No Hulu February 23, 2009 8:10 AM   Subscribe

Can we avoid single link posts to videos available only in one country/continent.

You can always leave a comment linking the same video on indexing sites like surfthechannel.com or even the search on thepiratebay.org, if you want such a post to live.

If no early comment fixes the link, admins could add the link themselves. If admins feel lazy, they could delete the post suggesting that the author repost with more universal sources.

Of course, it also seems like bad form posting only STC or TPB links if some "primary" source is available. I see no reason to link every country's hulu, etc., one primary source and one universal source should suffice.
posted by jeffburdges to Etiquette/Policy at 8:10 AM (65 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

For the record, we're not going to add links to the Pirate Bay to posts like these. I agree it's not the best form to link to content not available in other countries, but Pirate Bay isn't the answer.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:12 AM on February 23, 2009


STC seems better anyway, plus it'll index content from video sharing sites targeted at many countries. I'm not sure STC actually sees behind all such sites restrictions, but it definitely index U.S. sites and sites not restricted by nationality.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:17 AM on February 23, 2009


Is youtube still doing that thing where it reassigns your location based on a link you clicked? I was going to post a MeTa about it, but I think it was fixed on their end.
posted by Eideteker at 8:24 AM on February 23, 2009


Can we avoid single link posts to videos available only in one country/continent.

How do you know it's not available in countries outside of your own?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:43 AM on February 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


What's STC?

Honest question, also, please assume for the sake of it that we are in town.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:52 AM on February 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


What's STC?

Surf The Channel

Can't get there right now due to work filters, but google it.
posted by deezil at 8:54 AM on February 23, 2009


Ah. Thanks.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:59 AM on February 23, 2009


Can we avoid complaining to the poster in these cases? I didn't know Comedy Central only allowed viewing in the US, so why should we expect twoleftfeet to know it? Complain to the content owner.

Would you comment "I don't have Java, mods please delete this!" in a thread that linked somewhere where it was required? Or would you assume that if you can't view/read/enjoy the content, then you should attempt to enjoy a different thread?
posted by Plutor at 9:02 AM on February 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


as I said in that thread, there's a program called Hotspot Shield that allows you to view american streaming sites like hulu from other countries, by tricking the sites with an american IP.
posted by kolophon at 9:10 AM on February 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think the java analogy is false -- pretty much anyone can get legally get java. Choosing not to have it is your choice.

Anyone can not legally get Hulu, so with an increasing number of Hulu links, that's basically saying to the rest of the world 'This site is by Americans and for Americans'.

The comedy central thing's a little different, since it's mainly Canadians that get shut out. Not that I'm not somewhat irritated when I click on the link and can't get it, but not available in one country is not really the same level of problem as only available in one country. (Except, ironically enough, if that one country is the USA. If it's not available in the USA, it's pretty much a bad idea, I'd guess.)
posted by jacquilynne at 9:11 AM on February 23, 2009


It these situations, it would helpful and good to do what kolophon did, find a workaround and then post it in the thread.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:19 AM on February 23, 2009


A while back, a MeFite told me that the US link I'd posted for a Colbert video worked in Holland and he asked me why I also posted a separate Canadian link. I thought it was only us who couldn't see US links and vice versa, non?

Post is here if you want to test.
posted by gman at 9:34 AM on February 23, 2009


jacquilynne: "I think the java analogy is false -- pretty much anyone can get legally get java. Choosing not to have it is your choice."

I think the analogy is just fine. Person A sees content. Person A likes content. Person A shares content with MetaFilter. Person B can't see content, through no fault of Person A. Person A did nothing wrong. He just wanted others to enjoy the thing he enjoyed. Complain to the organization that did.

Note also that a "no links to Hulu" policy would be pointless, since the link we're discussing wasn't on Hulu.
posted by Plutor at 9:48 AM on February 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


There are a few conflated issues here

- content that is US-only
- content that is geographically limited in other ways (i.e. it's a bigger deal if something isn't visible in Australia since we have a large userbase there, as opposed to China, where we don't. The Chinese firewall is a topic for another MeTa)
- linking to backups to that content, if possible/available
- irritability of MeFites that the world is not how they want it to be

I'm in favor of the "if you notice this as a problem please see if you can add a link that will make unavailable content available, but don't link to torrent sites where people can download it illegally because that's a snakepit we'd like to avoid" approach. A lot of people are clueless about where their content they linked to may or may not be geographically restricted. It would be nice if that's the case, but as someone in that category, it's unlikely to change.

So, while this has nothing to do with whether I am or am not lazy...

- we will generally not change links in posts
- people should add links in comments that help the situation
- please don't link to Pirate Bay
- please don't get crotchety if people are making good faith efforts to handle the situation
- please link to whatever you want and we'll try to sort it out so that most content is available to most people; we're not going to close threads to single link restricted-content posts with "tut tut try again" language any more than we'd say "your post seems to be about closed soruce software, please repost with links to free software only"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:04 AM on February 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Can we avoid complaining to the poster in these cases? I didn't know Comedy Central only allowed viewing in the US, so why should we expect twoleftfeet to know it?

Because twoleftfeet is going to be posting the link to the front page of mefi? That seems like a good reason.
posted by ODiV at 10:20 AM on February 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Because twoleftfeet is going to be posting the link to the front page of mefi? That seems like a good reason.

Lighten up, Francis.

That information isn't really common knowledge. It's not even found in the Comedy Central online FAQ. Nope, you have to head over to the terms and conditions, and if a page of legalese doesn't make your eyes glaze over, you're a better person than I.
posted by barnacles at 10:32 AM on February 23, 2009


basically saying to the rest of the world 'This site is by Americans and for Americans'.

That is an absurd stretch.
posted by GeekAnimator at 10:35 AM on February 23, 2009


What's STC?

Honest question, also, please assume for the sake of it that we are in town.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:52 PM on February 23 [+] [!]


What's STC?

Surf The Channel

Can't get there right now due to work filters, but google it.
posted by deezil at 7:54 PM on February 23 [+] [!]


Ah. Thanks.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:59 PM on February 23 [+] [!]

I'm pretty sure that's the first time I've seen that kind of thing happen on MeTa. Ever.

I'm not sure how I feel about it.
posted by allkindsoftime at 10:36 AM on February 23, 2009


If you really think that people post FPPs with the intent of "FUCK YOU, REST OF THE WORLD" then you have such a low opinion of the site and its users that you may as well spend your time somewhere else.
posted by desjardins at 10:53 AM on February 23, 2009


allkindsoftime: "I'm pretty sure that's the first time I've seen that kind of thing happen on MeTa. Ever."

Yeah, leave the question-answering to AskMe! This is a snark/complaint/request-only zone!
posted by Plutor at 11:00 AM on February 23, 2009


people post FPPs with the intent of "FUCK YOU, REST OF THE WORLD"

I post that way, but I'm just really subtle about it.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:01 AM on February 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Person A did nothing wrong.

I'm not suggesting Person A has committed some kind of horrible crime. He's just made a poor front page post, because his material isn't generally accessible to a significant portion of the MeFi audience. I don't think the same thing is true with a link that requires Java. Most people have it, anyone who doesn't can get it easily and legally enough. Easily and legally being a concrete difference between the two scenarios, and the volume of users affected being a more wishy-washy difference. I'd say the java situation is more analogous to posting a link to content that appears behind a non-pay registration wall, like many newspapers have or have had in the past -- people might have to jump through a minor, but legal hoop to get at it.

Based on Jessamyn's reply, it doesn't seem like the mods agree that US-only links are a genuine problem, and won't remove them. Given that, it would be nice if there were perhaps a way for the mods to move more accessible links that people do find up near the top of the thread so they're easier for others to find them quickly.

