Sexual Harassment!

HER: I want to lodge a harassment complaint.
HR REP: What is the nature of the offense?
HER: I caught Bob viewing a near nude picture of me online.
HR REP: Online? What site?
HER: Here it is.
HR REP: Ma’am, that’s Facebook.
HER: So? Does that make it OK to harass me?
HR REP: Not trying to belittle your problem… but have you considered NOT making it your profile picture?

I’m Rob Jones… and I approve this message.
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2014: The Day the Earth Stopped

It started like any other summer day.

Dad was in the kitchen on his cellphone trying to get a cup of coffee down and a business deal tied up. He signaled mom to turn the TV down so he could hear, but as soon as she did, she turned the other one up. He gave her a nasty look, looked like he might say something more to her, then put his finger over one ear and plugged on talking to the phone.

Mom was watching a repeat of some show with Guy Fiere visiting yet another diner that made the “Best Ribs in {insert city here}”.  She also had it on in the kitchen, where she was cooking something that smelled delicious, but historically probably wasn’t. To be fair it might have been better if Dad had skipped the middleman and married Guy Fiere. We’d eat better. 

Suz was holed up in her room, well into what would likely be a marathon texting session with a boy she claimed was “just a friend”. Everyone knew otherwise of course, the ringtone she used for him told an entirely different story.

I was playing a first person shooter game, determined to obliterate that prick in Florida who took me out last week. Who was this SOB, and why did he never seem to die?

Michael, aka the little nerd, was in a webmaster forum answering questions on search engine optimization. Wonder how many of the guys on the other end know SearchPro42 is twelve years old? Probably wouldn’t matter, for all we know, they are too.

He says apparently India has exactly two kinds of people; spammy Search Optimizers, and people that hire spammy Search Optimizers. Hell if I know. I don’t speak geek. They should have some kind of test for this. I can’t possibly be related to this munchkin.

Then IT happened.

Don’t get me wrong, we’d had internet outages before. The day that idiot drunk down the street plowed into the phone pole, we’d lost internet AND TV for almost an hour. And we’d had cell-phone outages before. To be honest our reception wasn’t that good to begin with. Something about the tower location and the geography on our street. Danged sure didn’t match their 4G map.

But never had we had phones AND television AND the net go out at the same time.

The house was suddenly eerily quiet. Not a sound. Totally silent. Suz came out of her room with phone in hand, looking distressed. Dad was holding his to the ceiling to see if the reception magically worked 2 ft higher than he’d been holding it. Michael walked out of his bedroom and looked at the rest of us accusingly, as if one of us broke the internet.

Mom, suddenly the level headed one, decided to call the cable company and check on the time they’d need to fix the TV. It wasn’t until then it occurred to her we haven’t had a land-line in 6 years and the cell reception went out at the same time.

I’m not going to say we panicked, cause comparatively we did pretty good. It’s my understanding half the people on my block with a land-line were calling the cable company, a quarter were calling the cell provider, and the remainder actually dialed 911.

This WAS an emergency. Nobody really knew what to do. We were trapped.

Then the strangest thing occurred.

One-by-one, slowly at first, then in increasing numbers… rusty door hinges up and down the block began to swing open. Teens who had not been without electronic communication since their 1st birthday stepped out, tentatively at first, then began pouring out of houses. Some dazed, a bit confused. Others looking about in wonder.

We couldn’t help but notice there was a glowing orange ball in the sky.

And that the air conditioning in our yard sucked.

sun

I'm Rob Jones... and I approve this message.
I’m Rob Jones… and I approve this message.

How to Tag Loons vs Friends on Facebook

As Facebook has become widely accepted
…and friends lists have grown, it becomes increasing harder to keep your reading selections free of material you find objectionable.

As Facebook has unreasonably balked at the idea of providing sanity tests before issuing a password, and nobody has invented a breathylizer that attaches to a keyboard, it is incumbent on the user to figure out a way to remove the sea of nutcases themselves or else wade through the drivel.

Facebook Tagging Scheme
One possible solution would be to adopt a handy tagging scheme for users and/or posts, much like the categories and tags used in WordPress. Then users could just go to the ones they like or delete the ones they’d prefer to avoid.

In order to facilitate this feature I’ve provided a handy list of tags below. Feel free to use them or if any important ones were left out… add to them in the comments section.

