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Was the Amazon De-Listing Situation a Glitch Or a Hack?

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the can't-it-be-both dept.

Books 396

Miracle Jones writes "As Amazon struggles to re-list and re-rank gay, lesbian, and adult books on their website after massive public outcry against the secretive partitioning process, they are claiming that the entire situation was not the result of an intentional policy at all, are not apologizing, and are instead insisting that the situation was the result of 'a glitch' that they are now trying to fix. While some hackers are claiming credit for 'amazonfail,' and it is indeed possible that an outside party is responsible, most claims have already been debunked. How likely is it that Amazon was hacked versus the likelihood of an internal Easter weekend glitch? Or is the most obvious and likely scenario true, and Amazon simply got caught implementing a wildly-unpopular new policy without telling anyone?"

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Maybe... (5, Funny)

milas (988484) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565745)

...it was a glitchy hack?

Re:Maybe... (5, Insightful)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565883)

It sounds like "technical glitch" is the new get-out-of-jail-free card for any big corporation that makes a bad call and wants to avoid public backlash.

OT: great sig (0, Offtopic)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566003)

Exceeding the appropriate speed for conditions gets you killed. "Speeding" just gets you ticketed.

Sums it up perfectly.

Re:Maybe... (4, Informative)

Ren.Tamek (898017) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566349)

Yes, it's Amazons favourite excuse as of late. Remember when DRM and Starforce caused a consumer backlash which generated thousands of negative reviews for Spore? [amazon.com] Somehow, they all got lost due to a mysterious glitch [kotaku.com] too!

Every games news site in town reports the selective censoring... and within hours the mysterious glitch is just as mysteriously solved.

let me ask you, what kind of glitch would cause material whose topics are at odds with conservative Christian values not to show up on the main search engine? Not just gay and lesbian titles, but 'Mind & Body, Reproductive & Sexual Medicine, and Erotica' [edrants.com] also. Someone at Amazon has been caught with their pants down i'd say...

Re:Maybe... (5, Insightful)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566385)

I don't think if Amazon had intentionally done this, and had announced that they'd one it, that it would be that unpopular. California, of all places, couldn't agree on gay marriage. Imagine then the rest of the country.

On the other hand, since Amazon is a for profit company, they have absolutely no reason to alienate a fraction of their customers by implementing this policy silently. They're not attracting right wing sales, nor "think of the children" types of all mentalities...they'd just be pissing off a segment of the market.

So it seems like it's probably a hack, because if it isn't they'd be being uncharacteristically stupid in the only dimension they'd ever shown any real passion about.

#2 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27565751)

just dropped an obama at the pool. Literally, that is. I shit in the pool.

-jcr (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27566115)

It should have been on my chest. I'm a gay nigger, by the way.

-jcr

Is it a wildly-unpopular new policy? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27565753)

How do you know?

Re:Is it a wildly-unpopular new policy? (2, Insightful)

brucifer (12972) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566031)

they know because someone told them it was unpopular. That's how the internet works these days, no need to think!

Re:Is it a wildly-unpopular new policy? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27566219)

"massive public outcry" ??

"wildly-unpopular new policy" ??

Yeah right... who the heck cares?

To avoid this.. (5, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565755)

Services like Amazon could just have a personal preferences for users that allows them to selectively exclude either gay content or content from gay authors. Problem solved.

Re:To avoid this.. (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565845)

being gay isn't a personal preference, it's genetic.

Re:To avoid this.. (1)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565879)

being gay isn't a personal preference, it's genetic.

And those people don't have to exclude anything. I don't see what you're trying to add here....

Re:To avoid this.. (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565897)

Yeah, but DNA scanners aren't yet commonplace on desktop computers...

Re:To avoid this.. (4, Interesting)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565977)

Simple solution - A quick prick from a syringe incorporated into your keyboard and they can tell if you're into gay literature. Or whether you're a potential alcoholic and should be banned from the wine-of-the-month-club. Or whether you've damaged your DNA with LSD and should be barred from buying mushroom spores from Seattle.

Why are we so short sighted?

[/sarc]

Seriously though, Amazon is one of 2 companies that makes their claim-to-fame via the Internet that I actually have faith in (I'm an admitted Google fan-boi, in spite of their over-seas policies). They seem pretty willing to sell whatever will fetch a price and do it at reasonable rates. When Fahrenheit 451 and Animal Farm drop off their list, I'll start whining. Until then, I actually believe them. Bitch at Amazon that you can't get what you want - From my experience, they'll find it. They want to sell everything to everyone.

Re:To avoid this.. (1)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566097)

Simpler solution- Check their Tivo. Tivo has gaydar.

Re:To avoid this.. (4, Informative)

Nutria (679911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565965)

being gay isn't a personal preference, it's genetic.

Research indicates it more likely to be hormonal.

Re:To avoid this.. (-1, Troll)

M1rth (790840) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566075)

Actually, the problem is that "being gay" is really a choice [gay.com] , but only a few ultra-honest gays will actually admit that.

Whether that choice is something that society wants to promote and give benefits to (e.g. preferential treatment, tax benefits, etc) is a matter of serious debate in the US and in Europe, not so much in other countries around the world (for instance, go to a Muslim country and you're likely to be thrown in jail just for discussing it in public).

Pro-homosexuality advocates want to claim it's not a choice. They want to claim it's "inherent" because if it is, then they can claim to be a "protected class." If it's a choice, then they don't get to be a protected class any more than someone who makes bad lifestyle choices and becomes obese.

Since it is a choice, there are a large number of parents that don't want their kids recruited to. They don't want their kids told at school "this is an acceptable choice" any more than they'd be okay with their kids being told that being a drug user is an acceptable choice, or being a homeless drunk bum is an "acceptable lifestyle choice", or any other of a thousand things that are "lifestyle choices" that are not very good and not something the majority of society wants to see promoted. And these people have as much right as any other Amazon user to complain when they see what they view as inappropriate material being promoted.

Do I think Amazon was responding to genuine complaints about these books coming up in unrelated searches? Definitely. Do I then think that the usual pro-homosexuality groups pitched a fit and tried to raise a stink? Absolutely. Do I think Amazon was caught in the middle of a crappy culture-war style situation? That's an easy bet to take.

