"You can't post to this page"
June 18, 2005
So it looks like I managed to piss somebody off. Sometime last Saturday (June 11th), my IP was apparently banned from posting to Slashdot. If I try to post or reply to a comment, I get the rather ambiguous message:
You can't post to this page.
Well, gee thanks, that tells me a lot. I spent the better part of Saturday assuming that Slashdot was broken (again). Come Monday, I got to thinking it was probably me, not Slashdot; and I started trying to figure out what was wrong. I located an entry in the Slashdot FAQ, which says:
Why am I receiving the message "You can't post to this page."?
You're reading Slashdot from behind a web proxy that allows connections from any host. This functionality has been abused. Therefore, comments are not allowed to be posted from this address until the proxy is better secured. Please notify your Proxy Admin.
Answered by: Robo
Last Modified: 08/05/02
Well, this would certainly explain things if I posted to Slashdot through a proxy (I don't), or if one of my computers relayed connections from any host (none do). Even if I did have a proxy, and thus had a proxy admin, the proxy admin would be me. I notified myself just for the hell of it, but nothing happened. This FAQ is useless!
Thinking that perhaps my account had been blocked for some reason or another, I tried logging into my other, older account in a different browser. At which time I received a more specific, and somewhat more forboding, error message:
This IP address or network has been used to abuse the system and logins from it have been disabled.
This error message went on to suggest that I email my IP address to firstname.lastname@example.org and they'd investigate. I sent the email, including my IP address in the subject line as they so clearly requested, along with a description of my mostly spotless Slashdot history. While perhaps they investigated, they didn't respond. So now I'm left with no choice but to speculate about why I've been banned.
This account is at least two years old (the prior journal entry, "Popping My Journal's Cherry," was written in April of 2003). According to my user info page, I've made 488 comments. 8 of the last 10 were modded up, in fact more than half of the 24 displayed comments were modded up. Although I'm not a subscriber and thus can't see my entire comment history, I'd hazard a guess that out of 488 comments, probably 200 of them were modded up and maybe 20 of them were modded down. The last time I was modded down was a month ago, someone modded a comment Overrated, bringing its score to 1.
What I'm getting at here is that I'm not a troll; this is a real account that I use on a regular basis (or at least I did, until now). Ergo, I can't imagine that I was banned for trolling, and it certainly wasn't the "too many downmods" filter that got me. What does that leave? As best I can tell, manual intervention by a Slashdot editor.
Hours before my IP was banned, I posted two comments to this story about the "Tor" network. They were the last comments I was able to make; one was modded to +5, the other to +4. I've never used Tor - I run Freenet and find it adequate for dabbling in quasinonymous conversation - but there's an interesting thread at the top of that story. It points out that many Slashdot users who also run Tor are getting IP bans.
And so I have to wonder, when I posted a couple of comments defending the need for a network like Tor - comments which wound up being very visible on the thread - did a Slashdot editor presume that I must be a Tor user, and summarily ban my IP? Or did my second comment in the thread, which blasted the idea of community standards as realistic interpretations of what community members deem appropriate, and essentially called Bible-thumpers a bunch of hypocrites, hit a nerve?
It sure would be nice to know why I was banned. I've posted much more inflammatory opinions in the past, to no consequence; so I'm not thoroughly convinced that those comments had anything to do with it. I suppose now I'll have to start posting through proxies, or maybe even install Tor.
Or maybe the Slashdot editors can go fuck themselves, and kiss the volume of "informative" and "insightful" commentary I voluntarily contribute to their cash-cow goodbye.
Popping My Journal's Cherry
I've been reading and posting to Slashdot for several years under a variety of nicknames, but this is my first time using the journal (it's been here awhile but it's still a new-fangled feature as far as I'm concerned). The reason I decided to finally post here is pretty simple, actually; I glanced at my "Fans" and "Freaks" lists - still new-fangled features in their own right - and realized I have more "Freaks" than "Fans." If someone cares enough about what I say to mark me as a "Friend," I must have touched them. But if someone cares enough to mark me as a "Foe," I must have really gotten to them.
That's cool, as I've never been one to think twice about stirring shit up. I like debates, and I'd even go so far as to say that I like arguments, at least when I'm in the mood for them. Pissing people off doesn't bother me in the least. But looking over my Foes list, I started wishing that Slashdot provided a comment field for relationship alterations. I'd like to know, in each instance, what in particular it was that inspired those folks to go to the trouble of making several extra clicks just to say "That's one hell of an asshole."
I just hope no one thought "That's one hell of an asshole" for the wrong reasons. Not that someone else's reasoning is ever wrong, mind you, everyone else's opinions are just as valid as mine; it's just that I'd be disappointed if someone's marked me as a Foe because of my nick.
A little rationale behind the nick is probably in order at this point, so here goes. First and foremost, I created this nick after noticing that Profane Motherfucker had sort of slipped into oblivion. For several months, he was posting all the time, and getting modded up all the time. Mostly he was getting modded up as funny, because of his blatantly off-color and vulgar (yet obviously humorous) commentary. Then all of a sudden he was no longer a blip on the Slashdot radar. I don't know why - he's still posting fairly often, as of this writing; he just isn't getting modded up anymore.
And so I created this nick to take over for the "vulgar" lobby, someone has to do it. I'm one of those guys with few morals. Very little offends me. I don't bat an eye when I encounter vulgarity, explicit text or imagery, or even the downright disgusting (a la fecaljapan, or the Goatse guy, or the poor weightlifter who found out what a killer squat really is). As Denis Leary so eloquently put it, "I like football and porno and books about war." On second thought, I don't care much for football, and Catch-22 was a lousy read. He was right about porno, though. I just think that Americans - and I can only speak as an American, as I know no other culture first hand - are too sensitive when it comes to certain things.
Mostly it's about sex, we're a sexually repressed society. Our children grow up learning that sex is bad, sex is evil, sex is a sin, sex is taboo, sex is dangerous, sex can kill you, the penis and vagina are awful things which should never be used for pleasure, physical attraction == guilt, the human body is something that must be covered up, nudity is shameful, God(TM) is displeased when you show your tits to a boy or show your cock to a girl. We're conditioned to believe that even though it's completely natural for maturing humans to be attracted to one another, no one under the age of 18 can possibly be responsible enough to comprehend sex. They must be shielded, sheltered, prevented from knowing about this evil. Yet the day of their 18th birthday, they're magically "ready." Elementary school students are being suspended for kisses on the cheek!
The right-wing fundamentalists are everywhere trying to convince Americans that the boogeyman will claim their souls for all eternity if they dare to think about sex, talk about sex, look at sex, or - gasp - have sex. Or even if they just steal a kiss. And unfortunately, the way I see it, the fundies have accomplished this goal. They've planted the idea in a great many peoples' minds that sex - the instinctual human act, necessary for the very continuation of our species, without which they would never have been brought into the world - is dirty.
I believe that's rather goddamned hypocritical. I hate to burst anyone's bubble, but Jesus was born because Joseph fucked Mary, had an orgasm, and shot a fat wad of cum deep into her pussy. That's how this "human reproduction" thing works, ladies and gentlemen. I don't care who it is you pray to at night, conception doesn't happen without a sperm and an egg.
Sex isn't the only thing to which our society is hypersensitive, of course; vulgarity ranks right up there with fornication. There are ridiculous rules about what can and can't be said over the public airwaves. Howard Stern isn't allowed to say "asshole" on the radio, but his callers can, and there's no problem if a radio station plays Bush's song "Everything Zen" (which includes the lyric "should I fly to Los Angeles / find my asshole brother"). In an even more absurd example, many classic rock stations have The Who's song "Who Are You" (which includes the lyric "who the fuck are you") in rotation several times per week - if not daily - but if one of their personalities were to ask a caller "Who the fuck are you?" on the air, he'd be headed straight for the unemployment line and the station would be facing a hefty fine. A song with "fuck" as a verb must be edited, a song with "fuck" as a preposition is just fine, but a real live human being can never say "fuck" on the radio as any part of speech.Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.
And so, enter my only available counter-attack to such atrocities, desensitization. To me, desensitization means exposing people to things which they find offensive, in the hopes that once they see those things frequently enough, they no longer classify them as such. If, today, you think the word "fuck" is offensive, and I put the word "fuck" in your face several times a week for the next year, you'll gradually come to find that "fuck" is no longer so offensive. "Fuck" will no longer carry the same meaning, because it never carried any meaning to begin with, aside from that which you'd assigned it in your own mind. The same goes for images of pornography or disgusting circumstances. Since this is Slashdot, and I can't post images, I'm pretty goddamned much limited to what I can fucking say with text. You might find my visual works elsewhere.
Certainly, the best example of desensitization happens as a normal progression of many modern childrens' lives. When you're, say, 8 or 10 years old, you might begin to use the word "damn" in front of your parents. Such vulgarity is met with instant disapproval and scolding, but as you grow older, your use of "damn" is no longer so surprising; they grow accustomed to hearing you say it. As the years pass, "damn" becomes commonplace in your vocabulary, and "shit" begins to sneak in. Once again, your parents chastise you for using a bad word; but, as time progresses, "shit" becomes a standard and your parents don't even raise an eyebrow. By the time you're a teenager, your parents have likely stopped reacting altogether to your use of both "damn" and "shit." In some cases, you may eventually progress to saying "fuck" in front of your parents, with similar disinterest on their part. I'm not saying that all kids these days grow up cussing like sailors. However, I'd be surprised to meet someone over 20 years old who can honestly say that he or she has never used the word "fuck" in the presence of his or her parents to little or no objection.
With this sequence of events, the desensitization process becomes clear. As the novelty and "shock value" of something wears off, the recipient of that particular something becomes less and less sensitive to its manifestation in their lives. And such is my hope in my pursuit of this goal. When all is said and done, and I'm all said and done for, I hope that I've managed to convince a few people that the words "Motherfucking Shit" don't really mean much. I hope that I've managed to convince a few people that pictures of penises penetrating vaginas aren't really that shocking. And I hope that I've managed to convince a few people that having sex isn't evil, cussing isn't blasphemic, and that even exceptional, intelligent, respectable, generally well-mannered people do both.
But I can't do that without being vulgar. And so, my nick is "Motherfucking Shit." And if you want to make me a "Foe" just because my nickname is vulgar, then fuck you, and thank you for reading. I don't care what you think. I don't care if you hate me for using curse words. I don't care if you see me as some sort of vitriolic, intentional evil.
Because if you've made it this far, I've already desensitized you, if only a little.
And that's what I set out to do.
And I succeeded.