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It's July 12th! (in Coordinated Universal Stack Exchange Time)

Today we're gonna be showing a banner directing readers to the blog post (and thus, indirectly, this discussion) from every Stack Exchange site.

Special thanks to Jon Chan for whipping up a dismissible banner for this, so we didn't get stuck abusing system messages for it.

BIG thanks to everyone who has participated in this discussion thus far; there's a lot of good information and debate here, I've learned a lot from it and I hope y'all did too.

This discussion started as a way to help me focus my thoughts while I was working with Kaitlin on the blog post to announce this company's support for Fight for the Future's Internet-Wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality.

In particular, I want to get a better feel for why would anyone be against this. To better understand both why folks feel it's important and what gives them pause when asked to support it.

So if you've got something to add, please do write an answer!

A bit of background

Back in 2014, the United States Federal Communication Commission, in response to numerous complaints and concerns, implemented a set of rules that prohibit Internet Service Providers from blocking specific content providers or charging them for access to their networks. Essentially, a set of rules that prevent an ISP from double-dipping on service they're already being paid for, or blocking access to specific websites just for the hell of it.

In order to do this, they had to change how ISPs were classified, moving them from a "Title I" classification to "Title II" - more or less the same framework for regulation that's been in place for phone companies for decades, establishing them as a so-called "common carrier" - that is to say, one which may not discriminate between customers. If you already assumed that this is how the Internet worked, you're not alone; however, due to how they were classified previously the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) had been unable to enforce rules that would ensure that traffic over the Internet would continue be allowed to work as, well, traffic over the Internet was expected to work.

In 2016, US President Donald Trump appointed Ajit Pai as Chairman of the FCC. Pai is former Associate General Counsel for Verizon and he is leading the Net Neutrality rollback.

If this all sounds really boring and procedural... Well, it is. The bit that's gotten so many people worked up is that there are companies and officials actively fighting against it, including the current chairman of the FCC.

The reason to get interested in this now

I'm gonna save some space here and link to a couple of relevant sites:

I strongly encourage reading both of them if you wanna get a better feel for what this is about, but the short version is: fairly soon, the FCC will vote on these proposed changes. So if there's a chance at influencing the outcome of that vote, we gotta speak out now.

Your thoughts

So why bring this up for discussion? Because this is something that has the potential to directly affect Stack Overflow, both the company and anyone using the site. Even folks who aren't based in the US have probably benefited from the work of those who are at one point or another; if nothing else, this is where our servers live so any additional headaches when it comes to providing access are gonna be a problem.

More than that though... As many of you have observed at one point or another, y'all are smarter than me. Better informed. So if this is something Stack Overflow is gonna be involved in, it should be your voices that are heard, whether in support of this campaign or especially if you have objections. As I said a few months back, we need more of this sort of discussion here on meta, and this is a prime example of an issue where informed public discussion is critical.

So let's hear it: why should or shouldn't we all head over to https://www.battleforthenet.com/ right now and use the handy form to send a letter to the FCC?


Hat-tip to Alexander O'Mara for digging up two fascinating questions on net neutrality from Network Engineering and Economics:

Hat-tip to BobbyA for sharing this Ars Technica piece on How to write a meaningful FCC comment supporting net neutrality

Special thanks to EBrown for writing a detailed response here, including advice for folks who don't live in the US.

And props to Ben Collins for writing at length about why he believes the government shouldn't be involved in this.

Procedural note: I'm gonna be clearing comments on the question (deleting them) periodically as a practical measure - please leave an answer if you've something useful to add here. Alternately, join me in chat.

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    Don't feel like writing an answer? Tired of informative, well-considered debate? Hate not being interrupted by tangential opinions while you're typing? Join me in chat! But if you wanna post here, please do it in an answer; I'll be clearing comments on this question periodically from here out. – Shog9 Jun 29 '17 at 22:52
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    Meta: assuming you might use that dismissible banner for other things in the future, I hope that the dismissal that's sticky enough to last the day isn't sticky enough to last forever. – Monica Cellio Jul 13 '17 at 0:52
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    It is a shame that the whole post just fails to address why a non US citizen is reading this, at least until the edit mentioning EBrown's answer. – Nikhil Girraj Jul 13 '17 at 6:21
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    Umm, it's July 13. not July 12 folks! – EKons Jul 13 '17 at 10:06
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's about a past event and new answers can't really be relevant anymore. (Ideally, historical lock would be applied) – Shadow Wizard Oct 31 '17 at 12:04
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    Net Neutrality is in the news again. There is a question here asking if Stack Overflow (the company) will involve itself and/or the community in this discussion. – S.L. Barth Nov 22 '17 at 12:25
  • Wanted to post an answer but question is closed. There is a statement in Russia's civic code basically saying that air cannot be sold i.e. it is illegal to ask for payment for doing nothing (intellectual rights obviously do not fall under this statement because author produced the thing he owns before asking to pay for usage of it). It means that any attempt to require payment from either client or resource to access some specific resource at full speed would be illegal (but it won't be illegal to throttle access to the specific resource indefinitely). Is there anything similar in USA? – Euri Pinhollow Nov 27 '17 at 20:20
  • Why am I not surprised that "50,000 net neutrality complaints were excluded from FCC’s repeal docket"? arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/12/… – SDsolar Dec 6 '17 at 1:32
  • Now the FCC has voted to repeal net neutrality, it's up to Congress to overturn the decision. But it doesn't look good. – Mast Dec 14 '17 at 23:59
  • Want to visualize the internet without Net Neutrality? See medium.com/@lex.sheehan/net-neutrality-illustrated-b4d23d9d5320 – l3x Dec 16 '17 at 2:10
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    I was told there would be a zombie apocalypse as a result of net neutrality being... controlled by elected representatives of the people rather than an unelected body of bureaucrats? Goddamnit, where's my zombie apocalypse? I've been preparing for YEARS and I'm turning blue in certain parts. – Won't Jan 9 at 0:52
  • I'm at this moment preparing a meal of chickens and rice - if you hear a knock on your door later tonight, don't answer it @Won't. No matter how much I tell you I'm fine. – Shog9 Jan 9 at 2:08

51 Answers 51

2

Glad to see SE is standing up for this. It's a nonpartisan issue which needs everyone's support.

0

We need to present the pros in a public forum where non-technical people will see it and understand the advantages (and if any, the disadvantages) of net neutrality. Something like MYC's The FCC Should Pass Laws To Preserve Net Neutrality, but with more exposure and a little TLC on the site. With exposure to the point that the press will see and raise awareness, and have a prioritized list of pros to draw from like that site to make the case to politicians.

  • "if any", lol. Maybe read some of the other answers on this page. – BVernon Jul 12 '17 at 16:53
  • @BVernon - I did read some others, so allowed for the fact that not everyone shares SO's view on this. – Don Branson Jul 12 '17 at 17:07
0

Why should I care about net neutrality if I can't watch Netflix from my country?

I seems to me that the ISPs want to make their business model somewhat similar to how courier companies work today. Basically they have different prices depending on how quickly you want to receive the packages. Only those that pay for premium services get the merchandise they want to be shipped to their home quickly. Thus, it's the end user whom ends up paying those costs instead of the merchant.

If one sees companies like Netflix as merchants of multimedia content, where only those that pay for a premium service can enjoy those contents at their full capacity of service. The only difference that I see with how courier companies work is that the ISPs currently don't receive a cut of the profit Netflix makes for delivering premium services.

Even more, why should I care if I can't even watch Netflix, Hulu, or HBO Go from my country.

