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Okay, coffee. Hello, Darkness, etc. Littles are still out, but I expect that to reverse itself in the not terribly distant future. The days crawl, yet tempus still fuggits in a manner with which I am not entirely comfortable. *sips*

And I see that this morning’s post has engendered some spirited discussion about the role of gatekeepers, and how they roll. Groovy. Game on.

Amazon is not coming for your intellectual property. Amazon doesn’t hate conservatives, though some employees at the ‘Zon no doubt do. They also don’t hate progressives, though I know for a fact they’ll hire people who aren’t impressed with neo-Marxist failed ideologies or their adherents. Dread Bezos is a businessman, and one who has created an empire. Pragmatism is practically his schtick. That and kickin’ customer service.

Look, I’m more or less constantly hearing that somebody is getting deleted from Amazon or Google, or something. (Now, Google? They’ve shown how closely they adhere to that “don’t be evil” gig they claimed they care about) And while that’s a concern, after a few days it always comes out that someone whose work got yanked was buying reviews, or trading them, or engaging in something explicitly contrary to the terms of service.

Here’s the thing, though: we’ve gotten used to the instant gratification the internet usually provides. Download speeds are practically instantaneous. I remember our first 14.4 modem, and how long it took to load a color picture at decent resolution. These days, a multi-gigabyte video or program is a matter of minutes. Sometimes enough minutes that I wander away to do something else. Still, blazing compared to a couple decades back. And it’s only getting faster.

What does that mean, I hear you ask? (Well, not you-you: you’re quite a bit more intelligent than I am *checks off Humility on the To Do list* and you’re already nodding your head.) It means we see something, do the normal human thing of getting pissed off, and demand instant results. Look, this is normal. Entirely so. My kids do it ALL THE TIME (and I hate it). Thing is … thing is, institutions don’t work that quickly. And the ‘Zon is an institution at this point. Anything they do is going to take time to filter down. Add a layer of management, and everything takes longer. And costs more. At the risk of sounding like an Amazon fanboy, I’m pretty much continually impressed with the way the monster works.

Beyond what Amazon does or doesn’t do, we as libertarian/conservative fiction writers would do well to tone down our outrage. And not because it’s unwarranted. Not because we haven’t been getting the axe by traditional publishers for decades, and by progressive fandom for just as long. We need to chill out for one reason: we look crazy to normal people. Paranoia is not endearing.

It’s really easy to dismiss writers. We often do our work for a pittance, we invest heart and soul into it, we have paradoxical hubris, and we’re usually more than a little strange. What we do doesn’t conform to any norms, and so when we say something that seems to come completely out of left field, people aren’t very interested in *why* we’re saying it. Too much of the tinfoil fedora is showing.

I realize I’m preaching to the choir, here. Our readership are notable for their relative sanity, and I thank you for it. Your thoughtfulness is always appreciated.

We’re already outliers enough that the connected people have zero trouble convincing more mainstream folk that we’re complete nutters. The last things we indies need to do is convince the buying public that gatekeepers really are necessary, or convince our primary distributor that we’re more trouble than the income is worth. Fortunately, a modicum of patience pays dividends.

29 Comments
  1. Whenever someone calls me “relatively sane,” I want to ask them “relative to who, exactly?” It’s very important to know what the comparative is.

    August 28, 2018
    • Right?

      August 28, 2018
    • Dan Z #

      I’m guessing “relatively sane” equals “perfectly normal… for writers”

      August 28, 2018
      • Sane compared to our relatives?

        August 28, 2018
      • *silently considers relatives, including the full-on-nutcase by marriage*

        Oh, yeah — definitely!

        August 28, 2018
      • Shudder…

        August 28, 2018
    • See, I know I’m sane, normal, and boring… as long as I use myself for the baseline. 😉

      August 28, 2018
    • Roger M #

      I am the sane one according to my relatives…………… Hmmmm. Maybe I should listen more to my friends who say I have a loose connection to reality. No.

      August 29, 2018
  2. “And I see that this morning’s post has engendered some spirited discussion about the role of gatekeepers, and how they roll. Groovy. Game on.”

    RAAAAAAR!!!!! [t-rex emoji]

    August 28, 2018
  3. Draven #

    I would note that sometimes the choir needs to be preached to lest their faith wander as well.

