125

I am completely uninterested in being badgered about social causes when I visit a site for expertise. I literally do not care what the cause is. I don't care which political groups support it even if those are the same as political groups I personally agree with, and I am disinclined to spend time here if on every page I have to scroll past some kind of social/political guilt trip.

I am disgusted by the recent Internet trend of people scrambling whatever platforms they have access to to win votes for some political stance, and I hate that Stack Overflow is doing this now too.

(Alternately, please add some additional class to the system message's HTML div, so I can reliably userscript it out of existence.)

Edit: Here's a general cause argument:

+1 just because this sort of thing can get out of hand, and then SO is covered in awareness-ribbons of various colors. – ಠ_ಠ Won't♦

Bingo. Where does it stop on the Stack Overflow network? "Just this once, because this cause is the important one (but the other causes aren't)" is terrible logic.

Edit: To be clear, this point of this post isn't a pro/con on SOPA, but SOPA is the latest case in the

  1. Abuse of the non-closable system message for non system status messages and

  2. Use (arguably abuse) of of the popularity of StackOverflow to drive traffic to some social cause

I disagree with both of these points. Your vote on this question should reflect the merit of these points for discussion.

  • 151
    You do realise that if SOPA is successful you might not even have Stack Overflow to reference or even Meta to whine on, right? – random Nov 29 '11 at 16:29
  • 30
    @random take the cause somewhere else. Also, I don't view this as a 'whine' as much as a plea to stop the trend of platform abuse – Factor Mystic Nov 29 '11 at 16:30
  • 22
    Yes, @FactorMystic, that's one option - what country do you suggest SO and SE sites should be migrated to? – Oded Nov 29 '11 at 16:31
  • 27
    @FactorMystic: +1 just because this sort of thing can get out of hand, and then SO is covered in awareness-ribbons of various colors. – Won't Nov 29 '11 at 16:31
  • 11
    @Oded a discussion of the server locale the site runs on is entirely separate (...meta?) to any individual Q/A page I have to suffer a notice on. Also, this comment is again badgering me to engage in social/political causes. Stop. I don't care what the cause is. Stop platform abuse. – Factor Mystic Nov 29 '11 at 16:33
  • 6
    @Kibbee I don't mind actual system status messages. It's the ones advocating non-SO related causes I'm troubled by (platform abuse). – Factor Mystic Nov 29 '11 at 16:42
  • 35
    What the hell is "platform abuse"? You're clearly guilty of exactly the same sensationalism that you're accusing the site owners of. – Aarobot Nov 29 '11 at 17:05
  • 20
    Surely StackOverflow should have the ability to defend itself. This bill gets passed then websites across the planet have a much harder time. This is an international issue that affects every single internet user, and there. It's such a small banner, just ignore it if you don't like it, at the end of the day it's not you're site and the people who run it can do what they like with it. As a long time member and active user of the site, I would have thought you would want this site to stick around, without threats and blocks. – Jonathan. Nov 29 '11 at 18:25
  • 17
    This is an SO related cause and the bill will impact the site, it just so happens that it will impact a lot of other sites NOT JUST IN THE US! If you don't like it go an use another site to answer your programming questions, or to provide answers to other's questions, but there isn't another one like StackOverflow on this planet, so good luck! – Jonathan. Nov 29 '11 at 18:27
  • 3
    "I literally do not care what the cause is" - I bet if the cause were 'Oppose the passing of a law prohibiting Factor Mystic from owning property' then you would care. First they came for etc. – AakashM Nov 30 '11 at 10:20
  • 7
    @AakashM regardless of the merit of the social issue, the SE network is not the place for that kind of promoption – Factor Mystic Nov 30 '11 at 13:45
  • 1
    @IsaacMoses Isn't that what the blog is for? – James Khoury Dec 13 '11 at 5:22
  • 2
    How is it "platform abuse" if the platform owners are the ones enabling such uses of a free site? Nothing is paid for the use of the site- it is completely SE's to do what they will correct? Including adding support for any cause they deem worthy, right? Or am I missing something? – Chuck Dee Jan 17 '12 at 18:45
  • 1
    +86/-86. Amazing! – Andrew Grimm Feb 4 '13 at 11:39
  • 2
    I agree. Use MSO instead: meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/342440/time-to-take-a-stand – prusswan Feb 2 '17 at 14:14

15 Answers 15

201

I am sympathetic.

