6 Things You Need to Stop Doing on Facebook

Maybe making lists should be on this list. But they’re actually a good way to communicate. And that level of ironic self-reference has been done before so I won’t repeat it here. And there also won’t be any berating people for posting pics of their kids or their pets – it’s Facebook, why act surprised when people post things about their personal lives that have nothing to do with you? That’s what Facebook is for.

This is about things people do that aren’t about themselves. They’re not genuinely sharing something, they’re reposting some bullshit they’ve found online. And they need to stop. I should stress that the people who do this are not necessarily stupid, almost everyone on my friends list has done at least one of them. So this is an intervention. For pretty much everyone. Get your fucking act together.

In ascending order (more annoying to me as we go along) they are:

6: Which meaningless personality test are you?
These things go in waves. One of them tickles the fancy of a few people then dozens of increasingly vapid imitations pop up. Before you know it, people are eagerly posting “Guess which Golden Girls health issue I am?” These things are fucking stupid – don’t perpetuate them. Oh, and if you feel compelled to defend them, the answer is you are Blanche’s genital warts.

5: Posting “news” or images without verifying them
You’re on the internet for fuck’s sake. If someone posts something that outrages you, BEFORE YOU SHARE IT plug it in to a search engine. It takes barely any longer than mindlessly spreading the bullshit further. And you know what? If you don’t find multiple REPUTABLE news outlets confirming the story it’s probably bullshit. Finding it on partisan blogs is meaningless. It isn’t a conspiracy of the mainstream media – they’re the first to spread awful, sensationalist stories. If you can’t get objective backup it’s bullshit, pure and simple.

4: Not posting links to the source/original creator
There’s been a surge in the last year of third party sites that scrape someone else’s content and repost it without adding anything meaningful of their own. You know what you do if you see one of these and you like the original content they’re using? YOU POINT TO THE ORIGINAL FUCKING CONTENT! It isn’t hard – look at this example of some piece of shit loser site appropriating someone’s YouTube video:

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By simply clicking on the link to show the video on YouTube YOU CAN LINK DIRECTLY TO THE PERSON WHO CREATED IT! Seriously, one more fucking click and you can give credit to the person who actually created it and not the worthless leech site that creates NOTHING of value. It isn’t difficult.

3. You shared a stupid linkbait teaser headline – you won’t believe what happens next!
What will happen next is I will cave your fucking skull in. Seriously, I despise this obnoxious trend of using headlines that don’t tell you what the fucking story is. If you don’t trust your content enough to use a descriptive headline then your content is shit or you think your audience is shit or more likely, you are shit. Every time you share one of these idiotic “teaser” description you encourage the fuckwits to keep doing it. It’s a stupid fashion and like all stupid fashions it will die out but it will be gone SOONER if you stop encouraging them.

2. Linking to sites/pages that force you to register/follow/like them
These people are worse than Hitler. There, I said it. People didn’t stand up to Hitler soon enough and bad things happened. If you link to people who force a viewer to do something before they can view the content you are rewarding someone who is worse than Hitler. Which makes you far worse than Hitler. I hope you’re ashamed now.

1. 99% of you won’t have the guts to share this post
This is the WORST! Every time I think this fucked trend has died some fucking idiot does it again and I want to punch my screen when I see it! And I don’t punch my screen because that would be stupid. So I save up that frustration so when I meet someone in person who has done this I can punch them. Hard. Repeatedly. In the head. With a bus. These posts are always about some “worthy” cause which isn’t a bad thing in itself but they are always worded in this condescending way that suggests the poster is better than everyone who doesn’t feel as strongly as them. It’s made worse by the fact these are rarely original, they’re another bit of copypasta which makes me doubly sick because if you repost these you’re worse than a condescending prick, you’re an unoriginal condescending prick. And to top it all off there’s this stupid “99% of people won’t have the guts to repost this” bullshit. What is this, primary school? You’ve got to double dog dare me to do something? Even when these are done for a cause I support, they end up making me hate the poster and everyone involved with the cause.

