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June 18, 2008

AP to negotiate with sham “Media Bloggers Association”
Posted by Teresa at 09:00 AM *

This weblog does not belong to the Media Bloggers Association. This weblog had never heard of the Media Bloggers Association until yesterday, when the Associated Press made an announcement:

AP to meet with blogging group to form guidelines

The Associated Press, following criticism from bloggers over an AP assertion of copyright, plans to meet this week with a bloggers’ group to help form guidelines under which AP news stories could be quoted online.

Jim Kennedy, the AP’s director of strategic planning, said Monday that he planned to meet Thursday with Robert Cox, president of the Media Bloggers Association, as part of an effort to create standards for online use of AP stories by bloggers that would protect AP content without discouraging bloggers from legitimately quoting from it. …

Cox, the head of the bloggers’ association, said there needed to be a clearer understanding among bloggers about what kinds of use of AP stories would or would not trigger legal complaints.

Oh yeah?

This weblog was not born yesterday.

I’ve been monitoring reactions to the AP story. I haven’t seen a single weblog indicate that it had heard of the Media Bloggers Association before this story broke. Naturally, I was suspicious. It sounded like one of those setups where “tribal representatives” who have no actual standing with the tribe sign a treaty ceding some large tract of land to white developers. What the hell is the Media Bloggers Association?

I went looking. Let me just say that the research has been distractingly interesting. I can’t possibly work everything into this post. Shortest possible version: Daily Kos is right in all particulars about this supposed negotiation. His major points: [1.] The Associated Press doesn’t make the law. Their current campaign is in violation of established copyright law. Talking to the MBA won’t change that. [2.] Kos isn’t going to boycott the AP. He intends to go on using his right to fair-use quotations from news stories. He says if the AP wants to sue him for this, bring it on. [3.] And I quote:

The dumbasses at the Media Bloggers Association, of course, are walking right into that meeting because they crave nothing more than creating the impression that they, you know, represent bloggers (they don’t).
Spot on.

The Media Bloggers Association substantially consists of one lackluster blogger named Robert Cox. His weblog, Words in Edgewise, and the MBA website, are two halves of the same site. Robert Cox isn’t all that interested in blogging per se. What he’s really into is self-aggrandizement by representing himself as someone who speaks for bloggers and blogging. An embarrassing number of organizations have fallen for this.

(There’s more yummy goodness to come, but I’m going to post this much now. Expect this entry to get longer as I continue to work on it.)

2. Robert Cox is speaking for you!

Meeting with the Associated Press on behalf of the blogosphere is right up Robert Cox’s alley. His appearances at conferences and on roundtable discussions, his interviews and his published opinions, are the by far the biggest subject of his weblog.

An incomplete list: RC is on the Poynter committee, which is “evolving a guidebook for online ethics” (but I haven’t seen Cox participating in any of the major online ethics thrashes over the past few years). :: RC appears on a panel on the Future of Alternative Journalism. :: RC attends the We Media conference on blogging and social media. :: RC participates in the Project for Excellence in Journalism’s roundtable on the future of online media. :: RC attends a Justice in Journalism conference in Nashville. :: (He quotes some of his own remarks, which are fatuous.) :: RC is interviewed about blogging by the Congressional Quarterly Researcher. :: RC participates in a State of the News Media 2006 online roundtable. :: RC puts together a panel on the Maine Blogger case for the Media Giraffe Summit. :: RC speaks at the SPJ annual conference. :: Legislators and advocacy groups ask RC to opine on blogging. :: RC writes op ed for DFW Star-Telegram. :: RC appears on the Fox News Neil Cavuto Show. :: (That piece will give you a good sense of Robert Cox’s blogging style, if you’re interested; or try RC meets Gerald Ford for a picosecond during a seventh-grade class trip.) :: RC appears on a panel on changing media at the Justice & Journalism conference in Phoenix. :: RC engages in name-dropping at BloggerCon IV. :: RC is mentioned in an editorial by Matt Tapscott. :: Lauren Gelman of the Stanford Law School Clinical Education Center asks RC to sign on to an Amicus brief. :: RC travels this great land of ours, meeting “…educational institutions, foundations, media associations, financial services companies, law firms and legal associations, government agencies, book publishers, movie companies and many more. I have met with executive editors for major newspapers, supreme court justices, White House officials, deans of law schools, general counsels for major corporations. I have spoken at conferences for corporations, public information officers, major media associations, journalism schools. I have also personally met with hundreds of bloggers.”

Please tell me you get the idea.

Given the quality of Robert Cox’s opinions and analyses, you’d think we’d have heard more about all this activity of his. I expect the liberal mainstream media is to blame. (Yup, Cox is one of those. He’s also a racist.)

Sometimes, alas, Robert Cox is denied a voice at some event where he’d like to speak, like this one, at the Museum of Television & Radio. Then he’s hard put to say a single good thing about the gathering. (Click through and have a look at who they invited instead.) But for real vituperative anger—the only circumstance that ever gets Robert Cox to write at substantial length and use specific detail—the winner and champeen is a 2005 panel discussion following a special showing of George Clooney’s Good Night and Good Luck that left RC permanently ticked-off at Nick Lemann. You can read about it in RC’s Blogs to Lemann: Drop Dead!.

In that entry, he also mentions that he wrote up the event at the time in his old weblog, The National Debate. TND has since been taken down, but through the miracle of the Wayback Machine, a.k.a. the Internet Archive, you can still read it.* Even better, you can watch RC’s own video of himself asking the panel the kind of question that makes panel moderators wish they carried firearms, and the panelists doing what RC claims they “studiously avoided” doing: answering his question. Watch this video! THERE IS NO BETTER INTRODUCTION TO THE MIND OF ROBERT COX.

3. Some smaller tidbits before I dive into the next big section:

Robert Cox (then Bob Cox) was or is the proprietor of Olbermann Watch, a nutbar right-wing attack site. I don’t want to link to it. You can read about the blog, Robert Cox, the early days of the MBA, and the kind of things RC does with his prized “journalistic credentials”, in Watching Olbermann Watch. This ties Cox to the likes of Rupert Murdoch. It’s definitely food for paranoia.

Onward.

Robert Cox isn’t accustomed to having other sites respond to his writing. When they do, he gets nettled, whiny and defensive, at length. Worse, he fails to identify who it is he’s responding to! It’s enough to make you wonder whether, at heart, he’s really a blogger at all. Here’s his reaction to this entry (plus someone else’s response). Even more fun, here he is picking a fight with Gawker Media.

You just keep thinkin’, Butch.

That’s all for this segment. Again, expect this entry to get longer as I continue working on it.

4. A bad Wikipedia entry, an interesting item from a Salon letter column, and an unseemly obsession with being first; also, Tlönista reads the MBA News Archive so you don’t have to:

A bad Wikipedia entry:

I first divined the existence of Robert Cox by looking at the Wikipedia entry on the Media Bloggers Association. It’s short:

The Media Bloggers Association, or MBA, is an American membership-based, non-partisan organization involved in activities that support the development of blogs as an emerging distinct form of media.

In January 2007, MBA members were among the first bloggers to receive press credentials identical to those of broadcast and print journalists at a federal court, to cover the trial of Lewis Libby, alongside bloggers from more established sites including the Huffington Post and Daily Kos. The MBA described this as a significant step forward in its efforts on behalf of its members.

What’s the problem? Simple. There’s one humongous and glaring omission: Firedoglake owned that story. Their coverage was the wonder of the world. The mainstream media and bloggers across the entire political spectrum were using Firedoglake’s coverage to follow the story. It got written up at length by Glenn Greenwald in Salon (“Firedoglake’s Libby reporting forces a reevaluation of blogs”), Liz Halloran in U.S. News and World Report (Media Takes: A Dogged Blogger at the Libby Trial), and Jay Rosen in PressThink (“They’re Not in Your Club but They Are in Your League: Firedoglake at the Libby Trial”). If you look at SourceWatch’s list of external links on the trial of Scooter Libby, you can see how thoroughly they dominated the coverage.

I typed “media blogging association” firedoglake into Google. Up popped result #1: the New York Times article on Firedoglake’s coverage of the Libby trial. Two and a half screens down, there it was:

For blogs, the Libby trial marks a courthouse coming of age. It is the first federal case for which independent bloggers have been given official credentials along with reporters from the traditional news media, said Robert A. Cox, president of the Media Bloggers Association.
“I see you,” I said out loud. I went back to the Wikipedia article and looked at the entry’s revision history. Sure enough, the original version and the first two rounds of revisions were credited to “Robertissimo.” (Yes, I know: there’s always the possibility that it was written and revised by some other Robertissimo of the same name—one who uses the standard MBA wording, is familiar with the organization’s doings, cares enough to keep a close watch on the entry, cares far too much about who gets credit for being the first bloggers to get journalistic credentials, and has a writing style very like that of Robert Cox. It’s well to keep such improbabilities in mind.)

The next revision was by Raph Levien, whose laconic explanation said “tone down self-promotion, giving due credit to other blogs.” Levien amended Robertissimo’s untruthful claim that MBA members had been the first bloggers to receive press credentials identical those of print journalists, and added mentions of Daily Kos and The Huffington Post: if not completely accurate, a considerable improvement. Another Wikipedian, Outsider3, disputed some of the entry’s other claims. Then, alas, Robertissimo came back and removed Outsider3’s additions, piously noting in the “Talk” section that “…while the information may be factual, it needs reliable sources per WP guidelines on attribution.” I’d have thought that “There’s a good chance that I’m the president of the organization being criticized” was the more pertinent information.

Further down in the “Talk” section, I think it’s Robertissimo who quotes Robert Cox explaining that the reason the MBA members weren’t the first-ever bloggers to get journalistic credentials was because an earlier blogger, Gene Borio, had claimed that he received federal credentials long before the Libby trial. If so, Robertissimo did a good job of maintaining his initial enormous lie: that Firedoglake had no part in the coverage of the Libby trial.

(Dear Wikipedia: may I suggest that you have a look at Robertissimo’s other entries and edits? Dishonesty is so seldom a one-time event. Also, someone should fix that entry.)

An interesting item from a Salon letter column:

This letter to the editor is from the letter column following Glenn Greenwald’s article on Firedoglake’s coverage of the Libby trial. The letter writer is referring to the New York Times’ story about the coverage:

You Left Out the Unfortunate Part of That Article…

… the shameless credit-grabbing by Robert A. Cox, president of “the America Bloggers Association.”

For blogs, the Libby trial marks a courthouse coming of age. It is the first federal case for which independent bloggers have been given official credentials along with reporters from the traditional news media, said Robert A. Cox, president of the Media Bloggers Association. Mr. Cox negotiated access for the bloggers.
Mr. Cox had absolutely no role in negotiation access for Firedoglake, which did so independently long ago, most likely before Mr. Cox even thought about it. Cox has also tried to force FDL into his “pool” deal with AP, which, I believe, FDL rebuffed. And yet Cox not only continues to act like this was all his doing, the Times dutifully goes along.

FDL’s coverage was FDL’s alone, and in no way, shape, or form, associated with whatever con game Cox is pushing.

— dave

(I added the underline.)

This version of events was confirmed by Christy Hardin Smith in Firedoglake:

One correction, though: the MBA did NOT negotiate our media passes. We have been working on getting passes for this trial from the moment Libby was indicted. Jane and I made calls to the courthouse, e-mailed, wrote letters, and worked on getting credentialed from very early on. To emphasize our commitment to doing serious coverage, we enlisted the help of Arianna, whose Huffington Post name was more recognizable than FDL to folks not familiar with how blogs had been covering this investigation. But the gaining of our three media passes? That was OUR work. And it was our consistent work on this case—for years—that got us the passes, and not anyone from the outside. I don’t want to get into a pissing contest with some other blog group because, frankly, I’ve got better things to do with my time this morning, but I wanted to be clear on that point—we worked our butts off to get credentialed for this case, and we were credentialed early. Mr. Shane may have misunderstood on that point, so I wanted to make that perfectly clear.
To summarize thus far: Robert Cox shoehorned himself into the story, fibbed about being the intermediator through whose agency all the bloggers got their credentials, already had a deal going with AP, and tried to force the Firedoglake bloggers to join the AP pool, which would have given AP complete access to their superior and quite valuable reportage.

Now we’re supposed to believe he’s dickering in good faith with the AP on behalf of blogdom? No way. Even if his motives were purer than Ivory soap, he should have more sense than to go anywhere near this issue.

An unseemly obsession with being first:

Let’s go back once more to that New York Times article. At the bottom of the story, it has two corrections. The first one says:

A front-page article yesterday about bloggers covering the perjury trial of I. Lewis Libby Jr. referred imprecisely to the role of Robert A. Cox, president of the Media Bloggers Association, in securing credentials. Mr. Cox negotiated access for his association, which was the first blogger group to be granted credentials to cover the trial. He did not negotiate on behalf of firedoglake.com and other blogs that received their credentials later.
This has to have originated with Robert Cox and the MBA. It’s not very believable. Jane Hamsher and Christy Hardin Smith had been hot on the trail of the Valerie Plame/Dick Cheney/Scooter Libby story for years, and applied for credentials as soon as Libby was indicted. Robert Cox didn’t take a strong early interest in the story. He primarily covers stories that involve blogging, and he usually writes about them after they’ve happened. During the trial itself, his coverage was diffuse, imitative, and not terribly well-informed. He was enthusiastic about having credentials—RC really, really likes credentials—but evidenced no great passion for the story itself.

In short, I’d need solid and convincing proof from a reliable third party before I could believe Robert Cox & Co. got their credentials before the Firedoglake bloggers. Why should it matter whether they did? No reason. In fact, it’s not especially important. What’s weird is that Robert Cox thinks it’s that important. This is not something a grownup should be obsessing about.

Tlönista reads the MBA News Archive so you don’t have to:

In the comment thread of this post, the estimable Tlönista has posted a summary of the MBA News Archive, and all the important work it does on behalf of bloggers. Conclusion: it doesn’t do much work on behalf of bloggers. To quote:

In summary, it looks like the MBA is a vehicle for getting Robert Cox quoted in papers. And they’ve been awfully cozy with the AP for a long while (well, two years is a long while in Internet time).
We could still use a patient volunter to watch and report on the Youtube video about MBA’s deal with the AP.

And that’s it for this segment. It’s been a long day.

Still to come, possibly tomorrow: the Newsweek connection, Oliver Willis held blameless, the MBA’s hastily rejiggered membership page, the quest for a membership list, the case of the Maine Blogger, further revelations of the Wayback Machine, and Walt Willis and Bob Shaw.

(To be continued …)

Comments on AP to negotiate with sham "Media Bloggers Association":
#1 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 11:09 AM:

I seem to recall the 'Media Bloggers Association' from 2006, when it was being used to screen the 'undesirables' (read: liberal blogs) during election coverage. Clearly it hasn't made inroads abong bloggers since then.

#2 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 11:11 AM:

This is an old ploy. It's the old 'house union' given new form. The big boys create the 'token opposition' negotiate with them to create the form of negotiation, tell the 'opposition' what to say, announce a 'deal'. And the naïve may be taken in.

#3 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 11:16 AM:

Still to come: The Adoration of the Credentials, a bad Wikipedia entry, an interesting tidbit in a Salon letter column, writing Firedoglake out and Robert Cox in, the Newsweek connection, Oliver Willis held blameless, the MBA's hastily rejiggered Membership page, the quest for a membership list, the case of the Maine Blogger, revelations of the Wayback Machine, and Walt Willis and Bob Shaw.

#4 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 11:17 AM:

P J Evans, you do indeed remember that.

Fragano, I think the Associated Press knows that that's what's going on, but I'm not sure Robert Cox knows it.

#5 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 11:22 AM:

I once elevated myself to Cardinal of the Washington Archdiocese of the Church of Secular Humanism.

But nobody noticed.

#6 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 11:35 AM:

I'm backing the Great Orange Satan on this one.

#7 ::: Jason Pitzl-Waters ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 11:38 AM:

It looks like Robert Cox is getting snippy about people questioning his group's authority.

#8 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 11:43 AM:

First time tragedy, second time farce?

#9 ::: CB ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 11:44 AM:

For more information about his blog, you should CALL HIM. Because that's how bloggers trade information - via long-distance telephone call.

#10 ::: Redshift ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 11:45 AM:

I first heard of the MBA during the Libby trial, when they pulled the same ploy of claiming they represent "the bloggers" and tried to be the gatekeepers for who got press credentials. Fortunately, the judge didn't buy it, and more fortunately, the judge did accept the idea that bloggers were worthy of press credentials. The MBA got one set of credentials, which they shared between a set of bloggers who produced nothing particularly noteworthy, Firedoglake got their own, and produced groundbreaking liveblogging and other coverage that even the mainstream media used as a go-to reference. And we all lived happily ever after. (Well, we're still working on that.)

(Full disclosure: I've been part of the Firedoglake community from near the beginning, so my view of the MBA may be a little biased. But not much. ;-)

#11 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 11:45 AM:

Hey, how do you find AP stories on Google, anyway? AP doesn't appear on their front page -- just reputable newswires.

#12 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 11:47 AM:

I like how the MBA site's "Membership" link tells you that sure, we've got members, but we're currently not taking any new ones (haven't, in fact, for nearly a year now) while trying to automate the approval process.

What a load of tripe; there are thousands of blogs that you can subscribe to electronically, and this guy's saying it's taking him a YEAR to figure out how to do it?

For that matter, where's the list of members? Could it be the list is so pitifully small that he's embarrassed to show it? Zero is a pitifully small number too...

#13 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 11:49 AM:

Hi, Redshift! Long time not read!

#14 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 11:53 AM:

John L@12 Zero is a pitifully small number too

No, no. I'm sure there's at least one name on the membership list.

Possibly even two... :-)

#15 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 11:53 AM:

Michael #11,

When I use Google, I see the AP heading that you can use under the title of the various news articles.

As my wife has pointed out, AP articles tend to get carried by newspapers all over the nation; if someone linked and quoted excerpts from one of those, does that mean AP could demand the payment or cease and desist for them too?

#16 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 11:57 AM:

How long before my favorite cover band, Robert Cox and His Invisible Lawyers, takes the Making Light stage?

#17 ::: Dan ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 12:00 PM:

Can I be a member of the Media Bloggers' Association?

Do I need to put a banner on my blog or something?

I need to feel important. It's really all I have. I want to make policy for everyone in spite of all those pesky established laws and stuff. Mostly, though...

I just want the AP to love me.

#18 ::: Eric Scharf ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 12:02 PM:

The Media Bloggers Association is aware of all internet traditions.

#19 ::: PixelFish ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 12:06 PM:

Jason@7: I especially like this bit on the "Self-Appointed" page: So let me be clear. The MBA is not a "self-appointed" group seeking to "represent" the blogosphere.

Okay, fine, so you (Robert Cox) won't mind standing down then? You'll tell the AP that a lot of bloggers would actually be pissed about the idea of you speaking for them?

CB@9: Haha...yes. Exactly.

#20 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 12:06 PM:

Ya know it seems that the AP is trying to make money to save themselves.

But they are still idiots...and have been for a long time.

#21 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 12:07 PM:

Michael, #14: One is the loneliest number...

#22 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 12:16 PM:

I had a peek on LinkedIn and found his profile. The "Media Bloggers Association" group shows that it has 171 members (linkedin members, that is, not Association members) but I can't see them without joining the group.

It seems that maybe the MBA helps bloggers defend their rights the way SFWA helps SF writers defend theirs: helping out the people who have asked them, to the detriment of everyone who hasn't.

#23 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 12:27 PM:

Astroturfers and their associates....

Cry "Cheeble" and let loose....

==================

Hmm. A website claiming Authority, which seems to have nothing of any sort regarding material citing achievements and background of key personnel, no history/information about the inception and antecedents and whys and wherefores of the organization, no information about officers.... compare that to e.g. Making Light which on the front page includes,
"Making Light: a weblog by Teresa & Patrick Nielsen Hayden and their many commenters and sometime guests. Because “a better future isn't going to happen by itself.” (Thank you, Kevin Maroney.) More below." with link to who Teresa & Patrick Nielsen Hayden are, and some why/wherefore about Making Light.

Hmm, perhaps I should contemplate starting a site rating service, with such things as ratings for providing information about who is behind the site and why, how comprehensible such information is, how up to date the site is, if the links are working or not and how comprehensive and userfule they are compared to how comprehensive and useful the site says it is.... (That is, a site which says, "here are a few of my favorite links" that has a four or five links, the hype and the reality match assuming that the person actually likes the sites linked go (that involves an assumption which I accept as true unless demonstrated otherwise). A site which claims to list all SF publishers which include paranormal romance epublishers but not Baen, Tor, DAW, Ace, Eos, etc., gets a zero... a site which links to the epublishers and says it's linking to paranormal epublishers, however, is being accurate if/when it links to them). Etc.)

#24 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 12:27 PM:

You know, I don't think I've ever mentioned here that I'm the Pope. I have a card and everything. But since titles, organization, and credentials are clearly Very Important in the Modern World, I feel I should let you know.

#25 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 12:35 PM:

Clifton, I happen to be Prime Minister of the Internet. I just don't like to brag in public. But since you're the Pope, I feel as though I can confide in you.

#26 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 12:36 PM:

Eric Scharf's #18 made me laugh so hard I spit out my tea. Then again, I knew the inadvertent originator of that meme back when he was a left-of-center blowhard.

#27 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 12:36 PM:

I note that Mr. Cox responded to a blog comment on another site. In doing so, he quoted a commenter. His quote contained 16 (!!) words. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

I will also be fascinated to hear details about the "hundreds of cases" he alleges to have assisted in. No, actually, he said "we." Royal? Inclusive? Imagined?

#28 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 12:47 PM:

Cox also doesn't seem to quite understand the issues:

I pointed out to AP that the crux of the problem is that AP has never articulated what exactly it wants from bloggers.
No, the crux of the problem is that the AP is claiming legal rights that it does not actually possess under the law.

#29 ::: Seth Breidbart ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 12:49 PM:

He isn't really self-appointed. One other blogger asked him for help. (Or maybe even three other bloggers.)

Anybody who claims there's any possible way to represent the blogosphere is either just plain nuts or dishonest.

#30 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 12:50 PM:

The more I poke around the less I think they're a sham, actually--"Media Bloggers Association" appears to means "association of people who write blogs on behalf of traditional media companies." So they're in bed with the AP and its membership up to their duodenae, but in a genuine way. Here's their website (as opposed to their blog): http://www.mediabloggers.org/.

For example, check out this bit from Newsweek's in-house political blog.

Newsweek and the Media Bloggers Association (MBA) have launched "The Ruckus," a new group blog about politics for Newsweek.com. The blog will feature posts from nine MBA-member bloggers about the presidential campaign on a single page, giving Newsweek.com readers a convenient sampling of some of the best political blogging from across the country and from key primary states.

" 'The Ruckus' will be a key part of our 2008 campaign coverage," said Deidre Depke, editor of Newsweek.com. "We want to expose Newsweek readers to all the exciting discourse and discussion that is taking place on political blogs today. We think 'The Ruckus' will help introduce readers to a new array of voices and will encourage enlightened political discourse as the '08 race steps into high gear."

But we don't want Newsweek readers to go all crazy and actually read real political blogs; they can play dress-up over here with us instead.

The Media Bloggers Association is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to promoting, protecting and educating its members; supporting the development of "blogging" or "citizen journalism" as a distinct form of media; and helping to extend the power of the press, with all the rights and responsibilities that entails, to every citizen.

MBA Members support the freewheeling expression of ideas and strong personal opinions inherent to blogging but are equally committed to commonly accepted journalistic standards of fairness, accuracy, transparency and accountability in expressing those ideas and opinions.

I guess that's why all of the blog posts on The Ruckus are by "Anonymous."

#31 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 12:54 PM:

Reading the membership page, it looks like a scam. He's offering great discounts on liability insurance, and giving seminars on how bloggers need legal advice and liability insurance. The news articles similarly focus on why bloggers should be afraid and need to get training and insurance before posting.

It's also like a vanity press, where he provides an imprint of (dubious) credibility, for a fee. Members also get a feeling of belonging to a community of like-minded (as in similarly duped) souls. But I bet it's mostly about selling insurance. Follow the money. AP is not just using him. He's using them.

#32 ::: Dan ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 01:00 PM:

Can I represent all of the internet? I mean, I'm qualified, obviously. All you have to do is call me, and I'll explain it to you.

It has something to do with marbles, and how I saved them from extinction. Really, as a blogger, it's better if you just call rather than make me, you know, blog about it.

#33 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 01:04 PM:

The web site's front page was last updated in 2007. If it's an association of actual bloggers, even in-house bloggers, it's not a very active one.

#34 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 01:10 PM:

I really couldn't get past this paragraph:

Some kid named Ryan Tate has a snarky little post about our efforts to help a blogger facing a legal threat over at Gawker. He claims to have tried to find out about the MBA by reading our site and searching the web. Here's a thought, kid. Pick up the phone and call us - our phone number and email is on the same site you claimed to have read.
I does not say much for an organization purporting to represent bloggers when it's preferred method of presenting information about itself is phone or email, and not, well, a blog. Somehow I think Mr. Cox has missed the point.

#35 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 01:12 PM:

Oh, dear, this is very childish but I have to share it. Go to the "News" page on the MBA site and scroll down to the bottom, where it excerpts the beginning of the "Live Blogging" story. Or you can view my screen cap over here.

Apparently their excerpting widget doesn't mind stopping in the middle of a word. Maybe that's all the letters their content license allows?

#36 ::: Keith ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 01:18 PM:

So, I've managed to maintain a blog for 5 years and never once hear of this Cox guy, his blog or the MBA. Grant it, I'm no bog fish or anything but for someone so conspicuously intent on representing me, he keeps a low profile.

#37 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 01:19 PM:

Mary Dell @35 -- That's weird. The text is cut off at 229 characters, so if it's a programming error, it's not integer truncation.

#38 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 01:20 PM:

And somehow in his rush to diss the "snarky kid" Ryan Tate, Cox at least appears to have missed that Tate is one of the editors at Gawker. Of course, that information was cleverly hidden by placing it right there at the upper right of the page that Cox linked to. Another fiendish tactic was to conceal the information in the 50,000+ hits on Google linking Ryan Tate and Gawker.

Of course he could have found by phone or email, but did not bother. How like one of those careless bloggers. . .

#39 ::: John ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 01:21 PM:

Pardon me if I don't click over to anything at the MBA site. I try not to look delusional thinkers in the eye.

#40 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 01:22 PM:

Excuse me, please read "upper left" for "upper right" on my previous post. Thanks.

#41 ::: Jason B ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 01:23 PM:

I get the idea, so you don't have to add any more examples.

#42 ::: Keith ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 01:24 PM:

While I am no bog fish, I am also no big fish. I guess that's what a day and a half of reading tiny print on the spines of library books does to my proof reading skills...

#43 ::: Hugh ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 01:28 PM:

My favorite response to the AP demand is currently S.L. Veihl's. I'd quote some of it, but I can't afford dinner at a good french restaurant, I'm afraid.

#44 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 01:46 PM:

Mary Dell (30), the Newsweek thing will probably be in the next installment.

That glitch on his website (35) is typical -- he's terrible at doing maintenance on it. Half his entries have gibberish in place of quotation marks. At least one entry that's been up for a long time has "placeholder" as its entry text. Whenever his site indicates there are comments on an entry, the number of comments ranges from the hundreds to the tens of thousands, but I can't find a single comment in any of them.

Really, it's more a Potemkin weblog than the real thing. Technorati lists it as having a grand total of two inbound links.

Hugh (43), my favorite comment so far was posted in the Boing Boing comment thread of Cory's first entry on the subject:

#19 posted by Elfwreck, June 17, 2008 8:03 AM

Definitely time to write some AP/RIAA slashfic. With extensive use of AP quotes.

I instantly circulated that one to all the Boingers plus Sarah Milstein and John Battelle.

#45 ::: Adam Lipkin ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 01:51 PM:

Shockingly, now that someone with Cox's political views is involved (and likely as a result of Kos being involved as well), folks like instapundit seem to be backing down from attacking the A.P.

#46 ::: Dan ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 01:51 PM:

After watching that video, I'm thinking Cox is yet another self-important Conservative gasbag with a rather dull axe to grind.

Really. He isn't going to be speaking for me so long as I can speak for myself. The service he claims to provide is as irrelevant as he is, and his true motive may, in fact, be to scam folks into buying an unnecessary form of insurance as TomB pointed out in comment #31 and as stated on the MBA Membership page:

"A major benefit of our requiring media law training for our members is that Media Pro Insurance, a leading provider of media liability coverage to newspapers, TV networks, film companies and others, was willing to create a special insurance program to offer our members a significant discount off this type of insurance, making it affordable for many bloggers who need this type of insurance..."

But wait! There's more! Act now and receive a free set of Bob Cox Endorsed Ginsu steak knives. They slice! They dice!

Really. The only interests these jokers seem to be serving are their own, and it's distressing that the AP would even approach this guy to speak on anyone's behalf.

#47 ::: Evan Simpson ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 01:57 PM:

To me, the idea of forming an organization such as the MBA is a simply fabulous one; I hereby announce my intention to form the Writers of Letters to Editorial Pages Association (WLEPA) and the Street-Corner Soapbox Orators Association (SCSOA) in order to bring a much-needed public face to these two sadly under-represented groups.

#48 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 01:58 PM:

Non-cold-polar-hell hath frozen over.... Mchll Mlkn has come out excoriating AP....

http://michellemalkin.com/2008/06/17/hey-associated-press-you-owe-me-at-least-132125/

There I was, all ready to write some satiritic slash involving MPAA, RIAA, AP, Mchll Mlkin, Rsh Lmbgh, Eln Dnnlly, etc., and I discover that Mchll Mlkn is excoriating AP in this?! Yipes!

#49 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 01:59 PM:

Adam Lipkin, if Instapundit takes Robert Cox's word, we'll at least find out whether he's capable of being embarrassed.

#50 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 02:01 PM:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @#44: The substance of this particular glitch is what makes me so happy. Real Media Bloggers aren't satisfied with merely talking out of their asses; they've got outta-their-ass credentials!

#51 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 02:10 PM:

Oooh, look what I found!

http://watchingolbermannwatch.blogspot.com/2007/02/robert-cox-attempting-to.html

#52 ::: Chryss ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 02:11 PM:

I, myself, would like to announce that I am the Rabbi of the Internet.

#53 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 02:17 PM:

Clifton Royston writes: "You know, I don't think I've ever mentioned here that I'm the Pope. I have a card and everything."

I'll vouch for that.

#54 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 02:26 PM:

Is Lord High Everything Else still available?

#55 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 02:33 PM:

Hate to tell everyone, but I've always been the Senior Grand High Poobah of the Internet. I just kept it secret all this time. Expect my High Pronouncements soon....

Or not.

#56 ::: Tlönista ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 02:33 PM:

Working on transcribing that video clip for those who, like myself, are lazy-of-hearing, but god damn it, he's so fatuous.

#57 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 02:41 PM:

Cox's website and self-styled representation of the Internet looks a lot like a Solution in search of a Problem, and he's decided to create the Problem too.

#58 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 02:45 PM:

The Register reports from the UK, with some info in differences between US and UK law in this area.

Yes, that comment is me.

#59 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 02:45 PM:

Mary Dell, #30: I just want to express my admiration for the phrase "up to their duodenae"!

Lila, #54: That's it! Cox is just providing corroborative detail, intended to lend artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative.

#60 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 02:49 PM:

The more I think about this, the more it seems that - setting aside the Richard Cox ego campaign - the "company-owned union" concept is exactly right.

Let's trace the command-and-money flows around a little: the MBA is proclaimed to be an organization to supposedly represent bloggers who are employed by (old) media, many of which are the member/owners of AP. So this group will collect dues from and, in theory, be responsible to people who get their paychecks from media companies, who are the customers and members of the Associated Press, which this group will be negotiating with to supposedly determine the rights of those people. (Oh, and incidentally all the other bloggers, too. You know, the little people.)

Thus, should the MBA unexpectedly develop some kind of spine, the AP simply tells its organizations "tell them to stop that", the organizations tell their employees, "you cut that out", the employees tell the MBA "hey, what's with this independence stuff", and the MBA can quickly resume its proper subservient posture. Maybe they'll announce the concession that you can have up to 10 words for free!

What's particularly great is this: It sounds like he's tried to set it up as a traditional membership organization with board, etc., so Cox doesn't even have to be aware that this is how it works. If the media companies sign up enough of their house bloggers as members, he can preen and posture to his heart's content, and at his first sign of independence, the members can vote in a new board and kick him out the door. Of course, if this doesn't work, the AP still takes no damage; they just announce that they've realized the MBA does not really represent bloggers (the shock!) and goes shopping around for a fresh set of stooges.

I can admire its elegance, in a kind of twisty Machiavellian Pohl and Kornbluth way.

#61 ::: Oliver Willis ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 02:49 PM:

Thought I should chime in here that Bob Cox is not a racist. He put together MBA to be an advocate for bloggers and when it first opened membership was open, and I believe it will be open again. He is a conservative and while I find his personal opinions to be stupid, he has repeatedly bent over backwards to bring both sides in and provide access where an individual blog may be left out in the cold. Because of MBA many of us were able to cover events like the Scooter Libby Trial, this past year's debates, etc. Every time one of these issues pops up and MBA helps someone (who asks for their help), people bitch about it and then never form a counter organization and then the cycle repeats itself again.

#62 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 03:03 PM:

Oliver, I respect your opinions, but Robert Cox's opinions on Arabs are something I can do without.

A general note: segment #3 is up. If you can't see it, empty your cache and reload.

#63 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 03:07 PM:

The event was four hours long, it was convened by Jeff Jarvis of Buzzmachine and Jon Klein of CNN. The moderator was former CBS News President Andrew Heyward. In particular, participants were Jim Brady, Executive Editor of the Washingtonpost.com, Aaron Brown ex-CNN'er, Lou Dobbs of CNN, Jeffrey Dvorkin, ombudsman of NPR, Tom Easton of The Economist magazine, Merrill Brown of MMB Media, Jonathan Landman, Deputy Managing Editor of The New York Times, Emily Lazar, producer of The Colbert Report, David Carr of The New York Times, Peter Hart of FAIR and "bloggers" Hugh Hewitt (author and radio show host), Jay Rosen (former reporter and journalism professor), Dan Gillmor (former reporter and newspaper columnist), Amanda Congdon (actress), Vaughn Ververs (former political reporter).

Vaughn Ververs describes the event as putting together newspaper editors, television executives, bloggers and critics as if this was a diverse group of people. Based on the names mentioned by Jarvis and Ververs there were 16 people at the event - all of them white, almost all of them men, almost all of them to the left politically

Oh, gosh, where to begin. Jeff Jarvis, Lou Dobbs, Vaughn Ververs, someone from FAIR, Jim Brady, Andrew Heyward and some guy from the Economist are half of a panel which was almost all to the left politically?

He was going to balance all this liberal white guyness by offering them John Amato?

Vaughn Ververs, the editor of CBS News' politics blog, is a scarequotes "blogger"?

LaShawn Barber is quite capable of providing valuable insight on the emerging media landscape as an alternative to Jay Rosen?

The mind reels.

#64 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 03:14 PM:

Given the sudden profusion of esteemed positions and titles in this post I have created an umbrella organization designed to coordinate and represent these august persons as they post their way through the blogosphere:

International Dispensary: Internets Official Titles

Membership in IDIOT is limited, act now!

#65 ::: Dan ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 03:18 PM:
Lance Weber :::June 18, 2008, 03:14 PM:

Given the sudden profusion of esteemed positions and titles in this post I have created an umbrella organization designed to coordinate and represent these august persons as they post their way through the blogosphere:

International Dispensary: Internets Official Titles

Membership in IDIOT is limited, act now!

Do I get a sweet insurance deal?

#66 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 03:19 PM:

TNH @ 62: A general note: segment #3 is up. If you can't see it, empty your cache and reload.

I think you've inspired a new phrase:

"Robert Cox...yeah his cache is a few reloads short of being full"

#67 ::: Rogers Cadenhead ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 03:20 PM:

"I've been monitoring reactions to the AP story. I haven't seen a single weblog indicate that it had heard of the Media Bloggers Association before this story broke."

Evidently you didn't read mine. The Media Bloggers Association became involved in this dispute because I asked them for help. I was told about them by Liza Sabater, a fellow liberal blogger who writes Culture Kitchen.

I wrote more about this today on my weblog.

You may now resume your ass-kicking.

#68 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 03:35 PM:

Fragano #2: The astroturf/internet world offers so much more flexibility, though. Somewhere, by now, there must be an example of conflicts in which both sides are represented by sham organizations.

"An historic agreement was reached today between the Sham Beer Drinkers' Organization and the Madeup Brewers and Bottlers Association...."

#69 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 03:36 PM:

Dan @65: Do I get a sweet insurance deal?
I'm getting a bunch of mumbo-jumbo from the insurance agent about us having the largest pool with the highest risk rating ever calculated by their underwriters. I'm on the phone with my local Wal-Mart to see if they sell any low cost plans but they keep transferring me to other departments.


Rogers Cadenhead @67: Evidently you didn't read mine.
I just did a Google on +AP +"Media Bloggers Association" and gave up after scrolling through the first four pages of results. I'm sorry, but I hardly think anyone can be blamed for overlooking your post.

You may now resume your ass-kicking.
I'm not sure your implication that there's been any kind of interlude here is accurate :)

#70 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 03:36 PM:

RC, #67,

I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.

#71 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 03:39 PM:

#67 Roger

Who are you and why should I care? Why should I be interested in reading your website content as opposed to any of the many millions of others available?

As for why I'm one of the habitues of Making Light, some of the factors involve having known Teresa and Patrick for three decades or so, in person, long before weblogs existed.... They know who I am reflexively the same way.

I don't know you, however, and why should I view you as a credible source?

#72 ::: Rogers Cadenhead ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 03:40 PM:

I just did a Google on +AP +"Media Bloggers Association" and gave up after scrolling through the first four pages of results. I'm sorry, but I hardly think anyone can be blamed for overlooking your post.

I'm the guy at the center of this dispute, Lance! Teresa can dig into the Wayback Machine and the Wikipedia edit log to find dirt on Robert but she can't find my blog? I'm pulling her credentials.

#73 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 03:47 PM:

Re #72

With his head tucked
Up into his ass
He posts on Making Light
With his head tucked
Up into his ass
Can't see daylight!

With his head tucked up into his ass
With his head tucked up into his ass!

#74 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 03:55 PM:

Quoting Cox's blog (one of the entries Teresa linked to): "I always have mixed emotions about events like the one last week at the Museum of Television & Radio on the “blending of news and views”." Sic.

Why would I trust as a representative of bloggers somebody who has demonstrated so little attention to his own blogging that he hasn't bothered to learn how to avoid screwing up the character encodings on his entries in new and innovative ways?

(For the technically minded: he has apparently created the document in UTF-8, uploaded it as if it were ISO-8859-1, and his server has then converted the meaningless ISO-8859-1 to equally meaningless UTF-8 for presentation to readers. Clever.)

#75 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 03:55 PM:

Paula, he really is the guy at the center of the dispute.

#76 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 03:59 PM:

Rogers, Teresa said she was "monitoring reactions to the AP story". The aforementioned search currently returns ~25k hits. Rumors of omniscience to the contrary, I doubt she fully reviewed every single result.

Furthermore, while you certainly are an involved party to the inciting incident, Teresa's intent (from my perspective) is to either confirm or debunk Roger's implicit/explicit claims that MBA represents even a single blog that could possibly be considered popular by any measurement much less a substantial number of those. In either case, the assumption that your blog is a crucial component of this research whose absence is inexcusable just does not wash.

Now, if you'd come on here and simply said something to the effect of "Hi, I'm Rogers, the guy at the middle of all this - here's my posts about the mess" I think you would have gotten a lot of more positive attention.

#77 ::: Rogers Cadenhead ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 04:06 PM:

Point taken, Lance, but I'm just offering one data point that has been overlooked in the merciless slagging that Teresa is inflicting on Robert Cox: He's involved not as a self-appointed representative of all bloggers but as a person I directly asked to help.

If I hadn't asked, and I hadn't told every reporter who calls me to also call the Media Bloggers Association, we probably aren't having this discussion at all about the MBA.

You can find more about how the MBA got involved on my weblog:

http://www.cadenhead.org/workbench/news/3370

As Oliver Willis just wrote on his own blog, I'm not clear on why we have to kick the MBA's ass every time they intervene in a blogger's legal difficulties. Who else is volunteering for that job?

#78 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 04:08 PM:

jeez, Paula, dial it down a notch or two, please?

Rogers seems to be perfectly legit; he linked his blog to his name where everybody can read it, and his tone seems perfectly mild to me given that he's personally invested in what's going on.

#79 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 04:08 PM:

Sounds like the sort of strategy that Rove is so good at coordinating.

Love, C.

#80 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 04:16 PM:

Rogers Cadenhead @#77: The issue here isn't what MBA and Robert Cox may have done for you, although that's interesting and I'm glad you posted here. The problem is the AP announcement, that Robert Cox is presumably a party to. As Teresa quotes above, The Associated Press [...] plans to meet this week with a bloggers’ group to help form guidelines under which AP news stories could be quoted online.

That's not about your case; that's about all of the future cases the AP is planning to create. Robert Cox, on his blog, talks about the need for a set of guidelines; he's working with the AP to create those guidelines. That's why he's become a target, not because he helped you with your case. He's actively involved in helping the AP in their attempt to limit the rights of bloggers, and he's allowing the AP to talk about the MBA as "a bloggers group," which implies that it's an advocacy organization, when really it's a professional association with limited membership, controlled by Robert Cox.

#81 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 04:17 PM:

Guys! So there are dumb-sses who come on strong right outta the gate here! We're solid enough to let them. It's getting a bit insular at ML IMNSHO, and I think we should treat the noobs gently to see if they sort out into interesting people after the first firey clash has simmered down. Like, I regarded placeholder's "uncle" on the other thread as a mark of someone not wholly lost.

#82 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 04:18 PM:

I note that before Cox's "AP, Bloggers and Self-Appointed Groups" post of yesterday on his blog, his last preceding post was on March 5th of this year. Hardly an active blog.

Making Light has more main posts in any reasonably active two-month period than this guy put up in the entire two-year history of his blog.

I noticed the same thing that Teresa did about the comments -- huge numbers of comments, but impossible to read them. I bet that if we ever do get to read them that they'll be endless inducements to click through for Cheap Viagra, On-Line Poker, and Hot Gay Teens.

#83 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 04:20 PM:

Rogers, the point is more that Cox seems to be a self-appointed representative of bloggers.

#84 ::: Rogers Cadenhead ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 04:26 PM:

"He's actively involved in helping the AP in their attempt to limit the rights of bloggers ..."

Anything's possible, but I don't believe that to be the case. When Cox's group helps a blogger reach a settlement in a legal dispute, one of their conditions is that there are terms they won't agree to. For instance, they won't settle a blog libel suit by removing something from the web that's true.

Oliver can say more on this since he's a founding member, but the MBA isn't a newly concocted group providing cover to narrow blogger's rights. They've been involved in this for a while, and their creation was motivated by Cox's own experience getting sued. They get 5-10 calls a week from bloggers in legal trouble. I've heard from people at the EFF who vouch for their work.

#85 ::: Keith ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 04:26 PM:

Some intrepid commenters over at Gawker have done some digging and it looks like MBA is a scam.

#86 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 04:26 PM:

#75 Bill

Ah. I didn't realize that--it was not clear from his post here.

Note in general: yes, if one wants to get that sort of point across, one ought to specify in sufficient detail and emphasis and clarity, "here is my point and why."

His post at #67 read,

"I've been monitoring reactions to the AP story. I haven't seen a single weblog indicate that it had heard of the Media Bloggers Association before this story broke."

Evidently you didn't read mine. The Media Bloggers Association became involved in this dispute because I asked them for help. I was told about them by Liza Sabater, a fellow liberal blogger who writes Culture Kitchen.

I wrote more about this today on my weblog.

You may now resume your ass-kicking.

To break down my reactions:

"I've been monitoring reactions to the AP story. I haven't seen a single weblog indicate that it had heard of the Media Bloggers Association before this story broke."

This paragraph is a straight quote from Teresa at the start of this thread. Okay, this is setting context.

Evidently you didn't read mine.

This is a combatative statement, or rather, comes off as pugnacious, putting the responsibility on the reader to have a clue in a bucket about "who is this poster, why should I be reading the poster's blog? There is nothing so far putting the poster involved in anything in the thread as a participant, and the poster's name has no connection to anything for me--as opposed to if Fragano posted, or Serge, or CHip, or Bill Higgins, or xopher, etc.

The Media Bloggers Association became involved in this dispute because I asked them for help.

Askedthem for help for what? I missed I admit the "this dispute"--it's a prepositional phrase, which usually are not main constituents and main points of a sentence, which is in between a non-direct verb form ("became involved") and and a subordinate clause--and not only that, "became" and "because" kinaeshetically in print, are VERY much similar-looking, the visual differice is that one has "m" where the other has "au", the two words visually otherwise are identically, and aurally, they are also start the same with the same unaccented first syllable followed by a
"k" sound and only get differentiated audibly with ame versus ause.

So, I missed the "in this dispute" and instead it registers in my mind as "in a dispute."

The subordinate clause, because I asked them for didn't say anything why the poster asked the organization for help, however, why is the topic of the next sentence, which is in a new paragraph. And once again, I had missed the "
this" in "in this dispute." There wasn't any more information about the dispute in the post, to get background or reiterating/reinforcing information.


I was told about them by Liza Sabater, a fellow liberal blogger who writes Culture Kitchen.

The sentence above is in passive voice, and puts Liza Sabater and that she is a liberal blogger with some blog that there is no other information about, as the key information in the sentence. There's nothing about why anyone should regard Liza Sabater as any sort of authority on anything, no information about her blog other than the poster claims that it's a liberal blog and that the poster is a liberal blogger....

I wrote more about this today on my weblog.

Again, what I got from this sentence wasn't useful information, since there's no information about what the dispute is other than that "this" that I missed.... an additional sentence saying SOMETHING specific/denotative about the content of the blog would have helped a lot and provided a different stimulus than the eliciting the post DID get from me.

You may now resume your ass-kicking.

This is a definite pugnacious challenge... and this is not a forum full of passive viewers sitting in an audience expecting to get hired hand entertainment for a financial entry free... wrong part of the psychosphere for that (there is a very long-standing conversation in science fiction convention running fandom about people who go to events to pay their money and be entertained, versus conventions when people pay for memberships and -engage- with other people.... Making Light comes, my perception is, from the engagement tradition. Saying "resume you ass-kicking" in this form has the connotation of just having INVITED people like me to go into attack mode in response.

The next post #72 had
I'm the guy at the center of this dispute, Lance! Teresa can dig into the Wayback Machine and the Wikipedia edit log to find dirt on Robert but she can't find my blog? I'm pulling her credentials.

There was no information about what "this dispute" was other than the words "this dispute," and again, I was NOT reading something that said the "this dispute" was the AP issue!!! So, when the next two sentences looked like an attack against Teresa, her level of clue, and her ability to research, THAT was was elicited the response from me....

#87 ::: Wirelizard ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 04:35 PM:

Over on Roger "I represent all bloggers, really" Cox's blog, there appears to be something missing...

Oh, yeah. No comments. None. No "Leave a Comment" link. No "View Comments" links. Nothing, nada and, in fact, zip.

Perhaps (just perhaps) Mr. Cox is missing the point on this whole "blog" thing? You know, the feedback, the dialogue, the stuff that makes Making Light (and many other blogs) so great?

#88 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 04:35 PM:

digging back, via FDL:
Cox got two passes for his group. There were three other bloggers with passes: Justin Rood (TPM), emptywheel (Next Hurrah/dKos) and Jane Hamsher (FDL/Huffington).

There was also a little dustup where Cox apparently represented himself to the NY Times as having 'negotiated access' for all the bloggers, following which the Times had to print a correction that he only got access for his own group.

#89 ::: Hugh ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 04:39 PM:

Teresa @44:

You win, and please pass the brain bleach.

#90 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 04:39 PM:

I think what I find disturbing is that an invitation-only organization is negotiating terms on behalf of "bloggers" with a company which is making demands that exceed their legal rights.

If bloggers choose to negotiate away their rights, they certainly may. I'm not completely comfortable with a private entity which doesn't represent non-members taking it on themselves to do it.

Paula @ 86

Liza Sabater is a fairly well-known liberal blogger in New York. She gets linked to by the local media a lot. Someone from our market would probably assume everyone would recognize the name.

#91 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 04:40 PM:

#86, me

"He called the Enterprise a garbage scow!"

"And that's when [you hit the Klingon, starting the fight?]"

"Aye, Captain."

It was the attack on Teresa that got to me.

#92 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 04:43 PM:

Rogers Cadenhead @#84, Robert Cox explains it thusly on

Now, once they had agreed to meet to see if we could resolve Rogers situation, we offered to provide any assistance we could in helping them draft some sort of guidelines that could be promulgated to the blogosphere so that bloggers would have a clear understanding of AP's point of view on copyright, excerpting and linking. They were receptive to that offer and so when we meet this week to get Rogers case resolved (hopefully) we will stick around and try to kick around ideas on what a set of guidelines would look like.

He is using your case to create an opportunity for his association to "provide assistance" to the AP, in getting their point of view on copyright promulgated to the blogosphere.

That seems like a serious conflict of interest to me. When he's done with the part of the meeting that's about representing you, whose interests will he be representing?

#93 ::: Rogers Cadenhead ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 04:45 PM:

That may be the single greatest response to any comment I've ever made on the Internet, Paula.

I can't tell you how glad I am to have joined the WorldCon committees to vote on Hugos and start inching back into science fiction fandom.

But I digress.

#95 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 04:51 PM:

julia #90

That's an assumption that didn't fly in my case... there have been world experts I've known whose names are not known outside their areas of expertise. Assuming that someone is a Media Personality to the universe tends to be a bad assumption.

The most that can be assumed about someone posting on Making Light, is that the person is posting on Making Light, probably has a computer or at least has computer access, and probably has enough web literacy to have posted it themself (given some of the spam that shows up, it's not clear that even that much is true....).

People/handles gain or lose credibility points according to content and content over time. Someone known to some fraction of the habitues who posts with a recognizable name/handle/referential content, has baggage coming in, based on past history that generally is outside of Making Light.

