How to avoid obscurantist propaganda on F-Droid app?

Hi, I really would like to find a way to avoid the presentation of religious propaganda in my F-Droid app. I’m agnostic, but this must be even worse for any LGBTIQ systematically harassed by religions or even people with different faiths which receives “The Life”, “The Light” (apps for the cristian/judaic bible) in its app without asking for it…
I have no problem in the existence of that kind of literature as far as it is presented as what it is - meaning, material for anthropological/historical study, or even fictional prose - , but certainly not if presented in the religious, “holy truth” way…
In a broader sense, F-Droid is about free software, which runs on hardware, both things deeply scientific (math, physics and code run all this, not “jehova”, “god”, “rama”, “zeus”, “anubis” or whatever…).
Anything I could do? Thanks a lot.

Link: https://search.f-droid.org/?q=bible&lang=en

I don’t get your point, just don’t search Bible and that’s it

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Imagine you’re a Jew and checking the last F-Droid apps update you are
confronted with a “The Truth” titled app which brings “Mein Kampf”.
Or even with less digression, you’ve been put through hell by the
Catholics (being raped or just discriminated for being gay or woman)
and then comes “The Light” and “The Life” apps, forced into your
device as non-solicited intrusive out-of-context propaganda.
There are lot of similar examples.
How can the user avoid this?
The only point of a “bible-app” is for believers, there’s no other
usability/functionality of such an app (except the already mentioned
academic study).
This kind of intrusive propaganda is distasteful, and people deserve
to have a way to put the fucking church out of their cell-phones,
don’t you think?
Regards, and sorry for the language.

Technically one could implement a filter in the f-droid app. In the preferences one could provide a list of words which one considers offensive and the F-Droid app would not show any apps whose description matches one of these words. (Using good words for the filter is a problem: imagine, one puts “god” in the filter, then one might miss a super cool game which has a “god mode”.) Such a filter could also be useful for another situation which is at the moment only theoretical. If someone comes along with a FOSS porn app then its inclusion cannot be rejected based only on technical grounds. But it will surely cause some dispute. Here again a user-controlled filter could solve the issue.

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@riveravaldez, if you’re into scientific, materialistic way of thinking, you should understand why religions exist: they emerged as a reaction to our helplessness against natural and social disasters.

Nowadays, technologies do a good job protecting us from natural disasters. E.g. industrialization of farming eliminated the worst threat of all times: famine.

But social problems are still here. Poverty, inequality, injustice, uncertainty in future, routine and exhausting job, fear of loosing this job—the permanent stress from everyday competition makes people wonder why the life is so harsh and seek for a relief. Religions explain everything and give a relief, promising an afterlife reward.

Attempts to make religious literature less accessible will only strengthen believers’ faith.

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I’d be ok with the idea of a filter for religious apps but it needs to be something that the individual user needs to toggle. There should probably be a way to remind the user that the app listing is filtered with a little filter symbol somewhere, and using the word “filtered” whenever describing the list.

It may become difficult to know where to stop though, and categorising might become political in itself.

Filtering out a book for being political, might delist other political apps like those for green movements or progressives etc. So there’s a risk of people missing out on things they’d like because they chose to filter out a “Political” app. A book that might be controversial with adult-themes might be listed as adult-material and not be featured on the front page of the site, more on this in a moment).

Pornography is an easy one to filter out by default, (EDIT: by an “adult content” filter).

In terms of whether apps are featured on front page of the website, F-Droid cannot start censoring apps unless they are adults-only apps (like pornography etc.)

On that topic, as part of work I’m doing on the website, I’ve added a featureable() test to determine whether an app should be featured on the “New” and “Updated apps” sections of the website. As an example, this new featureable() test only checks for a “What’s New” message if an app has been updated. This test might also ensure adult content is not “featureable”.