Almost everyone I know has been guilty of at least one of these offences which will make the list contentious as most honest people will see themselves here. 99% of people won’t have the guts to admit their shortcomings and share this post – will you?

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Of course I see your point

I deal with stupid people every day. And while their individual brands of stupidity are troubling, pretty much the final nail in their stupid coffin is when they expect me to give a shit about them. Real life is different but I learned long ago not to waste time with idiots online. They go on and on about why I should debate them and/or answer their questions but they never want a genuine debate, they simply want to go on and on with their ridiculous crap without ever listening to any contrary points of view. Or, you know, evidence.

And no matter how stupid their bullshit is (e.g. evolution deniers, climate change deniers) they can’t conceive of the possibility that you reject their idiocy because it’s completely without merit. They decide the problem must be that you can’t see their point which they intend to remedy by blathering on and on until they bury your objections under a mountain of bullshit. 

Oh, I can see your point. It’s just really fucking stupid.

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One “RadFem” doesn’t tell you anything about feminism – Why can’t people think?

There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t see an example of someone online spouting some ridiculous rubbish as if they are revealing some deep truth. I’m not talking about differences of opinion, I’m talking about instances where the briefest moment of reflection would reveal to all but the stupidest person that what they are about to post is utter bullshit. So why don’t these people think before they post? Well, it’s not like they get punished for their stupidity. And they have role models in major media outlets and political parties who *should* be punished when they spew deliberate lies but never are.

So why should anyone care about thinking before they talk shit? Here’s where I start to sound like an idealist. You become a better person when you apply thought and consideration to everything you do. You don’t have to agree with me. Believe it or not, I’m actually mature enough to accept the fact that there are people who see things differently to me, place importance on different things and want different outcomes from life. But if I can take apart your bullshit with a single sentence then you need to shut the fuck up.

My latest bout of frustration was triggered by a young man on Twitter who declared that feminists think all vaginal sex is rape. I’m not naming him because I’m not trying to start a witch hunt, I’m trying to start a conversation. My first impulse was ignore it – not worth bothering with that level of stupidity. Then he followed it up saying how since watching a video that told him feminists think all vaginal sex is rape he’d given up on people. I get annoyed when my twitter stream is polluted with shit like this. Obviously an easy step for me to take would be to unfollow this guy and in many cases that’s what I would have done. I was pissed off at his ignorance but I was also giving him the benefit of the doubt, assuming he could be reasoned with so I responded (in what was quite a restrained way for me) tweeting: “you know you’re talking utter fucking horseshit, right? That is NOT said by feminists. It just isn’t.”

His response was to link to a blog that was the source of his ire. The blog was obviously written by a seriously damaged individual. Or maybe by a dude who’s trying to discredit feminists. Or maybe by a female so desperate for notoriety that she’s fallen into the trap of thinking all attention is good attention. Whoever writes it, it’s drivel and will tell you nothing meaningful about feminism. And being able to trot out actual real humans who believe this sort of crap and identify themselves as feminist is pretty much meaningless. I can give you members of major political parties who seriously believe that a subterranean race of shape shifting lizard people hold every position of power on earth. Does that mean they speak for every other member of those political parties? 

Here’s where someone who doesn’t think (him) is vulnerable to someone who does think (me). When someone says/does something I disagree with I don’t simply focus on their words, I consider their motivation. I also consider what they actually said, not what they think they said or what they want me to see.

This guy has mentioned a video but given a link to an extremely obscure blog written by someone who calls themselves a “radfem”. There’s no way this guy has randomly stumbled on this blog so I ask him for his source and he points me to a video made by a well-known anti-feminist neckbeard on on YouTube (who I won’t dignify with a link). This video makes the same ridiculous assertion: because I have found something written by someone claiming to be a radfem it is legitimate to make the all encompassing statement that “feminists” think this. And the comments are a truly horrific parade of hate and bile. For every “get real, this is in no way representative of the feminist movement” there are dozens of “YES IT ARE! FEMIBITCHEZ JUST HATES MENS!”

