If you've been to DKos today, you've probably already heard about this. But if you haven't, I thought this needed to be pointed out. Right now, at the top of the Rec List, is a diary by flitedocnm discussing something strange going on. Seems that every diary dealing with health care issues, or at least the ones that have tags like “health care”, etc., are being hit with an auto-appended ad.
The ad is from SEIU, and of course is asking to be clicked, and their agenda supported. The problem is, this ad is placed in such a position that it looks like the diarist placed it there intentionally. But in reality the ad is being placed there automatically. It's obvious the ad is being placed there through some programming technique, but what isn't so clear is WHY. Of course part of the answer to “why” is to increase ad revenue, but the other issue is whether the “right or wrong” of this was thought out in advance.
I'm still waiting to see how the site admins, or Markos himself, responds to the complaints about this… and believe me, there are LOTS of complaints, running maybe 95% against. I'm not dumping on DKos, because as of right now it's not clear whether anyone realized how offensive people were gonna find this. I'm hoping they'll come back with, “What was I thinking?!”, and fix the problem. But if it's some new site policy where they can put up an ad anywhere they want, even if it makes it look like the diarist is supporting that ad's agenda, then there's of course a serious problem with that. I feel it's no different than editing the text of a diary or a comment to make it appear that the writer said something he/she didn't. Well, maybe not quite as bad, but still not good… not good at all.
Again, the main reason I'm writing this is not to dump on DKos. It's got a lot of good things going for it, and I don't plan on leaving there anytime soon (if I have any say in it). But there are obviously some issues about that site that get people riled up, and I wanted to give you all a heads up in case this turns into another one.
Of course by the time you read this, it's entirely possible that Markos or someone else will have fixed this, and the whole point of this little rant will become pretty moot. I hope that's what happens.
UPDATE: Just wanted to make it clear I'm not taking a position on SEIU or their healthcare stance. As far as I can tell, they're pretty close to where we want to be (public single-payer option), but not perfect. Regardless, that's not the point. Even if it was Amnesty International, GreenPeace, the ACLU (all of which I completely support), or whatever, it still wouldn't be right to append their ad onto a person's diary and make it look like that person supported the cause, when they may or they may NOT.