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EnglishMobster

@EnglishMobster@kbin.social

Hello!

I work as a AAA game programmer. I previously worked on the Battlefield series.

Before I worked in the AAA space, I worked at Disneyland as a Jungle Cruise skipper!

As a hobby, I have an N-Scale (1:160) model train layout.

This profile is from a federated server and may be incomplete. View on remote instance

EnglishMobster ,
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Maybe - and hear me out - it's the dogs that are the problem?

"Can't control their prey drive" is a bad excuse. You control your dog or you don't deserve to have one. End of story. A dog barking endlessly is the responsibility of the owner to control or get rid of their damn dog.

It isn't hard to teach your dog not to be a nuisance. I've done it before. Blaming the dog because you failed to teach/control it is not correct, and simply shows that you do not have what it takes to be a dog owner.

EnglishMobster ,
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Godot is a passable engine. It doesn't have a massive pile of money behind it, but it'll generally do most things adequately.

Honestly - and I may be biased as I'm a AAA dev who works with the engine - Unreal is really the way to go. Reasonable pricing on a powerful engine. The main issue is that it's bloated as hell and there's a learning curve... but if you're an indie, it's just as usable as Unity. Plus if you wanted to get into AAA development someday, Unreal is super popular and used everywhere.

EnglishMobster ,
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[1/3]

I've been a gamedev at a couple AAA studios for almost 5 years now. I can say it's a bit of a mixed bag, and very much depends on the studio.

The studios I've worked at have treated me well. I started out working at EA, which - for all its faults when it comes to gamers - does treat their staff very nicely.

We had free snacks in the office, flexible schedules, a generous remote work policy pre-pandemic (one of the best engineers on our team was permanently in Chicago, another was permanently in Oregon), and leadership that would listen to our complaints and respond honestly. We had weekly board game lunches and D&D sessions on the clock, and a comfy place to play all the latest games whenever we wanted.

Deadlines were reasonable, and the choice was always to cut before crunching. Crunch was on the table, but only as a last resort - I only crunched once in the 3 years I worked on that game, and it was for a single weekend when we had live players running into issues. My pay was on par with a traditional tech job. I went from $15/hour at my college job to $25/hour as an intern to $100k/year as a junior. Within 3 years I was making $140k/year, plus stock options and a 30% yearly bonus.

My one complaint is that EA unceremoniously pulled the plug on us. We had started a beta period and player response was... middling. We thought we could rescue the project, but we needed another 6 months to make it happen to avoid crunching. Leadership pitched the idea... corpo execs said "You aren't getting that additional time; we're killing the project." We got shut down and all 150 devs were sent to the unemployment line.

EA's severance package was very generous, though, and even when they were firing us they went above and beyond what they legally were "supposed" to do. I wound up with my yearly bonus, half a years' worth of salary, plus 2 months of being "technically employed" but being paid to look for another job - so plenty of runway (plus unused sick time + vacation on top of that).

While it always sucks being laid off, and it sucks that the project we spent years on got the axe overnight... they really could've been far worse. Some of my former coworkers decided to do their own thing and it seems to have worked out for them, as they were able to get publisher funding well within the "runway" EA gave us.

EnglishMobster ,
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[2/3]

Other studios are more, eh. Devs stick together and are honest with one another about the state of different studios. I was in the pipeline to get hired at one studio when multiple people explicitly told me that it wasn't a place that treats their workers well, so I backed out.

I got hired somewhere at the recommendation of a former mentor, who has been in the industry for 30 years and whose judgement I trusted. I don't want to speak as to where I work now, but I can say that he was right and that the place I'm at has been an ocean of calm amidst the chaos that's the rest of the industry right now.

You hear horror stories from co-workers in the office. A friend of mine was ex-Blizzard and told me all about what was happening there well before it became a national news story. There are places which will work you to the bone and crunch you until you can't stand it anymore.

Some people love that stuff. I don't. But you get paid extremely well if you work for a place that works you hard. I could've made triple my salary at one of the places I was in the pipeline for, plus sponsorship for moving to the EU. I just would have to basically dedicate my entire life to that company, and I don't think I had it in me... but I can see why people would.

EnglishMobster , (edited )
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[3/3]

As far as unionizing goes - it's a mixed bag. I myself am very pro-union; I was a Teamster for years (Local 495). And many gamedevs are left-leaning (but not all! I knew some MAGA/QAnon guys). This in turn makes them supportive of unions on paper.

