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Was the Amazon De-Listing Situation a Glitch Or a Hack? 396

Posted by Soulskill
from the can't-it-be-both dept.
Miracle Jones writes "As Amazon struggles to re-list and re-rank gay, lesbian, and adult books on their website after massive public outcry against the secretive partitioning process, they are claiming that the entire situation was not the result of an intentional policy at all, are not apologizing, and are instead insisting that the situation was the result of 'a glitch' that they are now trying to fix. While some hackers are claiming credit for 'amazonfail,' and it is indeed possible that an outside party is responsible, most claims have already been debunked. How likely is it that Amazon was hacked versus the likelihood of an internal Easter weekend glitch? Or is the most obvious and likely scenario true, and Amazon simply got caught implementing a wildly-unpopular new policy without telling anyone?"
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Was the Amazon De-Listing Situation a Glitch Or a Hack?

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  • Maybe... (Score:5, Funny)

    by milas (988484) on Monday April 13, 2009 @09:18PM (#27565745) Homepage
    ...it was a glitchy hack?
    • Re:Maybe... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fractoid (1076465) on Monday April 13, 2009 @09:43PM (#27565883) Homepage
      It sounds like "technical glitch" is the new get-out-of-jail-free card for any big corporation that makes a bad call and wants to avoid public backlash.
      • Re:Maybe... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Ren.Tamek (898017) on Monday April 13, 2009 @11:00PM (#27566349) Homepage

        Yes, it's Amazons favourite excuse as of late. Remember when DRM and Starforce caused a consumer backlash which generated thousands of negative reviews for Spore? [amazon.com] Somehow, they all got lost due to a mysterious glitch [kotaku.com] too!

        Every games news site in town reports the selective censoring... and within hours the mysterious glitch is just as mysteriously solved.

        let me ask you, what kind of glitch would cause material whose topics are at odds with conservative Christian values not to show up on the main search engine? Not just gay and lesbian titles, but 'Mind & Body, Reproductive & Sexual Medicine, and Erotica' [edrants.com] also. Someone at Amazon has been caught with their pants down i'd say...

        • Re:Maybe... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by bdenton42 (1313735) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @01:22AM (#27566969)

          let me ask you, what kind of glitch would cause material whose topics are at odds with conservative Christian values not to show up on the main search engine?

          It very well could be a glitch. At the same time it is likely an intentional filtering system. Other countries that Amazon operates in probably have restrictions that they need to follow. My guess is that they were updating the filter for some country and accidentally messed it up for the US market.

      • Re:Maybe... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Monday April 13, 2009 @11:07PM (#27566385)

        I don't think if Amazon had intentionally done this, and had announced that they'd one it, that it would be that unpopular. California, of all places, couldn't agree on gay marriage. Imagine then the rest of the country.

        On the other hand, since Amazon is a for profit company, they have absolutely no reason to alienate a fraction of their customers by implementing this policy silently. They're not attracting right wing sales, nor "think of the children" types of all mentalities...they'd just be pissing off a segment of the market.

        So it seems like it's probably a hack, because if it isn't they'd be being uncharacteristically stupid in the only dimension they'd ever shown any real passion about.

        • Re:Maybe... (Score:5, Funny)

          by Dutchmaan (442553) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @12:21AM (#27566737) Homepage

          California, of all places, couldn't agree on gay marriage. Imagine then the rest of the country.

          Iowa, of all places, could agree on gay marriage. Imagine then the rest of the country.

          • by namespan (225296) <namespan&elitemail,org> on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @01:18AM (#27566953) Journal

            Iowa courts issued a ruling and opinion that's at odds with earlier legislation... which the court says is at odds with more fundamental legal issues. That's a far cry from saying the state "could agree on" gay marriage.

            • by Pharmboy (216950) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @06:49AM (#27568327) Journal

              Iowa was also among the first to legalize marriages of blacks and whites. Slavery was never legal in Iowa. Believe it or not, people in "fly over country" are not nearly as backward as some would think. They have been the "first to" do a lot of things. Most of the people I have known from Iowa were pretty progressive in their thinking. Lots of farmers and people who live in the country, yes, but not bigotted.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by davolfman (1245316)
          I think they're using the term glitch to cover "bad idea implemented with a horribly flawed design and worse implementation".
      • Re:Maybe... (Score:5, Funny)

        by calmofthestorm (1344385) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @03:09AM (#27567319)

        I don't know, one time I was writing a Huffman compressor for an applied information theory class and I couldn't find this weird bug where it would email racist statements to everyone in your address book every time you tried to compress a file larger to 50kb. Took me several hours to fix, and my solution was under 100 lines of Python.