    August 28, 2018
  4. Every so often I read the latest breathless “[E-tailer/Social Nutwork] is out to eliminate anyone who doesn’t support [cause]” and I start looking for the Drama Lama. This semi-mythical beast tends to gallop through Day Job once or twice a year, generally summoned by those dreaded-by-adults words, “But she said that he put it up on twit-chat-gram that {student name} says that…!”

    The internet seems to take human impatience, miscommunications, and frustration and dial them up to eleven with the feedback screaming.

    August 28, 2018
    • But then you hear stuff like this…

      That’s on the top line at Drudge right now. Another James Damore memo, this time at Farcebook.

      August 29, 2018
      • The thing to remember about facebook and twitter and such is that the users aren’t the clients: the advertisers are the clients. Users are just the commodity.

        August 29, 2018
        • Harry Russell #

          And if the conservative users up and flock off to alternative sites more friendly to them, that’s a chunk of advertising revenue disappearing out of the stream…

          August 29, 2018
          • Yep.

            August 29, 2018
    • One thing picked up from back when LiveJournal was big was any Great Outrage needed about a 3 day timeout to see if it was real or just outrage spin.

      August 29, 2018
  5. tomdperkins #

    ” And while that’s a concern, after a few days it always comes out that someone whose work got yanked was buying reviews, or trading them, or engaging in something explicitly contrary to the terms of service. ” <– No, I've never seen that anywhere. Graveyard, whistled past.

    August 29, 2018
  6. 23 skidoo

    August 29, 2018
  7. :shrug: I love Amazon. Can’t stand the guy in charge of it and I weep for his ignorance, but the site itself is made of awesome. Without them, I’d be screwed as a writer and screwed as a shopper.

    As for the rest of it, I have to put everything through a filter in my head these days. Nothing is true until I can verify it with a rational source (which is hard to find, but I keep trying) or I experience it myself.

    August 29, 2018
  8. BobtheRegisterredFool #

    Google is not Amazon.

    Amazon probably has a strategic direction. This strategic direction is probably going to inhibit spontaneous censorship campaigns.

    Google does not seem to have a coherent viable strategy for the future. Google has a history of working with totalitarian governments on censorship. Google has recently started that handheld ap that will censor what the Chinese government wants. Google’s search engine is opaque enough that all sorts of censorship may be occurring, and probably has been for some time.

    Yes, Amazon did censor material with the confederate battle flag when Obama was making that censorship push. (On grounds that would as justly legitimize censorship of the Mexican flag.) So did Wal-Mart. They may have been able to infer that he would have fucked them over with the CFPB.

    Regarding leftwing bias in tech companies. Is this really native left wing politics, or has H1B hiring resulted in the companies being heavily compromised by ChiCom agents of influence.

    August 29, 2018
    • Native left-wing bias. The H1B visa holders are generally too low level to influence the company culture at the level the bias is being displayed. Keep in mind that most major tech companies are headquartered in areas of the US that are heavily left-wing. So in many ways they’re simply a reflection of the environment in which they exist. The tech companies that are based in places like Texas, Utah, Colorado and so on you generally see a different culture even if the core of the company is still left-wing.

      August 29, 2018
      • BobtheRegisterredFool #

        Feinstein’s driver was working for Chinese intelligence, perhaps because of campaign funding by Communist China, so California Democrat politician behavior in general might be so influenced. If that makes California politics into the right sort of echo chamber, there may be, say, PLA Majors who take a break from their duties on the great firewall for a tour as an H1B worker at Google, and have hidden influence that does not match their official position.

        August 29, 2018
        • A LOT of the California realestate market is “Chinese rich people buying a house so they can send their kid to school” type sales– also paves the way for dual citizenship.

          That’s a lot of money, and power.

          August 29, 2018
    • Google does not seem to have a coherent viable strategy for the future.

      Thus far, the plan seems to be “make something awesome that everyone likes and uses, then either break it or discontinue support.”

      Step three: ????
      Step four: RULE THE WORLD!

      August 29, 2018
  9. John C. Stephens #

    “…after a few days it always comes out that someone whose work got yanked was buying reviews, or trading them, or engaging in something explicitly contrary to the terms of service.”

    I would like to believe this, and I would be comforted by at least one specific example.

    August 29, 2018
    • I’d like to see one example of this as well. To date the cases I’ve heard about the above quote doesn’t apply.

      August 29, 2018
    • I believe there are several in the archives here.

      August 29, 2018

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