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:



  1. thelastnamechosen2 November 2011 at 18:20

    An American Thanksgiving

    The preacher spoke of equity and passed the plate of charity.

    Those not issued cutlery inquired insultingly--"Can you deduce why it's moral to gander at the goose, but we can't see the farmer with clarity?"

    The road is one way, but if you will pay, I say with sincerity the rarity of parity is simply a question of cut. The sin isn't looking, or hooking and crooking--but you see the marquee--it's a question of booking, because someone is always on top.

    What's good for the goose is slander to the gander--this privilege is conferred to the winner. The behavior is the same, but one side can't be blamed--and guess what we're having for dinner!

  2. Whoa, Talbot's stepped in it big time ... declaring " Put your money where your mouth is. It's time for the 99 percent to fund the new America " iow: subcribe to Salon ...

    Photograph: Somebody with a SalonCore sign in the middle of some OWS crowd (we are the 99%) ...

    Now, I like the changes in content, but Salon now become just the latest to try to capitalize (literally) on association with OWS ... and that not just craven and selfish, it also suggests a very very basic misunderstanding and misreading of OWS thus far ... Jesus.

    Oh and there's been no engagement or communication wrt to the letter/coment system ... except to ignore it ...

    Found the above to be a really unexpected and unpleasant way to start my day ...
    not only are there are a number of equally or better deserving sites (Truthout comes to mind) ... the money would probably best be sent to your local Occupy Everything site, though likely better yet, the money be be turned into "need list" items to be delivered in person, since occupations require a renewing supply of warm bodies to exist.

  3. "It's time for the 99% to fund the new America". Yeah, except that the .01% already stole all my money and I got nothin' left. Talbot can fuck off. And take moveon (loved how he promoted moveon in his article, BTW; they are trying really hard to co-opt OWS, too) and his crackerjack IT Salon team with him.

  4. Well, he's trying to jack the share-price.

  5. thelastnamechosen3 November 2011 at 22:30

    Beyond Shameless

    Either salon hired a model to advertise "Salon Core Dump" at the OWS protests, or they just photoshopped an ad into the picture and made that nice young gentleman and unpaid spokesperson for Salon. If the latter is the case, this is a lawsuit and a PR disaster waiting to happen.

    I really can't decide which choice is more stupid and evil.

  6. yeah, yuccck, a "Forrest Gump" faux-history quality ... and, and, and Salon's not even a non-profit or ad-free which so much of their (better) competition ...

    if they were attempting to advertise AT OWS ... lame
    opportunistically trying to "catch the wave" via photoshop ... worse
    going to OWS with sign to take photograph ... worst (doesn't look photoshopped to me)

  7. A note (thanks for the space, ScuzzaMan), based on personal experience, to record that:

    1. Untested software bugs and formatting handicaps aside, Salon.com prevented, without warning, existing UT (Glenn Greenwald) commenters from logging in with pre-10/1 user names/passwords, as of (or within three-four days of) Salon's suddenly-launched software rewrite on 10/1/11 (unless said commenters were paid Salon subscribers, or agreed to use/be tracked by Facebook or Google); and then

    2. Allowed existing UT commenters with pre-10/1 user names/passwords to log in (and comment), as usual, without subscribing to Salon, or using Facebook or Google, 7-10 days later; and then

    3. Has since, by today, a month post-launch, again blocked existing UT commenters with pre-10/1 user names/passwords from logging in, unless they first subscribe to (pay for) SalonCore, or agree to use and be tracked by Facebook or Google.

    Meanwhile, vanished comment archives aside, apparently every "permalink" to an archived Salon.com comment was transformed overnight into a "templink" timed to expire on 9/30/11 - meaning that any and all links elsewhere to the years of pre-10/1/11 Salon.com comments are now junk links, leading nowhere...

    - A former UT Salon.com commenter

  8. thelastnamechosen4 November 2011 at 03:43

    I don't think salon would do the lame option, If they hired a model to carry a sign, it would have been only to take the photo.

    I leaning toward the worst option, but Salon credits that photo to "AP/Salon" which seems to indicate it is a photoshop job. Why would salon hire a model to hold a sign and hope that some random photographer would take a picture. I guess they could have hired AP to take the picture, but why pay AP a licensee fee to use a photo that you could easily own outright by hiring your own photographer.

    I also don't think that AP takes photos for commercial clients and then offers those photos to news organizations while pretending that they were photos taken in the course of news gathering. But I could be wrong, and that does sound like a wonderfully modern business plan--product placement for the news.

    The whole things smells rotten.

  9. I posted a letter the day you put this post up Scuzza and now I don't see it. No big deal, it was not all that important.

    I will say that this morning the software went crazy. If I used "reply" the post when where ever it wanted to go. When I used regular comment it when some-place-weird. I did not even know where to put "fuckit".

    I wonder if it is worth it. We have a very, very few regular posters and most are only posting to smear others. I have not seen honest debate in months and months; though I could have missed and exchange that qualifies.

    I wonder how many people read any posts past the first few pages. Any way to find out?

  10. oh, this is salon ... they wouldn't have to hire a model, they doubtless could get a couple interns -- one to hold the sign, the other to take the photo -- they use their writers "real lives" in so many creative ways to fill their pages ... what's another?

  11. thelastnamechosen4 November 2011 at 17:25

    As someone who did my time as a model/intern (actually intern/model), I am presented the image of washing David Talbot's socks in an ornamental bowl, tears streaming down my face, as Vivaldi mocks.

    Think of the look on Allison Brie's face at 1:57. (great clip, by the way)


  12. did anyone watch the video? I haven't had time or inclination ...
    what are the payment options?

    I'm on the FORA mailing list and I never noticed them to have pay-for-play ... though, looking at my last e-mail they do have a pay-to-play event (Intelligence² presents: Christopher Hitchens in Conversation with Stephen Fry) though most events seem to be free ... (Talbot/Greenwald interestingly not mentioned)


    recommend the mailing list ... hitchens and fry might be worth it... hmmm.

  13. Susan, don't bother trying. There are new letters up on the infamous Talbot post in which Core members have noted that their coupons don't even work. Another poster noted that it took more than two hours for him/her to "try" to see the interview. I wonder how Glenn feels about this?

    Seriously, what in hell has happened? Who runs a business like this? I've just added another plea, and urge others to do the same. Let's swamp them with feedback.
    David Talbot, where are you? You posted an article that elicited numerous letters asking for an explanation for what has gone wrong. Posters are now noting that the coupons that they paid for don't work. As the CEO of Salon, you owe us an explanation.

    Your business is the exchange of ideas. Do you honestly think that you owe nothing to your constituency (and that anemic note posted for a week does not count as an explanation). It was an artful use of passive voice "mistakes happen" with no real information about exactly what did happen and when we can reasonably expect a functioning site.

    A letter of explanation is long over-due. Frankly, those who paid good money for a Core membership who now have non-functioning coupons deserve a rebate.

    Please communicate with us. Thank you for taking this plea into consideration. It is about the dozenth I've made. -- Morning's Minion

  14. In light of the disrespect shown for the free exchange of ideas at "populist" Salon, I wonder if Glenn's core missions would be far better served by choosing a forum which actually acts on the principles it espouses.

    Helen Gerhardt

  15. It's a good question, Helen. Given Glenn's record, I think it fair to assume he's asked it of himself. But I dont begrudge him not charging off all guns blazing. Salon is not merely his venue, it is also his income source. He has dependents and it is right and proper that we allow him to consider them and his responsibilities to them before throwing himself out of work for the sake of our principles.

    I would hope that he's looking around for alternatives.

    But again, ask yourself: given the assholery on display, would you be sanguine about discussing that in public, if YOU worked for Salon?

  16. I think that Glenn should join Huffpo along with Radley Balko who just went over there a few months back. (or at least have some contacts there)

    As to Salon; I am beginning to think that it really is not worth making comments. It is too hard, too weird, only a few read them, and it has all been said anyway. It seems more like a "chat room" that a place to debate policy issues. (one man's opinion)

  17. I may be in a minority here, but I think Salon is head and shoulders a better site than HuffPo which has an ambiguous "editorial policy" ... If I were scouting for a new home for Glenn, I would have chosen either TruthOut or TruthDig -- unfortunately, both have become cluttered and distracting

    Truthout underwent a relaunch maybe 5 months ago and now has 2 to 3 times the content ... although upgrading to IE9 helped the appearance, I still find it frantic and cluttered and visit much less often and read less as well. It desperately needs a saner re-design so one can find things and there are still some navigation issues. I have taken to printing out anything I want to read. Their letters/comment section overflows with nitpickers and contrarians.

    TruthDig is also cluttered and has an established coterie of "letter writers" who, imho, are just awful, lots of feuds and ankle-biting, very rarely worth reading or contributing to. There are good people there, Hedges and Scheer first, imho, but there's a fair amount of filler and articles that seem promising that turn out to simply be a link to some other article on some other site, often MSM.

    Common Dreams is, and has always been, a also-ran ... they seem to be withering. Letters appear to be way down. They have reprinted Glenn forever ... I not sure they pay anyone for anything.

