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Floatplane – Linus Tech Tips launches their own video hosting platform (floatplane.com)
255 points by ortusdux 6 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 207 comments

Unfortunately their landing page doesn’t give and real confidence. It looks like a MVP rather than something they’ve been working on for years.

It doesn't look like Linus Tech Tips has even published any of their own content on this platform yet (at least not that i can find with a quick google search) so MVP is probably an accurate description.

edit: or wait, maybe there is content on here but you need to sign in to view any of it? if that's the case it's not very clear.

You need to pay to the creator to see the video content that is published on the platform. Since I was a subscriber to the site, I can tell you that the site does host videos from LTT.

Where do you even subscribe? I can't find anything targeted at viewers.

It seems like floatplane is going the same route as all these other "by creators for creators" video platforms - forgetting to worry about the viewer at all, and focus solely on the experience for the creator.

As a viewer, i have no idea what i'm supposed to do on this site.

Floatplane was never about the viewer though. You should look at their video for the release of the beta[0], I still haven't watched it though, so I could be wrong on some stuff, but that video will certainly make everything more clear for you.

Essentially, Floatplane is a fail over for Youtube. It's not there to replace it, it's there to supplement it and be there in case it disappear. That means that it will never be your source to discover someone, but it will be your source to subscribe to someone that you discovered somewhere else. It's closer to Patreon in that regard (though I believe they still have a bit of discoverability, but it's certainly not your source for that).

That means that most of their function will be geared toward creator, and allow them to offer something more to their viewer (but that for sure will require an account and a paid subscription). One of their interesting current feature for example is to allow streaming to multiple platform (Floatplane, Twitch and Youtube) in parallel.

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOOOfZWXPu4

I think they need to let you watch stuff (some stuff) without logging on or creating an account, or at least have a landing page that's geared for viewers. I hope eventually that's what happens.

I was also extremely confused looking at it - I wasn't even sure whether I was signing up as a creator or a viewer. Then I signed up and got in and was presented with nothing except a bunch of locked content. I had watched the video on the launch and still had no idea that it was a pay-per-month thing. I'm not against that at all - I just didn't know.

I'm extremely glad Floatplane exists. YouTube is changing for the worse IMHO - at least I no longer feel like I'm their target audience.

I hope the Floatplane guys are reading this and other places and taking all this feedback in. I'm really excited to watch this one; I can see the end of YouTube, at least as a viewer and I'm glad that people are starting to build and consider alternatives.

If you log in you immediately get brought to the list of (6) available channels. The videos then become visible after subscribing to a channel.

All of their content goes on floatplane first and then 1 week later gets reuploaded on youtube. It has been like that since they started working on floatplane.

Definitely a soft launch. The FAQ is empty. The How it Works section of the TOS is pretty edifying.

This product has been in the making for ~3 years. Luke from Linus Tech Tips used to be a video host, but has been in relatively few videos in the past 3 years because he was working on this. That's not to say those years were spent productively...

I don't think looking good is relevant to it's goals or success in any way.

It might not be relevant to its goals, but it is definitely relevant to its success (which, I would assume, makes it relevant to its goals). For example, the person you're replying to seems less likely to use it because it looks unpolished. There are a lot of people that will initially be turned away like that. That hurts its chance of success.

"Good looking" is far from the most important thing in a web site like this. But it is hard to argue it isn't relevant.

I see there's still a lot of confusion regarding what Floatplane actually is; It's not a video platform in the traditional sense, instead it's a platform for supporting your favorite video creators, while getting access cool perks (no ads, higher video quality, exclusive content ...etc) there's no algorithm, recommended videos, or trending page.

In that sense -as others have mentioned-, it's functionality much closer to a 'Video Patreon' than it is to say, a youtube alternative (AAMOF they've explicitly mentioned that several times)

When seen through that lens, it becomes apparent that "looking good" isn't really all that relevant, I mean, would the way patreon looks prevent you from supporting your favorite creator? probably not.

PS: Of course I get that good UI/UX is a must these days, my point is that they probably have much higher priority (not to mention mission-critical) tasks on their to-do list right now.

Doesn't seem to hurt twitch - The twitch UI looks like a toddler was given free rein with all the crayons.

The first thing you see when you go to twitch.tv is a live stream and a list of other live streams.

Once you view a stream the only things you see are the video player, details about the streamer, and chat.

Not sure what you imagine could be better, but if you want to know what really bad UI looks like, check out Mixer.

At least on twitch I'm able to watch somebody's video if I wanted to. Which seems like a very basic functionality you'd expect from a video website.

That's because it's not really a "video website", it's more like a patreon for video creators.

Floatplane has made a very conscious decision not to influence the user's decisions on consuming content; there's no algorithm, recommended videos, or trending page. you just have access to the videos of people you want to support.

Twitch doesn't look unpolished though. I don't like it, but its flaw isn't being unpolished.

Linus is a hardware person, not really a software person.

I mean, I wouldn't really call him a 'hardware person' either. If you consider a hardware person to be someone who does electrical or computer engineering, like designing PCBs or microcontrollers, etc. He comes across to me like a savvy consumer.

I don't remember him doing any of those things, I think Alex is their resident engineer... In my eyes Linus is just a nerd and a salesman.

That's why you hire software/design people.

He's neither.

Here is their explanation video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOOOfZWXPu4

Their site is light on details, but the TOS spells it out pretty well: https://www.floatplane.com/legal/terms

Doesn't this compete fairly directly with Patreon? Patreon allows some hosting, interacting with the creators directly, and of course taking payments.

As someone who uses Floatplane and Pareon (viewer, not producer), I strongly prefer Floatplane.

Patreon is fine as a donation platform, but it's mediocre for content delivery.

As a long-time viewer of LTT, I also trust them more with their content moderation policies.

It looks to me to be an ad free hybrid of youtube and patreon. Its primary focus is video delivery, monetized via subscription. They go over some of the bandwidth numbers in the video.

