Added: Aha, here it is: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1172302
How sad. I wonder if OP actually believes this or if it was just part of his rant. Or maybe he didn't get enough hugs from his first boss.
I'd like to think that there are still many of us who need to earn enough to insure continuation of business without sacrificing our souls or the original purpose of all our hard work.
I do not think it is somehow a controversial statement that employees of a corporation have a fiduciary duty to their shareholders to maximize profit. He may have stated it in a controversial or misleading way, but it is not untrue.
Additionally, it seems you have interpreted it as some sort of polemic regarding work/life balance, an interpretation which I do not believe is supported by the text.
Any company that can't or won't do these things is at a severe disadvantage to the competition.
The only places where the courts are touchy on this is religious-y things, like a policy of closing on Sundays.
Ethics are for the poor, and laws can be circumvented, re-written, or present only minor speedbumps (profit for law-breaking = $100; fine = $10 => BREAKIN' THE LAW!)
His suggestion (don't know if it's facetious or not) of requiring a 'contract' is obviously a non-starter. Any site that tried that would lose visitors to non-contract sites, and since most people don't block ads, the contract site would simply be losing revenue.
> I run my own website(s) at a loss specifically because I'd rather pay out of my own pocket than force people to look at ads. Admittedly my sites are so small that it's not much money. But there you have it. If I had to generate revenue to keep my sites going, I would find a way other than advertising to do it. Or I'd shut them down.
"Find another way". Uh-huh. Like? And, if you think the content is good, wouldn't shutting them down be a loss for the world?
To hijack the thread for something more useful, a concrete example I'm wrestling with is http://langpop.com - people like it a lot, but programmers are also adept at ignoring advertisements, so it doesn't get much revenue. Now, it's mostly a fun project - it wasn't something I ever created to make money on, but I'm getting to a point in my life where it's time to do more things to make money and do fewer "let's see where it'll go" fun projects. (This saddens me, because I love to explore and play and create, but c'est la vie). In any case, people like it, so there must be some value in it, and I've certainly invested some time in creating it, but so far I have not really found a way to capture some of the created value for myself.
In your case you are going to have too kind of people comming there:
1* people who are in love with a "small" language, and want to see it grow.
2* people who are loking for a language to learn.
The people who fit in the first group are likely to be very good programmers, so you could have a set of premium job ads there.
The second set of people are in need of tutorials or books about how to program in that language; they would be good candidates to refer to some Amazon books.
This reminded me of a line from Neil Postman's book Amusing Ourselves to Death:
>Imagine what you would think of me, and this book, if I were to pause here...and then proceed to write a few words in behalf of United Airlines or the Chase Manhattan Bank. You would rightly think that I had no respect for you.
He's a precious fusspot.
The opening sentences of the linked article:
There's an interesting article on Ars Technica about how blocking ads is somehow unethical, and "devastating to the sites you love". The idea that I have a moral obligation to stare at an advertisment, the thought I have an ethical obligation to voluntarily annoy myself for the sake of a company's profits... it would be hilarious if it wasn't so repugnant.
Now, from the Ars Technica article referred to:
My argument is simple: blocking ads can be devastating to the sites you love. I am not making an argument that blocking ads is a form of stealing, or is immoral, or unethical, or makes someone the son of the devil.
Note it's very easy to look for fallacies when you are detached from the subject. The question is if the person doing this wants to make the world a better place in his way or is just a policeman for the sake of verbal purity..
The OP is against advertising, on two grounds: 1) that he doesn't want to be exposed to things against his will, and 2) that business is by its very nature unethical.
You're right when you say that these are emotional arguments, and not logical ones.
The fact that the OP "wants to make the world a better place in his way" isn't comforting to me; as Shaw pointed out, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
My point isn't one of "verbal purity"; rather, I'm just trying to take the words seriously enough to follow through their implications.
(I assume, by the way, that the OP would be upset to find that his post was linked to on HN, because that link could be viewed as a form of advertising for the piece, and we know how he feels about advertising....)
I'm not in love with the OP's piece myself but I think this is being unfair to it. There's at least a quantitative if not a qualitative difference between informally posting a link in a forum designed for it and the sort of weaponized mass psychology modern day advertising has (d)evolved into.
The piece is wooly and rambling and not a particularly coherent argument, please don't sink to its level when criticizing it.
So what? He still can have some good points, which you seem to refuse to consider as he "broke" your rule of being strictly consistent.
Btw, with your last sentence you clearly put yourself on a side of a policeman..
 I forgot to mention that this 'good intention' vs 'policeman' was about you not the OP. You falsely assumed that I want to attribute everything right to the OP and everything wrong to you, making another fallacy btw. Not at all. I hoped you with your comments want to make it all better and not just be a nazi here.
Please also don't underestimate the power of motivation. I personally find Shaw's famous cite intellectually witty but not wise. Motivation is a primary source of what we do.
Stop trying to track my every move online. How many people understand tracking cookies? How many companies make it clear that every click is being recorded and data-mined? How is this ethical?
I mean, the Ars article was a bit "out there" but he clearly hasn't really read it (e.g. The idea that I have a moral obligation to stare at an advertisment, the thought I have an ethical obligation to voluntarily annoy myself for the sake of a company's profits... it would be hilarious if it wasn't so repugnant.)
Oh well; I saw another post from this blog earlier in the day and never really considered that it was an earlier entry :P
One publishing house made the mistake of violating a contract provision against ads by putting a cigarette ad in one of Harlan Ellison's books. Harlan responded in his own inimitable way, as described in the "DID HARLAN REALLY MAIL A DEAD GOPHER TO AN EDITOR?" section of http://harlanellison.com/text/newsfaq.txt .
I like your idea with the out of print books!
Anyway, reading a book requires a completely different mindset from reading a magazine/ watching TV/ browsing the web. So I guess that's why ads "work" in one medium and not the other.
As for the contract point, I think there is an implicit contract between the publisher and the reader that they can access the content for free as long as they are willing to accept the slight intrusion of the ads.
As for the ethical matter, I do think that he is being a free loader, accessing content which is free only because of the many who do not use an ad blocker. In one way therefore he is cheating and that is unethical. It is perfectly fine, selfish and normal behaviour, but hardly angelic or ethical simply because he is not fulfilling his part of the bargain.
If he hates adverts so much and a significant minority acts as he does then publishers will either be forced to start charging for their content as Times Online has began to do and as they do for books, or valuable information will stop being generated, thus, making us all poorer.
Finally, this is capitalism, if you do not like it, you might be welcomed in North Korea or at least in China.
They do not annoy me. Adverts become annoying when they are repeated on and on and besides adverts are easy to ignore in most cases.