  • 3
    That's exactly why net neutrality needs to be implemented: so that you can watch Netflix, etc. – KingDuken Jul 12 '17 at 16:26
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    That is a Netflix decision because of the licenses they have to pay to provide the service. It is not an Internet deficiency. Leave my Internet alone. Try Amazon Prime or hulu, or crackle or whatever. But the NET ITSELF SHOULDN'T CARE WHAT IS BEING TRANSMITTED OVER IT. – SDsolar Jul 12 '17 at 19:11
  • You say "Only those that pay for premium services get the merchandise they want to be shipped to their home quickly. Thus, it's the end user whom ends up paying those costs instead of the merchant." but I don't think that is how this works. It would be the Merchant who has to pay to be on even ground with competitors under the new rules. What your describing is how it is now. I can buy a better internet service to get things here faster. What people are worried about is that the burden is shifting onto website as ISPs begin to pick favorites, and small companies could not field the cost. – rp.beltran Jul 12 '17 at 19:21
  • @rp.beltran Yes, I'm describing how things work at this moment. If things change, small business would have to pay a higher barrier to entry, but those costs would be passed to the end user anyway. – rraallvv Jul 12 '17 at 19:44
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What can we do? The most visible thing we can do is have clear tracking of those people in charge who depend on the public's votes. If a well informed public is able to identify individuals they have the power to keep in/out of office, no amount of funding from another source will allow them to keep such a position of power.

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    One issue with this is that the members of the FCC making this decision are appointed, not elected. – Servy Jul 12 '17 at 21:23
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Special thanks to Jon Chan for whipping up a dismissible banner for this, so we didn't get stuck abusing system messages for it.

Feedback for the future: the banner was dismissible on a per-site basis. That meant that anyone who uses several sites had to dismiss it several times. I started to get annoyed at that design about the third time I dismissed the banner. You use network-wide cookies for other things such as authentication or advertising: why not for this?

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I foresee that ISPs will work directly with Content Providers to maximize their profits. Businesses will do whatever it takes to make their money, if necessary the Content Providers may take over the ISPs as well. All these will happen with or without net neutrality.

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My answer is really simple:

The network is the network. It should not be tampered with. It is layer 1 - the transport. It works, so don't fix it.

If a company like Netflix pays to install caching servers at ISP sites all around then that is just the way it works. Anybody should be allowed to do that. I'm glad they do.

But as for layer 1, the transportation medium, my message is easy and clear:

HANDS OFF

Shut up about QoS as a reason to mess with the network. Look at how Netflix does it. It costs them money but gives us all better service. Having a closer server provides a better QoS. It does not require messing with the transport medium at all.

Leave the Internet alone. It works.


The ISPs should be regulated like other carriers like the phone companies. Monopolies should be broken up, for instance. 5G is about to bring total convergence anyway, so we need to be ready for that part. But this has nothing to do with actual net neutrality, hence the FCC's position.

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    Except there are very few (and in many cases) no other carriers to choose from so your argument is flawed. In my area, I have 1 option. And that is Optimum Online. I cant choose Fios, or Google Fiber, or Time Warner Cable, or any other provider. I'd be forced to move. Now if optimum starts to throttle my speed, then my option is to move? That's a bad ultimatum. You argument holds if we had the option of choosing a provider like we have the option of choosing what kind of car we want to buy. But that's now how it works unfortunately. – Javia1492 Jul 12 '17 at 19:39
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    +1 to everything @Javia1492 said. The ISP industry is not one that lends itself well to competition, so many of us can't "simply switch to a different carrier." Your argument also ignores the impact the "hands off" approach would have on small businesses, who could be left in the lurch by ISPs prioritizing bigger, higher-paying companies. – freginold Jul 12 '17 at 19:45
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There are a lot of legitimate reasons for rolling back Net Neutrality that are overlooked here. If you "really" want to understand the issue from both sides then the article below is a good read to better understand some of the cons of NN (that is, not the cons of the concept itself, but of letting the FCC enforce it).

Normally I wouldn't just copy a link to an answer like this... but given the nature of this forum I don't see any reason to copy the text of this article here when it's formatted much better on the site.

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/02/25/net-neutrality-is-a-problem-not-a-solution/

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    So that's an article from a little while ago about what the author thinks is going to happen when the regulations are put in place, as was written just before they were put in place. They've now been put in place for a while now. Do you have any evidence to suggest that what that author predicts would happen has actually happened? (Also the author states what they think will happen without so much as mentioning why they think it will happen, but since the regulation has been out for a while we no longer need to theorize as to what might happen, we can observe what has happened.) – Servy Jul 13 '17 at 13:55
  • @Servy There was actually a great article I found when I originally wrote that answer pointing out several abuses that had happened... innovative ideas actually intended to help customers were deemed violations of the rules and lawsuits were opened. I also read about issues where the FCC went after companies for violating privacy... yet the FCC doesn't actually have clear rules written (or at least not at the time... dunno if that's changed) around this subject like the FTC did. – BVernon Jul 20 '17 at 2:49
  • @Servy The fact you're asking me this shows you didn't look very hard... the heritage website, for example, has numerous articles on the subject. Forbes has some as well, and some other sources. Honestly, at this point the rules are getting rolled back and there's nothing we can do about it. If you care to have a better understanding you can go research some more. If not, then you can complain at me for not citing more sources I guess. – BVernon Jul 20 '17 at 2:50
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    If finding relevant sources that contain facts about what the law actually does, rather than theories as to what it might do, why didn't you post them from the start? You're telling me that you cited a low quality resource that doesn't back up it's assertions because I could go out and find actual sources with real evidence behind their assertions if I wanted to. So in effect you're telling me to prove your point for you because you can't be bothered to cite the sources that you think are easy to find? – Servy Jul 20 '17 at 13:11
  • @Servy I'd say they are reasonably easy to find. But obviously it take more than 2 seconds or I would do it for you. So I'm saying that if you are passionate about this subject and want to know the truth then you can look them up... but I don't care enough to do it for you because it's not going to change the outcome and I've got better things to do. – BVernon Jul 21 '17 at 15:53
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    Again, if it's easy to find sources that actually prove what you're claiming, then why did you choose to cite a source that doesn't actually demonstrate anything, instead of one that does. It's not my job to prove your point for you. It's not my responsibility to support you doing your own research and actually supporting your own (very radical) claims for you, which you have chosen to not do on my behalf. If you want to made radical claims, you need to support them, rather than making wild claims and saying other people are obligated to research them for you. – Servy Jul 21 '17 at 15:59
  • @Servy I never said you were obligated to research anything. Just because I make a claim and don't show sources for 100% of everything I say doesn't mean my claim isn't true, but if you want to assume everything you read is false if you have to research it yourself then you are free to do so. – BVernon Jul 24 '17 at 17:12
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I would love to see an international authority of some sort that can block such bills disregarding the local laws in the country which makes these. The EU (as burouchratic and heavy-weight it is when it comes to decision making) is a nice example for a possible solution. The moment your government (that is part of the EU) starts producing bills that hinder the rights of its citizens (including but not only Internet freedom, freedom of speech, religion, market etc.), a procedure is triggered, funding is reduced or stopped depending on the severity.

The US government tries to push such bills every couple of years. The problem is that such changes affect not only its citizens but also everyone else around the world. But even if it was just a restriction to the rights of its citizens, it would still be an example of malpractice when it comes to law making.

  • Hmm. Problem: The US federal government is exactly such a government in almost every possible way. (Or were you not aware that it was formed out of a coalition of sovereign, independent states?) It even has the extra boost of having a relatively cohesive population and something vaguely resembling a long history to motivate cooperation. Sad that it is, in the US, the main source of exactly the sorts of laws you decry, just exactly the way your proposed international government would grow to create still yet even more terrible laws. – Nathan Tuggy Jul 13 '17 at 6:03
  • The states are part of the same country. As for "international government creating yet even more terrible laws" I am not talking about creating laws at all. I am talking about blocking laws that are deemed too restrictive. ISO is a fine example of an international NON-governmental organization. Even if we look at the "Restoring Internet freedom" from just a technical point of view there is still enough to throw it away. – rbaleksandar Jul 13 '17 at 6:45
  • The United States were, as the name implies, originally independent countries banded together in a loose confederacy that over time developed into something much stronger. Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it, and those who do not know that the US federal government was originally designed to be an extremely minimalistic framework to handle a very limited set of tasks that then somehow metastasized into its present form will simply design other extremely minimal frameworks that "will do just this one thing, we promise!" Definitely for sure this time! Yes! – Nathan Tuggy Jul 13 '17 at 6:54
  • The were in US were originally independent countries is a keyword here. You are missing my point. I'm not talking about some world government but an organization that just like ISO controls very specific aspects that concern all of its members and even outside the organization's structure around the world and not just the interests of the government of a specific country. Please learn more about how ISO works and then you (hope so) will understand what I mean. – rbaleksandar Jul 13 '17 at 8:39
-4

Who wants to really fight for net neutrality - should we not pay our bills, cancel ISP services, stop going to movies, listen to music. Sabotage these companies and services so they themselves vote for net neutrality?