It seems like it's meant to compete with both Patreon and Vimeo. Issues with the website CSS aside, I hope it succeeds.

Compared to pateron it would be interesting to know what the cut is between floatplane and the creator.

They have a video explaining their video hosting platform on a competing video hosting platform?

They specifically say in that video that Floatplane is not a competitor of YouTube.

They have millions of subscribers on YouTube that they want to migrate

Do they have the ability to host videos?

I'm not seeing a live demo of their player.

They do, they've been dogfeeding on their own platforms for quite a while now.

One of the main advantages that I've heard people talk about is the high bit rates, making their 1080p look smoother than YouTube 4k in some cases.

Somewhat strange that they lack a free video preview of the quality of the website, but that might just be because launching a service like this with a high quality video front and center might ruin their networking when a giant wave of new people come in.

Youtube compresses to 2.4Mbps inclusive of audio for H.264 1080P, which really shouldn't be a problem if the video uploaded was clean and high bitrate in the first place.

I think another reason was Youtube did not support uploading of HEVC content until fairly recently, that has cause lot of problem especially those shoot their video with their iPhone.

And Youtube may never transcode and support the playback of HEVC content. Which means you are stuck with 1080P for Apple's users.

The quality of the content strongly depends on the video material. Leaves in the wind on the background of a video can quickly cause a drop in video quality. Animation, on the other hand, is usually fine with Youtube's presets. The result also seems to depend on the input format and how well Youtube's software deals with it. Many old videos made in a special Flash format suddenly turned choppy and ugly when Youtube changed something on their backend and as far as I know, that has been the case ever since.

As for HEVC, not supporting is makes sense. The cost of licensing all of Youtube's encoder and decoder systems would probably make a small dent in server cost; more than storage for H.264 content of the same length and quality would cost. For example, some versions of H.265 have a $0.02 cost per disc/title. Serving 5 billion videos (titles) each day, such a codec could easily sink the company. Of course, this is just one example of the codec licensing, and the pricing depends per region (which adds another layer of paperwork) so real pricing won't be that steep, but it's not going to be cheap to switch to HEVC playback.

Youtube has moved to VP9 and is seemingly going for AV1 as its preferred future video codec. VP9 and HEVC are pretty close when it comes to compression performance in many real world videos.

I honestly did know or even expect that Apple devices don't support VP9, but I don't blame Google for sticking to an open codec instead of giving in to Apple and their bet on HEVC for corporate contacts, especially when the codecs are this close in regards to performance.

> shouldn't be a problem

Anecdotally, videos streamed from Vimeo (which offers far superior bitrates to YouTube) look considerably better than YouTube.

> that might just be because launching a service like this with a high quality video front and center might ruin their networking when a giant wave of new people come in.

If that's the case, they're not up to the task of hosting a video that goes viral.

Whatever the explanation, the absence of a demo video leaves a very bad impression.

Let them breath a little for god sake. Yeah they aren't up to the task of hosting a video that goes viral, for two simple reasons, first they are way too new to have the kind of infrastructure to support that and second, it's not even the goal of the platform.

This is not a free video hosting website, this is only allowing paid subscription. If something goes viral enough enough paid subscriber watch it, I'm pretty sure that the amount paid by theses subscribers will be more than enough to support that wave. Having more channels will certainly make theses peaks smaller too, and that will only happens once they grow bigger.

they do

I wonder how it it compares to Nebula (Dave Wiskus, CGP Grey, and Philipp Dettmer). It seems to be roughly the same product, except for pricing ($5/m for Nebula, $3/m/creator for Floatplane)

Biggest difference IMO is that Nebula is going with the Netflix-model for their network of content creators. I'm not sure how they're going revenue sharing, but I'm guessing it's based on proportional viewership.

Nebula is probably fine if you have a large pre-existing and engaged subscription base. However, it's probably more difficult for smaller to mid-sized creators. I would worry that they're not going to get enough revenue from their share of watch time to cover their own costs. Also given that Nebula is very heavily skewed education channels, you'd likely have trouble if you're outside of that realm.

Floatplane on the other hand seems more targeted: you pay for a specific content creator. This seems more similar to how places like Rooster Teeth operated in the early days, only it's now providing the video streaming as-a-service.

Nebula will likely provide discoverability within their catalog of creators in return for the shared revenue model. Floatplane is way more direct but you're left growing your subscriber base outside of the platform.

Edit: fixed some typos

AFAIK it was started as a replacement for Vessel which shut down a while ago. As far as I remember the initial idea was to provide a platform where creators could release their videos in an "Early Access" Model to paying subscribers while their back catalog would be freely available. Not sure if this is still the plan though, seems like it has become a more all-encompassing paid video, streaming and community platform.

I see no way to setup my own video channel, and so this site is useless. I'd love to find a way off YT, and this is (apparently) not the way forward. But nice try I guess, I don't have any other remarks really, because honestly I'm not at all interested in starting multiple subscriptions at $5 a months for these two-bit channels. $1 per channel is a massive flex, but $5 is like some fantasy world flex.

You must not be familiar with the streaming/twitch community. Even modestly popular streamers/youtubers are easily able to acquire hundreds if not thousands of $5/month subscriptions. YouTube itself offers $5/month "Channel Subscriptions" that give you access to exclusive content (of a single creator), which is exactly this product. Plenty of people like individual creators enough to throw $5 their way for ad-free higher quality videos and "behind the scenes" content.

It's not meant for random individuals to post their cat videos and make a quick buck, it's a monetization option for popular people/communities that gives them more revenue streams, which is great if it gets them out of the fist of Google/Amazon. Having 80% of your revenue tied to a mega-corp's ad rate is a big incentive to diversify...

> Even modestly popular streamers/youtubers are easily able to acquire hundreds if not thousands of $5/month subscriptions.

