In a recent paper, I’ve argued we find a cultural project underpinning ‘big data’: a commitment to reducing human being, in all its embodied affective complexity, stripping it of any reality beyond the behavioural traces which register through digital infrastructure. Underlying method, methodology and theory there is a vision of how human beings are constituted, as well as how they can be influenced. In some cases, this is explicitly argued but it is often simply implicit, lurking beneath the surface of careful choices which nonetheless exceed their own stated criteria.

It’s an argument I’m keen to take further than I have at present and reading Who Cooked Adam Smith’s Dinner by Katrine Marçal  has left me interested in exploring the parallels between homo economicus (and why we are invested in him) and the emerging homo digitalis. Marçal writes on pg 162 of the allure of the former, misunderstood if we see it as nothing more than an implausible theoretical construct or a mechanism to exercise influence over political decision-making:

Many have criticized economic man’s one-dimensional perspective. He lacks depth, emotions, psychology and complexity, we think. He’s a simple, selfish calculator. A caricature. Why do we keep dragging this paper doll around? It’s ridiculous. What does he have to do with us? But his critics are missing something essential. He isn’t like us, but he clearly has emotions, depth, fears and dreams that we can completely identify with. Economic man can’t just be a simple paper doll, a run-of-the-mill psychopath or a random hallucination. Why, if he were, would we be so enchanted? Why would we so desperately try to align every part of existence with his view of the world, even though collected research shows that this model of human behaviour doesn’t cohere with reality? The desperation with which we want to align all parts of our lives with the fantasy says something about who we are. And what we are afraid of. This is what we have a hard time admitting to ourselves. Economic man’s parodically simple behaviour doesn’t mean that he isn’t conjured from deep inner conflicts

What makes homo economicus so compelling? This allure has its roots in a denial of human dependence, describing on pg 155 how our fascination with “his self-sufficiency, his reason and the predictable universe that he inhabits” reflect discomfort with our once having been utterly dependent on others, “at the mercy of their hopes, demands, love, neuroses, traumas, disappointments and unrealized lives”, as well as the inevitability that we will be so again at the other end of the life-course. But he also embodies a vision of what life should be like between the two poles of dependency, as she writes on pg 163:

His identity is said to be completely independent of other people. No man is an island, we say, and think that economic man’s total self-sufficiency is laughable. But then we haven’t understood his nature. You can’t construct a human identity except in relation to others. And whether economic man likes it or not –this applies to him as well. Because competition is central to his nature, his is an identity that is totally dependent on other people. Economic man is very much bound to others. But bound to them in a new way. Bound to them. Downright chained to them. In competition. If economic man doesn’t compete, he is nothing, and to compete he needs other people. He doesn’t live in a world without relationships. He lives in a world where all relationships are reduced to competition. He is aggressive and narcissistic. And he lives in conflict with himself. With nature and with other people. He thinks that conflict is the only thing that creates movement. Movement without risk. This is his life: filled with trials, tribulations and intense longing. He is a man on the run.

If I’m right about the existence of homo digitalis, a clear vision of human constitution underpinning ‘big data’*, we can ask similar questions about this truncated, eviscerated, predictable monad. So complex when we look up close, so simple when we gaze down from on high. Our individuality melts away in the aggregate, leaving us no longer overwhelming but simply overwhelmed. Manageable, knowable, stripped back. Why might this be an appealing vision of human kind? Who might it be appealing to? I’m sure many can guess where I’m going with this, but it’s a topic for another post.

*A term I use to encompass digital social science, commercial and academic, as well as the organisations and infrastructures which it facilitates.

In the last couple of months, I’ve found myself reflecting on irritation. What is it? It’s one of our most recognisable reactions to the world, yet it’s hard to be precise about what it is. Is it an emotion? Is it a state of mind? Is it a reaction to the world? This is the definition which Wikipedia offers:

Annoyance is an unpleasant mental state that is characterized by such effects as irritation and distraction from one’s conscious thinking. It can lead to emotions such as frustration and anger. The property of being easily annoyed is called irritability.

There’s a whole model of the person implicit within this which I’m sceptical of. The idea that mental states manifests themselves in effects with implications for cognition, generated by propensities and generating emotions. It’s an individualised account, even if a multifaceted one, concerning something that’s deeply relational.

