(OK, originally posted a year ago. But still.) This came to my attention through a link via another link on a discussion board. It’s nice. No, it’s excellent. Well-written, wise, witty, to the point, and true. I agree with everything here, even though my own buying and deploying decisions have differed.
“Oh no! Who Put ‘Sad’ and ‘Guilt’ In My Lotion?“ Stuff I Put On Myself (2012-10-09)
[...] I get questions about this stuff all the time… variations of which chemicals to avoid, how to avoid animal testing, how to find natural products, blah blah blah. People really want to pick the right thing, so it does what they need AND doesn’t cause them guilt and/or anxiety about poisoning/abusing themselves or animals or the whole planet.
I am going to preface this by saying that my feelings on these topics aren’t going to be popular. That’s fine! We can all think different things and still be pals!
I’ve read a lot about cosmetic industry standards, terminology and what you have to do to be allowed to use certain terminology, and I am married to a chemical engineer who will always spend 45 minutes explaining the minutia of any little question you ask about chemicals, and also will go all Mr. Wizard on you and lay it down if you slip up and say some buzzword that is essentially bullshit marketing. Dude can even tell you what’s in the tanker truck by looking at the little number on the back.
Unfortunately, much like with everything else in the world, it is sobering and depressing to actually know what’s up.
[Read on... ]
Article by Denise Winterman, BBC News (2013-12-03). Excerpts follow below. They may sound familiar. They certainly sounded familiar to me; while we’ve all seen quite enough regular trolling, and trolling of all shapes and sizes and shades—including the good, virtuous, angrily sincere—this is a different, darker side that I’d never thought of. It does make me wonder, though, how far cyber self-harm extends. The BBC item below refers specifically to teenagers and teen issues.
But those of us who spend a lot of time online see these issues frequently and not only in teens. These issues continue into later life: adults, too, may be emotionally damaged, scarred, suffer low self-esteem. Especially, all too often, women. Continue reading
Tip: not starting one’s day with coffee. Instead, having it when cortisol levels dip. Mid-morning and mid-afternoon. More on this:
- “Wake up and postpone the coffee“: The Australian, 2013-11-07
- “The best time for your coffee“: NeuroscienceDC, 2013-10-23; also at Brainfacts.org
- and here’s a fine coffee blog: CoffeeAmp.com
- see also: “Day 3 at #SfN13: Can Caffeine Prevent Cognitive Decline in Alzheimer’s Disease? Nanosymposium – Learning and Memory: Physiology“ NeuroscienceDC, 2013-11-11
References (c/o NeuroscienceDC / Brainfacts.org):
- Debono M, Ghobadi C, Rostami-Hodjegan A, Huatan H, Campbell MJ, Newell-Price J, Darzy K, Merke DP, Arlt W, & Ross RJ (2009). “Modified-release hydrocortisone to provide circadian cortisol profiles.” The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism, 94 (5), 1548-54 PMID: 19223520
- Inouye, S.T., and Kawamura, H. (1979). “Persistence of circadian rhythmicity in a mammalian hypothalamic ‘island’ containing the suprachiasmatic nucleus.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America DOI: 10.1073/pnas.76.11.5962
on censorship, netiquette, cyberbullying:
Striking Back Against Censorship (WordPress News, 2013-11-21)
The mission of WordPress.com is to democratize publishing. We’re inspired every day by the ways creators use our platform to bring their voices to the world. Unfortunately, we also see many cases of censorship aimed at WordPress.com authors and users.
One area where we’ve seen a number of problems is the censoring of criticism through abuse of copyright law. Two recent cases of abuse really caught our attention and made us think that we needed to take action to fight back on behalf of our users and everyone who believes in the Internet’s promise for free expression.