I can't find any statistics for twitch subs easily, but it seems like "modestly popular" in your view equates to a very tiny percentage of streamers.

SocialBlade is a decent place to start for engagement numbers, and yes it absolutely is a very tiny percentage of YouTubers/steamers. But the business model is there - upload your videos, maybe do some "extra content" a la patreon, and get a diversified revenue stream as well as a platform to post your non-advertiser friendly content. They also aren't running through any cloud providers (although they are using a few CDNs), competition in the video space is always good.

One thing not being mentioned much in the comments are the nuances of a subscription-only model. People who don't like the content will simply never see it, they've stated themselves that as long as it's not explicitly illegal (child pornography, weapons manufacturing, etc) they'll allow any creator onto the platform. Although we have yet to see it tested, what happens when a publicly loathed far-right community sets up shop there...

The reason that works is that the people actively streaming are sitting right there, in front of you, interacting with you.

There's a "Become creator" button at the bottom that leads you to this page: https://www.floatplane.com/support#join-as-pilot

The site seems to be at a beta stage at the moment and they are probably letting creators in very slowly so I would hold off if your intention is to completely replace YouTube.

They released a video today stating that the point of Floatplane is -not- to replace YT.


It is in beta stage right now. On Friday they launched a "Beta Squadron" T-Shirt over at LTT Store (https://www.lttstore.com/) to go with it.

To be clear, at $5 per channel that is like saying the channel is half as valuable as Netflix, which is simply not possible. That said, we get it... not everyone has the scale to race to the bottom like Netflix, but that's the situation just the same.

I watch more LTT than I do Netflix. It's more relevant to my hobbies and, critically, Netflix has lost a ton of content over the years.

As a different comparison point, HBO NOW is $15/month and that gets you a very small amount of content.

> at $5 per channel that is like saying the channel is half as valuable as Netflix, which is simply not possible

I can understand how you might look at it that way, but I guess it depends on how you define value. To an investor, no of course not... one youtube channel could never have the same asset value as half of the content on netflix.

But, if you're talking about personal value, emotional value, qualitative value, I don't think you can speak in terms of asset value. A super fan doesn't care how much the content cost to produce or the variety of that content, in fact they want more of that one type of content than anything else. Most people have something they are irrational fanatical about and would pay more than $5/month to consume/learn/see everything about that thing. It's about a feeling and that feeling is often worth more than $5/month.

That also doesn't include content that has real monetary value to consumers. For example, there is one stock related youtube channel I follow that charges $8/month for access to their private stock picks, analysis, etc. If that helps someone generate a 1% gain in their portfolio growth then that could very well be worth more than the content on netflix to that one consumer since the content on Netflix costs them more than it makes them.

So, I think it's fair to say that someone may like one show or creator half as much as they like the content on Netflix even though the asset value could never compare.

I support 4 different individual content creators through Patreon or their own platform at levels between $5 and $10 per month. What they produce is informative, unique, and much more important to me than anything on Netflix, which is just entertainment. Unfortunately, I don't think Patreon is a very good content delivery platform, so I hope Floatplane takes off and has a better UX.

I'd pay $5 for access to a number of channels, say 10, and then they distribute their earnings depending on the time I spent on each channel.

This is literally what YouTube Red (membership) is.

Youtube Red does not distribute each subscriber's payment over the channels they watch. Every viewer-minute is the same, no matter if you spent 10 minutes or 5000 minutes on youtube that month. If you watch a single channel, but only for 50 minutes, that channel gets about five cents.

That sounds like the idea behind Brave and BAT. But instead of crypto, you use US dollars, which I guess might work better.

The Netflix library is awful, and continues to get worse and more limited. There are multiple channels I follow that I get more watch time and utility out of than Netflix

I feel the problem with Netflix is the se as what happened to cable TV.

Rather than paying a fee to Netflix let's just make our own and what you end up with is 100s of providers that have 1 or 2 things you actually want to watch.

> I see no way to setup my own video channel, and so this site is useless.

It's useless to you, yes. Floatplane is a way for established video creators to acquire a more stable revenue stream and for viewers to support their preferred video creators without being subject to ads.

It's not a place for creators to find a new audience. It's not a place for new creators to build an audience. It's basically a replacement for Vessel - more like an alternative to Patreon than YouTube.

> I'm not at all interested in starting multiple subscriptions at $5 a months for these two-bit channels. $1 per channel is a massive flex, but $5 is like some fantasy world flex.

Correct. Floatplane gives users an option to pay for a premium viewing experience (better video quality, cleaner UI, better comments) while supporting their favorite creators. However, it's not an alternative to YouTube. Video creators can (and should) still use other platforms like YouTube to sustain and expand their audience.

Very good news!

Competition in this space is hard and is always welcomed, in my opinion.

Interesting. I like their content. Or rather about half of it, which is pretty good by YouTube standards

So I wish them well with this new venture

I've followed them for a while now on youtube and it has been interesting to watch them evolve their format, content, and presentation to appease youtube's algorithms. They have been pretty open [1] about how they don't like some of the changes they have had to make to stay popular on youtube. I hope they roll back some of the more annoying changes. It appears that the ugly thumbnails sadly still persist in on floatplane [2]. It would also gladly pay for a return to 5 minute videos vs the now standard 15+ min length that gets a middle youtube ad-break and increased revenue.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzRGBAUz5mA [2] https://youtu.be/oOOOfZWXPu4?t=71

> We encourage you to contact us if you have an issue. If a dispute does arise out of these terms of use or related to your use of the service, and it cannot be resolved by way of a discussion between us, the matter of the dispute shall be resolved by way of binding arbitration in British Columbia in accordance with the Arbitration Act (BC). The costs of such arbitration shall be borne by the losing party.

Wow, that's a hard pass then...

