of people that would pay him would probably mostly still pay him. Hopefully, no effect.

                                    1. 0

                                      He’s encouraging people to take a free look at his work and see if they think it would be worth for them to pay for more of it in the future. Shitty people that don’t care about anything else but themselves might interpret this offer as an invitation to take advantage of someone’s work, and even actively undermine this someone’s livelihood. I think these people are at least half of what is wrong with the word and they should all go live in a cave and never interact with anyone else ever again.

                                      1. 2

                                        I hear you. It’s a sensible perspective. I prefer he keeps getting paid for doing good work, too. I also agree that this should be the norm instead of pervasive parasiting.

                                        1. 2

                                          I think you see the situation a bit radically.

                                          On one hand when someone publishes a free software and people use it for their benefit without any pay then they are shitty? When someone decides to publishing something for free, then the factor that some people may not pay for it must be calculated into that decision.

                                          I believe that the ad-supported word is a bigger threat, as makes the feeling that stuff are for free a norm.

                                          1. 0

                                            Neither of those examples apply. OP is publishing something for free for a LIMITED amount of time, with the very obvious intention of giving people a preview of his product. Free software and free content are very different propositions.

                                            1. 2

                                              I still think that the possibility had to be factored into this offer, and it likely was. The style and language are still harsher than I think the situation justifies.

                                              1. -5

                                                Fortunately, I don’t care what you think.

                                                1. 2

                                                  You should reconsider your approach to commenting on lobste.rs.

                                                  1. 0

                                                    That is your right to do so.

                                        2. 8

                                          let’s be real here. the first thing i thought of when i saw this was “can i write a script to download everything before the deadline” and im pretty sure 99% of people here thought something along that line.

                                          given the target audience of his screencasts, you kinda have to expect this.

                                          1. 0

                                            Everybody thinks stupid thoughts, but not everyone acts on it. And since we’re a big part of Gary’s target audience, wouldn’t it be nice, if it turns out he overestimated the amount of dicks among us? By the way, first thing in my head also was “Hmm, can I download it?”, but then I remember the guy has to eat.

                                            1. 4

                                              The swearing you demonstrate in your comments is disturbing. I hope it will not become the norm in the comments section.

                                              I believe you could also communicate your point very well without using words like “shitty people” and “dicks”.

                                        3. 4

                                          I come to comment on this because I remembered this tweet he posted on the matter, a while ago: https://twitter.com/garybernhardt/status/870721629440983041

                                          I’m glad it’s been taken down already, I think its just fair to the author’s work.

                                          1. 1

                                            I probably should have read the comments before spending 20 minutes writing a scraper.

                                            1. 1

                                              The HTTP 451 is intentional, no?

                                              1. 2

                                                Any endpoint on my site that doesn’t exist returns HTTP 451

                                                Edit: for example, https://timetoplatypus.com/abc

                                                1. 1

                                                  FWIW it looks like the HTTP response is only a 404. is this because many clients/servers don’t respect 451 yet?

                                                  1. 1

                                                    Nah, it’s just a mistake on my part. I’ll get around to fixing it…eventually

                                            1. 2

                                              I don’t totally understand the delete Facebook thing. If you have Facebook and are remotely security-aware, you know they’re harvesting your data. You generally don’t put much personal info into Facebook, and you certainly don’t link it to anything important.

                                              If you’re using Facebook for a rolodex more or less, it’s fine. They’re tracking you regardless as far as general browsing habits go. Don’t use their native apps and they have nothing to harvest from your phone.

                                              I have a Facebook account that I rarely use, but there’s nothing special on it anyway.

                                              1. 3

                                                Don’t use their native apps and they have nothing to harvest from your phone.

                                                If any of your friends use the apps, then I’m sure FB will add every bit of data that they can to your profile, unfortunately. Then again, apparently FB creates shadow profiles for people without accounts, so maybe it’s hopeless

                                                1. 2

                                                  Then again, apparently FB creates shadow profiles for people without accounts, so maybe it’s hopeless

                                                  That’s kind of what I’m getting at. You can only control what you can control. Don’t add your number to the site, don’t add your location, don’t add whatever you’re uncomfortable sharing with the general public. There’s nothing you can do about them harvesting your friends’ data or what their shadow profile creates from your browsing unless you only browse with ad blockers (or incognito).

                                              1. 6

                                                linux on the desktop is 45% stockholm syndrome, 15% wishful thinking, 15% undergrad code shambles, 15% cargo cult microsoft aping, and 10% cynical corporate complexity to sell support contracts.

                                                1. 6

                                                  What’s your preferred alternative? The walled, proprietary gardens of Apple or Microsoft? OpenBSD?

                                                  It’s a serious question, Debian Stable as a desktop OS is working reasonably well for me. I wan’t a unix-like system - No Windows - which offers broad choices of hardware - no OS X - and it should be free software - one of them. I’d switch to OpenBSD for most of my work, but I need stuff like docker for work and want resonable gaming support at home. I could switch between different OSes for different tasks, but why bother? Debian truly is “the universal operating system” for me, even with all it’s faults.

                                                  1. 2

                                                    FWIW, I use FreeBSD on my Laptop. I know it is not ideal but I choose to do it and work through the pain because I can and because I think it’s good to support options.

                                                    1. 1

                                                      What is the preferred DE on *BSDs? GNOME?

                                                      1. 2

                                                        I just use i3. TrueOS is pushing for Lumina. Gnome is basically Linux only at this point with all of its systemd coupling, from what I understand.

                                                        1. 3

                                                          OpenBSD has good Gnome3 support, see here, although note that the instructions mentioned are out of date, it’s best to follow the readme that is installed when you pkg_add gnome.

                                                          1. 2

                                                            “systemd coupling” is mostly logind. It’s only really necessary for starting gnome-shell as a Wayland compositor. Someone should try either reimplementing logind for *BSD (there were such projects but I don’t think anyone got it completely working) or adding support for something like my little loginw thing to gnome-shell :) same for kwin_wayland.

                                                            I actually use Weston right now, and going to write my own libweston-based compositor eventually… (loginw was created for that)

                                                            For X11, both gnome-3.26 and plasma5 should work.

                                                            1. 1

                                                              Do you write your own scripts for stuff like volume/backlight control, locking etc? Having used I3 for over a year, this was the least enjoyable part for me because sometimes stuff would break/change/rename and I’d have to fiddle with my scripts.

                                                              1. 1

                                                                Yes I’ve been writing my own scripts. I haven’t had any issues with it. But like I said, I’m explicitly deciding to add some pain in my life to support something I think is bigger, so it’s not for everyone. Lumina, though, is a full DE AFAIK so that should handle the things you’ve brought up.

                                                        2. 1

                                                          Huh. Because my Linux desktop is peerlessly stable, bears no resemblance to anything Microsoft has released in the past thirty years, and is community developed and supported. I in fact find that the commercial desktop environments are unstable, unusable buggy garbage, and I’ve had the misfortune to have to use both of them fairly significantly.

                                                          Don’t confuse “Linux on the desktop” with “GNOME on the desktop” (or, for that matter, “intentionally using unstable software on the desktop”).

                                                        1. 5

                                                          This a fascinating case. It’s very unfortunate that the cyclist had to die for it to come before us. However, had the car been driven by a human, nobody would be talking about it!

                                                          That said, the law does not currently hold autonomous vehicles to a higher standard than human drivers, even though it probably could do so given the much greater perceptiveness of LIDAR. But is there any precedent for doing something like this (having a higher bar for autonomous technology than humans)?

                                                          1. 13

                                                            Autonomous technology is not an entity in law, and if we are lucky, it never will be. Legal entities designed or licensed the technology, and those are the ones the law finds responsible. This is similar to the argument that some tech companies have made that “it’s not us, it’s the algorithm.” The law does not care. It will find a responsible legal entity.

                                                            This is a particularly tough thing for many of us in tech to understand.

                                                            1. 25

                                                              It’s hard for me to understand why people in tech find it so hard to understand. Someone wrote the algorithm. Even in ML systems where we have no real way of explaining its decision process, someone designed it the system, someone implemented it, and someone made the decision to deploy it in a given circumstance.

                                                              1. 11

                                                                Not only that, but one other huge aspect of things nobody is probably thinking about. This incident is going to probably start the ball rolling on certification and liability for software.

