* Posts by Vimes

1181 posts • joined 3 Dec 2012

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Time to re-file your patents and trademarks, Britain

Vimes
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We're still full members of the EU until article 50 of the Lisbon treaty is used, so strictly speaking there is nothing currently stopping the new system from going ahead since it hasn't been invoked nor does it seem likely to be invoked in the near future?

In any case the referendum itself was purely advisory and has no laws behind it that compel us to follow the result. IANAL but where the laws are concerned there would appear to be nothing to stop the government from simply ignoring the result entirely. Of course that would probably never happen & would also have other ramifications but that's a different matter: the only impact it has on how we proceed is whatever the government decides it should be.

http://jackofkent.com/2016/06/five-legal-points-about-the-leave-victory/

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This is an important announcement

Vimes
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Re: Does this really belong here?

Probably not, and maybe I shouldn't have been feeding the troll, but there is something morally repugnant about how the RMT have reacted to this, especially when it seems to include unofficial strike action.

(I don't go anywhere near Southern trains either incidentally, at least not in over ten years now).

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Vimes
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Re: This is an important announcement

Re: the second link:

- The first lie is an argument over semantics and arguments over who will be called what and the responsibilities they will have, rather than whether they'll be on the train or not.

- The second appears to be over training that would be of little use anyway ('if the driver is incapacitated'? Seriously? Given that they are nowhere near the driver most if not all of the time they wouldn't have a hope in hell in 'avoiding a collision'). I've only heard of one accident in recent years where the train crew made any difference, and it wasn't the guard that stood out - it was the driver.

- The third seems to assume we'll accept the RMT at their word. I see no reason to do this given the previous games they have played.

- The fourth one regarding doors: just why exactly is it about the driver doing this that makes it less safe? Getting disabled people on and off? Then how can they seem to do that on the metro services on the rare occasions I've seen it?

- The fifth one ('GTR are the ones refusing to talk') could easily be rewritten as 'RMT refuse to accept any changes'.

As for that letter: when it comes to people who can't be bothered to pay before they get on then they get what they deserve IMO. Being busy or stuck in a queue is no excuse.

Incidentally, going back to the original point, why should anybody believe RMT rather than Southern Rail when it comes to illness levels?

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Vimes
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Incidentally regarding your second link: a couple of cockups doesn't make for a conspiracy.

Other train companies have problems giving out the correct information when things go wrong. Whilst it may be undesirable and a problem that needs to be dealt with it's still SOP for most train companies to go through this phase when there are issues with their service. Expecting things to be any different with Southern is frankly more than just a little bit ridiculous.

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Vimes
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Re: This is an important announcement

GTR said in the two weeks prior to the first strike, there was an average of 23 conductors off sick each day.

Since the strike, that number had nearly doubled to 40 conductors a day, with the figure increasing to 45 in the last 10 days.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-36382898

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Google Research opens machine intelligence base in Zurich

Vimes
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This is the same Switzerland that still has it's own Safe Harbour agreement in force. It was originally meant to reflect the situation at the EU level, but nothing has changed since the Schrems court ruling and it's still on the books.

And the ICO refuse to do anything about UK data exported to the US without any legal basis with regards to UK/EU law if it's first exported to Switzerland first.

https://twitter.com/patrickseurre/status/743111972703592448

Just look at the games Deep Mind have already played with access to NHS patient data (without consent of the patients)

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/04/googles-deepmind-shouldnt-be-sucking-up-our-nhs-records-in-secret

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Patent trolls, innovation and Brexit: What the FT won't tell you

Vimes
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@Steve the Cynic

Incorrect.

The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 provides for general elections to be held on the first Thursday in May every five years.

http://www.parliament.uk/about/how/elections-and-voting/general/

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Vimes
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@I ain't Spartacus

Interesting you should mention Switzerland: you recall that referendum they had a while back on limiting immigration? The EU refused to so much as discuss it after those wanting more stringent limits won, and made it clear to the Swiss that any such curb would result in loss of access to the single market.

That's essentially where we would end up: passing meaningless votes that have zero impact on the end result. Our parliament would be 'sovereign' of course but in reality it would mean next to nothing.

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Vimes
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Re: You should have put

I'm surprised somebody who appears to have had so many problems with UK bureaucracy would actually want to give them more influence not less.

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Vimes
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Not to mention that the UK itself with or without the EU hasn't been the best place to come up with new ideas over recent years.

http://paulwallbank.com/2014/01/11/dangerous-liaisons-the-risks-in-government-support/

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Who's moderating Andrew Orlowski's latest

Vimes
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Re: Who's moderating Andrew Orlowski's latest @gazthejourno

Personally I fail to understand why some of us can't be sufficiently trusted to always be moderated retroactively.