You must pass on a lot of services then, considering how prevalent similar arbitration clauses are in ToS

Is this any different from Youtube, Twitch, Vimeo, or Patreon? I would assume they all have abusive binding arbitration clauses.

YouTube doesn't, patreon doesn't, vimeo has a small claims exemption.

So, yeah, not at all universal



no hits for "arbit"(ration)

I suppose YouTube doesn't need arbitration, they'll just van your accounts and ignore you until you make enough of a stink on social media.

I expected YouTube to have an arbitration class myself but as it probably didn't have one from the start and the extra stink of adding it now would only serve to make people more hostile to the platform, adding it probably doesn't make sense..

Most (American) Internet companies do have an arbitration clause though so I can see where the parent comes from. It's expected to be in the terms of any web company these days.

Can you elaborate at all?

Do you prefer litigating?

Do you think it's better for consumers?

Do you think it's better for the business?

This isn't a standard term in consumer contracts nor business contracts.

As a user I would rather be able to sue in small claims court.

As a creator I wouldn't want to have the threat of unlimited extra costs if I have to sue.

The terms of service are not that great, no step up from youtube. I can't understand why current businesses think it is right to simply allow themselfes to arbitarly raise fees and delete accounts and content without any warning.

I agree, these terms are terrible for both "Pilots" (users) and "Creators".

- Binding arbitration in Canada where the loser pays all costs.

- They can increase "Pledge fees" arbitrarily with just a single email notifying you

- All monthly/yearly payments are non-refundable, with no partial credit returned. So if a creator deletes their account or simply blocks you, you lose access and don't get any money back. If they refund you (extraordinary circumstances), it's only as credit.

- When payments are delayed to Creators they will "try" to communicate the reason.

- They will "try" to make payments "timely"#

- They have catch-all consent for communication, can't opt out of spam.

Can you point to any business anywhere that doesn't reserve the right to raise prices?

Would you be willing to work for your employer if they also guaranteed that your salary will never go up? Because that and a guarantee from all vendors the company uses would be needed.

And are there companies out there that don't include required arbitration? Anyone that is setting up a huge one-to-many relationship has to cover their but. The fact that any or all of your users could sue you in court at any time creates a very risky business.

You have to protect yourself. If you get offensive content then your best course of action is to get rid of it asap.

Think of nazi propaganda, animal abuse or other freaky shit.

And yes, the lines are blurry.

Nazi propaganda are legitimate historical artifacts. These belong on the internet as much as anything else.

Perhaps you instead mean neo-nazi propaganda or that belonging to some other political group that isn't wholly defunct.

It would be alright for me if the terms of use where:

If your content is against the law, or does not conform to the guidelines that where written in the terms of use, it will be removed.

And for the guidelines: A Guideline change will be communicated at least half a year before the changes

This gives people ample time to other plattforms or move videos.


And of course if you are a repeate offender you get banned for X weeks/months/years,

or you have to have a manuall review on each update which raises your fees.

You are just framing the same thing in a different way. The ToS is lawyer speak, how they enforce it is a really different question.

To provide a service for the vast majority you need powerful legal tools against the small, but smart devious users. Strict wording is part of this never ending battle.

At YouTube scale it's very hard and injustice is baked into the system. With a service like Floatplane, you can police it fairly easily. To a point... :) Then they will start to feel the heat.

Not really.

My idea binds them to certain terms e.g. they can only ban accounts if they don't follow guidelines,which means they have to give a reason which can be legally challenged.

They can only change the guidelines after a warning period, which means they have more incentitive to be constructive with the community as they can move away in that time.

As of now, if you join the plattform you only have very few gurantees.

As per the terms right now, they could happily send you an E-Mail at around 1AM and change pledge fees to 300%.

If that lands in the spam folder, you could not notice it until you have to pay.

Then they could ban you and delete your account without any reason, without any refunds.

Do I think they will do it? No

Do I think a company which presents itself as a fair new company who wants to be fair etc. should have terms of use which enable such behaivour?

No, I think it is high time that such terms of use are banned. I'm not even sure such terms would be legal in some countries.

First of all, the name is bad. It's not self-explanatory. I don't care why it's called that and I don't care to find out.

Secondly, creator-centric platforms don't pay off. Platforms bring the audience, creators bring the content. Platforms make creators, not the other way around. No creator got from zero to hero without a platform that has attained critical mass. That mass isn't attained by catering to the creators, but to the audience. The audience doesn't care about creators until the platform introduces them.

If creator-centric platforms paid off, there wouldn't be these insane commissions (often upwards of fifty percent) that creators are willing to give up just to be on the platform. Competition would drive commissions down. Rather, it's more of a winner-takes-all game, and those winner platforms get away with it. Low-commission platforms don't bring the traffic, and vice versa.

> Secondly, creator-centric platforms don't pay off. Platforms bring the audience, creators bring the content. Platforms make creators, not the other way around. No creator got from zero to hero without a platform that has attained critical mass. That mass isn't attained by catering to the creators, but to the audience. The audience doesn't care about creators until the platform introduces them.

You are thinking of this as a YouTube alternative. It’s not.

It’s a supplementary platform that is creator focused. They are not making this for discovery. LTT put out a video explaining this.

This is more of a Patreon alternative. A place to support creators - and for creators to fall back to in case YouTube shuts down monetization.

I hope this works but for any creators who are making money on youtube: Are you allowed to upload the same content on multiple sites and still remain a youtube monetizable creator? Are they recommending creators move to floatplane?

To answer shortly: Yes No

a few people have started their own platforms, and there s also generic alternatives like bitchute steem etc. I wonder who will become the open source "wordpress of youtubers"

A serious video CDN is one of those things that makes sense at scale. You have to get POPs all around the world, transcode lots of different bitrates, store it all, etc. and that sort of thing is expensive enough to get up and running that I don't forsee a lot of small-time people putting up their own versions (a la wordpress).

> A serious video CDN is one of those things that makes sense at scale.

