Sunday, October 12, 2008

THIMK


When I was a little kid one of my sisters had a paperweight on her desk with the word "THINK" on it - something you might expect to see on a paperweight, except, if you looked a little closer at the tall skinny close-together letters, you realized that it didn't spell "THINK" at all - it spelled "THIMK" - with an 'M'. Reminding anyone who bothered to take a closer look, that to truly "THINK" requires some effort.

Recently, if you've been looking closely, you'll notice blogs and blog posts by some of your favorite bloggers have been disappearing from blog rolls and replaced with 'selected' blog posts.

I refer to this is phenomenon as 'cherry picking' - meaning that someone is filtering out what they think you don't want to see, presumably sparing you the effort of clicking your mouse one or two more times or freeing you from reading something potentially off-topic.

I have been assured that this is being done in the name of relevance. Therefore, if a blog post isn't relevant to the casino issue, it will not show up.

But upon even closer inspection, you'll notice that my last blog post, Six Degrees of a Casino is missing - and that post is certainly relevant, don't you thimk? I mean, it even mentions the word 'casino' four times, including in the title, not to mention those hot button words 'Middleboro' and 'investors', and even includes an embeded video titled 'SixDegreesofaCasino'.

Now, I do the odd bit of web programming myself, and so I know that even a computer program designed to sniff out posts about Middleboro casino and filter out non-casino posts would have easily slapped a seal of approval on this one. And yet, despite the fact that this post spurred a discussion that would ultimately garner 32 comments, it somehow didn't pass someone's (or something's) smell test.

So how come Bumpkin's blog about blogs got through the censors? It also mentioned 'casino' four times - but never mentioned 'Middleboro' or 'investors' at all.

Now please don't go blaming Bumpkin, since he insists it's not him doing the cherry picking - it's that darn computer program. Which just brings me back to why my last post didn't show up.

Let me tell you where I'm coming from.

I blog about casinos. Mostly about the Middleboro casino, but I do venture out to the State and National arenas on occassion. I'm one of the original anti-casino bloggers. In fact, it was my idea to add blogs to the CasinoFacts.org web site - a concept I've defended against pro and anti-casino folks alike.

I blog solely about casinos, their impacts and the people who love them. Even when I blog about blogging, the posts are peppered with references to a casino. When I do offer a rare political opinion, it comes down to how I think that it might effect our chance of getting a casino in Middleboro. I've blogged for almost a year and a half. I've blogged when you've been listening and I've blogged when you weren't. It sometimes takes a week or more of work to produce a single blog post. I've rarely produced a blog in under four hours - and that's the writing component only - not the background research, video production, graphics, links, etc.

I am a founding member of CasinoFacts.org, the first member from a surrounding community, sat on the board of directors for a year, and am a current member of the Board of CasinoFreeMass. I've attended last summers selectman's meetings, pre-CRAC meetings, and still attend Regional Task Force meetings. I've gone around to different towns to discuss casinos. You might even say I have my finger on the pulse of the issue since I'm the one who compared Glenn Marshall to a date rapist a month before it was revealed that he was a convicted date rapist and who correctly predicted Mr. Bond would show up at a Mass Highway meeting to see if he could work a casino into it. I've spoken at the Massachusetts State House about casinos. And just last month my videos were played for a national audience at the Stop Predatory Gambling conference.

As for my Six Degrees of a Casino post, I'd spent an awful lot of time doing the research for that, even taking a trek down to the old Middleboro Library, in order to present the facts about an issue that has been discussed almost as long as I've been involved in fighting casinos.

So I guess my question is, if that one post, and even my entire blog isn't 'relevant' to fighting casinos, then what exactly is?

What I'm hoping is, that whatever screening device is being used to cherry pick my blog isn't wearing Bond goggles. I mean, I know there's some people in Middleboro who think we shouldn't be looking too closely at Bond... "we've got to heal the wounds"... "let's move on"... "focus on the investors not the small town guys"...etc.

But this is the thing - the anti-casino movement isn't only about Middleboro. It's never been. From that first meeting of CasinoFacts.org to the Regional Task Force on Casino Impacts, people from the surrounding communities have been involved. And people who live outside of Middleboro, folks who've had no vote and no voice in the matter of a casino, well they still deserve to know about the people who are promoting the casino project that will effect them even if it makes some folks in Middleboro uncomfortable.

So I really hope it's not that.

Bloggers, unlike reporters and columnists, don't make a salary. The payment for our work, for our tenacity, is readership. To know that people are hearing the message, the whole message, and that they're learning more, or thimking perhaps differently about something, and having conversations or taking action they might not otherwise.