Ask yourself a simple question: if homosexuality were not a choice, why are the two most common insults directed at anyone who is against public promotion of homosexuality "well you must be in the closet" and "you must be afraid you'll try it and like it"? The mask slips just a tad too often, showing that the "it's not a choice" propaganda is pure lies.

Re:To avoid this.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27566107)

Actually, the problem is that "being gay" is really a choice, but only a few ultra-honest gays will actually admit that.

Yeah. Thousands of years of romantic poetry is clearly wrong. Nobody is aroused by anything they don't want to be, and every straight guy who's looking at a hot woman must focus and think "getitupgetitupgetitupgetitup oh yeah, she's making me pop a bo... getitupgetitupgetitupgetitup"

There are probably good reasons for not wishing to promote homosexuality. "It's a choice" is not one of them, and is in fact one of the stupidest things anyone has ever uttered since the dawn of mankind. If you honestly believe that love, attraction, romance, and sexuality is a "choice" then I weep for the void that your soul has vacated.

Wow. Gay Mods Much? (0, Offtopic)

M1rth (790840) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566133)

Wow.

This is the first time I've seen an honest and thought-provoking post get a nasty downmod stream like that.

I wonder how many gay activists got mod points and went "OMG SOMEONE TOLD THE TRUTH STOP THEM" tonight?

Re:Wow. Gay Mods Much? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27566407)

Wow.

This is the first time I've seen an honest and thought-provoking post get a nasty downmod stream like that.

I wonder how many gay activists got mod points and went "OMG SOMEONE TOLD THE TRUTH STOP THEM" tonight?

Your post was about as thought-provoking as a jar of mayo is. No seriously, your entire post was just a thinly-veiled attack on anything that suited your fancy. Kudos, you even managed to get a shot at Islam in there. You posted no truth, fact, or science to back up your assertions that being gay is a lifestyle choice and that there is a secret legion of pro-homosexuals who are scheming to get protected class for various nefarious reasons.

Actually, the problem is that "being gay" is really a choicereally a choice [gay.com], but only a few ultra-honest gays will actually admit that.

So you first start out by quoting a gay WNBA star, who claims that her homosexuality was a choice FOR HER. She says, from the article:

I think there are a lot of people -- gays and lesbians -- who believe you are born that way. I think there also a lot of people who believe it's a choice. And, for me, I believe it was a choice.

You clutch onto this as if it were gospel, as indicated by your following sentence:

Whether that choice is something that society wants to promote and give benefits to (e.g. preferential treatment, tax benefits, etc) is a matter of serious debate in the US and in Europe, not so much in other countries around the world (for instance, go to a Muslim country and you're likely to be thrown in jail just for discussing it in public).

So that's a SERIOUS leap in logic - you quoted one gay woman who says it was her own choice, and imply that it's a choice for everyone without any scientific research. With your next paragraph, your agenda shows:

Pro-homosexuality advocates want to claim it's not a choice. They want to claim it's "inherent" because if it is, then they can claim to be a "protected class." If it's a choice, then they don't get to be a protected class any more than someone who makes bad lifestyle choices and becomes obese.

So do you have any "pro-homosexuality" memos where members are scheming to get a protected class for something that may or may not be genetic / choice?

Oh, and this gem:

Since it is a choice, there are a large number of parents that don't want their kids recruited to. They don't want their kids told at school "this is an acceptable choice" any more than they'd be okay with their kids being told that being a drug user is an acceptable choice, or being a homeless drunk bum is an "acceptable lifestyle choice", or any other of a thousand things that are "lifestyle choices" that are not very good and not something the majority of society wants to see promoted.

JOY, you also manage to squeeze in a little "ThinkOfTheChildren" in your post. I don't recall how being a homeless drunk bum or drug user was a lifestyle choice. To compare homosexuality to a homeless drunk bum or drug user is pretty downright inflammatory.

And these people have as much right as any other Amazon user to complain when they see what they view as inappropriate material being promoted.

Again, if you're just thinking about the children, then perhaps the parents should be taking responsibility and discussing these issues online with their children. If they want their children to believe that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice, then they should talk to them about it, rather than forming a mob to dismiss the material that they don't feel is appropriate.

Ask yourself a simple question: if homosexuality were not a choice, why are the two most common insults directed at anyone who is against public promotion of homosexuality "well you must be in the closet" and "you must be afraid you'll try it and like it"? The mask slips just a tad too often, showing that the "it's not a choice" propaganda is pure lies.

Did you even bother to ask yourself this question? Being "in-the-closet" is a psychological phenomenon, when society tells you that being who you are is wrong and immoral and leads you to hell, you continue to repress what you are to the point of overzealous extremism in the other direction. So, no, I don't see how you're linking this to a "It's not a choice" propaganda.

Anyway, don't be shocked that you got modded down so far. Be shocked that you received ANY moderation at all.

Re:To avoid this.. (5, Insightful)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566147)

Homosexuality is and isn't a choice. The behavior is a choice, but the actual attraction is not. If I could choose who I was sexually attracted to then I would make myself asexual because like most Slashdot nerds I ain't gettin' any.

Ask yourself a simple question: if homosexuality were not a choice, why are the two most common insults directed at anyone who is against public promotion of homosexuality "well you must be in the closet" and "you must be afraid you'll try it and like it"? The mask slips just a tad too often, showing that the "it's not a choice" propaganda is pure lies.

This is because, or at least because it is perceived to be true, that many gay men in the closet deny their homosexuality for social reasons and to try to hide it or excuse for it or "make up for it" they crusade against homosexuality which they have been brought up to think is wrong. Does Ted Haggard ring a bell...?

Re:To avoid this.. (5, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566247)

Interesting thought.

Culture influences what you think of as "attractive" as much as anything else. Compare Indian pornography to Japanese, to Chinese, to European, to American, to South American, to African, and compare not only from the 20th/21st century but also go back in history in the various places.

Compare modern Persian culture from Iran (heavily influenced/controlled by Islamic "thought") to the much richer, more vibrant Persian culture prior. You'll find that the Persians were much more open about sexuality and what they considered erotic, and you'll find just as much that the "tastes" have been changed.