The below is a slight departure from the topic at hand, but…

I love that you were able to list all the reasons why I like to talk about a Universal Basic Income (UBI) based on age, which Spain have recently announced. For those who might not have ever heard about it, Dr Martin Luther King popularised UBI in the 60’s and it nearly made it’s way into US law under a right-wing leader. It’s not charity, just a Citizen’s Dividend for being part of your country’s experience.

Automation takes jobs from the market, so UBI is the basic support that’s needed (especially as people age) to empower people so that they can choose to contribute to society in ways that might not be immediately profitable, eg. volunteering, teaching, etc.

UBI also reduces the burden on govts to manage support payments. For example in Australia a UBI would cost about the same amount as the bureaucracy to administer the support payments!

UBI is not right or left, nor does it make people lazy. In fact evidence shows it has no impact on employment levels but improves productivity, and results in a happier people. (EDIT: UBI isn’t communist either, anyone can choose to earn more from their labour). It’s basic justice in an increasingly automated world. UBI is in the spotlight globally at the moment and I think it will stay there until leaders adopt it, with all it’s democratising benefits.

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What the OP is basically suggesting, is censorship. Which I cannot, in any way, agree with or support.
F-Droid community, I vote against such an anti-feature being built into our software.

Now, lets say others feel the absolute need for something like this (which there isn’t, but for the sake of the argument…), I would maybe agree with an EMPTY words list (that each user must fill up himself) that will prevent any app containing those words from showing up. I DON’T WANT to see such a feature, but if the need is proven, an EMPTY words list would be acceptable.
I would probably still end up using another F-Droid client anyway…

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I agree with @GNUser, this would be censorship, which inevitably goes bad.
Obviously, legal obligations, such as hiding adult content, must still apply.

  1. Who decides what is “offensive”? Is gambling offensive, so all dice games get removed? Where do you draw the line? Who gets to redraw it?

  2. If something is offensive because you are not into that, or it is not your preference, that doesn’t mean it should be censored. I’m not Buddhist, but I can’t stop a Buddhist app from being shown just because I don’t want to see it. I just move on.

  3. I’m pretty sure an offended person could make their own F-Droid client, or repository, and use their own " censored " version instead. It is open source. :grinning:

A viable option is more robust categorization of apps. This doesn’t solve the display of new or updated apps, but may help weed out something you don’t want to see.

Just my cent and a half. Probably not even worth that much… :grinning:

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There is nothing wrong with labeling gambling (“games” of chance that involve losing/gaining assets) as Gambling, there are plenty of ‘fair use’ precedents for this. Gambling (erroneously labelled ‘Gaming’ imv) can be addictive and is generally considered adult material.

Thus you would put it alongside pornography as adult-content.

We suppose that the same would be the case for apps actively designed to promote/encourage drug and alcohol use.

This is fairly standard stuff, easily within the capability of F-Droid Contributors.

Religion can be considered similarly. Some sects of various religions choose not to target children, and baptise people later in life etc. But it does become murky, cultural indoctrination and environmental pressures are imposed and exerted from conception, arguably, so I agree that you cannot censor ‘religion’ by default. But giving people the “ability” to hide apps (EDIT …) is not a bad thing.

We can’t do this on the website because browsers don’t have filters.

EDIT: Consider this… long press an app in the interface and an option for “Mute app from Updates section”, “Mute app from searches”?

There are genuine reasons why a person might want to remove these apps from their interface. Also don’t underestimate the fact that an app developer might have the perverse incentive to peter-out updates in a drip-like fashion so that they can be seen frequently and persistently, at a level that might be considered spam and that negatively affects the overall network and barrier to entry for people who might want to act as a mirror for F-Droid.

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I’m a physics and mathematics teacher, and also have a classical and Marxist economics formation and certain degree of anthropology study. I will not start a digression about capitalism bankruptcy, class-warfare in a defaulted world economy or theology across human history… Just a clarification: religions don’t explain nothing, because they’re not based in evidence neither in reason (less say ‘scientific method’), religions just lie to (and oppress) the people, telling fairy tales completely detached from reality - and this only in the best, non-nocive cases.
Please don’t say fallacies like, “Religions explain everything and give a relief”. This is like a double fallacy…
Best regards.

