Francine - harvest
I Blame the Dutch mpoetess
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Hrrm. I think I opened my big mouth on n_t (the good n_t, not the evil nt, which happily hasn't been all that evil this summer*) and promptly stuck my foot in it, because there are obviously vidders who know all about anti-robot files and noindex tags and are still up in arms about the divx search engine indexing video files.

I'm not entirely sure I get the furore, I guess. I mean, I understand why it's a problem -- vidders, of which I hope to someday count myself as one, are trying to keep a low profile from the PTBs and keep bandwidth down. As such, being indexed and direct-linked by a search engine (or anyone) is a bad thing, and we want to stop it.

I just don't entirely get all the "What the shit!!??? Bastards!!" reaction. It's a search engine. It's one we didn't know existed before. It's indexing files that were presumably not protected from search engine indexing. It's something that we should have been protecting ourselves against on general safety principles, and some of us weren't, right? It's not a conspiracy against fanvidders. And fandom etiquette (don't direct-link to media files without permission) isn't necessarily world-wide netiquette; I'm not sure how the divx people would know that a certain subculture of net users doesn't like direct-linking, when it's a fairly common practice out there in the wider net, from what I've seen.

What am I missing? (In all honest humble newbie-ness, seriously -- is there a facet of this issue that I'm missing out on that will make me go "Ohhhhhh, I see..." ?)

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* N_T = nummy_treat, the Buffy vidders' list, associated with the Buffy Music Videos Database. NT = nummytreats, the Spike/Xander fic/discussion list. Evil = just too chatty for my taste, yet I won't unsubscribe because a) some good writers only post their stories there and b) I post there. Not actually evil.

sisabet

2003-08-06 09:03 am (UTC) (Link)

Well - it is generally good netiquette to ask permission to direct link to multimedia files on someone's site - not just fandom.

This is a professional site - and they have gone to a lot of trouble to maintain the links (as we have renamed some of the vid files recently - and they are still linking) along with screen caps from the vids and it just seems that if that were the case, the webmaster of the site (no big secret who that is) would be contacted. It seemed a bit more thought was put into it than a random index - but maybe that is all it is. If so - it is a scary super-powered bot that might one day try to kill us all and should be put down.

We should protect our files from indexing and robots, but the fact that I had no idea we were indexed there (or that they even had an index) frustrates me. I do not want to go to a password protected site, but any more bandwidth and I will have to. Also - the idea of a C&D letter - not so much from ME as the music industry - terrifies me.

mpoetess

2003-08-06 09:14 am (UTC) (Link)

*Nod* -- I'll buy that asking first is good netiquette; the fact that I've seen sites not do so doesn't necessarily mean that the practice is widely approved of.

And I totally get how freaky it is, because this is DivX -- everybody and his brother uses that codec and could theoretically stumble over those links.

But just from looking at the page setup, it honestly does look like a completely hands-off indexing script, a la Google's image search. Granted, as somebody pointed out, Google at least links to the page an image is on, and not directly to the file.

sisabet

2003-08-06 09:36 am (UTC) (Link)

So - this setup was done automatically by a bot? The screencaps from each vid and the snapshot of the site itself - all done by bots? Cause that is scary in and of itself.

mpoetess

2003-08-06 10:36 am (UTC) (Link)

I don't have anything like the tech level to *guarantee* that it is, but yeah -- the snapshot of the site itself is easy to do -- Windows does it when you set your view type to "thumbnail" so I'm sure an indexing script could do the same thing to the random .wmv, .avi, etc files that it finds. Ditto the screenshots from the vids themselves -- all it has to do is temporarily download, copy say, first, last, and a specified number of frames within, save those to its database, then delete tha main file. *I* couldn't make a bot that would do that -- I couldn't make a bot period -- but I don'ttink it would be hard for programmers to do.

I agree, it's pretty freaky, the level at which things can be set up to go find stuff we think is hidden.

mpoetess

2003-08-06 09:16 am (UTC) (Link)

re my prev. comment --

Which, come to think of it, is a good thing to say to the DivX people when requesting that they take down the links to one's specific page -- encouraging them to, if they are going to continue indexing media files, at *least* make the link to the source page, instead of the file itself.

bailunrui

2003-08-06 09:19 am (UTC) (Link)

That's why I unsubbed from N_T. The list has gone so far down hill from what it used to be that I just couldn't take it anymore. The only people I truly care about looking at my vids are here on LJ. :)

mpoetess

2003-08-06 09:32 am (UTC) (Link)

I haven't found it all that bad, aside from the recent mini-flamewar that I fell somewhere in the middle of in outlook, but certainly didn't want to get involved in the discussion of. But then, I just joined relatively recently (early June or so?) Plus, eh, people are going to disagree and bitch and moan everywhere. But you're right, most of the people whose skills and thoughts I'm coming to admire are here on LJ.