urza9814’s Techdirt Profile


About urza9814

urza9814’s Comments comment rss

  • Jan 17th, 2020 @ 1:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If the elected officials are so eager to screw over their constituents that they'll actually agree to something like that, then do the specific details of the implementation really matter all that much?

  • Jan 17th, 2020 @ 11:26am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Yes indeed, stupid, uneducated voters do make democracy look bad, and authoritarian dictatorships look like sane and sober leadership. Until the Government goons come for them."

    Government goons vs extrajudicial black sites and drone strikes...I'm not seeing much of a difference on that aspect either.

  • Jan 17th, 2020 @ 11:15am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "some do still exist."

    [citation needed]

    The current oldest known living person was born in 1903 (Kane Tanaka). I suppose there could theoretically be someone several years older still out there playing games on Steam, but the odds are pretty freakin slim. :)

  • Jan 17th, 2020 @ 11:03am


    As mentioned above, some carriers at least DO already offer such protection...but it doesn't work. The attack already relies on social engineering the call center employees to disregard policy. If you can't get them to obey the existing security policies, what are the odds that they'll obey that one?

  • Jan 17th, 2020 @ 10:59am

    Re: Re:

    The title is fairly accurate IMO, as the attack relies on number portability. The FCC requires providers to allow wireless numbers to be portable, but they are not required to allow you to transfer a landline number, and many carriers just won't do it. Since you're far less likely to be able to port a landline number, it's far less likely that this kind of attack would succeed.

  • Jan 17th, 2020 @ 7:59am

    Re: Re: Expense

    They're still going to have experts examining each file, just to make sure they're redacting every single word that they can possibly justify redacting. Not that they're entirely wrong to do that either though -- the law does have some exemptions, and there must be reasons why those exist.

  • Jan 17th, 2020 @ 6:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    As I'm pretty sure I've already answered that concern, I think you are the one who is not understanding. The problem is absolutely about logistics. I don't care what policies they implement and have their moderators enforce; I care that they actually enforce some concrete policy instead of just taking stuff down essentially at random.

  • Jan 17th, 2020 @ 6:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    My citation is the math in my previous comment.

    And yeah, any site that's going to put in moderation rules needs to have some effective way of actually enforcing those rules. I do use some YouTube competitors, and I pay a monthly fee for the privilege, and they have none of these issues. Floatplane doesn't have this problem; Nebula doesn't have this problem...largely because they've designed a business model from the ground up to avoid those costs.

  • Jan 17th, 2020 @ 6:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I never said it was easy. You act like I said they should just hire ten thousand people by noon today. Of course it's going to take a long time. The point is that they make these massive profits by refusing to hire enough staff to actually get the job done properly. It's not that they can't afford to do it, it's not that it's "impossible", they just don't want to make the investment. And of course they don't, because they're ALREADY essentially in a monopoly position for streaming user content, so they have no real incentive to make their service fair or effective.

  • Jan 17th, 2020 @ 6:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah, it's easy to make things sound ridiculous when you cut out all of the evidence to show that it can actually be done.

    Sure, they've been spending many years refusing the hire sufficient staff to get the job done. They have a lot of catching up to do. But they do have enough profits to do it, if they actually tried.

  • Jan 17th, 2020 @ 6:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Who says the only goal of moderation is to "satisfy everyone"? The goal of moderation is to enforce some set of rules. YouTube can set whatever rules they want, it's a private website, the only point that matters is whether or not they are actually capable of enforcing the rules that they implement, or if they're going to be shutting people down basically at random because they don't actually bother to verify "violations".

  • Jan 16th, 2020 @ 1:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You COULD hire those 27,000 moderators and pay them $30k/year (exactly average for a US wage, although most of these moderators are in third-world countries anyway) for around $2.2 million per day. YouTube doesn't release much about their finances, but the only estimate I can currently find* puts their profits at $1.9 million per day back in 2013. Presumably their profits are higher now, just as the amount of video uploaded certainly is.

    I don't think that's so clearly impossible. It would certainly consume the majority of their absurdly massive profit margin, but it might still be feasible. They could certainly do significantly more than they do right now. You say they need 27k moderators to actually moderate effectively; they currently seem to have about 2k total employees and PLENTY of money to hire more if they actually wanted to.

    I'm also not sure I'm buying that 10% of the content is getting flagged and disputed. According to Google's transparency report, over three months they removed 8.7M videos. The average YouTube video appears to be just under 12 minutes long. So at 300 minutes per minute, you get ~39 million minutes of video uploaded over three months, and 1.7 million minutes of video removed. That's 4%, not 10%, and human moderators would only have to review the subset of these videos that later get disputed. So hire 15k moderators and pay them $50k/year, YouTube can probably afford that and that probably would be enough to verify absolutely everything that gets flagged and disputed.

    Of course, there's probably ways to MASSIVELY reduce that requirement too. I wouldn't really care if they refused human moderation until you reached a certain threshold of views/videos/subscribers for example...gotta wonder how many of the current removals are trolls/bots/etc who create an account just to upload that one video...could also have trusted channels who can skip the review or stop allowing human reviews if your channel has reached a certain threshold of failed disputes...

