On Right, Wrong, and High Horses

Edited March 22, 2013, 6:45 PM: Well, I’ve got egg all over my face, thanks to someone posting a comment with my niece’s email address. Thinking the comment came from her — and getting upset by the thought that she’d write such a thing — I said some things here that I now regret. I’ve since modified this post to remove the passages she might find offensive. My apologies to her. I only wish that we were closer; I would have called her to discuss the comment attributed to her before referring to her in this blog post. I would have also called to apologize for my error and any pain it may have caused her. – ML

An explanation for those who don’t understand.

I’ve been blogging a lot lately about my divorce and the emotional turmoil it’s putting me through. Although it’s not easy for me to do, it’s something I feel I must do. It’s part of my healing process, recommended by my grief counselor; writing out my thoughts and feelings help me to understand them. The blog posts not only help me (obviously) get things off my chest, but they document this difficult part of my life. And as I’ve discovered lately by the outpouring of supportive blog comments, email messages, and even Twitter and Facebook responses, other people have also been benefiting from the way I’ve been revealing and discussing my open wounds here in my blog.

I was surprised and saddened the other day, however, to get the following comment on my blog post, “On Marital Infidelity,” posted by someone using my niece’s email address:

get off your horse and smell the roses.You and only you and him can work it out, not by blasting away.Stop and move on like you always do.

It turns out that the comment was posted by my brother-in-law — my niece’s father — for reasons I’ll never understand. It seems truly idiotic that he used his daughter to get under my skin. He should know better than to post such a thing without expecting a response. He knows firsthand how the ordeal of my divorce is affecting me. His comment was hurtful and uncalled for; pinning it on his own daughter was inexcusable.

But rather than go on and on about that, I want to focus on what he said.

My High Horse and the Roses I Need to Smell

The Urban Dictionary offers several definitions of “high horse.” I’m pretty sure my brother-in-law means the first:

Arrogantly believing oneself superior to others, often by putting down large groups of people. In usage, such a person is described as “on a high horse” or may be told to “Get off your high horse.”

Apparently, my brother-in-law believes that I’ve taken a superior attitude in the situation of my divorce — that I think I’m better than others. I’ve given this a lot of thought. The only way he could possibly interpret my thoughts and feelings — as expressed in my blog posts — as evidence of a superior attitude is because he doesn’t understand the simple concept of what’s right and what’s wrong.

That made me wonder whether this is something (1) my brother-in-law doesn’t understand or (2) today’s society doesn’t understand.

In any case, it’s worth explaining; I’ll get to that in a moment.

My brother-in-law also apparently believes that I’m putting down my husband. My recent blog post, “Wanted: A Strong Man,” can probably be seen as a put down — although that’s not the post he commented on. It was a difficult post for me to write, mostly because of what I said near the middle of it: he wasn’t always a weak man. But I think I was honest. And I think the people who know him well — including, ironically, my brother-in-law — would agree with many (if not all) of my observations. Instead of looking at it as a put down, perhaps my brother-in-law should think of it more as a diagnosis of a problem — something my husband could fix if he wanted to, probably with professional help.

But I don’t believe anything I said in the post commented on — “On Marital Infidelity” — could be considered a put down. That is, unless my brother-in-law believes there’s nothing wrong with marital infidelity. More on that in a moment.

The Urban Dictionary also defines “slow down and smell the roses“:

this means stop stressing out, overthinking, or complaining. put your troubles in perspective and try to enjoy the short time you have on earth.

I’ve been getting versions of this from several people who don’t understand the gravity of my situation and the way it is affecting — and will affect — my life. It’s easier said than done.

Try, for a moment, to put yourself in my shoes. I’m 51 years old. I spent more than half of my life with a man I loved, someone who I trusted implicitly with my life. I have 29 years — now nearly 30 years — of memories with this man. Nearly seven years ago, I made the ultimate commitment to our relationship by marrying him, standing before a judge and witnesses to recite vows — promises — that actually meant something to me. I thought they meant something to him, too.

Oddly, things with our relationship started going bad not long after we made those vows. Perhaps he thought they would change our relationship? I don’t know. He never told me what he expected from me. He never told me what I was doing that he didn’t like. Instead, communications shut down and, after 29 years together, he actively sought a replacement for me — while leading me to believe, through actions, lies, and misleading statements, that he wanted to fix the problems with our relationship. He hooked up with the first woman who would take him and, after less than a month with her, dumped me on my birthday.

