{ thinking out loud about the things i care about }

Archive for January, 2010

Dreamwidth’s First Terms of Service Test

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Over the last week, Dreamwidth has come under fire from some organized trolls with ties to hate speech organizations, posing as concerned parent organizations in an attempt to convince Dreamwidth’s merchant processor and upstream provider that they are hosting child pornography. There have also been several phishing attempts (setting up sites that look like Dreamwidth in order to obtain user’s passwords).

PayPal, the merchant processor, has requested Dreamwidth remove the “offending” entries, and Dreamwidth has refuesed to do so. As a result, they’re on the hunt for a new merchant to accept credit cards. For those with accounts expiring in the next week or two, Dreamwidth is happily providing those people with a one-month extension of paid service while they set up with a new payment processing merchant.

I wrote a post some time ago about Dreamwidth, why I was interested in the service, and how I thought their no-ads model might work out better for its fandom users particularly. This is the first major test of those principles, and so far the Dreamwidth team is passing with flying colours. I am extremely pleased and impressed.

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Transphobia on Facebook

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Last week Facebook banned Calgary transman Dominic Scaia from Facebook for posting a post-op photo of his bare chest. The photo did not break any of Facebook’s Terms of Service that I can tell. It was neither excessively gory nor sexual in any way.

It’s unclear what bothered Facebook about Dominic’s photos. Section 3.7 of its Terms of Service regulates that content not be “hateful, threatening, pornographic” or contain “nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.” It’s clear a male chest falls into none of these categories. Scaia says, “They were from two-and-a-half weeks post-op and included my face. I was holding the camera from above, my chest was bare and I was wearing jeans. None of the photos were in the least bit gory.”

Facebook does not moderate photographs individually. They rely on users to report offensive content. The only people who could view Scaia’s pictures were friends that he’d added to his account. He’d had the photos up for a week without a problem. The evening before he was banned, Dominic accepted a friend request from a young, flirtatious girl. He thinks she looked through his photos and discovered that the cute boy she’d added was not born physically male, choosing then to report his account.

It’s there where things become confusing. It’s Facebook’s policy to remove photos that are deemed offensive and to send a warning. It is not the company’s policy to disable accounts over photos. This does not mean that Facebook has a rule of banning transgender people, it means that one staff moderator made the grossly misinformed choice to ban his account.

Over 6,000 people have joined a Facebook group in an attempt to raise awareness about this. Today, Scaia finally received a reply back from Facebook, saying his photos were in violation of the Terms of Service. His account has been reinstated, but all his post-surgery photos have been removed, and he has been sternly told not to upload photos of “that sort” again, saying: “photos containing nudity or other graphic or sexually suggestive content are not allowed”. Local radio show Gaywire has published an open letter to Facebook. Xtra.ca has an article with one of the photos in question here.

Any signal boosting would be appreciated. Facebook is a major social networking site and a major photo-sharing site that many trans people — including Scaia — use for advocacy and sharing personal stories and experiences with other transmen and women, and sharing post-op photos is part of that sharing. This was a transphobic knee-jerk reaction by a company after one transphobic user reported the image. There was no warning; the account was immediately frozen. It took Facebook over a week to respond to questions and un-freeze the account. This is not cool on many levels.

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Airport Security Theatre Linkspam

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

So! Security Theatre continues:

  • TheStar.com asks how can we make our airports more like Israel’s, which handles far greater terror threats with far less inconvenience. “At Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, screening is done in 30 minutes.” The basic gist? Training airport security and personnel what a suspicious person actually looks and behaves like, and having them look for — WHAT A CONCEPT — that.

    “But here it is done completely, absolutely 180 degrees differently than it is done in North America,” Sela said.

    “First, it’s fast – there’s almost no line. That’s because they’re not looking for liquids, they’re not looking at your shoes. They’re not looking for everything they look for in North America. They just look at you,” said Sela. “Even today with the heightened security in North America, they will check your items to death. But they will never look at you, at how you behave. They will never look into your eyes … and that’s how you figure out the bad guys from the good guys.”

    This kind of behavioral profiling I don’t object to, especially if the people doing the profiling are actually thoroughly trained on what to look for.