This is where motivation becomes important. What was the video makers motivation for his statements? He isn’t an unintelligent person. I’ll go out on a limb and say he knows the statement “feminists say all vaginal sex is rape” is a lie. So someone who is capable of intelligent discourse makes a deliberately misleading and inflammatory statement that he knows will whip his reasonably large following into a frenzy. Why? A quest for notoriety? He really hates feminists and doesn’t care if he has to resort to lies to score points? He’s a pathetic, insecure loser who needs to convince himself that all of his failings are someone else’s fault? Maybe a combination of all of these, who knows?

But if you’ve repeated this lie (or similar lies) without thinking, what’s your motivation? The young man who triggered this rant acknowledged (when I pulled him up) that the statement “feminists think all vaginal sex is rape” is untrue. But he tweeted it. Multiple times. And he enjoyed the video. So what’s the motivation for spreading unfair stereotypes without any critical thought? People of all genders, races and creeds are guilty of doing this at some point so don’t get defensive and point out someone else doing it*. You can’t control other people’s behaviour – you can control yours. And using someone else’s bad behaviour to justify yours is a cop-out. The fact that you can point to someone on a different part of the political/racial/gender spectrum who is also saying/doing fucked things doesn’t make you any less fucked. That just means you’re both fucked.

So there’s my challenge for 2014: THINK! Think more. Don’t stop thinking. Acknowledge your error when someone points out your lazy thinking or total lack of thinking. You’ll never know everything so stop pretending you do. As soon as you think you can draw a line under any topic and stop thinking about it, that’s when you start moving backwards. Thinking isn’t always easy. It isn’t always comfortable. But it’s always the right thing to do. Think more. And bullshit less.

 

*A BRIEF NOTE: I know it’s possible to argue that I’m doing the exact thing I say you shouldn’t do – trying to modify someone’s behaviour. What I’m actually doing is attempting to start a conversation. If you obsess over this one point you’re aren’t clever – you’re insecure and the challenge to think and take responsibility scares you. Grow the fuck up.

P.S. Did it spook you to realise I knew what you were thinking?

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TPP/Trans Pacific Partnership – worst proposed trade agreement ever?

At this stage the only thing we can say for sure about the Trans Pacific Partnership is that fact the negotiations have been conducted in secret is horrifically undemocratic and in the interests of nobody apart from maybe a very small number of vested interests. I say maybe because while several powerful lobby groups (the entertainment industry, drug companies, telcos) have pushed for laws that definitely hurt everyone apart from them, I seriously think they’re too stupid to see how their short term thinking will ravages entire economies and they’ll be caught up in the collateral damage.

Any honest person who has worked in the corporate world (and I have) knows that these big companies are wracked by internal power struggles and most are incapable of seeing past their next six monthly profit reports.Asking them to think long term is like asking a cat to not dig its claws into you when it sits on your lap because it fucking hurts. They don’t understand your point and they don’t give a shit.

Technically, we don’t know for sure anything at all that is being proposed in the TPP agreement as the negotiations are being done so secretly, but we have a pretty good idea because details have been leaked every step of the way. I’ve always assumed this has been because some of the people involved in the negotiations (particularly from the smaller countries) have gone “Oh my fucking god, I don’t believe what they’re trying to get away with in secret – we have to let the world know!”

Wikileaks have published what they call the “most controversial chapter” which focuses on intellectual property and proposed controls over activity on the internet. Apparently they provisions that would limit the ability of smaller and poorer countries to manufacture generic medication aren’t controversial. Because, you know, fuck poor people.

Unsurprisingly, all the worst aspects of every acronym you’ve ever heard (SOPA, PIPA, ACTA) are still in play. Continuing the insane extensions of copyright limits. Restricting the ability to introduce even slightly saner copyright laws. Kill fair use/ fair dealing conventions. Criminalising everyday activity (like choosing on which of your own devices you play media you have legally purchased). Expecting ISPs to police your internet activity and restricting your internet access based on the say-so of “rights holders” – they don’t have to prove in a court  that you broke the law, they simply have to assert you broke the law.

