This MetaTalk is blocked in your country on copyright grounds. September 9, 2015 8:19 AM   Subscribe

Minor pony request: flag for "I can't access the principal content this entire post is built around." Major pony request: some sort of automated "the links in this post are not viewable in the following areas, are you sure you want to proceed?"

This happens often enough that it's a consistent bit of grit in the cogs of sheer delight that MetaFilter usually offers me:

1. Great-looking post built around a piece of media;
2. Click the link that this great-looking post is built around;
3. Media is blocked in my country.

I know that MetaFilter skews American, and that this has come up periodically before. FIAMO is always the best answer, rather than dropping the nth "I, as well, cannot access this material" comment in the thread, but there isn't really a F to IAMO in this case. HTML/Display Error seems to be the best option.

There's also no way for a well-meaning poster to know that content is only accessible in, say, their native Metafiltlandia, and that the bulk of the site's readers won't be able to access it. Is there an opportunity here to have some sort of wizardry that checks usual-suspect links like YouTube and can warn a poster if what they're posting won't be seen by the following X regions that compose major segments of the MeFi userbase?

I'm not technologically savvy enough to know if "see where this media is blocked" is an API that YouTube would spit out or support (or even if that's the right terminology), but as a user I'd really appreciate more posts that I can actually engage with, and as a poster I'd really love to know if I'm about to put something up that will be an active source of frustration for a wide swath of users -- or be able to put a [not available in the UK] warning or something in the post body.
posted by Shepherd to MetaFilter-Related at 8:19 AM (59 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

I think it's a good idea for posts to be mod-updated with a note when commenters say "this is not available in Europe", but some kind of automated thing that checks each link from all parts of the world somehow? idk? this sounds like sorcery tbh.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:22 AM on September 9, 2015


There's also no way for a well-meaning poster to know that content is only accessible in, say, their native Metafiltlandia, and that the bulk of the site's readers won't be able to access it. Is there an opportunity here to have some sort of wizardry that checks usual-suspect links like YouTube and can warn a poster if what they're posting won't be seen by the following X regions that compose major segments of the MeFi userbase?

In case it's helpful to anyone constructing an FPP, I've used the Youtube Region Restriction Checker to check videos. Germany comes up most often as a restricted country, in my experience.
posted by zarq at 8:23 AM on September 9, 2015 [9 favorites]


Thanks for the suggestion. I can sympathize with the frustration of clicking on something and not being able to consume it. We don't have any sort of site policy against region-blocked content so I'm hesitant to say we'll build tools around it. I think that could change if we get to the point where we're asking posters to not include region-blocked content or provide a warning—we're just not there right now.

The YouTube API will give you a list of countries where a particular video is blocked. That could get tricky here where posts can have potentially hundreds of YouTube videos. But again, I think we're putting the technology solution cart in front of the horse by talking APIs. I think the bigger question is: do we want to change our policy on region-blocked content?
posted by pb (staff) at 8:24 AM on September 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


This isn't going to increase the number of posts you can engage with and is a tall request. I know it's frustrating not to be able to access something but I always find those comments inane and childish when there's more than one, it's meta commentary and unproductive to say more than "does anyone have an alternate link?" They make proxies and other technology for this and it's not all that common. /privileged american
posted by aydeejones at 8:27 AM on September 9, 2015


I've used the Youtube Region Restriction Checker to check videos

SORCERY
posted by poffin boffin at 8:28 AM on September 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


SORCERY

I Put on My Robe and Wizard Hat
posted by zarq at 8:29 AM on September 9, 2015 [9 favorites]


They make proxies and other technology for this and it's not all that common.

I think it depends on where you can access the content from (not including your geographic location). If I'm at work, I wouldn't run a proxy. If someone is using the Internet from a library location, they can't do that either.

There isn't a real easy solution to this other than to ask people to be more thoughtful about posting video content.
posted by Kitteh at 8:33 AM on September 9, 2015


I used to come across this sometimes and I complained and grumped about it occasionally. Then I moved to Germany where every-fucking-thing is blocked and now I have a VPN. It kind of sucks to have to use something to get around the problem rather than have the problem go away. But it was surprinsgly freeing, no more feeling upset plus being able to see anything anywhere, A++ would VPN again.

And on preview:

Germany comes up most often as a restricted country, in my experience.

Yup, fucking GEMA.

I use (and pay for) Witopia for what it's worth, there are plenty of other options too (often free).
posted by shelleycat at 8:52 AM on September 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


There are (cheap, effective) solutions to this problem. I use unotelly, but there are definitely others.
posted by Kreiger at 8:56 AM on September 9, 2015


This seems like a good basis for a more general question: Is MetaFilter missing any flags? Some possible candidates:
  • Redundant comment (probably not)
  • Excessively mean (maybe?)
posted by Going To Maine at 9:09 AM on September 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Suggestion: instead of posting comments such as "I can't see this!", "don't you know this is paywalls!" and "I've made a Meta about how dumb you are!" Try the following:

A) Try asking if there is an alternate way to view the content, or if it's a news type thing an alternate source of information. So you could try "I can't see this in [x] because of [y], is there any way around that?" or "the [x] announce my on the [y] site is paywalled, is there any other site that does that?". It's also worth checking the comments to see if someone has already answered your question.
B) Shrug and move on to something you can see, there not being a lack of that.
posted by Artw at 9:17 AM on September 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Is MetaFilter missing any flags?

I thought maybe "spam", as I flagged some spam the other day. But mods have said before that the actual flags used don't mean much, they're more to direct attention to a comment/post. Like if something has 50 flags they'll check it out whatever the actual flags used are. You could just replace the flags with This Is Bad, This Is Good, and This Is Broken, but users have asked for more specific descriptions, hence what we have now.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:22 AM on September 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Try asking if there is an alternate way to view the content,

This is definitely what I've done in cases where someone links to something that I can't see because, for example, I have ad-blockers turned on. We had something in the FAQ about this, don't know the status of that now.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 9:36 AM on September 9, 2015


Yup, fucking GEMA.

For your viewing... uh... pleasure, full-length, German language episodes of Kojak (Einsatz in Manhattan) are unrestricted.
posted by zarq at 9:43 AM on September 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


We only really need four flags: Fantastic Comment; Duplicate Comment; HTML Error; Breaks the guidelines. Pretty much all new suggestions fall into the last category.
posted by Mitheral at 9:49 AM on September 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Coral Cache it!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:59 AM on September 9, 2015


Suggestion: instead of posting comments such as "I can't see this!", "don't you know this is paywalls!" and "I've made a Meta about how dumb you are!"

The latter seems a little unnecessarily uncharitable, Artw. I think most posters make posts in good faith, and there's no way for a "normal" Level One Internet user to know how their viewing experience will translate across borders and various countries' copyright schema.

If there were inline tools (or well-promoted external tools) to help users build better, more internationally accessible posts, I think they'd be used. I don't think this (or any other copyright-related/blocking) MeTa has been created with the premise that the posters of this material is the villain of the piece.

Lots of people find this experience frustrating, and are seeking positive solutions. If you don't ever have this problem, or if it doesn't bother you a bit, I am profoundly happy for you. Others do.

We only really need four flags: Fantastic Comment; Duplicate Comment; HTML Error; Breaks the guidelines. Pretty much all new suggestions fall into the last category.

Except this one, where there is specifically no guideline about international accessibility of linked content, and no efficient way to notify mods that a post may not be the Best Of The Web because much of the world can't see it. No guideline is being broken, but I think it's worthwhile to flag the post so a mod can, if the flags seem to be reaching high numbers, put an advisory on the post or can it.
posted by Shepherd at 10:12 AM on September 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Other flags I'd like to see:
- Edited for content
- All caps/lowercase and/or no punctuation
posted by ODiV at 10:46 AM on September 9, 2015


- All caps/lowercase and/or no punctuation

- excuse me i believe you have my stapler
posted by zarq at 11:05 AM on September 9, 2015 [9 favorites]


- childish
- expresses an opinion which is wrong
- smells a little off
- poster posts too much / posting-to-thinking ratio is too high
- everything sucks but I don't have time to flag everything
- reminds me of that thing I don't like
posted by Wolfdog at 11:19 AM on September 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


- moist
posted by ODiV at 11:20 AM on September 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


- screws up it’s and its
posted by Going To Maine at 11:23 AM on September 9, 2015


Is MetaFilter missing any flags?

Well, we need one for Metafiltlandia now.
posted by Kabanos at 11:34 AM on September 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


The wording in the FAQ right now is "try to make sure your link is available for everyone before you put it on MetaFilter"; it's in the entry about paywalled links.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:40 AM on September 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


The YouTube API will give you a list of countries where a particular video is blocked. That could get tricky here where posts can have potentially hundreds of YouTube videos. But again, I think we're putting the technology solution cart in front of the horse by talking APIs. I think the bigger question is: do we want to change our policy on region-blocked content?

This is definitely what I’ve done in cases where someone links to something that I can’t see because, for example, I have ad-blockers turned on. We had something in the FAQ about this, don’t know the status of that now.

The wording in the FAQ right now is “try to make sure your link is available for everyone before you put it on MetaFilter”; it's in the entry about paywalled links.