Nevertheless, there is a difference between promoting "all kinds of awareness ribbons of various colors" (which I wouldn't want) and opposing a law that threatens the very site itself.

This particular law is threatening to Stack Exchange itself. It is so badly written that we think that if it passed, a determined copyright holder could close down this site. (See this question for why we think this.)

This is not a random social cause that we happen to support -- this is the internet we're trying to defend. Making the internet a better place is the #1 goal of Stack Exchange.

There is a risk of a slippery slope. You don't want to see banners advertising every political cause. There are very, very few situations that are important enough to try to get your attention. I hope that we continue to make the right call as to what's really important and what's merely nice to have, but it's always a judgement call.

  • 59
    The blog is the right place for this, not a banner, IMO. – tvanfosson Nov 29 '11 at 16:56
  • 45
    The SOPA banner seems like an appropriate judgement call since it directly affects the existence of everything here. I think it was the Steve Jobs banner that opened this can of worms of arguments. – LarsTech Nov 29 '11 at 16:57
  • 16
    @LarsTech so, what if it's the healthcare law or some NY tax law that threatens the existence of SO, do we get a banner then? The blog is the right place to expression the opinions of the company and advocate for positions they feel are important. Banners should be reserved for operational messages. – tvanfosson Nov 29 '11 at 17:00
  • 12
    @LarsTech I have trouble buying that argument. If pollution destroys the earth we won't be around to use Stack Overflow -- should we have a system message promoting good environmental practices? – Michael Mrozek Nov 29 '11 at 17:00
  • 10
    @tvanfosson I think an argument can be made that the SOPA banner is an operational message. :-) – LarsTech Nov 29 '11 at 17:02
  • 9
    @LarsTech - I'm not arguing that its a good law, I just think that banners should be used for news about the system, not viewpoints on legislation, causes, eulogies, etc. In my opinion, the right place for SE, the company, to comment on these types of things is the blog, not the banner. – tvanfosson Nov 29 '11 at 17:05
  • 5
    @Joel, I support the SO/SE decision to get our attention to this cause. Thanks for nice explanation - SOPA threatens the site and the very goal of internet being better place. These are pretty firm reasons for the decision you made. – Tomas Nov 29 '11 at 17:24
  • 10
    @FactorMystic: Did you post this question because you made a (negative) value judgement of SOPA and this stance will help promote your view? – Jeremy Banks Nov 29 '11 at 17:40
  • 8
    @JeremyBanks nope. I explained as much in my original post. Please try not to be snarky. – Factor Mystic Nov 29 '11 at 17:49
  • 13
    We used a feature that was never designed for "dead people tribute" to give out a tribute and now are suffering the consequence. System messages were meant for emergencies, stuff like ... the website is going down in 5 minutes, be warned. That is why they can not be dismissed; that is why they are so prominent. meta.stackexchange.com/a/109225/12950 – tvanfosson Nov 29 '11 at 17:57
  • 10
    @tvan In that case, how about "The website will be down indefinitely due to SOPA" [that is only somewhat tongue-in-cheek]? – Josh Darnell Nov 29 '11 at 18:07
  • 7
    @tvanfosson This IS an emergency. StackOverflow might be in maintenance mode permanently if this bill passes. – chown Nov 29 '11 at 18:21
  • 7
    You guys are taking things to extreme, please do research the topic at hand. No one is going to close the place down. – JonH Nov 29 '11 at 18:26
  • 23
    And apparently the legality of homosexual marriage was also threatening to Stack Exchange / Stack Overflow itself? meta.stackoverflow.com/a/297871/1212596 – Paul Draper Jun 27 '15 at 21:43
  • 7
    Over five years later, this answer get a whole new meaning.... – Shadow The Coffee Wizard Jan 31 '17 at 23:04
60

Time for me to break out my favorite generic response: "I think the answer lies in the middle ground between the two extremes."

Here, the extremes are "never promote social causes" and "promote all kinds of social causes." In general, I agree with you. Stack Overflow very clearly defines what is on-topic — as does each Stack Exchange site — and social causes are definitely off-topic.

However, in the specific case of SOPA, I think the message is valid. The admins are putting up a legitimate claim that SOPA could cause serious damage to Stack Overflow, or even shut it down. That makes the SOPA system message relevant to SO. And every organization behaves differently when its very survival is at stake.