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    The fight is to make sure that multiple people don't pay for the same bandwidth usage. For example you paying comcast for your internet and netflix also paying comcast so that you can get their service at a reasonable speed. Netflix should not have to pay their provider and their customers provider in order to ensure good service. – Joe W Jul 12 '17 at 17:35
-4

I'm not going to "stand up" nor am I going to "raise my voice" - what the hell do they mean anyway?

First of all, as a technophile kind of guy, my first concern is, "is this a technical issue?" if it is, then good, solve it at a purely technological level and be done with it.

If not, I ask the 2nd question: who has the rights to the property involved? If they are government operated and run then the FCC can regulate the heck out of it for all I care, if they are private then I'm completely against FCC doing anything. The roads to hell are all build with one noble intention after another paved with naivety and a complete lack of insights and meticulousness and prudence. Just because you make your cause sound good and "hip" (stand up? You are implying we are all down on our knees shivering in fear like a coward?) doesn't automatically guarantee that it DOES GOOD.

And as far as I know, the whole matter comes down to throttling bandwidth, no service provider in their right mind will be stupid enough to deliberately block certain sites. That means A. you are giving your competition a leg up and all your competition has to do is to do... well, nothing. and B. it means service providers looking into the contents which you are transmitting over the internet, it costs money and labor to get that done and it's counterproductive. The best thing they can do is to manage traffic based on destination, which can easily be circumvented.

At worst, your visiting Salon.com will be significantly slower than before, while visiting Amazon.com will be as slower as usual. None of which can't be solved by paying a tad bit more on purchasing better packages.

Like I said, I'm not going to "stand up" nor am I going to "raise my voice", we are living in an age of a sickening anti-intellectual trends where slogans and empty, shallow, superficial activism like "Women's March" absolutely champions over cool-headed, careful and prudent logical reasoning. Say what you want, I wish not to be a part of that. I have a valuable asset which weighs a good 4 pounds and it took a good 8 million years for it to came to be. I intend to use it as much and often as I can.

Keep your WWJD armband to yourself.

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    "your competition" There is no competition. – Josh Caswell Jul 12 '17 at 12:35
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    no service provider in their right mind will be stupid enough to deliberately block certain sites They've already done it. That's why there was such a strong push to put the existing regulations in the first place. It wasn't out of a fear that the ISPs might start doing this, it was because they actually did it. So apparently the ISPs aren't in their right mind. That, or, as mentioned, there simply is no competition, so they know that consumers can't do a thing about it when they do things like this. – Servy Jul 12 '17 at 13:10
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    if they are private then I'm completely against FCC doing anything. The government regulates what happens with private property all the time -- the FTC, for example, or the ATF, DEA, FAA, etc. – freginold Jul 12 '17 at 13:43
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    You're entitled to your opinion as much as the next guy, but what about someone with a startup who can't afford to pay his ISP as much as an Amazon or Google? The ISP would be free to throttle traffic to/from his site(s) at will, in favor of higher-paying domains. – freginold Jul 12 '17 at 13:44
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    @Matt Cox Half way into your post you mention competition of providers.... except as Josh Caswell pointed out, there is no competition. So all your "i will not raise my voice", this and that hodgepodge is absolute crap. There is a massive monopolization of the internet in the US, with 2 or 3 major ISPs. Put down the waffle and get your facts straight. Cant fix stupid. – Javia1492 Jul 12 '17 at 16:03
  • @Josh Caswell No Competition? Good. Make it an anti-trust case, don't try to spin it into some sort of freedom of speech and bill of rights issue. Cause it isn't. – Matt Cox Jul 13 '17 at 2:34
  • @Servy Which sites are we talking about here? And is it a ban based on IP? Can't people just use VPN or Proxy? Can't people swtich ISPs? What are the news reports? From creditable sources? – Matt Cox Jul 13 '17 at 2:35
  • @freginold Because you smoke weed, you don't mind going down the drains and pick up meth right? How's your private property being regulated? It didn't happen to you, at least not to the extend that you can no longer ignore it right? Therefore you are happy? How much tax do you pay? How much of the tax you paid went to where you wanted? – Matt Cox Jul 13 '17 at 2:38
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    @Javia1492 All the ISPs formed up some sort of alliance to block certain sites? The same set of sites? Please provide the creditable evidence. And how that cannot be circumvented via using VPN or proxy? What did those sites do to get on the radar like that? What you said is outright laughable. And other than a lack of economic incentive, what stops another billionaire from becoming ISP#4? Maybe it's because most RATIONAL consumers don't think it's a big deal? You are right, I can't fix your stupidity, but I can try to fix your ignorance on economics. – Matt Cox Jul 13 '17 at 2:48
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    @MattCox What "partisan crap" are you talking about? A lack of net neutrality affecting small businesses is not a party-line issue. As for Um Virgin Islands? Hong Kong?... do you not understand how a company located there would still need to go through US-based ISPs to access US-based customers? – freginold Jul 13 '17 at 13:17
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    @MattCox The most famous example is the case of Netflix, where comcast dramatically throttled all traffic from Netflix to their customers until Netflix paid them a whole bunch of money to stop doing it. You could throttle the traffic by IP, DNS, or any other criteria you would so choose. If people start using proxies for everything then the providers will start putting pressure on those proxies, throttling or simply not serving them. People can't just switch ISPs because there is typically one, or possibly two, for any given location. – Servy Jul 13 '17 at 13:22
  • @MattCox How's your private property being regulated? Are you kidding? Ever heard of zoning laws? How about legal purchase age? Gun carry laws? Vehicle emissions regulations? Any of these ring a bell? – freginold Jul 13 '17 at 13:24
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    @MattCox So i have to use a VPN or a proxy to go to a website using a service I am paying for? Very good logic. Nobody knows which sites would be blocked, however, if you also assume nothing will change, you're pretty naive. So.. the reason another billionaire hasnt become ISP#4 is because most rational consumers dont think its a big deal...? The relation between a billion to rational consumers has no connection. Rational consumers dont have a choice here. Please, continue to "educate" me with your apples and oranges logic. – Javia1492 Jul 13 '17 at 13:28
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    @MattCox Make it an anti-trust case... A lack of competition is not necessarily indicative of an anti-trust issue. Specifically in this case, there are other reasons for lack of competition. You should read up on the issue before trying to shout down other people's viewpoints. – freginold Jul 13 '17 at 15:43
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    @MattCox It's not as simple as that. Your dismissive attitude and lack of insight on this subject are indicators that either (1) you don't care very much about it -- in which case you must be very bored to keep commenting -- or (2) you don't handle being disagreed with very well. If it's the second option, you should spend some time learning more about the subject before taking such an aggressive stand. – freginold Jul 14 '17 at 3:02
-6

I'm against net neutrality and luckily meta points don't matter that much as I know I will get downvoted. The problem isn't neutrality, the problem is granted monopolies, formal cartelization, over regulation, and lack of competition. You pay for electricity, you pay for water, why not pay for bandwidth? "Oh but bandwidth is too cheap!" That doesn't matter, AWS charges fractions of cents, but it does add up. Water is underpriced too - that's why we have shortages! If you don't like your ISP blocking something, just switch service providers!

For a quick lesson on the nature of competition, read this article. But before you do, answer this question: How many electric light companies do you think were operating in New York City around 1890? How many gas companies were operating in Baltimore around that time?

https://mises.org/library/myth-natural-monopoly

When you refactor something, you don't go breaking it further, you work towards the real solution, which is increase competition. Even Somalia has the best telecommunications in Africa.

