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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The disruption continues

A reader comments:
Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, is on BBC1 flagship news program. Talking about Wikipedia's new and revolutionary innovation, a news page on Wikipedia.

Where have I heard that before?
It's interesting to see that both Twitter and Wikipedia are already having to play catch-up with to Gab and Infogalactic with regards to features. And the disruption of the two social media giants has barely begun.

We'll be having an open Brainstorm about Infogalactic tomorrow evening at 7 PM Eastern. Rifleman and I will be talking about the latest additions to the project, what is currently in development, and what we plan to do next. You may have noticed some new ads, particularly if you happen to visit one of the 10,237 (video game) or (computer game) pages. (Before you helpfully "alert" us to anything, please note that pages such as World of Warcraft, which lack any such appellation, are not included in those, because the Wikimedia engine is woefully outdated.)

And, of course, you can always keep up on current world events with Infogalactic News. We got off track over the Easter holidays, but that will not happen again, as we will be adding more volunteer news editors soon.

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29 Comments:

Blogger tuberman April 25, 2017 6:38 AM  

I go out to Infogalatic News now at least twice a day. Keep disrupting, please.

Anonymous 5343 Kinds of Deplorable April 25, 2017 6:42 AM  

Second that, tuberman. I also use it to access Drudge, Gavin and a few others I regularly read.

Blogger mobius wolf April 25, 2017 7:08 AM  

Infogalactic News.
Cool. I'll pin that tab. Good work guys.

Blogger Midnight Avenue J April 25, 2017 7:14 AM  

Is there an extension yet for Safari on iPad? I have one for Chrome and it's great but I'm usually using the tablet.

I love the Infogalactic News feature. Keep disrupting!

Anonymous Grayman April 25, 2017 7:42 AM  

Vox,

Congrats on your and your compatriots efforts to build your own platforms and disrupt the converged status quo.

Anonymous Bowman April 25, 2017 7:44 AM  

I had a look on the "wikinews" and ... the 2nd article is anti-Russia propaganda and 3rd says : "Truck loses control in Andhra Pradesh, kills more than a dozen" ...
Leftists always double down.

Blogger Orville April 25, 2017 7:57 AM  

I predict that alt-right platforms will be the McDonald brothers, Ray Kroc combination of trans-formative genius that will blow away the competition.

Wishing you polarizing success.

Anonymous RabidRatel April 25, 2017 8:04 AM  

Bowman wrote:"Truck loses control in Andhra Pradesh, kills more than a dozen" ...

Leftists always double down.


What is it with these trucks losing their cool amongst people?
I think we should ban europeans from the vicinity of trucks.

Anonymous Avalanche April 25, 2017 8:29 AM  

Are we still doing the Alexa trial with Infogalactic and Gab? (Cause, um,I am?)

Anonymous Avalanche April 25, 2017 8:30 AM  

@6 ""Truck loses control in Andhra Pradesh, kills more than a dozen" ..."

Wow! Was it a self-driving truck? With a grudge? Or a death wish?

Blogger Tom April 25, 2017 8:40 AM  

Disruption...so much disruption. Still not tired of the disruption!

Blogger VD April 25, 2017 9:02 AM  

Are we still doing the Alexa trial with Infogalactic and Gab? (Cause, um,I am?)

Yes. Have a look.

Blogger Nate April 25, 2017 9:47 AM  

" as we will be adding more volunteer news editors soon."

Already have. and more on the way.

Anonymous Ominous Cowherd April 25, 2017 10:08 AM  

Avalanche wrote:@6 ""Truck loses control in Andhra Pradesh, kills more than a dozen" ..."

Wow! Was it a self-driving truck? With a grudge? Or a death wish?


India should ban those nasty trucks. They are a remnant of British Imperialism.

Anonymous BBGKB April 25, 2017 10:37 AM  

Wow! Was it a self-driving truck? With a grudge? Or a death wish?

If the truck was white they would have told us.

Blogger Chrom April 25, 2017 11:57 AM  

I sure hope the truck is okay. . .

Blogger Nate April 25, 2017 1:43 PM  

"I sure hope the truck is okay. . ."

The Truck is fine.

Blogger newanubis April 25, 2017 4:49 PM  

Those who proctastinate less than I do, which is most everyone, would do well to submit their article to U-Galact while requesting a section on InfoGalactic for this area of user-involved article submissions.

Anyone can shout out "oh man, Id love to have a new section that does X"

Blogger Happy LP9 April 25, 2017 4:58 PM  

Agreed, I Gab about it and check often. Great work, I am very proud of the staff, carry on!

Blogger Robert What? April 25, 2017 5:08 PM  

Twitter and Wikipedia are doing what they do best: copying true innovators. It is difficult to innovate when your prime directive is "social justice" rather than profits.

Anonymous CoolHand April 25, 2017 7:55 PM  

Something that needs to be done, toward which I have no useful skills to contribute, is the creation of a non-converged PayPal replacement that isn't squeamish about handling payments for all kinds of transactions.

