What amused me today
The following contrasti :
How OkCupid scammed me for 0.1687626 BTC (self.Bitcoin) submitted 36 minutes ago by justusranvier
PSA: it's not just brand new garage startups which will steal your bitcoins.
OkCupid is a company I've always found interesting interesting compared to their competition because of their big data approach to the problem space. Because of that interest I've maintained an account there for quite a while but never used it actively.
Earlier this year, (January 9th) I decided to change that and took the time to update and reactivate the account. This time I purchased a subscription, more to reward them for accepting Bitcoin than for the particular features they offer in exchange for a subscription.
This was mistake #1.
Within a week of using the site more actively, a conversation in which I was participating suddenly took a turn for the worse. The other person asked me a question, which I answered, and apparently she did not approve of the answer. Her reply was a lengthy diatribe consisting entirely of insults and some very specific threats. Naturally, I reported that conversation for abusive behaviour and I took a break from the site for a few days because frankly I was not expecting that and was a bit shaken from the experience.
I assumed that my report would be received and reviewed, and the person involved would perhaps receive a warning about inappropriate behaviour. I did not take any steps to preserve evidence independently, such as taking screenshots of the conversation for future reference.
This was mistake #2.
A week or so later, I tried to log in and received the following error:
At this point, I suspected that I was blocked for browsing through a VPN, since I had seen that kind of behavior before with Expedia and some other sites. Not having time to troubleshoot the matter then, I dropped it and periodically revisited it over the next few months.
After several failed attempts to log in, and a few failed attempts to use the "lost password" features, I decided to contact support through their feedback page regarding my inability to log in.
The response I received was as follows:
Hello- We received a complaint from another user about overtly harassing messages sent from your account. We have reviewed your account history and found behavior that is abusive and violates the OKCupid terms of service. Your account has been blacklisted.
The rest of the post looked like some kind of database dump regarding the state of my account, which included an admin log listing the two admins responsible for the blacklisting.
I replied to the support email requesting two things:
- The status of my report of abusive behaviour against the previously-mentioned user
- A refund of my subscription
I received no reply to that request.
I followed up later with a new message initiated through the feedback page reiterating the request for a refund, and asking how to initiate the private arbitration procedure mentioned in OkCupid's terms of service. (OkCupid, like most big data companies, requires users to waive their access to the civil court system as part of the ToS)
I have also not received a response to that message.
What I would really love to do right now is post a screenshot of the conversation in question and then publicly challenge OkCupid admins "Lmoneyfromspace" and "AriadneCrete" to explain how they applied their definitions of "harassment" and "abusive" to the conversation and concluded that it was actually my behaviour met that criteria. I can't do that because of mistake #2, so instead this will have to become a post about how to protect yourself from unaccountable big data companies that act as judge, jury, and executioner, and also maintain exclusive control over access to the relevant evidence.
- Always keep an independent copy of your interactions on a site like OkCupid, even if you have to take screenshots to do it. Especially if there's any possibility of a dispute in the future. Especially if you think you're in the right (that's when you get caught off-guard).
- Terms of service which specify private arbitration are a lie. Companies who require that in their ToS have no intention of providing any recourse to users, or ever submitting their decisions to independent and impartial review. They can simply ignore all attempts at communication and, unless users keep independent copies of the evidence, they can make it nearly impossible to obtain evidence of their wrongdoing.
If you think about it, the situation we tolerate with online companies is extremely bizarre.
Imagine if there was a small, easy-to-miss sign on the wall next to a grocery store that said "by entering this store you agree to waive your right to civil or criminal recourse for anything this store happens to do to you, and also we reserve the right to confiscate any groceries you purchased at our sole discretion"
Nobody would accept them subsequently stealing your groceries after you paid, and then insisting you had no right to report them for robbery, and no court would uphold those terms as a valid contract, so why do online companies get away with doing the same thing?
So boo hoo, Justus Ranvier said un-nice things to a woman on some dating site (according to herself) and got the boot.
On the other hand I... also said not nice things. To a bunch of women. On a... dating site, of sorts - except I didn't bother with it, they just hang on my every word with bated breath to the degree that they self-reported all the mean (also according to them, obviously) things I said, on my blog. Like so :
Humanity, Privacy and Empathy
Think about that.