But when conversations stopped being theoretical and started being, "No, really, why wouldn't you?", the holdouts tend to think:

  • Union leadership is corrupt/greedy, and they don't want to give union leaders money for "nothing" (as they see it)
  • Being in a union means everyone would need to be bound to strict regulations - keeping exact track of time worked, having exact lunch breaks, documenting everything. As-is in the game industry, the "standard" at most places is hands-off, take lunch whenever, stay at lunch however long you want, clock in/out whenever, nobody questions you as long as your work is getting done. People like this and don't want to risk losing it.
  • Being in a union threatens close relationships with management. I can say that when I was a Teamster, management was outright adversarial and conversations with them weren't fun. In the game industry, management is quite literally my friends and people I chill out with. There's a very, very blurry line between "friends" and "bosses" - some bosses are horrible, to be sure, but the general vibe is casual.
  • There's a lot of benefits in the office like free snacks, free swag, a place to chill out and play games at work, etc. People are afraid that this would count as "compensation" and thus being unionized would mean that you'd have to pay for snacks or swag or whatever - or that it could be taken away as retaliation from management.
  • Retaliation is a thing. It's illegal. US government doesn't care. Corpos get a slap on the wrist because of plausible deniability. EA has been downsizing recently and they "coincidentally" cut the contract with a QA team that just unionized. Hmm. That sort of stuff has a chilling effect - EA has no qualms shutting down studios. Why rock the boat and risk being locked out?

There are counterarguments for each of those points. Benefits can be made contractual, union leadership isn't necessarily corrupt (although I did dislike the leadership of my Teamster local - for being too close to management and too soft). Etc. But it is an uphill battle if people are generally already happy where they work - and the jobs are plentiful enough that people can be comfortable moving studios until they find somewhere that lets them vibe.

We'll see what happens if the market continues to tighten.

I can see a place like Blizzard unionizing, just from the horror stories I've heard. Maybe Epic as well. But it's a lot harder to make a union happen in today's day and age.

EnglishMobster ,
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Yep, it's been a trend all year. My studio got canned back at the end of January. Publisher called us into a studio-wide meeting scheduled during lunch with 1 hour of notice, only to say "The game you spent 6 years on is canceled and all 150 of you are fired. The media will know in 30 minutes, don't say anything until then if you want to keep a severance package." (I have since landed on my feet elsewhere.)

These studios are owned by big publishers and generally work for years at a loss. With the costs to borrow increasing, we're seeing cuts on long-term investments that might not make their money back (like movies and games).

Volition was owned by Embracer, which is now struggling with funding. So anything that isn't a sure bet is effectively canned - and in turn you see these studios shut down left and right, plus big layoffs from studios that are still open.

EnglishMobster ,
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That's all game development.

Baldur's Gate took 6 years to make. Starfield has been in development since 2015 - that's 8 years. As gamers demand more, games have grown in scope. The ones that stayed behind have gotten punished.

If a AAA game doesn't have at least 8 hours of story and realistic graphics in the modern era, it gets panned by reviewers. People's expectations have been raised - and are continuing to be raised - and in turn, that inflates how long it takes to make a game. People will say "Why should I spend $60 on this game when I can spend $60 on this game that gives me more stuff?" (See: Immortals of Aveum, which itself has been in development for 4-5 years.)

The games that don't take that long are the stale yearly franchises - the FIFAs and CODs of the world. Even COD alternates between studios, with each installment taking 1-3 years. Some franchises (like Pokemon) have multiple teams within a studio that operate independently of one another; Arceus was made by the Let's Go team, while Scarlet/Violet was made by the Sword/Shield team.

If studios stop betting on long-term projects, you're going to wind up with stale yearly iterations - or half-baked games rushed out the door to meet a deadline. If it's true that you say AAA (and even AA!) dev isn't sustainable, then that's effectively calling for stale franchises pushing out cheap content for quick cash grabs (see also: Hollywood movies over the last decade).


It's also not just games this is happening to. Disney recently canned a 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea show that was ready to go. There's the Scooby-Doo stuff that Max recently pulled before release as well. That stuff isn't my industry; I don't know how long it takes to make those things... but I know it costs about as much to make as a AAA game does.

There's probably a reckoning to be had for both industries, but I don't think the correction should be that drastic - and I think it will be bad for people who consume that content.

EnglishMobster ,
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This is the core issue with all procgen games, IMO.

You are promised "infinite exploration", but in truth there are countable variants of the procgen algorithm. Once you see all those variants, you've effectively seen everything. Sure, you'll see small variations, or new ways to combine the existing variants... but when you see all the "tricks" the veil falls.

EnglishMobster ,
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In the US, expansion packs were the general term used.

For example, RCT2 had the Wacky Worlds and Time Twister expansion packs. Empire at War had the Forces of Corruption expansion. While some were called add-ons, those were typically like tiny things, one-off characters or whatever.

