I’ve Reddit. I Don’t Like It.

I get banned from forums pretty frequently.  A username of mine has a lifespan that is generally numbered in weeks, not years, on any given forum on the internet. And since I historically have only used my real name on forums (belief in anonymity on the internet is a common delusion) that means that my time on a forum is strictly limited to how long I can manage to stay in the moderator’s good graces.

The one forum in history that I managed to not get kicked off of was Dan Carlin’s forum for his podcasts. There are other forums I participated in that expired before I managed to offend a moderator, but that offense would have occurred given enough time and interest in the forum. Dan had his own problems when it came to hosting a forum full of hate speech and bullying and confusing that thundering noise with a dedication to free speech, but the fact was that you couldn’t get kicked off of his forums.  Consequently I was a member on that forum when it too expired, even though I had long since fallen out of Dan Carlin’s good graces. Weirdly, I miss that dysfunctional place. I reminds me of my dysfunctional family.

Not only do I routinely get kicked off of forums that I join, I have even been asked to leave forums that someone has been silly enough to ask me to moderate. Perhaps one of my few saving graces is an unwillingness to linger where I’m not wanted, to the point of setting out on foot facing a walk of many miles just to get out of an uncomfortable situation that will only become comfortable if I leave. The latest place to reach that uncomfortable stage is the purported Front Page of the Internet, Reddit.

The biggest problem with Reddit is that it isn’t really one place. It is one system with a near-infinite number of sub-forums (subreddits) a confusing hodge-podge of purportedly different forums with completely different rules and readerships, each managed by it’s own little group of absolute rulers who enforce rules (or not) completely at their own whim.

Back when news aggregators first started showing up on the internet, there were several sites like Reddit that sprang up that allowed subscribers to recommend articles to other visitors to the website. Most of them have since closed their doors or been bought out and turned into spamming e-mailers, but Reddit remains pretty much as it was in the beginning, very nearly the sole survivor of an earlier internet age.

If you go back through my blog archive, as I have been doing since I started writing this blog (this is how you teach yourself to write. You try to figure out why your previous attempts to communicate failed to communicate even with later versions of yourself. A free writing tip for the newbs) you’ll notice links that say digg story (at least, you will until I manage to edit them all out. -ed.)  Digg was one of Reddits early competitors; one that allowed, even encouraged, self-promotion.  While Digg still exists, it was bought ages ago by another corporation that uses it to spam former contributors like your’s truly with articles upvoted somewhere as being popular for whatever reason.  I liked digg back in the day.  I liked the fact that it catered to various media types and allowed for a free-form interrelation of text and video and audio all mashed together in one location. But the fickle finger of fate choose it to fail and so it failed.

These days the dominant stream of information on the internet is Facebook, not Reddit. Facebook is not a news source no matter how many people treat it like it is. Reddit can be a news source, but the subreddits allow the kind of balkanization of information that you get on Facebook, potentially leading to as much disinformation as you will find on Facebook.

If you have the right sources on your twitter feed, Twitter can serve as a reasonable approximation of a news feed, and it does this by its very brevity, it’s cramped confines of 140 and the now expanded 280 characters. But the nature of Twitter, the fact that it is a glorified headline writing contest, also limits the time you spend on the platform. Time spent on the platform or engagement is how internet businesses are rated these days, and the way to increase engagement is to force the users of the platform to create their work on that platform directly.

Which brings me back to Reddit and my ongoing fights with the petty little dictators that run the various flavors of subreddits which you are required to post to in order to get content onto Reddit. I write political pieces reasonably frequently. One would think that /r/politics/ would be the place to post links to original political opinion pieces. One would be wrong to think that.

[–]from TheRedditPope[M] via /r/politics/ sent  You really aren’t supposed to submit your own content. If you have content that is on topic for this subreddit someone will come along and submit it themselves.

[–]from hoosakiwi[M] via /r/politics/ sent  Blogspot is a filtered domain in /r/politics. We do not allow personal blogs, so your submissions from your blog will not be approved here. If you want to promote your blog, take out an ad with reddit.