Consider the cultural issues that made Westerners have such a weird place when the Japanese first saw them - to a culture where moderately dark skin and hair are the norm, but where the art forms venerated the lightest skin and hair tones as beautiful, to all of a sudden see very pale people and a number of red and gold hair tones among them.

Take the phenomenon of black males in America (as opposed to most African nations) who carry a sexual fetish for paler, light haired women. Amazing amounts of pornography are devoted to this, but only in America. Why is this? Because in America, those women are put forth as the ideal of "beauty", and with very few exceptions, even the successful models of black/african heritage have lighter than normal (for their genotype) skin tone and tend to do things like color their hair, towards either golden tones or golden highlights.

Now, take even a second-generation (child of immigrant parents but born in, or imported before say age 5) individual. What do you find? More likely than not, they do not as a rule share their parents' cultural kinks, either in regard to sexuality or otherwise, unless they've been held in an environment that is very similar to where their parents grew up (for instance, chinese raised in a "chinatown" area, or latino raised in a largely latino neighborhood).

Given the preceding, why is it unfair that parents (whose interest is in seeing their kids marry and produce the next generation) would be worried about their kids being told that homosexuality was "perfectly normal", "acceptable", or something else? You can propagandize impressionable minds into thinking that "sexual attractiveness" is a schoolgirl in a fuku. Or, for that matter, something a little more realistic [metmuseum.org] of most of the population. Why, if homosexuality is "fixed", are pro-gay groups working so hard to get books promoting their lifestyle into kindergartens if not that they're trying to propagandize kids the same way and pick up some numbers?

Re:To avoid this.. (5, Insightful)

wickerprints (1094741) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566375)

"Homosexuality" is not a behavior, at least no more so than "heterosexuality" is a behavior. It is an intrinsic identification regarding one's sexuality. It is misleading and incorrect to conflate sexual orientation and sexual activity by using the same word to describe both.

Furthermore, being "in the closet" is not a denial of one's homosexuality per se. It is merely the set of actions (or in some cases, lack of action), that lead others to presume that the given individual is heterosexual. Such actions range from simply doing nothing--the assumption is preexisting--to active denial, which is the case you described. There is an entire spectrum in between those extremes that you fail to take into account.

The question of whether homosexuality is a choice is in itself a loaded one, because it assumes that the answer is germane to how GLBTs (i.e. anyone who isn't heterosexual) ought to be treated by society. GLBTs don't present the question of whether heterosexuality is a choice. Neither do the heterosexuals who are so apparently fascinated with the analogous question as it applies to gays. To GLBTs, it is as if society asked, "Is being blue-eyed a choice" as a precursor to determining whether or not blue-eyed individuals should be held to a lower social and legal status than non-blue-eyed individuals.

Therefore, the debate over the nature and origins of homosexuality in humans is, in my view, a deliberate and calculated attempt by homophobes and bigots to manipulate the dialogue about the role of GLBTs in society away from the ways in which we share commonalities and the discrimination we face, and toward the biased, dogmatic thinking that underlies their prejudices about people who are not like themselves. And they have been incredibly successful at this sophistry and perversion of logic, as is witnessed by the asking of the "choice" question nearly every single time a discussion about gay people happens online. The ensuing useless debate is proof and product.

Re:To avoid this.. (4, Insightful)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566171)

Lets just take it from the top.

First up, you try to back up a claim by linking to a fluff piece interview with an WNBA basketball star. You then talk a bunch of other shit that is essentially just repeating the same assertion over and over again supported with variations of "becuase I said so." Then, you claim that we should make policy on something because you said so.

Your finaly gem is this bit about closeted self hating gays being a common phenomenon:

Ask yourself a simple question: if homosexuality were not a choice, why are the two most common insults directed at anyone who is against public promotion of homosexuality "well you must be in the closet" and "you must be afraid you'll try it and like it"? The mask slips just a tad too often, showing that the "it's not a choice" propaganda is pure lies.

You're saying that because it is a widely observed phenomenon that some of the most anti-gay people are actually gay themselves (Ted Haggard being one of the more recent and spectacular flameouts), this somehow supports your "being gay is a choice" assertion. Again, because you said so.

Look, I know you're not smart enough to understand whats happening here, so I'll spell it out for you:

When people suggest that homophobes are closeted self-loathing gays, it in no way implies that they think that inward sexual orientation is a choice, it means that they are saying that lots of people are gay but that they lie about it.

You know, lies. You might have heard of them. Hell, you're probably lying to yourself right now. About how much you like cock.

I would suggest mods give this a boost. (1, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566367)

First of all, the poster was brave enough to go against the obvious groupthink. That's worth some "interesting" points, unless you're abusing the moderation system by modding "flamebait" simply to deny eyeballs to a non-groupthink point of view.

Second of all, there are genuine good points within the post. The question of "framing the debate" isn't just involved in the pro/anti-gay debates, it happens in just about every debate. Abortion debaters mark themselves as "pro-choice" or "pro-life" because that tars their opponents as "anti-choice" or "anti-life" by implication. Democrats and Republicans regularly tar each other with all sorts of epithets. PETA seems to switch its nomenclature on a weekly basis, trying to figure out something that doesn't expose them as just a bunch of goat-fuckers. Environmental activists always push themselves as being "pro-environment" or "pro-earth" rather than "anti-" whatever their target of the day is.

The point made by parent, questioning whether the "choice" versus "not a choice" language is a tactic that may or may not have basis in fact, is very valid.

There is considerable debate within the "homosexual community", as well as scientific researchers, on whether homosexuality is innate, a choice, or somewhere in between. We know that there are people who claim to be "only gay", "only straight", and "bi-sexual" (or as some might say jokingly or not, "too horny to care"). We know that there are people who go to incredible lengths to mutilate their bodies in the name of either "beauty" or "identity" - some trying to look like animals, some trying to achieve unrealistic self-imposed beauty standards, some just nutcases [michaeljackson.com] , some trying to rewrite their "sexual identity".

It's entirely valid to question the assertion that a group of people, at least some of whom choose (rather than are forced) to be a part of the group, deserve some form of "protected class" consideration.

Re:To avoid this.. (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566175)

Mod parent up. Research indicates that exposure to prenatal hormones in utero may be the largest factor in homosexuality.

