Monday, 21 November 2011

An Open Letter To Salon Management:

Another fellow regular UT commentator, bystander, wrote the following letter on the 16th of November 2011.

He reports that, as of today - the 21st of November 2011 - he has not received any reply.

(You're all lulzing, I know ... stop it!)

He has graciously agreed to my reproducing it here. It says everything I would want to say, far better - and an incredible degree more courteously - than I can say it.

I encourage other UT regulars to follow his lead.

Dear Mr. Talbot and Mr. Lauerman,

I have just recently submitted updated credit card information to Salon, thereby, formally rolling my subscription from a Premium account to a Core account. However, mine is a conditional kind of support. Frankly, I'm fairly unhappy with Salon at this point, and have made the decision to persevere on the thin hope that, within the coming months, you will demonstrate that you have your customer's interests at heart.

You've certainly unnerved a number of people by forcing them to subscribe with personal sources of information which are then managed by an unknown third party. Some "introduction" to that third party acknowledging people's privacy concerns might have indicated that you're aware that your readers have actually read the columns and reports regarding internet privacy you've published! As a paying subscriber, I've side-stepped that point of discomfort for now, but if/when I decide that Salon is as unresponsive as my elected congressman, I'll choose a different strategy for accessing Salon - if I even care to view it.

Your comment threads are essentially unreadable. I was agnostic on the issue of threaded comments, but I always believed that if they came they would come with the ability to collapse them, and some change-in-color/coded scheme to identify comments one had already reviewed. Clearly, that's not what we have. And, paginating this unreadable mess only serves to make the reading experience worse. The amount of white space devoted to individual comments, coupled with the narrow column these comments are allowed, the inability to collapse them, AND your insistence on paginating them makes reading them one of the most aggravating experiences I've ever had online. It is simply awful. And, who needs to pay/compromise their privacy for awful?

Then there is the nearly laughable experience I had trying to update my credit card information. Upon submission I was greeted by a totally blank screen - yards and yards of white space without a word to be seen. The only indication that this submission of information went anywhere was the URL https://[redacted] that appeared in the address window. Some affirmation that the submission had actually been completed would have been appreciated, and a Thank You would have been a real bonus.

Finally, I am undecided how to cope with your intent to bill my credit card account automatically each subscription cycle. I want out of that liability. It's astounding to me that you don't make your intent to recycle that charge every 12 months obvious and plain. It's taken me two phone calls and an unanswered email to confirm my suspicion that this was your intent. That unwillingness to make plain the financial liability your subscriber assumes is nothing short of creepy. I'd almost go so far as to say it's fraudulent.

Clearly, you have undertaken a major project. And, clearly, someone failed to understand the breadth and depth of the problems that would be encountered in doing so. Clearly, there would be bugs and, clearly, you would need time to sort them all out. But, what I'm describing are not bugs. These are, in my estimation, major design flaws which demonstrate an utter disregard for your subscribing readers. Clearly, I am unhappy. Clearly, I am trying to be patient. And, clearly, I have a thin hope that if I identify why I am unhappy, you might consider my complaint as a "canary in the coal mine" indicator for others who might be having a similar experience, but who might not take the time to email you. They might simply disappear, instead. And, before all is said and done, I might be one of them.

Thank you for your time.


Please, nobody, hold your breath waiting.

But, there's still Kiwi rock music:

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Occupy Salon

There's not much point in my talking to you about how fugly Salon still is, yea these many moons after the glowing promises of unicorns, or promises of glowing unicorns, or whatever the hell utopian peyote visions David Talbot is currently immersed in while reality completely passes him by, since you all know it, hate it, and some of you still try to make a silk purse of that pale piece of pigs ear that is today.

(I am constantly awed and humbled by how often many of you succeed in piercing the sheer solid stupid of the place with your trenchant, lucid, and profound commentary on life in the modern imperium.)

So I thought I'd give big shout out to the people of the #OccupyWallStreet (and other places) movement instead, who've just been viciously assaulted and robbed by our erstwhile masters, while being daily vilified for their courage and persistence.

In comments at UT today I observed that, while most of us feel as if we'd have kicked that damned pervo-coach to death had it been us that caught him buggering a young boy in the showers, most of us have stood idly by while the good people of the #Occupy movement have been "proper fucked" (HT to Richie Guy / "Snatch") by the Man, not in some quiet deserted shower stall, but right in the middle of - dare I say it - fucking Wall Street!

It is true, I am a dreadful hypocrite for even writing these words, because in Zurich last night the police also cleared out the local #Occupy protesters, and I was at home in bed, sleeping the undisturbed sleep of the almost totally indifferent.

And while I have supported a number of such protests, in ways other than physically showing up to have my head handed to me by some jackbooted thug with a badge, I will not claim that I have done enough.

I will keep my cowardly excuses to myself, and repeat some things I've noted many times in UT comment threads:

“Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

 Power concedes nothing without demand. It never has and never will."
and, finally:

“The thing worse than rebellion is the thing that causes rebellion.”

Both these quotes come from Frederick Douglass, a great man whose life, struggles, and writings I strongly encourage everyone to study.

I urge everyone who reads this - yes, both of you! - to support these people in whatever way you can. Even if it is only rhetoric, it is better than nothing; which is itself more than what a lot of people are doing, many being actively opposed to anything that might disturb their stupidly saccharine view of themselves and our silk-lined iron maiden of a civilisation.

