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The Internet Is Not A Flea Market

The Social Contract Lie

Firefox with the AdBlock and NoScript extensions is a constant source of anger among those people who think the World Wide Web is, and ought to be, a source of income. To such an attitude I remind everyone that the Web does not exist, nor is it meant, to provide anyone with a source of income. The Web is meant to be a pool of human knowledge, which would allow collaborators in remote sites to share their ideas and all aspects of a common project. The Web is not meant to be a marketplace — let along the casino, bordello, freak show, fencing lair and provocateur of state repression, that the general public and its ordinary people (all undeniable proof of a certain theory) have made it to be.

Therefore, there is no such thing as a social contract between Web surfers and the people who plaster their Web sites with banners, pop-ups and other forms of advertising. The Web is not Television. The Web browser, and the computer that runs it, belong to the user, to do as they wish with it. They do not belong to the Web site owner or to the advertisers, to infect with the images, the content, or even the malware that these ad-strewn sites download.

Does Adblock Violate A Social Contract.

But this social contract myth is strong among those apelings who insist on ad-plastered Web sites as a means of earning a living off the Web, or at least pay for their exorbitant Web site costs. Some believe in this myth so much that they work to boycott Firefox users from their sites, despite the impossibility of keeping Firefox users out and the likelihood of blocking Web visitors with money (i.e. using Safari).

A Campaign to Block Firefox Users?

From such people, who are otherwise anti-socialist, I find it strange for them to espouse an idea that was first proposed by the proto-socialist Jean-Jacques Rousseau. But it is likely that they mean contractualism, from which comes the idea that visiting a Web site implies submitting to a contract, such as an end-user agreement. Newspaper sites function like that. But this idea, too, is false. The Web was not built with such a concept. Such an implied contact, if pressed, would likely not stand up in court.

Social contract (as a concept)

Jean-Jacques Rousseau


Blocking Web Ads Is Not Stealing

I am coughing this notional hairball back up because, while it has been years since this issue has come up, it is still very alive.

Once Again, Blocking Ads And Automating Clicks Isn't 'Stealing'

An online magazine called The Escapist (not affiliated with The Escapist gaming advocacy site) began to ban from its fora anyone who mentioned "Firefox with Adblock" in their posts, even if they don't use the browser itself. After a splash of user protest that got in the eyes of the moderators, the banned were unbanned. However, the moderators hosted a whine party with this post (quoted via Techdirt).

I truely hope that everyone that reads this will consider turning off their ad-blocker for this site. If we have offended you or you don't deem this site to be worthy (and would like to have it shut down instead), do what you will, but don't pretend to be surprised if the site dies.

Techdirt replied that it is not justified to tell your visitors that the failure of your business model is all the fault of the visitors for using ad-blocking browsers. To make things worse, the magazine justified further bans with an amendment to their forum restrictions: Do not confess, teach, admit to, or promote ad-blocking software that will allow users to block the ads of this site.

Escapist Website Mass Bans (Then Unbans And Guilts) Users Who Mention Adblock

Website Mass-Bans Users Who Mention AdBlock

I discovered that, while reading the Techdirt article, that Ars Technica has recently done the same thing. Ars' very founder uncorked a bottle of fine whine last month (March 2010) about ad blocking, after blocking Adblock Plus users and discovering that two out of five visitors use it.

Why Ad Blocking is devastating to the sites you love

This was followed by what Techdirt called insulting, but (after reading them) I would call a don't give a ◊◊◊◊ — about you! attitude, in the resulting comments, especially from this fellow named Clintology. The responses were, basically, whitelist us, subscribe to Ars Premier, or ◊◊◊◊ off. Umm … okay, maybe Techdirt was right after all. Sadly, I am not surprised: More on this here.

Techdirt replied with a very long article to the effect:

Don't Blame Your Community: Ad Blocking Is Not Killing Any Sites

Written by Andy West on 21 April 2010.