And since then, he and his new mommy have been fighting me in court and harassing me, trying to take away everything I’ve worked so hard for all my life.

And I’m supposed to “smell the roses”?

I don’t see any roses here. Do you?

Working it Out

The comment also included this cryptic phrase: “You and only you and him can work it out…”

I find this particularly painful because I’ve been trying since June to work this out with my husband. I can even argue that I’ve been trying since last March when I went to the marriage counselor at his request, hoping to fix the problem.

Although my husband’s initial request for a divorce came over the phone, it also came with lies about why he wanted the divorce. And since then he has agreed to meet with me in person only once — two weeks after that initial request. That lengthy meeting — full of tears on both sides, was also full of lies from him. And since then, he refuses to meet with me.

Do I need to share each of the long email messages I sent him, pleading with him to understand my feelings and explain himself to me? The mournful texts — like the one I sent him after dreaming about having sex with him? The angry texts — like the ones I sent after he left me copies of email messages I’d written that he’d been saving since 2008, apparently to take them out of context and use them as ammunition against me? Do I need to share every single attempt I’ve made over the years to try to get him to talk to me?

My brother-in-law should understand this. After all, I spent 90 minutes sobbing over the phone to him just a few weeks ago. Why the hell does he think I now cry every single day of my life? Why I can’t have a simple conversation with my lawyer without bursting into tears? Why I’m crying now?

So tell me: how am I supposed to “work it out” with my husband when he’s failed to be honest in any of our discussions so far and now refuses to talk to me? How am I supposed to get closure on this when I still don’t understand why he was willing to throw away everything we had together? Why he cheated and lied to me?

How can I get past this when I can’t get answers? When I can’t understand how a man who was so good and honest and loyal could do this to his partner of 29 years?

Right vs. Wrong, Good vs. Bad

Let’s step aside from all that and get back to the main topic of this post: my “high horse.”

It all comes down to my feelings regarding right and wrong, good and bad.

Throughout my life, I’ve developed a very strong sense of moral and ethical values: a sense of what’s right and what’s wrong. Simply said, I believe people should do the right thing, the good thing. I believe that the world would be not just a better place, but an amazing place, if we all did the right thing whenever we possibly could.

I touched upon this briefly in a December blog post that I wrote when I was trying to understand why my husband had lied to me: “What is Truth?” Honesty is right, honesty is good, honesty is something we owe to each other — especially the people who trust us. Lying is wrong, lying is bad, lying destroys trust and lives.

How about marital vows — you know, the “love, honor, and cherish until death do us part” stuff people recite when they marry. Doesn’t that mean anything to anyone?

Is it right to make a vow like that and then lie to your spouse? Is it right to make a vow like that and then cheat on your spouse? Is it right to make a vow like that and then lock your spouse out of her home and business property? To fight her in court in an attempt to make her homeless and keep her from her possessions? To subject your spouse to harassment week after week and month after month, hoping that she just gives you what you want and goes away?

Am I the only one who thinks that’s wrong?

And no, “everyone does it” doesn’t make it right, so stop feeding me — and yourself — that bullshit line. It’s wrong, pure and simple. No one can deny it. There is no excuse.

In my blog post about truth, I considered the fact that I might be naive. My brother-in-law’s comment on my blog post gives me reason to think about that again.

Am I part of a small minority of people who understands the difference between right and wrong? Or maybe just a minority that cares?

Have today’s societal values degraded so far that people no longer care about what’s right or wrong? To the point where someone who is being wronged is considered to be complaining from a “high horse”?

Have things gotten that bad?

Fighting for What’s Right

The Apparent Irony of An Atheist Fighting for What’s Right

I have to digress for a moment and a sidebar is the best place to do that.

As some people know, I’m an atheist. That means I don’t believe there’s a god (by any name) who oversees the universe, makes things happen, answers prayers, and punishes those who “sin.”

A lot of religious folks who don’t understand atheism think that atheists are bad. They think that it’s impossible to conduct yourself morally without the fear of God’s wrath when you do something bad. Oddly, these are often people who demonstrate low moral standards by lying, stealing, cheating on their wives, breaking laws, hurting others, etc. I’m not sure why they think this is okay — perhaps they don’t but are relying on God’s forgiveness to get into Heaven when they die. It’s almost as if their belief in God and their willingness to go to church and/or confess sins has given them a free pass to do whatever they want, no matter how wrong it is.