Torrents provide a lot of this funcitonality

(Also, the CDN doesn't even make sense for youtube - they are not profitable)

Meh, torrents provide some. They don't handle the different qualities you might want to select for, say, a fast desktop vs a slow mobile connection. They also make controlling distribution much harder.

depends I've seen a pretty decent solution before using WebRTC to it amongst clients, can't remember the name of the company who had the solution tho...

If you use my bandwidth to serve your own traffic, fuck you, honestly. The internet is hard enough without wondering if random websites are slowing down my connection by seeding torrents with webRTC.

> Torrents provide a lot of this funcitonality

Plenty of companies have tried to build peer-to-peer CDNs (including Bittorrent, Inc. itself). They have all failed.

P2P doesn't work well on mobile, ISPs get super upset about seeding from residential connections (and often use boxes to traffic shape it), there is no programatic way to determine if even a residential line is on a pay-per-use plan, and in general consumers don't like you using "their bandwidth."

sure. but creators have an incentive to run nodes for the network. renting a vps to run ipfs or a webtorrent relay is cheap and also facilitates worldwide distribution

and ISPs might adapt to increased demand, fixing their stingy upload rates

> Torrents provide a lot of this funcitonality

Adaptive bitrate streaming?

That strikes me as the real acid test as to whether you have a serious video streaming platform, or a generic file-distribution platform.

PeerTube does this using multiple files already, but I wish they used SVC (scalable video coding). That's an issue I've already talked at large here and on their issue tracker. (Long story short: people believe the gains aren't so big).

I actually think Cloudflare should step into this space.

Cloudflare already provides such a service, Cloudflare Stream: https://www.cloudflare.com/products/cloudflare-stream/

Maybe someone can explain, why would I pay for something like this?

For the same reason you pay towards a creators Patreon or Twitch, you want to support an individual creator you like.

To support creators and avoid youtube/google

...and the creators usually provide exclusive content or early access as extra incentives.

They need to make this a youtube competitor if they want it to take off

oh, this has an actual site now. Last time I checked, it was using the LTT forum for all intel..

IIRC it moved off of the LTT forums over a year ago

So it's like YouTube but you have to pay a subscription for every channel? Ugh.

I think they're co-opting YouTube as the discovery wing of FloatPlane. Find channels to watch on YT, and if you like them head on over to GP and support them.

Right, how about a flat fee subscription service where creators get paid on the backend per views? And then you can choose to support a channel separately.

You mean YouTube Red?

> So it's like YouTube but you have to pay a subscription for every channel? Ugh.

I think it’s more of a Patreon alternative focused on delivering video.

I'm very interested in this space. I had an idea about 3 years ago for what appears to basically be Nebula (which I just found today based on another comment in this thread). My idea was basically:

* Creators are curated and are seeded from existing Youtube channels. Curation happens on the creator level where illegal content means removal of the channel.

* No advertising so latitude for monetization of brand-unfriendly content.

* User pay a monthly subscription fee.

* Money is divided amongst creators based on watch time.

Some ideas I had that I don't see represented:

* Users have the opportunity to pay more per month and can elect to spend this money in a discretionary way, like a "tip". This isn't shared based on watch time but by direct action from the user towards creators they want to show appreciation above and beyond.

* Creators can elect some of their content as "free" content, e.g. introductory videos, videos older than 3 months, etc. in order to attract and grow an audience. This free content does not contribute to their "watch-time" that comprises their share of subscription revenue but it can attract discretionary tips.

A couple of points:

* Anyone who scoffs at the idea of the discretionary monthly "tip" idea has not watched the flood of donations to Twitch streamers. However, some kind of feedback would be required in a similar way to TTS shoutouts - I'm not sure on this. We tend to focus on the majority who say "I would never pay $Y for anything!" while ignoring the whales that would happily pay $Y * 100 given the right incentives. If you've worked in free-to-play games then you know the revenue potential of whales. If you remove the ceiling of what people can pay, some people will pay above your wildest expectations just because they can.

* I worked in video distribution and I was closely involved in managing costs. Most people cannot believe the costs involved in delivering video. Linus mentioned terabytes of data but that is the tip of the iceberg for popular content. Costs can ramp up to $100k/month for even modest audience sizes when storage and delivery are considered. That doesn't include server costs to run the multiple back-end and front-end services needed, nor the salaries of engineers and devops to keep it up. I was unable to find a way to make the $$ work without serious up-front investment. This isn't a space you can bootstrap on free tiers of cloud services.

Ultimately the real "whales" are businesses. I don't believe any subscriber funded effort can ever attract the kind of spend that massive advertising budgets can leverage. That means that platforms funded by advertising will always have a war-chest to snipe the best content creators. Think how Mix payed for Ninja and Shroud. Even if a content creator gets popular on one of these subscriber-supported platforms there will always be an advertising platform ready with cash-in-hand to steal them away.

Despite some pessimism, I am actually very bullish on this idea and I truly hope the idea succeeds!

Hey Linus

To anyone who makes sites like these, please consider removing the following CSS rule:


Thank you,

-- someone who thinks selecting text is not something you should screw with.

Why on earth would they even do that?! It's just as infuriating as sites that muck around with the scroll. No...just don't. Don't try to be fancy, leave the scrolling to me.

People with disabilities and accessibility issues (blind, low vision, limited or poor motor function, etc) all have friends and family.

These users buy gifts for their friends and families. Sometimes they even buy groceries for themselves.

That makes these users your potential customers.

Traversing the web for them is already remarkably difficult, but they do it to buy things for their loved ones.

When they traverse the web they do so using a multitude of tools including specialised screen readers or keyboard and mouse controllers.

Do you know what these users do when they come across your super-aesthetic futuristic website and you hijack the selection functionality for their screen reader? They just bounce to another site or service where selection works.