                                                                Move fast and break things is probably not going to fly in the faces of too many deaths to autonomous cars. Even if they’re safer than humans, there is going to be repercussions.

                                                                1. 8

                                                                  Even if they’re safer than humans, there is going to be repercussions.

                                                                  Even if they are safer than humans, a human must be held accountable of the deaths they will cause.

                                                                  1. 2

                                                                    Indeed, and I believe those humans will be the programmers.

                                                                    1. 4

                                                                      Well… it depends.

                                                                      When a bridge breaks down and kills people due to bad construction practices, do you put in jail the bricklayers?

                                                                      And what about a free software that you get from me “without warranty”?

                                                                      1. 4

                                                                        No - but they do take the company that build the bridge to court.

                                                                        1. 5

                                                                          Indeed. The same would work for software.

                                                                          At the end of the day, who is accountable for the company’s products is accountable for the deaths that such products cause.

                                                                        2. 2

                                                                          Somewhat relevant article that raised an interesting point RE:VW cheating emissions tests. I think we should ask ourselves if there is a meaningful difference between these two cases that would require us to shift responsibility.

                                                                          1. 2

                                                                            Very interesting read.

                                                                            I agree that the AI experts’ troupe share a moral responsibility about this death, just like the developers at Volkswagen of America shared a moral responsibility about the fraud.

                                                                            But, at the end of the day, software developers and statisticians were working for a company that is accountable for the whole artifact they sell. So the legal accountability must be assigned at the company’s board of directors/CEO/stock holders… whoever is accountable for the activities of the company.

                                                                          2. 2

                                                                            What I’m saying is this is a case where those “without warranty” provisions may be deemed invalid due to situations like this.

                                                                          3. 1

                                                                            I don’t think it’ll ever be the programmers. It would be negligence either on the part of QA or management. Programmers just satisfy specs and pass QA standards.

                                                                      2. 2

                                                                        It’s difficult to assign responsibility for something intangible. You can certainly find fault with the engineers.

                                                                        1. 2

                                                                          It’s hard to take reponsability for something evolving in a such dynamic environment, with potentially used for billions of hours everyday, for the next X years. I mean, knowing that, you would expect to have a 99,99% of cases tested, but here it’s impossible.

                                                                          1. 1

                                                                            It’s expensive, not impossible.

                                                                            It’s a business cost and an entrepreneurial risk.

                                                                            If you can take the risks an pay the costs, that business it not for you.

                                                                      3. 4

                                                                        It’s only a higher bar if you look at it from the perspective of “some entity replacing a human.” If you look at it from the perspective of a tool created by a company, the focus should be ok whether there was negligence in the implementation of the system.

                                                                        It might be acceptable and understandable for the average human to not be able to react that fast. It would not be acceptable and understandable for the engineers on a self-driving car project to write a system that can’t detect an unobstructed object straight ahead, for the management to sign off on testing, etc.

                                                                      1. 16

                                                                        To quote another HN comment:

                                                                        LIDAR aside, computer vision and a raw video feed is more than enough to have prevented this collision.

                                                                        Exactly! Engineers designing autonomous cars are required to account for low-visibility conditions, even way worse than what this video shows (think hail, rain, dust, etc.). This was easy! And yet the car made no signs of slowing down.

                                                                        EDIT: twitter comments like this pain me. People need to be educated about the capabilities of autonomous cars:

                                                                        She is walking across a dark road. No lights even though she has a bike. She is not in a cross walk. Not the car’s fault.

                                                                        Yes it was the car’s fault. This is shocking, extraordinary behavior for an autonomous car.

                                                                          1. 9

                                                                            In reality, both the pedestrian and the car (and Uber) share some responsibility. You shouldn’t cross a four lane road at night wearing black outside of a crosswalk. A human driver is very unlikely to see you and stop. Not blaming the victim here, just saying it’s easier to stay safe if you don’t do that. However, the promise of autonomous cars with IR and LIDAR and fancy sensors is that they can see better than humans. In this case, they failed. Not to mention the human backup was very distracted, which is really bad.

                                                                            From the video I don’t think a human would have stopped in time either, but Uber’s car isn’t human. It should be better, it should see better, it should react better. Automatic collision avoidance is a solved problem already in mass-market cars today, and Uber failed it big time. Darkness is an excuse for humans, but not for autonomous cars, not in the slightest.

                                                                            She should still be alive right now. Shame on Uber.

                                                                            1. 18

                                                                              You can’t conclude that someone would not have stopped in time from the video. Not even a little. Cameras aren’t human eyes. They are much much worse in low visibility and in particular with large contrasts; like say those of headlights in the dark. I can see just fine in dark rooms where my phone can’t produce anything aside from a black image. It will take an expert to have a look at the camera and its characteristics to understand how visible that person was and from what distance.

                                                                              1. 9

                                                                                From the video I don’t think a human would have stopped in time either, but Uber’s car isn’t human.

                                                                                Certainly not when distracted by a cell phone. If anything, this just provides more evidence that driving while distracted by a cell phone, even in an autonomous vehicle, is a threat to life, and should be illegal everywhere.

                                                                                1. 9

                                                                                  Just for everyone’s knowledge you’re 8 times as likely to get in an accident while texting, that’s double the rate for drinking and driving.

                                                                                  1. 6

                                                                                    He was not driving.

                                                                                    He was carried around by a self driving car.

                                                                                    I hope that engineers at Uber (and Google, and…) do not need me to note that the very definition of “self driving car” is a huge UI flaw in itself.

                                                                                    That is obvious to anyone who understand UI, UX or even just humans!

                                                                                    1. 5

                                                                                      She was driving . The whole point now of sitting in a driver seat for a TEST self driving car is for the driver to take over and overcome situations like this.

                                                                                      1. 6

                                                                                        No, she was not.

                                                                                        Without this incident, you would have seen soon a TV spot precisely with a (hot) business woman looking at the new photos uploaded on Facebook by her family. With a voice saying something like: ’we can bring you to those you Like”.

                                                                                        The fact that she was paid to drive a prototype does not mean she was an experienced software engineer trained to not trust the AI and to keep continuous control of the car.

                                                                                        And indeed the software choosed the speed. At that speed the human intervention was impossible.

                                                                                        Also the software did not deviate, despite the free lane beside and despite the fact that the victim had to traversate that lane, so there was enough time for a computer to calculate several alternative trajectories or even simply to alert the victim via light signaling or sounds.

                                                                                        So the full responsibility must be tracked back to people at Uber.

                                                                                        The driver was just fooled to think that he could trust the AI by an stupidly broken UI.

                                                                                        And indeed the driver/passenger reactions were part of the Uber’s test.

                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                          Looking at your phone while riding in the drivers seat is a crime for a reason. Uber’s AI failed horribly and all their cars should be recalled, but also the driver failed. If the driver had not been looking at their phone literally any action at all could have been taken to avoid the accident. It’s the responsibility of that driver to stay alert with attention on the road not looking at your phone or reading a book or watching a film, plane pilots do it every single day. Is their attention much more diminished? Yes of course it is. Should we expect literally 0 attention from the “driver”, absolutely no we should not.

                                                                                          1. 5

                                                                                            Do you realize that the driver/passenger reactions were part of the test?

                                                                                            This is the sort of self driving car that Uber and friends want to realize and sell worldwide.

                                                                                            And indeed I guess that the “driver” behaviour was pretty frequent among the prototypes’ testers.

                                                                                            And I hope somebody will ask Uber to provide in court the recording of all the tests done so far to prove that they did not know drivers do not actually drive.

                                                                                            NO. The passenger must not be used as a scapegoat.

                                                                                            This is an engineering issue that was completely avoidable.

                                                                                            The driver behaviour was expected and desired by Uber

                                                                                            1. 4

                                                                                              You’ve gotta stop doing this black and white nonsense. Firstly stop yelling. I’m not using the passenger as a scapegoat so I don’t know who you’re talking to. The way the law was written it’s abundantly clear that this technology is to be treated as semi autonomous. That does not mean that Uber is not negligent. If you are sitting in a driver’s seat and you’re watching harry potter while your car drives through a crowd of people you should be found guilty of negligence independent of any charges that come to both the lead engineers and owners of Uber. You have a responsibility to at least take any action at all to prevent deaths that otherwise may be at no fault of your own. You can’t just lounge back while your car murders people, and in the same respect when riding in the drivers seat your eyes should not be on your phone, period.

