Shadowbanning: the most evil form of censorship

Shadowbanning means that the post is published and the author does not receive a warning or any disciplinary action, but most users can’t see it, so it generates no traffic. The poster isn’t outraged at being censored, he is simply demotivated by believing that his audience is not interested. Shadowbanning is very hard to prove if done right: show the content to his friends and devout followers and hide it only from strangers and independents.

Trump supporters have a Reddit forum “The Donald“. The CEO of Reddit was caught and forced to apologize because he edited the comments of users. He promised it won’t happen again and technically he kept the promise, I didn’t catch him editing comments. But I caught them shadowbanning.

I’ve found something that I believed can interest Trump supporters who are … not the greatest fans of CNN. CNN “reporter” Clarissa Ward made “hearthbraking report of the suffering of Syrian people at the hand of Assad” (Al-Qaeda propaganda). She also addressed the UN security council because random journalists often do that. The problem with her “reporting”?

On the left there is her in a territory “under the brutal oppression of Assad”. On the right it’s also her, in the land “liberated by the rebels” (Al-Qaeda). Well, a picture tells a thousand words which part of Syria is more free. Since I’m not busy reading CNN propaganda pieces, how did I find this gem? On the twitter of a Lebanese Christian journalist (I’ve found her on the twitter of Ann Coulter). Here is another good Clarissa Ward meme:

Anyway, I made a reddit post about it, linking the twitter post linked above – and I received no votes or comments or whatnot. It seems like a dud, people don’t care about such thing, right? Well, having my time with game developers, I instantly thought the alternative: the post is being manipulated. And indeed I couldn’t find my post on r/The_Donald/new despite repeated F5s. So I posted it again, but this time I didn’t link the twitter post, instead I saved the photo above and posted it under the same title. Well, it wasn’t a huge hit either, but it received 48 upvotes, so people indeed seen it.

I’d like to stress that the original post wasn’t formally banned, it’s still there and it’s right there on my post list:
shadowban
Why was I shadowbanned? I wasn’t, there is no point banning a throwaway reddit account. It’s Sarah the journalist who is shadowbanned. Random guys posting memes won’t convince independents about politics. No one will vote for Trump in 2020 because of a “God Emperor stared at the sun and it hid behind the moon” meme, so such activity is harmless. But actual journalist working locally finding facts is dangerous, so her content must be hidden. So when I linked one of her posts, my post was shadowbanned, to make me think that facts are uninteresting according to “my peers” and go back posting guns, girls in lingerie and Trump baseball hat and screenshots of bizarre posts of raging feminists.

Reddit is running an operation to “defang” the Trump supporters, deny them useful information that they could use to convince their real-life contacts and make them waste their time with “feel-good” memes and post crap that makes them look like a childish cult instead of a political movement.

PS: I’m not entirely innocent about that “childish cult” thing.

I made $1.2 in less than an hour

I’ve read this glorious achievement on Alternative Chat. Of course it’s not what she exactly said, it was about getting 17k WoW gold in an hour.

I don’t think I’ve ever made that money back when I was playing WoW. Granted, gold was less common back then, but still, this is no way an easy feat. Too bad that it became meaningless with official gold trading. Back in the day making gold was the only way to having gold which was – and still is – needed to get consumables, BoE items and repairs.

Today you can just throw some real money on the problem and it’s solved. Usually this money is trivial compared to the effort needed to make it even the most effective methods – at least in well balanced games. In EVE it was possible to make $10-20 worth of ISK per hour, which wasn’t bad considering that you were still playing a game instead of doing real work. Actually many people did it as “real” work, as small-time goldsellers. But WoW decreased the need for gold (in EVE you can buy every “gear”, in WoW it’s mostly soulbound) enough to push down the demand. It was on purpose, to battle goldsellers. I understand their point.

But still, an important aspect of the game is lost and players who don’t realize this waste many hours farming gold that they could get from the price of a coffee.

Political PS: a lazy guy ate a banana and thrown away the peel. Which then triggered liberals and shut down a university event. I’ve been following US politics for years but I still roll my eyes how can such madness happen in a developed country.

Academic freedom and free education are mutually exclusive

No, it’s not a political post either. I’m not discussing moral questions. I merely prove that a school (from primary to University) is either controlled by the government (or a business oligarch) who decides what teachers can teach, or you have to pay for your own education.

