A funny thing happened on the way to the forum

No, not the great Stephen Sondheim musical of the same name from the sixties.  A different forum; from a different time and place; the time – now; the place – a website for authors called writers-community.org, hereafter called WC for simplicity.  Full disclosure: It’s a fictitious domain name I invented, relying for authority on the Fiction Writer’s Bill of Rights, after first checking at GoDaddy to make sure it isn’t in use.

A sub-title for this post could be:

How I Got Into Trouble for Expressing a Personal Opinion

GHWB might say: you dumb shit; didn’t you know what you were stepping into?  Not gonna do that.

No, I guess I thought… since WC is a writers’ community, for writers, by writers, I thought I could say pretty much anything in a literary context, especially if it was not harmful to anyone except me. Man, do I have a lot to learn. However, the experience was so funny I had to set it down in the blogosphere, my self-publishing forum of choice. It would seem the trouble in River City I got myself into is about self-publishing so an Internet website is apropos to tell this story.  I hope you agree, but if not, please feel free to comment.  If you think I should apologize (I think they owe me an apology), say so.

To get right to the point, what I did was to paraphrase two memorable scenes from film: the 1995 Hollywood Pictures production of Crimson Tide and the 1954 Columbia Pictures film of The Caine Mutiny.  I thought: this is a writers’ site.  Surely they will get it… see the connection… see the humor in what I did… perhaps get a chuckle out of it, because of the context.  No such luck.

Wardroom scene from Crimson Tide

In Crimson Tide the officers aboard the U.S. nuclear ballistic missile submarine Alabama are dining in the wardroom.  As is always the case on a navel vessel, this is the captain’s table and even though the table talk is mostly uninhibited, he is the host and sets the tone of any discussion in which he chooses to participate.  The officers are discussing the crisis in the Russian Republic – civil war in Chechnya.  The rebels have seized a submarine base from which they have surged four nuclear attack submarines, as well as an ICBM base with twenty-five hardened silos, each containing MIRVed missiles, up to ten warheads each.  The rebel leader Radchenko is threatening to launch against the U.S., France or Great Britain, the three countries that have offered support to the Russian government.  It is the Alabama’s mission to go out on station and give the man a moment of pause.

The new guy – Lieutenant Commander Hunter has just replaced the existing executive officer (XO), who has appendicitis – is not saying much.  Captain Ramsey, trying to size up Hunter, throws down the gauntlet of intellectual combat, to see how Hunter handles himself in front of the other officers.  He quotes from Clausewitz’s Vom Kreige: “War is a continuation of politics by other means.  Von Clausewitz.”  They all laugh because Ramsey pronounces Von Clausewitz with a German accent, and then Hunter says, responding to a direct question from Ramsey, “I think what Clausewitz was trying to say was a little more…”

Ramsey finishes his sentence, “…complicated?”  Again they all laugh.  As is so often the case, the newest member of any clique is baited by the old guard, to see how he handles himself.

Hunter says, “The purpose of war is to serve a political end but the true nature of war is to serve itself.”  He goes on to say in the nuclear age the true enemy cannot be destroyed.

Ramsey then taps his wine glass (U.S. Navy ships are dry so undoubtedly the glass contains water) three times and says: “Attention on deck.  Von Clausewitz,” again pronouncing the name with a German accent “…will now tell us exactly who the real enemy is.  Von?”  More laughter.

Hunter then says, “In my humble opinion, in the nuclear world, the true enemy is war itself.”

Marvelous scene.

Wardroom scene from The Caine Mutiny

In The Caine Mutiny there is a similar scene in the wardroom of the World War II destroyer-minesweeper USS Caine.  Ensign Keith has just reported aboard.  It is his first day on board and the repast the officers are enjoying is lunch.  Lieutenant Tom Keefer is present and apparently he often isn’t because the XO, Lieutenant Maryk teases him about his presence.  Keefer says, “Somebody has to protect these fresh eager young faces from the captain’s badgering.”

Captain DeVriess says, “I’m not badgering anyone Tom, I’m just conducting a one-man board of inquiry.  I’m trying to find out if Ensign Keith wants to stay on board.”

Keefer launches into what must be one of his favorite rants: “There is no escape from the Caine save death.  We are all doing penance.  Sentenced to an outcast ship, manned by outcasts and named after the greatest outcast of them all.”

Maryk says, “Here we go again.”  He’s heard it all before.