If your site sells something but has been designed for aesthetics only (hijacking the scroll function, removing indicators of selection, disabling right-click functionality etc) you are excluding almost anyone over 50 (that suffers from low vision) and EVERYONE with accessibility requirements. Don't do it.

Amazing design is being able to make something aesthetically gorgeous, while also meeting or exceeding as much of the WCAG guidelines as possible.

WCAG Guidelines https://www.w3.org/WAI/standards-guidelines/wcag/

Source: We're an accessibility accredited and audited design agency.

Often it's dysfunction; some stake holder or lawyer, etc., having funded the development of some site, observe that one can 'steal' content with copy+paste and freak out, so the front end developers stick this placebo in to shut them up.

There are legitimate use cases; the classic being 'sort a table by clicking on a column heading', where without 'user-select: none;' (or some other mitigation) the column heading will often end up being selected. Often when one creates a site that involves users interacting with text using a traditional pointer device outside of form controls a need for this will appear.

From personal experience I've seen it mostly pulled out as a solution to an XY problem. Normal text tags give you the text cursor. If you don't want the text cursor, why not disable selection? The proper solution is to just apply the default cursor. I haven't experienced your situation before but that sounds completely reasonable; many non-web devs I know don't even know about the dev console.

W3C gets the ultimate blame. These attributes should not even exist. They should have put their foot down and said no to Google.

It's part of making a Progressive Web App: the user should believe they're using a regular smartphone app, and being unable to simply select and copy text goes a long way towards maintaining the illusion.


Should we also force our users to download a 30mb update every week? Just to really emulate the native app experience!

The neat thing about modern SPAs backed with your average feature-flagged CI/CD setup is that you're getting a new 30 mb download each time.

I belive you but could you elaborate for those who don't know what you mean? :)

Continuous Deployment implies at least a few releases per day. Especially for bundled JavaScript (which is most setups) this means you’re invalidating the cache of the entire app at every payload.

Imagine having to download an app update every time someone merged to master. That’s most SPAs.

This can be the case, but if any of the engineers on staff spend a day reading docs it should generally be fixable. A 30mb it should be chunked by the build process in such a way that small updates usually cause cache invalidation for only a few kb worth of files.

If the library you use to build your SPA (React, Vue, etc.) is relatively up to date you should also probably not be sending the whole app over the wire at once to anyone. Routes and components can be set to only load when the user actually attempts to access them inside the SPA, reducing egress significantly.

In Webpack the chunks whose content don't change don't get new file names and so the cache needn't be invalidated for them. Vendor code which is often the largest part, can stay cached over many deployments so long as the versions are locked. Of course, your host could still send no-cache headers and invalidate everything, but that's a problem with the host/cdn.

Sure, I really do hope that engineers do their best to fix things, but in the sad world of contemporary web frontends, I'm a bit pessimistic (then again, if one has to err on the side of build system over-engineering, you're rarey disappointed).

Still, if the deployment system involves frequent node module updates, the vendor files get "dirty" quickly, too.

Sad!? You must not be old enough to remember when we used the global namespace for modules, and there was no console.log(). You wanna talk about sad, try debugging with alert().

I think they are talking about bundling before code-splitting (like we did back in the Browserify days) and that's true, but we have Webpack, or ESModules now.

This linked page alone has 10 MB.

It fits with Linus's MO of making videos of how to build computers and systems 10-100X more powerful than you need.

Insane and grotesque!

Think of all the CPU cycles on all hardware (clients + network devices) and energy used just to fetch web "content" these days.

Might as well return to just burning coal at home to keep warm, thinking of the net effect on the environment.

It's absolutely stupid.

And all the people who don't have $500+ phones, unlimited data plans and fast internet connections.

I used a ~$50 android and pre-paid plans for over a year while traveling Latin America. Wast swaths of the internet are basically inaccessible unless you have tremendous patience and nerves as well as leftover money to throw at the ISPs.

Well it's a modern web page so it's 30mb every time you load it

Browsers have caches

The worst imo are sites that mess with how opening links work. Left click should open the link in the current tab and scroll click or Ctrl+left click should open it in new tab (without switching to that tab). Sites that mess with this and refuse to open links in new tabs really annoy me.

Thankfully floatplane doesn't seem to change any of that but you can't scroll with Vimium's [udjk] keys which kinda sucks.

Oh, yes, I also often have that issue(although I use middle mouse click for that).

I also have these issues with Vim plugins - suddenly websites make scrolling almost unusable with an animation(which is never seen when scrolling with a mouse, touchpad etc. but seems to exist solely to annoy keyboard users), or they can't be scrolled at all, or the whole website UI is built with crazy JS magic so that the plugin can't even find a single link on the whole page.

I don't want to know how bad it must be for blind people who have to rely on automatic tools.

In fairness, this might have just been an overly-broad solution to a certain problem. That is, if you have an element that is clickable and isn't an <a> or <button>, double clicking it can cause page content to be selected when this was not intended.

"user-select" should be disabled more specifically than it is in this case, for sure, but that is what I suspect is really going on here.

Why can’t we just remove user-hostile features like this from browsers? At this point I’m starting to feel like we need to start over. Create a new web, focused on the user, that doesn’t have any of this nonsense.

it makes sense to apply user-select: none on draggable components, or those where the text is not actually text such as icon fonts. But it's one of those instances where a tool that's legitimately useful in one small, specific instance is used more generally without due consideration (or in other examples such as `confirm()` on window exit, actively malicious). I'm sure a better solution for the legitimate use cases could be designed though.

> text is not actually text such as icon fonts

Which is also hostile. Why not use something like an img/svg?

I believe the major advantages of icon fonts over SVGs were potentially smaller file sizes and better browser compatibility. I think the former is minor if it exists at all, and the latter is probably a much smaller concern now.

I don't know - I'm describing it, not justifying it.

Fewer requests maybe?

Not every text in a user interface is supposed to be selectable. Can you select the text on your buttons, your tabs, your dropdowns? Of course not, because it doesn't make sense.

