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Old 01-09-2013, 03:05 PM   #191
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If they are that good of "friends" why would you invite them over for dinner?
some good friends have spouses
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:22 PM   #192
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Here's my best way of judging whether something unethical. If the situation was reversed and you were the person it was being done to, how would you feel?


As for my example about the 3-card monte. Con men are "social engineers". They know exactly what most people would do, and most people would happily take money from an evil con man. It's considered stealing from a thief, and that makes it ok. In fact, the dealer of the con thinks exactly the same thing about you. If you know which card is the right one because that card got marked somehow, then if you bet you're stealing from him. That makes him think it's ok to steal from you. If you don't bet because it seems wrong, he can't (and doesn't want to) take your money. He even ups the stakes by acting racist and mean, so you won't have sympathy for him. He might be less racist than you, but he knows that acting that way makes it easier for you to try to steal from him. (And just to be clear - if he's really a con man, he'll make sure you think you can cheat him, while he's actually cheating you. There have been literally millions of dollars taken from people, 20-100 at a time, people who were sure they had seen the cheat and knew how to beat the game. The only way to win at 3-card monte is not to play - trust me on this one.)
I still don't see how the question about the 3-card monte game is an ethical one. The POINT of the game is for him to use subterfuge to trick you, and the POINT of you playing is to try to discover that subterfuge, and not to be tricked. As long as both sides agree on those two points, there's no reason for it to be an ethical issue at all, since both sides are agreeing to the transaction.

Let me put it this way. Let's say I challenge you to a baseball-throwing contest. I know I've got a great arm, and you know you've got a great arm. Both of us think we can beat the other person, so we each put $10 on the bet. If you throw further, you win my $10, if I beat you I take your $10.

The same thing is happening in 3-card monte. You (the dealer) believe that you can dupe me into losing the card, so much so that you are willing to bet $10 on it. I am confident that I can discover your trick, and am willing to lay $10 on my ability to do so. Neither one of us KNOWS what the outcome will be beforehand--I might be a former grifter myself, and know all of your tricks, plus some; you might be the slickest 3-card monte dealer in the world, and no matter how clever I am, I won't be able to detect your deception. But the point is, by agreeing to the game, both of us agree to the rules, and to be bound by the outcome. If you win, it's not unethical; neither is it if I win. As long as both parties are capable of making a reasonable decision about whether or not to play, there's nothing wrong with it.

As to the "if the situation was reversed" yardstick, it doesn't really apply here. Of course if I win the 3-card monte game I wouldn't be happy if the situation were reversed, but that's always the case in a competitive game, with a winner and a loser. Does that mean that sport is unethical because not everyone comes away happy?

I also disagree with your perception about 3-card monte dealers being "con-men" in the sense that you describe them. If I see a guy spinning cards around on a briefcase in an alley, my first thought is not, "I bet this guy never tries to pull a fast one on people." I ASSUME that his attempts at deceit are part of the game. And for people who choose to play, that's part of the fun! Trying to catch the magician and find his trick is part of the enjoyment. There are two motivations for playing 3-card monte: 1) I think I can beat the guy and 2) I like the thrill of uncertainty, the idea that I "might" win, and the wonder of watching someone do something that I don't understand (like "magically" mixing up the cards so that I guess the wrong one). 3-card monte dealers aren't con-men, so much as they are entertainers--they give people a little excitement and a challenge, and take some money from them in return. It's not like anyone is making that chump who loses the $50 to a streetside card hustler do so, he did it because he wanted to. Not unethical.

You also completely lost me on the racism thing--doesn't seem connected at all to the ethical dilemma, maybe this is an actual situation that happened to you? Anyway, I think it's extraneous to the main point.

Just my .02
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:48 PM   #193
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The automatic change machines you sometimes find in supermarket checkouts.

You get your groceries, grab your change, and start to leave. About halfway to the door of the supermarket you realize you have a bit too much change and that the person before you probably didn't grab theirs.

Ok to pocket it or do you attempt to extract your change from theirs and return what is not yours (either to the person if you can find them, or the cashier)?

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Old 01-09-2013, 04:33 PM   #194
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Originally Posted by aygov View Post
The automatic change machines you sometimes find in supermarket checkouts.

You get your groceries, grab your change, and start to leave. About halfway to the door of the supermarket you realize you have a bit too much change and that the person before you probably didn't grab theirs.

Ok to pocket it or do you attempt to extract your change from theirs and return what is not yours (either to the person if you can find them, or the cashier)?
That's a good one. I think it depends a little on whether or not you actually saw the person in front of you, and if they paid with cash. If you did and they did, then yes, I say you try to find them (if they're not already gone) and give it back. If they paid with a card, or if you didn't see them go, I say keep it. It certainly doesn't belong to the store--more like someone dropped a pocketful of change on the ground inside the store and you found it. If you can't find the owner, it might as well be yours.

edit: stupid spelling mistake!
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Old 01-09-2013, 04:47 PM   #195
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Here's one for you. I have the top tier Comcast package. Literally every channel that's available in my area on their service, including all the premium channels but not including PPV or things like NFL Sunday Ticket.

I have a roster of shows that I like, but I'm very busy between keeping my son at home in the mornings and also working 30-50hrs a week so I'm quite often up to a season behind on everything but my top favorite shows. Now Comcast's DVR is pretty terrible, it only has 2 tuners and only seems to hold about 35hrs of HD recordings before it goes bat**** and starts deleting stuff. So between my wife and step daughters scheduling and limited DVR space unless I watched shows when they aired it would be impossible for me to watch them. Some are available on demand, but usually only for a short to medium period of time.

I setup a program on my fileserver that tracks shows, and as new episodes hits newsgroups downloads and catalogs them. Then when I feel like it, I watch them via a media server. Nothing that's been downloaded wasn't available via Comcast on the channel line up I pay for and while I do let one of my step daughters access it via her kindle fire while on my wifi it's all streaming so the media never leaves my home network and isn't available to anyone without my permission.

Ethical or Not?

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Old 01-09-2013, 04:56 PM   #196
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I have a couple "friends" that I would gladly serve a hairy fish.
I have been served a hairy fish but not on a plate. *shudders at the memory*
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Old 01-09-2013, 04:58 PM   #197
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This one sounds like a no brainer. You paid for the shows, watch them when you want to. That's what a DVR allows you to do. The only difference is that your DVR is now a fileserver.

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Old 01-09-2013, 05:19 PM   #198
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Originally Posted by aygov View Post
The automatic change machines you sometimes find in supermarket checkouts.

You get your groceries, grab your change, and start to leave. About halfway to the door of the supermarket you realize you have a bit too much change and that the person before you probably didn't grab theirs.

Ok to pocket it or do you attempt to extract your change from theirs and return what is not yours (either to the person if you can find them, or the cashier)?
If I see it happen to the person in front of me, I give them their change. if I walk up to an empty line and find change in the auto change dispenser tray prior to my transaction I tell the cashier. Every single time this has happened to me they've scooped up the change and dropped it in the local charity donation jar that sits right next to the change machine.

If I didn't notice it before hand and already scooped up my change, in all honestly I'd likely never discover it until I got home and dropped it in my change jar, if I noticed at all.
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:15 PM   #199
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I still don't see how the question about the 3-card monte game is an ethical one. ... Just my .02
Well, if 3-card monte was a "game" of how sneakily you can mix up 3 cards, then I'd agree with you. I'll tell you this though - there are NO monte dealers who think it is a game. It's not a game that the monte dealer ever loses. It's not at all about subterfuge, it's a con. The point from a dealer's perspective is to convince you it is a game, and that you can win. And the way they try to convince you that you can win, is by letting it "slip" that you can cheat. The only people who bet big and lose big at this are the ones who think it's a sure thing, and they think that because they think they're cheating.

Now, if the game was all about where is the monte card, and I think I can fool you by being sneaky about the way they are mixed up, then yeah, it's not an ethics problem. But that's not how the game is really played. They pretend that's what the game is, but then they give you a way to cheat at the game without seeming to notice (by bending or marking a card). Having you think you're cheating is crucial to the game. So that's why it's an ethics question. It's assuredly not a game where his skill at mixing the cards is pitted against your skill at seeing it - that's what they want you to think, but in fact his skill at mixing the cards is absurdly poor.

If it were a nun dealing, and all of her proceeds went to the orphanage, and she excused herself for a minute to go to the restroom, then someone handed you a Sharpie to mark one of the cards, would you? That's cheating, right? Would your answer change if it's a racist jerk? Isn't that another question in ethics? Is it ok to cheat some people but not others?
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:22 PM   #200
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I setup a program on my fileserver that tracks shows, and as new episodes hits newsgroups downloads and catalogs them. Then when I feel like it, I watch them via a media server. Nothing that's been downloaded wasn't available via Comcast on the channel line up I pay for and while I do let one of my step daughters access it via her kindle fire while on my wifi it's all streaming so the media never leaves my home network and isn't available to anyone without my permission.

Ethical or Not?
It does violate the terms of your agreement I think. What you have paid for is not the right to view the shows whenever you like, but only during the period when they are showing them. So in the strictest sense, no, it's not ethical, because you are taking something that you haven't paid for (the right to watch them when they are no longer available) and that is actually a valuable commodity (because those shows are sold again for that purpose - on DVD or streamed on another server).

That said, I admit I'd probably do the same thing. If it seems like you've paid to be able to watch them, you should be able to.

This is similar I think - I have used Napster in the past (not for years, obviously) to download songs, but only songs that I already own on vinyl. My understanding is that I have the right to record from my vinyl albums onto my own cassettes or computer or iPod for my own use. Digitizing songs from vinyl is a pain in the rear because it has to be done in real-time, so it's just easier to download an MP3. Ethical or not? Legal or not?
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