This is not about censorship.
Censorship would be to prohibit the creation or sharing/publication of a religious app, or, for instance, to prohibit and persecute the impression and difussion of religious propaganda.
Here the point is another: the people’s right to don’t receive that propaganda in their mailbox (or F-Droid app) if they manifest such a desire. (In a sense, maybe this is comparable to ad-blockers.)
It’s like, «go on and be a “Jehova witness” if you don’t find anything better to do, just stop knocking my door once a week, thank you». (It’s not like you can’t find the bible anywhere else if you want…)
BTW, I would have no problem with a properly named app (whether it be “the bible”, “the quran”, “the bhagavad gita”, “the principia mathematica”, “the communist manifest”, or whatever), but to call a bible app “The Life” and “The Light” is simply a misguiding propaganda, which I found improper.
Regards.

@hotlittlewhitedog Can you add a Lantern function please?

If I had the right to not receive unwanted Information I would use it against ad. I don’t like this kind of Propaganda.

About Names of apps. I would like it if we could do somethings here, but f-droid had to check many apps. Names of apps and their descriptions are one of my biggest problems. Many of them are shit. Many times I search for an app but I find it only because of some hints from others because app devs do not name it or even describe their apps properly in f-droid.
This both mentioned have the big plus that you find after the title directly the word bible. So every one understand immediately what kind of app that is.

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@riveravaldez we got it already, you don’t like religion and got upset because the app “The Life” appeared in the “Latest Apps”. Which it should since it is the latest app added to F-Droid, when other apps are published it will go away. Calm down, it’s not the end of world.

You don’t want apps related to religion to be published in the F-Droid repo, even though they fulfill all the criteria to be included. That’s censorship (by your own definition “Censorship would be to prohibit the creation or sharing/publication of a religious app”).

Free software requires freedom 0 “The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose (freedom 0).”
Censoring an app based on political/ideological views would deny users this freedom.

Maybe you need to fork the code, and implement a banning system on those apps you dislike. Call it “FDroid Censored Version” and publish it as Free Software, which can then be included in the F-Droid repo. If it is better, people will start using it. Probably no one will but still… It’s the only right thing to do.

Coming here and try to deny people Freedom 0 is just wrong. Please don’t do it.

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He(?) marked what I said above as the solution.

Having a choice to mute an app from particular Displays/Screens has usability benefits actually, and likely some positive side effects.

To be fair he didn’t do that. He expressed some offense. That’s all. He’s fully entitled to do that, under freedom 0, no less.

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Godwin’s Law in action, imho it’s a pretty extreme argument.

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They’re simply saying how things can appear mislabelled to some people, or appear like propaganda. That’s all.

Eg. Say my name is William and I develop a contraception app called, “What’s Needed”, which is designed to send a 5G signal to your nether regions. Maybe two to three F-Droid users might find that app offensive, and the name propaganda. What if the algorithm to detect the “junk” requires updates and people are therefore reminded of “What’s needed” a bit too often.

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Don’t you think that could sound offensive or discriminatory to someone? I don’t think mixing up Catholic people across all times and with the Church will help them understand your point.¹

Ok, you’re all into positivism. Not everyone is, accept it, it’s a fact. Thus not every developer is. Then, there’ll be always apps in a general, publicly contributable repository of software that you dislike. They’re in their right to publish those apps.

But you don’t have to see them! As an alternative to the @GNUser proposal: you can fork the F-Droid repo metadata periodically (not the app code!), filter out your unwanted apps (it’s a XML), and then publish it in your server. Add the repo to your F-Droid client, then disable the default. Voilà!

I ought to disagree. Did you mean all across the world?

What will be implemented (temporarily) in Spain it’s not an UBI. It’s not universal.


¹ Disclaimer: don’t try to infer my personal beliefs. You’ll be probably wrong with just the info given in this post.

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“The Life” and “The Light” appear automatically when I just open F-Droid… I’m not searching for them.