Furthest Right

Rules-By-Software, or Why Not to Trust the Manipulative Geeks

Crowds create control by demanding that all defer to the will of the group so that individuals can be uninterrupted by standards, qualitative assessments, and goals; in turn, this makes everyone into a politician and an actor, manipulating each other in order to have some power.

It turns out that equality, by reducing us all to equal economic units, unleashes in humanity a desire for massive amounts of power, since without power, wealth, and status, we have nothing like thymos, or the drive to be recognized for our excellence in furthering our civilization.

Control takes many forms. One can use law, economics, or outright political power, including the armed police state; on the other hand, in the world of geeks and nerds, software itself can be used to remove behaviors that offend the controllers, in turn mind-programming the audience to stop thinking of those behaviors as desirable.

Consider the case of Mozilla Firefox, who wanted to force users to save images as WEBP files instead of JPGs because they want to move us to the newer standard, and in turn force us all to update our images, which makes it easier to exclude the disobedient (like people who refuse to wear masks, or smoke pipes, or even use the true terms for things).

Then users found a workaround:

  • Right click the image; select “View Image Info”
  • Select the image address in the list box for the JPG and the image should preview!
  • Select “Save As” and the image saved will be correct viewable jpg.

This infuriated Mozilla so much that they simply took out the View Image option:

Some context menus have been cleaned up in Firefox 87 and the “View Image Info” item has been removed along with some others.

“Absolute power corrupts absolutely,” said an old guy once, but people forget that this applies to both kings and peasants. Mozilla seems to be run by the latter, who are busy making a once-great browser less functional so that even more people go to Google’s option.

One wonders if money changed hands, or if these little peasants are simply unable to restrain their impulse to control.

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