Doing that would cut down the queue of comments people like you have to deal with and if users see a difference might also give them more of an incentive to behave themselves.

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Not just the proles getting the heave-ho as British Airways races to save millions

Vimes
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Personally, I prefer it to creating a damn login for every airline you fly with. Just keep your booking reference to yourself, and there's no issue :)

You're assuming your email is safe to start with... *cough*Yahoo*cough*...

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Vimes
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Have you seen their booking system?

A sample link, suitably amended to avoid any issues:

http://ba.com/mmb/1?echannel=direct&bookingRef=[removed]&lastname=[removed]&emailType=&elanguage=en&elink=MB&type=click

All you need is the booking reference and last name and you have complete access to the booking. There is no need to log in or verify your identity to view the booking (despite them already having the infrastructure to deal with user accounts thanks to the like of the executive club).

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Vimes
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I have fond memories of that: having fun being shuttled around the airport on those electric buggies with the handful of other kids also travelling.

And when we still had to travel from Gatwick in the days before most of the flights were moved to Heathrow they even had a small lounge for the kids to wait in together. It was behind the last departures desk at the end of the departures hall if memory serves. They had a number of videos with some of them being Star Trek, so I was always quite happy to wait there.

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Vimes
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Re: Dumbsourcing @a_yank_lurker

The solution is simple: replace all the PHBs with computers...

http://dilbert.com/strip/2010-06-20

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Vimes
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They seem to be cutting back in the aircraft too, as anybody who has flown in Club Europe recently will be able to tell you. Not only have they cut back on the space between the customer and the seat in front, the seat itself is narrower now too.

So basically people are paying a premium for an economy seat with a slightly nicer meal. Hardly worth it really, especially if they're making more of a profit now than a year ago yet have chosen to fleece both their own customers and employees.

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Man-in-the-middle biz Blue Coat bought by Symantec: Infosec bods are worried

Vimes
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Will the likes of Firefox continue including Symantec's certificates despite this?

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EU referendum frenzy bazookas online voter registration. It's another #GovtDigiShambles

Vimes
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@Michael B.

That only works in cases where the total number of MPs in one party match the numbers in the other. Otherwise it can skew the results.

Pairing isn't an excuse IMO: it's just a way of abdicating responsibility whilst maintaining a veneer of acceptability at the same time.

Pairing should be banned. And Corbyn should be ashamed of himself if this is why he didn't turn up.

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Vimes
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A pity that whilst Corbyn can pontificate about registering to vote he can't seem to be bothered to vote himself on something as important as the IP Bill.

Why is that?

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2016-06-07/division/16060743001404/InvestigatoryPowersBill?outputType=Names

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Cyber burglars love to pillage Euro businesses they've pwned before

Vimes
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Because hackers ALWAYS wear balaclavas. And use tablets wearing gloves...

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Letters prove GCHQ bends laws to spy at will. So what's the point of privacy safeguards?

Vimes
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@Adam 52

There are a few notable exceptions to that rule. Robin Cook for example resigned rather than support the invasion of Iraq.

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Vimes
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Re: Lack of knowledge over ... signing

Except that this isn't a problem in any specific request. I'd agree that reading every single detail would be potentially excessive.

This is about general knowledge of the law and the power that the warrants have. I would expect them to know that even if they fail to understand details of any specific case.

If you saw him being questioned at select committee hearings then you would have seen him bumble along making mistakes (or in his words 'inadvertently misleading' the committee when those mistakes were highlighted by MPs that actually had some idea of what the law was at the time).

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Vimes
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Historically it would seem that even secretaries of state don't view the law as being particularly important. Just look at Philip Hammond as foreign secretary and his lack of knowledge over what he was actually signing when it came to warrants.

As always I would recommend getting in touch with your MP to tell them what you think of this, particularly since MPs themselves are routinely being stripped of their own privacy when it comes to emails.

WriteToThem.com has always been useful for this in the past.

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UK Home Office is creating mega database by stitching together ALL its gov records

Vimes
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Use writetothem.com to write to your MP and let them know how you feel about this. They might not even know about it...

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Uber, AirBNB: Lay off 'em, EC tells member states

Vimes
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Re: Same Regulation or "It's the economy stupid" @anon coward

I don't think I've ever seen so many words used to say so little.

This is a race to the bottom. How does that help any of us in the long run when all it achieves is to make those well paid jobs even more scarce?

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Vimes
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Re: Same Regulation @LDS

Funny you should mention feudal systems and peasants.