Why? Because someone has to do quality control. A school that teaches bullshit, may that be intersectional feminism or creationism will produce dumb people who won’t be able to perform on the workplaces. Actually you don’t even have to think of politically charged lack of quality, you can just think of a dime a dozen professor who turns into alcoholist bum.

In a theoretical free-free school, no one will care. There isn’t anyone who can fire or discipline the low performers and the students won’t care because they still get some diploma for free.

One solution is the government controlled education: the students pay nothing, the government pays, but also they call the tune. If the profs teach “wrong” politics or simply crap, they get fired.

The other solution is market-controlled education: no one tells the profs what to teach, but they run out paying students if they teach crap, just like it happened with Mizzou after they turned into full BLM nonsense. Ironically the black enrollment dropped harder, probably because they have less disposable income to send their kids into a no-good school.

So if you dream of studying for free, make peace with the fact that whoever pays for your education decides what you’ll learn, or if you can somehow guarantee academic freedom from the paying government, you also guaranteed horrible quality and a useless diploma. Alternatively you can try to figure out a way how to deal with the alcoholist professor if no one can fire him because that’s violation of the academic freedom.

Political PS: when the Baywatch guys teach economics better than Ayn Rand herself:
birds

How social media polarizes politics

Contrary to what the title suggests, it is not a political post. It’s about human sociality and how social media turns it into violence and hate instead of discussion.

win
The above meme ironic, but very important. Socials are more focused on having the image of being right than actually being right. They aren’t arguing to help find the correct solution, but to make themselves look better. When they realize that it’s not going to happen because the position they happened to pick (based on heuristics or bias) is stupid, they just shut up and disappear.

The ability to disappear is also important if they did something political that turned out to be wrong. Besides explicit resistance fighters, the people under the rule of Hitler collaborated. Some more than others, but each and every one of them who didn’t fight back contributed to the war machine of the Nazis. After the war, it was just forgotten for the little guys, who soon after appeared as ordinary “good people” and tried best to fit in.

Social media make both of them impossible. If you supported evil politicians, if you believed in conspiracy theories, if you supported hateful and violent groups, it will be forever remembered because of the social media. Fifty years ago only leaders and top thinkers left behind books that allow us to know what they thought. Even five years ago only outspoken content creators left statements that will be there to mock later. Now the thoughts of everyone are recorded and put on display. Everyone will know that in 2016 you supported Hillary or BLM or believed in the Russia-Trump conspiracy. Imagine how embarrassing that will be when your grandkid finds it 50 years from now.

Which is exactly why people are getting uncompromising and violent. The only way to prevent being embarrassed by your past dumbness is to win and rewrite history. So instead of disappearing, when a social suspects that he was wrong, he doubles down and tries to silence the other side. With corporate censorship, protesting and finally violence. “They” must not win, because if they do, I’ll forever be shamed by my past comments.

Before you’d expect me to suggest some kind of censorship to social media or automatic deletion, I welcome this as a huge step against sociality. Today it’s a big problem, lot of blood will flow on the streets. But the next generation will be much less social because of it. They will grow up in a World where being wrong will be much less embarrassing. Someone who knows that his parents made hundreds of dumb comments back then, supporting people who are now in jail or remembered as mass murderers will find it obvious that he is wrong sometimes. Because we often are. We are seekers of truth, not owners of it.

Political PS: probably not as wrong as this reporter:
migrants

There isn’t such thing as dev corruption, trust me

Massively reports that two Black Desert Taiwan employees got caught cheating, taking valuable items during downtime.

Well, that’s bad, but every company has thieves. Sure, but no way in hell you could do it in any other industry and keep your job. My company had its fair share of thieves. They were reported to police and got jail time, not 3 months pay cut.

This is exactly what I’ve described in the post corrupt developer career path: when small time cheaters are found, they aren’t removed from the system, they get a slap on the wrist and then told where to send the protection money to be able to keep on operating their shady business.

The video game industry cannot be trusted until they follow the exact same protocol as any other company about people find stealing from them: police report, blacklisting, firing if they are employees. So far anti-cheating measures are just lip service for PR to cover up widespread corruption.

I believe the only way to get rid of RMT sellers and buyers is identifying users by credit card number and ban both the credit card and the computer from being used in any video game (same way as you get caught cheating in a casino, you are banned from all casinos). Stealing employees, even if they stole pixels should not only be fired but sued and placed on a public blacklist for all IT companies to avoid.

But they won’t do it, would they? After all, getting a cut is better than getting profit for the shareholders.

