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Oversaturated and desensitized, yes, but too few non-technical people are bothered enough to install an ad blocker. This is an issue because the biggest security threats, today, come from ad-network-delivered-junk.

It has become so much of an issue that my advice on which antivirus to install has shifted from xxx to uBlock Origin. It's just basic computer hygiene, and I would really like if content creator would move away from ad network based advertising.




I like the irony at that. For a long time you were exactly right and "the consumer wants it this way" was a convenient argument that ad-supported sites could make.

Now ad-blocking gets more and more mainstream - and many sites (especially news sites apparently) start to panic, pleading users to disable their ad-blockers or putting up ad-blocker-blockers...


News sites don't get it. There is no story I'm interested in reading in the WSJ or NYT that I can't find on a dozen other free news sites. Sure they do investigative pieces, but if they are really noteworthy they'll get reported on elsewhere within hours. I would never consider paying for a news site.


I don't know if you've actually thought your logic through to completion.

You claim that you would "never consider paying for a news site", because it'll just get re-posted somewhere else.

I urge you to think and reflect on what you've just claimed.

Investigative journalism costs money. Going out and interviewing people, or taking photographs costs money. Digging through old archives, or filing Freedom of Information requests to your local government body costs money.

If everybody stops doing that - what exactly are you going to re-post? Kim Kardashian's selfie feed? Cute photos of cats?

WSJ and NYT do journalism - you may not agree with everything they write, but let's be honest, they do real, honest-to-goodness journalistic work. I have a lot of respect for their craft - they're what keeps companies and politicians honest as well, so I see them as essentially to a functional democracy.

Or let's put it closer to home - we techies complain that a lot of news content is just PR puff-pieces from hardware/software companies.

Well, sites like IDW, Anandtech, Phoronix, Engadget, Artstechnica - they do actual reporting, they go out and buy components and test them etc. That costs money.

By your argument, you refuse to pay because somebody will just re-post it - yeah, but somebody has to do the original work. So you are basically spiting the hand that feeds you


> If everybody stops doing that - what exactly are you going to re-post?

An issue is that for a high quality investigative story, say the Boston Globe's story about how the catholic church covered up abuse by priests for years, is that although it is expensive to produce, and interesting, it is difficult for me to quantify how I should value it. I'm neither from Boston, nor catholic, so in a sense that story is completely irrelevant to me. It's going to be the same with most stories, i.e. they're highly likely to be irrelevant to an individual.

The bigger issue is that the conclusion to your argument is that we should be obliged to pay for investigative journalism. I would argue that if society as a whole benefits from something, but an individual doesn't, then it should be the government's responsibility to support it. The BBC seems to work well, and maybe something like that could work on a state-level in the US.


I have a hard time trusting the impartiality of a government-funded news service.


Most countries, at least in the west, have high quality government funded news services.


Would you be comfortable with the only investigative journalism being carried out by the government?

Sure, the BBC (British) or ABC (Australia) model seems to work well - but there's been funding spats in the past.

It's not that hard to imagine a world where the Prime Minister thinks "These silly ivory-tower journalists are just using their rag to rail on me! Why the heck am I signing off on more funding. Cutbacks!".

That and there's many countries where I'd rather an independent journalistic service.


News sites absolutely get that people like you exist and are quite common; you're the reason why free-to-readers, clickbait headlined sites where content is either paid for by heavy advertisement or interested parties sponsoring content are so dominant -- no reader-focussed business model can be built around users with those preferences.


And what would the contrasting preferences be? People who are willing to pay for journalism for news' sake?


I think that the 'for a long time' part makes it somewhat less ironic.

Things change, and it's perfectly normal that this can cause turmoil and turn winners into losers (and vice versa) until everything stabilizes again... for a while.


There are those natural steps you always take when you set a new machine up (either for yourself or for someone else): Install the OS, install any updates, remove vendor-provided crap-ware, install antivirus, etc. "Install ad blocker" has turned into one of those steps for me. I now do it without even thinking about it. If you have tried to browse the web without one recently, you know why you need to: the current ad-encumbered web browsing experience is totally ridiculous.


This is definitely a more technical solution than the average user might use, but I've had some great success with network wide adblocking via the Pi-hole package for Raspberry Pi, and setting my DHCP server to point to it as the primary DNS.

It runs a local DNS cache that blacklists ad domains (so basically how uBlock Origin works but utilizing DNS instead of just dropping the elements on the page).

There are a few sites I've had to whitelist but in general I don't even think about it running anymore, but all devices on my local newtork are ad free.




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