The most straight forward definition of irritation would be ‘something which irritates’. In one sense it’s circular, telling us nothing about what irritation is, but it captures the relationality of the reaction. We are irritated by something. We find something irritating. It involves an evaluative relation to the world, but one which, as it were, goes wrong. Far from the smoothly hermeneutic world of the post-Aristotelian philosophers, we have the Goffmanian reality of living together (in a world which frustrates our purposes).

So if irritation is being irritated by something, what is it to be irritated? To be “angered, provoked, or annoyed” or “inflamed or made raw, as a part of the body”. The second definition concerns the resolutely physical but I think it captures something important. We are irritated when we are inflamed by the world, made raw by its recalcitrance. People or circumstances irritates us when they impede our routine movement through the world. Things are not as we expect. We’re forced to calibrate ourselves in relation to the world, pushed back into ourselves confronted with a world that resists us, rather than easily making or way through it. 

We get irritated by others when they do not act as we expect them to. We get irritated by others when they do not act as we think they ought to. In this sense, I would argue that irritation tracks declining social integration: the less agreement there is about how we ought to comport ourselves, the more likely we are to experience irritation in daily life.

What interests me is how we respond to this. If we simply make internal allowances for the fact that others may have different expectations and aspirations to ourselves, it’s easy for the irritation to dissipate. A trivial example: I find it irritating when people talk loudly in the steam room at my gym. But I also recognise that some people go there to socialise, whereas for me it’s a resolutely individual activity. Reminding myself of that fact usually leads the irritation to subside.

On the other hand, if I seek external confirmation for my reaction, it’s unlikely to subside. This is where social media comes in: the imagined interlocutor (what Danny Miller calls the ‘meta best friend’) can serve as a outlet, without the possibility for censure that arises when you share with a concrete individual who’s liable to tell you to stop obsessing and let other people be. It’s even more effective when an agent of this imagined interlocutor, someone who emerges from the background to respond definitively before fading back into it and propping up an imagined consensus, confirms that they too find this behaviour irritating.

Sharing irritation through social networks can facilitate an extreme form of what critical realists call communicative reflexivity. We find confirmation of our immediate reactions in others, rather than further interrogating our reaction internally, leading to a hardening of our reaction and a disposition to act similarly in future. I don’t think digital technology straight forwardly causes a decline in social integration but I do think social networks can amplify personal reactions which entrench the decline by, as it were, depleting the reserves of tolerance we have for others who think about and approach life in a different way to us. This is connected to the paradox of incivility and it’s something I’d like to come back to in greater depth.

A few weeks ago, I found myself on a late night train to Manchester from London. After a long day, I was longing to arrive home, a prospect that seemed imminent as the train approached Stockport. Then it stopped. Eventually, we were told that there was someone on the tracks ahead and that the police were on the scene. We waited. After another ten minutes, we were told that the police were still trying to apprehend the person on the tracks. I checked Twitter and saw this incident had been unfolding for a while, seemingly disrupting all the trains going into and through Stockport train station. We waited some more. The train manager announced that the police had told trains they could proceed… a few minutes later the finally moving train came to an abrupt halt, apparently because the person who, it turned out was still on the tracks, had almost been hit. The train staff seemed surprised and mildly shaken up, unable to explain why the police had given the order to move. 

I eventually made it to Manchester, albeit after the last tram to the north had departed. As a naturally curious person, I wanted to find out more about what had happened, not least of all to clarify the slightly weird Benny Hill-esque images I was left with following these repeated invocations of police “in pursuit of” this mysterious “woman on the tracks” over half an hour. Plus what the hell were the police doing telling the train to proceed when she was still on the tracks? If it was a mistake, I was curious about why exactly they thought their pursuit had ended when they hadn’t arrested her. If it wasn’t a mistake, it seemed an inexcusable and possibly illegal action, both in terms of harm to the woman and the psychological violence potentially inflicted on a train driver.

But I couldn’t find anything. I searched local newspapers but nothing. I searched social media but could only find my own tweet and the blandly descriptive disruption update on national rail enquiries. My point in recounting this story is not to stress the intrinsic interest of the situation itself. It’s not particularly interesting and you likely had to be there to have any concern. Rather, I’m interested in understanding the character of my frustration at being unable to find what I was looking for through digital means. It’s something I thought back to yesterday, when I was looking for a particular clip from the Simpsons to make a point in a conversation I was having with someone, but could not find it no matter how hard I looked.