EnglishMobster ,
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I mean, spells like Wish are going to be basically impossible outside of going the AI route (which is an entire can of worms).

Wish can duplicate any other spell, or it can have your own effect (with a chance of it being monkey-pawed plus you never being able to cast Wish ever again).

Also bear in mind that it's not "just" rules for moving numbers. You have to have particles, animations, etc. You can't just have conversations, you have to also have SFX from impacts, camera shake, UI elements, etc. When you start to get into the world of "anything is possible" you kind of have to go back to basics, text-based adventures.

With AI stuff, maybe some of that can be done - but AI is just so incredibly slow in its current form. It won't stay that way forever, mind - I think the best comparison is graphics in the 1990s. Graphics were incredibly basic because anything complex would take ages to render and couldn't be used in games. Over the next decade, things were built to specifically speed up that process, and now modern GPUs can easily keep up with the highest-quality CGI without much fuss (there's a reason why Disney has the Volume, which is essentially just running CGI in the Unreal Engine alongside the actors in real-time).

But until that, we're going to be pretty limited. It's going to be impossible for any kind of free-form rules to be implemented, unless options were restricted to such a point that it's basically a completely different spell.

EnglishMobster ,
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This is sort of the mission statement of Kbin. Kbin supports Lemmy, Mastodon, FireFish, and Pixelfed already. It's planned to support PeerTube (this used to work but broke) and Mobilizon.

That's the main reason why I have a Kbin account. :)

EnglishMobster ,
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It's written in PHP, which a lot of devs dislike.

It is drowning in pull requests: 83 open as of right now. https://codeberg.org/Kbin/kbin-core/pulls

Ernest (the lead dev) wasn't really expecting it to blow up yet. Kbin was created in January of this year, and the first "major" instance was launched in May. It blew up basically instantly due to Reddit imploding, and Ernest has been playing catch-up.

But it still has rough edges - no API means no mobile apps. Lots of bugs and such from being a new project. It's improving every week (including an API in code review), but Lemmy is more polished and has an relatively mature API.

You can see a list of instances here: https://fedidb.org/software/kbin

As far as I know, there isn't specifically a privacy-focused instance like what Lemmy has. But I also didn't browse that list of instances too closely.

EnglishMobster ,
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There's still a lot of people who will always stick to Reddit as well (as evidenced by a good amount of hostility in the comment section of the Reddit discussion on /r/rust).

EnglishMobster ,
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It was pretty much used the way people use Discord with a group of friends today. It didn't have servers or anything like that, but you could hop on a call with a couple of buds and play games together.

I played a lot of Halo Custom Edition over Xfire back in the day...

EnglishMobster ,
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Kbin's federation with Mastodon works as you'd expect it to work.

I don't know why Lemmy insists on such bad integration with Mastodon. Last I checked, the Lemmy devs were insisting on not having smooth integration with Mastodon.

Doesnt make much sense when you can create a second account on Mastodon or one of many other platforms which already implement user following much better.

It's one reason why I jumped to Kbin and have been using it for the past few months. Kbin does indeed support user following much better -and it supports threads showing up in Mastodon much better too.

EnglishMobster ,
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If you follow a Kbin community on Mastodon, the top-level post is the only thing shared to the community's "profile". If you click on the post, then the comments section is the Kbin comments section.

Here's an example of a Kbin post I made displaying on Mastodon. I replied to this post, and my reply shows up as a reply to the top-level post.

EnglishMobster ,
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Yet another reason why I prefer Kbin.

The developers of Lemmy have been questionable for some time. See their post announcing Lemmy: https://www.reddit.com/r/communism/comments/cqgztr/fuck_the_white_supremacist_reddit_admins_want_me/

https://web.archive.org/web/20230626055233/https://old.reddit.com/r/communism/comments/cqgztr/fuck_the_white_supremacist_reddit_admins_want_me/

Hey all, longtime Marxist-leninist, recorder of left audiobooks, and megathread shitposter here.

Posting this in light of a recent one week Reddit ban I earned for shitting on US police, as I'm sure many of us have gotten in recent weeks.

So I've spent the past few months working on a self hostable, federated, Reddit alternative called Lemmy, and it's pretty much ready to go. Unlike here we'd have ultimate control over all content, and would never have to self censor.

Obviously as communists, we agitate where the people are, so we should never abandon Reddit entirely, but it's been clear to all of us from day one, that communities like this stand on unsteady ground, and could be banned or quarantined at any moment by the white supremacist Reddit admins. This would be both a backup and a potentially better alternative. Moderation abilities are there, as well as a slur filter.