There are a number of different venues possible for that--science fiction conventions, publishing, fanzines, music connections, weblogs, knitting connections, etc. Assuming that someone from one sphere is known to people with tie-ins from other spheres, again, is a bad assumption... while one might be six people from just about anyone on the planet, that doesn't mean that person A two degrees away from Person B, has a clue in a galaxy about person B.... there are LOTS of links that remain never explored, sometimes I get surprised even with the SF universe, that A and B have never met, when they're both people I've been acquainted with for years....

#96 ::: Kathryn from SolarCity ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 04:58 PM:

Who else is volunteering for that job?

There are other organizations* that help bloggers.

They tend to take cases with constitutional implications, and they are limited in how many they can take.

However, that is orthogonal to the question of how the MBA represents itself / is represented in the media.

There's a big difference if the AP knows it's dealing with and working out the situation with (or dictating their modified terms to) one specific blogger and his representative, vs. the AP dealing with and working out the 21st century implications of the already complex area of fair use.
_____________
* They mention their blogger-specific work on journalist rights, free speech rights, political speech rights, right to anonymity, and freedom from liability in hosting speech. They specifically list Eli Lilly Zyprexa Litigation; Deihl v. Crook, Spocko and KSFO, Apple v. Does; Barrett v. Rosenthal; OPG v. Diebold and Doe Anonymity Cases.

#97 ::: Dan ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 05:01 PM:

I still think the MBA is nothing more than a scam designed to sell bloggers some sort of insurance they don't freakin' need in the first place, and I find it kind of suspect (or total bullshit) that they get "5 to 10 calls a week" from bloggers facing litigation.

#98 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 05:01 PM:

Roger, your sarcasm is lost in whatever effect you intended it to have on me. It's possible that I know you in person, even. Don't flatter yourself that you're specially privileged in me not matching face to name if that's true, there are people I've known for decades who if my life depended on being able to identify them by name, I would be long since moldering in a casket buried in Sharon Memorial Park (an aunt bequeathed me a burial lot there, she was gifted with it by a lifelong friend who decided to be buried in Florida where she'd moved to, instead of Massachusetts with the rest of her extended family, who probably are very distant relatives of my late aunt and thus myself).

And as for social skills, there was the occasion at a Boskone after I'd said to someone "your social skills are even worse than mine" that mentioning the incident to a prominent member of the Making Light community (if the person remembers and wants to self-identify, the reason I'm not is that I leave it up to the person if the person notices and remembers) deflated me by saying, "No, [name of person] is not more socially clueless than you, [name of person] is intentionally nasty, not socially clueless."

However... it looks like you're trying to challenge for lack of social clue, or perhaps merely being gratuitously nasty, or some combination of both.

#99 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 05:05 PM:

Rogers Cadenhead, given the position you're in, I'd forgive you if you took help from Dick Cheney, Justice Taney, and Lucifer himself.

Everybody, Rogers Cadenhead is the guy who does Drudge Retort. I don't know what he's like in normal circumstances, because I've never been in the habit of reading his blog. At the moment, he's at Ground Zero in this fight. I've been there. One becomes excitable and grumpy and prone to miss things. Please do your best to be nice to him.

#100 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 05:08 PM:

C. Wingate: Shhhh. I'm working on it.

#101 ::: Oliver Willis ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 05:09 PM:

It's amazing the sort of stupid declarative statements people can make when they haven't done the basic reading on something, then the holes they dig themselves into afterwards.

Rogers is at the center of this issue, asked the MBA for help, then when he makes a comment here, you start asking him who the heck he is. Sheesh.

#102 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 05:14 PM:

#99 Teresa

Ah.
(Does conversion, equating Rogers Cadenhead to being ground zero with AP using him as target on a "gone nuclear" option to make an example of.)

Yes, I can now see that he might be a tad discombobulated/upset/etc. (understatement)

I will attempt to disengage from any further provocation etc. towards him, or skirmishings at him.

(Actually, I have heard quite a number of positive things about the Drudge Report over time... as noted above, though, association of people's names with various stuff, often don't associate easily for me. There was a couple whom I knew both of, and it wasn't until they'd split up, that I realized that they had been married! I knew than each of them had gotten married, but not that it had been to one another! (I WROTE that socially I'm clueless, it's not my fault if people don't believe what I say/write regarding that!)

#103 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 05:14 PM:

Oh, and Rogers? If I were you, I'd ask the EFF for help. Your case is exactly the kind of thing they're there for.

#104 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 05:17 PM:

Retort, Paula. Drudge Retort. The Drudge Report is something else entirely.

Did you mistype that? I'd expect you to know what the Drudge Report is.

#105 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 05:18 PM:

Paula #@98: Yes, Rogers is being a bit snarky to you. But you did accuse him, in verse, of having his head up his ass, when he actually doesn't have his head up his ass, and then you posted a justification instead of an apology. I can understand why this wouldn't bring out the best in him. Maybe you can take a step back and let this particular fire die down a bit?

I do sympathise with your protective feelings toward Teresa. I feel similarly protective--foolishly, of course, given that she always comes to battle whistling a cheery tune and juggling handfuls of ammunition.

#106 ::: Tlönista ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 05:23 PM:

In Which I Read the MBA News Archive So You Don't Have To

A lot of talk from Cadenhead about the MBA's important work providing legal aid to bloggers. Impressive, if it's true. Let's head over to their news section and read all about the great stuff they do.

The first page of stories on their news page is mostly stuff on this recent kerfuffle. By page 2 the posts are a year old, and mostly consist of links to relevant opinion pieces, or articles with soundbites from Robert Cox.

This one, for example, sounds all exciting with its mention of Bloggers! Getting! Sued!, but the actual article only talks about...well...that one time Robert Cox got sued.

This one sounds like it might actually be something but the link is to...the post itself.

Around April 2007 there are posts relating to a blogger named Katherine Coble. The situation seems to have been that she and her husband discovered a scam employment agency, she blogged about it, and they threatened to sue. (The MBA posts link to long-404'd news articles.) Seems like they settled out of court. To do: ask Katherine Coble about the MBA.

In between, it seems like Robert Cox may have made some kind of statement about the Kathy Sierra debacle -- was that around then, or was it about the Kos pie fight, or something else? -- but the linked article is dead.

Then, page 4-ish (early 2007), there's a lot of stuff about the Libby Trial. More patient people than I will have to watch the Youtube video in the post about MBA's deal with the AP.

This post links to a promising story about a Republican lobbyist blogger getting a restraining order against an online anti-fan, but it doesn't seem that the MBA was actually connected to the case.

Iiiiiiinteresting: this late 2006 post links to an AP story that is, like so many of these things, basically a MBA press release dressed up like a serious article.

Ummm...and that's the end of it, in 2006.

In summary, it looks like the MBA is a vehicle for getting Robert Cox quoted in papers. And they've been awfully cozy with the AP for a long while (well, two years is a long while in Internet time).

#107 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 05:23 PM:

Oliver @ 101

We don't all read Drudge, even if we've heard of it. We certainly don't know the names of all the other bloggers out there, and probably not the names of their blogs either.
In fact, I haven't seen any names attached to this story before this post.
Cut us a little slack, too, please?

#108 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 05:24 PM:

Hmm, MBA reminds me of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC)after 9/11, I may have posted links here way back then--the SBC's websites had information up about a mission set up in New York City across the street from one of the other collapsed buildings, specifically for proselytizing--the websites actually included funding amounts and the percentage of funds to use for aid to people, and the percentage to use for proselytizing--the purpose of the mission was to gain more souls by setting up a mission fronting as a facility providing humanitarian aid, having a goal of getting people in the door with the lure of food and assistance for shelter, and then feeding them a diet that would get more and more evangelizing in content.

The percentage of funding for the evanglizing activities was quite a bit larger than the funding for humanitarian aid for food and assisting getting people shelter. The SBC websites were also being self-congratulatory about e.g. having proselytized at least one Roman Catholic victimized on 9/11 and converted the Roman Catholic into a Southern Baptist....

#109 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 05:24 PM:

Teresa #3: I've seen people who were used and hung out to dry (in one case a good friend of mine). They never understood what happened to them.

#110 ::: Rogers Cadenhead ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 05:27 PM:

I was trying to be sincere about Paula's comment #86. I gafiated long ago from science fiction fandom, and when I wandered in here to find out why Robert Cox was being slagged, I knew the Nielsen Haydens by their rep.

"Oh, and Rogers? If I were you, I'd ask the EFF for help. Your case is exactly the kind of thing they're there for."

Since the dispute made the Times, I've had the EFF and other big groups contact me regarding potential future courtship. I'm hoping that it won't come to that.

#111 ::: Tlönista ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 05:30 PM:

So I spent a bit of time probing the depths of the MBA news archive, but my linkalicious write-up is, naturally, in moderation.

Basically: the MBA doesn't seem to have done sh*t for bloggers; they seem to have actually represented two people in the past two years, one of them being Roger Cadenhead. And they covered the Libby trial. And Robert Cox spends a lot of time telling reporters his opinion on blogging, because he's so official and such.

Does anyone know of anything else they've done?

#112 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 05:31 PM:

#104 Teresa

I misread Retort as Report.

#113 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 05:35 PM:

I think that's pretty clear now, Oliver.

It's a shame they didn't start up a year earlier. They probably could have handled hand-picked founding member Donald Luskin's attempt to sue Atrios out of his anonymity without his having to lawyer up.

#114 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 05:36 PM:

albatross #68: That's a possibility that had not occurred to me (another one that now occurs to me is two Nigerians trying to scam each other).

#115 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 05:50 PM:

I've been looking at the MBA website.

OK, I'm not an American. I maybe don't quite get where the cultural standards are. Bur it doesn't feel quite straight rto me. There is, in what I read, a sense of lurking dishonesty.

Take this page as an instance

The hadline is "Bloggers seek training to avoid legal pitfalls", but what's obviously presented is a quote from the MBA. It doesn't summarise the story behind the headline, which turned out to be the headline of a story on a site called redOrbit

And when you read that story, it's more about an organisation offering training than about anyone actually seeking it. The story is almost an advert, which happens to quote Robert Cox. And the Robert Cox quote is "told the Associated Press"

Nothing wrong with that, though the only source for the stories of nervous bloggers seems to be the Associated Press. And that starts to look a bit less honest.

OK, stipulated, the sort of limits on what you can safely say, traditionally taught to journalists, need to be more widely known.

The examples given seem good: bloggers who are getting into risky territory.

But right now AP have the image as one of the hazards, and the claims about the risk, even Robert Cox's enumeration of the scale of the problem--more than 100 cases and $17million total judgements, have come through AP.

Conflict of interests?

Anyway, I get a strong whiff of self-aggrandisement in the story as Robert Cox presents it. I also get the feel that he's not really reading the original. It's not bloggers asking for training--one of them hasn't done anything with a domain name for eight years--it's an offer of training, backed by a lot of scare stories.

This doesn't encourage me to trust Robert Cox's view of what AP is doing. I wonder if he's really going to be much help as a representative of bloggers, as a class.

OK, he's Rogers Cadenhead's representative. He's not mine. I doubt he's Teresa's. And, to be fair, AP only describe him as President of a blogger's organisation.

But he and they are both talking as though he's important, and as if he knowa what he's talking about, and I fear we'll be stuck with whatever he agrees to.

I fear that because I don't see signs of competence, and I don't think he has the importance he claims. He doesn't need to be able to write a sonnet, deliver a baby, or plan an invasion. (We have high standards hereabouts.) But I'd like to see signs that he can recognise bullshit when he sees it.

Hint: it's the brown patty in the grass with the circling flies.

#116 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 05:58 PM:

I fear we'll be stuck with whatever he agrees to.

No, we won't. Whatever Bob Cox agrees to with the AP is only binding on Bob Cox.

#117 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 06:02 PM:

Rogers #109

Big operations sometimes have specific criteria for picking targets--note that Apple when it went around suing other companies for alleged copyright/patent infringement, usually went after small fry that couldn't afford the time and energy and funds for a war in court, and left e.g. Hewlett-Packard (which had licensing for graphical user interface intellectual property from Xerox) completely alone. That is, the specific criteria include looking for small fry who don't have the wherewithal to fight back, for whom the path of least pain and effort is to fold/accede. ASCAP and/or BMI have the habit of showing up in a locality and e.g. picking three businesses to make examples out of, there might be 300 businesses in the locality and all of them playing music without paying ASCAP/BMI fees, but the hammer hits the three that got picked for hammering.... The other 297 might never get checked/raided, the situation is that those three are being made examples of "this is what can happen and sometimes does happen, and we are enforcing the intellectual property rights."

In the case of ASCAP/BMI it used to be that most of the commercially released music was under agreement/licensing with them.... I think that perhaps licensing of music etc. is in a state of mutation with webcasting and such and the ability to do direct downloads and pay for the specific material downloaded, as opposed to blanket licensing that pays the likes of Michael Jackson according to the portfolio of music he owns/has control of, and not according to the actual playing of material, however....

Getting back to what I think was my point (who, me wander around beating bushes and getting distracted? Snort....), big operations pick their targets and go after the ones they feel are least able/likely to effectively fight back. This ranges from insurance companies resistant to paying claims, to Apple suing small fry, to "patent troll" operations which buy up patents and then go around looking for people to sue/intimidate into paying them money to Go Away. Perhaps AP hired some patent troll lawyers...


(Note: the longest contemporary intellectual property war I'm aware of was Texas Instruments versus Japan Inc, it took TI thirty years and a large fortune working the patent infringement case up the court system in Japan, whereupon the top of the Japanese court system said that the patents were valid (they were basic microcuitry patents, which had long since expired in the rest of the world) and that the Japanese electronics industry owed TI 30 years' worth of royalty payments plus damages etc. TI is probably still collecting hundreds of millions of dollars per year, but it took TI probably at least a hundred million, and once again 30 years, pursuing the case in the Japanese court system. The companies that TI took to court en masse, probably figured that TI would drop the case, that the expense and time and energy that TI would have to involve, would cause TI to give up... TI however did have the funds and the persistence the resources otherwise to go forward with the lawsuit, for thirty years and ultimately won both the case, and lots more money that it had spent on the lawsuit... small fry though don't have those sorts of resources to expend and wait 30 years to get a return on, no matter how lucrative--there are lots of cases of companies which won the lawsuit but went bankrupt in the process....)

#118 ::: Dan ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 06:14 PM:
#111 ::: Tlönista ::: June 18, 2008, 05:30 PM: Basically: the MBA doesn't seem to have done sh*t for bloggers; they seem to have actually represented two people in the past two years, one of them being Roger Cadenhead. And they covered the Libby trial. And Robert Cox spends a lot of time telling reporters his opinion on blogging, because he's so official and such.

Does anyone know of anything else they've done?

But... but... They get five to ten calls a week from bloggers in some sort of legal distress.

Am I wrong for doubting the credibility of this story from Rogers' shilling here for MBA and Bob Cox right down to the notion that if it wasn't a scam operation, why is this thing cloaked in all sorts of bungled links, confusing and inaccessible comments, insurance sales pitches, legal advice pitches, special blogger training pitches, and so on and so forth?

Give me one reason why I should trust Bob Cox and believe his, as yet, unsupported claims that he's actually helped anyone.


#119 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 06:21 PM:

Jim, tell that to The AP.

#120 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 06:31 PM:

Dan (and others), Rogers has done nothing here but stick up for the guy who helped him. And he's been polite here, too. Whatever you want to say about Cox, it doesn't seem to me necessary to be rude to about Rogers, or use a word like "shilling" to describe Rogers's defense of Cox.

Perhaps (just perhaps) Mr. Cox is missing the point on this whole "blog" thing? You know, the feedback, the dialogue, the stuff that makes Making Light (and many other blogs) so great?

With respect, Wirelizard, while I agree that dialogue and feedback are great -- at least on well-moderated weblogs -- they're hardly the only stuff that makes weblogs great, and there are good weblogs that do without them entirely, and others where the feedback is an infinitesimal part of the weblog's value.

#121 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 06:32 PM:

to or about

#122 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 06:37 PM:

#115: The amusing thing about the redOrbit story, credited to "redOrbit staff and wire reports," is that it appears to be a very slight paraphrase of an AP story with no original content.

#123 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 06:43 PM:


Shades of gray, shades of gray,
"Why are you not I?" you say.
Shades of gray, shades of gray,
Strange those links from yesterday.

Shades of gray, shades of gray
Words have meanings gone astray;
Shades of gray, shades of gray,
Crossing thought streams diff'rent weigh.

Shades of gray, shades of gray
In the weblogs corporate play
Shades of gray, shades of gray
Opinions corporate lawsuits sway

Shades of gray shades of gray
Arguments break out and stay
Shades of gray, shades of gray,
Communications gone astray.

#124 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 06:58 PM:

"Whatever Bob Cox agrees to with the AP is only binding on Bob Cox."

And even then, only on certain indeterminate values of Bob Cox ranging over all possible configurations of Bob Cox.

#125 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 06:59 PM:

Patrick @26 - wow! Now, I am also aware of all Internet traditions! (It's so good to have my toon back, such as it is.)

#126 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 07:06 PM:

Dan, Paula, let us be merciful as we hope others will be merciful to us.

#127 ::: Robert Cox ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 07:20 PM:

Wow! I am a terrible person :-)

Bob Cox

PS, yep it's really me, the all-powerful Robert Cox President of the Blogosphere.

#128 ::: Dave Klecha ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 07:21 PM:

I laid out this whole thing to my wife and she said, of Cox, "Oh, he sounds like Andrew Burt."

#129 ::: Dan ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 07:35 PM:

I thought I was being merciful. See, Teresa? This is me being merciful with an eyebrow raised.

I look suspiciously French all of a sudden.

#130 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 07:46 PM:

Yeah, I thought about Andrew Burt, too, but Burt didn't pop in to say hello when people were talking about him here, as far as I can remember.

#131 ::: Robert Cox ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 07:59 PM:

No you aren't, you faker.

You're not Robert Cox. I am Robert Cox. I'm the one who founded the Media Bloggers Association.

Bob Cox

PS I'm not that terrible a person.

#132 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 07:59 PM:

Hmm. Andrew Burt, AB. Robert-but-goes-by-Bob Cox, BC.

The next "I'm gonna save you all, whether you want me to or not" bozo will probably have the initials CD.

Either that or he'll be the square root of the sum of the squares of Andrew Burt and Bob Cox, but that's too horrible to contemplate.

#133 ::: Dave Klecha ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 08:01 PM:

Earl @ #130:

I wonder, then, if it would be appropriate to quiz him on the contents of this entry since he doesn't have comments there.

#134 ::: Robert Cox ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 08:11 PM:

Nope, I really am a terrible person. I know because I read all about it here.

Now, Dave what is that you want to know about "this entry"?

I am happy to answer any questions but I need to run to the bank and cash my check from Karl Rove.

#135 ::: Robert Cox ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 08:22 PM:

BTW, I don't have comments because I am too busy running the Internet. I have graciously consented to bestow upon you the rare gift of an audience with me through this strange web-based interface you have here. Be quick about it. Ask your questions or I will be gone.

#136 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 08:24 PM:

I don't know Bob Cox. Maybe he is a good guy. The Media Bloggers Association could be one of those little side projects that always needs a bit more getting around to. Offering liability insurance could be perfectly well intentioned, even if it's unnecessary. Also, I don't think it was Bob Cox's idea to get the AP to charge for quotes. I still feel there's something not quite right about the Media Bloggers Ass., but I'm willing to cut Bob some slack. Maybe he can clear things up.

#137 ::: elfwreck ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 08:27 PM:

Slashfic written. Sort of. I'm not used to writing worksafe slash; I'm never sure if it's still "slash" if there are no sexual organs. Or orgasms. But given the participants, orgasms are certainly not expected.

AP and RIAA tie the knot. Or at least, are fit to be tied.

#138 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 08:36 PM:

Rogers Cadenhead: With respect to the MBA, I'd say the question here shouldn't be "forgiveness", so much as "pity". I suspect Teresa was advising you to go to the EFF instead of the MBA, for your own sake.

Paula: You've been spitting fire at semi-random people for several days now. Anything you want to share, or are you just having "routine life issues"? (Yes, it's that striking!)

#139 ::: Robert Cox ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 08:39 PM:

Tom,

I am happy to clear things up.

First, I am not a very nice person at all and whoever has been saying that will be banned from the blogosphere.

Second, if you are in a legal dispute with some person or company attempting to use the court as a club to suppress speech they don't like you probably don't want a nice guy helping you.

Let's see what else I can tell you. I am a crazed right-wing fascist monster who secretly plots to dupe unsuspecting progressives into fronting for my nefarious plans to co-opt the blogosphere, gain control and turn it over to Rupert Murdoch. I do this by spending many hours of my time working on First Amendment cases and otherwise helping bloggers who face legal threats. I run the world's stupidest web site which spends many wasted pixels obsessing about Keith Olbermann. I am a lousy writer, a worse web designer and a personal failure in all human relationships.

Any other questions?

#140 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 08:43 PM:

Wesley @122 - wow! Wow! See, now that paraphrasing surely isn't enough to escape litigation, right? And of course, just copying a whole damn article as your own, that's clearly what copyright is for. But now I'm all excited about paraphrasing and wish I had the time to deal with it.

#141 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 08:51 PM:

I somehow feel as though I'm out of phase.

#142 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 09:03 PM:

Robert Cox @ 139: Any other questions?

1) What is your position on AP's actions and announced intentions in this incident, specifically in regards to the use of their content?

2) What is your general response to the growing backlash against the forthcoming meeting between the MBA and AP? Has your involvement been mis-interpreted?

3) Do you represent any widely known (ie high traffic) blogs? If so, which ones?

4) What does the MBA accomplish that the EFF does not? Wouldn't your energies be better applied in working through/with the EFF?

5) You have been criticized (by TNH and others) for your apparent lack of demonstrated experience in blogging as evidenced by your blog. What experiences are you drawing on in leading the MBA as representing the interests of bloggers?

I have more, but these cover the major points I think. I (and I'm sure others here) are interested in serious, thoughtful answers to these questions and will be happy to engage in an intelligent dialog should you choose to answer.

#143 ::: Robert Cox ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 09:04 PM:

No one? Too bad.

Well I finally had time to sit down and write up an account of the AP-DR matter. It's not nearly as exciting as reading the news and blog accounts so let me apologize in advance for that.

http://tnyrl.cm/636c7

I will stop by later after I tip the scales in the net neutrality debate.

#144 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 09:36 PM:

Another question for you, Bob:

Have you made it clear to the AP that you speak only for yourself?

#145 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 09:59 PM:

Mary Dell (105), it's true that having my pockets stuffed with ammo and incendiaries makes me cheerful, but it's also nice to have friends, and to not always have to be the one doing the fighting. Never think I don't notice.

Tlonista (106): Thank you! Going through the MBA news archive was on my "things to do" list for this lengthening post, but I wasn't looking forward to it. From what I've already read, there and elsewhere, I'll agree that with your conclusion that the MBA appears to be a vehicle for getting Robert Cox quoted in papers, and that the organization has been cozy with the AP for some time now. If I had to guess at his long-term ambition, it would be to make himself and/or the MBA (I don't think they're distinguishable) the gatekeeper for blogger access and accreditation, because then he'd get to be important all the time. There may also be some notion of making money via membership fees and commissions on classroom fees. I don't rule out the possibility that some other person or organization is using him as a stalking horse.

The "feminist bloggergate" thing wasn't Cathy Sierra; it was Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan quitting the John Edwards campaign after they got a hard trashing by the right: a nasty episode.

Paula (108), proselytizing while giving aid is an old phenomenon. Sometimes it's done with naive but genuinely good intentions.

Fragano (109), I'm sorry to hear that. Even if there aren't tangible real-world repercussions, a bad online fight can leave participants with a real case of PTSD. It's one of the reasons I'm militant about setting limits on online behavior.

Rogers (110): Gafiated? Greetings, long-lost kin. Sorry about the roughing-up. Also about not reading your blog; but I've got this new job that keeps me improbably busy.

I also hope things don't get to the point where you need the EFF; but if that should happen, they've got some excellently knowledgeable people working with them.

Dave Bell, at the moment I can't speak to those issues. I just wish I could.

Dave Klecha (128): how amazing! I've been saying the very same thing.

Elfwreck: Thank you! And congratulations, you're now a Particle.

Robert Cox and Robert Cox: How come neither of you are saying the same things as the Robert Cox who's been sending me e-mail? For all I know, none of you are real!

I am a crazed right-wing fascist monster who secretly plots to dupe unsuspecting progressives into fronting for my nefarious plans to co-opt the blogosphere, gain control and turn it over to Rupert Murdoch.
Tcha. Is that the best you can manage? I am not impressed.

Whoever it was that posted the URL: please don't spam the comment thread. We don't appreciate it, and bad things happen to the text.

#146 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 09:59 PM:

You know, sometimes sock puppetry is funny. Other times, not so much.

This would be one of those times.

#147 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 10:00 PM:

Most of the time the legal threat evaporates when the plaintiff discovers that no only does the blogger have representation but that he has a large law firm defending him.

Which law firm?

#148 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 10:35 PM:

So, I still have the AP and paraphrased-AP stories up in tabs, and the AP one is entitled, "Bloggers Learn to Watch Their Words."

That's ... well, the longer it sits there in that tab, the creepier it seems to me. Kind of a "watch what you say" vibe.

#149 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 10:51 PM:

I thought the tinyurl in 143 used to point to this post on Words In Edgewise giving us the "backstory" on the case, but even after I add the vowels back it doesn't anymore. Ah well. The "backstory" is kind of confused and doesn't shed a whole lot of light.

I don't understand how the AP sending a DMCA takedown notice to the Drudge Retort for, among other things, a post quoting 18 words from an AP story, and the AP offering the iCopyright service which claims to allow users to buy the web use rights for quotations of similar length, are unrelated issues. Sure, the AP maybe hasn't drawn the connection explicitly, but the implicit connection is there. If they don't intend iCopyright to apply to bloggers, they should bloody well say so, and they should drop the DMCA takedown notices against Mr. Cadenhead.

Mr. Cadenhead, if it were me, I'd go to the EFF now, before Mr. Cox makes a mess of your good name. Mr. Cox claims to have 14 anonymous cases settled by an anonymous "large law firm"; the EFF has many cases won publically. I know who I'd want at my back when I went up against a company much larger than me. You've got what seems on the face of it like a very reasonable fair use case on your hands, which should be eminently winnable if it goes to a court. I wouldn't let Mr. Cox settle for anything less than the AP dropping all charges against you. (I am not a lawyer; I can neither practice nor preside; your mileage may vary; warranty void where prohibited by law.)

If Mr. Cox's intentions are truly honorable, he really needs to get his own act together before trying to help others out. Fixing the links on his own site should be a higher priority than slagging off other bloggers on his blog for saying mean things about him.

#150 ::: Robert Cox ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 11:07 PM:

Lance,

I might be willing to accept the notion that folks here would be interested in "an intelligent dialog" on this post/thread except that I've READ this post/thread and can see quite clearly that there is no indication of this.

But I won't address that to you Lance and will be happy to answer your questions.

1) What is your position on AP's actions and announced intentions in this incident, specifically in regards to the use of their content?
Most folks think that this all started a few days ago when, in fact, it began two months ago. Back then AP found numerous instances where DR posters had copied and pasted the whole text of entire articles, verbatim, with the identical headline as the AP story and without any comment, analysis or other "transformative" change. In other words, the DR posters were clearly violating AP copyright. No one involved in this case disputes that including Rogers Cadenhead and the MBA's lawyer, Ron Coleman who is a specialist in Internet IP issues. Up until that point, AP was on solid ground. For some reason last week they (IMHO) over-reached and identified 10 new instances alleged infringement only one of which might stand a chance in court. At that point Rogers contacted the MBA through an MBA member who we had previously helped in an image copyright case.
I am not sure precisely which "announced" intentions you are referencing but I can tell you as someone who has been working with AP on this since before anyone here and heard anything about this case that the vast majority of reporting is way off base. I tried to address that in my most recent post which I linked elsewhere. Give me a specific statement by AP and I will answer.
2) What is your general response to the growing backlash against the forthcoming meeting between the MBA and AP? Has your involvement been mis-interpreted?
Doesn't it seem absolutely idiotic to anyone here that anyone in their right mind would have the chutzpah to claim they speak for the blogosphere? So, why then would you believe it just because you read it somewhere? I also addressed this in my recent post. I know the people at AP and when Rogers asked for help we did two things - offered to get him a legal counsel and to make direct contact with AP (this is our typical approach since we always try to mediate disputes if we can). That's how I ended up on the phone with Jim Kennedy last week. My purpose was two fold - to get him to agree to STOP any further legal action against DR (he informed me they had already come to that decision) and to set up a meeting before the expiration of the DMCA counter-claim period (6/20) to talk about the take down notices sent to Rogers earlier that week.
Once that was established I expressed my view that the AP really ought to explain themselves better because bloggers like Rogers were not wholesale infringers trying to steal from AP. The vast, vast majority of bloggers are people who want to get it right and that AP might do well to simple SAY what it is they wanted to see happen in the blogosphere rather than send hardly worded letters. Jim agreed. We used the term "guidelines" in the call in the OPPOSITE way that they've been conveyed, initially by the NYT. What I was talking about was, in effect, placing clear LIMITS on how far AP would go in enforcing their copyright, not the other way around.
3) Do you represent any widely known (ie high traffic) blogs? If so, which ones?
We are an association so "represent" is not a word I would use. Members of the MBA include lots of folks including some that people here may know: Jay Rosen, John Amato, Glenn Reynolds, Oliver Willis, Gabe Rivera, Ed Cone, Dan Gillmor, James Joyner, Rebecca MacKinnon. and many others.
4) What does the MBA accomplish that the EFF does not? Wouldn't your energies be better applied in working through/with the EFF?
Our mission is different. We are a group of bloggers working to help other bloggers. The MBA was originally created in 2004 after the New York Times brought legal action against me. A few weeks later I was invited to BloggerCon II by Dan Gillmor to come talk about that experience. While mostly everyone there (Berkman Center/Harvard Law School) was very optimistic about blogging I had been sensitized to the down side of blogging - the legal risks - and I saw a need for bloggers to work together to shine a bright light on attempts by deep-pocketed litigants to suppress speech they did not like and beat them back. To that extend, the MBA was originally like a mutual defense pact...like NATO :-)
From a legal case perspective, the EFF takes very specific cases and tends to be more focused on cases that establish precedent, like the ACLU We are more like a legal aid society and will try to help in every case we can. I communicate from time to time with the EFF and when Rogers approached me last week for the first thing I did was reach out to Kurt Opsahl at EFF and David Ardia of the Citizen Media Defense Project at Harvard Law School's Berkman Center. I've also asked the EFF to help us in developing a course for bloggers on the basics of media law so they will know their rights and know what questions to ask when dealing with media law issues. We are developing a course with the Poynter Institute's News University with help from quite a few First Amendment groups including EFF (I am about to ask them for MORE help but don't tell them that :-)
5) You have been criticized (by TNH and others) for your apparent lack of demonstrated experience in blogging as evidenced by your blog. What experiences are you drawing on in leading the MBA as representing the interests of bloggers?
I was first exposed to blogging by a true genius, Dan Bricklin, at Comdex in 2000. At that time I was working for a start-up in the image licensing business and I licensed a ton of content to Dan's website building company. It was Dan who introduced me to the blogging world through which I came to read, know or email with some early bloggers like Dave Winer and Evan Williams of Pyra Labs. Quite frankly I did not "get" blogging at the time and when Dan pitched me and others on helping Evan pay his bills by tossing him some money I very foolishly declined. I think the folks who did give him money made out OK later ;-)
At some point in 2002 I had this sudden realization that blogging was actually very cool and I started up some blogs using Evan's software. The sucked so after a while I would delete them and start another. I sort found my stride with The National Debate blog where I wrote about politics and political media and shows on cable news like Hardballl. After a few years of that I got bored pontificating about the media and discontinued it but not before starting up the world's stupidest web site about one of the shows I used to "cover" that was about the lowest rated show on cable (behind John McEnroe). You know him as Keith Olbermann. The site started as a complete goof but so many people from the far right and far left took it so seriously that I just keep it running. Now that Keith is a big star that site actually gets over 100,000 unique a month. I jump in and out of being active on that site mainly to screw around and stir up controversy.
After winding up The National Debate I created the Words in Edgewise blog to focus more on citizen media issues. The KO site was for laughs and the WiE site was for serious stuff related to MBA and First Amendment work. Unfortunately, the WiE site is always the first to get ignored when I get busy and I am often busy. I also twitter on my iphone, for what its worth.
This goes to another point, the MBA site. Yep, it sucks. Work gets done on a volunteer basis and my volunteer web guy bailed on my in the middle of moving to the new version of Drupal last fall. I have no clue how to run a drupal site and I've not found someone willing to pitch in help finish what the guy started. On top of that, I've been spending most of my free time traveling to conferences and meeting with various people that can help the MBA with two major area of concern - legal defense for bloggers and blogger access. I might add that I pay for everything out of my own pocket and I am not rich so when I travel I pay my own way. I can't afford to hire a web developer. As I guess some folks learned, I have worked with a variety of "credentialing authorities" to help bloggers get credentialed as media to things like the Scooter Libby Trial, a Democratic presidential debate, a GOP debate, corporate shareholder meetings, LPGA golf tournaments and many others. Our most recent effort was managing blogger credentialing for the NAA and AP at the NAA conference in DC where Obama, Hillary and McCain all spoke.
What will probably happen is once we complete the online training course, the insurance portal and the new membership process is online I will get to blog more.
I will add one more thing that you did not ask. Those folks here who think we do not need media liability insurance are talking out of their hat. The Citizen Media Defense Project currently has over 500 cases in in their case tracking database. We've been involved in over 400 cases over the past 4 years. The number of cases is doubling every year and the amount of JUDGEMENTS against bloggers is approach $20mm. There are two cases right now against bloggers that are in court for over $10mm each. For those who don't know judgements are when a case goes to trial and someone loses. Few cases ever go to court so hundreds of CASES FILED means thousands and thousands of THREATS. Case in point, AP v. Drudge Retort is not a filed case. It is a DMCA Take Down so unless someone counter claims there is not case filed and certainly no judgement.

Any other questions?

#151 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 11:13 PM:

Part four has been posted. Dump caches and reload.

...

Robert Cox, if that really is you: You've asked whether there are any more questions. I can think of lots of them. For starters, have you ever been active on Wikipedia under the name Robertissimo?

#152 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 11:22 PM:

#93 ::: Rogers Cadenhead ::

"I can't tell you how glad I am to have joined the WorldCon committees to vote on Hugos and start inching back into science fiction fandom."

I don't quite understand this. I've been a member of maybe 25 WorldCons, since c. 1960, and have never come across the idea that it's necessary (as your phrasing seems to imply) to be on any kind of committee in order to vote on the Hugos.

Good luck on your struggle with the AP, though it sounds to me as though your choice of a Champion may have been less than wise.


#153 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 11:27 PM:

It's true, thank Ghu: you don't have to be on the committee to vote. You just have to be a member of the Worldcon.

#154 ::: Robert Cox ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 11:37 PM:

Teresa,

It really is me. Check your IP logs. I am on Optonline in New Rochelle, NY which is the world headquarters of my evil empire. If you like I can take control of your computer screen and type secret messages on to your screen while you sleep.

I have never been active on Wikipedia in anything other than my own name. While I respect anoni-blogging I try to always post under my own name online (as you can see I have loads of breadcrumbs to follow). I never heard of Robertissimo.

I have, however, been critical of Wikipedia going back to the Blogging, Journalism and Credibility conference where I took Dave Winer's side in the "great podcast debate of '05 over who would get credit, Dave or Adam Curry. I was in the room at Stanford Law School when Dave and Adam debuted that thing they called "podcasting". That's where I first met Jimmy Wales. I've debated Jimmy Wales about Wikipedia on PBS.org, attended his Wikimania conference at Cambridge, MA, and recently appeared at Middle State Tennessee University with Jimmy, Al Gore and John Seigenthaler of the First Amendment Center in Nashville. I've also had the privilege of carrying Jimbo's luggage. I know you will hate it but Al Gore actually introduced me at the event and we got our picture taken together but he was unable to convince me that I need to walk home from Murfreesboro to New York to reduce my carbon footprint.

When John Seigenthaler was po'd with Wikipedia when his bio entry was vandalized - someone wrote that he was involved in the assassination of JFK (John was close to the Kennedys, he was a pall bearer at RFK's funeral) - John asked me to review the op-ed he wrote for USA Today slamming Wikipedia. I took John's side and slammed Jimmy too but Jimmy's cool and not easily ruffled ever since he got that cool picture of himself with Bono.

What else?

#155 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 11:37 PM:

Robert @150 - color me convinced. We may differ on specific issues (sounds like we probably differ a lot on a lot of'em) but I believe you're on the up-and-up. For what *that's* worth. (I'm told that in the dictionary next to "gullible" they have my picture!)

#156 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 11:49 PM:

Just as a data point: I recognized Rogers Cadenhead as the name of a blogger whose site I have looked at at least once. It was linked from Making Light.

#157 ::: Robert Cox ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 11:56 PM:

James,

Have you made it clear to the AP that you speak only for yourself?

I don't speak "for myself". I also do not speak for the members of the MBA as individuals except in any specific case where they have specifically empowered me to do so such as putting together a group blog for Newsweek (they sign a contract) or getting credentials for a presidential debate (they fill out a secret service vetting form which I then sign off on too).

I speak for the MBA which has been a Delaware corporation but will, this week, be changed to a New Jersey Non-Profit corporation so that we can operate in the State of New Jersey; in order to set up the media liability insurance program we moved the company to New Jersey because such programs have to be registered with state insurance commissioners and New Jersey is "friendly" to the type of program we intend to offer.

That said, the MBA is not representative of the blogosphere anymore than the contributors to this site are. We have a specific mission at the MBA which is on our web site and I am the President and when I am operating within our mission, speaking in my capacity as President then I speak for the MBA as an organization.

In the discussions with AP, the MBA represents a specific blogger who asked us to help him in his case. When we speak to the AP on this matter we are doing so in order to advance his interest which is to clear up the current situation as best we can.

As I've already said elsewhere, I have never ever said that I represent "bloggers" and the accounts of this in the newspapers and blogs are entirely false. So, there is nothing to "make clear" to the AP. Do you actually think that AP is so unaware of the new media landscape that they would think for a moment that there is one person or one organization that can enter into some sort of collective bargaining agreement for bloggers?

To put your mind at easy, when I walk in to meet with the AP tomorrow I will be sure to tell them I do not represent "the blogosphere".

#158 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:06 AM:

Mr. Cox:

I have, however, been critical of Wikipedia going back to the Blogging, Journalism and Credibility conference where I took Dave Winer's side in the "great podcast debate of '05 over who would get credit, Dave or Adam Curry. I was in the room at Stanford Law School when Dave and Adam debuted that thing they called "podcasting". That's where I first met Jimmy Wales. I've debated Jimmy Wales about Wikipedia on PBS.org, attended his Wikimania conference at Cambridge, MA, and recently appeared at Middle State Tennessee University with Jimmy, Al Gore and John Seigenthaler of the First Amendment Center in Nashville. I've also had the privilege of carrying Jimbo's luggage. I know you will hate it but Al Gore actually introduced me at the event and we got our picture taken together but he was unable to convince me that I need to walk home from Murfreesboro to New York to reduce my carbon footprint.
I find I miss Jonathan Vos Post.

#159 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:08 AM:

Asking for the third time, Robert:

Have you made it clear to the AP that you speak only for yourself?

#160 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:09 AM:

Low-hanging fruit, dear.

#161 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:09 AM:

I find I miss Jonathan Vos Post.

I don't.

#162 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:10 AM:

Yes, and I picked it first.

#163 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:13 AM:

Golly. All this went on while I slept & then worked this morning.

Without reading thru' many comments above, I'll leap in & thank our hostess Teresa, & the others who've been spending their time & energy tracking down facts & engaging in discussion. I remember earlier times this community has done similar work on a variety of issues; it's one reason I value it so much.

Fragano @2: Involvement in local community works/politics exposed me to 'house union' tactics. Little self-appointed groups with particular interests went off & made representations/negotiations with authority figures, who then refused to meet with the actual official community groups.

#164 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:13 AM:

I was just thinking about him, too. :)

#165 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:13 AM:

Padrino, JVP would never expect me to be impressed that he'd carried Jimbo Wales' luggage.

#166 ::: Robert Cox ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:18 AM:

Kevin,

You asked "Which law firm?"

It varies from case to case. Here's one from Greenburg Traurig (yeah, I know the DC office was connected to Jack Abramoff somehow, blah, blah)

http://tinyurl.com/5ej8xu

As part of the insurance program, all MBA members whether they purchase insurance or not will get access to our referral program which will tap the insurance companies network of media law/first amendment lawyers around the country. The network includes some of the largest players in the media law practice around the U.S.

#167 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:20 AM:

Mr. Cox again:

I have never been active on Wikipedia in anything other than my own name. ... I never heard of Robertissimo.
I'm glad you've so forthrightly reassured me that you're not Robertissimo. I can't imagine him (whoever he is) doing anything so candid -- he's a terribly dishonest fellow.

#168 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:24 AM:

Well, Ron Coleman exists and claims to be involved with the MBA, so that part checks out.

Also, Mr. Coleman? You may want to find a different phrase -- the original "j'accuse crowd" was right in the end.

And Mr. Cox? Paragraph breaks, man!

The earlier DMCA takedown notices against the Drudge Retort are immaterial to the case at hand, a red herring, since they were resolved to all parties' satisfaction. Why do you bring those up?

If you think the AP "over-reached" in this latest case, why do you need to negotiate with them to set guidelines for the use of their material? It seems to me that the Drudge Retort learned its lesson the first time around. The system works (except that the AP sent spurious takedown requests this time, which they shouldn't have). Why try to "fix" it?

According to Mr. Cadenhead's site, the AP hasn't dropped the takedown notices yet, but they're "rethinking their policies." Hopefully that doesn't mean pointing bloggers to iCopyright -- the article says, "'We are not trying to sue bloggers,' Mr. Kennedy said. 'That would be the rough equivalent of suing grandma and the kids for stealing music,'" so maybe the AP gets it. Time will tell. Anyway, Mr. Cox, if the AP does drop those takedown notices soon, and you had a hand in that, good on you.

#169 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:39 AM:

Oh dear. Pretty soon Rogers is really going to be notable.

Though, if one has a sufficiently interesting battle about notability, would that, in itself, be notable?

#170 ::: Dori ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:41 AM:

Robert Cox, @150:

It was Dan who introduced me to the blogging world through which I came to read, know or email with some early bloggers like Dave Winer and Evan Williams of Pyra Labs. Quite frankly I did not "get" blogging at the time and when Dan pitched me and others on helping Evan pay his bills by tossing him some money I very foolishly declined. I think the folks who did give him money made out OK later ;-)

Speaking as one of the people who did donate to Pyra to help pay the bills way back when, the answer is "No." I never saw anything in return for my donations (in particular, no tech support), so we ended up moving our blog to MT after about 3 years with Blogger.

Robert Cox, @154:

I was in the room at Stanford Law School when Dave and Adam debuted that thing they called "podcasting".

And when was that? My guess is that you're referring to BloggerCon III in November 2004, which I also attended. Podcasting didn't debut there by any stretch of the imagination! As noted here, there were over 100K hits on Google for "podcasts" as of October 2004.

OTOH, maybe podcasting was new to you at BloggerCon, but to those of us who'd been blogging for over five years, it was old hat.

I can't speak so precisely about the rest of what you're saying, and these are minor points, but it does put you at 0 for 2 for those things I know about personally.

#171 ::: Robert Cox ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:49 AM:

I am glad you were at BloggerCon III.

I was at BloggerCon II and III and IV so I guess that makes me three times better than you!

If you don't like the term I used fine but Adam and Dave put on a presentation in the first session at BCIII to... hmmm... what.... show everyone there what they had been working on. I called that a "debut". I believe that is the term Dave used too at the dinner the night before at the Chinese restaurant.

I am sorry you did not make money coughing up bucks to help Evan, I just assumed he took care of everyone when the time came.

Regardless, I am not sure how my not knowing that Evan never paid you back for helping him or that we disagree over the meaning of the word "debut" makes me "0 for 2". But other than that your reply is fascinating and now I am relieved that I kept my five grand.

#172 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:51 AM:

Oops, we cross-posted.

Robert Cox @166: Interesting. Was the Media Bloggers Association involved with retaining Greg Herbert et al to work on the case? If so, how?

#173 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:56 AM:

("When you meet with the AP? Don't sell the homeworld.")

#174 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 01:04 AM:

Teresa, #158, Charlie is still suffering JVP to post. Some of the rest of us are making cracks.

#175 ::: Robert Cox ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 01:07 AM:

"The earlier DMCA takedown notices against the Drudge Retort are immaterial to the case at hand, a red herring, since they were resolved to all parties' satisfaction. Why do you bring those up?"

I bring them for the reason I said. Did you not read my post? I did not say they were material to the case at hand I said that a lot of the anxiety over what AP did was that it seemed to be capricious and come out of left field. It did not, there was two months of precipitating events that culminated in what happened last week. That's why I wrote "It is very important that people understand this because it makes clear that the AP is not on some wild rampage through the blogosphere, lawyering up to to go after every blogger who quotes an AP story in any way."

If you think the AP "over-reached" in this latest case, why do you need to negotiate with them to set guidelines for the use of their material?

I don't. I am going to meet with AP to see about resolving Rogers case. As I have tried to make clear, if that can be resolved to Rogers satisfaction (not yours by the way) then we can discuss other things. At this point, it seems pretty clear that AP is getting LOTS of free advice so what I offered to do last week when no one here had even heard of this case is largely moot. If AP wants my help I will give it. They've done good things for the MBA and I will be to be of service if I can be. I figure people here would do the same given the chance.

Why try to "fix" it?

My efforts here are new to YOU but I've made many efforts to get media lawyers, content owners and other potential litigants to try calling the MBA BEFORE they send a threat letter to blogger on the chance that within the MBA we can find someone to reach out to the blogger on a more positive basis and resolve disputes before their escalate. In this case, I would like the AP to be more transparent about what they are doing here. I believe if they are then there will be less confusion and therefore less threats against bloggers which is within our mission - we want to lower the legal risk of running a blog. That some folks here are oblivious to the number of threats and cases and the damage done by them does not change that.

The iCopyright story? Good grief, that story is complete and utter horsefeathers.

"maybe the AP gets it. Time will tell."

Hey! I actually agree with someone here. A first!

"Anyway, Mr. Cox, if the AP does drop those takedown notices soon, and you had a hand in that, good on you."

Yikes! Now I'm blushing.

#176 ::: Robert Cox ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 01:13 AM:

Wow. It's late. I did say I would answer any questions but I am pretty darn tired what with running the blogosphere and decoding communiques from Dick Cheney's secret office in the White House basement.

So I will try to come back tomorrow after the AP meeting and fill you all in on how I sold you all out, singlehandedly destroyed The First Amendment and otherwise earned my twelve pieces of AP Gold. If I forget or fall asleep someone here please ping me. I am sure you have all my personal information in the dossier you've been assembling on me.

Goodnight, all!

#177 ::: Julie ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 02:08 AM:

Where's the Media Bloggers' Commenters Association? Maybe Robert Cox should whip up one of those too.

#178 ::: jerry ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 02:51 AM:

This is what I love about the self-proclaimed liberal blogosphere. What a craptastic post Teresa.

#179 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 03:02 AM:

That WP edit page is getting crowded. Zhochaka added a sentence linking to this ML post and discussion:

"More recently, they have become involved in a copyright dispute involving The Associated Press, at the request of one of the parties, which has provoked a critical analysis of the self-image the organisation presents on its web page."

Trotting right along behind is Seth Finkelstein, who trimmed the sentence, erasing the link to ML in passing, to:

"More recently, they have become involved in a copyright dispute involving The Associated Press, at the request of one of the parties."

and inserting a link to Rogers Cadenhead's post. Mr Finkelstein's stated reason for doing this is "Added a ref, cut makinglight discussion - formally, not WP:RS, but in spirit, many accusations made are wrong (n.b. I'm an MBA member)".

All in all, I have to score this as an own goal on MBA's part.

#180 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 03:03 AM:

Mr. Cox seems to have totally misread the social and conversational standards of this community.

I am not encouraged.

I believe I have enough knowledge of statistics to justify a suspicion of how he presents his figures on legal actions against bloggers. It is, at its core, the same filtering of the data which has blackened the reputation of those who investigate paranormal phenomena. He almost gloats about the number of times the card matches the prediction, and dodges the question of how many cards were drawn which didn't match.

Yes, I know his claims of almost supernatural hacking powers are meant to be something called a joke. Ha! ha! My own sense of humour is, I admit, somewhat esoteric.[1]

This is a highly literate community, accomplished in the manipulation of language and familiar with the tricks of shysters, shills, and scammers. Perhaps this inclines us too much to doubt Mr Cox, and sets too high a barrier in his path.

On the other hand, a stranger who makes the claims he does, who invites lawyers to roost in the rafters, and then tells us how they crap in the soup, maybe should stop advertising umbrellas.[2]


[1] I have used ... sarcasm. I knew all the tricks, dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes and... satire.

[2] We [heart] anoraks

#181 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 03:28 AM:

Pericat, having admitted to being an MBA member, hasn't Seth Finkelstein laid himself open to challenges over his neutrality? At least within Wikipedia.


#182 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 04:27 AM:

Robert Cox @ 150: "Doesn't it seem absolutely idiotic to anyone here that anyone in their right mind would have the chutzpah to claim they speak for the blogosphere?"

No, it doesn't. A member of the U.S. Congress believes that the internet is a series of tubes. Virgin Media thinks they get to choose which webpages they load for you and how you can configure your router. Andrew Burt thinks he can send out DMCA take-down notices based on the output of a couple lines of code. Scammers think they can sue you for exposing their scams. As insane as the claims being attributed to you are, others have made claims just as mad with straight faces and lawyers. Trust in others good faith is hard to come by in these parts.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @ 158: "I find I miss Jonathan Vos Post."

Same verbal patterns, sure. But does that bear on whether he's a faux-representative attempting to sell his faux-constituency out to the Powers That Be?

I think he's represented himself pretty well here. He's engaged in his critics, answered most every question asked of him, and has done so with a remarkably good sense of humor, given the circumstances. Flat jokes and self-indulgent reminiscences aside, has he given much cause to believe that narrative you've constructed of him?

#183 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 04:33 AM:

'

There. (Silly little thing wandered off on me.)

#184 ::: Gag Halfrunt ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 05:58 AM:

Dave Bell says:

Pericat, having admitted to being an MBA member, hasn't Seth Finkelstein laid himself open to challenges over his neutrality? At least within Wikipedia.

