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posted by janrinok on Thursday February 01, @05:08PM   Printer-friendly

The Register

An apocryphal tale regarding the late, great footballer George Best being interviewed by a reporter just after getting suspended from Manchester United offers an apt description of today's tech industry right now.

Best was the finest footballer (or soccer in Freedom Language) of his generation during the Swinging Sixties and was one of the first big-money athletes to transcend sport and achieve celebrity. He was handsome, ferociously talented on the pitch, and famously debauched off it. He was once quoted as saying "I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars – the rest I just squandered."

According to the tale, the journalist was ushered into his hotel suite – strewn with empty champagne bottles after a wild party. A former Miss United Kingdom was freshening up in the shower and George sat in an armchair with a cigar and a huge glass of Scotch in his fist. The journalist's first question was: "So Bestie, where did it all go wrong?"

The same question can be asked of today's tech industry which, like Best, experienced initial greatness but has arguably wasted the spoils with loutish behavior and cashing in on past achievements.

Attracting customers and then exploiting them is a phenomenon that's as old as capitalism, but it's become endemic in the tech industry where it has earned a new name: "enshittification."

The coiner of the term, author and activist Cory Doctorow, described it thus.

Here is how platforms die: first, they are good to their users; then they abuse their users to make things better for their business customers; finally, they abuse those business customers to claw back all the value for themselves. Then, they die.

Doctorow gave a speech on the topic at last year's DEF CON infosec conference, and his analysis is gaining traction on all sides of the political and technological spectrum.

[...] Doctorow suggested enshittification of services happens due to the kind of management that such mega-companies demand.

Traditionally, CEOs progress in a large company by taking a new idea and growing it into a valuable business unit. It worked for Microsoft's Satya Nadella in developing cloud platforms for Redmond, and Andy Jassy followed a similar route to success with Amazon after pioneering AWS. Meanwhile, Sundar Pichai oversaw the growth of ChromeOS before taking leadership at Alphabet.

Doctorow thinks that the same process might also harm innovation. Uneasy lies the head that bears the crown, and CEOs might be unwilling to promote major new innovations – he cited the failure of social network Google+ as a classic example.

[...] In the end it should be possible to reverse the current trend and reintroduce a more competitive technology industry environment that can spur innovation, spread the wealth, and grow more efficient for users, employers, and investors.

YouTube Talk


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  • (Score: 5, Funny) by JoeMerchant on Thursday February 01, @05:12PM (3 children)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday February 01, @05:12PM (#1342657)

    From where Bestie is sitting in the scenario laid out, was anything wasted at all? Did it really go wrong?

    >loutish behavior and cashing in on past achievements.

    We're all gonna die sometime, better to cash in before that happens.

    --
    🌻🌻 [google.com]
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by c0lo on Friday February 02, @01:34AM (2 children)

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 02, @01:34AM (#1342727) Journal

      If you're gonna abuse me to just have a good life before you (prematurely) die, why should I use or... shudders... pay for your services?

      --
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      • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Friday February 02, @01:14PM

        by Thexalon (636) on Friday February 02, @01:14PM (#1342780)

        Usually, because during the period before it has gone to pot, it's positioned itself as something very important in your life. For example, for a while it was pretty much impossible to be hired as a news reporter without being on Twitter, so all the reporters were on it no matter how poisonous it was. Or LinkedIn basically exists for white-collar recruiting and posturing, and the only reason most people are on there is to find a higher salary.

        --
        The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
      • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday February 02, @01:14PM

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday February 02, @01:14PM (#1342781)

        How many beauty queens can you lay in a lifetime?

        If the addicts to my product have already supplied me with 10,000 nights of whatever entertainment I desire, wherever I desire it, I don't really care if _you_ pay for my services or not.

        I suspect after the first couple of thousand, I'd probably kick back and settle down on a private island or three, but that's me, I don't get off on running empires of serfs to continue elevating the pinnacle of my pyramid ever higher.

        --
        🌻🌻 [google.com]
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Thursday February 01, @05:22PM (41 children)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday February 01, @05:22PM (#1342658)

    >enshittification of services happens due to the kind of management that such mega-companies demand.

    This is true in consumer goods (brands associated with decades of quality cashed in for a few years or even quarters of higher profits, and big bonuses for those in charge.)

    This is true in services - Anyone ever have a twelve year old mow their lawn for a summer, and decide at some point that they're going to do as little as possible to get paid? Also applies to the crack head who mowed my lawn a couple of times in Miami then borrowed a wheelbarrow and never returned... Big businesses are little better, particularly when their boards of directors and principal shareholders decide it's time to party on and run the bitch into the ground.

    On a bigger scale, how many of the "Big Men" behind the American Petroleum Institute in the late 1950s are alive today? I'll wager: 0. https://www.desmog.com/2024/01/30/fossil-fuel-industry-sponsored-climate-science-1954-keeling-api-wspa/ [desmog.com]

    Enshittification of the planet: natural outcome of Capitalism combined with a lack of Transparency.

    --
    🌻🌻 [google.com]
    • (Score: 4, Funny) by krishnoid on Thursday February 01, @08:05PM

      by krishnoid (1156) on Thursday February 01, @08:05PM (#1342684)

      Also applies to the crack head who mowed my lawn a couple of times in Miami then borrowed a wheelbarrow and never returned... Big businesses are little better, particularly when their boards of directors and principal shareholders decide it's time to party on and run the bitch into the ground.

      That's a ridiculous comparison. Our noble stewards of capitalism -- the boards of directors and principal shareholders -- do *cocaine*. Huge difference, if it matters [americanaddictioncenters.org].

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by khallow on Thursday February 01, @08:31PM (35 children)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 01, @08:31PM (#1342688) Journal
      What does your link have to do with enshittification? Due diligence is not equivalent to admission of guilt. Nothing actionable came out of that just like the 80s version of the same story. And when I follow links to claimed Big Oil propaganda spending, I find that industries which have trillions in revenue are spending millions on alleged anti-climate change propaganda.

      Spending a bunch of money doesn't magically create a powerful propaganda machine, but it's pretty damn obvious that the oil industry can do a lot more than it allegedly does.

      My bet is that Big Oil did some serious research and came to the conclusion "Hey, this climate change is going to make us even more filthy rich!"

      And it did.
      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by ElizabethGreene on Thursday February 01, @09:36PM (1 child)

        by ElizabethGreene (6748) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 01, @09:36PM (#1342701) Journal

        The one concrete example I have is Chevron's acquisition of Ovionics NiMH battery patents. Their decision to refuse this patent licensing for automotive batteries set back progress on EVs for a decade.

        There are rumors of other funny business, e.g. Oil's snuggling up to the Sierra Club to suppress nuclear power, etc, but I can't red-line laser pointer to those the way I can Ovionics.

        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday February 02, @02:48AM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 02, @02:48AM (#1342735) Journal

          The one concrete example I have is Chevron's acquisition of Ovionics NiMH battery patents.

          According to the interesting, but largely unsubstantiated tale [wikipedia.org] in Wikipedia, Ovonics was originally acquired by GM (controlling share in 1994) which did a good job of screwing up the technology before selling out to Chevron in 2000. Present owner is BASF.