  • Does SOPA stop stackoverflow moving to the UK if the US bands it, bit not what is the big deal? – Ian Ringrose Nov 29 '11 at 17:03
  • 8
    And then the corporate lobbying groups would target the UK? NO! I say we make a stand. – PeeHaa Nov 29 '11 at 17:07
  • 1
    +1 "in the specific case of SOPA, I think the message is valid". SE never spams us with this sort of thing; this is important. – Andrew Barber Nov 30 '11 at 2:17
  • 1
    @IanRingrose: Yes, because moving an entire website, along with all of the personnel and staff that run it, is just that easy. – Nicol Bolas Nov 30 '11 at 10:51
  • @IanRingrose: SO would ONLY be impacted if it did move. By staying a US company and site it is not impacted by SOPA. – NotMe Nov 30 '11 at 14:43
29

Sopa? This... is... Interneeeet!!

Now that I have your attention, let's get to the point. The very fact that this picture exists illustrates why free Internet is important. The fact that I could mash up a picture using a well known meme to convey a message and the fact that memes exists at all is thanks to the gears and cogwheels of the established web communities.

It's not the 'ordinary' web sites that will be first hit by this new law. The first ones on the line are web communities, especially those with user generated content. Because if it's user generated, it's not supplied and sold by a big company. If you can get amused by watching web series over YouTube, you (supposedly) won't pay as much for Hollywood ones. So, it's not just Stack Overflow, it's also Wikipedia, redit, etc. Basically, it's the creative part of the Internet, which is at a highest danger.

To break or even just risk breaking that network of people is more that just to take away another source of amusement from them. It would mean breaking our lines of communication and setting us back decades ago, when most of web was read-only and it wasn't all that different from other media like TV, where you would get only what you've been served.


To more specifically address some of the concerns being named:

Q1: Should Stack Overflow display social/political awareness campaigns?

A1: In general case - no. It shouldn't be a social/political platform any more than it should be an obituary page. It this specific case though, it is clear that the issue may severely affect both the site and its community.

Q2: Should non-Americans have to see that? Should we even care about American laws? We certainly can't influence them...

A2: It will affect us, so I say we should care. At least enough to talk about it even if we cannot influence anything... or can we?

Q3: But, my country X doesn't have such laws!

A3: If USA enacts it, the rest will follow. At least some of them, and some is too many.


We can either bury our heads in sand, pretending that we don't care for the bill, and pretending that we are not just waiting for the same to happen in our countries.. Or we can spread the word about the dangers and what is at stake. Will it make a difference? Maybe... maybe not... probably not. Is it worth at least trying? Yes!

  • 1
    WRT Q3, the mere fact that other countries don't have similar laws to the US doesn't mean much. The best example is the Patriot Act, which has affected Canadians to a large degree. Many Canadian companies have policies against storing data on US servers because that data is essentially easily accessible to US law enforcement. There's a data centre in Nova Scotia specifically for European companies that need secure intercontinental off-site backup, but don't want to risk using a US service because of the Patriot Act! Something that breaks the internet in the US will break it world wide. – MBraedley Dec 12 '11 at 17:23
  • Wow. It looks like the Sparta guy is yelling "THIS. IS. SOOOPAAAAA!!!!!!!" and the earth is quaking, and dust and debris flies around as the battle for the Greater Internet takes place at the Black Gates of Congress. – Mateen Ulhaq Dec 25 '11 at 8:51
24

Just as a quick summary:

  • Within minutes of the notice being posted there are already scores of political arguments going on in Meta
  • As a non-US citizen there isn't really anything I can actually do about this, nor do I feel that it is my place to do anything about the internal affairs of another country because its none of my business, just as its none of anybody elses business whenevery non-UK residents stick their noses into UK politics
  • The banner is really annoying and doesn't go away (how long is it going to stay there?)

Look at what happened the last time the banner was used for (essentially) random chit-chat

I know that this issue affects Stack Overflow, and like others on the site I am sympathetic but I'm not sure this is really the place (on the face of it it does seem to be a bad idea, but I haven't really looked into it - because its none of my business!)

