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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Bottom of September (Facebook Compilation)

A collection of the best memes and statuses from Facebook over the period of Sept. 16st-Sept. 30th. Also, as a small reminder to everyone, I was doing a lot of writing on my public Facebook profile in the months before the election. (You're welcome to follow me there.) Since the election––or more accurately since the results became increasingly obvious––I have been able to focus again, and I'm getting back on track. I'm going to blow through these compilation posts over the next handful of weeks (both to catch up and to give me something a little lower key to post during the holiday season). 

After that, maybe I'll do more like one a month instead of every two weeks.

Note: Some of these are very topical, so I've put notes about what was going on when they were written.

There are a number of "we don't need no stinking government" ideologies that depend on the
decency of fellow humans that I think might want to look at the pandemic as a data point.


“The American people must have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president."

-Mitch McConnell 2016 (after Scalia's death--a vote he SINGLE HANDEDLY BLOCKED from even coming to the floor for a vote for nearly a year). 

“President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.” 

-McConnell 2020 (after Ginsberg's death with 46 days to go until the election)

Tell me again how unfair it is to say they will wrap pretense around whatever the fuck they want; lie, cheat, and steal to enact their agendas; and are not interested in a free and fair democracy or pluralistic governance if it even provides so much as a speed bump to what they view as a moral imperative. 

Tell me all about how uncharitable I'm being to say EXACTLY that.


Why come up with a complicated system of epicycles when a heliocentric model explains the data much more accurately and without increasing absurdity? Occam's razor.

Can you imagine if you actually did *MEAN* "stand down," and then you reviewed the tape to find that you had said "Stand back and stand BY."  

Like, anyone who actually meant "stand down" would be falling ALL OVER themselves, clamoring to assemble a press conference, or find a journalist, or grab the nearest bullhorn or sharpie or SOMETHING to set the record straight.

They. Would. Be. MORTIFIED. 

The convoluted explanations for why he hasn't corrected himself, made such a profound mistake that happens to exactly match his oft-repeated behavior, and has NEVER successfully disavowed white supremacy until maybe days later (and only in a kind of wishy washy way) are ludicrous. We will look back on these ridiculous rationalizations like epicycles and those who defended them like the Catholic astronomers who refused to acknowledge the much simpler and painfully obvious truth. 

He is a white supremacist. Full stop.


[This was written shortly after Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death.]

I'm definitely angry right now, and I'm not the best version of myself, and maybe tonight isn't my "final answer," or I'll find some pocket of nuance that I just can't ignore, but right now I want to just write off every "I art lefter than thou" type with a hearty "Let me know how that fucking goes for you."

LET ME KNOW how it goes, as we keep drifting to the right, first with W and then with Trump, because Gore or Clinton or now Biden aren't perfect enough and you'd rather "send a message to Democrats" than make the world a marginally better place for the people the GOP likes to hurt. 

How'd that one go, by the way? It's 20 years later. Did Nader and the Green party bring you the liberal reforms you wanted? Did Dems start taking the far left seriously? Did the Dems learn their lesson? (Or did they just learn who they couldn't count on?) Did climate change top the issues in 2004....2008.....2012? Did the DNC and the Democratic leadership come around? Or did they just learn that the far left couldn't be counted on in a general election and was less risky to sacrifice, with its write-ins and abstentions, than a center who might actually flip a vote for an opponent who mattered. Did they learn their "lesson," or did they just learn that the center was where they could find the money and votes from a country MOSTLY made up of people whose hearts and minds were never won because, instead of winning them, we only deign to involve ourselves in one part of mainstream civic engagement, and THEN we toss away our own influence on protest votes and spend the next three and a half years glutting social media with guillotine and bootlicker memes that don't win the hearts and minds of the same the same mainstream, working-class folks we are counting on to back our vaunted "revolution" next time around.

Whatever lurching, sporadic, three-steps forward-two-steps-back, Republicans-being-dragged-kicking-and-screaming-the-entire-way gains we have made on the left (anywhere bigger than the community level) in my entire life have come from the executive branch in the form of a campaign promise like the A.C.A. or the  O.B.R.A in '93 (since rolled back because "Clinton was just as bad as Trump") or the results of S.C.O.T.U.S. rulings in the form of civil rights and liberties like Obergefell v. Hodges. 

And the greatest HARMS came from those two as well. 

I'm a non-monogamous, gender variant, pansexual crowdfunded working writer who gets paid for nannying my ex's kids primarily in groceries, emergency computer replacements, and health insurance. Believe me that if you present me with two options in life, I'm very likely going to find the third that you didn't list, but that works better for me and go my own way. And even I can tell you that our current political choices are bad and MUCH MUCH MUCH WORSE.....and that's IT. It's all there is. More's the pity, but it is. You either do harm reduction and keep doing the work come Nov. 4th or someone else decides for you that fascism is okay and people die.

Dems aren't going to make it all better, but the last four years should be an abject lesson that it can always always ALWAYS get worse. 

Democrats keep waiting for voters to be shocked and appalled enough to vote out the group openly cheating, and liberals keep waiting for Democrats to be the "adult in the room," and that's bad enough that they're waiting on each other. And I certainly have the nuance to understand why an individual just....can't.  (Getting people to vote for their own oppression is a tall order.) But the leftist purity politics stuff just makes everything worse for its existence.


It’s really quite simple.

Trump lies about everything. He lies even when he doesn’t have to lie. He lies when no one will care. He lies when there’s tape of him from a live broadcast on national television of the truth. And he’s so committed to his lies he’ll do shit like take a Sharpie and draw on weather forecast maps.

So it’s piss obvious when he suddenly loses the plot like a ten year old who’s gotten caught (“Wait....who did you want me to condemn?”). He could just lie. ("Yep. Totally condemn them.") Every OTHER thing out of his mouth is an effortless lie. Why all the sudden does he stumble? Why he won’t just simply do what he does best—or at least most often—and causally LIE that he denounces white supremacy (even though he doesn't). 

Because far from simply being an ongoing series of unrelated misspeaks and confused reactions he conspicuously has around ONLY this issue (that just happens every single time to reinforce a careless-but-unintended message), he knows exactly what he’s doing and who’s listening.

If the National Association of Hurricane Deniers loved him, hurricane denialism was a core part of his message that helped him win his first election, and there was a list as long as Suleiman Ali Nashnush’ leg that suggested he was a hurricane denier, he wouldn’t have touched that sharpie.

White supremacy protects itself, so intellectuals out there looking for zebras because of hoof prints are playing right into those boiler plate scripts. Occam’s razor suggests an elegant solution that explains everything quite simply. He won’t condemn white supremacy because he’s a white supremacist. Acting like we don’t “truly” know because he doesn’t show up to the debates in Klan robes is getting pretty silly.


If you've never seen anyone stand up to a gaslighting abuser, the first Trump/Biden debate is pretty much what it looks like. It's messy, and they claw and scratch and bite and try to drag you down to the ground with them the whole time.