          If the tale is true, then Chevron delayed adoption of NiMH technology from 2001 to 2010, your ten year period with a variety of peculiar restrictions (battery size, no small batch sizes, etc) that stalled Toyota and some other car companies.

          I have written in the past about the fortuitous timing [soylentnews.org] of Elon Musk's company, SpaceX which couldn't have been started much sooner than it was, and still be able to exploit the US launch market. It looks like his other, much bigger company, Tesla had similar good luck with timing. The company started at a time when existing car companies were actively avoiding electric vehicles, oil companies were obstructing progress (but not effectively enough!), and the lithium-ion technology that Tesla used was viable.

      • (Score: 3, Touché) by Tork on Friday February 02, @01:09AM (32 children)

        by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 02, @01:09AM (#1342722)

        ... but it's pretty damn obvious that the oil industry can do a lot more than it allegedly does.

        Uh huh. Seeing as how that article is pointing out that the various players in the oil industry were involved two full decades before it was previously known I'm not sure why you'd say "it didn't happen cos it coulda been worse!" with a straight face.

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        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday February 02, @02:00AM (31 children)

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 02, @02:00AM (#1342729) Journal

          Seeing as how that article is pointing out that the various players in the oil industry were involved two full decades before it was previously known I'm not sure why you'd say "it didn't happen cos it coulda been worse!" with a straight face.

          The obvious rebuttal: involved in what? This is such a molehill.

          • (Score: 3, Touché) by Tork on Friday February 02, @02:33AM (30 children)

            by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 02, @02:33AM (#1342732)

            The obvious rebuttal: involved in what?

            The obvious rebuttal: read what is put in front of you. When in doubt click on the links in the page.

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            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday February 02, @02:50AM (29 children)

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 02, @02:50AM (#1342736) Journal

              The obvious rebuttal: read what is put in front of you.

              The obvious rebuttal: I did. When will you do so? No significant drama has been revealed. It's just a minor historical story tied together with a gratuitous amount of insinuation.

              • (Score: 3, Touché) by Tork on Friday February 02, @03:28AM (28 children)

                by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 02, @03:28AM (#1342738)

                It's just a minor historical story tied together with a gratuitous amount of insinuation.

                I'm very aware that you have a conclusion you're trying to find support for.

                When will you do so?

                JoeMerchant is the one you want to direct that at. The point I made wasn't about climate change mitigation, it was about how inadequate your argument was.

                That said, "there's two more decades of shit I didn't know about!" should have better grabbed the attention of anyone anxious to dismiss the severity of the outcome. 🙄

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                • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday February 02, @01:32PM (27 children)

                  by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 02, @01:32PM (#1342787) Journal

                  I'm very aware that you have a conclusion you're trying to find support for.

                  The very link JoeMerchant gave provides that support.

                  JoeMerchant is the one you want to direct that at. The point I made wasn't about climate change mitigation, it was about how inadequate your argument was.

                  What was inadequate about the argument? How do I prove a negative here?

                  • (Score: 3, Touché) by Tork on Friday February 02, @06:02PM (26 children)

                    by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 02, @06:02PM (#1342843)

                    What was inadequate about the argument?

                    A specific percentage (or threshold) of profit spent is not a requisite. Besides that, if the news is that their involvement went on way longer than you originally knew then it stands to reason you don't know how much they spent or on what. That leaves you... heh... trying to prove a negative.

                    How do I prove a negative here?

                    Couldn't tell you, I'm not attempting to prove that something well-documented doesn't exist. Not sure why you'd try anyway... I mean if you're correct in your point then all new information is valuable to you, not something to make a fart-noise and handwave away.

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                    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday February 03, @06:06AM (25 children)

                      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday February 03, @06:06AM (#1342903) Journal

                      A specific percentage (or threshold) of profit spent is not a requisite.

                      Actually it is. With the amounts as small as claimed, it's a very strong indication that there's something very wrong with the narrative. One doesn't counter the climate change movement with a few million a year. It's more likely that the spending is being outright mischaracterized.

                      Besides that, if the news is that their involvement went on way longer than you originally knew then it stands to reason you don't know how much they spent or on what.

                      Involvement in what? There's still nothing on that end. A rational argument would have discussed what the research was, rather than merely assume that it was somehow detrimental to Big Oil.

                      Couldn't tell you, I'm not attempting to prove that something well-documented doesn't exist. Not sure why you'd try anyway... I mean if you're correct in your point then all new information is valuable to you, not something to make a fart-noise and handwave away.

                      This is very ephemeral for a well-documented something.

                      • (Score: 2) by Tork on Saturday February 03, @04:57PM (24 children)

                        by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Saturday February 03, @04:57PM (#1342970)

                        Actually it is. With the amounts as small as claimed, it's a very strong indication that there's something very wrong with the narrative.

                        Nope. It is simply strong desire on your part.

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                        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday February 05, @03:45PM (23 children)

                          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 05, @03:45PM (#1343140) Journal

                          Nope. It is simply strong desire on your part.

                          Apparently, it's "strong desire" on reality's part as well. To summarize, we have a flimsy story that Big Oil sponsored research in 1954 which somehow indicates Joe's "enshittification of the planet". I pointed out how flimsy the story was and that one of its links (here [desmog.com] BTW) claimed that the oil industry spent "millions" on anti-climate change propaganda.

                          Then you came in with the "involved" narrative:

                          Seeing as how that article is pointing out that the various players in the oil industry were involved two full decades before it was previously known I'm not sure why you'd say "it didn't happen cos it coulda been worse!" with a straight face.

                          We still don't know what they would be "involved" with. It's certainly not a massive coverup of climate change. The above shows almost no resistance at all and they even contributed to early climate change research (Keeling would go on to collect a half century of greenhouse gases concentration data in Hawaii).

                          Instead of insisting that my disagreement is merely "strong desire", we should look at your assertions dubiously. Recall that you wrote:

                          A specific percentage (or threshold) of profit spent is not a requisite.

                          Nobody was claiming that Big Oil had to spend 5% of its profits on propaganda in order to count, but there's a huge qualitative difference between what has been alleged to be spent and what could be spent which is glossed over by the narrative. That indicates to me the frivolous nature of the complaint.

                          • (Score: 2) by Tork on Monday February 05, @05:26PM (22 children)

                            by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 05, @05:26PM (#1343165)

                            Nobody was claiming that Big Oil had to spend 5% of its profits on propaganda in order to count...

                            Let's take a look ...

                            I find that industries which have trillions in revenue are spending millions on alleged anti-climate change propaganda.

                            I see... And why do they suddenly need to burn up all their profit?

                            We still don't know what they would be "involved" with. It's certainly not a massive coverup of climate change.

                            Oh, right, here we go. You don't know but you also want to be able to say you do know. Mind you this is in the face of several entities that a. want to keep all their profit and b. don't want to be found liable.

                            There's a difference between being skeptical, and just standing there with your arms crossed and shaking your head. The latter is how you found yourself trying to find prove a negative.

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                            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday February 06, @07:00PM (21 children)

                              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 06, @07:00PM (#1343353) Journal

                              I find that industries which have trillions in revenue are spending millions on alleged anti-climate change propaganda.

                              I see... And why do they suddenly need to burn up all their profit?

                              Why would they want to bother with anti-climate change propaganda at all? The underlying narrative is that Big Oil's huge profits are threatened by human action on climate change. Wouldn't it be reasonable to expect that their reaction would be proportional to the profits at stake? Similarly, shouldn't our concern about this alleged propaganda be proportion to the scope of the propaganda - crudely measured by money spent on it?

                              There's a difference between being skeptical, and just standing there with your arms crossed and shaking your head. The latter is how you found yourself trying to find prove a negative.

                              The difference is in our reaction to this non-story. I point out actual problems with it, and you spin narratives about my arms crossing technique.

                              • (Score: 2) by Tork on Tuesday February 06, @07:53PM (20 children)

                                by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 06, @07:53PM (#1343361)

                                Why would they want to bother with anti-climate change propaganda at all?

                                Liability.

                                Similarly, shouldn't our concern about this alleged propaganda be proportion to the scope of the propaganda - crudely measured by money spent on it?

                                Should you have been using floating point math instead of boolean? Generally yes, but that's academic because that wouldn't have helped here as you do not know the totality of what they spent or what it was spent on, nor are you able to establish a threshold they must cross.

                                I point out actual problems with it, and you spin narratives about my arms crossing technique.

                                Heh. There is no spin, nor did you point out an actual problem with it. Your argument was simply inadequate. It's like saying the Moon landing was fake because the USA didn't spend eleventy trillion dollars on it. That is a faulty rationale and you're too sharp to ever let me get away with that.

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                                • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday February 06, @08:54PM (19 children)

                                  by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 06, @08:54PM (#1343369) Journal

                                  Why would they want to bother with anti-climate change propaganda at all?

                                  Liability.

                                  Liability for what?

                                  Similarly, shouldn't our concern about this alleged propaganda be proportion to the scope of the propaganda - crudely measured by money spent on it?

                                  Should you have been using floating point math instead of boolean? Generally yes, but that's academic because that wouldn't have helped here as you do not know the totality of what they spent or what it was spent on, nor are you able to establish a threshold they must cross.

                                  A remarkable statement from the boolean guy in the argument. My argument was always a order of magnitude argument. I didn't introduce the observation:

                                  A specific percentage (or threshold) of profit spent is not a requisite.

                                  Moving on:

                                  I point out actual problems with it, and you spin narratives about my arms crossing technique.

                                  Heh. There is no spin, nor did you point out an actual problem with it. Your argument was simply inadequate. It's like saying the Moon landing was fake because the USA didn't spend eleventy trillion dollars on it. That is a faulty rationale and you're too sharp to ever let me get away with that

                                  And non sequiturs which aren't even true. The Moon landing actually received enormous support: at its peak 2% of GDP way more than any conceivable threat it addressed. Here, the green narrative is that Big Oil is under enormous threat from climate change mitigation. It is thus reasonable to expect that their response to this threat will be proportional. So where is the response? Propaganda by definition isn't an invisible thing.

                                  • (Score: 2) by Tork on Tuesday February 06, @09:10PM (18 children)

                                    by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 06, @09:10PM (#1343373)

                                    Liability for what?

                                    Why would the various oil companies in the world be wary of liability if they're causing climate change? That's a real stumper.

                                    My argument was always a order of magnitude argument. I didn't introduce the observation....

                                    I find that industries which have trillions in revenue are spending millions on alleged anti-climate change propaganda.

                                    (vague + a lot = vague) && (vague * a lot = vague)

                                    And non sequiturs which aren't even true.

                                    Heh. You knew that was a metaphor, nice try.

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                                    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday February 06, @09:24PM (17 children)

                                      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 06, @09:24PM (#1343378) Journal

                                      Why would the various oil companies in the world be wary of liability if they're causing climate change?

                                      For starters, aside from direct emissions from their operations, these businesses don't cause any climate change. Their customers do.

                                      My argument was always a order of magnitude argument. I didn't introduce the observation....

                                      I find that industries which have trillions in revenue are spending millions on alleged anti-climate change propaganda.

                                      (vague + a lot = vague) && (vague * a lot = vague)

                                      In other words, your failed efforts to shoehorn this into the form of a boolean argument illustrates how terrible your straw man was. The reasonable person would ask, why does a whole industry spend six orders of magnitude less than revenue to an alleged existential threat? My answer is that climate change is good for them and their profit margins. No need to fight against it when you're winning.

                                      • (Score: 2) by Tork on Tuesday February 06, @09:46PM (16 children)

                                        by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 06, @09:46PM (#1343387)

                                        For starters, aside from direct emissions from their operations, these businesses don't cause any climate change.

                                        Uh huh. You should have read that link.

                                        In other words, your failed efforts to shoehorn this into the form of a boolean argument illustrates how terrible your straw man was.

                                        No, you found my metaphor inconvenient so you tried to draw me into a different argument by relabeling it as a non-seq. Lazy.

                                        The reasonable person would ask, why does a whole industry spend six orders of magnitude less than revenue to an alleged existential threat?

                                        "Why did they spend (vague) and not (vague * eleventy)?" I have no idea why they didn't build a huge pile of cash and make a massive bon-fire out of it, it's a real stumper.

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                                        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday February 06, @09:56PM (15 children)

                                          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 06, @09:56PM (#1343388) Journal

                                          Uh huh. You should have read that link.

                                          There was no link in your post. And my point remains true.

                                          No, you found my metaphor inconvenient so you tried to draw me into a different argument by relabeling it as a non-seq. Lazy.

                                          It fits the definition of non sequitur so no further effort is needed.

                                          "Why did they spend (vague) and not (vague * eleventy)?" I have no idea why they didn't build a huge pile of cash and make a massive bon-fire out of it, it's a real stumper.

                                          I find it remarkable how you still can't articulate what my problem is supposed to be.

                                          • (Score: 2) by Tork on Tuesday February 06, @10:15PM (14 children)

                                            by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 06, @10:15PM (#1343397)

                                            There was no link in your post.

                                            We've only been talking about one link in this thread, and you claimed to have read it. Stall all you like, I ain't scrolling up to find it and paste it to you.

                                            I find it remarkable how you still can't articulate what my problem is supposed to be.

                                            I have, more than once, and I even painted you a pretty little picture about it. But you cried "non sequitor!" and ran away from it. Your willingness to be obtuse is quite remarkable, though, I agree.

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                                            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday February 06, @11:07PM (13 children)

                                              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 06, @11:07PM (#1343408) Journal

                                              We've only been talking about one link in this thread,

                                              Actually two links, but why bother counting when it's likely neither of those links? One of the reasons I frequently quote stuff (or paraphrase with a ready link as in this thread) is so that people see I'm not making it up. I think you need to do that.

                                              I find it remarkable how you still can't articulate what my problem is supposed to be.

                                              I have, more than once, and I even painted you a pretty little picture about it. But you cried "non sequitor!" and ran away from it. Your willingness to be obtuse is quite remarkable, though, I agree.

                                              I accurately cried "non sequitur!" The "pretty" (rather incoherent) picture had nothing to do with my argument. For example, the gibberish about making a boolean argument. I'm getting the blame for your boolean posts! And we still haven't determined what your point to all this is. I think it's a case of having nothing to complain about, but one has to complain anyway.

                                              • (Score: 2) by Tork on Wednesday February 07, @12:04AM (12 children)

                                                by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 07, @12:04AM (#1343420)

                                                Actually two links, but why bother counting when it's likely neither of those links?

                                                Alrighty. You just confirmed that you got it so you can put the whole "Where those links i never asked for?" silliness to rest.

                                                The "pretty" (rather incoherent) picture had nothing to do with my argument.

                                                Heh. You're purposefully being obtuse and we both know why. The truth is an absolute defense. ;)

                                                And we still haven't determined what your point to all this is.

                                                YOU still haven't because you don't want to and hope I take the bait to argue about something else. The premise is simple: Your rationale does not carry the weight of your conclusion. -- "They didn't spend enough money" where 'enough' is undefined.

                                                I need only to be right. ;)

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                                                • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday February 07, @01:34AM (11 children)

                                                  by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 07, @01:34AM (#1343430) Journal

                                                  Alrighty. You just confirmed that you got it so you can put the whole "Where those links i never asked for?" silliness to rest.

                                                  I didn't ask for any links, but that hasn't been relevant so far (yes, another non sequitur) since I first commented after the links were posted - assuming that was one of the links you were referring to back a few posts.

                                                  I'll just point out that I think it'd make for a more disciplined conversation to make a habit of supporting everything you write.

                                                  The premise is simple: Your rationale does not carry the weight of your conclusion. -- "They didn't spend enough money" where 'enough' is undefined.

                                                  They can spend enough to put anti-climate change in ads everywhere, buy a huge number of scientists and influencers to shape the discussion, and organize protests and lawsuits easily. We don't see that level of "involvement". Keep in mind the green narrative is that enormous sums are at risk from climate change and the basic business model of an oil company is keep costs roughly around 80-90% of the revenue. So if you have something that puts the entire profit at risk, it justifies a lot of cost.

                                                  As I noted earlier, I think the main problem with that narrative is that climate change is actually good for the oil business. A second angle here is that green propaganda is notoriously ineffective. It takes a lot of drowning polar bears to take the cars and comfortable living away especially since the sacrifices are extremely poorly justified.

                                                  • (Score: 2) by Tork on Wednesday February 07, @01:53AM (10 children)

                                                    by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 07, @01:53AM (#1343432)

                                                    I'll just point out that I think it'd make for a more disciplined conversation to make a habit of supporting everything you write.

                                                    I spend less time writing to you because you dismiss points I make in frivolous ways, then double down on them as if they're not. For example: Here [soylentnews.org] where you skipped answering relevant questions, and when I challenged you on it: 'reads fine to me'. You haven't dug deep enough into the topic to make the point you wanna make and it is not working out well for you.

                                                    They can spend enough to...

                                                    Uh huh. [soylentnews.org]

                                                    As I noted earlier, I think the main problem with that narrative is that climate change is actually good for the oil business.

                                                    Pity that's in conflict with the info in the link.

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                                                    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday February 07, @02:42AM (9 children)

                                                      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 07, @02:42AM (#1343444) Journal

                                                      I spend less time writing to you because you dismiss points I make in frivolous ways

                                                      Weak arguments get weak dismissals.

                                                      For example: Here [soylentnews.org] where you skipped answering relevant questions

                                                      Let's put question and answer in context:

                                                      [Tork:] Just because a medicine has a proven track record doesn't mean they're manufacturing it correctly or that the packaging is done properly. That's why I'm asking: Why do you think it can skip testing? Again, I'm not familiar with this specific example so I'm seriously asking. I think you might have a legit answer to that question, in which case my next question is going to be about what precisely prompted those regulations in the first place.

                                                      Answer:

                                                      [khallow:] Sure, but you've lowered way down the things that need testing as a result.

                                                      I explicitly agreed that the medicine needed testing - no skipping of everything, but it needs much less testing which answers your question. There was no issue with the post. I suppose I could have talked about some of testing that unknown candidates need to go through - like quantifying the health consequences of taking the potential medicine for healthy animal and human test subjects (like what dosage causes serious and/or lethal health consequences) before they even bother to test its medical efficacy. For example, you don't need to test the toxicity and basic side effects of aspirin, it's already well known. That's testing you can legitimately skip.

                                                      Today is the first time you've explained your concern. Imagine if you had done that on January 13 instead?

                                                      • (Score: 2) by Tork on Wednesday February 07, @02:48AM (8 children)

                                                        by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 07, @02:48AM (#1343445)
                                                        I did.
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                                                        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday February 07, @04:35AM (7 children)

                                                          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 07, @04:35AM (#1343456) Journal

                                                          [Tork:] Heh. Did you hit submit instead of preview?

                                                          [khallow:] Reads fine to me. *shrug*

                                                          [Tork:] My post was longer than you quoted.

                                                          Not much of a complaint there especially since I did answer the question that wasn't quoted.

                                                          Reviewing the last sentence I didn't quote:

                                                          I think you might have a legit answer to that question, in which case my next question is going to be about what precisely prompted those regulations in the first place.

                                                          My take now is two possibilities. One that regulators are looking to protect their own backsides and are being very conservative at the expense of the people who need this medication. And what I consider a less likely possibility, someone might have been bribed to obstruct competitors. An actual legitimate concern for the safety of patients doesn't come as number three IMHO.

                                                          • (Score: 2) by Tork on Wednesday February 07, @06:31PM (6 children)

                                                            by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 07, @06:31PM (#1343535)

                                                            Reviewing the last sentence I didn't quote:

                                                            Thank you for establishing that with no intervention from me you had more to say... which is exactly what I had requested of you originally, and was met with your unannounced departure from the thread. ;)

                                                            That topic was also about you using vagueness as a load-bearing structure for debate. Oh... that and going full-power on a topic you hadn't read up on. There are reasons those regulations were put in place, you didn't need to speculate. Hilariously we probably agree that there is likely some significant pork that can be trimmed there, but that'd involve more research on your part to prove it.

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                                                            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday February 08, @02:17AM (5 children)

                                                              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 08, @02:17AM (#1343569) Journal

                                                              Thank you for establishing that with no intervention from me you had more to say... which is exactly what I had requested of you originally, and was met with your unannounced departure from the thread. ;)

                                                              You intervened in this thread and I responded appropriately. That's why you got this reply on February 6 rather than January 13.

                                                              That topic was also about you using vagueness as a load-bearing structure for debate.

                                                              Like when I wrote "I did."? "Uh huh."? "There's a difference between being skeptical, and just standing there with your arms crossed and shaking your head"? "Heh. Did you hit submit instead of preview?" Gee, vagueness doesn't really work. Who knew?

                                                              • (Score: 2) by Tork on Thursday February 08, @02:50AM (4 children)

                                                                by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 08, @02:50AM (#1343572)

                                                                That's why you got this reply on February 6 rather than January 13.

                                                                Heh. I got the reply on Feb 6th because you didn't reply on Jan 13th.

                                                                Like when I wrote "I did."? "Uh huh."? "There's a difference between being skeptical, and just standing there with your arms crossed and shaking your head"? "Heh. Did you hit submit instead of preview?" Gee, vagueness doesn't really work. Who knew?

                                                                If you want retroactively to play dumb after responding to those questions, by all means knock yourself out. It's fun to watch! But at the end of the day (Jan 13th to be specific) you didn't ask for clarification. That ain't a thing you can pin on me. Nice try. ;)

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                                                                • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday February 08, @03:12AM (3 children)

                                                                  by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 08, @03:12AM (#1343574) Journal

                                                                  That's why you got this reply on February 6 rather than January 13.

                                                                  Heh. I got the reply on Feb 6th because you didn't reply on Jan 13th.

                                                                  Something to reply to came on Feb 6.

                                                                  If you want retroactively to play dumb after responding to those questions, by all means knock yourself out. It's fun to watch! But at the end of the day (Jan 13th to be specific) you didn't ask for clarification. That ain't a thing you can pin on me. Nice try. ;)

                                                                  I got clarification. "My post was longer than you quoted." Didn't sound like an attitude I could improve.

                                                                  • (Score: 2) by Tork on Thursday February 08, @03:30AM (2 children)

                                                                    by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 08, @03:30AM (#1343577)

                                                                    Something to reply to came on Feb 6.

                                                                    Hehe. We both know that ain't true [soylentnews.org].

                                                                    I got clarification. "My post was longer than you quoted." Didn't sound like an attitude I could improve.

                                                                    Oh yah... my 'attitude' where I said things like you probably had a good answer and I wanted more info. You're right, you would have needed a strong rebuttal to beat my 'attitude', and apparently I caught you so off guard the extra weeks of time you had to research it were fruitless.

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                                                                    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday February 08, @04:14AM (1 child)

                                                                      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 08, @04:14AM (#1343579) Journal

                                                                      Oh yah... my 'attitude' where I said things like you probably had a good answer and I wanted more info.

                                                                      And

                                                                      Heh. Did you hit submit instead of preview?

                                                                      and

                                                                      My post was longer than you quoted.

                                                                      • (Score: 2) by Tork on Thursday February 08, @04:23AM

                                                                        by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 08, @04:23AM (#1343581)
                                                                        And silence would have taught me a lesson way better than whacking me over the head with a solid rebuttal, right? Heh
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    • (Score: 4, Informative) by aafcac on Friday February 02, @05:13AM (3 children)

      by aafcac (17646) on Friday February 02, @05:13AM (#1342746)

      A lot of that happened because tax policy was changed in the '80s to encourage more and more accumulation of wealth by the elites. On top of that companies are now allowed to buy their own stock back in order to make it seem like the stock is doing better than it should rather than investing in things like employee development or R&D.

      • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday February 02, @01:24PM (2 children)

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday February 02, @01:24PM (#1342784)

        >tax policy was changed in the '80s to encourage more and more accumulation of wealth by the elites

        Agreed, and stop me if you've heard this one (oh, wait, you can't): Transparency is always the answer.

        Forbes plays at disclosure of how much wealth the wealthy have, I suspect in a bid to forestall actual disclosure by a legislated and enforced formula.

        Transparency in campaign financing deep enough to trace the threads back through the shell companies to the actual benefactors... The Panama Papers needs to happen daily, not once in a lifetime. Not only for tax gamers, but also for those who game the politics to keep tax gaming viable, and suppression of leaks reliable.

        Transparency in product performance - picture a mandated QR code on every price tag (with clickable link for online stores) for every appliance that costs more than one hour's minimum wage, that leads to reliable independently gathered data about the companies supplying the components, their safety and longevity performance records, the company that presents the final product for sale, their performance history, etc. With such disclosure required for ALL products on the market, I can see a competitive edge developing for companies that actually deliver value long term - incentivizing them to continue to provide good value for money instead of flashy style at low prices.

        --
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        • (Score: 2) by aafcac on Friday February 02, @04:19PM (1 child)

          by aafcac (17646) on Friday February 02, @04:19PM (#1342813)

          Yes, there is a reason why the saying is "sunlight is the best disinfectant." The problem now is that so much of this is happening out in the open and people have pretty much just given up on doing anything because none of the major political parties is interested in addressing it and the court has become more and more packed by corrupt judges.

          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Friday February 02, @04:56PM

            by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday February 02, @04:56PM (#1342826)

            As transparency increases, baseline expectations need to adjust. The reddest (in the face) conservatives I know talk about "zero tolerance" "that NEVER happens in my (town, school, business, etc.)" apparently living in denial of reality, which I believe some really do believe "it" never happens, but more than a few must have eventually faced up to the fact that they'll never achieve "zero occurrence" no matter how severely they punish the guilty for whatever transgressions we might be talking about - yet they still put on the brave lying face of "zero tolerance."

            An example that won't leave my mind is elementary school students pushing each other. In my son's 2nd grade they had a daily function called "morning mile" where the kids would arrive early and walk around the yard sometimes up to a mile before school started. There were various parents and teachers walking with the kids, but a lot of kids were doing the walk independently. During this I would regularly witness kids pushing and shoving each other, taunting, teasing, the usual 8 to 10 year old stuff, harmless. Then there's my son, with profound autism and a 1:1 aide. Anytime the aide witnessed him pushing anyone (as a means of communication, which I would like them to have taught him to not do and communicate other ways, but these things take more than one trial. Nobody ever got pushed over/down, they were just moved out of his way) he would be taken straight to the office and sent home for "zero tolerance for physical violence" (and a free-time rest of the day for the aide.) The principal would sit at her desk and with a straight face tell me "we have zero tolerance for students pushing, that never happens here, when it does they are sent home, no exceptions." "Have you ever walked morning mile?" "I walk it all the time." "With earplugs in and your eyes closed?" Obviously, we were expelled at her earliest opportunity.

            A tangential example of adjusting policy due to more accurate data reporting: infants in NICU had a discharge criteria of "zero apneas for 48 hours" or something along those lines. If a nurse noted the infant having an apnea, it would get marked on the chart and the infant could not be discharged until 48 hours after the event. Apnea was defined as "no breathing motion for 10 seconds or more." So, we developed and deployed an automated apnea monitor that would accurately observe breathing and apnea 24-7. Surprise! All infants, not just the preemies in NICU, have multiple 10 second apneas a day, the nurses (often at a 1:1 or better nurse-patient ratio 24/7 in the NICU) just weren't observing / noting them all, but the machine never missed one. I don't know where it is today, but at the time we were discussing revising the definition of apnea up to 15 or 20 seconds with no breathing, and still allowing up to 2 in the previous 24 hours for discharge.

            The current environment of "zero tolerance" for corruption, conflict of interest, etc. will need to a round of "sex education reality" for true transparency to match up with expectations of what is proper behavior for our elected and corporate governing officials. Maybe it's O.K. for a senator to own a controlling interest in a property affected by legislation they vote on, or even sponsor and champion. I would much rather have that potential conflict of interest out in the open (as an interested party, the legislator probably knows better than most people the importance/impact of the proposal...) as opposed to "zero tolerance" resulting in a bunch of shell corporations and other subterfuge an only the ones who get caught are villains. Politicians are going to own stuff, have business interests, be related to people with business interests, etc. Expose that and deal with it - hopefully even better than we have done realizing that some teenagers will have sex, so at least inform them about the proper way to use condoms, other birth and disease control measures, etc.

            --
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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by SpockLogic on Thursday February 01, @05:27PM (16 children)

    by SpockLogic (2762) on Thursday February 01, @05:27PM (#1342660)

    Enshittification = MBA's

    --
    Overreacting is one thing, sticking your head up your ass hoping the problem goes away is another - edIII
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by gznork26 on Thursday February 01, @05:58PM (8 children)

      by gznork26 (1159) on Thursday February 01, @05:58PM (#1342663) Homepage Journal

      I've wondered the same thing.

      I went to a tech college, but we fielded a Model UN team that wiped the floor with competitors with political science backgrounds because our team had done their research, while the others attempted to bluff their way like typical politicos. Consequently, I look at how MBAs approach things by putting myself in their shoes as best I can. What were they taught is the objective of running a business, and how do they accomplish that?

      From what I've seen, the pattern is not too far off of what you get with an AI tasked with accomplishing a goal. In this case, the goal is to maximize profits for the company and to enrich the MBA in the process. The means to do this do not include making the best product or treating customers as valuable, so both can be sacrificed on the altar of maximizing wealth. Hence you get MBAs deciding that certain categories of employees are expendable, because they are cost centers, rather than profit centers, and you lay off quality control and customer service while ramping up production. You minimize user instructions first, and then internal documentation. All of which hollows out your business and increases the risk of catastrophe, but the MBA doesn't intend to stay around for long enough for those chickens to come home to roost. If you can, you sell the company, take the money and run.

      From what I can tell, enshittification is a consequence of late-stage capitalism. In a healthy world that wants to retain capitalism, it could be recognized early as a symptom of trouble to come, and changes are made to withdraw from late-stage and adopt more beneficial patterns for running businesses.

      --
      Khipu were Turing complete.
      • (Score: 5, Informative) by JoeMerchant on Thursday February 01, @06:18PM (5 children)

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday February 01, @06:18PM (#1342673)

        MBAs are supposed to be generalists, know a little about a lot of areas of the business and therefore serve as valuable middle management communication tools.

        Yeah, there's the old saying: "Those who can't do: teach." I'll extend that with: "Those who can't do or teach: manage."

        Having said that, my first 12 years of employment at a small company with ~12 employees most of that time was very much like a 12 year MBA for me. I did a little sales - including representing the company at trade shows, a little tech support, a little training, a little regulatory compliance, a little investment seeking, a little electrical engineering, a little animal research, a little mechanical engineering, a little human resources, a little management, and a shit ton of coding.

        For me, personally, that experience gave enough insight into executive management to decide: tech track is for me. Similar reasons as to why I didn't study medicine: sure the pay is better, but I really don't like living my life "on call" to anyone.

        --
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        • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Immerman on Thursday February 01, @06:26PM (1 child)

          by Immerman (3985) on Thursday February 01, @06:26PM (#1342676)

          There might be some validity to that.

          The problem is that upper management inevitably gets promoted from middle management - but upper management requires a completely different skillset, including an intimate knowledge of what the company actually does and why.

          Just banning MBAs from any upper management position might do a world of good.

          • (Score: 4, Informative) by JoeMerchant on Thursday February 01, @06:34PM

            by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday February 01, @06:34PM (#1342678)

            Carl Icahn had a schtick about 20 years back about how CEOs aren't all that bright, but they're bright enough to know that people smarter than them are a threat, therefore they never promote anyone smarter than themselves... most of these VPs are savvy to that game and so it goes... dumb and dumber down the line. MBAs make ideal lap dogs.

            --
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        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by aafcac on Friday February 02, @04:54PM (2 children)

          by aafcac (17646) on Friday February 02, @04:54PM (#1342825)

          As popular as it is to bash MBAs, I'm not sure how much of it really is their fault. Even if you go rid of all of them, you'd still have the same pressure to increase shareholder "value" in the short term at the expense of the workers and the long term well being of the company. The MBAs are probably just more efficient at getting there quickly.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday February 03, @06:55AM (1 child)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday February 03, @06:55AM (#1342909) Journal
            A key dynamic here is Other Peoples' Money. There has always been a huge conflict of interest when someone manages OPM. What has changed in recent decades is the quantity of money with few strings attached. In the US, there are many trillions of dollars in government tax revenue and new debt. There's even more in the private world of mutual funds, pensions, hedge funds, banks, etc.

            These managers have a strong incentive to maintain good appearances and (in the private sector side) control small pieces of most publicly traded companies out there (as well as many private ones). A business engaging in the proper rituals of enshittification will appear profitable for these fund managers (both to the managers and to the actual providers of the funds).
            • (Score: 2) by aafcac on Saturday February 03, @12:50PM

              by aafcac (17646) on Saturday February 03, @12:50PM (#1342950)

              That's certainly a significant chunk of it. It's OPM and there were a bunch of changes to both the tax and regulatory environment to encourage this. It's safer to compete with the least amount of vigor possible, so long as you have the option of just buying out any upstart competitors that may arise. And a lot more profitable than wasting money on things like R&D that may never generate more profit than more of the same.

      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by krishnoid on Thursday February 01, @09:03PM

        by krishnoid (1156) on Thursday February 01, @09:03PM (#1342693)

        You're absolutely on point [soylentnews.org] in many respects. Based on that excerpt, though, the problem was known 50 years ago at least, and even earlier if you consider W. Edwards Deming's perspective on cost, quality, and psychology [wikipedia.org].

        Now that we have a name for it, it would be good to standardize a checklist/bingo/report card to identify the enshittification level of various companies. That way, you can pick one based on the enshittiness factor for the things you care about [loc.gov], not just on cost.

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by Opportunist on Friday February 02, @08:02AM

        by Opportunist (5545) on Friday February 02, @08:02AM (#1342763)

        Hence you get MBAs deciding that certain categories of employees are expendable, because they are cost centers, rather than profit centers

        But for some weird reason they never notice the blatantly obvious: That management is a cost- and not a profit center. Wonder why...

    • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Thursday February 01, @08:08PM (6 children)

      by krishnoid (1156) on Thursday February 01, @08:08PM (#1342685)

      Once something is technologically working well, there's not much of a reason to keep mucking with it. However, many people are attracted towards change, and management is attracted towards making more money, leading to reskinning and remarketing the same thing in many cases, and overanalyzing existing processes for profit over functionality.

      I mean, when you run a business like a business, money is central and everything else is directed towards supporting it. When you run a business like a software project, likewise to support it. Like a community service, similarly.

      Not just football and tech [youtu.be], either. Also, it's software! If you don't like where it's going, make your own [youtu.be]! Wait, maybe that's not the best example.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by DannyB on Thursday February 01, @09:14PM

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 01, @09:14PM (#1342697) Journal

        Once something is technologically working well, there's not much of a reason to keep mucking with it.

        That does not seem to be true of software developers who live by the wisdom:

        If it ain't broke, then fix it 'till it is.

        --
        To transfer files: right-click on file, pick Copy. Unplug mouse, plug mouse into other computer. Right-click, paste.
      • (Score: 3, Informative) by ElizabethGreene on Thursday February 01, @09:53PM (4 children)

        by ElizabethGreene (6748) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 01, @09:53PM (#1342704) Journal

        Once something is technologically working well, there's not much of a reason to keep mucking with it.

        Important point here: "Not much of a reason" does not mean "no reason". It's ludicrous that in 2024 the German rail system will be interviewing candidates for a Windows 3.1 administrator. I'm not saying you should follow the good idea fairy and slap new features on until the end of time, that way leads to ruin. Still, spend *some* effort on modernization. If your in-house app that makes a million bucks a year and requires Java 5 (EOL 2009), find the floppy with the source on it and fix the damn thing. Don't just keep slapping band-aids on it until it becomes completely obsolete.

        • (Score: 2) by turgid on Friday February 02, @08:13AM (3 children)

          by turgid (4318) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 02, @08:13AM (#1342766) Journal

          I've worked on some very large and expensive projects with a waterfall view which were projected to run over at least five years. They locked in a baseline software environment including OS, languages and development tools at the start with no thought to bug fixes or new developments. Of course, being waterfall, the projects took even longer than the five years. Even before the time was up, problems were found in the OS and the world of languages and tools moved on. There were updates needed to fix bugs that were not available for the now obsolete platform. The platform was even 32-bit when everyone else was firmly 64-bit.

          This could have been avoided by having a suite of automated acceptance tests for the platform. What I mean is a test environment that would build and run the product and put it through the important use cases automatically and unattended and then it could be ported to the newer version of the OS and tools as they were coming out and kept working.

          Yes, it would have cost time and effort, but that would have been fairly low in comparison to all the trouble experienced later. The project would have been able to jump to the new platform as required for little cost. Delays and expensive work-arounds would have been avoided. A new baseline could have been validated and signed off relatively easily.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Thursday February 01, @05:30PM (11 children)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Thursday February 01, @05:30PM (#1342661)

    The problem is universal enshittification.

    One, two, three companies... half an industry enshittifying is okay: as the old adage goes, vote with your wallet and go to the competition.

    The new problem is, there is no competition anymore: entire industries have stopped providing customer-respecting alternatives, because all those industries' players have realized they're all better off if the customer has nowhere else to turn to.

    All industries today are virtual cartels. You can't buy cars that don't spy on their drivers. You can't buy computers that don't spy on their users. You can't buy software at all because it's all subscription-based. No alternative: if you don't like it, it's back to the stone age for you, because all companies have implicitely agreed to behave the same way and corner their customers.

    That's what's new today. And there's no way out of it because the administration, which is by and large doing the bidding of those companies, has been refusing to recognize monopolies and cartels for what they are and break them up since Reagan, thereby robbing us-the-people of our ability to vote with our wallets.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Freeman on Thursday February 01, @06:04PM (4 children)

      by Freeman (732) on Thursday February 01, @06:04PM (#1342664) Journal

      Software counterpoint (for games) https://www.gog.com [gog.com]

      For corporations, the wave of the future is subscription everything or millions in development cost + maintenance contract.

      --
      Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Opportunist on Friday February 02, @08:20AM (2 children)

        by Opportunist (5545) on Friday February 02, @08:20AM (#1342767)

        Yeah, about your software counterpoint... what, other than ancient software and software made by indie developers, could you name that isn't a fucking subscription-based software model? Can you name a flagship game that isn't in some way making playing impossible if you don't keep paying? And I'm not even talking about the obvious culprits like MMOs.

        Name a single AAA flagship franchise that doesn't phone-home where you get to play for as long as its master sees fit. The worst offenders here are probably console games, but it invades the PC space now, too. Hosting your own servers? Not gonna happen, we run them, and we only run them for as long as we want to. Want to keep playing? Buy the next version, "Call of Battlefield $year", now with even less content and more hardware hunger. Well, either that or keep playing against lobotomized bots because that's what the "single player experience" is nowadays. A campaign mode? Nobody plays that anymore, gramps!

        And in between versions, you get to pay for "season passes" and DLC that is pretty much mandatory because they come with equipment that renders everything you might have obsolete. So get it or be, essentially, content and target dummy for the REAL players.

        But that forced obsolescence doesn't just happen in multiplayer games, because every game today MUST be played online (because you're a dirty, dirty thief who'd steal it otherwise), and you can play it for as long as the company decides that you should... but only starting about 2 weeks after the initial sale when the servers that prove you're not a dirty, dirty thief aren't bogged down from overload anymore. Rest assured, though, as soon as the next version is out, those servers are gone and the game you paid for is essentially data trash.

        • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Friday February 02, @03:27PM (1 child)

          by Freeman (732) on Friday February 02, @03:27PM (#1342803) Journal

          Do you count Fallout 4 as "ancient software"? How about Skyrim? (Probably in both cases, but they're both good AAA games that are on GOG.) Cyberpunk 2077 is also available on GOG produced by CD PROJEKT RED. CD Projekt created GOG and their games development department is CD PROJEKT RED. Any game I really like that gets put on GOG, I snap up in a heartbeat. Terraria, Stardew Valley, and other great games are available on GOG. Including the likes of Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord, along with the older titles in the series. Now, if you are talking about games like Fortnite? Sure, they were created by design to siphon money from your wallet. They've been designed to be addictive like gambling is addictive. Are they any good? I did play a bit of Overwatch and the experience was a lot less awful than what made me swear off Call of Duty back in the day. I.E. Children that swear and your mother this, etc. The problem is that people play the addictive crap, because it's the popular drug of choice. I don't play games, because I want to play the popular drug of choice. I play games to have fun. A lot of the fun is siphoned off when the game is designed to siphon money from me. Partly due to the fact that they're designing the game to make them more money. Not necessarily to make it more fun, but more addictive, sure thing! Diablo 3 is the perfect example of that. Compare it to Diablo 1/2, the "rare sets" were farmable and getable. Diablo 3, you're going to have to spend real money to get fake money, so you can get those rare sets. Sure Diablo 3 is older, but I wasn't suckered into a "microtransaction hellscape", until Diablo 3.

          --
          Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Opportunist on Friday February 02, @09:57PM

            by Opportunist (5545) on Friday February 02, @09:57PM (#1342870)

            I frankly stopped buying AAA games a long time ago. They simply stopped being entertaining. You shell out 60 bucks for the next installation of a series you used to know and like (plus another 30 for the practically mandatory 0day DLC that you need to play the game for real, plus 20 bucks for the content they left out that made the original game appealing plus... you know the drill, why should I have to get upset...), wait 1-2 weeks until you can finally play it and their licensing servers aren't clogged (or the patches are in that make the game actually playable and fix those every-other-minute-crashes), deal with ridiculous DRM that turns your computer into molasses even if you don't play the game, and you better finish that game in less than 2 years because by then the next incarnation is out and this one gets shut down. No, that you only want to play the single-player portion doesn't matter. At all. But that's not really a problem since you're effectively playing the same damn game again since no studio wants to risk anything with AAA games (and the associated budget) so all you can get is basically a reheat of the old game anyway.

            I have turned to indie gaming a long time ago. Here you actually can get a new game experience. People dare to make new games. Try new ideas. Yes, a load of them are garbage, you don't really save a lot of money in the long run. Especially if you agree to Early Access (the only EA I'll ever accept in my games anymore), some games will end up very differently than they start out, some will never be finished, but hey, that's allright. They're still more fun per dollar than any of the AAA games I played recently.

            GOG is one of the main sources for my gaming these days. And yes, I do own a load of ancient software. Some of the games I own and play regularly are 20 and more years old.

            And ain't that just sad?