  • 5
    As much as I'm not really for getting certain points on Meta (seeing as, technically, dealing with SOPA itself isn't actually in our technical scope), I don't really think it's fair to call 3 questions "scores". – Grace Note Nov 29 '11 at 16:52
  • 10
    nor do I feel that it is my place to do anything about the internal affairs of another country because its none of my business Well you really should since it will also effect you if this gets passed. – PeeHaa Nov 29 '11 at 16:54
  • 3
    I think your definition of scores is an order of magnitude off (if there is one thing a US Public School education is good for it is knowing the first 5-6 words of the Gettysburg Address). – user7116 Nov 29 '11 at 16:55
  • 3
    @PeeHaa Every law every country ever passes affects me in some way, does the "it affects me" argument really give me a right to get involved in (for example) the US policy on abortions or stem cell research? – Justin Nov 29 '11 at 16:59
  • 1
    That doesn't directly affect me now does it (since I'm not from the US)? However I do have some .com domains for example and I do use several different site / services which are either hosted in US / has an US registrar tld or is otherwise tied to the US. The internet is not the corporations it's the people's. – PeeHaa Nov 29 '11 at 17:03
  • 2
    "Annoying" isn't really a good reason. – Robert Harvey Nov 29 '11 at 17:11
  • @RobertHarvey True, but it is a reason :-) – Justin Nov 29 '11 at 17:12
  • 4
    You forget how much UK governments clamber over themselves to "stand shoulder to shoulder" with the US when it comes to policy. Despite the European parliament adopting a resolution against SOPA there are no guarantees that our own government wouldn't pass a similar bill in the face of Europe's opposition. This is a worrying disruptive bill that will impact internet users far beyond US borders. – Kev Nov 29 '11 at 17:33
  • 1
    You can actually do something other than raise awareness. You can sign the petition mentioned on this page for non-US folks. – Mateen Ulhaq Dec 26 '11 at 9:35
15
+50

This is hardly an isolated incident, and Stack Exchange, Inc (ie, the actual company) has re-iterated time and time again that this is their platform, and when they choose to do this the community really has no recourse but to bear with it, though they justify it with some pretense that it's actually on topic.

Past instances:

The list will doubtless grow.

Much has been written both for and against these situations, but there's only one thing that appears to be missing from the conversation: honesty.

In the early days of Stack Overflow I used to play a game I liked to call "The Hamburger game." There were all sorts of questions programmers could ask each other beyond what we get today. For instance, "Programming on a boat?" or "What's your favorite hamburger, as a programmer?"

Ultimately it was determined to tighten the focus even further, and the primary reason was because we wanted to retain experts who didn't have time or interest in wading through crap.

I enjoyed, therefore, the challenge of creating a "hamburger" question which passed muster with the community, and several similar questions at the time. Rather than asking "What hamburger is the best" I had asked for algorithms to track hamburger toppings and how to manage complexity for invalid situations (seeds on buns for a bunless hamburger, for instance).

It's fun taking an off topic question and reasoning a way to make it just barely on topic enough to justify its inclusion in an area where it doesn't belong.

The reality is that of the issues above, only SOPA ever posed an existential threat to Stack Exchange, LLC, and even that was unlikely - there were many paths SE could have taken had the proposed legislation gone into effect.

The other social, political positions are just that - social and political positions. They are calls to action, and in every case save SOPA, they were decided upon by Joel Spolsky, co-founder and CEO of Stack Exchange, Inc. Not everyone on the network agrees with them. Not everyone wants to be involved.

Further, even many of those who are interested in them agree that they shouldn't be on the network.

But worse than all that is the pandering attempt to justify them as somehow on topic.

They aren't.

They are, at best, hamburger questions.

  • Abortion, but for programmers.
  • Terrorism, but for programmers.
  • Immigration, but for programmers.
  • Gun reform, but for programmers.
  • Small business grants, but for programmers.
  • Scouting, but for programmers.
  • Animal rights, but for programmers.
  • Race, but for programmers.

I'm not going to argue against inclusion. That's already decided, and the decision is that Stack Exchange, LLC may, from time to time, inform all users of issues that Stack Exchange, LLC and/or its leadership finds noteworthy and they will attempt to turn their users into activists for causes they feel compelled to act on.

We, as a community, simply have to accept that we will be called on to act in Joel's favor from time to time, and in return he will continue to provide the service he's always provided.

What I'd like to stop, though, is the false pretense deployed, the justifications that suggest that these are somehow magically on topic.

They aren't - and you can tell because each time this happens we lose experts. If we cannot maintain our laser-like focus on issues that are appropriate and topical we will continue to do so, but that's social capital spent, and I'm sure it's an expense Stack Exchange, Inc is happy to spend if it obtains the desired results on their social or political issue.

However, if Stack Exchange, Inc and its officers and spokespersons come clean, accept and explain that these are not on topic, and that the company will occasionally do this and the community simply has to accept this, then we may at least stem the loss of some experts, but more importantly, we won't be encouraging dishonesty and having to suspend our disbelief when such things come our way.

This policy should be well articulated in a FAQ so we don't have to have a "should question X exist?" each and every time this line is crossed. Draw the line, and when another similar issue comes up, cross it, explain that you're crossing it, refer to the policy, and then we won't have so much side discussion.

  • 8
    And for those fruitlessly posting questions and answers to vainly try and get the company to change its position, your time would be better spent directing your concerns to the board of directors, investors, and advertisers. The company is using its user base for political action, and the investors and advertisers need to know what their money is being used for. Whether they agree or not they should all be aware that their funds are going towards political causes, because this may impact them in a variety of ways, legal and financial. SE should disclose this, but currently does not. – Adam Davis Jan 31 '17 at 16:22
  • "the whole genre seems to be at risk" (not that I complain though) – gnat Feb 1 '17 at 10:57
14

It depends on the situation being promoted. I for one think the Jobs status bar message was totally unnecessary, but if you read about what this is about I can very much understand why this is important.

Beyond making noise there is not much I can personally do to help, but I'm prepared to put up with a 10px banner for issues than genuinely do affect a site I use in my professional life every day.

10

I don't live in USA either, but that only makes me regret I cannot "call my senator" (not that I really believe it would change anything, but still). And I fail to see how this little bar can really annoy someone so much. I think its real purpose is to make people look around to see what's going on and think a little. I hope that message just does it.

Bottomline: if you are

completely uninterested in being badgered about social causes,

why do you care so much?..

  • 3
    This post is not a discussion of pro/con on SOPA, it's about whether it is appropriate to leverage SO traffic to promote social issues, and now also whether the system message should be abused for that funnel – Factor Mystic Nov 29 '11 at 18:51
  • 1
    You can actually do something other than raise awareness. You can sign the petition mentioned on this page for non-US folks. – Mateen Ulhaq Dec 26 '11 at 9:37
8

I agree 100% percent with you. However on this specific case I really don't.

Just this once, because this cause is the important one (but the other causes aren't)

Well if others have the same possible implications I wouldn't mind seeing it.

The implications of this can be really really bad for the internet as we know it.

As one of the sites / organization with a huge influence (hopefully) I expect them to do it!

It will be the big tech companies who may be able to prevent such draconian measures.

And we will all benefit from this.

This isn't just any social cause you know. It's the future of the internet (sounds pretty hard but I really think it is like this). At least untill we find a way around it and we will:

every one knows this quote:

The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.

And it's true, but it is not necessarily a good thing.

6

(Alternately, please add some additional class to the html system message div, so I can userscript it out of existence reliably)

You should be able to use #system-message, but you really shouldn't block them; occasionally system messages are actually important (my position has softened somewhat from my original "SO would never abuse system messages"). There was a longer discussion about it here, but it was deleted

  • At the time, the request got massively downvoted since everyone got touchy-feely because Steve Jobs had just died (even though system messages should've never been used for "memorial" purposes). But it got deleted at my request since it's a dupe of: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/64118/… – NullUserException อ_อ Nov 29 '11 at 16:48
  • @NullUserExceptionอ_อ Oh, there was a comment explaining it; I didn't notice – Michael Mrozek Nov 29 '11 at 16:57
  • Huh, I thought you just ignored the comment because "It doesn't explain why the deletion was requested" – Grace Note Nov 29 '11 at 17:03
5

Let me first say that I agree a 100 % with your cause. I have strong feelings about censorship in the country that hosts 9 out of 10 web services that I use and, if your senators would at all about an alien's opinion, I would inform them that I do.

Your idea of creating awareness certainly worked out as the posts on meta alone have over 10k views.

I also found the news about Steve Jobs passing away interesting and I was certainly pleased to be informed about the Moderator election.

But please add an option to hide these banners after reading them.

I have no problem seeing them once, but I certainly do not need to see them every time I visit any site on Stack Overflow. The color is so different from the rest of the interface that the banner immediately captures my attention, distracting me from the things that I actually wanted to read.

2

There's one very important point - the issue is not social and is not political, it is legal and legal means it will influence everyday lives of real people.

An adopted act of law (any act - not only SOPA) will not be an inert piece of paper, instead it will have the Power of Law which means courts and law enforcement and government agencies - the bodies of power - and also state and private companies will act upon that law.

Government adopting a law is not politics as in "some crap noone cares about", it is life as real as it can be. Since this specific act affects (or even just looks affecting) SE functioning it is only reasonable to bring it to SE users attention.

1

Please do use StackOverflow to promote causes like SOPA, if you feel it can help a good thing and protect our freedom!

  • 5
    Fake devil's advocate counterpoint: What if my "dream and freedom" is that this 'Palestinian' nonsense should be eliminated and sought a banner for Jewish Life and Living SE? No social cause is exempt. None should be allowed on the SE network. – Factor Mystic Nov 29 '11 at 16:41
  • 2
    I trust the SE team as an authority (as a "enlightened dictator" :-)) that it can select which cause to promote and which not. – Tomas Nov 29 '11 at 16:49
  • 11
    There won't be an SE network if SOPA goes through. It's less a social cause and more one that threatens the very existence of these sites. @fac – random Nov 29 '11 at 16:51
0

For all those system message haters - I've made a quick chrome extension which just applies a bit of css to hide the banner - download it here.

To get the banner back, simply uncheck the enabled box in chrome://extensions. Hope this helps.

-1

I think its worth considering as an action of Stack Exchange Inc, as opposed to "Stack Overflow" as a website. Corporations might not have a conscience, but the people within it do. And sometimes they feel the need to use the tools and platform they have on hand to do the best they can.

Unlike Google - an protest at SE wouldn't exactly hit the news. Overdone, it would kill off interest in the site, but once in a while its good for programmers and non programmers alike to peek out from our keyboards and go "Hey, there's something going on".

Meta's about as good a place for this as any for this. There's some condoned meta content that's not quite just about how the site is run, but also about the community.

Among the things that meta is meant for is

Stack Overflow the company to communicate with the community (soliciting feedback on new ideas or features, or discussing policies that affect the whole network)

I did talk about the conscience of the people of a company right? Well, this is how its communicated. This is how Stack Exchange Inc, the company, and the people who make it up go "We feel this is important" to the folks who make up Stack Exchange the community.

So, twice in 6 years? Talking about things that matter? I dunno. I can live with that.

(Just for the record - and for full disclosure. I'm a mod at superuser.com. I fully agree with both of the posts that could be referenced here - both the original SOPA post, and the recent (2017) trump/immigration ban related one. Any views here are my own. They do not reflect the feelings of my fellow mods.)

  • 4
    The thing is, SOPA mattered for the whole site, as it potentially led to an environment where the US headquartered site could have been shut down, as unlikely as that was. Trump's US specific immigration issues don't actually matter. Maybe to you they do. But despite Joel trying to twist statistics by essentially saying "people in other countries use SO, and some people in other countries are affected by US immigration, therefore immigration affects SO" is a complete fallacy. 1/2 – Jason C Feb 2 '17 at 15:32
  • 4
    In reality it has zero effect on the quality of these sites nor does it threaten their existence, even in the absolute worst case that maybe one or two SE devs or a handful of SE users have a slightly harder time getting into the US. 2/2 – Jason C Feb 2 '17 at 15:33
  • Which I didn't even talk about till the end - and as a way of making my own biases here clear. I've kept it as generic as possible. I believe while the term a business major would use is "Corporate Social Responsibility" I believe its simply the people who make up the company acting in the way they feel is right for the community and the world as a whole. Heck yes, it was emotive, and was going to annoy a few people, but sometimes its worth doing what you truely believe is the right thing, and just deal with the consequences. – Journeyman Geek Feb 2 '17 at 15:41
  • 2
    And the downvotes are fine. I welcome the comments as well. I accept much as I see these actions as the right thing, I also see others seeing it as an incorrect course of action. This is an emotive issue, and its pretty important to try to see the other side – Journeyman Geek Feb 2 '17 at 15:47
  • 1
    @JasonC > "First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me." -MARTIN NIEMÖLLER – allquixotic Feb 2 '17 at 15:48
  • @JourneymanGeek No I know you didn't talk about it until the end. I'm sorry for appearing like I ignored the rest. I didn't, but didn't have any comments on it worth sharing. I should have clarified, I was commenting specifically on the "things that matter" (italicized) part. Sorry about any unintentional angst there. – Jason C Feb 2 '17 at 15:49
  • 4
    @allquixotic I'm sorry, but a slippery slope argument does not seem to be applicable or convincing here for two reasons: Firstly, I'm not promoting censorship, it just doesn't need to be on SE. Just because I don't feel it should be here doesn't mean I don't feel it should be elsewhere or don't feel people should speak out against things they disagree with. Secondly, if the US (or any country) were to declare a policy change that actually did matter directly to the SE site, I would be way more forgiving about it, like I was with SOPA. – Jason C Feb 2 '17 at 15:52
-9

What has SOPA got to do with me, as I don't live in the USA?

  • 9
    Do you use any of the Stack Exchange sites? meta.stackexchange.com/questions/114005/… – random Nov 29 '11 at 17:03
  • Or any other site with a US registrar domain or servers hosted in the US? – PeeHaa Nov 29 '11 at 17:05
  • 2
    @random, yes but the internet can heal it's self by bepassing the USA if needed, a new site could setup in the UK using the cc-wiki data damps if needed. (Whats good for China is also good for the USA....) – Ian Ringrose Nov 29 '11 at 17:06
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    The Internet won't need to heal itself if it doesn't get damaged in the first place. – Pops Nov 29 '11 at 17:13
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    Today it's in the US, tommorow it can be in EU! We must not be indolent and support each other. If you want to take it strictly economically, cooperation pays off. Moreover, if the website concerned is located in US, it affects EU also! – Tomas Nov 29 '11 at 17:20
  • @TomasT. EU has no Hollywood. – bestsss Nov 29 '11 at 18:21
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    @Ian, you won't be able to use .net and .com domains for instance, though. – bestsss Nov 29 '11 at 18:22
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    @bestsss, the domains are irrelevant this effects every domain, even ones like .co.uk, .de, .fr etc. This bill is not taking down a site, it's blocking access to that site, that means that they can block the entire US population from accessing a site, hosted in the EU or anywhere else, outside of US juristriction. – Jonathan. Nov 29 '11 at 18:56
  • @Ian, the problem is huge amount of internet users are from the US, bypass the US, and the people who visit most sites decreases considerably, this means less people who view ads/pay for the site. This means the site becomes less commercially viable, and is much more likely to shut down as it can't sustain itself, for everyone, across the ENTIRE PLANET, not just the US. – Jonathan. Nov 29 '11 at 18:57
  • btw, the thing with the China firewall, is they've had it from pretty much the beginning, there was no sudden drop in users, at least not on the scale as there would be with the US, overall the number of people using the sites from China is increasing, and the wall is 'weakening'. – Jonathan. Nov 29 '11 at 18:59
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    @Jonathan. the remarks is that if you own a .com/.net/.ca etc. domains governed by an US company, the domain itself can be shutdown. There will be always a way to bypass the domain restriction but if your domain doesn't map to an IP and you're already outside US jurisdiction, it's quite an appalling case. – bestsss Nov 29 '11 at 18:59
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    @bestsss, the vast majority of users have no idea, nor any intention of knowing how the internet works, let alone what an IP Address is/means. So you can't just say "oh well they can access it directly via the IP Address and skip out the DNS entirely". Under current laws any site inside US juristriction can be shut down, the new bill allows them to block access to (effectively shutting down) sites outside US juristriction. Also this bill will only lead to future bills allowing the blocking of any communication with certain IP Addresses. – Jonathan. Nov 29 '11 at 19:05
  • @Jonathan. I didn't mean straight use of an IP address, there will be some DNS servers (free?) to do the mapping. IP addresses are fluctuating (prime reason why dns exists) so blocking must be on larger networks. – bestsss Nov 29 '11 at 19:08
  • @bestsss Side note: .ca is actually owned and managed by the CIRA, a Canadian organization. You cannot register a .ca domain if you're a foreign (i.e. not Canadian) individual or organization. – Adam Lear Nov 30 '11 at 0:29
  • You can actually do something other than raise awareness. You can sign the petition mentioned on this page for non-US folks. – Mateen Ulhaq Dec 26 '11 at 9:37

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protected by Joel Spolsky Dec 12 '11 at 19:39

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