Dear City of Duncanville

So you think that citing us for having kept tree logs on the back of our property for 5 years (in order to prevent people using the back alleyway from driving over our grass area, running into sprinkler heads, and churning up our grass) and for having a piece of fencing leaning against the fence for 7 years to act as a cat ladder, is somehow useful and constructive?
This is bullshit.
If this censorious nonsense does not stop, we will move to a different city. You have been warned.


Scaling back my Facebook presence

After watching recent developments on Facebook, partly involving an influx of people who spend a lot of their time behaving like trolls in discussions, and then having to see Jim Wright suspended from the platform temporarily due to a co-ordinated set of complaints of abuse by people he upset with one of his postings, I have been considering how I might scale back my presence on that platform. Jim has already taken one of his groups Private, and he is considering his future on Facebook.
Facebook has no idea how to cope with UseNet syndrome (the tendency of any social media platform, over time, to move towards a zone of spam and junk) and it will not effectively moderate threatening content or give persistent trolls the heave-ho.
Now, after writing a strong note about my lack of patience with absolutists and name-callers on the subject of abortion, I find myself reading comments from people on my Friends list that I need to be careful what I say and how I say it on this topic, unless they end up (as one of them said) “reading about me on the news”.
This is both disquieting and dispiriting.
If we have reached a point on social media where honestly expressed (albeit blunt) opinions are regarded as potentially dangerous to a person’s physical well-being, then this is telling me something rather worrying about not only the state of the nation, but also about the level of discourse on social media.
It is also telling me that it really is time for me to modify and re-scale my Facebook presence.
So…I will be thinking over the weekend about what actions to take.
Most likely that will take the form of my abandoning Facebook for any day-to-day interactions, retaining Facebook Messenger for private interactions with trusted friends, and using only my related pages such as White Cat Publishing and Aerial Savant for posting information on my writing and UAS activities respectively. I will retain memberships to closed groups of interest such as my aviation group memberships. I may post there as time allows on topics of interest.
All new content on topics that I find interesting will only be published here on this blog.
I will also delete most of my prior postings on Facebook on serious subjects. Most of that content, if not overtaken by events, will be transferred to the blog if it did not already exist there in some form. I have no intention of allowing Facebook to capture the IPR for that content more or less in perpetuity, when their current behaviors show that they are not prepared to be wise stewards of the platform.
Short Summary – be prepared to see a lot less of me on Facebook.


Big changes in my social media presence

With immediate effect, my social media presence is shrinking down to the following:

1. This blog, which will be focussing more on business postings for the rest of the year
2. White Cat Publishing‘s blog and matching Twitter and Ello accounts, with occasional postings to Corporate Realist
3. My Business Twitter account
4. LinkedIn
5. My personal Ello account

My primary Facebook account will be deactivated in 2 months. There is insufficient upside to remaining on that platform. My contributions are mostly not welcomed and the signal to noise ratio is now unacceptable.
The Facebook pages for White Cat Publishing and Rainpebbles Glass will remain. Mary looks after the Rainpebbles Glass page, and I will update White Cat publishing automatically to point to that website’s blog.
If you want to contact me, please use the contact email on this blog or one of the other weblogs.


10 Ways to let me know not to engage you in debate

Folks, in this electoral cycle, which is an issue-rich environment, I do not have all the time in the world to engage people in discussion and debate. I have a day job, family members to look after, cats to tend to, a plane to get back in the air in 2016, and a couple of books to write.
I am having to choose my discussion engagements wisely. I have therefore begun to apply some filters to discussions or comments. Here is a list of filter tests that I am applying. If somebody’s comment meets one or more of those filtering tests, I am highly unlikely to respond to it.

1. You state that “abortion is murder”
Wishing that something were true does not make it so. Neither does repeatedly insisting that it is true. Insisting that abortion is murder shows me that you are living in an alternate reality of your own making. As a general rule, I don’t engage with people who live in alternate realities. It wastes both of our time.

2. You state that “Atheism is a religion”
As a commentator once observed, Atheism Is a religion like “Off” is a TV channel. This is nothing more than projection.

3. You state that “science is a religion”
I am a trained scientist, and I know that this assertion is also nothing more than weapons-grade projection. If you think this is true, then you are in that alternate reality that I have no interest in.

4. You believe that Christians are being persecuted in the USA
My normal reaction to this will be ridicule. This is the easiest country in which to found and grow a religion. Just look at the number of religion founders who have become very rich and famous, despite (in some cases) peddling total bullshit for decades or longer. The law allows for religious exemptions all over the place, and churches get tax exemptions with next to no scrutiny from the IRS. If you can’t tell the difference between privilege and equal treatment under the law, then you have some gaps in your education that are your problem to address, not mine.

5. Your comment includes insult words like “Obummer”, “libtard”, “CONservative”, “Rethug”, “sheeple” etc.
This one should be rather obvious. I don’t discuss serious subjects with juveniles. If you are an adult, write like one.

6. Your comment begins with an ad hominem fallacy, containing (but not limited to) one of the following phrases:
a. “the liberal media”
b. “unlike you liberals”
The ad hominem fallacy is nothing more than juvenile name-calling. I am also a Classical Liberal, not a strawman liberal so beloved of authoritarian nitwits in the modern USA.

7. You engage in tone trolling, complaining about style while ignoring substance

When people complain about a person’s “style”, “arrogance”, “condescension” etc. they are not discussing substance. They are usually complaining that their feelings are hurt. Your butthurt is your problem, not mine. You control your reactions to what you read and see. If you complain about style, you’re ignoring substance.

8. You believe that liberals, socialists, communists and marxists are all politically similar and that they all belong to the Democratic party
This clearly demonstrates that you are clueless about both politics and world history. I am not in the business of discussions with people who can’t be bothered to learn anything about those subjects.

9. Your comment contains one or more instances of rhetorical devices including (but not limited to)
c. If you don’t like this country, then leave
d. If xxx happens, I’m leaving the country
This demonstrates two bad syndromes – acute Binary Thinking and intolerance of dissent. Nobody is under any obligation to agree 100% with anything that happens in their country of birth or country of residence. 100% agreement in electorates is usually only found in the worst totalitarian dictatorships. Dissent is not disloyalty, and people who can’t tell the difference have a bigger challenge that I’m not in the business of trying to help them with. They need to help themselves.

10. The use of ALL CAPS to emphasize words, phrases or complete sentences
This is SHOUTING. Words or phrases do not magically become more powerful or truthful when written in all caps. Actually, that draws attention to them for the wrong reasons. One of the reasons being that they are usually an indication of anger on the part of the writer, and anger is a contra-indication to good thinking and writing. The other reason is that they are often assertions that are disconnected from fact or reality.

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