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Navigating Consent On Dating Apps (A Dick Pic Isn’t Communication) – Queer Sex Ed Podcast: Episode 55 (Queer Sex Ed)

This week Sara and Jay are talking about online dating, hooking up, consent communication online, and the culture of dick pics and other boundary crossing online. Also discussed: the male gaze, what app developers could do better, what we can do better as users, and tips for making your online datin

Queer Sex Ed episode on navigating the culture and design of dating apps.

Not a goddamn “spite block”: Reciprocal blocking & safety

The first release candidate for Mastodon 2.8.0 has spawned quite a bit of discourse around blocks. Up to now, trying to follow a blocked user results in an HTTP error code of 403 Forbidden. This would only happen on valid fediverse accounts if you were blocked, but resulted in bogus bug reports so in PR #10420 it was changed to clearly indicate that you are blocked. You can follow the main arguments around this on Issue #10433, but the short version is people saw this as enabling harassers. One proposed and temporarily merged (before the problems I’m about to delve into were brought up and everything in this mess was reverted to pre-10420) solution was in PR #10422, “Hide blocking accounts from blocked users” but this resulted in the issue I really want to talk about here. This makes the person who first blocks someone the sole arbiter of how long the block lasts, as the person on the receiving end of that block cannot load the account in their WebUI or client app to reciprocate the block.

What made me aware of this clusterfuck was a post I saw in the federated timeline, which had a reply dismissing the problem with 10422 as “rare case scenarios” where someone can’t “spite block” someone who blocked them. At the time I was at work so couldn’t formulate a reply, plus I was pissed at the comment and I also don’t wanna be some rando @ing someone, so I didn’t bother coming back to it. But I’m still pissed at the notion that reciprocating a block is just a spiteful action. It’s a fucking safety feature. And to demonstrate, here is a situation from my own life.

Someone I was friends with at the time was in a Discord conversation with me and gave me the push I needed to make a public statement about a sexual predator on the forum we knew each other from. The predator’s a forty-something year old woman and her young adult girlfriend is another relatively popular member of this forum. The girlfriend and another friend of hers PM my now-former friend that I was lying and they blow up on me in Discord, and before I can respond block me. Like fucking hell was I going to trust that they wouldn’t unblock me to yell at me more, so I fucking blocked the motherfucker back. This wasn’t spite. This was safety from someone who had been turned against me by abusive assholes whispering in their ear. (They later reached out to me through a mutual friend when they talked to a mod who had corroborated through discussion with and getting consent to check the PMs of another victim. I must admit I was spiteful in turning their own words against them telling them to fuck off away from me forever. I’d like to thing I was justified in that.)

So quite frankly, if you’re going to criticize people for not thinking through the safety ramifications of something, you had better fucking think through the safety ramifications of your own argument.

Article 13 is not like SOPA/PIPA. Stop the fearmongering and tech capitalist propaganda.

Sixthhokage1’s post in thread “Jim Sterling (The Jimquisition)” (TV Tropes)
This post is a republishing of a series of posts I wrote on the TV Tropes forum thread on the Jimquistion, in response to Jim Sterling’s video “EU Votes In Favor Of Article 13, Giving Copyright Holders Undue Power Over Internet Platforms”. It is slightly edited for the change in format from forum to blog post.


Post 1:

The vast majority of people complaining about Article 13 (now 17) have never read the damn thing. So strap yourselves in, because here’s the full final text of the article.

Article 17, the boogeyman of the Internet [pastebinned to avoid wall of text, original forum post has text behind collapsible folder markup]

Post 2:

Honestly this puts actual regulatory scrutiny to what YT is already doing. Paragraph 7 regulates that measures are to take copyright exemptions/limitations that here in America we term “fair use” into account (which bots can’t do, but humans involved in the process can make judgments on). Paragraph 9 opens with “Member States shall provide that online content-sharing service providers put in place an effective and expeditious complaint and redress mechanism,” and as mentioned in [above post] requires human review for takedowns.

Guess one major reason[1] why YouTube, who already have the Content ID system in place, are opposed to Art13/17? The company doesn’t want the requirements for human review and an effective appeals process. So they mobilize the creators on their platform to fight a propaganda battle for them.[2]


[1]: Another reason is that the regulatory requirements make Content ID less of a bargaining chip when negotiating with rightsholders because the 4(b) requirements and 5(b) considerations (“the availability of suitable and effective means and their cost for service providers.”) in combination with how much money Google has available to throw at copyright monitoring moves it from “above and beyond the industry standards” from rightsholders perspectives to “doing your legal duty as a giant content-sharing firm”.

[2]: And before YT mobilized it’s creators as propagandists… anti Art13 propaganda was being banged out by alt-righters with an anti-EU agenda. This is the origin of that goddamned absolutely misleading moniker of it as a “meme ban”.