Political PS: we demand equal gender representation from evil Goolag:
gender1
(searched for “beautiful people”, got 3 males, 2 unsure genders, rest females… also, someone will lose his job for Ivanka not censored out)

Peak hours and off-hours in PUBG while picking medicine

Sorry, corrupt devs have to wait another day, this is more important, because it’s directly game-related and totally anti-intuitive.

So, you decided to climb among the top players of the fastest growing game PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds. You probably know by now that fighting in the circle is about as effective as fighting on the Arathi Basin bridge. The winning strategy is to stay away from everyone and collect medicine to outheal the blue circle until you get to #10-5 and only kill those who threaten your loot.

However we must address the off-hours vs peak hours meta. It’s well known that if you want to climb some rating system, the best way is to play off-hours, because it decreases the chance of facing opponents who can defeat you. The matchmaker will place you against lesser players allowing you to constantly win. While the individual gains are small as their rating is way below you, you will slowly grind rating.

This is true in PUBG too, for those who want to be kings of the circle. But we don’t! We aren’t aiming for the #1 spot, we are aiming for consequent top 10 posts. In PUBG there isn’t just a winner and a loser, there are 100 different positions, each being evaluated according to his own rating compared to the rating of others. With simple example, if everyone is 1200 rated and you are 2200, probably you’ll lose rating if you finish anywhere but #1. If you are 1200 rated and everyone else is 2200, you’ll probably gain a little rating for a #30 position. Ergo, it’s your interest to avoid underrated matches.

The game tries to set up matches with people around your rating. If you are at 1500, that’s easy, there are plenty of players between 1450 and 1550. If you are in the top 1%, it’s not that easy to create a game. Since an average round takes 25 mins and you don’t want more than 5 minutes waiting time, 5/6 of the online players are unavailable due to being in a match. So the game has to increase the range. For example you are 2300 rated, it seeks players between 2000 and 2600, which seems symmetric, but it’s not, since there are much more players between 2000-2300 than 2300-2600, ergo your competition will be skewed down. The less players available, the worse it will be.

As a result, at off-hours you’ll be playing against lower rated players, so reaching #5-10 will grant little if any rating. On the other hand being unlucky and dying right after landing because another guy reaches your car faster and hit you will create a huge rating loss. At peak hours the amount of higher rated players is higher, increasing your rating gain for #5-10 positions and lessening your loss for unlucky insertion. The players being more deadly is irrelevant since they are deadly in the circle.

 
Political PS: liberal journalists seem to be so overcome with hate and paranoia that they lost every bit of logic. “Hey, let’s attack a completely apolitical person who is also the biggest star on the planet and infamous for being pitifully vindictive, what can possibly go wrong?!” (While The Washington Compost is more careful, I doubt if it’ll be enough to avoid her wrath)

PUBG Kill

I got a kill in PUBG. That shouldn’t be a big deal, people do that all the time. A few people even do it over 2.2K rating, but those people “haz skillz” and I don’t and not intending to.

How did I kill someone then? Because he wasn’t another “haz skillz” guy, he was collecting medicine outside the blue, just like me. I inherited his 5 first aid kits, 7 painkillers+drinks and two dozen bandages thank you very much, with these I could live until #5 position. The point is that if you use the “get medicine” strategy, you can climb high without “skillz”. Which means that another player without “skillz” can kill you.

This is a significant change in my strategy. I assumed that any player I encounter over 2.2K are way better than me in gunfight, so my best option is to avoid him. But the more important thing is that if I manage to kill him, I get no reward, so I should hide, avoid, run. On the other hand if I play the medkit-collecting strategy, I have reasons to kill him instead of hiding.

At first, if I hide, I collect nothing. The more medicine I have, the longer I live, the better position I can get. After the 5th circle painkillers and bandages can’t keep me up, I need first aid kits and medkits. With 1-2 pieces I can get to #10-13. With 8-9, #5-6. Huge difference in rewards. So fighting for the zone is rewarded instead of just hiding in a toilet.

Secondly, he already collected loot. If I kill him, I can loot him and get his medicine. Which is the point of the strategy. Earlier, if I got lucky and killed someone in an encounter, I usually just ran before another player came, I didn’t bother to loot as I had no reason to. Now I have a reason.