Bloggers come in all shapes, sizes, ages, genders, philosophies, and poltical persuasions. And to me, the fact that we can all still agree on one thing - that we oppose a Middleboro casino - just makes the message stronger.

Blogging is, and has been, one of the most effective tools in the grassroots activists arsenal. Which is why Stop Predatory Gambling lists becoming a blogger as one the four best ways to take action.

My fellow bloggers and I, as well as our families, have paid a price for taking that action. My children have been dragged onto on-line forums and message boards, I've had to report a threat to the police, we've been threatened with lawsuits and liens, have been lied about, misrepresented and bullied. And everything in between. And it's taken a toll - apparently all so a person or some computer program to decide which of our posts is relevant.

Folks, if the motivation for bloggers to continue blogging is the knowledge that our blogs are being read and that they're making a difference, then where's the motivation to continue making the effort, taking the time, and putting ourselves and our familes through hell knowing that some of our hard work is going to end up on the cutting room floor?

Now, perhaps my recent blog post Six Degrees of a Casino was cherry picked into no man's land in error, and that the blog screening program, it's programmer, or possibly even an individual screener never had anything but good intentions. Which might explain why the road to hell is paved with them.

The calendar says it's currently 2008 - and in 2008 most people grasp the concept that a blog is an opinion piece and an on-going journal. News sites, community sites, political sites - blogs are everywhere, and they're not going away. It's time to stop worrying about what people might think and just let them think. People may indeed go to to a web site looking for certain information, but they click on blogs looking for something else, and can manage to do so with the tacit understanding that it neither guarantees relevance or implies endorsement.

The fact that most of my readers oppose a Middleboro casino is obvious proof that they don't need to ask the Wizard for a brain. And I for one trust them to be able to go a web site, click a link which takes them to the front page of my whole entire blog and be able to make their own decisions as to whether a post is relevant to them or not.

Thimk about it.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gladys,thanks for being there for us.Your blog is informative and funny.My wife and I appreciate all your hard work.We bought our dream home in Middleboro several years ago intending it to be our last move.We live within a mile of the proposed destruction site.Your encouragement is important to me and I know many others.Thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

My guess is that your blog hit a little too close to home. Keep it up! Thanks

Anonymous said...

Being from Middleboro all I'm interested in and want to read about is this proposed gambling casino, (not resort, call it like it is). I'm concerned, want all the information I can get on application status, "who's who" in the town's continued support of this and the *why's*!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So a big "thank you" to you Gladys and the other bloggers that are writing about the proposed gaming casino in Middleboro!! AND, yes!, the people responsible for putting it here. Sorry, to those that are trying to bridge the gap that Mr. Bond, Mr. Spataro, Mr. Rogers, Mr. Perkins, Ms Brunelle, and Mr. Healy,(who just won't go away), are responsible for in this town. It is up to them to go forth and publically try to make amends, not for following what they thought was right for Middleboro, but HOW they did it!!!!! That was wrong! and very un-professional!!!!!!!!

I always went to the CFO.org web site to get the "facts" I want to read about Middleboro's proposed gaming casino and be updated on everything about it!! (and those involved), AND, read the blogs about Middleboro's proposed gaming casino!! especially after reading or hearing from the media, which was always slanted in favor of, or had all the regulations wrong! CFO.org had people on board that was doing all this homework and giving it out to the public for consumption as you bloggers picked up the banner and carried it on with even more information to share.

Shame on CFO.org if they did in fact filter out your last blog. Isin't the Middleboro casino issue the reason for their exsistence?????

If I wanted other Middleboro news I would buy the Gazette or listen or attend all committee meetings. Ck. out one maybe two blogs for this sole pupose, but thats it!! I rely on your blog, carverchick, Carl's quotes, and CFO.org for any and all news about, (must I say it again), Middleboro's proposed gaming casino, and those responsible!!!

If CFO.org is changing their destiny to fight this proposed gaming casino, they will lose my support. How, with a name like CASINOFACTS could they not publish any blog, information, articles, about (anti) casino's or anyone directly involved, however so, about our own fight here.

For you and the bloggers mentioned. Don't stop, keep us, the general public, informed of what's going on! about "our" casino. Please!

From a *still concerned* Middleboro citizen!!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much, dear citizens of Middleboro for your continued and diligent need to question and fight the casino effort. It does matter and you have made a huge difference.

How many times have citizens in towns just like ours, scratched their heads in wonder trying to figure out, "how did that happen?" And I don't mean just casinos. I mean towns that have lost businesses, or have allowed big box WalMart, or allowed drilling or strip joints and the like.

