Tags: amazingly stupid idea

Medieval Lady

Stop Mississippi Amendment 26!

Signal-boosting, because this needs attention and... well, frankly, it needs to be stopped.

Due to the efforts of an organization called "Personhood USA" (yes, really), this November Mississippi will be voting on an amendment to the state constitution which states:

"The term 'person' or 'persons' shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof." This initiative shall not require any additional revenue for implementation.” (italics added)

Seriously? "Moment of fertilization"? So.... if you and your husband undergo in vitro fertilization, what are you supposed to do with the extra fertilized embryos, which are now constitutionally-protected "persons"? What about women who miscarry? Can they be subject to criminal charges? What about the morning-after pill-- which prevents a (hypothetical) fertilized embryo from implanting itself into the uterine wall? Is that manslaughter?

Regardless of what you think about abortion, this amendment is really terrifying in terms of scope, and what it would mean for women's control over their own bodies (yes, when you are pregnant, you have to think about eating for two, how what you do will affect the fetus, etc.-- but that's not the same thing as saying "the moment the sperm shows up, that cluster of cells has the same rights that you do, and you're going to be subordinate to that").

Longer discussions, and links to petition sites:

LiveJournal Entry

Daily Kos


Ok, the next time a cellphone starts ringing at THREE IN THE MORNING OHGOD, I am turning it off with a hammer.** Gaaaah.

Two nights. In a row. And it's not like I can adjust my work schedule around being woken up mid sleep-cycle.

*prepares to zombie through the second day in a row*

**Erm... as long as it's in the common-spaces, rather than in d_ragondaughter's room. 'Cause, you know, on the scale of "things which wreck your sleep," pretty sure that "roommate bursting through your door brandishing a hammer at 3:00 am" is even higher on the list than "WHO THE HELL IS CALLING AT THIS HOOOOOUUUUUUUUUR?!?!"
Medieval Lady

Amazon Sorting

Ok, further updates on the Amazon ranking issue (feel free to insert your own alternate noun there).

Dear Author analyzes the category metadata of what got deranked.

Making Light suggests one way this could have happened --kind of a cross between the telephone game gone wrong and the possible use of a pre-made list of "offensive" materials from a net nanny or similar.</a>

More thoughts from sbisson on the gradual process of such a massive screw-up, and the reasons why Amazon can't just hit a button and fix it

While different folks have different theories on what exactly happened, and why, everybody seems to agree that Amazon execs and programmers are going to be having a Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day. I, personally, am leaning more in favor of Corporate Stupid than Evil Intent, frankly, because the level of clueless stupid seems too high for the latter-- and also because I can see where an originally good idea about restricting the chances that _actual_ pornographic materials would come up in innocuous searches could mutate horribly as it got passed through different levels of a very large corporate hierarchy and into attempts to program something like that.

The Very Short Version: FanLib = Bad, Bad News

Hi, everybody!

Ummm… I’m not dead yet? I think I’ll go for a walk?

Ok, I first of all wanted to apologize for dropping off the face of the map this past semester; graduate school devours the brain. And then goes back for the spinal cord.

Hopefully, things will be better-organized at some point over this summer. We shall see.

The reason why I’m popping back into view today is because there’s an issue I think everybody out in fandom needs to be aware of; I know that there’s been a lot of talk, and a lot of lj entries, and information on other blogs, and I wanted to add my two cents.

The issue is FanLib, the new website which is claiming, with sparkles and feathers and lots of smarmy self-congratulation, that they represent a WAY TO BRING FANFIC INTO THE MAINSTREAM, and isn’t that wonderful, and don’t all of you little fanfic writers just love and adore them for their brilliant, brilliant, shiny plan!

Because what they want to do is take your fanfic and use it to make money. Not for you, the fanfic writer; not even for the people who came up with the characters and situations we so gleefully play with. They want to make money for themselves (although they will provide the occasional t-shirt or gift certificate or other contest prize). And if, say, somebody has a problem with the idea of for-profit fanfic using their characters? Well, then FanLib will cheerfully let them sue you. It ceases to be their problem. The fact that fanfiction writers might prefer not to be dragged into the limelight, really don’t care about making money as long as they get to keep playing with what they love… all of that seems a bit too much for the FanLib types to wrap their brains around.

Yeaaaaahhhh…. Ok, the myriad of problems with this have been discussed and analyzed by lots of people, far better than I could do it. For a good summary, including lots and LOTS of excellent comments, with links to other parts of the debate (including some examples of the horrible advertising FanLib thought would win over fanfic writers…):

FanLib Debate, summarized

(And, of course, many props and many thanks to Prof. Jenkins for letting all of this take place on his website) Now, one of the main points of that post was that Chris Williams (“and his staff,”… *eyebrow*) was going to deign to respond to Prof. Jenkins (instead of, say, a writer of fanfic). He/They have since given their official response, and here it is (with, again, some excellent analysis and comments, particularly by /pine).

FanLib’s Response

Without repeating everything that everybody says in response to CW (and his staff!), I would just like to say that the amount of condescension, the ignorance of the fan community that they claim to be serving—a community which they seem to feel should be grateful to FanLib for what they’re doing—is just staggering. I’m not sure there’s an actual ANSWER at any point in that entire response. There’s lots of self-congratulatory back-patting and “Oh, the fans just don’t understand how wonderful we are,” and they apparently did rewrite the Terms of Service to make them somewhat less egregiously horrible, but the main problems still remain.

Among other things, when you register for FanLib, they ASK YOU FOR YOUR FFNET PASSWORD. And why, may you ask, do they ask you to do something which every Internet user should by now know you should never, ever do (ie, give out your ID and password)? Well, so that that happy FanLib bot can go and automatically import all of your FanFiction.net work over into FanLib. All of it, apparently. Without asking you if, say, you WANT to move Story A or Scenario B.

The end result of this, as some of you have probably noticed, was that FFNet got attacked by bots, resulting in bandwith issues, leading ultimately to the additional log-in feature where you have to type in characters to prove that you are not a bot. To me, the fact that FanLib was pulling this stunt smacks of deliberate sabotage of another fanfic site. I mean, asking people for their IDs and passwords so that your bot could go raid the other site and take up its bandwidth? A site that you are competing with, and clearly trying to replace? That’s just poor form.

In addition, I’ve heard a lot of complaints about poor site layout, bad navigation, and generally bad design.

Short version: I would not go near this site with a ten-foot pole, and I highly recommend that everybody else stay away from it as well. These guys seem to have thought they had found an easy way to make money off of the work of fans, don’t seem to have actually done analysis of the demographics, composition, or culture of the fan community (the fact that most fanfic writers are female, and that many of them are in their twenties, thirties, forties, etc., and are very well-educated professional people, seems to have come as a complete shock), and have handled the ensuing bruhaha with a mix of defensiveness, whining, and condescension. There is nothing good about this, guys. And the worst-case scenario, that FanLib’s idiotic “for-profit” model brings down the wrath of the copyright holders upon fans everywhere, resulting in blanket condemnation of fanfic as illegal… yeah. Nothing even a little bit good.

(and now, back to my regularly scheduled work-stress...)