It certainly looks that way. Wikipedia's policy page Wikipedia:Conflict of interest states:

If you are involved in a court case, or close to one of the litigants, you would find it very hard to demonstrate that what you wrote about a party or a law firm associated with the case, or a related area of law, was entirely objective. Even a minor slip up in neutrality in a court-case article on Wikipedia for an active case-in-progress could potentially be noticed by the courts or their parties, and this could potentially cause real-world harm, not just harm to Wikipedia. Because of this, we strongly discourage editing when this type of conflict exists.

And Zochaka has written the following on Seth Finkelstein's talk page:

I'm quite willing to concede that the material I added to the Media Bloggers Association page, and which you removed, did not meet neutrality standards. But you say you are an MBA Member. How well does that sit with a Wikipedia ideal of neutrality?

The MBA website has a strong feel of self-promotion on the part of Robert Cox, and that may be carrying over to my reactions to the Wikipedia Page. Prior to our edits, it almost seemed a boast about long-past success. The page definitely needs to be brought up to date.
I'm suspicious. You're a member. This could develop into a hot topic. Should some less-involved third party take the lead on editing the topic? Zhochaka (talk) 07:21, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
#185 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 06:34 AM:

Teresa #145: You're right to do that.

#186 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 06:35 AM:

Right now, it looks to me as if the MBA is not as fishy as it seemed- perhaps poorly run and headed by someone who ridiculously overrates himself and seems to think that the point of an organisation's website is to sing the praises of it's leader; but probably not a scam. It looks a bit like the equivalent of what Teresa called a "gormless agent" to me. If it was a scam, I don't think Oliver Willis and Glenn Reynolds would both be members there, and I think Willis' and Caldenhead's posts here changed the picture. Perhaps there should be some corrections to the original post.

#187 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 06:48 AM:

Epacris #163: My guess is that the self-appointed groups were made up of the most useless and self-important people, the Hyacinth Bouquets of the community.

#188 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 07:24 AM:

There are two different issues that are being conflated here. Mary Dell pointed this out @80, and Uncle Jim asked about it most recently at @159. And, for the life of me, I don't see why they need to be conflated.

1. AP's DMCA takedown notices to Rogers Cadenhead. He, of course, can go to anyone he chooses for help. Personally, I think the EFF is a better choice, but who knows what I'd do in the heat of the moment.

2. AP's meeting with "Media Bloggers Association" to establish standard that they wish to impose on all bloggers who want to quote their articles.

Defending Mr. Cadenhead doesn't require the imposition of standards on all bloggers. I mean, as near as I can tell, he hasn't done anything wrong. Why should his, or any other blogger's, behavior change?

Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that Mr. Cox is meeting with the AP solely to deal with the takedown notices made against Mr. Cadenhead. (Note that the Robert Cox who has posted here has not actually made this claim.) Then why would the AP say that they're meeting with him to establish guidelines which would apply to all bloggers?

This is the bit that stays unanswered that we keep dancing around. For whatever reason, we keep getting pulled back into questions of Mr. Cadenhead's representation. My opinion is that he could have gotten better representation. Actually, he still can. Honestly though, he can choose a jar of grape jelly to represent him if he wants.

What I wonder are:

Has the AP gotten its own story wrong? Is it playing him? Or is his plan to negotiate a set of standards in exchange for the AP dropping the takedown notices?

If it's the last, then I guess we're supposed to take what the Robert Cox who posted here wrote literally, despite his mocking and sarcastic tone. If it's not the last, then there is a disconnect between what the AP says their meeting is about and what the Robert Cox who posted here says their meeting is about. It may be good to clear that up before the meeting.

#189 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 07:45 AM:

Pericat (179), that sounds very Wikipedian.

Heresiarch, phzhyngviryl, lrf.

Robt. Cox (171):

I am glad you were at BloggerCon III.

I was at BloggerCon II and III and IV so I guess that makes me three times better than you!

But that wasn't her point.

Michael Roberts, note "your reply fascinates me" for future use. Also, I owe you an apology; I was in the middle of blogging it for the main page when this story grabbed hold of me.

John Chu (188), it would be good to clear that up, but I believe the meeting was yesterday.

#190 ::: Rogers Cadenhead ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 07:45 AM:

"I don't quite understand this. I've been a member of maybe 25 WorldCons, since c. 1960, and have never come across the idea that it's necessary (as your phrasing seems to imply) to be on any kind of committee in order to vote on the Hugos."

Maybe I'm using the wrong term, but in order to vote for the Hugos this year, I had to be a supporting member of the convention. I became a supporter of the next couple conventions as well.

Regarding the Media Bloggers Association and Robert Cox, I don't expect people to take my word for it that they are helping bloggers. But I trust the recommendations of the group given to me by Liza Sabater and Oliver Willis, and the group's been valuable to me here. When you're dealing with a big company that only communicates with you in legal threats, cease and desist letters and DMCA takedowns, and you believe there's dialogue possible that will settle the disagreement without a lawsuit, you need somebody to open the right doors. Cox did that.

If there are better ways than using a group like this to represent some of our common interests, I hope people will pursue them. But in the meantime, they're there, and I think a blogger who gets in legal dutch ought to call them for help.

Some bloggers -- Markos Moulitsas I'm looking at you when I write this -- are too smitten with the idea that if we simply shake our collective fist in outrage the world will adjust accordingly, mindful of provoking our wrath.

#191 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 07:50 AM:

Fragano @ 187... Are you keeping up appearances?

#192 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 08:04 AM:

Some open source projects have failed to take advantage of volunteers who had useful skills in non-coding areas because those volunteers were not great coders.

This may be an oblique comment, but it is not off-topic.

#193 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 08:06 AM:

What John Chu #188 said; either the AP got their own story wrong, or Cox is somehow tying the dropping of charges in return for some kind of nebulous guidelines on what is and is not acceptable in quoting AP news stories, or the two are completely independent and Cox is inflating his importance in the latter issue.

#194 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 08:06 AM:

Serge #192: I'd invite you to a candlelight supper but I have no candles.

#195 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 08:14 AM:

Rogers:

If there are better ways than using a group like this to represent some of our common interests, I hope people will pursue them. But in the meantime, they're there, and I think a blogger who gets in legal dutch ought to call them for help.

I don't disagree with that. Finding the right people to help makes a huge difference.

I see considerable doubt as to whether Robert Cox is one of the right people. I share that doubt, but I am seeing the case from the general point of view, about this meeting to agree terms, rather than about the specifics of your case.

#196 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 09:14 AM:

Fragano @ 195... I'm going to have to put that show on our NetFlix queue.

#197 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 09:27 AM:

Serge #197: Your local PBS station doesn't carry it?

#198 ::: kyledeb ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 09:29 AM:

You should definitely check out Liza's post at Culture Kitchen,

#199 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 09:31 AM:

Fragano @ 198... I don't think so. Besides, if I get the show on DVD, I can watch it when I want.

#200 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 09:40 AM:

Serge #200: True. It's worth watching.

#201 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 09:51 AM:

TNH @190 - Um. I'm short on sleep these past couple of days (one of my periodic deadline scheduling fumbles) and ML has a strange tendency to make me feel like a rider of the short bus at the best of times, but ... huh? In reference to your first sentence, my reply would have to be, "I am aware of all Internet traditions," but in reference to any perceived need for apology, I'm still all "Huh?"

Jonathan Vos Post always kind of intimidated me. I feel oddly reassured to find that he was just bloviating. You banned him? I didn't find him that bad... Sort of entertaining, actually...

As to Robert Cox. I know his type -- a talker and into self-aggrandizement. That kind of guy can be a real useful guy in many situations. I rather suspect (as do you, TNH, obviously) that he really is Robertissimo -- but I don't see that kind of shenanigans as ruining him irredeemably for the Forces of Good. He just needs channeling. But like I say, check the dictionary. I tend to want to see the good side of people. (OTOH, I'm sometimes right.)

I'm sorely tempted to go volunteer my Drupal skills, such as they are.

Frankly, were it not for the fact that Oliver Willis is part of MBA, I doubt I'd feel so positive about the venture. But entirely aside from Cox's self-positioning problem (and again -- that's not necessarily a bad thing per se), it seems like a legitimate organization, or at least an organization which could be legitimized, if you see what I mean.

#202 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 09:52 AM:

yeah, I know the DC office was connected to Jack Abramoff somehow, blah, blah

gloriosky.

Yeah, I'm kind of foggy on the whole massive criminal conspiracy that brought down Republican control of congress too.

#203 ::: Seth Finkelstein ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 09:53 AM:

Hi, I'm Seth Finkelstein, and I'm the MBA.

Seriously, the entire impact of the MBA on my life has been material for a few blog posts (and $25 or so membership dues out of my bank balance). I had a long talk with Robert Cox a while back about my concerns, and I can attest that, everything else aside, he does believe in what he's doing.

I was lurking in this thread earlier, and thinking that whatever his self-promotion sins, he doesn't deserve the hate-storm he's been getting.

Yes, I removed the reference to this thread on the Wikipedia entry. Yes, it does leave me open to challenge. But I think I know Wikipedia's rules well enough to win the challenge. I declared my potential conflict of interest right up front. The key policy passage here is (my emphasis):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:COI#How_to_handle_conflicts_of_interest

"An important example is that unsupported defamatory material appearing in articles may be removed at once. Anyone may do this, and should do this, and this guideline applies widely to any unsourced or poorly sourced, potentially libelous postings. In this case it is unproblematic to defend the interest of the person or institution involved."

That puts me in a safe-harbor on that edit within Wikipedia.

As to personal connections, Robert Cox didn't ask me to do anything, nobody in the MBA asked me to do anything. I know Rogers Cadenhead (n.b. he didn't ask me to do anything) and have commented and emailed him about the case in general out of personal interest.

#204 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 09:57 AM:

I have to admit that Cox meeting with The AP to agree on terms could be seen as either helpful (in that it leads The AP to clarify what the hell they intend before they just sue people) or harmful (in that it leads The AP to believe that Cox is empowered to treat with them on behalf of a non-existent global organization of bloggers.) And the fact that The AP is framing things to match the latter possibility in their press releases is alarming, to say the least.

Interesting times.

#205 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 10:03 AM:

Here's the part that I guess I'm not understanding. In order to get this insurance, as I understand it, you need to be a member of the MBA. Members of the MBA can be expelled from the MBA for blogging to disoblige what at least as posted are a fairly open-ended set of subjective standards.

Leaving aside the fact that putting enforcement of an open-ended set of subjective standards of offense in the hands of a partisan who hasn't, to this point, acted with perfect tranparency sounds like a bit of a risk for otherly-partisan bloggers, what recourse does someone who buys your liability insurance have if you decide that they've been naughty bloggers and expel them?

It seems to me that they would lose the insurance they've been paying for.

It also seems as if this would not be at all controversial if you were negotiating with the AP on behalf of your members, who presumably have empowered you to define their rights for them.

WADR, that's how it looks from here.

#206 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 10:41 AM:

#191, wrt Hugo voting.
You have to be a member (supporting or attending) of the convention. Being on the committee is a whole different matter, possibly involving insanity or masochism. Being on the Hugo committee is a third matter, and definitely involves insanity. (Says a minor Rat from 1984.)

#207 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 10:42 AM:

Serge @ 192: You've been drinking the last of the summer wine, haven't you?

#208 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 10:45 AM:

Ginger @ 209... And summer hasn't even started yet.

#209 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 11:10 AM:

Dave @181, I do agree. It's why I called it an own goal. It's to Seth's credit that he declared his bias, but his editing was done with unseemly haste.

Seth @204: Teresa's post may or may not be defamatory; that word has specific legal meaning and I am so not a lawyer. I do not think it is, for the record. It is certainly not unsupported, not by a long shot. Moreover, her post did not appear within the WP entry, but was simply linked from it.

What you have done is to give the impression that MBA's adherents will brook no critical views of MBA in any fora in which they can possibly suppress such.

#210 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 11:12 AM:

John Chu @ 188: "Has the AP gotten its own story wrong? Is it playing him? Or is his plan to negotiate a set of standards in exchange for the AP dropping the takedown notices?"

Well, where's the evidence to support any of those conclusions? We could look at what Robert Cox has been saying:

on this thread @ 150: "We used the term "guidelines" in the call in the OPPOSITE way that they've been conveyed, initially by the NYT. What I was talking about was, in effect, placing clear LIMITS on how far AP would go in enforcing their copyright, not the other way around."

and on the mediabloggers site: "In wrapping up my call with Jim Kennedy I expressed my view that it seemed incumbent on the AP to offer bloggers a better understanding of what the AP did find acceptable, [emphasis mine]" He places the onus on AP, not bloggers.

I simply haven't seen the claim "to represent all bloggers" that have been attributed to him anywhere in his own writing. Why trust secondary sources over primary? From what Robert Cox has been saying, his advice on how to deal with bloggers and Fair Use was offered casually, as an aside while dealing with the issue where he has a legitimate stake. The claim that he's acting as the official representative of Bloggerstan in binding negotiations is a fever dream of the AP's conception. It isn't Robert Cox making the claim that Robert Cox represents all bloggers. So why hold him accountable for it?

#211 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 11:19 AM:

What he said.

#212 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 11:33 AM:

In fact, what he said, accentuating the point that the problem here really appears to be The AP, not Robert Cox, whatever his other failings -- he appears to be acting in good faith here. IMHO.

#213 ::: Adam Lipkin ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 11:36 AM:

That link posted by Heresiarch (#212) is chock full of nifty stuff (although not necessarily in the way he intends it to be).

My favorite: The phrase, I am not a lawyer, appears only a few paragraphs above, We were approached for help by Rogers Cadenhead and, as we have done hundreds of times over the past four years, responded by offering him pro bono legal counsel.

#214 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 11:37 AM:

Robert - Thanks for the candid feedback. I think I have enough input to form my own conclusions at this point, so I will offer my own in return.

However well intentioned the stated goals of the MBA are, the organization is pretty much a one man show and therefore it's operations, positioning, policies and communications are completely driven by your abilities and personality. Unfortunately, every action of the organization seems to be filtered and shaped by an obsessive need on your part to be recognized as an "A List" player.

Ultimately, that's probably the biggest source of the disdain you're seeing here - you want all the popularity, accolades and authority that accrue to "A List" bloggers without actually doing the hard work of learning how to create, sustain and nurture valuable conversations in the blogosphere. You've clearly spent enough time around "A List" people/blogs. Think about this for a moment: No matter how big their ego's are, how much of their content, goals and mission are actually driven by the need to be an "A List" player as opposed to the goal of providing valuable, interesting and popular conversations?

My suggestion? The mission of the MBA seems to have value. Everything you want can be had by making the MBA successful - not through PR stunts - but by actually helping MSM organizations adapt to the age of social media. After this all blows over, I hope you'll spend some time thinking about how you really want to measure your success and satisfaction in the blogosphere.

#215 ::: Seth Finkelstein ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 11:53 AM:

pericat @ 221 - Yes, absolutely, I did act with haste, because, drumroll, there's a lot of publicity today because it's the meeting with AP! And here are big-audience bloggers doing de facto character assassination from on-high, without talking to Robert Cox, without giving him any chance to defend himself against their very serious charges. That's wrong.

The policy is that potentially damaging material in Wikipedia articles gets removed immediately until there's a consensus that it's permissible, and this is an exception to the conflict of interest rules. It's a "do no harm" principle, and I acted on it, with full declaration of what I was doing.

"What you have done is to give the impression that MBA's adherents will brook no critical views" - Oh, please. Do you have any idea how much the MBA, and Robert Cox in particular, gets criticized by MBA adherents?

Look, excuse me for a moment - the guy involved in this case (Rogers Cadenhead) came in - set you (the group) straight - AND YOU DON'T CARE!. People are enjoying their ranting against the boogeymen, don't confuse them with facts. And you're criticizing me for doing a small thing to mitigate that?

#216 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 11:55 AM:

heseriach @#212: I don't think Robert Cox is representing all of blogland; if anything, he appears to be representing the AP against all of blogland.

Re-quoting: "we offered to provide any assistance we could in helping them draft some sort of guidelines that could be promulgated to the blogosphere so that bloggers would have a clear understanding of AP's point of view on copyright, excerpting and linking."

#217 ::: Adam Lipkin ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 11:56 AM:

Seth, for god's sake, look at TNH's links. The "character assassination" has been largely committed by Cox himself; it's character suicide.

#218 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 11:59 AM:

Adam Lipkin @ 215: "My favorite: The phrase, I am not a lawyer, appears only a few paragraphs above, We were approached for help by Rogers Cadenhead and, as we have done hundreds of times over the past four years, responded by offering him pro bono legal counsel."

The key difference there is "I" versus "we." Robert Cox is not a lawyer. The MBA, however, has lawyers in it. Kevin Riggle confirmed it @ 168.

#219 ::: novalis ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:01 PM:

Cox misrepresents the counter-claim process under the DMCA. He says that the counter-claim must be filed in court, and that the content must remain offline until a judge allows it to be returned. This is inaccurate.

In fact, the counter-claim is sent by the person who posted the content to their ISP (in this case, Cadenhead). The ISP sends it on to the copyright holder. If the copyright holder doesn't tell the ISP that they have filed suit within 10 days, the ISP can return the content.

Also, Cox describes the ISP as having "no choice" but to remove the content. This is accurate in context ("to give both sides protections under that law"), but confusing. The ISP does have a choice -- they can decided that they believe the content is non-infringing, and keep it up. They're not then "protected" under the DMCA, but they're within their rights.

#220 ::: Seth Finkelstein ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:04 PM:

Look, Robert Cox can be criticized for being

1) A right-wing flamer
2) A self-promoter

He should not be criticized without any chance at defense, in the middle of a big case, as:

"To summarize thus far: Robert Cox shoehorned himself into the story, fibbed about being the intermediator through whose agency all the bloggers got their credentials, already had a deal going with AP, and tried to force the Firedoglake bloggers to join the AP pool, which would have given AP complete access to their superior and quite valuable reportage.

Now we’re supposed to believe he’s dickering in good faith with the AP on behalf of blogdom? No way. Even if his motives were purer than Ivory soap, he should have more sense than to go anywhere near this issue."

Espeically given what Rogers Cadenhead said.

#221 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:09 PM:

#212: heresiarch, I was asking questions. I wasn't drawing conclusions. In retrospect, I can see how you might have taken them as rhetorical, but I didn't intend them that way. (I guess the rest of my comment where a ponder multiple alternative motives didn't make that clear. Oh well. Live and learn.)

Perhaps I could have stated my third question better as "If the AP has gotten its own story right, then is his plan to negotiate a set of standards in exchange for the AP dropping the takedown notices?" Either the AP has gotten its story right or it hasn't. That is orthogonal to what Robert Cox has or hasn't said here.

My point is that it doesn't matter if he tells us whether or not he represents all bloggers. What matters is whether the AP thinks he does. In talking only about representing Rogers Cadenhead, we don't know anything about whether anyone thinks he represents bloggers as a whole (as if such a thing were possible).

I do find it a little disturbing that he has refused to disclaim representing all bloggers when asked several times now. Agreeing that he does not represent all bloggers, and stating that the AP knows this, would clarify things a lot.

As you point out, it's not what he's said. It's what he hasn't said. (We keep sliding into talking about Rogers Cadenhead whenever we approach this.)

#222 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:11 PM:

Word crashed or froze on me yesterday as I was trying to paste a list from one document into another. After more than an hour and a half of waiting for it to unfreeze (there was an instance some years ago when I left a machine with a stuck Word document on, and when I got into work the next day, Word had finally unfrozen itself and the document was accessible and editable again...) I killed Word via the Task Manager--but the automatic backup capability didn't. SNARL. Lost most of what I'd been working on. SNARL. (I had been doing some incremental saves, but Word when it decided to be obnoxious, can wreak all sorts of noxiousness.)
***********************

Meanwhile....
I seem to be seeing different communications styles and values sets in this thread.

Mr Cox seems to be somewhat in the axes/regions of psychospace which are non-quantitative and with portions of e.g. the Myers-Briggs mappings which are far from the ones I inhabit (I fall into INTP, which is where one percent or so of the population is.... tends to be quantitatives, philosophically wanders around taking apparently random incomprehensible pokes [samplings...] at things that to most people seem completely unrelated to anything (there are relationships, they merely aren't intuitively obvious to those whose minds don't play jump-though-mental-hyperspace-via-arcanely-connected mappings games... I remember Mike Ford leaving Patrick and Teresa completely mystified at an implicit reference in something he said, they didn't have the referent information so what he said came off as incomprehensible for someone lacking the referent [the reference was to Dr Edward Anti-Teller of a poem about Edward Teller and his antimatter doppleganger])

ANYWAY...

Mr Cox seems to be oriented more toward e.g. the market communications industry mindset, or legally-oriented mindset. Me, I'm in the techie-geeky-nerdly space region, and marketing and engineering tend to be natural enemies, with organically different ways of perceiving the universe and interpreting the same stimuli and inputs, different methods of analysis/perception, different interests and values, different objectives, kinaesthetic differences, etc.

I fall into the extreme of messy-desk iconography---- I currently have only 33 windows open on this computer system, and no, I am not being the slightly be ironic about it. I usually have at least 40 or 50 open (Word gets unhappy with too many windows open, I am a not infrequent crasher of Word....). There are people I know who can't deal with having more than ONE window open on a computer.... There are people who need a highly linearly organize desk to work with and work very linearly. Then there are those who spread paper and computer windows in all directions and work hopping from one to the other in ways that are completely opaque to the bulk of the population, while the messy desk sorts can't grok how someone can work -neatly-....

But the bottom line is that my perception is that there are some very deep differences underlying the current conversation: that the same words in the same order, are not tied into the same mental constructs and concepts, that the underlying models of the psychosphere are inconsistent, even incompatible, regarding people's interests, values, goals, perceptions, aspirations, intentions, etc., such that even though there are a number of areas in which there probably is general agreement, the concepts underneath, are very much out of consonance with one another, the expectations and interpretations are failing to engage in postive fashions, and the resulting lack of harmony, are almost inevitable.

#223 ::: Seth Finkelstein ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:18 PM:

John Chu @223: "I do find it a little disturbing that he has refused to disclaim representing all bloggers when asked several times now. Agreeing that he does not represent all bloggers, and stating that the AP knows this, would clarify things a lot."


Look at what Robert Cox said @150:

"Doesn't it seem absolutely idiotic to anyone here that anyone in their right mind would have the chutzpah to claim they speak for the blogosphere? So, why then would you believe it just because you read it somewhere? I also addressed this in my recent post."


No personal offense intended to you, but this sort of idea is what I mean by people having their rant on, and not caring it's against strawmen.

#224 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:19 PM:

heresiarch, when you say, "I simply haven't seen the claim 'to represent all bloggers' that have been attributed to him anywhere in his own writing. Why trust secondary sources over primary?"

AP said they are treating their meeting with Cox in that manner. They are not in this instance a secondary source, as they are the ones with whom Cox is dealing.

Cox appears in his responses in this thread to be rather pleased than otherwise that AP might have that impression of his organisation. In his place, I'd have been all over correcting that notion yesterday, on my own site and any others where the AP's assertion appeared. I would be very much concerned as to the harm that assertion could do to my organisation's reputation among the very community to whom I want to sell insurance and other services.

What Cox has said of his intentions is "As I have tried to make clear, if [the Rogers' case] can be resolved to Rogers satisfaction (not yours by the way) then we can discuss other things. ... If AP wants my help I will give it. They've done good things for the MBA and I will be to be of service if I can be." [emphasis mine]

I'm hearing two different things from Cox' comments here: on the one hand, that of course he doesn't represent all bloggers, what a silly idea, etc., and on the other hand, isn't it fun and potentially useful to him/MBA if AP has the impression he does speak for all bloggers when he chats with them about Rogers or fair use or whatever other concerns AP may bring up in the course of the meeting... but of course he'll disclaim any such wide-ranging influence if it seems necessary.


#225 ::: Jason Mosley ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:20 PM:

I just wanted to let everyone know that I represent American Bacon Bloggers (ABB). The ABB was founded by me and I am its only member. We (again I am the only member) are currently in talks the National Pork Association (NPA) to get full access to publish its Press Releases (for a small fee).

I figure if Cox can get away with it I can too. This is just a classic example of old media having no idea how the new media works.

-----------------
Jason Mosley
Enjoy Bacon!

#226 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:24 PM:

""Doesn't it seem absolutely idiotic to anyone here that anyone in their right mind would have the chutzpah to claim they speak for the blogosphere?"

Yes indeed, that requires chutzpah. However, he didn't answer the question with that statement (or the sentence I didn't paste here), now did he?

#227 ::: Seth Finkelstein ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:29 PM:

Sigh. I took that as an clear answer phrased in conversational English, rather than as a legalistic evasion.

#228 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:35 PM:

""Doesn't it seem absolutely idiotic to anyone here that anyone in their right mind would have the chutzpah to claim they speak for the blogosphere?"

Anyone who's been on the 'Net for over fifteen minutes has run into idiots with chutzpah.

So, once more, is the AP aware that Cox is only speaking for himself?

A simple "Yes" or "No" will do.

#229 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:35 PM:

Mary Dell @ 218: "I don't think Robert Cox is representing all of blogland; if anything, he appears to be representing the AP against all of blogland."

The only people who think Robert Cox represents the blogospheres is the AP. Not you, not me, not Robert Cox is confused by this. Only the AP.

"Re-quoting: "we offered to provide any assistance we could in helping them draft some sort of guidelines that could be promulgated to the blogosphere so that bloggers would have a clear understanding of AP's point of view on copyright, excerpting and linking.""

Which taken by itself could arguably show that Cox wants bloggers to toe AP's line. But if you read it alongside the quotes I provided @ 212, it paints a different picture. It shows a man who thinks that a lot of the fighting over fair use could be solved if people communicated more clearly. Now, I don't agree that it's all an innocent misunderstanding: I think that ninety-nine times out of a hundred, aggressive copyright protection is done to intimidate users out of asserting their rights. Nonetheless, there's nothing in Cox's behavior that suggests he's playing the double agent here--he's Chamberlain, not Vichy.

John Chu @ 223: "I was asking questions. I wasn't drawing conclusions."

No problem--that's what I thought. I was just trying to answer your questions as best I could. =)

"Perhaps I could have stated my third question better as "If the AP has gotten its own story right, then is his plan to negotiate a set of standards in exchange for the AP dropping the takedown notices?" Either the AP has gotten its story right or it hasn't. That is orthogonal to what Robert Cox has or hasn't said here."

Agreed. However, isn't it pretty clear that the AP got its story wrong? Cox hasn't a once said that he plans to trade dropping the takedown notices for a set of standards. For him, the issues are only tangentially related. The reason it keeps getting back to Cadenhead is because to Cox, Cadenhead IS the central issue, and this hooflah is all over some minor, off-the-cuff comment.

"My point is that it doesn't matter if he tells us whether or not he represents all bloggers. What matters is whether the AP thinks he does."

Why?

"I do find it a little disturbing that he has refused to disclaim representing all bloggers when asked several times now."

What he has said is:

"Doesn't it seem absolutely idiotic to anyone here that anyone in their right mind would have the chutzpah to claim they speak for the blogosphere?"

and

"That take on the conversation was then twisted into the absurd notion that that MBA was going to meet with the AP for some sort of binding arbitration to negotiate terms on behalf of all bloggers."

So he's called the idea that anyone would try to negotiate on behalf of all bloggers "idiotic" and "absurd." When he said @ 157: "I don't speak "for myself"." I took him to mean that he does, in fact, represent MBA, and in this case, Rogers Cadenhead. So he refuses to say he speaks for no one but himself because it is not true.

#230 ::: Ron Coleman ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:41 PM:

The MBA has repeatedly, clearly and explicitly, in its communications with the Associate Press, made it clear that it does not and cannot represent, and has no intention of ever representing, all bloggers, most bloggers, or any bloggers that are not its members.

#231 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:43 PM:

Jim @230 - I'm pretty sure the AP (1) knows Robert Cox and the MBA are who they are and (2) is going to present this as a meeting of the minds with The Bloggers. It won't set legal precedent, but it will make it easier for them to propagandize against anybody who doesn't follow whatever guidelines are set forth in that meeting. "We had a good-faith meeting with the blogger's association, but these people here ignored the good work done in that meeting."

Hell, it writes itself.

#232 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:52 PM:

Keep an eye on the AP article too.

#233 ::: Adam Lipkin ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:55 PM:

Ron Coleman (232):

The problem is, what constitutes (and what does the A.P. believe constitutes) MBA membership?

According to the about page:

The Media Bloggers Association celebrates diversity of experience, purpose and opinion. Our members include veteran and newly minted bloggers, seasoned journalists and those who don't consider themselves journalists, political conservatives, moderates and liberals. We recognize that people join the Media Bloggers Association for various reasons: to promote freedom of expression in cyberspace, for mutual support, education, training, legal support, collegiality, greater visibility for their efforts.

I could easily see how that sort of blanket statement implies that membership is the norm, not the exception. If I'm missing an actual list of members, please let me know (not saying that sarcastically - I honestly can't find a list anywhere).

#234 ::: Dan ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:59 PM:

So, if I understand this correctly, the AP is going to settle this mess with Bob Cox and the MBA while leaving everyone who isn't a card carrying member of the MBA in the lurch and potentially victims to the AP's whimsy in this issue of Fair Use.

Am I on the right track?

#235 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 01:02 PM:

pericat @ 226: "AP said they are treating their meeting with Cox in that manner. They are not in this instance a secondary source, as they are the ones with whom Cox is dealing."

If I agreed to meet someone for lunch, and they said it was a wedding, then would I have agreed to get married? It's the AP that's spouting nonsense, not Cox.

"In his place, I'd have been all over correcting that notion yesterday, on my own site and any others where the AP's assertion appeared."

Isn't that exactly what he's doing here?

"I'm hearing two different things from Cox' comments here: on the one hand, that of course he doesn't represent all bloggers, what a silly idea, etc., and on the other hand, isn't it fun and potentially useful to him/MBA if AP has the impression he does speak for all bloggers when he chats with them about Rogers or fair use or whatever other concerns AP may bring up in the course of the meeting... but of course he'll disclaim any such wide-ranging influence if it seems necessary."

Cox isn't approaching this as a hostile action. His point of view is that he's trying to mediate between two essentially benevolent beings. Remember, his prior association with the AP was very pleasant--he wants to help them avoid friction with the blogger community. Cox can offer his perspective on how the copyright takedown process works for bloggers (which he clearly has at least some experience with) without claiming to be Official Representative of All the Blogosphere.

Ron Coleman @ 232: Hallelujah.

#236 ::: Noelle ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 01:08 PM:

Well, if Robert Cox, AP, or anyone else ever honestly thought they could create an agreement for all bloggers, particularly in this kind of nasty rights grab, they know better now.

Just following the fascinating discussion on ML, which has covered multiple lines of questioning and has had reasonable (and not so reasonable) disagreements within its own regular posters, shows that the diversity of bloggers is to great to ever be represented by one organization.

As to whether or not Robert Cox deserved the reaction he received on this post - I think it's the same sort of reaction and investigation that anyone who allows themselves to be touted as a representative (or tries to be elected as a representative) encounters. If he had not wanted to be given that status he should have made it clear, very quickly, particularly on his own blog that this was not the case.

As soon as that AP article went out, he should have started doing public relations damage control. I don't see how anyone, as active in the blogging community as he appears to be, could have not forseen the storm of criticism that would be coming after he was said to be meeting with AP to create guidelines.

But that did not happen. Without that quick and clear disclaimer, I think he opened himself up for all kinds of debate and investigation.

#237 ::: novalis ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 01:11 PM:

Ron Coleman is a sexist.

This should not surprise anyone -- most right-wingers are, and Coleman's political views are clearly right-wing. Still, I don't think I would want him as my lawyer.

#238 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 01:16 PM:

Noelle @ 238
If he had not wanted to be given that status he should have made it clear, very quickly, particularly on his own blog that this was not the case.

That's what happened last year with the Libby trial: he was apparently quite happy to have it look like he'd arranged for the press credentials for everyone, even when he hadn't.
I haven't seen any signs that he will tell (or has told) AP he's a one-man organization - it may have more members than that, but there's no evidence of it, and he's doing all the talking - and I suspect he'd be happy to leave them with the impression that he's speaking for a majority of bloggers.

BTW, those @#$%^&*s in Congress are about to give Bush and Cheney immunity (in the form of giving it to the phone companies).

#239 ::: Robotech_Master ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 01:19 PM:

@239 - Because, of course, we all know that any time anyone makes fun of Hillary Clinton, they are automatically sexist. Just like when they make fun of Barrack Obama, they are automatically racist. Or when they make fun of John McCain, they're automatically ageist.

Because, after all, a person's only defining characteristic is the minority group to which he belongs. (Oh, look, I used "he" in a gender neutral sense, I must be sexist!) Everything else about them is unimportant.

#240 ::: Robotech_Master ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 01:21 PM:

(oops, forgot to change that last "them" to "him" when I changed the subject of the sentence from plural to singular. Oh well, it still works.)

#241 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 01:33 PM:

Calling Hillary a wicked witch, sexist? Gee, I dunno, let me think about that.

#242 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 01:35 PM:

Robert 171: It's appalling what your assumptions are. When we kick in money to help someone, it's usually a gift, not a loan. That said, I'm unaware of the case you talk about, so maybe they really were asking for investors, but there's nothing in what you say here to indicate that that's the case.

____ 176: It's thirty pieces, and it's silver.

jerry 178: Get lost, drive-by idiot. Or get back on Robert's foot, sockpuppet, as the case may be.

Dave 180: He's really missed the boat on "aggrievéd innocence," hasn't he? And btw ♥ gives ♥.

Rogers 190: Yes, that's being a member of the convention. Members of the committee organize the convention and run it, make the deals with the hotel(s) etc. They have No Fun At All, or at least Not As We Know It.

And Kos is doing a little more than shaking his fist; he's giving them the finger and saying "take me to court; I'll win." And he's been to law school and knows his stuff.

John 192: shorter: Just because Cox isn't much of a blogger doesn't make him a useless idiot. I agree, much as his self-important sarcasm in this thread has turned me off.

Fragano and Serge, 199 & 200 disrespectively: I find that show just too embarrassing to watch. I guess it's my whole thing about comedy, which I won't bore you with yet again.

Seth 203: pericat is right, though IANAL either. What definition of 'defamatory' and 'unsupported' are you using? They have meanings distinct from 'negative' and 'that I disagree with', which seem to be how you're using them. Also, winning a Wikipedia war doesn't make you right, but then given your attitude and behavior I doubt anything could.

___ 217: You didn't read this thread very carefully. The opinions stated here after Rogers came in are much different than before, and continue to evolve as he continues to comment. Everyone is listening to Rogers talk about his own case; what we're taking with a grain of salt is his judgement of Robert.

___ 222: What on Earth do you mean, "without any chance at defense"? He's been defending himself on his own blog, and here, and no one has stopped him. Do you mean that someone should show their opinions about him to him beforehand, so that he can defend side-by-side? Sorry, that's too much to ask. No one is suppressing his defense. YOU are undermining his cause by suppressing dissent. YOU are the one who is violating people's rights, if anyone is.

___225: Please note the statement you quote is full of weaseling. It's what we call a non-denial denial. He's carefully NOT saying the specific thing he's been asked to clarify, and muddying the waters still further. (I did not read his "recent post" as his comments here have annoyed me enough that I don't care to.) This sounds like a powerboy play, actually, rather than that he's actually doing it, but what he did NOT say or even try to imply is that he's clarified that with the AP. I bet they think he's got way more bloggers behind him than he actually does.

___ 229: Then you haven't dealt with many weasels, and can possibly be excused. We have; take our word for it, that was weaseling. The motivation for the weaseling is up for debate, but not the weaseling itself.

heresiarch 231: Isn't Chamberlain bad enough? What Sudetenland of rights will AP annex next?

Ron 232: Now THERE'S a statement! I do not understand why Robert Cox could not have said that instead of weaseling when asked.

Michael 233: Yep. Even if we trust Robert Cox, we know better than to trust the AP as far as we can throw Mount Everest.

#243 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 01:40 PM:

#241

And if the cartoon had shown Mr Obama similarly, would you have regarded it as inoffensive?

What hordes of people in the USA seem to Not Get, is that there is a substantial percentage of the populace which feels disenfranchised. Unfortunately I don't have the URLs accessible which substantiate that yes, there really IS a constituency of annoyed women who regarded Hillary Clinton as a symbol/emblem/banner/icon of "the United States of America has been a nation for more than 300 years, women are the majority of the population, yet not ONCE has there been a woman occupying the position of President of the United States of America. Not one has there even been a major political party which has nominated a woman to be President. And the reaction of so much of the population is to make stupid, demeaning jokes about it.... and then expects that the stupid, demeaning jokes should get greeted with ire."

Being dismissed as irrelevant, not worth taking seriously, and then insulted and expected to consider the insults as tasteful.....

"Don't you have a sense of humor?"
Not for jokes by hypocrites whose skin isn't being abraded by the joke, no.... "It wasn't painful for me when I castrated the camel!" Somehow I don't think the camel would think that the joke was funny....

#244 ::: Robotech_Master ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 01:44 PM:

Xopher @244: I think the post in question runs afoul of textual communication's lack of emotional context—what might come off as a conversationally-phrased denial when spoken aloud can sound a lot more like weaseling when read flat in text. When you say, "I do not understand why Robert Cox could not have said that instead of weaseling when asked," you're failing to consider that maybe Cox thought he did say that (only not in so many words).

#245 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 01:46 PM:

Robotech, if someone says "Barack Obama is barely out of diapers! He can't run the country!" they're not being racist. If they say "If he gets elected, will we still call it the White House?" they are.

Similarly, if they say "Hillary Clinton doesn't know the difference between a welcoming ceremony and sniper fire!" they're not being sexist. If they call her a wicked witch, they are. Is that simple enough for you?

#246 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 01:48 PM:

Someone who responds to a direct question, as Jim asked, with that long-winded non-answer I quoted earlier, is someone in love with his own words and thinking he's a hell of a lot smarter than everyone else.

"Why, of course I answered Jim's question! Any intelligent person can see I did!"

And Seth, calling that non-answer "clear" and "phrased in conversational English" tells me you don't get out very much. Or perhaps you do get out, but only with lawyers and politicians.

#247 ::: Robotech_Master ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 01:49 PM:

Paula @245: All right, then show me the context which demonstrates that image was specifically intended (either in Coleman's repost of it, or by the person who created it) as a put-down of Those Uppity Feminists, rather than as a humorous commentary on how decisively Obama has claimed the nomination of his party?

It seems to me there's a difference between how a work of content is intended and how an individual chooses to receive it. (Hell, whole fields of literary criticism are founded on that principle.) Just because you choose to view it as sexist does not mean that it somehow embodies the platonic ideal of sexism.

#248 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 01:50 PM:

Robotech 246: Someone who values written communication on the net should be aware of those dynamics (admittedly, they catch us all from time to time, but sheesh). Also, he was asked over and over and never gave an explicit answer. I don't think that was a communication failure; I think that was him refusing to give an explicit answer for the same reason he's been sarcastic and snobby in here: he can't stand the thought that we have any right to question him.

#249 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 01:52 PM:

Seth @ 217: How can you say he's not had a chance to defend himself? He left 14 comments or so yesterday alone.

"Do you have any idea how much the MBA, and Robert Cox in particular, gets criticized by MBA adherents?"

Internal criticism is laudable, but it's not like the slings and arrows of public examination.

"The policy is that potentially damaging material in Wikipedia articles gets removed immediately"

Now you're talking about potentially "damaging" where earlier it was "potentially libellous" being the issue requiring immediate attention. These are not the same things.

Your thinking that even a link to Teresa's post here is so problematic for MBA that you had to remove it right away is not doing a thing to support your position that MBA doesn't mind being criticized.

heresiarch @ 237 : "If I agreed to meet someone for lunch, and they said it was a wedding, then would I have agreed to get married? It's the AP that's spouting nonsense, not Cox."

That analogy's rather far afield of situation here, as it involves your taking on no obligations on behalf of anyone else no matter if other party's statement is true or not. A closer one would be if you were meeting a third party with a view to negotiating use of their land, which your neighbours also wanted to use, and that third party publicly stated that you were speaking on your neighbours' behalf as well as your own. If you allowed that interpretation to stand, your neighbours might be excused for expressing their annoyance. And if your response is snippy, condescending and otherwise mixed, that's not going to help.

In my reading of them, Cox' responses here are not nearly so clearcut as they seem to you. And the 'News' page of the MBA site has not been updated to refute or clarify AP's representation of Cox' role in today's meeting, but rather the reverse.

#250 ::: Ted ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 01:53 PM:

One thing that concerns me is that in talking about the situation, here and in other places, Robert Cox seems to emphasize the reasons that AP felt justified their notices (the previous C&D letters) and to focus on defending AP from attacks he feels are unfair (the iCopyright thing). I haven't seen a single post from him that suggests that he agrees it was completely ludicrous for the AP to send takedown notices for contextual quotes ranging from 33-79 words. In addition, Liza from the CultureKitchen, who seems to be a reliable source on this whole issue, claims that a lawyer from AP told Rogers "anything more than 5 words has to be licensed. That sounds suspiciously like a reference to iCopyright to me; is it really "complete and utter horsefeathers," given that information and the iCopyright site, to suspect that they might be connected?

That leads me to a simple question. Does Robert Cox realize how utterly in the wrong the AP are in this issue? Does he plan to tell the AP that it was legally irresponsible and immoral to send the takedown notices that they did, and that they need to recognize that Rogers was well within the bounds of fair use and bloggers don't need a set of AP written guidelines to tell them when and what they can quote? Or does he plan to get Rogers out of trouble (which certainly is a good thing), and then simply rubberstamp some set of quoting rules set up by AP? Because if he does, this is only going to get worse in the future, as next time AP can whine that they worked with the MBA to set up these rules and they don't understand why the person they're C&Ding couldn't just follow them.

#251 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 01:57 PM:

#225: Seth, given that the answer to the question Robert posed turned out to be "No", I don't think it counts as a disclaimer. (I prefer disclaimers to be simple, clear and nonequivocal, but that's just me.) I'm not saying that he thinks he represents all bloggers. I'm definitely not saying that he claims to represent all bloggers. I am saying that I have no idea what he thinks.

#231: I'm sorry. It would have been easier for me to recognize that you were merely attempting to answer my questions if I hadn't interpreted your words as labeling them conclusions.

In any case, it's not clear to me that the AP got its own story wrong. For all I know, the AP really thinks that Robert Cox represents many more bloggers than he actually does. If that's the case, Robert Cox can say whatever he wants, but the AP will still trumpet whatever comes out of a meeting with him as a standard for all bloggers. That's why what the AP thinks matters (and why whether or not he claims to represent all bloggers not nearly as much).

#252 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 01:58 PM:

Did we ever find out just when the meeting was taking place?

#253 ::: Ron Coleman ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 02:00 PM:

LOL, Robotech, thanks but save your pixels. Not only is the argument meritless as presented, the fact that it was made in this context really tells you all you need to know about how seriously it should be considered.

Besides, I am a sexist. Why not call me up and ask? On the other hand I have written quite a few pro-Hillary pieces, both on my blog and on Dean's World. You could look it up. I have, however, never applied my sexist views to her. In contrast, I have a crush on Margaret Thatcher and I will not apologize for that. I am still flesh and blood, even if I am a lawyer.

Left-wing bloggers (and other left-wing living things) have, by the way, been very happy to have me as their lawyer. But, hey.

As to the merits, Adam , I really cannot fathom how the passage you cite in any way supports the assertion you make. It's a broad statement about what is a broad coalition and, yes, it contains an element of puffery as any association website will, but there is nothing remotely like a claim of exclusivity in it.

And let's be honest: No one reacting to the press reports and accusing Bob Cox of claiming to speak for the entire blogosphere was basing their claims on that passage. This is just an attempt to backfill.

A couple of other points:

Contrary to what one might very reasonably assume, the AP people we have been talking to neither write nor dictate AP news coverage (as opposed to the issuance of a statement). That coverage is written by AP reporters utilizing whatever conventions for these kinds of things they have in place. As is the case regarding most news organizations, the issue of how the AP "covers itself" is a tricky one and perhaps one the AP has not quite figured out yet.

Similarly, the MBA and Bob Cox do not get the opportunity to vet coverage before it is published, as everyone here knows. Erroneous reporting is dealt with as well as can be, but, again, as you all know, once an inaccurate report hits the ether, it lives forever. There has been a good amount of inaccurate reporting and commenting that has caused some of the overheating here.

And some of that overheating is due to other things entirely.

Dan , let me get this straight: You do or you don't want the MBA to represent all bloggers?

#254 ::: Robotech_Master ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 02:08 PM:

Xopher @247 - OK, I see you were focusing on the "witch" part, I was focusing on the "house landed on" part. I suppose I can see how someone could consider the piece sexist in that context. (Though there are some who would feel sorry for the poor witch—bad enough that she had a house drop on her, but to be branded with Hillary Clinton's name too?)

I still don't think the intention of the piece was necessarily sexist. I will admit to disliking Hillary Clinton, but this dislike is predicated on her and her husband's behavior while he was in office, and on some of the policies and programs she favors—gender doesn't enter into it. In fact, if there is one thing I do respect Hillary for, it is running in spite of the obstacles that her gender posed. I do think it is about time we had a female President—I just don't think it should be Hillary.

This is why I hate political correctness so much—if I had found it through some other context, I could see myself linking to that image on my blog without any sexist intent, just because I thought it was an amusing statement of how decisively Obama carried the nomination over Hillary—like a house landing on her. Had I done so, then any accusations of sexism would have come as a complete surprise to me.

But thanks to PC, I need to watch anything I say or do because there's a chance I might accidentally offend someone in some completely unintended way.

#255 ::: Ted ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 02:12 PM:

Mr. Coleman, will you say that the AP's behavior in this case has been irresponsible and reprehensible and that their initial position was legally wrong? You don't have to use those exact words, but it would make me feel at least a little better if I thought someone associated with MBA understood that this really isn't a case where both sides have valid points, but rather one of a large corporation trying to punish and charge little guys for things that are perfectly legal.

#256 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 02:13 PM:

Folks, I don't consider the MBA to represent me. I'm not a member, and I'm not in the jurisdiction of US law.

I'm going elsenet. Some of the answers on this thread are getting so twisted that I fear I may need a 4-space opthalmic prescription to read them.

(and this from the guy editing a story which involves a poker-playiong King of England, a chorus of singing ricksha drivers, assorted policemen, and a sino-jewish band of fashion pirates.)


#257 ::: Robotech_Master ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 02:18 PM:

@257 - Ted: The thing is, we don't necessarily know that the little guys' behavior was "perfectly legal." Because fair use is a defense, not a right, we can say that it is "defensible"—but the only way for it to be outright determined that it was "legal" would be for a court of law to issue findings on that specific issue. The court would have to apply the 4-point fair use test to it and decide on which side of the law it fell.

(This is just based on my understanding from what I have read. IANAL, but I do like using the acronym because when else would I get to type ANAL in all caps like that?)

#258 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 02:19 PM:

X @250 - he can't stand the thought that we have any right to question him -- Yes. This seems dead on!

pericat @251 - but those comments he left were so weird and cross-purposed that I honestly thought he was a sock puppet. Even Teresa thought so! I think Xopher's reading is correct. He's angry that we're saying "Who does Cox think he is?" -- after he's gone to such lengths to establish himself as a Player, too! Naturally, his kneejerk reaction is to say, well, who are you?

I'm thinking the entire train wreck of miscommunication in this thread is crystal clear at this point. We should probably just scrub it and start over. Ugh.

#259 ::: Ayse ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 02:20 PM:

heresiarch @ 237: If I agreed to meet someone for lunch, and they said it was a wedding, then would I have agreed to get married? It's the AP that's spouting nonsense, not Cox.

The more appropriate analogy is that Cox and some other people are saying they are having lunch, while the AP is saying it's a wedding.

So what matters is who has more credibility. Since the MBA manages to come off as an insurance scam based on their web site, AP's version of the story seems more credible to me. If it's not the truth, MBA should have a big front-page article disclaiming it, because obviously somebody at AP has miusunderstood.

I'm always suspicious of entities that are willing to let misunderstandings of that scope stand uncontested.

#260 ::: Dan ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 02:22 PM:
Ron Coleman ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 02:00 PM:

Dan , let me get this straight: You do or you don't want the MBA to represent all bloggers?

Please don't get in the habit of answering what should be ridiculously simple questions with more questions. It's unbearably tedious, and it advances nothing in terms of understanding.

#261 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 02:24 PM:

Dave @ 258

That's quite a cast of characters!

#262 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 02:26 PM:

Ron @255 - "LOL, Robotech, thanks but save your pixels." If your intent was to make me cringe at your preciousness, you have succeeded, sir. I commend you.

#263 ::: Ted ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 02:29 PM:

"But thanks to PC, I need to watch anything I say or do because there's a chance I might accidentally offend someone in some completely unintended way."

That's like saying "Thanks to people's voices, I need to watch where I walk, because there's a chance I might step on someone's foot in an unintended way and they'll complain." The reason that it's problematic to insult a woman using witch-related imagery is not that some consortium of liberals has declared it "officially un-PC." The reason is that our culture has imbued the comparing of women to witches with sexist implications, and so people who have suffered from sexism or care about others who have suffered from sexism have legitimate reasons to find such comparisons offensive, regardless of your intentions.

@259

Also NAL, but I believe you are more or less right as far as the technical aspect of the law goes; on the other hand, I think it should be clear to anyone familiar with fair use that the cases at issue would without question be found to be fair use by a court based on a reading of the law and on precedent. When I playfully tap my friend's arm with my fist, sure it's possible that under certain contexts that could be assault, and only a court could give a definite ruling, but I'd still argue that it's colloquially correct to call what I did "perfectly legal."

#264 ::: Ron Coleman ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 02:35 PM:

Hi, Ted. First names are fine, it's the Internet, and I'm not quite that old.

I won't quite give you what you're asking for. One reason is that it's unnecessarily intemperate language. Another is that seeing as how we are in the process of discussions with the subject of the remarks you want me to make, it would be very un-constructive to do that. That's just common sense, right?

I will say this: The stated views of the AP as to what does and does not constitute fair use diverge very widely from my professional understanding of it.

Now, having said that, as a general proposition, attorneys, and in particular law departments of organizations, draw their "official" lines about legal matters affecting their business several conceptual increments away from what can confidently be said to be a firm legal position. Much of my work, for the MBA and for my private clients, involves testing those claimed lines and watching them crumble. I write about this phenomenon frequently on my IP blog; here's a recent example.

