Wednesday, June 22, 2011

An admonition from Captain Obvious

For the last several years, I've been using Facebook as an effortless, free archival backup for TAE. I edited the privacy settings on my notes so that I was the only one able to view them. A few months ago, I happened to notice that the privacy settings for notes had disappeared, but I asked a couple of trusted people to scour my profile to see if they were able to view them. They were not. No harm, no foul. Then a few days ago I got a message from a friend saying he'd recently seen a couple of them in his newsfeed. Uh oh.

Apparently, the privacy setting for notes has been abolished and they are, by default, viewable by all friends, although each note now has an individual privacy setting. That left me with a couple of options, both of them awfully tedious. Either I delete my FB account, create a new one, and reconnect with 500 people (which would have at least come with the benefit of weeding out the undesirable ones), or discontinue the auto feed and go through and manually set each of the nearly 600 notes (blog posts) already there to be viewable only by me. I went with the latter.

I'm probably overly concerned about my identity being tied to TAE. For one, by default I assume people are paying a lot more attention to me than they actually are. There are obvious evolutionary reasons for this. To be pithy, it's better safe than sorry. As a hunter and gatherer, if I'm more wary than I need to be, at worst the vigilance costs me a little extra energy. If I'm not wary enough, it could lead to me being fatally ambushed or ostracized from the tribe. Secondly, there are more prominent guys like Randall Parker and Dennis Mangan who courageously refuse to hide behind a pseudonym, and the black helicopters haven't come for them, at least not yet.

Still, I'd prefer to maintain my anonymity. And, knock on wood, no one else has mentioned anything about the posts to me. They'll soon be buried deep in people's news feeds, so I should be able to keep that anonymity--as long as I get it through my thick head that nothing on FB or any other social networking site should ever be considered private. I could use that as a segue into a rant about how FB is immoral and despicable for having betrayed me, but The Simpsons reminds us of just how pretentious of me that would be:
Comic Book Guy: Last night's Itchy & Scratchy was, without a doubt, the worst episode ever. Rest assured that I was on the internet within minutes registering my disgust throughout the world.

Bart: Hey, I know it wasn't great, but what right do you have to complain?

CBG: As a loyal viewer, I feel they owe me.

Bart: What? They've given you thousands of hours of entertainment for free. What could they possibly owe you? I mean, if anything, you owe them.

CBG: Worst episode ever.


Ed Tom Kowalsky said...

I know just how you feel, AE. I'd very much like to publicize your blog on FB, but fear that if the wrong people found out I read it, there could be repercussions in my workplaces.

Am I being a bit paranoid? Perhaps; perhaps not. At any rate, I'm erring on the side of caution.

Ed Tom Kowalsky said...

Apropos of the post above:

It seems a blacklist (can I say that?) of social conservatives is being created for use by employers.

Audacious Epigone said...


No, you're being prudent. From the link, you see that a potential job applicant is deemed "racist" for the very innocuous desire that everyone in the US speak English. Even lukewarm support-by-association for anything that asserts national sovereignty risks the racist tagging, and any observance of the realities of HBD risks the same or one of the other "ist" tags that can literally ruin a person's career.

FuturePundit said...


It is very easy to get from your pseudonym to your real name. So I do not see how you are erring on the side of caution.


I wish for one day everyone felt compelled to speak the truth. Imagine what a shock that would be.

FuturePundit said...

One thing I wonder: Will so many people have so much about their views online that those who are discriminated against based on their beliefs will be able to run complete companies using others similarly discriminated against.

Ed Tom Kowalsky said...


I'm sure bowling out one's true identity isn't terribly difficult, but it is quite a bit harder than simply googling somebody's name. If I force somebody to take two or three more steps to find out who I am, I feel I have covered myself as much as I am willing. And if somebody delves deeply and cans me for reading AE, in'sha Allah.