Among other things, I manufacture hobbyist metalworking kits (80% firearm receivers and kits), and I cannot process payments for these items through PayPal, lest they lock my account and freeze me out of being able to process transactions online for ANY of my products.

PayPal considers them "weapons or weapon accessories" (they are, sort of), which are double plus ungood things to be selling, ergo they block the transactions.

Normal merchant accounts are the same (thanks to Operation Chokepoint), and most of us little fish can't qualify to open one anyway (plus the fees are exorbitant even if we did). Same for Cube or Square or whatever that CC PoS thing for your phone is. They all have the same rules.

It doesn't do us much good to have a web presence if folks have to snail mail us a check or money order to pay for the things they want.

Because of this kind of converged bullshit, anyone not on the groupthink bandwagon is locked out of the online selling world, miring us back in the Sears & Robuck world of mail order catalogs.

I would be eternally grateful if alt-tech could find us a way into the [Current_Year], where we could process payments online for "unapproved goods" like everyone else.

To that end, I'd gladly contribute a percentage of sales made through the platform directly to InfoGalactic or any of the other projects you need funding for. It'd be just like the Amazon referral thing, only without Amazon taking their cut (and the percentage would probably be better too).

I am dead serious here. I cannot contribute work or knowledge to solving this problem, but if you CAN solve it, said solution will allow me to contribute money on an ongoing basis to help fund everything that comes next.

This is something that would be very popular amongst those of us on the deplorable side, as not just DIY firearms are being squelched here. Knifemakers, ammo makers/sellers, tactical equipment makers/sellers, hell even makers/distributors of pornography could use it (talk about a large pool of available commissions there).

Anyway, as I see it, this is a vital need that the alt-tech can fill, and make some money to keep the ball rolling in the process.

Anonymous WaterBoy April 25, 2017 9:41 PM  

CoolHand @21: "It doesn't do us much good to have a web presence if folks have to snail mail us a check or money order to pay for the things they want."

A few questions:

1. Who handles the e-Commerce side of the transaction (i.e., catalog, shopping cart, order fulfillment)? To the best of my knowledge, PayPal does not do this, only handling the endpoint financial transaction...?

2. If some other entity provides the e-Commerce functionality, what information do they need to provide to PayPal to process the transaction? Seems like a line-by-line item listing is beyond the requirements for processing a simple financial transaction, but there has to be something passed on to which they object.

Lotta assumptions made there based on how other e-Commerce sites I've used work, so feel free to correct anything I've gotten wrong.

What I'm getting at is to see if there was a way to set up a "gift certificate" line item, with a variable cost, that your customers purchase using PayPal, then redeem via the e-Commerce provider for the actual "contraband" item(s).

Anonymous WaterBoy April 25, 2017 9:58 PM  

Disregard the questions, I see that PayPal is the entire e-Commerce provider in your case. The gift certificate option would not really work unless you split the functionality to another provider.

Anonymous CoolHand April 25, 2017 11:19 PM  

WaterBoy wrote:CoolHand @21: "It doesn't do us much good to have a web presence if folks have to snail mail us a check or money order to pay for the things they want."

A few questions:

1. Who handles the e-Commerce side of the transaction (i.e., catalog, shopping cart, order fulfillment)? To the best of my knowledge, PayPal does not do this, only handling the endpoint financial transaction...?

2. If some other entity provides the e-Commerce functionality, what information do they need to provide to PayPal to process the transaction? Seems like a line-by-line item listing is beyond the requirements for processing a simple financial transaction, but there has to be something passed on to which they object.


1) I do. I build the (crude) web catalog and handle embedding the PayPal code into it. PayPal does the shopping cart info collection and checkout (financial interface) part in their cloud. They then report the sale and transaction details back to me via email. Ten years ago I used a third party plug-in for MivaMerchant to do this, and it was cludgey as hell (and still relied on PayPal as the financial gateway). I take care of all the shipping and fulfillment. The only thing PayPal does is collect the customer info and process the financial transaction.

2) This option is what some people do already, where they just have the customer send the money as a PayPal gift with no information identifying the transaction at all. This saves the fees (gifts are done free of charge), but requires the customers to trust the seller 100% (as there is no recourse for the buyer, can't have PayPal reverse a "gift" because your merch didn't show up), all details have to be handled in a separate data stream (outside of PayPal) which can lead to all sorts of confusion and clusterfuckery, and the practice is STILL against PayPal's TOS (thus exposing both parties to account termination and even loss of funds). I'm not willing to risk losing my access to the payment clearinghouse for everything else I sell (until I have another option) to do it that way, 'cause everyone gets caught eventually.

We need a wholly new service that does not discriminate between goodthink and badthink services/products (except maybe legal/illegal, but even that is debatable).

There is money to be made here, I'm just ill equipped to do anything about it.