Frequently, however, it makes sense for both parties to a dispute to leave those lines intact and to save the testing for another day.

In this case, for example, we all are clear now that most bloggers will never be members of the MBA. Some non-member may choose, at his own expense or perhaps courtesy of the EFF or the ACLU or someone else, to litigate these issues; perhaps he will like the outcome, and perhaps not. It is also possible that such a person will join our group or already be a member, and indeed be represented by the MBA, and that the other party will be the Associated Press. We are not discussing becoming part of the AP or ceding the right or ability to represent bloggers in cases where a dispute cannot be contained.

Blogging is a social networking phenomenon, right? We're trying to find ways to keep all kinds of channels open for people and companies to do what they want to do on the Internet without wringing each others' necks. If necks need to be wrung, though, I like that, too.

#265 ::: Jim Turner ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 02:40 PM:

We will be interviewing Robert Cox on the Blog World Expo Radio show tomorrow at Noon PST and you are all invited to participate. It has taken me all morning to read through this thread and many of the questions that are raised will be great questions for the show tomorrow.

http://tinyurl.com/5q8byp

#266 ::: Seth Finkelstein ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 02:42 PM:

pericat@251 "How can you say he's not had a chance to defend himself?" - That's a joke. Here's some of the most-read blogs around posting attacks on him, without asking him or the MBA's lawyer about the accuracy of third-party charges or their own charges, but OMG, he's posted "14 comments"! Who could ask for anything more fair? Nobody reads comments (sigh, that last sentence is in conversation English which includes slight hyperbole and is not meant to be read as a strictly literal statement because it is obviously then self-refuting).

The word "damaging" was used a summary to encompass a range of categories. There's a difference between "criticism" and "hatchet-job". If I say, this post, this specific one, right here, this single item, is a hatchet-job that has no place being echoed in contexts that imply it has any accuracy, that should not be taken that the MBA can't stand criticism. To turn it around, one could talk of the impression of whiny A-list entitlement, that any rant deserves maximum publicity otherwise it's censorship (tedious: I didn't say censorship is being claimed, I'm inverting your point to a similar hypothetical absurd point).

Disclaimers: I'm not the MBA, I'm not acting for the MBA, I haven't communicated in any way with Cox for a long time. I just got annoyed at how much people were dumping on him, without even giving him a chance to defend himself before the attacks were all over the place.

#267 ::: Robotech_Master ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 02:42 PM:

Ted @265 - On the first point, I think your analogy is flawed, but neither of us is going to convince the other by arguing about it so I'll just agree to disagree.

On your second point, I don't know that the fair-use-or-not argument is entirely so cut and dried. Quoting from this Ars Technica article:

The AP objects that this isn't fair use. "AP considers taking the headline and lead of a story without a proper license to be an infringement of its copyrights, and additionally constitutes 'hot news' misappropriation," wrote an AP lawyer. The idea appears to be that posting the first few paragraphs of a news story, especially a breaking one, really does amount to republishing the heart of the piece verbatim, and it might be enough to keep users from checking out the original source.

This does make a certain amount of sense to me—when I was in Journalism class in college, we were instructed that when writing for newspapers, we had to encapsulate the entirety of the story in the first couple of paragraphs, so that people would get the gist of the story, then fill in details with the rest. This was because experience had shown most people didn't bother to read more than the first couple of paragraphs of most newspaper articles anyway.

Further down:

Should cases like this ever go to court, the AP would no doubt argue that a "substantial" portion of the work was used (factor three), enough so that people didn't visit the original story (factor four), and that the use wasn't "transformative" because most of the posts in question had little user content beyond the quote (factor one). All of these are debatable, of course, but the point is that they would actually need to be debated before a judge in order to know if the use in question was fair.

So, it's one thing to argue that a work is fair use or not. But on the other hand, nothing obligates the AP to say, "Oh, well, that's all right then, that use is fair." They are perfectly within their legal rights to send cease-and-desist notices, and pursue the matter in court if the other party does not back down.

It's up to a judge to decide if a particular use is fair—and what's worse, a judge deciding that it would be OK for The Drudge Retort to quote so much of News Story A does not automatically mean it would be all right for Making Light to quote so much of News Story B. The precedent would help the court make the decision in the case of Making Light and News Story B, but it would still have to be litigated. (In my NAL understanding of the matter, of course.)

Which is annoying, since litigation has gotten so costly that a lot of the time large organizations are able to prevail by threat—the smaller parties usually can't afford to defend themselves in court.

#268 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 02:45 PM:

Teresa @ 3

Still to come: The Adoration of the Credentials, ...
Would that be with a monstrance?

#269 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 02:51 PM:

Mr. Coleman, what you say interests me and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Aside: I think I like this Ron Coleman. We should keep him.

Also, as soon as the kids are through college and I'm done with med school (note to self: apply to med school) I think I'm going to law school. You can just start calling me Jubal now.

#270 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 03:13 PM:

Seth @168 - the only thing we'd heard of the MBA prior to this was their attempt to imply that Firedoglake was a part of them, and had press passes at the Libby trial only through them. Otherwise, nada. Now we latch onto the AP thing, and we discover -- due to the AP's own representation of the matter -- that the MBA is suddenly there as representative of bloggers in matters concerning quoting the AP.

So Teresa started digging. And this isn't a hatchet job -- it's discovery, Seth. Why shouldn't we go ahead and post what we discover as we discover it? If Cox needed a chance to defend himself, he probably shouldn't go around self-aggrandizing, and if MBA wants an identity separate from Cox's self-aggrandizement, then I suggest MBA does something about that in particular, instead of waiting until it all comes out and then complaining that it all looks so smarmy.

It looks dishonest because, frankly, it's not too honest. And Robert Cox, or the MBA, could easily clear something up at any time by, you know, blogging about it -- but the only article Robert has written is all about how he (and The AP) are misunderstood by all us dirty fucking hippies.

I am underwhelmed by that, as you can imagine.

#271 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 03:13 PM:

Michael 271: That's harsh! Aw.

#272 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 03:18 PM:

#269

AP also asserts prohibiting paraphrasing etc. the contents of its articles, however.

As for how people read things--that's not up to the publisher/editing, that's up to the reader. The publisher/editor/presentation of material can facilitate making reading the material harder (using Zapf Dingbats instead of Time Romans, perhaps...., or brown print on a black background) or easier (generally readable font on e.g. light blue background in a comfortably-for-reading font size, comfortable to read spacing, and sentences which are much less convoluted than the ones I usually write....) but can't completely -force- a reader to read in a particular way (or with comprehension the way the author/editor/publisher intended/expected).

#273 ::: Robotech_Master ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 03:31 PM:

Paula @274 - Sure, they can assert whatever they want to. They'll still have to litigate it if they want it to stick.

And of course what the reader reads is up to the reader. Nobody said it wasn't. What the AP says (at least by what I quoted) is that, because of the way readers do read (mostly only reading the first couple paragraphs of a work), quoting the first couple of paragraphs is effectively quoting a substantial enough portion of the entire story to make it unnecessary to view the longer work—and hence no longer a fair use.

It's for a judge to say whether or not that is a valid argument, but from my own experience in education I can understand where they're coming from (albeit not sympathize with their assertions or their methods).

#274 ::: novalis ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 03:31 PM:

I could see myself linking to that image on my blog without any sexist intent, just because I thought it was an amusing statement of how decisively Obama carried the nomination over Hillary—like a house landing on her. Had I done so, then any accusations of sexism would have come as a complete surprise to me.

There is a very good article on this, which I unfortunately cannot find right now.

A lot of people hear "X is sexist", and think, "but I think X, and I'm not a sexist. Therefore X must not be sexist." This usually continues with, "how dare you calling me a sexist?"

Why doesn't the witch comparison raise red flags for you? Perhaps the answer is that you have never considered the actual experience of women in the world. I highly recommend reading some autobiographical works by women who reflect on their experience as women.

I understand that you're probably a busy man, and don't have time to learn anything about how half the world's population lives. As a quick heuristic, I recommend the following: "is there an equivalent version of this with the genders swapped?" If the election had gone the other way, and Obama were portrayed as the Wizard of Oz (the closest male equivalent in Oz), the message would be very different. It's not a perfect heuristic, since you'll find plenty of false equivalences but it's a good start. Hofstadter proposed a related heuristic, which is also interesting, and which Xopher demonstrated above.

If you're not thinking about how women will react at all, why not? Surely if you're going to post something on your blog, you have at least some thought for how your readers will react. Aren't women as important?

OK, so your sexism is of the unconscious sort, rather than Schlafly's intentional sort -- but if you sit there and defend yourself rather than going out and educating yourself, then you're moving in the wrong direction. As for me, I'm trying to move past defensiveness to a place where I've got nothing to defend. But it's a long journey.

#275 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 03:35 PM:

Why is it that I keep seeing "Hillary" versus "Obama" ? Both of them are senators, equal treatment would be saying "Sen. Clinton" and Sen. Obama."

And the actual voting totals in the nomination for Sen Clinton versus Sen. Obama, did NOT involve any really large difference in the votes, the difference I seem to recall seeing, involved the "superdelegates," especially the ones declaring early and often for Sen. Obama. Note that Masschusetts voters in the primary voted plurality if not majority for Sen. Clinton versus Sen. Obama (or any of the other candidates on the Democratic ballot). Sen Kerry, however, who is a superdelegate, declared for Sen Obama--and one of the results of that was that there there is another Democrat who will be listed on the fall primary ballot for contesting the Senate seat currently held by Sen. Kerry. (That is, a quarter or so of the voting members at the Democratic convention a few weeks ago in the state, nominated the other fellow for the Democratic nomination for Senate for the upcoming election....)

But to reiterate--the actual number of votes from people voting in primaries, was NOT any sort of landslide popularity contest in which the vote totals for Sen Obama were hugely ahead of the vote totals for Sen Clinton, the vote totals were a LOT closer than that. The big difference I think was in the superdelegate totals (and in the news media cheerleading urging whoever was ahead at one particular moment was the clear and overwhelming winner).

The reporting on the situation was anything but impartial and nonpartisan.

And the jokes about the situation, again, are offensive in a whole bunch of different ways--were there such jokes about McCain versus the former Gov. of Massachusetts losing out to McCain rather early even in the campaign (yeah, he was government and I can't even think of his name at the moment--that's how much of a positive (not!) impression I have remaining of him!), and were any of them so -pettily- derogatory?!

#276 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 03:37 PM:

There is a very good article on this, which I unfortunately cannot find right now.

[snickering.
Was this intentionally referencing margins not wide enough to hold proofs?]

#277 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 03:41 PM:

#275

If there is no need for the rest of the story/article, then, why should AP go to the effort and expense and exertion of having any articles longer than the initial couple of paragraphs?!

With an intent of the initial paragraph or two to grab the prospective reader's attention and interest, one might think that effective marketing would include quoting of the start of articles as a way to get people hooked to read the rest of the article.... and in fact lost of websites do do that sort of things, provide a paragraph or so upfront, with a link to the rest of the material....

#278 ::: Seth Finkelstein ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 03:44 PM:

Michael@272 "Why shouldn't we go ahead and post what we discover as we discover it?"

Let me thoroughly disclaim here I'm replying from my personal perspective, from the viewpoint of my own thoughts and about general issues, and will attempt to answer you by conveying my feelings about that.

When you say that, what comes across to me is something I deeply hate about the blogging world, the abusive, bullying, arrogant, conduct endemic to A-listers. It sounds like: "Why should we people with big megaphones, who can smear and attack someone to thousands, maybe millions, care about any sort of accuracy and fairness? What does it matter if we publicly accuse someone based on a mistaken impression or third-hand report? It's "conversation"! We have a legal right to do it, as long as we don't cross over certain lines. It's all the fault of the targets anyway - they brought it all on themselves for not immediately catering to us, considering us to be the center of the universe, because of what we can do to them."

If you detect a certain parallel here with the worst of the press, that's deliberate.

If someone is going to make serious accusations to a huge audience, it is REALLY, REALLY so tough, so requiring of elaborate philosophical discussion and analytic justification, to give an opportunity beforehand to explain?

Here: There's a list of MBA members. Many are approachable to the writers of this blog. Is it SO HARD to ask privately to some of them "What's this MBA - is it for real? And who is this Cox guy, is he legit?" before dumping this stuff all over the place?

What does it say that I'm taken to be sort of the "bad guy" (roughly) here?

#279 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 03:48 PM:

Why is it that I keep seeing "Hillary" versus "Obama"

Because those are the names they put on their own lawn signs, bumper stickers, and lapel buttons, that's why.

#280 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 03:54 PM:

#277

Some of what I find most offensive about the cartoon includes the inaccuracies and promulgation of misinformation--the denotation of a huge giant difference and crushing defeat etc. It was crushing, but NOT for the reasons implied--it was crushing because, again, Sen Clinton in many ways embodied the long struggle of women in the USA to move from a position of legal powerlessness/chattel, to a position of access to power, resources, fame, control, etc., and to get so close, and then get BELITTLED about it... snarl.

No, Sen. Clinton is not my ideal of a candidate for office, etc., but she was a -real- candidate for office who was female, who had suffered public indignities and humiliatons which in some ways are archetypal of the -sorts- of crap dumped on women for millennia, and who has been serving as an elected official and representative of the people of the state of New York for how many years now?

There are other archetypes buried in there or which resonate--the one of the wife and women generally told, "your time will come, you can go for your degree AFTER your husband finishes his and you worked the scut job so he could go to grad school/medical school/law school..." and then after the husband gets the Ph.D/MD/JD dumps the old model wife who worked to put the husband through school and minded the kids etc., for a shiny new young "trophy wife"

Why -shouldn't- there be an enormous capacitor load in anger on the part of a very large percentage of the (female) population of the USA to see that sort of thing apparently playing out on the national political level, especially when a whole bunch of tacky cartoons and jokes accompany it?!

AP has dones its part I think as regards slanted and often demeaning coverage of the election....

#281 ::: novalis ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 03:56 PM:

@278, nope. I genuinely couldn't find it. But on reflection, I think I was conflating two articles. Here is one of the ones I was thinking of.

#282 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 04:09 PM:

#280 Seth

What the acronym "MBA" denoted to me until the advent of the entries in Making Light about an allegedly blogger association in the past few days, was the degree "Master of Business Administration," the possessors of such degrees, and to a degree the contempt that's been aimed in the direction of the management and (non)leadership styles of quite a number of MBAs... there is, for example, an article in the current Locus magazine about someone who went from heading up Random House to changing careers, having been a banker before going into publishing and them axing all sort of people from the publisher.... there were places in the article when the tone turned just shy of vindictive with a theme of "what goes around comes around, this fellow's removal is one that he amply earned for his offensive policies and obnoxiousness."

(No, I am NOT saying that an MBA automatically is noxious and offensive... rather, that there are a number of negative connections attached to the term in contemporary society as regards the actions of Corporate America in such things as outsourcing offshore, offshoring work, cutting payroll when a company is profitable, focus on short-term profits and exterminating long-term investment, etc..... there are MBAs who haven't destroyed companies, whose such as the founder of Au Bon Pain, got the MBA to be better able to continue running a business grown to large international size, but the term, especially the past 7.5 years, has garnered more and more negative connotations regarding how someone with one runs businesses/the US Government).

As for a blogger organization.... there are millions of bloggers. AP negotiating with MBA, MBA is de jure representing its members and those who have agreed/are willing to have MBA represent them. De facto, AP seems to be acting as if MBA represents all bloggers or bloggers in general.

AP and MBA are busily establishing one or more precedents, and legally precedents carry a lot of weight... that those of use who are NOT represented by MBA are getting shafted by perceptions that AP apparently is promoting, isn't getting out to the public and probably legal/governmental authorities from at least AP....

#283 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 04:12 PM:

Xopher #244: You should relax and just enjoy Hyacinth.

#284 ::: Shii ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 04:13 PM:

LOL, I can't believe this guy... look at him pimping himself on PBS.

"I have had my own direct experience with editors of the Keith Olbermann page which suggests this is the case. I edit a blog called Olbermann Watch. Not that it was ever my goal in life but I am now the leading blog critic of Keith Olbermann and a recognized authority on Keith Olbermann (citation: quoted in Washington Post, New York Observer, Hartford Courant, Online Journalism Review, etc.).

Not only do I know a great deal about Keith Olbermann, I also have a good deal of familiarity with some of the Wikipedia editors who have watch-listed his entry — liberal fans of Keith Olbermann. Some of these fan/editors have declared online that the Keith Olbermann page is their “pet project” and, not surprisingly, the entry reads more like a “fan site” than an encyclopedia entry. Some of these editors have openly sought to use that page to market their own fan sites and forums. Not surprisingly, the Keith Olbermann entry is massively non-NPOV."

(Source: PBS)

#285 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 04:14 PM:

Eek! Xopher, my apologies if I sounded patronising. That wasn't my intent.

#286 ::: Adam Lipkin ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 04:14 PM:

Seth (280):

Here: There's a list of MBA members.

Where, please? I mentioned above being unable to find any such list (235), and wasn't kidding.

#287 ::: Noelle ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 04:15 PM:

#280

If someone has left a written trail online and that is referrenced heavily in an investigation of why they might be speaking to a major media organization, how is this wrong?

Isn't going to their own words giving them a chance to speak for themselves?

Of course, anything can be taken out of context, but the post had many links to the content and many (though not all, by any chance) of the people here read those.

But communication in this community starts with your blog. The first place anyone one went for information on Robert Cox and the MBA was their blog, for their take on it. And there wasn't much there. How else is Teresa going to get the information? Send an email query? Make a phone call?

#288 ::: Tlönista ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 04:24 PM:

Argh! I think I'll come back when Teresa posts the next sections, because this is all quite confusing. Insurance scams, a sham website, approximately half the MBA arriving in the thread, Firedoglake, weddings and lunches, some mysterious meeting that may or may not have taken place, a totally off-topic Hillary Clinton-related flamewar out of the blue, and nobody explaining what the hell is going on..

**wanders off, singing "I've Got a Theory"**

#289 ::: Shii ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 04:25 PM:

Finally, the entire blogosphere will be represented by someone both fair and balanced.

"I suspect that Fox News Channel thought this would be a great way for viewers to show loyalty to their favorite FNC primetime shows but rumor has it that these ringtones can be used to ward off liberals. They turn cellphones into the equivalent of garlic to vampires."

(Robert Cox's old blog)

#290 ::: Evan Brown ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 04:30 PM:

Here is a link to a post (disclosure: I wrote it) about some good that the MBA has done: http://blog.internetcases.com/2006/05/05/whats-the-story-about-the-maine-blogger-lawsuit/

#292 ::: Seth Finkelstein ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 04:38 PM:

Ack, looks like the membership list page got eaten in the website transition that Bob Cox talked about above. I should have double-checked myself. Here's the Internet Archive version of the page I remembered:

http://web.archive.org/web/20061109183931/mediabloggers.org/members/

#293 ::: Liza Sabater ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 04:49 PM:

I hope you take all the proceeds of your next 5 books and put them into creating a legal defense fund for bloggers.

Does your sense of self-importance make you believe that "if I don't know about it, it must be a sham"?

What kind of integrity do you have if you are willing to believe the spin of the very company that is supposed to be your enemy yet you don't waste time smearing the organization that may end up helping you next time you get sued for something you post on your blog?

Oh right, you'll have your little friend Kos covering all your grand legal expenses. Good luck with that.

Here's my posts about this case:

Hansell lies, AP spins and the blogosphere smears

AP have their legal vampires chasing bloggers. I blame Hilary Rosen.

More about the AP copyright takedowns against Rogers Cadenhead

Netroots' bloggers boycott of Associated Press is working

Fighting for our right to inquiry, creativity and dissent

EXCLUSIVE : Robert Cox answers some questions about his coming meeting with AP

We need to keep the focus on Rogers Cadenhead and Fair Use


#294 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 04:59 PM:

Shi #293

I have to keep killing that website in Windows Task Manager because some stupid dialog box keeps popping up about sub-frames navigation and there is no other way to get rid of the thing....

#295 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 05:00 PM:

Rather, kill the web browser window it's in.

#296 ::: b10621 ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 05:14 PM:

Man, I skimmed about the first half of the comments here, and they were an intellectual joke. Won't be coming back.

#297 ::: Robotech_Master ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 05:20 PM:

@297 - That was your mistake. The fun stuff doesn't start until the last half.

#298 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 05:20 PM:

b10621
You miss all the fun that way. Have you looked at any of the other threads that are currently active?

#299 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 05:28 PM:

Eris has been here....

========

#293 Shi

I could not tell if the material were quoted from elsewhere or not, and couldn't quite figure out the basis of posting it. I did however find both the content and presenting that content, extremely distasteful/disconcerting/objectionable/slimy/corrding-graveyard-at-sundown-squicky.

#300 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 05:44 PM:

P J @ 263

"Your Majesty, you have dined at my table. I am an Anarchist, not a Bolshevik, and some obligations are sacred."

"Ah..." The King studied his cards. "Forgive me." He decided. "Two cards, please. Lady Helen."

Two cards flicked across the table. "Two for a royal straight flush," announced Lady Helen.

"Yes," he murmured absently, placing them in his hand. "Two cards for..." He paused, and looked up. "Henry, I do believe your daughter has stacked the deck."

"Thoroughly, sir," agreed the Duke, laying out four of a kind.

#301 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 05:44 PM:

Paula @300:

Shii links to, a blog (Watching keitholbermannwatch) that comments on Robert Cox's blog (keitholbermannwatch). Following the linkage through, I found myself on Cox's blog, where the full creepifying majesty of the comment is visible. That quote is representative of the original text, and is not taken out of context.

The short version appears to be that he did not like the attitude of a commenter on his site, and so researched her and outed her in detail, not just with her name, but with enough identifying details that anyone who wanted to find her in real life would be able to.

I have a phrase in mind for that...what was it again, Seth @280? Ah, yes... abusive, bullying, arrogant, conduct.

#302 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 05:56 PM:

#302 abi

Hmm.

http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs14-stk.htm

"Are You Being Stalked? Tips For Protection"

"Stalking refers to harassing or threatening behavior that is engaged in repeatedly. Such harassment can be either physical stalking or cyberstalking.

" o Physical stalking is following someone, appearing at a person’s home or place of business, making harassing phone calls, leaving written messages or objects, or vandalizing one’s property.
" o Cyberstalking involves using the Internet or other electronic means to harass.

"Either type of action may or may not be accompanied by a credible threat of serious harm. But both types can cause psychological damage, and each can potentially lead to an assault or even murder...."

#303 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 06:05 PM:

Seth @280:

Is it SO HARD to ask privately to some of them "What's this MBA - is it for real? And who is this Cox guy, is he legit?" before dumping this stuff all over the place?

Dumping which stuff? All those links to stuff Cox wrote? If I read all the linked articles, stuff Cox put his name to, and get a bad taste in my mouth, am I supposed to ignore it because some other stranger says he's a good guy?

What does it say that I'm taken to be sort of the "bad guy" (roughly) here?

That's a subjective impression, surely? I've missed any comments where you were characterized as a bad guy.

#304 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 06:14 PM:

#293, 302

Yes, to me that stuff is seriously creepy/icky/repulsive/squicky/etc. It's far, far, far, far beyond "lacks a sensitivity chip."

#305 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 06:17 PM:

Dave, that's good! (I take it that Lady Helen is the Duke's daughter.)

#306 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 06:40 PM:

That's the same Christy Hardin Smith whose name is in my memory from a different sphere than in connection with firedoglake, and whom I recollect as a highly reliable information source?

Words like "quisling" and "collaborateur" are pinging in my neurons, regarding Mr Cox, after reading the firedoglake entry link.

#307 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 06:46 PM:

Fragano 285, 287: I have to admit I was a little startled by 285. Now, I like Penderecki, and I think his Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima is a fine piece of music, but I wouldn't tell someone to "relax" while the opening bars are played. Hyacinth grates my every nerve. I have too much empathy for her poor husband, even for her, to enjoy the ongoing humiliation she inflicts on herself.

I don't like Absolutely Fabulous, either (I know, turn in my gay card). I think that daughter should pick up the nearest heavy object and crush her mother's skull with it, bettering the world instantly. I don't enjoy watching people who, if I knew them for real, I'd be sorely tempted to push in front of a bus. It's just not funny to me. I don't know why.

b10621 297: Careful, that door has a nasty habit of swinging shut on you. Bye! *sigh of relief*

pericat 304: I kinda snarled at him early on.

#308 ::: Seth Finkelstein ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 06:51 PM:

pericat @ 304, I answered "this stuff" at comment #222. For "bad guy" look at your #210, and for example #184 and #179 (those have a flavor of "gotcha!" even though not stated in so many words).

Look, the AP/MBA meeting is over, and bloggers haven't been sent down the Trail Of Tears.

Regrets, I really can't spend much more time on this thread today (in retrospect, I shouldn't have gotten into it in the first place, sigh).

#309 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 07:04 PM:

Xopher #308: I apologise. I find Hyacinth amusing, and I suspect it is those qualities that you find grating that I find most funny.

I see what you mean about AbFab, too, though part of the humour is wondering why Saffron doesn't do her mother in.

What do you make of The Vicar of Dibley?

#310 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 07:06 PM:

Fragano 310: Not familiar with it.

#311 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 07:08 PM:

Xopher #311: Dawn French is the female vicar of a very eccentric village in Oxfordshire.

#312 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 07:10 PM:

Seth @280 - Well, I see (kind of) what you mean, and I have to admit that this thread isn't showing our best side (snort), but I have a couple of problems with what you're saying here.

First, I don't think doing and presenting research on Robert Cox's actual writings is really equivalent in any way to misquoting second-hand reports of what he may or may not have said offline. Teresa is showing us Cox's public face. Again, if he doesn't want that public face to be known now that he's a Player talking to The AP, then ... I know how this sounds, but ... he should have thought of that before trying to be a Player talking to The AP.

I find it an entirely normal activity, upon hearing The AP saying they're talking to a blogger group that a lot of people haven't heard of, to Google that group, then, upon finding its own public face, to wonder who these people really are, dig further, and find some really scary stuff.

Once that happens, no, my first impulse would in fact not be to check with other people before publishing it. That would be very strange -- because this is, I reiterate, his public face. It is work he has published. That makes it public. If he doesn't want it read by everybody, he should damn well not publish it. I don't know why that is so difficult to understand for people who work publishing things.

Second -- am I understanding you correctly that you see this as Teresa Nielsen Hayden, A-list blogger, throwing her weight around? Because, flattering as that image is, and as attractive as it makes you or perhaps Cox feel to be the underdog -- Cox is the guy representing bloggerdom to The AP, at least as far as The AP is concerned. Which means pretty much as far as the public eye is concerned.

That doesn't make him an underdog.

In fact, if he is somebody disreputable, it pretty much makes him somebody who should be examined. We are doing so. If that makes him uncomfortable, well, that's part of what being a Player entails. He might have given a little thought to public perception earlier. Or be doing so now.

Now, when you say, "Why should we people with big megaphones, who can smear and attack someone to thousands, maybe millions, care about any sort of accuracy and fairness?" I'm just really forced to ask -- what about Teresa's links to Cox's own writing was inaccurate or unfair? I've just reread the post, just to make sure I'm not shooting off at the mouth. I literally have no idea what you mean with this characterization. She's linking to his own blog. OK? What could be fairer than that?

I understand that you're describing your own emotional reaction here. That's fine. I can certainly understand that if I were the target of Teresa Nielsen Hayden, I would also be very, very afraid. But I am not talking to The AP, and I am not representing myself as the guy who legitimized bloggers to the mainstream press. (Neither are you, actually -- you probably don't have the dogs in this fight you think you do.)

You also say, "It's all the fault of the targets anyway - they brought it all on themselves for not immediately catering to us, considering us to be the center of the universe, because of what we can do to them." No. Robert Cox brought this on himself for self-aggrandizing behavior in the national press, while presenting public rhetoric we find objectionable. What are we doing to Robert Cox other than focusing a teeny-tiny sliver of the public's attention on him? Are we saying mean things about him? Have you read the mean things on his site? How about Ron Coleman's link back to this thread? This is the Internet. Mean things will be said.

Again, you say, "If someone is going to make serious accusations to a huge audience, it is REALLY, REALLY so tough, so requiring of elaborate philosophical discussion and analytic justification, to give an opportunity beforehand to explain?"

What serious accusations would those be? We're linking to his public writings. What do you think he should be given the opportunity to explain about them? What they look like when collected in a pile in the sunlight?

You say, "Is it SO HARD to ask privately to some of them 'What's this MBA - is it for real? And who is this Cox guy, is he legit?' before dumping this stuff all over the place?"

I'm sorry, there's been this innovation you may have heard of; it's called the Internet. Is it so fricking HARD to explain this in ADVANCE on your so-called "WEB SITE" before talking to The AP as though you're bloggerdom?

Apparently so.

Anyway, I appreciate that you feel as though you've walked into a firestorm not of your making. Don't worry about it. I salute you for coming back to this thread and trying again, and I do honestly believe there's no Eeeeevil Conspiracy afoot to protect Cox's good name. But really. Cox did bring this on, by his own writings and actions, and he could still easily defuse it by presenting himself honestly on his own page, you know?

Seriously -- if the problem with the MBA site is technical, drop me a freaking line at michael@vivtek.com and I'll help you fix it. (Maybe Monday; my schedule really is pathetic this week -- I'm still pretty much on Tuesday's work, sigh.) But if it's just because it's all smoke and mirrors, then please -- don't make it all look worse. Sheesh.

Last point -- I don't think you're being taken to be the bad guy here. You made an edit on Wikipedia at a really badly timed point, and got sucked into a maelstrom. It's a tempest in a teapot, don't worry about it. Go for a nice walk (I just got back from the beach myself.) I honestly don't think anybody's got it in for you personally. It's just this whole Cox thing looks really, really strange coming in from a standing start. And Cox isn't really helping, in his reactions. (I honestly did think his posts were sock puppetry making fun of him, so that's kind of a scary place to be coming from...)

#313 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 07:15 PM:

Seth @309

I'm gonna sound like a broken record here, but in 210 I criticised your *actions* in light of what I understood your intentions to be. My point was that I think your superfast edit of the MBA WP entry would not redound to either your credit or to MBA's credit as an organisation. Your action in that instance makes it appear that you and MBA are overly-sensitive to criticism, which, if your goal was protection of MBA's reputation or anything similar, would backfire on you.

Xopher @308:

I think of you as such a teddy bear I overlooked it. My bad. Must read more better.

#314 ::: Dori ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 07:31 PM:

Xopher, @244:

It's appalling what your assumptions are. When we kick in money to help someone, it's usually a gift, not a loan. That said, I'm unaware of the case you talk about, so maybe they really were asking for investors, but there's nothing in what you say here to indicate that that's the case.

An archive of the original call for donations can be found at http://web.archive.org/web/20010202135500/http://www.blogger.com/server_fund.pyra. And reading that moves me to fix a minor mistake I made earlier; when I said. "I never saw anything in return for my donations," I'd forgotten that I did indeed get a few stickers, as promised.

Seth, @280:

There's a list of MBA members. Many are approachable to the writers of this blog. Is it SO HARD to ask privately to some of them "What's this MBA - is it for real? And who is this Cox guy, is he legit?" before dumping this stuff all over the place?

Until you posted a link (@294), I hadn't been able to find any such list—and I'd looked. So, I went for my next choice: compare what's being said here to things that I know to be true from personal experience. This is where Mr. Cox (as I said @170) went 0 for 2.

In his response to me (@171), he was supercilious, patronizing, and, well, just plain rude.

Now, if I'd seen the list first, or been approached to join by someone I knew (and I know several people on that list), I'd have a much more favorable opinion of the MBA. In fact, I probably would have been happy to send in my check or give my credit card.

But right now, his response to me leads me to believe that his negotiation skills also leave something to be desired. I don't want my representative at the table to be someone who's that arrogant and contemptuous of others. And if he's hoping to re-start the MBA, shouldn't working with bloggers be a higher priority than fussing about who is "three times better"?

#315 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 07:38 PM:

PJ Evans @ 240: "I haven't seen any signs that he will tell (or has told) AP he's a one-man organization - it may have more members than that, but there's no evidence of it, and he's doing all the talking"

On this thread, it has become clear that Oliver Willis is a member, Rogers Cadenhead actively sought their assistance, and they retain legal counsel in the form of Ron Coleman. Seth Finklestein linked to a Wayback Machine version of their membership page @ 294. Tiny organization, perhaps, representing all the blogs, of course not, but one-man? No.

pericat @ 251: "That analogy's rather far afield of situation here, as it involves your taking on no obligations on behalf of anyone else no matter if other party's statement is true or not. A closer one would be if you were meeting a third party with a view to negotiating use of their land, which your neighbours also wanted to use, and that third party publicly stated that you were speaking on your neighbours' behalf as well as your own."

That's exactly why it's a valid analogy--the only ones claiming that legally binding agreements regarding what is and is not Fair Use is going to result from Cox's meeting is the AP. There's no sign that Cox thinks any such thing. He doesn't seem to think there's going to be anything more to it than a chat about reasonable guidelines. The only binding negotiation he's doing is on behalf of Rogers Cadenhead, whom he really truly actually represents.

Ted @ 252: "I haven't seen a single post from him that suggests that he agrees it was completely ludicrous for the AP to send takedown notices for contextual quotes ranging from 33-79 words."

From this post at mediabloggers. "In June, Rogers got more take down requests, these were not whole text/exact headline entries and 9 of the 10 posts appeared to him to be examples of "fair use"."

Those would be the ones that spurred Rogers to seek legal counsel, and the ones that Robert Cox is meeting the AP to dispute. He seems to be willing to go to the mat over them: "In those cases where we take a hard line because we believe the blogger is in the right we stand our ground until we get a positive outcome for the blogger." This is the reason for the meet: to give AP a chance to settle before the DCMA counter-claim period is over, "just in case we are not able to work something out that satisfies Rogers."

Look--Robert Cox is the one going to the AP telling them they're trampling Fair Use in these cases. Isn't it pretty obvious he thinks they're indefensible assertions?

#316 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 07:39 PM:

Ah. You're objecting to Teresa's twenty-word summary of the several thousands of words she's linking to. Well, if we hold everybody to your standard -- calling people on the phone before writing twenty words of opinion about their actions -- I'm pretty sure we can just unplug society, Seth.

#317 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 08:55 PM:

I started to say something yesterday and didn't, and bad on me for that.

We've got several intersecting things going on here, and the interaction is not all that healthy. I think--but am not certain--that most of the things were not connected causally.

On reflection, I've taken out a big chunk of comment in the middle here so as not to pot-stir.

In any event, perhaps it's time to let this cool off.

#318 ::: Craig R ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 09:37 PM:

Robotech -- in re the picture linked to:

I wonder if you really recognize the wealth of male privilege that seems to seep from your disingenuous attempt to claim there is neither overt nor subtextual sexism in your post.

Oh, and while it may amuse you to claim that you were not noticing the "witch" part -- thank you, but if we are walking behind the elephant and everything suddenly gets dark and stinky we don't normally believe that ConEd just lost a substation.

#319 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 09:48 PM:

There are a few things that are rather bemusing me here. Teresa getting an "A" list if such thing there be on the Internet, is a actually as close as purely meritorious as things come.

(and no, I wasn't being protective really of TNH when I committed doggerel, it was more a feeling of leash slipping.... TNH is quite capable of defending herself and there was no call or need for me to do it. It was simply a sparking off point which the verse daemon got creative from.... as it is wont to do on occasion).

She's an editor professionally on her own merits--editors who edit books that don't provide the desired commercial return on investment, wind up pinkslipped.

Making Light originated AFAIK as a for love not money endeavor, and TNH's invention of disemvowelling was absolutely brilliant. The fact that this place is a salon full of long threads etc. that have a certain degree of eclat and elan to them, is because of Teresa, and Patrick, and Jim Macdonald, and the late Mike Ford, and abi....

They aren't fronts/shills for third parties/paid mouths/"product placement" specialists....


#320 ::: Craig R ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 09:56 PM:

Ayse - # 261 --

Yes, if Cox knows that the AP thinks, or is pretending to think, that he (cox) is somehow empowered to make binding representations on anybody other than himself, and he knows that such an impression is false, I even more don't want any shred of credibility of any claim or impression that he, or is "organization" represents *me.*

Anybody who would willingly perpetrate such a deception, especially in the public sphere, is more to flee from than the simply incompetent.

#321 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 10:57 PM:

Michael Roberts @ 201

Jonathan Vos Post always kind of intimidated me. I feel oddly reassured to find that he was just bloviating.

My first comment at Making Light was to point out a mistake he made, so I guess I was never intimidated by him. Entertained, yes.

#322 ::: Craig R ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 10:59 PM:

I just perused the list of members of the MBA.

If *that* is the entire membership roster, I don't see how this organization can make any claims to being representative of the cross-section of the "blogosphere"

And if AP seemingly is "negotiating" with the MBA, in the misunderstanding (perhaps purposeful misunderstanding) that they are dealing with a more inclusive group, someone has been smoking something that will more than likely get one visiting a nice padded room for a while....

#323 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 11:02 PM:

Today's Ubersoft.net cartoon is on our topic.

#324 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 11:27 PM:

Michael Roberts @314:

I just had to throw away an entire paragraph praising you for one of the best snarks I'd ever seen. When I went to copy/paste the sentence I realized I'd entirely misread it.

What you wrote:
...I have to admit that this thread isn't showing our best side (snort)...

What I mentally read:
...I have to admit that this thread isn't showing our best snide (snort)...

If it's any consolation, I've really appreciated your level headed and thoughtful posts the last couple of days - thanks!

#325 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 11:52 PM:

#190 ::: Rogers Cadenhead :#190:: (view all "Maybe I'm using the wrong term, but in order to vote for the Hugos this year, I had to be a supporting member of the convention."

Oh, yes, wrong term. The thing is, it must have taken me all of two hours, when I first discovered s-f fandom & heard people talking about "Conventions", to figure out that the "Committee" consists of the /c/r/a/z/y/ people who plan & organize the convention, and supervise the staff & volunteers during it, whereas the members are just ordinary fans like me. That you mentioned returning to fandom, yet apparently weren't aware of this, seemed ... strange. (I probably should have considered that there are a lot of definitions of "science fiction fan(dom)" floating around.)

About the MBA discussion, all I can say is that most of what's been said in favor of that organization seems to be so much more vague & insubstantial than the discussions I'm accustomed to that I don't know what to think of it, and probably won't until at least after the details of the Negotiations are published.

#326 ::: Robotech_Master ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 12:20 AM:

Craig @320 - You'll believe what you want to, but I swear the word "witch" never even entered my head until someone else mentioned it in a post. I guess I was just thinking something generic like "villain who had a house dropped on her," or else casting the comparison in terms of that specific character rather than to witches in general. I don't know. I do know I was very startled when someone did mention "witch," because it had honestly never crossed my mind.

I had thought that people who just did not like seeing Clinton depicted as a villain were getting upset and seizing on any reason to do so. Now I see that they are reacting to a comparison to "witch," which I learn via Google that Hillary Clinton has been called directly in the past. Mea culpa. I would not do that. Much as I think it would be funny to see Hillary cast as a pop-culture villain—any villain, including the Wicked Witch, the Queen of Hearts, Captain Hook, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, or Darth Vader—I do not think she, or any other woman, deserves to be called a witch.

Apart from that…I've spent the last hour writing and crossing out responses, but you know what? When you're accused of an -ism, anything you say to try to prove you aren't just sounds like lame excuses or justification. So I'll just say that while I dislike Hillary Clinton as a person (just the same as I dislike Bill Clinton), I am satisfied in myself that it is not because she is a woman.

#327 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 12:56 AM:

I dunno, Robotech. I'm not a woman, but I thought "Mea culpa. I would not do that" and much of what was in that paragraph was pretty convincing.

At any rate, I'm convinced it was inadvertent, and that you missed that whole "witch" thing. Hell, it didn't occur to me why women need more iron than men until I was in my 20s. And I like Bill and Hillary both.

#328 ::: Robert Cox ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 01:01 AM:

Regarding the Fire Dog Lake - Scooter Libby issue, I never ever claimed that I sought or obtained media credentials for FDL. This was, however, reported in yet another erroneous report from The New York Times which appeared in a front page story about FDL covering Libby. The reporter, Scott Shane, wrote an extremely sloppy piece which included numerous false and misleading statements. I am sure even FDL would agree. For example, that Clarice Feldman, a right-wing blogger, was part of FDL. In the article, Shane wrote I had said that I negotiated credentials for FDL. This was dead wrong. Not only did I not say that to Shane we never even discussed the topic in anyway. When he called me about the story the call was very brief because, according to him, it was pretty much all written and that topic was never raised. We did not talk at all about how ANYONE obtained credentials for Libby. When I confronted him about the errors the day the story ran he admitted that his source was a guy from the court not me. Also Shane misquoted the guy. As I said, the story was replete with errors. Shane offered a "correction". I told him to stick his correction, that the problem was FDL was mad at me and I wanted him to call Jane Hamsher and tell her the errors he had made so she should know that I had not said what he attributed to me. He refused. I demanded to speak to his editor and he refused that too.

The anger at me related to Libby actually originated two months before due to the appearance of a Washington Post story which recounted my experience in obtaining 2 seats in the media room for MBA members. The story appeared a few days after FDL learned that they were getting seats too. What people at FDL did not know was that the court had made the decision to credential bloggers for Libby back in October - not January. The basis for that decision was a presentation I had made to a group of the most senior judges during a conference I attended there as part of the First Amendment Center's "Justice & Journalism" series. I had made similar presentations to other groups of judges at previous conferences without a positive response (I had been aiming for the Moussoui trial in Virginia). In October 2006, my proposal was received positively and they responded by offering to use Libby as a sort of beta test. They asked for a proposal on how it work, I sent it to the court when I got back home after the conference and it was approved a few days later. It was about this time that Alan Sipress of the Washington Post contacted me to do a story about the MBA having nothing to do with Libby. When the seats for Libby were approved I told him and he said he would rather do a story on that and that he thought it might go A1 if it were exclusive to the Washington Post. The story was done in early December and scheduled for Dec. 19, 2006. It kept getting postponed so that it ran a few days before the Libby Trial began but on D1. That story became that basis for many other stories. Thus the timing of the delayed story made it appear that the MBA was credentialed AFTER FDL when in fact we had been credentialed two months earlier. The FDL had no idea I had been meeting with judges at these conferences over the previous two years. They had no idea that at the end of each one I would make a dual pitch to them - if you get a blogger in your courtroom offer them the same privileges and protections you would offer any reporter if they were operating in a journalistic capacity and that the courts ought to be willing to credential bloggers as media for high profile cases. When I attempted to explain this to be people like Jane and Marcy and Pachoutec et al they simply did not want to hear it.

It is very similar to this experience now. I can TELL people what happened and they just don't want to hear it. For example, I have made it quite clear that the MBA does not speak for "all bloggers" or even its own member bloggers. We are an association not a union and therefore have no power to bind even our own members let alone the entire blogosphere. The only exception to that is in a specific instance for a limited purpose like for a Presidential Debate or a U.S. Courthouse where the Secret Service or the U.S. Marshall Service require someone sign a legal document in order to release a credential for event. Another example would be in a case like this one with the AP. In those cases, the MBA does speak for whichever bloggers have agreed to be represented in that particular instance and when the instance ends so does the representation.

#329 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 01:13 AM:

Lance @326 - wow. I'm happy to have provoked that stroke of genius on your part, though. I'm halfway tempted to go into MT and change it (perhaps with a footnote giving your id credit...)

I dunno. I'm not sure that last tome was all that levelheaded. I can see Seth's point and I've been responding to the siren call of flamage here, too. (Somebody's wrong on the Internet and it burns with the heat of a thousand suns!)

The MBA seems to be an organization which is really trying to do the right thing, and Robert Cox presumably helps it do that, and that's great. Certainly retaining a lawyer is a fine thing to do, especially in America's litigative corporate atmosphere.

But I agree with TNH's overall judgment here. While Robert Cox may well be an overall force for good, the fact remains that we know he took credit in the past for opening the Libby case to bloggerdom, and that's (and I hate this word) troubling. And face it -- his posts here were weird.

But on the other hand, in this particular shitstorm, I don't think he's actually done anything wrong. He's acting in good faith, he's helping Rogers Cadenhead, and he appears to be trying to get AP to define what the hell they think they're doing. These are all good things.

Now, The AP is going to try to spin this as setting standards for blog usage of their quotes. They're still talking out their ass on that one, and they'll find soon enough that this isn't going to blow over so easily.

So. This is getting good!

#330 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 01:25 AM:

Ooh. Cross-posting. Robert, your posts are getting less weird. This is a very positive trend. I'm feeling a lot better about you at this point (personally).

When you notice that you are telling people what happened but they just don't want to hear it, you might want to take that as an indicator that you are really not coming across as very sincere at first. Not this last post! That was perfect. If you had posted this earlier, or if this were, say, on your blog or the MBA site in any way, then perhaps this entire thing wouldn't be happening in this extremely awkward way.

I was serious in my post to Seth. If the problem here is that your site is technically out of commission or difficult to work with, I can help you next week. Seriously. Email me if this would help. But it might really help to get some better information posted if you want to avoid this in the future.

Another tip -- don't sweat Wikipedia. If you're doing good work, the karma will win out. People whispering behind your back really don't count, because it will go away.

#331 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 01:29 AM:

Robotech, #256: Though there are some who would feel sorry for the poor witch — bad enough that she had a house drop on her, but to be branded with Hillary Clinton's name too?

I will admit to disliking Hillary Clinton, but ... gender doesn't enter into it.

You expect me to believe your second sentence after reading the first one? In what universe is that NOT vicious, sexist, misogynist bullying?

But thanks to PC, I need to watch anything I say or do because there's a chance I might accidentally offend someone in some completely unintended way.

Bingo! "Anti-PC" used as a defense for plain old bad manners; whining about being called on same; FREE SPACE; "It's true I don't like her, but that has nothing to do with her gender"; "Oh, I didn't MEAN it, where's your sense of HUMOR?" Damn, that was easy.

Paula, #277: You're seeing "Hillary" vs. "Obama" because that is how the candidates themselves have chosen to represent their campaigns. I suspect that Sen. Clinton did so specifically to avoid confusion between herself and her husband; I think it was an unfortunate choice, but it was her choice to make. For myself, I have been carefully monitoring my own speech and writing to make sure that I use "Clinton/Obama" rather than "Hillary/Obama", precisely because of the social implications of using a woman's first name and a man's last name.

Noelle, #289: "Make a phone call" was in fact what Cox suggested to one person who found the information on his website inadequate. This led to a good bit of (well-deserved, IMO) derision and eye-rolling. CB @9 put it well: For more information about his blog, you should CALL HIM. Because that's how bloggers trade information - via long-distance telephone call.

abi, #303: Carefully including the information that she may frequently be found walking between her home and workplace/classes. Translation: "Easy target for kidnapping and rape! Oh, and if you need more info, contact me by e-mail." If anything nasty does happen to his target, I certainly hope that possible connections to Cox are thoroughly investigated.

Xopher, #309: I don't enjoy watching people who, if I knew them for real, I'd be sorely tempted to push in front of a bus. It's just not funny to me.

Hear, hear! I also hate having them as protagonists in a book, and will generally stop reading after a few chapters.

#332 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 01:36 AM:

Agh. Lee, abi, you're right, I'd read that and forgotten it. Robert -- it might make you more credible if you deleted that threat at this point. Go ahead. Acknowledge it's a mistake to call for physical violence against people you don't like -- even latently. Move in the right direction.

If it's technically challenging, email me. I'll do it for you. But seriously, if you want to look good not only to The AP and your judge contacts and stuff, but also to the people who count (that would be us), this would be a great first step.

And really, wouldn't it make you feel better? You know it's the right thing to do.

#333 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 01:43 AM:

John Chu @ 253: "If that's the case, Robert Cox can say whatever he wants, but the AP will still trumpet whatever comes out of a meeting with him as a standard for all bloggers. That's why what the AP thinks matters (and why whether or not he claims to represent all bloggers not nearly as much)."

Allow me now to quote, ironically, Kos: "But anyone with an inkling of understanding of the law and principles at stake would know that the AP has no ground to stand on, and anything negotiated between them and the MBA will be ignored by the vast majority of bloggers anyway."

In other words: AP can enjoy their mythical la-la land all they want, but nothing legally binding will ever result from it, no matter how hard they close their eyes and wish. Even if they had Robert Cox wishing right along with them, it still wouldn't matter.

So why are you so intent on making this seem like a big deal? At worst, this is a media ploy on AP's part to make it look like they are cooperating with bloggers now so that they can shake their heads sadly later on when bloggers start breaking whatever "guidelines" they make up (as per Michael Roberts' #233). But legally, there's no there there. It would certainly make Robert Cox an asshole worthy of considerable derision if he were consciously playing along with AP's game plan, but I haven't seen any evidence of that. He set up the meet with AP for the entirely respectable and legitimate purpose of working out a non-legal settlement regarding Mr. Cadenhead's dispute with the AP--the idea that the meet is primarily about setting blogger guidelines is a fiction of the AP's creation that Cox has repeatedly denied.

If what you're worried about is this meeting somehow resulting in binding guidelines for bloggers, you can rest easy.

Ayse @ 261: "So what matters is who has more credibility. Since the MBA manages to come off as an insurance scam based on their web site, AP's version of the story seems more credible to me. If it's not the truth, MBA should have a big front-page article disclaiming it, because obviously somebody at AP has miusunderstood. I'm always suspicious of entities that are willing to let misunderstandings of that scope stand uncontested."

"Uncontested?" How is posting a clarifying post on the mediabloggers website, and then devoting considerable time (and 3,500+ words) to clarifying the misunderstanding on this very thread leaving the assertion "uncontested?" Is he not protesting enough for you? What, at this point, would reassure you of his sincerity?

And the AP is suddenly credible in this mess? It's the AP that wants to charge bloggers $2.50 per word, not the MBA! In case you forgot, the whole case against the MBA is that they're allegedly working as AP's stooges. If Mortiarty pointed at his butler and said "He's been helping me all along!" and the butler protested, who would you believe, the known criminal or the alleged accomplice? The AP has a lot of reasons to lie to make it seem as if they have blogger allies. But let's remember who our real enemies are.