      • (Score: 5, Informative) by ElizabethGreene on Friday February 02, @05:01PM

        by ElizabethGreene (6748) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 02, @05:01PM (#1342829) Journal

        As a side note, if you find any old games on GOG that won't run on Windows 11, please LMK. I'm working on Lemmings right now; The installer doesn't work, but the executable does. In the executable I have to find some way to slow down super-speed mode. Surprisingly I don't already have a shim for that.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Thursday February 01, @06:25PM (5 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday February 01, @06:25PM (#1342675)

      >there is no competition anymore

      Under capitalism with cheap global transport, instant global communication, access to virtually unlimited investment capital... competition is not the natural endpoint of unregulated business, consolidation and monopolies are.

      You think Ford, Chevy and Chrysler were competing? If so, I bet you think that the hundreds of gas stations all over town who all change their prices multiple times per day, perfectly in sync, are competing too. In our city, BP prices their gasoline 1% cheaper than everyone else, and everyone else - all brands, and virtually all stations, change their prices twice daily, lately in a range from $2.85 to $3.29. These "competing" outlets are serving a population of over 1 million spread over 1000 square miles.

      Careful how you interpret words like "competitive" and "serve". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/To_Serve_Man_(The_Twilight_Zone) [wikipedia.org]

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Thursday February 01, @10:43PM (4 children)

        by RS3 (6367) on Thursday February 01, @10:43PM (#1342712)

        Some 25+ years ago my sister dated a guy who was a VP / sales manager for Lever Brothers (soaps, etc.) He had no qualms about admitting Lever and the other major companies (P&G, Colgate-Palmolive, etc.) all chatted and pretty much agreed on pricing. Yup, supposedly highly illegal, but even if ICC or whatever TLA govt. agency could prove it, it's going to keep happening.

        I took some econ courses in college, did well in them, but I've always been bothered by the basic assumptions, like that people will lower prices to compete. If that's so, why the phrase "the going rate"?

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 01, @11:59PM (3 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 01, @11:59PM (#1342718)

          > always been bothered by the basic assumptions, like that people will lower prices to compete.

          I think you would enjoy this book, "Economyths" by David Orrell. Chapter by chapter he analyzes many of the basic assumptions behind currently taught economics...and tears them apart. It's from 2010, old enough that you can probably snag an online copy, but new enough that many examples are taken from the 2007-8 Great Recession.

          • (Score: 3, Funny) by RS3 on Friday February 02, @01:35AM (2 children)

            by RS3 (6367) on Friday February 02, @01:35AM (#1342728)

            Okay, bought one online. So inexpensive I won't downmod you if I don't like it. (that's a joke son, that's a joke).

            Seriously thanks. Oh and it appears to be an update, copyright 2017.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 03, @12:43AM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 03, @12:43AM (#1342881)

              Well, I hope you like it, wouldn't want AC to get a reputation for making bad recommendations!

              • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Saturday February 03, @03:43AM

                by RS3 (6367) on Saturday February 03, @03:43AM (#1342897)

                They say there's a first time for everything.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by istartedi on Thursday February 01, @06:05PM (1 child)

    by istartedi (123) on Thursday February 01, @06:05PM (#1342666) Journal

    You might think that companies have an incentive to keep going indefinitely and not debauch themselves in to that metaphorical motel room full of cigar smoke. That could be based in part on the faulty assumption that the corporate entity is something other than a collection of individuals. All those individuals have incentives that can work against the long term "health" of the firm. The CEOs will happily take $1 billion golden parachutes at the expense of the firm. Workers want work-life balance, and a retirement plan. Once all the personal goals are met, the goal of advancing and maintaining the productivity of the firm is less relevant, and at some point it even becomes more valuable to "strip it for parts", and I haven't even mentioned customers or product yet. Once there's a pile of cash on the table, customers and product aren't really in the picture any more. It's all about who gets to rake the most out of the pot.

    --
    Appended to the end of comments you post. Max: 120 chars.
    • (Score: 2) by Opportunist on Friday February 02, @08:04AM

      by Opportunist (5545) on Friday February 02, @08:04AM (#1342764)

      Corporations are not people.

      Proof?

      If they were, someone would have taken a gun and shot them dead by now. Every single one of them.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by DadaDoofy on Thursday February 01, @06:16PM (3 children)

    by DadaDoofy (23827) on Thursday February 01, @06:16PM (#1342672)

    Doctorow's description is dead on.

    Initially, the product or service has to offer something highly desirable. Once people have used it enough times to where it becomes an ingrained habit, you can successfully advance through the rest of the process. Most of the customers keep coming back until the bitter end.

    A remarkably similar model is used in the chain restaurant franchising business. It still works. The people who buy the franchises and the customers of their restaurants fall for it over and over and over.

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by JoeMerchant on Thursday February 01, @06:31PM (2 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday February 01, @06:31PM (#1342677)

      Where else have you heard propositions like: "Free samples"

      Anything and everything that is even remotely addictive or habit forming is marketed on the free, or loss leader model.

      Give away the razor, make 1000% profit on the blades.

      Alcon is a two sided company: Fabulously high tech, complex, state of the art Lasik machines that sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars a copy (developed, manufactured and sold/supported out of Orlando Florida), and eyedrops out of Houston. The Lasik division loses money, but gets the eyedrop salesmen into the doctors' offices...

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 2) by sjames on Friday February 02, @06:21AM (1 child)

        by sjames (2882) on Friday February 02, @06:21AM (#1342753) Journal

        The razor blade thing amazes me. People pay a damned fortune for those window blind blades (originally a joke in The Onion, then real companies said "hold my beer"). I still use a safety razor that's actually a few years older than I am and I pay pennies per blade. It works great as long as you're not a complete klutz.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 03, @07:40AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 03, @07:40AM (#1342919)
          I've managed to cut myself with an electric shaver (just a tiny nick), so I ain't gonna try that exposed blade thing...
  • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 01, @11:34PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 01, @11:34PM (#1342717)

    There was no plan. Just a plan to hope monopoly law might be enforced. A plan to sit back and hope unionization happens. Hoping it will taking care of itself while bitching isn't a plan, it's less than a plan in fact, it's just chicken shit piled on horse shit.

    • (Score: 2) by dwilson on Friday February 02, @02:37AM (1 child)

      by dwilson (2599) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 02, @02:37AM (#1342733) Journal

      ^ This.

      I read the fucking summery. I clicked the link. I read the article.

      I'm still wondering what the plan is.

      --
      - D
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 02, @07:33AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 02, @07:33AM (#1342761)
        Doctorow's plan is to jump on the enshittification bandwagon and become more shit?
    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday February 03, @07:15AM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday February 03, @07:15AM (#1342912) Journal

      There was no plan. Just a plan to hope monopoly law might be enforced. A plan to sit back and hope unionization happens. Hoping it will taking care of itself while bitching isn't a plan, it's less than a plan in fact, it's just chicken shit piled on horse shit.

      Even if it does happen, I'm not seeing good reason for that hope. Monopoly law may or may not apply. I can see a lot of businesses slipping through easily because they aren't actually monopolies. As to unionization, it seems to me more a cause of enshittification than a cure. For example, the heavily unionized and enshittified US auto industry of the 1970s wasn't improved by that unionization.

      My take is that the real cure is to stop using bad goods and services. For example, I've vastly reduced my usage of Google products. If everyone did that, then they'd be done for.

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