It's only spectacular and cathartic in the movies. 

That's why it's so hard to do, and you usually have to settle for ESCAPE. (Not so much of an option in a presidential debate.)


[This post was in response to the first Biden/Trump debate (the one where Trump just interrupted and insulted everyone for two hours) and some of the mainstream reactions.]

They're both being awful. They both suck. They're both being terrible. No winners; only losers.

I know this is a popular frame, particularly from those who want to seem erudite about matters of policy and forensic debate and to show off their political acumen (or who are just a little bit gleeful for whatever reason about tearing down Biden), but I also know that this is exactly what abusers go for. This is what they want when their abuse is being called out. They want to point at their victims and say, "They started it!" or "What about them?" Anywhere the blame can go––even "both"––that takes the focus off of their abuse.

Every. Single. Time. I called out my abusers' behavior, I would be "punished" for doing so. The form of the punishment was like a whirlwind attack of anything and everything that might stick. Everything I'd EVER done, no matter how off topic. (And don't even try to return to the subject at hand.) Every detail challenged, no matter how irrelevant. (Was it six months ago or seven? Let's start a sub-fight about this.) I couldn't even finish a sentence. And they would keep going until I disassociated enough that they "had the floor" and would talk and talk and talk, spinning out this word salad about how terrible I was being to THEM

They push their victims and rattle them and get them into a moment when they are defending themselves against something preposterous, and when the person reacts in a way that they are NOT their best, the abuser has ammunition forever for how THEY were the aggrieved party.  How many times have you thought, "Boy, those two are just TERRIBLE to each other" and later on, you learned that one of them was actually being far far terrible-er? 

We're seeing this play out at the macro level as "the left" is being blamed for all the violence. As if there were never an inciting incident or fifty. 

It's called DARVO. (Deny, attack, reverse victim and offender). It's the reason a lot of victims of abuse couldn't even watch the debates last night and are having an almost-as-difficult-time this morning as people claim that Biden was just as bad. Because when you stand up to an abuser instead of leaving (maybe because they've created a "captive audience" space like, oh, say, a debate), that's pretty much what it looks like. It's not like the movies where you get the great zingers and the rocking catharsis. It turns into a grudge match of lastwordism and whataboutism. 

Only one candidate walked onto that stage with absolutely no intention of talking about policy and politics. Only one couldn't for one second let another person have the narrative or the attention. Only one person was talking about how awful everyone was being to him instead of the country. One was determined to derail the entire train rather than deal with the thought of losing. The other tried to talk to the audience and keep a train of thought and debate in good faith. He just couldn't. It was like debating a screaming goat. Because that's how abusers work. They can't allow you to make your full points. Then they might have to deal with them, and not everyone will take their side. 

If you fall/fell for it, don't feel too bad. You're in good company. Our culture is a mess when it comes to trust and verify. We almost always either don't trust at all, decide based on other things who we will believe within seconds and never get around to the verify part, or exercise our reasonable-sounding muscles by assuming "both sides" must be behaving badly for identical reasons, and that intellectual morality is in total emotionlessness. That there is something fundamentally "wrong" with a person's rationality if they are capable of being provoked. (Which is part of the reason we end up blaming the victim so often.) 

What I saw last night was someone standing up to the mind games of an abuser.

And from a side of politics that claims it is entirely tired of being told to "go high" in the face of so much abuse, it might be worth considering which narrative we're playing into.


Don't despair.

No one ever THOUGHT Trump's cult followers were going to toss their MAGA hats to the ground with a "You mean he's not what we thought he was? You mean he doesn't have the business acumen we elected him for having?  Well, this just changes EVERYTHING!"

We never thought that was going to happen. MAGAts have cast their lots and committed to their moral path. And a certain number of folks will find it nihilistic-chic to point it out at every opportunity how "they won't care."

Of course they won't. Of COURSE! That was never our ambition. They are lost, and if they're coming back at all, it's not going to be because of anything we did to convince them. 

Remember why we share these stories and point out the hypocrisy and lies. It's for the tiny few who might listen (in a world where the margins of victory for swing states are less than 1% and sometimes less than half of one percent, you only need to get through to one person in a couple of hundred.) That one Republican in Michigan or Ohio who really HAS had enough. 

It's for the moderate who thinks maybe the left just really HATES DJT based on nothing substantive.

But mostly it's for us. Because WE'RE the goddamned frogs in a pot and in this mixed metaphor the burner is social gaslighting. We do it to remind each other that we're not crazy. THIS IS NOT NORMAL!

Imagination time!

You live in a small town in rural Indiana. As small as it is, it has organized crime. "Boffo" runs the town. Boffo is the mayor and police chief, but he also controls the city council and has the local judge in his pocket. The state won't mess with him. 

Boffo has enemies, but they don't have the power to stop him, and in order to even TRY, they have to go through federal jurisdictions which usually ends up with an FBI task force showing up but being told they can ask questions but no one is going to cooperate. 

Boffo breaks laws all the time. He jay walks, runs red lights, speeds, and parks everywhere just as a matter of course, but he also funnels city money into his bank account, rigs the mayoral elections, accepts bribes, rips off insurance agencies, cooks the books, and several people in town have credible stories of larceny. Boffo even brags about how he orders big meals at restaurants and then walks out before paying the check.

Your roommate has spent YEARS telling you, "Boffo can't do that! It's illegal." (Your roommate fancies themselves a very legal savvy expert.) Every time your roommate says Boffo can't do something, Boffo does it anyway, and there's no one to stop him. So not only does Boffo "do that," but he gets away with it. If it's really, really bad, the FBI comes down like six weeks later and leaves empty-handed a few days afterward.

One day your phone rings. It's Boffo. He tells you that he's going to murder you. Naturally, you are terrified. 

"Pfffffft. Relax. Boffo can't do that!" your roommate insists, dismissing your concern, and even mocking it a little. "Murder is illegal. You'll be just fine."

THAT'S WHAT Y'ALL SOUND LIKE.

Recently on NPR I heard about this group called the Transition Integrity Project that was set up to try to ensure a peaceful transition of power (one of the cornerstones of a democracy). This group played a series of "war games" about the transition of power and found that in only one scenario did Trump concede power without tapping every agency, commission, state, and local government, and even the military and/or openly encouraging mob violence and stochastic terrorism. 

A total blowout. 

That's the only scenario. In every other scenario, the group playing Trump was able to block mail votes, mobilize the national guard, sow chaos, tap law enforcement, and even weaponize his people to fight for him in the streets. In every other scenario (even a RESPECTABLE Biden victory––to say nothing of a narrow one), we end up counting on a guy who basically *dared* Congress to do ANYTHING about Ukraine, regularly encourages violence, has openly said he wants more than EIGHT years, and can't handle his anything being smaller than Obama's.....  

We're counting on THAT guy to have a sudden crisis of integrity. There isn't a particle of grace in the man. He's not going to be a good loser. 

It turns out that an executive branch that is uninterested in a smooth democratic transition of power has an AWFUL lot of ability to make it very, very unsmooth. 

A total blowout. 

That's why we need to make this election about collective action. Because this may be the last collective action we get to take that doesn't involve blood in the streets and us or our loved ones dead, injured, or imprisoned. 

We can't just win. Trump decided he won the popular vote when he lost it by four million in 2016 because of "fraud' that didn't exist (and he brought the far right narrative right along with him). We have to absolutely pulverize him. Otherwise this could drag on for months, and a whole lot of "yeehaw leftists" who think crowd suppression is as bad as it gets are going to be divested of their romantic notions of the cost/benefit of civil uprisings. 

A total blowout.

[Postscript note: We straddle that line between "respectable Biden victory" and "total blowout" and look how much damage Trump has done denying the results.]


[This was written after Amy Coney Barrett was nominated to the Supreme Court and it became piss obvious that she was going to be rushed through (even if that meant no Covid relief package).]

This is exactly, entirely, precisely why you fucking VOTE! Even if the person isn't exciting. Even if they don't promise you every legislation you wish they would. Even if you don't like them as a person. Even if you wish there were more than two viable parties. Even if they make you feel a little dirty. 

Because it's not just them you're voting for. It’s not just their politics and your protest or purity. It's NEVER just them you're voting for. It's the shape of every commission they form. It's the philosophy of the entire Cabinet. It's the character of every lifetime appointee they nominate. It's the AG and their prosecutors. It's the heads of agencies. It's the regulations they gut (or don't). It's the way they instruct law enforcement to ignore white supremacy and blame everything on Antifa in a transparent effort to make everything you think you're doing "instead of voting" a criminal act. It's which laws they will enforce and how they will enforce them. It is which groups they will take off the terrorist watch lists. And of course it is the flavor of the judiciary. 

There's now a damn fine chance that everything from Roe v. Wade to Obergefell v. Hodges get overturned and the next THIRTY years of rulings will be so spectacularly pro-business and anti-immigrant/poor/civil rights/body autonomy that we really will be back to fighting for the things we won in the 60's. We're going to be dealing with this for the next 30+ years.  Really.

It's never just about that one person. Their ripples will echo on for DECADES.

You know....just to acknowledge some nuance directly:

I'm pretty precise with my language. That's literally my job. When I say "yeehaw leftist" or "I art lefter than thou" leftist, that's who I mean. I don't mean everyone ever who calls themselves a leftist. That's just too much for one generalization to support.

People have reasons to not vote that isn't my lane to judge. A lot of indigenous folks don't vote; you haven't seen me give them so much as a sideways glance. I can't decide for a marginalized group whether being thrown under the bus by the DNC is a dealbreaker, or whether they recognize that it'll get WORSE under the GOP. If that argument is to be thrashed out, it will be within those communities and it's not my place. And I'm not ABOUT to tell someone who is a survivor of S.A. to suck it up if they just CAN'T vote for Biden, or that they are not "allowed" to consider his accusations credible. (And as a survivor myself, that IS my lane.)

I'm giving this shit to a very specific group of people who are expending their political capital trying to get OTHER people not to vote (or cast "protest" votes) but who, generally speaking, don't have the skin in the game to be good judges of who is "just as bad." I'm talking about jilted Sanders supporters, proponents of accelerationism, and people who are dank memeing themselves into such a dither (backed by Russian psyops and false flags the whole way) that they honestly can't see stopping fascism and preserving some vestige of a flawed democracy as harm reduction (to say nothing of the ACA vs. nothing or foot-dragging climate change policy vs. still just calling it a hoax). Folks who demand peggicorn ponies that are actually (to brazenly metaphor mix like a mad scientist of writers) the third rails of mainstream U.S. politics, and if they don't get exactly what they want and THIS election cycle, "Screw you guys, I'm going home."

If that's not you, I'm not talking to you. But I do hope you're taking a good, hard look in the mirror before you usher in four more years of EVEN WORSE THAN THE LAST FOUR by ceding power (through inaction) to Trump. 

The self-righteousness of the primary season is a hell of a drug.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Newslettering

Hello everyone, 

Today, I'm sequestered away from our regular blog updates to write the monthly Newsletter for my Patrons. A lot has happened! You can probably expect that in your email tomorrow or Wednesday.

I promised myself I wasn't going to do an official appeals post until I had knocked out at least a couple of weeks of on-schedule updates, but I will say that our newsletter is one of our lowest tier rewards (only $3/month) on Patreon if you'd like to see monthly behind-the-scenes updates. I have two different types of newsletters, and they are really the only thing I write that could be considered "exclusive content." All the rest of my articles and fiction are and will always be free in some form.

The global economy has been hard on everyone and crowdfunding artists is one of the first thing to go when budgets start getting cut. A lot of patrons have had to cancel or reduce their contribution in the last year. While I love my huge contributors to bits, my ideal subscription profile would be many smaller donations that folks can maintain, so that I don't lose 5-10% of my income because one person gets laid off. That's why I make one of my most tangible rewards––the monthly newsletter––active at only the $3 tier. It's my small way of saying thanks for keeping the lights on and keeping me writing. So if you've got a few extra dollars a month you can spare, and you like what I'm doing and want to see me keep going/do more, helping me pay rent and buy groceries would be a splendid way to do so.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Nine Bits of Advice for Week 4 of NaNoWriMo

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time––especially if you've been around at least a year––you've probably noticed I have an....um....conflicted relationship with NaNoWriMo. I try to talk most starting writers out of it, I firmly believe that what we really need is a more reasonable daily word count goal and about, oh, eleven months more of effort, and watching writers who burn out doubt they are real writers if they don't "win" makes me want to go to Ikea's table section and just start flipping. But once November 1st hits and the dice are cast, you stay away from my precious cinnamon rolls who are doing their best unless you want full Mama Writer Bear coming after you!

But don't take it from me. I'll turn it over to the version of me with the black hair and the goatee.

Hello, everyone! Evil Chris here. 

At this point you've rounded the last bend and the finish line is in sight. Things are looking good. You're probably realizing what a mess your manuscript is, but somewhere between the NaNo goal, your dogged belief in your own ability, and perhaps a sprig of sunken cost, you're plowing onward. You may have even reached the point where it's getting easier. You know roughly how long it's going to hit your daily goals.

Whether you make it or not, you've done something amazing. Just a little further. And here's a listicle to help!

1- You are probably going to make it!

I bring glad tidings. Statistically speaking, if you've gotten this far, you're probably going to make it, unless something weird goes wrong. (And you couldn't have foreseen that sort of thing anyway.) It's week two where the pixie dust inspiration really has to give way to the slog of "Fuck, this is actually WORK," and if you didn't get that message in week two, week THREE surely hammered it home. At this point, you're just cranking out the work every day.

In fact, somewhere in week three, things may have started getting easier. (That's the habit of daily writing kicking in.) Now, week four, you're on the downslide. You're getting close. You just have to keep doing what you're doing. 

1667 words a day.

2- Don't think. Just write.

You are probably off the rails. Maybe completely. And I don't mean like you can see where the train hopped off the track and slid down the embankment. I mean the train lifted off and flew away from your Nov 1st idea while giving you the finger.

This is what I think of your outline, pal.

You might be wondering how to get back to your planned end by the 50k word count. You might be as surprised as anyone at the shit the characters are pulling. You might be making up details about 14th century Constantinople's public bathroom infrastructure for a fight scene. But the important thing is that you just keep writing. You might be trying to edit as you go. DON'T!  Don't do any of that stuff. Don't worry about it. Don't get distracted with research. Don't edit. Don't stop writing.

(I'm not necessarily weighing in on the "edit as you go" process of regular writing. That tends to be a personal choice. [I do it as kind of a "recap," and it helps me immensely to reframe.] But it's no way to write 50,000 words in a month.)

As for wrapping it all up on Nov 30th? You know....even in the extra official NaNo rules (which most would do well to augment or ignore anyway), there's nothing that says the 49,999th word has to be "The" and the 50,000th word has to be "End. You can win this thing, and still take another 10k words to wrap it up. All the computer program does when you upload your manuscript is count your words. It doesn't judge if you have a good denouement. 

3- Take a moment to appreciate this feeling.

You've now been writing every day for 21 days. How does it feel? Is it starting to feel easier? Is it starting to feel like a habit? Do you come to the page with ideas? Is it starting to feel like the words come before you actually sit down?

Of course, this is exactly what I try to tell people over and over again about the writing process. Naturally, not every single brain works exactly the same way, but this is such a predictable result of writing daily that it can't be underscored enough. Perhaps you might take a moment to realize that THIS feeling of routine and regimen is what I'm advocating for––this moment where many start to push through the resistance and turn what is a scattershot of sporadic fits and starts into a sustained pace. 

I mean, it's possible that for you, day twenty-one is as hard as day seven or eight when the initial enthusiasm starts to wear off, but for most people, that's just not the case. 

4- Make allowances for Thanksgiving.

If you're here in the U.S., Thanksgiving is somewhere in the fourth week. (It's literally the fourth Thursday in November for those who don't know, so the date floats around from the 22nd to the 28th.) You've probably got a busier day planned than most of the rest of the month (even if it's just "busy" with food comas, brining turkeys, and football games), so either figure out early when you're going to duck away to do that writing, or make sure you have a plan for a few hundred extra words in each of the days before and after. 


5- Take a breath if you're deep in word debt. 


Listen, if you've been doing this for 20 days, you've already accomplished something spectacular. If you haven't managed to hit 1667 words per day or you missed a couple of days and you're running behind, just take a breath. 50,000 words in only a month is an OUTRAGEOUS pace. Most professional novelists don't average this. The vast majority of folks can't (and DON'T) keep up with it. You have a lot to be proud of even if you're running behind. 

There's almost no concrete benefit to hitting 50k words. If you registered officially with the site, you can get a banner and certificate. Oh, and you are given access to purchase some merch like t-shirts. Regardless, there is absolutely no detriment to NOT hitting 50k words. If you only got to 40k, that's still an incredible month of work, worthy of a bard's song.

Still, if you're determined to catch up, think it through instead of just being harder and harder on yourself as you slip behind. There's no reason to think that you're suddenly going to be able to double or triple your output on a regular day. If your writing pace is manageable, and you've been finishing up with a bit of free time, you can divide your debt by eight and try to whittle away at it a little each day. Just be warned that if you have been missing by a few hundred words a day all month long, there's no reason to think that you will suddenly be able to write much much more for no reason and with no change. You might just be a slower-paced writer (which is okay!). If you probably aren't going to be able to catch up piecemeal, perhaps you can see what it's possible to do about getting the last couple of days of the month off from some or most or all of your responsibilities, so you can just crawl into a hole and do nothing but focus on pounding out words like bullet casings in the third reel of a Matrix movie. 

6- Plan your aftercare. 

Win or lose, you should be thinking about how you celebrate. You just did something amazing (even if you didn't "win"). You've been putting in hours a day for an entire month on something just for the sheer love of doing it. What are you going to do to reward yourself? Enjoy some video games for HOURS? Take yourself out to dinner? Binge the entire season/series of something you've been listening to people gush about all month, but you couldn't watch because you had to sequester yourself away and write? You don't have to take yourself to Paris for a month, but it should be something non-trivial to match how non-trivial what you just accomplished is. 

7- If you don't succeed, it's okay. If you can't do it because of whatever, be kind to yourself. But please don't give up. 

This could almost appropriately be 2b (above). If you start thinking, you might want to scrap the whole thing because it's too poorly written, too far off the rails, too this, too that, you're just thinking too hard. You can always edit a shitty draft. But you can't edit an abandoned one that you didn't even finish. Go ahead and finish. 

A lot of things can GO WRONG that are legitimate and will mean you don't finish by the deadline. Maybe you just didn't have enough time to hit 50k. Maybe you are more of a 500-words-a-day type (and now you KNOW that!). Maybe you or a loved one falls ill (here's hoping it's not Covid Uncle Blatbrat brought you by not actually quarantining but saying he did....the jerkwad.) You might have a mental illness crash. Your teenager might try to floor the car out of the garage before taking it out of reverse. These things aren't giving up. They're just life. Take it from someone who was that "gifted" kid who gave up at a whole lot so I wouldn't have to face failure. (Can't feel bad if I never tried, right?) But what I'm really hoping here is that you don't give up. Even if you fail. They are not the same thing.

Okay, but this song is actually about.....
Eh, you know what? That's cool. 

The worst thing that could happen is you learn a lot about writing, have an amazing experience under your belt, a more developed sense of what it takes to finish a novel, and dozens of lessons about how not to write.

And here's a little secret from someone who's been on deadline more than a few times: sometimes that's when the magic happens. You get under pressure and you start cooking hotter....kind of like your Instant Pot. Turns out there's a mistake in there that....well, it WORKS! Or damn it if that train wreck doesn't give you a really great idea! Or you punch something out in a fever of keystrokes and the next day you come back and....there's something to it. I can't tell you what might happen if you keep going, but I can absolutely tell you what won't happen if you give up.

8- On Dec. 1st, Keep Writing!

Folks, I haven't been shy about the fact that I think NaNo puts galaxies of emphasis on only specific parts of writing, that what you end up with might be a phenomenal accomplishment of which you should be Herculean-trails proud, but it is by no stretch of the imagination a novel that is ready for publication. (At best you have a VERY rough first draft....maybe even a zeroth draft.) 

But this is how to do that thing which so many aspiring writers find so elusive, and if you love writing (and the oft florid prose of the people who tell me they would "die for Riley writing" seems to suggest that many do), holding onto this discipline instead of taking the next eleven months off may not definitely get you to your goals, but it is a capital idea. You don't have to continue on with the same four or more hours and 1667 words a day on a single work in progress. (That impression might legit be part of the reason the idea is so scary.) But there is a reason the advice to read a lot and write a lot of so many working writers and almost all "household names" is so consistently similar, when (as a general rule) writers don't agree on much of anything.

You're almost there! Go. you!

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Social Media Commenting Policy

Well....it finally happened.

My "can't even" about the comments on my Facebook page went from figurative to literal.

At just shy of a million followers, gentle reminders have stopped working, admin-ing comments has become virtually impossible, delicately explaining is a waste of my time, and my patience for unacceptable behavior is exhausted. Too many people ordering a double helping of savage without even a side order of chill. The laws of large numbers are starting to ensure that even if thousands upon thousands of people understand the spirit in which something is presented, someone will be having a bad day or not read carefully or think they understand a phrase that they don't, or read in maximally bad faith....or even just be a troll in my dungeon.

Thus, the time has come for an official commenting policy so that folks won't be making their best I-just-ripped-this-guy's-helmet-off-and-it-turned-out-to-be-Robert-The-Bruce-Mel-Gibson-as-William-Wallace-during-the-battle-of-Falkirk betrayed faces when I ban their asses.

Here's the TL;DR part for those of you who don't want to have to read very much:


This isn't 4chan. You don't get to say whatever you want because of "free speech." It's my space. Think of it more like you are in my house and I am putting on a show for you. (I'm not sure how a million of you fit in the living room and only need one bathroom, but I'm definitely going to need more Cheez-its.) If you are abusive or contemptuous, comport yourself in such a way that any human being with feelings whose hospitality you were under wouldn't invite you to come back, use bigoted slurs, are dismissive or derisive about posts that would be commonly labeled as "social justice," promise to (or threaten to) flounce from the page, "dare" me to ban you, or post spam links to either your own writing or a commercial site you may be banned without warning.




Now here's the nuance if you want to understand it a little better:

Itty bitty point- If risqué language will make you blush, buckle up or do a tuck and roll dive out the passenger side. This shit's not going to fucking stop and I'll fucking ignore the fucking comments and PM's demanding it fucking does. Golly.

Itty bitty teeny tiny point - If you block my page, I'll be erasing whatever comment you dropped that made me aware of the fact that I can't reply. No one gets to ring and run on my page.

Smol point- If you slam the door on your way out, it'll lock behind you. And if you dare me to kick you out, I always, always ALWAYS will. If you're joking around ("Blokt!") better make sure I know it.

I care about you and I care about you achieving your goals. What am I if not a supportive, but occasionally firm cheerleader? If you flounce, I'll help you stick to it because I know that's what you would want. If you tell me you're going to flounce, but don't seem to be able to find the door, I'll make sure you know right where it is. If you threaten to flounce in a spectacle, I'll make the decision much, much easier for you. I'm here for you, pal. Plus that's just rude.

Tiny point- No, I'm not going to stop posting links to my blog. Ever. At least twice a day (sometimes three,just to annoy the haters). That's the reason this page is here–to try to drum up a few hits and build an audience. And given my traffic analytics, it's only kind of worth the effort, but it's better than nothing. You don't ever have to visit the blog if you want to just enjoy the puns and the inspiration memes and whatever I find about writing that tickles my brain, but the snotty emails and whiny tears telling me that my page would be "so great if you just stopped all that self promotion" will be used to fuel my Genesis device.

Your tears keep me young.
I'm actually 143.


Reasonably moderate sized point- I'm up to fifty or so PM's a day. (Deplorably, none are million dollar contracts! I mean why did I even want to be a writer again?) Most are spam or asking me for some kind of free editing or beta reading or to share their own page something. So I don't even reply to the majority of them. My freelance/tutoring rate is $50USD/hr and TRUST ME that you don't want me doing copy editing (though I'm pretty good at content/developmental end). If your solicitation for help does not include some indication that you plan to pay me or do me a comparable service, I will simply ignore it. (I get way way way too many of those every day.)

Check out my Facebook FAQ, and you'll probably find the answer to your question. At least you'll find the answer to 95% of the PM's I get.

Also if you PM me, please keep in mind that I'm just a human being. I listen to Hamilton, watch Jessica Jones through cracks in my fingers, play Fallout 4 and cuss when I stumble into an Alpha Deathclaw at 12th level, love Robert Asprin books despite myself, can't tell when someone's flirting with me, and try to write every day. I wear big shirts because I'm self conscious about the tight ones, worry about getting enough exercise with a sedentary passion, cry when large swaths of my friends excuse torture so long as it is done to the right sort of people, and have a bad next-day if I eat too much pizza. Messages demanding I do X immediately or take down Y post because you didn't like it or "HOW COULD YOU..." will be cheerfully ignored. Add in some schoolyard shit talk to this kind of bullshit, and I will do my best Strong Bad "DELETED!" as I ban you.



Kind of slightly large point- As of this writing, I cannot (and in many cases will not) read the comments on this page.

There are almost two thirds of million of you and one of me. I often max out the 99 notifications for this page in less than two or three minutes. I cannot POSSIBLY keep up with all the comments even if maintaining FB were my only job (it's not). Furthermore, what was once a playful community with the occasional legit jerkwad easily dealt with has become more and more like the bottom half of the internet and all that that implies. I actually avoid the comments unless I suspect it's a post which will attract bigots and I need to do my banning thing. When half a million people are seeing something, the law of large numbers suggests that someone, somewhere is going to be a complete anal seepage dripping asshole about it. I know it's a statistically tiny amount, but the number of people confusing shitposting with clever makes me weep, and when people think that disagreeing with something they see automatically means they can behave in the worst way imaginable. I know you just came here to attack and now you're feeling such a good time, but I like parading through people's rain. Seriously though, enough people are really, really mean that it hurts my soul. It's honestly not good for my mental health to even try to read them all.

Which means three things pragmatically:

ONE: if someone is being a complete ass in the comments, send me a link through PM, and I'll decide what to do. (Ban them. Warn them. Rickroll them. Whatever.) But I miss 90+% of what's going on in the comments, so don't count on me to step in if you haven't notified me–I probably don't even know it's happening.

TWO: I won't even see, and certainly won't reply to a lot of comments. I just can't. It hurts me in my tender fee-fees to try. I know some of you definitely are addressing the page admin with your comments, but you'll have to send me a PM if it's in some way urgent.

I've also ignored a lot of comments lately that either missed the point or clearly hadn't read the entire piece they were responding to. (I'm an English major and an English teacher, so knowing when someone hasn't done the reading is one of the skills in my set*.) It's not personal; it's just a time thing.

*Protip: demanding to know the answer to a question that is answered in the first paragraph of the post is generally a pretty good hint that you didn't do the reading.

And frankly, when you point out that someone should finish reading or maybe misunderstood something, they are more likely to attack on the internet than take the suggestion with some humility. If you really want me to reply, send a PM. Just remember that whole "human" thing if you tread that path or I will make 27 year old pop culture references at you by saying, "You chose.......poorly."

No.


THREE: I don't have time to gently warn everyone. ("Now now. Let's not be epic shitheels. There's a human being with feelings on the other end of your apoplectic abuse.") I'm assuming you already know how to be a decent person and that the internet sometimes helps you to forget. If I see bad faith behavior, I'll just start swinging the ol' Ban Hammer™Mjölnir [I call it M.J. cause we're THAT close.] You should know better than to behave that way (and you WOULD know better in any space that wasn't online). My warnings are reserved for folks who maybe didn't know they were on thin ice.

And they get exactly ONE.

Large point- This is my page. It's free content for you delivered straight to your computer on an average of 12 times a day (depending on the FB algorithm). This free content you enjoy takes me somewhere between 30 minutes to 90 minutes a day of unpaid labor. I'm going to post what I want. I'm going to post what I find fascinating. What I find interesting. What I find funny. What I find engaging.

And I'm going to post my blog even though it occasionally dips into the socio-political.

I welcome suggestions. I welcome dialogue. I welcome discourse. I welcome concerns. I welcome criticism. (As I said above, you will likely have to PM me to get my attention since there are so many of you, but I still welcome this stuff.) I will be especially receptive to the concerns that something I've posted has inadvertently engaged in some sort of institutional harm.

However, if you comment (or PM for that matter) like you're entitled to have MY page be whatever you want in the same way you might scream at the Spokane McDonalds night shift manager because there isn't lobster thermidor on the menu, I can promise you that the conversation will go one of two ways: If you're just being boorish and demanding without regard for the fact that I'm not a robot in a skin suit sent from Khyron Beta Prime to please your every whim, I'll ignore while singing old Starship songs. ("And we can BUILD this dream together...") If you're being abusive, I'll ban you. There are 3/4 OF A MILLION of you. Even if I had an interest in keeping everyone happy, I couldn't. And I don't have any interest in keeping all of you happy.

Some of you status quo defenders I very much want to disturb.

So I'll be true to myself, and if that bothers you SO. FUCKING. MUCH. that you can't give the ol' scroll wheel finger a quick workout, then you get to talk to me like I'm a sensitive artist and shit. Because I am a delicate fucking creative flower. Goddamnit.

Add to an above demand a threat to flounce if I keep doing what you don't like, and I will just assume that I should show you the door.

If, on the other hand, you're just going to feel jilted if this page isn't exactly what you want to see all the time, you should feel absolutely free to spend the next five years posting 10-15 pieces of content every day about once an hour to build up your own audience, and then you can make that page whatever you want. No promises that I won't stop by and complain though. Just for funsies.

This goes just as well if I post a joke you don't "like." I care (deeply) if I've inadvertently dehumanized a group of people. I don't care that some didn't get the joke or didn't find it funny or it made fun of Christianity or something. If you don't stop to look up what a phrase meant before assuming bad faith, that's not my problem. And trying to guilt me by telling me there are children or second language learners who might take it seriously won't really get much traction either since children shouldn't be here and I'm not billing myself as an educational site. Learning to navigate a world in which some written rhetoric involves satire, irony, or sarcasm is part of the cost of business in English, and my job on this site isn't to act as those filters for others.

Again, if something bothers you that much, drop me a PM and let's chat. But remember the "catch." If you want to get a message back: you have to treat me like a human with feelings. Last I checked, the cybernetic brain overlay had yet to take.


Beyond Hella Huge Point (about social justice)- 

Every goddamned time I post an article or meme or anything that deigns to intersect with how writing and writers affect social issues,

...or an interpretation of a work of art or entertainment that challenges the status quo, how language reflects societal prejudice,

...or how whitewashed, sexist, and anti-LGBT publishing is,

....or the narratives through which we define our world that could use scrutiny,

a new gaggle of jerkwads end up being shown the door.

Or hell, even just post a little Content Notice on something they think isn't a problem–so much so that it must be mocked.

It's not that they disagree. Disagreement I can handle. The comments all over this page are filled with disagreement–we're definitely no echo chamber. The problem is they either decide to react in the most dismissive and derisive way possible ("This is SJW crap!" "Ableism? That's insanely [r-word] you [c-word].") in which case this page is not for them, and I don't particularly want to have to deal with that shit post after post...OR they outright lose their composure and abusively attack other members or me for taking the time and energy to attempt to explain the frame of an issue or share a personal perspective on a topic.

If what essentially amounts to free tutoring about how language affects people who aren't exactly like you is going to be shat on because you wanted to "win" an argument, have the last word, condescend to the suggestion that the world is unequal and our print media might play a part in that, or treat people like crap for sharing an opinion that challenges the status quo, Writing About Writing is not for you.

There is a one-to-one echo that exists within this reaction that I am pretty sensitive to (mild CN for abuse dynamics): abusers gas lighting their victims. Instead of taking a moment to consider why someone is upset, that they are accurately able to assess their own mental state, that they can be trusted to relay when they are feeling hurt, or that their life experience of marginalization may be something worth listening to, often they are told they are being dramatic or ridiculous and dismissed outright. Their feelings and even their actual experiences are invalidated. We see this in a personal relationship and it raises our hackles (hopefully), but when a group in social power (like men) do it to a group they have social power over (like women or gender variant folks) on a massive scale, it is considered perfectly normal behavior. And it can even cause the people who are constantly being dismissed and derided to question their own perceptions of reality.

(I think abuse and oppression have a number of shocking parallels, but maybe a post for another time.)

Let me be blunt about this. (Cause I've been sweetly dancing around the point until now.)

Y'all are fucking writers, and this is a page about fucking writing. You fucking ought to know better than anyone that words carry tremendous fucking power...possibly even to invoke fucking harm. Nobody ever silently went to war or committed genocide without fucking words fueling them first. No one ever articulated a justification for racism or sexism that caused people actual PHYSICAL HARM without using fucking words to do so.

And nobody ever said "let's fucking commit human atrocities because we're just that evil" either. They always always ALWAYS fucking rationalized it away as necessary for their own protection....and they did so using fucking words. "Just" words.

So if you sit on your couch every November 5th watching a dude in a Guy Fawkes mask bloviate between the fight scenes that, "Words offer the means to meaning," and then starts a revolution because the "truth and perspectives" of his words are bulletproof, and then you imagine yourself leading said glorious revolution with your own martial arts skill and throwing stilettos, yet you then turn right around and roll your eyes at "those damned Social Justice Warriors" being all "oversensitive" to  some slur you didn't mean "that way," you are DROWNING in the irony of social power dynamics and your own double standards.

I'm not going to have a conversation every single time I bring up an issue of social equality with folks whose main conceit seems to be: "writers should be able to write whatever they want." You already CAN write whatever you want. You can write your sausage fest story with no people of color and one woman who constantly needs rescuing, and ignore every bit of advice out there about how to make deep and interesting characters  Literally no one will stop you. And if you're in a situation where you can't write whatever you want (politically or socially), it's certainly not upholding the status quo that is what you're not "allowed" to write. Further writers often do write whatever they want no matter how harmful or objectionable. Rarely are their careers even impacted and occasionally that's what launches them. If these writers stay off the pages that criticize them, they don't even have to have their feelings hurt. So if you're going to react with hyperbole and loss of composure to anyone asking you to consider how and what you write....on a blog about writing, Writing About Writing is not for you.

But CENSORSHIP, Chris! But FREEZE PEACH!

Do you know what I hear Danny? Nothing. No footsteps up the stairs, no hovercraft outside the window, no clickeyty-click of the little spiders. Do you know why I can't hear those things Danny? Because right now, no one is stopping you from saying whatever you want. I'm not a government agent. This page isn't a public park. You have conflated freedom of speech with entitlement of medium.....Danny.

In case that was too subtle.


If you've mistaken a governmentally protected freedom with the absence of consequence, feel free to study up on both again. (But for ten bonus points, see if you can identify the irony in trying to silence criticism by invoking your "free speech" ad nauseum.) And your little guilt trip, complete with a high school comprehension of the word "Orwellian," is not going to prevent me from moderating comments in my own space. This isn't even a social justice activism page. I'm going pretty easy on you comparatively. I don't expect you to be fully intersectional (or even to know what "fully intersectional" means). But the cliche that “You are awful and hate free speech if you block or ban people” is regurgitated mostly by the same entitled dillholes who don't like it when people have boundaries....at all....ever....about anything. I have like eighteen jobs and NONE of them are listening to you patiently explain why people shouldn't be allowed to define their own realities and tell their own narratives.

If you want to drop some hateful commentary, share my article in your own space with commentary. Otherwise be ready to be shown the door.

Frankly, I'd rather have a smaller following where those who normally run screaming from the comments sections on most of the internet feel comfortable participating in the conversation, than a large following where the Status Quo Defenders speak over and run roughshod over anyone who has the temerity to suggest that maybe arts and humanities do something wacky like affect social perceptions, that representation matters, and that once in a while we might ought to think about such things. The whole damned world will let the people in power decide what is ridiculous to care about (spoiler: it's always going to be anything that challenges their power in any way). Here I want an actually diverse conversation, not just more and louder and more hostile dismissiveness reinforcing the status quo and actively silencing such voices.

I care about how to question whether narratives are reinforcing institutional harm. I care about how much of the writing that exists (even wildly popular writing) often reinforces harmful status quos like racism, sexism, heteronormativity, transphobia, and more–things are ingrained in many of our narrative tropes or through our lack of or type of representation.  If you want me to be vapid about the impact of writing and stick to linguistic prescriptivism that makes fun of legitimate English dialects (often in a vaguely racist and definitely classist way) or those who struggle to get the right homonym, drops the same dozen articles (and their knock offs) over and over on how to publish your novel/find an agent/write a query letter, and never really asks you to think hard thoughts about how powerful writing is in creating the stories shape our culture, Writing About Writing is not for you.

"Because maybe....JUST MAYBE, arts and humanities affect social perceptions and that's worth examining once in a while..."


If we can't at least consider and think about these things, we're just telling the same stories over and over again, not really exploring new ones.

In case that little Rantsalot moment was too gentle or esoteric: If your reply is nothing more than "This is PC bullshit!" or "This is crap. You're the real sexist!" or "Shut the fuck up with this pandering crap!" (or any of the thousands of variations on this theme that is intended to silence through dismissal that I've heard over the years) and certainly if you use bigoted slurs or double down on your "right" to be sexist, misogynistic, racist, transphobic, homophobic, ableist, or fatphobic after you've been asked to stop, I will use my admin tools to show you the door*.

Don't worry. The other three quarters of a million of us will carry on without you.

You don't have to agree with me. You DO have to play nice in my playground.

Me and M.J. hitting the town.
Get it?
"HITTING" the town...never mind.


*Once upon a time when I was getting such comments once a month, and before loved ones had cancer and before there was a four year old in the picture and before I needed to write a novel in a year lest I be flayed alive by my Kickstarter backers, I had the time to warn and explain the problem gently with each person in an exhausting choreographed dance (that lead to a banning or a flounce 99% of the time anyway); however, I do not have the time or energy to continue to do this. I will simply protect this community from harm and/or that status quo defender bullshit.

ADDITIONAL INFO

The Just Not Worth It Clause You are in my space. (You are not entitled to be here.) You are generally welcome as long as you refrain from a few choice behaviors (see above). However, I am under no obligation to extend infinitely my hospitality to those who are constant sources of negative energy and make my work unpleasant so long as you technically don't break the rules. It might take a while for me to recognize your name, longer still to watch you for a while, and even longer to decide what to do, but if you are constantly argumentative, unpleasant, bellicose, condescending, and generally negative, I will eventually show you the door. Because this is my space, and it's just not worth it to me to have to put up with that on post after post. 

And if you're firmly and often representing yourself as unwilling to understand issues such as systemic inequality, the scripts of oppression, the difference between bigotry and pointing entitlement culture, or things like that, I may eventually decide that my space is not for you.

Guest posts:
I'll leave up anything (even if I don't fully understand it) unless it is to a commercial site or it is self-promotion. The former will be removed and the poster banned. The latter will be removed (and if it keeps happening the poster will be banned). If you want to promote something on my page, message me. Whether or not I say yes will depend on how much it has to do with writing. Basically I'm not going to let people spam my readers.

Pedantry:
Knock yourself out, (lord knows I could use the help) but keep in mind the other rules before you decide that what your grammar fix needs is to be slathered in the gravy of bumptious superiority. I'll fix it if I can. The more obnoxious and condescending you get about it, though, the more I'm going to look at that ban button like Sylvester looks at Tweety. And if you are being classist and racist by mocking a legitimate dialect of English or a second language learner or something, Tweety's not long for the world.

Links in comments:
If they're not relevant, I'll erase the comment. If it keeps happening I'll swing The Ban Hammer™

Bot Commenting:
The engagement is appreciated, but the generic reply-to-anything comment will eventually get you banned.

Post Attribution:
I get macros from all over the intersphereweboverse. Pinterest. Other pages. Friends share things they find with me. Old posts. Even Tumblr. The internet is like that with people posting and reposting. Original attribution can be incredibly hard to find after things have been through multiple layers of reposting (even with things like reverse search images, which even if they always worked [they don't] add enough annoyance and time sink to an already thankless labor of love to make it not worth it). Plus many artists are happy to see their work proliferated just so long as it has their watermark on it.

As a content creator myself though, I know how much it sucks to watch something you made go viral for someone else without so much as a link or even attribution. If I've posted something that belongs to you or someone you know or have posted a webcomic with a watermark that you can't bear to see not linked with a URL, let me know and I'll edit the post.