                                                                                              Edit: That image is of a fully autonomous car, not a semi-autonomous car. There is actually a difference despite your repeated protestations. Uber still failed miserably here, and I hope their cars get taken off the road. I know better than to hope their executives will receive any punishment except maybe by shareholders.

                                                                                              1. -1

                                                                                                I guess you are not an engineer, Nor a programmer.

                                                                                                This is simply an engineering view about UI and UX (that actually are part of my daily job).

                                                                                                There’s no way that a human used to see a car drive correctly for hours will keep continuous control of the car without driving.

                                                                                                The human brain notoriously does not work that way.
                                                                                                If I drive I keep continuous attention and control of the car. If somebody else drive, I do not.

                                                                                                Also I’m stating that Uber was trying to see if people can trust autonomous cars.
                                                                                                I’m stating that the incindent was not the first time a tester was recorded while looking at the phone during self drive and that Uber knew that and expected that.

                                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                                  I guess you are not an engineer, Nor a programmer.

                                                                                                  This isn’t the first time you’ve pulled statements out of a hat as if they are gospel truth without any evidence and I doubt it will be the last. I think your argument style is dishonest and for me this is the nail in the coffin.

                                                                                                  1. 0

                                                                                                    I’m not sure I understand what you mean…

                                                                                                    The UI problem is really evident, isn’t it?

                                                                                                    The passenger was not perceiving herself as a driver.

                                                                                                  2. 2

                                                                                                    If there is “no way” a human can do this, then we’ve certainly never had astronauts pilot a tiny spacecraft to the moon without being able to physically change position, and we certainly don’t have military pilots in fighter jets continuously concentrating while refueling in air on missions lasting 12 hours or more… or… or…. truck drivers driving on roads with no one for miles…or…

                                                                                                    Maybe Uber is at fault here for not adequately psychologically screening, and training its operators for “scenarios of intense boredom.”

                                                                                                    1. 0

                                                                                                      You are talking about professionals specifically trained to keep that kind of concentration.
                                                                                                      And even a military pilot won’t maintain concentration on the road if her husband is driving and she knows by experience that his trustworthy.

                                                                                                      I’m talking about the actual Uber’s goal here, which is to build “self driving cars” for the masses.

                                                                                                      It’s just a stupid UI design error. A very obvious one to see and to fix.

                                                                                                      Do you really need some hints?

                                                                                                      1. Remove the car’s control from the AI and turn it into something that enhance the driver’s senses.
                                                                                                      2. Make it observes the driver’s state and forbid to start in case of he’s drunk or too tired to drive
                                                                                                      3. Stop it from starting if any of its part is not working properly.

                                                                                                      This way the responsibility of an incident would be of the driver, not of Uber’s board of directors (unless factory defects, obviously).

                                                                                                      1. 4

                                                                                                        You’re being adversarial just to try to prove your point, which we all understand.

                                                                                                        You are talking about professionals specifically trained to keep that kind of concentration. And even a military pilot won’t maintain concentration on the road if her husband is driving and she knows by experience that his trustworthy.

                                                                                                        A military pilot isn’t being asked (or trained) to operate an autonomous vehicle. You’re comparing apples and oranges!

                                                                                                        I’m talking about the actual Uber’s goal here, which is to build “self driving cars” for the masses.

                                                                                                        Yes, the goal of Uber is to build a self driving car. We know. The goal of Uber is to build a car that is fully autonomous; one that allows all passengers to enjoy doing whatever it is they want to do: reading a book, watching a movie, etc. We get it. The problem is that those goals, are just that, goals. They aren’t reality, yet. And, there are laws in which Uber, and its operators must continue to follow in order for any department of transportation to allow these tests to continue–in order to build up confidence that autonomous vehicles are as safe, or (hopefully) safer than already licensed motorists. (IANAL, nor do I have any understanding of said laws, so that’s all I’ll say there)

                                                                                                        It’s just a stupid UI design error. A very obvious one to see and to fix.

                                                                                                        So, your point is that the operator’s driving experience should be enhanced by the sensors, and that the car should never be fully autonomous? I can agree to that, and have advocated for that in the past. But, that’s a different conversation. That’s not the goal of Uber, or Waymo.

                                                                                                        The reason a pedestrian is dead is because of some combination of flaws in:

                                                                                                        • the autonomous vehicle itself
                                                                                                        • a distracted operator
                                                                                                        • (apparently) a stretch of road with too infrequent cross walks
                                                                                                        • a pedestrian jaywalking (perhaps because of the previous point)
                                                                                                        • a pedestrian not wearing proper safety gear for traveling at night
                                                                                                        • an extremely ambitious engineering goal of building a fully autonomous vehicle that can handle all of these things safely

                                                                                                        … in a world where engineering teams use phrases like, “move fast and break things.” I’m not sure what development methodology is being used to develop these cars, but I would wager a guess that it’s not being developed with the same rigor and processes used to develop autopilot systems for aircraft, or things like air traffic controllers, space craft systems, and missile guidance systems…

                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                          … in a world where engineering teams use phrases like, “move fast and break things.” I’m not sure what development methodology is being used to develop these cars, but I would wager a guess that it’s not being developed with the same rigor and processes used to develop autopilot systems for aircraft, or things like air traffic controllers, space craft systems, and missile guidance systems…

                                                                                                          Upvoted for this.

                                                                                                          I’m not being adversarial to prove a point.

                                                                                                          I’m just arguing that Uber’s board of directors are responsible and must be accountable for this death.

                                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                                            Nobody here is arguing that the board of directors should not be held accountable. You’re being adversarial because you’re bored is my best guess.

                                                                                                          2. 2

                                                                                                            Very well-said on all of it. If anyone is wondering, I’ll even add to your last point what kind of processes developers of things like autopilots are following. That’s things like DO-178B with so much assurance activities and independent vetting put into it that those evaluated claim it can cost thousands of dollars per line of code. The methods to similarly certify the techniques used in things like deep learning are in the protoype phase working on simpler instances of the tech. That’d have had to do rigorous processes at several times the pace and size at a fraction of the cost of experienced companies… on cutting-edge techniques requiring new R&D to know how to vet.

                                                                                                            Or they cut a bunch of corners hacking stuff together and misleading regulators to grab a market quickly like they usually do. And that killed someone who, despite human factors, should’ve lived if the tech (a) worked at all and (b) evaluated against common, road scenarios that could cause trouble. One or both of these is false.

                                                                                            2. 2

                                                                                              I don’t know if you can conclude that’s the point. Perhaps the driver is there in case the car says “I’m stuck” or triggers some other alert. They may not be an always on hot failover.

                                                                                              1. 11

                                                                                                They may not be an always on hot failover

                                                                                                IMO they should be, since they are testing a high risk alpha technology that has the possibility to kill people.

                                                                                        2. 4

                                                                                          The car does not share any responsibility, simply because it’s just a thing.

                                                                                          Nor does Uber, which again is a thing, a human artifact like others.

                                                                                          Indeed we cannot put in jail the car. Nor Uber.

                                                                                          The responsibility must be tracked back to people.

                                                                                          Who is ultimately accountable for the AI driving the car?

                                                                                          I’d say the Uber’s CEO, the board of directors and the stock holders.

                                                                                          If Uber was an Italian company, probably the the CEO and the boars of directors would be put in jail.

                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                            Not blaming the victim here

                                                                                            People often say this when they’re partly blaming the victim to not seem overly mean or unfair. We shouldn’t have to when they do deserve partial blame based on one fact: people who put in a bit of effort to avoid common problems/risks are less likely to get hit with negative outcomes. Each time someone ignores one to their peril is a reminder of how important it is to address risks in a way that makes sense. A road with cars flying down it is always a risk. It gets worse at night. Some drivers will have limited senses, be on drugs, or drunk. Assume the worst might happen since it often does and act accordingly.

                                                                                            In this case, it was not only a four lane road at night the person crossed: people who live in the area on HN said it’s a spot noticeably darker than the other dark spots that stretches out longer. Implication is that there are other places on that road with with more light. When I’m crossing at night, I do two to three things to avoid being hit by a car:

                                                                                            (a) cross somewhere where there’s light

                                                                                            (b) make sure I see or hear no car coming before I cross.

                                                                                            Optionally, (c) where I cross first 1-2 lanes, get to the very middle, pause for a double check of (b), and then cross next two.

