perception & censorship

I’ve been thinking a bit about perception recently, both in the context of starting a new job in a new town, and in the context of online personas. I am rarely truly aware of how I am perceived by others, and often I move through life oblivious to how my words or actions might come across to someone who does not know me well.

New situations make me nervous, and when I’m nervous, I often find myself babbling inanely until someone more sociable is able to skillfully maneuver the conversation to something more suitable. I’m hyper-aware of this now that nearly every day presents a new situation, which makes me even more worried that I’ll say or do something stupid.

The thing is, I’m generally a good person. I try hard to find common ground with those around me, and I’m fairly open to criticism or “learning experiences.” I can also be cranky and a bit mouthy, but usually only when I’m frustrated or pushed over my tolerance limit. Long-time readers of this blog may have picked up on all of this, but there’s no way for me to know for sure. I just have to hope that as I have grown as a person over the past five years, so has the representation of me through my writing.

This brings me to the topic of censorship. I would like to state clearly, for the record, that I do not censor comments on my blog, unless they are spam or trackbacks from splogs. Those things are evil and should be destroyed. Comments that are not spam are freely posted, regardless of their content.

One of the reasons why I moved from the MovabeType blog software to WordPress was because I was getting 50+ spam comments an hour caught in the clunky spam filter used by MT. This made it a nightmare to check, and often I just deleted them all without making sure that no legitimate comments were accidentally marked as spam. Since I rarely get comments, I wasn’t too concerned with that, anyway.

However, several people have indicated that they thought I was censoring comments on this blog because I didn’t want anyone who disagrees with me to comment here. The folks who told me this are friends whom I trust, and it surprised me that they would make that sort of assumption. Again, this is a problem with perception verses reality.

Do I come across as someone who does not want criticism? I hope not. Sure, like anyone, I prefer to have constructive criticism, but that is a difficult thing to get in the virtual world where it’s much easier to make snarky comments or flame someone than to have a real conversation where everyone feels like their perspective is heard.

All this is to say, please, do comment here. If there is an old post that you’d like to comment on and you discover that commenting has been disabled for it (an old setting I used to limit spam), send me a note and I’ll open it up.

Dilbert censored in local paper

The Daily Record is the local paper for Kittitas County in Washington. It is published late, and as a result, I usually read the previous day paper over lunch. Today I noticed that the comic strip Dilbert looked different from what I remembered from reading it online yesterday. Apparently, the original was too graphic for Daily Record readers.

original:

altered:

Did anyone else notice this bit of censorship in other papers?

google bomb

Directing users to the correct website.

So, I’ve been told by a few reputable sources that there is a googlebomb directing web surfers to a pro-Bush website when they search for information on the 2004 Democratic National Convention, similar to the highly effective “weapons of mass destruction” googlebomb that almost everyone has gotten an email about by now. I haven’t been able to reproduce the googlebomb, so I don’t know if this is still an indexing concern.

muffins

I have added a link to Powell’s books on the left. They have a good selection, and if you purchase anything through that link, I get a commission that will go towards paying off my school debt. Alternatively, there is always Save Anna.

Kentucky is attempting to narrow the information technology gap by mandating that all new housing units funded more than 50% by the Kentucky Housing Corporation have to be wired for broadband Internet access. In this day and age, it is virtually a necessity for education that kids have access to the Internet at home. Now, even low-income kids in Kentucky have the potential to succeed as well as their peers from wealthier families.

More censorship from the warmongers. Two activists in New York were arrested and held in jail for several hours after hanging flyers with pictures of ordinary Iraqi citizens around the city.

My sister sent me a link to a website that has cute and artsy flash films about muffins. I liked “Feed Me” best of all the ones I watched.