Re:To avoid this.. (1)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565989)

Genetic? What evidence do you have for this? Where are the patterns of inheritance? How does a gay gene become so widespread when having the gene makes you so much less likely to procreate?

No, it's probably not genetic. It's probably a combination of environmental and hormonal factors.

Re:To avoid this.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27566123)

Actually, a few studies have recently been done on this, correlating family histories to incidences of homosexuality.

It turns out that homosexuals usually have aunts and uncles, and sometimes parents, who are "hyper-hetero-"sexuals. In other words, the types who can't seem to stop going out and having fling after fling - the guys who impregnate women and vanish constantly, the women who have 7-8 kids by as many dads and keep in contact with none.

In other words, the same gene responsible for Shaniqua having Seven Kids by Seven Daddies (e.g. her "hyper-sexualized" self who "can't help" just getting knocked up over and over by any available male) eventually gets passed on, either through her or through her sister, and winds up making her sons/nephews gay. Same holds for the incoming lesbian daughters of the guy who is constantly running around having one-night stands, perhaps responsible for fathering one or two of Shaniqua's kiddies.

Re:To avoid this.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27566129)

How does a gay gene become so widespread when having the gene makes you so much less likely to procreate?

This has only recently been true. Had homosexuality always been alowed in the open the gene would probably be less prevelant than it currently is. You see, forcing gay people to hide there orientation and marry and have children just made more gay people.

Re:To avoid this.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27566243)

Whether homosexuality exists in the human population because it is a (recessive) genetic trait, or a social construct, or a biological environmental response, is irrelevant.

Homosexuality exists, and the capacity for it continues to exist, because it provides some benefit to the populations that express it. Just as sickle-cell anemia may protect populations in times of malarial epidemic, ensuring that some survive, and just as diabetic traits may ensure some survivors during times of famine, assuming that homosexuality is genetic. Or, if not, then just as populations benefit from the various social characteristics of leadership and loyalty (allowing social hierarchies), or interest (some like exciting occupations, some like dull; some people are natural warriors, some are natural coders). Genetic or other, variety in a population is strength. Yes, diversity is good.

The particular roles filled by homosexuals (and there are all kinds of homosexuals, from warriors to coders) have varied from culture to culture. In a warrior class gays might form closer emotional bonds. Or, by being less likely to start families, gays might fill roles that family members would be less likely to want to fill (priests, explorers, entertainers). I suspect that often the emotional angst of minority homosexuals in society have led them disproportionally to become artists.

We owe a lot to homosexuals, from Leonardo da Vinci to Ellen DeGeneres, because they contribute to the richness and complexity of our culture.

Re:To avoid this.. (5, Insightful)

sudotron (1459285) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566011)

*sigh*

Not sure if you were being serious or not, but either way I'm going to respond with my usual rant on the subject because I think it's important: Whether or not being gay is genetic shouldn't matter in the context of any policy whatsoever. It appalls me to no end that people debate about this when the real issue at hand is that adults ought to be able to have consensual sex with whomever they want. What I do in the bedroom is between me and whomever I'm in there with.

Re:To avoid this.. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27566289)

And the walls, don't forget the walls.

They always watching.

Re:To avoid this.. (1)

Omniscient Lurker (1504701) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566323)

I don't think issue is sex, I'm unaware of any place in the US which enforces anti-gay sex laws. Sure participants get dirty looks but you can get those even if you're straight and unmarried. I thought the issue was marriage, or more specifically government recognization of marriage and the benefits associated with it.

Personally I believe no marriages (straight/gay/polygamous/monogamous/etc.) should be recognized by the government instead any codependent unit should be eligible for the same tax breaks and should be recognized as a single entity by courts.

Re:To avoid this.. (4, Interesting)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566053)

being gay isn't a personal preference, it's genetic.

If you try to tell some gay people that they're gay because they made a choice, they'll claim it's genetic (thereby forestalling comments about their having made a bad choice.) If you try to tell them it's genetic, they get upset because they think you're saying their brains are defective, and insist they're exercising a personal preference instead. Like arguing religion or politics, it's not an argument that can ever be won.

Me, I have no problem accepting that I'm straight because it's in my genes. Whatever, doesn't really matter: as the Great Popeye once said, "I am what I am, what's all that I am." Sexuality is one of the most fundamental aspects of the human psyche, one that is vitally important to us for most of our lives, no matter what side of the fence we're on. To say it's simply "a choice" is demeaning on the face of it. It's too much a part of who we are.

Eventually, technology is going to make our very genes a matter of personal preference. It will be interesting to see which side the gay community comes down on then, since even if homosexuality really is a strictly hereditary phenomenon, there will truly be a choice. Of course, that will work both ways.

Re:To avoid this.. (4, Funny)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566181)

Eventually, technology is going to make our very genes a matter of personal preference. It will be interesting to see which side the gay community comes down on then, since even if homosexuality really is a strictly hereditary phenomenon, there will truly be a choice. Of course, that will work both ways.

If you're making a veiled threat at lesbian porn there is going to be fucking hell to pay.

Good brain washed fool .. good (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27566139)

Homosexuality may be genetic (or hormonal) or it may not be, that isn't the issue of this post

1) During the 80s/early-90s everyone claimed that (a) homosexuality was a personal preference you couldn't question and (b) homosexuality was something you were born with.
Now obviously both of those can't be right, but during the 80s both thoughts/phrases were beyond question. It was rude to doubt the veracity of either of those statements.
And the beauty was that you could whip out either one of those statements in an argument as best suited your needs.
Yes, back then the proscribed DoubleThink was quite open and enforced.

2) We don't know if homosexuality is an innate or inherited condition.
You have no proof except your vitriol.
And why do we have no proof? Because the GLBT interests ban/fight any research into the area. Because (they claim) finding such an inheritable gene/hormone marker would allow you to abort gay children. And, then they trot out the old Nazi accusations.
The truth is ... they don't know why people are homosexual. They have set up their PC answer and it must not be tested or questioned anymore than the Medieval idea that the Sun revolves around the Earth.
Also, it scares the shit out of them that if homosexuality is found to be chemical/biological, we could treat it like depression or diabetes. And we can't have that now can we?
So, ban scientific testing and when their is scientific testing attack the scientist until they (a) recant & shut up and/or (b) spin their results to fit your dogma. Also the scientists should go to "re-education".

