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Mastodon WTF timeline

Sunday 23 April 2017, 20:08

In the last few days I've been fortunate to witness an interesting chapter in the Internet's history, and I'm trying to compile a timeline of what has happened while the memories are still reasonably fresh. This is incomplete and a work in progress; I'll be updating it, and not necessarily in chronological order, as I dig up other things worth including. Some of my TODO markers may remain. But here goes.


Friday 17 February 2012, 14:48



最近与党は、新しい法案の提案しました。警察権を上げてインタネットの盗聴を作って法案んです。対決法案ですね。ヴぃっク・テーヴスさん(Vic Toews)と言う政治家は、その法案のスポンサーをします。公安相です。月曜日に、国会に、テーヴスさんは「[critics] can either stand with us or with the child pornographers.」と言いました。もじ公安相たちを支持しなければ、児童ポルノを支持しているということになりますよ!(@_w_deeさんの翻訳の介助ありがとう)英語のことわざは、「That's when the shit hit the fan.」です。たくさんの人は怒気になりました。

SOPA/PIPA protest disappointments

Wednesday 18 January 2012, 13:40

As you probably know by now if you live under a rock and get all your news through the Net, several popular sites are protesting current US proposed Net censorship laws. I'm glad to see that happen, and I'm glad that a lot of people are paying attention, and I don't want to understate how glad I am of those things. But I'm also disappointed by a lot of what I'm seeing, too.

Again with the child-porn PSAs

Sunday 21 November 2010, 10:24

I'm in Winnipeg at the moment, here to look for an apartment - and it looks like I was successful, in that I have an application and deposit in now on a place that seems pretty much perfect. Prices are a fair bit lower here than in Toronto, with the result that for only a little more than I was paying in the big smoke, I can get a significantly nicer apartment. It's a little hair-raising because it will take them longer to process my application than the length of my stay here, so if somehow I'm not approved, I'll be in trouble. But that's not likely.

There are a lot of anti-child-porn public service announcements here. Pretty much every transit bus carries at least one, usually more than one. My colleagues actually warned me about this before I came - yes, they said, it is kind of weird and disturbing, but we don't actually have massive amounts of child abuse here, honest! I'm sure it points to something interesting about the culture. But I noticed something more specific that I thought I'd highlight.

Okay, two posters. Nearly identical design, both advertising the same thing, obviously part of the same campaign. They're trying to convey that if you happen to see some child porn on the Net, you should report it to the police an unaccountable private citizens' group. I note that Canadian law does not provide a strong safe harbour for doing so, and not only possession but "accessing" it are highly illegal, with mandatory minimum jail sentences, even in the case of fictional text created without the involvement of any real children, so you should have a really good story of how you happened to find the material by accident - but never mind that. I'm interested in the subtle difference between the two posters. One shows a woman looking concerned, with the caption "I wouldn't want my kids in those pictures. SO I REPORTED IT." The other shows a man looking concerned, with the caption "I wouldn't want my little girl in those pictures. SO I REPORTED IT."

Maybe the designers just wanted some variety, so they didn't use exactly the same wording on the two posters. But would it work just as well if you swapped the two captions? I think it wouldn't; and I think the reason for that is a big clue to why this subject matter is so difficult for us to think about.

Gerard Kennedy on copyright, other issues

Thursday 24 June 2010, 10:42

Last night I attended a meeting called the "Community Council on Federal Issues," hosted by Gerard Kennedy, Liberal Member of Parliament for Parkdale-High Park and my Federal elected representative. I didn't vote for him; never mind whether I would have, I was living in a different city at the time of the last election. Apparently he holds these meetings periodically as a way of keeping in touch with constituents; this one in particular was advertised as having a focus issue of "Locked out? New Federal copyright laws and you," which was what drew my interest. I didn't take notes and don't plan to report on the entire meeting, but will cover a few points of interest to me.

The Terrible Secret of Livejournal, part 3: what to do?

Thursday 9 August 2007, 03:00

Link to Part 1.

It should not be thought that Six Apart have completely clean hands here. I'm not by any means a big fan of Six Apart.  It's partly because I'm not a fan of Six Apart that I've left Livejournal and given up my paid account.  Nothing in the previous section should be taken as my saying that Six Apart are perfect.  I think they're basically doing the right thing, but what have they done wrong?

The Terrible Secret of Livejournal, part 2: avoiding notice

Thursday 9 August 2007, 02:00

Link to Part 1.

In the previous section I mentioned that fandom itself is considered a perversion. I don't think most people in fandom are willing to admit that they know that. It might be another terrible secret - the terrible secret of fandom. The thing is that fandom is about creating a line that separates Us from Them. That's the point. That's why you joined - remember? You wanted to be among your people and escape from the ones who aren't your people. The trouble is that when we separated ourselves from the mainstream, we created a really good reason for the mainstream to separate from us too.

The Terrible Secret of Livejournal, part 1: the Secret

Thursday 9 August 2007, 01:00

I'm hearing another round of rumours about Six Apart, the company that runs Livejournal, and its deletion of Livejournal users.  It sounds like they've changed their code to make it less obvious when a user has been deleted (by hiding usernames or something, instead of showing them in strikethrough), and they're continuing to not follow their stated policies of issuing warnings and conducting reviews and so on.  The fandom community is up in arms, and the current situation is seen as an example of Six Apart not sticking to the promises it made last time there was a round of deletions.  I think the time has come for me to reveal the terrible secret of Livejournal - the one big issue behind this situation, that neither side wants to admit even to themselves.  Because of this one big issue, I think that fandom is making unreasonable demands of Livejournal.  This is a sort of open letter or reality check for the fandom community:  you can't expect Six Apart to give you what you're demanding, and you need to recognize why.