In both cases, my behaviour revealed an implicit expectation concerning the extent of digitalisation. In the first case, that an incident which presumably delayed hundreds of people under (vaguely) mysterious circumstances would inevitably generate some digital record. In the second case, a memorable incident from a popular tv show would surely have been uploaded to a video sharing site. My frustration, though mild, stems from an encounter with the incompleteness of digitalisation. 

These thoughts are extremely provisional but I’d really welcome feedback. 

Another really provocative idea from Rethinking Social Exclusion by Simon Winlow and Steve Hall. From pg 126:

This supposedly ethical process of distancing oneself from vulgar commercialism is a variant of self-exclusion from the social; like it or not, these non-places come closest to representing the actuality of contemporary British life. There is no more ‘reality’ or ‘authenticity’ to be found in the charity shop or the ethnic café than in a branch of Tesco or Starbucks. Capitalism is not threatened by our desire to buy fair trade coffee or locally sourced fruit and vegetables. In fact these new niche markets are exactly what contemporary capitalism needs to present itself as heterogeneous and democratic, the principal ideological strategy that ensures its acceptability, continuity and growth by maintaining the practical allegiance of those who still credit themselves as having values over and above it.

I’d add a further question to this: what are the temporal preconditions for this activity? How much time, energy and knowledge are required in order to identify these opportunities for self-exclusion and to act on them?

I love the analogy offered by Elinor Carmi at the start of this excellent Open Democracy piece:

Yesterday I walked to the supermarket, like I do every Tuesday morning. All of a sudden I started noticing a few people starting to follow me. I try to convince myself that it is probably just my imagination, and carry on walking. After a few minutes, I cross the road and make another turn, but then I look behind me and see that now there are dozens of people starting to follow me, taking pictures of me and writing rapidly, documenting my every move. After a couple more steps, they became hundreds. My heart was racing, I could hardly breathe, and I started to panic. Freaking out, I shouted at them, “Who are you? What do you want from me?” I tried to get a clearer view of this huge group – some looked a bit familiar but I didn’t remember where I’d seen them before. They shouted back at me, “Don’t worry, we don’t really know who you are, we just need some information on you, so we can show you different ads on billboards”. Puzzled by their response I scream, “What do you mean you don’t know who I am!? You know my gender, skin/eyes/hair color, height, weight, where I live, the clothes and glasses I wear, that I have 10 piercing in one ear and that I shop at Sainsbury on Tuesday mornings!” They smile and try to reassure me, “But we don’t know your NAME, silly! So stop being so paranoid, we do this to everyone walking on the street, it’s public space you know…”.

This scenario might seem science fiction to some people, a dystopian reality, horror film or a South Park episode. But for the others that recognise this situation, this is actually what happens every day when you browse the internet.

Any suggestions about where I can find syllabi for digital hygiene courses in schools would be much appreciated. I’m also curious about how advocates of ‘digital hygiene’ see its relationship to the notion of a ‘digital footprint’: is the former what we must do in order to mitigate the damage potentially created by the latter?

From Zizek’s Trouble in Paradise, pg 57. This isn’t necessarily the case but it’s a claim that holds true in the absence of personal tech skills and a disposition to  exercise then:

The paradox is that, the more the small item (smartphone or iPod) I hold in my hand is personalized, easy to use, ‘transparent’ in its functioning, the more the entire set-up has to rely on the work being done elsewhere, in a vast circuit of machines which coordinate the user’s experience. The more our experience is non-alienated, spontaneous, transparent, the more it is regulated and controlled by the invisible network of state agencies and large private companies that follow their secret agendas.

I knew data brokerage was big but I didn’t realise it was this big. From The Data Revolution by Rob Kitchin, loc 1039:

Epsilon is reputed to own data on 300 million company loyalty card members worldwide, with a databank holding data related to 250 million consumers in the United States alone (Edwards 2013). Acxiom is reputed to have constructed a databank concerning 500 million active consumers worldwide (about 190 million individuals and 126 million households in the United States), with about 1,500 data points per person, its servers processing over 50 trillion data transactions a year, and its turnover exceeding one billion dollars (Singer 2012a). It also manages separate customer databases for, or works with, 47 of the Fortune 100 companies (Singer 2012a). Datalogix claim to store data relating to over a trillion dollars’ worth of offline purchases (Edwards 2013). Other data broker and analysis companies include Alliance Data Systems, eBureau, ChoicePoint, Corelogic, Equifax, Experian, ID Analytics, Infogroup, Innovis, Intelius, Recorded Future, Seisint and TransUnion.