Well, that was news. Looking at the rules over at Reddit.com it doesn’t say anything about not being able to post your own material. In fact, it encourages you to post your own material as well as material from other people. How, precisely, is anyone supposed to find content if links to it are routinely autodeleted or treated as spam? When I posed this question to the moderators of the subreddits that I posted to, I was told to take out an advertisement on Reddit if I wanted to promote my blog.

…no seriously. A lot of bloggers have commented on the death of blogging and I think I’ve found one of the culprits. It is Reddit and Facebook and the advertising funding model that has been rejiggered to fund the internet, as if the internet was just one more entertainment source like TV or radio is. Were turned into, by advertising. If I had the readership that afforded me the ability to advertise on Reddit, I wouldn’t need to advertise on Reddit.

I think you can see the problem here, denying attention to bloggers which in turn squelches the blogosphere and promotes mass media and other commercial ventures which can afford to purchase advertising. I begin to realize why I’ve never taken the time to build a rep on Reddit. I’m simply not consumerist enough to buy into the capitalist charade going on there and on places like Facebook.

I’ve been banned from several of the subreddits now because I refuse to write my content on Reddit directly and instead link to it here on the blog. I won’t create content for Reddit to use to make money directly. I really don’t give two shits if they make money, anymore than they care if I can get readers for the blog or not. But they care if they make money, and they make money by keeping me on their platform creating there, clicking on ads there, getting people to read my work written there. It’s the same way that Facebook makes money, and that is also the reason I don’t invest my time creating work on Facebook, either.

All authority based systems will fail when tested in this fashion.  This is the reason why I consistently agitate for democratic approaches to policing and policies. Authority for authorities sake will always succumb to mob mentality. Always.


I noticed, after being kicked off yet another subreddit again today, that Reddit now allows me to self-publish links and full articles from the blog directly to my user profile, bypassing the requirement that I submit to the vagaries of the petty little modos that run most forums, including the majority of subreddits on Reddit.com. So I guess I’ll try posting links and shortened blurbs for some of my better articles straight to my user profile and see if I get any traffic from Reddit. Worth a try, guess. Can’t get any worse than the headaches I get trying to deal with moderators of any stripe.

I would like to thank the moderators and residents of /r/atheism for reminding me exactly why I don’t identify as atheist anymore even though I am one. Their harassment and then banning of me for daring to post on the sub and subsequently defend myself from attack has once again confirmed for me my firmly held belief that moderators and forum dwellers really don’t like conversation. Moderators especially hate posts and conversations because posts and conversations make them have to do the thankless job of moderating. A dead forum means that there is a happy moderator enjoying his porn videos on another tab, somewhere else on the internet.

When told “you have to write your material here, not link it” the only logical response after the way I was treated there is to say “why would I write for you assholes? I don’t even know why I thought a conversation with you would be interesting in the first place. Have a nice life.”

Sacred Life

No, if we truly value LIFE, if we truly believe it to be SACRED, then before it even begins we as a people and as a nation must bend every effort to ensure not only its survival, but that it thrives to reach its full potential.

Twitter – Stonekettle

Editor’s note – I planned to add this quote to the end of Roe-v-Wade Was a Conservative Decision If I hadn’t broken the blog (05/16/2020) Now that it’s back up, I think I will add it to something even better than that post.

Xenophobia Revealed

Twitter – TheAtlantic

It is the poor who suffer. The majority of the poor are black and brown, yes. But it is the poor as a group who suffer and it is the poor, the majority of Americans, who must seize control of this country from the wealthy who seek to divide us into digestible chunks.

Poverty is a big part of it, but race is the beating heart of American injustice. Serwer makes this abundantly clear. Racism justifies and perpetuates class inequality, not the other way around.

Twitter

You are also playing into their hands. They want you to talk about race, don’t you understand what justification means? They point to the results of poverty as their proof that their racism is correct. Fix the root cause, poverty, and the rest of the problems will work themselves out. With no proof for the xenophobes to point to, there will be no hiding their xenophobia from scrutiny.