ETA: I’m not even totally in favor of Article 17 as it passed, speaking as a leftist who thinks that a lot of intellectual property law needs a hatchet taken to it and new much more limited IP systems put in place that favor the general public instead of corporate interests. I’m just sick of the fearmongering and tech capitalist propaganda around it.

In reference to footnote 2 of post 2, another poster asked “Although it is before the Alt-right became prominent, was the backlash towards the Stop Online Piracy Act and the related Protect IP Act started by them as well?”, prompting…

Post 3:

SOPA-PIPA are different beasts entirely to Art13/17, in a different online political landscape in general and in completely different jurisdictions with different approaches to business interests. While the EU Copyright Directive and Article 13/17 in particular does have industry lobbyist support, the EU is overall more measured and generally take the good of the general public into account (see also GDPR, anti-trust cases against tech giants which the US refuse to reign in, and the well-intentioned-but-ultimately-useless browser cookie regulation that was part of a larger privacy directive). Meanwhile here in America, the primary mechanism of SOPA-PIPA was to require payment processors and ad networks to suspend services to any site they get a notice of infringement from about within five days of the notification, unless a satisfactory counter-notice is given (both notice and counter-notice, in SOPA text, must be “written communication” which isn’t defined in the text of the bill as to whether or not that is required to actually be physical communication or if electronic communication is covered). In addition it has mechanisms requiring delisting from search engines with 5 days’ notice but that’s only with a court order so it’s not as unreasonable as it does require a judge to make a ruling instead of a no-oversight notice.

And of course as far as alt-right influences… while the movement did exist in 2011/2012 when the SOPA-PIPA controversy was the talk of the internet, they were mostly cordoned off to relatively secluded corners of the internet and thus didn’t have the social media propaganda machine they have now, mostly built in the aftermath of summer 2014. I mean, this was back when Pewdiepie was a relatively new face and while popular was also distinctly uncool among much of the internet with a reputation of just screaming at games. It wasn’t until he got in hot water for the antisemitic ~prank~ and then used the n-slur on stream that he became an alt-right gamerbro icon and a key figure in the propaganda machine.


Additional note: Article text was taken from this PDF from the European Parliament website.

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Modern Transgender Medicine – Queer Sex Ed Podcast: Episode 51 (Queer Sex Ed)

Jay and Sara continue their discussion of trans medicine by focusing on current barriers to care caused by our medical model of trans identity. Also discussed: transmedicalism, solidarity work, and what non-binary transition can look like.

Second QSE episode in a series on transness and the medical model, first ~30 minutes is a breakdown of transmedicalism/truscum and how it upholds oppressive systems as Good Actually™

Life ramble

I should be asleep but I’m not tired. I’m just going to pull an all nighter. That won’t be a bad idea at all /s

This week my family is gone for vacation at Disney World. I’m home with my stepdad’s father, taking care of the dogs. It also happens that work decided to schedule me Sunday to Thursday this week, which since I worked Saturday last week has me working six days straight. I’ll be glad for Friday when I finally get to take a day for myself while the family’s gone. Though with the dog crapping and pissing in the floor (she’s old and probably not long for this world :c ) I’m gonna have to make sure and run the steam mop over the hallway tiles before they get back. It’s fun coming home to the smell of dog shit after a long day at work!

And besides the six day scheduling work is a clusterfuck right now. Department head is on vacation this week and toda- yesterday I walked into a gigantic mess in the back room. This two day truck better be all broke down before I come in this afternoon or I will be fucking angry. Tuesday night is ad change night, I don’t have time to deal with picking up morning’s slack when I only have my mid shift guy til 6, my other closer til 10, then me out at 11. Watch the next two days’ truck come in during my shift too. With my luck it’s going to happen.

On the plus side, holy shit I am inundated with D&D content and I love it. Watching Critical Role’s Search for Grog special finally and I’d forgotten how much I miss Vox Machina. If I didn’t have so much else to watch/listen to I’d give the VM campaign a rewatch. I still have a lot of their one shots and specials to get through though. MCDM’s The Chain campaign is finally getting out of the prologue so the body count should die down, and so far it’s been real interesting. I just got through the Broadswords’ modern day AU live specials which were fucking hilarious. And Dice Funk continues to make me die of both laughter and tension waiting to see where the plot goes. When I work through more of my podcast backlogs (on 99pi I’m down to ~100 episodes! And I have about a third of the Loving BDSM backlog left!! and then there’s a couple podcasts with shorter runs so far… and keeping up with current episodes of things) I’m going to finally listen to season 3 of Dice Funk and be caught up on that series.

