Nobody Cares: PRS

Worthless Whore

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Cruise ships have been pretty controversial in Venice for a while anyway. They are huge monstrosities that dump off ridiculous amounts of people all at once, who in turn eat and sleep on the cruise ships and the locals I've spoken with, say they bring very little to the Venice economy (tourism yes, cruise ships no). They have voted to ban cruise ships of a certain size in the city center beginning in 2021.

Venice just banned mega cruise ships from sailing through the city
As someone who's been to Venice I agree 100%. I remember being lost in the romance of Venice and looking over and seeing this FUCKING HUGE cruise ship sailing by, and it totally ruined the experience of that moment. Venice is all about getting lost in the 16th century.
 

Porsupah Ree

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Today in "Satire or Serious?":



TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): Almost every nation on Earth has fallen under the yoke of tyranny -- the metric system. From Beijing to Buenos Aires, from Lusaka to London, the people of the world have been forced to measure their environment in millimeters and kilograms. The United States is the only major country that has resisted, but we have no reason to be ashamed for using feet and pounds.

JAMES PANERO: I am joining you tonight as an anti-metrite. I'm taking a stand against the metric system -- the original system of global revolution and new world orders.

CARLSON: God bless you, and that's exactly what it is. Esperanto died, but the metric system continues, this weird, utopian, inelegant creepy system that we alone have resisted.
 

Innula Zenovka

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Give them time, though. It's a huge and complex task they say they're undertaking, and it would be all too easy for it to go horribly wrong. You need only to think of what tends to happen when Facebook try to remove objectionable content!

They've got loads of material to review and huge numbers of judgment calls to make, and there's going to be a lot of on-the-job learning in the face of sustained hostile scrutiny and comments.

I'd far rather they take it slowly and concentrate on getting it right rather than start with a sweeping initiative that they have to roll back the following week.

So I'll give them the benefit of the doubt for the time being.
An early example of what can go wrong: YouTube blocks history teachers uploading archive videos of Hitler

Scott Allsopp, who owns the longrunning MrAllsoppHistory revision website and teaches at an international school in Romania, had his channel featuring hundreds of historical clips on topics ranging from the Norman conquest to the cold war deleted for breaching the rules that ban hate speech.

“It’s absolutely vital that YouTube work to undo the damage caused by their indiscriminate implementation as soon as possible,” said Allsopp. “Access to important material is being denied wholesale as many other channels are left branded as promoting hate when they do nothing of the sort.”

While previous generations of history students relied on teachers playing old documentaries recorded on VHS tapes on a classroom television, they now use YouTube to show raw footage of the Nazis and famous speeches by Adolf Hitler.

The Google-owned service sent an automated email to Allsopp saying his clips channel had been removed for uploading “content that promotes hatred or violence against members of a protected group”. Much of it consisted of clips from old BBC documentaries, which are no longer easily available, in addition to cine film of Hitler’s speech the night he was appointed chancellor and a short compilation of Joseph Goebbels talking about propaganda.

Richard Jones-Nerzic, another British teacher affected by the crackdown, suggested YouTube’s policy didn’t take into account the extent to which the history syllabus focused on the second world war.

“Modern world study and Hitler in particular have dominated the history curriculum in the UK over the last 25 years,” he said, explaining that he had been censured for uploading clips to his channel from old documentaries about the rise of Nazism.
ETA I checked out his website and it's a serious UK educational resource for secondary school (high school) teachers and students of history.

To view this perfectly legitimate video, for example, I had to use a VPN (bizarrely, when I tried to use my regular ISP I got a message saying I couldn't view it) and pretend to be in America, and even then I got a big scary warning from YouTube:

 
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Dakota Tebaldi

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It's a little tricky, because you can just have white supremacists putting up speeches and talks by contemporary racists and saying it's just documenting a historical event for purely educational purposes. I'm not sure YouTube NEEDS to be a place where teachers should be able to find educational videos of Hitler speeches.
 
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Innula Zenovka

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It's a little tricky, because you can just have white supremacists putting up speeches and talks by contemporary racists and saying it's just documenting a historical event for purely educational purposes. I'm not sure YouTube NEEDS to be a place where teachers should be able to find educational videos of Hitler speeches.
Possibly not. But as is pointed out in the article, WW1, the interwar years, the rise of Hitler and National Socialism, and the Holocaust and WW2 are all very much part of the high school curriculum in the UK -- and I assume the rest of Europe, too -- and YouTube has become a very valuable resource for teachers of C20th European history who wish to share teaching materials.

Many of these videos are extracts from old (and therefore now difficult to obtain) TV documentaries, originally recorded by teachers on VHS tapes and show in class via a video player. Now teachers have transferred them to their computers and have shared both them and whole lessons via YouTube.

Possibly YouTube doesn't need to be a place that hosts them, though I worry about the implications of taking down bona fide educational materials simply because they deal with potentially objectionable or contentious content, while ignoring the question of whether or not they deal with it in a responsible manner. I'm pretty sure that could lead to all sorts of problems with -- for example -- educational materials about the slave trade or the American Civil War, particularly if the US right-wing start making mischievous complaints. Similarly, good luck posting anything on YouTube, no matter how responsible, about the US invasion of Iraq and its aftermath, Vietnam, or the genocide directed against Native Americans.

And good luck to anyone posting anything about the history and culture of the Kurds, or that of the Yazidi, or of the Greeks and Armenians under Turkish rule in the early C20th, that might upset the current government of Turkey!

I am sure that a responsible policy can eventually be worked out, but it's the sort of thing that's going to take a great deal of time, particularly when it comes to identifying content that can be flagged automatically and to the criteria humans must use when reviewing the content thus flagged.
 

Dakota Tebaldi

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I think the larger problem is a logistical one. YouTube hosts bajillions of videos, far more than their staff at its current size can reasonably be expected to personally look through. So it has an incentive to make whatever policy it comes up with as feasible as possible to automate - completely automate, if at all practical. A policy like "no hate speech" can be fairly easy to automate because your algorithm just starts looking for and plonking videos with Hitler in them. If that's a problem however, and people are going to argue that some videos containing clips of hate rallies and Hitler speeches should be removed while others that may contain the exact same clips should be allowed to stay based on the intention with which they were posted, YouTube's ability to enforce the policy begins to break down because things like determining the intentions of a poster are very difficult to automate. And a human review system will inevitably be too inconsistent, fallible, and most importantly far, far too slow to satisfy most people who want to see this problem dealt with.
 

Kamilah Hauptmann

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Porsupah Ree

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Maybe they were inspired by Change UK's recent renaming?

 

Porsupah Ree

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Innula Zenovka

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Innula Zenovka , might you be able to post a summary of what this article says?

Certainly!

 

Innula Zenovka

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Akkk.. while looking for Porsupah's article I also saw this in The Times:


ETA: The police have arrested four young men, aged between 15 and 18.

 
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Innula Zenovka

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I think the larger problem is a logistical one. YouTube hosts bajillions of videos, far more than their staff at its current size can reasonably be expected to personally look through. So it has an incentive to make whatever policy it comes up with as feasible as possible to automate - completely automate, if at all practical. A policy like "no hate speech" can be fairly easy to automate because your algorithm just starts looking for and plonking videos with Hitler in them. If that's a problem however, and people are going to argue that some videos containing clips of hate rallies and Hitler speeches should be removed while others that may contain the exact same clips should be allowed to stay based on the intention with which they were posted, YouTube's ability to enforce the policy begins to break down because things like determining the intentions of a poster are very difficult to automate. And a human review system will inevitably be too inconsistent, fallible, and most importantly far, far too slow to satisfy most people who want to see this problem dealt with.
This is the problem, though. While one hopes that improvements in AI will enable the initial flagging to be done mechanically with considerable accuracy, there's bound to be no end of issues like this while it's getting there.

That's why I think YouTube are best advised to take it slowly -- start with what appears to be the lowest hanging fruit and work out the bugs with that before moving on to the more complex stuff, and be prepared for constant complaints both of glaring false positives and about offensive material being allowed through.

It's the sort of thing they're never going to get completely right but, at least in my view, that's no argument for not trying to do anything, any more than the fact that we'll never be able to stop the trade in online images of children being sexually assaulted is no sort of argument for not making the images difficult to source and for not prosecuting people for making or downloading them.
 

Innula Zenovka

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A welcome move by The Guardian, which I hope serious media based in the US will emulate
The Guardian will no longer use the term “heartbeat bill” in reference to the restrictive abortion bans that are moving through state legislatures in the US.

Editors and reporters are encouraged to use the term “six-week abortion ban” over “fetal heartbeat bill”, unless they are quoting someone.

“We want to avoid medically inaccurate, misleading language when covering women’s reproductive rights,” the Guardian’s US editor-in-chief, John Mulholland, said. “These are arbitrary bans that don’t reflect fetal development – and the language around them is often motivated by politics, not science.”

The Guardian style guide already encourages editors to use “anti-abortion” over “pro-life” for clarity, and “pro-choice” over “pro-abortion”, since not everyone who supports a woman’s right to reproductive choice supports abortion at a personal level.

The Guardian’s updated style guide on abortion bans is in line with the view of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the largest professional organization for doctors specializing in women’s health.