Twitter

It’s a Network Problem

Facebook – Robert Reich – Should Facebook and Twitter Stop Trump’s Lies?

Yes. Mark Zuckerberg is a yellow journalist. This is crucial information to understand. Mark Zuckerberg is not Facebook though, and Facebook is a valuable information resource.

Twitter on the other hand is a mud wrestling free-for-all. Twitter should just ban political accounts. More specifically, Twitter should be reserved for journalists. Bloggers. People who are reporting the news, which is theoretically anyone who has a cell phone and is present at a newsworthy event. People who hold political office should simply not be allowed to have a Twitter account. They could have a managed Twitter presence without one anyway.

Facebook should be tasked with verifying ad content. Just like any other intermediary, they should be worried about their own status and reputation enough to make sure that what happens on their platform reflects well on their reputation. If they won’t do their due diligence, then the corporation should be nationalized and/or closely regulated. They have billions to spend. They should spend it on maintaining their reputation. Otherwise, why are they allowed to exist in the first place, and why are we spending so much time on their platform?

…But breaking up a communications network is a joke. Ma Bell was broken up and that did permanently cut the cost of long distance calling. But the network reassembled itself because that is the nature of a communications network, that everyone be on the network somewhere or somehow.

You break up Twitter and then what? We already have that, it’s called Mastodon. The behavior will just go there and we still have the problem of spreading misinformation. You break up Facebook and then what? We already have dozens of variations of alternative Facebooks; and again, the behavior will just go there and still be spread. The behavior is there already, and is being spread there in a more limited capacity.

What is needed is regulation. Law. Law that holds these platforms accountable for the misdeeds conducted with their information services. Otherwise the behavior of the users will just get transferred to another platform. Fix the problem, not make it move somewhere else. Make the platforms police their own user base, or create a regulating entity that does it for them. Fine them when they fail to protect the weak from the strong. It’s either that or we let Western civilization spiral down the drain. Pick one.

The US Economy in Two Headlines

Here’s a quote from the first story,

Wealthy households and individuals are pouring money into asset managers, betting on companies that lose $1 billion a year, bonds from little-known Middle Eastern republics, and giving hot Silicon Valley start-ups more venture capital than they can handle.

And private equity has seen so much cashflow that firms have $2 trillion of unused capital.

Axios, Dion Rabouin, Jun 6, 2019 – Too much money (and too few places to invest it)

Here’s a quote from the second one,

“Relatively small, unexpected expenses, such as a car repair or replacing a broken appliance, can be a hardship for many families without adequate savings,” the report said. “When faced with a hypothetical expense of $400, 61% of adults in 2018 say they would cover it, using cash, savings, or a credit card paid off at the next statement,” it added.

Bloomberg, Matthew Boesler, May 23, 2019 – Almost 40% of Americans Would Struggle to Cover a $400 Emergency

43% of Texans (and about that many Americans) are poor. Explain to me again how we cannot afford to deliver a dividend to those people, the half of America that is poor, that is struggling (if you must insist on soft language instead of harsh reality) we could make them have to struggle less, at the very least. Or is suffering what you really want your fellow humans to do?

From a Twitter reply.

Ban The OHM’s Bullshit

ALL IN – President Trump’s Twitter feed is full of garbage – April 11, 2019Facebook

I’ve been saying that Twitter should bar the Orange Hate-Monkey from using any social media service just on general principles. No one who holds public office should be allowed to use social media to promote their agenda. They especially should not be allowed to foster disinformation and violence with their social media access.

He should have been banned off the service years ago. No officeholder should be allowed to maintain a social media account of any kind. If they want to talk to the people, they should have to utilize the gatekeepers that are there to keep them from misleading we, the people.