If you think it shouldn't be possible to develop user interfaces that rival the desktop inside the browser, then just say so. If you merely believe existing web standards make this possible without "hacks" like "user-select:none", then you are mistaken.

By the way, I'm a "read with selection" guy myself and I find this behavior on paragraphs of text unacceptable. On the other hand, none of the text on that website is worth reading anyway.

> Not every text in a user interface is supposed to be selectable. Can you select the text on your buttons, your tabs, your dropdowns? Of course not, because it doesn't make sense.

It would make sense, and all text in a user interface should be user selectable and offer the same behaviors.

Maybe you need to copy and paste a lengthy error message. Maybe there’s a word you don’t understand you want to look up in a dictionary. Maybe the interface isn’t in your native language and you want to translate it.

The fact that most mainstream computing environments don’t offer this in 2019 doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do, rather that our systems have regressed in some (many?) areas when it comes to usability.

> It would make sense, and all text in a user interface should be user selectable and offer the same behaviors.

How would you know? You have never used such a system because it doesn't exist, how do you know it's better?

If you had ever implemented something like a drag and drop UI, a context menu, or even a a simple button using plain old HTML, you would've immediately noticed that selectable text interferes with user interaction. It's the first thing you disable and it's the reason why "user-select:none" must exist.

> How would you know? You have never used such a system because it doesn't exist

I have, it does, it's called Oberon, it was glorious.

Copying text from UI elements was also never an issue for me in GTK2 (can't speak for 3, haven't used it much), it was great (although I admit I don't know if there were a few places in the system where I couldn't copy text, it may not have been 100% the case).

When I'm working in terminal apps (more often than you can likely imagine) on Linux I can also expect to copy text everywhere, it's great.

I'd encourage you to use a diversity of computing systems, it'll broaden your perspective and imagination and sense of possibilities :)

Pardon my ignorance, I assumed we were talking about actual GUIs, not (glorified) text interfaces.

I have used text interfaces, but they are inferior for most users and many types of applications.

> I'd encourage you to use a diversity of computing systems, it'll broaden your perspective and imagination and sense of possibilities :)

I suggest the same to you, but at the application level, not at the "computing system" level. There are a lot of possibilities with graphical user interfaces that aren't limited to text.

I don't think there are that many situations where it is actually productive to prevent user from selecting and copying text even if it's just part of the UI. To focus on your example, copying user interface text might be useful for users who are not sufficiently proficient in the language that the app/website is written in and would like to copy the text into something like Google Translate. This is especially a problem with many mobile apps that prevent selecting text.

The worst bit is applications that prevent copying error messages, because they prevent copying all UI text. And then use complicated error codes. This makes searching for the error message/code excessively difficult!

If there's even one important situation where it is necessary to disable text selection, then disabling text selection must be supported.

I gave you several examples of these. The text for many UI elements isn't supposed to be selectable, because it interferes with user interaction.

Your off-chance example where somebody is trying to copy-paste the text for translation because the application is in a foreign language is subordinate to this.

Good UX is about choosing the right tradeoffs between functionality and usability.

I don't think it's that rare to have a UI element that's intended to be draggable and sometimes contains text.

> Can you select the text on your buttons, your tabs, your dropdowns

Usually it's possible by just starting the selection beside the button and dragging across. For example, you can select a navigation button on HN easily this way, along with most sites. I use this all the time when I'm reading about products and want to copy the product name or model number, but it's part of a breadcrumb navigation. It would actually be nice if there was a browser shortcut, where if I hold "s" I can disable opening links during that time and select buttons like normal text.

I've been thinking lately it would be fun to make a web browser that only implements a small percentage of the most useful HTML and CSS specs. Maybe no JS at all. Then start writing my personal sites to be compliant with that browser. Similar in concept to AMP but with very different driving incentives.

Why can’t we just remove user-hostile features like this from browsers

I wonder about what kind of a performance decrease you'd expect from being able to blacklist or whitelist chunks of the web API, like how you can blacklist syscalls in some container platforms.

There are so many reasons why the web would be awful with granular prefs (and I say this as someone who has wanted it for JS in particular). First off, it depends on how you define your block/allow list.

Are they run-time prefs that can be toggled? There is UI/UX overhead, and related attack surface.

If they are run-time prefs, are they loaded when the browser is run, or on each page load/content type load? Do you have to maintain a list of prefs by domain? etc, etc, etc.

If they are compile time, then is it even worth doing for dramatic increase in complexity trying to support users with unusual configuration (e.g. THAT user that decides that preffing off JSON support is a good idea.)

How granular do you allow user prefs on this, and how do you account for the fact that a user may pref off an api/feature that you use as a part of exploit mitigation?

Do you want to log entries that are pref'd off so that users know what is making their favorite app fail?

What are the abuse cases for pref'd features?

How much attack surface is introduced by allowing pref'ing of features?

Does doing this actually contribute to usability on the web, or will it simply lead to a proliferation of "Please ensure that all features are pref'd on" pages, similar to the Javascript pages you often see when browsing without javascript.

I have longed for the universe where all and every JS/CSS stuff are done on the user side. Basically the only thing that the web provide is the very basic HTML and its up to the user to colour their experiences.

One would argue that there would be bloat -- having to install multiple extensions. But then visiting random websites is completely safe, and the only ones that we have to care about is the popular ones that many people have extensions for.

You can. This is just CSS, so it's pretty easy to install Stylus on Firefox mobile and create a rule.

I know that I can and how to do that. The problem is that I shouldn't remove their stupid decisions to make their own damn website actually useful.

I didn't check but I bet you can turn it off in Firefox, like that ridiculous block on pasting passwords. And that ridiculous no-zooming-allowed on mobile sites. One wonders who though of such bad ideas in the first place let alone the fact that actual people implement them.

Damn I miss my Geocities and <blink> tag!! (haha sorry, couldn't resist)

There's a sibling comment to yours which a number of people replied to, with a pretty good list of situations where you would want to disable text selection.

Bookmarklet to re-allow text selection:


Someone could likely trivially publish an extension that just drops

    * { user-select: unset !important; }
into every visited page.

Also: as someone who blocks all cookies by default, make sure your site works with them disabled.

There is no valid reason why cookies are needed to display HTML.

Very true. Even if that HTML is a document describing an authentication failure.

Whenever a site has text selection disabled it raises a huge red flag for me. It's pointless and screams incompetence.

This makes total sense on UI elements (like buttons and menus) but should never be on content, that rule use here is just lazy.

I only think thats ok for some very specific things like button / input fields where it looks dumb if its selected by mistake. But for content you're immediately reading, it shouldnt be messed with. Maybe you want to take meaninful notes.

How is this nitpicking over something irrelevant to the primary purpose of their site the top comment on hn?... They just released a video streaming platform...how about we talk about that?

It depends™️.

Agree in this case; really bad idea to not let people select text on whole like that.

There are tons of of cases, however, where not allowing selected text is totally a good behavior in UI.

When? Can you give an example or two? I was wondering about just that.

Anything with Drag & Drop functionality. When users press inside the draggable to try and move it, sometimes text will select instead and need to be cleared before dragging (particularly annoying on mobile devices).

Also video controls that use the UNICODE characters for e.g. play/pause/stop/etc instead of graphic icons (so it scales better at higher DPI). You don't want people to be able to select the text inside the button when pushing the button.

There's actually tons of great usage of user-select: none. This is definitely not one of them though.

It's often a bad idea, but here's some when I used it:

- Widget labels (time, short text, etc)

- Buttons, when text is just an arrow >

  (I know, just use <button>) :)
- When double click makes accidental text selection on UI. I had this for a whole page overlay displaying a song's artist and title. (there's another link to the source with selectable text)

- Navigation, but that might be bad too

I've used it on elements with text where click-and-drag and double-click are supposed to be used for a different purpose than text selection.

Navigational elements, such as a list of clickable links. Gets really annoying when the user is trying to select text, their finger slips and suddenly half the menus on the page are highlighted, and now you need to take into account non-euclidean geometry to get them unhighlighted.

An example where this might be appropriate: using font icons. Selecting an unusable unicode character is not what most users want.

I disabled the selection of various components in apps along the years when I simply find myself accidentally selecting things in regular use that break things or creat selection states that are hard to exit. Most recently it was in a modal-heavy media gallery SPA. If you click and drag outside of a modal when you mean to click, it highlights a grid of media elements that’s hard to exit and really makes for a wonky experience. Like all UX work, you don’t notice it when it’s done well.

Custom buttons that doesn't use the button tag but is made up of a div which has multiple elements like an avatar & a username, icon for a dropdown

> Custom buttons that doesn't use the button tag

Which should also be avoided

Drag and drop. It's annoying when you go to drag something and end up selecting text instead.

I use it for some drag and drop stuff where selecting text would get in the way and would be largely unnecessary (e.g. reordering table columns by dragging a header cell), but that's about it.

Imagine a list of objects with descriptions or names and these objects need to be drag/dropped. It would make since to disable highlight the object names by mistake.

In our application we disallow generated command lines for selection and provide a safe "copy command" icon. As my u see a visual correct command (for a browser view) the resulting select + copy don't include f.e. whitespaces.

I'm afraid that is a near-universally hated design choice

It's an command builder where you can drag and drop arguments too - overall user selection don't make sense for this purpose - at least not in our case.

Copy command button ends up not working, making the user retype the whole command by hand.

Good going.

I made a quick user style to re-enable text selection


And if I right click on buttons, I can't open in a new tab.

Says the person who wants people to load a ridiculously heavy web page that needs a few billion CPU cycles to run Javascript, all to load a tiny image...

What? This is a direct img link, there is literally 0 javascript.

imgur does some referer detection server side to redirect you to the html page if they think they can. So it's possible that the user is getting sent to the web view.

Do you have any source for that? I have never had this happen.

From when it was added: https://blog.imgur.com/2017/06/21/a-new-look-for-direct-link...

The article states that it's been turned back off, but I'm not sure when that edit was. At the very least, here's a report of it happening two months ago: https://old.reddit.com/r/IgnorantImgur/comments/diunko/why_d...

Wow, thanks. Not sure about that single reddit thread, but the blog claims they only ran it for a day.

The link was updated. Originally it was a full Imgur link.

Oh no think about the cpu cycles.

Is there even a good reason for the existence of that CSS rule? Browsers should just stop honouring that crap.

There are, look them up. That said, there's no reason to put it on the whole page like this, other than laziness.


Is there context to his? I've not heard anything.

Clicked on it in disbelief. This happened to be another Linus.

So, it seems like I can't view any of these creators' content without logging in. Not even so much as a preview of it. That's a big fail if they're hoping to run up against YouTube.

The biggest thing I'm going to expect is that it needs to have solid RSS support: If not part of a centralized site, it needs really good support for feed standards like RSS so I don't have to check it daily.

They're not trying to compete with Youtube -- like at all. It's seems like they're going for a closed-network of pre-approved creators with a existing sizable subscription-base. They pretty explicitly said this is a platform you'd be growing your subscriber base on as they have zero interest in providing discoverability.

They basically are just providing a streaming platform for content creators to share their videos with paid subscribers. Kind of like old-school Rooster Teeth as-a-service.

Yup, i'm not signing up to watch video. But there is some justification for it, they really only want consumers who are willing to sponsor content. My guess is that this is in lieu of advertising injected by the platform itself.

It's good that this is being tried, but i'm not sure you can get to critical mass this way.

It's not meant to compete with YouTube. It's meant for patreon subscriber live streams and the like.

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