So the point of this post is that you have swallowed whole a dogmatic belief with no proof and nothing but faith and anger to guide you.
You can tell how narrow-minded and bigoted you have become in your position by the level of anger you display when that position is questioned.

If you want to belief with your whole heart and soul that homosexuality is genetic, fine.
Just realize that belief rests of faith not proof.

Re:To avoid this.. (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566239)

But wanting to see or not see gay content is a preference.

Re:To avoid this.. (2, Insightful)

m0nkyman (7101) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565903)

I would be just as upset by that as I was by what they did. I'd also be upset if they allowed people to selectively exclude jews, blacks or women. Enabling bigotry isn't something I will support.

Re:To avoid this.. (1)

FrostDust (1009075) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566071)

I heard this "glitch" happened because they went after books with certain tags. I haven't used Amazon search in a while, but couldn't you simply include and exclude the tags you don't like (I don't know why someone'd be opposed to books from gays or lesbians, but whatever) during your search process? "-search term" works to exclude things in Google.

Re:To avoid this.. (1)

grcumb (781340) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566379)

Services like Amazon could just have a personal preferences for users that allows them to selectively exclude either gay content or content from gay authors. Problem solved.

[Emphasis mine]

Er, why would you want to omit classics by Christopher Marlowe, Somerset Maugham, Oscar Wilde, Evelyn Waugh, Walt Whitman, Joe Orton etc. etc. etc.?

Maybe while we're at it we should stop looking at sculptures by Michelangelo and listening to music by Tchaikovsky. And who needs Newtonian physics, anyway?

Sheesh. Just think for two seconds before you post. Please.

Wildly unpopular? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27565757)

So a few people get upset, make some noise, and it's suddenly wildly unpopular? I bet less than .1% of Amazon's customer base cares.

Re:Wildly unpopular? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565849)

So a few people get upset, make some noise, and it's suddenly wildly unpopular? I bet less than .1% of Amazon's customer base cares.

Studies suggest more like 10%...

Re:Wildly unpopular? (4, Funny)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565885)

Fact: 99% of quoted statistics are 150% bullshit.

Re:Wildly unpopular? (1)

nicolas.kassis (875270) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566237)

Considering what you said is obviously wrong I will conclude that we don't know if a statistic is bullshit or not. We can now go about believing what ever statistic we feel like is good enough to make our point.

Re:Wildly unpopular? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27566347)

Most of the reliable studies are well below that, the page on the demographics of sexual orientation [wikipedia.org] generally has the figure at between 1 and 5 percent.

Re:Wildly unpopular? (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566415)

And straight people aren't allowed to be angry at the decision/"glitch"?

Probably less than 1% of Amazon's userbase even heard about this happening, but I'll bet a very significant portion (50%+) of those users had at least some amount of negative feelings towards the incident.

Re:Wildly unpopular? (1, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565861)

I can't even think why I would care. I've never bought a book off of Amazon. I like sitting at Barnes and Nobles and browsing through books and choosing one. I guess I'm just old fashioned.

Re:Wildly unpopular? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27566233)

I prefer to download my books, its cheaper that way. Since I don't have a Kimdle, I get the books from Baen, in html.
(Although I do buy other products from amazon)

Re:Wildly unpopular? (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566271)

Flamebait? damn! hehe... I offended someone without trying. That's pretty good.

Alll that fuss (2, Funny)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565759)

Over a few extra 'esses'.

I don't think "hack" is the right word (4, Insightful)

taustin (171655) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565767)

If the claims for responsibility are even close to accurate, and they seem plausible, it wasn't a "hack" so much as gaming the system for consumers to complain of "adult content." Nothing was used in a way that it was not intended to be used, from a technical standpoint.

As for "implementing as wildly-unpopular new policy without telling anyone," there are reports of this going back to February, and very credible reports that thousands of romance novels were affected, probably more than the "gay" conent novels. Seems an odd thing for Amazon to do, don't you think?

But we'll never know, and articles like this are the reason why. If it was someone gaming the consumer tagging system, there is no way to explain it to the average person that will not make it sound like their web site was "hacked," which is to say, compromised. Given the rash of recent actual cracks involving hundreds of millions of credit card numbers, Amazon has damned good reason to not shoot from the hip in any public statements.

An apology for being so inept that a claim that a single person caused this with "ten lines of code" would be nice, though.

Re:I don't think "hack" is the right word (1)

KFK - Wildcat (512842) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565925)

It could be a genuine error, without any outside intervention.

It would have to be exceptionaly poor coding and testing of course, but I could imagine someone thinking it's a good idea to filter out "offensive" content by scanning the tags for keywords, and "gay", "lesbian", "adult" and such being in the "sexual content" keyword watchlist.

Re:I don't think "hack" is the right word (5, Interesting)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566267)

This seems like a hack to me, assuming it's true of course.

http://pastebin.ca/1390576 [pastebin.ca]

Oh hey Owen Thomas! How you doin?

Hay dude. Amazon removed its customer-based reporting of adult books yesterday. I guess my game is up! Here's a nice piece I like to call "how to cause moral outrage from the entire Internet in ten lines of code".

I really hate reputation systems based on user input. This started a while back on Craigslist, when I was trying to score chicks to do heroin with. My listings like "looking to get tarred and pleasured" and "Searching for a heroine to do the paronym of this sentence's lexical subject" kept getting flagged. The audacity of the San Francisco gay community disgusted me. They would flag my ads down but searching craigslist for "pnp" or "tina" reveals tons of hairy dudes searching for other hairy dudes to do meth with. So I decided to get them back, and cause a few hundred thousand queers some outrage.

I'm logged into Amazon at the time and see it has a "report as inappropriate" feature at the bottom of a page. I do a quick test on a few sets of gay books. I see that I can get them removed from search rankings with an insignificant number of votes.

I do this for a while, but never really get off my ass to scale it until recently.