Also I’m most of the way through The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. I have The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide single volume ebook, currently listed in my sidebar Goodreads widget. I need to stay more on top of updating my progress on Goodreads. Also I need to take more time to read instead of just grabbing my Kobo to read a bit here and there.

Anyway I think I’m going to go make myself a cup of coffee and get back to watching The Search For Grog now. Hope this was at least semi-coherent.

I wrote a pornographic short story

The most significant writing that I have done in months is some porn I wrote on a whim. It’s probably not good, but I’m sharing it anyway.

I thought about installing an NSFW warning extension to WordPress but don’t like using modals and even if it was a clickthrough warning it wouldn’t be reflected in feed syndication so instead I am simply linking to the txt file on my Nextcloud.

Beyond the obvious warning for pornographic content, other CWs are for broken condoms, pain, dominance, and to phrase it as I see on Mastodon “lewd @ reader” (i.e. use of second person)

https://nextcloud.sixy.name/index.php/s/6iRNdyogRtbHjGN

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On the Crumbling by staticsafe

Okay so the article we are talking about here is, “Mastodon is crumbling—and many blame its creator” by Ana Valens, published on Daily Dot.

Let us start with the title:
Mastodon is crumbling
No, it is not. This is just “$X is dying” clickbait, nothing new. Authors often do not pick titles…

A good response to the Daily Dot’s “Mastodon is Crumbling” article.

No, Eurogamer, Nintendo didn’t sell a ROM downloaded from the internet.

In the wake of Nintendo’s lawsuit against LoveROMs and LoveRetro and the subsequent closing of ROM downloads from EmuParadise, I saw an article from Eurogamer from early 2017 crop back up. A part of the site’s “Here’s a Thing” video series by Chris Bratt, the article’s headline poses the question “Did Nintendo download a Mario ROM and sell it back to us?” The conclusion drawn, quoting Bratt from the video, is that “every sign here points toward Super Mario Bros on the Wii Virtual Console being a ROM that they sourced online.” I’m writing this post to explain why that conclusion is wrong.

The .nes/iNes format

If you use homebrew software to dump the original Wii VC release of Super Mario Bros to an SD card and look at it in a hex editor, you can find an iNES format header in the file 00000001.app. iNES was one of the first NES emulators to be released, developed since the 90s by Marat Fayzullin. For his emulator, Fayzullin created the .nes file format that is now the de facto standard for NES ROMs, hence it being called the iNES format. An attempted successor format called the Universal NES Image Format or UNIF was created with the motivation “to offer more description of the mapper board than the popular iNES 1.0 format” but failed to gain traction and was supplanted by the NES 2.0 extension to the iNES format. With the exception of a very few game dumps that according to a Nesdev forum post from 2015 only exist in UNIF format, you are damn near guaranteed that any NES ROMs you find will be in the format Fayzullin created.

So we have Nintendo’s VC release of SMB1 verified to use a format created for unauthorized emulation. This in and of itself is worthy of discussion, given Nintendo’s ardent stance against emulators as demonstrated on their corporate legal information FAQ page

How Does Nintendo Feel About the Emergence of Video Game Emulators?

The introduction of emulators created to play illegally copied Nintendo software represents the greatest threat to date to the intellectual property rights of video game developers. As is the case with any business or industry, when its products become available for free, the revenue stream supporting that industry is threatened. Such emulators have the potential to significantly damage a worldwide entertainment software industry which generates over $15 billion annually, and tens of thousands of jobs.

What Does Nintendo Think of the Argument that Emulators are Actually Good for Nintendo Because it Promotes the Nintendo Brand to PC Users and Leads to More Sales?

Distribution of an emulator developed to play illegally copied Nintendo software hurts Nintendo’s goodwill, the millions of dollars invested in research & development and marketing by Nintendo and its licensees. Substantial damages are caused to Nintendo and its licensees. It is irrelevant whether or not someone profits from the distribution of an emulator. The emulator promotes the play of illegal ROMs , NOT authentic games. Thus, not only does it not lead to more sales, it has the opposite effect and purpose.

How Come Nintendo Does Not Take Steps Towards Legitimizing Nintendo Emulators?

Emulators developed to play illegally copied Nintendo software promote piracy. That’s like asking why doesn’t Nintendo legitimize piracy. It doesn’t make any business sense. It’s that simple and not open to debate.

[…]

Are Game Copying Devices Illegal?

Yes. Game copiers enable users to illegally copy video game software onto floppy disks, writeable compact disks or the hard drive of a personal computer. They enable the user to make, play and distribute illegal copies of video game software which violates Nintendo’s copyrights and trademarks. These devices also allow for the uploading and downloading of ROMs to and from the Internet. Based upon the functions of these devices, they are illegal.