So the long of it is, we have a right to know if our elected BOS have any hidden agendas, or hidden associations that benefit them, at a cost to our town. We must work at finding out, we have a right to know.

After reading the Harvard study we now know "why Middleboro". And after reading this blog, we are learning of the "six degrees" of association and connection that finally makes sense of "why Middleboro" for the NYC big time lawyer.

It takes courage and work and time away from family and other interests to continue the anti-casino effort. Some will just throw their hands up and walk away, while others demand of themselves a continued commitment to stay diligent.

Keep hammering Gladys. Keep challenging us to thimk.

carverchick said...

I would be extremely disappointed if the CFO website was cherrypicking. As I said, your six degrees of a casino blog gave us all something to think about. You took public information and filled in all the blanks. We really do need to know who we are dealing with and why -- look at Glenn Marshall as a prime example of "sleeping with the enemy".

For the record, I know nothing about cherrypicking going on with the website and if that was being done, I am sure I would know and I would say something to the Board. We cannot and should not censor each other in regards to the Middleboro casino issue. There was enough of that going on at the Middleboro Town Hall last year.

Your blogs make a difference. You have never been intimidated or afraid to blog the truth and so many people appreciate and respect you for that. I am sure it is a glitch that can and will be fixed.

Gladys Kravitz said...

Carverchick,

Upon receiving your comment I checked the CFO web site and found one 'selected blog post' by Bumpkin, two by me, and four by you, Carl, 479 Plymouth Street, and Truth to Power, respectively.

To date I have well over 100 blog posts, and Bumpkin tops that.

While you may not personally be aware of cherry picking, I have, in fact, been battling against it vocally almost since the beginning.

A simple link to an anti-casino blog is all that's ever been necessary to keep our dedicated readers in the know.

At one time the webmaster had a nice little program which named (and linked to) the entire blog, then offered (WITHOUT CHERRY PICKING) the last five blog posts of a particular blogger.

Sweet.

Anything else, is sour.

Gladys Kravitz said...

Dear Anons. 1:49, 9:58, 7:27, and 10:09,

Thank you for your words, and more importantly, thank you for speaking up.

If there's one thing I've learned in the course of this ordeal, it's been the importance of speaking up. Even when it's uncomfortable.

Because if you don't point out the wrongs... if you don't question authority... the 'wrongs' and 'authority' are going to assume you're ok with it.

And we're not.

Thanks again,
Gladys

Anonymous said...

Gladys,

Your successful and well read blogs transcends the need to be listed on CFO's website.

We know where to find you. I suspect that theblogfathers.net website has doubled it's traffic.

Look at it this way, being gone from a website that will disappear once thier purpose is done is not the worst thing.

You've done a great job. Don't let this situation diminish what you've done, or what you will continue to do. We rely on you to keep us informed. This fight would not be half as fun or effective without you and CC. We need you to remain focused, because even though it's not coming, we still need to fight, and we still need you to be part of that.

Stay strong. You've weathered worse.

Regards,
Tracy

Gladys Kravitz said...

LOL, Tracy! In fact, theBlogfathers.net traffic has indeed doubled!

But no problemo anyway, because anyone who hangs with Gladys long enough knows that when life gives her lemons, she makes lemonade. Then she builds a lemonade stand, advertises on the internet, sells the product with panache, and eventually rakes in enough coin from those damn sour lemons to splurge on a sweet little sunshine yellow sportscar.

;~)

Jacquie said...

Gladys,

I'd like to echo Tracy's words.

You do make people THIMK.

All of your hard work, research and dedication to fight this casino is so sincere and genuine. I think occasionally you do hit the issues a little too close to home and that may make others uncomfortable.
Well.....too bad.

Anyone who has been in this fight since day one knows that you did not throw the first punch, the BOS did by not representing us fairly. You simply are making people accountable for their actions.

Bond may try to make light of the disaster and division that he created in the town, but your right there to call him on his behavior...and I thank you for that. He is a public official after all and he failed miserably at his job when the residents in the town needed him most.

Of course Bond will try to break up the blogfathers. He knows that that is CFO's strongest gateway of communication. If you let him break you guys, you're letting him win once again.

Anonymous said...

I cannot say it any better than Jacquie, Tracy, CC and the anonymous's. DITTO, DITTO, DITTO!!

Remember, what one small town girl can do to shake things up for a big city superego lawyer, (and his few friends)!!
Judy

WHEN MORAL COURAGE FEELS THAT IT IS IN THE RIGHT, THERE IS NO PERSONAL DARING OF WHICH IT IS INCAPABLE. (Leigh Hunt)

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