I also quoted today the words of a song by Nickelback (I know, not to everyone's taste) but the words deserve to be contemplated because they are not only true, and timeless, but profoundly true in this time of all times, now, and today:

One more depending on a prayer
And we all look away
People pretending everywhere
It's just another day

There's bullets flying through the air
And they still carry on
We watch it happen over there
And then just turn it off

[Hey, yeah, yeah, hey, yeah…]
We must stand together
[Hey, yeah, yeah, hey, yeah…]
There's no giving in
[Hey, yeah, yeah, hey, yeah…]
Hand in hand forever
[Hey, yeah, yeah, hey, yeah…]
That's when we all win
[Hey, yeah, yeah, hey, yeah…]
That's, that's, that's when we all win
That's, that's, that's when we all win

They tell us everything's alright
And we just go along
How can we fall asleep at night
When something's clearly wrong
When we could feed a starving world
With what we throw away
But all we serve are empty words
That always taste the same

[Hey, yeah, yeah, hey, yeah…]
We must stand together
[Hey, yeah, yeah, hey, yeah…]
There's no giving in
[Hey, yeah, yeah, hey, yeah…]
Hand in hand forever
[Hey, yeah, yeah, hey, yeah…]
That's when we all win
[Hey, yeah, yeah, hey, yeah…]
That's, that's, that's when we all win
That's, that's, that's when we all win

The right thing to guide us
Is right here inside us
No one can divide us
When the Light is nearly on
But just like a heartbeat
The drumbeat carries on…

And the drumbeat carries on…

[Hey, yeah, yeah, hey, yeah…]
We must stand together
[Hey, yeah, yeah, hey, yeah…]
There's no giving in
[Hey, yeah, yeah, hey, yeah…]
Hand in hand forever
[Hey, yeah, yeah, hey, yeah…]
That's when we all win
[Hey, yeah, yeah, hey, yeah…]
That's, that's, that's when we all win
That's, that's, that's when we all win

Monday, 7 November 2011

The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

I hope Douglas Adams (and, more pertinently, his estate's lawyers) will forgive me for stealing his title, but I feel that this is where we are right now in the SalonFugly Clusterfuck Slow-Motion-Train-Wreck Internet-Boondoggle Commercial-Suicide-by-Staggering-Ineptitude saga.

We're at the point where we are emotionally dry, and our own complaints bore even ourselves, but we're too stubborn to give in, and so we simmer resentfully, lurking in the undergrowth like angry rattlers, primed to bite the heel of the next heel who steps on our tail.

Well, that's how I feel, anyway.

There's really nothing new to report.

  • Salon is still fuglier than it ever was.
  • Glenn is still (presumably) as embarrassed by his inability to do anything about it as you and I are.
  • Salon's management - if I might dignify that benighted crew by such a term - is still completely invisible; "unchanging, unhasting, and silent as light", as the old hymn (almost) goes.

The real point of this entry is to note that since the advent of the Great Leap Backwards we've lost a number of seriously stellar commentators from our community.

So I wanted to ask those of your who have commented here recently, and so will presumably read this, to please drop me an email. Many of you have commented or emailed that you find the comment threads at Salon simply too onerous to follow and participate in, and so will be around less often in future. Therefore, I offer to maintain a list - privately - of those who would like to be informed of significant events, should any ever actually occur.

My own is the same as my Salon username, at gmail. (OK, it's at the bottom, where it says "posted by ScuzzaMan")

(I thoroughly recommend this practice to all of you. I dont kid myself it is private, just moderately secure enough to discourage the casual opportunists. That's about the digital analogue of a padlock.
[he he ... "digital analogue" - not often you get to use a complete oxymoron like that. </geek>]
However, it is convenient for our purposes.)

I, ScuzzaMan, do solemnly swear not to spam any of you, nor to sell your identity to the lowest or the highest of bidders, but only to use it when - if - anything actually improves at Salon, or some other notable and relevant event occurs, like Glenn finding a competent venue, or suchlike.

If you know or know of others, who dont read here, please invite them to do the same.

And, if you cant be bothered ... well, I could hardly blame you.

Have some of this:

and as Dave Allen used to say: "May your God go with you!"

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

A Month Is A Loooong Time...

Dang! I notice that Salon CEO David Talbot has time to roam the continental USA engaging in various public debates, but insufficient time to tell his paying customers when the fuck he is going to get off his arse and deliver what he promised them ... one month ago!

Or, even write them a polite note with some details as to when the joy of internet nirvana is going to rain down from the celestial heights?

Maybe a rude note, with some vague promises, ambiguous timeframes, and airy platitudes?


Is this guy really a businessman?

Is this how a modern CEO behaves? How he treats his paying customers? With contemptuous lies and patrician silences?

Do the people who own Salon really believe this kind of reckless incompetence is going to make the thing self-funding?

(Hmmm, intriguing possibility: David Talbot eats the same funny mushrooms as Salon's owners. Or, vice versa?)

Just to re-cap:
-Many still have no access to their Salon archives
-Many still have troubles logging on at all (seems plausibly related to 'special' characters in the login-name)
-None of the promised* improvements have been delivered
-No sign of anyone with any authority, intelligence, or sense of responsibility making any attempt to communicate with their customers
-UT thread comment numbers still way down on pre "Great Leap Forward" norms

*Rumoured to have been promised. We cant even get an insultingly implausible, vague, and self-contradictory reassurance out of these ass-clowns.

Amazingly, David Talbot has an option to purchase 400,000 Salon shares at 45cents per share, with 100,000 option rights vesting every 3 months, the first vesting date being October 31st 2011 - one month after the very day he so royally screwed the pooch, the website, all his customers, and (if there is any sniff of justice & karma left in this world) himself.

Having myself previously owned multi-million dollar share options that were worthless by the time they vested, I know it is hard to get excited about money you never really had, so couldn't really lose.

But the people who own the majority of the shares ought to care about the damage being done to their property by their employee.

Yeah, you gotta fight for your right to set fire to the party ... but that's ridiculous.

Me? I'm just letting the days go by

Nearly forgot: