A flag for region-restricted content? May 3, 2010 9:55 PM   Subscribe

New flag proposal: region-restricted content. When such content is posted, many of the comments are complaints regarding the region restriction. Perhaps this enthusiastically and frequently voiced discontent would be better expressed via a flag.

See the current Kent State post on the front page, the comments to which consist mostly of complaints about region restrictions.

Perhaps upon seeing multiple 'region restricted content' flags, the moderators could make a boilerplate post re: proxy servers, etc.
posted by mr_roboto to Etiquette/Policy at 9:55 PM (56 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Nope. The full-time moderators are all in the U.S. and might not see it as a problem, a flag could let protests just go under the radar and be ignored.

So Hulu posts will still get shouted down and rightly so.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:58 PM on May 3, 2010


Some reasons against:
1) Even with a new flag, there will be whining
2) There are countries outside the US? Huh.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:07 PM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


How about a "boilerplate post" on how to use a proxy server to determine whether or not the content you are linking to is region restricted before you post it?

Didn't think so.
posted by GeckoDundee at 10:08 PM on May 3, 2010


Our only hope is to start composing FPPs in non-American tongues, and show 'em how it feels. Or, as we say in Ampersanglish, '23dwedf4;; wefe492%@gdeEEd urf6555{{]\'.

(Insert 'Is that a derivative of Welsh?' joke here.)
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:12 PM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Had I realized the post was about Kent State, I'm wouldn't have made a whiny comment near the top...

Burhanistan, thanks for the youtube.ca link... unfortunately, the video is blocked there, too!
posted by Crane Shot at 10:15 PM on May 3, 2010


How about the author does it with tags, after people complain?
posted by XMLicious at 10:17 PM on May 3, 2010


Previously. I think there have been more, but I can't be arsed to find them. Also, the mod people have stated in many posts about the posting page that they're not going to do much more additions to the existing boilerplate because no one reads it much anyway.

On preview: They blocked Young content on a Youtube.ca? I thought Canadians had to report in to camps if they didn't maintain a minimum weekly intake of Neil Young. Hypocrisy!
posted by Burhanistan at 10:19 PM on May 3, 2010


I don't use proxies very often, though I know how, and it wouldn't occur to me to check each link on a proxie before posting it. At other sites I visit non-US material does get posted, and instead of some one making a "I can't see it" comment, someone (not some1) will ask for an alternate link. Eventually, sometimes, one will be found.

Rather than ask the poster to do the research, would it not be fair for those that can't see the link to use a proxie? At any rate, On the mentioned FPP someone has already provided links to other versions of the song.
posted by Some1 at 10:23 PM on May 3, 2010


It sucks that some content that gets linked turns out to be unavailable outside the US, but I don't know that this is something Mefi can fix so I don't know how a flag or a complaint made here does any good. It sucks, come over to my house and I'll let you watch youtube, and you can have some BBQ.
posted by nola at 10:23 PM on May 3, 2010


They blocked Young content on a Youtube.ca? I thought Canadians had to report in to camps if they didn't maintain a minimum weekly intake of Neil Young. Hypocrisy!

Yes, it's a condition known as Low Blood Sugar Mountain.
posted by Crane Shot at 10:27 PM on May 3, 2010 [7 favorites]


Does a simple tool exist which will let people know in what region(s) a particular video is available? One of the problems I've had when I make posts with YouTube links is that I can't tell their availability. So I link, and hope for the best.

What about encouraging folks to try to link to the same content in multiple locations on the net, like I did in this post?
posted by zarq at 10:29 PM on May 3, 2010


How about this one? Can those in Canada view it?
posted by Burhanistan at 10:31 PM on May 3, 2010


See the current Kent State post on the front page, the comments to which consist mostly of complaints about region restrictions.

You know, because there aren't enough ways for people to complain about things. And god forbid people use the "other" flag, no, better drop a turd in the thread. Really useful.
posted by inigo2 at 10:35 PM on May 3, 2010


This is a non-problem. Competent readers can interpret region restrictions as damage and route around them. Incompetent readers can ask for help and maybe become competent. Everybody wins!
posted by flabdablet at 10:36 PM on May 3, 2010


You're not seriously suggesting we have to go find a free open proxy somewhere every time somebody posts a mystery meat SLYT?

(Not that I've got a better solution).
posted by GeckoDundee at 10:43 PM on May 3, 2010


How about this one? Can those in Canada view it?

Yeah, that one works! Cheers! I'd apologize again for shitting in the thread, but that would be so... you know... Canadian.

Part of the problem was that you had to click on the link to find out what the post was about. So my curiousity was piqued... and then frustrated!

Anyway, at least everyone knows that Hulu links won't work. YouTube these days... who the hell knows?
posted by Crane Shot at 10:44 PM on May 3, 2010


I guess I could've also looked up at the title of the post, once I was inside... oh geez! This is why I suck at chess...
posted by Crane Shot at 10:56 PM on May 3, 2010


At any rate, it seems as if the OP of that one had a few glasses before trying to make some kind of minimalist artistic statement with a music link in lieu of fleshing out the post for context.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:00 PM on May 3, 2010


Only if it looks like a United Nations flag.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:33 PM on May 3, 2010


PFFT FUCK THIS CRAP GUYS LET'S JUST MAKE AMERICA.METAFILTER.COM AND BE DONE WITH THE REST OF THIS PLACE

I CAN'T WAIT TO POST TO THE RED WHITE AND BLUE HOW ABOUT YOU
posted by Mikey-San at 11:45 PM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


FREE THE INTERNET !!! VIVA LA HUGBUCKET !!!

meh, walls where there weren't any...
posted by infini at 12:08 AM on May 4, 2010


Kent State, yeah. I am flat out like a lizard drinking trying to get some info on how stuff is going down over there. Last we heard on our township's wireless receiver was some bloke was pegging rocks rocks at a truck or something? Did everything turn out okay? What's the big deal about Cambodia anyway?
posted by turgid dahlia at 12:37 AM on May 4, 2010


What if, people from outside the US use proxies? Then, Arizona has them arrested for sneaking in to steal our Hulu links!
3. Profit?
posted by ActingTheGoat at 12:43 AM on May 4, 2010


It's simple majority rule. You can't post a link to a subscription-only site because a large majority here can't see it (without paying for a subscription). You can post a US-only link because a large majority here can see it (without having to fuck around with weird proxy shit or move to the US).

It would be cool if there were an automated solution, or at least an automated checker that would examine a proposed link, maybe try the link from a server outside the US, and warn the poster if the link was likely to cause trouble for some members. For YouTube, it might be as simple as trying to load the link from proxies in various countries and searching for yt-alert-content containing "blocked it in your country". But I suppose that would never happen unless maybe someone else writes (and hosts?) the checker.
posted by pracowity at 2:27 AM on May 4, 2010


I can't be arsed to proxy anything bandwidth hungry like videos, my internet down here is already slow enough as it is. My typical procedure since the region restrictions became ridiculous from about a month or so ago is: if I can't figure out what is the content without clicking the video link, I pass; otherwise randomly try a couple of the links, any region failure and I pass. There's usually enough (and video-free) stuff in other threads to keep me entertained without having to play Battle of the Streaming Providers, so I cope. Still, here's a hearty "fuck you, You Tube", since it's the fastest growing in the region BS business right now.
posted by Iosephus at 2:52 AM on May 4, 2010


It's a brand new flag,
It's a high-volume flag
And forever in peace may we bitch.
It's the emblem of
The sites I love.
The home of non-free and non-saved.
Ev'ry heart beats true
watching YouTube and Hulu,
Where there's never a Brit or Kraut.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
if you are not American,
Keep your eye on that brand new flag.
posted by WCityMike at 2:58 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Moments like this I REALLY want that edit window!

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
If you are not American,
posted by WCityMike at 3:01 AM on May 4, 2010


I find that despite the horrible disappointment of discovering that a music video is not available for me to view in Asia, I somehow manage to survive and move on; scarred, bereft and heart-sore but determined to bear my pain in dignified non-commenting silence. It's hell out here in the jungles of Chicom-occupied netland, with only Hunan Satellite 'talent' shows for company.
posted by Abiezer at 3:55 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


http://metatalk.metafilter.ca

Come on in and complain aboot Canada!
posted by blue_beetle at 5:56 AM on May 4, 2010


Nope. The full-time moderators are all in the U.S. and might not see it as a problem

We've repeatedly said we DO see it as a problem and we're pretty against Hulu-only links for this reason. The issue is that a lot of times we literally don't see the problem and so don't know it's there until people tell us. And yeah sometimes they get that across by a bunch of grousing in the thread. Which is, on the one hand, good because then people can dig up functional links. And not good because then the thread becomes about region-specific stuff. I think we need a FAQ entry with proxy information that can be ready-linked by people in the thread who notice that a link that might otherwise be okay turns out to be region-specific. If someone would like to help me write that, I'd appreciate it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:05 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Could there be some metafilter only proxy server for members?
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 6:41 AM on May 4, 2010


sometimes they get that across by a bunch of grousing in the thread

My participation in a thread almost never has anything to do with region-specific content.
posted by grouse at 7:11 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


So Hulu posts will still get shouted down and rightly so.

Bullshit, and neither should BBC iPlayer posts get shouted down, nor should links to Mac software. Sometimes the best of the web isn't accessible to everyone and that's tough shit.
posted by empath at 7:29 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


womble, I can't imagine the place would survive the bandwidth costs. You get 1000 mefites to jump onto a proxied link for the Latest Biggest Music Thing Video and just there you could rack up 50 gigabytes. Plus, there's always the risk that the providers block your proxy, as I've read somewhere it happened to a few such services, and then you're back in shitland.
posted by Iosephus at 7:34 AM on May 4, 2010


Like Jess says, this region-restriction is something we care about and wish we had a satisfying simple solution to. Deleting any post with such content would be simple but not satisfying; automagically providing non-restricted versions of the content would be satisfying but is far from simple.

That the poster often has no idea there is a region restriction is part of the tricky bit here. They wouldn't be posting it if they couldn't see it in the first place, and if they can see it it's not likely to occur to them that other people can't. It's a frustrating little gotcha all around.

In any case, a new flag wouldn't help much here, and would be weirdly specific to be adding to the otherwise pretty minimalist set of flags we support. We need more information re: what's going on with a video than just "something is wrong", so dropping us a quick line via the contact form is probably the best way to communicate about such a problem. That way you can tell us what's up.

If your take on the post is that it's fundamentally bad or broken, that it needs flagging, just go ahead and flag it as "breaks guidelines" or similar. In terms of raw flag count that'll help us notice when a big problem is brewing.

What about encouraging folks to try to link to the same content in multiple locations on the net, like I did in this post?

As practical solutions available to us right now go, this is among the best. Use a little volunteer human power to route around the damage done by region restrictions where possible.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:35 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Region-restrictions are just about the only case where I'm willing to accommodate the marketing executive who came up with the idea: they don't want me to talk about and possibly increase their sales? Fine with me. The artist/product/whatever immediate *plonks* to the bottom of my permanent ignore list.
posted by DreamerFi at 7:43 AM on May 4, 2010


Please help me write an FAQ entry for how to deal with region restrictions [both what to avoid when posting and how to get around some region-restrictions when reading] and flag posts with unavailable content as "breaks the guidelines" Then people who complain can do something constructive at the same time and link to the FAQ entry.

Is there any reason why this does not generally solve the problem, to the extent that it can be solved?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:58 AM on May 4, 2010


Speaking of that post, this pointless and ill-informed grandstanding is not going to go anywhere good.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:12 AM on May 4, 2010


No one has flagged it. Perhaps you should start?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:21 AM on May 4, 2010


Oh, right. FIAMOed!
posted by Burhanistan at 8:24 AM on May 4, 2010


It was sad to watch that thread implode.
posted by peeedro at 9:02 AM on May 4, 2010


And now it's gone.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:13 AM on May 4, 2010


I hope that if someone takes another try at a Kent State post they will link to jeffisme's comment, blog, or relevent chapter of his book. My eyes are a little puffy after reading his Doris Krause and Barry Levine interview.
posted by peeedro at 9:18 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Please help me write an FAQ entry for how to deal with region restrictions

List sites that people are likely to link without realizing they are geographically restricted sites.

List ways to test links, if such tests are available and easy, because how the hell is a gal in Iowa going to know that a URL doesn't work for a guy in Cairo? For example, is there a way to paste a URL into a web page somewhere and see whether it opens from certain other countries? If not, could someone here write such a thing?
1. Go to a certain web page.
2. Paste your URL into an edit box.
3. Click Test.
4. App tries that URL through various non-US proxies.
5. App shows the pages as they appear through those proxies or just reports back a simple Good/Bad error message.
6. If it works, pb makes it a transparent part of the MeFi interface (?).
posted by pracowity at 11:25 AM on May 4, 2010


Youtube region restriction checker ( I didn't test this ).
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:39 PM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like the idea of a restricted content flag. Better than people whining in thread.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:41 PM on May 4, 2010


Youtube region restriction checker ( I didn't test this ).

FANTASTIC!

Thank you for that link.

For anyone that might be curious, here's what it says for restricted and unrestricted content.
posted by zarq at 1:51 PM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


List sites that people are likely to link without realizing they are geographically restricted sites.

I know the outlines but I'm falling down on the specifics. Which sites have geographically restricted content [for US people, for non-US people, who is affected, etc] and are there proxies that work to get around them? If we have a good assortment of link-checkers and proxies I can make a FAQ entry about them, but I don't have a lot of background to figure out what these things are and I figured maybe people in more-affected countries might have a handy laundry list.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:08 PM on May 4, 2010


Yeah, that's exactly the sort of thing I was hoping for.
posted by pracowity at 2:13 PM on May 4, 2010


(Talking about that checker BrotherCaine linked to.)
posted by pracowity at 2:14 PM on May 4, 2010


Which sites have geographically restricted content

People outside the UK can't see certain BBC content (unless they find a way to cheat the BBC).

People outside the US can't see nuffin on that friggin' Hulu (unless they find a way to cheat Hulu).
posted by pracowity at 2:28 PM on May 4, 2010


People almost anywhere (including the US) might find themselves unable to view certain YouTube videos (YouTube lets uploaders block content selectively to comply with copyright restrictions and other legal crap) unless they find a way to cheat YouTube.
posted by pracowity at 2:54 PM on May 4, 2010


The tuvpn site says:
Find here a list of restricted sites accessible from our servers. We hope to get more from you !

USA

* www.hulu.com - TV and video.
* www.pandora.com - Internet radio.
* www.openpandora.com - Internet radio.
* www.cwtv.com - Series, video …
* www.fox.com - TV Series, FOX channel
* www.fancast.com - TV series and video
* www.abc.go.com - TV series, ABC channel
* www.vh1.com - Music, Music Videos, Music Billboard
* www.revision3.com - Internet TV


UK

* www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer - TV and video.
* www.channel4.com - TV and video.
* www.zattoo.com -TV on your PC.
* demand.five.tv - TV and video.
* www.itv.com - TV on your PC
* www.seesaw.com - TV and video


Switzerland

* www.zattoo.com -TV on your PC.


Spain

* www.zattoo.com -TV on your PC.
A TechCrunch article says:
A large number of web services are geographically restricted, such as Hulu, Pandora and Spotify.
That article also links to some VPN servers people use to get around geographical restrictions.
posted by pracowity at 2:39 AM on May 5, 2010


This is what I've got for the FAQ so far. Without wanting to get too far into the proxy stuff, I think it's an okay start.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:41 AM on May 5, 2010


I like it. Thanks.
posted by pracowity at 7:20 AM on May 5, 2010


So do I. Excellent! Thank you.
posted by zarq at 7:48 AM on May 5, 2010


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