The captain himself joins in saying he has been sweating out his relief for two years and there is still none in sight, “…but then… I don’t have Ensign Keith’s influence.”

He then removes a piece of paper from his pocket and reads from it.  “I received this dispatch from Admiral Walsh about an hour ago.  With your approval will request transfer to my staff for Ensign Willis Seward Keith.  Understand of course needs of USS Caine have priority.”

Keith denies any knowledge of this request.  DeVriess then says, “It could be coincidence, or someone pulling strings.”  It is – Keith’s uncle Lloyd, a well-connected lawyer.  DeVriess says: “What’ll it be Keith?  The admirals staff or as Tom puts it, the hell of the Caine?”

DeVriess and Maryk then exchange their views on whether the wardroom is the right place to ask Keith to make such a decision. Maryk thinks not. DeVriess says, “Oh nonsense Steve, a good officer can make up his mind anywhere.” For the captain this is exactly the right place, publicly, in front of the other officers in the wardroom.

All the officers stare at Keith. All want off the Caine. The Caine is not a bad ship. It’s just old, worn out and has seen too much war.  One officer wants off so badly he can’t even meet Keith’s eyes.  It is a pregnant moment, a dramatic scene fraught with portent for things to come.  Keith finally says, “I’ll stay on board, sir.”  Keefer then says, “Au Willie, you will live to regret this day.”

Another marvelous wardroom scene, at least as memorable as the one in Crimson Tide.

Herman Wouk, who wrote the novel The Caine Mutiny on which the movie is based, wrote that wardroom scene but the book version did not contain any opportunity for Keith to be transferred off the ship.  The screenwriters, Stanley Roberts and Michael Blankfort, no doubt relying on the Fiction Writer’s Bill of Rights, added that interaction between DeVriess and Keith.  Both scenes in The Caine Mutiny are memorable but for different reasons.

Here is mine, the one that got me in trouble at WC.  Note: the full text of all comments related to this happening was emailed to me.  Since I own both the emails and this website I believe it is my right to publish them in their entirety, if I so choose.  I’ve changed the names where visible in the text to avoid embarrassing anyone.  That is not my intent, which is to tell a funny story with several ironic twists.  Please stay tuned.

—Quote (Originally by Thomas Docheri)—
Captain Ahab rapped his glass three times to get everyone’s attention. He was about to instruct Lieutenant Docheri in proper wardroom etiquette.  Docheri had just reported aboard and his views on things clearly offended the captain. Well, war is hell. Docheri had been upbraided by experts and he’d developed a thick skin. He still wasn’t sure which officers were the stand-up guys, which were the blow-hards, which could be trusted despite their rank.  “Yes sir, you were saying…”

I must have really pissed you off, what I wrote?  Well, such is life. If you would like to view a video prepared by one of the publishing industry’s top literary agents, in which she calls herself a first reader gatekeeper, I’ll send it to you privately, but only if you calm down.

Thomas
—End Quote—

Notice that this is a quotation from Ahab to me.  Ironically, the original was deleted.  Apparently one of no less than two moderators thought my post was too inflammatory or too insulting to permit it to remain in that particular chat room.  That’s what pisses me off the most, that they deleted the post.  It especially pisses me off because Ahab himself moderates several rooms (not the one in question) and claims to be against deleting posts.  It is his (I think Ahab is a he but could be a she; it makes no difference.  I will assume until I learn otherwise Ahab is male) stated policy, at least in the rooms he moderates that “We don’t delete posts or threads here, I’m afraid. It screws up the database.”  A little later he goes on to say, “We should own our words. Apologise (sic) for them if we think appropriate: but pretending they didn’t happen at all? Nope. Please don’t do this, anyone.”

Well, the room all this was written in is a place for new members to introduce themselves.  They encourage this.  It’s their site and they can administer it anyway they wish but deleting posts is craven, in my opinion.  At thomasdocheri.com I delete only spam.

Now I believe the sentence that caused the moderators so much heartburn is: He still wasn’t sure which officers were the stand-up guys, which were the blow-hards, which could be trusted despite their rank.

Let’s parse that sentence.  I’m guessing the word blow-hards is the offensive one, because, a moderator wrote this to me:

Thomas, don’t address anyone that way.
Not here.
If you do it again, you won’t be here anymore.

All the best,

All the best???  Really?  That sentence calls no one anything.  It contains a subordinate clause containing a direct object with three choices.  The choices are good, bad and awful but none is emphasized.  The POV is Lieutenant Docheri’s and he is musing which choice best describes Ahab.  He’s not yet sure.  That someone chose to interpret what I wrote as an attack on Ahab is another delicious irony.  Is it a Freudian slip?  Does this WC administrator himself think Ahab sometimes goes over the top?  Isn’t it possible I think Ahab is one of the good guys?  Isn’t that just as likely given the context of that scene?  Was it really necessary to come to Ahab’s rescue?   Did Ahab think so?  Well, let’s follow the thread from beginning to end, shall we, and see.

Oh, BTW: about that second paragraph in which I ask Ahab to calm down.  It was getting a little hot and heavy and I thought he had crossed the line.  At WC they make a big deal of the acronym: RYFW (respect your fellow writer).  One moderator even sent me a Perl script, an if-then-else expression that starts out: if ($ryfw) then… meaning if $ryfw is equal to TRUE, then… Presumably, in my case he thought it was equal to FALSE.  I think Ahab was guilty of not RYFWing me.  Shall we find out?

Here is my intro.  Remember, they encourage all new members to be not shy and write one.

Hello fellow writers at WC,

You mean I really get an opportunity to toot my own horn? Wow! Well, better to get shot from the front than the back, he said, as he crossed the Rubicon…

Since the summer of ’09 (I retired from Goo…; was, what else a SW nerd) I’ve written two novels and a short story.  Well, that’s not exactly true. How many novels are in 3,000 or so pages?  I wrote one big novel, almost a thousand pages and then a TR (trusted reader) helped me to understand that my opus was really two.  I split it apart and once I did I was glad.  And since I’ve rewritten both at least three times that accounts for the 3K pages. Maybe more. I’ve lost count. It really doesn’t matter since it was a labor of love.  I love the process, every part of it but especially editing. I edit, edit, edit and it just gets better and better… or so I believe.  Need more TRs to help me to know for sure. I’ve had two TRs and both helped me see the forest for the trees.  Full disclosure: a TR is not your mom or your spouse.

I wrote the short story as a writing exercise. The literary association I’m a member of holds an annual SS competition. I had just ended what I thought was going to be a promising relationship with a literary agent and was suffering acute writer’s rejection at the hands of this agent when the opportunity to have my work read came along. I thought: I can’t get agents to read more than ten pages; or even know for sure they’ve read them; here is a chance to get five people, all published authors, to read a blind submission in its entirety. Can any writer pass up an opportunity like that? Well, the five read the story but none offered any feedback and mine wasn’t one of the ten selected for publication from 160 submissions.

No feedback, no feedback… no feedback! Did I say that loud enough? In my opinion that’s what’s broken about the familiar agent-query process. I understand the Internet is a giant slush pile. I understand agents are overwhelmed with queries but what is a writer to do?  Don’t, whatever you do say self-publish… except as I do, in a free blog.  Anything else is self-deception.

Well, what this writer did was build a WordPress website to supplement his queries. Well, all the experts (experts???) say you need a platform without defining what a fiction writer’s platform should look like.  They’ll gladly take your ninety-nine bucks to teach you how to create a WordPress blog, something you can do for free by reading the online tutorials. I myself have posted a freebie that tells you how create a WP sandbox, in several different ways. But creating a WP blog and knowing what to post are two different things. For me that means trial and error. My idea is to demonstrate that not only can I write but I also understand the craft of writing. Why is that important? Because this agent I truly admire said she could fix plot problems, character development, dialogue problems even genre changes if the craft was high but there wasn’t much she could do if craft was absent. I believe my craft is very high and if she told me what to fix I’d fix it in a heartbeat. Did I get any feedback? What do you think?

Any who are so inclined may visit me at thomasdocheri.com. There you will be most welcome. There you will find fragments of my work, scenes and in some cases complete chapters including the complete text of the short as well as essays on certain aspects of writing fiction. I have a very thick skin so I welcome any and all feedback. I look forward to joining the discussion at WC and thank you for taking the time to read this introduction.

Thomas Docheri

I tried not to be offensive.  I tried not to be arrogant, something I’m always being accused of.  I was talking about me, my writing and my take on getting published, not on anyone else’s.  If someone wants to go that route, good luck and more power to them, but not me.  But… I did not realize before I wrote it how many CW members are into self-publishing.  I’m not but perhaps I stepped on a few sensitive corns.  Full disclosure: Ahab claims to be a publishing expert, moderates several chat rooms focused on self-publishing and blogs about it.  At this point I have no reason to doubt that claim.

Here is what Ahab wrote in response.

Welcome to WC, Thomas. I’m glad you found us.

—Quote (Originally by Thomas Docheri)—
No feedback, no feedback… no feedback!  Did I say that loud enough? In my opinion that’s what’s broken about the familiar agent-query process. I understand the Internet is a giant slush pile. I understand agents are overwhelmed with queries but what is a writer to do?
—End Quote—
Agents have to work for their author-clients, first and foremost. That’s where they earn their income from. They just don’t have time to give feedback to even a quarter of the submissions they receive, even if they wanted to; and all the agents I know (I’ve worked in publishing for a while, and am friends with a few) have been put off giving feedback by the inappropriate responses they’ve received from unappreciative writers.

What is a writer to do? Join WC, for a start. It has an excellent Share Your Work section. Or join a critique group. Or read agent blogs, attend conferences, and so on.

—Quote—
Don’t, whatever you do say self-publish… except as I do, in a free blog.  Anything else is self-deception.
—End Quote—
Self publishing can be great. There’s a self publishing room here where many of our members write diary threads in which they record their activities and successes: they’re fascinating reads. Read through a few of them: you might realise how positive self publishing can be, for the right writer.

—Quote—
Well, what this writer did was build a WordPress website to supplement his queries. Well, all the experts (experts???) say you need a platform without defining what a fiction writer’s platform should look like.
—End Quote—
Don’t believe people who tell you that fiction writers need platforms. They’re wrong (and probably trying to sell you something you don’t need). All fiction writers need is good writing.

—Quote—
I look forward to joining the discussion at WC and thank you for taking the time to read this introduction.

Thomas Docheri
—End Quote—
I hope you enjoy yourself here, Thomas. There’s a lot for you to catch up on. I’ll look forward to seeing you around.

Pretty good welcome.  Better than most.  I read about thirty intros after I posted mine (none before) and saw the same five or six welcomers post boiler-plate welcomes that seemed to me to be aimed at getting another incremental link count for their sites or books.  No hint that Ahab is anything but genuinely happy that I’ve joined WC.  Of course, he’s assuming I am not doing some of those things he listed I should do because I didn’t list them.  I only mentioned my website and as you can see, he doesn’t think I need one.  Well, he is the only one I’ve encountered that says not in the more than a year I’ve spent trying to interest agents in my work.

Here’s what I wrote, specifically to Ahab.

Hello Ahab,

—Quote—
Self publishing can be great. There’s a self publishing room here where many of our members write diary threads in which they record their activities and successes: they’re fascinating reads. Read through a few of them: you might realise how positive self publishing can be, for the right writer.
—End Quote—
You may be right… in fact, I’m sure you are, and I will follow up and read some of those threads. My problem with self-publishing, and this reflects a lifetime of thinking about the creative process (writing, making music, art, even writing software, which was my shtick), is that what I think is good enough may be just so much schlock if no one but me wants to read it. Whether you like the fact that agents have become the industry’s first readers… and its gatekeepers… getting one sufficiently jazzed to believe in your work enough to try to sell it is a writer’s – certainly this writer’s – first trustworthy indicator that what he writes is worth publishing. Why I built that website is that when I do finally attract an agent, she will visit and know she can work with me to co-market my work. They all say, those that write about the process that co-marketing is essential. If I’m not doing it quite the way they think I should they’ll tell me and I’ll fix it.

I mostly view the world, and its many disciplines, as a broad-based pyramid; entry level at the bottom, early success somewhere in the middle and that rarefied air near the top where Leonard, Follett and their like hang out. The base is so wide, the competition so great that few will make it even to the middle much less the top. For me, the only path up through all that is the traditional one. My ego won’t let me do it any other way.

Thanks for your thoughtful post. I’ll drop in at your blog and keep an open mind re everything I see, hear and learn at WC.

Thomas

Now where is the offense in that?  I acknowledged Ahab probably knows from what he speaks about self-publishing.  But for me, it isn’t enough that I think my work is good.  The people in the industry must think it’s good or it will never see the light of day except on my website.  That is the only self-publishing that I can do.  If no agent ever takes me on as a client, well that’s life.  It means my stuff wasn’t commercial quality.  Does that word commercial offend me?  Not in the least.  No one is going to take me on as a client if they don’t think my stuff has market value.  And meaning no offense to anyone, I hold that view about my work and no one else’s.  It doesn’t matter how good I think it is, if the people in traditional publishing think not, then I’ll never see my name on the spine of a book and I’m okay with that.

This is how Ahab responded to that post.

—Quote (Originally by Thomas Docheri)—
Hello Ahab,

You may be right… in fact, I’m sure you are, and I will follow up and read some of those threads. My problem with self-publishing, and this reflects a lifetime of thinking about the creative process (writing, making music, art, even writing software, which was my shtick), is that what I think is good enough may be just so much schlock if no one but me wants to read it.
—End Quote—
That’s why you need beta-readers.

—Quote—
Whether you like the fact that agents have become the industry’s first readers… and its gatekeepers… getting one sufficiently jazzed to believe in your work enough to try to sell it is a writer’s – certainly this writer’s – first trustworthy indicator that what he writes is worth publishing.
—End Quote—
The literary agents I know and trust work incredibly hard, and it’s not appropriate (in my view) to call them gatekeepers. It ignores most of what they do, and implies that they are mostly interested in stopping people getting published rather than finding the very best books and championing them all the way to the bookshops, which is much closer to what they really do.

—Quote—
Why I built that website is that when I do finally attract an agent, she will visit and know she can work with me to co-market my work.
—End Quote—
Your website isn’t a brilliant platform, I’m afraid. It’s not unique enough to work in that way, it’s not brilliantly well-written, and it has errors which I find off-putting.

And agents don’t work with their authors to market their work: they find them deals with publishers who do that.

—Quote—
They all say, those that write about the process that co-marketing is essential. If I’m not doing it quite the way they think I should they’ll tell me and I’ll fix it.
—End Quote—
Whoever the “they” is that you’ve been listening to, they’ve got it wrong.

Agents don’t help writers “co-market” their books. Publishers do the marketing; writers work on publicity and promotion if they want to, and if they feel they can do so effectively. If they don’t want to, or are unable to, or don’t think they could do so effectively, then they do not participate.

And “platform” is a requirement for non-fiction, not fiction.

—Quote—
I mostly view the world, and its many disciplines, as a broad-based pyramid; entry level at the bottom, early success somewhere in the middle and that rarefied air near the top where Leonard, Follett and their like hang out. The base is so wide, the competition so great that few will make it even to the middle much less the top. For me, the only path up through all that is the traditional one. My ego won’t let me do it any other way.
—End Quote—
It’s trade publishing, not traditional publishing.

And it’s not competition which stops most writers from being successful: it’s a lack of talent and persistence.

Let’s examine that message.  Beta-readers?  Are those TRs (trusted readers)?   I think yes but only Ahab can clarify if what I’ve called a TR is the same as a beta-reader or not.

I never said agents don’t work hard.  I’m sure they do.  What I said and what I meant is that they function, for the publishers they sell to as first readers and gatekeepers.  There is absolutely nothing pejorative in either of those terms.  A first reader separates the wheat from the chaff.  Presumably, no schlock will slip past them and nothing of quality will escape them.  The best of them have no biases.  They know what is selling and they won’t represent any author that doesn’t have the goods.  And authors may not want to hear this but they may reject a perfectly good piece of writing simply because that particular topic has been done to death.  That’s one example of the incredible competition among authors.  Most don’t even know whom they’re competing with.  If they are unpublished they may think they’re competing with Grisham but in reality, they’re competing with fifty or more Grisham wannabes.  The agent reads the query and says, “Oh hell, not another one of those.  It’s the twenty-seventh on that subject I’ve seen this week and I can’t sell even one to anyone.”

As gatekeepers they protect publishers from wasting their time, probably an acquisition editor’s most valuable commodity.  That’s why when you read an agent’s bio at the agent’s employer’s website most tell you exactly what they’re looking for, because their publishers have told them what they want to publish.  Send them anything else and the gatekeeper mindset clicks in.  The self-publishing author, unless he is a publishing industry insider is clueless as to what the current market demands are.  Me, I know I will never have the knowledge to self-publish and furthermore, life is too short to invest what time I have left trying to master that business model.  Maybe if I were thirty or even forty I might view self-publishing differently.  What time I have left I want to spend writing or doing the few other things I enjoy doing, such as riding my horses.  But, as I told Ahab, I’ll keep an open mind.

Ahab has a very different understanding of my use of the word gatekeeper.  I don’t think agents are trying to stop anyone from getting published.  His view, not mine.  My view is that they can’t afford to waste their time on work that no one wishes to buy.  If you thought my use of the word gatekeeper was ambiguous Ahab you should have asked me for clarification rather than ascribing to me what the word implies to you.  Sorry Ahab, you are as wrong about me as you can be.

Do agents help author’s co-market their work?  Well, in the past year plus spent submitting queries I’ve seen more agent bios than I can count that assert the agent sees her role as collaboration with the author, from reworking the manuscript as needed (assuming it can be salvaged) through negotiations with publishers to helping the author add marketing value to the end product.  Many claim to be full-service writing career advisors and I for one am looking forward to collaborating with one of these.  Does that mean publishers don’t do most of the marketing too, or at least pay for most of it?  They do but they want help from the author in the form of platform and many of those agents I’ve queried assert they are ready, willing and able to help.  Sorry Ahab, what you said contradicts much of what I’ve learned this past year.  I don’t know you.  At this point in our association, why should I believe you?  Just because you have high cred and a big rep at WC does not mean I buy what you say just because you say it.  You need to prove yourself to me if I am to drink your kool-aid and so far you haven’t.

I never said I had the world’s greatest website.  I said no one could tell me what a fiction writer’s platform should look like.  All, except you say I need one.  So, I’m trying to learn by trial and error and my expectation is that if I ever do land a representation contract with an agent, she will tell me what I’m doing wrong and I’ll fix it.

Ahab, I never asked you to critique my work, much less my website.  In fact, WC has a 50-post rule; every newbie must make fifty comments to other’s posts before he can ask for a review.  I didn’t ask but Ahab told me that my website wasn’t very good, my writing wasn’t very good and that I’d made errors that were off-putting.  That certainly is not what I understand literary criticism to be.  Well Ahab, since you chose to offer unsolicited criticism, why don’t you elaborate and tell me what is so off-putting?  You visited and chose not to leave a comment even though on every page and post I invite comments.

Trade versus traditional; what exactly is that supposed to mean?  My understanding of the use of the word trade in a publishing context is a trade book is a particular size physical book, one that fits the racks of super-markets, airport coffee kiosks, places other than real bookstores that happen to sell books.  Traditional publishing in that same context means being represented by an agent.  The sale could be to a digital publisher, an offset print publisher, a print-on-demand publisher or any other entity that buys the work of authors.  Where Ahab, in anything I wrote did I raise that point?  Or is my understanding of those terms incorrect?

Now, did Ahab’s last post annoy me?  Yes, it did, but probably not the way he thinks.  As they do in hockey, Ahab skated to the circle in center-ice and threw down his gloves, both gloves, indicating he wanted to fight.  Well, I was happy to oblige, joined him in the circle and I threw down my gloves.  Let’s have a go and see who has the best stuff.  So, I wrote my paraphrasing of those scenes in Crimson Tide and The Caine Mutiny.  I thought it was so apropos, perfectly in context and just a little funny.  I thought Ahab would put up a better show than he did.  I thought the least he’d do was ask for that video or possibly send me a private message.  No such luck.  Instead, the cavalry came to his rescue.

Which brings us full circle.  The WC cavalry is what pisses me off, not Ahab.  I’d prefer to duke it out with Ahab, intellectually, perhaps learn something in the process; see if he has bigger literary stones than me.  So, I’ve decided WC is not for me unless the moderator that deleted my comment reinstates it exactly as written in exactly the context from which it was deleted.  If they do that I’ll return to WC.  If they don’t I won’t.  My guess is they don’t want me at WC unless I bow and scrape to Ahab and his ilk.  You get to write your own profile but then they gratuitously add the phrase: New fish; Learning About Thick Skin.  And just think, all I said was self-publishing, for me, would be self-deception.

Author’s note:

This article has garnered an unusually large amount of comment spam – more than eleven hundred pieces in January versus fewer than three hundred in December for the entire site – mostly from a Canadian site consolidator in Laval, Quebec that fronts a bunch of Canadian pharmacies. In other words, an affiliate network of drug peddlers. These people are dumber than dirt. Saying they have shit for brains is an insult to people that really do have shit for brains. I moderate all comments and employ a heuristic filter that weeds out this crap and in the process, gets smarter and smarter about what I consider spam. They probably won’t read this but just in case they do you’re wasting your time and your bandwidth. I’ll say it in French too, in case they are English-challenged: Vous perdez votre temps et votre bande passante.

Ask yourself this: why would I allow even a single comment from a drug peddler on my site? There is no context. Without context, you’re never, ever going to see your affiliates linked with mine. So, give it a rest, why don’t you?

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