It’s bad enough that the US is trying to force this on their weaker trading partners but the weird part is it’s also being forced on the US. The Obama administration are pushing for “fast track authority” which means it would be signed into law without congress even getting to debate it. And he wants congress to agree to this without even seeing the proposal. If you think this is crazy, you’re not alone. Several prominent Tea Party types think it’s crazy. And the really crazy part is I agree with them.

The US is pushing this and US citizens are in the driver’s seat with this. It looks bleak but lobbying your congress-creatures and senators really works. Call them. Join/support someone like the EFF who lobbies lawmakers. It isn’t to late to inject a bit of sanity into this.

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Murdoch media lying about the ABC again

It’s more than a tad superfluous to call out any Murdoch-owned media outlet for lying and being self-interested but every now and then they actually go far enough to stir my rage. Today it was an editorial in “The Australian” clamouring for the newly elected conservative government to interfere with the ABC and cut its budget (big fucking surprise). For those unfamiliar with the situation, the ABC in Australia (similar to the BBC in the UK) is a non-commercial taxpayer-funded broadcaster that provide a free service.

Traditionally the ABC TV ratings were well below the commercial networks as ratings was not the number one concern for the ABC – providing quality programming was. There should, of course, be ongoing discussions about what value this provides and what the ABC’s budget should be but when a media outlet publishes such self-serving lies as this editorial in the Australian (and as Murdoch scions have done regularly about the BBC) then I call bullshit.

Print media companies in particular have one overriding concern with the ABC. Their outdated business model is dying and they are desperate to find some way to recoup some lost revenue from the internet that is killing their existing cashflow. Despite the fact these companies are run by uber-capitalists, their arguments seem to be dominated by the idea that they deserve to make money because what they provide is so wonderful. Apparently competing in an open marketplace is for some other suckers.

The ABC publishes their news content online for free. Every time the geniuses at a commercial news organisation say “let’s put our content behind a paywall” there’s the spectre of the ABC and free content. Why pay for news when you can get it for free? This interests me because the ABC has always provided their news commercial free in competition with commercial outlets so what makes the internet so different?

Obviously I don’t know for sure but as an outside observer, the clear message I get from traditional media is the internet scares the shit out of them and they still don’t understand it. They make the same arguments against it as were made about every technological change in history and just as everyone who tried to stop advances in the past were wrong, they are wrong this time. They make pathetic attempts to argue that the internet is somehow different to everything that came before, oblivious to the fact that the same argument was made about every new technology in the past, including the pianola roll.

Or maybe they’re just hoping we don’t notice how full of shit they are.

My overwhelming problem with their bullshit is they have one problem and one problem only. They want to put up a paywall for their internet content. They know people will go to free ABC content in droves and ignore their paywalled content. They think if the free ABC content vanished then they would make money via subscriptions to their site. They refuse to come clean and admit this because they don’t want to make it blindingly obviously what lying, self-serving scumfucks they are. I’ve got news for you dickheads: it IS blindingly obviously what lying,self-serving scumfucks you are.

Oh, and also you’re wrong about paywalls being your future in any version of the internet. I don’t know who’s selling you this bullshit but you need to grow the fuck up and accept it simply isn’t real. Even if in some sick dystopian future you manage to kill off the ABC & BBC through the politicians you’ve bought and paid for your paywalls simply won’t work. There will always be a competitor without paywalls and that model will always fail for everything but niche interests. The internet simply doesn’t favour slow moving global media behemoths. 

And make no mistake about it, these media moguls combined with the telcos will wreck the internet in their attempts to force it to conform to how they imagine the world should be. Every bullshit law they push through in the name of copyright or “protecting the children” is aimed solely at giving them the control to only allow you to see what they want to give you when they want to give it to you. But to get to some specific from the Australian editorial that enraged me.

In the first paragraph they dare to invoke “struggling digital startups” as if they give a shit. The suggestion that these global behemoths considered anyone but themselves is nothing short of a bald faced lie. When these greedy fucks start with such an obvious lie, you know it’s only going to get worse.

Then they wander off into some bizarre fantasy land where the ABC’s expansion into digital media was completely unforseen and couldn’t possibly be part of the ABC mandate. They ask the bizarre rhetorical question “What is the ABC’s role?” then answer is completely falsely with the insane right wing rhetoric of “unchecked bureaucratic tendency to towards empire-building”. Seeing as you provided an answer that was so patently false, I’ll give you the real answer: ‘TO PROVIDE A FUCKING SERVICE TO THE PUBLIC YOU FUCKING FUCKS!”

I can’t get over how much this editorial answers itself. Newspaper publishes self-serving editorial aimed at nothing more than promoting the greed of its global empire and asks “What should the ABC be doing?” PROVIDING A FUCKING ALTERNATIVE TO YOUR FUCKING BULLSHIT YOU PIECES OF SHIT!

The Australian, like all Murdoch media, is shamelessly biased and treats any reporting that shows any views that differ to Murdoch’s as absolutely wrong-headed and biased. Once you get into this pathetic excuse for an editorial you realise it’s nothing more than schoolyard level name calling. “Everything I do is good and everything you do is dumb! So nerrrrrr.” If I want to see Twitter-level shitfights I’ll go to Twitter. These egotistical freaks regularly hold themselves up as champions of journalism like it’s some kind of golden virtue. This drivel isn’t journalism in the public good – it’s pathetic name calling and demonising of anyone you don’t agree with. And that’s what I do!

To be slightly more charitable, the rubbish printed in this editorial is nothing more than horrifically biased opinion parading as objective fact. And to anyone who wants to say “but it’s an editorial – by definition it’s opinion” I say “SHUT THE FUCK UP!” For too long these fucking hypocrites have gotten away with this veneer of “editorial” as separate from “news” even though they present them right alongside one another. They know full well that editorial content is barely differentiated from news by the public (if at all) and the Murdoch media in particular are shameless practitioners of presenting their biased politics as editorial then reporting the “news” that people are saying this.

Expect to see much more of this bullshit in the coming years. The evidence is apparent throughout the global Murdoch  empire that they will not hesitate to shamelessly lie to promote their own interests. They have zero concern for what is in the public interest and are concerned solely with their own revenue. I have nothing against making money – it’s something I try to do as well. But using a public platform to lie and undermine the public’s access to an alternative to their partisan fuckwittery is nothing short of evil.

Traditional media will become more and more desperate as the cash cow they thought would last forever continues to die. Their influence is undermined by the internet as well but that is a much lower priority to them than money. All of their current strategies are doomed to ultimately fail but they don’t give a shit how much damage they do on their road to ultimate failure. Any damage they do to institutions like the ABC and the wider internet will do nothing to help them but they will sure as hell hurt the rest of us.

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Racists upset that Miss America isn’t white enough

Not all racists are objectively stupid and not all stupid people are racists. But holy crap some racists are prone to saying skull-fuckingly stupid things. Then they compound their public racism and stupidity by being oblivious to how staggeringly racist their pronouncements are. Say what you will about the Aryan Brotherhood, at least they tend to be honest about who and what they are.

The latest expression of this racist stupidity came when the winner of the 2014 Miss America Pageant (yeah, that’s still a thing) turned out to be not white enough for a number of Americans. Miss New York, and now Miss America 2014, is Syracuse, NY born Nina Davuluri. Possibly worse than being brown, she had the audacity to be the offspring of people with a name that simply doesn’t sound white enough.

And fuck anyone who says the responses were anything but racist. If Miss New York had been a first generation American who was blonde, blue eyed and named Anderson with parents from Sweden none of these idiots would have batted an eyelid. The simple fact Nina Davuluri is brown-skinned with a surname they don’t recognise is all these morons need to justify saying she isn’t American.

Twitter fairly exploded with the indignation of these ignorant racists which doesn’t surprise me. What does blow my mind is these idiots live in such a self-absorbed bubble that they clearly didn’t realise there would be any negative response to their profoundly offensive racism being vomited across a public forum. Several sites have collected choice examples of their bigotry, collecting gems such as calling her, an Arab, a Muslim, al-qaeda, a camel jockey and a terrorist – none of which even have the dubious saving grace of being factually accurate.

At least some of the bigots accurately grasped Davuluri’s Indian heritage. It’s probably a matter of personal taste whether you are more disgusted by the bigots who think she’s Arabic or the bigots who realise her family is Indian. Myself, I find it too tough to call which group is more offensive.

While I’m not into witch-hunts myself I did get some amusement from seeing how many of the Twitter accounts that have been publicly shamed have been deleted or switched to protected mode. I’m sure they’re outraged at the fact that people actually disagreed with them and regard their public outing as bigots as an infringement of their civil liberties. Which it obviously isn’t. The right to free speech is NOT the same as not same avoiding any responsibility or consequences for the shit you dribble. And if they’re not claiming free speech they’re claiming anyone who criticises their bigotry is kowtowing to political correctness.

The same people who say they should be allowed to say whatever hateful thing they want to regarding any minority are invariably the same freaks who invoke “9/11″ as something holy that must not be sullied. In fact, several of these utter fucking morons said that allowing Nina Davuluri to win Miss America so close to 9/11 was some sort of horrific insult. This would be a moronic even if she was Muslim but we come back the she is, in fact, not Muslim. I’m sure these morons would mutter something along the lines of “same part of the world”. This glosses over the fact that Ms Davuluri was born in America, not India but even if she had been, it’s worth pointing out (seeing as the majority of these drooling idiots thing Iraq was responsible for 9/11) Paris is closer to Baghdad than New Delhi is.

Still, brown people – fuck ‘em, amirite?

At the end of this, I’m left with one question: why does it appear that the Miss America crown is being nailed into the winner’s skull? That shit looks painful.

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TitStare app is everything that’s wrong with Tech Industry

Over the weekend a couple of Australian developers presented their tastefully named “TitStare” app at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco. In case you’re having trouble imagining what the app is for, there is no hidden subtlety. The developers said the app would let you “take photos of yourself, looking at tits” and allow men to look at women’s breasts whenever they wanted. 

Because if there’s one thing women are always telling me it’s that men never stare directly at their breasts. And men are really deprived if they want to stare at some tits. The certainly aren’t displayed larger the life on every second billboard. And they’re almost impossible to find on the internet.

This is of course all just a joke and everyone should laugh it off. That’s right, at an extremely high profile conference for an industry that is plagued with negativity and outright hostility towards women, when someone presents an app called “TitStare” and provokes chuckles from the overwhelmingly male audience there’s no problem. It’s “a bit of a laugh”. Tongue in cheek. Not at all an indictment of the rampant sexism in the technology industry.

I call bullshit.

I particularly call bullshit on the pathetic “apologies” given by the developers. Saying “If we offended anybody it was unintentionally done” does not absolve you – it defines the fucking problem! I’d actually have more time for the developers if they aggressively defended the app and told people to get over themselves. At least they’d have some integrity then. They’d still be tools. But they’d be tools who stood behind their actions. Presenting something like “TitStare” and saying you didn’t know it was offensively sexist makes you a self absorbed moron, so secure in your privilege that you’re unaware of the level of privilege you enjoy.

To their credit, TechCrunch offered a direct and unequivocal apology, owning their failure in letting the presentation happen. But I call bullshit on them saying they would screen all ideas before they are presented from now on (which gives them the excuse that this app was only presented because there was no screening process in place). Are you telling me that if someone developed an app called “Lynch the Nigger” they wouldn’t be stopped from presenting? Or even if there truly was NO screening are you telling me nobody would have crash tackled them from the stage before they got halfway through presenting an app with a name like that?

But TitStare wasn’t that offensive. It was simply a bit of tongue in cheek fun. And totally demeaning to women. But that’s business as usual. And it’s everything that’s everything that’s wrong with the tech industry.

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