  • Everybody’s talking about the Backscatter X-rays apparently being implemented all over. The ones that break child pornography laws. And how will non-binary gendered people be affected by this? They say only “same sex” people will view the scans in a separate room not visible to the public, but what about trans, intersexed and gender queer people? What kinds of scrutiny will a trans-man come under when scans reveal female genitalia? Because what I’m sure these people want in their life is even more of this.
  • The TSA has withdrawn their subpoenas on the two bloggers who posted the new rules on Boxing Day and apologized for their strong-arm tactics. They’ve also promised to resolve issues one of the bloggers has been having with his laptop ever since the agents seized it to image the hard drive. This doesn’t really pacify me toward the TSA at all.
  • Canadian airlines might have to break Canadian privacy laws to enforce the new TSA rules that would force them to collect the name, gender and birth date of every Canadian who flies through American airspace, even if their planes don’t touch the ground in the States. If Canadian privacy laws change because of this shit, I am going to freak the FUCK out. Canada has comparably fantastic privacy laws and has managed to retain them through the last decade, and if that changes because of an underwear bomb….Anyway. Unsurprisingly, a Muslim woman from Nova Scotia has already been refused entry to the US after being questioned for four hours and fingerprinted for trying to do something as threatening as visit her husband.
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Doctor Who, End of Time, Part Two

Friday, January 1st, 2010

I have just finished watching David Tennant’s very last Doctor Who episode. Spoilers for both parts of End of Time below.

End of Time was clearly the wrong name for this. It should have been called The Long Goodbye for obvious JUST DIE ALREADY reasons. This will likely be a highly unpopular opinion but the drawing out of the death was a little too much for me. Yes it was nice to get a LOOK WHAT THEY’RE DOING NOW sequence with all of Ten’s companions but on the whole I would have preferred the regeneration to take place right away.

BUT OH THE ANGST! I will miss you most of all. And “I don’t want to go”? Completely fitting. Ten seemed to be the one that was too attached to himself, too fond of his own cleverness, and I think that line was great, especially combined with the crazy moment where he had to choose to save Wilf or not and Wilf was all “shrug, okay, it’s fine if I die, I’m an old dog and all that, jolly good ride”. Thematically, it was a lovely bittersweet moment, and character-wise I think it was spot on.

More awesome Wilf-Doctor conversations, and lovely moments with the Master. I loled so hard when Ten was all strapped in and gagged, and then he called the Master beautiful and I was all JUST SNOG ALREADY. Lol.

Wilf, we did not see nearly enough of you, but you did get to be bad ass and shoot missiles with lasers like Chewy from Star Wars, so we’ll always have that. And Donna, you are still un-Donna and were terribly underused and WHY did we get the firey-brain bit if nothing came of it and it wasn’t important to the plot at all? UM WHUT? At least her fiance wasn’t aiding and abetting a space spider this time.


  • Martha/Mickey lolz. Somewhere a man named Tom is plotting the Doctor’s demise for introducing his fiancee to Mickey Smith, and I’m looking forward to that adventure. SMITH AND JONES INDEED. I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE, RTD. Their short clip of badassness together was pretty awesome, though.
  • JACK/ALONSO LULZ OMG. Jack is all “MY IANTO WHEREFOR ART THOU?” hardcore angsting, but the Doctor clearly cannot stand to be out-angsted. I hope this means we’ll see Alonso in the next season of Torchwood, ’cause that kid was kinda cool.
  • It was kind of awesome to see Joan in there. Obviously she meant more to him than he let on, and that’s the awesome fic-worthy part. Please note that he did not visit Renette during his montage.
  • Rose, in passing, and the bit about 2005 being a great year. Somewhere in Pete’s world Rose is figuring it out and smacking Handy around. FIC ME THIS PLZTHX.
  • Apparently that woman in the white suit haunting Wilf was supposed to be the Doctor’s mother? Who was the other woman? Romana maybe? Or something?
  • Douchey Time Lords FTW! On purpose genocide is way cooler, though it makes all his guilt a little stranger. As soon as he figured out they were coming back he was all ZOMG NOT ON and didn’t really hesitate. I struggle to understand how killing one person is easier than genocide for this character, but it is and that’s part of why he’s so interesting.
  • So far Eleven seems very Tenish but with bad hair (and even he thinks so, lol). And “geronimo” is light years less awesome than “allons-y”. Catchphrase fail, Moffat.

The plot overall was pretty lame, the Master Race and the pointless cactus people and Gallifrey rolling down upon Earth like the boulder in that Indiana Jones movie. And the goodbye was long and really broke the story for me. I would have preferred Ten regenerated in the plastic booth; I’m sure there are many ways These Are The Days of Your Life could have been inserted that didn’t involve all that time between being killed and actually dying. Almost everyone is bound to disagree with me on that, but BRING IT I WILL FIGHT YOU! :D

So begins the Moffat era. *crosses fingers*

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