(emphasis added by me)

The latest to appear on the tapes is Elżbieta Bieńkowska, the internal market commissioner, who was recorded when she was still deputy prime minister in charge of infrastructure. At a (taxpayer financed) dinner with Poland’s anti-corruption chief, Bieńkowska commented that only an “idiot” would work for less than 6,000 zlotys a month (about €1,460), or about twice the average Polish net salary. The recordings were published during the presidential election and cemented the ruling party’s reputation as being out of touch with ordinary Poles.

http://www.politico.eu/article/a-polish-game-of-tapes/

She also seems to be involved here too:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/poland/9840084/British-taxpayers-set-to-lose-100m-after-record-Poland-EU-funding-scandal.html

Also:

http://www.eurolabour.org.uk/industry-commissioner-medical-devices-elzbieta-bienkowska-health

Perhaps not the best person to be getting involved in this sort of thing?

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Vimes
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If the commission were to spend less time trying to find ways to help corporations avoid the law rather than comply with it - *cough*safe harbour*cough* - then perhaps they would actually have some credibility here?

It might also be worth noting that the current commission thinks that TTIP is the best thing since sliced bread...

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One ad-free day: Three UK to block adverts across network in June

Vimes
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Re: dumb pipe @anon coward

I don't think that the porn blocking is any better either, and in some instances seemed to involve sharing web browsing with a 3rd party (*cough*Bluecoat*cough*).

It's also worth mentioning IMO that the current arrangement is little better than a gentlemen's agreement between government and the ISPs. This in itself doesn't have the force of the law, and just because the ISPs start whining 'but the government told us to...' does not excuse them from breaking the law, nor does it excuse them from interfering with how people associate when it comes to their online activities.

I also seem to recall a ruling in the EU courts last year that basically made the current arrangements with regards to porn filtering highly questionable if not downright illegal. There were suggestions at the time that Cameron would make the filters a legal requirement in response to this ruling, but all we seem to have had since then is a promise to add age checks to all porn websites in the last Queens speech (<insert Picard face-palm image here>).

It really would be laughable if it weren't the case that the bumbling ministers have the power to cause real trouble for the entire population thanks to the combination their downright incompetence and inability to recognise when they're getting things wrong until it's too late (just look at the current mess surrounding the psychoactive substances bill if you want proof of this, or other problems in the home office, or problems at the MoJ, or... well you get the idea).

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Vimes
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If Three stop acting like a dumb pipe does that mean we get to stop treating them as such?

They can also take legal responsibility for all the pirating that goes on through their network too amongst other things, and if they don't like that idea perhaps they ought to stick to being a dumb pipe?

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Vimes
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Does this mobile ad blocking fit the definition of a 'value added service' where RIPA is concerned?

Because if it does then they need the permission of the sender of the communication as well as the recipient with regards to the interception needed for ad blocking.

Asking for permission beforehand is an improvement on the situation we had with BT/Phorm trials, but I'd still be interested to know how precisely they'll get that consent from website operators before they start intercepting the traffic. Well done for asking the users but they represent only one out of the two parties that need to consent to this.

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British cops to film you with 59k body-worn cameras by end of year

Vimes
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@Loyal Commenter

Do you get those if you've not been arrested?

There's a big distinction between questioning people and arresting them.

Who's talking about not being arrested? From the article:

...rather than arresting a vulnerable person and having to take them into the station...

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@Adam 52

Something tells me it was rarely voluntary in the past if they were having to be arrested to begin with.

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Vimes
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And the lack of legal representation during questioning as a result of not taking them to the station? You're OK with that?

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Vimes
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Re: I hope not...

It should also, in principle give rather less leeway for the police to represent things in their way.

No argument there.

It's the idea that people that need to be questioned shouldn't be taken to the police station that concerns me. If the police were willing to do that before then it must have been for a reason, and if it's a reason good enough to take somebody in, then the people being questioned ought to have the benefit of legal advice. The fact that the interview is being recorded is beside the point in that regard.

I can understand to some degree why the police might want this: they are under huge pressure to work miracles with an ever-shrinking amount of resources and personnel, but their attempts to achieve this by sacrificing or limiting our rights isn't an acceptable response to that particular challenge IMO.

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Vimes
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He said the Home Office is currently in a period of consultation over the proposals.

Does this include members of the public? Or do the great unwashed not count as 'stakeholders' that deserve consideration?

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Vimes
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rather than arresting a vulnerable person and having to take them into the station. It's not about taking away anyone's liberty, all their rights and entitlements would be exactly the same."

And access to a solicitor & legal advice? How would that be maintained on the street?