A lovely passage from Lisa Gitelman at Loc 78 of her edited collection “Raw Data” Is An Oxymoron about the difficulty of going ‘off grid’ when the utilities of daily life leave us bound into the digital cage:

Try to spend a day “off the grid” and you’d better leave your credit and debit cards, transit pass, school or work ID, passport, and cell phone at home—basically, anything with a barcode, magnetic strip, RFID, or GPS receiver. 

In their Being Digital Citizens, Evelyn Ruppert and Engin Isin outline a theory of conventions on pg 25-26:

We shall characterize conventions broadly as sociotechnical arrangements that embody norms, values, affects, laws, ideologies, and technologies. As sociotechnical arrangements, conventions involve agreement or even consent—either deliberate or often implicit—that constitutes the logic of any custom, institution, opinion, ritual, and indeed law or embodies any accepted conduct. Since both the logic and embodiment of conventions are objects of agreement, performing these conventions also produces disagreement. Another way of saying this is that the performativity of conduct such as making rights claims often exceeds conventions. As Zivi writes, ‘[A]nalyzing [citizenship] from a performative perspective means, then, appreciating the extent to which our claims both reference and reiterate social conventions, and yet have forces and effects that exceed them.’

As I understand their point, the reproduction of a convention is a function of agreement. It represents ‘accepted conduct’ as inflected through the particular arrangement of social and technical parts which they build into their understanding of a convention. But surely there are many conventions we acquiesce to for entirely prudential reasons, without in any substantive sense ‘accepting’ them? Aren’t there also authoritative conventions with declining efficacy, as can be seen by anyone who tries to walk up/down escalators at Euston tube station on a regular basis?

I don’t think Ruppert and Isin would deny this. But I think building agreement into the definition of consensus precludes a grasp on the dynamics through which conventions are reproduced or transformed. To understand this as agreement intrinsic to the convention which produces disagreement extrinsic to it, leaves it a mystery as to the conditions under which the former can be influenced by the latter: if we accept that conventions are born, change and  die then we need to conceptualise conventions in a way that can link particular performances to the life cycle of conventions. I don’t think we can do this  unless we recognise the variable orientations of subjects to conventions as something within the reproduction or transformation of the convention itself.

This matters to my new project because I really like this socio-technical framing of conventions. Getting this right seems crucial to moving beyond affirmations of the vast expansion of social and cultural opportunities available to subjects in order to gain traction on why some subjects flourish under these circumstances and others do not. Conventions are a crucial mediating factor, particularly in terms of how opportunities are opened up and closed down for particular subjects on specific platforms.

An absolutely fascinating account of developments in the newsfeed algorith at Facebook since its introduction:

Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s 32-year-old director of product for news feed, is Alison’s less technical counterpart—a “fuzzie” rather than a “techie,” in Silicon Valley parlance. He traffics in problems and generalities, where Alison deals in solutions and specifics. He’s the news feed’s resident philosopher.

The push to humanize the news feed’s inputs and outputs began under Mosseri’s predecessor, Will Cathcart. (I wrote about several of those innovations here.) Cathcart started by gathering more subtle forms of behavioral data: not just whether someone clicked, but how long he spent reading a story once he clicked on it; not just whether he liked it, but whether he liked it before or after reading. For instance: Liking a post before you’ve read it, Facebook learned, corresponds much more weakly to your actual sentiment than liking it afterward.

After taking the reins in late 2013, Mosseri’s big initiative was to set up what Facebook calls its “feed quality panel.” It began in summer 2014 as a group of several hundred people in Knoxville whom the company paid to come in to an office every day and provide continual, detailed feedback on what they saw in their news feeds. (Their location was, Facebook says, a “historical accident” that grew out of a pilot project in which the company partnered with an unnamed third-party subcontractor.) Mosseri and his team didn’t just study their behavior. They also asked them questions to try to get at why they liked or didn’t like a given post, how much they liked it, and what they would have preferred to see instead. “They actually write a little paragraph about every story in their news feed,” notes Greg Marra, product manager for the news feed ranking team. (This is the group that’s becoming Facebook’s equivalent of Nielsen families.)

“The question was, ‘What might we be missing?’ ” Mosseri says. “‘Do we have any blind spots?’” For instance, he adds, “We know there are some things you see in your feed that you loved and you were excited about, but you didn’t actually interact with.” Without a way to measure that, the algorithm would devalue such posts in favor of others that lend themselves more naturally to likes and clicks. But what signal could Facebook use to capture that information?

I’m reading Untangling the Web, by Aleks Krotoski, as an accessible precursor to beginning to engage with the social psychological literature on online behaviour. It’s proving to be an enjoyable read so far, though maybe not quite as much of a pop social psychology book as I had hoped it would be. It’s more of a collection of thoughtful tech journalism than anything else. But I just came across a good example of what I was initially looking for: different (mutually compatible) social psychological explanations for why people are so blasé about their data. From page 133-134:

There are indeed a few things that are psychologically unique about interacting via machines. First, we don’t expect consequences. The web feels ephemeral, separate from so- called real life. What happens online stays online. That’s totally untrue, of course. As we continue to intertwine our lives with technology, our virtual and physical selves evolve into the same beast, and therefore it’s impossible to separate the consequences that affect one from the other. Something said or done in one place can easily be taken out of context and dropped into another. Ask the many people who’ve been fired from their jobs for posting party pictures on their Facebook timelines.

Second, according to the Ohio study, online we experience an extreme version of the so- called “third person effect”: we rationalise, through our infernal, eternal human nature, that if something’s going to go wrong, it’ll happen to the other guy. So we won’t change our privacy settings on a social network or turn off cookies on our browsers to keep the details of our surfing away from advertisers: only when we experience a personal violation will we be more careful to protect ourselves and our information.

Third, we’re unable to imagine the vastness of the potential audience we communicate with when we’re online, so we treat the computer like a confidant, a confessor. We have an intimate relationship with our computer terminals; our laptops, mobile phones, desktops and tablets feel private, and the networks we hang out in feel closed. In order to make a connection with others, we feel it’s OK to share private information. “We think the web is a kind of conversation,” explains Dr Kieran O’Hara, a philosopher and web scientist at the University of Southampton. “It feels a bit like writing letters, a bit like a telephone conversation. But it’s all that and much more.”

From Untangling the Web, by Aleks Krotoski, pg 127-128:

As I wrote earlier in this book, if you stick “Aleks Krotoski” into an online search engine, you’ll be able to learn a lot about me. Along with basic biographical details such as where I was born and who my parents are, you can find out where I’ve worked, where I’ve lived, who I hang out with, who I’m close to, that I have a cat (and what his name is), what I like to do at the weekends, what kinds of food I like, and my email address and mobile phone number. Although in social network profiles I tend to hide behind an old close- up of a shock of pink hair (I dyed it until 2009), you’ll easily find what I look like from the snapshots that I and others have taken and uploaded, dating mostly from the last ten years but also from college and high school. With a little more digging, you’ll be able to figure out who’s in my extended family and what they do, where they live and what they’re interested in. You can easily find my home address. You might be able to get a sense of my routine – when I’m in my house and when I’m out. You’ll probably know when I’m on work trips. You might be able to pick up on which running routes are my favourites, and on which days and at what times I tend to follow those paths. It would, frankly, be easy to find me, if you were so inclined. Please don’t. But you can. In fact, if someone I didn’t know wanted to gain my trust, it’d be pretty easy to find out all this personal information and then spin it into a yarn. They might be online scammers who are trying to exploit me. They might be commercial services that want me to feel an emotional attachment to their brand. And that’s just using the information that we put out there ourselves.

From Addiction By Design pg 83-84

Seeking to engender this same compelling sense of efficacy, secondary “bonus games” on video slots invite gamblers to perform actions over which they seem to have control (but do not). Anchor Gaming’s 2000 game Strike It Rich, for instance, presented players with a bonus game in which the object was to guide the trajectory of a bowling ball on a screen using a tracking device. Although the device enabled players to lift the bowling ball on the video screen, aim it, and roll it toward the virtual pins, the RNG determined where the ball would land long before its simulated roll came to an end. IGT’s race- car- themed bonus game similarly let players move a race car with a joystick, lending them a false sense of influence over the car’s movement. The point of such games is to give players “the feeling that they control the outcome of the event,” as a company product profile indicated in 2000. 36 Although one might assume that such a feeling would be disenchanting rather than enchanting, in fact it gives gamblers a sense that they are able to “animate” the gambling machine and thereby exert a sort of magical efficacy over its determinations of chance— which, at the same time, remain obscure and mysterious to them.

