|Subject: [hangout] Some good political action advise
Read the end of this posting from slashdot on how to protest right.
It's pretty good.
BTW - the subject of this protest is LinuxToday.com , who really do
The advertiser's intent is actually not foiled at all.
Well, let's first start with what a boycott is supposed to achieve. The
intent of a boycott is to make a manufacturer, publisher, or other
organization changes its practices by hurting it financially if it
doesn't. If you remember the boycott against Nestle over baby formula
advertising, you'll recall that people were upset that their advertising
strongly implied (if not outright stated) that formula was better than
breast milk for babies. Nestle was hardly alone in that, but as probably
the biggest player in the market, they became the lightning rod for the
The trouble with that implying that formula is better, besides the fact
that it's simply untrue, is that baby formula needs to be mixed with
water. However, in many of the developing countries where they were
aggressively marketing formula, both sources of adequately clean water
and knowledge of basic practices like boiling the water to make it clean
and then using it immediately, refrigerating mixed formula and how long
it can be kept, etc., were very scarce. However, the advertising
campaigns showing pictures of fat, healthy, smiling babies (in countries
where skinny, undernourished babies with inadequate medical care were
common) was highly effective. A lot of formula was being needlessly sold
to poorly informed parents. The sale of formula is not in itself wrong,
of course, nor is formula. Some mothers do not have their milk come on
and could not feed their babies without formula. Others don't have
enough milk, especially if they have twins or triplets. In those cases,
formula is literally a life-saver.
However, because of the scarcity of proper information as to how to
properly prepare and store formula, and of its relative value Vs. breast
milk causing it to be bought needlessly, many babies were becoming sick,
and quite a few dying, as a result of being fed on formula instead of
breast milk. Not to mention, of course, that formula is expensive and
many poor people were being led to buy it unnecessarily. I used to live
in SE Asia and both my kids were born there. Imported, western-brand
formula was about 1/3 the price it is here in the U.S., but the average
national income where I was living is about $100/month. It was more in
the large cities, of course, but that gives you some idea of the
relative cost of baby formula.
Now, if you look at a can of baby formula in poor countires, it has
instructions on how to prepare formula and boil water written in the
local language, and it also states clearly on the can that breast milk
is best for your baby.
The boycott worked because a lot of people refused to buy any Nestle
product. This hurt Nestle financially and they modified their practices
to satisfy their critics and the boycott was called off.
Now, let's relate this to your use of privoxy.
You never see the ad. /. gets the money. Why do they get the money? B/c
no one knows you never see the ad (unless they are paid on
click-through, in which case they wouldn't get paid anyway unless you
clicked the ad). That's problem one.
Problem two is that the ads aren't aimed at you. You are convinced. The
ads are aimed at people who are on the fence or who are currently using
Windows but are curious about alternatives such as Linux. You can rest
assured that most of them are not using an ad blocker. So, they see the
add, some may click through, and some of those will buy into the FUD and
the advertiser's intent is achieved: a potential defector from Windows
to Linux was stopped.
Now, the founder of Linux Today doesn't seem to get how to boycott,
either. If you want to effectively boycott a publication (either
Internet-based or paper-based, it doesn't matter), you need to do these
1) Write to them and tell them you are boycotting their publication and
all of its advertisers, and tell them why;
2) Contact each of those advertisers and tell them the same thing,
making sure they understand that you will not buy any of your products
until they stop advertising in that publication until that publication
fixes the reason for the boycott;
3) Really don't buy any of their stuff. If there is a boycott on, they
will track sales and decide if it's hurting them or not. If it's not,
they will ignore the boycott and do whatever they want to do. No company
cares about negative public opinion if it believes it's not being harmed
by it and can act with impunity. Look at Microsoft;
4) Tell other people. OK, this isn't totally mandatory, but if you're
boycotting something, you want as many people as possible involved, to
make the boycott hurt as much as possible. If you don't tell anybody,
the boycott doesn't spread. Not many people would be using Linux today
if back in the 1990s those who were had not evangelized it extensively.
That's how I started using it back in '97. I heard about it from others,
and that led to my eventually chucking Windows completely.
That's how you change things. Under your approach, the website still
gets paid and the advertiser still hits its target market. All you're
achieving is to avoid looking at the annoying ads yourself, nothing
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