Saturday, July 8th 2006

Annoying spam-bot update
posted @ 9:53 am in [ - ]

As y’all know, I am frequently beset by comment spam, none of which makes it out of the moderation queue. However, I did change the settings on some postings whose comment spaces seem to get hit a lot, so if there’s something in the archives upon which you feel a burning desire to comment and it’s not working, let me know and I’ll change the settings or post it for you.

Man, this whole week has been like being bitten to death by ducks.

Wednesday, March 15th 2006

Anti-spam measures
posted @ 8:23 am in [ ]

I have been getting a ridiculous amount of comment spam. Those of you clogging my moderation panel: NOT ONE of your insipid pleas for me or anybody else to buy cialis, viagra, some other prescription, or online gambling will appear here. You’re just wasting your time, and mine, and you’re pissing me off. Everybody else: please be aware that if you discuss spammy products in any of your comments (not that you would), the comments may get nuked.

Tuesday, January 3rd 2006

New House Rules & Philosophy
posted @ 4:19 pm in [ - ]

In addition to my “disclaimers” of a couple of years ago, I have a few items to add in light of recent experiences.

  1. I will no longer blog about work unless specifically requested to do so.

  2. You have some responsibility in this, too. If you are offended by my work, you should either let me know it’s a problem and why, or go away where I won’t bother you. There are many thousands of other blogs to read–have at it.

  3. I stand by my statement that if you don’t agree with me, you should either leave a comment (be aware that my moderation software can be somewhat aggressive and mistake long posts or posts with a lot of links for spam), or better yet, get your own blog. However, when I wrote the original “disclaimers” posting, I was not aware of WordPress. I would now recommend going to WordPress over Blogger–I find it much more flexible and user-friendly. But hey, check them both out and see for yourself what you prefer.

  4. When figuring out whether I wanted to narrow what this blog is about, now that a lot more people are reading it, I took a look at the categories. There are a lot more “Rants, reviews & commentary” entries than anything else, so that category will probably continue to be the major one. However, I will still take “Requests & solicited advice” and all manner of the other stuff.

  5. I originally started blogging because it was fun. I am a writer who works things out while she’s writing, and a lot of things wouldn’t get sorted out if I didn’t write about them at some point. As long as it’s still fun, I’m going to keep doing it. You should be aware, though, that sometimes I change my mind. My first impression of a place, a person, or an argument is not always the same as my lasting impression of it.

  6. I will likely protect access to any posting I think might possibly upset someone sensitive. (Yes, I have specific sensitive people in mind. I won’t mention them here because they’re too sensitive.) I don’t really like this part, because I think a writer’s worst enemy is self-censorship, and to some extent, a lot of people became aware of my work because of my electronic “banned book,” and are likely here looking for something juicy. And why not be juicy? It’s too late to please my former employer, and nobody else ever complained. So I may also grant access to any protected material by request–it’s a compromise I’m trying to make. We’ll see how that goes.

  7. When I think about the kinds of writers I admire most–other than the ones I know–I like the Enlightenment-era pamphleteers a lot. If I can bring some of those qualities in the modern era, I will consider myself successful. In many ways, we’re in the same kind of place that they were. Then, if you had an opinion, could write, and get access to a printing press, people found out what you had to say, and anyone who could read could gain access to the thousands of ideas that were coming out at the time. It was an exciting new thing that continues to influence our lives, because some of the ideas proffered in 18th-century pamphlets became models for the rules we still live by. Now, anyone with Internet access and an opinion can make up their own running pamphlet and millions of people can gain access to those ideas. It’s a wonderful thing.

  8. As for content, I’m adopting Lisa’s “friendly stranger” rules: “a. If I applied the ‘don’t blog what you don’t own’ rule strictly, it would restrict me, say, from mentioning that a friend had recently published a book. The intent of the policy, of course, isn’t to prevent me from congratulating my friend and letting others know about their book. I’ll blog about things if they are things that I might tell an interested, friendly stranger at a bus stop. b. Public figures and elected officials — I think these are pretty kosher to blog about. c. They’ve already blogged about it themselves.” I’ll add: d. People who give me their permission, and e. Dead people.

And now, the report from the larger blogosphere:

The Blog That Ate Manhattan says, “For ex-Google employee Mark Jen, the crime appears to have been revealing too much about the internal goings-on in a corporate culture based on secrecy. And in some instances, the reason for firing is totally unclear, as was the case of Meg, who was fired from DeVry University without any explanation, and Troutgirl, who was fired from Friendster for only-god-knows-why. Her very brief posts discussed technical issues of programming that apparently were public knowledge at the time. I read them and have no idea what she was talking about.”

Indeed, I would describe my experience as clock-meltingly surreal.

Stephen’s Web “Leigh Blackall writes about and links to this post by blogger Meg Spohn, who was fired from her teaching position at DeVry over content in her blog (true to form, this happened with no warning and with no indication of what it was about her blog that offended them so). Reflecting on her decision to go public with the story, Spohn observes, “I was in the middle of an amazing community, and I didn’t even know it.” It seems to me that in a country that values its freedoms, incidents such as this should be viewed with some concern.”

We have comments from Leigh on a previous post as well. Thanks, Leigh and Stephen! As you know, I view it with a great deal of concern, but I would still be pretty worried about it if it weren’t me.

Saturday, July 5th 2003

posted @ 2:54 pm in [ - - ]
Since a link to this blog has been posted on our travel blog, it has come to my attention that a lot more people are beginning to read this one, where previously it was sort of hidden and invitation-only. This has resulted in some feedback I’ve had no idea how to respond to. I’ve grappled a little bit with how to deal with this. I entertained hiding or re-editing a number of my postings that I wouldn’t want certain people to see, as well as taking the link off the travel site and keeping this blog on the QT, and rating various postings so people would know what was “okay” to read. Ultimately, though, those solutions are just too candy-assed for me. I’ve decided to be okay with random people I know discovering this site and finding stuff out about my inner life, but I do feel the need to let my increasing readership in on a few things.

1. This blog is really quite a vain enterprise. I use it to practice my writing because I hope to use it again someday in a non-academic context and I don’t want to forget how it works. I also use it as my own personal therapist from time to time, so sometimes it can get self-indulgent, but mostly I use it to entertain myself. I’m really not thinking about an audience, I’m thinking about ME. I don’t have any rules about it, but I also don’t want any.

2. If you’re a family member, there are some aspects of my personality represented here that you are not going to want to know about. I’m sorry about that, and it’s really okay to skip anything that makes you uncomfortable, like my weird sex tips, or that you find upsetting, like my experiences of sexism in the workplace or my various recent struggles. This isn’t really a coherent body of work and it can be read as a pick-and-choose sort of thing.

3. If you don’t like what I’ve said about you, I’m a little sorry, but basically: tough. This is my freewriting space and if I start censoring it based on how I think other people will react to what I write (or don’t write), I won’t be able to write at all and this whole thing will become useless to me. You can get back at me by starting your own blog, though, and I encourage you to do that.

4. Exception to #3. Bobby: after getting to know you better, I want you to know that I do like you and I do think you’re doing a good job. I’m afraid that isn’t sufficient cause, however, not to poke fun at you.

5. I do take requests. (Just not dictation.)

That’s everything I can think of offhand. I hope you enjoy my writing.