It’s good that this is in the FAQ, but I think that we are fooling ourselves if we think that a user is going to double-check anything before posting an SYLT. If you want a non-technical solution for this, the warning needs to be shouty and in the poster’s face.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:48 AM on September 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


- screws up it’s and its

- this PERSON is doing that THING again.

the warning needs to be shouty and in the poster’s face.

And I think then we circle back to the "That's not really house style for non-bannable offenses" and "This is an irritant but does not rise to the level of something that requires a technical solution" assertions.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 12:00 PM on September 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I don't take the FAQ or the policy to be a firm "you can't do x." More of a "it's good form to try to avoid x; if you do x, be aware it may be a cause for deletion if the degree of x-ness is too great." (so if a post was a single video that's region-blocked for a majority of users, that might get deleted; but it's case-by-case)
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:04 PM on September 9, 2015


- I clicked the flag link thinking it was the favourite link, please could you favourite this comment for me, TIA.
- I clicked the flag link but changed my mind, maybe check this comment out, I don't know.
- I clicked the flag link by accident and don't know how to not flag it now oh god what have i done help
posted by EndsOfInvention at 12:18 PM on September 9, 2015 [10 favorites]


- reminds me of that thing I don't like

This happens to me so more often than I'd like to admit. I just have to grit my teeth (often literally) and either avert my eyes while I scroll or just close the browser. We probably don't want to add it as flag in case I sprain my mouse-clicking finger jabbing at it way more than the mods would like.
posted by shelleycat at 12:37 PM on September 9, 2015


- Made the comment I was going to make
- Made the comment I was going to make, but is funnier than mine would have been
- Made the comment I was going to make, but is pithier than mine would have been
- Made the comment I was going to make irrelevant and also made me feel like a bad person for thinking about making that comment
- Flagged it and left a nasty comment
- Flagged it and moved on, please give me cookies
posted by nubs at 12:59 PM on September 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


Man, metafilter will give you at least one cookie even if you don't flag anything.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:23 PM on September 9, 2015


- I made this comment but it was in the wrong thread / dumb / something I thought better of ten seconds later, please delete it before anyone comments on it.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:06 PM on September 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


For your viewing... uh... pleasure, full-length, German language episodes of Kojak yt (Einsatz in Manhattan) are unrestricted

Are you friggin' kidding me? THAT was the very thing that got me the most blank stares after I first set foot onto 'murican soil as an exchange student back in '76. "What, Kojak, dubbed??? Like he is actually talking GERMAN??? But why???"

The German dubbing doesn't add anything to the quality of the show, rest assured.
posted by Namlit at 3:14 PM on September 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


The deck is half full, the deck is half empty...
posted by y2karl at 4:20 PM on September 9, 2015


-Commenter is wrong wrong wrong. Please deduct 100 favorites.
posted by double block and bleed at 4:58 PM on September 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


As someone living in a country which is reasonably frequently region blocked I thank you for this MeTa.

For me it is a minor annoyance that is, well, mildly annoying but not worthy of an additional mandatory step prior to posting, technological fix or deletion. But it would be great if posters would consider the possibility that what they're linking to may not be viewable to others and proceed on that basis. If that's the outcome of this MeTa, I'd be happy.
posted by pianissimo at 5:03 PM on September 9, 2015


the bigger question is: do we want to change our policy on region-blocked content?

Only one part of the issue has changed in the last 6 years:
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.
posted by Chuckles at 5:20 PM on September 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I assume this was prompted by the copious Comedy Central links in the Key & Peele post. I'd considered finding some workaround, but there's just no real good option there.

In the similar case of the Colbert Report finale post (which was also a wall of CC.com links), I went through after the fact and found as many region-free versions of the videos as possible. Only a small percentage were available this way, and usually on dodgy sources like Tumblr blogs or unofficial YouTube accounts that are already dead less than a year later. It's a lot of work for relatively little reward.

You could try to find official channels, like The Comedy Network for Canada, but there are so many alternates, it requires knowing the content is region-blocked in the first place, and ironically bites back when the poster in the source country can't access any of the alternative sites designed for other regions.

But really, when the relevant media is so locked down thanks to Content ID and the like, discussion of any region-blocked content is going to be frustrating -- even if the post were just a general discussion of the show with links to interviews, etc., non-Americans still wouldn't be able to view any content from the show and fans couldn't share their favorite clips with confidence that they'd work for everyone ITT. At least in a format like this, all the segment titles are made available, so the curious can Google around for any blocked video that sounds interesting.

IMHO, the best solution is for people with region problems to look into tools like Hola Unblocker rather than to restrict how or whether posts about regional media can be made.
posted by Rhaomi at 7:50 PM on September 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Comedy Network for Canada

is a pain to navigate, and clips aren't always available, and when they are, they're punctuated by ads every 17 seconds. Lots of other stuff is locked in cable-provider-only sites (and the same thing tends to happen there). Also, Canadian online shopping is worse than US online shopping in 12093841029384 ways. We've got the hinterwebz, not the interwebz.