I can’t speak for all atheists, but I can speak for myself. I try hard to do what’s right and good because it’s right and good. I try to avoid doing what’s wrong and bad because it’s wrong and bad. I don’t have a god — I have something far more powerful: a conscience. My conscience is with me every day and it guides all of my actions. When I do something wrong, I pay for it immediately — with a sense of guilt: a guilty conscience.

Isn’t that more effective than relying on some supernatural being to reward or punish you when you die?

A handful of my friends have advised me to “give him what he wants and get on with your life.” Those people don’t understand me or what’s driving me. And apparently, neither does my husband.

Because although my husband seems to have forgotten the difference between right and wrong, I haven’t. And although my husband apparently thinks that I don’t care about what’s right and wrong, he’s very much mistaken. (I guess it’s just another example of how we’ve grown apart over the years.)

My good friends and most family members understand why I’m still dealing with all of this nearly nine months after my husband made the call that ruined every single birthday I’ll have for the rest of my life.

I have been wronged. I cannot simply walk away without fighting for what’s right.

I was discussing this with a friend a few weeks ago. He said he understood completely. “You have to be able to live with the person you see in the mirror,” he told me.

His words triggered an epiphany. It’s not about being difficult or seeking revenge. It’s not about putting people down or making judgements from a “high horse.”

It’s the simple fact that if I did not fight for what I thought was right, I’d never be able to live with myself. I’d never again be able to respect the person I see in the mirror.

I knew it all along but didn’t understand it until my friend made it clear.

And I think that’s why I began blogging more frankly about my situation. I wanted to clearly state my case. I wanted make it clear what I was dealing with. I wanted to make it clear why I was suffering so badly. Why I still cry so much — sometimes over the smallest things. The pain of being wronged is so incredibly fierce within me.

I expected readers to connect the dots — to see that I’d been wronged and draw the conclusion that I was fighting for what was right.

And then my brother-in-law’s comment appeared. That’s when I realized that not everyone understood my situation and what was driving me. I realized that although right vs. wrong is important to me, it’s not important — or even of concern — to everyone. Including, apparently, my brother-in-law.

And that makes me sad.

Dealing with Trolls

A few comments from experience.

I just finished writing a pretty lengthy article about blog comment moderation for Maria’s Guides, the site where I’m putting most of my tech content these days. The piece, which will appear tomorrow, has a lot of tips and advice for bloggers.

But it also touches on the topic of Internet trolls — you know, those people who use the veil of anonymity to disrupt forums and blog comment threads with offensive, controversial, or off-topic commentary, mostly to get a rise out of other commenters.

Trolls aren’t new. In the old days, we referred to them as flamers and the exchanges that resulted from their behavior were flame wars.

I’ve dealt with trolls and people who just don’t have any courtesy at all on this site and elsewhere. I have since learned and confirmed that the only way to deal with trolls and other offensive commenters is to (1) prevent them from having a voice on my blog, (2) ignoring them on other blogs/forums, and (3) in extreme cases, avoiding blogs/forums where they comment.

In other words, ignore them and they will go away.

June 30, 2014 Update
I’ve finally gotten around to writing up the site comment policy on a regular page (rather than post) on this site. You can find it here: Comment Policy.

You would not believe some of the crap people attempt to post on this blog. “Offensive” is putting it mildly sometimes. But I have a strict comment policy — thanks to the abuse I put up with in the past — and I stick to it. Post a comment that violates the site comment policy and your comment will never be seen by anyone on this site.

What does this do? Well, the casual troll who doesn’t come back to reel in his victims doesn’t even notice that his comment has been deleted. And since the offensive comment never appeared, no one replies in kind or in defense of what was said. No more trolling, no flame war.

The hard-core trolls — those folks who actually use their offensive comments to get under people’s skin and then feed upon the responses — they do notice that their comments didn’t appear. Sometimes they try again. Other times they complain in a comment or in email. Sometimes they get even more offensive. Guess what? I delete that crap, too. And after a while — after they have wasted minutes or even hours and days of their pitiful lives trying to cause trouble here — they give up and go away.

Yes: Ignore them and they’ll go away.

After all, there’s always other more fertile ground for their efforts: blogs and forums that aren’t moderated by people who care.

Result: there are no trolls here. This blog remains a civil discourse zone.

Now, apparently there are a handful of bloggers who doubt the “ignore them and they’ll go away” concept. These people have evidently spent too much time on blogs where trolls are allowed — or perhaps even encouraged — and have likely been victimized. Some of these people have also been contacted by email and offended there. These people have begun speaking up, whining and complaining on their blogs and elsewhere. They seem to think that we somehow need to fight back against trolls — perhaps by stooping to their level and getting just as offensive in our responses.

Each time these people post one of their whining complaints against trolling they are feeding the trolls. That’s right. They’re just letting the trolls know that their offensive comments are hitting their marks and giving them plenty of ammunition to keep up the trolling.

I maintain that the best way to fight back against trolls is to…well, I already said it above. Do I really need to repeat it here?

Get a grip, folks. This isn’t high school. Stop acting like it is.

Comments? Let ’em rip. Just remember the Site Comment Policy. I take it seriously here.

Update: @Beeclef on Twitter shared this link. Very funny.

Internet Trolls Impress NOBODY

Sound familiar?

I think the second and fourth panels on this excellent comic strip by Scott Meyer can easily be applied to Internet trolls — you know, the dickwads who always have something nasty to say in online forums and in comment threads. Do read the whole thing to get the full message.

How to Impress NOBODY

Image embedded with the author’s permission.

Battling Comment Spam

An interesting — but unfortunate — statistic from this site.

One of the biggest challenges to bloggers who allow comments on their blogs — other than dealing with immature, know-it-all asses who can’t write a civil sentence — is comment spam. It generally comes from three sources:

  • Automated spambots that are programmed to post comments on blogs. This accounts for more than 90% of the comment spam out there.
  • Real people who manually post comments that promote their products, services, or websites.
  • Pingbacks from blogs built by scraping content from other blogs, primarily to attract hits to other links on their pages.

I wrote about comment spam extensively on my Maria’s Guides site when I was regularly providing fresh content about WordPress. If you’re a blogger, you might find the following posts there interesting:

Spam vs. Ham on An Eclectic MindWordPress’s anti-spam tool, Akismet, does an excellent job of catching and filtering out spam so I don’t really need to see it at all. It also provides statistics about comments. This morning, while looking at these stats, I discovered that a full 98% of all comments posted on this blog are spam — or about 4,000 to 10,000 spam comments a month — leaving only 2% as legitimate comments (or “ham,” a term used by Akismet).

If this percentage is about the same on all blogs, it’s easy to see why so many bloggers elect to either turn the commenting feature off or require registration for commenting. (Note that registration doesn’t always help; some spambots can also register an account and then manual intervention is required to identify and delete those accounts.)

Comments are moderated here for two reasons:

  • Aksimet doesn’t catch all spam. It misses, on average, about 10 spam comments a month.
  • Akismet can’t identify abusive comments.

I have a zero tolerance approach to spam and abusive commenters and don’t want to see any of it on this blog. So I manually review all the comments that Akismet approves before allowing them to appear on this blog.

June 30, 2014 Update
I’ve finally gotten around to writing up the site comment policy on a regular page (rather than post) on this site. You can find it here: Comment Policy.

(If you believe that deleting comments is censorship or somehow violates your freedom of speech, read this and this.)

Personally, I’d like to see a higher percentage (and number) of legitimate comments on this blog. I like when good conversations get going among readers. I can think of two posts offhand where reader comments have added real value to what I’ve written: “The Helicopter Job Market” and “Why Groupon is Bad for Business…and Consumers.” I write from experience and my experiences are limited. When readers share their own thoughts based on their experiences, they provide more information for other readers to draw upon. They help round out a discussion. And as long as they don’t get rude or abusive to me or other commenters — or are obviously commenting to promote their own product or service (i.e., spamming) — I don’t care if they disagree. Intelligent, civil debate based on facts is encouraged.

But while comment spam is obviously a serious problem for all bloggers that allow comments on their blogs, I have it well under control here.

Blog for Your Readers, Not for Yourself

It simply isn’t fair to expect your blog’s visitors to jump through hoops to see your content or share their comments.

Yesterday, I followed a link to a Web site I often visit and read a blog post I wanted to comment on. I filled in the form and was faced with a series of options, all of which would eventually require me to set up an account with the blogger’s current choice of comment platform: Livefyre. I didn’t want an account on yet another commenting platform, so I simply didn’t leave a comment.

I should note a few things here. It was this same blog and blogger that was using Disqus, another commenting platform, a few years back. I wanted to comment and set up a Disqus account. Since then, Disqus has become relatively popular and I use the account a few times a week.

