I was glad that Ars Technica published the article Why Ad Blocking is devastating to the sites you love. It always pains me when people proudly proclaim they block all ads on the web. Ads are what enable us to get content for “free” on the web, just like commercials pay for the network TV shows.
I draw a similar line with the teabaggers and other people who are against paying taxes. It is these taxes that provide many useful services, from social services to the roads we drive on.
Nothing comes for free, there is always a cost involved. Sometimes you pay directly for a service, sometimes when the service is supported by other means (ads or taxes). By refusing to participate in the means of support (blocking ads for example) you have no right to enjoy the benefits of the service. If you block ads, in my opinion, you should only frequent sites that have no ads or that you pay subscriptions for.
The other side is on the provider. Sure you need ads to support your content. But they do not need to be obnoxious windows that follow you around as you browse. Nor is auto-playing sound or video acceptable. If ads were less obnoxious, people would be less prone to wanting to block them. Similarly, taxes are needed to provide service. However, it is then the government’s job to provide the most efficient use of the tax revenue to provide those services. Don’t waste the money on overpriced consultants when talented staff are already on the payroll. Don’t allow corporate interests to outweigh the needs of the public.
A compromise can always be reached among rational people. It is up to everyone to remain rational and to be wiling to achieve that compromise.