                                                                                            Even with blame mostly on car & driver, the video shows the human driver would’ve had relatively little reaction time even if the vision was further out than video shows. It’s just a bad situation to hit a driver with. I think person crossing at night doing (a)-(c) above might have prevented the accident. I think people should always be doing (a)-(c) above if they value their life since nobody can guarantee other people will drive correctly. Now, we can add you can’t guarantee their self-driving cars will drive correctly.

                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                              Well put. People should always care about their own lifes.
                                                                                              And they cannot safely assume that others will care as much.

                                                                                              However note that Americans have learned to blame “jaywalking” by strong marketing campaigns after 1920.

                                                                                              Before, the roads were for people first.

                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                I just saw a video on that from “Adam Ruins Everything.” You should check that show out if you like that kind of stuff. Far as that point, it’s true that it was originally done for one reason but now we’re here in our current situation. Most people’s beliefs have been permanently shaped by that propaganda. The laws have been heavily reinforced. So, our expectations of people’s actions and what’s lawful must be compatible with those until they change.

                                                                                                That’s a great reason to consider eliminating or modifying the laws on jaywalking. You can bet the cops can still ticket you on it, though.

                                                                                            2. 3

                                                                                              In reality, both the pedestrian and the car (and Uber) share some responsibility.

                                                                                              I’ve also seen it argued (convincingly, IMO) that poor civil engineering is also partially responsible.

                                                                                            3. 3

                                                                                              And every single thing you listed is mitigated by just slowing down.

                                                                                              Camera feed getting fuzzy ? Slow down. Now you can get more images of what’s around you, combine them for denoising, and re-run your ML classifiers to figure out what the situation is.

                                                                                              ML don’t just classify what’s in your sensor feeds. They also give you numerical measures for how close your feed is to the data they previously trained on. When those measures decline,, it could be because the sensors are malfunctioning. It could be rain’/dust/etc. It could be a novel untrained situation. Every single one of those things can be mitigated by just slowing down. In the worst case, you come to a full stop and tell the rider he needs to drive.

                                                                                            1. 3

                                                                                              I gave @Shamar this article recently about human vs automated control. One example in it is a human using a self-driving vehicle that switches over to manual recognizing a disaster that’s about to happen in a split second. The author questions what we expect the human to do to handle the situation the vehicle couldn’t if they weren’t even thinking about the road at the time. Watch the video of the person’s reaction to find that the hypothesis just got tested with a similar scenario.

                                                                                              It’s as bad as one would guess both for an automated car deployed too early and the distracted driver reacting too late.

                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                She was not even driving, indeed.

                                                                                                But that’s perfectly obvious if you consider the goals of the “self driving car”: they want to sell “mind blowing” vehicles like this worldwide.

                                                                                                To get there, they had to verify tha passengers can trust the AI and let it drive on their behalf.

                                                                                                Do you really think it was the first time a tester was recorded while distracted at the drive seat of one of these prototypes?

                                                                                                I guess that, if it was a problem for Uber, the tester would be replaced with one actually driving the car!

                                                                                                Indeed the passenger reactions were under test just like the AI.

                                                                                                Uber wanted the driver to trust the AI that way.

                                                                                                1. 4

                                                                                                  Uber wanted the driver to trust the AI that way.

                                                                                                  Uber wants its customers to trust their AI. Uber should not trust its own AI when it is in development.

                                                                                              1. 19

                                                                                                sighs

                                                                                                Replacing a corporate data aggregator with a distributed one doesn’t actually reduce the amount of data gathered.

                                                                                                If you don’t want your information online and searchable don’t put it online.

                                                                                                It doesn’t matter if it’s a friendly mastadon instead of a Harvard dudebro–sharing data means your data is shared. Staaaaaahp.

                                                                                                EDIT: Mastadon also has some interesting history.

                                                                                                1. 34

                                                                                                  If you don’t want your information online and searchable don’t put it online.

                                                                                                  This is not a panacea. Facebook has my phone number because other people chose to upload their contacts. Google has incredibly personal conversations because other people chose them for email. Equifax has my credit history because nearly every banking institution reports to them. Nielsen-Catalina Solutions knows my shopping preferences because retailers secretly sell it to them.

                                                                                                  If you don’t want your information online and searchable, get data protection laws.

                                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                                    Laws help, but we also have to take responsibility for not sharing our data (or the data of our friends) online.

                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                      Unfortunately most users don’t know or don’t care that Facebook uploads their contacts.

                                                                                                  2. 15

                                                                                                    That article is below the standards I expect from this site.

                                                                                                    edited after finishing reading: That article is absolute, complete garbage.

                                                                                                    1. 6

                                                                                                      Please elaborate. I thought it was an interesting look into experience of having vastly different cultures using the same messaging fabric, and the issues that that gives rise to.

                                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                                        I don’t think it’s garbage. I think it could have been better written, but as you point out the culture clash thing is an interesting phenomena.

                                                                                                        I also don’t think said history would have any bearing on which social media platform you choose for most people.

                                                                                                      2. 2

                                                                                                        That article is absolute, complete garbage.

                                                                                                        Do you see it as garbage because of an abundance of factual inaccuracies, or something else?

                                                                                                        The reason I ask is that clearly there’s an absolutist free-speech position being promoted, but certainly all the stuff about Japanese and Spanish speaking Mastodon activity correlates well with what I saw at the time. I don’t know anything about people getting upset about Eugen being paid though, or any of the behind the scenes stuff.

                                                                                                      3. 5

                                                                                                        Replacing a corporate data aggregator with a distributed one doesn’t actually reduce the amount of data gathered.

                                                                                                        It does if the data you share is subject to aggregator influence. And it is, since the aggregator controls the platform and its defaults.

                                                                                                        Facebook went through a period where everytime I checked my privacy settings I found something open that I didn’t want to be open. The years of the Cambridge Analytica scrape line up pretty well with that phenomenon. Facebook used to be hugely incented to make as much of your data public to the world (search engines and, it turns out, CA) as possible. Mastodon has no such incentives.

                                                                                                        Yes, if I share something with someone I share it with them. But I’d like to not share it with everyone else.

                                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                                          It does if the data you share is subject to aggregator influence

                                                                                                          I’m not quite sure what this means, do you mind elaborating?

                                                                                                          1. 5

                                                                                                            I thought I did in the rest of my comment? Basically I’d enter some data in my profile with some understanding of what was visible to whom. Then I’d come back a month or three later, and somehow stuff I intended to be visible only to friends would somehow be visible to some new vector (apps) or API. Facebook’s privacy settings sprawled out of control for a couple of years. Here’s some links I was able to dig up in a quick search:

                                                                                                            http://mattmckeon.com/facebook-privacy

                                                                                                            https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/12/facebooks-new-privacy-changes-good-bad-and-ugly

                                                                                                            https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/04/facebook-timeline

                                                                                                            https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2014/04/08/your-facebook-privacy-settings-are-about-to-change-again

                                                                                                        2. 3

                                                                                                          I agree with this sentiment but I think all the bruhaha is currently about something entirely different. When you use an account on Mastodon, your toots are federated across the global timeline. That, along with an email address that stays local to the server you signed up on, and maybe some HTTPS traffic logs on your server, is the sum total of the information you are exposing via Mastdon until you choose to add more.

                                                                                                          This is, from where I stand at least, a vastly different kettle of fish than Facebook.

                                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                                            I agree. To some extend the distributed nature even makes it harder to remove data you don’t want online anymore.

                                                                                                            1. 3

                                                                                                              Removing data is already impossible in the information-theoretical sense. You just get lucky a lot of the time.

                                                                                                              To address this particular issue, IPFS has blacklists that track DMCA notices and abusive content. They’re opted in to by consumers.

                                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                                On the other hand the data is also distributed across many instances as opposed to being owned by a single entity. There’s also the fact that Mastodon doesn’t try to track your personal identity, and the interactions can be completely anonymous. Meanwhile, the whole purpose of a site like Facebook is to build an intimate profile of you and your friends.

                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                  Depends, some instances have ElasticSearch enabled, ostensibly to enable full-text search, but ES can be used for more insidious ““big data” purposes, to profile users with. Tools like Kibana from the ES people make such tasks trivial compared to writing tedious queries by hand. And due to the nature of federation, if someone from that instance follows you, they have your toots, which the admin can use for said purposes.