So I script some quick bash.
#!/bin/bash
let count = 1
while true; do
links -dump 'http://www.amazon.com/s/qid=0/?ie=ASCII&rs=1000&keywords=Gay_and_Lesbian&rh=n%3A!1000%2Ci%3Astripbooks%2Ck%3AHomosexuality&page='`echo $count`|grep \/dp\/ >> /tmp/amazon
((count++))
done

There's some quick code to grab all the Gay and Lesbian metadata-tagged books on amazon. Then I pull out all the IDs of the given books from those URLs:

cat /tmp/amazon |sed s/.*dp\\/// |sed s/\\/ref.*//

and I have a neat little list of the internal product ID of every fag book on Amazon.

Now from here it was a matter of getting a lot of people to vote for the books. The thing about the adult reporting function of Amazon was that it was vulnerable to something called "Cross-site request forgery'. This means if I referred someone to the URL of the successful complaint, it would register as a complaint if they were logged in. So now it is a numbers game.

I know some people who run some extremely high traffic (Alexa top 1000) websites. I show them my idea, and we all agree that it is pretty funny. They put an invisible iframe in their websites to refer people to the complaint URLs which caused huge numbers of visitors to report gay and lesbian items as inappropriate without their knowledge.

I also hired third worlders to register accounts for me en masse. If you ever need a service like that, you can find them in a post like this advertising in the comments:
http://ha.ckers.org/blog/20070427/solving-captchas-for-cash/ [ckers.org]

Then they would log into the accounts, save the cookies in a cookie file and send it to me.

Then I used the cookie files like so to automated-report all the books:

for i in `cat /tmp/amazon |sed s/.*dp\\/// |sed s/\\/ref.*//`; do lynx -cookie_file=/home/avex/cookie1 http://www.amazon.com/ri/product-listing/ [amazon.com] `echo $i`/;done

The combination of these two actions resulted in a mass delisting of queer books being delisted from the rankings at Amazon.

I guess my game is up, but 300+ hits on google news for amazon gay and outrage across the blogosphere ain't so bad.

The only person to figure it out was dely from Six Apart:

http://tehdely.livejournal.com/88823.html [livejournal.com]

but he has been ground zero at my work, cleaning up my messes before.

So just letting you know the chain of events. if you choose to report on this, please don't disclose my identity/email address. Thanks!

Re:I don't think "hack" is the right word (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27566299)

Friday is my busy day. After I get off work as a substitute gym teacher, I have to race across town to the NAMBLA meeting. [nambla.de] Then it's a quick pit stop at McDonald's for a bite and to check out who is having a Happy Meal in Playland.

Afterward I must zip uptown to the Apple Users' Group meeting. Finally by 11:00 pm it's time to head home with my PowerBook and scope out the K12 chat rooms.

As I said, it's my busy day. If it weren't for my Apple computer, I don't know how I could do it all.

Has to have been intentional (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565769)

They're not apologizing? They did it on purpose. Now they're undoing it, because obviously it won't sell books. "We don't give a fuck about your sexual orientation, we just thought we could sell more shit. We were wrong, so you can have the search content back. Have a nice civil union, fuckers."

Re:Has to have been intentional (4, Insightful)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566025)

Seems a bit paranoid.

In the end, Amazon listened to their customers, and reversed an unpopular policy very quickly. If anything, this is good news.

It's blatantly not in Amazon's best interest to censor anything. The more variety and volume they sell, the larger the profit.

Re:Has to have been intentional (0)

Stiletto (12066) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566241)

In the end, Amazon listened to their customers, and reversed an unpopular policy very quickly. If anything, this is good news.

I don't know--it reminds me of the veloco-raptors in Jurassic Park methodically testing their electrified cage for things they can get away with...

You can bet this kind of "censorship" will happen much more slowly and gradually next time, so people don't notice.

Re:Has to have been intentional (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27566231)

So let's all come up with different ideas on what MUST have happened. Someone will eventually be lucky and get the right reason....

How about someone back up their "reason" with some real facts before spouting off at the mouth? I thought slashdot consisted of geeks and more science oriented people. I guess I have to assume that most people stating what it "had to have been" have no scientific principles to guide their "facts".

Sheesh, how can this be modded as insightful???? Oh, that's right people here must have the unsupported inside scoop.

crybaby faggot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27566321)

boohoo go suck a dick

An insider ? (3, Insightful)

Davemania (580154) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565771)

Or maybe it was done by a rogue employee with an agenda ?

type 'homosexuality' into the amazon search bar. (2, Insightful)

Roxxxadelic (1531715) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565773)

For some reason, the top search results are predominantly anti-homosexuality. I suspect a hack. I would respect amazon if they'd own up to it.

Re:type 'homosexuality' into the amazon search bar (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565835)

...Or it could be that most people who are homosexual wouldn't really need a book explaining it, whereas people who are anti-gay would read more books about it, and would be inclined to read anti-homosexual literature.

Re:type 'homosexuality' into the amazon search bar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27565867)

just like that, if you type "romance" would you thin you should see books about anti-romance? People that already know what romance is do not need books, but people looking to kill all you romantic ones does... (narf)

[end sarcasm]

Re:type 'homosexuality' into the amazon search bar (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565921)

...But similarly, I'm not going to type in "Heterosexual romance" whenever I search. And its similar to all other controversial topics, abortion, gun control, etc that you are going to get at least two sides to the argument. When one side uses the "formal" term that is used to not offend, and the other side uses the slang term, when you type in the formal term you are going to get more arguments opposing it then for it. Anyone that I have met who was homosexual, did not refer to themselves as homosexual, but rather as gay or lesbian, just about everyone I have heard opposing the gay lifestyle uses the term homosexual.

Re:type 'homosexuality' into the amazon search bar (1)

Roxxxadelic (1531715) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565871)

Yah, I do think it's interesting that the mix of books returned by Barnes and Noble are significantly different. Most of their results are either homosexual romances or books telling folk how to deal with friends and family who come out.

Re:type 'homosexuality' into the amazon search bar (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27565841)

Maybe their anti-homosexuality books are just more popular?

Searching for "heterosexuality" brings up books critical of heterosexuality (as a norm or ideal) as well.

Re:type 'homosexuality' into the amazon search bar (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27566285)

"Pro-homosexuals" would be more likely to search for "gay" or "lesbian", terms avoided by bigots because of their political connotations of acceptance and empowerment.

Interesting... (2, Interesting)

Bones3D_mac (324952) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565777)

If this was an outside job, it's quite clever and the timing was perfect.

