REASONS I STOPPED FOLLOWING OR DON’T COMMENT

The Daily Prompt wants a list. I did a version of this a couple of weeks ago, but it has changed. It’s half a rerun, half a rewrite.

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I’ve had to be away from the computer a lot in the past month. My email — the daily deluge of notifications, comments, advertising, and occasionally messages from friends — is overwhelming me. I thought I’d cut back a bit. Write fewer posts. Read a bit less.

It don’t like deleting notifications without reading them, but necessity triumphed. Nonetheless, I decided to try hosting a twice a week prompt. I think maybe I underestimated how much time it would involve. I may have erred on the side of “you’re kidding, right?”

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All of this got me thinking about why I follow and comment some sites, but not others. Following are the top reasons I don’t comment and/or follow your blog:

1) You get dozens of comments. If I have to scroll past two dozen comments before I can comment, you won’t miss me, especially if all I was going to say was “Great post!”

2) You’re a photographer. I’m a photographer. I can love your pictures, but not have anything to say about them.

3) I liked your post, but I’m late to the dance. Everyone has already said everything there is to say. If I have nothing new to add, I’m won’t say anything. If you allow “Likes,” I’ll leave one.

4) I hated your post, but I like you. If I have nothing nice to say, I won’t say anything. I try not to be over-critical. And anyway, I don’t have to agree or like everything you write.

5) If you post one picture per post 12 times a day, consider putting out two posts with six pictures each. I get buried by notifications, and comments. If you post that often, you become spam. Beloved, but spam.

6) If I’ve been following you for months and you never visit my site, I’ll stop following you. It’s insulting. You don’t need to read every word I write, but if you never visit, you will lose me. I have recently unfollowed half a dozen (more?) worthy bloggers who never felt compelled to find out what I’m doing. Respect means showing interest in other people’s work.

7) You write about one topic only. All the time. It is your passion, but there are other things which matter to me. I can’t read on the same subject every day, even if I agree.

8) You’ve got a problem. Your blog is where you let your feelings be known. First, I will be sympathetic. Then I’ll try to help. Eventually, I’ll give up. You are free to complain. I’m free to not listen. At some point, you have to move on. See number 7.

9) You’ve had a “sense-of-humorectomy.” You used to be funny. Now you’re a ranter. I have a limited capacity for rage, even my own. I get mad, but I get over it. After I stop being angry, I find my drama funny. If you can’t get past your rage, I’ll get over you.

10) More than half your posts are re-blogs. I follow you because I like you. We all reblog some stuff but if re-blogs are your primary material, I’ll pass.

11) I don’t have time. Today, I can’t make your party. I apologize. The clock ran out.

12) You write about stuff in which I have no interest. A sport I never follow. Books I’ll never read. Movies I won’t watch. I’ll wait for a while to see if you will move on, but after a while, I’ll give up. Our interests have diverged.

13) Your posts are too long. You love your words and I sympathize. I love mine, too, but I have learned to cut and cut some more. I run out of steam after 1000 words. Sometimes less.

14) You don’t respond to my comments. First, I’ll stop commenting. Then, I’ll stop reading. When I remember, I’ll stop following.

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LET ME LIKE YOU

I love dialogue, but it’s a mistake to demand comments from every visitor. I think we should take our “Likes” and be glad. It means people are visiting. I don’t expect everyone to comment, though I appreciate an occasional word so I know you are there.

That’s it for today. I am going to take some Excedrin and have a second cuppa coffee.

A SERENDIPITOUS PHOTO STORY PROMPT – 2015 #2

This could be a hit or a flop, but it’s worth a try.

I like telling stories linked to pictures. To help the process along, every Wednesday, I’ll publish a picture and write something about it. Sometimes, it may be a relatively long post. Other day, you’ll see just a couple of sentences. You can use whatever picture I post  or any picture I have posted — or any picture of your own — as a prompt. Link it back to this post (ping back) so other people can find it.

You will have to forgive me if I miss a day here and there, or if Wednesday turns out to be Friday (occasionally).

Feel free to jump in.

What do I mean by “story” and “pictures”?

Story. Words. Poetry, prose, fact, or fiction. A couple of lines, a fanciful tale.

Pictures. Video if that’s your thing. Scanned pictures from your scrap-book. Weird pictures from the internet. Cartoons. Pictures of your family vacation and how the bear stole your food. Any picture you ever took and would like to talk about

What to write about?

Your trip to Paris. You flight from Irkutsk. You favorite dog, cat, ferret, cockatoo. The weird boyfriend you had in high school. The last book you read, the next book you plan to read, why you don’t read books (but you write them)(don’t write them)(would like to write them).

Television shows, movie stars, classic film, history, language. Fiction, non-fiction. Everything, anything as long as you include a picture and some text.

SIMPLE

It sounds simple because it is simple. Every picture has a story or ought to. There are no rules. You are free to follow my lead, ignore me, follow someone else’s idea. Any picture plus some text will do it. Short or long, truth or fiction. Prose or poetry.

One final thing: If you want to get notices of these posts, you’ll have to subscribe to Serendipity. I’ll try to title relevant posts so you can easily recognize them.


My entry for today:

A SERENDIPITY PHOTO STORY – THURSDAY APRIL 24, 2015

The headline in Boston Globe:

MARIJUANA ADVOCATES EYE LEGALIZATION IN MASS.

An effort has been launched to both get a question calling for the drug’s legalization on the 2016 ballot and to raise enough money for victory.

What happened?  Massachusetts passed a referendum making medical marijuana legal more than two years ago. After which, as so often happens, it vanished.

I bet legalizing it would have the same result. Nothing. Nada. Maybe they would stop busting people for smoking a joint at a concert … or would they? I suppose it depends on how the law is worded. I’m sure legalization would not make dope cheaper or more available.

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Why not? Because this is Massachusetts. Not only (to quote Tip O’Neill) is all politics local, but absolutely everything is political. Everything is a power play between dueling egos.

They can “eye legalization” all they want, but it won’t help me or my buddies. They’ll find a way to keep us from getting any. By the time they finish with the legal gobbledygook, it will be easier to buy it illegally. Like always.

I figure the process will be like applying for MassHealth. Fill out a thousand page form. Mail it in. Call six weeks later to learn they lost it. Fill in a another form. They’ll tell you it’s too late to meet the deadline (because they lost the first one). Eventually, they will start to process the application. If you don’t die in the interim, a year or two down the road, you’ll get fantastic medical benefits.

Weed? The price will be too high. You’ll realize what a bargain the illegal stuff was. Taxes alone will exceed the original non-legal price by hundreds of percent.

Dream on, you aging hippies. It ain’t gonna happen here. Not in our lifetime.


  1. GENERATION GAP – GROWING UP BOOMER – Tuesday, April 21, 2015
  2. FIVE PHOTOS FIVE STORIES: Let’s start with a Serendipitous Bang (DAY 4) 
  3. MAKING MARIJUANA LEGAL – Thursday, April 23, 2015
  4. Photos and Stories behind them – day four – The secret places in Bern the capital town of Switzerland
  5. I Went To A Carnival, And A Baseball Game Broke Out!
  6. A SERENDIPITOUS PHOTO STORY PROMPT | A Day In The Life
  7. A SERENDIPITOUS PHOTO STORY #2 – MEET TILLY | MY OTHER BLOG – Living in Tasmania and loving it.
  8. Spam-Bam Thank You Ma’am | Cordelia’s Mom
  9. And on the Eighth Day, God said … | Cordelia’s Mom
  10. FIVE PHOTOS FIVE STORIES: Early Peacock View and tiger spotting
  11. Size doesn’t matter… | The Happy Quitter
  12. Photos and Stories behind them: Day Five – The Birds
  13. Life’s A Ditch | Evil Squirrel’s Nest
  14. Of mountains and things | Willow’s Corner
  15. A Serendipitous Story
  16. Statue of Limitations | Evil Squirrel’s Nest
  17. Tradeoffs | Willow’s Corner
  18. Oddments | Willow’s Corner

A SERENDIPITOUS PHOTO STORY PROMPT

MARILYN’S LEAP OF FAITH

This is the kind of stupid thing I do which can be a big hit or a total flop. I have no idea if anyone is interested. If you are not, please do not participate. Don’t be a pill about it, though. I’m not recruiting anyone.

I would like to keep telling stories linked to pictures. To help the process along, I’ll publish a picture and write something about it. You can use my picture as a prompt. Or you use any picture you like as a jumping off point. Link back to me (send a pingback) and I’ll publish it.

I’m not going to do this every day because that’s a bit more responsibility than I’m ready to take on. I’m aiming for at least two weekdays — Tuesday and Thursday to start. I’ll do more if I see sufficient interest.

I’ve been reluctant to host a regular “challenge” because my life is full of challenges and they aren’t much fun. You will have to forgive me if I miss a day here and there, or if Thursday is comes out on Friday. I’ll do the best I can.

Each of you is free to jump in. No themes for now except what’s in the picture. My current thinking is to leave things loose. No one needs to worry if they have “the right” picture.

What do I mean by story? Something written in words.

Poetry, prose, fact, or fiction. A couple of lines about the camera and how you got the shot. A fanciful tale of time travel and parallel worlds. Video if that’s your thing. Old pictures from your scrap-book. Weird pictures from the internet. Cartoons. Pictures of your family vacation and how the bear stole your food.

Your trip to Paris. You flight from Irkutsk. You favorite dog, cat, ferret, cockatoo. The weird boyfriend you had in high school. The last book you read, the next book you plan to read, or why you don’t read books (but you write them)(don’t write them)(would like to write them).

Television shows, movie stars, classic film, history, language. Fiction, non-fiction. Everything, anything as long as you include a picture and some text.

It sounds simple. It is simple. Every picture has a story or ought to. Otherwise, there are no rules. A pictures, some text. That’s it. Short or long, truth or fiction. Prose or poetry. You’re in the driver’s seat.


Warning! I’ve never done this before. There are a few technical issues I’m not entire sure about, but I hope to get them ironed out pretty quickly. I’m using today’s post as the first of the series. It’s got a lot of pictures in it and you are welcome to choose one. Or pick your own!

You can take a hint from the topic (communicating between generations) or write whatever strikes your fancy. It’s just a point of reference.

You don’t have to do what I do. Just … do something! I’ll try to get these out early enough for everyone, but time zones around the world differ. I apologize, but the world is large and round and always in motion.

I’ll try to post the ideas a few days in advance on the page, but links won’t work until the day of publication. As I said, this is new for me, so be patient while I work out the details.

  1. GENERATION GAP – GROWING UP BOOMER – Tuesday, April 21, 2015
  2. MAKING MARIJUANA LEGAL – Thursday, April 23, 2015
  3. FIVE PHOTOS FIVE STORIES: Let’s start with a Serendipitous Bang (DAY 4)

FIVE EXAMPLES OF SENSIBLE VIOLENCE

We’ve all heard of senseless violence. The term is nearly as common as “stay in the car.” Everyone knows no one stays in the car and “senseless violence” implies there’s another kind. The sensible kind.

sensible violence

Reasonable, well thought-out violence.

1. “He needed killing” (really, I kid you not) is still accepted in some American courtrooms as a defense against a charge of murder. If he needed killing and you kill him, you have committed an act of sensible violence.

2. “No one was supposed to get hurt.” You held up the bank using automatic weapons. You just wanted some money. To improve your life. You had a perfect plan which went unaccountably wrong. “But your Honor, no one was supposed to get hurt!”

3. “I had no choice.” You could have gotten a divorce, but you were put off by all the paperwork, lawyers, and courts. In the spirit of cleanliness and reduction of paperwork, you killed your husband and shoved his body in the washing machine in the basement laundry room. Sensible and tidy.  “Your Honor, he really pissed me off. And it wasn’t easy getting him down the stairs and into the machine.”

4. “Anyone in my position would have done the same thing.” Really, no kidding. Anyone. Because it was the only reasonable response. “Your Honor, she burned the roast. I had to dismember her and hang her body parts on stakes in the yard. Anyone would have done the same thing.” Sensible violence was the only answer.

5. “I lost my temper.” You said I wouldn’t like you when you are angry. You were completely right.

So you see? Not all violence is senseless. If you didn’t mean it, you had no choice, your plan went awry … it’s all good. Absolutely sensible.


 DICK CHENEY’S SEX APPEAL

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST

Another one of the bloggers with whom I have been in close communication for more than a year just shut down. I suppose I knew something was happening because he wasn’t posting as often. Nor was he displaying the cleverness and enthusiasm characteristic of his past work.

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Why? He didn’t explain. I could take an educated guess. Several educated guesses and probably be right at least once. This is why I am afraid to invest heavily in virtual relationships. It’s not lack of caring. It’s my fear of losing those to whom I’ve become attached. All of a sudden, with no word of warning. Without knowing what happened to them, why they abandoned me. Wondering if I ever existed in their world. Or mattered at all.

This isn’t the first such loss. Or the tenth. There is constant attrition. People vanish. Poof. One day, you stop hearing from them. Sometimes they post something to let us know that they are going silent, but rarely why. More often, they disappear without a word of farewell or hint of an explanation.

I have thought about quitting. Each time WordPress makes another pointless change in the Interface, I think about throwing in the proverbial towel. Every time someone with whom I’ve become friends goes missing. To date, over the course of my three years of blogging, I take the hit, absorb it. I mourn and move on.

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It’s getting harder. Personal and virtual losses pile up. I can’t help but wonder who will be next? Will anyone I know now be around in a few months? Are we allowed to grieve for those we have come to care about, but never met? After all, it’s just the Internet, isn’t it? I mean, we aren’t real to one another, are we?

You are real to me. I share your lives. I know your husbands and wives, fears and hopes, triumphs and defeats.

I am afraid. Because slowly, it’s going away. I can’t help but feel a deep sense of sadness and foreboding.

TEN REASONS I DON’T COMMENT ON YOUR BLOG

Recently, I’ve had to be away from the computer more than usual. Winter is over. Stuff needs doing and frankly, I’ve got a bad case of cabin fever. Thus my email, the daily deluge of notifications, comments, advertising, and occasionally actual messages from friends, doth overflow. To the point of finding it necessary to delete a lot of notifications from fellow bloggers of new posts.

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It was hard for me to do it. I’m compulsive about reading and commenting, or at the least “Liking” the blogs I follow. It went against the grain to delete so many notifications.

I tried to catch up with myself, but kept falling farther behind until I had no choice. Unless I’m going to spend all day everyday in front of the computer, I can’t handle the traffic.

72-Computer-in-use_01It got me thinking about why I comment on some blogs and not others. Following are the top ten reasons I don’t comment on your blog:

1) You get dozens of comments and put the oldest ones on top. If I have to scroll past two dozen comments before I can comment, you don’t need me.

2) You’re a photographer. I’m a photographer. I feel comfortable pointing out I can love your pictures, but not have anything to say about them.

3) I liked your post, but I’m late to the dance. Everyone has already said it. If I have nothing to add, I’m won’t comment. If you allow “Likes,” I’ll leave one.

4) I hated your post, but I like you. If I have nothing nice to say, I won’t say anything. I try not to be over-critical because it is in my nature to be over-critical. I consider it a character flaw.

5) If you post one picture per post 12 times a day, consider two posts with six pictures each. It’s not personal. I get buried by notifications, and comments. I follow as many blogs as I can, but if you post that often, you become spam.

6) If I’ve been following you for months and you never visit my site, I’ll stop following you. Eventually. It’s insulting. I don’t expect you to read every word I write, but if you never visit, you are going to lose me.

7) You write about one topic. Only one. All the time. It is your passion, but there are other things which matter to me. I can’t read on the same subject every day, even if I agree.

8) You’ve got a problem. Your blog is where you let your feelings be known. First, I will be sympathetic. Then I’ll try to help. Eventually, I’ll give up. You are free to complain. I’m free to not listen. At some point, you have to move on. See number 7.

9) You’ve had a “sense-of-humorectomy.” You used to be funny, but now you’re an angry ranter. I have a limited capacity for rage. Even my own. I get mad, but I get over it. After I stop being angry, I find my drama funny. If you can’t get past your rage, I’ll get over you. Sorry.

10) More than half your posts are reblogs. I follow you because I like you. We all reblog some stuff but if that’s your primary material, you won’t hear from me.

I love comments and dialogue, but I think it’s a mistake to demand comments from every visitor. Personally, I think we should take our “Likes” and be grateful. It means people are reading and visiting. I don’t expect everyone to comment on everything, though I appreciate an occasional word so I know someone is there.

Now you know. In case you were wondering.

URBAN MYTH?

Once upon a time, there was a company who had a great idea. Create a platform on which all kinds of people could come and do whatever they wanted. They could write, show off their photography or paintings, even show videos and play music.

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They created easy-to-use software and a congenial atmosphere. People flocked to them. They started sites. Talked about their lives, their memories, their hopes, dreams, art, ambitions. They connected with one another. Participated in collective events and formed friendships that circled the globe.

And everything was good.

One day, someone in a high tower in a far distant place said “We need to get with the real world.”

Many people were surprised because they thought they already were part of the real world, but he was the Big Boss, so they listened. He must be wise, because he was in power and we know that powerful people are wise, right?

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He told his employees that small devices were the way of the future, that no one would use real computers — desktops or laptops. Indeed, several years before, many people believed — briefly — something along these lines. Everyone had long since backed off this belief — because it was obviously untrue.

Too many things — in business, art, even entertainment — needed a bigger, more powerful machine. Working people weren’t going to do spreadsheets on telephones or tablets. These things were convenient for checking email, but without room to work and a keyboard, no one was going to write their next novel on it, try to manage finances, or edit photographs.

Ghost Town by Apache Junction

But the Powers-That-Be didn’t want to hear this. They had a vision and were determined to make it true, at any cost. Moreover, they believed they had the power to force their customers march in lock step to their music. They hired a band and played marching music day and night.

Their customers blocked their ears and expressed their dismay, but the corporation couldn’t hear anyone over their own music.

Thus over a period of months and years, they changed everything. They took away the fun, the congeniality, and the software. They sucked the fun out of blogging. And then, people began to drift away.

There were some protests, some angry voices, but most people had been doing it because it was fun and it wasn’t fun any more. So they posted less. With each revision of the platform, more people gave up.

Not with a bang, but a whimper.

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There wasn’t any other platform to take its place. There ought to have been, if this were a happier fairy tale. No alternative universe existed into which they could go, so they just quit. They found other media. Maybe not as good as the old one was, before the corporate bosses ruined everything … but it was okay. People got used to it. At least no one was trying to make them do stuff they didn’t want to do.

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Over a period of time, the big corporation noticed they didn’t have so many people using their platform. “No problem,” declared the Big Boss. “We’ll get businesses to take their place. They will pay us for our services.”

Businesses had their own IT departments and servers. They saw no reason to depend on someone else when they had their own resources. And the platform’s reputation for poor customer service while creating a user-hostile environment was all over the Internet. Everyone knew someone who’d been betrayed. No one wanted to risk their business. What if they were next on the corporate hit list?

“No thanks,” they said and moved elsewhere.

sad momProfits fell. First a trickle, and then a mighty waterfall. Customers abandoned the ship. Eventually, the corporation realized it was out of business. Like Wang. DEC. Grumman. IBM. GTE. They thought they were so big and so powerful, they could do whatever they wanted however they wanted.

They were wrong.


The End.


What a Twist! — Tell us a story — fiction or non-fiction — with a twist we can’t see coming.

THE REDIRECT SCRIPT

Referring to the little script that will redirect your “new post” interface back to the “classic” version as opposed to the “improved posting experience” that is in no way an improvement — it works.

This morning, for the first time since I selected “keep the classic interface” back when WordPress first tried to foist this crap software on us, they tried to send me to the new version instead of the old. I guess they finally cleared out the default I had set. So the new one flashed for half a second on the screen and the script intercepted it and I was back where I want to be.

For anyone still battling with the blockheads of WordPress, I strongly suggest you install the redirect into your browser. It will let you continue to blog the way you always have. It’s not going to solve the problem forever because WordPress is never going to give up.

The blogging platform that is snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

The blogging platform which is snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

Microsoft has demonstrated why this is a terrible idea, that forcing users to “do it” your way when they don’t want to, not only doesn’t work, but can transform your customers into someone else’s customers.

Microsoft has generated a lot of business for Apple and Linux while trying to convince us that Windows 8 isn’t garbage. WordPress thinks they can do the same, but get different results.

It’s marketing 101 and obviously, they don’t get it. They cannot force their will on people. Not here, not now, not in 2015 on the Internet. All they are doing is getting people to rethink if they want to continue blogging while searching for other platforms.

Please, visit How To Force A Redirect To The Classic WordPress.com Editor Interface on DiaryofDennis.com. It works. And when it is working, you can work, too. At least until they figure out another way to blow us out of the water.