        I can fully sympathize with companies who have to deal with overly sensitive people who think that bugs like this, which emerge quite frequently in sufficiently complex systems, are the result of bad calls or poor intent, rather than the simple technical glitches that they are.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 13, 2009 @09:21PM (#27565753)

    How do you know?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by brucifer (12972)

      they know because someone told them it was unpopular. That's how the internet works these days, no need to think!

  • To avoid this.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tjstork (137384) <todd.bandrowsky@gm a i l.com> on Monday April 13, 2009 @09:21PM (#27565755) Homepage Journal

    Services like Amazon could just have a personal preferences for users that allows them to selectively exclude either gay content or content from gay authors. Problem solved.

    • by larry bagina (561269) on Monday April 13, 2009 @09:38PM (#27565845) Journal
      being gay isn't a personal preference, it's genetic.
      • being gay isn't a personal preference, it's genetic.

        And those people don't have to exclude anything. I don't see what you're trying to add here....

      • by fractoid (1076465)
        Yeah, but DNA scanners aren't yet commonplace on desktop computers...
        • Re:To avoid this.. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by gnick (1211984) on Monday April 13, 2009 @09:55PM (#27565977) Homepage

          Simple solution - A quick prick from a syringe incorporated into your keyboard and they can tell if you're into gay literature. Or whether you're a potential alcoholic and should be banned from the wine-of-the-month-club. Or whether you've damaged your DNA with LSD and should be barred from buying mushroom spores from Seattle.

          Why are we so short sighted?

          [/sarc]

          Seriously though, Amazon is one of 2 companies that makes their claim-to-fame via the Internet that I actually have faith in (I'm an admitted Google fan-boi, in spite of their over-seas policies). They seem pretty willing to sell whatever will fetch a price and do it at reasonable rates. When Fahrenheit 451 and Animal Farm drop off their list, I'll start whining. Until then, I actually believe them. Bitch at Amazon that you can't get what you want - From my experience, they'll find it. They want to sell everything to everyone.

      • Re:To avoid this.. (Score:4, Informative)

        by Nutria (679911) on Monday April 13, 2009 @09:53PM (#27565965)

        being gay isn't a personal preference, it's genetic.

        Research indicates it more likely to be hormonal.

        • Mod parent up. Research indicates that exposure to prenatal hormones in utero may be the largest factor in homosexuality.

      • by jonnythan (79727)

        Genetic? What evidence do you have for this? Where are the patterns of inheritance? How does a gay gene become so widespread when having the gene makes you so much less likely to procreate?

        No, it's probably not genetic. It's probably a combination of environmental and hormonal factors.

      • Re:To avoid this.. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sudotron (1459285) on Monday April 13, 2009 @10:00PM (#27566011)
        *sigh*

        Not sure if you were being serious or not, but either way I'm going to respond with my usual rant on the subject because I think it's important: Whether or not being gay is genetic shouldn't matter in the context of any policy whatsoever. It appalls me to no end that people debate about this when the real issue at hand is that adults ought to be able to have consensual sex with whomever they want. What I do in the bedroom is between me and whomever I'm in there with.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          And the walls, don't forget the walls.

          They always watching.

        • Whether or not being gay is genetic shouldn't matter in the context of any policy whatsoever.

          I agree. I think putting so much stress on the genetic issue doesn't have the effect that people think it does. Lots of people who make a big issue of saying it's genetic seem to think that they're proving that it's normal and natural, and therefore morally equivalent to heterosexuality. On the other hand, genetics isn't really the direct basis for morality. If I have a genetic disposition toward violence, that doesn't make it morally acceptable for me to murder people. So even if you assume that homos

      • Re:To avoid this.. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Monday April 13, 2009 @10:07PM (#27566053)

        being gay isn't a personal preference, it's genetic.