(It wasn’t always like that. I distinctly remember the hassle that followed my Disqus account setup when the system kept sending me email messages every time someone else commented on a post I’d commented on. It took a lot of digging to figure out how to turn off that feature — which I’d never turned on. As for Livefyre, it seemed impossible to post a comment yesterday without giving Livefyre permission to post on my behalf on Twitter or Facebook or use my e-mail address for some other purpose I didn’t want but had no choice but to authorize.)

Of course, I still don’t understand why a blogger doesn’t simply use the commenting feature that’s part of a WordPress installation. That’s what I use here. It’s pretty straightforward: enter your name, e-mail address, website (optional), and comment. If the comment passes muster with my spam prevention software, it’s held for moderation by me. If I approve it, it appears. If I don’t, it’s trashed. I could, of course, require each and every commenter to open an account on this blog, but I really don’t think it’s necessary to make them take that extra step. It’s bad enough that they may have to wait for their comment to appear.

And that brings up the topic of this post: requiring blog readers to do something special just for you so they can see or interact with your blog’s content. I’m talking about requiring an account on an obscure commenting system just because you like it. Or inserting content that depends on a specific plugin or Web browser to view. Or requiring someone to create an account or log in just to read a post. (Don’t get me started on paywalls.)

It’s just not right.

Face it: there are tens of thousands of blogs out there and, if you’re an average blogger, half of them are going to be better than yours. Why would you make your blog readers do something special just to read/reply to your blog? Do you really think it’s fair to have them jump through hoops just for you?

I don’t.

If you’re a serious blogger with content you want to share with the biggest possible audience, stop putting up roadblocks or hurdles for readers. Make content easy to find and read. And yes, that does mean not splitting posts into multiple parts, forcing readers to click through multiple pages to read one post. It also means not littering your blog with obnoxious and distracting ads that make it difficult to find content among blinking, flashing, or animated trash. And content that requires plugins to see is likely to be seen only by the few people who have those plugins or are willing to install them.

If you want feedback from blog readers in the form of comments that can start valuable conversations and build a blog community, stop making it difficult for them to post a comment. Not everyone is happy about setting up accounts all over the Web — especially accounts with third party services that might use contact information for their own purposes.

So who do you blog for? Yourself? Or your readers? Look at your blog from their perspective. Is your content worth the bother of jumping through the hoops you’ve set up for readers?

If there’s any question, maybe it’s time to rethink your priorities. It just might help get your blog a bigger audience and the kind of reader interaction that sets good blogs apart from the rest of the pack.

There IS Such a Thing as Too Much Business

When that business is being conducted at a loss.

I’ve been deeply involved in the Groupon debate for the past few days.

Earlier in the summer, I’d bought a Groupon from a Twitter friend and had used it to buy some jewelry at half price. Later, in August, I was approached by a Groupon clone company and got the details on what they really cost a small business. I did some math, realized it would never work for my business, and blogged about it .

Only a week or two later, I heard a story on NPR about Groupon in which a friend of mine with a business similar to mine was interviewed. He seemed to say positive things in the interview. When I called him, he gave more concrete information that didn’t seem too positive. I spent half a day crunching the numbers again and still couldn’t see how Groupon could benefit me.

I put that aside and got on with my life.

Back into the Debate

Yesterday, my attention was captured by a story on Plagiarism Today about a photographer who had been caught apparently passing off professional photographers’ images as hers on her Web site. The whole thing blew up in her face when she offered a 1-hour portrait sitting with print and CD of images for $65 through Groupon. She’d sold over 1,000 of these — far more than any photographer could complete in a year — when someone pointed out that photos on her Web site belonged to other photographers. She attempted to say that her site was hacked, but it was pointed out that the same photos also appeared on her Facebook page. Then her site and Facebook page went down; when her site reappeared it had a collection of crap photos that my mother could have taken with a Kodak 110 camera. (My mother is a horrible photographer.)

If you’re interested in seeing how the situation developed, read the comments from the Groupon thread, which were preserved by Petapixel after Groupon cancelled the offer, refunded the money, and deleted the thread. (A little too late to put out that fire.)

