Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I have support :)

I don't believe I am saying this, but I can so relate to what Bangalore Times has written today :)

Nasty on the Net
US researchers recently reported that
hateful text messages, abusive emails and cyber-gossip are giving bullies new
power over their victims. BT explores

PEOPLE who have never been bullied are now becoming victims of cyberbullying. In chat rooms, via emails and even on blogs the vibes are getting nasty. So, how bad does it get? “It’s easy for anybody to post any kind of comment in response to your blog because the people posting nasty comments knows for sure that they will never see or meet you,” says Aravind Krishna, business analyst. Aravind, a regular blogger, says he’s seen crazy spats online, most ending in racial abuse. “That’s when it gets nasty and a whole chain of people get involved. The comments drift away from the actual topic of the blog,” he says.
But the comments depend on the feedback the blogger gives, believes Ravi, another blogger. “Responding to feedback is the prerogative of the blogger. If the feedback is positive and acknowledged, the person who comments feels satisfied. If not, over a period of time, the person feels slighted and tends to express himself with views opposite to that of the blogger. This then degenerates into an online mud-slinging match, with others taking up cudgels either for or against the blogger. People like to feel important online too. So when they’re ignored, the abuse begins,” he explains.
Amita, who has been blogging for the last five years, agrees, saying, “This happens, and there’s little you can do to stop people from leaving their opinions, especially if you have an open comments field,” she says. She believes that what you write about also determines the sort of reactions you get. “If you write on sensational and controversial topics, you have to be prepared for all kinds of feedback because few people know how to make their point in a polite way,” she adds.
According to copywriter Swaroop B, “If someone has posted a nasty comment, the blogger has the option of deleting it, but there are now malicious software codes designed to populate your comment box and attack it like a virus. This blog spam attacks your comment box in bulk and automatically posts random comments or promotes commercial services to blogs, wikis, guest books, and other public online discussion boards. Any web application that accepts and displays hyperlinks submitted by visitors may be a target.” Swaroop says he usually misses the constructive comments among the nasty ones. “There’s sometimes so much abuse that the meaningful contributions are lost,” he says.
Is there a way to handle malice on the Net? “Many of the popular blogging platforms offer in-built options for bloggers to block commentators or spam. Validating who you are with an email ID is one method. IP address blocking is another,” explains Ravi. But there are always loopholes. “Unfortunately, this is not foolproof as a person can easily change his name or comment from a different machine with a different IP address,” he adds.
Amita simply resorts to deleting unsavoury comments. “I delete and ban the IP address. The other way to ensure you’re not spammed is to have moderated comments, which means that the comment appears only after you have reviewed it. Some bloggers even prefer not to have comments at all. Also one can install spam filters; it’s a kind of hurdle that might put off someone who’s just trying to be nasty,” explains Amita.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Clearing out

How much junk gathers in two years' time. In the little space I have here at my desk, there are a zillion files and folders. Dusty, useless. A million old notepads, none of which even makes sense to me now.

The only interesting things I have found are the doodles and scribbles from long, seemingly unending meetings. Little scraps of conversation, tic-tac-toe, sketches, a bit of creative writing. Here is one such. The meeting in question was so boring that I remember the finer details of the chair I was sitting on that day. Pardon the bad poetry, but such was the day.
A silent scream of ennui
emerges from the pit
of my stomach.
With no place to go,
it explodes in my head.
Wild hair and errant eyes
Flailing arms and torn clothes
My spirit bangs its head
on the walls of my heart.
System error.
Hard disc failure
Ctrl Alt Del
Ctrl Alt Del

And yet another. This during a post-lunch session of in-house training. This was the only way I would stop from snoring.
"Where is the question," he asks. Where indeed is the question?
I am looking, I am looking; don't rush me.
The cupboard, an old carton, rigid chairs, an office table... Where in the world is that darned question? It couldn't have slipped out, it's too soon.
Is there a shredder in the room? Perhaps it fell into that. Uh-oh...
Hey! What's this falling off my head? It's a word...
Oh no! The question fell into my thought shredder...!
:D Who said nothing creative happens around here? Might be really bad, but it ain't dead.