People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Get It Right, Dude

Well, I'll give the folks at the Richmond Times-Dispatch credit for trying to figure this whole blogosphere thingie out. It is, to be sure, an alien world to them, to this day.

But trying ain't necessarily succeeding.

I had to scratch my head when I read this little blurb this morning:
In Brief

Technology is constantly changing the lexicon. From the blogosphere comes a new meaning for an old term: "sock puppet" -- someone who posts online commentary about politicians without disclosing their working relationship with a campaign. (link)
Uh, no. That's not what it means at all.

A "sock puppet," (or sockpuppet) in my world, is a person who posts commentary - oftentimes about oneself - without divulging a rather pertinent fact - the identity of the author. For example, a contributing commenter to a particular blog, after heaping praise on the blogger, will be found to be the blogger himself, operating (or trying) anonymously.

Others are doing their best to change the term to fit their reality, of course: From Wikipedia:
A sockpuppet is an online identity used for purposes of deception within an Internet community. In its earliest usage, a sockpuppet was a false identity through which a member of an Internet community speaks while pretending not to, like a puppeteer manipulating a hand puppet.

In current usage, the perception of the term has been extended beyond second identities of people who already post in a forum to include other uses of misleading online identities. For example, a NY Times article claims that "sock-puppeting" is defined as "the act of creating a fake online identity to praise, defend or create the illusion of support for one’s self, allies or company."

The key difference between a sockpuppet and a regular pseudonym (sometimes termed an "alt") is the active exploitation of the pretense that the puppet is a third party who is not affiliated with the puppeteer. Using multiple identities for privacy purposes (for example, one identity divulges information which is easily identifiable and the other identity acts as a whistleblower) is not considered sockpuppetry unless one identity expresses assent to another identity's posting. (
That's accurate, except the part about "allies" and "company." In fact, it is still limited to "the illusion of support for one's self."

In the example provided by the TD, that "commentary about politicans" would be considered sockpuppetry if the author(s) proved to be the politicans themselves.

A distinction.

Now you know.

An Overreaction In Virginia Beach

Was this necessary?

Police pull photos at Abercrombie & Fitch store
Manager charged with obscenity
The Associated Press

Virginia Beach -- Virginia Beach police confiscated two black-and-white display photos from an Abercrombie & Fitch store and cited the manager on a misdemeanor obscenity charge.

Police spokesman Adam Bernstein said the seizure and summons came Saturday only after Abercrombie management failed to heed warnings to remove the images from the Lynnhaven Mall store after some customers complained. One photograph showed three shirtless young men, with one man's upper buttocks showing. The other image was of a woman whose breast was mostly exposed.

City code makes it a crime to display "obscene materials in a business that is open to juveniles," Bernstein said. (
Obscene materials? You decide. Here's one of the two posters confiscated:

Give me a break.

Look, even if your imagination allows for there to be something obscene about this photo, you must agree that there were many ways - better ways - that outraged citizens could have responded to the affront other than to have called in the police. Boycotting the retailer would be a good start. Boycotting the mall if it's important enough. My preferred reaction would have been to have ignored it completely, since this retailer thrives on the kind of controversy generated. After all, it has now gotten just the kind of publicity it sought.

But to bring the government into the controversy crossed the line. Shame on those who brought about this sorry circumstance.

Photo courtesy of abercrombie.com

When Political Correctness Hinders An Investigation

I wonder what the Tynley Park, Illinois police investigators who are trying to find the murderer of those five women at the local Lane Bryant store on Saturday would say to an eye-witness if that person gave them a detailed description of the shooter that failed to include the most important aspect of that killer's appearance. That witness would be considered a numbskull at minimum, I think.

But that which is expected of eye-witnesses is taboo for newspaper reporters, unfortunately.

When I read the following description of the killer in the New York Times ("One Survivor in Shooting at Illinois Mall"), I had a hunch something was missing. Something of profound importance:
Heavily armed officers combed the area and helicopters flew as weather permitted in a furious search on Sunday for the killer. He is described as being about 5-foot-9, weighing 260 pounds, with braided hair, a knit cap and a waist-length black jacket.
So what might have intentionally been left out of this story? That "braided hair" item offers a hint.

The shooter was black.

"All the news that's fit to print ... and passes the filter of political correctness."

Are You Willing To Give Up All You Hold Dear?

If so, vote for Hillary. All decision-making in your daily life will then become someone else's responsibility:
Clinton health plan may mean tapping pay
By Charles Babington, Associated Press Writer

Washington - Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton said Sunday she might be willing to garnish the wages of workers who refuse to buy health insurance to achieve coverage for all Americans.

The New York senator has criticized presidential rival Barack Obama for pushing a health plan that would not require universal coverage. Clinton has not always specified the enforcement measures she would embrace, but when pressed on ABC's "This Week," she said: "I think there are a number of mechanisms" that are possible, including "going after people's wages, automatic enrollment." (
The reason the following video ("Hillary, 1984") gained such popularity a year ago is because it was grounded in truth. America, if this woman has her way, will never be the same again.

Double-click on the triangle to activate.


This is funny.

Double-click on the triangle to activate.