#334 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 01:47 AM:

Sorry to monopolize here, but I just discovered Liza @295 - Liza, I think I can understand the vitriol in your post, but it's misplaced. We all understand the court system in America is a problem skewed towards the big fish, but in a case as clearcut as this one, there is a legal defense effort, and it's called the EFF. I agree that the MBA also appears to be a useful entity in this regard, but really -- if it's a blogger's association, it needs to have a presence online that makes it look like a credible one, and it doesn't. You're all bloggers. Write some copy! Put it there! If you had done this, none of this would have happened this way! The reason we're calling Cox and the MBA a sham is because it sure looks like one from where I'm sitting.

(Which is Ponce, Puerto Rico if anybody feels the need to stalk me. I'm go walking alone on the beach, too -- well, with my dog, but I don't think she'd be much help. So if anybody wanted to, you know, persuade me to be more respectful of my betters or something, that would be the opportunity to take. Just go to La Guancha, most days in the late afternoon, I'm the guy with the beard and ponytail in the Panama hat with a Jack Russell terrier.)

#335 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 01:51 AM:

Heresiarch @ 335 - are you the Heresiarch that had a blog in about 2002? And proposed the Rush Limbaugh transcript project? Or are you another one of the same handle?

#336 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 01:52 AM:

I think I'm done with this thread. All I'm doing at this point is repeating myself and requoting things that have already been said. It's really, really frustrating to make the same points over and over again. It's there if you want it, but I'm done.

#337 ::: alice springs ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 02:34 AM:

okay, i've read the comment thread. it's been very educational (and entertaining).

i am interested in seeing the "membership list" of "mba" so that i can avoid participating in the idiocy even indirectly. i hope ML publishes it when it becomes available as i am constitutionally incapable of linking through to louche sites.

#338 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 03:05 AM:

Seth @222 and elsewhere

Something doesn't add up about the whole MBA operation, and you're missing some substantial pachyderms wandering your premises.

1: Robert Cox is starting to look like a serial liar. TNH might still be wrong in her analysis, but the accumulation of evidence and the man actual behaviour here fit the hypothesis.

2: Given what you say you pay as a member, I can't make the finances add up in a sensible way. I've run a business. I've got some idea of what the costs of just existing are. Add in trips to New York, phone calls to lawyers who will work pro bono, web hosting,... It's not a bad thing for the MBA to be getting some of its income from a commission on the insurance it sells--the NFU does that, but I don't need to be a member to buy insurance from them.

(Small aside: no, I don't think the insurance element is a scam, but who underwrites it. Insurance companies generally offer a lot of legal liability cover for a very small charge, often as a routine part of other policies. It's because few ordinary people see the inside of a court. If Robert Cos is right, blogging is a high-risk activity. Either somebody is willing to lose money on bloggers, or...)

3: Robert Cos seems to have had a long relationship with the AP, feeding them quotable statements on blogging backed by his position and the name of the organisation. It looks impressive, and his particular Potemkin Village hasn't been particularly harmful.

Until now.

He's presenting the AP with a story of a media blogger's organisation, one with a long history and established image, taking part in the process which makes the rules AP will use of blog quoting of their stories. He's risking giving AP's policies a false credibility.

It would be rhetorical exaggerration to claim he's selling them the rope they'll use to hang us. but I'm a cynical bastard who's seen this scenario before.

And finally...

4: You think this thread is a "hate-storm"? Not even close. We haven't even started singing The Internationale yet, never mind raising the barricades. (Yes, I do know where the traditional agricultural implements are stored.)

#339 ::: Tlönista ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 06:32 AM:

alice springs: I wouldn't boycott a blog just because it's an MBA member. The membership list (linked above at #294) is mostly people I've never heard of, but seems to be a mix of left-wing, right-wing, tech and media. The ones I do know and have read/seen linked to include Chris Pirillo, Black Looks, Crooks and Liars, Latina Lista, Instapundit, and LaShawn Barber (these last two I've read fisked, at least...but it's still something).

#340 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 07:06 AM:

Tlönista #341 --

I just realized that it looks like all the links to members on the MBA membership page all point to archive.org pages.

Now, I can see that it might be easier to have such than maintain live links, bur it still seems ... odd

#341 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 08:01 AM:

Look, we are none of us immune from the siren song of egoboo. The desire to be Somebody, to be known by this person and cited by that one, is universal and hard to resist. If anyone has successfully done so, no one's told me about them*.

Many of us are sensitive to the markers of egoboo overindulgence. It starts with name-dropping and the uncasual explanation of the context of anecdotes (lest anyone miss that their wider importance). I do it too; I was insufferable for at least half an hour after I got BoingBoinged†. The darker side of addiction is when you stop doing and start talking about doing whatever you're famous for. The much-interviewed author who hasn't written a book in ages. The actor who only does voiceovers for commercials, but still lives the Hollywood lifestyle.

Granted, on the evidence, Robert Cox may be an egoboo addict. He talks about blogging to important people, and to us about the important people he talks to. But he doesn't blog. His community management skills are crude enough that he outs commenters he doesn't agree with‡.

But the internet is large, and contains multitudes. Different people can help in different ways, even people we don't like or approve of. The main questions to ask in this situation are what is he doing? is it helpful? if not how can it be made more helpful?

It's indisputable that intervening on the behalf of the Drudge Retort, at Rogers Cadenhead's request, is helpful. Whatever the source of his access, Cox can get the attention of AP enough to discuss the matter with them. And listening to AP's wishlist for blogger interaction isn't a bad thing; listening is important. Getting people's positions is important. It tells us what we have to negotiate with.

My concern comes from the interview Liza linked to. On the one hand, he has said above in this thread that the MBA does not speak for "all bloggers" or even its own member bloggers. But on the other hand...

Robert Cox: I also told him - and this has not been reported at all - that it would have been better if AP's lawyers had called the MBA first
Robert Cox: this is a very standard pitch I make to all litigants [against] bloggers
Ms. Liza Sabater: especially if they already had a relationship with MBA
Robert Cox: it is why I speak to bar association
Robert Cox: I would like lawyers to know that the MBA can be a way to reach out to bloggers without going nuclear out of the box
Robert Cox: we may not solve every problem
Robert Cox: or know every blogger
Robert Cox: but we have a good network and in many cases we will know someone who knows the bloggers...

In other words, Cox wants the MBA to interface between AP and bloggers, even if it doesn't "represent" bloggers. Not just bloggers who are its members, but ones they can network to. I have a few problems with this.

First of all, it means that the MBA's perceptions of the matter will shape the interaction. This can be useful if they are accurate, but as we have all seen, misperceptions happen on the internet. I think, reading Cox's writings online, that he might let his strongly held political beliefs get in the way of a fair perception of some bloggers. I'd prefer a slightly less politically one-sided intermediary, personally.

Secondly, this gives AP the idea that it doesn't have to figure out how to deal with individual bloggers, because the MBA is some kind of ombudsman. That's just wrong. The AP should go direct to the blogger in question, who can then choose whom to pull in for assistance. Anything else is infantilizing.

Third of all, it blurs the lines of accountability and trust. If I got an email from the MBA saying the AP had a problem with me, I'd think the MBA was representing AP in the matter, not me. Like mafia insurance, it feels wrong.

And last of all, it creates a hierarchy where one is not only unnecessary, but actively bad. I don't want to play Six Degrees of Robert Cox on the internet, trying to be on the line that divides the people who get a friendly email from the ones who get a lawyer letter. I don't want to wonder what would cause me to end up on the other side of that line.

What the AP needs to do is to get to grips with the notion of fair use. Any intervention that helps that—on The Drudge Retort's behalf, or anyone else's—is great. Anything that doesn't, like trying to broaden the MBA's interaction from a case by case matter where they are called in by the blogger to any form of procedural or official role at all is not a good idea.

I am very interested in seeing the report of the meeting. When can we expect it?

-----
* That was irony, in case you're wondering
† And there I go again. See?
‡ This is a big red flag for me, but I'm trying to see beyond it.

#342 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 08:17 AM:

Craig @342: I think that's something webarchive does to keep its links unbroken. If you take out the webarchive bit in the URL, the original pages (the ones I tried, anyway) load normally.

#343 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 08:18 AM:

Craig #324: Even if the membership list ran to millions of bloggers, it couldn't claim to represent the blogosphere or net. You don't need to join the Opinion Guild or get a Blogging License to start a blog and share your thoughts, and it must not become the case that upon starting to blog, there are a bunch of agreements negotiated quietly by people you've never heard of which are now supposed to bind you in ways more restrictive than the law. That would be like having a homeowners' association "colonize" your new house built in the middle of nowhere, and demand a say in the color of your shutters. Sadly, law is often made on this kind of basis (see the laws binding cigarrette companies, which are largely an agreement between big cigarette companies and Congress/various state governments).

#344 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 08:28 AM:

abi @ 343: Thank you.

You've articulated the two primary concerns I have with the situation while dodging the red herrings.

#345 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 09:45 AM:

#335 Heresiarch

The psychosphere operates off perceptions, opinions, and precedents--e.g. it turns out that the "precedent" for the treatment of corporations as if they were individual persons, is a legal ruling that got misinterpreted!!! (Unfortunately, while on my home computer I think there is a link to that buried somewhere among tends of thousands of emails, that machine is not where I am, and finding it could be a needle in huge haystacks issue.) However, the legal precedent got set with the misinterpretation and is long established with case after case after case....

It's sort of like the situation with someone encroaching on your property, if you don't do something effective to fight it over time you LOSE the property....

Or another example--note the amount of attention the Commercial "News" media paid to Rep. Kuchinich and THIRTY FIVE articles of each impeachment, any one of which is a serious charge and if true involve at a minimum gross negligence, with some of the charges ranging up to capital crimes. The commercial media is acting like nothing has happened, not even providing comments of "get along, nothing to see here."

The AP is part of that malfeasance and collusion to obstruct justice, and return accountability and oversight and the rule of las to an Executive Branch with an imperial monarcharical mindset and politics.

The AP is busily assisting in marginalizing bloggers and disempowering and disenfranchising.

Remember Mr Guckert/"Gannon" ? He dropped out of sight from the commercial news media faster and more effectively than ice cream in a Worldcon consuite--he went from apparently being the most-favored alleged journalist in the White House Press Corps, to vanishing without a trace, let alone commercial media attention to the story and questioning of just how was it that in effect a the proprietary of an interstate pimping service over the Internet for male homosexuals with a taste for military trappings, became the favorite person for POTUS to talk during during the infrequent (and when has there been one this year?!) semi-public meetings between POTUS and the press corp.

The relevance of Mr Gannon/Guckert is that his is but one of the more egregious news media scandals, which the commercial media except maybe for Jay Leno, who does some satire in some of his humor (and besides, he's from Massachusetts.....) pretended never existed, never investigated, and prevented from public attention and alarm....

Getting back to the AP and bloggers--cut off effective access to reporting information--no quoting allowed without towing the line of fawning on AP and fawning on the people it doesn't report on negatives, no using AP information as a source--can't paraphrase/rewrite under AP's terms, and there must be payment.

The evil genius of the appartchiks and their meisters the past seven and a half years in the Executive Branch, and for half a generation in Congress, and on the Supreme Court, is the blocking of information, information tampering, and redirection of all inquiry to dead letter offices, bureaucratic roadblocks, closed offices with no forward addresses, and Presidential Decrees, while any original data gets permanently shitcanned (as in all those obliterated emails). Thus, there is no audit trail, and those who require adamant megatonnnage of incontrovertible evidence, get to say, "see, there's nothing there! It's a conspiracy theory! You're making all this up!" and blithely go on being tools, willingly or by consequence, to the Star Chamber.

Put in that sort of sinister light it can look like the MBA is a tool the AP can wield, either with Mr Cox as collaborator or dupe (note the new book out by the former Administration mouthpiece, note Mr Brock with his book Blinded by the Right published years ago--men who willingly colluded with evil and only much later started realizing what incredibly duped total chumps and public enemies they had allowed themselves to become).

The AP appears to be doing maneuvering, and MBA, with webpages that a competent 12 year old would be deathly embarrassed to be associated with for their lack of updating and broken links, is participating in what looks rather like the Southern Baptist Convention Mission to the World Trade Center district--an oppportunistic expedition for benefit of the powermongers in the organization and their benefit, rather than the best interests of the assisted and the general public when the interests of the assisted and the general public don't coincide with the true purposes of the expeditionary forces' leadership.

#346 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 09:57 AM:

#347, me

Addendum

Once upon a time I was in the Boston Computer Society, which was a non-profit institution, and saw some of the destruction of that organization. The Board of Directors had a cabal that basically destroyed the institution. There was no oversight to allow impeachment/removal of anyone from the Board, and the Board was holding secret meetings which were not legal--but held them anyway, made decisions that members couldn't get information about, and I forget what other misdeeds were involved. It's not clear how much was culture clash, how much may have been actual criminal intent, how much was arrogance, how much was incompetence, how much was power for the sake of power, etc., the only surety in the situation, is that the organization went into dissolution and out of existence.

I don't think anyone really actually wanted to destroy the Boston Computer Society, but the acts of the Board of Directors certainly did have that effect... and the other 20,000 or so people who were or had been members, had had NO power to prevent it, there was no way to remove any of the members of the Board who were seen as being among the worst effects of the cascading disaster (the organization was in trouble and it was apparent to quite a few of the Activists (volunteers) that there were problems which were looking more and more dire and promising to destroy the organization... the BoD however wasn't willing to do anything to try to avoid the predictable collapse (the most obvious predictor was the financial state which was monotonically dropping and the financial resources were falling more and more and more....).

What this has to do with MBA--the BoD of BCS and the members, didn't have the same interests. The members didn't want the organization to shutdown, but the BoD had their OWN agenda, and destroyed the organization.... MBA may have reasonable members, are the people who control it reasonable, and do they really have the members' and general public/blogosphere interests at heart, and not their own particular intentions and perceptions and ways of doing things, as did the BCS Board of Directors?

#347 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 10:52 AM:

I'm pretty much in agreement with the collective assessment of Cox and the MBA. What we haven't done well is provide clear alternatives and advice about our legal rights as bloggers to the tons of new folks coming here. So, let me kick it off by saying:

If you are a blogger you really need to read the EFF's Blogger's Rights information. It would be the first place I would have referred Rogers Cadenhead to in his situation. For bonus karma, if you believe in what the EFF is doing and believe they are effective: DONATE!

#348 ::: P J evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 10:57 AM:

Dave Bell @ 340
On your point 2:
I actually know of a similar case. Here in LA, there's a group called the 'Bus Riders Union'. (They love mass transit - as long as it's buses only.)

They claim to have a large membership, yet charge no dues and have an office in a building in which rents are, well, pricey. There are maybe half a dozen people who claim to be leaders of the group ... but no one else has any information on them, they don't seem to ever hold public meetings, and there's no other information available but their own PR.

Quite a few people - me included - think it's a front group for someone.

#349 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 11:04 AM:

PJ Evans @ 350... it's a front group for someone

The Time Patrol?

#350 ::: Richard Brandt ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 12:04 PM:

Seth @ 268: Here's some of the most-read blogs around posting attacks on him, without asking him or the MBA's lawyer about the accuracy of third-party charges or their own charges

I shouldn't post a comment to a blog without consulting a lawyer first?

Otherwise, what Michael Roberts said.

Nobody reads comments (sigh, that last sentence is in conversation English which includes slight hyperbole and is not meant to be read as a strictly literal statement because it is obviously then self-refuting).

Then what's your point, Mr. Comment 268?

There's a difference between "criticism" and "hatchet-job".

Then goes on to define the difference as, whatever he points to when he says "hatchet-job."

Liza @ 295: I haven't seen the proprietors standing in a line waiting to sign the AP's praises over any of this.

#351 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 12:04 PM:

The AP's gormlessness

That's a great word. heh.

#352 ::: tavella ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 01:10 PM:

Dave Klecha@128: I laid out this whole thing to my wife and she said, of Cox, "Oh, he sounds like Andrew Burt."

Yes! That was exactly my thought -- the sort of person who is so desperate for egoboo that they aggrandize their position in fairly minor organizations (no insult to the SFWA, but in the great scheme of things it is fairly minor.)

In Cox's case, it seems to come complete with extreme creepiness, though; Burt may have been self-important, but he wasn't *mean*. Certainly not a stalker.

#353 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 01:47 PM:

j h woodyatt @124

only on certain indeterminate values of Bob Cox ranging over all possible configurations of Bob Cox.

As I understand it, it is the job of the courts to project Mr. Cox onto the eigenstates that represent the configurations the law recognizes.

#354 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 01:52 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 355... it is the job of the courts to project Mr. Cox onto the eigenstates

That reminds me of 2006's gubernatorial race in California, during which the Comedy Channel Ronnie Cox and Mark Singer try to project the results of the elections.

#355 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 02:08 PM:

#355 Bruce

So what are the eigenvectors, and are you trying to invoke JvP?

#356 ::: Robert Cox ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 02:13 PM:

Don't think I am ignoring you all. I've just been busy trying to get the situation with Rogers resolved as best we can.

So Rogers has a post up, AP issued a statement and I've got my own post up in which I pretty much cover everything I could think to say about this including my response to this
post.

http://tinyurl.com/6pj9mr

It seems like there are a few folks here who actually want to be fair-minded and so I hope at least they will read it. I think if Theresa is fair-minded she would not have a post up that says the MBA is a "sham" because while she might not like me or certain things I've written the MBA is quite real and doing real things.

#357 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 02:18 PM:

Robert @ 358

I think you ought to learn how to spell Teresa's name. It's right above the comment box.

#358 ::: Robert Cox ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 02:49 PM:

PJ,

I have been working very hard on this case while also trying to complete a deliverable for a client on Monday and getting very little sleep in the process. I also happen to be a lousy typist. There are going to be a LOT of typos. But thanks for the suggestion anyway.

#359 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 03:05 PM:

# 358 Robert

I am wading through the material on the webpage you posted the link to, and have read the related material at http://www.cadenhead.org/workbench/news/3372/ap-settles-dispute-drudge-retort

On the positive side, I see "superseded" spelled correctly. But, what is a "lede"? I've never seen the term before, I've seen "lead," but can not recalled ever having seen "lede" used to refer to the start of an article before.

I do not see how "Rogers is refusing to bail [AP] out by publishing the guidance they gave him last night."

The material from Rogers Cadenhead at

http://www.cadenhead.org/workbench/news/3372/ap-settles-dispute-drudge-retort

includes, I spent around two hours yesterday talking to AP attorneys about their specific objections... I won't reveal the details of this discussion until AP releases the guidelines for bloggers that it promised on Monday.

That's not exactly "refusing to bail out... by publishing." (actually, "refuse to bail them out by publishing...." is an ambiguous sentence, which can be read in two contradictory ways, and I can't tell which the intent of the sentence is!)

He acceded to terms negotiated with AP; this provided a precedent for one particular blogger having negotiated an agreement, but it should have been made amply clear by the responses here, that whatever accommodation has occurred in that particular case, fails the criterion of more general public accession. Until there is publication of the agreement, no one not privy to the terms, has the opportunity to have an informed opinion on whether AP is a bully, a victim, a business protecting its intellectual property in a "reasonable" fashion, or an encroach monopolizing amoeboid scunge fungus, out to liquify and ingest the brains of the non-assimilated in the blogosphere.

[Note, someone died in recent weeks from amoeboid scunge dissolving his brain. Yeah, -eeeuuuuuwwww!-]

#360 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 03:10 PM:

Paula @ 361
'Lede' seems to be a version of 'lead' when used in this context. I've seen it used elsewhere by respected bloggers. (It took me a while to figure it out.)

Be glad you're not in LA this week. 80F at 6 in the morning tells you more than you want to know about the weather the rest of the day.

#361 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 03:19 PM:

Paula at 361,

I hate "lede" for "lead"; I looked in the OED for lede to find out if I was wrong, and it has a long history (about 1000 years) meaning people, race; subjects, vassals, countrymen.

Per something called "Wordnet" put out by Princeton University, by way of dictionary.com, it is currently used as a synonym for "lead"

I hate it.

#362 ::: Robotech_Master ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 03:22 PM:

Paula @361:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lede_(news)#Terms_and_structure

"Although some would spell the word as lede others maintain that the beginning text should be described with the word lead." (The article uses either "lede" or "lede/lead" from then on.)

I suspect it started out as "lede" but somewhere along the way people who didn't know the correct spelling started writing it down as its homonym, "lead."

#363 ::: Robotech_Master ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 03:23 PM:

Whoops, for some reason that link didn't close right.

#364 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 03:28 PM:

Paula (#361)/P J Evans (#362): This claims it's spelled that way to avoid the homonym "lead" used for the metal (and by extension, line spacing made by using thin strips thereof).

#365 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 03:28 PM:

Robotech, it looks like you have an extra > at the beginning.

#366 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 03:29 PM:

More on the sad demise of the Boston Computer Society....

BCS was founded by Jonathan Rotenberg, was it, when he was a teenager. It was an idea whose time had come, and he was the person who was at the forefront in creating a grass roots computer user group in eastern Massachusetts. It snowballed, and included everyone from Clueless Wonder Newbie computer users, to veteran made--fortune-in-computer-industry entrepeneurs and software developers.

However, since he was not sophisticated regarding organizational structure, etc., there were fatal flaws in the construction of the organization--the issue about no way to remove members of the Board of Directors was one the main examples.

Disclaimer, the material below is from memory, and is to the best of my recollection, and may contain errors.
======================================
There was a rumor that one of the alleged ways that BCS got into trouble that was unrelated to the BoD, was that Mr Rotenberg had ticked off Apple royally--that Apple had had been being quite generous to BCS, until he insulted a female Apple executive who was pregnant saying something to her that was something like "shut up and go away until you aren't under the influence of [regnancy] hormones." That was many months before things were getting terminal with BCS, but the organization was already having negative cash flow problems.

The point about that alleged incident, was that at the time Jonathan Rotenberg and BCS were so closely tied together, that when Rotenberg insulted and demeaned the Apple executive, it harmed the entire organization and continued to harm the entire organization.

The too-close ties between a supposedly for public benefit organization and a single individual heading up the organization, can be harmful to both of them.... BCS just might have survived either a head who permanently alienated major previous benefactors, OR a rogue Board of Directors, it couldn't and didn't survive the depredations of both.

The relevance of this to MBA is that the identity of the organization with Mr Cox, in my opinion, is an extremely bad thing--it goes both ways, that perceptions of offensiveness/obnoxiousness on the part of one, get perceived as offensiveness/obnoxiousness on the part of the other.

For a private for profit corporation, a sole proprietorship, Baen Books before Jim Baen's death, etc., that's one thing--there are in the case of Baen Books lots of other book publishers around, and private individuals acting on their own behalf or on behalf of the private businesses they own, or what private businesses do that reflect (sometimes even cause jailing of...) the owners, tend to have the damage limited to the individuals and businesses [yes, the customers and employees and suppliers CAN have financial troubles from it and sometimes even get hit with collaterally damaging lawsuits, but usually when a small business owner ticks off people it doesn't much hurt third parties]. For someone to be too identified with a supposed large-numbers-of people public service-oriented organization, too close identification can be devastating psychologically to the person (e.g, if the person gets booted, or if the organization blows up...) or can be deadly to the organization (Boston Computer Society demise), and harms the general members of the organization in the fallout, and the public interest.

#367 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 03:33 PM:

Robotech_Master @365:
I fixed the link. It appears to have come about because you had a space after the URL and before the closed quotes.

Movable Type is pretty inflexible about links and tags, as a rule. It's a pain.

#368 ::: Dori ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 03:36 PM:

Paula, @361:

But, what is a "lede"? I've never seen the term before, I've seen "lead," but can not recalled ever having seen "lede" used to refer to the start of an article before.

It's common journalist jargon. For other examples, see Language Log: Hed, dek, lede, graf, tk: live with it and Journalism Slang - How to Talk Like a Reporter.

#369 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 03:39 PM:

There are a whole set of terms, including the verb to lead, past tense led; a person who leads is a leader, the leading as opposed to trailing edge of a wavefront, a lead as a rope or line or such that is the piece that one pulls on at the front end of the piece to get the rest of the line, or the animal one is trying to get moving in a particular direction is attached to....

But then, I don't have a high regard for the level of literacy of a lot of journalists and their [lack of, or lack of competent...] research ability/interest. I have rants about their usages of such terms as "video" and "codec"....

#370 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 03:39 PM:

Paula @368:
However, since he was not sophisticated regarding organizational structure, etc., there were fatal flaws in the construction of the organization--the issue about no way to remove members of the Board of Directors was one the main examples.

Did he write his own date routines as well?

#371 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 03:42 PM:

# 370 Dori

As in, u 2 cn d3bas3 d3 languag3?

BLEECCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

#372 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 03:45 PM:

# 372 abi

No, he eventually came out of the closet and before that back in those days it was a lot dicier for someone to be openly homosexual and go dating other fellows. I have no idea if he found a partner and married him or not after the Massachusetts court system declared the state constitution and a lawsuit mandated allowing homosexual marriage.

#373 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 03:50 PM:

Paula @374:

That's not what I meant. I meant date routines in a computer programming sense. The ones that tell you things like whether it's a leap year or not.

In other words, this story is an object lesson in the value of design patterns. So are hand-carved date routines.

#374 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 03:55 PM:

PJ @ 359: to be fair, Robert Cox did get Teresa's name right in his most recent article.

#375 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 04:02 PM:

and yet, Mr. Cox, as late as February of '07 Ms. Totenberg of NPR and Ms. Dalglish of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in a live chat for the Washington Post were both saying that you personally arranged for all the blogging credentials for the trial.

Any thoughts about how they arrived at that conclusion?

#376 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 04:04 PM:

Lede is the old newpaperman's version of lead, as in the opening sentence of a story. The deliberate misspelling is to keep typesetters from mistaking it for text to be set or inserted. I don't know why Robert Cox would be using it.

#377 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 04:06 PM:

EFF has been around quite a while, wasn't EFF involved back when Michael Whelan sued AOL? (AOL had been talking about of both sides of its mouth at the same time, telling the customer base and the world that it monitored the content of what was on AOL and at the same time telling Whelan that it saw no reason why it should force whichever user(s) had scanned and uploaded scans of artwork out of books of Whelan art, to cease and desist such uploads, and for AOL to remove the already uploaded files)

I don't remember when that was, except that it was in the late 1980s early 1990s time frame, because there was a program item about it at a Boskone that was in Springfield, MA (late 1980s, early 1990s).

Anyway, EFF was founded for good reasons, and even though it was around before contemporary weblogging evolved to what its current state of being, I have a much greater awareness of EFF. and, going to http://www.eff.org as a kneejerk reaction/thought to "what would I expect EFF's URL to be?" find a CURRENT webpage, with articles dated as recently at June 20, 2008 on it, links to who the staff are, etc.

#378 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 04:10 PM:

Teresa, I've seen it being used on blogs. Maybe it's a matter of looking like a 'journalist' instead of a 'blogger'.

(The context I usually see it in is 'burying the lede', if that helps any.)

#379 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 04:12 PM:

TNH @378:

Re: lede

I've been seeing it about the web more and more over the last year or so. I first noticed the resurgence on Wikipedia, but it seems to have spread like a rash.

As PJ Evans says, I think it's been taken on as argot, intended to add local color to journalist-style blogging.

#380 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 04:15 PM:

I thought I saw AP use the term first in their complaints. But I've read so much that I can't recall when or where. I got the idea that it was AP's language, at any rate.

#381 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 04:16 PM:

# 375 abi

I got the unenviable task of having to test software that had to deal with graphical and quantitative anlysis of comparison of power consumption comparing days and weeks of differing numbers of hours, due to WOY#O$###*&%^# daylight savings time,with the 23 hour spring forward (ptui... I am NOT a morning person!) day and the 25 hour fall back day. (Initially the sofware response was "I think I will crash now.")

For that matter, I recently had to test the correctness of developer implemented routines switching between various flavors of time encoding, between big endian and little endian byte ordering....

Yuck. (The conversion went through several iterations of developer recoding before working properly.....) (And don't get me started on rollover of 24 hour clocks, I have impolite things to say that include snarling about IBM 7090 Serial #1, on -that- regard!)

#382 ::: Robert Cox ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 04:19 PM:

abi@343 - he outs commenters he doesn't agree with

I suggest you go back and re-read that because if you do you will see quite clearly that SHE OUTED HERSELF, providing her name, her school/address and her email address. The entire matter was a function of her posting disgusting and malicious information about me, my wife and my children on several web sites and discussion groups. I asked her nicely and repeatedly to stop but she refused. I told her if she did not stop I would respond by asking my web hosting provider to find out who she was and associating her anonymous postings with her real name. Her response was to provide her own name and other identifying information and dare me to do what I had said I would do. So I did. I would do it again. The woman was the most disgusting, foul-mouthed, hateful troll I've ever encountered in 20+ years online so do me a favor and don't try to attack me by defending a woman like that who responded to my stupid Olbermann web site by posting disgusting, sexually-laced diatribes about my wife and children. OK?

#383 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 04:24 PM:

I think the best thing would be to get the lede out.

Take the lead in de-leding the lede. DO NOT take me to your Lede, I am NOT interested in that sort of swan song, I saw five of them already today (two adults and three cygnets; I wonder how many of them will survive the summer. Last year the pair of swans had one that survived, it was snapping turtles 7, cygnets 1 last year).

#384 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 04:25 PM:

Paula @383:

Hand-carved date routines aren't my dearest thing either. I spent eight months in 1998 preliving* the five dates most affected by the turn of the millennium. We rooted them out of our systems like a cancer, careful to get every tentacle and branch.

(After that extended live-action version of Groundhog Day, I did at least get my own Indecent Proposal, when they paid me rather a lot of money for a single night of my time. Of course, "rather a lot" was four figures rather than seven, but all I had to do was sit in the office and be ready to handle a disaster. None happened, because we'd got all the tentacles in time. We played a turkey shoot game on our PC's.)

-----
* It's like reliving, but you do it beforehand, over and over again.

#385 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 04:32 PM:

abi @ 386.. You were given money beyond your normal salary because of Y2K? All I got was grief from dealing with the imbeciles in charge of overseeing compliance. Not true. I also got from it the pleasure, on January 2, 2000, of hearing two guys at the gym basically saying that we programmers had hyped the dangers so that we could get rich.

#386 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 04:35 PM:

#386 abi

Ah, yes, the "temporary" patch....

IUS originally was Interim Upper Stage, which then became Inertial Upper Stage.

IGES started off at Initial Graphical Exchagne Standard. Alas, the damned personal computer industry except for Commodore-Amiga, didn't believe in the concept of Open Standards... is there YET an open standards generally used drawing file format in use in personal computers that is cross-platform and cross-application?!

And last, but not least... then-Brigidier General Forrest McCartney was in as uncalm a tone as he was ever wont to use (he shredded a contractor into a steaming pile of raw hamburger on the carpet in a polite, calm tone of voice....) was demanding to know what there were still problems with traveling wave tube amplifiers which hadn't been solved, that the components were problems back when he was a much younger military officer... A member of the technical staff of The Aerospace Corporatio dug up an old memo, which stated that traveling wave tube amplifiers would stop being problems in the future and didn't need more development funding for improvement programs, because they were going to be superseded by solid state microcircuits--the author and signer of the document was one Major Forrest McCartney. Oops....

#387 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 04:41 PM:

Paula @ 373: I think the journalistic jargon predates the leetspeak and other degradations of written English that you might be thinking of. In this case, it's a business-related shorthand for things that non-journalists don't do or think about.

Every speciality has its own version. I write BAR, q12h or BID, IV, PO or IM, TLC, and other shorthand items. When you have to write the same things over and over again, you develop a faster or more succinct method. YMMV, IMHO.

And when you have to sign everything you write, your signature changes from readable to a scrawl, or perhaps a lovely hieroglyph.

#388 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 04:55 PM:

# 389 Ginger

There are some published computer/electronics industry articles which I wrote, three that thave my name on them, a few press releases I wrote, etc. Again, before today I can't ever recall having seen "lede" as synonym for "lead," on the other hand, I was never dealing with people doing lead typesetting, either.... (I did see the proportionally spaced typesetting system at MITRE, and GTE Governments Systems had its own high speed Xerox systems in-house at various facilities for document production to deliver however many required copies of publications were involved to the US Government on various contracts, and to print for in-house use...).

There are terms/jargon I use with people I work with, that I don't use in discussions with people outside that context.... or, there is the example of what a "blouse" was in military uniform terms when I was in the Air Force, hint, men tended to wearing blouses when in going out in public wearing uniforms and being speakers.... but they didn't call them blouses in public! The normal public term would be "suit jacket." Call it a "blouse' to a civilian and there could be some misunderstandings....

#389 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 05:01 PM:

Robert @384:

The majority of the links off of that page are dead now. So I have no way of seeing what she posted about you.

SHE OUTED HERSELF, providing her name, her school/address and her email address.

I see that on the thread—after you provided her physical description, location, make of vehicle, and enough information on her activities that anyone interested in doing so could track her down.

I'll tell you which bundle of information I would be less interested in seeing online.

don't try to attack me by defending a woman like that

This isn't a defense of her; I know nothing about her whatsoever apart from what is posted on that thread. This is about you, and what this incident shows us about you as a blogger. It's about your judgement. I don't give a toss what got you into the situation, but I am not impressed by what you did while you were there.

The kindest thing I can say about it is that you were obviously too angry to think clearly. But, no matter what the excuse, it was not appropriate.

#390 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 05:03 PM:

Ginger @ 389... your signature changes from readable to a scrawl, or perhaps a lovely hieroglyph

That's positive thinking for ya.

#391 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 05:17 PM:

Serge @387:

Yes, I lucked out. We had an absolutely brilliant politician at the head of our testing organisation. He saw the Y2K problem early and designed an intelligent program to tackle it in plenty of time.

He then kept the interest of upper management with very good results reporting throughout. Periodically, he would send them a memo explaining what, precisely, the systems would have been doing on each of the key dates had we not done the most recent tranche of testing and fixing.

Our management not only did not begrudge the Y2K effort; they also threw the technology division a stupendous party to thank us for getting the company through it. Shovelling money at the cutover team was the least of it.

I have fond memories of Y2K. I enjoyed the cameraderie. And it got me into software testing, which has proven a fruitful and fulfilling use of my talent for breaking everything around me.

#392 ::: Robert Cox ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 05:20 PM:

#377 Julia,

"Any thoughts about how they arrived at THAT conclusion?" she said with a devilish sneer.

Why on earth would I be responsible for what Nina Totenberg thinks or says? Sheesh. I mean, really. The people in the mainstream media are constantly making errors and I am responsible when they do? Hasn't anyone here had that experience where YOU know exactly what happened but when the reporter writes the story it comes out way wrong?

I am not sure why this is complicated but let me try this again.

The U.S. District Court in DC made a decision to credential bloggers as media in October, 2006. I know this because I was there. Even though the MBA is the one ruler of the blogosphere and I its king (snark, before anyone gets carried away) I made it clear that the MBA should not and could not be the sole means through which a blogger could get a credential. I am constantly reminded of the importance of this by by own members and am not likely to forget it. The fear being it leads to a "licensing of bloggers" issue similar to concerns journalists have over "licensing of journalists" which does happen in other countries and we never want to see happen here.

So, I did meet with members of the federal judiciary on several occasions in 2005 and 2006. I did discuss this issue on those occasions including the conference in DC in October 2006. It was that meeting in October where my past efforts bore fruit with the judges offering Libby as a test case so they see how credentialing bloggers would work out (note: they ended up very happy with it). One does not "negotiate" with federal judges. You ASK and maybe they say "yes". See the difference? Remember, these are people who can toss you in jail. I was sitting with the judge who through Judith Miller in jail and the judge who approves FISA warrants. You don't mess with these people let alone make "counter offers". You just take what you can get - at least I do.

So there we are around November 2nd with me getting an email saying "OK, ,we've approved you for two seats" and me calling back and saying"Cool... thanks... now get some OTHER bloggers so Dan Gillmor and Jeff Jarvis won't yell at me" (literally, I said that). So they did.

Here's how - and this is also something the FDL people did not realize. The court does not bother handing out credentials until shortly before a big trial. Anyone want to guess why?

Come on.... think about it.

3... 2... 1....

OK. I will tell you.

Trials sometimes settle shortly before the trial date. It's called a plea agreement and they are often agreed to as the trial date approaches the defendant starts to sweat. Because the actual work of processing applications, doing background checks, making up the credentials, doing the paper work, and all that stuff is a lot of work and because the court typically deals with the same people like Pete Williams of NBC News or Matt Apuzzo of AP they don't bother with it until the last possible minute since everyone is sort of on call anyway. That's why FDL did not get notified until two weeks before the trial.

One other thing they don't know at FDL is that the court had set a limit on media of 150 reporters (this due to the size of the rooms). The email on 11/2 was to tell me that 2 of the 150 had been blocked out for MBA members when the time came to actually do the credentialing. Despite the courts expectations just 80 people applied so there was no need for a cut off - everyone who asked got a credential. I know this will burst the bubble of people like Marcy Wheeler who was so convinced that the court had singled her out for special expertise (in fact, she did have special expertise and was pretty much the font of all wisdom when it came to the details of the case, someone that the "big media" reporters actually began to reply upon for information) but any blogger could have shown up once the trial started and got a credential. In fact, at least one did. FDL sort of knows this because as the trial wore on they had more people in the media room than they had passes for because after a while the marshall knew them on site and just let them all go in.

When you know all this it makes the whole FDL-MBA feud kind of funny, right? The fact is that once the trial started no one needed to obtain a credential for anyone because any blogger could have gotten one by simply asking for one at the front desk. Anyone on this site could have gotten one.

This is how it is possible to say that I "negotiated" (hate that word here) ACCESS for bloggers generally AND to say that I did not "obtain" credentials for any other blogger specifically other than the MBA members who uses the two seats we had at the trial. FDL, TPM and Marcy obtained their own credentials on their own merits. The reason there were credentials to be obtained is because for two years I had been pitching on judges on doing what they did with the Libby trial.

I believe the reason reporters got confused is because when they called the court to ask about bloggers being credentialed they KNEW ME and knew my role. So, if a reporter says "who got the bloggers access" they'd say "Bob Cox" and being dopey reporters like Scott Shane they'd then lump all the bloggers in together and write the story as if all bloggers are the same.

So, this is my fault?

What the reporters were often asking was "why did you decide to credential bloggers" and "is this the first time bloggers have been credentialed for a federal trial?" Think about that question. A reporter would not direct that question to me because I am not in a position to give an authoritative answer. For example, in this NY Times story Scott Shane told me specifically he called the court and asked if this was the first time. The answer that the court routinely gave was "yes, as far as we know". That became "yes". In fact, there was blogging at least three other trials but the court did not know it because they did not credential the people "as bloggers" (2 trials the blogging was by newspaper reporters, 1 trial was a lower demand trial where every name on the list was approved without researching their publication). For the "why did you do this" question they would tell the reporter about my efforts over the previous two years because they knew me, knew what I did and were with me when the decision was made. That became "The MBA negotiated access for bloggers" which also became Bob Cox got credentials for everyone.

I did not conspire with anyone to foist these types of stories on reporters, they are quite capable of screwing up stories without my help.

#393 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 05:27 PM:

abi @ 393... a fruitful and fulfilling use of my talent for breaking everything around me

"Scotty?"
"Yes, Captain Kirk?"
"Is the warp core supposed to have a plasma leak?"

By the way, I actually got a lousy t-shirt for my own Y2K contribution.

#394 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 05:29 PM:

Serge @395:
I actually got a lousy t-shirt for my own Y2K contribution.

Well, they had to put the bugs somewhere.

#395 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 05:37 PM:

Abi @ 396... And did they byte.

#396 ::: Robert Cox ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 05:44 PM:

Let me reset the table here for a moment because I am now responding to topics that are getting further and further away from issue here. There was news today on the story that has been dominating the blogosphere for the past week. We got to resolution late last night and after sleeping on it Rogers Cadenhead announced that he considered his case resolved and put up a post. I also wrote a very long post which addressed a wide variety of issues here including some of the criticism at the very top of this post which I agree is valid. I can be a jerk sometimes. Sometimes I post really stupid stuff when I am tired and angry. I also address why I don't remove it.

More to the point, the dispute between AP and Drudge Report in a way that did not do ANY of the things people were so worried about.

The MBA did not negotiate guidelines with the AP on what constitute fair use.

We did not provide the AP a means to claim they had come to terms with the blogosphere because of some "deal" with the MBA

The MBA did not allow some sort of precedent to be set that could be used against other bloggers in some way.

In fact, none of the crap some people were whipping themselves into a frenzy about a couple of days came to pass.

And not surprisingly you can now a hear pin drop in this comment thread. Instead you want to debate whether the use of the word "lead" or "lede" is acceptable.

This is a strange contradiction. You want to attack me with the straw man that I ever claimed to represent all bloggers while Teresa then holds herself up as the arbiter of who is a blogger and who is not (in my case, I am not since I don't blog the way she blogs). I come here and try my best to answer every question openly and truthfully and when I explain away the lie behind the questions there is silence and the false claims about me remain. I assure people here that I have no intention of meeting with AP to do anything other than help a single blogger who asked for my help and when that is exactly what I do and all I do it is ignored.

If you want to slag me for some things I've done wrong at least have the good graces to admit when some of the things you are slagging me for are not true and acknowledge one simple fact: every single thing I said i was going to do in this case I have done - nothing more and nothing less.

#397 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 05:59 PM:

Robert @398:
I am glad that the Drudge Retort issue is cleared up to its proprietor's satisfaction. Thank you for your part in it, and for not letting the scope creep into something unmanageable.

But...as I said way up there in 343, I'm uncomfortable with your "standard pitch" that companies should contact the MBA rather than getting in touch with the bloggers directly.

Really, that is the heart of this matter, from the headline of this blog post to the (nearly) four hundredth comment.

Any attempt to insert yourself between organizations like AP and bloggers who have not requested your intervention is a bad idea. I listed a number of reasons why above.

Don't do it. Don't seek to do it, or anything like it. Nuances will be lost, assumptions will be made, and it will all end in tears and fury.

#398 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 05:59 PM:

Robert, if what you say is true that's all good. But you're mistaken about why we're now discussing other topics (like 'lede'/'lead'). Threads drift, when the initial topic has been talked to death. Sometimes, when the feelings are running high, and the rhetoric is getting a little too vitriolic for comfort, some of us will jump in with a tangentially-related topic to dampen things out or at least distract people a little. But I think this one was just outright drift.

A few points, though:

1. It wasn't that people were absolutely sure you'd do terrible things. It was that they weren't confident you wouldn't, based on your past behavior.
2. You say you did good things and no bad things in your meeting with AP. If so, good. But people who don't trust you will not take your unsupported word for it. (I'm not saying I don't take you at your word, just that you can't expect a round of mea culpas at this point, and perhaps ever.)
3. Quite aside from your intent and behavior, AP may have their own beliefs about what went on. Given their cluelessness about copyright (if it is cluelessness and not outright greed and malice) and about blogging (pretty sure about that one), who knows what they'll believe?
4. Quite aside from AP's beliefs, it's not clear how they'll spin this. You could have been an unwitting dupe in innocent tool of their sham meeting with "the bloggers," and now they'll start making all sorts of ridiculous claims about quoting and paying. It's simply too early to tell.

#399 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 06:00 PM:

Robert, you do know that Christy Hardin Smith is an experienced prosecutor, don't you? And that she already would have known all that Super Seekrit Court stuff, like possible pretrial settlement (not likely here: this was a criminal case, and plea bargains were about his only option).

Also, FDL would have covered it anyway, even if they had to go in as spectators and write notes on paper.

#400 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 06:03 PM:

Instead you want to debate whether the use of the word "lead" or "lede" is acceptable.

There is no matter so important that people on this blog will not go haring off in pursuit of linguistic correctness, puns, or poetry.

That's just the nature of the community. It's rather like having a regional accent.

#401 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 06:04 PM:

Paula @ 357

are you trying to invoke JvP?

Holy Klono's droopy earlobes, no! I'd as soon call up Jack Sarfatti or the Spirit of Pataphysics Past. I get to see enough of him on Charlie Stross' blog to last me for years.

#402 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 06:30 PM:

she said with a devilish sneer

Good lord, dude, devilish sneer?

No. I asked for your version of how you came to be represented falsely months past the point where you claimed to have been disturbed by being represented falsely.

I'm willing to accept "not terribly sophisticated" as an answer, although it sheds a certain light on the rest of what you have to say.

#403 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 06:42 PM:

#377 Julia,

"Any thoughts about how they arrived at THAT conclusion?" she said with a devilish sneer.

Blink.
That is, I did not detect a sneer or arch tone in Julia's post, yet I see quite a misleading attribution of one put as if there were one
actually explicitly performed.

Why on earth would I be responsible for what Nina Totenberg thinks or says?

Perhaps the tone of your voice gave some flavor of that--part of communicating including expressing subtle flavorings and connotations, and conveying impressions. Print tends to poorly convey the sorts of conversational clues and feedbach and communications provided by e.g. body language and tone of voice. There are dozens of ways you could have sent that message without ever explicitly saying it, and without necessarily intending to give that message, but with the reporter picking up that message and relaying it to the public, as connotation.

Sheesh. I mean, really. The people in the mainstream media are constantly making errors and

I am responsible when they do? Hasn't anyone here had that experience where YOU know exactly what happened but when the reporter writes the story it comes out way wrong?

No.
When Martha Donahue, Brenda McPhee, and I were the first three women commissioned into the US military out of MIT ROTC, I knew -exactly- what the Boston Herald reporter was after when asking, "What about romance?" Brenda, alas, had a boyfriend at the time and fell into the reporter's trap--but it was a very clear and apparent trap.

That sort of imputation tends to cause me to go ballistic at the perpetrator.


...Anyone want to guess why?

Come on.... think about it.

3... 2... 1....

OK. I will tell you.

Trials sometimes settle shortly before the trial date. It's called a plea agreement...

I have no clue as to whether or not you have a clue about how condescending your style of communications is coming off as, in here, or at least, how condescending it looks to me.

However--there was a reference to Jonathan vos Post above. Jonathan graduated from Caltech long ago and has a master's from University of Massachusetts. He got banned from Making Light for Excessively Annoying Behavior, in the form of the equivelanet of a random math equations insertion robot and repeatedly failing, when told to cease and desist, to cease and desist from inserting long series of mathematics expressions after mathematics expressions and discussion into thread that had nothing to do with the math insertions. It's not that he lacks e.g. math ability, it's that there was the not-slight style and communications issue--his style of posting reams of math geekery to people who didn't necessarily find math geekery a topic of merit and especially found it negatively meritorious when posted in a discussion that wasn't math geekery-related, wore out his welcome and all tolerance for his failure to cease being Excessively Annoying.

Getting back to tone of posting, however--I expect that few of the people in here are unaware of what plea bargains are, or that many or most court cases get settled without having to actually go all the way through to a trial and decision by judge/jury.

What constitutes "credentialling" might not be as familiar an area. However, did you make no effort to get the reporters to recognize that being one of the first persons to get credentialed as a blogger to do reporting, is not the same thing as arranging for other people to get blogger credentials? That is, reporters write things based on their own knowledge and awareness and unless someone specifically feeds them specific information about a specific topic, the reporter will use what the reporter "knows" or assumes--it's up to the person being interviewed, to try to get accurate information to the reporter. The reporter may still not report it accurated, but at least the person interviewed -tried-... assuming that a reporter has existing accurate knowledge of something, is not a good assumption to make.

========

Getting back to Making Light and the forum feel in here--it sometimes goes full-contact in all sorts of oddball ways. Alas, John M. Ford is gone, and Robert Legault is gone--Robert was one of the most down to earth fellows who was wont to be around here, and Mike.... Mike was Mike. Try reading his novel _The Dragon Waiting_. The editor commented, "it was a 400 page book that wanted to be an 800 page book." It is a very -densely- written novel, and there are things going on in it in all directly.... reading some of his work, was like trying to walk a twisty path with all sorts of explosions going off alongside to distract one's eyes and get distracted thinking about, while trying to continue on forward on the path....

Making Light gets that way, actually, this particular thread has been one that, for Making Light, has done remarkable LITTLE straying off... it's a forum full of people who love playing with words, rearranging them and making puns and puzzles with them, breaking into poetry on the stimulus of as little as a single typo'ed word in someone's post, that lit off a verse demon in someone's head... there are several long thread full of spam-incited poetry, for example--that's how the community in here is. And a lull of a few hours is a lull of a few hours, it doesn't mean that the topic is dead, it happend to be early Friday evening....

Quite often there are multiple conversations going on on multiple topics in a thread here, again, that's the way the forum is. I already explained in tedious detail that I'm a ferocious multitasker, that you seem to be lacking in comprehension that excursiona which are the equivalent of parenthetical commentary offshot posts/discourse, is not a mark of exhaustion of the main topic, makes me somewhat annoyed that it appears incumbent upon me to have to EXPLAIN that.

Sigh.

You want me to "keep to the topic" ?! Pay me for the privilege, otherwise it is not your call.

#404 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 06:44 PM:

Ugh, ptui, let the post out without giving the applicable referent first. Grumbling at myself for hand-eye-brain lack of coordination there.... it's responding to Robert Cox on #s 394 and 398

#405 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 06:53 PM:

Regarding why I brought up "lede" versus "lead" in the first place--it's the sort of thing that if there were a story, it would throw someone out of the story, for "what is a "lede" and why is the author/editing using/leaving this undefined term in this work?"

Or to compact that, it comes off to me as poor communications style and perhaps affectation, for anything intended for the non-specialist-group-which-uses-the-term audience.

#406 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 08:33 PM:

Paula: Yes, "lede" in this kind of context is an affection. I see the Washington DC bloggers use it a lot. It occasionally bugs me, but then I remember my own affectations and have mercy.

#407 ::: Barbara Iverson ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 08:34 PM:

If you are interested in a perspective on the MBA from a couple years ago, here is a story I wrote in 2005 for Ohmynews.com. Robert Cox and the MBA (media bloggers association) were much in evidence at BlogNashville, and the MBA members were quite a varied group, conservatives, liberals, Iranian bloggers, a couple of women, academics, etc.
Story: MBA & Bloggers in 2005
The flickr photo tag group for the event (see Bob Cox in his MBA hat)


#410 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 10:39 PM:

Anyone want to guess why?

Come on.... think about it.

3... 2... 1....

OK. I will tell you.

Actually, we're way ahead of you, sport.

And not surprisingly you can now a hear pin drop in this comment thread.

Dramatic proof, if anyone still needed it, that the boy doesn't know much about blogs, blogging, or the dynamics of comment threads in general.

Do you want to guess why?

Come on ... think about it.

3... 2... 1....

OK, I'll tell you.

It's Friday night.

That's just one of the reasons. There are more. But I'd have to explain too much to you that you aren't likely to understand.

#411 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 11:40 PM:

Robert @398: Possibly nobody commented on the settlement between AP and Rogers Cadenhead because no-one knew about it. I, myself, hadn't seen any reports about it until your comment here. In fact, I wasn't even sure when the meeting was supposed to be taking place; the original AP release just mentioned that it was taking place this week. Plus, since you've made it clear that the AP v. Cadenhead thing has no particular bearing on the more pressing problem of what AP's general behaviour, people are less interested in Cadenhead.

And about that release, it was AP who announced -- or so I recall, the page in question is no longer available -- that it was meeting with representatives of the blogosphere as embodied by your association to sort the whole thing out, Cadenhead, blogosphere-wide fair use, and all. It wasn't an invention of Teresa's cut from whole cloth, as you seem to be saying. Neither is Teresa especially responsible for what the commenters in these threads choose to comment on; this is not an association except in the loosest possible sense, and we do not speak with one voice, unless chance leads us to do so.

#412 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 11:41 PM:

Well I, for one, haven't said anything because my Internet connection has been out. For hours!!!!1! (Imagine the agony!)

Robert, I believe you. You seem to be tone deaf when it comes to communication online, and that's not something I regard as an indicator of insufficient moral character or anything. But you need to understand something about intimidation, and where it is appropriate or inappropriate. It is appropriate in dealing with powerful people -- oh, say, The AP. That's fine. Do your best to intimidate them.

However, while I agree that your 'm' poster was pretty hard to take, your response there was extremely inappropriate. Really. I understand the motivations behind it, but the action was simply not the right thing to do -- to moderate a troll, you've got to (1) not feed the troll, (2) disemvowel the troll, and/or (3) ban the troll. Don't stalk the troll, especially if the troll is a woman! Sheesh. Yeah, it makes you feel powerful to use the sooper-sekrit tech knowledge at your disposal, but it is just plain the wrong thing to do, precisely because it is an inappropriate use of that power. It violates the rules of the Internet, which really do include anonymity, and if things go badly wrong, and your troll really ends up hurt or, God forbid, raped -- it will be on your soul. Leveling up to intimidation like that is playing with fire.

Reading into more of that thread, Robert -- Jesus. Even your regulars thought it was squicky behavior, but there you are, justifying yourself to them. These should have been clear warning bells that you should have backed off. When debate has sunk to the point where you feel as though you need to tell your opponent, "Hey, I know where you live and there's no reason I couldn't come kick your ass," you have lost. And you've crossed a line which is there for a very good reason. I shouldn't even have to tell you this, but many people (on bad days, I figure it's most) do, in fact, make it out of kindergarten without learning these basic skills.

So there's that counting against you. There are actions you could take to improve that situation -- come clean about it with yourself, for instance, perhaps even apologize to 'm'. I suggest you consider them, although I'm sure they'd be a bitter pill. (But it would be good for you!)

So. That leaves my other point. As I said earlier, I personally have no significant doubts about your sincerity, the facts of this matter, or even the facts of the FDL matter at this point. But I really have to agree with Paula @405 -- your tone here is improving, but it's still quite condescending. (3...2...1... OK, I'll make it clear to everybody, since they obviously don't know what I know.) Seriously, don't you wonder why people never seem to take you at face value? This is a valuable clue which should help you in your quest to improve your people skills in our world online.

We are not stupid people here. This is a phenomenon I've seen a lot at Making Light, actually. Most of the flamer newbies we see come in here sound in the knowledge they're the smartest person in the room -- but here at Making Light, these people are all the smartest person in the room. (In all fairness, I am currently alone in the room.) So addressing us as your intellectual inferiors just makes you look kind of ... well. I'm told by my children that "stupid" is now considered an official Bad Word.

Seriously, though, learning to address people as though they were your intellectual equals -- even when they are not -- is a very valuable skill indeed. It would really be a great thing if you would start learning it, if you truly intend to continue in the role you seem to want to play.

#413 ::: Craig R ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 12:08 AM:

Jim # 411 -- I used to have a lovely mixed breed cat that we called by the name of Leda -- She got that name as a kitten for her tendency to absolutely batss**t over feathers. The bigger the feather the better. We never had any swan feathers, but the big Canada Goose quills would drive her to a frenzy of pouncing attacks. Except in size (that of a smallish standard tabby) she appeared as a lovely example of the classic Maine Coon

Jim # 412 - Think thats enough topic drift for Mr Cox? -- that anybody who has *ever* dealt with BBS systems, blogs or The InterTubes can mistake the fact that most people (yes, even the commentators on Making Light) *don't* sit glued to the monitor all day as some kind of event for him to play a "gotcha" moment does not bode well for either his common sense or his experience with the InterTubes.

Paula (insert impertinent #s here)-- I was all set to astound you (well, maybe not) with the derivation of "lede" vs "lead" when about 6 people beat me to it. As for the BCS, I remember it well, with occasional fondness -- I was a Director of the 8-bit Commodore User Group (as opposed to being a member of the B.O.D) up until the end. I could hardly believe that an organization that so many Little People (tm) had poured their effort and souls into could be demolished in the relative blink of an eye.

(by the way -- in reference to a comment that you made in a related thread, there's a lot of *positive* to the concept that one is merely socially inept (//waves hand//) rather than being gratuitously nasty)

#414 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 12:18 AM:

Ha. Ubersoft continues the AP/blogger arc today. (Yes, I'm still on this morning's toons -- I ask you, is it fair for my connection to go out before I've read the funnies?)

#415 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 12:34 AM:

[tangent]
Serge #387, abi various, and others who may have been in the trenches: ah yes, Y2K memories. Luckily because we already referred to dates in multiple centuries in our publications, and I had the ability to set some standards back then, the work on our data wasn't as bad as it could have been.

There was still a lot of stuff in the systems, programs and metadata that needed to be checked and fixed. There may have been more problems in, say, our accounting, auditing or other departments of which I wot not. We spent many months in the late 1990s beavering away to prevent problems happening with the 19xx/2xxx year turnover.

Having worked so hard to stop difficulties happening, it gets quite galling to hear people who don't see the feet paddling away under the smoothly-gliding swan say "well, we didn't have any difficulties, so it mustn't have been a problem after all". Aaargh!

There's a similar thing we heard a while back with our not-as-bad-as-forecast HIV/AIDS infections. Quite a few programs were, often against 'moral' as well as financial and other objections, put in place to try and prevent as much contagion as possible. So after some years, some people were saying "Why was there all that fuss, it didn't turn out as bad as all that? Let's take away the funding for all those programs." My simile is saying "Well, there isn't hardly anyone falling on that slippery staircase nowadays. Let's take down the handrail."
[/tangent]

#416 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 01:09 AM:

Mez @ 419... And airplane maintenance is really a waste of money because not that many planes fall from the sky.

When I started working on proving that my programs were compliant, I quickly discovered that this was NOT going to be fun. First... When I had written all the COBOL programs of that new system, the year was 1995, and Y2K was finally a concern so, of course, I built that into our system. Unfortunately when the company hired some outside outfit to run every group's programs thru its compliance-detection software, none of mine passed. Why? Because I made a design mistake: instead of coding the same Y2K-handling code into each and every program, I put it into one single copybook, the logic of which became part of each program's overall logic, once compiled. When my uncompiled programs went thru that software, the latter of course found no compliance. That'll teach me about being more efficient. I had to convince technically ignorant people that my system was indeed compliant. And this went on, for a whole year, having to things go wrong because operators would run programs in the wrong order, and not being believed by those same ignorant bozos who were in charge.

I can't wait for the year 2050.

#417 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 01:11 AM:

I still see the occasional site with a date at the top that now says, e.g. "June 18, 108", and I laugh a private laugh to myself.

#418 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 01:29 AM:

Michael Roberts @ 419.. Oh, that was the 'solution' used by many old systems where they kept some numeric fields in a packed format. It's using the Y2K patchup logic whereby if the 2-digit year is less than 50, then this must be the 21st century, and the century's one-digit must be coded in as '1'. That's not an issue with my system anymore, but, as you pointed out, we have another timebomb that'll go boom on January 1st, 2050. Luckily, all those old programs will have been retired by then. Right.

#419 ::: Matthew Austern ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 02:15 AM:

Oh, you may get your fun before 2050. If anyone is still using Unix systems with 32-bit time_t a few decades from now, then some time in the mid 2030s they'll start wishing they weren't.

#420 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 03:35 AM:

Gosh, I missed all the fun! From 1993 to 2001 I was working with Smalltalk, which didn't use the operating system date, since it is supposed to be system and processor independent. Dates aren't limited to 32 bit integers in Smalltalk, so the issue only arose when we had to prove compliance to our customers. I'm not being snide; I really like hearing the war stories, and am a little sad I missed it all.

#421 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 03:56 AM:

Paula @ 405: Oh, it's fine. I'm kind of amused by the random capitalization change.

#422 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 04:19 AM:

A lot of the Y2K silliness over old programs was down to ingenious programming to get around resource constraints. Some Windows software displayed the last digit of the year number by using the last digit as an offset into ASCII character-space, and nobody expected that bit of code to be in use 10 years later.

(I think this was a commonly used utility provided with the OS. It's an example of how assembler can bite.)

In a way it's related to the Lede/Lead business. The different form is there for a reason. It's valid jargon. But if you don't recognise it it can break things, if only in the small way of distracting the reader from the meaning.

But, since people do talk about the "Lead" as the main story in a newspaper, using "Lede" does have some purpose. And, in the context of fair use and wire service stories, the nature of the lede does, I think, matter a lot.

I do think the AP are more justified than many have said, because of that aspect. But that doesn't stop them trying to grab everything they can, regardless of legal limit, and it doesn't stop me watching for their sneaky, grasping, fingers, with a lump hammer ready.

#423 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 07:48 AM:

Matthew Austern @ 421...

In 2038, right? I won't have retired by then, alas.

Bruce Cohen @ 422... I really like hearing the war stories, and am a little sad I missed it all.

I'm sure you do.
Heheheh.

Dave Bell @ 424... nobody expected that bit of code to be in use 10 years later.

And nobody expected the Spanish Inquisition.

#424 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 08:02 AM:

Serge: Among our weaponry are such diverse elements as offsets, $BIGNUM, and...I'll come again.

#425 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 10:19 AM:

Mez, #417: And for the past 15 years or so, the same kind of argument has been used to push for repealing anti-pollution standards. The pollution isn't that bad, so why do we need them? Some of the people saying that are old enough to remember when the Cuyahoga River caught fire, more shame to them.

#426 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 11:03 AM:

Here is a picture of our Leda. She's a Siamese from the shelter who's back leg was broken, so she limps. She had 4 kittens before we got her, 2 male and 2 female, and that's where she got her name.

#427 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 12:07 PM:

Michael 414: Great comment! I hope he takes it to heart. Nothing more frustrating/depressing than a fundamentally good-hearted person whose lack of social skills make hir so difficult to deal with that even those who see hir true heart can't take it.

I am the only human in the room right now, but not the smartest person, since I just finished my Ganesha devotion...and Ganesh-ji is wayyy smarter than me! Seriously, I was lucky to get over my "smartest person in the room" thing early on, by meeting lots of smarter people early on.

As for treating people like equals...there's a saying in the SCA (about social rank rather than intellect): "Treat your inferiors like equals and your equals like superiors." Of course, that invites the question "Well, then how do you treat your superiors?" Like gods, I would say, but in my experience they hate that...at least in my experience they are embarrassed by it. (I mean my intellectual superiors, not my social ones in the SCA, who are perfectly happy with bowing and use of proper titles, and don't require prostration and sacrifices!)

Nancy 428: I met a guy a couple of weeks ago whose last name was Swanson. I was very tempted to ask him if he had a twin brother, and if he was a Gemini, but somehow refrained.

#428 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 12:57 PM:

Lee @427, I was once assured in the midst of a vaccination debate that neither polio nor measles ever really killed anyone.

#429 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 01:26 PM:

JESR 430: I am reminded of the Peanuts cartoon about that. Linus says "Is measles really so bad? I mean, what's a little 'rubeola' among friends?" Lucy says "Your stupidity is appalling!" and walks away. Linus waits a moment then says "Most stupidity is."

In fact I've heard that the plague in Athens before the Peloponnesian War was probably measles. And as for polio, my parents could tell stories of kids they knew in high school who were fine one day, absent the next, and dead on the third.

I hope that person isn't someone dear to you, or the parent of anyone who is.

#430 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 01:52 PM:

# 409 Barbara

If you are interested in a perspective on the MBA from a couple years ago, here is a story I wrote in 2005 for Ohmynews.com. Robert Cox and the MBA (media bloggers association) were much in evidence at BlogNashville, and the MBA members were quite a varied group, conservatives, liberals, Iranian bloggers, a couple of women, academics, etc.
Story: MBA & Bloggers in 2005

I went to the link, which is
http://english.ohmynews.com/articleview/article_view.asp?no=227556&rel_no=1

Bloggers could sign up for two days of CARR (computer-assisted research and reporting) training at the conference and 14 of them did. The Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) offers this training for reporters and journalists around the U.S.A. but this is the first time that CARR training was offered to bloggers...

CARR works with publicly available databases and statistical research techniques from the academic world to produce results for investigative reporting. The sources in this kind of reporting are the numbers and information they hold about a topic gotten right from the source....

CARR uses primary sources to get information.

What? Searching a database is NOT getting data from primary sources... "primary research" on current stuff tend to involve going out PERSONALLY and contacting people and interviewing them and analyzing their responses, doing one's OWN surveying.... digging through databases is SECONDARY research. (Note, it may have been noted that I am not the most accurate typist on the planet... it is easier for me and less inaccurate to capitalize than put in emphasis tag/tag-delimitators....)

Internet searches usually do NOT get primary sources--on line articles might be "primary sources" but usually are not.

E.g. Teresa writing an article which first appears on-line in Making Light, someone referencing that article has done primary research in using Teresa's article as a source, if the article is original material written by Teresa and the resulting article talks about "Teresa Nielsen Hayden said..." . Going to Making Light picking up links to go to for searching information, is secondary research--literature searches, again, are secondary research.

Bloggers doing CARR can go beyond just linking to other blogs and echoing what they read elsewhere. The CARR class graduates thought the training was rigorous but interesting and were pleased to get through it.

Hmmm.

It sounds like not much more than basic literacy in doing data searches and analysis and generating conclusions to me, the sort of thing that a decent curriculum in public school English classes teaches when instructing school kids on how to write term papers and shorter reports.

Most classes on writing though don't do much about focusing on primary research/do live surveying and personally collecting data as research.... and there is a strong social excoriation for "anecdotal information," to the extent that most material talking about primary research that goes out and collects information interviewing individual people, downplays, if the information is even present in the output, the "sample size." Medical studies in particular tend to involve a lot fewer people as test subjects than get realized....

Linking to other blogs isn't research, it's referencing.... it might be the result of doing research, but, but....

Research = investigation/study, with outputs that can include research reports, opinions, long lists of links, or "data" which is mostly "garbage." Effort put into something and quality/accuracy/value of outputs, are not direct one to one relationships. There have been some very high quality low effort research efforts, and some huge research efforts eating hundreds of millions of dollars of effort and time and other resource, which generated toxic waste output.

And then there was the case of Louis de Broglie's doctoral thesis, which was a single page--that was the primary output of his doctoral thesis, a one page paper--but it was of exceedingly high quality and merit, and got him the doctorate, and recognition of genius and merit....

#431 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 02:08 PM:

Paula @ 432: We've got a masters' level journalism course on campus here that's pretty much the same thing CARR does, only more of it, and it's a useful course for people who need it.

Digging through databases of publicly-available information is a killer technique for one style of investigative journalism, and making that training available to bloggers was a Good Thing.

#432 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 02:16 PM:

Xopher, this was an online conversation, although I've known some of the antivaccine crowd in real life. The ways in which they will twist both scientific evidence and personal testimony to prove that the great pathogenic plagues were mere moral weakness are wonders to observe, like a balloon man with unlimited latex at his disposal.

I'm old enough to have fever-dream memories of my parents and the doctor in hushed conversation at my bedside while I simmered at 106F in the early stages of the measles. And the epidemic that set off the "Whitman Massacre" was measles.

Another tangential vector:Wikipedia says cholera, by the way, but as per usual they've conflated and collapsed several months of history: cholera on the immigrant trail turned the Whitman Mission into a pesthouse, but the disease which killed the visiting Cayuse was the measles. There is at least one dissertation on file at the WSU library which documents this, but as usual I'd rather snark about the major factual errors than remake my entire life to the degree it would take to correct them.

#433 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 03:15 PM:

Knowing where to find something can be more useful than actually knowing whatever-it-is yourself.

I spend a lot of time in databases, looking for information, and not always finding it.

#434 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 04:08 PM:

Xopher #431: My brothers and I had chicken pox and measles right at the same time (I was 14, they were respectively 10 and 7). This was, shall we say, a most unpleasant and frightening experience. Especially since we were swapping diseases (1970/71 was a time I shan't soon forget). Fortunately, we were cared for, properly fed, and basically sturdy. But coming that close to death in my teens was not a fun deal, to put it mildly.

#435 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 04:51 PM:

I'm still curious how we're going to get from Oliver Willis to Walt Willis /* Bob Shaw.

____
*Slant, not slash

#436 ::: Dori ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 06:36 PM:

Michael, @419:

I still see the occasional site with a date at the top that now says, e.g. "June 18, 108", and I laugh a private laugh to myself.

Try copy/pasting this into your browser's address bar:

        javascript:alert(new Date().getYear())
hit return, and you'll see why so many sites still do that.

Well-behaved scripts use "getFullYear" now.

(and in a similar vein: am I the only person here who can immediately remember—and not in a good way—that 16 September 1989 was the 32768th day of the 20th century?)

#437 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 07:05 PM:

Xopher @429 - I hope he takes it to heart, too. We'll see. I think there's a lot of potential there to steer the world towards the general good. God knows there are few enough such chances.

#438 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 08:24 PM:

JESR, your comment on measles is most timely - the Guardian noted today that measles has now reestablished itself as endemic in Britain, due to the epidemic of stupidity and panic about vaccinations.

#439 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 08:57 PM:

Clifton Royston at 440: It's been much on my mind lately, because there's been outbreaks at universities in the US and both of my offspring (current on their vaccines, but nothing is perfect) are at schools with higher-than-average unvaccinated populations.

In a vain attempt to loop back to the original topic, I must say that my bias against the AP and other big journalistic players is their tendancy to look for dissenting voices in the name of "balance" so that stories like the (repeatedly disproven) link of MMR vaccine to autism never die.

#440 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 09:01 PM:

I would love to see insurers give parents who refuse to vaccinate their kids a waiver to sign, permitting them to charge extra due to the increased risk of disease.

#441 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 09:13 PM:

Y2k: I was working for one of the world's largest credit card processors* and I vividly remember running for cover across the tarmac as we came under sniper fire how tense it was on the command center teleconf line for hours as we waited to hear from Europe, then as the US east coast spun up etc. When the first reports of a compromised network in Asia hit you could see everyone wondering but not daring to say "Is this just the first blowup in a cascade failure?". Of course, we now know it was isolated and quickly shut down but man, that was a lot of stress at the time.

* Luckily my folks were working on web facing apps so we didn't have much to do to prep.

#442 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 09:29 PM:

JESR @ 441 - as far as I know, the only aspect of the potential link between vaccination and autism that has been repeatedly disproven is that the MMR vaccine contained mercury and that that mercury was causing (or exacerbating) the autism. There's been no study I know of investigating other links. And certainly there is a hell of a lot more autism than there used to be.

My theory is it's intestinal flora. Either there's a new agent of infection affecting the intestinal ecology, or something rather ubiquitous in our diets has changed. I don't believe it's GM crops (much.) There's not going to be many studies of it, though -- it won't sell pharmaceuticals, so there's not much money.

(Disclaimer: I've got one kid with kidney disease and one with Crohn's; I have dogs in the race when it comes to autoimmune diseases in general, and I have strong opinions.)

The reason MMR vaccination could have bearing on it is that the intestinal ecology is very poorly understood, and our own immune system has a powerful effect on it (natch.) Endemic disease has effects on the immune system, again poorly understood. So there's a potential that elimination of some endemic disease may have the unanticipated side effect of unbalancing an immune system already off-balance due to Factor X (whatever that may be.)

Case in point: intestinal helminths (worms) cure Crohn's Disease and ulcerative colitis, for a short time anyway. More accurately, the presence of the worms engages the right parts of the immune system to eliminate gastrointestinal inflammation. The basic study was done in Iowa; it's extremely dramatic. Then you have worms, of course -- but what's worse? Having worms or having your gut cut out? You spend twelve weeks in the hospital with diarrhea, then come back and answer. (My daughter was quite lucky; she was only in the hospital for a week, and we've been able to keep things under control with diet since then.)

Anyway -- it's not so clearcut. Unless you have an autistic child, then please (Stefan) -- don't think you can automatically categorize all parents faced with that decision as fools who shouldn't be insured. Well. Even if you do have an autistic child, don't make that mistake.

#443 ::: Craig R ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 09:35 PM:

438 - Dori -- I got a 2:00 am call to come in and fix the nightly accounting and general/ledger batch cycle. 23 programs.

And then, since I "was there anyhow," I was asked to stay and fix an additional 127 (or so) programs that night. (while I was working on the G/L problems, Operations had placed trouble calls that other systems running Were Experiencing Issues)

Most of the issues were involving one of 4 date comparison routines that did things like account aging and withdrawal / deposit scheduling.

Not really "trivial" or "cosmetic" issues for a Big Financial Institution.

#444 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 09:45 PM:

I have a gut reaction against loosing the dogs of profit on any situation involving someone trying to make health care decisions for a dependent, be that a child or an aging parent.


#445 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 09:56 PM:

# 435 P J

Often it's knowing who to -ask- for information that provides the most useful information....

There was a time in my life in which I was scanning though a fortnightly government publication listing government publications, and ost of the keywords for the documents were crap; reading the entire abstract for a document, SOMETIMES provided me the data from which I could figure out if the document were one that were germane to what I was researching or not....

One of my peak moments, was the day a coworker waved something at me with the name of a document document at me and told me I had to read it. I look at the title he was pointed at and say, "No, I don't." He started getting insistent that it was a wonderful thing on the topic we were working on it and I explained, "I don't have to read it because I wrote it." That piece of information wasn't immediately apparent from the copy he had of it, if I recall correctly (it was a copy printed from a government archive.)

#446 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 10:09 PM:

Lance Weber @ 443... that was a lot of stress at the time.

Amazingly, I was quite calm as we came to the fateful date. I figured that too many of us had done their job to make sure nothing went wrong. Still, I don't think I'd laughed, if I had seen the Y2K episode of The Simpsons before January 1st, 2000. On the other hand, it ended with a spaceship falling into the Sun, with Oprah and others onn board.

#447 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 10:35 PM:

I experienced Y2K in the geometric center of the Erzsébethid over the Danube in Budapest. Unfortunately, about 11:45, fog rolled in, making the fireworks invisible. And you know? That moment jinxed the next six or seven years, in retrospect.

#448 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 10:41 PM:

I recall seeing some statistics that there is a high correlation between autism and older fathers.

Mostly the thing about autism is that it tends to show up around vaccination time age, whether or not there are vaccinations involved....

Another odd thing, the obnoxious food allergies to peanuts that so many children have these days, the Starving Children of Africe don;t have! There was an NPR program in which an health specialist was talking about the miraculous difference that "Plumpinut" which is mostly peanut butter, makes in bringing children in imminent danger of starving to death, to health. The interviewer asked, "What about food allergies?" and the interviewee said that there isn't any problem with that in Africa, the starving children don't have peanut allergies and the Plumpinut is saving lives.

I wonder if lawn chemical etc. play any role....

=========

But to get back to the original topic, have there been any developments in the past day? Has AP posted any information that is actually informative such as specifics? And had Mr Cox returned here to respond to commentary about why what he wrote here got received with challenges rather than accolades?

#449 ::: Dori ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 10:48 PM:

Craig, @445:

I got a 2:00 am call to come in and fix the nightly accounting and general/ledger batch cycle. 23 programs.

Oof, I was thinking it might just have been me. Back then I was also working for a Big Financial Institution, but in a small subsidiary that wrote software for lots of small financial institutions. We knew in advance that we were going to run into trouble with our date routines, so we tried to fix everything ahead of time. Thankfully, the only ones that got missed (iirc) were on a few reports.

The good news was that it gave us a real heads-up about Y2K, and with sufficient time to prepare.

#450 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 10:50 PM:

#438: Dori, I not only remember it, I was working for a company which had to deal with dates in the future. They got bit well ahead of that date.

#451 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 11:07 PM:

I've heard - I don't know how good any evidence might be - that part of peanut allergies is people feeding peanut butter (probably especially 'natural' pb) to kids before their immune systems are well-developed - effectively a year or two old. They tell people not to give honey to babies and people with compromised systems, too (lots of spores and stuff in them).

#452 ::: fp ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 11:39 PM:

I thought this comment thread was over when Julia Ellen started chumming and trolling with the autism bait (430). Sadly, we seem to be dealing with an energizer bunny phenomenon. Since no one will stick a fork in it and call it done, let me share a few impressions.

I got here via a link from Shelley Powers' RealTech site (Mobs 2.0 and the AP). There was lucid analysis and pointed commentary there, and I recommend it to anyone who remembers what the point of this vituperative ramble actually was.

Bob Cox is my friend and the MBA represents a lot of hard work. I was gratified to be reminded that I'm a member when I followed the link that Seth Finkelstein left above. I can't say enough good things about Seth and his work. I'm a little chary about the MBA because of its conservative component, but it's a big tent with room for both me and Glenn Reynolds.

While I've not met Rogers Cadenhead face-to-face, I've long admired his work and I trust his judgment. It makes sense for Rogers and the MBA to be working together to sort out Rogers' issues around the AP cease and desist demand. It seems like that matter has been settled to his satisfaction so score another one for the MBA.

Bob was trying to establish some cred by calling out who he knows (e.g. Jimbo, a grown man, I'm shaking my head about that nickname) and where he's been (including three out of four of the fabled BloggerCons). Just to chest thump a little myself -- Jay Rosen, Dave Winer, and I are the only people who've been to all four. I did duck out in the morning of BloggerCon 4 to go down to Judge Walker's courtroom in the Federal Building to see how the EFF would do against the combined weight of the telcos and the Justice Department, to see if the "state secrets privilege" would shut down the cases against the government and the telcos who supported illegal spying on citizens (see Articles of Impeachment #24 and #25 in the bill of impeachment now before the House of Representatives and likely to die in committee). The EFF prevailed at that point and now, two years later, all that litigation will be mooted by immunity grants in the FISA law, but where was I?

Oh yes, it's been a pleasure to read all the material gathered here in one place. I haven't felt so uplifted since I shared a urinal with Doug Sahm between sets at Keystone Berkeley in the early '70s.

#453 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 12:12 AM:

# 454 fp

Methinkst thou hast no concept of the "Community Standards" on Making Light. There are threads that have hit and exceeded the 1000 comment mark.

Blogging is "new" in the sense that it is moving personal diaries and such over onto the Internet, however "personal fanzines = personal 'zines = perzines have been for decades at least in science fiction fandon, in which people wrote stuff, typed it onto heckto masters or wax masters for mimeographic or even did offset of letter press printing, sent the fanzines out to their correspondents.... Teresa and Patrick long ago if I recall correctly won a Hugo for their fanwriting in SF fanzines... LONG ago, before Internet blogging....

Treating blogging as an entirely new artform, is bullshit.

Oh yes, it's been a pleasure to read all the material gathered here in one place. I haven't felt so uplifted since I shared a urinal with Doug Sahm between sets at Keystone Berkeley in the early '70s.

Shades of the 1968 Worldcon!!!!

#454 ::: Matt Austern ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 12:13 AM:

Serge@425: Yes, 2038 is when 32-bit Unix systems will break.

Some time around 2034 or 2035, I'm guessing, is when everyone who still has a 32-bit Unix system will have this horrible realization that there's actually a reason they still have a 32-bit Unix system: there's some crucial application that needs to run on exactly the same hardware it's always been running on (not something better, not something just the same but faster, but exactly the same hardware), and nobody is sure where the source code went (partly because some of it was licensed in binary form from some company that merged and split a few times and the last of its pieces went out of business 10 years ago), and nobody has sold a compiler for that system since the turn of the century, and even if anyone could recompile the program nobody quite knows how what it would mean to modify it for a different architecture, and the right time to have migrated to something more modern was some time around 2015.

There probably won't be many people in that position, but there will be a few. They won't be having any fun.

#455 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 12:20 AM:

Oh, I was misreading the quote material, thinking that it was a reference to protests and rioting in the Berkeley-Oakland area.... and that's a connection to the 1968 Worldcon, which I wasn';t at, but there are still stories about around.

#456 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 12:20 AM:

I don't have an investment in defending the "community standards" here, and I also must count myself among those wondering how this thread got itself captured by the vaccine/autism meme. On the other hand, I also don't give things points for effort. Work spent on a misguided project is still wasted, modulo lessons learned.

#457 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 01:08 AM:

Excuse me- an accusation of trolling is a novel experience for me. Community standards might suggest a "view all by" test is called for?

#458 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 02:15 AM:

JESR, #459: Yeah, that looks like a drive-by all right. Do you have an internet stalker, by any chance?

#459 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 04:19 AM:

Paula @457:
a reference to protests and rioting in the Berkeley-Oakland area.... and that's a connection to the 1968 Worldcon, which I wasn't at, but there are still stories about around.

Not all of which are true. The People's Park riot was on May 15, 1969, so any tear gas leaking to the con was going through a time portal.

(I know this. I was at the riot, after a fashion; had it been in 1968, I would not have been there.)

#460 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 04:37 AM:

There's certainly stuff been poosted that would have been better in an Open Thread.

I suppose we can throw a few analogies at the core subject, about immune reactions and such, but I think we'd be wasting effort.

Right now, we're waiting for the AP to drop the other shoe, probably Monday. It's quite possible that they're in the position of buggy-whip manufacturers, who think they can persuade motor-car owners that the law requires road vehicles to carry whips.

#461 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 04:41 AM:

fp @454:

I thought this comment thread was over when Julia Ellen started chumming and trolling with the autism bait (430). Sadly, we seem to be dealing with an energizer bunny phenomenon. Since no one will stick a fork in it and call it done, let me share a few impressions.

You aren't from around these parts, are you, stranger?

First off, no thread on Making Light is ever done. We have threads several years old that still get current comments, on topics ranging from the value of seatbelts to the ways of folksongs. This thread will probably revive as new events occur, so your time posting here was not wasted.

Secondly, JESR is a long-established member of this community, and was not "trolling and chumming". Accusing her of so doing in your first ever comment here makes you sound like a troll yourself. I don't know how many communities you parachute into with that attitude, but you might reconsider the habit.

Onward, as they say.

I followed your link, and I have to say that one reader's lucid analysis and pointed commentary is another's vituperative ramble. I think there are a lot of hot tempers on either side, which is (as has been pointed out here by several people, including locals like the estimable heresiarch and Michael Roberts the thoughtful) generating more heat than light.

But buried in all of this is a point that we are not yet done with. I brought it up in comment 343, and I haven't seen it touched since.

Robert Cox says that he has a "standard pitch" that includes suggesting that companies, or lawyers (he talks about the Bar Association) contact the MBA before they contact a blogger on these matters. In the comment cited, I quoted his words directly. Go look, if you think I'm making it up.

I know he may be trying to be helpful, but this suggestion is really not a good idea. I'd like to see somewhere where he's considered the implications of it, and maybe discussed it with enough people to shake out any wrinkles in the idea. Do you have a link to anywhere that this has occurred?

Bob was trying to establish some cred by calling out who he knows.

It's been done more gracefully in the history of blogging. A better way is to point to blog entries on these subjects that he's written, and citations of him by other people.

since I shared a urinal with Doug Sahm between sets at Keystone Berkeley in the early '70s.

Here, you dropped a name. Let me pick that up for you.

#462 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 06:29 AM:

abi @463

"Now wash your hands"

#463 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 06:31 AM:

Dave @464:

Salwar kameez

#464 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 06:49 AM:

fp @454:

I want to touch on one other, very minor thing, but it leads somewhere less minor.

It's generally good manners to address people, and refer to them, in the manner that they choose. In this case, it means that JESR's name on Making Light is JESR.

Referring to JESR as Julia Ellen does two things. First of all, it confuses people; I had to go look to see whom you were referring to. And second of all, it shows that you've been reading up on her. That's fine, in general; I've been over to your blog, too. Feel free to stop by mine.

But this thread includes references to a pretty drastic outing of someone's details online. Several of us here are still fairly thoroughly squicked by it, no matter how much Robert Cox thinks that it was the righteous thing to do. To have a first-time commenter, a friend of his, reach through and use someone's real name because he doesn't like what she says is, in that context, a little creepy.

In other words, my first reaction to your comment was, "who?", and my second was "eew." Not persuasive.

#465 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 07:32 AM:

fp @ 454: I was at a Bloggercon, too--in fact, that's how I made Robert Cox's acquaintance, and come to think of it, that's where I met a Flourospherian for the first time--but I don't know that attendance is anything to brag about. I mean, I've peed in urinals with the best of them, too. Ask me sometime about my photograph of Kenny and the Kasuals' drummer zipping up.

abi's comments at #463 and #343* are right on point**.

The ACLU and the EFF, to name two organizations with good track records, don't interpose themselves as intermediaries between disputing parties. They act on behalf of the side they're on by advocating for parties who have asked for their help. They also build infrastructure (including their own reputation and public image) for helping people in the future.

What's good about the MBA's actions in this case is doing exactly that--advocating for someone who asked for help. What's bad is what abi describes as potentially like "insurance". That's not an inapt comparison, but I'd make this one instead: Consider Jay Rosen on the gatekeeper function of media institutions. Now consider how Cox's pitch for the MBA is a pitch to become a gatekeeper.

There are several very thoughtful people involved with the MBA, at least one of whom I've asked for advice (on a tricky ethical issue), and I don't dismiss the organization offhand. Neither do I dismiss Robert Cox offhand, as I understand the difficulties of trying to do good when you aren't doing well. But abi has put her finger on the problem*** with his approach.

*and now at 466 as I typed this

**though I'd've added this is the first time I've seen Making Light's community engage in non-helpful swarming behavior on this scale, and that's been troubling. My tentative theory is twofold: First, people have mistaken Robert Cox for Andrew Burt. Second, the AP's attitude toward fair use really is threatening, whether they plan to act on it or not.

***I so wanted to make a thumb in the dike remark here

#466 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 08:54 AM:

Referring to JESR as Julia Ellen does two things. First of all, it confuses people; I had to go look to see whom you were referring to.

That's a definite yes on confusing people. I've only ever "met" JESR - I don't know this "Julia Ellen" person. When JESR complained of being accused of trolling, I went back to post 454, figuring that was the most recent post with that kind of heat, and couldn't find any references to JESR in it. I was lost until post #466 where someone explicitly said JESR=Julia Ellen.

#467 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 10:36 AM:

#459 fp

I got here via a link from Shelley Powers' RealTech site (Mobs 2.0 and the AP). There was lucid analysis and pointed commentary there, and I recommend it to anyone who remembers what the point of this vituperative ramble actually was.

Vituperative? Vituperative? The only vituperation I've seen in here was the reporting of Mr Cox's words seeming to invite people to stalk someone whom in the article he wrote going into details of the person's schedule and locations on that schedule, he never that I noticed reading the articel, ever stated that the person had repeatedly exhibited Excessively Annoying Behavior and had in Cox's opinion challenged him to do an outing.

I went to the links that got fp here, and I am very much underwhelmed by them.

http://realtech.burningbird.net/mobs-20-and-ap

Mobs 2.0 and the AP

Thu, 06/19/2008 - 09:17 — Shelley

I've withheld writing before on the AP fooflah, primarily because writing counter to the Mob is about the same as throwing a sandbag on a levee that's already broken. Now the Mob [http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/010354.html ] is descending on the Media Bloggers Association because Rogers contacted that organization for legal advice, and the organization's lead knows the AP folks.

The concept of waiting to hear all the facts, though, seems to be anathema in this environment now. Report first and maybe fact check some other time seems to be the credo of a disappointing large number of A listers who actually call themselves "journalists".

I am underwhelmed. The author of this erudite? article seems to me to lack such critical faculties for-

o recognizing that analyses and preliminary conclusions and speculation based on currently available materials have any legitimate existence,

o differentiating between preliminary research digging up information from a search and posting that informtion and commenting upon it versus exhaustive investigation over the course of weeks/days/years

o cognition that when the information available for an organization on its published official and sem-official public information distribution websites/handouts/policies/etc. is not "current" in the sense of "oh, look, they're claiming they they are revising their policies!" the existing information which has not had any changes made to disclaimers added to it nullifying any of or, remains in effect.

That is, if there is an outdated website that belongs to an organization and that is the information that is currently published, without a superseding site or information published by that organization, that outdated material is the "primary source" and what is officially out there. If the organization couldn't be bothered to have done any updating, that's the organization's fault, not the fault of someone researching the organization....

(More succinct translation: if you don't want to give a misleading impression, don't keep misleading information in print for everyone to read and base their opinions and analyses on!)

o ability to distinguish between a blogging style with a highly dynamic readership response interactive participation style evolved out of a much older and perforce less dynamic style of print fanzines with actively responding readers, and blogging styles where the community of readers is smaller and probably wide-ranging in interests and eagerness to allude to the wide ranging interests. There was a reason I explicitly invoked John M. Ford ["Mike Ford"] and his writing.... His writing had a wealth of allusion in , and he was a moderator here.

What I'm seeing...is a demand for group think; an it's their way or the highway implicit directive that, to me, is a greater threat to truly free and open communication within weblogging than anything the AP can or will do.

What I am seeing in the article quoted from, includes arrogance, narrow conception of the blogosphere, opacity of the author regarding comprehension of the type of forum the fluorosphere is, the author failing completely apparently to comprehend that this is a forum where individuals from sometimes wildly different backgrounds and perceptual direction post as volunteer participants as the general case.... there there is a community shaped of individual voluntary involvement of different tastes, writing styles, religions, professions, etc. etc. etc. and that one of the attractions is a level of intellectual word play along with idea play, and information exchange...

From earlier in the article,

How much of this is really based on outrage and how much is based on wanting to generate attention is a difficult to separate at this time— a fact that should give us serious pause....

The author's assumptions are very much mistaken and the analysis is fatally flawed because the foundation of assumptions, is laughable. The author is also using the editorial "we" a voice which I tend to find loathsome nd contemptible, which is further credibility-dissolving for me.

From still earlier in the article,
The concept of waiting to hear all the facts, though, seems to be anathema in this environment now. Report first and maybe fact check some other time seems to be the credo of a disappointing large number of A listers who actually call themselves "journalists".

The author seems to completely miss the fact that the topic has been under discussion as a -breaking- story, not a scholarly dissection of "Was Brutus justified or not in plotting and implementing the murder of Julius Caesar?"

The discussion on Making Light has been more in the form rather of the reporting of "something is going on in [was it the Senate?]. Brutus is leading a group of people who are MURDERING hero of the nation Julius Caesar? Is Brutus doing this? What have Brutus and his alleged collaborators said on such matters (furious hunt for documents with commentary by Brutus, and for
documents written by Caesar).

"Shelley" seems to think that the speculation and analysis should be waiting for AP to publish something new about guidelines.... however, as of Friday night AP hadn't done any such thing....

And, in the interim there have been other developments mutating the thread contents. The nature of blogs is that the content tends to be highly time-specific and dependent--the words "latency" and "ephermality" apply. There is the topic of the inute, the hour, the day, the week, and then the mimediacy evaporates. While the blogosphere is not a "memoryless system," Last month's hot discussion topics, have a tendency, unless they are of the ilk that pop up every six months as reruns in the fashion of the repeating landscape in Roadrunner cartoon, to fade out of attention and consideration.

That sort of fading is one of the root causes, I feel, that certain abuses have gotten little followup over time, and that the ukases of that &%@#@U%$# in the Oval Office have over time gotten Pretend There's Nothing There Nothing Ever Happened cards from the commercial information (misinformation...) broadcast media conglomerates.

The blogosphere has a lot of chaotic behavior to it-- however, there actually IS an underlying structure to chaos (papers from around 1986 or so published by GTE Strategic Systems Division personnel, doing research and development of meteor burst communications systems, involving Additive White Gaussian Noise (as opposed to pink or other colors of noise... no I am NO making this up (even though my name is not Anna Russell) and it is NOT fiction). But the the way that the entities on the Web and the net and the software and files and such are structured, the informtion presentation format tends to be time-dependent in organization, and the presentation has an almost automatic "aging" function, such that the older something is, the further buried it gets, and with limited capacity, eventually disappears as new material adds.

Waiting for the AP to provide additional public material for review and analysis, is in some ways a stalling--has the AP provided any timeline for when it will provide information, or put up any gloss modifying the material that was in effect last week? Or is the AP going to act like the US Executive Branch, delaying in providing material and when called on it months later, saying that it's not going to, or providing minimal materials and then stalling further....

The analysis can only work on material that is available, and speculation.

And analysts making jokes, side comments, etc., are not things that are new or unusual... and disagreement and assumptions that prove to be not accurate, are also not new... but one can't analysis things of the basis of information that is MISSING and for which there is a claim that there will be information. Until and unless AP provides information that is updated, wht's available, is what AP put out and apparently is leaving out for public access and attention.

The concept of waiting to hear all the facts, though, seems to be anathema in this environment now. Report first and maybe fact check some other time seems to be the credo of a disappointing large number of A listers who actually call themselves "journalists".

Reporting !== journalism. For that matter, not all journalists are reports, not all journalists are interested in impartial reporting, etc. Journalist denotes one who journals.... it doesn't have to be truth in a journal.... reporting is supposed to be providing information about something... but where there is information which has yet to appear, once again, the information that is already published, and the fact that nothing NEW has forthcome yet, are the information the report has available to workd with (plus editorial revision/rewrite... note the anger and fury and disgust of federal scientists at the censorship--rewriting, gag-ordering, changed conclusions, etc.--of their research reports by what are essential old Soviet-style Political Officer apparatchiks).

#468 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 10:43 AM:

Another "who's this Julie Ellen?" reaction from this quarter. JESR is a person I know something about - interests, history, and so on. The fact that I don't readily have a birth certificate-type name handily attached in my memory has never bothered me, and still doesn't. But it did slow things way down trying to figure out what the newcomer was talking about.

#469 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 10:48 AM:

abi, #466: In other words, my first reaction to your comment was, "who?", and my second was "eew." Not persuasive.

Yes, that. Followed closely by, "Wow, that's a bad case of Insufficient Adulation Syndrome; he should take something for it." I mean, really. Talking about who you've picked up in the men's room? How tacky.

#470 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 10:56 AM:

Well, given that Frank Paynter (see how confusing that is?) purports to be a friend of Robert Cox, I'd have to say that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree -- they both believe they can prescribe behavior in communities they don't belong to, they both think they're cooler than you are, and they are both entirely tone deaf when it comes to actual communication. Oh, and hey, they both think they should be able to define the level of anonymity of people they're involved in conversation with.

If this is what the Media Bloggers Association has to offer, then I guess I'm not entirely sorry I've never heard of it.

#471 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 11:06 AM:

I feel a bit like Jello Biafra singing "We've Got A Bigger Problem Now", but does anyone else think it might be more productive to focus on the AP and how to make them more sensitive to fair use?

#472 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 11:06 AM:

#461 abi

http://jophan.org/1960s/chapter8.htm


Chapter Eight - worldcons of the 1960s [working title]
the evolution of the world science fiction convention during the 1960s

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Richard Lynch
P.O. Box 3120
Gaithersburg, MD 20885 USA

....
* 1968 Oakland/Berkeley (Baycon)
- Bill Donaho, Alva Rogers, Ben Stark, co-chairs
- Philip Jose' Farmer, Pro GoH
> gave speech at banquet that went on and on and on...
-- critical of John Campbell, who was in audience
- Walt Daugherty, Fan GoH
- Takumi Shibano from Japan was announced as a Special Guest
- 1430 in attendance
- Hotel Claremont
> no A/C in hotel, convention in middle of very bad heat wave
> hotel buffet (opposite the banquet) gave people food poisoning
- Riots in streets protesting the war
> happened in Jack London Square, between Claremont Hotel and overflow
hotels
> National Guard called out to protect SF fans

#473 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 11:11 AM:

See, I didn't even notice that I'd been outed- the name the accusation was made in was the one under which I was known for the first large chunk of my online life (and the one most common in discussions of medical issues). I'm often very spacey after the Concerta wears off.

#474 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 11:19 AM:

John @473 - Here's my idea (the paraphrasing thing). I don't think talk on our forum is going to convince The AP of much, personally.

#475 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 11:25 AM:

fp: I do realize you're just linking and not claiming all the words as your own, but...as a point of fact, which "A-list" bloggers claim to be journalists with a straight face, except for those who actually are employed as journalistic writers?

What I mean is, if Matthew Yglesias claims to be a blogging journalist, well, he is. Likewise with Ezra Klein, or Bill Quick. But when someone like Duncan Black or one of the Nielsen Haydens or Cory Doctorow says it, it's going to be with a touch of sarcasm, irony, humor, or something else besides an assertion of legal, moral, or social standing. It's generally in the context of a criticism of real journalists who've been doing something other than useful reporting, like parroting a government representatives claims without checking them or doing a "Shape of the World: Views Differ" kind of listing of quotes without checking any of them.

I recall triumphalist moments in the blogosphere, particularly on the right wing in 2001-2003 or so, when the targets were critics of the war on Iraq. The critics have, of course, been completely vindicated on every major point, but even in the midst of all that there have been people like Kevin Drum and Avedon Carol and Digby pointing out how much work good journalism is and that good blogging complements rather than replaces it.

Please, though. Name names. Who are these hordes of "A-list" bloggers we should be ashamed of?

#476 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 11:27 AM:

Wow, somebody upthread thinks that the people who comment on Making Light -- we -- constitute a mob.

Dude, you must not get out much.

Unless - perhaps "mob" as this person is using it is a specific technical term, related to "flash mob?" I plead innocent. I'm just hanging out here at the back of Teresa and Patrick's garden talking to a few friends. Nice view. Friendly company. Those cookies are good, here, have one.

#477 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 11:31 AM:

Lizzy L @478:
perhaps "mob" as this person is using it is a specific technical term

According to this site, a "mob" is the specific technical term for groups of (among other things) emu and meercats.

</digression>

#478 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 11:41 AM:

#473 John

But, there is there is no new information forthcome from AP. Meanwhile, there have been bowshots from Mr Cox and fp employing communications styles which appear to employ at lest in part, sarcastic put-down tones about the forum here and various people in it.

Communication theory (the stuff taught in engineering classes from accredited schools....) explicitly includes channel clarity, encoding, transmission noise, decoding, etc., as issues where error can exist or enter and corrupt the information, or cause mistranslation....

Alienating a forum by arriving and immediately attacking, does not to me seem to be a characteristics that speaks well of an organization the new arrival is claiming a strong involvement and association with, and particularly not if the arrival is claiming to have a leadership role in it and apparently is in a relationships of mutual identification of self and the organization.... (e.g. "I am England" regarding the country and monarch being integrally identified.)

Getting back to MBA, though... various of the people in here probably are aware to some degree or other of SFWA, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, an organization which has been around for decades and has had many controversies occuring over its existence, along with having also have provided various beneficial services for authors over the years. SFWA has a relatively clear charter as regards why it exists and what the general tenor of its goals are, and what the membership standards are and who the orgnization is for--it's supposed to represent the interests of science fiction and fantasy writers. A very large percentage of the more than casual SF/F authors in the USA are members. It has elected officials often with competiton for positions, and has people in appointed positions, whose names are available. The organization has a website, and meetings. Etc.

Comparing SFWA and MBA, there are quite a number of differences--the head of SFWA's elected by the members, is one of them. SFWA tends to have what it does get publicized, either through intended press releases and other official methods, or by members otherwise....

SFWA has a large percentage of SF/F writers in its membership (the paranormal fantasy/futuristic fantasy writers I think tend more generally to join up RWA than they tend to join SFWA, if they join any formal writers' organization). MBA membership is noise-level compared to the number of people who blog--how many people have blogs on LiveJournal, MySpace, Facebook, blogspot, Wordpress, etc.?

#479 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 12:14 PM:

I happened to notice that the copyright notice at the bottom of the webpage

http://www.mediabloggers.org/mba-news/drudge-retorts-retort-to-ap-personal-issue-resolved-but-larger-conflict-remains

has the year 2007.... It's halfway though 2008.

#480 ::: don delny ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 12:22 PM:

abi, you said:
Here, you dropped a name. Let me pick that up for you.

Most excellent! Even better than:
I am aware of all internet traditions

#481 ::: don delny ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 12:27 PM:

oh, and look what I found:
Internet Traditions!

(even mentions the AP in one of the lol'd images for excellent recursive discussion linkology! )

#482 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 12:33 PM:

fp@454: Julia Ellen (aka JESB) has been posting here at Making Light for some time, and has provided more than sufficient evidence thereby that she does not engage in trollish behavior.

You, on the other hand, popped up out of nowhere ("view all by" is a remarkably useful command) and started your first post with a gratuitous slur.

Identification of the actual troll in this situation can, I think, safely be left as an exercise for the reader.

#483 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 12:39 PM:

Lee 471: Talking about who you've picked up in the men's room? How tacky.

He said it was uplifting. That sounds more like he was the one picked up...unless he just means one part of his anatomy, in which case it was likely mutual. Actually I'm almost sure he was just using an ineptly-chosen word, given the context, but it sure is fun to speculate that he meant it literally, isn't it? :-)

JESR 475: I'm not sure you were. It was the intention that makes us think badly of him. But he did it so ineptly that the intended victim didn't notice, and the rest of us wondered who he was talking about. I think it's actually funny.

Michael 476: I think what John meant was that we should talk here about how to go about making AP more sensitive, not that our discussions themselves would or should have that result.

Bruce 477: I'd be surprised if fp comes back, at this point. Or even reads the responses to his post. Probably a plain, ordinary driveby, in other words.

abi 479: Meerkats! We are all meerkats!

#485 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 01:08 PM:

Abi @ 461... any tear gas leaking to the con was going through a time portal

Wellll... Was Bill Higgins, after whom Bill Heterodyne was modeled, at that worldcon?