Somalia now offers some of the most technologically advanced and competitively priced telecommunications and internet services in the world.[2] Funded by Somali entrepreneurs and backed by expertise from China, Korea and Europe, these nascent telecommunications firms offer affordable mobile phone and internet services that are not available in many other parts of the continent... these firms now offer the cheapest and clearest phone calls in Africa.[3] These Somali telecommunication companies also provide services to every city, town and hamlet in Somalia. There are presently around 25 mainlines per 1,000 persons, and the local availability of telephone lines (tele-density) is higher than in neighboring countries; three times greater than in adjacent Ethiopia.[4]

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    Your argument is predicated on a fundamental misperception: that there is actually competition for ISPs. In reality, most places have at most two ISPs, and they're big conglomerates who will work in tandem to maximize profits, competition be damned. – fbueckert Jun 29 '17 at 23:11
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    False! There are 1-2 cable companies, maybe a fiber company, 3-4 cell data companies, 1-2 satellite companies, a few dozen dial-up services, and maybe an ISDN or T1 company. Example: NYC Staten Island: TimeWarner cable, Verizon FIOS, T-Mobile data, Verizon data, Sprint data, AT&T data, Hughes satellite, Dish satellite, Verizon ISDN, other lesser nationwide dial-up services. – Chloe Jun 29 '17 at 23:20
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    Oh, really? Care to link to an area that has that level of competition? – fbueckert Jun 29 '17 at 23:21
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    hrrrmmmm @Chloe... while indeed, at present, this concerns the USA net neutrality, this is a much larger issue. If this precedent is made, other countries will follow in the tracks, and it's pretty egocentrist (also.. misguided) to assume that every country in the world has such quantity of providers. Where I live, we don't. Two of them, actually owns every smaller ones. Really. Also, you actually might want to verify that all those you mention, are not owned by larger ones. – Félix Gagnon-Grenier Jun 29 '17 at 23:31
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    You must live in a city with that kind of competition. I do not. I live in that vast swath of land commonly called "fly over country". I have one cable provider, who also provides my phone service. I have a satellite provider, but they can't be classified as broadband because they don't meet the FCCs rules for that classification. There is no fiber here. I have, effectively, one choice if I want to do anything other than load text pages. – Andy Jun 29 '17 at 23:41
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    I'm actually holding out hope that mobile broadband is able to become competitive with wired sooner rather than later; I went a couple of months with only a mobile connection about 15 years ago, and it was horrific but things have gotten significantly better since then - the biggest roadblock now is data-caps, which are a real hardship if, for example, you work with large data-sets. Regardless, "wouldn't it be nicer" doesn't solve immediate problems; you can remove rules once there's adequate competition to enact them implicitly. – Shog9 Jun 29 '17 at 23:49
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    @Chloe, I wish. The company I work for has decidedly sub-par Internet speeds. A year ago, this became critical enough that we contacted every company providing Internet service in the area (all four of them). Comcast wouldn't provide business-class service because our office is in an area they classify as "residential", the two wireless ISPs couldn't get a signal, and the phone company is the one selling us our current over-priced, under-speed service. Competition? Ha. – Mark Jun 30 '17 at 0:45
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    @Shog9 removing rules is a whole heck of a lot harder than adding them, as we are currently experiencing. I would tend to reverse the argument: we can always add rules later. – Ben Collins Jun 30 '17 at 1:44
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    As a broad observation, that rings true @Ben. In this particular context... We've seen it before. The removal of line-sharing rules for DSL in 2003-4 arguably set the stage for the current situation by eliminating a wealth of competition in the ISP market; predicated on the hope that it would spur renewed vigor among telco operators, it instead marked the start of a long decline in DSL, a tough race hamstrung by consolidation and cost-cutting. History shows that a 5-member board can and does react much more readily to current trends than large governing bodies - a double edge sword indeed. – Shog9 Jun 30 '17 at 1:59
  • 15
    Eh... even when there are a few options for providers, I don't think we can say that a dial-up service meaningfully competes with, say, FIOS in any way. – Adam Lear Jun 30 '17 at 5:07
  • 2
    I'm in agreement with your fundamental statement, Chloe. Granted monopolies being the worst offender. Our 'deduplication of services' mandated by the FCC has crippled ISP competition. Most of us, if we want competent internet these days, MUST go with the only cable or fiber provider in the area (as mandated by the FCC), and just live with their decisions on who gets priority and who doesn't. Like most other regulation, net neutrality will bring us worse internet for more money. – SuperJer Jul 2 '17 at 14:55
-6

The recent bill is a good step forward towards net neutrality.

This bill will classify the internet in a way that lets the government control what the ISPs can send over their networks rather than companies. In the united states, I do not fear the corruption of government nearly as much as the wrath of large companies.

Internet lines will be classified as government infrastructure, and tampering with them will be a federal crime. This deters malicious middlemen because now the internet companies aren't the ones pressing charges. It's the feds.

The government doesn't have nearly as many ways to abuse your data as big companies do. As a matter of fact, big companies are PAYING to get your data as you read this. This bill won't solve that problem though. It WILL solve many of the insecurities we have with ISPs collecting data, however.

The government has no incentive to censor or throttle the internet. With plenty of third party software that could censor anything the government would censor 'as a service', There's no reason that the government would need to censor anything. Letting them take the internet into their own hands won't cause any difference in browsing, aside from a better future.

  • 2
    "The government has no incentive to censor or throttle the internet." I would like to live on the planet you do. Sadly, I don't think there are actually any governments, anywhere, that this is true of. Certainly not the US, land of three-letter agencies and multi-billion-dollar interception operations. (Hmm, sounds like big companies aren't the only ones "PAYING to get your data as you read this".) – Nathan Tuggy Jul 13 '17 at 5:57
-7

It's pretty clear that Net Neutrality is about companies vs customers. On the one hand, you have effective monopolies who want power to screw over their customers. On the other, you have choice-less customers. You could decide that having monopolies screw over their customers endlessly is just fine, or you could decide that maybe you should do something about that.

In any case, although I think that you have to be either incredibly stupid or tremendously bad faith to be against Net Neutrality, I already have substantially more powerful net neutrality regulations in my country, an abundance of ISPs offering ever better speeds for ever lower prices, and a glut of competition.

The only thing I can suggest, since I am not American and therefore cannot participate in the regulatory process, is that Stack Exchange move their servers from the United States. For the Day of Action, simply shut down all US servers and force your users to access the website through foreign servers (ideally also shut down Canadian servers since they might provide an acceptable experience). This should provide them with an adequate taste of what their experience will be like.

