Why thank you for noticing, website. I try to do my part to make the Web a safer place for us all.

let me think about your offer to "open your front windows while we back a garbage truck up to them"

hmm. Very tempting, but

@natecull when I see of anything like that, I am much more likely to blatantly steal whatever content is there (which is rarely of good quality anyway) and re-use it without attribution (or simply mock it)

TBH if half the ad funded sites run out of money and go away I don't even think it will be that great a loss, a whole bulk of them are relaying press releases of other marketing companies anyway...

@vfrmedia @natecull i keep wanting to work on a proxy based on mozilla fathom. filter out everything except plain html. keep local caches.


@vfrmedia @natecull or maybe a spider that just forcibly creates complete rss feeds of everything

@vfrmedia @natecull lots of the stuff i am interested in isn’t plain content- but it would be nice if the stuff that is didn’t try to dump garbage into my windows.

@vfrmedia @natecull and look, the economics are clear: the world of “rivers of gold” and newspaper subscriptions was far from perfect. but we sorra accidentally created a fake news dystopia where there’s no money in the truth.

@zensaiyuki @vfrmedia

Spoiler: There never was any money in the truth.

But we had a better class of lies in the Mad Men era.

or what pretended it was a better class.

@zensaiyuki @vfrmedia

also thanks for letting me know about Mozilla Fathom! I hadn't heard of that at all until just now!

A Prolog-like language, eh? hmmmmmm


@natecull @vfrmedia it’s a library so it’s not exactly easy to use on its own, just as a mostly invisible peice of firefox. it’s an engine for building and tuning “reader modes” but not a ready to use reader mode if that makes sense.

@natecull @vfrmedia i’ve had discussions on here with various people about how intractible it now is to build a new browser from scratch due to how huge the html spec is, and its inclusion of patented video tech. i think there’s an unfulfilled niche for browsers that are limited in scope though. e.g a browser that is just a reader mode. a browser that is just good at high performance games and interactive art. etc.

@natecull @vfrmedia that sets the expectations: not a complete browser.!not gonna do every css trick.

@natecull @vfrmedia whatever it was, it was a world where journalists could do journalism, and get a president to resign in shame

@zensaiyuki @vfrmedia


Possibly that bit only happened because there was a war between the intelligence services.

Also because Democrats controlled the Senate and didn't like the Republican president and were able to muscle him out.

But yeah, the American news hounds, eventually, against all their instincts and training and CIA connections, somehow decided to throw in their lot with... the CIA faction vs the post-Hoover FBI faction.

It was a brief moment of light.

@natecull @zensaiyuki @vfrmedia at least there was some agenda behind the lies. Some structure.

These days, the ad-driven feedback loop between publication and impressions is so tight that the bullshit press serves is just overamplifying random fluctuations in the society.

@temporal @natecull @vfrmedia yeah you’re right. yellow journalism was a thing, but there’s something qualitatively more terrifying about what happens now.

@zensaiyuki @natecull @vfrmedia it's not just shocking headlines and outrage. There's no long-term agenda behind topic selections either. The algorithm is just: tune into the ambient noise of the society, amplify the highest peaks to extreme, rake in your ad money, and repeat.

To the extent media controls the society, we're just doing a random walk. I'm not sure this is better than propaganda. At least with propaganda, you could reverse it to get at the truth. What we have today is just bullshit.

@temporal @natecull @vfrmedia well, what the russians are doing with it is tuning propaganda to hyperspecific demographics with the razor sharp psychological profiling of a kgb op, so yeah it’s still propaganda- just maybe not “ours”

@zensaiyuki @natecull @vfrmedia everyone is doing it now. Focusing on Russians is what I'd say a meta-level propaganda by certain parts of the US.

@temporal @natecull @vfrmedia well yes and no. what the russians are doing is definitely different. the aim of their propaganda is not to persuade anyone to any particular side but merely to sow division and stir pots.

@temporal @natecull @vfrmedia they don’t need to win. they just need everyone else to lose

@zensaiyuki @temporal @natecull

with Russians, I've always thought a significant amount of the motivation is from Gen X'ers who remember the collapse of the Soviet Union and want revenge for that (much more so than Mr Putin who is now in late middle age, or the religious chaps in RU) - and these younger lot really don't care if the whole World might burn..

@temporal @natecull @vfrmedia and there is very valid criticism of “russia derangement syndrome”, they’re not exploiting anything that wasn’t already there: racism, classism, xenophobia, homophobia, the really messed up parts of “the american dream”

@zensaiyuki @natecull @vfrmedia or, Russia is just a convenient scapegoat on western discussion forums. Though recently, it's also China.

Honestly, I see no reason to believe Russia has a monopoly on any of this. Sowing discord is as old as human societies.

@zensaiyuki @natecull @vfrmedia Also, and I think this is the core point in the context of the original discussion: this problem exists only because of #advertising. The whole capability to easily target arbitrary subsets of a population exists only to deliver advertising.

So don't blame the trolls, blame #adtech that facilitates it.

Did I say yet that advertising is a cancer on modern society?

@zensaiyuki @natecull @vfrmedia I mean, countries - especially large powers - will always try to mess up with each other's internal process and beliefs. But before targeted advertising, they had to do the actual legwork. Now it's just too easy.

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