snow scene

No way, mom.

Zoe and snow



One thing I’ve discovered this weekend, is there are some people who suck the life out of a discussion. They use their popularity, their rank, their legions of fans, to overwhelm and crush any opposition. No, crush is a melodramatic word. They nullify opposition.

Sometimes they’re sweet in their weblogs; sometimes they’re not. Typically they’re held up for admiration and respect, and given accolades and affection by many. Yet there’s a dark side to them, a seeming need to control everything around them.

When they become involved in a discussion, the focus changes from the topic to the person. I don’t know about others, but it almost invariably leaves me going, “Why do I continue doing this?” They take what joy I have in this space, this writing, and they taint it, corrupt it.

People complain about trolls, but anonymous people who come into a space and leave a bit of snark are nothing more than the buzz of a bug. Flap your hand, chase them away. No, these people are never treated like trolls. Ostensibly, they don’t act like trolls. But when they’re done, if the discussion is not dead, it’s certainly been redirected. And they’re satisfied; they have control. Even if all their control brought, was discord.

I’m not perfect, I know that. This is more observation than proclamation. People read Techmeme to see what discussions to get into. From now on, I’m going to read it to see which ones to avoid. It’s not a healthy place for me.


Friday stuff but on Sunday

I realize my job here is to create entertaining stuff for you, but the muse isn’t on me. I’ll leave you other people’s creative stuff.

  • From the Indiana University anthropology department, The Museum of Weird Consumer Culture. Fake testicles for your dog. I kid you not. (via Metafilter).
  • Fish genetically engineered to taste like fish. Huh. From Malaria, Bedbugs, Sea Lice, and Sunsets.
  • Missouri hereby apologizes for subjecting the world to Senator Kit BondWaterboarding is like swimming…. No, not everyone in Missouri is an idiot.
  • If you thought that was bad, during the ice storm recently, our Republican governor warned against price gouging, which is illegal. Instead of having us turn in culprits to the state’s Attorney General–Jay Nixon, a Democrat who happens to be running for governor next year–Blunt advised people to tell the Better Business Bureau or the Chamber of Commerce. Yes, and next time you come across a drug dealer, let Walgren’s know…
  • Jeffrey Zeldman, on the call to disband the CSS working group because of the Opera lawsuit:

    Apple and Microsoft and Netscape and Sun and Opera have been suing each other since the W3C started. What lawyers do has never stopped developers from Apple and Microsoft and Netscape and Sun and Opera from working together to craft W3C and ECMA specs.

    And even if this time is different—even if, just this once, the existence of a lawsuit will stop a working group from working—I’m not sure it’s practical or advisable to cut browser makers out of the equation. For one thing, have you seen what the W3C comes up with when browser developers aren’t involved?

    I can attest to this. I diligently followed the RDF working group’s effort. No browser developers were involved in it. Turned my hair white.

  • Granny Hackers make History. Good story but…granny? If I ever get a chance to meet Tim Berners-Lee, I’m calling him Grandpa. (via Michael Bernstein)