                                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                                              Although court rulings do not yet exist, legislative texts from countries such as Germany, the UK, or the USA suggest that illegal content such as [child abuse imagery] can make the blockchain illegal to possess for all users.

                                                                                                              Oh boy, this could be fun…

                                                                                                              1. 0

                                                                                                                Oh boy, this could be fun…

                                                                                                                As a supporter of cryptocurrencies and digital rights, “fun” is not the term I would use.

                                                                                                                The price of hard drugs, if anything, is inflated thanks to the creation of black markets, so from a valuation standpoint I don’t think crypto fans have much to worry about, but from a freedom and quality-of-life standpoint? Well, if you like the War On Drugs, you’ll probably be rooting for a War On Software too.

                                                                                                                1. 22

                                                                                                                  As an opponent of cyptocurrencies and other obviously inefficient solutions to inexistent problems, I would like to stress the word “fun”.

                                                                                                                  And I highly doubt that there will be any such issue, as with the “war on drugs”. It’s well known that there aways was a racial component to it, and drugs have a slightly more addictive effect than some digital currency that people play around with. There’s just not enough real interest in it, for people to start dealing in black markets or anything on that level, for the sake of abstract “freedoms”.

                                                                                                                  And regardless, the main point here would be that companies would think twice before jumping onto the bubble, which has been a big driving force behind Bitcoins (volatile) development over the past year or some time. If the crypto enthusiasts can’t lie to eachother anymore that it’s all about buying and selling the currency itself, well, I would be sceptical how long this libertarian wet-dream would last.

                                                                                                                  1. 0

                                                                                                                    lie to eachother anymore that it’s all about buying and selling the currency itself, well, I would be sceptical how long this libertarian wet-dream would last.

                                                                                                                    Any time a disruptive technology appears that poses a threat to people’s egos or to the status quo, there is always a FUD brigade that posts complete, total nonsense.

                                                                                                                    I’m interested in Bitcoin’s value as a tool for decentralizing financial systems as well as control over digital assets, identities, SSL certificates, etc. Bitcoin is a genuinely interesting and useful invention that is already being used to do things that were impossible before.

                                                                                                                    But sure, of course, to those threatened by it (for whatever reason), it will remain, like the Internet once was to some, “a libertarian wet-dream”, a “pyramid scheme”, and is “all about buying and selling”.

                                                                                                                    1. 6

                                                                                                                      Why is it so hard to understand that some people just don’t think Bitcoin is a good idea? And how come you always have to imply it’s because of a lack of knowledge or some subconscious motivation?

                                                                                                                      I used to be a big fan, and I still admire it because of it’s openness and decentralised structure. No doubt that it has theoretical potential, but it’s also oversold. Looking at the whole picture, not just the pleasant parts, trying to avoid cognitive biases, I just had to come to the conclusion that it’s not worth it. However interesting it may appear to be, and I’m really sorry that you couldn’t convince me to invest my whole life savings in Bitcoin, but it really just isn’t the right tool for the job. (And I’m not saying this because I’m afraid of it, for whatever reason)

                                                                                                                      There’s a reason after all why the price of bitcoin is measured relative to the US dollar or the Euro, and not the amount of everyday goods you can purchase with it…

                                                                                                                      1. 0

                                                                                                                        Why is it so hard to understand that some people just don’t think Bitcoin is a good idea?

                                                                                                                        Nobody has said that? I’ve explicitly acknowledged that?

                                                                                                                        And how come you always have to imply it’s because of a lack of knowledge

                                                                                                                        Because it has been?

                                                                                                                        I’m really sorry that you couldn’t convince me to invest my whole life savings in Bitcoin

                                                                                                                        Again with this nonsense.

                                                                                                                        To quote myself again: “Nobody’s forcing you to use Bitcoin, lol, by all means, support the existing banking system.”

                                                                                                                        No doubt that it has theoretical potential

                                                                                                                        And practical potential. Lots of businesses are already using it to do things that weren’t possible before. I will not link you to them, because that would be to “imply it’s because of a lack of knowledge” on your part.

                                                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                                                          Nobody has said that?

                                                                                                                          In your previous comment you made multiple implications that any opposition to bitcoin has to be founded on a lack of understanding or “fear”, but it couldn’t be because Bitcoin, blockchains or any other crypto alternative has objective deficiencies, which would make them unattractive.

                                                                                                                          To quote myself again: “Nobody’s forcing you to use Bitcoin, lol, by all means, support the existing banking system.”

                                                                                                                          To say this is meaningless. Nobody forces anyone to use Euros, Dollars, or whatever other currency, instead there is a compulsion to do so, because everyone else uses them. And while I conciser it very unlikely that Bitcoin would ever get anywhere near that point, I still want to insist that it isn’t good. This doesn’t mean that I think the existing banking system is great – this isn’t a black and white picture, like the one you are trying to paint.

                                                                                                                          Lots of businesses are already using it to do things that weren’t possible before.

                                                                                                                          Please stop being childish and us what has been impossible before the “invention” of bitcoin?

                                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                                            blockchains or any other crypto alternative has objective deficiencies

                                                                                                                            I’m very well aware of their objective deficiencies, but nowhere in this thread have I seen you point one out.

                                                                                                                            This doesn’t mean that I think the existing banking system is great

                                                                                                                            No, you’re just implying it’s greater than Bitcoin and then painting your (silly) opinion to be an objective fact.

                                                                                                                            Please stop being childish and us what has been impossible before the “invention” of bitcoin?

                                                                                                                            Surely someone as enlightened about this technology as yourself is aware that decentralized immutable ledgers didn’t appear to exist before the creation of Bitcoin’s proof-of-work consensus algorithm?

                                                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                                                              Bitcoin may have won the the hype war but other technological tools for decentralized consensus have existed long before proof of work. Byzantine Generals/Paxos is all about distributed consensus in the face of untruthful members. And the immuable ledger in merkle tree form has been around for a very long time as well.

                                                                                                                              It does not appear to me that bitcoin is winning due to technical merit. It appears that it is winning due to PR and a critical mass of people wanting to speculate on a digital asset.

                                                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                                                Call it “hype” or other names if you wish, none of it changes the technical reality of proof-of-work’s achievement.

                                                                                                                                It does not appear to me that bitcoin is winning due to technical merit.

                                                                                                                                It is entirely due to technical merit. You need only look at the graveyard of failed attempts.

                                                                                                                                Neither Paxos nor any of those older generation consensus algorithms have proof-of-work’s properties. They are all centralized consensus algorithms, aka “distributed consensus algorithms”, not decentralized consensus algorithms, and hence they are not capable of providing the strong immutability guarantees that proof-of-work provides, nor are they capable of distributing a token in a randomized, permissionless fashion.

                                                                                                                                But if you believe I’m full of it by all means create a Paxos Coin and see how far it goes.

                                                                                                                              2. 0

                                                                                                                                I’m very well aware of their objective deficiencies, but nowhere in this thread have I seen you point one out.

                                                                                                                                I’ve mentioned energy usage, which you seem to straight out deny. I’ve pointed out that Bitcoin can’t substitute “real” money, due to it’s volatility. And then you also have it’s tendency to centralize (as one can both in terms of mining power and the richest addresses), it’s processing speed, the lack of any authority to trust, all the “get rich fast”-schemes, etc.

                                                                                                                                I should clarify, because I have just realized that I accidentally used the word “blockchain” instead of “Bitcoin”, once or twice, that my main issue is Bitcoin and related crypto currencies, especially based on Proof-of-work w/ hashing.

                                                                                                                                No, you’re just implying it’s greater than Bitcoin and then painting your (silly) opinion to be an objective fact.

                                                                                                                                It’s only “Greater” in the sense that there is no point to change everything, and that it has a background in very questionable economic theories. I am still no friend of banking or bitcoin. This is a false dichotomy.

                                                                                                                                Surely someone as enlightened about this technology as yourself is aware that decentralized immutable ledgers didn’t appear to exist before the creation of Bitcoin’s proof-of-work consensus algorithm?

                                                                                                                                I would very much appreciate it if you wern’t so arrogant, you are really reinforcing the bad image of the bitcoin/blockchain community.