Raddle isn't an option obviously since it's run by this arch anti tankie scum, ziq.

I wanted to ask ppl here if they'd like me to host an instance, and mod all the current mods here.

The instance that post mentions at the end became Lemmygrad. Lemmy.ml and Lemmygrad are the same people. This was their first post announcing Lemmy as a real thing you could go use. (It's also why a good chunk of the Threadiverse is absolutely infested with tankies.)

I never agitated for a fork because generally the Lemmy devs do an okay job at keeping their politics separate from their software. But the more I look at their attitudes and (frankly) the hazing they do towards contributors, the more I'm thinking that it may be better to push for an outright fork of Lemmy, give it a better name, a saner dev team, and excise the original devs entirely. Even if we ignore their politics (which is hard to do, but can be done), they've simply not been the best stewards of the project - it's succeeded in spite of them, not because of them.

That said, I think Lemmy as a piece of software is generally okay. Kbin has more long-term promise, I feel, but Kbin has its own issues and is much rougher around the edges. A lot of the issues Kbin has have already been sorted out by Lemmy, so I think it might be best to make a Lemmy fork and bring in features from Kbin into it (alongside performance fixes and whatnot that the Lemmy devs refuse to action on).

Linus Tech Tips pauses production as controversy swirls - The Verge ( www.theverge.com )

Last night, at approximately 2AM ET, a former employee, Madison Reeve, posted a thread on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, accusing Linus Media Group of cultivating a toxic work environment and encouraging a work culture that was detrimental to her health as well as sexual harassment directed at her by Linus Media...

EnglishMobster ,
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Here's a video from an all-hands meeting the day after she quit. (Reddit, sorry.)

The following is a transcript if you'd rather avoid Reddit:

(speaker 1, Linus) So we called this meeting because it's come to our attention that we need to have a quick chat about the best way to handle HR related feedback and rumors. We won't be giving any names for what I hope are extraordinarily obvious reasons, but what we can do is give you the following guidelines for problem solving and conflict resolution.

Sorry that this is all boring and corporate, but here we are. Number one, always stand up for what's right. We're only a team as long as we're all working together and working for each other. That's the most important one. Number two, always reflect on your own personal experiences and use your common sense. Few things in life are truly black and white. Number three, always wait to hear both sides of a story before passing your own judgment. Be cautious when you know that one side is bound by legal and ethical disclosure guidelines, when the other is not. Carefully consider what it says about the character of someone who would engage in that type of gossip against someone who has no power to defend themselves.

Number four, always encourage openness and transparency. If you have a problem, you need to speak up. We want to fix it. If you receive feedback about somebody else at this company, the first response is, have you spoken with this person? Followed closely by, you need to speak with this person. We don't solve interpersonal issues here, or really anywhere in your life, if you wish to live in a drama free zone, by engaging in water cooler politicking. So, if for any reason that individual is not comfortable approaching the person they're having a conflict with, we have a chain that they're supposed to follow.

So first, you advise them to take the problem to their manager. Followed by me or Yvonne, followed by our third party HR firm. I hope that you all trust that we're here to make this a safe, fun, and productive workplace, and we won't tolerate mistreatment of any of our team members.

If you have any reason to believe otherwise, then I refer you again to point number four, which is to address the issue with the individual directly, or bring it to me or Yvonne, or bring it to our third party HR firm. Since I'm not at liberty to share any details about what occurred, uh, all I can do is ask that you trust me and Yvonne.

Um, some of you know us very well, I've been here a very long time, um, some of you have not been here for as long, but I like to think that whether you've been here for nine years or nine days, you're here for a reason and you believe that we are utmost to run this company with integrity and compassion.

Um, We can't solve problems we don't know about though, so on that note, I'd like to invite anyone who has concerns about a fellow team member or about a manager to submit their feedback either by speaking with their manager, me or Yvonne directly, or if you would prefer to provide your feedback anonymously, we have an option for that as well.

It's the manager and co-worker feedback form. Uh, Yvonne, if you're not aware of it - show of hands who is not aware of it? Hey, a lot of people aren't aware of it. Good, so now we all know. There's an anonymous form, if for whatever reason you're not comfortable either talking to me me or Yvonne directly about it - and that's okay, that's fine, we understand, that's why we have these options - Yvonne's gonna post it in the general chat.

It's a safe space to provide us ideas for improvement, or if you're consumed by the holiday spirit and you want to say nice things, you can do that too. Does anybody else have any questions?

Not a single question? Wow, that must have been a really good speech.

(speaker 2, James) You gonna dance on that table, or just stand on it?

(speaker 1, Linus) That's it! So, um, Yvonne, did you have anything you wanted to add?

(speaker 3, Yvonne) (inaudible) Somebody said (inaudible) if you guys want to sanitize your hands, help yourself with free (inaudible)?

(speaker 1, Linus) Yeah, that was actually just totally random timing. It came up the stairs a moment ago. Dennis is on it. Alright. Thank you everyone. Have a wonderful and, uh, productive rest of your day. And weekend.

EnglishMobster , (edited )
@EnglishMobster@kbin.social avatar

There's a great video about this sort of thing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agzNANfNlTs

Essentially, it looks at why conservatives vs. liberals approach the world differently. Democracy vs. capitalism is inherently a logical contradiction; in a true democracy, everyone is treated equally and all voices have equal weights. In capitalism, some people are more equal than others - it's a pyramid. Fascism is when these "some people are better" is because of something like genetics, or culture. (The video doesn't touch on this, but modern Communism falls into the same trap as well, where "some people are better" because they know the party leaders or they're technocrats. It's a mindset that humans have and not something exclusive to capitalism.)

Where you wind up on the American political spectrum is based on where you fall when the ideals of equality vs. hierarchy clash. There is no middle ground because the two are fundamentally incompatible - if everyone was truly treated equally, you couldn't have people with more power/status than others. If you accept that not everyone should wield power and that at the end of the day there must be some rich and some poor - some that have power and others that do not - then you are therefore arguing that people shouldn't be treated equally. From there, the pyramid structure is the natural order of things ("always a bigger fish").

Because the structure is fundamentally at odds with itself you can't have both at once. You have to compromise on one side more than the other. Hence there is no such thing as "apolitical", even with technology - it will hold a bias one way or the other.

EnglishMobster ,
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Neon FTW. Been my daily driver for a while now with zero problems.

EnglishMobster , (edited )
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Tankies, fascists. Close enough to the same thing tbh.

Any platform which supports tankies is in itself tankie. If they want "unity," they wouldn't associate themselves with people who don't believe in the core fundamentals of freedom. Otherwise they're just like PCM where the worst elements will take over.

EnglishMobster ,
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Conveniently ignores the genocide and organ-harvesting happening today in the largest communist country on the planet

I'm a leftist myself, but tankies are a bridge too far. The moment a movement starts oppressing the proletariat is when they lose all legitimacy. Stalin, Mao, and everyone else the tankies idolize were oppressive to the common people they tried to protect. Modern-day China is oppressive to the point where they set up secret police in other countries to monitor citizens abroad.

How on earth is that protecting the workers? Now there's just a new class of bourgeoise, the party leadership who enshrine themselves in perpetual power while they exploit the workers in the sweatshops making cheap goods. The party takes their labor, exports it to the West, and lines their own pockets.

That's what tankies want? How on earth is that any different than fascism, in practice?

EnglishMobster , (edited )
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I love how I literally trotted out a source, and you still clamed it was "unsourced". I also love "You have not made an argument that they are factually similar" after I just explained how they are in practice, factually similar. Here is a Wikipedia page about the genocide China is committing, btw - how is this different than Auschwitz?

But those claims are "western" and therefore automatically incorrect. Because we know China has a free press and open reporting! Their 1982 constitution protects freedom of speech, which is why they arrest people who talk about Tibet!

So here's a non-western source: Al-Jazeera stating that China has internment camps where they are committing genocide.

You're not going to listen to any of this, because you've completely missed the point. My point is modern communism has not gotten anywhere near the ideals espoused by Marx, and has outright rejected them (paying them lip service at best). It has been replaced by something pretty much identical to fascism, and tankies love it. Since evidently you need a reminder as to what fascism is:

Fascism is a far-right, authoritarian, ultranationalist political ideology and movement,[1][2][3] characterized by a dictatorial leader, centralized autocracy, militarism, forcible suppression of opposition, belief in a natural social hierarchy, subordination of individual interests for the perceived good of the nation and race, and strong regimentation of society and the economy.

Everything other than "far-right" can apply to the CCP in its modern form. (And even saying China isn't far-right is debatable... gay marriage is illegal in China still. Hardly "socially left".)

But go on. Tell me that's not fascism.

EnglishMobster , (edited )
@EnglishMobster@kbin.social avatar

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Communist_Party

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP),[3] officially the Communist Party of China (CPC),[4] is the founding and sole ruling party of the People's Republic of China (PRC)

CCP is a valid name for it in English, and in fact is the way that it's referred to most of the time in English (which we are speaking currently). You can also see that Wikipedia uses CCP throughout.

