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Fwiffo 22 June 2015 05:07 PM
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No laywer does 100% pro-bono. They make their living in the non-pro-bono cases. I also understand that it's the decision of the laywer/their firm to take the case and whether to pro-bono it. It can be likened to volunteer work. Doing in profession volunteer work is good in that it benefits from specialization. But it still does fit my pretty general wording.

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ChristianKl 23 June 2015 12:29 PM
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Interestingly it seems like Duolingo has legal problems with letting Europeans translate texts for free and then resell those texts.
As a result the put into their Terms&Conditions a ban for Europeans to use the related feature.

European labor laws might prevent Duolingo from selling translations done by unpaid labor.

If you make general laws that forbid all work done for low pay you start to forbid all sorts of special cases, where people have motivations besides money to do the work.

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Fwiffo 24 June 2015 01:06 AM
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If it is done free of charge why does the company need money for distributing it? It is kinda questionable to profit from volunteer work. Being involved in that volunteer work results in true impact less so. But then you don't need to end up with a surplus.

I can understand that allowing free making and distributing of work that supports a comerical product, for example free mods on base game that is not free.

I wouldn't be that against for micro-jobs or work that has low compensation but low work load. But even that kind of work doesn't automatically work perfect under rules designed with long term employess in mind.

However when a job takes a full working day, even if the job description is very light it seriously cuts into the workers ability to have auxillary income.

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ChristianKl 24 June 2015 05:47 AM
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Duolingo needs to make money somewhere to pay it's bills. It has various employees who do earn a wage.
It benefits tens of millions of people in the third world by giving them an effective free way to learn English.

But even that kind of work doesn't automatically work perfect under rules designed with long term employess in mind.
When designing laws you have to think about all groups that will be effected and not only on the groups which motivate you to write the law.


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Fwiffo 24 June 2015 07:57 AM
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Could there not be found a way where the freely generated part is distributed freely? Freely translated and freely used for learning circumvents the profit-motive. I guess it is part of free-to-play not meaning free if some users pay and others don't.

Persons that do work for a lot of changing employees have issues like not acruing vacation days and face worse consequences for what would be sickleave. They also can't that well aquire seniority status or wage even if they end up doing those tasks a comparable amount.

One could think that law that does not have minimum wage focuses only on very lucrative jobs and might be lacking when it comes to inefficient jobs. On the other hand you have to keep an eye on commercializing volunteer work. For what example "free for non-commerical use" means. It doesn't strike me as obvious that work used in a free-to-use service is non-commercial. In that way "open work" as in open software should not easily or accidentally result in "closed" or proprietary property. It would be more destructive than constructive if the distinction of commercial or non-commercial use would be abolished.

Rather than not do it, the legal framework might encourage to do it in a way that is demonstrably open instead of proprietary.

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ChristianKl 24 June 2015 09:06 AM
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The idea is that Duolingo allows everybody to learn a language for free.
On the other hand a company that wants to have their texts translated from one language into another has to pay.

There nothing ethical problematic with that business model.
Rather than not do it, the legal framework might encourage to do it in a way that is demonstrably open instead of proprietary.
That would likely make it harder for open source companies to do business because they would have to hire more lawyers.

They will need to invest more effort into complying with regulation than in producing value.

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Fwiffo 24 June 2015 10:48 AM
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If it is okay for a company to pay to have texts translated why not just pay the translators?

Turned to the negative companies can be wishy washy about the legal status of their activities so they don't have to pull resources away from the actual doing. So you are arguing that we should accept a grey market in favour of a white one on the basis of efficiency.

It is not utterly clear where duolingo makes its money. Brief searching hits duolingos own forums where the best guesses is either that they are growing and will add the monetazion element later or that they are getting money from selling the translations forward to other companies. Selling data forward that has been generated for you free has ethical concerns attached to it. Which are not entirely negated by giving it to 3rd world citizens free also.

I have been involved with the localization of Planetary Annihilation and they didn't run into legal troubles getting their UI etc translated to multiple languages with free work even thought they are selling a game that costs. So it is unlikely that Duolingo is doing a thing that is categorically hard for those reasons but that they are genuinely reserving a right to (potentially) sell workproducts generated for them free.

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ChristianKl 26 June 2015 05:51 AM
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If it is okay for a company to pay to have texts translated why not just pay the translators?

Because language learning beginners who are willing to practice a language to improve their skills aren't price competitive with highly skilled translators

The value created per hour isn't high enough to qualify for minimum wage.
It is not utterly clear where duolingo makes its money.

At the moment Duolingo isn't profitable.

Their first plane was to make money via selling translations.
Selling data forward that has been generated for you free has ethical concerns attached to it.
That depends on your ethical system. If you are utilitarian and want to maximize human happiness there's nothing unethical about it.

I have been involved with the localization of Planetary Annihilation and they didn't run into legal troubles getting their UI etc translated to multiple languages with free work even thought they are selling a game that costs.
The fact that nobody sues you, doesn't mean that you aren't exposed to potential lawsuits.

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Fwiffo 7 July 2015 11:40 AM
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To be consistent it should be okay for universities to sell student homework.

I am suspecting that you make a overtly general statement about all utilitarian theories endorsing it. Just because you use a particular meta-ethical framework and find the result to be in accordance with your deep principles doesn't mean that a utilitarian opinion opposing it could not be formulated. For example one could argue that the translators should sell their translating directly to the companies needing the translation cutting out the middleman and that the middleman represents a preventable utility sink.

If you are guessing that my stance is faulty because I use a some meta-ethical non-utilitarian framework please be explicit what that would be and why you find it faulty. Incentivising people to use time beyond what is neccesary for learning can be perfectly well seen in terms of disutility (the translation units are unlikely to perfectly match with the effort they would have otherwise used).

Crying over things that companies can't do that could very well be unprofitable even if permitted to do such a thing isn't the most compelling of cases. Especially when the main concern against is sustainability.

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ChristianKl 10 July 2015 02:46 AM
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It should be okay for universities to having contracts with students to sell student homework. I also think that's the case.

Universities certainly to give work to support the research of the university to students and then use the resulting intellectual property commercially.
If you are guessing that my stance is faulty because I use a some meta-ethical non-utilitarian framework please be explicit what that would be and why you find it faulty.

The core question here is whether you are okay with less value being produced. If you are then take that stance explicitly.

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Fwiffo 10 July 2015 08:34 AM
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Utilons are not dollars. While it is clear it produces economic value it is not atleast selfevident that the result is good. If a seller wants to sell drugs and a buyer wants to buy that will drive them to do business but it doesn't make a narcotic related lifestyle especially virtous. We can also understand that a narc might want to buy but that he is doing an error in doing that and infact he would be better off not buying even if he resists that option. So factors other than what the participants want can be ethically relevant.

Normally in these arrangements it serves both sides. But the serving of the student is greatly diminshed in this case. By similar logic that some look down on those that just receive welfare and don't even try to serve others to make a living, we can be suspcious that this is essentially the company receiving free value with the connection to the value that they create being in a very nebolous relationship compared to what they receive. If somebody was throwing gold into the trash and somebody noticed this and started collecting it but not informing the dumper that gold is valuable, he is not stealing it per se but there is deception going on. That is tricking someone to work for you isn't that commendable.

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ChristianKl 10 July 2015 11:11 AM
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Of course they are not dollars. The Duolingo user doesn't want to earn money, he wants to learn a language by training translation. And you don't want that he is allowed to do so. You don't want allow him to get the utilons he wants.

There no reason to assume that a beginning language learner is able to produce translations with a value that allows a company to pay him minimum wage. A person who's willing to pay minimum wage will higher a person with stronger language skills.

It's just not possible to make a trade whereby Duolingo would pay minimum wage.
No Duolingo user would be better of if Duolingo wouldn't exist.

The argument against drugs is that a participant in the interaction might get harmed. Nobody gets harmed in Duolingo. There also no deception in the case of Duolingo. Duolingo is informing users.

You make arguments that simply don't work.

When it comes to university students written a bachelor thesis most students would want the thesis to have real world effects and not be completely ignored after it's written.
Getting university students to do meaningless works is neither in the interest of the student nor the university but you seem to desire that state.

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Fwiffo 18 July 2015 02:17 AM
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Duolingo could have the text translated and then donate the translations to the companies that need them. That way the utility to the user could be preserved. But if the company receiving the translation should pay for them why should not duolingo when it receives them form the users? It's also that low value because companies do not want it. If they would want it they would pay real money for it. Crying over that selling products that customers don't want isn't viable is not about injustice but poor choice of product.

Duolingos forums were quite clueless on how the business model works and the website doesn't handily present such information. They also go forward with a lot of emphaisising bringing language skills to poor countries. At least some of the translators might take on the task thinking that the translation is used to enable such poor country education. it would be good if they do inform and the "cure" would be for them to inform more, but there are some indicators to suspect that the business model isn't common knowledge among the participants.