                                                                                                                                I don’t claim to be an expert, but I know enough to have an more-or-less informed opinion. I know that Bitcoin was the first successful “decentralized append-only list”, or however one want’s to call it (which I still don’t think it as spectacular and innovative as some people push it to be), but we (since I seem to be part of the majority here) still want to know what you meant by this: Lots of businesses are already using it to do things that weren’t possible before. What is possible, now, that just can’t be done in any shape or form before blockchains? All I’ve seen until now, are just decentralized (if at all) alternatives to centralized services. And while in some cases it’s interesting (distributed DNS, for example) I don’t see anything fundamentally groundbreaking about it.

                                                                                                                                And again, since you seem to be “enlightened about this technology”, I want to hear a serious opinion, and not this frankly insulting and degrading conversation. I’ve changed my mind once, from being an avid supporter to a critic, so maybe you can show me a more nuanced position?

                                                                                                                      2. [Comment removed by author]

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                                                                                                                          ^^ I didn’t say I was supposing anything, especially no “corrupt financial system”. Why is thinking that the environment is worth being saved, always equated with this unrelated argument?

                                                                                                                          Nor do I deny general dissatisfactions, it’s just that startup-tier “alternatives”, don’t change stuff, but instead repackage to preserve.

                                                                                                                          1. -2

                                                                                                                            I didn’t say I was supposing anything, especially no “corrupt financial system”

                                                                                                                            The entire point of Bitcoin, of which you are “an opponent of”, is fixing the corrupt financial system.

                                                                                                                            don’t change stuff, but instead repackage to preserve.

                                                                                                                            A transparent decentralized digital ledger of a fixed quantity token does change stuff, which is why it’s under constant attack.

                                                                                                                            Why is thinking that the environment is worth being saved, always equated with this unrelated argument?

                                                                                                                            Please spare us this nonsense which has been beaten to death a million times [1][2].

                                                                                                                            [1] https://lobste.rs/s/selc7k/bitcoin_energy_consumption_index#c_agchk7

                                                                                                                            [2] https://coincenter.org/entry/five-myths-about-bitcoin-s-energy-use

                                                                                                                            1. 11

                                                                                                                              The entire point of Bitcoin, of which you are “an opponent of”, is fixing the corrupt financial system.

                                                                                                                              That assumes that bitcoin is fit for the purpose. I don’t believe that it is, and I suspect that zge is on the same page.

                                                                                                                              1. 0

                                                                                                                                I suspect that zge is on the same page

                                                                                                                                Yes, he’s made that clear. I am also skeptical that Bitcoin will be able to single-handedly fix the corruption, but I do think it’s made a significant step in that direction.

                                                                                                                                From the naysayers, I’m only seeing nonsense, and nothing helpful.

                                                                                                                              2. 7

                                                                                                                                Replace the Fed’s stable, efficient pyramid scheme with an unstable, inefficient system with miner rewards distributed like a pyramid scheme? And with financial institutions that get hacked more often?

                                                                                                                                Nah, Im sticking with regular currency and banks. Just need to fix that at the root like with public-benefit banks, payment services, etc with no or little charge open interchange protocols.

                                                                                                                                1. -4

                                                                                                                                  Nobody’s forcing you to use Bitcoin, lol, by all means, support the existing banking system.

                                                                                                                                  EDIT: Maybe learn what a pyramid scheme is, and what an “open interchange protocol” is. (Why are Bitcoin haters always full of it?)

                                                                                                                                  1. 6

                                                                                                                                    What you are bringing to the table right now is derisive comments and insults. Your antagonizing behaviour is not conducive to meaningful debate.

                                                                                                                                    1. -1

                                                                                                                                      What you are bringing to the table right now is derisive comments and insults.

                                                                                                                                      I’m merely refuting untrue statements. There shouldn’t be anything derisive or insulting about that. But you’re welcome to point out something specific I said.

                                                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                                                        Maybe learn what a pyramid scheme is, and what an “open interchange protocol” is. (Why are Bitcoin haters always full of it?)

                                                                                                                                        1. -1
                                                                                                                                    2. 2

                                                                                                                                      An interchange protocol (i.e EDI) just lets people exchange goods digitally. Usually keeps the currency, organizations, and contract law of areas of operation of those involved. Swift is main provider for traditional systems with lots of services on top. If just transfers and open, Interledger would be a decent example. Bitcoin gives you transfer but replaces foundation of existing system in way that eliminates its benefits. So, it’s not just an exchange protocol.

                                                                                                                                      A pyramid scheme generates massive profit for those on top of the hierarchy of payment or control by the design of the scheme. Usually each level gets a fraction less than those above it. The scheme is sustained by bringing more people in with their money who don’t get the benefits they were promised. Bitcoin’s mining is structured like that with the stable currency what’s promised but not delivered. Other classes of fraud involve selling people on investing into something that will go nowhere so the traders and speculators can make piles of money on it. You’re right that calling it a pyramid scheme is nonsense: it’s like a pyramid scheme, gambling ring, and series of pump n dump mini-schemes all combined into one designed to drag out for quite a while as the gamblers and legitimate users all keep putting effort into it hoping it’s something else. At least, that’s what the output of the system looks like when compared to traditional currencies and investment bubbles

                                                                                                                                      I’m curious how many of you are banking in Bitcoin entirely knowing it’s worth about just a little more or less each day than it was when you put it in there. Just like a stable, competitive currency instead of a media-driven stock or something with a value going all over the place.

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                                                                                                                                        An interchange protocol

                                                                                                                                        I see you got rid of the “open” part.

                                                                                                                                        Interledger would be a decent example

                                                                                                                                        Interledger is great.

                                                                                                                                        Bitcoin gives you transfer but replaces foundation of existing system in way that eliminates its benefits.

                                                                                                                                        Unsubstantiated claims don’t impress me.

                                                                                                                                        Bitcoin’s mining is structured like that with the stable currency what’s promised but not delivered.

                                                                                                                                        Lies. Show me anywhere in the whitepaper or on Bitcoin.org or in any of Core’s messaging where profits are promised.

                                                                                                                                        The reality is miners often mine at a loss, and know they will be doing so. The system is designed to reach equilibrium, with the cost of mining approaching the profit derived thereof.

                                                                                                                                        It is nothing like a pyramid scheme. It is no more a pyramid scheme than companies who mined for gold are a pyramid scheme.

                                                                                                                                        Again, the word “pyramid scheme” has an established definition, one that does not fit gold or nearly identical assets like bitcoin.

                                                                                                                                        A pyramid scheme (commonly known as pyramid scams) is a business model that recruits members via a promise of payments or services for enrolling others into the scheme, rather than supplying investments or sale of products or services. As recruiting multiplies, recruiting becomes quickly impossible, and most members are unable to profit; as such, pyramid schemes are unsustainable and often illegal.

                                                                                                                                        Bitcoin is a decentralized consensus protocol with no leader, it is incapable of being a pyramid scheme.

                                                                                                                                        If a scammer exists who says “buy _____, it’s going to give you great profits!”, that doesn’t make whatever you put in the blank a pyramid scheme, it just makes that person a scammer.

                                                                                                                                        Next you’ll probably tell me why Bitcoin is a Ponzi scheme, and I’ll be happy to explain to you why you’re wrong about that too. But you can spare us both the suffering by just reading the definition.

                                                                                                                          2. 1

                                                                                                                            Do you think the price of hard drugs would be lower if the market to buy and sell them didn’t exist?

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                                                                                                                              if the market to buy and sell them didn’t exist?

                                                                                                                              Sorry, don’t think I understand the question. The market for such things has always existed, the only difference is its legality.

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                                                                                                                                Ah, my mistake, I thought you were saying “the price of hard drugs would be inflated compared to the absence of a black market”, which doesn’t make sense, but I think you were actually saying “the price of hard drugs would be inflated with respect to a legal market”, which is probably true (modulo taxation and the exact rules of how that market is regulated)

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                                                                                                                            What reasons do owners have to keep their etcd servers open to the internet? Is this mainly used for cross-datacentre communication?

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                                                                                                                              Unfortunately, I think it’s more common that this happens accidentally rather than deliberately, e.g. someone spinning up AWS servers and installing etcd in it’s default configuration on them without really thinking about the fact that they’re exposed to the internet.

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                                                                                                                              There really needs to be a federated github.

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                                                                                                                                Like… git ?

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                                                                                                                                  So github but without the hub. May be on to something.

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                                                                                                                                    Github is one of my favorite stories when I talk about how decentralized systems centralize.

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                                                                                                                                      But did GitHub really centralize something decentralized? Git, as a VCS is still decentralized, nearly everyone who seriously uses it has a git client on their computer, and a local repository for their projects. That part is still massively decentralized.

                                                                                                                                      GitHub as a code sharing platform, that allows issues to be raised and discussed, patches/pull requests to be submitted, etc. didn’t previously exist in a decentralized manner. There seems to have always been some central point of reference, be it website or just a mailing list. It’s not as if whole project were just based around cc’ing email to one another all the time. How would new people have gotten involved if that were the case?

                                                                                                                                      The only thing I could see as centralising is the relative amount of project hosted on GitHub, but that isn’t really a system which can be properly described as “decentralized” or “centralized”..,

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                                                                                                                                        It’s the degree to which people are dependent on the value-adds that github provides beyond git. It’s like a store having a POS that relies on communication with a central server. Sure, they can keep records on paper do sales but it’s not their normal course, so they don’t. This comment on HN sums it up: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16124575

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                                                                                                                                        Got any other examples?

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                                                                                                                                          Email would be a prominent one. Most people (and I can’t say I am innocent) use gmail, hotmail, yahoo mail, etc. I belive there is some general law that describes this trend in systems, which can then be applied to the analysis of different topics, for example matter gathering in around other matter in physics or money accumulating itself around organization with more money, etc.

                                                                                                                                          On the other side you have decentralized systems which didn’t really centralized significantly, for whatever reason, such as IRC, but which had a decrease in users over time, which I also find to be an interesting trend.

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                                                                                                                                            Many businesses run their own email server and also I don’t have to sign up to gmail to send a gmail user an email but I do have to sign up to github.

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                                                                                                                                              A tendency towards centralisation doesn’t mean that no smaller email servers exist, I’m sorry if you misunderstood me there. But on the other hand, I have heard of quite a few examples where businesses just use gmail with a custom domain, so there’s that.

                                                                                                                                              And it’s true that you don’t have to be on gmail to send an email to a hotmail server, for example, but most of the time, if just a normal person were to set up their mail server, all the major mail providers automatically view this new host as suspicious and potentially harmful, thus more probably redirecting normal messages as spam. This wouldn’t be that common, if the procentual distribution of mail servers weren’t that centralised.

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                                                                                                                                            Did a talk using them. This cuts to the chase: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgbmGQVa4wc#t=11m35s

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                                                                                                                                        Git has a web interface?

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                                                                                                                                          … federation is about data/communications between servers.. but seeing as you asked, yes it does: https://manpages.debian.org/stretch/git-man/gitweb.1.en.html

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                                                                                                                                            To be fair, whjms did say “a federated github”. The main feature of GitHub is its web interface.

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                                                                                                                                              Right, and there are literally dozens of git web interfaces. You can “federate” git and use whichever web ui you prefer.

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                                                                                                                                                But you then miss out on issue tracking, PR tracking, stats, etc. I agree that Git itself provides a decentralized version control system. That’s the whole point. But a federated software development platform is not the same thing. I would personally be very interested to see a federated or otherwise decentralized issue tracking, PR tracking, etc platform.

                                                                                                                                                EDIT: I should point out that any existing system on par with Gitea, Gogs, GitLab, etc could add ActivityPub support and instantly solve this problem.

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                                                                                                                                                  Doesn’t give you access to all the issues, PRs and comments though.

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                                                                                                                                                    git-appraise exists. Still waiting for the equivalent for issues to come along.

                                                                                                                                                    https://github.com/google/git-appraise

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                                                                                                                                                      huh git appraise is pretty cool.

                                                                                                                                                      I was going to suggest some kind of activitypub/ostatus system for comments. A bit like peertube does to manage comments. But a comment and issue system that is contained within the history of the project would be really interesting. Though it would make git repos take a lot more space for certain projects no?

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                                                                                                                                                        I’d assume that those could potentially be compressed but yes. It’s definitely not ideal. https://www.fossil-scm.org/index.html/doc/tip/www/index.wiki

                                                                                                                                                        ^^^^ Unless I’m mistaken, Fossil also tracks that kind of stuff internally. I really like the idea that issues, PRs, and documentation could live in the same place, mostly on account of being able to “go back in time”, and see when you go back to a given version, what issues were open. Sounds useful.

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                                                                                                                                                      BugsEverywhere (https://gitlab.com/bugseverywhere/bugseverywhere), git-issues (https://github.com/duplys/git-issues), sit (https://github.com/sit-it/sit) all embed issues directly in the git repo.

                                                                                                                                                      Don’t blame the tool because you chose a service that relies on vendor lock-in.

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                                                                                                                                                        If I recall correctly the problem here is that to create an issue you need write access to the git repo.

                                                                                                                                                        Having issues separated out of the repositories can make it easier, if the web interface can federate between services, that’s even better. Similar to Mastodon.

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                                                                                                                                                          There’s nothing to say that a web interface couldnt provide the ability for others to submit issues.

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                                                                                                                                                      Right, and there are literally dozens of git web interfaces.

                                                                                                                                                      Literally dozens of git web interfaces the majority of developers either don’t know or care about. The developers do use GitHub for various reasons. voronoipotato and LeoLamda saying a “federated Github” means the alternative needs to look like or work with Github well enough that those using Github, but ignoring other stuff you mentioned, will switch over to it. I’m not sure what that would take or if it’s even legal far as copying appearance goes. It does sound more practical goal than telling those web developers that there’s piles of git web interfaces out there.

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                                                                                                                                                        Im going to respond to two points in reverse order, deliberately:

                                                                                                                                                        or care about.

                                                                                                                                                        Well, clearly the person I replied to does care about a git web interface that isn’t reliant on GitHub.com. Otherwise, why would they have replied?

                                                                                                                                                        Literally dozens of git web interfaces the majority of developers either don’t know [about]

                                                                                                                                                        Given the above - The official git project’s wiki has a whole page dedicated to tools that work with git, including web interfaces. That wiki page is result 5 in google and result 3 in duckduckgo when searching for “git web interface”. If a developer wants a git web interface, and can’t find that information for themselves, nothing you, or I or a magic genie does will help them.

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                                                                                                                                                  It’s not built-in, but Gogs and Gitea are both pretty nice.

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                                                                                                                                                    Hard agree. I run a personal Gogs site and it’s awesome.

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                                                                                                                                                It would be enough if people stopped putting all their stuff on github.

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                                                                                                                                                  It won’t happen for a while due to network effects. They made it easy to get benefits of a DVCS without directly dealing with one. Being a web app, it can be used on any device. Being free, that naturally pulls people in. There’s also lots of write-ups on using it or solving problems that are a Google away due to its popularity. Any of these can be copied and improved on. The remaining problem is huge amount of code already there.

                                                                                                                                                  The next solution won’t be able to copy that since it’s a rare event in general. Like SourceForge and Github did, it will have to create a compelling reason for massive amounts of people to move their code into it while intentionally sacrificing the benefits of their code being on Github specifically. I can’t begin to guess what that would take. I think those wanting no dependency on Github or alternatives will be targeting a niche market. It can still be a good one, though.

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                                                                                                                                                    I hear the ‘network effects’ story every time, but we are not mindless automatons who have to use github because other people are doing it. I’m hosting the code for my open source projects on a self-hosted gitlab server and i’m getting contributions from other people without problems. Maybe it would be more if the code was on github, but being popular isn’t the most important thing for everyone.

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                                                                                                                                                      Just look at sourceforge, if everyone had to set up their own CVS/SVN server back in the say do you think all those projects would have made it onto the internet?

                                                                                                                                                      Now we have a similar situation with got, if GitHub/Bitbucket/etc. didn’t exist I’m sure most people would have stuck with sourceforge (Or not bothered if they had to self host).

                                                                                                                                                      You can also look at Googlecode to see the problem with not reaching critical mass (IMHO). There were some high profile projects there, but then I’m sure execs said, why are we bothering to host 1% (A guess) of what is on GitHub?

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                                                                                                                                                        ‘Network effects’ doesn’t mean you’re mindless automatons. It means people are likely to jump on bandwagons. It also means that making it easy to connect people together, esp removing friction, makes more of them do stuff together. The massive success of Github vs other interfaces argues my point for me.

                                                                                                                                                        “Maybe it would be more if the code was on github”

                                                                                                                                                        That’s what I telling you rephrased. Also, expanded to the average project as some will get contributions, some won’t, etc.