And since not every American is going to realize when they're doing this sort of thing since they just see the content, perhaps a FAQ entry on which popular sites tend to be problematic.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:03 AM on February 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


If you really think that people post FPPs with the intent of "FUCK YOU, REST OF THE WORLD" then you have such a low opinion of the site and its users that you may as well spend your time somewhere else.

Metafilter: Love it or leave it!

Personally, I don't think that stuff like this happens on purpose. This thread is a good reminder to check for restrictions like this. Ideally, content providers would cut this shit out, but I'm not so sure that's going to happen. So far, it's getting worse (Hi, ESPN!).
posted by ODiV at 11:03 AM on February 23, 2009


BBC TV is UK only, and I won't even begin to attempt to describe what would happen if someone made a FPP with links to BBC content.

Also, MTV sucks because I can't watch their greatest online videos of the 90's in Canada.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:56 AM on February 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


There have been posts about Mac software that won't run on a PC. There have been posts about Windows software that won't run on OS X. There have even been posts about really cool BBC videos that were not playable in the US, if I remember correctly.

Personally, here's my feeling: although the Oscars and Stephen Colbert are occasionally enjoyed outside of the US, the combination is just US-specific enough that if it happens there is no universally accessible version of the content then that's okay. If there was a posting on Dr. Who, I would love to watch the video but would understand if it was UK-viewable only.

My fiance can't watch US DVDs on her computer because she changed the region so she could watch UK dvds. Content protection of various kinds often sucks, but there's little we can do about it, really, and I don't think it should become a point of contention on the site.

Also, if the video doesn't work for you in your country, do not assume that this is known by the poster. Sometimes, just sometimes, a FPP is just supposed to be about a little fun, not about packaging an all-inclusive informational offering with transcripts. If I had to first research to see if the video was accessible from other countries (how?) and then type out a transcript, I would never ever bother posting a video. Granted, I personally don't often post videos as it's not my style. For some reason my interests tend to gather around food and bizarre collectible ephemera.

In this case, "Sigh and move on" works even better than "Flag and move on".
posted by Deathalicious at 12:07 PM on February 23, 2009


I went to a hotel that offered 'Free Continental Breakfast' on it's sign. What they failed to tell me was that the Continent the meant was Antarctica. Scrambled penguin eggs with polar bear sausage is not as tasty as you'd think.
posted by jonmc at 12:07 PM on February 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


And here I thought those aliens in the hulu commercials wanted to take over the world. Now I find out it's just the US? Weak.
posted by Eideteker at 12:25 PM on February 23, 2009


I wasn't aware that every FPP must appeal and cater to every member of metafilter.

I don't own a guitar. Delete this please.
posted by incessant at 2:04 PM on February 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wasn't aware that every FPP must appeal and cater to every member of metafilter.

No, but it should be at least nominally interesting and accessible to the majority of users.

Which are Americans, so, uh, never mind.

Don't worry 'strayan mates, I'm putting together a corker of a FPP on King Billy Cokebottle.
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:22 PM on February 23, 2009


Outside the US? Hell, I'd post something only viewable on the West Coast because THE WEST COAST IS THE BEST COAST YEEEEAH!
posted by Pronoiac at 2:33 PM on February 23, 2009


I read that as THE WEST COAST IS THE EAST COAST YEEEEAH!
and wasn't sure if I was confused or you were.
posted by jacalata at 3:11 PM on February 23, 2009


Scrambled penguin eggs with polar bear sausage is not as tasty as you'd think.

That shit sounds pretty good, actually.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:13 PM on February 23, 2009


Based on Jessamyn's reply, it doesn't seem like the mods agree that US-only links are a genuine problem, and won't remove them.

The occasional "I didn't know it was a US-only link" post will not result in its deletion, no. This also happens so rarely that I don't personally think it's a genuine problem, no. What we'd like is for this to be some sort of learning experience for people who could then...

- explain the weirdness that is geographically restricted content [means fewer posts like this in the future]
- explain the alternatives [we all learn something] and post links to the content elsewhere
- be gracious about the fact that this sometimes happen [we could all use more in the way of manners, myself included]

Deletions make people feel bad and we try to avoid them when they're not strictly indicated or necessary. If someone wants to make a little list of problematic sites a FAQ entry would be a good idea and I can get to it once I get home.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:34 PM on February 23, 2009


MetaFilter is American: sometimes the posts are US-only: as a Brit that seems perfectly reasonable to me...
posted by alasdair at 3:59 PM on February 23, 2009


I'd like to complain about this too. I'm in the US, but I'm behind seven proxies and the last one in the chain is based in an eastern bloc country. Please stop posting links I can't visit!
posted by mullingitover at 4:04 PM on February 23, 2009


So, not another one of those bloc-blocking veeds?
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:10 PM on February 23, 2009


THE WEST COAST IS THE EAST COAST OF THE PACIFIC OCEAN YEEEAH!
posted by Pronoiac at 4:12 PM on February 23, 2009


johnmc: "I went to a hotel that offered 'Free Continental Breakfast' on it's sign. What they failed to tell me was that the Continent the meant was Antarctica. Scrambled penguin eggs with polar bear sausage is not as tasty as you'd think."

That's because polar bears tend to go a mangy yellow colour as they cross the equator. One can only imagine what that does to the taste of the meat, particularly if you're shipping them all the way to the Antarctic.

c.f.
posted by Pinback at 4:46 PM on February 23, 2009


That information isn't really common knowledge.

Which is why it's being brought up. Plain and simple. It's not a damning comdemnation, nor is the poster of the original FPP "blamed" for this problem. But no one will know about it if the issue isn't raised.

I agree that it's a great idea to post content that all of Metafilter's users can watch, and I'm glad things like Hotspot Shield get brought up. So I ask that if (or rather, when), in the future, US-only content is posted, that those who can't view it gently say so, and that those who know work-arounds post them in that thread.

Personally, I think sites who choose to issue geographical restrictions on who can view their content should get their videos ripped and upped to yourfilehost, but I understand fully why we don't want to encourage that sort of thing around here.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:47 PM on February 23, 2009


Note: You are about to post a link to content that is not accessible to many MeFites.

Do you wish to continue? [ OK ] [ Cancel ]
posted by Sys Rq at 6:05 PM on February 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: This site is by Americans and for Americans.
MetaFilter is either what "we" want it to be, or perhaps what the mods want it to be. Keeping half hearted single link comedy central or hulu posts around to rub the world's nose in the fact that all the mods are American is absolutely a way to make sure it ends up being that way.

There are always exceptions. However, I think the default mod action should be to delete this kind of post unless it is exceptional.


Plutor: I think the analogy is just fine.

What part of choice vs. force do you not understand?
posted by Chuckles at 6:23 PM on February 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


No, but it should be at least nominally interesting and accessible to the majority of users.

So most Mefites are learning guitar? Cool!
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:44 PM on February 23, 2009


all the mods are American
One day vacapinta is going to snap and rewrite the whole site in European.
posted by jacalata at 8:50 PM on February 23, 2009


One day vacapinta is going to snap and rewrite the whole site in European.

We all adore vacapinta, and I know it's a little confusing, but the Midnight Mod is not actually a mod at the other hours of the day. Think of it a little like clark kent....
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:37 PM on February 23, 2009


I was thinking my previous comment was a bit over the top. Then I thought about this again:
Deletions make people feel bad and we try to avoid them when they're not strictly indicated or necessary.
So saving one American's feelings trumps... Nah, I'm not going to say it. If I keep harping on this it will be a virtual self nomination for:
If someone wants to make a little list of problematic sites [...]
posted by Chuckles at 10:36 PM on February 23, 2009 [1 favorite]



No, but it should be at least nominally interesting and accessible to the majority of users.


Well, I don't own a guitar, and I'm not interested in owning one. That means that not only is this not accessible to me, but that it's not nominally interesting either.

IF I CAN'T ENJOY IT, THEN NO ONE CAN ENJOY IT. NOW I TAKE MY INTERNET AND GO HOME.

I'll never understand people who complain about not being able to see something for one reason or another. If an FPP about Dr. Who streaming on the BBC website comes up, I'll just read it, know that I can't view it, and move on. I suppose we've all become people who demand that everything is accessible at all times to every person. Sometimes, kids, life isn't easy or perfect, and sometimes not everyone in the world caters to you.
posted by incessant at 1:19 AM on February 24, 2009


as I said in that thread, there's a program called Hotspot Shield that allows you to view american streaming sites like hulu from other countries, by tricking the sites with an american IP.

Unfortunately, this triggers every piece of trojan-rooting, malware-catching software running on my machine, to the extent that even when I tell those programs to ignore the fact that I do want to suck down and install rootkit number 8373, they *still* won't let the damn thing run.

I'm guessing it isn't really malware but is actually adware. But I don't like that stuff either.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:26 AM on February 24, 2009


I'll never understand people who complain about not being able to see something for one reason or another. If an FPP about Dr. Who streaming on the BBC website comes up, I'll just read it, know that I can't view it, and move on. I suppose we've all become people who demand that everything is accessible at all times to every person. Sometimes, kids, life isn't easy or perfect, and sometimes not everyone in the world caters to you.

And sometimes there are really simple solutions to blocked content. Portraying the users who actually want to see the content you post as spoiled children is a little off base. Shouldn't you feel glad that there are people in other parts of the world interested in what you have to offer? I don't agree that blocked-content posts should be deleted, but I also don't think that asking for solutions to be able to see it is on par with having a foot-stomping tantrum.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:33 AM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's a difference between inaccessible and uninteresting.

A post with links to content you can't read or watch is inaccessible.
A post with links to content you don't want to read or watch is uninteresting.

The former is annoying and makes you feel excluded and/or forgotten, and might be worth discussing with other users. The latter just makes you scroll on a little.
posted by harriet vane at 2:55 AM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


And yet links to copyrighted material on Youtube are A-OK? I'm thinking here about Screenwipe, specifically.

I have no strong feelings about geographic partitioning, it happens and there are ways around it. There are always ways around it. There is, however, a marked difference with the way that single-link newsfilter posts are treated depending on whether or not they originate in the US.

But back to my first point: the holy trinity need to shit or get off the pot on copyrighted material.
posted by jackiemcghee at 3:17 AM on February 24, 2009


"We all adore vacapinta, and I know it's a little confusing, but the Midnight Mod is not actually a mod at the other hours of the day."

Cripes! So not only do I have another moderator to meet to complete the set, but I have to meet him at certain hours of the night, when the other mods are all asleep?

I'm going to need a few volunteers. I'll need to shadow v. 24/7, and I'll need three people to shadow m j and c to verify that they are sleeping (a cold mirror under the nose is my preferred method). I'll also need someone with me to corroborate that I was indeed there at the time when the other three volunteers reported somnolescence.

pb gets off easy; we all know he never sleeps.
posted by Eideteker at 4:17 AM on February 24, 2009


I'm pretty sure that's the first time I've seen that kind of thing happen on MeTa. Ever.

I'm not sure how I feel about it.


Sorry, I was an AskMeFite stuck in another thread. WHY IS THE BACKGROUND GREY AND WHY ARE THERE NO QUESTIONS HERE.

[/sarcasm]

Oh, and since the thing under the comment box tells me to:
(HUG)
posted by deezil at 6:14 AM on February 24, 2009


But back to my first point: the holy trinity need to shit or get off the pot on copyrighted material.

We don't care about people linking to copyrighted material on YouTube. I think we've been clear in word and action on that point.

We can certainly talk about whether people agree with that decision at this point, but that's always been our perspective. Copyright varies from country to country and people upload things to YouTube for any number of reasons. The reason we don't like people linking to The Pirate Bay isn't because it's doing things that many people feel are borderline illegal but because it's one of the most heavily surveilled torrent sites out there.

We're okay with people occasionally linking to material that may be copyrighted here, we're less okay for MeFi to become a go-to place for torrenting advice and links to trackers. It's a dumb distinction, admittedly, but that's the decision we've made. As mods our concerns are keeping the site up and running in addition to the other work we do and getting in trouble with copyright police people -- pretty unlikely if we're just linking to something copyrighted (though I'm sure someone can cite a case proving this wrong) -- is not part of the business plan.

We've removed posts before that link to full length hollywood movies or directories of scans of recent comic books but generally "is this under copyright?" isn't part of the decision tree for whether to leave links to stuff or not. Forgive me, but I've never heard of Screenwipe until now.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:03 AM on February 24, 2009


I was just using Screenwipe as an example, and yes it is a dumb distinction.

100% consistency isn't likely in any situation, but this seems self-serving.
posted by jackiemcghee at 11:39 AM on February 24, 2009


So saving one American's feelings trumps...

Okay, so here's the deal. We delete the post, the poster is upset. The people who may have left interesting or insightful comments in that thread are upset. People who are in the US who arrive after the deletion don't get to see the content.

I don't know if you noticed that virtually moments after someone complained about a lack of access, someone pulled through and transcripted the whole damn thing.

I think this is definitely one of those "suck it up" moments. What exactly is the hurt here? Oh noes, 2" of the front page is occupied by something you don't have a legal right to view. Scroll the heck down, no doubt there's something good below.

On the other hand, if people have to sit on their hands lest they post something that offends the sensibilities of someone not because it's patently offensive, or because it breaks more solid rules of the site, but simply because of retarded content protection rules that they have no control over...well, man. That would suck.
posted by Deathalicious at 4:22 PM on February 24, 2009


A warning before post is a good idea, imho.

For Jessamyn's list: Outside the US? Hulu is always invisible. Comedy Central is even worse: it shows you the fucking advert before telling you to get lost.

And yes, it irks me a little that a link to BBC iPlayer (which I also can't see) would kick off the mother of all shitstorms in the comments, but something similarly antisocial from the US is just peachy.
posted by genghis at 8:40 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


On reflection, and I think more to the point: this reminds me -- perhaps bizarrely -- of the whole faux debate about 'political correctness'.

It's not a restriction of your speech, it's a community expectation that you at least attempt not to be shitty to people.

Friends don't subject friends to shitty geolocked video links on Metafilter. I'm entirely in favour of that becoming a social norm around here and see no good argument against.
posted by genghis at 8:56 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm going to need a few volunteers. I'll need to shadow v. 24/7, and I'll need three people to shadow m j and c to verify that they are sleeping (a cold mirror under the nose is my preferred method).

It's not that easy. There are also certain "windows" during which I can be visited. And those windows are extremely difficult to figure out. There's probably a lady who works in St. Bartholomew's Church in Smithfield, London who could help you out but...well, I've said too much already.
posted by vacapinta at 5:24 AM on February 25, 2009


It's also worth noting that Matt, jessamyn, cortex, pb and me were all at the Great Portland Conjunction of 07-14-07.
posted by vacapinta at 5:30 AM on February 25, 2009


That was, in fact, a pretty great conjunction.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:41 AM on February 25, 2009


What was its ƒ()?
posted by team lowkey at 4:59 PM on February 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hooking up words and phrases and Clauses.
posted by SpiffyRob at 7:26 AM on February 26, 2009


You can toss the links up into HerDict and it should give you an idea where the content might be blocked, fwiw.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:23 PM on March 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here is another example.. I see this as a kind of net-neutrality issue. The problem is, if the behaviour of Comedy Central is accepted by people driving traffic to their content, there is no pressure on them to behave better.
posted by Chuckles at 7:47 AM on March 5, 2009


What needs to happen is that the US and foreign rights holders need to host their content from the same third-party server, who simply tallies the IPs from each country and pays out accordingly.

Never gonna happen, 'cause it's just too obvious.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:34 AM on March 5, 2009


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