Facebook

Twitter Trolls

Nothing about this man is real. I’d be willing to bet pretty much anything on that fact. His marriage to the Banshee Queen, his opinions about Trump’s mental health, his education and pretty much everything about him is probably fake. If the man exists at all, I imagine he lives in his mom’s basement playing fortnite and QQ’ing every time some twelve year-old ganks him.

If you believe anything he or his purported wife or her employer says, your head rings like a bell when you strike it. He is a troll. He’s a troll’s troll trolling Twitter trolls. The only thing to be gained from noticing this floating turd in the American toilet bowl of modern politics is this; his mere existence bears out my opinion that even listening to the noise around the Orange Hate-Monkey makes you more stupid. Bullshit is bullshit, no matter who is shoveling it.

I generally despise Twitter and only stay on the platform in order to cull the news from news organizations through my aggregator of choice, Nuzzel. That is the only real function Twitter serves. To give the average user the ability to troll the media directly.

Carrying It Out With You

facebook.com/Stonekettle

twitter.com/schwellenbach

I never stopped being a Boy Scout, myself. When I pack stuff in, that same stuff comes back out with me. Why? Because it is my mess and I clean up my messes. This is the way I live my life.

We recently were in Illinois helping family with a crisis in the making (it’s still in the making, but it may be averted soon) we stayed for a week in a hotel. During our stay, I separated the garbage for the maids into plastic, food waste, etc. They were like “oh, we don’t do recycling”. I still seperated the trash anyway. Why? Because pointing out a deficiency in a status quo is how you get the status quo changed. Every day we spoke to them they apologized for not doing recycling there. With any luck the word got back to a manager and maybe, one day, they’ll take waste management seriously. I’m a dreamer like that.

At least I did something instead of doing nothing. I don’t go to national parks. I don’t spend much time outside because everything that grows is trying to kill me. I am the poster child for a moon colonist. “No green growies? I’m good with that.” I don’t believe in trash. I don’t believe that you can just discard things and they disappear. In a closed system, waste builds up. This is why we have such a hard time establishing self-sustaining ecologies like the habitations we will need for a moon colony.

Waste byproducts limit the time the habitation is viable. That is why a bottle of wine or a bottle of beer gets to about 6% alcohol. Alcohol is the waste product of the yeast on the skins of grapes. The yeast added to the vats of barley malt used to make beer. 6% waste built up in the closed system of vats or bottles and the yeast dies. It dies and we get a beverage that alters our brain chemistry. It also happens to be sterile when prepared properly, the real reason most of our ancestors were drunk pretty much every day of their lives. Water straight out of the river might well kill you in days because of the animal and human waste in it.

Think about what that means. Think about the trash now piling up all over the planet, not just in the parks that currently have no maintenance staff. The trash everywhere that we so casually throw away every, single, day. It’s a feature of human habitation that archeologists find quite useful. The mounds of discarded refuse outside of every place we’ve ever lived in large groups. We now have how many billions? Is it still eight? How long can we little yeast organisms shit out our waste and leave it laying around on every surface near us before we kill the closed system we call Earth?

Pro-labor? I’m pro-future, myself.

This Trump shutdown (#ImpeachTrump for failure to execute his duties. His duties? Keep the government running) presents an opportunity. Concerned citizens who do use the parks regularly should form an organization that tasks itself with protecting the parklands. A charitable organization whose sole duty is to make sure that public lands are protected, even when the government itself is the organization that is destroying the parks. If the Boy Scouts were the organization that they were when I was teen in the scouts, this would be a project they would eagerly take up. It’s too bad those scouts are long gone.

Postscript

This was written during that time when President Trump refused to do his job for a month and sat on the White House lawn sulking like a child. They finally impeached him at the end of the year, but failed to mention the fact that he just wouldn’t do his job for a month. Most likely, they failed to mention that he was derelict in his duties because some of them had been derelict in their duties for a few decades by that point.

I had just been surrounded by Trumpists in rural Illinois, as I tangentially mentioned. Trumpists that I agreed to help because I was related to them and cared about them in spite of their horrible choice in leaders.

