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Thread: Elsagate

  1. #11
    Meae Musae Servus Hephaestus's Avatar
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    @LowIQLogan: Had a moment to read the article--and yeah, that's all true stuff. I've just have a problem with the responsibility for curation being put on others for things that are wholly within personal control. None of this is really any different than the original dot com gold rush.

    Remember the transition days? When Alta Vista was a thing? Remember all those pages with dictionaries at the bottom? Same shit, different vector.

    It's the reason I gave up on computational linguistics too. Ever do a search for something but get a bunch of pages you know are bogus? The ones that are barely parseable because they were made on demand to come up with some sort of bullshit that would meet your search requirements to direct you to their spam? I went to a couple job fairs and talked about comp ling jobs and that was the common thing they seemed to be doing: capturing searches to create content on demand that would meet the requirements of the search string.

    It's also what concerns me about AI in the future. Sure, we all marveled looking at how GIS looks at the world, but look at what the training data is turning up for the automated shitfests. As much as I loathe "Science BAD!" sci-fi plotlines, I have to admit I think the first truly self-aware AI's are going to make HAL seem well adjusted.

    There's another meta-narrative at work here too. A fractal pattern of exploitation and advertising that goes down to the microbial level. This is just turning the internet into what the world already was, but instead of being a mirror it's becoming a feedback loop and this autogenerated crap is the screeching noise.

    On the other hand, this was made by hand back in 2009:



    I mean, really... who are we to judge what these bots are making?
    For some, "how", not "why", is the fundamental unit of measure for curiosity. This divergence is neither parallel, nor straight. Where one might have a "why?-5" problem, it might only be a "how?-2" question. But then, there are also many things where the "why?" is immediately obvious but the "how?" is best measured in centuries of perpetual wonder. Both approaches have their drawbacks.

    If one is superior, the other is unaware of it.

    --Meditations on Uncertainty Vol ξ(x)

  2. #12
    Dr.Awkward Robcore's Avatar
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    I loved growing up with the Internet, and being able to explore it freely...having 40 Wikipedia tabs open(well, 40 browser windows, back before tabbed browsing), and running google searches on every darn thing that interested me, from bands, to etymology, to spirituality and philosophy, to how to care for a baby squirrel (FYI: don't try to keep it as a pet).

    I *do* want an easy way out of watching my kids, at least to the effect of not having to be a helicopter parent hovering over them. They can play with sticks and dirt without supervision, as I did, so why should they require supervision in an environment like the Internet?
    When I was young, everything on the net opened up to a wider range of ideas and connections...my horizons were constantly expanded.
    For my kids, it has (d?)evolved into a series of funnels that actually have the effect of narrowing your perspective...whether you're directed to become a political fundamentalist, a conspiracy enthusiast, a porn addict, or a kid that watches Elsa and Spiderman doing pervy stuff. It's stupid. I want my kids to be able to explore things unsupervised...but this crap is just spread so thick over the Internet these days, that I think this generation of kids is missing out.
    ...and what's worse, is that nobody even has a current set of encyclopedias any more! so it's an even worse deal to be cut off from the net.
    ...the origin of emotional sickness lay in people’s belief that they were their personalities...
    "The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong." ~Carl Jung

  3. #13
    malarkey oxyjen's Avatar
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    For me, "Elsagate" is a valid and worthy topic, but a higher priority area of improvement I would like to see from YouTube is cracking down on the grey area of child exploitation videos. I wasn't even aware of how prevalent it was on YouTube until I read this article.