This story was picked up by many other sites, including TechCrunch. Their focus was on the ability of a business to effectively service Groupon customers, Groupon’s apparent failure to properly vet the services it features, and the hardship incurred by at least one Groupon merchant, Posie’s Diner. Since I’ve always thought that the Groupon model could be potentially harmful to a small business merchant using their service to advertise, I went to the Posie’s Diner blog post and read the story. It’s an honest and rather sad account by the restaurant owner who wound up having difficulties meeting payroll expenses while accepting the Groupons she’d sold. Each one had a face value of $13 but she’d received only $3 for each one. That meant she’d have to sell $13,000 of product for only $3,000 in revenue. The blog post explains the other related problems, which are mostly customer related.

Some Commenters Are Jerks

To make it clear, Posie’s Diner does not blame Groupon. She admits she made a mistake and takes full responsibility for it. But that didn’t stop the usual bunch of jerks from making nasty comments on her blog post. This one really pissed me off:

Businesses that complain about too much business should not be in business.

Wow. This guy needs to get a clue. If every sale you make comes at a loss, then even one sale is “too much business.”

That’s the situation I would have faced if I went with the Groupon clone — or Groupon. My margins are so low that I’d lose money on every single sale. I didn’t need that kind of business. No business does.

Is Groupon a Problem?

I admit that I resent the idea of a company making money off my hard work while I lose money on deeply discounted sales. Posie’s might have made a mistake going with Groupon, but it’s a mistake they won’t make again. I just won’t make that mistake at all.

To be fair, I read both good and bad comments all over the Web about Groupon from both merchants and customers. Clearly, there are possibilities for using the service with success. I just can’t figure out what they could be for my business. But there’s also a lot of pain in the Groupon model: the financial hardship of businesses with too many Groupon sales, the difficulty for customers being able to redeem Groupon goods and services due to crowds and overbookings.

Back to the “Photographer”

The idiot “photographer” who unknowingly pulled me back into the Groupon debate is truly a fool. Not only did she commit fraud when attempting to use other photographers’ work as examples of her own to sell her services, but she sold far more Groupons than she could ever expect to accept. If she hadn’t been revealed as a scammer in time to cancel the sale, she likely would have been out of business before long. After all, she was making less than $35 on each hour-long session at a client’s home. Between transportation costs and materials costs, she would have been in the red from day one. Would 1,700 sales at only $35 each have been “too much business” for her? I think so.

Then, when customers starting seeing the dismal quality of her work, would Groupon have refunded their money? And what would they have done when the fraud claims starting coming in and Groupon was called out for not properly vetting the offer?

Or maybe she was a true scammer who never planned to do any Groupon work. Perhaps she planned to just take the money and run.

Clearly, there’s some kind of problem with Groupon that needs attention. I’ll continue to watch from the sidelines. But I certainly won’t be giving Groupon any business in any form.

Connect with Facebook?

Think twice before clicking that button.

This morning, I followed a link from one of my Twitter friends to an article on PCWorld.com about the growing popularity of ebooks. The article made a statement I didn’t agree with and I wanted to comment. The comment area had two options:

    Two Choices

  • Sign in to the PCWorld Web site. This requires an account on the PCWorld Web site, which I did not have or want.
  • Connect with Facebook. After a long internal debate, I have begun using Facebook again.

Facebook Request for PermissionI clicked the Connect with Facebook button. A window like this one popped up in my Web browser. Since this was the first time I’d tried to connect to a site with Facebook, I decided to actually read what was in the window.

And I was appalled by what I read.

Here it is, just in case you can’t read it in the screenshot:

PCWorld is requesting permission to do the following:
Access my basic information
Includes name, profile picture, gender, networks, user ID, list of friends, and any other information I’ve shared with everyone.

In other words, not only does PCWorld get access to my name, but it also gets access to quite a bit of personal information, including my gender, affiliations, user ID (for tracking, I wonder?), and list of friends. It can also access “any other information I’ve shared with everyone,” which could include hobbies, interests, favorite books and movies, etc. In other words, I’d be giving PCWorld a wealth of information about me.

Whoa. Exactly why would I want to give PCWorld access to this information? Certainly not for the privilege of entering a comment on its Web site.

I clicked the Don’t Allow button to get out of there, then attempted to set up an account. Apparently, it’s impossible to set up an account on PCWorld without subscribing to one of its electronic magazines. It has over a dozen of them and none of them interest me in the least.

That got me wondering why I was wasting precious time from my day to add content to PCWorld’s Web site.

So I closed the window and got on with my life.

At least it gave me something to blog about.

What I hope readers come away with from this story is this: think twice before “Connecting with Facebook.” You may be sharing your private Facebook information with organizations that really don’t need it.