Not surprised I've pissed off half of Lemmygrad considering you guys are so misinformed you don't even recognize a common English acronym for the ruling party of the country you adore so much. Stay mad, tankies.

EnglishMobster ,
@EnglishMobster@kbin.social avatar

Louder for the people in the back!

Tankies 👏 are 👏 not 👏 true 👏 communists 👏.

God, I hate that this place is infested with tankies. I didn't realize Lemmy.world still federated with Lemmygrad.

What to do about ghost magazines that have no content? ( kbin.social )

It seems like when the big reddit migration happened, a lot of new users claimed magazine names on kbin instances that were popular on reddit in order to have ownership of them, but they seemingly have no interest in posting content to them. This has unfortunately caused lot of otherwise useful magazines to remain dormant,...

/kbin logotype
ALT
EnglishMobster ,
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Yep - great example, @maxrebo is squatting on @Starwars, @LEGO, and @Marvel - but they have had no activity for over a month now, and it's quite possible they've abandoned their account.

Copyright and why it's broken. - Tom Scott ( www.youtube.com )

So recently there has been a lot of debate on AI-generated art and its copyright. I’ve read a lot of comments recently that made me think of this video and I want to highly encourage everyone to watch it, maybe even watch it again if you already viewed it. Watch it specifically with the question “If an AI did it, would it...

EnglishMobster , (edited )
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100%.

It gets tricky, though. For example, I'm using a website called "Sudowrite" to help me write a novel. I've been kicking this idea around since 2007. I have a general idea for what it should look like, but I always struggle with Act 2.

Literally over a decade's worth of notes. And not a good Act 2.

But I was able to use ChatGPT and Sudowrite (especially its "Story Engine" tool) to finally understand what Act 2 was missing. And now I'm able to rewrite what I've already done, making it better. AI is a tool just like a word processor is a tool.

Lest anyone think I'm writing an ad here - I'm not. Per their FAQ, Sudowrite says that I own the copyright on anything that I generate with their stuff.

Who owns the copyright to what I write?

You do. Anything you write in Sudowrite and anything Sudowrite suggests for you belongs to you.

But if I don't modify it, that's clearly not true (as you mention). Furthermore, I can actually have it suggest things that might run counter to that idea.

I've had it suggest lines from Kafka - good lines, too. I've read Kafka, so I recognized them... but what if I didn't? I don't own the copyright on those lines, as Tom Scott points out in OP's video. Kafka's original German is public domain... most translations are not.

You can highlight some text in the tool and say "Write this in the style of Douglas Adams." It knows who Douglas Adams is. It knows what his work sounds like. And the only way it knows is because its model was trained on his work. When I did this, one of the suggestions included Zaphod Beeblebrox, which was certainly not mentioned in my text. It also suggests spaceships and aliens and futuristic gadgets, all written in the kind of prose that you'd expect from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

How would it know that, if it hadn't read Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy?

It's why Sarah Silverman is suing OpenAI. While the model may be a bunch of statistics, it also must know what her text is like - to some degree. We can argue over how, but going back to the AI suggesting Zaphod Beeblebrox... if I didn't know HGTTG maybe I'd think that's a cool name for a character? How can Sudowrite say I own the copyright when it's clear that they don't own it, either?

Which sort of brings me back to the beginning. AI has the potential to be a wonderful tool - again, like going from a typewriter to a computer. I have had this idea for literally 16 years now, and Sudowrite was literally a game changer. I knew all of act 1, act 2 was... ehhhh, and then act 3 was never satisfying without a good act 2. I knew where I wanted to go, but not how to get there. AI really helped, because it understands story structures - and how to make good stories (with some prodding - it's not perfect). And now, whenever I'm stumped, I can type some stuff into the prompt and it'll generate ideas for me.

But that only works if we really figure out where the line is for copyright. I'm trusting what Sudowrite is telling me... but I'm taking a risk, because what if they're wrong?

EnglishMobster ,
@EnglishMobster@kbin.social avatar

Well... maybe.

Artists are able to work off of commissions, assuming that there is a demand for their art. (Getting that demand is the tricky part.) If people don't want their work on its own, then they have to work at a corporation - maybe making concept art, or drawing animation cels, or whatever. None of that art is owned by them; it's typically in the contract the artist signs when they become employed. Anything they make belongs to the corporation.

I used to work for Disney - in their theme parks, not as an artist - and even my employment contract said that any idea I had while Disney was my employer was property of Disney. Literally, if I had an idea on the job, I could not monetize it. If I thought of an idea for a video game or novel or movie, Disney owned that idea just because they were my employer.