Or if it's yours and you want me to just take it down, repost with attribution, or whatever to handle the situation. Unfortunately, there are some people will try to claim credit for something they didn't make, even editing out an existing watermark, so I'll be looking for some small indication of actual source-age. (Usually that's a trivial matter for a content creator of linking the original post.)

I am happy to do this. But please remember a couple of things: First, you need to message me (rather than just comment) if you definitely want me to see it because I don't reliably engage with comments (see above). Second, be kind. There are basically a million of you and one of me and I am putting up 15 posts a day, so what seems like a trivial effort to you on a single post may not be to me, especially over time. If you want to be the attribution police rather than just a friendly "Hey I found a source on that post for you!" feel free to go run your own page and find out what a headache it can be.

Responding to Posts (Especially Answering Mailbox Questions) Without Reading the Article
Listen....

This one gets like four and a half stars.

I am a flawed, frail human being.

One of my human failings is that even though I understand the FB algorithm and how engagement helps, it really annoys me when I post something I spent an hour (or two or three or five or EIGHT or MORE) writing, and people jump into the comments to take it upon themselves to read answer the question CLEARLY without having read the article. It just irritates the fuck out of me.


It's like reading your own shit at another author's Q&A. It's like using your "question" at a convention to talk for five minutes and then say, "Do you agree?" to a panelist. I'm glad you found the question provocative (I really am!), but JOIN the conversation. Don't start a new one of your own in MY comments. Sometimes these replies don't even realize they're suggesting exactly the same thing I did or have used one or two of the same examples. It's great that we're all on the same page, but how rude! In the world of comments at the end of posts, you usually at least see people who have engaged with the article (sometimes they clearly didn't get past a certain point before commenting, didn't understand a part, or were reading in bad faith, but you generally don't get replies that disregard the source material whole cloth. Social media means an awful lot of people jump in to tell you what they think of the title and/or preview text. Knock yourself out (I guess), but be ready for your admin to hide or delete your comment.

You need to start your own blog for this shit
If you want to reply to something, enjoy. If you want to disagree with me, have fun. (Just remember all the other rules.) However, if you want to write some shit that is seriously longer than the post you're replying to, go find your own platform. And if it's just some "take down" shit (especially of the I-didn't-manage-to-finish-reading-this-or-read-it-carefully-before-I-got-angry-and-slammed-out-many-paragraphs) variety, I'm probably just going to hide it. It's an admin power that pages have. You and your friends will be able to see it and give each other high fives, but no one else will.

Arguing with "You should be writing" macros:
Uh...whatever cooks your churro, boss. You do you.

However, let me add a couple of things: as I dig through the depths of the internet for and/or create such memes that aren't a profusion of sparkling hot white guys, keep the bigoted slurs out of your polemics if you don't want to get banned. You can yell at macros reminding you to write (or whatever) like old man yelling at cloud if that's your jam, but bigotry is no more acceptable as a reply to a You Should Be Writing macro than anywhere else in this space.

Second, I have a folder full of people thanking me. Literally hundreds, maybe thousands of messages basically saying that the daily reminders were wonderful for their motivation. I'm not going to stop because your complaints get more and more hyperbolic, but I will eventually assume that my page is not for you.

Arguing with other macros or posts:
If you have a significant ideological problem with a quote or an idea or post, I first invite you to sit with it and think about what insight it might offer. Not everything is about you. It might not be saying what you think it is. Have you read it in the best faith or are you running it through an ideological lens and assuming that I'm saying something maybe I'm not? I post things regularly that are mutually exclusive because sometimes they're for beginners, sometimes for veterans, sometimes for people who are prescriptive about language, sometimes about people who think they don't actually need to learn grammar, sometimes for cocksure folks who won't suffer an editor, and sometimes for those who need a little pick me up to their confidence. Some things are for people who want to be capital W writers and need to stop making excuses. Some are for people with executive dysfunction who need to be kinder to themselves about what they can and can't do. If you can glean a point, a conceit, or a thesis that might be valuable to some writer, maybe it isn't quite so important that you kick in the doors, knock over a vase, and make sure everyone upstairs can hear you screaming that you don't love it. 

Far be it from me to suggest that a single 280 character tweet is going to contain all the nuance or that a prescriptive tumblr post has advice that you won't be able to imagine an exception to, but if you can find something interesting, useful, or edifying to your writing, that's probably why I posted it.

Okay, you've had a deep breath or three and you still don't like it? It's okay to let people know you're doing the opposite of endorsing the message or that you see a glaring gap in context, bring the nuance! I welcome it. However, reading clinging to a worst faith read, assuming that any advice is panacea and that you are entitled to tear into it, the poster, anyone who agrees, or ME using the most hostile and hyperbolic language you can come up with because that's how the internet works will not go well for you. Not here. Save that shit for Reddit.

I posted a thing you REALLY disagree with:

I post things I don't even agree with myself. (Not harmful things, but stuff about craft or process.) Not every writer is going to agree on every way to be a writer--beyond reading and writing a lot. Go ahead and disagree, but if you get into that "How ever could you POST shit like this?" territory, it might be a short conversation.

Poll Nominations:
If you don't go to the blog webpage and make your nomination a comment, it won't end up on the poll. If you don't go to the blog webpage and make your nomination a comment, it won't end up on the poll. IF YOU DON'T GO TO THE BLOG WEBPAGE AND MAKE YOUR NOMINATION A COMMENT, IT WON'T END UP ON THE POLL!

How can your poll possibly not have [thing I like]?
Because no one nominated it? Or no one gave it a second? Or they did and it did not survive an earlier round? Everything is reader based. If you want to see your titles make it, get involved sooner.

J.A.Q.ing off
You might think I can't tell the difference between asking questions and "just asking questions" about something but it's actually breathtakingly easy. (Particularly when combined with "It's really obvious that you haven't actually read that.") So understand that after thirty years of being online and 15 years of teaching, I know the difference between a sincere question and bait when I see it.



You're so Clever:
One of the double edged swords of a community this large is that there is often a "race" to be the first to make a clever quip with almost every post. No problem when they're funny, but sometimes people mistake clever and mean. If the timber of these quips seems always to be discouraging or elitist (or some other variant of shitty), you may eventually find MJ thirsts to revoke your commenting privileges.

Shitty comments:
One of my admin powers as a page runner is to hide a comment so that only the person who made it and their friends can see it. I use this liberally when people are just being general jerkwads. You can cry your maudlin tears about free speech or whatever, but I make no bones about moderating the comments in my space. If you don't have the decorum to treat your unpaid host with a tiny bit of decency, he doesn't have to suffer giving you a platform.

I only ban people if they're being bigots or extremely harmful. (It's always particularly funny to watch people who say "Watch, now we'll get banned because we disagreed," go right on commenting.) If you imagine that you are seated around a table with everyone you're talking sipping a tasty beverage of your choice and being watched by a group of students taking a class on how to discuss issues like adults, you will probably do just fine.

Please also see my Facebook FAQ if you have more questions.



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