    Finally, consider that right now YouTube has very little incentive to reduce false-positives, because it doesn't really cost them anything as long as the rates aren't high enough to drive off the users. If they had to actually pay someone to review all those false-positives, they might start looking for ways to improve that particular aspect of their algorithms...

  • Jan 15th, 2020 @ 1:07pm

    Re: Re: Paywall IS important

    I think there's a pretty significant difference between headlines of paywalled articles and the cover of a novel. Typically, if you have access to the novel to read the cover, then you have access to read the rest of it too. Most book stores won't kick you out for flipping through the book before buying it. The only way you'd only have access to the cover is if you're seeing it in a catalog or something -- and that is certainly a separate work.

    Also, I think it really must be viewed separately. Otherwise, what's to stop me from publishing absolutely any blatant fraud that I want, and claiming that it's not fraud because it's only the headline and the full article which explains the truth is available for the low price of $10,000,000 per view?

  • Jan 15th, 2020 @ 12:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: A chilling reminder that no one is infallible

    That brings up an interesting question -- where do we draw the line between "reputation laundering" and doing good to make up for your mistakes? I do think it's a fair point that you shouldn't get a clean slate just by throwing some money around, but I also agree that we need to provide everyone an opportunity to clear their reputation. But they've gotta put some actual work and commitment into it. Then again, I don't really think anybody should get a reputation just for throwing around some cash. "Philanthropist" isn't a purpose or a mission, it's a sink.

  • Jan 15th, 2020 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Seems to me that if this many people know who donated the money, then it wasn't really anonymous, was it? Then again, exactly how "anonymous" can you get before you're getting charged with money laundering or some other financial crimes? Is it even legal to accept a million dollar donation in unmarked cash stuffed in an envelope with no return address?

  • Jan 15th, 2020 @ 12:11pm


    I think the paywall argument has a lot of merit here though. If they publish the article one place, but only the headline somewhere else, then those are two different publications, and ought to be actionable separately.

    In this case I do think the headline still appears to be sufficiently accurate that this is certainly a frivolous lawsuit...but in theory if you only make the headline available, then you don't get to say that the article that people can't read is an inseparable part of it. You're the one who intentionally separated them, you don't get to then claim that you didn't. It's one thing if the viewer doesn't bother to click through, or if their internet connection dies before the page loads; it's completely different when you actively take steps to prevent them from accessing it.

  • Jan 15th, 2020 @ 12:05pm

    Paywall IS important

    "John Roddy makes an interesting point that perhaps one could argue that the fact that the article itself (but not the headline and lede) are behind a (fairly porous) paywall could somehow change the calculus, but that seems unlikely to fly in any court."

    That seems...not just possible, but obviously true IMO. The free version may be a derivative work of the paid article, but it is clearly a different publication, being provided through different means to a different user base. Much like Sparknotes is not the same publication as the novel it's based on. The original is the original. The summary is not the original, the truncated version is not the original, the translation is not the original...nothing is the original except the original.

    I can't sue over something I can't access...if I can't view it, I can't be sure it exists. But now you say I also can't sue over the part that I CAN access? That seems very, very wrong.

  • Jan 15th, 2020 @ 6:48am

    Re: Re:

    Is it really that different though? Is it really that bad?

    It's not the biggest problem in the world, but there are certainly many cases where what is essentially the same study is done multiple times simply because the first results were published a while back, not heavily cited, and weren't found by the authors of the new study. By re-publishing these studies, you might prevent that kind of duplicated effort. If it's still being cited, then it's still useful to somebody. As long as one study doesn't cite another multiple times (by citing those duplicate publications), that seems perfectly fine to me. Not the best way of handling the problem, but not the worst either.

  • Jan 14th, 2020 @ 12:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "The "company" at the center of the discussion is a larger business with all the freelancers as employees who are then hired out to other businesses. There is a large number of this type of business, too. The contract employees take a smaller salary in exchange for (usually) pathetic health and personal benefits partly due to the costs of running these agencies. Not an awesome trade-off."

    In my experience, you'll have better pay and better benefits working for such a company than you'd get as a full-time employee for the client directly. Of course, you'll also be expected to be on-call 24/7, including holidays and during vacation time, with zero compensation...so going the FTE route is still generally much better.

  • Jan 14th, 2020 @ 12:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The issue is bigger than that, I think. We have a whole mentality of wealth as a religion. So unions being bad for business becomes a core tenant of the national collective consciousness as unions being bad in general. When organizations DO unionize, the benefits collapse quite quickly. The workers get fed up with the abuse from management, they fight like hell to unionize, they (hopefully) win and make dramatic improvements to the workplace...and then the new hires come in already indoctrinated with a belief that unions are bad and seeing all the improvements as pre-existing conditions. So they figure there's no point in engaging with the union in the first place since everything seems alright. And slowly the protections get rolled back, because nobody is fighting, and that's seen as more evidence that the union is useless, and pretty soon it all comes tumbling down.

    I have yet to see a union that manages to keep the membership engaged and involved. That's the biggest problem with them IMO. The unions too don't care about much other than the dues once they're established -- again, church of the dollar mentality, if it's not money then it doesn't count. So they don't maintain the networks and knowledge, because that costs money, and it doesn't create money, so it's worthless!

More comments from urza9814 >>