Not even Women of Fetlife, or People on FL, but Meat. Actually stripped of personhood, of humanity.
Which, in a lot of contexts is a really, *really* hot thing. Seriously, if we’re ever hanging out over beers, as me about my abandoned warehouse meathook fantasy sometime. It’s ridiculously filthy, and stupid hot.
But when you don’t have any say in it? When it’s not in your control and you ** did not consent**? It’s not okay. Your desire does not trump another person’s humanity.
This outrage is only about privacy as far as expectations of being left alone, I get that it’s hard for some to empathize with, but you don’t just *get* access to women because they exist. They don’t owe you time reading emails, they don’t owe you a conversation on the street, they don’t owe you the opportunity to pitch.
And guys don’t owe anyone these things either – but no one challenges that because you were born with a penis *and* your gender identity has stayed fixed in your life. The rest of us? We weren’t so lucky. We gotta deal with a lot of people who think they *are* owed a base level of interaction, or are owed access, or opportunity.
This is what privilege looks like sometimes – people leaving you the fuck alone.
Please don’t be a jerk about people wanting the same thing you have.ii
I got... nothing. Well... nothing if we're not counting the endless stream of private communication from women (generally in the age range) that actually get all hot and bothered over being objectified (or, in the more flattering equivalent statement : over real men). Which endless stream I suppose would be a valuable resource, at least to Justus Ranvier, seeing how he's on OkCupid trying to get access to it. Weird thing, this meat-as-value : worthless to the worthy, unaittainable to the worthless, it's a mindfuck.iii.
Here, let's put things in tabular form, for clarity.
|Mircea Popescu||Justus Ranvier|
|Bash & curl.|
|Says mean things to individuals.|
|Says mean things to groups.|
|Is stuck begging platform.|
|Platform is stuck begging.|
|Sits around and gets paid while platform's stuck looking for other platforms to come to its aid.|
|Is stuck looking for alternate platform to bitch about previous platform.|
|Learned something from the experience.|
|Points and laughs at idiots who still don't grok what Bitcoin really means.|
Here's a revolutionary idea : go derp on Reddit about how OkCupid mistreated you. That'll show 'em!
And if that fails... there's always Twitter. Or Facebook. Livejournal. You'll find something.
Forward, cowsy! You'll certainly find something. Right over the rainbow, right past the horizon, that magical cow pen that's not a cow pen. You've just not walked enough yet. Keep going, keep going, you're smart and beautiful and definitely on the right path. Anonimity is your friend, trading power for the fetish of power is the way to go, you just need to walk further, that's all.
Just a little further.
- Thanks cazalla! [↩]
- As an aside : "people" not getting the same things I have is the very fucking point of life. That. That's it. That's what it's all about. I don't wish to go from ten to a hundred dollars if the rest of the world goes from one to ten. It's a waste of time. By comparison, going from ten to nine while everyone goes from one to a quarter is a significant gain. I'll gladly take a minor haircut if that means everyone else is getting butchered ; I'd never accept any gain if it means everyone else is making larger gains. This has nothing to do with being "a jerk", this is simply being sane. (It's also why everyone sane loves Bitcoin, for that matter). [↩]
- If you'll pardon the objectification of the mind on one hand and of the fuck on the other hand.
Fancy that, language works this way! Because that's why it's a symbolic structure cast on reality in the first place, so we can mash together the symbols without affecting their real counterparts! Who knew!11 [↩]
- Fetlife decided to ban :
- Random user because someone with the same name embarassed them on his own platform. Here's a hint : if you don't like any user on Fetlife, buy a domain in his name and post John Baku's home address and James Huesmann's homemade goat porn.
- Random users on that user's friend list.
- Random users posting things other than "MP is a meanie / Bitlove LLC is great security guru" on any of the fifty billion threads rehashing the "If Fetlife gets raped Fetlife wasn't really raped" theme.
Because yeah, the year is still 1998, and the Internet is still wide open for the sort of clueless idiocy oozing out of Business Majors with a degree in corporate stupidity. Consequently, "shaping discourse" is something that can be done, and legal threats work as a substitute for security. Another decade or so we might even get cell phones! Won't that be cool when it finally happens!