  • 19
    "I think that you have to be either incredibly stupid or tremendously bad faith to be against Net Neutrality" This is a disappointing sentiment. Reasonable and honest people can disagree about a very broad array of topics, not least of all this one. – Ben Collins Jun 29 '17 at 22:22
  • 1
    Which is your country? – cat Jun 29 '17 at 22:22
  • 2
    simply shut down all US servers and force your users to access the website through foreign servers = I don't think that is simple as it sounds (and even if it is easy) I don't think this is the right approach because (as far I understand) is ISP's problem, not Stack Exchange. – Mauricio Arias Olave Jun 29 '17 at 22:24
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    @BenCollins: Reasonable and honest people can disagree about a very broad array of topics, but there are plenty of topics they don't disagree about, for instance, murdering other people is probably bad, the Earth is ~4.5billion years old, and evolution happens. There is no rational case for being anti net neutrality. – DeadMG Jun 29 '17 at 22:40
  • @cat United Kingdom. We have a great ISP market. – DeadMG Jun 29 '17 at 22:43
  • 2
    While hosting servers in the UK solves the problem of people connecting who don't have to cross US networks, it does not solve it for everyone else. – Nathaniel Ford Jun 29 '17 at 22:57
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    I am in favor of Net Neutrality, but agree with @BenCollins and in particular I think you do yourself no favors by demonizing your opposition. After all, "you have to be either incredibly stupid or incredibly bad faith to resort to ad hominem arguments." Also, the picture is NOT black and white as you paint it; this is a classic case of FCC overreach even if we happen to like the results this time. See the section "Good, Bad and Ugly" in this excellent bilateral article on the subject. – Wildcard Jun 29 '17 at 23:00
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    @DeadMG: I'm not aware of any dispute about the legitimacy of murder, except among stone-age tribes that just got in touch with civilization. But the other two examples are unfortunate; the middle one is debated by people who are making a plausible effort to be rational and who are not blatant frauds, and the third one is ambiguous, and only one of its possibilities is really indisputable. So it really sounds as though you are willing to paint anyone you disagree with strongly enough as irrational or dishonest, based not on showing them to be irrational or dishonest, but on disagreeing. – Nathan Tuggy Jun 30 '17 at 1:33
  • 5
    The middle one may be debated by honest people, but not honest and reasonable people. The last one is neither ambiguous nor disputable. – DeadMG Jun 30 '17 at 10:57
  • 3
    As for demonizing the other side, it's hard not to demonize people who paint their skin red, wear horns, eat babies, and have no rational motivation for doing so but do it just because they think the world should work that way. – DeadMG Jun 30 '17 at 10:58
  • 1
    @DeadMG: How fortunate are Science and Internet Freedom to be defended by close-mindedness and insults! I would be interested to know what, in this analogy of demonization, "eating babies" actually refers to. Or indeed what dressing up like demons would represent — the only logical possibility would seem to be opponents of evolution who take pride in calling themselves irrational or dishonest, but the world seems to be fresh out of those. Barring an explanation for why those particular insulting characterizations were described, I think the "argument" can be dismissed. – Nathan Tuggy Jul 1 '17 at 5:55
  • 4
    "either incredibly stupid or tremendously bad faith" I'm pretty smart, so it stands to reason that I have precisely zero faith that the FCC can handle net neutrality regulation with care and responsibility. – SuperJer Jul 2 '17 at 16:45
  • It's pretty clear that Net Neutrality is about companies vs customers. I don't think that's true. Plenty of companies have come out in favor of net neutrality. It may be more accurate to say it's about ISP companies vs customers. – freginold Jul 12 '17 at 14:10
  • 3
    Downvoted because of the ad hominems. Net Neutrality as a concept is something that most of us agree with, including the "detractors". (Though I'm also open to be corrected on this.) "Net Neutrality" as referring to the regulations of the FCC is something else, which has many complicated issues that honest and reasonable people are trying to point out. It is also something that you, being in the UK, do not have, though you may have some form of regulations designed to enforce the concept, they are probably nothing like the FCC's version. – CptRobby Jul 12 '17 at 14:14
  • They don't need to move their servers. They should do like Netflix and have caching servers near you to improve service. But the net itself is fine. Leave it alone. – SDsolar Jul 12 '17 at 19:13
-9

From how I read the proposal (and I read all of it), all this sets out to do is revert regulations to a pre-2014 state, with additional (not less) oversight from the FCC.

In 2013 ISPs were not abusing their power, what is there to make us believe they will do it now?

All this action truly seems like unneeded fear mongering to me.

  • 11
    "In 2013 ISP's were not abusing their power" Most people would beg to differ. If anything, their abuse of power has gone unopposed for far longer then that. – Magisch Jun 30 '17 at 11:13
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    In 2013, NetFlix wasn't consuming as much bandwidth as it does today, and ISP are not allowed to enforce NetFlix to pay a fee or be unavailable to their customers actually. If you're a netflix user, would you switch ISP¨every 6 moths to follow netflix ? (That's one in many, google has the same kind of bandwith usage proportion for ISP, the same principle arise). That's why net neutrality is important, to prevent ISP to select who is allowed to be seen by peoples. (More or less the same discussion exist in France) – Tensibai Jun 30 '17 at 12:35
  • 9
    There was such a big push to put these regulations in place in the first place precisely because the ISPs were abusing their power back in 2013. They had started doing exactly the types of things people had feared they might do, and that was part of what helped build sufficient support to get these regulations put in place to begin with. It wasn't (just) out of fear of what might happen, it was a direct response to what had already happened. – Servy Jun 30 '17 at 13:48
  • 1
    "In 2013 ISP's were not abusing their power" Actually, it was the '90s, when we as consumers could choose our ISPs and hold them directly accountable with our dollars. – SuperJer Jul 2 '17 at 16:15
  • @Tensibai Netflix does not consume an isp's bandwidth, it is the isp's customers and what they do that consumes the bandwidth. It is easy to blame netflix because they are so popular but it should be remembered that if netflix was not around then the traffic would just go to another streaming service such as amazon, hulu or youtube. It is such a shame that a company gets blamed for the traffic when it is the consumers who chose to use it. – Joe W Jul 13 '17 at 12:17
  • @JoeW I'm doing the exact opposite to blaming Netflix, I'm saying ISP can't select which traffic they allow actually and that is a good thing. Netflix is just an example of provider which can be impacted and someone being a customer of Netflix would have to choose his/her ISP according to this which is a bad thing IMHO. – Tensibai Jul 13 '17 at 12:37
-9

I have to admit a lot of my viewpoints are clouded by listening to the No Agenda show on the way to work. But I'm not a democrat or a republican, just a contrarian so I have to respectfully disagree that we should ever ask the Federal government to pass any laws respecting business, entertainment, health care and education as a matter of principle.

I've had the same dumb DSL modem for 11 years and have done just fine with it. There are no shows I can't watch on Roku, no websites I can't visit and I frequently work from home with several remote desktop and putty sessions running concurrently over a VPN.

I live in a rural community and utilize a universally reviled ISP - I should care about this, but I don't. So personally, I guess I don't care because I don't think my situation is going to get worse or better.


The arguments I've gleaned from Adam and John on No Agenda are as follows, and you can take them or leave them, but they might as well be presented and discussed so I can know better whether they're just full of hot air.

  1. There are certain things that should receive priority, namely doctors performing surgery over the Internet. http://naplay.it/928/2-06-00

  2. There have frequently been provisions about legal and lawful content (legal and lawful are apparently two different things)

  3. Loosely interpreted, regulating content for its lawfulness could lead to massive amounts of censorship, take downs for perceived hate speech and licensing for Blogs and Podcasts.

  4. Strictly interpreted, regulating content for its lawfulness still means relying on ISPs to do meta-data analysis which is still an invasion of privacy.

Use: https://search.nashownotes.com/ to find some info, it's hard to point links straight to the content, but there's a lot of articles (and the text of many bills).

