I argued with myself a good deal before sitting down to write this daylog.

On the one hand, there's just no good in revisiting an argument born of misunderstanding. Especially on the Internet, where there's no way to convey any of the emotional cues of tone or of body language that are so important in getting people to be willing to listen to your explanation for why their impression of what happened, their impression of you, might be wrong.

On the other hand, the argument may have masked something that I think I do need to respond to. Specifically, the argument itself may have discouraged some people who may have been unsure of what I meant from asking what I would hope and think they might ask, which is "Seriously, Custo?" To which I would have responded "Uh, what?" and then hopefully been prompted to clarify what I said.

What did I say? Well, as far as I can tell, the statement which caused the uproar (according to ascorbic) was this:

<The Custodian> Woman cannot understand it, GA. At least, in 25 years, I've never found one who did.
<The Custodian> They all get offended when I explain to them that once the world gets modified to prevent men intimidating/using force on women, that women have all the control.
<The Custodian> I don't know why that offends them, but it seems to.

Okay. This seems to have caused several people to react along a spectrum from 'genteelly raised eyebrows' to 'batshit insanity.' I accept, therefore, that I should have phrased it better and more clearly, and apologize for any misunderstanding and accept that it is my fault.

See, we were discussing OKCupid. I was using the discussion of OKCupid to exemplify my many previous discussions with women about this - women whom, I feel compelled to point out, were and remain my friends. My point was that OK Cupid, by reducing the possible interactions between a man and a woman to an anonymized electronic messaging service, has in fact removed most (although apparently not all) of the reasons a woman has to fear men in general during this dance - a fear which has been around in one form or another, to one degree or another, for as long as human history. That is, men cannot use intimidation (verbal or otherwise) or use force to lend their approaches 'weight.' The pressures of human sexuality being what they are, some women (as women here acknowledged) find themselves inundated with approaches. Due to the freedoms of technology, they are in control. They decide which they will acknowledge, and which they will ignore, and they do so without a thought for the reaction of the man at the other end of that message. That is their right.

The thing that confuses me, and which I guess I shouldn't have tried to combine in that statement, is that when I frame the situation this way - no, let me be clear. In the past, when I have framed the situation this way to women (who again are and remain my friends as well as to some who weren't and aren't) many of them react with offense. I don't know why. I am eager to learn, if anyone would like to enlighten me. I don't think that the situation is a bad thing. I fully support the use of technology to level the playing field. I think that the playing field isn't level - but I don't think that's a bad thing, either, nor do I think it's anyone's fault. It's the result of biology, is all. The potential consequences of sex, for a woman, are much more serious in general than they are for a man, modulo society's pressure on that man, which has not always been appropriately high.

So anyway. My point is that for some reason, people interpreted that statement as me 'wishing that it was still true' or some other affirmation of misogyny.

That's not really the reason I left, though. I left because while I would have liked to try to explain my way out of a situation that, as far as I can tell, I got into because I am discussing things that many people feel very strongly about without the benefit of all those nonverbal cues, I wasn't really given the chance.

Well, fair enough. I apologize for not phrasing it better.

The only negative thing I have to say here - and I will say it - is this. I am disappointed, and ashamed, that in fact the responses weren't more along the lines of 'um, wait, did you mean to say it that way?' I'm ashamed of myself, because apparently my behavior has been such that that benefit of the doubt is not made available to me. But I'm disappointed with how fast things went straight to attacks, without even checkbacks to see if I really meant what people thought I said.

A lot of people are worried about Everything2's future right now, with many of them going so far as to reach for their chequebook to help ensure community control of our enterprise. It's inspiring to watch our userbase band together like this and I'm confidant that whatever the result, we're sure to land on our feet. Still, for the majority of us rallying around Everything2 in its time of need, financial gestures of support simply aren't a live option. We've got bills to pay, kids to feed and glamorous addictions to fuel. Nevertheless, it's important that those of us on a budget know we are by no means powerless to contribute to the welfare of this site. E2 may settle its debts in dollars, but it runs on bodies and blood. If you love this place, promote it.

Google's Knol Project recently announced that it is closing its doors. Like Wikipedia and ourselves, Knol is a community-edited Knowledge Base Thingum. Each knol is maintained by an owner, or sometimes multiple owners, who determine its copyright by choosing between various Creative Commons licenses and a more traditional All Rights Reserved deal. In terms of what you'll find on Knol, imagine Everything2's factual content model with an increased emphasis on verification and real life credentials.

So what does that have to do with us? I'll tell you:

Knol has a lot of quality users who will soon be looking for a new home for their content. If our ownership crisis is getting you down and you'd like to do something positive for this place, please consider heading over there and letting them know they'd be very welcome bringing their articles to E2.

We certainly wouldn't be every Knoller's cup of tea; for one, we can't promise them AdSense revenue. We do, however, have a lot to offer their users in terms of exposure, especially for those who already have plans to move their work elsewhere. Replicating external content here while referring users to its source on your personal website is an easy means of drumming up some extra pageviews. So that's the practicality angle.

Now here's the human angle: we've got a smart-as-tacks userbase, a long and storied history and we're one of the most vibrant communities on the Internet. There's more to say on our behalf, obviously, but talking about how special we are here is preaching to the choir. Instead, let's work to bring that message to the many writers at Knol who'd fit our vision like a glove. Read their work, find their information and shoot some personalized e-mails their way. Heck, our mandates are so similar that had chance not tossed these people Googlewards, they could very well have been drawn here instead — so let's work some remedial magic and start processing refugees!

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