List of Tags follows:

1 – Narcissist
2 – Raging narcissist
3 – Manic depressive
4 – Clearly types with one hand
5 – CAPS LOCK IS STUCK
6 – Probably has to chew thru straps to access keyboard
7 – Wow, when did she get hot?
8 – Alcoholic – Mean
9 – Alcoholic – sad
10 – Alcoholic – horny
11 – Alcoholic – reconnect with old boyfriends or hot cheerleaders
12 – Alcoholic – Republican
13 – Should be defriended
14 – Should be reported
15 – Should be deported
16 – Should be forcefully neutered
17 – I have no freakin clue who this is
18 – Friend of friend
19 – Friend of spouse
20 – Friend of small animals and children
21 – Waaaay TMI
22 – Probably a prostitute
23 – Thinks “fur is murder” but owns leather pants
24 – Wishes Doobie Brothers would get back together
25 – Anti-gay
26 – Pro-gay
27 – Pro-choice
28 – Pro-life
29 – Pro-death penalty
30 – Pro-tax
31 – Pro-hibitively stupid
32 – Heavily into religion
33 – Heavily into porn
34 – Heavily into methamphetamines
35 – Hates hunters / loves Quarter pounder with cheese
36 – Misses the hell outta high school
37 – Misses the hell outta college
38 – Loves spouse so much it hurts (everyone forced to hear it)
39 – Has family feuds on Facebook
40 – Sports nut
41 – Military groupie
42 – Owns more firearms than the national guard
43 – Lies like a rug
44 – Broken hearted
45 – Terminally Bitter
46 – Terminal optimist
47 – So cheerful you suspect drug abuse
48 – Confuses “friends” with “customers”
49 – Richer than you are
50 – Rebel without a clue
51 – Seriously needs a life
52 – Repost this in 10 minutes or a puppy drowns
53 – Hit “like” and Facebook will donate $100 to this child
54 – Owns library of talking cat pics
55 – Quotes others – pretends he said it
56 – Posts random pics of old stuff
57 – Future serial killer
58 – Probably has bodies in crawl space already
59 – Political hack – generic
60 – Political hack – trolls for Ron Paul
61 – Political hack – has Communist flag hidden in garage
62 – Political hack – certain Romney causes cancer
63 – Political hack – jihadist
64 – Political hack – crusader
65 – Political hack – militant vegetarian party
66 – Political hack – already on terrorist watchlist
67 – Political hack – masturbates with picture of Reagan
68 – Political hack – makes up 95.7% of the stats
69 – Political hack – still mad at Cheney
70 – Political hack – has crush on Obama (pick one)
— Barack
— Michele
— Sasha/Melia
71 Fits into so many above he should have a TRO

Hope this helps. Just as well they don’t do the sanity test thing. I’m sure at least one or two people would miss me {and no, I won’t say which of us wouldn’t have an account}.

I’m Rob Jones… and I approve this message.

Guns, Browsers, and Consistent Thought

* I’ll keep it short and sweet *
For the millionth time… if you argue the 2nd amendment applies only to single shot muzzle loaders because after all, the founders didn’t have anything more… what argument do you plan to use when you’re told the first amendment doesn’t apply to the internet?

Please. Use the head for more than a hat rack fellas. Don’t undermine your own interests.

I’m Rob Jones… and I approve this message.

Forum Moderation – Doing it Right

Forum Moderation – Who Cares?
A lot of us that have incomes tied to the web spend time in webmaster forums. Some do it just for “link-building”, but a lot of us do it mostly to stay abreast of things we need to know to do our jobs, to make vital business contacts, and to get a little social interaction in a business where you’d otherwise be working in a vaccuum.

What makes a forum “die”?
If you’ve been on the web a while you’ve seen it happen. For whatever reason the regular contributing members go away and the place either becomes a ghost town or becomes over-run by bots posting links to Ugg Boots, male enhancement products, and adult links. At that point it’s useless to go there, as nothing of value is being said.

A forum is a social structure
Any social group can break up for a number of reasons. People simply losing interest in the topic is one… which is why scant few instances of active “Beanie Baby” forums can be found. There’s also the chance of personality clashes driving a wedge that causes a group to fracture and disband. But unlike social groups in real life, a major factor in a forum is the administrator and moderator function.

Starting a forum from scratch is a daunting process, and is an entirely different topic. That said, with regard to the continuing success of a forum that’s established, most that’ve been involved consider Moderation to be the single largest factor to the continuing success or downfall.

That said, let’s look at Forum Moderation… the right vs wrong way.

—————————–
DOING IT WRONG
As you stated, moderation is a major factor in the life or death of a forum. Spammers contend OVER-moderation is the problem, but in my experience forums lose good members more frequently to…

  • Lax moderation – spammers flood the place, and productive members get tired of wading thru the textual equivalent of sewage
  • Arbitrary & Capricious moderation – Rules are applied with a very uneven hand

—————————–
DOING IT RIGHT

Consistent Moderation
There are other factors to be considered, the whole community aspect, the overall attitude of the admins and mods, etc… but a large hurdle to keeping a forum going is to have a clear set of guidelines that are easily found and understood and regular enforcement of those guidelines. Members need to know what the boundaries are, know that if they report a problem it will be dealt with.

Genial Moderation
Guidelines should be exercised firmly but genially, and evenly so people arent left guessing what they can or cant do. Never use the infraction system where a gentle PM will suffice, particularly in the case of valued contributors.

[NOTE: I’ve been known to be less than genial with the guys that clearly fit the “dogs” description below. I’m learning to place it a little more between the lines, but contrary to widely circulated rumor… I’m not perfect.]

Feed the Lions, Shoot the Dogs
Exceptions should be made only where common sense dictates, with the benefit of a doubt accorded productive members that have proven to use good judgment. The rules are made for the benefit of the forum, not the other way around.

The Lions
Trust is EARNED, not GIVEN, and after a member has proven their value it is not inconsistent moderation to give a little more latitude on link drops than someone who just arrived. If you know they arent taking advantage of the system and you know their affiliations you can relax a bit, over-moderating them isn’t productive.

The Dogs
Anyone immature enough to enter a forum and assume (without glancing at the guidelines) its just fine to start cutting and pasting their URL all over needs immediate moderation to make it clear that this is not the norm.

Who are “the dogs”?

  • Obvious spammers posting solely for the benefit of their sold sigs
  • SEOs starting threads to ask what link juice is and how it can benefit their site
  • Speed-posters going for count
  • Serial trolls that visit for no purpose than to insult people

These should be removed immediately and without mercy. They add no value.

—————————–

CONCLUSION: Make rules clear, and inspect what you expect
Nothing is more frustrating to productive members than to follow guidelines while watching others ignore them without consequence. The alternative to consistent moderation is a dead forum.

I'm Rob Jones... and I approve this message.

Happy 17th Birthday BOTW!

Dropping a quick note to wish everyone at BOTW a happy 17th birthday. In internet years, that’s a LOOOOONG time.

BOTW was originally started as an awards site in ’94, the same year the precursor company to Netscape released the MOSAIC browser that helped bring the net into more public use. The prestigious “Best of the Web” awards were big stuff in the young internet community of the time, and ran into the late 1990’s. The awards were created in April of’94, and I suspect “spam” was invented about 5 minutes later.

The original BOTW awards logo

Shortly after the awards program shut down the rights to BOTW were purchased by the infamous “BOTW boys” and developed as a general directory… and internet (as well as t-shirt and hoodie) history followed. You can see that story (and the 25% off BOTW promo code good thru end of the month) at the BOTW Blog post, Best of the Web 17th Birthday Promo.

Be sure to watch the 1994 video of Bryant Gumbels “What is the internet anyway?” dialogue with Katie Courie. How times have changed.

Incidentally, that blog is getting a makeover as we speak. Can’t wait to see the final product. It’s being set up to match the look of the much sleeker BOTW corporate site… http://bestoftheweb.com/ .

Nothing else exciting to add here, just figured I’d toss a little link love at this one so my webbie friends don’t miss out on the big BOTW birthday promo.

Ummm… Rob? Why are you spamming our blogs?

Wellll… actually I’m not. Directly that is. Somebody else is under my name though.

Gotta note from a friend the other day saying they enjoyed my blog, and by the way, why WAS it down with a note from WordPress about a Terms of Service violation?

Being that this is a non-monetized freebie blog that I pay attention to once a month or so whether there’s demand or not, I actually hadnt noticed. But I dutifully attempted to login and saw a note from the WordPress guys that said my blog was archived or suspended for a probable TOS violation, and it gave me a contact form to let them know if I thought they’d hit it in error.

Given that despite my other faults too numerous to catalog here I’m still something of a Boy Scout when it comes to TOS… I fired off a quick inquiry to the WordPress contact provided. They informed me that they’d received reports of the following comment being spammed to other blogs:

“$$ Free $$ check out my blog and earn cash https://robjones3030.wordpress.com/ $$ Free $$ I’m Rob Jones running for president and I approve this message Free $$”

Well, it didnt take a brain surgeon to figure out what’d happened (which is a good thing, cause I don’t know any brain surgeons that owe me favors). I serve as a moderator on a couple of webmaster forums, and a little spammer I’d unceremoniusly tossed outta one for poor behavior decided to invest several days of work spamming other sites using my name, the goal being to get my site shut down for a TOS violation.

Gotta love the logic. He spent literally days sending out messages pretending to be me, and yes, WordPress shut down my freebie, non-monetized site, which I didnt even notice until someone pointed it out.

I then spent about a minute sending an explanatory note to WordPress and they had my site back up immediately. Gotta appreciate the poetic justice … he gets back at me by wasting days of his time and I invest 60 seconds to fix it.

Anyway, kudos to Mark at WordPress for immediately correcting the issue. I’m sure they get their share of BS excuses. He took a look and figured out what the problem was with a quick glance. WP makes a nice resource, and I’m sure they get their share of real abuse.

Meanwhile…
S’pose spam-boy has figured out which of us lost more time on the deal? Naah, probably not.

Gotta love internet trolls, they’re so cute when they get angry. :-p

I'm Rob Jones... and I approve this message.