Stolen Babies

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Unicode Character 'PILE OF POO' (U+1F4A9)

Unicode Character 'PILE OF POO' (U+1F4A9)

Block: Miscellaneous Symbols And Pictographs
Category: Symbol, Other [So]
Index entries: POO, PILE OF
Comments: dog dirt
Version: Unicode 6.0.0 (October 2010)
HTML Entity: 💩

Though on my iMac it looks like this, which is far more festive.

I still say it's crazy that Unicode contains things like 💩 and ☃ and  but not .

Also I note that www.💩.com is still unregistered.

Previously, previously.

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I'm clicking a cow.

This is amazing and horrifying.

The Curse of Cow Clicker: How a Cheeky Satire Became a Videogame Hit

To Bogost, sitting in the audience, Mooney's triumphalism seemed a direct attack on gaming's artistic potential. "The day after Mooney's speech, this thought popped into my head," Bogost says: "Games like FarmVille are cow clickers. You click on a cow, and that's all you do. I remember thinking at the time that it felt like a one-liner, the kind of thing you would tweet. I just put it in the back of my mind." [...]

Remembering his cow-clicker idea, Bogost threw together a bare-bones Facebook game in three days. The rules were simple to the point of absurdity: There was a picture of a cow, which players were allowed to click once every six hours. Each time they did, they received one point, called a click. Players could invite as many as eight friends to join their "pasture"; whenever anyone within the pasture clicked their cow, they all received a click. A leaderboard tracked the game's most prodigious clickers. Players could purchase in-game currency, called mooney, which they could use to buy more cows or circumvent the time restriction. In true FarmVille fashion, whenever a player clicked a cow, an announcement----""I'm clicking a cow"----"appeared on their Facebook newsfeed.

And that was pretty much it. That's not a nutshell description of the game; that's literally all there was to it. As a play experience, it was nothing more than a collection of cheap ruses, blatantly designed to get players to keep coming back, exploit their friends, and part with their money. "I didn't set out to make it fun," Bogost says. "Players were supposed to recognize that clicking a cow is a ridiculous thing to want to do."

Bogost launched Cow Clicker during the NYU event in July 2010. Within weeks, it had achieved cult status among indie-game fans and social-game critics. Every "I'm clicking a cow" newsfeed update served as a badge of ironic protest. Players gleefully clicked cows to send a message to their FarmVille-loving friends or to identify themselves as members of the anti-Zynga underground. The game began attracting press on sites like TechCrunch and Slashdot.

And then something surprising happened: Cow Clicker caught fire. The inherent virality of the game mechanics Bogost had mimicked, combined with the publicity, helped spread it well beyond its initial audience of game-industry insiders. Bogost watched in surprise and with a bit of alarm as the number of players grew consistently, from 5,000 soon after launch to 20,000 a few weeks later and then to 50,000 by early September. And not all of those people appeared to be in on the joke. The game received its fair share of five-star and one-star reviews from players who, respectively, appreciated the gag or simply thought the game was stupid. But what was startling was the occasional middling review from someone who treated Cow Clicker not as an acid commentary but as just another social game. "OK, not great though," one earnest example read.

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Twitter's PR department is more skilled than I thought.

I too was guilty of assuming that when Twitter said, "Now we can censor per-country instead of globally" that it meant that they had, in fact, ever censored even a single tweet globally at the request of a foreign government. They conned me into repeating their fiction as well.

Well played, Evil PR Masterminds. Well played.

Twitter's early-bird special on censorship

That said, Twitter also tried to gloss over its policy change, making it easy to believe that it would result in less censorship than is currently the case.

"Until now," Twitter wrote, "the only way we could take account of those countries' limits was to remove content globally."

The way they put it, you'd think it might have happened once or twice. But until now, Twitter has never taken account of other countries' limits and never removed tweets globally because of them.

Like a "special offer" tag with a conspicuously visible original price that was never actually charged, this encourages the reader to think that someone, somewhere, was already paying in full. It hides the current tally: zero tweets blocked at the request of foreign governments or for material not illegal in the U.S. [...]

"Previously, when a government demanded that Twitter remove a tweet or block a user, access to that content would be blocked from the entire world," wrote Mashable's Lauren Indvik, about government demands that were in fact ignored.

"The new system would allow countries and private businesses to submit complaints [over] Germany's strict laws against pro-Nazi speech or China's laws against criticizing the government. ... Previously, when Twitter received such a request, its only option was to take down the tweet on a global level, making it inaccessible from any country," wrote the AP, about requests that were never acted upon.

"Previously, the tweet would disappear for everyone," reported CNN, about tweets that never disappeared previously.

"Until now, when Twitter has taken down content, it has had to do so globally," wrote the EFF's Eva Galperin, referring to political censorship, not mere DMCA takedowns: "For example, if Twitter had received a court order to take down a tweet that is defamatory to Ataturk--which is illegal under Turkish law--the only way it could comply would be to take it down for everybody ... the overall effect is less censorship rather than more censorship, since they used to take things down for all users."

Twitter confirmed to me that it has never censored a tweet at the request of a government. Not about Ataturk, not about the King of Thailand, nor anyone else. The blurring of domestic copyright takedowns with political criticism abroad is bad enough. But to describe more censorship as "less censorship" by comparing it to even worse hypothetical censorship is a caricature of free expression.

No surprise, then, that Thailand (where criticizing royalty is a criminal offense) was the first government to publicly praise Twitter's new policy.

And, always aiming for second place in the social-networking world, Google isn't far behind: Google Will Start Country-Specific Censorship for Blogs.


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