A common form of censorship by copyright stems from improper use of legal creations called DMCA takedown notices. The DMCA stands for the “Digital Millennium Copyright Act”, which is a US federal law that created a system for protecting copyrights online. The DMCA system works pretty well, but has a few overlooked flaws that have made it too easy to abuse. Under the DMCA, companies, like Automattic, who publish user content cannot be held legally responsible for copyright infringement – so long as we follow a procedure to take down materials when we receive a notice from a copyright holder that something appearing on our platform allegedly infringes their copyrights. Every company that you use to share videos, pictures, and thoughts (from Google search to Facebook to Snapchat to WordPress.com) relies on the DMCA to balance free expression with protection of copyright.
The DMCA system gives copyright holders a powerful and easy to use weapon: the unilateral right to issue a takedown notice that a website operator (like Automattic) must honor or risk legal liability. The system works so long as copyright owners use this power in good faith. But too often they don’t, and there should be clear legal consequences for those who choose to abuse the system.
[read the rest of the piece in full at WordPress News]
And a useful link from there:
- Retraction Watch: Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process
Item the third is an extraordinary story of response to cyber-bullying, with extreme harassment and threats: it shows the other, positive side of the DMCA.
The original version: “I’VE BEEN CALLED THE “ERIN BROCKOVICH” OF REVENGE PORN, AND FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, HERE IS MY ENTIRE UNCENSORED STORY OF DEATH THREATS, ANONYMOUS AND THE FBI”, xojane.com, 2013-11-21.
Also “One woman’s war against the most dangerous man on the internet”, at Jezebel, with many heartwarming offers of help from the community at large.
PART ONE (OF THREE)
No further comment, and I did not comment or otherwise contribute to the discussion below. It was clearly a lost cause, insofar as the serious material content was concerned. The non-serious teeters on an uncomfortable edge, given the limitations of the principal troll here. Screenshots aren’t linked to anything, just the images. Those who recognize the format (and perhaps, indeed, pseudonyms) will know where this came from. Others should be able to figure it out for themselves from previous posts.
From a week ago: to allow some critical distance. Main reasons for posting:
2. Observation of assorted trolling styles
3. A nice example of the limits of reasoning, that is, when confronted with human limitations / limited humans
4. Open question: what are the limits to tolerance, and to suffering fools?
5. And another one: humour’s limits?
Where do you draw the line, when dealing with someone who says things that are foolish and ignorant (who knows, the person saying them may be a troll, and not in fact an ignorant fool), but who also expresses paranoia? Convinced about conspiracy theories. Cultish. Led by blind belief (not reason, or intuition, or other forms of active thought).
Bearing in mind at the same time
(a) that these words may be by a troll, who has created an online fiction;
(b) and that this is an individual who sells her own beauty products, regularly shills, does not accept or comprehend that this is against the rules on this particular online forum, and therefore: is a troll;
Bearing these two other factors in mind: this persona’s utterances could be sincere simplicity. Genuine. Honest. And just plain stupid. Yes, a fact’s a fact: people’s brains vary, as do their levels of assorted kinds and expressions of intelligence. Some people are stupid. Some people might not be stupid, but they say stupid things from time to time. Some people say stupid things all the time. Some people say stuff when Under The Influence that they wouldn’t usually say; IQ and reactions are impeded by alcohol–on the other hand, in vino veritas. And some people, regardless of their smartness, lack emotional and / or social intelligence.
There could also be mental health and well-being issues (given the paranoia).
Whatever is going on here, or whatever combination of factors: as my granny always said, “One should not mock the afflicted.”
(All those things having been said: sometimes things are also still funny. That’s another of these things some of like to think of as and call “facts”: in this case, a fact about what makes people laugh, and why, and how, and what’s going on in and behind that reaction of laughing.)
Questions 4 and 5 and that last paragraph were basically why I didn’t comment. As my only comments would have been these, meta-comments, and thus technically “off topic” according to this discussion forum’s rules. Therefore: not to be posted there. I like rules, especially sensible ones and ones that are good for people; that help and protect and nurture and benefit them. That includes shutting people like me up when they need to be shut up: it’s good for me.