If nothing else, it's a major wake-up call as to just how much power Amazon has amassed over the media as we know it. If we were looking at an upcoming Orwellian future, Amazon is certainly one possible cornerstone for total information control, right next to sites like Google.

Perhaps it's time to step back a really take a good hard look at how exactly we get all our information and how easily it could be taken away from us.

(That said, I know Amazon doesn't have a monopoly, but their role is still significant, none-the-less...)

Re:Interesting... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565857)

I honestly don't think we will have an Orwellian future on the internet without it being blocked at the ISP level. The nice thing about internet site is, people are open to change. Just look at the recent social networking boom, first it was Friendster, then it was Myspace and now its Facebook, 2-3 years from now who knows what the masses will be using. Search engines are the same way, remember the days of Yahoo? If Google or Amazon end up censoring mainstream things, expect to see a mass migration.

Re:Interesting... (1)

Bones3D_mac (324952) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566177)

I honestly don't think we will have an Orwellian future on the internet without it being blocked at the ISP level.

We may be closer than you think [slashdot.org] .

First by file size, next by keyword...

Re:Interesting... (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566211)

I get most of my reading material from Freenet [freenetproject.org] (0.5 of course) I guess I'm safe.

I highly recommend the 'The Second Renaissance' freesite - it'll take ya _months_ to get through that thing, and it's almost as good as dropping acid :)

If you don't wanna go through the trouble of getting Freenet, it's also here:
http://urza9814.googlepages.com/2ndRenaissanceText-Part1 [googlepages.com]
http://urza9814.googlepages.com/2ndRenaissanceText-Part2 [googlepages.com]

Re:Interesting... (3, Interesting)

IonOtter (629215) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566221)

If nothing else, it's a major wake-up call as to just how much power Amazon has amassed over the media as we know it.

No, this was a major wake-up call as to just how much havoc less than 140 characters can wreak upon a keystone business in less than 24 hours.

You mean gay people use the internet?!?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27565801)

...and they use Amazon too?!?

Who woulda thunk?!

frist stoP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27565815)

As little overhe4D

yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27565847)

Was the Amazon De-listing Situation a Glitch Or a Hack?

Yes.

Breaking news... (5, Informative)

Miracle Jones (976646) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565853)

Additionally, Ed Champion is reporting that Amazon has finally broken today's silence to comment on the matter to him [edrants.com] , calling the episode "a ham-fisted cataloging error." From Champion's website: "After multiple attempts to contact Amazon, I have at long last received the following reply from Patty Smith by email: "This is an embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloging error for a company that prides itself on offering complete selection. It has been misreported that the issue was limited to Gay & Lesbian themed titles -- in fact, it impacted 57,310 books in a number of broad categories such as Health, Mind & Body, Reproductive & Sexual Medicine, and Erotica. This problem impacted books not just in the United States but globally. It affected not just sales rank but also had the effect of removing the books from Amazon's main product search. Many books have now been fixed and we're in the process of fixing the remainder as quickly as possible, and we intend to implement new measures to make this kind of accident less likely to occur in the future."

Napoleon (not Dynamite) said it best... (5, Insightful)

Nutria (679911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565999)

ham-fisted cataloging error

"Never ascribe to malice that which can adequately be explained by incompetence."

i tried searching for "ham-fisting" (1)

gemada (974357) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566183)

"a ham-fisted cataloging error."

I was trying to add to my "ham-fisting" book collection on the weekend but all amazon searches came back empty.

Re:i tried searching for "ham-fisting" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27566257)

"ham-fisting"

I think the gays now know exactly how to recruit Homer Simpson.

Re:i tried searching for "ham-fisting" (1)

Eternal Vigilance (573501) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566287)

Ahh, now I know what they mean they call those Easter hams "Honey-glazed"...and why they're so expensive!

Re:Breaking news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27566223)

Spin, spin, spin.

Given the assertions, with supporting documentation of Mark Probst and ... that other guy ... that this is not a "glitch", but an intentional policy by Amazon, their claims are, indeed, ham-fisted and not credible.

The one time I try to RTFA... (5, Informative)

brainfsck (1078697) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565869)

I clicked on the link [fictioncircus.com] about hackers claiming credit for the Amazon hack expecting to find to find a professional web site about computer security.

Instead, I got a bizarrely colored and (hopefully) satirical blog containing articles titled "Amazon is a Gay-Hating Company for Nazis" [fictioncircus.com] .

That'll teach me for trying to RTFA.

who is misrepresenting the truth (2, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565997)

In the previous /. post, this blog entry was given as evidence that Amazon is evil [fictioncircus.com] .

Within this blog entry the following assertion was made:

So, because Probst is a publisher and has an Amazon Advantage account, he sent Amazon a letter saying "whafa" and he got this in response:

"In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude "adult" material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature.

Hence, if you have further questions, kindly write back to us.

Best regards,

Ashlyn D

Member Services

Amazon.com Advantage"

So! Probst was wrong! He WAS being persecuted!

This begs several questions. Is the above email genuine? If genuine, was the statement valid or was it an honest misstatement by a customer service person. If the quoted text is true, does Amazon in fact have a policy of excluding items that it considers porn, and was it this policy that was hacked?

I the policy does exist, isn't it much more likely that Amazon was modifying this policy and there was some sort of error in the code, or perhaps a over active coder introduced the feature.

Re:who is misrepresenting the truth (1)

sudotron (1459285) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566083)

I was going to say the exact same thing, but you beat me to it.

However, whether or not the letter is genuine it seems unlikely that a glitch would cause specifically gay literature to be de-listed; one would expect some other unusal behavior from their search engine as well, which hasn't been reported so far. As for it being a hack, I would suspect that anyone who gained access to Amazon's listing service would do something a little more malicious than simply de-listing gay books (I know I would).

Just my two cents.

Re:who is misrepresenting the truth (4, Informative)

cduffy (652) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566201)

This begs several questions. Is the above email genuine? If genuine, was the statement valid or was it an honest misstatement by a customer service person. If the quoted text is true, does Amazon in fact have a policy of excluding items that it considers porn, and was it this policy that was hacked?

No, it does not beg several questions, it raises them. Beggaring a question is a completely different thing. [end pedantry]

The quote from the customer service person was probably correct, inasmuch as the relevant content was inadvertently flagged as pornographic due to, as Amazon puts it, a ham-fisted cataloging error -- allegedly by Amazon's French office [lilithsaintcrow.com] . I doubt that the customer service type exercised enough initiative to determine whether the flag was set correctly.

The exclusion of pornographic content was a new, intentional policy. The classification of sexual but non-pornographic content was an error.

April Fools' joke anyway. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27566021)

It is just a prolonged April Fools' joke, and they need to "harden" their security measures.
Sounds like they needed the drug that start with letter V.

Books about perverse sexual practices.. (-1, Flamebait)

d_jedi (773213) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566029)

Should be labelled as "adult material".

Re:Books about perverse sexual practices.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27566041)

Especially Modern Bride magazine.

Re:Books about perverse sexual practices.. (1)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566209)

Why do you hate Mormons so much?

Hacked internally? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27566087)

What if it wasn't an official policy, but someone with database access decided to go on a crusade on this point?

Sigh (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27566131)

As someone who is privy to the inside story here, it's rather tragicomic to see otherwise-intelligent people peddle false information and conspiracy theories when actual, real data is out there.

Please read the link mentioned in the summary, http://blog.seattlepi.com/amazon/archives/166329.asp

There's your answer. Sorry, no hackz0rs or clandestine corporate policy changes involved.

Griefers. (4, Interesting)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566163)

I like this analysis from Charles Stross:

"It's obvious Amazon has some sort of automatic mechanism that marks a book as "adult" after too many people have complained about it. ... So somebody is going around and very deliberately flagging only LGBT(QQI)/feminist/survivor content on Amazon until it is unranked and becomes much more difficult to find. To the outside world, this looks like deliberate censorship on the part of Amazon, since Amazon operates the web application in question.""

http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/index.html [antipope.org]

Amazon have done this before (5, Informative)

Ren.Tamek (898017) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566205)

Anyone remember the massive public protest against the stupid Spore DRM scheme? If you look up the game on Amazon, you can still see the extremely low rating [amazon.com] people are giving it.

Well, a couple of weeks later and Amazon had had enough. Even though the concerns about DRM and Starforce were definitely something consumers would want to know before they bought the product, one day the reviews just dissappeared. The cause? A mysterious glitch! [kotaku.com] Sound familiar? The publicity from game news sites was so bad they put the reviews back up almost instantly.

Kind of proves that Amazon haven't really learned their lesson about what kind of behaviour will and won't be tolerated by the public. How many gay and lesbian customers is this incident going to lose them, I wonder? Was is worth it to appease whoever paid them to do it?

Re:Amazon have done this before (2, Insightful)

seebs (15766) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566255)

Amazon are habitual liars. Why would you believe anything they say that you can't verify independently?

Was this such a bad glitch? (2, Insightful)

Glass Goldfish (1492293) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566213)

If this was completely intentional, it wouldn't be such a big deal. Non-political censorship is a minor matter. It would be terrible news if Amazon was de-ranking liberal or conservative books. But this is a minor issue. Worst case scenario, men will have to go back to jerking off to Sears catalogues. How difficult is it to find "adult content" on the Internet? My guess is that 90% of people trying to buy adult oriented books have a pretty good idea of what they're looking for. They probably have a name or saw something online. Otherwise you might buy something that includes she-male porn. Or does not include she-male porn (I didn't want to leave the Apple guys out).

Gay and lesbian books are a niche market. So are many other things. Dan Brown novels and Harry Potter books appeal to a general audience. Not saying that they're great, just that a wide scope of people buy them. Pregnancy books are an example of a niche market. People who want to find pregnancy books, search for pregnancy books. They are completely irrelevant to other people. The same for deck repair. Most non-gays are not interested in gay material. Joe Hetero-Average or Jane Hetero-Average do not benefit from getting gay book hits on their generic searches. If you want a gay cowboy story, search for "gay cowboy". If you want a book on kitchen repair, search for "sink disaster".

If this wasn't a glitch, it's because the vast majority of the world's population is repulsed by homosexual sex. The same way that the vast majority of the population do not want to see a man and a woman who have a BMI of 50 have sex. The media image of sexy lesbians is pretty much lesbian blackface, they are usually presented as two straight women who are having sex to arouse a man. This does not mean that people want homosexuals imprisoned or punished, the public just doesn't want to watch them "exercise" their freedom. Just as most people do not want to watch a burn victim have sex with someone with a colostomy bag.

As far as sales figures go, I've never understood why people are so likely to follow them. I don't have grey hair and I've known for a long time that sometimes half the people in the country buy drek. Popularity and Quality are independent of each other.

When did "bug" become "glitch" ? (2, Interesting)

6350' (936630) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566229)

This has been on my mind over the last year, so I'm curious what insight others might have:

I've noticed a growing trend of people replacing the word "bug" with "glitch," in ever increasingly frequency. Anyone else noticed this? I am active in an open source fps (http://sauerbraten.org/ [sauerbraten.org] ), and paying attention to questions and comments by new users has really highlighted this trend. What's the cause in this shift? World of Warcraft? (Don't laugh - a game with that kind of userbase can have an impact, at the scale they operate at).

Amazon back-pedalling (2)

Ozlanthos (1172125) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566339)

"Or is the most obvious and likely scenario true, and Amazon simply got caught implementing a wildly-unpopular new policy without telling anyone?"

I think this is the most likely scenario. It seems that several entities have tried this kind of crap before. Personally I think doing it online is something akin to book-burning. I guess I find such fact-filtering to be censorship the likes of a lie of omission, seeing as many of the books I like would most likely fall out of print due to lack of purchases (which goes up proportionally to the level of exposure a book gets....or lack there of). If you cannot find a book because it doesn't show up in your search results, it might as well not exist.


-Oz

Thank God for Apple... (0, Flamebait)

realmolo (574068) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566393)

Because without Macs, there wouldn't be any homosexuals shopping on Amazon at all, and this whole fiasco would've never been discovered.

The answer is obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27566395)

Obviously, Amazon.com hates gay people. It's typical for those in the arts and literature to be. Everyone knows that the gays are all in the military instead.

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Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

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"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>