  • 3
    Why is it that you don't think your situation will get any worse or better? What exactly does having a "dumb DSL modem" have to do with Net Neutrality? It sounds like your setup is pretty effective; if only everyone's was so good. Also, this sentiment that the federal government shouldn't pass laws respecting the public sector explains why you are neither Republican or Democrat. In fact, you are a Libertarian. And frankly, the broadness of the statement strikes me as utterly absurd. The government shouldn't have any laws regarding business or education? What laws should the government have? – Cody Gray Jun 30 '17 at 8:04
  • You lost me at surgery. – Andras Deak Jun 30 '17 at 8:14
  • @AndrasDeak sorry, specifically, I meant surgery performed over the Internet. That might be a strawman argument though, I've got no idea if things like that exist if their QoS is currently enhanced by lack of neutrality. – Peter Turner Jun 30 '17 at 12:36
  • Having a dumb old DSL Modem means I find it highly unlikely that anything the government does is likely to affect anything. Maybe I am lucky - I thought living in the sticks made things worse. I was down in Charleston visiting my wife's aunt a few weeks ago and her Internet connection was atrocious. I'd like to consider myself a distributist, as libertarianism is antithetical to the Golden Rule. I'm all for government breaking up the big corporations, just not telling them how to do their business once they're broken up. – Peter Turner Jun 30 '17 at 12:41
  • 4
    You're working through a VPN and don't think this is exactly the kind of not categorized traffic (since its not readable) which will be the first dropped on backbones and uplinks if your ISP get fees from NetFlix or Google to give a high priority to their traffic ? sounds naive – Tensibai Jun 30 '17 at 12:42
  • 2
    @tensibai dropped? I don't think anyone is talking about dropping traffic, just rate limiting and at the rate I consume the data, I don't think it's gonna matter much - that's the point. I think some data should be prioritized, I think those who can buy it should be able to buy additional bandwidth, but it shouldn't negatively affect any one else's experience - it's up the the telco's to make sure they've got the right sized pipe and not oversell. – Peter Turner Jun 30 '17 at 12:49
  • 3
    @PeterTurner what do you think happen when a high priority traffic occupy 80% of the bandwidth ? Low priority packets are dropped in favor of high priority, needing a restransmit from the client. The whole point of ACK packets in TCP... At a certain point, if VPN bandwidth is limited on an uplink and enough clients used it, it raise to 100% use of the limit, you have to randomly drop packets you can't send in a timely fashion – Tensibai Jun 30 '17 at 12:52
  • (That's just how QoS works and analyzing your own connexion today will show you this already happen because there's QoS for certain services (voice, tv) with no distinction between providers, if you open the door to make a distinction, there will be problems for those not rich enough to compete. – Tensibai Jun 30 '17 at 12:55
  • @tens well I can tell you my business (remote data center monitoring) would be toast if we (and our customers) had to pay every ISP in the country extra dough to maintain the pipe we've currently got. It's non-sense that B2B traffic would be denigrated by lack of net neutrality, they can't toast every SSH session in the planet, the ISPs would probably just wind up shooting themselves in the foot - they're not that smart. – Peter Turner Jun 30 '17 at 13:13
  • @PeterTurner why that ? If what google pay for youtube, facebook pay for being served quickly and what netflix pay for same reasons overcome any other professional use, I see no reason for it to not happen. – Tensibai Jun 30 '17 at 13:16
  • 7
    So your argument is that now, with regulations in place to prevent ISPs from treating your content differently, you have adequate service, how in the world does that mean that it is going to be okay to support allowing them to discriminate against you and favor serving others over you? That you have adequate service now, despite having what you feel is a shady provider, means that the current regulations are working. That's not an argument to get rid of them, it's an argument to keep them. – Servy Jun 30 '17 at 13:52
  • @servy, I don't believe any of the regulations have gone into effect yet. – Peter Turner Jun 30 '17 at 14:12
  • 2
  • @servy So... any regulations that have gone into effect during the last 11 years have had zero effect on my experience, that is not evidence that they're working and not evidence that their repeal will have any negative effect. The only bump I got was from 1.5 megs to 10 and that was because I elected to give my ISP a few more bucks per month (and get free long distance!). – Peter Turner Jun 30 '17 at 15:29
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    @PeterTurner The regulations were put in place because the ISPs were being abusive in certain situations, and the regulations were put in place to prevent them from continuing that behavior and allowing it to spread. That you weren't personally affected by the cases that brought the issue to the forefront doesn't mean that there isn't evidence of their effectiveness, or the problems that are inevitable when they're not there. Since your personal experience doesn't have evidence either way, but the experiences of others does have considerable evidence, your assertion doesn't hold weight. – Servy Jun 30 '17 at 15:45
-9

why should or shouldn't we all head over to https://www.battleforthenet.com/ right now and use the handy form to send a letter to the FCC?

Because we're not all Americans?

Even folks who aren't based in the US have probably benefited from the work of those who are at one point or another

This is irrelevant to net neutrality.

if nothing else, this is where our servers live

Then this is a problem with Stack Exchange as a company and has nothing to do with any of the Q&A sites. You may write a blog post or make a public statement, but don't drag politics into the Q&A sites. They're not soapboxes: they're not for righting wrongs or for promoting an agenda.

Your post and most of the answers are written for Americans, with "foreigners" as an afterthought. Your recent survey shows that about 75% are not from the US.

By all means, go public, protest, blackout your corporate web site or your blog, but leave the Q&A sites alone.

  • 10
    It affects your ability to access the site, so no, it's not just SE's problem. It affects everyone who would like to use the site. Yes, that would affect SE as a company, but it wouldn't just affect them. – Servy Jun 30 '17 at 18:04
  • @Servy what is SE's problem? – Peter David Carter Jul 2 '17 at 18:50
  • @PeterDavidCarter The negative effects of losing net neutrality in the US. – Servy Jul 5 '17 at 13:12
  • 5
    This directly affects the entire SE network if implemented so you don't get to hide behind the "please no politix" flag on this one. There are times you have to have an opinion on what's going on outside your window and this is one of those times. SE are also free to use the SE network for whatever they see fit, including protecting their own business and livelihood. – ivarni Jul 12 '17 at 5:02
  • @ivarni the issue here is that not everybody agrees with your statement. There are those who think net neutrality is bad, is a stalking horse for regulation of internet content, or just a ploy to benefit one set of giant powerful corporations (google etc) against another set of corporations who are smaller and less powerful (ISPs). Question is not who is right but whether you want to alienate those users who disagree by having the site take sides.. – Ben Jul 12 '17 at 12:15
-10

Say No to Politics on Stack Overflow

Really. Stop it with the politics.

Of course it's your right to post political views on your web properties.

But: Even if you are in the right, you are alienating those users who disagree with you.

  • 3
    I disagree. This question is a place to discuss the pros and cons of net neutrality. Not all users are in agreement. That's what makes the discussion useful. – freginold Jul 12 '17 at 13:34
  • "Say no to politics" except the politics you speak of will affect a majority of its users you mention would be alienated as well as the website itself.Do you enjoy being ignorant? – Javia1492 Jul 12 '17 at 16:06
  • Politics are part of living in a democracy, move to Russia if you are not satisfied with how the process works here. Disagreement is one of the key parts of democracy and of course the ensuing compromise, when things work correctly. – htm11h Jul 12 '17 at 16:13
  • Stack Exchange exists only on the Internet, and if net neutrality ever ends it would be a death sentence for pretty much the entire Internet (including SE). That means NN is important enough to be exempt from the "no political discussions" rule. – dorukayhan Jul 12 '17 at 17:35
  • @dorukayhan "would be a death sentence for pretty much the entire Internet". Have you thought about seeking professional advice? – Ben Jul 12 '17 at 20:03
  • @Javia1492 "...on Stack Overflow". I care about politics. But I don't care to have politics everywhere. SO is about programmers helping each other with technical issues. Just as the people maintaining the sewers, gas mains and electricity lines that zig-zagged under the Berlin Wall had to cooperate regardless of politics, so do we. – Ben Jul 12 '17 at 20:06
  • @htm11h I care about politics. I don't care to have politics everywhere and in everything. That is only desirable to those who want a totalitarian state. – Ben Jul 12 '17 at 20:08
  • @BensaysNotoPoliticsonSO They had to cooperate because if they didnt they would be killed. As far as SO being about programmers, yes, however, we programmers use this site. If the site is at risk due to some policies being pushed by the US government, then as US citizens/users of this website, one would think you'd take action to support the website (assuming you even care). – Javia1492 Jul 12 '17 at 20:11
  • @Javia1492 "They had to cooperate because if they didnt they would be killed" Have you considered seeking professional help? West Germany wasn't going to kill anyone for refusing to cooperate. Actually, neither was the DDR, they only killed people trying to escape the totalising philosophy which insisted that everything was political. – Ben Jul 12 '17 at 20:19
  • @BensaysNotoPoliticsonSO Except East Berlin built the wall. What is your argument? – Javia1492 Jul 12 '17 at 20:21
  • @Javia1492, there is no "except". That's my argument. The people who insist that everything is political are the people who built the wall. People whose job is to maintain infrastructure have to cooperate across boundaries regardless because goodwill and common humanity must transcend politics or we are all in deep trouble. StackOverflow ought to be siding with "transcend politics". That's what I am asking for. – Ben Jul 12 '17 at 20:28
  • It seems reasonable that SO may request users to take up it's cause on this matter, but making it an SO question with answers and comments for debating reduces SO to Slashdot or Reddit. – Sam Liddicott Jul 12 '17 at 21:40
-10

Stackoverflow is everything Net Neutrality isn't.