Oops, famous last words, once again, on “no comment.” Following on from that last comment on my shutting up: over and out from me.
And lo: as ever, as soon as I take screenshots, everything changes. And then I have to take screenshots all over again. The life of an archivist is not an easy one. I had a meander back, thinking to myself that this might be the sort of thread that got a bit over-excited and exciting, and might be worth following. In the squeamish surreptitious way one discreetly follows reality T.V., and hates oneself for doing so.
In this third and I hope final part: twists in the tale, blurrings of the border between fiction and reality, and then bam: the whole discussion-thread was Disappeared, some point before 11:00 a.m. Pacific Coast time. Given that I’ve been all prim and proper and discreet about not naming sources or linking to URLs, and have cropped screenshots, you may well be wondering: did she make it all up?
I wonder much the same thing myself, about much that is on the discussion forum in question. I often feel like I’ve walked into a parallel universe or a fictional world, over there.
Add to that the fact that fact is stranger than fiction. You couldn’t make this up. I couldn’t, anyway: which might answer anyone wondering if I did. Sorry, I didn’t: I’m just not that good a writer.
Life’s too short. Other better more useful stuff to do. Reconciliation to get on with and suchlike.
FFS: first world effing problems online.
On the other hand, part of truth and reconciliation is that truth part: ensuring that all stories are told, from all points of view, by all concerned. Recorded and preserved. That history be properly written, as histories: plural. Not as one single history, that is, the story of the victor. And stories may each have elements of truth, or they may all be true, even if contradictory. That’s a human fact, and very human, and marvellous. Often also a marvel.
In this case, the “true history” of the victor, the powers behind this discussion forum? Erasure. Didn’t happen.
UPDATE: famous last words again… I have censored out parts of some screenshots, further to a request to do so, as they are now the subject of moderator / administration action against the party/ies concerned. This is in deference to nice people. And I don’t mind, as the bits whited out weren’t really germane to the main argument. If anything, they were irrelevant tangents to the main points of discussion and Points To Ponder: trolling, tolerance, and the limits to them and to online discussion.
That grand finale:
From Colin’s Beauty Pages:
- Reactions to cosmetic products & ingredients (2013-10-06)
(The continuing shea butter saga is coming up, not to worry.)
Much as I like WordPress, the ethos and mission can be mixed. The anti-creative tagging business and how to get Freshly Pressed are problematic; on the other hand, I’m more than happy for their selection process to be unashamedly, unapologetically subjective and based on individual reading. “Get Personality” is, amusingly, about picking themes. “What’s Your Style?” at WP’s own The Daily Post blog is, um, weak and naff. Considering that one of WP’s strengths is their very well-written, often wry and witty instructional / help material. And yes, there’s compulsory stuff about How To Make Your Blog Bigger. Alas, we’re still living in the Viagra-paradigm age.
Mind you, as mentioned before (and I hope it’s so blindingly obvious that you’re kicking me) we live in a complicated world, in complicated ways. Overall, I’ve been happy with them and how they work; and though I’ve also used other blogging platforms over the years, WP are the people I’ve been with the longest and with whom I’ve been the most content. I first shifted from old static websites to blogs in 2003, on Movable Type, and moved to WP in 2007; this blog has been on WP (with a mirror-site on Blogger) since 2011.
Anyway. Over to WP for the rest of this post, punctuated by visual commentary from early xkcd (much earlier than WP’s topical tips, no relation to them; or, When Worlds Collide). The good, the bad, and the ugly; I still think more of the first, but over to you the reader. The introductory posts may be the most interesting: why read? why write? why blog? what’s the point of it all? Continue reading
BBC Radio 4, first broadcast 2013-08-22, listenable-to again for a week.
Link (c/o image below too)
There’s been too much more nonsense recently. Examples and copy-pasting today; commentary follows tomorrow. Continue reading