Hola Unblocker

sounds good
posted by cotton dress sock at 12:45 AM on September 10, 2015




I assume this was prompted by the copious Comedy Central links in the Key & Peele post. I'd considered finding some workaround, but there's just no real good option there.

Actually, it was spurred by a post entirely structured around a particular piece of music used for hip-hop breaks, but confusion about which main-page post is behind it is kind of illustrative that this isn't a one-off unicorn of a problem.
posted by Shepherd at 5:00 AM on September 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


- this PERSON is doing that THING again.

I know this option would never be integrated, but can imagine how much angst and annoyance it would sublimate, as people finally got to say exactly what was bothering them without having to create a metatalk post.
posted by zarq at 7:28 AM on September 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Look, you can just MeFi mail me.
posted by nubs at 7:50 AM on September 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


There it is AGAIN. Stop DOING that.
posted by Etrigan at 7:52 AM on September 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Flagged for "should've used MeFi Mail"
posted by nubs at 8:13 AM on September 10, 2015


Flagged for "uses a flagging option that doesn't exist"
posted by Etrigan at 8:21 AM on September 10, 2015


There it is AGAIN. Stop DOING that.
posted by nubs at 8:22 AM on September 10, 2015


- Julianna Margulies and Archie Panjabi did not actually shoot that scene together.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:10 AM on September 10, 2015


I don't see how "This video is only accessible to 1) people in certain areas, or 2) people who know workarounds" is Metafilter's problem to fix. There's posts containing video content that not all people can see, based on things that have nothing to do with Metafilter. If you call a mod's attention to this, what is the mod-action supposed to be?
posted by 23skidoo at 11:05 AM on September 10, 2015


Coral Cache it!

I can't view Coral Cache from work.
posted by radwolf76 at 12:27 PM on September 10, 2015


It would be nice to have an obvious way to flag this sort of thing (I guess just an email to the contact address?) and then have a short "Mod note: the majority of content in this post is not available in some regions" added at the bottom of the front page portion of the post. Perhaps with a canned link to work-arounds.

I just grumble and move on (or fire up my VPN if I'm at home) usually, but this one was slightly more annoying just because it takes a few links to realise you probably aren't going to be able to see any of the content, rather than a single link post where it is at least immediately obvious.

First world problems for sure.
posted by markr at 3:39 PM on September 10, 2015


Can't see those videos in Australia, either.

There's another reason not to link to region-locked content: they're breaking the web and should not be rewarded for it.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:56 PM on September 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


There's another reason not to link to region-locked content: they're breaking the web and should not be rewarded for it.

A thousand times yes!

But as with any case of discriminatory behaviour, the privileged class just doesn't give a shit about anybody else. Why oh why did I waste a TWO YEAR MetaTalk hiatus on such a thing..
posted by Chuckles at 10:19 PM on September 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


For a site which generally strives to be friendly and inclusive the attitude (not from everybody, but it seems to be prevalent enough) of "I don't care if you can't access the links on a link sharing site" is a bit puzzling. If anything, the lack of acknowledgement that this is an issue at all just because most people don't have a problem is irritating me more than the actual issue.

Having said that, I don't expect a solution because I can see that the cost or inconvenience of fixing the problem is too high for something that only affects a minority (albeit a sizable minority) of mefites. As a member of that minority, I don't like it. But since this is one of the most firstworldly of all first world problems, *shrug*.
posted by pianissimo at 7:16 AM on September 11, 2015


Is there any reason not to just encourage a site culture of warning people?

Does this have to happen on the mod end? Couldn't people just start posting something like [viewing may be restricted] or even just VMBR?
posted by aniola at 7:16 AM on September 11, 2015


Mainly that it's usually a post-posting gotcha.
posted by Artw at 7:36 AM on September 11, 2015


Is there any reason not to just encourage a site culture of warning people?

Does this have to happen on the mod end? Couldn't people just start posting something like [viewing may be restricted] or even just VMBR?


In an ideal world, sure. That would be a great idea.

The problem with warnings though is they provide an opening for people to complain in-thread about them, which can lead to derails. This happens infrequently to posts that include trigger warnings.
posted by zarq at 8:14 AM on September 11, 2015


Metafilter: this isn't a one-off unicorn of a problem.
posted by Melismata at 8:20 AM on September 11, 2015


I still favor jessamyn's list of flags from the 2010 MeTa. It's a shame her birthday has just passed; perhaps next year.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 8:20 AM on September 12, 2015


« Older Homework Policy   |   108: That's A Solid Three-er, with ignignokt Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments