The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Identity non-crisis

Well, who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
I really wanna know (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
Tell me, who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
'Cause I really wanna know (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)

The Who - Who Are You

In the mornings, most mornings, I peruse the news through Google. Why Google? Why not? There are plenty of other news feeds, places that gather the news for you and provide links to the stories, that are just as good. I just am comfortable with Google News.

As I scan the headlines, I click on various links to get more infomation. Today, I began to wonder why I click on certain ones and not others. Sometimes, it's the first headline of a grouping, sometimes it's a second, third, or fourth. One of the more obvious reasons I choose a certain link is because I recognize the newspaper or wire service or TV network and think it will give me sufficient detail on the matter. Some are familiar haunts; the Christian Science Monitor is a special favorite, as are the LA Times (for southern California news stories), the San Francisco Chronicle (for northern California stories). But I do not limit myself to these, I often go to CNN, FNC, Huffington Post, USA Today, Washington Post, Ny Times, as well as the BBC, the Guardian, and a few other foreign news sources.

The ones I enjoy most are the ones who allow and even encourage, commenting. I love to read the comments. They are not a reflection of the actual mood of the nation, of course, and I suspect there are "operatives" of the major political parties dropping "talking points" here and there and stirring things up. Maybe not, maybe there really are a lot of people who are just that passionate and see everything in political terms. Or maybe it's just that politics is so important these days. It doesn't seem to matter what the story is about, one is sure to find politics in the comments.

Some news stories, even human interest types, are bound to stir up political ire. But I also see it in science and space exploration, food stories, and many more subjects.

I have noticed a trend in the comments. A number of sites have adopted DISQUS (which I use) and a number have adopted some rival which uses Facebook for login. The DISQUS sites are very active but the ones that switched to the Facebook login are pretty dead. From this I gather that anonymity is preferred since most people use their real names for Facebook. This begs the question of why the news site went to the Facebook login. Did they want to reduce the commenting? Or did they intend to lessen the argumentary nature of the comments.

I have been active on the internet since the late 90's, mostly following various newsgroups (which are not news feeds, just discussions about various subjects). I started out using my full (and real) name and often mentioned where I lived. How naive of me to think that wouldn't come to haunt me. After getting some harassing phone calls (even had my number put on fax lists), and threats, I changed how I interacted. I dropped out for several weeks and then came back in using a pseudonym. That took the heat off but not entirely. I had to make other changes as well because some of these creeps are very clever and know how to parse header information.

I noticed something else happening when I changed my online identity, I had to change my online personality somewhat. My style of writing had to change, I had to be careful what phrases I used, even had to pay attention to the kinds of typos I was prone to make.

I am beginning to wonder if I am the person I once was.


pearlvz said...

The personality is a slippery thing.  :-) 


p.s.  Your comment re: Liza Bean's having received your package made me laugh.  :-)

pearlvz said...

Man.  Why does DISQUS hate me???

pearlvz said...

Oh.  :-)  Never mind.

Douglas4517 said...

Pearl, you are the light of my online life and to make you laugh fills me with joy.

Douglas4517 said...

I suspect you are impatient. :)