This statement is ridiclous (and how I actually ended up here):

"Great! Let’s hear ’em. Instead of yet another mess of blog comments that no one reads, I’ve kicked off a discussion over on Meta: – please join in!"

https://stackoverflow.blog/2017/06/30/raise-voice-proclaim-need-net-neutrality/?utm_source=so-owned&utm_medium=system-message&utm_campaign=netneutrality

The mere fact that I was invited to a discussion in which my response is "blurred" along with not being able comment here without earning some type of reputation first is a cruel trick. Don't ask for someone's voice if you don't even allow them to use it! If a false sense of merit makes ones voice any more valid then please tell people before they get here:

"please join in!" (after you earn the right by our judgmental community)

*"Neutral" does not mean allowing someone to comment on answers, vote, and in-turn not reciprocating the same courtesy to others. Another example is when there's no explanation for a question getting deleted, it just simply just disappears like it never even happened because some high-up wanker person deemed so. That's called biased, and it happens here every minute of every day -- give someone at least an indication of why such action was taken instead of leaving them in the dark. This is very unsettling, and the mob mentality that it brings with it.

A very prominent and famous programmer once said (about this site) in an e-mail, "If I took my car in the shop and returned minutes later to find they turned it into scrap do you think I'd ever go back?"

Alienating someone because they a first time visitor, don't think or act in some particular way doesn't make them less valuable. I came here today (for the first time on meta) because the blog "invited" me to do so. I was immediately put on an uneven playing field and this is not how fairness or neutrality works -- there's no concept of it here. It also drives people away that could have more (good) to offer than the majority of people perpetuating the bad put together.

If the goal here is for someone to come to the conclusion that they're not welcomed and that this site an extremely poor representative for Net Neutrality it speaks that message in volumes.

  • Just watch the negative votes roll in so this post can be hidden... Nobody truly has a voice here unless they are the people who control it. – ctfd Jul 12 '17 at 18:26
  • 5
    I hear you but there is really not much constructive to find between the meta noise. Don't expect upvotes for something that really brings nothing to the table . – rene Jul 12 '17 at 18:28
  • @rene: Why do you ask for someones opinion though and not allow them to give it? It doesn't make a whole lot of sense... I would've made this a comment, but unfortunately I'm not "privileged" enough. – ctfd Jul 12 '17 at 18:29
  • 5
    You wrote an answer here. With your opinion. – rene Jul 12 '17 at 18:29
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    @ctfd You've given your opinion, and now others are giving their opinion on what you wrote. – user642796 Jul 12 '17 at 18:30
  • But why do you allow people to vote down my opinion so that it becomes hidden? Suppression isn't the answer to allowing ones voice to be heard. – ctfd Jul 12 '17 at 18:30
  • 4
    It's not hidden... – Cai Jul 12 '17 at 18:38
  • 8
    Your opinion seems to be that commenting on meta should be allowed at all rep-levels which is a valid opinion but has not much to do with the topic at hand and if you post it as an FR you'll find plenty of similar requests explaining that it would open up so many SPAM possibilities that they rather not. Again, explain to me why not being able to comment is relevant to have here as an answer? – rene Jul 12 '17 at 18:39
  • 1
    That is right. It is still a bit within the SE network rules. Do know that downvote privilege is down to 100 here, 125 on normal sites so SE is not deaf for this kind of critique. – rene Jul 12 '17 at 18:46
  • 1
    You know English, right? 3 accepted suggested-edits and you got your comment everywhere privilege. That could be earned in the time you spend going back and forth with me ... oth it is nice talking to someone. – rene Jul 12 '17 at 18:50
  • 1
    That starts at -8 and if you hover over it, the blur will be gone. – rene Jul 12 '17 at 19:01
  • 1
    Yes, it is. in normal Q/A it is ofc to signal to casual readers: watch out, this answer might not be that good. Some, like you, find that troublesome if the question is not meant to let the best answer rise to the top but have a collection of opinions. I'm sure there is an FR to disable this feature on true discussion posts. – rene Jul 12 '17 at 19:06
  • 3
    Remember that Stackexchange is rarely political like this. These rules are ideal for 99.9% of the questions that come here. Also, the last part of your answer seems to miss the meaning of Net Neutrality all together. It has nothing to do with how forums are moderated. – rp.beltran Jul 12 '17 at 19:13
  • 2
    If you have a problem with the rules of Stack Exchange, you should lay out the changes you think should be made, with logical reasons (tabling any "it's a conspiracy and they are censoring me because they don't like me") and post a new question on meta. That's where this belongs. It makes no sense here, and so you are getting down voted. People will read what you have to say, but people who use Stack Overflow and other Stack Exchange sites appreciate how useful they are, and love them for it, so don't expect to make friends by coming here and trying to tell everyone Stack Exchange is evil. – rp.beltran Jul 12 '17 at 19:31
  • 1
    Related question on how new users here on MSE should give their feedback on network-wide proposals or discussions. – Patrick Hofman Jul 12 '17 at 20:52
-13

According to Wikipedia, net neutrality "is the principle that internet service providers and governments regulating the Internet should treat all data on the Internet the same, not discriminating ... [against] content" (my emphasis).

I very strongly disagree with this.

Let us look at an example. In Germany, distributing pornography to minors is forbidden by law. German websites with pornographic content must therefore install an age verification system to prevent minors from accessing their content. But since websites from other countries are not governed by German law, a German minor living in Germany will find a wealth of pornography by searching for "porn" in any search engine.

In effect, net neutrality subverts this specific German law.

Now you can think of minors watching porn however you like, but I am sure you will agree that in this case a national law, that was agreed upon through a democratic process, has been made obsolete by the principle of net neutrality.

There is a lot of other content – from nazi propaganda to ads selling drugs and weapons – that are illegal in Germany, but are a mere search engine query away for anyone living there.

If you think about it, basically ISPs make money by distributing illegal goods.

Interestingly enough, no one cries about ISPs blocking child porn sites. And that means that proponents of net neutrality do not really believe in net neutrality. They are not fighting for equal distribution of all content, or they would loudly oppose the blocking of child porn.

What proponents of net neutrality really do is force the US American idea of free speech – which includes the unhindered distribution of pornography, racism, and instructions on how to build bombs – on countries that do not follow this ideology (which is the rest of the world).


Personally I think that all content that is illegal in a certain country should be blocked from entering that country. And that until such filtering is technically possible, all foreign content should be blocked. Such a block would certainly inspire those making money from the distribution of content to invent such filtering methods.

If Germany alone blocked all foreign internet traffic, the money that American companies would loose would cause an instant leap in artificial intelligence.