So from now on, I will actively try to catch and kill players who come to my turf and want to loot medicine where I am. The preferred weapons are AKM > M416 > SCARL > SK12 > MP9 > UZI. The most important to learn (which is completely against my habit) is after the surprise first shot wounded him, push forward and attack instead of running away or getting into position.

An interesting sidenote. Probably a PUBG with no circle, but a constantly strengthening blue zone would be a more engaging game than the current, since it would give a reason to engage people other than showing off kills on stream.

The results shall come soon.

PS: people are asking why I care about politics of a foreign country. Well, I consider them messages from afar we can learn from. All the experiences of foreign countries about affirmative action, microaggression and open borders have something to say to us. Here is a good summary of the message. Instead of political posts, I will just do short political PS-es, those who want to ignore them, just do.

Weekend minipost: you can’t make this up

A literal (former) CIA operative is running a gofundme campaign to buy twitter and censor the President.

Since they collected 0.005% of the needed money, it’s unlikely to succeed, but still. They aren’t even bothering to cover what they’re doing! Run from the Goolag while you still have your data!

PS: Monday post will be about PUBG and Tuesday is about captured corrupt game devs, I will cut down politics, I know that’s not why you’re here, but when I’m seeing what I’ve heard from my grandparents about the rise of the communist dictatorship, at least I speak up. But I’ll keep a healthy balance!

Google’s dirty – maybe illegal – trick with “users”

I long had trouble with Google and the rest of the internet companies openly censoring content. On the other hand I do support the rights of private companies to do business as they please. I also aggressively censor my own blog from comments I subjectively deem worthless. So this contradiction needs to be solved.

At first, I fully recognize the right of a TV channel or newspaper to control its content. I can’t just walk into MSNBC or New York Times and make them publish what I want. They made a business on selling one type of content and some people choose to buy it, or at least consume it with advertisements. This is no different from what I do in the blog. Granted, NYT is bigger than my blog, but it’s bigger because more people watch it. If I’d have 1M visitors a day, I could monetize it and afford a staff to grow and finally compete with NYT. If I fail to, it’s simply because I’m not good enough.

So I say that NYT has the same rights as I do. If you are “censored” from NYT or my blog, just start your own and beat us on the free market.

The reason why Google is different is not that it’s “too big” or even “monopolist”. Monopolies were broken before without government action. The problem is that Google circumvent media laws and media market consequences by a shady – and I believe illegal – trick. You see both NYT and I am are responsible for the content we publish. If we publish copyrighted or slanderous material, we face criminal or civil lawsuit. Here is an example what happens if a media company publishes damaging fake news.

If we merely publish sloppy, worthless, hateful or not illegal but disgusting hit pieces, we both face market backslash. I wouldn’t have many followers left if someone would catch me that my “how to get to the top 0.5% in PUBG” post was a factual lie, I hired someone to play my account with normal strategy and “skillz”. Same if I’d be caught being paid by the Archeage team to write nice things about their game.

These are costs on business. We need to put resources into fact-checking and must pass on shady offers to post knowingly harmful things for money. Google is a clever scheme to avoid these same laws and business costs and gain unfair advantage against the rest of the media. What do I mean? NYT and Google both have authors who make posts. They both pay them money for doing so – assuming they are satisfied with their content. They both have editors/moderators who decide which post can go into publication and which can not, who gets paid and who gets reprimanded. So in reality, they are equal newspapers. However Google disguises its author staff as “users” to avoid any kind of liability if the content is subject to lawsuit or market backslash.

If NYT publishes a smear or abuses copyright, they can be sued. If Google publishes the very same content to the last bit all the victim can do is sending a takedown complaint and then maybe sue the author who is likely unable to pay anything even if he can be located (good luck suing someone with the only contact information is lkel445ffdg@hotmail.cn). This is completed by the search engine that acts as a table of contents and guarantees that their content always reaches the audience, regardless of takedown. If the libel or copyright infringement of lkel445ffdg@hotmail.cn is taken down, an hour later lkel446ffdg@hotmail.cn will post the same thing and people find it instantly because it’s topped on Google search.

Neither the NYT, nor me can defeat Google because they cheat. We are bound by the libel and copyright laws and they are dodging it. I believe a lawsuit should be ran against them claiming that they are responsible for all libel and copyright infringement happening on Youtube or Blogger or whatever site they own, because if the author is paid, disciplined or fired at pleasure of the company, he is an “employee” or “contractor” and not a “user”. If Google claims that “we are just a tech company carrying signal” then make them do that instead of exercising editorial control over the content.