Now. Could they enforce that? No way. But they could try, and as Tom points out then it doesn't matter if I'm in the write or not - Disney has expensive lawyers, I do not.

Scientists need grant money to do science. You have to convince a panel of experts that you have a good idea, and that your idea is worth throwing grant money at. Then you use that grant money to pay yourself and your assistants while you perform an experiment. This grant money can be from a university... or it could be from a corporation doing research and development for new concepts or ideas. If you make a discovery, the corporation might be able to patent that, since you were on their payroll at the time.

Making things Creative Commons doesn't magically make money appear. When you get paid by someone wanting to publish your work, they are specifically buying out your copyright on that work - they can do whatever they wish with it after. (Famously, this is why the first Harry Potter book is called "Sorcerer's Stone" in the US, because the publisher owned the copyright and changed the name.)

Creative Commons, therefore, is completely at odds with traditional publishing, since you can't sell your copyright to them. You can still self-publish, of course... but that's a whole can of worms. Not to mention that it's incredibly easy these days to have AI churn out 80k words of BS and sell it on Amazon for $1.99. You don't need many sales to break even.

EnglishMobster OP ,
@EnglishMobster@kbin.social avatar

That was me banning him, a gut reaction on my part when I noticed. Maybe childish, but when they revealed himself as a bad actor I didn't want them coming into my communities.

EnglishMobster OP , (edited )
@EnglishMobster@kbin.social avatar

I avoided some of the finer details because the downvoting isn't the point - the bans are. Especially from so many magazines.

But - to give the full story:

I have a Tampermonkey extension which hides posts after an upvote/downvote. Because of this, I'm voting on basically everything in my subscribed feed.

I downvoted something of his - I don't even remember what, exactly. I made some comments and noticed when checking replies later that I had been downvoted on a bunch of them.

Curious, I checked to see where the downvotes were coming from - all of them were this guy. I checked their profile and saw that I had already downvoted one of their posts, hence my guess as to why he was mad.

Usually I'd let these things pass, but I found it a bit childish and I was feeling petty, so I did it back to them. You can judge me if you like; I'm not exactly proud of stooping to that level but I was already in a sour mood that day.

I haven't been on Kbin for a couple days, but I checked back this afternoon and saw 18 messages, all of which said "you have been banned." Evidently they got angry and decided they weren't going to let me participate in any of their communities.

I got pissed at this and banned him back - which is, again, perhaps childish on my part. At the same time, I've been a mod for a long time across multiple platforms, and I have a low tolerance for BS at this point. I've seen folks like this start spamming communities in retaliation to perceived slights - something like that happened on the first forum I ever ran, way back before Reddit even existed - and frankly this guy has already proven to be acting in bad faith.


One reason why I didn't delve into details is because this is going to devolve into petty he said/she said arguments, which frankly isn't the point.

The point is that this guy got pissed off at something I did and decided I wasn't able to participate in any of their communities anymore. Like I said, I was only subscribed to one of these communities anyway - so it didn't really affect me - but I worry what would happen if these weren't small communities. What happens if a powermod that runs multiple big magazines decides to ban people for perceived slights?

I know this was a issue on Reddit (awkwardtheturtle), and I'd hate for it to be an issue here, too.

EnglishMobster OP , (edited )
@EnglishMobster@kbin.social avatar

The 18 number is the number of unread messages I had at the time. They were all "you have been banned." I just went back and counted; I have 18 messages (across 2 pages of notifications now).

It's possible that they extended the length of the ban and doing so gave me another message; the bans were all different lengths. Or it could be some duplication happening server-side.

EnglishMobster OP ,
@EnglishMobster@kbin.social avatar

Additionally - and I don't know if this has been fixed - if you're a mod and you block someone, you also don't see posts they make on your magazines.

So they can easily go in and make spam posts and you - as a mod - would never see it.

EnglishMobster OP ,
@EnglishMobster@kbin.social avatar

Oh yes, I know.

At the same time, I don't trust that this guy isn't going to go into the magazines I run and start spamming the comments section or anything like that.

In 2003? 2004? - somewhere around there - I was the only mod on a small internet forum. A guy got mad at something I did and decided to start putting gore in every single thread. He did it when I was asleep, and I came back on the next morning and had to clean up the mess.

Since then, I've been a bit less forgiving when someone has shown to be a bad actor. Maybe I'm just colored by past experiences, but I didn't want to deal with any BS, and on the bigger of the magazines I run we have a full modteam that can overturn the ban if they disagree. (The smaller doesn't even have any organic activity yet, so I haven't recruited a modteam for it.)

EnglishMobster OP ,
@EnglishMobster@kbin.social avatar

Lemmy won't let you see it; it's just a Kbin thing.