  • 7
    Without net neutrality, your ISP could tax you 10 extra bucks per month for you to have access to Youtube. Or Gmail. Or Stack Overflow. Or Facebook/Twitter. Actually, they could make every single website that is attractive for some reason a subscription based service. Also, your post doesn't make any sense - Net Neutrality isn't about distributing content for other countries, is about how ISP deals with content inside US. You missed the point by a mile. – T. Sar Jul 12 '17 at 11:25
  • @T.Sar (1) I explicitly discussed only the content aspect of net neutrality. I did not voice my opinion on other aspects of net neutrality, and I think they should not be confused with each other. (2) The legal discussion in the US may be about what goes on in the US, but it affects thouse outside of that country, too, and, most of all, the idea of net neutrality applies to everyone, as the answers about, for example, India have made clear. – user364227 Jul 12 '17 at 11:37
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    "proponents of net neutrality do not really believe in net neutrality... or they would loudly oppose the blocking of child porn" That's a bit of a leap – Cai Jul 12 '17 at 12:15
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    If your kid has free, unrestricted and unsupervised access to the internet, blame is on you. Porn is the lesser of the issues there - perfectly okay content with user-interaction, like chat rooms or facebook, is far more dangerous than any risquè image they can find on the internet. They can end up making contact with the type of people you wouldn't want them nearby. Internet is not a babysitter, nor a place for children to be alone. – T. Sar Jul 12 '17 at 12:20
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    The current net neutrality regulations in place, those that are attempting to be repealed, don't prohibit ISPs from blocking illegal content. They can and do have the ability to do that. There also aren't any new proposals being advocated that would prevent that. So you're just arguing a straw man. – Servy Jul 12 '17 at 13:21
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    I'd be surprised if any search engine would display results which led to child porn, or sites selling drugs, or anything like that. Those sites are supposed to be blocked by clauses stating that drug(etc)-related sites are illegal, not by monitoring all access to all content. If you're not convinced, read up about MegaUpload. – cst1992 Jul 12 '17 at 13:43
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    Your argument is completely baseless. You are arguing about content not speed or performance which is what net neutrality is about. Half the problem in this debate is that people DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE ISSUE. German laws have failed at blocking content and the same has happened in the US, taking away Net Neutrality does not change the content laws already on the books. Please learn the issue before you post. – htm11h Jul 12 '17 at 14:11
  • > And that until such filtering is technically possible, all foreign content should be blocked. < I'd love to see how you would use the web with this rule implemented. You could whitelist only IP-addresses from your country and see how far you get using this own idea of yours :P – MMachinegun Jul 12 '17 at 15:44
  • @htm11h That is your understanding of net neutrality, but other people do not limit net neutrality to speed and performance. See my quote from Wikipedia. – user364227 Jul 13 '17 at 6:30
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    @user364227 forget Wikipedia, read the proposition. What if the telephone companies in the early days were able to prevent home users from making calls in favor of corporate customers that paid higher rates. What if your gas utility service was shut off at peak demand times because larger buildings (like apartment or factory) that required the utility paid more during those demand times. I do agree that the distribution of illegal content is questionable, but the same people that create the smut, or drugs, use electricity and gas to heat and lite their work space. Your argument is baseless. – htm11h Jul 13 '17 at 13:12
  • The american idea of free speech is the only explicit and codified idea of free speech. Np let country has that. Germany can stick it with their censorship. From a country that only 90 years ago engaged in one of the world's biggest genocides via propaganda and censorship, Germany's laws on censorship should concern you greatly. – fredsbend Dec 8 '18 at 21:16
-19

Here's the problem I continue to have with Net Neutrality:

It's a solution in search of a problem

Seriously. The arguments I've seen for vary wildly between (a small taste of what I've seen)

  • ISPs can ban Google or any website they please
  • ISPs will throttle websites to extort money (most point to the Comcast/Netflix spat long before this rule)
  • You pay for bandwidth and everything should be treated the same
  • If we let in "fast lanes" everything else could become slow

But that's not a compelling case for having the government step in and, ad-hoc, make up rules about what can and cannot be done on the Internet. If AT&T wants to sell its users unmetered video streaming, why is that a bad thing?

Here's my reasons not to oppose this going back to the way it was

  1. The government took a 1934 law about telephones to do this. That should give everyone pause. Telephones and the Internet are not the same thing.
  2. If and when blocking/throttling becomes a problem, we should pass a law about it. You know, the whole democracy thing. This is too important to leave up to 3 people in Washington to make up as they please.
  3. There's a ton of ZOMG BAD THINGS!!!11 ideas running around about this (like blocking Google). I hate making decisions based on someone's bad ideas of how the Internet works and what bad things might happen. When Slate has an article about chilling out about this, you know it's gone pretty sideways.

Now, here's a good counterpoint: Netflix and streaming services are eating up a ton of bandwidth. Like 37% of the Internet in North America. Did Comcast play dirty? Maybe. But there's an important point - when one company is eating up 1/3 of your resources, and you need to expand, do you

  1. Split the cost equally among all your current paying customers, even though only 1/3 are using this service
  2. Charge the service for having your techs help them reach your customers with a "fast lane", and then have them pass that cost along to their customers (they get faster service, you get better service in the non-fast-lane)

Net Neutrality means you can only do #1. Because all traffic is equal.

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    Please don't spread the fallacy that a single customer chewing up a third of your bandwidth actually matters at all. It doesn't. Data transfer is cheap as can be and continues to get cheaper every day. You might be interested in reading this: How much does data really cost an ISP? – animuson Jun 29 '17 at 21:18
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    Would you also use this argument against the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights? Much of its language is preemptive and broad so that it can be applied over the course of hundreds of years. Net neutrality is another such effort that foresees obvious and immediate dangers and seeks to prevent them. – TylerH Jun 29 '17 at 21:22
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    You say there are no problems net neutrality could solve, but you bring up the example of Netflix vs Comcast, which is an actual problem it is meant to solve... – Alexander O'Mara Jun 29 '17 at 21:22
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    The Internet is also a utility. It should be a dumb pipe just like electricity and water. If ISPs get the right to filter access to sites (aka intelligent pipes), then they should be responsible for the content too. That means when somebody is using AT&T to download child porn, it becomes AT&T's fault for allowing it. – TylerH Jun 29 '17 at 21:23
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    So you claim that we shouldn't preemptively have regulations to prevent ISPs from doing things that they haven't yet done, while, in the same post going over a case of an ISP doing the exact thing that this type of regulation is designed to prevent. This isn't preemptive. It's reactive. ISPs had their time being unregulated and being trusted to just not abuse that trust. They choose to abuse that trust. You're saying we should trust them again to not do the things they've already done. – Servy Jun 29 '17 at 21:24
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    Also there's a difference between net neutrality throttling and charging per bandwidth usage. There's no free access debate on charging someone for using 60GB and being charged more than someone using 30GB. Data caps and blanket speed throttling in general are a different matter. – TylerH Jun 29 '17 at 21:25
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    @Machavity "If and when blocking/throttling becomes a problem.." It is! Right here, right now, for me. I'm from Russia, but I'm not much different in term of how I want my Internet access to work. You are basically suggesting to drink a lethal dose of poison and then call the ambulance if and when you will start dying. So, I'll tell you this: you can enjoy drinking poison on your own, but you may not involve others. – scriptin Jun 29 '17 at 21:28
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    I, for one, appreciate @Machavity taking the time to clearly express the case in opposition to Net Neutrality. Whether you agree with him or not, at least both sides are now represented. – Wildcard Jun 29 '17 at 22:15
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    I think it's important to note that the ISPs here have an artificial monopoly. It's not like we get to choose which road to take to a popular club - we have to take their road, so if they know we are going to the popular place they are charging us and that place more. Capitalist arguments fail here, because it's not a free market. – Nathaniel Ford Jun 29 '17 at 23:05
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    I think this post has a fundamental misunderstanding. If video streaming from Netflix, etc. takes up 37%, who the **** is on the receiving end? You charge them too, as it has always been done. – muru Jun 30 '17 at 1:58
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    If AT&T wants to sell its users unmetered video streaming, why is that a bad thing? -> If there would be a free, open, and functioning market then I would agree, but there isn't, and it's not likely to develop any time soon either. In many ways Net Neutrality is just a band-aid on a defective and broken market, but until we can fix that, NN sounds like a good idea to me. In addition, there are also other concerns besides the ones you outlined, e.g. ISPs can start blocking "illegal" content with no clear appeal procedure (like YouTube is doing), which effectively all but destroys Fair Use. – Martin Tournoij Jun 30 '17 at 3:03
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    "the very substantial costs of building infrastructure" A very substantial portion of which has been subsidized, directly or indirectly, by the public over the last half-century. – Josh Caswell Jun 30 '17 at 3:04
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    @Raphael This natural monopoly development is really why public services (like internet) shouldn't even be run by a private corporation. But secondary to that I'll take a super-regulated industry with capped profit margins. – Magisch Jun 30 '17 at 12:07
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    @Raphael The protection of the internet as the free space for human endeavour and creativity is one of the most important things to secure right now. And no, water companies can't just suddenly stop your water because the billionaire next door wants to have a decadent water slide on a hot day. – Magisch Jun 30 '17 at 12:33
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    +1 While I don't agree with you on this topic, the question did ask for reasons against Net Neutrality and this is a well thought out answer. I wish this wasn't downvoted so low, this post seems useful in answering the original question, 'Why would anyone be against net netraulity. Instead of downvoting into oblivion an answer we don't like, how about we have a reasonable and rational conversation about it? – kuhl Jun 30 '17 at 15:54

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