When language exercises are the same text over multiple students there is more control over on vocabulary and the level of challenge. Presenting a proper challenge curve makes for a smoother learning experience. In exchange for having real world impact there is a tradeoff of it being somewhat more cumbersome to use as a learning tool. Because the utility is so low even small drawbacks need to be tracked to be informed of the overall balance. If a user would not use duolinog they would use text spesifically prepared to be used in language learning. In getting constantly new text translated it would be way more diffcult to ensure the same level of learnability value of real texts.

I am somewhat uncomfortable on the tone of you making unilateral accusations of ill will. Also if I make ... read more


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ChristianKl 18 July 2015 06:31 AM
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If you ask Duolingo to pay minimum wage you not only argue for more than just paying the people.

Also if I make arguments that don't win you over they obviously don't work but it is redundant to say that over "I disagree"
No. There are good arguments that are not strong enough to win me over but which as still rational arguments.

If we would have this discussion on LW your posts would be strongly downvoted for not engaging in rational argument.
When Omnilibrium fails to filter in that way, that's an issue that separate from disagreement. I'm used to LW standards of discussion and the goal of the Omnilibrium project was to keep them.
They also go forward with a lot of emphaisising bringing language skills to poor countries.
Duolingo actually manages to do that.

When language exercises are the same text over multiple students there is more control over on vocabulary and the level of challenge. Presenting a proper challenge curve makes for a smoother learning experience. In exchange for having real world impact there is a tradeoff of it being somewhat more cumbersome to use as a learning tool.
Duolingo actually gives users specifically prepared exercises as default and allows the user to translate real world texts as an additional feature. It forces nobody to translate texts to use it.

Again here the problem isn't disagreement. It's that you try to rationalize your position instead of engaging in informed arguments.

30 hours of Duolingo equal roughly one semester of language courses in a Western university. Duolingo likely provides a better learning experience then the other choices a poor African has.

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Fwiffo 18 July 2015 07:30 AM
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Please more explicitly state the steps that would get me downvoted on LW so I can verify that they are failures of method and not disagreements. We are also not committed to follow some third partys standards or submit to some third party as a judge.

The reasoning behind LW votes can be nebolous. Sometimes people vote just because it is not an appropriate forum for those kinds of thing, not particulalry that there would be wrong with the content per se. I would like to remind you that I believe this kind of politcal talk should be cooperative and you should not feel any special need to answer my posts just because I post. The idea is that by going throught the trouble of writing and reading posts understandings that might be useful for all parties could be produced. If you think you have low chances of benefitting to replying to me I fully understand if you don't want to one sidedly serve me. But if I would be downvoted to silence or you start ignoring me that doesn't make me be wrong.

I state reasons why I hold the beliefs that I do in fact belief. Since I in general try to apply epistemologically defensible standards this allows others to point out things that are suspect. I would find it valuable if the non-sequitors would be pointed out. Saying that someone is stupid and not explaining to them how they are stupid isn't particularly helpful.

I am sorry but I am not omniscient enough to know in advance to communication which of my beliefs you share. The method of saying what my beliefs are and learning what you agree and disagree with has been the method of choice for me to dealing with this shortcoming.

If you place strict restrictions on with what kind of mind you can successfully argue your position it makes your logic less universal and more partisan. Given a sufficiently interestingly working mind almost anyone would not bother to go ... read more


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ChristianKl 20 July 2015 09:14 AM
64%

And it's okay if that means that millions of Africans won't learn decent English and thus can't participate well in the global economy?

I mean who cares about helping poor African's after all by giving them something for free? Western company should focus on building value for people in the West!

The logic that employers shouldn't get things for free results in customers also getting nothing for free and poor people who can't afford good language learning courses getting nothing for free.

If you haven't read it the list of values of liberal communism is good:
1#: 1. You shall give everything away free (free access, no copyright); just charge for the additional services, which will make you rich."


If you place strict restrictions on with what kind of mind you can successfully argue your position it makes your logic less universal and more partisan.
Seeking rational debating partners limits the amount of people to talk with but it doesn't bias towards right or left thinking and isn't partisan it that sense.

I'm used to have my political discussion with LW people and not by what's considered reasonable discussion on 4Chan or Reddit.

Eliezer made the example of an absence of consumer regulation in policy debates shouldn't be onsided:
Saying "People who buy dangerous products deserve to get hurt!" is not tough-minded. It is a way of refusing to live in an unfair universe. Real tough-mindedness is saying, "Yes, sulfuric acid is a horrible painful death, and no, that mother of 5 children didn't deserve it, but we're going to keep the shops open anyway because we did this cost-benefit calculation."


You are not willing to defend your principles in such a way. You are not willing to say that you are okay with millions of African's being worse off because they don't learn English because you think the ... read more


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