Meta Just Proved People Hate Chronological Feeds ( www.wired.com )

Meta conducted an experiment where thousands of users were shown chronological feeds on Facebook and Instagram for three months. Users of the chronological feeds engaged less with the platforms and were more likely to use competitors like YouTube and TikTok. This suggests that users prefer algorithmically ranked feeds that show...

EnglishMobster ,
@EnglishMobster@kbin.social avatar

Yep! The Reddit version, at least. Dunno if the Lemmy/Kbin sorts are the same or not.

Before that, it was sorted by top. I think subreddits were top/day, and comments were top/all time. Frontpage was top/day for all the subreddits you were subscribed to (or top/day for a selection of "default" subreddits if you didn't have an account).

EnglishMobster ,
@EnglishMobster@kbin.social avatar
EnglishMobster ,
@EnglishMobster@kbin.social avatar

To be fair...

There are alternatives to Lemmy. Kbin, I'd argue, is superior in most respects. (Kbin is still obviously young and rough around the edges at times, though.)

I don't like the Lemmy maintainers, and that was a big jump propelling me onto Kbin. It just made me feel squicky knowing that I was tacitly endorsing their software by using it when there was an alternative available that did exactly the same things. I also don't like using communities on Lemmy.ml because the admins there have a history of removing stuff that doesn't suit their political views.

I don't think these two situations are equivalent, mind, but I do think there is more weight behind "avoid using Lemmy" than "avoid using Calckey/Firefish".

EnglishMobster ,
@EnglishMobster@kbin.social avatar

/vp/ used to be really good at good Pokemon info back in the Black/White days.

That said - I haven't been back in quite a while, but even back then you did occasionally see folks who obviously were from /b/ or /pol/ posting. I'm sure it's probably gotten worse over the years, as people start growing out of 4chan...

EnglishMobster ,
@EnglishMobster@kbin.social avatar

Based started on 4chan. People stole memes from 4chan, where it spread and became Zoomer slang.

Cringe I think has a similar but slightly different etymology; I don't know if it necessarily came from 4chan or if it came from Reddit.

EnglishMobster ,
@EnglishMobster@kbin.social avatar

Things change over time.

For example - I want to see the broadest possible choice of content in my feed. I want to be able to interact with anywhere that's not outright hateful and/or malicious. So when I was choosing an instance, finding a permissive (but not too permissive!) admin was important to me.

But when Threads started making waves and the fedipact started becoming a thing that people were discussing, things changed out of left field.

I still wanted to federate with Threads. I think fears of EEE are overblown; Facebook has to comply with the Digital Markets Act and guarantee third-party interoperability. EEE on the fediverse runs counter to EU law. Additionally, most of my friends are folks who don't "get" the fediverse; I tried coaxing my fiance onto Mastodon and she lasted 1 day before going back to birdsite. She uses Threads actively now, and I'd love to be able to see her posts and interact with her without needing to sign up for Threads myself.

I had hoped that the semi-permissive admins I've found would tolerate it, but a lot of them decided to draw the line and join the fedipact (including my Mastodon admin).

Which now sucks - it feels like a bunch of bullies are trying to use intimidation to tell me where I can and can't post. By threatening to defederate everywhere that's not in the fedipact, there's this feeling where now I can't join a server that curates the way I want because if I do, I'll be cut off from the rest of the fediverse. If I run my own server, there's a good chance these other instances will use bots to catch that my server federates with Threads and pre-emptively defederate me.

Defederation is used as a weapon and a way to bully other instances, which I really don't like. I understand the need for defederation as a tool but it sucks seeing how easily it's abused, and how you really can't trust that admins of a server you join won't be intimidated into compliance by these fedipact bullies.

So now, if I want to like my fiance's posts... I basically have to join Threads and help Zuck directly, or have an account elsewhere that basically can only federate with Threads. Thanks, fedipact.

EnglishMobster OP ,
@EnglishMobster@kbin.social avatar

Ah! Didn't even think to check GitHub. Good call; I added a comment with my thoughts.

EnglishMobster OP ,
@EnglishMobster@kbin.social avatar

Woot woot! You're the champion! Thank you so much!

EnglishMobster ,
@EnglishMobster@kbin.social avatar

I have a solid repro:

  1. Sit on a page for a long period of time without other activity (for example, minimized web browser for 30-45 minutes)
  2. Interact with a post by hitting the upvote or downvote button

I'd imagine some session token is expiring and when you send the request for the upvote/downvote it rejects the call due to an expired token. Then the page refreshes and logs you out. Pressing the home page again will auto-log you back in.

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