My nerd-fu is strongest in the engineering/manufacturing/metalworking world, I'm barely functional when it comes to old school HTML, and entirely out of my depth when it comes to anything more complex.

I had ONE (1) semester of C++ programming in college, but that was close to 15yrs ago, and I was not very good at it even then.

Anonymous WaterBoy April 26, 2017 5:56 AM  

CoolHand @24: "We need a wholly new service that does not discriminate between goodthink and badthink services/products (except maybe legal/illegal, but even that is debatable)."

I agree this would be the optimal solution, but it's going to be a lot more complicated than most other Alt-Tech. There's a host of financial services regulatory hoops to jump through to start with. Not saying it can't be done, but it's going to take significant capital to even begin.

The "gift certificate" I had in mind is not the same thing as a PayPal gift, or even a PayPal gift certificate (which is also available). What I was thinking was a store-specific gift certificate like the kind that can be purchased from retailers like Bass Pro Shops.

For example, say someone wanted to buy one of these magazines. Disregarding for the moment the legality of shipping such an item to a given location, there's an Important Notice that specifically excludes this particular item from being purchased from BPS using the PayPal method of payment, IAW PayPal's Acceptable Use Policy.

However, it looks to be possible to purchase a BPS gift card using PayPal. Since the gift card purchase and subsequent redemption in purchasing a BadThink item are two separate transactions -- with the second transaction not involving PayPal at all -- it does not violate the PayPal TOS. Otherwise, PayPal would have to monitor all gift card purchases from all retailers and what those cards are eventually used for...even ones that are actually given away to somebody else.

Obviously, the risk to your account is for you to decide. I just present this existing alternative for your consideration.

OpenID thetroll April 26, 2017 6:30 PM  

> PayPal considers them "weapons or weapon accessories" (they are, sort of), which are double plus ungood things to be selling, ergo they block the transactions.

Well, that's a bit unfair. If you were trying to make an actual business out of online transactions, "nothing allowed that is under any form of regulation in any jurisdiction we do business" is a reasonable default position that would require LARGE financial incentives to overcome, right? How much do you think verifying that all your transactions are legal on purchaser and seller end would cost Paypal? More than your commissions are, by far, amirite?

> I would be eternally grateful if alt-tech could find us a way into the [Current_Year], where we could process payments online for "unapproved goods" like everyone else.

Rrrrrriiight. You good with heroin? Anthrax? 2-year old girls? I trust at some point there we hit a level where you would find those goods unapproved. How would you suggest designing a system that allowed only goods approved by you to dodge controls, whilst being profitable enough for anyone with the skills to bother with? Not really seeing how that would be possible.

In the meantime, accept Bitcoin.

OpenID thetroll April 26, 2017 6:41 PM  

To expand on that last comment a bit to not sound quite so dismissive, my brother owns a legal marijuana growing operation in Washington State, so I did in fact deep dive into exactly this problem (as it applies to "marijuana transactions legal on the seller end in WA") couple years back. Bitcoin or other such cryptocurrencies was the only answer I could come up with, so I didn't bother. If you have a better one in $CURRENT_YEAR, perfectly happy to help!

Anonymous CoolHand April 26, 2017 8:09 PM  

WaterBoy wrote:
...
Obviously, the risk to your account is for you to decide. I just present this existing alternative for your consideration.


That may be a workable, if a bit convoluted solution to the problem.

Need to ponder the risk, but it's a plausible sounding plan, at least (which is more than I had last week, so thanks for that).

Anonymous CoolHand April 26, 2017 8:24 PM  

thetroll wrote:To expand on that last comment a bit to not sound quite so dismissive, my brother owns a legal marijuana growing operation in Washington State, so I did in fact deep dive into exactly this problem (as it applies to "marijuana transactions legal on the seller end in WA") couple years back. Bitcoin or other such cryptocurrencies was the only answer I could come up with, so I didn't bother. If you have a better one in $CURRENT_YEAR, perfectly happy to help!

Well, even if you want to set the go/no-go point as legal/illegal (which, as you say, is quite reasonable), most of the things that PayPal bans on the charge of "weapon or weapon accessories" aren't regulated AT ALL in the US.

Why can't you buy body armor with PayPal? It's legal in all 50 states, and the only regulations that pertain to it are to prevent export. You don't need a license to buy, sell, or own it, but it's banned from sale through PayPal.

Same thing with 80% firearm kits. It is still legal in all 50 states to build firearms for your own personal use.

The kits aren't legally a firearm until someone finishes all the machine work on them, so they're not just disassembled, they're UNFINISHED (that's the point, the hobby revolves around simple metal working projects, which I plan to ramp up in difficulty as the customers become more skilled).

It's as much about the building as it is about the resulting gun (for some guys it's way more about the building).

I understand what you're saying about legalities over a wide area putting them in a bind, but that's not the case with most of these things.

And I appreciate the suggestion of BitCoin, but that is a technical bridge too far for most of my clientele (and probably myself as well).

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