Bratt brings this up in the video, talking about how misleading it is to conflate emulators themselves (which are completely legal and have even acted as platforms for new games long after the death of the emulated platforms) and piracy of copyrighted games. There’s even a jab taken at how Nintendo’s stance against legitimizing emulation not making business sense must not apply to the Virtual Console line itself, given that it is itself a form of emulation. While it makes sense that Ninty would use a tried-and-true format internally, by basing their work on that of a community they so vehemently denounce as being such a threat to the industry the corporate dickheads are having their cake and fucking it too.

where the argument falls apart

The video then continues with the line “every sign here points toward Super Mario Bros on the Wii Virtual Console being a ROM that they sourced online.” Bratt even has Fayzullin weigh in.

“There are minute differences between ROM dumps,” explained Fayzullin. “Depending on the cartridge version and how it has been dumped. If you see that your .NES file DOES NOT match any of the ones found online, it is likely to be their own ROM dump. I have cut the ROM content out of the Wii file you sent me and it indeed matches the .NES file found online.”

This is a peculiar thing for someone who’s been an expert in NES emulation for decades now to say, because a non-expert like me can point out the obvious flaw, a basic principle of ROM dumping…

All good dumps of the same cartridge/release version will be identical

Demonstration: Good ROMs of the same game version are identical

Watch this video on YouTube.
(To prevent third-party tracking, this YouTube embed is replaced with a thumbnail until clicked.)

So any ROMs that don’t match known good dumps are different versions, modified, or badly dumped. The most common sort of bad dump you’ll find will probably be overdumps, since while they have more data than should be present, that extra data is usually meaningless filler that will be ignored and is thus still perfectly playable. But it won’t work for something like RetroAchievements since it won’t have a recognized hash. For an example of a database of good ROM dumps that hashes can be verified against, there’s No-Intro’s DAT-o-Matic.

Since the Virtual Console release of SMB1 matches a known good dump, it’s impossible to prove whether or not it was sourced from a pirated copy or dumped internally. If it matched a known bad dump, it could be identified as coming from a particular pirated ROM source. As it is, the most likely answer is that they made a dump in-house using a pre-existing format so they didn’t have to reinvent the wheel.

New Research From ResetEra

This post has been sitting in my drafts since 31 Aug, and since then new information came to light from a ResetEra thread. Back in August, Reddit user PPLToast posted about how a developer named Tomohiro Kawase was credited for the “NES Emulator Program” in Animal Crossing, who after work on emulators like iNES (“Sound support completely rewritten, thanks to Kawase Tomohiro”) got hired by Nintendo, and his work is most likely why Nintendo has used the iNES format. ROMs extracted from Animal Crossing are also in iNES format. Except one.

ResetEra user Krvavi Abada did more research on Kawase and revived the ResetEra thread on the subject of his work in October. He found that everything Kawase was credited with at Nintendo had to do with emulation, starting with Pokémon Stadium’s GB Tower. At the time of Kawase being hired there was not yet a standardized header in the emulation community for Famicom Disk System games, standardization didn’t happen “until around November 1998 with the release of the fwnes emulator. About 3 months after the release of Pokemon Stadium, Tomohiro Kawase’s first project at Nintendo.”

That one game in Animal Crossing that doesn’t have a header is the FDS game Clu Clu Land D (originally known as  “Clu Clu Land: Welcome to New Clu Clu Land” and retitled outside Japan when included in Animal Crossing). CCLD was never given a retail release, only being available from the Famicom Disk Writer kiosk to write onto a blank FDS disk. The FDS includes data blocks both for manufacturing date and date the disk was last written to. This means dumps of kiosk games will be unique to the particular disk it was dumped from. Abada looked at the write date for the CCLD dump in Animal Crossing and found that it’s from a disk manufactured and written on 22 November 1988, which matches with the 1988 copyright of the game.  But despite this copyright date, “Welcome to New Clu Clu Land wasn’t actually released until 1992 […] In fact it was the last FDS game released.” This dump, then, must have been from Nintendo’s own archives. With this knowledge, it is almost certain that the other first and second party emulated games Nintendo has released have been sourced internally and not grabbed from the internet.

On an interesting closing note, in Marat Fayzullin’s documentation of the NES architecture, one of the people credited with helping obtain the information is a “Kawasedo”, a nickname Kawase used. The Game Boy Advance’s BIOS has a developer credit embedded in it: “// Coded by Kawasedo”

Update

My mental health is still in the gutter and what creative energy I have is mostly directed to physical projects. I have something in the works to post to YouTube but I have to finish recording it and then edit so that will still be a while. There’s a post that’s been sat in my drafts since the very end of August but it was supposed to have a video portion and I still have yet to record that and I’m thinking about scrapping the entire post. Hopefully I can get some substantial writing done at some point soon, but I’m not going to try to force it when I’m not in a great place