Almost-paywalls, not quite subscription only. January 14, 2015 11:17 AM   Subscribe

This is just to say that I was disappointed I couldn't access the article linked in this FPP, and the link was essentially the entire FPP.

A: Hey, girl! So great to see you at Mike’s party on New Year’s. You free this week? Want to grab drinks?

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Maybe I'll try clicking again in a couple weeks.
posted by blue suede stockings to Etiquette/Policy at 11:17 AM (34 comments total)

Yeah, metered/quota free article access on sites remains a frustrating grey-area thing for posts. That most readers don't seem to run into an issue with it, and that there seems to usually be pretty simple workarounds for folks who want to sidestep the site's tracking, leaves it more as a "this is annoying" thing than a "this is grounds for deletion" thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:19 AM on January 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'll admit to not knowing how to get around paywalls, and feeling a little weird about trying when it comes to a print publication I'm fond of (but can't necessarily subscribe to every year).

I was curious about policy now, since I remember the debates around New York Times links way back when. The New Yorker is stricter than most, with only 6 hits allowed (current or archived) per month.
posted by blue suede stockings at 11:25 AM on January 14, 2015


Yeah, policy is still what it had been then, per above: its sort of an annoying aspect of linking to those publications but it's a distinct issue from firm paywall stuff where the reasonable assumption is most folks won't be able to access the material.

If e.g. the NYT went to a firm no-freebies standard or some other significantly more onerous method of linkfuckery, that'd color our take on it. As is, it's a pain sometimes but that's all.

The three most common general methods I've noticed people mentioning for getting around article-limit systems are zapping site-specific cookies (the limit may be nothing more than a cookie with a counter in it that they check for), using a different browser/device to read it (avoids those cookies and possibly other server-side tracking), and googling article headlines and counting on direct link-through from google search results to not get the same metering treatment. Different approaches probably work better for different sites, and obviously it's a personal call whether to even try.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:33 AM on January 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Every week I do a tidy-up using a piece of software or two which wipes all the cookies, empties out registers, does some scanning for bad stuff, empties all the trash cans and other stuff. Downside is that afterwards, I have to re-enter my various usernames and passwords for all the stuff I use. Upside is that my "quota" is reset to zero on various online publications.
posted by Wordshore at 11:43 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Another thing that sometimes works is to open the link in a private window.
posted by dfan at 11:49 AM on January 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


Or to pay them, since they are providing content you clearly appreciate and have to support their families.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:09 PM on January 14, 2015 [10 favorites]


Which is orthoganal to whether FPP links to sites using this model should be allowed on the front page. If we take the stance that people should just pay for these sites than those sites shouldn't be allowed on the front page (like jstor et. al. are currently restricted).
posted by Mitheral at 12:19 PM on January 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


The paywalls are for multiple articles. Are there seven Metafilter FPP links a month to the New Yorker? If so, then yeah the people who read all seven or who read a bunch of New Yorker links otherwise should pay the people giving them content. I think the average Mefi user does not have any issue with this paywall. The people who take issue consume a lot of New Yorker content, their problem is with the New Yorker not wanting to give them free content, not with Metafilter pointing it out to most users who do not have these issues.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:28 PM on January 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


To be direct: I don't want to miss the occasional great New Yorker link just because some people on Mefi want to consume every issue for free each month. That's your problem, not Metafilter's.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:37 PM on January 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


I am total garbage at making posts and forgot we were supposed to post publically available best of the web stuff. Could you find a print view link to the article? SO SORRY. I feel terrible.
posted by boo_radley at 1:02 PM on January 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


While it may be against the various websites' ToS, Firefox has a browser that allows you to flush cookies. Chrome also has incognito mode.
posted by Nevin at 1:16 PM on January 14, 2015


I also have a New Yorker subscription because I like the magazine very much and would pay for it.
posted by Nevin at 1:17 PM on January 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Would it help, in this case, if I said that the linked article was pretty much shitty?


Beyond that, if using a private tab doesnt work and you've hit the new yorker limit, I'll jumpbin with others, just pay.
posted by chasles at 1:42 PM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Would it help, in this case, if I said that the linked article was pretty much shitty?

Does it ever help on MeFi when someone does this?
posted by aught at 1:54 PM on January 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


That most readers don't seem to run into an issue with it,

Not reading links has never prevented people from commenting.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:34 PM on January 14, 2015 [11 favorites]


I am a semi freak about all the tracking done on the web of my browsing habits. I now use Epic Privacy Browser. It is based on Chrome. I am not sure I go to sites that limit content all that often, but I do not recall being denied access to a site because of limits for the last few months when I started using the browser. I do have to log into various sites a lot more than I did before.
posted by 724A at 2:42 PM on January 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


To those of you who are saying "just pay": in a perfect world I wouldn't be too skint for a New Yorker subscription this year (I have given them hundreds of dollars across the counter and via subscriptions over the years.) That world is not here yet, though I do enjoy my local public library's collection. (And I was just curious about policy since I recall previous discussion on this, not trying to pull the ability for folks to publish these).
posted by blue suede stockings at 4:01 PM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


That's fine. I don't judge people for what they can and can't afford, *sips malt liquor*, but let's go ahead and not imply it's a bad idea to be linking them because of the paywall.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:52 PM on January 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