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                                                                                                                                                      Heck even I won’t move off of it until there is a superior alternative, sorry.

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                                                                                                                                                      I thought about a project along these lines a while ago. Something along the lines of cgit, which could offer a more or less clean and consistent UI, and a easy to set up backend, making federation viable in the first place. Ideally, it wouldn’t even need accounts, instead Email+GPG could be used, for example by including an external mailing list into the repo, with a few addition markup features, such as internal linking and code highlighting. This “web app” would then effectively only serve as an aggregator of external information, onto one site, making it even easier to federate the entire structure, since the data wouldn’t even be necessarily bound to one server! If one were to be really evil, one could also use GitHub as a backend…

                                                                                                                                                      I thought about all of this for a while, but the big downsides from my perspective seemed to be a lack of reliability on servers (which is sadly something we have come to expect with tools such as NPM and Go’s packaging), asynchronous updates could mess stuff up, unless there were to be a central reference repo per project, and the social element in social coding could be hard to achieve. Think of stars, followings, likes, fork overviews, etc. these are all factors which help projects and devs display their reputation, for better or for worse.

                                                                                                                                                      Personally, I’m a bit sceptical that something along these lines would manage to have a real attractiveness, at least for now.

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                                                                                                                                                        Lacks a web interface, but there are efforts to use ipfs for a storage backend.

                                                                                                                                                        https://github.com/cryptix/git-remote-ipfs

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                                                                                                                                                          I think there have been proposals for gitlab and gitea/gogs to implement federated pull request. I would certainly love it since I stuff most of my project into my personal gitea instance anyway. Github is merely a code mirror where people happen to be able to file issues.

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                                                                                                                                                            I think this would honestly get the work done. Federated pull request, federated issue discussion

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                                                                                                                                                              I’m personally a bit torn if a federated github-like should handle it like a fork, ie, if somebody opens an issue they do it on their instance and you get a small notification and you can follow the issue in your own repo

                                                                                                                                                              Or if it should merely allow people to use my instance to file issues directly there like with OAuth or OpenID Connect. Probably something we’ll have to figure out in the process.

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                                                                                                                                                                just make it work like gnusocial/mastodon. username@server.com posted an issue on your repo. You can block server, have a whitelist, or let anyone in the world is your oyster.

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                                                                                                                                                              Would be nice if I could use my gitlab.com account to make MRs on other gitlab servers.

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                                                                                                                                                              I always thought it would be neat to try to implement this via upspin since it already provides identity, permissions, and a global (secure) namespace. Basically, my handwavy thoughts are: design what your “federated github” repo looks like in terms of files. This becomes the API or contract for federation. Maybe certain files are really not files but essentially RPCs and this is implemented by a custom upspin server. You have an issue directory, your actually git directory, and whatever else you feel is important for managing a software project on git represented in a file tree. Now create a local stateless web interface that anyone can fire up (assuming you have an upspin user) and now you can browse the global upspin filesystem and interact with repos ,make pull requests, and file issues.

                                                                                                                                                              I was thinking that centralized versions of this could exist like github for usability for most users. In this case users’ private keys are actually managed by the github like service itself as a base case to achieve equal usability for the masses. The main difference is that the github like service exports all the important information via upspin for others to interact with via their own clients.

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                                                                                                                                                              “We all know the real reason Slack has closed off their gateways. Their business model dictates that they should.”

                                                                                                                                                              Which is why they should’ve never been used in the first place if anyone wanted to keep anything. This isn’t a new lesson with mission-critical, proprietary software. Anyone relying on profit-hungry, 3rd parties is just asking for it. Only people I feel sympathy for are those who didn’t know the risks (esp non-technical folks) or those who did that were forced by managers/customers to use the product at work despite its disadvantages (esp resource hogging).

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                                                                                                                                                                I mean, I think categorizing this as a “bait and switch” is disingenuous. How many people were attracted to Slack by their gateways versus their total addressable market or indeed their total number of users? I’m going to go out on a limb and say that number is basically zero.

                                                                                                                                                                Too, the people who are affected by this change are overwhelmingly the people who should have known better. It’s hard for me to gather much sympathy.

                                                                                                                                                                ETA: I’m not a fan of Slack, particularly their godawful clients, but I think this article falls into the classic “It is what I want, therefore it is what everyone wants” fallacy. As my boss at Apple once told me, “we’d go broke if we made products for you.”

                                                                                                                                                                1. 27

                                                                                                                                                                  How many didn’t push harder against slack because they could just use a bridge?

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                                                                                                                                                                    I mean, the problem is that, as Slack is paying for their product by spending Marc Andreessen’s money and not selling goods and services to their users, what leverage does a user have?

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                                                                                                                                                                      I think the idea was that people didn’t push back against their own organizations and managers in their decision to go with Slack because they figured “well, I can just use a bridge and not have to care”.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. 7

                                                                                                                                                                    I mean, I think categorizing this as a “bait and switch” is disingenuous. How many people were attracted to Slack by their gateways versus their total addressable market or indeed their total number of users? I’m going to go out on a limb and say that number is basically zero.

                                                                                                                                                                    What evidence do you have for this? I know of at least 5 people who agreed to adopt slack for various personal projects explicitly because of its IRC gateway.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                      Against the total universe of Slack users? OK, 5 people you know personally, against a total user population of 9MM. I’m not saying that people who use the gateways don’t exist; I’m saying that as a percentage of Slack’s total userbase, the number is insignificant; it is, to the first order of approximation, zero.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. 6

                                                                                                                                                                        I don’t think you actually know this and I am not sure if it is relevant for bait-and-switch how many such users exist now. Question is how many of them were there in early days when Slack first started to fight for mind-share?

                                                                                                                                                                        My guess would be a lot since it started as a glorified web interface over IRC. However, probably like you I don’t actually know and can only go with anecdotal experience from people I know which was similar to @feoh.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                          It’s a bit funny that you say “sure, 5 people, but that’s just your anecdote, you don’t have actual numbers” and then go on to confidently assert what the numbers are… apparently without having them, or at the very least without showing them.

                                                                                                                                                                          I also concur with @markos that there were probably disproportionately many gateway users among early adopters of Slack. I watched with concern as its use spread among libre projects, and it was the gateways that made it hard to sell the argument on general principle against it. Apparently “you’re putting yourself in a position to get burned” is not sufficient to convince anyone; people have to actually get burned before they’ll renege on a choice. (And I’m not convinced that they learn from the experience.) I must also admit “it’s where the users are” is hard to argue against; as long as everything goes well, that fact matters.

                                                                                                                                                                          The answer may be that we need something more mobile-device-friendly than traditional XMPP? (I know of things like XEP-0286… but a profile only helps as far as it is deployed.)

                                                                                                                                                                      2. 2

                                                                                                                                                                        I totally agree they’d be majority of those affected.

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                                                                                                                                                                        non-technical folks

                                                                                                                                                                        I doubt there are many non-technical people left that still use IRC, but I think the general idea behind this holds true. people who don’t know the risks of putting companies in control of their stuff get screwed over when this sort of thing happens.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                          I doubt there are many non-technical people left that still use IRC

                                                                                                                                                                          There are lots (for some definition of lots). At least Undernet and Snoonet are completely non-technical, and while they probably don’t have that many users in terms of absolute numbers, in relative terms they comprise a big chunk of all IRC users.

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                                                                                                                                                                        Bummer that sound is still messy. There still doesn’t seem to be a single competitor to Equalizer APO/Peace on Windows that doesn’t have sound quality issues or requires you setting up a convoluted Pulse -> Jack -> Alsa configuration.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. 4

                                                                                                                                                                          About 1/3 of the time that I get on a conference call at work my audio and/or microphone doesn’t work. I have to close chrome, disable my audio, enable the microphone, and then enable sound+microphone. I can’t jump from disabled to sound+microphone, and I need to pause for at least a second or two before I change each setting or it doesn’t fix it.

                                                                                                                                                                          It’s stupid and takes me about an extra 2 minutes every single time. :/ I still can’t in good faith recommend Linux to anyone that’s not already familiar and using it.

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                                                                                                                                                                          Personally I’m very satisfied with Discord: the client is lightweight, infinite history, and free.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                            I think all the gaming stuff will be a major barrier keeping businesses from trying Discord.

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                                                                                                                                                                              webshit is webshit; it’s just slack with a cringier aesthetic