    Cartoons doing perverted and violent stuff are bad, but doing borderline weird/exploitive things with/to your kids because you know it caters to a certain demographic--that is way more fucked up. A couple recently lost custody of several of their kids due to the "pranks" they would pull (the parents would break something, then blame the kid for it and yell at him, then later tell him it was a prank). The mother encouraged one of the children to pretend to be a masked intruder, prompting the father to point a gun at the child; multiple incidents where the father eggs other children into pushing or hitting Cody (the one who gets most of the abuse); and one incident when the father pushes Cody’s face into a bookshelf. Also the family all went to DisneyWorld except for the one son who was told he was not allowed to go because he was "bad," and this reaction was filmed. Cody's biomom ended up getting custody of him and the other child that was also hers from the previous marriage. These videos had 100,000+ views easy, 300 videos on the channel.

    Just last night I was looking for that dumb song, so I typed something about "shots" into YouTube and one of the top hits featured a thumbnail of an absolutely terrified kid, about 1-2, looking like he's being held down and screaming. He's getting his shots, millions of views. I go the youtube channel and there are lots of normal ones, but there are "weird" ones in there too. Girl got her fingernail ripped off *sad face*, multiple ones about gum in hair so needing to cut her hair, lot of "she got hurt doing x", multiple videos about the kid being sick with the flu and puking. It's like that Toy Freaks guy who is being investigated because he featured quite a few videos of his kids "playing" babies, feeding each other baby food until they vomited, etc.

    Free speech is well and good, but when it comes to kids who are not able to consent, I think YouTube should err on the side of caution. An 11 year old might think it is totally cool that their video of playing babies gets a lot of hits until they're 25 and realize what that whole thing was probably really about for the people who were watching. The lines, and how to draw them in a way that makes sense to implement, would be a hell of a job.

  4. #14
    know nothing pensive_pilgrim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robcore View Post
    I loved growing up with the Internet, and being able to explore it freely...having 40 Wikipedia tabs open(well, 40 browser windows, back before tabbed browsing), and running google searches on every darn thing that interested me, from bands, to etymology, to spirituality and philosophy, to how to care for a baby squirrel (FYI: don't try to keep it as a pet).

    I *do* want an easy way out of watching my kids, at least to the effect of not having to be a helicopter parent hovering over them. They can play with sticks and dirt without supervision, as I did, so why should they require supervision in an environment like the Internet?
    When I was young, everything on the net opened up to a wider range of ideas and connections...my horizons were constantly expanded.
    For my kids, it has (d?)evolved into a series of funnels that actually have the effect of narrowing your perspective...whether you're directed to become a political fundamentalist, a conspiracy enthusiast, a porn addict, or a kid that watches Elsa and Spiderman doing pervy stuff. It's stupid. I want my kids to be able to explore things unsupervised...but this crap is just spread so thick over the Internet these days, that I think this generation of kids is missing out.
    ...and what's worse, is that nobody even has a current set of encyclopedias any more! so it's an even worse deal to be cut off from the net.
    This is a great point, and I think it's what @Hephaestus is missing when he says that parents just need to watch their kids. Not only is it just not possible to watch them every second of every day, it shouldn't be. It's good to let kids explore, and the internet is an amazing resource. Kids should have some guidance when using the internet. I think what's new about this whole thing is the incredible volume of this content that's being produced and how easy it is for them to reach kids. You say "okay, you can watch this cartoon on youtube for half an hour while I do the dishes" and when you come back the autoplay has gone down some weird rabbit-hole.

    I'm pretty used to the weirdness of the internet, but this stuff is deliberately targeted at young kids with no guiding principles other than ad clicks and revenue. Kids are more vulnerable and sensitive. I wouldn't want them wandering around in the darkest corners of the internet, there is fucked up stuff out there. And now it seems like that fucked up stuff is being disguised to blend in with "trusted" family entertainment to trick both parents and kids.

    I do see it as very similar to the "fake news" phenomenon.

    Quote Originally Posted by oxyjen View Post
    For me, "Elsagate" is a valid and worthy topic, but a higher priority area of improvement I would like to see from YouTube is cracking down on the grey area of child exploitation videos. I wasn't even aware of how prevalent it was on YouTube until I read this article.

    Cartoons doing perverted and violent stuff are bad, but doing borderline weird/exploitive things with/to your kids because you know it caters to a certain demographic--that is way more fucked up. A couple recently lost custody of several of their kids due to the "pranks" they would pull (the parents would break something, then blame the kid for it and yell at him, then later tell him it was a prank). The mother encouraged one of the children to pretend to be a masked intruder, prompting the father to point a gun at the child; multiple incidents where the father eggs other children into pushing or hitting Cody (the one who gets most of the abuse); and one incident when the father pushes Cody’s face into a bookshelf. Also the family all went to DisneyWorld except for the one son who was told he was not allowed to go because he was "bad," and this reaction was filmed. Cody's biomom ended up getting custody of him and the other child that was also hers from the previous marriage. These videos had 100,000+ views easy, 300 videos on the channel.

    Just last night I was looking for that dumb song, so I typed something about "shots" into YouTube and one of the top hits featured a thumbnail of an absolutely terrified kid, about 1-2, looking like he's being held down and screaming. He's getting his shots, millions of views. I go the youtube channel and there are lots of normal ones, but there are "weird" ones in there too. Girl got her fingernail ripped off *sad face*, multiple ones about gum in hair so needing to cut her hair, lot of "she got hurt doing x", multiple videos about the kid being sick with the flu and puking. It's like that Toy Freaks guy who is being investigated because he featured quite a few videos of his kids "playing" babies, feeding each other baby food until they vomited, etc.

    Free speech is well and good, but when it comes to kids who are not able to consent, I think YouTube should err on the side of caution. An 11 year old might think it is totally cool that their video of playing babies gets a lot of hits until they're 25 and realize what that whole thing was probably really about for the people who were watching. The lines, and how to draw them in a way that makes sense to implement, would be a hell of a job.
    Yeah, I saw the daddyofive thing go down and that was sad. Part of that is just plain old child abuse, and part of it is a slightly older debate about putting kids in the spotlight before they can grasp the consequences of being there.

    It makes me think of child pornography too. That's illegal because we don't want to allow a demand for it to be created. But we have countless stories of kids being abused into performing in roles that are meant to look like harmless entertainment. Should it just be illegal to profit from a child's performance? Would we be willing to forego having Hollywood and TV shows with child actors in order to protect those kids?

    edit: the stuff in that article is sickening

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robcore View Post
    I loved growing up with the Internet, and being able to explore it freely...having 40 Wikipedia tabs open(well, 40 browser windows, back before tabbed browsing), and running google searches on every darn thing that interested me, from bands, to etymology, to spirituality and philosophy, to how to care for a baby squirrel (FYI: don't try to keep it as a pet).
    I agree with this a lot. I definitely enjoyed the freedom that came with being a kid/teenager right around the dawn of the internet in which we know it as today -- I kinda miss being being a kid and the internet free-reigning, secret treasure trove of knowledge and experiences that only few knew how to navigate to its fullest extent before it really became a huge "thing", yet I was probably exposed and desensitized to lots of things (yahoo chatroom PTSD horror sequence commences) that I probably wouldn't have been otherwise.

    In regards to this "Elsagate", isn't this just an instance of the same game, yet with new rules being used? Think how many Disney cartoons which, I, and many in my age group, grew up on and how littered they were with obscure adult humor and references that just completely zoomed past my head. If anything, I think in regards to what the general public is spoonfed from television and most mass media outlets, I think it's a lot more tame than a lot of the stuff I grew up on as kid (Ren and Stimpy and Rocko's Modern life were FILLED with adult humor, yet were handed to us kids on a silver platter). Not to say there isn't some depraved shit out there that kids can find with just a smidgen of computer know-how, but in order to find it they'd really have to be reaching outside the bounds of what is generally accessible to kids.

    There's a lot more barriers of entry to sick shit on the internet than there EVER was when I was a kid.

  6. #16
    malarkey oxyjen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pensive_pilgrim View Post

    Yeah, I saw the daddyofive thing go down and that was sad. Part of that is just plain old child abuse, and part of it is a slightly older debate about putting kids in the spotlight before they can grasp the consequences of being there.

    It makes me think of child pornography too. That's illegal because we don't want to allow a demand for it to be created. But we have countless stories of kids being abused into performing in roles that are meant to look like harmless entertainment. Should it just be illegal to profit from a child's performance? Would we be willing to forego having Hollywood and TV shows with child actors in order to protect those kids?

    edit: the stuff in that article is sickening
    I have only read summaries of the YouTube videos, and not watched any. In film, there are laws and a whole crew who (ideally, and probably normally) take every precaution to make the child as comfortable and the least bit affected by the intensity of the scene they are performing (filming separately as much as possible if there is a disturbing protagonist involved with a child). Also for a child actor the boundaries are very clear about what role he is playing in the film and what everyone else's is. When it's your own parent doing these things to you, it's not the same. I don't think the two are equivalent, but admittedly it could easily be an issue that deserves more attention. (I can't stand that MGMT--Kids music video because it's too horrible in this regard for me)

  7. #17
    Dr.Awkward Robcore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stigmata View Post
    I agree with this a lot. I definitely enjoyed the freedom that came with being a kid/teenager right around the dawn of the internet in which we know it as today -- I kinda miss being being a kid and the internet free-reigning, secret treasure trove of knowledge and experiences that only few knew how to navigate to its fullest extent before it really became a huge "thing", yet I was probably exposed and desensitized to lots of things (yahoo chatroom PTSD horror sequence commences) that I probably wouldn't have been otherwise.

    In regards to this "Elsagate", isn't this just an instance of the same game, yet with new rules being used? Think how many Disney cartoons which, I, and many in my age group, grew up on and how littered they were with obscure adult humor and references that just completely zoomed past my head. If anything, I think in regards to what the general public is spoonfed from television and most mass media outlets, I think it's a lot more tame than a lot of the stuff I grew up on as kid (Ren and Stimpy and Rocko's Modern life were FILLED with adult humor, yet were handed to us kids on a silver platter). Not to say there isn't some depraved shit out there that kids can find with just a smidgen of computer know-how, but in order to find it they'd really have to be reaching outside the bounds of what is generally accessible to kids.

    There's a lot more barriers of entry to sick shit on the internet than there EVER was when I was a kid.
    I've seen a number of these Elsagate videos, with the live action Elsa and Spiderman, and they are not just innuendo...they're explicitly sexual and crossing obvious lines.
    With old animation, it would fly over kids' heads...but in the Elsagate stuff, there's nothing else going on.
    An example might be that Elsa drops a pencil or something, and Spidey stands behind her doing a humping motion and pumping one fist in the air and pretending to smack her ass with the other. It's worse than what we saw as kids. Nothing subtle about it. No overarching plot with some cleverly inserted innuendo that will fly over the kids' heads. When the kids go to imitate it, they will be gyrating behind each others' asses...and as soon as they understand what sex is, it will take on a whole new meaning for them which is really just sad. For us, the double meaning of our cartoons became evident when we were old enough to appreciate the humor. With Elsagate, kids will begin to understand it before they have the maturity to frame it appropriately.
    ...the origin of emotional sickness lay in people’s belief that they were their personalities...
    "The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong." ~Carl Jung

  8. #18
    Meae Musae Servus Hephaestus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pensive_pilgrim View Post
    This is a great point, and I think it's what @Hephaestus is missing when he says that parents just need to watch their kids. Not only is it just not possible to watch them every second of every day, it shouldn't be. It's good to let kids explore, and the internet is an amazing resource. Kids should have some guidance when using the internet. I think what's new about this whole thing is the incredible volume of this content that's being produced and how easy it is for them to reach kids. You say "okay, you can watch this cartoon on youtube for half an hour while I do the dishes" and when you come back the autoplay has gone down some weird rabbit-hole.
    First you think I'm missing something, then in the next breath you advocate for the same thing. We just have different ideas about where the principle responsibility for that guidance comes from.

    Growing up with access to information is one thing. But we aren't talking about just kids, we're talking toddlers. We're talking about a generation of parents who hand their kids a tablet computer, internet access and then leave them to it. I think that's irresponsible parenting, and blaming Google for not blocking such content is failing to take responsibility. Sure, kids should be allowed to explore, but not necessarily the internet at large until they reach something like adolescence. You don't just let kids wander around willy nilly, you provide guidance and guidelines. This isn't about keeping kids from exploring and having fun, it's about holding parents to being parents and not just passing off parenting to Google and an electronic babysitter.

    If you wouldn't let your kid walk to the library by themselves, you shouldn't leave them unsupervised with access to the internet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Robcore View Post
    An example might be that Elsa drops a pencil or something, and Spidey stands behind her doing a humping motion and pumping one fist in the air and pretending to smack her ass with the other. It's worse than what we saw as kids. Nothing subtle about it.
    By the second grade my peers were making equivalently grotesque remarks and object play. This was more than a decade before the internet.
    For some, "how", not "why", is the fundamental unit of measure for curiosity. This divergence is neither parallel, nor straight. Where one might have a "why?-5" problem, it might only be a "how?-2" question. But then, there are also many things where the "why?" is immediately obvious but the "how?" is best measured in centuries of perpetual wonder. Both approaches have their drawbacks.

    If one is superior, the other is unaware of it.

    --Meditations on Uncertainty Vol ξ(x)

  9. #19
    Dr.Awkward Robcore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hephaestus View Post
    By the second grade my peers were making equivalently grotesque remarks and object play. This was more than a decade before the internet.
    I must have lived a more sheltered life, I guess...I went to a private Catholic elementary school where that sort of thing would not have flown, even if kids knew about it, I guess.
    I covered my eyes in 1995 or so when I first saw Braveheart at the part where William and his bride to be get naked in the woods...13 years old, and still pretty innocent, was I...

    By that age, my friends who attended public school had already tried pot....so I concede that the more common experience is likely early exposure to things. Just not in my world...and I wish that my kids' childhood could be that innocent.
    ...the origin of emotional sickness lay in people’s belief that they were their personalities...
    "The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong." ~Carl Jung

  10. #20
    Meae Musae Servus Hephaestus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robcore View Post
    I must have lived a more sheltered life, I guess...I went to a private Catholic elementary school where that sort of thing would not have flown, even if kids knew about it, I guess.
    I covered my eyes in 1995 or so when I first saw Braveheart at the part where William and his bride to be get naked in the woods...13 years old, and still pretty innocent, was I...

    By that age, my friends who attended public school had already tried pot....so I concede that the more common experience is likely early exposure to things. Just not in my world...and I wish that my kids' childhood could be that innocent.
    Huh. Was it a boarding school? I'm just wondering how you avoided them out of class.

    But if your goal is to keep them as sheltered as you were, I definitely recommend @TeresaJ's approach, and don't let them have unsupervised internet access until you're ready for them to lose that innocence. Ideally, they wouldn't have internet access at all until they were literate, had read a couple hundred books of their own volition, and mastered the five paragraph essay. But that's just me making a SWAG about internet preparedness.

    Remember when everyone was going to the video store to see the penises on the Aladdin DVD case? Simpler times.
    For some, "how", not "why", is the fundamental unit of measure for curiosity. This divergence is neither parallel, nor straight. Where one might have a "why?-5" problem, it might only be a "how?-2" question. But then, there are also many things where the "why?" is immediately obvious but the "how?" is best measured in centuries of perpetual wonder. Both approaches have their drawbacks.

    If one is superior, the other is unaware of it.

    --Meditations on Uncertainty Vol ξ(x)

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