"This is just to say that I was disappointed"
posted by Roger Dodger at 7:32 PM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yes, in the spirit of "you are the customer, not the product" we should only link to articles that are behind paywalls.
posted by alms at 8:33 PM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


"If you're not paying for the product, you are the product."
It's pithy and clever... and wrong. Powazek dismantles the claim eloquently
posted by clavdivs at 9:07 PM on January 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


What if you pay for it, AND you are the product being sold? Then you're probably buying Soylent Green. "Soylent Green: you are what we eat".
posted by the quidnunc kid at 12:42 AM on January 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I kind of avoid it, it's not vegan if the people don't consent to being turned into soylent green.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:53 AM on January 15, 2015


You should try their new product, "Soylent Zero". Doesn't actually have any human in it at all, but you still get that great human taste. They first started marketing it as "Soylent Chimp," but that name didn't test well in focus groups - so they changed the name, and they also ground up the focus groups into a paste, and now you can get "Soylent Focus Group" too.

You know, some people hate marketing guys, but I think they're genius sometimes.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 2:29 AM on January 15, 2015 [9 favorites]


I don't know why there's all this hate for the Solent, it's a perfectly respectable body of water.
posted by arcticseal at 4:50 AM on January 15, 2015


I'm confused. I thought this was a link on the blue but there's all this talk about green.
posted by phearlez at 9:50 AM on January 15, 2015


so yeah... I got a Soylent subscription, and after waiting EIGHT months they finally shipped me my Soylent.

Can you imagine how disappointed I was to discover it didn't have any people in it?

tldr: 8 months, no people.
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:13 AM on January 15, 2015


"If you're not paying for the product, you are the product."
It's pithy and clever... and wrong. Powazek dismantles the claim eloquently


Several insightful comments in your link, however, reveal that the claim may not be as broken as you (or Powazek) would might like to believe...
posted by Joseph Gurl at 10:46 PM on January 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Given how much spam (IRL and email) I started getting after subscribing to the print New Yorker last year, I have a feeling I was in fact both customer and product.
posted by Celsius1414 at 12:50 PM on January 16, 2015


"If you're not paying for the product, you are the product."
It's pithy and clever... and wrong. Powazek dismantles the claim eloquently

Except that both the article linked to and the one it refers to talk mostly about something else completely - whether you get treated better or worse when you pay directly for a product compared to where you get it for free. That's not really the point of that quip - things cost money to produce and someone has to pay for it - if you aren't paying directly for the service, but are the thing that the service provider sells in order to be paid, the thing they are selling is you. In that sense, you are the product and the service is the device used to gather all the yous together so they can be sold. it's not always as clear cut as that, of course - sometimes you are both product and customer (see pay TV) but, in cases where you pay nothing to the service provider to use that service (see Facebook et al), your relationship with the service provider is strictly provider and product and any 'customer service' they provide you is merely there to make sure you stick around as a product.
posted by dg at 2:29 PM on January 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Several insightful comments in your link, however, reveal that the claim may not be as broken as you (or Powazek) would might like to believe...
posted by Joseph GuRP

Autocorrect is a semantic meme
Apologies for typo.
Seriously DG, I don't quite follow you and would NOT dare to speak for Powezak.
I get the oh, someone's paying but that's were the axiom breaks down when subjected to another outside ...model or system comes into the picture but the axiom still holds true in a model form. DG, I don't follow quite because I do not know enough about the aspects you stated. I ask politely for you to flesh it out, blackboard if you will. Re-reading it you have some good points.
posted by clavdivs at 9:40 PM on January 24, 2015


Zuh?

Babelizer, is that you?
posted by Joseph Gurl at 1:58 AM on January 25, 2015


I ask politely for you to flesh it out, blackboard if you will.
I'll try, but am not usually good at explaining :-)

Your comment was:
"If you're not paying for the product, you are the product."
It's pithy and clever... and wrong. Powazek dismantles the claim eloquently
The link that was included in your comment went here. That article linked to here, which is the article by Powazek that you referred to.

The summary of the Powazek article says:
But we should not assume that, just because we pay a company they’ll treat us better, or that if we’re not paying that the company is allowed to treat us like shit. Reality is just more complicated than that. What matters is how companies demonstrate their respect for their customers. We should hold their feet to the fire when they demonstrate a lack of respect.
And we should all stop saying, “if you’re not paying for the product, you are the product,” because it doesn’t really mean anything, it excuses the behavior of bad companies, and it makes you sound kind of like a stoner looking at their hand for the first time.
The article that linked to the Powazek article was not really an article, just a wall of copied text and a brief 'me too', so nothing useful there.

Powazek provides some good examples of various customer service models and different ways companies treat their customers. Despite concluding with 'we should all stop saying, “if you’re not paying for the product, you are the product,” ', he makes no argument in the body of the article on whether or not the saying is true to support that conclusion. Effectively, he's saying 'stop doing this because I don't like it'. Hardly an eloquent dismantling of the claim.

What I think is particularly weak about the conclusion he puts forward is that, in the body of the article, he actually states 'In the real world, we routinely become “the product” even when we’re already paying.' and his conclusion directly contradicts this without any intervening discussion about why this may not be true in an on-line environment.
posted by dg at 4:07 PM on January 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


So an honest conclusion would have read,
And we should all stop saying, “if you’re not paying for the product, you are the product,” because the more important issue is how well the company packaging you up and selling you runs their abattoir.
posted by alms at 5:34 PM on January 25, 2015


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