#486 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 01:10 PM:

Well, if we can figure out how to make corporate behemoths more sensitive, I'm all for discussing it until our faces turn blue. But my personal take in that case is that talk about autoimmune disease is part and parcel. Your mileage will vary.

#488 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 01:15 PM:

Debbie - BWAHAHAHA!

#489 ::: Ronit ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 01:21 PM:

Here at Meerkat Light, the home of a rampaging mob of suricattas....

#490 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 01:34 PM:

All that's missing is a warthog and a lion cub and we can launch into a musical number.

#491 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 02:01 PM:

Debbie: EXCELLENT! Thank you.

Serge 492: Hack Una Make-lighta?

#492 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 02:18 PM:

1)

#491 Ronit

But, The Meerkat/Suricattus left the conglomerate multinational publishing world!

======

2) Once upon at time there was a term, fakefan to denote a fan of fandom--someone who was part of SF fandom for the purpose of engjoying the society of people who were SF fans, but was not a science fiction/fantasy reader. It occurred to me to wonder if Robert Cox might not be something similar, someone who enjoys being seen as part of the blogging community and likes the idea of being a Blogger Media Personality and being seen as a force to reckon with in making the universe better for bloggers, but whose actual skills and interests are poor as regards the meat and mechanics of blogging, and written communications as regards getting information out without alienating/antagonizing/offputting/confusing people.

==

3)
The reactions to the appearance of Robert Cox and fp here that are currently getting made reflect traditions going back to HP Lovecraft and beyond. There are some quite famous people who showed themselves in less than favorable lights long ago in fanzines, including L. Ron. Hubbard, and Piers Anthony. The standard view of the universe regarding such things includes:

o "If you don't want to show yourself looking arrogant/condescending/shamelessly self-promoting and obsessed/nasty/sarcastic/etc., don't engage in open correspondence that makes you appear arrogant/etc.

o If you spend no time to get acquainted with a forum and its community values and antecedents and come barging in attacking, you're going to get whatever the standard treatment that people who barge in with sarcasm and/or attacks get in the forum. In some it might be a polite welcome, in other removal of their posts, in others a flamewar, in others ridicule....

o Recall that Michaelangelo painted someone who majorly ticked off Michaelangelo, in hell... Annoying people who write and edit for a living in permanent media, is not the best strategy for win friends and positively influence people, especially not in a community based and information exchange.

4)
Gratuitous tacky comment department, actually it's not really gratuitous, it's reaction to something fp wrote... Does fp hang around in airport men's rooms looking for liaisons with malevolent moralist Republican members (or ex-members...) of Congress?...

5)
Note that when Teresa told me to back off I did back off. "Effective" moderation and "over-moderation" and "no moderation" are very different things.

#493 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 02:35 PM:

Xopher - I already hacked una Makelighta last month. It was instructive.

#494 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 02:47 PM:

Having been subject to the business end of the Salmon of Correction here at ML a few times, I can say from experience that the moderation here is effective, and has refined the way I act here; I'm not saying I won't get into trouble again, because I probably will. It's just that I'm a little more self-aware about the effect my words have that I used to be.

#495 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 03:13 PM:

The latest AP-related snark - the TechCrunch blog is contacting the AP with a takedown notice and a bill for $12.50, for quoting an excessive 22 words from TechCrunch:

http://www.nowpublic.com/tech-biz/ap-violates-own-copyright-law-quoting-22-words-techcrunch

Gee, ya think AP didn't think this thing through?

#496 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 03:17 PM:

Serge #487:

No. Bill Higgins was in Miami, painting model airplanes and waiting for high school to start. (And reading a lot of science fiction. Having reached the age at which access to the Adult stacks at the Coral Gables Public Library was permitted, he was reading new stuff by favorite authors, and discovering a bunch of new authors.)

#497 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 03:31 PM:

I've been reading about the Permian extinction and related subjects lately, and if we're a gathering of meerkats, I want to be part of the emu-like meerkat mob.

#498 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 03:43 PM:

Serge #492: A warthog you say?

#499 ::: fp ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 03:54 PM:

About "Julia Ellen"... I am just visiting here and really not too aware of taboo or identity fetishes. The person identified here as JESR identified herself with an email addy juliaellen@somewhere. (Later I see she identified herself with a live journal link as well.) In order to comment here I had to provide two data and an optional third... a "name," an email, and an URL. I've never been into network anonymity so I just went ahead and self-identified. On the web I've interchangeably used fp and fpaynter for the last fifteen years or so. Before that I stuck to the eight character convention: fpaynter. (There was a time in the world of IBM when this was upper-case, but really, I no longer go back that far.

Regarding my accusing someone else of trolling, well that's ironic, isn't it? I chummed up another forty or so comments just by laying it out there. I guess I'm the troll!

At 454 I just wanted to lend some support to Bob and Rogers (as well as to brag about the Doug Sahm encounter, to which some have churlishly attached a sexual connotation when that was far from our minds, I assure you. Really, we were just recycling some beer together). I think Bob's MBA service delivery offering could use some polish. It's a point well made that the EFF and the ACLU don't interpose themselves between parties, but rather are available to their constituencies. And if Bob has a revenue model that includes an insurance offering, then that's kind of creepy from one perspective, and interesting from another (and boring from a third, and so on ad infinitum). Regardless of the many criticisms and concerns, however, Bob is contributing to the general good by working on the MBA.

The reason I thought JESR might have been trolling in this thread when she brought her issues regarding inoculations and autism to the surface is simple: the commenter at Shelley's place has a well reasoned and long running interest in the area of autism and vaccine research. You'd be lucky to be engaged by her. She could fire up a great discussion, but I fear she's been disemvowelled enough to keep her heretical opinions to herself or only to share them in more cordial surroundings.

(Bruce at #477 -- "name names" -- I think there's an interesting discussion to be had around that subject, but entering it here and now would be low gossip at best).

(John at #467... I found your comment to be quite worthwhile and most enlightening, although I've never been into matters fluorospheric and didn't recognize the fluorospherian at BloggerCon. Thanks to all who shed their own light on the LEDes earlier in the thread).

I commented here initially because of the piling on behavior, the shoot-from-the-hip, ill-informed criticism that was aimed at Bob and his MBA efforts. That kind of piling on is cyber-provincialism at its worst and can be very destructive. Several have acknowledged that there was some error in the way that Bob, Rogers, and the MBA were painted in the original post, but unless I missed it, the author of the post hasn't acknowledged that it was in anyway heavy-handed. She has ceased to update, so perhaps that's a de facto acknowledgement.

I haven't meant to be offensive in any of this, but I'm not particularly polished or well spoken, so no doubt I've offended somebody. If I suggested that the use of snarky insiderisms to critique another's point of view is rude or at least less than welcoming, would that be construed as offensive? I hope not. If I observed that this community seems a bit narcissistic would that be offensive? Perhaps, so I withdraw that observation. A happy satisfaction with what we've got is as much as we can ask for in this life, and I don't begrudge any of it.

Yours for a long and fully emvowelled life,

fp

#500 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 04:07 PM:

Bill Higgins @ 498... At the end of the summer of 1968, I too was about to enter high-school. I was reading all the SF I could lay my hands on, but that wasn't much. Eventually, as I progressed thru high-school, I wound up in a school with a library that had lots of SF. The Librarians (no, not Jane Curtin and Bob Newhart) loved me.

#501 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 04:26 PM:

fp @501:

Thanks for coming back. A few points:

First off, identity is not a "fetish" or a "taboo". As a bloke, you've got a bit more leeway than some of the women online do, though even men can be stalked. It might be useful to be mindful of that matter when dealing with online identity. Just because you (and I) are fairly open about your identities doesn't mean we should steamroller through others' tacit requests for privacy.

I don't know that JESR is offended. But how many times do you want to tromp through the minefield looking for explosions?

the commenter at Shelley's place has a well reasoned and long running interest in the area of autism and vaccine research.

I don't think that anyone—JESR, me, Michael—tracked the identity of the commenter enough to find out that she was involved in the autism world. Turnabout being fair play, can I ask if—to your knowledge—the first commenter on that post mentioned narcolepsy randomly or knowingly?

Regarding my accusing someone else of trolling, well that's ironic, isn't it? I chummed up another forty or so comments just by laying it out there. I guess I'm the troll!

Not by our definitions, you're not. If comments don't generate conversation, why are we here? You came in with remarkably little Now See Here tone, considering the circumstances, and some of the responses have refined and clarified the thinking nicely.

I can see how, looking at this thread, you might think the community wouldn't welcome dissent. We're not usually quite this grumpy, to be honest (though you will note that no one has lost any vowels yet). Well presented contrary views are generally welcome. Though those who are disemvowelled often protest that it is the brave brilliance of their ideas that attract censure, it's usually their inflammatory and tiresome ways of expressing quite ordinary sentiments.

I happen to know that Teresa is at a convention this weekend. I don't know what she'll post when she gets back. I'm interested to see, since I am married to one of the biggest Bob Shaw fans in existence.

#502 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 04:28 PM:

Oh, Oh, Bingo!

#503 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 04:31 PM:

fp @ 501

No, we don't normally discuss autism and vaccines here, so JESR hasn't had any reason to bring them up. Roses, though - hers are glorious.

On the other hand, topic drift here can be ferocious, and there's an undertow. Or maybe a riptide.

#504 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 04:32 PM:

KFS @504:

Hair-trigger; can we dial it down a little?

#505 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 05:42 PM:

fp, if you're open to a tip, I'll pass along a great bit of advice I got early on in participating in communities that use a lot of handles and nicknames. It has two parts:

First, use the handles people offer you, as a default. Here that's the name, nickname, or other identifier in the "byline for each post.

Second, if you have any questions about identifying people, ask 'em.

Some people operate the way they do for very important and totally unobvious reasons; others for reasons that may seem lightweight or unobvious from outside but that matter a lot to them, and we suffer no harm by obliging them; others, like yourself, are more amenable to alternatives. But we don't know until we ask. Beginning with the assumption that what people are using at the moment is what they want to use seems to create by far the fewest moments of confusion, annoyance, and other bad stuff.

*pause*

Y'know, now that I think about it, this offers some light on what you and others, like Cox, see as bad-faith or at least far from cooperative reading of the MBA's history and intentions. The handle tradition I describe above is easily applied to other matters...like group nature. I go, I see what they're offering to the public, and I make what seems to me a perfectly obvious and simple assumption: what they show to the public is pretty much what they wish to show to the public. If they didn't want to show it, they could change it or take it down. Obviously others here read and browse with a similar heuristic.

And even people who don't have it as a developed habit of thought are likely to do something similar. "First impressions count" and like that are common mottos, and for good reasons.

It also works well in guiding rhetoric, it turns out. If you start simple and plain, with minimal assumptions or projections, then you have room to embellish later and are very unlikely to need to walk back and retract much. The more you fill in gaps with guesswork and such, the more opportunities there are to discover that you've transgressed someone else's self-conception, (often more important) their conception of others who seem under attack, and so on. A, um, journalistic plainness makes a great launching pad.

Hope any of this helps.

#506 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 06:50 PM:

Abi sez "I don't think that anyone—JESR, me, Michael—tracked the identity of the commenter enough to find out that she was involved in the autism world."

I didn't even click through to see there had been a commenter, nor was there any way to connect that comment to any identity pertaining to autism or immunization. Nor does that person show the slightest inclination to engage here on matters of autism or immunization. So if there are any other random people scattered around the planet we should avoid offending in this thread, perhaps you should mention it now, so we don't use obvious references to those people's quirks, like "meerkat" or "plaid" or "juxtaposition" or "Marianas Trench".

Also, yeah, narcolepsy seems a pretty specific damned thing for that well-reasoned commenter to have been a jerk about. So I'm not terribly excited to be engaged in conversation, either, speaking for myself.

What is it with this topic?

#507 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 06:53 PM:

Bruce, very nicely put. Seems pretty commonsensical to me, but then, as a dear friend of mine is fond of saying, "Common sense ain't all that common."

#508 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 07:00 PM:

Oh, well, Jesus, just try Googling either "site:burningbird.net autism" or "site:realtech.burningbird.net autism" and you'll find that "A keresett kifejezés (site:burningbird.net autism) egyetlen dokumentumban sem található meg." Oh, wait, I left it in Hungarian. There aren't any references to autism on "Shelley's site", unless "Shelley" has another site somewhere, on which it is clearly well-known that "madame l" has long-standing opinions on autism that we'd be lucky to be engaged with.

So whatever the hell fp is smoking about the mysterious identity of the rather fucking stupid commenter at Shelley's site, keep it away from my neurons, thanks. That person has a grudge against Teresa anyway because she appears to be one of the people who envy BoingBoing their popularity (accuse them of selling posts), and Teresa called her on it.

Gaah. I'm officially following heresiarch out the door on this topic. If you see me post later, it's just sock puppetry. Really. I'm not hooked, I can quit any time I want.

#509 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 07:26 PM:

Earl Cooley III @496:
Having been subject to the business end of the Salmon of Correction here at ML a few times, I can say from experience that the moderation here is effective, and has refined the way I act here

Thanks for the vote of confidence to the moderation team. We try to be gentle when we take the fish to any gill-considered comments, but the fin-g is, the solution just doesn't scale.

(Thread needed some puns, but it's trout of Serge and Ginger's current areas of attention. So we have to make do with my unschooled attempts.)

#510 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 07:41 PM:

Floundering a bit, abi, ol' chum?

#511 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 07:49 PM:

From my perch here, I can see these puns are increasingly crappie...which reminds me of what my old friend Mike asked the guy who used coffee enemas to clean his colon: "Fill it to the rim with bream?"

#512 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 07:56 PM:

I considered pointing our visitors at the 'plankton tow' thread [Filtration, from Dec 2006], but decided they probably needed more time before they got hooked.

(Not D&S. I don't think they're ready for that.)

#513 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 08:06 PM:

Abi, ol' chum, I don't mean to carp, but ... that was horrible. Like a little ray of punning sunshine. And here I am, left floundering, trying to keep up just for the halibut.

#514 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 08:07 PM:

abi @ 511... Thread needed some puns

Why? Everything looks fin.

#515 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 08:09 PM:

I would have thought it was the salmon of knowledge, the mackerel of remonstration, the halibut of correction, and tuna of enlightenment.

I would say that, really, the core issue is the simplest of simple things.

Anyone who is in a gating function is asserting that all that complexity? Not important or relevant or meaningful; you can get all the information you need dealing with me.

In some cases, this is perfectly correct. In some cases, it's indeterminate. (Lawyers are the beginning and ending of the indeterminate case example.)

In some cases, this is screamingly wrong. Blogs are people talking about what they're interested in, or care about (or attempts to fake that)h; this runs the inevitable range of people, but, as is the case with the people directly, the complexity is the point.

When the complexity is the point, offering to be the gatekeeper is equivalent to telling people to sit down and shut up. Most of those so requested won't like it.

Most of those offering to gatekeep aren't going to recognize that the complexity is the point; they'll be looking at things like power structure. (Note that the Associated Press is acting to try to protect and maintain an existing power structure, on in which complexity is perhaps not the point.)

#516 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 08:09 PM:

As promised at 485, I am surprised.

jp, I'm glad you did come back. I'm sorry I made fun of your infelicitous phrasing about your encounter at the urinal, though I did say I was convinced that was all it was. Drive-bys are absolutely fair game for any kind of funmaking, but responsive commenters, however wrong-headed I may think you to be, are not.

"madame l" can kiss my big round butt. So can Shelley, for that matter.

#517 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 08:13 PM:

abi #511: I wasn't sardine you wanted puns on this thread.

#518 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 08:56 PM:

Xopher @ 518... "madame l" can kiss my big round butt. So can Shelley

Duvall? Winters? Fabarès?

#519 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 09:00 PM:

abi@ 511: As Serge said, everything seemed just fin, and the last thing I want to do is create a haddock for you. I've been perched to the side, watching the current thread ebb and flow as the groupers shift. Some folks go herring after one subject, but the rest shoal are taking a relaxed approach (and I'll refrain from calling anyone an aholehole).

My sole porpoise for commenting is to say that my work here is done; thank cod, I'm free at last.

#520 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 09:12 PM:

"Aholehole" - oh you did not go there.

#521 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 09:14 PM:

MR #510
The problem is that this whole [thing / topic / thread]
1. sits at the intersection of so many different topics* that many heartfelt posts will appear to miss the point of other posts,
2. isn't good for poetry

i.e. With so many anglers one could take, a focus on any one topic can seem like trolling to people focused on the other topics, and it isn't easy to minnow it down to a common set. Can we agree to which grouper is more important than the rest? No. One man's meat is another man's poisson.

Walleye come back to this? I trout it (at least for a while. Later on I'll goby it again). If after wrasse'ling with it for days you're just feeling cichlid and eel from it all, then time to pause. How much moray can we say?

-----------
* fair use in general, fair use in blogging, legal actions against blogs, future of blogging, the past of blogging, styles of blogging, blogs and politics, A-lists, zombies, public vs private spheres, etc etc

#522 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 09:23 PM:

Michael Roberts @ 622: It's a Hawaiian* fish, like the humuhumunukunukupua'a, which I remembered without assistance. The aholehole is also known as the flagtail.

Who wouldn't want to be known as a flagtail?

[/innocent look]

*..and Pacific Basin.

#523 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 09:26 PM:

Kathryn @ 523

You left out D&S. Just about any thread this long will bring in D&S some time.

#524 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 09:56 PM:

Ginger - I know what it is (thanks to my friend Mr. Google), I just specifically avoided using it.

#525 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 10:26 PM:

Michael Roberts @ 526: Could you suggest a betta fish for me to use?

#526 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 10:35 PM:

Ginger @ 527... Could you suggest a betta fish for me to use?

I'd puffer not hearing the answer.

#527 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 10:54 PM:

Serge @ 528: Eel be good; I just don't want anyone to think I'm a fathead. Hake, ide just jumped in when you did. I'll say no mora.

#528 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 10:58 PM:

Small numbers of fish puns are funny, but they don't scale well.

I'd try to put that more tactfully, but you're all experienced enough that I shouldn't need to caudal you.

#529 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 11:12 PM:

They don't scale? That's your problem; around here we measure them by the gill, though I suspect only a minority drink like fishes.

#530 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 11:31 PM:

Puns are a whale of an idea here. We aren't sharky about them though.

#531 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 01:30 AM:

Sorry for the nagging, but the end of the post has said "to be continued" for quite a while now.

#532 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 01:34 AM:

Some Making Light commenters will cetalogical limit on fish jokes at the point of dolphins and whales; others find the difference hard to keep in their mammaries, the boobs.

The former are more fun, since the depths the latter'll line up at lead to japes with no real porpoise. They're apt to blubber that you've Mysticeti fish jokes that were not about fish in the anal finalysis.

Whale, am I Right? Am I Blue? Should I just Bowhead and slink Minkely from the stage?

My apologies if this comment starts a fight by being needlessly Belugarant. Making people mad would leave me Baleen my eyes out.

#533 ::: Tlönista ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 02:23 AM:

Raphael: don't hold your breath, abi mentioned above that Teresa was away for the weekend. I know you'd gill for that next instalment, but take a rest. You look beaked.

#534 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 09:40 AM:

Oh where oh where are the AP rules,
Oh where oh where can they be?
What's on their website they SAY's out of date,
There's nothing new there to see!

Oh where oh where has that little fish gone
Oh where oh where can it be?
It's been gobbled up by a bigger fish
And stinking fishguts it be!

Oh where oh where has the topic gone
Oh where oh where can it be?
The thread's wandered off with the hostess gone,
To puns and bad poetry!

Oh topic drift is a nat'ral thing
It happens to forums each day,
It's happened in fanzine from long ago,
Topic drift is here to stay!

Oh why oh don't the drop-by folks
Who parachute into a thread
Recognize there's a community,
With standards applied to what's said!

#535 ::: Robertissimo ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 09:51 AM:

Goodness - because of a Wikipedia entry I created quickly a year-and-a-half ago I'm being called "a terriby dishonest fellow"! Oh, dear. In fact, I can assure all that I'm not at all Robert Cox, and I started an MBA article only because he had weighed in on the Noka Chocolate controversy and I wanted to use his quote in that WP article.

If memory serves, I drew virtually all the original content from the MBA website, sourced it as such, and was more or less done with it.

One can quite easily see from my WP edit history that I'm far more interested in things like Balkan royalty and minor film stars than I suspect Mr. Cox is.

I would be awfully glad if the original post above were amended to clarify that I have nothing to do with either Cox or the MBA, if that sort of things goes on around here.

#536 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 10:16 AM:

Well, no, Robertissimo, if you read carefully you'll note that Teresa was calling Bob Cox a terribly dishonest person because of your suspiciously similar name. And unless Bob Cox is now coming in through a proxy in Egypt, which (frankly) just doesn't match what I see as his modus operandi, it looks to me like you're not him. Besides, you're a little late to the party.

Thanks for playing, though.

I reiterate: what is it with this topic? People keep barging in the door with this attitude.

#537 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 10:23 AM:

#537 Robertissimo

"And a picture of Leon Trotsky"

(referring to journalistic anonymity

#538 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 10:27 AM:

#538 Michael

Someone is late to the party in a forum months-old threads suddenly come awake again after weeks of hibernation?! This thread is only a few days old!

#539 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 10:27 AM:

Oh, and Paula -- MBA's website is sufficiently out of date that I'll be helping them get it back into date. Bob also has a list of cases they've helped with, which are being written up as white papers. Their tech volunteer disappeared a couple of years ago (!) and since there's no budget for it and Bob works a sole-proprietor job (and how I understand that!), maintenance of the MBA site just hasn't been a priority. So as ironic as that situation is for a blogger's association, it appears to be the honest truth. Over the next couple of weeks, we'll be getting that moved in the right direction. Fingers crossed.

I've also had an interesting exchange of email with Ron Coleman, their attorney. Don't read that as weirder than it is -- he emailed me, I responded, we've been talking about some questions I've always had about copyright law. I mean, it would have been nostalgic to get an empty attorney threat or something, like the old days, but reality was more prosaic this time.

Unless these guys are playing a really, really deep game, which would be really fun, they're legit. Into self-aggrandizement, OK -- but legit.

#540 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 10:29 AM:

Hush, Paula, I'm baiting the troll here. Don't you want to have fun with the pretty little troll?

#541 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 10:37 AM:

If I put a pun into this thread, it would be a fluke.

#542 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 11:26 AM:

Michael 538: Actually Teresa responded to Cox's denial of being Robertissimo by saying it was a relief, because Robertissimo is a terribly dishonest fellow.

#543 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 11:32 AM:

Nancy C. Mittens @ 543... Did you manta say you loxed it?

#544 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 11:59 AM:

Serge @ 545: I thought I smelt something fishy about Nancy's statement. You think she'll show any remoras?

#545 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 12:19 PM:

re JESR and attributions: I thought it was confusion about julia (jmhm, elsewhen). I also thought it more than a little offensive. I don't mind people I know calling me by my first name. My mother, when she's pissed at me, is the only person who gets to double barrel me with given names.

And (contra someone way upthread) one doesn't get to use first names, willy-nilly, just because this is the internet. I sometimes find it strange when people here, whom I've, "known" for years include my last name... it makes me wonder what I've done to offend; though I know they do it out of care that this is how I want to be called.

When someone I don't know fails to include the entire name I post under, well that makes me think they are trying to either persuade me with a sense of undserved bonhomie; or are trying to put me in my place by showing they don't need to use common courtesies with me.

#546 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 12:28 PM:

Robotech Master @269: Should cases like this ever go to court, the AP would no doubt argue that a "substantial" portion of the work was used (factor three), enough so that people didn't visit the original story (factor four), and that the use wasn't "transformative" because most of the posts in question had little user content beyond the quote (factor one). All of these are debatable, of course, but the point is that they would actually need to be debated before a judge in order to know if the use in question was fair.

Yes,and no (and I did more than train in journalism... I made a minor living it at). If all one does is post a snippet, then perhaps one can be accused of not making a transformative use of the content. But if it is included in a larger work, the transformative nature is pretty cut an dried.

The real question (and one which will, sooner or later, have to be resolved in courrt) is what the difference (if any) is in linking somehing, and just quoting.

Most people don't go past the jump... but if they are going to read a story, they will usally read to the jump.

But the net is different. People who are reading political blogs (and that's the part of the net which seems to be geting the sorts of attention we are seeing here) are not the typical reader. A significant portion of them may, in fact, make the jump to get context (I probably do it in more than 50 percent of cases. This is less than I do in a paper; but I pay for the paper, and was professionally interested in stories, so my habits are atypical; when reading a paper.

That is the really interesting question, and one the AP might like to look into BEFORE going off and pissing off the people who might be, in fact, providing a huge benefit to them.

It is, however, not one which readily lends itself to resolution in a court of law; though the court of public opinion seems to be tending against the AP.

Seth Finkelstein @280: When you say that, what comes across to me is something I deeply hate about the blogging world, the abusive, bullying, arrogant, conduct endemic to A-listers. It sounds like: "Why should we people with big megaphones, who can smear and attack someone to thousands, maybe millions, care about any sort of accuracy and fairness? What does it matter if we publicly accuse someone based on a mistaken impression or third-hand report? It's "conversation"! We have a legal right to do it, as long as we don't cross over certain lines. It's all the fault of the targets anyway - they brought it all on themselves for not immediately catering to us, considering us to be the center of the universe, because of what we can do to them."

So... A list bloggers ought not be able to use the "authority" which made them A list, because some small guy might get beaten up? (which, amusingly, is at the crux of the argument we are having with the AP; and by extention with MBA, but I digress).

It's not as if the Name Bloggers are part of some cabal to keep unknowns from blogging. They have every right to do so. And that they are big isn't really justification for excising what they say. The bully pulpit is theirs because people like me have come to have faith in their judgements.

If someone is going to make serious accusations to a huge audience, it is REALLY, REALLY so tough, so requiring of elaborate philosophical discussion and analytic justification, to give an opportunity beforehand to explain?

Yes, or no. It's not their job to guard the feelings of people. It's not journalism. It's talking around the water cooler. It's assuming, at one level the readers are intelligent, active participants... because they can/will look for themselves.

Look at the nature of the "hit piece" you are decrying. It's huge. It has details. The opinions are expressed as such. It grew. It has people who did follow up research.

It doesn't have a "pre-release" conversation. I don't care; because here (at least) the person in question can come and explain. Is it a tough row to hoe? Yep.

To be honest, interviewing someone and including that isn't going to help. Accusations of being taken out of context will arise. The "accused" would be able to make it a question, not of what was, but rather what was said, and how it was treated. That would make it easier to derail the conversation from the topic, to the treatment (as this exchange between us is doing).

re Lede/Lead. I learned it as lead. It has been used (to avoid copydesk confusion) as lede, but not where I studied worked. It seems a number of bloggers took it up, to show how journalistic they were.

But the parts of a story are grafs.

Robert Cox @394: #377 Julia,

"Any thoughts about how they arrived at THAT conclusion?" she said with a devilish sneer.

Why on earth would I be responsible for what Nina Totenberg thinks or says? Sheesh. I mean, really. The people in the mainstream media are constantly making errors and I am responsible when they do? Hasn't anyone here had that experience where YOU know exactly what happened but when the reporter writes the story it comes out way wrong?

Hrmn... having been a reporter,the words which come to mind are not flattering, to you. Because we do get things wrong (and it's often the case that those who are inside a thing hate the reportage; because the reporter can't learn enough to avoid horrid mistakes: this doesn't excuse the lazy ones who grab, "geeks in stormtrooper costumes" sort of frames for the stories they write, but I digress).

While we get things wrong, we are not in the habit (even in this decrepit age of the press) of just making shit up. Someone tells us, and we accept it. When one is speaking to someone who has not the time to understand the issues it's incumbent on you, the represtative of what you say, to make sure ambiguity is at a minimum.

Reading this comment, I can see how people get the ideas about the MBA you say you are unhappy to see: I made it clear that the MBA should not and could not be the sole means through which a blogger could get a credential.

That implies to me that you think it was a possiblity the MBA was going to be put in the position of being such a gatekeeper (other things in there reienforce this idea; the, "note: they ended up verhy happy with it sounds as if YOU are taking credit for arranging something. Not for being present at the birth, but rather for bringing it into the world). Me, being the skeptical sort I am would never have reported it that way, but Nina Totenberg has never, so far as I can see, been so careful as I was fond of being.

Given the "standard pitch" you want to make to things like the AP that the first call they ought to make when they are irked with a blogger is to you rather than dropping a line to the blogger, well that supports, rather than deflects, the impression that you are representing the MBA as "all bloggers' representative." I, for one, would be more than a little annoyed were that to happen when I was involved. Perhaps so annoying as to need to bring my lawyer into into it.

#547 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 01:17 PM:

Xopher @ 544 - oh, yeah. I'm losing track here.

So -- never mind. Robertissimo, apparently you do, in fact, stand accused of being a terribly dishonest fellow, and I withdraw my assertion that you are late to the party. By all means, continue to exhibit your attitude, and I wait with bated breath to discover what comes next. (Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the AP thread...)

#548 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 01:18 PM:

Argh! No, no wait! I meant, "baited breath!" Man, to have noticed such an obvious opportunity, just as the button clicked on Post!

#549 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 01:19 PM:

#547 ::: Terry Karney - When someone I don't know fails to include the entire name I post under, well that makes me think they are trying to either persuade me with a sense of undserved bonhomie; or are trying to put me in my place by showing they don't need to use common courtesies with me.

I may have to plead guilty to this - I mean, I may be a regular here, but I don't assume that gives me undue familiarity with anyone I haven't met in real life or known for a long time. But do I have a tendency to respond in thread using the first-name portion of the given handle, mainly because that feels natural to me. I actually feel more awkward when someone responds to me by the entire Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little rather than just Nicole - I get a sort of half-guilty "Oh dear, am I giving the illusion of requiring a lot of formality or something?" So the same sense-o-things leads me to respond simply to "Terry" or "Bruce" or "Paula" in conversation when labeling quoted bits (unless disambiguation requires more specificity).

I apologize for having inadvertently caused offense/awkwardness/twinges by this tendency. I don't mean to assert undue familiarity or anything. My autopilot simply doesn't match up with what's appropriate. I'll be more complete in my references going forward!

#550 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 01:20 PM:

Terry 547: Hmm. I hope not many people take using the first name as rude. I generally call people by the first part of their online name, unless they request otherwise. I put it in exactly as they have it, including case. If someone posted as "blue thunder capital plankton curry," I would address that person as "blue." If everyone started calling them BTCPC I would adopt the local convention. I even call C. Wingate "C."

Mary Aileen is always "Mary Aileen," because she told me that's her first name and that she dislikes being called "Mary," which is not. If someone demanded I call them by their full name at all times, I would probably ignore that, especially if they meant an online name like "blue thunder capital plankton curry."

#551 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 01:23 PM:

What I mean, of course, is I will reel in my naughty-ical quoting laziness!

#552 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 01:26 PM:

Xopher, it could be worse. blue thunder capital plankton curry could insist on the spelling bLu3 thun-darr capita1 p1ankt0n currry. With eyes that varied from green to gray depending on the weather.

#553 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 01:28 PM:

Xopher @ 552... If someone posted as "blue thunder capital plankton curry"

"Fish, plankton, sea greens... protein from the sea!"
(Box the robot, in Logan's Run)

#554 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 01:28 PM:

Nicole (J. LeBoeuf-Little) @553: Boat what do you really mean by that? Arowana keep up with you, and not get lost at sea.

#555 ::: blue thunder capital plankton curry ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 01:39 PM:

I generally prefer to be called by my first name Asterionellopsis

#556 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 01:42 PM:

blue 557: Sorry. TL;WT

#557 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 01:51 PM:

Crikey: I don't mind the use of my first name. All in all, I tend to prefer that people I "know" use some form of more familiar address (no Nicole, you have not been guilty of anything).

When, however, someone I don't so much as recognise waltzes in, and starts presuming to treat me with that familiarity... well it grates a bit; it grates more when the first things they say are berating, "explaining", or otherwise showing they think not much of me. Those occaisions make it seem not done in good faith.

I try to do the same (though it's hard to just say some names, e.g. "Bruce", without some sort of modifier).

#559 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 02:16 PM:

It's Monday afternoon. Has AP provided an new illumination?

#560 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 02:18 PM:

Terry @ 559 - I know what you mean on that -- for me, it's when people decide I should like being called "Mike". It's not that I mind it -- my family uses it -- but unless you're blood kin, it grates.

#561 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 02:37 PM:

All the rest of you lot need to add (Speaker To Bruces) to your handles, that's what you need to do.

#562 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 02:37 PM:

#551, Nicole* -

I've tended to go for the whole name on nearly everyone from a general feeling that I'm still quite new and thus need to be formal. You in particular I've been careful about not because I think you're one who requires formality, but because your name is a hard one for me to type accurately and I was tempted to drop it even though I was still using both names for Terry and others. I was sticking with the whole thing so I didn't go too informal on you out of sheer laziness while everyone else got the full treatment.

*See, I can be taught!

#563 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 02:43 PM:

RM* Koske @564:
a general feeling that I'm still quite new
I am glad that I wasn't drinking anything when I read that. Let's just say that novelty is relative, and you've settled in.

(But then, I still feel quite new myself, so who am I to judge?)

-----
* You can take my British failure to use full stops after initials from me when you pry it from my cold dead affected mannerism

#564 ::: abi (Speaker to Bruces) ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 02:44 PM:

Bruce Baugh @563:
All the rest of you lot need to add (Speaker To Bruces) to your handles, that's what you need to do.

Sir, yes sir.

#565 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 02:46 PM:

Oh well:

I chose to be JESR here because there were so many Julias and even a Juli already; I'm used to being lost in the shuffle (my maiden name is Smith, after all) but in general prefer to know when I'm the one being addressed. However, I respond to Julia Ellen by snapping to attention and getting ready for trouble- it's not only the name my mother called me when I was in for correction but also the one I wore a dozen years, more or less, ago for discussion of ADHD and related disorders (mostly on AOL and apparently long gone from the internet).

Thanks to everyone who recognize that while I may be distractable, digressive, and possibly mistaken, I am at least no troll (and know too well that chumming can bring predators with big sharp teeth).

#566 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 02:52 PM:

My problem with the word "chumming" is that in British English, which is the only dialect in which I have previously encountered it, it means something completely different.

It means to go with someone in a friendly fashion, as in, "Are you leaving too? Can I chum you up the hill?"

On that definition, JESR, you have chummed us through many threads, and may you continue to do so for a good long while.

#567 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 02:52 PM:

Terry - Ah, OK, I see what you mean. You mean the kind of informality of the telephone salesman uses your name at the end of every sentence to try to artificially get under your defenses, or the internet troll twit calling its opponents "my dear" or "honey" all the time. People using unearned familiarity as a manipulative tool. That sort of first-naming. OK.

I am relieved that I have not been inadvertently obnoxious.


R. M. Koske - No, that twinge of "oh dear" is not your responsibility! I wasn't trying to slip an unspoken "by the way don't call me that!" in my last post at all. "Nicole" or "Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little" both work fine. (Call me "Mrs. Little" and yer dead. ;-)

#568 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 02:59 PM:

JESR @ 567:

I am at least no troll (and know too well that chumming can bring predators with big sharp teeth).

Waitaminute... isn't a troll a predator with big sharp teeth?

#569 ::: Ayse ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 03:01 PM:

fp @ 501: I commented here initially because of the piling on behavior, the shoot-from-the-hip, ill-informed criticism that was aimed at Bob and his MBA efforts. That kind of piling on is cyber-provincialism at its worst and can be very destructive.

Sometimes, when a large number of people seem to hold a mindset about a person or organization, it is not because they are "piling on," but because there is something that doesn't read right about the person or organization. It's not clear to me why anybody thinks they can argue a group of people into changing their minds about an impression of a person or organization, because in my experience, the more you try to argue that you're really a nice person, the less like a nice person you appear to be.

Cox and the MBA strike me that way. Even more so since various people started showing up here to defend the organization. Cox looked shaky at first, and the more he tries to make his version of the story the TRVTH, the less I believe anything he says at all.

#570 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 03:03 PM:

JESR... If you're a troll, then many of us also are residents of the undersides of bridges. (I once read that there is - or once was - an ironwork troll somewhere under San Francisco's Bay Bridge. That has nothing to do with the current topic, but I wanted to mention it anyway.)

#571 ::: Serge tempts Death ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 03:05 PM:

"Calling Mrs.Little. Calli..."
BOOM!!!

#572 ::: DEATH ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 03:13 PM:

SERGE, IT SEAMS YOU HAVE REACHED THE END OF THE LINE.

Are you making a pun? On my name? At a time like this?

YES. I THOUGHT IT WOULD MAKE THINGS EASIER. I AM TRYING TO LIVEN UP MY JOB, KEEP THINGS FRESH.

Well, let's not hem and haw, then. Sew long, crewel world.

IS THIS A PUNNING GAME?

Yep. Your move.

DAMN. CHESS WAS HARD ENOUGH.

#573 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 03:21 PM:

DEATH @ 574...

Is there no exemption for actors?

#574 ::: DEATH ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 03:25 PM:

SERGE @575:

WELL, I DID HAVE A BIT PART IN HAMLET. OR, MORE PRECISELY, A BIT OF ME HAD A PART IN HAMLET. DOES THAT COUNT?

#575 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 03:27 PM:

#565, abi -

Let's just say that novelty is relative, and you've settled in.

Squee! I'm a regular at Making Light!

#574 -

So Serge's thread was cut?

#576 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 03:33 PM:

And so I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Actually, make that "I run through the valley of the shadow of death" - in order to get OUT of the valley of the shadow of death more quickly, you see.

#577 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 03:35 PM:

Serge: I'm greatly comforted by rods and staffs, myself.

#578 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 03:35 PM:

I was under the impression that troll teeth were not so much sharp, as they were big, blocky, grindy things featuring Streptococcus mutans the size of Cheetos.

#579 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 03:41 PM:

RM Koske @577:
Squee! I'm a regular at Making Light!

Yes indeedy. We'd hold an initiation ceremony according to the Official Rules but:

(a) Someone lost the translation of the Official Rules, so all we have are the originals in Middle English encoded in cuneiform.

(b) My thurible went missing in the move to the Netherlands. I think it's in the bike shed, but I can't be sure. Ask me again in a fortnight when we're in the new house.

(c) You can't buy good pourpoints anywhere anymore, not even on ebay.

(d) Serge's jester hat is at the cleaner's after Agatha had too much catnip and tried to play the Carol of the Bells. With a mouse as a hammer. A dead one. A long dead one.

(e) Someone's walked off with my chiton. Again. And it's nowhere near Halloween.

So instead, have a kiss on the cheek. Since I'm now in the Netherlands, have three. Welcome.

#580 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 03:44 PM:

Xopher @579:
I'm greatly comforted by rods and staffs, myself.

I gather Serge is more of a cups man.

#581 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 03:50 PM:

abi @ 582...I'm not going there.

#582 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 03:53 PM:

Oy. Thanks for the mammaries. I'll be thinking about this all evening.

#583 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 03:53 PM:

abi @ 581... Don't lie to RM and pretend the Initiation will all be fun, with jester hats and all that silly stuff.

RM... THIS is what the ML Initiation is like. I'm still peeling off wax bits.

#584 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 03:57 PM:

Michael at 562: for me, it's when people decide I should like being called "Mike".

Goodness, yes. "Jen" is bad enough; there are people who can call me that--mostly, anyone who's known me for several years or has at least known me longer than 5 minutes and had the decency to ask first. But occasionally someone, usually someone I've just met, decides it would be perfectly all right to call me "Jenny". Which is not my name, and never has been.

(Well. There was a professor I had a couple of times in college who persisted in calling me Jenny. Even in a class of 10, miraculously free of other Jennifers, each time she did that it took me about twenty seconds to realize she was talking to me.)

#585 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 04:07 PM:

Troll, the ancient Yuletide Carole (have we even got a Carole in here?)....

What else, from The Broken Sword Elves disliking have sex with trolls. From Three Hearts and Three Lions IIRC, trolls go nuclear in sunlight.

#586 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 04:21 PM:

abi #581:
So instead, have a kiss on the cheek. Since I'm now in the Netherlands, have three.

Is there a Dutch equivalent?

#587 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 04:32 PM:

Soon Lee @588:
No, there's no need. It's three kisses cheek to cheek, right, left, right, all over the country.

The only split is gender: men shake hands with other men, and with women in a business context.

One doesn't kiss people one doesn't know, of course; everyone shakes hands (standing up, not still seated, even if you have a plate of food on your lap), makes eye contact and murmurs names on first acquaintance. Firm handshakes are expected, even between women. No dishrags, mercifully.

I have shaken hands with people while riding a bike (standing up is excused then). I have even done so while perched on the back of someone else's bike. I have never done the three kisses on a bike, but I'm certain some of my colleagues have.

#588 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 04:45 PM:

abi has introduced me to a usage for the word "chum" with which I was not previously familiar, but I fear this movie has permanently fixed the association of chum and sharks in my mind.

#589 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 04:58 PM:

"Three Kisses on a Bike" sounds like one of the swordfighting moves in the Wheel of Time.

The fade charged, striking like a snake at Rand's eyes. The Bump Falls Off The Log parried the first strike, The Butterfly Dodges an Arrow took the fade's sword hand off at the arm, and Three Kisses on a Bike took his head. Rand looked around; the trollocs had fled. He carefully wiped the heron-mark blade, before the eyeless's blood could etch the steel.

#590 ::: gaukler ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 04:59 PM:

Abi at 581: Pretty good pourpoints can be found here.

#591 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 04:59 PM:

JESR @590:

My nephew has a hamster named Chum. It lives in the same house as a Yorkshire terrier who really, really wants to be its shark.

#592 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 05:01 PM:

abi #589:
"I have never done the three kisses on a bike"

Might be a signifier that you've become a real local when you can manage it. That or it's a great comedy sketch idea.

#593 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 05:11 PM:

Soon Lee @ 594... it's a great comedy sketch idea

For some reason Abi's post reminded me of the Monty Python skit where Trostky is bicycling thru the English countryside.

#594 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 05:18 PM:

Serge - kissing people?

#595 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 05:32 PM:

Michael Roberts @ 596... No. Bicycling and falling off with a loud crash, which is what would happen if I tried three kisses, or even just one.

#596 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 06:11 PM:

R.M. Koske: Wanna know a secret? I still feel kind of new here myself.

It's one of the charms I feel the place has; I am never so nervous I don't feel comfortable speaking, and not so comfortable I do it without thinking.

Hmmm.... that almost sounds wrong.

There are a lot of impressive people here. They seem to like me (shush Xopher), and that's humbling; because I don't see myself in the same league (many of them seem to disagree).

So, welcome to the club... you are a regular, and welcome.

#597 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 06:21 PM:

#596 Michael

Serge's wife is a historical fantasy, paranormal, and futuristic romance writer. It doesn't seem to me that a non-kisser could/would have a long-lasting marriage with a romance writer who's a non-kisser?!

#598 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 06:22 PM:

Paulsa post #561 makes me wonder if it would not be possible to bombard AP with demands for answers?
Getting dozens of intelligently written demands for clarification aught to scare them a wee bit.

You know, get the intelligent educated section of the population to attack them.

#599 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 06:22 PM:

Paulsa post #561 makes me wonder if it would not be possible to bombard AP with demands for answers?
Getting dozens of intelligently written demands for clarification aught to scare them a wee bit.

You know, get the intelligent educated section of the population to attack them.

#600 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 07:14 PM:

Paula Lieberman @ 599... I'm blushing. That being said, one other secret to matrimonial longevity is to find the same things funny. Most of them, anyway. We have the usual male/female disagreement about the Three Stooges, but we can both laugh out loud at the thought of the Human Torch saying, as the Submariner flies away that "His nutty little ankle wings sure do their thing."

#601 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 08:54 PM:

Serge #595, If it's the same Monty Python sketch I saw* recently, “bicycling and falling off with a loud crash” was a theme of the sketch. Also it was some chap with the protagonist who thought he was Trotsky at the time — he seemed to fall off less.

RM Koske #577 (I'm ambivalent about using just 'RM' (or 'R.M.')) — I've heard Atropos loves organza, muslin and all those sheers.

'Chumming' is not a word I know at all, tho' we may still use 'new chum' to describe the RL version of a newbie. Apart from the dog food, 'chum' is seen here in Oz as an old-fashioned English (ie, UK) word, as used in Enid Blyton. or boarding school tales.

* My friends with the MPFC DVD Box Set often play an episode or two to raise our spirits, especially when we've just watched a less-than cheerful film or TV show.

#602 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 09:37 PM:

Michael @ 419: They are coding for Internet Exploder instead of for standards. Microsoft's idea of solving the Y2K problem was to change their Javascript interpreter so that scripts that were wrong in other browsers were right in IE -- and vice versa.

#603 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 09:58 PM:

Just spotted this news story:
AP, blogger resolve dispute over copyright by Seth Sutel, Jun 20, 4:59 PM (ET)

It might be around on other services. Cautiously not quoting :) It does give a wider perspective on the story. MBA isn't mentioned by name, tho' it's possibly implicit in some parts.

*waves to Mez cross-town; hope you're well on this sunny winter day*


#604 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 10:02 PM:

Jennifer, #586, if people call me Mary Lee, common down here in the south, I will correct them twice. The third time I stop answering.

#605 ::: Ron Coleman ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 11:50 PM:

Michael @541 -- if you had so much as hinted you would have liked, on some visceral level, a lawyerly threat, I could have maybe worked something out. Now of course there would be no spontaneity. In addition to no weirdness.

And no deep game. (Heh.)

#606 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 01:33 AM:

See? Coleman's a keeper. Ron, you should know a little background -- I used to be pretty active in antispamming (see Despammed.com) and online fraud fighting (MMFHOH.org). We used to get what we called "cartooney" threats -- a baited troll would threaten to get his good buddy the lawyer to sue us.

It was fun and entertaining. Rarely did any of them go so far as to do any real stalking. Once I got a phone call, though, about 2 AM (I was still working) which consisted, in its entirety, of "Is this Michael Roberts? .. Uh, yeah? .. How does it feel now? (click)".) Of course, the fact that I had my phone number on my Website made that ... not so impressive, from a sleuthing standpoint.

Anyway, any online activity in any way connected with attorneys kind of brings back a lot of old, old good memories. Those were great times, back when money was embarrassingly easy to get for the technically minded and before I knew so much about kidneys.

#607 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 06:00 AM:

Mez @ 603... If it's the same Monty Python sketch I saw

Does it end in the Kremlin? If so, then it's the same sketch, although I obviously remembered some parts wrong, except for the loudly falling off the bicycle whenever 'Trotsky' would disappear off camera.

#608 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 06:31 AM:

Michael @608:
Yep, keeper.

Ron @607:
You don't happen to write poetry, do you?

#609 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 09:09 AM:

#598, Terry -

It's one of the charms I feel the place has; I am never so nervous I don't feel comfortable speaking, and not so comfortable I do it without thinking.

Well-put. I feel the same, and I agree it is definitely one of the charms of the place.

And thanks for the welcome.

#603, Mez -

RM Koske #577 (I'm ambivalent about using just 'RM' (or 'R.M.'))

It makes absolutely no difference to me. RM is easier to type, so feel free to use that one. I use the punctuation because that's the way it is in my autofill in my browser. *grins* I really didn't think about the need for a diminutive when I chose the handle, an oversight I regret a bit now.

#610 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 09:33 AM:

Michael Roberts #608: Kidneys?

#611 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 09:55 AM:

Hmm, Monday went by, and with no updates from AP.... This Branding has gone beyond the ridiculous.

And into my mind popped a song by Nate Bucklin, which starts out:

"I don't like Name Brand Nookie,
"That's not my kind of sex
"I don't like Name Brand Nookie,
"I much prefer Brand X...."

#612 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 10:57 AM:

Fragano @612 - my son's kidneys, to be more specific, and their damnable permeability to protein. It's been quite the little education in the past few years, about a lot of things I'd have been just as happy never to know. All the organs in a six-year-old are just supposed to work as intended, you know? Now he's nine. His kidney function is still fine -- we've been lucky. And Puerto Rico -- unlike Indiana -- has universal health care. And a better climate; allergies modulate it.

I could go on -- at length -- but really I should just write it all up elsewhere so I can just link to it.

#613 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 11:14 AM:

Ron 607: Or punning? Do you pun? We can always use fewer more punsters!

Michael 608: I agree with abi.

RM 611: Yay! 'RM' is so much easier than 'R.M.'! I'm not saying I've ever refrained from commenting rather than type the latter, but it does make things a little easier.

Btw, a shortened version of your name isn't what's normally meant by a diminutive. My online name, 'Xopher', is a shortened version of 'Christopher' (one which also serves to forestall people calling me 'Chris', a fine name which is just not MY name). 'Chrissy' would be a diminutive, and if you call me that (or even 'Chrissy-[REDACTED]', as my mother did when I was a child) I shall be avenged!

#614 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 11:17 AM:

Serge @ 572: (I once read that there is - or once was - an ironwork troll somewhere under San Francisco's Bay Bridge. That has nothing to do with the current topic, but I wanted to mention it anyway.)

There is definitely one in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle.


Marilee @ 606: Is there an easily recognized pronunciation difference? Beyond the "i" getting more of a schwa than the "y" in "Mary" would, I can't think of one, and that kind of difference I'd expect would get blurred over in rapid enough speech. (Of course, you did say "South" - maybe rapid enough speech for blurring that difference never happens in your corner of it?)


Also, that gray stuff on my hands? Not gunpowder. Def'nitely not gunpowder.

#615 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 11:31 AM:

Xopher @ 615... 'Chrissy' would be a diminutive, and if you call me that (...) I shall be avenged!

Drat. Where did I put Grabthar's hammer?

#616 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 11:40 AM:

And another thread mutates into community spirit.... while the opacity to certain other folks, who seem to regard this as perhaps Sith Lord territory (as opposed to Diana Wynne Jones Dark Lord territory.... how is it that there are any minions left to them given the rates they depopulate their base constituencies and minions at!). (whoever heard of a light-hearted Sith Lord?!)

#617 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 11:41 AM:

Nicole @ 616... Is that the bridge that we cross when coming from the south, which then takes us to the land that's between the Ocean and the Sound?

#618 ::: don delny ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 11:46 AM:

Matthew Yglesias is aware of all internet traditions.

#619 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 11:47 AM:

#615, Xopher -

Abbreviation, then? Is there a word for it, or is it one of these situations where you just have to spell out what the heck you're talking about?

And if we call you Chrissy, you'll change your name to Avenged? I think I'll stick to Xopher in that case.

#616, Nicole -

I know I'd definitely pronounce Mary Lee the same as Marilee. But I think I've known a few southerners who put an odd emphasis on Mary when they run into those kinds of names - May-ree Lee, almost. I think that might be a Savannah accent (or whatever the heck Paula Deen has, which is quite distinctive to me, and is not a central Georgia accent.)

#620 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 11:59 AM:

Xopher @615 -- if we were ever to meet in person, I'm sure my first impulse would be to call you "Zopher" (with a long 'o'), although I would do my darndest to use Christopher if you truly preferred it.

My diminutive name is extremely difficult to say incorrectly, fortunately, I suppose. My given name gets various pronunciations -- DEBorah (my mom; gulp!), as well as DEBra and even (occasionally in Germany) deBORah. I find myself much more particular about the spelling. Debby or Debi aren't me.

#621 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 12:09 PM:

Serge, the bridge with the troll is on US 99 over the ship canal, west of I-5 and north of downtown. I think the bridge you're speaking of is the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, maybe, on Washington 6 between my Trader Joe's and the Kitsap Peninsula?

I have discovered, to my horror, that all my Fremont Troll photos are in chemical process format. I must somehow get to Seattle and take a picture of that troll, which is a masterpiece of its kind (reinforced concrete and found objects, not ironwork).

#622 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 12:10 PM:

Debbie @ 622... I'm sure my first impulse would be to call you "Zopher"

Out of the night, when the full moon is bright,
comes the horseman known as Zopher.
This bold renegade carves a "Z" with his blade.
A "Z" that stands for Zopher.
Zopher, the fox so cunning and free.
Zopher, who makes the sign of the "Z."
Zopher... Zopher... Zopher...

#623 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 12:11 PM:

In Seattle, in Seattle, the Fremont Troll is in Seattle... this is not a day for complete thoughts, or at least not yet.

#624 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 12:20 PM:

JESR @ 623... I think it was indeed the Tacoma Narrows bridge that I was thinking of. It's been 3 years since NASFiC. So, the Fremont troll is made of concrete? I wonder if that's what they'll sneak into the underside of the Bay Bridge's new span. (It's been pretty cool to see the whole thing take shape from one Bay Area trip to the next.)

#625 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 12:24 PM:

Nicole 616: For me, the second vowel in 'Mary' is the same as the vowel in 'Lee', whereas I'd pronounce 'Marilee' identically with 'merrily'. But I'm a Yankee born and bred.

Serge 617: As Patrick once said, it's nice when people get things.

RM 621: With names they're usually called nicknames, though I'm sure there must be a more technical term. But to see the distinction more clearly, 'Dave' is a nickname for, but not a diminutive of 'David'; 'Davy' IS a diminutive, however. Wish I'd thought of that before, it'd've made the whole thing lots clearer.

Debbie 622: Your pronunciation is correct; 'Xopher' rhymes with 'gopher' (but I am not to be mistaken for one). And I don't at all mind being called Xopher by people who primarily know me from an online context; I rather like it, in fact. It's going on my badge at WorldCon.

There are certain people (mostly men, and mostly with names like Jim and Dave and Mike) who absolutely refuse to pronounce three-syllable names. It irritates me to have these people call me Chris (as it does from anyone, but these guys (mostly) seem physically unable to pronounce 'Christopher'). 'Xopher' they can handle—especially if they're unaware that my legal name is Christopher!

#626 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 12:39 PM:

Names are funny things. I have essentially two. "Caroline" is my legal name, and the one I use professionally. I go by "Carrie" to family and close friends -- I was nicknamed before I was born.

While the one name is a diminutive of the other, mentally they feel like two entirely distinct names. Caroline is a slightly different person from Carrie, although they're both me -- slightly different personality aspects get emphasized. Caroline is a little more careful and a little more thoughtful, and I like being Caroline here.

I agree with Xopher on the pronunciation of Marilee. "Mary Lee" has stress on both the first and last syllables, while Marilee has stress only on the first (identical to "merrily"). And I was born and bred in NC (admittedly, with Yankee parents).

#627 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 01:13 PM:

R M Koske (621): When I was small, I went by 'Mary'. We briefly had a maid who pronounced it 'MAY-ree'. Drove my mother crazy. (This was in Atlanta.)

Xopher (627): When I added my middle name to make it 'Mary Aileen' (because I knew way too many 'Mary's), my brother protested that it was two syllables too long. I pointed out that in that case he should be 'Jona' not 'Jonathan', and he gave in. (He's never ever 'Jon'.) Later a college classmate named John insisted on calling me just 'Mary' until I very pointedly called him 'Jack' in return.

#628 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 01:19 PM:

R.M. Koske, #621: Perhaps, in this context, "truncation" would be closer to what you meant.

Xopher, #627: I used to argue with my father over his insistence on calling my cat Genevieve "Jenny". I don't think he ever quite got that it was not her name. And there are definitely some people who just don't seem to grasp that, for example, "David" and "Dave" are NOT the same thing -- they automatically nicknameize any full name they enounter, and are so bewildered when the people they do it to object.

#629 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 01:33 PM:

Lee @ 630... his insistence on calling my cat Genevieve "Jenny". I don't think he ever quite got that it was not her name.

"The naming of cats is a difficult matter, it's not just one of your holiday games. You may think at first I'm mad as a hatter, when I tell you that each cat's got three different names."

- Peter Ustinov quoting T.S.Eliot in Logan's Run

#630 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 01:55 PM:

T.S. Eliot was in Logan's Run?

#631 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 02:17 PM:

Michael Roberts @ 632... That was the one and only good scene in the movie, with Ustinov as an old man living alone in Congress's building with a bunch of cats. It was obvious that he ad-libbed that whole thing, based on the I-don't-have-a-line-to-respond-with reactions of Michael York and Jenny Agutter.

#632 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 02:25 PM:

Lee (630): We have one of those at work. Her personal worst was continually calling Diane 'Diana', which isn't even a nickname, just WRONG. (Her name is Barbara; I am *so* tempted to call her 'Barbie', but I don't think she'd get it.)

#633 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 02:28 PM:

Mary Aileen: Call her Elizabeth.

#634 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 02:34 PM:

Note to self: sarcasm. Ur doin it rong.

#635 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 02:36 PM:

Xopher (635): That she *really* wouldn't get. Especially since she does get my name right.

#636 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 02:45 PM:

Back when I still went by Linda, I was in school with a guy that for some strange reason called me Mary. He said I looked like a Mary, not like a Linda. I learned to responded to Mary when it was his gleefully shouted greeting from across the quad.

#637 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 03:27 PM:

T.S. Eliot was in Logan's Run?

LET us run then, you and I,
When the Sandman is seen by youthful eye
Like a girl with black palm flower.
Let us run, through certain half-deserted malls,
The underground railroad
Of mutant dreams in half-believed Sanctuary
And sex and drug-filled revery
Plots that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, “What happens then?”
Let us go and watch again.

In the room the Sandman come and run
Talking of death at twenty-one.

#638 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 03:39 PM:

I once worked with a guy named Neil, whom I had the overwhelming instinct to address as "Kevin". He just looked like a Kevin. One day I did, by mistake. I blushed and corrected myself, and he told me that many people had made that mistake over the years.

Then he shaved off his mustache. At first, no one recognized him (no, really, someone asked him to get out of Neil's chair). But after we all got used to the new look, no one called him Kevin ever again.

Me, I almost changed the spelling of my name when I moved here. Everyone wants to pronounce Abigail as "Abigayel", because "ai" is not an diphthong in Dutch. (I would have gone to "Abigeel", which is pronounced about right). Instead, I fell back to Abi.

And Xopher, you will always be "Zopher" to me. PNH referred to you as "Christopher" when he mentioned you on his visit, but I had to think to figure out whom he meant.

#639 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 03:44 PM:

Twenty is the cruelest year, breeding
Love for the time left, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Thoughts of the Sandman.
Blindness kept us sane, covering
Thought in forgetful comfort, starving
Our lives with sex, drugs and ennui.

I will show you fear in the palm of your hand.

Fear death by laser.

#640 ::: Ron Coleman ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 03:55 PM:

Xopher (@615), I've been known to rhyme a stich or two. Not hardly ever in submissions to the court. Maybe it would have helped. Any sincere effort at a comprehensive online search will turn up plenty of bloggy poesy, though.

Puns... yeah, I got that. Luckily for all concerned my dad does not blog...

#641 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 04:05 PM:

Here we go round the Carousel
The Carousel, the Carousel
Here we go round the Carousel
Our Lifeclocks say it's Lastday.

Between the ankh
And the escape
Between the sigil
And the act
Falls the Sandman
                              For Thine is the Sanctuary

Between the circuit
And the summoning
Between Lastday
And the Renewal
Falls the Sandman
                              Life is very brief

Between the desire
And the freedom
Between the hunger
And the Box
Between the choice
And the result
Falls the Sandman
                              For Thine is the Sanctuary

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not for the Runner but the City

#642 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 04:06 PM:

Nancy is a hard name to nick. One person I worked with tried to dub me "Fancy Nancy" which is totally inappropriate for a young female engineer. I told him that I would hang up on him if he called me that on the phone, and not respond to what he said if he called me that in person, and I evaded the nickname that way.

I do, however, respond to Cathy as a name, as a possibly senile old nun decided it was my name a few years after I had her as a teacher. I think she had me mixed up with the previous year's valedictorian.

#643 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 04:18 PM:

For me the reflex pronunciation of "Marilee" is halfway between "merrily" and rhyming with "hairily... might be closest to rhyming the "verily" for me.

#644 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 04:22 PM:

Mister Sandman, bring me a dream
Make him the cutest that I've ever seen
Give him two lips like roses and clover
Then tell him that his lonesome nights are over

Sandman, I'm so alone
Don't have nobody to call my own
Please turn on your magic beam
Mister Sandman, bring me a dream

Mister Sandman, bring me a dream
Make him the cutest that I've ever seen
Give him the word that I'm not a rover
Then tell him that his lonesome nights are over

Mister Sandman, bring me a dream
Give him a pair of eyes with a come hither gleam
Give him a lonely heart like Pagliacci
And lots of wavy hair like Liberace

Mister Sandman, someone to hold
Would be so peachy before we're too old
Sp please turn on your magic beam
Mister Sandman, bring us
Please, please, please
Mister Sandman, bring us a dream

#645 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 04:40 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 500

Yes, by Ghu, a Warthog"!

#646 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 04:45 PM:

Lee #630: I have particular objection to people who have just met me, or who do not know me deciding to give me a nickname. This is particularly the case online, where I find that this is used as a (not-so) subtle form of put-down.

One of my colleagues does not let anyone call him by his given name. That's to prevent people from using diminutive or familiar forms of the name, which he detests. His friends, thus, address him by his surname, and people who don't know him address him formally by title and surname.

#647 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 04:50 PM:

IN first year at uni, one of our rather braod circle of friends, whose real name was Gavin, ended up being called Derek by someone, or someones mother or some sort of case of mistaken identity. But somehow it stuck and was quickly changed to Drek. Ok, he was rather a depressive sort of person, and somehow it fitted him. Thats mostly what we knew him as for the next 3 years.

#648 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 04:51 PM:

Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) #647: That was, ahem, something.

#649 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 04:53 PM:

abi #640: I have a student whose surname is 'Westfield' but for some reason I spent most of a semester calling her 'MacIntyre'.

'Abigeel,' dat moeste de geel Abi zijn.

#650 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 05:23 PM:

Fragano Ledgister@648 One of my colleagues does not let anyone call him by his given name. That's to prevent people from using diminutive or familiar forms of the name, which he detests. His friends, thus, address him by his surname, and people who don't know him address him formally by title and surname.

You work with Agent Mulder? Cool!

(More seriously . . . I go by "Doyle" as much as I go by "Debra," if not more so. Good friends tend to call me "Doyle," casual friends and acquaintances tend to go with "Debra," and there's a specific subset of old-and-good friends who call me "Malkin" because that's how they first knew me back when I was active in the SCA. And nobody but nobody has called me "Debbie" since I was 8 years old and announced to my family that it wasn't my name.)

#651 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 05:28 PM:

Fragano @651:

You callin' me yellow?

#652 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 05:44 PM:

Any peep out of AP and their alleged guidelines to be promulgated?

For that matter, have the blogosphere sorts who were griping about Teresa and Making Light, shed any more light on the situation, or has the matter effectively relocated itself to the bit bucket?

#653 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 05:47 PM:

If I remember correctly, the French counterpart to Abigail is evilllllll... I mean... Abigael. I can't remember if there's an umlaut on the 'e', but I do remember that it is pronounced 'ah-bee-gah-ell'. And French doesn't put the emphasis on any word's specific syllable.

#654 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 05:51 PM:

Debra Doyle #652: I never got into the X-Files...

My friend/colleague grew up in the last days of segregation and has a real horror of being 'called out of his name'.

There's a subset of very old and very good friends who have a particular nickname for me which I will tolerate, but not speak. In part that's because neither my wife nor my favourite ex likes it.

#655 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 05:54 PM:

abi #653: Well, you came up with the name. Now, if only your name were Rose and you hailed from Texas...

#656 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 06:09 PM:

I had a coworker named Nancy once years ago. I would pretend her name was Lil MacGill. But that was to make her smile, and I called her Nancy most of the time.

#657 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 06:17 PM:

Fragano #656: Mulder's full name was Fox Mulder, and in an early episode when Scully tried to call him Fox, he smiled and said "I even made my parents call me Mulder."

(Turns out not to be true, but whatever. I like it.)

#658 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 06:44 PM:

I find I would lack confidence if I tried to pronounce Abi's name (rhymes with tabby? rhymes with hobby? Something else?) or Fragano's (which syllable is accented, and what do the vowels do?)

#659 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 06:54 PM:

I'm gonna guess that abi rhymes with tabby, and that Fragano rhymes with....er...is pronounced kind of like frah-GAH-no. How'd I do?

#660 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 07:11 PM:

Xopher #658: There are only two songs that I can play on the guitar, and now, thanks to you, I have one of them stuck in my head. (The other one is Lola.)

#661 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 07:20 PM:

Fragano @ 656... Back in the early 1990s, one of my co-workers, an African-American called James, once mentionned, in the course of some discussion, that he didn't want to be called Jim, for obvious reasons.

#662 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 07:44 PM:

Bill Higgins #660: To make things more complicated, my name is pronounced differently in different languages, but the stress is on the same syllables.

To Anglophones I'm FraGAHno, to Hispanophones FraGAno, my French teacher, being French gave all three syllables the same stress.

My mother calls me Sorgrid.

#663 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 07:45 PM:

Serge #663: I'll bet!

#664 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 07:59 PM:

Serge @ 575

Is there no exemption for actors?

NO. HOWEVER, STAND-UP COMICS GET A 5-MINUTE WARNING, INSTEAD OF THE MORE COMMON 2-MINUTE WARNING.

#665 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 08:11 PM:

Death gets the Post of the Beast!

#666 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 08:12 PM:

Fragano @ 664... my French teacher, being French gave all three syllables the same stress.

That must be why we're so high-strung.

#667 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 08:14 PM:

@ the Number of the Beast... "2-minute warning"? I remember that movie. Came out in 1977 if I remember correctly.

#668 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 08:36 PM:

Nancy @ 644, it IS a nickname already. Or a diminutive. Of "Anne."

The session players I know would probably try on "Nancy Whiskey."

#669 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 09:26 PM:

Rikibeth, that is one of my favorite songs. I also like Sinatra's "Nancy with the Laughing Face."

#670 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 09:43 PM:

Fragano @ 664: Well, I guess I'm mispronouncing your name in three different languages. I was thinking of you as "FRA-ga-no". I'm almost correct en français.

Bruce Cohen and Fragano: How about a Warthog?

#671 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 10:01 PM:

Hmmm...

Classical music labels I can think of offhand:
Naxos
Phillips
Decca/London
Sony
Deutsche Grammophon at one point had a set/series of disks that were priced below their big name releases.

I have some recordings from Excelsior that were good enough to please me. I picked up some stuff from Intersound, Quintessence, and ProArte in the bargain bin, and I like them just fine. Penguin, the publisher, had a set/series out at Borders - they were fine, too.

Don't be afraid to pick up the sampler/best of CDs, either of a country or a composer. If you like what you hear, you can always go buy the full CD for the specific track.

Feel free to drop a line in my LJ if you like something, and if I know anything like it, I will recommend.

I should note, I'm not an expert on any of this stuff; I grew up listening to classical and doo-wop, and have slowly branched out from there.

#672 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 10:04 PM:

Well, I have now posted to the wrong thread for the first time!

#673 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 10:05 PM:

If we're collecting Sandman lyrics, Mickey Hart (of Grateful Dead fame) has "The Sandman" on his 1996 "Mystery Box" album, lyrics by Robert Hunter, inspiration specifically credited to Neil Gaiman's DC/Vertigo series.

Excerpts:

Long and thin and white as snow, eyes as black as coal;
Bag of sand as bright as gold to sprinkle on your soul. ....

Never see the Sandman, babe, you only see the sand;
Might see some fingerprints, but you won't see no hand. ....

ANGELS WITH A SWORD OF FLAME, AND PHANTOMS OF THE NIGHT,
ALL RETURN TO WHENCE THEY CAME -- DISSOLVE IN MORNING LIGHT.
WHEN MORNING COMES TO WAKE YOU, YOU MAY NOT REMEMBER WELL,
BUT I WILL NOT FORSAKE YOU; I HAVE OTHER DREAMS TO TELL.

#674 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 10:11 PM:

Pyre @ #675, that chorus sounds very Jefferson Airplane-ish to me, for some reason. I just checked the contents of the "Essential Airplane" CD and I don't instantly recognize the name of the song, but those words are really similar to whatever it is I'm reminded of.

#675 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 10:26 PM:

Got it. I knew it was going to nag at me. The lyrics aren't the same at all, but it's the cadence or whatever that's right. When the Earth Moves Again.

#676 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 10:27 PM:

Folks here might enjoy a number of tracks on that album. Conceivably all of them. But several are SF-ish, besides "The Sandman".

In "Down the Road", the narrator picks up a series of hitchhikers, takes them down the road a bit -- Joe Hill, John Kennedy, John Lennon....

"Only the Strange Remain" is an urban wizard's telling of a dark city perhaps too much like our own:

I've been searching in sectors both private and dark
With the eye of a witness -- silent and stark
Seen everything that goes on in the night
Things that are twisted and hide from the light
Things that live under the rock and the stone
Flesh like a fever on a platter of bone
Blacker than blackness and whiter than white
Things that live only on the edges of sight

So I pack my sack with a fistful of fire
There are cutthroats and thieves in this night of desire
Who steals this treasure must contend with its flame
Where only the strange remain

Looking deep and then deeper into every face
Past beauty and wisdom, past gender and race
I see a lone hungry wolf in a shining blue flame
And only the strange remain
....

#677 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2008, 11:58 PM:

Linkmeister @276, it sounds a bit like reJoyce/Last Wall of the Castle from "After Bathing at Baxters."

#678 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 12:52 AM:

Serge @ 616 - I'm glad you and JESR have resolved that, 'cause I had no idea. My memories of Seattle are predominately walking ones - didn't own a car in college. I would have said, "If you're walking from the Terry-Lander Hall dorm building to Gasworks Park, and then you keep walking, you get to it, if you didn't already get to it. Or something like that." I would definitely have said "Or something like that."

ibid. @ 668 - Failure at attempt to insert French-cut string bean joke into international pun cascade. Also admission of having been rereading "Blog" to the point of it affecting thought processes.

#679 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 01:52 AM:

Nicole: I suspect the difference to be twofold. The "i" will become a long "e", and there will be an arrest between "Mary" and "Lee".

I have (and have had) several different names, and as Caroline says they are different aspects of me, some bordering on separate personalities.

#680 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 02:16 AM:

For a particularly cringeworthy set of hideous nicknames, just trigger a flashback of Rob Schneider's "Makin' Copies" Saturday Night Live skits. (shudder)

#681 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 02:21 AM:

JESR @ #679, I dunno. For me that stanza sounds (only rhythmically) like "When the Earth..." Try this YouTube clip from "30 Seconds Over Winterland."

#682 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 02:24 AM:

I should add that I looked; the album that began this discussion (Hart's "Mystery Box") is available at iTunes.

#683 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 04:20 AM:

Nicole, #616, my name is pronounced like merrily -- all one word. In the south, they see lee and assume it's two words. I was very mad at my mother when I got to kindergarten and found out the song is not sung

Row row row your boat
Every girl and boy
Marilee, Marilee, Marilee, Marilee
Life is such a Joy.

I kept telling the teacher that my mother was a fifth-grade teacher and she had to be right.

Nancy, #671, and a nickname would also be Nance. I know someone whose name is Nan C. (same derivation as yours) and she signs herself NanC and some folks call her Nancy.

#684 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 04:59 AM:

I occasionally get Julie. Which I don't respond to, not so much as a deliberate attempt to make a point, but because it does not register as my name. Because it's *not* my name -- that variation may have started life as a diminutive of mine, but it's a name in its own right now, and not something that anyone who actually knows me would ever use as a diminutive of Julia.

As far as I can tell, it's mainly used to me by strangers who are familiar with "Julie" but haven't previously encountered "Julia", and read/hear what they expect rather than what's actually in front of them.

Which leads back to the original thread -- I'm another who was wondering "who is this Julia Ellen person", even though JESR has mentioned in the past that she doesn't use Julia in part because there are so many of us on here. Her handle here is JESR and that's how I think of her. (And Xopher is Zopher-rhymes-with-gopher to me, even though if someone refers to him as Christopher I'll know who's meant.)

#685 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 05:35 AM:

Marilee @685, I've never heard that version. The one I know goes

Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Life is such a dream
Do you think they want something more 'positive' and 'energizing'?

#686 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 06:30 AM:

Serge #668: I thought that was high-toned.

#687 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 06:35 AM:

Ginger #672: I suppose that if warthogs can dance they can play baseball.

Possessing an unusual name has its problems. A former colleague of mine keeps sending e-mails addressed to one 'Fragona'.

#688 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 07:08 AM:

687: the Blackadder version is
Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream,
Belts off, trousers down,
Isn't life a scream. Oi!

which I think derives from boatie culture at Cambridge...

#689 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 08:50 AM:

#685, Marilee -

I don't know if it makes it better or worse, but I'd pronounce it wrong and be absolutely certain that it was only one word. I think it is less that Southerners look at "lee" and think "two words," and more that southerners look at "Mari" and think "Mary," not "merry." (Which is a funny thing to say, because to me the individual words are homophones, but when you stick "lee" after them then where I put the emphasis in the name changes.)

I think we've had this discussion before, and both times I've been surprised because "merrily" isn't remotely a direction I'd have guessed for it. I've gotta see if I can make it stick this time.

#690 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 09:09 AM:

Row row row your boat
Gently down the stream
Putt putt putt putt
We're out of gasoline.


As a nickname for Nancy, there's always "Nan."

Gosport Nancy she's my fancy
She's the girl I like to court
How she'll meet you
How she'll greet you
When your ship comes into port.
All the Gosport ladies
They love the sailor-man
But for finding a way to spend your pay
There's none like Gosport Nan.

#691 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 09:20 AM:

The intellectual version:

Propel, propel, propel your craft
Exquisitely down the solution.
Ecstatically, ecstatically, ecstatically, ecstatically
Existence is but an illusion.

#692 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 09:25 AM:

Nicole @ 680... I liked Seattle quite a bit. By the way, when TCM showed Sidney Poitier's The Slender Thread, in which he works the night shift on a suicide hotline, I was amazed at how lower Seattle's skyline was in 1965.

#693 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 10:04 AM:

Three rodents with defective vision,
Three rodents with defective vision,
Observe their method of locomotion!
Observe their method of locomotion!
They all pursued the agriculturist's spouse,
Who cut of their tail extensions with a kitchen utensil.
Have you ever observed such a strange phenomenon
In your entire existence?
As three rodents with defective vision,
Three rodents with defective vision.

#694 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 11:17 AM:

Articulation practice in choir! Both of those, with slight variation. Our rodent one went

A trio of myopic rodents (2ce)
Observe how they perambulate (2ce)
They all circumnavigated the agriculturalist's spouse
Who excised their extremities with a carving utensil
Have you ever observed such an occurrence in your existence as
A trio of myopic rodents (2ce)?

But we can do better, no?

A trio of visually-impaired rodents (2ce)
Observe the locomotional tendences of the aforesaid (2ce)
Who jointly and severally circumnavigated the spouse of the agriculturalist,
Whereupon said spouse employed culinary utensils to excise their rear extremites.
Has any such display of mayhem previously occurred in your existence as
A trio of visually-impaired rodents (2ce)?

If you can sing THAT while keeping time in the tune at any reasonable pace, you have a faster tongue than I!

#695 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 11:20 AM:

I've only heard "Life is but a dream", which, even as a child, I found very creepy.

#696 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 07:10 PM:

It's Wednesday evening, is there any sign of information update from AP?

#697 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 09:25 PM:

Certainly nothing from http://www.mediabloggers.org and a quick search on Google News doesn't bring up anything new.

#698 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 10:07 PM:

ethan @697 — oops. Yes, that's the line as I remember it too. Some multi-tasking foul-up between mind, hands & eyes.

#699 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 10:10 PM:

AP had an update on Thursday evening, saying that they'd settled the matter with Rogers. As part of that settlement he has agreed (that link to the WashPost) not to give any details until AP came up with a better explanation of an actual policy.

Rogers has this short missive.

You're not going to see anything much on the MBA site for a while; Bob Cox is trying to catch up with the paying work after spending a lot of time on this thing last week. There is a very short update here, under the "MBA news" link from the front page, which is where you'd expect it.

Basically, The AP screwed up and wishes everybody would shut up and forget about it, is my own interpretation.

#700 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 10:29 PM:

Epacris, #687, my mother changed the lyrics so they'd have my name: Marilee Joy. And ethan is right, the traditional last line is "Life is but a dream."

Oh, and it turns out I answer to the UKan version: MAHR uh lee

#701 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2008, 11:20 PM:

Michael 701: I hope your interpretation is right, even though I have no intention of forgetting about it.

#702 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 12:07 AM:

Oh, I don't mean they want us to forget about it because they're not going to sue people. I mean they wish we'd forget about it because they don't like the light shining on their little cockroach strategy. They screwed up by being so disorganized about it and - frankly - not having a good story when called on it.

#703 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 12:17 AM:

#701 Michael

AP hadn't changed its apparently attitude and hadn't changed the rate schedule on the webpage the last time I looked a day or two ago, though.

Basically, The AP screwed up and wishes everybody would shut up and forget about it, is my own interpretation.

What it looks like to me is that AP decided to go pick some websites to stomp on and make examples out of/set a precendent with. AP got itself some bad publicity and ill-will that perhaps AP hadn't been anticipating/was expected wouldn't happen, but I don't see any real signs that AP is backing off from the stance it took with the rate schedule, and showing intentions of suing to set examples and precedent. I don't see any evidence of any real sort of contrition on AP's part, or of any intention to back off if it thinks it can bully its way through via finetuning who to hit with lawsuits.

This is a naive opinion, I am not privy to AP's thinking and poliies, etc., I am going strictly by what I'v seen/read.

#704 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 12:54 AM:

Paula, I agree with you entirely. The AP wants to stomp some little people, and is sufficiently backward that they didn't realize that little people with blogs are not given to going quietly.

That's how I meant that they screwed up -- I can see now, from Xopher's reaction and yours, that I clearly didn't express that very well. I certainly don't think they've come to think that they were wrong! They'll continue to screw over whoever they can -- as long as they think they can get away with it.

#705 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 01:33 AM:

"Indicate the way to my abode,
I'm exhausted and desire to retire.
I ingested alcohol sixty minutes ago
And it went right to my cerebellum.
Wherever I may ambulate,
On land or sea or atmospheric density,
You can always hear me warbling this melody,
Indicate the way to my habitual abode."

#706 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 02:07 AM:

Michael Roberts @ 706, "little people with blogs are not given to going quietly."

What's that line? "Never piss off somebody who owns a printing press?"

What AP seems not to have recognized is that they no longer have a monopoly on the press.

#707 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 03:04 AM:

Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey @660:
I find I would lack confidence if I tried to pronounce Abi's name (rhymes with tabby? rhymes with hobby? Something else?)

Abi is simply a variant on the more common Abby*. As I learned as a child, it goes nicely with words like crabby, flabby, shabby and dear.

-----
* Not to be confused with Abbey, which is a monastic building. Nun of my friends can seem to resist monk-eying around with that particular homophone, but I find that abbot of that goes a long way.

#708 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 05:33 AM:

#695 Who cut of their tail extensions with a kitchen utensil.

Perhaps "caudal extensions" would be better?

#709 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 06:17 AM:

abi #709: We always give prior-ity to your preferences.

#710 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 07:11 AM:

abi @709: And to your mother, superior as her judgment is in naming her offspring.

#711 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 08:20 AM:

709, 711, 712: Oh, brother.

#712 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 09:24 AM:

abi @ 709... Abi is simply a variant on the more common Abby*. As I learned as a child, it goes nicely with words like crabby, flabby, shabby and dear.

Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: Igor, would you mind telling me whose brain I did put in?
Igor: And you won't be angry?
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: I will NOT be angry.
Igor: Abby someone.
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: Abby someone. Abby who?
Igor: Abby Normal.
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: Abby Normal?
Igor: I'm almost sure that was the name.
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: Are you saying that I put an abnormal brain into a seven and a half foot long, fifty-four inch wide GORILLA?

#713 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 11:11 AM:

#708 Linkmeister, #706 Michael

AP seems to have bought into the Stalinist mentality that's been occupying the offices of much of the US Government the past six year... the AP seems to be trying to gag the whatever-it-'s-called-estate (fourth estate or fifth estate or some such--the one that "the press" and evolved new media analogues belong to) information distribution entities which aren't AP associates/licensees.

The gag methods include lawsuits, discrediting, or subversion in the sense of getting them bought in and vested and domesticated/"broken" to compliance, and independent viewpoints that don't agree with the tenor of the AP stories, squelched.

Again, this is the view from where I'm sitting--it's the deletion of indepedent viewpoints from access/public accreditation as worthwhile credible information. It's an undermining, that has resonances of the wholesale pernions deliberate information removal, destruction, and intentional mangling/redaction-into-garbage that's been going on under the aegis of George Walker Bush and his associates and allies (intention, unintentional, or acceding due to actual or implied threats to at a minimum their livelihoods...) the past seven and a half years.
>
Note how the tenor has changed even for NPR/PBS, regarding as touchstone the removal of Bill Moyers, though he was someone ousted who eventually managed to get past/around the removal and gagging to an extent, when the FCC apparatchiks and political appointee officers had gone so far that even the mostly accessionary, complicity Congress started objecting.

#714 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 11:19 AM:

Ginger @ 713... Have you ever had a diminutive version of your first name inflicted upon you?

#715 ::: Evan ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 01:40 PM:

abi @ 581:
With a mouse as a hammer. A dead one. A long dead one.

A weasel, perhaps? I'll admit that's a stretch, and that this may be a long-dead topic by now, so I will stop beating this dead, er, animal.

#716 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 04:09 PM:

Serge @ 716: Nope.

I've had it paired with snaps, ale, bread, and -- highly originally -- "ivitis".

#717 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 04:16 PM:

Ginger @ 718... One nice thing about French is that very few names have an alternate versions. 'Serge' is 'Serge' and nothing other than 'Serge'. ("There can be only one!")

Gingerivitis?
Ow.

#718 ::: Gingivitis ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 04:24 PM:

Serge @ 719: It was the only version of my name that had any teeth in it.

Perhaps it's where I get my biting wit.

Anyway, yes, no one was able to minimize or diminish my given name, although they could (and did) misremember me as "Virginia", "Ginny", "Jenny", and Jennifer. Oh, and "George"*.

Then there was the whole "Black-eyed Susan" episode.

*Although this was related to handwriting issues.

#719 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 04:35 PM:

Gingivitis @ 720...

It was the only version of my name that had any teeth in it
No gumming up the works?

there was the whole "Black-eyed Susan" episode
...of Doctor Who?

#720 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 05:35 PM:

Gin #720: What you need is a tonic.

#721 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 05:58 PM:

See, when I see 'Ginger' I think of fondant and buttercream. I make a mean ginger fondant, and an even better ginger buttercream. With fresh, not dried, ginger of course.

#722 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 06:07 PM:

No Ginger root? Highly prized for stir-fry.

#723 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 07:04 PM:

Xopher #723: I have to confess, that when I think of ginger, my first thought is of this stuff.

#724 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 07:32 PM:

West African Ginger Beer

2 cups water
1/2 lb fresh ginger root, chopped or grated
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 cup honey

Bring water and ginger to a boil in a medium saucepan. Simmer for 20 minutes, then let cool until warm.

Strain into a jar (I use cheesecloth) and add the honey and lemon juice. (You might want to adjust the amounts of both of these.) Cool to room
temperature and refrigerate.

To serve, mix 1 part ginger concentrate to about 3 parts soda water. (Or sip slowly, straight, to clear sinuses from a cold.)

#725 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 08:02 PM:

Did you know that the French word for 'ginger' is 'gingembre'?

#726 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 08:06 PM:

Linkmeister 727: that would be the "fresh ginger" that I juice and reduce for my buttercream &c.

#727 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 08:33 PM:

Xopher, I figured that. I was expressing mild surprise that no one had thought of "ginger root" as a nickname for our friend.

I've been fortunate with nicknames; it's hard to muck up Steve too much. Linkmeister has been hacked down to Link and Linky occasionally.

#728 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 09:23 PM:

Ah, well, middle-class mainly white kids didn't know about ginger root or they surely would have used it.

Serge @ 721: I'm going to give this a brush off, but -- Serge, mon ami, en espagnol, en particulier de l'Argentine, c'est "Zingiber" and the pronounciation of that word is approximately "Hin-he-breh" or "In-he-breh".

Fragano @ 722: I have had one, at least once. I think I prefer the tonic alone.

Xopher @ 723: If you treat your fondant more carefully, it won't be so mean. There are no truly mean fondants; it's all in the handling thereof.

Linkmeister @ 724: I grew up eating stir fries at home (quick and easy to make, my parents shared the kitchen duties, and we all ate like starving people when it was ready). I actually don't like the taste of ginger, although I've grown accustomed to it. It sounds so wrong when I say so. Yes, I have a frozen bit of myself in the freezer, for shredding, grating, and chopping when I need it!

Fragano @ 725: There is a company in North Carolina (if memory still serves me) that makes a ginger ale and a ginger beer. They make their product with fresh ginger*, and it is quite spicy. Good stuff.

*I'm always fresh, but I'm especially fresh to my friends. ;-)

#729 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2008, 11:04 PM:

Ginger #730:
Ah, well, middle-class mainly white kids didn't know about ginger root or they surely would have used it.

First time I offered to cook a Chinese meal at a friend's, I made sure to ask if they had the required ingredients. "Yes, of course we have ginger."

Ginger chicken stir-fry doesn't work with powdered ginger. But at least it wasn't crystalline ginger.

#730 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 12:19 AM:

An interesting backgrounder by the WSJ about the AP and how it's changing in this New Media Era.

#731 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 12:31 AM:

Quoth Evan: A weasel, perhaps? I'll admit that's a stretch, and that this may be a long-dead topic by now, so I will stop beating this dead, er, animal.

... and there I was expecting that "weasel" URL to go to the last extensive weasel discussion hereabouts.

#732 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 04:39 AM:

Paula Lieberman @ 715:
...It's an undermining, that has resonances of the wholesale pernions deliberate information removal,...

Not to detract in any way from a beautiful eloquent well-justified rant, but just to ease my puzzlement:

What is that word? Or what was it supposed to be?

#733 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 04:57 AM:

re: the ginger subthread (thanks for that recipe, Joel Polowin @726, I think I'm going to try it!) -- I once decided to stick a piece of ginger root in some potting soil. It was sitting around in the kitchen, unused, and left to its own devices was showing signs of growth. It grew incredibly quickly (I documented over a foot in about a week), vaguely resembling bamboo. And when it had reached a height of about 1-1/2 feet, the tip of the plant started curling and twisting around itself. Very bizarre, but apparently normal, because I've tried this a couple of times now.

#734 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 08:05 AM:

Pyre @734: I'll hazard a guess that 'pernicious' was meant (and it stumbled and fell trying to keep up the pace). At least it seems to fit.

#735 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 09:10 AM:

Soon Lee @ 731: "Ginger chicken stir-fry doesn't work with powdered ginger."

No, it doesn't. Nothing works with powdered ginger, really. It might look pretty when you dust the plate with it though.

One of my favorite home-made Chinese dishes is a very simple one: chopped chicken gizzard, soaked in a combination of soy sauce, vinegar, hot sauce, a little sliced fresh ginger, chopped scallions and some sugar. I have never been able to stop myself from eating it, not once I start.

I just ate breakfast, but now I'm hungry.

#736 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 09:13 AM:

Nothing works with powdered ginger, really.

Peach pie.

#737 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 09:57 AM:

Ginger @ 737... Nothing works with powdered ginger

Goodness.
I now have visions of Ginger dressed like Marie-Antoinette.

"Let them eat cake!"

#738 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 10:10 AM:

Paula Lieberman @ 613

Ouch, I think you aprained my brain. As soon as I read the words of that song the words from the Coke commercial came into my mind: "It's the real thing!"

Then cognitive dissonance set in: which is hte real thing? Name Brand nookie? Or Coca Cola nookie? Is that wet, brown, and fizzy? Or is it Wet and Wild?

#739 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 11:11 AM:

Serge @ 739: Apparently, I'll have to say "Let them eat peach pie!", which would not be a bad thing really. I like peach pie.

::wanders off, powdered::

#740 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 11:31 AM:

^^aka "Ginger Takes a Powder," no doubt!

#741 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 11:43 AM:

#740 Bruce

Various of Nate's songs are brain-spraining. (Another contemporary SF/F community singer-songwriter who commits brain-spraining songs is Bob Kanefsky. There are others, for that matter, -- Renee Levine, for example, and then there is always Leslie Fish with Banned from Argo. We had a jolly shore leave there/For just three days or four/But Argo doesn't want us anymore!

#734 Pyre
Yup, the word I intended to type was pernicious

I have a very old and obdurate mental block/script about too-accurate typing, that goes to "If you're female but your typing is inaccurate, you won't get directed or diverted into the clerk-typist-stenography pool. Accurate fast typing is an express trip into the administrative support pink ghetto." It dates back to when my age was in single digits, and long before personal computers became ubiquitous, when typing was something the clerical staff and hired clerk-typists did, not engineers and scientists... even the year I graduated college, doctoral students were still paying professional freelance clerical workers to type up their doctoral theses for final format submission.

#742 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 12:30 PM:

Paula Lieberman @ 743... the year I graduated college, doctoral students were still paying professional freelance clerical workers to type up their doctoral theses

The year I graduated college in 1977, we had to have our programs punched on cards by clerical workers - all of them women.

Meanwhile, it's quite interesting to watch documentaries about the glory days of NASA, especially when they show Mission Control: rows after rows of white men wearing white shirts and black ties and black pants. Compare that to what we now see - most recently with the Mars landing.

#743 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 01:29 PM:

Serge #744:

I was noticing the sartorial shift between Mercury/Gemini and Apollo. Hair got longer, loads of moustaches appeared, and the short/tie combinations became so dreadful that black pants and white shirts would have been a blessing, I think. (No, I didn't like clothes from the late 60s/early 70s that much, and I'm sure I made more than even the usual number of fashion mistakes at the time.)

When I was a senior in high school, they offered a CS class, which I took. The computer access was through the local research college, and required you to fill out coding sheets which college employees punched up and then ran. You could cut a day off the submission cycle by punching up your own cards, if you knew how to use the keypunch machine (I did, from previous college-level summer work) which was located outside the assistant proncipal's office. It was an old-style machine, with no multipunch; instead, you used the backspace key to make all the punctuation combinations. Alas, the backspace key was more than a bit random; sometimes it would work, other times it wouldn't do anything, and the rest of the time it would go backwards more than one space. I went through an awful lot of cards that year, and learned to curse under my breath.

#744 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 01:59 PM:

joann @ 745... the short/tie combinations became so dreadful that black pants and white shirts would have been a blessing

Even I had better fashion sense than that. I'd have ditched the tie.

As for punched cards... Yes, it was fun, dealing with those, eh? Like I said earlier, programmers were supposed to let the clerical staff do this, but, being who I am, I eventually ignored the rule and just did it myself. Luckily, it took only a couple of years before dumb terminals were introduced and punchers became a thing of the past. Mind you, it wasn't one terminal in each person's office. It was more like one terminal per 3 people, all in a central location, and we had to wait for our turns.

Does this make it sound like we grew up in a steampunk age?

#745 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 02:36 PM:

keypunches.... I hated keypunches, hated, hated, hated them. The backspace key on keyboards I use is very shiny.

#746 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 02:41 PM:

Et tu, Paula? Didn't you enjoy it when a card deck's rubber band would break?

#747 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 02:58 PM:

Serge #748:

*I* didn't enjoy it. People around me learned new words, and sometimes new ways of putting together old words.

#748 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 03:00 PM:

It's Friday midafternoon EDT in the USA on June 27. Has AP deigned to provide any new information or revised licensing fees?

Has any representative of Mr Cox' organization come forth with any substantiative commentary, guideline comments, comments upon the situation, etc., beyond that initial notification that indicatesthat AP has ceased bludgeoning/threatening to bludgeon The Drudge Retort with the damnable DMCA (I've said that were Sonny Bono's grave within two hours of me I would have made a special trip to not-honor his gravesite).

Regarding organizations where one person is the focal point and such--years ago before the end of the Cold War, I was working for GTE Strategic Systems Division. One of my coworkers was a Program Manager (I was a systems engineer, but we both were in the front end program development area) who was retired military was trying to get some information, and kept being referred to Lt Col. Oliver North, head of the White House Communications Agency. The coworker was very much taken aback that the head of WHCA was a mere lieutant colonel (0-5) and not a full colonel (0-6). If I recall correctly the coworker had casually known North from them having both been stationed at the Pentagon at the same time in offices that interacted with one another. The coworker, however, was quite aghast at the level of power and control that North had--apparently what had happened was that there had been a power vacuum, in the sense that since there was no senior officer defined as an O-6 occupying the position and exercising the control and management and leadership etc. etc., the position was open and North just sort of took over and by default, got control of everything... there was a power vacuum, and he filled it and created/expanded a wide-ranging base for himself, for lack of the Reagan adminstration, was it, giving a damn about the situation or bothering to appoint a qualified senior service member to be the head of WHCA.

Later, the coworker said, "If Ollie North did those things he's accused of, his ass belongs in jail for the rest of his life."

#749 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 03:03 PM:

Paula @ 743, it's Rennie Levine, not Renee.

Tom Smith has done some brain-hurtin' stuff as well. "Crystal Gayle Killed Frank Herbert", for example, or "Telly Taley Heart".

#750 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 03:11 PM:

#750

Oh, bah!
I lost track of the point I was initially intending on trying to make.

The point is that Mr North was running a one-man show at WHCA, everything seemed to go through him. My coworker got told, by everyone he talked to, that the information he was looking for, he needed to get from Oliver North. The coworker, again, was quite appalled at the level of power that North had in the US Government, a level of power that no 0-5 in a sanity-checked US Government should have had, much less should have been in any position to abuse as he abused....

North and his direct boss seem to have been rotten to the core, and massively exploited all the power they had, to the detriment of the USA and world population (various noxious messes and millions of displaced persons and armies of the dead, one can trace back to Reagan/Bush I administration policies and actions regarding Iran and Iraq and propping up Saddam Hussein among other miscarriages of justice.)

The actions of the very few with titular or limited titular but vast amounts of de facto authority, outweiged all else.

I am NOT saying that all organization which have one person or a small contingent with the control and authority in them effect vile deeds and actions, but rather, that what the leadership de jure or de facto of an organization controlled by one to a handful of people that has hundreds of thousands or even a couple of million people (the US military back when North was WHCA head), the myriads have little power regarding what the organization actually does.

#751 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 04:05 PM:

Choir Master: "Now, Abbot, we have to discuss the devotional roster. Who's on Prime?"

#752 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 08:40 PM:

Serge #746 Does this make it sound like we grew up in a steampunk age?

Maybe a little. My Dad worked for British Steel and they were doing modelling on a computer at (I think) Sheffield Univeristy in the early 70s. They would send their punched cards off to the university and get the results back the day after tomorrow (Sometimes they would send them in time to get onto that night's run and get them back second post, but that was unusual). But by the time I started to scribble on things the paper I was scribbling on was the back of printouts from their own computer at the steelworks. I'm almost certain they were typing their programs in using a keyboard and screen. I know people who did important work* on punchcards and have come across archives of punchcards, but never actually known anyone to use them while I'm around. (For reference I'm 32).

I'm going to suggest that punchcard computers are as much dieselpunk as steampunk.

(In my first year at university we learnt Fortran 77, but for the second year we had to use Fortran 90. I understand it had been that way for a couple of years, and stayed the same for another couple.)

* Seriously important work - one of the guys my Dad knows from college did his doctorate in detecting trace amounts of heavy metals in people, and has worked with various health organisations on this, including WHO, until he retired; he'd been programming stuff from the early 60s through until the late 90s.

#753 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 10:22 PM:

Neil Willcox @ 754... punchcard computers are as much dieselpunk as steampunk

Darn fumes.

I certainly don't miss those days. What about you?

#754 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 10:55 PM:

Rob Rusick @ 736, Paula Lieberman @ 743:

Thank'ee both.

I worried I'd missed some obscure term like ternion, or a borrow-word from some other language (pernion).

Paula, I don't think this crowd is going to demote anyone to the steno pool for knowing how to spell.

Though that phenomenon in American society may help explain the rise to power of ignorami like W.

#755 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 09:02 AM:

#756 Pyre
Spelling competence/ability, and typing accuracy are almost completely independent of one another--typing involves hand-eye coordination and mechanical ability to accurately repetitively key in characters to appear on a physical page or display area on a screen via mechanical (really old typewriters) or usually electromechanical user interface of the keyboard converting the physical pressing of keys to signals which via additional transformations, cause letter images to display.... spelling is a completely different process that does not involve mechanical actions.

Pressing the wrong key causes typoes.... bad spelling isn't typographical error, it's having a wrong mapping between the word and the letter components that constitute the word--an analogy is someone drawing a house with the roof on the bottom and the foundation in the air to make a very exaggerated analogy. The promotion opportunities are limited, the pay is lousy, the work conditions uninspiring, the work BORING, etc., and the respect non-existent.

I generally spell very well, but there was NEGATIVE incentive for me to type accurately and be "detailed oriented" for precision mostly SCUT work, of being a LOUSILY PAID, LOUSILY TREATED, LOW PRESTIGE DATA ENTRY CLERK in the TYPING POOL!

That is, clerk-secretary back when I was child, was an analogous forerunner of the data entry jobs that mostly are in offshore data entry centers where low-paid people key records that may be handwritten by people in the USA, into large databases.

Hmm, thinking about spelling a bit more--there are multiple sources of "bad spelling" -- some o them involve things such as dyslexia, where there is are information processing issues such that in the worst case the -words- "right" and "left" don't properly register as physical direction.... the appellation "left" and the physical direction/side of one's body/dimensional just don't stick, and the ability to distinguish when trying to write or print between eg b and d is "deficient."

That's an organic wetware/neural physiological wiring issue..... Then there are people whose spelling is poor because their literacy is poor, they might hate reading/academics stuff or be uninterested in it and uninteresting in "correct" grammar, etc. LOLcats is more on that side of thinkg, as in "i kin eet ur lunch."

#756 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2008, 08:01 PM:

re that story about the AP: The editor bitching about the AP being interested enough to pick the story up, but not cover it... the back of my hand to him for being both lazy, and ignorant.

The associated in the name is because the very thing he's complaning about is how they work; how they were built. The AP (and UPI) were co-operative ventures. You subscribed to the feed, and they read what you offered up. I had to learn AP Style in college because being able to write things the AP could pick up without significant editing was seen as an important skill to newspaper writers as a class.

The AP has never had many reporters (the LA office, as I recall, has 6 editors, and about as many reporters/photographers. The vast amount of what is original to them is freelanced by "stringers". Twenty years ago it paid $50 apiece for photos, and stories. A living at that was a lot of work.

#757 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2008, 01:49 PM:

June 30, 2008, after noon.
Has there been a peep out of AP with new guidelines and/or rate schedules?

Seems to me like the assumption is that the blogosphere for AP is a mostly "memoryless system" to play games with at will.

From the outside, and I reiterate, that I am outside, it looks like there is a special privileged relationship betweem AP and MBA. The details of agreement regarding The Drudge Retort as far as I am aware (it not being a site I visit in the ordinary run of things) remain private and unavailable to the random websurfer/site visitor. AP's claim that it would provide guidance I wouldn't even grace with calling "in bad faith" -- faith I would think had nothing to do with it.... MBA's choice of focusing its effort and attention and resource on other matters and not include marketing/blogosphere relations-information to the general websurfing public, is a choice that carried/carries with it the tradeoff baggage that if you don't provide public information access, you can get regarded the way many of the people who frequent Making Light, view the Executive Branch of US Government and its works and their effects....

When there is no forthcoming information, and the audit trail is missing, that creates a vacuum that speculation and suspicion flourish in, for lack of credible extant data to use for bases for analyses.

There are people who deliberately withhold information, censor information, destroy records, etc., to hinder/dissuade/prevent/preclude substantiative investigation and digging up of misdeeds. Then there are people whose records keeping is not intentionally lacking, but is lacking nonetheless. The results, though, of missing or incomplete records, lack of information, tend to be different to distinguish between intentional malfeasance, and lack of resource/attention/etc....

MBA has come off looking non-heroic in at least part due to a lack of current, available information.... AP however is a large long-established big money business which appears to be a giant high-handed bully which either can't be bothered to provide information, or has no intention of doing so.

#758 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2008, 01:47 AM:

July 5, 2008

Has AP bothered to update and/or elucidate?!

#759 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 05:18 PM:

It's July 9, 2008.
Has AP yet provided any of the revision/update/reconsideration it promised of its rate structure for bloggers?! How long has it been now, three weeks?

#760 ::: Denise ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 05:58 AM:

the Narrows bridge is on HWY 16 & does not have a troll

#761 ::: Jon Meltzer sees posting from sham "Media Spammers Association" ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 06:29 AM:

All bridges should have a troll.

#762 ::: P J Evans sees weirdness ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2009, 12:41 AM:

possibly spam, since it doesn't seem to make sense.

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