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Manchester cops to strap on 3K bodycams

Vimes
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Re: That's not too bad

Unless of course you believe that there is a significant risk that it could all end up on YouTube.

I would think that sometimes perception is sometimes just as important, and not just the facts. Presumably police officers will be encountering people who are already extremely upset or in distress of one sort or another. Such people that the police have to deal with might not always be thinking things through rationally before reacting.

Leaving what security that will actually protect this footage, for the sake of argument if you were one such police officer you might believe that the footage is safe. You might even know it for a fact.

The same doesn't necessarily apply to those people that you will be dealing with in the course of your job though. Such people could already be upset enough to begin with, without the additional stress of being filmed however reasonable that might be once it's explained to them.

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Vimes
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GCHQ's Twitter move: Wants to be 'accessible', people to 'understand'

Vimes
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Wasn't he seconded to MI6 at the time of his death, even if he normally worked at GCHQ?

That would be one reason I could never work for those sort of people - quite apart from the ethical considerations of mass surveillance there is also another thing to consider: lack of loyalty towards their own people, even in death.

I can understand that those choosing to work in the more secretive areas of government are expected to keep quiet. Loyalty is expected of them. No problems there, but shouldn't they be able to expect some degree of loyalty in return from those same employers? Surely the agencies concerned could have done more to stop his private life from being dragged through the media after what had happened?

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Vimes
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For fun and games lets see what it takes to get blocked by GCHQ on Twitter...

(they've left the option to DM them open it seems, and even if messages are rarely replied to apparently they still get read)

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China's new rules may break the internet warns US government

Vimes
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... "By creating its own rules for domain name management, China is threatening to fragment the Internet, which would limit the Internet’s ability to operate as a global platform for human communication, commerce, and creativity."...

And that's so unlike creating their own rules for managing access to any data they can get their hands on: stuff like the PATRIOT act, FISAAA, executive order 12333 and christ knows what else they have at their disposal is all perfectly normal is it?

I'll pay attention to anything they have to say on this sort of thing when they stop treating non-US citizens as non-people with no rights when it comes to privacy...

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Blocking ads? Smaller digital publishers are smacked the hardest

Vimes
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Re: they'll happily settle for a small percentage of what they're getting now

c) fuck the cliff, we can FLY on this magic bullet...

Phorm lasted for 10 years saying something similar...

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Vimes
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Where anything network related is concerned, has anybody heard anything about the ICO's investigation into the use of systems by Shine in 3UK's network? It seems to be something that both the ICO and 3UK would rather pretend never happened.

https://twitter.com/ICOnews/status/717689910216548352

And that's the problem that could prove to be a big stumbling block for network level blocking: getting consent. Something that 3UK or Shine still have to explain how they intend to achieve, despite jumping the gun and announcing the trials back in February.

In order to identify the adverts you have to be able to examine the content of the page. That means - for network level blocking at any rate - giving the network the ability to see every page that you've requested (although how they'd do this with SSL protected pages without resorting to some sort of man-in-the-middle style attack remains a bit of a mystery).

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Insurance article

Vimes
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Re: Insurance article @diodesign

I don't wake up in the morning wanting to deceive people.

It wasn't my intention to suggest that you did - apologies if my previous comments gave that impression by the way - however the end result regardless of whether it was intended or not is effectively to deceive people IMO.

I'm assuming you honestly believe that the current status quo is acceptable. Sometimes however the reality of how people use your site won't tally with your own assumptions & perceptions.

For what little it's worth that's what I thought had happened here and I was just trying to highlight it (you mentioned the 'PROMO' sub heading for example, but a lot of the time this goes by unnoticed which would seem to be one such mismatch).

There is another possibility too: I've been involved in web projects before where perfectly good websites were mangled beyond recognition by sales people with their own priorities (the Simpsons 'dancing Jesus' website has nothing on what they somehow managed to come up with). For all I know something similar could have happened with this site: somebody in your sales department had been given too much influence and decided that this method of advertising was a good idea.

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Re: Insurance article @diodesign

Maybe they could add an indicator after the name in the byline like "staff writer" or "guest writer" or paid shill "sales representative" or something.

An interesting idea, but whilst I can't speak for others all I can say is that when I'm scanning through the headlines I rarely read more than the headline itself before choosing to click on the link or not, and rarely notice whether it's labelled as a promo or anything else. I wonder how many others would do the same?

Trying to insert adverts into the area normally taken up by headlines is one thing. Doing that *and* making them look like one of the articles with only one minor difference missed by many is a fundamentally dishonest way of interacting with users IMO.

I wonder if ad blockers pick up these fake articles?

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