A perfect sea urchin

The Cyberculture Corner

Welcome to where I air my wrong headed views on cyberculture and the internet. I always have a lot to say and no one tells me to shut up. To return to the regular blog page, just click here.

One More Time Down on the Skids

Eileen wanted me to write about my experience at the Webleagues this week, my experience as a fighter, not as a team Janitor. I keep my team squeaky clean. I make it a home for two lost souls of fighters. I guess I am a lost soul of a fighter. This week I was a disgruntled lost soul of a fighter as real life claimed BoomBoom, my fellow college student who has become an "adult" while running site fighting teams. We are an elite, but BoomBoom did not score at all this week.

Did you hear that out there? BoomBoom did not score at all this week, and the reason why doesn't matter. My Aunt Thadea says this is the way competitions die. Eileen says this is the way you alienate fighters, but even I can figure that out. If you don't take care of your fighters, they walk away. There may not be that many competitions out there any more, but there is still Facebook. Competitions die when administrators give out.

My fighting Team the League of Friendship or Friendship Leagues is now under new management. The manager is a former fighter on my team. Her name is Angelika. She is a German bornagain Christian from Texas. She has decorated MSN Groups. She ran a locked Yukio board. I'm not sure what kind of manager she will make. I think she has some or all of the technical skills. This is not a backhanded compliment. I mean what I say, but what i worry about is what she will lack, and it's not technical, I don't think. Running a team means you respond to your fighters when they email you. Running a team means you are graicous. Running a team means you score promptly. This last is important. It is a way of showing you care. This is especially true when fighters rely on vote exchange, but if they do the courtesy of self-voting and nothing else, you still need to validate what they are doing by scoring.

We had a crisis on the League of Friendship last week. Not scoring for a whole week is harmful to four or five fighters at team level. It says what you are doing is not worthwhile, and fighters respond by leaving, and then...we can't replace them. I hope Angelika is a competent administrator. We can't afford an incompetent one at the Webleagues

Haldis K. Guerrin -- September 18, 2011

Muzzled on Facebook

This is not an article talking about confessing to indiscretions best not made public or oversharing. It is not an article that criticizes those who post the minutiae of their lives. I'm enough of a voyeur to find that interesting. If you want to take a map, cook a meat and potatoes meal, go visit a restaurant, found something good in the supermarket etc... by all means, I'm all ears.

My latest beef about Facebook is that you can't speak the truth to your friends when they say something utterly stupid. I'm used to old style mailing lists where people are not afraid to kick a truism to the curb or say "You ought to fact check this," or "You know, that is really unrealistic" with unrealistc standing in as a euphemism for stupid.

On Facebook you can't really do that. Well you can, if you use private message, but you pay the price for gratuitiously violating norms. Face it nobody likes to be called a dummy even if they are acting like one with their Facebook status.

Let me start with a few good ones. People have satirized these by the way. POST THIS TO YOUR STATUS IF YOU KNOW ANY ONE WHO HAS DIED OF CANCER OR WHO IS STRUGGLING WITH THE DISEASE 97% OF ALL PEOPLE WON'T POST THIS... You get the idea. Everyone knows someone who has had cancer, but most of them were old. One of them may have been unnecessarily treated, and the others I know died in old age or way before my time. None of the ones who is still alive has anything to do with Facebook. Posting a supportive message as my status won't do them one bit of good.

If you have a friend or a loved one with cancer (or heart disease, or diabetes, or who is just old and frail), go do something for them. Email them, since old people love email, call them on the phone. Visit them, or do thema favor in the flesh. Forget the Facebook status.

Another favorite: I WILL ALWAYS BE THERE FOR YOU. HOW MANY OF YOU WILL ALWAYS BE THERE FOR ME? The answer is I won't and for very good reasons. I work. We live in different time zones. I don't always log in or check Facebook daily though I usually do check it briefly, and I am shomer Shabbos so I'm gone most of Saturday. Sorry, Facebook is an asynchronous medium, and besides who is around twenty-four/seven for someone else, maybe a mother of a young child, but even husbands aren't there twenty-four/seven for their wives. They have to work and sleep!

Finally there's, XYZ IS A GROUP OF CHILD MOLESTERS/PORNOGRAPHERS. THEY WILL STEAL PICTURES OF YOUR CHILDREN. Usually when you ask the person who posted this if they had an unfortunate experience with XYZ group they will say they are posting the status to protect even one child. I then ask how they know it is true. Destroying some group or person's reputation with lies is called libel and slander. I lost a friend over this. I don't care. He was just someone I knew long ago in high school. That was another lifetime.

Anyway, when I'm on Facebook, I feel like I'm trapped with the dummies. The big issues are loom knit scarves for charity, the latest child abuse case, and last but not least pets on death row. I can't take another cat and if I got one, I'd head to my local shelter. Pets from the Humane Society in Manhattan or Brooklyn are not it, nor are those in Dalls or a rural shelter in North Carolina, besides, the Taliban were able to shoot at the US embassy, there's a famine in Somalia, the recovery is stalled, and the Tea Party may not have the answers. There's a lot going on, but reading my Facebook feed one would never know it.

When I don't visit Facebook, I vote with my feet. When I do, I also vote with my feet. I respond to three members of RAOK and sometimes one member of LOTH, leave three messages on the RAOK wall and I'm gone. That's it. I flee for the Atlantic, the New York Times, the New Republic, where those who write have something intelligent to say and who care more about doomed, stray kitties. In short, every one may be on Facebook, but it is still not my home.

Eileen H. Kramer -- September 16, 2011

Down the Skids

I set up my team at the Webleagues with some trepidation. After a summer away and site fighting in ragged shape, would anything be left? I lost one fighter to wrist surgery. Can't she use something in her mouth, voice commands, or have a friend or relative do her voting? You're not supposed to ask those kinds of questions.

It was an exhausting week. One of my team members gave me over forty graphics, and the other gave me about a dozen. I had to process all those and put them in the gallery. They were a whole summer's worth. That felt good. My team, no matter what it's name, has been a real home for some older people. I scored on time and except for the lady with the bad wrists, we survived the week with scores that don't look too horrible.

The team where I fight was another story. As of 10am Mountain Daylight time, on Friday, after the fighting cycle, I had no score. My Aunt Thadea says this is how competitions die. Any excuse goes at the Webleagues, and BoomBoom, my team leader had to work late. I score late. I've scored on a cold, wooden floor when I was in college. I've scored with my butt squeezed into the luggage compartment of my hatchback and my laptop on my thighs in a truckstop somewhere in Tennessee.

And any way, the scores weren't late, they were absent. Now someone who was a former fighter on my team, is running the team where I fight. I don't even know if she is competent. She is of German descent and a militant Christian. I think she has pretty good skinning/coding skills, but it takes more than that to manage a team. You really have to care about your fighters. You have to make them feel the team is their place. I'm not sure I think my current team is my place, but I'm there to lead by example.

I've been site fighting since I graduated from high school. Now I'm done with college,in grad school, and working. When it goes, a piece of me will go with it. All that time I spent scoring and setting up, has to mean something. I just don't want it to die by neglect and attrition. That would really be disgusting.

Haldis K. Guerrin September 16, 2011