That whole episode is something I’d like to block from my memory now. The months spent working on renovation plans all for nothing. The contractor we found rejected because he was one of those pedophile Democrats that couldn’t be trusted. The renovation work done by a local cabinet maker that my relatives loved for some inexplicable reason. I don’t even know that he knew how to pour concrete properly, but they liked his dysfunctional layouts better than mine. I imagine that they still can’t find a place for furniture in that bedroom.

I don’t know why I wrote this piece on Facebook and not on the blog. It’s on the blog now. Featured image from Fast Company – Government Shutdown Update Americas Once-Beautiful National Parks Are Overrun With Trash. They borrowed it from Twitter, in case you didn’t notice.

Headline Writing Contest

That is what Twitter is, a headline writing contest. Anyone who believes it is more than that is deluded.

Facebook – The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe

Twitter is 98% bullshit. That is why the Orange Hate-Monkey thrives there. He’s also 98% bullshit. Second, I’m one of the people who uses another platform (Tumblr) to auto-post to Twitter because Twitter is 98% bullshit and no one with a functioning brain would spend any amount of time on Twitter.

Having said that, there *are* bot swarms on Twitter which make up a huge portion of the traffic on Twitter, and I wish the media types who live on Twitter understood just how meaningless their social platform of choice is. Everyone else is on Facebook. Why aren’t they?

Facebook

The Right Question on Healthcare

The logic goes that if healthcare is a right, then healthcare providers become slaves.

If healthcare is a right, they say, then I (for example) am entitled to the labor of doctors and nurses and they cannot refuse me. If healthcare is a right, according to these Randian libertarians, then any doctor, any nurse, any healthcare provider must provide me with their services free of charge at any time. Because it’s my right, you see?

Which is a damned good example of why Atlas Shrugged should be regarded as a tediously mediocre science fiction novel and not a blueprint for civilization.

In America, guns are a right. The right, in a lot of ways. But you can’t just walk into a gun store and demand a gun as your due free of charge – not without getting shot, probably. The government isn’t obligated to provide you with a gun. Hell, we don’t even have subsidies for poor people who want a gun and can’t  afford one. And instead of turning gun manufacturers into slaves, it made them fabulously wealthy.

stonekettle.com

Using the logic libertarians apply to healthcare, I’ve pointed out to them that they can’t have the right to a gun, pretty much the way you draw it out. You can have a right to defend yourself but you cannot have a right to a weapon, the product of another man’s work. Their response generally has been to declare that argument pointless, because without a gun you are defenseless. They apparently haven’t heard of kitchen knives and baseball bats.

Doctors take an oath. They are required to treat the injured, within their ability to do so. To not offer help when it is needed, when it is available, is inhumane. To the extent that healthcare is generally available, it is a right of the citizenry to seek it. Just like food and shelter, healthcare should be provided to those in need.

The problem with conservatives and capitalists is that they seem to think that you can gain wealth through social austerity. That isn’t how modern economic systems work. Money is a debt instrument. If they want people to pay for things then give them the money to spend in enough quantities to meet their needs. Then we’ll know what the price and demand for goods and services really are, because everyone who needs a thing will be able to pay the market price to get it. I’m convinced that public health is too important to be treated as a commodity, but anything outside of public health concerns (screenings, inoculations, hospitals, research) should be fine treated in this way. Just as long as those in need are not required to do without.

That is the problem that zero-sum game types can’t wrap their heads around. With millions of Americans and billions of people on this planet, there is little we cannot do if we set our minds to doing it. We created these systems out of whole cloth in previous generations. There is nothing keeping us from maintaining them in perpetuity aside from our own lack of will. Our own greed. We’ve let the greedy run this country for far too long now. It’s time for a change.

A comment on stonekettle.com

Postscript

I had forgotten about this comment on Stonekettle’s article until he reposted the article on Facebook the other day as part of an illustration of what a change in the presidency and his agenda can do to address the plights of millions of people.

twitter.com/POTUS (facebook.com/Stonekettle)