Special issue – Community Informatics and Data Literacy Journal of Community Informatics (

Call for Submission v2 – Important: deadline extended to the 18th of December 2015

A special issue of the international Journal of Community Informatics ( will be devoted to Data Literacy. Community Informatics (CI) is the study and the practice of enabling communities with Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs). This special issue will focus on the role of data literacy and its possible applications, such as Data Journalism, Smart Cities, E-Government, Data-Based Services, Data Intermediaries, Data Visualization, Statistics for Data Interpretation and Data Collaboration to empower and enable communities. The issue is expected to be published in June 2016. The Journal of Community Informatics is a focal point for the communication of research of interest to a global network of academics, community informatics practitioners and national and multi-lateral policy makers.

Call for papers

The field of CI seeks to explore the potential of information and communication technologies and their applications for social and economic development efforts at the community level. It particularly seeks to ensure that marginalized individuals and communities can benefit from the opportunities that ICTs can provide. Increasingly, data literacy has been identified as a requirement to make effective use of these opportunities. However, very little attention has been paid to defining what data literacy means, how it can be achieved and which are the impact of its applications.

Data literacy refers to the skills, knowledge and context needed to make effective use of data on the web. It includes the ICT skills to find, access and manipulate data; the statistical and subject matter skills to interpret and use the data; and also the context needed to provide the opportunity and motivation to use the data. It can be seen as a characteristic of an individual or a community. Recently there have been calls for greater data literacy from communities as diverse as the open data movement (who see it as essential if open data is to fulfil its promise of greater transparency and engagement) and the citizen science movement (who see it as required for citizens to understand, engage in, and support science). This raises fundamental concerns in CI such as the power of those who are data literate relative to those who are not, and the right of experts to demand skills of the population as a whole. However, these debates need to be underpinned with a clearer and more detailed description of what data literacy is, why it is needed, and concrete examples of success (and fail) cases. Work on data literacy has remained the domain of educationalists and librarians, but the increased use of data in many areas has created a pressing need for a more multi-disciplinary view.

For this special issue of the Journal on Data Literacy, we are inviting submissions of original, unpublished articles. Potential topics include (but are not limited to):

*       What do we mean by data literacy?
*       Why do we need data literacy?
*       How should data literacy be achieved?
*       What are the broader political, social and philosophical implications of data literacy?
*       What are the practical implications of data literacy?
*       What is the role of data intermediaries or facilitators? Is Data literacy for everybody, or will we always have the need for intermediaries between the creators/providers of the data and the consumers in order to provide insight on the context and meaning of the data?
*       Using Data Literacy for:

*       Enabling data journalism
*       Making research more sustainable and reproducible over time
*       Enabling smart cities for all
*       Enhancing efficiency of e-Government
*       Enabling data-based services
*       Creating and understanding data visualization
*       Data collaboration and crowsourced data
*       Understading control/surveilance/access limitation over the Internet

*       The role of statistics for data interpretation

We welcome research articles, along with case studies and notes from the field. All research articles will be double blind peer-reviewed. Insights and analytical perspectives from practitioners and policy makers in the form of notes from the field or case studies are also encouraged – these will be reviewed by the editors.

Closing date for submission of full papers: 30 September 2015 18th December 2015

Submission Process & Guidelines

Authors need to register <>  with the Journal prior to submitting or, if already registered, can simply log in <>  and begin the five-step <>  process. Please indicate that you are submiting to the Data Literacy Special Issue.

Guest editors:

Alan Tygel, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Mark Frank, Web Science Centre for Doctoral Training, University of Southampton

Johanna Walker, Web Science Centre for Doctoral Training, University of Southampton

Judie Attard, University of Bonn, Germany

If a critical mass of the dominant free providers were to do this, would it deter consumers from using ad blocking or merely piss them off and lead them to go elsewhere? From Boing Boing

The company says it’s not policy to do this — yet — but they’re testing locking Yahoo Mail users out of their accounts unless they turn off ad-blocking.

Many (many, many!) Yahoo Mail users actually paid for their Yahoo Mail accounts, in the form of a bundle with their cable or DSL subscriptions. Presumably you can get around this by just using a mail-client to pull your Yahoo Mail over POP or IMAP (the last time I checked, you could use Gmail to read your Yahoo Mail this way).