    For that matter, I'm not sure that TruthDig and TruthOut actually pay for content. Of coures, much of Salon's newer better content is also reprints, much from Tom Dispatch which is part of the Nation.

    I still have concerns about just who is behind "Nation of Change" which is flooding my mailbox with reprints, Glenn and Chomsky from various publications, among them. They seem to possibly be allied with The Nation but not publicly, just that they have connections with many "contributors" ... but as the granddaddy it's not surprising.

    Frankly, I would rather see Salon improve content-wise than to see Glenn move, even if comments were eliminated. While very frustrating, a defective or badly designed comment section is mechanical, and no, I don't know what other fires Talbot have on his desk ... Joan considered Table Talk a bunch of unappeasable whining malcontents ... Talbot may have inherited or been affected by this attitude.

    nuf. back to work

  18. thelastnamechosen6 November 2011 at 17:43


    First thanks for the forum, your ideas, and dialogical contributions.

    "Salon is not merely his venue, it is also his income source. He has dependents and it is right and proper that we allow him to consider them and his responsibilities to them before throwing himself out of work for the sake of our principles."

    This is well worth repeating. Glenn was also hit with the perfect storm, although one that was easily predictable.

    When I travel this great country of ours, in each new city people invariably ask me*, "What is the key to success in business?" I always reply--Expectation Management. I don't care how good the salad is, if it shows up after I'm done with my steak. If you tell me something will take 5 minutes and it takes 15, then I'm not happy. If you tell me it will take 25 minutes and I get it in 15, then you are a hero. The key to expectation management is communication. Or more accurately--Cynical Honesty.

    Salon Core Dump is a case study in how NOT to manage expectation. Ironically, Glenn's book, which will help free Glenn from Salon, contributed to the expectation mismanagement. Perfect Storm. I hope Glenn learns from this.

    With all that said--internet tracking and identification is the next big issue, and if Glenn has to be shamed into taking the right side, then so be it.

    But this is a complicated and much deeper issue than people realize. We have a situation where every "independent" publication has become a front for Google and a dwindling number of advertising/profiling/identity aggregators. Content is only bait to be dangled as the net entangles. Publishers have become fishers of men--in the worst possible way.

    It's like a bunch of "independent" stores that do nothing but link to Amazon, while taking the referrer cut.

    PO Box publishers pimp artists relegated to night crawlers, and we, trolled into the Burns OmniNet, are destined for slurry.

    Even publishers wishing not to participate are one embedded youtube link away from joining the party. Google will happily track readers without paying the site owner a dime. The value of tracking and identification will dwarf the money generated by advertising, and as tracking and identification become separated from advertising, quality content becomes worth less and less to the profile/identity aggregators, and advertising will morph into contextualized content and pricing.

    One reason why identification is so important. The internet is participatory from top to bottom. If I want your content but not your tracking then that is what I take. Identification helps to de-granulate participation into an all or nothing affair.

    *Truthfully, no one has ever asked me this question, but it seemed like an inevitable intro.

  19. @thelastnamechosen: You're very welcome. And you're exactly right about expectation management and communication. One of the things that sticks hardest in my craw is that none of this is a secret - it's all been thoroughly explored, examined, and explicated in the trade publications, for decades.

    I think you're spot on about identity trading, too.


    @Mark Stoval: I grok your frustration, truly. I remind myself every time I login at Salon that I came there only because of Glenn's work, that I very rarely read anything else there (and then usually only to scoff), and that my main concern is to preserve and promote the marvellous community that he has built around his work.

    I have tried to keep this in mind as I write here, too - with admittedly mixed results. I am sure that some of my own frustration, and naturally cynical and snarky nature, has been apparent.

    I'm not prepared to give up yet.

  20. I gave up on the comment threads, at least for the foreseeable future. Too busy Occupying and trying to employ this legal training for the forces of Good anyhow. I do hope things get fixed, but I probably won't be back if they don't improve significantly over what I experienced.


  21. thelastnamechosen7 November 2011 at 17:25

    Long Live the Newspaper

    -or- The Last Reason for Old Words

    Newspapers used to do so many things for us. Typesetting, printing, ad department, art department, distribution and delivery. The Internet took all those jobs away, but from the ashes arose the most important job a Newspaper ever had--

    Protecting the identity, anonymity, and communications of their readers.

    Newspapers must realize their readers are their sources, and treat them with the same respect, and 'willing to go to jail to protect their identity' attitude that we romantically associate with the ideal of journalism.

    Few get second chances, and even less get a second chance to do the Right thing.

    Long Live the Newspaper.