        If you try to tell some gay people that they're gay because they made a choice, they'll claim it's genetic (thereby forestalling comments about their having made a bad choice.) If you try to tell them it's genetic, they get upset because they think you're saying their brains are defective, and insist they're exercising a personal preference instead. Like arguing religion or politics, it's not an argument that can ever be won.

        Me, I have no problem accepting that I'm straight because it's in my genes. Whatever, doesn't really matter: as the Great Popeye once said, "I am what I am, what's all that I am." Sexuality is one of the most fundamental aspects of the human psyche, one that is vitally important to us for most of our lives, no matter what side of the fence we're on. To say it's simply "a choice" is demeaning on the face of it. It's too much a part of who we are.

        Eventually, technology is going to make our very genes a matter of personal preference. It will be interesting to see which side the gay community comes down on then, since even if homosexuality really is a strictly hereditary phenomenon, there will truly be a choice. Of course, that will work both ways.

        • by Walkingshark (711886) on Monday April 13, 2009 @10:28PM (#27566181) Homepage

          Eventually, technology is going to make our very genes a matter of personal preference. It will be interesting to see which side the gay community comes down on then, since even if homosexuality really is a strictly hereditary phenomenon, there will truly be a choice. Of course, that will work both ways.

          If you're making a veiled threat at lesbian porn there is going to be fucking hell to pay.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by m0nkyman (7101)

      I would be just as upset by that as I was by what they did. I'd also be upset if they allowed people to selectively exclude jews, blacks or women. Enabling bigotry isn't something I will support.

    • I heard this "glitch" happened because they went after books with certain tags. I haven't used Amazon search in a while, but couldn't you simply include and exclude the tags you don't like (I don't know why someone'd be opposed to books from gays or lesbians, but whatever) during your search process? "-search term" works to exclude things in Google.

    • by grcumb (781340)

      Services like Amazon could just have a personal preferences for users that allows them to selectively exclude either gay content or content from gay authors. Problem solved.

      [Emphasis mine]

      Er, why would you want to omit classics by Christopher Marlowe, Somerset Maugham, Oscar Wilde, Evelyn Waugh, Walt Whitman, Joe Orton etc. etc. etc.?

      Maybe while we're at it we should stop looking at sculptures by Michelangelo and listening to music by Tchaikovsky. And who needs Newtonian physics, anyway?

      Sheesh. Just think for two seconds before you post. Please.

  • by actionbastard (1206160) on Monday April 13, 2009 @09:22PM (#27565759)
    Over a few extra 'esses'.
  • by taustin (171655) on Monday April 13, 2009 @09:24PM (#27565767) Homepage Journal

    If the claims for responsibility are even close to accurate, and they seem plausible, it wasn't a "hack" so much as gaming the system for consumers to complain of "adult content." Nothing was used in a way that it was not intended to be used, from a technical standpoint.

    As for "implementing as wildly-unpopular new policy without telling anyone," there are reports of this going back to February, and very credible reports that thousands of romance novels were affected, probably more than the "gay" conent novels. Seems an odd thing for Amazon to do, don't you think?

    But we'll never know, and articles like this are the reason why. If it was someone gaming the consumer tagging system, there is no way to explain it to the average person that will not make it sound like their web site was "hacked," which is to say, compromised. Given the rash of recent actual cracks involving hundreds of millions of credit card numbers, Amazon has damned good reason to not shoot from the hip in any public statements.

    An apology for being so inept that a claim that a single person caused this with "ten lines of code" would be nice, though.

    • by Hal_Porter (817932) on Monday April 13, 2009 @10:47PM (#27566267)

      This seems like a hack to me, assuming it's true of course.

      http://pastebin.ca/1390576 [pastebin.ca]

      Oh hey Owen Thomas! How you doin?

      Hay dude. Amazon removed its customer-based reporting of adult books yesterday. I guess my game is up! Here's a nice piece I like to call "how to cause moral outrage from the entire Internet in ten lines of code".

      I really hate reputation systems based on user input. This started a while back on Craigslist, when I was trying to score chicks to do heroin with. My listings like "looking to get tarred and pleasured" and "Searching for a heroine to do the paronym of this sentence's lexical subject" kept getting flagged. The audacity of the San Francisco gay community disgusted me. They would flag my ads down but searching craigslist for "pnp" or "tina" reveals tons of hairy dudes searching for other hairy dudes to do meth with. So I decided to get them back, and cause a few hundred thousand queers some outrage.

