Writer Beware Wins Blogging Award

The Writer Beware blog has been devoted for years to exposing scams aimed at writers, and now that work has paid off: The blog and its proprietor Victoria Strauss have won the Independent Book Blogger Award in the category of  “Publishing Industry.” This is pretty awesome.

Here’s the official page with all the winners (and nominees), and here’s the press release, posted on the Writer Beware site itself.

Congratulations to Victoria Strauss! May you continue to vex and annoy scammers and scumbags who prey on writers. No doubt some of them are grinding their teeth at you winning this award. I say: Let them grind.

“Lowest Difficulty Setting Follow-Up” Now on Kotaku + Comment on Comments

Hey, remember that time I wrote a piece on how being a Straight White Male means you’re running through life on the lowest difficulty setting, and that piece was republished on the video game news site Kotaku? Well, now Kotaku has also republished my follow-up piece, minus one section that relates specifically to how I administer comments here on Whatever (which is totally reasonable, since, hey, different web site entirely). The Kotaku republished version is here.

Let me also take a moment here to comment on comments. A lot of people have noted the really astounding amount of bile that’s come out of the entries, both here and at Kotaku, and have suggested that the vitriolic nature of the comments suggest that rather than furthering the conversation, the piece fell on its face and/or showed just how unreasonable straight white men generally are on the subject of having their unearned advantages pointed out to them.

Here’s something to consider, however. Between Whatever, Kotaku and the various other Gawker sites that ran the post, the “Lowest Difficulty Setting” post and followup posts have been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people to date. The number of people who have commented is probably about one percent of that overall audience; the comments run into the thousands but people often comment more than once. Not everyone who comments is antagonistic to the piece, and even many of those who disagree with the post or have specific complaints express them in cogent and reasonable manner.

All of which is to say that it’s probably not wise to assume that the foamiest of commenters, either here or over at Kotaku, are necessarily representative of the overall readership of the pieces. What they are, however, are the ones most motivated to comment, because of their own basket of personal issues/neuroses/hobby horses/whatever, and many of them have linked in from sites where people of similar personal issues/neuroses/hobby horses/whatever congregate and then set forth to make their views known to people outside their own respective man caves. In this respect, they are like many commenters on many comment threads for pieces on contentious topics.

Shorter version: Don’t freak out at the jackasses in the comments. They’re not representative of the whole crowd. They’re just loud. Outside of that tiny minority, there are lots of other people, many of them straight white males, reading without comment. Some of them are probably coming away from the piece thinking in whole new ways about the issues raised in the pieces. Which is not a bad thing.

The Temp Set Up

After I lost my MacBook Air last week, I still needed a computer to do work while traveling and also at home, since I was using the laptop as my primary computer. But I didn’t want to spill out a serious amount of money, not only because there was (is) a chance the Air would still show up, but also because, you know, I’m cheap. So I ended up going for an Acer Aspire One netbook. I’ve had one before and liked it although it was ultimately a little too small; this newer edition, however, has an 11.6-inch screen (the other one was 10.1) and what feels like a full-sized keyboard, so we’ll see how it works out. I’m getting along with it just fine, although I am definitely missing the Mac trackpad; it’s ridiculous how much better those are than just about any other trackpad on the market.

Since I was feeling grumpy, I also decided to pick up a Galaxy Tab 2 7-inch tablet, which was also relatively inexpensive. I’ve been wanting something close to a Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet, without being locked into either the Amazon or B&N ecosystems, and because I’m one of those people who actually prefers the 7-inch tablet size over the 10-inch size. I like it so far; it’s using Android 4.0, which is a nice operating system, and it’s doing all the things I want a tablet to do.

Between the two of them I should be able to get back to work. Which come to think of it, I need to be getting to right now. I have a backlog. Excuse me.