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!"


  1. Where exactly do I put markstoval AT gmail DOT com?

    Thanks for setting up this little backwater site; a veritable oasis away from the craziness of Salon at the moment.

    Any news on Glenn's condition?

  2. Interesting, Glenn's comments have been stalled at 111 for almost an hour, yet some (not all) other comments are working fine ...

    very annoying and curious ... oh, and Joan is off again on Newt Gingrich's personal moral failings ... same old, same old .... who the fuck cares ...

  3. Hi, Susan.

    Yeah, I can't get the comments to load for the latest article...can't even "continue reading". However, I can read the comments for his earlier articles. Very odd. And how peculiar that this happens to be the article about OWS. (Side note: How can Bloomberg aver that tents aren't part of free speech? If corporations are people and money is free speech per the Citizen's United case, then people are people and tents can be their speech. Why not?)


  4. And it seems, Glenn's is the only recent article for which access is unavailable. I checked 4 or 5 others and was able to see and comment on the letter threads of those.

  5. Yes, it is passing strange. The URL to the comments is looping somehow.

  6. Yes, I'm slow on the uptake. Yes, I've been lagging behind. But, for the record, I sent this today...and, if I get a response, I'll share it. ~bystander

    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.


  7. Bystander -- I had that problem with a magazine subscription that I am ashamed to admit I "received" for an extra two years because I could not manage to get through to find either a phone number or an e-mail address to use to cancel ... it's wicked and should not be allowed ... the "convenience" is entirely one-sided and unless it is voluntary, coersive.

    Now, I really really need a twit filter .. and the tragedy is that I suspect those who might have been motivated to tweek or develop such a thing are long gone ...

    cluster fuck in spades ... the ability to access letters (even just for reading) is erratic ... but we also seem to have attracted cadre of maybe 20 DLC faithful commenters on various threads who are OBVIOUSLY new to Salon ... maybe I need to take another 2-3 week vacation ... I'm getting very little of value out of comments except vague "comraderie" ... I'm thinking efforts in the "real world" this holiday season might be better use of my time ... give me strength.

  8. bye -- done --- ohfucknevermind