      I'm logged into Amazon at the time and see it has a "report as inappropriate" feature at the bottom of a page. I do a quick test on a few sets of gay books. I see that I can get them removed from search rankings with an insignificant number of votes.

      I do this for a while, but never really get off my ass to scale it until recently.

      So I script some quick bash.
      #!/bin/bash
      let count = 1
      while true; do
      links -dump 'http://www.amazon.com/s/qid=0/?ie=ASCII&rs=1000&keywords=Gay_and_Lesbian&rh=n%3A!1000%2Ci%3Astripbooks%2Ck%3AHomosexuality&page='`echo $count`|grep \/dp\/ >> /tmp/amazon
      ((count++))
      done

      There's some quick code to grab all the Gay and Lesbian metadata-tagged books on amazon. Then I pull out all the IDs of the given books from those URLs:

      cat /tmp/amazon |sed s/.*dp\\/// |sed s/\\/ref.*//

      and I have a neat little list of the internal product ID of every fag book on Amazon.

      Now from here it was a matter of getting a lot of people to vote for the books. The thing about the adult reporting function of Amazon was that it was vulnerable to something called "Cross-site request forgery'. This means if I referred someone to the URL of the successful complaint, it would register as a complaint if they were logged in. So now it is a numbers game.

      I know some people who run some extremely high traffic (Alexa top 1000) websites. I show them my idea, and we all agree that it is pretty funny. They put an invisible iframe in their websites to refer people to the complaint URLs which caused huge numbers of visitors to report gay and lesbian items as inappropriate without their knowledge.

      I also hired third worlders to register accounts for me en masse. If you ever need a service like that, you can find them in a post like this advertising in the comments:
      http://ha.ckers.org/blog/20070427/solving-captchas-for-cash/ [ckers.org]

      Then they would log into the accounts, save the cookies in a cookie file and send it to me.

      Then I used the cookie files like so to automated-report all the books:

      for i in `cat /tmp/amazon |sed s/.*dp\\/// |sed s/\\/ref.*//`; do lynx -cookie_file=/home/avex/cookie1 http://www.amazon.com/ri/product-listing/ [amazon.com]`echo $i`/;done

      The combination of these two actions resulted in a mass delisting of queer books being delisted from the rankings at Amazon.

      I guess my game is up, but 300+ hits on google news for amazon gay and outrage across the blogosphere ain't so bad.

      The only person to figure it out was dely from Six Apart:

      http://tehdely.livejournal.com/88823.html [livejournal.com]

      but he has been ground zero at my work, cleaning up my messes before.

      So just letting you know the chain of events. if you choose to report on this, please don't disclose my identity/email address. Thanks!

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday April 13, 2009 @09:25PM (#27565769) Homepage Journal

    They're not apologizing? They did it on purpose. Now they're undoing it, because obviously it won't sell books. "We don't give a fuck about your sexual orientation, we just thought we could sell more shit. We were wrong, so you can have the search content back. Have a nice civil union, fuckers."

    • by moosesocks (264553) on Monday April 13, 2009 @10:02PM (#27566025) Homepage

      Seems a bit paranoid.

      In the end, Amazon listened to their customers, and reversed an unpopular policy very quickly. If anything, this is good news.

      It's blatantly not in Amazon's best interest to censor anything. The more variety and volume they sell, the larger the profit.

  • An insider ? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Davemania (580154) on Monday April 13, 2009 @09:25PM (#27565771) Journal
    Or maybe it was done by a rogue employee with an agenda ?
  • For some reason, the top search results are predominantly anti-homosexuality. I suspect a hack. I would respect amazon if they'd own up to it.
    • ...Or it could be that most people who are homosexual wouldn't really need a book explaining it, whereas people who are anti-gay would read more books about it, and would be inclined to read anti-homosexual literature.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "Pro-homosexuals" would be more likely to search for "gay" or "lesbian", terms avoided by bigots because of their political connotations of acceptance and empowerment.
  • Interesting... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bones3D_mac (324952) on Monday April 13, 2009 @09:25PM (#27565777)

    If this was an outside job, it's quite clever and the timing was perfect.

    If nothing else, it's a major wake-up call as to just how much power Amazon has amassed over the media as we know it. If we were looking at an upcoming Orwellian future, Amazon is certainly one possible cornerstone for total information control, right next to sites like Google.

    Perhaps it's time to step back a really take a good hard look at how exactly we get all our information and how easily it could be taken away from us.

    (That said, I know Amazon doesn't have a monopoly, but their role is still significant, none-the-less...)

    • I honestly don't think we will have an Orwellian future on the internet without it being blocked at the ISP level. The nice thing about internet site is, people are open to change. Just look at the recent social networking boom, first it was Friendster, then it was Myspace and now its Facebook, 2-3 years from now who knows what the masses will be using. Search engines are the same way, remember the days of Yahoo? If Google or Amazon end up censoring mainstream things, expect to see a mass migration.
    • by Urza9814 (883915)

      I get most of my reading material from Freenet [freenetproject.org] (0.5 of course) I guess I'm safe.

      I highly recommend the 'The Second Renaissance' freesite - it'll take ya _months_ to get through that thing, and it's almost as good as dropping acid :)

      If you don't wanna go through the trouble of getting Freenet, it's also here:
      http://urza9814.googlepages.com/2ndRenaissanceText-Part1 [googlepages.com]
      http://urza9814.googlepages.com/2ndRenaissanceText-Part2 [googlepages.com]

    • Re:Interesting... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by IonOtter (629215) on Monday April 13, 2009 @10:34PM (#27566221) Homepage

      If nothing else, it's a major wake-up call as to just how much power Amazon has amassed over the media as we know it.

      No, this was a major wake-up call as to just how much havoc less than 140 characters can wreak upon a keystone business in less than 24 hours.

  • Breaking news... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Miracle Jones (976646) <ticktickticktick AT gmail DOT com> on Monday April 13, 2009 @09:39PM (#27565853) Homepage
    Additionally, Ed Champion is reporting that Amazon has finally broken today's silence to comment on the matter to him [edrants.com], calling the episode "a ham-fisted cataloging error." From Champion's website: "After multiple attempts to contact Amazon, I have at long last received the following reply from Patty Smith by email: "This is an embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloging error for a company that prides itself on offering complete selection. It has been misreported that the issue was limited to Gay & Lesbian themed titles -- in fact, it impacted 57,310 books in a number of broad categories such as Health, Mind & Body, Reproductive & Sexual Medicine, and Erotica. This problem impacted books not just in the United States but globally. It affected not just sales rank but also had the effect of removing the books from Amazon's main product search. Many books have now been fixed and we're in the process of fixing the remainder as quickly as possible, and we intend to implement new measures to make this kind of accident less likely to occur in the future."
  • by brainfsck (1078697) on Monday April 13, 2009 @09:41PM (#27565869)
    I clicked on the link [fictioncircus.com] about hackers claiming credit for the Amazon hack expecting to find to find a professional web site about computer security.

    Instead, I got a bizarrely colored and (hopefully) satirical blog containing articles titled "Amazon is a Gay-Hating Company for Nazis" [fictioncircus.com].

    That'll teach me for trying to RTFA.
  • by fermion (181285) on Monday April 13, 2009 @09:57PM (#27565997) Homepage Journal
    In the previous /. post, this blog entry was given as evidence that Amazon is evil [fictioncircus.com].

    Within this blog entry the following assertion was made:

    So, because Probst is a publisher and has an Amazon Advantage account, he sent Amazon a letter saying "whafa" and he got this in response:

    "In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude "adult" material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature.

    Hence, if you have further questions, kindly write back to us.

    Best regards,

    Ashlyn D

    Member Services

    Amazon.com Advantage"

    So! Probst was wrong! He WAS being persecuted!

    This begs several questions. Is the above email genuine? If genuine, was the statement valid or was it an honest misstatement by a customer service person. If the quoted text is true, does Amazon in fact have a policy of excluding items that it considers porn, and was it this policy that was hacked?

    I the policy does exist, isn't it much more likely that Amazon was modifying this policy and there was some sort of error in the code, or perhaps a over active coder introduced the feature.

    • by cduffy (652) <charles+slashdot@dyfis.net> on Monday April 13, 2009 @10:31PM (#27566201)

      This begs several questions. Is the above email genuine? If genuine, was the statement valid or was it an honest misstatement by a customer service person. If the quoted text is true, does Amazon in fact have a policy of excluding items that it considers porn, and was it this policy that was hacked?

      No, it does not beg several questions, it raises them. Beggaring a question is a completely different thing. [end pedantry]

      The quote from the customer service person was probably correct, inasmuch as the relevant content was inadvertently flagged as pornographic due to, as Amazon puts it, a ham-fisted cataloging error -- allegedly by Amazon's French office [lilithsaintcrow.com]. I doubt that the customer service type exercised enough initiative to determine whether the flag was set correctly.

      The exclusion of pornographic content was a new, intentional policy. The classification of sexual but non-pornographic content was an error.

  • Griefers. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by w0mprat (1317953) on Monday April 13, 2009 @10:25PM (#27566163)
    I like this analysis from Charles Stross:

    "It's obvious Amazon has some sort of automatic mechanism that marks a book as "adult" after too many people have complained about it. ... So somebody is going around and very deliberately flagging only LGBT(QQI)/feminist/survivor content on Amazon until it is unranked and becomes much more difficult to find. To the outside world, this looks like deliberate censorship on the part of Amazon, since Amazon operates the web application in question.""

    http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/index.html [antipope.org]

  • by Ren.Tamek (898017) on Monday April 13, 2009 @10:31PM (#27566205) Homepage

    Anyone remember the massive public protest against the stupid Spore DRM scheme? If you look up the game on Amazon, you can still see the extremely low rating [amazon.com] people are giving it.

    Well, a couple of weeks later and Amazon had had enough. Even though the concerns about DRM and Starforce were definitely something consumers would want to know before they bought the product, one day the reviews just dissappeared. The cause? A mysterious glitch! [kotaku.com] Sound familiar? The publicity from game news sites was so bad they put the reviews back up almost instantly.

    Kind of proves that Amazon haven't really learned their lesson about what kind of behaviour will and won't be tolerated by the public. How many gay and lesbian customers is this incident going to lose them, I wonder? Was is worth it to appease whoever paid them to do it?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by seebs (15766)

      Amazon are habitual liars. Why would you believe anything they say that you can't verify independently?

  • If this was completely intentional, it wouldn't be such a big deal. Non-political censorship is a minor matter. It would be terrible news if Amazon was de-ranking liberal or conservative books. But this is a minor issue. Worst case scenario, men will have to go back to jerking off to Sears catalogues. How difficult is it to find "adult content" on the Internet? My guess is that 90% of people trying to buy adult oriented books have a pretty good idea of what they're looking for. They probably have a n

  • by 6350' (936630) on Monday April 13, 2009 @10:36PM (#27566229)
    This has been on my mind over the last year, so I'm curious what insight others might have:

    I've noticed a growing trend of people replacing the word "bug" with "glitch," in ever increasingly frequency. Anyone else noticed this? I am active in an open source fps (http://sauerbraten.org/ [sauerbraten.org]), and paying attention to questions and comments by new users has really highlighted this trend. What's the cause in this shift? World of Warcraft? (Don't laugh - a game with that kind of userbase can have an impact, at the scale they operate at).
  • "Or is the most obvious and likely scenario true, and Amazon simply got caught implementing a wildly-unpopular new policy without telling anyone?"

    I think this is the most likely scenario. It seems that several entities have tried this kind of crap before. Personally I think doing it online is something akin to book-burning. I guess I find such fact-filtering to be censorship the likes of a lie of omission, seeing as many of the books I like would most likely fall out of print due to lack of purchases (wh
  • Business (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jandersen (462034) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @01:34AM (#27567007)

    How likely is it that Amazon was hacked versus the likelihood of an internal Easter weekend glitch? Or is the most obvious and likely scenario true, and Amazon simply got caught implementing a wildly-unpopular new policy without telling anyone?"

    It's a question of business, I would think. I don't think a company like Amazon would do something they had reasons to suspect would upset a major section of their customers - to my mind a better question is: did they bow to pressure from conservative groups? Either way, I don't think they have more customers that are Murky Christians than customers who are gay, and I find it hard to believe they would choose to do something that would alienate an important group of customers.

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